For lack of a better post

I had hoped I would be able to keep updating to this new blog without slowing down or missing opportunities, or not having much to say. Sadly, it seems I’m not in the most creative mood recently.

I’m moving house in the next couple of weeks, so maybe the fresh scenery will encourage me. Hopefully it will.

I’ve got the L5R game going finally, so I’m happy with that. I’ll see if I can keep the momentum up enough that I can run an actual homebrew adventure after the Topaz Championship. I have a few key elements planned out, and some characters done in my head if not in notes. Should be one hell of a wedding!

The Old Crown setting moves on slowly. I’ve been using any spare moments I have at work to brainstorm the magic system, or at least flavour, and how it interacts with everything. In the last week, the flavour of witches and seawitches has changed a little, as have arcanists, but I think for the better. Makes them much more separate and understandable in my head anyway.
Partly this was inspired by sitting down with the elemental nature L5R again, and partly from looking over old blog posts on my Sands of Fate setting when I moved them over to WordPress.
The original purpose of the arcanists was in emulating the benders in Nickelodeon’s Aang/Korra Avatar series’ and to a certain extent the magic users of the Malazan world of Erikson and Esslemont. The witches were more heavily inspired by the Malazan world again, and the various shaman and spirit-talkers in the setting.

I should really finish reading those books soon.

I finally got onto the last book in the Dresden Files, but after reading the previous six or seven in a row, Skin Game just didn’t grab me so much. I’m a little under a hundred pages in, about the time I usually start to get more caught up, but I felt myself drifting.
I went back to the John Carter/Mars series by Edgar Rice Burroughs. I’ve got .epub editions of the series in collected volumes, and only finished the first volume of the first three books. Now I’m on to Carthoris’ life and loves, and it’s pulling me back into adventure/swashbuckling mode a bit.

Actually, that would probably help get me back on track with the Old Crown too.

And that’s a quick update on what I’m doing and where I’m at. I have an idea that I want to try, but it might have to wait until later in the year, October or November when I know I’m less busy and more capable of carrying it through. More details on that closer to the time!

Guest starring the Priest

The Priest made his first appearance in a long while to our weekly game, so here’s a brief overview of what happened.

The Mortal was in The Bar, along with the Tanninomancer, despite their history of not getting along. The Priest walked in, having felt an impending doom. He recognises the Mortal from many many months ago, and in some manner the Mortal decides to show off and pull out his pistol. He is quickly arrested.
The Priest then had a chat with the Tanninomancer, telling her that something terrible was about to happen. She was drunk, emotional, and is scared of the world. She maced him. She was quickly arrested.

The next day, The Bar was closed whilst the White Champion threw up an alarm ward, so that a slightly noisy ice machine would make a horrible noise when someone at least as powerful as a sorcerer crossed the threshold. This didn’t work out well when new boy in town David Wong arrived with a date.

The Apprentice kept up her search for the Necromancer’s book, in a handy translated and presumably pocket-guide edition. She enlisted the help of the Mortal and Lycanthrope, since they were both able to use the Internet easily. Then she went off in search of a new advisor, paying a visit to Bill’s Glade in the Nevernever. It was now occupied by a fleshy-looking house, presumably created from the police officer left there two years previously. She didn’t remember what happened in the Glade for very long, losing all her memories after saying ‘Hello’ to Bill the Babykiller.

The Tanninomancer and Mortal were freed, and both made an apology to the White Champion for doing wrong in his bar.
Meanwhile, David Wong had a lovely meal with his lady friend. In order to ascertain which of them set off the alarm, the White Champion took a quick glimpse using the Sight. The girl was a mortal, but Wong was anything but. It seemed he was some sort of green lizard creature, with wings. This did not bode well, especially since Wong noticed he was being Looked At.
Apologies were made, but the White Champion foolishly invited Wong back ‘any time’, effectively allowing him freedom within the threshold. Wong advised to certainly not use the Sight now he had this freedom, but entered into a business deal regarding oriental vegetables and spices for the restaurant/café/bar. Then he went off to eat the girl he came with. Wishing Wong ‘bon appetit’ sealed a change to the Champion. He was no decidedly Grey.

