innocent_man: (dmh)
So, in honor of Xmas and everyone being around to play Deadlands, figure I'll do an Xmas special. This is Nikolai in the saloon, the Xmas tree being decorated, telling stories about Xmas back home in Mother Russia. He tells them the story of how Xmas was almost ruined one day by a horrible green monster that came down from the mountain and stole all the presents on the first night, all the decorations on the second night, and was coming back to steal all the children on the third night.

This is the standard holiday special in which the characters take on different characteristics of folks in the story. So Nikolai is Santa Claus, Lillie is the Whispering Witch (lives up on a hill); Suzi is Lady of the Hearth; Shortstop is Ivan, the plucky little boy; and Sheriff Mark is the Bogatyr, the mystical knight from beyond the city.

The horrible green monster, I'll just use Night Horror (p. 102) and maybe some ghouls or something as minions. Basically it's a save Christmas kind of scenario. Ho, ho ho!
innocent_man: (dmh)
I'm behind. Again. Gotta do Mars and Deadlands, and now Geist Oh, and a movie write-up. First thing's first.

MARS. )

And then Deadlands. )

And today, Geist. )
innocent_man: (coffee)
Flippity-floppity.

Anyway, I'm two game write-ups behind. What else I gotta do today? I gotta do notes for tonight's Spirit of the Century game, and I gotta do art notes for Left-Hand Path. And I should respond to some logo emails, but I'm wary of getting bogged down with too much in one day (which has been the bane of my freaking existence all summer and is why I'm still feeling overwhelmed and why I've only made a couple of characters. Although I am at least keeping up with my movie project).

Right, so, Deadlands. )

And then Saturday was Dresden:


Radishes, pork chops, couscous, smoked ale.


Actually pretty happy with this one. Coated the pork chops in a mix of bread crumbs and Parmesan, broiled. Made a sauce out of Parmesan, the beer, some veggie stock and some assorted spices, for the couscous. Cooked the couscous in the broth, too. Candied the radishes the way I normally do carrots (milk and brown sugar), and left the greens raw as a side (with the sauce it was really good).

As for the game: )
innocent_man: (dmh)
Where do the days go?

To update:


  • Left-Hand Path will be done (from me) today and off to Michelle.
  • Going to read at least one story today.
  • Going to run Mermaid Adventures kind of soonish.
  • Ordered a proof copy of curse the darkness, which hopefully will get here this week and look perfect, which will then enable me to order several hundred more copies.


And now, Deadlands! )

So there, last night, Geist.



Chicken breasts, couscous, lavender, naan, peas.


Couldn't use my damn oven because it needed cleaning, so. Salted the chicken with a bit of lavender salt and smoked salt, sauteed in skillet. Cooked peas and couscous normally. Made a sauce with white wine, honey and the lavender. Sliced the naan into strips and toasted it in butter. Good stuff, I though.

And then, the Geist game. )
innocent_man: (goblin)
So here we are at one of our occasional Deadlands installments. Read more... )
innocent_man: (dmh)
Last night I ran another installment in my occasional Deadlands game. So. Eek! A bird! )
innocent_man: (dmh)
So, last night we finished up our Deadlands: Reloaded game. First the write-up, then we talk a little about the game itself. Yee-haw! )

So, the game. I like this system better than the original Deadlands system. It's much more forgiving, and starting characters are competent. That's one thing I like about Savage Worlds in general, actually - the rules seem crunchy, but they're really quite simple, and even Novice characters are perfectly capable of doing cool things. I like the cards and the chips and the fiddly bits, and I like, after some consideration, the magic system. I do think, though, that you really need a setting and some special rules for magic or powers - the bare bones systems makes for wimpy power-users (which is why Necessary Evil uses a beefed-up system). But especially now that the characters are Seasoned, they're starting to be really bad-ass, not just competent. And I like that, because it means I can throw badass stuff at them next time.

And with all that in mind, I'ma make a character!

