Saturday, December 28, 2013

Digiplane G+ Campaign, Phase 3

I will be once again opening my G+ game to various players, with a single caveat; there is a main group - the Yeso Mini-Campaign has grown much deeper then I thought and that party shall be continuing their travels throughout the Blighted Isle, The Shining Kingdom, The Broken Empire and that Strange and Pixelated realm.

However! Schedules being as capricious as they are, it can be expected that not all of them will be able to make each and every session. That is where you come in, dear heroes and heroines of FLAILSNAILS. Whenever a position is free, one of you will be invited to fill that spot. I'll hopefully try and sort all these things out a week or so in advance, but forgive me if I occasionally am a bit late.


The hope is that we get all the long term goals and consistency of a normal campaign, with all the fun you get letting random jerkasses champions from other worlds come in and muck around. Said games will be run weekly, at 10 PM Eastern Time. Please contact me on G+ if you want to join in and you're not being invited already.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

So updates might be scarce for a while...

This is why.

I will try and update old' Bum Rush once a month at least, and there will still be Akenia/Barovania G+ games going on. My main focus is just going to be Break!! for a while.


Expect things to pick up again when I finish this bad boy and have a bit more time.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Origins, Part II

Part, the first

Having broken off with it's mentor, the Wondersmith would be left to stare at what it helped create. Denied that right by an absent God-King, it instead looked upon the ebon sphere that surrounded and protected Promise.

It was a strange thing, that pulsated almost like a beating heart. It was warm to touch and supple, but unyielding. It was entirely different from earth and stone, and yet...

The Wondersmith acted on impulse. The words of creation were still fresh on its tongue, and it yearned to speak them again. And it did. It watched with glee as it saw mountains rise from the previously sterile black surface. Oceans came next and life soon followed. It was a world born in moments; to a more discerning eye, this place would seem haphazard, wild and dangerous. To the Wondersmith, it was a delight. It became The Outer World, a simple name that suited its maker just fine.

It explored this new place with eager joy, traversing its landscape and molding new creatures at a whim. Unlike its mentor, these lifeforms were crafted without greater thought and often were reflections of the Wondersmith's erratic mindset. On both poles of the sphere, it erected grand towers to direct the orbit of a  miraculous device called the "Sun Machine". 

An eternal flame lay within this sphere, and its light and warmth shined on the new world. This gleam did not go unnoticed, however. Forces young and primordial were drawn to it, and their presence was quickly felt by the impetuous Demiurge.

The first were from the swirling void; Atrocity, Desire, Rot and Whisper. These things were unafraid of the Wondersmith, but the Sun Machine challenged them. Its light seared them and drove them back. They became content to move back and forth with the luminous apparatus, filling the spaces of the world where its touch receded. Their collective would be known to humanity as "The Dark."

From the bright without came Oppression, Judgement, Zeal and Winter. The four regarded the sphere's creator with respect, wishing only to dwell within the brilliance of this new place. They took a stance opposite of their predecessors, following the glory of the Sun Machine and becoming bolstered by it. Appropriately, mankind came to call them "The Light."
The People

The third to arrive came from the unpredictable Wylde. Refugees from some distant fey schism, they begged the Wondersmith for refuge. It granted them succor near immediately, amused at the vibrant dramatics of the strange beings. They constructed a great city of ice on the northernmost point of the planet, beginning their courtly romances anew. Known first as "The People" and later "The Others" after the dawn of mankind.

The world existed in a sort of stasis for a time. Knights and wanderers from among The People would venture forth from their great castles of frost, slay beasts, claim treasure, and return home to spin great tales of their journeys. W
hile much would happen, nothing truly changed. The forces present could strike and repel each other, but they could not meaningfully interact.

Sometime afterwards though, mortals arrived. They emerged from a variety of places; some had found their way to the surface from Promise, others came from beyond in vessels of Starmetal. At least one species was born from the Outer World itself. Within these frail beings were the catalysts for progress, amalgamation, discovery and fear.

And with fear came the Grey Marquis, whom others would call death.

The demiurge met with the sullen figure whom taught it dread. For it gave the Wondersmith knowledge that someday, it too would perish. It would be no better then its mentor, leaving the world without it's creator.

Such a thing could never be allowed.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Defense (Rating) of Style

So Pearce, Chris and I were talking about Kill la Kill and an entry Jeff Rients had written about this one adventure whose cover had a fighter in a diaper on it.

Basically, the idea was that fighters in elaborate outfits are fun, even if they aren't the most practical. It would be cool to encourage people who felt the same way to go wild with their imagination. However - I also think gritty, realistic and/or clanky armor is cool too, so I wouldn't want to make that worthless in the process.

Jeff characteristically came up with a simple and fun rule for this - any Fighter in such a costume would get the equivalent AC of Chain Mail. I like that; its not the best armor class, but its respectable. There is still a reason to put on that magical armor you found or work for something like plate armor.

I'd like to up the ante a bit though, since my games have some penalties for wearing heavy armor that most B/X style ones don't.

