Tuesday 20 February 2024

Revelation 2024

Normally I drive up to Garricons on a Friday afternoon and then have dinner when I get there. This time the traffic was so bad that I decided I didn't want to wait, and stopped off at a services to have dinner while I waited for the traffic to clear a bit. By some chance I'd managed to find a Burger King where there'd been some kind of catastrophic drinks failure, meaning the only drinks they had available were black coffee and Capri-Sun. One of those journeys.

I did still make it to the Garrison at a reasonable time, and was able to have a bit of a rest before heading to the bar when other people started arriving, but then it was time for bed at a sensible time ready for the games ahead.

Game 1: Matrons of Mystery

Another exciting opportunity to play my own game! I decide to take a break from Rosemary and Pierre this time and come up with a new matron. Brenda Kerr is an outdoorsy type who enjoys birdwatching. Her husband Derrick was a dentist, who left her for a younger woman. She's very proud of their two children though, Molly the footballer and Peter the doctor.

Brenda and her friends had a lovely meal in a stately home (Brenda wore her dress fleece) and a good night's sleep, but were awoken in the morning by the shocking news that the solicitor who was about to read the will in the morning had been murdered, and the famous painting, Stable Boy With Huge Stallion had been stolen! And so began a comedy of errors as the four of us annoyed everyone in sight, tampered with evidence and got covered in tea. For a while it seemed like we were never going to solve this murder! But finally we managed to uncover a few clues, with the help of Dr Peter doing a bit of extra medical examination, and finally the culprit was revealed.

But the killer had escaped! And so began an epic chase scene involving a bicycle, a moped, a horse, a Reliant Robin, and after matron Peggy had called her TV producer child, a news helicopter which we used to finally take down the killer.

An absolute delight.

Game 2: City of Mist

Despite my best efforts I've played very little City of Mist, but for once luck was on my side and I got into a game. A selection of pre-gens were on offer, including Detective Enkidu who I played the other time I played City of Mist. This time though I picked up Post-Mortem, a lab-created member of the walking dead and skilled assassin. And the three of us began looking into some strange disappearances at a hotel in the tourist district, resulting in some very creative use of a super soaker.

City of Mist is a bit of a weird system, combining regular PBTA moves with Fate tags, but it works pretty smoothly. Some of the move names I find a little unhelpful, as my interpretation of them doesn't entirely match up with what they actually do, so I have to keep reading the descriptions to remind myself. That's something that will come with practice though. So I just need to get more practice. Noir superheroes is a genre I enjoy, and I'd really like to play more of this.

Game 3: Kult

I went for my improvised Kult game, The Heist, for the evening slot, and off we went to steal an occult book from a billionaire's yacht, in what was probably the most gonzo outing this particular scenario has ever had. Although given who was playing, I'm not entirely surprised.

This one can be hard work to run, with the constant referring to the tarot cards, but it's pretty damn rewarding when it does all come together. I'm considering publishing this one. While most of my Kult scenarios involved enough work that I don't want to give them away for free (the only option as for IP reasons there's no Kult community content license), this one is a single page plus character sheets, and I think that might be worth sharing.

Game 4: Monster of the Week

Two years after my first Monster of the Week game at Revelation 2022, I brought along my own scenario, Who Ate All The Pies? and had two of the same players in the game. The team soon learned that trouble was afoot in Piesville, Louisiana, and they were going to have to sort it out fast if they were going to be able to enjoy the town fair and its annual pie eating contest to its full extent.

Thanks to transport delays we were a bit late getting started, and with character creation taking longer than usual, I was a bit worried about timing for this one. But it worked out in the end - we spent a little less time on inter-character banter and investigating the full motivations at play, but the key plot points were all played out.

Once again I've realised that the scenario I've written down isn't exactly the scenario I run, so while I'd like to publish this one (possibly along with a few other MOTW scenarios) I need to first update it to match the actually scenario.

Game 5: Trophy Dark

My second game of Trophy Dark. We set off into the forest in search of a book, in the hope that retrieving it would get our souls back from a demon. That didn't happen. What did happen was a surprise conga line of murder, one character turned into a tree, and much to my surprise, my own character actually getting out alive. I'm still not sure how that happened, although I doubt life got any better for her after that.

