Hey there boys and girls! I’m moving. I’ve even got my own domain name, and I hear that it’s basically impossible to get any of them these days b/c RARE.

http://www.incrediblevehicle.com

That’s where I’ll be posting from now on. I’ve imported everything from here to there, so comments and the like should also be there. I poked Dave about changing the feed and link, so hopefully people will be goin’ there instead of here soon.

I have no idea how many people read this via RSS, if anyone, but you might wanna change where you’re getting updates from. I’ll post about this over there, too, but if you want just the roleplaying stuff, this link should sort you out:

http://www.incrediblevehicle.com/category/roleplaying/feed

I’m also going to branch out a bit in terms of topics. I work in the computing field, which takes up a fair amount of my brain space. If you’re not up for that, I’d recommend the feed above. If you prefer bookmarks, then this is your link:

http://www.incrediblevehicle.com/category/roleplaying/

See you later!

I’ve been carrying this book, Horror Recognition Guide, around off and on over the last few months.  It wasn’t until recently that I really took a crack at it. It’s a fascinating read! I expected something analogous to Mysterious Places, a treatment of various phenomena accompanied with hints as to how to use them. It has the former, but the latter is conspicuously absent.

As it stands now, I’m nearly 100 pages in— more on that in a moment— and it doesn’t break character. It’s a collection of files, notes, journals, and ephemera detailing people’s encounters with the various nasties in this book. There’s nary a stat to be found and even the credits are at the back of the book rather than the front. Altogether, it’s 300 pages, covering 16 different phenomena. If you were to mistake this for a collection of short stories, you wouldn’t be far off the mark!

It’s definitely in a more Hunter-y context than any of the other games, a plain World of Darkness mortals game being one big possible exception. By that I mean that these stories are laid out more like mysteries than threats. So far, they’re fairly localized phenomena, though for at least a few of these horrors it’s obvious how you could increase their scope, at least to the point where they might give any of the other supernaturals cause for concern.

Anyway, it’s a real treat so far. It adds a lot to what might come to mind when you think about Hunter: the Vigil in particular and the sorts of things you’d see in World of Darkness in general.

All that said, I imagine you’ll get a bunch more more mileage out of it if you pick up Collection of Horrors. From what I can tell, it gives you something more concrete than a story, using the SAS system, various props (incl. audio) (!), and presumably statistics for some of the phenomena concerned. I’m intrigued, to the point where I’m considering buying the bundle. I like it when companies experiment like this, and I suspect these would be ideal for one-shots.

Since it’s evening when I’m writing this, I’m going to have at the rest of the book.

I can’t lie to you, blog. I’ve got the World of Darkness on the brain lately.

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A full-fledged postmortem will have to wait, so let’s just talk about this session.

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I’m going to try to keep this short and sweet, omitting most of the nuance and a decent chunk of the flavor. That’s mostly in the interest of getting this done, since this has been long overdue. So let’s get to it.

You’re in a room

The PCs were in a room that ostensibly acted as a barracks. After examining the room, they noticed that there were runes of warding that protected the room. Since Ratha and Rubican had reasonable familiarity with the language of Bael-Turath, they were able to complete the spell and rest.

They deciphered the missives, of which there were two. One concerned a portal, and contained orders to shut down the portal in order to retreat to the Usurper’s strongpoint. There were also orders to execute any prisoners. The other missive was from an inferior officer who begged the addressee to keep the portal open.

The PCs discussed the implications of there being a portal here— questions as to whether the goblins were using this arose, whether the goblins were actually being exploited by something else— and before long they decided to rest.

Rubican had a dream, where the Usurper made him kneel. Rubican resisted and although it chagrined the Usurper, he congratulated Rubican on his persistence and strength of will. Then he disappeared. Rubican didn’t wake up; rather, he saw across the clearing a woman who radiated heat. He approached her, and offered a hand despite the scorching air around her. She cut the shard out of his hand, and showed him a vision of plains of endless fire.

The next day they explored the rest of the complex. They found a storage room, which contained little of value beyond what could be considered historical artifacts. They found the holding cells, wherein the executed prisoners had risen back to life, still locked in cells, and more or less harmless.

Finally, they found the portal room. There was a bright sphere of light and a runic circle. On the floor were ashes, which had been undisturbed. The presence of ash was conclusive proof that this place had been undisturbed.

They entered the portal and explored a bit after realizing that the portal had closed behind them and that they were stuck. The notion was that the room they arrived in was a staging area for troops. This became clearer as, once they explored, they discovered that there were other, now dormant, portal circles. They also heard voices, and chose to investigate.

The last confrontation

When they found the source of the voices, they saw a bunch of goblins, one of whom was attempting to build a new Zombie/Zolem/Zombie fat-man. The rest were gambling.

The chieftain nearly lost his wits when he saw Ratha and Rubican together, as he had some sense that Rubican was affiliated with the Usurper, and after having moved a bunch, it was evident that Ratha was of the Star Pact. The PCs tried to extract more information, and found mostly that he was struggling to rebuilt the goblin army. Evenutally the PCs convinced him that he’d been betrayed, at which point he lost all reason and ordered his goblins to attack.

It was a short fight. Once the goblins all died, though, the jeweled finery that the chief goblin had been wearing began to crack and explode. A mist formed, which took on a humanoid shape, and rushed at Rubican.

