Thursday, October 15, 2020

Detroit Suck City: Episode 11.1


 [Side Quest: Huey and 9s]

After the crew divided up the various tasks, Huey and 9s (9 of 12 decided this was an acceptable nickname) decided to take the task of returning one of the children they rescued to his father. The boy explained that his father was one of the God Keepers and the boy promised him safe passage into his fathers domain. 

Huey and 9s decided it would be best to leave as soon as possible because 9s was adamant that they should conduct all of their business during the day and should not be out and about at night. This is due to the fact that places like these change when the sun goes down. 

The boy explained that he will lead Huey and 9s from the south side to the northern center area in a round about way avoiding the major tracks of the central city. As they left the safety of their Rail Tank they almost immediately come across a very busy bar by the name of the Lucky Rail. In a quick whispered conversation Huey and 9s decide it will be best to avoid any distractions and get the boy back as fast as possible. As they continued to push forward doing their best to avoid any contact with the locals and making sure the boy stays close to them they pass a place called The Clotted Dream and standing out front was a female bovine  mutant with makeup, dressed in lingerie with her utters hanging out, and she quickly singled out Huey as we passed by. The female bovine smiled largely at Huey and made man suggestive remarks and how if he ever wants some loving they will change his life to come back. Huey blushed and quickened his past as 9s made asked, "I think she likes you, we should come back later", and Huey mumbled something that 9s could not quite make out. 


They traveled on and passed a blacksmith shop called Tarley's Vegan Bloodshiites with an armadillo mutant hard at work at the forge and 9s made a mental note about some of the shields for sale. During their tour of the city, 9s would point out various things to Ren or react to things she pointed out and would explain various things to her. Huey ignored these interactions and the boy never said a word about them. They quickly came across an open air market with various stalls, tents, and lots of food vendors. Huey drooled as he passed various stalls with cooking meat and 9s promised Ren on the way back he would get he something. 

As the crew rounded the corner heading back in a southern direction they passed a very stalked modern weapon shop called Max Death the looked like it had all kinds of firearms and other oddities in it. The person standing on the sales desk appeared to be a large human dressed in desert camouflage and Huey looked at 9s and said we definitely have to do some shopping there. This was the first time Huey saw 9s fully smile (outside of the half smile 9s has when he is talking to Ren) and Huey considered the full smile psychotically horrifying. After more time, they come to a store called The Stinky Pillage that is full of junk - a sight that can only be described as a post apocalyptic thrift store from hell. The boy leads Huey and 9s into this store and around a piles of junk and down various isles to the back where the boy opens up a secret door into what appears to be a rail car heading down into the earth. As soon as they step through the door closes behind them and the boy motions to keep following. They tread slowing with Huey and 9s being on edge and reminding each other to stay frosty. They cross over to the another rail car heading farther down into the earth before it levels out and they come across two guards dressed on gold and white, armed with charged staffs. The guards stiffen up when they see the boy and exclaim, "it is good to have you back".

The boy leads them past the guards and into a natural cave structure. They quickly enter a main area set up with tables that people were eating at and more guards. The guards once again stiffen up and  exclaim how happy they are to see the boy alive as the boy leads them into a side corridor that slants upward and then they enter a round room with a table and chairs in the middle, and about six people on their hands and knees praying. These people appear to be praying to a giant metal orb set in the ceiling with various lights flicking through it. Huey asks the boy, "what is that" and the boy simply responds, "God". One of the praying people looks up and notices the boy, jumps up, yells "SON!", and runs to the boy to embrace him. After a long time the man hugging the boy looks up to Huey and 9s with a scowl before the boy explains these people saved him from the Star people and tells his father Huey (as the boy points to Huey) carried him out of the lab himself. The boys father introduces himself as Selonius and becomes jovial and invites them to dinner. Huey is more then happy to agree as 9s sits off to the corner feeding the various vegetables to Ren (The God Keepers are vegetarians) and Selonius (and the other onlookers) is kind enough not to question 9s about his behavior. After sometime Selonius leads them away from the crowd and thanks them again for bringing his son home and asks them if there is anything they can do. 9s says it is a hard expensive world out there and whatever help he can provide would be greatly appreciated. Selonius looks at 9 like he is looking into someones soul and smiles. Selonius Produces a strange circular crystal with circuitry inside of it and hands it to Huey and explains, "this will help keep you and your crew healthy". Selonius then turns to 9s and hands him a very heavy bag of coin and says, "this should help you in your journey". After countless promises from Huey and 9s not to reveal their existence as Selonius hands him a coin with a symbol of an eye within a cog on it and says "whenever you need help from one of our kind, show them this and you will always find friends."

Huey and 9s are lead through a different mage of passages and exit out into the sunlight of Rail City. As they walk towards the tracks they see a rail car surrounded by heavily armed men dressed in black with very crude robots loading packages into the cart. Some of the men take notice of Huey and 9s and Huey quickly acts like he his zipping up his fly and proclaims they he had to much to drink and sorry they had to witness his handy work as 9s just tips his hat towards them as they keep to the edge making sure not to stare at the men in black and what they are doing. One of the men in black grunts, takes a long drag of his smoke, and waves them on. Huey and 9s head north away from the men in black and quickly recognize the area the boy led them through and continue on. 

The first building the pass has a strange symbol on it as they stopped to look inside. This quickly attracts the attention of someone proclaiming to be a priest of the Cryrorx and explains that they can show them them the way to the deep freeze and how they will never want to leave. The priestly fellow rambles on about this for sometime before 9s had enough and pulls Huey away by the elbow and Huey says they may swing by later. As soon as they are out of ear shot 9s explains to Huey how he used to work in a Cryo lab freezing and unfreezing people before and for sometime after the bombs fell. Huey was surprised by this knowledge and proclaimed almost to loudly that 9s must be an ancient one. 

9s then tells Huey that they should swing by that Max Death shop before it gets dark and so they do. 9s hands the guy a round from is colt .45 and asks if he as more. The owner of the shop tried to sale Huey everything as 9s looks through a giant box of random ammunition and getting frustrated after only finding 3 rounds, flips the guy a gold coin, and says "keep the change".

Huey and 9s leave the shop and pass through the market place as 9s mumbles something about it is getting to dark. As 9s starts arguing with Ren about how he will buy her some meat on a stick tomorrow because they market is closing down a huge explosion from the south side the rocks Rail City. As the rumbles die down, everyone goes back to they business, except for the city guard who start coming out of various buildings and down the walls to head in that direction. Huey finds the person he sees and asks, "What was that explosion?" The stranger responds with, "it is a dangerous land and a dangerous city. Rail city is a sanctuary to some and a coffin to others" as the stranger moves about his business.

