Dramatis Personae

Kamali Blackshear (18): 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 (18): 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 (19) – This boy is far from where he started out at the orphanage. His comfortable existence already gone and instead has gotten used to his new life. Not like his brothers, his talents lay more in mental pursuits and has already started towards getting a double Masters degree at a local college aiming for his goal of becoming a research librarian. Following in his family’s footsteps almost unknowingly, he exhibits certain talents towards more occult pursuits such as druidism and alchemy, mixing up herbal supplements and elixers for the team. And while he’s still somewhat still slipping along behind the group, he has become a lot more outgoing with the rest of the Orphans and have started making friends with folks outside his adopted brothers. Always showing concern for them and trying to make sure they know everything that they need to when it comes to the dangers they face.

Tag: “True alchemists do not change lead into gold; they change the world into words.”

Gabriel MacAlister (18) – Built like the natural athlete he is, he has grown taller, stronger, and more solidly good-looking. A 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. He is an expert martial arts teacher, and has been following in the footsteps of a carpenter for some time now. 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. He lost a leg fighting zombies; he got an artificial replacement and kept on fighting the good fight.

Tag: “To serve others is the highest calling; to protect the meek the noblest endeavor, and our works are judged by the effort that went into them”

Timothy I Mitchell (19): 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”

Interviewing a Vampire

Having last left off pulling away from the chop shop that housed a large amount of vampires and a summoned demon. With a staked vampire wrapped in duct tape and a shop tarp stuck in the trunk of Timothy’s car, the boys end up back at the firehouse where they find Desiree searching for them, collapsing barely moments after the boys’ return.

The boys start ragging on each other as Gabe looks over Desiree. Amos’s slingshot, Timothy’s attitude, Kamali’s leadership, Lorenzo being a werewolf. Carl tries to defuse the situation.  Amos finally just tells the boys to go interrogate the vampire back at the original safehouse as he goes off to deal with a phone call promising a favor or bookcases.

Catching onto what the boys were saying, the fire chief suggests that they instead take the subject down to an interview room with Timothy trying to see if he can how much a vampire can resist. The boys take turns intimidating and interrogating the vampire while Kamali tries to interpret what the vampire is able to spit out after everything that the deal.

The first question comes out, asking about the master vampire. Unknowing who actually was throwing out orders as he gets commands through cell phones. Instead the one that might know is the leader, the vampire that fled the chop shop out into the sunlight towards another safehouse. There’s been a large amount of safehouses, brought up through the past two years. Pressed further he points out three safehouses on an old map.

The one that managed to leave, his leader Osvaldo D. Aubuchon, was able to summon the demon as a powerful sorcerer.  A former Nazi and now vampire.

Exhausted, the vampire passes out from the cold-blooded torture and the boys discuss the best way to remove the body, finally deciding to ask the Fire Chief to help them. The body is blended into chunks and removed into the water off the pier.

It took a while, but Amos finally comes back from his escapade with someone else in tow. Agrivaine.  The boys comes back up the stairs chatting about how the interview with the vampire went as they spot Amos and Agrivaine.

Aldrick comes riding up towards the firehouse with a bundle in tow, staring at Aggie with a glare as though he’s asking how come he isn’t prepared already.  Kamali and Timothy get into a fight with Agrivaine but are interrupted by a bear’s roar that shakes the very pier that they stand on. A truce now set, the boys move into the first floor of the firehouse.

Ritual Myriam

The bear shifter explains the ritual that there needs to be a ritual, cast by Agrivaine and anchored by Gabriel and himself. A sacrifice is needed to be try to bring her along the road back. Aldrick shames the boys that are in the middle of an argument and tells them to prepare the ritual.

The world of death is different for everyone, but the main goal is to face death and prove that they should be worthy to bring her back. Different tasks and different people for everyone.

To make sure that the ritual succeeds, Amos hands over two ingredients to Agrivaine, one of the shambler hearts that he so recently acquired along with one of the baggies full of Ifrit ashes. Amos draws a smaller symbol and asks for the fire chief to recreate it in larger version in the room as he aids Agrivaine. The boys throw in more into the pot for sacrifice.

Aldrick, off to the side starts a small fire in a brazier and throws water on it to create steam. Telling the boys to think merely of Myriam, of how they raised them and how they were brought up by her. Beyond as Agrivaine calls out to someone to help him with the dance.

The spell cast, the fire bursts out and dies down as they’re pulled into another plane, Aldrick tells them that the beating of his drum is connected to their heartbeats and to follow the doors to her spirit and no matter what happens. . . and then he’s cut off.

The boys walk through a door leading to the BBQ three days ago at the park, everyone is there, Carl’s father, Carl, Myriam, and the girls waving towards them. Tempted to go to her, Amos is instead pulled back by Kamali and he silently follows the boys as they bypass them and walk towards the closed door of a bathroom. Kamali lays hand on the doorknob while back in reality, Agrivaine is brought back home.

Within the door, the boys and Agrivaine find themselves within a lavishly decorated bedroom along with a tall blonde man that seems to know Aggie. Telling him that he won’t be coming back from things. Kamali’s soul sight sees the blonde as a demon, festered with sin. The boys keep watch as Aggrivaine and the familiar man start discussing what is happening while Kamali starts picking a fight with the new man.

