Thursday, December 23, 2010

Into the underworld

Well, The party was given instructions to find a clan house for a Pé Chói liquor trader in the foreign quarter. Given a primer on Vintner clans from the eastern empire, they were expected to make passable conversation with the clan elder and then ask to see the Brandy store rooms. A code phrase was given, they they were to give to the keeper of casks and this would get them access to the underworld. All went according to plan. They were left alone, to try the brew they had requested, and when they picked up the bottle, the cellar wall slid silently open. Down steep spiral stairs, and they found themselves with a very small bottle of a vintage called Orange Silken Treacle, in a sub-cellar beneath the foreign quarter. They found no obvious way out, but Suni looked for a place to set the bottle again. Once located and used as expected, (and balanced to offset a small portion of the bottle they had tasted (it wasn't actually very good, in their opinion – overly sweet, heady, syrupy)), another door opened into the sewers.

The sewers under Butrús are actually fairly well populated by her “sub” citizenry. They were fortunate enough to not open the door onto a party of people, or others, having failed to find the peephole that would tell them the coast is clear. The sewers are two levels down into the Tsu'urum, and serve as the main streets for the upper two levels, which are used and they are home to Nakomé, poor lineages of low foreigners, and the idle, lost, or dispossessed youth of the city. At least the areas they were in for the moment were considered part of the city, if only the foreign quarter, and patrolled. They stood out, as the interlopers that they were. But they went unmolested towards the main lines. When they reached the first gates, under the great walls of the city, they were told to contact a specific guard, when he was alone, present him with a token from the temple Hriháyal, and he would let them out. But when they arrived they found 6 guards at the gate, at the far end of a large chamber where several sewer lines met, and which served as a bit of a sewer life market place. As they waited to see what would happen next, they were approached by a young entrepreneur who, suspecting they were after the wealthy lower levels, offered to help them procure proper papers for access.

The sewers mark the lowest level of the Tsu'urum that were accessible to the masses of Brutus without specific authorization from the city government. A mere couple hundred years ago, Butrús had suffered an unpleasant level of uninvited attention from below. Whole families had disappeared from invasions that came from their own sub-cellars. Rumors of Shunned ones and Ssú raced through the streets and troops were sent down to secure the Tsu'urum. They chose the level of the sewers, which had been saved through the past two Ditlána, as the line of demarcation. Access below would be strictly controlled, under penalty of impalement, or worse, I suppose if some force less friendly than the city or tomb guard caught you. Above the Sewers were two Ditlána of underworld, in more active use by the Temples and clans who valued their traditional sites for rituals and observances.

As they spoke with this man, they noticed that four of the guards at the gate had taken notice of the group. The dealer, eager to avoid “Imperial entanglements”, offered a to take them to a safer site. They agreed to hire him as a guide, if he could lose the guards. Back up the sewers they all went, their new guide stopping, occasionally, to negotiate, (and allow the guards to catch up, to maintain a negotiation advantage..). It became clear to Mriga that he was also trying to make sure the party was lost, so he made mental notes of the route. Eventually they came to terms of two K per day, assuming they all survived, and considerably less if they all died.. and their new guide led them to a clan house that hid them while the guards passed. They then doubled back to the “plaza” and the guide negotiated passage through the gates, saving the party the necessity of using their token, which might now allow them to exit later by this gate. Good move..

The party passed under the City walls and out side the current city to what was, several Ditlána ago, the sewers under the old foreign quarter. Here they found evidence of whole clans, and Nakomé, whose social status was in question because of the current hostilities with Yán Kór, and a few social groups who are less social to the humans above. Specifically, they were aware of Pygmy Folk, Ahoggyá, and a clan group of Swamp Folk. They initially avoided contact with these groups. The directions they had been given were based upon re entry to the city at the SE sewer gates. But the SE gate was now guarded by a dozen guards, far more then they had been told to expect. The party had come down with only two bearer slaves, so the odds, should they try to force their way past, would be 4 to one against. They began to seek an alternative.

Though Suni had reason to believe the Pygmy folk would know of alternative entry points, Sánjesh and Mriga felt they would not be trust worthy, and might be hostile. They elected to send their new guide to speak to the Swamp Folk first, as they seemed most likely to be warm to humans. They offered simply a gift of one bottle of Orange Silken Treacle, and the chance to socialize and gossip with some outsiders. Surprisingly, this worked. They were invited in, and spent some time gossiping with the Swamp folk, They learned that the guards in this portion of the Sewers and at the gates were more numerous and more active as a result of rumors of Mu'ugalavyian activities in the Chákas. The Party told them a small amount about the Mrúr activities, and the subject of the Goddess of the Turín river came up, as Sánjesh thought perhaps, being water dwellers, they might have insights or know legends. The party learned that the last known manifestations of the Goddess were a up in the area of the Lushman Canal project, and the Swamp folk had heard of these drowned undead, and several of the strange “bounties” that they had encountered emanating from the caves (mushrooms, Étla, etc) had been noted at that time. This was 2000 years ago, and the dates coincided with the alleged authorship of the book they were seeking. As it turned out, no one much liked the Orange Silken Treacle..

It was agree that the swamp folk would show the group a way into the Sewers under the city.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Chnéhl, the final episode

Our Heroes set out in pursuit of the Chnéhl. They opted to push hard during daylight, but not to press on at night, both because of the inherent risk, and because it would hamper tracking efforts. They are fortunate that the escaping Chnéhl decided to slow down once they put some Tsán betwixt themselves and their hunters, because, if they had simply pressed the advantage, they were faster than the party by a significant enough margin that the delays of tracking would have allowed them to escape. But it quickly became apparent that the Chnéhl did not have a plan for exactly where they were going, and they lacked the skills to disappear stealthily into the forest.

Day after day the party closed the gap. I can't say this was extremely exciting, but the drudge of daily tracking tests was probably realistic. It didn't become exciting until they they closed the gap to an hour or two separation. It was at that time that they discovered they were in the territory of a pack of Feral Rényu, and the forest became alive with yipping calls back and forth, as the critters tracked them, while they tracked the Chnéhl. This was the Chnéhl's end game, but our heroes were having none of it. They decided that, if the Rényu attacked, they would deal with it, but if not, they would give them no reason to do so.

They focused, single minded, upon the Chnéhl, and closed to within sight, sending the resting Chnéhl running, Bigfoot-esque through the undergrowth. A couple of well placed, drugged arrows took down the first, and Sánjesh, ordered three spear men to stand guard. Luck was with them, and a moment later, perhaps 50 yards hence, they dropped the second one. (Their animal handlers advised them that this was certainly good fortune, because if they had split up, the chance that the Rényu would attack one group or the other would have gone up substantially.)

Some applied healing skills, and drugs, and they had recaptured Mis's valued ritual subjects. They were kept heavily drugged for the trip home, as the Slaves, really, a bit over burdened by the task, carted the glorious prizes back. They decided to retrace their route, rather than risk a random encounter in uncharted forest, while heavily burdened. The trip back was laborious, but uneventful, until they got back above the tree line on Silver mountain. From their they could see the remaining smoke trails rising from the river village that had rescued Sánjesh and company during the unprecedented summer flooding so long ago. Our heroes quickly surmised that the Semétl of Mrúr were probably afoot again. They made as quickly as possible for the Camp at the Cave entrance.

Upon arriving they found more refugees were streaming in. Fewer, and mostly children, capable of outrunning the Mrúr, who had, this time, killed everything they could catch. The river village had been less defensible in many ways, sitting between the river and steep banks. The Mrúr had entered from two sides. The young man who had accompanied Sánjesh and the Hriháyal guards during the initial search for Mis did survive, though he feared he might well be an orphan as the village was, to the best of his knowledge, his entire clan. He reported that the village had taken strongly to the new practices of the goddess of the river, adding them to their worship of Belkhánu, and believing, perhaps, that their might be more to their lives than simple escape into an honorable death, in time.

After a rest, the great Chnéhl were loaded, along with what was left of harvests from the cave, and the party, onto a Chlén cart for a long, slow, and hopefully relaxing trip into Butrús. Signs of occupation had begun to return to the village by the Sákbe Road gate, and the guards were complaining about extra duties, now that there were reports of rogue Semétl of Mrúr, along with the wet ones.

In Butrús Sánjesh received his promotion to Tirrikámu, though he was not given a command, as yet. This was in part because there was none to be had, and, in part, because his independent operations might prove more profitable. The party collected and divided the bounty, paid off the labor, sold the Gerednyá, and other critters they had acquired along the way, visited their temples and clans, and took a break. Well, they used the time to better themselves.

Suni gave most of her earnings to her clan, and went to study with her temple. This will give her better access to clan resources, when the time comes. Mriga kept his personal wealth, as this venture had not been funded by his clan. He also went to his temple to study. The temple of Grugánu was taken by his tales, and he has been tasked to record what he can of the cave, which has tentatively been title “The Silver Womb of Hriháyal” as his labor of reverence for his advancement to second circle. Sánjesh was assigned training for his new rank with the Temple guard. Mis packed up her entourage and her Chnéhl and headed for Tumíssa, to complete her variation on the ritual of the 32nd Unspeakable act. I can not tell you how that went, however. But before she left, she gave the party a few pointers and instructions on how to access the underworld of Butrús, and, if they were lucky, obtain the book they had been seeking in the temple of Avánthe about a few weeks before.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

post management post

This a non campaign post.