The Game: Deadlands: Reloaded
The Publisher: Pinnacle Entertainment
Degree of Familiarity: Probably the longest Savage Worlds game I've run so far, and I played the original a bit.
Books Required: The Player's Guide and the Savage Worlds book.

What? Again? )
innocent_man: (dmh)
So! The characters had this card tournament. A bunch of townsfolk played, but by the end, it was Jessup, Lillie, Nikolai, and Suzi. Nikolai tossed Shortstop a couple of chips, so he played a hand, but didn't last because he didn't know the card progression. Suzi and Jessup lost soon after, and Lillie lost to Nikolai.

But really, this was all just an excuse to get Mina into the bar. Suzi set up a room for her (she wound taking two rooms because she doesn't travel light), had Shortstop filled her water jug, and took stuff upstairs. Then she had Shortstop break into her trunk and nick a comb (which he did, like a boss, despite not having the Lockpicking skill). He scampered downstairs with a comb and announced that he had it, which might have blown the whole thing, but apparently Mina and her entourage didn't notice (actually, Jessup totally did).

With that object, Suzi could use Mind Rider on Mina. She did, and saw Mina washing up. Mina leaned out the door to Jessup and Annabelle, and said, "Put on the black and take to the sky. If you see her out walking, kill her." But it wasn't quite clear who she was talking to.

And then Mina looked back in the mirror and seemed to notice Suzi. "You want in?" she said. "Look deeper." And suddenly they were by a river in Louisiana, with a pile of moldering corpses (including that of Suzi's grandfather - this is included in her Worst Nightmare, BTW). The zombies rose up and started toward her, and Mina made a chair (like one on a luxury train car) rise up from the ground so she could watch.

Suzi knew she wouldn't be able to fight these things alone, so she called out for her friends - and they appeared! The battle was shift; between Justice, kung fu and huckster-created whirlwinds, the zombies didn't last long. And then Suzi approached Mina and asked what she wanted. Mina started to answer, and Sheriff Mark butted in. Mina waved at him and said, "You're not even here," and he burst into flames. The vultures swooped own and grabbed Shortstop, carrying him away, and Lillie just sort of stepped behind Suzi.

Suzi told Mina that no one wanted to stop her making the railroad deal, that she didn't need to hurt people to make it happen. Mina told her not to concern herself with the secrets of scary people (yes, I stole that line, but I like it) and Suzi woke up with a start. She dispatched a saloon gal to fetch Nikolai, Mark and Lillie, and make some noise doing it. Then she went and banged on Mina's door.

Mina, however, seemed to have no knowledge of what Suzi meant when she confronted her. Confused, Suzi met with the others (and Shortstop, who'd awoken from the noise) and put forth the theory that Jessup or Annabelle was really the one to blame (as a side note, in a brief conversation earlier Suzi had noticed that Annabelle had a New Orleans accent).

Lillie cast Hunch looking for information on Jessup, and saw him as a scarecrow - frightening, but ultimately hollow. She then cast it on Annabelle and saw her as flying behind the scarecrow, and swooping down toward Lillie...yes, she might be the actual threat. Mark revealed (in slow, languid monologue) what the "Black Sorcerer" had done to his town, but it could have been Annabelle under all that black cloth. The only way he'd identified the figure was by the magic.

Nikolai decided they would all go to church in the morning and see what they could figure out about Mina (innocent? Just a puppet of Annabelle?). He also wanted to look into his own occult tomes and see if there was anything useful.

Two more sessions remain.
innocent_man: (dmh)
If I'm going to run this more often, I need a new Deadlands icon. Anyway, notes. )
innocent_man: (dmh)
Today:


  • Write-up from last week's Deadlands game.
  • Notes for tonight's Deadlands game.
  • Balance checkbook. Weep if necessary.
  • Print out Imperial Mysteries.
  • Make a character.
  • Laundry.
  • Chopped post from last week.
  • Post pictures from this weekend's trip.
  • Go to Half-Price Books and sell stuff.
  • Post something on the blog.
  • Fridge/freezer purge!
  • Grocery store.


Let's get to work.

