Monday, August 31, 2015

Two sessions done!

This Saturday evening the fella's came over for our second C&C in middle earth game. No one died, we role played for more than half the evening, fun was had. I could say more but that might bore me, and I should have taken pictures. Oh well.

We started off in the southern Gondor city of Dol Amroth.

And I wove the first adventure from this book in to a tale of personal redemption and political intrigue.

It was fun.

Monday, August 24, 2015

All 31 RPG a Day questions rapid fire style.

I'm back to running a game and the kids are taking long enough naps for me to carve out extra time to write in this neglected trash heap.  hopefully more to come.

RPG-a-day thing. 

1. Forthcoming game you're most looking forward to:

the Dracula Dossier, because almost everything I have from Ken Hite has been awesome.

2. Kickstarter game you're most pleased you backed:

I've stopped backing Kickstarting games, okay I did back the Aihrde setting from the Trolls, but no games.

 3. Favorite new game of the last 12 months:

I'd like to say D&D 5 but I'm not digging it.  I did buy Fantastic Heroes & Witchery recently which I'm digging!

4. Most surprising game:

Ever, I think The Dresden Files, fate blew me away, I love it.

5. Most recent RPG purchase:

Pathfinder Face cards, I love showing players what GMC's look like, and I was tired of printing photo's ripped of the net.

6. Most recent RPG played:

Castles and Crusades, I still love that game but I'm looking at Fantastic Heroes & Witchery.

7.  Favorite free RPG:

CJ Carella's Witchcraft, what an evocative setting, it's just great.

8. Favorite appearance of RPGs in the media:

Chevy Chase winning Dungeons & Dragons.

9. Favorite media you wish was an RPG:

The Expanse  by James S.A. Corey, I love me some semi-hard syfy.

10. Favorite RPG publisher:

I'm sticking with the trolls for now.

11. Favorite RPG writer:

See number one above.

12. Favorite RPG illustration:

I love the illustrations Angus McBride did for MERP.

13. Favorite RPG Podcast:

I've been a big Ken and robin talk about stuff fan, but have been in such of a few more good ones.

14. Favorite RPG accessory:


15. Longest campaign played:

I've played in a AD&D2e game for the last five years.  It started out twice a month for two plus years, but it's now an annual drunken pilgrimage since the DM moved.

16. Longest game session played:

I can't remember, we did weekend long games in high school.

17. Favorite fantasy RPG:

Castles and Crusades.

18. Favorite SF RPG:

Cyberpunk, specifically the death valley free prison campaign.

19. Favorite supers RPG:

Heroes Unlimited, or if you count Palladium's TMNT than defiantly TMNT after the bomb.

20. Favorite horror RPG:

CJ Carella's Witchcraft.

21. Favorite RPG setting:

It has to be that first grey Forgotten Realms box, if only because of it's impact on my gaming.

22. Perfect gaming environment:

A home, no game stores please I play enough 40k in those stinky places.

23. Perfect game for me:

A fast paced evocative game with good friends and good beer.

24. Favorite house rule:

Shields may be splintered.

25. Favorite revolutionary game mechanic:

Dying during character creation ... no really that's awesome.

26. Favorite inspiration for your game:

everything's free game.

27. Favorite idea for merging two games into one:

I want some ninja turtles in my fantasy RPG's.

28. Favorite game you no longer play:

Twilight 2000

29. Favorite RPG website/blog:

There are to many good ones to pick one, and so many bad ones sometimes it's hard to find the good ones.

30. Favorite RPG playing celebrity:

I don't care enough about celebrities to even notice who might be pimping their geek red this week.

31. Favorite non-RPG thing to come out of RPGing:

If I hadn't found D&D way back when I don't know if I would have actually ever read anything, so my love of books and their ability to transfer me to the authors world.

