Friday, December 15, 2017

The Hoyce Returns to Emeron!

With the holidays encroaching on my already hectic life, I found a small ray of sunshine while perusing my blogs I follow.

My friend Hoyce (Zorin Redrock from the Burning Trogs and Talis Makolin from the Pigeon God campaigns) has launched a new campaign up in Boston and posted the first entry here.

There's a special place in my heart for Hoyce's campaigns, as he admitted himself that he took my Georic campaign, filed the serial numbers off, and crafted it into his own delirious creation.  His take on the the world (now called Goric) focuses on the Kingdom of Emeron, spot that I've only dabbled in.  (You will see my version of Emron in about three months when the Pigeon God hits episode #50).

As Hoyce has kept his games all within the same happy campaign timeline, only a few years/decades apart, I'm sure he won't mind if I steal a few ideas back, especially since his newest campaingn is set 11 years after The Burning Trogs Redux would occur.  

Thursday, December 14, 2017

(Kickstarter) Love Tove by Askfageln

My weekly doses of Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff have me subconsciously memorizing the spoken ads they do between segments. 

Although the Yellow King, Delta Green, and Unknown Armies pieces dominate recent episodes, I always appreciated the Best of Fenix Vol 1-2 available from Askfageln HB

Now, publishers Tove and Anders Gillbring, not biologically related, but related by their love of role-playing games (and marriage) need your help. 

It happens Tove Gillbring, who already beat back cancer once with fury, had it not only sneak back in, but it spread throughout her body.  Options are limited and, per her request, all they can do is buy time and write as much RPG material as they possibly could. 

While I would lean towards the Swedish version of a GoFundMe account, they've decided to launch their campaign, Love Tove on Kickstarter.

Full disclosure:  you get nothing from this Kickstarter, other than the satisfaction that two people that love each other get to spend a few more moments together on this Earth.  And hopefully, Askfalgen will have a number of books and articles soon available for purchase with Tove in the credits as a designer, rather than an in memoriam

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

(IOU) The Ghost of Dirty Ben Franklin

The Ghost of Dirty Ben Franklin
Ben Franklin probably went to IOU as a youth, or at least he partied there enough that it felt like he was a student there. His death has somehow trapped him on campus an incarnation of his 1790's visage. His coat, waistcoat, breeches, this wire frames, and buckle shoes (if he wishes to walk no legs or shoes but a stereotype wispy tail for a ghost if he wishes to float) He floats around hitting on the college ladies, going to parties and looking for a good time. He is non corporeal most of the time, but can become solid when he tries. He does this to get with the ladies or go drinking. When he drinks he can get drunk and then has troubles with staying either corporal or non. He then has troubles passing through objects or picking up things. His started auditing classes in the political science department, but often doesn’t bother going to class.

Guess Who? (4)
Ben attempts to take over and possess another person. It takes a lot of effort for him. He can do so and make someone do his bidding, each action getting a 4D6 roll, but Ben cannot make a person harm themselves.

I Got This (3)
Ben attempts to pass through an object or pick something up. This is especially required when he has used it several times to get his drink on effecting his concentration.

I Invented Electricity, Bitches! (2)
Ben can invent items on the spot, just nothing very modern. Most things need to be pre-computer age items. He can attempt modern items, but the chances aren’t looking good unless you want a stove or water/web flippers.

Halloweenie (1)
Being a ghost Ben, but not a very frightening ghost, Ben has a chance to scare, terrify and stun a person or animal if he tries. Most times people just laugh at him though if he tries.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Ballad of the Pigeon God #36: Prophecy Fills the Air

28 DuoDec 1071  -  Chateau d'Echelon, Barony of Eding, Kingdom of Crosedes
An attack on his estate by fairies and the acquisition of a series of paintings full of too many coincidences concerned Baron Echelon. With the Cult of Apotheosis just outside his borders, talking about the return of some ancient king, and paintings telling of a past as well as a future yet to come, he needed guidance.

