Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Without a Trace

When you’re forced to leave the game early due to circumstances beyond your control, there’s always a chance you’ll have to bring a new character for next session. Fortunately, our werebear player decided to make his character into a proper Engine of War and his trait, Warrior’s Restoration, allowed Devlin to heal up the hole in his side in an hour.

As impressive as that may sound, it’s even more impressive that Devlin managed not to punch the hunter who shot at him. In his defence, he thought he was shooting at a polar bear. While VT flew off to get her gun, Devlin and Peyton met with some hunters and had a chat. Most of them wanted to finish it quickly solely because Devlin has a reputation of punching people for no reason… even if they have guns.

During their chat, Peyton noticed that the hunters were wearing similar clothes as that severed armed that nearly hit him during the blizzard. Oddly enough, the players decided to try and track down the beast, now nicknamed Windy by VT. Sadly they lost the track. The wind and snow destroyed what little signs they could follow. The only thing they were sure of is that Windy headed for the town… and that it disappeared in mysterious circumstances.

I’m extremely glad Bill noticed that although VT was perched on a building overlooking where Windy would have emerged, she saw naught. Normally, you could hand-wave that as a simple plot hole but I do have a reason as to why Windy vanished. A reason which I shall keep to myself… such is the beauty of Game Mastering.

With so little to go on, our heroic shapeshifters went back to find the severed arm and piece together the identity of the victim. His name was Jonathan and none of the characters knew of him having any ties with the local hunters. Being the good citizens they are, they informed the local authorities who, quite sceptically, sent a state trooper with them to check it out.

The disbelief vanished quite quickly and was replaced by a visage of horror!

The site was secured, CSI was called in and statements were taken.
No other player got shot at.
For now…

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Levelling up

I am pleased to report that the DnD party are now second level. As close a shave as we had to death last week, it seams that an inch is as good as a mile for us and we gained enough experience to claw up some desperately needed hit points ready for the next close shave. Even closer if you believe the adverts.

Here is a friendly Youtube video of the process:

The 5e process was incredibly quick and straight forward and entailed writing a 2 instead of a 1 in the level box, rolling a single dice (or accepting an average) and copying across the proficiencies for your character from the Players Handbook. I picked up my first spell slot and now have something else to wave in front of people's faces other than an axe.

As painless a process as it seemed I did cast my eye down the level charts, optimistically I admit, to the higher echelons and although one picks up one or two additional proficiencies as you go up each time, it will end up being quite a lot eventually. I suppose though, that if a player personally takes a character through the level ups, it would imply one had a good grasp of capabilities at each stage. Still, I wouldn't envy a beginner jumping in at a higher level but I suppose this is true of most RPGs.

As for the party itself, well, we have managed to restore a lighthouse to full operation and dutifully receiving the reward for doing so. And we have located some missing persons, albeit slightly less alive in some cases. It is slowly transpiring though that many of the optional sub plots we have come across are seemingly interlinked with cultist of the Green Dragon. This will require further investigation but at least for now the fog is literally lifting over Neverwinter as we have restored some navigation to its blockaded port.

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Someone Heard You Scream

As a GM, I never know how to start a game.
A typical fantasy game starts in a tavern, I'm told, when an old wizard judges your motley of low-level adventurers worthy a task so grave that it can only be given to a random bunch of strangers... but what do you do when there's a significant lack of wizards and taverns in a given setting?

How am I supposed to know?
I just asked the players what their characters are doing in the woods on the outskirts of town... yes, yes, yes, that's a cool story. Oh, by the way, you hear a scream of terror followed by gunshots from within the woods!

That's as good a hook as any... and so, the local werebeasts found themselves checking out the scream. Coincidence or Fate? We may never know.

They went on in the direction of where the scream originated. Stopping only when encountering a blizzard! Expecting something supernatural going on, VT turned into a falcon and went on ahead to scout. Especially after one of them got nearly hit by a severed arm of some poor chap. I was expecting the players would stop and think things through. Maybe try and gather some more information but after VT returned to say she found an enormous beast with control over the winds, which might be responsible for dismembering a human being in no time... they decided to go and try to kill it.

It might seem like a bad plan but they do have a gigantic were-polar-bear. All things considered, they might have been successful... if not for VT getting swept away, the blizzard mysteriously disappearing and someone shooting at the enormous bear next to a poor, defenseless student.

There were so many rolls between players to keep Devlin from going on a rampage.
I was expecting someone to fail.

