Nisirië’s Journal 1

NisJour

I’ll be so happy to finally get on solid land again. This pilgrimage almost feels like a punishment. I know it isn’t, but I was sent so far from home. And the food is so bland. Captain Fari assures me that we aren’t far from a port in Varisia called Sandpoint. It’s on the way to our destination of Magnimar. I say “our” because I am with a Paladin named Liam. Honestly, I am just looking forward to the ground no longer rocking. Katapesh may be a port city, but this is not my preferred method of transportation. Oh Sarenrae guide us safely to land.

Landfall! Sweet sweet landfall. The docks still feel like they are moving. Liam insists they aren’t, and although I know he’s right, the commentary isn’t entirely welcome. I feel like we just need some food and drink. The Fatman’s Feedbag is the first tavern tavern we find here on the docks and it is… about as welcoming as some of the places back home. Although clearly for different reasons. I don’t know what “land meat” is, but I am unwilling to risk it. Thankfully, there is a local fellow who is more than happy to show us around the town. Arlo, I believe his name is. He seems reluctant to show his face as we leave. Now, given that I am fairer skinned than he, I am led to believe there is another reason for this. And my suspicions are confirmed rather quickly. However, there’s no reason to press him. And the reaction he’s given us has been most pleasant, so I am inclined to remain in his company for our duration here.

It seems we have arrived in the town in time for the Swallowtail festival. A local festival to Desna. I really enjoy learning about local customs. The festival is nice. Not nearly as large as some back home, but the small crowd is so much less claustrophobic. I also won a contest of strength, and was awarded a pained wooden crown. I think I’ll keep is as a memento of our visit here. Liam seems amused that I outstrengthed him in this little festival contest. It was all leverage and angles though. But all the same. I’ve noticed a lot of the stares and side glances cast at our guide. But he seems in good spirits while we explore.

I believe we have found a final companion. More on what I mean by that later, but first: Edgar the Raven. He was screaming that he wanted corn, so I brought him some. He thanked me, and informed me that he’s “coo coo for corn”. A small human woman, whom I assume to be Edgar’s familiar, indignantly asked why I would give Edgar corn, and I assured her there was no hostile intent. This woman, I have noticed, has been watching Arlo carefully the entire time we’ve been at the festival. Which is one of the main reasons that I approached her and Edgar in the first place. I have found confronting these things head on is one of the quickest ways to quell these issues. Whatever they may be. I’ll admit, some of this may be fueled by my own experiences in Katapesh, but all the same, I don’t care to have those judgmental glances cast at others any more than I cared to have them at me. Whatever makes Arlo a pariah, the actions of some of these townsfolk speaks more to them than they do him.

Also, as a side note, the food is somewhat bland. But I had venison for the first time. It was delicious. And I met some travellers from home. They were gracious enough to sell me some spices at a fair price.

But as the day came to an end, and some of the townsfolk came to start the evening festivities with some speaking and probably bonfires. But before that managed to happen, the evening festivities were interrupted by an attack by goblins!

A Brief History

Timeline

Early Exploration
1 Before Concord The end of World War III on Earth
0 Concord The Signing of the Concord
1 Post Concord Full Earth unification under Concord Government
Klik War
600 PC First contact with the Klik
650 PC Klik destroy Human Hyperspace routes
Rebuilding
769 PC First contact with the Arcturians
790 PC The first successful android is built by humans
Second Age of Exploration / The First Human Golden Age
xx PC
The Second Human Golden Age/Two Hundred Years of Darkness
1000 PC Zál Astra rises to power
1122 PC First contact with the Weren
The Second Klik War
1314 PC Beginning of the Second Klik War
1345 PC End of the Second Klik War
Modern Times
1350 PC Founding of the Alliance
1368 PC Current year

Continue reading “A Brief History”

Star*Drive Overview

So, I asked a friend what he wanted me to run, because his birthday coincided with us getting a new player and being ready to start a new campaign. I’d been kicking a modern setting around, but he told me that he used to hate modern era RPGs and I kind of made him love them, so he was curious about sci-fi. It’s never been his thing, but he figured if anyone would make it fun and relatable, it’d be me ❤