First order of business is to point out that I have posted several posts today. Three campaign updates and this. For unknown reasons, the campaign updates are out of order. They are numbered, so read them in order, if you want to have a sense of chronology, and don't if you just want to save time and read top to bottom.

Sanjesh (geo) and I went to Ucon, and had a good time, though the drive home was a burden after three days gaming after an overnight drive out. We were fortunate to get back awake, and a few hours prior to Geo's axle coming apart. We will prepare better should we make the journey again, and we do hope to do so. Ann Arbor seems a nice town, it would be pleasant to explore an eatery or two besides Denny's.

Been painting a bit, but not a lot. Still, a little is at least progress. Missed an opportunity to buy a Sró dragon on Ebay, and I will kick myself for that for a bit, but I did just order the Qól and Hlutrgú from the Tekumel Club. A few figs were given away at the con, but I never heard who got them.

Also bought some 6mm figs a bit ago to make massed armies for Tékumel warfare. Talking to someone on the Tékumel minis who has used rapid prototyping to build some proxies in 25mm with the hopes of scaling down his meshes for doing the same in 6mm. Don't suppose any of my readers is a 3d graphic designer?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Quick campaign update pt 3

Now our heroes had decided that the whole Chnéhl adventure was getting both dangerous, and frustrating. Suni had nearly been killed twice, and their targets had eluded them several times. They climbed back to the lair. The Beast handlers believed that the Chnéhl might have abandoned the area, but they found no sign to support the theory. They had brought along two of the mountain Hmélu to use to drug their prey, but the plan this time was to use zoic domination on heavily drugged animals and walk them right up into the cave. It was a matter of dosing them correctly to keep them alive just long enough to get them into position. The set up a defensive perimeter at the high camp late in the evening. But the night was not quiet.

During the first watch the party was attacked by Shánu'u, the giant distant cousins of the Hláka. They struck from above, and attempted, primarily to separate the party from the Hmélu. Overall, it didn't go well for the Shánu'u, losing nearly half their number, but they injured a few of the parties guards, and made off with one Hmélu. One Shánu'u was captured. In the morning the party decided to follow through with the plan with the remaining Hmélu.

The Hmélu, drugged and ensorcelled, made it to just outside the cave, where some young Chnéhl cautiously approached to investigate. They prodded it with sticks a couple times, then bashed it once or twice, celebrated their hunt and dragged the poor creature inside. Our heroes waited an appropriate time for the drugs to do their work. Then they cautiously approached the lair.

Exploring the lair they found the young Chnéhl had all succumbed to the drug, and the mothers were, if not unconscious, incapacitated. But they did not find the alpha males. Searching they found a larder, and a back exit. Now, it seemed reasonable that, under normal conditions, the Alpha males would have been the first to eat, so they deduced that they had not been in the cave. No idea where they might have been. The high camp was currently only occupied by the slaves. But the Chnéhl normally won't attack a group larger than themselves, and there should only be two, while the slaves numbered ten. Our party decided to wait in the lair and hope the Alpha males returned. In the morning, they did.

A single slave head rolled in through the cave entrance. I don't who, but someone suggested responding in kind, and the party killed and decapitated one of the females. Her head was tossed out. Another slave head rolled in, and then nothing. More waiting. Eventually, our heroes came out, to find that the Alpha males had left. The tracks lead off around the mountain, counter clockwise. They found one more slaves head, in the bushes, simply discarded.

And that brings us to this week's game, I think. I may have missed something, but I hope not. Their plan is to press on after the Chnéhl and bring this to an end.

Quick Campaign Update Pt 1

Our heroes spent the next day deciding what to do with the captured Chnéhl. They considered releasing a couple of the smaller males in order to keep the local family group alive, in an effort at herd management. They had them all drugged, for easy compliance, and trundled all but two off on a Chlén cart to collect bounties from Mis. They then went off into the local woods to look at the traps they set up. Then they discovered the tracks. The Chnéhl they had captured were not the largest Chnéhl in the area during the fight. It appeared that two other Chnéhl had sat in the woods and watched. Had they simply realized the attack was doomed, or had they actually used our heroes to eliminate their potential rivals.

Our heroes decided to make another attempt on the Chnéhl. They climbed up to the area of the Chnéhl lair looking for Mountain Hmélu, which they planned to drug, in the hopes that the Chnéhl would catch the weakened beasts, eat them, and, thus also be drugged. In the first attempt they found a group of Hmélu just off the lairs entrances. (The Chnéhl lair has three obvious entrances, in close proximity..). They spent a good deal of time trying to close on the Hmélu close enough to get a shot off. Despite her perfect balance, Suni couldn't seem to make a stealth roll, and repeatedly startled the flock. She had the weapon with the shortest range, and Mriga, who is not adept at this kind of thing, controlled one of the Beast handlers with an Atle Atle, and the longest range. So he moved to a decent range, and waited, aiming, for several turns while Suni struggled on a slope of loose gravel. In the mean time, Sanjesh had noticed some of the Chnéhl females watching from the cave mouths. Finally the Hmélu had enough and bolted, so Suni quit trying to be sneaking and gave chase. Mriga, who had been aiming forever, found his foot asleep, and tumbled backwards when he went to throw, firing wide. Suni managed to tag one with a well tossed dagger, but she didn't really have time to savor the moment, because she found that she had come to close to the lair. The two big Chnéhl roared forth from the lair and attacked her, and, nearly killed her in the next few moments. But the others leapt up to attack, and, again badly outnumbered, the Chnéhl wisely fled back into the lair. Our heroes scooped up Suni and retreated to their high camp. They prepared for what they expected to be a night on Defense, but the Chnéhl never came down.

The next day they went up, hoping perhaps the Chnéhl had taken the Hmélu and thus been too stuperous to press the attack. They saw no sign of the Chnéhl, and tracked the blooded Hmélu along the mountain side. Eventually they found the flock, and the wounded Hmélu down. Stringing out their slaves as herders, and moving up the flanks and ahead, the party managed to capture, if I recall, the entire flock. They also discovered that the downed Hmélu was dead, but it had attracted some local fauna. Curled up near the carcass were two lskjdlfj that had succumbed to the drugs in its system. The party used nets and sticks to bundle them up and cart them off as well. All in all, an excellent hunt.

Quick campaign update pt 2

I don't recall what prompted the group to drop that thread for a couple days and go back into the caves. I suspect I tempted them, as they discovered from the workers who were going down, that there was a form of grass growing on the cave floor. Entry added mystery on mystery, as they also discovered the cave had developed a weather pattern all it's own, with a minor monsoon season every 20-30 hours, and thunder and lightening. The eco-system was cycling at an accelerated rate, with a full crop of grass and such growing, withering and regrowing each day. The players packed up an entry team and made their way upstream, investigating the apparent source of the daily weather cycle.

Again, they found themselves up in the area of the Stele and the temple like room. Here they were attacked by Dlaqó, who were quickly run off when one of the Beast handlers used Zoic Domination to control the leader and he was hacked to death. The carcass, they decided, would just attract other critters, so they dumped it down the deep hole across the way. (Remember that hole.. did I mention it? The players have expressed the belief that it is the pathway created by a HUGE Aqáà?. This made our more conservative player a bit nervous about attracting much worse than more Dlaqó.) They also found a chimney, and Suni scuttled up it, past Hu bat guano, and an apparent hu bat nesting site directly out to the surface. She noted the location, which was outside the area that Mis had agreed to purchase, and came back down. That was significant, because, in theory, they no longer controlled all access to the tunnels.

The next morning the Suni and Sanjesh took ropes and went down the Aqáà hole. At the bottom they found a shallow water feature and a large, round room, filled with a slightly unnaturally persistent darkness. They found a large room, with 6 large doors, More or less equally spaced and three small doors clustered up on a dias. They had no tools for opening the doors, but one small door was slightly ajar, and they could see a white tiled room on the other side. They could not get it open. They also found three platforms on the dias, and pried one up. It created sparks, and a bit of ozone. The others were trod upon and they lit up. Then they heard a low grating rumble, and the sound of water draining down an opening. They also found that the water was quickly emptied of thousands of small frogs up onto the dias where they stood. Sanjesh caught one, to take out for further study. When the climbed off the diase, the water on the floor had gone down, and the sludge was a bit thicker. They made their way back to the ropes and climbed out.

Sometime on the exit Sanjesh discovered his frog had escaped.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

OCP The autumn of my year of Tekumel

OCP or Off Campaign Post.

Well, I am going to U-con to, among other things, sit joyously among friends. Registered, with time set aside for the trip, but still no place to stay. Geo might join me, but that is not yet set in stone, and I have offered an invite to a gamer in Milwaukee, since I will be traveling by there, and it wouldn't be too inconvenient to pick up a rider. Also not confirmed. At any rate, it seems a proper tribute to my year of Tekumel. I will continue with Tekumel after the years end, and my campaign will continue, but I may spend a bit of time on other things as well after the first. Probably not much though. I no longer have free time..

I spent some time sorting figures, but my attempt to inventory them got lost quickly. I have acquired a lot of figures over the past year, nearly all proxies, but a collection of the new Eureka and a fair number of old Non humans as well. Painting is even farther behind than attempts to inventory. I have puttered a bit on building some terrain, but not a lot.

I have started re reading Flamesong, after reading Sharpe's Rifles, and the first two Gor books. I really enjoyed Sharpe's Rifles, and see some ideas I will crib. Napoleonic politics is not that far from Tsolyani politics in some ways.. Gor is ok, easy to read, despite awkward writing. I am reading Gor to learn a bit about the world so I can explore the Gor Grid. I want to make a Virtual Tekumel, and they have done a lot with their virtual Gor. Good artists borrow, great artists steal, as they say.