Said outfit will give you an AC bonus of +4 in Barovania/Akenia if;

  • The outfit is elaborate and conspicuous enough that it will be recognized instantly when seen.
  • The wearer is a Fighter, Murder Princess or Battle Princess
  • If a shield are similar object is incorporate into the outfit, it is cosmetic and does not provide an AC bonus. Magical shields may provide other effects, just not the increase to AC
  • The character wears it constantly, or at least whenever they fight. The outfit should be a big part of their personal style and maybe even their identity.
  • The character may wear other clothing over top of it (perhaps for a disguise) but the second that danger is a foot or a fight begins, they should throw off their disguise and reveal themselves properly. They may attack OR move while doing this.
  • If the Character has an opportunity for a surprise round, they may sacrifice it and instead announce their presence with some sort of speech and a pose. This grants them a further +1 to their AC in combat. Here's an example. 


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Origins, Part 1

So right, you've been about. You've heard whispers, you've seen things. You know there is something odd about the ground you're walking on, but you only know a bit of why.

I suppose I should tell you, shouldn't I?

Barovania was an accident. Akenia is the digital echo of a distant past. The world itself is half a Blazing Garden with the other a Wistful Dark.

Oh, that doesn't tell you much at all, does it?

Fine, fine...

So a long time ago, a God-King from another world was wandering the Wyldspace. An odd combination of curiosity and weariness had overtaken him - he left his birthplace in hopes of finding the answers to the questions that torment a god.

In this realm of total possibility he discovered one of them. This God-King was a talented craftsman you see, and he had found a place to build. He set upon his labors in a fervor and created a perfect dodecahedron.

One of the things that troubled him most was that his home had many imperiled peoples on it. He concluded that this planetoid could be a sort of refuge for them; Each side would be its own world, and each world would be designed for specific ways of life. It was a monumental task, and he would need help.

He set upon fashioning a helper. In an uncharacteristic moment of vanity, he fashioned this assistant in his own image. He gifted it with colorful clothing and a talent only rivaled by his own. This string-less marionette was named "The Wondersmith" and due time they were working alongside each other in near perfect harmony. Landscapes were hammered out, oceans filled, and life moved gently onto its surface. The place they had made was beautiful, and the God-King named it "Promise". The last thing created was a great, protective sphere to be placed around it - its creator knew how harmful Wyldspace could be to such a world. Satisfied, he proceeded to seal it away forever.

The Wondersmith watched passively initially, in till it realized what had occurred - neither of them would ever look again upon the thing they had made together.

"Why!?" It demanded, confused and angry. "What if it needs us? How will we know?"

The God-King smiled, and placed his treasured cap on the Wondersmith's head. "This land will be without gods, my child. We are a petty lot, and we tend to ruin what we touch."

"Our time here is over." He continued, turning away. "You may follow me, child. One day you will understand."

But the Wondersmith did not follow.

And it never understood.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Domain Turn Event Table

Like most AD&D supplements, Oriental Adventures is a big bundle of verbosity with lots of fun and useful bits hidden away in its folds. One such thing is a collection of tables for yearly and monthly events for domains; something I think was going to be figured into AD&D proper someday, but never quite was.

Anyway, the players in my home game have actually hobbled a domain together and I've put together some simple rules for them, mainly using An Echo Resounding and stuff I remember from the Romance of the Three Kingdoms video game series as guides. One thing I needed was a way to decide if anything interesting happened between "Domain turns" that was better then me going "I feel like ripping off of Attack on Titan today". So I pulled out my copy of OA and appropriated the table from it. Results below!




d20 Roll
Event
Description
1
Freak Accident
Something entirely unexpected and very terrible happens. A stable bridge collapses, a dependable wizard botches a magical ritual, or something else to that effect. The accident should be related to something already existing in the domain.
2
Asset Shortage
One of the domain’s primary sources of income or livelihood has come up short, such as a poor harvest or meager pull from a local mine. This is likely to cause financial hardship unless cleverly addressed.
3
Bad Weather
Roll a 1d6, on a 1-2 the domain suffers from torrential downpour, 3-4 its either a heat wave or blizzard (depending on the terrain and season), 5-6 its a dry spell that may cause a drought.
4
Bandit Activity
The locals are being terrorized by a gang of criminals who have been looting, pillaging and other awful things. The bandit gang has 3d12 members, and a leader who is a fighter, barbarian or anti-paladin (Roll 1d3 + 2 for level). If the domain has a coastal city, then there is a 50% chance there are issues with Pirates instead. (Same as the above, but they have a boat!)

5
Auspicious Birth
A child with great destiny or potential has been born in the domain, and pretty much everyone knows about it! How lovely! Except for the fact that an important NPC or newly discovered villain seems to want to kidnap or eliminate the newborn...
6
Tragic Death
A person of great renown has quietly perished in the domain. They have bequeathed something unique or important to the rulers of the domain. Roll a d4.
  1. Its a powerful magical item! Please use it wisely!
  2. A map to a far off treasure. Please claim what I could not!
  3. The secret to a lost technology. Please make it of use to the people!
  4. A cursed item! Please keep it away from those it could harm!

