Archive for February, 2019

Gaming Chronicles: The Unconquered Sun

February 4, 2019

When we were starting this campaign, we were actually just going to do one shot to test it out. We were told to pick a profession from the modern world and a flaw. We would be using these ideas as part of some quick character creation in the Fate system. That was all we were told. I had no idea what to expect from our Game Master because the previous two games had been in Science Fantasy settings. We showed up with our ideas and I was almost immediately called out for creating a character inspired by Veronica Mars. Not that I blame the Game Master for pointing it out but I felt a bit judged and embarrassed at the time. I think now that he might have actually been pointing it out in a fun way. Maybe.

The truth was that I actually stumbled onto it honestly. I had come to the table with the concept of being a private investigator. I had met a few private investigators through the lawyers I knew so I used them and Keith Mars as a template. I did not want to be a Sam Spade type of guy, I wanted to be a guy who dug in the dumpsters for a living and be called to adventure from there. It sounded like a useful profession for whatever we were getting into. The flaw I had picked (which I don’t remember) was rejected out of hand so I floundered for another one. I picked hallucinations and that eventually became hallucinations of my character’s dead father. Put it all together and I was like a male version of season one Veronica Mars. When it came time to pick a name I picked Dean Wyatt after Dean Ambrose and Bray Wyatt, two characters in the WWE who had crazy person gimmicks.

So, the first session began with our characters getting mysteriously summoned to a reading at a bookstore. The first tip that something was wrong was that it was a reading of a sequel to In The Mouth of Madness. Then the world started to be torn apart by old ones and our characters were killed off one by one by some sort of eldritch demon. That was a bit of a shock. Then we had one on one sessions with the Game Master which helped him sort our characters into classes. I got a warrior class and we were then informed that we were now champions of a Sun God in a forgotten past and that we were ‘exalted’. It was quite a rude awakening and we stumbled at first, learning how to be heroes.

In the following adventure, we pursued eldritch villains and tried to bring magic back to the modern world so that it would not be vulnerable to the Old Ones that destroyed it in our future. I tried to go a different direction from the other two fighters in our party. I chose a rapier instead of a huge fantasy-style weapon. I tried to fight with speed and finesse instead of pure brute strength. I got to pick an animal that was to be my emblem, appearing when I used magic. I got a little bit of flack because I picked a raccoon. I thought it was a fantastic choice considering my character dug through trash for a living. Personally, I have always loved the raccoon aesthetic even though my mom absolutely hates raccoons. We found out that we were actually reincarnations of heroes from the past. It was a whole thing. It was some pretty good high concept fantasy stuff that was hard to figure out in the moment.

I felt like I learned some more during this campaign but I was informed by the Game Master that I was pretty much a non-entity during gameplay. My anxiety made me fade into the background a bit but I contributed when I could. I apparently did not have enough impact on the story. There were too many times that I look back on where I should have acted instead and not worried so much about the consequences. It is a game and I should have had more fun with it. Maybe I would have had more impact on the story that way. I also kind of lost the core of my character through the adventure and became just another sword. In the end, I made the easy choice and asked to be sent back to the altered future to see if my character’s family was still alive.

The thing is, my character did have a lot going on but it was all going on in my head and not coming out of my mouth. I should have acted more instead of just reacting and clinging to a sword as my character’s sole identity. It was not all terrible but I feel like I could have done way better. I was a bit crippled by my relative inexperience and my anxiety. The good thing is that I was slowly strengthening my friendship with my friends. I considered these people friends and not just people I played a game with sometimes. This would be important when I got more comfortable and felt better about actually being in the driver’s seat. It was an important experience and I probably did not blow it as bad as I thought I did. It taught me a lot about what not to do and that’s a good thing even if I look back at that time and cringe.

Game Soundtrack:

Hall and Oates – Private Eyes

This one is a bit on the nose but it is actually one of my favorite songs. In his previous life, Dean was a private investigator. He spent a lot of time watching people in order to get to the truth of things so he could put food on his table. He was dogged when it came to finding information and he dug through people’s trash to go that extra mile.

The Birthday Massacre – Pins and Needles

When Dean’s father was killed, it deadened and hardened his heart. Living became more or less an exercise in going through the motions. When he first started to see his father, he thought he might be going crazy. When the existence of magic was confirmed, he felt like that part of his heart was coming back to life.

Rage Against the Machine – People of the Sun

We were literally playing champions of the sun, dedicated to keeping that sun shining on an intact Earth. In a way, we were raging against a machine. We were rebelling against a society that wanted to banish magic in favor of technology.

