Archive for February 2015

Cthulhu Wars: Playing Great Cthulhu

Cthulhu is not only the most widely known Great Old One in the Lovecraftian mythos, he's also the figurehead of the easiest faction in Cthulhu Wars: you start out relatively safe from two of the Factions, you rake in Spellbooks very quickly (and essentially freely), and once you Awaken Cthulhu he becomes insanely, King-in-Yellow cheap to bring back if he dies.

We finally managed to do a Hangout game last week, and Shane easily beat everyone despite not having played before, playing via Hangout (so he didn't always have a good view of the entire board), having blurry images for a Faction sheet and Spellbooks, and forgetting to use Cthulhu's Devour ability throughout the entire game.

Anyway, not that you're really going to need them, here are some tips to playing the Great Cthulhu Faction.

Minions, Monsters, & Masters
Where other Factions have 0 Combat Monsters that can gain special abilities (Black Goat's Ghoul and Crawling Chaos's Nightgaunts), or Monsters with variable Combat (everything from King in Yellow), your Monsters are pretty straightforward:

Like most factions these can't fight. Aside from giving you Power, building Gates, and soaking up hits in a Battle, they're also useful for feeding to your Shoggoths with the Absorb Spellbook, or getting some extra Deep Ones in a pinch with the Devolve Spellbook.

Deep One (4)
A basic 1 Combat monster. Unlike other 1 Power Monsters they lack Spellbook-bestowed special abilities, but at least they're always good offensively in a Battle.

Like Cultists they're also useful for soaking up hits when you Battle (or sacrificing to Nightgaunts and Flying Polyps), or feeding to Shoggoths if you have the Absorb Spellbook.

If you have the Devolve Spellbook, try to keep one or two in your Pool so you can swap them out with your Cultists as needed.

Shoggoth (2)
The perfect middle-ground, these guys have 2 Combat (putting them on par with the 3 Power Monsters from other Factions), but can be really souped up with the Absorb Spellbook to the tune of +3 Combat (just for one Battle, obviously).

Starspawn (2)
At 3 Combat (the highest Combat of any individual Monster) these not only pack a huge punch, but if you have the Regenerate Spellbook they can soak two Kills before dying (or one Pain and one Kill to just run away).

Unlike the rest of the Great Old Ones, Cthulhu has a static 6 Combat. This isn't too bad early on, but in mid- to late-game he'll most certainly lag behind the rest (especially fucking Nyarlathotep). The upside is that every time you Awaken him you get an Elder Sign Token, he gets to automatically Devour a monster for free before Combat dice are rolled, and he only costs 4 Power to re-Awaken.

Given that you get a Spellbook during the first Doom Phase, for controlling three Gates in ocean zones (which you can do in the first game round), Awakening Cthulhu, fighting, and having five Spellbooks, you're probably going to finish your collection first. Crawling Chaos can get some pretty quickly, but you have to use up your Action and spend Power: Cthulhu just gets them by virtue of doing shit you were gonna do anyway.

Absorb (Pre-Battle)
For each Cultist or Monster you feed to your Shoggoth, it gains +3 Combat for that Battle. You should get this pretty early on.

Devolve (Ongoing)
At the end of any player's Action you can transform a Cultist into a Deep One.

This can be used if a Monster or Great Old One tries to mosey on in and Devour one of your Cultists: as soon as it moves, just turn it into a Deep One. Yeah, it'll probably die anyway, but at least the opposing Faction won't get a small Power bump later. Unless the other Factions are giving you a lot of grief, I'd hold up on this.

Dreams (Action: Cost 3)
You pick an area with an enemy Cultist and replace it with one from your Pool. The opposing player gets to choose which Cultist gets replaced.

I've rarely seen this used, as it costs 3 Power and you're likely to end up spending more Power to keep your Cultist safe. It's best against a faction that is starved or out of Power, so you can also benefit from the controlled Gate on the following round. Unless there are lots of isolated Cultists scattered about, you can probably wait until your forth or later Spellbook for this one.

Regenerate (Post-Battle)
Your Starspawn can now soak up two hits per Battle. This means they can take two Kill results before dying, but if you apply a Kill and Pain result then it's still only Pained. Definitely get this sooner than later.

Submerge (Action: Cost 1)
Cthulhu and any Cultists and Monsters you want are removed from the map, and on your following turn you can spend 1 Power to drop them anywhere on the map. This should be one of your earliest Spellbooks.

You can use this to move a huge mob of Units about quickly and cheaply. Just removing your units can put pressure on the other Factions, but if you have all six Spellbooks you can drop in and Battle immediately (since Battle becomes Unlimited with all six Spellbooks).

Yha Nihlei (Ongoing)
As long as Cthulhu is Awakened you gain +1 Power for each enemy-controlled gate that is in an Ocean zone. Unless the other Factions are building in Ocean Zones (which they shouldn't be), you can probably wait on this.

Obviously how well this game plan works depends on what the other Factions do and how they react to you, but here's a solid opening strategy:

You need 10 Power to Awaken Cthulhu (which you want to do as quickly as possible), so start out by moving two Cultists (ideally into ocean zones) and building a few Gates. This will not only give you a serious Power boost on the next round, but if you manage to get both of your new Gates in the ocean you'll also get a Spellbook (control three Gates in ocean zones).

If you think other factions might gun for your Cultists, go with Devolve so you can turn them into Deep Ones and at least deny them a bit of Power by Sacrificing your Cultists. Otherwise get Absorb.

You want Absorb, because on the second round—assuming you have three Gates and enemies aren't trundling towards you—you'll have just enough Power to Awaken Cthulhu and Summon a Shoggoth. With the Shoggoth and Absorb, you can gobble up a Cultist for some extra Combat dice in case another Faction tries to attack you.

Now if you couldn't get a third Gate then hold off on Awakening Cthulhu for now, otherwise you might find yourself powerless, literally, to stop other Factions from moving in and/or eating your Cultists: Crawling Chaos can cover distance quickly (remember that even 0 Combat Monsters can Devour Cultists), and Black Goat can use Shub-Niggurath to swap places with lone Cultists using Avatar.

Instead Summon a couple Shoggoths and/or Deep Ones, and really try to get your third Gate (and even a fourth if you can swing it: Australia is a good spot). If you get the third Gate up on this round, take the Devolve Spellbook so you can pop out some Deep Ones if you have to, or Regenerate if you think you'll be safe.