It had been my plan to try to make a Penom gazateer during NaNoWriMo but I think it will have to wait. November is looking to be a complicated month, what with U-Con. I know that I would get little to no writing done during those days. I had also hoped to put up a stand alone OpenSim Grid, and bring it with to U-Con as a demonstration of the potential. It is late October, and I doubt I can do that either, though I have found a computer on craigslist capable of the task, I am not sure I am, at least not in the time remaining.

This pic is from Second Life, but it demonstrates the potential, I think..

Friday, October 15, 2010

When Life Hands you Étla

I seem unable to create a proper sense of danger in my players.

Faced with a writhing mass of Étla, they retreated to the surface, then used the Chnéhl cage as a filter to keep the largest at bay (actually, the largest couldn't manage the stairs). They then set about capturing the smaller ones that came up and made crab of dinner. Like the water, the Étla carried a drug effect, a mild hallucinogenic, euphoric effect. Someone came up with a plan to make money. They set up a simple processing facility, and smoked all the Étla they could manage to capture. Suni took this to Butrús to find a market. En-route, she came to the village at the Sákbe road gates and witnessed a crowd, piously taking in the instructions of a small cluster of dead children.. Concerning, but not enough to keep her from finding a vendor in Butrús who gave her a big contract for all the wunder-crab she could deliver. With the money from the initial batch, she hired more guards, a Chnéhl specialist, and bought a few more slaves. She also contracted a Chlén cart to come to the camp. None of this was what I had in mind when I envisioned a writhing mass of Étla rising from the cave floor..

The Étla processing attracted meat eaters, so they moved the processing farther from the camp. As the harvest declined, Dlákolel came in force and raided the processing site. The Slaves were brought back to camp, the processing abandoned, and the focus became, once again, fortifying the camp. They left the Chnéhl expert and others to oversee this, and Mriga, Suni, and one Beast handler took 10 guards and 10 slaves into the cave to free Sanjesh. The vast majority of the remaining Étla had long since run out of food. The remaining Étla foraged among their carcasses, and the cave reeked. Slaves swept away the remains, and Guards drove off whatever seemed bold enough to approach. They found Sanjesh, a pink Étla free zone, and hit him with a charge from their excellent ruby eye. They lost one slave on the way back to a Haqél that was, surprisingly, in the river. They also encountered Hú bats near the entrance. It has become a ritual now for the players to eat every thing that they find in the caves, so they caught a Hú bat. It was only {meh..}

Leaving the caves, Sanjesh returned to Butrús to see Mis, the Hriháyal high priestess. This was due to a mis communication, but it worked out well. First, Sanjesh got the reward that Mis had hinted would come his way. Several times. He also told her about Mriga and Suni's attempts to get into the library of Avánthe, and Mis suggested that they probably needed to go into the underworld. She offered to help get them in. He was also promoted, with the recommendation of his boss, and the support of Mis.

Back at the Camp, Mriga, Suni and the Chnéhl experts went off in search of Chnéhl. They found a trio, not the ones they sought, but ones from the local group. Someone used a sleep spell, and then the beast handler used zoic domination to control one Chnéhl. They escorted it down to camp. It was the idea of the Chnéhl expert that, owing to the strong community bond of the Chnéhl, the others would come to its aid. They finished fortifications, set a few traps, finished pits, and waited.

The next session was a miniatures battle. Our heroes, vs a large group of Chnéhl . The heroes were pretty well defended, with several pit traps, a low thrush wall, and various traps in the woods. The Chnéhl approached at dusk, but triggered a trap, and then waited until nearly dawn to attack. This is easier to tell with a few pics, so, I have some eye candy. Note that Chnéhl miniatures are not real common. I tried to find a decent proxy, but on short notice, I ended up using a bunch oft mage knight figures of werewolves, and bears and such.. It worked, but I am still trying to find a decent Chnéhl proxy

The Chnéhl approached fairly cautiously, until they got to the wall. They knew quickly that they were out numbered, and showed a surprising sophistication in attempting to capture Suni, rather than drive deep into the camp. They lost a leader into a pit trap, and that was a major hindrance throughout. They finally managed to grab Suni, and pass her over the wall to the other leader, but it was too late. The beast handler took a contingent and blocked their way back to the woods. The leader and his companions wrestled Suni to the ground, and placed a maw on her throat, but didn't bite down, in a move intended to cause her to surrender. They appeared to be attempting to barter. But Suni, if you will recall from way back, has bloodlust and overconfidence, and was having non of it. She managed to to wrestle out her dagger, and stab the beast. Surprisingly, she managed too enough damage to stun it, and this allowed her to press the attack. I don't recall if anyone else joined in, but, she did win, though she only barely survived. The remaining upright Chnéhl attempted to flee, but fell into a pit trap. I think the players captured 7 or 9 Chnéhl. Including the leaders.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Finally, something written

Glorious readers, with abject apologies, I prostrate and flagellate myself before you. I have been ruinously remiss in keeping this blog up to date. There is much to tell. So much, that I am sure to miss bits here and there.

When Last we left our party they had fought with the priestess of the Blue Lady and won. They then recovered her from the underground river, and she was suffering the hallucinogenic quality of the water. When she was revived, they interrogated her. She was recalcitrant, but realistic, and offered up information that seemed to not surrender her mission. She maintained that the attack was self defense, as the party had locked them into the caverns. Starving, and out of water, they were sure that they would not be allowed to live if they did not have a hostage.

The party maintained that they were just controlling access to the caves that they had found, and would have let the leave, had they asked. As a gesture of goodwill, she offered to have the temple provide an excellent ruby eye to release Sanjesh. In return, she asked for permission to look for her two lost guards, and leave. Our heroes agreed. The party left a slave to watch the stairs and provide fresh food and water for the priestess. I think that is who alerted them to the undead. It arose from out of the river, and began to (horrors) lecture them on the proper method for sacrifices. Some in the party could understand its speech, others could not. I don't recall who was who.. At any rate, the tried tossing a net over it. And it crumpled back into a much more natural pile of corpse. They identified the corpse as the Avánthe guard who had fallen in the river during the fight that left Sanjesh in stasis.

They exited and left the cage off the entrance so the priestess could leave at will, propping the cage so that she could drop it over the hole when she was out. The party left of Butrús, both to obtain the eye, and to research and resupply. In Butrús, they discovered Mis was hosting a party, in part to honor her rescuers, and in part because she can. The crew got invitations, though she was disappointed to learn that Sanjesh had not returned with the party. She had received and understood the message suggesting the temple acquire the land. That was another function of the party.

The land in which the cavern mouth sits belongs, currently, to the Plume of White, a clan locally dominated by Chegárra worshipers, and none to wealthy. With the war raging against Yan Kor, and their members joining legions and posting to far off lands, Mis figured they might be open to the idea of selling some land to finance the effort. The members of the Four greater black clans were also hoping to buy the land. They arrived at the party as well. The Group was given the task of keeping the Black Clan representatives busy so that Mis could cut a deal with the Plume of White.

There was the ordinary hob nobbing and such, but the action got interesting when Suni found the pit fighting rings and people started gambling. Wine and a few powders were flowing freely, and pretty soon Suni was signed up in the early competitions. Nothing lethal. But, as a complete unknown, she garnered a good deal of speculative betting. I don't recall the individual fights, but Suni eventually bested the lot, with help form her ring manager and personal healer Mriga. At the end of the night, Suni had an open offer for contracted bodyguard work, and Mis had an agreement to purchase (assuming all clerical paperwork was processed and accepted in Avanthár) the land in question for the temple of Hriháyal to open a small retreat for wayward girls. Mis also offered the party a contract for both the Chnéhl she had lost, and any others they could capture, with a hefty bounty, and some up front funding.

They spent most of the week in town, figuring Sanjesh was pretty safe, being in inter dimensional stasis and all. Suni got word from her temple that she could probably learn more about the Goddess of the Turin River if she could acquire a book from the library's of the temple of Avánthe entitled “A history of the flood of 643 and the appearance and disappearance of the Irriguous Dead”. It was probably held, they told her, in the second level below the temple. She took this to mean the basements and sub-basements. She recruited Mriga to go fetch the book.

A dutiful friend, and convinced that his temples alignment with stability and close ties between Avánthe and Thúmis would make him a better candidate, Mriga agreed. He entered the temple, toting a blue statue he scrounged from an unkempt storage room in his own temple, and made offerings, then slipped below grade. Down into the kitchens, and the coolness of the dorms. He could not find a Library. Eventually, he simply asked someone where he might find a book on past floods. He was directed to up and over to the temple of a lesser followed aspect. I think he fetched another offering, and tried again. He found the scholastic libraries this time, and, having some success with this approach before, he decided to simply ask again. The librarian looked in his records and told him they had no such book. Mriga returned empty handed.

But Suni was not about to give up that easily. If I recall, she bought an offering from the temple vendors and made her way down to the library. What she didn't know was what the Librarian had actually found when he looked in his records. The book had been tagged as heterodoxy, and moved to the secret libraries in the Tsu'urum. Mriga's request had been relayed to the temple guard, as was protocol, and initially just written off as random request for the book by a scholar who had seen it referenced some where. But when Suni asked for the book as well, the librarian suspected something was up. He had her wait, and told her he would get the book. Then he got the guards. She found herself outnumbered and didn't put up a fight. They escorted her to a small cell block and told her to wait. The book was valuable, and this was the only way she would be allowed to see it. Then they got the the fifth circle head of the order for preservation of the purity of the Ladies aspects, who came to interrogate her.

