Friday, December 7, 2018

Rumination on my Table

What are we playing again?
Gambling Den - Jean Eugene Buland

So.. Every table is different. Each group of players bring their own experiences and expectations to the game. I've been running games for something like 30 years (why did I fall into the role of the eternal-DM?) so I've seen a lot of different combinations.

This is one of my first all-newbie groups.

It started last year when Stranger Things was airing its second season. One of my classmates said hey, one of these days I'd like to try D&D. I of course offered to run a game. A couple of others in the room asked to join in as well. Hey, instant group!

I was nervous. I'd run games for my friends in school and uni. I'd run games for colleagues while working at a computer-games company. But this was an assortment of folk taking part in a culinary school elective class.

Are they geeks like me?

I tried to ask what kind of D&D they wanted to play. The full experience! The pure game! Well, I didn't want to get into the nitty gritty of rule sets or rules variants. So I found the new hotness of the D&D 5e starter set and ran them through "The Lost Mine of Phandelvar". Pre-made characters and all.

It was a hit. Human Noble Fighter, Dwarven Soldier Cleric, Halfling Criminal Rogue, and Human Hero Fighter. Nessa, Hendrik, Arry, May. They rescued Sildar, went to town and gathered folk to rescue cousin Gundren, planned a decisive attack on Cragmoor Castle, and dived into the Lost Mines. Along the way Arry gained revenge against his nemesis, they made arrangements with criminals, and eventually drove off the dragon of Thundertree.

The game paused over the summer as we scattered around to world to work at various restaurants. We came back with winter approaching and a few questions arose - can we play some more?

The things that my players loved most of all was getting into their character's stories. Not in a I want to develop a big backstory, but how would my character react to these events. Often the players chafed at the pre-made backstories. But they also enjoyed how they fit into the adventure. They had hooks into the game world they could pull at when they couldn't imagine anything else to do. So some pre-made hooks for RP are important

My first tentative steps into letting the players make their own characters was a bit of a failure. I showed them the 5e Player's Handbook... Classes, Specialisations, Feats, Spells, Skills, Equipment Lists! Umm... you know we have to work on those days... maybe we can start next month..

So I decided to do a little pruning. Taking inspirations from B/X Essentials I used as many options as I could to streamline choices. Offering a choice when the option isn't understood is a false choice. This leads to dissatisfaction. I only wanted to offer a few, clear and understandable, choices.

As said before in Meet the Characters I used random character generation. This made the basics into a kind of mini-game - lets make a story around the results of these die rolls - which is the perfect kind of fun to have while everyone is full of munchies and wine. And I reduced the class choices, solve problems with Violence, Magic, or Cunning. After reading the DMs guide I transformed skills into keywords of class and background. Since one of my players is excited by exploring magic (possibly finding a magic school) I had to do something about the magic system. I got rid of the horror of 5e spell slots etc by using the magic system from Wonders & Wickedness: much simpler and full of more "magical" magic :)

But... the actual system is still in flux. So far we've only played a couple of session. One of those wasn't even D&D. I'll have to give some more thought in how to run the characters in play... and more importantly, how do they level up?

Any ideas?

Monday, December 3, 2018

Fabled Firebeasts of the Forest

Crowded Temple interior.
(BigMarket by Ben Mauro Design)

A good night's rest, and invigorating brew of tea let the girls consider their choices. But the morning pass through the markets made them depressed. Buying a single wagon and supplies to take back to the village of Highpass would set them back a few hundred gold.

Then they would need to hire a trustworthy driver, and hopefully leave enough gold to do this a few times... And to make it worse, their sacks of furs were not of much interest in the local market. If they got lucky they might make 20 gold.... nowhere near enough.

Vijaya suggested they take up Mogali's offer.

Fish, fruits, and fabrics filled the floating markets in the shade of the Temple of the Hundred Summer Gods. The face of a god was carved into each pillar, and together they support the ancient stone and iron domes. In the gloom beneath teem beggars and bandits, cutthroats and children. All living in the harmony of the Hexad traditions. Mowgali holds court amidst salvaged finery and opium smoke.

Archana is deeply suspicious of the smiling crime-boss. He offers to use the furs to swindle some foreigners out of some coin... and the base offer for the girls is 10%... negotiations start in earnest! The local thugs are taking bets, and Mogali brings in a tea-set to make everyone comfortable. In the end they agree to start a relationship with Mogali, trying to smuggle trade goods and "artifacts" into the city. For this arrangement they get 50% of the sale of the furs, but they will do their own sale.

