Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Eric finished reading my story about Cromm, which I always call The Last Blade. It took him like two and a half days to get through the 87k words, on a computer screen. Eric gets three Dogdamn stars of awesomesauce for that. He enjoyed it as well, and while that is not exactly a thorough critique of the document, its still a good-fuck-thing.

It's About Damn Time...

Iron Warrior number seven is done. He did not turn out ideally. He looks ok, I just ran into some problems. I have no problem with chainsword and bolt pistol arms. They are simple, adjust to get angle you want and glue to your heart's content. Bolter/flamer/meltagun type arms are a bit different. I like to match arms, so I have to find two spike/skull/etc arms, one trigger hand and one cradling the bolter hand. The difficulty is that you have four points to glue, the arms to the shoulders, the hand to the barrel of the bolter, and the other hand to the grip part of the bolter. I find it difficult to arrange this with just glue, so I use poster tack to hold the mess of hands to bolter together till I can get glue to dry on the shoulders. Then I remove the bolter and tack and dab on some glue and replace the bolter. I had some trouble this time and had to re-glue the grip hand to the bolter a few times and this left a bit of a mess of dried glue between bolter and grip hand. Not pretty, but not really noticeable unless you get up close. The next problem was the head. I've always like the chaos space marine head in question, but it does not look good on the Iron Warriors metal chest pieces. Once I get the army built up enough, this guy will probably be one I strip and rebuild. I also found out Iyaden Darksun is too dark a yellow for my hazard stripes. Oh well, it is a learning process.

Seven Iron Warriors down, three more to go. I have the icon bearer, the flamer guy, and the aspiring champion. I just have to figure out how my scorched barrel mix went when I used it on the meltagun guy, who I think is pretty slick looking. I used a pistol arm but hacked off the pistol portion and put a meltagun in its place. The scorched barrel turned out pretty well, as did the helmet, which is another one I really like. Most chaos space marine helmets look pretty awesome. I cannot stand their goofy topknot ones, the half-helm and topknot ones are just plain dumb looking to me.

Once I get these guys done I intend on going back to my Lamenters and finishing up the squad with a flamer, missile launcher, and sergeant. Then back to more Iron Warriors, hopefully with some bionics and whatnot. Mmmm, bionics are delicious. I wasn't planning on it, but I think I may end up stripping my chaos terminators and playing around with them to see if I can come up with a decent obliterator counts as. Terminators are definitely bulky enough to be oblits and they lack the "I am taking an enormous warp fueled shit" look.

I've got six 40kradio podcasts on my laptop here, I think I might listen to one or two this week. They're usually entertaining and kind of serve to get me juiced up a bit about the hobby, so it might be nice. It also looks like they'll be (or already are) going over the chaos space marine codex, which should produce some handy tips and tricks for me.

At the end of this month I'll have saved a hundred bucks up since the last time I internet ordered 40k stuff. I think I'm going to at the very least get a loyalist techmarine, some Iron Warrior conversion bitz, another Iron Warriors warsmith (good model, and I want to monkey with it a bit to make it into another aspiring champion for a different squad than the one I'm working on now), and a hobby drill. I have a little pinning drill, but it only fits two drill bits of the dozen or so I have because it only has two size option for fitting bits into it. The one bit that came with it that I still have is also a bit rusty and bent from drilling out a barrel on a metal gun. The GW hobby drill looks like it can be loosened and tightened to accommodate different sized bits, and it has a nice looking handle so it seems like it will be a decent tool to have.

Work got rid of the heavy metal drug and IV boxes they use and I heard they'll be giving them away, so I might try to snag one and see if it would be a good place to stash all my hobby tool type stuff in. They supposedly have a tray that sits in them, so there should be ample room in it for the tools and such that I have collected, and maybe a bit more for some paint pots and bottles I have just sitting out. If that works out I can clean out the tray on my tackle box I have my tools in now and use that to separate my bitz, which would be nice because I think I only have like one tactical squad's worth of loyalist marine bitz and if I'm going to do 1500 points of Lamenters, it seems like I might need a wee bit more room for the bitz.

Someday I want to do ork and imperial guard armies, so ample room in my bitz box will be a good thing for future projects. Although, by the time I get around to those armies Eric will have finally admitted he has no intention of doing a full army, Shawn will have started a brewery, and Tony will have died in some manner of BBQ sauce related disaster. With them dead I'll have no one to play with so I'll have four armies in my basement and be playing against myself. Or I'll have to make new friends.

Because I can: Awesomesauce, robust, turgid...zebra cum.

Music: 1, 2, 3, 4 Guitars - The Blood Brothers

Saturday, June 27, 2009


I can't stop saying that word. I need help.

This is why DnD and Wizards of the Coast equals awesomesauce in my book. Some guys in Iraq were returning from a patrol, they and their humvee get hit by a roadside bomb, injuries and such ensue. Their gaming materials are destroyed in the explosion. They get a hold of Wizards customer service at a later date asking about some rules that were removed from their manuals via shrapnel, Wizards sends them a set of gaming material so they can continue gaming during their tour. Fuck yes.


So, you want to start a rebellion do you? Simple enough, the soulless are enslaved (to a certain extent) by the Fallen, goblins and their cousins the hobs and bugbears are enslaved by the Fell-Humans, The New Empire has enslaved a bunch of magicians. You don't want to wander across the expanse of The Known World? Ok, fine, go two inches west and you can aid the goblins. Half of you are Fell-Humans and one of you hates goblins...oh. Hmmm. Oh, I've got it, you can liberate the indigenous people of Hell from their conquerors! ...Oh, one of you hates Fell-Humans as much as the one hates goblins and you have no desire to liberate them.

Fuck it. They're liberating Hell. It has been decided.

Hell is a rough place full of as much magic as Kusseth is is with technology. The wardens stop at the first district and don't do much in the deeper places, and they're all wardens and senior wardens here. No junior wardens training in this place, they die. This is not to say the place is more dangerous than Kusseth City, its just that the dangers are different. In Kusseth a youth gang could lure you into an alley with a crying child (that is so happening) and then the two dozen hiding in shadows mob you and steal your marks and spill a fair bit of blood while they're at it, depending on their mood. In Hell something slimy with way too many mouths and eyes will crawl up out of a sewer grate and bite a piece of you off. It will then impregnate you with some form of tentacle or inverse orifice built out of non-Euclidean geometry. That sentence makes about as much sense as anything else Lovecraft wrote.

Its a spooky place that has a bit to do with the Necropolis in the east. The Necropolis is a place of strange, cold, black stones. There are tons of mist-shrouded tunnels and crypts in the bowels of the place, one of which is where The Bleak Tyrant was found. These dark crypts are the center of The Bleak Tyrant's power. Each of the cities of the Fell-Humans, including Hell, were founded on black slabs of stone mined from the depths of the Necropolis. The stones are just as fucked up and fell as everything else with The Bleak Tyrant's stamp on it.

I think I have an idea how I'm going to run Hell. The next scenario takes place over three days and is basically travel time to Kusseth City and a chance for them to ditch Spineplate and pick up a hook for going to Hell. I think I'm going to do a sandbox in Kusseth. Not the entire city, that would take years. But I plan to create a series of events and quests and encounters, I just won't link them to any specific location. So as the guys are wandering around Kusseth City I can plop in inns and stores and various things and just take copious notes about what I put where in this scenario for future expeditions to Kusseth. I might have to add lib a bit, and certain areas will be blocked off to a mob of no account ill-kempt thugs, but I think that will work. I know enough about this place to rattle off factoids effectively, I think. Maybe they'll just drop Spineplate off at home and the quests and events and sights can occur as they're doing that. I'll have to remember to go back to my Traith story and keep track of precisely where Traith originally found Spineplate.

