One time, many moons ago, for a riddle task I had given the players a needle and thread and told them they had 2 minutes to do this task and that all of them had to complete the task. A simple enough task but daunting once you put an egg timer down on the table.
It was a first edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons adventure that I had written and was a daunting adventure where they had to explore ruins of a city and uncover where an ancient artifact was buried.
It seemed like a simple task for the players to do, all of them had to do it within the time allotted or else a guardian would be unlocked and a battle would occur. Two of the three players got it within a minute but the third one was having trouble; it didn’t help with me stating how much time was left and playing the theme from Final Jeopardy as sweat begin to pour from his head.
I think having the players do a physical task added tension to the situation that’s for sure.
Just before the grains of sands disappeared from the top adding to the others below the player finally threaded the eye of the needle much to the cheers of the other players. Since they had retrieved the artifact without battling the “boss” guardian.
I guess 2020 is a year of changes. What significantly changed this year is that I didn’t get to go to CanGames due to Covid 19 throwing a monkey wrench into the machinery of the year.
It was one of the yearly events that I look forward to attending, but with whats been happening this year it was postponed. Though CanGames was not going to happen there were a couple of convention go-ers decided to run their games online via Virtual Table Top sites; like Roll20, Fantasy Grounds, Discord, etc., during that weekend that the convention was suppose to be held. I had run two games, one of them was a bust but the other game was a hit.
My Saturday Night game group disbanded as well. Since it was a gathering at a home for a face to face gaming activity. That was a no-no since homes weren’t allowed to have any one other than family as a safety precaution against the pandemic. Though, restriction have been lifted, we still haven’t had a chance to meet at the table just yet.
I mentioned before I stumbled upon role playing games, specifically Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, back in September 1979. I had missed the 3:15 bus to home and discovered that there was a late bus that left the school at 5:15. So, I had a couple of hours to kill and decided to wander about the school. There were after school activities going on; basketball practice in the gym, a homework group gathering in the library, other clubs and activities going on.
Though, as I wandered the nearly empty halls of the school, I hard the sound of dice on a table and some voices seeming to shout in unison of a gleeful nature. Curious as to what was going on I went into a classroom and saw several students around a table with the music teacher, Mr. Galbraith, behind a screen, describing a scene of an orc captain taking a arrow to the chest, the steel tip embedding in the heart of the beast.
I stood around and watched the sessions and Mr. G asked me if I was interested in playing, I said I was curious about what was going and he explained to me that it was a game using imagination and the theatre of the mind. I said I’d watch and he handed me a players handbook to skim through.
Flipping through the book and listening to the action unfold at the tabled fired up my imagination and my desired to know more about this curious strange game without a board, with a heck of a lot of dice and a hell of lot imagination.
Around that table were several senior students, later they would become good friends: Mark and John R, Bob C, Chris M, Scott H. They were two grades ahead of me and by the time they graduated high school they were some of my best friends.
Cast of Characters: Capt. Ryan Stewart (Don C) 1st Lt. Kerdrius Gardner (Jesse B) 2nd Lt. Jack Marrow (Tim B) Sgt. Frank Sobek (Karasu H) Sgt. Kyle Fuller (NPC)
*Playing Twilight: 2000 1st edition GM’d by jim pinto
The War has raged for years The high-tech ammo is almost gone. High-tech equipment is failing, piece by piece, with no spares to fix it. The front lines are held by a few grim, desperate soldiers. The US 5th Division holds the line in Poland. Now, a Soviet encirclement has cut it off in a province ruled by ambitious warlords, local militias, and bands of marauding deserters. HQ is 200 klicks to the rear and powerless. Your last order sets you free…
Good Luck. You’re on your own.
from the back of Twilight 2000 1st edition.
July 18 2000 AD
We were summoned to see Colonel Roth in the main tent, Capt. Stewart enters as the rest of us begin loading up a truck. Colonel Roth informs Stewart that we need to move out and move out fast, we will regroup at another location which is another town south-west of Kalisz.
It takes a few hours to load the truck, as other vehicles move out. Capt. Stewart has a map and comes out with our orders. He exams it on the truck trying to locate the area we are heading too and tries to figure out a quick route to get us there.
