REFLECTIONS ON RPGING IN 2018

Where to start?  Overall, a very good year of gaming.  Some real highlights with hosting the Owlbear and Wizard’s Staff in Leamington, and having lots of friends travel to game with us, meeting gaming chums in Melbourne for a session of Shadow of the Demon Lord, and releases of new editions of some of my favourite RPGs.  I was disappointed not to be able to attend Grogmeet due to a work commitment and it was a shame that for some reason Free RPG Day didn’t seem to reach Coventry or Warwickshire.

Games

Played a lot of games this year.  As with 2017, a fair bit of D&D and I do really rate 5e.  With @chimpy20 we’ve continued our excellent Forgotten Realms campaign, and had a dramatic end to the arc just before Christmas.  We had a break earlier in the year to try out Monster of the Week (run magnificently by @dan_connolly), and looking forward to trying Spire in the new year. In parallel, I’ve been playing in a 5e game of Primeval Thule, run by the dad of one of my son’s friends.  This is a more Swords and Sorcery setting with thieves guilds, powerful old families, cultists, and jungle and tomb exploration.

Our taste for Swedish RPGs has continued.  We’ve progressed with the Throne of Thorns campaign for Symbaroum and played several sessions of Mutant Year Zero.  One of my first sessions of the new year will be Forbidden Lands, which I’m really excited about.  Tempted to run it at UK Games Expo if can get my head around it in time.  We’ve also enjoyed The Strange, Infinity and Conan as part of our Sunday morning breakfast club (@chimpy20, @dan_connolly, @giryan, @Er0_0, @doc_griffiths , Chris and Dave)

I’ve continued to play and run Star Trek Adventures and always have a marvellous time.  FASA Trek was an important game to me as a young RPGer.  I’ve been running the Modiphius’ Living Campaign for the TNG era, with the excellent crew of the USS Thunderchild (@spookshow @blythy @theGrognardfile @pedr @wayne_peters) and hope to bring in some more home-brew stuff in 2019.  My pedantic Captain Senek enjoys being saved by the crew of the USS Stan Lee (thanks @pilky @tallaluhmaait @tarasis @MissJennavyrH  @ItsAJWassh). We played an excellent few sessions of the Legend of the Five Rings 4e (where I got to play a Scorpion Bushi at last, another gaming ambition – thanks @jimbohawkins) and have enjoyed running sessions of Call of Cthulhu, Wild West Cinema and Vampire the Masquearade 5e on-line (thanks @spookshow @xtamsynx @MissUnreason @restrepowriter @adamrkitch @morthrai @chrissyspill).  The latter was particularly exciting as missed out on Vampire and the whole World of Darkness in the 90s, and got to meet some new twitter RPG friends!  Maybe Vampire Dark Ages and Mage in 2019?

I began running the first part of the Dead Suns Adventure Path for Starfinder for my son, his friend, and another dad and enjoyed that very much.  Hope to get another session in soon.  At the beginning of the year, had a great focussed campaign with @Ian_h_cooper and run by Ron Edwards @RonAdept – this used the RQ2 ‘classic’ ruleset and a lot of the game was world-building and developing the rather malign metaphysics and pantheon, and psychologically exploring the growth of the young heroes .  Also had the great experience of several sessions of Nights Black Agents, run by @kinnygraham and with my fellow Bourne-wannabees @dimbyd @lintillaz @nfbenson ). I enjoyed running HeroKids for my nephews and my children and have had a great time as my bloodthirsty Cambrian Knight Aneirin in @dissectingwrlds PBEM Pendragon game.

Despite missing Grogmeet, I did manage to get an away gaming match and was very fortunate that @mark_gor very kindly pointed me towards a RPG Meetup group in Melbourne and then, even more generously, ran a game of Shadow of the Demon Lord.  This was a really excellent session in a great venue and very much enjoyed playing with @alex_cattoo @patrickoduffy @Art_the_DM – hope to do so again!

Releases of Old Favourites 

If a game defines the year, it may have to be Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay for me.  This began at the end of 2017 when Dirk asked me to run WFRP1e for Grogmeet17.  I then ran ‘Mistaken Identity’ (the first part of ‘The Enemy Within’ campaign) three further times in 2018 – for Virtual Grogmeet, at UK Games Expo, and for the Armchair Adventurers and the Grognard Files (thanks for a great session @blythy @theGrognardfile @kitch66uk @thedicemechanic).  This love for the old edition has been compounded by the release of the 4th edition from Cubicle – not played as yet, but one definitely for 2019.

