Ty & That Guy Podcast

I just got turned on to the video podcast by Ty Franck (one half of James S.A. Corey, author of The Expanse), and Wes Chatham (Amos Burton on The Expanse). It’s fascinating, and in the first episode Ty talks about how he basically used a D&D game to develop the plot – in fact, the core characters like Holden were named by their initial players!

It’s a great podcast about the Expanse, other classic sci-fi we all know and love, and more – check it out on YouTube!

Reavers on the Seas of Fate, Season Five, Twentieth Session

Coral Golem

Twentieth Session (14 page pdf) – “Devil’s Arches, Part IV” – The PCs brave an abandoned secret base full of traps and undead and terrain and other such impediments.

There’s a brutal fight with a coral golem that ends up being an exercise in escape and evasion. Then more elite Chelaxian undead water marines! And a chimera! And traps!

Best quote: Sindawe asks no one in particular, “When will authoritarian regimes realize that aquatic warriors are not the solution to their problems?!?”

Reavers on the Seas of Fate, Season Five, Nineteenth Session

Treasure of Chimera Cove

Nineteenth Session (8 page pdf) – “Devil’s Arches, Part III” – The shore team heads out into Chimera Cove and a secret Chelish naval base. It’s not as abandoned as you’d hope.

So they finally have reached the Treasure of Chimera Cove and delve into it looking for the undead dragon turtle war machine called the Terraken.

They have some fights – giant poison octopus, elite sea zombies – but the trap with the gas and mimics is the most dangerous. PCs hate mimics! They refused to touch anything on the grounds “it could be a mimic” for the rest of the session.

Reavers on the Seas of Fate, Season Five, Eighteenth Session

Devil’s Arch

Eighteenth Session (8 page pdf) – “Devil’s Arches, Part II” – A shore team strikes out across Devil’s Arches to find the resting place of a Chelish naval superweapon. Sindawe has his usual amount of luck with the ladies.

So I did some quick research and decided from geography to base the island on the real world Bissagos Islands. I also had a problem in that I didn’t know where they were going to go necessarily. So here’s my session prep; I looked up some perhaps relevant monsters.

Devil’s Arches (Bissagos islands)
Palm products, coconut, timber, slave trade

The people – animal masks (ox, stingray, shark), 
Ox wars http://www.africanamerica.org/topic/bijago-people-guinea-bissau-african-matriarchal-tribe
river banks are coated in mangroves, blue mud/slime, decay – malaria (http://www.d20pfsrd.com/gamemastering/afflictions/diseases/malaria-jungle-fever) is prevalent, dysentery, yellow fever
Gholdako if investigate arch in city of bleeding stones, duppies maybe
native village 
Soucoyants (https://www.d20pfsrd.com/bestiary/monster-listings/monstrous-humanoids/soucouyant/) near the cove.  They know to lower a holy symbol of Aroden on 5 fathoms of silver line. But of course they want blood.

That’s all I need to prep sessions nowadays. So I describe the island as they head across it, where they meet some natives I base on the Bijago people. Sindawe gets another visit from Mama Watanna, who doesn’t want them to keep the undead dragon turtle they seek as a weapon, but to set Turtle’s spirit free. Conflict!!!

They don’t bother to go to the City of Bleeding Stones, and then they decide to give their native guides to the soucouyant for their blood to find out how to get into the Terraken base. (The soucouyant is reminiscent of the witch that tries to get Conan and then flies off as a fireball in Conan the Barbarian, I wonder if there was a relation there.)

Reavers on the Seas of Fate, Season Five, Seventeenth Session

Seventeenth Session (12 page pdf) – “Devil’s Arches” – Another naval encounter sets the pirates to flight. They decide to visit Medruzbal on Devil’s Arches, and ply the town for all it’s worth.

The Teeth of Araska, fresh from taking the Solution, is suckered in and ambushed by the Omen, a larger ship with 18 pound guns. They take some shots and decide to break contact, which they manage to do with some quick thinking spell work.

