Sunday, June 19, 2011

Unboxing Birthright

The original Birthright Boxed Set had a ton of goodies in it. I had forgotten just how much was there until I cracked open the box again. Here is a list of everything, according to the back of the box:
  • The Atlas of Cerilia: 32 Pages detailing the history and features of the continent
  • The Rulebook: 96 pages of information on royal-blooded characters, governing kingdoms, and the Cerilian Pantheon
  • The Ruins of Empire book: 96 pages describing kingdoms waiting to be conquered
  • Two poster Maps illustrating the lands of Cerilia.
  • A Battle Mat and 112 War Cards for resolving all types of military clashes plus a custom-designed War Chest for storing the cards.
  • A four-panel DMtm Screen specifically for Birthright campaigns.
  • Twelve card sheets packed with handy reference material and descriptions of major enemies.

When I opened the box this is the chaos I was greeted with. Really no that teribble given all the stuff inside. You can see a smattering of “War Cards” and the custom-designed “War Chest” the chest was clearly designed to hold future expansion packs of cards. This just has a basic smattering of Anuirean forces (Anuir being the default starting realm for PCs in this game) Archers, Scouts, Knights, conscripts, siege engines, mercenaries, etc. As well as some common regional monsters, opposing nation units, terrain, and battlefield wide spell effects.

The next book I found was the rulebook. There is a lot of information packed into these 96 pages and will in fact be the basis for most of the remaining posts discussing Brithright and adapting it to 4E. But I think I have rambled a length about some of my ideas. The rest I will present in a more structured format in the future.

Delving deeper I uncovered Ruins of Empire. This is very much a DMs book. It breaks the world down into 5 basic regions. Southern Coast, Western Coast, Heartlands, Northern Marches, and Eastern Marches. Each section discusses some of the regional politics, threats to the area, and meta-plot that might inspire a campaign for the region. Each page outlines a nation for a region, provides a bit of color about the people details about the ruler and factions as well as statistics for provinces and armies. There are three other sections to this book as well. An introduction with world details, instructions on reading a nation’s statistics (necessary reading), and a few other bobs added in. The final sections contain dossiers on several prominent leaders around the world with special focus on the Southern Coast and a short adventure to familiarize DMs with how to structure a game of Birthright. This is especially important because the PCs are not expected to go dungeon crawling as often as those in in traditional campaigns and doing so takes time and resources away from other actions that can be taken during the game.

After that I was present with the 12 card sheets and DM’s screen. These are card-stock nuggets of double sided goodness. The first is a cultural sheet, very fluffy and shows the depth of detail Rich Baker put into this world (probably far more than would be done in a product today. I’m not trying to pass judgement but a game with several pronunciation guides based on region, race, etc. is a lot more effort and detail than I have the time or memory-bandwidth for today). The second and third deal with domain turns and records, emphasizing how important leadership was to this game. The fourth and fifth are maps of the area and hex maps for detailing a region even more. The sixth is a another fluff card with some art depicting the dress of regional military, I like this extra bit a lot because a picture is worth 1,000 words and clothing styles help give a feel for what real world culture inspired them. The last 6 sheets are monsters, some special versions of creatures for Birthright and some abominations special powerful enemies intended to be epic threats in the world.

The final book in the box is the Atlas of Cerilia. This is the fluffiest piece. It discusses the world the migration of races. The history of the people and cultures as well as the regions. It is intended for both players and DMs but I can’t see many DMs being thrilled with the amount of information duplicated between the Atlas and the Ruins books. The forward to this has a very telling story by Rich Baker. In it he describes leaving the navy and writing a 225,000 word novel that was unpublishable. He used it to get hired at TSR to prove he could “write a lot of words”. However, this omnibus was eventually used to create parts of TSRs next campaign setting. What I do not know is if it was Rich’s intent to use so many strange and made up, and often vaguely Celtic words, or just what was the fashion for game design and fantasy in the mid 90s. Either way the trend didn’t bother me then, but it does now. Mostly because today I understand just how badly I butchered the pronunciations of things which I didn’t notice or care as much about back then. Either way this book is good for perusing for ideas but I think it contains far too much detailed about a very broad area to see extensive use in many campaigns.