Another big release for me in 2018 has been Legend of the Five Rings 5th edition, from Fantasy Flight Games.  I’d got into the hobby again when the 3rd edition was out and have really enjoyed 4th edition (and continue to do so), but was excited about new release.  We’ve played the Beginner Game and I am really liking the new mechanics, particularly around social interactions, loss of face and stress, and the Rings.  I’ve submitted an adventure I’ve written for 5e for UK Games Expo 2019 and hope to get to grips more with new edition.

2018 was also an important year for Glorantha.  Releases of the Glorantha Sourcebook, RuneQuest Glorantha, and 13th Age Glorantha but marked by the sadness of Greg Stafford’s passing.  Chaosium goes from strength to strength – strong releases, the new edition of Masks of Nyarlothotep and taking Pendragon back in house.  In 2019 I want to read through the three Gloranthan RPG rulesets and try to get some to table.

Conventions

As mentioned, I was sad not to get to Grogmeet18 but was able to attend UK Games Expo and we put on Owlbear and Wizard’s Staff mini-con in Leamington in September.

My Expo was slightly over-shadowed by a big work commitment the week following but, despite that, enjoyed it greatly as always.  Ran Symbaroum, Ars Magica 2e, and WFRP1e and had a fantastic time playing the D&D epic on Saturday night (thanks @Grami_WER).  Good to see friends and buy a few things. Picked up some books from James Raggi for LotFP and really enjoyed the HeroQuest seminar. Have submitted one session to UKGE19 and thinking about 2nd.

I was really delighted by being able to host the Owlbear and Wizard’s Staff mini-con OBaWS – so grateful to all the kind GM’s for running and for all those who joined us for the day (and curry the night before).  Ended up with 10 tables running morning and afternoon. Currently, I am looking into dates for 2019 and will think about improving on post-Con drink plans, and  make sure we have lots of D&D, and keep the samosas.

2019….

Some fun plans already underway.  As mentioned, have submitted L5R5e adventure to UK Games Expo and am thinking about offering one of WFRP5e/Symbaroum/Forbidden Lands/Star Trek Adventures for a second game.  As a player, I’ve got a session of Primeval Thule planned for January and we are starting Forbidden Lands at the weekend.

More generally, want to keep playing and running Star Trek Adventures and am starting an online game of Pendragon this month, a long-held ambition.  Thanks to some Twitter enthusiasm, we’re starting some setting/Saga/world-bulilding for an Ars Magica campaign, which may or may to also include some on-line sessions. I think our Sunday morning sessions will include Coriolis and Symbaroum down the line so for me, other GMing goals are to get L5R5e and WFRP4e to the table.  More Vampire and getting to try Mage would also be fun!

Happy new year everyone and hope to see you at Expo/Grogmeet/ and may be Owlbear… I’m off to read King Arthur Pendragon v5.2 and email Dirk with thoughts about virtual and meatspace Grogmeet.

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Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 4e – trying out character creation.

Unknown

Artur the Herb Gatherer

So, going to try out the preview PDF for WFRP4e and character creation – thought it would help me get to grips with new edition, plus see how the PC emulates those from 1e games.

Step 1 Species.

You have the option of picking a race, or rolling and getting an additional 20XP.  I’ll take the XP and roll d100.

39, Human.

Screen Shot 2018-07-29 at 12.25.27I’m good with and any roll from 01-90 will get you a human.

Character

Human

20 XP

 

 

Step 2. Class and Career

A few options here – random roll and get 50XP, roll three times and pick for 25 XP, or pick. I’ll go for middle option so can pick from a shortlist.

First roll, 71. Riverfolk Class, Smuggler Career

Second roll, 40. Peasant Class Herbalist Career

Third roll, 05. Academics Class, Nun Career

Interesting choices here…. My temptation is to go for Herbalist. Not sure how the careers link up, but may be an option to go from the this launch into wizard, witch or mystic career.

So, so far we have:

Human Peasant Herbalist, 45 XP. Screen Shot 2018-07-29 at 12.25.54

Step 3. Attributes

Again, we have three choices here.  Roll in order, and take the result for 50XP.  Roll, and arrange as you like for 25 XP, or, roll again or allocate 100 points. I think I’ll go for middle option – roll and allocate.

For my ten 2d10 rolls I get: 12, 12, 10, 12, 16, 13, 11, 16, 16, 19.

A pretty impressive set of rolls – most lying around the average mark, but several rather above. Given the PC is a Herbalist, I’ll put the highest in Intelligence, and I think because he needs to get on with his other patients and aspires to more arcane pursuits, other high scores to Fellowship and Willpower and perhaps Toughness so can resist the diseases he comes into contact with.

