Saturday, September 16, 2017

Actual Play: FATE Eagle Eyes: Herculaneum -- In the Shadow of Vesuvius Character Profile Aetius

NameAetius
High Aspect: ex-Mystery Cult assassin, orphaned by the Cult's High Priest
Trouble: Gnaeus Lucius, the Cult of Attis' High Priest, wants me dead
Ideal: my anonymity is my weapon
Petitio Videtur: I want to become untouchable
Virtus: The Right weapon at the right time

Approaches: Sneaky +3, Quick and Clever +2, Forceful and Careful +1, Flashy 0

Stunts:
  • Because My Anonymity is My Weapon, I get +2 when I Sneakily avoid being noticed.


In-Play Generated Aspects:
  • Even in the dark, I can find my way (Succeed with Style, 2 free invokes)


Fate Points: 3

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Actual Play: FATE Eagle Eyes: Herculaneum -- In the Shadow of Vesuvius Session 4

Here's the write-up for Session 4 of Eagle Eyes One-Shot that occurred Friday, September 23rd, 2016.

Dramatis Personae:
  • Sabin, a Resourceful Widow of a Rich Patrician (Played by R)
  • Prim, Sabin's slave (Played by J)
  • Cassius, a Devil-May-Care Poet (Played by W)
  • Aetius, a ex-Mysteries Cult Assassin (Played by A, not present)
  • Mystery Man, the Eagle's representative in Herculaneum and the PCs boss, called Quintus (a Equestrian) and Glaucus (a Patrician) by various folks
  • Pomptina, second wife of Kaeso, probably having an affair with Kaeso's son, Antonius
  • Antonius, son of Kaeso by his first wife
  • Gymnasia, Antonius' girlfriend
  • Senator Senex
  • Lycus, a rich guest at the party, unknown what he does, is he a official or a criminal?
  • Gallus, a friend of Prim's
  • Gloriosus, a slave who's 7'4" tall (played by Andre the Giant in the film version) who is a friend of Prim
  • Various guests, guards and servants
  • A tiger


The session begins with the tiger roaring through the house.

Sabin, knowing that Prim is in the secret tunnels, heads towards the tiger roaring, hoping that Prim is OK. Prim, escaped from the tunnels, is thinking the same thing about Sabin, so she heads back into the house.

But the crowd blocks her way. She spots a friend of hers, Gloriosus, a 7'4" tall slave. She convinces him to part the crowd for her and they go in search of Sabin.

Cassius is still busy with Gymnasia in one of the bedrooms so he pauses, briefly, and then ignores the sound.

Sabin passes through the Triclinium and meets a foppish nobleman who claims to have good creativity but all he does is talk. The other drunk diners laugh at the sound of the tiger.

Sabin is turning the corner towards where the tiger is and the bedrooms and Prim spots her from afar.

Aetius, carrying the naked Antonius, rushes through the Triclinium and crashes into Gloriosus, knocking himself down.

Sabin doesn't find the tiger, it's disappeared again, probably back into the secret tunnels.

Meanwhile, the drunk diners in the Triclinium call for Prim and Gloriosus to perform, so Gloriosus picks up the stunned Aetius and the unconscious naked Antonius and starts a grotesque manniquin play with them. Prim dances around them amid roars of laughter from the crowd.

Sabin turns back and watches the manniquin show with amusement.

Cassius looks out the door but doesn't see the tiger. He hears the crowd and gets jealous that he's not the center of attention.
He gets dressed and hurries out. Gymnasia, naked except for a sheet, follows.

In the Tricilinium, Cassius starts accompanying Gloriosus' manniquin play, helping the giant create a compelling story.

Gymnasia joins in and quickly loses her sheet, dancing with Prim around Gloriosus naked.

At that point, the tiger shows up and everyone freezes. The tiger looks fascinated at the weirdness going on.

Sabin uses her great beauty as well as being the center of attention to bring the tiger under her control and end the manniquin show with a wild cheer from the drunk crowd.

The tiger's owner quickly muzzles and leashes the tiger and the guests start heading home, saying that Pomptina's party was the best party ever!

The Mystery Man shows up, asks Prim if she accomplished her task. Prim hands over the fake ledger. He turns to Sabin and she hands over the real ledger. The Mystery Man turns to Cassius and commends him, saying "well done. I'll most likely kill you in the morning." Cassius isn't sure if he's joking.

Aetius shakes off the giant's hand and storms out, pissed that he was used as a puppet.

The Mystery Man smiles and says "come, children, let's go home" and leads the heroes out, just as dawn breaks and bathes them in a golden glow.

Gymnasia, still naked, snuggles up to the unconscious Antonius lying on the floor.

