Sunday, January 22, 2012

T&T - My projects

For my T&T Horror game I have been working on, I am still looking to use some form of system to generate initial stats based on real world experience.

Using the basics from T&T, all the attributes will be the same except for one. I will have Guts (GUTS) replace Wizardry (WIZ). Instead of tapping into the magical Kremm of Trollworld, Guts will represent the character's ability to face gruesome and gory events we all know that are commonly associated with horror movies: dismembered bodies, blood, or zombies feasting on a squirming victim.

Bash Con is coming up in Toledo - I will be running both my traditional AD&D game as well as my first attempt at my horror rules. If you are free and in Toledo on Saturday, February 18 at 9am, stop on by and sign up for 'Apocalypse Kinda Now'. Robin has put together quite a comprehensive list regarding what us Peryton Gamers will be up to, read all about it here.

For Elder Tunnels, I have finished my GM Adventure and submitted it to the editor. I will talk about more details later, once I hear word back about its status and that it is not a piece of rubbish. Being new to this 'publishing' stuff, I am kind of excited to see the artwork that gets generated from what I wrote. Again, if it is not rubbish.

The next issue of Elder Tunnels will be a non-western fantasy themed issue. My project was based on an Arabian theme, and I pulled much of my inspiration from the stories and myths in The Arabian Nights or Tales of 1001 Nights, depending on which version you find.

The funny thing is that while these stories have been used in many cases for children, many reprints tend to leave out the original theme of the volume which is the reason why the stories are all being told. A Sultan is so upset that his wife has cheated on him, he decides that all women are untrustworthy and thus he will only marry a virgin every night, and every morning, she will be killed before she has a chance to betray him. The stories are told by the Vizier's daughter who has volunteered to be his next wife, and she purposely prolongs the stories so that they do not end before dawn, forcing the Sultan to belay the order to have her killed so that she can continue the story the next night.

If you do read the Arabian Nights stories though, you will find that women typically portrayed as cunning and wicked enchantresses, or weak and frail victims. Women that are strong and heroic tend to be killed by the evil that they helped destroy. These 'strong' women also tend to be enchantresses. Not a hard idea to believe judging from where these stories originated.

There are some supernatural creatures that are included in the stories such as Geniuses (Djinn), Faeries, Ghouls, and Ogres. Another theme tends to include men being turned into animals, especially dogs, by the wicked enchantresses or evil Geniuses.

Good stuff - I am currently reading about Sindbad and his 7 journeys...

Saturday, January 7, 2012

InConTroll of the Arsenal - Day 2 and 3

Day 2 started with a bit of confusion - when we were actually going to meet at the Arsenal to start Day 2, and what the heck I would eat for breakfast. A few delays prevented Tom, Robin, and Trevor from arriving until closer to 1pm; I drove around trying not to get lost looking for a place for breakfast. A police detour (becoming a theme this weekend) forced me down a street that at least led me to a Denny's which was good enough. The trusty old grid system enabled me to easily find my way back to the streets I knew would get me back to the store.

I arrived and played and jumped in a game of 'Munchkin' with Scott and Kerry. After that, we went down to the room we had reserved to start creating characters for Scott's 'No Dice' system he was planning on running.

Scott's No Dice system
This was a play test session for Scott's game. After spending some time creating characters, we ran through a quick scenario showing how to deal with basic attribute checks and a combat scene.

Me - Elfkin with traits for Casting spells and spell resistance
Kerry - Lizardkin with fighting traits
Robin - Lizardkin with fighting traits
Tom - Elfkin with a gun
Trevor - Lizardkin with roguish traits

The system is based on using a standard deck of cards to resolve most situations. Your attributes determine how many cards you can draw and then compare against the GM. Damage is resolved in a very clever way. When a hit is scored, cards are again drawn to compare head to head, with a hit resolved or absorbed based on the head to head action. Jokers can be used to either break a tie, or to draw 2 extra cards for the given action.

We had quick scenario where some ant like entities came out of the ground, killing some innocent people. We tested the system by doing a attribute test leaping over the crevasse and then fighting the creatures. Robin's character was quite effective with her dual attack trait, Tom was slinging his guns, and Trevor was busy running away.

Robin's 'Walk the Spiral' campaign
More information on Robin's campaign can be found here.