 

Hence:

WS   BS    S     T     Agi  Ini   Dex   Int   Wil   Fel   W   Fate  Resilience   Extra Points Move

30     32    31   36    32   33    32     39    36     36    12    2       1                   3                     4

I can spend the 3 extra points to improve Fate and Resilience – former representing luck, and latter grit and resolve.  I have a feel he may be more resilient than lucky, so will put two of the three points into resilience, and one point into fate.

WS   BS    S     T     Agi  Ini   Dex   Int   Wil   Fel   W   Fate  Resilience   Move

30     32    31   36    32   33    32     39    36     36    12    3       3                         4

Have to choose a motivation to impact on rolepaying and as a means to regain Fortune points (equal to Fate initially).  I see the young herbalist as someone curious, learning from his practical work and being an unschooled innovator.

Motivation: ‘curious and always learning’

Next, is advancing characteristics.  Can allocate 5 advances (each one equal to one point I think) to three attributes marked with a ‘+’ in the advance scheme.  These are, Toughness, Initiative and Agility.

Think I’ll add 4 to Toughness, increasing it to 40 and in turn my Toughness bonus, and +1 Agility. This will also help Wounds (increasing from 12 to 14).

WS   BS    S     T     Agi  Ini   Dex   Int   Wil   Fel   W   Fate  Resilience   Move

30     32    31   40    33   33    32     39    36     36    14    3       3                         4

Step 4.  Skills and Talents

First, species skills and talents.  As a Reiklander, I can pick, from a list, 3 skills to gain 5 Advances, and 3 skills to gain 3 Advances.

He’s a villager serving a local community so I think Animal Care, Gossip and Haggle fit well for the +5%; for the next three I’ll pick Charm, Cool, and Lore (Reikland) for the +3%.

He gets three random talents – I roll 52 (Noble Blood), 58 (Perfect Pitch), and 87 (Suave).

This is the fun of random rolls!  Something of a swerve ball in my character conception, but interesting elements to weave into his personality and backstory.

I can then pick one of Doomed, Savvy, or Suave. He’s got Suave from random roll.  Doomed seems to benefit next PC if this one dies, whereas Savvy increases Intelligence, so will go for that.

For Career Skills and Talents, I can add 40 Advances to eight skills (no more than 10 to one), and can choose a single talent.

Reviewing the first level of the Herbalist Career, Herb Gatherer, I think I’ll do the default of adding +5 to each career skill thus:

Charm Animal +5

Climb +5

Endurance +5

Lore (Herbs) +5

Outdoor Survival +5

Perception +5

Swim +5

Trade (Herbalist) +5

Screen Shot 2018-07-29 at 12.42.21

Talents – I can choose from Acute Sense (Taste), Orientation, Rover, Strider.

Of these, I like Rover, which helps sneaking around rural environments.

 

Step 5.  Trappings

These are based upon class, career and (for cash) status too.

Peasants get: Cloak, Clothing, Dagger, Pouch, Sling Bag containing Rations (1 day).

Herbalists get: Boots, Cloak, Sling Bag containing Assortment of Herbs.

Status is Brass 2 – so he gets 4d10 brass pennies, I rolled 24

 

Step 6. Adding details.

Here, get to choose name, some descriptive and psychological features.

I’ll call him Artur and will have to think about surname and how to integrate his noble blood with being a peasant herb gatherer!

Age for a human is 15+d10, I rolled a 2 so 17.

Rolling for eye colour and hair colour, I get pale grey eyes and golden brown hair for Artur.

Height is 4’9” +2d10” – I roll a 16, for 6’1”. Tall lad!

I can know choose short- and long-term ambitions.  This should be with GM input but for this practice character creation I’ll go with:

Short-term – earn the affection of the local Lord’s daughter

Long-term – become apprenticed at the College of Magic.

Step 7. Party

Probably can’t do this step at this stage.

Step 8. Bring your character to life.

10 helpful questions to generate a backstory – something to come back to when have read the setting chapter.

Screen Shot 2018-07-29 at 12.42.41

Step 9.  Advancement.

Artur has accrued 70 XP from character creation and using random tables in part.  He’s improved each of his career skills by 5 advantages and has a career talent.  To complete the herb gatherer career he also needs to increase his three career characteristics by +5 each.  He’s increased Toughness by +4, and Agility +1 so far.  70XP will get him two advances in characteristics (25 XP each) and leave 20XP.

I’ll use the two characteristic advances to increase Toughness by +1 (so he’s added a +5 in total and ‘completed’ that) and Initiative by +1.  To complete this career he needs to pick up a further four advances in Agility and in Initiative.  At that point I think Artur will consider switching to Hedge Witch…

So, finally we have:

Artur, a human herb-gatherer.  17 years of age, 6’1”.  Pale grey hair and golden brown eyes.

