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Michael Miller
Attended Lehigh Carbon Community College
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Michael Miller

Rituals, Tales & Campaigns  - 
 
2015 Feb 29 (Gammon)
“A Turn of the Cards”
A tale of #SundayAMSwords

Four rogues before a witch. A skeletal hand wrapped in the stench of death.  A deck of cards: http://vignette2.wikia.nocookie.net/sfery/images/6/64/The_Waking_Dream.jpg/revision/latest/scale-to-width/380?cb=20140131144527

A draw: The Raven: http://vignette2.wikia.nocookie.net/sfery/images/9/9a/Raven.jpg

Large black birds flying out of the card. The deck seized. Birds soaring as bidden by The Eightfold God of Navigators, scattering to the compass points. The seventh daughter of the seventh daughter, guarding the cards for seven centuries. “Ruin shall follow if the cards are not recovered.”

The card: The Necromancer: http://vignette2.wikia.nocookie.net/sfery/images/7/7e/Necromancer.jpg

Weeks later, the rogues pursuing the card in a Northern graveyard at night. Skeletal hands crawling from graves. Crosby striding forth. An evil sorcerer’s robes are ripped away. Smoke within. Fighting a necromancer, in a graveyard at midnight should be no-one’s first choice. 

Arvin’s shadows and The Scythian’s moonlight seeking the missing card. A liquid darkness dissolving the pale light of an enchanted full moon. The necromancer crumbling to dust. Skeletons bowing before their new lady. Bones walking beyond the graveyard. Gammon leaping, blocked. A skeleton shattered by force.

The card. The Enchanter: http://vignette2.wikia.nocookie.net/sfery/images/4/45/Enchanter.jpg

Weeks later, in a Southern market in the day, another sorcerer keeps a treasure concealed. Crosby hurling the Enchanter through the building. A card seized. The God of Navigators transporting Crosby to a snowfield near the mountains. Turning on his friends, seeing them as deadly yetis. Axe brandished, dodged. Gammon grabbing card from bloody grip. A starscape reflected in the crazed, possessed eyes of a companion. Battle is joined. A companion moon seized and slowly crushed. A scream. Arvin’s dagger pinning the card to the wall. A host of trinkets coming to life. Blood smeared runes banishing the magid.

The card: http://vignette2.wikia.nocookie.net/sfery/images/1/16/Rogue_Tarokka.jpg

Weeks later, in a Western market, bustling like the first. Arvin finding the mark of The Rogue upon a pickpocket. Gammon confronting the witch “How do we end this?” “The deck must be reassembled so it can be dealt again. No matter how hard you try to get out, it always sucks you back in. All this as the bidding of Aldana, goddess of destiny and luck. They shuffled us like cards!

Crosby is no trinket of the gods! On an icy cliff, with stars in perfect alignment. An impossible ritual made manifest. The God of Navigators sealed into an iceberg, to float helpless. All who did this marked with an inexorable yearning. A yearning for another night just like this one, when the stars align so perfectly, a night that will not come for seventy-seven years, a night when a trapped god might be once more unleashed.

It was a fun game. Overplayer was +Miguel Zapico  . +Aaron Feild   as The Scythian. +Rob Deobald  as Crosby. +Richard Ruane  as Arvin the Shadow. I was Gammon.

Our virtual tabletop: https://docs.google.com/drawings/d/1D-TGQTVipj71BQrMimQXRct9LAWu9Qduuf7ujQX0t_E/edit?usp=sharing
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Really cool framing device! My mind is churning now. 
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Michael Miller originally shared:
 
Just read a several months backlog of Storm last night and was really, really impressed. The first three issues were kind of low-stakes, self-contained stories. They were fine, but didn't wow me.

Issue four starts a storyline that snowballs all the way through to issue eight. It is pretty amazing, featuring Storm saving people's lives, winning fights through nonviolence, winning fights by being the biggest badass you've ever seen, getting arrested by the FBI, sparking a protest movement (which may or may not be a meta-commentary on the #savestorm hashtag), dispelling tsunamis, using her skills as a thief, manipulating the Earth's magnetic field, and facing the consequences of what the X-men leave in their wake. It is a good story. If you like superheroes, you owe it to yourself to read this book.

The art is good, too. The figure work is solid, the graphic storytelling clear. None of the characters are sexualized. Facial expressions are good. Panel compositions are straightforward and clear. I'm not familiar with the artist, but he seems like someone who is putting the finishing touches on the fundamentals of his craft, but maybe hasn't developed his own personal style just yet.

