Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Mysteria Matris Oblitae: A Call of Cthulhu one shot I ran.

This past Tuesday, June 23, I managed to run a one-shot Call of Cthulhu game for my buddies from back home. Family business still bounds me to the island, so I’ve been given a few more opportunities to meet up with the guys.
I decided to run Mysteria Matris Oblitae, an adventure available in Pagan Publishing’s collection Mortal Coils. The session had all the makings of a disaster: we started character creation way too late into the night, I expected 4 players but 7 showed up, the group didn’t know the system too well, and people had to leave early.
Luckily, character creation took about an hour and a half because my players understood most nuts & bolts of Cthulhu’s simple character creation system after my first explanation.
Mysteria Matris Oblitae is a hell of an adventure; I’ll provide the basic premise while avoiding spoilers for those of you destined to play it in the future. A picture made it’s way to the University of Mexico City. In it a group of Indians and Mexicans are standing around what looks to be the carcass of an unknown creature. The Investigators, who are all related to the departments of Zoology or Botany, are sent to a rural Mexican town to investigate. As always, madness and horror ensue.
I picked this adventure because of its open ended nature. There is little to no railroading, instead the players get to explore the countryside sandbox style.
My group consisted of 2 professors, 1 driver/bodyguard, 1 secretary, 1 lab tech, 1 student assistant, and 1 dilettante. They asked around just enough to be pointed to the direction of the nastiness. Without any preparation, they went straight to a creature lurking in the Mexican countryside. In typical Call of Cthulhu fashion, this spelled doom for the party. Three investigators died at the hands of the mythos creature. The other four ran out into the country side screaming in terror. Of those four, three died of exhaustion and bandit attacks. One made it to civilization where he was institutionalized and electro shocked to oblivion.
The group enjoyed the adventure. It is impossible to create any sort of atmosphere with seven players, but we made up by keeping the table lively with friendly banter and laughs. I had the honor of popping an RPG cherry that night. Mysteria Matris Oblitae was Punkylady’s (@punkylady, twitter) first RPG session. She was the first person to jump into my next session this week; so I take it that she enjoyed herself.
I’m planning on running another Cthulhu adventure this week. Mysteria Matris Oblitae is a pretty deadly and investigation based aventure. This time around I’m running something a bit more pulpy and flashy.
Call of Cthulhu has provided ample opportunity for me to take my mind off the rather serious and sad events taking place in my life right now. Ironically, a game about losing one’s sanity has help me keep mine.
Role Playing Games truly are much more than just games.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Twitting from the frontlines

While taking care of family business in Puerto Rico, I started catching up with all my dearest friends. Needing a distraction from the stressful situation that brought me to the island, I got my friend Juan to run a Recon session with most of our old gaming group.
Deluxe Revised Recon is Palladium Book’s percentile based game of counter-insurgency warfare during the Vietnam war. It has long been a favorite of our group because of it’s simple system ( not Palladium’s infamous Megaversal system) which allows for fast, brutal and deadly combats encounters. We had been playing Recon on and off for more than 3 years. It is the game we played when we needed a break from longer, more involved campaigns. These one shots often ended in gruesome total party kills at the hands of booby traps and the enemy; all of which still draw laughs during over Medallas.
We managed to get a 5 guys to show up to Juan’s house for one more mission. Juan picked a scenario titled Radio Wars from the Advanced Recon section of the book. The adventure started with the unit stationed in a village, deep in the jungle. A radio play that demonized American forces came on the villages only radio. Villagers, who had been friendly up to that point, started distancing themselves from the team. Shortly after, word came in from Headquarters that our unit was to locate the radio station from where the signals were being transmitted, kill all enemy units, and capture the mastermind behind the propaganda.
The unit headed deeper into the jungle to find the guerilla radio station. We easily handled a tiger attack and a booby trap. We arrived at a valley from where we overlooked an enemy contingent that was repairing a radio antenna in a clearing. We had arrived at our objective. The sergeant ordered the team to descend down the valley and hide in the bushes, in preparation for a raid. The sergeant stayed behind to provide sniper support.
Half an hour after the team departed, two VC soldier sneaked up on the sergeant. They overpowered him with a rifle but strike to the back of the head.
Down on the valley, the rest of the team waited for the Sergeant’s signal to attack. A captured worker revealed that the mastermind behind the radio broadcast was staying on a cave the enemy used for storage. The team’s token psychopath killed the prisoner when he ran out of information to share.
The team had agreed on throwing grenades at the workforce and running in to finish off whoever hadn’t been blown to pieces. While we waited for the signal, we saw two enemy soldiers carrying the team’s sergeant.
We decided to begin the raid at once.
The team hurled their frag grenades at the enemy troops. One grenade found it’s mark among the workers, blowing up a some and stunning the rest. Another grenade landed a foot away from the still unconscious sergeant. It exploded, blowing up both our comrade and his captors. The team ran into the clearing to finish off the wounded workers. My character, the team’s medic, confirmed that the grenade had killed the sergeant. After rendering the antenna unusable, we walked into the caves to look for whoever was responsible for the broadcast.
There were various tunnels within the cave that veered off to different directions. We began trying set up a defensive perimeter at the mouth of the cave when the first grenade flew in, landing next to one of the heavy weapons specialist. The grenade went off, almost killing him. It took a very lucky medicine roll (my medic isn’t that good of a medic) to stabilize him. The guy that guarded the cave’s mouth ran out, full speed, to find safety somewhere in the jungle. My medic tried to carry the wounded weapon specialist out of the cave when two bullets hit killed him. The last guy in the cave was blown to pieces by one of his own grenades when he tried to hurl it down one of the tunnels, but it bounced back at him.
The last survivor, the soldier who had managed to run out of the cave, eventually made it back to the village where the unit began the adventure. He walked in to find the village had turned to the VC. He fired blindly at everything that walked before he was struck down by enemy bullets. On the ground, he put one of his grenades in his mouth and pulled the pin.
That was a very condensed log of the first RPG session my original group has had in 3 years. This session marked the first time extensive twitting took place in the table during the game. At first I was upset about this, but the more I think about it, the more fond I’ve come to be about it. Rafa’s, @rafamejia on twitter, kept the world informed about out progress through his updates. He shared with every the experiences his character, Lou B. Riel, had during the suicide mission. Through his updates, he may had gotten someone, somewhere, to ask himself, “what’s Recon” or “What’s an RPG.” Unknowingly he may have turned on someone to this hobby of ours. Too much brain power isn’t required to enjoy Recon, so I think his twitting didn’t get in the way of his involvement as a player. I think it added to the laidback, pickup game feel our group has attached to Recon.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Chill RPG


Since I have absolutely nothing to say, I'll re-post and old entry from a Blog a kept a few years ago. Back then I was getting into the old Chill RPG. The interest quickly faded when I never found a group to game with. I did point out some of the games merits, but I ignored its clunky and over complicated system. Rules aside, Chill is a solid game that be a lot of fun to a group that is tired of Call of Cthulhu, but doesn't really want to give Hunter a spin. 