Advising that nobody look at Wong with the Sight, the Grey Champion began research on what kind of dragons ate people, with very little to show in way of result.

The Lycanthrope and Mortal were invited to dinner with the Mayor. Thus sealed their business dealings with him.

Wong came back the next day to chat with his new business partner, and to lament the various dealings with his cousins. He was not a dragon at all, but a Jade Court Vampire. At least his dinner the night before had been tasty. He also made note of the loud argument between the Tanninomancer and the Apprentice, since it would have given away far too many secrets if a Mortal had heard.

The Grey Champion began researching a ward against vampiric abilities, just to be safe.

Dresden Update

So what’s happening in the Dresden game?

The Lycanthrope is out of town, trying to track down someone named Sharkey. The Mayor has meanwhile made his presence, and corruption, known to the Mortal.

The Apprentice has repaired the stuffed rabbit that may or may not still contain the ghost of the old necromancer. She has also apologised to the White Champion. She stopped by the library to try and get her hands on some ancient Sumerian texts to try and further translate the necromancer’s old book.

The Tanninomancer had some trouble with permission slips during her day job as a teacher. She is planning to visit local universities with her students.

The bar saw a visit from some Russians, looking for the Lycanthrope, so the White Champion gave them some contact details, and the Mortal made sure to put them up in a fancy hotel so he could keep an eye on them.

The White Champion went to visit the Goblin Market for some spell ingredients, and ran into a man named David Wong. He is the CEO of a shipping company with new offices in town.

Everyone ended up back in the bar and drinking. The Tanninomancer still has some trouble with the Mortal, since two years before he had kidnapped her (and she sees the worst in all men apparently).

Quite a quiet session overall.

New Year, New Dresden Files Campaign

It’s the new year, so we began a new story arc in our Dresden Files characters’ lives.

First up, the underhanded criminal duo, the Mortal and the Lycanthrope, have become fine upstanding businessmen, owning several nightclubs and bars. Although, they do of course have a side dealing in supplying places they don’t own with narcotics of some form.
They headed to The Bar, what has become of the café bar from our previous adventures. With my Champion of Baltimore now a co-owner, they made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. The Mortal returned a book on magic to the small library housed on the premises too.

The Apprentice of the possessed cuddly bunny has started to get frustrated that her master won’t translate his ‘Sumerian’ text when she asks, and is drip-feeding her various pieces of magic. She’s now a sorcerer, and would be on track to be a wizard if she weren’t learning from a particularly nasty necromancer.
She headed to The Bar to get a borrow a new book on spirits.

A man with a terrible sense of fashion (shades in a dark room, black leather jacket, jet black hair with his blond roots showing) had appeared in The Bar to write a review for the local paper. He called himself Harry (too cool for a surname), and annoyed the Champion by repeatedly ordering craft beer not in stock.
After a short while, the Tanninomancer arrived and began an argument with the Apprentice over her evil lessons, and how she should have her head removed. Harry noticed the argument and made a note.
Hoping the review hadn’t been affected, the Champion took a quick glance at the man’s shorthand. It talked of an infestation of warlocks that had yet to be dealt with.
The Champion offered to get the man another drink, used the antique phone behind the bar and called his new business partners, ordering a couple of heavies to come over. They arrived just before the next beer was finished, and went to sit on either side of Harry.

Confronting him about the ‘infestation’, and asking exactly how it would be ‘dealt with’, Harry claimed to have seen a cockroach. Threatening to instigate a new dress code, regarding Harry’s sunglasses, one of the heavies removed them. Harry closed his eyes up tightly, and on hearing the words ‘lock the doors’, he shortly had a fit and fell to the floor, foaming at the mouth. He had managed to secretly swallow a poisonous pill.