Anyway, I have been wanting to run some sci-fi for a while, and so pitched the idea to the rest. Everyone was on board. So I started coming up with something, and we did a session 0 that night. Session 0 took us all over the place, and so far off of what I had initially envisioned, but we've played a few sessions now and everyone is having a blast. Currently, the game is Military Sci-Fi, but will open up into more sandbox stuff after the first adventure arc. Because we wildly diverged from the original idea, I've been splicing together Stars Without Number, Strange Stars, and stuff from Alternity to give us a really cool OSR game modelled after a 1980s Sci-Fi æsthetic. I'm having an absolute blast running it!

I am making use of the first edition of Stars Without Number (check it out for free here) for the system and some basic setting stuff, as well as Hydra Cooperative’s Strange Stars setting (check it out here) [Full disclosure: I received Strange Stars as a gift from Hydra Cooperative / Humza Kazmi] and some setting plundered from Alternity/d20 Future. Although the game has started as Military Sci-Fi, the players know that it’ll become a sandbox space setting with a somewhat Star Trek TOS feeling after the first arc.

Stay tuned for more!

DC Adventures!

Young All-Stars

In the coming month or so I am going to be co-GMing a DC Adventures game. We’re setting our game in Earth-28, which is one of the official Multiverse Earths that DC has intentionally left blank. Which is just begging to be a game setting universe, isn’t it? Our team is called the, you guessed it, Young All-Stars. We’re not cleaving too close to the canon, but the name belonged to a now defunct team from 1987. Some of the reasons we’re using it are that it’s catchy, we want to be steeped in the lore but not beholden to it, and because our game is set around the same time(ish). We’re looking at like a 1992 start date.

The group of heroes are going to be younger, B-list heroes, reimagined for the new universe. So, again, it’ll be steeped but not beholden. So in the vein of Young Justice or the Justice League Animated Series. Anyway, some of the cool stuff we’re going to do is trade off GMs here and there (hence the co-GMing), so I am currently deciding on which character I am going to play. I have my choices whittled down to two, but I am not sharing which one just yet. Look for updates and recaps soon!

Lalwë’s Journal – Entry Five

The past few days have been both harrowing and healing. It is my hope that the healing can also bridge the divide between the settlers and the Fen. Before we continued on our journey to our ultimate destination of Kaerth Ashlock, an outpost in the Pavin Weald, I asked that we take about another two days with the two communities. With Gloamhale Manor burnt to the ground, the valley left in the lake bed had nothing but debris and a graveyard. I didn’t want to leave this as the legacy of these two peoples, and so, bringing the leaders together, we aided the communities in clearing away the rubble and setting out some clearly defined boarders for what, by this time next year, will be a beautiful park and grove for the two communities to use as a meeting place, hopefully not only to begin to bridge the divide between the land, but also bring the people together. A little plant shaping will go a long way in making Erila Grove a beautiful monument of the dawn that comes after the darkness. A place of healing where once there was only hurt.

The journey to Kaerth Ashlock was honestly a somber one. At least, for me and Duran. I still do not believe that Roxy understands the wickedness that is sorcery, which makes me question a lot of previously held assumptions. And I still worry for Lucian. If he does take seriously the sorcerous taint, he isn’t showing it. As we came to Kaerth Ashlock we were greeted by Kernish guardswomen dressed in normal Kernish garb. Drab blacks. They were none too friendly, but couldn’t think of a good reason not to allow us entry into the town. The younger of the two acted as though she’d been beaten, but was not forthcoming. After some questioning, we made it to a trading post? Or the tavern? Both, I guess. And… I was raised around some Kernish refugees, these people were acting even more out of sorts than them. I feel this trip will only hurt Duran more, though. He and his family being some of those refugees. I know how Kernish people feel about Nightfolk. It’s an ugly sentiment.