Once you get Cthulhu up that's when you take the Submerge Spellbook. This will allow you to cover great distances quickly and drop him in on crowded areas. Yellow Sign is probably an easy target, since they need to run The King in Yellow around the board to desecrate specific zones. Don't be afraid to heedlessly throw Cthulhu into Battle as often as possible, because:

  • He gets to auto-Devour a Monster or Cultist, which means you'll always get a Spellbook right away unless you're fighting a Great Old One one-on-one.
  • If you land in an area and Battle multiple enemies, you might get lucky and Kill two more, which will net you your fifth Spellbook.
  • Cthulhu costs a paltry 4 Power to re-Awaken.
  • You get an Elder Sign Token each time you Awaken him, and Doom Points are really the name of the game.

After you get your fifth Spellbook, on the following round you'll get your sixth. Once you have all six Spellbooks everything changes, because now you can use Submerge, and on the following turn appear and Battle right away. You can combine this with Devolve to put a Cultist back in your Pool, appear on top of a gate, slaughter everyone, then Recruit a Cultist to claim the Gate.

The only Faction I'd be wary of is Crawling Chaos: in any Battle in which Nyarlathotop participates in, if your Great Old One is Pained or Killed, they can snag 2 Elder Sign Tokens. Technically they can opt to gain Power equal to half the cost of your Great Old One, but since they'll only get 2 off of Cthulhu they're likely to just snag the two tokens.

I'd recommend leaving your Monsters at home guarding Gates, because other Factions might try attacking once you send Cthulhu out. Again, Cthulhu is cheap and helps you rack up Doom Points.

If Great Cthulhu has a weakness, it's that the only way you can get Elder Sign Tokens aside participating in the Ritual of Annihilation is to Awaken Cthulhu. Other Factions have a fairly reliable way of doing it one or more times each round: Black Goat can sacrifice a Cultist, Yellow Sign can get them via Desecration once Hastur has been Awakened, and Crawling Chaos can get two if they Kill or even merely Pain a Great Old One.

So, be aggressive with Cthulhu, build and control as many Gates as you can, and once you've got a bunch definitely do the Ritual of Annihilation if you have the Power to spare. Use Dreams to snatch an isolated Gate whenever the opportunity presents itself.

February Announcements
First things first, The Cultist went on sale (on Friday the 13th, no less). Though it's been very well received, there's been a...whisper of "criticism" about it.

Second, throughout the entire month of February we're putting both The Witch and The Bard on sale.

We've also modified their prices in our Awfully Big Playbook and All of the Playbooks bundles, making them just that much more tantalizing than they already are: $22 nets you eleven twelve—now that The Cultist is out—classes, which come with design notes and clarifications, custom character sheets, additional moves, magic items, and even compendium classes.
February 26, 2015
Posted by David Guyll

Dungeon World: Shapeshifter Shift

Like most of the Dungeon World classes, I don't like the druid.

Part of my problem is By Nature Sustained: I think it's kind of strange that all druids no longer need to eat or drink, period (just like I think it's strange that all cleric's have Turn Undead).

It would be one thing if it was an advanced move, or a druid of the forest didn't need to eat so long as she was exposed to sunlight, but just a blanket exemption from eating and drinking? Come on: even animals have to eat and drink.

Really though the big thing is that I just don't like Shapeshifter. If you don't have the book on hand and/or are too lazy to check it out, here's the move in its entirety:

When you call upon the spirits to change your shape, roll+WIS. ✴On a 10+ hold 3. ✴On a 7–9 hold 2. ✴On a miss hold 1 in addition to whatever the GM says. 

You may take on the physical form of any species whose essence you have studied or who lives in your land: you and your possessions meld into a perfect copy of the species’ form. You have any innate abilities and weaknesses of the form: claws, wings, gills, breathing water instead of air. You still use your normal stats but some moves may be harder to trigger—a housecat will find it hard to do battle with an ogre. The GM will also tell you one or more moves associated with your new form. Spend 1 hold to make that move. Once you’re out of hold, you return to your natural form. At any time, you may spend all your hold and revert to your natural form.

I've heard some people complain that it's confusing and vague, others about its overall utility and combat power. While it is confusing and vague (especially for new Dungeon World players), that's not really why I don't like it.

I don't even much care about the utility: that's Dungeons & Dragons-grade bullshit, where people whine about how easy access to flying is "broken" because you can just fly over pits and such. Oh no, the druid can turn into a bird and, I dunno, carry a rope up a cliff face (because cliffs are a huge deal), or even have everyone hop into a bag of holding and just cart that about.

If you think that that's bad for...some reason, consider this: at 1st-level a Dungeon World druid can feasibly transform into a roc and carry the whole party about, as-is. In our Expedition to Ravenloft With Dungeon World campaign, the wizard polymorphed the thief into a roc and just flew them over to Castle Ravenloft.

Pits and cliffs have frankly never been particularly meaningful obstacles in the 20 or so years I've been playing and running games so, again, don't give a shit. It's using the move in combat where it starts to overlap with why I don't like it.

See, when you change into an animal the GM tells you one or more moves that the animal form can make, and you spend 1 hold to automatically make one of them. For example, if your bear form (the bear seems to crop up a lot in druid discussions) has been given the move "maul the hell out of someone", then you can just do that over and over until you run out of hold. You revert back to human form, but can just change back and keep going.

That bit at the end there is my problem.

No, not the move "abuse", but the fact that you stay in animal form until you do some very specific things or just opt to change back. From a purely mechanical perspective I get it: if you just let a player make a "no roll" move that allows them to automatically maul people with impunity, that's going to be a problem, so you put a kind of cap on it.

But what's the fictional explanation, here? The druid turns into a bear, and if she mauls people 1-3 times she automatically reverts back. Okay, why? She can hack and slash as often as she wants (albeit likely poorly, which I'll touch on in a bit), but if she hurts enemies in a very specific way then it...runs out? That doesn't make any sense to me, and it's also more than a bit silly to envision a druid turning into a bear, mauling one or two enemies, reverting to human form, then changing right back into a bear to keep on fighting. Rinse and repeat.

Another problem is that your stats don't change at all. If you're a bear and you try to Hack and Slash, you still use your normal, non-bear Strength, whether it's +3 or -1. I get that if you're a hummingbird that you can't exactly Hack and Slash things, but against all reason whether you're an elf or bear you have the exact same odds of success and inflict the exact same amount of damage.

Having played a witch throughout an entire campaign, Melissa can confidently say that she mostly likes the Skinchanger move: instead of going with a roll-and-hold move (for all the reasons above), you can freely change (no roll) into an animal and gain all of its abilities and limitations until you change again. While it was useful, her main gripe was that if she turned into a bear (which she actually tried doing), that she is just as effective in melee combat as she was before, which is to say not at all.