Status Brass 2

Characteristics (factoring in advances, savvy and suave traits)

WS    BS     S     T     Agi   Ini   Dex    Int   Wil   Fel     W   Fate  Resilience   Move

30      32    31   41    33     34     32      44    36      41    14      3          3                  4

 

Skills

Charm Animal +5

Climb +5

Endurance +5

Lore (Herbs) +5

Outdoor Survival +5

Perception +5

Swim +5

Trade (Herbalist) +5

Animal Care +5

Gossip +5

Haggle +5

Charm +3

Cool +3

Lore (Reikland) +3

 

Talents

Rover

Noble Blood

Suave

Savvy

Perfect Pitch

 

Trappings

Cloak x2, Clothing, Dagger, Pouch, Sling Bag containing Rations (1 day), Boots, Sling Bag containing Assortment of Herbs.

20 XP remaining

 

TBC: surname, background (how do I fit in noble blood? or roll again?), and party details.

 

 

 

The Owlbear and the Wizard’s Staff: Warwickshire RPG mini-con. 22nd September, 2018.

Together with Matt (@chimpy20), Lee (@leejneilson) and Griff (@doc_griffiths), we are arranging a one-day RPG event in Warwickshire on 22nd September.

The Bear and the Ragged Staff is the symbol of the Earls of Warwick and, subsequently, of the County, and we thought eminently suitable for a D&D makeover, and hence  the Con’s name became The Owlbear and Wizard’s Staff.  Thanks to Mrs Griff for the stunning artwork.

We’re going to try and keep it simple.

RPG sessions morning and afternoon, with a lunch break.  Time for a trip to the pub at the end of the day.  We’ve hired the Band Factory in Leamington as our venue – lots of space to spread out tables, near the railway station, pubs, and places to eat.

We’ll open the doors at 9am and the first RPG sessions run from 10am-1.30pm, break for lunch, and second session run from 2.30pm-6pm.

So far, we have 6 tables confirmed for each session with very kind GMs offering their services.  Games on offer are likely to include Dungeon Crawl Classics, Lamentations of the Flame Princess, Star Trek Adventures, Numenera, Shadowrun, RuneQuest Glorantha, HeroQuest Glorantha, Call of Cthulhu, Space 1889,  Monster of the Week, Feng Shui, and Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay. Hoping to have a 7th table with Star Wars (AM) and D&D 5e (PM).

I’m waiting to finalise the venue hire and will then set up tickets via Eventbrite, ideally to be available in the latter part of March.

Hoping to see you there!

@asako_soh

asakosoh@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

Legend of the Five Rings – #Session 8. A Plague of Crimes

Tsanuri's_Torii_Arch

We started the session with a heated discussion between Shiba Ujime and Susumu Zeshin as to the fate of Yuri. Zeshin counsels caution and arguing for greater proof for a legal case, and using what they know about Yuri’s use of Maho to find other possible cultists. However, Ujime, his affinity to the fire kami apparent in his demeanour, feels that it is incumbent on him to deliver punishment to the Maho-tsukai, before others are corrupted and tainted.

Despite Zeshin’s concerns, Ujime begins walking back towards Sencha and onwards to Jouzousho. Tamori Endo meditates, seeking to find clarity in the turbulence, but none comes. Moto Mongke Temur jumps on his horse, following the Phoenix Shugenja, catching him up quickly. Susumu Zeshin, troubled by his friend’s rashness, decides to travel on to Yasuragai Monastery, where the Inquisitor and her yojimbo could have been headed and where also the missing widow and daughter from Sencha had been travelling. Endo decides to follow him to the monastery. Askao Keiji, his fragile mind shattered by his intense contact with the Void, recuperates at the Inn of the Clever Frog.

Ujime and Temur arrive at Jouzousho in the middle of night – as they approach Yuri’s house, they see her young admirer, Ota, skulking about and Temur scares him off. They enter Yuri’s house – Ujime standing over her mother, and Temur draws his scimitar over the sleeping Yuri, ready to behead the witch.  As Temur’s sword flashes downwards, Yuri moves with surprising speed, a jagged knife slashing into her own arm as a ball of dark, oily, fire forms in her hand. The fire flies out to hit Temur squarely in the chest as his scimitar takes Yuri through the breastbone, ripping into her lung and windpipe, leaving her bleeding out on her bedroll. As the samurai catch their breath, Ujime begins speaking to Yuri’s mother, noticing her gaze focus behind her and her eyes widen. He turns, seeing Ota enter, knife in hand, ready to launch himself on Temur. Ujime shouts a warning and Temur, bloody scimitar still in hand, turns. His sword cuts deeply into Ota’s flank, taking his torso clean off his body, leaving his legs standing, blood pumping, until the corpse collapses. Yuri’s mother screams and Ujime tries to calm her, in the process finding out that Yuri has become cold and cruel of late. Shin and Matsei, the doshin, arrive and see what has happened and also report Bondo, the third of their number, has gone missing.   The doshin take the samurai to the Otomo Lord’s residence – as before, he us unable to take part in the discussion and is intoxicated, but his wife accepts Temir and Ujime’s account and thanks them for their help and asks them to look for the missing doshin. The samuria return thanks for the wise Otomo’s aid for the Phoenix and the Naishou governor in routing out cultists. Ujime and Temur leave the village and travel to Yasuragai.