I have always been a sucker for cult culture. I feed off the energy of the fanatics that keep obscure art and games going years after it’s shelf life. My latest obsession is a 90’s horror role playing game called Chill. The game, originally designed in the 80s, deals with an organization called SAVE which combats the evil forces of the Unknown. Unlike other horror rpgs, like Kult and Call of Cthulhu, SAVE pays homage to the universal horror, the hammer movies, and the horror camp of the 90s while keeping psychological horror elements present. These disperate elements attract me to the game. I look forward to creating stories that embrace the camp of the 80s: Bela Lugosi-esque Vampires, Werewolfs, and ghosts with splatterpunkish sensibilities. I see Chill as a platform for me to tell stories about the 80s schlock movies as well as the fortean stuff I’ve spent most of the past two years reading about. My Chill game will deal with a Transylvanian vampire one week and with Mothman on the next. The character’s antagonists are creatures of The Unknown. The unknown manifests as creatures from 80s horror movies. I figure the complicated parapsychological stuff that Jacques Valle and John A. Keel wrote about can also be applied to the Unknown. (Wikipedia Jacques Valle and John A. Keel if you don’t know who they are.)

There are still a few angelfire looking Chill website around. They all host the journals of Chill campaigns that lasted for years, created by people who think Chill is Christ made into an RPG.

A young company tried to revive Chill but they have been unsuccessful. The game seems to be down for the long sleep. All the better as far as I’m concerned.


Monday, April 20, 2009

Another blog?

The Masks of Nyarlathotep campaign got into full gear today. Pieces of a dreadful puzzle are starting to fall into place, hinting at the horror that befell the Carlyle expedition and is starting to engulf the player characters. 
The idea of another character journal crept up upon me while reviewing notes and player handouts earlier tonight. A Masks blog seems like a good idea for various reasons. First, it's another way of flexing my creative muscles a bit and improving my fluctuating writing skills. Secondly, I think other Cthulhu players and keepers may be interested in our group's interpretation of the campaign.  
A journal fits with my character quite nicely because he is a parapsychologist who has been published before the events of the campaign. His motivation (or drive in ToC speak) to stick his nose were it doesn't belong is a book he's working on. 
I would start a new blog for it because I don't want posts to get mixed with the other stuff I feel compelled to discuss here from time to time. The out of character ramblings about the campaign can still go here.My idea for the blog is to recreate Jack Van Buren's notebook online; with all the pictures, random notes, clues, and anxieties that he will pick up in his journey into the Cthulhu Mythos

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Dungeoneering Xbox Style


Bored out of my mind some time yesterday afternoon I popped Dungeons and Dragons: Heroes into my xbox 360. It's 8:30 am right now. I spent all night playing the son of a bitch. Heroes is a simple dungeoncrawler in the vein of Champions of Norrath (the best of it's kind) and Diablo. The game oozes old school D&D: gods-awful clitched storyline, endless dungeons populated with random monsters, and clitched characters. 
Admittedly I didn't play it under the best circumstances. This game should be played in a darkned cellar with 3 other players and 80's metal blasting out of a boom box. 
My character's name is Aledrin (as if it mattered). He's a 22th Level fighter with enough kick ass to take on an army single handedly. 

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Rest in Peace


It could be easy to forget Keith "Doc" Herber while whislt remembering Dave Arnson. We'll miss you Doc. 

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Gamer Girlfriend?


My Girlfriend hates gaming and everything related to it. She's only played once. It was a Dark Heresy one-shot I ran a while back. She played a Psyker named Novia. (That's spanish for girlfriend) It was a straight forward action adventure where the players followed the trail of a cult that fronted as a worker's union. It was a fast paced investigation that concluded in a deadly shootout.
The other two players, experienced rpgers, liked it a lot; Katie, on the other hand, detested it.
Every once in a while I wonder what it would be like to be in a relationship with another gamer. Always having a player available for your upcoming campaign; to avoid yawns and eye rolling as reponses to your endless discussions about geeky stuff; reading the same books; watching the same movies. Essentially, spending time with a female version of you. 
Would I like a gamer girlfriend? 
NO.
Katie balances me out. Being the undisciplined mess that I man, I need her to be there to tell me to get off my ass and put that stupid book away. I need her to tell me that she (and 99 percent of the world's population) doesn't care that 4th Edition D&D sucks balls in comparison to 3rd edition. 
She reminds me that gaming is a hobby and not a way of life. Thank you baby! 

P.S. Btw, she gets scared really easy; I'm sure that playing Call of Cthulhu with her would have been an unforgettable experience. Can't win then all! 

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Gotta admit I don't really care about "PDFgate," but...

I'm disappointed with most Publishers when it comes to PDF distribution.For a publisher to "get it right" they would have to adapt their products to work well within the medium they are being published. There are many books that have elaborate backgrounds that slows down older computers and are very cost in-effective to print out. Companies should consider this when making their books available as pdfs. I buy pdfs from RPGnow with the intent to use them on the gaming table. My old, Walmart labtop can't handle being on a gaming table surrounded by drinks for 6 hours. 
Just sayin...

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A practical review of Dubious Shards


Dubious Shards, written by Ken Hite, is a collection of essays on different aspects of the Cthulhu Mythos. Hite covered a very wide spectrum of topics relating to H.P. Lovecraft's literary work from Dagon to vampirism with an unreleased Delta Green scenario included for good measure.
The essays are well-thoughout and researched. The two that stood out for me the most are The "How" of Hastur and The Man Who Shot Joseph Curwen. Both deal with the Call of Cthulhu Roleplaying Game. Hastur, explains how Lovecraft composed mythos stories by fusing his interests with real life events. The Man Who Shot Joseph Curwen compares Call of Cthulhu investigators to the gunslingers of the western genre with the intent of giving an answer to CoC's lifelong dilemma: "why do investigators investigate." These two scenarios should be read by every Of Cthulhu keepers or players that wish to take their games beyond the introductory one-shots like Dead Man Stomps. They are invaluable for anybody interested in writing scenarios. 
The other essays trace creatures and events present in Mythos stories to their forkloric and mythological origins. They offer valuable literary studies for people interested in writing mythos stories. (And Keepers that REALLY take their job seriously.)
I haven't read the Delta Green scenario, The Winslow Project, because there's no Delta Green GMing in my horizon for the time being.
The only flaw I can find with the book  (after purposely looking for one) is the short lenght of it's essays.  
Dubious Shards transcends the RPG genre into full blown literary study comperable to anything writen by S.T. Joshi.
 