I'm starting to get pysched about this idea now. Hell is probably my second favorite city in The Known World. Its history incorporates a series of events that I am fond of, mainly Cenn the Reaver taking the city for Kusseth and the beginning of the events that lead Smiling Jack, Hell's Own Happy Butcher, to become the master of the bardic colleges. I have an idea for a monument in the center of the first district of Hell. Like a heap of the twisted black gates that guarded the place, still smoldering with malicious energy, and like a bit of text from Cenn's own hand swearing that he'll rip this city away from anyone who dares undo his work blah blah blah. I'll think I'll try and sandbox this place as well. Its not a small city, but it is kind of vertically oriented. I imagine it as some black ziggurat with houses and walls built of mundane stone sort of added on to it and the PCs have the main set of districts and then they can go up or down as they so choose. I intend on having the shit in the deeper places be nastier and deadlier the further down they go. So they can go places, but the going gets rough, unless they wait till they gain more levels.

(Days pass)

I feel this scenario slipping away from me. Literally a room and a half need to be written out, a "we're badasses" description needs to be done, and it is done. Or it would have been. An NPC needs to be re-written, a battle description needs to be redone to make something resembling sense. It is really the NPC that is giving me trouble. First he was going to be a Paladin, then a Paladin multi-classing as a Warlock, then a Warlock wearing heavy armor, then I thought about hybrid character rules and Paladin/Warlock mix. Now I'm back to Paladin. It could be done any of the above ways and still fit the image of "I am a plate mail wearing knight of Hellfire and brim-fucking-stone." The one thing I've learned recently is something I've dubbed as re-skinning stuff. I am too new to this edition to just make shit up, so when I need a dwarf for a level 1 fight I don't know how to make it and ensure there is some element of balance. I know it needs to be on the weak side with low hit points, but that's about it. What I did is go on to the Monster Manual, find a level 1 monster (Human Rabble in this case) and reskin it. Instead of rags it gets "chain mail" instead of a 4 damage dealing club it gets a "warhammer" and istead of "they are humans dressed in rags" the guys get "they look like young dwarves with inadequate beards". The stats and everything are used as is, the descriptions are just altered. Eric does the same thing with his Artificer.

Anyway. I'll be sticking with Paladin for Nakmander the Fell-Human. Instead of doing radiant damage he'll be dealing fire or necrotic with most of his powers, which was what I'd intended to do with Divine classes in the first place. Most prayers for Divine characters deal radiant damage, because of the stronger link between these characters and their patrons in my campaign radiant damage is changed to whatever damage type I feel is relevant to the patron. Guys serving The Bleak Tyrant primarily deal necrotic damage while characters enslaved to the will of King "Bob" (can't remember his name, I think it is Rudolph II, maybe) of the New Empire deal mainly psychic damage. All of Nakmander's powers will likely be the Charisma based ones available to the Paladin class and I will try and focus on rays and blasts and the like to kind of up his mystical street cred with the guys. The hard thing about these NPCs is that I make them because I think they're neat and that presents the possibility that I will start to favor them and make them the focus of the campaign and not the guys. I think I'll be ok as long as Eric adheres to the tenants of our deal (I pump out scenarios as long as you do) and I can get my fix with Junkpile.

Now that I've finally settled on the nature of the NPC I think I will have an easier time of finishing up the scenario. This guy is supposed to make his appearance, hint at shit going on in Hell, then disappear until the guys find their way to Hell. He will be their quest giver and possible bonny companion (although I intend on him being kind of an ass until the "half-breeds" prove they're not mentally defective). He is kind of a big deal in La Revolutione'.

I think I've figured out the whole rebellion plan, and how to make it appeal to those in the group that profess to hate their Fell-Human heritage. The Fell-Peaks are divided up into three main groups. The first are the rulers, they care about power and prestige and keeping shit in their country under control and capable of defending their borders. They do not give two shits about goblins or the heritage of their (the faction) ancestors. The second group is the goblin clans, they want to be free. They don't remember much about their ancient empire (because the Fell-Humans burned most of it down and Jedi mind tricked their ancestors into forgetting it), but they know it was big and tough and they want it and their freedom back. The third, and smallest, faction is those concerned with Hell and their bloodline. These crazies believe that the true potential of the Fell-Human bloodline can only be unlocked if they take Hell back and return it to its rightful place as the capital of the Fell Peaks. How this appeals to D'Alton and Xain is as follows: A fragmented Fell Peaks means Kusseth has a greater chance to finally take a crack at conquering it for real. Right now the Fell Peaks is a impenetrable bastion like Whurent, most of it is underground and the true rulers can basically just lob a million hobs and bugbears into any cave system or mountaintop fortress Kusseth cares to take a crack at. The third faction and the goblins are working together for two goals. The first is to free Hell from Kusseth and the second is to free the goblin clans. The goblin clans and this third faction (must think of a badass demonic name, something like Descendants of the Blood but more badass or something) will then ally to kick the first faction down from their high horse to kind of ensure all goblins are free, then everyone carves out what they can of the surface area of the Fell Peaks and goes back to war with one another over previously non-existent borders.

There are a few wild cards though. The third faction could find a way to uncork the stopper on the power of the bloodline and unleash all kinds of demonic power into the Fell-Human race. Bugbears could finally get inspired and once more become the driven, mildly bloodthirsy, warrior kings they once were. Cenn the Reaver could get word from his spies in Hell and decide he's going to level the place. Eldumans and Abraxens could get wind of the whole thing and say "This does not fit the plan." and immediately activate contingency plans that are centuries old. Finally, The Bleak Tyrant could suddenly go "yoink" with his power and make the Fell-Humans ugly looking humans. Or could he?

The real difficulty I am finding all of a sudden is making it appeal to John and Gideon. One is a Sereth elf and the other is an Elduman-descended human that speaks Uncout as his primary language. If John (the player) ever decides to make a background I will be interested to find out why an Elduman-descended human ended up being born in the Wild Lands. John (the player) will pretty much go along with the group, but I'm not sure what Jeff will do with Gideon. I want this quest line to appeal to everyone and their character, not just be something they're doing because it was what everyone agreed on and everyone else wants to do.

Ah well, I'll figure it out I suppose.

Music: Little Acorns - The White Stripes

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Is the definition of retcon a commonly known definition? They always talk about retconning in 40k forums because of Games Workshop's liberal hack and slash use of the retcon machete and I've kind of just started using it (word, not machete) on a regular basis.

In my Q&A I sort of muddy the waters about magic and psionics. I feel the need to elaborate. Fundamentally, they are powered by the same source, the cosmic energy produced by the universe. Each force is guided by the perceptions and willpower of its wielder. The main difference is that magic is wild and can go screwy and psionics are completely stable. This is true partially because people believe magic = wild and that psionics = stable. It also occurs because of the method of use. Wielders of magic use funky words and illegible scribbles and nonsense symbology (don't start, I am well aware it is not a word) from dead languages to channel their power, whereas psionicists route it through the pathways of their minds. Essentially the psionicsts have a greater control over their power because it is channeled through the very fiber of their being, rather than a wooden stick and some pictographs that they believe might hold the mighty forces at their command in check. Psionic characters are just far more intimately involved with the power they command than arcane characters are and that allows them greater control over the energies gifted to them by a broken Cosmic Engine. The real question is, how does Glamour relate to all of this?

Also, just as an FYI, when I say "great" or any other word like twelve times in one paragraph, it is intentional. I am aware of the whole "don't repeat yourself all the time" rule about writing.

Music: Planet Caravan - Black Sabbath

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

D...Do They Look Like They Deserved It?

After talking with Josh today I have decided that Jeff gets a gold star of awesomesauce for that line. Jeremy gets his own star of awesomesauce for role-playing and for handling the warden. Heather gets a star of awesomesauce as well for being supportive of the gaming and keeping a straight face while listening to us (me) take geeky shit way too seriously.

We gamed Saturday from the hours of 5:30 PM to 3:00 AM on the dot. By the end we were hot and tired and just exhausted from the sheer amount of tangents. It was still glorious.

