What happened before

We do the right amount of recon, and discover that homeless are disappearing and being killed from their old haunts beneath the city. We spend some time in a old magically inclined pub and find out that the Conclave is very much out of resources. Nonetheless, we hit the morgue and find that in all likelihood ghouls are coming out of the tunnels to eat and kill.

We prepare for an armed incursion. We have the right background on ghouls, try and optimize our loadouts accordingly (cut, burn, holy water, not guns). It’s time. We’re goin’ on a dungeon crawl in the sewer tunnels. Let’s get it on.

Continue reading “Ceteri Campaign S0E10 – Ghoul on Fire”

What happened before

After the big showdown at the subway station, we found ourselves at least temporarily free from persecution by the sidhe, specifically the Children of the Storm. Having defeated them sufficiently in mostly-honorable combat, we managed to extricate ourselves from that. That left us headed for a bit of a time-skip, and we pick up the action in July 1999, having spent the better part of two and a half years (28 months) growing from teens to adults. All of us are independent, and either in college, or using our talents to begin to start make it on our own.

We’re about to exit tutorial mode…

Continue reading “The Chronicles of Ceteri: Ep9 – Ghoul Recon”

What happened before

After the bowling alley massacre, we effectively flee the scene of the fight. We’re picked up very quickly by someone we identify as a sidhe, and a powerful one at that. We try and find a place that might be tactically defensible, and take the pursuit out of town to an abandoned church, which is surrounded on three sides by running water. We then realize that the sidhe really isn’t going to be hindered by this, and that we’ve basically boxed ourselves in. This is reinforced when tons and tons of sluagh start arriving, in anticipation of the carnage to come. We bargain with them, trying to make them at least neutral, and while making deals with fae is never good, we buy ourselves time time. Five years, in fact . . . but that might not work out as we thought. The sluagh mistress, in order to secure her future interests, “helps” us escape – taking us to the fae lands of Underhill. We journey down the King’s road, and eventually meet the king, and of course also the father of the sidhe we killed in the bowling alley. Some major bard-song later, we manage to escape back to the real world – but not before agreeing to meet the champions of the sidhe in combat to settle the matter once and for all.

Oh, and also Timothy got completely vamped by a ridiculously hot faerie lady, who started the conversation saying nice things about Timothy’s car, and ended up giving him the ride of his life . . . and whenever faeries do that sort of thing . . . bad things happen later. Changelings? Yeah, don’t want to be the baby-daddy of that kind of union, but we’re pretty sure that’s what’s going to happen.

Never mess with fae. Never make deals with fae. Never travel through fae lands. And definitely do not have sex with fae. We managed to do all four.

Continue reading “The Chronicles of Ceteri: Ep8 – Bloodsport”

What happened before

Kamali wakes up from his seizure, and the group is attacked by zombies. Lots of zombies. Our NPC Carl finds deep reserves of courage, and just will not die. The rest of us acquit ourselves very well, but take severe wounds in the process. We are forced to amputate Gabriel’s leg as the fight ends. That ends Episode 4.

Episode 6 featured a massive combat between us and some very irritated fae in a bowling alley. Ep 7 was all impulsive, panicked aftermath.

Let’s see how it all went down. Continue reading “Ceteri Campaign: Double Session Report (E6 and E7)”

What happened before

Kamali recovers from his seizure, and reports that our ancestors had prepared The Lodge for us to complete, and that our group is somehow fore-ordained to come together to fight. We do a whole lot of construction and eventually finish the building. Timothy is gravely wounded by an angry moose during a hunting trip, and the entire team manages to fight and drive off the spirit of the shaman – we do battle in an ethereal or astral projection (or the functional equivalent). We start play as Kamali wakes up, and Myriam calls on Alex’s uncle’s satellite phone.

Dramatis Personae

Kamali Blackshear (14): Kamali is a young boy in his early teens. He is healthy and is of mixed ethnicity of Caucasian South African and native South African. He is a determined youth who believes in a justice of his own, likening himself to the knight of the round whom he has read deeply into. Just as they stood against the darkness of their age so too does Kamali seek to do the same. For his sister, for his friends, and for the world.