A good game to end the convention on. Relatively short, not too much thinking with the randomly generated characters, and no expectation of survival resulting in proper drive-it-like-you-stole-it playing. 


As I noted during a break in the final session, the one down side with increased gender diversity at conventions is having to share the toilets. It really is nice to find myself at a table where not only am I not the only woman, but women actually outnumber men. As a hobby, we're getting there.

Revelation remains a gem of a convention. Even with all the games being PBTA or FITD (or at least adjacent) you never know what you're going to get. I had five radically different games and I enjoyed them all.

Monday 19 February 2024

Wicker Valley, episode 27: Back to the Present

We left the persuasion to Michael. He was the best at it, and I was getting terrified of turning completely into a spider. And he did it, and with some effort we all came back to the present day.

I was back in the Wicker Stop, in the basket room, in the middle of teaching a class. Could have been worse. Weaving felt very natural at that point, and I kept on top of any urge to eat flies. I got through the class without doing anything weird, and then it was time to figure out what state the world was in now.

I no longer owned the Wicker Stop, although I did seem to be a manager now, so that wasn't too bad. And Michael was still working there, although he seemed to just be bussing tables now, and there was a new guy, Eddie. I'd seen his face around town maybe a couple of times, and Michael seemed to know him.

Adam showed up on the team Whatsapp group saying that he had an apprentice now, to which the only thing I could say was 不不不不不. We arranged to all meet up for coffee the next morning and catch up. It had been a long day.

Eddie brought us our coffees in the morning. Adam had brought his apprentice Austin along with him. With both of them hanging around it was hard to properly talk about anything, although I did suggest that next time my brother suggested going on 'holiday' we should all say no. We did manage to establish that Adam was somehow still working for the Foundation, hence the sudden arrival of Austin, and that life had turned out rather differently for Robin, who'd disappeared when he left the oubliette and was now on some kind of motorcycle tour of Britain. Michael was back living in his old place with his housemates and no longer had a car. Elizabeth...she was still Elizabeth.

Then the Whisper Sisters walked in.

Michael hugged them, and it was all I could do not to join in. I had to settle for making sure they were well supplied with coffee and scones. I never thought I'd be so happy to see them.

No time for getting properly settled back in though, as there was trouble out at the motorway services. We piled into Vanessa, which was getting increasingly crowded with six of us in there, as it was becoming rapidly apparent that Eddie in this timeline knew a lot more about goings on in Wicker Valley. At least Austin seemed a bit more impressed with the interior of Vanessa than he had done with us. I guess we're not quite the professional outfit he was expecting from the Foundation.

I ordered KFC on the way, because if we were going to visit the services we might as well enjoy ourselves. While I picked up popcorn chicken for everyone, the local police officer escorted some of the group in to see the body. Between that, the CCTV, and Adam's extensive knowledge of such things, it seemed pretty certain we were dealing with a djinn. Not that I could pay any attention to that though, as something was wrong with Michael.

He'd had another one of his visions, and needed to get back to town urgently to check on his brother. Urgent in an 'ask me to teleport him there' kind of way. I think Elizabeth was telling Eddie and Austin something about the hotel as we got out of the van, but I could deal with her weird shipping later. Michael needed me. And much to my relief, I got us both into his mum's back garden without anything going amiss.

Something was different though. I was used to the swirl of my wings each time I teleported, but my wings were different. Instead of being leathery, they were feathery.

By the time I'd got myself sorted out after that surprise, Michael had confirmed that his brother was fine, but he was still worried. So I built a ward around the house. Not a great one, given that I was short of time and feeling downright weird about the feathers, but I did manage to make it resistant to djinn, fairies and demons, while leaving my usual backdoor in case I needed to get in or out.

Then it was back to business. Causing distractions while retrieving bits of djinn bottle.

Saturday 3 February 2024

Games for Beginners

My manager at work is considering RPGs as a possible activity for an upcoming team building day, and naturally as the team's resident RPG nerd, I've been asked to think about organising this. Which means I need to pick a game to run. Something beginner friendly, as none of these people have ever played an RPG before. I asked BlueSky and a couple of Discords for advice, and here's what came up:

D&D 5e

Pros: It's the default RPG experience. It's got brand recognition and a handy starter set, and it's not all that complicated at first level. If they've seen the recent Honor Among Thieves movie, or played Baldur's Gate 3, that's an extra bit of cultural relevance that might help grab them. If they enjoy it there's tons of material and other players out there, and it should have good VTT support if they want online games.

