Years ago I was diagnosed with having Seasonal Affective Disorder; a mild form of depression that happens during the changing of the seasons. It’s been in check every year and I’ve been dealing with it as well, though this year has been different since there have been some major changes in my life.
It’s hit me hard this spring and it’s one of the reasons why I haven’t posted in the past few months. Now, that fall is upon us I’m coming out of that funk.
Selena Greyfeather was enjoying an evening at “Inferno” one of the newest nightclubs in New York. Basically, modeled after Dante’s Inferno with nine different rooms, eight of them bars and the nith being a private office. Each bar is decoreated with art and themed after on of the circles of Hell.
Selena had been in New York for several days, though she had seen some weird stuff happening (other than the whole Embraced thing) she never figured she’d get wrapped up in it. But, lo and behold here she was right smacked dab in the middle of a newly Embraced vampire who blatantly began attacking the mortals.
Thus shattering the Masquerade and involving the police. Though, there is a huge battle in Inferno as Angelo, Hafida, and Ahana do battle with the Embraced and finally take him down. Selena helps get the crowd out safely.
Selena is pulled into the coterie: Angelo, Hafida, and Ahana. As a phone in the dead vampires pocket rings and keeps ringing until someone answers it. The phone has Ahana’s name on it. Jen”The Witch” Malo has left a taught for the group. Apparently, Selena has gotten herself into a whole mess of trouble with her new associates in the middle of a huge mystery.
Afterwards, when an inquiry by the police is over and done with the group beds down for the day, Ahana intent on getting vengeance on Witch the next day.
Hafida explains what they are up against to Selena to bring her up to date on the situation. Selena realizes that it’s the End of Days and the whole enchilada (meaning the world) is in a peck of trouble since the Seven Seals are being broken. Revelation is nearly here.
When evening arrives the cellphone the coterie took from the body begins to ring. It’s the Witch calling and she wants to meetup under the 12th Street Bridge in Harlem. The gang makes it way there and cautiously surveys the area. It may be a trap. Hafida and Selena hang back as Angelo and Ahana proceed to a parked limo under the bridge.
Witch, along with a few others, step out of the limo. Hafida explains to Selena that those are Anarchs pointing out Witch, DJ Cortez, Nub and a new Anarch known only as Shogun. Basically, this meet up is an attempt to recruit the gang to the side of the Anarchs.
Just when there is about to be some sort of agreement to be had, Ahana says something to Witch that really ticked her off. Witch is triggered and she goes into a Frenzy. Thus a battle breaks out as Angelo, Hafida and Selena join in.
It seems all hell breaks out as Ahana is killed as Witch attempts to diablerize her. Angelo and the rest are able to break from combat but then a cloud in the shape of an angel formed and a powerful earthquake strikes Manhattan.
There is a massive hole in Central Park and most of the city is destroyed in what seems by a Great Earthquake. Hafida is visited by her old enemy Azareal, who tells her that the Seventh Seal is located in the bottom of the hole that was previously known as Central Park…
It’s been a few days since CanGames ended and now I’m in full rejuvenated gamer mode. I’ve been working on a few adventure ideas and also thinking of what to run for next year. Actually, I’m hoping to attend the event either on the following Sunday as well (… that’s my dream).
I had planned on going an extra day this year but life has a way of throwing a monkey wrench into the process and changing plans. Anyway, next year might be a different story.
CanGames is the only convention I can afford to attend. It’s about 45 minutes away, we drive there in the morning. Grab a bite to eat along the way, and when we arrive we usually find a place to hang-out for a bit. Get caught up with life with fellow gamers we only see during the convention.
It’s nice to see new faces among the familiar crowd. Each year the gamers seem to get younger and younger and it’s good to see the hobby thriving. Though, with Comiccon’s growing and sprouting up all over the cities, it’s good that gaming convention still thrives and has it’s own niche.
