Sunday, September 24, 2017

Volos: Helping Hands

It appears that I wasn't the only one who wanted to see if there were defensive capabilities of the Trilling Shard.

Rihanur, an extraterrestrial who wears some sort of mechanical armor, has already begun work on this same effort. I have offered to work with him in his efforts, hoping that we might pool together our power and knowledge. My knowledge extends to planes parallel to our own, but he may have knowledge of other planets and places far away within our own dimension. Rihanur has already attempted to climb the Shard, and is working on mechanical devices by which to access its inner power. This could prove valuable.

Erizel Lezire says that she is from another realm-from what I've seen of her, I believe her. She brings great knowledge to attempts to unlock the Shard's potential, not just for the use against the abhumans, but possibly many other uses as well. She may prove useful in solving the mysteries that brought me here-once her attention is less focused on the issue of the invasion.

A man named FaĆ«l has offered support and oversight in the efforts, but I do not yet know much more about him.

A group of nanos, apparently under the guidance of two women named Lamia and Cherub, have offered some help as well. They study the shard and try to find deeper secrets.

Together, I am convinced that any powers the Shard holds will be unlocked.

The diruk that I met earlier was named Gilthk. Like most diruk, he is hard to get a read on. However, he seems determined to help the city, and there is much to do that someone of his nature could help with.

There was a group of even stranger strangers who have arrived in town to offer help as well. With them is a woman who breathes fire who has been organizing the development of a numenera-powered defense tower that will shoot lightning down on foes. I believe that my handle of the numenera could be helpful with the construction of this device, but I admit I am hesitant to offer my support.

Who are these strangers? Why are they helping a nowhere town like Ellomyr? I am anxious about their arrival. I worry they may be after me, or, worse, the same secrets that I seek near here. It is possible that they are even Convergence agents who are acting to their own selfish goals. Perhaps, after building the tower, they will turn it on the town, destroy the populace, and then search for the secrets themselves.

I do not know, but I hesitate to introduce myself for fear that they might recognize me. I do not trust people who offer help for no reason.

Previous Post: Better Defenses


https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/montecookgames/numenera-2-discovery-and-destiny/posts/1996614 

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Volos: Better Defenses

The townspeople have begun to build up walls and ditches to defend themselves against the abhuman threat. I, personally, believed that there had to be something more productive than a wall or ditch that could be found.

To this end, I found myself once again in the town square, staring at the trilling shard. There were many stories in which it's vibrations had sent out shockwaves-destroying those it deemed as enemies; generally the monsters or clear villains of the story. And yet, no one knew how to make it work.

There is no such thing as magic, there are only machines. The Convergence had been very clear on that point. The shard was not a magical floating stone, it was a long ago discarded machine. Perhaps it didn't even have stone around the outside to begin with. Regardless, every machine had to have its function. If the stories were true, if the shard could be directed against foes, how could I activate it? What were the conditions necessary to cause the function to run-and run in a way that would specifically target the abhumans and not the townspeople nor the structures of the town itself-limited though they were.

If the stone were hollow, I believed that I could get inside and then I would be able to see if I might find answers there. However, I didn't know if the stone was hollow, and touching it-and subsequently passing through it-might be seen offensively through the town. It probably wasn't hollow anyway.

I returned to my original question. Does the device create its vibrations, or do they come from another dimension-one that I might find and enter. I do not know, but I would like to. If the device is merely a gateway, and the true source of the vibrations lies in another realm, then perhaps I can get to that and utilize it in order to fight the abhuman threat.

Then the townspeople would be grateful enough that they would aid me in solving the puzzles that I was trying to work through.

As I wondered about this thought, I noticed many of the villagers moving past me. They weren't running, but they had a quickened pace that I associated with fear. What were they moving towards? Well, they were all going in different directions-maybe to shelter? What were they moving away from? Had the abhuman hoards arrived already? Nieten had seemed to indicate it would take more time before they got here.

I traced their movements back and saw, moving slowly through the town, a large-nearly humanoid rock creature moving about. I sighed. People always feared what they didn't understand, and these villagers certainly didn't understand this creature. Maybe they did think it was an abhuman, or some other monster come to haunt them.