Then they sneak ashore on the island of the Devil’s Arches, where they want to go to Hell Harbor but don’t want to approach it by sea. So they go ashore on Medruzbal and plan to go overland. Luckily my copious collection of Golarion lore gives me some starting points and I improvise from there.

Our session scribe must have been hitting the sauce this time because the jokes roll hard. One of my favorites is “A hungry guard trips the trap while searching for the warthog. He squeals and yells and flops around like a Spanish soccer player.” There’s meme references, like “The torturer is dragged off to the gibbet. ‘You got knocked the fuck out!’ exclaim his soon-to-be-ex-comrades.” There’s inside jokes. Festive!

Reavers on the Seas of Fate, Season Five, Sixteenth Session

http://loztvampir3.deviantart.com/art/Pirates-503786848 | D&d dungeons and  dragons, Fantasy creatures, Fantasy characters
Kuutamo the Kenku

Sixteenth Session (10 page pdf) – “Hell’s Harbor” – The Teeth of Araska travels to Devil’s Arches, and fights some other ships in the meantime.

The Araska gets a new crewman in the form of a stowaway kenku. (The summary claims it’s a tengu but, you know, random Japanese critter names.) Now that they’re in the Shackles I have plenty of material from the Skull & Shackles Adventure Path, but at least one of the players has been in that one so I have to stay away from its major features.

They they come across a Port Peril “naval” schooner, the Solution, and capture it after a short but fierce engagement. The running joke of “Serpent is a doppleganger” is turned around by Serpent who uses his hat of disguise to take on the form of Sindawe and claim that Sindawe is a doppleganger, which gets him stabbed by his own crew till it all gets worked out. Serpent is hoping his PC immunity will protect him. Will it? We’ll see next time!

Reavers on the Seas of Fate, Season Five, Fifteenth Session

Tetrolimulus

Fifteenth Session (10 page pdf) – “Twister” – The sea-twister is dispatched in unusual style.  Then it’s to Drenchport for drinking and betting on Green Blood on a Black Rock!

I’m firmly of the opinion that “how are the PCs going to get out of this one?!?” isn’t my problem as the GM. The Teeth of Araska, courtesy of a critical 00 on a weather roll, runs afoul of a waterspout and isn’t fast enough to escape. So one of the PCs spends one of their scarce Infamy Points and they’re saved – one of the pirate lords of the Shackles is a high level druid, the Master of Gales, so he happens by and just magics it out of existence as it is a minor inconvenience to him.

They end up in Drenchport and make a cursory effort at following up on plot leads but the drinking distracts them and they get super interested in the Green Blood on a Black Rock monster pit fight tournament. I should have known this already, but anytime there’s an opportunity for wagering the PCs demand to know all the participants and the odds and it becomes an entire session. And lo thus I pulled out a crapload of pirate captains (Shackles pirate lords, captains from Freeport supplements, whatever) and random high level monsters (off a high level encounter table) they could conceivably capture and fight and they spend the time running through the whole bracket and trying to influence the odds. I actually run some of the fights with the PCs’ participation for some combat fun. The eventual winner is a tetrolimulus, courtesy of its DC 22 paralysis poison, sponsored by werewolf pirate captain Avimar Sorrinash.

And then they sail towards our next adventure, Treasure of Chimera Cove.

Gaming in 2020, A Retrospective

Well boy this has been quite a year. And it’s put a little bit of a dent in our gaming, but luckily, not too much. We’ve had a couple folks get laid off, and one who got COVID but recovered. But we’re all here and still gaming.

We finished out a 20-session campaign of Blades in the Dark, where our mercenary company the Gamblers’ Orphans end up in Duskvol, become a criminal gang, run an orphanage, and stop a crazy guy from destroying the city, by hook and by crook. We transitioned this one to Roll20 in March and didn’t miss much time during the pandemic. All the session summaries for this will publish by the end of this year!