I'd be delighted to hear what others think. Feel free to reshare. Sales on this book have not been stellar and it could use any help. Preorder from your local comics shop today! If you don't have a local shop, the Comixology (subsidiary of Amazon) link is below.

#savestorm
Storm (2014-) Issue #8: http://www.comixology.com/Storm-2014-8/digital-comic/191841
On the run and trying to clear her name, Storm pursues the mastermind who made her a fugitive from the law! And in order to do it, she just might call in help from some unexpected places!
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+Real GH Total Good Badass she is. :)
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Sunday Morning Swords: 15 February 2015
#WindyWintryWonderland

Good morning!

Here's our organizational thread. Comment below if you're interested in playing this morning and mention if you're comfortable being an Overplayer and whether or not you have play Swords before.

When we get an Overplayer and three or four Rogue Players, those players will run off and start their hangout. For now, let's focus on getting everyone into a group, and we'll start around 9:15-9:30 EST.

Feel free to enjoy some breakfast or brunch while playing.

Also, feel free to use the hashtag #SundayAMSwords should you desire to chat about your game on the social medias.

P.S. Got some tips on how to do this and links to useful files here: http://www.worldswithoutmaster.com/blog/2014/7/14/sunday-morning-swords
A tradition of brunch and sorcery is born. Inspired by a childhood filled with Thundarrs, Blackstars, Galtars and He-Men, we're bringing the weird fantasy back to the weekend morning. Over on the G+ Swords Without Master community, every Sunday morning, we're gathering into online hangouts to play weekly games. All are invited. No experience with the game necessary (though it might help if you've read it ).
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Great game, everyone! Thanks to +Michael Miller for Overplaying.
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Michael Miller

Shared publicly  - 
 
 
The DREAMATION 2015 Complete Schedule is NOW POSTED. We have crammed 869 events into 73 hours, and it is by FAR the largest DREAMATION schedule we've ever had.

I'm working on the index now. I hope everyone is ready for this, because I honestly can't believe what this program looks like right now.
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Michael Miller

Rituals, Tales & Campaigns  - 
 
“Rebirth of the Fortress Unnamed”
A tale of #SundayAMSwords
Opening eidolon: http://img1.goodfon.ru/wallpaper/big/b/b6/art-blinck-ruiny-statuya.jpg

A natural canyon giving way to man-made walls. Shouted orders on the left. A rain of arrows. A scramble for cover. A bubbling cauldron brought toward the edge. A shout causing confusion. The cauldron and oil fall, shattering stone, burning flesh.

A squeal of ancient portcullis rising on the right. Arvin’s quick thrown dagger jamming ancient rusted gears. A dagger-stabbed body, falling far to the canyon floor. A rising corpse, spine and neck broken and wrong. Hajar’s blaze of fury leaving glowing trails of embers. Two physical and six magical arms of flame pummeling the undead. Hajar leaping up the wall from ledge to toehold. A claw from window grabbing leaping leg. The flames extinguished.

Grost sowing confusion amongst one’s enemies with but a shouted word. The name of Lennay sows dissention in their ranks.

A carved stone walkway inside the left wall, its proportions wrong for men of this age. The defiant guards, secretly cultists devoted to the blood of Lennay. The cultists split: Is Grost the foretold savior, or the foretold trickster?

Hajar overhearing conversation between his long-dead masters. Why sacrifice? The city’s ancient glory founded by Lennay, to restored by the blood of Lennay’s descendants.

Arvin’s whispered discussion with the cultists. Their ignorant words hold meaning revealed by his mystical scholarship. The trickster must die so his final screams will reveal the true name of the city, which the trickster stole. “You seem to know much of this trickster!” Arvin grabbed. A rogue should know when to keep his secrets quiet and mouth shut.

Grost with the cult leader. Flash of glowing green highlighting ancient memories hidden deep. The White Coats founded this place. Why? To protect their people when their enemies of the Red Sickle would unleash fire to end the world.

Carved stone giving way to poured concrete. The buzz of old technology, greeting new visitors for the first time in ages. A massive chamber, with shelves and broken containment pods. A clawed beast from the void of space, with two physical claws and six icy eldritch arms, striking from the shadows. Blood!