Character Questionnaire

What’s their name? Do they have any nicknames?
Dean Wyatt. His father sometimes called him gumshoe after they watched the Carmen Sandiego game show together.

How old are they chronologically, and how old do they appear?
About age 26 but they appear a little older than that. Probably around 30. He works long and late hours and has never shied away from the bottle so he has put some extra mileage on.

Physical characteristics, standard clothing and equipment

Dean has jet black hair, usually slicked back instead of actually managing it or getting it cut regularly. He does shave every day since it is important to make at least a little attempt to look professional while running a private business. He often wears short-sleeve button-up shirts for mobility and laundered slacks but tennis shoes. He also often wears his father’s brown leather jacket because he thinks it looks cool and it conceals the tools of the trade. This includes binoculars, lock picks, both leather and rubber gloves, camera, and sidearm. When shunted back in time, he wears armor stylized to show his new allegiance to the sun god. He carries a short sword.

Emotional characteristics – are they prone to getting angry/laid back/investigative/ despondent etc, personal prejudices?

He is usually pretty even-tempered and investigative and curious. He is willing to put in hard work to get the job done without complaining. Who would listen anyway? He does tend to get emotional when it comes to his dad. He gets angry if anybody puts him down and he gets frantic and distracted when he thinks he’s seen him. Also, due to a couple of years of picking through people’s garbage and catching cheaters, he does not have much faith that people are telling the truth.

Alignment, motivation and character flaws/needs

Dean is Neutral Good. He understands the law but, as a private detective, sometimes he has to bend the law to get the truth for his client. Still, he has never compromised his morals for money and he wants to do good in the world. His motivation is to do right by his father at first. Then, when the supernatural stuff starts happening, his goal is to either find or resurrect his father. He needs absolution from his guilt over his father’s death. He needs to know that he did everything to make it right. This leads to him being rather single-minded and sometimes pushing saving the world down the priority list.

What were the defining moments/events from their history?

The first defining moment was leaving his father’s detective business to try to be his own man. He needed to see what he was made of. The second defining moment was his father’s death which Dean believes happened because Dean wasn’t there to stop it. This led to him seeing his father’s ghost at times. Then, he himself died and was sent back in time to a strange land and tasked with saving the world.

Do they have any secrets? Who have they told, if anyone?

He sees the ghost of his father everywhere and he has told nobody about it, managing to keep it a secret even though it has consumed him. He also harbors intense guilt about the way his father died alone and would never tell anybody that. He also keeps the secrets of his clients very well.

Where are they from? Do they have relevant cultural associations/quirks? How patriotic & nationalistic are they?

He is from Boston but he has no special attachment with the place other than that is where he grew up. He was a white guy with no single point of heritage so there was no influencing culture there. He was a bit of an entertainment geek and he loved music and movies. He is not very patriotic. He believes in the system and in people helping each other but he has no great love for the government.

What was their childhood like?

Dean hated school, hated being pinned down and being talked at. Funny enough, he loved to learn but could not stand doing that while having to sit still. He played baseball with the neighborhood kids but really only did it so he wasn’t alone. His parents were elsewhere most of the time so he found their little home kind of lonely. He was always at somebody else’s house unless the rare family dinner actually occurred.

Who are their parents & siblings, and husband/wife/significant other?

His mother was Quinn Wyatt, former secretary for his father’s business. His father was Harrison Wyatt and he was a private detective and a tough guy. They were pillars of the community. Dean was an only child and never really dated anyone.

What are their major personal beliefs/ideologies?
1. People lie and do it well
2. People are basically good
3. Evil must be punished

When It All Ended Pt. 15

February 2, 2019

Morgan’s Raiders had circled the roof of the palace. The dragon Kanaaq suddenly appeared in the very center of the roof in human form thanks to the courage of the Princess. The dragon looked pissed, her eyes glowing a fierce green. So, it was with great courage that William Havelock walked toward the dragon, his sword and shield in his hands. The dragon gave him an arrogant smirk, hands on hips. It looked like she would have laughed had she not been so angry at being interrupted and torn from her makeshift lair. That laugh died somewhere in her throat and for a moment, wisps of green blew out of her nostrils and her skin shimmered as scales for a moment before returning to a perfect human form.

“Dragon!” William yelled. “I’m giving you one chance to fly away now before we kill you dead right here, right now.”

“Puny warrior,” Kanaaq said. “Run before I make a snack of you. Take your friends with you. I grant you your lives. Just this one chance.”