The next door appears to be within a dollhouse, shrinking themselves down and finding the door stuck. Timothy steps forwards and lockpicks the doorway, leading them to step into a garden with only an old man that calls himself Anubis, speaking to them about gardening and Agrivaine equates it to drug dealing as Anubis speaks with Kamali about past debts being owed. That they would have to go through the gate after talking, that one of them may die afterwards.

Turning to Amos, the old man gives him a frankincense tree and the long forgotten cat, Hobbes, pops out of his coat pocket and comes to speak with the old man before being handed back to Amos, trying to juggle the small tree and the kitten in his hands as the gate swings open, Kamali senses a lot of danger beyond and tries to pry past the games being played.

Within that door, they find the landscape of the lodge in the Yukon where the boys stumble upon a demon gnawing upon the body of Gabe. The beast starts forwards, drawing a large halberd from the snow and swinging against Lorenzo and Timothy in a cleaving blow that Lorenzo barely manages to dodge, the immense strength sends Timothy flying as Agrivaine’s staff appears in his hand by himself. In response, Lorenzo draws out his werewolf side.

Kamali, in his stead, he draws out his Astral Sword to begin while Amos pulls out his slingshot and Aggie’s attempt to turn it slides right off as Lorenzo’s clothing explodes outwards under the pressure of the fur.

The demon charges past the newly transformed werewolf and attacks Agrivaine, Kamali, and Timothy all at once. Timothy manages to get away while Kamali dives onto Aggie to protect him. Lorenzo, in a hulked out form, grapples the demon’s arm and wrests the halberd from his control as Kamali rolls forwards and slashes at the demon’s feet, managing to cripple it. Agrivaine, on the other hand, manages to recognize who might be controlling it.

Timothy tries to reconnect with the spirit daggers from old, summoning them to his hands and dropping the demonic dagger. Charging forwards, the spirit weapons tear through the demon’s DR, tearing out the heart from the ribcage. But it came with a price as the demon dagger comes back around and flies straight into his vitals.

Kamali grasp the demon’s halberd while Agrivaine, before the last gasp of the demon, casts bond of servitude on the demon’s spirit and sends it to annoy the blonde from before. Forced to deal with the dagger in Timothy’s back. Agrivaine’s hand bursts into white light and grasps the dagger, forcing himself into Timothy’s head.

Timothy and Agrivaine enter in and speak against the fallen angel inhabiting the dagger while the spirit of the stag appears alongside. Debates about contracts with Timothy freaking out, backing towards the stag. Agrivaine attempts to explain what he can do for Timothy in this situation, but he tries to deny what he does beyond doing trying to save people with his knives and in an aspect of inspiration, Agrivaine showed him the truth behind his actions.

Timothy’s mental torture begins as he suffers every wound he inflicted on an innocent person. Shown what could have been for them, could have been for all of them and himself.

He is given a single chance.

And he takes his path.

The dagger gets dragged away by a man in black as Timothy slowly wakes.

Lorenzo helps heal Timothy and they limp their way into the doorway of the lodge, leading into a bowling alley. The only exit leading out into darkness. A man tells the boys to sit down and tells the boys to do the same and starts asking why she deserves to come back and with Kamali’s outburst decides to ask Myriam if she wants to come back.

Confused about where she is before she comes back to herself and starts asking what happened to her and the boys since things started happening. She’d been dying for a long time, coming back and forth between the realms and with a decision, she says that she’d like to come back though Kamali tries to dissuade her.

But at the mention of Vampires, she focuses immediately and asks if it was the specific vampire, the possible sire of Landry. He that killed everyone’s parents. The day that things occurred was part of a planetary alignment, time for a perfect sacrifice. Asking to know about their parents, their siblings, and relatives.

Timothy’s role as a Son of Cain is revealed to the rest of the boys, that he shares that same lineage with Grendel and his Mother, that Aldrick doesn’t enjoy his kind as Death lets folks know more. That Myriam has a sidhe making her charms, protecting her against death.

“I want to come home.”

Holding onto her boys, that was the last thing she spoke to her boys before the boys took a drink from the glasses that death supplied to the boys. The bundle that Aldrick brought in glows with light and the sound of breathing can be heard. Aldrick speaks with Agrivaine while the boys argued with him, save Amos. Making sure that Aggie has his contact information in case he or Yanay needs anything. The sorcerer finally slinks away, taking Trisha with him.

Howdy! I’m back from possibly the worst travel itinerary I’ve had inflicted on me in my 17 years working at my company. From Thailand to Minneapolis, I sat in hotel rooms or airport layovers for 36 hours, while actually moving from place to place in cars and airplanes for perhaps 24 hours. I am pretty much a wastoid right now, but soldier on anyway.

In any case, we’re entering the last six days of the Kickstarter. I was greeted by three reviews or pieces of commentary on my return, and all paint a favorable picture of Lost Hall of Tyr. I’ll present them in the order I read them, and quote them in full where appropriate.

Actual Play Report

The best feedback is “I played the game and it worked for me.” That’s the summary of this report by Anders:

Lost Hall of Tyr” is Douglas Cole’s adventure for Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition, made to showcase his Dungeon Grappling rules. It is set in Torengar, a country heavily inspired by the Old Norse and the goal is to regain lost books supposedly penned by one-handed Tyr, god of war, law and sacrifice.

