Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Birth and Death

I've got exciting news! I just joined a new PBEM labyrinth lord sword and sorcery game. I'm playing a red haired barbarian (Skarite) cleric of Wotan, Brannach.

Here is an overview of Brannach:

Name: Brannach
Class: Skarite Cleric
Level: 3
AC: 5 (Std Lthr + Shield)

Hit Points: 21

Appearance/Description: Brannach has a long mane of red hair that lies back on his shoulders. Upon his chest he bears studded leather armor gilded upon his forearms with bronze bracers. His zealous religion can be a bit off-putting to some.

Exp: 5001
Nxt: 6251

S: 14 +1 to attack and damage
D: 10
C: 13 +1 hp
I :13 +1 additional lang. Able to read and write.
W: 15 +2 to all magical saves, +5% to EXP
C: 7 +1 Reaction Adj, Max 3 retainers, Ret. Morale 6

Weapons: Light Mace +1 to attack (1d6+1), Sling (1d4)


2 pair of clothes (2gp, 2lb)
Studded Leather (30gp, AC6, 20lb)
Light Mace (5gp, 1d6, 3lb)
Shield (10gp, AC-1, 10lb)
Sling + 10 bullets (2gp, 5lb)

BackPack (2gp, 2lb)
Bronze Bracers (1gp, 1lb)
HolySymbol (silver) (25gp, 1lb)
1 Wineskins of water (1gp, 8lbs)
4 vials (4gp, 1lb)
50ft Hemp Rope (1gp, 10lb)
6 trail rations (3gp, 6lb)

On mule: Saddle and saddlebags (5gp), 3 more wineskins (3gp), feed for mule 5 days (1gp), bedroll (1gp)

Animals: Mule (30gp)

Wealth: 16gp

Saves: BA:16 Poi&Death:11 PP:14 Wand:12 Spell:15

Cleric Abilities: Turn Undead, Spells, Diety is Wotan (Odin)

Languages: Common, Sharan

History: I can work it out later... perhaps something to discuss with the party over a roaring bonfire?

I'm pretty excited about getting involved in an old school flavored DnD game as a player (not GM)!!! But, I've decided I'm pausing my Mythic solo game Streets of Madness for now to gain some internet time to devote toward posting in my Greyhawk Castles and Crusades game (as GM) and posting as a player in this LL game.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Ronnie James Dio

In case you didn't know: Ronnie James Dio, died of stomach cancer on the morning of 5-16-10...

I heard of his death this morning. I always knew of Dio's song Holy Diver, but a couple of years ago I really got into RJD's music. His epic lyrics and belting vocals made him a big influence for me in the last couple of years. For me early heavy metal bands like the kind that Ronnie James Dio was apart of (Black Sabbath, Dio, Elf, Rainbow) really drove home the imagery and pageantry of metal fantasy. They defined the leap toward the fantastic land of the gods and devils that drove me to play this game. I'm not going to say that my life is going to be different now that Dio is gone. I didn't know him, I just really liked his music.

For me the importance of his death for me is that each time someone like Dio or Frazzeta falls off our little planet I feel like a little of the original artistic spark and magic that drew me into this game goes with them. It won't go all at once, it will be like a long tide, leaving behind it nothing but dust.

Rock on Dio... you will be missed!

They say that lifes a carousel
Spinning fast, youve got to ride it well
The world is full of kings and queens
Who blind your eyes and steal your dreams
Its heaven and hell, oh well
And they'll tell you black is really white
The moon is just the sun at night
And when you walk in golden halls
You get to keep the gold that falls
Its heaven and hell, oh no!

Heaven and Hell - Ronnie James Dio and Black Sabbath

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Streets of Madness: Scene Four - Part 2

Chaos Factor: 4

Characters: Jimi, Eddie, Mrs. Rosse,

Threads: Find out who killed the dead guy. Investigate the Salvage Company. Explore the ship.

Heading down the stairs I catch sight of some blood. The lower levels aren’t well lit and there is a pretty foul smell catching my nose immediately. I head into a tight hallway and see a smear of blood heading into a doorway at the other end of the hall. There are three doors on each side of the hallway and another doorway with a stairway sign marking that it descends further into the boat. I decide to check out the blood.