Thursday, March 26, 2009

If I was a millionare playboy in charge of a huge RPG club, I would play the following games (in no particular order)

  • Twilight 2013
  • Dying Earth 
  • Shadows of Cthulhu
  • Chill RPG
  • Esoterrorists
  • Dark Heresy
  • SLA Industies (Savage Worlds conversion)
  • Kult
  • Witch Hunter
  • Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay
  • Recon 
  • King Arthur Pendragon: 4th Edition
  • Unknown Armies
  • Masques of the Red Death (2nd Edition "Box Set" Ravenloft)
  • Dragon Warriors
  • Spirit of the Century
  • Adventure!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Concerning Gerald "Gerry" Cohen

Gerry Cohen is dead. 

In a very Lovecraftian turn of events, my Trail of Cthulhu character died during a one-player prelude I played with my Keeper.  I'll pick up where he left off:

Gerry drove to the Paper Mill owned by the Aimrics soon after he wrote his last journal entry. He couldn't make heads or tails of what was going on, so he figured he may be able to find some more clues to compare with the ones he already had. 
The Mill was unusually busy that night. Patrols of security guards walked around the perimeter every few minutes and giant strobe lights illuminated most of the surroundings. Gerry managed to sneak inside through an unattended cargo door. He perused around an office or two till he was discovered by a mischapen security guard. The guard knocked him out.
Gerry awoke in a murky office. A well dressed man warned him to stay away from Aimric and his secrets. He said that James Aimric was fine, but he avoided answering Gerry's questions about Mrs. Aimric's where-abouts.He gave him back his empty gun and was allowed to leave. 
On his way out Gerry saw an opened door that had a blue hue pulsating from it. He decided to run to the light to try to get away from his escort. He entered a machine room of some sorts. There were 8 or 10 sarcophagi that housed wart riddled corpses. Tubes that were connected to big generator like machines were hooked up to the sarcophagi. 
A man in a lab coat was working in the room when Gerry ran in. Without saying a word, he drew a gun and fired at him. Gerry bullrushed the man knocking him to the floor. He picked up the man's gun just in to see two guards run into the room. A shootout ensued. Gerry collapsed after the third bullet hit his shoulder. 
The man from the office walked into the room. He told Gerry that he knew too much. Now he was going to join their plan. 
"Any last words, Mr.Cohen?"
"Bring it on."

Blam! 


My keeper told me that the adventure was based on an Interactive Text game called Anchor Head. 
On the drive home I came up with my next character, Jack Van Buren. He's a parapsychologist with the ability to remote view. I'll chronicle his descent to madness as well. 

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Another week...

My internet situation sucks. More than anything that has ever sucked, ever. the connection is unreliable, the speed fluctuates widely whenever it connects- which is a miracle all in itself- for more than a couple of minutes, and comcast (my ISP) seems to not be able to figure out what's wrong with it. This has put a stop on my promising Call of Duty 4 career on Xbox Live, as well as my endless hours on Hulu.
Surprisingly, I've found myself pretty damn entertained without them.
Instead of playind CoD4 from sunrise to sundown, I read some neglected novels (among them The Road) I brought with me to Atlanta. I've replaced Hulu with RPG book reading. My God, a lot of RPG reading!
In the past week I've read every single Call of Cthulhu book I was able to get my hands on. (Either in real life or electronically through RPGnow.)
I lost myself reading Beyond the Mountains of Madness, the Trail of Cthulhu rulebook, Pagan's Mortal Coils, Tatters of the King, and a bit of Delta Green for good measure. I mixed it all up with sme Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay during the weekend. (Which I'll blog about later this week.)
In the end, I really can't remember doing anything other than reading this past week.
Funny how I replaced my shinny new Xbox with a grimy, old Pagan Publishing book that's been in the comic book store shelf for way too long.
Much like what happened with CoD4, I've come to the realization that I need to pace myself. I need to re-focus (once again) on finding a job, which as you all know seems pretty cyclopean in this economy. I've decided to limit my RPg reading time to 1 hour a day from now on.  
With Masks of Nyarlathotep starting today, I need to keep my RPG geek impulses under control or Simpsons' comic book guy-dom awaits yours truly. 

P.S.
On deck:
What happened to Gerry Cohen (Trail of Cthulhu character)
Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay stuff
Trail of Cthulhu scenario 

Gerry Cohen's Journal. Entry 3. Prelude Part 3

I keep on going over my notes time and time again. An incomplete puzzle stares back at me:

Wilhem Aimric, 17th century (grandfather)
Mordeheim Aimric, 19th century (father)
William Aimric, 19th
Edward Aimric,19th > siblings
Aimric Sister, 19th
Once, the aimric family mill employed half the town. this family is very much connected with Warwick, their downfall affected the entire town. the aversion suffered by Veronica's husband is due to his family's infamy. His bizarre behavior and subsequent disappearance could be a response to the negativity or discovery of the incest that taints his blood. Either way, his family's history is related to his disappearance ; one way or the other. Edwards misfortune could be directly related to the case.
Edward's frantic journal entry mentions his father. He mentions red-brimmed eyes, the same displayed in the paintings. The paintings that hold a horrible similarity with William's retarded look.

I drive to Warwick's town hall to look further into the manner. I tell the nice old lady in charge of the municipal archives that I'm looking into a cousin that lived here a few years ago. (I have a lot of cousins). 
I find that Edward was born the same day his grandfather Mordecai died. Mordecai died the same day his grandfather Elijah died. What the heck? 
I stay here all day, now the nice lady wants me to pack up and leave. It's almost night all-ready. I think I should check out that paper mill. I hope the paintings are the horrible fancies of a painter. I'm not looking to find terrible looking mongoloids there. At least not tonight. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Roleplaying in the worlds of H.P. Lovecraft


Reading about the various licenses I often ask myself, "ok, what the hell should I get?" It's a hard desicion to make if one isn't a "fan" of a particular system. 

I don't think I've ever decided on one system to run Cthulhu with.  I discovered Cthulhu roleplaying through Wizard's bastard child, Cthulhu D20. All in all, I've never had any problems with the d20 system. I find it fun and easy to use (well, after years of gaming that is). When Green Ronin published the True 20 system I became interested in it because of it's promise of being a sort of "Streamlined-d20." I didn't really get into it because at the time I wasn't looking for a generic system. Shadows of Cthulhu rekindled my interest in the T20 system, primarily due to nostalgia. I remembered all the fun I had playing CoCd20 and craved to experience it once again, this time with an even simpler system. Ironically,  my problem with Shadows of Cthulhu streems from the T20 system.  I simply will not spend 40 dollars on a generic system to then spend 25 on a sourcebook in order to play Call of Cthulhu. Shadows of Cthulhu would have benefited greatly if the writers would have included a 5 to 10 page sumary of the T20 rules set. Or even better: integrate the rules in the sourcebook like WotC did with Cthulhu d20.  I understand that this is unfair to Reality Deviant Publishing. I'm sure the T20 license probably has a clause that prohibits including parts of the system in a third party sourcebook. Whatever the case maybe, it looks like the guys that wrote Shadows did an amazing job. Where I a True20 fan I would be all over that book.