Tag: “A knight without a sword carrying a faith nobody believes.”

Lorenzo DeModouco (15): A handsome and charismatic musician. The loss of his parents didn’t dampen his spirits and he soldiered on after their death. He’s the cheery one always trying to make others happy and sometimes spontaneously breaks into song. Perceptive of others and their feelings, Lorenzo is the one who knows what people are thinking by the looks on their face. He’s also a boy scout and is quite comfortable in the wild.

TAG: “He’s a Jukebox Hero. He’s got stars in his eyes. A Jukebox Hero – he’ll make sure you survive.”

Amos M. Humiston (15) – A comfortable existence turned upside down, he’s still shell-shocked from what happened to his parents and has switched from a small and chatty boy to a small and quiet boy. Amos tends to quietly slip along after the group leaving a trail of books read behind him. And though he doesn’t volunteer himself quite yet, he’s always happy to help the best he can without showing off his intelligence, though that doesn’t stop him from being happy to do so when it’s possible.

Gabriel MacAlister (14) – Built like the natural athlete he is, he shows signs of growing even larger and stronger. A fairly quiet and hard-working lad, always ready to lend a hand with any work, which he will do without complaint or obligating the other person to respond. Emphatically not a pushover or weak personality, but also not one to purposefully show off. Has been in many horrible places and seen many horrible things; he’s a bit of a compulsive planner as a result, as well as always feeling that most folks don’t really know how lucky they are.

Tag: “To serve others is the highest calling; to protect the meek the noblest endeavor.”

Timothy I Mitchell (16): Timothy possess an honest if forgettable face. He tends towards comfortable, though inexpensive clothing and durable running shoes, rounding off his typical attire is a deep pocketed jacket and a backpack slung over one shoulder. Timothy appears to be a poster-boy for bad kids, often finding himself in trouble with any and all forms of authority. A victim of neglect, driven to never become a victim again he often acts seemingly on impulse, taking any dare or challenge in his stride. Timothy doesn’t have friends, not in any real sense. Too few of the people who enter his orbit can deal with him in anything more than bite sized pieces, a fact which only further frustrates the young teenager.

Tag: “Darkness is within all of us, it’s how you use that darkness that matters”

Zombies, Carl! Zombies!

Myriam is on the phone. After some static, Myriam reminds us that she told us that we were in a war, and not everyone makes it back. Kamali repeats that he saw a vision of someone who looked rather very much like Myriam.

“Look, that doesn’t matter right now. There’s something going down in North Dakota, about 900 miles directly south of us. There’s something here, and it’s calling the dead.”

“It’s calling the dead?” Kamali explains.

“What? Say what? The dead?” We put Myriam on speakerphone.

After interacting with our morphine-doped Timothy for a while, Myriam cuts in. A psychic has had a vision; one of us might die. But we cannot let that dead Shaman come down here; too much power in one place. We’re in his way, but he’s not the goal. That’s why we have a shot.

Kamali notes that there are two of us that are badly injured, and we’ll likely need to be full strength to take on the shaman.

Myriam starts dictating a spell for us; there are those among us who have eidetic memory, but we want to write it down in case those with such abilities get killed. Myriam is worried about whether she’ll survive the battle in North Dakota. She’s sending someone to us from the town. She probably shouldn’t have sent us up here, etc.

Gabe cuts in: “OK, Myriam. We’ll wait for your help, and sit tight.”

She thanks us, and hangs up.

Gabe: “OK. We’re absolutely not sitting here and sitting tight while Myriam and others fight for us, and have our loved ones die . . . again . . . while we could do something. We’re going to go kick some shaman ass.
Continue reading “Ceteri Campaign Ep 5: Salt of the Earth”

What happened before

The team is shipped off to the Yukon for the notional purpose of helping Gabe and Lorenzo get their cold-weather survival merit badges for scouting. We are provided with a ridiculous amount of high-end gear by Myriam, who owns the orphanage where we stay. We fly out there into record-cold temperatures. We head to a staging cabin, and then take some time to get to know both the town and the local environments. Some go hunting, some go towning, and overall we get ready for our adventure.