"Remember, you are now children of the Turquoise Waters. We are your brothers and sisters. We will shelter you. But in return you will provide for your family". Mogali embraced and kissed each of the women on their cheeks. "Come, I will introduce you to a most cunning man who knows many secrets!"

The temple hides an entry to the undercity. Ancient neighbourhoods buried in layers under the traffic filled streets . In a workshop, hidden from the prying eyes of the Cats, lives Nagarjuna. He knows many secrets that trespass on the monopoly of the Violet Citadel. Now he practices the arts of kemia for the outcasts and homeless.

After hours mixing root vegetables and toxic sediments, the transformation is complete. A pale red glow coming from the furs lights the room. Of course the glow washes off in water...

That evening, the girls wind their way through the twisting corridors of the undercity. An unremarkable staircase leads to the basement of an opium house in the foreign quarter of the city. There they meet a translator and two men. They look strange. Tight black coats, high collars, heavy boots, gold buttons and twisted ropes hanging from their shoulders. Their pink skin was slick with sweat even in the cool afternoon. The translator carries out much of the negotiation, assisted by the exaggerated mime of Vijaya.

About to be swindled and doesn't know it.
A tale of elemental creatures birthed in distant volcanoes. Herds of sheep blackened by the fiery breath of ember-wolves. Herders chased by mountain ash-elk. The foreigners are entranced by the tales of hunters rushing to preserve hides before they dissolve in the damp snowy nights. Both men are salivating at the sight of the glowing prizes.

Note - this was the part I detested. Trying to work out the outcome of a price negotiation is always hard at the best of times.... I estimated each "sack" held 10 hides. in Yoon-Suin a hide goes for 5 silver... so 15 gold for the lot at base prices. I proposed the "pitch" as a performance w/ advantage: Vijaya rolled a crit. For that I estimated that the foreigners considered the hides as a "common magical item". 100g each hide, So being the cheap bastards they are, they offered 750g for the lot.

Archana knew this would not be enough (the 50% cut),  so tried to push for 5000g. But she failed her roll. With the foreigners getting ready to leave, Vijaya wanted to try one more ruse. Telling the foreigners that the creatures only spawned during eruptions.  With a disadvantaged roll she managed a 19, then added her charisma bonus and charlatan background.

I ruled that the foreigners would be willing to pay their full price on their original estimate... 3000g

When the girls returned to the temple and showed their take to Mogali, he was very impressed. He happily divided the chest of gold, and even generously offered to keep their share for safekeeping against the untrustworthy inhabitants of the city". The girls regretfully declined.

The next day was spent looking through the markets for horses, supplies and wagons. They managed to buy their dream wagon (it even had a canvas cover to protect the driver from rain or sun), tools, and food supplies to send up to Highpass. Matron Rha Ki introduced them to a trustworthy caravan driver. The girls hired him to make the 2 week round trip to deliver the cargo and pick up something to sell back in town. They paid cash up front for a month.

Next, they plan to take a look at the hiring auditions at the Violet Citadel

* * *

That was the end of session 1.

I quite enjoyed how it came out of a couple of random dice rolls, a few scribbled lines in my notebook, and a random encounter. I did notice that i was REALLY stressed about how to value the "improved furs". I should have figured out they would do something like that.

Note - I have to bring back Puukas, their friendly street cat, and Nagarjuna the alchemist. I enjoyed both those characters. Mogali was supposed to be a "friendly uncle", but for some reason all my players consider him to be "the evil mastermind".... Not sure what to do about that.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Into the Violet City

On first entering the Violet City
(Waterside by Theo Prins)

It feels normal to play RPGs with people like yourself. That means in this case playing with people in the restaurant industry. As a side effect, sometimes work shifts move and someone cant turn up.

Life happens.

But the game must go on!

A week of hiking through valleys and riding in riverboats. Now the girls from Highpass reach the Violet City of the Cats. They have brought with them the 3 sacks of furs gathered from the long winter. Tired and footsore they finally step off the boat.

It is overwhelming. Bright coloured awnings, garish silks, skin glistening with sweat. Burning incense, wood smoke, refuse in the gutters, a rotting body floating in the river. Chanting monks, squeals of children, hawkers pitching their wares, angry accusations of theft.

