Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Snow White






Ok, I am officially speachless. It's been compared to The Lord of the Rings, for crying out loud.

IMDb


[Picture source: NRK.no]

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

One of the really big questions



The Ylvis Brothers put the focus on one of the greatest enigmas of Western culture.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

How to bury a witch


So, you've got a certified witch on your hands, and after you've hung her, you start to worry she'll come back from the dead and wreak havoc on you and yours. Fear not, the guys who did this professionally back when there was still a business in witch hunting came up with a safe way to bury one of Satan's chosen. Here's what you do: You drive 7 nails through her jaw-bone, and place 17 dice in her grave.


As it happens, that's exactly what someone did in Piombino, Italy, some 800 years ago. A corpse found with nails in it's skull, with dice surrounding it has led experts on the field believe this to come to this very conclusion. Most often witches were not buried in hallowed ground, and hence their graves will often have been destroyed by construction, or simply lost and forgotten. This particular woman most likely came from a wealthy family, and her folks probably donated liberally to the church to give her a chance of getting into Heaven.


Source

Disclaimer: This blog does not advocate torture, burning, hanging, or any other form of witch-abuse. If you are in need of a non-harmful way of verifying your suspicions of witchcraft, you should compare your suspect's weight to that of a duck. If you happen to be right, their weight will match, and you should take care not to injure her in any way. Remember that witches have been all but hunted to extinction by past generations. You wouldn't burn a giant panda, would you?

[Picture source: National Geographic]

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

NPC: The Black Cantor


Years ago,  back when the Redlands were still called the Duchy of Diem, the Monastic Order St. Euridicius owned several large wineries in the region, all run from the Abbey of Wolfgarten. The order's vows of poverty had long since become an empty formality, and the Abbey's luxury was said to rival that of the Ducal Palace in Zalburg.

Brother Aramath of Liesse was the third son of a Narbonnian grain merchant, and at an early age he was brought to the monks of St. Euridicius for his education and future career. He never showed any great affinity for numbers or theology, and one may even say he was a more than a little lazy. Still, his father's donations and his singing voice made sure he got to say his vows when he came of age.

Once he became a brother of the cloth, he was sent to the Abbey of Wolfgarten where he served in the obscurity of utter mediocrity for almost ten years. As with many of his brothers, the monastic life led to a steadily increasing gut, and a deteriorating health. In the summer of 1022 YE his heart all but gave in to the weight of his corpus, and he fell down a flight of stairs. The fall broke his left ankle, and he was taken to the infirmary. 

At the same time, outside the walls of the monastery, the Red Death washed over the land, turning layman, noble and clergy alike into mindless, walking dead, hungry for the flesh of the living. A monk returning from a tour of a nearby wine-yard was attacked by one of the afflicted and bit in the arm. Fright kept him from informing his betters, and within days he suffered the Red Death. With the curse now loose inside the walls, some of the monks fled, others turned to prayer -- none survived.

As madness gripped the Abbey, the Infirmarian locked the infirmary doors from the outside, hoping to save some of the sick, injured or elderly monks lying inside. In the summer heat, and without access to food or water, death came quick or slow to those poor souls, but it came to all. Brother Aramath's broken leg turned gangrenous, and without aid from the physicians, his body and mind was racked by a savage fever. For days he hung on, while his brothers died around him in the hot room, smelling of piss, desperation, vomit and death. At last his body could not take it any more, and he could feel the last fibres of his life-thread snapping.

It was in that very moment, as the cold darkness closed in around him, that the thing from the crypt appeared before him. It offered him life, and he took it without a second thought.

When Aramath broke through the doors and emerged into the world again, he found it to no less hellish than the nightmare he left behind him in the infirmary. Partially devoured corpses lay in blood-smeared hallways, corpses shambled aimlessly around in the courtyard, and something cold and dead had merged with his soul.

