Friday, 22 July 2016

Curse of Strahd 0xC - Final Introductions!

Our group is starting a new campaign!  This time, I will be running the group through an adaptation of The Curse of Strahd, using a "13th Aged" version of the 4e DnD rules, and starting in a Victorian-era Earthish setting.  To start things out, I worked with the (nine!) players to tie their characters are the final members! 

Jean-Paul Leroux - The Thief
I spend money freely

"Jean-Paul Leroux"

Elven Thief Rogue

Jean-Paul hadn't been home for a while - the years (or has it reached decades now?) have flown by anything but smoothly.  For a while, they were still hunting him - that's where he first met that funny gnome, "Kroissant". His codename, "Karim", had been much clearer, and Jean-Paul still wasn't sure why he changed it, but what was certain was that when Jean-Paul had a need, Kroissant had hidden him, and hidden him well.  That danger had now passed (mostly), but where one danger ends, another is only too eager to fall into its place.

The Russian - "Borya" - had assured Jean-Paul the business dealings would work.  Things were only 'legally grey', an area the pair were only too familiar with, but the whole plan had gone belly up, and now they both needed an escape plan - or a lot of money, soon.

As luck would have it, that was when the brightly-dressed fellow came asking for help.  He didn't say much, just gave Jean-Paul a letter, paid for his meal (in gold!), and promised much more, should he come and help the fellow's master out.  The reward sounded great, and would definitely help Jean-Paul and Borya out of their situation, but the location...the Svalich Woods...that was something they didn't wish to tackle alone.

Bringing Kroissant in on the deal was a way of trying to clear the debt owed to the gnome, whilst also gathering more bodies to ensure a swift victory.  From there, the trio start organising a caravan...they would need guards, and a guide.  Also, an actual wagon would be handy!

Kroissant de L'Oréal - The Illusionist
I change my mood quickly

"Kroissant de L'Oréal"

Gnome Star Pact Binder Warlock

Kroissant hadn't seen many people from his homeland before Jean-Paul fell into his life.  That had burned too many bridges, made it too difficult, too painful to go back.  But with Jean-Paul, there was a chance to make amends, maybe not directly, but in some small way.

Jean-Paul had needed to hide, and that was something Kroissant was only too good at.  The gnome made him disappear - invisible, some may say - until his pursuers lost interest in him.  And so Jean-Paul owed him - sure, he was good, but he wasn't free!

So, Jean-Paul was in trouble again.  This time, he assured Kroissant, there was great riches to be had, and he could have part of it, if only he came along and helped out.  Of course, there was more to it than that, but that could wait - the pressing matter was he had come to you so that your share could help pay this debt.

They needed to get through the Svalich Woods, that was the first step.  They needed a caravan, guards too (if possible), and a guide, for the woods were more treacherous than most.  Whilst the others worked on hiring some mercenaries, Kroissant sought out those that knew the paths of the woods. 

There were a few - some more expensive than others, some more skilled or experienced than others.  Some simply prettier than others.  But for some reason, none of that interested Kroissant, not that day.  The stars seemed to have aligned themselves, and one person, one well-dressed man (from Oxford!) stood out from the rest.  Not because of his offering price, nor his credentials, and definitely not because of his face!  No, this man stood out magically.  Something from beyond this mortal realm called to the gnome from him.  And Kroissant have been paying attention to these things for long enough to know: when the stars called out to you, you listen.

Sir Cecil Conrad Mallaby Quirke III - The Druid
I'm well known

"Sir Cecil Conrad Mallaby Quirke III"

Human Predator Druid

Sir Cecil hadn't really meant to get the job; he was just passing through the town, when he had heard rumours of the danger of Svalich Woods.  Going through it could take up to a week, but going around would most likely add a month or two onto your journey.  So, he had asked around, listened out for anyone headed that way, thinking he could pay to purchase passage with them.  Instead, he had come away with a paying position on their team, as a guide, no less!  Well, the money was certainly something he could do with, though it was a "pay on arrival" deal.  But that didn't bother him - it was already cheaper than he had imagined!