Now, she had not done anything wrong, and Suni was pretty sure that if they meant to kill her they probably would have done so. But she was also pretty sure they weren't interested in seeing her simply walk out. They asked why she wanted the book, and she told them it was for a fictitious scholar, who sounded to me a lot like Mriga. They sent queries to determine the validity of the story. The temple wasn't sure they could simply kill her and be done with the issue. There were suggestions that people might miss her and since they might be forced to release her, they were hesitant to harm her. She pushed the idea that her clan would demand Shámtla, and eventually they asked on what grounds? “Holding me against my will she replied. “We aren't holding you”, they replied, “you are waiting for a book.”. And with that, she decided to quit waiting, and they were forced to let her go, as their other option was to hold her against her will, and they weren't sure if this was worth the path that might eventually follow.

Mriga encouraged the party to leave town. They returned to the caverns and found that the Avánthe priestess had left, with or without her lost comrades they did not know. They entered caves to find and free Sanjesh, but suddenly discovered the floor seething with Étla. From large to small, and representing varieties from all around the empire and beyond.

Check in soon, there should be more.. (not like last time..)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Inactive blogger

While the campaign appears to be stagnant, it is only an illusion. I am now three sessions behind on posting here, which is a really bad place to be, as each session adds more labor to getting caught up. I have made an outline, and I hope to write a single post to cover it all soon, perhaps tomorrow. I can't do it without the spell check I have been slowly teaching Tsolyani, which means I have to do it on my desktop. Which means I have to stay out of second life for a bit.

Actually, I have been avoiding SL more and more since I discovered OpenSim, which, I think, is the answer to the biggest problem of trying to build a Tekumel VR - price. OpenSim is a opensource VR project, closely paralleling SL. The big difference is that anyone can host a Sim. And even link it to other Sims. The Gore community has built a fairly extensive Sim, and have 3000 members, if I understand correctly. Their own little World of Weirdcraft. I joined that Sim, with the idea of learning what they have done in world, but, I am not sure Gore is my cuppa... I have never been able to force my way through any of the books. I will try again though..

I have been going into OSgrid to start working on Builds for a possible VR tekumel. I wanted to start simple, and so I am beginning with the Sakbe Roads. Though big, they aren't a terribly complex structure. In SL I was either limited to the existing Megaprims (which were built during a glitch in the software - prims there are normally restricted to 10 X 10 meters) or have massive prim counts. Opens Sim has no such restriction. I built a 135 meter long 3/4 scale section of wall over the past week. I can see this will be a big project, and may carry me into retirement. I hope to have a demoable setting ready prior to UCON, so that I can recruit interested parties.. And I need to fly the whole idea past whoever might be able to get me approval from the Professor. I doubt the Tekumel community is as large as the Gore community (which boggles my mind..) but I still think it could support a multi region Sim for RP, and socializing.

Friday, July 23, 2010

non campaign bits

This is a maintenance post. First, I transposed the names of Sajesh and Mriga several times in the past two posts. They are, I hope, all correct now. I don't blame you if you were confused..

Next, I spent some money at Old Glory, before my Old Glory army membership lapsed. Got a few more Ghost miniature elves, some Philistines, and some Ancient Egyptians all for Tekumel. Got some Pirates with firearms as well, cause I have enough pirates to make a decent pirate skirmish and I can use a number of the Numidians and such that will serve in Tekumel as natives in games on that front.. So, 12 bucks on non tekumelani items seemed not unreasonable. I am finding it hard to justify any more lead purchases this year, because I am not getting much painted.. Though I have gotten a couple house projects nearly done.. perhaps when it gets cold again..

I have a shameful secret to share now. I started playing in Second Life. Originally to help a friend with his SL night club, but, honestly, I am finding it kinda interesting.. I have requested membership in a Tekumel Group in SL, and, if the creator ever gets back to me, I could see a long term goal to create a sim area just for Tekumel RP..

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Don't drink the Bong Water

This is the second of two posts in short order. If the action seems to jump here, you probably need to read the post below first..

Loaded for Zrné, the party went down into the caves.. The beast handlers stayed outside, to direct the slaves and progress on the encampments defenses and potential for Chnéhl trapping. So, it was Mriga, Suni, Sanjesh, two priests of Thúmis and about ten slaves. Wit added light, they could see what looked to be a body on the ground, across the river, behind a stone column. It was discussed to send a slave across to investigate, but, all the slaves denied any knowledge of how to swim..

The ground was slippery again, because of the mushrooms, which were everywhere. They had learned from experience that the hallucinogenic quality was not absorbed by skin, but had transferred to the underground river, so drinking from it was out of the question. They traveled up stream, but the land bridge they used before now looked treacherous with mushrooms. They decided to go upstream and look for another crossing.

Later that day, they heard howling upstream. They pressed on, always closing on the intermittent noises. Eventually, they found a lost slave, from the Avánthe expedition, stoned on mushrooms. She attacked Suni, but was quickly taken down, restrained, and given real food. When she recovered her senses and got over her fear, she told the party that the Aridáni had released them to fend for themselves when they had found the ladder gone from the cave entrance. She did not know how long ago that had been. The party claimed her as their slave.

They made camp. Sometime in the night, Mriga heard voices, come and go, not far away, but muffled. It was brief. In the morning they investigated, and determined it to be an acoustical anomaly. They found that upstream the caves system splintered into many branches, each a separate source of the river. It was wet, but they found a fordable spot that kept their mouths safely above the water, and eventually move down stream. On the second night, Mriga was again on duty when he heard something. This time it was real, and close, as another lost slave attacked him. Others came to his rescue, and again, the slave was quickly subdued, restrained and fed. She confirmed the story of the first slave. By this time they had come to the cache site that Sanjesh and party had stored all the spare provisions in their first entry. It had been raided, but had mostly consisted of a few spare torches, so no great loss.

On more familiar ground they moved up to the goal, at least for the priest of Thúmis, the mysterious writing near where they had found Mis. En route, they found tracks for a another slave, but decided to leave his fate to the weaver of skeins. If they stumbled upon him, they would deal with it. The writing was, our Priest believed, from the time of the Dragon Kings. He could not decipher it, but it appeared to be technical data, and a caution or warning. His theory is that it was a guide for other explorers.. They spent the night there, and decided they could afford one more day in this location before turning back. They went to more carefully explore the cavern in which Mis had actually been found, and discovered a Stele, again, perhaps, from the time of the dragon kings. They also discovered that the stone columns had a very orderly and, dare say, architectural regularity, and that the far end was stepped, perhaps as a dias..

Mriga assisted with taking rubbings and writing notes on the stele, while Sanjesh and Suni, again a bit impulsively, started exploring again. They took a couple slaves, and torches and lined up lights on the dias and at the writing, and moved on in a straight line past the curtain walls, and, interestingly, towards the mild winds that had been noted earlier. Eventually, they found a large hole that went nearly straight down, with a distinct cool draft coming up. They considered it might be a trail from an Aqáà, but if it were it was huge, maybe 30 or 40 feet in diameter.. Still, if it was, they weren't going to out run it now, anyway, so, they tied off a rope, sent a slave to tell others, and Suni scuttled down the hole. At 75 feet she was out of rope, but not out of hole. Sanjesh dropped a torch, which fell past here at least another 100 feet before striking something, and shooting off out of site. They didn't have enough rope, or enough supplies to make a real attempt to explore this. So they came back up. Just as Mriga came running to try to stop them from doing something crazy.. So that all worked out..

Running low on supplies, and having accomplished their goals for this trip, they went back down. They didn't feel they had time to go up stream to cross again, so Suni lead roped her way across the land bridge. And was beset upon on the other side by two Aridáni. They made the mistake of thinking she would surrender, like a sane person. She was, after all, unarmed, and outnumbered. But she was also Suni, and not a pushover, so she began to wrestle with one for a spear, which she got, then promptly used it as a quarterstaff and knocked one out. That Aridáni fell into the water.

In the mean time, Sanjesh, scampered across the land bridge on the ropes she had placed. Upon entering the scene he heard a third person say don't. Again, a sane person.. oh, never mind, he did. Sword drawn, he dove into the fray. A click and a blinding pink light, and he was frozen in time and space. But Suni had already dispatched the other Aridáni, and was now swinging randomly for the voice. Another click, and a fizzert, and a slight smell or smoke, followed by a curse. I don't recall what distracted Suni, but the Priestess of Avánthe used the opportunity to dive into the water and make a break for it. She figured she was out numbered and out gunned, and wasn't Suni.. mores the pity, cause rational thought in an irrational situation can get you in trouble. Suni went after her. Suni had the presence of mind not to open her mouth. The priestess did not. After that, it was just catching up and restraining her. And that was where we left it..

I am proud to announce this was session 10, of my campaign. I think it is going well.

Squatters Rites

Well, we are two game nights behind on the blog, once again.. Must be more diligent.. The first one was short, as I failed to coordinate everyone ahead of time. I will try to sum up..