BRP is very cool in an Old School RPG way. It's simple to run and very simple to explain. The fact that I can run a CoC game years after I ran my last one is a testament to the systems simplicity. I've never found anything wrong with the system. True, a failed spot roll can derail entire campaigns, but this is easily fixable by a Keeper who's willing to turn a blind eye to a player's bad luck. Ofcourse, Call of Cthulhu also has years and years of legendary material available which make for good sessions and good reading. 

Trail of Cthulhu, the biggest thing in the indy-cthulhu world right now, fixes the whole "missed clue because of a bad roll" problem. Trail also adds the Drive, Stability, and Pilar of Madness mechanics. The game moves the timeline to the 1930s. The standard characters and setting and mechanics for Trail of Cthulhu all point at a darker angle of the Mythos than Call of Cthulhu. The mechanics for the game are pretty damn elegant too. Conversion rules for BRP makes it easy to make good use of all the resources available for BRP. There seems to be some contention about Beyond the Mountains of Madness, Chaosium's epic campaign, with Trail of Cthulhu. I've read that it is hard to port to Trail because of it's format or structure. I'll have to wait till my copy arrives on the mail to make a judgement. 

Call of Cthulhu D20's purpose was to get Dungeon and Dragons players interested in Call of Cthulhu (which worked with me). The game often gets trashed on by purists claiming that it emphazises in combat. I think this is kind of stupid, considering that the group and gamemaster have sole control of the amount of combat in an adventure. Action-hungry players can turn a LARP into an orgy of death, destruction and rules-lawyering. A Cthulhu D20 ran by a group interested in studying the Mythos through deep inmersion storytelling will be able to do it with the d20 system as easily as they would with BRP.

I think Trail of Cthulhu seems to be the version that best fits my Cthulhu needs. Though I can dream (or have nightmares) about reuniting with my old group and playing an update of my old Cthulhu campaign with Shadows of Cthulhu.

I ask you, what's the best version of the Of Cthulhu series for your games?  


Lovely Lovecraftian Art



I've been surprised to find some amazing Lovecraftian art in the various licensed Call of Cthulhu products that have been coming out recently.  The two that stand out the most, for me, are the covers for Goodman Games' Death in Luxor and Reality Deviant's Shadows of Cthulhu. 
Death in Luxor's cover, by Eddie Shamram, evokes the pulp excitement inherent in the classic Call of Cthulhu adventures. The Shadows of Cthulhu cover, by Jason Walton, evokes the mind-shattering horror of the mythos in what appears to be a modern scenario. 
I'm keeping this entry short and sweet. More Masks of Nyarlathotep journals comming up next.

 

Monday, March 16, 2009

Gerry Cohen's Journal. Entry 2. Prelude Part 2

It was raining when I arrived at Warwick.

Even though the welcome sign said there are 11 thousand or so people living here, the streets are empty.

At 2 p.m. I went to the Sheriff’s office (they still call it Constabulary in this town) to see how much they know of the Aimric deal. I also wanted to confirm Mrs. Aimric’s suspicions that the towns people were hiding something.

I started a friendly conversation with a reuben cop working the front desk. He remembered the Aimric cousins quite fondly. I almost felt like buying cousin Edward some flowers after my talk with the cop. The motive to kill his wife still eludes Warwick police. He also said that the police beliefs that James Willis is out of town on vacation.

 

I’ve been talking to people long enough to know this reuben is lying through his teeth. But why?

My next stop was the small liberal-artsy-fartsy school, Warwaqua College. This is where James Willis Aimric worked as a Professor of Medieval Literature.  I came up with this croc story about a young nephew from Arkham who wanted to study Medieval Literature. 

Everybody was off for winter break. A kid working a desk in the Literature department told me to talk to Prof. Jones. He didn’t have a bad thing to say about Aimric; he also told me that the man was gone on vacation. I bamboozled him into letting me take a look at the department “to get a feel for the place.” I went to the Literature department and let my self into Aimric’s office. The place was in a state of controlled chaos, with books piled up everywhere. There was a picture of Mrs. Aimric behind a tower of books in the desk. This lets me know it wasn’t adultery. I just know…

I found Professor Jones in the town library. His an old man who dresses like were still in the past century. He knows everything there is to know about history, but doesn’t know what happened to James Willis Aimric.

 

I can tell his not on the level with me. I don’t know enough to call him on his bluff…yet.

 

Next stop: the Aimric Ancestral Home.

 

The drive to the place was quite relaxing. I passed empty, decaying shore houses all over the coast. The Pacific Ocean, infinitively bigger and meaner than me, extended to the horizon. There’s a Civil War memorial on the way. It’s an strange obelisk that I guess symbolizes some struggle or the other.

 

It is late afternoon when I get to the house is on the outskirts of town. It is an attractive house with a modern style. Slightly decayed paint ran all across its two storeys. I could see a golden dome on the side of the house that was facing the other direction. The flowers meant to adorn the front of the house had long died, now they just add to the house's depressed look. 

 

I decided to get inside of the house before the lightning that illuminated the sky gave way to rain.

 

The house looked as abandoned inside as it did outside. The air was heavy with musk and everything covered in shadows as heavy as the secrets the house kept.

 

The first of which were two paintings I found on the room adjacent to the kitchen. The first is a flat earth ( like old Europeans saw the earth, I guess). There was an object floating above Earth. It could have been made out of fire, decaying bodies or worms, I couldn’t tell. I had take a step back and calm my self down. Something about that horrible painting unnerved me. I couldn’t keep my cool while I looked at the painting. I know how stupid it sounds, but the thing had a primordial horror to it.

 

The other painting had some people in colonial garbs sitting on a table. They had penetrating red-rimmed eyes. There were very strange looking naked people sitting on the other side of the table. They were humans… of sorts. Their noses and fore heads were flat and their hands were…scaly. They seem to be striking a bargain of some sorts. Behind them stands a man doing what looks like a high energy speech. Further in the background is a paper mill engulfed in flash. Flat nosed people are being lead in chains to the flames.

 

I walked away from the dreadful paints and went to the backyard. There were gravestones there. They seem to belong to faithful servants whose loyalty went well beyond life. The family crypt was closer to the woods. Small Hebrew letters were carved in between the bigger letters of the Aimric name. I can’t read Hebrew. The grandiose tomb was sealed with a stranger lock mechanism.

