Friday, April 30, 2010

[Cat by John Wick] Bumble

Human Name: Bumble aka Col. Yukon Bumble Cornelius, Royal Fusiliers, Retired
Cat Name: What was the question?
Secret Name: Yeah, sure, he'd tell me.

Claws: Good (3)
Coat: Strong (4)
Face: Strong (4)
Fangs: Good (3)
Legs: Strong (4)
Tail: Best (5)

Player (3)
Purr Bucket (2)
Footwarmer (1)
Food Sneak (1)

Lives: 9

Thursday, April 29, 2010

[Aftermath!] The D.C. Campaign: Cathedral Camarilla

Cathedral Camarilla ("The Vampires")

Location: Washington National Cathedral, Washington, D.C. Located in the crypts below the National Cathedral, between Woodley Road NW and Garfield Street NW, and Wisconsin Avenue NW and 34th Street.

Population: 25
Military Strength: 25
Military Resources: Few small arms, mostly hand weapons, bows and crossbows.

Treaties: None.

Enemies: Everyone.

Resources: Themselves.

Trade: They do some trading, posing as gang members or a Free Company, in order to acquire cattle or slaves.

General Reaction: -25 (did you expect something different?)

Background: Vampirism is the result of radiation and bio-contamination and these are the only organized vampires in the city. Their continued survival in the face of overwhelming odds is a testament to their far reaching leader, known only as "The Old One" (actually, a former photocopy repairman named Blaine Smith).

Thier community remains hidden during the daytime and there is little fear of discovery as the area around the cathedral has an unhealthy reputation as a danger zone but the vampires are on constant watch. They keep a small larder of slaves or captured loners as well as some cattle in order to feed, but spend most of their time raiding for slaves under one guise or another during the long hours of the night.

They have recently started using the cathedral in new and depraved inhuman bloody sacrificial rites. Several other communities are starting to take notice, not realizing that there are vampires loose in the city, thinking one of the other, more violent and mad communities are responsible. The Agency would be very interested in capturing one of these mutants (if only to replicate this "new power" as a weapon).

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

[Cat by John Wick] Charley

Human Name: Charley aka Charles Aloysius Wellington Midnight
Cat Name: That's for him to know and me to find out.
Secret Name: Do you honestly think he'd tell me?

Claws: Strong (4)
Coat: Strong (4)
Face: Strong (4)
Fangs: Good (3)
Legs: Best (5)
Tail: Good (3)

Puzzlemaster (3)
Hanging Leap (2)
Unseen (1)
Flirt (1)

Lives: 9

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

[Savage Worlds] Gamma World, Session 3: Finale!

The Mutant Buddhas met again at Games and Gizmos in Redmond, Washington, last Friday. CR returned playing Rose the two-headed mutant, BB cam back as Artie the lizardy mutant, KW and BW reprised their roles of Riff the Warrior and Briar the Thief/Technologist, and new member MW played Jeremiah the Florintine Fighter. Unfortunately, CS and CB were unable to attend.

After a quick reprise of the previous two sessions, the game started with a fight with mutants! The group quickly came to order, fighting through the mutants and taking little damage. Unfortunately, close proximity to the mutants prompted another round of radiation sickness, with Artie's head growing larger and able to read the giant Lizard/Robot's mind.

With the giant Lizard/Robot wandering the city, being able to "hear" it's thoughts brought some measure of security to the group - they'd have a chance to avoid the giant rampaging creature because Artie could sense it was near.

The party continued to sneak through the ruined city, avoiding several roving bands of mutants, on their way to a lab they received directions to from the green glowcube high-tech device from last session.

While traveling to this lab, they spotted several strange vehicles approaching them on the road. Two were convertibles with wheels (a Cadillac and a Lincoln) and the other was a covered hover car with opaque windows. Driving the vehicles were silvery jumpsuit-clad Androids, former servants of the Ancients but also betrayers of same Ancients (according to Rose's Ancient Lore roll).

Artie let the group know that the Lizard/Robot was held off from the Androids by some means, prompting some speculation - maybe the Androids were responsible for the Lizard/Robot's rampage. They let the Androids drive past and lost them around the building with the lab in it. Wandering around the building exterior, they surmised that the Androids used an underground entrance.

The first three floors of the building were wrecked, burned out and empty. Climbing up the elevator shaft from the first floor, they found nothing much on the 2nd and 3rd floors. The doors leading to the 4th floor were sealed with some sort of welding and the 5th floor turned out similar, with three of the four doors jammed shut. Riff, with the help of Artie and Briar, managed to open the last door but giant vines snaked out of the doors, grabbing Briar and attacking the other characters.

The battle was fierce - Briar tried to cut himself out of the vines but they kept crushing him in their grip. The other PCs battled the vines, with Jeremiah using his Florintine skills to fight two vines at a time and Rose shooting towards the mass of the plant monster with her Slugthrower. The plant monster shot spines with green goo at the PCs but missed them and was very difficult to kill (the first time as GM I started using my "bennies" in game) but Riff threw two grenades into the heart of the plant monster to kill it. Finally defeated, the PCs entered the 5th floor, finding a garden with edible fruit trees and more of those spines with green goo that they figured they'd use as crossbow bolts.

The Lizard/Robot made it's appearance outside the building and they used the green glowcube high-tech device to control the robot part of it, causing it to smash into the building, breaching the 4th floor. A cloud of gas came out of the 4th floor and enveloped the giant creature, killing the lizard part of it, which fell off the robot part.

Examining the robot half, they learned that there was a controller (Briar disabled it) as well as a socket to stick a lizard (or lizardy mutant like Artie) into to create another gigantic Lizard/Robot. There was much discussion on this turn of events and I said to BB "Don't you want to try out being a giant Lizard Mutant/Robot?"

With a bribe of 5 "bennies" for himself and 2 each for the rest of the players, Artie's player BB plugged his character into the machine. The technology increased his Strength, Vigor and Smarts, creating a smart giant monster.

The Androids showed up then, tried to control Artie/Robot but failed because of the disabled controller. With a "You will pay for your interference" the Androids attacked the PCs with Pain Guns. Artie/Robot ran down three of them, crushing them beneath his robotic treads, while the rest fought valiantly. Briar figured out how to use the green glowcube high-tech device as a weapon and disintegrated two Androids. Several Jokers showed up in the initiative cards, to the benefit of the players, and many "bennies" were spent, but the Androids didn't have a chance and were soundly defeated.

