Thursday, June 19, 2008

Closing My Fistful

With the last of the summaries from phase one of our Burning Empires game posted, this blog is closing down. Using this as a place to post session reports has been a fun experiment, but I'm consolidating my online presence over at the Gameslinger Enterprises website. I'm going to continue to post about my Actual Play experiences over on the Gameslinger blog, but with a slightly different slant. I'll be focusing more on what I learned from my experiences and less on the facts of play. (I've already been doing this for a while with my board game session reports, but I'm going to be applying it to my RPG reports as well.) So, if you're one of the four people following this, thanks for reading, and come on over to the new digs!

The Multitudinous Seas Incarnadine, Phase 1 Wrapup

Sadly, I don't have a recording of the final session of phase one to give a good summary from, so I'll jot down what I remember. The Vaylen, sensing victory was near, chose Gambit, so as to prevent Flak. The Humans, realizing this was probably their last maneuver of the phase, chose Inundate, so as to do as much damage to the Vaylen as possible.

The pirates staged a daring rate on the island of the mediums. Jabin warned Jael about this ahead of time, giving Miriam a chance to ask Tay to bug out. The Archocotare, having gotten wind of this through Levi, ordered Michael back to the Temple so that he couldn't participate. Jael forced Levi to admit that there was a prophecy concerning "one from the Outer World, coming at a time of great crisis, who would be tested by fire" and that Levi believed Jael to be the subject of the prophecy. Michael's ship reported "technical difficulties" en route and diverted to the island. A huge Firefight ensued, with Michael's Anvil supplementing Miriam's Hammer and Jael's security forces. In the end, Tay himself disabled the Pirate Queen with a shot from his stet gun; her forces were smashed and the survivors scattered. Miriam made good on her word to let Ahab go, and he and his brother Jabin escaped in the pirate flagship. Goliath also survived to lead a ragtag band of Mukhadish freedom fighters.

In the maneuver roll, both sides reduced each other to zero, thanks to lots of dice, Artha, and call-ons. We decided that both sides got part of what they wanted: the quarantine was reduced to normal levels, and the pirates were eliminated as a faction for phase two.

The pirate threat ended, peace descended on the planet. For a time...

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Riding That Train

I had my first chance to try out the Ticket To Ride Card Game this weekend, as Gwen and I picked it up from a local shop with some gift cards friends had given us. (We also grabbed the new version of Acquire, which, sadly, I have never played.) My snap judgment based on a single two-player game: the mechanism are very familiar but the feel of the game is quite different. Yes, TTR has always been a set-collecting game. However, the connection element in the board game seems to be an important part of why I enjoy it, and that's not at all present in the card game. The memory component also adds to the foreign feeling. I'll play it again, but I suspect it won't be an evergreen title in my collection.

The Multitudinous Seas Incarnadine, Session 10

25 March 2008

Session Summary

Both sides choose to Take Action

Roy's Color: Jael's police forces raid several suspected pirate-allied merchants.

Ted's Color: Michael's forces plant evidence on several of his enemies before the raids.

Christina's Interstitial: Miriam and her retinue visit one of the Mystes to read the omens about the pirates. She casts the sacrifice into the fire and it spits fire back at her. "The Wheel spins out of control. Fire blazes everywhere. Those would ride this Wheel: beware."

Roy's Interstitial: Jael sends Elisha to investigate the ancestor cult. Elisha expresses his pleasure that Jael has learned to accept its existence, and he agrees to help look for "outside influences" on the cult.

Ted's Building: Michael talks Benjamin, an administrative dregus, about the placement of "spiritual advisers" with nobles. Benjamin reveals that the Archcotare has been maneuvering these chaplains, perhaps for his own plans.

Benjamin: "Don't take this personally, but thank the Wheel you're not the Archcotare."

Christina's Interstitial: Miriam goes to visit Tay on Medium Island, where she ceremonially installs him as the local governor. After all the pomp and circumstance, they discuss the current pirate situation. He is a bit drunk, and his guard is down. "Jael has always served you faithfully. Tell me, do you think of her more as a husband or a daughter?" Miriam avoids answering. Tay talks about how Hagar is a figurehead, inspiring the imaginations of the pirates. Tay explains that he doesn't share their ideology. Miriam is relieved to hear this. They agree that they're stuck with each other.