Huey and 9s decide that is a good idea ti get back to their tank as quick as possible as the sun is setting and Rail City is becoming darker and dark as it really does not have street lights. As the backtrack they see a young kid with a vest that has a familiar symbol on it pick pocket and gentlemen in robes and vanish into the darkness. Huey and 9s quickly decide it is not their problem as 9s reminds Ren to stay out of sight. Huey and 9s pass the The Clotted Dream and 9s tried to convince Huey he should pay the gal that liked him so a visit, how it would be a good place to hole up, and they he would even pay for Huey's stay. Huey would have not of it and kept on walking.

As they start to near the noisy bar and their Rail Tank a trolly passes them, lighting a young male with a sharp piece of metal trying to break into a door. Huey starts to light his torch and 9s yells about the torch and why it is taking so long. A sharp piece of metal flies over Huey's head and before they realized it the mysterious person shoulders past them and tries to run off in the dark. 9s quickly concentrates on the culprit and hear a yelp of pain as Huey takes after him and tackles the culprit to the ground. Huey rolls him over as 9s positions himself behind him to block ans escape routes. It is apparent that their culprit is in bad shape with a bloody mess of a face. Huey takes out his crystal, presses it to the culprits face as the wounds start to close up as he become more coherent and starts to mumble how he meant nothing by it and did not want to hurt anyone but was just hungry. 9s decides that they have wasted enough time with this and presses a gold into his hands and tells him to run as fast as he can. Huey lets the culprit up and he takes off. 

As Huey and 9s get to their Rail Tank they see the half of the South gate is blown open with the door off of its hinges and there is a complete work crew (with a crane and other heavy equipment) in the process of repairs as a large number of the city guard stand in a defensive formation with a large green mutant in the middle of it all overseeing it. 

9s quickly checks the tank to drop Ren off and realizes that the rest of their crew is gone as Huey goes of and questions some people at the bar and one of the guards. After Huey barely escapes some suspicion with the guards he returns to the Rail Tank to find 9s tucking in Ren singing a bedtime song as Huey starts to explain the short of it is some asshole took issue with the big green boss and shot a missile at the gate and the asshole was caught and was taken to the death pits. Huey and 9s surmised in was one of their assholes and decides to investigate in the morning when it is safer. 

 Just another day in Detroit Suck City...

__________________________________________________________________________________

PLAYER THOUGHTS: So, after episode 10 we all decided it would be best to divide and conquer because there was so much everyone want to accomplish in Rail City. Before I even go into the rest of my thoughts, I have to say this was a really fun session. It had almost no dice rolls as it was 99% role play.

The side quest we were on actually ended up getting rescheduled 3 times due to various scheduling conflicts (our side quest was originally scheduled to be first). This strangely worked in out favor as  the other players got to due their side quests first which provided various intertwining story lines (which is going to end up in a few parts to each side quest) for us to interact with. A lot of what we accomplished really ended up being because one of us decided to save one of the kids in the cages a few episodes back and we kept a low profile (think this was a big part of our success so far in Rail City). I think the interaction between our characters and the men in black could have went south (and that is what the encounter was meant to do I am sure) but a clutch Nat 20 was rolled in the Charisma area and the men in black did not consider us a threat. 

I (playing 9s) would have also burnt the God Keepers to the ground (not out of spite but out of 9s self preservation crusade to destroy knowledge of the old world) if it wasn't for the God Keeps treating 9s like a human and looking at him like a being with a soul.

Once we got back to the rail car and learned (well one hell of an educated guess) that it was our assholes that blew up the fence and ended up in trouble we all laughed and there many snide comments of that figures and worse. 

Our lovely GM respond to our series of conspiracy theories about the other members with a shrug and this statement;

"NOT EVERYONE GOT A HEALING CRYSTAL AND A BAG OF GOLD"

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

The LARP Bug

It has been a longtime since  (life circumstances, lack of groups, lack of time, and having my LARP stuff stolen) since I have got to participate into any type of serious LARP (Live Action Role Play) and before then I was LARPing on and off depending on my circumstances and the availability of groups. Recently, I have gotten the bug again and I have been working on tracking down local groups and interest but this has proven difficult to due to the state of the union and a few other factors. I think I have gotten the bug from my recent communications with By Night Studios and reading various stories regarding the subject matter.

Most of my experience has been with Minds Eye Theater for the World of Darkness (Vampire, Werewolf, etc) with some boffer thrown in. 

When I was in high school I ran a two year hybrid (tabletop/LARP) Vampire the Masquerade game that towards the end it got so big I needed multiple Storytellers and lots of chaos and multiple story lines ensued. After that I played in various games where I was able to make it off and on and one of my last experience was a six month Vampire the Requiem campaign where we met every week and played downtown. This was one of my favorite experiences and my schedule allowed me to be consistent so a lot of stories and other situations bared some very rewarding fruit. It was also my first experience where we were playing in a more public area (it was close to downtown instead of a park, private property, etc) where we could go a block over and mingle with the normal population and even use the various restaurants, etc. I thought that was really great, there was about 3/4 blocks that where more isolated and peaceful and then a block or two that was more in the general public eye. Home base was the public library and locations spread out form there. The location made things interesting and added a lot of immersion elements. In addition, I got to meet a lot of great people. Though, I moved away from that location and that was about seven years ago. 

My last experience was a convention experience shortly after the release of the new Vampire the Masquerade rules came out (I had my physical copies in hand). The game was an all nighter and it is chaotically fun. Though, this is where my LARP got stolen during the morning hours at breakfast so that really marred my final experience.


My boffer experiences I can count on one hand. I have got to experience some organizational like Nero and some home brews like Firefly. I had fun at all of the venues but some of them I enjoyed more then others. My favorite was the Firefly session I went to and my least favorite was one of the Nero games I went to. A few years ago (I think in 2018) I was really trying to prep and plan for an old west World of Darkness (that was about three hours away) game that was going to be one of those all weekend events. I spent the time and tried to collect various Nerf gear, seed packets, and some costume pieces. Alas, some life events happened that made that trip impossible. This was a big bummer to me because even though it was a boffer LARP, combat was not a main focus and the people who wanted to go and fight could and while others could stay in town and focus on role play. There was also a sash you could wear that designated you as a non combatant. 

When I think about my experiences of LARP (just like my tabletop gaming) have been mostly good. I have had some negative experiences but those have remained with individuals then the venue or game as a whole. Outside of those situations, I have had some great role play experiences and enjoyed some breathtaking character development. This is in addition to all the memorable character and story interactions.