 

Back inside the house I found a door that lead to the cellar. I think I can hear Eddie’s words in my head, “CANNOT DISCOVER THE ENTRANCE IN THE CELLAR!!!” even though I’ve never met the man or heard the sound of his voice.  I descend some rickety stairs, flash light in hand. I end up in the House’s impressive wine cellar. A deeper look at one of the wine racks reveals that it’s a fake.  I noticed a mechanism of sorts upon further inspection. The wine were part of the rack. It was impossible to remove them, but I was able to rotate them. The were letters inscribed in the bottles. I remembered Edward's journal, " The clue is in their names, that pestilential procession of names." Damn it, I feel like I've stared at the answer, but I'm not intelligent enough to know it. 


I opened another door, it was a storage room. I found some newspaper clippings in a box. They were all related to the family. An August 1886 story had the headline, Church closed, preacher suspect in anarchist crackdown. The preacher's name, Mordecai Aimric. Another story chronicles the death of a policeman that was involved in the closing of the church. There was also a 1903 story about the discovery of a kid's carcass nearby. The poor kid appeared to be eaten. there was another piece about the resignation of a Dr.Rebis due to mental distress. An 1845 story chronicled Mordecai's victory on a civil case against a Folklorist who attempted to search for some relics in Warwick. Finally, there was a story about a fire that consumed a paper mill owned by the Aimrics on July 17, 1908. This the second time the building was consumed by flames.


I had enough of this damn cellar. I went up the stairs to the house's second storey. 


There were three rooms. The first room is a study. The walls were full of books of all kinds. I was bored just looking at them. I found a book on poetry that just seemed out of place. I heard a "click" when I tried to pull it out and that whole section of the bookcase opened like a door. Inside was a safe. The very same safe Edward frantically looked for in his journal entry. I got the combination right on the first try. The two items guarded by the safe seemed equally out of place. The first was a big magnifying glass lens. On top of it what appeared as an instrument but was unlike anything i've seen. It looked like a sea shell on the outside. It had some keys along it's outer shell. The insides of the item spiraled inward. The thing's geometry seemed impossible: like it was way bigger inside than what it was outside. I put the two things back in the safe and kept on investigating.


The next room was the one that got to me. 

It was a girl's room. Well, the nightmarish parody of one. I could tell that the atmosphere here was heavy with fear and dread that has been bottled up here for way too long. I was able to spot some boards that covered a hole in the wall behind the bed. I went back to my car to get the crow bar and noticed, for the first time, that night had fallen. After climbing up the stairs I spotted a attic door that I missed the first time around. I found a small diary, a small girl's diary, behind the boards. 

I feel the need to write down what this girl lived with. I feel the need to share with her her pain; I just hope I can be as strong as her.


...father came again to my bed last night...mother doesn't...tells me I can't...to be a good daughter. Sometime it hurts, but Father always tells me I shouldn't cry, Father says a daughter must do her duty if she wants to get into Heaven. And I do want to get into Heaven...


[Entry dated 1887]... my poor little William. Father calls him an aberration, child of the devil, but I don't believe... locked in the attic. I go to see him whenever Father is away. I sing to him, sometimes, through the keyhole, and slip him sweets through the crack under the door... my baby is beautiful...can't let him hurt my dear baby William... to the doctor, and he has a plan... I can never... this locket, William, and I will always keep yours... to always remember my face...

 

[ February 27, 1891]...dead, but not dead yet...will not allow him to do to Edward what he wanted to do to William.. have learned...given him the charm against the...never take it off, dear Edward... [page has been torn away]...fear to sleep... mist at the window.


There's nothing I can do to safe her.


There was a locklet with the diary. One side had a picture of the girl the other had a deformed boy. William...

  


I turned around to start walking to the attic door. For the first time in years my gun was in my hand.


There were too doors in the attic one that was locked and the other wasn't. The unlocked door lead to the copula I saw from the front of the house. A huge telescope was aimed at the sky. I placed the lens I found in the study and looked. The view was a mixture of grey and other weird colors. 

I had enough. I need a clean mind to sort out the generations dark secrets of this family. I went back to the car and drove to the hotel to meet Mrs. Aimric. She wasn't there. 


I now sit in a bed I payed for with the money Mrs.Aimric gave me. Notes all around me. The strange instrument sits next to me. Something tells me it was built to make a noise. I feel compelled to hear that noise. 

Friday, March 13, 2009

Gerry Cohen's Journal. Entry 1. Prelude Part 1

Entry 1. Prelude-part 1.

Nov. 1922

 

It’s been pouring for weeks. I have been counting the rain drops from my luxurious second-storey, one room, one cot office/apartment.

As grey and ugly as it seemed, Veronica Styles Aimrec brought it to a whole new level of grey and ugly when she stepped into the office. 

She had all the vestiges of the imposing dame, but she came to me shrunken and frail. We formally introduced ourselves, and she told me that Manny Maxwell had sent her my way. It figures, this time of dame wouldn’t be caught dead this side of the Bronx. She told me she wanted to hire me to find her husband, Professor of Medieval literature James Willis Aimric, whose gone missing.

I asked the same tired old questions every P.I. makes in a missing persons case: Did he have any enemies? Did he owe money to anybody? Did he hang out with a rough crowd?

All of which she answered with unadorned NOs.

There were no “other lady” questions. This woman doesn’t need me to cut open a new wound to pour salt on. That’s not my style. I could figure that out without rubbing it in her face. Besides, squirrel fever doesn’t control every single man that walks God’s green Earth. Some of us are able to stay with the same doll for the long run. Well, I sure I will when I find the right one.

 After a bunch of time when she didn’t say nothing, she starts speaking about how their marriage has changed since they moved to sleepy Warwick, New Jersey. Her husband inherited a manor due the untimely death of a distant cousin, an Edward Aimric. The missing professor was also offered a teaching position at Warwakua College. Trouble came looking for the Aimric’s almost immediately. The town’s people seemed to be apprehensive about the newcomers, in particular the man. Mrs. Aimric also noticed her husband distancing himself from her. He was constantly preoccupied with late night meetings with the College’s Board of Directors and bizarre antiquarian affairs.

The dame told me that after her husband’s disappearance, the demeanor of the town’s people changed from untrusting to ominous.

Not only did Warwickians deny any knowledge of the Professors’ where abouts, they also dismissed the whole episode, claiming that he was probably on vacation.

Great, either this fine dame was a cuckoo, or there is a large group of inmates running a town-sized sanitorium somewhere in New Jersey.

The case went from interesting to weird when the name Edward Aimric came up again.

The dame came clean with some of the details of the inheritance.