Ted's Color: Miriam flies the grav sled back, though no one really knows it.

Roy's Conflict: Elisha has been on the temple island for some time when he notices Mukhadish symbols (like hobo signs) that reveal a secret way into the complex to speak with their own ancestors. He finds a secret chamber with primitive paintings of Medium Island. Elizabeth enters from the water, and Elisha hides but eventually reveals himself and confronts her. She is surprised to see him, and asks forcefully why he is here. Elisha backs down and tells her why he has come. She reveals that how the Mukhadish use this chamber and some about her own background.

He pushes her about her history and she reveals that her son is prominent among the pirates. Elisha comes to see the Mukhadish as spritial kin of the Kerrn.

Ted's Building: Michael accompanies Erik to meet Leah at one of her clan's residences. Makeda greets them and tries to cover for Michael's lack of ceremony. While Erik and Leah get to know each other, Michael assures Makeda that he has no intention of arranging the death of her eldest daughter to advance his own family's interests. She see that she had underestimated him. Michael wants to know if he can trust Makeda, and she questions whether or not he is capable of trust. Makeda says that she does not want be his enemy. "I think we're too much alike to be good friends, but I think we can come to some understanding." They exchange priority access codes so as to keep the lines of communication open.

Roy's Interstitial: Jael debriefs Elisha about his mission. Jael is annoyed by Elisha's new-found respect for the Mukhadish.

Paul's Conflict: A would-be kidnapper breaks into Makeda's residence to make off with Leah. Unfortunately, Michael is there and foils the attempt.

Miriam's Interstitial: After speaking with her mother, Miriam talks with Elizabeth about the bad omens. Miriam warns Elizabeth about Jael's intentions towards the cult. Elizabeth tells her about Elisha's visit. Miriam thinks that Jael's problem is that she is not married. Elizabeth wonders if it would help if Jael could speak to her ancestors.

Paul's Interstitial: Hagar throws the kidnapper out of the ship and into the water.

End of Maneuver

Jael's Investigative Logic: 5d, 2s
Hagar's Smuggling: 8d; help from Jabin and Jonas, 4s

Vaylen 11, Humans 5

Things we learned (fiction)

You purify yourself with smoke before visiting the Mystes.

The Mystes are very parallel to the ancestor cult.

The Kerrn relax in mists.

Most Anvil and Hammer Lords have personal chaplains, some of which are officially appointed.

The temple complex is on an island in the bay near the capital. The complex is built into the shear cliffs facing out to sea. On the side facing the city, there is a huge patchwork of shops on the approach to the temple.

Elizabeth wears a ceremonial amulet that is used when speaking for the Mukhadish ancestors.

Elisha is gendered male. He's like Jael's brother.

Elisha's regalia includes a funny hat.

Part of Serena's personality has bled over into Elizabeth, especially with regards to family.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Multitudinous Seas Incarnadine, Session 9

18 March 2008

Session Summary

The Humans choose Take Action against the Vaylen
The Vaylen choose Take Action against the Humans

Paul's Interstitial: Cerelia and Makeda suggest striking economically at the pirates by removing the quarantine on various items. These regulations were put in place after the last confrontation with the Vaylen, and the Merchant League has been agitating for changes for years. Miriam agrees, but asks Cerelia to follow up with Jael about the security aspects. Afterward, Cerelia suggests to Miriam that she talk with Pitr. He hasn't said anything, but she can tell he's upset. Miriam thanks her and says that she will.

Ted's Interstitial: Michael calls Lord Omri to talk about how the pirates continue to vex Omri, especially without Nimrod. Michael leaks word of Makeda's proposal to Omri. Omri points out that the league has been clamoring for this for years, but that the nobles have been dragging their feet. With Miriam's support, though, it should pass. Omri notes that this sort of insider information could be very profitable, and Michael hints that his information is not free, as he's looking for a way to supply his secret forces with military tech. Omri smiles and says that they'll be in touch. Afterwards, Michael makes a call to another noble...

