Archive for July, 2012

Blackchapel and Character Sheet

31 Jul

Three things:

1.) The next phase of the Blackchapel Revolution has commenced! If you haven’t gotten your actions returned, be patient–I’ll come around to yours soon.

2.) I did up a custom character sheet for the UnNight RPG. It meets the should-I-post-it-criterion of having taken a long damn time to make, so here you go.

Click for full size.

3.) I’m recovering well. Content will resume this week.

 
 

The Jibar vs. Rutskarn Luchadore Crime Podcast

30 Jul

In this action-packed, wrestling-smacked, completely-wacked episode of Jibar vs. Rutskarn, we hop around Steelport running missions through the power of tag-team lucha libre.

In the meantime, we discuss the holes in my head, why Jibar hates Victorian period dramas, Suplex Safari, crazy adventures in gun control, the neo-navi movement,  Jibar’s walking apocalypse of a roommate, and why he had to apologize to his TRON: Legacy DVD.

 

Blackchapel/Defacing

25 Jul

Since the full Blackchapel update is being written, I thought I’d take some of the pressure off and come out with the names of the people who’ve been killed.

The two casualties are:

1.) Mavros

2.) Lord Eric

Hard luck to the two of you.

The other update is that–and this is partially responsible for the delay season–this Thursday, I have an appointment to have four holes the size of grapes added to my head. This may prevent me speaking for a while. Actually, it’s practically guaranteed. There’s a good chance this Thursday will be streamless.

On the other hand, if–and this is also a fantastic possibility–the various medications called for by this procedure leave me loopy as a drunk parrot, I’d be loathe to waste the opportunity. So I’ll either be streaming or recording a run of, for example, the Hitman president mission on Pro difficulty; anything sufficiently cruel and unusual.

I’ll keep people posted.

 

Doctor Lee’s Circus of Sin: Part 3

20 Jul

The clock struck three, and as a bell pealed three deep notes, the skies darkened. The wind picked up until it shook the office. The air became even thicker, hotter, drier. The dust outside was whipped up into waves, and then shapes—people, or demons, or something of the like, swimming and leaping in the air. Dozens leapt for the windows of the sheriff’s office.

The party tried to take cover, block up windows, and even fight back, with mixed success. Knocking the cabinet in front of the window checked, but did not halt, the onslaught. There was no stopping a certain percentage of the specters from making it to the party and leaping down their throats. Each time that happened, the character’s thirst gauge went up a few notches.

(Little side note: I can’t remember every instance of the party finding water, or needing it, or getting close to dying of thirst. So in the background of each of these posts, which are themselves very condensed summaries, keep in mind that there’s rather a lot of that going on. One thing all the players agreed on was that it was always a tense, desperate battle to combat the looming, inevitable threat of dehydration.)

After a full minute, the apparitions ceased. It was clear that the party’s window of survival was even shorter than they thought.

There was a search of the police station. They found records that proved the sheriff had been hanging a lot of people for a lot of charges, some of them far too light. A further search turned up a locked cabinet full of boots, purses, nice clothing, and personal effects like hip flasks and spectacles, as well as a bag of loose cash in many denominations.

Outside, they found a man hanging from an archway. His corpse seemed somehow different than the other corpses—for one thing, it seemed to have gone through some decomposition. For another, it seemed somehow stiller, somehow more at peace. The man was dressed pretty nicely. A search of his pockets turned up a map of the town with seven locations, the church and sheriff’s office included, marked with little glyphs.

As the town was fairly large—and conscious that time was against them—the party did what I’d hoped they would, which was agree to split up.

That’s about when Leonard got back, pretending nothing had happened.

They did make one stop together—at a general store—to gather supplies. There were more bodies here, apparently freshly killed, and almost all of the food and water had been looted. They found a gunshot-wounded man in the back, apparently searching for unguarded water, who explained a few things for everyone’s benefit.

Apparently the only man in town who stayed dead was the hanged man, a carnival barker named Dr. Lee. The looter couldn’t explain exactly why they had hanged him, only that everyone was sure it was his fault the town was like this. Suffice it to say that everyone was always thirsty, there was never enough water, the dead came back in a week no matter how they were killed, and if you died there once, you were stuck there forever. The only way out was to kill two people or gather seven items and bring them to the church, and you had to do that before something killed you or else you became a permanent part of the town.

