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Michael Barry
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+James Fellows ran a scenario, Ashes of the Sea, at Free RPG Day in Canberra. The scenario was fun and evocative - kudos to writer +sean reynolds as well.

The Numenera 2 preview content raised a few thoughts:
1. Playing a pregenerated Delve who Shreds the Walls of the World, my game experience suffered from not having any clue to what those two things meant. After the game I realised I hadn't used a single Type or Focus ability. Suggested solution: weave the Type and Focus more explicitly into the Backstory on the pregen character sheet.

2. The numenera skill has been split into separate skills of identify, salvage, craft and (perhaps) using numenera. This is a major issue for characters moving from N1 to N2, as their numenera skill is either overpowered (if left uncorrected) or heavily diluted (if corrected to match new skills); precisely this situation arose when the base Traveller game switched over to a more expansive skill selection.

This treatment of numenera might be corrected with separate numenera skill and crafting, salvage etc skills that cover both mundane and numenera items. Numenera skill could then be a requirement for doing anything beyond triggering a simple cypher or artifact.

I'm not really bitching, but I wanted to kick off a conversation while there's time to do something about it. It would be interesting to know what feedback is coming out of playtesting.

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As rumours of the Black Cube spread, so do a swarm of insects animated by magical forces. Crafting and animating tiny creatures is relatively trivial for even those less experienced at magic, and as spies they have few equals.

It is only a little more difficult to create a predator bug to catch the spies...and predators to catch the predators...

"Big fleas have little fleas upon their backs to bite 'em,
And little fleas have lesser fleas, and so, ad infinitum.
And the great fleas, themselves, in turn, have greater fleas to go on;
While these again have greater still, and greater still, and so on."

Siphonaptera by Augustus De Morgan

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This artifact, found in an Ancient Persia recursion, is made from the arm skin of a mercenary chieftain. The owner died in a great war against fearsome savages known as the Greeks, across the other side of the world.

What might its powers be?
The Hermitage. Scythian chieftain's mummified right arm and shoulder showing superb tattoo work. Turkmenistan. About 600 BCE.
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Iadace, fellow delvers for Truth

I passed through a small town in Matheunis, the Cold Desert; the settlement was deserted although the previous week it had been full of life.

The town had been scoured clean, leaving strangely fluid sculptures of bamboo. At times wind gusted through the sculptures, making a noise like distant screaming.

I've been reading George RR Martin's early novel Fevre Dream, set on the Mississippi River in 1857.

Hell, you say, how far off topic is that? But throughout, I found myself thinking about Traveller scenarios, characters and patrons:

1. Drop the setting practically "as is" onto a low tech planet, with the PCs stuck there for a time, perhaps working passage downriver to the planet's starport.
2. The descriptions are so vivid and energetic that the situations could be aboard a spacecraft with a little massaging. There are ship races, engine room operations, cargo handling, onboard hand to hand combat, piloting jargon...
3. Engaging pilots to guide the vessel for tricky parts of a journey. A custom of carrying pilots between ports free of charge.
4. A broad spectrum of patrons, including the odd vampire...
5. Vampire? All right, too far! But the PCs might think they're dealing with vampires, for awhile at least.

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What happens when you crack this whip? Who would own such a thing?
Spare the Whip, spoil The Bad Seed. 😈
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Character: A were-goat sorcerer
Item: Mazda 323
Need: Zoom-Zoom!
The authorities were wise to his shapeshifting magic!
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Person: an air traveller
Item: an aircraft door
Need: to fly, and be FREE!!!

"the man was supposed to catch a 9.30am flight to Adelaide. .. When Jetstar crew broke the bad news to him, he lost it, pushing crew at a gate out of way, running onto the tarmac, up the stairs to the plane before trying to bust open the plane door.
And it wasn't even the right flight. He had tried to board a plane to Sydney."

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"I met a traveller from an antique land..."
Many and varied peoples meet and mingle in the streets of Satyrine...
This is an interesting ethnographic art piece in the form of what is called in the photo a Sepik Figure from the Abelam people.
More info from wiki
The Sepik River is the longest river on the island of New Guinea.

The Abelam are a people who live in the East Sepik province of Papua New Guinea. They are a farming society in which giant yams play a significant role. They live in the Prince Alexander mountains near the north coast of the island. Their language belongs to the Sepik family.
+ =
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I just read an odd story that put me in mind of Invisible Sun. Peter Straub's "A Short Guide to the City" in his anthology Houses Without Doors is set in an American city with a surreal atmosphere, without slipping into overt fantasy.

The Weird aspects lie in shades and slight exaggerations of our own urban reality...our social dislocations writ large in a junkyard suburb inhabited and built by warring factions of children, and a suspended despair that is itself a species of violence.

I see this as a perfect and nuanced depiction of a city in the Shadow.
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