Saturday, June 30, 2012

Giving the PC's Dreams

I love doing it.  They are never clear, but they are usually scary.  Here's one I gave them in an email between sessions a month or so ago:

That night, you dream...

As you drift off to sleep, you are sucked into a void, one lacking light, sound, or emotion. In a burst of light, you appear...somewhere. There is a tiny round glowing entity, both home and source of all that you are, yet despising you for all that you are, which lies beneath you. Slowly, your vision clears, and you begin to recognize shapes, ideas pour into your mind. You know your truest identity, in this world and the ones to come. Behind you, sensed more than seen, sit the powers of the world, their backs turned to you as they contemplate a greater game which you cannot comprehend. Yet is is played on the same chessboard. While of the world, they are not begotten of the world as are you. Slowly, the vision clears, and beneath you is a circle, no larger than a marble, which slowly comes into focus and grows larger. Behind you, powerful forces urge you this way and that. You can almost feel strings attached to your limbs, needles pushed into your back, trying to force you in different directions, pulling you from your moors on the plan of existence you hail from. Which, when viewed from your new perspective, seems miniscule in the grand scope of the universe. For you feel the scope, once, for a brief instant, and then it is gone. And then it is distant. And then it is but memory in a fog. The world beneath you flashes into being, and you recognize it as your own. You see the land of your homeworld, formerly glorious and immense, now insignificant in the grand scheme of things, much like yourselves. But you sense your own potential. You look down upon the world, in all its magnificence, and feel utter potential, both within and without. And power, the taste of it, intoxicating. Delicious. Godlike you may be, standing there with your golden skull, your demon-corrupted stave pieces. For all of you are there. The Demon-clawed Stavemaster. The Lord of Light and Fellowship, clutching his pommel. The Spawn of Man and Demon, black glowing skull polluting the light with its corruption, stamping out all bonds of unity and fellowship wherever it glows, in perpetual war with all of creation. The Lord of Dogs, Jackals, Wolves and Hyenas, sitting upon his throne, revered as a god. And lastly, you sense more than feel the last Stavemaster, who site in inky blackness of the depths of the sea, waiting, always waiting, to bring back the foulest of entities, who slumbers. Biding his time and waiting. You are joined together, all floating above the BEING which is your world, by bands and shackles of destiny, joined by those who would be your adversaries, friends, lovers, murderers and victims, in a never-ending stream of souls, and yet you sense that you are mere energy for the beings behind you. Morsels of food, nothing more. Linked together by past and future bonds, outside of life and death. Others watch. Contenders without number. The Leftclawed one, craving wholeness of body and soul, craving the desire and passion torn from him by the betrayer of his blood. The Undying one, whose body decays, seeking everlasting life, and everlasting power, in this world and the next. And finally, you are all linked to the plane you were born to, which seems to be the greatest entity amongst you. She/it/he/they? have sent forth forces to oppose all who would despoil its purity, take its energy, as it? evolves beyond its current destiny. It? first acted in the deepest recesses of time amongst the beasts for that era, against beings from beyond space and time, and now in this era, it? acts in the slightest most innocuous of ways. Who will win? The beings behind you care not, as long as you feed them. The great source of life beneath you cares not, viewing you as plants view a plague of locusts. The being beneath the sea who sleeps his endless slumber of madness, it cares least of all, as it mends, mends, awaiting its resurrection to consume that upon which it lives. As you all strive for more.

The Sword-wielder speaks to your mind, looks at your group, and says "Join me brothers, stamp out the darkness. Proclaim yourselves followers of the lords of light, compassion, goodness, and fellowship." And you see his gods, their names burned into your memories, yet unutterable in this place, lest you draw their attention. And then he is gone, sucked back into the ether below. It cost him, that utterance.

The Demonic skullwielder laughs and winks at you, knowingly, and descends to join battle.

The hollow voice of undeath turns in your direction, exhales dust, then looks left, seeing something else, ever seeking.

The jackal-headed does not deign to contemplate such insignificance as yourselves, and returns to more pleasureful dreams, the least understanding of his own potential.

