Sunday, November 26, 2017

November TAG Bites sessions done!

Was able to run two TAG Bites sessions this November, and the game of choice was 7th Sea second edition.  While Rocky was on a trip to Singapore, I had a few adventurous souls to join me on another romp across the swashbuckling adventure-filled nations of Terra.

November 25, 2017
Another successful and exciting TAG Bites one-shot session of 7th Sea! Thank you for playing, awesome people.  Adrian, Arianne, and Miko were members of the Rilasciare who were tasked to locate and retrieve an intercepted letter before it reaches the hands of L'Emperuer.

From pretending to be lovers, to convincing brute squads to act against their leader, the game ended with a porte sorcier nearly being savaged by a crippled horror. The players even got a glimpse of the intimidating Imperatrice, who defly used her Sorte powers to remind the heroes who is in charge.

November 26, 2017
The heroes have successfully appeased the Kamuy of the lake and cleansed the town of the terrible monsters that have assaulted the fishermen. And yes, Always have Joy in your hearts! Or a Bear.  Lawrence, Daniel, Chester, and Che portrayed a travelling band of friends who happen upon a small town harrassed deadly swallowing monsters and a displeased lake. Who would have known the tragic story would lead to the heroes being uncertain who deserves to truly be punished for their failings.

I still have some reservations about the changes applied to 7th Sea: Kithai. I feel some of the "Virtue" traits might best be merged together, and certain new ones be added to replace them. But the new brute squad rules feels definitely fun.

Til the next TAG Bites session!

Saturday, November 4, 2017

The Great Pendragon Campaign: Episode 02 - Pendragon

The Great Pendragon Campaign

Episode Two
"Gigantic Proportions"


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.


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

The Great Pendragon Campaign

Episode One
"The First Year"


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.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The Widow's Nest - Episode 0 - 7th Sea

The Widow's Nest

Episode Zero
"Hello Greg"

7th Sea

The bartender slams down four drinks on the table as rain is pouring outside. The group is at the Widow's Nest, a small island with a town on it southwest of Montaigne, primarily for piracy. Having just landed, the four sit at the bar and share their stories of the recent events that transpired. There is no one else in the bar, save for the bartender, Greg.  The group is exhausted from an encounter with Delacruz, a ship captain.

The group has a brigantine ship named Sophie, one owned by Teofel Lucja, the Sarmatian Zynys who is skilled with dueling. Gabriella, the Strega, downs the drink in one gulp. Alberto McEntyre gasps, musing he just has fallen in love with Gabriella.  Teofel asks for more drinks as Greg asks them what happened.  Agosto Baltasar Carlos Domingo y Esteban remains silent at first.

Teofel shares they barely just escaped from an attack. Alberto counters at the idea that they barely escaped. Greg notices Teofel is the only one with a hat and assumes he is the captain given his "pirate-y" hat. Agosto finally speaks up, saying the "woman" speaks the truth since the rest of them were not having trouble. He shares they had a long day waiting for the ship they hoped to target. But "someone" had failed to make sure the ship was not fully armed. They argue about the fully armed ship and lost most of their other men. Only the four of them and a few other able seamen are left. They ask why the bartender is so interested in them, and the bartender shows there's no one else in the place. Agosto rattles question after question at the bartender, and finds joy in how the man finds the questions confusing. Agosto explains he calls Alberto a "woman" and Gabriella a "man" because Alberto complains a lot and Gabriella can take care of herself. Both Alberto and Gabriella glare at the man for his blatant sexism, unawares of his former history as a priest... and an Inquisitor.

When Greg hears the ship they attacked happened to be an Atabean Trading Company ship. He asks what sort of cargo it carried and this draws Gabriella and Teofel's curiosity on why the bartender would be so interested. The group is still getting used to working as a unit especially since Alberto joined the crew in hopes of inspiring the others to start acting more like honest men than pirates. As the group talks, Agosto stands up and heads for the kitchen. Greg hurries after him!

In the kitchen, Agosto uses his alchemical skills to "fix" the beer Greg has been serving to become something far more palatable. Greg begs to be given the secret formulae and Agosto asks Teofel to make a deal with the man. "The place as a freeport for their operations, and in exchange the beers will stay as lovely as that." Greg insists the bar is a good place and the only reason there are no customers is due to the rain.  Teofel quietly calls for the rain stops, "What rain?" Greg imagines the room being more active and agrees to the deal.

