Saturday, December 17, 2016

The 100: the Game Setting


I'm a big fan of the sci-fi post-apocalyptic setting, and The CW's  "The 100" struck me as a particularly good one. I also think it lends itself to a good game world if you expand it to include factions and ruins exploration. Sort of a "The 100" meets "The Morrow Project", "Aftermath!", or even "Gamma World", when played less-gonzo.

So here I present my fan project, just-for-fun, Barbarians of Lemuria: The 100 game! 

This first link takes you to my The 100 Setting Primer, all fluff and pretty pictures, for those who need a refresher on the world or have never seen the show. Spoilers ahead:

The 100: the Game Setting Primer

This link takes you to the master doc with rules for playing in the world of The 100, using the Barbarians of Lemuria rules system:

The 100: the Game

If you've never watched the show, get past the first three episodes and you'll be hooked.  If you're already a fan of the show, I hope the setting I've created here will allow you to run games in the exciting, dangerous world of The 100!


This could be you.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

A Conan-Inspired Scenario for The Black Hack


I wrote a simple, introductory scenario for The Black Hack roleplaying game.  Tried to keep it low on details and description; when I ran it myself, it was fast and full of action.

So here you go: The Black Sword of Shem


The far western coast of Aquilonia, in the hot, bustling, port town of Vanandi, at a tavern and gambling hall.

The characters have been traveling together, and have blown all their wealth on booze and gambling.  They are hung over, and they are in debt.

The Honorable Senior Magistrate Vilerius arrives to the tavern, of which is he part-owner, with a squad of veteran spearmen.  They surround the party, and the Magistrate holds an improvised court.

"You are in debt.  Debt is not allowed.  I won't throw you in prison, indefinitely, if you'll head down the coast, past Zingara and Argos, to Shem.  Bring me back the Sword of Justice.  You can keep anything else you find in the tomb."

And so it begins.



Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Review for Infected Zombie RPG Scenario: Keep Your Friends Close

I've been following the Infected Zombie RPG for a while now.  It has some amazing post-apocalyptic art, great plot hooks, and exceptional support from the designer.  Recently, Immersion Studios (publishers of Infected Zombie RPG) released a scenario for the game and I was keen to check it out.  Immersion Studios sent me a pdf of the module, for the purposes of this review.

Keep Your Friends Close builds on the existing fiction of the game, as described in the rule book.  This won't affect your ability to run the module if you don't have the main game though; this scenario could be dropped into any number of post-apocalyptic game campaigns, or run as the one-shot that it's described as.

The PCs are part of a diplomatic crew in the service of a warlord's railways. A particularly crucial train is coming through the mountain bottleneck to dock with an oil refinery. The whole railway is short on oil, due to mounting attacks from enemy-affiliated groups, and this train only has enough diesel to get through this route. But something's not quite right in town. Though they're friendly enough, there's an underlying tension. Something is up...

The art is realistic and very good.  The NPCs are fleshed out well and many are fully statted out.  The story is well-crafted, and will appeal to a mature audience--there are some serious things happening in this scenario, and Immersion Studios believes you can handle that.

A few times, the tactical locations of the PCs in relation to the NPCs will matter, so you'll want to be clear about locations, range, and spacing if you play this scenario "theater of the mind."

There is a lot going on behind the scenes in this adventure; the GM will need to keep in mind how the actions of the players affect the NPCs, as well as how and when NPCs will affect and interact with the players.  I would consider Keep Your Friends Close to be an intermediate to advanced scenario to run, potentially very challenging for a newer GM.  I strongly recommend reading through the entire module before running it, as a lot of events are time and reaction dependent.

Finally, you get a lot with this scenario, for a low price.  I recommend picking it up, for your post-apocalyptic needs.

Keep Your Friends Close scenario

Infected Zombie RPG



Saturday, August 13, 2016

Death, Character, and Free Reign

I've been in a Swords and Wizardry Whitebox campaign since last October, which for me, is an extremely long time.  And it's been even longer since I had a character I was invested in die. Permanently dead, not coming back, pushing up daisies, farm bought, sleeping the big sleep.

Despite the fact that I had a new character rolled up in 15 minutes, and a name generated from the NPC Birthing Sac generator (NPC Birthing Sac), I was surprised to feel a little sad about the fictitious passing of my fictitious fighter.  Thanks in part to our excellent GM, Roc the Literate had developed a long and amusing history, with a complex reputation that I'd sullied with a bad Carousing roll.

I think that means both the GM and the players are doing things right. I found myself surprisingly invested in this virtual, dangerously curious arsonist in a way that really made me look forward to the game.  I could picture him in my head, stupidly sticking his hand into summoning circles and igniting expensive linens with oil from his ever-present flask.