7
Natural Disaster
This is bad, a Tornado/Tsunami/Earthquake or some other terrible thing suitable to the area has hit the domain! One city or town is totally devastated.
8
Famous Persona
A rather famous individual has ventured into the domain. Something about it has struck their fancy, and they've gone to look into it. Whether they contact the players are not depends on what it is.
9
Monster Rampage
Nuts, some awful thing is scooting around, eating people and burning stuff down. Select a monster appropriate for the setting, or roll randomly. The monster has (1d8 + 4) HD.
10
Incursion
Agents from a from another country or organization have snuck into the domain for the sake of espionage, sabotage or theft. These are likely the sneaky sort, but they may have a rough and tumble type or a magic user in their midst.
11
Domestic Incident
Two local powers are going at it for whatever reason. This may be a family feud, or a spat between businesses. Its not going to solve itself either, unless the domain leaders are content watching one side destroy the other.
12
Wedding
A big, important wedding is happening in the domain. Its going to be a loud colorful affair, and will likely have as many disgruntled guests and crashers as it will happy ones.
13
Notorious Villain
An infamous ne'er-do ell is skulking around the domain, or at least their agents are. They aren't here for a vacation - its likely they are either laying low or planning something wicked.
14
Haunting
An area of the domain is being plagued by ghosts, poltergeists or other spirits. Someone must have kicked over an important tombstone or something.
15
Divine Occurrence
A great miracle has occurred or an avatar, walking god or prophet has come to the domain and made itself known. This is actually bad news; if you haven’t noticed gods are jerks, for the most part.
16
Otherworldly Visitor
A space ark full of transforming robots, spell jammer filled with odd gnomes, or spider-ship filled with slavers has landed in the domain. Tell me you don’t want to check that out.
17
Rival Adventurers
Hey! Some other adventurer types have shown up and started bad mouthing you guys. Better show them up! Or avoid them entirely, they may be dangerous.
18
Omen
Roll on this table a second time. That is what’s going to happen next turn - and the players get advanced warning of it via prophet, sign or other mystical nonsense.
19
Messenger
A cloaked rider from another land has come with a message for the domain’s leaders. Is it a request or a challenge?
20
Dimensional Rift
Oh dammit, a hole in reality has opened up in the worst spot, and things are coming out of it. Ugh, I heard the next hex over is nice...

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Calian, the Broken Land

It was not long ago that Calian was a boogeyman for the children of Akenia; a terrible place spoken about in hushed tones by the adults around them. It was home to dark knights, blasphemous wizards and the twisted beasts that served them. Even the people there were little more then cutthroat degenerates. It was believed that they hated the Shining Kingdom more then anything, and one day Akenian Magitech and Calian Bio-Sorcery would clash in a final bout of superiority.

It was not long ago that Calian was the last hope of thousands; a promise to the poor and disenfranchised of a cursed land. An oath that all their blood and tears, all their dead sons and daughters were all necessary steps in achieving what was supposed to be theirs all along. They too would live in the bright land bathed in the light of the Radian crystal, and never again depend on dark powers too eke a desperate life out of poisoned earth.

At the moment, Calian is a barely a nation - only three of its cities are not in ruin or worse. Overlord Voldane seems content with sending the remains of his armies on suicide missions against Akenia. The land to the south is blasted and ruined, leaving behind a brutal tundra and twisted scars of what were once great landmarks. The people who remain are disillusioned and broken; many more are dead. A select few of them have decided against rotting along with their homeland, seeking fame and fortune as adventurers...

Cities

Gelna, the dark capital is a lasting symbol of its countries potential, as well as a reminder of its ultimate downfall. The city's pragmatic and brutal architecture hides a powerful criminal underground that seems to hold more sway over the place then Calian's own autarch. Voldane seems too preoccupied to care, hidden away in an iron castle that looms above the rest of the city.

In contrast, The Ocean Citadel, Cygna is more or less under strict military rule. As it stands, Cygna's port is the only way for Calian's soliders to leave (and return to) thier homeland, so they clamp down on the citizenry, hard. Darius Grimm, Ravager Triumphant of Calian's Dark Knights and prominent figure in Cygna, has made no efforts to hide his disapproval of Overlord Voldane.

Riven is a haven for many in Calian; it is perhaps the only truly prosperous place left in the kingdom. Run by merchants, the port there still engages in regular trade and has done much to distance itself from the rest of Calian. It's citizenry is also openly distrustful of the military, and is the most likely to seek out and employ sell swords. Many adventur
ers native to the Broken Land begin their careers here.

Hooks and Rumors

- There are many people who pay to know why Overlord Voldane won't leave his iron home, or what he whispers exclusively to the Dark Priests who have taken residence there.

- The Merchant's at Riven are seeking stout hearted youths to act as security on their vessels. Piracy is on the rise, and the military simply can't be trusted, especially if they insist on searching the cargo!

