Sorcerer, Comic Strip AP, Sessions 1-3

The Comic Strip AP site.

Here are the first 3 episodes, all in one place. As a listener, I dig the short, punchy format with a few dice rolls and reveals an episode. As a player, playing 15 minutes at a clip is an odd, cool thing that I’m still processing. My hope is that the Comic Strip AP format will allow us to look at techniques and the episodic format will allow us to locate them easily.

SWN 8: Boarding Parties and Business Deals

RAZORnet Review: Astral Dragon LLC

The Astral Dragon LLC took on an ASSET RECOVERY job and completed the job with professionalism and finesse. They hired skilled freelancers to compliment the gig’s goals and managed their mercenary hires admirably.

We look forward to working with these freelancers again and encourage others in the sector to do so.

Star Rider

tears-in-the-rain-o

Strachan turning the Gurdridim intimidation on the Lalita Navy Intel Officer.

Everyone smoking up with the Melite Exchange Consular once he turned his internal network connections off.

Deiter’s amazement and disappointment at Circe’s population living in decommissioned capital ships.

Star Rider

To: Astraldragonllcboardofdirectors@astraldragon.com

RE: Asset Recovery, Gig #456A397  

Please forward your coordinates to this comm channel and we will send a consul team to assess the recovered asset. Please include any complications that might put our assessment consult team into danger. Please be specific.

It is our understanding that the asset was a laboratory site for some computer science that interests the Exchange. If this cargo is left in an untampered state on the asset, your remuneration will be exponentially improved.

We are prepared to pay you in straight credits or offer free passage to you and your corporate operatives to the Mudsassar shipyards, where we will pay for the outfitting of your own ship with your repo fees taken as down-payment on the finest spaceships built in all of Sector Hades Zeta. The specific accouterments of the ship’s systems and hull would be decided by the coming assessment.

If you have any questions, there is a Melite Exchange office in this sector with consulars standing by. Please feel free to contact us with any questions you might have.

Sincerely.

The Exchange

Link for reply

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Report from the bridge of the Patrol Boat Tasmania, Captain Rajani Ojo

As per the Condition Blue procedures, our patrol boat boarded and scanned the Free Frigate Exceptional Object in orbit around Kaprianou well within the planet’s dangerous nanite cloud. The ship had recently been legally repossessed by the Astral Dragon LLC. All things considered, the signs of the repo boarding and battle were minimal.

Melite Exchange Consular Kazi backed up the legitimacy of the repo gig and rendezvoused with the Exceptional Object, with the Free Merchant Invisible Hand escorting the Frigate back to the Orbital Syracuse, where it docked in the Exchange bay. The Exceptional Object was given rudimentary probe scanning for weaponized atomic radiations, nanite storage and illegal data gestation.

Navy Intel Officer, Lieutenant Yash Cordova conducted interviews of several former Lalita naval ground-pounder and a Circe planetary grunt, personel #’s included in the data packet. Lieutenant Cordova also interviewed a Gudridim Hunter, Strachan Natana. Lt. Yash’s interview techniques managed to avoid any direct conflicts but did not manage the interviewees into different spaces so that stories could be compared. Further training for the lieutenant is recommended upon return to the Orbital Madrid. Mr. Strachan showed disdain for the Guevaran Marines that is worth investigating.

The Tasmania is in need of a hard hull scrub after being that close to Kaprianou’s shit-cloud.

 

Comic Strip AP: Sorcerer

Comic Strip AP: Sorcerer 01

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Comic Strip AP is something the Gauntlet podcast started on their Discern Realities podcast. At the end of the episode they’d have a 10 to 15 minute actual play example with a recurring character. When I heard they were starting a podcast featuring it, I went to Rich and we decided to play Sorcerer.

I am outside of my comfort zone in a bunch of different ways in this thing. I’m playing Sorcerer without any setting gimmicks and I’m making mistakes. The setting is NYC, a dense place that I don’t feel qualified to pull off even though I live here. The history is too dense for me to be fully comfortable. And of course there is that funky Comic Strip AP format.

Playing in 15 minute bits every week is an odd thing. We try to get one interesting conflict or decision in every episode but the killer, to me, is the downtime. I have too much time to think over my GMing decisions and pick myself apart in a way that I don’t do in my usual gaming, or at least I don’t do it in 15 minute increments.

Right before the third episode I panicked, I nearly e-mailed Rich and told him that the game wasn’t working. I nearly told him that we should ditch this game and start something else before he dumps anymore time into editing this thing. I didn’t and wouldn’t you know it, the third episode is where things start to really click.

Thank you, Rich for rocking this AP with your amazing play and editing skills. Rich posted interesting thoughts in the Comic Strip AP G+ Community.

Check it out and let me know what you think.

Reading, Planning, Writing: an unsettled Friday

Reading: I’ve been jumping around, unsatisfied, unable to settle into anything. I’ll jump on Sully, as I have to conduct a book club meeting discussion on it.