 

Edward Aimric killed his wife and then hung himself.

 

Not only was he a savage animal; he was also a damned coward. Just like the good reverend. A family of the damned: degenerates that feed off of each other’s evil.

This man’s last name has to be at the center of all of this.  

 

Then, she produces a slim imitation leather book. It was obvious that mice have feasted on some of the pages. Some one wrote:

 

Desperate. Went back to the old twisting lane and found only a blank wall.

 

Without the amulet, how can I resist—

 

…bottles, bottles...

 

Getting worse. People I have never met smile knowingly at me in the street. The police believe I am a child molester, but have brought no charges against me as yet. Why? Head hurts all the time. I have turned the cellar upside-down…damn it, where is it?

 

Dreamed of father again. Dreamed of Grandfather. Those horrible, red-rimmed eyes…

 

…into the safe, finally. 51-2-16. Won’t forget that soon. Ha!

 

CONNOT DISCOVER ENTRANCE IN THE CELLAR!!! Secret eludes me still but I will find it!!! The clue is in their names, that pestilential procession of names!

If I could only—

 

-- will fail. There is no recourse left. I know now what I must do.

Julia—

 

My god! Pederasty, murder, incest, does the Aimric wickedness know any bounds?

 

I looked at Mrs. Aimric straight in those sad eyes.

“Ma’am, I’ll do everything in my power to find your husband.”

I insisted on talking about the money latter. This woman is in need; business can wait. She insisted on giving me an advance: 200 Cs divided up into 4 $20 bills. She also provided a card with the room where she staying in the Monpelier Inn, where she’s staying with her sister while all of this blows over.
After some formalities I walked her out.
Tomorrow I’m driving out to strange Warwick, New Jersey to chase after very nasty family secrets. Tonight, sleeping.
//This is Gerry's first journal entry for the Masks of Nyarlathotep campaign I'm playing. My character's prelude is not part of the publish campaign, it's another scenario my Keeper decided to use. I'm going to lable journal entries with the tag Campaign Journal, so that you guys can easily find any particular entry that interests you. I'm numbering each entry and dividing the "scenarios" in parts, because I feel that shorter entries are more appealing to read off the blog than longer novel lenght ones. This can change as the game gets underway. 
This is but the first part of my character's prelude. I'll post the next bit sometime this weekend.//  

With strange aeons, even death may die



I'm in the middle of a very dangerous Cthulhu Mythos binge. My precarious situation is, perhaps, comparable to Hunter S. Thompson's while driving down Barslow with a trunk full of every drug imaginable, including ether. And like the good doctor told us, "There is nothing in the world more helpless and irresponsible and depraved than a man in the dephts of an ether binge."
This reawakening began after my college graduation this past december. Job searching in this post-apocalyptic economy feels down right nihilistic. I figured it was the perfect time to get re-acquainted with the works of Mr. Lovecraft. 
I got in contact with fellow Cthulhu gamers in Atlanta, where I relocated to facilitate my job search. They are playing a re-envisioned Masks of Nyarlathotep campaign using the Trail of Cthulhu system by Pelgrane Press. I met up with the keeper ( shout out, Yunus!) created private eye Gerry Cohen and started playing a one-player prelude. This prelude was the first step in a road of gaming madness. The Masks campaing has served as a catalyst to get me out of a gaming inertia I've been for the past year and a half. I'm an active participant of the roleplaying game hobby again!
I bought the Trail of Cthulhu rulebook for use in the Masks campaign. I figure it's always good to have a couple of rulebooks in the table for easy reference. That should be coming in the mail at any moment now.
Participating in a campaign with a different group of players awakened my curiosity about the way other's percive and play Call of Cthulhu. Published scenarios were considered heretical by my previous gaming group. We always figured that they were "cheap;" a last resort for an unimaginative gamemaster. My outlook on published stuff totally changed after reading a Death in Luxor review. The details mentioned by the reviewer, the evocative cover art, and the 7 buck price tag got me interested enough to give it a chance. Long story short: Death in Luxor is a marvelous adventure. It shreds in light on the "classic" Call of Cthulhu gaming era of the 1920s. I got The Doom Below and Murder of Crows, both my Super Genius Games, shortly there after. While neither breaks new gaming ground, they are both very enjoyable and fun little explorations of the Cthulhu Mythos.
These indy products lead me back to Chaosium's classic campaigns: I ordered Tatters of the King and the mythical Beyond the Mountains of Madness. They were "cheap" enough to were I'm still able to get Shadows of Yog-Sothoth and Spawn of Azathoth. Then my inner geek will be very, very happy. 

Hey, I don't drink in excess, smoke or use drugs. Collecting RPG books isn't that bad of an addiction.  

Gerry's first journal entry is in the works. I'm taking extra time because I want to make it interesting for all of you guys out there. Gerry has come across a lot of horrible information during his first encounter with the mythos. It's going to be a pretty long journal entry. 
Hopefully, I'll be able to report how Death in Luxor works with the Gumshoe (Trail of Cthulhu) system. 

There a lot going on as far as RPGs are concerned, I'll do my best to keep you guys in the loop. 

-Tony

P.S.
On a side note, I have now come to fear & dread the circumstances of this purchase. The very day I decided that I was going to look into buying a publish Cthulhu campaign, Chaosium announced that they were going to cut book prices 30 % and that shipping for certain orders was going to be free. I saw it as a sign that it was the perfect time to get the books because they were going to be affordable for a very short time. Now I imagine dark, unfathomable horrors conspiring against my mental stability. Biding their time, letting me soak in the horrors of the universe, piece by piece, as I read various horror campaigns... 

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Gerald "Gerry" Cohen, my Trail of Nyarlathotep character.


I'm playing Gerald "Gerry" Cohen in a Masks of Nyarlathotep campaign under the Trail of Cthulhu rules set. I asked my gamemaster what type of character would better fit in his game; he told me a reporter or private detective would do the trick. I went as far as asking if the group needs brains or muscle. "Muscles" he answer. From there I came up with the idea for Gerry.
My main drive while creating Gerry is to deconstruct the archetype of the Pulp private detective.  By deconstruct, I mean having the character react to realisticly to the idealized circumstances of the pulp private eye.  For example, most private eyes are funtional drunks who manage to get things done after downing 3 or 4 Jack-on-the-Rocks. Gerry, on the other hand, can't handle his alcohol. He's athletic. He rather eat healthy than drink enough to build an unnatural resistance to booze. He is far from the womanizing Dicks of the pulps, he gets nervous around women and doesn't know how to beheave around them. As opposed to having a Femme Fatale to be his romantic downfall, he falls in love with any woman who pays attention to him. Gerry is constatly involved in complex platonic love affairs that never pan out. 
He's not too clever, he is brash and very foolhardy. But in direct contrast to the cynical P.I. of literature, he's an optimist and and believes in doing the right thing.
I email my Game Master these bullet-points about Gerry's biographical info:


