Saturday, November 4, 2017

The Great Pendragon Campaign: Episode 02 - Pendragon

10/22/2017
The Great Pendragon Campaign

Episode Two
"Gigantic Proportions"

Pendragon

Sir Perriton visits Imber again, having hoped to find the family whom he promised to purchase a cow from. Instead, he discovers that the Church presence nearby has caused some conflict and there has been a disappearance in the number of women in the area, including the mistress who used to live with Old Garr. Bliant, on the other hand, begins to court Lady Gwiona, visiting her when he has opportunities to do so and spending time with her at the garden when they are together. Slowly a new Passion grows between them.

Year 486
Court is held at Windsor. There is much talk about raiding Colchester.  Sir Gilmere and Sir Riordan encounter the strange man, Merlin, who seems to be anxious to eat. Rumor has it, he has been fasting for nearly half a year for reasons he cannot divulge. He ends up warning Gilmere not to be "distracted by the goat" and is ushered off to discuss with the Earl the plans for the Colchester raid. But despite the excitement of the new knights to be part of the engagement, they learn they are given garrison duty to watch over the Countess Ellen, Lady Jenna, and the unexpected guest, Lady Gwiona at the City of Sarum.  While there, however, they begin to hear a goat yelling somewhere.

As the group investigates, they find an old man in tattered goatskin asking the knights to help find his missing goat. The group splits up and while the rest of them consider what to do with their squires, Gilmere tracks the goat to the top of the hill. He fails, however, to see the nearby threat.  When the giant emerges from the shadows, the knights suddenly find themselves in a fight for their lives against a frighteningly powerful monster! The giant, it turns out, was merely a test from Merlin who needs knights to protect him in a mission of some sort.  The group fights against green knights who bleed water, and do what they can to fight against these nukalaevee from reaching Merlin. The wizard somehow has drawn a sword from the lake. He thanks the knights for their service to Britain and sends them off to return to their duties.

The knights share their tale with the Countess Ellen and she eventually shares it with the Earl during the Christmas Court. This brings them more glory.

Year 487
A young lad seeks to become a knight and gain ownership of the land he and his mother live in.  Gilmere and Bliant speak with the boy and knowing the Countess needs to reach her destination soon, Gilmere takes the boy to serve in his household and eventually pens a letter for Aramig, the boy, to become the squire of his younger brother. Aramig gains a Passion (Hate) towards Bliant, whom he feels was insensitive to his plight.  Bliant continues to meet with Lady Gwiona, and their Passion for each other begins to grow.

Along the way to Wylye, however, Riordan and Perriton encounter some trouble at a farm where a foreigner supposedly is causing trouble. The man, Finnegan, turns out to be a "Bear Killer" and has come to challenge the supposed "Riordan Bear Killer" to an arm wrestling match. Finnegan leaves defeated, but gains Passion (Respect) towards Riordan. Riordan begins to join more tournaments, gaining the title, "Riordan the Giant". Perriton spends more time with the young Lady Jenna, whom he shares more stories with.

On Christmas, however, the feast is remembered as the Great Sword Feast. The Earl and the Countess are surprised to learn that King Uther himself and his entourage have opted to join them this Christmas. Countess Ellen, however, maintains a calm level of focus and guides her staff to accommodate the royal guests.  Gift giving soon follows, but nothing prepares the gathered for Merlin's gift to the King, Excalibur, the Sword of Victory!  Merlin, however, reminds him that all he need to, however, is remain just.

Merlin invites the knights to share their stories of how he helped them and this leads them to making a choice: Join the mission to raid the Saxons up and down the shoreline, with the plan to destroy as many of their boats as possible.  Or accompany Earl Roderick, King Uther, and Duke Ulfius, to ride to the Duke of Lindsey at Lincoln. The four knights opt to break into two groups to take part in both.

Riordan and Perriton join the Lindsey Embassy and while waiting for the missing Duke, opt to go hunting.  While hunting, however, they encounter an unexpected sight: a creature with the body of an antelope, but with two horns that can be independently moved. The beast is a Yale, and Merlin stops them from attacking the beast, warning them that to attack such a beast would be to invite trouble in the future.  The Assembly finally happens and the two bear witness to the Duke of Lindsey submitting before King Uther after Merlin shares the High History of Excalibur and reveals the blade, dispelling all the shadows in the gathered.