I knew it to be a Diruk from my studies. A visitant. Its was descended from beings that had come to the Ninth World well before it was the Ninth World and that had since lost all knowledge of their origins, let alone any path back there. Diruk, I knew, were not traditionally violent or threatening to local communities-provided those communities let them be in peace. Whatever had brought this creature to the town, I believed it wasn't a threat. With this in mind, I moved to greet the creature, hoping that I might make things easier and less chaotic with its arrival.

Previous Post: Branches
Next Post: Helping Hands

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/montecookgames/numenera-2-discovery-and-destiny/posts/1995963

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Volos: Branches

Today the city was gathered in fear. A local glaive named Nieten, along with a group of newcomers to the town, reported swarms of abhumans gathering on the outskirts of town.

The beasts Nieten described were margr. Simple brutes, easily put down by anyone with training. Except that most of the villagers don't have training. I'm not much of a fighter myself.

If Ellomyr is to be wiped off the map by abhumans, can I find the answers I seek and get out before the destruction occurs? Or, perhaps, it would be easier to find what I'm searching for without so many people in the way...

I shook my head. These aren't my thoughts. These are the thoughts of the former Convergence member that I once was.

I closed my eyes and allowed myself to drift so that my mind entered the Outside. From here, I could see different paths that I might take. I could abandon these people. The village could be overrun and a massacre could occur. I could try to help in building up the town's defenses. Perhaps it might stand a chance-with the help of the other locals and visitors here. I could put my focus into trying to unlock the mysteries that had guided me here-and here, more branches. The mysteries seemed to still be a mystery even to the other realms. So many possibilities. Maybe the secrets would empower me to save the people of the town-maybe the secrets would destroy the town before the abhumans ever arrived.

Every world, every possibility, it was a new branch. I felt myself becoming sick, and I had to pull away from it all.

What am I going to do? Will I leave these people to their fate? Will I simply seek my own answers, and then decide what to do after I find them-if I find them in time? I do not know.

Previous post: Meeting the Storyteller
Next post: Better Defenses

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/montecookgames/numenera-2-discovery-and-destiny/posts/1995049

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Volos: Meeting the Storyteller

The Trilling Stone: The large rock at the center of Ellomyr that would sometimes let out a loud vibrating sound.

Upon arrival in Ellomyr, it was the first place that I decided to look in my search. It would be the most obvious place-a thing that had been looked at by many others before me. Nonetheless, it was the best starting point that I had.

I looked at the floating stone carefully. I tried to analyze if I could determine the source of its floating energy-or if I could sense anything about it's sound. It did not sing while I stood in observation, but I hope that in my stay in Ellomyr it might do so at a time that I can observe. I want to know if the sound originates in another dimension-someplace that I can get to that most others can't. After all, movement between worlds is my specialty.

As I was observing the stone, a child bumped into my leg, nearly causing me to topple over. She was a young girl, perhaps around six in age. She seemed to be in a hurry. I watched as she ran to where a collection of young children were gathered. They sat on the dusty ground in front of an old man who wore a bright smile. He was seated in a wooden chair against one of the houses, and he looked old enough that I imagined standing or walking for long would cause him trouble. Nonetheless, he seemed to have great energy as he spoke to the children.

I walked across the square to see what this was about, and found him in the middle of a story:

"The beast let out a terrible roar and ran at Naiara, but she was clever and had been prepared for it. Using the machine that she had found down below, she trapped the monster. It let out a yelp as a golden cage rose up around it. She sat down in front of the cage and she just talked to the beast. She talked with it for many days, barely moving from her spot on the ground, just eating the rations from her pack as she spoke to the beast. She even shared some of the rations with the monster.

"When the cage faded away, she was ready for the beast to attack, although she hoped it wouldn't. It moved towards her slowly. Her hand reached back for her dagger, fastened on her belt behind her. But then the beast just nuzzled against her. She had tamed it. The beast would travel with her. Of course, she named it Noxive, and you know the stories about him."

He seemed to catch sight of me, and a worried look crossed his face. He looked back at the children, forcing another smile as he continued his story.

"She brought Noxive back to the stone, and they would protect it together for another ten years. Now then, best you all run along."

"Can't you tell another story?" one of the children asked.

"Yeah, tell us the one about why the stone makes its sounds!" a boy shouted.

He smiled at them. "Not right now. Go play and let me rest a while."

The kids dispersed, some more energetically than others.

"I ain't seen you around here before," the man said to me. His tone was anxious, much less at ease than he had been telling his story to the kids.

"I've not been around before," I said. "Volos."