Christina's Interstitial: In the secure room, Miriam and Jael talk "off the record." She asks, "Jael, why is Cerelia coming to me complaining about how her brother is being treated?" Jael admits he's been cutting Pitr out. "I did not tell you about this because it is not fair to talk about your husband without more proof, but certain signs are present that Pitr might be compromised." Miriam has a hard time believing this and grins her teeth when Jael mentions that Michael was also in a position to know. Jael expresses his surprise and disgust that Pitr would take it so personally. Miriam thanks Jael for doing her dirty work, but she insists that Jael bring him back in from the cold. Jael assents and apologizes. "Bring it too me sooner next time," Miriam asks.

Jael's Building: Jael ask Michael to put her in touch with a propagandist. They work on pro-quarantine posters. "Use only licensed prostitutes." "A brain-scan a year keeps the world safe from fear." "Vigilance. Inspection. Customs. VICtory!" "The Worm Is Always Watching"

Paul's Building (Hagar): Hagar, Jabin, and Goliath track down a master smuggler, Jonas, to fill the gap left by Ahab's capture. When Jabin is informed that there will be no rescue mounted to recover Ahab, he is surprised and shocked.

Michael's Interstitial: In Michael's private house on the church ground, Tay says his goodbyes before heading off to oversee the island of the mediums. ("I suppose being shipped off is better than being married to Leah.") Michael asks why he did all this. Tay says he wanted be respected for who he was.

Miriam's Interstitial: As the breakfast plates are cleared, Miriam and Michael discuss their sons. Miriam jokes about marrying Tay off to Jael. "Choosing marriages is women's work." "Men don't seem to have much sense in terms of getting getting into marriages, one way or another." Miriam asks Michael to talk to Erik about his impending marriage to Leah. Michael agrees it's a good match, but he's worried about giving Makeda a hold over him. Miriam wants Erik to want this.

Miriam: "He's good boy."
Michael: "He does what his mother tells him."
Miriam: "Like I said."

The two of them both are made slightly uncomfortable by the similarity between this marriage and their own. Michael suggests sending them on an off-world honeymoon.

Miriam: "Michael, how are you of all people telling me they should go off world?"
The glass shatters in his hand.
Michael:"I'm sorry. I can plot all I want, but sometimes things hit a little close to home."

Paul's Conflict: Miriam confronts Pitr about the situation with Jael

Miriam: "Do you have anything to report? You haven't been reporting to Jael, I hear."
Pitr: "I don't have anything to say to Jael."

Miriam: "Surveillance does things to people."

Pitr: "How many husbands before me will you have? Michael, Avram, now her?"

Pitr questions whether or not he's supposed to be here, and he admits he's been thinking of joining the Church.

Miriam: "I run a bureaucracy Pitr. Sometimes things get... lost. Sometimes I'm as confined in iron as you are. You need to help me figure out what the best place for you is."

Miriam: "There's something you can do for me. Michael's gathering a secret army of Mukhadish. Jael doesn't know about it."

His sense of purpose re-invigored, Pitr agrees to stay.

Pitr: "Am I your loyal subject."
Miriam: "And my husband."
Miriam: "Always."

He smiles as he leaves.

Jael's Interstitial: Jael asks Nimrod how someone like Lord Omri is affected by the quarantine. Nimrod says Omri breeds Mukhadish slaves for profit, but asks why Jael's is suddenly interested in him. Jael says he's more interested in the nobles as a class.

Nimrod explains how Miriam uses the ancestor cult to her advantage.

They briefly discuss the altercation with Pitr, and Nimrod blames himself for not anticipating it.

Michael's Interstitial: Michael passes Nimrod in the hall on the way to see Jael. Michael brings rumors of changes in the quarantine level, and Jael lets Michael know she's heard about his scheming (though not about the details). Michael explains the economic relationship between the quarantine and the pirates. Jael objects to these ideas, but Michael insists that unless structural changes are made, pirates will continue to exist, even if the current pirates are smashed. Both come to the conclusion that perhaps co-opting them is the best plan.