The fires of hate burn steadily your way from the leftclawed, as he slowly sinks down into the bonds of magic.

IT slumbers.

You awake.

Vesper's Diary: VIZ Baby!

A write-up on my ACKS campaign run by Tenkar on G+ on Saturday night, from the POV of my character Vesper, the Nightblade, an elven assassin.

Well, we left the human village of Patheticeastbumfuckia behind. On the way out we helped ourselves to their gold and silver. Then we got raped financially at the toll bridge. Note to self: Go back and slaughter all the toll bridge people and take all their money next time I pass through the area.
We were on our way to Blackmarsh castle, where I hoped to hook up with my brethren, but were distracted along the way by some orcs chasing an old guy. We wiped out the troops, and in my enthusiasm for torture and grisly work, I ended up scaring the orc captain too much, and he refused to talk after a wee bit of torture. Pussy. No major loss, as Curio was able to charm him and we now have an orc bitch informant, giving us vital info about the mine we are about to enter.

Why enter another mine? VIZ!!! Every spellcaster's dream. I don't know what lord of person the mine belongs to, but I figure a fair price for its liberation is that Curio and I take all the Viz we can carry out of there.

We just beat the front door guards, and I am penning this as I await the other members getting themselves ready before we enter.

Note to self: Don't forget to ask about something to allow me to see in the dark once I get to Blackmarsh. I got this nifty cat's eye, but it only works in low light unfortunately, not the dark of night or of caves. I still need to have a light source when I scout ahead, which defeats the purpose of scouting. What kind of an assassin needs a torch or lantern?

Speaking of assassin, its hilarious that the other members of my group can't seem to call me that. I am a proud member of the Order of Nightblades, known throughout the lands as elven assassins. Yet the other members keep calling me thief, specialist, rogue, even mage sometimes. Their human morality and ethical sensibilities apparently cannot let them even accept the fact that they adventure through the lands with an elven assassin. I guess they think they're better than me. How ironic!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Vesper's Diary: I Need a Nice Clean Assassination to Clear My Head.

A write-up on my ACKS campaign run by Tenkar on G+ on Saturday night, from the POV of my character Vesper, the Nightblade.

I'm through taking on quests given by podunk know-nothing human villagers.  First we're told that the dragon ate the maidens and died.  Then that the ghouls were the girls who were eaten.  Upon further questioning we found out that was impossible.  The corpses were never recovered, nor was the dragon ever seen again, so we have no idea if they are dead.  The age of the corpses and the sarcophagi clued me in to all this. All we have are some apparitions appearing on the side of the road, and some ghouls.  Turns out I was right and all that shit we saw down below was for a wizard trying for lichdom.  Being a weakling human wizard, naturally he failed.  Still, I took notes on what his process was.  You never know what truths he might have accidentally stumbled upon.

Anyhow, we cleared out most of the place, except for an obvious fire elemental trap.  We even found the would-be lich's corpse with some magic on it.  So it wasn't a total waste.

Even better, I managed to convince the village that there was a curse laid upon it and that it would certainly cost them all their gold and silver to lift said curse.  They are gathering up their valuables as I type this.  I have a sneaking suspicion that not much gold or silver will be left by the time we're done with this place.  Some of my companions actually want to try and buy a scroll to remove the curse with the money.  Fools.  We'll see how that goes. 

I may have to sneak back into the town once we leave and kill the head guy and take the gold, if I can't con him into giving it all to us.  A nice clean assassination would feel good anyhow.  All this fighting up front when the enemy has a fair chance to hit you is anathema to me.

Anyhow, tomorrow we are likely to leave for Blackmarsh, assuming we don't have too much to do with this whole curse thing.  I'll be happy to get there and see my brethren again and take a hot bath.  You know what they say—-lay down with humans and expect to get fleas.  Add a lizard man to the mix, and gods only know what I may have picked up.  

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Vesper's Diary: Contemplating Beautiful Torture While the World Sleeps

 A write-up on my ACKS campaign run by Tenkar on G+ on Saturday night, from the POV of my character Vesper, the Nightblade.