- The Star Oak is an ancient tree with great power - once the land's most treasured landmark, its influence has since vanished after the Mana War. It is said that it stands, even now, but its location is somewhere in the midst of the blight and no one has dared to seek it.

Character Options

Arcane Poisoning - You have lived your life in the eldritch green haze of magical pollution. Your blood is stained with the stuff; maybe your breath glows faintly, or your eyes have lost their pupils. It has made you frail, but it has also strengthened you against other magics. You have a -2 penalty on saving throws against poison and gain a permanent +2 to all saving throws against spells.

Chosen of the Dark - Your dreams are as lucid as your waking hours; in them you wander a barren nightscape where the songs of shadows echo. You know the Dark Tongue (even if you are not of that alignment) and also its lullabies; you may attempt to calm even the most bestial creatures of darkness (usually with a charisma check.) The Light knows you as well, and will show you no love; you are unable to benefit from holy magics like Bless or Protection from Evil.

Blight Nomad - You survived the blasphemous weapon that created the Mana Wastes, or perhaps you were unfortunate enough to be born in those blasted lands. You have traveled the blight and survived, carrying the scars of that place with you on your mind and body. Magical or mundane Fear effects have no power over you, but its partly because you have little to lose. You may not take on a follower of any type during your career.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

My Rpg Person Profile

This is actually a pretty useful thing, so here you go.

I'm currently running (at home): Dungeons & Dragons (Rules Cyclopedia Hack), PERSONA (BRPG Hack), Hunter: The Vigil (Surprisingly unhacked as of yet)

Tabletop RPGs I'm currently playing (at home) include: 
Legend of the 5 Rings (fourth edition), d20 Modern

I'm currently running (online): D&D (Akenia/Barovania Hack)

Tabletop RPGs I'm currently playing (online) include: D&D, Neo-Geek Classical Revival

I would especially like to play/run: BRPG Mecha (Started, but scheduling killed it), Pendragon, OVA (Only playtest version currently), Maid (Third Favorite RPG system ever), WFRPG (1e or 2e), Stab City

...but would also try: A lot of stuff, probably not something with an easily predictable outcome or something where I can't lose or die

I live in: Maryland, USA

2 or 3 well-known RPG products other people made that I like: Vornheim, Exalted; The Infernals, Arduin Trilogy

2 or 3 novels I like: The Ill Made Knight, To Kill a Mockingbird, A Wrinkle in Time

2 or 3 movies I like: The Big Lebowski, Time Bandits, Fist of Fury

Best place to find me on-line: Google+

I will read almost anything on tabletop RPGs if it's: Either heavy on extremely interesting ideas or applicable to a wide variety of things.

I really do not want to hear about: I've got no pet peeves at the moment, really. People have been really nice to me.

I think dead orc babies are ( circle one: funny / problematic / ....well, ok, it's complicated because....): Funny, probably.

Game I'm in are like (link to something) -


Free RPG Content I made for _______(name of game(s) here) is available here (link): D&D, on, this blog. Mostly with this tag

If you know anything about _____ it'd help me with a project I'm working on: Layout or making PDFs that look alright, good god help me.

I talk about RPGs on ____ (social media site and/or RPG forum name) under the name Google+, Reynaldo Madriñan

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Some recent Dungeon Crawl inspiration

I mentioned some cool dungeon-centric games coming out of Japan today on one of Scrap's G+ posts, and Cole asked for examples so I started typing this off.

This is a good reason for me to talk about why I like the Japanese aesthetic so much when it comes to gaming. On one hand, I already like the stuff - but I think the biggest reason has to do with how permissive the style tends to be. Some people will see a samurai, knight, robot and what looks like a modern school girl walking around in the same place and just go "Oh. Anime." which I'm sure is actually reductive in some people's views but one look at the other entries on this blog will tell you I think its a positive.

Anyway onto the actual meat of the post.

Demon Gaze - This game features a protagonist named Oz, who has a magical eye that can seal demons away. Beyond that, you explore a fantasy world, have a few random dating simulation style bits in an inn and get to assemble your own party Wizardry style. In fact, all the games here take a lot from Wizardry. Which is still super popular in Japan.

Anyway, the setup is good fun but really the thing here I like is the designs.

The world map is pretty much perfect; its simple but you know what your going into with each one of the locations. Its actually pretty close to what I attempt to do a lot of the time.



To the right we have one of the character portraits for the Paladin class. I like how the armor is fancy/cute and that she has a clear, riot squad style shield.



Here is a wizard - I really dig the stylish outfit and opera cape. I could do without the silly hat but I suppose that that's required wizard attire.



To the right is a boss fight and an interaction with an NPC (Which is likely to lead into another iteration of the former). There is that odd contrast in aesthetics I mentioned way up in the beginning there - you have cute little characters, horrifying teeth monsters and death pinups with chain guns all in an otherwise typical fantasy game.

(I should note there are lots of pretty boys without their shirts on in the character art as well, which is a nice bit of equality you don't see often enough. I just don't happen to have as many of those pictures on my hard drive...)