We’re into the tenth year of my long-running Pathfinder 1e pirate campaign, Reavers on the Seas of Fate. One of our members doesn’t have solid Internet access so come March we had a bit of a hiatus, during which we played one or at least few-shots of games like Troika! (surreal science fantasy) and Heart: The City Beneath (a spinoff of Spire) and the Sentinel Comics RPG (based on the Sentinels of the Multiverse coop card game we’ve played many times). We also did a good bit of online board gaming using Tabletop Simulator. But Reavers marches on, we meet in person with open windows, social distancing, and masks. I’m even catching up in posting session summaries. We are well into Razor Coast and are in the endgame of the campaign (that endgame may well take a year, fair warning).

After the Blades campaign, we started a D&D 5e campaign but using the Pathfinder 1e Iron Gods adventure path, enhanced by the Numenera-for-5e Arcana of the Ancients rules, all on Roll20. We are keeping session summaries for this but I haven’t started editing and posting them yet, but I surely will.

There weren’t a lot of super interesting new releases we were waiting on. Group members did some Kickstarter backing and/or receiving of things they’d Kickstarted, from Reichbusters to Fading Suns (3e?) to Mork Borg Cult: Feretory to Empire of the East. I backed SLA Industries 2e which is shipping now, Eclipse Phase 2e, Nahual: A Tabletop RPG Of Mexican Urban Fantasy, Carbon 2185: A Cyberpunk RPG, and Arcana of the Ancients, a 5e science-fantasy sourcebook. Things like Freeway Warrior and Demon City keep creeping along and may or may not finish sometime.

Looks like Pathfinder 2e and D&D 5e are publishing away but we’re not into those too much. The new Aliens game looks interesting, and for my next game after Reavers I’m thinking something cyberpunky either using Cyberpunk: RED or Carbon: 2185.

Gaming’s important to all of us, and having a regular hobby and social outlet has always been a stress reliever in even normal times, and has kept us doing OK during pandemic times. I hope you’ve all been able to keep some gaming up too, and here’s to a better 2021!

Blades In The Dark – Session 20

Twentieth Session – The final fight on dark Leviathan-haunted seas as the Gambler’s Orphans execute upon their last contract as a mercenary group, the death of Lord Strangford, and try to save all of Duskvol in the bargain!

Before we sail for death or glory, there’s one last Downtime. Reis makes love to Delasia Finchester for what may well be the last time, and puts together a ritual to the sea demon Setarra to summon a horde of sea zombies at the cost of two human sacrifices. Everyone else blows off stress in their accustomed ways. Hasten and Marto go out to party with Rauth Kinclaith and Cantor from the Bloodletters, which ends up adding so much heat on the group they have to go mess with some bad guys from a gang called the Hive to undo the damage. Kraid gets a tier 7 anti-Leviathan rocket bomb and also kills some Hive goons, sending us to war with them. Then we take all our gang and cohorts and armaments and Bloodletters and a demon hunter named “Salty Gomash” and board ship.

The Dagger Isles ship Ischariyya’s Lament cuts across the dark haunted seas as we seek out Lord Strangford’s ship Unironic and his crazy plan to lead a Leviathan right to the city.

The Unironic has an anti-ghost field to keep off all the sea ghosts attracted by Leviathan blood. They torpedo us and we rocket-bomb them, knocking the field down – ghosts attack everyone. We board but our gang starts taking heavy losses. Reis casts Setarra’s Lament and suddenly we have like 80 zombies on our side. Troll the Hull uses his electroplasmic gatling gun on the sailor cultists.

A wave of bosses come after us – some ninja kid possessed by a demon, and Old Man kung fu killer who sprays Leviathan blood, and a hydraulic hull. Horribly violent fighting results.

Kraid goes belowdecks and confronts Lord Strangford, and promptly is burned by ectoplasm and thrown to the tentacles. The Orphan’s forces try to pin him down as Reis, RC, and Hasten Doom get the ship underway and try to lure the oncoming Leviathan away from the city. Everyone starts migrating down to take a crack at Strangford but he’s tough. Kraid rallies and attacks him again and again falls unconscious into the loving embrace of the tentacles in the hold.

