Random ramblings from Georgia

I really don’t have anything game like to post to you I’m just sitting in a hotel room in Atlanta Georgia waiting until I can go to a conference tomorrow morning.

I got on an airplane this morning and flew from Portland to Atlanta Georgia. I flew on Delta Airlines, it was interesting because the travel agent for the federal  highway administration didn’t book me a seat. So I sat and waited because Delta overbooked the flight by three seats. They like to overbook flights in case somebody doesn’t show up so they can still fly with a full plane.

Delta ended up having three more people booked than seats availableand to offset that Delta had offered 3 people  each A $1500 Voucher that the people could redeem anytime in the next year. I was tempted but the next flight was the next day which was not going to work with my speaking engagement.

it was interesting because it started out with $100 voucher, and over the course of about an hour they ended up making it a $1500 voucher for each person. In the end I got on the plane, and I had a really crappy seat. I was jammed innext to a guy it’s seem to want to pretend that you didn’t speak English when I sat down or rather when I  motioned to him  that I was going to sit next to him near the window. He seem to be liking the double seat that he had the benefit of until I sat down.

I’m a pretty big guy, and I was trying to get to seat in the aisle, or the seat that is next to the emergency exit. Usually the seat near the emergency exit is a little wider, has a little more leg room, and usually there are only two seats in that particular aisle compared tothree seats that are in a normal aisle.

So what am I doing in Atlanta you ask?  It is work stuff. The Federal Highway administration likes some of the things that were doing where I work.   They have a big program called every day counts and they show off cutting edge technology that some agencies are doing that other agencies could also benefit from. We’re doing something called automated traffic signal performance measures. This is the big buzzword right now In traffic signals.

The stuff was research projects at universities 5 to 7 years ago, and we incorporated it into our signals three or four years ago.

It involves high-resolution data collection in the controller, where we log every single thing with the traffic signal controllers doing every 1/10 of one second. This allows us to go and do a lot of really high-resolution graphics to understand what the traffic is doing and be able to tell things like what what percent of the vehicles are arriving on the green as opposed to a red.  There are a bunch of other performance measures that are built into the data set.  We’re also doing Bluetooth tracking where we take a fragment of the MAC address of the Bluetooth device that has being voluntarily broadcast by peoples Bluetooth devices. When in promiscuous mode, but Bluetooth device provides this MAC address to anyone who’s listening.  We use a Bluetooth radio system to poll those broadcasts, then the system chops off the first five and the last digit of the MAC address, and applies it randomizer so that we’re not actually tracking any specific person instead we are tracking a fragment of data that has a timestamp on it. From that up we can track that fragment of data from one intersection to the next intersection and develop the travel time profile of the road. This allows us to make changes to the signal operations, and then determine if we made the travel times better or more consistent along a corridor.

There are a handful of public agencies around the country that are doing things like this. We’re kind of ahead of some of the others  because we have the systems in place along with the servers to be able to manage the data, and now are asking the question of what performance metric is appropriate for what location. We are also asking questions like what is normal how much data should we be looking at how do we make sure that what we’re seeing is normal as opposed to an anomaly.  We’ve kind of gone one step further  them the few agencies that I actually have these systems in place. Since were asking what should the performance metric be as opposed to how do we get performance metrics.

So two weeks ago the federal highway administration paid for me to go to San Francisco for a couple of days and talk to agencies and engineers who the traffic operations about what we’re doing. Now they’re paying me to go to Atlanta to do the same thing for Georgia DOT and Atlanta  DOT.

The whole idea here is how did you manage your traffic system in the most efficient way possible with the budget to you have.

This is all cool stuff. And I’m happy to help out

In other news we had an almost full eclipse yesterday. That was kind of cool. Vancouver had 99.4% eclipse I don’t know what the real technical term for it is, but we were not100%. Some of my coworkers went to Salem and watch the Full eclipse. Everyone was protecting terrible horrible traffic, but it ended up being not too bad from what I heard. There were some segments of interstate five and other roads that were pretty congested. President Trump showed that he doesn’t need special sunglasses to observe the eclipse, which of course got some people excited, and other people excited, for different reasons.

A bunch of us coworkers that were at work  did go out with special pinhole paper and the eclipse sunglasses, and were pretty wowed by what we saw. I have to say that even with 99.4% eclipse it was still quite bright out.  Ee watched the sun become consumed by the moon and once it is complete we all went back to work not really wanting to watch it go the other way. We were kind of done with going out and standing in looking at the sun.

Our dog Frida  has been wearing the cone of shame.

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She poked her eye on something. We think maybe she was trying to play with the cat and the cat didn’t want to play. So about $600 later, she is had become a shame for two weeks along with lots and lots of eyedrops .  She’s a sweet dog and she’s putting up with it all very well. The other two dogs don’t seem to care that she’s wearing the cone of shame. We’re looking forward to Frida making for recovery  and no longer having to wear the cone of shame.

I have been painting minis.  I got some Kromlech orks in greatcoats and Afrika Corps orks.

They are turning out nicely.  Here are some work in progress photos.

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Overall I’m pretty pleased with these. I still have some work to do on them and I need to base them.  I went through and assembled all of my minis that I have all the metal ones all the plastic ones all the resin ones, and made sure that they were all primed now I have a huge backlog of minis.

I have several more games coming that have more minis.  A group of friends decided to buy the whole box set of cool mini or not Rising Sun for me as thanks for running so many games for them. This is pretty awesome. Also I went in all the way for backing Zombicide Green Horde.

I know I can paint zombies. I need to really think about how to paint Japanese historical shogun And mythological type minis.

And with that I’m gonna sign off. It’s been a long day and it’s almost 10 o’clock here in Atlanta, which means I’m trying to go to sleep at 6 o’clock Pacific time. But I need to get up at 6 AM Eastern standard time tomorrow morning so that makes it 3 o’clock In the morning Pacific standard time.

Bleh

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GURPS – Goblins Episode 05

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So it has been a tremendous week.  The best week.  A tremendously best week.  The best week every.  The biggliest tremendous best week.  A week of biggly proportions.

Not really.  It has just been another week of our President leading this country… somewhere.  Probably somewhere where Nazis and KKK members are treated with respect, and love by the highest elected official of the USA.  Biggly.

Now, I am probably going to rant a while about Nazis, the KKK and other inbred fucking clowns… No, clowns isn’t the right word, as that insults the graduates of the Clown College.

 

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and while the class of 1987 Ringling Brothers Clown College have gone forth and caused fear and anxiety in many children and adults, the inbred fucknuggets who are KKK, white supremacists and Nazis do not deserve the term clown.

Let me be very clear here.  If I say something that offends you in this post, fuck you.  If you think that Nazis and the KKK and White Power are a good thing, please take the time to be insulted.  I don’t care if you disagree with me on this.  No, I do care if you disagree with me on this.  If you think that the KKK and Nazis belong in this country, you are a monstrosity and do not belong breathing the same air that I do.

In case that is not clear enough.  I believe that racist inclinations that manifest themselves into hatred and violence are the result of lack of intelligence, empathy and general human values.  So I will make it clear.

  • If you believe in the KKK.  Fuck you.
  • If you believe in the Nazi movement.  Fuck you
  • If you believe in White Power.  Fuck you.

Now, I have read that certain people, including the President of the United States have problems with too many words.  So I will summarize.

  • If you believe in the:
    • KKK
    • Nazis
    • White Power
  • Fuck You

You see what I did there?  I removed a bunch of words to make it shorter and more to the point.

Now, let’s say that you disagree with me on these points, or possibly are insulted.  Fuck you.  Well, that is assuming that you have the intelligence to do something other than read Nazi propaganda.

Now, I am blurring the line here.  I do understand that the Nazi movement is distinct from the KKK, and all of those are specifically part or not part of the greater White Power movement.  It really doesn’t matter.  The same inbred shit that resides in their skulls basically believes the same shit.

Take for instance, the American Nazi’ Party.  I looked this crap up on the Internet, so you would not have to.

Even if you dislike the Nazi’s, you should read this, because it states what their goals are.  This is sick shit.

As far at the Aryan Community, they say:

We demand the organization of society into a racial community which will embrace all Aryans, regardless of wealth or social background. We further demand that the state fight to eliminate every recognizable social evil and ensure social justice for every member of the racial community, including the right to decent housing, proper medical care and generous provision for old age.

We believe that a true community can function successfully only as a unified, organic whole in which all members of society join together in a great common cause and in turn are accorded personal respect as well as equality of opportunity. We also believe that every honest, hardworking citizen deserves to live decently, with full protection against all foreseeable material disasters beyond his control. Finally, we believe than an enlightened community must make the health and well-being of all its members a matter of prior concern, and that anything which interferes with the smooth and harmonious functioning of society must be ruthlessly suppressed – whether it be poverty, social injustice, class warfare, crime, sexual perversion, drug peddling, or any form of antisocial activity.

 

They then go on and talk about their “culture and science”

We demand that the State encourage and promote every genuine form of Aryan cultural expression. We also demand that the State subsidize pure scientific research. We further demand the removal of all alien influences from the cultural life of the Aryan community, and the elimination of the cult of ugliness and insanity known as “modern art” and “modern music” (For example “rap”).

We believe that the highest freedom is the freedom of the Aryan soul to express and manifest itself without interference through works of creative genius. Toward this end, we believe that the whole community must lend its enthusiastic and unstinting support. We also believe that the State bears a special responsibility to protect the racial soul from the harmful effects of distorting alien influences – in art, literature, music, drama, entertainment, education, and scientific inquiry – and to establish those standards by which true Aryan character and ideals can be reflected, and the questing spirit of our race expressed. We must encourage and promote every form of genuine White cultural endeavor and we must instill in our youth the appreciation for beauty and order that characterize a genuine White man’s culture. We must awaken a new understanding of our racial and cultural heritage, so that the creative instincts of our people can once again find expression in a direction which will continually renew and enrich that heritage instead of degrading and debasing it.

 

Just knowing that they want to remove “alien influences” such as rap makes me need to post this as a “fuck you” to the Nazi’s.

Now, in all fairness, I don’t care for a lot of rap music either.  But then, I realize that rap music isn’t for me.  It is intended for other audiences, similar to polka, opera and Enya.  I mean if we wanted to prohibit music that sucked because it was horrible to the culture, we should start with most, if not all of the songs that Sting has forced on us in his solo career.

And if this diddy doesn’t make you convulse, nothing will.  Be thankful that I didn’t find an easy link to the dreaming of blue turtles shit.  Sting has an ego pretty much the same size as Bono, whose ego is only surpassed in the entertainment industry by The Donald.

Then there is “what the hell is this new shit” from Grace Slick and company.  Really?  If you want to get rid of shit that destroys our society, why start with rap music?  You should be trying to burn all copies of this horrific shitpile.

I mean, talk about undercutting the entire nation with pap and mayonnaise.  How did Grace Slick go from White Rabbit to this?

Then there is what the American Nazi Party says about “white self defense”.

We must have an America in which White men and women can live and work, in their homes and in the streets of our cities, without fear. We must have a government which is not only a guarantor of public order and safety and which preserves the right of White citizens to keep and to bear arms, which is the ancient hallmark of a truly free people, but we must have government which maintains an eternal vigilance against the enemies, both internal and external, of a White America. Every tendency towards degeneracy and subversion, every threat to our racial integrity, every form of organized crime and vice, every element which threatens public terror or chaos must be weeded out and utterly destroyed.

Now if that doesn’t curl your toes and make you angry, nothing will.

It would be easy to laugh at the comedy value of the American Nazi Party, but they are real.

The KKK has an online manifesto that is much more polished than the American Nazi Party.  Part of it says:

As we state many times, We are not a hate group! We have been betrayed by the politicians – namely the Republican and Democratic parties. Of course those who engage in or support interracial or homosexual relationships aren’t being oppressed, but those who do – whether black or white – ARE being oppressed. We believe as shown by the writings of our forefathers that America was founded by white Christians for white Christians. This was their intent and was also proven by the laws of the United States for over two hundred years.

For example:
1. Black people had to post a bond usually for about $5,000 (a lot of money back then) in the Northern states to even live there. And in many counties of the North they weren’t even allowed to be there unless in travel.
2. Non whites were not allowed to vote – voting privileges for non-whites weren’t even considered during the founding of America.
3. A person had to profess a belief in Jesus Christ and the 10 Commandments to even hold any type of public office – from sheriff to President – to governor.
4. Interracial marriage was illegal
5. Homosexuality was illegal

It’s evident to any one with common sense that America was founded as a white Christian nation. This doesn’t mean we support the oppression of non-whites. It doesn’t mean we want to scare or hurt non-whites. It means simply that America was to be governed according to the tenets of Christianity. This would be a benefit to all who lived within her boundaries whether a white citizen or a non white resident.
Yes, if you look at a picture of the House or Senate either nationally or in a particular state, usually the majority of members are white. They are the people who have betrayed us. They are pawns of the special interest groups. They care more about the people of Mexico than the people of the United States. They care more about the rights of a sodomizer than a white Christian child. They care more about pleasing the giant corporations of the world than middle class Americans and their businesses. They care more about not offending homosexuals and integrationists than they do our elderly people. The politicians of today are the messed up kids of the 60’s. They came from the homosexual, race mixing, Communist, anti-law and order, revolution. Some may claim the Republicans aren’t that bad, but not one single Republican leader would proclaim their opposition to race mixing. Some might even seem like good church going people, but they would still refuse to make a stand against the horrible plague of race mixing. There just aren’t any Republicans or Democrats who have their act together. They might be white, but they have betrayed their own people and are traitors. They can’t support the anti-white and anti-Christian special interest groups and be a patriot, too.

The diatribes by these groups are a tough read for me.  They make me angry.  They make me very sad and upset.  But, it is something which we should all be aware of, knowing that there are people out there who are sympathetic to this type of crap.

I mean look at these shitheads.

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They look like they are trying to be all scary and stuff.  Maybe they ran out of sheets, and needed to get some sweet satin draperies to complete their outfit.  I don’t know.  They just look like a bunch of people who don’t believe in what I believe in, and should be mocked mercilessly.

Then there are these guys.

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They look like a bunch of fucking moron lawn gnomes who need a severely palsied nurse to administer an enema to them using a blunt rubber hose.

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But then, I would hope that the palsied nurse applying the enema to these lawn gnomes would not be using water, preferably something that would inflame their Nazi rectums.

But they may be morons, but look at who is in the bottom right portion of the picture below.

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Yes, there is a confederate flag, and several of the signs state “the white majority STANDS WITH TRUMP”.

In fact, if you look closely as The Donald is signing one red hat with a sharpie, immediately in front of him is one of the white majority signs.  Should we read anything into this?   Maybe during the campaign, we could have dismissed it.  But given President Trump’s recent inability to distance himself from the Nazis, white supremacists and KKK, I am saying there is something to read into this.  The Donald, THE PRESIDENT of the United States may not be an overt racists, but he is willing to align himself with them – at least when it is convenient, and when they praise him, at best, he is unable to shift his ego to denounce the words of evil people.

So what does this have to do with GURPS?  Nothing.

You might say “Rob, you are being very unbalanced in your discussion here, I mean, it sounds like all you want to do is vilify some portion of the population who are only standing up for their Constitutional rights.”  Well, you are right.  This is a blog.  As such, it is not expected to be balanced.  I am not a reporter.  I am a human being who is deeply bothered, even horrified, that for some reason, these hate groups are feel that they can come out of the cesspool that they reside in and show themselves.  I believe that the current President is creating a situation where these hateful people are emboldened and feel that they have some form of protection and blessing from the White House.

This worries me.

It should worry you also.

If I have written something here which offends you, too bad.  It is not that I don’t care, but I really believe that if for any reason you agree with the Nazi’s, KKK or white supremacy, then there is something fundamentally wrong with you.

You can disagree with how the federal and state government are approaching taxes, health care, road construction, etc.  We don’t have to agree on a political party or even whether we like a particular person who has been elected or appointed to office.  That is an American right.  The point where we start aligning our thoughts with a group like the KKK, Nazi party or such is where I will vehemently disagree with you.  I will be perfectly happy to call you out in public.

Please, please, please don’t hide your affiliation.  If you believe something, you should let people know.  If you are a white supremacist, then wear it on your sleeve.  If you believe that <insert group here> people should be <insert punishment here>, let people know.   Be vocal.   Then you can find out how many true friends you have, and whether or not the people around you will isolate you for your horrible thoughts.

And don’t be unhappy if people take exception to your belief system.

I have made it clear about how I feel about people feeling superior to others, and believing that they should be treated poorly, or differently.  I am wearing that on my sleeve.  There is no question about how I feel about this.

OK.  I have that off my chest.  For a while anyway.

So you may ask yourself… “Rob, where do you get your diatribes from, after all, we came here to read about your gaming, and instead, we read about marshmallows, nazi’s, build-a-bear spock dolls..”

I really don’t have an answer.  It is probably something like this.

I am not sure why I can associate with this, but it works.

I spend the week working as a manager.  As such, I have to focus on keeping people happy, finding solutions that are the best possible given the conditions, and most of all, keeping my smart ass self contained.  I like to address things through humor, and find that I need to keep myself in check for the 45 to 50 hours a week that I work.  Outside of that, I need to have a vent.  My wife, kids, and dogs are a good audience.  However, they hear it all the time.  Gaming is my favorite way to be myself.

Gaming is really a foil for me to enjoy friends company.  The Thursday game night is a different crowd than the Saturday game.  Eric is in both groups, but other than Eric, the entire group is different.

The Thursday group is more serious, and wants to progress the story.  The Saturday group is more open to sitting around and chatting.  When I was running games on Thursday night, I found that people wanted to chat, but it appeared that some of the players wanted to play more than sit and chat.  So I let Daron run the Thursday game.  Daron wants to keep the story moving.

Saturday games are more open and we tend to make nuisances of our selves at the game store.

I love bringing Jirimiah into any game I can, even if it is just to get him to come over and threaten us with bodily harm.  Jirimiah seems to almost want to put up with us.  I ring the bell lots for him.  I make sure that he is sitting down and involved in something before I buy something, just so I can ring the bell loudly and repeatedly.  I also help out by explaining to other customers that Jirirmiah has some hearing loss, and so he needs to have multiple rings to get his attention, and keep his attention focused on the front counter.  Sometimes, I even wait until another customer is at the front counter, and Jirimiah is at the front counter also, and I go up and ring the bell loudly and repeatedly.

Jirimiah responds lovingly to me by saying things like “you are going to die”, and “why?” and other things like that.  Jirimiah doesn’t threaten my life in a loud angry voice, instead he uses the same kind of voice that Khan Noonien Sing uses to address Captain Kirk.

I know that Jirimiah is responding lovingly at me, since Molly, my wife gives me the same look and response regularly.

We also try to get Jirimiah into our conversations.  He may be sitting across the store from us, but we all start catcalling like a pack of howler monkeys at him until he responds with a smile and wave of his hand.

Jirimiah asked me this weekend… “why do I end up in your blog?”  Well it is simple.  When you are an epic character, you need to be featured somewhere.  My blog includes the occasional guest representation of a larger than life hero, Jirimiah.  Now, that is not truly meant as a tongue in cheek answer.  Jirimiah is awesome.  He has a great sense of humor, and isn’t shy about anything.  Also, very little, if nothing at all, is off limits for him.  Hence, the epic character thing.  I kind of think of Jirimiah as our personal Bruce Campbell.  He has a presence that is awesome to be around.  I just hope that we get some sort of response like “Give me some sugar, baby” or maybe even a “This is my BOOMSTICK!”

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So what did happen on Saturday?  Well, it was pretty simple.  The goblins ended up getting all captured, and forced into a clean room.  Now what should have taken a short period of time in game, actually took an extended period of time in game.

The gaming session started out with people admiring Mike’s new mini.

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After all, the goblin did have a dog grafted onto his arm.  This was a really nice way to show his character.

Then of course, there was the highly questionable interaction between Mike’s Necronomicon and poor Scrotus.