People in many hued robes and rags. Pale foreigners sweating in their tight suits. Scaled slaves painted with house colours. Flashes of bright newtlings scavenging in the shadows. And peeking from corners or riding on shoulders - the Cats, watching.

Looming above it all, the vast pyramid of the Citadel

Welcome to the Violet City.

A blank page is a frightening thing. The girls have a couple of goals. In the short term they want to sell the furs and not get ripped off. Long term they want to be able to turn Highpass into a successful village. After the horrors of the winter, there is a long way to go for that goal.

I detailed the social contacts I rolled up for them. Archana knows of her family's Tea House, and wonders what became of it. While Vijaya still remembers her time with the Turquoise Waters Benevolent Society. They decided to check out the Tea House, and get directions to an Inn.

A cry broke the sounds of the city. People scattered from the path of a small child. Burdened by packs, Archana and Vijaya are bowled over by a young child. "It is trying to eat my tongue!"
In the alleyway, a mangey tabby cat pretends to look unconcerned..

With the help of a Comprehend spell, Archana was able to understand the cat. The once and soon to be Lord Puukas of the Goldenclaw Clan wants a "pet". Currently he is out of favour with his mother and needs the help of a pet (and its hands). Knowing something of how important cats are, the girls manage to convince the street urchin that it is in his best interests to help the cat... (and just happen to gain a very thankful cat once all is said and done...)

Vijaya watched them walk away, Cat perched on shoulder. She leaned in close to Archana "Remind me never to pass out in this city. Also, lets make sure the windows are locked wherever we stay." The image of the street boy speaking with the cultured accent of the Catlord sent shivers down her spine.

At the Teahouse The House of the Rising Sun there is a jostling crowd, fighting for a view through the windows. Inside they can see another cat - this one with horns, and guards, sampling tea and luxury foods.
Lady Felame Goldenclaw, horned cat

Archana meets her old family friend, Matron Rha Ki. She had been the head guard. After Archana's parents left, she added running the Teahouse. She directs the serving staff to care for the Cat. All the while catching up wi and after the retelling of with Archana. They share the story of winter horrors. Rha Ki offers a spare bedroom and free food until the three can find their feet.

But while they catch up on gossip, Vijaya is watching the crowd. Especially the children passing highsigns. She meanders down the busy street. The childrens' handlers are easy to spot. She follows the messages until she finds an old bearded ragamuffin. His blanket full of knickknacks and cheap charms a disguise.

Vijaya picked through the various charms and baubles laid out on the blanket. A particularly pretty green-stone necklace caught her eye. "What do you want for this charm?"

The old man smiled "Never show interest before the negotiation. I thought I taught you better. Come here and give your old teacher Mogali a hug".

They wandered the streets and caught up on recent events. Mogali is the current head of the Turquoise Waters Benevolent society. The Hexad criminal organisation dabbles in smuggling, gambling, forgery, and "protection". Vijaya gets a short update on current affairs in the city. The Cats have a monopoly on magical arts, and impose taxes on any trade. The foreigners coming to the city to buy from the lucrative western trade routes. When he hears about the furs, he offers to "improve" the product and find an ignorant buyer. All that is needed is to bring the furs to the Temple of the Hundred Summer Gods the next morning...

Meanwhile, as Lady Felame is leaving the Teahouse, Archana tries to profit from the situation...

Archana prostrated herself on the floor. "Most benevolent mistress, please grant this humble one an audience."
The five semi-naked guards draped with gold reacted immediately. Spears hovered inches away from Archana's exposed back. Lady Felame, being cradled and caressed by her pet, looked down at the form on the floor... "Speak".
"I have come many miles to bask in your glory. My village is high in the mountains, the winter...."
"I have no interest in the pointless tales of the two-legs."
"But... I have many skills. I can be useful..."

The cat looked down at the two-legs begging on the floor. "Auditions are held every sunday at the gates to the Violet Citadel. You may attend."

The gold-adorned guards followed the purring cat to her palanquin.

By the way - please drop a note if this is hard to read, or maybe you know of a better way to format "Actual Play" reports?

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Let the Dice Decide

A possible vision of the City- and the Violet Citadel looming
Noran's Home by Jean Giraud (Moebius)

The village of Highpass needs supplies. To get supplies they need money. Our characters head to the capital to sell some furs gathered over winter. Welcome to the Violet City of the Cats!