I've really got to say, I am having a metric shit ton of fun this time around. I am juiced up for the whole day when I know I am going to be gaming later. I mean, I am almost giddy with fucking nerdy delight. Then we game and it totally lives up to the expectation. Gaming has always been fun, but it has never delivered like this before. There was always something that left me in a funk afterwards. A fight not being what I thought it'd be, a plot element going totally unnoticed, a riddle that the guys literally try to shoot their way through, etc. But, gaming is totally delivering this time around. The guys are great. The tangents are great (mostly). The edition is great. Everything is just great and that is making it a joy to work on scenarios for the guys. I want to write more of them. In the past it has been like pulling teeth to produce scenarios and there has been a lot of Copy & Pasting in Word to get them done on time. Not this time. I'm bringing my fucking A game and challenging myself to do a good job and be creative and think outside the box. I am a Dogdamn raconteur and I will craft epic fucking shit for these guys to go through. Fuck. Yes.

Ok, maybe that was excessive, but I am really enjoying gaming and DMing.

There were only four fights in the scenario I ran the other day and everyone seemed to really have a good time with it. Never before has the group responded to a primarily non-combat scenario that way. I had to pull violence and insanity out of my ass and juice it up with steroids to get a response from some of our previous iterations of the group. In one scenario the group was hired to clean out some bandit caves, they did so. Then they collected the gear of the fallen, hired new guys and made the caves their raiding outpost. The final time we played The Black Claw Clan the group infiltrated and slaughtered a city of dwarves.

The third scenario sits waiting for me with two rooms to be finished. After that...Kusseth. I need to make that place Epic. I think I'll read some old Planescape stuff about Sigil for inspiration. Kusseth City really is my homage to Sigil. I mean, no city can top Sigil of course. 4th Edtion can try and make shit like the City of Brass and that one place in the Shadowfell relevant, but they're not. Call me a Grognard if you want, but Sigil = awesomesauce and nothing can compare to that place.

Kusseth City. The heart of Kusseth. Ramshackle buildings that rise story after story into the smoggy skyline. The stench of gaslights, the flicker of electrical lights, foul steam that's expelled from sewer grates, songs of bards as they kill and plunder in the night, streets whose name and direction change by the week or month, lawmen with honor as smudged and oily as the streets they tread, but no less dedicated to keeping the peace and staving off chaos. A place so packed with bodies and buildings that everything is smudged and dirty and sweaty. (Dear Readers: I went on in this vein for another paragraph or so but I realized I was making a In My Campaign, Kusseth Edition: Part 2 about Kusseth City and decided I would do that rather than continue my meandering in this post).

Back to my scenario meanderings. What I need to do is give them a brief and delicious taste of Kusseth. I want to leave them wanting more but not entice them to the point that they want to stay there instead of pursuing their professed goals of aiding/beginning an unnamed revolution on the west coast. (Protip: It has to do with goblins.) A quick taste of Kusseth and then maybe a jaunt to Hell herself for a bit. Could be a nice starting point for adventures set in the Fell Peaks. Or it could be a place they go to die.

Music: Forces of Victory - Gogol Bordello

Sunday, June 21, 2009

A Q&A With The Guy Who Makes Shit

The following really serves no purpose, I'm basically going to be asking myself random questions about my world to help flesh it out for the purposes of writing and DMing in it. Be warned if you are a casual reader, it is long and developed over the course of like five or six days. Here goes.

A thousand year war? Seriously?
-Kind of a stretch, I know. But is it really a thousand years or was it just agreed upon that it was a long period of warfare and a lot of records were lost (Kusseth City itself lost three analytical engines and documentation storage facilities). Who says it lasted a thousand years anyways? Kusseth? The New Empire? What about the elves of Volungsheim? They are immortal after all.

Are there dragons in the world?
-Yes. They are neither metallic nor chromatic or crystalline. This goofy ass color related shit DnD has pulled is weird and has always bugged me. My dragons are much like komodo dragons, just bigger and more dragon-like. Their "fire" breath is actually a pair of venoms that when combined in oxygen begin to burn. Its kind of swirling around in the back of my brain, but I'm picturing a Council of Wyrms-esque setting (Which only means something if you know your AD&D settings.) on a continent to the south of The Known World. Maybe.

If the continent the Empire of Kaleshmar was built on exploded in the unnamed magical catastrophe, why is the Old Empire about three feet off the shore of The Known World?
-Kaleshmar was big, Pangaea big, likely bigger. Every continent (including The Known World) in the hemispehere was a piece of Kaleshmar. If you go a couple of inches beyond the paper borders of my drawn map you find other continents. One is a barren island composed of the remnants of the huge crystalline towers the Kaleshmarians dwelled in. Might be fun to explore that one.

How advanced are the Abraxen Orcs?
-Early 1900s era technology.

Why is Kusseth so lawless?
-Everything in Kusseth is taxed, including corruption and breaking the law. Fines are the most common form of punishment in Kusseth with only a rare few crimes are punishable by death (mainly those involve pissing off wardens). It is more productive to use a warden to extort a crime lord and take a percentage of the warden's take than it is to shut the crime lord down outright. If the people of Kusseth really truly wanted law and order, they'd murder the crime lords and bards and petty criminals themselves and save the officials the red tape of documenting and tracking all the bribes and kickbacks and fines. Kusseth bleeds every mark it can from its people, and this allows the nation to be the powerhouse of the Known World, rivaled only by the Fallen Empire, and New Empire.

What about the Dwarves and the Children of Volung, aren't they pretty tough?
-Dwarves are completely non-aggressive, mostly they just respond to attacks on them. Even then, the attacks on them are pretty fruitless. They outnumber every other nation in the Known World, but their cities are so deep they really don't need to bother with the above ground world. The Children of Volung are the least populous race (excluding the Fallen) in The Known World, without support from the Dwarves they would quickly fall to the superior numbers of the surrounding country, but only in a full scale war situation. The warriors of Volungsheim are quite literally the most competent and deadly (excluding Cenn the Reaver) found in The Known World and only when outnumbered could they be conquered.

What caused the long ass war?
-A rogue faction of the empire of Kaleshmar that did not become the Eldumans living in the Old Empire.

-Kaleshmar was big and had lots of wicked powerful sorcerer types living in it. Plus they had colonized the whole world by the time their empire shattered. They didn't all land on the little rock that became the Old Empire, nor did all the tribes of that empire experience their own little dark age. The world is scattered with uprooted Kaleshmarians and their various plots and empires. It was a big empire and lots of people means lots of schisms among the population.

How and why?
-They wanted to destabilize The Known World and prevent the Eldumans of the Old Empire from having a support base should this rogue faction find itself needing to fight them.

How do Cromm Cruach and the Fey relate to Kaleshmar?
-They don't. The empire of Cromm Cruach and the Grey Wastes rose up after Kaleshmar was destroyed.

Ok, what about Balor and the Firbolgs and Fomorians, they predate Cromm and the Fey don't they?
-No, they don't.

But Cromm discovered them and they were full-fledged civilizations that were locked in a war with each other.
-Not a question, but I'll explain. The Grey Wastes and the Fomorians and Firbolgs and Balor himself are/were figments of Cromm's imagination. Just like Herne was a figment of Mab's imagination. The Glamour of Rulers, and Cromm Cruach especially, is godawful powerful and Glamour turns the will of its wielder into reality.

What are the sea-folk exactly?
-A tribe of Kaleshmarians that live in massive underwater cities. They did experience their own dark age when their magic failed and most of them died.

How far out are you man?
-I'm pretty far out man.

Why is magic screwy in this world?
-It isn't screwy on the world, just on the continent called The Known World. This is because there are certain objects that regulate the ebb and flow of the cosmic energies that power creation. These objects are scattered across the world and one in particular lies somewhere in the Known World and it is malfunctioning. It is not the only one.