The characters managed to capture a half-dozen Pain Guns, the three vehicles and some assorted silvery jumpsuits and the campaign ended with the PCs heading home, richer in Ancient Devices, and two of them mutants, including a giant Artie/Robot.

This was a great 3-part campaign. I tried to give the players plenty of opportunities to direct the game to places they were interested in, which I think showed up well in play. There was a lot of good roleplaying and everyone did an excellent job of rolling with the comments of each other.

On a sad note, Mutant Buddha founding members KW and BW are headed back to Texas next month. They've been constant participants and excellent gamers in the first 5 sessions of the group and will be missed. I gave them a copy of Savage Worlds in the hopes they will continue playing it with any groups they join in Texas, continuing the cycle of Savage Worlds evangelizing.

Safe trip, guys, and good gaming.

Monday, April 26, 2010

[My Collection] Cat by John Wick

I bought John Wick's Cat a couple of years ago, simply because of the subject matter. has a few reviews on it (1, 2). Wicked Dead Brewing Company has good info on the game and there's even a character sheet.

In celebration of my three kittens birthday, I'll be posting their write-up in Cat terms over the next week or so.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

[Savage Worlds] Dragon Hunters: Faesset

The second Dragon Hunter is Faesset the Ranger.

Faesset was raised in the West Fold Forest, learning from the Elves there as well as from her father, a Royal Forester. When a dragon came and burned the wood, her father and woodland family perished. She is filled with a rage that knows now bounds as a result of this loss but has realized that she can't have a full life living only on revenge. But she doesn't know how to change and doesn't feel she will have the opportunity in the near future.

Human Ranger, Novice + 80 XP = Legendary (16 advances)
Agility d8 Spirit d8 Smarts d8 Strength d8 Vigor d8
Pace 6, Parry 6, Toughness 6, Charisma -0-

Hindrances: Enemy [M], Loyal [m], Quirk [m]
Edges: Woodsman (free), Beast Master, Luck, Marksman, Quickdraw, Quick

Skills: Fighting d8, Shooting d8, Investigation d6, Notice d6, Knowledge (Nature) d6, Guts d4, Throwing d4, Healing d4, Intimidation d4, Stealth d4, Survival d8, Swimming d4, Tracking d8.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

[Cats] Happy Birthday Times Three!

Our three kittens are a year old today! (That's Bumble in the upper left, Charley in the upper right and Jack in the center.)


A day to celebrate with the three Lab Rats!

Friday, April 23, 2010

[Books] The Magicians by Lev Grossman

I picked up this book after reading a bit about it from Unshelved.

Some people hate it, some people loved it (as evidenced by the Amazon reviews) .

It's definitely got adult content.

And it's interesting and enjoyable enough for me to continue reading.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

[Aftermath!] The D.C. Campaign: Naval Observatory

The Naval Observatory

Location: Naval Observatory, Washington, D.C. Located between Massachusetts Avenue NW and Wisconsin Avenue NW, within Observatory Circle NW. Grazing and farm fields include Normanstone Parkway, Guy Mason Recreational Center, Whitehaven Parkway Park and northern parts of Dumbarton Oaks Park.

Population: 150
Military Strength: 80
Military Resources: Small arms and the capability to reload ammunition. Few civilian vehicles.

Treaties: The Pentagon, UFP, Treaty Hospital, The Weather Boys


Resources: This community intensively farms the area within the Naval Observatory grounds and has several fields outside the walls. Several observatory buildings have been converted to greenhouses and the original fruit orchards on the grounds have been maintained. Animals are grazed outside of the walls during the day and brought back inside at night. There is a fine brewhouse on the grounds as well as a gigantic machine shop (cobbled from many raided shops around the District and peerless in it's capabilties) in the main building. The Observatory is fully functional and has the largest and most extensive library on astronomy and navigation, plus one of the few functioning atomic clocks remaining in the world.

Trade: These people are primarily traders, so there are a wide variety of materials available at any one time.

General Reaction: +10 (very interested in trade).

Special Installations: Pre-Ruin, the Naval Observatory was made "green," including wind generators and solar power arrays on nearly every building on the grounds. These power systems provide, on a clear sunny and windy day, over 100 KW per day connected to a 30KW accumulator, allowing the community to run all their machines to full capacity and have operational electrical lighting and running hot water. There are also several operational diesel generators (and fuel stores) for emergencies.

Background: The Naval Observatory, in addition to a military scientific agency, also was the official residency of the Vice President. During the Ruin, the Vice President was evacuated to an undisclosed location and the employees were left to their own devices. The survivors, mainly Naval officers and their families, fortified the grounds (even more than previously to protect the Vice President) and hunkered down during the bad years, raiding local machine shops and garages for tools and equipment. When things settled down a bit, they opened a repair shop for the surviving communities and it soon became an all-around trading post and general store.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

[Pathfinder RPG] The Puddles, Session 1

The Corvis Monkey Troupe played a game of Pathfinder last friday. MW wanted to give it a try and ran the game in the island city of Absalom, in the Puddles - a destitute area of the city.

We started at 2nd level and CM played a fiddle-playing Half Orc Sorcerer named Algernon Grogbar, TE played his brother Makoa, a Half Orc ex-slave gladiator Fighter, and GM played Myles Laycock, a Human Fighter with a rifle, a hunting dog named Rex and a mysterious past (don't they all?). Unfortunately, XO was unable to make the game, so I don't know what his PC will be.

I played Philo Greenwald and the amazing Charley Midnight the dancing Spider. Philo (rhymes with High-Low) is a Bard/Druid circus performer with a giant spider as an animal companion. I played him as a cheerfully amoral murdering sociopath from Galt and had a great time. When I brought up the animal companion being a giant spider, MW went for it because the Puddles has a well-known freak show/circus and that sort of act fit very well.

The game started with Death stalking the Puddles. A murderer, who the neighborhood nicknamed Spring-Heeled Jack, was keeping most everyone inside during the day and night. His murders were as gruesome as they were unexpected. Sure, the Puddles has it's own level of crime - the city Watch refused to go there except in force - but this range and frequency of murder was beyond the pale. Trade was suffering, people were scared and the neighborhood was all bottled up, ready to explode into extreme violence.