I ran the adventure with seven 5th-level characters (which is probably more than it is recommended for) and it took about four hours to run. Cole has done a good job of capturing the flavor of Norse mythology and blending it with the Dungeons and Dragons feel. The adventure contains plenty of both fighting and non-fighting challenges. We had a lot of fun with the game, although I’m a little worried about how the final challenge would go with a less powerful party. You might have to adjust for that.

The adventure comes complete with a map of northwest Torengar and encounter maps for all the challenges that require them. It is excellent quality and I would recommend anyone interested in 5th edition to pick it up and play, and (obviously) to back the Kickstarter.”

I should note that his players didn’t engage with the grappling rules at all, which was good proof for me that in fact you can just run it straight. They went full hack-and-slash through the entire thing.

I will put in some advice about the final encounter, though, into the section on Alternatives for that fight. There are some things that aren’t entirely obvious about the big fight at the end that make it easier, and a few switches that can be thrown if the party is truly understrength.

Eric Diaz (Methods and Madness)

First impressions on +Douglas Cole’s Lost Hall of Tyr, based on the 52-page, yer unfinished, PDF:  

It seems like a very genuine exploration of Norse culture and conditions. It uses not only norse gods, it seems, but norse religion, with beliefs, rituals, folklore, etc.

It has detailed (and very reasonable) rules on cold, starvation, dehydration,e etc.  

The adventure itself if more focused on overland travel than the actual Hall. It is a very straightforward adventure, with branching paths, multiple ways to solve each encounter, and so on.  

The art I’ve seen so far is very good to – above average IMO. It also contains rules for Dungeon Grappling, Douglas’ last supplement – which I reviewed and enjoyed quite a lot. The PDF is $5 with this kickstart and I would DEFINITELY recommend getting it too.

If you want a realistic, norse-themed adventure, with support for overland travel, check this one out.

Justin Folkerts (Kickstarter Reviews)

Lost Hall of Tyr: a 5e Adventure

So this one, I’m conflicted about. not about the project – looks awesome. not what I would purchase because I don’t tend to get adventures unless they are HUGE and mega (wink wink).  

But, D&D has this dungeon masters Guild http://www.dmsguild.com/ which is EXACTLY suited for this sort of project, and a location that is desperate for high quality products like this one obviously appears to be.

Ideally, and with synergy, a KS project like this would follow the below arc:  

  • Stage 1: kickstart the project to fund it, get it built to the quality standards you are looking for. this pays for the upfront costs of art and cartography and editing etc.  
  • stage 2: kickstarter funders get the opportunity to purchase a dead tree version or some other exclusive as a reward for funding this project  
  • Stage 3: once published and released to the funders, IMMEDIATELY put this project for sale on dms guild for general release. make it PDF only, or because dm’s guild it run by drivethru, have a POD option.  
  • stage 4: help grow the dm community via releasing top notch content.

Good luck to this project. its already funded and not heading into stretch goal territory. I know that many game companies started out this way. Frog God games, Kobold press, Goodman, etc, but honestly, I’d like to see the tools that already exist be used for both amateur and professional products to help raise all ships. just my $0.02

Commentary

Anders’ report (I know him from the GURPS boards) is of the most interest to prospective backers and players, because it answers concretely (if anecdotally) a few things:

  • It took four hours to play
  • It was playable in “hack and slash” mode
  • It played well enough that it didn’t engender a list of things that needed horrible fixin’
  • The scenario will prove challenging to overstrength parties, and I might need to rescope the bottom end of things a bit.

In truth, the GenCon experience was done with six or seven 4th level characters, and it wasn’t a cake-walk. I’ll probably recenter this one a bit.

Eric and Anders (who is Swedish, I believe) both said nice things about fidelity to Norse mythology, which makes me happy.

Justin brings up some questions about why not the DM’s guild that bear answering, and it can be summarized in two lines from this page.

The two in question are “publish my original campaign using 5th Edition rules,” and “print and sell my 5th Edition…product on my own.” Both of which are answered “no.”

I’m not sure if it’s always been there or was a clarification, but I used to think if you published on the DM’s Guild they had claim on your IP. This has been addressed formally:

Does Wizards own any unique IP that I create in my DMs Guild publications?

Wizards does not own any of the unique IP that you create in your publications. Wizards does own the IP that they contribute, plus the DMs Guild agreement will grant Wizards and other DMs Guild authors a license to use your IP. That said, if your work merits incorporation into canon, Wizards will contact you about purchasing your IP outright.

Ultimately, this adventure and the Dungeon Grappling product are part of a creative universe that encompasses my “Etera” Norse-inspired campaign world. I definitely want to print and sell it on my own, and should this Kickstarter suddenly sprint to the finish and get 375 print backers, getting a high-quality offset print run of this or future books is something I very much wish to do.

Anyway: the news is good, so spread the word!

Dramatis Personae

Kamali Blackshear (18): 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 (18): 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 (19) – This boy is far from where he started out at the orphanage. His comfortable existence already gone and instead has gotten used to his new life. Not like his brothers, his talents lay more in mental pursuits and has already started towards getting a double Masters degree at a local college aiming for his goal of becoming a research librarian. Following in his family’s footsteps almost unknowingly, he exhibits certain talents towards more occult pursuits such as druidism and alchemy, mixing up herbal supplements and elixers for the team. And while he’s still somewhat still slipping along behind the group, he has become a lot more outgoing with the rest of the Orphans and have started making friends with folks outside his adopted brothers. Always showing concern for them and trying to make sure they know everything that they need to when it comes to the dangers they face.