At the end of the session, Devlin regained his composure, turned back to human form and started putting his clothes on while someone was approaching the group.

The Peril of 1st level

Here is a quick before an after picture, I could ask you to spot the difference but being smug at a funeral is generally considered inappropriate. I exaggerate only slightly as despite the fact that our Scout did a fantastic job of creeping up on a skeleton, he did immediately throw away his sword as a rather botched attempt at a stealth attach. Fate decided not to be speared in the back on this particular occasion. Taken below a zero level of hit points, our brave player, Nick, attempted to roll his three attempts at staying alive and, sadly, failed two of them putting his character into immediate probate - a situation every thief, I mean scout, would wish to avoid for professional as well as personal reasons.
It was fortunate, in all senses of the word, that apparently as a Halfling he did in fact get another stab at life as the 'lucky' rule came into play for his race for which a tense but successful roll was made and  by the skin of his teeth  has now a story to tell.
As it happens, he wasn't the only one. Attacked by skeleton archers, reanimated corpses and slippery ghouls the Paladin, Ranger and Cleric were also treated to a near death experience and it was briefly the Mage vs everything before reinforcements arrived. Not for us as such but after the loot, still, beggars cant be choosers.
It was all a very close shave but there were the obvious things we could have done differently. It all goes to remind me really that even when starting new players or even those new to roleplay in general, 1st level characters are actually a big challenge - not only is there the inherent lack of experience and hitpoints as characters but more often or not it is the first time a player may come across the do's and dont's of basic survival - a rule of thumb will serve you well provided it isn't cut off.
So endeth the first session of this part of the DnD, bruised, battered and barely breathing but hopefully a little wiser.
We'll see....

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Self Preservation

Just to round off the Star Wars last week, I can report on the successful repatriation of ambassador Bol to the Rebel Alliance. I knew you would all be relieved. Discovered quite safe in his Carbonite casing he was released in time for the end of the one off adventure.

Next week should see the start of DnD, Changing Breeds and Feng Shui.

Carbonite casing was originally designed for gas transportation as the material can absorb vast amounts of volatile atmospheric substances whilst locking them in an unreactive and stable form. The chambers themselves can also stack efficiently and operate in built repulsors for mobility.

It also happens to be an ideal form of transport for captives as the molecular integration process has a stasis effect on organic material. Painful though.

However, do not confuse Carbonite with Samsonite, another transportation and packaging material that is also used for moving bodies around.

Thursday, 5 November 2015

It begins

'Any ideas as for characters you'd like to play?' I asked.
'An adrenaline junkie werefalcon.'
'I think I'll play a polar bear lumberjack.'
'Together, they fight crime.' Bill remarked.

Actually, that's a very good description of the scenario I have in mind... mostly because murder is generally considered an illegal act.

It's been a while since I've last run a game. I used to do it fairly often but even so, I was dreading sitting in the GM chair again.

I started off with two players, had elevator-pitch for the game and felt like my handling of the system was sketchy at best... but as we sat down and bantered, I felt happy to be were I started.

Last week we did character creation.
We didn't do as much as I had hoped and I'm at fault here. I intended half of the 2 hours we had to be spent making characters and the other hour on fitting them into the setting but I was worried that putting dots on the sheet would go fast that I feared all would be done in half that time... it didn't.

No plan ever survives contact with players, mark my words!

Fortunately, the sheets require minimal input from the players and I started working on some additional player characters for drop-ins.

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Head in the Clouds

As the games are turning over like a huge discworld sized pancake, I have taken the opportunity to run a stopgap 2 episode Star Wars until the DnD is ready to rumble. The original West End games D6 edition no less. Despite the D20 system prevalence I like the older system due to its rather vague approach to rules - its enough to get things done but allows a high degree of flexibility by the GM and the extremely simple difficulty tables are applied to most tasks - combat is simply an attack roll vs strength roll.
For now the party are trying to rescue an Ambassador Bol, a wanted Jedi, who went MIA during the last Star Wars adventure. He was pivotal in establishing the first few clans into an alliance against the Imperium.

At this moment in time, although it was a long, long time ago, our adventurers are on the trail of a broken light sabre that was found to have been gambled away in a casino on Cloud City -a Calrissian mining facility suspended within the Bespin atmosphere. Having abruptly cornered the gambler concerned it turns out that he claimed the item from the now defunct Tibann orbital - an old and ultimately unsuccessful competitor to Cloud City that has fallen derelict - uninhabited for now except for scavengers and scrap hunters and anyone else not looking to be found...Part 2 on Thursday...