Which is why the bar fight started. Philo and Algernon, who formed the band Halfing and Orc, were playing their set in the Soggy Bottom Tavern, deep in the Puddles. With the circus closed down due to the murders, Philo was trying to make some money. Makoa and Myles were there as well, mixing it up with two humans, brothers Burgin and Burke. Mugs, fists and chairs flew through the air, contacting faces, stomachs and heads. Steam was being released, but not enough.

But enough for some. In the free-for-all, the tavernmaster Amergin shot into the air with one of the barrels of his scattergun and told everyone to knock it off. Sick of being scared and seeing what it was doing to business, he offered 8 gold per person to whoever brought the body of Spring-Heeled Jack to him (much to the disgust of his wife Molly).

Burgin and Burke got their crew together, including a dangerous Gnome named Fagin (some sort of magic-user, according to Vridash), boasted they'd get Spring-Heeled Jack. Philo, Algernon, Makoa, Myles, and a gnome bootmaker named Argus formed the second posse. Taking the time to stop by their digs, an old abandoned building that they'd fixed up and habitated, the crew armed themselves and Philo brought along Charley while Myles brought Rex.

In a neat bit of roleplaying, Philo managed to convince Algernon that Charley Midnight the dancing Spider watched him and told Philo things about him (my Bluff roll of 19 vs. CM's Sense Motive roll of 4!). "He's always watching me, with those 8 eyes!" When Charley joined the group, Algernon succeeded in Intimidating him and Charley backed down behind Philo, which prompted another bit - Charley got a third of the Halfling and Orc band proceeds 'cause he was the manager.

The group stepped out into the cold, fog-shrouded streets and wandered around. Philo cast Dancing Lights to help with seeing in the fog and dark (on a side note, Pathfinder allows characters to cast 0-level spells, cantrips, as often as they like - which makes Dancing Lights with it's four torch-equivalent lights an excellent choice).

Spotting a fast-moving figure, we gave chase. It fled to the rooftops and we followed along the street, with Myles taking a shot at it with his rifle (but missing) as it leaped between buildings. We decided to follow it by rooftop as well (and avoid the muck and water in the streets) and climbed a nearby scaffolding. During the climb, Algernon failed but Charley used his webbing to save him from the fall, while Myles tried to help Makoa up as well (Makoa still managed to fall).

Over the rooftops and through the Puddles we went, finally arriving at an old, collapsed and partially submerged building. With Makoa in the lead and Charley and Philo on his shoulders, the party entered the building into the water and muck. The figure we'd been following turned out to be a lizard folk and we managed to parlay with it and it's small tribe without violence. For exchange of no death and some food, the lizard folk fellow named Sh'tak lead us to the latest victim of Spring-Heeled Jack.

Sh'tak turned out to be an escaped slave, much like Makoa (gladiators were often pitted against lizard folk) and Philo managed to develop a contact with the lizard folk - they'd work for food and Philo had a few ideas for future enterprise.

The lizard folk Sh'tak lead them to a refuse-strewn alley with the latest dead - Burgin was torn and eviscerated. After relieving the body of his purse and dagger, the group discovered some clues: the tongue was missing (a first for Spring-Heeled Jack), Burgin didn't have a chance to draw steel, and wasn't robbed (except by us).

Around the corner came his crew! Burke immediately thought we'd done the deed (in actuality, Philo had been joking about murdering the two all evening with Algernon) but we managed to convince Fagin that we'd stumbled upon the scene a short time ago. There was a test of wills between Burke and Fagin, and (as anticipated), Fagin won.

Joining forces (but not fully trusting each other), we told them the clues we'd found. Philo handed over the dagger and purse, confident that Burke would be dead soon and we'd have both purses and daggers later on. Argus the gnome bootmaker examined Spring-Heeled Jack's boot prints in the alley and gave additional clues about them. Some blood spots were found on the walls 15 and 25 feet up by Charley, showing us that Spring-Heeled Jack leaped up the side of the building. But nothing was found of the murderer.

The session ended with both groups walking away, vowing to work together to finish Spring-Heeled Jack but several party members were convinced that the trouble between the two groups would end badly (for them). On our way home, Charley Midnight rode on Algernon's back. CM took this in stride, even mentioning that Charley had saved Algernon from falling.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

[In The Game] Who Are You, Part II: Postgeek

I've realized recently that I'm postgeek, sort of like what postmodern is to modern.

Wikipedia lists the differences between modernism and postmodernism such that "modernism was often associated with identity, unity, authority, and certainty, postmodernism is often associated with difference, separation, textuality, skepticism."

So whereas geek is often associated with cutting edge technology, interactive video games and media, social networking and the "we're special because we're different" belief, postgeek has none of those things and as yet I don't know how to define it.

Cutting Edge Technology: I don't own the latest tech gadget. My mac is over 6 years old, most probably 8. Sure, it runs OS X but it's several, several, several versions behind. I use it to hold my iTunes, for my 30GB iPod that was a gift from a friend when he got the latest iTouch a few years ago. On a daily basis, my home computer is a PC laptop that is over 4 years old. The last two tech purchases I made in the past 6 months were a 16GB thumb drive and an $80 (on sale) digital camera.

I have a 20 inch TV from my (first) grad school days. It's 16 years old (the same age as my car, coincidentally). I have a DVD player, but I don't have cable (I have a Netflix account with a Roku box instead), I don't have a Tivo or any thing like that. I don't have a home theatre or surround sound.

I don't have a smart phone. In fact, my cell phone is the cheapest, low-tech phone I could get. It has no camera and I don't text. I have texting blocked. I do have an iPod, as I mentioned, and I use it, mostly in my car.

I don't read the latest technology news on the internet, nor do I have any subscriptions to Wired or any other tech magazine. I am like much of America when I hear of the latest device or technology that is going to hit the streets - and it's probably already in stores by that time.

Interactive Video Games and Media: I don't play video games, normally. I do have two that I'm very fond of: Curse of Monkey Island (1997) and NeverWinter Nights (2002), both of which I haven't played for 3 or more years. I like them though. I don't have an XBox 360 or Playstation 3 or Nintendo Cube, nor have I owned even the previous versions of these systems. I do have a Wii, on loan from my cousin while she's overseas for work for the next few years. She'd been in London for a month and a half before I set it up. At the prompting of a friend who came to dinner.