Q: Does anything jump out at Jimi? [50:50, strong YES]

Q: Is it human? [unlikely, yes]

Suddenly out of nowhere a man leaps at me from one of the doorways of the boat and slams the gun from my hands. In the ugly gleam of single light bulb in the hall way I catch a glimpse of crazy eyes peering at me from behind wire-rimmed glasses, a white blood splattered lab coat, and grasping hands. I fall back against the far wall and try to twist around to defend myself. Should have expected that, I guess I’m getting slow.


Edward Palantine. *Crazed* Ship Doctor [3]

Edward was the ships doctor - a reasonable man of intellect whose rational mind snapped like peanut brittle at whatever he has seen down here in this ship. He has been infected by an almost supernatural fear, paranoia, and madness.

Risus Combat - grappling - Jimi, ex special ops cliche [5] vs. Edward [5] ~~ a tie!

We fall back and I twist around to get a better grip on the man. I am a better fighter, but this man fights with insane strength. I’ve got a backup pistol in my ankle holster, but this guy is crazy so I’m not going to draw that unless it is life or death. He is drooling on me and babbling insane phrases. I can’t quite make out what he is saying. I try like hell to give him a good punch and shut him up.

Risus Combat - grappling - Jimi, ex special ops cliche 3d [14] vs. Edward 3d [11]

Risus Combat - grappling - Jimi, ex special ops cliche 3d [16] vs. Edward 2d [6]

Risus Combat - grappling - Jimi, ex special ops cliche 3d [11] vs. Edward 1d [5]

My fist finally connects with his face and I knock him backward. I leap atop of him and although his fists and arms swing up feebly I’m able to land another blow that reels him nearly senseless. I realize I’ve got him at that point and I scream in his face, “Calm down, damn it!!!” He won’t so I give him one more good punch. His eyes roll back and close.

I pull my head up and look around. I quickly grab my gun and wipe the sweat off my face. That was bullshit crazy. This guy looks like a doctor or something, he only needs a stethoscope to complete the look.

Q: Did that fight draw anyone (anything) else? [50:50, No].

Cuffing the “doctor” to the nearest door-handle I head down the hallway, my gun held before me close to my face. I turn into the doorway that had the blood smear and nearly wretch on the floor. A sickening smell like rotten pork drifts out of the room. There are body parts everywhere. Some of them have been cataloged and small strips of paper attached with a description, maybe in latin? There are strange gashes in some of them that might be from fingernails or claws? I immediately remember the lion, the marks look more like claw marks not fingernails... man.. this is screwed up...

I shake my head at this scene and get back onto the case. There has got to be an explanation for all of this. Maybe it lies below. I head to the stair case and begin to descend down. I enter a massive hold piled high with boxes. There must be several staircases and hatches that can open up for loading. At the bottom of the stair is something that makes my heart stop a beat. There are some cases explosives, the kind used for underwater demolition, and they are wired up with a timer. The timer has [1d6, 2] 2 minutes and 6 seconds on it. I watch the next ten seconds ticking down on the timer before I realize that this is real.

Q: Does the horrible thing reveal itself? [50:50, No - only missed by a couple]

As I turn and begin to run up the stairs I hear something from down in the hold. It is like a shriek but it is hard to tell if human lips could have uttered it. I’m not sure if I have time to get the doctor off the ship, but I give it a try. I run over, and fumble with the key. I am counting the seconds in my mind as I heave him up onto my shoulder. Another heart beat, another second. I count ten more as I run up the stairs.

I’m running out on the deck. I think about it for a moment and decide to toss the good doctor off the boat into the sea. His body hits the water nearly lifeless but then begins to stir a bit after he hit the water. I am climbing down the ladder as fast as I can. I undo the ropes on the small craft that got me here and then start up the engine. I grab the doctor and pull him in and then turning the craft I push the throttle full ahead.

I only get a few seconds from the larger ship when the deep concussive blast happens. It rocks the smaller craft so bad I think I’m going to capsize! The side of the larger ship ripples and swells like a balloon for a moment and then the ship seems to heave and shake in the water.

In the next few minutes while I am speeding away from the larger ship and cuffing the doctor again the larger ship begins to tilt backward and begin to sink. My mind thinks back to the ship, to those bodies, dissected, cataloged, placed along the counters and the pans and the shelves. How many souls died on that boat and why. I look at the doctor and his dull mad eyes glare back at me.