Cons: I'm not a big fan (team Pathfinder here) so I'd have to buy the starter set and then learn how to run it, which I would feel a bit resentful about. Plus it is complicated, compared to most of the other games I play, even at first level.

Matrons of Mystery

Pros: Not everyone is into fantasy, but most people have watched some kind of cosy British crime drama. It's a familiar modern day setting. People absolutely love playing little old ladies solving murders. The game system is pretty simple, and there's no character death to worry about, plus I wrote the thing and know it inside out.

Cons: Only about half my team are originally from Britain. I don't know how popular 'little old ladies solving murders' is as a genre in India, and the game really hinges on everyone knowing exactly how to act in this genre and improvising around it. Plus there's a few people who really don't like the Carved from Brindlewood mystery system and there's no way around that.

(Brindlewood Bay was also suggested, for much the same reasons, but I think Matrons of Mystery is better for beginners as it's well suited to one-shots without having to cut out a chunk of the game and it sticks closer to the cosy mystery genre.)


Pros: It's the classic dungeon crawl experience you get from D&D, but with the complexity scaled down. You still get to have fun with maps and polyhedral dice and minis. If they've got some idea what an RPG looks like from Stranger Things, this is still on the same page. There's a handy quickstart with pregens and an adventure.

Cons: Again, I don't own it (although the quickstart is free and that's probably enough for a one-shot) and combat might be a little more deadly than D&D, meaning I'd need some backup characters.


Pros: A modern day setting that's familiar to everyone. Grounded in folklore, which some people will pick up on, but which you don't need to know to play the game. Easy mechanics. Plus I know it really well and have my own adventures to run.

Cons: Urban fantasy is a less familiar genre than regular fantasy. Unless it turns out my team are all super into Rivers of London or The Dresden Files, this one might be a little harder to explain.


Pros: It's based on a popular film series and there's a fair chance most people will be familiar with it. The rules are straightforward, and I have my own scenarios I can run.

Cons: It's horror, specifically body horror, and that's really not some people's jam. I'd rather not have to give content warnings for a first ever game. That crit table is brutal.

Escape from Dino Island

Pros: Again, based on a popular film series which most people will have some familiarity with. Straightforward rules, very low prep on my part, and should be easy to get up and running. Built for one-shots.

Cons: Can end up going through characters rather fast, due to the injury rules. Needs plenty of spare characters. Also, being a prepless system it does call for more improv from the players than most.

Call of Cthulhu

Pros: Another classic gaming experience, and with a real world setting that doesn't require any knowledge of the entities involved. Percentile system makes it easy to understand your chances, and reasonably simple from the player side of things.

Cons: While I do own it, thanks to the recent Humble Bundle, I've never actually run it. While it is fairly simple from the players' end, it doesn't look simple due to the ridiculous number of skills. It's horror, and while there are plenty of scenarios that aren't likely to go anywhere particularly iffy, it's still not everyone's thing and character death is highly likely. Plus, as I said, many of my team are Indian and I don't like the idea of them looking up the Investigator's Handbook and encountering that particularly poorly chosen book cover.

Monster of the Week

Pros: Another modern day setting, with easy mechanics, and based on popular TV shows. Well designed playbooks to get people up to speed quickly. Loads of pre-written adventures so easy prep for me as well. Easier to keep the horror aspects on the down low than the more explicitly horror games above.

Cons: I know as much about the popularity of Buffy and Supernatural in India as I do about the popularity of Miss Marple. This is another one that really requires knowing the genre.


Currently Dragonbane is looking like my best option. It's the kind of game people think of when they think about RPGs, without being as complicated as my favourite Pathfinder 2e, and means I can break out some minis and polyhedral dice. I will be consulting the players though, to see if there's anything they're particularly interested in. 

If the idea proves popular with the team I may also need to recruit an additional GM, which will also influence what gets run, as D&D or Call of Cthulhu GMs are probably going to be the easiest to find.