I don't play any games online, no MMORPGs or anything like that, nor any of the flash games available to me. I'm not aware of anything in the video game industry, short of what my friends in the VGI tell me. When they talk about the games they're playing, I let my mind wander because I don't have the context about the games or the history of games. I sometimes daydream while nodding and smiling, like they were my girlfriend telling me something about the latest episode of Dancing with the Stars. Actually, guys, I'm not that checked out. Honest.

I haven't seen Avatar, didn't see Abram's Star Trek, missed District 9, and a whole bunch of others that have come and gone in the theatres for the past four years. Since I don't have cable (and haven't had it for over 10 years) plus have limited TV reception, I haven't seen anything beyond the first 5 episodes of season 1 BSG, anything past season 3 of SG-1, only one or two episodes of 1st season Torchwood and the new Dr. Who., not to mention any of the other hit shows on regular TV like Heroes. Sure, I have them in my Netflix queue but haven't gotten around to watching them. Someday though.

Social Networking: I don't have a Facebook page, nor a MySpace page. I don't plan on getting accounts on these networking sites any time soon. I don't Twitter but sometimes I read Twitter. Don't get it, really. But I do blog. But I only blog about gaming. That's the limit.

I read gaming forums, mostly and a few others, but post? I do, averaging 0.42 posts per day on That's only 1271 posts since January 2002. Not a prolific poster, that's me.

I don't go to conventions much. The last one was Gen Con in 2008. I don't think I'll go to any in the near future. I'm always tempted to go but for the past four years I've worked full time and gone to (2nd) graduate school. That has put a serious crimp on conventions for me and I've noticed recently that I haven't even noticed that I haven't missed going it's so far from my thought process.

Specialness: I've listened to podcasts where the innate specialness of geeks is extolled, but I'm just left cold about the whole thing. I watched Wil Wheaton's PAX East keynote and felt distinctly (with exception to the D&D section) not part of the group.

So what parts of me are still geeky?

I'm an engineer and a physicist, I collect and play role-playing games, I like science fiction, I read, I like the internet, I do math for fun and work.

I'm not sure if that's enough, though.

Am I postgeek?

Any thoughts on this appreciated.

Monday, April 19, 2010

[My Collection] Pathfinder

I picked up the 576-page Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook hardback when it came out last year. I had downloaded the Beta PDF when it was available in 2008 and looked it over but didn't join in the playtest. Paizo has pulled out the stops on this game. While some people call it "D&D 3.75" (which I agree it is), it's changes to the game have improved it beyond 3.5.

There are several reviews on (2, 3, 4) including a review on the Beta release (1).

I have the Pathfinder Chronicles Campaign Setting and got the Bonus Bestiary with it but haven't yet purchased the Bestiary (but that'll be sooner rather than later).

Sunday, April 18, 2010

[Savage Worlds] Dragon Hunters: Vessayelm

The first Dragon Hunters is the Wizard, Vessayelm.

Vessayelm was born to a rich family from the capital city. His father was a member of the goldsmiths guild and used his wealth to enroll his son in the powerful magicians guild. Apprenticed to the great Teukden, he went on to defeat the Ogre of Grippen Wood and joined in the Dragon Hunters a few years ago. Together, they killed a young dragon at the loss of his friend and fellow wizard Cyawbel. He is still very emotional about the loss of his friend and feels a strong desire not to have that tragic event occur again.

Human Wizard, Novice + 80 XP = Legendary (16 advances)
Agility d6 Spirit d10 Smarts d12 Strength d6 Vigor d6
Pace 6, Parry 5, Toughness 5, Charisma -0-

Hindrances: Enemy [M], Loyal [m], Quirk [m]
Edges: Arcane Background (Magic) (free), Wizard, New Power x4, Power Points x4, Scholar

Skills: Fighting d6, Shooting d6, Spellcaster d10, Notice d6, Knowledge (Arcana) d8+2, Knowledge (Dragons and Magical Beasts) d8+2, Guts d6, Boating d4, Healing d4, Persuasion d6

Power Points: 10 + 20 = 30
Powers (3 + 4 = 7): Bless, Bodyguard, Bolt, Confuse the Mind, Light, Obscure, Summon Elemental.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

[My Collection] Midnight

My previous collection posts have shown some of my favorites. Unfortunately, I haven't talked about my favorite D20 items (with the exception of Labyrinth Lord) and I mean to correct that.

The Fantasy Flight Games Midnight setting is a really cool world. Basically, Sauron won and the world has been underneath his heel for 100 years. Go!

Who couldn't love playing that? And why did it take me so long to check it out?

You see, I picked up Midnight well after it was out (and out of print) by finding the 1st and 2nd edition (MN01 and MN11) at Gary's Games in the used bin.

Then, a little while later, I found most of the modules (MN03 Crown of Shadow, MN04 Minions of the Shadow, MN05 City of Shadow, MN06 Sorcery and Shadow, MN07 Under the Shadow, MN08 Forge of Shadow, MN10 Steel and Shadow, MN12 Heart of Shadow, MN13 Star and Shadow, MN14 Hammer and Shadow, MN15 Legends of Shadow, MN16 Hand of Shadow, MN17 Destiny and Shadow, MN18 Honor and Shadow) at discount prices at several of my local Half Price Books. Who could pass that deal? I went around one day and got them all.

The last few items, namely MN02 Against the Shadow and MN09 Fury of Shadow Box Set I found online for good prices. Now I have the whole collection and I'm slowly working my way through the books.

There are a number of reviews on Midnight and the supplements (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10) on and 14 of the PDFs are available online through RPGnow and DriveThruRPG.

Friday, April 16, 2010

[Resources] Kryptos

Kryptos is a sculpture/puzzle on the grounds of C.I.A. Headquarters in Langley, VA. It has four puzzles built into it, and three have been solved in the nearly 20 years since it was first dedicated.

One still needs to be solved. What could the secret be?

It would be a great addition to a modern game of spies and secret codes, mix in the supernatural and you're cooking with gas.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

[Aftermath!] The D.C. Campaign: The Agency

The Agency ("CIA," "Sneakers")

Location: CIA Headquarters, Langley, VA. Located between Georgetown Pike (State Route 193), the Capital Beltway (Interstate 495) and Cabin John Parkway-Clara Barton Parkway, it includes Cabin John, Turkey Run Park, Langley Oaks Park, Claude Moore Farm and Langley Fork Park.