Video games are great, and there was a time that I played a lot of them. But at this point I'd much rather have the kind of free reign over my character's actions that only a tabletop role-playing game can offer.

Roc is dead.  Dead is dead.
Long live The New Guy: Thuul-Botha Cinth, the Embodiment of Catharsis!

This song I'm singing here is weirdly appropriate. Just replace "cancer" with "huge poisonous spider"   This Too Shall Pass



I drank a beer in the name of my fictional guy because why not


Wednesday, July 27, 2016

A Brief Musical Interlude

My brother (and Actual Musician) Edward Wille and I decided to try our hand at some long-distance creative collaboration.  Ed on guitar, me on vocals.

Hope you enjoy! This is a song written by Danny Schmidt, which I first heard on the Welcome to Night Vale podcast.

This Too Shall Pass cover, no solo

This version sounds a little more produced, and includes a scorching electric solo by Ed!

This Too Shall Pass cover w/solo


Check out more of Ed's music here

Ed Wille on his own

and here

Ed w/The Pistolators


Ed Wille, belting it out with The Pistolators

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Boom Boom Capone: Short Live Fiction Reading

I read Boom Boom Capone, my short story set in a zombie-filled post-apocalyptic Chicago, at the Gumbo Fiction Salon. People enjoyed it, so I present a studio recording of the audio here, so that you, too, can hear the dulcet tones of my voice.

The title comes from my early travels to Chile and Belgium as a child, to visit family.  People would ask me where I was from, and I'd say Chicago.  They would often reply, "Oh! Chicago! Boom Boom Capone!"  I thought it was pretty funny that I got this response in both South America and Europe.

Click here and all will be revealed!



Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion, C-beams glitter in the dark

Diplomatic Mission Brings Surprise Victory!

A while back I played my first and only game of Full Thrust, using the Cross Dimensions rules. I greatly enjoyed the game and finally experienced an Epic Space Battle.  Our attempts to do this as kids, using Starfleet Battles rules, resulted in 2-day long games with a metric ton of paperwork. Using Full Thrust, we were able to finish a multi-ship game in 3 hours, with minimal bookkeeping.

Our host had a cool starfield mat for our game, and Pat and Ryan had impressive ship collections, so I was able to borrow a fleet.  Together Ryan and I would have a total of 6 capital ships and 6 gunships; Pat would have 2 battleships, a number of missile destroyers and smaller capital ships, and at least 6 gunships. However, his force would be split; some waiting in-system, the rest forced to wait at least 5 turns before coming on to the board.  I'm going to continue in narrative form, because the game really fired my imagination!

With great care and stealth, we infiltrated a gunship squadron of 3 ships and and 1 small escort into a gas cloud near the flagship of the enemy Neu Swabian League (NSL).

We approached in 2 groups and made good speed towards the planet.  The stance of the NSL fleet changed in a manner that seemed rude and hostile.  We sent out communications assuring them that we were on a diplomatic mission while putting our crews on battle-alert.  After a short while it became obvious that the enemy fleet was moving to attack, and we decided to activate our insurance.

The gunships exploded out of the gas cloud and massed around the sides and stern of the enemy battleship. Attempts at communicating with the battleship were pointless, as it immediately opened fire on our ambassadors of peace. My gunship Kukri was crippled almost immediately, and was soon lost with all hands. However, my allies scored many hits on the battleship, and my gunships Dagger and Raj fired all they had.



Our capital ships were still too far to assist, so the gunships were all on their own for a while.  They continued to inflict heavy damage on the battleship, but before long gunship Raj was obliterated. The Dagger finally pulled away and made towards the planet. About that time the capital ships came into contact, and the darkness of space was filled with missiles, torpedoes, and beams.  To be honest, my gunners did only slight damage to the enemy fleet, but my allies scored hit after hit; many of them well-placed shots to power cores, life support, and fire control systems. Our right flank advanced steadily, while I held the middle, and sent the CL Victory to meet gunship Dagger at the planet. Victory had a full complement of elite and heavily armed diplomats that planned to land at the planet’s capital city.

The NSL’s reinforcements had arrived and entered the fray by now, scoring many hits on the Dagger but failing to destroy her.  She would shortly take up orbit around the planet and begin to disrupt planetary communications. My allies continued to disable or destroy enemy ships; the first of the NSL battleships drifted, without bridge control and a failing life support system, directly into the path of my battle cruiser Vengeance.  Vengeance’s boarding parties, wearing vacc suits, were soon swarming over the crippled hulk.