Once the truck is loaded we board with Sgt. Fuller driving, Capt. Stewart in the passenger side and the rest of the unit on the back of the truck. Then we roll out of Kalisz.
We drive a few kilometers out of town and Capt. Stewart decides we need a short break, to stretch our legs a bit. 2nd Lt Marrow does a quick recon of the area and see’s nothing of interest. Though as other vehicles leave Kalisz in a hurry as well.
Just a few klicks down the road there is a fork and end up taking the wrong one and end up at a dead end where there is a farm. Capt. Stewart checks the area and see if anyone is here, he wants to know were are we on the map. Though we decide to go back to the main intersection.
When we arrive there we see it has been roadblocked by a huge truck and several men about, they are ORMO. Basically, they set up a toll stop, they haven’t noticed our vehicle so we come to a stop. Deciding to venture on foot and inspect the area. The ORMO are basically demanding a toll, of supplies, goods, etc.,
The group has the surprise and a quick firefight occurs. With some of the ORMO taking off into the woods, one of them surrendering, another wounded in the cab when he was going for the radio. Four of them taken down.
After a quick inspection we find a man who has been tied and bound in the back of the truck, we cut him loose and he thanks us. We tied up the wounded fellow and the other that surrendered and put them in the back of the truck. Leaving the other bodies were they lie, but take anything useful; like ammo, armour, etc., and proceed on our way.
Not understanding the signs and the language at time our truck drives through small towns and end up getting lost and trying to figure out where we are suppose to be. Even backtracking back towards Kalisz.
Though Capt. Stewart switches places with Marrow since Marrow’s eyesight is keener than the Captains.
When we turn around and head back to one of the small towns with a major crossroad, there is an old farmer on a tractor that is in the way. Sgt. Sobek has had enough of this and basically snaps as he jumps down from the vehicle and runs up to the tractor yelling at the old farmer. Sobek waving his gun at the fellow, who pissed himself and Sobek shoves him off the tractor to get behind it and move it out of the road.
After arriving in Chatow and finding the road signs confusing. there where no road signs indicting where we were and none for the town of Wielowies as well. The vehicles continues on.
*The rest of the note is from the GM since I couldn’t keep my eyes open anymore:
Reached town of Grabow nad Prasna, though it is unclear if this is the same as Grabow
Found abandoned church that was converted into a dance studio a few years ago and now it’s abandoned again
Parked truck down the road (though the locals can see it, heavy traffic on main highway cannot)
Spent hours of 8am to 9am doing some minor inventory on the collection of equipment in the truck
Last weekend was Victoria Day weekend here in Canada, which it’s usually is when the Cangames convention held in Ottawa, ON. Cangames is billed as “Three Days of Friendly Mayhem since 1977”. The convention was cancelled due to the pandemic that has taken the world by storm. On that note; a few of the GM’s and people who play at the convention decided to continue the convention in spirit and move our games to virtual table top.
So, games were ran and fun was being had.
Day 1: Friday
To kick off the weekend festivities, I went into both of my games on Roll20 to make sure everything was ready to go this weekend. I ended up tweaking the Time & Time Again scenario just a tad but otherwise it was good to go.
Later on I ended up playing a board game with the wife and daughter, we sipped wine and played a few games before I was suppose to play Pathfinder that evening. Though, I got a little bit tipsy and ending up falling asleep.
Day 2: Saturday
Saturday morning I had plan to run a Time & Time Again RPG adventure. With one player who had signed up and two others said they were planning on showing up, I waited and I was looking forward to running since I haven’t done so for nearly three decades now. T squared is a time traveling role-playing game.
With one player showing up we chatted for a bit and decided to call it since no one else arrived. Though the player was going to be showing up for my Boot Hill game Sunday afternoon, which was good to know.
I had joined a Fifth Edition Dungeons & Dragons game that was using “The Keep on The Borderlands” adventure. The GM had started his game at 4 pm with three players and then an additional two joined in which made for a good size adventuring party. Though right from the get-go you can tell the adventure was as old school as they get.