I still run my Saturday face-to-face game when the stars are right and everyone can be there at the game table barring life events, work or theatrical commitments. But, I have been venturing forth into the virtual tabletop world. Sites like Roll20, Astral, and Fantasy Ground offer a chance to run and play with people around the world at a virtual tabletop.
I even attend an online VTT convention in November, it’s called AetherCon and I think I’ve been attending since it’s inception. I happened to stumble upon it by accident and sat in a game or two. I did that for a couple of years, until I finally decided to jump in an GM some games.
AetherCon is one of those conventions that I can play several games without leaving the house and still meet new and interesting people.
As you can tell, I’ve been a gamer for more than 3/4’s of my life now. Starting way back in high school back in 1979. My gaming library is huge since I’ve been collecting games over the years as well. One of my players has dubbed my gaming shelves “The Folios of Doom”.
Well, this Victoria Day weekend sure had me rolling a lot of dice these past few days. Even though it was a CanGames weekend as well. I was looking forward to my Saturday trip up with the crew as well. Though, it was just smaller than previous years due to players moving away due to work, education and other life events.
Friday – Order of the Electronic Dice Bag
To get me into the gaming spirit, I was looking forward to Friday’s night session online, the GM was running a Kult: Divinity Lost one-shot scenario due to two of the regular players of our online game were occupied. The scenario was called “The Hunt” and it had a “SAW” feel about it.
Though I do have the Metropolis LTD version of Kult. And it’s been years since I had run a game of it. I was interested in seeing this new rebooted version.
Here’s a brief description about KULT: Divinity Lost.
KULT: Divinity Lost is a reboot of the highly acclaimed and infamous contemporary horror role-playing game “Kult”, originally released in 1991. This anniversary version of the game features a completely new rule-set, and the setting is updated to present day. Escape your nightmares, strike bargains with demons, and try to stay alive in a world full of pain, torture, and death.
It was a fun and interesting little session and I can see the appeal to the dice mechanics since it’s more of a narrative description. I figured that no matter what our characters would do through the game that “death would be the only answer”.
Our characters did manage to survive… barely… but it still came with a cost.
Saturday – CanGames
I really couldn’t get to sleep and got up at 4am on Saturday morning. I guess I was anticipating this day of spending with some friends, rolling dice and maybe hitting the marketsquare to see if I can pick up a game or two for the collection.
I had scheduled my game to start at 9am and wanted to be there slightly ahead of that time to set up.
This year there were four of us heading up: Mark, Chance, Darryl, and I. With Sonya arriving a little later. The gang started arriving around 7 so we could stop along the way and grab breakfast to go at Tim Hortons.
It took us a little longer to get there since we missed the exit ramp and had to double back, but once arrived we could see the parking lot was filled and we just went to our usual parking spot at a school just two blocks away.
We got in and registered for the day, found the table that I was running my game at and sat down and looked through the program to see what game we could all squeeze into at 2pm. Mark had signed up for my game at 9, while Darryl and Chance decided to hit the Marketsquare first to see if they can find some deals. While Sonya had arrived shortly after to join us.
There was a game at 2pm that could accommodate the four of us and we signed up for it. A GURPS fantasy adventure called “Caravan to Ein Arris”. Already, we were planning on what to do for that adventure.
I had three players arrive at the table and none of them had played Little Fears RPG before so this was there first time. Two of the players were from a group and came to CanGames to try other role playing games that were not “fantasy”. The third just wanted to see how the mechanics worked. Mark had played it a couple of times over the years.
I ran “Most Likely A Meteor” and it was a pretty fun little session with the players getting into the characters. Investigating, solving problems and battling adversaries from Closetland as a second skin universe covered the town. I’ll blog a little more about the session later but for now it was fun to see how the players come up with solutions to the task at hand.
There were Little Green Men, Shadow Hounds, Cyborg Rats and a Clockwork Guardian called Warbot 3000 and it’s friend Warbot 3001. The game wrapped up around Noon.