Lead cultist hurling Grost to table and binding him. “The pain will be but momentary, but the glory immortal.” A tube and sharp, slender needle. Tube of crimson blood, wreathed in green crackle and destruction. Lights shattering and a fall of icy slicing glass shards falling.

The beast beheading cultist, held at bay by Arvin’s daggers ebon. His fellow striking from behind. Hajar’s attack: A tangle of arms, fire and cold. One beast disarmed.

Arvin pulling needle free from Grost, and into cultist. The whispered secret name of the city’s former glory. The dark beast from behind, icy eldritch arms grab three hearts and begin to freeze.

A whirlwind of fire and a dozen arms, not all those of men. The beasts dispatched. Grost, with bleeding arm held high, laying claim to the city in the name of Lennay.

...

Grost was played by +Andy Hauge  His link: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+AndyHauge/posts/3KzL5u1a4af

 Arvin the Shadow played by +Richard Ruane  His eidolon: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/1b/3f/a5/1b3fa59cf28b8c09ddcefa0f6d26aeec.jpg

Hajar played by +Patrick Brannick  His eidolon:  https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/7c/a7/cc/7ca7cc0ee4d5f63070de5125330175ec.jpg

Our virtual tabletop, with links to the rogues: https://docs.google.com/drawings/d/1ULSn2Vukut_-jf5A5-GawPwGkuojnUNxNErQ8diuGSI/edit?usp=sharing
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Keith Stetson's profile photo
 
Sorry to miss this! After you and Miguel posted about being up late I went ahead and slept in. 
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Michael Miller

Sunday Morning Swords  - 
 
FYI, I'm working through some computer issues. If they are resolved, I will be ready for the early edition of #sundayamswords tomorrow. IIRC, +Epidiah Ravachol​ is doing the later session.

Who else had their sights set on Sunday morning?
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Michael Miller's profile photoKeith Stetson's profile photoAndy Hauge's profile photoEpidiah Ravachol's profile photo
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To make things complete, I don't think I'll be getting home until the afternoon. So I must bow out, too.
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Michael Miller

Shared publicly  - 
 
I was just notified that some IGX GMs had not yet registered for their badges. If you or someone you know is running IGX games but hasn't registered for your convention badge, now is the time.

After today, your badge code will not work. Get this done NOW. If you need help, let me know.
 
Remember that badge pre-registration for DREAMATION 2015 closes tonight. 
http://www.dexposure.com/d2015i.html
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Just a heads-up, the email with my GM code got caught in my spam filter so check there if you're missing yours. 
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Michael Miller

Rituals, Tales & Campaigns  - 
 
“The Acidic Fury of Ancient Bara”
A tale of #SundayAMSwords
Opening eidolon: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/503629170805306548/

Four rogues, clinging to fragment of aircraft carrier, afloat upon a lake of acid. Hooting and hollering from the spiky shores. Taryb: A flurry of motion from stone to stone amidst the hungry yellow acid. The Scythian’s spell highlighting the handholds to climb a carved, rocky pillar. Arvin the Shadow hurling a rope tied to a throwing knife. The toppled pillar, a bridge. Beneath, a banshee machine trapped by height for the good of all.

Walking amidst the sharp-edged badlands. On open ground, a banshee machine, hovering on cushion of green energy. Flails coated in gore. Two red eyes locking on Baltazar. “Felinoid acquired.” Rock shattered into flying shrapnel. The Shadow’s quick blade. A raging machine, blind in one eye. Lurching. A flail cracking open a geyser of acid and spinning it around. The Scythian’s shield dissolved. Baltazar cornered, tossing vial to Taryb. “Use this!” Blind machine turning toward voice. Facing danger, it is sometimes best to remain unnoticed. Taryb atop the machine, dodging flame jets. The vial with no opening smashed. Bright yellow fluid tracing all the seams and inner workings. The sound of machinery grinding the opposite way it should.

Tribe of small figures in slick, black leathers. Examining the banshee wreckage and rogues’ tools. The rogues in small caves, blocked by stone bars.

The Shadow hears whispers of the moon: The ancient Bara empire, builder of fleets of banshee-machines. Machines built to house the ghosts of conquered peoples and to be used to conquer more peoples. Baltazar seeing that the banshee machines had killed his people. Their souls its fuel. The Scythian discerning the sturdiness of this acid-proof rock. Pterosaur alighting with more leather-clads. Examine your surroundings, but not too closely lest you get them on you.