Whilst the bar was in a panic, the heavies moved Harry’s body to a back room, and the police were called. They weren’t happy that the body had been disturbed and moved, or that there were so many traces of different people. The heavies, both with long criminal records, had already fled, but would have to be called back. After all, they’d only been ‘working’ as bouncers at The Bar for a few days…

The Apprentice’s master told her of a spell that might allow her to find out who Harry had been working for. Against his better judgement, the Champion was talked in to sneaking in to the morgue so she could perform her spell.
She managed well, but found out nothing more than Harry’s feelings at the time of his death. Whilst the bunny cackled that the spell functioned exactly as it was supposed to, and the Champion realised it had been, if not black magic, then extremely morally grey. He seized the bunny and began to leave, threatening it with the incinerator.
The Apprentice got very angry, and began using her new powers to try and take back her master. Whilst causing her own ears to bleed and the ground to shake, she didn’t manage much. The Champion, still angry at the necromancer (and since he had been Under the Doom for far too long because of the evil old spirit), pulled the stuffed toy apart as best he could and handed it back to the Apprentice. Another powerful spell sucked the Champion into the sidewalk, stuck in place whilst she hit him. And then she ran off into the night, promising to fix the stuffed rabbit as soon as she could, whilst the Champion had to shout back to the morgue and hope they didn’t ask too many pressing questions about his feet being encased in solid concrete.

Wrapping up the Dresden Files from before the winter break

Ok, so I’ve gotten a little lax with posting this past little while. Blame a whole slew of things, but mostly Skyrim. It’s been far too long to write a detailed account of what exactly happened, but I can detail it with some obvious highlights.

The Mexican got a lot closer to the horrorific wildfae Bill the Babykiller. He managed to kidnap a police officer, who was tortured and flayed, and possibly made into a bed of some kind, which the Mexican was fine to sleep in. His home became the Nevernever, specifically Bill’s little glade of nasty. At one point, looking at him in the Sight, he was seen carrying a dead baby. He managed to accidentally kill some children at an ICU at a hospital because of his magic hexing the technology keeping them alive. This was enough for Bill to give him some formed of Sponsorship…

The Ectomancer was able to bind the ghost of a ancient wizard (a necromancer we took to calling Sir Rothbert of Bainbridge, because why not?) Sadly, she bound him to a cuddly toy bunny rabbit. She was paid a large sum of money to introduce the bunny rabbit to Walter, which obviously did not end up in our best interests.

The Mexican was shot and beaten inside a Church by the Mortal and Lycanthrope. It being a full moon (we had been keeping track), the Lycanthrope more or less melded the Mexican’s face with the floor. His player immediately drew up a new character, who I shall be calling the Tanninomancer (all her powers came from tea).

Other than witness the death of the Mexican, the Priest only really managed to get drunk with Clint the Ferromancer. He briefly met the rest of the Baltimore ‘God Squad’, but didn’t understand why a Catholic priest was actively working with a Rabbi and an Imam.

My Cryomancer got himself a cold iron gauntlet from Clint. He then managed to get an athamé dagger made out of the stuff too. The Ectomancer had Clint craft full armour for her from the stuff.

The Warden was found shot through the head outside the bar. His cloak, sword and staff were collected by another Warden a few hours later. My Cryomancer had by this time taken any other items from about his person.

The Ectomancer was being schooled in basics of magic by Bunnybridge (see why he might have turned against us?) He also kept trying to get her to read his book (the same book which was responsible for the Doom hanging over the Cryomancer). The Mortal did find an original copy of Bunnybridge’s book on Craigslist, but touching it caused uncontrollable fear and he shot it several times (the pages have subsequently healed. They are made of skin after all…) The Ectomancer’s soul in the Sight is starting to show signs of tentacles…

The Lycanthrope and Mortal stole a boat. They had their faces changed several times, notably the Mortal wandered around looking like the Warden briefly, before they became Jake and Elwood Blues. The Mortal’s magic grandfather, an old Indian medicine man, did not approve of his ‘wearing the white devil’s skin’. Somehow, they’ve managed to retain the boat by moving it to a swimming pool (that Lycanthrope is very strong).