At this point, Rubican had another vision. The Usurper demanded Rubican’s full cooperation. The Mother of Embers, as she identified herself, appeared behind the Usurper. When the Usurper noticed, he flew into a rage, and offered Rubican power and wealth at his side. Rubican chose the Mother of Embers. In response, the Usurper assumed control of Rubican and the battle began.

It was a longer fight than before, but odds were against the Usurper, even though he was able to reconstitute the goblins and raise the Zolem. Once the final blow was struck, the Usurper combusted and dissipated, leaving behind a fine white ash, almost like sand.

The PCs searched the room and found a number of books preserved. This was the Usurper’s lab, perhaps one of many. One of these books had a scroll of teleportation in it, which necessitated that someone involved have an intimate connection with the teleport destination.

Another thing they found were some old Bael-Turathi weapons, obviously magical but clearly outside the bounds of what magic was available in modern times.

They cast the teleportation ritual, and appeared in Er-Eret.

Epilogue

Eventually, Sighni, Ansa, Ratha, Lexa, and Alec got together and discussed the implications of what happened, and resolved to do some more research. Ansa advised against keeping the Bael-Turathi weaponry, as it might awaken or attract evil. They were also acutely aware that this was probably not the end of the Usurper.

Lexa hung on to a couple of the daggers. They whispered to her, and with each passing day, she grew closer to understanding. We decided that, in all probability, she would go insane, especially since her beloved crime lord was in such a dangerous line of work.

Long-term, Alac’s plan was to raise money for Er-Eret from the antiquities they found in the outpost.

That night, when they were celebrating, they saw a familiar face reflected in the bonfire: Rubican, who lived on in some parallel realm of pure and scorching fire.

Done!

I’ll have more in the postmortem, but it was nice to have a not-entirely-shitty resolution to this campaign. Everyone seemed pleased enough, and I was glad I could put it to rest.

It was tonight. I’m tired, so I’m not going to post the whole write-up about it now. But suffice it to say that this was the first game I actually Finished, as opposed to dropping due to inertia or lack of interest, and I’m pretty happy with how it turned out! I tried some only very slightly experimental bits, which worked better than I expected, though they might’ve used a few tweaks. The full write-up will probably happen tomorrow.

I also got my hands on Arcane Power, which of course looks pretty sweet so far.

That’s all for now, though, blog. I must has my sleeps, you see.

With the advent of PHB2, I decided to update my database of races and classes. After wrangling an entertaining and subtle bug, I’ve got some new numbers. This time, I’ll even share them with you!

To review, I’ve entered the following books into my little database: PHB, FR PHB, Martial Power, and PHB2. I haven’t added any builds or content from Dungeon or Dragon, including the Artificer. I haven’t added the Dark Pact warlock, but I probably should.

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This came up for me when my girlfriend and I decided to play some D&D last weekend, to teach her about encounter building and because it’d be fun. With the Character Builder, I created four characters lickety-split, and then I hit a snag.

See, I didn’t want to print all those character sheets out. Having all four characters on a computer would save ink, paper, and time spent fiddling with papers. But I don’t have a Windows laptop. I have a MacBook, and I replaced Windows with Ubuntu Linux on my ~4 year old Toshiba because it ran like moleasses (no sense in wasting an otherwise viable machine).  The rub? The D&D Character Builder doesn’t offer PDF exporting!

I don’t know whether this was by design or not but fortunately there’s a workaround: if a program lets you print, chances are you can save to PDF. There are various paid tools out there— I believe this functionality comes with Acrobat Pro— but of course there’s are free alternatives. PDFCreator is what I used.

Brief HowTo

Download and install PDFCreator.

Open an existing character or create a character in the Character Builder. Click Character Sheet.

Go to File > Print, and select PDFCreator instead of your usual printer. It’ll prompt you to provide some metadata for your PDF, like author and so on. Change it if you want, or leave it alone.

Click Save, which will prompt you to save your file someplace.

To survey your handiwork, open the file you just created in your favorite PDF viewer. (I recommend FoxIt Reader due to its speed and non-bloatedness.)

Bonus tip

I don’t know whether it was something with my network configuration, but I had a heck of a time getting the .NET 3.5 runtime installed at one point. smallestdotnet didn’t help. The installer linked off of the Character Builder page would error out after spending about ~10 minutes trying to download the installation data. There was no bleeding way I was going to download the 235mb (!) .NET installer.

In the end, going through Windows Update to install .NET 3.5 worked, so try Windows Update if you’re  having trouble.I would add one caveat, which is that that while Windows has been my primary OS for a while (I’m trying to remedy this), I’m no guru.

Yes, I expect it’s widely available now, but see, I got it yesterday Thursday. This is only remarkable because I didn’t expect to have it until today Friday. So it’s special, see.

It’s also special in part because no Er-Eret tonight. It’s going to be a weeknight next week! It has to be. I’m determined. And I’m more than a little tempted to bring this to a close post-haste.

Anyway, I’ve only had a chance to skim PHB2 as of this writing. Even though my assessment is half-baked, I do have one or two impressions which are even more half-assed and ill-thought-out than usual!

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Edit: This was supposed to go up on the 16th! I have no idea why it did not. I guess it’s not topical anymore, but who cares? Blog blog blog blog blog.

Yax is stirring the pot! 

Is 4E the deadliest D&D?

Shit, isn’t one of people’s biggest complaints about D&D 4th Edition that it’s too hard to kill players? I don’t pretend to understand but these people really miss things like save-or-die effects or ridiculous crits, I guess.

That’s all right, though. I will happily indulge Yax, and I’ll even try to be constructive about it.

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