By this time Mark, Darryl and Sonya had returned each of them with a ton of loot they had bought. Darryl with a board game and some rpg source-books to fill in the slots of his collection. Chance with two huge board games and a rpg called Alas Vegas which looked pretty cool. Sonya picked up some cards and dice game and she finally acquired a Carcassonne tile game that she’s been itching to play.
Mark and I decided to wander the marketsquare to see if we could find a deal, and there where some games to be had. I picked up All For One: Regime Diabolique core rule book and two source-books for only $5.00 at a booth. AFO is a take on the Three Musketeers but with a Gothic Horror hook to it.
After a tour we decided to head out for a quick bite to eat. Grab some food at the Pizza Pizza that was just a block away and came back to wait for our 2pm game to start. It’s nice to spend a day with the gang at an event that we enjoy.
When we arrived at the table where Caravan of Ein Arris was slated at the GM was there in full prepartion mode. Two other players joined us and we had a full table of six.
It’s been a little while since I played GURPS and it was kind of a blast to get back into the mechanics as our pre-generated characters were put to the task of trying to get into the caravan with a trail & error combat style. I guess the caravan leader wanted to see how good our characters were. It also determined how much coins we’d end up with as well.
The GM, Jason Butler, was pretty good. His narrative style and characterizations of NPCs were spot on. The adventure ran like a James Cameron movie, just when you thought it was over, up came another anti-climax to draw us in, and then when you thought that was over, another one popped up.
It was a fun adventure but we had to cut it short due to one of the players having a health issue. But, up to that point it was a real hoot. We decided to call it quits for the day due to the health issue and head home. It’s was a long day of gaming, and I’m not a younger whippersnapper and couldn’t last another few hours without a nap.
When you get older you rely on a nap to recharge the batteries. So, it wasn’t long after when I arrived home that I had fallen asleep.
Sunday – A Day of Rest and a Gift
Sunday was a day of rest.
I got up and message my friend to see if he was doing well and it seemed he was. He had gone to the hospital to get things checked out and it all came back positive. Which was a good sign.
I started reading through some of the games that I had gotten from CanGames and discovered that my wife had gifted me with “Yggdrasil Role Playing Game” as well. It came with two source-books and a GM screen (that’s written in French). It was an early birthday gift since my birthday is just a couple weeks away.
Yggdrasill is an inspired role playing game that allows players and game masters to immerse themselves in the Scandinavian culture and mythos of the early 1st millennium AD.
It was a pretty restful day with me reading through the material.
Victoria Day – Fantasy Grounds & Roll20
On Monday, I found out that, Buddy, my online GM on Friday nights was thinking of porting some of his games over to Fantasy Grounds. Fantasy Grounds is a virtual tabletop application that can be used to run games online with a group of people as well.
Years ago I had downloaded the free trail of Fantasy Grounds and decided to open it up and give it another go. I discovered that the game hasn’t been upgraded for at least a decade so I let it update and started playing around with one of the rule-sets there. It was quite fun. Also, it’ll be a learning process as I go along.
I played with the Fantasy Ground for a few hours just to get a feel for it. It looks good and dice rolling seems a smooth operation to do as well, which is a bonus.
Afterwards, I popped over on Roll20 for a bit to finish up a character for an up and coming Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea game that will be starting up next week.
Roll20 is another VTT that I use to do some gaming, when face-to-face gaming isn’t happening as well.
Still a couple of days from Bartertown, as the gang rides through the Scorchers territory under a flag of honour. The gang spots orks but they honour the flag.
Towards the end of the final day, they spot a mountain range and the outline of a city, they arrive at Bartertown. An eclectic maze of a city with winding streets and several buildings. As they approach they spot the large archways with two dwarves statues in front. They seem to be looking down over Bartertown.
It’s late in the day, afternoon melding into evening, the temperature drops a few degrees as they make they were amongst the streets. Alshta, is looking for a venue so she can earn some extra coins. She wants to dance.
