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Topics - silencio789

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Reviews / Mörk Borg
« on: October 30, 2020, 08:29:49 am »
Mörk Borg
Fria Ligan

"When the world was but water, dust and clouds thick with plague-fat flies came S H E , first of the basilisks. From the cracks of Bergen Chrypt S H E crawled. S H E bears the head of Denial, Lusi, who looks up and down. Yet all shall be well. Her twin Arkh, Head of Deception, claims to be the first prophet of truths now prostituted by Verhu. Few have ever seen her, the oldest, but many walk her twin paths. THE WORLD DIES EVEN NOW. Reality decays, truth becomes dream and dream, truth. Cracks grow in the once-stable structures of the past, allowing things misshapen and vile to worm through, emerging into day’s wan light. The world closes in, bounded to the west by the massive Bergen Chrypt with its catacombs and ice-caked peaks and surrounded by the Endless Sea to the north, south and east. Many have ploughed the wave’s furrow in search of new lands. They all return, against their will. Alive or dead." Mörk RPG, pages 6-7

Punched out by fingers not quite human in Typewriter fonts and Gothic, Mörk is death metal in mock shock format, all yellow and black, so black, with a sellotape and glue aesthetic reminiscent of the zines of the 80s. It's a;; sham of course, these kids didn't walk Hammersmith in ripped jeans and safety pins, but hey.. this is role-playing and we are all about genre simulation, hej? What are we emulating here?

We have SHE, we an inquisition, we have an island with Teutonic places pasted on as strips of paper.. Bergen, Schleswig, Galgenbeck, this is Germanic dark, parlayed by the gnomic English of Patrick Stuart.

We have an Inquisition, salvation only lies "mortification of the flesh; the apocalypse is to be met with eyes wide open", this is pure GW spiky death gaming, 90s style.. it is Lordi at Eurovision, it is the massacares and ethnic conflicts of the Religious Wars of 17th century Europe, it is OSR's "blackened inbred heir, perched on a gnarled goat throne" as Andi Lennon has said [], I just kept singing "Blood and Souls for my Lord Arioch".

Atmosphere and imagination come out ahead of rules, mathematics and structure: the classes are subverted as Fanged Deserter, Gutter-Born Scum, Wretched Royalty and Heretical Priest. Combat and skill checks are borrowed from the common ancestry of the d20 system. Magick is more reminiscent of Dungeon Crawl Classics in it's inevitable spiral to catastrophe and abomination, you roll presence for how many spells you can use per day. The game has whittled attributes down to Agility, Presence, Strength, and Toughness, but then either flunks it by rolling 3d6 to generate -3 to +3 modifiers.. really? Either embrace the occult of the pointless attribute or just jump to the modifier, clearlt rollable on a single d6. Only players roll dice.. good.. three tests for melee, one for melee, one for ranged, and one for defence. Like many game this cannot be your first RPG GM experience.. to be this light and throwaway requires a really wise GM on top of their game.. bit like Alice Cooper on a good night.. note also that there is really nothing here but big words and the inference of something darker, and that's why it's so good. If you need taxonomies of carefully balanced 'stuff', drink a can of something strong before you sit down to read this.

The tome is slim, and yet it's acerbic conciseness could yield enormous riches with the drop of GM imagination.. or blood? A few words typewritten or scrawled on a page of the game could yield an entire campaign or a chilling night's adventure, or both.. Corruption, Deformity, Debilitating injury and Shrieking Madness are the rewards the players can expect, and like any millenial cult, Mörk encourages either grim acceptance or hedonistic antinomianism as the inventiable journet to Megiddo commences. The style is gothic death metal bombast, this will either offend you or delight you.. visually it may deafen you.. I had a complimentary PDF review copy, and frankly I feel I missed a lot by not having a print version..

If you like rules lite and open, and you appreciate sheer bravado this is the game they play in Urth when they are not appearing in the Shadow of the Demon Lord.. and I grok it, either to run as is or to further corrupt a more trad RPG campaign.

News and Adverts / KS: Korean inspired 5e sourcebook
« on: April 21, 2019, 03:27:02 pm »
Oh no. Looks beautiful. I bet Mythras Korea isn't due anytime soon so I have backed.. eh?

Reviews / Review: Traveller Reach Adventure 1: Marooned on Marduk
« on: January 06, 2019, 06:07:33 am »
Traveller Reach Adventure 1: Marooned on Marduk
Author: Martin J Dougherty
Publisher: Mongoose Publishing
ISBN    978-1-908460-58-5

Price: £8
Pages: 33

I received this as a complimentary copy from Mongoose for review purposes.