We think that shapechanging moves shouldn't have such a...strange duration, and rely less on the GM pulling random moves out of their ass. Right now I'm thinking something like this:

When you spend a few moments changing into an animal that is human-sized or larger, you gain any features and limitations of the form and roll+WIS. ✴On a 10+, choose 3. ✴On a 7-9, choose 2. ✴On a miss, choose 1 in addition to whatever else the GM says.
  • You don't take -1 ongoing to INT, WIS, or CHA until you revert to human form (GM's choice)
  • You take +1 ongoing to STR, DEX, or CON until you revert to human form.
  • Gain +1 armor.
  • You gain one of the following tags: forceful, messy, 1 piercing.

With this you can change into a bear, choose +1 ongoing to STR and the forceful tag, and be able to better swat enemies about without having to change back and forth.

I specify human-sized or larger so that you can't turn into, say, a cat and get +1 armor or 1 piercing. Though, I suppose you could add in the stealthy tag to the list, so that way a cat could choose to gain +1 ongoing to DEX and stealthy.

This could be changed so that you can only transform into animals that are your size or smaller, with advanced moves that let you turn into animals with the Large and Huge tags (gaining the Reach tag, as well as Forceful and even a damage bonus).

Other advanced moves could modify what these do, or even open up new options: take +1 ongoing to a second stat, choose a second tag, choose an additional option (even on a miss), +1 damage in animal form, with the option to bump up damage to d8, and so on.

February Announcements
First things first, The Cultist went on sale (on Friday the 13th, no less). Though it's been very well received, there's been a...whisper of "criticism" about it.

Second, throughout the entire month of February we're putting both The Witch and The Bard on sale.

We've also modified their prices in our Awfully Big Playbook and All of the Playbooks bundles, making them just that much more tantalizing than they already are: $22 nets you eleven twelve—now that The Cultist is out—classes, which come with design notes and clarifications, custom character sheets, additional moves, magic items, and even compendium classes.
February 21, 2015
Posted by David Guyll

A Sundered World: Locations, Locations, Locations

Taking a break from the race art, here are some of the location pieces I've whipped up for A Sundered World:

The skeletal remains of Bahamut are inhabited by clans of violent tarchons, great serpents, elephant-like creatures that bleed rubies, and more. This one is nearly done, I just need to add some tarchons to make it clear what the scale is.

Zaradica, a city built within the head of a dead god. It is controlled by angels, who live in seven towers suspended above the city (representing the seven virtues). Obviously this is still a work in progress: gotta finish making the towers look different, add in the rest of the buildings (and their details), and the angel gate.

Barely started on Hammerhold, dwarf capital of the Bhalen'lad Cluster. It's going to be five mountain kingdoms chained to the hammer of the dwarf god.

February Announcements
First things first, The Cultist went on sale (on Friday the 13th, no less). Though it's been very well received, there's been a...whisper of criticism about it.

Second, throughout the entire month of February we're putting both The Witch and The Bard on sale.

We've also modified their prices in our All of the Playbooks bundle, making them just that much more tantalizing than they already are: $20 nets you eleven twelve—now that The Cultist is out—classes, which come with design notes and clarifications, custom character sheets, additional moves, magic items, and even compendium classes.

A Sundered World: Episode 102

  • Agron (level 2 scion psion)
  • Katra "Crazy Gin" (level 2 kobold pirate)
  • Sirus "Ironhide" (level 2 tarchon battlemind)
  • Waive (level 2 scion nomad)

One mostly intact cambion vessel, a handful of fearful, unresponsive slaves, and about ten rations worth of "questionable meat" later, the characters realized that even if they didn't have other mouths to feed, they still wouldn't have enough food to make it to Waive's home island of Spiral Harbor.

Waive directed them to a relatively nearby island that he had been to before. It had an irregular, pillar-like shape. The wider end was capped with a lush forest, and the rest was riddled with tunnels that were inhabited by dark elves: all they had to do was evade dark elf patrols and webbing snares, fight off giant bees, and they'd be able to stock up on honey.

Easy, right?

They anchored near the forest and drifted to the island. Waive checked the nearby spatial ripples, which indicated that a trio of dark elves mounted on giant spiders had passed through recently. They probably wouldn't return again anytime soon, but Katra spotted several web lines in the forest, so they decided to just drift over it and land when they spotted a hive.

Unfortunately the dark elves had anticipated this: tendrils of webbing reached well beyond the canopy. languidly swaying in the astral winds. There was enough space that, so long as they moved slowly, there were no sudden, strong gusts of wind, and no dark elves ambushed them from below, they should be fine.

Again, easy.

Luckily none of that happened, and they eventually came across a clearing with a lone, black tree. Attached near the base of its trunk was a pale, house-sized hive. It was much larger than Waive had expected. Aside from the whole honey bit, he wasn't particularly knowledgeable about them, but figured that the bigger the hive the more honey it hopefully contained.

When they drifted past the treeline, four dog-sized bees exited the hive and loudly buzzed towards them. Ironhide floated in front of everyone else, bellowing a loud battle cry as he went. This attracted the attention of all four, but they were far more maneuverable than he was: they scattered, zipped around and behind him, latched onto his back, and began stinging him.

Agron tried picking them off with precise lances of telekinetic force, but before he could muster enough psychic energy another group emerged from the hive. They flew towards Agron and Waive, and though both were more adept at flying than Ironhide, Waive only managed to cut a few down before the other two grasped onto both of his arms and stung him as well.

Katra again went to Ironhide's aid. She sliced a few of the bees apart, and with less enemies to worry about Ironhide was able to crush the other two. Meanwhile, Agron picked the other two off of Waive. With no more bees left, Waive drove his blade through space and carved a deep gash along the hive, and Agron followed by mentally gripping both sides and tearing it even wider.

It screeched.

They stood there as the "hive" wrenched itself free of the tree and began lumbering towards them, revealing itself to be in fact also a bee. Agron and Waive struck again, and were relieved that it was enough to slay the hulking beeast. Unfortunately their relief was short-lived as not only did another pair of bees emerge, they were much larger and featured many more sharp bits than the others.

One of them slammed into Waive. It pinned him to the ground and began frenziedly slashing at him. Ironhide charged, and before he collided with it Waive slipped away through space. While Ironhide fought the other one went after Katra, who was able to easily evade it whilst scampering about the corpse of the queen.

She got some distance and then whirled about to blast the soldier bee with her conducting rod. The shot punched a hole clean through it, but it was somehow still able to stand. It came at her in a staggered rush, and when it leaped at her she slid underneath it, slicing through its chest with her sword and killing it.

They loaded up all the honey, larva, and loot they could gather (there had apparently been several "unsuccessful attempts" at harvesting their honey), which given their current state would fortunately be more than sufficient for the rest of the trip. They returned to the ship and disembarked.

