Don't Forget Your Boots

Meandering aimlessly around the GURPS landscape

In Hindsight: Undead

Last session had a whole lot o’ undead. For the most part, the party handled them through Turning. Once again, The Kid, a nymph bard, was faced with things that are unwilling to negotiate. This has me fretful on a couple of fronts.

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Dungeon Fantasy Nordlond #4: “Distractions”

We took a break for the holidays and associated upheavals, but with the new year, the campaign is back in action!

Spoiler Warning: In this session, the party really got going on Hall of Judgement, the first adventure set in Nordlond, Gaming Ballistic‘s Norse-themed campaign setting.

The players reacted positively to the idea of playing a prepared adventure. As one of them observed, published adventures tend to give out more treasure than I do, though I tend to give out stranger…

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Dungeon Fantasy Nordlond #3: “You Can’t Fight Tradition”

We had a couple of lineup changes this session, with one player returning after missing last time, and two players who couldn’t make it this time. Despite being short-handed, the group was able to complete the “tutorial level” adventure and get out into the wider world.

Spoiler Warning: Don’t say I didn’t warn you! This session completes the group’s run-through of I Smell A Rat, the introductory adventure from the Dungeon Fantasy RPG. The campaign as a whole is set in Nordlond, Gaming Ballistic‘s Norse-themed campaign setting, though it’s been hard to tell, since the group has spent almost all their on-screen time locked in a cellar.

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Dungeon Fantasy Nordlond #2: “LEEEROOOOY-“

Welcome to another thrilling tale of how a rag-tag bunch of dungeon delvers put themselves in harm’s way for the promise of gold… or if not gold, perhaps silver… and if not silver, maybe some nice-looking paste jewelry that we could pawn, or now that I think of it, with a little work we could pop those hinges right off, you know Erik the Scrapmonger would pay good copper for a hinge like that…

Spoiler Warning: Our heroes are currently playing their way through the back nine of I Smell A Rat, the adventure that came with the Dungeon Fantasy RPG. We’re using it as a sort of “tutorial level” for a game set in Nordlond, Gaming Ballistic‘s campaign setting. Beyond this point, there is a good change that one could be exposed to secret information from those sources. Beware!

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Dungeon Fantasy Nordlond #1: “Bait and Switch”

Not dead yet!

… though you couldn’t tell it from the lack of new content around here. For the entire summer, my family has been moving from our long-time home to a new place on the far side of town. This has taken up just about every waking moment and all the spare energy, leaving next to none for gaming.

But now all that’s changed! (Great timing, too; I think one more weekend of unpacking boxes and moving furniture would have killed me…) We’re all moved, nearly all unpacked, and able to have folks over. Of course, the first time we entertain has to be a game day!

When last we spoke, the genre was Steampunk Monster Hunters. That had been working out quite well, but we had lost our dramatic momentum over the long break. We kicked around the idea of putting some kind of closure on the game, but in the end, we decided not to bother. As it happened, one passing mention of maybe running Dungeon Fantasy again led to such a grassroots surge of enthusiasm that we decided just to jump ship and return to the dungeon.

Furthermore, just to add to the excitement, we’ve added a new player. One of the kids has a fierce interest in role-playing games and is finally old enough to join the big kids’ table, so he’s come to play with the grown-ups. The group dubbed him “the Young Lion” and welcomed him in.

Spoiler Warning: Last time we played Dungeon Fantasy, inspired by others, I sent them into a mega-dungeon. That was fun, but I feel it’s good to change things up and keep them fresh. This time, I’m aiming for something with more wilderness adventure, with maybe some adventures in towns-that-aren’t-Town. My plan is to leverage The Citadel at Norðvorn and Dungeon Fantasy: Hall of Judgment later on, but for the first session, I’m running I Smell A Rat, the sample adventure that came with the Dungeon Fantasy RPG. So, if you don’t want to accidentally run into any spoilers for any of those, you should probably skip this synopsis.

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Steampunk Monster Hunters #8: “Werewolves of the Orient Express”

We had another break in the regular schedule, and it looks like we’re going to have yet another one, coming up. Upheavals and changes in Real Life™️, you know.

Much accumulated experience was spent, with two big purchases standing out.

As previously mentioned, Mercy has been saving up for Ritual Adept, last session’s award gave her all the points she needed, and “conversations with an angel lead to increased enlightenment” gave an in-game explanation. Mercy has now effectively “multi-classed” to Sage/Witch. Ritual Adept removes a lot of the restrictions hampering free use of magic, but as we learned in this session, one’s Path skills are what determines what one can actually do, so I’m expecting Mercy’s skill levels to start leaping upwards next.

The other big expenditure came from Tommy Nine, who bought off Killjoy. When he fell into that haystack last session, something inside his mechanical workings broke. Whatever it was, it must have acted as some kind of inhibitor, because, when he woke up… he had regained access to his human emotions!

During the before-game conversation, a few economic points came up. First, that Nayler, being ridiculously wealthy, had been picking up the tab for the whole gang; second, that there wasn’t much reason for it, since all the PCs are either wealthy or non-human; third, that Nayler’s actual income is so high that he really can afford to throw money around like it’s nothing. This discussion had an impact on the party’s spending habits during the session.