Once it became clear that there were no supplies to be had there, the party organized itself.

Leonard and Polly were paired together and told to go to the church. Tom and Simon agreed to go together to the clock tower. Garret and Sandra ended up heading off to a third location, a doctor’s office.

***

Leonard went into the church before his companion. For some reason, he decided not to tell Polly about what he’d seen there, or about what he had on him. I never got to figure out why not, because they’d barely stepped inside before Polly attacked him from behind with her empty bottle.

What ensued was a short, nasty fight. She nearly gave him a concussion smashing him again and again, but he managed to take it away from her and knock her good too. Then, angry and confused, he demanded a truce from her. She agreed. Then, when he turned his back, she attacked him again. He tried to knock her down, accidentally hit too hard, and killed her.

Leonard was halfway there.

Tom lingered to talk with the looter while Simon went ahead. Then he took a different route, found a well, emptied some of his bottles of snake oil, and filled them with all the remaining water. When he and Simon passed the well later on, and saw that it was empty, the salesman declined to mention that he’d been the one to drain it dry.

They managed to consult a few more dead men and gather a few more talismans without risking injury. Neither ambushed the other, although both were tense. When Simon grew almost too thirsty to continue, Tom reluctantly shared some of his hoarded water.

They discovered that the last talisman on their checklist was in a train car belonging to Dr. Lee’s circus, and headed off there together.

Meanwhile, Garret and Sandra went to the doctor’s office. They found that the doctor had been keeping a man alive—really alive, not merely undead—from the last batch of “newcomers” that went through. He was only keeping him alive, however, as a public service to the next group of newcomers. The man was unlikely to be ambulatory before he died of starvation and thirst, so—the doctor reasoned—the only sensible thing to do was keep him around to go towards another man’s kill count.

Garret declined to kill the man, insisting “ladies first.” Sandra did the job instead.

 

World Creation III: System Document

18 Jul

This is by way of payoff on the past dozen posts: the character creation primer for UnNight. No mechanical details, but a summary of flavor and character options are to be found.

Character creation takes place today at 7:00. I’ll let you all know how it goes.

UNNIGHT

I’ll reformat it for the website about the time I let you know what kinds of characters people are playing.

EDIT: More delays have come up. I’ll try to get a few pieces of content done during the day today.

 

On Inconvenient Lizards: The Redemption of Cahmel (Let’s Play Skyrim, Part 4)

17 Jul

A few rooms later, and we came to the edge of a torture chamber.

“It’s unfortunate that we still need such places,” my companion opined.

“Yes,” I said. “It is absolutely unfortunate that your vast, wealthy, impossibly well-connected nation, which has access to the most powerful mages in the continent–mages who have spells that allow people to do stuff like track people and turn invisible–needs to get its intel by frying people to death. That is definitely the best use of magic and magic-users available to your people.”

From the blasts of energy and clanging of weapons on armor, it sounded like someone had started the pointless violence party without us. We got to the torture room to find some old mage in a swank hood tangling with a couple of Stormcloaks. I’m guessing their grievances stemmed from the various Nords sprawled, tortured to death, on stone tablets and inside various crow cages.

“So who’s your money on,” I asked, “the battle-mad heavily armed rebels or the shriveled bony asshole throwing extremely painful, and yet tactically insubstantial, shock bolts?”

“The rebels, unless we help!”

“That’s what I thought,” I said. “Come on, I think I saw another way out.”

I was all set to take off and let them sort out their incredibly stupid differences by themselves, but as the Stormcloaks were lit up by a blast of lightning, I saw that one of them had taken a hostage. And I knew that I would have to save her.

I could tell he was hurting her–he had his brutish hands wrapped around her neck, and he gripped it so hard it made my knees go weak just looking at it. I looked at her, and I could feel her calling out to me to save her, deliver her from his brutish grasp, take her with me, take care of her. I knew that it was my destiny to do so. That was why I’d been brought to this fort, this dungeon–it was to rescue her. In that instant were we bonded for life. Soon, I would introduce myself, and we would become the kind of inseparable companions legends are written of. But first, I would have to cut her freedom out of her captor’s neck.

Screaming, I charged him, and he swung her towards my face. I managed to sidestep and bring the bastard down with a sword chop to the throat. His grip slackened, and she dropped to the floor.