When they were about halfway to their destination—as determined by Waive's precise knowledge of distance—Katra spotted another vessel in the distance. As it approached she could hear the wail of its anima reactor, which meant that it was almost certainly a cambion vessel.

The ship veered towards them, and drifted to a halt before them as the anima reactor fell mercifully silent. A cambion, or possibly a full-on devil stepped forth and floated towards them. It was dressed in fine silks, which contrasted with its monstrous scaly flesh, curled horns, and many pairs of eyes. It stopped alongside Katra's ship, and there was a flash of blinding fire. When Katra's vision recovered she saw a massive, many-armed insect-like fiend looming above the first.

Katra could hear it speak, though its mouth didn't move. He asked who among them was the captain, and when she tentatively raised her hand it genially asked her how she had "acquired" the cambion vessel they were towing. Katra explained that a group of cambions attacked them soon after they had departed from Metacarpolis. The devil stated that it believed her, and offered to purchased it for a generous sum.

Against all reason she tried haggling, and to both her surprise and relief it agreed, paying her with a stack of platinum plates before vanishing in a flash of black fire. The insect-like fiend flew past them, detached the crippled vessel, and hauled it away as the other ship departed.

They arrived at Spiral Harbor without further incident. Countless pale spires of varied heights stretched from the rib bone of a dead god. A great cathedral was suspended "above" the wider end, partially shrouded by a golden cloud of mist. The rest of the city was in a constant state of motion as ships of numerous shapes and sizes arrived and departed, and angels, people, and smaller personal vessels flitted about between the buildings and walkways.

They docked the ship and made their way to the Sky Captain's Watch, a tavern that Waive had regularly frequented what he assumed was long ago. There they met Meg, a long since retired adventurer who had inspired Waive to risk his own life exploring the world. After explaining to her what happened, Waive told her that they were looking for a medic and work. Meg told him that she would put the word out, and to check in later.

Before he left she warned him that things were different now that angels had arrived and established their cathedral. She told him to be very careful what he says and does, and not to even attempt lying to them. Agron slipped into her mind and saw that she was terrified of them, but couldn't determine exactly why.

Behind the Scenes
I've been keeping a map of the islands they've visited. It's kind of convenient that Dungeon World measures distances in rations, as there aren't days or even consistent units of time in A Sundered World. Here's what they've discovered so far:

Though spiders are still a part of their culture, dark elves are pretty different from Dungeons & Dragons dark elves.

The typical drow warrior or hunter looks like any other elf, but as they prove themselves are "rewarded" by the Weaver with various mutations: extra arms, extra eyes, chitin-like growths on their flesh, venomous fangs, and so on (there's gonna be a whole compendium class). Being transformed into a drider is seen as a blessing, and dark elf matrons are heavily mutated, huge-sized driders.

Another way they differ is that they aren't all senselessly evil (or chaotic despite having lots of laws and societal structure). Some of them are xenophobic, while others are willing to interact and trade with outsiders. It just varies from hive to hive.

Adam pitched a possible way to somewhat track time (since again there's almost never any kind of regular, reliable environmental factor to go with): cycles. Basically it's the amount of time a mortal creature can reasonably be expected to remain awake before having to sleep (or maybe its the amount of time a creature needs to sleep?). Anywho, while certainly not exact it's something.

In my first A Sundered World campaign, I made a mental note of several possible directions it could go depending on the actions of the players. I've done a similar thing in this campaign, and they're very close to effectively "triggering" one of the fronts (though they might trigger two). All I'm going to say is that it's not going to be Antikythera's Legion.

I remember back when we were writing The Pirate, some people were opposed to the Pillage & Plunder move. It lets you increase a random treasure result by 1 (and if you find coins you get +1d8), but Melissa is glad we kept it since in actual play it's already paid off quite a bit to the tune of hundreds, maybe thousands of coins.

I mentioned last time that Chris wanted to make some additional moves for The Psion, and here's what he cooked up:

Mind Trickery
When you use your mental powers to baffle, misdirect, manipulate, implant false memories or emotions on another's mind, roll +INT. *On a 10+, the effect will last until proven false or the situation changes, and choose 2. *On a 7-9, the effect will last only for a few moments, and choose 1:

  • It does not take long to take effect.
  • You do not take -1 ongoing while maintaining this effect.
  • It is not immediately obvious that the target has been manipulated.

Mind Trick Mastery
Requires: Mind Trickery
When you use mind trickery, on a 12+ the effect will last forever and you choose all three. *On a 7+, choose an additional option.

I Can Read You Like a Book
When you search a person's memories for what they know about a subject, you can use spout lore as if you are them.

We're thinking of making mind trickery a starting move, and when you make a psion you'd choose two from it, telekinesis, and telepathy. In this case, the talent background would let you start with all three instead of slippery mind.

February 16, 2015
Posted by David Guyll

Dungeon World: New Character Sheet Layout

I like that classes in Dungeon World tend to fit on a single page (not so much that they are expected or "supposed" to). This makes it easy to just grab a sheet, check some boxes, fill in a bond or two, and get the dice rolling. I do however have several problems with the standard layout:

  • The ability scores section. So, so much wasted space.
  • The heart graphic by Hit Points. Why is the maximum section so goddamn tiny?
  • There isn't any space for other moves, like variant race moves, multiclass moves, compendium classes, etc.
  • Not a lot of space for other bits of gear.

I'd been meaning to create a new character sheet for A Sundered World, since in addition to numerous compendium classes you get to choose from any race and can opt to choose more race moves instead of class moves.

The Cultist forced my hand, as the moves and cult section were just too damned much to cram on the standard sheet. Melissa wanted to try it out, so I whipped up a pirate version for our weekly A Sundered World campain:

What do you think? Good, bad. Would you want to see something like this for our other classes?

Dungeon World: What's In a Name

UPDATE (5/31/2016): Didn't think I'd ever have to update this again, but RPG Pundit started a thread on his site in which he goes over the advice he gave me following Paul "Ettin" derailing a Kickstarter thread I started on last year

I mentioned that someone told me that there's a forum where someone said that they'd never buy anything that had my name one it (their loss). They didn't say where, and I didn't ask, but someone managed to I think find it and bring it to my attention (of course it's on Something Awful).

You gotta scroll down to near the bottom, but you can see Jacob Randolph (ie, gnome7), being a whiny, disingenuous, lying (again), whiny SJW bitch. He started this "beef" by getting pissy that Melissa wrote a witch, and lying on his safe space about how we "copied" him, which anyone can see is bullshit by merely looking at the class previews.