Gilmere and Bliant, on the other hand, gain more Glory as they destroy ship upon ship with the guidance of Prince Madoc, son of Uther, and the Admiral Gwenwynwyn. They destroy ships near Pevensy, then sink the ships of King AElle.  Then they go to Dover and sink the ships of Jutes.  But as they sail up the Blackwater River, they learn that few ships are present and suspect a trap.  So while the two man ships to lure the Saxons, the rest of the ships under Madoc and the rest finish the job even past Yarmouth, and into the lands of Lindsey and the waters of the Wash.

King Uther is in a better mood by the end of the year.  He sends spies and nobles to learn more of what the northern lords in Cumbria have in mind.








Thursday, November 2, 2017

tagbites 2017 : November Offerings


November offerings for TAG Bites.
Only four seats per game available.

What are tagbites?
They are completely free one-shot sessions where you get to try games you haven't tried yet, or try games that aren't commonly run elsewhere. Learn more about them here.

Interested in grabbing a slot?
Be sure to reach out and let me know asap.



Wednesday, November 1, 2017

A Single Moment: The Hamon Sheet

I've been working on the text for the upcoming Deluxe Edition of A Single Moment, which I've lovingly entitled, A Second Moment.  One of the big changes I've decided to embrace in the game is the use of a sheet to track the Chapters, Key Characters, and Scenes, and Edges, Hatred, and Scars.
This is called the Hamon Sheet.


The Hamon SheetHamon literally translates as “blade pattern” and refers to the visual marking the blade that was created during its smithing. The look and pattern of this outline depends on the hardening process the metal undergoes as clay is applied to it prior to cooling. The term seemed appropriate to name the sheet that tracks the relationship between two Samurai as their friendship cools and their conflict sharpens to a razor edge.

Here's the link to the JPG file in case you want to start using it in your A SINGLE MOMENT games!



Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Three days of ESGS: An Amazing Single Weekend


So I am sitting here at my six-sided desk, wondering how to capture the feels and emotions of the last few days into a single blogpost.  I feel like I am standing here, facing my blank blog page, staring at it and knowing in the end, one of us will have to give up.  And I know it will not be me.
TAG Sessions was invited to be part of the Electronic Sports and Games Summit this 2017!  We were given a booth and the opportunity to reach out and interact with people, both gamers and curious passersby, and share with them information on my various narrative tabletop role-playing games.



The convention ran from Friday to Sunday, and each day was a day filled with lots of wonderful moments. Friday had my awesome bud, Urim, with me. The very guy who asked me to try writing up the game system after way too many game nights where other gamers were absent due to real life priorities.


Saturday and Sunday, however, Rocky was able to help me out and it is thanks to him that we have all these wonderful photos to have on the blog. On the first day, I was able to run two demo games of A Single Moment. The key memorable moment was a game I ran with a young player named Justin.



Justin opted for a story of two Samurai who were at odds because my Samurai (Ichi) was always jealous of Samurai Justin's intelligence. The focus of our argument was this book which held the secrets I wanted to learn. But when I got it, I couldn't read it because it was more like a puzzle book. So we ended up fighting and the fight lead to a spectacular exchange at the mountain edge. My attempts to shove him off the edge failed thanks to his spiked shoes. He then leaps behind me, catching me by surprise, to push me off the edge.

BUT.

Samurai Ichi wakes up. It was just a bad dream. And he realizes he needs to be brave enough to ask Samurai Justin for help if he really wants things to get better.  And so, the story ends. It was A Single Moment of Courage.


Talk about an incredible story, eh? And Justin was behind most of it's creation!  I ran a few more demo games in the other days, but the next most awesome one was the game I ran with Jaoq. We had a story of Mercy with a Samurai mistreating a Clanless Farmer who had once been a Samurai. When my samurai is beaten up by bandits, it is the Clanless Farmer who defeats the bandits and carries my weakened body back to my Daimyo.  There, however, I lie and claim the bandits were weakened before the Farmer came to help out. The Daimyo, however, sees the truth in the Clanless one's words and makes him the bearer of the Clan Sword. 

Years later, when the opposing Clan which the bandits were part of attempt to ambush us during a journey with the Daimyo, the Daimyo is injured by an arrow neither of us notice due to our focus on arguing with each other. This leads to us fighting each other as we BOTH believe we are acting with the demands of Honor in mind.  The Clanless Samurai, however, is handicapped, as he refuses to draw the Clan Sword, which he knows to be a Sword of Peace.  In the end, he manoeuvres skillfully enough to sever one of my Samurai's arms and force me to surrender.  I nearly kill the Daimyo in my rage, but the Clanless Samurai saves him and leaves me to weep in the pouring rain.

