Saturday, October 4, 2014

Neo School Hack - Gods & Goddesses of Anubia

Okay, so I wanted to present the domain spells and a few other details for each of the gods and goddesses of Anubia for my Neo School Hack rules.  The basic format I chose was each deity having six unique domain spells which only clerics of that deity may cast.

Each god and goddess has certain symbols but there are also universal holy symbols.  The Was Sceptre (or Staff) is the symbol of ruling or command; a cleric in possession of one gets to add +1 to any roll based on Charm.  The Ankh is the symbol of life; a cleric in possession of one gets to add +1 to any roll based on Commitment or increase the effects of any healing spell by +1 HP.  The Sistrum is the symbol of music and merriment; a cleric in possession of one gets to add +1 to any roll influencing positive emotions; some talents also provide for a bonus if a sistrum is played.

Bastet
Symbol: cat, sistrum
- Purr Charm/focus: with a bit of sweet-talking and a purr in your voice you can usually beguile people into seeing things your way; +2 to Charm checks to persuade
- Summon Celestial Lioness/focus-rested: one of the goddess' pets arrives to help; it is yours to command and will stay around for 10 minutes or one action scene:
Celestial Lioness
AC-12
HP:  3
2d10 attack: bite

- Goddess Within/focus-encounter: celestial lioness may cast Remove Disease, Exorcism, Scary Hiss, or Prowl as a cleric of Bastet
- Remove Disease/focus-encounter: with a prayer and pawing gestures you remove one disease from one victim
- Exorcism/focus-encounter: by hissing and making yourself look big and scary you drive out spirits haunting a thing or place or possessing a person; requires a Daring check (with +2) against the spirit's Commitment
- Scary Hiss/focus: winning a Daring check (with +2) against target's commitment and they run away scared; works automatically against minions
- Prowl/continuous: +1 to Cunning checks to sneak around stealthily

Hathor
Symbol: cow, sistrum
- Milk of the Sacred Mother/focus-rested: you pour out holy milk from your cupped hands (up to one pint); it is delicious warm milk which can cure one wound (once per imbiber per day) but also affects undead and other evil creatures as holy water
- Joy Dance/focus: you dance for joy and all those nearby feel it; removes negative emotions such as fear, sadness, despair, anger; creatures may resist with opposed roll of their Commitment vs. cleric's Charm (at +2)
- Horns of Goring/focus: large glowing cow horns sprout from your head, remaining for one minute or one action scene; you may use them to attack, bash things, or just show off (+1 to Brawn checks to intimidate)
- Create Cloud/focus-rested: draw on Hathor's powers as a sky goddess and create a dense cloud with a 30-foot radius; it is so dense that vision is reduced to one foot; lasts 10 minutes or one action scene
- So Hawt/focus-rested: with appropriate moves and a whispered prayer you become irresistible to one creature for one minute or one action scene (creature may attempt to resist with Awareness roll against cleric's Charm roll +2)
- Hew Tunnel/focus-rested: Hathor is patron of miners and with this miracle you create a tunnel 30 feet long and 10 feet wide through natural rock and earth; it lasts only 10 minutes unless professionally shored up with framing of timber or other durable materials

Horus
Symbol: falcon, Wedjat eye
- Sunlight/focus-rested: a ray of sunlight shoots from your right eye; does 1 wound to creatures vulnerable to sunlight
- Moonlight/focus-rested: a ray of moonlight shoots from your right eye; revealing invisible creatures and dispelling illusions (Commitment roll vs. caster's Cunning); lasts 1 minute
- Headlight Eyes/focus: beams of gold and silver light shine from both eyes, providing illumination in darkness (even magical darkness) out to 30 feet; lasts 10 minutes or one action scene
- Wedjat Eye/focus-encounter: you draw the sign of the Wedjat Eye in the air or on a surface, where it glows; evil creatures must succeed at a Daring roll vs the cleric's Commitment roll (with +2) to overcome or will be unable to approach within 30 feet; lasts one action scene or if cast outside of an action scene will last 24 hours or until overcome
- Falcon's Wings/focus-rested: cleric sprouts a set of magnificent falcon's wings; can fly for one action scene or one minute.
- Royal Command/focus-encounter: by the power of Horus you command one creature to obey a one-word command (Save: target's Commitment or Daring vs. Cleric's Brawn or Charm with +2)