Merchants along the streets are very in your face, trying hard to hawk there wares. Guillermo is interested in some arrows, but Krilong tells him there will be time tomorrow. First we find a place to bed down for the night, then when dawn arrives we find the FetchQuest building and then spend our coins.
The Glass Eye Tea House Inn is recommended to the group since it does have a place to dance; this makes Alshta happy since she get’s to enjoy an evening to make some coins. The inn is owned and operated by a troll woman who indeed does have a glass eye.
The group gets a common room, Alshta tries to make a deal with the owner of the establishment. But the ol’ troll woman won’t have it and says that it’s a “pay to stay” and that’s that.
With a room for the group and some baths drawn, gear is locked away and changing of grubby clothes into cleaner ones for the night. The gang is ready to rock and roll for the night except for Krilong who decides to study the bracers that was gifted to them by the Pumpkin King a few days back.
Alshta takes to the dance floor as Pip begins to mimic a song, the little windling has a talent for making musical melodies. Alshta’s dance is hypnotic and she ends up bring in 33 silver coins from it.
Drax discovers that Hurl is served here and he orders it. Guillermo inquires about the drink and is told that it’s fermented milk mixed with hot peppers. Draw orders one for Guillermo; Guillermo takes a whiff of it; he plugs his nose and then downs the drink.
Guillermo’s delicate stomach cannot handle the drink and he ends up hurling his guts, but to make matters worse the drink knocks him down for the count as well.
When Guillermo awakes he discovers that he is on his bed, his head hurts his throat is scratchy. Drax pats him on the back and tells him he had survived his first encounter with Hurl. Guillermo tells him never again.
Krilong finds out about the bracers and weaves a thread into it.
They gear up and head downstairs, grab a bit to eat and ask the innkeeper wheres the FetchQuest office. She gives them direction; saying it’s just a couple of blocks over.Paragraph
Bartertown is even busier in the morning, with vendors shouting out their wares and their prices. Some offering steal of a deal for some products. The group continues on, but they soon head down a dark alley. As they make their way down, Krilong spots movement on the rooftop. The gang is prepared for an ambush, but that doesn’t happen. The shadows on the rooftop have disappeared.
We arrive at FetchQuest and meet up with a slender dwarf named, Narle’in Dhawin. She owns and operates the business. We drop of the letter from Tilde and she knows exactly where it will go.
Alstha wants to send a letter home.
Narle’in offers the group a task if they are interested. The group mulls this over as they take a few days to train; might as well since they are in a settlement for a few days.
Guillermo awakes in a deep sleep, it’s been days since he felt the warm of a bed after a good night of soaking in a tub washing out the grime and gunk of the sewers. He stretches and his feet hit the cold floor, time to see what their mysteries benefactor wants them to do.
He checks in with the others and they all head down to the common area, breakfast is being served. Tilde is resting at a table, he feet up and the brim of her hat pulled down as if she had been waiting for us to finally arrive.
Our freedom comes with a small price, she tells us. She has a task for us to do, a simple delivery. He holds out an envelope that has a wax seal and a design on it. Bartertown is a few days east of her and she wants us to bring it to a “Fetch Quest” office there and they will take care of the rest.
Krilong is cautious about this delivery thinking it’s got to be some catch to it. Alshta thinks it’s only fair since after all Tilde freed us from the cells. We accept this assignment and proceed to the stables were Tilde had fetched the horses from Kratas. The only problem is that Guillermo doesn’t have a mount, as discussion is underway who should he ride with. Guillermo walks down the stables, grabs a saddle from a post and approaches a horse and puts the saddle on it, leads the horse out of it’s stall and joins the party.
“Problem solved,” he quips.
The group decides to leave the stables and town before the owner of the horse discovers that it is missing.
They leave the shanty town and ride through the hills and plains, fording a great river and proceeding to bed down for the night. Watches are set up and everyone has a chance to get some shut-eye before something mysterious happens.