From the first encounter I knew we where in for the fight of our lives and we nearly got decimated! But, thanks to good ol’ die hard attitude and a high level wizard with some handy potions of healing it was time to continue on.
It was a thrilling afternoon as we fought our way through one of the caves of the Caves of Chaos to rescue a woman who had been kidnapped by orcs. To stumble upon on undead was adding fuel to the fire. But in the end we survived… barely.
Though, while I was playing “The Keep on The Borderlands” once of my players, from my game group, had dropped off a TORG RPG and a boat load of supplements for it. He told me I couldn’t have a Cangames weekend without a trip to the marketplace! It’s one of the reasons why I like to attend the convention as well. So, a hobby shop in Kingston, ON were selling product online and he saw some games and decided that this TORG was an early birthday present from him and I thanked him for it.
Thus ended day two.
Day 3: Sunday
On Sunday I was hoping that my game would have a couple of players. And lo and behold I did have a couple that showed up for
The Wild, The Beautiful & The Damned
Cast of Characters: Dexter “Wash” Washington, a retired US Marshal (Tom M) Callan Han, A Gambler (Nicholas T)
Our adventure begins as our heroes step of the train at Mad Mesa, they are heading to the town of Shiftless since Callan received a letter from an old friend whose calling in a marker. Callan then went to his old friend Wash to drag him into it as well.
In order to get to Shiftless they have to take a coach to the town located on the other side of Fort Griffon. Since the railway doesn’t go through Eldorado County just yet. Dexter and Callan book passage on a coach that is heading to Promise City that will leave around noon, giving them an hour to kill. They decide to get a drink at one of the local watering holes.
They arrive at a Saloon and enter, the bartender an elderly fellow, greets them glad to have some new blood. Han and Dexter notice a trio of men sitting at a far table who seems to be studying them. One of the patrons doesn’t take to kindly to Callan and says something about it. Dexter replies stating that they are just in her for a drink and plan on catching the next coach out of town.
Though the gringo leans over to one of his associates, the associate leaves out the back way. As Callan and Han finish up their drink, the next gringo leaves leaving one behind in the bar. Dexter has seen this before and knows that they are going to get ambushed.
The head for the door and notice the third fellow is now following them, Dexter and Callan are prepared for combat and are keeping a sharp eye out for anything. Sure enough they spot one of the men on a roof top, one of them following and the man fellow that wanted to start a kerfuffle in the saloon stepping onto the street.
Though in a matter of moments the gun battle was fast and over with before the dust settled. Bullets were exchanged like valentine cards on valentines day. Callan got grazed by a bullet but manage to hit his target as well.
Sheriff Tom McCornwick steps out from his office and says he has witnessed the incident and says that these three men have been causing trouble in his town. It’s about time someone stepped in and did something about it, since he couldn’t because his hands are tied with the law.
One of the ruffians has a small bounty on him and Dexter and Wash collect before arriving at the stage coach.
The stage line is loading up with another passenger, Stephanie Candless, who is heading to the town of Shiftless since her father is on his dying bed and request her presences. The two stage hand, Bert Loomis and Eddie Hawkins, greet our heroes as well.
The stagecoach leaves around Noon and the travel is quiet, though late in the afternoon the coach begins to slow down, Wash asks the stagehand whats up and is told a tree has fallen on the roadway. Bert jumps down from the stage to investigate as Dexter and Wash step out from the coach.
As Bert approaches the fallen tree, a bandito pops up and shoots him dead. The bullet ripping through his skull, it’s one hell of a shot. Sure enough this is a trap, and our heroes are caught in a turkey shoot as banditos popped up from their hiding spots.
It’s a pretty nasty gunfight as bullets rip up the ground, as well as flesh and tissue, Callan takes another hit. A grazing wound. With the bandito’s hitting the ground, it’s enough to scare the rest off since they seem to have ambushed the wrong stage coach.
Wash investigate the area and sees that the remaining bandito’s have indeed fled, Callan is tending to his wound while Eddie sees to Bert to find out that he his wound is indeed fatal.
