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;

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Old School Gamers Looking For a Group

Does anyone know of any regular Old School style campaigns played over Google+ or Skype that happen to be looking for new players?  Anything happening even remotely close to the GMT times-zone would do. I'd offer to start up a new game myself, but I don't have a campaign prepared. But if worst comes to the worst, that's what I'll do.

Mind you, I haven't had the pleasure of playing in an old school game (as opposed to running one) for more than a decade, so it would be awesome to get a chance to play.

In the absence of a regular campaign (or even a regular group of players down here in Folkestone). Caroline and I are going slightly nuts (just slightly) for want of a game. I'm almost at the stage where I'm ready to run a few published solo adventures (yes, it's really getting that bad) and she's almost mad enough to let me run her through them!

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Silenced Voices: Mission Dossier

(To be Read Prior to the Campaign. Explanation for why this information is relevant will be forthcoming in game, but if you can't figure it out for yourselves you're playing the wrong game!).)

The Coriolanus Expedition:

The following has been re-classified for your security clearance. Not for dissemination outside the offices of the Holy Inquisition.

Intercepted Secure Vox Communication
Penumbra System Traffic
Classified Magenta

Lord Rogal Coriolanus - our feted explorer and libertine-  is leaving Penumbra next cycle to investigate pre-Imperial ruins on Pharos. You've all seen the delicious articles he's uncovered in the vice-dens. Who can doubt he'll discover something equally licentious in the sands of Pharos?

Exerpt from local scream-sheet, "The Rubiantum Pillar Riposte" 919.M41

Coriolanus Expedition Embarks for Tabula Rosa aboard the Imperial Standard, a vessel chartered from the Rogue Trader Penhew Dynasty. Contrary to earlier reports, the expedition will conduct research in the data-stacks of the Penhew Archives before continuing on to Pharos.

Conscientious members of hive society will have attended- and remember- the enormous gala hosted by Lord Rogal Coriolanus at the Astoria upon claiming his leadership of House Coriolanus at the occasion of his majority. Since then, he has been famed and celebrated as much for his loquacious behavior as for his fine intelligence and collection of pre-imperial artifacts.

Members of the expedition have been reluctant to reveal their purpose on Pharos:

Renowned explorer and xeno-archeologist Aubrey Penhew, a lesser scion of the famous Penhew line, is captain of the Imperial Standard and a specialist in delicate or dangerous excavations.

Dr Robertus Huscarl, a medicae of some renown (in certain circles of the hive), is a specialist in both human and -reportedly- Xenos psychology. A former medical-adept of the Adeptes Munitorium, it is difficult for anyone in society to comprehend the reasons for such a mans presence on the expedition, unless, of course, traumatic battlefield injuries are anticipated.

Hypatia Magnus, a photo-visual remembrancer previously linked to Corolianus, will act as expedition remembrancer and archivist.

Jacobius Brast, an intimate of Lord Rogal and respected life-guard of House Coriolanus, accompanies the group as a general functionary.

It is believed that additional specialists may join the endeavor at Tabula Rosa.

Ordo Heriticus Communication:
++++Classified Mauve++++

Thought for the Day: Idleness begets Heresy!!

+Coriolanus Expedition has departed Pharos+ Adeptes Telipathica confirm Imperial Standard on vector for Death World of Mgabe+Coriolanus has suffered injury+

Intercepted Adpetus Telipathica Transmission:
+++Classified Mauve+++
+++Thought for the Day: Pain Directs Effort+++
+++From: Adeptus Arbites, Mgabe Precinct House+++
+++To: Lady Erka Coriolanus+++
Regret to confirm Coriolanus expedition two months overdue+Declared missing+Presumed lost+ The Emperor protects+

Intercepted Adeptus Telepathica Transmission
+++Classified Mauve+++
+++Thought for the Day: The Emperor watches all+++
+++From: Lady Ekra Coriolanus+++
+++To: Major Domo, House Coriolanus+++
+++ Have arrived at Mgabe aboard Penhew vessel Font of Life+++ Investigating possible massacre of off-worlders in North-Western Death-lands+++

Intercepted Adeptus Telepathica Transmission
+++Classified Mauve+++
+++Eyes Only+++
+++Thought for the Day: To err is to fail the Emperor+++

+++From: Lady Ekra Coriolanus+++
+++To: Major Domo, House Coriolanus+++

+Have located site of off-worlder massacre in North West Deathlands+ Remains of 28 expedition members located+ Local Arbites suspect Nandi tribesmen+ No off-world bodies located+ Nandi tribesmen confirm fate of following expedition members+ Rogal Coriolanus confirmed dead+ Aubrey Penhew confirmed dead+Hypatia Magnus confirmed dead+ Dr Robertus Huscarl confirmed dead+ Many indigenous tribal bearers confirmed dead+ No off-worlder remains located+

Adeptus Arbites Records
+++From: Mgabe Precinct House+++
+++To: Central Archives, Tabula Rosa Sector Fortress+++
+++Thought for the Day: Retribution Is Justice+++
+Five Nandi tribal leaders executed with extreme prejudice+ Admitted guilt but refused to disclose location of Coriolanus off-worlder remains+ Implication that victims were ritually tortured/dis-memberd+ Can confirm departure of Lady Erka Coriolanus and Font of Life prior to trial's conclusion+

Intercepted Astropathica Transmission:
+++From: Jeremiah Elias, Shian City, Shian+++
+++To: Erasmus Kensin, Rubinian, Penumbra+++
+Suspicions re Coriolanus Expedition correct+ Major conspiracy at work+ Meet at Irridium Rest House day after docking+Traveling on Silver Majesty+

Monday, 21 January 2013

Silenced Voices: A Dark Heresy Campaign

As some of you know from my other blogs, I'm about to move down to Kent. As one method of keeping in touch with my gaming buddies, I'll be running a Dark Heresy campaign via Skype. While I don Inquisitorial robes and speak through a green light filter at one end, my image will be presented on a wide-screen TV somewhere in Glasgow, where the players will be gathered to partake in the Grim Dark future that is the 40K Universe.

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:
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 where 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 "handle"r, Explicator Sand.

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 Interrogators, who 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 indentical, 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 4, with 4000 points of experience to spend on creating their character. Starting funds equal what they would have received at rank 1 multiplied by four. They can buy any item they can afford (subject to DM approval) regardless of rarity, provided they can afford to purchase it with their starting funds AND purchase the skills required to make use of it.

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 (except Sisters)
The Book of Judgement
Blood of Martyrs (including 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. If a player does not provide a background and an image for their character, then his character will be docked a full rank or experience and begin play with enough XP to have attained rank 3.