And as an Epilogue, the Clanless Samurai leads the march of the Daimyo in the festival. And my one-armed beggar now watches from the alleyway, vowing revenge.


Thankfully, the games were all a success. People enjoyed playing them and more were curious enough to ask about my other games. There was a lot of interest in my drag queen Fiasco game, Sickening Queens, and a few excited responses to That Night Out, my survival horror indie game.


There were a bunch of interviews as well, with Quit Stalling and GMA News being the big ones during the event. I met Pam from Girls Got Game and sadly I was eating when they passed by, so the offered to come back when I was done. I directed them to instead try checking out my awesome neighbors: Project Tadhana, Tala, and Talinhaga.  I hope they all find a chance to get more milage.



In the end, there was a lot of emotions and intense feelings in the air.  Almost like we were friends for years, there was a bittersweet tinge as we said our goodbyes and disassembled our respective booths. There was the immense gratitude for being given a chance to share our works and a sublime joy in knowing we have found new friends.



Thank you to Pen Gwen, James Lo, and to everyone else behind the ESGS for having us and allowing our humble works to be part of the event.


Thank you to our muses and inspirations. To those who gave us that creative spark to make our works. Who gave us the desire to give birth to such creations.


To everyone who wanted to pass by and say hello. To everyone who wanted to try our games.  To all the curious and the excited people who tried our games, or asked for more information about what we loved doing.


To our supporters, friends, and family, who continue to give us the fuel and strength to keep going. Sharing one's creations can be terribly frightening, and you all have given us the courage to keep going and to be proud of what we have achieved. Thank you so much.  Thank you.



So in many ways, the ESGS was our Single Moment.
At least for that month.


See you all again soon, I hope!


Thursday, October 26, 2017

One Single Moment at the ESGS 2017




The wonderful people of ESGS have invited TAG Sessions to have a booth in the Indie Arena for this year's Electronic Sports and Gaming Summit (aka ESGS)! The ESGS will be held at the SMX Convention Center beside Mall of Asia this October 27 to 29.  Other than TAG Sessions, a host of other tabletop games will also be present including Project Tadhana, [Hugot], and a bunch of other games!

"Will you embrace your hatred or uphold honor? A Single Moment will be among the many awesome games featured this weekend at the Electronic Sports and Gaming Summit.  Play our our two-player tabletop role-playing game and a lot of other indie games at the Indie Arena!  TAG Sessions will be at Booth #09"





I've been printing out "postcards" of the book cover of my PDF stuff so people can still learn about them despite existing only in a digital format. 



Also got my calling cards sorted out, with the new TAG Sessions logo design provided by my tremendously supportive publisher, Gallant Knight Games. I'm hoping people appreciate the local touches in the look.



Finally, I've prepped the "demo guide" which shows the steps of the game, the upcoming HAMON sheet which will be part of A Second Moment, the deluxe edition of A Single Moment, and three Virtue Sheets for the impromptu demo games to show how the system can be used for Samurai battles, but can also be used for Space Opera stories and Romantic Comedy tales.  Rocky will be joining me on Saturday and Sunday at the booth.  Oh my gosh, we have a booth!

Last year, I attended to give a talk.  This year, we have a booth!  Here's hoping people check the game out! 


TAG Sessions quick talk at Uber

I was invited last October 12, 2017 to give a talk on tabletop games, and how it makes one's work-life better.  Manila COE was celebrating its 2Berversary which included the launch of their tabletop group, UberMeeples.  So I prepped a talk on how playing games can give you a lot of learnings and prepare you to handle things better both at home and in the workplace.  What started as a slideshow for a one-hour talk, however, needed to quickly be edited down to its focus points when I learned later on the talk had to be shortened to a short speech instead! Thankfully, I was able to manage and adjust a day before the event itself. Gaming Library was present there too!




Me and my colleague and tremendously supportive friend, James, who was there to offer moral support and to take some photos.


Me giving the talk before a gathered group of interested gamers, plus a larger room of hungry and curious onlookers. It was like a TED talk on gaming, admittedly.   I should post the slides for the talk online soon.


Me saying hello to the Balangay Entertainment booth, who made the pretty fun Mars Ravelo's Darna at ang Nawawalang Bato card game. Very fun game!  I highly recommend it, more so with it's budget-friendly price!


A peek at the Sunlife money-management game, Praxis, which plays sort of like a combination of The Game of Life and Monopoly with a trading market, various employment occupations, property, and insurance options! 