Tag: “True alchemists do not change lead into gold; they change the world into words.”

Gabriel MacAlister (18) – Built like the natural athlete he is, he has grown taller, stronger, and more solidly good-looking. A 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. He is an expert martial arts teacher, and has been following in the footsteps of a carpenter for some time now. 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. He lost a leg fighting zombies; he got an artificial replacement and kept on fighting the good fight.

Tag: “To serve others is the highest calling; to protect the meek the noblest endeavor, and our works are judged by the effort that went into them”

Timothy I Mitchell (19): 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”

Curses and Their Removal

The group had planned to investigate the twelve engines that had been sent to some nefarious character, but as they’re deploying, the get a call from Carl. Gabe has come into the safe house, and blood from Gabe is flowing off of him into the sword he’s clutching in his hands, hugging it to him like a very violent steel teddy bear. He’s barely conscious, and operating on a near-feral level. Wounds and not-wound injuries are both draining into the very thirsty sword.

There are black veins coming from his hand. When Kamali tries to shake Gabe awake, there’s a response as if he’d love to bisect Kamali in half . . . but the sword is just too thirsty to let the blade move from the blood. The motion is suppressed – not by Gabe’s choice.

The team looks to cast the separation ritual to separate him from his sword. But . . . that’s going to take too long, they decide. Timothy of the fast knives just goes to lop off Gabe’s hand. The swords blurs in automatic response, and cuts one of Timothy’s favorite knives in half. Timothy blames Gabe for this. “Oh, Gabe is going to pay for that knife.”

Well, they decide, let’s to the curse removal ritual. They do the spell, and separate him from the sword, wrapping the blade in white silk. They think about brought about the sword’s transformation, and come up with it seemed to transform in the cave when Gabe rescued Dierdre.

Gabe comes around slowly. The first thing he hears is “You f**king owe me, brother” as he kicks the pieces of his bisected knife towards Gabe. Gabe, confused, pulls out his wallet, which Timothy relieve him of quickly. This somehow seems oddly correct to Gabe at the moment. He’s feeling hungry. And poor.

Timothy pointedly reminds me that I killed his good knife. And that no, he’s not going to loan me money for a Chicken Burrito. Anyway, the team is uncertain whether Gabe is at 100% and more of a liability than is worth taking to go after the engines. Kamali goes for some mental mojo – reading aura, holding hands . . . it’s a very tender moment.

Kamali sees Gabe slaughtering pale folks. He’s pretty sure they’re vampires. The way the sword gets you is by helping you go after things you hate; once the hooks are in, you start hating everything.

Kamali goes full psychobabble on Gabe. There’s an analogy to the Emperor and Luke and Darth Vader somewhere in there. We decide there might be a story in that, but why ruin a perfectly good villain by dwelling excessively on a backstory?

In any case, Kamali has SeekerSense, and he can use the blood to track; the blood and the engines are kind of the same directions.

The Firehouse Ghost (and they were monster hunters) says “you’re going to fight vampires with THAT?” looking at Kamali’s assault rifle and machete. He sighs, walks over to a wall, and pushes a panel. The wall opens. We see a fresco of the order of St Eustace. Hunters. Trappers. Firefighters. One of the few soldier-saints.

The door opens into another room which looks a lot like Myriam’s mysterious disappearing room from whence the sword came. Gabe gets a quick download on Myriam’s confusing and secret history. Another wizard with a secret history and questionable past filled with pursuits of power. Hmm.

Timothy suggests we talk to the “f**king ghost” about the best way to hunt vampires. The ghost takes a quick inventory of our current weaponry. He suggests shotguns if we can get them, high-caliber weaponry if we can’t. And spears. They would keep the vamp away with a spear. Then blast off important bits.

We get a quick download on vampires and their weaknesses

  • Hawthorne, greenheart wood, and silver stops them from regenerating
  • Holy attacks and fire will hurt them, as will sunlight
  • Immersion in natural water or sunlight is extremely dangerous to them
  • They will be uncomfortable around natural running water

Gabe stumbles across a whole drawer of ammunition that looks like silver and wood and garlic slugs for shotguns. We also are well supplied with silver knives.

A few things strike was weird: hard-cased shotguns shells with glyphs on them. Also some liquid-suspension rounds with garlic, water, wood chips, sliver. . . called “The Works.”

We spend a LONG time kitting up. Timothy is honking the horn with a “get this the f**k on with it” thing. Naturally, the spectral dog jumps into the car. Through the door. 

We head to the location. We decide “bring one alive; the rest? Toast.”

Lorenzo and Gabe are on point. Amos is taking care of the trees. “He don’t have no weapons, just a slingshot!”

We head over to the site. Windows blacked out. We enter through a garage door, and there’s a one-armed vampire sleeping on the bar. Lorenzo runs up and stabs him with a spear for 9 impaling. Others, including Gabe, follow up with various nasty attacks to vital bits. Still – unliving, so not much additional damage. We pin him in place, but then the garage door starts to slam down, catchign Amos’ hand underneath. His hand is trapped under the garage door.

Timothy: “Amos. Stop f**king around. Lift the door.”