When the time comes, we snowmobile deep into the wilderness . . . and the campsite that feels the best to us is up into the mountains a bit. We look around, and find a ridiculously well-prepared campsite, with a basement, stacks of well-preserved wood, and evidence it’s been there for going on 30 years.

Some things were meant to be. Kamali even has a spirt-vision of, well, something important. His convulsions knock away some debris, and leave marks and writing made by our ancestors, who have carved their names into the basement wall, no less.We are led to finish construction of the house, our combination of Fortress of Solitude and Batcave. Kamali is project manager, Gabe is lead carpenter (diligence and carpentry skill as well), and everyone pitches in. We are very efficient . . . and we pick up there.

Dramatis Personae

Kamali Blackshear (14): Kamali is a young boy in his early teens. He is healthy and is of mixed ethnicity of Caucasian South African and native South African. He is a determined youth who believes in a justice of his own, likening himself to the knight of the round whom he has read deeply into. Just asthey stood against the darkness of their age so too does Kamali seek to do the same. For his sister, for his friends, and for the world.

Tag: “A knight without a sword carrying a faith nobody believes.”

Lorenzo DeModouco (15): A handsome and charismatic musician. The loss of his parents didn’t dampen his spirits and he soldiered on after their death. He’s the cheery one always trying to make others happy and sometimes spontaneously breaks into song. Perceptive of others and their feelings, Lorenzo is the one who knows what people are thinking by the looks on their face. He’s also a boy scout and is quite comfortable in the wild.

TAG: “He’s a Jukebox Hero. He’s got stars in his eyes. A Jukebox Hero – he’ll make sure you survive.”

Amos M. Humiston (15) – A comfortable existence turned upside down, he’s still shell-shocked from what happened to his parents and has switched from a small and chatty boy to a small and quiet boy. Amos tends to quietly slip along after the group leaving a trail of books read behind him. And though he doesn’t volunteer himself quite yet, he’s always happy to help the best he can without showing off his intelligence, though that doesn’t stop him from being happy to do so when it’s possible.

Gabriel MacAlister (14) – Built like the natural athlete he is, he shows signs of growing even larger and stronger. A fairly quiet and hard working lad, always ready to lend a hand with any work, which he will do without complaint or obligating the other person to respond. Emphatically not a pushover or weak personality, but also not one to purposefully show off. Has been in many horrible places and seen many horrible things; he’s a bit of a compulsive planner as a result, as well as always feeling that most folks don’t really know how lucky they are.

Tag: “To serve others is the highest calling; to protect the meek the noblest endeavor.”

Timothy I Mitchell (16): Timothy possess an honest if forgettable face. He tends towards comfortable, though inexpensive clothing and durable running shoes, rounding off his typical attire is a deep pocketed jacket and a backpack slung over one shoulder. Timothy appears to be a poster-boy for bad kids, often finding himself in trouble with any and all forms of authority. A victim of neglect, driven to never become a victim again he often acts seemingly on impulse, taking any dare or challenge in his stride. Timothy doesn’t have friends, not in any real sense. Too few of the people who enter his orbit can deal with him in anything more than bite sized pieces, a fact which only further frustrates the young teenager.

Tag: “Darkness is within all of us, it’s how you use that darkness that matters”

Episode Title

8pm. The Lodge.
Astronomical Twilight was about 6:40pm that day.