Mayet
Symbol: ostrich feather
- Truth Tell/focus-encounter: Target must save (Commitment or Cunning vs. cleric's Commitment at +2) or must tell the truth for the next 10 minutes.
- Soul Balance/focus: the alignment of one creature is revealed to you
- Summer Heat/focus-rested: you evoke the heat of noon in the height of summer; victim must make Brawn check or collapse sweaty and exhausted for 1d6 turns
- Winter Frost/focus-rested: you call down the frost of a deep winter far away; victim must make Brawn check or move frozen at half speed for 1d6 turns
- Spring Showers/focus-rested: you summon a sudden rainstorm, creating a magical mud puddle; victims in the storm will be soaking wet and any in the mud must make Brawn check or be stuck there for 1d6 turns
- Autumn Winds/focus-rested: you call up a small area of intense blustery winds and swirling dry leaves; any in the area must make a Daring check or be baffled and confused for 1d6 turns

Isis/Iset
Symbol: throne, sun disk with cow's horns
- Charm Person/focus: the glow of the goddess entrances your listener and makes them amenable to your wishes; a successful Charm (with +2) and they'll go along with anything (for one action scene or 10 minutes) which doesn't involve violence
- Resurrection/rested-focus:  with 10 minutes of prayer and chanting you lure the spirit of a recently deceased (one hour per level of caster) person back to their body; does not heal any injuries to the body.  Unwilling spirits may attempt a Commitment to Commitment contest to resist.
- Healing Glow/rested-focus: all friendly creatures within 10 feet heal one wound
- Plant Growth/focus: all plants in a 30-foot radius double in size; if no existing plants, a lush thicket of ordinary bushes or grasses will sprout (flowers optional); lasts 10 minutes or one action scene
- Kite (bird) Transform/rested-focus: you transform into a bird (kite) for 10 minutes or one action scene
- <pick one Wizard spell; may not be changed later>

Khepri
Symbol: scarab beetle, blue lotus
- Busy Beetle/focus-encounter: you perform any normal work task at double speed
- Stench of Dung/encounter: you emit a repulsive stench of dung, affecting living creatures out to 30 feet; all in area must pass a Brawn or Commitment save (at -2) or be incapacitated throwing up and retching
- Summon Scarab Swarm/focus-encounter: you summon a scarab swarm; can either burst forth from the environment (earth/wall/etc.), pour out of an object, or be spewed from cleric's mouth; lasts 10 minutes or one action scene
- Chitin Armor/focus-encounter: your body grows a layer of thick beetle chitin armor; you look creepy but gain +1 AC; lasts 10 minutes or one action scene
- Early to Rise/rested: the power of the dawn energizes you; temporarily gain 1 AP which lasts until dusk
- Summon Giant Scarab Mount/focus-rested: a giant scarab burrows up from somewhere and serves as a riding mount for just the cleric for 24 hours

Anubis
Symbol: flail, black jackal
- Command Mummy/focus-rested: mummies respect Anubis; if you succeed in a Commitment check (with +2) against a mummy it will obey you for one hour; can only be used on one particular mummy once in 24 hours
- Mummify/focus-rested: by the power of Anubis you mummify a creature dead no more than three days; it will remain preserved for 100 years; may be cast in reverse to de-mummify a mummified creature, with undead mummies taking 2 wounds
- Sanctified Repose/focus: you infuse a creature dead no more than 1 hour with holy energies, preserving it for 24 hours; also heals any negative wounds the creature may have (bringing it to 0 wounds)
- Soul Speaker/constant: you can converse with the dead; those unwilling to converse may be compelled by succeeding at a Commitment check (with +2)
- Necroshield/focus: you create a 10 foot radius shell which repels undead, but they may attempt to enter with a Commitment contest (but with +2 for the casting cleric); lasts 10 minutes or one action scene
- Summon Anubi Angel/focus-rested: summon an angelic anubi servant of the Anubis; it is yours to command and will stay around for 10 minutes or one action scene
Anubi Angel
AC-12
HP:  2
2d10 attack: flail