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If you look carefully at Eric, he has a GoPro camera on the blue box, next to the diet Mountain Dew can.  There are a couple of important things going on here, besides the abusing of Scrotus…. of which will be discussed later…  But Eric wanted to bring his GoPro camera to record some of the hijinks that the group does.  He started out by hiding it on a stand / shelf with games, hoping it would remain unnoticed.  No such luck.  Immediately upon entry, Collin saw the camera, and was wary.  Eric then spent most of the rest of the session pretending that the camera was “off”, or that it “had run out of batteries”.  I am pretty sure that Eric got some really good video even though it was “off” or had “run out of batteries.”

Now Eric was so distracted in his glee at using his GoPro at the session, he didn’t realize that he bought a diet Mountain Dew instead of the normal sugar filled one.  He drank the entire can before someone pointed it out to him.

The session started with all the goblins in a cage, except for Sue and Eric.  The rest of the goblins were happy in a cage.  The cage included cat food kibbles, a small sand box, a soft blanket and a water bowl.  The room was warm, and slightly humid.  It was pretty darned comfortable.  The goblin party did realize that there were lots of cages with goblins inside, and the other goblins appeared to be listless and sleepy.

Mike was pretty happy.  He had food, and all of his basic needs taken care of.

Sheri was not happy.  A bored goblin is not a happy goblin.  She proceeded to slurp the water into her mouth, then spit it into the sand box, to create a mud like mixture that she could mold into things in her small cage.  The sand box kept refilling, the water kept refilling.

Bill was not happy.  Once again, bored goblins…  So he started working sand into the mechanism of the self screening sand box in his cage.  He almost lost a couple of fingers, but he was bound and determined that he was going to break the sandbox.

Collin was distracted by the GoPro camera, and was not sure what he should do.  What if someone he knew could link him to this group of gamers?   Sue repeatedly used her Iphone to gather more video of Mike and Collin.  For future reference, if you want to accomplish anything that is actually useful in a group, do not have Collin and Mike sit next to each other at a table.  There appears to be a symbiotic relationship similar to Newton’s Law of gravity.

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Where instead of the Force due to gravity, being proportional to the sum of the mass of the two objects divided by the distance squared… the silliness quotient is related to the sum of Mike and Collin divided by the square of the distance.  It doesn’t seem to matter if they are on the other side of the table from each other, they still work off each other, but putting them close to each other appears to almost create a runaway chain reaction.  I am not complaining… It is quite entertaining.

So Collin and Mike tried very hard to fight against the distance between them, given the GoPro camera, and Sue’s Iphone.  In the end, they lost the struggle, and didn’t seem to care that they were being filmed.

Sue and Eric went over to the stone buildings.  The stone buildings were smooth and clearly crafted by advanced species.  While they were looking at the stone, four monsters popped out and attacked.  The monsters were tall, humanlike, with pale skin and they were holding sticks, that had an X in front, with four heavy weights on them, with a mesh connecting the four heavy weights.  The monsters pointed the sticks directly at the goblins.  This was odd, since most of the time when you attacked with a stick, you would whack someone, or stick them like a spear.  These monsters were cradling the sticks.  In quick succession, the monsters with the sticks shot the nets with weights at the goblins.  One grabbed Eric, who was immediately wrapped up in a sticky net.  The other two missed Sue.  They reloaded, and shot again, this time hitting Sue, capturing her.

The monsters pulled the nets along the ground and brought the goblins into a stone building.  Soon the monsters had pulled the goblins into the same room as the rest of the goblins.

It was at this point where Brian decided to try to mass sleep the monsters.  After all, it worked so well the other times that Brian tried to do this.  One monster went down,  the rest of the monsters got pointy sticks and jabbed them through the grates on the cage door and shocked Brian.  His teeth chattered, his skin felt like it was on fire.  He relieved his bowels and bladder.  It was all very entertaining for the humans, who were cheering on the process.  Apparently, monsters enjoy electrocuting the goblins… a lot.

After that bit of fun, the monsters came back to the two goblins who were lying in the sticky net.  Two monsters stood over them with the stun sticks.  The other two went somewhere else for a while, out of sight.  The stun sticks were close to the goblins.  Simultaneously, two bound goblins did something very similar.  Eric used his mage hand to force one monster to stun the other human, while Sue used her mind power to do the same.  Whatever happened, the monsters started fighting among themselves, and Shari took credit.

Both Eric and Sue missed their perception roll, and found that they were stuck by a monster with a large stinging object which pumped liquid into their arms.  Things went dark.

All the goblins were now in a cage.  Whew.  Part one of this railroad to get the party to the next area of the adventure is over.

Did the party make it easy to continue on?  Nope.

So the monsters decide that it is time to move the goblins to another area.  This is part of the eradication of the goblins from their village.

One by one, the cages with the goblins in the party are moved onto a cart and wheeled to another room by four of the monsters.  One by one, the goblin cages are attached to a strange looking stoop / shelf, and the cages are tipped over, and the door opened, dumping the goblins out into a chute, like a laundry chute.

Most of the goblins fall harmlessly into a 30-ft by 10-ft by 10-ft room.  Some have to fight it.  Sue was the only successful one, as she turned incorporeal, and slipped back into the room, behind the monsters.  She then tried to “filch” something from one of the monsters.

Now it is important to note that Mike was pretty happy about explaining that he and Sue had worked out this “filching” thing.

This is where the howler monkey thing comes back… again.  I respond to Mike… “at least it wasn’t felching”

Mike looks at me… not understanding, and says “The skill is filching”.  I responded “yeah, at least the skill isn’t felching”, or something like that.  I don’t know what actually happened, because over the next half hour or so, Mike looked up “felching”  in the urban dictionary and said “uhhh that is not what we have as a skill”  Sue then responded realizing that “felching” was very different than “filching”, with the rest of the howler monkeys at the table (myself included) hooting and hollering in general amusement clearly representing the decay of values in western society.”

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We literally derailed for an extended period of time about felching.  We were all laughing and carrying on like a bunch of pre adolescent kids who were listening to George Carlin records in the 1970’s.  You know, when George Carlin said “shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker and tits”, and we wore that section of the record out by picking up the needle on the record player and played it over and over and over.  Then we changed the speed of the record to 45 RPM to hear them like a chipmunk would say… then put our fingers on the side of the turntable to get it to sloooooowwwwwww dooowwwwwnnn and sound really funny?  Everyone was having a great time, saying Felch, felch, felch felching felch felcher felchist… well, not everyone.  Bill was hiding his face in shame as everyone else at the table were carrying on. Somehow, Bill realized that while being the youngest person at the table, he was indeed the most mature.  Young age is wasted on youth.

So after a long, long period of time where we were having a great time laughing and carrying on (while the other serious wargamers were staring at us, trying to figure out why the booze had been allowed in the store before 5 PM).  I mean, there are some serious wargamers who show up.  They huddle over in a corner moving their Warhammer and 40K minis around, and try to read the codexes while we are carrying on.  I almost feel sorry for them.  They are so damn serious, and we are carrying on like bunch of newly minted pledges at a drunken frat party, desperate to top each other’s last comment while hoping it will ingratiate us to the leadership.

Eventually, the monsters use sleeping gas on Sue, and then push her down the chute.

Once all of the monsters are down the chute, in the immaculately clean when all of the goblins are inside this amazingly clean room, the walls sprout spinning disks that start spraying out hot water that includes soap.  Soon, there is a terrifying pots and pans cycle going on in this large room.

Mike’s goblin faints in terror.  Everything smells like a combination of pine and lemon.  It is truly horrific.

Brian decides to conjure up some earth, then form it into a protective wall and ceiling, then turned the earth into stone to protect him.  But not the others.  Nice guy.

After thirty minutes of alternating hot soapy water and hot clean water being sprayed on the goblins from all directions, the goblins are clean in a way that is beyond unnatural.  They smell lemony / piney.  It is awful.

The party notices that the room is getting smaller, the length of the room is going from 30-ft to 29-ft, to 28-ft etc.  This kind of unnerves the goblins, and they decide that they need to get on top of the stone box that Brian made.

Brian then decided to poop in the corner of his stone box, unbeknownst to the other goblins.  The room got larger and wash cycle started again, which included a new twist, just for Brian.  Several tubes pushed through the bottom of his stone box and started the wash cycle inside the stone box.  It was horrific.  There was no place to go.

Then after another half hour, the wash cycle stopped, and the room started getting shorter again.  Then Shari, who decided being clean was not a good thing.  She threw some poo, and immediately upon throwing poo, the room grew back to the 30-ft length and entire wash cycle started again, with another 30 minute pots and pans cycle.

When this was done, some of the characters found that they could walk through the formerly solid wall at one end of the building.  They found themselves in another completely clean room, but as they stepped through the wall, it turned solid behind them again, not allowing them to return to the wash cycle room.

Then Shari wanted to show Brian how to get out, so… you guessed it… took some poo and started writing an arrow pointing towards the wall to escape from.  Not to be outdone, as the poo was formed into an arrow, the wash cycle started again.  Brian shaped his stone to get out of the internal prison he created, and everyone in the washer got clean… again.

This time, Shari and the rest of the goblins decided to exit from the door instead of using poo as an art form.  They walked through the door / wall and ended up in the same large room that the other goblins found.

The room was about 30-ft by 20-ft by 10-ft high.  There were no visible doors.  On two walls were a series of beds with clean sheets and blankets.  On top of each bed, on the blankets was a soft terry cloth towel.

It didn’t take long for things to go out of control.  I am not sure exactly what happened in what order, as the end result was pretty much all the same.

At one point, Sue started her mattress on fire.  Two large monster robots came out of the wall and extinguished the fire.  One robot shredded her mattress and consumed each part of the mattress, while the other grabbed her with three of the flexible arms and the fourth proceeded to take out a large cotton buffing wheel, and at a high rate of rotation, proceeded to exfoliate Sue and remove all of her hair, even her eyebrows and the hair inside her nose…  All of her hair.  Her clothes were shredded.

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Upon completion of the ritual, the robot produced a new terry cloth robe, and Sue, now completely hairless, and with her entire body a nice shade of exfoliated lime green, was allowed to go back to her now mattressless bunk.  She was sore everywhere.

The robots proceeded to sweep and vacuum up all of the hair, strips of clothing and exfoliated skin, and put it into their chests, where there was a brief puff of smoke and some bright light of a fire, and then nothing.  The robots then went towards a wall, and melted back into the wall that they originally came out of.

Over the next few minutes, the other goblins got the same deal.  Shari played with poo.  There was some spitting…  There were other things done which are probably best not talked about in polite company

At one point, Brian decided to test the robot monsters, by creating a stone wall in the area where the monsters would have to go through to go back into the wall they melted out of.  The monsters were unimpressed with the stone wall, and took out a rotating probe that quickly demolished his stone wall.  There was something odd.  All of the 2 cubic yards of stone went into the monsters, but they were nowhere large enough to store that much stone.

I don’t remember what Brian did to deserve it, but he needed two cleanings.  The second cleaning wasn’t as nice as the first one. The robots used wire brushes instead of buffing wheels.  The robots also held him with two of the pincers on the flexible arms on his shoulders, and a third with the “you don’t want to know what this is for” probe strategically placed, inserted into a specific orifice of his body to allow easy manipulation and rotation as he was thoroughly cleaned with the wire brushes.

The party was allowed to rest at this location for an undisclosed amount of time until they were at full health.

And with that, we stop for this week.

GURPS – Goblins Episode 04

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We took a week off from GURPS.  Sue was sick, or so she said.  Well, actually, Mike said that Sue was sick.  We had no specific information from Sue herself, but, it was a good chance for Mike to show off his painted minis for Zombicide Black Plague.  We played that instead of GURPS.

Lots happened over the last two weeks.

First, I went to a half day of training to have a FEMA ICS 200 and 700 certification.  What does that mean, you ask…  Well, I was hoping that you would ask that question.

The FEMA ICS certifications are a bunch of process training and tests to make sure that in the event that an emergency occurs, of a large nature, that the people who are responding are able to understand the general nature of the FEMA and other federal responses.  The certifications mean that if a major event occurs, I will be certified in knowing how to navigate the federal bureaucracy of the federal response.

Hopefully, with the certification, I can avoid having the President talk to me.

The FEMA certifications start out making sure that you will understand the nature of the FEMA and Federal beast.

You remember in college, when you took classes, and the freshman classes were 100 level, and when you were ready, you took the sophomore classes, which were 200 level… all the way to a senior classes, and they were 400 level?

Not that way in the FEMA method.

You do start out at ICS 100. That makes sense. Then you jump to ICS 700, then ICS 200 then ICS 800.  Now you would think that they would have some method to graduate from the lowest number to the highest number?  nope.

But, when you start taking the course, the graphics make you want to stand up and salute.

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I mean if that graphic doesn’t explain the seriousness of becoming an expert in this, nothing will.  You got the bird with the statue of liberty over one wing, the view from East St. Louis, looking to the west at the St. Louis Arch (oh, god, I need to get the fuck out of East St. Louis, please FEMA help me!), there are some people who are being monitored by a Sheriff, probably a jail release work crew… and someone getting ready to cause pain to a sweet child.  All with the Department of Homeland Security amblazoned on it.

This is serious shit!  We need to pay attention so that we can get those poor unfortunate fuckers out of East St. Louis to St. Louis.   What sort of important messages are in this amazing training?

Stuff like:

Response

Depending on the size, scope, and magnitude of an incident, communities, States, and, in some cases, the Federal Government will respond.

and

Situational Awareness Priorities

When developing protocols that promote situational awareness, priority should be given to:

  • Providing the right information at the right time.
  • Improving and integrating national reporting.
  • Linking operations centers and tapping subject-matter experts.
  • Standardizing reporting.

This is really important to make sure that when the big one hits, we have the ability get food and water, along with medical equipment and other things like medicine to the people that need it.  The framework is not very exciting, but it is intended to make sure that when the State and Federal bureaucracy arrives to help, it can be used as efficiently as possible, and most importantly, when it comes time to write checks to pay for stuff, the entire process being worked by the locals is done with the proper paperwork for the federal government to repay the local agencies.

OK, not very exciting.  We didn’t fly around in helicopters.  We didn’t kick in doors and yell out “CLEAR!”, but we did help navigate through the federal process to make sure that if the big one hits, we can hopefully get as much of it right the first time through as possible.

Also, last week, I went to San Francisco for two days.  I was invited by the Federal Highway Administration (which somehow is the FHWA, not FHA) to talk to engineers with the different traffic signal agencies about what we are doing with Automated Traffic Signal Performance Measures (ATSPM’s)

I love acronyms.  When I was in the Washington Army National Guard (WANG), they made it the Washington ARmy National Guard (which was of course WARNG, instead of WANG).  Our patch was the screaming stapler, for those of you who are interested in that type of thing.

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One of the guys in my WARNG unit enlisted in the WARNG right out of high school and decided he would enter basic training with a tattoo of the WARNG screaming stapler on his arm.  Let’s just say that none of the drill sergeants were impressed.  Many soldiers do get tattoos of their units on their shoulders.  Some will get tattoos of their Airborne or Ranger tabs.  It is a right of passage.  It shows that you are part of an elite unit, or have done some bad ass training.

There are some questions that you should ask yourself when you are getting a military tattoo.  The first one is… will anyone be impressed by this tattoo.  The drill sergeants tend to be from impressive military backgrounds.  When I was going through basic training, several of them had been in Ranger battalions, most of them had Airborne and Air Assault tabs.  It is hard to impress these people.  They have done some really cool stuff in their careers.  They are unlikely to be impressed by a Private E-1 who has a tattoo of their National Guard unit on their shoulder… The wrong shoulder at that.

Occasionally, you read a post on the Internet where someone has a tattoo of “Peace and Tranquility” in Mandarin on their arm?  But when you really know what Mandarin says… it says something like “Stupid American Douchebag” instead…  The tattoo artist had some fun at the expense of the client.

Well Private Snuffy was kind of like that.  You wear your current unit’s patch on your left shoulder (left, as in not right).  You can wear a unit patch on your right shoulder if… and only if… you served in that unit during combat.  Private Snuffy got the tattoo on his… wait for it… yes, you guessed it… his right shoulder.  I heard that Private Snuffy got treated very poorly for having a National Guard tattoo on his combat shoulder.

I am sure that it had some deeper meaning than a screaming stapler, but that is what we called it.  At one point when I was in the WARNG, we were the roundout brigade for the 9th Infantry Division, so we got to swap out our patches on our shoulders with this:

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The 9th ID patch is basically a cookie.  We loved wearing the cookie patches.  We felt like we were pretty hot shit with  those patches.  We could go onto a post, and were not immediately recognizable as National Guard.  This meant that when we drilled at Fort Lewis and Yakima Firing Center, it took the regular army guys a little while to realize we were National Guard, instead of realizing we were from the screaming stapler patch.

Now, the National Guard had its share of people who were really capable of showing off that they were not of the caliber that the regular Army guys were at Fort Lewis.  That being said, there were regular Army guys who the Army would have liked to be somewhere else.  Neither side had a complete lock on incompetence.

I was on a field exercise where the regular army Command Sergeant Major came up to us at about 9 AM, and said “We do more before 9 AM than most people do all day”.  That was the catch phrase for the Army at that time.  Before it was that, it was “Fun, Travel, Adventure”, which meant that writing and saying “FTA” was in vogue at recruitment centers.  It didn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that the letters FTA could be used to say “Fun, Travel, Adventure”, but many of the soldiers realized that it also stood for “Fuck The Army”.  There was never so many uniformed troops that were happily chanting “FTA! FTA!”

Anyhow, the CSM came into our area saying “We do more before 9 AM than most people do all day”, and me, being the smart ass E-4 Specialist I was replied “Yeah Command Sergeant Major, we need the rest of the day to unfuck what we did wrong before 9 AM”.  For some reason, that point of honesty was not what the Sergeant Major was looking for.

I found out in the Army, everyone that is, oh, well, about E-8 Sergeants or above (Master Sergeants, First Sergeants, Sergeant Majors and Command Sergeant Majors) only have a sense of humor if they make the joke.  If someone else makes a joke, and they are not an approved toady, then bad things happen.

Now, that being said, I spent a lot of time with Lt. Colonels, Full Bird Colonels, and a few dudes with stars on their shoulders, and in those cases, if you were good at your job, you could get away with lots of smart ass comments, as long as you remembered your place, and didn’t make the officer look bad.

Senior enlisted men, not so much.  They worked hard to get where they were, and they didn’t want to take any shit from any lower enlisted people.  After all, they had to keep sucking up to the brass, which made them proportionately grumpy related to how hard they had to suck up.

I think a lot of the senior enlisted grumpiness also had to do with how little sleep these guys got on a regular basis.  I swear that everyone E-6 and above got little or no sleep when we were on maneuvers.  It seems like E-6’s and E-7’s sleep the least.

We also have been dealing with Frida, our dog who poked her eye, and has an ulcer which is slowly healing.  Frida is healing, but we are going to lots of vet visits.  She went to a dog ophthalmologist today (Sunday).  Frida is on the mend, her ulcer is healing.  She still needs to wear the cone of shame.  She is being very good about the cone of shame.

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So what does all of this have to do with GURPS?  I don’t know.  I am just rambling on.

We did meet to play Gurps yesterday.

The game really started out last week.  We met to play Zombicide, but Eric was not going to be able to attend this week.  We had to resolve how Eric’s character was able to attach the Pomeranian dog half to Mike’s arm.  Yes, you have entered that dimension again, goblins and GURPS.

So last week, before we started playing Zombicide Black Plague, Eric makes a skill roll, and rolls a 4.  A critical success.  This was pretty awesome, since the Pomeranian will be a good fit for the group, and with a critical success, things will go swimmingly well.

So we got together, and I was having a bad day.  My allergies were kicking in, and I took some killer medicine.  I couldn’t hear much of what was going on, and was always about 3 beats behind everyone else at the table.

For some reason, Shari approached me on Thursday at work, and asked if she could borrow $40.  I gave her two twenties, and she told me that her husband would take care of me on Saturday.  I still don’t know what happened, but I left with four $10 bills.

We chatted about things.  Shit is happening all over the country which people at the table find disturbing or disagreeable.    There was a horrible situation going on with white supremacists, neo nazi’s, and other dumbfucks who want to make America White Again.

Make no mistake.  I may kid about people from around the country, but for the most part, I have no problem with people from any corner of this nation, but white supremacists and other nazi’s ounks need to fuck off.

Now, I don’t necessarily agree with Jello Biafra on everything, but I think he was just about right on this.