Why call the continent The Known World if you admit that it is not the only continent on the Known World?
-Because the people dwelling there (aside from the Abraxens and Eldumans) are as self-centered and self-involved and pompous as early human civilizations were. Most think that they are the center of the universe, so that arrogance would of course lead to stupid shit like calling a relatively tiny chunk of land The Known World. The pirates of Haven have another name for The Known World.

What is it?
-The Ass End of the Southern Seas.

Why are Abraxens so savy with technology?
-They were enslaved long ago in their desert homeland by an invading force of Kaleshmarians. At this time they were primitive and didn't know shit (much like the orcish cliche' found in the Monster Manuals of the past). The Kaleshmarians were utterly corrupt and lazy and totally hedonistic. They did not care about their slaves, but they expected them to be competent, so Abraxen society and culture was eroded and replaced by Kaleshmar learning, except that the orcs had no talent for sorcery. They still made good slaves though. Now they were smart and they realized they were outgunned, so they used their newfound learning to fashion devices to mimic the powers of their enslavers. Then they gutted those sons of bitches.

Why is every race so long-lived and/or immortal in your campaign?
-Hard to say. There is logic behind it though. The Fallen are immortal because the Bleak Tyrant won't let them die. The Children of Volung are immortal because Volung is a Ljosalf (sp?) and they ate other Ljosalves who ate Jotuns, who ate the fuck out of the gods of the north (who were actually a faction of Kaleshmarians that managed to survive the destruction of their empire with most of their arcane gadgetry, but not the magic that made it, intact.), that power is quite thin after all these years so the Children of Volung can't do the awesome shit he can, but it can still sustain their lives. Eldumans are immortal because their bodies are crafted from living crystal and their mental prowess fuels them. The Vyanth elves are immortal because their master the...D'ayO'hE'en (I have it written down somewhere but that is the gist of the name) infuses them with life and vitality. The Sereth are long-lived but not immortal because their creator the Fair One and his power are no longer living among them, eventually they won't live much longer than a normal human. Unless the Fair One is found.

Why are the Children of Volung so bat shit crazy and violent?
-The Hunger, as detailed by Maggot in my Norse Story. They just don't know it though.

Why no gods?
-Because I don't like the idea of being totally subservient to some creature that can't understand the daily trials and tribulations of life. Plus, it means your character is a totally useless individual that is only competent because he has a divine creature paying attention to him once in a while. Seriously, what does a Cleric have without divine power backing him? A high Religion check, scale mail, and some weapon proficiencies. Maybe a flashy holy symbol he can sell for a few gold as well.

Why put in stuff to take the place of gods for divine characters then?
-Because it isn't fair to just say "Nope, can't do it. Be a Bard if you want to be a leader role." I also think my definition of extremely potent individuals like the Bleak Tyrant and Cenn the Reaver granting others pieces of their power is a decent analog.

How are they different from gods then? (Thanks for this one Eric)
-A god exists on an alternate plane and has armies of angels and archons and shit to serve its whims and put the hurt down on those that piss it off. The "gods" in my world have homes and kingdoms they and their followers must defend and if they want to hurt someone they need to do it themselves. My "gods" can have their heads hacked off, it wouldn't be easy, but it can be done and it would be final and would allow their killer(s) to absorb its power if they so desired. Gods automatically grant you power for your prayers, regardless of what you are doing at the time. The "gods" in my campaign turn off your juice if you go against their will. Maybe its not quite as different as I would have liked, mechanically speaking in game terms, but when/if I write about it, it will be different.

This is Bowie to Bowie, do you hear me out there man?
-This is Bowie back to Bowie, I read you loud and clear man.

How can Traith survive having a boiler and turbine assembly installed in his chest cavity?
-He's not fully human, and by the time the boiler and turbine get put in, he's mostly running on electricity anyways. I don't have hard science for it, because it likely doesn't exist, but the turbine juices up his spine and brain, the brain directs it like it would any electrical impulse and that is how Traith continues to exist. If I can't figure out a way to eliminate the need, I have Doc supplying him with IV foodstuff to combat the fact that his stomach is gone.

The Fallen have the Bleak Tyrant, the Children of Volung have Volung, etc, etc. Who or what do the people of Kusseth and the Dwarves have?
-The Dwarves have Maggot. The people of Kusseth have Law or Chaos.

How can Law or Chaos grant power?
-The same way sorcerers and wizards can use "magic" and the Eldumans can use psionics.

So its all the same thing, magic and psionics?
-It is and it isn't. Consensus reality, to a certain extent. Magic is magic, but it is no different than the power divine characters receive from their patron, or psionicists use. Its is all energy redirected by the will of those that use it. The wielders just perceive it differently and their perceptions dictate its nature, thus psionic powers are stable and magic is not. If a warden who is a Paladin believes in Law and Order and that he serves those forces, he will be granted power. Just as with the other patrons, requests for aid and power will be denied if he works against the cause of Law.

So where does "magic" come from?
-Those objects that regulate the ebb and flow of cosmic energies are called Cosmic Engines and they help refine and channel the animating forces of the universe. Some were built to allow living creatures access to those forces.

Who built the engines?
-The Eldarine.

Who are the Eldarine?
-The Conteog, Saevoi, Lacerat, and Everseon. I suppose the Vacusu are Eldarine as well, but they are trying to eat the universe whereas the others are trying to preserve it. They built the Cosmic Engines so that they could wield the energies of creation to fight the Vacusu. They could already wield the energies of creation, because they were part of the birth of the universe, but the Engines allowed them to fine tune their powers and provide more juice for them.

Why so many different afterlives for the Fey?
-Because they are immortal energy vampires. Energy/matter cannot be destroyed, only transformed.

What are their afterlives exactly?
-Fading is when they allow themselves to dissipate into nothingness, they haven't the will left to keep themselves solid (though they don't really understand that that is what happens). Oblivion is when a Ruler or some similarly strong force unmakes them and reabsorbs their essence, this is about as close to utter and complete death that they can get, although technically they still exist. Death's Halls are where they go to basically sleep for eternity kind of endlessly reliving their lives. Rebirth as one of the Sluagh is when their bodies still exists but their brains get hollowed out and emptied of all their memories, since they must die to become Sluagh their bodies are usually in pretty rough shape.

Bloody Head/Cromm Cruach, how does that work exactly? Does he have multiple personality disorder?
-No. Cromm is a complex individual. He loves violence and mayhem and slaughter, but he also has something resembling a code of honor and conduct. There are certain things he will not do and certain non-murderous things he enjoys. There is something of the scholar in him in that he enjoys the knowing of things and educating others. He is basically a scholar and a warrior, but he finds his natures at odds with each other. For a Fey to deny his nature is the path to Fading. If they have an identity crisis and are confused about who and what they are, they can lose touch with themselves and Fade. For Cromm to exist the aspects of his personality must be forced into extremes. Bloody Head became insanely violent and hungry for blood while Cromm ended up a pacifist.

Ok. What caused the initial rift?
-Danu and her talk of honor. When she came on the scene she filled Cromm's head with the notion that mindless slaying was unwise, even if there wasn't any true malice in it and the Tuatha De' Danann didn't truly die (they became Sluagh). Cromm trusted her and paid attention to her as he did any warrior sworn to his service, but he still love the slaughter, just as his people did. This put his thoughts at odds with his impulses. Driving a wedge between his personalities and dividing his nature, which led to him beginning to Fade and the creation of the Bloody Head personality.

Why is Oberon such an asshat?
-Because that is his nature, to be self-centered and narcissistic. That is why he is a giant beacon of Glamour that can challenge the might of the Sluagh. He is a thoughtless creature of almost pure impulse and that is why he is so powerful.

D20 Shadow Chasers became this world of Kaleshmarians and Fey and shit, how did that happen?
-The final scenarios of Shadow Chaser would have resulted in the breaking of one of the aforementioned Cosmic Engines, by way of nearly killing one of its caretakers (the skull of brass and bronze was his skull in fact). This coupled with celestial events occurring above the planet totally altered the lines of power blanketing the planet and the empire of Kaleshmar. This caused all their carefully managed energies and various magical powers to go haywire very briefly and send their empire into utter chaos and mayhem.