So, instead of enjoying his planned reading, Sir Cecil had poured over the local maps, planning a path for the caravan.  Two horses, two guards, four passengers, and a monk with a prisoner!  And then he started putting pieces together.  A monk...the prisoner must be a religious thing.  A 'disturber of the peace', or other heretic.  Like...Seb. 

Sighing, he inquired more about the company.  There was little surprise. It was Seb.

Sebastian Mallaby.

Sir Cecil had heard some stories about his crazy estranged great-third-cousin (four times removed?), but had hoped that they were not true.  After sneaking a look at the monk's prisoner, he could not be more certain - that tell-tale Mallaby nose and chin were there, the family ears, the hair that reminded Cecil of his favourite second cousin...this was the dreaded embarrassment to the family name.  What was he to do?  Would Seb recognise him, or had it been too long? Would he say something else to throw the family name into the dirt, or was Seb finally going to be quietened for good?  ...what horrors would a trial do to the family??

Friday, 15 July 2016

Curse of Strahd 0xB - More Introductions!

Our group is starting a new campaign!  This time, I will be running the group through an adaptation of The Curse of Strahd, using a "13th Aged" version of the 4e DnD rules, and starting in a Victorian-era Earthish setting.  To start things out, I worked with the (nine!) players to tie their characters is round two! 

Naman Saket - The Soldier
I am not a victim.

"Naman Saket"

Sandsoul Genasi Shielding Swordmage

When he heard that Luc Dubois was back in town, Naman's whole week turned around.  He hadn't seen his friend many years was it now?  Too many!  And he had gone and gained a knighthood, too - "Ser Luc", as he was now known!

With nothing much on, Naman was only too eager to catch up with his childhood friend.  But when it came to a question of earning money, or spending it, the choice was more difficult.  Thankfully, Ser Luc was eager to continue making up for lost time, and quickly signed on to help out guard the caravan.  Some simple job - a few fellows wanted passage through the Svalich Woods, and a monk was transporting a prisoner along the same route.  They didn't offer much money up front, but promised more upon completion.  And a man of the cloth was good for his word, right?

Interestingly, Naman had another party who was eager to come along, though not for the full journey.  Soren, a young man who had an uncanny ability with metalworking, had been tracking some werewolves who had killed his father.  Naman hadn't shared the news with others - who would have believed him? - and indeed, if he hadn't been standing with him when he discovered his father's body, hadn't help him slay the werewolves there, then maybe he would think Soren him mad, too. 

Soren wanted to travel to the woods, but believed his quarry lived inside them, not on the other side.  Whereas most folk would be passing straight through, he was looking to remain, until vengeance was accomplished.

Soren Johanssen - The Transmuter
I get bored easily...

"Soren Johanssen"

Human Artificer

In the early days after his father went missing, Soren was a lot less careful than he is now.  On one occasion, when he thought he had almost tracked his father down, Soren fell into an ambush that almost took his life.  Only the aid of a passing Russian ranger kept him from death's door, and returned him to civilisation in one piece.

Since then, Soren takes care not to venture too far out alone.  Sure, not many will look at him quite the same after discovering he is hunting 'werewolves', but some have proven to be more understanding than others.  One such companion was Naman, an excellent swordsman who was with Soren the day he found his father's body, and the werewolves with him.  Together, they ensured that none of the werewolves survived...but Soren also knew that those in charge, the pack leaders, were not there that night.  He waited, he stalked them, but he never found them. 

Until recently, their track had grown cold.  Until recently, when Soren came across another victim, and all signs pointed towards Svalich Woods.  And, as if the gods themselves were granting him this favour, Naman was headed that way!  He had been hired to guard a caravan travelling through the woods.  Sure, he wouldn't be able to stay with Soren all the way, but there was always a chance that they might meet the werewolves before they parted ways, right?