"This adventure takes place on the world of Marduk, in the Oghma Cluster which lies at the Rimward (bottom) end of Sindal Subsector. The adventure is suitable for almost any group ofTravellers, with or without a starship. Inventive Travellers can get through this adventure using almost any skills set, though 'planetside' skills such as survival and combat skills will be useful. No matter how much weaponry the Travellers possess, they will be deprived of most of it, and will find themselves outgunned if combat breaks out. Clever tactics and use of the environment will be necessary to level the odds."

This an adventure book that explores the oft explored 'lost on a hostile planet' adventure. This scenario is not novel, but the author, Martin J Dougherty, expands and delivers it well, and in doing so reveals more about the wider setting in which Marduk lies. Whilst quite linear, and using a limited set of components, the book delivers an excellent evening's gaming, with re-use and links to further travelling in the Sindal sub sector. It is well illustrated with recognisably 'Traveller' like 3D imager, shuttle plans, and competent character illustrations. It follows the high quality of Traveller 2.0 layout and graphics, and has no apparent typos or grammatical problems.

It comprises of the following chapters:

"Introduction": a top level introduction and a potential hook linked to GeDeCo, the Imperial corp of note in the Trojan Reaches.
"Referee's Information": This is an excellent and concise summary of the Trojan Reach, the role of the Aslan Hierate and the Third Imperium; as well as a summary of GeDeCo's role as starport builder and operator through the Reach. The Sindal Subsector is then described and mapped, before moving onto the 'collapsed' worlds in the Oghma Cluster: the titular Oghma, Marduk, and Borite. The adventure is set on the ultra balkanised world of Marduk, but the raiders of Oghma prove to be key. The detail on the Marduk Highport is crisp and useful, and gives insight that can be used elsewhere. This is a great introduction to the setting. I have read and run the Reach extensively, from the 'Pirates of Drinax' campaign and elsewhere, and I appreciate how Dougherty delivers such flavour in 8 pages.
"Arriving on Marduk": a 3 page arrival introduces 3 NPCs that will travel with the PCs, they are interesting, and in fact they would also make perfectly good pre-generated PCs if the referee wanted to deploy them as part of a one-off.
"Downed on Marduk","Into the Wilderness", "Rule The Ruins" and "Holding On For Daybreak": These are the key Acts of the adventure. The core is set in a dark, rain swept night; cunning and vicious predators roam long abandoned ruins; xenophobic locals stumble into offworlders; translation comm computers struggle with barely recognisable dialects. Above, debris from a fatal collision light up the sky as shooting stars, and all the emergency comms channels are silent.. Without spoiling anything, all is here for a tense, genre appropriate SF adventure that could be from Star Trek, Doctor Who or HG Wells. All the bits are there.. and Dougherty keeps the advice coming: the sidebar entitled: "Going Off Script? What Script?"; is quite charming.
"Characters": Stats and ships and all you need.. as mentioned before, many NPC would repurpose as a PC.

Well crafted, well illustrated, well laid out, well written, high potential for an evening of tension, great for a con one-off.

Reviews / Traveller Reach Adventure 2: Theories of Everything
« on: January 02, 2019, 08:18:58 am »
Traveller Reach Adventure 2: Theories of Everything
Author: Martin J Dougherty
Publisher: Mongoose Publishing
ISBN    978-1-908460-62-2

Price: £8
Pages: 38

I received this as a complimentary copy from Mongoose for review purposes.


"In Reach Adventure 2: Theories of Everything the Travellers are hired as crew and research assistants aboard the laboratory vessel Insight III. The ship is owned by a cooperative of scientists working in a cross-discipline environment to solve problems and discover knowledge as they journey across the vast reaches of space… or so they claim. In fact, Insight III is basically a jump-capable shouting match as its owners bicker, squabble and argue their erratic way across a dangerous subsector. The Travellers' mission is thus more than merely running the ship and helping collect data. They will need to be advisors, diplomats and bodyguards too, injecting a little common sense into the heady mix of ego and brilliance aboard Insight III. The storyline of the adventure is as much about the interactions of the scientists and crew as the situations they find themselves in, and it may be that the Travellers' greatest challenge will be keeping the scientists from murdering one another…"

This an adventure book that utilises the Type L research vessel that has seen deployment in many a Traveller adventure since the early days. It does this with a well detailed, well mapped, and interesting mixture of vessel, scientist crew, a clearly define set of research tasks that begin on the planet of Marduk, move to Borite and end in an exciting and potentially emotionally fraught rescue off a gas giant.