The spectral dog tries to run through the door . . . and bursts into blue flame, running away, yipping. Timothy makes a mental note to steal a piece of the door for later anti-dog operations.

Lorenzo passes, but Kamali decides to place the barrel of his shotgun against the guy’s head, and pull the trigger. The vampire has expired. It is now dead.

And then vampires drop or rise from freaking everywhere. Gabe gets hit on his left hand for 5 HP of injury; not crippled. Kamali gets his leg crippled.

Gabe invokes Smite. 2d6 burning damage to everyone within . . . hrm. Usually Range 4, but for some reason, Range 2; he steps into close combat and delivers 10 points of holy fire to three targets. They are not amused. They’re not dead or incapacitated, but they’re not amused.

We continue to fight; Timothy is struggling with the doors. Gabe gets grappled from behind. Kamali spends fatigue and other things to avoid being grappled. Gabe invokes Smite again, and my assailant bursts into flame. But hangs on, making my back really hot. Apparently it’s time to stop, drop, and roll.

We continue to fight. A vampire is attacked, dodges and drops, fast-draws a shotgun from under the counter, and acrobatically kips up. He tries to shoot Gabe, who goes full Neo and dodges. He sheds the grapple of the burning vampire limbs, and tries to stab the vampire 2 yards away. He crit fails and falls down. Oops.

Timothy goes through a window, and hurls a stake at the vampire’s face; the vamp grabs it out of the air. Seizing what is hopefully a moment of distraction, Kamali takes aim for the face of Vampy McGrabbypants.

We smell rotting flesh coming from map-south.

The vampire that caught the stake tries to pin Lorenzo to the floor with the wooden stake. An acrobatic dodge later, Lorenzo jumps down and dodges.

Kamali finally gets a chance to shoot a vamp in the face and hits.

Oh, and big nasty thing. Stitched from multple corpses. Amalgam of many parts. 9-10′ tall, putrid, SM +1. And fast. It comes running at Gabe. It slashes him for 12 damage, 10 absorbed by armor, and 3 injury get through. A toxic attack is shrugged off with enough margin that I might well be immune. Gabe strikes back: a hit for 9 cut and 1d flaming damage, which comes up a 1. This is an abbatoir demon; a body is built for it which the demon occupies. It’s weak to holy water.

Timothy moves around to the back of the thing; he makes a deal with the unholy knife to take the soul of the demon. The knife says “The pact . . . is sealed!” Kamali and Gabe can both hear this, somehow. He stabs it right in the chest, and it folds around the knife, dying.

So, net/net: dead demon. Several deep sleeping vamps. One captured vamp. We do a purification on the giant pentagram/summoning circle. There were wards set up against us. But we managed to clear the hall.

***

We end there. We head back to the firehouse. We meet Desire, who looks like she’s ready to collapse. Check that: she actually collapses. Oh, this is going to be one of those conversations later.

 

 

 

Dramatis Personae

Kamali Blackshear (18): 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 (18): 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 (19) – This boy is far from where he started out at the orphanage. His comfortable existence already gone and instead has gotten used to his new life. Not like his brothers, his talents lay more in mental pursuits and has already started towards getting a double Masters degree at a local college aiming for his goal of becoming a research librarian. Following in his family’s footsteps almost unknowingly, he exhibits certain talents towards more occult pursuits such as druidism and alchemy, mixing up herbal supplements and elixers for the team. And while he’s still somewhat still slipping along behind the group, he has become a lot more outgoing with the rest of the Orphans and have started making friends with folks outside his adopted brothers. Always showing concern for them and trying to make sure they know everything that they need to when it comes to the dangers they face.

Tag: “True alchemists do not change lead into gold; they change the world into words.”

Gabriel MacAlister (18) – Built like the natural athlete he is, he has grown taller, stronger, and more solidly good-looking. A 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. He is an expert martial arts teacher, and has been following in the footsteps of a carpenter for some time now. 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. He lost a leg fighting zombies; he got an artificial replacement and kept on fighting the good fight.

Tag: “To serve others is the highest calling; to protect the meek the noblest endeavor, and our works are judged by the effort that went into them”

Timothy I Mitchell (19): 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”

Conflict at the Conclave

Last we left off, we are at the conclave headquarters as Gabriel has just stormed off, disgusted at not being able to see his long-term girlfriend.

Lorenzo helps treat people in the lobby of the Conclave while Timothy helps out by using his knife skills with surgical precision.

After aiding the folks in the conclave lobby, Timothy turns to diplomacy and speaks to the man that seems to be in charge of the whole operation, laying out what has occurred in the past couple hours, trying to distract the man from what has been happening the past couple hours.

Once the boys disarm themselves and Lorenzo helps the patients, the old man leads us to a conference room. The old man shows a quartz that glows and then shows a bird’s eye view of the city of Boston. Sickened by the view, Timothy asks for some water. The map starts glowing a bit as numerous red dots have started showing up.

Red dots match up with the bank robberies from yesterday, along with multiple others and several residences but Myriam’s house hasn’t shown up until Timothy gives the old man the news. The news isn’t quite new to the old man as he mentions that there have been multiple other car bombs have been going off all over the city.

