Monday, July 31, 2017

The Bloody Palm


Campaign: Krevborna Open Table (5e D&D)

- Kylic, half-elf life domain cleric
- Thane Ganymede, darakhul wizard
- Leonid, weretouched fighter

Objective: Locate four pieces of a glass object that Kylic saw in his vision.

Events: Kylic had been having recurring dreams of a a bloody hand print upon a wooden door, hog pens, and a journey north to the hamlet of Stenton. The most prominent feature of these dreams was a glass object that had been sundered into four pieces. Kylic knew that the pieces of this glass, if recovered, could be a powerful weapon against a force of darkness currently gnawing at the roots of Krevborna.

To draw together some companions to assist his pursuit of the vision, Kylic went to an outdoor market. He witnessed the attempted murder of an old man by a street ruffian; the would-be murderer was killed by the combined efforts of Thane and Leonid. Suitable compatriots had been found. 

(The old man was saved from the assassin's knife by a chain shirt he had been given on the streets of Chancel months ago in a previous session.)

Heading north, the party stopped at Stenton. Father Bray, the priest at Stenton's church warned Leonid away from a cave the locals believed to be haunted. Kylic learned that a farmer named Hamish lived in the vicinity, and that his hogs were widely considered to be of the best quality. Since the dream motivating their journey involved hogs, they made Hamish's farm their next stop.

Posing as a prospective buyer, Kylic distracted Hamish  (and healed Hamish's gout) while Leonid and Thane snooped about the premises. Leonid found a bloody hand print upon the door of the farmer's shed. What he found inside was worse: the body of a young man was hanging from a meathook, his blood draining into a metal basin at his feet.

When confronted with this information, Hamish tried to play it off as the body of an intruder he had killed on his farm, but ultimately he confessed that he had overpowered the man and tried to make him a replacement for his dead son. 

He also confessed to having another captive in the house, a man named Theodore who the party healed and set free. Hamish was subdued and the party decided to rest overnight within the farmer's house.

Their rest was interrupted by sounds of frightened yelling coming from the forest at the edge of Hamish's farm. The party ventured into the forest and found a cleric of the Church of Saintly Blood lying wounded against a tree. 

Her name was Vicar Dylia, and she explained that she was part of an expedition sent by the Church to find an artifact believed to be within an ancient shrine. She was convinced to take the party to the shrine.

The "shrine" was a short tower with a domed roof. Dylia refused to go inside because she was traumatized by the attack her group had suffered from the "skinless men" they had released from the shrine when they broke down its door.

Undeterred, the party entered. Inside the tower was a ledge surrounding a central pit of black water. A light spell was cast on a stone; throwing it down into the water revealed a corridor that ran beneath the water to a unknown location.

Leonid accepted the task of exploring the underwater corridor. He emerged at the other end in a circular chamber strewn with bones and debris. The domed ceiling of the chamber was painted with vivid scenes of gaunt, inhuman figures torturing and tormenting human beings.

The trio began to explore the chambers. They discovered a glass hemisphere giving off a blood-red radiance embedded in the floor of one chamber. Within the hemisphere could be seen the head of an inhuman woman whose lower face was obscured by a veil made of fine chain. 

Further exploration determined that the chamber below was responsible for the illuminating red light; the light was streaming from a gilded basin filled with inhuman blood. When Kylic swished the blood in the basin he discovered that the source of the light was a glass chunk at the bottom of the basin--it was one of the pieces of glass he had seen in his dream.

The party also found a ledge from which they could see more bones, debris, and swords lying in a cavern, as well as a statue that appeared to be the same chain-veil wearing women they had seen previously in the hemisphere. The chain veil on the statue was not a carved piece of the sculpture, and thus was duly looted--as was a chunk of gold with a blood-red gem embedded in it that had replaced one of her stone eyes.

The remaining three pieces of the glass artifact were located on an altar flanked by gaunt, monstrous statues bearing swords. Unfortunately, as the party was looting the altar a cloud of ash began to whisper into the chamber, with a sound like sand blown against stone, coalescing into two tall, thin figures bearing curved swords. 

The ensuing battle was brutal; the party took an early beating--both Thane and Leonid found themselves face-to-face with death (in Leonid's case, no less than three times), but Kylic's magic kept them alive. The tide eventually turned in the party's favor, and Leonid delivered the death blow to both of the ancient swordsmen.

Forgoing further exploration, the party left the shrine. Vicar Dylia attempted to take the glass shards from the party by force, but Kylic's last spell subdued her. They returned to Hamish's farm to recuperate. Before returning to Piskaro, Kylic killed Hamish for his murderous, cruel crimes and buried him in the family's small burial plot.

XP: 1083 xp each

- Violet garnet (90 gp)
- Gilded bowl depicted Lilituans sacrificing humans (100 gp)
- Chain veil (40 gp)
- Statue of a Lilitu noble wearing a chain veil (100 gp)
- Pouch containing 22 cp found on dead assassin

Magic Items:
Golden nugget with red gemstone embedded in it. (Once per day when you hold this item you get advantage on a Persuasion, Insight, or Deception check made against an undead creature.)