Time stops. The dievas talks to Teofel, unhappy that he's making deals without consulting it first. It admits it needs Teofel alive, but it would prefer he considers its choice on the matter first. "I have such good plans for you," it grins and time starts once more.

When Greg asks about the cargo again, Gabriella reminds him she doesn't like his interest in the cargo. She warns him she can "read" him and Agosto even warns she is, unlike most Voddacce women, actually able to read. Gabriella ignores the backhanded compliment. The bar is the Salty Pig. They were about to get the cargo but Alberto forced Gabriella and Agosto to the side, dropping the cargo into the sea. Alberto, however, insists they shouldn't have attacked the ship. Gabriella questions why they chose to let him join them. Agosto shares how his former faith used to speak of how people are given a role in life and should just choose to accept it. But now he believes in the need for people to choose what they want. He wonders if Alberto sees them as a mission. Alberto insists he will be helping in his own way, but he cannot go against his tenets as a Glamour Knight.  Greg serves them more drinks, with Gabriella asks for three drinks all for herself.

Outside, a heavy knock announces the arrival of the Atabean Trading Company as a Captain Delacruz arrives to drink at the bar.  The same man they had just pirated.  On the same island. Agosto tells Greg to let them in and has them leave the weapons at the table close to the door. When the Captain's men insist the Captain never leaves his weapons, Agosto steps out to talk to them, shows his Vaticine Church symbol and claims as a priest he must insist they leave their weapons.  The Captain wonders why Agosto looks familiar, he laughs that all Castillian's look like and quickly turns away.

A lean man enters with a tri-corn hat, with one hand on his waist. Delacruz. The same man indeed. While Augusto tries to distract the man and show them to a room to drink, the others attempt to dispatch Delacruz' men and deprive them of their weapons. It takes Gabriella's beauty and Sorte to disable Delacruz and when the fight reaches the outside of the ship, the group opts to storm Delacruz' vessel for the "treasure" they have on board.

The treasure, they discover, is a young figure chained in the brig. With the figure, as it turns out, is a dog.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Review: Tadhana

Tadhana is a Filipino Tabletop role-playing game that uses tokens, cards, and character sheets to tell epic tales of heroism and adventure. Inspired by Filipino folklore, urban legends, and mythology, Tadhana (which means, "Fate") is a tremendously promising work of passion and for its current pre-order price (which was less than $20), the set is quite hefty.  The package first arrives in a quaint burlap sack, which has the pretty spiffy logo on the front. I really loved the minimalist approach to design. 

Inside, the colors then explode outwards.

The bag contained two books; one rulebook at 242 pages, and a Starter Campaign book called Bulong (which means, "Whisper") at 98 pages. Both have full softcolor softcovers with black and white interiors. Also inside are a pack of 40 cards known as the Cards of Destiny, 5 black and white character sheets, a pretty bookmark, a bag of "tokens" and a photo-print piece of art with a personal thank you message.

So the game uses the traditional approach to role-playing games, with one being the Overseer (which is your usual Dungeon Master, Game Master, Narrator role) and the others are the players. The players then portray adventurers who have four Attributes: Lakas (Might), Husay (Skill), Talisik (Wit) and Diwa (Spirit).  They then have their Lahi (Race) which is one of the six playable races: Aswang, Diwata, Engkanto, Garuda, Tao and Tikbalang.   Each Lahi has Traits which are unlocked at Level 1, 6, and 11. Each Lahi also offers places of Origin, which provide rich setting and inspirational material you can use to flesh out your concepts more.

The game then offers multiple Professions such as the Mandirigma, Albularyo, Salamangkero, Pana, and Sarong. Each offers their own list of Profession Traits. The Mandirigma, for example, have Fighting Styles and Stances used in battle. Albularyo has Soul magic and spirit companions. These allow each adventurer to have some unique touches. The professions have nice callbacks to their inspirations yet have enough meat to stand out as new unique takes on the concepts.

Then, there are Generic Traits which are similar to various advantages and merits from other games, and Magic which the game stresses is accessible for all professions in the game. For that reason, the game refers to them as Powers instead of spells, and are limited by your Talisik rating.  The magic system is nicely crunchy with lots of entries (around 40 pages!) to look through to create your own Powers. This is then followed by around 20 pages of gear, equipment, and trinkets.

Character development is through what is called milestones, and by accomplishing enough milestones, one increases the level of their adventurer. Multi-classing is allowed as the game permits one to have multiple professions, but mentors are required for the second and third professions that are embraced.