Monday, December 12, 2011

H:tV Bowen's Journal Thursday, September 13, 1956

Morning has broken on another useless day. It’s cold and it’s only going to get colder. Doc got me a roof over my head, a couple of walls, and a place to lay down, but that was all he could manage, and really more than I deserve. But it doesn’t stop me from shivering in the morning, and wishing I had better heating, or less “unintended” ventilation.

But that’s this morning. This morning, I’m a poor, graduate student.

Last night, I was a hero, if only for five minutes.

I spent the morning in the stacks at the University Library (boring name for an impressive place). I still couldn’t find any of the resources that the catalog said should be there, but aren’t. I asked a resource clerk, who said everything had been removed and the catalog hadn’t been updated. That’s simple insanity! The history of those books alone makes them priceless. I immediately headed over to the special collections to talk with the librarian there, but was halted by a cute little German grad-student named Heidi, who thought I could get an appointment sometime next month.

I booked the appointment, and made another with Heidi for tomorrow night.

After those three frustrating and wasted hours, I headed over to Doc’s apartment in the English quarter. It feels like we haven’t been at Doc’s place in . . . well, forever. I ran into Doc on the way in, and then we immediately ran into Ragman. You’d think we’d be able to smell him long before we ever saw him, but maybe it’s better we didn’t.

Ragman said Heinrich, the well-dressed-man we’ve been hunting down, was trying to kill him, and he wanted out protection to get to the local police station. No problem! I was running short on cash anyhow, and Ragman had plenty of the Doc’s.

I have to admit, in my many years of cavorting and living the jet-set lifestyle on my father’s dime, even I have never been able to burn through such a relevant abundance of cash as the Ragman claims he did in less than six hours. Certainly not without easy access to Dom Perignon and some Cuban cigars. Ragman was hesitant to part with what little money he had left, but a quick raid of the Doc’s liquor cabinet convinced him to give me a fistful of dollars. I won’t see much in the way of revenue from my new “transportation” job, so I’ll have to scrape every barrel in the meantime.

We walked the Ragman over to the police station and there met Officer Rutger. Rutger immediately put me on edge. He seems like the kind of guy who, given the opportunity would shoot his best friend in the back if it was the “right thing” to do. Still, for some reason, I have a high degree of faith and trust in Rutger. Either he’s an excellent cop, or I’m a push-over for his do-the-right-thing attitude. I ended up telling him just about everything I’ve written in this journal. Not much about myself, but our on-going investigation into the murders and so forth.

Rutger immediately decided we needed to confront Heinrich, even though the evidence was flimsy and based mostly on the information we’d provided him. To his credit, he asked Doc and I to go along, Doc being the police consultant and all, and I being the only thing that keeps Doc alive in these situations.

As soon as we entered the grounds of Heinrich’s place, I knew we were on the right track. I can’t say how, but this seemed to be the culmination of days of effort and tracking through Berlin’s rainy, cold streets. I checked my weapons, made certain my spare clips were in place, and Rutger gave me a cop-look of disapproval but didn’t comment. Lucky for him.

No one was answering at Heinrich’s but we could hear something that sounded like rushing water. Not like someone was taking a shower, but more like we were up the hill from a river. It was a creepy sound, but not especially suspicious. It wasn’t a scream or a cry for help, or the sounds of gunfire, so Rutger was pretty much helpless.

Fortunately, when Rutger wasn’t looking (and after I turned the knob) the door opened all on its own (after I shoved it with my foot). The sound of rushing water was louder, but water isn’t illegal, even if you have a river running through your house. But we knew someone was in the house (my future silver Porsche was parked outside). Rutger told us that he was here to get answers, that Heinrich was suspicious enough all on his own, and, in what I took to be a slight bend to his otherwise rigid world-view, he was going into the house.

Gotta say, it was a nice place. A bit on the German gothic for my tastes, but I’m an American and (past tense) “nouveau riche” so what do I know? Still, dollar signs filled my eyes. I quickly made an inventory of Heinrich’s wealth, and hoped things were about to go down the way I thought they would.