They move the fallen tree, wrap up Bert in a cloth, and proceed onward to the next town. They travel a few miles along the road and then Eddie pulls the wagon off stating they need to stop for the night and set up camp. They decide to have a watch just in case the bandito’s are in the area.
Stephanie steps off to stretch her legs for a bit. Wash tells her to be careful, she tells him that she is indeed a country girl after all.
As the fellows make up camp, they noticed the Stephanie has disappeared. Searching the area they find that she has been dragged away. Callan and Wash alert Eddie that banditos might be in the area, that Stephanie had been taken and they are planning on following the trail since it looked like it was a serious struggle along the way.
Wash and Callan follow the tracks to a cavern where the banditos have set up a base. This is where Stephanie has be dragged to and our heroes prepare to venture forth. Now I won’t go into detail of the cavern exploring and our heroes dealing with banditos and other surprises along the way. But, in the end our heroes deal with the remaining banditos and rescue Stephanie and bring her back to the stage coach.
And thus ended the adventure.
And this is how I spent my Cangames memorial weekend.
Tonight was suppose to be the premier performance of Smiths Falls Community Theatre’s second play of the 2020 season: The Fantastiks! 2020 is the Station Theatre tenth year anniversary since it opened up in Smiths Falls, and this season was suppose to be a celebration of that.
SFCT had planned for a Gala Night for each production this year as a thank you to the community.
Though our second play of the year is not going to happen due to the Covid-19 outbreak, the theatre has been dark now for eight weeks and it looks like it will remain that way for a few more as well.
For those who don’t know what The Fantastiks is about; it’s a 1960 musical with music composed by Harvey Schmidt and lyrics by Tom Jones. It’s an allegorically story, which is loosely passed on another play called The Romancers. It’s about two neighbouring fathers who trick their children into falling in love by pretending to feud. It was chosen by the play selection community last year as part of the tenth year celebratory thank you to our audience.
The play, directed by Lynda Daniluk, had been caste and the performers where rehearsing for this production ever since our first play “Key For Two” ended. The tech crew being assembled, the stage crew working on the set, gathering props for this play was already set in motion.
Then the news hit of the outbreak and then a state of emergency was declared for Ontario. Shutting down nearly all public places where people gathered in large numbers.
Everything came to a screeching halt.
And I mean everything at the theatre; our movies weekend, rentals and rehearsals had stopped. Period. Covid-19 has thrown a huge monkey wrench into the system that’s for sure.
We’ll just have to wait it out and see’s what happens.
The theatre is dark and will remain that way, I’m sure the actors will be off book by the time the lights brighten a darken stage.
The Fantastiks! will take to the stage but we don’t know when.
After watching Picard series, plus Enterprise series. I’ve been inspired to write up a Star Trek campaign set right after Enterprise.
Star Trek has gone dark over the years, where the new rebooted movies are a joy to watch but it misses something, I really can’t place my finger on it but it does miss “soul”.
When J.J. Abrams directed the reboot, he later stated that he never got Star Trek as a kid. The movies shows that and basically reset the series in it’s own Kelvinverse.
Oh, I do enjoy the movies. Because they are a fun to watch and basically seeing Spock, McCoy and Kirk develop that bond on screen is also fun; plus watching the growth of the other players in the original series is a hoot as well.
But, I digress.
I figure I can create my own take on the Star Trek mythos with a campaign style series of my own. With a little time travel thrown in for good measure and a few other surprises. Setting it up a few years after Enterprise series and before Star Trek: Discovery leaves me some breathing room to do a good series style campaign. I’ve mapped out a 10-12 session story arc a few years ago with FASA trek; but I’m taking that adventure and tuning it up with Decipher’s role playing game.
Going back to basics in my in the mainframe of Roddenberry’s vision of “a wagon train to the stars” take.
Cast of Characters: Lawson Ford, Human (Chris) Blick, Dralasite (George) Uri’Uko Afapi, Human (Steve) Ellyn Marrow, Human (NPC)
GM Note: The session was played via Roll20, April 14th 2020.
We pick up the action where we last left off the previous session. Uri, Blick and Lawson have brought the remaining Sathar into a private room to question him. They do a group huddle on whose to do the asking, it seems Uri has the menacing presence to see if he can persuade the Sathar.