Lycus lies unconscious in a cell, somewhere in Herculenium, as the Mystery Man and his brutishly large companion look in on him. The Mystery Man says something along the lines of Sabin's drug did quite the job, we don't expect him to awake for many hours.

Cassius tries to chat up Sabin but she's been fooled once, and she's no fool.

The End.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Actual Play: FATE Eagle Eyes: Herculaneum -- In the Shadow of Vesuvius Character Profile Cassius

NameCassius Rex
High Aspect: Fools say otherwise, but I AM the Handsomest Performer to Walk these Streets
Trouble: I've charmed 100 women and Their Husbands Want Me Dead
Ideal: Play to the Calling of Your Heartstrings
Petitio Videtur: Everyone Will Know My Name
Virtus: My Performances Best Apollo Himself

Approaches: Flashy +3, Quick and Clever +2, Sneaky and Careful +1, Forceful 0

Stunts:
  • Because all the world is my stage, I get a +2 when I flashily create an advantage when all eyes are on me.
  • Because I am a Handsome Devil, I inflict a mild consequence (e.g. Charmed, distracted, besotted, etc.) on a woman when I invoke "Fools say otherwise, but I AM the Handsomest Performer to Walk these Streets"


In-Play Generated Aspects:
  • Keep 'em Laughing (Succeed with Style)
  • Earned Butler's enmity (1 free GM invoke due to succeed at minor cost)
  • Wide Open Spaces (for the Party) (Succeed with Style, 0 free invokes)


Fate Points: 3

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Actual Play: FATE Eagle Eyes: Herculaneum -- In the Shadow of Vesuvius Session 3

Here's the write-up for Session 3 of Eagle Eyes One-Shot that occurred Friday, September 9th, 2016.

Dramatis Personae:
  • Sabin, a Resourceful Widow of a Rich Patrician (Played by R)
  • Prim, Sabin's slave (Played by J)
  • Cassius, a Devil-May-Care Poet (Played by W)
  • Aetius, a ex-Mysteries Cult Assassin (Played by A, not present)
  • Mystery Man, the Eagle's representative in Herculaneum and the PCs boss, called Quintus (a Equestrian) and Glaucus (a Patrician) by various folks
  • Marcus Verus, brother-in-law of Sabin, murdered Sabin's husband and inherited everything, leaving Sabin and her child nothing
  • Octavia, Marcus' wife, had a relationship with Cassius
  • Kaeso, murdered Patrician Merchant
  • Pomptina, second wife of Kaeso, probably having an affair with Kaeso's son, Antonius
  • Antonius, son of Kaeso by his first wife
  • Gymnasia, Antonius' girlfriend
  • Kaeso's chief Butler
  • Senator Senex
  • Phillia, a widow and head of a powerful merchant house
  • Lycus, a rich guest at the party, unknown what he does, is he a official or a criminal?
  • Various guests, guards and servants
  • The tiger's owner
  • A tiger


The scene opens with Prim trying to escape through the secret passages in Kaeso's villa. She succeeds in escaping from the guards and servants and loses any pursuit in the passages.

Completely lost, she figures she's near the sleeping quarters and follows the sound of the party through the secret passages, eventually finding a secret door that dumps her out into the garden, screened by some potted plants and a palm tree.

As the secret door is closing, the tiger attacks and takes a swing at her but she avoids being hurt, knocking over the potted plants and gaining the attention of the party goers and the tiger's owner, who berates her loudly with "where is my tiger!?!?!" This brings Prim to the attention of Marcus Verus.

Marcus comes over and grabs Prim, demanding to know about Sabin. He starts beating her but Sabin arrives with Cassius and intervenes, not before Prim gets bloodied by the brute.

Sabin successfully embarrasses him in front of the other guests and in a rage he turns and sees his wife Octavia talking with Cassius, the man who had an affair with Octavia just a few months ago.

Filled with murderous intent, Marcus charges towards Cassius, who promptly fades into the crowd with Octavia and they disappear to have a private assignation.

Prim thanks Sabin for saving her from Marcus' brutality. Sabin, after a quick look at the ledger with the bribes and other payments in it, figures out three possible marks in the crowd: Senator Senex, Phillia (a widow and merchant who Sabin hopes to emulate) and Lycus, a rich man of mysterious occupation.

She realizes that Senator Senex is the most important and observes that Lycus is talking to him. Senex is looking very uncomfortable, like a man who thought his problems were over but now they are doubled.

As Sabin drifts through the crowd toward Senex, Lycus takes the Senator's toga (which Sabin sees have blood on them) and wanders off.