So like any novice noble he sought advice and wisdom.

In the broom closet.

His mentor, Mohammad had lived a traumatic life, one of slavery, shark attacks, guarding portals, and his psyche becoming overwhelmed with the divine spark of the gods themselves. Legless and mentally broken, he hid inside the close confines of closet to commune with Tshang Kai Shing, eastern god of the sea and sky and shield him from the sky itself from crashing down into his soul.

He didn't even raise a hand to knock on the door as an old, tired voice came from the other side:

"I too have seen the visions, Echelon. You must embrace them, but our lord Tshang Kai Shing in his wisdom knows you must get your house in order first."

"But what does this mean??? Why am I painted on a canvas from centuries ago?"

"It is simple. Those simpletons by the lake have nothing, so they can feel the upcoming war. They just don't know what will happen. They will be wholly unprepared. You, you, and your friends are obviously the chosen ones. Your friends can help you find out what that is, while you secure your family. Stability here, and abroad, will benefit all, when the time comes. Now go away. I am tired and Tshang Kai Shing will soon request commune with me soon."

Echelon left his mentor and travelled back downstairs.  He asked for volunteers to travel to Omsjik and even Hydincall to find experts to tell them about the paintings.  Sales of all of them were approved, however someone needed to make a sketch of the painting over the mantle.  That one would stay put. 

Mellandria volunteered for the trip. Ariel agreed to show her artistic talents by sketching the painting.

"I'll go."

The chiseled bald man known as Rolf Wolfsblood stood in the archway between the kitchen and dining room, his extravagant ill-gotten furs already on, ready to leave at a moments notice. 

31 DuoDec 1071 - Town of Omsjik, Kingdom of Crosedes
The town of Omsjik was large enough to actually have an art community, yet many could not identify the paintings.  Many were interested, but all suggested visit Basil LeCounture at the Royal (non-magic) Lyceum in Hydincall.

35 DuoDec 1071, Hydincall, Kingdom of Crosedes 
Arriving in the capital and encountering mundane university bureaucracy for the first time Rolf was simply exasperated that he could not put the female scribe in charge of LeCounture's affairs through a stone wall.

The meeting with the expert was far worse than the one with the assistant! He was condenscending, pretentious, and spoke in a tone only reserve when one needed to hold his nose when using the privy after Norm's turn. Fortunately, Mellandria and Ariel could speak portions of his dialect and this sad man poured forth knowledge. The paintings had been done by a painter named Bantern in 856, to celebrate King Cesmir's tenth anniversary as King of Crosedes.  Upon the death of Cervinal I in 897, Cesmir's progeny died off and the assigned regent, Odo of Hydincall gave the painting back  to Bantern while the nobles elected a new king, Celowin the Blood-Red, the first of the current House of Silvershields.
Basil LeCounture
The last known member of Bantern's family passed away early last year, in fact it was his estate auction where Ashe had procured infamous "White Plume Mountain."

"For a steal, I should add. Most of the auctioneer's postings had the event two days later. Needless to say, that incompetent boob is no longer welcome in any portion of the kingdom."
When pressed for more knowledge on the contents of the painting, Basil had little on "Haven" and "Higher Ground."

"Both were painted much later in his life. Haven isn't a real place and the brute of the man in the center of it is completely unrealis..... ," he stopped, staring at Rolf's visage which matched the painting's perfectly.

"The White Plume Mountain is a famous volcano on the border with Aragain. If the deadly steam, choking ash, and magma won't kill you, the guardians inside will. Inside is rumored to be three weapons, the Blood-Brand, a live stealing sword once wielded by the Sorcerer-Kings of Senzar, the immortals of Prythax, and the ancient Ferasean Kings. Over-Whelm, a battle-axe wielded by the warlords of the half-dwarves of Hyperborea, and a trident named Wave, deposited by parties unknown. While not the most powerful relics, there have been rumors for hundreds of years, that when mankind is in terrible peril, those three weapons will help turn the tide. If you three are looking to save the world, you're probably out of luck. Thousands have face the mountain and died, plus who in the blue blazes of Hades knows how to fight with a tri..."