Here i hit a little snag.. I cant actually picture what the city looks like from the descriptions in the UVG book. I know that the Violet Citadel is a place of learning. There are cats all over the place who actually run the city. And there are lots of opportunities for carousing, gastronomes, and getting high..

But these three characters are supposed to be from here as children... they should have contacts, people (or cats) they can talk to or look up. But my brain is a little worn out from dealing with the 5month old little mistress of the house... But I knew this all ahead of time, hence why I bough "Yoon-Suin the Purple Land" by David McGrogan

If you like RPGs and want an amazing setting, get this book now! It is chock-a-block full of randomised tables that ooze flavour. But what is especially nice for me is that I can cherry pick what I need and still get interesting results.

Anyway.. I want to make this game not "about the characters", but not "not about the characters" - if that makes any sense. To me, in a D&D game your character is what allows you to interact with the fictional world, and so while important, should not be irreplaceable. To that end it is good if the characters come with some hooks that let the players interact easily with the world.

So - I want to have some social groups for the characters to get in touch with.. lets see here...

  • D12: 12: Philosophical Society
  • 3D10 (3, 6, 10) Golemologist, Noble Benefactor, Fallen to worship of .. violence.

Oh this just needs to be attached to Kamala - daughter of a missing Sage, possessor of a book of secrets that must not fall into the wrong hands, orphaned at a young age.... This screams to me of "parent's research into Golems twisted to an evil(?) direction caused the parents to flee for their lives". I can use that for sure.

  • D12: 7: Tea/Opium Shop
  • 3D10: (10, 4, 3) Head Guard, Gourmand fanatic, Local protection racket...

Hmmm, This could be for either of the other two characters.. But I see a Tea House that is struggling. Perhaps the head guard is out of their depth? Convincing the owners to pay up? Is the current owner? Oh! The Guard took over when the criminals framed the owners. Now he is standing up to the criminal racketeers. This has to belong to Archana. Her family's old Tea House and the criminals who framed her parents!

  • D12 : 10: Criminal Band
  • 3D10: (7, 7, 7) Avuncular elderly member, Protection Racket Victim Recently kidnapped child of important City NPC..

Yes. Some tasty hooks for Vijaya. Her mentor could be the old guy. For some reason I am picturing a "Father Chains" type of character. But they are tied with the Team House obviously... But kidnapped children.. mixing this with the Catlords of the Violet City makes me think of a box of kittens. The kittens could belong to the Noble Benefactor of the philosophical society!

With a few dice rolls, the table entries get my imagination flowing. I have unexpected links that I would never have thought of! Now of course I need to get something for the Noble House

  • 3D10 (2, 6, 8) Heir apparent, Tea Taster, Young adoptee needs worldly education

Oh too perfect :) The Gourmand from the Tea House is the Tea Taster of the Noble House. A regular that was taking care of the young kitten-heir, and the criminals took advantage and kidnapped the kitten to exert even more pressure on the tea house Head Guard...

Well, the adventure scenario seems to have written itself by rolling 15 dice. Politics, secrets to uncovered, criminal strong arm tactics and trouble for everyone.

This is why I love Yoon-Suin!

Friday, November 23, 2018

The Long Dark Winter

Mountain Village in Snow - Sano Seiji

Thanks to the random characters, the girls got through character creation very fast. Much faster than I anticipated. I thought that the "session 0" would be all about getting the players on the same page. Working out the characters, what they had, and all that jazz.

Getting from shall we play a game all the way to lets get this show on the road took half an hour. In no time all the sheets were filled and relationships sketched out. I looked out at three eager faces.


Luckily its the 21st century, and I have my collection of RP books in pdf format on my laptop, which is lighter than some of my old books (looking at you Exalted 3rd). I had a game book I'd been wanting to try for a long time. It fit the idea of a rough town on the borderlands very well.

Do Not Let Us Die In The Dark Night Of This Cold Winter.

It is a rules-light survival mini-game that can fit into any fantasy game. Situated in a tiny village that is short on survival goods before winter is about to start. You need to help guide the village through the dark winter until the warmth returns. It seemed a perfect fit, but I'd never run it before and was a little wary about the difficulty. The girls loved the idea, and started to name all the villagers and houses they would be taking care of....

The mountains of the moon: a great wall of rock and ice rising to the heavens. To the south lie the humid and fertile river valleys of the Purplelands. To the north lie the fetid swamps of the Bluelands. Deep in a valley carved by long melted glaciers lies a small path. Follow that path up along high cliffs and narrow ridges. You will reach a small collection of buildings huddled on the trail. Scattered trees and small patches of hardy crops surround the village of Highpass.