Even with all of the hate spewing from Charleston South Carolina, there was also this.

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It did make me smile.

So where was I?  Oh yeah, I was talking about playing GURPS yesterday.

We spent quite a bit of time talking, and generally making a general nuisance of ourselves to the rest of the people at Dice Age.  Jirimiah came over and told me that he had been reading the blog, and I should be ready to die, since he was featured prominently.  I rang the bell at the front counter several times to try to get his deaf ears to hear what was going on.  Jirimiah (Still trying to figure out where the silent 7’s are in his name) tried talking to me in some babble language.  You see, Jirimiah claims that he speaks like 67 different languages and understands about 335 more.  I personally don’t know what the hell he is saying most of the time, so I figure that he is making all of this shit up.  He could be making up everything he says that isn’t in his unique version of English, and I would never know.  He talks to his Bosnian friends, and they spew some form of talk between them.  I am pretty sure that he and his friends are just making all this shit up.  I don’t know for sure, but in this new ‘Mericabygod, I can make up any shit I want to, and as long as I am willing or able to say it with conviction, it must be true.  If I really want to be emphatic, I will simply quote a Trump tweet.  That will make it even more believable.

I mean, who doesn’t feel an amazing amount of ‘Merican pride when reading this?

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Or this?

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Kind of makes me all teary eyed, and proud to be ‘Merican!

This song may be more proper for how I feel:

I really don’t know.

Anyhow, we all started playing GURPS at some point.  When the party finally started playing, we were back at the forest, outside the town.  The party finished up getting Mike’s assasin / dog mix ready to fight, and they met Splorgorth, who is actually a human sized locust, but everyone wanted to make him into a cockroach.  Splorgorth takes a claw and snaps the lock that is holding Mike’s ninja in the garbage can.  Mike spills out with the refuse, and is happy to be out.

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Splorgorth wants to hire the goblins.  It takes a while for the communication to work, but essentially, the goblins find out that all the other goblins in the area are treated as “pets”, and are kept in cages somewhere in town.

Splorgorth offers the goblins protection, and work to do.  Splorgorth likes the high quality food that the goblins have brought back from the town, in the large bin.  Splorgorth tells the goblins to bring back five glowing bulbs from the town.  Pretty easy, right?  Not with this group.

The party goes into town, and finds a glowing orb within the larger container.  The outside of the container has a clear, hard shell, which protects the glowing orb.

Mike decides to ninja kick it.  He misses once, then after Sue tries to kick it, manages to kick it out a little bit, then kicks it again and the clear hard shell goes ‘click’ and is seated again.

Bill takes out his knife and tries to pry the clear shell off.  He realizes that the goblin ginsu swords are not meant for this type of work, as he comes close to cutting off his hand as his hand moves forward of the pommel of the ginsu short sword and onto the blade which can cut through a knife, then cut a tomato.

Not deterred, Bill takes out his serving fork from the Ginsu block and pries into the clear shell, and gets a nice jolt.

the jolt makes him do the St. Vitus dance…

Bill’s goblin jerks, spasms, wets himself, and drools a lot.  His heart feels like it is going to explode, and everything tingles.  It was awesome!

As all of this is going on, kicking, punching, chattering…  Only Sue and Collin see that a new light has appeared in the alleyway.  It is coming from a door, and in the door is a massive monster, in a terry cloth bathrobe and she is wearing fuzzy pink slippers.  To complete the look, she has a complicated woven hat covering most of her head, a puce colored goo smothering her face.  In her right hand is a lit cigarette, in her left hand is a funny clear glass.  The glass looks like it has a flat bottom, a long stem, then a triangular top.  Inside the glass within the clear fluid is a green dot.

Sue takes a step back and flambe’s the monster.  Well, actually, as Sue steps back, the monster says something like “wah wah wah?”, trips on the door step, and falls, spilling her clear liquid from the cup onto her, then accidentally drops her lit cigarette onto her wet bathrobe.

The conflagration is complete.  She is fully engulfed by flames.  She screams like a banshee, wailing, crying, in horrific pain, like a neo nazi forced to listen to Kanye West.  do the goblins care?  No.  They find that the open door next to the flaming monster presents an opportunity that can’t be passed up.

The goblins pour into the house.  The first thing that they notice is that the house is disgustingly clean. There is no filth anywhere.  These monsters are horrific beyond belief.  The room smells of a combination of fake lemon and fake pine with some fake cinnamon bun mixed in.  It is nauseating.  The goblins soldier on.  They know that they need to bring something back for Splorgorth.

This is where the goblins seem to question what exactly Splorgorth promised them.  Splorgorth promised them protection.  When the goblins asked how that was going to work, Splorgorth pointed at Sue, and said “You will protect you”, and Splorgorth pointed at Mike.  Then he pointed at Mike and said “you will protect you”, and Splorgorth then pointed at Sheri.. and so on.  No one seemed to pick up on the fact that everyone was protecting everyone else, but there was little that Splorgorth would do, except for eat the best food that the goblins brought back in the large bin.

The goblins thought about this for a few seconds, were distracted by the lack of filth, and then went through the house like a bunch of sugar hyped 2 year olds at Ikea.

As the goblins enter the monster’s lair, they see too much all at the same time.  Bill sees a curio stand with lots of glass, and glass ornaments.

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There are dozens of little glass ornaments in a large collectors case.  Glass everywhere.  Bill stands, transfixed, and is unable to look away from the awesome, amazing kitsch here.

Sue is amazed at the wide variety of things which could burn in this house.

Sheri looks at a lamp on the table, and realizes that the lamp could be taken to Splorgorth as one of the glowing orbs.

Mike drops to the carpet, and is amazed at the velvety soft, tan-ness.  He wipes his greasy goblin paw on the carpet and sees that he can wipe it one way or the other, and he can make patterns in the carpet with the light.

Sue takes another lamp off a table and walks off , finding it tethered to the wall.  She pulls, hard, and the tether comes undone, but the lamp stops glowing.  Sheri follows suit.

Collin spies the prize.  He sees that there is a large throw on the couch which has a goat on it.  There are also three throw pillows with goat heads stitched onto the pillows.  He carefully grabs all three pillows, and wraps them up in the throw, and gets the hell out.  He has his prize.  He nonchalantly walks by the burned corpse of the monster and heads back to the trees.  Bill snaps out of his amazement, grabs a king sized bottom fitted sheet and tries to place as many of the glass curios into the sheet, wrapping them up as he goes.  Bill then ties the king sized fitted sheet around his body, like a bandoleer sash.  As he finishes up, he spies a glowing orb at the top of the curio cabinet.  Bill climbs the glass shelves of the curio cabinet, and then bad things happen.  The glass breaks, and Bill lands in a pile of shattered glass.  Luckily, he isn’t hurt, but he now has a problem getting to the glowing orb at the top of the curio shelves.   Bill picks himself up and dusts himself off and gets out of there by walking by the smoking corpse.

Sue and Mike decide it is time to leave, but by the time they go to the back door, they find three other monsters at the back door.  One of the monsters kicks the door open, and Mike falls to the ground, unconscious.

Sue turns to a ghost, and trots on by the monsters.

Mike wakes up in a cage, near Brian’s character.  Mike is initially unhappy with the situation, but finds that he has a supply of water, cat kibbles (and damn good ones at that), a soft blanket and a small sand box to play in.

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Mike figures that this is a pretty good place to be. Brian, on the other hand is not pleased with being captured, and tries several times to escape using lockpicking magic.  He is not successful.

Brian does cast mass sleep on the monsters who are bringing in Mike, and two of them drop to the floor, asleep.  The other two monsters finish putting Mike into a cage, and then get a long stick and touch it to Brian’s exposed skin.  The pain is excruciating. They jab him over and over again, each touch causing a horrible shock.

So now, Brian and Mike were captured.  Sue, Shari, Collin and Bill were back at the forest, and Splorgorth came and was shown the “goods”.  Splorgorth was not impressed.  He wanted something very specific, and was not provided what he wanted.  Furthermore, he observed that a group of monsters were walking with handheld torches and scanning the ground on the approach to the woods.  Sporgorth lept into the air, and was not seen anymore.

Things happened pretty quickly.  Multiple monsters attacked everyone but Sue, who was happily hiding in the underbrush.

Three monsters attacked Bill and Shari.  Bill stabbed the monster in the nutsack, and the nutsack and recoiled in pain.  Now Collin was bravely hiding under the goat print throw.  The monster then tripped and fell onto Collin, who had held out his dagger, and killed the monster when it fell on him.  The monster almost crushed the life out of Collin, but Collin.  Collin was saved by the goat throw pillows, as the life blood of the monster stained the goat throw blanket.  It was very sad.

As the monsters fought against the goblins, eventually all three goblins, except Sue, were captured and brought to the cages.

With that, we stopped for the day.

 

GURPS – Goblins Episode 03

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So yesterday was my birthday.  I am now 49.  To date, I have not received any letters from AARP, although I suspect that they are coming.

I had a good birthday.  It involved hanging out with the dogs in the back yard, reading.  It also involved a good time with friends playing GURPS at Dice Age.  I then went to dinner with my family at a local Indian restaurant, Namaste, and coming home to enjoy watching Mechagodzilla vs. Godzilla II.

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Now, any movie with Godzilla is worth watching.  Even ones with Matthew Broderick in them.  Well, maybe that DVD doesn’t get watched as much as the others…  Even when you put Jean Reno and Hank Azaria in the movie, it still… well is bad.  It really says something when Jean Reno can’t save a film.  Double that up with Hank Azaria… and wow.  I personally think that Matthew Broderick was assigned Inspector Gadget as punishment for the horrible shit pile that he gave us in Godzilla.

Now, I like Broderick.  He was great in Glory as the fish out of water officer.  I enjoyed Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.  He was present in Wargames and Ladyhawke.  Same with Max Dugan Returns, Biloxi Blues,  and was given high praise in the Producers.  I still prefer Gene Wilder and Zero Moestel in the earlier version of that.  I guess I view Matthew Broderick in the same lens as Nicolas Cage.  Both had some good movies, then they were given roles which were wrong for them.  OK, I will admit, no one was right for any role in Godzilla in New York.  It was just bad.  I love schlock movies, but this was just plain bad.  I will probably rant about Nicolas Cage in a future post.

Mechagodzilla is one of my favorite things.  The idea of a mechanical kaiju just sits well with me.  It takes the ridiculous concept of a giant irradiated lizard who spews fire, and adds a modern construct monster to it.

Now this movie included baby Godzilla.  I don’t understand the Japanese need to chibi everything.

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Maybe this is something that describes the difference between cultures.  Japanese movie makers keep trying to insert a plot into their Kaiju movies.  Americans seen to just want to see a guy in a rubber lizard suit stomp on a movie set model of a city.  From our perspective, adding a plot to the Kaiju movie is the same as trying to add a plot and dialog to a porno.  We don’t care why the guy with the pizza is ringing the doorbell.  We don’t care that he got in  a fight with his boss at the pizza shop for cutting a 2-inch diameter hole in the center of the pizza box on his way to make the delivery.  We want the movie to start with the guy ringing the doorbell and when the door opens, that he says with a knowing smile “Pizza Delivery, with extra sausage” boom chicka wow, cut to the standard couch scene with pizza delivery guy and box.  Now, we have all seen this scene before.  The only differences are the hair color of the actors, the dimensions of the actors and which bass driven riff is playing.

Godzilla movies are like that.  We only want to see which combination of the 40 or so rubber suits Toho brings together for the boss fights.  We all know how it is going to end.  There will be an orgasmic glory scene where Godzilla triumphs.

The question is, why does Toho Studios continue to try to give us plot?

Where was I?  Oh yeah, my love for Mechagodzilla.  I have a Mechagodzilla on my desk.  This guy is cool.  In the movie they harvest tech from another mecha Kaiju, mecha King Ghidora to build Mechagodzilla.  I mean, how much better could this get?  Oh, yeah, Toho Studios had to reduce the awesomeness by introducing Baby Godzilla, who happens to get all agro when music is played.

But you have stuff like this:

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Dinner was amazing also.  Namaste is a local Indian restaurant that we found a few months after we moved to Vancouver.  We keep going back, and it never fails to provide amazing food.  I had the buffet, which allows me to try all sorts of things.  They had chicken Vindaloo and also a mix of lentils and kidney beans in sauce.  Both are my favorites.  I stuffed myself on those.  The Vindaloo is good there.  It isn’t super spicy, but it has a good base, and the spice is very present.

While I was at Dice Age Games, I picked up some Kromlech Orc minis.

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I love Kromlech minis.  They are really nice.  I have had to limit my purchase of these, since they are even more expensive than Games Workshop stuff.  Yes, there are minis which are even more expensive than GW stuff.

But they are really awesome.  They are resin, instead of the hard plastic, so their detail is nicer.  Now, all of the ones shown here are painted, and mine have a long way to go, but they have awesome stuff.

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I have way too many minis.  I will probably never paint all of them.  I work hard on them for a while, then I go for several weeks and do something else.  But that being said, when I want to paint, I want to paint.  The Kromlech minis are some of the best minis out there, assuming that you like their style.  Their goblins and orcs are just about right.  I wish that they had more that were set up for a fantasy campaign, but, they will do for what I need and want.  The downside is that the Kromlech minis are expensive.  The Orcs tend to come with 10 in a pack for about $60.  Compared to GW, that is pretty expensive.  Compared to other minis like Reaper Bones, that is really expensive.  But, you have some really awesome minis. As long as you don’t make a habit out of it, it shouldn’t be too bad, right?

So what happened during the GURPS game, you ask.  Damn it, I have suffered through almost 1,000 words of blather to get caught up on the game, and all you have done is tell us about delicious Indian food, Godzilla, porn and minis.  Well, I am almost there.  This is the beauty of me having a blog.  I can carry on about what I want to, and hopefully, it will translate into what you care about.

We all met at Dice Age, and got ready to play GURPS with goblins again.  Shortly after we all met, Collin disappears, and we sit and chat for quite a while.  It turns out that Collin was on a secret mission to bring me a birthday present.

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It says “Make Forgotten Realms Great Again”  Freaking awesome.Sue also brought mini cupcakes.  Now the thought was nice, I think.  They had the nasty shortening based frosting on them.  Sue was smiling, but I am not sure if it was a smile of “Fuck you very much”, or what.  I am going to go with the management concept of “always assume positive intent”, and leave it there.

You see they teach us things like that in management school. You go to classes, and they give you examples of how a minion may tank your project and try to get you fired because he doesn’t like the fact that you don’t go to the same church as he does… but you are always supposed to assume positive intent.  There is probably a rational reason why a person would do this to you, but you just aren’t aware of it.  So you should always deal with the situation that the little vindictive fucking pain in the ass actually sees something that you don’t, and his intent to undermine and psychically assassinate you is actually for a good reason.  Not that I am making any comparison to Sue and a vindictive fucking pain in the ass.  I was not intending that at all.  Sue, please assume positive intent.  I just used your wonderful expression of delight for my birthday as a segway into some managementspeak.

So we all had a good laugh, the group sung happy birthday to me.  Hopefully, someone paid the royalties for that song, since it was sung in a business establishment.  Jerimiah informed me that his name is spelled with an I, not an E.  Maybe he was telling me that his name was spelled with an E, not an I.  It could have been that he was telling me that there were some silent number 7’s in his name.  I don’t remember.  I am not sure if that meant Jiremiah, Jirimiah, or Jerimiah.  The only one that doesn’t end up with the squiggly red line under it is when I spell it Jeremiah.  See below:

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Anyhow, Jirimmiah ( I assume it is all I’s, with no E’s since he called me out on it) told me that he is reading my blog.  and he didn’t realize that he was going to be called out specifically, and that I wrote whatever actually happened in the store as though I was not the ringleader, and everyone else takes the fall for any questionable things.  You see, Jirimiah, I don’t want to have a squad of Spanish Foreign Legion knocking at my door, saying “What do you mean, we look like a pride parade gone bad”  You see, I need plausible deniability.  These dudes are bad ass.  They are awesome.  Their military record is on par with other elite forces.  Their uniforms look (as someone without any E’s in there name said) like Gefaggedah.  I preferred to question if the unique cut of the uniform and interesting colors had some deeper meaning, and maybe I was color blind.

You see, Jirimiah, if the Spanish Foreign Legion come and demand retribution against the big, tall, shaved head, bearded, Jewish, Marine with extensive training in psychology who works at Dice Age… who is named Jirimiah (no E’s), you also have plausible deniability.  “Nope, can’t be me, I have an E in my name somewhere.” I got your back, buddy.  We Army guys look out for the other branches any time we can.

So we started playing GURPS at some point.  Now the GURPS game seems to be a free form game, which really should be using the TOON rules instead.  I brought my Metamorphosis Alpha Mutation Manual, since what do goblins need more than just goblin traits… you guessed it, mutations.

The party decides to leave the goblin cave and go to the big city, to try to find their goblin tribes who live in the dwarf hole in a well within the city.  Now Googling “Dwarf hole” gives you some really odd results.

In this case, the “dwarf hole” is where a village takes one or more wells in the town, and excavates a tunnel to the side of the well, normally above the high water mark.  This hole is then excavated to create some chambers.  In the event of an attack, then merchants and other wealthy people would take their money and go to the hole to hopefully survive the attack.  If there is room, then the women and children would be included.  It was a good idea to be able to include the women and children, since otherwise, when the invaders go into the town, the survivors would point to the well and say “the rich people are down there… Go down 10 feet, then turn left.”  You had to include some reason why the normal townspeople wanted to keep mute about the hiding people.

There are probably other names for the hidden chambers, but I picked up the term “dwarf hole” from the book “The Hangman’s Daughter” which was a really good book, for no fantasy medieval story.  The dwarf hole was pivotal to the plot of the book.  Now, this was not a tremendous, biggly, amazing book.  It was, of course about Germans, so it couldn’t have the amazing, tremendous biggly status.  But it was very enjoyable, even though the title “Hangman’s Daughter” was misleading, since the Hangman’s Daughter was one character, not the main character in the story.  It may not have been Biggly, but it was still worth the read.

And, no, Loren, there were no wizards, no flying carpets, and no invisibility or fireball spells.  There were also no gnome witches available to make sure that you drew the area of effect so that it went around the gnome witch several times.

So the party of goblins decides to go in the direction of the town that the goat hoof prints went.  After a while, they got out of the previously scorched earth that they created in the previous session(s), and got back into a beautiful forested area.  That would not do.

They are tromping along, and I ask for everyone to make a perception roll.  Only the mute goblin makes it.  Good stuff.  He sees a very large critter on four paws.  It is over 6-ft long.

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I show the picture above, and everyone says “Ah, a honey badger”.  Damn it, it isn’t a honey badger, it is a freaking SPACE HONEY BADGER who is like 4 times the normal length of a normal nastyass honey badger.

What to do?  What to do?  Well, a normal party would realize that they are outclassed.  Not this party.  They impulsively attack.  Well, some impulsively try to sneak around it.

The party moves forward, intent on smacking this nasty critter.  They run up on it, and either miss, or because of DR, hit and do no damage.  The honey badger turns around and sprays skunk like spew out of its anal glands onto Bill’s goblin.  It is horrifically nasty.  Now this is where the good part comes in.  The honey badger creates mutations with its anal glands, and bite.  So Bill now has a new and improved ability to change reality.  Three times per session, Bill can decide to roll one extra d6 on any roll.  If he rolls a 2, 4 or 6, then he subtracts that number from his 3d6 roll.  If he rolls a 1, 3 or 5, then he adds that number to his roll.  It could be better, or it could be worse.  Messing with time and space has potential drawbacks.

Mike moves behind the critter, and the critter sprays at Mike’s goblin.  The spray misses Mike’s goblin.  I ask him if he wants to dodge into the spray?  Of course.  The goblin makes his dodge, and dodges into the spray.

Now, Collin is not going to be outdone.  Undone?  I don’t know which it is.  Collin decides that the best thing to do is to approach the critter, and stick Mike’s detached arm up the anal gland spout to plug up the toxic goo that is coming out.  We have had many discussions at the table which are probably not appropriate for the family friendly game story, but Collin’s character was the Queen’s love slave.  We made lots of jokes about fisting, and the racoon who got his hand caught in the cookie jar, because he reached in, and grabbed the cookie, and couldn’t pull his hand out again…

You know…

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OK, so we really don’t want to know what exactly Collin’s goblin was doing with, or to the Queen.  Well, maybe some of the players want more detail, but not me.