Borya Orlov - The Mercenary
I live for the hunt!

"Borya Orlov"

Human Scout Ranger

The wild was much tamer than city-folk would give it credit.  There were less cut-purses, less crooked cops, and far less murders (per square mile, at least).  Sure - it was still dangerous, something city-folk seemed to forget.  Like that one guy, Soren, who wandered off alone, and almost got himself eaten by wolves.  Borya came across his broken, bleeding body and barely managed to put him together - after returning him to the city, Borya told him to stay there, it was his place, just like the wild was Borya's.

Borya had only returned to the city because he needed the money, and the business deal had seemed a sure thing. The Frenchman - "Jean-Paul" - thought it would all work.  Things were only 'legally grey', an area the pair were only too familiar with, but the whole plan had gone belly up, and now they both needed an escape plan - or a lot of money, soon.

That's when Jean-Paul came up with another plan.  Some guy - colourfully dressed, but Jean-Paul knew little else - had handed him a letter, paid for his meal (in gold!), and promised much more, should he come and help the fellow's master out.  The reward sounded great, and would definitely help the two of them out of their situation, but the location...the Svalich Woods...that was something they needed more help with.

Jean-Paul called in a little friend of his, and the three of them started organising a caravan...they would need guards, and a guide.  Also, an actual wagon would be handy!

Friday, 8 July 2016

Curse of Strahd 0xA - Introductions!

And now, our group is starting a new campaign!  This time, I will be running the group through an adaptation of The Curse of Strahd, using a "13th Aged" version of the 4e DnD rules, and starting in a Victorian-era Earthish setting.  To start things out, I worked with the (nine!) players to tie their characters together...and this is what we have! 

Seb - The Missionary
I see omens in every action!


Human Malediction Invoker

Seb wase in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Or, more correctly - the church guards were in the wrong place. He wase merely doing what he was called to do - yelling his beliefs loudly at those idiots who keep ignoring him. Their doom is on their own heads!

So Seb spent a few nights in jail.  Finally, an older monk turned up to transport him out of this forsaken city, back to the cathedral.  There, Seb would stand trial for his 'annoyances', his 'disturbances of the peace'.  Pah!

As far as captors go, Brother Tomas seems a reasonable fellow - quiet, patient, and not kicking Seb every minute (yes, he's had a few of those).  But it was to be a long journey, and Seb was not looking forward to going it on foot.  So when the carriage appeared, he was more than happy to be secluded on board!  The fellows who were previously inside - some elf, and his rough barbarian of a travelling companion - weren't so excited about their change of position, but Brother Tomas convinced them - something about his share of financing of this caravan, and supply of the guards.

Most of the time, Brother Tomas sits inside with Seb, silent, cold, distant.  He doesn't engage in talk, ignores Seb's statements, and refuses to be drawn into discussion.  When he's not with Seb, Tomas is outside, interacting with the other travellers only slightly more than he does his prisoner.

Brother Tomas - The Monk
I must control my emotions

"Brother Tomas"

Human Desert Wind Monk

Tomas had heard stories of the travelling crazy long before Seb wandered into his vicinity.  Sprouting out nonsense about demons and undead, and accusing anyone and everyone of vile evilness, he simply had to be removed.  Preferably, a long way, to the cathedral, to stand trial.  And for some reason, Tomas received the task of transporting him.

Normally, Tomas would have simply gone around the Svalich Woods, but he didn't want to spend any longer with this fellow than he had to; a week of rough travel was far more welcome than a month or two of listening to his loony ranting.

Finding others who were willing to go through the woods was hard - usually, large sums of money were needed, and Tomas had none of those resources.  Finding others who not only promised said money, but already had a considerable group gathered - including one Ser Luc Dubois, whom had helped protect Tomas' monastery on more than one occasion - was, simply, a blessing.