Prim decides to go back to the library to complete the job the Mystery Man gave her. After her beating, with a black eye she figures she's unrecognizable but she grabs the toga that Lycus sets down and heads into the house.

With her puffy, bruised face, she gets by the guards with no problem and encounters the servant she shut the library door on right outside the library. Expressing concern, she helps the servant to go rest elsewhere. The servant fails to recognize her and goes off.

Prim sneaks into the library, where Pomptina and her maid are still passed out and Kaeso is still dead. She rifles through the desk and finds the fake ledger that Sabin left behind. She realizes that this is the ledger to show the taxman or a city official to fool them. She pockets it and tries to leave.

Meanwhile, Cassius and Octavia are having sex in one of the bedrooms in the villa when Marcus bursts in with a sword, intent on killing the poet. Cassius escapes into the secret passages by the skin of his teeth and exits into one of the other bedrooms, where he, buck naked except for a lute, encounters the tiger's owner. 

Boldly Cassius greets the tiger's owner, as Gymnasia, Antonius' girlfriend and also naked, walks into the bedroom. The tiger's owner, confused about what's going on, leaves. Cassius charms Gymnasia with his good looks, nakedness and lute.

Meanwhile, Sabin approaches Senator Senex and he spills the beans: he killed Kaeso because Kaeso was blackmailing him. Now he fears that Lycus will also blackmail him. Sabin convinces the senator that she has friends who can help him and bundles him off to her villa outside the city, escorted with her guards who have orders not to let the senator leave.

Prim hides in the library when she hears people outside the library door, fearing they will come in. She hides herself among the unconscious Pomptina and her maid, until she decides to bluff her way out.

Prim opens the door to the library and boldy walks out, right into a servant telling her friend Gallus all about Pomptina's fascination with peas, green peas, yellow peas, and the various sauces for them.

Sabin notices that Lycus is looking around for the toga that Prim took and approaches him with a goblet of knock-out drugged wine. He foolishly drinks it and drops unconscious for a good 14 or 15 hours. Sabin summons the Chief Butler and asks him to have some servants take Lycus to sleep it off.

Gallus tries to escape the peas-talking servant by getting Prim involved in the conversation but both are soon trapped by the boring servant. Several guards come up and Prim and Gallus manage to switch places with them, leaving the guards to talk peas with the servant. As they walk away, they hear one of the guards talking about how much he likes peas. Prim offers up one final bit of pea advice: a nice butter sauce, before escaping.

The Chief Butler orders his servants to take Lycus to the bedrooms and they open the first bedroom door, to find a sword stuck in the wall and Marcus making violent love to Octavia, his wife.

They kick the door shut and move to the next bedroom, where they find Cassius making love to Gymnasia. The other servant kicks that door shut and they move on to the third bedroom.

Opening the door, they are startled when Aetius comes charging out with a naked Antonius over his shoulder, hotly pursued by the tiger. The two servants drop Lycus and run like hell away, as the final visual shot is the tiger roaring over the unconscious body of Lycus.

One more session to wrap it up!

Friday, September 8, 2017

Actual Play: FATE Eagle Eyes: Herculaneum -- In the Shadow of Vesuvius Character Profile Prim

Name: Primula AKA Prim
High Aspect: Slave trying to buy her own freedom
Trouble: Queasy Stomach
Ideal: Out of sight out of mind
Petitio Videtur: When I'm Rich I'll Be A Better Person
Virtus: Friends around every corner

Approaches: Sneaky +3, Careful and Clever +2, Forceful and Quick +1, Flashy 0

Stunts:
  • Because I'm a slave and no one pays attention to me get +2 to sneaky in situations where slaves are not unusual


In-Play Generated Aspects:
  • Familiar with Kaeso Bucculeius Silanus Estate's Layout (0 free invokes) but Marcus Verus is at the party
  • Too much out of place (negative aspect)
  • Bloodied (minor consequence, negative aspect)
  • Disguise (Success with Style, 1 free invokes)


Fate Points: 4

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Actual Play: FATE Eagle Eyes: Herculaneum -- In the Shadow of Vesuvius Session 2

Here's the write-up for Session 2 of the Eagle Eyes One-Shot that occurred Friday, August 26th, 2016.