In the decades following his brush with death, Aramath has become known in the Redlands as the Black Cantor. He spends most of his days walking the roads, paths and trails running through the once prosperous, now mostly deserted and infested with evil, region. Constantly singing psalms as he patrols his parish, he brings death to those who deserve it, be they living, undead, or supernatural. He even sometimes aid those he deems worthy of life. He was always large, but the black-clad, grey-bearded giant he is today bears little resemblance to the wobbling mountain that fell down those stairs so long ago. The radical paradigmatic change of his life also revealed his faith to him, and he will offer spiritual guidance where he deems it appropriate, which is to say almost everywhere. When stronger medicine is required, he uses a heavy oaken staff on which he has mounted the bronze tutelary from the Abbey's funeral shrine.


Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Hello again, and some thoughts on Geist


It's been a while. After the move I still have to successfully adjust my blogging habits to my new life. There have been great changes so far, and there are more to come, but I have not given up on this here thing. If you would like to to keep in touch with me outside this channel, please feel free to look me up on Facebook. If you have written an email to me, and gotten a response, you have my name. If not, feel free to poke me about it. 

Though I have not posted much, I've been playing. Not as much as before, but still with relative stability. The latest, and most notable development, has been the addition of a new playable template. 

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Chapter: A journey into the unknown, part I



Wherein a young woman sets out on a quest to find her long lost mother, hires a mercenary, meets several unsavoury types, and is forced to agree to a deal that may cost more than she bargained for.

Cast: Sonia van Reuter and Marcus D'Nough. As NPC's: A devious ogre named Shensal, a prudent mercenary named Freddick, a Wezellian spy calling himself Möller, Punch the puppet, and Lord Velimir of Geistwald.


The following takes place between 3 and 12 Novium, YE 1045.


The town of Werk lies in the North-Western foothills of the Elfswall Mountains, and ever since the Red Death scoured the lands east of the town it has become a haven for adventurers, heretics, mercenaries, and refugees. It is a place to hide from the law, and to spend one's ill-, or legally begotten, silver. Surrounding the walled town lies several farms, all built to withstand both brigands and the occasional roaming dead that still wander out of the Redlands. Sonia grew up on one of these farms, where her grand-uncle is breeding horses.



Sunday, 4 September 2011

Wow! Is that the time already?






August has come and gone, and I've been neglecting my blog something horribly. I've moved, and with that has come a whole new life I've had to get used to. In that whole mess, the days have passed frighteningly fast. And its not like I've been slacking. I hope to have a few posts up over the next week -- it's not like I haven't been playing. In fact, I'm hosting a game tonight. On Argos, no less.

I hope you all are doing well, and I will try to get back to reading your ramblings too. I promise.

One more thing for now. The Bergen-group is still playing, and you can read about their adventures on Bjoernar's new blog.


[Picture source: walcoo.net]

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Historical References: Shield-wall


From antiquity to modern days, the shield-wall has allowed a small number of trained fighters to control or defeat a horde of rabble. The concept is quite simple: The men stand in formation, shoulder to shoulder so that their shields overlap. This way an enemy is denied the ability to flank the fighters one by one. Throughout history this tactic has been used by amongst others the Persians, Spartans, Romans, Vikings, Saxons, Normans, and in our own age, riot police.



Wednesday, 10 August 2011

I-CROP



In 2001 the world changed. A complicated and well coordinated terrorist attack was pulled off right under the noses of the global intelligence community. As a direct result, billions of dollars were pumped into new programs, laws were passed, and agencies and organizations were restructured or created to deal with the new reality. Of course, in this climate of fear and secrecy, every single dollar was not accounted for. More than one agenda thrived in this new world of darkness.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

WoD: Marinating on a game



Friday will see a game of more or less vanilla Mage with the lady friend and a friend of her's. They've expressed a wish for some modern day spell-slingin' action, and I've not hosted a contemporary game in, oh, about three or four years now. I've also yet to run Mage-as-written. My lady's friend is a n00b as far as Pn'P RPG's are concerned, though she's done a bit of MMO-roleplaying. All in all, I expect this'll be a very refreshing change of pace. Hopefully for the lot of us.


In this post I'll put down some of my ideas, mostly so that I can see how it fits together, and so that the girls can look it over. And who knows, some blog-sourcing may come out of it as well.