Deadlands! )
innocent_man: (dmh)
So, it went off pretty much like I planned, actually. :)

The characters were riding to go find Nikolai's missing vodka. Lillie was riding her own horse, while Sheriff and Suzi were driving a wagon (Suzi driving, Sheriff riding shotgun, Shortstop in the back asking if they were there yet).

They came to the place where the road split off into the valley, or they could take the carriage across the grassland, which led to a cliff and a waterfall. They chose the valley. They got a ways in and noted that there had been a scuffle - wagon tracks, horse tracks, then everyone goes back the other way. Lillie took this moment to cast Armor and Hunch. Her Hunch revealed fear, but not violence - apparently the bandits had taken the wagon by threat, not force.

Shortstop jumped out and went to scout ahead. Lillie followed at a distance. Shortstop blew his Stealth roll and rounded the corner to see some guys sitting around a fire. Then he glanced right and saw two more hombres behind some brush, pointing a rifle at him. He yelled for help, and all hell broke loose.

Lillie came riding in and cast her Texas Twister spell, knocking the two guys in the brush out of commission. Shortstop ran up to one of the other guys and kicked him in the head, dazing him. Suzi, ever cautious, struggled with Sheriff for the reins, and wound up booting him out of the carriage as they got closer.

And then a mysterious man in the black - masked, dressed in leathers - flew down from the cliff. He threw bolts of black magic at Lillie's horse and at Shortstop, stunning and wounding the boy. Some of the cowboys took shots at Lillie, but between her magic and my piss-poor dice, they missed.

Sheriff rolled in and shot one gunman dead. Another took a shot and winged him, but Sheriff just cocked back the lever on Justice (his revolving shotgun) and dropped that feller, too.

Lillie moved her twister so it covered the magic-throwing hombre, and Sheriff realized that he recognized that guy - he'd seen those bolts of magic before, and it wasn't a pretty memory. Shortstop recovered enough to throw a punch, but he was too weak (and too out of Fate chips) to do any damage.

Suzi rolled in and called up a miracle - the bonfire flared, engulfing two of the men. By now, there was just one guy left who wasn't Shaken or dead. Well, and the Faceless Stranger, but he flew up out of the twister and back to the cliff, whereupon he escaped. "Coward," snarled Sheriff.

The last guy accidentally shot his buddy dead (aiming for Lillie, whom he called "Devil woman!"). Suzi rolled up and scared him half to death, and he revealed they'd stolen the vodka and kept the drivers alive. Apparently "the boss," the dude in black, had plans for them. At this point, the characters noticed that based on the bad guys' horses' brands, they all worked for Black River Railroad.

They loaded up the corpses, the survivor, the vodka and the drivers and took it all back to Novygrad. When they got to the saloon, they found Nikolai there entertaining. He was sitting with a beautiful woman and her two servants - one a big, tall fellow in black, and one a demur-looking young woman in a black dress.

Her name, the characters realized, was Mina Devlin - and she owned Black River. But Nikolai was apparently smitten with her. She said that she was looking to put in a stop here in Novygrad, which would be good for the town as well as her railroad. The other characters were suspicious, and Shortstop, who has the tact of a 12-year-old (and is played by one), called her out about the men they'd fought. Mina said that one of her security details had been ambushed and their horses stolen, so those folks were probably the ones that did it.

And Shortstop also wondered if the big guy, Jessup, was the man in black they'd seen earlier. The body language and the hat looked similar. But he denied it, and Nikolai said that the only way that Jessup could have gotten here before the characters if he'd been at the fight was to fly.

With these suspicions, then, Mina left with Nikolai to have dinner and the characters went to bed down for the night. Suzi looked at Mina and told her how much the town loved Nikolai, and how no one wanted to see him come to harm. "Don't worry," said Mina. "I have no plans to hurt him tonight."

Somehow, this didn't make anyone feel better.
innocent_man: (dmh)
So, I'm running a Deadlands game tomorrow for Michelle, Sarah and Michelle's boys (Will and Alisdair). We're using the Savage Worlds rules and setting (which doesn't differ much from the original, as far as I can tell). They've got characters and some backstory, I just gotta put a three-session story together. I wanted more, but y'know, the boys are only here until summer's end. We should have started sooner. Ah, well.