Thinking about it all, I really prefer the theater style LARP (like Minds Eye Theater) that use Rock/Paper/Scissors system or a card mechanic for resolution. Between RPS and a card system (like Vampire the Requiem MET) I prefer the card system as you get more variable results and it makes it feel like the characters abilities are more effective. Though, with some of the LARP gear now available like RPS cards (which fixed one of my biggest issues with it) I enjoy the RPS a lot more. 

With that being said, I can enjoy boffer but it is something I do not seek out much unless it is not heavily combat focused. This is really for two main reasons. The first one being is that there is a big difference between character's skill and my in real life skill with boffer weapons. The second being is boffer usually requires hefty investments in costumes, weapons/gear, and travel/time/money for the all weekend venues. 

I guess the point of all of this is to say that I got the bug to LARP again and I have been slowly trying to recover some of my stolen materials (I have had some people reach out to help me that I am greatly appreciative of). I am also on a quest to find a local group and I hope there are people I can get in contact with - even if they are dark or online right now. 

There is also a new LARP style that I have recently discovered that I hope to get experience. It is called Nordic/Scandinavian psychodramas and a lot of venues have ran this style in the WOD setting as well as other styles. The venue seems to give people pre-generated flawed characters. The role play theme is not to play to win but to play to make interesting stories. A lot of what I have read it about has gotten my full curiosity. It is now on my bucket list to try.

Friday, September 18, 2020

Detroit Suck City: Episode 10

In the aftermath of the Cat People attack the crew decided it would be smart to retreat and try to find the correct path to Rail City. At some point during the backtrack, they stripped the late Auron of his gear and dumped his body unceremoniously off of the Rail Tank to land on the side of the tracks. The crew makes in back to the small switch yard and they find a sign which was written in sloppy spray paint that says, "Rail City This Way".

After some switching of tracks the get on the right track and start heading towards Rail City. Along a deserted stretch they come across a tall person who is walking down the tracks. They notice that this person is dressed in dark baggy pants, a black sweatshirt, with a wide brimmed hat, and a large wicker basket on the persons back. Parrot decides to slow the train down to a stop to interact with this new mysterious person as Parrot announces to the rest of the crew to not shoot first. As the the Rail Tank comes to a noisy stop along side the mysterious person that said person gives them a wide birth and moves next to the edge of the trees for a quick escape of need be. The crew trains their weapons on the mysterious person and are able to get a closer look. The crew notices that the right side of his face is robotic and his right leg ends in a metallic three toed claw. 

The mysterious person holds up his hands in not aggression and says, "I do not mean anyone any harm. I am just heading towards Rail City, my name is 9 of 12". Parrot takes the lead in interrogating 9 of 12 and they quickly learn that 9 of 12 does not like the Star People, has had negative experience with other groups of people, and has his own business in Rail City. After the crew lowers their weapons and friendly conversation is happening all the way around 9 of 12 decides it is safe to introduce everyone to Ren. 9 of 12 points to the basket and makes the introductions. The rest of the crew gives each other odd looks as they do not see anyone in the basket but 9 of 12 does not acknowledge this or notice this interaction. After some hushed whispers they decide to allow 9 of 12 to join the crew. Once onboard, 9 of 12 points out all the cool things on the Rail Tank to Ren and sets the basket down next to him to feed ran a snack. 

The crew heads down the tracks and after sometime they break out of the wood lines area into open fields on each side. Off to the right they notice a hover car with a well dressed  person working in the dirt who is apparently collecting various plants and other specimens. On the back of the hover car there is large planter with tentacles coming out of it that are wiggling around and various small animals and bugs in cages. The crew decides to slow down and stop to to see if this person needs help. 

As the crew, some members dismount and approaches cautiously with weapons drawn. The man looks up and says "Its a wonderful day in Detroit". The man pronounces it Detroit instead of the universal slang of "Troit". The man notices all the carnage on the Rail Tanks (the bodies of Star Children, etc.) and responds, "It is obvious that you guys do not like the Star people". He then goes on to explain that he is just out collection samples. As the conversation continues, Rail City is brought up as well as rations and wounds. The man finally introduces himself as Professor Arrod and explains that he has been working on some formulas to help the mutated folk. He slowly reaches into his bag and grabs a number of metal cylinders and tosses them Lladmar. The Professor exclaims, "You do not have to trust me but I promise they will help with healing".  Then the crew asks The Professor about the red light and The Professor explains that is a very bad place and it is where the Star Children come from. He describes their leader and the crew realizes that that was the person on the big screen back at the lab. 

The Professor explains how he has been around a long time and has a facility not to far from here and as 9 of 12 hears this, he stands up and The Professor whistles and exclaims, "Your an old one, I thought you were all destroyed. Hold up your arm." 9 of 12 holds up his left arm and his Metallica sweatshirt falls past his hand and reveals a metallic hand where the fingers end is vicious claws. The Professor then looks toward Wilhelm and explains how he can help him train the his Po Dog and reach in his pocket and pulls out a metal disc with some wires dangling it from it. The crew immediately takes a step back and aims their weapons at The Professor who then snaps his fingers and two large crabs with AK-47s come out of the ground and become defensive of the Professor. Parrot and Lladmar explains they were attacked by two of the same crabs and they both pull out their same metal discs they removed from the fallen crabs bodies.

The Professor waves his hand and the crabs back up behind him in a more a relaxed position as the Professor apologies and explains that they were way out of range and he could not command them. He continues that he will make it up to everyone and passes out more healing cylinders and gives 9 of 12 a book on firearm repair and history. In addition he explains the black boxes they found are communication devices and they should not be used as someone is listening to them. The professor finally says it is getting late as he loads up the last of his specimens and invites the crew to visit them at his faculty but he will be gone for sometime yet collecting specimens - at least a season. The professor waves the crew goodby gets in his hover car and takes off with the crabs flanking him on each side. 

The crew continues on and as 9 of 12 is playing patty cake with Ren he notices out of the corner of his eye that there was a group of four legged animals keep pace with the Rail Tank. 9 of 12 lets the crew know about the situation as he tucks Ren back into the basket and puts her in the corner for safety and whispers some instructions to her. Wilhelm looks up and notices that the four legged creatures is a pack of Po Dogs and he decides to hold up the puppy. The entire crew heals a rough voice in their heads that say, "Give us back what belongs to us". Parrot stops the train and the Po Dogs take up attack positions and start to growl with a few barks mixed in-between. Wilhelm lets the crew know to relax and he will take care of this. Wilhelm steps off of the train, gets on all fours, and lets the puppy go as it runs to one of the adults. A loud voice in Wilhelm's head says, "My name is Drax, I am the alpha. Why do you habe one of our pups?" As Wilhelm starts to explain the story and him and Drax continue their mental conversation the rest of the crew remains tense surrounded by growling Po Dogs. The rest of the crew is unaware of the mental conversation between Wilhelm and one of the Po Dogs as forty five tense minutes pass. 