They did.

We made our way up to the second floor, with the sound of water rushing louder than ever, and at the far end of the hall we saw the man himself: Heinrich. He was dressed in crazy, scary robes, and there was some kind of swirling vortex before him. Power radiated from the man, and not the kind of power you feel when you meet a president or a general or someone like that. This was the kind of power you’d think Merlin could use to throw thunderbolts from Olympus. I don’t mind telling you that my mouth was dry, my bladder was full, and my palms were as sweaty as a virgin groom’s on his wedding night.

The confrontation was fast, and deadly.

Heinrich made some motions, and ghosts, I swear to Almighty God or whatever Powers That Be, actual ghosts came at us. Rutger fired first, and I watched in horror and dismay as exactly what you think would happen, happened. The bullet went right through the apparition.

Well, if we couldn’t shoot the ghosts, then we should shoot the guy who made them appear. My two guns came into my fists, and for the first time in days, I knew exactly what I was doing and why. Once my weapons were in my hands, I didn’t hesitate. I pulled both triggers, once.

Once was enough.

Two slugs hit Heinrich and he went down, dead before he hit the floor.

There’s not much I can brag about in this world, but you put a pair of pistols in my hands, and I guarantee I’ll hit more than the broadside of a barn.

Immediately, the rushing water sound was gone. The ghosts, gone. The swirling vortex of fear, gone.

Rutger was in shock, but I wasn’t. I sent the poor man downstairs to call in the event. What followed next was a mad rush of events that culminated in my “liberation” of several highly portable items of decent worth, and, I’m proud to report, the aforementioned silver Porsche.

Unfortunately, when the police arrived and took my statement, they also insisted on taking my guns. The beast within me, that darkness and anger immediately welled up. I actually calculated my odds on shooting four armed officers of the law. The odds were in my favor, but escape would not have been. Berlin is a city on the brink, and locked down tightly by not just one government, but four. And not just four governments keeping the peace, but four armed camps ready to spring into full killing action should the order be given. I might have been able to keep from killing all the German police at the scene, and I might have been able to get away temporarily. But I’ve seen enough movies to know that you shoot a cop, and the world will fall down around you like a ton of bricks.

What additionally swayed me was the officers promise that I would get back the weapons, and the fact that I had “liberated” a Luger from Heinrich. I was not weaponless, and my weapons were safe. With some help from Rutger, and a little Jean Valjean, I might be able to get them back without the police being the wiser. I’ve made some inquiries, and a plan is forming.

Now, I gotta give the Doc credit for some quick thinking here. He managed to take off the license plate of a police car, and exchange it for the one on the Porsche. Granted, we’ll have to ditch the police plate as soon as possible, but it did give us immediate safety for the transport of the Porsche into Doc’s garage.

It is such a smooth, beautiful, lovely machine. I drove it with the same kind of relish that a man, forced to eat nothing but processed luncheon meat for months, would find for an excellent, medium-rare, porterhouse steak. It was a pure treat to not be bounced around by poor shocks or truck-tires.

I’d love to keep it.

I don’t think I can.

The funding it would bring far outweighs the perilous nature of keeping the machine. I would be better off selling it, and purchasing something more practical . . . by which I mean legal. Something far lower profile that would allow my commerce to flow more easily between checkpoints.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Giuseppe Pre Prelude background story. Vampire: Dark Ages.

Yesterday I posted a story for The Vampire: Dark Ages chronicle, I bowed out of last year.  A few weeks ago I reached out to the storyteller to feel out if he was still running the chronicle, and if I could jump back in.  He asked what Giuseppe had been up to since he left the coterie, but I figure someone might be interested where it all started. 

Dearest Sister:

I was elated to hear of your election as Prioress after all your devotion to the people of Fossacesia, and the Abby of San Giovanni.  This is such wonderful news.  Who would have thought the bastard twins of a wool merchant would rise to such great heights.  My work with the Bishop in the Diocese of Osimo continues. I had no idea five years ago when I was elected Archdeacon all the responsibility that would befall me.  But it is the work of the church and I try to work for the greater glory of God. 