Planning: The weekend has become full, very full. I’m hoping I can find time to do laundry and throw chicken into the slow cooker.

Writing: Writing notes and bits and bobs for an all-kobold 5E games. Wrote up kobold backgrounds last night, which was fun.

And you?

Traditions of the Swordlords: The End

The End

We started our Burning Wheel campaign using the Kingmaker Adventure Path more than 2 years ago.The game started with Zora and Hajek traveling south to the bandit fort. Then we saw it all again through Ivo’s eyes as he traveled south and saw the effect Zora and Hajek had been having. Then we saw it all again when Cyril came into the game and we get to experience the Riverlands through fresh eyes, with knights on the map. We’ve been re-contextualizing the journey from Restov to Olegton, southward to Spider Hill and finally to Fort Hajek for two years and it has been fresh and new and exciting every time.

Zora was a idealistic knight, ill-suited to bringing people together peacefully after a life of war and battle. Hajek was a jaded soldier who wanted to see the best in people and gave up his life serving a Swordlord who he believed would be a truly noble leader. Ivo came to the Riverlands having seen the worst of the rulers of Rostland.

He had little faith in the system Zora was trying to salvage and so he helped her build something new.

In the History of the Charterlands it is Swordlord Zora’s ability to find solutions that obviated bloodshed and her deftness at picking up the sword and leading her soldiers when necessary that shaped these provinces as much as Ivo’s love of the common folk and willingness to take harrowing chances on epic level sorcery and summoning.

In the last game, Ivo realized that his apprentices would learn Sorcery within the next month and smiled; he used his powers to help his friend have a child, also an heir that would bring stability to the region for another generation at least.

In the last game, Zora won a Duel of Wits with an angry Swordlord whose bitterness threatened to tear apart what she had built and through her curt, effective words – ended the argument the way she ended her battles.

Meanwhile, back in the real world…

I knew Rachel and I knew Drew before the game started but we weren’t as close as we are now. In the two years during which our game took place I got married and shifted over to a different library. My consistency has been negligible in all areas of my life – physical culture practice, jujitsu and writing. The main consistency in my life has been this game.

Traditions of the Swordlords has had a huge effect on the way I think about world building and basing games on established material.It deepened my understanding and love of Burning Wheel.

More important than any of that, 2 good friends became dear friends. Rachel would start some games by saying, “I missed your faces!” Aw.

Meanwhile, back in the Riverlands

We’re hitting the fast forward button and coming back to the Riverlands as elves. They will see their favorite characters and their work through new eyes, re-contextualizing everything all over again with fresh eyes, coming back to this place we’ve made decades later…

 

Volo’s Guide to Monsters: Kobolds

Volo’s Guide to Monsters continues to be an inspiring and fun read. The section on kobolds is also really cool and makes me want to run a kobold warren campaign using the build for kobolds as player characters.

Favorite Bits

“In the kobolds’ version of a perfect world, the creatures would be left along to dig their tunnels and raise the next generation of kobolds, all the while seeking the magic that will free their imprisoned god…”

“Furthermore, kobolds can slowly change sex. If most males or females of a tribe are killed, some survivors change over several months until the tribe is balanced again.”

“Roughly one-quarter of the towns and cities in the world have kobold communities living under them, but the kobolds are so good at staying hidden that the surface-dwelling citizens in the area often don’t know what lies beneath them.”

“Kobolds willingly serve chromatic dragons and worship them as if they were demi-gods…”

The Pitch

Red Death, an ancient red dragon, was driven from her lair by powerful adventurers a little under a century ago. In the midst of her exodus, she left you all in this warren to hold on to a few of her treasures and one of her eggs. There are rumors that Red Warrens were seeded up and down the chain of volcanoes that range this continent’s coast but none of you have ever seen nor heard from them.

None know where Red Death now lairs but there are warren myths that she will come back and take you all to glory some day when the mountains belch smoke once again.

A party of adventurers, inspired by the original interlopers who drove Red Death from her volcano home, are making their way to your warren with dreams of treasure and glory.

Prepare!

volos_monster_manual_altvolos_monster_manual_1

 

Alignments

Kobolds don’t see the morality of the universe divided along the law/chaos, good/evil spectrum (and I find alignment kinda dull). This is how they divvy it up. In game, following the tenants of one’s alignment would be how players would earn Inspiration, able to change alignments with a short rest and prayer.

The Five-Headed Matron (Tiamat, in Draconic): Actively scouting out coming danger, serving your betters, interacting with sorcery

The Egg (Boosh, in Draconic): Learning new things, staying very still to wait for your moment, becoming something new

The Interloper (Ku in Draconic): Sneaking into danger, acting on emotional attachment like some love-blind human or elf, trespassing

The Winged Kobold (Urd, in Draconic): Personal glory, being special, taking on power and responsibility

Kurtulmak (God of Kobolds): Escaping captivity, finding that which is lost, besting a bully

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On the Map

On he wall of the warren is a map, copied from a now lost map from the Olde Lair’s legendary library.