Also, I only wrote three-ish reviews for Inverse World, including the one for Inverse World Accelerated (more like accelerated out the door well before it was ready amirite?). I wrote the second one to provide more evidence, because Jacob's ass kissers gotta kiss ass; I'd like to point out that to this day neither Jacob nor any of his cronies have attempted to refute anything I said in those reviews.

Of course Jacob states that he'd like it if people wouldn't buy our stuff because we pointed out his lies and told the truth (hey, SJW's gotta SJW) but, well, to put it mildly it didn't work. That, or the amount of people boycotting us because they've aligned themselves with a lazy hack isn't enough for us to notice.

UPDATE (2/21/2015): Using this post to keep track of all the whiny bullshit that gets sent my way, so at least I can have a record in one convenient post.

Back in July of last year, Melissa and I published The Witch (which hit Best Silver Seller last month, and is on sale throughout this month!).

Like The Pirate that came a month before it, Melissa put a lot of time and effort into researching witches. She initially wrote something like 30 moves, which we had to pare down before we did an open call for feedback and criticism (some of which made it in the Director's Cut of the digest-pdf that comes with it).

Anywho, in the same day the product was posted we received this little, uh, "gem":

That comment contains a link to Jacob Randolph's witch playbook. If you don't know who that is, he's the one responsible for the very late, very anemic, and very derivative Inverse World.

The next day someone else piped in that since our product had 21 more pages than his, it was probably a safe bet that they were different. And they are: ours not only more closely represents I guess what you'd call an "actual" witch, it includes a character sheet with custom graphics, additional moves that we couldn't fit on the character sheet, new gear, a bunch of new magic items, and an expanded explanation of some of the moves.

In other words, par for the course for almost all of our playbooks. As one reviewer put it:

"I just bought 6 Dungeon World-related class books from 6 different publishers. It seems the trend is to throw together a 3 page class playbook with little thought put into it and to charge me $1 per page. The only purchase of the 6 that has not been a disappointment was The Witch by Awful Good Games. Do not fret, the poor reviews for the other 5 products are coming, but I wanted to praise this product first."

Fast-foward to January of this year. We've just published another magic item volume and class, and Melissa and I decide to shake things up and have people vote on which class we should tackle next. I forget what the exact list was, but it included a cultist because I'm a huge fan of Lovecraftian horror. We let it run for a few days, and in the end the cultist won just ahead of all things the oni. Three weeks later, our completed cultist is now up on Drivethrurpg...

...along with another, less passive-aggressive comment from good ol' Jake:

At least this time I think it took him longer to make a comment.
I'm really not sure what his problem is. Well, except that he probably doesn't like my vocal dissatisfaction in regards to Inverse World (and I'm far from the only one). 

Does he think that if you push out a product first, that no one else is permitted to produce something with the same name and/or concept (even if the final product, as in the case of the witch, differs substantially)? Not that the cultist or witch are exactly rare archetypes, but his cultist came out just over two years ago (before we even started publishing game content), so it's not like we're just watching what he's doing and following suit.

The funny thing is that Melissa actually checked out his cultist preview, and his claim that our dark ritual moves are "90% identical" is more than 90% inaccurate.

Here's his move:

When you draw on a place of power to create a magical effect, tell the GM what you’re trying to achieve. Ritual effects are always possible, but the GM will give you one to four of the following conditions:

  • It can only be performed at a certain time on a certain date
  • It will require extensive setup
  • It will require a blood sacrifice from someone
  • The ritual will forward a Dark Portent
  • The ritual's methods are twisted and cruel
  • The best you can do is a twisted version, unreliable and strange
  • Something will use the ritual as a gateway

And here's ours: 

When you flip through your spellbook for a magical effect or how to craft a magical item, tell the GM what you want to do or create, and the GM will tell you:

  • What you will need.
  • How long it will take.
  • How long the spell or effects of the magic item will last.
  • Any restrictions or limitations (specific time or place, must be used or activated in a specific way, etc).
  • Any side effects (it will attract the attention of something, it will cause a plague or some calamity).

His is basically a reskin of the wizard's ritual move with some extra conditions, while our is lifted almost whole cloth from our witch class, I just added in the possible side effect and changed the Director's Cut explanation to better fit with the Lovecraftian theme.

Just for fun, here are some other differences:

  • No custom sheet.
  • d4 for damage.
  • 4 + Constitution HP.
  • The alignments are the same, but the way you fulfill them differs.
  • All of the starting moves are different, except for dark ritual, and that's really only in name.
  • We use backgrounds instead of race.
  • Our cults have stats and problems (functioning more like the hardholder from Apocalypse World), and moves for expanding your cult and defending it from outsiders.

Since the preview doesn't include advanced moves I have no idea how those differ, though I assume it's about as much, if not more.

Overall it seems that—again, like The Witch—our cultist has a different focus (and better art and meatier content). His is more about having lots of followers running around with you, while ours lets you, for starters, complete tasks for your cult in exchange for XP, perform rituals, and summon eldritch horrors. It doesn't have anything to do with hirelings unless you take the Priest and High Priest advanced moves.

I'm honestly surprised that he hasn't tried accusing us of copying Inverse World (not that it includes anything noteworthy or different from other hollow world settings) with A Sundered World (despite it being something I conceived damn near four years ago).

Update: Aaand someone pointed this out:

Hoooly shit. I'd again point out that we held a vote on this, the timeframe of two years, that a cultist isn't an uncommon archetype, that our cultist is way different in content quality and quantity, and my Lovecraft love, but you just can't reason with this degree of paranoia and pretension. 

Another Update: And it just keeps on going.

Frankly you shouldn't feel flattered, because neither you nor anything you have done influenced our cultist in any way. Again, we held a vote on G+ (over several posts) and everyone but me (and Melissa) decided on it. Get over yourself. I'm going to be very charitable and state that I'm not trying to "out do" you, and I'm certainly not going to bother copying you.

Yet Another Update (2/16/2015) 
Of course Jake's buddy Paul "Ettin" buys into his narrative. Not because any of it's actually true, but because those SJWs gotta stick together in their little hugboxes.

I love how he says that I stalk him and copy his work, especially since Jake is the one that opens with the whiny comments and can't actually point out anything that I've "copied" from him. I'll point out again that Melissa was the one who wrote The Witch, and everyone else voted on The Cultist.

See, if I really wanted to copy Jake's work I'd just half ass some moves, scribble up a shitty cover, and roll it out the door at an inflated cost. Sorry, but not really: I can't help it that I like to produce quality things.

Your review was blatantly dishonest so, yeah, it's an example of journalistic corruption, cronyism, nepotism, or whatever you want to call it. I know you SJWs can't stand to hear negative criticism (or even disagreement), but the alternative is to be honest and at least somewhat objective, and either of those are apparently anathema to your ilk.