Me - Mirela Shandor
Kerry - Penelope Curwin
Scott - Mark Astor
Tom - Amon Greel
Trevor - Sarah Curwin

"Shadows of Silver Cove" continues where the previous story left off - all the characters are now in the real world, their fantasy characters seem to have been a dream state caused by the creatures that seemingly has humanity imprisoned Matrix-like.

My character was a gypsy fortune teller who can actually contact and converse with spirits. She also has an invisible familiar. I was able to use a talisman that I had to control some shadows that had attacked the party. I also joined in on a fight with some fellow re-awakened townspeople that seemed to be automatons than we were, attacking us. Scott and Kerry had created some spears for most of us since we seemed to be all weaponless in the real world.

We eventually figured we needed to find 3 keys to enter the crypt of the father and son patriarchs of the town - the father had died in the 1930's. The town was burning down in most places, and seemed to be portraying residue haunting of a time when the town was still a resort town, before most of the town was turned into a lake, I guess because of some dam.

We found the 3rd key in a building that was surrounded by some form of alien - they were wondering around aimlessly, repeating the tasks that they were somewhat programmed to do and seemingly lost without  some form of hive leader. The ignored us when we did not bother them - Trevor had jumped on the back of one for some reason - and they did not like that, but left us alone otherwise.

We found the key, went to the tomb, opened it up - and the father animated and began crawling out of his tomb, but he had a necklace with a coin around his neck. I unsuccessfully grabbed for it, but then used my interrupt and tried again, which was successful. As a result of that, our surroundings changed and we now found ourselves in the town back in time before the lake was created - the unflooded town from the early 1900's.

Trevor's 'Bolt and Hammer' system
As I found out at the previous Hoot, the last session of Saturday night can be the most difficult - the players tend to be a bit punch drunk. Trevor had a loose scenario planned, placing us in the post-apocalyptic South America where we encountered a lizard kin race that was now populating this region of the continent and seemingly Buddhist with a temple in the town.

A flying snake seemed to have attacked the temple, or at least wrapped itself around the temple preventing anyone from escaping. Tom's character began shooting at it, we killed it, found out it was 1 of the last 2 of its kind. We traveled to the next town, where Tom decided to confess his murder, we were then again attacked by those snake worshipping lizard kin who did not like that we killed one of their snakes. We ran from town - Tom again felt all bad that we could not leave the last of its kind to live its life alone - we decided we would cause the race's extinction.

We found out the snake had some young snakelings, so we escaped without causing the race's extinction, but were yet attacked again by some other life form for some reason I cannot remember...

Hey - I will volunteer for the last adventure of the night next time...

The Red Roof Inn
Little did I know that my night's adventures was not quite over yet. The aforementioned white trash neighbors caused a stir that could have been on episode of cops, and kept me up until 3 am.

From what I could figure out based on the yelling permeating the thin walls, the husband may or may not have been locked in the room - I think I remember hearing a car scream into the parking lot and some doors slamming, a bit of yelling, and then the car screaming away again.

The wife then came back, hammering on the door yelling about how she knew he was in there and she wanted to get her stuff. I don't think anyone was in there. She then went to the office to get a key, but the receptionist refused because the room was in the husband's name - I garnered that information from the loud phone conversation right outside my door.

Then the cops showed up - they pounded on the door, but no one answered. Then I heard the WT wife explain how her husband has her computer, ID, birth certificate, and purse and she knew he had to be in the room (he wasn't). The cops then asked her what happened - she said she left to go get a drink and her husband must have taken here stuff out of her car. The car was left unlocked, so the cop asked if someone else may have stolen her stuff out of her car - and how much she actually was drinking.

Finally at 3 am, things seemed to finally get quiet and I settled down for a quick nap.

Day 3

One problem with the Arsenal was the it did not open until 12pm on Sunday. The other problem we had was that I was the only one at the hotel and I awoke at 9am and could not fall back asleep. I also did not really want be in Indy until 4pm if I was going to run my Game of Thrones adventure.

So - I left early, sending Tom a message that I was ditching them...he gave me a nice little guilt trip phone call...but I was in Toledo by 1pm and was able to make a kick arse batch of homemade chile to watch the football games.

Luckily, Pittspuke lost to the Tebow - all was right with the world - great weekend!