"I'm Gurner," he answered.

"You really know about why the stone makes its sounds?" I asked.

He shrugged. "It's just stories, for the kids. I don't really know, no one does."

"Ah," I answered. I wasn't sure if I was disappointed that I didn't have the answer, or if I was glad that no one had yet solved this mystery.

We spoke a little longer, but I could tell that he wasn't terribly at ease conversing with me. I am not sure if it was because I'm a stranger to town, or if it's just that he prefers the company of children to that of more aged folks.

Previous Entry: Volos: Introduction
Next Entry: Branches

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/montecookgames/numenera-2-discovery-and-destiny/

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Volos: Introduction (an Exiled Nano who Steps Into the Outside)

Iadace, stranger.

In my journey to Ellomyr, I met a man named Aravind. He could tell that I was running, and he asked if I was running towards something or away from something. The answer, of course, is both.

I am running from many different things. In my old life, I had ties to some disreputable folks-namely the Convergence. I'm not proud of it. But I tried to turn over a new leaf...when the people of the town I was staying in found out my past and set the constables on me. So, I'm a bit hunted by the lawmen of Draolis, and a lot hunted by former Convergence members.

On the way out of service to the Convergence, I borrowed some of their books-among them an ancient record that they were still working to decipher. I deciphered it-well, some of it, and it has led me here, to Ellomyr. From the looks of it, I am not the only one looking to uncover the secrets that await here. So I have to run if I want to find them first.

I am Volos, an Exiled Nano who Steps Into the Outside.

I've traveled a long way to arrive in Ellomyr-both literally and metaphorically. Metaphorically, you could say that I've been on this journey for years-starting in Bodrov with the Parables, and spending time in the Cloudcrystal Skyfields and Uxphon. But, I moved the fastest with the help of the Convergence. Selfish though they may be, they have the greatest understanding of the Numenera of anyone. I'd wager even deeper than the Aeon Priests.

But enough about them.

My journey has led me here, to Ellomyr. I might prefer a place either more populated and bustling, but it is good that I have a chance to lie low. I might prefer a place filled with more ruins to explore, but I must remain focused. After all, the secrets of this world-of all the worlds-lie ready to be claimed by whoever can solve them fastest.

Next Entry: Meeting the Storyteller

Friday, August 25, 2017

I am not dead, Nor am I dying

Rather than spending a lot of time talking about health problems, being temporarily displaced from my house for several months, computer problems, depression, it pouring when it rains, or anything else, I'm just going to say it simply: I am not dead, nor am I dying.


With that, I'm going to jump right back into this update.


GenCon 50

Last week/weekend, I attended GenCon 50. It was a good time. Here are my thoughts on some of the experiences, and a brief review of the games that I played in.

Parking

This year, we bought a parking pass through Gate 10 parking. This proved to be a *really good* idea. Last year we had to walk probably more than a mile every day from the only parking lot we could find that had parking to the convention center (and the same back). This year, we simply parked at the Gate 10 lot and took a shuttle over. We never had to wait more than a few minutes. Plus, since parking is hiked up all through the city, it ended up costing pretty close to what we would have paid without the pass anyway.


Exhibit Hall

It's huge. You could easily spend more time looking through it than the time in which it's open. Despite that there were more people at GenCon this year, it felt less crowded than last year, which was good. Almost anything nerdy you could imagine, and certainly anything RPG or board game related, you could find there. I got a new board game that I'm excited to try out; I'll let you know how that goes later.


Games

The Hunt for the Razor's Edge

System: Star Wars: Age of Rebellion


This was probably my favorite game that I played in. I had never played the Age of Rebellion system before, but I liked it. The dice system was very different from normal, but I did like it a lot. I got to play a Mon Calimari character (think Admiral Akbar), and I got to say "It's a trap!" It also helped that our group was, apparently, the most successful group that had ever run through the adventure. No bothans died on our watch!


Gate of Neifelheim

System: Cypher System


There is no way I spelled that city name right, but that's okay. This was a norse-themed Cypher system adventure. The adventure itself was really pretty cool. We played tier 2 characters, and I think we each had a stat in which we had 2 edge-which made it more likely for us to use Effort, but also made it so that it still cost something.


Unfortunately, a couple of the players in the group were really obnoxious and disrespectful of other players and the GM. This didn't ruin the experience for me, but it certainly detracted from it.