"Let me guess, you have a friend that worships a fish god?"

Departing the lyceum, the girls decided to hit the tavern, while Rolf wandered. He had found an intriguing magic shop on his previous trips to Hydincall, only to discover that Talis may have blown the place up right before Kannex had transported most of them to Talislanta.

Upon retracing his steps, he found the shell of the familiar building, singe marks still marking the stonework around the windows. The interior had been completely rebuilt, and the offices of a mercenary company filled the rooms. Some tattoos and emblems seemed familiar, and as Rolf inquired about pay and possible adventure, it finally hit him.

Everything matched the brigand Leonid's band of misfits that they had encountered.

Immediately, Rolf's hand clasped around the interviewing mercenary captain's throat and he lifted the startled man as high as he could.

"Why did Leonid have the paintings?"

The captain soiled himself, and bravado of the other men that had pervaded the building completely vaporized.

"We were paid quite well up front to take those paintings from that damned Cult of Light! Job's still open if you know where they are. I don't want to refund the Lady Celeste."

"Lady Celeste? The daughter of the Dread Lord?"

Any thought of emitting another damning word escape the captain as terror filled his soul. The barbarian tossed the captain into a pile of his own men, turned towards the door and smacked two other mercs with the backsides of his hands, sending both flying. It was time to go home.

6 TriDec1071  -  Lake Apotheosis, Kingdom of Crosedes
Rolf had traded the cart for a sledge while on the outskirts of the capital. The snowpack still had a good week left before the thaw turned it into mud, and another cart with the gold could be obtained back in Eding. 

On the way back, they stopped at the camp of the Cult of Light. Their leader, a man who called himself Henri greeted them warmly and offered food and shelter. While Mellandria inquired about the missing paintings, Henri seemed quite open. He knew that they had been painted by Bantern and sometime after 897 they ended up in the tombs across the river. Members of Apotheosis were under strict orders to never remove any treasure, not matter how fancy, no matter how plain looking, from the tombs, yet a week and a half ago, when bandits raided the campsite, the paintings could be seen among the plunder getting carted off.

Rolf stood up, walked over the sledge, and pulled out "The Fall of Haven," handing it to Henri.

"This was the only one we found when we encountered them. Put it back where it belongs." 

The red flames of the bonfire allowed Henri to comprehend who his benefactor was.

"Rolf Wolfsblood, you are welcome here, and amongst all the noble tables of the world, I assure you." Henri declared, as he handed the painting off another cultist and they scurried across the ice to secure it in the tombs.

7 TriDec 1071 - Chateau d'Echelon, Barony of Eding, Kingdom of Crosedes
The trio arrived back at the Chateau with lots of knowledge, but minus one of the paintings.  Echelon barely heard of word, as he prepared the sledge to travel back to Hydincall with the remainder of the taxes owed.  Ashe, Mellandria, Ariel, Dag, and a recovered Babette volunteered.  Rolf advised them to make a wide berth of the Cult of Light.

After hiding the other two paintings behind a wall in the Chateau, the barbarian found his monk friend Kane, huddling by the fire. 

"Don't worry my friend, it will be warm sooner than you know."

"The cold air I do know mind, Mister Wolfsblood.  It is the dark nights that worry me, and there is much to worry about already."

"That's good Kane, for it is a time of trouble and trial.  And that's why I need you to watch over Mohammad.  Make sure he is safe and away from whatever trials await us here in the Chateau and in Eding,  His loss would crack Echelon for sure, and the pigeon lover and his man-whore companion are the only things guaranteed to keep the barony together." 

"I swear"

Next:  #37 - Crimes and Lesser Misdemeanors

Monday, December 11, 2017

Feline Kaiju Combat in 30mm

A day full of kid's basketball games, gymnastics practice, and Mrs Viscount and myself shopping and wrapping gifts was culminated with just enough snow to keep us all inside for the rest of the weekend.