The final three things in the box are poster maps. The first is a map of the Southern Coast region with nations broken up by provinces additionally there is a domain record log that has Anuirean dates included on it. The next map is the Mattle Mat. This is for use exclusively with the War cards, it allows for a very stylized and abstract mass combat system. A useful inclusion to the game but not something I can wrap my head around right now. The final map is of the continent of Cerilia. This shows all the world’s nations, as well as province borders, however names are left out for either the DM to fill in by guessing and using Ruins of Empire, or future expansions to the line. The continent is impressive and while too well defined to really fit in with POL I am sure something can be done to assist with that.

So ends my unboxing and preliminary review of the Birthright boxed set. I leave you with a photo of what everything looks like when spread out.

Post Script: I was toying with having a semi eclectic background of gaming accouterments to add something to these photos. I don’t think it adds anything and in fact seems a little distracting. Unfortunately, I wanted to get this post out quickly and I don’t have a lot of time for photo editing so these less than ideal photos are getting used. If anyone has suggestions or comments about photographing game components they are welcome to leave them below along with any other comments on this post.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Birthright: A Retrospective

Back in 1995 TSR released a campaign setting. This is not a surprise during this time TSR seemed to me making setting to throw out to suer just to see what stuck. I was very young at the time, old enough to play D&D but certainly not old enough to have the disposable income to buy campaign settings & all the paraphernalia that went with them. 

I am hard pressed to believe the setting ever really caught on with that many groups. But, I recall seeing some compelling art in a Sierra advertisement for a video game that seemed to have licensed Birthright. It also obviously stuck with me because in the near future I hope to go through the boxed set and the interesting supplemental materials and dissect what was important to the game and how it might be adapted into something for 4E. 

But before I do that I wanted to try an experiment. I want to write down what I remember being important mechanics and fluff and why 4E fits or doesn't fit it.

1) PCs have divine bloodlines that grant them additional powers. 4E PCs are already superheroes compared to other editions and they just get better. This just explains why.
2) PCs become rulers of the land and can gain class benefits based on how they develop the lands they own. Instead of making it class based make it power source based.
3) The world has several distinct regions with cultures and peoples populating it. These regions could probably support at least the core races from the PhB1
4) Being leaders of the land PCs will be leading large groups against other large groups. There were rules for mass combat and rules for running fights large that squads but smaller than armies. 4E might have trouble here.
5) The word had few good kingdoms, but several ruled by evil tyrants. This might be workable for PoL but the scale might need to be adjusted.

These are what I remember without opening any books. In future posts with Birthright in them I will look at how to convert the game from AD&D 2nd Ed. to 4E.

Friday, May 27, 2011

4E Called Shots

This morning on that At-Will webchat there was a discussion about how to develop called-shots for 4E. most of the discussion revolved around how powerful they should. Encounter long was right out. But would it be useful if a called shot only lasted until the end your next turn?  Perhaps but it couldn't impose a condition like daze, even stun would be terribly powerful.  Another question was how often could it be used. Some wanted it to be at-will. Others suggested it as an encounter. Finally the idea floated up to use it with an action point, I liked this idea because it is an under utilized item in the rules and in the economy of actions.

While I am still not sure this kind of thing is appropriate for 4E I wanted to take a crack at trying to write up a way to do it. So below is my idea. It isn't refined or play tested but it is a mostly complete and coherent rule. and an argument for adding it to the game.

Called Shot: Sometimes in a fight you are less concerned with damaging an enemy so much as restricting its abilities. This is the domain of controllers. But 4E has allowed everyone a chance to heal with second wind, encounter or daily powers can let other classes deal lots of damage like strikers, and many classes can make themselves a better target than another to help act a little like a defender. So why can't every class have some built in control? The mechanism for this is going to be termed a Called Shot.