Kamali lays down the situation with the homeless group and the abandoned house that had been infested with vampires. The old man agrees that it lines up with everything else that has been going on before debating how things are going with vampires. The old man insists that the local leadership of the vampire clans insists that they haven’t been moving at all. In fact the vampires that attacked us are revealed to have had their abilities long enough to be comfortable in their undeath, mature vampires and definitely not recently turned.

William Sims, the old man, tells that everything that occurred seemed to happen all at once and explains that the psionic blast from last night was the explosion from Murphy Island, the oldest family of Boston and have the resulting Custos powers within the city and within 100 miles.

William reveals that he isn’t even supposed to be in charge, instead he was just the head gardener and merely obtained the position through everyone else being lost. The main power structure having been at a meeting when the building was attacked and the emergency ritual took place and shifted dimensions, however now they can’t actually find the building. Kamali suggests that there was someone blocking the signal causing William to curse in realization.

The local vampire boss, Landry, has her hand in pretty much every sort of vice out there and has been questioned by the Conclave using a Truthsayer spell to ensure the entirety of her questioning to result in the truth.

The boys discuss the wisdom of going to visit a vampire master.

The conclave are members, not necessarily part of, and once she left after questioning. The group exchange numbers and are given a marble in return. The marble given is the same as those in the bag that Amos bought long ago in the Yukon. It’s requested that the Conclave look them over and it’s revealed that the bag of marbles are actually memory orbs. Amos is given a piece of paper with a ritual and the doorkeeper’s phone number.

Amos pulled out a doodad to pull a piece of the truck from his pocket to aid in a divination spell to try to figure out where the truck that blew up Myriam’s house came from. Amos draws tarot cards to divine where the truck came from, casting a ritual to divine from where the truck came, gaining a flash of insight that it came from a used car lot. Continue reading “Ceteri Campaign – S1E3: Vampire Diary”

Did you Play Lost Hall at the Grappling Smackdown at GenCon?

I know a few folks – maybe one or two – who played what was called then “The Tower of Justice” or “Grappling Smackdown” with me in the IGDN booth at GenCon this year.

Friday and Saturday mornings, 10am start time. Each day was 7-8 people, some who’d signed up, some who didn’t.

As the book that will be now titled Lost Hall of Tyr: Dómstóllinn is closing in on its basic funding goal, I want to give you folks playtest credit. And a free copy.

So: email me! You have my card from the event. You can also hit me at gamingballisticllc@gmail.com, or leave a comment to this post. Let me know which game you attended, what character you played, the name you wish to be credited with, and the most memorable thing that happened to you during the game.

What happened before

Last time, we got ganked at a barbeque. We survived and won, and walked away with a gigantic arsenal. Full-auto converted AR15 rifles, 2kg of heroin, modern body armor. We fled the scene with the evidence, and found that Myriam may have been killed in a simultaneous attack on the house, which is a smouldering wreck when we roll out to a safe house.

Dramatis Personae

Kamali Blackshear (18): 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 (18): 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 (19) – This boy is far from where he started out at the orphanage. His comfortable existence already gone and instead has gotten used to his new life. Not like his brothers, his talents lay more in mental pursuits and has already started towards getting a double Masters degree at a local college aiming for his goal of becoming a research librarian. Following in his family’s footsteps almost unknowingly, he exhibits certain talents towards more occult pursuits such as druidism and alchemy, mixing up herbal supplements and elixers for the team. And while he’s still somewhat still slipping along behind the group, he has become a lot more outgoing with the rest of the Orphans and have started making friends with folks outside his adopted brothers. Always showing concern for them and trying to make sure they know everything that they need to when it comes to the dangers they face.

Tag: “True alchemists do not change lead into gold; they change the world into words.”

Gabriel MacAlister (18) – Built like the natural athlete he is, he has grown taller, stronger, and more solidly good-looking. A 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. He is an expert martial arts teacher, and has been following in the footsteps of a carpenter for some time now. 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. He lost a leg fighting zombies; he got an artificial replacement and kept on fighting the good fight.

Tag: “To serve others is the highest calling; to protect the meek the noblest endeavor, and our works are judged by the effort that went into them”

Timothy I Mitchell (19): 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”

Conversations in a Warehouse

We got into the safe house at 9am. We then slept immediately for four hours each; we all have Less Sleep. The action really picks up at 8am the next day (May 2), but we have some things take care of, first.

We try and make sense of what happened. We suspect that the vampires mind controlled the gangbangers, since all of the potentially incriminating evidence in the vans is not typical method of operation for a drive-by shooting. Way too much “riding dirty.” The fact is they hit us in broad twilight, so to speak, and hit the house – as well-warded as it was – at the same time. Potentially taking out a major player in Myriam. We’re skeptical that they actually got her until we see the body; Schrodinger’s Myriam until then.

We begin to suspect that the trouble that Kamali’s sister had gotten into that drew Myriam off her guard was engineered, and set about to gently question her about the situation.

First things first: Carl’s dad. Bit by vamps.

First stage is The Burning. Lethargy, symptoms like hemorrhagic fever. But he’s susceptible, it seems, and fading fast. We can administer the sap or juice of a juniper tree . . . or holy water, garlic, or a few other things. Huh – we can turn the crash kits each which come with saline IVs. So Gabe blesses the saline and Lorenzo or Carl adminster the IV. A good roll for Amos’ esoteric medicine skill means he already has all that stuff on hand. Amos is also pulling out a Bolster Attribute on Carl’s dad, and Gabe can do Lay on Hands a bit, both of which will keep him alive and not succumbing to The Burning.