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Selecting the new Lanterns

It is time.
The old worlds are dying and new ones are waiting to be born.

New games are being prepared as I write. Plans are afoot and the GM selection process is taking place for the forthcoming games.

GM Krzys will be offering a Changing Breeds, which as I understand it is a World of Darkness game involving a genetic melting pot - chimeras crossed with other chimeras set in the frozen realm of Alaska.

GM Warren will be offering to continue the Dungeons and Dragons adventure as the mystery surrounding Neverwinter Seige deepens.

GM Jack will be offering one of the following: A 13th Age continuation of the previous adventure set in the Mage town of Eldolan. A game of Strike, a D6 based SciFi scenario. Or finally a game of Feng Shui 2, a hidden history of the Chi War replete with sorcerers, monks and cyborgs. Really depends on how weird people want to get..

If you are thinking of coming along or coming back, now is an excellent time to grab a character and make it your own.

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Assassins Wanted.

One of the issues I have raised before regarding the Eclipse Phase game is one of mortality, or lack thereof. It's one of the many underpinning aspects of the universe that requires a serious shift in a player's mentality. It's a tricky one though as I am unclear as yet what the difference is exactly between transferring a consciousness and copying one. I would have though that a being would cling onto life under any circumstances even if backups are available, as backups, and forks for that matter, are just copies and separate personalities. Other than vanity from a human perspective, why would I even bother to create a copy or backup of myself at all ? Death comes to me in all its form unless it is actually my consciousness itself that is transferred at the moment of death. This cannot be the case of course if my brain is slowly altered through drugs, medical procedures or torture ie I can go through a radical personality alteration before expiring.

The point about this is that we were mustering a plan to assassinate someone in the last game but the conversation slowed dramatically as we began to realise that the individual will have copies. In that case we don't actually care about his personal view on immortality, we just have to take him out. But are we satisfied with just removing his current persona ? Well, we located his business address and have plans to destroy his server racks where at least one backup resides but we have no idea at this stage if he has further backups and if indeed they lie within a major,  maximum security corporation that provides such services on the basis that they can never be compromised. Mission Impossible comes to mind, so we have been discussing methods of possibly infecting his backups in order to destroy them aside from physical intervention. As always, I am sure that the meticulous planning phase of our mission will bear no resemblance at all to reality.
As much as I raise an eyebrow over what could be a flaw in this game, I am reminded of course that it is also an issue in many other more classic scenarios. I recall having to hunt down the individual embalmed organs of Liches in order to ensure that they can be killed, and Vampires, particularly the high level ones, do have a tendency to repeat offend, this is perhaps nothing new in the problem we are facing .
We need the cyber equivalent of a wooden stake.

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Are you local ?

In my opinion the Brighton Roleplaying club is one of the most welcoming public facing clubs I have ever been to. As much courage as it take to turn up at an event full of strangers or even return to one after many months or years, one can be assured of a gregarious and hearty welcome no matter where you may be from; beerish is an international language we all speak. I like to think of us as a local foreign legion, where we fight and adventure together, one and all, no matter what our backgrounds. A sort of them and us without the them. I have neglected to post an on line welcome to two of our newest members who have joined us, so a very warm welcome to Fade and Julian and I do hope you find us a regular escape from reality. Welcome Sirs.
Online comms are a bit of a Ying Yang also, it is often the case that other similar groups arise in our local area asking after games to join or venues to use. In one sense its a bit schizophrenic but on the other hand its just a matter of interest groups joining with each other rather than think that they are alone. Part of me wants to create one giant reolplaying centre where everyone can come under the same roof and get to know one another but of course we have people who travel from afar and if they can get a game closer to home then its understandable.
This week I have had the pleasure of chatting with Simon Filler who has a facebook group of interested local parties for DnD adventuring-
The game is so iconastic it is even a phrase such that people may know what you mean by DnD but not know what you mean by roleplaying. We have chatted in our magic circles and have sort of decided that it would be a good idea to have a DnD run all the time albeit with rotating games and DMs of course. Not literally, though. Whilst we operate on a Thursday primarily, if we get enough interest then we can simply run an additional evening or arrange a home game.
So to cut a long blog short, it you are interested in DnD, which is a magnificent roleplaying game, or any other roleplaying game at all then don't hesitate, do come along whether you are a group looking for a venue or a player looking for a game or a thief looking for loot, we will look after you.
See you all there!