Starting page 198, the rules of the game are then introduced. Combat is resolved with Lakas being used against Husay in combat. Husay is subtracted from the attackers Lakas, and the player draws at least one Card of Destiny to resolve the attack. If the drawn cards have no duplicate symbols, the attack misses. If a pair is drawn, then the attack hits. 3 of a kind then deals a critical hit.  It's a simple system that seems elegant in design, but sadly this is marred by the card design they've used.  The cards have one side which seems to have been rushed in the design process due to its simplistic black and white art. The other side looks gorgeous but suffers a fatal flaw in its design.

These are sample cards from the Cards of Destiny. Sadly, the white symbols on the center of each card are the symbols one must use to compare and match to see if you succeed in your challenges. Sadly, white on off-white does not read well at all.  And this painfully mars an otherwise ambitiously innovative game. Had the symbols simply been black, they would have stood out against the card art.  Likewise, this was a place I wish they had more art present. The covers for Tadhana and Bulong itself could have been used instead as additional card designs here.  I personally feel a minimalist cover would have worked given the bag's introduction of a clean design.

Trails of Fate are challenges to the adventurer that may appear during a scene. Trails of Might, Skill, Wit and Spirit may occur and a similar system to combat is used to resolve them. The appropriate Attribute is used in the said Trial, with the difficulty being used to reduce it. The final value is the number of cards that is drawn as above.

The tokens are then used to track the rise and fall of one's Attributes in combat. Lakas is spent when adventurers take damage. Husay is spent from taking certain actions. Talisik is rarely spent as it tends to act as a value used to determine things Power-related. Diwa is spent to use Powers. I do like how Rounds of Combat are split into two phases: Talk Phase and Action Phase, with Talisik determining Initiative.  I definitely can imagine some finding this system a bit quirky, with the tokens being moved around, then the cards being drawn to make sets... then going back to the tokens to mark lost Lakas or spend Diwa. But I always believed any system is daunting until you learn it and most systems become more fun once you master it.

The rest of the main book explores other systems, such as Time, Weather, Training Animals and the like.

Bulong, on the other hand, contains a lot of the meat of the game and I suspect will be the area many will focus on.  They introduce a setting called Sekunda, with Zho as one if its five major continents. The sun is a dark void ringed with silver and two moons accompany the presence of daylight. The book dives in with mentions of 25 hour days, Church of Two Gods, and various scenarios. 

The book is a fun way to get used to the system, acting like both a module and a guided how to play in one.  It also introduces the many monsters and threats in the game, such as the Tiyanaks, the Sigbin and more. A third chapter shares the story of the game's creation story and ends with a list of legendary and rare items.

All in all, the game is clearly the product of love and passion and creativity, and barring some design decisions I feel that could have been better made, I'm pretty impressed with this game overall. Heck, I'd even say it looks damn far better than my simple game, A Single Moment.  While I do feel some art pieces feel rushed (some look like cutouts which didn't seem to look good even if they were an intentional design), or were not given careful editing consideration (forcing colored art to automatically become black and white caused many pieces to suffer), and some of the tables feel very haphazardly pasted into the layout rather than carefully designed to work with the look of the book, the final product is still quite well worth the price.   I do wish the tokens were... thicker stock. Or maybe were a sticker sheet to use with something readily available. But then again, I know tokens are hard to source out for cheap.

The game system is intriguing, with the use of tokens and the drawing of cards as the main system instead of dice. While I'm no stranger to such systems (given I do play at least 12 new games per year), I worry this may become a barrier for others who are more used to simply playing the traditional games and quickly shy away from opportunities to learn new systems.

I highly recommend that people support this game and give it some space on their gaming table. It takes true grit and courage to try to come up with something new and unique and bring it out into the world for others to enjoy. Congratulations to you all, Project Tadhana. You have succeeded in leaving a worthy contribution to the tabletop role-playing game industry.  I hope you find your audience soon enough.  But I really really feel you need to somehow fix those cards. I fear many will give you low reviews because of it.

Visit their facebook group here:

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Surreal ‘Itras By’ RPG expands with Philippine-inspired realm

Thank you again for the feature, GMA!   It was truly a wonderful experience writing for Itras By and being given the opportunity to add a dash of Filipino mythology to its surreal landscape. I do hope people find the story seeds I've inserted in there to their liking.