Dramatis Personae:
  • Sabin, a Resourceful Widow of a Rich Patrician (Played by R)
  • Cassius, a Devil-May-Care Poet (Played by W)
  • Aetius, a ex-Mysteries Cult Assassin (Played by A)
  • Prim, Sabin's slave (Played by J but absent this episode)
  • Mystery Man, the Eagle's representative in Herculaneum and the PCs boss, called Quintus (a Equestrian) and Glaucus (a Patrician) by various folks
  • Kaeso, murdered Patrician Merchant
  • Pomptina, second wife of Kaeso, probably having an affair with Kaeso's son, Antonius
  • Antonius, son of Kaeso by his first wife
  • Kaeso's chief Butler
  • Various guests, guards and servants
  • A tiger


The session begins with Cassius and Sabin at the party. Sabin makes herself the center of attention to better control Pomptina, since she lost track of Kaeso. Cassius makes himself the center of attention as well, keeping the audience laughing.

Both hearing the shout for "Guards! Guards! The master has been murdered!"

Pomptina is freaking out because guards with bared swords are running through her party, ruining it and dashing her hope for social elevation. She isn't understanding that her husband has been killed.

Sabin takes the opportunity to ingratiate herself more into Pomptina's companionship and sticks to her like glue. A servant comes and tells Pomptina that the master, her husband, has been murdered. Pomptina is in shock and doesn't understand what's going on.

Sabin asserts control, as a patrician, over the servant and has him take them to the head butler, who is standing outside the library with guards and the servant brained by Prim. There is no sign of Prim and the servant can't say who brained him.

Sabin takes over and gives orders to the butler, who isn't sure who's in charge, Sabin or Pomptina, but Sabin wins and he promptly orders the guards to search for the assassin while following Sabin's orders to protect the guests by having them move the party to the garden to see the performing tiger.

Cassius is still entertaining the audience when the butler arrives and starts giving orders. Cassius gets his way with the butler but earns undying enmity as a result. He then spends some time making sure the party is split into smaller groups so that there is more space to sneak around in.

Flashback: Aetius is an assassin for the Attis Mystery Cult. His boss, Gnaeus Lucius, the Cult of Attis' High Priest, orders him to kill a former cult member who didn't like how Gnaeus was treating his riches as if they were his own. Gnaeus has been acting more and more erratic over the past few weeks and, while Aetius has been told to kill enemies of the cult, this is the first time he's been told to kill a former cult member. Aetius is told to make it look like an accident and so he stalks the former cult member. 

When the former cult member's family goes to a party a week later without him, Aetius sneaks in the house and tries to kill him. It goes completely pear-shaped. The former cult member is a knife fighter par excellence and beats Aetius like a punching bag, forcing Aetius to kill him in a bloody, murderous way before escaping.

That blows Gnaeus' plans to get the former cult member's family back in the fold (as well as their riches) all to hell and the family accuse Gnaeus of his murder. Aetius, battered and stabbed, is told to meet at a place where he expects Gnaeus to have him killed. He instead goes to see his parents and finds them killed by Gnaeus' men. Aetius is discovered by his parents neighbors, who assume he killed them, so a mob forms, lead by the Cohortes Urbani (city watchmen), and they chase him.

Aetius runs down a narrow alley and is blocked by the mountainous man seen in previous flashbacks. With scant seconds to spare ahead of the mob, the walking mountain grabs Aetius and pushes him through a door to temporary safety.

The room is dark until the Mystery Man lights a candle and explains the circumstances to Aetius. Aetius is recruited to the Eagles and over the next few months he does some jobs here and there, not always killing, but often making sure accidents happen that have some sort of effect that the Mystery Man wants. He lives on an estate outside of Herculaneum and notices that Sabin is brought there and becomes the mistress of the estate. He also notes Prim's arrival.

Back to the Present: Aetius is told by Mystery Man to show up at the party and be prepared to do a deed. He witnesses Sabin become the center of the party and Cassius playing his instrument. When the screaming starts, Mystery Man brings him down an empty corridor and shows him a secret passage, telling him to grab Kaeso's son Antonius, alive.

He promptly gets lost in the secret passages in the mansion.

Sabin, now alone with Pomptina, brings her into the room with the corpse of Kaeso to see what's going on. Pomptina sees the dead body and faints, and a handmaiden starts fanning her while Sabin sends the other one to get smelling salts. 

Cassius, wanting to know what's going on, goes to where he heard the screaming start and sees the library door partially open. Sabin, momentarily not stuck with Pomptina, proceeds to riffle through the library's desk as Cassius sees her through the partially open door.

Sabin finds two sets of books, one with a red cover the real one with names, dates, amounts and why payments were made, and the other, with a brown cover and embossed with a crown, with the fake bookkeeping. Kaeso was stupid and didn't put anything in code. Sabin hides the red book on her person.
Aetius is lost and can't find his way to find Antonius and stumbles through a secret door into the library, at the same time that Cassius, intrigued by the beautiful Sabin, walks into the library and quietly closes the door behind him. The secret door closes behind Aetius.