There is some ruckus as the leather-clads come to take the secrets of defeating the banshee-machines from the rogues. Ancient rivalries renewed.  Taryb evading the leather-clads. Breaking the storage tank in the heart of the banshee-machine. The souls spilling out, hoisting her aloft. Glum, quiet ghosts. Baltazar laying the ghosts of his people to peace. The Scythian’s MEGATOME to the rescue! The sturdy rock cracking. A geyser of acid! The Shadow, unnoticed, gathering the Ghost Scroll from the banshee-machine. Upon the pterosaur, the rogues safely gone.

The Scythian portrayed by +Aaron Feild  Taryb portrayed by +Keith Stetson  Arvin the Shadow portrayed by +Richard Ruane  And, introducing in his first game of Swords, Baltazar portrayed by +Thomas G. 

Here’s our virtual tabletop: https://docs.google.com/drawings/d/15WajFT1FKO4ntPPa9If5brjP3cbOfydC6z1EW44kk8U/edit?usp=sharing
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Michael Miller

The Alchemical Laboratory  - 
 
Apologies if you're seeing this twice. I wanted to include the folks who follow the Swords Without Master community as well.
Michael Miller originally shared:
 
Character creation systems are one of the parts of game design I struggle with the most. Anyone want to take the current version of With Great Power hero creation for a spin? If so, it's in the attached PDF.

I'm particularly looking for feedback on:

~I am assuming that 75 years of superhero media have taught my players the genre. That said, is this enough of a prompt to get people thinking, or do I need more?

~This version of With Great Power is derived heavily from Swords Without Master. As such, it is meant to be a very quick-playing game. Does this creation process bog down creativity?

All feedback welcome. Thanks!
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Michael Miller

Rituals, Tales & Campaigns  - 
 
“The New Neon Knights and the Valley of Needles”
A tale of _#SundayAMSwords_

Opening eidolon: http://st.gdefon.com/wallpapers_original/wallpapers/388941_art_pejzazh_bashni_ushhele_tuman_reka_kamni_1680x1050_%28www.GdeFon.ru%29.jpg

In the Valley of Needles at the bidding of the Wizard-Whales, to deposit a pearl of great price at the top of the tallest needle.

Emerging from cave. The knee-deep water under the algae floor. Fibula hovering on enchanted wicker board. Malivrax tripping over submerged obstacle, finding silver helmet of fellow Neon Knight, Lord Malinth. Remains of a fallen comrade, felled by foul fate. Looking into empty eye-sockets, seeing friend’s last moments: The valley as the city it was. The 3-headed guardbeast. Malinth defeated the first, stumbled before the second, defeated by the third.

Fibula alighting the rocky shore. Tibia, her fox, finding a series of small openings in the rock face. Not an opening, a maw! The fox swallowed. Let the little guy go first.

Three  heads rise, with needle teeth like moray eels. A rocky body with a hundred centipede legs. Each mouth enough to swallow a rouge in one bite.

Malivrax dragging himself on rocky perch. It is the beast! Tail squeezing armor.

Taryb leading one head on merry chase, betwixt its legs. A monster trips itself in its enthusiasm. Body crashing upon Taryb—rocky above, slimy below.

Fibula arranging symbols of bone. Holding forth staff and half-understood chant. Bones melting into the earth, then growing as needles, piercing the beast.

Taryb levering off the massive bulk. Spindly legs piercing solid stone, weakening the foundation. A hidden entrance!

Malivrax removing his helmet. A needle of pink-purple light piercing the sky. Cue the screaming guitars! Lord Malinth’s helmet will not be borne. Malivrax laid low.

Fibula weilds Malivrax’s Unbending Light. The beast butchered, but no fox to be found. Where do things consumed by the Guardian(s) end up?

Partway up the needle, an open colonnade with balcony above. Wardrums! Archers! A warning—shouted and shot. Malivrax—headless, wearing the two helmets chained like a mantle—bellowing his laughter of old. Climbing the tapestry to the balcony. Bearing arrows like porcupine quills.

The Captain dropping unharmed from the balcony. His breastplate of Lord Malinth. A foe armored in a fallen comrade. Bearing an orange Unbending Light. “I warned you once to leave this—” Taryb swinging salt-encrusted lock upon sash to take off his head! A sash of punishment used as a weapon. Dropped like a punk.