Court of Stars

System: Homebrew


I'd signed up for a homebrew game because, as someone who makes my own systems, I like to play in other home-made systems and support people who are designing new things.


This wasn't really like that. This really just consisted of deciding what if something was plausibly possible for our characters, and then rolling a d6 to see how we did. Admittedly, this is a system, and it worked for the game, but it wasn't really a formed system like I had been expecting.


Still, the adventure was pretty good. The GM was definitely making up basically everything as he went along. We ended up being the bad guys as a result of a contested roll towards the beginning. There was one moment where it looked a lot like we were going to die. If the GM rolled a 2 or higher on the die, a missile would have hit our spaceship and we'd have been ruined. He rolled a 1. With the missile having missed, we then proceeded to take over and zombify the planet. Yay us.


1 Alien Invasion, with a Side of Explosions

System: Cypher System


This was the game that I ran! I think it went well and that people enjoyed themselves. I had less of a specific straight-line plan for the adventure and more a general outline of possible paths that they could take. Fortunately, Cypher allows me to adapt and adjust and pull stuff out on the fly. I'm not great at improvising, but I think I did well enough for the adventure.


The players did end up running away at the end, rather than facing any sort of climax/resolution to the events. I would have had the enemies give chase, but the players rolled a 20 for trying to get away, and I couldn't think of a better "Major Effect" than "they can't follow you." The players left the planet to its fate, but they made it out unscathed.


Neuralpathic

System: Open Legend


I think I like the Open Legend system, but I still need more experience with it. This was largely an investigation-based scenario. I felt like it lacked a lot of direction/objective-I wasn't really sure what our characters motivation was a lot of the time until basically the very end when it was still "cut our losses and get out." I don't know that there was anything to gain from any other path anyway. We'd shown up to salvage, but I don't think there was anything there worth salvaging.


There was only one battle-and it wasn't one that most of our group was even involved in-and those that were there didn't have any real challenge. I am not a huge fan of large combats anyway, so I'm not saying we necessarily needed more combat, just that I sort of expected it, especially given all the combat-related abilities of the group. I think there are other paths that we could have taken that would have had more combat though.


Toybox

I have fallen way behind in doing Toybox updates. I will try to rectify this, but it might be in the form of an update(s) that is much more condensed and not as narrative. Toybox is playing again. They have made it through Yrkallak Tower and beyond. I will try to post a more detailed update soon.


There is a strong likelihood that the Toybox campaign will conclude in December.


Other/Future Game Mastery

I have been slowly working in the background on a system/setting for my new campaign. It is very likely that I will use the setting I was developing for the system that Toybox was playtesting (but not the setting Toybox was playing in) and use a version of the S.C.R.A.M! system (or some other system in which combat is not the focus/the thing that takes a majority of the time). I am unsure as to if I will post summaries here of these sessions or not.


I also have been thinking about a few different one shots. When I hear back from a particular player on what they want to see, I'll be working on a Cypher System one shot that I currently know nothing about. Someone also put into my head the idea of doing an adventure with two competing teams-which seems very interesting to me, and I'm still trying to wrap my brain around. And then, in the background, I've been sort of working on a computer program adventure generator for Paranoia that I'd like to eventually expand out into a) a unique setting/system and/or b) something more generic that can be played in a board-game like way without a GM but still having an RPGesque feel. This last one has sort of been on hold though.


Heroism and Other Lies

I'd originally wanted to publish Heroism and Other Lies Episode 5: Season Finale on July 28th to keep my rate of one book per month. However, that was...disrupted. I have now begun the publication process for it, and it should be available in all the normal mediums by the end of the weekend. I suspect that I'll make a post for it when I'm done with that.


Other/Future Noveling

In my last post, I'd talked about Sufficiently Advanced Dragons, but I think that this project is in standby for the present.


I've started working on-well-more thinking about another project, but I don't have it fleshed out enough to actually talk much about yet.


I am still unsure as to if Heroism and Other Lies will genuinely get renewed for another season. I have a lot that I still would like to do with it, but if it's going to fall on deaf ears, it might be better to save those ideas for a time, place, and medium where it will actually reach an audience.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Announcement: Sufficiently Advanced Dragons

This will not be the real final cover.