Wilhelm eventually stands up and the entire pack of the Po Dogs take off except for one. Wilhlem walks back to the Rail Tank and explains that the Pod Dogs left him Kara to help them on their mission as they do not like the Star People or Masters of Clean as well. It is also as a token of good faith because Wilhelm took care of the surviving pup. Wilhelm also explained that he was given advice they they should clean up the Rail Tanks and remove the Star Peoples symbols (as Rail City does not welcome the Star People). 

The crew then takes the time removing all of the carnage and tries to scratch off the symbols but the scratching is ineffective. 9 of 12 explains he can handle this task and goes around all of the vehicles concentrating on the symbols and the dried gore. The gore and the paint quickly starts to bubble and burn off as 9 of 12 then cools the metal to help prevent damage and to temper it. 

The crew once again head downs the track and they finally see the twinkling lights of Rail City after the sun sets. Parrot slows down the train as they get closer and see that Rail City is surrounded by a wall made of stacked rail cars three or four high that is topped with turrets and guards walking around the top. They are stopped at the main gate and asked to state their business and the crew explains they are hear for supplies and to trade. The head guard spits on the ground ans asks for three gold for the entrance and parking fee. Huey and a few other members start to argue with the guard about the price and as the tensions start to rise a very large cactus man walks over and asks is their trouble. 9 of 12 pipes up and explains that there is no trouble and apologies for his companions behavior and hands the closest guard three gold. The big green man greens a horrific smile and talks about people don't have brains these days and how lucky we are as we just made it under curfew. 

The crew is lead into the two large gates and directed to a parking stall. The crew realizes that the entire city is build using rail cars and the place is full people and some scattered mutants. The crew decides it is smart to lay low tonight and set off in the morning in groups because everyone was given things to do in addition to their own personal agendas. The crew decides who is going to do what and settles in for the night. 9 of 12 says he will take watch as he does not sleep.

Just another day in Detroit Suck City...

_________________________________________________________________________________

PLAYER THOUGHTS: This was a great session full of exclusively role play and I really enjoyed the introduction of my new character to the group and the interaction with the Professor. It was great to see some of the things the characters experienced being connected to a larger picture. 9 of 12 is an synthetic form the old world that has been experimented on and is insane (and has a chance to go crazy in stressful situations). If you have not picked up on it, Ren (his 7 year old companion) is not real but an imaginary friend - though 9 of 12 does not know this. This has been one of my favorite characters I have played in a long time and I have been really able to get into the role play aspect of it.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Review: Neon City Overdrive

 Do androids dream of electric sheep?

Cyberpunk is one of my favorite genres and I think it is a genre that is always under represented in various forms of media. Though it seems to get a decent amount of attention in the table top role playing genre. So, I am always on the look out of new cyberpunk games because it is one of my favorite genres and I have fond memories playing other cyberpunk themed games. I became aware of this game due to a discussion thread on a forum and the author brought back a vague memory and I was very happy to discover that Nathan Russell is the same mind behind FU (Free Form Universal) rpg. 

Disclaimer: I Was provided a physical copy and a PDF for review purposes.


Presentation: This book packs some serious eye catching and mood inspiring in 69 pages (more if you include the character sheets). Each page is full colored where the text is set against a light honeycomb pattern which I do not find distracting at all. The core text is black in a readable font and there is an addition font that looks like how words on a computer screen would appear if they started it glitch out (various lines stretching it). The main headers are highlighted in purple and the minor headers are highlighted in yellow. The various sidebar/advice boxes are in pink with white lettering. The book has a table of contents and in various sections has a slang dictionary. The book is mostly single column with some double column use on various pages. This formatting is coupled with surreal art that is designed with dynamic lighting, something you would expect from a neon city. The book itself (without even reading it) really sets the tone and mood for cyberpunk. 


Character Creation: Character creations follows these steps:
  1. Visualize your cyberpunk. Who are they , what do they do, and what trouble have they escaped from?
  2. Choose or create three Trademarks. These are broad tags that describe the most important, useful, or interesting things about your character. 
  3. Pick four Triggers that become Edges and write them down next to the relevant Trademark.
  4. Write two flaws for your character. These are troubles, problems or disadvantages your character has to deal with. 
  5. Choose or randomly decide a drive for your character. What makes them keep taking dangerous jobs?
  6. Write your gear. You can have any basic gear that your Trademarks would logically allow. Roll for up to four pieces of specialized gear. 
  7. Round out your character by giving them a cool nickname and description. Tell the other players about your bad-ass cyberpunk. 

Resolution:  The games uses a dice pool of d6's (it is a good idea to have two different color of dice because you build a diced pool with action (positive) and danger (negative) dice. Neon City Overdrive also uses two different symbols to differentiate the dice in text). The dice pool starts with a single dice then you add one action die to the dice pool for each of the following:

  • A single relevant Trademark
  • Each relevant edge the Trademark has
  • Each tag the can be exploited
  • Having a better position 
  • Each relevant tag on special gear
Then you add a danger die to the pool for each of the following:
  • Every Trauma the character has
  • Each hindering Condition
  • Each tag that increases your difficulty
  • A poor position/being rushed
  • Not having necessary gear
  • Facing an obstacle of greater scale 
Roll those bones and check the results. Only the highest action die that is left after the danger dice cancel out the action dice is used to determine success. 
  • Result of 6 is a complete success. Additional successes create boons that your character can use. 
  • Result of 4 or 5 equals a partial success. It is failing forward - your character succeeds but at a cost. 
  • Result of 3 or less is a failure.
Danger dice that match action dice cancel them out. So a 6 result on an action die with a matching danger die cancels out that action die. If no action dice or left or the remaining action dice are 1s, the character suffers a botch - something bad happens. 
 
It only takes one success or partial success to succeed at an action. If that attempt fails another character can try the same thing or the character can try it in a different way/with different equipment/etc. There are extended checks that require three successes. Characters can also help one another which gives a positive dice to the lead character. 

When combat breaks out, roll a d6 for initiative and roll again at the beginning of each turn. On a 1-3 the enemy goes first, and on a 4-6 the players go first. The ranges are abstract and handled in a close, near, and far system. Characters can typically do one major action like make an attack and a minor action like move, hand something to someone, etc. 
 