Well, we went back into these caverns again.  Now we encountered ghouls, ice things, and statues and stone spiders.  What the fuck.  The only thing I can think is that this was a dragon's lair.  I will interrogate the entire village harshly if need be to determine what the hell we are into here.  We told the villagers we would help deliver them from their own guilt coming back to haunt them, by virtue of killing off the ghouls of the women they poisoned and gave to the dragon.  Presumably the dragon died by eating them.  When did this happen exactly? Where's the dragon corpse?  Where are the bones?  Not even a dragon tooth on the village inn wall?  Something stinks here, and it ain't the lizard man for once.  Speaking of which, I've heard you can make a powerful suit of plate from the scales of a dragon, and red dragon scales give extra protection against fire.  I don't know if this is true, but I would love to find out.

I will pose to the group in the morn that we ask the villagers a few things, under pain of death, or at least horrible torture if need be (note to self, may need to have the lizard man and the countryboy scout out the land around while I do this—-I think the mage may be on board for this form of research, but I will have to feel him out):

1.  Where was the dragon's lair?  When was the dragon killed?  Where did the sacrifice take place exactly?

2.  What happened to his corpse?

3.  What happened to his treasure?

4.  If the dragon ate the women, how are they corporeal now as ghouls?  Red dragons burn shit right? I assume that means he burnt them before eating.  Which would have likely burned out the poison.

5.   Were the women buried?  If so how did they get the corpses from the belly of the beast?

6. What is the history of the area as relates to the burial area we have been exploring?  It went from mausoleum, which seems to old for the ghouls we are killing to be the women sacrificed to the dragon, to a weird ass fucked up lair of some sort.  Likely a series of rooms and traps designed to protect the dragon and his treasure.  Or something else.

7.  How the fuck did a podunk little shit village like this manage to develop a poison that killed off a dragon which is powerful enough to have such guardians as ice things and stone things and spider statues?  If indeed it is his lair.  If its not, we need to learn more on the history of this place before we go in.  Blackmarsh may have more info on it, as I understand the temples there have detailed histories of the lands around, and have a rich resource by way or funded and endorsed adventurers who may have info they relayed to the priests.  

8.   If we get no good answers from the villagers, I am tying as many of the children up as I can find and bringing them with me to the next excursion to act as trap detectors.

9.  If we can't get more info before heading in, I will vote to go to Blackmarsh to determine better what we are in for if we dig further.  I don't want to go in blind.  Killing ghouls is one thing.  But I don't like puzzles, especially ones that may lead to my death.  Especially if I think someone is holding out on me in terms of info that may help to keep me alive.  I could give a fuck about this village and the worthless dogs that dwell within it.  I just want the loot, magic and power that stems from the slaying and explortation.

It's so hard to keep up my mask as a goody-two-shoes with this group.  I must work harder at it, so it doesn't slip off at the wrong time.

Now I must meditate on the many torture techniques I learned under my master, to my great pain and enjoyment, as my companions do that human thing called sleep. 

Vesper's Diary: Decisions, Decisions

 A write-up on my ACKS campaign run by Tenkar on G+ on Saturday night, from the POV of my character Vesper, the Nightblade.

What to do.  On the one hand I want my brethren to rule of the world as we once did.  On the other, the current powers that be in the homeland are too lazy and lethargic to do anything about it.  I know the ancient enemies of all elfdom are the traitorous elves from the House of the Raven.  Or so I've been taught.  I noticed that many of the things I've been taught in my homeland were found to be lies, once I left the homeland and explored the world.  For instance, humans aren't the lesser race as they were described to me.  They are fiercely aggressive, probably due to their shorter lifespans.  In my opinion, we elves could use some of that vigor.

When I get to Blackmarsh I will thoroughly investigate elfdom as it exists in a human city, outside in the "real world" to determine if they have any different opinions.  Depending on how that goes, perhaps I can steer my companions to lands where the House of the Raven are rumored to exist, so I can investigate them.

I have to think more on this.

Vesper's Diary: Fools and Ghouls

 A write-up on my ACKS campaign run by Tenkar on G+ on Saturday night, from the POV of my character Vesper, the Nightblade.