Sorrowsworn, a curved sword made of ancient metal, inscribed with runes in an elder language. (Magical short sword; inflicts an extra 1d6 damage against Lilituan descendants and vampires.)

Four pieces of magical glass, the purpose of which is currently obscure.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Lyssa's Torment

† Lords of Shadow 2 soundtrack - Carmilla †
† Funeral - Red Moon †
† Theatres des Vampires - Throne of Dark Immortals †
† Cradle of Filth - Funeral in Carpathia †
† Ancient - Lilith's Embrace †
† Rise of Avernus - Ethereal Blindness †
† Old Man's Child - Funeral, Swords and Souls †
† Ancient Ceremony - Shadows of the Undead †

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Shooting at the Walls of Heartache Bang Bang

Nadya looks a bit like Kolin from
Street Fighter V, but her accent
is even worse.
I had the pleasure of helping playtest Paul V.'s GRIDSHOCK role-playing game. My character is a Soviet defector named Nadya Sibirskaya who joined the a secret organization who saw the SHOCK coming; she was trained as an agent of Harvest, placed in cryogenic suspension to ride out the apocalypse, and is now read to begin rebuilding the world. She's got psychic powers and is trained in Systema, so look out, evildoers. 

Here's what happened:

Vat a time! I awoke inside a Supremacy military vehicle, shackled to the wall with some sort of headgear placed on head. With me are talking dead man, American barbarian who makes smells, man who is cactus, and girl. Supremacy robot is standing guard. We struggle with shackles, eventually break free when vehicle is attacked. We feel vehicle lift from ground, we hear gunfire and yelling, explosions. I punch robot but is no good--metal body too strong for fist. Others deal with. We find our belongings; is good thing, Pat Benatar tapes and Walkman very rare.

We are greeted by large man call himself SlimJim. He is hulking brute, but is rescuing brute at least. He want to take us to his lead in Yankee Lake, is good. But his group going to execute Supremacy soldiers. Nyet! Is no good. Girl uses powers, crushes us all with heavy gravity until SlimJim relents. I control mind of man with blaster because he is weak to my superior mental powers. Now I have blaster. We negotiate deal. Supremacy prisoners go with us to Yankee Lake.

At Yankee Lake is Truck Night. Am disappoint that is not person named Truck Knight. We meet leader, Alpha Dog, and girl child who seem to call shots. Vat a place, this Yankee Lake. Alpha Dog vant us to go to Prism and find whatever Supremacy searching for. 

But this is problem because we see people of Yankee Lake treated horribly by Alpha Dog's gang. Is no better than treatment of Supremacy. Convening with new comrades we agree to overthrow Alpha Dog. But when? Is difficult situation. Is like how the Bruce Springfield say, we are dancing in dark.

Alpha Dog invite us to Truck Night. We watch truck with large tire crush other vehicles. Is stupid, decadent American entertainment. After truck crushing show, Alpha Dog have arena built--is going to make Supremacy prisoners fight exhumans. Nyet! Is also no good. Barbarian possess Alpha Dog, send him out window. Dead man also fly out window. Cactus punch SlimJim. I turn on Walkman, tape begin playing "The Warrior" by Scandal. It does me much inspire. I wrestle SlimJim, getting him in gulag leg-lock, but have feeling that he is strong like proud Russian bear. Vat vill happen next?

Monday, July 24, 2017

The Final Programme

Michael Moorcock is one of the most influential science fiction and fantasy authors of the latter half of the 20th Century. Chief among his contributions to speculative fiction is the creation of the Eternal Champion, a hero "doomed" to save the world. One such manifestation of the Eternal Champion is Jerry Cornelius, the central character of The Final Programme, a book deemed too psychedelic for publication in 1965 but finally unleashed upon the world in 1968. Jerry gets wrapped up in a wild scheme concocted by sinister computer scientist Miss Brunner to steal documents created by his dead scientist father from the clutches of his drug-maddened brother Frank. What starts as a heist story quickly reveals itself to be something far more bizarre.

How do ultra-decadence and flashy modernity mix? Which is more exciting: World Ice Theory or radical gender fluidity? Where does pro wrestling fit into all of this? Is Michael Moorcock a time-traveling wizard? Find out the answers to all this and more in this month's episode of Bad Books for Bad People.

Intro/Outro music: "Christ You Bring the End" by Sabbath Assembly

Find us at, on Twitter @badbooksbadppl, Instagram @badbooksbadpeople and on Facebook. You can discover where to get all the books featured on Bad Books for Bad People on our reading list.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

The Witch's Guest

† Interview with a Vampire soundtrack - Theatre des Vampires †
† Penny Dreadful soundtrack - Mother of Evil †
† Sleepy Hollow soundtrack - Into the Woods/The Witch †
† From Hell soundtrack - Death Coach †
† The Wolfman soundtrack - The Funeral †
† Van Helsing soundtrack - Attacking Brides †
† Dracula soundtrack - Vampire Hunters †
† The Village soundtrack - It is Not Real †

Friday, July 21, 2017

The Rise of the Forsaken Fangs

Campaign: The Forsaken Fangs (Scarabae, 5e D&D)

- Kaldwyn Nessilnor, half-elf sorcerer
- "King" Rance, cactusoid fighter
- Nestor, shadar-kai wizard
- Bellwether Hooks, human rogue
- Ambrose Lynch, human ranger

Objective: Steal Bargle's stash of opium and cocaine from the Mentzer Distillery.