After leaving the cluster of temple offering sites the party move back to their high ground camp site. Coming into the area the encountered slaves cutting trees, and eventually found that the black clan hunting party had camped in their site. “Ola,” they said, “We found it empty, and wondered what had become of you.” Well, not quite empty. They had found an Okhíba, bellowing in the Chnéhl trap, which they had killed, to quiet it down. It was being prepared for dinner. Would they like to join? At first the party was annoyed, but, when it was pointed out that, upon their first meeting at the lower, now abandoned camp, the black clans had said this would be the general area in which they would be hunting, and Our heroes had, in fact, been the ones who moved up the hill. A surreptitious check indicated that the cave entrance had not been disturbed. Our heroes decided to wait it out. The Black clan only intended to stay one more day. But they also intended to buy the land, which they said proved to be good hunting.

Feasting that night, and discussion of the lost Chnéhl, indicated that a small clan of the beasts was living up the mountainside. So, the Black Clan agreed to take them up to the area on their final days hunt. Tracks, nothing the size of their prey, were found. But, it did present the possibility that these two, highly aggressive males, might try to take over this clan of Chnéhl. That could prove a problem..

The Black clan left the next morning, and Sanjesh sent his three Hriháyal guards to inform Mis of what they had learned, with a loosely coded message, advising she or the temple make an attempt to buy the land first. Then, the campsite to themselves again, they set to work making a more permanent stair into the caves.

In the process they discovered that the caves were now rife with Mushrooms, everywhere the water had made the rocks wet. Sanjesh, being a devotee of Hriháyal, and Suni, being a bit impulsive, ignored the more restrained Mriga and had some with dinner. As our reader can probably predict, hilarity ensued. The mushrooms were hallucinogenic, and with a hint of paranoid aggression and a piquant aftertaste. Quick thinking, and naturally a bit paranoid, Sanjesh tried to corral the two, successfully getting Sajesh into the Chnéhl trap and secure. The more lithe Suni was off into the dark, dark woods. The party, well, Mriga, and others, pursued. It was a long chase, but Suni has perfect balance, and was hard to track. And once into the dark, honestly, the Beas handlers had little incentive. Mriga did eventually find her, hanging in a tree, believing herself a Biridlú, wrapped in what was left of her blanket. She was coming down, and more manageable. They wrestled her back to the camp, where the slaves had been poking Sanjesh with sticks, while he was stoned in his cage.. Still, no one got hurt, worse than cuts and bruises.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

CSI Butrús

The party made their way to the fishing village, but at a pace to look for signs and such of the quarry leaving the trail. When they reached it, they found a village in mourning. Belkhánu had seen fit to drown the child, they said. His body had been found. Mriga, used his status as a healer of Keténgku to gain access and examine the body. {sinister drum roll} It showed signs of ritual binding {/sinister drum roll} They informed the elders, and told them about the corpse from the barge. The elders were, understandably, concerned, and told them of legends of the walking drowned, which were used as tales to scare children, and keep them away from dangerous places. The body was found in a snag of deadwood just downstream, so the party decided to go upstream and look for any clues. (They really need a Rényu for the party..who talks funny, and likes snacks..) They found nothing, and returned in the evening while much of the village was off for the funerary services. They were treated well, that evening, and in the morning they headed back towards the Guardhouse village.

Except that leaving town an old woman approached and warned them to “Beware the Goddess of the Turin”. Which sent them back to the elders. Who denied any knowledge of such a deity. And shifted perhaps a bit nervously. Or not. Hard to tell. Perhaps they were simply offended that someone would suggest such a thing.. On the way back they were pushing hard. In part, because they had covered the ground, in part because Sanjesh was running low on his supply of his favorite wine. They were delayed only shortly when they heard noises near the Ford across the Berjádu river. Sneaking in, they found a Dlákolel feeding on the carcass of an animal. They soon discovered that there were more in the area, and one might be a mother. They backed out. The Dlákolel did not follow.

When they reached the Guard Tower village, they learned a little basic hetrodoxical history of the Goddess of the Turin. The Goddess inspired a blood cult many eons ago. Rumors of the drowned rising from the river. It was suppressed by the temple of Vimúhla. Occasional worshipers were found, but the threat seemed to have passed a long time ago. Despite this, occasionally small clusters have been found and rooted out. Not recently, as far an anyone is aware..

The group decided to travel back to their current campsite in the morn, by way of the mountainside temple shrines that make Silver Mountain a pilgramige for many in the area. It seemed a good idea to approach several priests from several differing temples on the subject. Let's see if I can keep straight what all they learned and where..

Sanjesh approached Lady Hriháyal's priestesses, and learned that there are many scholars who claim that the Goddess of the Turin is a variation on an imported temple from Salarvyá.

Mriga approached the Priest of Lord Keténgku, but like his master, Lord Thúmis, Keténgku instill the discipline of research upon his followers. They said they would send for what information could be had, rather than possibly spread false information..

Suni, approached the priests for the shrine of her God, Lord Grugánu, who explained that the Goddess of the Turin is reputed to be a blood aspect of Lady Avánthe.

This theory prompted the group to send Mriga to speak with the priestesses of lady in Blue, who, were mildy put out, and proclaimed any such rumor to be the work of those who would sully their temples reputation.

With all this in the back of their minds, they set out along the mountainside, towards camp.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

And Stay Down!!!

It has been a two sessions since I last updated the blog. A lot has happened for our little party, and, honestly, doing a single write up has proven daunting. I may take this in smaller bites.

Last time we left off Suni had volunteered to enter the hole and investigate the groaning sound. She was joined by Sanjesh, with the understanding that they would not leave the vicinity of the bottom of the ladder. There was some delay, and they found only tracks in the mud from the collapse. Appeared to come up from the river, to the bottom of the hole and head back to the river. They were humanoid, but as if the human had been dragging themselves on their bellies. The legs did not appear to function. The river had subsided. Suni, ever impulsive, had called out. Surprisingly, someone replied..

Suni: Any one there?
Reply (female):Who wants to know?
Sanjesh: We are the way out..
Reply: silence..

So they went back up and pulled up the ladder. The rest of the night was quiet. In the morning Hrun took several guards and 10 slaves to town for supplies. Hrun had decided to leave the operation to Sanjesh, and get his own tuckus back to the comforts of Butrús.. Sanjesh decided to spend some time looking for Chnéhl signs in the vicinity (with the Beast handlers doing the same thing..) . They didn’t find any. When he returned he was met by a delegation from the Village by the Sákbe Road Tower. They were angry, and, in a subservient manner (being lower cast) demanded the party deal with the Chnéhl with all haste. Three children had gone missing in the past few days. They couldn’t prove it was the Chnéhl, of course, but it seemed a likely suspect to the village.

The entire operation moved to the village, leaving the camp open. At the village they interviewed the elders and found the children were last seen by the river, quite a way from the forest edge. Other children who knew the lost ones denied any interaction with strangers, and had not seen the Chnéhl The next morning the party split in two, one investigating the site of the disappearances, and one going back to the original campsite to look for Chnéhl signs, or other evidence. Both found tracks.

At the original campsite, they found tracks from several adults and one child. They came from the area down hill towards the Turin and headed towards the Guard Tower. They followed.

At the rivers edge they found human tracks, formed up into a marching column, headed downstream along the Berjádu. Once out of the village, they moved up to the trail, and were lost amongst the general wear and tear of a heavily used path. The tracks had a military air about them and, based upon the depth of the prints, the makers were either heavy, or burdened.

The party reformed, and in the evening, they decided to follow the trail along the Berjádu towards the Turin. In the morning, they met the boy who had accompanied them from the fishing village on the Turin after they had found shelter for the Guard who had been attacked by the Ghár. We gave him a name, as he is beginning to look like an important character to the plot. Hruku. He was with some adults from the fishing village, and they had also come to report the loss of a child, and they also suspected the Chnéhl.

So, they took a portion of the group.. The players, the Beast handlers, three Hriháyal Guards and 10 slaves, and set out along the Berjádu. Suni, with her exceptional balance, traveled the rocky rivers edge keeping pace with the group. Her job was to look for signs that their quarry had gone into, or across the river. When they reached the ford, they decided to cross and investigate, and, as they were close, to go down to the wreck of the barge again. Suni, Sanjesh and Mriga made this trip, leaving the rest at the Ford.

Now things got a little weird. First, they found the corpse of one of the drowned Hriháyal guards from the Barge, dead on the beach, near the wreck. That hadn’t been there on the last trip. More eerily, the only tracks leading to its resting place appeared to have been made – by the corpse itself. So, a bit of traditional stick poking, and satisfied it wasn’t going to move again, they decided to burn it. Sanjesh entered the Barge and heard a skittering chattering sound. He backed out. In a fit of glorious self preservation, they left.

Back across the Ford, they headed to the con-flux of the two rivers, and made camp. The night was quite, until last shift, when they heard a growing rustling in the trees. If I recall, Mriga was on watch, and he quietly woke the rest. The noise continued to grow. Gotta Love Suni. She threw a rock at the trees, but apparently missed everything. With torches in hand, they crept up, until they could see the source. Hu bats. Hundreds, perhaps thousands. The beast handlers informed them that, despite their numbers, they were “probably” not a threat. They were gathering to return to their caves. At first light they all took off, with a thunderous roar, and headed up toward silver mountain.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Fresh Fish

Geo has found some new players for my campaign. Mic and Jo, a delightful couple, young by my standards of age, but tolerant of my doddering and rambling. We spent most of this eve – a special session as I work tomorrow – creating characters and briefing them on the world.

Over in the Yahoo group there has been a discussion as to how one handles players who either can't or won't buy into the worlds culture. This is always a fear for me with introducing Tekumel to new players. It was the first game I played, so I didn't have an expectation of dwarves and paladins that many young gamers acquire from “other” RPGs. Transferring from our common ethos to that of Narnia is not so difficult for most. But being thrust into a world where your good neighbor might also practice ritual human sacrifice is a bit disconcerting for most people I should think.