Population: 300
Military Strength: 150
Military Resources: An arsenal of small arms, including some anti-tank heavy weapons. Civilian as well as some military non-combat vehicles. Suspected of having high-tech spy gadgets but that could be tall tales.

Treaties: None.

Enemies: Nearly everyone.

Resources: Intensive farming in the Claude Moore Farm area, plastics manufacturing in several small factories and a motor pool (including a large gasoline dump).

Trade: Some trading is done in plastics and gasoline, but mainly raids and scavenges for what the community needs.

General Reaction: -20

Background: Prior to the Ruin, CIA Headquarters was abandoned for a more secure location. A few hundred TSA guards were left behind to "keep up appearances" and the rest of the building was sealed off. After the Ruin, these guards, presenting themselves as the CIA, joined forces with survivors from the NRA national offices and the Republican National Committee. Their politics are so far right it is almost unrecognizable and they are a very dangerous bunch. Most of their military strength is used for raiding, attacking lone survivors or small communities, even fighting with Free Companies. They usually strike deep within the central areas of D.C. and retreat, leaving behind smoking ruins.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

[Savage Worlds] Gamma World, Session 2

Last Friday, I ran the second session of Gamma World for the Mutant Buddhas (that's what I've decided to call them).

Artie the Acrobat (played by BB), Sage the Healer (CB), Riff the Fighter and Briar the Thief (KW and BW), Mr. Lucky (CS), and Rose the Scholar (CR) continued their adventures in the Gamma World.

After looting the control room of everything useful, they tried out one of the more unusual doors in the corridor. It opened up readily with an ID card but they couldn't see into the darkness beyond. One after the other braved possible death by stepping through the portal but they found themselves in a small room with three doors, all without ID card slots.

Opening the doors, they were on a street in one of the ruined cities of the Deathlands. Tall buildings surrounded them, some still intact but others piles of rubble. After looking around, they heard the sound of metal striking metal.

Riff spotted a rag-covered figure pounding on a piece of metal with a pipe. Bang, bang, bang, bang. It kept going. The figure, who they assumed was a mutant, looked at them while he (she?) signaled it's fellows.

Soon, a group of six mutants had assembled and headed towards the PCs. At first, Artie tried to make peaceful contact but combat was soon joined. Rose took out the first mutant and Lucky killed a few from a group of three sneaking up on the group from behind, while Riff and Artie got into close combat. Soon the whole party was in full melee.

The mutants defeated, our heroes began to feel ill, with Rose and Artie succumbing to radiation poisoning from close exposure to the mutants. Sage used some of the supplies from the Ancients' medical pack to stabilize them but the party was still in danger - storm clouds threatened.

Mr. Lucky and Briar found a defensible position in a nearby building and the crew managed to get their injured friends to safety before acid rain fell. The rain burned the concrete around their safe lair and caused some consternation from the party.

In the room they found an ancient worship box that they all examined. Mr. Lucky proceeded to gift an Ancients' beverage to it by pouring it into the top holes.

The night passed uneventfully, with the exception that Artie and Rose developed mutations! Artie lost all his hair and grew lizardlike scales (that increased his general toughness), while Rose grew a second head (with a second brain). Both players added the Outsider (Mutant) hindrance to their character sheets.

The surprise at two new mutants in their midst was tempered by the return of the mutants and a gigantic robotic/lizard creature they were attracting to the area to kill the PCs. The gigantic creature destroyed the small building they used to enter the city, cutting them off from their home. How would they escape the mutants and their creature?

Rose, now known as Rose Red (head #1) and Snow White (head #2) figured that the robotic part could be controlled with the correct Ancient device and Briar used his considerable BS ability to foretell the future using the liquid flowing from the worship box.

The liquid went in orange and came out red, flowing out of the box and out of the building. Briar said it was a sign from the gods and that they should follow it. While Sage initially was distrustful of this pronouncement, she soon was onboard with the prophesy (after a GM bribe of 2 Bennies) and they followed the liquid out of the building where it mixed with another ancient pool, turning green and flowed into an abandoned tunnel, much like the one they started in.

The green liquid flowed down some stairs and pooled around a green 12-sided object, the same shape and size as their glowcubes. They examed the green object and I gave the players an opportunity to decide what it did if they made successful Knowledge: Ancient Devices skill rolls.

Rose, Artie, Lucky, Sage and Briar succeeded in learning things about the device. The players decided it could reproduce if it became fully charged (not quite there after it absorbed the power from one of their glowcubes), it could recharge by sunlight, it was sentient, and it had six powers (one of which was the ability to talk).

Armed with the greenglowcube, they determined that there were several nearby buildings that could help them with the gigantic robotic lizard problem and that's where the session ended.

The next session will prove to be interesting!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

[Books] The King of Attolia

The third book in Megan Whalen Turner's Queen's Thief series (The fourth novel, A Conspiracy of Kings, was released late March), it continues the adventures of the Thief of Eddis. You want politics and how to run a kingdom? This is the book for you!

Monday, April 12, 2010

[Resources] Mega-Watt Laser!

Boeing and the Department of Defense recently tested the Boeing YAL-1 Airborne Laser Weapons System, destroying a ballistic missile on February 11th.

Akira had the SOL satellite. The Empire had the Death Star. The technology is catching up.

Mega-watt lasers are great. Use one in your next game. Even D&D is better with lasers!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

[Savage Worlds] Dragon Hunters

They came to your land, took your family and village with their tooth and claw, burning and killing from the moment their wings touched your sky. You don't want their treasure, you want their death. They will come to fear you, oh yes. They and all their kind.

Last year, I presented a couple of games that I wanted to run for the Corvis Monkey Troupe. One of them was a Savage Worlds game of Dragon Hunters. The PCs would start as Legendary characters, out to hunt dragons. One of the influences in this was a vid-blog by John Wick called the Dirty Dungeon. Instead of a dungeon, it's a Dragon Lair.

We haven't played it yet but I hope to put it on the schedule. I did make up the PCs, so expect to see them in the next few weeks.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

[My Collection] GURPS Scarlet Pimpernel

I have a whole mess of GURPS books in my collection, 102 to be exact (not counting my 2 copies of GURPS Lite). I picked up GURPS Scarlet Pimpernel when it came out in 1991. Coupling the Scarlet Pimpernel series of novels and films, with excellent background on Regency period England, it is a fabulous resource for any game in that period. I also have GURPS Swashbucklers and GURPS Age of Napoleon (and GURPS Robin Hood is another to look at which fits into the swashbuckling genre).