The light cruiser Victory took heavy damage on its way to the planet but took out a gunship in return and was well on its way to landing troops, I mean diplomats, on the planet, when the NSL fleet retreated and engaged their FTL drives.  Our colonists could rest a little easier, knowing the border had been pushed back...at least for a little while.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Barbarians of Lemuria

I ran three seasoned rpg veterans and one newer player through the Ghost of Acheron adventure, written by G-Man.  My first time running Barbarians of Lemuria, and one of the few games I've run for a mixed player group of men and women.

Legendary Edition


It was a blast. The system is a lot of fun to run; combat was fluid and deadly, and the magic system was excellent. Character generation took longer than I expected, but I think that was due to the many questions and inexperience with the system. We used the Legendary edition, but I plan to try Mythic edition next time.


Mythic Edition

One of the players took copious notes, and I asked him to write up a session report. A month later I thought he'd forgotten, but then he sent me this excellent report in ballad form. No wonder it took him a month!

tl;dr: chased by Picts, looted a tomb, killed a princess


Captain Skybastard and the Sphinx Diamond

Lend me your ear and I’ll tell you a tale,
Of a daring pirate cap’n with the wind in his sail.
He was out be-yond the mighty River Black,
Chased through the jungle just tryin’ to get back.
A thousand Pict savages were right on his heels,
The Gods wouldn't listen to any appeals.
He rallied what remained of his crew which were few,
A eunuch, a killer, and a young rogue that was new.
They ran and they ran for all they were worth,
Just trying to get back to some more friend-ly turf.
They'd stop and they'd rest, but never for long.
The drums of the Pict made a disheartening song.
The crew were exhausted but in their captain did they trust,
He said that they'd stand and fight if they must.
With a wry smile and a wink, a plan did he think.
They'd set up an ambush and have a good drink.
As they sat 'round the fire hearin' the drums,
The young lad a fine tune he started to hum.
He pulled out a lute and he plucked at the strings
'Fore long the others started to sing…

Skybastard, Skybastard, the pirate most feared.
The bane of the skies who at danger just sneered.
Skybastard, Skybastard, the sly cunning fox,
Sent many a man to crash on the rocks.
Skybastard, Skybastard, will never get caught,
If you think that you're smarter, you're obviously not.
Skybastard, Skybastard, his legend abounds,
Run for your lives when the warning bell sounds.
Skybastard, Skybastard, we'll kill for you now,
To no king or no queen will ever he bow.
Ya-da-hey! Ya-da-hey! Ya-da-hey-hey-hey!
Ya-da-hey! Ya-da-hey! Ya-da-ha-ha-ha!

The savages were swift and the drums they were loud,
But our daring pirate captain, with his bow stood proud.
The wolves were snarling so very close by,
But into the fire, one of his arrows did fly.
Enchanted with magic, smoke arose in a cloud,
The captain jumped out with his bow held proud.
Such a frightening and terrible visage to see,
Caused the savages to stop and turn to flee.
The wolves snarled and circled round and round,
Standing tall with his bow as more drums did sound.
He shot each one dead with an arrow to their head.
Some tell of one shot that dropped two it is said.
Through the jungle to a small hill, his crew ran
While he covered their backs and developed a plan.
They'd hold the hill and make their stand,
There was no getting out of that curs-ed land.
Upon their drums did the savages bang,
To bolster morale, the cap'n sang…

Skybastard, Skybastard, the pirate most feared.
The bane of the skies who at danger just sneered.
Skybastard, Skybastard, the sly cunning fox,
Sent many a man to crash on the rocks.
Skybastard, Skybastard, will never get caught,
If you think that you're smarter, you're obviously not.
Skybastard, Skybastard, his legend abounds,
Run for your lives when the warning bell sounds.
Skybastard, Skybastard, we'll kill for you now,
To no king or no queen will ever he bow.
Ya-da-hey! Ya-da-hey! Ya-da-hey-hey-hey!
Ya-da-hey! Ya-da-hey! Ya-da-ha-ha-ha!

He topped the hill and saw quite a scary sight,
Too many Pict warriors, even more than he could fight.
Circled they did, but they dare not approach
A thousand warriors afraid of his reproach.
On that lonely hilltop, the crew wasn't alone.
A mystical scholar was there examining old bones.
He stood by a hole and he offered his aid,
Said he could sneak 'em out if only they paid.
How much coin do you want, the bold cap'n asked.
Neither coin nor gems, just a quick, simple task.
Go into the tomb with your impressive blade,
And bring back the bones within that are laid.
So into the hole our brave cap'n descended
The crew sang out while he on the rope he suspended…

Skybastard, Skybastard, the pirate most feared.
The bane of the skies who at danger just sneered.
Skybastard, Skybastard, the sly cunning fox,
Sent many a man to crash on the rocks.
Skybastard, Skybastard, will never get caught,
If you think that you're smarter, you're obviously not.
Skybastard, Skybastard, his legend abounds,
Run for your lives when the warning bell sounds.
Skybastard, Skybastard, we'll kill for you now,
To no king or no queen will ever he bow.
Ya-da-hey! Ya-da-hey! Ya-da-hey-hey-hey!
Ya-da-hey! Ya-da-hey! Ya-da-ha-ha-ha!

