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 tentacles...next 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.