The three look at each other and Sabin pulls a dagger, expecting trouble. At the sight of possible violence, the handmaiden, who is fanning the unconscious Pomptina, faints.

The three are startled when Mystery Man opens the secret door Aetius came through and addresses each of them. To Aetius, he says "I thought I told you to get Antonius." To Sabin "Where is your slave Prim and what are you doing here?" and to Cassius "Aren't you supposed to be distracting the guests?" He rounds out his queries with an appeal to the gods "What the hell am I paying you three for?!?!?!" then disappears back into the secret passages.

Realizing that they are all Eagles, they get back to work. Aetius goes back into the secret passages and finds where Antonius is -- he's in a room in the mansion, having sex with his girlfriend. When she steps into the bathroom to clean up, Aetius quickly jumps in the room, subdues the naked Antonius and drags him into the secret passage. The girlfriend, thinking he ran off after having his fun, gets pissed and goes off in a huff.

Cassius and Sabin head to the party and introduce each other. Cassius charms Sabin with his handsome demeanor, putting her off her guard. In the gardens, they learn that the tiger is missing.

Meanwhile, Aetius, carrying a naked Antonius through the secret passages, hears the tiger roaring in the secret passages but can't figure out where it is! Sabin also hears the tiger loose in the mansion!

Session 2 ends with a tiger on the loose!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Actual Play: FATE Eagle Eyes: Herculaneum -- In the Shadow of Vesuvius Character Profile Sabin

NameSabin (Suh-bean) Verus (Were-rus)
High Aspect: Resourceful foreign widow of murdered patrician
Trouble: Brother in law killed my husband and took his property
Ideal: Only to those who deserve it
Petitio Videtur: Rome owes me my rights
Virtus: The poison's in the pudding

Approaches: Clever +3, Flashy and Sneaky +2, Careful and Quick +1, Forceful 0

Stunts:
  • Because I used to be married to a merchant I create an advantage when wheeling and dealing.


In-Play Generated Aspects:
  • Beautiful yet Foreign outfit (Succeed with Style, 2 free invokes)
  • Promptina's Bestie (Success, 1 free invoke)
  • Center of the Party (Success, 1 free invoke)
  • Stuck on like glue (Success, 1 free invoke)
  • I spot the mark (Succeed with Style, 1 free invokes)
  • Tiger at your feet (Success, 1 free invoke)


Fate Points: 3

Monday, September 4, 2017

Actual Play: FATE Eagle Eyes: Herculaneum -- In the Shadow of Vesuvius Session 1

Here's the write-up for Session 1 of the Eagle Eyes One-Shot that occurred Friday, August 12th, 2016.

Dramatis Personae:
  • Sabin, a Resourceful Widow of a Rich Patrician (Played by R)
  • Prim, Sabin's slave (Played by J)
  • Cassius, a Devil-May-Care Poet (Played by W)
  • Mystery Man, the Eagle's representative in Herculaneum and the PCs boss, called Quintus (a Equestrian) and Glaucus (a Patrician) by various folks
  • Marcus, brother-in-law of Sabin, murdered Sabin's husband and inherited everything, leaving Sabin and her child nothing
  • Various nobles, guards, gladiators and crowds of common folk at the coliseum
  • Kaeso, Patrician Merchant
  • Pomptina, second wife of Kaeso, probably having an affair with Kaeso's son, Antonius
  • Antonius, son of Kaeso by his first wife
  • Gallus, a slave, friend of Prim
  • Various party guests, guards and servants
  • A performing bear
  • A tiger


Flashback several months: Scene where Sabin is recruited into the Eagles by the Mystery Man and his brutish bodyguard, 4 months after Sabin's husband is murdered. Sabin is promised quarters as befits her station and a reasonable fiction that a friend of her late husband provides the estate as friendship to his memory.

Flashback several months: Scene where Marcus, Sabin's Brother-in-Law, sends Prim to spy on Sabin. Along the way, Prim is waylaid by the same Mystery Man and his brutish bodyguard. Prim is recruited into the Eagles in much the same way.

Sabin at her new digs, a fine estate on the outskirts of Herculeneum, doing small jobs for her mysterious benefactor, talking to people here and there, gaining info for the Mystery Man.

Mystery man shows up after recruiting Prim, and stays long enough for Prim to arrive and to establish himself as a force to be reckoned with.

Back at the Present: 3.5 months later, Mystery Man invites Sabin (and by extension Prim) to the Arena in a private box.

While walking through coliseum, where they observe that the Mystery Man is called Quintus (a Equestrian) and Glaucus (a Patrician) by various folks. Quintus is a partier, Glaucus more staid, a gentleman farmer.