We need to keep him stable for three days, and something tells us that we don’t have three days to play nursemaid.

Kamali places a few calls; finds out who’s missing both gang members and two kilograms of heroin. Then calls them directly, and lets them know he’s got the drugs. But is wondering why their boys got trigger happy all of a sudden. The boss wants to talk to Kamali.

“Mr . . . Kamali? Would you have happened to find these items in Christian Herter park yesterday?” Well, yes. “Assume you were not the one involved in its initial loss?” No, just dropped in my lap with a significant lead deposit. The Boss would certainly be interested in retrieving his lost item. Bring it. Yourself. To a certain place. Can Kamali bring a friend? Of course. 9am, then.

Timothy is volunteered, and volunteers to case the joint up close. Gabe volunteers to be on overwatch with a rifle. Nah. But the coffee is good, and they have outdoor seating. We decide that Gabe will accompany Kamali, being the obvious (non threat) with the gimpy leg and the cane. Hopefully that’ll be an obvious distraction, with Timothy being the somewhat hidden threat. We are ready and looking for double-crosses as well.

Gabe will bring his body armor (flexible, not the trauma plate), his sword cane, and his concealable pistol. Continue reading “Ceteri Campaign – S1E2: Alarums and Excursions”

This is a bit of a cry for help. I know a few folks – maybe one or two – who played what was called then “The Tower of Justice” or “Grappling Smackdown” with me in the IGDN booth at GenCon this year. Friday and Saturday mornings, 10am start time.

Each day was 7-8 people, some who’d signed up, some who didn’t.

As the book that will be now titled Domstollinn: Lost Hall of Tyr approaches both Kickstarter and finalization, I want to give you folks playtest credit. And a free copy.

So: email me! You have my card from the event. You can also hit me at gamingballisticllc@gmail.com, or leave a comment to this post. Let me know which game you attended, what character you played, the name you wish to be credited with, and the most memorable thing that happened to you during the game.

 

Last night in the Ceteri game, my character had the opportunity to unload an RoF 15 weapon in a narrow cone with something like five or six targets in it. It was a good chance to use the rules for suppression fire, which basically give you a 6+RoF bonus chance to hit there.

We use some generally agreed-upon rules – a combination of “this is the way we think the rules are actually meant to be applied,” common sense, and a slight tweak on the RoF bonus table.

The RoF Tweak

It’s not much. Look up the number of bullets fired on the Size and Speed/Range table, and read out the size modifier. Divide it by two, but round UP. Yes, up. That’s not the usual, but it works. Continue reading “Action Report: Suppression Fire in GURPS”

The New Season Beings

We had another time skip, though this was a brief one: 10 month. Almost a year. Mostly things that changed were personal. We’re “growing up and moving out,” by and large moved out of Myriam’s house, but still spending lots of time there. Gabe has taken up residence in an apartment on top of his martial arts studio. He’s still Average wealth; whatever money comes in goes right out to charity and helping the folks that need help from the supernatural.

Plus gear. And trying like hell to get rid of the white-hilted, blood-drinking sword. Yikes.

Dramatis Personae

Kamali Blackshear (18): 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 (18): 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 (19) – This boy is far from where he started out at the orphanage. His comfortable existence already gone and instead has gotten used to his new life. Not like his brothers, his talents lay more in mental pursuits and has already started towards getting a double Masters degree at a local college aiming for his goal of becoming a research librarian. Following in his family’s footsteps almost unknowingly, he exhibits certain talents towards more occult pursuits such as druidism and alchemy, mixing up herbal supplements and elixers for the team. And while he’s still somewhat still slipping along behind the group, he has become a lot more outgoing with the rest of the Orphans and have started making friends with folks outside his adopted brothers. Always showing concern for them and trying to make sure they know everything that they need to when it comes to the dangers they face.

Tag: “True alchemists do not change lead into gold; they change the world into words.”

Gabriel MacAlister (18) – Built like the natural athlete he is, he has grown taller, stronger, and more solidly good-looking. A 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. He is an expert martial arts teacher, and has been following in the footsteps of a carpenter for some time now. 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. He lost a leg fighting zombies; he got an artificial replacement and kept on fighting the good fight.

Tag: “To serve others is the highest calling; to protect the meek the noblest endeavor, and our works are judged by the effort that went into them”

Timothy I Mitchell (19): 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”

Sword Research

 

We’re at a shop on May 1, at about 5am. We’ve all met there because we’re trying to identify what sword it is that I actually have. after some money, research, etc. our contact has come up with something. We meet an antique shop called Things of the Past; even the outer store is antique. In the basement, there’s a “weird stuff” section that sells spellbooks, arcane paraphenelia, and other not-normal things.

Timothy looks about, and sees many obvious cameras and several hidden ones. He keeps his head deep in his hoodie. Amos is sort of in charge here, as the guy with ridiculous skills in this department. “Come in, boys, come in,” says Roger Friendly (yes, really), and we do. We head into the basement, and is all we smell is ridiculously good, rich coffee.

As wee move through the basement, we see photos of Gabe’s sword and post-it notes. Kamali sees some rare occult books, and is directed to the restricted section: “Don’t go in there alone. I wouldn’t.” And that’s from the proprietor. There are symbols on the floor and ceiling: probably wards.

