Office Hours is Adam Keobel’s call-in show (go record your own question here!) and in this past episode he really hit his stride. Below is the episode and the quotes I tweeted this weekend while watching the show but wanted to put them together in a blog post because for some reason, that feels more permanent or something. *shrug*
“A good GM bottoms from the top. Look it up…unless you’re 12, then please…don’t.”
“A good player walks the line between treating the game with reverence and irreverence as is appropriate for the game, table and situation.”
The first knife-fight in Duskovol took place not long after it was founded. Scoundrel legends say it was a fight over turf and money between a sailor and a coal miner. Both died of their wounds, walked away with their gangs, covered in blood and died later of internal injuries. The knives are named Jake and Harp but no two districts’ criminals can agree what that means – old slang? names of the cutters who died? arcane reference to demonic powers?
What do the knives really look like? Some accounts depict them as solid pieces of black metal and others depict them as an antique nomad dagger and a rigging knife.
Here’s what just about everyone agrees on:
When in the presence of violence, the daggers begin to heat up and sometimes give off sparks. The wielder feels the heat and the pain but it will not debilitate them as long as they continue fighting. They have appeared 4 times in Duskwall’s history, always during times of unrest and violence. Each time, blade-chosen cutters on different sides of the conflict killed one another with the knives and then the cursed blades always disappeared, spirited away by cultists who see the knives as holy relics.
There is a myth that the Dusker who wields both blades will cut Duskwall from the grip of the Empire. Imperial agents often investigate rumors of the daggers appearing, thinking that they are a sign of unrest or a symbol of rebellion conjured by con-men and a riotous rebel cult.
So, scoundrel, you’ve found one of the Blades in the Dark, the first is a mission clock if you go looking for the other dagger, wanting to become a symbol of bloody rebellion, the other clocks start ticking off with or without you…
Find the other dagger before your most hated enemy
Imperial Agents track you down
Monks from a mysterious blade cult pay you a visit
Duskwall descends into bloody war
That tweet kind of says it all.
They took a bit of a beating from the space marines and their monoblades turned into spears. Some of debate on how a genocidale unbraked AI got stranded on this planet and when they looked at the data they saw that it wasn’t destroyed because of a political breakdown in the AI-hunting Perimeter organizations
In the next game, they’ll figure out how to get 0r10n off-planet, past the nanite curtain made to hold unbraked AI’s on the surface.
Will they use the planetary kill-switch that will take the planet back to the stone age, destroying all tempered metal and synthetic compounds?
Will Arkady’s mentor teleport 0r10n off-planet, past the curtain?
Reading: I finished Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe and loved it loved it. Novellas are the best book length for me; they just seem to fit into my life. I finish them in 3 or 4 days.
I tried to read Norse Mythology and it is boring me to tears. I remember reading a book on Norse myth as a kid and it began something like, “The world was made of fire, blood and ashes…” This feels like it is lacking all of those things.
Wanting to read about an American Bad-Ass, I picked up Harriet Tubman: The Road to Freedom and it is not disappointing me.
I’m also reading old Greyhawk texts and web sites and forum posts for an upcoming game.
Planning: A busy weekend with lots of cool stuff.
Writing: Nope. Just nope.
When it comes to big picture Greyhawk, I think of odd bits of science fantasy worming its way into medieval life from wizards’ clones to tech bits from the Barrier Peaks. Arch-mages who have constructed complex philosophies around law, chaos, good and evil. Is that how the cosmos is or are we mapping it in those terms because of our own biased moral codes?
Demi-gods on the verge of ascending to other planes of existence walking around, enforcing their ways of life by sword and spell.
Adventurers eek out a desperate existence through delving and tomb raiding while nobles marshal armies to fight over obscure claims on ancient lands. Clerics worship living breathing but still unknowable deities. Thieves’ Guilds steal the bejeweled crumbs in between by stealth and knife.
I am not sure exactly where I got the idea that in the history of Greyhawk City there was a War of the Arch-Mages
. Digging through the archives, I found evidence of a few nasty feuds and an arcane wizard slaughter or two but not what I pictured – the oligarch arch-mages in charge of Greyhawk City slinging spells in the streets, retreating to their other-planar towers and manses to heal and see to their clones – Vancian Dying Earth pettiness meets a Prohibition Era Chicago gang-war.
In the upcoming Burning Wheel game on Comic Srip AP
with Rich, his War Wizard is arriving in Greyhawk City with a small mercenary company of archers from the Valley of the Mage. The Council of Eight just retrieved the Hand and Eye of Vecna from a tomb and both artifacts are missing, causing the council to fracture into feuding that the common-folk are calling the Mages’ War. Meanwhile, Iuz the Old is gathering orc, gnolls, giants and trolls to his banners; the world is about to erupt into war.
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: I’ve got Imaro on my kindle and Playing at the World on my night table. I’m enjoying both. Imaro has been eyeing my shiny new hardcover copy of Spears of the Dawn.
I’m talking with my buddy, Adam, about Moldvay D&D and Traveller over at SG.
Planning: A lovely day in NYC. I’m going to mosey and then I’m going to play both Sorcerer and Burning Wheel.
Writing: I’m tinkering but my tinkering never graduated to outright writing.