The trade post man wasn’t terribly happy to see us either. He did feed us, but at one point left something on a table and another mad took it, leaving something else on a table, which the trade post man didn’t touch until after he’d left? Curiouser and curiouser. So, we discovered that there are apparently protectors in the keep. Information that our less than cordial host told us. I’ll admit, just seeing the way the people have been acting, I assumed the worst. And I was more suspicious as we got there. A vata’an boy wearing clothing of a squire for the Nights of the Blue Rose greeted us (curious for a vata’an to be here among the Kernish people). And, I mean, being in the fringes, I assumed the worst. I know some thirty years ago Knights were stationed here, but they’d surely all been called back. And the garb was out of date. I think Duran and I were thinking the same thing, that he and others were posing as members of the Knights. I turned on the charm while talking to him. I kind of worry I did it a little too much now, because I think I have an admirer in Oshrak. He led us through the keep to a meeting room, and asked us to wait while he got Markion and Valan, the Protectors.

Once Markion and Valan joined us, things became a little more clear. It seems that they are, or were? members of the Rose Knights. They decided to stay behind to protect people who hate them for who they are. Sorry. I am trying not to get overly emotional here. But frankly, if they wanted to preserve their culture so badly, maybe they shouldn’t have fled their home and poisoned the mind of a young girl. Let me explain. Markion and Valan are married, which is already looked down upon by the Kernish people, but on top of that, they are dismissive of the fact that Valan is who he even says he is. Which is preposterous, and down right mean spirited. They seem to have an issue with the idea that a man can give birth, when we all know it’s really not that unordinary. But the Kernish views on Laevvel is somehow less enlightened than their views on caria relationships. So much so they almost make the Jarzoni look accepting. Honestly, it’s bad enough to do so in your own communities, but to then convince Markion and Valan’s daughter that they are wrong to be who they are! I’m so angry even thinking of it. I do not know how Markion and Valan deal with it, and frankly, I find their loyalty to these people or their mission misguided. And were it not for the fact that their Daughter is missing, presumed kidnapped by the Five Beast Army, I’d march us right back out of here and let these ungrateful people deal with their own mess. We’ve agreed to help them only because they are unable to find their daughter Mayren themselves. And they have been gracious hosts.

Oshrak saw us to our rooms. After getting settled, I had a long talk with Duran while Roxy slept. I feel as though Lucian missed some of the point of the conversation, but that’s not what mattered to me. Making sure Duran understands that he is so much more than what he was made to be is what is most important. I know the brave face he puts on, but the recent events have hardly been good for either of us. Drudging up things from childhood, and now being here, asked to help (in a round about way) people who hate him as much as they hate the Protectors. Or me, even if they don’t realize it. But Duran is not a monster, and I will not allow him to think of himself that way. He means too much to me for that, and he has so much else to offer this world than just his martial prowess. Oshrak brought us some food and drink during our discussion and, after we were done, he was nice enough to offer to draw me a bath. I am curious as to why he was allowed to live, being that he is from the village and Kernish. I suppose there is a reason that he is working at the keep. But still, maybe there is a small shred of decency in these people. Then again, maybe they simply cannot afford to lose a member of their community, no matter how distrusted.

While he was helping me, I asked Oshrak what he thought about the Protectors. And I am actually glad he took the wind out of my sails. I think the day was just making me look for a fight, because I was ready to give him an earful, and even tell him that he’s been barking up the Laevvel tree, but it never came up. He talked about how it is admirable that they stayed, and that his community has some backwards views that he doesn’t share. Which, honestly, was refreshing. I don’t know. I am left questioning a few assumptions. But all the same, I will be happy to leave here when we are done.

Also, during the night, I met another man staying in the keep. I was informed he was about, and not to disturb him. But he seemed friendly enough. Even offered up where some sweets were hidden. He’s apparently been hurt, and isn’t sure who he is or why he was where he was found. He was also trying to hide some scars that covered much of his face from me. I assume it was more for my benefit than his own, but he shouldn’t worry so much. Perhaps helping him will be our next mission? Or perhaps he is just a chance encounter. All I know is this is a curious place.