MIND≒0 - In contrast with Demon Gaze's vibrant, colorful art, we have Mind=0, which is slick and uber-stylish. Also unlike the previous game MIND takes place in the near future, rather then a fantasy world.

The game gets around the contemporary world's lack of D&D style dungeons by having the characters enter a parallel spirit world when adventuring. They are accompanied there by strange spirit avatars that provide them with spells and the like. The two above things and a cast of predominantly high school students has gotten MIND a lot of comparisons to the Persona games, but this is hardly a negative things.


Some more art of some characters and their avatars. The girl on the right is Katone, who has my favorite Avatar. She's also the quiet bespectacled girl of the game, which tend to be my favorites anyway.

To the left is Yoichi and his avatar. He strikes me as the older, practical type. Besides being, well, older then the other characters, he is armed assault rifle as opposed to a scythe or katana or whatever. His avatar seems a bit incongruous, but hey, its got a machine gun and a sniper rifle for arms, so it still works in his favor.










The dungeon-scapes are cool, but mostly functional off color/ruined city stuff. Some are really neat, like the one to the right that looks like it was drawn by a little kid with crayons and construction paper.




 I've saved the game with the most absurd name for the last! Tokyo New World Record: Operation Abyss is a sequel to another game I don't know anything about. It takes place in a post apocalyptic world where things have turned into mutants and all the people have allied to explore ruins and fight them. Also high school students do a lot of the dungeon crawling for...well, reasons. You play a group that have graduated from some dungeon crawling academy.

I obviously had the wrong major back in the day.

Anyway, this has the same sort of Wizardry set up as Dungeon Gaze. You create your own party and maneuver about dungeons. It has the least creative setup of the games mentioned here, but I actually like the art a lot.


 Here are some of the protagonist portraits you can choose from.

To the left one of the game's caster type characters. I really like the little mechanical helpers she has; I think there is room for mecha-familiars in D&D.
This dapper fellow is a member of the game's tanking class. At least his enormous shield and pauldrens.

Also? I really dig the cape. I'll admit I'm sad they aren't really an acceptable contemporary fashion accessory.
Oh yeah, token Samurai character. I think this class does a lot of damage or attacks really quickly or something. The electro-cherry blossoms are neat.














 We've seen plenty of character stuff, so here are some monsters.

I love lady monsters. I love the conflicting feelings you get from this one's "Come hither" look versus the fact that she is otherwise made up of sharp implements.

This is the best picture in the whole post.
I mean, do I even need to explain?

Oh, it seems like the "Goblins" of the game are these mutated businessmen. I don't even know whats going on with this guy - I don't think he does either, which might be why he's so irate.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Six Swords of Akenia

Here are examples of what some powerful magic weapons may look like in Akenia. All these weapons are in set places on the map and won't appear randomly - though characters may attempt to find them through research and questing.

The weapons below all strike as magical weapons and unless noted otherwise are considered Martial weapons per Akenia's house rules. They are Bastard or Long Swords in other games, depending on how generous you're feeling.

Mockery of Honor - Stained with the betrayal of a once great knight, this weapon affords its master a +2 bonus to all saving throws and immunity to all forms of fear and disease. It glimmers softly in the presence of evil and drips fresh gore when near someone truly good.


Glorious Edge - This sword's pearlescent blade cannot be marred by rust, blood or grime. Anyone holding the blade benefits from a Protection from Evil spell that it constantly radiates. Additionally, if a creature of dark alignment is struck by this sword they suffer an effect identical to a Cause Fear spell as if cast by a cleric of the same level as the wielder unless a save versus spell is made.

Bloom - Made of moonsilver and magically sustained flowers, this weapon sows the seeds of its blossoms in those struck by it. Every time more then one point of damage is done by this sword, the target must make a saving throw versus poison or take 1d3 points of dexterity damage as said flowers begin to grow in their body and burst through their skin. This is cumulative, and if one's dexterity is reduced to zero or less this way, they are lost forever as they become a living colony for the bloom.

Discordant Razor - This weapon's movements seem wild and erratic, no matter how skilled the wielder happens to be. Being struck by the sword further confuses the target, who must succeed a saving throw versus spell or have their next action altered negatively by the Razor's power. Victims of this ability will preform in the exact opposite manner of their intent.


Grandesh - Widely considered to be the finest sword in all of the world, the Grandesh always strikes as if a target's AC was 10 (or whatever the base, unarmored Armor Class is in your rule-set of choice) and does 1d4 + 4 points of damage on a successful attack. This weapon is capable of slaying gods, and is rumored to be the reason they have all fled Akenia.


Fen's Equalizer - Once a month, when this sword's owner is faced with a foe whose Hit Die is double their own, it creates an exact copy of its wielder (all non-magical equipment is also replicated, as is the Equalizer) to assist the original in battle. Clones are created in till the accumulated level of the wielder and his copies would exceed their enemy's hit die. (therefore, a 2nd level fighter would end up with 1 clone when facing a 4 HD lion, or 2 clones when facing a 6 HD bear and so on.)