InConTroll of the Arsenal - Day 1

I celebrated the New Year battling a severe sinus infection/cold. It was not until Friday that I felt close to normal. This was also the day that I had planned to set out from Toledo to Indy to attend the Hoot/mini-convention Kopfy and Sligo put together at the Arsenal Game Room.

Talked to Tom in the morning and found out he, Robin, and Trevor had decided to stay with Jordan and not at the Red Roof Inn as planned. Tom invited me to join them, but being that I do not like to impose, especially with people I really don't know, I decided to stick with the nearly deserted Red Roof Inn. 

I arrived in Indy at about 5:15. I had to take a detour on 69 South between Fort Wayne and Indianapolis, I think through the town of Warren. I just followed the trucks for the detour which always seems to be the best course when in foreign territory. I was lucky that I was directed off the highway at the beginning of the detour - I did not get backed up in traffic at all. It had to be some form of accident since the police were blocking both sides of the highway.

I then stopped to get lunch and noticed one of my tires was dangerously low on its tread life...I spent the last 40  + miles driving into the city all paranoid that my tire would blow. I will have to figure out what I want to do with that, but that can wait for now.

So I arrive at the Red Roof Inn - almost completely empty parking lot. I checked in and met my neighbors for the night - a couple with a teenager (maybe 12) carrying a toy gun who promptly locked his parents out of the room. Staying at the Jordon's house is becoming a better idea at this point. But - I have a TV I can leave on all night, wireless internet, and my own shower for the morning. I would still rather risk death, robbery, or kidnapping at this time. That could change as the weekend progresses.

Got on the computer and found the easiest route to get to the Arsenal, which was quite easy - pretty straight route staying off the highway. Passed the store the first time and had to turn around, but then saw Tom standing outside, probably waiting for me to call back since the signal to the basement of the game room was  very bad as Tom and I attempted to communicate.

The Arsenal is a cool place - part game store, part cafe, with plenty of open gaming space both upstairs and in the basement. I ordered up a coffee and a soft pretzel after paying my $5 'InConTroll' fee. The original plan was the possibility of running 3 tables at once, if some others (friends of friends?) had shown up. Since it was looking like that needed to change since we did not have enough people to support more than one game at a time, the schedule was updated with some volunteering and a little luck. I volunteered to pull back my T&T adventure since I am no where near where I need to be with it to playtest. Tom would still take Friday's game; my AGOT (Game of Thrones) game would be moved to Sunday. Scott, Robin, and Trevor would take the sessions on Saturday. With that done, I settled in for the first game of the weekend. 

(I am horrible with names, so I will be sure to write them down tomorrow.)

Tom's T&T Game
Me - Jherrrii the Great, Nee/Nay Good, Dwarven Fighter, 
Robin - Alanthea the Elven Wizard
Trevor - a Wolf Troll Fighter
Kerry - a female Minotaur Fighter
Jordan - a Human Wizard?
Jordan's son - a Human Rogue
Scott (Sligo) - a vertically challenged Human Wizard

Mine and Robin's characters have now survived 3 or 4 of Tom's nefarious adventures. This time around, the two of us enter a town called Peakvale where humans are the norm and other races are looked down upon. Trevor's troll from the previous adventures is not with us (he left his character sheet at home), so the rest of the characters were newly starting.

In the tavern called the 'Barbarian's Axe', Trevor's Wolf Troll is attached to a chain and being led around by a human, while Kerry's female Minotaur is dancing on stage for coppers. Scott buys the Wolf Troll for 50 Gold, and will eventually set him free. The Minotaur is also allowed to leave from the bar once she pays her bar tab of 50 gold as well. The group is offered a job by the apprentice wizard Zarra to escort her to a Temple is a far off swamp (again - names often escape me). Everyone is paid 300 Gold up front, which allows most everyone to make a quick shopping trip for new equipment. I finally trade my acid damaged Scale for a new set, paying the 180 gold difference - what a deal.

Traveling towards the destination, we take a break for a meal. We become surrounded by orcs; our slurping of soup must have drowned out their advance on our position. Jordan's son (here forward called the boy) heard something in the bushes - his investigation may have delayed the eventual melee, but our position was rained upon with arrows, mostly doing damage to our poor donkeys and Zarra's horse.