So Collin pulls out the extra arm from his backpack, and sneaks up to the honey badger.  Now, Mike goes to his phone and does a quick Google search, and returns this picture.

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I am not sure what exact search terms Mike used, since when I tried this morning to search for “hand up skunk ass” and “arm up skunk ass” did not return anything like this.  Maybe I  have safe search turned on?

Collin tries to plug the honey badger’s anal glands with Mike’s severed arm (remember when I said this should be Toon rules instead of GURPS rules?) and Collin misses.  Now even with all the practice he had with pleasing and servicing the queen, he was not prepared for this.

Now I will take a quick second to point out that this is not coming from my imagination.  I put a honey badger in the forest, who upon biting (saliva transfer) or spraying upon (which is a feature of the GURPS giant honey badger beastiary listing), the party member would get a mutation.  Now the GURPS book with the giant honey badger is the “fantasy” beastiary.  I am not sure if that explains this, or if there is something deeper going on.  it might be shallower instead of deeper.

The people at the table turned this into some form of furry sex crazed animalistic freak fest.  There is ample hooting and hollering going on at the table.  I am sure that the serious people playing Warhammer and Magic The Gathering are convinced that there is a mental health crisis going on at our table.

It is also important to quote the GURPS core book.  This is what it says on the cover.

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Some people would look at that and say “Wow, what a great idea.  I can use this system for anything”  Other people (I am looking at you, Collin) say “… Challenge accepted.”

So Collin tried several times to stick the severed arm from Mike’s ninja assassin goblin into the anal gland of the honey badger.  Given the called shot along with the improvised weapon, he was not successful.

Meanwhile, the honey badger chomped Eric’s goblin and got a good bite on his midriff.  Eric was able to escape, but not before he got some mutations.  Eric now has the ability to do the GURPS equivalent of Mage Hand at will, three times per session.

While Eric was getting chomped, Bill and Collin were trying to escape.  They were sneaking around, trying not to be seen by anyone, especially this nasty honey badger.

Sue tries to light the critter on fire.  It doesn’t work as well as she thought it should.  The honey badger bites her on the leg as she lights the grass on fire below the critter.  When the honey badger bites her on the leg, the badger then tries to run away from the fire, with Sue’s leg in the badger’s mouth.

After several rounds of running, Sue finds out that she has a new mutation that allows her to become incorporeal three times per session for 1d6 seconds.  She turns into a ghost, the honey badger seems confused, and then runs off.

Whew.  Lots of interesting stuff.

So then Brian comes in and says “Hey guys!  What is up?”

The party continues on.  They are seriously hurt.  Few hit points are left.  Very few.  So they decide to go and find the goblin village in the dwarf hole in the town.  As the party approaches the town, they find that it is nothing like they would have expected.  There are no palisades, no walls, no defenses of any type.  The path continues right up to dwellings at the edge of the forest.  The buildings are blocky, and have large openings that allow the goblins to see inside.  The building materials are completely foreign to the goblins.  nothing makes sense.

While everyone is standing around trying to figure out what to do, Collin’s goblin moves forward into the alleyway and spies a 3-ft high square bin made of material that he has never seen before.  Inside the bin is the most delectable smorgasbord of delicious food he has ever seen.  The green mold is the perfect piquant of deliciousness.  The bin is full of this goulash of delight.

He eats some, then goes back and has to pantomime to the others about the delights he has found.  Sue, Mike and Collin go forward.  They find amazing delights.  Bill comes and fills up a bag.  Sue finds that there are furry critters with large yellow eyes who are making grinding sounds and bumping her hip with their heads.

Time moves forward.  The goblins eat their fill.  The goblins decide to take one of the large canisters of delight with them to the forest.  They try to tip it onto its side so they can carry it or roll it, but fail miserably.  It falls over and a light turns on in the abode nearby.  The goblins scurry away, except Mike, who goes into the bin and covers himself with the refuse.

A very tall pale skinned monster comes out, and exclaims loudly in disgust.  The goblins don’t have to speak this monster’s language.  They know what it means.  The monster then rights the bin with Mike in it while Mike is burring himself in the garbage.  The monster picks up more garbage from the alley and stuffs more garbage on top then closes the lid and locks it tight. and goes back into the abode.

Brian decides he is going to use magical abilities to unlock the bin.  The bin is several tech levels above his abilities, and Brian does not succeed.

The other goblins top over the bin again, and try to wheel it out to the forest, this time to both get food and to hopefully release Mike from his prison.  Knocking over the bin causes the monster to come out of the abode again.  Everyone scurries, but Brian doesn’t scurry fast enough.  The monster chases him.  Brian tries to cast sleep, then confusion on the monster.  Neither work.  Brian is now down to FP0, and sits down as the monster grabs him and yells for “Martha, bring the cage… I got something weird here”.

While this is going on, Bill sneaks inside the open door of the abode while the monster leaves.  The door closes with a swoosh.  He hears the terrifying sound of a dozen feet pounding towards him with the high scream of three dogs.  While horrified, he is not terrified, as the three dogs jump on him and try to lick him to death.

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The rabid dogs also pee on him.  Their soft fur hiding the natural killing machines.  As the horrible animals are trying to knock him back down and chew holes in his armor Bill desperately tries to open the door so he can escape.  This horror is too much.  There is no latch, knob or anything that makes the door look proper.  He sees that there are raised portions of the wall, and tries desperately to push anything to see if he can open the door.  The door slides open, then as one of the monster dogs tries to run out, yipping in fury, the door slams shut on the horrible inbred nightmare, chopping it in two.  The evil creature continues to live beyond death, as the back half of the monster seems to still be alive as the small claw filled feet are twitching.

Martha goes out through another door, and Bill follows, hoping to escape this horrible place.  Everything gleams, and shines.  There is no dirt or filth anywhere.  As Bill moves out, he sees a block of carved wood that has handles sticking out of it.  He pulls a handle, and a goblin sized sword  comes out.

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Bill grabs the entire block of swords, and scurries to follow Martha desperate to find a way to escape this charnel house.  Martha left a couple of doors open, and Bill follows, with the two remaining dog monsters barking, snapping and yapping, trying to infect Bill with saliva and pee.  On his way out, Bill manages to grab the front half of the half monster dog.  He realizes that Mike needs another arm, and this may be the best arm possible.

Brian is caged.  Bill escapes with the goblin sword block, and 2 and a half monster dogs.  After everything gets quiet, Eric comes back and uses his mage hand to lift the bin that Mike is stuck in and pulls it into the forest.

As the session ends, no one notices that there is an evil lurking in the forest, watching all of this.  Waiting for the proper time to engage this new goblin enemy.

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GURPS – Goblins Episode 02

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We all met at Dice Age Games again to play GURPS.  This is where we are taking GURPS, and playing with the GURPS Goblin build in a low fantasy Tech Level 3 world.  Essentially a medieval world.  Metagaming, we are actually on the Starship Warden from Metamorphosis Alpha.   The characters don’t know this.

So we all show up, and Brian comes for a first session.  Now I have joked before that Brian would play a My Little Pony game if it were based on GURPS.  Brian has not shown any interest in Ponyfinder (which is real).

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Now, before anyone says anything nasty…  We all geek out in our own ways.  If someone wants to play My Little Pony Pathfinder or My Little Pony 5e, good for them.  It is not for me.  After all, One of the latest GURPS books that I bought includes a picture of aliens eating chocolate ice cream…. at least I hope that it is chocolate iced cream, and not two girls and a cup…

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The point about Brian is that he is not a Brony.  Now, I don’t have anything against Brony’s.  They are probably all around us, living their lives just waiting until the end of their work day so they can go home to their natural habitat…

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This is tongue in cheek of course.  I really stand by my statement that we all geek out in our own way.  I live my day waiting for the end of the work day so I can go home and spend time with my family, dogs, and hopefully spend time reading a good RPG book, or watch a cheesy movie.  This is really no different than people who want to get through their day so they can go hunting, fishing, camping, biking, work on their car, watch the big game, play video games…

We all geek out in our own way.

As far as bronys go, I think I am actually a true neutral on the chart below.  Probably in some way I am a semi brony.  Some part of me is fascinated by people who are really into things like this.  It doesn’t matter if they are brony’s, or furries, or whatever.

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It isn’t a mocking type of fascination, but an appreciation type of fascination.  Most of my life has involved being deeply into things that were not mainstream, and not understanding why other people didn’t get into those things.

When I was in middle and high school, I was into gaming.  My group of cool friends (we were very cool, just not the type of cool that the jocks were) would play games that involved stats, depth of play, in depth knowledge of rules systems, and a lot of imagination.  We were “nerds” when being a nerd wasn’t cool.  I never understood why I was a geek and nerd, because I had all this unique knowledge, but the people who could spew baseball statistics or lifetime stats on a basketball player were cool.

I spent time in lookup tables looking at how to determine combat.

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This ultimately helped me when I was in college as a engineering student (wow, another nerdly way of life) and I took classes like Thermodynamics.  While other people in the class were trying to figure out how to read this matrix, I was “Wow, this is just like D&D!”.  Now Thermo was a bitch.  It was a hard class.  But when I already knew how to read the steam tables, it meant that I could focus on other things that the professor was talking about.  Other students were lost in the steam tables, not understanding how to do the lookup, so they were a few steps behind the professor during a lot of the lectures.

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Notice the similarity of the steam table to the D&D combat lookup table?  There really wasn’t a way for a book to describe how to perform a lookup on a table.  It was something you either got, or you struggled with.

My stint in the Army had me as another oddity.  A Nuclear, Biological, Chemical Warfare expert.  I was a true 54B as an NBC NCO type.  I wasn’t a 54C (smoke specialist).

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AAAAANNNNNDDDD, another unique oddity.  The Chemical Corps had 20 or so soldiers in each AIT class and they ran a new class every two or three months or so.  I don’t know what they do now, 30 years later.  But at the time, it was a very unique world.  Nobody really knew what to do when you dropped a guy like me into a armored infantry company.

Then I went to college.  I studied engineering (eek, a geek!)  Then I got into the school of Civil Engineering at the UW.  There were 30,000 or so people on the UW campus.  I was part of a class of 40 students let in, in the Spring quarter.  In the Fall quarter, they let in another 60 students.  I specialized in transportation engineering, which was a small subset of all of the engineering students, which included structural, environmental, construction management, surveying, soils / foundations, transportation and other specialties in the Civil Engineering school.  I wanted to not only be a transportation engineer, I wanted to be a traffic engineer who worked on traffic signals.  We are talking about a subset of a subset of a specialization at that point.

So what does all of this have to do with being a brony, or maybe at least having some appreciation for bronies?  I have no interest in being a brony.  But in some way in my mind, I can appreciate what it is to be interested in something that is on the fringe of culture.  I won’t poke fun at them, since they are enjoying themselves and apparently not hurting anyone.

So when I look at a picture like this, and smile to myself, it isn’t mocking.  It is a smile knowing that this perso are trying to find some form of entertainment that appeals to him.  It isn’t for me, but then that is OK.

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I have always had a love / hate relationship with my geekdom.  In middle and high school, I never understood why I didn’t fit in with the cool kids.  At some point, I grew up enough that I stopped caring, and didn’t need their approval.  It took a long time for me to come to that realization, that my friends who I geeked out with were awesome people and I didn’t need the approval of the popular people.

So what does this have to do with the GURPS game, not much.  Just trying to give the reader a view into my world.

We met at Dice Age, and Jerimiah was working.  Now Jerimiah is a Marine.  I never know what to call people who were in the Marines, and are currently not in the marines.  Jerimiah was in the Marines for something like 10 years, then he got out.  The Marines have the perspective that once you were in the Marines, you are always a Marine.  So I don’t know if I should call him a Marine, an Ex Marine, a retired Marine or what.  I have heard many Marines who are no longer in the service refer to themselves as “retired”, even though they didn’t finish the 20 years to actually get the retirement benefits.  Anyhow, that really doesn’t matter.  Jeremiah is a Marine.

I have known a lot of Marines over the years.  This is not meant as a slam against Marines, but Jeremiah is one of the smartest Marines I know.

Yeah, Yeah, the old joke about what does a Marine call a helicopter?  The joke teller then gets a dumb look on their face, points up and goes “uhhh uhhh uhhh”  Marines usually love that joke.  The only Marine that I ever knew that wanted to throw down on me when I told that joke was a guy I knew in college who joined the Marine Reserves, and went through Boot Camp and their advance infantry training, then went straight into the Marine Reserves.  I think he was the only reserve Marine who never actually activated to go to Desert Storm.  He had a major chip on his shoulder about being in the Reserves.

So anyhow the conversation shifted where Jeremiah heard us talking about something, and Jeremiah made a comment about how he didn’t think that the Marine Dress Blue uniform was a very good looking uniform.  Now this is shocking.  I have never heard a Marine say anything negative about the Marine dress blue uniform.  After having to wear the Army green leisure suit in all its polyester glory, I figured that anything was better.

So I mentioned that the Spanish Foreign Legion had the most amazing uniform ever.  Jeremiah had never seen that uniform.  So we started showing him pictures on our phones and iPads about these amazing uniforms.

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Jeremiah’s first response was that it couldn’t be a military unit.  And this must be a joke.  We start showing him more photos, and Jeremiah was pretty stunned.

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Now, I have to ask how a badass military unit has such interesting uniforms.  I don’t want to say anything negative.  But the colors are interesting.  I mean, I thought that the mean green Army dress leisure suit colors were awful.  Maybe I am color blind.  I wonder if there is something very specific about the genesis of the uniform.  Where there is symbology behind the color, the reason for the tight pants, the deep chest cut… you know, kind of like how the American Flag has 13 stripes for the 13 colonies, and 50 stars for the 50 states…

The most amazing part is watching them march.  These guys take marching to a level that is more amazing to watch than the North Korean Army does.

Now watching these guys march, they are marching while taking very small steps, very quickly with very large arm movements.  This is not normal human movement.  This would be very hard to do without a huge amount of training and practice.

And, they have a goat.

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So you ask, what does this have to do with GURPS, goblins or the Startship Warden?  Nothing, and yet everything.

I started this blog post out, blathering on about all sorts of things.  and now that I have gotten the things at the top of my mind out of the way, I can focus on the GURPS session.

So Brian shows up, and he (oddly enough) wants to actually have a character who is capable of doing things.  The rest of the party is perfectly OK with just messing around.  While Brian may be willing to play My Little Pony GURPS, he wants to have his Pinkie Pie character be a true badass.

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Now, Brian’s character is going to be a mage.  Go figure.  Brian likes playing Mages, Hucksters, spellcasters and other forms of badass dudes that throw death from a distance.  In this case, his character just hatched from the egg.

Brian asks if he can go and get the magic book from his car, since that book includes hundreds of additional spells over what is in the basic GURPS book.  I ask him how his character knows extra spells.  He says to me “but the magic book has hundreds of additional spells….”  He really wants to OP this character.  I ask him again “Your character just hatched from an egg.  How does he have knowledge for spells?”  Now, in a role playing game, I am willing to allow the players do whatever they want.  It is their game.  I will amp up the opposite side based on what they decide to do.  But, I want to know the thought process behind the player’s decisions.  After all, it is a role playing game.  I also explained to Brian that his character is in a low magic world, not a high magic world.  That didn’t matter, Brian knew what he wanted to play.

So the Queen wants more food.  She is upset because the chickens, ducks and geese didn’t last for long.  They lasted for less than one meal.  She was hungry.  And after all of that, she wanted some lovin’ from Collin’s goblin.

Now we made a lot of jokes at Collin’s expense.  Shari was OK with it.  We decided that Collin’s goblin was the sole royal servicer, and was likely the father of all of the rest of the goblins.  It was pretty damn immature, but it did make Collin spit his Squirt grapefruit soda all over at one point.  He seemed to enjoy the jokes about fisting the queen… followed by my question about the old story about the raccoon being caught with his paw in the cookie jar, the raccoon wasn’t smart enough to let go of the cookie to get away…  Like I said, it was pretty immature.  But it was also pretty damn funny.

Now this seems to follow much of our game.  We are laughing uproariously, giggling, saying things that are entirely inappropriate and generally having a good time.  This is literally in the middle of the game store.  I purposefully put myself so that my back is facing the other customers at other tables in the game store.  I might be embarrassed if I saw that they were paying attention.

Let’s see.  We also established the back story for Bill’s character.  He wanted to have the skill of being able to make animal sounds.  After some discussion back and forth, it was determined that Bill learned how to make animal sounds based on using a Mattel Hear and Say animal sound toy.

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Just because I am that kind of guy, I want to ruin your childhood and show you a video from YouTube of how it works.

Now, when I was a kid, I found that if you smacked this on the ground, like really hard, it would skip the record, and the gorilla would sound like a zebra.  This falls into the idea that the impulsive goblins would not have great skills, well except for Brian who actually took the 20 points and made a real spellcaster out of it.

So the party leaves the cave, looking for more food for the queen.  I don’t remember the actual order that this happened in, but I am guessing a little here.  We got off onto a lot of  tangents yesterday.

We also discussed how some party members wanted to farm goats.  Evidently goats lay eggs, and the party is hoping to farm lots of goats.  They determined (given their crappy rolls) that the goat eggs were small pellets of soft brown earthy smelling material that the goats constantly expelled.  They need to figure out how to farm the goats and grow the goat eggs into something more useful, like a full grown goat or two.

The party goes on down the path and decides to go the other way from where they had gone the last week.  They left the goats in the cave system, intending to get them back later.  Now, I won’t go into detail about the comments regarding the goats, and their uses, but it was immature.  But then you probably already guessed that.

So the party goes to the west (they went east last week) on the path.  It takes them a while to get out of the burned area.  After a while they sense something in flying amongst the trees, nearby.

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It is a human sized head, with enormous ears and a spine sticking down.  The creature dives, and the party goes to investigate.  As they approach, they see that this creature has attacked a deer, and the deer is down, meanwhile the creature has stuck the spine into the deer and appears to be sucking it dry.

What to do?  What to do?  Well attack of course.  I had set up an entire scenario around how this creature would help the goblins learn about their surroundings, and maybe help them define some missions.  Did that help?  Nope.  The party attacks.

This is where it is important to DM or GM this particular group.  Never plan too far in advance.  About 15 seconds is about right.

The party moves forward, and attacks.  The first few hits missed badly.  Then Shari’s goblin wanted to rip the deer away from the creature, and didn’t succeed.  The mage then casts sleep on the creature and does a very good roll.  So Brian’s character thinks that he has magical ability, but in reality, the creature had filled up on deer goo, and was having the monster equivalent of a carbohydrate nap.

Eric decided he wanted the ears of the critter.  He rushed up and tried to cut off one of the ears.  The monster woke up, blinked into invisibility and the goblins stood around trying to figure out what happened.  Then the mage felt something stab into his shoulder and start sucking the life out of him.  He took one strength point of damage, and one hit point of damage. No one could see anything, but the mage was making an awful racket.  So the party members decided to help the mage out, and try to knock this invisible attacker off his shoulder.  They were successful, but that didn’t stop them from continuing to try to hit the invisible creature off he mages shoulder.

Eventually, the creature moves off, invisibly.  Everyone looks at each other and decides to move on.  Mike stays slightly behind and notices a pool of brown goo.

Goblins being impulsive, Mike sticks his finger into the goo.  It jumps up and latches onto his hand and starts migrating up his arm, with Mike taking damage every round.

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The party comes racing back, and proceeds to cut Mike’s right arm off, then cauterize the wound with fire.  This is where it gets interesting for Mike.  His goblin build is the ultimate Ninja goblin.  He wants to take the feat/skill where he can grab a sword between to hands.  He has a garrote.  With only one arm, he can’t do this.

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This is a problem for Mike.  I asked him to look into the Goblin GURPS rules (yes, there is an entire book dedicated to this), to see if he could either regenerate, or do something with one leg /foot and one arm / hand.  Or possibly, he hops around on one arm upside down, and all of his attacks are dual kicking.

Eric is convinced that he can sew on a new arm.  Maybe something useful like a snake tail which could also act as a tentacle.