Celestial events?
-The Elder War ended and the creation that the Eldarine had used to end it had to be dismantled but it was too powerful and instead they had to wipe its mind of knowledge. If it was allowed to survive the war intact it posed too great a threat to the universe should something go awry with its internal workings. They could not kill it so they erased its knowledge and personality and cast it down to be imprisoned on the planet below them in hopes that it would find something resembling peace and happiness. They loved it and respected it and owed their lives to it, but they could not allow it to jeopardize the life of the universe.

What was the creation?
-A remnant of a previous universe. Kind of like Marvel's Galactus, I think.

-This universe was not the first one, nor would it likely be the last. The thing the Eldarine used to end their war was an artifact left over from a previous existence. They don't know much more about it other than the fact that it predates the Saevoi and the cosmic seas of chaos that birthed them. They also discovered that is has some similarities to their Cosmic Engines.

So what exactly do to it that makes it their creation?
-They sort of went Six Million Dollar Man on it. It resembled their Cosmic Engines enough that they were able to remake it better, faster, and stronger so it became sort of an uber-Cosmic Engine.

What else?
-They gave it weapons that further empowered it.

Sounds pretty powerful.
-Yes, stars and even whole solar systems lived and died at its command. It could remake reality within certain parameters, but that is what it took to beat back the ever hungry Vacusu.

Why are all the names in your world taken from Earth myth?
-Earth and this world are separate realities, but some things are what they are regardless of your reality. Iron is iron in both worlds, and water is water. In Earth's reality science and technology are ascendant, in my world myth and magic are ascendant. So, Thor was a real dude with fancy gadgets here, not a myth. If someone starts talking about electricity or some obscure scientific discipline in my world they would take about it with the same manner of awe and disbelief that someone in our reality would talk about magic or monsters.

Are you saying your world is an alternate reality and has an alternate Earth, Jupiter, Venus, etc?
-I am in fact saying that.

Does that really affect anything though?
-Not especially.

What's the deal with the big animals in the Beast Lands?
-They are big. One of those things that regulates the flow of cosmic energies and whatnot lies in the Beast Lands and over the millenia it has affected the nature of the creatures dwelling in close proximity to it.

Anything else?

Music 1.0: American Wedding - Gogol Bordello
Music 2.0: Alcohol - Gogol Bordello
Music 3.0: Inner City Pressure - Flight of the Conchords

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

But I Like Him...

Spineplate. People either seem to hate him or not give a shit about him. Except Jeremy, Jeremy seems intrigued by him. Jeff and Josh hate him and want to lose him the second they can, which will be pretty easy to do. He's a two-weapon technique, lightly armored, fighter. He's not as durable as other defenders (which is why I took the Durable feat, heh), but I think he makes up for it by focusing on speed and number of attacks. Jeff and Josh seem to think he is going to go apeshit and get them all into a mess of trouble because he was standing over a mutilated corpse when they met him. What they don't know is that the hell-kin named Merril that got eviscerated was attracted to the area by the explosion in the ground, he then started taking pot shots at Spineplate with his rifle. Spineplate did not appreciate this because he is not resistant to small arms fire like some of his kind are, although I may have A'lst do some repairs to him (to simulate Spineplate taking the firearm resistant feats that I made which also improve regular AC on soulless) if the guys decide to follow him (Spineplate) back to Kusseth City. Anyway, Spineplate did not enjoy getting shot back when Traith Harris blew his figurative brains out, although he only vaguely remembers that event, really only enough to get "GUNS BAD!" out of it, so yes, Spineplate went apeshit on the guy who was shooting at him. Its funny how Spineplate is fully sentient and possessed of above average intelligence, but no one thought to ask "Hey, why'd you kill that guy?" Poor language skills does not equal murderous retard in my campaign, guys. Spineplate knows two languages, neither of which is Guttertongue or Citytongue, but he's lived in Kusseth long enough to pick a bit of both up, but not enough to clearly communicate stuff like "Gentlemen, I believe we should not travel much at this time. This area is crawling with wardens and soldiers and will likely be filled with even more when word reaches Kusseth that Beltan has been cracked open. We should find one of the nearby towns, find some alternate clothing and try to blend in and perhaps scrape together a few marks so that we can bribe our way out of trouble if necessary. Once a few days or weeks have passed we should likely head towards Kusseth City itself and join the swirling morass of people and creatures dwelling there. If we successfully achieve that, I know a lawman who would likely have work for us. I do not presume that we will become fast friends, but I know two of you from our time in Beltan with Cal and Saith and their countrymen, and there is some strength to be found in numbers." I did not expect to like handling Spineplate, I kind of threw him into the scenario at the last minute to have a variety available for the guys. He's kind of grown on me though and I like the challenge of playing him.

Don't interpret my comments about the guys and their lack of investigation into Spineplate's odd-for-a-soulless voice and his murder of the guy in the clearing as "teh PCs are teh suxor in my campaign" because that is in no way what I am aiming to convey. I love this campaign and the group we've put together and we have a lot of fun when we gather. The interest Josh, Jeremy, and Jeff have taken in my little world is glorious and really inspires me to do more than the standard "I am the quest giver do as I say and go kill monsters in some dank dark hole" plotline. Or at least I'm trying to avoid the cliched stuff. Don't get me wrong, I am up for killing in dark holes, but I think I was doing too much of the killing in dark holes in my previous campaigns.

I've got to say Jeremy has got to be the most inspiring influence on me for this campaign. Normally I'm used to his participation being half-hearted and kind of "Ok ok, elves, dwarves, magic, upside down mountains and black voids at the edge of the world, etc, etc, neat. I'm bored, time to doodle. Oh, my turn? What do I roll?" The fact that the level of depth in my campaign world has allowed the world to sink its hooks into him and get him interested in its inner workings really spurs me on to think outside the box when crafting a scenario, which I've tried to do so far and think I've succeeded alright at.

My first scenario was a prison break. I thought about forcing the guys into a role as penal conscripts in the Kussethian Military and each scenario leave options for them to break out on their own. I opted to not do this because it relies on them being aware of everything that is going on in the scenario and paying attention to everything long enough to make their break for freedom. This group is loud and very tangent oriented, details get missed and I felt it would be a poor choice to rely on them figuring out how to make their own escape. The first scenario allowed for a prison break, but they were in a support role. I was hoping they still felt involved in the plot, but I'm not sure if I succeeded in that. I did enjoy when they all ended up at each other's throats in the bottom of a mine arguing over which gang gets to have the right to knock out Kenton.

The second scenario is a sandbox type scenario. The point of it is to bum around these three quest centers and collect cash and lie low long enough for the hubbub around Beltan to die down. We'll see how it goes and how they like figuring things out for themselves without a Big Deal Quest Giver type giving them missions every scenario. There's plenty to do in this one and hopefully they find it all and are entertained.

The third scenario involves some nifty steampunk shit, like it tickles me pink (or brass-colored I guess) to picture it my head. Plus I try something dungeon oriented that I've never done before and I'm hoping that the guys can get a kick out of it.

What I'd really like them to do is blow off the whole Vampirate idea, which (I'm sorry Josh) is somewhat lame as a long term campaign. What can you do on the high seas? Fire cannons as Technomancy skill checks? Duel (I wonder if I should put in some pistol dueling rules ala Deadlands d20) other pirates in ship rigging as Acrobatics and Athletics skill checks? Eventually board a ship to have a combat encounter? Then board nine others to fill out the roster of eight to ten encounter per level? I think a sea battle would be kind of awesome once or twice (if the second time had a twist), but after that it loses its appeal. It would also be cool if the pirate thing led to a sort of exploration on a different continent type campaign where your subjugating indigenous peoples or aiding them in wars against cyborg alien dinosaur gods that eat stars (and indigenous peoples).

