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Archive for March, 2010

Oh no! I left you guys on a horrible cliff-hanger that will soon be resolved (I promise). But before I tie up my loose ends, I want to once again evangelize using excel (or any office program) to organize gaming data. I’m starting to organize my NPCs in one handy on-going spreadsheet that I can update as I need to. I’ve been doing too much on the fly recently, and the game has suffered for it. I don’t know, the mere fact that I’m organizing things and making sure that the relevant party has names helps me get my head in the right space. Well, at least I can pretend I’m being productive somehow.

Just like this, except without the spoiler bars.

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Last time, our party managed to overcome the tyranny of bread puns and actually managed to move the story forward! With much rejoicing, the party heads over to Canti Tower, Alba in tow as a guide. At the start of this, I asked if I could have everybody’s character sheets, and had everybody draw a number. I had a plan that was going to either be awesome or made of fail.

The Morning Before
The party wakes up and head to the meeting place. They greet Alba, climb aboard her wagon, and head to the tower.

Canti Tower
After an uneventful trip to the tower, the party arrives! Grateful to have finally reached something exciting happening, they don’t even comment on the strangest property of the tower: It is only three stories tall. Disregarding any personal safety, the party enters the tower from the main door at the north. A hallway, running east-west lies before them. The party heads east, and enters the kitchen. On the way, they notice several suspicious reddish stains on the walls and floor.

Map generated courtesy of Gozzy's Cartographic Emporium. Check them out here: http://www.gozzys.com/article.php?cm_id=8

The Kitchen
The kitchen is rather nondescript. Every available surface is coated in a thick layer of dust, and nothing appears out of the ordinary. Rila and Pentaros decide to poke around in the pantry, hoping to find either something salvageable or interesting. As they touch the pantry, however, they both vanish.

On the other side
Rila finds herself seeing the world from a much different perspective. For one thing, she is much shorter. For another, she sees Rila standing next to a child. Pentaros, for his part, sees a small child and Bimbi. Rila-as-Bimbi doesn’t know what’s going on, but somehow, somewhere, she knows that she has to protect this child and escape where they are. Pentaros-as-Rila knows deep down that they need to get to Pentaros’s army Looking around, the players see that they are in a library with only one exit. unfortunately for them, there are a series of angry sounding footsteps and a cry of “I think they went that way!” coming from the other side of the door. With a lucky dungeonering roll, Rila-as-Bimbi remembers that there is a hidden passage in the library, and between the two of them, they manage to fight it. Escaping through the passage, Rila-as-Bimbi and Pentaros-as-Rila share the information they know. This only takes a moment, since the players are pretty confused at this point, being the first thrust into a strange situation. Rila-as-Bimbi asks the child its name, with a cheery “I’m Edward!” as a response which cues a convenient fade to black.

Meanwhile…
Back in the tower, the remaining party members are staring aghast at the spot where Rila and Pentaros were once standing. After poking the spot furtively a couple of times, they gave up and decided to go look for them elsewhere in the tower. Passing through the other end of the hallway, they enter into a receiving room with a large chair in the middle. Cedrick and Sarin poke it, only to vanish like the Rila and Pentaros….

A Forest Glade
Sarin finds himself in a wooded glade, standing next to a lovely lady. He is melancholy, but he doesn’t know why. He also inexplicably feels much stupider. That’s right. Through the luck of the draw, Sarin found himself in the body his (in-game) half-brother, Cedrick. It was at this point I cackled maniacally to myself, for I knew at that moment that my experiment, no matter what else happened, would be a great success. Smiling to myself, I knew what was to happen next would knock everybody’s socks off….

To Be Continued!

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Well put, creepy man living in my clock. Well put indeed.

I’ve had problems writing recently. My time has been eaten up recently between the full-time job thing and the volunteering at a local theater in the evenings thing, but it feels that I’ve hit a brick wall with my writing. Maybe it’s because I take fewer walks in the evening now, or has more to do with the unfortunate return of my insomnia. Regardless of the cause, I am suffering from a bad case of writer’s block. I know the key to getting through writer’s block is just to write, but that would involve me getting motivated enough to move from my couch to the computer.

Maybe what bothers me the most is my lack of motivation.

It’s not even a lack of ideas, really. I just haven’t had the time, focus, and will to sit down and type for an hour or two each night. I just need to do it, and damn what my reptile brain tells me, I guess. Any tips out there for forcing oneself to write?

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Lazy Saturday

One of my friends reminded me of this poem from Neil Gaiman, and I thought I would share, since it fits with the major theme of my current campaign.