So, our new characters are

Mriga is a Priest of Keténgku, with a strong grounding in the healing arts, both magical and mundane. He was raised at the Monastery of the Grey Cloak, (which, in my Tekumel, and I think reasonably) has a Keténgku wing. I will have to find him a copy of Man of Gold... He has a strong sense of loyalty to the Monastery, perhaps moreso than to his Clan, Victorious Globe.

Suni, a warrior priestess of Grugánu, cohort to Ksárul, with an emphasis – so far – on Warrior. She is a member of one of the Black Trinity Clans *Black Moon, if I recall, but I don't have the sheet in front of me) which should create a different dynamic, should the Black Clan hunting party appear in the area again. She wields a Quarter Staff very nearly expertly, and has perfect balance. She also has blood lust and a short temper.

With the addition of these players, it would probably be imprudent to continue to refer to Geo's character as the “Hero”, so by way of Introduction..

Sanjesh, a Temple Guard with Hriháyal, and, until recently, the focus of our narrative. He is a member of the Green Kirtle, with High Lineage. Attractive, with a singers voice, and an up and coming talent with a sword. He is the very model of a Hriháyal Major General.

Once characters were complete we brought everyone up to date. My brain was getting fried, and I was ill prepared for extensive adventuring, but we played for a bit, above ground. First, a long discussion ensued about alternative ways to catch a Chnéhl. Traditional hunting technique would be to try to use the slaves as beaters and drive the Chnéhl towards the hunters. But this didn't bode so well if the goal was to capture, rather than kill. Someone hit upon the idea of using pit traps. So, slaves were put to work making a wall around the new camp, digging pits and preparing torches for a possible entry into the caves. Sanjesh, Suni and the Beast handler took our bait out for a walk, to spread the scent around.

No Chnéhl, but they did spot a Kuni bird, which, at Sanjesh bidding, the Beastmaster subdued with Zoic Domination, and held in a tree while Suni climbed up and captured it.

When they got back to camp, the beast handler had a chance to look more closely at the Kuni, and found it banded, and property of the Black Monolith Clan. So, it may have been associated with the hunting party – though no one saw a kuni with the party – or there may have been another party in the area, or, perhaps it simply escaped or was somehow lost. There was talk of interrogating the bird, but, since they couldn't be sure if it didn't talk that it was just not trained to talk, they decided against it, for the time being. They also decided against letting it go.

There was also a discussion of possible reasons that the Chnéhl had yet to take the bait. (Part of the truth is that the dice didn't work in their favor, but) someone suggested that perhaps they could sense that things weren't right. It was during the layout of the tents that someone realized that the tent that housed the fake Mis was down hill from the rest, which would be improper, if it weren't actually housing a slave girl. No one knew if the Chnéhl were smart enough to notice that kind of social faux Pas, but it was also noted that, perhaps because the Rényu, or perhaps Kaiyor, Mis's protégé, or even her ever present bodyguard was missing, the Chnéhl were simply not buying it. Or perhaps the lack of active rituals and ceremonies to Hriháyal. Well, they couldn't do much about the missing people, and it had been a long week in the woods. So the Hriháyal contingent decided it was time for some fleshy rites. Nothing quite so powerful a scent as the cumulative odor of a dozen sweaty bodies doing the holy bump and grind. The newcomers were invited but did not take part.

Mriga took first watch, and late into it, or perhaps early second watch, I forget, the slaves in the trap tent came running out, again insisting that there was Chnéhl in the tent. When pressed, they admitted they didn't see anything, but heard something in the hole. Sanjesh investigated as a crowd of naked sweaty Hriháyal worshipers (and slaves) crowded in with a somewhat discomfited Thúmis and friends behind him. Silence. Then a groaning, moaning noise. Not specifically Chnéhl like, but not categorically un Chnéhl like. Perhaps injured Team Avánthe. Perhaps team Avánthe trying to trick them into putting the ladder back. Perhaps something completely different. A torch dropped down the whole failed to shed light on the subject. Finally, Suni volunteered to go in.

And that is where we left off for the eve. Overall, it went well. Thrown into a very non D&D like environment, and subjected to one of the more radically unorthodox social customs of that environment, our recruits stood fast, and, hardly blushed. I am pleased. I think they have what it takes to buy into the world, and explore it for what it is, rather than try to make it something with which they are more comfortable.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

La, the traffic on the weekends...

We didn't game this week, but we did the week prior, and I am one week late in the posts. So first the game..

Our Hero and party spent another very dull night hoping to trap our escaped Chnéhl. It was annoyingly quite. The next morn they decided to try to control the camps perimeter with an improvised Baily, and decided to march into town to round up some additional slaves, or labor. They all went, leaving the camp open with the hope the Chnéhl might take the opportunity to explore it, and get themselves caught.

While in the village they met a small party of four strapping young men from the Four greater Black Clans – Black Fear, Black Water, Black Moon, and Black Flame - Their Pachi Lei Guide and their 20 slaves. The four told them they would be hunting in the area, and asked about game. Our Hero explained about the Chnéhl, and asked they keep a distance, and both parties agreed that it would be best if the hunters were well aware of the location of the parties campsite, so no accidents occurred. With new slaves in tow and the hunting party along side, they returned to the camp and the traps were – of course – still empty. The hunting party moved on up the mountain side. The camp site had simple wooden palisades on one third it's circumference by sunset. That night, they had some action on the perimeter, but it turned out to be a few Kurukú who had become curious about the camp.

So, the next morning they decided the bait smelled too much like a slave, and the camp site might be too threatening, so our hero took the girl and one of the beast handlers down to the river to wash her up.

When they reached the trail along the river that leads up to the Sákbe roads, they bumped into a party from the temple of Avánthe, a priestess and a few Aridáni Temple guard. They were a bit taciturn, but that didn't seem unusual considering the nature of the temple and its relationship to Hriháyal. Still, a bit of chit chat, and our hero learned that this group was headed out to survey damage and offer help to the locals. What else could one expect of Avánthe anyway..

After bathing the slave they headed back, and quickly found that the Good ladies of Avánthe are not above lying. Rather than continue down the trail along the riverbank, they had cut in and followed the path that our heroes party had taken out. They appeared to headed straight for the camp. But they never actually entered the camp, instead, circumnavigated it and continued on, up the mountain side. Suspicion started to settle in. It didn't take long for them to conclude that someone who returned to Butrús had leaked the information about the new cave entrance. A plan was hastily hatched, to pack up everything and move the camp to the mouth of the cave, and sit on it. That way they could try to control access to the cave, and still try to catch the Chnéhl. Only problem was they didn't have enough slaves to move the cage and all the tents and provisions. So the rest of the day was spent preparing for the move while a small party ran back to the village to get more hands.

Pickens for slaves were slim (the Black Clans had bought up most available) and so they hired some locals for strong backs and set out. They didn't even try to attract the Chnéhl that night, as the camp now numbered around 30 persons. The next morning they made their way slowly through the jungle and up the side of Silver Mountain, with a growing caravan of labor and gear. But as they were setting out another party arrived. This consisted of Two Priests of Thúmis and their guards. They were forthright. They wanted to explore the caves that the party had found and felt it might serve both parties to join forces. Seems word was spreading quickly amoung the temples (as the rescue of a High Priestess is good gossip) and it was not unreasonable to expect the area to get a lot of attention in short order. It would only be a matter of time before the government got wind of it, and they would certainly send troops to “secure it” in the name of the Petal Throne.

When they arrived at the cave entrance they determined that someone had already been there, and entered. From the size of the camp they guessed it was the Team Avánthe. No sign of the Black Clans. Now it is time to remind our reader that the entrance to the cave was a sink hole, and a rather steep, slippery and deep one at that. So,they built one tent directly over the hole, (and placed the cage inside).

But that was not quite the end of the evenings session. They sent the day labor home, and set watch to catch the Chnéhl. Early in the first watch our hero, who was in bed, as he prefers the last watch, was awoken by a scream. The slave girl had come running out of the tent hysterical. She insisted the Chnéhl was in the tent. Swords drawn, our hero entered, finding nothing. He went back to the hole but could see nothing. He figured if it was Team Avánthe, there would be lights or at least the smell of torches recently doused, but it was black. But to be sure our hero tried to pull up the ladder, on the reasonable assumption that it really didn't matter who was first in the hole, but who was first out. “There is no Concordat in the Tsu'urum.” It was heavy. Really heavy. Then there was the sound of movement, and the ladder was light again. And with that we called it a night.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Left to their own devices

This weeks game was truncated by a beguiling siren who talked us into taking a break to play Dominion*.. (I think). So only a bit happened after some initial book keeping.

The High Priestess Mis took her Tirrikámu, her Rényu, her protégé, and halve the temple guards, plus some slaves and a palanquin she picked up on site, and headed off to Butrús for recovery. She left our hero and the remaining Temple Guards to recover the Chnéhl. They had been seeding the area with drops of perfume to keep the beasts local, and they hired some local artisans to build some bamboo cages. Fortunately, they tested the cages with a couple of strong guards, and found them wanting. But Mis sent down two animal handlers from Butrús temple (figure that this would be a common enough skill in the temple of Hriháyal considering the necessities of certain rituals..) and they brought some appropriate cages. I figure one knows Zoic Domination at U4. A Specialist in the Priesthood.

