Wednesday, September 30, 2015

After the Rain ep30 : Houses of the Blooded

After the Rain

Episode Thirty

Houses of the Blooded

Rio and Ash decide to explore Jarik's old castle.  There are no orks in the castle, however there seem to be a lot of wards present.  All the Art have been ransacked save for a statue of Galeo Silja.  There is a glowing door and stories of a hidden shrine.   In the courtyard, a scene has been immortalized with makeshift statues reenacting the events of the opera house.  The castle remains structurally sound.  The staff tell them that Jarik used to stare at the recreations a lot.  He has had no visitors for twelve years; and his last visitor was a certain Lady M.  The two also locate tunnels which Jarik may have used in the past.  Rio finds a mannequin representing Nia and her Tulpa - and finds a note that says, "Sorry, Jarik, this isn't how the ritual works.  This is not a tulpa."  

Ash discovers the tunnels extend to Warriorset and Catan.  The staff share that Jarik used it for select vassals, and they never were permitted inside.  Rio notices an unidentified mannequin but fails to recognize who it should be.  She rearranges it's position elsewhere and sticks a note, "Try again" on it. Birds flutter away.

Cass and Gil prepare to leave Warriorset, but thee memories of Dalvinosh's visit are still fresh in their minds.  During his stay, no Contracts were established.  Dalvinosh shared he is convinced the attempts on his life are not by fellow Elks.  He told Cass he had forgiven all the insult he had taken from her vassals, but has requested for Gillian to be lent to him for a season.  Dalvinosh caught Cass during one of her moments when she was speaking to herself.   As Gil and Uvanla prepare for the travel to the Peak, they talk about Kether and see Artemesia and Lukas talking.  Gil remembers that her familiar saw the two talking before, and referring to them as "the children."

Cass talks to Artemesia and Lukas, provoking them to give her information.  She discovers they used to own land but "they" took everything.  Even her name.  She stresses they cannot even have children because she does not have a name.

Gil and Uvanla  talk and he shares his "assassin" was really an affair.  They establish that there is something between them, and that they have been flirting.  But Gil notices something odd, Uvanla seems to be leaking wine.  She inspects his back and finds a tiny clean hole.  Somehow the wine he drinks leaks out there.

Rio and Ash send for the vassals and meet Jeeves, and old man, and Sofia.  Both were once Jarik and Nia's valets.  Jeeves shares that the tunnels were built with the help of "The Duchess" named Dranna Ru and that it leads to five locations:  Catan, Warriorset, Calcifer, Meridian and the last being one only Jarik would use.  The last one is heavily warded.  To their surprise, Jarik emerges from one tunnel, mumbling to himself about the wrong puzzles.  It fades away.  Jeeves explains that echoes of Jarik and his work still linger.  Sofie admits the echoes are strongest during the Summer.  The group then returns to the Opera House which had been completely burnt down and find the echoes visible.  Rio realizes his is how Jarik was recreating the scenes in the courtyard.

Stepping into an echo, they see the opera's final moments.  Rio stares at the unknown person and sees it is a woman with golden hair, who is looking straight back at her.  The strange suddenly speaks and asks for the master of the house!  She introduces herself as Norene, Baroness of Bleylock and claims to be here to search for Anguish and finds instead Avanadande.  She seems disappointed to learn Jarik is dead and says she was his guest.  She claims to visit every Summer at his invitation.  She claims she needs no roadmen, however, to return to the supposed city Under the Sky.  She disappears through a glowing door.

Ash and Rio continue to investigate, sensing the ruin feels like a puzzle house.  Rio calls upon her secret name, Tissera, the hooded light, which she cites when she travels through ruins.  They learn not all echoes are what happened, but are projections of something else.  The ward blocks all ven, ruk and veth alike.  A new structure in the garden is a tower with no visible entry way.  At the base, a lush growth of a variety of plants.  There are no books to be found.  They find the remains of a glider hanging at one area.  But no tomb for Jalani, Jarik's wife.