I dispatched the other Stormcloak as quickly as I could before picking her up off the ground. She didn’t look hurt–a little ill-used, maybe, but perfectly fine. Nothing a quick scrub wouldn’t fix.

“Don’t worry,” I said. “My name is Cahmel. You and me, we’re getting out of here. We’re getting out of here together. They can’t hurt you anymore.”

“Uh,” said my Imperial companion. His tone of voice said, “I hate to interrupt, but I hate what I’m interrupting even more than that, so here we are.”

“What?”

“Are you really talking to that axe?”

It occurred to me that this wasn’t a bad question for him to ask. Fairly reasonable, really. No reason I shouldn’t help him out on that one.

“Yes,” I explained.

“Oookay.”

“Your timing was impeccable,” said the head torturer, though nobody had asked. “I believe these gentlemen were dissatisfied with how I was entertaining their friends.”

“Uh-huh,” I said, taking a few practice swings.

“We need to get out of here!” said my companion. “There was a dragon outside!”

“Dragon? Don’t be ridiculous. The dragons have all vanished.”

“That’s not so! There was one outside, but the men managed to by the Divines what the hell are you doing?”

“What?” I asked.

“You just killed that man!”

“Oh. Yeah. Yes, I did do that. In my defense, I really wanted to.”

There was a lot of awkward silence on our way out of the dungeon.

(NEXT WEEK: CAHMEL’S FIRST QUEST)

 

Dis Week

16 Jul

This week bears witness to a climactic showdown between my work ethic and season four of Breaking Bad. There may be no survivors.

As long as I do not wholly fall casualty, what you can expect is this:

Monday: Spoiler Warning Hangout

Tuesday: Cahmel’s Spirit Guide

Wednesday: World Creation (Barney’s dead dog hustle/character creation document)

Thursday: Dr. Lee/Stream

Friday: Blackchapel officially moves forward

Fun fact: I will answer any question posed in the comments of a week-to-come post. I will not necessarily answer truthfully. I will necessarily be wearing pants. I was necessarily speaking untruthfully in one of these sentences.

(Schedule has been fixed)

 

The Blackchapel Revolution: The Once Future Emperor

13 Jul

There was one more reaction to the unofficial opening of campaign season. It was to take the newspaper, which had been brought in by a stray dog, and throw it against the walls of the crypt before turning over and trying to go back to sleep.

Fifteen minutes later, grumbling quietly, he rolled over and picked up his glass of water. A little shake confirmed that the water in it had evaporated. He wondered if he’d be too awake to kick back off if he got up to get more.

Well, now he’d gone and fixated on how thirsty he was. If he hadn’t done, he could have probably gotten back to sleep—he wasn’t even that thirsty, for Gods’ sake. It’s just that now he’d thought about it, it was all he could think about, and it wasn’t even the fact that he was suddenly parched so much as the fact that he was obsessing too much to rest properly. This was so damn typical.

His lids were still heavy. He’d probably be able to get back to sleep if he just got up, crossed the room, and got some water without really opening them.

Grumbling some more, he got up, crossed the room, and walked facefirst into a wall.

Dammit. Wasn’t that puddle supposed to be here? He was sure there was usually a puddle there. Maybe he’d just open his right eye a crack. Just his right eye, and then he could find his way towards some water and get this whole bloody thing over with. Yes, that would do.

He opened his eye a crack, found a pool of stagnant water, drank a little, drank some more, smacked his tongue to find that his mouth was still somehow dry, drank some more, drank some more, smacked his tongue, and drank some more.

Then he closed his right eye and felt his way back, lay down, relaxed, and realized that neither of his eyes were staying closed naturally anymore.

Ten impatient minutes. He turned over. Five impatient minutes. He turned over again, more determined.

About two minutes.

Dammit.

Emperor Victor the Flenser gave up and decided to get up for good. He’d been meaning to get a solid five hundred years in, but he’d just have to settle for three hundred seventy-five.