They decided, even though I warned them they could be paralyzed, to take on the ghouls plaguing this little river crossing area.  Apparently there was a human sacrifice or something gone wrong.  Which of course is an oxymoron, because how could sacrificing humans ever go wrong—-unless they don't die of course.

We are mid-fight here, I don't know how many we will be battling..  I was hoping for some easy loot from the town, or from the church and apothecary/alchemist guy.  The foolish villagers in their ignorance burnt the alchemist lab down.  Something to do with this human emotion called guilt.  I dunno.

Anyhow, I'm just in this for the hint of dragon loot at the end of the day.  If there is any left, I can use it.  Resources were depleted with the new spells.

Well, I scribbled this between fights, so let me get back to slaying stuff.

Crazy thought—-they all get paralyzed, I live, I go back and get their stuff. Hmmm….

Vesper's WA

 A write-up on my ACKS campaign run by Tenkar on G+ on Saturday night, from the POV of my character Vesper, the Nightblade.

We elves have an inner sense of peace and contentment, a sense of Wa, in elven, which humans do not possess.  Certainly the reptile thing with us does not possess it.  It is a sense of always being flowing, along with the universe, not against it, which give us such remarkable combat prowess. 
From what I am discovering, mixing overly long with non-elves, outside of our peaceful environment and magical enclaves, screws up those vibrations greatly, to the detriment of our simplest abilities.
Fow example, taking 34 arrows to kill one wolf.  That clearly was not my fault, and can only be blamed on the lesser beings I am forced to associate with in my quest for power and glory and expansion of the elven lands.

One more burden I take upon myself, as the gods-annointed savior of my race, whose destiny is to lead them to world domination once again as it was in days of yore.  One lesser-being death at a time.
We cleared the tunnels of the filthy swine, took the gold and glory, and now I await the delivery of my super-arrows and a composite longbow  from the humans. How the humans have developed such bow and arrow technology is beyond me.  They must have stolen it from lost elven tomes.  Which makes sense, in that we have forgotten more about bows and arrows, and all things really, than humans will ever know.  And all that they know comes from us.

On a brighter note, my spell training is now complete.  Perhaps the ability to cast spells will restore my sense of Wa somewhat.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Prometheus Review: No Spoilers. And Top 10 D&D Rules They Broke

It didn't suck.  It wasn't great. 

The people on the ship obviously never played D&D.  Here's the top ten rules they broke:

1.  Never leave the weapons behind when exploring somewhere new and creepy.  Idiots.
2.  Never touch the gooey slimy shit.
3.  Never trust non-humans.
4.  Never trust humans.
5.  Never trust the unknown.  Everything in the universe is fucking hostile.
6.  Never count on the gods.  The gods don't give a fuck.
7.  Never be a fucking scrounge and go back for the treasure when there is a Category 67 Hurricane on its way.
8.  Never take your fucking airmask off, even when someone says "The air seems safe to breathe."
9.  Never split the group
10.  Never count on a happy ending.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Our ACKS Game Using Tabletop Forge Streamed Live on Youtube Last Night, Watch Here!

Watch my elf assassin puke a lot and miss most every roll!  Recorded last night, our group's ACKS game played on Tabletop Forge.  +Erik Tenkar DM'd.  When in doubt about whose voice was whose, if someone had a good idea, it was my voice.  If bad, it was someone else's.  As for which was me in the video stream, I was the best looking guy.  :)

Players:  +Charles Jaimet +Greg Christopher +Keith J Davies +Craig Brasco

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Is Anyone Else Sick of Kickstarters?

There are a ton of them, most of which are shit, and the bloat is drowning out the few good ones.  I'm annoyed I am missing some of the better ones, but I don't want to have to wade through the crap to find them.  Though I was on a gaming hiatus back then, it reminds me of what people talk about when they refer to the d20 bloat of crappy modules and supplements.  I can appreciate that its the poor man's way to be a publisher and all that, but honestly, ask yourselves, "is it really that good?" before you put it out there as another piece of detritus for the public to wade through in search of something decent.  From what I've seen, the answer to that question more often than not will be "No.  it sucks.  I should go back to my day job."