Soon all were gathered in a dusty old tomb,
With two gems that sparkled even through the dark gloom.
One was held by a sphinx, the other a snake,
Diamonds are best, so that's what he'd take.
No sooner done, than the beast did stir,
No stranger to magic, he wouldn't deter.
He pulled back an arrow glowing with power,
The beast tried to run, but it had nowhere to cower.
When their vision returned, the crew was amazed,
Inside the diamond the sphinx sat fazed.
If you look very close, your eyes'll go wide,
For there is the sphinx with the arrow in its side.
The crew let out a cheer as they jumped in the air,
In song they broke not caring who they'd provoke…

Skybastard, Skybastard, the pirate most feared.
The bane of the skies who at danger just sneered.
Skybastard, Skybastard, the sly cunning fox,
Sent many a man to crash on the rocks.
Skybastard, Skybastard, will never get caught,
If you think that you're smarter, you're obviously not.
Skybastard, Skybastard, his legend abounds,
Run for your lives when the warning bell sounds.
Skybastard, Skybastard, we'll kill for you now,
To no king or no queen will ever he bow.
Ya-da-hey! Ya-da-hey! Ya-da-hey-hey-hey!
Ya-da-hey! Ya-da-hey! Ya-da-ha-ha-ha!

Working their way down hallways most dusty,
They found a room glowing warm and not musty.
Inside the room, a huge feast was spread,
Inviting them in, was a beauty in the bed.
She was scantily clad in fine silks and jewels,
Most of the crew were seduced into fools.
But our cap'n, although handsome, as any would swear,
Wouldn't be tempted by the vixen's flowing hair.
He suspected foul play and wouldn't be tricked,
Although he was the one she obviously picked.
She pleaded and she schemed to trap him there,
For she was an ancient sorceress and he wouldn't be spared.
Dropping all guise, she used her arcane might,
To summon two giant warriors into the fight.
The eunuch was down, the thief was sorely pressed,
The killer was wounded with a spear in his chest.
The sorceress called forth dark powers most foul,
Our captain just looked at her with a sneer and a scowl.
She shrieked as she struck, but our cap'n was quicker,
Upset that she missed, she never saw him stick her.
She looked down and saw his bloody dagger in hand,
Confusion on her face, she couldn't understand.
Killed by a mortal, a scoundrel and his gang.
She asked for his name and in reply his crew sang…

Skybastard, Skybastard, the pirate most feared.
The bane of the skies who at danger just sneered.
Skybastard, Skybastard, the sly cunning fox,
Sent many a man to crash on the rocks.
Skybastard, Skybastard, will never get caught,
If you think that you're smarter, you're obviously not.
Skybastard, Skybastard, his legend abounds,
Run for your lives when the warning bell sounds.
Skybastard, Skybastard, we'll kill for you now,
To no king or no queen will ever he bow.
Ya-da-hey! Ya-da-hey! Ya-da-hey-hey-hey!
Ya-da-hey! Ya-da-hey! Ya-da-ha-ha-ha!

They finished the guards and climbed out of the tomb,
The Pict hadn't come closer giving the hallowed ground room.
The scholar kept true to the promise he swore,
He smeared a potion on all that they wore.
Through the enemy camp they walked like a ghost,
Not making a sound as they made for the coast.
They burst from the jungle and he saw his ship there,
Away from the savages, they sailed through the air.
He never lost faith or gave up his hope,
He just looked at that hill through his shiny brass scope.
I wasn't there, so I cannot attest,
But some say he bid the sorceress a long deserved rest.

Skybastard, Skybastard, the pirate most feared.
The bane of the skies who at danger just sneered.
Skybastard, Skybastard, the sly cunning fox,
Sent many a man to crash on the rocks.
Skybastard, Skybastard, will never get caught,
If you think that you're smarter, you're obviously not.
Skybastard, Skybastard, his legend abounds,
Run for your lives when the warning bell sounds.
Skybastard, Skybastard, we'll kill for you now,
To no king or no queen will ever he bow.
Ya-da-hey! Ya-da-hey! Ya-da-hey-hey-hey!
Ya-da-hey! Ya-da-hey! Ya-da-ha-ha-ha!