You are currently browsing the monthly archive for May 2009.

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

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

Read the rest of this entry »

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.


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.


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.