Monday, 8 August 2011

My old notebooks, part II


When I posted the first part of this series, I was about to leave Bergen, now I've arrived in Ajax. There will most likely be some changes made as to how much I blog, and about what. The specifics are yet unclear though. I have begun writing what may become a novel, and that will take up most of my writing-time. Still, I will be playing, and posts on that will most definitely be forthcoming. The world of Argos will still turn, but for now, mostly in my head. This coming Friday will see a session of WoD, and some thoughts on that should be on the interwebs over the next few days.


For now, here's a few pages from another of my old notebooks. The chronology is a little messed up, as I used a few books in this period.



Monday, 25 July 2011

Norway, a nation of naïve hippies?



Tonight I was in Oslo for the first time after the bomb. The first thing that struck me was the number of people in the streets. Most of them had come to partake in the grassrot-organized memorial, but I couldn't help thinking about the safety-aspect -- after all, only four days ago, Norway was hit by a gruesome act of terror. It didn't take me long before I abandoned my anxieties. It felt safe, or rather, I chose to feel safe.


Does that make me naïve? No one else looked afraid either, does that make all of us naïve?



Sunday, 24 July 2011

The attacks

"Our answer is more democracy, more openness, more humanity, but without naivety."
-Jens Stoltenberg, Norwegian PM





Norway is a small country, and Friday's atrocities touched us all. We all know someone who were touched by this attack on the basic values of our society. 


The terrorist claims to be part of an international group, unified in their hatred against Islam and socialism. His goal was to force the hand of our government to take actions against what he sees as a threat against the Western Christian civilization. He failed. Norway of today is a nation without dividing lines; religion, politics and colour does not define us. Solidarity and humanity does.


Instead of seeding his own hatred in our souls, the terrorist has brought us all together. When I heard that he was of Norwegian ethnicity, and a Christian, I was relieved. How would Norway have looked today had he been a Muslim? It also made me realise that Christian terrorism hurts just as much as Muslim terrorism. We cannot fight intolerance with more intolerance. 


I have been reminded of one of our poets, Nordahl Grieg:


Here is your battle plan,
Here is your shield
Faith in this life of ours,
The common weal


For all our children’s sake,
Save it, defend it,
Pay any price you must,
They shall not end it


Please read the whole poem on Wikipedia.


I have never been as proud of my country as I am now.






[Picture source: NRK]

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Boldly going...



I've now packed all my earthly belongings. Today'll be all about cleaning the gaff, plus readying my stuff for transport. Tomorrow I leave for a week with my folks, and when we hit August, I'll be crossing the ocean. Blogwise this means I may or may not be posting for the next few weeks. It all depends on factors I do not necessarily control, or am able to see at the moment.


I'll also take this opportunity to let you know that I've made a few adjustments on this here ol' blog o'mine. If you scroll down, you'll now find two new sections on the right-hand bar. One is called Featured blog, and I plan on changing that one semi-regularly. What ends up there will be blogs I think you aught to read. The other is called Podcasts, and... yeah, exactly. If you have any suggestions regarding 'casts, please let me know in the comment field. Oh, and it looks like the crowd likes the partial post-view, so that's staying.


Before I get crackin', here are a few posts on a game-relevant topic:


Rather Gamey 
["Cold Steel's Great Sword"]


the only successful one
["Science explains why running around in plate mail all day was not a good idea"]


Realm of Zhu 
["Animal Armour"]


Curse of the GM
["The spear is king."]


I'd Rather Be Killing Monsters
["This Is What I'm Talking About..."]


CoastConFan Blog 
["APACHES... IN PARIS?"]


Lastly, courtesy of Monte Cook's G+ feed, the Internet Movie Firearms Database.


For now, enjoy your summer (if applicable), and for the love of dice, get some gaming done.


Wednesday, 20 July 2011

My old notebooks, part I


I'm almost done packing, and tomorrow I'm leaving Bergen. While I was going through my stuff, deciding what to keep, what to put in storage, and what to get rid of, I started leafing through some of my old note-books. I've been using them to plan my games for about a dozen years -- that is, until I started blogging, as now most of my writing ends up here. This time I've decided that I wont bring these tomes with me, but rather store them safely at my mum's.