Said clones vanish after battle. If any of them perish during the fight, then the wielder dies when the other dissipate, leaving the Equalizer without a master.


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

An good map for once.

Like Barovania before it, Kiel Chenier has provided me with an extremely kick ass version of Akenia's map, as seen below. He's also accepting commissions for other maps, and I can't recommend him enough.

Wonderful things like this help make me excited about my own setting. Please, feel free to ask questions now that the map actually looks like something!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

My character's name is Barovania and its a Level 2, Chaotic Nintendo Setting

One thing I've noted before is that I like random tables a lot, especially in the middle of play. They add a bit of unexpectedness to one's experience as a GM, which is really nice because its probably my favorite part of being a player. It's one reason I don't like totally communal setting building in spite of what my laissez-faire attitude would suggest; it removes the sense of wonder and exploration that I love most about RPGs, D&D in particular. It particularly works against my favorite part of being a GM, which is world making.

As a result, I tend to keep a lot of setting stuff close to my chest so it can be revealed in game. My compensation has always been to be accommodating when it came to the player's decisions on what to play - even the oddest or seemingly off kilter sort of PC could be from another time or dimension or something. I realize that this is because I'm trying to show them the same courtesy I'm requesting of them. They are agreeing to let me run the setting I want (within reason), so it seems only fair they get to play what they want (also within reason).

In this sense, I've always thought of the setting as my PC when I'm GM-ing, being that its my way of interacting with the game itself. Obviously it doesn't line up exactly, but there are a great deal of parallels - The player's character can die, the GM's setting can be irrevocably changed by PC's actions. Random tables can be spells, attack rolls, or a background generator. Showing off the stuff marked on your map is not to far off from talking about a particular PC's back story or foibles. There are different styles that match up too - a player may be using a PC who can't die unless they say its kosher, or someone may run something where no one can beat Caine.

This seems even more obvious to me since I started playing in and running FLAILSNAILS games. My paladin can have his sunsword magically snatched away from him by a Jackal-Man of Cobalt reach, or Akenia's Flame Gigas can be totally blindsided by someone's Dungeon Crawl Classic spells. We are all playing the same game.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Yeso; the blighted vale

Isle Boshin as originally noted on the map of Akenia, (Better map forthcoming)
Generations ago, the valley of Yeso was a region of peace and tranquility. Located on Isle Boshin, a small island in between Akenia and Calian, it enjoyed a sort of prosperity that was unknown even in the shining kingdom. Fertile land and a rich harvest guaranteed that its people would have plenty to eat and trade; the Yeso River (for which the valley is named) served as transportation and a source of nourishment and protection. And while the vale is also populated by fierce predators, its humanoid inhabitants are a fierce and hardy people known as the Sian-Ja.
Sian-Ja Warrior and Child

The Isle's well known status as a holy place also afforded it a bit of security from its larger neighbors. While the Sian-Ja where slain, routed or chased from both the Akenian and Calian mainland by their current inhabitants, Boshin was left alone due to the fear of unleashing a terrible force that was sealed their by some magic of the Isle and the people there.

While understandably bitter from the ordeal, the Sian-Ja decided that surviving at all was most important and kept reasonably amiable relations with both empires.
Sian-Ja Entertainer


This was all in till the Mana War, which ended less then a generation ago. While officially neutral in the conflict, Boshin was often used as a secret battlefield by unscrupulous commanders on both sides, and the land became especially ravaged during a battle between the Gear-Mage Dizer Gren and the colossal bio-titan now known as the Still Behemoth. Something particularly bad happened during that conflict, and has left the Isle in a rapidly declining state from which it has yet to recover. Some say the very land has become poisoned in spite of what wonders may still lay there. Perhaps the greatest tragedy is that the once proud Sian-Ja have been reduced to desperate refugees in their own land. Some theorize they will not survive the next decade.

Recent events have attracted adventurers from Akenia, Barovania, Calian and from lands afar. Some wish to help the inhabitants of the Isle, others wish to plunder what still remains. Some have heard terrible whispers of the terrible evil beneath Boshin awakening, and others still claim some lost weapons from the Mana War may be there.

Will they find glory or death in Yeso? It matters not; the forsaken land doesn't care.


Yeso Campaign Rules

- FLAILSNAILS Characters are welcome, as long as they are not over Level 8. They may be as low as you like, but you may want to be at least Level 2.
- Characters native to either Akenia, Calian or Barovania will gain a bonus roll on the rumor table at the beginning of play.
- Please Note that items, even ones from Barovania or Akenia, may not function quite right in Yeso Valley. The reason for this is not quite known, but it seems connected to the other disturbances in the valley.
- We are currently full up on players, but this post will remain up for future reference and if anyone new joins. Please feel free to post questions in the comments below.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Stab City!

One of my favorite bloggers and good pal Ian has put together for this Kickstarter for his pride and joy, a zany little game about assassins, the people they kill and the crazy stuff that results from it. You really ought to go check it out! Go on, click the link!