“When we get back to shore... you and I are going to have a talk. And you are gonna give me some answers by god. You are going to answer for what I just saw back there! Big time!”

Well I'm thinking I will increase the chaos factor back up to 5.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Streets of Madness - Scene 4

There is, one knows not what sweet mystery about this sea, whose gently awful stirrings seems to speak of some hidden soul beneath; like those fabled undulations of the Ephesian sod over the buried Evangelist St. John. And meet it is, that over these sea-pastures, wide-rolling watery prairies and Potters’ Fields of all four continents, the waves should rise and fall, and ebb and flow unceasingly; for here, millions of mixed shades and shadows, drowned dreams, somnambulisms, reveries; all that we call lives and souls, lie dreaming, dreaming, still; tossing like slumberers in their beds; the ever-rolling waves but made so by their restlessness. Herman Melville, Moby Dick.

Scene Four - Part 1:

Chaos Factor: 4

Characters: Jimi, Eddie, Mrs. Rosse,

Threads: Find out who killed the dead guy. Investigate the Salvage Company.

I start this scene out deciding that since Jimi’s attempts to find out who caused this murder have failed, perhaps another murder will occur related to the first. However, I roll on the scene modifier [1d10] and get a 2. This is an interrupt scene. I roll on the random event table. I get [Return] and [Travel] - since the only thing that I know that has been traveling is this Salvage vessel I decide that Jimi was able to sneak aboard the small craft that returned to the salvage company office and is now returning with three men back to the salvage vessel by himself with no backup... a most daring and stupid maneuver. Must be his dreams from last night really screwed him up and got him up in a strange mood.

I have absolutely no idea what I am doing on this boat. The waves keep slamming into the bottom of it and I can hear them really good from my spot underneath a fold down bed in the sleeper section. Common sense should have put me back at my office, not following some half backed lead out into the ocean. I have no idea on how I’m going to get back to shore let alone not get caught in the next few minutes.

However, the minutes drag on and I’m not caught.

Q: Is there a rival organization at odds with the salvage company. [likely, yes]

I can hear the men talking about their find and how if they bring it into the city they’ll have to fight to keep it long enough to sell it. This sets my mind racing. What exactly is it these guys have found. They have a strange sound in their throats when they talk about it.

I don’t have much more time to think about it because soon the boat thumps gently up against another vessel. The men begin moving equipment around like mad from above and I fear they plan to come down into the cabin to gather further equipment.

Q: Do they come down into the sleeper cabin for more equipment? [50:50, yes]

Q: Do they search under the bed? [50:50, no - by one point!!!]

My fears are realized when one of the men comes down into the cabin looking for something. I hear him banging drawers back and forth in the cabin filtering through the contents of the hold until finally calls from above draw him upward. As they were calling he had dropped down on one hand to look under the bed directly at me, but then the calls from above got louder and he jumped up and went back on deck. I give it a few minutes and then slip out of my hiding spot. With my gun in hand I peek up out of the hold to find a much larger vessel looming above the tiny boat that has delivered me here. Getting a bit braver I look around for a way to get up on the larger ship without being seen. If I go up the ladder they used I’ll be spotted for sure.

Q: Is there a way for Jimi to get up on the ship some alternate way? [Unlikely, No]

Damn, it! There aren’t any other ropes or small craft hanging down. I’ll have to wait. I head back to my little hiding spot and wait a while. After about an hour I hear some gunfire from aboard the larger craft. That is enough to get me moving. I head up to the rope ladder and climb the ladder with a gun in hand, moving with two legs and one arm. Peering over the edge of the boat at the top I see no one on the main deck. Directly in front of me is another ladder that probably leads upward to the main engine control perch. To the left of me is a small walkway leading to a door that likely leads to the ships hold.

Random: [rolled a d3 to choose, 1= main deck, 2= engine room, 3= hold, I rolled a 2.]

Heading up the stairs directly in front of me I creep forward in a half crouch and then push open the door with my hand and then peek in quickly. It is empty. Stepping into the room I look out onto the ship and beyond. The ship is completely empty of movement on the front and rear decks. The rear deck is clustered with shipping containers so there could be somebody hiding beyond any of those. The ship is pretty long, couple hundred feet at least. I see a craft departing from the vessel from the other side of the boat. It makes a wide arc and then begins to pull toward shore.