We returned fire with my crossbow (taking out 2 or 3 orcs with a penetrating shot) while Robin cast Dem Bones bringing up some orc skeletons to fight for her and Scott cast TTYF taking another the ground. It was not enough though as the eventual charge of the main force overwelmed us. Battered and bleeding, we were forced to run away to the nearby woods, which happen to be controlled by some isolationist militant wood elves. My crossbow did drop another few orcs before the retreat.

The minotaur stays behind trying to flirt/beguile the orcs - she successfully forces them to hesitate, helping us get to the woods, but she is now their prisoner and being forced to lead them to us. We set up an ambush of sorts in the woods where the wizards cast some spells to confuse the orcs and get them to run away; the boy walloped an orc with surprise attack with his crowbar, and I finished another with a bolt (orc kill count - 6). We are then surrounded by the aforementioned jerky elves and forced to leave the woods, being dumped outside the wood on a cliff overlooking the swamp we need to get to. The magical nature of the forest healed a few CON points, but we are all still lingering on death with a few CON points each as a result of the orc charge.

We decide to climb down the cliff, with Jherrrii the climbing dwarf (a freaking talent) leading the way to find a good and safe route - I fail my first climbing roll and fall/roll 30 feet down the embankment, losing all the CON points that I had gained back from the darn woods. The rest of the party have a similar experience and we are all eventually deposited into an even worse situation, surrounded by a field of sharp blade grass. Jordan finds out the hard way that one wrong step is not a good thing, failing a SPD roll, he is killed. The boy risks life and limb to sneak out to his dead body and steal his 300 Gold, successfully.

We find a route somewhat around the grass to a long and swampy body of water that we need to cross. We have a deadfall log that could be used a float, but nothing else that would keep us dry. Scott tries to swim across, but the length is too great and he tired and seems to drown. Divine intervention washes him back on shore - we then proceed to kick our way across. It is a long haul, and some of us lose stamina and are carried forward by relentless kicking of the Troll and Minotaur, until something grabs the troll's leg from the murky depths. We all respond by leaving him and swimming to the shore. Scott casts another TTYF and dazzles the giant frog, allowing the troll to escape. Scott is then lashed by the frog giant tongue, killing him.

The boy, not wanting to lose out on another 300 Gold, swims back to Scott's lifeless body, only to be gobbled up by the wrathful frog. The boy did not taste very good and is soon spit out and lands on the beach, but without most of his belongings. For some reason the Troll decides to linger on the beach to talk to the frog, and he too is rewarded with a tongue lashing death.

4 characters killed, 2 saved by divine intervention, 3 eventually remaining dead - we are wet, some of us without equipment, and near the adventure can start...

AP: 2,261

Sunday, January 1, 2012

T&T Stay Alive!...Further Research

Another show that has been an inspiration is the BBC series 'Survivors'.

While not a zombie apocalypse, it is a global pandemic that has wiped out a good 95% of the world's population. Survivors seem to be naturally immune to the virus, all seeingly except for one of the characters. Abby Grant had contracted the virus and was being cared for by her husband. She awoke from her fever to find her husband had died, but she somehow had pulled through. After burying her husband, she sets out to find her son who was away at summer camp (or whatever the British equivalent would be called).

Another character is a felon who is stuck behind bars at the time of the event. It seems that only he and one other guard have survived; at least one guard that has not abandoned his post. Tom Price seems to have a history with this guard who refuses to let him out of his cell, feeding him and so forth. Eventually, Tom is forced to kill the guard in order to get his freedom. Tom is a killer who seems to understand that dark nature of mankind in the new society they are witnessing, more apt to not trust that people will tend to not act honorably.

There is a MP that survived the pandemic and was able to get to a government facility and start a fledgeling society with rules and system of punishment for lawbreakers. Her attempts to try to operate a provisional type of government seem to fail as she is quite harsh with rules and forced to make deals with the gangs that treaten society.

What made me think of this series (I still need to finish watching season 2) is the always present, secret government group that will stop at nothing to do what it wants to do, in this case seemingly to find a cure. When these people find out that Abby is the only known person that has survived the virus after being infected, they send out teams to capture her so that she can be brought in to create and test a vaccine.

When dealing with a 'Stay Alive' type of campaign, I think the zombies become part of the environment, like in 'Walking Dead' and other items that I have read. In order to keep things interesting for a long campaign, many antagonists need to be identified to keep things fresh. The untrustworthy government group is yet another hook that can be used when dealing with a world without conventional monsters like a fantasy game.