To perform a Called Shot the player must expend an action. All bonuses for using an action point are provided as usual with the exception of the granted additional standard action. Instead the player may apply an additional affect from the called shot list. The Action Point must be used before the PC makes an attack and may be applied to any kind of attack. This additional affect on the target remains until it makes a save. The use of an Action Point in this way counts towards the one use of an Action Point per an encounter.

Called Shot List:
Attacker using called shot gain +1 to attack
Attacker using called shot gain +3 per tier to damage
Target take halves it current movement speed
Target takes a -2 penalty to attack rolls
Target takes a -5 penalty to damage

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

RAW vs House Rules vs Home Brew

Recently there was a great deal of discussion about house rules, tweaks, etc. and how you play D&D. Well more specifically 4E D&D. Somebody, saveversusdeath or EldritchReverie asked if we could play 4E without the books.

My gut reaction was NO! I would need the books to play 4E but 2nd Ed. we frequently play games without books. Several people people posted ways it could be done or encouragement to trying it. A few were condescending indicating people playing RAW were unimaginative sods that don’t get RPGs.

Could I run a game without looking in the DMG for a table with monsters pre-printed and PCs and power cards already. Absolutely. I consider using powercards akin to using the books. I also consider 4E such a carefully balanced game that it would break (in the DM or PCs favor) far too easily. So again I fear running with vaguely remembered powers just seems likely to end in a cakewalk or TPK. Additionally to play without the books I couldn’t level a PC or create on without the books, either. All of these make me feel like I’d need the books for a 4E game.

A few of the more interesting ideas floated in that discussion included:
    • Using basic attacks and “powers” that skill training grant. Or just provide example powers based on skills.
    • Skip races and just play classes, using simple powers choices.
    • Make all attacks basic and let players describe cool things in place of encounter powers

So, I think I missed the point of the question. The answer to could I play 4E without the books the answer is NO. But could I play D&D without the books, yes. I think that fine distinction rests only with me. But 4E is the rules as presented in the books and is a firm set of expectations playes will bring to the table. I could certainly play a D&D variant based on 4E. To me the fine line is would it  be different enough that if a person at a game store saw me playing would they immediately know is was 4E or just that it was an RPG.

Given the above why do I still feel like I could play 2nd Ed without the books? Well a lot of it is that the rules are a loose collection. With lots of optional and expanded rules presented, as just that options or expansion but not something to be expected at every table. The game math is also looser, meaning that roughly recalling a chart or how something is incremented at a level is less likely to dramatically shift  the outcome of battle. In other words the game was looser it had a lot more flexibility built into it. But that came at a price. Many groups had a great deal of variation and house rules making it harder to crash other peoples games. Additionally it wasn’t as balanced a game meaning some things were just overpowered resulting in.... more house rules!

To wrap this (intended to be short post up) to me: RAW is an explicit edition of the game and clearly and readily identifiable to anyone familiar with the game. House Rules are a few additions to the game that shouldn’t often break game balance and are table/DM variants that still do not change the defining points of that game/edition. Variant Games are rules that have been heavily modified enough that if a player that knows the original game would not immediately recognize that version of the game or if they sat at the table their expectations of “clear” rules would not necessarily be met.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Tillam's Thoughts 3

[This post, the previous one and the next soon to follow contains over 2 months worth of play reports summed up. For more details on our adventures follow the live tweets for mmaranda, or check out the compilations made from those tweets here]

I woke up early. And went to see if Alexi had made it to the drop point we were interested in. It was a brothel, how exciting. I later learned this was the brothel Alexi grew up in and still calls home. More to the point Alexi wasn’t anywhere, but drunk and waiting, was Banacek. I was able to defuse him, not that he needed that much defusing. It seems he kidnapped or unkidnapped or rekidnapped the girl. That made him happy but loosing the box was a bit of a sore spot. He agreed to pay me half of what was owed, on top of that he’d take off the other half if I do a new job. He left me with details about where to meet the team I’d be working with. I wasn’t thrilled with the proposition, but if the house came calling on my debt I couldn’t pay it off so I had to do it. Yet another mess dad left for me.