However, there are a few pages in these books I'd like to preserve for posterity and easy reference. And I know a couple of my players will appreciate seeing some of these things again. Hence this post, the first of at least two, if not three. And since chronology is as good a system as any, I'll start with the oldest two. They measure 14 x 9 cm, and are the smallest of my books. They were in use between 1999 and 2002.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Hero: Toadface


AARGH, feel the might of my fist, puny human!! 

Storyteller's note: This is the third of the hero-biographies from the Pius Chronicles. It is written by Bjørnar, this character's player.


Toadface is something of an enigma and little is known about his life before he joined the adventures of the Pius Cabal.


What is known is that he was raised by his grandmother, both living alone in a cabin located somewhere in what is called The Wild. His mother died giving birth to him, and his father is unknown. The only things he inherited from his parents was his grim-looking face and his considerable bulk, though there is a possibility that the magical artifact called Thunderer's Gauntlet once belonged to his father.

Monday, 18 July 2011

A Thief and Thirteen Fighters

Bilbo Baggins

These are the lead characters of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, all put together in one post, for consistency and your viewing pleasure. Instead of editorialising, I'll just say that I'm looking forward to seeing what Jackson can come up with this time.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Historical References: The Lost Expedition

Relics from the lost expedition, published in the
Illustrated London  News, 1854

Do not go gentle into that good night
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

~Dylan Thomas
It is 19 May 1845, and the two ships HMS Terror and HMS Erebus are setting out on an expedition to find the near-mythical North-West Passage. Aboard are 129 men. The vessels are outfitted with the most sophisticated and modern inventions — no expenses have been spared. Both have modern steam-engines and screw propellers, making them capable of travelling at a speed of 4 knots under their own power. They have reinforced hulls, and steam-powered heating for the crew-quarters. They have supplies to sustain the members of the expedition for five years. The commander of the mission is Sir John Franklin.


Fragments of Truth and Fiction: Lethal Ladies


 Elyn von Sturm, one of the best Panzerzeppelin-commanders of the OUT, is a first generation Argonian. It is said that she is more at home in the air than on the ground. She often volunteers her dirigible, the Himmelwulf, for long-range scouting missions. She is known to be particularly interested in arcane phenomena, and lately it has been commented that perhaps her methods are a little too dynamic for the Thulist establishment.


Saturday, 16 July 2011

Non-magical loot: Singing Bird Pistols



These should be worth a hefty sum in just about any setting, and probably well worth a little crime. This particular pair was sold for $5.8 million in May this year, after "[...] an epic bidding war between two of the world’s most connoisseur collectors who fought fiercely for more than 10 minutes." [source]  Now if that isn't enough to make you hum the theme from Mission Impossible, you're in the wrong hobby.


Thanks to Kevin Mowrer for the video.

The Voyage of RAS Talôn



Storyteller's note: The following article was published in the The Correspondent, No. 47, in YE 1042.


Correspondents,The following letter was submitted by The Hon'ble Rev. Dr. Thaddeus Potley COGD, Gardener to His Majesty King Rowar II of Pendrell, regarding his service on the gun-sloop RAS Talôn's journey to Thule. As you are no doubt aware, in Tertius YE 1041, Commodore Sir Jonah  A. P. Peregrine CA KCOGD was gazetted by the Council to find a passable passage to Øksfjord in Thule, and was considered lost until recently. You are no doubt also now aware that the northern OUT colony is powerful enough to claim the troposphere.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

A good place to lurk...

...these days, is this thread over in the Yog-Sothoth forum.

Tax Instalment: Nightfall



According to Joesky, I owe some tax, seeing as I'm prone to punch out rather lengthy posts every now and again. To settle that score, I give you the second adventure I've ever written. The first was 19 years ago, and not that big of a success. Hopefully this one isn't as bad.