Reis decides “fuck this shit” and drops a high-Tier grenade down through a hatch, sorely wounding Strangford. Given this opening, people pull back and Troll and Marto pour fire onto the man. He eventually falls into the tentacles. Some folks try to pull Kraid out of the tentacles but they are too naughty and they are forced to retire.

We lure the Leviathan away from the city by kiting it with the Unironic, and abandon ship for our corsair right before it catches up and tears up the huge oil tanker sized ship like it is a Christmas present. Kraid is lost, to our chagrin.

Back in Duskvol, the surviving Gambler’s Orphans are set up pretty well. Hasten Doom becomes their bear-blood quaffing leader as Marto goes to wander the wastes. Reis retires to the Dimmer Sisters’ mansion and the arms of Dylasia Finchester… And possible the arms of Setarra, eventually.

Kraid washes up on shore. His eyes open and they are jet black.

The end.

Blades In The Dark – Session 19

Nineteenth Session – Time to put Lord Strangford six feet under, but he’s skipped town in his Leviathan hunting ship so we need a ship and a crew to go after him.

We got him kicked off the City Council and he bails. We go find a gang called the Bloodcutters with some ex-Leviathan sailors and plan to take them and their tattoo parlor over. Via Captain Luckett we make contact with one of their lieutenants, ex-Captain Keel. She says she’ll bring them to talk to the boss if we steal her some Leviathan blood. So we do, it’s valuable so we expect resistance. Indeed, we fight teamsters and dogs but steal 4 barrels, keeping 3 for ourselves.

We “deliver” the blood to the tattoo parlor and find a bunch of corpses and a well-altar to Setarra the sea-demon in the basement. Reis summons her and she appears and tries to get him to serve her and put all of Kotor’s parts into himself. “Tempting…” he thinks. She wants horrible things but what if one could, you know, string her along without doing anything too bad… She apparently has some member of the gang named Oscar in her thrall already.

Then we have some personnel problems in that our new Hull (steampunk flesh golem thing) inhabited by the ghost of Sergeant Troll is all depressed because he can’t drink and whore any more. We decide to get a favorite hooker of his, Moxie, to try to make him feel better, which she agrees to do for a large sum of money. We get him “drunk” on electroplasm and they do… something. But he ends up happy, which is important for an incredibly strong killing machine.

Then we go take over a Dagger Isles corsair ship to go after Strangford, with some of the Bloodletters to help sail, RC Keel and Cantor. A lot of pirate fighting happens; Reis manages to take out the Captain, which he considers himself required to do since he’s a Dagger Isles corsair by heritage himself. We have the ship and get it underway! Reis dumps bodies overboard while consecrating them to Setarra. Cantor complains, “You sound just like Oscar.”

Next time – the campaign finale!

Blades In The Dark – Session 18

Eighteenth Session – A key to a ghost vault of the Sonurian family and infiltration of a parade lead us to the Mellified Man.

In an odd side quest when a Leviathan is coming to devour the city, we discuver the ghost key we stole from the Iruvian Embassy opens some supernatural vault from the now-defunct Sonurian family. But to use it we need a Sonurian family member.

Some research with the Circle of Flame puts us on the trail of Lord Dunville’s wife, who is from the Sonurian bloodline. She is on a float at the annual Hadar Parade put on by the Iruvian Beneficial Society, which we sneak onto. And yes, we make a bunch of immature jokes about “So, how is it living with IBS?” and the like.

She gets attacked by some of Strangford’s goons which is good because our sweet-talking wasn’t really working; we beat back the attackers and get in her good graces. Reis has to take a devil’s bargain to realize she’ll never sleep with him (she is one of his two “types” – powerful high society women or powerful weird supernatural women. Delasia Finchester combines both of these so she’s the alpha, but, you know, options…).