One of my two friends who invited me over. In the background, I can also see two supporters of my other game, A Single Moment. Thank you again, Marvin and JP for having me over.  Thank you to the Gaming Library people for keeping my company while there too. And thank you to Jonas "fudgebob dicepants" Susara and daughter, Serene, for the love and support.




This was Marvin's pic of me at the Gaming Library area. So many fun games!
And happy 2berversary again!

Friday, October 20, 2017

The Great Pendragon Campaign: Episode 01 - Pendragon

9/9/2017
The Great Pendragon Campaign

Episode One
"The First Year"

Pendragon

After years of wanting to someday have the guts to run a Pendragon campaign, I've decided to take the plunge.  Joining me in this journey are Rocky, Adrian, Flip and Urim.  I have to thank Alan Bahr for always encouraging me to do this.

Flip plays Riordan, a Trusting knight from Pitton. His father, Jordan, died of mysterious circumstances back in 466 while serving under Aurelius Ambrosious who held up the Pendragon banner. His grandfather, John, was killed by Pictish raiders in 440.

Adrian plays Perriton, a Prudent knight from Steeple Langford. His father, Perin, died while in the service of Uther in 480. His grandfather, Peregrin, still lives a ripe age of 75 with his last battle being the Battle of Kent in 457 under King Vortigern.

Rocky plays Gilmere, an Honest knight from Shrewton. His father, Gilbert, passed away from natural causes in 472. His grandfather, Gerin, died in a raid in 442.

Urim plays Bliant, a Chaste knight from Berwick St. James. His father, Berel, died in the Battle of Windsor in 473. His grandfather, Belias, was killed in a raid in 443.

Episode 01 explores the four soon-to-be-knights as they first undergo a training session under Sir Elad, who has them undergo Quintain Training, with all save Glimere falling from dodging the rocks that were to strike them in the chest.  Afterwards, they were invited to Race and in the race, Gilmere ranked first, followed by Riordan, then Bliant, and finally Perriton. As a final part of their training, the four were then invited to take part in a Jousting challenge, and in three rounds, Roirdan and Gilmere ended the challenge in a draw.

Sir Elad then asks of them to take part in a task for the good of the country. The four travel to Imber to deal with what may well be a man-eating bear or wolf. They are tasked to find Old Garr, a healer, who will help them fulfil the quest.  The group's journey to the village at the bottom of a valley allows them a brief glimpse of Stonehenge in the distance.

At Imber, they meet Garr and his mistress, whom he is living with in sin. The  soon-to-be-knights are a bit perturbed by this, but focus on their duties. They begin the hunt for the bear as soon as morning comes and the hunt stretches for a few hours. It is by noon that their hunt begins to show signs of the trail. They find the bear, and while Perriton is trying to motion directions, Roirdan does not hesitate and breaks into a charge! The dogs with them rush forward, to distract the bear. Perriton yells at them to go for the mouth, as he prepares to go for the leg. The massive bear fights back viciously! Gilmere, in turn,  hears strange sounds that draw his curiosity. He sees a creature, unlike anything he has seen before: head and neck of a snake, body of a leopard, haunches of a lion, and the feet of a hart. And before he could say more, the beast bounds away and almost immediately, a mounted and armored man crashes through the bush, searching for the beast. Gilmere only recognizes the crest of the man to show he is a knight of the de Galis clan. He asks Gilmere if he's seen, "the Glatisant" but leaves without offering more information.

With the success of the kill, the bear is skinned and its meat is shared by the village. On the group's journey back, however, they encounter a group of bandits that have assailed a farmer and his daughter. They dispatch of the bandits quickly. Perriton promises to return and pay them for the cow, but he remembers they have a mission and his focus has to remain on it.

They return to Vagon and there Elad suggests they visit the earl to share their adventures.  They arrive at Sarum and there, they meet the Earl Roderick and his wife, the Countess Ellen. After a brief series of faux pas, the Earl introduces them to the gathering and they find themselves making a few new acquaintainces. The death of the bandits is deemed just and the coat of the bear is received well. They are fascinated with the story of the Questing beast as well. Perriton shares the story of the fight against the Bear and even crafts a chant/rhyme on their battle against the bear. Perriton is asked if the bear became a man, and learns that some bears supposedly turn into men upon death. He is told to speak with Sir Ameg of Tilstead, an older knight who has had numerous experiences in his life. A veteran of many battles. Perriton bonds with Lady Jenna, the Earl's daughter, whom he promises to take note of tales to share with her in the future.  His stories gain the eye of Lady Elaine, a woman whom other ladies do not hold in high regard.