An excerpt:
“I will admit to having a soft spot for the Manananggal Titas,” he said. “The idea of them as social butterflies just strikes me as something so close to home and yet so visually unique. But my favorite would have to be Inang Bai, who was inspired by Carlo Vergara and his fantastic creation, Zsazsa Zaturnnah. Inang Bai was a lonely woman in Imperia Manila who could not find love until a star fell from the sky and embedded into her forehead. I do hope he liked that homage.”
The incorporation of Imperia Manila into “Itras By” is likely to give rise to plenty of interesting scenarios.
“I'm hoping to hear from people who have tried exploring Imperia Manila,” said Tobie. “I’ve already read one review which celebrated the setting as the most interesting since he noticed they were drawn also from old pre-Spanish myths. I’m excited to hear from others who might try the setting and find other ways the stories within relate or connect with them.”
Grab the book here:

Read the full article here:

Thursday, September 28, 2017

The Children Cry now available!

The Children Cry, a new 7th Sea adventure set in La Bucca, has launched today.  Do excuse my fanboy moment as I celebrate the fact I've released another piece for 7th Sea. I've been quite a fan of John Wick's work, and to see him now posting about my work is just a treat for me.

Even better, I got to revisit La Bucca, which I loved working on for 7th Sea: Pirate Nations. I really hope people enjoy this little scary adventure I wrote and have fun running it for their players.

Grab the adventure today:
Also, feel free to check out my other 7th Sea Explorer's Society stuff:
My collection of horror beasties for Eisen in The Dark Journal.
The Dark Journal
The Dark Journal - Part 2
The Dark Journal - Part 3
My Montaigne-set adventure against a terror from the places between the worlds.
The Twisted Mirror

Monday, September 25, 2017

Grab it: Tadhana

A Filipino table-top role-playing game is on the horizon. I highly recommend you all check out Tadhana: A Filipino Tabletop RPG which is now open to receive the first fifty orders.

The game has very intriguing concepts and actually is played without the use of polyhedral dice.  Instead, there are a bunch of counters to use as well as a Destiny deck.  From those alone, I'm imagining similar touches to Chuubo's Marvelous Wish-Granting Engine or maybe even Lords of Gossamer and Shadow, but mind you this is all speculation at this point. I've yet to receive my copy of the game and I am tremendously anxious to see it.

Who knows, maybe they'll even be lucky enough to get more support from the local blogs and groups to help spread the world of their fantastic work?

If you're interested in learning more, you can reach them on Facebook:

And for those in Manila, they're planning to hold some demo games at the upcoming October Komiket 3rd Filipino Komiks Market.  Information on that can be found here:

I wish them success and may they find an audience that celebrates their work!

Thursday, September 14, 2017


Proud to announce that TAGSessions will be partnering with Gallant Knight Games!
To quote Alan Bahr, "Tobie is a repeated collaborator and one of my favorite and go-to creators when I have a challenging project I need eyes on." Alan Bahr, Producer and Lead Designer of Gallant Knight Games. "Working with Tobie sets the bar for our products at a higher level, because Tobie is a rising tide!"

Gallant Knight Games will be my partner and all of the co-produced games with be co-branded with Gallant Knight Games and TAGSessions.

A release schedule for TAGSessions and GKG products will be announced in the near future, but one of the first plans is a deluxe re-release of A Single Moment.

So yeah, this is going to be an incredible moment. I can't wait to see the wonderful things I will be able to create with Gallant Knight Games alongside me.   As I have put it:

"It isn't often that a new voice in an industry finds another who shares the passion just as, if not even more intensely, as one's own." Tobie said. "Being invited to partner up with GKG is both an affirmation that I must be doing something right, and an opportunity to share creative juices and resources to make more awesome games. And reach as well a larger audience. I feel tremendously humbled and honored to be part of the growing Gallant Knight family and I can't wait to see what games his partnership will produce in the years to come."

Here's to more games!

Read all about it here:

Bloodlines ep05 : Blades in the Dark


Episode Five

Blades in the Dark

Inside a massive manor. The Leech, Puck Maxwell "Professor", has found the group a job under the Lady Roslyn Kellis's home.  She is red haired, reckless, and luxurious.   She has been a family acquaintance of Darius Cromwell - a connection he rarely speaks of.  The group considers the many possible things to score in this heist: from the expensive array of spirits and wines in the basement, the weapons cache of jeweled daggers, the rumors of something called the Spirit Engine whose plans are somewhere in her home, and supposedly a history book which may have information on the Emperor himself.