Q: Did something horrible happen to make these men flee. [Likely, Yes]

Q: Did they rig the boat to explode? [50:50, Yes]

Seeing nothing more of interest and wondering inside just what the hell is going on I decide to head down into the hold. It is pretty strange that these men just took off from the ship leaving it unmanned in the ocean with no one at the helm...

ps...That Moby Dick line made me think of things dreaming under the sea... things with tentacles... see you guys again soon with Scene 4 Part 2.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Scene Three - Part B - A Room with a View:

The Setup:

Chaos Factor: 5

Characters: Jimi, Eddie, Mrs. Rosse

Threads: Find out who killed the dead guy. Investigate the Salvage Company.

[In the last scene Jimi scoped out some guys at a salvage company from a room in a hotel just a couple of blocks away. He took some pictures and then called for some company when it was too dark to see.]

The Story:

The room is pretty dark and quiet, not many souls in this shabby hotel down by the waters edge. A sliver of blue light from the streets stabs its way through the room and offers the only challenge to the overwhelming black. "B" stands up and for a moment the slim outline of her body and hair is framed by the light.

Walking into the bathroom and snapping a light on with an audible click she calls into me, “ Pretty shameful you calling me up. This could land you in some serious...”

“Nah, I think I’m good. I don’t remember paying.”

“I didn’t ask you to, silly man.”

“If you had, I’d have thought twice.”

“I’m sure you would have.”

We always play this way. Ever since I picked her up out of that mud, blood covered, left for dead. Years later she took to the streets as a walker picking up the johns. I think that night I found her left something in her, same something I got in me. She’s got a good heart though, and I look out for her.

She comes in and her bronze skin and black hair mark her Korean heritage. She’s put on a dress, although it is flaring out in the back, she’ll probably want me to zip it up. I pull on the bottle and think about things. The leftovers of my investigation are lying on that table; a camera, wrappers from the subs I ate, and a whole lot of nothing.

She comes over and gives my head a small slap with a silky hand, “There you go thinking again Jimi. You gotta relax, that tension’s gonna eat you up someday.”.

“I was thinking about you baby”


And she’s right. Women always know when a man isn’t thinking about them. Lucky she ain’t the jealous type. She’s into that witchy voodoo crap, maybe I should tell her about the lions. I thought that was some weird stuff.

“You know I found a man who had been left all torn up in the lion’s cage at the zoo. What do you think about that. You think it might be one of the gangs?”

She looks at me from over her shoulder while I’m pulling the zipper slowly up, her black hair washes over her arm parted at the tip of her forehead.

“That doesn’t sound like the gangs to me.”

She has a weird look in her eye. Maybe she knows something, but whatever it is, she isn’t going to let it spill. That means she’s either too afraid or she thinks her idea is too silly to say it. I’m not going to push the issue. She is getting her things while I take another pull from the bottle. Finally, she stands in the door way, light again framing her thin body and she looks at me like she is looking at a dead man.

“Jimi, whatever you are getting yourself into. Look out. Lions and kings, Jimi, lions and kings, dark stuff.”

“You take it easy B, don’t you worry over me.”

After she leaves, I lock the door and tuck my pistol under the pillow - you can’t be too sure. Falling into a dark sleep I dream of a house near a stop sign. I’m going inside. The hallway is dark, I put my hand on the door handle to the room and I’m scared of what’s inside. I smell burning cheese and I hear giggles from out in the back, I think it is a playground. I open the door. There is a black horse in the room. He is looking at me, motionless except for his breathing. He breathes in, and then snorts it out, breathes in and then snorts it out. He is looking at me, his eyes are dark. I’m walking up to him. I feel a tapping on my shoulder but I ignore it. The horse is breathing and looking at me. Someone keeps tapping me on the shoulder. I reach out to touch the horse on the nose. My hand gets closer and closer. The tapping keeps up, I turn and look, it is the horse head on the body of "B". I can tell by the dress. She moves her horse head close and whispers into my ear...

I decide again to lower the chaos factor to four since it seemed to be in the control of the Jimi.