In the morning, we got a map of the surrounding area, and decided to head to Shadowfell to hopefully get some answers, after being directed there by our hosts. The Pavin Weald would normally be uninviting, even along the trails from settlement to settlement, but I happen to speak tree, so our movement isn’t as hampered as others’ may have been. It was some time after lunch that we came across a cabin, an obvious trap. A little magic later and we discovered some bodies, as well as some Aldin women’s clothing which I think belongs to Mayren. But almost on cue, a lookout we’d missed yelled “assassins!” and we were under attack! I think that the bandits were expecting some Kernish travelers or other poorly armed folk, but what they got were Sovereign’s Finest. And the very woods and winds they thought they knew turned against them! I expect that we’ll find about the same warm welcome in Shadowfell.

Available Soon On Home Video!

NeonNoir

Neon Noir is an ambitious project I am taking up in my free time in March. Although I’m not technically in the month, I am trying to do this NaGa DeMon style. If you haven’t heard of National Game Design Month, look it up. It’s a cool idea!

Neon Noir is a setting that is inspired in part by Batman: the Animated Series, Disney’s Gargoyles, Dark City, The Flash (1991), Hackers and series from around the 1990s, as well as some more b-movie noir films. It’s not that A-list movies aren’t inspiration, it’s just that where else do you find mad scientists and robots? Although a lot of the initial inspiration comes from superhero media, this is not a superhero setting! Instead, it will follow Investigators in an alternate 1990s world of weird science and psychic phenomena. It will look like a mix of the 1940s and what the 90s thought the future would look like (Hence BtAS). Although it’ll be high action, guns and knives are lethal, and using your wits and words will be as encouraged as your fists.

The system I am basing it on is Modern AGE, and in this month I will be working on not only a setting book, with new rules specific to the setting, but also a full blown adventure path. Lookout for the First Case soon!

Lalwë’s Journal – Entry Four

As we ascended the stairs, I noticed the little spirits following cautiously behind. Of course I let them know we’d keep them safe, but all the same Hawky and Roxy were very cautious. And Roxy even a little mean. I doubt she means anything by it, it may just be that the spirits put our Rhy-companions on edge. The upstairs of the mansion has fewer room, four in all. And one is very stand out. Furniture and other debris used as a blockade around one tattered door with the word Traitor above it. I suggested we save that one for last, and the rest agreed.

We found a room leading into the attic, in which we found two live children, one villager boy and one Fen girl. Neither looked as though they’d been fed much, and they were both terrified. But we assured them that we were here to rescue them and take them home safely, and offered some food for them we’d been carrying with us. They came with, sticking close to me and Duran while we continued back to check the second floor.

There was a room the little spirit children were cautious to go in, with locked chests. Duran tried to smash them, but the locks were too strong. I suppose whoever built them didn’t expect a tree wizard to traipse through the house, because though the metal was impassable, the wood was like putty in my skilled hands, and released with ease. Toys. The locked boxes contained toys. The little spirits were terrified at our actions and almost frozen, though certain things piqued their interest. I quickly collected a tea set and gave it to teapot head, reassuring her that it was okay to play with and in a blaze of golden light she turned into a little girl, smiled, and we all felt a warmth before she disappeared. I am pretty sure we helped her pass on. But obviously this was something fettering these kids here, and our team worked to make sure each and every child passed on. I hid the few tears of joy as they passed on one by one. Kind of didn’t want the boys to pick on me. But one thing that was very funny was that Duran tried to get a melon for one of the kids, and came back with a red hand. I guess he wasn’t supposed to take it, and Hawky said Duran got caught red handed. Red handed. Because he tried to steal fruit. And he was caught. Get it? Hilarious.

The next room was something a little more harrowing. Debris and shards of wood and malevolence started whirling around a golden key. At first we though it was arcana or a trick, but it seemed to have a sentience about it, and attacked us. Duran tried to defend us while Roxy ran for the golden key. Hawky and I used our shaping to stall the creature. Hawky pushed it back against the wall and I used it to wrap itself up with its own wood. We decided that closing the door was a good way to keep it from following, and it was.