maho

Meanwhile, Zeshin and Endo arrive at the monastery and a young novice, Ikki, takes them into meet the Abbot, Fukai. Fukai appears distracted and forgetful, seemingly unaware of the missing people and murders that have occurred in the villages nearby. However, he confirms that one of his own monks, Etoku, has gone missing whilst working in the gardens. The Abbot mentions that Etoku was friends with another monk, Asai. They visit Etoku’s room and Endo finds an enigmatic poem, where Etoku expresses suspicion of Asai, his motivations and his identity.   Zeshin meets Asai and finds him superficially to be a benign friendly monk but becomes aware that Asai is a highly trained individual – he feigns shock when Zeshin informs him of the Maho-tsukai Yuri, but the Spider is aware of his duplicity. Asai confirms what the samurai had been told by Ikki – namely, that Asai travels around the villages teaching but particularly attends to the people of Koujou.

Yasuragai Monastery

Yasuragai Monastery

Zeshin and Endo dine with the monks in their communal hall, Endo engages Asai in conversation regarding botany and gardening and is impressed by his wide knowledge of the practices of all Clans across Rokugan, clearly a very well-travelled man. As the conversation deepens, Asai turns the topic to Endo’s own life and recognizes him as a key combatant in the Destroyer war. He praises Endo for his audacity and valor in battle, despite Endo’s ongoing remorse for his actions. As the conversation progresses, Zeshin leaves and searches Asai’s room. He finds a hidden compartment in the ceiling; in it is a Scorpion kimono, spell scrolls, and a chop bearing the name ‘Yogo Aguchi’. Zeshin returns things to the box and rejoins his friend.

Ujime and Temur now arrive at the monastery and are talking with Abbot Fukai in his audience room. As with Zeshin and Endo, Ujime and Endo are struck by the Abbot’s vagueness and confusion. The Shugenja’s medical knowledge suggests that the Abbot was neither intoxicated nor subject to the senility which afflicts some ageing Rokuganis. Communing with the kami, Ujime is able to determine that the Abbot’s fire kami were constrained and repressed by dark kansen. Zeshin and Endo meet their friends in the Abbot’s audience chamber Recalling events in Nikesake, Endo and Ujime, with the Abbot’s consent, commence work on a ritual to strengthen the Abbot’s fire kami, freeing his intelligence. The ritual proves to be successful – the Abbot becomes definite and forthright in his manner. He confirms what the Shugenja remember of Yogo Aguchi – that he was a Scorpion Shugenja forced to retire from the Clan 15 years ago due to some embarrassment. The Abbot adds that the Scorpion Shugenja had lost a powerful magical artifact. The party learns that Asai has fled the monastery and, on checking his room, has taken his kimono and scrolls with him

After aiding the Abbot, the Samurai decide to travel to Koujou, the village that Asai commonly visited. Koujou is a modestly-sized village, probably at most 200 people, perched on the banks of a small stream. An elegant arched bridge crosses the stream, and to one side of the bridge is a large wooden building mounting a waterwheel. As it slowly turns, passersby can hear the heavy, laborious “thump, thump” of a giant mortar and pestle within. A medium-large samurai house is located on the edge of the village, with a large garden that overlaps the stream.  The Samurai present themselves to the local lord, Miya Kishin, an elderly man who excuses himself to his garden, asking the arrivals to speak with his son, Miya Kuboti, and the doshin, Koto. Kuboti and Koto confirm that Asai visited the village often, and spent time with family who ran the mill, Chio and her grandchildren. Kuboti adds that the disappearance from their village is Chio’s grandson, Higaisha. Kuboti kindly offers to take the samurai to the mill.

Miya Kuboti

Miya Kuboti

The Samurai enter the mill, the regular thump of the mortar and pestle beating alongside their hearts. As they enter, their eyes accommodating to the dull light inside, they see a fearful, beetle-like Oni in the center, claws snapping. Behind, shuffling into the darkness comes the blind mill-worker, Chio, accompanied by a young woman and the missing Doshin, Bondo, from Jouzousho.