- Double-Sanctified Repose/focus-rested: cast by Anubi Angel, as Sanctified Repose, but recipient may have been dead up to 2 hours and will be preserved for 48 hours

Apep
Symbol: snake or dragon
- Dragon Speak/constant: you know the language of dragons
- Chaos Shadow (darkness and confusion)/focus-encounter: a 30 foot radius area of swirling chaos shadow appears around the caster; all creatures in the chaos must make a Commitment save (at -2) or have vision reduced to 10 feet (20 feet for creatures with low light level vision) and suffer -2 to all rolls; lasts 10 minutes or one action scene
- Chaos Fang/focus-rested: you grow a set of viper fangs, with venom; if you succeed in a bite attack the victim must pass a Brawn save or lose a wound and be blinded for an hour
- Blindness/focus-rested: victim must make a Commitment save (at -2) or be blinded for 1 hour
- Hypnotize/focus-encounter: victim must make a Daring save or follow the caster's commands for up to 1 hour.  Victim moves at half speed and cannot fight or cast spells.  If victim suffers any pain or injury they are allowed another Daring save to recover their wits.
- Eclipse/focus-rested: all illumination (including the sun if outdoors in daylight) dims in a 100 foot radius such that vision is reduced to only 5 feet (or 10 feet for creatures with low light level vision); lasts 10 minutes or one action scene

Ra
Symbol: sun disk, hawk
- Noon Sun/focus-rested: the area around the caster is lit with brilliant noontime sunlight from above in a 50' radius; lasts 10 minutes or one action scene
- Solar Halo/focus-encounter: a bright sun disk appears just behind the caster's head, shining brightly ahead in a beam; anyone looking into the beam must pass a Commitment check or be blinded for 1d6 turns
- Falcon Sight/continuous: you have the amazingly keen sight of a falcon, allowing you to see clearly 5 times as far as a normal person; lasts 10 minutes
- Heroism/focus-encounter: the glories of the hero-god fill you (gain +4 on any Commitment or Daring checks; lasts 10 minutes or one action scene)
- Wings of Ra/focus-rested: you grow huge hawk wings allowing you to fly (for one action scene or 1 minute)
- Summon Celestial Falcon/focus-rested: you summon a feathered companion of Ra; it is yours to command and will stay around for 10 minutes or one action scene
Celestial Falcon
AC-12
HP:  2
2d10 attack: talons
- Terrible Talons/encounter: celestial falcon attacks by diving from the sky (at least 50' up), gaining +2 to attack and doing +1 wound

Set
Symbol: Was sceptre
- Darkness/focus: cast 50' radius area of unholy total darkness, impenetrable except for the light of the Noon Sun spell (and even then the casters will engage in a Commitment contest to see which spell prevails); lasts 10 minutes or one action scene
- Storm of the Wastes/focus-encounter: conjure up a wild storm with wind, rain, and thunder with a radius of 50'; all creatures in the area are -4 to attribute checks unless they can first pass a check with that attribute; normal flames are extinguished, everything is soaking wet, and soft earth turns muddy; lasts 10 minutes or one action scene
- Shadow Plague/focus-rested: you inflict a victim with a horrible unholy plague, with huge boils causing 2 wounds and unconsciousness for one hour (victim allowed a Commitment save at -2)
- Command Murder (Psycho Killer)/focus-rested: command one creature within 50 feet to commit murder against one other creature; victim is allowed a Commitment check to refuse to kill a friend or loved one, otherwise a Daring check; lasts 24 hours or until designated victim is dead
- Dismember/focus-rested: conjuring a shadowy blade, lop off a victim's major bodily appendage (hand, leg, foot, wing, tentacle, etc.); victim allowed a Cunning save to evade or lose the appendage and two wounds; range 30 feet
- Raise Undead/focus-rested; you animate a dead creature and bend it to your will; requires a creature still reasonably bodily intact; does not work on creatures protected by the Anubis cleric domain spells of Mummify or Sanctified Repose