Combat is player facing which means the GM does not roll to attack, but narrates what is going on and the player has to narrate how the character is trying to avoid the situation. 


Crunch: The crunch is relatively light. The game takes heavy inspiration from Freeform Universal (one of the authors original games), Fate, Fudge, Powered by the Apocalypse, and a few others. I think the hardest part is really just getting the flow of the system on the player side and the GM side. There are some subsystems the operate outside of the core mechanics which I will mentio (these do not add difficulty to the game mechanics):
  • Harm: All PCs start out with three harm levels and when the characters take damage the players mark off  a box (and sometimes more). If you cannot mark hit, the character suffers a trauma and roll d6 - one a 1 the character is dying and will die in d6 turns unless aid can be rendered
  • Healing: The character gains a hit when they have time to take a short rest in relative safety. First aid can also be administered with a successful attempt. Traumas can only be healed in downtime
  • Stunt Points: All players start out with three stunt points and they can be spent to use a second Trademark in a check, soak all hits from a single source, change a die roll by +/- 1, or add an additional detail/tag to a scene. They refresh between jobs and can be awarded for doing cool things
  • Experience: The experience track is very story oriented and are marked for botches and surviving a job (I didn't say the job had to be successful). Clear five experience to write a new Trademark (to a maximum of  5), Write a new Edge for any Trademark, increase your total hits (to a maximum of 4), or increase your stunt point pool (to a maximum of 5)
  • Drive: Each character has a drive and a drive track (10 boxes). When they do things to further their drive they increase on the track and when they do things that don't or other situations hinder their drive they go backwards on the track.

Final Thoughts: As I have stated before, I really enjoy Cyberpunk but a lot of the games on the ttrpg market today and extremely rules heavy or the mechanics are convoluted (especially for going into the net). When Neon City Overdrive landed on my radar I over the moon that it was going to be rules light and narrative driven. When I looked into it more (before I got my hands on it) I was worried because it listed inspiration from Fate/Powered by the Apocalypse. I am personally not a fan of those games but I was very surprised reading the book. So surprised in fact that I read it cover to cover twice in one sitting. 

The way it is written really evokes the them and ideas of cyberpunk right off of the bat and the implied skeleton of a cyberpunk reality really helps in creating a background for a campaign. Also, the rules are mostly confusing and straight forward. There is not a focus on tags and there is advice to only use a few of the important ones and that is it. This translates into great GM advice in regards to hard and soft consequences, timers, cinematic philosophy, and other aspects of the system and its use in the setting. Do not let the the book fool you, there is a lot of information crammed into the pages that include sample jobs, various threats, and enough Trademarks/Edges/Tags suggestions to make unique characters. 

I think a couple of my favorite things about this game is the downtime (where you can recover, spend leverage, spend experience, etc), stunt points (reminds me of Bennies from Savage Worlds, the GM section (lots of goods stuff there), and the system for specialized gear (which the player has a chance to roll for up to 4 pieces of specialized gear that have their own tags and can be used to increase the action/positive dice in a roll) that the characters "gear up" for at the beginning of every mission. 

It would be a disservice if I did not mention that the rules for cyberware and interfacing are really elegant. Cyberware is handed by an appropriate Trademark and all aspects of interfacing with the net are handled through normal dice rolls and damage usually carries over. 

The two one shots I ran of this were a extremely fun to GM and all the players had a good time with crazy shenanigans all the way around. Though some of the players got a little confused (and I was initially as well) in regards to triggers and edges though this character creation example really helped to clear some of the confusion up.

You can find Neon City Overdrive here:
There is two supplements out for it as well:

Monday, September 14, 2020

The Orc Renaissance

 

So, in my post Silence is Consent I talked about various practices of WotC and other authors in regards to how they are handling being progressive and things like that. After some conversations I had afterward, I realized that I did not really get into the Orc (and others) issue because I was focused on other things. 

I have touched on the concept of evil in Evil or Something Like It. With that as I started point, there is a very long post titled, Why do Orc Lives Matter? that goes into the long history of the Orc in gaming, other media, and with J.R.R. Tolkien. Basically, where the modern issue of "orcs are racist" comes from is when they transitioned form being monsters (as portrayed in LOTR, etc) to being a player option to play as in table top (of all sorts) games. When this transition happened the writing and/or tone did not change from their monstrous roots and entries (I also think the term race in itself has been a huge fire starter). This allowed the the DM's to treat the Orcish characters with racism in game like in the movie Bright (and maybe out of game) as the printed game world still saw Orcs as monsters and not people. Obliviously this situation crossed wires from fantasy to reality and allowed real world racism to seep in. Then, actual bigots and racist jerks used this as a chance to be exactly that but in game as well as in their normal real lives. So, people made Orcs racist due to lazy writing for years which after the transition, made it to easy for people to place real world politics into them.

So, where does this leave us with the Orc? It leaves us with two options. 

  1. Orcs are monsters. They should not be a playable option and are a known evil in the world. 
  2. Orcs are a race a culture. There is not such thing as an inherently evil orc. They are just like Humans, Elves, etc. They have the good, the bad, and the ugly. 

These options cannot cross pollinate because you end up with the issue already discussed above. Orcs are not the only Monster turned playable the suffers from this issue. The Drow (and many more) also suffer from this issue (of lazy writing and people making them racist) but I talk at length regarding that problem and my social fixes in my post The Darkness of the Drow. 

With all of this in mind, my initial statement still stands. Orcs (and others) as written are not racist, they are written as monsters. Peoples reaction from the transition to monster to playable and because the writing did not change are what caused Orcs to be racist. People who used them to emulate real world politics, people who treated player character Orcs/Half-Orcs as less then, and people who saw an excuse to act out their bigotry fantasies are the problem and what made them racist. This does not even include all of the people who are jumping on the ban wagon and the witch hunters. 

Once again, I will reiterate that I am for this changes and I am glad they are happening. It is the how and the false sincerity of it all that I cry foul at. 

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Review: Barbarians of the Ruined Earth

This is one of the games that I have been waiting on for a very long time. It felt like millenniums passed between each aspect its creation. From when it is just an idea, to writing, to editing, to the successful kickstarter, and finally to public release. This games draws heavily on inspiration from Thundarr the Barbarian, Ralph Bakshi's Wizards, Heavy Metal, and Mad Max: Fury Road. 

For disclosure purposes, I received a physical and digital copy for review purposes. In addition, I was a consultant on the game early in its process. 