On the first attempt they baited the cages with Hmélu. Hmm. Can't find that word with proper accenting to add to my Tekumel Dictionary at the moment..** At any rate, the Chnéhl didn't take the bait. The second attempt they hid the cages inside tents, and placed a slave, dolloped up in a bit of Mis' Personal perfume. This brought the Chnéhl to the edge of the camp, but they didn't make entrance. They did appear to make an attempt to outflank the guard on duty, however.

This is when our distraction arrived. It is also when I realized one of the reasons that running a solo player is so tough. He has no one to bounce ideas off but NPC's. That leaves the ref having to balance between giving too little and too much guidance over and over. And it certainly gives me problems with presenting just plumb bad ideas, which players manage to create organically. I may need to have Geo bring that Mythic Game next time, if I don't find any more players with free time.. who'ld have thought that would be so difficult.

On the Dominion front, I handily won the first game, and was robbed of victory in the second, just barely falling 4th out of four. It is a pleasant little game, which changes up the rules every game via a mechanic of using different sets of cards. Mildly Crack like, in that they will keep putting out new decks, it does not suffer the insanity of the Collectible Card game market. You buy a box, it has several “decks” which can be mixed an matched with to play games and additional boxes do the same. They are all free standing games, but the decks can be interchanged. Since the cards establish a lot of the rules details, each game is a bit unique, and replayability is high. Still, I doubt I will buy it.

Speaking of spending money, I picked up some GFNORDW bits and some figs via Ebay, at reasonable prices. Some are even painted, and will fall right in line for some Sárku temple guards. Others perhaps Hnálla, or Thúmis. I also bought some pre cast hirst arts bits that I hope to make into a modular cave set. All further purchases are on hiatus, because I ran my checking account pretty thin when I paid for some work on my Truck.

There will be no game tomorrow, as I will be at work..

* yes, dominion
** found it..

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Old In and Out..

Well, in fact, this weeks adventure was fairly low key, until the end. The party (still only one player) went into the sink hole and found limestone caverns that were cut away by the annual monsoon flooding. An underground river flowed towards the Turín, and upward into the mountain. Did I mention the Mountain? Probably not. The sinkhole is at the base of the Silver Mountain, as outlined in the Butrús Gazetteer. The mountain is known to be riddled with these caverns, but a new, unexplored cavern is a nice find, since it is said that the a wizard once made his home in the mountain. The party made their way along the underground rivers edge and lost one guard who fell in and was swept away. They found a natural bridge and then traveled downstream to a branching tunnel, that climbed upward and towards more solid ground. They found a fork in that tunnel and took the center.. which surprised me a bit, but, they were following the nose of the Rényu. By this time they were starting to ration their torches. They discovered a large cavern, and eventually found Mis hiRakádi, a high priestess of the temple of Hriháyal , unconscious, nearly dead. She had run out of food, and water, and torches days before. Fortunately, the caves are quite wet, due to the recent rains. She may have had a day or so left.

They also found a bit of writing, in the tunnels leading to the large cavern. It was clearly an old and unknown script, but not of truly ancient origin. Only marginally damaged by new deposits. Know one there could read them, but they tried to memorize the “Look” so they could describe it to people who might know.

They used spears and packs to fashion a litter, and bore Mis back to the entrance. There they encountered the Chnéhl. Two of them ambushed our hero as he was the first out, but he fought defensively and the Tirrikámu (J'grem hiQorretú) from the Priestess Barge joined him, to even out the odds. Both our hero and the Chnéhl he was fighting managed to deliver serious blows, but each did just under the threshold needed to cause a shock result. As more guards poured forth from the hole, the Chnéhl chose the safer path and fled. No one pursued. The party slept there, on guard, and then moved to the Sákbe road tower the next day. For his injuries and bravery, our hero garnered a bit of ritual attention from Mis, but, not a lot. Neither was in great shape at that point. And there we left them, with hopes of bringing more characters in at the Sákbe road tower next week.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Help, Lassie, come quick

Well, game two, one player, but a second interested party showed up as we wrapped up. I didn't give them much notice, so my apologies. This week I will be off to school on game day, and it would have been a work night anyway, so..

Our hero, Guard of the Temple Hriháyal, and party progressed upstream on the Berjádu to the Sákbe road tower that bridges the river. On the way they found the recent remains of two unknown Hriháyal guards, dead of injuries from a beast, and exposure. When they reached the Tower the Tirrikámu of the Sákbe roads for the area informed them that, yes, they knew about the dead Temple guards. They had been informed by another detachment from Butrús that the Priestess' barge was missing, and they had been sending scouts down the river. They had already rescued a priestess, found unconscious with the dead Guards, and she was resting comfortably in the guards room, in between her efforts to reward her rescuers. When they asked for an audience, they were told she probably would not be available til morning.

Next Morning our party learns that the rescued priestess is barely an acolyte, but a protégé of the High Priestess they are seeking. They are told that the Barge was trying desperately to make it the last few bends to the village and safety when the oars on one side started to snap. The Craft heaved sidelong in the river, and caught on debris, and quickly started to swamp. Water coming over the gunnels swept several people into the water immediately. She does not know who made it off the boat.

It is decided that the group should proceed down the other side of the Berjádu, to find the overturned barge, and look for evidence of life. Along the way, our acolyte, an Salarvyáni girl liberated in the border wars and inducted into the temple of Hriháyal, learns first of the Chnéhl. She explains that there may be up to two, and that they were aboard the barge, part of the entourage, as it were, and a crucial part of a ritual our High Priestess planned in Tumíssa. They were exceptional specimens, bred for size and aggressiveness, and valuable. More so, if the High Priestess is recovered, but worth something to the Temple in any case.

Half way down she learns the amusing story of the singing Rényu, and offers up more information. The Rényu is Fefee, a pet, companion to the High Priestess. That Fefee lives is encouraging, to her, as the animal is very loyal. And, of course, another valuable critter to recover, and probably much easier than recapturing the Chnéhl. She estimates that it may be only a few weeks, however, before a captive Rényu becomes a Feral Rényu.

At the Barge, they manage to completely fail at uprighting the craft. So they punch a hole in the now inverted barge and explore, finding some dead rowing slaves, and a trunk of valuables that belong to the HP. They explore the area, and find another Temple Guard, a Tirrikámu for the HP. He is an older man, a retiree from the legions, and experienced in the wild. He says he has swept the area south, and sees no signs of survivors.

So the party returns to the Sákbe roads, where they are told by the Guards that the singing Rényu has been appearing every night, despite them throwing rocks at the cursed thing. It appears again, that night, and our hero and the Acolyte try to approach it. Every time they get close, it darts off into the woods. Every time they retreat, it comes forward and sings. They decide it is trying to lead them.

Everyone up, but kept a good distance back, and off into the woods to follow the Rényu. Travel is difficult, and slow, but by mid morn they find a sink hole, and the Rényu wants to go down. But it is steep and slick. The party ties up some crude ladders and goes in.

So, has it come to this. I once thought myself a pretty ingenious GM, but it was my player who laughed as he said, “What Lassie, Timmy's in the well?”. Not my most creative moment, I am afraid. Still this is hopefully building to something...

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Rains swamp Butrus - Hero Gets wet

Well, I had two people lined up, but only one showed. We started anyway. After a bit of character creation, we had a young Temple Guard of Hriháyal, a strapping young man who shows promise with a sword, no pun intended..

As it happened a freak rains storm across much of the Chakas, out of season, led to significant flooding along the Turín River. Which led to an alarming delay in the arrival of dignitaries from the Temple of Hriháyal in Úrmish . So a Tirrikámu of the Temple Guard hastily gathered together five guardsmen and set out to search the swollen banks down to the Berjádu River. Our hero volunteered.

Other than a good deal of what I call Mud foot ( A condition familiar to many who have traveled in muddy environments, wherein the mud slowly cakes to your boots until they way a few tonne each) the first few days were uneventful. Then a guard tried to use the rushing water of the Turin to clean his boots, and was swept in. The Tirrikámu, had the good sense to have all the guards tied off to one another, and this kept him from being swept away, but his trashing attracted the attention of a Ghár before his mates could pull him out. He had lost the use of both legs below the knee when he was finally on land.

Our hero and one other Guard set out down stream to try to locate a fishing village that was supposed to be in the area. By night fall they had struck a deal to assist the village with moving their boats further out of the rising tide, in exchange for help getting their wounded comrade down to the village and some basic medical care. In the morning they set out north with two village bearers and returned that afternoon. By night fall, they had a chance to sleep indoors and out of the rain, improving everyones spirits – even our legless guard, though probably not by much.

The next morning, with a village boy tagging along, the party headed south again, leaving the wounded with the villagers. They encountered tracks from two Chnéhl that appeared to come down to the riverbanks, travel upstream a bit, then return to the woods. Chnéhl are not completely unknown here, but rare, and this put the troop on alert. They began to sing Temple songs as the marched, so as not to startle any Chnéhl they might run across, based upon the same idea that people use to keep bears away. And, either it worked, or they didn't run into any more of the beasts. It did, however, attract something.

By evening they were all convinced they were being followed, but no one had any idea what it might be. What ever it was had kept a good distance, and avoided being seen. It didn't “feel” hostile. But they put on extra guards to be safe. (Which meant no one got a solid nights sleep.) Mid way through the night, they heard something singing their songs off in the woods. Our hero sang back, and all went silent. This, was both amusing and a bit creepy. They added another guard to the last shift.