Nightfall is an adventure for three to six players, using the Storytelling System. It is based on the film Pitch Black, but both scenario and plot has been modified to accommodate the chaos of roleplaying. I wrote it mostly as an exercise, but if you find it useful, I'd love to hear how it went. For that matter, should you have any comments, I'm all ears eyes.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

White Wolf: Print on Demand



This is something I've been thinking about since I found out that White Wolf was going Print on Demand. The hype at the time was that "every book from [their] back-catalogue would become available." Since then I've seen nothing to indicate this is becoming a reality. Until now, that is.
"The PoD catalog currently available on DriveThruRPG is the only stuff they've so far converted to PoD format. Everything which isn't on that list is in the "to do" pile, but depending on the individual book, the availability of original source documents, how easy it is to convert those documents to the proper format, etc., all affect the amount of time it takes to prepare them for PoD. It's a process that takes time, and they've got limited manpower to do it. There's no real way of predicting how long a book will take until they're doing it, so there's no real release schedule. Stuff's ready when it's ready. 

Looking at what DriveThruRPG has available in print as per today [link], the list is somewhat dismal. As Watson pointed out in the same post: "Older stuff has been out of print longer, so it's probably got a higher priority for conversion." In practice, this seems to mean that at the moment, unless you're looking for an oWoD-book, you're SOL. I don't know, it seems a little half-assed. If they want to keep people playing their newer lines, they probably should prioritise those, but what do I know. I do know that I want Geist, and I'm not paying the 100 bucks Amazon is asking these days.


Disclaimer: As far as I can tell, Watson is not an employee of WW, nor does he quote an official source. Thus this information, though seemingly accurate, may be considered anecdotal -- a rumour, if you will.


[Picture source: Timothy Bradstrreet]

Monday, 11 July 2011

Speaking of Trolling...



Sorry about that. You can go back to whatever you were doing now.

Pantheon: Gudmund



Black Staff, Wanderer, Hand of Fate, Second Witness
God of Fate and Magic
Symbol: A black staff or rod


The legends tell us that Gudmund, son of Arkon, betrayed his brother Trond. In punishment for his crime, Arkon sentenced his son to wander the lands until he had made penance. There are many lesser tales of the lonesome Wanderer throughout Eria and the North, but the most important is that of the Second Witness.


Sunday, 10 July 2011

5.000 gp and an Ice Cream Cone



The user Jetshield posted this little story in the Wizards Community forums. It's a wonderful tale of imagination, roleplaying, and the next generation.


"So there I am, watching my group bicker (in character) about how to get into the Temple of Akargon to retrieve the Rod of Improbability that's rumored to be there. The little one (she's 7), comes in from the next room, taps on one of my player's shoulder to get his attention, and says "I've got the key I can sell you."



Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Re: Your Dungeon Is Suck

Over a year ago, my blog-surfing led me to a blog named Your Dungeon Is Suck. I scanned a few of the top posts, and quickly dismissed it as immature, anonymous mudslinging of the uninspired type. Then I moved on. Since then I've seen this blog mentioned here and there, and I've also read a post or two. It stays true to form. It sometimes puzzles me that this type of garbage attracts an audience, then I remember that the internets are full of losers, bullies and piss-ants.


Had Your Dungeon Is Suck at least been written by someone with enough integrity to put his own name, and maybe even a picture, to his profile, I might have been inclined to look for nuggets of satire in the steady stream of filth. It is not. It is instead an example of the bad side of the web -- the side where the inadequate feel empowered by their anonymity, and where they use this power to see how much they can hurt other people.


I cannot respect the person hiding behind Your Dungeon Is Suck, nor can I respect the cackling choir that seems to frequent that particular digital dung-heap. He and his followers represent the absolute low of this community.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

A job that needed doing



The Pius had reached the highest reaches of the troposphere. Above was only the darkness of the Void. Below and to her aft, arching north and westwards, lay the unnatural storm-front that blocked the approach to Cora. From this perspective it looked like a fat, black snake on the dark waters of the Straits of Ahriman. Somewhere down there, beneath the waves, the demon of the cauldron was fighting the Kraken. Hidden beneath the tumultuous clouds were also the combined fleets of the Hannumen and the Wolf Lords, as well as the Armada of Forlorn Hope  that would be a great battle. None of these things concerned Commander Spearhawk.