Walter invited all the magic practitioners in town to a little meeting, gave the standard ‘join me or die’ speech, then detonated several devices across the city, causing havoc. It became apparent that Walter and the Blight were co-existing because in the Sight, he was two people.

After spending time working on a ritual, my Cryomancer managed to speak to a leyline. This wasn’t a good idea, since he then managed to form a pact with the biggest leyline in town, and barely came out of the deal retaining his humanity.

Walter was summarily defeated with several gunshots, wild punches from a very angry Lycanthrope, and an eventual punt of the box containing the Blight spirit into the Nevernever.

The Mortal is currently reading some basic magical textbooks. He is enjoying them much more than Bunnybridge’s book, since they don’t scare him when he touches them, and they’re made of paper.
The Mortal and the Lycanthrope have taken over the reins of Walter’s gang. We’ll see how well that works out for the ‘shoot first, ask questions later’ duo.
The Cryomancer is now upgraded, and since he’s now labeled as the White Champion of Baltimore (powered by the leylines of the city), I’ll refer to him in future posts as the White Champion. I suspect the GM may introduce a Black Champion after I suggested that such a thing could exist.
The Ectomancer is now known as Bainbridge’s Apprentice, so I might refer to her as the Apprentice. There’s nothing scary and forboding and Star Wars-y about that, after all…

And that’s about it I think. I’m sure people will find things to add that I’ve forgotten.

Wednesday Dresdnesday

Yes, I mispelt the title on purpose!

This week a very interesting time was had in Nevermore. Also, mildly scary.
I’ll begin with the new character, who had to leave early and didn’t get to interact with the rest of the group. We shall call him Mr Demon. Guess what he does?
Mr Demon works in a library. He processes new library cards… particularly for children… by getting them to tell him their name… Yeah, dude may be entirely evil, certainly misguided.
His adventures involved bustling about the library and noticing some interesting trends in borrowing behaviour. It seemed a lot of books had been taken out (particularly in a certain restricted section) regarding faeries. And also a large number on ferrous metals. He set about researching this, and the connection between them (cold iron! Yay!)

The rest of the group began with the Lycanthrope receiving a job from the new gangleader in town, known to us only as Walter. Walter wanted to know why a house the Lycanthrope had recently robbed had fallen down, and whether or not it was connected to a certain crazy Mexican wandering around town.
The crazy Mexican awoke in his university office to an alarming crashing noise, as the large pile (weighing in tons) of cold iron piled in the middle of the floor decided to take a trip downstairs, and take a shortcut to do it. Not wanting it to seem like his fault, he used magic to blow a hole in his ceiling. Which revealed blue sky. He fired off a fireball into the blue just to make sure the edges of his new skylight looked scorched from where the ‘cold iron meteorite’ had crashed through.
Pure Mortal went looking for answers to his magical Indian tribe’s past, calling on a local shaman to meet him in Starbucks. He didn’t find out much, and when he went to leave almost got arrested due to a tip off from the Priest last session. He managed to lose the cops, book a room at a motel with his credit card (to lead the cops away out of town) and then listen to his answerphone messages. Walter wanted him to meet up with the Lycanthrope and help him investigate a knocked down house and Mexican. He went off to find him.