Michael objects to the portrayal of the Mukhadish in Jael's posters. "If they were like you, immune to the worm?" "If Kerrn had wings, they would be birds."

Jael: "Hope is a noble thing, so long as you do not let it blind you to what is."

Christina's Conflict: Following his torture, Ahab is brought to see Miriam and Jael in the throne room. He is treated suspiciously well.

Miriam offers him a chance to start over somewhere else, by leading pirates to desert. At first he resists, but Hagar's betrayal convinces him that he will never succeed her. A broken man, he believes that the Forged Lord will not betray him in this.

Jael's Building: Jael escorts Ahab back to his cell and pumps him for information on the way, trying to establish connections between various merchants and the pirates. Ahab sees through the ploy and reveals nothing. "Don't pretend you have my best interests at heart. She doesn't and neither do you.

Paul's Interstitial (Daniel): Levi calls Jael and patches in a signal from Jabin. Jabin offers Hagar in exchange for the release of Ahab, his brother. Jael does not agree immediately but does agree to keep talking.

Michael's Building: Michael goes to talk with Erik about his arranged marriage. Erik confesses that most of his unhappiness comes from the surprise of it all. "I thought Tay would be first." Michael raises the possibility of the couple spending some time off-world after the wedding. Erik asks Michael to introduce him to Leah. He agrees.

Later he follows up with Uriel about the state of her research. "Damn these Mukhadish! If only they worked how the books said." "It will certainly make a name for you if you succeed." She asks about Tay and the rest of the family. Later she calls up an old-friend, an off-worlder stentor named Nicolai.

End of Maneuver

Miriam's Rhetoric: help from Jael's IL: 1s
Hagar's Smuggling: help from Jabin and Jonas: 4s

Vaylen: 13, Humans 9


Jabin spys on Hagar and Jonas's planning.

Things we learned (fiction)

Cerelia arranged the marriage between Miriam and Pitr.

Avram is very fond of his younger sister, Leah.

Not all merchants are nobles.

Ahab had a distinquished Hammer career before he dead-ended and became a pirate.

Erik is a bit of womanizer.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


I'm pretty sure my actual exposure to zombie movies is limited to parodies and homages (i.e. Shaun of the Dead and Fido). But that's enough for me to enjoy Last Night on Earth, because that's what the game is.

Jeff Tidball turned me on to it with his comments on GamePlayWright, but it's been between print runs for a while. This weekend we were up in Monterey for a wedding, and I noticed the hotel we were staying it was right across the street from store called The Game Habitat. We arrived too early to check in, so when we decided to wander around downtown for a while, I suggested we check the store out. As luck would have it, they'd just gotten a copy in stock. I valiantly held off purchasing for several hours, but like any zombie movie protagonist, I eventually succumbed to the inevitable.

Since buying it on Saturday, I've gotten in two plays of it, and I'm quite pleased with my purchase. I'm going to talk more about it on the show, but thus far my opinion is that it fixes most of the problems I have with Arkham Horror and Betrayal at House on the Hill. It reminds me most, actually, of Habro's Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which I love to an irrational extent. Expect to see more of this one.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Games at Mark's, May Edition

My boardgaming life has been a bit spare recently, but one of Mark's regular events (which I've written about before) was last weekend. We showed up a little late, and our timing was just wrong enough that pretty much everyone there was in the middle of a game. Fortunately, someone (whose name I sadly missed) broke out a copy of Mr. Jack (with the expansion), which turned out to be just right given the time we had. We played a pair of games, and it cemented my conclusion that Mr. Jack, like Fury of Dracula, is clearly balanced for a different group of gamers than the ones I normally play with. Jack and Dracula just have too hard a time. Still, it's light and fairly quick, and the expansion does switch things up a bit.