Robert "The Piper" confirms through Melvr the physicer the existence of the engine. Reginald Eothorn Guiest Drakeboon III "the Thespian" confirms the existence of the prized wines. Darius Cromwell "Ghost" confirms through Roslyn herself that the book actually does exist in her chambers.

Roslyn is the only one in red in the party, accentuating her golden eyes. Everyone else in in white and gray. The six have been taking turns entertaining the guests. They alternate turns distracting the guests so others can explore the manor and try to snag what they can. "Gideon Seymour" Jack Makepeace is called to entertain the group.

The group soon realize that Scurlock is among the guests, looking straight at Gideon. As the performance continues, Darius Cromwell slips away but bumps into the lady Roslyn while he was wandering the halls. She admits she was curious if the group was the same Iruvian she remembered. She asks if they are here for the book, and Darius admits he is. She asks him to walk with her. Roslyn admits the book is in the place but she cannot protect them from the Emperor's guardians who watch over the tome. She asks Darius to entertain the group next, once Gideon is done.

Scurlock asks for a closer demonstration of Gideon's entertainment. The others feel uneasy watching him approach. They feel a compel to stare at him and quickly break eye contact and look away.  Scurlock inspects the spirit eel while he telepathically asks Gideon what brings a Whisper to this place when it is only filled with Screams. Gideon claims they are just entertainers. Scurlock asks if they are not Thespians. Or Theater Actors. Or Nameless.  Implying he knows all of their alias.  Aloud, however, Scurlock tells the audience he is impressed.

While Darius handles the crowd with a "local favorite" and uses his Ghostveil to become invisible after he throws a hood over himself. The group applauds, but to their surprise, the audience does not. The audience starts whispering to each other, wondering what happened. Darius realizes the audience can all still see him! The guests might all be spirits.

The Thespian remembers his meeting with Baszo Baz and how the Red Sashes had good things to say about them. They drink wines and they discuss Rosyln Kellis' sortie and how the fine wines in that place exceed anything they can offer. He snaps out of the flashback and sees the audience booing Darius, asking for him to do something more interesting. Gideon now wishes he had a tomato to throw at Darius. Darius decides to start slipping off his clothes to distract the audience. Reginald remembers the talk again and Baszo informed him that Mylera Klev's daughter, Trisha, the leader of the Red Sashes will be present. Baszo gives them the task to murder her... quietly... as a Mission to prove their loyalties.  Reginald sees the woman in a dove mask and recognizes her to be Trisha. She is currently seated near Scurlock. Reginald finds the best moment to try and slip away from the group. He bumps into a woman in a large padded coat. The sounds of glass bottles clinking are heard. The man apologizes and Reginald stares at her grayish skin, bald head, and a ring with a serrated hook.  Reginald realizes the woman is a Blood dealer and she introduces herself as Jul.  She mentions she can see the mark of the Dimmer Sisters on him, suggesting they had a fight. He admits they have been in tangles with them. Separating from her, Reginald tries to move towards his target.

After a few poses while almost naked, Darius then calls for Puck to handle the next entertainment. Puck throws a potion on stage to cause smoke to erupt to preempt his entry. The audience breaks into a louder applause. He begins mixing reagents on stage to entertain the guests.

Robert remembers his meeting with Melvr, who related the story of the Spirit Engine and how the Kellis family had long sought to use it to leave Duskwall. It was an attempt to go beyond even the Salted City but everything changed when the Scurlock family gained control. The engine was abandoned and some believe it remains unused in the basement levels of the manor. Scurlock holds the territories and they have no reason to use the engine. Melvr admits his father finished building it and that two men can carry it in their arms. The engine is functional and in a test, a vessel was able to evade a lighthouse's notice. His father paid for it with his life as he was silenced to keep others from learning of it. Robert admits the sailors spoke of such a thing in rumors. The entrance to the basement should be behind a "painting that keeps watch." Melvr offers he is willing to pay his life savings for the engine.