I have received an invitation from a Lord Giovanni to a dinner party at the Giovanni Manse. I have no idea who this mysterious man is, but my Bishop has granted me leave to attend.  The journey will be long so indulge me as I write to you to escape the doldrums of the road.  Since we have not spoken since I left to continue my theology studies at The University of Bologna I will up date my history as briefly as I can.

When I arrived in Bologna from Fossacesia I was immediately assaulted by what I thought were thugs.  I was struck with a club and abducted.  They bound my eyes and took me to an underground meeting hall.  I learned that these were no thugs but an order of young men calling themselves The Order.  Like myself all were young men at university on scholarship, the order had been formed a decade after the university itself.  The poor students bound themselves together for support against the rich or noble born bastards.  Most like me were also there so study theology or medicine having been sent by their abbots and priests.  Other than God I have no greater allies then members of The Order.  For seven years we lived, prayed and studies together.  As young men do we found ourselves in a bit of mischief, and these times are where our bonds grew tighter.  Our members are everywhere throughout the Papal States and the holy Empire.

On my graduation I returned to Osimo to work in the Abby, by the grace of God I was blessed with good fortune and was able to do the lords work with Abbot Osmond who had sponsored me to university.  For three years I worked with Osmond, but he was killed when a wall in the hospital collapsed after a heavy snow.  I was elected Abbot in his place.  I worked tirelessly and was soon recognized by the Bishop.  I my self had no ambition for further advancement in the church, I had more responsibility than I thought I could handle.  The Bishop Bernardo, however, took note of the reforms I was making around the Prior and asked me to be his Archdeacon.  He said he could not stand that his previous aid had coveted the Bishops robes for himself; Bernardo had him appointed to Rome to get rid of him.  I was honored to serve as an arm of God for the good of the holy church.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Dark Ages: Vampire Character backstory

Caine Murdering Able


I am a sinner, I have always been a sinner, but since that terrifying night at Lord Giovanni’s dinner party I have broken God’s most sacred commandment.   My embrace in to this dark covenant with Caine has renewed my faith, no not renewed, but proven without a doubt God’s existence.  Now with this proof I must sin daily to exist. 

I left the coterie of my fellow newly dammed to search out the meaning of this brutally evil existence after twice witnessing the cannibalism of diablerie.  First I travelled back to my residence in Osimo to resign my post as archdeacon, and collect my possessions. The journey was long and harrowing for a lone dammed to undertake.  As a mortal when I rested at night, the protection my body needed was trivial.  One can sleep under the stars.  The dammed, however are not so lucky with God’s light.  It was on the journey I wrote a beautiful hymn I planned to present to my beloved sister.  I wrote whenever I could and pored myself in to the song, but in the rejected verses I found another tune.  Not written for the glory of God, but a dark song for Caine.  

It broke my heart to leave my beloved Bishop, who would have me staked to a pole in the central plaza if he knew what I was.   Before I traveled to my sisters Abby, I fed my blood to both my lover and my assistant to aid me in my long journey.  The light should not be so frightening.  I began to snatch a glimpse of the morning sky.  The first attempt I hid deep under a balcony on the west side of my apartment.  Even as I began to smoke I willed my self to stay to see a hint of blue in the sky.  I thought I would be blind, but my sight did return, and with it the need for more blood.  We fled the next night. 

I continue to sin, and have punished myself, whipping my flesh, but this increased my need for the blood of innocence’s.   So I attempted to fast, an utter failure.  I resisted for days but the hunger grew so strong I could not contain the devil in me.  I do not remember the murder, or murders I committed when I was overcome.  I regained my mind covered in their blood.  I punished myself brutally that sad night.   Begging the father for forgiveness I knew would never come, and again I went out a dawn to be consumed by the father’s wrath.  The fear that overcame me was too intense to resist.  I ran from the sun again a coward.