GURPS Scarlet Pimpernel PDF is available from e23 for the bargain price of $4.99 (Both GURPS Swashbucklers and GURPS Robin Hood PDFs are $7.99 each).

Friday, April 9, 2010

[Monsters] Stained Glass Beholder Golem

Stained Glass Beholder Golem

The combined deadliness of the beholder with a crafted golem is quite the guardian. Like other glass golems, they are almost two-dimensional (no thicker than a pane of glass).

Here are the stats for Savage Worlds.

Agility d10 Spirit d8 Smarts d6 Strength d12 Vigor d10
Pace 8 Parry 8 Toughness 11

Edges: Arcane Resistance, Armor +3, Camouflage, Construct (+2 to recover from Shaken), Fearless, Flight, Eye-Stalks (10 eyestalks that can attack with eldritch beams for 2d6 damage each), Main Eye (large cone template, vs. Agility or 2d10 damage), Size +1, Weakness (double damage from blunt weapons).

Skills: Fighting d8, Shooting d10, Intimidation d8, Notice d8, Stealth d8

Thursday, April 8, 2010

[Aftermath!] The D.C. Campaign: FFA

FFA ("Damn Farmers")

Location: National Agricultural Research Center. Bounded by Sellman Road in the north and Adelphi Road and University Boulevard (State Route 193) in the south, between Interstate 95 and Riggs Road (SR 212) to Baltimore Avenue (US Highway 1). Includes Chestnut Hills, Knollwood, Cherry Hill Road Recreational Center, Knollwood, Paint Branch Golf Course and the University of Maryland Golf Course.

Population: 400 (plus approximately 500 "day laborers" not part of the community)
Military Strength: -0-
Military Resources: -0-

Treaties: Spook Hill, UFP, Naval Observatory, Arlington Hall, The Pentagon, The Dead Kennedys, Anacostia Yacht Club, The Monastery, The Weather Boys, Treaty Hospital

Enemies: Skinheads

Resources: The FFA occupy the old National Agricultural Research Center. They are the primary breadbasket for the whole city. Like the Treaty Hospital, they do not maintain troops of their own, and are protected by the combined elements of neighboring communities who recognize the FFA value to their own survival.

Trade: The FFA will trade only foodstuffs, in a variety of formats, from fresh out of the ground to canned to freeze-dried (they have the NARC packaging plant still in operation). They will accept most forms of barter, including electronics, books, medicine, but will not accept weapons or other arms (they consider themselves pacifists) but most of the treaty soldiers are willing to make trades for their communities.

General Reaction: +15

Background: The survivors are former Department of Agriculture employees as well as a number of organic farmers and Big Agriculture lobbyists from around D.C. who banded together in the early years after the Ruin. They have an appreciation for modern and organic farming methods and they use the best technologies to produce the most food. They are uniquely aware of their place in the stable structure of the District and have used their influence to prevent violence on more than one occasion, simply with the refusal to trade food to both sides of the conflict - forcing them into peace talks, with the FFA as the arbiters. They operate a food kitchen for the poor and starving of the metro area and many of these unfortunates ("day laborers") stay and work, for the chance of a meal.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

[Resources] Para-Military Organizations

Watching Red Dawn with my fellow Boy Scouts in 1984, we scoffed at the "A member of an elite paramilitary organization: Eagle Scouts." comment made by Cuban Col. Bella.

Well, the New York Times published an article last year about just that: Explorer Scouts training for Border Patrol jobs.

You know I have to put this in a modern game now, right?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

[Characters] Arthur Wellington Frayn

I ran this character in the Serenity RPG game I was in recently. He was pretty fun to step around the 'Verse.

Arthur Wellington Frayn (Age: 33, Height: 5' 5")
Appearance: Slim and short, nerdish-looking, has a bland look about him, often wears t-shirt, jeans and boots, with orange monks' robes over (cut to allow access to weapons/gear) and a bandana.

Profession: Cook/Medic

Heroic Level: BDH

Agility d12 Initiative d12+d12
Strength d10 Burst of Strength d10+d10
Vitality d6 Endurance d6+d6
Alertness d12 Life 12
Intelligence d10 Resist 12
Willpower d6

Instinct: always have a gun ready, whether cooking or doing surgery.

Assets: Fightin' Type (M), Total Recall (M), Sawbones (m), Talented: Melee Weapons/Swords (m)

Complications: Deadly Enemy (m), Slow Learner: Piloting (m), Loyal (m), Things Don't Go Smooth (M), Credo: Soldiers are brothers, medical professional, no one turned away from the table (M)

Skills: Artistry d6 (Cooking d12, Forgery d8), Guns d6 (SMG d8), Linguist d4, Medical Expertise d10 (Surgery d12, Dentistry d12), Melee Weapons d6 (Swords d12), Perception d6 (Deduction d8, Tactics d12), Planetary Vehicles d2, Ranged Weapons d2, Unarmed Combat d6 (Kung Fu d10).

Armor: Ballistic Cloth Vest (1W/8W), Forehead Protector (4W)

Weapons: Natelev 30 SMG (Damage 6W, RoF 3, Mag 35, Rng 60 ft), NewTech Gilgamesh Shot-Rifle (Damage 10W, RoF 3, Mag 30, Rng 340 ft), Combat Sword (Damage 6W, Rng melee), Stunner (Damage 6S + special, RoF 1, Mag battery, Rng touch)

Arthur was born to a well-to-do family in the Core. His youth was spent as all the idle rich but Arthur had a dream of becoming a skilled surgeon. He went to the finest MedAcad on Osiris and while there became best friends with Zed Archemedies, a young noble. He also became romantically involved with Zed's sister, Tsunami.

By day, he was a talented medical student, working hard to learn to heal in surgery and dentistry. At night, however, the other medical students formed a dueling society, specializing in the sword. Though it was illegal, the school looked the other way. Soon, Arthur and Zed became the best blades in the MedAcad. During that time, he learned to cook and his dorm room became the hub of parties for his graduating class.

The day of graduation spelled the end of his normal life and his dreams of a future with Tsu. The Unification War started that day and so did his personal troubles. The Archemedies family did not appreciate that their daughter was involved with a commoner, even though he was a rich commoner (and expected to get richer in private practice). They had bigger plans for her. Zed's father forced him to challenge Arthur as a point of honor. Arthur refused to fight and Zed attacked him - but Tsu jumped in the way and fell to her brother's sword. That day his friend became his sworn enemy, believing that if Arthur had done the honorable thing and fought, Tsu would still be alive.