Finally, the Traitor room. Despite the warning and the dilapidated door, the inside of this room looked immaculate. Silky reds and a massive canopied bed. All kinds of makeup and a gorgeous vanity. But the mirror revealed the true appearance of the room.It was as run down and dilapidated as the rest of the house should have been. But in the mirror I felt a presence. And something… someone, a woman, asking very nicely if she could borrow my body a moment. I didn’t feel a malevolence from her, but all the same, brought it to the group. All she could offer was that she could help us, but she was weak and needed a conduit. Duran was against the idea. I asked him to tie me up, just in case, and I allowed the spirit in. This is where things got interesting. Well, I suppose the whole thing was interesting. I digress. I retained my mind and my locamotive skills, but Erila Qinrel was able to speak. She was a Jarzoni woman, and informed us of the history. How she’d been a nurse, how Gloamhale lied to her about his intentions and conducted terrible experiments on the children in a misguided hope to cure… something. And how his unrequited love festered until he started taking it out on Erila as well. She was very Jarzoni, and it was clear even the time she came from. The fact that I used arcana to speak with Hawky while she was in my body elicited “Leonoth forgive me”, and the fact that I am a girl using arcana no less. And she was even less keen on being around Duran, much less Hawky or Roxy. I think she did her best, but it was kind of evident they were making her uncomfortable. They are, after all, mistrusted in her homeland. But all the same, she recognized that we were hereto help, and that we had already helped the haints, as she called the children, pass on. Also, she told us the gold key was for the toy chests. With all the conjecture the boys were making about what it was for, I thought that was funny. Sorry, hardly the point.

So, Erila told us that Gloamhale essentially possessed the house, and the entire thing was him in a way. Which I kind of had a hunch, but all the same, having it confirmed put things in place. Oh! And there were some more verses written about. We collected them and it read:

By the Stars above and the Star below
The innocent summon and evil fellow
The trap is set, my hope is high
The power of good may yet abide
When nightmares float above my head
May this song wake me in my bed

Erila was worried it was sorcery, between that and the sigils the haints had scrawled in the playroom. But it seemed more like an incantation, and Hawky noted that the circle was for protection and not summoning. But even though Erila wasn’t sure how we could help her pass on, she acquiesced to the fact that only magic was going to stop Gloamhale. I convinced Duran that I had my motor functions and he set me free. I used paint to explain that the writing on the walls was a ritual and we set about conducting it. Gloamhale didn’t want to let us go, or to allow us to stop him, but with all of us working together, we managed to work the ritual and encase him in some strange glass. Shattered, motes of light and darkness spread throughout the house and soon the whole place looked like it should. Erila, no longer in need of my body, was gone too.

Strange motes of light came to each of us. I don’t know what the others were offered, but I can conjecture. It offered me hidden knowledge, but I politely refused. Although I have many things to learn, and the offer was enticing, I know there are no short cuts. I discovered I was the only one who thought so. I rushed back to Erila’s room, to find it looked as it should, but she was more able to speak with me without possession now. We discussed the best course of action and she asked that even if we couldn’t unfetter her from this place, that we destroy it. Duran seemed to be thinking the same since we entered. We set a fire and gathered the children to take them home. Once we got away from that place we returned to our ages. I am happy that I am an adult woman again, and not a child. But I’d be lying if I said my happiness wasn’t tainted.

The children we rescued were visibly shaken and afraid of Duran, Hawky and Roxy. Given his past, I can only imagine the feelings that brought up. Even Chant didn’t want to be near them. We dropped the settler children off, and took the small Fen girl home as well. The Mud Mother asked that we stay, and she put on a banquet for us as thanks for rescuing the child and putting an end to the strange happenings from the drained lake bed. When the Mud Mother asked what caused it, I told her it was Sorcery. We ate and relaxed a little, Roxy fell asleep eating some sauteed snake. The Mud Mother also told us that Janna was engaged to be married, to the very Fen man we took prisoner. I am glad for her, that she found somewhere she can be happy. Duran pulled me aside to ask what I thought those motes of light were. I told him I already said. I think he knew, but hearing it from me made it real for him.

I am disappointed in myself. For not having been able to stop them. For not setting a better example, especially for Hawky. I fear how easily it happened and I am trepidatious going forward. I am responsible for this. I should have been able to do something. Anything to stop it. I have to do better, not only for them, but for myself. So none of them succumb to further sorcerous taint. So I don’t lose any of them. And I will find a way to cleans them. But I don’t envy myself the days ahead.