Monday 22 January 2024

ConTingency 2024

After a rather snap decision to go to ConTingency in 2023, this time I was more organised. And was also planning on bringing eight friends. As it turned out, two of them had to drop out at the last minute, which was very sad, but certainly made it easier to fit all of us into two three-bedroom holiday homes.

I arrived on Monday with my husband, giving us a couple of days to get settled in before everything kicked off properly on Wednesday. I'd been assigned the same lodge that I was in with CJ the previous year, which meant I already knew the place's niggles. Which did not stop me from getting stuck in the toilet twice.


Pathfinder - Sundered Waves

I don't normally play Pathfinder at conventions as it's usually Pathfinder Society which I'm not interested in joining, but there was a one-shot with pre-gens on offer - Sundered Waves - and it was about pirates, so I decided I'd give it a go.

I picked up Kaako Ashfeather, a Tengu rogue. I'd not played a rogue before in PF2, and thought it would probably be a little easier to deal with, especially as we were going in at level 5. This was not entirely correct, as the character sheets for some reason gave you all the feat names, but none of the feat descriptions. Undaunted, I pulled out my phone, loaded up Pathbuilder, and copied Kaako into it. With her feats now easily at hand, I prepared to sneak attack.

There were a couple of people in the group who I don't think had ever played PF2. One of them picked up the human fighter, probably the safest choice for a newcomer, but the other had to figure out cleric magic, without the aid of an app. Fortunately it's quite a short adventure, so even with a bit of time spent figuring out character abilities at the start, there was plenty of time for the adventure.

Looking back on the adventure it was a really nice five room dungeon type affair, with interesting fights, puzzles to solve, and plenty of flavour. Definitely the kind of thing I'd consider running as a one-shot - although I'd sort out those character sheets in advance.

Era: The Empowered - Career Day

There's not actually a rule that everyone has to play one Era game at ConTingency, but I did want to play at least one game with my husband, and since he'd enjoyed Era: The Empowered at Condensed, I thought I'd give it a go.

We were...not exactly the best group of superheroes out there. I'm not sure if this game is supposed to be a serious superhero game, but that's certainly not what we were playing. But given that our scenario involved having to go to a high school to do a career day, it made sense that we were perhaps not the brightest and best that the Empowered agency had to offer. Highjinks ensued.

Era as a system is the kind of thing that gets out of the way. I didn't find it to actively support a specific playstyle, which makes sense since it seems to be a generic system used for multiple settings and genres, but the rules didn't get in the way of doing cool stuff. I'd definitely play it again. Ideally I'd play it again with exactly the same group of people. They were all so much fun!


Kult: Divinity Lost - Gated

One of the benefits of a five day convention is that I feel a lot more enthusiastic about pitching a two session game, as I don't feel like I'm taking up as much of people's time. My own scenario Gated normally takes two sessions to run, so I decided to give it a go.

I had a table assigned in the lounge, but decided to move it to the lodge. Kult goes better with suitable atmosphere, which is easier to achieve without other people close by, and it was also convenient, given that two of my own group were in the game.

I'd done a proper write-up of this scenario, for someone else who played it in the past and wanted to try running it, so I printed out my nicely formatted version rather than relying on my old rather messy notes. This was particularly useful as a test to see whether I'd actually put all the bits that need to be in the document into the document. The answer is no. Fortunately I could work around that by remembering the missing bits, but I do need to give this one another once over.

The game itself was great. I had an excellent group of players, who all leaned into their characters as the mystery unfolded. The convention was a really good opportunity to schedule something that is otherwise very difficult to schedule, and run one of my favourite scenarios.

Unnamed forest folk horror thing

One of my group had a new thing to try out, so a few of us gathered to tell a GMless story of how we went into a forest and bad things happened. As a work in progress it had some details to iron out, which we were able to highlight by getting confused at various points, but overall we had a fantastic time telling a story together. By the end I was already missing my character's fictional dog, the only entity in the game which actually got a name. I'm looking forward to seeing where this goes in future.


Matrons of Mystery - The Corpse in the Crypt

I got to play my own game! I thought about creating a new Matron, but ultimately decided to stick with Rosemary Braithwaite. I tend to end up changing her a little each time, as I can never remember all the details, so this time her contact was her niece who works in the art shop, but of course Pierre the giant bunny was there on his lead, wearing his little blue jacket.