Sekhmet
Symbol: lioness, red linen
- Ward Disease/focus: drawing on the protection of the goddess you ward one person from disease for an hour
- Heal Battle Wounds/focus-encounter: you heal up to two wounds on one recipient, but only if those wounds were suffered in combat
- Lion Head/focus-encounter: your head transforms into that of a lion, with big pointy teeth capable of inflicting a wound; lasts 10 minutes or one action scene
- Party Girl/continuous: the clerics of Sekhmet are always ready for a wild good time; +2 to Charm, Daring, or Cunning checks during carousing, parties, concerts, club scenes, and similar situations.
- Blood Rage/focus-encounter: the goddess roars within you, granting you +1 attack per round for the next 1d6 rounds
- Flame Blaze/focus-rested: you conjure the heat of battle itself and blast an enemy (range 30', causes 2 wounds, victim may attempt a Daring save)

Sobek
Symbol: crocodile, river
- Sobeki Friend/continuous: crocodiles and other crocodilian creatures will always initially treat you as a friend
- Crocodile Jaws/focus-encounter: you grow a fearsome set of crocodilian jaws (or your teeth get much larger if a sobeki); on a successful attack you inflict one wound and can hang on with an opposed Brawn check and continue to inflict another wound; lasts 10 minutes or one action scene
- Command Crocodile/focus: looking a crocodile in the eyes, you bend it to your will for one hour (only once per particular crocodile per 24 hours)
- Scaly Hide/focus-encounter: your body grows a layer of scaly crocodile skin; gain +1 AC; lasts 10 minutes or one action scene
- Battle Strength/focus-encounter: you evoke the power of Mighty Sobek; gain +2 to Brawn bonus for one hour
- Summon Crocodile/focus-rested: one of the god's pets arrives to help; it is yours to command and will stay around for 10 minutes or one action scene:
Celestial Crocodile
AC-12
HP:  3
2d10 attack: bite
- Death Roll/encounter: after a successful bite, the celestial crocodile may make a successfull Brawn to spin and thrash with victim clamped in your jaws to cause an additional 2 wounds


Thoth
Symbol: papyrus scroll, ibis, baboon
- Know Language/focus-rested: taking a moment to draw on the vast wisdom of the Erudite One, you gain the ability to know any one language for one hour
- Divine Science & Knowledge/focus-rested: taking a moment to draw on the vast wisdom of the Erudite One, you gain the ability to know any one science or area of knowledge for one hour
- Glyph of Warding/focus-rested: you draw a glowing magic hieroglyph (with your finger or other object) which remains for one hour providing +2 to AC and +2 on saves versus magic within a 20-foot radius
- Glyph of Revealing/focus-rested: you draw a glowing magic hieroglyph (with your finger or other object) which remains for one hour and reveals anything invisible within a 30-foot radius
- Glyph of Dispelling/focus-rested: you draw a glowing magic hieroglyph (with your finger or other object) which remains for one hour and dispells any illusions within a 30-foot radius
- Moon Beam/focus-rested: moon beams shoot from your eyes 30 feet in a 45-degree cone, dispelling all illusions and invisibility and revealing any secret doors.

Tawaret
Symbol: "sa" sign, hippopotamus
- Command Hippo/focus: looking a hippo in the eyes, you bend it to your will for one hour (only once per particular hippo per 24 hours)
- Hippo Huge/focus-encounter: you become huge and bulky like a magnificent hippo and also gain +2 Brawn; lasts for one action scene or 10 minuted
- Flood Surge/focus-rested: a huge splash of water sprays out from the caster 30', extinguishing normal flames and knocking creatures off their feet (unless succeed at a Brawn save)
- Lovely Birth/focus-rested: the birth of any one creature (or litter of up to 12 small or medium creatures) will be smooth and easy, with mother and offspring healthy and happy afterwards
- Soul Cleanse/focus-rested: exorcise a living creature of any possessing spirits (spirit allowed a Commitment save but at -2) and remove any curses
- Summon Hippo/focus-rested: one of the god's pets arrives to help; it is yours to command and will stay around for 10 minutes or one action scene
Celestial Hippo
AC-12
HP:  4
2d10 attack: chomp