At the games, they meet Kaeso Salinus and his much younger second wife Pomptina (who is probably having an affair with Kaeso's son). They are invited to a party at Kaeso's house.

Sabin gets into a conflict with Pomptina, winning gloriously, and Prim, seeing a gladiator die horribly, promptly gets sick on Pomptina's dress and her maid, adding to the embarrassment that Pomptina experienced with Sabin.

During the events at the coliseum, Prim runs into Gallus, a slave scribe who is good at "cooking the books". She finds out that Quintus is a horrible gambler that looses a lot to Gallus' master. He speculates that the losses are bribes but nah, can't be that.

The show over, they leave the arena and Sabin wants to know why they are going to the party, Mystery Man says he wants her to watch Kaeso and report who he is meeting with. Mystery Man says he wants Prim to break into Kaeso's library and riffle the desk for documents. 

Flashback several months: Scene where Cassius is being chased by thugs from an unhappy cuckolded husband. A timely intervention by the same Mystery Man and his brutish bodyguard leads to Cassius recruited into the Eagles.

Back at the Present: Mystery Man arranges for Cassius to entertain the party and wants Cassius to be prepared to create a distraction with "Hey, everyone LOOK AT ME!!!!"

Sabin prepares a wonderful outfit and when they arrive at the party, makes nice with Pomptina, becoming her Besties. As Sabin watches Kaeso, Mystery Man trips a waiter and in the ensuing crash which attracts everyone's attention, Prim escapes and heads to the library.

In a well-lit corridor, outside the library she hears people arguing then two loud thumps. She goes in and finds Kaeso dead with a dagger in him and promptly throws up on the desk, triggering a secret passage to open in the bookshelf as she grips the desk to steady herself.

A servant, hearing the noise, enters the room and finds Prim and the dead Kaeso and raises the alarm. Prim brains him with the library door as guards rush down the corridor. She leaps for the secret passage and closes it as they bust through the door.

Session 1 ends with a dead body! An escaping slave! And "Guards! Guards!" being shouted throughout the house!

Friday, September 1, 2017

Actual Play: FATE Eagle Eyes: Herculaneum -- In the Shadow of Vesuvius Set-Up

The year is 832 since the Founding of Rome. Titus Flavius Caesar Vespasianus Augustus is the Emperor, the 10th to hold that noble title. He was crowned just this past June.

Since the rise of the Empire, the Eagles, secret agents of the Senate, have not faired well. Ignored by Augustus, they became a vicious tool of Tiberius, after his Praetorian Guard Prefect Sejanus became the patrician representative among the Sinistram. Sejanus used the Eagles to further his designs until his downfall in 784.

They wallowed in obscurity, from the end of Tiberius' reign all the way through that of Caligula's, but gained new life under Claudius. When Nero ignored them yet again, the Senate saw an opportunity to steal them back, despite their weakened political power. The way they did so was as bloody as it was decisive--few survived that great purge and it is still talked about in hushed tones even now, 25 years later. When re-formed later that year, the Eagles went further underground until few whispers of them remained.

The year of Four Emperors had little effect on them, as did the reign of Vespasian. There are rumors among the Eagles that Titus was one of them and that his petitio videtur was the Imperial Throne but few believe it. What is known is that a new emperor can spell increased imperial infringement and a loss of power in the Senate. The Eagles sit upon a precipice and the future is uncertain.

The story begins in Herculaneum, a rich city south of Rome, that lies in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius. The mountain has been smoking lately. Is that some foretelling future displeasure of the divine?

The Eagles have a station in the city, to watch the wealthy and plebians alike. This morning, a body turned up. A very important body or at least one important to the Senate.

There is a saying in Rome: Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad. What other offense will the Eagles stir up?


In 2016, ran a four-episode one-shot of Evil Hat's Eagle Eyes setting on Roll20 with four players and wrote up the session notes. Enjoy!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

[Blog] New Gaming Interview Blog - Otyugh Talk!



Hey Folks,

It's been a while since I've posted. Don't worry, this blog isn't going to blog-fade. I've been pretty busy with some things, including starting a new gaming interview blog called Otyugh Talk.

I plan to interview gamers, artists, game designers and podcasters, in a short interview style.

Check it out!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

[Savage Worlds] Alternate Hindrances


I'm a big fan of Savage Worlds and am more than willing to mix it up with the rules a bit.

I picked up a little indie game called The Shadow of Yesterday by Clinton R. Nixon a long time ago and, while I've never played it, I've looked it over.

The Shadow of Yesterday uses a technique called Keys that allow players to reward themselves for doing things they want to do during play.