Its really something special, ain't it? You may wonder why I'm talking about it here though, as opposed to simply re-sharing it on various social networks. Well go check the stretch goals. Specifically, check between the spots they talk about the world's nicest gamer and that one goth guy. Oh wow, would you look at that? Its a mention of me!

What does this mean? (Beyond Ian's slightly dubious taste in business partners, obviously) Well, it means I'll be pouring my heart and soul into a little portion of this game if it gets enough backing. I don't want to talk about it too much - but if you ever wanted to join in the rubber suited fun of Japanese Super Hero TV, hijack a giant robot, or just put a bullet through the eyes of that asshole whose taking an inordinately long time to transform, I may be able to deliver.

More as things develop, folks!


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Unfinished Business and Events of import in the Digital Demi-Plane

A year of gaming time has gone by in that strange and pixelated land, and there continues to be plenty of adventuring opportunities for the valiant, curious and avaricious. Below are a few of the long-running hooks that players could (probably should) look into.

Barovania

Sasha's Ambition - With most of the other, more active dark lords gone or out of commission, The Mistress of the tower has become bolder and bolder in her action. While Azalin's strange apparatus was destroyed by the (in)famous Jane Murders, Sasha is still attempting what seems like a total take over of Barovania. At the moment, her armies seem to have halted a good distance from Jova City's border. What she plans now is any one's guess, but its become obvious that her doll armies will act without hesitation.

Silent (Gryphon) Hill - While the Heather house is currently occupied by Sasha's maids, the area surrounding it has been abandoned almost entirely. In fact, it seems that the citizens of Mordent have vanished without a trace. Several people are strongly suggesting someone look into it, without actually doing so themselves.

Crisis on an intermediate amount of Planes - There is the little issue of the rift in reality that opened up in Eyvalis swamp. It seems like it leads to somewhere, but the only being to cross through is the famed elven assassin Malice - and he's not returned to Barovania since then. Of course, he's been rumored to have appeared elsewhere, so maybe its safe?  


Akenia

The Melancholy of Queen Regelia - The war with Calian is over, leaving Akenia's hero to deal with matters of state along with her fellow council members. Unfortunately for them, she has made it very clear that she is not particularly fond of their methodology. That, and her history of regicide have gotten several of the regents rather anxious. At this point, both sides may be looking for outside assistance for these matters which may be just the ticket for opportunistic adventurers and would be politicos.

Dragon's Ground - On the eastern border of Akenia there is a plot of land covered in the bones of wyrms - the remains of a literal army slain by the amassed Magitek arsenal of the Shining Land. Their matriarch was the last to fall, cursing her slayers as cowards and murderers. The area surrounding her fallen body became the Dragon Graveyard and even though scales have rotted off and her bones are bleached white, that place bears her power.

Fallen scales, dragon teeth and claws and other parts remain ripe for picking. It really just depends on if one is brave enough to risk the wrath of the Queen of Wyrms.

Secret of the Mana Wastes - South of modern Calian is what used to be much of Calian, a tundra blighted by an blasphemous weapon that has been lost to history. While it has been forgotten by the current Overlord, the land is still crawling with forgotten treasures and forsaken lives. While exploring it is very dangerous, the rewards are quite literally untold.

Beyond that, there is an even greater treasure spoken of; the mighty Star Oak. A great source of magic and healing that was once said to rival Akenia's own Radia Crystal, it is now lost to the people of Calian. None know current fate of the tree, and there are many who would pay handsomely to find out. That is of course, if its discoverers don't decide to utilize what they find for themselves, first...

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Three Dungeons of Interest

An Open Letter from Nyako Corporation's Digital-Demiplane Tourism Branch;

Ah, the trials of the adventurer are many!


Even if the conventional dangers of traps and monsters are not enough to dissuade you, one often finds themselves paralyzed by what should be the most liberating factor of them all - a glut of choices. Both Barovania and Akenia have a daunting amount of locations marked on their amateurish maps (That is, more then one!) which is potentially paralyzing for a vagrant who prefers brevity.

This article has been written with that sort of dungeon crawler in mind. Below are a trio of labyrinths selected with accessibility, monster/treasure ratio and level of challenge in mind. It is our hope that once you've sampled these places, you may move on to further explore the realms that house them.

If you instead die while exploring however, please try and do so in the open so that other adventurers may utilize your things. No use having them go to waste!

THE SPIRE OF ASMODAL
Location - Mainland Akenia
Suggested Levels - 1st through 3rd (At least for the first block)

In eras past, there was a demon king named Asmodal. With a legion of monstrous humanoids at his disposal and his own considerable power, this terrible warlord was a threat to the hard fought law and order of Akenia. The greatest heroes of that era wasted no time in turning their might against such a dangerous enemy and quickly cornered the fiend in his colossal tower. Asmodal proved difficult to kill - so instead they sealed him in that infernal place forever, along with his entire brutal army.