Oni

Oni

Despite the fear the samurai feel, they draw on their honor and the Bushido virtue of Yu, courage. Kuboti turns to the samurai, grinning, his hand on his katana. Moving with speed, he draws, landing a powerful blow on Zeshin. The fight begins in earnest – Zeshin supporting Temur and Endo, defending them from attack, whilst the Unicorn attacks relentlessly with his no-dachi, seemingly oblivious to this wounds. Temur strikes – slaying Kuboti with one mighty blow. The shugenja call on the kami – Endo sending powerful jade blasts at the Oni, piercing his defenses, whilst Ujime breathes gouts of flame across the cultists and the Oni, moving across the mill. The leader of the cultists, Chio, seemingly resists Ujime’s flame, absorbing their force into her amulet, until the power of the kami overwhelms her, leaving her shrieking in flames. The battle is brutal: after Endo inflicting a mighty Jade-charged wound on the Oni, the kami fail to hear his call, perhaps due to his prayers being incoherent due to the beating he receives from the doshin Bondo. Ujime, after burning the cultists, is mortally wounded by the Oni. The Oni’s talons strike him full on the chest, rending him open and tossing him mercilessly across the mill, where he lies unmoving and bleeding out. Despite their wounds, Zeshin and Temur keep on fighting – with the Unicorn dispatching the Oni with a mighty swing of his sword. Zeshin finishes off the doshin as one cultist flees, Temur mounting on his horse, chasing and cutting her down. The session ends with Endo, broken and bloody, crawling across the floor, covered with burned and torn flesh, to the mutilated body of his friend, Ujime.


IMG_4752 IMG_4750

Star Wars Edge of the Empire game: introducing Xim Chamra, Falleen Gunslinger

SW_EotEI’m excited to be starting playing in a Star Wars Edge of the Empire RPG game on Monday evening, run by @Chimpy20, with whom I regularly game at my place.

Here’s the background info we’ve been given:

The game will be Edge of the Empire based, but using content from the whole trilogy of books. You can use any source when creating your characters, but the only thing I ask if that someone playing owns a copy of the sourcebook you want to use. Let me know if you want to borrow any of my books.

You’ll be starting on the Inner Rim planet of Taanab, at the farming town of Arkridge. Arkridge rests on the rolling grasslands which cover most of Taanab. The planet is well known for it’s agricultural exports, and ships and planetary vehicles are coming and going all the time from Arkridge to the planet’s capital, Pandath, bringing in supplies such as clothing, machinery, and armaments, and departing with foodstuffs like meat, grain and vegetables. Arkridge has a population of about 2500, and is one of myriads of similar farming communities all over the planet. Taanab is on the Perlemian Trade Route, which runs from Coruscant all the way out to Wild Space.

The Galactic Empire has recently taken an interest in Taanab, having paid it little attention since the fall of the Old Republic. The Empire’s motivations in having a larger presence at the system are unclear. In recent months, Imperial dropships have been seen descending onto the grasslands and depositing mobile structures and leaving behind contingents of personnel and soldiers.

The timeline of the adventure is shortly after the Battle of Yavin and destruction of the first Death Star.

Your character should have a reason for being in Arkridge. This is likely to tie into your character’s Background, Motivation, and Obligation/Morality, but need not to. Feel free to make up an NPC/organisation or ask me to give you one, if you need to hook into a particular NPC/. Here are a few ideas:

– You’ve come to Arkridge to investigate the Imperial presence.

– You come from the area originally and are visiting friends or family

– You are a scientist or vet investigating some kind of problem with crops or animals.

– You fly a vessel transporting goods to and from settlements on Taanab.

– You are on the hunt of a criminal or wanted person and your trail has lead you to Arkridge.

– You are a member of the Rebel Alliance seeking support of locals

– You’re selling items of dubious legality to the farmers

– Or whatever you can imagine…

For simplicity’s sake I would prefer not to bring in the Duty system from AoR, but feel expressly free to use Morality from FaD if you are a force user, otherwise pick an Obligation. There are additional obligations in most of the EotE supplements.

@Chimpy20 has also mentioned that we would run Force and Destiny for our tabletop group, so despite the temptation, I thought I’d resist a Force-sensitive character and go for one from the Edge of the Empire books, given that is the main backdrop for the game.

