Thursday, April 30, 2009

In Which The Warlock Spins Some Pirate Yarns...

So, our Friday night gamers (including our new arrival!), have decided to give another crack at the previously failed "Pirates of the Underdark" game, which we had originally tried about a year ago. I've been looking forward to actually pulling off this concept for a while, as it's something of an open world concept, but with heavy story elements...much of which are driven by pirate legends and the like. Think "Pirates of the Caribbean" meets "Snatch" meets "Xena: Warrior Princess".

Weirdness, I know.

At any rate, to give you a feel for what this campaign will be like, here's one of our assorted pirate legends, typically told at the Styx Oarsman tavern, at the subterranean island-port of Freeport.

Baron Samhedi, Carrefour, and the Zombi Serum

In the darkest places of the world, there are roads where no man walks. Roads of the mind, of the spirit—the roads and ways of the loa. You’ll tell me they are legends, but I know better. I’ve heard the stories—not the children’s tales told at bedtime, but the real ones. Ones of the walking dead and the black-clad spirit who rides his hougan servants’ minds like on horseback. Ones of ancient creatures and degenerate islanders, who serve none but the loa and their own cannibalistic urges. Ones of the serum of the zombi.

No, not zombie. Zombi. I don’t mean a simple necromancer’s walking corpse. I mean one of the loa, riding the dead like a bucking mule, thrashing through the deck of your ship like a madman, holding the body together as it buckles and bursts with gore. I mean a thing that was once dead, but will not die again. Something you can’t kill.

Some say that the Baron Samhedi first created them—a powerful Voodoun loa who walks by night through the seas, corrupting islanders and turning them into something not quite man and not quite beast.

Some say that a surface man named Carrefour was the Baron’s first servant. He was a fencer, straight out of the Amnish school, who ventured under to seek his fortune. A fop, he thought only of gaining the best, the fastest, the most powerful. When he heard of the loa from a grimlock shaman early on in his cavernous questing, he immediately went out in search of them.

Carrefour found in an ancient subterranean swamp the flower known as “Midnight Romance”. The flower, crimson red and dripping with a green venom, serves as the primary ingredient in the Zombi serum. Carrefour harvested the flower with impeccable care, slicing it from its thorned stalk with his saber.

Carrefour’s first zombi was one of abject failure, screaming hate and gibberish into the Great Dark night. He persevered, though, and created a massive army of the creatures, berserk and maddening to behold. Soon, hundreds of the creatures roamed, mindless and mad, through the Underdark, and fields of the “Midnight Romance” bloomed amidst the shrieking fungus beneath the world.

What Carrefour didn’t count on was the savagery of his creatures. Wandering amongst the thorny vines of his precious flowers, one of his zombi servitors burst from the baskets where it lay and ripped Carrefour apart, strewing blood and gore across the venomous flowers.

Carrefour’s zombi horde dissipated throughout the Great Dark, and the creature was forgotten. The black secrets of Baron Samhedi faded into the background as time went on, and the patches of Midnight Romance grew wild through the deepest depths. This went on for years in silence, with the loa shifting through the spirit world all the while.

That is, at least, until tales of a foppish fencer, wrapped in green-venomed vines, starting to wander through the vast caverns beneath the stalactite-cities of the duergar. Wanderers and border guards disappear with regularity, and the scent of mysterious flowers sometimes fills the great halls of Gracklestugh, the ancient duergar citadel.

The loa? I know they exist. Is Carrefour one? Probably. Does that mean Gracklestugh is overrun? Not as far as I know. I still sell slaves there, and pick up fresh-forged chain to sell to the mind-flayer slavers. Will you believe me after you’ve finished your drink? Well, that’s up to you.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

In Which The Warlock Takes a Deep Breath Before the Plunge...

Every year, there's always a lull in the schedule...a calm, once the end of the school year hits and we're gearing up for the Geek Storm itself: Free Comic Book Day, Lionel's Annual End-Of-Year LARP, and Origins.

It's in this lull that I'm usually just gearing up--getting ready for the chaos about to hit the fan. But this time, no...not so much.

Rather, I find myself in the midst of my own planning, trying to get everything together.

Firstly, the minis I ordered for WEGS SuperZ (and some other games) just arrived, which means that I've got to find some way to organize them all. The PlatinumChick is getting a little testy about having 200 odd minis cluttering up the apartment. Q, one of our kitties, keeps stealing them, if we leave them within paw's reach. Sterilite, here I come!

On top of this, I'm in the midst of putting together a full on D&D PvP blast session for some of the guilders. After developing some refresh mechanisms, as well as some random treasure tables for the players, they're getting ready to throw down some nastiness. Here's for hoping that it all goes down well this Sunday!

This is to say nothing of my own baby, "Dungeon Slam!" which is looking at getting a full revision before Origins! With a little luck, we'll throw down some Slam! on one of those late Columbus nights.

On a more serious note, though, I'd like to beg your indulgence for one of our fellow gamers:

Our good friend and fellow Witt-Wegger Nick, known to some of you from "The Life and Times of Nick", was recently involved in a motorcycle accident. It was a low speed crash, and he was lucky to survive. Nick, however, is currently in University of Cincinatti Medical Center, recuperating from significant facial surgery.

If you have a spare moment, give a prayer/thought/meditation/vibe out for Nick, who will hopefully be rolling with us again very quickly. And, if you ride...please, please wear your helmet.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

In Which The Warlock Is Unable to Take On His Original Plan...

So, remember my New Year's Resolutions? One of them was to include some images of the minis that the PlatinumChick and I have been painting, all this time.

Unfortunately, that's one resolution that just isn't going to take place. Grrr.

Despite my best efforts, I couldn't get a good picture of my latest attempt--a new figure for one of my favorite characters: Nordling. I finished painting him at our last game night, and really wanted to show off my (really pitiful) painting skills. But, at any rate, I might as well give you the background for him.

Nordling is a perennial character that I play during WEGS games, often frustrating El Willy to no end. Nordling's a "Humz Trickster"--something of a Human Rogue/Thief, if you want to put it in D&D parlance--and always seems to show up in the weirdest of circumstances.

Nordling's biggest quirk is the fact that he's survived every WEGS game I've ever played him in. He lived through his first appearance at "Pigskabb's Skool 4 Wizzards", getting away from Chef ToeGash. He survived the classic "Dwarf Walks Into a Bar", when Ebbs ran for the first time. He escaped from the clutches of the Column-Golem and Cthulhu, in "From Dusk Till Dead". He weaseled his way out of KlattaBarraBoo's tomb (and garnered some multi-classing into Mage, while he was at it!). And, most lately, he managed to sneak away from a wrathful Ring Reaver in "Over the Reaver and Through the Wyrds" at WittCon VI.

It's hard not to celebrate a character's success rate, when it's as high as something like this. In Ebbs' "Pyramid of Shadows" 4e game last year, I couldn't help but laugh when one of our henchmen--yet another human rogue--rolled a stat array that put any of our player characters to shame. That rogue, dubbed "The Goddamned Jim-Bob", became the great-great grandson of Nordling I...who weaseled his way out of Pigskabb's woods all those years ago.

As I've said's no surprise that the cards for Tricksters are in yellow. ;)

At any rate, if I manage to get my camera to cooperate, I'll find a way to put up the pictures of the now-painted Nordling. Till then, some reminiscing will have to suffice...and some plans for the Power Play sessions at Origins. :D

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

In Which The Warlock Takes a Week Off...

Sorry to get your hopes up, cats and kittens--there's no post this week. It's Spring Break, and I'm relaxing.

I'll be back next week with a look at one of my favorite all-time characters...

Till then, game on!