Presentation: I saw Mike Evans release art throughout the process and I payed close attention to the Kickstarter but I was not expecting the end product to be so pleasing to the eye. Barbarians of the Ruined Earth (BotRE) has a full cover and its 167 pages are stuffed with full color art from the multiple artists. In addition, each page has a yellow border with red dots and all of the tables have yellow and red highlights. BotRE has a table of contents and is organized into various chapters. The book starts off (after the introduction and all of that) with the full rules of the game that is a whopping 9 pages long.

Character Creation: Players create characters following these steps:

  1. Rolling Stats: There are two options. The first option is roll 3d6 in order (Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma). If you roll a 15+ then your next roll with be 2d6+2. The second option is rolling the same stats but using 2d6+5 because lets face it, it is not fun having a 3-6 in a stat.
  2. Choose a Class: There are 8 classes (race as class is used in BotRE). Your options are Barbarians, Beastmen (mutant humans/animal hybrids), Death Priest, Robot, Scavenger, Sorcerer, Urchin, and Vek (super smart raptor folk).
  3. Record Details: Each class provides starting hit points, hit dice, weapon/armor proficiency, damage done with weapons/unarmed, starting equipment, an interesting trinkets table (1d6), and a life event table (1d8). 

Resolution: Barbarians of the Ruined Earth is based off of The Black Hack 1e with various house rules baked right in. Every task consists of making an attribute check that consists of rolling a d20 under the relevant of attribute. This roll can be modified with advantage or disadvantage. The system is also player facing in which the GM does not make "attack rolls" for monsters, traps, etc. The players react to adversary and must succeed on their own attributes checks to avoid the axe heading towards their head. 

Speaking of that, combat is resolved in the following manner:

  1. Roll Initiative: Everyone rolls a 1d20 (the GM rolls for all enemies at the same time. Though, separate rolls can be made for powerful enemies). The order resolved from lowest to highest and initiative is rolled once per combat.
  2. Attacking/Defending: When it is the characters turn, they can attack, move, etc. An attack functions the same way as an attribute test. When the adversary goes, the GM narrates the action and the character reacts to it by trying to avoid getting hit. This is the same as any other attribute roll. 

 

Crunch: There is not a lot of crunch beyond the attribute tasks but the system has some interesting nuances that I will list. 

  • Armor: Armor provides a flat damage reduction. Shields do not add to damage reduction but can be sacrificed to completely ignore a successful attack. A small shield can do this once and then it is useless and large shields can do this twice before becoming useless
  • Critical Success: If the player rolls a 1 during an attack, the damage is doubled. If the player is trying to avoid an attack and rolls a 20, they take double damage
  • Resistance: Some creatures have resistance, which means they 1/2 damage from certain sources 
  • Death and Dying: There is a death and dying table (d10) after a character reaches 0 hit points
  • Powerful Opponents: If the players face opponents that have 2 HD or more then they are considered powerful opponents. Players suffer disadvantage to attack and dodging rolls. If they party's total HD is double the powerful opponents HD, then they powerful opponent penaalty is ignored
  • Experience: Experience points are gone, the GM levels up the characters have major events, quests completed, etc 


Final Thoughts: I think the art coupled with the rules light engine of The Black Hack really hit all the sweet spots for a Post Apocalyptic joy Ride. This is because the rules do not get in the way of the ride and the art does not only make it look rad, but it adds so much flavor, inspiration, and hints at a setting. 

I am also really glad that the changes to the core rules of The Black Hack fixed a lot of things that I did not like personally like with the system such as the original armor rules and a few other things. BotRE has also greatly expanded the GM section with lots of helpful tables, various advice columns, weapon creation tables, and even has a table to create Blocks (think the mega blocks from Judge Dredd). All of this extra GM goodies make running it a lot easier. There is also an Appendix N and there are sources in there that I did not mention.

With the Barbarians of the Ruined Earth, you can run just about any style of game from a Gamma World Gonzo to Mad Max. I think this is really the big selling point of BotRE because it is designed to do the various different games with ease. It takes little effort to allow or disallow various things to get the tone just right. A lot of other post apocalyptic games have their tone hard baked into the rules and it takes a lot of effort to untangle it.  

You can find Barbarians of the Ruined Earth...

 

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Silence is Consent

Well, I have been trying to avoid writing this post for sometime for two reasons. The first one being I do not like real politics in my hobbies. The second one being that this blog is a labor of love and I enjoy writing but I know I will not enjoy writing this post. But I digress, here I am writing this post. I have been motivated to write it for one reason and one reason only, which is simply - SILENCE IS CONSENT!

On June 6th, 2020 Wizards of the Coast published an article titled "Diversity AND Dungeons and Dragons.

This article talks about how WotC is changing  various wording in their future reprints to fix racially insensitive language, how they view Drow and Orcs as being racist and they are going to change their presentation, fix some stereotypes in Curse of Strahd, and hire sensitivity readers to review all future products. How they are going to include a legacy clause (talking about how they don't support) products like Oriental Adventures, etc. It even talks about how they are going to release a product where ability increases are not going to be set by the chosen race but free floating (this usually happens at tables anywhere if a player talks to the GM about it). At casual glance this sounds great, diversity and inclusion in black and white. Though, the article does not hold up to any type of critical thinking and many games have come before this that already include some from of a diversity/inclusion clause clause. 

The first thing that stands out is how hypocritical this move is. This is not out of the kindness of their hearts, this is due to the current political air and whatever hate mail they are getting over various topics. If this was brought up a year ago, two years ago, in 4th edition, 3.5, etc. Then alright, I would say it was sincere or at least mostly so. This observation also goes for everyone else who was followed in the WotC footsteps (or predated them in the current political climate). Has everyone forgotten how horrible WotC's practices are? How they bought out Last Unicorn Games and filled LUG with promises only to fire just about everyone, kill their game lines, and absorb the company like a Gelatinous Cube? Or how WotC still has not truly addressed the accusations about how Mike Mearls covered up abuse allegations?  Or how they continuously mistreat their freelancers and other employees? With this final statement, I would like to direct your attention to the viewing screen:

 

These are just a handful of examples of how WotC has a history of saying one thing and doing something completely different behind the curtains.  

With the elephant in the room out of the way, we can move on to the whole idea of Orcs, Drow, and other things being racially insensitive or stereotypical.  I have had countless conversations with people in the community about this and there are some people that really try to make this idea hold water. These people are convinced it does because they are superimposing real world politics and creating intent of racist connotations where there is not be and never was (it is all just real world agenda pushing). Any person or organization (like WotC) can apply real world politics, stretch/bend/alter the intent or purpose of x, y, z to try to make any aspect of fantasy/sci-fi/etc gaming racist/biased/etc. But, in the end, it does not hold water because it always leaks.