Clinton also used Keys in another game called Sweet 20 and published it under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, allowing anyone who follows the same license to use and modify the rules.

So that's what I'm going to do, modify it for Savage Worlds.

A common refrain I've heard is that Savage Worlds Hindrances have the same problem as other point-based systems (like GURPS Disadvantages)–what is to make the player play the Hindrances during the game that they've chosen at character generation? 

What if, instead of these standard but bland Hindrances, the player instead choses something that rewards him with immediate in-game rewards for behaving a certain way?

Exit Hindrances. Enter Keys. 

Keys are the motivations, problems, connections, duties, and loyalties that pull on your character. To the player, they're highly important because they generate Bennies. Creating new Keys may be easier than new Abilities or Secrets–they follow very simple rules.


A Key must involve a motivation, problem, connection, duty, or loyalty.


Keys come in two types:


A. Motivations. When the motivation is fulfilled in play, gain a Bennie. When the motivation is fulfilled against good odds, gain three Bennies.


B. Everything else. When the Key comes up in play, gain a Bennie. When the Key presents a minor problem, gain two Bennies. When it presents a major problem, gain five Bennies.


C. All Keys have a Buyoff, which is a reversal from the Key by the character. All Buyoffs give the character 10 Bennies. This Buyoff occurs only when you, the player, wants it to happen: you can lose a battle with the Key of Bloodlust and still keep the Key. If you want your character to undergo a change in her personality, though, adding to the story, you can take this Buyoff by fulfilling it. If you do take the Buyoff, you can never take this Key again. When a Buyoff is taken, the player has to choose another Key to replace it.


It is up to the GM to determine whether one Key is equivalent to one Major and two Minor Hindrances, limiting each PC to one Key. Or one Key is equivalent to one Major or two Minor Hindrances, thereby allowing each PC to choose two Keys.

As always, see the pre-made Keys to get a feel for creating your own.


1. Key of Bloodlust: Your character enjoys overpowering others in combat. Gain 1 Bennie every time your character defeats someone in battle. Gain 3 Bennies for defeating someone equal to or more powerful than your character (equal or higher combat skill.) Buyoff: Be defeated in battle.


2. Key of ConscienceYour character has a soft spot for those weaker than their opponents. Gain 1 Bennie every time your character helps someone who cannot help themselves. Gain 2 Bennies every time your character defends someone with might who is in danger and cannot save themselves. Gain 5 Bennies every time your character takes someone in an unfortunate situation and changes their life to where they can help themselves. Buyoff: Ignore a request for help.

3. Key of the CowardYour character avoids combat like the plague. Gain 1 Bennie every time your character avoids a potentially dangerous situation. Gain 3 Bennies every time your character stops a combat using other means besides violence. Buyoff: Leap into combat with no hesitation.

4. Key of FaithYour character has a strong religious belief that guides her. Gain 1 Bennie every time she defends her faith to others. Gain 2 Bennies whenever this character converts someone to her faith. Gain 5 Bennies whenever this character defends her faith even though it brings her great harm. Buyoff: Your character renounces her beliefs.

5. Key of FraternityYour character has someone she is sworn to, a friend who is more important than anyone else. Gain 1 Bennie every time this character is present in a scene with your character (maximum 3 per adventure). Gain 2 Bennies whenever your character has to make a decision that is influenced by them. Gain 5 Bennies every time your character defends them by putting herself at risk. Buyoff: Sever the relationship with this person.

6. Key of Glittering GoldYour character loves wealth. Gain 1 Bennie every time you make a deal that favors you in wealth. Gain 3 Bennies every time you double your wealth. Buyoff: Give away everything you own except what you can carry lightly.

7. Key of the GuardianYour character has a ward, someone who depends on her for security and protection. Gain 1 Bennie every time this character is present in a scene with your character. Gain 2 Bennies whenever your character has to make a decision that is influenced by them. Gain 5 Bennies every time your character rescues them from harm. Buyoff: Sever the relationship with this person.

8. Key of the ImpostorSometimes your entire life is a lie. You gain 1 Bennie whenever you pass yourself off as someone/something you're not. You gain 2 Bennies whenever you convince others in spite of serious skepticism. You gain 5 Bennies whenever your story survives a deliberate, focused, "Hey everybody, look!" attempt to reveal your identity. Buyoff: Confess your imposture to those duped.

9. Key of the MasochistYour character thrives on personal pain and suffering. Gain 1 Bennie every time she is bloodied (at half HPs) and 3 Bennies every time she is broken (at 1 HP). Buyoff: Flee a source of physical or psychic damage.