As Puck finishes his presentation, Robert's eyes scan the room and he sees the painting at the far side of the room. A massive portrait of an angry looking man.  Scurlock stands and asks Puck if he can do another trick. "What say I wished for a metal..." and be picks up a knife, "... to melt?" and when Puck admits it can be done, he asks if it can be done to wood instead? Puck admits he can. Kellis stands and asks Scurlock to let some other exhibition be done. Scurlock insists he wants to see it and heads to join Puck at the stage. Puck realizes Scurlock is now asking Gideon to produce a stake for the demonstration. Robert takes this opportunity to slip away for the door. Darius uses this also as a chance to slip away, remembering the plans he had gathered earlier to guide him to the book's location. Scurlock asks Puck to apply his alchemical mix to the handkerchief that he now places above his breast, admitting he will pay good coin for this if it works. Puck wonders if he should intentionally make it fail.

The painting shows a massive chair with strange heads upon it; a man, a woman, a wolf, and a strange beast thing.  The chair is empty, however. Robert realizes the eyes of the "heads" do seem to follow him around. He remembers how the Kellis family used to traffic in spirits prior to the rules that were set up. The family supposedly hired practitioners of Spectrology to craft paintings that were haunted by spirits whose families were still under their command. The four "guardians" likely were still serving while trapped in the frame. Robert did his research and he knows of a woman is the manor.

Down on his knees, Darius peers through a keyhole at a room where the book might be kept. Inside, a woman sleeps inside. Sliding into the room, he walks up to the woman and notices she is breathing shallowly. Her head is lolled to the side and bite marks are upon her throat. She has curved blades tucked into her belt. Disarming her, Darius inspects the room for signs of the attacker but only sees an open window. Turning back, he sees her awake now - though still too weak to communicate properly. Her body is frozen in something akin to rigor mortis. Darius tries to comfort her as he collects her belongings - sensing she probably won't live long. He finds a garotte hidden in her boot.

Reginald meets with Trisha and using his charms suggests they retire to a more private place. Away from the crowd, they head down the corridor and make for a balcony Reginald mentally mapped out earlier. There, they step into the cold air and smile as they look at each other. Trisha asks why he brought her here and he claims she brought her here to get to know her more. They talk a bit and Reginald feels something is wrong but can't quite place it.

Puck claims to stake his reputation on this challenge. Gideon plunges the stake, as Scurlock instructs, into the handkerchief against the old man's heart. The wooden stake melts against the cloth. A successful miracle.  Cliff Lawford notices he can smell something in the air.  He pulls away from the audience and the cheering and follows the scent. It leads him to a door that is partly closed. The scent of a type of oil used to sharpen weapons by those from the Dagger Isles. The oil keeps a weapon sharp for weeks. Slipping the door open, Cliff finds the source to be woman who seems to be frozen near someone else. Cliff's eyes widen in shock as he sees Mercy, a killer from the Dagger Isles.  He remembers her to be dead! He sees the bite marks on her throat and suspecting a vampire had attacked her, he turns to track the smell of the oil - realizing Mercy's weapons are no longer with her. Darius continues towards the concealed room where the book would be hidden. With his Darkside Mask on, Darius leads the way down the winding passageways. He hears someone following behind him, but he ignores it for now.

Robert approaches the painting and signals the woman he recognized from before. She approaches him and warns him they do not approach the painting.  Believing him to be an inspector sent by the Duskwall Council, she admits the painting only had two faces when she was brought here.

Trisha asks Reginald if this is the part he kills her, or is this the part where she kills him. When he feels her cold hand against his, he only now realizes she has not been exhaling mist here on the balcony the whole time.  She has not been breathing. He reveals a rose from his pocket and invites her to talk more of love. Their conversation shifts to Mylera and how the Red Sashes hope to find wealth and honor in Duskwall. She hopes to find a way to escape this place of Leviathans and Greed. Reginald offers to whisk her away. Trisha implies she can do that better for him. "Wouldn't you want to be free of this... life?"

The stake dissolves as the Whisper strikes Scurlock. The audience cheers. But when the next entertainer is called for, Puck realizes he is completely alone.  Kellis comes up to him and asks what is going on. Puck claims they have very small bladders. She is unhappy given she paid coin for six, but only four have entertained them so far. Puck claims the next show will be done by the monkey.

Cliff reaches the bookshelf, unawares that Darius is there ahead of him. Cliff tries moving the bookshelf and tries taking the books off one by one to try to find whatever triggers the mechanism open. Mercy gazes at the bookshelf in her weakness, and noticing it, Cliff asks her to help identify the right book. Cliff leans closer and Mercy asks him to carry her out of here and in return, she will tell him which book would open the hidden door. He lifts her up and using climbing gear, he attached her to it and descends her out the window.  Mercy fulfills her bargain and gives him the instructions needed to open the hidden door. In the confined space, Cliff walks carefully, tracing the faint traces of the oil.