- Belly Flop/focus: celestial hippo flops on water or other level surface to cast Flood Surge

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Review: The Gaean Reach

Okay, so I haven't posted in a while.  I have been reading through quite a few RPG books I bought recently and am almost done with my cleric kits for the gods and goddesses for my Neo School Hack setting Anubia.  But that's not important right now.

What I really want to talk about today is The Gaean Reach, from Pelgrane Press, written by Robin D. Laws. The book itself is quite small, just 93 pages of text plus a lot of pages at the back with character sheets, etc.  But it is fully self-contained so you can jump in and play for under US$20.  The artwork is black-and-white only but I like that sort of thing and definitely enjoyed the pieces scattered throughout the book.

As I've mentioned in earlier posts, Jack Vance is my absolute favorite author.  This book takes his main science fiction setting and uses it for a futuristic detective series based on the GUMSHOE rules.  I noticed the mention of GUMSHOE in the burb but I was really expecting something like Traveler, just with a different setting and Vancian tone. And it does mention that you can use the rules for different types of campaigns.

The main premise of The Gaean Reach, however, is that the characters have each suffered due to the evil doings of criminal mastermind Quandos Vorn and have banded together to track him down and exact revenge.  They may or may not be members of an official interstellar law-enforcement body.  The campaign is also structured like a television series or  mini-series, with episodes, various plot devices, and a final end.  The game uses the GUMSHOE rules but borrows a little from Pelgrane's Dying Earth rules (gaming in the setting of Vance's Dying Earth novels).  There is a short but very interesting gazetteer section on the Reach with summaries of several planets.  At the back is a nice adventure which could be used to kick-start a campaign. The rules mechanics are very simple, putting the focus on the detective work, exploration, and role-playing over number crunching and "character optimization".

One thing you won't find here is huge lists of equipment.  In fact there are no equipment lists at all.  In this game items of equipment are either taken for granted, rolled for based on circumstances, or appear as required for the plot.  It's another example of skipping crunchy stuff which is really a distraction in order to get on with the adventure.

One thing I wasn't comfortable with  at first was how the GUMSHOE rules make most clue discovery automatic.  If finding clues and information is so easy then where is the challenge?  But I now see that it's a lot better this way than having to scramble to put clues back in the players' path following a blown investigation roll.  You make finding the clues relatively easy, but make analyzing them and following up the challenging part.  And it is possible for players to work to get more information beyond the initial discoveries.

The book includes character generation using pre-set cards or from scratch.  Each player also draws three taglines to use during play which are discarded when used and fresh ones drawn.  The taglines encourage players to use Vancian style dialogue.  Clever and appropriate use of the taglines garners tokens which can be spent during play to avoid death,improve rolls, etc.

Overall I'm very pleased with The Gaean Reach.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

#RPGaDay catch-up 12 thru 23


I've been very busy and distracted recently so I'm way behind on my #RPGaDay entries.


12th - Old RPG You Still Play / Read
Traveler.  I'm not sure why I'm still drawn to it.  The rules are clunky, the technologies unimaginative, and the setting boring.  We didn't even play it all that much.  But it was the first sci-fi RPG I ever bought and I have an odd nostalgia for it.

13th - Most Memorable Character Death
Actually the character death I remember most was due to the DM being a dick.  I went to a gaming club open house at the University of Maryland (probably 20 years ago now) and joined a session of D&D.  The rules were 2nd Edition AD&D, which I was not familiar with.  I think they just handed me a character to jump in but the main group of about eight players at the table with the DM already had full characters in the campaign.  Several of us were sitting in chairs away from the main table and I leaned over to quietly ask a player sitting next to me about some of the 2E stuff on the character sheet, like what the heck is a THAC0?  Well, the party was then walking along a narrow trail on a cliff side over a raging river.  The DM, annoyed that I was not giving my full attention to His Majesty, looked over and said "Your character falls in the river and drowns."  Just like that.  No reason for the fall, no saving or skill roll, nothing.  What a dick.