I commented that this may be something that could be like Bill the Galactic Hero.

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At this point, Mike says that he would even be OK if he had a prosthesis (metagaming, as we are in the Starship Warden), in a future element which would work like the arm of Doctor Strangelove.  He then pantomimes the following scene.

Now, this got the attention of Jeremiah.  Jeremiah is Jewish.  We then got derailed for about 20 minutes as we tried poorly to describe to Jeremiah Dr. Strangelove and Bill the Galactic Hero.  Now Jeremiah has no frame of reference for either.  But just about everyone told him that he needs to read the book for Bill, and watch the movie for Dr. Strangelove.

As you can see, the RPG’s on Saturday are pretty freeform.  It is a bunch of friends who get together and have a really good time, while sometimes rolling dice.

Later, the party continues on, and they are attacked by a snake.  It is a two hex critter, and it also has a human head.

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I am probably the only one who saw Sarah Palin’s face on the Lamia snake body…

Sarah Palin on the attack

OK, that is a gotcha picture of Sarah.  It isn’t nice to only show a picture of her in a look where she is angry.  So I will give you this one.

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That’s better, right?  Makes her look more trustworthy, right?  You would be surprised at the number of photos online that people have taken Sarah’s face and photoshopped it onto some porn actress’s body while she is in a XXX pose.

Anyhow, the snakeish thing attacked Collin, and started crushing him, then the Mage stepped in and cast a sleep spell on the snake.  It proceeded to fall asleep right away, then collapse on poor Collin.  They carefully moved people away from the snake and then went all stabby stabby on it.  They killed the snake, and proceeded to take it back to the goblin lair.

But there was a problem.  The goblin lair was destroyed.  The queen was dead.  Skewered by lances and spears.  The underground lake was poisoned.  All of the goblin eggs were destroyed.  Good thing for Brian’s character that he hatched before this happened.

All around the area were prints of human feet in boots and shoes along with dreaded horse prints.  The carefully constructed chicken coop that was camouflaging their entrance was destroyed.  All the careful work that the goblins took, all 2 minutes of it to properly hide the cave entrance after the fire burned all the trees and bushes didn’t help.

The worst thing was that the goats were gone.  The humans took the goats with them.

And that ended the session.

GURPS – Goblins Episode 01

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It was supposed to be a simple session.  But then, Collin, Shari, Sue, Mike, William and Eric.

I haven’t run GURPS for over 25 years.  Maybe closer to 30.  I played the original games from the Fantasy Trip in High School.  Might have also been middle school.  You know, the original…

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and I also played the original Man to Man

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I also played and ran some of the original third edition while I was in college.  Long story, short, I haven’t run GURPS in a very long time.  Probably since 1992 or 1993.  I have played a few games in the last few years, so the ideas are not completely rusty and full of cobwebs.

That being said, I volunteered to change up the weekly Saturday game to include goblins.  Now Goblins aren’t big damn heroes.  They are little damn scardeycats.

In most GURPS builds, you take a standard character and add modifiecations.

From Wikipedia:

Character points[edit]
A character in GURPS is built with character points. For a beginning character in an average power game, the 4th edition suggests 100–150 points to modify attribute stats, select advantages and disadvantages, and purchase levels in skills. Normal NPCs are built on 25–50 points. Full-fledged heroes usually have 150–250 points, while superheroes are commonly built with 400–800 points.[14] The highest point value recorded for a character in a GURPS sourcebook is 10,452 for the Harvester (p. 88) in GURPS Monsters.[15]

In principle, a Game Master can balance the power of foes to the abilities of the player characters by comparing their relative point values.

So normally, you come up with a character concept, and begin with a clean slate of absolutely average attribute values (10) for Strength, Dexterity, Intelligence and Health.  Everything in GURPS is based on d6 rolls, and when you make a basic roll like a test of strength, you roll 3d6, add the pips up on the dice and if you meet, or are under the target number, you succeed.  Anytime you roll a 3 or 4, it is an automatic success, if you roll a 17 or 18, it is a a failure.  There are other rules that add your skills, attributes, advantages and disadvantages which allow you to modify the rolls.  In general, the game follows a standard bell curve, which allows for more interesting results than a standard d20 game.

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The math guy in me likes the concept of a bell curve, instead of a standard d20 game.  If you have average scores (10) and you roll, you have about a 38 chance of being successful.  By, spending build points, you can increase that from 10 to 11, and have a 50% chance.  Spending more build points, you can increase from 11 to 12, and increase the chance to 74%, and so on.

The catch is that you only have so many build points.  You want to consider how the build points can be managed, and what disadvantages you are going to take to increase the build points to create the character.  You also can purchase skills and abilities and advantages to flesh out the character.

When you take disadvantages, you take on minor or possibly major disadvantages that will create interest in the character, but also give you extra build points.  There is a long list of disadvantages.  You could only have one hand, giving you 15 extra build points.  You could have one eye (also 15 extra build points), You could be lazy, lecherous, manic depressive, have greed or gluttony.  you get the idea.  In general, you are limited to about 1/3 of your total build points in the points of disadvantages you can take.  For instance, if you have a character with 150 build points, you can only take 50 points of disadvantages max.

So you ask, why would you want to take disadvantages?  Well, it is a role playing game, not a role playing game.  Games like GURPS, Deadlands, Savage Worlds are more focused on the role playing.  The dice aren’t as important… well, building a killing machine for a murder hobo band like in Pathfinder or D&D isn’t the goal for GURPS.  You can do it in GURPS, Deadlands and Savage Worlds.  But the intent is to allow the player the flexibility to create a custom character that allows them to role play that character.  You engineer a character for what the backstory is that you want to play.  In D&D and Pathfinder, you engineer a character by selecting the boons that make them more powerful as they get more levels.

In D&D and Pathfinder, you pick a class, and follow that class as it becomes more powerful.  In some cases, you can cross over and become a barbarian/rogue/cleric/ranger, and play that to your hearts content, within the confines of the rule set.

In games like GURPS, Savage Worlds and even BRP / Call of Cthulhu, you are more free to develop the definition of your character based on the specific attributes, free of the class structure that is in other games.  This is good, and it is bad.  It allows for a lot of freedom in character development, but it also allows the player to create a Swiss Army Knife character, one who does everything, but nothing well.  It is not good, it is not bad, it just requires that the player create a character concept, then use the rules to flesh out that character.

So, if you have a standard character with all 10 in stats:

ST 10

DX 10

IQ 10

HT 10

You can use 20 points to raise any of these basic stats by one point, or you can gain 20 points to lower any of the stats by 1 point.  So if you wanted to create a super dexterous person that wasn’t really smart or strong, you could change up the stats as follows:

ST 8

DX 13

IQ 9

HT 10

The total of the four basic stats still adds up to 40, and you haven’t spent any of your points nor taken any disadvantages.  The odds of doing something that involves a strength base trait go way down, to less than 16% on the 3d6 roll.  But, your odds of prevailing on a dexterity based trait go way up, to about 74%.  This may be important if you are going to be a lockpick thief.

It should be noted that the strength also translates into other characteristics, such as fatigue points, and how much lift capacity you have.  Everything in life involves trade offs.  GURPS captures this well.

Now, you can also spend points to improve stats.  it costs 20 points per digit increase.  If you increase stats, then you have fewer points to purchase advantages and skills.  Once again, there is the trade off thing.

So, if you want to be a lockpick thief, and you have a high dexterity, you also need some level of skills in lockpicking, along with tools.  The default for lockpicking is that you need to take your IQ, and subtract 5 from it.  So if you have average IQ, you can always try to pick a lock, but with an average IQ (10), you would pick the lock at 10-5 or 5 if you have no lockpicking skill.  In other words, you would roll 3d6, and try to get a 5 or less.  There are other modifiers, such as if you are working in the dark, by touch, you would reduce by another 5.  Equipment modifiers also are considered.  If you have improved equipment, you may reduce the target number by another 2 or 5, but if you have specifically good equipment, you may increase the target number by 2, 3 etc.  You would also modify it by looking at the tech level and adjusting it as appropriate.  For example, if we were in 2017 looking at Star Trek tech level, lockpicking would be harder. If in 2017 tech level we were looking at bronze age tech, it may be significantly easier.

So, lets say you want to be a lock pick thief.  You would purchase the lockpicking skill in character creation.  It is an “average” skill, so you would take the skill, and then use points to change your attribute level.  Taking the skill is immaterial.  You need to spend points in competency to get to the point where you can use it.

Yes, this sounds like a lot of fidgety math.  Go to page 354, look up table… ooh, I add 2.  Then go to page 153, look up table, ugh, I subtract 4… go to page 187, look up table, Yay, I get to add one…

After a while, the players get into the swing of things.  I think that Steve Jackson Games specifically created the system to insure that every player needed to purchase a bevy of books to be able to play the game.

Being the gamemaster is a little harder than the players.  The game master needs to pull all of this out for the wide variety of scenarios, opponents and situations… well, out of thin air.  I am familiar enough with the rules and concepts, that I guestimate much of what the NPC and other opposing rolls are going to be.  The goal isn’t to kill the players, well, maybe some of the players who you don’t want to come back…  But the goal is to keep the game rolling along, and make it at least feel like the players are being treated fairly.  If I spend all of my time flipping through books at the table, the players get bored. For me, the story and experience is more important than the rules.  As such, I have always kind of winged it in games, to keep the story going.  This makes rules lawyers angry.  I call it “rules light”.  I expect the players to know their characters, and know the rules for their characters, and I try to orchestrate the rest of the world to be as smoothly as possible.

So what does all of this have to do with goblins in GURPS.  Not much, I just wanted to lay out some of the rules concepts for GURPS.  This also helps me cement the basics of how things stitch together.  Writing stuff down helps me remember.

If you think that GURPS rules are complicated, you should take a look at NTCIP 1202 traffic signal coordination.

The Day Plan calls the Action Plan.  The Action Plan calls the Coordination Plan.  The Coordination Plan calls the following alternate tables:

  • Phase time
  • Phase options
  • CIC plan
  • Detection plan

The coordination plan references the specific cycle, offset, sequence and split table used in the coordination plan.

The Action plan also calls the

  • Specific coordination transition mode
    • (shortway, longway or dwell values),
    • special functions are active,
    • specific phases are not allowed to undergo shortway transition
    • omitted overlaps
    • and so on and so on and so on.

The split table assigns the

  • Phase time
  • Coordinated phase (only 1 per plan)
  • Specific operation of the phase
    • Min recall
    • Max recall
    • Pedestrian recall
    • Non (use global parameters)
    • Omit
    • etc

GURPS has nothing on the National Transportation Communications standards.  And NTCIP 1202 only covers  the traffic signal operations, not center to center communications.

NTCIP compared to the GURPS books… meh.

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Above is my personal collection of GURPS books.  I love the game system.  I can stop any time.  I really can.  Really.  By the way, this doesn’t include the couple of books that I have coming from Amazon…  And then there are the new Print On Demand GURPS books that I haven’t bought yet, Martial Arts, Powers, Rogues and Warriors.  heh heh heh..  I don’t have a problem.  No I don’t.

The Spiral bound book is my original 3rd Edition book I bought way back when.  It ended up falling apart, so I had a copy shop place a clear cover on front and back, and cut off the original binding, and spiral bind it.

But then, I digress, again. I don’t remember who made the connection of how long it takes for the party to get ready and my general random ramblings on the blog, but there is apparently a correlation.

So anyhow, the players got together and worked through their goblin builds.  Goblins are defined in GURPS.  They are covered in the Banestorm book, along with their own Goblin book and the 3rd Edition GURPS Fantasy books.  They are also covered in the 3rd Edition Fantasy Folk book.  The builds are all pretty much the same.

Here is a screen capture from the Banestorm 4th Edition book:

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This is pretty consistent with the information in the Fantasy Folk book.  For the player’s benefit, here is the text from Fantasy Folk.

Goblins

Goblins have green skin, pointed ears and sharp, white teeth. Many Goblins of both sexes are completely hairless. When a Goblin does have hair, it’s dark, wiry and grows only on the very top of the head. Their heads are extremely elongated, with high foreheads and pointed chins. The rest of their bodies are quite Human, though their nails are long, sharp and clawlike. They stand about 5.5 feet tall (height is normal for their ST, weight is 10 pounds less; Hobgoblins have normal height and weight for their ST), and wear clothing according to local fashion.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Goblins have ST .2 (.15 points), DX +1 (10 points) and IQ +1 (10 points).  They have the advantage Night Vision (10 points) and the disadvantage Impulsiveness (-10 points).

It costs 5 points to play a Goblin.

Hobgoblins

Hobgoblins are large (6 to 7 feet), primitive relatives of the Goblins. They are somewhat hairier than their smaller relations, with a hulking body and a brutish cast to their features. They have ST +1 (10 points), DX +1 (10 points) and IQ -2 (-15 points). They have the advantage Night Vision (10 points) and the disadvantages Bad Temper (-10 points), Poverty (Dead Broke) (-25 points) and Stubbornness (-5 points).

It costs -25 points to play a Hobgoblin.

Psychology

Magic is the Goblins’ first love. More than half the race has some degree of magical talent. There are few mighty Goblin wizards, but they produce a formidable number of hedge.wizards and dabblers.

Goblins revere powerful mages, and follow them if permitted. Many great wizards keep a Goblin or two about their towers to serve as lifelong apprentices and general help. Goblins also have a weakness for magical paraphernalia, and many an otherwise law.abiding Goblin has succumbed to temptation and pocketed an object of power that he had no business touching, making a world of trouble for himself and others.

Goblins also love to bargain. They’re honest merchants, after their own fashion. Goblin traders don’t actually lie, but they don’t always tell the whole truth.  They seldom violate a contract, but the other party is well advised to consider all the possible ramifications of every word of the agreement before he signs.

Goblins are, by nature, tricksters. It is a great coup for a Goblin to best his opponent in a battle of wits. Falsehood and theft are considered the easy way out. Subtlety and misdirection are proper tools to the Goblin mind. There is no honor in swindling the poor, the stupid or the naive (though there are always unscrupulous Goblins who will stoop to do so) — but to get the better of the great, the wise or the powerful in a “fair” deal, that is the true Goblin way. Anyone who can beat a Goblin in a deal will earn his respect and that of other Goblins as well; a trader will always tell a good story, even if it’s on himself. But the Goblins will redouble their efforts to out.deal someone they respect!

Many Goblins are gypsies, wandering constantly wherever their fancy leads.  Others choose the life of caravan merchants or mariners — they have a home that they return to every so often, but most of their lives are spent between somewhere and somewhere else. Still others settle down for a few years, until the wanderlust hits them, then pull up stakes and head for new scenery. But many Goblins are as settled as the most homebound of Halflings.

Goblins aren’t a naturally combative race. When they do bear arms they prefer bows and slings, or polearms (to keep their enemy at a distance). For day to day use, however, the Goblins rely on light armor and weapons that can be conveniently carried. Though they can be courageous at need, the preferred Goblin method for dealing with a threat is simply to run away. Goblin war bands prefer to fight as skirmishers or guerrillas.

The original Goblin language still survives, though it is only in common use among the gypsies. Goblins use both traditional names and names borrowed from other languages. Traditional Goblin names use explosive consonant sounds like P, B, J, T and CH, and have long vowel sounds — Baajikiil, Jitotii, Toov’tekki. Most Goblins use only one name. There are no “male” and “female” names among Goblins, so a Goblin in a Human city might name her daughter John or Edward after an admired local figure.

Goblins have a very sophisticated sense of irony. Their wit is sometimes subtle enough that non.Goblins don’t even notice it. Although they have little artistic tradition of their own, a few Goblins have become well.known through their mastery of another culture’s art. Many Goblins are clever, even inspired, craftsmen and inventors. An ornate or complex mechanical curiosity is nearly as fascinating to a Goblin as a magic item.

The Goblin voice is rough and their songs are ugly to other ears. Some Goblins (particularly gypsies) become good instrumentalists and dancers. Goblins take their religion from the other races around them. Even their earliest.known faith was a somewhat less sanguinary version of the Orcish religion.

Ecology

The first civilized race to meet the Goblins was the Dwarves. At the time the Goblins were engaged in a fierce war with an Orc nation — neither side could remember a time when the Goblins and the Orcs hadn’t been fighting.

The Goblins and Dwarves joined forces, and soon wiped out the Orcish forces. Less than a century later the Goblins were forever banned from living in Dwarven lands. The Dwarves claim that the reason for the ban has been “forgotten” (though the ban has never been lifted). This almost certainly means that the Dwarves were swindled, or otherwise tricked or embarrassed, by their newfound allies. The Goblins have countless improbable legends about what this great trick might have been. Before their exile, however, the Goblins learned about Humans and Elves, and headed for those lands.

Goblins will eat almost anything. Though not particularly fond of it, they have a very high tolerance for carrion (some sages have suggested that the Goblins and the Ghouls are somehow related). Normally, however, they conform to whatever dietary customs are practiced locally.

They are polygamous. Usually one male will have one to four wives, but custom also allows one wife to have several husbands, if all parties agree to such a relationship. Goblin births are usually twins or triplets; female births outnumber males by more than two to one. A female can give birth yearly. Though the race is prolific, the dangers of the road control the Goblin population. Young Goblins grow fast, reaching majority at age 15. They begin to age at 45.

The Hobgoblins are hulking, primitive versions of the Goblin race. They completely lack the subtlety and wit of their smaller kin. Some Hobgoblins still live in the wild, in small and desperate bands, but many of them live among the Goblins.  The Goblins provide the Hobs with security and guidance, and the Hobs provide the Goblins with willing labor and formidable physical protection. The two races cannot interbreed.

Hobgoblins have a problem with the concept of property. They understand money — it can be used to buy food, drink and entertainment. But they just don’t get the concept of deferred gratification. A Hobgoblin will spend a fortune in a few days on trinkets and delicacies. Within a week everything he purchases will be eaten, lost or destroyed. Most Hobgoblins only own a single primitive weapon and a few rags or furs to keep them warm.

Many Hobgoblins serve Goblins, Humans, and even sometimes Dwarves as
guards and laborers. Their masters provide them with the necessities of life and,
occasionally, a few small coins to play with. Uncontrolled, wild Hobgoblins are generally savage, ruthless and brutal (though not as cruel as the Orcs), and should be avoided.

Culture

Precedence and status among the Goblins is determined entirely by merit, gauged by the individual’s success at deals, usually (but not always) measured by his wealth.  The most accomplished individual is proclaimed the leader of the Goblin band or community by the people. When the community can’t reach a consensus, the dissidents simply take their chosen leader and head in another direction.  Alternatively, a would.be leader will attempt to prove his qualifications by opposing and arguing with the current boss at every opportunity. This is a dangerous course, and it usually only works if the challenger really is more competent than the boss.

Goblin society can be divided into three rough classes — trading Goblins, town Goblins and gypsy Goblins. The traders go singly or in groups, by caravan, ship or on foot. They reach every corner of the globe.

The town Goblins may live in settlements of their own, or in cities of another race; almost every large Human town has a Goblin quarter. The most respected town Goblins are the caravan merchants or mariners. Such folk are seldom at home, but they do often maintain a single home their entire life. These are the most competent and prosperous Goblin.folk. Even town and gypsy bosses will defer to a trader when one is present. Skillful craftsmen also earn respect, especially if they hammer out good deals when they sell their wares! The rest of the town Goblins are mostly simple workers and tradesmen.

The gypsy Goblins have adopted the culture of the Human nomads. Like Human gypsies, they are a flamboyant people, moving from place to place in brightly.colored wagons. They make their living as coopers, peddlers and entertainers, supplemented by petty thievery. A savvy village will welcome a few town Goblins among them, as the town Goblins will consider it a challenge to prevent their gypsy kin from robbing their neighbors blind. Both sets of Goblins will enjoy the contest of wits, and the locals will find their losses sharply curtailed when the gypsies come to town.

Though most Goblins are not evil, there are many who make their living as professional criminals. Most are simple thieves or swindlers, but professional spies and assassins are not unknown. Goblins are very credulous when it comes to religion, and they can easily be seduced into dark cults.

Goblins are not as pugnacious as men or Orcs, but they can fight bravely at need. Their intelligence and dexterity makes them dangerous foes as light infantry (especially skirmishers). Their impulsiveness can interfere with discipline. On the other hand, the morale of a Goblin unit will always improve if their leader has a magic item! Goblins will often be found as quartermasters or staff officers in Human or mixed armies.