Sufficiently Advanced Dragons

In talking to people, I decided that the idea I liked the most of the ones I'd proposed in my last update was the "Sufficiently Advanced Magic" one. So, I'm starting work on the book which I am tentatively titling "Sufficiently Advanced Dragons."

I'll be attempting to jumpstart a lot of it through Camp NaNoWriMo. You can follow the effort here: http://campnanowrimo.org/campers/goal-entertainment/projects/sufficiently-advanced-dragons

That said, I've never been very successful at Camp NaNoWriMo, and I am not sure how much time I'll be able to focus on novel writing.






Rugrats property of Nickelodeon

Excuses

My day job has gotten a good deal busier, which is good, but limits the amount of energy that I have to direct towards my creative endeavors.

Additionally, my break hasn't been nearly as productive as I had originally planned on it being. Some things happened in the real world that mandated a lot of time and attention which, again, limited my ability to be productive in my creative endeavors. Sometimes trying to fulfill the obligations of a responsible adult is not fun.

Christian Fiction

I have still been thinking about the Christian Fiction stuff. I did start to come up with an idea, but then I ran into the same wall I keep running into. The stuff that I want to write about is the cool spiritual stuff, but humans don't really get to do a lot of the cool spiritual stuff in real life, and I don't feel like I'd be able to realistically have a divine (angel, God, Jesus) main character.

So, especially with a lot of things being based on "God conquers the spiritual troubles of the world," it's hard for me to tell a story where the protagonist is much more than an observer of other, more impressive, events and figures.

GenCon

My events have finally gone through the GenCon system and are now available on the GenCon website. 

If you're going to GenCon and want to play in one of my games, feel free to sign up while there are still slots. I'd be excited to have you!

System: S.C.R.A.M! (My homebrew accelerated combat system)
Adventure Title: Conspiracy Overload

System: Cypher System
Adventure Title: 1 Alien Invasion, With a Side of Explosions
https://www.gencon.com/events/122510

I'm still working on planning the specifics for both adventures, but I've got the overarching adventure structure for both. 

Heroism and Other Lies: Episode 104: Flashbacks


Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B071KLRRKZ

Paperback:

Joe and Persephone wake up in the past. Together, they must figure out if the future is set in stone, or if it can be changed. They must work together to prevent Joe's biggest mistakes, and the deaths that came from them, from becoming manifest.

A greater question still remains: can they stop Jez from turning into the superpowered madman he becomes?

Computer Boards

Several months back, I made a post about board games. It's still something I think about a lot. I admitted in my previous post that what I really want to find is a board game that's actually a tabletop RPG. There are a few advantages of the board game format.
  1. If it's designed like most board games, then everyone can play, as players, on equal footing. (I understand that there are exceptions like Decent or Mysterium or other things). I like GMing a lot, but I also like playing games, and I don't have the time to really commit to a lot of campaigns or other real TRPG experiences.
  2. They are generally more self-contained and playable from beginning to end in a reasonable amount of time (There are absolutely exceptions to this, which is why I con't get to play Runebound or some other games as much as I'd like to.)
  3. They have a greater appeal to people who might shy away from tabletop RPGs. There is definitely a stigma against RPGs from non-RPGers, and I think a lot of it is just because they have this idea of what things are that doesn't really match with reality. So, people who might be unwilling to try even a short one shot of a simple RPG might be more willing if you put it on a board or series of cards and never called it an RPG.
So, I was thinking about this, and I came up with a really clever way of putting together this board game that's in my head.

It took getting to about the tenth deck of cards in my head before I realized that there might be a few too many decks of cards required to pull off what I wanted to do.

But!

A computer could handle it. A computer could have all the lists and random generators I wanted at the touch of a button. It could flawlessly run everything together if I gave it the information. 

And it wouldn't even be very complicated to program.

Except...I don't really know how to program. I used to know some Java, and I could probably re-learn it, but as with anything, it takes time. And the content alone for the project is pretty large, making the idea of having to learn programming on top of it pretty daunting.

So...we'll see.

Toybox
Tonight is the first Toybox session that we've had in what feels like forever. I have really missed running this game, and I'm looking forward to getting back into it. That said, I was hoping to be a lot further ahead in planning by this point than I am, and I feel woefully unprepared.

As much as I'm looking forward to running Toybox, I definitely don't miss spending the time planning for it or the time typing up the session summaries.

I'm looking at some tools that should make the summaries easier, but I am not sure how they'll work, and easier still doesn't mean simple.