Regardless I’d had a meeting to attend with Kiin, Hrothgar, Caleb, and Nero assuming the later bothered showing up. Upon arriving it was apparent Kiin had been busy. He met with some people last night including a representative of Yan Liao working as a middle man for House Taiapetra, the same people that put me and onto the path that got me here. They wanted to have a chat with Ingrid because they know she sold information to House Dandolo, as Dandolo is a house that deals in information I think Taiapetra is upset they almost got scooped. I was also able to guess that I could get a good deal this way. Kiin wants me on his team and Taiaptra through Banacek was going to remove my debt. While getting paid twice would be unthinkably grand getting a higher than average premium for my skills. The crew was the same as last night. Alexi, me, Hrothgar, Nero, Kiin, Hu, and Caleb.

Speaking of Hu, it seems he did very well for himself a the game last night. gaining a title as a minor baron of Vrolens  and partial ownership of the Stabientia Blues.

Now we had to get down to business. We needed details about where Ingrid might have gone to ground. Hrothgar and I checked in with a fence of mine, Skjelmund, to see if he had heard of anything recently or if he might have known any of the old hidey-holes. He wasn’t able to provide us much. But Alexi and Nero discovered the gang might have come from the theater district. While Caleb believed they were from somewhere else. After regrouping we decided to split into three teams. Alexi and I would snoop around the theater district. Caleb, Hu, and Kiin would go check their sources, and Hrothgar and Nero would return to the Wyvern’s Sting to see if any stragglers came by or survivors returned.

Alexi and I took a private gondola to the theater district. Ovidio, our gondolier, was able to give us a good idea of the theater district; he also thought it was charming that Alexi should his son out to the theater. We noticed we had picked up a tail and decided to loose it. The easiest method was to duck into a show. We happened into a one man Bruthalese how in High Salumar and the resulting scholarly discourse. Fortunately I was able to understand it and could navigate the groups leading us safely to the back entrance. In case of the tail having followed us in I also helped start a debate that came to blows.

Ducking out the back we realized how close we were to the bordello side of the district. Given the natures of the house/people we were looking for, it seemed a reasonable place to continue looking for leads. We checked out two brothels with little luck, and while going to a third and final spot fort the evening ran into a pack of Varonian Marines. I was able to out talk them before things got terribly violent and sent them off to wreak havoc on little Shan-Li town. Our last spot of the night was fruitful. Using my stature and good nature as a distraction, Alexi got a name the name Tulio. Apparently he’s a small operator around here, that has been hiring a lot of girls and flashing coin around like he had just pulled off a big job. Amber, a slight young Salumar girl, was most talkative to me. I was able to ply her well and learn where Tulio’s place was, the nature of the back door the girls and wine had been brought through and a layout of the area. 2+ floors, 12+ guys and there were groups. Varonian and Skraeling there. It also seemed Tulio wasn’t in charge of the Skraeling and took orders from them.

With that info we went to regroup at the Swinging Claymore. I decided to grab some sleep and went to a room we had rented out.  Before crashing I got the report of what the others did. Hrothgar and Nero went back to the Wyvern’s sting. There were was a Varonian gang looking for Scraeling. They evaded them and took up position in a nearby inn to watch for other stragglers, unfortunately they were tailed and a group of Varonians attacked them. They took out thier attackers and beat a hasty retreat. Caleb and company had a similar incident. Unfortunately Mr. Hu, took the brunt of the attack. However, they grabbed one of their assailants. and brought him back here. Kiin is going to interrogate him and wanted Alexi’s help.  

