Quill – Shadow and Ink (finale)

[This post contains spoilers. Please read after you have played Quill: Shadow and Ink]

The painter Alexander Rinaldi lives at the outskirts of the Sycamore Wood. He has found in the wood the body of his friend the detective Charlie Robertson: his friend had been troubled since finding an ancient book on the scene of a double suicide. Alexander investigates the area and observes a disturbing ritual performed by a number of fanatics whose skin is covered with horrible scars. He decides to inform t the New England Journal.

[Artist – Penmanship: Good, Language: Poor, Heart: Average – Inspiration: Language +1 die once]

Dear Sirs,
I am sure you have already been informed of the tragic death of my friend the DETECTIVE Charlie Robertson. [+ 2 Language, Penmanship: passed]
On the basis of the things he told me a few days ago, I decided to SNOOP around to understand more of his death. [+1 Penmanship: passed, Language: failed even using the Inspiration die]
I now know the death of my friend is related to a cult led by a LANKY GIANT. [+2 Language, Penmanship: passed]
His followers can be easily recognized by the FLESH CARVINGS that disfigure them. [+2 Language, Penmanship]
I have seen them WRITHING in the Sycamore Woods. It is necessary to inform all citizens of what is happening. [+1 Language: passed, Penmanship: failed]

Totatl: 8. +1 Story Point – Total Story Points: 4


Oswald Wenn is a biologist, a good friend of Alexander Rinaldi.
He goes visiting Alexander but finds the house empty and a trail of blood leading to the woods. He follows the trail and finds about twenty people writhing on the ground, heavily wounded while some monstrous beings feed on their flesh.
Oswald goes back to his hotel room and starts writing, hoping to convince himself that he hasn’t seen what he thinks he has seen.

[Scientist – Penmanship: Poor, Language: Average, Heart: Good – Inspiration: Language +1 die once]

I am a scientist and a PRAGMATIC man. [+1 Heart, Language: failed, Penmanship: passed]
If I recover my usual rational state, I will EASILY DISSIPATE the hallucinations I think I have seen. [+2 Heart, Language: passed, Penmanship: failed]
It is obvious that such MONSTERS cannot really exist. [+1 Heart, Language: failed, Penmanship: passed]
I am being tricked by the IMAGINATION of tired man. [+1 Language:passed, Heart, Penmanship: failed]
I MUST TRUST THE POWER OF MY MIND! [0 all failed]

Total.5 +1 Story Point. Final Story Point total: 5

I have concluded the game with the absolute minimum of the possible Story Points. This means that the next day poor Oswald will be himself a victim of the creatures he hoped he had only imagined!

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Annunci

Quill – Shadow and Ink (2 and 3)

[This post contains spoilers. Please read after you have played Quill: Shadow and Ink

France, 1903. Virgil Dubois, a Historian, has recently inherited the mysterious Vir Stellas manuscript. When going to Arkham, New England, to visit a friend, he takes the manuscript with him. He manages to decrypt part of the book and understand that it describes incantations that could grant access to a different world. He writes to his friend Jemima Carter, versed in the occult arts, asking her to join him and help him perform the rituals described in the book.
[Penmanship: Good, Language: Average, Heart: Poor – Inspiration: +1 Language. Virgil sets out to use his most persuasive language: first Language roll automatically succeeds].

Dear Jemima,
I have been studying a manuscript that could grant us the OPPORTUNITY to achieve something unique: the access to another world. [+2 – Hearth: fail – Lang. Penmanship: pass]
I attach a FRAGMENT that, with much effort, I have been finally able to understand. [+2 – Language, Penmanship: pass]
I believe it describes an UNUSUAL RITUAL that I want to perform, with your help. [0 – Heart and Language: fail, even if using Inspiration; Penmanship: pass]
The HIEROGLYPHS you see here describe the opening of a doorway to somewhere else. [+2 – Heart: fail, Language and Penmanship: pass]
Please let me know that I can count on your experience with INVOCATIONS to attempt this experiment. [+2 – Heart: fail, Language and Penmanship: pass]

Your friend

Virgil

 

Total: 8 points; +1 Story Point – Total Story Points: 2
Jemima accepts to visit, in order to examine the manuscript herself.
[this looked like a great chance to score 2 Story Points….. too bad]

 


 

Arkham, 1904. Arthur Grant, a student from New Orleans, has traveled to Arkham to inquire on the health of his friend Jemima Carter. Arthur finds the horribly wounded bodies of Jemima and Virgil. The police archive the case as “suicide”, but Arthur hears voices of strange rituals being performed in a nearby wood. He writes to his university friend Paul Washington asking him to help him investigate.

