Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Dark Heresy Update

We've been playing for nearly a month now, but, due to the short duration of our Google Hangout sessions (combined with a couple of sessions of severely curtailed length) the party are still playing through the introductory adventure.

We've got an interesting selection of characters, with a good mixture of careers: a Sister of Battle, a Psyker, a Preacher, a Scum, an Arbiter and a Tech Priest Cyber-dog handler.

I'm still waiting on a few background paragraphs and photographs for one or two characters. Once they're in, I'll formally introduce you all to the party. Shortly thereafter, I'll write up the first adventure report chronicling our adventures. Due to the short duration of our sessions, I won't be doing a session by session write up. At least not initially. Once the introductory scenario has ended and we're into the campaign proper I'l publish write-ups more frequently.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Silenced Voices 2.0: A Dark Heresy Campaign

This is a reboot of an old campaign that never really got off the ground. After our play-test of Stuart Marshall's new Mega-Dungeon project, the group decided we didn't want to be a temporary collection of play-testers after all. So, I've blown the dust off my old notes. Time for a reboot.

Player's Introduction:
"Your contact is late. Three hours late. Intelligence indicates he is residing in room 4306, on the thirty-first floor of the Irridium Rest House. It is outside this door that you stand. Now. Looking at the shattered mag-lock slowly melting melting into the floor. Wondering at the smell of blood. The ozone of warp-taint lingering in the air. Behind the closed door, you can hear the faint sounds of movement. Something unnatural occurs within..."

The Crone Sector:
The setting will be the Crone Sector, in the galactic south east. A newly re-conquered Sector, returned to the Imperial Fold a scant fifty years before, it lies on the very edge of Imperial Space . The Inquisition keeps the Imperium's newly-conquered subjects extremely ignorant (even by the standards of the Imperium) or other worlds within the Sector.

Only the handful of Chartist captains (and a good half-dozen Rogue Traders) operating within the Sector have any real comprehension of the Imperium beyond their home world.

The Voidship Penumbra's Ghost

The Sanctum Invigilus:
The Sanctum is a modest manor house in the mid-levels of the Central Spire in the Rubiantum Mega-Hive of the twilight-shrouded world of Penumbra. Although none of the Acolytes are aware of it's exact location, it a small but significant location in Shard's net-work and the operational base of Shard's cell-network on Penumbra.

Rubiantium Hive, Penumbra.
It is here that the Acolytes received their brief, orientation training. It is the (some-times) home of Inquisitor Shard (albeit not for nearly half-a-century) and the dwelling place of their "handler", Explicator Sand, the Inquisitor's Senior Interrogator.

Inquisitor Shard:

Inquisitor Sharde, according to a 50 year old Portrait in the Sanctum
A shadowy figure, Shard rarely allows his acolytes to meet with him directly, instead operating through a network of "handlers" - senior Acolytes, Explicators and Interrogatorswho carry out the actual field work while under his command. Shard seemingly belongs to no specific Ordos and directs multiple lines of inquiry simultaneously from some secret lair hidden deep within the shadows of the Crone sector.

Explicator Sand:

Explicator Sand enjoying work on his latest project
A somewhat macabre and distant figure, Sand is the Explicator who undertook your painful (and invasive) induction into Inquisitorial Service. A former Munitorium Surgical Adept, Sand invariably dresses in soiled, blood-stained surgical gowns and green plastic aprons when conducting Inquisitorial business. He displays an unnerving and somewhat disturbing affection for his many surgical devices, knives and implements of torture, keeping them spotlessly clean while at the same time neglecting his own appearance and hygiene. Sand's voice is a silky velvet caress, somewhat disarming at times, but capable of discussing the most painful acts of torture in entirely dispassionate tones.

The Explicator has never raised his voice in your presence, but you have heard whispers among the distaff that those juniors who raise his ire seldom re-appear as anything but the newest addition to his installations seemingly endless supply of servitors.

Sanctum Encounters:

Aside from the ubiquitous Servitors and Servo-skulls, a handful of pallid, aging former acolytes act as house servants. All are former Acolytes themselves, though many seem to have failed their master in some way, leading to their re-assignment and "retirement" to the Sanctuary. Their bitter pronouncements of near-certain death with regards to the Acolytes and their glee in laying odds on each individual Acolyte's chances of survival can be somewhat unnerving.

Former Acolytes serve even in death
Most unnervingly, each of these servants, male or female, bears an identical, grafted face. All without exception must be addressed as "Zorius".  

Other hooded Acolytes, hurrying too and from briefings with Sand occasionally cross your path. Communication between members of active Acolyte cells is, however, forbidden, upon pain of mind-wipe or surgical lobotimisation.

Inquisitor Shards Rosette and Seal

Character Creation: 

 Shard is know to despise conventional means of recruiting Acolytes to his service - having neither the patience nor inclination to recruit and train novices only to see them falter and die due to inexperience. Therefore, he draws his followers exclusively from veteran members of other Imperial agencies and Adepta, choosing those who have, through a combination of luck and skill, stumbled onto heresy and survived where others who chose to take action have not.

An Acolyte Cell
The Acolytes have faced heresy and adversity and survived. While they have been subjected to only the briefest hypo-indoctrination techniques, they are now sufficiently acquainted with Inquisitorial doctrine and practices as to be unleashed, under the careful observation and direction of a distant "handler", into the Crone Sector.

Acolytes begin play at rank 1, with 400 points of experience to spend on creating their character.

Legal Books for Character Generation:

The beginning character may follow career paths and acquire skills, talents and equipment made available in the following rulebooks. Purchase of Heretical items is not permitted during character generation.