As I was saying ix-nay on the Vampirates. The first of my two favorite ideas involve the guys hooking up with senior warden Traith Harris and clearing out a six district,niche for Traith to run, the guys serving as either hired muscle or Traith's contingent of junior wardens. My plan with that would be to sandbox the entire district and allow the guys to determine the course of the place. They can aid Traith and bring law to the place, or they can aid some bardic representatives and bring disorder to the place. The second idea involves the PCs getting involved with Cenn the Reaver and his mercenary company. While I do have a plot in place for this, it would primarily allow me to go "Look, look, look!!!"

Steampunk Device Of Post: Steam Rifle. Its a large rifle that fires rounds about the size of a can of Red Bull. Usually these rounds are just solid metal and can be reused, others are fancy and filled with volatile chemicals. The rifle is hooked up to a large back pack that is essentially a boiler. As the boiler heats and boils, water pressure builds up which is released by a trigger, the pressure forces the huge round out and at a target. In most instances this knocks the target back a pace (and can scald the rifle's wielder with hot steam), but sometimes it just knocks the target right over on their ass. Tricky weapon to use because you have to spend actions firing the boiler (minor) and reloading (move) it and such and because you need to have fuel on hand for the thing. I think it will be doing damage in the 2d8 - 2d10 range, the prone effect will only occur if the wielder is trained in Technomancy.
Music: Mother - Danzig

Thursday, June 11, 2009

I Pine To Die In The Forest

Something about yesterday's Penny Arcade struck a chord in me. I really like the Lookouts and the whole strip stuck with me, I hope that the "metamind" will choose to pursue the Lookouts story. Unless something more awesome appears. I just really liked the strip and I am convinced that the expanded storyline involves one of those little kids dying in some horrific, yet noble, fashion.

Also, if they could throw in a deep crow, that would be the shit.

Burn Notice is back and I am giddy with delight. It is a glorious show and season two was quite epic. The first episode of the new season delivered decent entertainment value and I think it shows what we can expect for most of the season. The beauty of Burn Notice is that it has shorter seasons (I believe season two had like fourteen or something around that, could be wrong) so there are less stupid filler episodes that you get on twenty plus episode seasons. Supernatural has like twenty-two episode seasons and I think Grey's Anatomy had like twenty-six or something and both of those had idiotic filler episodes where really only the bare minimum of plot-related stuff happens. Dexter and Doctor Who both have really short twelve or thirteen episode season and they always deliver. Doctor Who does have some filler episodes, but they are for comedic effect I think and generally involve a lot of running, which the Doctor does fairly often and to my great amusement.

I started watching Flight of the Conchords and find it to be hilarious. Heather hates it as much as she hates The Office. The thing about The Office (and Flight of the Conchords too I think) is that all my enjoyment of the show comes from the fact that all the humor is completely deadpan and all the characters are completely serious about the insane and idiotic shit they do. The Dwight character on The Office isn't like "hehe, I'm going to cut of the face off of this dummy and it will be funny" the character completely believes in what he is doing and that it is a valid thing to do in the situation (It helps if the actor is convincing too), and that is part of what makes it hilarious. Plus, the songs on Flight of the Conchords are very amusing.

I finished another review of my story last night (the third, plus all the times I've reread chapters), tightened some things up, deleted other stuff. I need to be careful when I read through the thing, I keep expanding on stuff and fleshing out descriptions, and obviously this increases the word count. I think I should be working on reducing the word count a bit and eliminating irrelevant bullshit. Like towards the end of writing the thing I started adding in some insane thing about sea-folk being possessed by some manner of life devouring presence and that presence...to avoid spoilers I must be vague, the presence and the sea-folk it possessed try to fuck shit up. It was all tacked on towards the tail end of the book (the last three chapters I think) and it really served no purpose other than "oh look, stuff", so I tore it out last night. I think it shows I'm growing as a writer, or that I'm growing as an editor. I noticed The Rise of the Tau had a bunch of kitchen sink syndrome shit and I think that helped me to notice what I should be looking for in my own writing.

So far so good with WoW. I haven't gotten sick of it yet. I managed to put a level and a quarter on Benjamin (my higher level rogue) and about eight onto my low level hunter Akulna. Benjamin is currently wandering around Shadowmoon Valley in the Outlands. The quests are quite thick and I haven't even been into the Razoredge Mountains (which I don't quite know how to get into yet). I think Friday night I might put in an hour or so of mining/engineering work with Benjamin, I took up engineering with him when I saw there were Gyrocopters in the game. Fuck yes is all I have to say to that. Too bad I put so much money and time and effort into alchemy, which was a nice skill. But I have like 40 super mega healing potions in the bank and gyrocopters and explosives are totally worth it.

I think I'll pick up Prototype this weekend, unless I read a terrible review or something of that sort before Saturday. Seems like an interesting game, and it is a sandbox,(or at least it was last time I read about it), and you can morph your limbs into some fucked up shit, which is also a plus.

I find it very hard to believe that the guys chose Spineplate for their NPC in DnD last weekend. They could have chosen Smiling Jack, master of the bardic colleges, or Laram or Bald William, the right and left hands of Cenn the Reaver. But no, they chose Spineplate the bestial and somewhat not-quite-right soulless (which they didn't even question, which is standard procedure for them I suppose, I'm not referring to his intelligence either, which is actually above average. Its his voice, it is one voice and lacks the echo that other soulless possess, seems odd and is definitely something I would want to know about when dealing with a weird animalistic undead robot, but that's just me). I think I played him pretty well though, I managed to stick to one word answers and only had to translate for him the one time because the second scenario relies upon what was translated being made clear to the guys. I guess I just don't know their movitation for Spineplate as a choice, I made a point of saying that he had a big metal plate welded to his face with his citizenry identification etched into it (like the plate of metal with Mythbusters on it when they're about to cut to a commercial or come back from one), but every NPC had one of those behind their ears just like the players do, Spineplate doesn't have ears and is made of metal so he had to be numbered somehow and it is a pretty obvious physicaly feature that needed to be put into his description. The guys latch onto some weird stuff sometimes.

I think I'm going to try and work on the warden's creed, the Lookouts creed kind of inspired me. Plus, I figure it makes sense that an organization like the wardens would have a creed or something to be sworn when they gain their badge.

In other news, Traith has to find a way out of city of bards. Part of the deal that let him into the city was that if he tries to leave, every hand will turn against him. Too bad he didn't find the answers he was looking for down there. For those of you reading this and playing DnD, he meets up with Spineplate (and blows out the back of his skull). The Traith story is set like fifty years before my DnD scenario though.

Music: Ziggy Stardust - David Bowie

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

My Ice Smells Spicy


Five Iron Warriors were all finished up in the past three days. I banged out the first one prior to my cousin's wedding shower Saturday, then Sunday was all eaten up by gaming but I think I put in some work afterwards on at least one. Another was finished last night, and one this morning. Hmm, where did the fifth one come from? I dunno, the days all blur together, so somewhere in there another veteran of the Horus Heresy was painted up.

Even with the yellow hazard stripes, which did eat up a bit of time playing with, the color scheme is pretty simple. Coat everything in Boltgun Metal, detail stuff in Shining Gold and Mithril Silver, wash with Badab Black. They are exactly what I was hoping to achieve. I do think I need to play around a bit more with the detail work. For lack of a better term, there is a "belt" where space marine torsos meet their legs and the belt on the Iron Warrior specific torsos has some big metal studs on it that so far I've left in Boltgun, but might do well with a dab of Shining Gold to break up the wide expanse of Boltgun Metal on the models.

I don't anticipate doing anything with these guys as far as highlights are concerned. I've seen some really well done highlights in my time, but most just seem either unnecessary or totally artificial. Plus, I'm sloppy. At most it would be either Chainmail or Mithril along the edges of the Boltgun Metal, although I think the Badab Black wash might render that pointless. Anyway, like I said, as of right now I'm planning on keeping these guys simple. I may do my hazard stripes in Iyaden Darksun though, as it is a darker yellow color that might go better with the darkened Boltgun of the Iron Warriors than the bright yellow I'm using now. We'll see.