14th - Best Convention Purchase
My last memorable convention purchase was actually some anime art books by Masamune Shirow at Otakon several years ago.  I love art books but there are not a lot of specifically RPG art books out there.  I enjoy Shirow's work, although I wish he didn't feel compelled to make everything a fan service piece.

15th - Favourite Convention Game
Well, all the convention games I've played (only a few to be honest) were disappointing at best.  The closest thing to a favorite convention type game I played in was not actually an RPG.  Back in the early 90's some local wargamers put on a massive (massive) replay of the Battle of Borodino in 1812.  The scenario actually included armies which were in the campaign but far from the battlefield, just to make it bigger and include more players.  They had three tables which were 60 feet long and 8 feet wide with accurate terrain and tens of thousands of miniatures.  The sheer spectacle of the thing was amazing.  That's a game I'll always remember.

16th - Game You Wish You Owned
Anima, because the artwork is spectacular.  I probably wouldn't even play it, just put it on the coffee table so I can pick it up and browse the art.  I'm also drawn to Tribe 8 by Dream Pod 9 because it is a really cool setting with lots of deep material.

17th - Funniest Game You’ve Played
Basic Action Super Heroes, actually.  It's not specifically meant to be funny but the rules are so simple that you don't feel really attached to the character and thus are free to do wild and wacky stuff.

18th - Favourite Game System
As a GM my favorite to run is actually Big Eyes, Small Mouth.  The simplicity of the mechanics allowed me to pretty much memorize the gameplay rules in a couple readings. (Traveler is similar but has more fiddly bits and for some reason it just seems boring to me.)

19th - Favourite Published Adventure
The Desert of Desolation modules for AD&D, with the Shackled City adventure path (D&D 3E) as runner-up.  I ran the Desert of Desolation modules using Chivalry & Sorcery for my group in college and it was really fun.  I'm running the Shackled City now for my current group.

20th - Will Still Play in 20 Years Time…

At first I thought this would be a tough question, because 20 years is a long time from now.  But looking back 20 years I realize that I'm not playing much now that I wasn't playing then--albeit an earlier edition.  So I'm sure I'll be playing Call of Cthulhu, and possibly Pathfinder if my brain doesn't collapse under the crunch overload.

21st - Favourite Licensed RPG
Hmm, the only (probably) licensed RPG I have is the Dying Earth RPG.  Jack Vance is still my favorite author and I was thrilled to see his Dying Earth books turned into an RPG.  The mechanics are simple and work for the setting.  I have yet to actually get anyone to play it...but maybe someday.

22nd - Best Secondhand RPG Purchase
Ooh, this is a bit of a tough one.  It's a toss-up between the Forgotten Realms campaign setting for D&D 3rd Edition, Abyssals for Exalted, and The Plane Above for D&D 4E.  The Forgotten Realms is a solid high fantasy campaign setting which I would be happy to run or play in.  I also like the artwork, the overall look of the book, and the maps.  I almost didn't buy the Abyssals book.  The original Exalted book was about playing "special but flawed" protagonists mostly facing other "special but flawed" types.  It felt too much like a superhero game.  But the game setting was pretty cool and I finally spotted the Abyssals book at my FLGS (Games & Stuff).  This turned out to be a great book and if I every run Exalted it will be an Abyssal campaign.  The Plane Above was another of my may purchases of setting material.  Campaign settings are brain candy to me and I've been looking for something different.  The Plane Above is all about adventuring on the astral plane and I could definitely run an entire campaign based on this book.

23rd - Coolest Looking RPG Product / Book
The first one which came to mind is The Book of Ebon Bindings for Empire of the Petal Throne.  It's very simple, but looks exactly like the grimoire of evil summoning rituals it's meant to be. A runner-up, mostly for sentimental reasons, is the AD&D Fiend Folio.  A lot of the artwork in the earlier editions of D&D was atrocious.  With the Fiend Folio I immediately loved the Githyanki on the cover.   The interior art was a big step up from everything else I'd bought to that point.  It's the only AD&D book I still own.  It's a keeper.