We were investigating a murder on the site of an archaeological dig being filmed for a TV show. Rather than just giving us the suspect names, the GM had looked up photos of a bunch of TV stars in their younger days to portray the various characters, which I thought really helped capture the spirit of Sunday night British TV - especially the very young Tony Robinson as the presenter of the TV show.

The only negative here was that with six Matrons plus GM and a very large table, I was so far away from some of the players they could barely hear me. Fortunately when we got onto the 'Put it all together' stage of the game, we were all up on our feet, moving ourselves and the clues around as we collectively assembled our theory. In true Poirot style we gathered everyone together in the drawing room and made our accusation, which turned out to be entirely correct. Another successful case for Rosemary and Pierre!

Kult: Divinity Lost - Disco Inferno

It was Friday night, and that meant Disco Inferno, a scenario which also takes place on a Friday night. I claimed the lodge again for this, and again had two of my own group happy to not have to go far for a game.

Being in the lodge meant I could also do a better job with atmosphere. I set my Disco Inferno youtube playlist to play on my phone and set up the disco lights, and soon everyone was bopping along to Donna Summer and Sylvester.

After one unusually bad run of this scenario I'd been a bit wary of it. But it went much better when I ran it at ConDucked so I decided it was worth one more shot. And I'm really glad I did, if only for one delightful moment when three out of four characters were in the toilets, two of them having sex with other club goers and one of them playing the violin. And then having to describe what happened next, which fortunately also happened to be taking place in the toilets.

This run was everything that I wanted Disco Inferno to be, and I'll also be writing this one up properly so one of the players can run it. It's going back in the box for a while now as I'm working on new material, so I'm very happy to be leaving it on such a high note.


Liminal - The Crown of Winter

Back in the GM seat for a game of Liminal. Rather than the newer material which I've been rather thoroughly playtesting recently, I decided to go back to one of my older scenarios, The Crown of Winter, partly because it was the middle of winter and it felt thematically appropriate, and partly because I'd be able to run it directly from the Liminal Casebook.

We were assigned one of the giant tables in the main hall, but fortunately a much smaller table was available nearby. There was still noise around us, but we were close enough that I could make myself heard.

I have a specific set of pre-gens that I wrote for this scenario, but I wrote them back in 2020 so decided to give them a bit of an overhaul. While the backgrounds remained largely the same, a few abilities got swapped around, and some new limitations were added. Minor tweaks, but enough that I was happier with the end result.

It was really nice to get back to this older scenario and see what it was like to run from the book. While the layout in the casebook isn't quite how I do things in my own notes (I like to have the NPC stat blocks at the end rather than the beginning) it was otherwise very nicely done, and having had it properly edited was a definite improvement. Props to everyone involved.

There was some joking right before the game that I should roll a d6 and use that to determine which RPG called Liminal I should use to run this game of Liminal. I of course pointed out that I couldn't do that. Because I only own copies of two of the RPGs called Liminal. (Seriously, if you're planning on publishing a new RPG, take a few minutes to google your title! This one's been done.)

Call of Cthulhu - Shared House

Sometimes you barely need a mythos threat to make a Call of Cthulhu scenario horrifying, at least when CJ Romer is the GM. We were a group of students moving into a shared house in Brichester, which we all immediately took as an excuse to embody the very worst aspects of both student life and 1987.

I played the law student, who showed up in her own Citroen 2CV, wearing a lavender power suit with massive shoulder pads and with a blonde poodle perm. Unlike some of her housemates, she actually had a pretty exciting first couple of days at university, and while by the end of the scenario she did have to find a new place to live, she and her new pet mouse were both pretty happy with how things were going.

Cyberpunk Red

I specifically requested Cyberpunk Red for Saturday night, as I knew my husband was free and we'd have another chance to play a game together. Along with two more familiar faces and one new person, we dived into a mission to poison avocadoes on a container ship. Literally dived. We used a submarine.

I've now played Selene the netrunner enough times that the GM said he might have to start giving her XP. My husband picked up the solo he'd played at ConDensed and we once again argued about the 6th street gang and whether they were true American patriots or a bunch of complete arseholes who kept trying to kill me.

The avocado poisoning went off reasonably smoothly, but we also found a weapons cache on the ship. We could have stolen them...but we could also sell the information that they were there, and then get paid to steal them. Why mess around fencing stolen goods when you could have someone else do the work and still get paid twice?