Cass arrives at the Peak, much to the dismay of Ash and Rio.  As she is walking in, she's met with a glowing figure, Jalani's echo.  Jeeves welcomes her to the Garden.  Sofie warns them not to touch anything.  There are frames of ruined paintings, including Cherno's "Five Coming Ages" which have the Riddle of Blood, After the Rain, and others.  Artemesia points out the oddity of the various trees in the garden, and their impossibility given the season.

Ash and Rio join Cass, who claims to be concerned about his welfare.  A one-eyed woman interrupts them, an echo of Szaz,   Artemesia is denied the chance to excuse herself.  Glass shatters inside - and the sounds of footfalls close in.  From the Opera ruins, figures dressed in light emerge.  A man emerges after the guards, with blood-red eyes.  He bows and introduces himself as Nolwen, Shivu of Belgrave, and Norene's sister.  Before he can explain his presence, he notices Cass and mistakes her for Ash's wife.  They learn he is an emissary from Canulderene, to confirm if the Treaty of Summer still stands.   It is clear he is distracted by Cass' presence, however, and is surprised to hear her name.  Nowlen is taken aback that she is Galeo's daughter.  They learn that an agreement had been established between Shanri (through Jarik) and Canulderene and they note how Nolwen speaks of their world as that of the ven.  He sees Cass, however, as close to that perfection.  Ash asks to review the treaty's conditions and learns the castle is deemed neutral grounds.

Nolwen's power is hinted at when he casually "splits" into two beings to both converse with the gathered and invite Cass to the other castle.  Rio asks if they may visit the domain of Jaymen Steele - the Sorceror-King - and Nolwen readily acknowledges he is their Totem Rex.  Somehow, he seems to easily "read" their Blessings as well.   They learn Jarik's death would undo the Treaty, and Ash lies through his teeth to claim he still lives.

Gil and Uvanla go through the days as normal, with Gil attempting to tend to the hole.  It baffles her, however, as it seems to not need to heal.  Uvanla tells her about Kether - whom he claims to have never met and only knows of thanks to Kether's closest friend.  During the narration, however, Uvanla unveils a lapse in his memories. The hole seems to be that caused by an arrow.  Cass, Lukas and Artemesia walk in them and mistake the moment to be one sexual in nature.

Nolwen invites Cass to stay in his Castle for two seasons until the Winter.  She agrees if a door can be opened in her own Castle.  Nolwen says Cass is "Pure" unlike the others and claims she has four names.  Ash is unhappy with this offer, but chooses to stay.  Rio chooses likewise to remain.  Having no choice, Ash accepts that he has to let Cass go through the door.

Rio reports the events to Jessie, who is appalled and confused by these newcomers.  The factions of orks, the exodus from the storm, the tasks assigned to Bowen remain unresolved.  Could there be a third city of these kind of ven?  One filled with the Wicked Ones?  Rio does not like the fact this new city has its own armies.   They consider warning the Senate, and Rio considers it time to raise secret armies.  They wonder if Dalvinosh should know of the events.  Rio has two seasons to try and locate the missing Quill.  Jessie is very worried.  Rio opts to act as an intermediary with Dalvinosh Steele.

Uvanla maintains the castle, now that he truly is one of Cass' vassals.  In her absence, he informs any visitors that she had gone to a "pilgrimage."

Norene visits Ash once more, who admits to be happy to know Jarik is well.  She wasn't sure what to tell Jalani - which makes Ash realize Jarik's wife has been at the "other side" for the last ten years.   She has land, it seems in the other city, but Jarik never visited as the city is full of Sorcery.  To Ash's surprise, Norene and her kind do not believe in any Suaven.  Norene also claims Jalani is her mother and that their father is the Totem Rex.  Ash arranges to have a meeting with Jalani and she laughs when Ash calls themselves ven.  Almost at the perfect moment, Ash catches sight of an echo of the moment Jarik bid farewell to Jalani.

Gil sees a man at the gates of Cass' castle.  She goes to see who it is and discovers it is the same man which Uvanla sketched to identify the "closest friend" of his father, Count Kether.  The man introduces himself as Count Kether and claims Uvanla is his familiar, a child he found before whom he had claimed.   He invites Gil to discuss things in his castle, which turns out to be an airship in the sky, but Gil declines and brings him instead to the village to talk.  