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Evil breakfasts

There are a number of aspects to day to day survival which don't always occur to me when thinking of people of note such as the Queen, the Nolan Sisters or Ricky Gervais for example. Fame or infamy notwithstanding there is always the matter of breakfast and whether you get up late or not I suggest you would in most circumstances enjoy a late breakfast rather than an early lunch. Now if pressed, and certainly in an emergency, I could make it to the local deli in my dressing gown and force down a quick pastrami panini with a mocha or two but running in sandals in not becoming when one reaches a certain level and excessive flapping of undergarments whilst traversing at speed often draws unseemly attention.
However, for a suitably refined dining experience I would be prepared to extend some risk in certain areas and recommend an establishment to a friend even if it is in a less cordial location. Nevertheless there are meal times that make me somewhat nervous despite the quality of the food or establishment.
Sitting across a table in a local pub with a Wizard of Thay eating a bowl of gruel is one of those circumstances.
Hiding in plain sight is an old trick and the more colourful and irritating a character then the more likely one is to cast an encounter to the back of the mind, Jesters being an example in kind. But there is sometimes so much wrong with a picture when you first see it that it can simply blind you entirely or cause you to move on blankly. But this has been bothering me. Wizards of Thay are not known for just popping out for breakfast and whilst a stark and featureless bowl of gruel somewhat befits a stark and featureless gaze I am wondering why we came across him or indeed perhaps the opposite is true and he has deliberately happened across us.
Either way its a timely reminder that the subtle things matter just as much as the axe wielding and  we will need to keep an eye out over more than just breakfast.
In other words, beware the Muffins of Destiny.

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Face Off

Now, we are supposed to be running three alternative, balanced and thoroughly optional experiences - a fantasy (DND5E), a horror (Achtung!Cthulu) and a SciFi (Eclipse Phase). Something for everyone in fact. It was somewhat of a creepy discovery that by the end of our DND5E game that we had come across people who's faces were being systematically removed.
More specifically the lands bordering Neverwinter are in upheaval with rumors of Dragons and Kobolds to the south, raiders to the East and Pirates to the coast. I haven't asked about North yet but I will probably be told I cant see an exit that way or that I am carrying too much equipment,  or some such fiendishly clever plot twist. Nevertheless I am struggling to look on the positive side of innocent people having their visage mutilated; personally I would be glad of slightly less facial hair management but I can understand why they are somewhat traumatised.
Not really sure what to say on the history of face removal, I don't think it has ever been a cultural practice so I am just reminded of characters such as Hannibal Lecter - a man who can eat his way our of captivity - and Scooby doo  - less malevolent in certain respects but the extent to which we wear our own faces as masks reminds me of gleefully watching the Mystery Team regularly tearing off the faces of unsuspected Librarians and sundry workers employed in various utility companies. We will get to the grisly bottom of our current mystery in due course no doubt.
I did, as a relative newbie to the world of Neverwinter, ask after the city's influence geopolitically but unfortunately it seems to be mostly a cultural and cosmopolitan centre at this point in its history - it has a town guard and I would guess some very dangerous wizards, but nothing along the lines of a foreign policy or army.
Seems that its us pesky kids vs the bad guys for now..

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Stop Press Stop New players Stop New Game Stop DND5E

More welcomes to another band of fellow role-players wandering in from their adventures. It was a pleasure to meet Ben, Kim and Mark at the club, all at once no less, and the seemingly unstoppable and frantic demand for roleplaying action energized our resident beer drinker GM Warren to pick up his pint in one hand and rule book in another and stagger to the rescue.
Here then in it pristine glory is a wonderful picture of our party, including me behind the camera and our shiny new peoples. It was the only picture I had without Warren drinking. In fact its probably the only picture of Warren not drinking. Thank you Sir for starting up our third magnificent game, DND5E ! Don't worry about Ben punching Kim, they're married.
In our first session a party of  a Paladin, Cleric, Mage and Thief (sorry, I mean rogue) have started a mystery following the kidnapping of a local aristocrat's son by imposters dressed as local guards. This followed an altercation at a party we were invited to though it was difficult to work out what was going on exactly through all the inebriations. Pursuing the trail to the city walls we happened upon some form of sacrificial ceremony in progress involving wind magic, that while we managed to interrupt the evil doings we, sadly, have several dead people to attend to in the aftermath. We are probably the ones in trouble now but more on that next week.
In the Eclipse Phase, GM Rob's game update reads:
"Chasing leads around the lawless hive of Locus, the players encountered another hacker who assisted Tara Yu. Mason Wang revealed that he created two AIs for Yu named Achilles and Tortoise, the former a shell-controlling program piggybacked by the latter, an advanced hacking program capable of dealing with TITAN-level encryption if need be.