Events: There's a new gang in the Toiler's Ditch area of Scarabae: The Forsaken Fangs. The Fangs' leadership is comprised of Kaldwyn Nessilnor, the nominal brains of the operation--a disowned son of an elf shipping magnate; "King" Rance, the gang's muscle--he claims that in his home country he was king until he was ousted by a coup; Nestor, the group's schemer--he's an acolyte in a horrible Cthulhu-worshiping cult; Bellwether Hooks--she says she's a society lady, but her accent and skill with lock picks say otherwise; Ambrose Lynch--a traumatized former soldier. 

The Forgotten Fangs want to enter into the local drug trade in a big way, but that niche is already filled by dealers working for Bargle the Infamous, an intoxicant-peddling wizard who is the current drug tsar of the district. Rather than take on his dealers in the streets and fight for territory, the Fangs decide to move in on Bargle's supply. 

Greasing the right palms in Toiler's Ditch gives them a lead: Bargle is storing his wares in the old Mentzer Distillery, a disused booze-yard at the edge of the ward. The locals who aren't on Bargle's payroll and aren't addicts are only too eager to help; it turns out that Bargle was responsible for the murder of a much-loved local cleric who always gave alms to the poor. The upstanding citizens of Toiler's Ditch would love for the wizard to get some comeuppance for that.

The Forgotten Fangs make their move at night. The sentry at the distillery's back door, a bugbear thug with a pet wolf, is taken out quickly and quietly. Inside, things are quiet. Too quiet. Disturbingly quiet. Where are all of Bargle's henchmen? Who is guarding the stash?

Opposition first comes in the way of a group of skeletons that Bargle had animated to scare off any trespassers. The Fangs manage to bottleneck themselves in a narrow hallway; Bellwether furiously tries to pick a lock so the gang might make their stand under better circumstances while the group's scrappers hold off their undead assailants. They make a hash of it, honestly.

Things get even worse when the gang is ambushed by Bargle's trained darkmantles. The darkmantles cut the lights, then begin to pick off each member of the Forsaken Fangs one by one, knocking them unconscious. When the Fangs awaken, the snickering, goatee'd Bargle is standing over them. He has an offer they can't refuse.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Bewildering Attitudes I Have Encountered in the Wild (part 8 of don't go away mad just go away)

  • This adventure is not a true sandbox because it fails to detail every possible place on the planet/multiverse that the players could choose to go to. What a railroad!
  • I am really mad that my gaming group wants to play D&D instead of this game that they find less fun.
  • It's problematic that players have to wait until 3rd level to get some of their big abilities! (Do you give 1st level characters access to 9th level spells?) No! Players should have to work for new abilities!!
  • The people in my small niche of the hobby are the only creative ones! We deserve awards and mentions in history books. And if we don't get them, we'll give ourselves awards!
  • When I ask who is doing interesting game design what I am really asking you to do is draw a circle around me and my friends.
  • I've created a revolutionary new mechanic. I'm calling it a "dice pool."

      Wednesday, July 19, 2017

      Into the Tomb of Lornegreene

      art by Fnautic
      Excerpted from the diary of Cassie Mabcrowe, teenage warlock currently adventuring in Wampus Country:

      Dear Diary,

      I come from a land of nightmarish horrors, but Wampus Country manages to be unnerving in hitherto untold and unimaginable ways. I found myself in Thistlemarch with a odd assortment of fellow travelers, being offered employment by a talking duck! Can you imagine such a thing? If only my employer knew how delicious he would be considered in my homeland. In any event, the duck was willing to outfit us for an expedition to explore (and apparently rob) the tomb of some ancient king I've never heard of. So off we went.

      We found ourselves in a canyon, but the desolate place was not uninhabited. A tribe of barbarians whose totem is the Black Eagle had made their camp below. One of our number, a maniac named Soq, crept down to their encampment of yurts and...set fire to their dwellings. Dear Diary, I have begun to suspect that my companions on this journey are madmen. 

      The barbarians came out of their yurts and put out the fire, so this seemed like as good a time as any to approach them and signal that we mean no harm. I bluffed their leader by claiming that we spotted the fire and came to aid them; I patted my satchel of herbs and surgeon's tools and inquired if any of them required aid. A little false deference to their "noble savagery" and protestations of rural kinship went a long way. We discovered that their shaman had disappeared down a mysterious hole and had not yet returned. The Black Eagle warriors seemed to fear the worst, but also not really care if their shaman made it back or not.

      We began to ascend a weird, pillared platform so we might descend down into the aforementioned hole when we were attacked by a gaggle of...murder blankets. I blasted one into oblivion and felt the invigorating thrill of bringing death into the world. (Jezamine, my diabolic tempter, smiled with delight at this wanton viciousness.) But then my face was engulfed by one of the carpets. One of my compatriots graciously cut the thing off of my face before I was smothered. It tasted like a babushka's afghan. 