Orcs, Drow, etc. are not racist. There should be no real world parallels to Orcs, Drow, etc. to any people of color or cultures. Any attempt to make them so is to put one's own politics and agendas into the game. This also takes away powerful metaphors of good and evil, chaos and law, order and disorder, etc. I am not the first to cry shenanigans about this and I wont be the last. Some examples of people that have come before me Orcs and the End of Symbols, The Orcish Enlightenment, Woke D&D, and Dystopia-Totalitarianism and 05R. 

All of this really blows my mind and makes me want to yell WTF! at the top of my lungs. What really just floors me about all of this is that all of these people are attacking what is in black and white by bending things to fit their agenda, splitting areas, and straight up going on a witch hunt. All this effort is so misguided it isn't even funny. What is in black and white is not the problem. The real problem with inclusion and racism at the table is with the people at the table. It is with the people who make racist comments, racist jokes, and everyone who makes other people feel unsafe or uncomfortable at the table. It is the responsibility of everyone at the table to make sure the experience is inclusive and no one is made to feel unsafe. This is done by having a conversation about everyone regarding game content and using in game tools like the X-Card.

All those people out there who are racist, sexist, jerks that make people feel unsafe at the table (and other worse acts) will be left without people to game with and the community will drop them like yesterdays dirty underwear. 

Don't get me wrong, I think it is great (and welcome these changes) for games to have inclusion clauses, multi-cultural art, multi-sexual orientation art, flexible rules to move around bonuses, etc. But do not expect me to give you a pat on a back because companies are caving to political pressure or be impressed by all of those self flogging authors rejecting their works, rejecting gaming awards, and trying to turn themselves in a martyr. The timing and the current inquisition are not your friends. 

All these people who are this witch hunt really need to refocus their efforts in other areas - like demand gaming companies to treat their employees better, demand them to take responsibility for their unsavory actions, and demand them to take allegations seriously. You can also you know get out and vote, volunteer their time at their local civil rights movements, right letters to their government representatives, get a job where they can make change, and anything else along those lines. The possibilities are endless to make real world changes.

REAL WORLD POLITICS DO NOT BELONG IN GAMING AND PEOPLE WHO ARE DOING THIS ARE DAMAGING THE HOBBY. 

 This has been the first episode of...

 


Sunday, August 23, 2020

Review: 17th Century Minimalist


 
The Age of Sail is one of my favorite time periods in history and one of my favorite eras to game in. That era can have the supernatural and weirdness cranked up to 10 and beyond or be a more down to earth Three Musketeers swashbuckler style. So, with that being said, I am always on the look out for games set in this era. To be honest, I do not even know how I came across this game but it looks like a gem. It is produced by Games Omnivorous.

Disclaimer: I was given a physical copy for review purposes. 
 
Presentation: 17th Century Minimalist presents itself in a 40 page, full color, saddle stitched (with red thread), booklet form. The cover is made of thick cardboard style paper and the rest of the book is printed on a cream paper. What really catches my eye about this game is the art style. It is very unique and heavily reminds me of the type art that could be found in Veins of the Earth, etc. 


Character Creation: Below are the various steps for character creation;
  1. Roll 3d4 for each ability: Charisma, Dexterity, Strength, Intelligence, and Luck. Then re-roll all the abilities with a score of 5 or less using 1d4+12.
  2. If the character ends up with no ability above 10, return to the step above and re-roll all the abilities again. 
  3. Choose a Class: Cutthroat, Illusionist, Plague Doctor, Soldier, or Swashbuckler. 
  4. Register the Maximum Hit points listed in the respective class section. Hit points are static in this game. PCs do not gain more when advancing level.
  5. Note down the starting equipment in your inventory. 
  6. Read and study the special abilities of the class chosen. 

Resolution: The core mechanic is rolling a d20 and comparing it to the appropriate attribute. If the result is on or below the attribute the action succeeds and if it is above the attribute the action fails. This single mechanic governs all non routine actions, saves, combat, and just about everything else.

Speaking of combat, it is player facing and the sequence is below;

  1. Determine Initiative: Each PC puts a different colored die in a bag. Add another die for the adversaries, and a neutral colored die. The GM takes one of these in turn from the bag. The "owner" can perform his or her turn (all adversaries act when their dice is pulled). If the neutral die is pulled, the round is over a new initiative bag is assembled. 
  2. When a character wants to attack, the player rolls a normal attribute check for their Strength (if melee) or Dexterity if ranged. A critical fumble is on a 20 and a critical success is on a 1. 
  3. When it is the adversaries turn, the GM narrates the action and the character attempts to avoid the attack with a successful attribute check. If the check fails, the character is hit and takes damage. 

In the combat section, there is a mechanic called fight back. It states that if a character is being attacked but the attack misses, the character can fight back, RIPOSTE! The player rolls for bonus attack but with disadvantage.  

Crunch: To be honest, most of the crunch has already been explained but there are some additional aspects to the system that I Think are very important to discuss.

  • Luck: This attribute is kind of a jack of all trades. Though, one point of luck can be spent to re-roll the dice (except for fumbles because a fumble is a fumble). At the end of each of adventure (or whenever the GM deems fitting) 1d3 luck is regained up to the characters maximum
  • Weapon Damage: Small d4/Medium d6/Large d8
  • Out of Action Table: When a PC reaches zero hp, they roll a d6 to see if they survive
  • Firearms: Take 18-a character's Dexterity to reload 
  • Misfiring: There is a d10 table to see if the characters weapon misfires or backfires. It has a 80% chance to fire normally and a result of a 9 or 10 dictate a misfire or a backfire. There is optional rules for damp places
  • Alcohol and Drugs: Tables and rules for these
  • Disease: Tables and rules for these
  • Poison: Tables and rules plus antidotes for these
  • Advantage/Disadvantage: If a character has advantage, the player rolls two d20s and chooses one. If a character has disadvantage, the player rolls two d20s and the GM chooses one
  • Armor: Armor provides a number of d6s in armor protection. Players can remove one of these d6's to completely ignore a hit. During downtime, the lost d6's are rolled and if they are above the original armor rating the armor regains an armor dice
  • Reputation: Normal Reputation starts at 6. When the characters do virtuous deeds it goes up and when they vicious stuff, their reputation goes down. As 12 the characters are considered famous and at 1 they are considered infamous. Both of these comes with pros and cons. Once characters are famous or in famous they gain tokens for further deeds and these tokens can be spent for various effects (most of these are story driven and players can only hold a maximum of two tokens)
  • Advancement: Characters earn XP as they move around in the world. Every 10 XP the go up a level to a maximum of 5. When a character levels up, they gain a chance to increase their attributes and their class abilities increase

Final Thoughts: This is a very well put together and thought out game using the Black Hack 2e as the skeleton for its system with various bits and pieces from other system added in to cover various aspects of the era. I think this all works very well and you end up with a great game to play in the age of sail. The game also provides a quick two pages of advice and tips to running the game which are helpful and some rules about converting AC and monsters are also included.