The Ectomancer needed a job, as paid medium work wasn’t working to well. She headed over to the university campus in the hopes of some office work, especially in the history department. She instead ran into the Sorcerer, whilst a crowd of people talked about falling rocks and fireballs. Knowing his madness was catching, and unable to find any jobs at the university, she headed off, stealthily followed by the Mexican.
The Cryomancer needed some help shaping his cold iron into something. He put some feelers out, and came back with Clint, a ferromancer, and arranged to meet him later.
In the meantime, he bumped into the crazy Mexican stalking the Ectomancer down a street, noticed he had a new cold iron shovel, and asked for his help in shaping the cold iron instead. Before she ran away, the Cryomancer was able to give the Ectomancer some job contacts.
The Sorcerer managed to give himself a nasty migraine shaping cold iron into a bracer, then wandered off back to the university to recuperate in his office.

The entire building had been cordoned off whilst the metal lumps were moved with a crane. Whilst the Sorcerer argued wildly with a police officer to be let through, the Lycanthrope caught up with him. As the Lycanthrope attempted to help by moving the Mexican, he got angry and lashed out wildly with his shovel, hitting the Lycanthrope in the face.
As police rushed in, the Mortal arrived but lay low and watched the scene. Whilst the Lycanthrope (a known criminal and suspected murder) and the Sorcerer (a suspected criminal and the real murderer) were carted off, the Mortal jumped in a taxi cab to follow.
Pulling a gun on the driver and telling him not to slow down, he shot out a tire of the police van carrying them (the Sorcerer deliberately holding back his hexing until his own plan was ready). As the van stopped and police appeared, the Mortal managed to take out three and open the van. The Lycanthrope headbutted and knocked out the Sorcerer before he could do anything silly, and the two managed to drag him off to Walter’s.

The Ectomancer ended up near a junk yard as the truck carrying a large amount of cold iron pulled up. She immediately bought it all, and had it hauled to her place, where she covered every window and doorway with it. Then went off and got herself a telemarketing job (which involved a lot more stress trying not to accidentally hex any of the equipment).

The Cryomancer met Clint in the local magic bar, showed him the already completed bracer but wondered aloud if it could be hardened in some way (perhaps with some kind of folding technique as used with swords). Clint agreed, and even to a rush job for cash. He offered to throw in a design for free, and the Cryomancer went for some runes he’d been working on. Then he sat in the bar, researching local leylines and their intersections using a map he had drawn.

The Mortal, Lycanthrope and Sorcerer were arrayed in Walter’s office. When the Sorcerer woke up though, rather than waste any time, he opened a portal to the Nevernever and leapt through, closing it behind him. He’d accidentally taken the Lycanthrope with him however.
The Mortal was told what had just happened by Walter (who, for unknown reasons, was all too aware of what had just transpired). Since the Mortal was agitated that his friend might be lost forever, he suggested finding a wizard who could use a tracking spell, and suggested the magical bar as the place to find one (how he had known of the bar is anyone’s guess at this point, since no one in the bar knows much about Walter at all).

In the Nevernever, the Sorceror and the Lycanthrope found themselves standing on the surface of a burning ball of something, which reverted to being called ‘the Sun’. The Sorceror attempted to find a path back to somewhere he knew, and ended up descending and invisible staircase inside the glow. Along the way, they both walked past some kind of building in the glow, but couldn’t make out a purpose for it.
The Nevernever being what it is, and the nature of time being what it is, it seemed to take them years to walk back to familiar ground. They both ran into the affectionately named Bill the Babykiller, a wildfae who may or may not be the Erlking, Lord of the Hunt.
The Sorcerer seemed very anxious to have the Lycanthrope tell Bill his name, so he instead gave him his nickname. He managed to find an open portal to the real world and go through it, only to find himself at the scene of the crime for the murder he didn’t commit. The Sorcerer went off in search of more adventure in the Nevernever. Since they’d both been walking for years, they had managed to swap languages, the Sorcerer having learnt the Lycanthrope’s native Russian, and vice versa.

The Lycanthrope headed back to Walter to catch up on what he’d missed over the past few years, only to find he’d been gone for about an hour.