... and laundry kept us occupied the rest of the time.

One silver lining was the procurement of one of ViscountEric's favorite beers:  Troeg's Mad Elf.
Yes, I'm drinking it as I assemble this blog post.  
We're still catching up with our TV (the kids do heartily approve all of the Earth-X shenanigans on the WB), but with a clean house and most Christmas shopping complete, we can go back to playing games upstairs and painting little men downstairs.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

(Review) My Little Pony: Tokens of Friendship

Getting in on the ground floor with the My Little Pony: Tails of Equestria Storytelling Game, I'm able to get each item as they come in rather than a backlog.  The good news is the first two products, the hardcover rulebook, and the Curse of the Statuettes boxed set were top notch.

The first stumble for River Horse Games/Ninja Division is their Tokens of Friendship game accessory.

The small box contains 12 purple Tokens of Friendship and a MLP: Tails of Equestria drawstring bag for a player to keep track.

The problem with the product, isn't the concept.  Plenty of pony fans will want everything to do with the game, and the idea of official Tokens will ring true to them.  The true problem is the size of the items for the $6.95 price tag.
The tiny Tokens of Friendship and pouch, with d20 from the boxed set and glass bead for scale. 
For ten clear purple plastic tokens and a small screen printed dice pouch, seven bucks seems a bit high.  Personally, I use glass beads, which you can pick up at any pet or craft store at half the price for at least double the quantity.

Despite loving the game, I have to give the Tokens of Friendship One and a half gnomes out of Five on the Gaming with the Gnomies Rating System.
There's plenty of better (and cheaper) alternatives.  Save your money for new MLP books coming down the pipeline.

Friday, December 8, 2017

A Big Sigh of Relief... Maybe

I write this post directly from my desk at work, blatantly ignoring the small pile of post-busy season work accumulating in my bin.

My three months of hell known as the busy season at work are officially over.  I've got tons of clean-up work to do (and voluntary overtime), but that's just part of my job description.

The kids activities have been overwhelming us (and our cars) this Fall.  It may reach critical mass tomorrow, with three basketball games PLUS gymnastics practice PLUS a trip to Grandma's so good ol' Mom and Dad can desperately get the Christmas shopping and wrapping finished.

Needless to say, our usual "unplanned" pick-up games have not been going off, even like they did this time last year.  If it's not one of the two conventions we attended, my Monday night online 5e group that shows up half the time, or the never completed family decathalon of games, nothing else was getting accomplished.

And we haven't even gotten to the meat of hockey season.

But once we get through all of that, I see hope.

  1. I managed to review my backlog of games/ideas from the Fall, and better spread out the ideas I dumped into early 2018.  I also conducted a meeting of the minds with my core players (my girls) and they're content with my current schedule with a new season of the Pulp Game.  I did get an overwhelming vote of support for more Mouslings.  My blog hits and kids can't lie.
  2. The kids were very interested in evil wizards taking over Christmas and girls on camels who like to gamble (not sure the girls or camels gambled).  Or a Russian super-star is the only hope for Russian Christmas.  But Russia is too nice, they're up to something...  Time to paint up the shirtless Putin.  
  3. The tree is up at home, and the decorations suffered minimal damage, but the restoration projects meant my painting bench is covered in holy and tinsel.  Snow days are coming... as well a good pile of Kickstarter deliveries I'm repurposing as my Christmas gifts.
  4. A quick trip to Michael's for some supplies and I think the gnomes and goblins can come out for a Christmas game.
  5. I've got a review of Pulp Alley's Lost World of Lemuria in the pipeline, plus a few other "holiday" projects. Project Zero is still in my sights...
  6. Hopefully we have two more weeks of our 5e game before Christmas and we can get together for a big completion of the first dungeon in our BECMI D&D game.