Monday, 4 July 2011

From my shelves: Leviathan



One of the things that naturally follows...er...precedes moving is packing. While boxing my RPG-books yesterday, I had to stop more than once to leaf through a tome I'd half forgotten. I'll readily admit there are books I probably wouldn't ever remember, should I decide to part with them, but there are also some treasures amongst them. One of these is Grendel's Leviathan. This "post-apocalyptic fantasy battle system" was published in -95, and I assume it never made it big.



I picked it up in a discount-bin sometime shortly after Y2K, not because I wanted a mini-game, but because of the artwork by Adrian Smith. Once I'd read through the fluff-section, I came to like the setting as well. The five factions of the game are dwarves, elves, goblins, humans and orcs. While this is far from innovative in and of it self, these five pieces should illustrate some of what's made me remember Leviathan. The goblins have become my standard go-to-goblins for my fantasy games, and the elves became the First Fallen of Argos. As for the steampunk dwarves, they're just too cool for school.


I did some light looking, and Leviathan-minis are still available, for those of you who have such inclinations.


EDIT: Yup, there's also a blog dedicated to this game. I love the internets.



Sunday, 3 July 2011

Chapter: The End of an Era


Cast: Aegir of the Enæidùn, Mandan Bansl, Gryff Galan, Percival O'Conner, Velimir Tito, Yolander van Zaar, and Toadface. Many NPC's also played a part.

The following takes place between 6 and 21 Undecium, YE 1022.

After the Pius Cabal returned from the Void, having killed Dr. Mörbius, they came to realize that unless the schemes of the Queen of Stars were stopped, all they had done would be for naught. No amount of lesser victories would stem the tide. Evil would triumph, and the fate of mankind would be sealed. But how do you go up against an ancient goddess?

Thursday, 30 June 2011

"Noen fortjener en god død."



The Chronicle has been closed.

Evolution: Appendix N


Continuing on the Evolution-project, this time I'll try to compile a list of reference literature. These books all have elements of what I see fitting in the new age of Argos. Again, this is mostly for my own benefit, as a way of gathering my thoughts, but I can recommend each of the titles listed below.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

The Painted Man


The Dark Continent has many dark legends, and though those of the Witch-king of Gerem Faït are not amongst the more widely known, they have few rivals in terms of fear, horror, and undying evil.

In the days when the Erian civilizations were still young, there lived a mighty wizard in a now forgotten kingdom. His hunger for power led him to delve deeper and deeper into mysteries man was never meant to know, and as his quest lead him further down his dark path, he also became obsessed with immortality. Through nigromantic rituals and deals with old and best forgotten entities, he managed to cheat Dìs of his due.

Some art to ease you over


Lately Blogger has been making some decisions on it's own as to when certain posts should become public. For that reason, today's post appeared on your feed/reader a few hours before it was ready, tomorrow's did the same just now. To avoid people coming here to read about the Painted Man when there is no new post on that subject up as of yet, I'm giving you something else to occupy you with while I'm finishing up for the day.

As I've mentioned, I had the opportunity to visit Tate Modern a week or so ago. One of the artists I was made aware of was Helmut Herzfeld, a.k.a. John Heartfield [Wiki], a pioneer of photomontage. Some of his most famous work was done in the years between World War One and Two, and calling his art political may be an understatement. Since this post is thrown together in a hurry, I'll cut the introduction short and give you the art.

Monday, 27 June 2011

The Prince of Ashes


He seemed an island of quiet, unearthly elegance where he stood, on one of the few remaining towers of Castel Vigilius in Borgen, Cora's capital. Until recently, this had been the home of the Knights of St. Invictus. The city had been bombarded night and day for two months before it fell. They had rained fire, plague and acid on it, demons and guldamoths had thrown themselves against it's defences, and a hundred nigromancers had torn at the very fundaments of it's reality. Then it had fallen. It's fortifications crumbled, it's once magnificent temples, those few that had survived the onslaught, stripped and defiled. Hardly a single house was undamaged, and an unnatural, viscous, dark mist lay like a dirty shroud over the once proud and defiant city.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Evolution: The Malleable Paradigm