It seems the earth is shifting, as vines move and small pumpkins begin to grow. Guillermo is awoken by this and is cautioned by those on watch. They seem to know what is going on but he doesn’t.
A Pumpkinesque being appears, apparently this group had an encounter with it and now it has come back to give them a gift for their services rendered. It’s a set of “bracers” and the creature melds back into nature just as it had appeared. Alshta is paranoid about the gift, the others are weary but accept them none-the-less.
The group travels for a few days, then one morning storm is brewing and we move to find some place to hold up. But, suddenly a patrol of Ork Sorchers appear on the horizon and Guillermo panics and fires off a arrow. Thus, the Orks ride in full charge and a battle takes place.
As arrows fly, lances level and swords clash, this battle seems to be on even ground. Thus the ork leader bellows and tries to shake our morale, we still engage in combat.
Eventually the leader of the scorchers challenge the cavalryman to a joust. It’s an honour challenge and the scorchers and party agree to it. The ork says if he wins he demands all our silver, but if the cavalryman wins then we can cross through there land without fear. We didn’t realize that we were encroaching on someone’s territory.
Which challenge excepted, the joust is one intense scene since the calvaryman hadn’t been rolling in his favour during the session. Though, in the end the dice more than ever rolled higher than ever before.
The lance knocking the ork scorcher off his mount and unto the ground, and everyone held their breath. The leader stood and acknowledged the blow and honoured the challenge. Also given us a strip off the banner they carried to show that we earned our crossing through their territory.
“Out of the radioactive cloud thundered the four horsemen of the apocalypse. War astride his great red horse. Followed by Pestilence. Then rode Conquest upon the technohorse, and finally the skeleton of Death. These four rode all across the world, shaping its future after the bombs fell. The war was over. Now only the fighting was left.”
The Year: February 6th 1986
Donovan “D” Heatly took in a breath of fresh air after spending several weeks in a dingy fallout shelter. It was bitter cold, but it was good. Who knows for how long the air will be crisp and clear. And on that note, he took out a cigarette and lit it, savouring the smoke as he waited for his friend, Sam Jackson, to emerge from the shelter. They had been held up together in the bunker, waiting for the right opportunity to emerge into the world once again.
In the time they were bottled up in their hidey-hole, there were two attempts to enter and both of them failed and that was several weeks ago, there hasn’t been any attempt since then. Though, the snow has covered the ground it doesn’t hide the fact that the woods around them had been burnt to a crisp.
They had bundled up and decided to see what they can see and hear topside. It doesn’t take to long when they heard the sound of a snow-machine off in the distance. It’s fading off in the distance.
They head off in the general direction and make there way to a ruins of a home that had burnt down to the ground, only one wall remains standing. Sam knows this is the Redwood home. He knows Dave Redwood, a business who is constantly away on trips.
Sam decides to walk around to see the other side of the wall, he’s leery of it since it might be a good place for an ambush. Once he is satisfied they go and inspect the house. They see snow machine tracks and two sets of foot prints in the snow. Sam inspects the footprints and thinks they might be children who survived and now are scavenging. They decide to follow the snow machine tracks.
Towards the end of the day, after trudging through the snow, they end up at a section of a highway. Well, what they think the highway since it hasn’t been plowed but they explore some abandoned cars buried in the snow. Looks like they had already been picked cleaned.
They arrive at a truck stop. To see smoke coming from a chimney from the garage beside it. The windows boarded up.
“D” decides to approach the doors, while Sam scouts around the back. They know someone is in there, but they are unsure if they are friend or foe. “D” makes his way to get better cover from a row of cars in front of the garage. Sam makes it to a rear window to peer inside. As he does he sees end of a double barrelled shotgun pressed against the glass.
Sam ducks but the gun doesn’t go off. A voice inside asks him what does he want.
He recognizes the voice to belonging to his neighbours child, Clare Redwood, so he identifies himself. Clare wants him to stand so she can get a good look at him, and Sam does. She pulls the barrel away from the glass and tells him to come around the front. She tells him to warn his friend to back away from the row of cars he’s hiding behind because they have been booby-trapped.