Goblin seafarers are also common. There are many Goblin trading ships, as well as a few Goblin pirates.

Politics

Goblins predominantly live among humanity, adopting most of their fashions, customs and tongues from that source. Generally they are accepted, and judged on their individual merits, though they are sometimes outlawed in provincial rural villages, or in the more militantly conservative nations.

The Goblins’ relationship with the Dwarves is bizarre. The Dwarves consider the Goblins flighty, and they know that the Goblin fascination with magic and gadgetry makes them potential thieves. They also know that the Goblins are sharp dealers. But the Dwarves, mercantile yet stay.at.home, would be cutting their own throats if they did not trade with the roving Goblins! Thus, a Dwarf (at least, a Dwarf with goods to sell) will welcome a Goblin trader, but will not trust him nearly as far as he could throw him. The Goblins, of course, respect the Dwarves’ craftsmanship and magic, and this respect makes them all the more eager to swindle the Dwarves at every opportunity. The Dwarves will occasionally allow a Hobgoblin or two to work in their mines.

Elves confuse Goblins. They are too wise to be easily swindled, and too otherworldly to be interesting or amusing. Elven magic is usually too low key to amuse the Goblins for long. Transactions between the two races are usually minor, cordial and as brief as possible. For their part, the Elves find the Goblins amusing. Halflings and Goblins get along splendidly, since Halflings enjoy dickering almost as much as the Goblins. Oddly, though the two peoples trade together often, they seldom settle in the same area.

They generally ignore the sylvan races, since these folk have little need of trade — but occasionally a Faun will purchase a knickknack from a passing Goblin peddler, or a caravan will drop off a load of iron to be turned into shoes and weapons for Centaurs. Goblin mariners often know and trade with the seafolk.

The feud between the Goblins and the Orcs is ancient, but in recent centuries the Goblins have preferred to stay where Humans are, which usually means a place where Orcs aren’t.

Not all of this really translates well for this particular campaign.  This particular campaign involves players playing goblins trying to explore their world. The world actually is the spaceship Warden from Metamorphosis Alpha.  Now the players know what the scenario is (metagaming), but the characters don’t.  The players are a group of goblins living in one of the levels of the ship, 300 years after the cataclysm in a pretty much medieval (tech level 3) world.  In the medieval world, most people never got more than about 2 miles from their home during their life.  So between the cataclysm that turned their ancestors from humans to goblins, the fact that as goblins they try to hide from non goblins and the 300 years with no written communications, the goblins are pretty much unknowing about what is outside of their small world.  For now.

Following is the intro to Metamorphosis Alpha.  From a metagaming perspective, the players know this.  The characters don’t.

INTRODUCTION

Mankind’s urge to explore and expand its frontiers finally caused another push into the vastness of space – first interplanetary, then interstellar. By the 23rd Century a great migration wave was spreading from Old Terra to the hundreds of inhabitable worlds that had been discovered in the Milky Way galaxy. During the next hundred years colonization ships of all types and descriptions went out to the stars, bearing seedling colonies seeking a better life. Many found their new homes – for better or for worse – but for one reason or another scores of these starships never reached their destination. This game is based on just such an event, the fate of a colony ship that became lost…

The starship Warden was created from the designs used in the United Western Starship Cartel program, and it was laid down in the Trans-Plutonian Spaceyards in 2277. The design was the most ambitious ever attempted, the blueprints calling for an oval spheroid of tremendous size using a new metal alloy of tensile strength previously unknown. The ship was an incredible 50 miles in length, with a width of 25 miles, and a height of eight and one half miles. Additional levels above and below the central one brought the total number of decks to 17. Warden required 11 years to complete, and it did not leave the Sol System until 2290 because of the effort required to outfit the starship. The vessel contained complete Terran environments, and the colonists were not rigidly screened for the expedition, for it was held that Warden’s accommodations would place few physical or psychological stresses upon
colonist or crewman.

A description of the starship’s levels, as well as some of the equipment typically found on each, follows. The vessel was basically given over to large, open areas, with a simple system of electronic locks used to insure that colonists did not stray into command or possibly harmful areas. With its cargo of the flora and fauna of Earth, 1½ million colonists, and 50,000 crew members, the wonder of the Interstellar Colonization Age set forth to found a new world many light years from its old home.

DISASTER:

Some one-third of the way to the planetary destination that had been selected for Warden stretched the very fringe of a cloud of space radiation. This cloud had been charted and analyzed, so that Warden’s captain was aware that he was to plot a course to avoid any possible danger. Somehow the vessel came too close to the radiation, and the cloud contained disaster. The energy given off at the fringes of this celestial hazard was foreign to all previously known radiation types. It passed through every one of the ship’s protection systems and defense screens. The effects on the ship itself were startling. The worst hit were the colonists aboard, and most of the human beings exposed to the radiation simply turned to piles of calcium with no advance symptoms. Hard hit also were the flora and fauna that underwent mutation if they even survived at all. Even some of the vessel’s systems were affected, and unstable, radioactive areas were caused from the cloud’s radiation. The humans who survived the initial exposure discovered too late that life forms in their natural  setting – such as the ecologically prepared forest areas and the like – seemed to have the greatest resistance to the effects of the radiation. A few of the crew and colonists then took to living in the huge parks of Warden. A handful remained who tried to restore sanity and order to the starship. They failed.

Life became a struggle merely to survive for those humans that were left. In this struggle all knowledge of the ship’s mission or even, in fact, that the humans were on a ship was lost.  Ship’s systems were maintained in a minimum operative state by the vessel’s main computer and the robots that were operating at the time of the cloud’s entrance into the starship. Later generations of humans lost all sense of identity, with the ship regressing into a state of savagery. Life quickly stabilized (as life has a habit of doing) with new life forms created from exposure to the unknown radiation. The humans settled into a tribal way of life and those few that traveled and came back told of areas where the animals walked like men and plants were able to talk and move. The vessel traveled on past its assigned planet with its safety systems preventing the ship’s destruction by crashing into a planet or burning up in the sun. It is only a matter of time until even those almost perfect systems fail and the  starship dies. Until that time, life continues to flourish and the Warden travels on, much changed from what it once was.

SURVIVAL:

The players of the game are put into this situation as humans, mutated humanoids, or intelligent monsters. What they do and how they survive the dangers of the ship makes for an interesting situation for all participants alike. The travels up and down through the starship are only accomplished by using bits and pieces of ancient knowledge the players are able to gather from the referee and their starting point. Travelling throughout the ship forces the players to gain technological devices and information just to survive on a day-to-day basis. They can also make use of the secretions and liquids produced by the mutated plants and creatures of the forest levels.

Now, I played Metamorphosis Alpha in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s.  I also played the TSR 2nd edition of MA, which tried really hard to capture some of the wonky MA stuff.  But Gamma World was not as much fun as the over the top MA stuff.  MA was a lot of fun.  Gamma World tried to apply Gary Gygax’s ego to the MA stuff.  Now readers of this blog know that I have a love – hate relationship with anything that Gary Gygax did.  I appreciate his genius in creating an industry.  Yes, other companies were doing similar things, but Gary took TSR and made it accessible.  When I was a kid living in a town of 12,000 people, I could get TSR stuff at normal stores.  We didn’t have a “game” store in my hometown until I was a senior in high school  My brother and I would talk our parents into going to Seattle to get miniatures, paints, games, RPG books etc.  We went to a game store in the Ballard Area called American Eagles.  There were probably others, but American Eagles was the place to go.

In Mount Vernon, I could get TSR games at Hallmark, Payless Drugs, and if I remember right, also at Sears.  They may have had TSR games at the local bookstore, but I don’t remember that.  I bought D&D books, D&D modules, Star Frontiers, Boot Hill, Top Secret, Gama World and other games at Hallmark.  I went there because the owner of the Hallmark was the mother of a girl I liked, and I kept hoping that if the girl saw me buying the cool TSR stuff at her mother’s store, she might want to talk with me.  Hey, I know it is kind of stupid, but I was 11, well 11 through 15, and I never figured out that I could have just gone up to her at school and said “hi”.  My adolescent brain couldn’t figure out why I kept buying cool TSR games and supplements from her mom, and she didn’t think to even notice my existence.  Was I a normal game playing teenager, who didn’t know his way around the complex interpersonal interactions of middle and high school?  Yes.

Anyhow, I love MA.  Well, I love the concept of MA. The storyline is amazing.  The actual game mechanics are meh.  It was one of the first RPG games to come out, and James Ward had a phenomenal idea for the setting, just the mechanics are not great.  Now, at the time, in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, most game mechanics were challenging at best.

This is where the love / hate relationship with Gary Gygax comes in.  Everything at TSR needed his blessing.  And he put his influence on everything.  They tried new game mechanics, like in Indiana Jones, Star Frontiers (one of the best TSR games EVER!), Conan and others.  But the systems were clunky at best.  Also, Gary decided that only specific products could ever be included in the D&D realm.  OK, it was his intellectual property, but do we really need to point out on miniatures that you always needed to use specific paints, brushes and adhesives?

capture

But this isn’t about Gary Gygax.  This is about taking the MA world and running goblins in the GURPS system.

So the players finished out their characters.  I gave each of them a specific quirk.  At first, the quirk was a personality quirk, which eventually would morph into some form of magic or psi talent… if their character lived long enough.  This is after all, the MA world where mutations exist.  Maybe these characters will be able to control these mutations.

What was interesting is when I took the players aside,  to explain their quirk, they each wanted to tell me about what their character was, and how they are going to play it, before I told them what their quirk was.  Now, in the words of Collin, “I got this”.  I have been playing with these people for a while, so I kind of figured out what sort of characters they play…  Every player seemed to think that their quirk was pretty good.  For example:

  • Collin believes that he controls fire
  • Shari is convinced that she has telekinesis
  • William is convinced he can communicate with animals
  • Mike believes that he controls metal, and is able to magnetically attach spoons to his skin
  • Sue is convinced that her dreams are visions that will come true
  • Eric is convinced that he can bolster his own energy by sucking the live energy out of others.

The goblins live in a small underground village of Gargun.

At the beginning of the adventure…  The goblin village looked something like this:

Capture

The goblins need to find food, and maintain their village / lodge.  Now just because they need to do this, doesn’t mean that they did do that.  Not this group of players

The tribe’s name is “Foulspawn”, and they are in a forest that is alongside a path that leads between two human villages, Morgath and Khuzdun.  At least that is what the goblins call them.  There are additional goblins residing in the two human villages, living inside a dwarf hole complex in the village wells.  Those goblins come out at night and pillage the village.  Always careful to not be noticed.

That was supposed to be key.  “careful not to be noticed”. Oh well.  That wasn’t in the party’s desires.

The goblins have lived by this trail, midway between the two human villages, and have cleared out a clearing where the human travelers will stop and spend the night.  The goblins would normally have gone out to steal useful things from the travelers.

But that is only what I thought the players should do.

So for a way to ease the players into GURPS, I set up a few easy things for them to work on.  First, the goblin queen wants the players to get some more wood to help hold up the roof of dirt.  Seems simple enough, right.

No.

Not this group.

Nope.

Not at all.

The group goes out to gather some wood, and decides to cut down a small tree.  It has a 1-inch diameter base, so it is only about 5 ft tall.  That doesn’t get them much that they can use.  They then cut down a large tree, one that is about 8-inches in diameter.  This tree is massive.  It falls down, blocking the trail.

What to do?  What to do?

I will let you guess who decides to light it on fire.  Yes, you guessed it.  Collin.  As the fallen tree starts to burn the rest of the party looks around for something to goblin.

Now, normally, I would say “the party looks for something to do”, but “…something to goblin” makes more sense.  At least for this group.

While the tree is on fire, a strange looking creature ambles into the clearing and attacks Shari.  It is an animated mushroom that walks on many little feet and has a face.  Eric wants the feet.  William wants to vanquish it.  Mike wants to go crazy-ninja on it.  Shari wants to get away from it (at first).  It hurts a lot.  Sue and Collin are mesmerized by the tree that is on fire.

The fire is spreading, burning down much of the land around the lodge entrance.  The land included many bushes and trees that effectively hid the entrance to the lodge.  Now all of the cover and concealment is burning down.  Does this bother the goblins.  Apparently not.

Four goblins end up attacking the walking mushroom.  It hurts several of the goblins, including biting William on the arm.  William’s arm tingles.  Then Mike ninja jumps on it, attempting to grapple on it.  William has a moment of clarity and makes pig sounds.  William figures that all mushrooms are mortally afraid of pigs.  William rolls a 4, a critical success.  The mushroom thing bolts out of the clearing while Mike is grappling it.  Mike rolls off and watches the mushroom monster run away.

Capture

While all of this was going on, Sue and Collin were fascinated by the fire on the tree.  I kind of figured it looked something like this:

Shari tries eating a chunk of cut off mushroom.  She doesn’t get sick, but it is pretty bland and woody.  Several of the goblins try first aid on William.  They give him back health points, but his arm still tingles.

The forest is on fire.  The tree that was lit on fire has caught the trees, bushes, grass all on fire.  The cave entrance is no longer hidden.

What to do?  What to do.  Definitely don’t tell the queen about this.  Now the goblin queen is pretty much immobile.  She lives in her lair, and relies on the other goblins to provide for her needs, so she can focus on creating eggs.  So the goblins don’t have a good explanation for why the queen smells smoke, but the smoke has made her hungry.  She wants chickens.  Live chickens.

Mike doesn’t know what a chicken is.  No one is willing to tell him.  So the crew goes off to a nearby farm to get some vittles for the goblin queen.

It takes a while, but in the end, they find a farm.  It is near dusk, and the farmer and his family are inside eating soup.  William doesn’t like soup.  The farm includes a farmhouse (with the human farmers in it), along with some sown crops, a barn with a small fenced area outside, a chicken coop (which also includes ducks and geese, and an obelisk.  The obelisk glows.

A lot of discussion happens.  In the end, Eric walks over to the barn to get some sacks.  He notices two goats in the fenced in area.  He goes towards barn, and one of the goats attempts to head butt him.  The goat misses, horribly.  Eric decides he needs a goat.  Mike look over and sees the four legged chickens that Eric is playing with.  Eric goes into the barn and sees (gasp) evil horses.  Eric makes his fright roll, and is able to go into the barn and get rope.  He finds a 100-ft length of rope, and brings it out and ties it to the boy goat. He now has a goat on a 100-ft long rope.  Mike wants the other goat, and talks Eric into cutting off a 3-ft length so he can lasso the girl goat.  They walk over to where the rest of the party is trying to figure out how to take the entire chicken coop with them.

They have a plan.  It may not be a great plan, but it is a goblin plan.

The party is able to successfully pick up the entire chicken coop, and transport it along with the two goats back to the goblin lair.

They bring the chickens, ducks and geese into the queen, who promptly consumes all of them.

Now, the goblins realize that they need to camouflage the entrance to the lair again. They decide to take the chicken coop, and place it in front of the entrance, and cut a hole from the lair into the coop, and use the coop as the new camouflaged entrance.

Like I said, they have a plan.  It was a goblin plan.

They use an ax to cut  the passageway.  It was a really poor quality cut.

And we left it at that for this week.

More next week.

Tales from the Yawning Portal Episode 07

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We all met for another rousing session of D&D on Saturday.  All of the players arrived at the game store at almost the exact time.  We actually all drove into the parking lot simultaneously.  Well, one right after another.  Simultaneously would mean that we all occupied the same place at the same time.  Thankfully, for our insurance rates, that did not happen.

I brought in some friends.  This included Scrotus, the owlbear.  I also brought in some puppets that included a hairy tarantula and a mouse.  For some reason, none of the pictures I took during the session included the tarantula puppet, but here is a shot from the Interwebs.

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He is a cute little guy.  Shari seemed to like playing with him a lot.  I guess the tarantula could be a her, not a him.  I don’t know much about spiders, and tarantulas are really big spiders.

So you might ask, why would I have a tarantula and a mouse puppet?  I don’t really have a good answer for that.  About 10 years ago, my brother and I went to Arizona to provide moral support for my mom and dad.  My mom had a brain tumor, and it was a very tricky operation.  My mom and dad have really good healthcare.  The tumor surrounded the carotid artery in the brain.  This was a very risky procedure, and my parents wanted to use a good doctor, not just anyone.

It turns out that the best doctor in the world for this type of operation lived in Phoenix AZ, and they had the best facility in the world for this type of operation.  Now, when I say the best doctor in the world, this guy had done a total of 10 of these operations, when the second best doctor in the world had done 2 or 3.  This was pretty rare stuff.  My parents, having really good health care decided that they would go with the guy with the most experience, not the number two guy.  They made several trips from central Oregon, where they lived to Phoenix, and got all of the paperwork lined up.  Then they went to Phoenix for just over three months.  The three months was for the week before the operation, and then three months after, where my mom could be seen regularly by the specialty clinic.  My brother and I flew down a couple of days before the operation, and hung around for emotional support for my parents for the week after the operation.

The way that the doctors found the tumor in the first place is an odd story.  My mom had no idea that she had a tumor.  No family history, nothing.  She was at the doctor’s office near her home, and when her normal doctor’s appointment was finishing up, she got up off the funny bed thing that you sit on in the examination room, and slipped and fell onto the floor, clunking her head on something hard.  The doctors were really worried, what if that caused some sort of damage?  Oh the potential risk to their insurance rates!  So they rushed her off and got a cat scan of her head, to make sure nothing bad happened due to the fall.  And during the cat scan, they saw a growth in her brain that shouldn’t be there.  That led to a longer set of tests, consultations, and other doctory stuff, which ended up with my mom being operated on by the best doctor in the world to remove a tumor from the brain, where the tumor is surrounding the carotid artery.

Phoenix is a pretty neat place.  Well, Phoenix can be a neat place.  It can also be stupidly hot.  As I write this blog, two of my coworkers are at an IMSA conference in Phoenix, and it is record breaking temperatures.

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Luckily, we were in Phoenix in March, and it was only high 80’s during the day.  It sometimes got to over 90 during the week my brother and I were there.

But about five years ago, I also went to Phoenix to go to a national IMSA conference.  It was in early July, and the monsoons came through.  So it was 105 plus and 95% humidity.  I honestly don’t know how, or why people live there.  It is hot.  Too damn hot.

Anyhow, back to the story about the tarantula and mouse puppets.  During my mother’s operation, my brother and I sat with my dad.  It was a long day.  It was heartbreaking watching my mom go off in a bed to a very complicated operation where her chances of living through it were not great.  This was serious stuff.  So during the operation, my brother and I sat with my dad, and kept him company.  My mom made a full recovery, so it was mostly stress related to waiting to hear.  They have been married now for over 50 years.  They had good times, and times which were challenging for them, but they truly love each other very much.  My dad, who is normally a stoic man who doesn’t show a lot of emotion (He is a man who was born in the mid 1940’s, from German descent… of course he doesn’t show a lot of emotion 🙂  )  But he was truly worried about the outcome of this invasive operation.

So my brother and I did our best to keep him company.  When she made it through, and he had to wait for her to come out of the anesthesia, we talked, sat quietly, and took clues from my dad as to whether we should talk or sit quietly some more.  I went to get sodas and sandwiches for them.  Either my brother or I were always with him during the operation.

Long story short, when she came out of the operation, and the anesthesia wore off, we were there.  She had problems with the anesthesia, but when she came to, she wanted to see all three of us, then she wanted a diet Doctor Pepper.  She loves diet Doctor Pepper.  In prep for the surgery, they wanted her to not drink anything with caffeine for several weeks prior to the surgery.  So the first Dr. Pepper resulted in her sipping the soda, and saying “oh that is good!”.

So you, dear reader are asking what this has to do with puppets?  Not much.  My dad wanted to spend time with my mom, and my brother and I realized that we needed to give them some time, so he and I took a road trip the day after the operation to go see some of the sites, such as the Sonora Desert Zoo, and Tuscon.  While we were at the zoo, I found the puppets.  I had to have them.  They sometimes come out when necessary.

Anyhow, my brother and I took my dad on several road trips during the week we were there with him.  We took him to the fire engine museum, and the rock museum.  Most of the time, we were simply giving him something to be occupied with, while my mom recuperated from the operation.