Kamali is having a seizure and vision. Everything is green, so it’s summer, and a giant swarm of black flies haunts the area. We hear the sound of the river in the background. Kamali realizes he’s in the basement, while it’s being built. Our ancestors seem to have been there, building, at least in the vision. There’s a black-haired man there, looking a timeless 20 or 30 years old, with nearly inhumanly blue eyes – movie star eye. He’s talking to Kamali’s mother – who is much, much younger. She’s dressed almost in leather armor, with a sword strapped to her back. It’s not one of the swords from the basement (the cavalry sabre). She’s have an intense discussion or argument with the blue-eyed man. It’s hard to make out, but the thing that sticks out is the exchange where she says “How could you possibly know this?” and the blue-eyed man says “because I’ve seen it.”
Continue reading “The Chronicles of Ceteri: Ep4 – The Lodge”

What happened before

The group was moved into a new orphanage after the deaths of all their parents by the same serial killer. We get to know each other, and both friendships and rivalries are formed. We meet Myriam, the proprietor of the place, who always carries a knife and resembled Sigourney Weaver, with facial scarring. We settle in, and eventually are led to go to a house, and encountered a horrible spirit – a soul-eating fae that preys on children. We defeat it in decisive battle, helped by no small amount of luck. We confess all to Myriam at the end, who turns out to be a bad-ass monster hunter type. She starts us in a brutal and effective training regime, which lasts for two years . . .

Dramatis Personae

Kamali Blackshear (14): Kamali is a young boy in his early teens. He is healthy and is of mixed ethnicity of Caucasian South African and native South African. He is a determined youth who believes in a justice of his own, likening himself to the knight of the round whom he has read deeply into. Just asthey stood against the darkness of their age so too does Kamali seek to do the same. For his sister, for his friends, and for the world.

Tag: “A knight without a sword carrying a faith nobody believes.”

Lorenzo DeModouco (15): A handsome and charismatic musician. The loss of his parents didn’t dampen his spirits and he soldiered on after their death. He’s the cheery one always trying to make others happy and sometimes spontaneously breaks into song. Perceptive of others and their feelings, Lorenzo is the one who knows what people are thinking by the looks on their face. He’s also a boy scout and is quite comfortable in the wild.

TAG: “He’s a Jukebox Hero. He’s got stars in his eyes. A Jukebox Hero – he’ll make sure you survive.”

Amos M. Humiston (15) – A comfortable existence turned upside down, he’s still shell-shocked from what happened to his parents and has switched from a small and chatty boy to a small and quiet boy. Amos tends to quietly slip along after the group leaving a trail of books read behind him. And though he doesn’t volunteer himself quite yet, he’s always happy to help the best he can without showing off his intelligence, though that doesn’t stop him from being happy to do so when it’s possible.

Gabriel MacAlister (14) – Built like the natural athlete he is, he shows signs of growing even larger and stronger. A fairly quiet and hard working lad, always ready to lend a hand with any work, which he will do without complaint or obligating the other person to respond. Emphatically not a pushover or weak personality, but also not one to purposefully show off. Has been in many horrible places and seen many horrible things; he’s a bit of a compulsive planner as a result, as well as always feeling that most folks don’t really know how lucky they are.

Tag: “To serve others is the highest calling; to protect the meek the noblest endeavor.”

Timothy I Mitchell (16): Timothy possess an honest if forgettable face. He tends towards comfortable, though inexpensive clothing and durable running shoes, rounding off his typical attire is a deep pocketed jacket and a backpack slung over one shoulder. Timothy appears to be a poster-boy for bad kids, often finding himself in trouble with any and all forms of authority. A victim of neglect, driven to never become a victim again he often acts seemingly on impulse, taking any dare or challenge in his stride. Timothy doesn’t have friends, not in any real sense. Too few of the people who enter his orbit can deal with him in anything more than bite sized pieces, a fact which only further frustrates the young teenager.

Tag: “Darkness is within all of us, it’s how you use that darkness that matters”

Yukon Take it With You

  • Home
  • Wednesday, December 6th, 1995, 1:00 pm
  • 7 Louders Lane, Jamaica Plain Boston, MA 02130-43422

Two years have passed. We’ve grown larger, more studious in the interim, and all of us have become remarkable people. Except Lorenzo, who hasn’t given me his description and so is a blank slate. We are told we’re all going to go to support Lorenzo as he gets his Extreme Conditions merit badge. Those that don’t have backpacks (like Gabe) are given one, and we settle in to what must be fifteen pounds of roast beef.