I also feel like  roll under systems and player facing combat are the way to go. It just makes things feel so much smoother and allows the GM to easily decide what needs to be rolled on the fly if one of their players does something the GM was not prepared for. In a swashbuckling world, this is just perfect. 

Two of my favorite things about the system is the Reputation system and the classes. The reputation system really helps allow GM's to enact the classic cause and effect axis to the characters actions - whether good or bad. I wish a lot more games had a system like this baked in.  My second favorite thing is the classes. Each class really speaks volumes about the setting of the age of sail. In addition, the classes are front loaded and have a lot of unique abilities that are full of flavor. To be honest, I think calling them classes is a disservice to them because they feel more like professions and using the word class brings certain D&D connotations to mind. 

With that being said, I think there are two things that I wish would have been included (one of them being more of personal preference) the other being an oversight which is surprising to me because there was a lot of care and effort put into this game. The oversight is there is no type of adversary/monster section or rule to create your own. This would be easy enough use the Black Hack 2e and make adjustments due to damage restrictions, etc. 

As for the issue that is probably more my personal preference is that the game is designed around one shots or short campaigns. This is due to the fact the most of the PC's hit points is locked around 12 and it can lead to deadly games. In the authors tips this is discussed and reasons are given. It is true that there are ways to burn to luck, armor, and other things to avoid taking damage but I still think it is to deadly for long term play. Again, this is easily fixed by upping the HP to 20-24 (I like the static HP idea) but I think it should have been a side note or something like that. 

Regardless, 17th Century Minimalist is a great game and can easily replace a lot of the more crunchier age of sail games out there. You can find it here:

 

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Detroit Suck City: Episode 9

The crew scrambles to find positions in the train and load their unconscious people from they rescued from the lab and started to head down the tracks as the facility exploded behind them. Sometime up the road they entered until switching yard and slowed their pace to try to make the best directional decisions possible. During this time, the only one of the three to be semi conscious gained full consciousness and stated to explain how he was taken from his settlement towards the east from a hunting expedition and was in line to be experimented on. This person introduces himself as Kamanji and is willing to accompany the crew on their mission to investigate the red light and bring an end to the cult of the Star People. The crew scrounges up some gear and clothes for Kamanji as Kamanji confirms what the crew has already suspected - that star people are not born, they are made. Kamanji said he could take over the horrible driving as he knew how the controls worked and the crew let him. 

 
The train finally exits the switches of the yard and ends up heading in the direction of the glowing light. Even though they were away from the yard, the sides of the railroad tracks are still littered with rail cars of all shapes, sizes, and conditions. As the crew traveled further they decided it would be a good idea to find somewhere to lay low for awhile, lick their wounds, and figure out exactly where the Rail City is. It was agreed that it would be a good place to pick up some intelligence and resupply. During this conversation Parrot notices a person riding a very large cat with six legs barring down on the train and keeping pace with it. Parrot announces this to the crew and Auron looks over and spots this bounding giant cat easily. As Auron opens his mail to hail the rider that same rider fires off a bolt of energy from a strange glowing rod that misses Auron by a few inches. 

 
Auron then spins around in the turret and fires the laser cannon which makes contact with the mount but it did not slow the mount down. Kamanji then starts to slow the train down as he realizes combat with a moving train could be dangerous. Wilhelm opens up with the .50 cal and Parrot fires a off a mental blast but regardless of their successes, these attacks still do not appear to be slow the mount down. The rider fires another energy bolt at Auron which hits as Lladmar notices some shapes moving along the rail cars that are scattered on the sides of the tracks. Before he could even issue a warning multiple humanoids with tails and other cat like features leap on the rail and Velotank. 

The crew not involved in melee with the cat people take aim at the mount of the Cat Lord with varying degrees of success. As Auron is about to blast of some of the cat people from the Velotank he catches the mount with the Cat Lord make a great leap which was headed right for the Rail Tank. Auron was able to spin the turret around and blow off one of the mounts six legs before it collides into the turret. As Auron struggles to try to free himself from the mounts jaws, Auron meets his end as the Cat Lord beings down what Auron now sees as a sword made of light onto his head. 

Before the Cat Lord can regain its bearings, Wilhelm opens up with the .50 cal again but misses but Parrot moves down the Velotank and fires a sonic blast at everyone within range. After the near miss with the .50 call and the sonic blast, the mount of the Cat Lord is able to untangle itself from the turret and Auron's body just in time to see the last of its cat people fall. The Cat Lord then decides to make a run for it and leaps from the train. During this leap Parrot's mind blast is rattles both the mount and it's rider as Lladmar's mental blast goes wide. Just as the Cat Lord and its mount is about to touch the ground Wilhelm opens fire with the .50 and the mount explodes in the hail of bullets which sends the Cat Lord tumbling to the ground. The crew jumps at this chance and makes quick work of the stunned and dazed Cat Lord. 

After the danger dies down crew divides up the gear of their enemies, dumps their bodies unceremoniously off of the train, and gives Auron a quick shallow grave. The remaining crew then decides to head backward to take one of the less used tracks in the hope to find a place to hunker down to rest and find out where Rail City is located. 

Just another day in Detroit Suck City...

___________________________________________________________________________________

PLAYER THOUGHTS: These last 9 episodes we have been  moving forward and tackling at break neck speed. It has been a lot of fun but it is just our luck when the characters finally decide it is time for some rest and to find Rail City (the few deaths and a lot of injuries probably helped) they get ambushed! I was hoping Auron would have a chance to hail the Cat Lord and maybe parley with it but it decided to fire first so, initiative was rolled and chaos ensued. As for Auron's death, he went out after an amazing critical - it was a good death. Speaking of crits, the other players rolled a three others for a total four crits in one combat! Looking back over my character sheet I realized that I was not adding some bonuses to my AC the entire campaign (which would have helped me survive a lot longer I am sure) but I am also really excited about my next character so it is all good. I am looking forward to getting to Rail Town.