Who’s Who

  • Esmerelda Wagstaff, Accidental Hero Inhuman Changeling; plucky boy hero
  • Lucretia Gasser Buttersnaps, Philanthropist Commando; not her first time on the front of a speeding locomotive
  • Margaret Anne Chapman, Accidental Hero Sleuth; child celebrity
  • Mercy Patton, Philanthropist Sage; knows the secrets of the universe
  • Nayler H. Knuer, Philanthropist Techie; unexpectedly adept with a sword
  • Tommy Nine, Operative Experiment, undercover mechanical man

What Happened

The group had a bit of downtime, at home in London, while Mercy questioned “Angelica”, the messenger angel in the form of a meek little girl who they had recently rescued from the faerie circus. During this time, Mercy had one of her “special” dreams, in which she was being chased through some dark, tunnel-like space, where an icy wind whistled, but she never caught sight of her pursuer.

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Steampunk Monster Hunters #7: “Oh, The Humanity”

We skipped a month, there, due to various illnesses and troubles, but this time, we had a full house. With Esmerelda, the changeling, captured and taken by the fae last session, we see the return of an old friend…

On the character development front, Mercy has been saving up for Ritual Adept, and Margaret invested a chunk of points in Magery and Path of Crossroads. We’re digging deeper into Ritual Path Magic, after a long time dabbling.

Who’s Who

  • Lucretia Gasser Buttersnaps, Philanthropist Commando, American gunslinger
  • Margaret Anne Chapman, Accidental Hero Sleuth, snoopy apprentice witch
  • Mercy Patton, Philanthropist Sage, nanny to the supernatural
  • Nayler H. Knuer, Philanthropist Techie, lapdog of evil
  • Octavious Buttersnaps, Hired Gun Psi, last seen on a quest to handle a werewolf bite
  • Tommy Nine, Operative Experiment, undercover mechanical man

What Happened

The dispirited survivors of last session’s defeat sailed through the night aboard Nayler’s oversized balloon, as he tended Margaret’s wounds from the fight with the lamia. They returned to London, docking at Mercy’s townhouse, where they met Mercy and Tommy Nine.

Tommy had only just returned the night before from a mission to the Continent, helping track down a faerie smuggling ring operating between the Middle East and Britain. His team had discovered clues pointing towards a connection with Russia, which was being followed up by other members of his organization. Due to his status as no more than a coveted piece of equipment, no one particularly noticed either his absence or his return.

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Steampunk Monster Hunters #6: “Diplomacy”

We return to the game after the holiday hiatus! A couple of players weren’t able to make it, and their absence was truly felt…

Who’s Who

  • Esmerelda Wagstaff, Accidental Hero Inhuman Changeling; learning how to apply her inhuman powers to make her way in the human world
  • Lucretia Gasser Buttersnaps, Philanthropist Commando; rough-and-ready American gunslinger and proud of it!
  • Margaret Anne Chapman, Accidental Hero Sleuth; “World’s Greatest Girl Detective” and aspiring witch
  • Nayler H. Knuer, Philanthropist Techie; half Sir Richard Francis Burton, half dissipated ’70’s rocker… with a balloon

What Happened

Mid-July, 1851, about a month after our heroes’ previous adventure, the group gathered on the beach at Brighton to meet with their contact from the Association, Charles Dickens. Lucretia brought along a giant wicker basket full of top-shelf wines and liquors, in case supplies ran low. Margaret brought along her Uncle Byron, who always enjoyed an opportunity to meet Mr Dickens. Taking advantage of the beach setting, Nayler wore his new, experimental bathing outfit. (He had taken advantage of downtime to come up with a couple of new inventions, including a concealed kerosene-powered backpack flamethrower and a holy water sprinkler.) Esmerelda, unsure of her place in the human world, chose to keep a low profile, and wrapped herself in glamour to appear as a remarkably large crab.

Mr Dickens raised his glass. “God save the Queen!”

Most of our heroes, Mr Dickens’ security entourage, nearby servants, and passers-by in all directions: “God save the Queen!”

Lucretia: “God bless America!”

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Ritual Path Magic and “Buffy”: Two Castings

This month’s game was called off, due to a combination of holidays, new jobs, and illness, so instead of a play synopsis, here’s some thoughts about a ritual from the Buffy the Vampire Slayer universe and two times we saw it cast on-screen. (Obviously, spoilers ahead, for the show that’s over 15 years old and one of the major building blocks of the Monster Hunters genre…)

Two times in season 6, we see Willow cast a ritual to bring a person back to life.

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Steampunk Monster Hunters #5: “Under The Thames”

In the face of the terrible revelation at the end of last session, Lucretia insisted on going out for many drinks with “my husband Octavious!” (Esmerelda, the changeling, in less-than-convincing disguise), and so, neither appears in this session.

At one point, I thought one of the heroes was going to sacrifice all but one of the group, including themselves, in an attempt to contain the threat. I’m told that there were multiple instances of PCs expecting to die, if not suffer an outright TPK.

Who’s Who

  • Margaret Anne Chapman, Accidental Hero, Sleuth, “World’s Greatest Girl Detective”
  • Mercy Patton, Philanthropist Sage, magical governess
  • Nayler H. Knuer, Philanthropist Techie, inventor and balloonist
  • Tommy Nine, Operative Experiment, mechanical man

What Happened

On the evening of Saturday, June 14, 1851, somewhat after sundown, aboard Nayler’s baroque two-story balloon, our intrepid band of monster hunters were surprised to hear that Wormley and Minister had already placed the ghosts of Masham, the evil witch behind the Great Fire of London, and his assistant into living bodies earlier that morning. He had a twelve-hour head-start pursuing his no-doubt apocalyptic schemes!

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