Kult: Divinity Lost - The Murder Shack

I originally only pitched three games, but I had Sunday morning free and felt like doing something else, so pitched a game of The Murder Shack, a Call of Cthulhu scenario from the Blasphemous Tome. It's not a game that needs full CoC character sheets really, and even for Kult purposes I have it slimmed down to stats and one disadvantage, which ends up as far more of a roleplay prompt than anything mechanical most of the time anyway. I had two familiar faces (the same as the previous night's Cyberpunk) and one new person.

I ran this in the bar, but really should have arranged for a lodge. Kult needs atmosphere, more than most games, and the bar just didn't have it. All the same, The Murder Shack is such a fun scenario that it still went well, even if it did end with a remarkably low number of murders having occurred.

Casting the Runes - An Unwelcome Spectre - The Mysterious Haunting of the Bell Hotel, Thetford, Norfolk

Another game with CJ, and while I still don't care for Gumshoe, I knew CJ's somewhat Wodehousian take on Jamesian horror would be a good time, and two of my group also joined this game.

We were investigating a haunting at a hotel in Thetford, on behalf of a friend whose husband had seen a ghost there, and as a result had become religious, and thus acceptable to her family, and therefore no longer fun. We did indeed debunk the haunting, although given the vast amount of other stuff we found in the process, I'm not sure if it did any good.

Escape from Dino Island

There was no official slot on Sunday evening, but having had a chat with a friend who played my Thirsty Sword Lesbians game at ConDucked, I offered to run an extra game. He provided the lodge and one other player. I found two more, both from my Thursday Kult game, and off we went.

I had all the materials printed out, including the island map, and had brought one extra thing: a box of small plastic dinosaurs. This was great fun. If I needed a specific dinosaur to appear, there was generally something suitable in the box to put on the map. If I needed a dinosaur generally I could grab one at random.

Dinos in action

 A hunter, a survivor, a paleontologist and a kid made their way around the island looking for an escape route that didn't involved walking right through the middle of a herd of angry carnivores, meeting all kinds of dinosaurs and other strange things along the way, before finally finding themselves unexpectedly on the Yucatan peninsula right before the asteroid hit. A suitably cinematic ending, to both the game and the convention.


I'm really glad I was able to introduce a few new people to this lovely convention. I really hope this will be an annual thing from now on. I managed to pace myself reasonably well so I wasn't exhausted by the end, and found time for going swimming and a walk along the beach. I picked up some books I really wanted in the bring and buy, while also offloading half the stuff we'd brought to sell. My group are lovely people and it was wonderful to spend time with them in addition to all the new friends I'm discovering at ConTingency. In short, I had a brilliant time

Thursday 11 January 2024

Wicker Valley, episode 26: Preventing A War

We regrouped at the junk yard for a sit down and a coffee, and to check on the current state of the various factions now the ward was down. Michael had a chat with the fae via his communication stone, and managed to convince them not to invade just now. Adam called James at the Foundation, with similar results. We had some breathing room, but not much.

I found myself checking for large open areas outside of town, just in case there did end up having to be a massive battle, in the hope that they could at least not have it on the Wicker Valley high street. Elizabeth said something about a scene in a movie, and I thought she meant the Battle of Five Armies from The Hobbit, but apparently it was something from Twilight. I wouldn't know. Some things are too much even for a demon.

After some careful consideration, and making sure that Robin was OK and well supplied with biscuits, we concluded that it would be a good idea if Agnes and Elsa were to retire to the south of France. A lot of people wanted Agnes dead, and for all we'd been through recently, I don't think any of us wanted that. She's still my aunt, after all.

So we met up with Mary for a nice friendly chat and to talk about what was going to happen next. We had some answers now. Mary was figuring out all the things she'd forgotten because of Agnes draining her, and it was now pretty clear that she was the one who'd called for a chosen one, resulting in the current state of Michael and me.

Mary had a less France-based suggestion though. One that would resolve our current problems, most of which were a result of Agnes' abnormally long lifespan. She could send us back into the past again, to undo repairing her heart.

We really didn't like that. Yet another death didn't sit right, especially one that we could - and did - prevent. But we had another idea. How about if instead of killing her, we did something to protect her from Agnes' magic, so that both of them would live out their natural lifespans?