More and more, the children begin to realize that their parents have left them far more stories to finish than they had thought.

Monday, September 28, 2015

RE:UNION was a success!

A HUGE THANK YOU to the four who trusted me in playing in a romantic comedy home-brewed game I call, Re:Union. Sometimes, some things do not stay in Highschool.
Thank you to Bog, Emi, Robert, and Drexx. It was truly a riot of a great time and I loved all the catch-phrases and crazy antics you all added to the hilarious narrative.

Here's to seeing more people this October as I run a Dread game. More information to follow.

A full report of the seminar, plus my talk details to follow.
Thank you again!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Updates for late August and this September

Where do I begin?  August ended with Gamers & Gms hosting the AD&D seminar (August Dungeons and Dragons) inspired by Gary Gygax day.  We had a huge turn out, two fantastic talks, and a lot of games held that single day.

For that event, I ran Eyes Upon Amaras - a Mouse Guard hack of Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition.  I had six players that day (which became seven when one had to leave early and Rocky slipped in to join the game) and while I know there were some slower parts in the game, the game overall entertained and I count that as a success.

A greater success is  the fact many got more interested in checking out, if not playing, Mouse Guard afterwards.

For this September, we are having an event specifically meant to help people introduce the fun of gaming to loved ones, significant others, family members and non-gamer friends.  STARTER SEPTEMBER is the name of the event and we have a number of talks and game session lined up.


Mon discusses the tips, techniques on how to prepare for your next adventure session. In this "workshop-style" talk, Mon will show you the various ways you can make and prepare an adventure if you have limited time and resources.


What is D&D? How do you play the game? How do you get started playing? Marc Reyes discusses the very basics on how to play the 5th edition of the world’s most famous tabletop roleplaying game as well as how to get started in the hobby.


Tobie shares some personal tips and suggestions on how you can introduce the fun and love of gaming to your non-geeky or non-gamer friends/family/significant others. As well as some free or affordable games you can opt to try with them in case crunch is not what they're comfy with.


Next, we have our games! Check out the event page for details on each game:

GM: Tobie Abad
System: custom!
Player Slots: 2 - 4

Different couples from different points in time find themselves inexplicably reunited with old flames. As each attempt to make sense of the feelings they struggle with and the insane events that transpire, will they find the courage to admit their feelings and embrace this... reunion?

Tobie invites four players to try something different, a romantic-dramedy role-playing game that requires no previous experience in gaming or familiarity with the system. The game can have two to four players only.  Audience is welcome to watch the story unfold.

*Maturity warning. Topics may revolve around typical rom-com content which may not be suitable for certain people.

GM: Mon Macutay
Player Slots: 4 - 5

The once silent town of Ashanath has recently been overrun by the Undead. The dead have risen from their graves ever since a small meteor crashed into the nearby ruined Abbey of Suffering (a shrine once devoted to Ilmater, god of Pain and Martyrdom). Your intrepid group of adventurers is the town's last hope.

Will you dare explore the mysteries behind the Abbey of the Dead?
A D&D 5E adventure for character levels 2 and first-time D&D players.

GM Allan “Dave” Sta Cruz
System: Scion: Hero
Number of player slots: 5

In Scion, players take on the role of Scions, children of Gods of myth and legend. In this story entitled The Apple™ of Discord, the technology giant Apple Inc prepares to reveal the latest in its growing family of consumer electronics: the iPad Omega. As agents move to steal the iPad prototype, you are brought in by its unnamed creator to see to the prototype's safety.

GM: Jay Steven Uy Anyong
System: Worlds in Peril
Number of Players: 5

When an audacious plan hatched by a coalition of super-villains succeeds, Millennium City is left without its finest heroes... or so they think! Play the members of Champions Team B, a team of reserve heroes that are called in during the most dire of situations!

Team B has been described as anything from reckless to dangerous, but desperate times call for desperate measures!

GM: The AL Team
System: D&D 5E
Number of TABLES: 2

And finally, on the personal projects side, my Pateron Patrons have helped fund my upcoming book, A SINGLE MOMENT!  The text is currently in the hands of Eloy Lasanta (Third Eye Gaming) who will be laying it out for me.  I'm still working on the artwork that will be used in the book, but I'm very excited at the prospect of having my own book out there very soon!
The current logo for Tagsessions will be this one, and I'm feeling pretty excited to get my work out.  Hopefully, there will be some fans of it.  Most likely, it will pass beneath most gamers radars.  But its high time I started giving back to the community this way.