Looking through the books, Smugglers appeal (either pilot or gunslinger), as do Explorers (scouts, or archaeologists) and Technicians (mechanic).  Other players have suggested that they may go for pilot and tech-types so I think a gunslinger may be fun.  I’m not one for playing combat-orientated PCs, but with this build I can perhaps diversify with some inter-personal and criminal skills.  The Falleen as a race seem to fit these ideas – links to the Black Sun, get Charm skill, and Beguiling Pheromones (upgrades Charm, Deception, and Negotiation at the price of some strain).

So here he is, Xim Chamra:

Falleen Smuggler Gunslinger, Xim Chamra

Concept: Xim was the son of a powerful Black Sun Vigo, related to Xizor. He grew up in luxury on Coruscant, conducting operations for his family and the organisation. However, his family recently fell out of favour in an inter-family conflict, many dying to Xizor’s faction. Xim managed to flee, the resources of Black Sun denied him and his details given to the Imperials. Both of these organizations are now hunting for him. Xim is hiding out in the quiet town of Arkridge, on Taanab, trying to set up independent criminal operations.

 Falleenn

Obligation 20, Bounty.

Brawn 2

Agility 3

Intellect 2

Cunning 3

Willpower 2

Presence 3

Beguiling Pheromones – 2 strain to upgrade charm, deception, negotiation.

Career Skills:

Charm 1

Coordination

Deception

Knowledge (Underworld) 1

Perception 1

Piloting (Space)

Skullduggery 1

Streetwise 1

Vigilance 1

Coercion

Cool 1

Knowledge (Outer Rim)

Ranged (Light) 2

Talents:

Rapid Reaction

Motivation: ambition (freedom).

 Wounds: 12

Strain: 14

Soak: 3

Gear:

Blaster pistol (damage 6, crit 3, stun setting)

Heavy clothing

Commlink

Stimpack

Legend of the Five Rings – #Sessions 6 & 7. A Plague of Crimes.

We restarted our L5R campaign with our PC’s in Kawa Forest, in the Naishou Province.

Our uncouth Unicorn Bushi, Moto Mongke Temur, was sparring with the Kenku Taro as Shiba Ujime and Tamori Endo meditated. Taro was pleased with their efforts in helping the Ningyo in the province and was willing for them to return to their primary mission: to investigate the missing Phoenix samurai as requested of them by Asako Kyoshi, an Inquisitor, back in Nikesake.

Before they return to Toshi no Naishou, Taro wishes to strengthen the group. The Champion of Void, Shiba Sakamoto, has left to explore the spirit realms with the Kitsune Soni, his wife. Two figures step into the grove, one, a Spider samurai who our heroes remember from the Blue Tiled Room – Susumu Zeshin. Accompanying him is a nervous looking young man in tattered Phoenix robes, Asako Keiji. Keiji brings a scroll, addressed to Shiba Ujime, and from the Master of Void. The letter renders Keiji into Ujime’s care – to be supported, watched and tested. He is a former peasant, adopted by the clan, due to his unusual ability to commune with the Void. Taro states that Susumu Zeshin will be his Champion of Air, and Asako Keiji his Champion of Void.   Taro informs the group that he may call on them again to support the Five Ancient Races and to protect Rokugan and the Celestial Order from threats from the Colonies.

The group departs, travelling by boat to the capital of the province, Toshi no Naishou. Whilst there, Temur spends time with the Governor’s daughter, Miya Iaimiko, and Zeshin learns of politics in the region and the goal of the Spider Clan in Naishou from Susumu Oiji, a scribe at the governor’s court. Meanwhile, Ujime attends to the spiritual and health needs of the heimin population and Endo enjoys a discussion of botany and gardening with a Crane artisan. The group learns that in addition to the missing Phoenix, several villagers and a Samurai child has also gone missing from a group of villages to the East of the province. Iaimiko accompanies the samurai part-way as they travel to investigate.

Miya Iaimiko

Miya Iaimiko

They stop first at the nearest village of the group, Jouzousho Village. They fail to gain an audience with the village’s Samurai, Otomo Susan, initially but with persistence see him and realize he has lost his honor to decadence: spending his time with his concubine and sake. The Samurai learn from the doshin of the village that there have been three disappearances and a murder over the last several weeks. One of the missing people is a geisha, Hana, whim the locals believe has run off with a lover. However, when the Shugenja find a note to Hana from her purported samurai lover, the calligraphy is of too poor quality to be that of a samurai, even a Crab or a Unicorn. The samurai also learn that the murder and one of the disappearances connect to a beautiful young sake-worker, Yuri, in that they were both her admirers. However, when questioned, Yuri baffles Zeshin with her ability to resist his questioning but Keiji, entering into an alarming trance-like state, confirms that there is more to her than meets the eye and that she hides a dark truth.