That was when we heard a commotion accompanied by what sounded like squeaking rats. Just then Alexi burst in an letting us know of trouble. Rushing down stairs we find a standoff between Kiin and a gang. He seemed to have shot a girl in the head, and was psoturing to scare thje group off. With us rushing downstairs the Shan Li gang beat feet dragging the girl with them. After that we planned our assault. We had to move quickly. With a few more details provided by Kiin captive we were ready to move.

We came to the decision to go in through the back using Hrothgar’s race and gang knowledge to get us in. That worked until Hrothgar was ushered off and our cover was blown. I’m not really sure of the details after that. A Skraeling rushed me with an axe. I was able to get inside his guard which resulted in the blade missing me. But a kick to the head was good enough to knock me out.

When I regained consciousness I learned that when the rest of the group began looking for Hrothgar and Ingrid, they found the place abandoned. There was an escape route used and the token resistance gave anyone else around enough time to escape. We were able to take one captive a weaselly rat faced punk, unable to provide us with much information. The safehouse also had a dragon roosting in the roof some treasure was able to be pulled out but once Momma dragon returned we left the safe house. The only other thing of note was a safe. I found a poison needle trap on the safe and deactivated it. However, I didn’t have time to unlock it and had to bring it home with me. With some potential powerful enemies it seemed best if we split up and went to our respective homes. We agreed to meet again in the morning and regroup on how to find Ingrid.

After sleeping, I woke up early and woke Ping up as well. I introduced him to the safe and taught him how it could be cracked. He was interested and will hopefully be a quick study. Inside was little of interest other than a map of the city of Varo with 9 locations picked out and some Scraeling script. My guess this shows all the safe houses. I also found a necklace made of dragon teeth. Locking them both up I decided to rejoin the team.

With that Tillam and the crew were alerted that Tendyra was insight.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Tillam's Thoughts 2

[This post and the next two soon to follow contains over 2 months worth of play reports summed up. For more details on our adventures follow the live tweets for mmaranda, or check out the compilations from those tweets here: ]

Tillam was sitting on boat, eating fish and hardtack, again. He sat thinking. How did it come to this. Two weeks ago! TWO WEEKS I was a reputable clockmaker and locksmith. A man with a shop a career and a chance at setting his sight on possibly becoming one of the Cittadini. Then I got two visits in less than 24 hours that changed everything. The first, the clockwork priest hasn't returned, but he will... Hell that business involves Dad and even Got Ren an SPQV to come looking for me. Only thing I could tell him was Dad did some speculative trade with the “Punchline”. I provided him what books I could. My hope is that he'll be able to track down the money that was made there, maybe even provide a clue to Dad's location, really he's the least of my worries but the money would be good.

The second that was what got me here. That damned Banacek Giovanni came collecting a debt I couldn’t pay, so to ease my fiunacial burden he offered me a deal I couldn’t refuse ‘Break into the Ferrante house and retrieve a box’. I’d be working for a Bruthalese named Alexi.”

A day after that I had entered the sewers with “Sausage Fingers” Xan as a guide and and a Scraeling named Hrothgar. That ill fated reconnaissance resulted in Xan dieing a terrible death after stepping on some kind of poison sewer fish. Hrothgar and I got him out of the sewers and started looking for an apothecary. We wound up in a shop called the Magic Box where there was a Cebalese named Caleb. He seemed genuinely concerned and cut us a deal on treatment. Although he tried his best to help he was unsuccessful and Xan succumbed to the poison there. Caleb was fortunately able to dispose of the body, and ultimately that was worth the cost of treatment alone. His services weren’t cheap and we had to leave most of Xan’s gear with him to pay for the attempt. Meanwhile Alexi started staking out the the Ferrante house. It seemed he was stockpiling wine. After running a little more information gathering we learned he was doing that in preparation for a big celebration after the Stabientia Blues game. We also learned a great deal of his security team would be with him during that game. Leaving the house relatively empty. So that was when we planned to approach. The Blue’s game was 4 days away. Preparation of supplies and equipment to travel the sewers and deal with noxious gasses, poisoned fish, intelligent hordes of rats, and possibly getting lost down there began. Alexi, also decided to hire a little muscle before we went in. He got three Bruthalese men, possible related to Banacek  named, the leader of the group was named Luigi the other two were his brother and cousin.