As the other games broke up, I rounded up some players to try the copy of Age of Gods I'd cracked open. I'd only read the rules that morning, but what I'd seen had intrigued me. I'm going to talk about this one at more length on an upcoming episode of Have Games, Will Travel, but suffice it to say that I was pleasantly surprised and I would gladly play it again.

I skipped out on the next round of games to chat with folks, but before Gwen and I headed home we gave Roy's copy of Infernal Contraption a try. I'll admit, I wasn't particularly inclined to like it, and I didn't. I have the same feeling about it that I do about Fluxx: I appreciate the cleverness of the mechanisms and the interesting emergent behavior, but I get the same enjoyment out of watching it that I do out of playing it.

So not a huge number of games played, but two of them were new to me, and with PaulCon VI coming up next month, I'm sure I'll get more in soon.

Monday, May 19, 2008

In a Wicked Age, Session 2

13 May 2008

Oracle: God-kings of War
  • The very first time a certain young solider, impressed against his will and wanting nothing more than to return to his home, has killed.
  • The human servant of a mighty and unspeakable demiurge.
  • A demon of rage and avarice, secret power behing a great tyrant's rule.
  • The site of a pitched battle, ground churned and stinking, and the widows mourning there.


Ashur, the young solider, later to become Ashur Bey (played by Roy)
  • Best Interests: For me to win reknown by killing Hadir Eil; for me to win Leili's forgiveness
  • Particular Strength: A Father's Blessing (for Myself/Self-Protection, Potent)
Leili, the widow of the man killed by Ashur, a noblewoman in the retinue of the tyrant (played by Christina)
  • Best Interests: For my husband's death to be avenged; for Omar to guard over my husband forever
Omar, the immortal gravedigger, bound to this place of death for eternity (played by Ted)
  • Best Interests: For death in this place to end; for me to be consumed by the demiurge; for Leili to rule over the kingdom
  • Particular Strength: Family Locket (with Love/Action, Consequential (for Myself/Self-Preservation))

Other characters

Nur-Ayya, the great tyrant, whose life has been extended beyond mortal span by the demon
  • Best Interests: For me to marry Leili
Isar, a demon of rage and avarice
  • Best Interest: For Ashur to depose the tyrant
Hadir Eil, a fierce warrior and general, the servant of a mighty and unspeakable demiurge
  • Best Interest: For me to kill the gravedigger
  • Particular Strength: The sword Kismet (with Violence/Action, Consquential (for Myself/Self-Protection))

How it went down

At dawn on the first day of of a terrible battle, a frightened Ashur pulls his sword from the guts of the first man he has killed. Omar creeps him out, buries the body, and takes the head.

Meanwhile, Nur-Ayya and Leili (a noblewoman in his retinue) discuss the battle from the safety of the tents. Nur-Ayya is an ancient man, kept alive and moving only by Isar's dark magic. His desire for Leili is obvious.

That night, Omar takes the head to Leili, but she refuses to look at it or acknowledge her husband's death. She pleads that it was not his time.

Ashur is dragged before Isar, who tells him that Nur-Ayya can only be slain by a man who has been blessed by his father and killed his first man within the last three days. Isar promises him great wealth if he does it and great suffering on his family if he doesn't.

Omar encounters Hadir Eil on the battlefield. Hadir says that all this has happened before and will happen again, unless things are unmade by chaos. He wishes to kill Omar, but cannot unless Omar takes up a blade. Omar does not, and Hadir Eil rides away.

Leili summons a soldier to help find her husband's body. The solider happens to be Ashur, and he realizes who he has killed. As they seek out the grave site, they see Hadir Eil riding across the field, but they avoid him and find the grave site. As Ashur digs it up, the corpse sits upright and points accusingly at him. He confesses to Leili that he killed her husband but says that he turned traitor first. It was only after he stabbed one of Ashur's fellows that Ashur killed him. Ashur flees into the night.

Omar arrives and tries to keep Leili from unbraiding her hair for mourning. He reminds her that all of her husbands have died here.

Ashur tries to poison Nur-Ayya. He is caught and dragged before the tyrant, where he begs for his life. Nur-Ayya is not surprised, as he killed the previous tyrant at Isar's request. He spares Ashur but banishes him from his presence until the three days have passed.