Saturday, August 16, 2014

The Journal of Katherine, Entry 55

I am finally relieved of the anxiety I just witnessed.  I can record the events.  Let me start at the beginning of day three in the desert. 

We stop only briefly, for we enter the city before night.  The city seems buried in sand.  Only the tops of buildings show and some are damaged.  We see many animal tracks.  I imagine a pack of wolf-like monsters that would circle us and then wait for a chance and attack the weakest.  That would be Trevor and me.  Courage, we must not give in to fear.  Be strong, but be prudent, too. We notice a damaged dome, where animal tracks do not go.  We make our way there.  The dome seems like an ancient temple.  We find a way inside and down a hole.  Using rope, Brute lowers me and my light brightens this dark chamber.

We see many murals painted on the walls, depicting scenes from nature, implying this city was not always in the desert.  Also to support this, we see what appears as a map, and it definitely shows a river passing through the city.  One recurring image here is that of a spider.  I can guess that this temple was created to honor this spider.

We find a pair of metal doors in this room.  Brute pushes on the door, moving it slowly, causing sand and dust to stir.  We move into the corridor beyond.  It leads to a room with more murals and pillars and three doors, one straight, one to the right, and one to the left.  We open each door, ready for any ambush to charge out.  Behind each door is a room, but each room is different.

From the way we came, the middle door we choose first.  We see an unnatural darkness at the ceiling and grooves in the floor, and a door on the far side.  I pray to the Light, to see if this room has traps.  And there are.  But that does not help much, for we do not have a trapsmith to disarm the traps.

The next door we choose is to the left.  No ambush.  Here, there is a river, but not of water, instead of lava.  The river of lava enters from one side and exist along the other side.  And there are many life-like statues of people, made of stone, in various active poses.  Looking from my viewpoint, I get a strange feeling that these statues were not originally made of stone, but were once flesh and blood, then turned to stone.  There is a door on the far side, but there is no way to cross the lava.  The Light does not reveal any traps in this room.  So, before venturing into this room, we check the last, door, the one to our right.

The room beyond, has five stone statues of grotesque monsters.  And a door on the far wall, beyond.  Trevor and I wait at the entrance, as the others investigate.  Kull touches one of the statues, and it begins to move.  However, no others move.  This is good, for Brute and Kull work together to destroy this stone statue.  Then Ohm Uri joins the attack, by dropping from the ceiling, attacking from the back.  This makes an ordered attack turn into chaos, for another statue moves and attacks Ohm Uri.  Soon, the first statue crumbles to the ground.  But the disorderly movements by Ohm Uri, continually make other statues start moving and attacking.  Brute fails to dodge the claws a few times.  They also thrust with their horns on their heads.  These appear to leave deeper wounds, and Brute is injured many times.

Then the strangest thing happens.  Not sure if this new membership in the temple has altered his mind.  But Trevor rushes into the fight to help the fighters.  He should let the fighting be done by fighters.  This causes another statue to move and attack.  And it moves unchecked directly to Trevor.  He neither is fast nor as armored as the others.  Poor Trevor takes the hit on his back, and hit hard. 

I am distraught; I do not know what to do.  I just drop down on my knees to pray, to pray for help.  I see a bright flash through my closed eyelids.  I open my eyes and I see a heavenly angel.  He puts himself between Trevor and this monster. 

While the angel fights this statue, I move close, and I put my hands over the wound, but there is no blood from his flesh.  I ask the Light to bind his body.  The cut does close, but the wound is strange.  Brute, Kull, and Ohm Uri destroy the last monsters.  I find myself breathing hard and my heart racing.  I want to scold Trevor for his actions, as he could be injured more seriously.  But I am also in disbelief about Trevor.  He does not have blood like the rest of us.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Journal of Katherine, Entry 54

Day two of our sandy travel to the city. 