The Setting:

[livejournal.com profile] docelboze ran a Deadlands game a while back, and I played a Russian huckster named Nikolai. I really liked playing him, and so I'm using him as an NPC here. Basically, he bought himself a town in Colorado - not literally, but enough of the businesses in the area belong to him that's basically his town. He's even named is Novygrad (his surname is Novy). He's not interested in telling anyone how to live; he's very much a proponent of personal liberty. As long as everyone plays nice.

The characters all live in Novygrad and have some relationship or friendship with Nikolai. The town has a mine, so it started as a boom town, but it's growing. It even has a newspaper now. One of the railroads is even thinking about building nearby, which has Nikolai worried - he knows that the railroads bring their Rail Wars with them.

The Characters:


  • Lillie Carmichael, the schoolmarm. She's also a huckster and ex-gambler, and is kind of under Nikolai's protection as a huckster with a past. Her enemy, Spencer Jacobs, is a preacher and was responsible for "outing" her once before.
  • Sheriff Mark, the...well, the sheriff. No one knows his last name (or his real name, for that matter). His friends and family were gunned down by his enemy (which we haven't defined yet), and he's hiding out in Novygrad. He's loyal to the town and to Nikolai, and very big on friendship. But he's also got a death wish - and he wants the killer of his people dead.
  • Shortstop, the scamp. Orphaned at 3 when his parents' carriage supposedly went into a canyon, he was taken in by a friend of the family named Shen. Shen, a Chinaman, taught him the secrets of kung fu, perhaps in preparation for investigating or avenging his family. Shortstop is only 12 now, but is still practiced in the martial arts.
  • Suzi Love, the saloon gal. She manages one of the town saloons (the one Nikolai frequents). She's blessed, but she does voodoo - she's chosen of Erzulie. She's also afraid of raptors and dreams of vultures eating her.


So, with all that in mind: Notes, which you're welcome to read if you didn't make one of those characters. )
innocent_man: (mine)
So here we are at Origins. Yay!

Took us some time to get out yesterday. Mostly that was because Heather's been backed up with work the last month, so I amused myself taking pictures of people with my new phone:



Michelle, waiting.


Aaron, waiting.


Me, waiting.


Heather, wait...oh, hang on, there she is!


So we left, drove to Columbus, listened to Patton Oswalt on the way. Nifty. Got into Columbus, checked in, and then Michelle and I headed out to play Desolation.



Ah, back among my people.


Now, I really enjoy Desolation, but haven't really managed to play a game of it that emphasizes the sad state of the world, rather than going for cheap laughs. And I still haven't. The fellow who ran the game was the same one that ran Hollow Earth Expedition for us in 2009. That game was kind of weaksauce, so I admit that when we realized it was the same guy, we were a little apprehensive.

It was better, though. We didn't have an immature 16-year-old and his equally immature dad making boob jokes the whole time, for one. The GM liked screaming "RAT CHEESE!" a little too much (it made sense in context), but beyond that, it was a well-run sandbox game - he plunked us into the situation, and we just tore shit up and had fun. Interesting note: The other player (it was just me, Michelle and this other woman) not only had no experience playing RPGs but had to be told, conceptually, what an RPG was. She got right into it, and she seemed to have fun; I'm just wondering how she got to that table.

Anyway, once again, characters were just photocopied from the book, but that's fine. The GM had trouble explaining the system (took too long, made my eyes glaze over), but once we got rolling he did well - didn't stomp on our plans, didn't interrupt the players (I fucking hate that), and ended the game when it ended, rather than shoehorning in a T-Rex. I approve. Wasn't awesome, but was fun.

My Grade: C+

So then we went to bed. Up in the morning! I had tickets to Prawn!

Well, fuck. No one showed. I got a refund and one we went.



The familiar skyline from the hotel window.


Con on the Cob! You should go!