Thanks again for the support!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

The Wardens ep05 : DC Heroes

The Wardens
Episode Five
"The Challenge - Part II of The Quest"

Mayfair Games' DC Heroes

Apollo, El Teniente, Reliquary and Buzz are at Axis Mundi.   The group struggles to avoid accepting any gifts, fearing that this place might permanently imprison them - like those legends of the wee folk - but to their surprise, the inhabitants of the place are both generous and welcoming.  They learn that the arriving group was indeed merely a welcoming committee, using Worsmiths to implant the language of their people to others.  Even Minotaur, whose imposing visage looked villainous to them, was just a herald.  They are told of the challenge of Magic and Steel, which happens once ever 1000 years, to determine whether the world will remain a world dominated by science  or magic.  They meet Myrddin, who represents the side of Magic, and his two daughters, Medea and Karadjeri.  And to their surprise, they learn that the last challenge was won by Conception Gonzales, El Teniente's abuela.  Various "houses" are chosen to give the heroes a place to recuperate and eat.    Buzz ends up at the Diwrnach household with the single chef that feeds the whole town.  The man somehow manages to prepare an entire feast all by his lonesome, but only when alone.  Reliquary stays with the Pious household, learning of their tomes and love of books.  He is even given a book on Rites and Rituals to keep.  El Teniente stays with the Brigid house, and the man there is not happy with Merea and seems distant towards the sisters.  Apollo, however, ends up in Valorum house, and finds a bronze-sinned man who asks him if he knows of "Benjamin Wilder."

Back in Port City, Trace cannot find any way to get to her companions.  The dark thing in the sky seems forever beyond her reach.  She teleports the injured Cassie to the hospital, learns she has all these fake "superhero team ID cards" and tries to see what they can do to help out.  Eleanor White shows up, and claims to be the "go-to-medic" for the Wardens as she tries to do what she can to help.  But soon, she also finds herself meeting her estranged parents.  Trance is even confronted by the child's father, a military man, who questions them allowing their daughter to join the team.  She is challenged with the possibility that their presence in Port City has endangered some of the youth that seek to emulate them.  Cassie might never even walk again.   She makes contact Ren Takenoko, Buzz' brother, and with FanGirl's help, the two try to find a way to see where the others had gone.  They re-calibrate the telescope but find no sign of the others.  

Back at Axis Mundi, Apollo makes a discovery.  The bronze-skinned man turns out to be an agent of the Chronochart Securities.  He is there to investigate the disappearance of Benjamin Wilder whose history supposedly has already been charted and is marked to be "out of sync" with the Chronal Records.   When the group is gathered for the Challenges, Apollo opts to participate, despite the warnings of the Time Agent.   The various challenges are presented, with the team worrying over how to win them given Medea spent most of her years of her life preparing her senses for the challenge.  The other sister, Karadjeri, is able to glimpse the future, and she tells the team she already knows who will win.  The challenges are based on the virtues of Strength, Courage, Sight, Song, Spirit, Sacrifice and Cognition.  And while each member of the team contributes to try and succeed in the challenges, the final Challenge of Sacrifice becomes the remaining one to determine who will win in the end.  Buzz considers making a sacrifice.  El Teniente wonders what he can sacrifice too.  Reliquary considers giving up his Immortality.  But Apollo realizes he has the answer and steps forward.