[Penmanship: Average, Language: Poor, Heart: Good – Inspiration: language +1. Paul is fact-oriented and does not enjoy exaggeration: -1 to Heart rolls]
[This looked difficult, and it was. The Poor language skill makes it impossible to take advantage of the high Heart dice. I failed the first attempt and had to write a “reply” to Paul’s letter]

Dear Paul,
I’M SORRY for having to insist in asking your help. [0 Language, Penmanship: fail]
But the SINISTER episode whose consequences I have directly observed must be further investigated: other lives might be in danger. [+2 Heart: fail, Language and Penmanship: pass]
I have seen the DISFIGURED CORPSES of Jamima and her friend Virigil, something I will never forget. [+3 Heart, Language, Penmanship: passed, using Inspiration]
I am sure the cause of this tragedy must be some SPELL. [0, Language and Penmanship: fail]
I hope you will join me in Arkham with the greatest SPEED: together we can solve this mystery. [+1 Language: failed, Penmanship: passed]

Sincerely

Arthur

Total:6, +1 Story Point – Total Story Points: 3
Paul, however perplexed by the mention of magic, accepts to join Arthur.

 

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Quill – Shadow and Ink (1)

[This post contains spoilers. Please read after you have played Quill: Shadow and Ink]

The Linguist Orace Dubois (Penmanship: Average, Language: Good, Heart: Poor) is in London. He has bought a manuscript with unreadable text and disturbing illustrations. He writes to his friend Pierre Durand, an expert in the history of occultism, putting forward his disturbance at the text ( +1 to Heart rolls).

Dear Pierre,
I have come in possession of a BOOK I find extremely bizarre. [+1, Heart and Language failed, Penmanship passed]
I believe the obscene FIGURES it contains deserve the attention of an historian like yourself. [0 Language passed, Heart failed – Penmanship passed]
I attach my sketch of the IMAGE that appears on the very first page, with the date 1534. [+1, Heart and Language failed, Penmanship passed]
I feel so DISTURBED by this work, that my only hope is that your opinion will help me put the object in a more rational perspective. [+2 Heart failed, Language and Penmanship passed]
Please believe that the volume is strangely OPPRESSIVE to me. I am looking forward to hear from you. [+2 Heart ad Language passed, Penmanship failed]

Your friend

Orace

TOTAL: 6

Pierre replies after several days. He believes the book might be a recent fake, but it could also be an authentic and interesting document.
1 Story Point gained

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Ybeena campaign set-up

[Following the advice I received on the Lone Wolf Roleplaying G+ group, here is the set up for my next THW Chain Reaction games]

After his success in the Zurqana campaign, Sgt. Claude is moved to a robotized Green platoon fighting against the alien occupation of the town of Ybeena. In this area, the Blue collaborationists actually fight side by side with the invading “snails from space”.

[I will try Sophia Brandt‘s Minimal Solo RPG MiSo. I used the Gamemaster Apprentice’s Cards to define a few characters for both sides.]

GREENS / Earthlings 

Sgt.Claude.jpgRESSgt. Claude [GMA: bestow feral poverty] A young guy from a poor family, he enrolled to make some money. He is serious and reliable about his job, occasionally overconfident.

Lt.Bassma.jpgRESLt.Bassma is Claude’s immediate superior [GMA: wish hopeful merchant] Bassma sees war as a mean to get a better bargain with the other side. She is convinced that the final solution will be diplomatic: open conflict only is an accessory of politics. She is an enthusiast of war robots: they help limit human losses to a minimum. In the near future, wars will not imply blood spill.

Dr.Jodie_Skarus.jpgRESSgt. Jodie Skarus [GMA: Remember Stealthy Trial] Her knowledge about the aliens doesn’t derive from academic studies and raised suspicion in the army. She was processed and spent several months in jail, but finally managed to convince the court that her knowledge has the only aim of helping the Earthlings fight the aliens. She still beliefs her rank is considerably below what she deserves.

Col.Rakat.jpgRES

Col.Rakat is a fervent supporter of biological warfare. He is sure that H.G.Wells’ The War of the Worlds is a prophetic book and that the aliens can only be defeated by viruses.