“Puny? I am William Havelock, the first Lion of Eloria!” William shouted, pointing his sword at the dragon. “We are Morgan’s Raiders and we will end you! Look around, the city is rising up against your followers. It’s all over.”

As if on cue, <C> the djinn flew by at top speed, fighting the Wyvern riders in the air. The djinn was making sport of it and that brought out Kanaaq’s rage yet again. “Come and try!” The dragon yelled and started to change shape.

To his credit, William did not flinch as the dragon began to tower ovewr him. The dragon breathed green gas into the air and started to tilt that spray down toward William. That was when Morgan herself let fly an arrow that hit the dragon in the throat. Then the battle began in earnest. Morgan’s Raiders were a practiced and experienced team. Morgan kept moving around the roof, sniping at the dragon and ocassionally shouting strategy. William stayed in the dragon’s face, trying to keep its attention and taking swipes with his sword. Cassandra tossed every spell at the dragon that she could remember, her hands and fingers a blur of constant motion and her lips constantly moving. Garth darted in and out and stabbed the dragon whenever its back was turned. Percival shouted constantly, his words healing his friends and hurting the dragon. Galath moved as fast as his short legs could carry him, trying to keep everybody healed and on their feet.

The team worked in concert, moving like nobody could unless they had worked together for a long time. As time went by, both the dragon and Morgan’s Raiders were injured. The battle raged on around the castle roof but neither the dragon or the adventurers had time to pay it any mind. Both sides had put their pieces on the board, they would have to trust that. The bloodied dragon started to lash out more desperately and the Raiders were heartened by what they correctly perceived as fear. The adventurers tried to hold on, ready to fight to the finish. In the end, the bloodied dragon was no longer seeing green, it was seeing pure red. She lunged at the frailest of Morgan’s Raiders, Cassandra but William stepped in between. Cassandra cast a spell reflexively and William grew to twice his size and grabbed hold of the dragon, keeping her from reaching Cassandra. Morgan shot an arrow below the dragon and vines stretched up and between the vines and William, the dragon was wrestled to the ground. Garth jumped from the tallest tower, bringing his dagger down hard into the back of the dragon’s head. The thing fought briefly but slumped to the stone, eyes rolling back into its head.

The Raiders stood there breathing hard, hardly believing their own victory. Then they turned to look out over the battle still raging around them. One by one they started shaking their heads. They had nothing left. They had just fought a dragon. They could barely stand much less join the battle around them. Then, a miracle occurred. The King’s forces muscled their way through the northern gates. Cassandra started to jump up and down and cheer and the rest of Morgan’s Raiders were all smiles as they watched the soldiers return to clean house. William walked over to the dragon and slowly dragged his sword across its throat, its poisonous blood gushing over the stone roof. Morgan gave him a look and William shrugged.

“Just to make sure,” William said. “How many times have we thought we killed something and it came back to try to kill us?”

“He makes a good point,” Percival said. “Though they’ll need more than a mop to clean up that mess.”

“I can only imagine what it looks like downstairs,” Garth said. He had been grinning as he admired his handiwork atop the dragon. The rest of Morgan’s Raiders felt that they would always be reminded by Garth that he had gotten the killing blow.

“Oh no!” We have to check on the Princess!” Cassandra shouted. “She might have been injured getting the dragon up here.”

“Let’s go down there then,” Galath said. “We need to help whoever we can.”

They searched and found some stairs and made their way down into the castle. The place was eerily quiet after the chaos of outside. The atmosphere felt strange. All over there were strange plants growing through the cracks in the stone of the castle. Garth watched one closely and William pulled him away just before it belched a little cloud of spores. They moved on, keeping their hands to themselves. Finally, they found what had to be the throne room and William and Galath worked together to muscle the door open. As soon as there was a gap big enough between the double doors, Cassandra made for it even though Morgan tried to shout for caution. Cassandra rushed into the room and thankfully there were no traps, no troops. The arrogant dragon had put everything outside of the castle. Instead, there was a shaken young woman sitting in the throne who got to her feet and readied a sword. When she saw Cassandra, Princess Cora broke down in tears and dropped the sword. She and Cassandra embraced as Morgan and Garth hurried into the room, followed by the rest. The Princess was sobbing but smiling with pure relief.

“It’s going to be alright, Princess,” Cassandra said. “We’re here.”

Galath moved to tend to the Princess’ wounds as Morgan’s Raiders established a perimeter and Cassandra comforted the exhausted princess.


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