      Down into the hole, which now appeared to be the entrance to a sunken tower. We found a trail of blood that led us to where the Black Eagle shaman and his fellows were hiding from sand creatures that we never saw. One of the shaman's companions was badly injured, but my divine gift kept him on this side of the Black Door. (Evelyn, my guardian angel, smiled beatifically at this act of kindness.) I also got to show these primitives what a little book learning can do; I used my surgical implements and midwifery to expertly amputate what remained of the wounded man's arm.

      Despite their reputation for barbarism, the Black Eagles had no stomach for exploring the tomb. They returned to surface, but we kept delving. Mosquito, the dwarf in our party, seemed obsessed with detecting magic. We encountered some sort of undead monstrosity, whose head I exploded much to devilish Jezamine's amusement, and another undead thing that seemed to be a reanimated butler. Do all rich people employ the deceased to press their dainty underthings? The mind boggles. Anyway, Mosquito asked to be alone with this one to speak to it privately. 

      Note to self: keep an eye on this Mosquito person; something isn't quite right there. Why does he wear a mask all the time? Why is there an arrow on his hat? Why does he want alone time with dead people?

      Note to self #2: Mosquito did not like the "short" jokes Alesandro and I were making about him. 

      Note to self #3: Keep making those jokes. Even Evelyn doesn't tsk me for them.

      We later discovered some giant pale ants ransacking a room and trying on clothing or somesuch. We killed one of them, and the other fled down a tunnel. With few other options for exploration open to us, we eventually went in pursuit. What we found was an ant-woman hybrid, hideous of aspect and querulous of character. Alesandro and Mosquito parlayed with the unnatural beast and her entourage while Soq and I waited for the inevitable violence to break out. Parlay came to a crashing halt when the ant-woman began to demand that we bring her a harpsichord in return for her permission to explore deeper within the tomb. 

      And then we slew them all, even the larvae. We gathered up an astounding array of treasure--I believe I have enough saved up now to buy my own horse! Dear Diary, whatever shall I name her? 

      We also brought up some larvae to roast and eat. Can't be worse than snake, I reckon.

      And so, Dear Diary, goodnight!


      Monday, July 17, 2017

      Post Traumatic Adventure Syndrome

      Campaign: Scarabae Open Table (5e D&D on Google Hangouts)

      - Leonid Vok, weretouched fighter
      - Traviata Manu, human artificer
      - Lavender Wildrose, human rogue
      - Alesandro, half-elf rogue
      - Jupiter Jones, (something short, I think?) mystic
      - Khajj Khala, minotaur cleric

      Objective: Restore a dead adventurer's apartment to normalcy.

      Events: The party was assembled by Phineas Smiley, a representative of the Smiley Bank--a smarmy dwarven banking institution whose motto is "Give Us Your Money and You'll be Smilin'." Phineas explained that the bank had taken ownership of an apartment after the loanee, a former adventurer, had died with his loan left unpaid. The Smiley Bank wanted to employ a group of adventurers to venture inside to "fix" the second floor of the apartment; the second floor was experiencing some planar weirdness, and the bank needed that corrected so they could flip the property and sell it off.

      Key in hand, the party traveled to the tower apartment complex. The tower's elevator was on the exterior of the building; it took the form of a mechanically-modified giant roach--the wings opened like doors and inside were buttons to press corresponding to the desired floor. The party opted to start at the first floor of the adventurer's two-floor apartment; the cockroach lurched and clambered up the building, depositing them on the twelfth floor.

      The kitchen and living room area were arranged on a open plan, with a sliding glass door leading out to a balcony. In the living area the party discovered a mechanical device shaped like a cardinal; the cardinal's beak was open and the interior covered with a metal mesh. A wax cylinder was held in the cardinal's claws. As a former opera singer, Traviata knew how to operate the device; pressing one of its feathers set the cylinder spinning--the apartment was soon filled with the mournful sound of film noir-style jazz. Horrid saxophone solos and all that.

      The desk in the corner of the living room had a large metal turtle on its scarred surface that turned out to be a typewriter. Someone had typed "Only blood can open the silver door of the mind" on the paper still stuck in the machine. Alesandro noticed that the balcony was covered with some sort of hive, but when a number of gigantic buzzing bees emerged he quickly shut the door and decided that they were better left undisturbed. A further strange message was found etched into the bottom of an enamel wash basin discovered in the laundry room: "GUILTGUILTGUILT NEVER CLEAN AGAIN CANNOT WASH MYSELF CLEAN I REMEMBER IT ALL." Further exploration located a walk-in closet. Inside was a single wardrobe that held a former adventurer's gear: a set of unmended and blood-stained leather armor, a bag containing thieves' tools and a number of coins, and a rusty shortsword. The adventurer's bedroom evidenced that his life had taken a turn; the sheets were soiled, the bed was unmade, and a pipe was found on the side table. 