The soldiers came without warning. As the nights grew colder they appeared on the northern trail. The trail that led down to the Bluelands. Rumours of war echoed for years, but never appeared until today. The scores of armed men, little more than bandits in uniform, scoured the village for food and drink. Men lay beaten, women and children scattered. But when the soldiers left little else remained. The families of Highpass now looked at the coming night with fear.

The Spirits of Cold & Wind look on with amusement.

We setup the village as a small collection of 6 buildings and 30 people. This is double the recommendation in the book, but feels more like a "village" than 15 people. To makes things easier I allowed that livestock to supply more food. And gave them more as well.

It started out well enough. The villagers had stashed away enough food to let us survive the first week. But the Yaksha of the mountain was most cruel. Gripping the town in fists of ice from the moment the winter stars rose above the mountains. Basu, Meera, and Prija all froze in the first weeks. All went hungry while the strongest nursed frozen hands from gathering wood.  We culled the weaker livestock to take the edge off the hunger.

It was brutal. Every turn (week) you roll a die to see how cold it gets. It was the worst it could be for 4 turns. But it got darker. Something from the mountains was stealing any food and medicine they could gather. They lost 10 to cold and hunger. It wasn't looking good.

Mother Rani's prayers had been answered. Blue skies and warmer winds have taken away much of the snow. It almost feels like spring is here, if only there was more for the animals to eat. Everyone was startled when the old tree in the center of the square split in the cold night. Old Vikram says its a curse, but Archana went ahead and gathered the wood.

We should have listened and made offerings. But we didn't, so the Yaksha took the animals during the new moon. Scattered entrails and blood tainted the town square.

Things were looking up. With the warmer weather, the character could focus on collecting food. They were struggling to keep ahead.  Livestock allowed for emergency meals. But then something killed all the livestock, and the cold came back. The village was looking to die out in a couple of turns.

Then I got a scary question. Can dead villagers be used as food?

Suddenly it was 1972 and we were in the Andes... I ruled that a person would count as 1/2 a livestock, and you couldn't eat the sick. The villagers moved into three remaining houses named Elite, New Moon, New Gold. All food/fuel shortages hit New Moon.

This allowed a steady supply of food, enough to stop most of other people from dying.

Mother Rani wouldn't stop screaming. "We are cursed. The bhoot are angry. They will have their revenge!" No one spoke of the animal skulls left at the doorsteps. Or the stick figures hanging in the trees around the village.

Everyone grew sick in the coming days. Mother Rani lost her leg when a cut turned fetid.

The last month (4 turns) were hellish as well. Harsh winds, arguments amongst the villagers, accidental fires, something cursing everyone with sickness. The people living in New Moon kept dying, except for the lady with one leg... who survived everything - even miraculously coming back when she'd been left for dead!

11 survivors out of 30 people. But Archana made sure that her parents were always kept well fed and warm all winter. Now when the 3 characters make their way to the Violet City in spring, they will be bringing bundles of furs for sale. While the village of Highpass waits for their return before the next winter.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Meet the Characters

I admit, sometimes I sit at my laptop, flip through RPG books, and make characters. But not for a future game I will be playing. Just an idea of a character that I want to see work in a particular system. Rules filter an idea through mechanics. What is especially interesting is trying many systems. Same idea, but very different outcomes.

Watching other people make characters is interesting in a very different way. What ideas they have. The choices they make. How the mechanics filter their ideas. Because of this, I dislike "helping" players make a character. My interpretations will taint their characters. Especially if they do not have system mastery of whatever game we are playing. So with three new(ish) players who had never made a character from scratch, I wanted to be as hands off as possible.

But dumping a book full of rules and options doesn't help. If you get a chance read The Paradox of Choice it gives a great breakdown of why having too many options is a bad thing. It is better to have a few distinct choices rather than many gradated choices

But what choices?

I have no real idea. But I guess that having enough so that the players feel unique in the game.

So we did the session 0 thing that seems all the rage these days :)

Everyone was excited to play. R made some awesome food (Tunisian!), M brought some wine, P brought the cheer. We discussed the idea of the non-plotted game - there would be no "plot armor" for the characters. To get XP: explore new places, loot any treasure, then in the finest traditions of Sword&Sorcery, blow it all.