From the balcony, the shape of a fox with the colors all wrong. Antifox biting Fibula’s arm. Tapped nose and spoken word. The antifox sicced on Fibula’s foes.

In the balcony, four more Neon Knights helmets. Grim trophies made of the helmets of fallen comrades. An archer seizing the two chained helmets like a mighty flail. Malivrax rising. A beam of solid purple light sweeping the battlefield.

The cold, dead hand of the Captain gripping Taryb’s ankle. What happens to Lord Malinth's armor now that it has no human head controlling it? Taryb climbing with the great weight below. Smashing Malinth’s helmet on its headless shoulders. Helmet bound to shoulders with kelp-green sash. A sickly brown light oozing from the armor.

In the valley, a raucous funeral dirge for the fallen knights. The knight that was and might yet be Malinth unable to hold a sword. Can the knights rise again from such a state?

----
Lord Malivrax portrayed by +Epidiah Ravachol​​​  . Taryb portrayed by +Keith Stetson​​​ . And introducing Fibula, portrayed by +Jim Crocker​​​  I was overplayer. Our virtual tabletop: https://docs.google.com/drawings/d/1g5N14KaF7kxAOSQ3cuKupDTVt4rttZaw70_VJNmK-cc/edit?usp=sharing
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Also edited.
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Sunday Morning Swords: 2 February 2015
#OMGitsEarlyEdition

Good morning! I'm up! I'm up! Sorta

Here's our organizational thread. Comment below if you're interested in playing this morning and mention if you're comfortable being an Overplayer and whether or not you have play Swords before.

When we get an Overplayer and three or four Rogue Players, those players will run off and start their hangout. For now, let's focus on getting everyone into a group. I can't start until 9:30-9:45 EST.

Feel free to enjoy some breakfast or brunch while playing.

Also, feel free to use the hashtag #SundayAMSwords should you desire to chat about your game on the social medias.

P.S. Got some tips on how to do this and links to useful files here: http://www.worldswithoutmaster.com/blog/2014/7/14/sunday-morning-swords
A tradition of brunch and sorcery is born. Inspired by a childhood filled with Thundarrs, Blackstars, Galtars and He-Men, we're bringing the weird fantasy back to the weekend morning. Over on the G+ Swords Without Master community, every Sunday morning, we're gathering into online hangouts to play weekly games. All are invited. No experience with the game necessary (though it might help if you've read it ).
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Michael Miller's profile photoRichard Ruane's profile photoAndy Hauge's profile photoPatrick Brannick's profile photo
13 comments
 
Yeah , it was awesome! I'm glad I got a chance to play it finally.

I'm going to try to run it at a local con here in a couple of months.
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Michael Miller

The Alchemical Laboratory  - 
 
My brain is still churning from this morning's awesome #SundayAMSwords game. Here are some notes I jotted down about Swords works, I think:

Narrative Gravity
Many other RPGs use narrative constraint as a way to focus player creativity. If you give players a blank paper, they freeze. If you draw a box and tell them to stay inside the lines, they will go up with amazing energy.

Swords isn’t quite like that. The best parts of the game work with narrative gravity: the property of certain fictional bits to draw other fictional bits to them, and to evoke more fictional bits.

The Thunder is a good example. A scene without Thunder, or with a very weak Thunder will often fall flat. Narrative gravity is that potential for story development that a good Thunder has. But, some scenes will take on a life of their own and the Thunder is largely forgotten. That’s because something else is exerting narrative gravity in the scene. There’s something else that people want to talk about, and that’s fine. There is no specific piece of Swords that needs to have the most narrative gravity, as long as something in the scene has it. A lot of the rules are set up so that there will always be one or more sources of narrative gravity, without prescribing which source needs to prevail at any given time.

Narrative constraint in other games is like a crucible, focusing all the creative energy inward to generate heat. Narrative constraint in Swords is like the boundaries of a playing field. It just serves to prevent creative energy from exceeding the range of the narrative gravity.
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I rather like the term narrative gravity. And it may sum up for my something I was thinking about with the design that I had trouble putting into words. 
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Have him in circles
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Basic Information
Gender
Male
Story
Introduction
Game designer, typesetter, and more.
Bragging rights
Self-published With Great Power... RPG, published Serial Homicide Unit RPG
Education
  • Lehigh Carbon Community College
    Paralegal
  • Pennsylvania State University
    History
  • University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown
    History
  • Catasauqua Area High School
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