We pack our stuff, including a fairly impressive array of weaponry for a bunch of teenagers. No one seems to notice or comment on Gabe’s white-hilted sword.

We travel for more than 30 hours, via plane, small plane, smaller plane, and various other conveyances. Alex Lawton is one of the scouts, and his uncle, Robert Lawton, is flying the plane and supervising the trip. Carl Stanford is another scout seeking his badge. That makes the PCs, Alex, Carl, and Robert. Alex and Robert are obviously native american; Alex might also be part Korean. Carl is a happy-go-lucky, annoyingly cheerful boy out on his first big adventure.

We call him RedShirt, instantly.

When we land in the Yukon, it’s the coldest day on record; -53 degrees (-47C). Between our arctic clothing and good HT, we’re good, but still: damn.

Continue reading “The Chronicles of Ceteri (B-Team): Yukon Take It With You”

We kicked off a new campaign under Christopher Rice’s GMing hand. We are doing all sorts of interesting things with rules for this game. It’s still GURPS at the core, but we’ve got all sort of modular add-ons on trial. A card deck system, foibles and flaws from Pointless Looting and Slaying and/or Pointless Monster Hunting in play instead of quantified disadvantages, and a bunch of other stuff, including a lot of home-built magic.

The basic genre of the game is modern-day monster hunting. The quirk is that we’re going to game through our character development, starting as 12-14yo kids, and then doing some flash-forward stuff and time skips. So we’ll play through a bunch of sessions as teens, then flash forward to likely college-age stuff, then maybe once or twice more.

The soft premise is that we are chosen, for good or ill, by the great powers of the world – and by “great powers” we’re basically talking God, and specifically the God of the Bible. There’s a lot more nuance to it than this, and some very, very promising campaign themes and concepts and backstory that we all had some hand in nudging. But there’s a lot of depth to the cosmology here, and it’s very exciting.

Due to technical difficulties getting the transcript done, this is the summary of the first two sessions.

Meet Gabriel MacAlister

Gabriel (Gabe) MacAlister was born in December 1980. His father was a  hard-charging Delta forces type; his mother was a practicing nurse and missionary. He bounced all over the hottest spots in the world, and both his parents took service to others as the highest calling. Gabe spent his early years in North Carolina, but then went with his family to Beirut in 1982, departing from there having picked up a good deal of Arabic in 1984.

From there his mother and he went as missionaries to Ethiopia, for the horrible famines there, and Gabe accompanied her on life-saving and comfort-giving missions as best he could. More Arabic, and also picked up French when he had to live in Djibouti for a while, as Ethiopia had just gotten too horrible.

They rotated back to the USA in 1987, then redeployed to South America on anti-drug and pro-democracy actions for his father. This strengthened his Spanish. Then back to North Carolina for a year, and then back to Saudi Arabia for the run-up to Desert Shield. By this time, Gabe was 10, strongly multilingual, and had been running around in pretty rough places in the world for most of his life, learning confidence, wrestling and some brutal fighting, and survival, medical skills, and all sorts of things along the way from two very capable and hands-on parents. His mother had kept him humble and taught him urban survival and rural living, as well as his acting as her assistant in situations no child should ever have to see. His father kept him strong and taught him independence, self-reliance, and a savagely direct fighting style that meant that any bullying by local toughs only happened once.

The father saw fighting – lots of it – in Saudi Arabia: SCUD hunting, and other action, up until he and his unit ran into something horrible in the Iraqi desert. Only three people of an entire unit came out of that mission. Their debrief noted they’d been attacked and ambushed at night in close-in fighting by a foe that the never saw.

He suffered a seemingly-minor injury during that conflict that led him to decide that while fit to be a regular soldier, he could no longer keep up as a true member of SFOD-D; he and Maria elected to stop wandering, and bring their almost-teen-age son home, and start a new life.

They moved back to North Carolina only briefly, packed their meager possessions, and decided on Boston. They had only been in their new apartment, and Gabriel in his new school, for perhaps three months when tragedy struck, and both of Gabe’s parents were killed in a horrible mass murder in 1993. This mass-murder is the tie that binds all of the PCs together – all of us lost our family that night, as sole survivors, like the Angel of Death passing over Egypt.