02/21/2015 Update:

Of course he's just referring to The Cultist. I'd ask him which page out of the 30-something pages differ from Jake's version, but that'd ruin his narrative that someone is "stealing his friend's totally original ideas" (like, you know, a hollow world with a sun in the center).

What Paul really means to say is that he's pissed that his buddy is pissed because someone is more creative and more talented than he is, and like honesty, integrity, and criticism those are things that SJWs can't stand.

I'm starting to see a pattern here: when you want to be called a game designer because it sounds cool but lack the necessary qualities, you just go full-SJW and blame your shortcomings on everyone else!

February Sale
Throughout the entire month of February we're putting both The Witch and The Bard on sale.

We've also modified their prices in our Awfully Big Playbook and All of the Playbooks bundles, making them just that much more tantalizing than they already are: $20 nets you eleven new classes, which come with design notes and clarifications, custom character sheets, additional moves, magic items, and even compendium classes.

Dungeon World: The Cultist

The Cultist is now up on Drivethrurpg!

Given all the other Lovecraftian content I've created over the years, I'm honestly surprised it took us this long to make a cultist class. You start out being able to requisition resources from your cult, summon monsters, perform dark rituals, and knowing things that people just shouldn't know.

As you level up you get to choose how you grow: do you become more influential in your cult; do your monsters become bigger and better; do rituals become easier to pull off; do you delve ever deeper into secrets best left forgotten?

In addition to a revamped character sheet layout (I had to in order to fit everything on the sheet), there's also a digest-sized pdf that includes:

  • The cultist (obviously), along with 20 advanced moves.
  • Some new bits of gear, including magic scrolls that anyone can use, and an ancient tome that lets you uncover forgotten or unknowable secrets at the cost of your sanity.
  • Two magic items: the flute of the outer servitor and silver key.
  • The child of the goat compendium class.
  • Four Lovecraftian monsters: the dark young, flying polyp, hound of Tindalos, and thulhid.
  • A deeper look at your cult, cultist moves, and items.
EDIT: Our All of the Playbooks bundle has been updated with The Cultist, so you can nab it, along with every other class we've done, at a considerable discount.

If you don't like/want the background (say, for printing at home), we've included a second print book file without it.

February Announcements

Apparently someone thinks that making your own very distinct version of a common archetype, and using the same naming scheme that everyone else does qualifies as copying their work.

Anywho, throughout the entire month of February we're putting both The Witch and The Bard on sale.

We've also modified their prices in our Awfully Big Playbook and All of the Playbooks bundles, making them just that much more tantalizing than they already are: $20 nets you eleven new classes, which come with design notes and clarifications, custom character sheets, additional moves, magic items, and even compendium classes.

A Sundered World: Meet the Tarchon (And Cultist)

Here's the tarchon, a kind of dragonic-humanoid race born from the mingled blood of god, primordial, and Bahamut (the World-Fish).

Born from bloodlust, tarchons have an almost constant urge to fight and kill. Their starting move has them take a constant -1 ongoing whenever they can see a fight but are not part of it, and whenever something hurts them, they gain a forward damage bonus against them (ie, its a one time thing).

Other race move allow them to deal more damage and ignore the weak debility, deal more damage when they take damage and roll a 10+, produce weapons from adventuring gear, breathe fire (and upgrade the breath weapon), and even transform into a dragon (since dragons in A Sundered World aren't like "normal" dragons).

The Stars Have Aligned
Melissa and I held a class vote over on G+ last month, and the Cultist won just a head of the Oni. Whelp, The Cultist is nearly complete; it should be out some time this week. The class focuses around serving a cult, summoning monsterss, dark rituals, and forbidden knowledge. As you level up, you can choose what to improve.

Want your monsters to be bigger and better? Then you'll want Blood Magic and Eldritch Horror. If you seek knowledge, then Dreams will allow you to consult the Great Old One you serve, and Alien Insight lets you use Wisdom instead of Intelligence when you spout lore.

Of course there's going to be some new gear, a magic item or two, and a more in-depth explanation for some of the moves, but I'm also creating an entirely new character sheet design to go with it (since the current character sheet wastes a lot of space on the stats, damage, armor, and HP).

Anywho, here's the cover:

February Sale
Throughout the entire month of February we're putting both The Witch and The Bard on sale.

We've also modified their prices in our All of the Playbooks bundle, making them just that much more tantalizing than they already are: $20 nets you eleven new classes, which come with design notes and clarifications, custom character sheets, additional moves, magic items, and even compendium classes.

A Sundered World: Episode 101

  • Agron (level 1 scion psion)
  • Devi (level 1 deva fighter)
  • Katra "Crazy Gin" (level 1 kobold pirate)
  • Sirus "Ironhide" (level 1 tarchon battlemind)
  • Waive (level 1 scion nomad)

The trip from the sword vault to Metacarpolis took a few days (not that there are days in A Sundered World, or even a way to consistently track time), which gave everyone enough time to recover.

Metacarpolis was built upon the hand of some forgotten dead god, and inhabited by a combination of cthon and devils. The cthon maintained an enormous, walled garden that covered most of the palm, while the devils claimed the fingers and thumb.

They pulled in along one of the finger-districts, and as they looked for an empty dock Katra spotted a black ship adorned with numerous skeletons. Though the color and decoration were fairly commonplace for cambion vessels, there was no mistaking the arrangement of the skeletons: it was the ship that had attacked and claimed her previous crew.

This caused Katra no small measure of distress, even though she honestly didn't expect them to try anything. See, devils are inherently evil and have a complex legal structure. This meant that if the cambions even recognized her ship and succeeded in taking out her new crew, they'd probably end up violating a myriad of laws, which would likely result in any survivors being imprisoned, enslaved, and/or executed.

Maybe even in that order.

Still, Katra wanted to get out as soon as possible, so they docked just long enough to resupply their food stores from a cthon crawling orchard before leaving. Unfortunately it seemed that the cambions were waiting for them to do just that, as not long after they departed Katra realized that the ship was following them.

Devi hit it with a ballista bolt, while Agron used his telekinesis to unravel their rigging. The impact, combined with their sails whipping about, caused it to veer off course. At their speed they would be able to easily out distance them, but Agron's sword, Geist Zerstörer, knew that souls were required to power an anima reactor; since drinking souls was basically its thing, it wanted to go back.

Sirus also wanted to turn around, if only because he didn't like fleeing from a fight, but they were out-voted three to two, one of which included the captain. So, Agron tried another approach: he told Katra that when the cambions had originally raided Katra's ship, they had likely created some kind of magical beacon so that they could easily find the ship again. Truth be told he had no way to detect such a thing, but told Katra that he could feel something somewhere in the ship's cargo hold.