The Dark Heresy Rulebook.
The Inquisitor's Handbook (inc. Sisters)
The Book of Judgement
Blood of Martyrs (excluding the rules for Sisters)
 The  fan-produced Commissar career path.

Important Note on Character Backgrounds and Portraits:
Note that at least a paragraph of background information explaining how the character came to attention of the Inquisition is expected, as is a character photograph.

Friday, 21 February 2014

Farewell to a Successful Campaign.

Well, the OSRIC mega-dungeon play-test with Stuart Marshall has come to an end. Alas. Farewell Aggie, Erik, Thanatos, Njiall, Lan and Lysander. Farewell also to Skael, my first character in the campaign and also the first (and only) character to permanently die, the only other casualty having been raised from the dead successfully.

We've had a blast trying out the new Megadungeon as well as the new character classes and races that Stuart has developed for the game. I'm sorry to see it end. I'd love to be able to dish out some highlights, but I can't give away any spoilers.

At the end of a glorious campaign, only the fire-side tales remain

My favorite moment in the campaign was the sheer delight of Aggie when she found a magical glowing rock. She kept that glowing rock all through our adventures together, and it saved our hide more times than I remember. There were other awesome moments as well, however, but for the sake of spoilers they will have to remain forever between the members of the group.

At least until the book is released.

It's always somewhat sad and poignant when a beloved campaign (as this one was) comes to an end. All the more so because this game was so well run, the campaign so well written, the group dynamics so downright awesome. It was the first campaign I've seen to completion as a player in decades, a real pleasure to partake in. Perhaps all the more so because it was one of the few games in the last fifteen years or so where I've actually been able to play rather than DM.

But with the end of all things, come's the beginning of another. Although we originally gathered as a group of play-testers, we all want to stay together and keep the group running. So I once again find myself in the DM's chair, and dusting off my old Dark Heresy campaign first prepared nearly a year ago.

I'll keep you posted.

Monday, 13 January 2014

Avalon Campaign

Good News! Not only is the play-testing for a certain soon to be published Mega-Dungeon going extremely well (the party has now jumped from 4th to 9th level to playtest some of the important, "mid-game" parts of the adventure) but we're about to start a Monday night game as well.

One of the guys at my local wargaming group is starting his new AD&D second edition game tonight, and put together this great "concept" video to introduce us to the mood and themes of his home-brew campaign setting.

I don't even know what my stats will be yet, but what I do know is that my character is going to be called Marcus Vibius Dentatus. The cognomen (sort of a hereditary nick-name) "Dentatus" mean's "born-with-teeth." Gaius Iulius Ceaser's cognomen meant "a fine head of hair", ironic considering he was balding at the time of his death. So yes, the term "Hail Ceaser" literally meant "Hail to the guy with the good hair."

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Happy Gaming

The OSRIC campaign on google+ has been going for a couple of months now, and I wish I could tell you all more about it. However, as it's a play-test for some new material Stuart Marshall (editor of OSRIC) is looking to release I'm afraid I'll be doing the honorable thing and keeping my mouth shut about the details.

What I can tell you is that Staurt's new mega-dungeon is a very well put together and dynamic place, with plenty happening in the setting that is triggered by the action of NPC's. Rather than being a "typical" static dungeon setting, where nothing really changes except as a result of player actions, we're constantly being surprised by changes to the world around us. Changes resulting from very plausible causes-and-effects that are helping to immerse us all in the setting.

We've had one character death so far (mine) and I have to tell you it was a great experience to be losing characters for a change rather than killing off someone else's. It seem's like forever since I've had the chance to actually play in an old school setting, rather than DM it. And I couldn't be playing with a better DM than Stuart. Most of us have been holding on to our magical items (rather than selling them for quick xp gain) and that's something which, because of the pressures built into the session forcing us to explore deeper and take greater risks, is probably going to hurt us all in the long run.

Poor Skael didn't even get that option.
In the mean-time, we've been testing out new character races and character classes. Many are actually new takes on old favorites, but all have worked extremely well and added new elements to the game. One class in particular has especially captured my attention: a support/healer class that actually complements, rather than replaces, clerics and which free's up some of the cleric's spell slots for more than just healing.

I can't begin to hype this setting enough. In several months of gaming, we've encountered just four creature types that us old hand's in the party are familiar with. The sheer number of new races has added an unexpected element to the game: a certain degree of uncertainty over who we should be attacking outright, and who we might want to ally with first. That's gone a very long way to keeping the veteran grognards in the group on their toes just as much as the relative newcomers to dungeon-delving.

I've been keeping a campaign journal, but it won't be seeing the light of day until after publication of the mega-dungeon. Not unless Stuart want's to use it as a teaser. Can't wait to share out experiences with you all.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Got Group: Will Hangout

I'm that happy. Really.

Well, after last month's appeal for succor I finally have a regular gaming group again. Best of all: Stuart Marshall, creator/editor of OSRIC, is our DM! It was amazing how quickly I was able to put together a group of my old gaming buddies at the mention of his name!

We'll be play-testing a couple of his new, up-coming product lines so please don't expect to see any of my usual session reports recorded here. At least, not until after the release. I will be recording all of them though, so I can type up transcripts of each session for later publication.

Tonight will be our first session together as a full group and our first session of the actual campaign (as opposed to chatting and sorting out the technical aspect of running games over the internet).

If you can't already tell, I'm very excited. I can't remember the last time I actually got to play in(as opposed to run) a proper Old School game. Can't wait till my first save or die check.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Petty Gods

The OSR book, Petty Gods, is finally out! This may not be news to most of you, as it came out last month, but it was news to me! Heka-Kup, Petty God of Hiccups, was my very own creation. Go use him in your games -if you hate your players, that it.

You can read and/or download the book here, on Dropbox;