Shifting Gears, from 2nd to 4th

The game was going alright. We were reaching a bit. It was kind of puttering a tad.

Cool shit was happening but it felt a little Tokyo Drifty.

Anthony’s character eaves-dropped on a brutal conversation between Jeff’s scheming bastard and his aging duelist father and now Anthony’s vindictive old wizard knows why his son was wounded at the opera.

Me and Mario got to show our twin brother’s relationship in a really odd exchange with Jeff in the middle.

My character caught one of Jeff’s spies on my land and got to regulate. I channeled just a touch of Marlo Stansfield…just a touch.

Storn won his duel and THEN started a romance with the woman he scarred in the duel. He loves doomed romance, it is a trait on Storn’s character sheet, not his characters mind you, but Storn’s own character sheet.

Then Mario wanted to meet with the Count who over-sees us, just so he could roll some dice and put some facts into play on him. He ruffled Storn’s feathers and suddenly Storn wanted in on the conflict and before we knew it, we were all rolling, establishing facts about Count Szazs of House Falcon.

Further geekery behind the cut as the game goes from 2nd gear into 3rd and 4th.

The Single Best NIght of Gaming in Your Life

If someone had told me that my favorite game session would happen at a con I would have said they were nuts.

If someone had told me that my favorite game session would be P.T.A. I would have said that was quite possible.

If someone had told me that game session would be a P.T.A. session that was a British Masterpiece Theatre set in the Victorian era that addressed issues of class struggle and violence against women I would have scoffed.

But tonight it happened. and it happened due to a trick of fate.

Michael Miller accidentally put up an extra PTA session with my name on it. I’ll thank him for that tomorrow. I could have bailed on it but eff it, its PTA, right?

That game was a year ago? Seems like more time has went by. Hm.

Sweet Zombie Orcus that game was good. I linked that thread to another conversation and went back and re-read it. It is nice to have the thread as an artifact of what happened that night. Nice to have proof that a game can be that fucking great.

That one just ambushed me, out of the blue, didn’t see it coming. To further abuse my baseball metaphor for awesome gaming, other games have been solid triples and even the worst games lately are doubles but a bona fide home run…

I pass the real life Hare and Hound every day on my way to work and when I take the time to glance left and notice it I smile.

How about you? What is the best single night of gaming in your life?

Thoughts on the weekend.

Friday was Houses of the Blooded, Saturday was Arkham Horror and tonight was Beast Hunters. That was a geek-heavy weekend.

Sat down with Bret tonight and we played our first session of Beast Hunters. I really like the back and forth of the conflicts. On paper it made me queasy but at the table it was solid. We are more or less ignoring much of the setting stuff except for the women-led tribal vibe. The rest of the setting is coming off of our character sheets.

Had brunch at Andy and Christine’s today. They live in a swank house-half apartment down the road from us. Its a lovely space. They rocked out with some gluten-free blueberry pancakes that were delicious. It is touching to see the people around me take such care in including me.

Hayes and I boxed on the Wii and I took two of three rounds. The Wii is damned fun. I’m tempted. It has the kind of light party game that I really dig.

I remain addicted to Lord of the Rings inspired rap.

Janaki is having a shitty time with her apartment.

Monday’s the go-day to get shit done. Moving the old car, listing it, setting up a time to meet with my Host Librarian, and a swim.

EDIT: I can’t sleep. Warren Ellis welcomes you to Planet Earth.

Into the Ruins

You can have a ruin in your domain in Houses of the Blooded. Anthony was looking over the rules, knowing that a prominent ruin was written into the fabric of his character, who leads a secret society dedicated to sussing out the secrets of the ruin but just didn’t see the advantages right away.

Essentially, a ruin is a dungeon, something left behind by the Sorcerer-Kings, a dangerous remnant of a past age. Each time the players brave its depths, it goes up until it is solved, not going above three. Once the ruin is done, it can either be turned into a natural resource or can be turned into a Puzzle House.

What is a Puzzle House, you ask?

A Puzzle House is, essentially, a great place to have a party.

So yes, you adventure in a dungeon and then gather the nobles, once you’ve gotten to the heart of the place and put it to rest you gather your friends and you party your asses off there. And naturally, the party will be a place for duels and romances and drama and politicking.

Adventure breeds adventure breeding more adventure.

The adventure started with me saying three facts about the Ruins in Anthony’s domain and then they rolled to see what they knew, these things being new facts layered in. And the Sorcerer-Queen of Night’s ruin was born.

They failed their rolls so spectacularly along the bridge into the ruined city of the Sorcerer Kings they were brought to the Queen on their knees and fell bargains were made.

Anthony’s character promised her heads.

Mario’s character is to write her an opera and I think, according to the rules he technically started a romance with her. I think. Eek. That means when he sees her next he can ask something of her. Neat.

And once the Queen of the Night’s plotline is all wrapped up, once it is done the PC’s will gather their friends and their rivals and their family and will have a party, walking people around, showing them where they met the spectres of long dead ork and such.

“Ah, this is where the ork spectres surrounded us. Remember that, Baron.”

“I’m still trying to forget, old friend.”

If they live that long.

“This is where my father first faced the Queen of Night before her minions killed him.”

That was fun.

Friday night’s alright for fighting…

Last night we had another playtest session of Houses of the Blooded. I wanted to just get Jeff rolling dice, as he had just made up his character. So I glanced at his character sheet and concocted a conflict where his PC’s father, an old grizzled warrior asked his courtly son to embarass an up-and-coming warrior so that he wouldn’t have to fight him this year.

And then it just blew up.

Jeff got the up-and-comer to draw steel and accidentally hurt a child.

Storn’s aspect concerning children being harmed in his presence went off like a loaded gun.

Tussle in the balcony seating at the opera.

Death of the up-and-comer as he is tossed from the balcony.

Politicking. A duel from the bereaved wife. An ambitious younger brother serving as the wife’s second in the duel. A wounded child (and what will his heartless sorcerer of a father do when he hears of this?). Turn’s out Jeff’s PC’s father was in an illicit affair with the now widowed wife.

The wife demands a duel from Storn’s PC. She has a grievance. The ven word for grievance roughly translates as: Insult that can only be washed away with blood.

The Marquessa who owns the opera house: “You walk into my opera house, break the balcony railing, kill a guest and interupt the opera…and it is that last one that vexes me most.”

All from one off-the-cuff conflict. I love when a few pebbles turn into an avalanch.

Next week’s the duel.

Any gaming going on out there this weekend before the turkey madness takes hold?

This post is entirely to make up for me not being able to attend Jiffy-con and being filled with Jiffy-envy.

Day of Kryos

I rolled out of bed yesterday after an uneasy night’s sleep and got to Jeff’s. Julie made us eggs and bacon and sausage. It was wonderful. We recorded what we thought was one long show and then decided it was two shows but only 2/3’s done. So, tired and loopy, we recorded the other 1/3’s and now have two in the can.

In a heroic editing effort, Jeff got it up in less than 12 hours. That’s nuts. Rock on with your bad self, Jeff.

Here’s the first of the shows, with an interview with John Wick and us talking about playtesting SoK style.

I was lukewarm about Houses of the Blooded before the interview but was happy to talk to him about it because John’s always a pleasure to talk to and I knew that he was doing a ton of playtesting, fulfilling our -show about play- mandate. But after a half hour of hearing him talk about the game, I’m sold. We’re setting up a session for this Friday with some of the crew that did the Criminal Element heist last week.

Forum discussion and links from the show are here.