Realising that there are things Wang has hidden from them, the characters went over the files at Tara Yu's safe house and found a communication referencing a corrupted fork of his he's been experimenting exists, one deliberately infected with the Exsurgent virus that has infected the drug dealers and is linked to the petals they push to their customers. The message also revealed that the source of this virus is something called Myrmidon.

Two further links emerged, the ex-White Khanh Sammy Li whom was being pursued for info by Tara Yu before her expedition to the Song Cai Flower and Nia Zheng, a recent arrival to Locus and red tech dealer to the inner system triads. Contact with Zheng proved fruitless as her own mercenaries made it very clear that the characters were not welcome after an abortive attempt to talk to her.

Little do the characters know that eyes have turned to them and from the shadows, interested parties watch their every move.


In the Achtung Cthulu, GM Jon is advancing the plot:

"The A!C team are now working for British Indian Intelligence (not that they had much choice). Escorted by a couple of dozen troops of the Bombay Grenadiers, they raced a local group of all-female freedom fighters to a temple hidden in a cave about 200 miles from Bombay. They were somewhat pleased to find they'd run the race, but then discovered they hadn't - the locals were inside, with some tropical suited Germans and had no idea who they were, where they were or what was going on.

There was a brief debate about whether to shoot, arrest or help them, then they were interrupted by red spirits coming out of the walls. When their guns didn't work (and several soldiers lost their memories), they realised what the cryptic warning from the mad priest the week before meant, and began desperately hunting for the musical pillars for which the temple was noted. Rattling out a tune they got from the same source led to the ghosts disappearing and a secret door at the far end of the temple opening.

After the anti-climax of discovering the artefact they were looking for with no further problems, they've emerged, blinking, into the sunlight and a smartly-dressed Indian (backed about a dozen armed women) has just asked for the artefact...

I'm sure I've seen this somewhere before...


Still waiting for those tentacles Jon... 

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

A Jovial mission

Managed a brief chat with GM Jon last week regarding his COC. Apparently the intrepid and only slightly insane party have managed to successfully derail the Nazi transmission tower in the Valley of the Blue Monks. There was some attempt a sneaking around in the middle of the night which is always fun and as I understand it they shot a Monk that was about to raise the alarm on the monastery horn. Despite the fact that gunfire is significantly louder than an old gasping Monk pouting on an even older bronze tube, the party actually managed to explosively demolish the offending aerial and get away. As it happens, the only 'explosives' around to purchase in the mysterious mythos mountains were fireworks used for weddings and the like, thus the resulting military operation ended in a sort of special forces barmitzpha. Well done so far but still waiting to hear about zombies and time perhaps.
On the other side of the universe the Eclipse Phase team have now begun a mission for their new employers, Firewall. There was the option for a memory wipe/roll back should anyone not really feel in a trustworthy frame of mind but curiosity seems to be just ahead of paranoia in the cognitive stakes at present. So without rebooting  we now find ourselves at the Jovian system investigating the disappearance of a Firewall agent - we are sort of in the investigation phase at the moment but are already becoming aware of the various criminal gangs and bosses that run the place. The Jove habitat is founded on inter entity tolerance but with freedom comes criminality and cross cultural rivalries.
I only hope that the local mafia haven't infiltrated the municipal services like they usually do as the stink from rotting refuse in a sealed city would start to give the place a post post post modern medieval feel it. We'll see...

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Evolved Regression

Firstly a little preamble this week as to the right of this article you will see a link to BURPS, the Brighton Universal Roleplaying Society who celebrated their reunion this last weekend locally at Reunicon. Although the annual get togethers are a celebration of old university friendships and roleplaying memories from the late 80s they are also open to the public and it was a pleasant surprise to see both Hem and Andy there who were two of our very own  recruits from last week. I myself was at Brighton Polytechnic in the day and a regular member of that very roleplaying society - over a hundred members at its peak and the largest society as a whole (apart from the pharmacists who's membership was pretty much default for joining their course). Keeping it real guys and glad to see you are all still alive, albeit in black and white. I should have gone along of course but to be honest it makes me feel like roleplaying died out several decades ago and we re-enact it like an antique flat earth society. I need to look forward and those old gits, particularly the local ones, should come up to us on a Thursday and join in. In truth of course the Brighton Roleplayers scene is very much alive and vibrant as ever and cutting edge in when it comes to alpha releases we have tested like DND6E, Blades in the Dark and Eclipse phase to name just a few.