And, when Katra and Waive went below deck to investigate, Agron took the wheel and turned the ship about. By the time Katra recovered from the abrupt turn and made it back to the deck, they could already see the cambion ship rocketing towards them, anima reactor shrieking. It veered up, twisting about and coming to a stop upside down "above" Katra's vessel.

They looked up to see a group of scions flying towards them. Their flesh was covered in profane scars. they were wild-eyed, frothed at the mouth, and they wielded only serrated blades. A smaller squad of cambions followed them. They were clad in black hides and wielded cutlasses made of a dark metal.

Sirus flew towards them, but the cambions lobbed a volley of black flame. The fire didn't harm him, but still caused him to hesitate long enough for the scions to swarm and haul him back towards the deck of Katra's ship.

Agron saw a winged cambion perched on the mast of their ship. Though he couldn't clearly hear his thoughts, he knew he was trying to complete a complex spell. Figuring that Sirus could handle a mob of mostly naked berserkers, he manipulated a coil of rope to bind the chanting cambion's arms. He then called out a warning to Devi, who zipped past the cambion squad and closed the distance just as the chanter burned the ropes away.

Devi sliced off one of his arms, but he scream-vomited a torrent of boiling blood at her. She shielded her face, and as he turned to flee Agron appeared and impaled him with Geist. The chanter's flesh paled and withered as the blade drank up his soul, wreathing Agron in a dark, oily mist.

Two of the cambions pursued Devi and Agron, while the other two engaged Waive. With a twist of space Waive appeared behind one and drove both of his swords into him. The other turned and slashed at him with his cutlass. Waive tried to parry, but his swords were lodged in the other cambion's corpse and he was forced to kick away in order to avoid getting himself skewered.

Katra rushed to Sirus's aid, hacking apart a pair of the branded scions. Sirus stood up, clutching the last two by their throats. With a loud roar, he transformed both of his arms into blades, severing their heads and lobbing them at the cambion that was attacking Waive. They struck hard, giving Waive enough time to fold one of his swords into his hand. He drove it into the cambion's chest, and to his surprise it exploded, engulfing him in black fire.

Alive, but just barely, he retreated to Katra's ship.

Agron tried to convince the last two cambions to surrender, but Giest wouldn't stand for that. It continued forcing him to attack, and once they were both butchered pulled him to their ship in search of the soul tank. Devi stopped him, telling him that she would not allow his sword to devour any more souls. In his mind, Agron could feel Geist commanding him to end her, but he managed to resist. Indignant, the runes on Geist darkened, and it became so heavy that it was all Agron could do to drag it around.

Katra didn't want to get any closer to the cambion vessel than she already was, so everyone else descended into its bowels to search it. They found more of the branded scions inside, though unlike the others these cowered and fled. Sirus honestly expected this, but when Waive received a similar treatment they suspected that like the berserkers they had also been "conditioned": they wouldn't, or possibly couldn't communicate.

Since the slaves weren't posing any threat, they continued to scour the ship, but only turned up some iron coins and supplies. At the rear they found the anima reactor. It was made of iron and gold, adorned with spikes and barbs, and scratched with symbols similar to what they had seen on the slaves and warriors. It wasn't moving, glowing, or thankfully shrieking, so they suspected that it had been turned off.

There was a large glass tank attached to it, filled with a roiling green mist in which they could occasionally see a distorted, wailing visage: the soul tank. Devi told Sirus to smash it, which would free the souls and allow them to move on to wherever it was that souls went. Agron didn't argue, and in fact seemed resigned to this course of action, so Sirus struck it.

A torrent of wailing souls washed over them. At their touch, Agron, Devi, and Sirus could feel the souls leeching their life force even as they fled and vanished, but those that drew too close to Giest were pulled into the blade. Its runes on began to glow a bright green, and it whispered into Agron's mind, "All according to plan."

Behind the Scenes
We took the random island generation tables for a spin, ending up with the following:
  • Dead god
  • Huge (large enough to sustain a couple city-sized steadings)
  • Plenty of food & transit (an angel gate)
  • Inhabited by elementals (mostly water-essence cthon) and devils

Melissa declared that it was just a dead god's hand, so I had the palm be a kind of massive garden that the cthon tend to, with the fingers carrying districts mostly inhabited by devils and their ilk. I didn't draw the other side, but it was similarly covered in buildings, including a devil fortress.

Why do the devils and cthon work together, or at least coexist? Who knows: they didn't stay long, so I didn't have time to flesh it out, but it'll be on the map in case they ever want to head back. The main thing I created were the crawling orchards, which I envision as mobile, long, rectangular constructs that bear numerous fruit-bearing trees on their backs.

We also got to use the ship-looting tables. They're similar to the monster treasure table, except that you get what you roll, plus everything above it. So, if you roll a 6, you also get the 1-5 results. This way you don't end up looting a ship, only to get a bag of coins or some food.

Agron's sword is using a mechanic that makes me think of a combination of 2nd and 4th Edition D&D artifacts. The sword has an agenda, and if Agron wants to resist it, he has to roll+WIS-the sword's EGO. On a 10+, he can act normally, on a 7-9, he can act normally but is at -1 ongoing for a while, and on a miss the sword gains control. He can also ask the sword what it wants, and if he does it he can gain XP.

Over time if he continues doing what the sword wants, it'll gain new powers, or allow him to choose from sword-exclusive moves, effectively making it a kind of artifact compendium class.

I'd like to refine these rules, and maybe use them in the next 10+ Treasures collection (which will probably be Grave Goods or Incidentals From Beyond).

Chris also wants to add a kind of jedi mind trick move to the psion. We'll see what he cooks up, and then add it to the book when its done.

If These Stones Could Scream: Third Time's a Charm

When I started my foray into writing and designing tabletop role-playing game content around a year and a half ago, I was using Microsoft Word to write and export pdfs, and then Photoshop to mess with said exported pdfs. It was quickly pointed out to me that while Word was all well and good for the writing part, if I wanted to improve the look and layout of my stuff I should go with InDesign.

After a time I went back and revised both Something Stirs in the Blackscale Brakes and If These Stones Could Scream. This first revision resulted in something that was sleeker and cleaner, but they still lacked art. For several reasons I'm not a fan of going with Creative Commons art, but since people seem to be a pretty big fan of my art (as well as pestering from Melissa) I figured I should just do it myself.