BLUES / Collaborationists

Dagrad.jpgRESDagrad [GMA: inflict ghostly pain] A collaborationist fanatic fighting in Ybeena. He is believed to be a sadistic torturer. Rumors aside, not much is known about him: not many of those who met him survived to tell their story.

Prof.Solmerer.jpgRESProf.Solmerer [GMA: meet arcane relative] One of the leading experts in the field of alien life-forms. The “snails” kidnapped his son and somehow managed to blackmail him into joining the collaborationst side. Green Intelligence has reported his possible presence in the Ybeena area.

Setting up the first Mission

Ybeena is currently split into two halves under Human (Green) and Alien (Blue) control. The town center (E) is still disputed.

city_small

[Scene Inspiration – BOLD (Universal PC Stories and Deeds Generator) Waylay:
Unforeseen accusations overcome by personal resources]

Bassma and Claude discuss the next mission. Bassma informs Claude that, in the high spheres, she is being accused to be inefficient in contrasting the Blues.

Option A [D6]: Bassma believes that her record grants her quite enough trust to continue with the current schedule of Patrol missions in the center of Ybeena.

Option B [D4]: Claude feels sure he can find a way to easy the Green capture of the center of Ybeena. Bassma accepts his suggestion and sends his team scouting the area.

ROLL: D6:1 D4:3 Option B wins. We will soon see if Claude starts his service in Bassma’s platoon on the right foot.

Doom in Prevelberg – 1

Sophia Brandt recently posted a link to a nice, little story-telling game: To the Temple of Doom! The rules are only 2 pages and very inspiring. I decided to give the game a try. This first session was preparation: character creation and a draft of the challenge.

I defined these three settings that seemed interesting to me:
1. Middle-East around 1900
2. Central Europe soon after WW2
3. The Baltic Sea – 2017

I rolled the second one: Central Europe soon after WW2

  • The Ancient Evil

[in the game, one should define in advance a number of tracts of the Ancient Evil. I only defined three, that I will handle as “rumors”. Each of them has a 50% probability of being replaced something different]

What is the most terrifying aspect about me?
Game Master Apprentice cards (GMA): Blind, stinking drunk
Those who breath my stench must blindly obey me forever. They are completely demented, with no will of their own.

What is the source of my power?
GMA: meet impending relative
My telepathic link with my siblings on other planets.

What is my greatest weakness?
GMA: deviate distant parent
My father is now so remote that we need a powerful radio system to keep in contact. If that link should be broken, I would immediately be destroyed.

  • The Archelogists

I rolled these characters, who all work at the Kornatonic University.

cora

Cora, Milena and Isaak

Cora Welanoski
Heroic:2 Booksmart:3 Streetwise:1
Speciality: Gems and Metals
Reputation: Senile
Motivation: Brotherhood
Artifact: a Viking amulet found in a ship burial in the North Sea.
During the war, Cora secretly opposed the pro-nazi collaborationist regime, helping the resistance and spying for the allies. Now she is one of the most respected professor at the Kornatonic.

Milena Ruciz
Heroic:3 Booksmart:1 Streetwise:2
Speciality: Secret Signs / Symbols
Reputation: Genius
Motivation: Fatalism
During the war, Milena fought with the resistance. She helped decipher a complex code of the nazists.

Isaak Kafter
Heroic:1 Booksmart:2 Streetwise:3
Speciality: Architecture
Reputation: Rulebreaker
Motivation: Ideology
During the war, Isaak was in the USA. He was expelled because of his communist sympathies. When he arrived at the Kornatonic, he had a brief affair with Milena.

[I decided to give the character an extra stat point: 6 instead of 5. But only Cora has an artifact ]

  • The location

This building, located near the village of Prevelberg, about ten miles from the Kornatonic.

DOOM

Cora has heard rumors of people disappearing near this building. Someone also speaks of poisonous gases. The building is supposed to have been a military radio-plant. For some reason, it was not destroyed by the massive bombings during the war. It is now abandoned.
Cora asks her younger colleagues to come with her to the building. They will all wear gas-masks, just in case.

Dungeon Squad 2: The Dreadful Dungeon of the Dwarven Martyrs!