      Due to her training as an alchemist, Traviata identified the pipe as a "runeburner" and the translucent parchment as hallucinogenic runes. She understood that the runes on the translucent parchment were a type of drug taken by people looking for a way erase traumatic memories; however, she also knew that in some cases these drugs could actually make traumatic memories manifest as reality in the world. This information, combined with a psychic impression that Jupiter received, went a long way to explaining what had gone wrong in the apartment. Jupiter had a vision of someone in leather armor desperately picking a lock in a dungeon while their compatriots screamed for help behind them.

      Ready to tackle the second floor, the party ascended up the apartment's spiral staircase. Whereas the first floor held evidence of residency by a disturbed person, the architecture of the second floor was itself disturbed and deranged. Instead of a series of rooms that matched those on the previous floor, the party exited the spiral stairs and found themselves on a short stone landing surrounded by rough brick walls that would be more at home in a dank dungeon than a rental property. The only feature before them was a heavy stone slab door with half a silver bowl embedded in it. Above the bowl was carved "FEED YOUR PAIN," and the bowl had the remains of dried blood within it. Leonid sought to cut his hand to drip a few drops of his blood inside, but he was gripped by a mania to cut deeper--his blood splattered within the bowl, and the door groaned open.

      Beyond was a tunnel of rough stone bricks that opened into a small chamber and then turned right. The party followed the right turn and found themselves in a circular chamber. A pile of small rectangular stones sat the the middle of the chamber; a hole of utter blackness floated at the top of the domed ceiling directly above the pile--every so often another rectangular stone block would drop from the hole and tumble down to the pile. Another stone slab door--this one with a small hole in its center--made up a portion of the circular wall. Examining the stones revealed that each was inscribed with the word "BURDEN"; an inscription above the door read "YOUR SHAME GIVES YOU SUBSTANCE." 

      While investigating the room, the adventurers were subjected to a sudden flash of light. When the light receded the party was confronted by three menacing shadows that attacked them. The battle was dangerous; Khajj and Traviata used their healing magic to keep their compatriots from death. The party was triumphant; the shadows were dispatched--they faded away, leaving behind three moss agates and three black feathers. The party then decided to experiment with reenacting the vision that Jupiter experienced earlier; they brought the apartment's former occupant's adventuring gear up from the first floor--and the trip to fetch the gear revealed that a previously-missed door had opened in the first tunnel they had ventured down.

      This door was connected to another winding tunnel that terminated in a chamber whose only feature was a massive stone altar crowned by an amalgam of "sacred" statues. As a priest, Khajj had the insight that the statues were a confused admixture of extant deities; it was as if they were the imagined fancy of someone with only a vague understanding of the religious practices that comprised the statuary. Six figures, each garbed as a member of an adventuring party, knelt before the altar, their heads bowed in prayer. Attempts to get their attention discovered that each of the six was an ambulatory corpse--once disturbed they closed on the party to engage in melee. Lavender was particularly excited to throw a dagger into the undead bard. The monsters were resilient but slow; when the dust cleared, the bodies of the undead adventurers quickly rotted away--each leaving behind a gemstone and a withered, blackened heart.

      The party tried out a few theories by placing various items upon the altar; the religious statues animated and reacted in a myriad of ways to these "offerings." Next, the party experimented with placing a BURDEN stone in the hole below the legend that read YOUR SHAME GIVES YOU SUBSTANCE in the circular chamber. The door opened, revealing another curving tunnel that ended in a briny-smelling room whose only feature was a wooden chest. Inside the chest, laying on a bed of gold coins, was an ornate set of scales. Inscribed on the scales was this message: "Here be the truth, all things are not balanced, and neither guilt nor forgiveness can be weighed against the other." The feathers collected from the shadows were placed in one of the scale's pans, and the hearts harvested from the dead adventurers were placed in the other. 

      The scale did not sit in equilibrium, but even attempting such caused something miraculous to happen: the "dungeon" of the second floor of the apartment began to crumble away into dust. The party decided to run back to the stairs; a stolen glance over the shoulder showed that even though the environment around them was flaking away like ash, it was revealing a normal, empty second floor of the apartment that was living underneath. They had successfully intervened against the traumatic memories of the dead adventurer made manifest in the world.

      XP - 152
      Coin - 163 gp, plus 75 gp each from Phineas Smiley.

      Gems - (each worth 10 gp each) - turquoise (opaque green-blue), two tiger eyes (translucent brown with golden center), three moss agates (translucent pink with green swirls), lapis lazuli (opaque dark blue yellow flecks), hematite (opaque grey-black), blue quartz (translucent pale blue). (All claimed by Lavender.)

      Items -Weird scales (75 gp), turtle-shaped typewriter (50 gp, claimed by Khajj), cardinal-shaped phonograph (75 gp, claimed by Traviata),

      Magic Items - Two hallucinogenic runes.