Blaming himself for Tsu's death, Arthur fled Osiris and joined the Alliance military, serving as a medic and surgeon, as well as a front line fighter, in several battles. He was one of the few surviving members of the 142nd Osiris Brigade, the most decorated Alliance battlegroup in the Battle for Serenity Valley. Twice decorated for placing himself in harms way to aid fallen soldiers on both sides of the conflict, he shot several attacking Browncoats while in the midst of a complicated battlefield surgery on one of their own.

During his stint in the military, he developed a strong belief that soldiers are brothers, while they may fight each other today, when the fighting is done, it is his responsibility, both as a doctor and as a soldier, to help them heal. He's gotten into trouble in fights with his willingness to save lives he's just threatened and visited violence upon. He also got the reputation of having the best chow in the company and willingly fed anyone who came to him hungry.

After the war, he returned home to find more trouble. Zed Archemedies had taken over his family and his former friend made trouble for the Frayns. Convinced that leaving was the best solution, Arthur jumped on the next transport out to the Rim. Zed ignored his family and followed. So far Arthur has managed to avoid any direct contact with his old friend but those days are rapidly coming to a close.

Arthur made his way as a dentist or a doctor or a cook, using each skill to the best of his abilities. He's also somewhat handy with a gun and can take care of his own with little difficulty. His code of honor has gotten him into trouble and he also has a bad time knowing when to leave a situation but his loyalty and steadfastedness hold him in good standing with his friends.

He joined up with the Ship X a few years ago and, much to his surprise, stayed. He jokingly considers himself the ship's cook first and medic second, but becomes serious when medical emergencies arise.

His cabin is filled with garden bunks and he spends many hours each day tending to his plants. Fresh vegetables and spices are very important to providing an excellent meal and he babies his plants to produce the best quality. He is often found in the kitchen, cooking something or experimenting with new recipes. He's got a cooking blog on the Cortex called Standard Fare, where he publishes delicious and simple recipes for people on the Rim using common and cheap foods, and it's gotten some rave reviews.

Arthur is a slim, short man, early thirties, with a bland look about him. He looks kinda nerdy and most people tend to think he's not much for a fight (and how wrong they are) or not very smart (which he's willing to let them). He's most comfortable in t-shirts, jeans and boots, with orange monk's robes over them. His robes are cut to allow easy access to weapons and equipment. Some take him for a weak Buddhist monk and don't guess he's usually packing heat.

While "on the job," he wears a ballistic vest/battle harness holding his Natelev 30 SMG with a half dozen magazines and his combat sword under the monk's robes, a colorful bandanna over his forehead protector and hard plastic wrist guards. If fighting seems to be expected, he brings along his doctors bag and the appropriate drug kit.

In the event it becomes necessary to bring out the "big guns," Arthur packs the NewTech "Gilgamesh" Shot-Rifle for extra stopping power.

3 Enemies:
Dr. Zed Archemedies: former friend, now sworn enemy. His sister died protecting Arthur and Zed plans on making him pay for that. He wants his former friend ruined first then dead. A slow slide to insanity would be a nice touch, then ruination, then death.

Sgt. Taggert: A Browncoat who holds Arthur responsible for taking out his squad during an attack in the Serenity Valley. Arthur was in the middle of surgery on another Browncoat when they attacked and he killed them all. He's an alcoholic and kicks dogs but otherwise a decent man.

Li Ho Fook: A small time gangster on Persephone, Arthur stopped him from taking some slaves off-planet.

3 Contacts:
Dr. Machias: An old mentor on Osiris, Machias believes that Arthur is wasting his time on the Rim amid the scum of humanity.

Lynn Bruce: Another cooking blogger on the Cortex, works as a prostitute on Santo.

Captain Bryce Lee Chen: Career Alliance officer, formerly of the 142nd Osiris Brigade and Arthur's ex-CO.

3 Friends:
Benhoffer Kingsley: Former Browncoat, now arms dealer. Arthur saved his life in the Serenity Valley and they've been good friends ever since. Often meet on Unification Day to celebrate just being alive.

Ned Kelly: Ex-Alliance soldier, formerly of the 142nd Osiris Brigade. Saved Arthur's life during the first harrowing days of the Battle for Serenity Valley and Arthur repaid him 12 days later. Operates on the fringes these days and has a pet cat named Peter (sometimes different cats, but all named Peter). Arthur calls them Peter I, II, III and so on.

Kim Zukolov: Ex-Blue Sun corporate spy and general bone-breaker, she runs a bar on Paquin and more than drinks are served there.

Monday, April 5, 2010

[My Collection] Gamma World

I have a copy of Gamma World (1st edition) in my TV room bookcase. I picked it up on eBay a few years ago and haven't managed to stick it in my collection with my other copies of Gamma World and Metamorphosis Alpha. I like the look of the box set on the shelf, surrounded by my and my gfs other books.

I love Gamma World. It's a fun, wahoo game and I played it like mad in the early 80s. I had a mutant rat with radiation eyes named Ben and a mutant bear with electrical powers. There are a bunch of reviews on the variety of editions, from 1st to Alternity and even the Sword & Sorcery Studios version (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8), but you can find more if you're interested.

Mutant Future is a recent old school homage to the game. And WotC is going to publish a D&D4e compatible Gamma World box set version in October 2010. I'm set to run another session of Savage Worlds Gamma World in the next week. I'll let you know how it works out.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

[Resources] Dragon vs. Rancor

This is a really cool pic.

I found it at SithNet, a site in Spanish, the Lores Del Sith (English translation) after looking at the movie Dragonslayer (1981) on wikipedia. The Dragon, Vermithrax Pejorative (which means "the Worm from Thrace which makes things worse"), is grappling with the Rancor from Return of the Jedi (1983).

According to the wikipedia Dragonslayer article, it says "During the filming of Return of the Jedi, the ILM crew jokingly placed a model of one of the dragons from Dragonslayer in the arms of the rancor model and took a picture. The picture was included in the book Star Wars: Chronicles. A creature based on the appearance of this dragon appears in one of Jabba the Hutt's monster pens in Inside the Worlds of Star Wars Trilogy."