Dwarven Outpost: The beards have no time for you; their current grey-bearded Queen was among the adventurers who drove away Red Death.

Elfstone Fields: Border markers the elves put down when humans first made their castles to warn them against wandering too far west.

Goblins in the Mountains: They are spiteful but sometimes can be allies if you can convince them it is in their best interests.

Hobgoblin Border Fort: They will enslave you all and put you to work tunneling under their enemies and making traps if they get through Duchess Pass.

Human City: City Kobolds live underneath it and through them you can buy human goods. There is a wizard with a tower there who even had a kobold apprentice once!

Olde Lair: The volcanic Red Peak in which was the lair of Red Death, the dragon your ancestors served, is currently cool and silent.

Wyvern Barrows:  The spirits of the humans who called themselves the dragon-chiefs are buried here with the bones of their wyvern steeds.

 

Art

Slavic and East European Collections, The New York Public Library. “Kliuchevskaia sopka.” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1856. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47df-98de-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
Volo’s Guide to Monsters, covers by Hydro74 (bad-ass retail, Illithid cover) and ???

Godbound: The Cresthill Trinity goes giant-hunting

What do you want to do?

What do you guys want to do in the game?

Deal with the armies of the Raven and the Goat (pssst, the goat is Orcus’ army, which is waging war against the Raven Queen’s army)?

The winter raiders who come down out of the mountains and leave villages in frigid desolation?

Seek out a place to store the Wand of Orcus?

I forgot that we stored the Wand of Orcus with Gitta, the Storm Giant on her cloud citadel.

The trio chose to hunt the winter raiders.

  • Lowell plays Kayban Silverluck the Thief-god
  • Rich plays Marton the Barbarian-god
  • Fraser plays Myfanwe the Wizard-god
yak

Kyle

The trinity was re-united as Myfanwe and Kayban found Marton in the town square, bench pressing a yack. He made his strength roll, having gotten in 52 reps.

I looked over Frost Giants and a relevant Demon Lord (if you know your monster manuals, you know which one) and off we went. It took a while to get going. We all really thought the game was going to be a one-shot, so folks didn’t hold on to much. The game started in Cresthill. Refugees from the mountains were pouring in with terrible wounds and frostbite.

They talked to Gadise, a lovely old lady who led the refugees here, having heard that Cresthill is no longer ruled by a Demon Lord and is a just place with a trinity of fine young gods. I described how the villagers leave offerings of flowers and fruit on their doorsteps, except for Marton, for him they leave offerings on the tower they took down.

I read the Monster Manual entry on Frost Giants that Myfanwe the Wizard-god, who has the Knowledge word, found in the castle’s scrolls. Gadise talked about how the raiders took the town, how the frigid winter winds blew in and the knight was killed and oh yeah, there was a big guy who looked just like Galluk, Marton the Barbarian-god’s brother.

“We’ll need winter gear.”

“The villagers pour winter clothes on you, offering you whatever they have. Do you have anything you want to talk about on the way to the mountains? Otherwise, I’m just going to Indiana-Jones-red-line this shit.”

They rolled to track down a Frost Giant scout and failed.

“A lone scout leads you into the broken remnants of a mountain castle. It totally is not an ambush.”

boulder

The Ambush

Frost Giants are 10HD monsters. I didn’t give them strength modifiers to their damage and I probably should have. My bad. The Frost Giants were barraging the trinity with boulders from all angles.

There was a point where I could feel their frustration growing. There was some wiffing but there might’ve been some bad math at hand too.

Anyway, I described the giants growing frustrated too, explaining that most humans stuck in their kill zone die fast and die ugly. The giants weren’t ready for a morale check until the Wizard-god and his summoned undead minions (undead Githyanki, wtf happened in this castle?) took down their first giant and Marton knocked over a tower when his attacks were falling flat.

They got the scout who led them into the mess, letting the rest scatter into the mountains and got directions to the Gateway Mountain. Marton has a cool word all about making friends and so he made friends until Myfanwe gave him a death stare and did damage (for no reason other than the Frost Giant was an evil eff).

We had started late in the evening, after this week, I wanted a game to look forward to tonight. Tired, we ended there.

Lessons

Yeah, have some stats written out, Judd. The stat blocks for the game aren’t that big and with the Monster Manuals as a guide, it isn’t difficult.

Morale is a great way to end combats that are dragging, especially when a Barbarian-god punches down a tower and a Wizard-god summons undead Githyanki, not even to mention when the Thief-god threw a shoulder of a boulder at a giant and it hurt.

These characters can take a pounding.

 

 

 

Art

The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. “The Elevated Boulder, Bartlett, N.H.” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e1-8c44-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
General Research Division, The New York Public Library. “Yak.” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1809. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47d9-512c-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99