At the Chessex booth, you can buy a scoop of dice. Don't pretend you aren't tempted.


So we got some lunch, did some shopping, and swung around to play in a demo of mad-scientist card game.



This dude even looks like a mad scientist.


The game is fun; you basically try and build evil experiments and collect victory points for the really important ones (like Underground City and Weather Control). Early gameplay, though, is slow; Michelle and I thought of some improvements, but they weren't simple enough to justify buying the game and house-ruling. And I have other stuff to spend money on (read on).

So then we had a game of Deadlands. Oh, Deadlands. Highly awesome. This was the Savage Worlds version, but all the fun stuff is intact. I played a huckster, slinging cards around for magic. It was a pretty straightforward "go get the dude off the mountain" scenario. At first I was concerned because we were tailing along two badass bounty hunters...but then the mutant bears popped out and ate them, and I knew we were fine and weren't going to be dwelling in NPCs' shadows. Yee-ha!

It was a good time. I had a shining moment (casting a Speed spell and rolling up behind the bad guy and capping him in the back of the head before he knew I was there), we got to shoot a bunch of zombies. I could have done with a little more RP, but honestly it was a two-hour game. And just look at this awesome setup:



The little orange things are corpses of things we shot. Boo-ya!


The GM explained the rules to the newbies perfectly and patiently, knew the characters and the rules well, and kept things moving. His characterizations were memorable, and it was generally a great time.

My Grade: A

Then, dinner! (Lemon Grass, a fusion place down the street. I recommend!) On the way we passed a dog biscuit store (no, really) with some interesting art:






Then, Ganakagok!

I've played (run, really) this game before, and was really happy to be playing it. Our players fell into it right away, and we had this cool, exciting, very epic Norse-ish story going on, involving elemental spirits, burned cannibals ghouls, giant fucking owls, snow rhinoceri (OK, they didn't figure in directly). My character was a fire-tender, a young boy who learned at the feet of the elders and kept their fire burning so they could stay warm.

One thing I didn't like: During the scenes, we only did the die-shifting round once, not twice (if you know the game, that makes sense, if not, don't worry about it). That changes the play because it changes the strategy, but it didn't end up mattering much. The story was awesome, we concluded and everyone, I think, was happy about how the Nitu people ended up.

The GM could stand to work on pacing a little bit, but only if I'm being really nitpicky. He definitely had a good feel for the game and did a good job at ceding control and ideas to the players, which for Ganakagok is essential because if it's not a shared story, it's one dude telling you a story.



Our story mats, if you can read any of it.


My grade: A-

I actually talked to Bill White, the author of Ganakagok, a little after the game, about curse the darkness and he totally got it, even from a brief description. Made me feel like I'm on the right track, if I can just distill what I really envision the game being about down from where it is now.

But I digress. Tomorrow, more gaming, including Changeling and Unknown Armies! Yay! Origins!
innocent_man: (Default)
A Little Meatier: Finished.

Now, the question is, can I get 25,000 words of Splish Splash done before 9/1, which is when final drafts of the book I was just redlining...did I ever give that a funny name? I could call it Get Off My Bloody Lawn, I guess. (One of the books I developed lately has already been mentioned in this post).

Anyway, I might not get all of it done before 9/1, but it's not due until mid-September, so as long as I can get, say, 20K done before I go to Pennsylvania next weekend, I should be OK. So I'm done working for today, and it's only 3:30, which feels pretty good. I shall now do something I enjoy: Make a character. Ah, but what? I don't want to do one that'll take me all day, but I worry about saving the Tri-Stat characters (which take a while because they're point-build) for last, because then I'll have no leverage at all to do one that's quick.

Hmm. OK, let's do this:

The Game: Deadlands
The publisher: Pinnacle Entertainment.
Degree of familiarity: Never ran it, but played a bit with my brother back in the day, and of course there's this currenlty-on-hiatus game.
Books required: Just the Deadlands book, but since I have Quick and the Dead, I may use it.

Yee-haw! )

Tomorrow: Nobilis. Got a concept and everything.

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