So what does this have to do with D&D?  Not much, just the back story on the puppets.

So Eric came back and played today.  They recovered from the fire snake from last week, and continued on.  Eric was brought up to speed on what had happened in his absence.  As the party continued on in the dungeon, they came across a large room that was full of glowing fungus.  In this room was a female bugbear, tending the garden.

Now, the party decided not to immediately attack, well kind of.  Someone at the table decided that the mouse puppet would make a good female bugbear.

Here is a more accurate picture of a female bugbear.  This is important for later.

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The party moves into the room, looking for treasure.  There are several doors leading out of the chamber.  The bugbear is pretty interested in the party, but isn’t fighting, yet.  Now, Mike, with his cleric has a good idea, so he thinks.  He decides to try to make friends with the female bugbear.

Sue’s rogue decides to go and check out the door on the north wall of the room.  There is something rather slick and gooey on the handle.  While investigating it, an ochre jelly drops down on her, causing acid and bludgeon damage.

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Bill’s sorcerer hits the ochre jelly with a ray of frost.  It retreats into a crack over the door.

Eric on the other hand, opens the door and attacks the female bugbear in the other room.  Well, he tries to.  As he moves through the doorway, the ochre jelly slips through the crack, and drops on the gnome-dwarf and starts searing his chainmail armor.  The gnome-dwarf sheds his chainmail, and then is attacked by the female bugbear in the other room (shown schematically with Scrotus in the picture below.

Now, I am not sure that I can adequately explain what happens next.  The female bugbear wants some Barry White style loving from the cleric.

The bugbears decide to take the cleric for all he is worth.  Satisfaction Guaranteed!  In the photo below, Bugbear 1, is shown with the mouse puppet.  Bugbear 2 is the d20.  Yes, it is the dream of all clerics to have a  relationship with bugbears.  Maybe it is just the dream of this particular cleric?

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Hubba hubba!

The bugbears decide to take the cleric for all he is worth.  Meanwhile the rest of the party starts opening doors.  Behind the southern door, they find three goblins tending the crops.  Behind the eastern door, they find another fire snake.  The battle is furious, people are attacked by the fire snake.

During the fight, the party tries to run away from the fire snake, then they engage it, and continue to fight, until the fire snake is vanquished.

After the fire snake is vanquished, killed even, the party takes a short rest, 4 hours.  It isn’t much of a restful rest, since they are listening to the goings on of the cleric and the two bugbears.  The whimpers, screams, moans and other odd noises coming from the next room make for a rather unrestful rest, but it was a short rest.

The party continues on, and finds a few rooms left.  They go to one room that forms a T, and the party goes to the left at the T.  The party continues through the labyrinth of the jungle until they come to a door.  Now the rogue is worried.  Eric’s gnome-dwarf is looking for any sort of armor.  He doesn’t like the fact that his armor is missing.

They enter a room, and find that there is a large marble statue of a dragon. The eye sockets are glowing.  The room is rather dark.  They investigate the room, and are attacked by a shadow.  It hurts a lot.  The shadow takes strength from the party member when it hits.  They almost defeat the shadow but it runs away.

The rogue may or may not have found special treasure which she may or may not have shared some or all with the rest of the party.

The next room they investigate is a ruined library.  They do find a valuable book and several spell scrolls.

They continue on, and go back to the T room, and go the other way (the way they have not gone yet)  They continue on down the halls, and come to a room.  In the room are more ruined bookshelves full of herbs and spices, and a table in the middle with a book.  The book is pretty.  Really pretty.  The sorcerer opens it up, and sees the beautiful endpapers of a beautiful book.  He then turns the page to the first page, and a powerful glyph trap explodes, dealing massive damage to the party.  The trap knocks several characters to 0 hitpoints.  Stabilization occurs.  The party realizes that they need a long rest at this point.  I give it to them, along with allowing them to go to the 3rd level.  After all, all that is left is the boss monster fight.  They will need to be fully up to speed on hitpoints, spells, and everything else.

So they have a long rest, and the party members figure out how they are going to get to the 3rd level.  More hitpoints, more boons, and so forth.

At the end of the long rest, I draw out the final battle.  I take time to draw out the bushes, the edges of the chamber, the large tree at the end of the chamber, the bad guys, the good guys who were tainted by the bad guys…   you know, boss battle time.

I even took the time to read all of the bad guy characters, and plan out how the spells from the druid and magic user would be used against the party.

Then Collin.

You see, Collin is playing a bard.  Bards are weird characters. Collin has persuasion up the ass.  Well, maybe not up the ass, but he has a +7 in persuasion as a 3rd level character.  Up to now, we have only joked about Collin playing his flute.  We tease him about Zamfir.  We joke about his battle songs on the flute…  you know, typical players trying to shame the person playing the bard, to shame the player to play a real class, I mean if you want to be a quirky useless character, why not be an illusionist after all.

But Collin wants to be a fucking bard.  Great.  What the fuck does a bard do?  Well, the fucking bard manages to fucking fuck up everything for the fucking boss fucking fight.  Fuck.

Actually, it isn’t that bad.

The bard parlays with the bad guys.  He decides that he will trade the monk (to be a supplicant for the bad guy’s army) for the signet ring from the other royal.

After all, the victory condition for this module is to bring back the two signet rings, and they already have one.  So I tell Collin to roll for it.  He rolls a natural 20, and adds 7 to the persuasion roll.

I guess that means that the deal is struck.  I mean, as a DM, how can I argue with that.  Since Brian isn’t there, Shadow Hawke is traded for a signet ring.  Hmmm.

The party goes back to the royals, and gives the two signet rings back to dear old mother royal, and beats feet out of town, before too many questions can be asked.

Next week, GURPS with goblins on the Starship Warden.

 

 

 

Tales from the Yawning Portal Episode 06

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So I haven’t posted on the blog for a few weeks.  We have met and played games on Saturday, but they were Zombicide games.  After a while, it can get a little old writing about Zombicide.  I like the game a lot.  A lotta lot.  But writing about the things that happened can get repetitive.

On Thursday nights, I have been playing Pathfinder instead of running Call of Cthulhu.  Daron wanted to run some more Pathfinder.  The last few Thursdays, I have been busy, so I haven’t attended that game.

Sue came back.  She came back from Oklahoma.  We aren’t too sure what Sue was doing there, but we think she was on a special secret government mission to determine if liberalism could survive or even prosper in the bible belt.  This is the second time that she has disappeared from the Pacific Northwest, on missions to Oklahoma.  She talked about going a third time, maybe for another month.

There are several possible reasons that she is going there.  The reason she talks about is that she is going to visit her daughter.  That is all fine as a cover story, and it seems to hold up under a less than critical review.  Why would anyone leave the beautiful Vantucky urban area to go fly three quarters of the way across the country to see Oklahoma.  I mean if she just wanted to travel, she could travel the same distance and go to most of Texas (including Dallas), Kansas, Missouri, Iowa or possibly Minnesota.  Now, I have been to each of those states, and for my money, I would rather go to my FLGS and spend the same amount of money on games, miniatures and maybe dice than go to any of those states.  QED, family must be the reason.

But for extended periods of time?  That doesn’t make sense.  Mike went the first time with Sue, and I think that Mike just washed out of the program, and he couldn’t take it there in Oklahoma.

I mean, I would go batshit crazy if I went somewhere and this happened every morning at dawn.

Now, searching for Vantucky on Youtube I get this.  I am not sure if this is better, or worse than Rogers and Hammerstein, but then, I don’t know.

Where was I?  Oh yeah, Sue was back.

Molly, my wife asked why Sue went to Oklahoma.  I told Molly the “story” about how Sue was going there to spend time with her daughter.  Molly said that we could always bring Sue in electronically, and play with her via the Internet.  I told Molly that I don’t think that Oklahoma has high speed internet yet.

As you can see, Ferdinand, Rocky and Frida are excited about the prospects of the balance being achieved in Vantucky.  Well, actually, they just got through with a long stay at the dog park, and are happy to be going home.

What do my dog pictures have to do with Sue being back, or possibly Oklahoma?  nothing.  I just like my dogs a lot, and want to put pictures of them all over the Interwebs.

So Sue showed up on Saturday, wanting to bring us something that included the feel of Oklahoma.  She brought meat sticks.  Now, I am not an expert in meat sticks.  I like to eat them occasionally.  I also know that you should not eat meat sticks while drinking root beer.  Other than that, I did not know that there were other types of meat sticks than regular, spicy and teriyaki.

I never imagined that you could have meat sticks made from feral swine.

I wanted to put something pithy, or witty about feral hogs here.  But after looking around the Internet, I realized that they are a real problem, and there is nothing pithy or witty to say about feral hogs.

Well, aside from that buzzkill, we did bring a new member to the party.  I saw a stuffed owlbear while searching the Interwebs.  Roy was able to get it for me, so it is now in attendance at the table.

We tried to figure out names.  Many names were versions of President Trump’s moniker.  We ended up with naming him Scrotus.  As near as I can tell, this is a combination of the words Scrotum and POTUS.

I am still not sure what President Trump has done to deserve such indolent disrespect from taxpaying Americans.

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But, Scrotus it is.  I was thinking “Barney” or “Phil”, or maybe “Ralph”, but even without Eric’s presence, the group decided he needed to be named Scrotus.

In other news, we still have the red wire.  The best red wire going from the transformer, across my neighbor’s driveway and lawn to the splitter that feeds both of our houses.

Hopefully, we will have new wires installed soon.  This red wire, the best red wire, the red wire of amazing tremendous tremendousness is responsible for carrying one of the 120 volt AC feeds from the transformer to each of our houses.

But then.  I digress.  Again.  I will probably digress again, and again, and again.

The game started out, and Mike brought out this refrigerator magnet.  Little did anyone know, Mike had President Obama doing the Dolnitzer all the time.

Upon placing the refrigerator magnet on the table, the entire world got seriously more chilled out.  Ferdinand was happy.  But then, Ferdinand is always happy.  Except for when I go to work.  Then Ferdinand is really upset.

Rocky, on the other hand, was convinced that even with President Obama to the rescue, something bad was going to happen.  No good comes from needing to wake up and get out of bed.  Ever.

Frida, on the other hand, was probably going to be OK, as long as there were ample belly rubs and other things like treats, snacks and goodies.  The presence of the President Obama refrigerator magnet did not change her desire for treats, snacks, goodies and belly rubs.

So the party tried to figure out what to do.  It had been four weeks since we played D&D, after all, we didn’t want to play D&D while Sue was on her Special Forces Recon mission to Oklahoma, or wherever she really went…

After a while, the party decided that they remembered what they had done, and I did not agree or disagree with them.  I let them remember whatever they wanted, in whatever way they wanted to remember it.  At no time, did they ask me if they were correct, so I felt pretty comfortable in not correcting anything that they got wrong, nor leading them down any false trails with red herrings.

But then, I don’t ever feel any twinge of guilt when I lead the players down false leads or red herrings.  Funny.  I wonder what sort of psychopath that makes me?  Madman, maniac, lunatic, psychotic, sociopath; loony, fruitcake, nutcase, nutjob, psycho, schizo, head case, sicko, screwball, crazy, kook, loon… maybe a combination of some or more than some of these?

I wonder…Capture

But where was I?  Oh yes…

After much deliberation, the party decided to send Meepo, the monk and the white dragon wyrmling off to the Kobalds.  The rest of the party wanted to continue in the dungeon.  Now the monk was not there this week.  Neither was Eric’s gnome fighter, but the party decided to keep the meat shield anyway.

The party discussed going back and trying to figure out what to do in all of the areas that they haven’t explored yet.  They teased the warlock for his ability to take hits from the mephits.  They fussed for quite a while about how to make it down the 80-ft shaft.  They knew that things were happening down there.  The area was lit with a soft green and purple glowing aura.  They could see several skeletons walking around down at the bottom of the pit.

After an extended period of time trying to figure out who had ropes, how many ropes they had, and whether the left their ropes somewhere else, the party discovered that they had a grand total of one 50-ft rope.  They would have to rely on the plant vines to allow them to climb down to the lower level.

For some reason, the other people at the table thought that I would do something that would end up with them having problems.  Go figure.

Well, two of the party members didn’t make their climb rolls.  Now I like to run a game more rules light, so I told them, make it a strength check, dex check or acrobatics check, to climb down the rope, whatever is best for you.  I figure that each character will try to figure out the best way to descend.  If they have high strength, then they will brutalize their way

Yeah, you were expecting something with a splat, I am sure.  I thought that Santa being exposed was pretty funny.  An no gore.  However, you could see how this could have ended badly, with children screaming, traumatized for life.  This falls under “What were they thinking” when they decided this would be a good way to bring Santa into the mall.

Anyhow, Two of the characters didn’t make their climb checks.  The barbarian and the Warlock fell and got seriously hurt.  The rest of the party members dropped down and landed amongst a group of skeleton farmers, all hoeing their crops.

What to do?

Well, there are a lot of things that you *could* do when you land in the middle of  a bunch of skeletons gardening glowing fungus and mushrooms.  This could involve…  I don’t know, maybe waiting a tick and seeing what is going on…  But do these murderer hobos do that?  No.  They attack.

The cleric turns undead, which chases off three of the skeletons. The skeletons respond to being slashed and bashed by hitting back with their rakes, hoes and shovels.  It isn’t a pretty sight.  But after a few rounds, three twig blights come into the fight, and cause more serious hurt than the skeletons did.

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Scrotus was no help.  Not even emotional help to the party.  Scrotus was happy to watch as the party got hurt.

The party ended up killing off all the baddies.  They decided to go look up the shaft which was on the north side of the room.  The bard and the cleric went into the room and found … a bed.  Well, it was more of a pallet than a bed, but there was a pallet bed with furs on it, along with two nests, like bird nests.  Above the pallet bed was a bunch of weapons.  They were all hung with care on a board.  The weapons were not particularly good in quality, but they appeared to be a collection of some type.  Could they be trophy’s?  Could they be reminders of lovers long lost?

The party will never know.  Since during the initial encounter, the occupiers of this room had a 75% chance of being in the room, and if they were in that room, they would have come into the room with the twig blights and the skeletons on the third round of combat.  You see, I asked which player felt lucky, at the beginning of the third round…  They all looked at me kind of scared except Collin.  Well, maybe they were not scared, maybe they were trying to figure out what the hell I was on to.  But I will go with scared.  Collin took the Dolnitzer prize, and said “I got this”, and rolled an 85.  I made tisk tisk tisk sounds, and started to get ready to release three more bad guys into the fight, and Collin decided that he would roll again, by turning in his coin…  He rolled a 20.  So the party will never know who was in that room.

That being said, Collin and Mike decided that they should leave everything along in the room.  Now as far as murderer hobo parties go, the party has the murder part down, but they don’t search for treasure.  If they don’t search, it doesn’t do them any good.  No search, no find.  Who knows, there may be a +4 vorpal tweezer somewhere in the dungeon.  Maybe a wand of charcoal briquette starter.  Maybe even something useful, like a wand of acid.  But no, the party doesn’t search, so they don’t get what they don’t search for.

Now the lack of searching thing may be something that they have learned.  So far, when they searched the giant rat corpses, they got fleas.  When they searched the goblin corpses, they got a couple of copper coins, some string, a mouse head and a few scraps of rotten meat.

Now, just because they got those things, it appears that the party has decided not to bother searching anymore.  But really, why would the good stuff be near the entrance of the dungeon?  Everyone knows that the deeper you go in a dungeon, the harder the monsters are, and the better the treasure is.  Right?

So the party continues on.  Deciding not to go through the natural cavern to the north, they go to the door on the east side of the room.  Through this door is a long chamber, that is about 100-ft long and about 40-ft wide.  There are multiple columns of stone each carved with dragons swirling up the columns.  There are three doors on the north side of the chamber and three doors on the south side of this room.  This chamber is full of shelves with jars of herbs, plants, fungus, mushrooms, and other things like that.  The tools are all sickle shaped.  No one clues into what that means…

As the party goes around and looks in all of the rooms.  None of the doors are locked.  Every party member wants to look in each room at the same time.  Now the party isn’t technically splitting, but it is getting pretty damn close.  Close enough to drop a few gelatinous cubes on them…

But then, I digress.

Of the six rooms, they find one that is empty.  One has two snoring goblins on bed pallets (with another 11 empty pallets), one is an armory, with poor quality weapons and another door exiting.  One has three goblins with a giant rat tied down spread eagle on it, there are pustous sores and weeping wounds on the rat.  It is squealing piteously.  The warlock, who is wounded asks if the goblins can help.  The goblins give the warlock a glass vial of swirling greenish orange liquid, and say “help! help!” and pantomime that the warlock should drink it.

The warlock makes his constitution saving throw, and he manages to keep it down.  Little does he know, it will transform him to have the same type of tumors, wounds and puss spewing horrors as the rat on the table.  But that doesn’t matter now.

The bard and the cleric find some goblins in another room making goblin wine.  They barter to get some, watching the goblins stomp the mash of fungus and turnips (for flavor) into the thin liquid that they bottle.  The bard and cleric both get some wine for their wineskins.  It is the best goblin wine that they have had all day.  This is vintage 11 AM goblin wine.

The last room is empty, except for a large crack in the wall leading to a rift in the ground, that extends south and west from the room.  The party went down the crack (no bad jokes here, please), and the crack opened up to a rift.  As the party went down the rift, they found that there was a passageway mined into the earth, which appeared to line up with the south door on the skeleton garden room.  The mined passage crossed the rift in the earth at about a 70 degree angle.  They could continue due south, in the mined shaft, or continue southwest further in the rift.  They decided to go southwest.

As they continued southwest, in the rift, they found that the rift ended, and there was a cavern near the end.  The cavern glowed with a light.  The warlock, feeling slightly queasy decided to investigate.  Now notice the minis, in the rift.

The warlock is the brave one.  The bard (in the yellow sombrero) and the cleric (with the green tentacle hands) are standing back.  The barbarian (with the pigtails) is standing around, probably picking her nails with a dagger.  The rogue, at the far end of the map, is standing back, trying to nonchalantly allow the rest of the party to “discover” what is ahead, with the intent of helping out when it damn well pleases her.

This is a continual thing for the rogue.  Now I am not saying anything here, but the rogue is played by Sue.  She let others check for traps, and let others try to break down doors.  She was playing the “I am gonna live through this damn adventure” thing really well.

So the Warlock continues towards the glow and heat.  And he finds… a giant lava snake.  Maybe it is a fire snake.  Some sort of glowy hot snake that wants to eat him for dinner.

“Snake?” says the barbarian, and she runs in.  The snake promptly constricts around her, and she goes down.  Then the snake went after the warlock.  The warlock wasn’t so lucky.  He died.  I mean died.  Hard.

Most of the time when a character dies, he can make the death saving throws.  This party is actually pretty experienced at making death saving throws.  But in this case, the warlock took so much damage from being bitten and constricted, along with fire damage, that he outright died.  the snake ate the warlock, and then slithered off.

Now Bill was trying to come across as though he wasn’t upset about losing his warlock.  He had another half dozen characters already made up, with backstories.

He decided to play his new favorite, Winston Obert, or something like that.  His friends call him Win-O, and he is a hippy type.

Wrapping up, the party goes to the last room in this part of the dungeon.  This is a room with a large iron statue of a dragon.  The statue is holding onto a large metal tray.  On the tray is a trussed up humanoid, named… you guessed it, Win-O.

By the way, when you go to Google and look for “torture truss”, you get no hits on shopping.  It isn’t often that I get absolutely no hits on a Google search.  I find that mildly amusing.

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However, when I change the Google search to images, this woman’s picture comes up a lot of times.

liz-truss-lc

And so do pictures like this… ewww.

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and this.

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I get the truss part, for the bridge at least.  I don’t get why this bridge would hit on “torture truss”.

Anyway..

The party sees WinO tied up, like a Christmas goose. on the tray held by the dragon.  For some reason, they are concerned.  Maybe it is a trap.  Does the rogue offer to check the iron statue for traps?  Nope.  Does the rogue even bother going into the room.  Yes, but just to look for loot.

The barbarian eventually decides to exit the room, and poke the new guy with a javelin, to see if she can roll him off the tray.  When he falls to the ground, the barbarian takes WinO’s tin cup.