Darius reaches a gated area leading to another door. The gate is marked with a ghostly lock. He tries to pick it, unawares of the monkey doing the circus routine to entertain the gathered crowd. Puck then reveals the tiny automaton he built that resembles the monkey to add to the show. The audience cheers and applauds. Puck hates the fact they all abandoned him with the crowd. He wonders when he will head to join Robert to carry the engine out. To buy them more time, he continues entertaining everyone with a few more antics.

At the table, Scurlock watches Gideon as he walks past him to get to the Blood dealer. Jul is showing some blood jars at the gathered group. Gideon asks to buy the lot and Jul admits the others are still choosing their wares. Gideon insists he wants to purchase everything else, but then confuses her by claiming he's not particularly decided on what to buy. He pays her and pockets the jar. Jul asks Gideon about the dancing man on the stage. Gideon makes conversation, asking for an extra jar while Jul shares how she thought the Professor is still alive given her last update was he was murdered. Gideon indulges in his vice, sniffing the blood. Scurlock, however, asks Gideon for some time and he walks off, expecting him to follow. Jul warns Gideon that Scurlock is not the type he would want to consort with. At another room, Scurlock calls the Blood dealer a roach, scavengers peddling garbage. Scurlock tells him Gideon should consider getting fresher blood, and when Gideon teases him about how Scurlock would know, Scurlock explains vampires now no longer drink blood.

Trisha and Reginald at the balcony discuss how none of them are vampires, save for one guest. She admits they are something else entirely.  Darius slides the gate open and Cliff, behind him, hears the gate. Cliff closes the distance but diverts to a different room where light emerges from the frame. Robert tells the maid to close her eyes and guides her to speak to her ancestors to grant them access.  Scurlock admits vampires now drink the future a life may have.  Trisha explains the rest of them are restless. Reginald asks what the difference is and Trisha admits they have long given up their bodies for the freedom of their spirit. As the door opens a the circular room, Cliff sees the guests all lying on the ground. All the guests who are outside. A guard with his eyes sewn shut asks for whoever arrived to identify themselves. Cliff closes the door.  The painting slides open, recognizing the maid - Robert's plan works. The audience claps and Puck bows.

Scurlock bites Gideon to demonstrate.  The map leads Darius down the library but he stops when he sees someone already inside. Someone he is not in good terms with: Setarra. Darius stares in shock at the demon whose eyes do not match. He asks why Darius is here given the event is clearly a trap. A lure. But whose trap shall spring first, hers or his. Darius notices Setarra has the book in the demon's hands and wonders what the stench in the air is. Setarra points to the daggers Darius has taken from Mercy and admits they stink of Whale Piss. Darius realizes he's not willing to make a deal with the demon.   At the open painting entrance, Robert switches places with Puck.  Puck goes inside while Robert moves to distract everyone else.  The maid, however, is now weeping as she talks to the painting as she relives a chance to speak with her loved ones. At the end of a spiral staircase, Puck heads down to a gate and picks the Spirit Lock open.  In the chamber further inside, he finds the Spirit Engine in the room.

Kellis is starting to suspect something is up. Robert plays his pipes to distract them but he can sense time is running out.  Cliff reaches the library and finds Darius talking to the demon, Setarra. He realizes the smell is coming from Darius.  Setarra asks if this is a trap, and Darius looks back to see Cliff come into view. Cliff claims he was here to get his knives back from "him." Darius asks for the book. Setarra admits he would not claim ownership of it, given it is the property of the Emperor. He does not quite understand why Cliff would be here in the library though, given Darius obviously came for the tome. Cliff confesses he just came here for the blades, given they remind him of home. Cliff then decides to ask the demon what has happened to his arm and shows the markings that move on their own. Setarra bargains; offering to tell what he knows of the markings in exchange for them swearing that once they know what it is, they will never harm him or those of his choosing. Cliff agrees. Darius is given the book and is warned the Scurlocks will hunt him down.  Cliff is told of the Nephilim and he is pulled into Setarra's world.  "You have been marked by the Nephilim."