That went well until we were just under Ferrante’s house. There was a second team, that was hired by, Ingrid, a Scraeling, who also got Hrothgar in touch with us. They dropped pretty quickly and we would have mopped the floor with them except for their Omulian mage. He put half of us to sleep. I was able to throw a few daggers at him and take him out of the fight but after that one of their warriors, cracked me on the head. Not sure what happened in detail but I was told Hrothgar woke up from the magical snooze and with the help of the hired muscle took apart anyone that got in his way. After people were revived from the fight and we had some time to search the other team we proceeded on into the subbasement of the Ferrante house. Alexi produced a map, from the markings on it it looked like it was my father’s handwriting and secret script. I never learned his code. But still, knowing he had done the work allowed me to guess where traps were.  Alexi, also found a scroll of protection from undead on the other team.

Armed with the map and the scroll we proceeded a little too boldly. I missed a pressure plate on the floor causing hundreds of gallons of water to come flooding down on us. Sewer water and lord knows what else to come streaming down a side pipe. It was an old trap and disrepair prevented it from doing any harm to us. As we moved forward I spotted a classic pit trap/choke point and navigated our way around it. But that is as far as we got before things went terrible. We reached a closed portcullis. While we began to deal with that, noises started coming from a side tunnel, shufflings and groanings and a stench like I’ve never experienced. It was then that we saw the guardians. They were zombies or something like it. Undead, a creation out of nightmares. These things shambled out. I used the scroll as quickly as I could but they came on more quickly. Swarming us assulting not only our bodies but our senses as well. We forced out way past the gate. But lost several of out support. Leaving just Luigi, Hrothgar, Alexi, and myself. We ducked down a secret passage marked on the map. When we got tot he other end we met with what remained of a third team of people trying to crack Ferrante’s house. This team now consisted of two survivors Giovanni and his bodyguard Nero. The rest fell to undead like those we had fled from. It seems Banacek learned of the double cross and came to help us out. When he saw there was a fight he went on with his team.

After we regrouped we found the entry to the actual basement of Ferrante’s house. We moved up and forward reeking of undead ichor and the sewers. As we progressed a time delayed trap caught the last of our spare muscle. We progressed deeper into the basement. We had to be careful, but were able to successfully evade the staff moving about. Yet there was something strange as we came to the location of Ferrante’s vault and the presumed location of our target. There was another man and he seemed to be threatening one of the servants. Hrothgar was first to approach and we were able to determine that he was there to collect the team Ingrid sent. Though perhaps that team was to keep Hrothgar alive if he didn’t put up a fight. Either way I was needed to open the safe the box was in and that I did. But far more interesting than the safe, and the box, that was never opened, was the structure that took up the bulk of this treasurery. It was an elaborate printing press. What he was printing and why he needed that much paper, and ink was beyond me. Also the full details of how it worked would have taken me weeks to suss out. This machine did not just impress type set letters onto paper. It did more than that. It seemed almost as though it could cast the plates that other printing machines could use. As if printing on paper was a secondary goal of this. Regardless I couldn't spend much time inspecting that device. I had a safe to crack and a debt to have lifted. So I retrieved it and put it in the hands of Banacek. We used Kiin (the man hired to extract the other team) and the servant he was pushing around to bring us to the wine. We put the box in the wine. Quickly bathed in fresh water and wine and began acting as porters for the stuff. The plan was to take it out of the building and away.

As we executed this plan, we found things made even easier because some Shan Li was dominating the Pai Gow Poker table. Turns out that crazy Shan Li was Mr. Hu the luckiest guy I know. As we were almost out of the building Banacek and Alexi spotted a woman on a balcony. They left me with Nero, Hrothgar, and Kiin to bring the box back to the drop point. We were able to give Kiin the slip. But not long enough. As we started up the rock Kiin and a ship full of people ambushed us. He had Caleb with him. We had little option but surrender.