This was far from a perfect solution. Even now, Asmodal and his retainers scheme to break the seal and wreck havoc on Akenia once more. Its impractical (not to mention unprofitable) for the Council to mobilize the army to deal with this threat, so a different solution was devised. The area surrounding the structure has become a small settlement called "Tower Town" equipped with small shops, taverns and inns in the hopes of attracting adventurers who may conquer the Spire. Thus far, it has been successful in pulling in adventurers, though they have not made any notable progress as far as tower climbing goes.

Asmodal's Spire is an impressive structure, whose peak is actually high enough to be not quite visible from ground level. (Legends state that it reaches beyond the sky and into heaven, but such rumors are dubious at best.) It is starkly segmented; each of Asmodal's loyal generals have claimed 3 or 4 levels as their own. These areas have been labeled "Dungeon Blocks" or just "blocks". The general's loyalty to one another have frayed a bit, resulting in occasional skirmishes between various forces within the tower. Their dedication to Asmodal has remained steadfast in spite of this.

Most of our information on the tower has been lost, but this much is known.

  • Each general has control over a certain type of monster and a powerful relic in their possession.
  • It is assumed that monsters inside the tower are not effected by time, as they do not starve or grow old.
  • Intelligent creatures inside the spire often take prisoners, but none of them have ever been rescued or discovered. It is assumed their fate is grisly indeed.
  • There are significant amounts of treasure on each level, which includes Asmodal's already substantial wealth and bolstered by the loot from slain adventurers. These are protected by various traps and tricks on top of more conventional guards.

Finally, the first dungeon block is held by Oliphantos, leader of the Beastmen. While considered the weakest of Asmodal's upper echelon, he is still a formidable enemy. Of course, there is no doubt that a talented group of adventurers might be able to slay him if they were clever enough.


CASTLE RAVENLOFT
Location - In the heart of Barovania
Suggested Levels - Varies, but the outer sections range from 4-6

With Lord Strahd slain, most felt that his famed castle would fall quickly to an onslaught of greedy opportunists. While one such expedition was attempted (led by the infamous Baron Blixa) it was quickly forgotten in the onset a pitched war between the forces of Mistress Sasha and Azalin Rex. While other powers clashed, the throne of that fearsome place was claimed by none other then the mighty Octolich!

...Its alright, we hadn't heard of him either. Anyway, the important thing is that the place is now bustling with activity and that simply can't be a good thing. As such, the citizens of Barovania have made a impassioned plea to experienced adventurers who aren't busy at the moment - break into Ravenloft, kill its monsters and take their things!

Sound a bit too good to be true? Its not all loot and plunder. Ravenloft still has several of Strahd's most powerful retainers guarding each section and the place is covered with dark curses and traps. Its to be expected of course, and the potential payout is massive. A few important facts;

  • There are many areas of the Castle, but only two (conventional) entrances; one at the northern gate, and the other at the Ivy Covered Tower to the south, though the later would require a dangerous trek through the mountains near the castle.
  • While the Octolich reigns semi-supreme at the moment, he is certainly not the only powerful monstrous demagogue left in the Castle, and far from popular - others may be vying for the position.
  • While nearly all the magical items in Ravenloft are cursed, their hexes can be circumvented or even removed by the clever or dedicated.
Of course, its to be noted that the famed Baron Blixa is offering quite a bit of reward for any land cleared in Barovania as is. We are certain that he'd very much like an actual castle freed of dark denizens.
The Still Behemoth
Location: In the Sea bordering Akenia and Calian
Suggested Levels: 7th - 12th

When the war between the two great empires was still in full swing, Calian employed many great bio-titans to counteract the magitek armor of Akenia. While many of these were twice or even three times as tall as a man, there was one ambitious creation that towered over cities. Its name was Vavel, and it was created as Calian's final solution.

Intended to be the weapon that would storm Akenia's capital and crush it utterly, Vavel was instead waylaid in the ocean by the "Gear-Mage" Dizer Gren. He discovered its awful secret, disabled it and was forever changed by the experience. Every attempt Calian made to start the titan back up failed and it still stands in a shallow part of the sea like a grotesque statue. Even frozen in place, the awful thing pulsates with life occasionally letting out a guttural moan or suppressed roar. Its automated defenses and twisted bio-mechanical constructs crawl along its surface, following their final orders without fail.

The innards of the behemoth are rumored to be like a strange vertical fortress, and house many strange and magical things. It is also known that it acted as a troop transport - so the weapons and other equipment of the soldiers unintentionally entombed there are also there for potential looting. Finally, its said that whoever can unearth the mystery behind Vavel's operation could actually take control of the titan.


  • Unfortunately, we don't have any other information on this one, except for the fact that all our specialists sent in to scout the place died horribly. So head there at your own risk.
So that's it! Three dungeons of interest for your adventuring needs. Please direct any questions you may have to Nyako Corporation's public relations department, which can be contacted via phone, internet, message spells or standard mail services.

From your friends at Nyako Corporation; Your guides to a world of adventure!