      Sunday, July 16, 2017

      Welcome to the Night, Vanessa

      † Bloodborne sountrack - The Witch of Hemwyck †
      † Luciferian Light Orchestra - Taste the Blood of the Altar Wine †
      † Electric Wizard - Lucifer's Slaves †
      † Blood Ceremony - Coven Tree †
      † Black Magician - Chattox †
      † Windhand - Amaranth †
      † Opera IX - Act IV: Congressus Cum Daemone †
      † Nox Arcana - Hall of the Witch Queen †

      Thursday, July 13, 2017

      Bewildering Attitudes I Have Encountered in the Wild (part 7 of Jeeves, show these gentlemen the door)

      • I am so surprised that WotC isn't supporting this setting that ranks low in their polls of settings that people want to see support for! 
      • Using a grid map ruins my immersion. Excuse me while I get my action figures miniatures and set up my playset Dwarven Forge.
      • I am going to phrase the reason why I play OSR games in the form of a religious conversion narrative because my preferred way to play elfgames is a load-bearing pillar of my identity as a person.
      • My small niche of the hobby has won because of X! (Footage of what was won and why this is important unavailable at this time.)
      • This character build does four fewer points of damage per round than this other build. This game is unplayable and broken!
      • I approach diagesis diagetically, which is to say, I got nothin'.

      Wednesday, July 12, 2017

      The Burning of the Elegy

      Campaign: Krevborna Open Table Google Hangouts (5e D&D)

      - Kylic, half-elf life domain cleric
      - Marek, human battlemaster fighter
      - Colonel Kaffshyth, human champion fighter
      - Elaria, wood elf beastmaster ranger
      - Erasmus, tiefling totem barbarian
      - Wilem, human oath of enmity paladin

      Objectives: Discover how Captain Oleg Sigismund came to own the Elegy, how the slaves aboard were acquired, where the Elegy departed to, who bought the Elegy’s slaves, and proof that the Elegy had a cargo of slaves.

      Events: This adventure picked up right where the last one left off.

      After catching their breath and patching their wounds, the party ventured further into Oleg Sigismund's cave, where they discovered several wooden cages imprisoning the remaining slave. The slaves were clearly cast-offs from the plantation; they were the maimed, sickly, and elderly. Only one of the slaves, a young woman named Octavia, spoke the common tongue. She explained that the other slaves had been drowned in the previously discovered pool, reanimated as the living dead, and taken back aboard the Elegy.

      She also relayed the party's promise of rescue to the rest of the slaves. The slaves were released from confinement and told to wait by the crates of food and casks of water with Pryce while the crew took care of the two priests, the mysterious helmed man, and the cargo hold full of zombies.

      Spying the two corrupt priests on the deck of the Elegy, the party decided it was time to take action. Erasmus, Kylic, Marek, and Wilem boarded the ship (some carrying barrels of lamp oil), Kaffshyth made ready to set fire to the wooden dock, and Elaria began firing flaming arrows at the ship from the beach. Barrels were thrown at priests, oil was spilled everywhere, priests summoned silver scythes that cut through the air with ferocity! Marek attempted to trip a priest and instead cut his legs out from under him. The ship was beginning to smoke from Elaria's arrows.

      Heavy, armored footsteps could be heard approaching from below deck. Wilem attempted to stand on the hatch to halt the progress of the nearing villain, but the armored "man" coming up the stairs burst through and sent Wilem flying. The figure that emerged from below deck was clad in ornate, old-fashioned armor; his face was seemingly obscured by shadows inside his helmet, and he bore a halberd. The party engaged him, but their weapons seemed to do very little against him. Marek, however, managed to grab the enemy in a bear hug, drag him to the side of the ship, and toss him overboard into the sea.

      The Elegy was beginning to smoke as it caught fire. A few members of the party rushed below deck to salvage any treasure they could and came away with a locked chest, a shield, and a parrot in a gold cage. Back on the beach, the party waited for what seemed inevitable: the armored fiend would simply walk out of the ocean and continue his onslaught. They were right.

      The battle on the beach was long and harrowing. Wilem was sent to death's door again, but he was rallied back to consciousness by Marek. Erasmus felt blood pouring from his eyes and mouth; the blood slid through the air in strands that entered the armored man's helm. Erasmus wrenched the helmet free of the beast's shoulders, only to find a glistening shadow where a head should be.

      The battle was not going well for the party; their attacks were landing true, but appeared to be doing very little damage--the thing did not bleed! Elaria broke open the looted chest, trying to find something that might help--but the brass crown she found inside didn't gain her control of the abomination.

      The tides turned when Kylic cast a spell that paralyzed the knight. The rest of the party descended on their now-helpless foe like a pack of wolves. Deadly blows were landed, Marek knocked the monster off his feet, and everyone again hewed and hacked at him. At last his breastplate was rent and whatever darkness animating him was dissipated.

      By now the smoke from burning Elegy had attracted the attention of Captain Redmayne's crew, who sent longboats to the island to transport the party, Pryce, and the freed slaves back to the waiting ship. During the return journey back to Piskaro, it was determined that the shield and a chain mail shirt within the pilfered chest were both magical. Also inside the chest was a painted portrait of a tall, pale man with black hair; the portrait was signed by Pietra Donna Sangino.

      Bringing both Pryce (who signed articles to join Redmayne's crew) and Octavia before Vanessa Redmayne brought the pirate captain the evidence she was seeking that proved that Oleg Sigismund was involved in the slave trade. She paid the party the promised reward and was best pleased; now she had reason to move against her old foe, and none of the other pirate lords of Piskaro would stand in the way. A pirate war was coming to Piskaro!