The Ectomancer had been heading to the bar to burn off the pain of a horrible day’s work, and ran into her old acquaintance the Mortal. As they both walked into the bar, the large doorman asked the Mortal to check his possessions, where he dropped three pistols on the counter.
Inside, he asked around, and the Cryomancer was instantly able to help him sort out a tracking spell with the Warden, who was sat at the end of the bar. Using skin cells and blood from the blow to the face left on the shovel, the Warden was able to pinpoint the Lycanthrope as being in the warehouse district, not the Nevernever. And on a map, he was clearly back at Walter’s. The mortal set off back there, but not before the Cryomancer absconded with the cold iron shovel.

A nice long post, but a lot did happen! Looking forward to next week, although starting to worry that the Sorcerer is going to pick up Sponsored Magic from the wildfae! It’s his player’s plan after all.

Yet more Dresden

I’m a bit behind on collecting together my thoughts, but here’s the recap of Wednesday’s session.

Crazy Mexican sorcerer attends the Priest’s first mass in his new chapel. It does not go well for the mostly elderly congregation, as their hearing aids cease to function due to hexing. Priest is most unimpressed, but after mass gets a sense of being needed elsewhere.
With his Jesus-sense tingling (this is what he referred to it as), he set off apace. Sorcerer followed him, and when it became apparent that the Priest was much faster, used his shadow magic to grab his feet every time they hit the pavement. The Priest managed to dispel that quickly, and hightailed it out of there!
The Priest found himself in a dark alleyway, where a homeless man asked him for change. Very quickly, the homeless man burst from under a mass of trash to show he was in fact a Red Court Vampire. The Priest managed to force him out into the sun using his holy aura and burning touch attacks.

Meanwhile the ectomancer summons up a wizardly ghost to learn about faeries. She doesn’t want them coming around and leaving her any more cryptic messages, and finds out that cold iron is the key. She goes off searching the city’s magic shops, then instead the junk yards.
My cryomancer spent the night researching faeries that killed children, without getting very far. He can still see the image of a faerie surrounded by dead babies in pinpoint accuracy thanks to the Sight, so is a little hasty with shopkeepers trying to get some cold iron. A police officer manages to calm him down a little.
He bumped into the ectomancer, realised that they were both looking for the same stuff, and they team up.

The Mexican decided he needed some cold iron as faerie protection for next time he ended up in the Nevernever (which he plans to do with alarming frequency), so used a thaumaturgical ritual to allow him to literally sniff out cold iron.
After coming across the ecto- and cryomancers, he finds a bountiful source of it in the walls of a large house. Possibly as the walls, or at least their main support. It is certainly unclear at the time.

The Priest headed to the magical bar in town, and made up for seeing a vampire burst into flames by drinking. The ecto- and cryomancers turn up, the latter for work. He owes the ectomancer an iced coffee too.
The local Warden is talking to the Priest about what’s happened, and introducing himself. The cryomancer catches his eye, and tells him that the Mexican went looking for cold iron, but was worried (as a parolee of the Doom himself) that he may have killed with magic. Warden got angry and left.

Sorcerer enters the house and hears maniacal cackling from somewhere inside. He can’t get the cold iron out of the walls from inside, so goes back outside. Breaking himself quite severely in the process (getting a migraine and a phobia of laughter), he manages to pull all of the iron out of the house, and it condenses in a large ball in front of him. The house promptly collapses as the Warden shows up.
Whilst the Sorcerer has used magic to aid in killing someone, he actually buried the man alive using his trusty shovel (did I mention he’s been carrying that the whole time?). The Warden lets him off with a caution, and uses magic to pull a fully-formed sword from the ball as he walks away.
Sorcerer uses his own magic to form a cold iron shovelhead for his shovel, then goes to get a bunch of Mexican labourers to help him move the ball back to his office at the university (where he is living).

The game ended there. It got a bit manic and sort of difficult, what with a Vampire: the Masquerade game happening at the other end of the room, sometimes quite loudly (too many badly played Malkavians). More next week!