The only thing left to do was commandeer the carriage, and keep Seb away from the rest of the party.  And Tomas, where possible.

Ser Luc Dubois - The Paladin
Evil runs from me!

"Ser Luc Dubois"

Human Sacrificial Cavalier (Paladin)

Ser Luc had fought in many battles, served both in his home country and abroad, fighting against those who would take advantage of the weak, the innocent.  Mostly.  At some times, his superior's opinions on who was "weak" differed from his own .  And so, he had grown tired of that way, of the army life.  Now, he ventured where he wished, taking the odd job as a guard, and able to choose whom he protected.

Recently, Ser Luc caught up with an old friend from his childhood, Naman, who is also in the 'guard' business.  The pair decided to go on a trek together for old times sake, to spend some months catching up and enjoying each other's company.  And, as luck would have it, a monk from Ser Luc's order, a Brother Tomas, was looking for some guards to help return a prisoner through the Svalich Woods.  And so, his adventure starts!

Friday, 6 November 2015

(EBR 1x04a) - A Call from the Stars

These posts are my recap of our group's Star Wars Saga Edition game. They are written as a kind of "Ship's Log", from my character (Burt Larsson)'s point of view.  

3593.06.02, Zhellday

I was really hoping to get off this backwater planet sooner, but Montag and the Jedi wanted to hang around for the proceedings.  Ah well - at least they are putting us up somewhere nice!  The view here is great, and the food, though a little strange, is plentiful, and wookie-hair free.  Ah, who am I trying to kid?  As long as I'm not having to pay for it, it's great!

3593.06.02, Zhellday

Managed to get my ship in for some much-needed modifications.  Not sure what I was doing when I let Adam talk me into all those twin cannons - it's hard enough flying the darn thing and shooting occasionally; shooting multiple weapons? Forget it!

The mechanics crew seemed friendly, even more so when I dropped a few of the Kubindi government officials' names.  (Though - not sure if that was extreme gratefulness, or a trace of fear...but as long as the work gets done, right?)

Anton's busy selling off the remaining cargo we had stocked, and picking up some interesting bits to take with us.  No one was interested in the sticks, last I heard, but he's still getting some good prices for the rest of the goods.  And me? I think it's some feet-up time, with another drink or three!

3593.06.03, Primeday

That crew worked fast!  The ship's all done, they even re-tweaked my shields for me - not that I'll have much use for it.  We're due for another elongated trip back home now, and that's mainly Anton driving.  Doubt he'll let me have a turn, not after last time... I mean, it wasn't like I destroyed the entire docking clamp.

I think the Jedi are finished their'observations', too.  Heard them chatting with Anton about their different theories on how the Force works.  Hey, as long as they do their stuff, and let me do mine, I'm ok with them believing whatever they want.

I couldn't quite get a feel for whether Montag is planning on staying with us after our return to Coruscant.  It's strange, despite there being so many more bodies on the 'Raptor, I'm kind of getting used to the noise.  Yeah, even the wookie - but I'm only saying that because no one else can read it without my bio-signature.

Anyway, we've restocked the 'Raptor, brought on new cargo, and about exhausted the government's hospitality.  A few more meals, and we'll have to be back on our way.

3593.06.03, Centaxday

Quickly - a distress beacon! We barely left Kubindi's orbit, and it was picked up.  Some medical supply ship, ambushed in a neighbouring system.  I feigned interest (to keep up my 'bad-boy' persona), and then finally went along with Montag and the Jedi once they mentioned payment.  Hah - am I really that transparent?  Anyway, gotta go and prep Burt's, seems she'll be seeing some action sooner than I thought!

Friday, 9 October 2015

(EBR 1x03b) - The Best Worst Stealth Mission Ever

These posts are my recap of our group's Star Wars Saga Edition game. They are written as a kind of "Ship's Log", from my character (Burt Larsson)'s point of view.  