It's amazing, just how big rats look when you're a spider, even when you're quite a big spider. It took me a while to get all my legs sorted out too, and as for producing silk, that was just downright weird. Still, we had a job to do, and that started with finding our way through a house full of magic doors based on a map that one of us had stored in their memory, since we couldn't bring anything back.

After some rather embarrassing efforts at silk production, or butt string as we all ended up calling it, we got out into the garden. Elizabeth located the herbs we needed, and having finally got my spinnarets under control, I wove them together into a charm. Then we had to find Mary, and convince her of what was going on, who we were, and so forth, which was all rather complicated, although simplified considerably when it turned out Mary could use magic to speak to rats.

It was looking like it might work. Just so long as we all managed to hold onto our own minds. I was getting dangerously close to fully embracing spiderhood.

Saturday 6 January 2024

Character Creation Challenge 7: MRK BORG

After the stress of vintage D&D, I wanted something a bit simpler. So off to Scvmbirther for a MRK BORG character....

Name: Merkari

Class: Occult Herbmaster


Omens:1 (d2)

You are Merkari

Raised in calm isolation in the Sarkash dark.

Born of the mushroom, raised in the glade, watched by the eye of the moon in a silverblack pool.

Shrewd and Nihilistic. Lost three toes, limps. Obsessively collects small sharp stones.

Occult Herbmaster

Portable Laboratory

You carry a portable laboratory and continually search for frequently expended ingredients. Daily you have the materials to create two randomly determined decoctions and can brew a total of d4 doses. If unused they lose vitality after 24 hours.

List of Decoctions

  1. Red Poison Toughness DR12 or -d10 HP.
  2. Ezumiel's Vapor Pass a DR14 test or severe hallucinations for d4 hours.
  3. Southern Frog Stew Vomit for d4 hours, pass a DR14 test or you can do nothing else.
  4. Elixir Vitalis Heals d6 HP and stops infection. Can be habit-forming.
  5. Spider-Owl Soup See in darkness, climb on walls for 30 minutes.
  6. Fernor’s Philtre Translucent oil, must be dabbed right into the eye. Heals infection and gives +2 on Presence tests for d4 hours.
  7. Hyphos’ Enervating Snuff Berserk! Two attacks per round but defend with DR14. Lasts one fight. Must be snorted, causes sneezing.
  8. Black Poison Toughness DR14 or -d6 HP and blinded for one hour.


  • Strength+1
  • Agility-1
  • Presence±0
  • Toughness±0


  • Waterskin and 1 day's worth of food
  • Staff d4 damage
  • Leather armor -d2 damage, tier 1
  • Sackcloth bag, and 12 small sharp stones
  • Rope, 30 feet
  • Shield (-1 HP damage or have the shield break to ignore one attack)
  • 106 silver
No interesting animals on this one, sadly. I have fond memories of Captain Beaky the Wonder Hawk and he wasn't even part of my character's equipment. But this one's pretty well equipped and the random decoctions look fun. Let's have a go. Dice say we're getting Ezumiel's Vapor and Black Poison. Merkari is ready to mess people up.
I think I could have a lot of fun with Merkari and their collection of sharp rocks. I used my new sharp dice to roll those decoctions, so I find them pretty relatable.

Character Creation Challenge 6: Liminal Horror

Liminal Horror is a game of modern cosmic horror, and is nothing to do with the Liminal RPG. Let's roll some dice.

Alex Carter

Background: Garbage Collector

STR 10

DEX 12


5 HP

Gear: Smartphone, cut resistant gloves (+1 Armor), hi-vis vest, reach extender, safety glasses, $600

Aesthetic: Grunge minimalist

First encounter with the unknown: You read something not meant for mortal minds.

Ideology: Morality is black and white.

Appearance: small, with an elongated face and blunt speech patterns.

Personality: cautious, but vengeful, and disowned by her family.

Significant person: her cousin Mike, the one family member who still talks to her.

Contact: Mike's husband, a software engineer.

Looks like Alex had a pretty rough life up until this point, what with her parents throwing her out, and given that this is a horror game, it's probably about to get even worse. I wonder what that strange book she rescued from the garbage truck was?