Intrigued by Hadir Eil's words, Omar seeks out Isar. The demon draws back in fear at both Omar's presence and the mention of Hadir Eil's god. He tries to cast Omar from the tent, but he fails, and Omar forces him to reveal how to contact the demiurge.

The next day, having learned of Leili's husband's death, Nur-Ayya comes to her tent to press his suit. He reveals Isar's hand in the death, thus alleviating some of Leili's fears. She agreed to marry him after her day of mourning is over.

Omar is visited a second time by Hadir Eil, who offers him the sword Kismet with which to fight. Omar again refuses.

During the battle, Ashur finds himself fighting against Hadir Eil. He is struck full in the chest with a blow that gashes his armor and leaves a severe welt but nothing more.

Leili sends a servant to offer Ashur a great ruby ring if he will do a favor for her, to test if Ashur is possessed by the avaricious spirit of Isar. Ashur refuses the ring, telling the messenger that he already owes Leili a blood debt.

Omar uses his sorcery to subtly turn the tide against Nur-Ayya's forces, but Isar's magic and the thought of contacting the demiurge are too much for him, and he withdraws to make preparations.

That night, Hadir Eil and Nur-Ayya parley, as is required by custom. They do not come to terms, but during the truce, Nur-Ayya and Leili are married, much to Isar's surprise and displeasure.

As Hadir Eil returns to his camp, a shirtless Ashur stops his retinue and begs a boon. He asks to borrow Kismet to slay Isar. Hadir Eil agrees, on the condition that after it is done, Ashur slay anyone he sees that day. Ashur consents and takes the sword.

Ashur finds Omar digging a huge grave asks Omar to guide him, blindfolded, back to Hadir Eil after he has killed Isar. Omar agrees. Ashur then sends word to Leili to tell the demon that he can be found at the foot of the great wizened tree on the edge of the battlefield, thus discharging his blood debt to her. When the messenger finds her, she is in the demon's tent.

On the last day, the armies clash for a final time. A furious Isar finds Ashur at the tree, where Ashur cleaves him in twain with the rune-covered sword. Omar appears from nowhere and pushes Ashur into an open grave, commanding him to "be as one dead." Omar then harness the dying demon's power to fuel his ritual to summon the demiurge. While he does this, Leili arrives and starts to dig up Ashur to make sure his head is still attached. Omar stops him from seeing her, gives her the sword, and asks her to help kill Hadir Eil as part of the ritual. She assents. Near the end of the battle, Hadir Eil rides up and finds Omar holding his sword. He embraces Omar as his brother; Omar takes advantage of this to bind them magically together. As they move to fight, Omar tosses the sword to Leili; Hadir Eil tries to call it to him, but he fails and Leili strikes down him down. As he lies in the dirt, she stabs him and Omar rips out his heart. The ritual complete, the battlefield is flooded with the presence of the demiurge. Omar is consumed by it, each of the millions of buried bodies springs up into a dark twisted tree, and the very name of the place is erased from the mind of humanity. Never again will a battle be fought here.

In the aftermath, Ashur finds the sword Kismet and is hailed as a conquering hero. Hadir Eil's forces are dispersed. Nur-Ayya, without the power of the demon to sustain him, dies, and Leili becomes ruler of his kingdom.