3593.06.02, Taungsday

Ouch.  I still hurt - like, everywhere. And I've been in this bacta tank for at least...wait, what time is it?

I think it is safe to say, that was not one of our smoothest missions.  And it was only our second.

Things seemed to be going well - no one detected us stowed away in the crates, none of us made any noise until it was time to get out.  We all managed to extract ourselves from the storage building without tripping any alarms - Anton even hacked their system and disabled their alarms, clearly, we should have been on a roll!

But then, we went after one of the guns, the big ones that we were to set up a transponder at.  Had to kill a few guards, disable a handful of droids.  And then the alarms started.  Ralrlanna showed his worth (again!), charging with me into battle against the oncoming droids, whilst the others offered their fire support.  And sure, Anton eventually disabled the alarm, but then that noisy KH-droid of his went and alerted another guard.  Yeah, more sirens, yay.

Look, I'm not saying we did poorly - we took the enemy down when they surfaced, we caught those trying to escape, I even snuck up and silenced the one Anton was computer-battling.  Boy, was he surprised!

By the time we had squashed what, three? Four? squads of guards, and had multiple soundings of the alarm, it was pretty unanimously decided that we'd head straight for the shield generators, and wrap up the mission there.  So, of course, our 'liberated' key-card stopped working.

Ah, Ralrlanna - a delightfully straightforward fellow.  There was a door, it was blocking us, so he set about smashing the thing, trying to open it.  I don't know, but he might still be trying that, had we left him to it.  Their computer systems had already proven to be vulnerable, so Anton hotwired the door instead, and it opened to reveal a room of droids...all waiting for us.

We tried to make a stand, KH-47 and Adam packing some impressive firepower, whilst Ralrlanna took out his door-frustrations on more malleable targets, but these guys were solid. They had four...well, really big droids.  Not sure what they were called, but they were fierce, and all the little ones seemed to be linked up, allowing the big ones to gain some serious accuracy.  And when they hit - well, even Ralrlanna felt it!

Quickly deciding this was not a battle we needed to win, Anton led the charge into a lift, and we slipped upstairs, where the numbers were more in our favour.  Charges set, lifts negated (many uses for broken droid bodies!), we climbed up to the top floor, and turned to Ralrlanna once more.  His hammer shone bright, and made short work of the non-blast-door-reinforced wall.  From there, it was a simple skip, jump, or force-levitation across to our waiting vessel, and we high-tailed it out of there!  With an impressive explosion, the shields came down (as did a good chunk of the building onto those nasty droids), and we got out of there.

The job was done, the radical movement defeated...but, ouch, at what cost?  I'm pretty sure I won't be able to get the scorch marks off my jacket, and I have at least three sizeable bruises over my arms.  My ankle even feels twisted - this is serious!  If we're to operate like this, we need to make sure we know what we're in for, and that we can handle the task smoothly.

And, you know, remain undiscovered on our next stealth mission.

Friday, 2 October 2015

(EBR 1x03a) - The Kubindi Radical

These posts are my recap of our group's Star Wars Saga Edition game. They are written as a kind of "Ship's Log", from my character (Burt Larsson)'s point of view.  

3593.06.01, Taungsday

We'd been back for nearly a week when Montag with another job offer.  Good thing, too - there wasn't much to do around home.  Well, always lots of little jobs, but compared to what we got to rescue the senator's son? Wasn't worth our time!

We did try to offload those, ah, 'sticks', but still no buyers.  Some great lot of goods they were... maybe folk on Kubindi will be more interested in them?  That's right - way back out to another outer-rim world.  Good thing the mission is worth it, else we'd be paying more in fuelling the 'Raptor than in crew costs!

Clearly we impressed someone.  Montag's offer was from the "Republic Armed Forces Special Division", and it was totally our line of work: some crazed radical group - they called them a "faction", I think - is upsetting the populace.  Civil wars, uprisings, all that nonsense.  And we have been given the go-ahead - I mean, are being paid to do the job - of sneaking into their base, taking down their shields, and lighting up key locations for orbital strikes.  Man, was I ever made for this job!