Father Tewi, on the other hand, notices Bliant, who commends him for being a man of honor and faith. He asks Bliant why he has not been married yet and recommends he consider Lady Gwiona, a woman with a blank handkerchief in her hands. Her husband recently died after proposing to her.   He also recommends Lady Indeg, if Blaint is not seeking beauty but roots. She is the richest heiress, widowed twice, and is lonely. "Would you choose beauty or comforts?" Bliant admits he would rather choose Gwiona to comfort her for her losses.

Gilmere speaks with the Bishop Roger, the Bishop of Salibury, and learn he is well educated and curious of the stories of the Fair Folk. He believes the world can benefit from greater learning and fears to dispel. He asks Gilmere to share an account of the creatures he encounters to document them in an illuminated tome. Gilmere admits he isn't certain he's comfortable with that. Sir Jarren wraps his arms around Gilmere from behind and tells the Bishop that was the Pagan way of saying one is not interested. Gilmere knows Jarred to be a skilled and ambitious young knight and the best swordsman at court. He points out how Lady Adwen, who has been glancing at them, now believes in the Fair Folk since the "honest" man has spoken of them. Gilmere is asked to give her a small wave. She looks away, shy having been bested in a wager and now owes Jarred a kiss. Gilmere honestly admits he would not wish to participate further. Jarred admits he seeks never to be wed, "I am legend and legend shall end with me."

Riordan is gambling with some other people, among them a banneret knight, Sir Hywel, playing backgammon as they talk about the ferocious bear. "Not as horrible as the manticore, however." Sir Hywel's wife used to tell him about those stories. His wife, however, died, giving birth to his daughter.  He asks Riordan to consider his daughter, who is still 9, but worth considering being the fir wife to Riordan the Bear-Killer.

The four are then knighted, and they are asked to join the Earl for the Vigil.  Everyone is dismissed and are to return by the morrow. The four accompany him to the Church and there they try to remain awake long enough for the vigil. Perriton nods off in the Vigil.The Earl wakes him.  The Vigil continues.

With the come of dawn, the ceremony reaches its zenith. They speak their oaths, they are given their arms, their sword, and their spurs, and to close, the tradition of the Leap is celebrated!  The groups are told to rush forth, and leap at a single bound upon their horses.

Riordan is maddened by his passions and he breaks into a run for the backrooms. Gilmere leaps successfully and lands on the horse's saddle. Bliant leaps and successfully lands as well.  Perriton hesistates, but then feeling disheartened by his emotions, he charges forward but somehow he still lands upon the horse, despite the cheers of the people. The three turn and stare at the lone horse, wondering what happened to their companion, Riordan.  Ellen leaves the Earl's side and searches for the missing knight.

As the night stretches on, the three are the center of attention in the gathering and are unable to separate to look for the others. Riordan is lost in the many hallways and corridors of the castle, shameful of his failure to do the Leap. He turns to the sound of footfalls and he slips into the first door he can find to hide behind. Closing the door behind him, Riordan hurries down the steps and it takes a bit of a while before he realizes there is a fog in the chamber. The steps he walks upon glow from within. There are rocks, like gigantic crystals of salt, all around. Inside are silhouettes of winged horses, serpents, and other figures. A figure comes into view, who turns upon realizing his presence, addresses Riordan with his hands raised in the air as he holds his staff high. "You! It is too soon for you to be here."

In an eyeblink, Riordan is back at the hallway. He can still remember the man's burning eyes.  Countess Ellen finds him and helps him to his feet. She tells him the others are worried and that he has been missing for almost a week. Riordan is puzzled. It still feels like the same day for him.  Months pass.

With the absence of Merlin, supposedly from helping King Uther win a victory in the Battle of Damen, the knights are soon called to join the Battle of Mearcred Creek in Sussex. The Knights gather as a unit lead by Sir Amig, but then are assigned to lead their own company of men for the fight.  The battle against the Saxon footmen is violent, with Bliant a few times separated from his companions. The battle rages on despite Uther's superior troops, and in the end, the knights not only successfully route the Saxons, but have successfully captured as well a number of Saxon's key soldiers. The mood of the Christmas court is gloomy. Despite the standoff in Sussex, the Saxons gained a victory in Caercolun. Earl Roderick, pensive given the events, urges his new knights to practice hard at the arts of war. "This is no time for poetry," he says.
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