In Fossacesia I planned to present myself to my sister as proof of God’s existence.  She promptly rejected, and cursed me.  Again we fled, this time with a mob set on us.   Elia, my assistant was gravely wounded in the violence.  I knew the power in my blood so I attempted to save him with Caine’s curse as my sire had embraced me.  I failed and Elia died, my blood on his lips.  It was then I decided since I had been unable to burn myself in Gods light I would have to find a mentor to replace my sire.

My lover Assunta and I traveled to Bologna where with the help of my school day allies, The Order, I had a strong coach built so we could travel during the day.  I also hired a young man, Orfeo, as a pilot.  I fed him my blood on our way to Venice.  I sought the Cainite prince there, Guilelmo Aliprando, to present myself and to plead for a tutor.   It was in Venice Lord Giovanni’s Ghoul, Lothar, first struck.  I did not know what a powerful enemy I had made, for Lothar and his mercenaries have been ruthless.  I also didn’t realize that Augustus Giovanni had made his home in Venice.  It was entirely the wrong place to go and the Prince expelled us from Venice in any case.  Next we went to Milan to speak with Prince  After I introduced myself and pleaded my case, the Prince told me he could not help as emissaries had approached him from Augustus Giovanni recently.  We left court heart broken and afraid.  We were sent into the wild again with no aid or benefactor.  That evening however I was approached by a graduate of my alma mater and a member of the order.  Eliodoro, an ironic name for one of the dammed, a Lasombra, spent the night with me explaining a great many things and pointed me to France where a Toreador Salianna, Matriarch of the Courts of Love, resides.  Eliodoro would send introductions to France ahead, and accompany us short while as he was headed to Turin.  While on this short journey I learned as much as possible from Eliodoro.

In Turin we found refuge for a few days but were attacked again by the Ghoul, Lothar.  Lothar died in the assault, or so I thought.  At the Prince’s court, Eliodoro found a Cappadocian Rosalva, another ironic name, who was on route to France.  After introductions we agreed to travel together in my coach.  In exchange Rosalva would tutor me on the journey.  I felt a need to better understand the enemy I had in Giovanni and this was the closest I could come to them.  She witnessed my self-flagellation, attempts at stealing a glimpse of early blue sky on several occasions, drank from my Assunta repeatedly, and taught me how to strengthen myself against harm.  At one point, Assunta accidentally drank Assunta dry.  I tried to mourn her, but was unable.  Perhaps this curse of Caine was stealing my humanity as it had my soul.  Rosalva was on her way to Perpignan to study at an abbey.  Days turned into a month and soon I was as engrossed in research as Rosalva, and we found ourselves on the way to Anatolia in search of information on Golconda.  While my faith is even greater because of this curse, I still see it as a curse and something I must atone for or overcome in some way.  Rumors of Golconda may be that way.  I also have found myself even more interested in the remaining fragments of Caine’s Book of Nod and sought additional pieces of that ancient text.

We spent months on the journey arguing, debating, fighting and learning from each other.  When we arrived I, a mere neonate, was denied entry into the sacred temples.  If one could only fly to Bordeaux, the journey back to France was heart breaking.  I practiced what Eliodoro and Rosalva had taught me, killed Lothar again, filled my time writing hymns many for our holy father, but more often for Caine, and then killed the ghoul once more.  Persistent bastard…I long for such loyalty. 

Arriving in Bordeaux I found home amongst my own clan, found a true mentor (Alphonese des Rosier, a powerful Toredor) who encouraged me to join the Knight’s Hospitaler, and found my purpose…Golconda.