      XP - 675 each

      GP - 1501 each from coins and selling off the bloodstone ring, two tapestries, golden cage, bronze crown, plus 175 gp each from Capt. Redmayne.

      Other Items - portrait of the Master, painted by Pietra Donna Sangino. (A buyer will need to be located for this one.)

      Magic items - Sentinel Shield -- Grants the user advantage on initiative and perception (Wisdom). (Claimed by Kylic.)

      Adamantine chain shirt -- AC 13 + Dex mod (max 2). While you're wearing it, any critical hit against you becomes a normal hit. (Unclaimed, would also need someone to find a buyer.)

      Sunday, July 9, 2017

      Waltz of the Vainglorious

      † Ides of Gemini - White Hart †
      † Amber Asylum - Everything You Touch †
      † Marissa Nadler - We Are Coming Back †
      † King Woman - Shame †
      † Arcana - Medea †
      † Chelsea Wolfe - The Warden †
      † Lacrimosa - Der Kelzer †
      † Sopor Aeternus - No-one is There †
      † Oathbreaker - Stay Here/Accroche-Moi †

      Thursday, July 6, 2017

      Slavery in Life, Slavery in Death

      Campaign: Krevborna Open Table Google Hangouts (5e D&D)

      - Kylic, half-elf life domain cleric
      - Marek, human battlemaster fighter
      - Kaffshyth, human champion fighter
      - Elaria, wood elf ranger
      - Erasmus, tiefling barbarian
      - Wilem, human paladin

      Objectives: Discover how Captain Oleg Sigismund came to own the Elegy, how the slaves aboard were acquired, where the Elegy departed to, who bought the Elegy’s slaves, and proof that the Elegy had a cargo of slaves.

      Events: The party was hired by the fearsome pirate captain Vanessa Redmayne to investigate the rumors that a rival captain, Oleg Sigismund, had been transporting slaves contrary to the pirates' agreement against trafficking in human lives.

      Marek learned from one of his farmer friends that the nearest place where slavery was permitted was the Stalanfore Plantation to the south of Krevborna. Marek also visited Nikolai Rodescu, who confirmed that there were not enough missing persons reported in Piskaro to make up a load of slaves. He also informed Marek that the Pietra Donna Sangino, the fiendish painter who had barely escaped death at Marek's hands, had reappeared in Piskaro and was making inquiries about Marek and his cohorts.

      Elaria soke with the "sea witch" Andullah, who claimed that she could smell the fear of the slaves while the Elegy was in port. She also told the party of a recurring vision she had of a tall, pale man with dark hair who was connected in some way with the slaves--he was likely their purchaser. Before the party left her house, Andullah warned Marek, Erasmus, Wilem, and Elaria that the sister of Bonnie Maedra, a witch they had slain in an earlier adventure, was approaching Piskaro with vengeance on her mind.

      Wilem consulted an old salty dog he knew down at the docks. The elder seafarer explained that the rumor was that Oleg Sigismund purchased the Elegy for far less than its worth. A visit to the Custom's Office at the wharf turned up Arimus Weld, a truculent officer who was willing to show the party the deed of sale for the Elegy, should they grease his palm properly. Short on both money and persuasiveness, Kylic stepped in and made the officer very cooperative with a well-placed spell. The deed of sale revealed that the Elegy was formerly named the Inheritor, and that the ship's prior owner was the Honorable Harkovian Shipping Company.

      It seemed that the Inheritor had been illegally used to transport a cargo of slaves from the Stalanfore sugarcane plantation to Piskaro, where the ship was renamed and sold to Oleg Sigismund, who was then tasked with transporting the slaves to a place unknown at the behest of a mysterious purchaser.

      The party next approached The Pearl, a brothel known to be frequented by Sigismund. Explaining the nature of their inquiry, the party found the brothel's proprietors--the resplendent Eva and Louis Beverlay--sympathetic to their cause. Even whoremongers shudder at the thought of slavery. They brought forth Sigismund's preferred girl, Belle, with instructs that she should be very forthcoming. She told them that Sigismund talks in his sleep, and that he had inadvertently revealed the location of the small island where he docked when he wanted to remain undiscovered. She was sure he had sailed for this island with the Elegy and its awful cargo.

      Vanessa Redmayne was pleased with the information the party had dredged up, but she still desired proof that Sigismund was trafficking in human souls--if she had solid evidence, she could make a move against him and Piskaro's other pirate captains would not stand in the way. To that end, she offered up a ship from her fleet to take the party to Sigismund's secret island to gather that evidence. The ship anchored out of sight of Sigismund's isle, and the party rowed to the island in a longboat. The party opted to attempt to land at the far end of the island instead of the more easily-accessible stretch of beach; unfortunately, this dragged their boat across rough rocks--it was only through the timely magical mending provided by Kylic that the boat made it to shore in one piece. However, it was too badly damaged to make a return journey; the party would have to find another way off the island.