  • Born on February 14, 1892. This makes him 33-ish during the events of the campaign (1925).
  • Comes from a family of 4. His father, Gerald was a Policeman for the the NYPD. His mother, Margarett was the typical house wife. His brother, Benjamin became a business owner. 
  • He grew up in the Bronx.
  • He joined the Police Force as soon as he was old enough.
  • He got himself kicked out of the force when he pistol whipped a wife beater half to death after he beat the rap. 
  • He doesn't know how to hold his alcohol, so he avoids drinking. He only drinks to impress women. 
  • He's always involved in some crazy platonic love with a female client or any woman he comes in contact with in his daily life. He doesn't really know how to act around women. He tries too hard to impress them. It never works.
  • He became a Private Investigator after being fired. He likes the leeway it gives him dispensing "justice" (which isn't the same as LAW.)
  • He mostly does missing persons cases; most of them pro-bono if it's a female client. (credit rating 3).

  • I plan to keep my promise to chronicle our group's take on Chaosium's classic campaign. I'll post everything relating to the game here.


    Sunday, March 1, 2009

    Gaming again

    There's been nothing to post for the past weeks 'till now. 
    I'm joining a Trail of Cthulhu game shortly ran by a pretty good guy I met through the Yog-Sothoth-dot-com. He's running the epic Masks of Nyarlathotep using Trail of Cthulhu, which he holds to very high esteem. I'm set to meet up with the guys sometime this week to discuss character creation and other stuff. Got to admit: I'm pretty excited to be play again; I need the distraction from the post-apocalyptic economy and my own job searching.
    The keeper told me that a private eye, police detective, or journalist would fit perfectly at the juncture the group is right now. The cliched alcoholic private eye sounds pretty interesting considering the pulpy "feel" I've been told the campaign hads. I'll use this blog as a character journal of sorts.
    Talking of Cthulhu, I've been eyeing Goodman Games' Death in Luxor for some time now. It looks like a pretty good Dungeon-crawler for Call of Cthulhu. It would be kind of cool to connect it to a larger campaign like Masks of Nyarlathotep or Day of the Beast. 


    Thursday, February 12, 2009

    Strange Going-ons in Middenheim [pre-game/part1]

    Ok, enough playing Call of Duty 4, Nazi Zombies! (my xbox live gamertag, btw, is vomitbrown). Time to blog about my upcomming Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay oneshot. 

    I've been forcing the original idea for a oneshot to mature all of today. The overall framework the story will follow is clear enough, the details are being elusive though. In "Strange Going-ons," the players are going to be night watchmen for a horribly neglected sanatorium in Middlenheim a few months after the Storm of Chaos. The adventure is meant to be different to the typical fantasy session where the PCs go to a town and are hired or volunteer to vanquish a threat. It is mostly an investigative scenario where the players are given the opportunity to acquire information which could prove more valuable than martial force. If the players follow the trail of clues, they will be given the option of manipulating their imidiate environment greatly.  NPC motivations play an integral part of this scenario. I'm working towards figuring out why the cast of secondary characters do the things they will do. 

    The players will use pre-generated characters. I will roll 6 or so different characters and randomly assign them to the players. I'm making the characters because the most of the players aren't avid gamers and I fear the game will end before it begins due to boredom. I'm a couple of hours away from the group's meeting place, so pre-gen characters will be a huge time saver. 

    Gameday is set for next week. I'm gonna get to work now. 


    Wednesday, February 11, 2009

    *whinny voice* Black in Black!

    A very, very quick update. 

    It seems like I'm gonna get my one-shot sooner than expected. Last week I facedbook a bunch of guys to see if any were interested in playing an rpg game:
    Hey,
    I'm probably moving away to Atlanta in a few weeks. I've had the desire to play a one-shot ( that's a full story in on sitting) of the Warhammer Fantasy Role Play. The general story is that the characters get hired by a old man to be night watchmen for his sanatorium in the formerly besieged city of Middenheim. The characters are all poor fucks who usually use the carcass of a dead rat or cat as a pillow at night, so this job offer seems like a godsend. But as you already know, madness, chaos and shit are sure to ensure. 
    I was thinking about creating the characters myself and randomly assigning them before play starts. 
    The game should take no more than 3 to 4 hours. PM me if you are interested. Fuck you very much, if you are not

    I knew that the idea of a campaign was pretty far-fetched because of distance and real-life stuff, so I proposed a Warhammer Fantasy one-shot. Most of my friends are already acquainted to the Old World and/or the WHFR, so I figured that it's the best bet to catch their attention. 
    The ploy seems to have work. Tonight, for the first time in 2 years, I'm sitting to write an RPG adventure. Most of the thing is floating around in my head in need of fleshing out. I'm aiming at having an adventure ready in two days.

    I'll keep you posted.


    Friday, January 30, 2009

    And You Will Live in Terror


    You're probably wondering what the hell is that "Blood!" that I list in the reading list in the right. In short: Blood! is a modern day horror rpg that simulates 80's schlock horror and all it's bombastic excesses. It's published by the good people at Postmortem Studios. 
    I don't remember how I first discovered the Blood! RPG. It was probably surfing one of those PDF stores for new esoteric games. With a name like Blood!, I probably spotted it right out of the list of shitty D20 supplements that liter those websites. The cover convinced me that I had to buy it. I went on to buy every single sourcebook for the game, including a Runequest OGL thingy which I had no use for because I don't own Runequest.  I read the whole thing, even though there's nothing I hate more than reading off of my sluggish labtop. Then I put it away ( digitally) for a few months.

    I figure that Blood! is a perfect game to in which to run simple one-shots. The author of the book says on many occasions that it's more than likely that the character advancement rules will not be used at all.

    Currently the only players I have available to me are a bunch of fucking assholes (and I love them all) that don't care anything about RPGs, miniature gaming, or good storytelling. They are the type of guys that are willing to play RPGs when they don't have absolutely anything else to do. A long term multigenerational story set in a detailed world seems more fantastical than Tolkieen's Middle Earth itself. 

    A hyperviolent session of Blood!, on the other hand, will probably fit the bill here.

    Perhaps the only good thing about this shitty situation is that a group that doesn't care about RPGs won't ask me "why not just play Call of Cthulhu?" Some seasoned gamers I know aren't quite willing to spend their limited gaming time on indy games unknown by everybody in their FLGS.   

    More than likely, the guys I know will tell me to fuck off. Maybe, just may be, a fast a furious (and gory) game of Blood! can make them a bit interested in RPGs. 


    P.S. I'll detail the adventure on future posts. 