I don't know how I'd use this in a game, but I'm thinking ....

Saturday, April 3, 2010

[Quotes] Freeman Dyson

"You can't possibly get a good technology going without an enormous number of failures. It's a universal rule. If you look at bicycles, there were thousands of weird models built and tried before they found the one that really worked. You could never design a bicycle theoretically. Even now, after we've been building them for 100 years, it's very difficult to understand just why a bicycle works - it's even difficult to formulate it as a mathematical problem. But just by trial and error, we found out how to do it, and the error was essential." - Freeman Dyson

Friday, April 2, 2010

[Savage Worlds] Gamma World, Session 1

I ran a short adventure in the Gamma World setting using Savage Worlds for a bunch of friends at Games and Gizmos in Redmond Washington a week ago. KW and BW showed up, as well as BB, who invited new friend CR. And CS and CB from my Serenity game came, too.

Since the group wasn't familiar with Savage Worlds, I went over the main points of the system, including Wild Die, Bennies and using skills and attributes. I handed out a bunch of pre-made characters: CS chose Mr. Lucky. CR picked Rose the Scholar. BW and KW chose Briar the Thief and Riff the Fighter, respectively. CB had Sage the Healer and BB, who arrived later, got Artie the Acrobat.

We ran a short combat to get everyone some experience with their characters and the system. And I let them use their Bennies for free and get them back when we officially started the game.

The combat went pretty well. Lucky fought Sage and Briar fought Rose, with Riff jumping in to trounce Briar. They got used to rolling their skill die plus the Wild Die. Some of them rolled really well and did a lot of damage by acing their rolls and their victims got used to rolling soak rolls.

I started the game in the small valley the PCs lived in. They were about a month away from thier time of trial to adulthood and a few days earlier, farmer found a metal panel while plowing a field. Hammering on the panel, it let out a high-pitched noise and the farmer ran away - just in time to avoid the explosion that sent the panel into the sky, leaving behind a hole into darkness.

The village militia was mobilized and a villager went into the hole to see what it was. He returned with a description of a tunnel from the time of the ancients. The village council decided it was time for the PCs to go on their trials into the tunnel to see what dangers it posed to the community. The night before they were to descend, the lone guard over the hole was visciously attacked and dismembered, devoured by some strange beast from the hole.

The PCs were led to the hole by the whole village. Rose became sick at the sight of poor dead Clem (failed a Guts check) while the others were disturbed but didn't loose their breakfast. Armed with a dagger and a crossbow, some food and their militia armor, they received a tool of the ancients: a glowcube.

They were taught how to use the glowcube and taking six torches each, they descended into the darkness. In the tunnel, they discovered more parts of poor Clem and a blood trail leading one direction, towards the center of the valley. The tunnel was made from the ancients' strong stone with a strip of strange material much like glass on the walls. The strange material proved to be impervious to breaking or damaging attempts by several of the vandals in the party.

The glass material extended down the tunnel each way and was about half way up the walls. They learned that the glowcube had an effect on it, causing it to glow and extended their light about 50 meters in each direction, with the brightest light nearest to the glowcube and then fading as it went farther from the glowcube. This improved their light situation.

The group looked around and found the blood trail from bits of Clem and followed them. Mr. Lucky used his skills to figure the creature that killed Clem had 7 or 8 limbs but no one saw it.

After walking about a kilometer, they discovered a switch on the side of the wall and Briar found a loose panel with wires sticking out. Rose clicked it, causing the panel to spark, and the glass material lit up all the way down the tunnel in each direction as far as they could see. A hidden door opened and a strange metal creature came out. They waited to see what it would do and (predictably) it attacked them. The combat was pretty good, with the players still learning how to do things.

With the robot defeated, they explored the storage room, finding some ready supplies, including an ID security card and another glowcube. They also heard the thing that killed Clem making noise farther down the tunnel, but didn't see it. A strange pattern on the floor of the tunnel attracted their attention and they used the security card to open a stairway down.

The stairs led to a series of rooms and Mr. Lucky, who was the last one down, caught a glimpse of the creature, calmly telling the rest of the party that it had 9 legs and lots of claws and chompy teeth. The door, thankfully, closed after him so the creature was not a danger (yet).

The rooms turned out to be several rest lounges with vending machines and empty (but burned out) machine rooms. They found some ancient food packets (with Briar picking the locks on the vending machines) and another ID security card. The last room they looked at turned out to be a control room of some sort, with a view of a tunnel like they left, going the other direction. They investigated the machines and one of the side doors opened, letting in two security robots.

The combat was fierce, with the PCs ultimately triumphing with few injuries and the robots defeated. Rose and Briar managed to remove two slug throwers with some ammo from the bodies of the robots. Riff, Artie and Sage found several police riot shields, enough billy clubs for each of them and a police riot helmet.

This turned out to be a good place to stop, so we ended the evening with awarding of experience. I explained how to use experience and most of the players spent it. We discussed when to meet next and what to play next (they wanted me to continue this game).

All in all, a good session!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

[Aftermath!] The D.C. Campaign: The UFP

UFP ("Trekkers")

Location: Wheaton Regional Park, Wheaton, MD. Bounded by Randolf Road to the north and University Boulevard (State Route 193) Colesville Road-Columbia Pike (US Highway 29) to the south, between Georgia Aventue (SR 97) and New Hampshire Avenue (SR 650), incorporating Wheaton Regional Park, Sligo Creek Park and Northwest Branch Park.

Population: 2500
Military Strength: 800
Military Resources: Some seige equipment. Some small arms, mostly bows, crossbows, and hand weapons.

Treaties: Treaty Hospital, FFA

Enemies: Spook Hill, Skinheads

Resources: The most extensive library in D.C., as well as a wide array of technical skills.

Trade: Knowledge in the form of books (early after the Ruin, they raided the University of Maryland's library stacks and the Library of Congress, as well as multiple local bookstores and regional libraries) and technical expertise.

General Reaction: +10 (They try to follow the Prime Directive)

Background: The core of the UFP were present at a local science fiction convention when the Ruin cam and banded together with a common cause. Their population has grown, bringing more knowledges, plus farming and carpentry, into the community. Their main enemy is the Skinheads, a result of several successful slave raids by those Nazis, but the Spook Hill community is becoming a minor thorn in their side, too. Good people who try to help others whenever possible, they are rapidly being forced to become more proactive rather than reactive to outside threats.