Adam will do great, too, of course - he's been working hard over his latest suit upgrades.  He's nearly as silent as I am when he wants to be, and he's carrying over thirty kilos of metal in that suit!  Anyway, the two of us should be able to slip in there, plant the tracers, help KH get the charges in place, and be back to Anton and the 'Raptor in time for a smooth getaway!  Easiest stack of creds we've ever made!

3593.06.01, Zhellday

They are coming with us. Now, the jedi, I can understand (not really - but I'd make an exception: their robes are simple enough, they don't make that much noise, and their blades can cut through nearly any wall we may come across).  But on what planet did Montag think the wookie was stealthy?  He can't even say hello without alerting the entire ship!

...maybe I'm being too harsh.  If things go south, Ralrlanna will definitely be handy to have around. many of us can really go in, and remain undiscovered?  We're a day out already - it's not like we can leave them somewhere.  Just gotta plan things around it.

Montag says he can get us codes for our transponder to get inside the base; there, we're all going to 'sneak inside' via some large crates the 'Raptor is delivering.  Crates! Like we're some sort of animal...

Montag's offered to look after the ship, which Anton didn't seem to happy about.  He's had the controls tweaked just so; someone else messing with them might take another week to reset.  At least the jedi seem to be reasonably agreeable to remaining on the ship, and standing in as guards.  Hopefully no one will try to take our ship whilst we're 'on mission', but it's never wise to totally let our guard down, especially when handing the controls over to someone else.

I'm making sure all my ammo clips are fully charged - packed a few extra clips for the slugthrowers, just in case any of the droids pop up with some shields.  Who knows how this will go down?  But, no - I'm confident.  We can do this, it's easy enough.  Sneak in, plant the devices, sneak out - what could go wrong?

Friday, 18 September 2015

(EBR 1x02d) - The Rescue!

These posts are my recap of our group's Star Wars Saga Edition game. They are written as a kind of "Ship's Log", from my character (Burt Larsson)'s point of view.  For something different, I stylised Burt's shaken nature after the mission by using the great XKCD SimpleWriter to pen it.  I allowed some exceptions - names - but aside from that, this entry has been simplified!

3593.05.07, Centaxday


So - that happened.

It's all a clouded memory, now, it all happened so fast, and was over before we knew it. But we got away, with<CLASSIFIED> and with our lives.  That's got to be a win, right?

Let's see what I can remember of it...we reached the edge of the trees in the early afternoon.  There were guards, watching the place. Not the trees. Just around the buildings, and some buildings more than others.  Oh, and the ships. They could prove to be a problem.

KH-74 went and checked them out - he couldn't get close enough to them, but he left a 'gift' in the trees close to the ships. Just in case.

We waited until it was dark before moving forward.  Adam and I moved forward quietly, listening at the doors, and looking into windows - not that there was much to see.  Most of the people were asleep, and only a few kept watch.  We decided on a few buildings that were most probably where <CLASSIFIED> was being kept, and sent Darossk and Taeko out to cut through their walls.  Adam gave them cover with his smoke clouds, and the rest of us just shot at anything that moved.

After three empty rooms, Darossk finally found <CLASSIFIED>, and we made our way out quickly!  Well, with a few pauses to thin The Facebook's numbers.  One even shot me in the back! My guns did not like that - they took his smile right off his face!  Too bad  they couldn't hit anything, ever...

There was a mad run back into the woods, trying to find the spot KH-74 and Anton had set up too meet.  Then, when we were back on board the 'Raptor, we took to the skies, and left the smelly simple rock behind.

So now we're headed back home, to get our big pay, and work out what to do from here.  Will the others hang around with us?  Is there more the Republic want us to do?  Will they keep their watch-dogs on us, or send us in alone? How long will there be hair filling the auto-vacs?