Eventually, when I get some bionic bits (prepare to be heartily molested Iron Hands box set), my plan is to field all of these guys as Plague Marines and call them "bionic commandos" (they can jump) because Iron Warriors use a lot of bionics and the high toughness and Feel No Pain special rule of the Plague Marines goes nicely with the idea that replacing your flesh with metal makes you tougher. Iron Warriors use Chaos as a means to an end, but they are still subjected to the "gifts" of Chaos and experience mutation just as other legions do. However, they often replace mutated limbs and such with bionics. I might throw in a squad of Khorne Berserkers as "siege breakers" as well, no bunny ears though. I think the armor of the Khorne Berserkers would look pretty nifty done up in the colors of the Iron Warriors, especially after that wash I like. I'll probably stick with brass instead of gold though, brass is Khorne specific, or maybe I'll just do the skull rune of Khorne up in brass and keep the rest of the detail in Mithril and Shining Gold. So many options for my little mans.

That's basically my army, two or three squads of counts as Plague Marines and a squad of Berserkers, a Vindicator, and some Obliterators. I have a pretty neat conversion idea for my counts as warsmith's servo-harness. I'll use the Techmarine's servo-harness backpack and lop off most of the power claw and replace it with a mutated crab-claw of sufficient size from the Possessed sprues and use some green stuff to simulate muscles growing out of the backpack's metal arm.

Hopefully with skilled use of masking or painter's tape I can make the dozer blade/siege shield/whatever it is called on the Vindicator one big badass hazard sign. Hazard stripes are glorious, and they are my method of easing myself into doing checks for my Lamenters.

Lamenters are fond of black and white checks and those are more difficult than hazard stripes. I tried freehanding one onto a kneepad, just quartered it up with pencil and painted away. It did not look super. I can only imagine the difficulty I will have doing some of the more complex checks, like on the shoulderpads. Bleh. Oh well, they're neat looking and it will make me a better painter in the end.

What would be awesome is if GW would make some new Obliterator sculpts. Power fist, invulnerable save, and deep strike, plus the ability to use pretty much any energy based weapon in the Chaos Space Marine armory, some of them twin-linked, all for 75 points. Lots of points, but a pretty tough piece of infantry. They look like shit though. Oblierators are victims of the techno-organic virus and are basically an amalgamation of marine, power armor, and daemonic energy. Neat fluff, neat stats, ugly ass models. Not even awesome ugly. They look like they're taking a shit.

Music: War Pigs - Black Sabbath

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

I Wish I Was Jamming Out With The Mickjaggernaughts

The Death of a Universe
The gods hung in space like mighty beacons of light and energy. Each one a mostly rectangular titan of stone or metal. Some were dark and mossy like rock in a cave, others reflected the light of a thousands stars as it struck carapaces of gold or burnished steel. Some were dark and sharp-edged like knapped obsidian, while some were craggy like a poorly cut sculpture. These great inanimate beings were the gods of the universe and from them all power and energy flowed.

These gods were not deities of war or death, they were artisans and protectors. There were many of them and they circled each galaxy and solar system in slow, wide, orbits. Each shift in their heavenly trajectories kept the worlds they circled supplied with energy and light. At the far edges of the universe the mightiest of these gods stood still, unmoving sentinels keeping the chaos beyond their border at bay and funneling the morass of raw, limitless energy inwards towards their smaller and weaker brethren who in turn forged it into matter usable by the worlds and races in their care.

These gods were silent and unknowable but they were not uncaring guardians. They communed with the races in their care, after a fashion. A spark of insight, the genius hidden behind insanity and obsession, strange lights in the sky that formed patterns understood only by a chosen few, these were the methods they used to shepherd the tiny creatures that populated their universe. The gods delighted in their creations, and looked on happily from on high as life in their universe became fruitful and multiplied.

Time had no meaning, for life had no end in this Utopian universe. Worlds spun in their orbits, and the gods in turn orbited those worlds and galaxies as they had since sentience first found them. Chaos forever lapped at the edges of the universe and the mightiest of the gods were forever absorbing it and turning to useful purpose. There was no limit to their power or what they could provide for the worlds under their care.

What was asked for was given, without condition or reservation, and the gods smiled silently and invisibly on high. But there are those who forever seek more power, though they can only do so much with it. But even these individuals or worlds of these individuals delighted the gods and they would not deny them anymore than they would deny the requests of others. Power was asked for and power was granted, and it was turned against the gods.

It only took one world, one race of creatures self-centered enough to believe that they should never have to ask for what they wanted, a race that believed they should forever be able to take what they wanted. They started with the gods themselves. A small one, oblong like an obelisk of unmarked white stone. They had no name for him and he had no name for himself. They dragged him from the sky with beams of force fueled by the power he had granted them, they had the power of a god at their disposal. They had had it before, but now they could take it and had no need to ask it of him any longer.

The white obelisk's absence was noticed, but nothing was to be done. They could not harm a god, let alone kill it. Buried in the soil of their planet he could still convert and direct the flows of energy and matter from his brothers and sisters. Only the great gods at the edges of the universe could discern the difference and only they truly understood what it meant.

The universe guarded by these gods was a great latticework of flowing energy. Each strand maintaining a law of physics or giving life to a star, or signing the death warrant of an aberrant creature birthed from an unexpected interaction of energies. The great gods had placed their tinier brethren with great deliberation and purpose and now their masterpiece was misshapen and the lines of energy blanketing the cosmos were turned askew.

To reorder the alignment of their brothers and sisters scattered across the universe was no mean feat, even for beings that fed on raw chaos. Cosmic energies were left uncontrolled, stars burned out, worlds died in the dark and cold of space while others burned as their suns devoured them and fed on the mass. Even the gods were flung about as the cosmos were reordered, some impacting upon each other in the great void of space.

For the great gods to shift their lesser siblings and the power at their disposal they must turn their attention from the chaos they held in check, and that was the downfall of the universe, this one at least. When the great ones turned their attention from chaos, chaos bled into their universe like a tide of ravening flame. Chaos surged into the universe surrounding lesser gods and cutting them off from the great ones, disrupting the flows of energy throughout the universe.

Worlds burned, even stars burned, the very void of space lit afire as chaos found cracks in the defense of the great ones and burned down everything they had worked to give life to. Chaos found the weakest of the gods, poured itself within them and tore them apart, they could not face the full force of raw energy that the great ones could. They died, the youngest and weakest of the gods died and those silent sentinels finally cried out. It was a keening that frayed the strands of time and space and gave birth to rents in the very fabric of the universe. Great gaping maws that were a void so absolute that it could not be described or seen, only felt.

These empty voids tore apart gods and chaos just as easily as they devoured the worlds in their path. As the gods died chaos broke down the borders of the universe and swarmed in, destroying that which had not been already devoured. As the tide of raw energy burned through the galaxies it filled the tears in space, for chaos was as limitless as the voids were empty.

The mightiest of the gods had fallen, those that had turned from chaos to reorder the universe had fallen prey to the forces they were supposed to hold in check. When one god fell, those around it were soon destroyed as well, for the great ones were shieldmates and each one guarded the flank of those next to it. Once a few had fallen, the energies of the gods grew strained and they could not hold chaos at bay. It tore them asunder, scoured them clean of matter and thought, and retook the power the gods had absorbed from chaos.

The smallest of the gods had fared no better. Perhaps the mightiest could have fended off the rents in space, but the weakest were devoured with almost no effort. Meanwhile, chaos split them apart as easily as the voids devoured them. The universe was a maelstrom of chaos and life-eating voids, stars and worlds, the very laws of physics and matter themselves were gone. They had no bearing on a plane plagued by the dual paradox of yawning emptiness and limitless chaos.