The example we talked about went something like this:

 Hey, there is a huge horde of gold in that cave, pity about the giant lizard. No worries - Hey you (bangs on lizard) go away... Snap. Chomp. Burping dragon. Roll new characters.

On that note, they all jumped for the "random character creation". We used the Alternative Character Generation System from the Hill Cantons Compendium. It makes each roll result a distinctive event. Depending on the event, you get to roll extra dice for a particular stat. Combined with random names and personality traits, we got a trio of interesting characters. The only choice made was the background, after they had rolled their stats.

The events are perfect. Distinct enough that you get a real sense of who the characters might be. Vague enough that you can put your own spin on things. It really set off the inspirational juices!

The characters came out as follows:


Daughter of Merchants - local traders (+1d charisma)

Parents outlawed for a crime they didn't commit (+1d any)

Lived in the wilds (+1d constitution)

Developed a vice-quick temper (+1d strength)

Settled into the borderlands (+1 constitution)

Background: Outlander (life lessons, glory, provide for family, untrusting)

Name: Archana


Daughter of craftmen - tailors (+1d dexterity)

Caused the death of her cousin (+1d any)

Moved into the wilderness (+1d constitution)

Enslaved... but escaped (+1d dexterity)

Faced a monster (+1d any)

Background: Charlatan (pocket valuables, ambitious, owe mentor, loves a pretty face)

Name: Vijaya


Daughter of a sage/alchemist (+1d intelligence, owns a book handed down)

Orphaned and raised by Dwarves (+1 constitution)

Lived a nomadic life (+1 dexterity)

Enslaved... but escaped (+1d dexterity)

Faced a monster (+1d any)

Background: Sage(read it all, self improvement, secret text, take copious notes)

Name: Kamala

The exact same "young adulthood" rolls of Vijaya and Kamala was interesting! P & R decided that the same slavers had taken them, and they escaped when a monster attacked. Archana is on the run with her parents and founded a town in the borderlands. So the  players decided the two ex-slave girls went to the little town when they escaped. We've ended up with a great sounding backstory for all the characters that ties them together.

 Listening to the girls bouncing ideas off each other to create a joint backstory was a lot of fun... The feeling I got was that the broad strokes of the characters were defined by the random events, allowing them to gloss over a lot of the "mechanical/system" choices, but how to interpret those events was chosen by the players - and they were very creative in those interpretations - actually creating the "character" of the characters.

I will definitely encourage random character creation in future games. Full props to Chris Kutalik

Saturday, November 17, 2018


A beginning is a very delicate time.

Know then, that the lands of the circle sea are united by the benevolence of the Citizen in their Emerald Seat. Gold keeps the peace of the Union - gold marked by the holy Cog-flower of the Citizen. In this time, the greatest source of gold are the trade routes of the Purple Lands of the Cat. Hopefuls come from all across the circle sea and points beyond. They make their way to the Violet City: city of the Catlords, jewel of the Agate Islands, end point of the High and Low Road. Westwards lie the Ultraviolet Grasslands and the fabled Black City at the end of the world.

A while ago I stumbled upon a little pdf that inspired me. Enough to search the shelves, break out the dice, and dust off the rules books. To convince my friends they needed to try this out. The Ultraviolet Grasslands by Luka Rejec is something different. It makes me think of fantasy which is not your bog-standard "epic fantasy". Jack Vance, China Mieville, and others. The closest I've read is "The History of the Runestaff" series by Michael Moorcock. But the Ultraviolet Grasslands are even stranger.
Between acting as a chew toy to a 5 month old daughter, I looked into how to run a point-crawl. My friends had only ever played through the new 5e starter set. Pre-generated characters and linear encounters. Don't get me wrong, they had a blast and want to play again. But running the game felt a little lacking. I've been spoilt by games like "Apocalypse World" and "Blades in the Dark". The phrase play to find out rang true for me, and the others agreed with me. I wanted to go into this game and not know what is going to happen, to be surprised by what my players uncover.

So I looked for some tools to help me inject some chaos into my game. For starters, The Hill Cantons Compendium provides awesome tools for random characters. Great for inspiring players! Next, Yoon-Suin the Purple Land is an incredible setting toolkit. It creates a fever-dream southeast asian setting that cries out for adventure!

So the campaign we will be playing is going to be a long journey of strange and random events... but I hope for a lot of awesome fun to come out of it.