      An opportunity immediately presented itself: the Elegy was docked at a wooden structure built at the far end of the island. The isle was dominated by a large cave with obvious entrances at either end of the island. Elaria scouted the perimeter of the island. Hidden within a copse of trees, she spied upon a number of pirates busily moving crates and casks from the beach to inside the cave's mouth. She noted that one of the pirates was standing away from his compatriots; he appeared dejected for some reason.

      The party waited until this pirate was further away from his fellows, then signaled for his attention so they might parlay. He did not raise an alarm; rather, he explained that his name was Pryce and that he could no longer conscience the actions of his crewmates. He could not stomach slavery, and he certainly couldn't abide the use they were being put to: the slaves had been taken to this island so that they might be drowned and then reanimated as the walking dead by two fallen priests employed by the slaves' buyer. Pryce also told the party that there was a "man" aboard the ship in tarnished armor who made him feel sick with fear.

      A plan was hatched: Pryce would lure the pirates out onto the beach with a tale of casks of brandy washed ashore and the party would ambush them. (A good tale concocted by Kaffshyth.) The pirates were drawn out of the cave by the lie, but Pryce's nervousness spoiled the ambush. A brutal battle on the beach ensued, with the party ultimately taking down the Elegy's pilot, a massive bruiser, and two marauders. The ambush may have failed but at least the pirates were kept from ringing the brass bell that stood at the cave's mouth that would alerted the rest of the crew slumbering within that the island was under siege. The party crept to where the remainder of the crew was sleeping within the cave, and quickly put them to the sword before they could mount much resistance.

      The pirate's meager belongings were duly rifled, and the party decided to explore the cave chamber to the north. Inside was a tidepool, upon which was floating a number of discarded garments--this was clearly where the slaves had been stripped and drowned. Strangely, a woman whose long, dark hair spread out along the water like a cloak stood up to her waist in the water, idly playing with its ripples.

      Wilem spoke to her long enough to determine that she was the vengeful spirit of a drowned slave, then attacked. The woman's hair had a life of its own--striking out as if it were made of razors and entangling the limbs of those who stood against her. The apparition was joined by two other ghostly forms--the spirits of slaves who animated their former garments and attacked with hellish fury. Both Wilem and Erasmus were taken to death's door by the woman's claws and monstrous hair, but both were saved by the intervention of their comrades. After a nearly-disastrous fight, the "woman" lay on the floor of the cave, her body decaying with unnatural rapidity.

      After this harrowing experience, the party decided to catch their breath and recuperate in this unwholesome and damned place. As yet unexplored: the chamber in which the living slaves are still held captive. As yet unencountered: the corrupt priests, the man in the tarnished armor. As yet undealt with: a cargo hold full of the living dead. As yet unprocured: a way off the island.

      The Spoils:
      XP - 722 xp each.

      Wednesday, July 5, 2017

      The Last Days of New Paris

      Author, activist, and academic China Miéville is a luminary in the world of fantasy fiction, creating complex and magical worlds that challenge the traditional "sword and sorcery" of years past. In his 2016 novella The Last Days of New Paris, Miéville conjures up an alternate history version of WWII Paris in which Resistance members use surrealist art to battle Nazi demonologists.

      Will the author successfully pack all of his big ideas into the slender novella format? How many advanced degrees should a reader be expected to have in order to understand a single fantasy story? Was the worst thing about the Nazis the fact that they created tacky art? Find out all this and more in the latest mini episode from Bad Books for Bad People.

      Click here to listen!

      Intro/outro music: "Les Rêves de Dorian," Derniere Volonte

      Find us at, on Twitter @badbooksbadppl, Instagram @badbooksbadpeople and on Facebook. You can discover where to get all the books featured on Bad Books for Bad People on our reading list.

      Monday, July 3, 2017

      Garish Belial

      † Ghost - Waiting for the Night †
      † Cradle of Filth - Cruelty Brought Thee Orchids †
      † Moonspell - Mute †
      † Theatres des Vampires - The Undertaker & the Crow †
      † My Dying Bride - Thy Raven Wings †
      † Virgin Black - Renaissance †
      † Theatre of Tragedy - On Whom the Moon Doth Shine †
      † Lacrimosa - Die Strasse der Zeit †

      Saturday, July 1, 2017

      Bewildering Attitudes I Have Encountered in the Wild (part 6 of SWEEP THE LEG!)

      • D&D should only ever be about medieval European settings. Any other influences are ruining the hobby. (Especially anime!)
      • The things I like just happen to coincide with how the game is meant to be played; any other way of playing the game is wrong because, um, err, aesthetics.
      • D&D settings should be weird! And by weird I mean they should fit within this narrow confine of things that many people are already doing that I am choosing to call "weird."
      • This game should be stripped of the following... (But those are the things you enjoyed when you played that game?) Yeah, but they should be taken out because the important thing here is realism and purity, not fun.
      • Games should be purposefully designed to provide a specific gaming experience, even though I've never run a game without hacking it extensively to do something it was never intended for, like, say, Twitch streaming.
      • Railroading is the worst DMing excess. (minutes pass) The Great Pendragon Campaign is the best campaign ever written.