“D” had released this when his right leg pressed against a tripwire. He caught it in time as not to set off whatever it was. He backs away and sees “D” signalling to him to go around and then come up.
They enter the garage to find that it has been set up as a living space for Clare and her little brother, Scotty, who have been holed up here for several months. Their mother perished during the flash fire in the area, they do not know what happened to their father since he was on a business trip when the bombs dropped.
Clare and Scotty been surviving the cold winter by scavenging area, they have two snow machines, ton of food stuff and equipment they managed to gather. They stay away from an encampment across the river since it’s governed by a fellow named “Dracos”. Clare says they send scouts across the river to see whats going on, but she has set up trips and have been keeping a set of survival books called “Foxfire” to learn how to make stuff and survive.
Scotty who has been keeping watch from the upper portion alerts the others that there is a truck approaching. “D” goes up to the tier and have a look out to see a huge monster truck with a blow using the frozen river as a way. The truck is black with white skulls painted on it.
“D” figures that Dracos’s encampment must be running short on supplies and that the garage might be an easy mark to take. He tells Clare and Scotty that this place is not safe anymore and must back up. Because, theres a scouting party approaching and they are going to be testing the permeter.
As the black truck makes it way towards the garage, D has a plan, Sam sets himself up as sniper just encase something goes wrong. Everyone knows that with the sound of gunfire that will begin to attract anyone within earshot as well. D says that stealth is a way to go. Clare says heaven forbid should they try to bypass the row of cars infant of the garage. She says she set up several claymore mines in the area.
The truck halts several hundred meters away and three men climb out, one of them automatically heads for the tree line. Sam says he has his eyes on that one. The other two slowly walk toward the garage with a white flag out.
D tells Clare to call out and tell them to stop approaching and they do. Clare asks them what they want. The fellow tells her that they now know that it’s only two kids that reside here and they need food for their encampment. It’s been a rough winter, he tells her that they can come in by force and take it. But, want to give the kids a chance to be mighty neighbourly about it.
Sam tells them that the third fellow is set up as a sniper on the rough of the truckstop, that he is aiming for the front door of the garage. D tells Clare to open up the door a bit and yell for them to come forward bit with their hands in the air, he asks Sam if he has a shot at the sniper on the roof to take it.
D tells Clare to back away from the door, as he takes a jacket from a hook and puts it at the end of his rifle and moves it to the door. A shot rings out from the truck stop roof and hits the jacket. Sam who has been aiming at the sniper pulls the trigger.
The combat is fast but brutal as bullets are exchanged like valentine cards on valentines day. The sniper on the roof takes a head shot, and slumps over on the building. D fires at the fellows approaching and they decide to take cover at the row of cars. They trip the tripwire and a huge explosion rocks the area as the cars and claymores go off in a way that would make Michael Bay smile.
D tells Clare and Scotty to pack up as much as they can because they will probably not come back here again. Sam goes to the truck stop to check the sniper, as D heads to the other two and check to see if they had survived and to see if that truck is in any condition to travel.
The lead guy is ripped in half while the other fellow is mortally wounded, he tries to raise a gun at D. But, D steps on the weapon and waits till the guy bleeds out. No need to waste a bullet on him.
The truck is still good, he gets in and finds it a few wheel drive and it’s slow moving through the snow. He drives it up to the garage, as Sam comes out of the truck stop with weapon and some food gear. They load up the truck, the snow sled with as much goods as they could fit and prepare to head back to the bomb shelter.
Scottie tells them that there are several vehicles moving from the encampment across the river. D tells them that it’s their cue to leave, as they leave. Clare flips a switch by the door. She says since she couldn’t have this as a home, no one else could either.
With two snowmobiles, one truck moving along the old highway they eventually make it to where they need to be. Just in time to hear an explosion in the distance… its the garage that went up in blaze of glory.