Kiin was friendlier to Hrothgar than me or Nero. But Hrothgar seemed as blindsided by Kiin’s actions as anyone. He also advocated for my safety so I am still inclined to trust him. In the end we were hustled onto a boat and travelled to Terminalia. During the travel we established that Ingrid set us, and Hrothgar, up. Again to Hrothgar’s honor and credibility he said he would talk to Ingrid on my behalf to see about me getting paid. I also seems Kiin hasn’t performed many secret operations and was working well below scale. Eventually we pulled into a dock near a warehouse. I was left in the boat with Nero and a crew of Shan Li. The rest went into the warehouse with the box. They came back with money and no box. The decision was made that night to see Ingrid and try to get to the bottom of the details.

We took, what I learned later to be, Kiin’s boat up the canals towards The Wyvern’s Sting. This was Ingrid’s bar/base, I say was because when we arrived the place was on fire. Some were trying to put it out and others were negotiating looting rights. Either way there were no Skraeling to be found. Hrothgar began looking for a secret entrance, Kiin, Caleb and Nero were looking for witnesses or to determine if there were any Skraeling hiding in the area. Mr. Hu and I heard a child calling for help from inside the conflagration. Somewhere on the second floor. Scaling the building was relatively easy but inside was smoke and burning death. As we moved through the building we were cutoff from each other. Mr. Hu was able to go through the entire building and he found the boy. I however, found a dead body being consumed by a giant raven. It was confused by my stature and I was able to escape without it eating me. I was unfortunately unable to save the creature.

It took us some time to regroup after that. Hrothgar had found signs of a fight a blood leading out of the secret exit. Kiin, Caleb, and Nero hadn’t been able to learn much but they did catch Mr. Hu as he jumped out a window with a young Shan Li, boy named, Ping. I was able to calm him down. We learned the boy had no family but an old man who by all account perished in the blaze. By now dawn was starting to break and we were all exhausted. The rest of the group was separating with plans to rest for a few hours before meeting up at lunch tomorrow. As we drifted apart I found Ping following me. Realizing he had no place to go, I took the orphan in. If he is smart enough he can become my apprentice; if not then he’ll apprentice to somebody else in a career needing less finesse of both mind and hand. But in the meantime he can be a focus for Aunt Fiora and he might even be able to help her around the house. As we took a gondola home he told me some details of what happened.

It seems The "Fancy Boys", a gang or as we later pieced together possibly members of house Dandolo, torched the building. The were in Ping’s words  “6 Varna (Shan-Li for Varonian) wearing fancy overcoats. Dark colors but very rich.” He claims they walked up to the Wyvern's Sting fought with somebody and then torched the place. Seems like they used Molotov cocktails. Nasty business that. We finally reached home. I set him up in what used to be my room. Then I collapsed on my bed stinking of ash, sweat, and stale wine.

To be continued in the next post. Broken up to keep it short enough that people might still read it.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

New Year; Same Blog

This is hopefully going to be a quick little post because I have a long one brewing. But I wanted to record my hobby goals for the year of our lord two thousand eleven.

1) Blog more. Last year I started strong and promptly fizzled. I do now want to let this happen this year. So I've worked a deal with Oodja the DM of the Varo campaign that should encourage me to blog more. On a side note here is his Varo story blog and here his gaming blog.

2) Paint more miniatures at a quality level. I would like one day to be a crazy old man that paints well enough to fund his lead addiction and wins prizes for it as well.

3) Provide value. I tweet a lot as @mmaranda mostly for D&D and a lot with the 4E community this year I want to turn that into something that more than just my immediate friends find useful or entertaining because it shows the oddities that arise in their play style.

It doesn't seem like much but hopefully it will make this place on the web a little more interesting.