By morning they were all cranky. The boy, however, offered a plausible explanation. Perhaps it was a Rényu. They are known to follow, and they are fairly bright, and they can speak, after a fashion. It didn't seem impossible, though it would indicate one very smart Rényu. It would have learned the song in one day. Whatever it was continued to follow them the next day, though it kept greater distance. Our hero began to leave bits of dried foodstuffs as they traveled. He was aware that Rényu can be domesticated, and are worth something. But the critter never got close again.

By the end of the day the weather had finally let up and they found the confluence of the Turín and Berjádu River s. They could see across it, to the south, was the small barge that would have been carrying the Priestess from Úrmish. It was on one side. No sign of anyone near by, and no way to cross at this point. The young village boy told them of a normally fordable point upstream, but it was still to flooded to be done safely. Further upstream they would encounter the Sákbe roads. If anyone had survived the wreck, they might well have tried to make the Sákbe road tower. So our party headed there next.

And that is when the staff at Dragon Port gave us the last call warning. Our hero managed to confirm that the follower was, in fact, a Rényu, just prior to our closing the books, but I left the subject of what they will learn at the Sákbe roads for next time. It also allows me a convenient hook for introducing a new character, if I can find another brave soul. And I have come up with some interesting ideas..

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Players not Pawns.

The first rule of putting together a new RPG campaign, and one that I had forgotten, is that one must collect players, not miniatures. It really doesn't take many. I figure 3-6 should make a good start. Three is really the sweet spot for RPGing, in my opinion. Over 6 can get cumbersome, though I have done it, with some success, back when I was in form. One player and a DM is a bit clunky, the player lacks anyone to play off, aside from the DM, and so, the DM gets tired more quickly. When you add a second player, the DM can compose his thoughts when the two interact. This is even more pronounced in a group of three players. Four and five are manageable, but, as we add players the tendency for the players to tag off on demanding the attention from the DM increases. There are still slack times when the DM can think about aspects not immediately pressing, but they get more rare.

At anyrate, these thoughts are prompted by my attempt to form a Group for my Tekumel campaign. I have a room at the FLGS for the 1st. I have one player. I put up a poster, but have had no emails. I have a growing short tonne of miniatures. Short tonne being a Euphemism, in case I have sensitive readers. I plan on launching on Thursday even if we only have me and Geo. I have no idea what we will do, or what system we will use.

A large part of the problem is that I am no longer a "figure" in the local gaming scene. There was a time, back in College, when I was president and founder of the campus club. Finding players then was easy. But most of the people I knew then are gone from here. And the online networking has not helped much (read "at all"). The Freeforum group has been overrun with spammers, and another forum seems to consist of players in a Pathfinder campaign. Few people my age have time for more than one campaign, I find. And Gaming is kind of a personal activity, so I think finding strangers to travel to strange new lands is, socially, a bit daunting. It would be much easier if I were pitching a more familiar world - something a bit..oh Tolkien.

Other news, I won an Ebay auction for Lou Zocchi's copy of Swords and Glory Volume 1, in Box with Maps. I am hoping it comes autographed. As the story goes, the seller is a friend of Lou's and gave him a heads up on the current market value of some Old School Goodness. Lou allowed him to sell two copies of SGV1, to test the waters. I got the game cheap, in my estimation. Much cheaper than online retailers are asking for copies. That surprised me, and I suspect it may disappoint Lou. Don't know what he was expecting, of course. Still, I am pleased, because Lou has been an icon in my world for a while. I would love to get the Professors autograph on it as well, but I am thinking that will be unlikely.

I have been painting some, but mostly low caste and slave figures. I have some Asar figures in the Que, but I am not sure what I will do with them, so I am delaying. I did realize that all these poor clansfolk could probably also stand in as natives when I get some pirates painted, in a year or so.. But I need to get painting if I am gonna get the Tek stuff that I have done by years end. I should set up a camera, and there might be a pic if you come back to this post in a day or two.

I have also begun discussions with the Tekumel Project to sponsor a Legion. Not cheap, but, if I can find the money, I am gonna do it. For the moment, I will keep details hush hush.. Wouldn't want the Red Hats to know.

On April 10th, I think, Chirine and his pals have organized the Dave Arneson Maritime Memorial event at the Source. I hope to be there. But the next week I will be gone to school for work, and I am not sure I want to travel right before hand.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Gut Shot

Originally uploaded by kokigami
Chip Hosted a Game of Gut Shot recently. He felt it necessary to look the part.. Texas Belt Buckle and all. The scenario was a train robbery/kidnapping. The terrain was provided by Chip and the miniatures by his friends.

Things began when when a group of bad guys, who felt they had been wronged by the railroads owners, blew the tracks at the end of Royal Gorge, a narrow rail pass running parallel and sometimes hanging over the Arkansas River in Colorado. A lot of the terrain was left unused, as the focus of the activities was the train. We simply placed cardboard "floors" on top of the cars to represent the insides. First contact was made when a bad guy mounted the train in the caboose (no snickering..) and found the Caboose Crewman smoking a roll your own, and the Assistant Engineer taking a nap. This lead to a close quarters fist fight cause no one had time to reload after an initial round of missed shots.

I seem to be having a problem with linking to Flickr images, so I am going to send you here to view the pictures..

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Spending money, but not playing..

This seems to be a perennial problem. Of course, when switching from my traditional bit of not playing all games to a focus on not playing tekumel, there will obviously be some need for purchases. I have been getting minis that either are, or will serve well, for tekumel. Four units of Tsolyani and three Yan Kor, from Tita's House of Games, when they had a Holiday sale at the end of the year. And some Ghost Miniatures Elves from Old Glory who, so far, are mustering out to be Temple Guards for Karakan and Belkanu (and probably their cohorts). I have even begun painting these. Further down we see some Priestesses of Dlamelish and her Cohort from Bronze Age Miniatures. Paint work is ongoing, but good enough for now.

Several times I have found nice figs on Ebay from a "buffy's mommy" who seems to have no end of old 70's figures. I have purchased a pile of bearers, some Amazons (Aridani), and Numidians, who will function as poorer clans men. I also have some Asar from crocodile games for generic guards. These from the Noble Chirine.

Most recently, on Ebay, I won a set of old PHD figures, non humans. This means I will have some Ahoggya, Shen, S'su, Pygmy Folk, and a host of Tinaliya. The competition was fierce, especially for the Ahoggya, everyones favorite from Tekumel, I suppose.

Much Painting ahead, I see.

I also purchased, from Tita's again, the army books for Tsolyanu, Yan Kor and Mu'ugalavya, and the Tsolyani Primer, which, it turns out, is a really sound basic course. Now I need to track down some people who have a pretty firm grasp of Tsolyani, who have time to do some recordings.. I think that training vids based upon this book could be a very good thing..

These purchases have put me over budget on gaming at the moment. And yet, I bought three copies of Junta when it was on Tanga for 9 bucks..

I also realized I only have a few months before my Old Glory Army membership lapses. So, I need to make a list of things to buy from them, and do a bulk purchase. I am also looking at sponsoring a legion via the Tekumel Project. All this, and I haven't gotten a game together yet.

In theory, I am scheduled to run a game this Thursday. I have one player, for sure. One I have invited who has not replied. I have done no advertising. I have an adventure idea, but it isn't for one person, really. What to do, what to do...

Friday, January 1, 2010

Twenty Ten, the Time of Tekumel

It's all the rage, mentioning that this is a new year. Not one to buck the trend, so, I formally announce my Year of Tekumel. So, what, exactly, does this mean. Well for starters, Tekumel will be my primary focus for gaming. I don't know how this will work, as far as time is concerned. I figure it will be 80% of my new gaming budget*. I resolve to paint a Several Tek related miniatures for each non tek related miniature. And Most of my terrain projects will revolve around Tek usable items. I may even go so far as to create some original (derivative) Tekumel stuff.

This does not mean I will do no non tekumel stuff, of course. I still have projects that need tending to. But, Tekumel wi

Ideas along those lines include a Gazetteer for Penom. It would be modeled on the wonderful Butrus Gazetteer. Penom is oft the oft referenced, but seldom detailed armpit of Tsolyanu. I may also do -for my own benefit, but potentially useful to others - a series of educational powerpoints, or pod casts or something. This is all very ambitious.

I plan to spend some cash on this, though, for the moment, I don't know from whence it will come. Projects already in the works. I haven't updated the minis counts, but I do have a fair pile of both Official, and Proxy Tekumel figures now. I have plenty of Low class figures. A few and sundry potential temple guards and merchant guards, that need painting. And a box of goodies I bought from Tita's, that I haven't even opened, cause I need to figure a good way to organize them. I figure since I didn't open em, I can count the expense as a 2010 expense. They were about 200 dollars in figs, and that was taking advantage of a 50% off offer he made just prior to the Holidays.

On the terrain front, I have a fair number of conifers, from last year post christmas sales, and I have a nice wreath I will disassemble for creating shubbery, and maybe some exotics. I need to hit the thrift stores and such for more wreaths and such. Project for this week, when this stuff is still common, and cheap.

I also have a lot of Poly styrene packing, that I can convert up for temple fronts, and such, I think. I don't know what else to do with it, though some may be tasked for non tekumel terrain. Chirine showed me a trick for making quick and painless temple exteriors, so that will probably come up. And I am hoping to make some dungeon pieces. More on that as the plan develops.

And I plan to go to Ann Arbor this year. I think I will even take vacation for that up front.

Well, this was pretty rambling. Probably up too late last night. I will edit it later. Maybe add a bit. Later fans.