After I crawl into my blanket, I think of how all of these men have respected my privacy.  Much unlike most other men, Brute and Kull, especially, treat most women like their sisters, taking on a natural role of protector.  Brute already remarked about adopting Cass.  And make it clear to Ohm Uri, and Trevor too, that no one should harm Cass.  Cass is or now was the ruler's oracle, and she is staying with us at the mansion now.  I will tell that story later.  I fall asleep, gazing up at the stars. 

I wake to the sound of Brute's alarm of battle.  It is dark, very dark.  I jump to my feet, and focus the sorcery energy to shield me.  Within seconds, Trevor summons light to his lantern, revealing two giant beetles rushing the two of us.  The beetles are huge, about three feet wide.  I have never seen beetles this size before.  I pray for the Light to help.  A deafening sound hits the two giants and their armored shells crack and break, sending bug parts flying.  That is a close call.  Trevor moves the lamp around to reveal that the rest of the giant beetles were killed by Ohm Uri, Brute and Kull.  After my heart stops pounding fast, I crawl, a second time, into my blanket, to fall back to an eerie sleep.  What else is out there in the dark?

Before the sun rises, we pack and continue.  During our next break, I summon the water like before, only I notice under the water, the light concentrates in one area.  And this area gets hot.  Very hot, maybe, hot enough to burn. 

And today, Trevor does not seem to be effected by the heat, two days where he is fast and energetic.  The rest are sweating, and I am glistening.  It is very uncomfortable.  Brute confronts Trevor about having him use his spell on us to make us feel better, however, Trevor denies he did anything.  I suspect his connection to the mirror portal is somehow protecting him from the heat.

I omitted two earlier events and summarize them now:
Back at the house in Aden, the oracle, Cass, enters the house escorted by Brute and Kull.  She is dressed in Ohm Uri's clothes.  Brute has no end to the images of Ohm Uri walking through town dressed in some fashion of the oracle's attire.  I knew something happened!  Apparently, Ohm Uri had been foraging a feather bed for himself, and either picked the lock of her belt or paid a urchin to do it.  After the night, Cass, fearing for her life, takes Ohm Uri's clothes and gets far away from the ruler.  Then Brute and Kull find her.  Later, Ohm Uri, as guessed by Brute, enters the mansion wearing one of the dresses of Cass, including a veil.  I usually leave these types of stories out, but this time, someone must record this. 

For me, I try one more time with my temple.  I make true to my tithe vow and donate a handsome sum.  After a brief plea, they give me some divine scrolls.  I leave in favorable conditions, this time.

We camp for a second night, with the city of Andough much closer.  The sun sets behind us.  The rest of us are hot, exhausted, wet, dirty.  But not Trevor.  Its almost like he has an unearthly glow about him.  Gazing on his features, renews me of hope and strength.  Could this be the effect of the rune prayer I did before we left?  Could he really be a true believer in the Light?  It's times like this that are so precious.  If we make it back, we can remember ourselves here, and these thoughts.

Monday, August 11, 2014

#RPGaDay, Day 11: Weirdest RPG Owned

Okay, so catching up again and back on track for Day 11.  This is a tough one because I don't go in for weird games. But I do have two candidates vying for the honor of weirdest RPG I own:
  • Ponies for Pathfinder
  • Tribe 8
Ponies for Pathfinder is weird, but in the "Ha, ha, ha, that's awesome, I love it!" sense and it would definitely send many of the most hardcore gamers running for the hills in a panic. 

Tribe 8 is a very weird, very creepy setting which I need to start collecting and reading more fully.  It is it's own thing and very much a niche product.  I love it because it is so different.

#RPGaDay, Day 9: Favorite Tie-in

I think the only novel or game fiction I ever read which was a tie-in to an RPG (where the RPG came first) was the Forgotten Realms novels with the infamous drow ranger Drizzt in them.  They were readable enough but I've read a lot more fiction which later became a game:
  • Elric
  • Dragonlance
  • Call of Cthulhu
  • The Dying Earth
  • The Gaean Reach

(Not surprisingly, the last two are from novels by my favorite author, Jack Vance.)