Yesterday I began the Evolution-project, and today I'll have a look at one of the fundamental concepts of Argos. I'm talking about how reality is defined, or, what governs the fundamental laws of reality. I'm not sure this will make a lot of sense to everyone, but the way I see it, this is perhaps the single most defining phenomenon in this world.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

The Evolution of a World



Lately I've been talking a bit about endings, but after every end there is a beginning. Even if the Pius Chronicles are drawing to a close, Argos will live on. The world has been a big part of my life for some years now, and I do not feel like we will be parting ways just yet. Great and terrible things have happened to it since I first visited it. Though nearly, but not quite cataclysmic, these events have greatly changed the world. Some of these events have been played out, others must be allowed to run their course. This post is the first in what will likely be a new series, where I pour out some of my thoughts on how the world will look once the dust has settled. If I'm lucky, this will take Argos into the Fourth Age.

Friday, 24 June 2011

World of Darkness: Tower of Lost Hope

 


I went to London last weekend, and while there I visited the Tate Modern. One of the exhibitions showcased brutalist architecture around the world, and it was here that I saw the lifeless, scarred concrete sculpture* of the Lebanese Burj al Murr. The thing was as tall as I am, and it slammed into my imagination with ruthless brutality.

Burj al Murr
Locus lllll

Located in down-town Beirut, this ugly 40 story tower dominates the skyline. In times not at all long past, it also dominated the city in a different way. The construction of the Murr Tower was begun in 1974, and when the Lebanese civil war erupted in -75, 28 of the tower's floors had been completed. Despite the unrest, the work continued until the whole structure had been erected. Battle-scarred even before it was finished, the tower found it's function in 1978, as a sniper-position that could dominate and terrorise the surrounding city, two kilometres out from it's base.


Thursday, 23 June 2011

Story-boarding as a roleplaying-technique





"Understanding is a three-edged sword."
-Vorlon saying


I've found that what I've been focussing on the most now that the epic Pius Chronicles are coming to an end, is how to achieve a narrative flow that ensures that all those who tell the story has, a) a feeling of involvement in, and ownership with, the tale told, and b) a sense of continuity in plot, setting, and action. The roleplaying trope is that the GM has the final say on the plot and the setting, and the players influence this through their characters. Whether the form of play is sand-boxing or rail-roading, or falls somewhere in between those two axes, this balance is deeply rooted in the culture of the hobby; most core-books have some version of, "the GM has final call over what is accepted in the game," clearly stated at least once.



Sunday, 19 June 2011

Hero: Yolander van Zaar



“I am Yolander van Zaar - and you have no place in the future!”


[The picture is painted in modern Wezellian fashion, sometime during the spring of YE 1022 when the cabal returned from the Dark Continent and set out to gather the Convocation.]


Storyteller's note: I tried this last night, but due to some formatting issues, I had to delete that post. Now that has been dealt with, and here it is. The bio is written by Håvard.



Thursday, 16 June 2011

Catharsis?

Reflections on Group Dynamics and the Problem of Epic


Last session ended with a rather frank discourse. While I heard things I found hard to hear, I also heard things I found profoundly wise. As I've said before, it is not often a GM gets direct, honest and constructive feedback. Let alone from the majority of the group. This was one such occasion. The pretext to this discussion was as follows. Item 1 – We now have two scheduled sessions left before the Pius Chronicle is officially ended. Item 2 – Some of the players thought that the evening's scenario felt futile. Bear with me while I try to reflect on what was said.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Fragments of Truth and Fiction IV


Despite the war drawing nearer, or perhaps because of it, the citizens of Apeldoorn gathered for Freeday games on the frozen channel. The cold air was filled with laughter and happy voices, and for those afternoon-hours they were as happy as they had ever been. At least the children were -- few of the adults were able to wholly forget the Year of Crisis, and the fear of it merely being the beginning.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Hero: Gryff Galan



This is a PC-biography for Gryff Galan, and is written by said PC's player. I have only formatted the text so as to fit the blog. It should have been posted a while ago, but it fell through the cracks... For that I am sorry. But here it is, updated as of 15 May, 2011.