We Owe
  • Jila
  • Ashur
  • Leili

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

In a Wicked Age, Session 1

6 May 2006

Oracle: Blood & Sex
  • A siren-ghoul, who entices the amorous into deadly peril.
  • An oasis of sweet water in a barren wilderness, haunted by the shadows of some vast atrocity committed centuries ago.
  • A slayer of monsters, heralded and lauded.
  • The death of the primary heir of a local noblewoman.
  • Jila, the siren-ghoul (played by Ted)
    • Best Interests: For the slayer to fall in love with the mother; for the lover to join me in undeath.
    • Particular Strength: Unearthly Beauty (with Love/Maneuvering, Far-Reaching)
  • Asanu, the dead heir (played by Christina)
    • Best Interests: For my lover to join me in death; for my mother not to name a new heir.
    • Particular Strength: Touch of Time (with Love/Maneuvering, Consequential (with Love/Action))
  • Ashur Bey, the slayer of monsters (played by Roy)
    • Best Interests: For the lover to fall in love with me; for the head of the siren-ghoul to hang from my belt.
    • Particular Strength: The sword Kismet (with Violence/Action, Consequential (for Myself/Self-Protection))
Other characters
  • Soraya, the noblewoman
    • Best Interests: For the slayer to destroy the shadows; for the ghoul to face justice for the death of my son.
  • Merzhad, the lover of the dead heir
    • Best Interest: For me to be named heir
  • The shadows
    • Best Interest: To absorb the dead heir
    • Particular Strength: Bloodlust (with Violence/Action, Consequential (Directly/Action))
How it went down

Ashur Bey arrives at Soraya's palace in the barren wilderness. She instructs him to destroy the shadows that plague the oasis and that caused the death of her son, Asanu. Ashur Bey seeks out his fiancee Merzhad to learn the details of Asanu's death.

Merzhad, meanwhile, is visited by the ghost of Asanu, who professes his undying love for her. Ashur Bey arrives, and Merzhad is torn between her dead lover and the very much alive Ashur Bey. Asanu succeeds in making Ashur Bey look foolish, and he leaves to investigate the oasis.

Later, Merzhad discusses Asanu's reappearance while bathing with her best friend, Jila, who is disguised in human form. Jila suggests that if Merzhad can recover Asanu's signet ring, Soraya will be forced to acknowledge Merzhad's claim as heir to the kingdom. The two of them sneak out of the palace and head for the oasis. Asanu disguises himself as a feather on Merzhad's breast and comes along.

Ashur Bey has already arrived at the oasis and given the shadows a whipping. This doesn't stop them from whipping up a sandstorm to separate Asanu (in feather form) from Merzhad. The feather catches on a reed near the edge of the oasis, and when Jila and Merzhad arrives, Ashur Bey helps them locate Asanu's body. A struggle ensues, as the shadows attempt to animate the corpse to choke Ashur Bey. In the confusion, Jila reveals her true form, Merzhad stabs her with Ashur Bey's sword, and Jila kisses Merzhad. The shadows are defeated, and Asanu's spirit reinhabits his decaying body. Merzhad rejects both Jila and Asanu.

Soraya arrives with a small force of men. Asanu convinces her not to name an heir, and Jila makes her fall in love with Ashur Bey, who becomes prince consort.

Some months later, after a failed revolt, Merzhad lies dying in her prison cell. Jila and Asanu come to her, and she accepts their offer to join them in undeath.

After Soraya's death, no heir is named, and the kingdom is reclaimed by the harsh desert sands...

We Owe
  • Ashur Bey
  • Jila
  • Asanu

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

A Weekend In Sacramento

I drove up to Sacramento last weekend to do the photo shoot for A Penny For My Thoughts, and while I was there, I managed get in a little bit of gaming. Ryan and I broke out BattleLore and managed to get in two Lore adventures, Crisis in Avignon and Assaulting the Tourelles. These were my first games with a full War Council and with a customizable one, and I really like the flavor that the latter option adds to the game. I also realized that I'm willing to deal with BattleLore's setup time for a six or more banner game. Otherwise, I'd rather play Memoir '44. Still, my love for the Commands and Colors system goes deep.

On the roleplaying side, I got roped into producing a pilot episode of Primetime Adventures for Ryan, Jerry, and James. The idea of cop show in the vein of The Shield or The Wire was floated, but we settled instead on Air Crew, which was a cross between Airplane! and The Love Boat (with a good helping of the Airport movies as well). I was the only one at the table with prior PTA experience, but that didn't matter much. We had a few problems with disagreements about how long the episode should be and what the tone of the game was, but everyone picked up the Fan Mail mechanic pretty quickly, and it ended up being a lot of fun. And as Ryan said, "That was the sort of game we wouldn't have considered if we hadn't been playing PTA."