Trace considers finding a way to speak to the Mystic but finds Diego's abuela frantically trying to place her hand on water in the hospital.  Her ramblings are about the Axis Mundi and the need to face the challenges.  Through her, she heads to a location where an assistant admits the Mystic is preoccupied.  The apprentice talks of the Cosmic Tree, the Axis Mundi, and how she is not able to help.  "The ways of Magic are not about doing what you desire, but about reading the signs and understanding how they affect us.  Your friends have been Chosen.  They are now undergoing a Quest. In their Quest lies whether or not they return.  And whether or not we remain."   Oddly, she does suggest that Trace might need to make a sacrifice as well. And how they are always as multi-faceted like a mirror ball.   Not finding the answers she needed, Trace ends up not knowing what else she can do.
Apollo announces to the crowd who he is, what time he is from and admits he would want to go home from this barbaric time.     He sacrifices his future, the timeline beyond his current life, to the Challenge.  The Chronochart Security Agent reveals himself and reassures them all that no one will cease to exist.  Medea hates how he's sacrificing something that hasn't happened yet.  "Don't you know, sometimes potential is more powerful than others," Reliquary admits.    Steel wins the Challenge.  El Teniente whispers to Buzz, however, and asks what did he plan to sacrifice.  Neither says anything more.

The Arms Grow Stronger.

The Question and the apprentice discuss with Trace that the alien contingent is demanding for her to be returned to the alien camp.  Given the warlike nature of the alien vessels, the Question asks her if she is willing to meet with them, despite this possibly meaning she will never see her family or friends again. When she agrees to, the Question teleports them both to the Spire, a high-tech structure in geosynchronous orbit around the planet.  Trace is surprised that this had happened, and he implies its an inherent power he has.   Interestingly, he has powers of darkness.  The EYE, which turns out to be a sentient computer system, addresses Trace as the woman "the Question has been watching the last few days."  He eventually admits to her that he is actually an Afrokator, and admits it was Trace whom he had spirited away from the Royal House of Mthkhala.  The Mthrsyn have come demanding the return of Trace whom they refer to as nobility.  The Question agrees to give her back to them, in exchange, they are never to return to earth.   Trace believed there was a war between Afrokator and the Mthrsyn, but learns from the Question that there was no war.  Instead, the Afrokators were being massacred by the Mthrsyn with ease.   When she agrees to go with them, however, the Mthrsyn betray their side of the agreement, however, and unleash their weapons upon the Spire.  Trace watches in horror as the Spire is destroyed and as the ship they are in jumps into a dark hole.    

El Teniente wishes to see the Lady, which Myrddin allows him to.  He learns the Lady was a being of Magic herself, but had believed in the power of Steel.  So she was imprisoned for the rebellion that she incited for mankind to have their own freedom.  As a prisoner beneath the waters, she then reaches out to her chosen Knight and guides them to the locations of Artifacts.  She guides him to the location of another Artifact and explains that events are now making another one within reach.

At the roots of the Cosmic Tree, with the waters all around him, Diego looks into the depths and sees her staring back at him.  She rises and seeing him upset, she admits she is a prisoner in the Axis Mundi.  And that the abuela used to be the previous Knight.   She did not have them prepare for the challenges, because she believes in Steel no matter what.  But now it is time for his Quest.

The signs will be clear.

It will start with the sun.
Thrice it will fly from the north, amidst the rain of steel.

A falling stars shall herald the darkness of the sky.
Amidst the pain and anguish shall the Imprisoned cry out, "Why?"
Of broken oath, the Mountain walks armed with tarnished steel,
In his hands lies your Quest, dear knight, in this turning of the Wheel.

The others, on the other hand, hear Medea in anguish for having wasted fourteen years of her life preparing for the Challenge.   They invite her to go back with them and when she complains about how doing so would be to place her in a world she despises daily among barbarians that don't realize the would could be better.  Apollo nods and admits that means she will experience the world like he does.  "There are a lot of problems in the world.   And I think someone with magic can help us fix what we can," Apollo confesses.  Karadjeri interrupts them, admitting Medea will agree to go.  And that Medea could always see through Apollo's mirror-ball helm and likes what she sees.  Medea blushes and agrees to go.

As the group returns to Earth, they find themselves staring at meteors streaking across the sky.    Reliquary reaches out using the communicator to reach Trace, but instead gets Fangirl who is all frantic about the news of the Spire having been destroyed and the rain of debris striking the other coast...  New York City.  They realize there is no time to waste, and they have to rush there to help as the meteorites are crashing down there.  El Tentiente turns to Buzz.  Buzz calls his brother and admits, "I need your help."  Reliquary calls Conrad to make arrangements for them all to have a ride there.

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