Working within the French circle, I came to be well known and well respected for my Faith and revitalized spirit.  Once news reached France that Michael had surfaces once again and that he was in the company of past friends of mine.  I was asked to return to my friends and find out what I could discover of Michael’s purpose and intent.  Michael was never pleased with the French Toreador claiming they were deceived by their vice and disillusioned lacking a vision of the Dream.  You had also heard that Michael had information about Golconda which was a personal interest of mine.  The Giovanni continue to be a problem, my sire continues to be a problem.  And, while I have made my presence in France, I still do not have the support of like type individuals.  I am still seen as sired out of necessity not desire which has kept me an outcast.  I am despised by my sire which limits my ability to gain influence and status.  My beliefs drive me, not my passion for the arts.  I see them as one and the same, but others do not.  I needed a change and therefore agreed to attend to this task.

Monday, December 5, 2011

H:tV Character Background: Dr Hoyle Ambercrombie

Dr. Hoyle Ambercrombie

Professor of Anthropology, Ancient Mythology & Cryptozoology (unofficially)
Author of some of the more important works in the occult world such;
“Were -Wolves of the Black Forrest: Real life Apex Predator or Hairy Inbred Woodsmen?”

“Sasquatch: North American Yeti or Hairy Canadian?”
“Mer-Folk of the South Pacific: Aquatic Mystery of the Deep or Just Really Ugly Sharks?”
“Bangladesh Horror” (The story of the encounter with a were – tiger, the only book that actually sells... most people just think its a fictional novel)

My father, Mortimer Ambercrombie was a military man. He was a certified Flying Ace in His Majesty's Royal Flying Corps. He flew his plane in the First big war, and was a proud patriot the rest of his days. My mum, Emma Ambercrombie stayed at home, and made an occasional quid or two teaching piano from our home. She and my dad led a very quite life in their older years until the Lord called them both into his kingdom, as he is one to do.

Of course the life of my Flying Ace father is an exciting one at points you, the reader, clearly is more interested in knowing more about me. I began life on the winter evening of January 21st 1910. As a child I took to more scholarly pursuits rather that the arts or athletics as my mum and father would have liked. My natural aptitude for history, science, math, and just about every other subject they offered at the boring and dry primary schools I was sent to as a youth.

I finished school at the age 13 and promptly entered the prestigious Oxford University. There I spent most of my time attending lecture, and in the wondrous library reading all that I could. I finished my first book ( Sasquatch: North American Yeti or Hairy Canadian?) by the time I was 17. I graduated with doctorates in Ancient History, Anthropology, and Medieval Studies all by the time I was 22, became an associate Professor of Anthropology at Cambridge University by the age of 24, and saw on my way to be a tenured professor, but then, when I was 29......All hell broke loose.

The Second Great War broke out through Europe the same year my father passed. In
honor to him I decided to sign up even though I by this time I was almost 30 years old, an author, a doctor, and college professor. I was stationed in the far off land of India in the city of Kempur. There was not a lot to do there, but I just went where they sent me. Whilst there I began to teach the local children how to speak and read English, and taught them the history of their Mother Country. I made friends with many of the locals including a young Nepalese boy named Raju, but his story is to be told another time...

One night while doing my routine watch I heard a loud scream from a small house off in the distance. As I ran to investigate I found a man being brutally attacked by the biggest Bengal Tiger I have ever seen. I took a shot at the tiger and for the first time in my whole military career I actually hit my target. The bullet struck his stomach, and the tiger ran off into the night. Myself and four other soldiers followed the trail of blood until it ended at the body of a freshly dead young Bangladeshi man. The man apparently died from a gaping gun shot wound to his stomach..

The soldiers and I moved the body back into our camp where our CO quickly took the body. He was accompanied by two men in black suits, they all went into the officer's tent and that was the last time I saw, or even heard of the Bangladeshi man ever again.

Was the man a lycanthrope of legend? I am still looking for the answers to that question.

I found this looking for pictures of Christopher Hewett the dude who played Mr. Belvedere, and it's funny.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Scary ...

This freaks me out, but I love it.

I've been reading V:tR to punish the pc's in our Hunter game.