Also, using the day to prepare my session.

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In this episode: stuff happens The hook to get to the plot! The last time I wrote on this adventure, our party suffered from a case of we-are-in-a-very-silly-mood-itis, preferring to set up a decoy of a decoy, and making bread puns. But somehow I managed to rise above it. *sigh* Even I couldn’t really help myself with the bread puns.

The Decoy Inn
A large group of the party is chilling at the inn that was supposed to be a decoy room at a different inn, but ended up being where everybody decided to hang out, anyway. By this point, several hours have passed, Israfel has returned to the not-a-decoy-inn, and evening draws near. There’s a knock on the door, and the innkeeper, having been previously instructed to not allow anybody up, announces that he has dinner ready for them, and he’s leaving it on a tray by the door. After waiting and listening to the sound of the innkeeper’s receding footsteps, Rila opens the door cautiously, peering around the corner. As expected, there was a tray with several bowls of warm, delicious stew (because that’s what ALL fantasy inns serve). Unexpectedly, there was also a note on the tray, simply addressed “To the Elf.” Opening the note, Rila finds a cryptic sentence (“I may have some answers for you regarding your questions. -A”) followed by a set of directions. Once again deciding to take the direct route, Rila heads there, without telling anybody where she’s going. Israfel follows her because he’s bored.

Meanwhile, at the coffee shop, Pentaros and Cedrick see the Israfel and Rila walking past. They ignore them and continue drinking coffee.

Bountiful Loaves of Bread
As Rila draws near to the building specified, she notices the smell of baked bread. Looking through the display window, there are loaves of bread. Using her insight, Rila deduces that this is indeed a bakery. She tries the door, only to find that it is locked. She flattens the note against the display window and knocks. After a moment, the door opens. Rila is greeted by the smiling faces of Alba and her husband (nobody ever asked his name, so it won’t be given here. Shame, that). After some polite banter– who am I kidding. Rila, being her usual blunt self, gets right down to business, demanding answers. Alba nods to her husband, who leaves the room, and settles down to explain about Canti Tower.

The Tower, and What She Found There
The city that the party is currently in (they didn’t ask the name for that, either) exploded in population fairly recently because of an influx of refugees from wars in the north. This happened in the last 3 years or so. The population seems to have stabilized since then. Alba has lived in this city for the past 8 years, working most of that time as a baker. Back then, she used to deliver bread once a week to the tower. It was because of those deliveries that she was the one to discover the carnage that had occurred at the tower. Alba panicked and ran back to town to report what she had seen. In less than twenty-four hours, then entire tower was slaughtered. Since then, those that attempted to enter the tower to reclaim bodies or investigate have vanished without a trace. On being pressed about what she saw there, Alba blanched, and said in almost a whisper, “They were all eviscerated, and it was arranged in a grotesque spiral…”

Reaction and Action
Rila’s interest is piqued at the mention of entrails. She demands more information, but Alba can’t tell her any more. Her mind made up, Rila decides that they need to investigate the tower. Alba offers her services as a guide, as well as her wagon to the party. Rila agrees and they arrange to meet early the next day.

During this time Sarin meets up with Pentaros and Cedrick in the coffee shop and they have several delicious beverages. Eventually they leave, and get ready for the next day’s journey.

Next Time: Plot!

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A drama teacher once told me that there are two types of actors: interior actors and exterior actors. Interior actors need to *feel* what their characters feel, see what their characters see, think as their characters think. They have to sublimate themselves into another persona completely. Exterior actors focus on the external aspects of acting, such as costumes, facial expressions, and movements to convey character to the audience. I’m an outside actor, myself. Talking to some directors, you think that would mean I’m not housebroken, or something.

In roleplaying terms, it’s kind of like the difference between stereotypical Vampire: The Masquerade players and LARPers. One builds an intricate interior life which may or may not impact the storyline– it’s really a jumping off point for the player to create a convincing character. The other uses elaborate costumes and props in order to create a vibrant character. Of course, there is always bleed-over between the two. But it’s a useful starting point to figure out where you fall on this spectrum in creating a character. So, where do you all fall on this spectrum? Or is there a third option that I’m not seeing because I’m too blinded by years of studying theatre?

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Sneak Peek

I really have been working on blog related stuff… it’s just a slightly different format, so it’s taking me longer. But here’s a sneak peek at the next “Stitch in Time” update. Enjoy!

Yeah, look at Rila be all angry and stuff.

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