Only the middle gods were left in this bleak place. They were too large and powerful for chaos to split apart and were just powerful enough to escape the sucking maws of the void, if they were lucky. They were destroyed in droves yes, but many were able to pit the energies of chaos against the voids and so maintain their existence, hurtling through space seeking only survival and barely maintaining that. They were quicker than the great ones, but harder to destroy than the small gods that chaos had so easily split apart.

Eventually luck runs out and odds turn against even the creators of the universe. The middle gods died. Chaos was limitless energy, limitless matter, endlessly self-perpetuating and the voids grew as the gods died, but the gods were finite in number and the voids could be filled. Chaos was blanketing what had once been a universe of order and life and not even the voids could stop it. Eventually it was only chaos and one god.

He had not been the weakest or the strongest or the fastest of the middle gods, merely the one that had managed to survive. He was not even a full god, just a mere fragment of one. He had been larger, but pieces of the pitted grey stone he was made of had been torn free by the voids or burnt from his flesh by the flames of chaos. He was more a beast than god, hurtling to and fro in the endless expanse of chaos, never daring to pause, only fleeing the sentience of that endless sea.

Pain and loneliness had driven him mad. He was not a peaceful and loving god or a protector of worlds any longer, he was a fearful hunted thing that could only cry out in that wailing cry that tore holes in the universe. Chaos gnawed at the edges of his being, it could not split him apart, but it could kill him by inches as it had his brothers. Every endless second of his travels brought him closer to death. He was the last of the gods and he was utterly consumed by fear and madness.

He cried out in that awful, keening wail. He cried out and the universe split apart around him and the seas of chaos lessened. He was a mad thing, a mindless fleeing beast, but he possessed cunning enough to understand that even the endlessness of chaos must pause to fill a void before it could turns its focus back to him. He was still alone in the sea of chaos but each time a new void was born the hungry presence that was chaos must turn away from him to fill the void.

The mad, and perhaps dying, god halted its flight and felt chaos gnawing at it as its screams lessened. Little bits and pieces of it broke away and discorporated into flickers of energy. Then the god screamed, not in fear or pain, but in rage. Space around the small god ripped and tore as he fed on the chaos eating him and used it to fuel his warcry.

In one instant the last protector of the universe become a creature of war and death and his screams killed the universe. When the cry finally ended, for it had gone on unceasingly for eons, the god was alone in the emptiness of space. His cries had given birth to a void so absolute that it had destroyed the universe, emptied it of life. Somehow the voids had filled themselves with chaos, and that had in turn exhausted the once supposedly limitlessness of chaos.

The god spun in the emptiness of space, his pain and fear and madness ebbing, and gazed out at the utter destruction he'd wrought. He'd destroyed the universe and there was nothing he could do to undo that destruction. Gods were mighty, even ones of his size, but without the presence of chaos to further empower him he could create nothing. At least nothing on scale with what his larger brethren had crafted and set him to protect.

All he could do was float there in silence, a crooked, bleeding stone in a sea of emptiness marking the grave of the universe. As he floated there, thought left him and his sight dimmed, he was growing as cold and quiet himself as the space around him. The mind of the abused god stilled, consumed by guilt and loss his consciousness fell away and he was merely a giant stone, bereft of life and power.

That was how the universe died, killed in one final blow by the last of its protectors. Chaos was limitless though, and even though he had turned the universe into a bleak void with his cries, chaos could not truly be destroyed, only dimmed for a time. It was in this fashion that a new universe was born, a beacon of light on a horizon far from the hibernating god, a pinpoint of chaos in the dark expanse of the tomb of the universe.

(Spoiler Alert: The dead universe is the one found within Calindrel's blade and that sleeping god is found by a quartet of Eldarine that go by the names Kern Yew'nose of the Saevoi, Prase Me'kal of the Conteog, Jahd Rah'vayn of the Everseon, and Enthet E'seth of the Lacerat, the main characters of the story I was writing that was saved as Unbegun.doc).

Music: Catch Hell Blues - The White Stripes

Monday, June 8, 2009

This Is Not The Interesting One I Spoke Of

We gamed tonight. Mine went pretty well I thought, it took the guys way too long to decide on which NPC to follow. Seriously, it is an epic feat to get the group to do anything, up to and including eating food. I don't know why they can't bring sandwhiches or like a Michalena's meal or something to microwave. Apparently we always have to expend some form of money for something greasy. I think maybe I'll institute a brown bagging it rule of some kind. Food always ends up being a half hour ordeal. Do we want pizza? Yes. Where do we want it from? I don't like Dominos. I don't like Papa John's. Jet's is too greasy. Well, ok, we can go for Jets. Do we get it delivered or pick it up? Pick it up is cheaper but driving takes (just as long as the damn discussion) longer. You get the idea I think. Add in a few random tangents and the picture becomes crystal clear I think.

Anyway, it went well and I had fun and they are poised upon the cusp of my sandbox. Should be a fun time.

Eric's went well too I think. We only got through one fight in the few hours we played his but it was a decent fight. Jeff's character had a very nice round, I think he did close to forty damage in it. Junkpile had a good round as well, managed to bloody or nearly bloody the main enemy of that particular fight, although to do that I had to blow a daily and an action point. I didn't end up taking a single point of damage though. Looks like the build I planned out will work out pretty well. Of course, it helped in this particular fight that the first thing I did was blow my utility daily and give myself a bunch of temp hit points to stack bonus ones onto.

I think we all had fun, so overall it was a pretty good session. I kept getting confused about shit towards the beginning. Between getting stuff situated for my campaign and levelling everyone beforehand for Eric's, things apparently got muddled up in my head.

Good day, good game. I look forward to the next one.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Advent of the Strike-ocalypse

So far the votes indicate that there will be at least three strikers in my campaign and one leader. It also looks like Josh will be some form of striker as well as he seems to gravitate towards classes that embody that role. Jason will likely be either a Fighter or Rogue, which means defender or striker. Shawn, when he is able to make it, will be a Bugbear Ranger, which is a striker. So, if things go the way of weirdness, we're looking at six strikers and a leader, plus whatever my NPC that they pick up is (a lot of them are strikers and defenders), plus Fred and whatever his wife Martel (sp?) wants to be, if they join us on a regular basis.

What the fuck?

I mean, I find myself gravitating towards the striker role myself, but man is that a lot of extra damage mechanics in one room. Solos and brutes and soldiers are built with a lot of hit points, but I think this make up of party is ideally suited to speedy ass combats. If the group ends up this way I think I'll start tracking their damage per round output, just to get a picture of how much pure hurt they can bring to the table. Of course most of these classes deal purely physical damage and a wall of AC or resistance should seriously impact their performance. The lack of any controller is somewhat worrisome because strikers are typically lightly armored and minions would be hard to manage without taking some hits. Minions die upon being hit, but they still do decent damage and still have decent defenses, without a controller to manage a herd of them at a time it removes the safety buffer and forces the lightly armored strikers to stand on the front line with the wall-like defenders. Strikers are primarily mobile or at range characters, not really expecting to go toe-to-toe with multiple foes for multiple rounds. I think if things do go in this direction the party can expect to taste an amount of hurt similar to that which they put out. Some people may want to experiment with multi-classing into leader or controller roles. We'll see.

Just some random thoughts for this post I guess, and seeing as how I am inexperienced with 4th Edition, these thoughts and concerns could be way off the mark. All will be revealed this weekend I guess.

My next post should be rather interesting if you have any interest at all in my stories, this assumes that I finish it and post it next, which may not happen. Pay attention to the next few posts I guess.

Steampunk Device of Post: Tension Bound Load Jettison Device. It is a system of straps and pulleys that has a rip cord that blows stuff like your backpack and pouches and such off of you so that you can quickly reduce your load to free up your limbs and body for combat (they can't all be winners ::shrug::).

Music: Store Bought Bones - The Raconteurs