Dramatis Personae

Kamali Blackshear (12): Kamali is a young boy in his early teens. He is healthy and is of mixed ethnicity of Caucasian South African and native South African. He is a determined youth who believes in a justice of his own, likening himself to the knight of the round whom he has read deeply into. Just asthey stood against the darkness of their age so too does Kamali seek to do the same. For his sister, for his friends, and for the world.

Tag: “A knight without sword carrying faith nobody believes.”

Lorenzo DeModouco (13):

Amos M. Humiston (13) – A comfortable existence turned upside down, he’s still shell-shocked from what happened to his parents and has switched from a small and chatty boy to a small and quiet boy. Amos tends to quietly slip along after the group leaving a trail of books read behind him. And though he doesn’t volunteer himself quite yet, he’s always happy to help the best he can without showing off his intelligence, though that doesn’t stop him from being happy to do so when it’s possible.

Gabriel MacAlister (12) – Built like the natural athlete he is, he shows signs of growing even larger and stronger. A fairly quiet and hard working lad, always ready to lend a hand with any work, which he will do without complaint or obligating the other person to respond. Emphatically not a pushover or weak personality, but also not one to purposefully show off. Has been in many horrible places and seen many horrible things; he’s a bit of a compulsive planner as a result, as well as always feeling that most folks don’t really know how lucky they are.

Tag: “To serve others is the highest calling; to protect the meek the noblest endeavor.”

Timothy I Mitchell (14): Timothy possess an honest if forgettable face. He tends towards comfortable, though inexpensive clothing and durable running shoes, rounding off his typical attire is a deep pocketed jacket and a backpack slung over one shoulder. Timothy appears to be a poster-boy for bad kids, often finding himself in trouble with any and all forms of authority. A victim of neglect, driven to never become a victim again he often acts seemingly on impulse, taking any dare or challenge in his stride. Timothy doesn’t have friends, not in any real sense. Too few of the people who enter his orbit can deal with him in anything more than bite sized pieces, a fact which only further frustrates the young teenager.

Tag: “Darkness is within all of us, it’s how you use that darkness that matters”

Continue reading “The Chronicles of Ceteri (B-Team): Prelude and Ep2”

Short post today, because much that has been discussed will be kept in reserve for the actual game.

We had our second or third prep session for the new campaign, now that Aeon has ended. This one is going to be monster hunting style, and I simply love the campaign background.

Christopher asked us what we wanted, and since we’re an experienced group of roleplayers, designers, and such, we all had opinions. The survey method he used was pretty informative in describing what we think we will like, and identifying outliers. There were a couple.

I was dead-set against the monster cabal knowledge filtering up to the big governments of the world. I had reasons why – while I love me some Monster Hunters International, I felt that – just as we saw in the MHI books – it would rapidly spiral out of control as the general public would penetrate the veil of secrecy. It also gave the PCs access to a “clean-up squad,” even if we were the ones that would be cleaned up along the way. In short, it opened up options for hunting in a way that allowed for egregious “what part of SECRET monster hunting organization is unclear? SECRET!”

I actually ran into that with a Black Ops game I ran way back when – must have been between 2000 and 2004. SECRET, people!

But the cosmology of the world is wonderful, and runs in a direction that I feel compelled to explore much more extensively. The monsters and bad guys are all tied together in one way or another, and there are good reasons for things to be secret that we’ve rationalized in terms of God and his design for the universe. We’ve tied in the importance of humanity, and the limits placed on the agency of the servants of both God and Lucifer, and why the Devil can have such sway. It was semi-collaboratively built, in that Christopher did his usual an banged out a gigantic setting bible that covers folklore, rules, history, and many other things, and we read it, skimmed it, or otherwise came into the discussion and poked some holes and asked some questions, which caused some rewrites and modifications for the better. Continue reading “GURPS Campaign: The Chronicles of Ceteri”