This scenario is not novel, but the author, Martin J Dougherty, expands and delivers it well, and in doing so reveals a little more about the wider setting in which Marduk and Borite lies. This is a non-linear adventure book with lots of opportunity for dynamic and freeform roleplaying, and using a limited set of components, the book delivers an excellent series of play sessions, probably 3-4 in total. There is some overlap and re-use of the Marduk material from Reach Adventure 1, but in a way that could enrichen the ability of the PCs to save the bacon of a rather foolish research academic. It is well illustrated with recognisably 'Traveller' like 3D imager, Tyle L ship plans, pinnacle and vehicle stats, and competent character illustrations. It follows the high quality of Traveller 2.0 layout and graphics, and has no apparent typos or grammatical problems.

It comprises of the following chapters:

Introduction: A short, sweet and yet purposeful. Key here is the adventure starts on the planet of Marduk, in the Oghma Cluster, in the Sindal subsector of Trojan Reach, before proceeding into the Borite system. The adventure is suitable for any group of Travellers, but they need to either not have  starship or a plot device is provided to relieve them of it with a hook to engage them in "Theories of Everything" for a month or so. Again, so nice phrasing from the author "Using the jump drive in it's present state would fall into the 'might not die' catergory of risks" raised a smile from me. The players do really need a pilot, and an engineer.
Referee's Introduction: As noted, this a Sindal subsector, Oghma cluster adventure in the Trojan Reach sector. This is a very well detailed part of the Original Traveller Universe (OTU), and well developed by Mongoose over many years in books about the Aslan and the foundational "Pirates of Drinax" campaign. There is a small amount of necessary duplication from Reach Adventure 1, and other sources, but this is utterly necessary and makes this adventure *accessible to a referee or group of players who know nothing of the Reach*, or even the OTU.
The Insight III: This chapter details the Type L research lab ship, a ring design familiar to experience Traveller gamers, and the complement of quixotic, irascible, heads-in-the-clouds research scientists who own and work on it. These are the academics that the players will need to look after as they embark on a series of field work missions across 3 systems: Marduk, Borite and Noricum. The ships and pinnace are attractively mapped out, detailed for Mongoose Traveller 2.0, and the four scientists statted up and their idiosyncratic personalities and inter-personal relationships explained. There are also 2 other non scientist NPCs, which could be easily swapped out for suitable player characters, so as to avoid the possibility of the players simply watching the referee 'acting out' a cast of NPCs in front of them. With little work a group could also adopt the roster of NPCs and simply play them as pre-generated characters, which would be my personal preference for a 3-4 session extended micro-campaign.
Theories of Everything: This is technically chapter 3, but is in fact 3 paragraphs stating that this a freeform open ended adventure. Superfluous, but has a lovely scene setting picture of a snarky note left by one NPC to another that's well worth printing and showing to the players!
Hiring On: Here the research project is detailed, in and of itself straightforward but notably it gives the whole group clearly defined tasks, opportunities for roleplaying, and [and this is rare] actual tasks to fulfil when in jumpspace between systems..
Marduk: This could be subtitled "Amongst the Ruins by the Seaside, something Lurks". So as not to spoil it, any player who has played Reach Adventure 1 is going to be able to handle this spike of danger very well, but the duplication of moving pieces is well handled and should delight the group. If the first adventure was not played, then it will be potentially a little dangerous, as it should be.
Borite: The culture of Borite is one of carefully nurtured idiocy, a front to ensure that no-one is a potential target for Oghma raiders who target the capture of anyone who can read/write or has numeracy. The interaction of a group of very well educated and in one case very extroverted scientists as such a culture is a potential source of great roleplaying. [I was also minded that an Oghma quisling might even be on planet and taking names..] The Borite field work is very similar to that on Marduk, but is interrupted by a Signal GK distress call from space!
Rescue: This is a very exciting, well designed, rescue attempt to save the crew of the far trader *Jolly Joel* before it tumbles into a gas giant. Slingshots, parallel routing of the Insight III and the pinnace, the number of hour left before disaster, all are carefully explained by the author, and even if you don't know your 2G acceleration from your 4G mobile phone, a referee has all they need to run a space rescue mission worthy of Thunderbirds. Again, not all is at seems, and the crew of far trader are flawed people, the scientists have little common sense, and it might all go completely Pete Tong [Google it..], and a very linear mission has been interweaved with open ended possibilities, some tragic, some triumphant. At the end it is likely that those that live will eventually make their way to Noricum. As the blasted remains of the Sindal Empire a key place in the *Pirates of Drinax* campaign, this a good choice for Mongoose and Dougherty to leave the players, probably with a new network of contacts, friends or enemies on board a rambling excuse for a scientist adventure in games to come.

Well crafted, well illustrated, well laid out, well written, high potential for 3-4 evenings of engagement in non combat SF adventure, complements Reach Adventure 1 well.

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