With that, the adventure ended for that day.

Now, it is July 4, and I am looking at all of the other possible things that I could do, besides writing my blog.  I pull out the new Epsilon City module for Metamorphosis Alpha.  I don’t plan to run MA, but I want to use the Epsilon City book as a basis for an upcoming GURPS game.

The Epsilon City module is awesome.  I love the Goodman Games artwork.

and it looks like a lot of fun to run and play.

And of course, my helpers are ready to assist.

Zombicide Episode 08

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This last couple of weekends,  I needed a break from running RPG’s.  I love running RPG’s, but sometimes, my brain isn’t up to speed.  So I fall back to Zombicide.

I should also mix in some other games for the Saturday group.  A few fun games for larger groups could include Galaxy Trucker, Power Grid, and Talisman.  Most games are designed for 3 or 4 players.  Some have the ability to play with 5 or 6, if you buy the expansion.  There aren’t many games which work well with any number of players, 2 to 8.

But Zombicide is fun, easygoing and pretty much a crowd pleaser

I have also been working on painting more minis for the game.  The group wants me to paint more heroes.  I want to get the zombies done.  More variety in the game.  Variety is the spice of life, right?

So here are some works in progress.

First up, zombie dogs.  These little nasties (beauties?) are especially bad.  They have three activation per turn.  As in:

  • move move move
  • move move bite
  • move bite bite
  • bite bite bite
  • bite move move

you get the idea.

In case any of the players think that this is particularly a bad idea, Shari and Collin bought the box of these little cuties for me.  I can only assume that they thought it was a good idea.

The next shots are all works in progress of two boxes that I bought, called “Very Infected People” (VIP).  Each box has four copies of five minis.  They have special activation cards, which have a blue background.  This is why they mostly have the teal base.  The first two pictures were taken before I painted the first coat of the teal base.

The mechanic of this is that they spawn when their particular spawn card goes down.  They are all walkers.  When a hero kills a VIP, the VIP goes to their board.  When the hero has killed five different VIP’s, they can trade them in for a cool weapon.  However, if the players hoard the VIP’s, and  a VIP card is turned over without any minis to place, all the VIP’s get an extra activation.

Pimps.  Yes, you need zombie pimps.

I was thinking of Tony P of the Disco Boys from Mystery Men when I painted these guys.

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Some punk rockers.

I am not sure what these guys are.    I thought of goths, but then I decided to paint them as more colorful than goths.  All black doesn’t show up well for 28 mm minis.

Zombie nurses.  These are not the type of people that you want giving you a shot.

Zombie construction workers

Zombie cops.  I patterned the uniform from what I remember from the City of Seattle Police, from the 1970’s.  They had an Officer Friendly program, where the police would come to the grade schools and talk with the kids, and let them see the police cars.

Zombie sailors.  Are these any worse than sailors on shore leave?

Zombie cooks.

Some zombie Santas.  It is pretty normal that I don’g see much of the detail until I start painting the mini.  The depth of detail seems to work itself into my vision when I start looking closely at the mini to start painting.  For some reason, I don’t see the details when the mini is just out of the box, or when it is primed.  I need to pick it up with a paintbrush in hand and start considering colors before I really see the details.  It is kind of hard to explain, but until I start putting color on the mini, the details don’t pop at me.

In this case, as I started painting the Santas, I realized that the beard looked like tentacles.  So I am painting two as “traditional” zombie Santas and two as SanCthuhlu’s

So yesterday, we met once again to play Zombicide.  The party got together at the beginning of the map. The goals were simple.

  • Open all of the doors
  • Everyone must survive
  • Each party member must have at least one of the following:
    • Can of food
    • Bottle of water
    • Sack of rice
    • Plenty of ammo card
  • Make it to the exit

Simple, right?  Well, maybe not.

Bill starts out helping us from the start.  He goes first, and opens up two doors.  this spawns one fatty and two walkers behind door #1, and one toxic fatty and two toxic walkers behind door #2.

Evidently, Bill never watched the Price is Right when he was home sick from school.

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We survived, and entered the first building that Bill opened up, and checked out stuff.  The board populated with zombies.  I hesitate to call the zombies “bad guys”, since they are really not “bad guys”  They are not driven from any internal internal conflict, and have not conscience.  They are simply interested in eating us.

Some explanation may be in order.  The photo shows several different colors of base.  This blog previously discussed the teal base for the VIP zombies.

The red based zombies are raging zombies.  They have armor plating as part of their mutations.  They can only be killed using melee combat.

The green based zombies are toxic zombies.  They have another type of mutation, and they explode with toxic goo if you kill them in the same square.

The different gray based zombies are from the base box.  They are normal zombies.  Well, hungry zombies.  They have two different shades of grey because I painted half, then the other half, and didn’t keep the same grey for the base color.  My bad.

The little wooden blocks (yellow fish, orange carrots, red bricks etc) are markers that each player places when they have searched a room.  In Zombicide, each player can only search a room once.  This can get confusing.  So I purchased a marker set with about 10 different markers, and each player keeps one set of markers.  They place it when they have searched the room.  Presto, one less thing to try to remember.

Toxic Fatty in your space?  Meh, I got this.

Well, Bill almost didn’t get this.  He tried, and tried, and tried to kill things, but his dice rolled poorly.  He even switched out dice.

Toward the end of the game, things got bad for Shari and Bill.  Everyone else beat feat out, but Shari and Bill were having problems.  They were surrounded.

Here is another shot.  of the conflagration of zombies.

Things were getting really bad.  Most of the party had escaped.  Except… Eric, who killed Wanda.  You see, Eric forgot the victory conditions of the scenario.

  • Open all of the doors
  • Everyone must survive
  • Each party member must have at least one of the following:
    • Can of food
    • Bottle of water
    • Sack of rice
    • Plenty of ammo card
  • Make it to the exit

And another shot of the mass of zombies following Shari out.

And one adjusted for more visual interest.

In the end, everyone had a good time, even Eric, who is not pictured here, since he killed Wanda.

Call of Cthulhu – Terror From The Skies Episode 07

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I am leading off this blog post with a sad, but heartfelt thank you to the life of Adam West.  He died this morning at the age of 88.

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I grew up watching reruns of Batman.  Adam West has always been my favorite Batman.  Thank you for the memories.

The party continued on from last week.  They were battered, bruised and in general, not in great shape.  They realized that their only lead was to continue on to talk to Professor Benjamin Graham at Durham University.

This is where the adventure shows itself.  The Shan are on a timeline.  The party needs to keep up.  If they don’t follow closely, the Shan get farther ahead, and more powerful.  The party needs to simultaneously keep up… and have a couple of weeks to heal.  They are battered.  Their sanity is significantly affected.  Their bodies have been messed with.

The Doctor has a healing spell, but using that spell uses 12 magic points, which is pretty much all that he has… more importantly, he loses one sanity every time that he uses the spell.  He is down to less than 30 sanity… which means that he is more likely to lose it in a big way.  The Doctor also has a permanent malady, where he loses it completely and must fight any flying monsters.  That is not a great thing for the party.

The Romani has burned all his luck, or almost all of it.  He can restore some luck each session, however, the Romani player is very able to roll 1’s on his d8 to restore luck.

The Skientist in pants is doing well, for now… more on that later.

The actor has been attacked by star vampires, and is severely weakened in strength.  The blood loss by star vampire bleeding the strength is brutal.

The nurse started out with the highest sanity, but got hammered with an unsuccessful try at the healing spell.  She is still going strong, but she found another spell, Voorish Sign, which she likes… a lot…, but that is slowly sapping her sanity.

The Irish rogue is doing quite well.  But that is because the player missed a few sessions.  Matt came back this week, and his relatively balanced, normal character now is a super power compared to the other players who are battered and beaten.

The dilettante is doing well.  She has kept out of the fray for the most part.  Flashing her boobs and drinking is doing well for her.  ** Dear reader, that is what Jason does with the character, not my input here **

The “art dealer” is doing well… for now.  But lust will affect him in a big way soon, as in this adventure.

So the party takes another bus from the horrific crash near Ugthorpe to Durham University.  Thankfully, the bus ride is uneventful.  Nobody has any nightmares, nobody tries to stab the passengers, and best of all, the bus driver does not get up and leap out of the bus while it is moving.

That does not mean that the bus ride is comfortable or restive.

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While this bus looks quaint and pretty, buses from this era have truck suspensions, and hard seats.  Likely something like this:

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A long bus trip on semi-primitive roads… Oh, my aching back, hips, knees, feet, elbows, and sciatic nerves.

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And you thought that modern airline seats were uncomfortable?

So the party arrives in Durham, and in short order, they find Durham University.  It isn’t much of an effort really.  The Doctor went to Cambridge, and this is a lesser university after all, so navigation to this lower place of learning is easy from the Doctor’s perspective.

They find the Bursar’s office.  The Bursar is full of himself.  He attempts to put the others into their place, after all, they are not even students of Durham.  Little does he know, the doctor is from Cambridge, and is unaffected by the slights that the Bursar leaves for the rest of the party.  The Bursar is very offended by the Skientist.  She is an educated woman, in science… and she wears pants.  This takes about all of the the little reserve that the Bursar has, to not throw her out.

In the end, the Bursar does make himself feel better, after all, the Doctor did graduate from Cambridge, but the doctor only has an MD and two PhD’s (in science).  The Bursar is a man of letters in the arts.  Having advanced studies in the arts, of course is much more interesting and noteworthy than any silly “advanced” studies in medicine or science.

And, let’s not forget that the party looks pretty scraggly at this point.  They are bruised, battered, and their clothes are worse for the wear.  No self respecting Durham man would show up in this condition asking for help.  Let’s not forget that all the Doctor wanted was to know where he could find Professor Graham.  It is a minor thing, but the Cambridge man did need assistance from the Durham man.  Scandalous.  Third university, indeed.

The party goes to Professor Graham’s office.  They knock on the door, and he calls out from inside “come”.  They party enters the small, cramped office.  the office has stacks of books, notes and papers.  It is a jumbled mess.  Professor Graham is stuffy and a little full of himself.  He is disturbed when the party tells him the story so far.  It is disturbing that all of these things are happening to good people.

Professor Graham doesn’t know anything about the Shan, or any of the other mispronunciations of the other things that the party asks about.

Professor Graham is a historian of British Pagan Worship. He comes across as trustworthy but stuffy and introverted. This makes him fairly isolated, and he is used to people being bored with him,

He knows something of the cult of Azathoth but assures them, as he did with both Elliot and Seth, that it died out a long time ago. It was a cult of great antiquity, pre-roman, and it was replaced by a series of other pre-Christian faiths. He believes that it was concentrated in the South-East of the country, but the only specific place name he knows is associated with it is Lilla Howe, which he also gave to Seth. He tries to convince them that anyone practicing the cult’s rituals now or in the recent past (by this he means the past couple of centuries) has invented them, not unlike the modern druids at Stonehenge; all very silly and sad. He knows nothing of any real revival of the cult, except the things Elliot told him, and he didn’t really believe them.

He is saddened by the news of Elliot’s death but it won’t change his mind.

When the skientist mentions the name Azazel, however, he is startled, as it is also the name of a student group in Durham. He points them in the direction of the Student Representative Council, where they can make enquiries. He believes it is some sort of history society, but isn’t sure as he doesn’t associate with students outside of lectures and tutorials

The Durham Colleges Students’ Representative Council, on the Palace Green, is the best place to find out about student societies. Professor Graham gives them directions.

In the entryway is a notice board giving various society activities. The party notices information on the board about two society meetings. The first is the Music Society, for eight o’clock tonight in the Church across the road from the Cathedral.  A closer look reveals that it is a local, rather than student, society.

The “arts dealer” is reminded of the musicians at Bloody Beck.  He is not sure what the connection is, but he feels that there must be a connection.

The second meeting is for the Azazel, tomorrow night at seven, in the nearby Buffalo’s Head Pub on Saddler Street. Both notices say all are welcome.

The skientist notices something odd also.  It is summer.  It seems odd that there are things going on at the university during summer.  Most of the students should be gone.

There are about 20 people at the meeting. The party recognize two cultists from the Bloody Beck.  They are a flautist and a drummer, and they are not interested in singing.

The music goes on for a while.  It is poorly played baroque music.  The Romani and Irishman go to find liquor at a pub.  The rest of the party stick around.  After the end of the music recital, The flautist, Jasmine, invites the party back to her room. Jasmine’s is in the castle keep,   As soon as the Doctor, Nurse and arts dealer are in the room, Jasmine starts undressing.  Naked, then Jasmine invites the rest for casual sex.  At this point, Summer, the real wife of Daron, (Summer is the Nurse character, Daron is the Doctor), well, Summer disappeared.  Not sure if she was getting a soda, or what.  The Doctor decided not to partake, but while Jasmine and the art dealer were getting it on, in full view of the Doctor, the Doctor decided to check out the room.

To the dismay, or maybe delight of the arts dealer, the sex was completely mechanical and full of lust.  There was no passion.  It was something that was animalistic, more like pigs rutting than passionate lovemaking.

The doctor realizes that Jasmine’s room is not typical student rooms either. They are too sterile and clinically well-organized; While the grunting, sweating and moaning was going on in the background, the Doctor realizes that the room is arranged more in the fashion of an office than a living space. He sees a calendar note for a midnight choir practice in the Cathedral in two days’ time.

About the time that the art dealer and Jasmine is done rutting, Summer comes back to the table and asks “what happened?”  To which Daron said… “I will tell you later on the car ride home”.

 

This Azazel student group caters for those interested in the history of Durham in general, and its cathedral in particular. They are especially keen on the more esoteric aspects, such as the “square built” pillars and geometrical relationships.

The Buffalo’s Head Pub is quite full when they arrive. The barman tells them that the meeting is taking place in an upstairs room. There are a couple of dozen people present.

When the socializing is over and everyone is sitting down, Amelia Carter stands up and welcomes everyone, including nonmembers. She introduces a guest speaker, Professor Mark Hooke. He is an expert on the geometry of English cathedrals and is quite genuine. He talks for some time, then asks for questions. All in all, the meeting takes about two hours. Once again, the Irishman and the Romani leave and find a pub.  The arts dealer sits down next to his new squeeze, Jasmine.  She is a little cold and distant, but doesn’t move away.

At the end of the lecture, Professor Hooke offers a tour of the Cathedral, giving access to areas not normally open to the public. The tour will continue after this meeting.

 

Amelia approaches each of the female characters, and talks with them individually.  Eric, the Romani notices that only the female characters are being talked to individually by Amelia, but I point out to him that he is in the bar / pub, and nowhere near.

 

Somehow, magically, the Romani and Irishman come back in time for the tour.  Not sure how that happened, but it was fortuitous.  Maybe.

 

 

The tour happens right after the Azazel Society meeting. Quite a crowd has gathered at least twenty people, not all from the society. A Cathedral official meets them at the main door, under the famous knocker. The tour takes them around the upper levels, up spiral staircases, through doors to walkways high above the ground, under the stained glass and finally down into a part of the undercroft. They are repeatedly warned to be careful, as some of the walkways are narrow and have no safety barriers. Potential cover and places to hide can be seen by anyone making a special Idea roll. Part of the way through, Amelia suddenly leaves the group.  Only the dilettante sees Amelia disappear.  She appears to walk into a pillar.  Pretty much like Harry Potter, and Platform 9 3/4.

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The Dilettante isn’t sure if she actually observed Amelia disappear, or what.  She doesn’t bring it to the attention of the rest of the party.

This is where things get bad.  When the party is on one of the overhead walkways, you know, the ones without any handrails, that the party was told to be careful on… well, she pushes the arts dealer off.  He falls 30-ft, to the hard stone floor.  Luckilly for him, he only takes minimal damage because he was fleet footed.  The arts dealer sees the look on Jasmine’s face, which is one of complete uninterest, almost vapid in appearance as she watches the arts dealer fall to the ground.

Then things get bad.  Well, not yet, but pretty soon.

The tour goes bonkers.  Four people are missing, Amelia, the Flautist (Jasmine), the drummer (an un-named character), and another person.  Also, one person has fallen thirty feet to the ground.

The nurse decides to make the voorish sign.  Another sanity point lost!  She is hoping that this will result in her being able to see someone who is invisible.  Now, technically, no one is invisible, but I don’t want to make her lose sanity (her choice to use the spell) without any benefit.  So tell her that she sees a glowing palm sized area about head height on a column nearby.  The nurse goes forward and touches it.  She expects something exciting to happen.  Nothing does.  She feels a breeze blowing out of the column.  This is odd, since the column is solid stone.  She puts her hand at where the breeze is coming out, and her hand passes through the stone, while her hand is on the blowing part of the stone.  Luckily for her, she doesn’t take her right hand off the glowing part of the stone while she puts her left hand into the stone column.

She points out to the other party members that this appears to be a hidden passage.  The Irishman goes forward, and smacks solidly into the stone face of the pillar.  This appears to be some sort of sick nursing joke on Irishmen.

The party figures out that the person touching the invisibly glowing spot needs to be the one going through.  They can’t have one person touching the spot with others going through.

The party leaves via the stone “door”, and finds themselves on a rough cut stairway.  The stairway is completely dark, and each tread has different lengths of steps and different heights of steps.  The geometry doesn’t work either.  They walked through a 4-ft X 4-ft stone pillar and they are now at the top of a stairwell with an apparently unlimited room in size and height.

The party slowly goes down the stairs. It is dark, and the stairs are very hard to navigate.  As they get to the bottom of the stairs, they are attacked by four shans. The party can see them, as they glow slightly.

Things go bad here.  I won’t get into all of the details, but, the general thinking in Call of Cthulhu is that if you see a monster, you need to run.

This simple flow chart tells you everything you need to know about how to deal with monsters in Call of Cthulhu.

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Note that any situation where you interact with the monster results in “You Poor Bastard”.

But in this case, the party decided to engage, and eventually split the party.

The party figured out pretty quick that even when they hit the shan, the shan had nasty amounts of damage reduction, so they didn’t even scratch it unless they did at least 10 damage with a single attack.  This meant that it was time to bravely run away.

In the long run, the Romani crawled away and found the exit, tumbling down stairs taking more damage, and falling through another weird door, falling out into a grassy area where cultists were dancing and singing while circling a glowing pyramid.

Soon thereafter, the Irishman followed.  They were beaten, bedraggled, and pretty much done for the day.

Next the art dealer, the skientist and the dilettante decided to split the party and go back up the stairway, hoping that they would be able to get back to where they started.  The Shan’s attacked and knocked out the skientist.  The art dealer was trying to carry the skientist up the stairs.  The dilettante was busy trying to get back through the door they came through, but couldn’t figure it out.

The doctor and the nurse were left out in the open.  The doctor was being attacked by flying monsters.  This meant that he lost his shit and started attacking.  His shotgun skills were not holding up to his crappy rolls.  The nurse pulled him along, and the shan mercilessly attacked.  Eventually, the nurse dragged the doctor along and fell down the stairs.  They landed in a lump on top of the Irishman and the Romani, knocked out.

Now the problems started.

The skientist (in pants) was given a single hit point back, as she received some first aid.  The skientist, the dilettante and the art dealer decide to make it for the exit rest of the party went out.

Now, I don’t want to pick on any specific players.  When a monster attacks a group, I base the attacks on one of several possibilities:

  • Has one player become a major threat to the monster(s) over the last few combat rounds?
  • Did one particular player just do some major damage to the monster(s) gaining the monster(s) attention?
  • Is one player doing something that gains the attention of the monster(s)?
    • The only one holding a lantern in the dark
    • The only one yelling
    • The only one running away
    • You get the idea
  • Is the monster(s) currently engaged with one specific individual
  • If not, then roll randomly as to which monster will attack

In this case, the four flying shan’s were looking for anything juicy.  They randomly attacked the skientist.  One shan did 28 damage on her, while she had only one hit point left.  She was cut to pieces.  It was bad.

The dilettante was attacked and the art dealer dragged the body of the dilettnante to the stairway out, and landed outside on the grass, knocked out.

Things were bad.  Things got worse.

  • One party member is dead.
  • Four party members are knocked out
  • Two party members are extremely weakened, and they are right in front of the cultists dancing naked around a glowing pyramid at night.

What could possibly go wrong?