The payoff, aside from not having to pay someone else and/or wondering what the final results will be, is that I've gotten a lot better and a lot faster. So much faster, that in between bouts of art for A Sundered World I've also been whipping up some for If These Stones Could Scream. Here are some examples of what to expect (in addition to more tweaks and improvements, of course):

On that note, if you like what you see and need an artist, lemme know through the various social networks in the upper right-hand corner. I don't have any hard-set rates, but B&W would be somewhere between $50-90 (depending on if you want a quarter, half, or full-page), while color would be in the $90-140 range (again, depending on page coverage). The more you want, the cheaper I'd go.

February Sale
Throughout the entire month of February we're putting both The Witch and The Bard on sale.

We've also modified their prices in our All of the Playbooks bundle, making them just that much more tantalizing than they already are: $20 nets you eleven new classes, which come with design notes and clarifications, custom character sheets, additional moves, magic items, and even compendium classes.

A Sundered World: Pilot Episode

  • Agron (level 1 scion psion)
  • Devi (level 1 deva fighter)
  • Katra "Crazy Gin" (level 1 kobold pirate)
  • Sirus "Ironhide" (level 1 tarchon battlemind)
  • Waive (level 1 scion nomad)

They had explored every nook and cranny of what they simply referred to as the "Sword Vault"; despite the numerous, fucntional traps the only worthwhile treasure they had found—aside from some odd sixty coins—were various swords.

One was inhabited by a malicious intelligence that hungered for blood and souls (not that anyone but Agron knew that), two contained war spirits, and another was made of a dark, glass-like material.

The fifth was stranger still. The blade had been broken about halfway along its length—the rest was still embedded in the petrified corpse of a dwarf—and it looked translucent. Not made of a translucent substance, but more like it was the...ghostly remains of a sword. Despite its nebulous appearance it felt perfectly solid, albeit weightless, when Katra went to pick it up.

Agron opened his mind to listen for other thoughts, in case the guardian he had previously encountered during his original visit was somewhere nearby. It was, and it punctuated its presence with a piercing wail that caused part of a wall to explode. The force hurled Agron and some rubble across the room, where he slammed into the opposite wall.

When the dust cleared they could see a long, circular tunnel. At the end was a glowing, floating apparition. As it started drifting towards them the tunnel began to writhe, and after a few moments they realized that they could see crumbling bodies hauling themselves forth.

Dwarf zombies.

Sirus tried to focus his psionic energies, but some of the fragments around him began wriggling about. More dwarf zombies. Well, parts of them anyway: arms attached to barely recognizable, half-destroyed bodies pulled him to the ground and began clawing at him.

While Devi and Katra helped free Sirus, the ghost continued its advance. With a minor ripple of space, Waive plucked Katra's grenade from her belt and threw it. The grenade landed at the ghost's f—, well, underneath it. The explosion was nowhere near as loud as it's wail, but it nonetheless inflicted an impressive amount of destruction. When the dust and debris settled the zombies were no longer moving, but as far as they could tell the ghost hadn't been inconvenienced in the slightest.

Ghost-sword in hand, Katra leaped at the ghost and stabbed at it. To her surprise and relief there was some resistance as the sword bit into...whatever amounts to ghost-flesh, causing wispy strands to flow from the "wound". Before she could strike again the ghost wailed, throwing her out of the tunnel. Ears ringing and body aching, she handed the ghost-sword to Sirus.

It being the only thing that seemed to work, Sirus took the blade and charged. Before he could close the distance more arms burst from the tunnel and grabbed at him. He tried wrenching himself free, but the ghost's point-blank scream bowled him over. Dazed, he could only lie there as more arms grabbed him and began pulling him into the floor.

With Sirus out of the way the ghost continued its progress towards Agron. Up close they could see that it looked like a female dwarf, clad in a heavy apron and mask, and wielding a heavy-looking hammer.

When she had nearly closed the distance Waive, with another twist of space, took the ghost-sword from Sirus and struck. The ghost had not expected this, apparently confident that without the ghost sword they had no means to hurt her. The blade sunk into her face, which was thankfully as lethal as a living person getting stabbed in the face.

There was one final, fortunately harmless wail as her entire body dissipated. The arms stopped pulling Sirus into the floor—just in time, as he was up to his head—and with no ghost screaming at him Waive was able to teleport him out. They returned to their ship, intended to make port so that they could get some rest before heading out again.

Hopefully they could recruit a medic.

Behind the Scenes
After an hour or so of back and forth, here's the backstory we cooked up:

Waive, along with another adventuring party, previously discovered the island. Not really sure of how long, not that there's a consistent means of tracking time. While exploring it they found a pair of swords, but when Waive picked them up he triggered some sort of magical trap. It disintegrated everyone, Waive included. He was able to reconstitute himself along with the swords, which were inhabited by twin spirits of battle.

He left the Vault, and was searching for a way to leave when Katra's ship arrived.

Thanks to her ability to merge with the ship, Katra was the sole survivor when a group of cambion soulreavers attacked. They killed some of the crew and captured the rest to sacrifice later. Luckily they didn't want the ship, so once they left she was able to emerge and make her way to the nearest port. The experience left her more than a bit shaken, and when she sleeps she can still hear the damned wails of the anima reactor.

Katra recruited a new crew, among them a pre-Sundering deva named Devi. She was searching for other angels to follow her, so that she could become a new god of the dead.

Sirus ordered his retinue to retreat during a battle, denying those under his command an honorable death. In retribution they mutilated him and left him for dead, but he was discovered and resuscitated by another, mysterious entity that had taken the form of a tarchon. Once he recovered he left the Bahamut Span, and ended up being hired as a bodyguard by Katra, because if there's anything more frightening than cambions, it's tarchons.

Agron had barely made it back from the Sword Vault alive, carrying a sword possessed of a malicious intelligence. He suspected that an undead guardian of the Vault was following him, and to make matters worse the blade not only didn't harm undead, it healed them at its touch. He came across Katra while she was in port, and implanted memories of both the Sword Vault and their "lifelong friendship" in her mind.

Pleased to see her friend after such a long absence, they set sail for what they would come to call the Sword Vault.

The Sword Vault came to be because both Agron and Waive's players had coincidentally taken the fighter's Signature Weapon move using their scion race move (which lets you snag a starting move from another class), and both also coincidentally ended up going with swords. Devi's player also wanted a sword, but just a normal one that looked neat. Eventually it was decided that they'd all found their nifty swords in the same place.

The ghost-sword is the Shattered Echo from 10+ Treasures: Volume II, while Agron's black blade is based on Life-Sever (also from 10+ Treasures: Volume II), but with some tweaks to make it more like an intelligent artifact from 2nd Edition and 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons.

February 01, 2015
Posted by David Guyll


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