Thursday, March 30, 2017

The Flute of Ymir [gaming recap]

My daughter wanted me to run a Bash! session just for the younger members of the group.  She likes her PC, the Lioness, who happens to be a trained martial artist tasked with hunting a group of supernatural villains (similar to Daredevil or Iron Fist from the MCU, or Sara Lance from Legends of Tomorrow).  So, what fun high-stakes adventure with mystical overtones can I possible reconfigure for a superhero episode?

I went with arguably the greatest episode of The Real Ghostbusters animated television show, "Ragnarok and Roll."

Jilted boyfriend turned supervillain Jeremy.
If you need the rationale as to why "Ragnarok and Roll" is one of the best episodes, this blog post does a good job making the case.  Fun side note: it was written by James Michael Straczynski, who would go onto do Babylon 5.  I went with the general skeleton of the plot: morbidly depressed Jeremy decides to use a magical flute to not summon Ragnarok (as in the cartoon), but Fimblevintr, the ice age that is supposed to precede Ragnarok.  I also went ahead and fleshed out the Norse mythology by having the Flute belong to Ymir the frost giant, and had Jeremy able to summon frost demons and ice trolls, rather than just ghosts and gargoyles.

The rest of the plot tracked with the episode: the heroes fight some flunky monsters, notice a pattern to their location, meet the girlfriend Jenny, and head off to stop Jeremy from plunging the Earth into frozen chaos.  Rather than just dogpile onto Jeremy, the Lioness manages with some jammy dice rolling to disarm Jeremy, knocking the flute free, and then talking him down from his plans to destroy the world.

The big bad guy reveal at the end wasn't some bodiless head, however, but rather a mysterious sorceress named Rune, who leads a group of ninja ghost warriors called the Phantom Beasts, who just happens to be the group the Lioness is tasked with fighting.  BIG emotional payoff for my daughter and the rest of the group for realizing that, for the first time in the campaign, they have saved the world.

"Sorceress Ryth" by liiga, a fair representation of Rune
One of the joys of gaming with teenagers is that they have not seen a single episode of many of the cartoons that shaped my childhood, allowing me to plunder at will!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

The soundtrack of my life these days

So, a couple of months ago, everything shifted.  Some of it was well and goodly expected and some of it wasn't dreamed of.  But in a very short order practically every major relationship in my life changed: my spouse, my kids, my friends, the people with whom I work, and the people whom I serve in my work.

Now lest this seem like some kind of pathos-ridden post, a lot of those changes were positive.  The last couple of months have seen my grow and helped me discover a lot about who I am.  But it has been a huge struggle, and some things have taken a real hit, like the amount of time and mental energy I have to dedicate to my hobbies.  I moved away from my basement where I keep all my paint and miniatures and plaster and gaming books.  I'll move back there, probably in another month or two, but in the meantime all that has lain fallow.  I think it is pretty noteworthy accomplishment that I've been running three or four gaming sessions in that time, and that they have been well received.

Anyways, I read in an article a while ago someone talking about how she had created a sort of "greatest hits" list for herself during her own divorce, a go-to list of music that could help inspire her.  That seemed like an interesting idea, and over the past few months I've been compiling my own list of music that I can pop onto Youtube and listen to whenever I need it, and I thought I'd share a couple.

First, my "get rolling when things start to drag" song.

"Move" by Saint Motel

Second, my "time to be a badass" song.


"Take Me Down" by The Pretty Reckless

My "time to think about things" song.  At some point I'll run a campaign with this as its theme song.

"Sweet Dreams" by Emily Browning

My "emotional catharsis" song


"Fooled Around and Fell in Love" by Elvin Bishop

My "time to rally from your emotional catharsis" song

"Deep Dark Wells" by Joe Pugg

Finally, my "if all else fails, blow out the windows" song


"Hello" (Adele cover) by Leo Moracchioli








Monday, March 6, 2017

Enter the Miscreants!

I haven't been doing much on this blog for lots of reasons (including major life changes), but it isn't as if I am doing nothing all this time.

My gaming group played their third session of the game Bash! a few weeks ago, a game session that introduced an mysterious NPC group of metahumans (aka the Miscreants), an evil corporation (Kort Technologies, which only now I realize sounds like the Blue Beetle's Kord Technologies.  Damn.), and a handful of villains including Hot Rox, Brute, and Gunfire.

Gunfire is the latest NPC swiped from the book The League of Unfortunate Superheroes, the first entry from their modern section.  Gunfire was a DC comics character, part of the company's desperate attempt to catch up with Image and the Iron Age of comics with their "Bloodlines" event that introduced a slew of violently-named gritty "heroes."


Gunfire had the curious ability to shoot energy blasts from any object, meaning he could turn a wooden mallet (shown above), a teapot, or frankly anything but his actual body into a gun.  I'm kind of curious if the gloves of his super-spiffy disco spaceknight costume could have qualified.

Anyways, he was a fun 90's stereotype NPC villain to add to the game, and major pain for the heroes to bring down.  The players had a terrible night for dice rolling, so the villains made a much better showing of it than they should have.

Plot was pretty straightforward: a bunch of teen metahumans escape from a facility, rob a gas station for food and cash, and then head into the campaign city.  The PC's investigate the robbery (clearly the work of superpowered beings) and then split into two groups: one to follow the thieves into town, the other to backtrack to see where they came from.  This lead to a "splitting the party" situation of which I'm always a little leery, but at least it took a huge group of players and broke them into two fairly manageable sizes.

In the future I'm hoping to run multiple sessions a month and only have part of the group at each session, but that requires a bigger output of gaming than I seem capable of right now, so we'll have to see.

Getting caught up on things