Kamali, Timothy, and Lorenzo heave open the bar to the door, and are immediately greeted by the slowly turning head of . . . naturally a cursed doll. They engage it in conversation, and Mr Friendly says “please do not disturb the cursed objects. Please don’t go in there. Someone’s going to get possessed and I don’t have a shop-vac filter big enough for all that pea soup.”

“Have you tried sawdust instead?”

“Not helping.”

The ancient doll keeps its eyes on Kamali. We decide that the doll is racist, and move on.

Back to the table; there’s a perfect illustration of the red hilted sword. The language is Scots Gaelic; it’s more or less gibberish to me because it’s not been translated properly. It may even be middle english. He slide it over to Amos; he decides it’s old Irish, and he recognizes it because it’s in the exact same language that the old book that we picked up from the biker gang is written in.

There’s a verse, it’s not exactly rhyming, but not exactly not, either.

Three for the Kings and Queens of Summer,
Three for the Kings and Queens of Winter,
And three for the High King’s life to preserve,
The first with a blade of black and a hilt of snowy-white,
Only for a worthy man will it burn bright,
{The next two couplets are unreadable]
The fourth with a blade of starry night and a hilt of black,
Only by the clever will it protect from any attack,
The fifth with a blade of iron and a hilt of red,
Only by the loveless will the thirsty blade leave blood unshed,
[There are four more lines, but they’re smudged]
[the sixth line contains the phrase “blade of glass”
[“once dead” on the seventh line]

We’re not sure which of the swords mine is in terms of summer, winter, or high king . . . but he says that the legend is that Weyland the smith was ordered to create nine blades to help protect their own. They were some of his finest works, but something happened. Not all of the blades were true in spirit, even if they were magnificent in nature. There is a curse: whomever claims the blade is sealed to it until death. Continue reading “Ceteri Campaign – S1E1: Vampires and Vengeance”

So, GenCon has come and gone, and I got a lot of business done while I was there. Some of this will be reflected in what projects GB is working on.

The Tower of Justice – Adventure Scenario

The brief scenario that I over-prepared for (two hour session, but I wanted to ensure we didn’t run out of fun) went over very, very well. I can confirm that 15 folks, from newbies to grognards, went through it, and despite grappling appearing constantly, everyone was engaged and had fun. The give and take of control damage was as compelling to them as it was to me.

The scenario is built around the Dragon Heresy world, and the strong undercurrent of Norse-ish mythology that flows through it was well received.

The “do we or don’t we go this way” puzzle that was supposed to be one of the scenario forks (which one needs for a con game, though much less so for a campaign) was so compelling (and frankly, not hard enough) that both parties just got it. I came up with a good re-arrangement of things that will resonate better with sandbox play, as well as providing larger exposure to more potential resolution pathways.

So . . . I’ll be publishing this, for real. The GenCon folks that were at my table will get free copies and playtest credit, if they email me. Otherwise, I will work it up for 5e and Swords and Wizardry, at least, plus of course Dragon Heresy.

There’s a ton of work done already, and turning it into a short adventure supplement should be fairly quick. I suspect that I can re-use a lot of art I’ve purchased for Dungeon Grappling. I may even re-use the Dungeon Grappling layout template, which will push my InDesign skills to grow and improve.

In short, I don’t think I’ll need to crowdfund this one. We’ll see. I could also Kickstart it when it’s basically ready and see if folks have enough interest to help me fund custom art. That way, I’d be able to work with some old and some new artists – many of whom I met at GenCon – on a very short project with little risk. Test out working relationships and whatnot, and keep in practice for crowdfunding. Besides . . . I love generating new art (well, paying others to do so).

What about Pathfinder? I will need to consult my oracles; I’m not as good with this ruleset than others.

The adventure itself stands at 11,500 words – roughly 23 pages as-is, which would grow a bit with maps and fleshing out all parts of something designed for “until it’s done” rather than “cram into two hours.”

Dragon Heresy: Starter Set?

I watched “Ashcan” versions of various games in development fly off the shelves in the Indie Game Designer’s Network booth for four days. The 5e Basic Rules were pretty popular.

So, I’ve got a project that will be in editing for a while, but is fully playable. The system plays well and has some neat tweaks to it. The setting is compelling enough, and has loads of room to support adventures.

So I’m pondering and chopping a very, very limited version of the game that only covers Level 1-4, ditches all optional rules, and is otherwise a nice intro. I’m shooting for something like 60,000 words, which is about 15% of the total three-volume set.

I’ll see how far I can distill it. There are advantages to doing this that solve some issues I had with my Kickstarter planning, too.

The full game is still progressing! And again, with the artists I chatted with, I’m very hopeful I could go from “funded” to “done” in a reasonable time period through the glory of parallel processing. But . . . I think I can get something fun out there that’s playable, and will only improve with time as Ken does his magic on my writing.

Venture Beyond

Just for completeness’ sake, David and I are closing in on a first-complete-manuscript. We’ve nailed down a lot better where we’ll be conventional in business development process, and where we’ll take risks for the sake of time to market.

I’m feeling good about where we are, at least for now. Not much of an update, but as with a lot of “below the waterline” stuff, there’s a lot to unpack in the words “making progress.”