The Gnomes and Halflings living in the Gnome Hills are troubled by strange creatures haunting their land. They have asked help of the Green Leaf Elves of the Star Fortress. A young elven fighter has been sent to investigate. Doratia the Curious Elf is exploring the most dangerous places around the hills, helped by Ursus the Irascible Gnome and Glaukus the Silent Halfling. After defeating a pack of giant rodents in the Secret Cavern of the Rat Things, they now face the mystery of the Dreadful Dungeon of the Dwarven Martyrs!

squad2

The entrance of the dungeon is a natural cave, containing a large cage full of rams. When our heroes enter the dungeon, the cage opens and they are attacked by the rams (1 Danger Point each). They quickly kill the four animals but Glaukus is slightly wounded in the fight.

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After a short corridor, the party enters a wizard’s laboratory. The center of the room is occupied by a magic circle which actually is a trap (3 Danger Points) but all manage to avoid the danger. The wizard casts a spell against Ursus, but the gnome is not affected. Doratia hits the enemy with one of her daggers and Ursus finishes him with his fireball spell.

DSCN7745

The last room is the crypt of the Dwarven martyrs. The bones of those legendary dwarves are scattered everywhere. The party is confronted by two large demons (4 Danger Points each). Glaukus is almost killed in the fight, but Doratia and Ursus manage to defeat the two creatures. Doratia finds in the crypt a -1 damage magic armor.

DSCN7747b

The complete dungeon:

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The Bronze Plate 5/5: showdown in the Circular Temple

January 25th 1958: The cold war is raging on the Earth. On Mars, the war is not so cold. The NATO and the Soviet Union confront each other to gain control of the Red Planet. The two armies are fighting also in Martian city M17, with Sergeant Ratti leading a squad that escorts the anthropologist Petri in his search for Martian relics. Prof. Antjanov leads the opposing soviet squad.

Thanks to the Martian Bronze Plate, Antjanov can now open the doors of a circular temple in the Northern part of city M17.

sketch

Ratti and his guys are on the watch, and when the doors open they enter the building from the South, while the Soviets are entering from the North.

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Inside the building a terrifying Martian robot performs the functions of a lethal automatic guardian. It moves randomly through the building, shooting at every turn whoever is in from of it.

The Russians can open the doors of the external rooms, so they move quickly through the building, looking for Martian artifacts. But the Italians are more lucky: they find a relic in the very first room and Verdi is quick to grab it.

Olenev reaches a minor plot point, but he is unable to understand how to remove it from the niche it is fixed to.

Golkin, who had reached the Eastern side of the building, is knocked out by the robot.

The Soviets open the door to the room in the Western area that contains the major plot point, but Ratti gets to it first. It is a strange cubic device!

cube

Ratti is attacked by Antjanov and Berzenko. He is wounded, but he manages to resist.

In the meantime, Petri finds another minor plot point in a room on the opposite side.

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Campano runs in support of Ratti and starts a furious fight with his well known adversary Berzenko. Verdi joins the fight too, while Olenev is still busy with the artifact he has found.

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Both Berzenko and Campano go down. Antjanov is badly wounded, and the Italians leave the fight as winners. Verdi and Petri have a minor artifact each and Ratti proudly brings that strange cube to the NATO base. Hey, apparently some kind of map with craters and channels is engraved on the device!!! Without doubt, that will be the next place to explore!

The Bronze Plate that started it all

Here is the mysterious Martian artifact about which Ratti’s and Antjanov’s leagues are so furiously fighting.

plate1

2d maps with a 3d touch?

These are the two approaches I am considering:

1) Using standard axonometry (e.g. isonometry). In this case, I place meeples flat on the map. I think they look reasonably good. Vehicles or other items could be added using axonometric counters or tiles, but these tiles would be facing in specific directions. Meeples are great because they are quite generic and can fit in any position. Of course, what one gains in flexibility is lost in detail. If ones tries to use this kind of drawing with 3d objects, making the meeples stand or adding plastic soldiers or model vehicles, the result is a weird distortion of the buildings:

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2) The other possibility I am considering is moving to perspective. Often in perspective vertical lines are drawn as parallel, while other lines converge to the focal point. In this case, it is necessary to have the vertical lines converge towards the camera, so that they result vertical in the picture. I decided to keep all horizontal lines unchanged: one can simply draw a 2d map with only the horizontal lines, and then add the vertical lines, making them converge appropriately.

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In this case, 3d models fit reasonably well. But things are harder to draw and the distortion you get in “play view” (see the image on the left above) is unpleasant.

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Sketch of another Martian(?) building

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