Finally Lord Dunville pays us for the key and we go take his wife and two of his hirelings, Kelly and Nathaniel, to go open the magical gate to the tomb (it’s in a sodden part of town). It’s weird and spooky and we are all on super high alert. We find an irritable zombie monk, Ilock Theer, who Lady Dunville interrogates about ‘the Mellified Man.’ We don’t know what that means but Kelly about shits a brick when he hears it. The monk gets us a piece of the Mellified Man, a honey-infused piece of flesh from the progenitor of their line that is said to cure any disease.

We go to leave but a bunch of Iruvian cultists lie in wait outside. Kelly turns on us. We kill them all; Nathaniel fights us some because Kelly’s his boyfriend but we let him leave. Mission accomplished, and Dunville agrees to vote Lord Strangford off the City Council!

Then for downtime, it’s mostly gambling and bear blood snorting but Reis does get a Hull online and uses Sergeant Troll’s ghost to inhabit it. (The summary says Private Pyle, but he’s not dead as best as I know.)

Blades In The Dark – Session 17

Seventeenth Session – We go to thwart Lord Strangford’s horse stealing ways and are attacked by elite frogmen!  Like, they are actually some kind of Deep One-esque aquatic humanoids, as well as someone we posit is popular with the ladies; we know him only as Tentacle Mouth. Then we go get the Heart of Kotor – this Kotor guy has every body part strewn somewhere.

Strangford needs demon horses for his ritual and he’s been getting them from Baron Kinclaith’s stables. He won’t sell him any more because he found out about his naughtiness, but we figure theft is close behind. Sure enough, a whole bunch of fish-men appear, unfortunately while Bluecoats are hassling our characters due to a terrible initiation roll.

Marto just starts shooting from a window; luckily Reis keeps his head and is like “Oh no someone’s shooting at us!” to the coppers. Everyone pretty much leaves him to hold off the po-po while we go to take care of business. They just fire into the building indiscriminately, you know, how cops do.

Kraid finds himself facing a black scale armor-clad glaive-wearing beefcake with a big ol tentacle coming out of his mouth. Reis heads in to warn Lord Kinclaith and try to get him to accept our help. Of course, we did kidnap and ransom his son to him, and that son makes it pretty clear he wants to kill us during this coming melee, so there’s that.

Hasten Doom and Kraid kill all the bad guys, but the equivalent of a space herpy comes out of tentacle guy and scoots around. Kraid chases it through the city while Hasten takes a prisoner – these guys are all tattooed Leviathan hunter sailors. Strangford vouches for us being his “private security” to the cops and they slink away. ACAB!

Then there’s another bear blood orgy (Reis declines to participate) and Dylasia tells us the Heart of Kotor is being held in the Iruvian Embassy to give to their Emperor. Marto, of course, is super into being Iruvian. An embassy safe is a hard target, but as the actual consul is giving us intel we know pretty much where to go.

So we cook up an embassy infiltration plan where most of the team goes in the front and reenacts the scene only lightly modified from Lethal Weapon 2 (“But… but… You’re not bleck!”) while Reis ghostwalks through the back wall. Marto and Kraid get the guards to take them into a private roomn for a “party”, and once they are out, turn off the electrified floor in the vault (!) so Reis and Hasten can get in. We get the Heart, steal other stuff (ghost key!), and bail. Marto and Kraid come under some suspicion but acquit themselves well under questioning.

The heart is in a bag with a tracer enchantment which we give to our captive from Part 1, possess him with a ghost, and have him scamper off through the city and do a “Banzai” self destruction with a grenade to throw the Iruvians off our trail.

This was a fun session and the two elements doing back and forth Ocean’s 11 type stuff for the embassy job was nice, as was pulling a job where we didn’t resort to murdering everyone in sight. Duskvol has like magic bells that go off when there’s a murder to bring the Spirit Wardens because of the ghost threat, but the GM takes it easy on that so usually someone (where someone is usually Kraid but sometimes Marto) just decides to mass murder.