Eclipse phase last week came to a head in so many ways. We were in the situation where we needed to use 2 escape pods but with 5 of us in the party. Classic. OK, 2 of use are small octopods and I was downloaded into a head anyway so that was one pod sort of agreed on which left our Archaeologist and Enforcer with much to discuss. Well discussion didn't win the day and after a desperate and manic shooting contest in a cramped space it was the Archaeologist, remarkably, that got the comfy seat. How one's gut instinct to survive at all costs still kicks in after cortical implants make it a non issue is very interesting.
I guess people are still people even after you take their brains out.

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Talking to yourself.

Firstly a hearty yarr welcome to our new members that joined us last week, Andy, Hem, Grant and Nik. Wonderful to see  you all. As my memory was wiped some years ago I am reconstructing these names from club comms so apologies if I have got them wrong. May I just take this opportunity to say actually how much courage it takes to walk into a pub full of strangers and talk to people although of course I hope we were instantly familiar, we do after all, show strength of character in more ways than usual. Still, very good to see you all.
Having said this one of the new guys came to play in last weeks Eclipse Phase and, given the surge of new players, GM Rob coped admirably by levering the games inherent digitally based backdrop and created a 'copy' of the Muse program I was playing. This, I think was the first time I have actually interacted with a doppelganger. The term may not quite be fair as I think a doppelganger implies a false representation to a degree whereas in this universe a copy is a fully bona fide and independent entity.
Nevertheless, it was a weird experience. Whilst my Muse was quarantined into a primitive head for antivirus reasons, my copy got a new fully interactive, integrated and projected program that, sadly got infected quite quickly. For a while I was trying to convince the other me to put me back into an integrated form rather than leave me body less but I couldn't convince myself that this was a good plan. Most amusing. I also spent a lot of the session agreeing with myself which was also very interesting, I wonder given two identical personalities whether they would always agree. I presume that much opinion comes from life experience but given that both characters experiences begin identically that different points of view would emerge slowly over time, though its interesting that one doesn't necessarily trust the other at present. As I say, weird.
In Achtung Cthulu I hear that the new guys in that game started beating up on the Nazi Blue Monks in short order. Well done everyone.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

No FT ? No Comment.

Uncovering ancient mythology is never an easy task. Even in the modern world with all its forensics and information systems the fog of history still prevails where monsters and demons lurk. Traditionally Cthulu comes with its intrinsic library research methods and one puts time aside in ones mind for the occasional evening of bookery as its a case of the pen (or) paper being mightier then the sword - a sort of rock, paper, tentacles game.
In the most recent episode  of Achtung Cthulu our investigations were concluding and we are now in the throes of an actual plan. Part of our hit list are a small sect of evil Blue Monks, nothing but an ancient fairy tale to the locals but not wanting to leave any prayer wheel unturned we decided to frequent the usual common or garden library. Not so common or garden in our current Himalayan retreat but nevertheless the local and ancient town had and even more local and ancient library tucked away in its Buddhist monastery. Problem with the Abbot of said monastery is that somehow ancient and local doesn't really go far enough; whilst we enjoyed a welcoming cup of tea with the old chap, he really did push the boundaries of senility.
Perseverance is one of the traits of my character, so not to be put off by a smiling and nodding contender for best donkey award, I defaulted to the monastic librarian. Definitely not donkey material, a long and embattled conversation embarked on how we could lever some information on the Blue Monks. Not taboo as such my questions were nevertheless batted away as childlike concerns over nothing but stories. Failing this, my last option to gain entry to the library was to offer him a gift of significant meaning in kind and something he would respect as a part of his profession. All I had on my equipment list was a copy of the Financial Times from a few days ago and I suggested that this treasured and important post modern artefact, together with its crossword conundrums should be inturned by us into his collection of great works. Remarkably I actually got a few sentences into this conversation before suggesting he should consider having his manuscripts rewritten for the modern era, a sort of Tibetan Times. End of conversation.
At this point the information gathering phase of the adventure was definitely over and we headed out, provisioned with our boy scout, to take on the forgotten Monks and their Nazi transmission tower. They are aiding the German War effort by translating ancient Atlantean manuscripts for a shady SS division. To what end... we do not know...