Uri interrogates the Sathar and the alien spills the beans.
The Sathar breaks, his name is SSsna’Snar, he tells them they’ve been look for a disc that has Cube written on it. Which makes Lawson chuckle “a disc cube?”, The Sathar has been raiding Pan Galactic research stations in the region since they know that it has to be at one of these station.
If the disc isn’t here than they’ll move unto the next research station which is 2 LYs away. The Sathar doesn’t know what is on the disc, all he knows is that the person who had it had shipped it off by mistake to one of the research stations; the scientists there don’t know what they have.
Once they have found the disc they were to return to the Zebulon system to meet a contact there. At a colony tavern called “Howlett’s Hovel”.
The trio discuss what they should do next, they think about heading to the next research station after searching this one for the “cube disc”. The go over the inventory and recent shipments but find nothing.
They decide to take the Sathar with them. He might be used as a bargaining chip or even as a decoy to flush out the “mole”.
They decide to move onto the next research station and head to the Nexus Wave. Capt. Marrow says it’ll be two days to the other research station and prepares the ship for light speed travel.
With the ship loaded with some cargo, they take off into the velvet black. Jumping into Light Speed and waiting for the two days to get to the next outpost.
They tend to their wounds, clean up their equipment and discuss a plan of action upon arriving at the outpost.
After a day of traveling the ship drops out of hyperspace, Uri and Lawson go to the cockpit and Capt. Marrow tells them there was an emergency beacon has been detected. She pilots the craft to the sound and as they approach the area they see a ship floating, no signs of life, no lights, no nothing.
Capt. Marrow sees a docking port and maneuvers over to dock, as our heroes gear up, as they plan on seeing what is wrong….
Still being under a quarantine this Easter Weekend wasn’t the one that I was hoping for, normally all my kids would be home for the long weekend, only one of them managed to come home that was prior to the whole province shutting down everything. She’s been home since.
The other two are still in their own apartments spread across the province, thank goodness for technology keeping us all update on matters. Anyhoo, my weekend consists of my Friday Night game via Roll20 using Teamspeak. In this game I am a player in a Pathfinder Second Edition game. I’m playing a half-orc named Kamyra, and with a group of six other players and a GM. Who all happen to be in Texas it seems.
The game starts at 9pm EST and plays to whenever I can manage to keep my eyes open, I normally conk out around midnight. Cause, I’m an old fogey and I need my beauty sleep (and boy do I ever need it!) Not like 30-40 years ago when I was a young lad and gamed from dusk til dawn.
This particular scenario had to deal with a train heist, well more to retrieve an artifact for someone and it was on the train. Our characters rode hard to a spot at the tracks, got on aboard and then went search from cabin to cabin, doing some fighting along the way. It was a pretty fun session.
On Saturday I prepped for another one-shot Entropic Gaming System, I had another quick adventure in store for the players on Roll20, but sadly that didn’t happen. As the kids say theses days “It is what it is”. I ended up tweaking the adventure a little and then opened up a Boot Hill 2nd Edition Scenario I had ran a couple years back on Roll20. I ended up modifying a few things since I know the system a little better and some more detailed maps of the encounters.
On Easter Sunday it was just a really lazy day, though the family ended up playing a few board games;
Fish or Cut Bait is a dice rolling game. Where on one set of dice you have to assemble your gear: a rod, a bobber, and a lure and the option of a boat. You can roll two fish dice if you have bobber, lure and rod. If you want the extra fish die than you have to make sure you roll the boat as well. The object of the game is to catch as many fish as you can before the timer runs out. Though on the fish die there is a snag, and if a snag shows up you lose all the fish you had rolled before hand.
The game has 8 rounds and whoever has rolled the most fish wins the tournament. We ended up playing a few times and quite enjoyed it.
We finished off a Sunday game night with a couple rounds of Jenga. A game with 54 blocks in a tower like structure. The object of the game is to pull a tile from the structure and place it on top. You keep doing this until the structure tumbles to the ground. The winner of the game is the last person to remove a block successfully.