    Thursday, January 29, 2009

    [Games that will never be] Black Company Campaign Setting by Green Ronin

    "Games that will never be" is a series of very, very short essays I'll blog every once in a while. In it I will detail many of the role playing campaign ideas I played with at one time or the other, but eventually abandoned due to time constraints or lack of commitment.

    The Black Company Campaign Setting

    The Black Company Campaign Setting was published by Green Ronin for the D20 System. It's based on Glen Cook's popular fantasy series about an army of mercenaries during the waning years of their existence. The novels are grim and gritty affairs were soldiers live and die for dubious reasons. A friend described the series with the following analogy, "if Lord of the Rings is World War II, then The Black Company is Vietnam."
    I had two big problems with the setting. First, it was a tough sell to my group. None of my players have even heard about the Black Company. To them it's just another hacked fantasy setting. I could never sell them on the "thing" with the names ( Goblin, One-Eye, Tom-Tom, Croacker, ect); or why is the world better than the Forgotten Realms or Ravenloft; and most importantly, why use use the tired-old D20 System when we could use the awesome Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay.
    On my end, I could never get around how to portray the story that's faithful to the source material. I felt that just having the characters walking around as adventurers was a disservice to the campaign world because it ignores the soul of the setting: the company. I was afraid the storyline could degenerate into a railroaded, series of missions if the players were just footsoldiers in the company.
    The best way to play the game, in my opinion, was to run a 17+ player group. The novels are about a mercenary army, so why not get an army of players to fill up it's rank. Ok, just ignore the organizational pandemonium that would be scheduling a game with 17 people with different schedules. Furthermore, lets also assume that those 17 players don't mind waiting for their turn in 3 hour long combat encounters. A huge group will simulate the platoon experience perfectly: friendships are forged, reputations are made, and "good guys" are lost. One of the players is made commanding officer: it's up to him to send the others into combat and maybe certain death. What would he do if the other characters lost faith in him? How do the other characters deal with a bad commanding officer?

    A big part of each session will go towards inter-character relationship building. Running this type of game would be similar to running a Minds Eye Theater Live action game. The GM would just lurk in the background while the players go around the table politicking. Then, every once in a while, a mission will pop up for a group of players to head out and eliminate those that stand against the company.

    It would be kind of hard to find 17 people to game with, so the idea was scratched.
    Yesterday I stumbled into a post about Entourage gaming in Sham's Grog 'n Blog ( a much better blog than this one!). It got me thinking about my aborted Black Company game. The basic idea behind entourage gaming could easily be applied to a BC campaign. Entourage gaming calls the creation of a stable of characters for a player to develop during the campaign. A player could create three different characters ( Joker, Deafblind, and Stray Cat if he was to follow BC naming conversions). If five players joined, the campaign would have a pool of 15 characters. The gamemaster then divides the group into three different groups involved with different misadventures. This way the characters could explore the company from different perspectives. It would also give the story a grander scale as the different characters developed individual stories within the game world.
    I would use Paizo's Pathfinder, because, to be quite frank, that's the only way to experience Dungeons and Dragons.
    To run a Black Company D20 Game I only need:

    1.Pathfinder Core Rules
    2.A shitload of dice.
    3. The Black Company Campaign Setting.
    4.17 + players that are patient, do not desire to be in the spot light at all, and prefer to roleplay in MET fashion in a tabletop game rather than engaging in fast paced combat.
    File:The Black Company.jpg






    Wednesday, January 28, 2009

    Introduction...what the hell is this all about?

    My Roleplaying History, a short summary.

    I was introduced to Role Playing Games in a lunch line in middle school. I was talking to a friend about video games when he mentioned this weird sort of game that was like a boardgame without a board, just the dice. This game's name was Rifts. Intrigued, I asked him to bring it to school. I had never seen any book like it. It's not hard to imagine that a chill that ran down my spine when I saw that diabolical cover by Keith Parkinson. This off-beat grey colored tome contained a story of a post-apocalyptic world governed by magic, high technology, and the rules to play within that world. A few weeks later my friend and I started playing free-form game sessions during lunch before getting ambitious and starting a full game. But to be quite frank: I became totally hooked on RPGs that very first day I saw the Rifts rulebook.

    We played regularly during middle school and high school.  Every once in a while I faintly remember fragments of different sessions I participated in.  The 3rd Edition of the Dungeons and Dragons game came out shortly before our first year of college. My friend, Juan, Dungeon Mastered an epic D&D game that lasted two years. The story, which he honestly refered to as "Beowulf," was a blatant ripoff of the anglo-saxon epic. Another player and I started out as two heroes defending our tribe from an enemy clan called Black Moon. After many battles we found out that the Black Moon clan was being manipulated by a powerful wizard called Kortren. After defeating the Black Moon we set out to find this exact revenge on the wizard for his crimes. Other players joined, eventually we became a small army of heroes fighting our way to Kortren. At one point our group had 13 members. Juan decided to move his homebrew game to the Forgotten Realms setting. We caught up to Kortren in a fortress ocuppied by demons. We defeated him at the cost of half of our adventuring party.  We went on other quests after the killed him. A year after his demise we decided to finish the game with the end of the third story arc. This game took place 8 years ago and time only makes it's memories sweeter. 
    After "The Kortren Saga" I gamemastered a D20 Call of Cthulhu game titled "Those Who Hunt the Darkness" (which I ripped off a Barbara Hambly novel). I was totally unfamiliar with the Cthulhu Mythos, even going as far as skipping the eponymous story included in the rulebook. The only thing I knew about Lovecraft and his writtings was that one of his mayor themes was a thing someone called "cosmic nihilism." I decided to write a roleplay campaign around my interpretation of this concept. This D20 campaign ended up being one of the most idiosyncratic things I've ever produced. The game related the story of the Barbarosa family, whose patriarchs made a pact with a god to obtain immortality. The players became involved with the family while tracking a serial killer that was terrorizing the Boston area. The game involved a cult, an dubious group of monster hunters, black magic, distortions in the time and space. My goal during the game was to question the player's ideas of the afterlife during a moment when I questioned my own. The game ran for 6 sessions and it's the best fiction I've ever written.

    After Cthulhu we the remants of our group played different game systems. I moved to the United States in 2006 to finish a bacheleors degree in Communications. I joined a fraternity on my first semester and got in a relationship on my second year in the University of North Florida. There was other stuff to do other than RPGs, so I put the hobby in the backburner ( as Rifts creator Kevin Simbieda often says) for those 2 years. I graduated college and went back to my family's new home in the small town of Waycross, Georgia. I really have the desire to return to the RPG hobby, but I don't have a group and the only people I can play with are a 2 hour drive away. 

    This will hopefully be a blog about my return to the RPG hobby.