(TO BE CONTINUED WITH RESULTS)

 

The Blackchapel Revolution: The Society Column

11 Jul

Penelope Cotswall’s column was ten pages long and typed with a mixture of #5 Blackmore Typewriter’s Ink and cobra venom. The courier felt a chill run down his arm when he picked it up and, later that evening, threw a brick through his landlord’s window without knowing why. The newspaper’s desk clerk, who was new to her position, caught a glimpse of the first page as she passed it to the editor and had to go lie down afterwards. The typesetter had to have a stiff drink, and then another, to calm his nerves enough that it was possible–at half speeds and with an occasional break to mop up the sweat–to transcribe the piece.

The printing press overheated midway through the run and had to be cooled with buckets of water. But that might have been a coincidence.

The illiterate urchins who hawked the newspapers didn’t know what they were selling, only that people who stopped to skim the first page either bought the paper immediately or fainted dead away. One brave man read his copy aloud at a particularly bohemian cafe in Norfolk, and there was nearly a riot. The first aristocratic suicide was reported around lunchtime.

It wasn’t that the article was particularly groundbreaking, or even that there was any particular content to it. There were no shocking revelations. No evidence was brought to light, no great sins were uncovered, no groundbreaking exposes were presented. It didn’t even have that many core ideas. All the column contained was ten pages of Penelope Cotswall doing what she did best: hating the everloving piss of the aristocracy.

It was primarily the purity of that motive–abject, untempered hatred–that made the column so spectacular. Partially it was Penelope’s wordplay, which whatever you thought of her politics was enough to physically move one’s bowels and quicken one’s heartbeat. But what made this column even more brutal than any Penelope had run before was her idea, an idea that drove her to new heights of rhetoric and new lengths of persuasion. It was because she saw something no truly sane person ever sees, which was the opportunity to fix absolutely everything.

The entirety of the column cannot be reprinted for reasons of copyright, responsible journalism, and public decency. Thus, the sole significant idea must be summarized, and it can be summarized thusly:

The one thing Europa didn’t need was an emperor. Someone should win the job and and then declare some other, better form of government.

This could be defined as “any form without those goddamned aristocrats hanging around.”

(TO BE CONTINUED TOMORROW)

 

The Blackchapel Revolution: Day Breaks

10 Jul

Phineas von Rutskarn rarely awoke in the same state twice in a row. One morning would find him at his desk, seated before an opened ledger of sober reference material and a stack of empty teacups. The next found him in a chintzy armchair with with whatever the commission for public decency had confiscated last week open in his lap. A third would find him in the back garden, having spent the previous night reading the labels on bottles of spirit until his eyes would focus any longer. Some mornings he woke up in the company of another–a further throw of the dice to determine if it were lady, gentleman, or undeclared. Phineas didn’t mind the undeclareds provided they were, in addition, underclad.

That morning he awoke in a cell of the family dungeons. That wasn’t quite as bracing as it sounded, because one of the first things Phineas had done when he’d inherited the mansion was have the cells turned into plush guest rooms. Each was replete with pillows, adorned with tasteful art prints, and stocked with the makings of a few good stiff nightcaps, which he’d thoughtfully provided in case anyone felt uneasy about the bars, wall manacles, and bloodstains. He was vaguely disappointed that no-one had ever volunteered to be a guest.

It had been a bit of a feat to wrest hostship for last night’s event out of the council. He’d had to make a few not-nice promises to a few not-nice people, which was ethically enough of a wash that it wouldn’t do his reputation any harm when people found out. Besides, he was a Von Rutskarn. Amongst the numerous exciting benefits of being a Von Rutskarn–he’d found so very many–was that the worse your reputation was, the more powerful you were. It was a strange kind of lore none of the other aristocrats could compete with. It was a bit like being Springheel Jack; what would be loathsome wickedness in another was just part of your mythic quality. You were an institution of perversity and cruel eccentricity, and if there was one thing these aristocrats gorged themselves on, it was institution.

Last night had been exactly what he’d expected. A lot of gentle conversation and good breeding. A lot of silliness. A lot of apparently harmless people. And then, when a small threat was leveraged, a lot of guns, swords, knives, martial arts, poisons, bodyguards, and advanced self-defense measures that even he–a connoisseur of not being killed–had only been vaguely aware existed.

But the thing about self-defense is that when they need to be, aristocrats can be extremely proactive, and the thing about guns, swords, knives, martial arts, poisons, and bodyguards…they didn’t much care how or why you used them.

Phineas took the newspaper his valet gave him and skipped straight to the obituaries.

(TO BE CONTINUED TOMORROW)