Generations of Scurlocks filled the pages of the diary. Darius realizes the handwriting changes do suggest different eras of writing in the tome. He bags it and hurries back to rejoin the others. Reginald asks if Trisha can leave and she admits they go where they want. And death is no longer something they can suffer. Perfectly timed, Reginald had Baszo Bas steps into the balcony to see the Slide striking the woman in the chest with a blade. Baszo Bas steps away, seeing the kill committed.  Trisha looks up, shocked, wondering what just happened and Reginald smiles telling her he just wanted to test her.  The two laugh. Gideon sees the wound and notices there is no blood dripping from the bite. He asks if he will transform into a vampire too and Scurlock explains that too is a falsehood. They drink the future and the years that have yet to come. Gideon is now to die a year sooner. Hence all that serve them die young and beautiful. He tells Gideon now is the best time to leave given Madame Kellis now senses things are awry. But her gods are distracted now.

The book begins to scream as Darius carries the tome to the surface. The leather cover has cracked open as a mouth and is screaming for being brought out of the dark dungeon. Darius rushes down the passageway, hoping to find a way out of the manor before Kellis notices it.  Robert hears the faint screaming and tries to distract the guests once more by doing the "Special Number" he has prepared. He sings a song, matching the pitch of the distant scream to distract them. At the inner chamber, Puck sees the Engine and other things, including more tomes and other artifacts.  He quickly studies the room for any thing else of value and if there's any other way to bring the engine out.

Cliff is told he is touched by the Leviathans and is to help them find death so they can be reborn as the children of the fallen they are.  He isn't certain if that story makes sense and asks about Mercy's condition. Setarra takes Mercy's blade, and while meditating on it, Cliff sees the events that transpired in the blade's surface.  Mercy had slipped into the manor but encountered Scurlock. Scurlock drank 74 of Mercy's future years.  She has lost all her remaining years. The rope snaps that moment, fulfilling Scurlock's condemnation.  Reginald is warned that the castle is under assault and Trisha asks her to leave before its guardians wake up. Scurlock bids Gideon goodbye. Gideon informs him that Tesslyn has been looking for him. Gideon makes his way out, knowing it would be best to get away now.

The book continues to scream, calling for help. Darius pulls out a vial of Silence and pours it on the book to silence it. Darius remembers the deal she made with Madame Kellis. Kellis actually wanted to have the book "stolen" for purposes she has yet to explain. Darius trusts her to fulfill this deal and circles back to her. Kellis sees him and she taunts him for being as reckless as him. She promises to return for it in one month's time and claim she "retrieved it" from the thieves. No one is to know of the deal, not even his friends.  Darius smiles and exits.

Puck studies the chamber, despite the sounds of commotion above. Robert realizes the other audience are starting to notice that even Kellis is missing. Robert asks everyone to dance and he plays his pipes to encourage them to dance. Even his monkey joins the dance. But the spirits are simply staring at him, unwilling to be distracted. Robert maintains his composure, trusting Puck to fulfill the plan. But when the ghosts reach for him, Robert grabs the rope of the chandelier and twists his pipe to reveal the hidden channel which he blow to fire a dart and sever the opposite end of the rope. The rope strains, but wasn't completely cut. The spirits grab hold of Robert, clawing at him and tearing at his clothes and skin! But as he swings up, his pipes fly from his hands, dropping to the ground. He swings with his monkey across the room to land at the opposite end of the room.  Down below, Puck hears the whistle from Robert, signaling it is time. Puck and Robert grab the engine despite the howls of the spirits as they close in towards them. The two move, quickly exiting the chamber to find their way out. They get to the passageway and shut the door behind them. They hear the spirits clawing on the door, the spirit wards keeping it strong. They slide down to leave through the exit they prepared before hand.

The heist is done.

Their reputation grows. A gang of ten joins their number, impressed by their activity. Robert and Puck surrender the Spirit Engine and in return it allows them to expand on their turf. Their actions gain them Heat, however, as the law enforcement begin to notice their activities.  And lastly, Gideon works on more assets using the spirit jars they have gathered and the possibility of their own Spirit Engine.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Victory Condition Gaming: Tiny Dungeon 2e + an announcement

From the Victory Condition Gaming site:
Join me as I talk with Alan Bahr, Gallant Knight Games founder and designer of Tiny Dungeon 2nd Edition currently on Kickstarter. Also joining us Tobie Abad, Ben Woerner and John Kennedy who are writing micro settings for Tiny Dungeon 2e.


Yup, we talked about Tiny Dungeon 2e and the microsettings we are working on, as well as shared some stories on our experiences working with Alan.  As a bonus, an unexpected announcement regarding TAG Sessions and A Single Moment!

Come support the Kickstarter today!
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