10. Key of the MissionYour character has a personal mission that she must complete. Gain 1 Bennie every time she takes action to complete this mission (2 Bennies if this action is successful.) Gain 5 Bennies every time she takes action that completes a major part of this mission. Buyoff: Abandon this mission.

11. Key of the OutcastYour character has lost fellowship or membership in an organization - which could just be a culture, or a specific cross-cultural group. This separation defines your character as much as membership in the organization defines its members. Gain 1 Bennie every time her status with this organization comes up. Gain 2 Bennies every time her disassociation brings her harm. Gain 5 Bennies every time the separation brings your character great pain and suffering. Buyoff: Regain membership in the organization.

12. Key of Renown"You must be the worst assassin I've ever heard of." "But you have heard of me." You gain 1 Bennie whenever you see to it that your name and deeds are known, by bragging about them or making sure there are witnesses. You gain 2 Bennies whenever you put yourself at risk to do something unnecessary or foolish that will add to your reputation. You gain 5 Bennies whenever you risk your life to take credit for your actions (bragging that you were the one who killed the Duke's son, for example.). Buyoff: Give someone else credit for an action that would increase your renown.

13. Key of PowerYou don't even care what you do with it, you just want it. You gain 1 Bennie whenever you earn a boon from someone important, earn a slight gain in prestige, or make a rival look bad. You gain 3 Bennies whenever you ruin, kill, or otherwise eliminate a rival, and improve your own position because of it. Buyoff: Relinquish your power and position.


14. Key of VengeanceYour character has a hatred for a particular organization, person, or even species or culture. Gain 1 Bennie every time your character hurts a member of that group or a lackey of that person. Gain 2 Bennies every time your character strikes a minor blow at that group or person (killing a member of the organization or one of the person's lackeys, disrupting their life, destroying their property). Gain 5 Bennies every time your character strikes a major blow at that group or person. Buyoff: Let your enemy go.

15. Key of the VowYour character has a vow of personal behavior that she has sworn not to break. This could be a dietary restriction, a requirement to pray at sunbreak every morning, or something else like that. Gain 1 Bennie for every adventure in which your character does not break this vow. Gain 2 Bennies every time your character does not break this vow even though it causes her minor harm or inconvenience. Gain 5 Bennies every time your character does not break this vow even though it causes her great harm. Buyoff: Break this vow.


Thursday, November 28, 2013

Enjoy Your Turkey Day!

I'm spending the day with family (or in Ankara, whichever is more likely).

Have a happy Turkey day! 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

[Resources] The Tyranny of Distance


The Tyranny of Distance: How Distance Shaped Australian History (1966) by Geoffry Blainey, explored how the vast distance between Great Britain and Australia shaped Australia's past, present and future, and cultural identity and attitudes.

When I first heard of this book a few years ago, I immediately became interested. However, my local library does not have this book available so I'll have see if I can get it from inter-library loan.

The book has piqued my interested because many science fiction stories posit a vast, star-spanning empire that has FTL ships and huge navies to protect it's colonies, very similar to the wooden ships of England's Royal Navy. Yet many of these stories also posit an ever-present enforcement when the sheer vastness of space requires the empire's ships to traverse these great distances to these far-flung colonies. It's no surprise that many stories explore issues related to rebellion and unrest.

A favorite set of novels of mine is the Hyperion Cantos by Dan Simmons. I think that these books do a good job of dealing with the distances by expressing them in "time-debt." Sure, the books have jump gates (or the equivalent) but even with them, distances take months and even years to travel, creating a relativistic time-debt.

I used to think that Traveller's Jump 1 spaceships were annoying, jumping one hex at a time, travelling for a week to get to each location, refuel there then do it again, from system to system. But it should have been a bit more than that, more far flung.

It's something to think about when, instead of getting there days later, you get there years and decades later. What changes will occur while your gone, in both your origin and in your destination?

After all, space travel is not simply driving down the street to the store a half-mile away to get milk........

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

[Resources] Copyright


I'm not a lawyer nor do I play one on TV. But I write stuff. 

And sometimes that stuff is really good, so I have found it necessary to protect my work. If you feel the same, so should you.

A few years ago I found this very simple website called The Copyright Authority

It's got a brief flowchart on copyright and some links to music copyright and choosing a lawyer.

Another resource is the Creative Commons website. It allows you to choose what you want to do with your art, whether to share it freely or to clamp down on what others can use it for.

For Asshat Paladins, I've chosen the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license, which requires anyone who uses my content to attribute me as the original author (Attribution), disallows using my content for financial gain (Non Commercial) and requires they use the same license (Share Alike).

While it may only be as good as I can afford to defend it, it's at least a start. At least until the copyright zombie apocalypse!