Sunday, 12 June 2011

The Cauldron of Habaaskôr



Habaaskôr the Red was the god of the Habanati. In the early days of the Second Age, this tribe ruled a powerful kingdom that lay on what is now called the Savage Coast of the Dark Continent. The Habanati have long since vanished, and little is remembered of their customs. Apart from a single, dark artifact, only scattered ruins remain of their civilization.


The Cauldron of Habaaskôr is a large bronze cauldron, green with age, with a hard, dark red coating inside the bowl. It is richly ornamented, though the ornaments betray little of it's sinister function. The true power of the cauldron is to summon the deity from his sleep, and bind him to the will of the summoner. To accomplish this ritual, the blood of an infant boy, a young man, a warrior, an old man, and a pregnant woman must be poured into the cauldron. Thereafter a man with no siblings must be boiled alive in it. In the moment of the sacrifice's death, the summoner must call out the name of the deity three times. Once this is done, the fell god will be forced into Argos, and he must perform one task as instructed by the summoner.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Schweine



The scheduled program will resume shortly. Have a smashing day.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Reaver



Reaver-class NullGrav vessel
The Reaver is the work-horse of the Ordo Ultima Thule. It has a modular construction that allows for easy configuration for different tasks; troop-carrier, assault-craft, cargo-hauler, and VIP-transport are but some. One of the great advantages of the Reaver is it's capability to travel both in atmosphere as well as in the Void. The cylindrical cargo/troop compartment can be lifted off and replaced, according to need. The load-grapples slung beneath the hull are capable of lifting heavy loads, but can also be used to lower, or extract, troops. If configured as a troop carrier, it can carry 20 troops, as a cargo-hauler, it can lift 6,500 kg.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

The Deep South



A generation has passed since the Old Colonies fell to the Dark Horde. The Orc came out of the Broken Coast in such numbers,and with such a terrible force, that not even the most apocalyptic of prophets could foresee it. The colonies were swept away in a little over a year, and it would take more than twenty years before the Erian kingdoms attempted to reclaim what had been lost. This attempt failed, and now any hope of bringing light to the Dark Continent is slim.




Terrors of the Dark Coast


Before the dawn of man, strange and terrible creatures roamed the world, lords of air, land and sea. These beasts have long since been driven away, into extinction and oblivion. Yet now some of these races have been brought back from the depths of myth. The Queen of Stars has called these terrors back into Creation and set them loose upon her realms. Some prowl the skies, swooping down to prey upon any who stray away from cover, others lurk in the wilderness, while yet others have been bound or warped by eldritch magic and nigromancy. These are a few of them.


Sunday, 5 June 2011

EXODUS I

EDIT: I have no idea why this post ended up being moved from it's original date to today's date. I was admining the tags, and this happened. Some days Blogger acts strange. Oh well, there are worse things it could have done to me. *knocks wood


CHANCELLOR'S ORDER 10.221 
It is now clear that the inhuman forces of the Commonwealth of Man, guided by their hellish engines of reason, intend to destroy our entire civilization. Our outlying colonies have been blockaded and submitted to ruthless bombardment. No surrender has been asked for, nor accepted when offered. Tens of thousands have been killed: men, women, and children. Our homeworld is now facing a direct attack, and despite the heroic efforts of our armed forces, we have to prepare for the worst thinkable outcome. 

Thulist Architecture


This is a reference post for the Ordo Ultima Thule's various installations on Argos. While Deep Command has suffered a terrible blow, and the lunar base has been hit hard, the Thulists have gained a far to firm grasp on Argos to disappear overnight. They may no longer be able to operate at will, but they are too well dug in -- often quite literally -- to abandon the areas they have occupied.

In this post I will look at some of the structures the Outsiders have erected, and are in the process of building, since they arrived.

On Rotes in Mage: The Awakening



The other day Shieldhaven from Harbinger of Doom  asked a question about rotes and combined spells in Mage: The Awakening. I told him I'd post my take on this. Here it is.