Isawa Taeko, Inquisitor

Isawa Taeko, Inquisitor

The samurai travel onto Sencha village, the last known location of the two Phoenix samurai, Isawa Taeko, an Inquisitor, and her yojimbo, Shiba Otembo. The samurai speak with the doshin and the innkeeper at the Inn of the Clever Frog. They find the missing Phoenix’s belongings, including Isawa Taeko’s journal, which Shiba Ujime takes into his safekeeping without reading. Communing with the kami, Ujime finds the road the missing Phoenix have taken, seemingly in haste given the belongings left in the room, and Temur tracks them along the road to Yasuragai monastery, until they leave the road to a clearing in the forest. Here, they spot a piece of Phoenix robe. Keji communes with the Void, taking his spirit back to events that occurred. He returns to his comrades shattered and disturbed – he witnesses the two Phoenix samurai being killed by a foul, flying beetle, an Oni, the yojimbo dismembered and eaten and the Inquisitor carried off in its maw. Ujime once agin asks the kami for guidance – seeking the oni and where he took the Inquisitor, however,  the air kami show him a brief image from before the arrival of the Oni, and Ujime sees a beautiful young woman, Yuri, slashes at her arm and invoking Maho….

Yuri, using Maho

Yuri, using Maho

LEGEND OF THE FIVE RINGS – A CLASH OF IDEOLOGIES SESSION #5

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Last session we left the Samurai in Inari Seido, meeting Mareshi, the half-Naga husband of the former Dragon Clan champion. He confirms that his mind becomes filled with dark visions at night, of attacking his brother monks and destroying their fields, and pleads for the samurai to aid him, reiterating his wish to be locked in his room until he controls himself.   The Abbot asks the players for their advice – he tells the Samurai that a Crane delegation is on its way to the monastery, offering to protect the monks from the Ningyo, the leader, Kakita Matabei, has written to the Abbot saying that the wisdom of the monks will see that the Crane are best protectors of the Fortunes and the Province.  Shiba Sakomoto recognises the name of the Crane – the Kakita killed his brother in a duel several years ago.

The Samurai approach the bank of the Itochu River as dusk falls, Temur leading the way on his horse.  They are set upon by feral Ningyo and a fierce battle ensues.  The battle ends by a Ningyo from the rushes calling out to the samurai in Rokugani asking them to desist – Sakamoto and Temur kill the last resisting Ningyo and speak with the new arrival, who introduces himself as Nolus.  Nolus tells the players that his people had been told by Itochu no Kami that the samurai would be coming to their aid – he informs that his people are battling one another, and some of the Ningyo have changed in nature, becoming more bestial.  He fears what the Empire will do if the Rokugani remember the Ningyo and seek to destroy them.  The Shugenja know that there is a myth that eating the flesh of Ningyo grants the eater immortality.

Ningyo

Ningyo

The Samurai remove their armour and many of their weapons and accept Nolus’ invitation to follow him and meet his father.  The players find that the Lapis Lazuli amulets given to them by the Kenku Taro allow them breathe and communicate underwater.  Nolus’ father is Athon, ruler of this nest of Ningyo.  He tells the samurai that many of the feral Ningyo have left their home and are attacking his people, he keeps many of them imprisoned and is clearly saddened by the civil war wracking his people.  The Samurai return to the surface, remembering Taro’s promise that Soni would help them resolve the Ningyo’s problems.

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On returning to the bank, the players see the Crane delegation have arrived. Kakita Matabei and Shiba Sakamoto argue over the death of Sakamoto’s brother, Matabei insulting his honour.  A duel is called.  As the samurai prepare, Sakamoto feels a creature rub up against his leg and sees Soni, in fox form.  She speaks to him privately, offering to help him in the duel in return that he marries her and leaves Ningen-Do with her.  Soni has sensed his religious doubts and wishes to show him the reality of the spirit realms.  Soni imparts some knowledge of Kenku swordsmanship to Sakamoto.  The duel begins with Matebei being very skilled, however, Sakamoto draws deeply on his own Void and that of Soni and is victorious, Matabei committing seppuku with honour.

Kakita Matabei

Kakita Matabei

At the end of the duel, Soni hands over a clear, almost translucent, large pearl to the Samurai asking them to take it to Athon. Soni now calls in on the promise – asking Shiba Ujime to marry her to Shiba Sakamoto – and they leave the mortal realm together.  The samurai return to the Ningyo’s home, giving the pearl to Athon and, as they hand it to him, both Shugenja feel an intense wave of rage and hostility and get an impression of a dark presence, far away, in a tropical jungle.

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We leave the Samurai with being thanked by Itochu no Kami and returning to Taro, where he begins to train them.