Posts Tagged ‘PBeM’

[Witch Hunter] Witch Hunter Game Restarting

After finishing the first adventure, a modified version of Swans, one of the intro adventures from the Witch Hunter: Dark Providence campaign (available free at, the group disbanded and then Autumn and Winter were upon us. We tried to restart in late January, but then I had to fly to Puerto Rico all of a sudden, so the game was put on hold once more.

After checking with the players last Friday, yesterday I sent out the first post for the second adventure of our Witch Hunter PBeM game. On a boat heading to England are Will O’Malley, Irish adventurer with a conflicted spirit (Mick Bradley); Adam Dantley, British thief seeking redemption (Josh Hoade); and Esme Thatherton, a white woman adopted into the ways of the Ghost People (Chris Engler). We lost one of the players (Mark Gedak, playing Marie Emond) though I’m sure he’ll come back down the line once his work situation becomes manageable again.

Here’s hoping my first post doesn’t get lonely and we can actually get this game going!

Categories: Gaming Tags: , , ,

[Pathfinder] Galen Jaleel

March 28, 2008 1 comment

Mark decided to start running a pbem playtest of Paizo’s new Pathfinder RPG, and here’s my character. We are playing through the Curse of the Crimson Throne adventure path.


Male human wizard 1 (CR 1)
CG Medium humanoid
Init +2; Senses Perception +0
Languages Common, Draconic (+2 languages I will declare as we go on.)

AC 12, touch 12, flat-footed 10 (+2 Dex)
hp 15 (1 HD = d6 + 6(flat) + 2(Con) +1(favored class))
Fort +2 Ref +2 Will +2

Spd 30 ft.
Melee starknife +0 (1d4+1); unarmed strike +0 (1d3)
Ranged starknife +2 (1d4+1)
Base Atk +0; CMB +0
Atk Options Arcane Strike
Combat Gear

Abilities Str 11 (+0), Dex 14 (+2), Con 14 (+2), Int 17 (+3), Wis 10 (+0), Cha 9 (-1)
SQ School powers (Universal), spells
Feats Arcane Strike, Scribe Scroll (b), Spell Mastery (expeditious retreat, magic missile, summon monster I)
Skills Knowledge (arcana) (Int) +7, Knowledge (local) (Int) +7, Linguistics (Int) +7, Spellcraft (Int) +7, Stealth (Dex) +6
Possessions Starknife, signet ring, dagger, backpack (spellbook, rations x3, waterskin, spell components)

Wizard Spells Known/>Prepared< (CL 1)

  • Cantrips (DC 13): 3/day – >acid splash<, >daze<, >detect magic<
  • 1st level (DC 14): 2/day – enlarge, expeditious retreat, feather fall, magic missile, >obscuring mist<, >summon monster I<

Class Abilities Arcane bond (signet ring); School (Universal)
School Powers

Racial Abilities Ability boost: +2 to Int; Bonus feat: Spell Mastery (expeditious retreat, magic missile, summon monster I); Skilled: Stealth; Weapon Training: Starknife; Favored Class: Wizard


Galen was born in Korvosa 20 years ago, though he has never known who his parents were. He was left at the doorstep of an old alchemist, Dosan, wrapped in blankets, a signet ring embossed with a stylized owl and a starknife the only clues to his past. Doasn took him in and had his housekeeper take care of the thing. At 5, Galen’s benefactor died in a laboratory accident, and he was left in the charge of the new alchemist, a dour (and sometimes downright wicked) man named Barthes. For the next 10 years Galen’s life was little more than forced slavery; Barthes did not care at all for the boy, and only did what was absolutely necessary to keep him in fit shape and able to help in the lab.

At 15, Galen was enrolled in the Anomanexus College, much to his surprise, and put under the tutelage of Master Jaleel, an old friend of Dosan, who had seen the boy a couple of times in his life. Galen turned out to be an excellent apprentice wizard, much to Barthes’ chagrin. Three years later, Galen arrived home to find Barthes and Jaleel arguing about something in the basement laboratory; the only words Galen could pick out were his name, Dosan, treasure, monster and Gaedren Lamm, a name he had never heard before. The argument went on for about fiftenn minutes, when it was cut short by an explosion. Galen threw open the door to the basement and ran downstairs to find Barthes standing over the charred remains of Master Jaleel, broken glass all around the corpse. Without thinking, and before Barthes could throw another of his modified alchemist’s fire, Galen pulled his starknife and stabbed Barthes in the face, stabbing him over and over until there was little but a bloody mass.

Realizing what he’d done, Galen gathered as much money as he could find and as much of the most expensive materials he could carry, and dissapeared into the streets of Korvosa. He has lived on the streets for two years, an apprentice wizard with a knack for stealth and pilfering, paranoid of the shadows, knowing one day the past will catch up with him.

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Guest Apperance On Two Blogs

March 3, 2008 2 comments

So I check my Google Reader, and I find that I make a guest appereance in not one, but two different blogs!

  1. Mark Gedak utters a phrase that any player would both love and fear to hear his GM say: “Curse that Daniel!”  😉
  2. Fred Hicks posts a teaser of the updated Spirit of the Season, coming soon. If you wanted to know what I was working on a few weeks back, this is it. I mean, check out this image!

Judah HaMakav vs. Prof. Mizrahi


Categories: Editorials, Gaming, Writing Tags: ,

[WttE] Homebound Knights

February 6, 2008 Leave a comment

My two play-by-email games are chuggin’ along greatly, so I figured I’d do an update on both. Let’s start with the D&D game.

West to the Empire
Since my last update (back in Nov!) much has happened. Our first quest completed and the minotaur lord vanquished, the heroes set out further west, heading in the general direction of the city of Argalis, home to my knight, Argus Fisner, by picking up guard duty with a caravan. We stopped in the city of Thelport for a couple of days and we all took the time to purse personal quests; myself, I set out to have Fiendsplitter, the sword of my mentor, repaired, as well as trying to find out more information about it. Thelport was suffering from some bad flooding problems, and being the nosy low-level character I am, set out to find out what the problem was. Before I knew it, the paladin captain of the guard had sent me out to the ruins of a mad wizard’s tower named Alaustor to seek out the root of the problem. I set out with two companions, the dwarf Veit and the spellcaster Raquelle, though before long, due to family issues,  it was just me as the sole player (Raquelle is an NPC).

I can’t recall the last time I had played a lone wolf game, but in the pbem format, this was incredibly easy (for me at least; Mark was running three separate groups at the moment in this pbem, and I know that his Star Wars pbem party had also split up) and allowed for really fast game play. In fact, where the first adventure took us a couple of months to complete, this one in Thelport took us about a month and a half, and only because the holidays were right in the middle of it. I won’t spoil the ending of the adventure, but suffice to say we solved the mystery of Thelport’s flooding and vanquished the… wizard living in the ruins. Between the loot from that crawl and the reward we received from the city guard, I was able to have my sword repaired and hire a sage to investigate the origins and powers of the blade, and wow, was that worth it.

There are a couple of things I have done in this pbem game that I don’t recall ever having done in a face-to-face game:

  1. During the minotaur adventure, we all left the dungeon to rest and allow the cleric a view of the night sky, which she needs to regain her spells.
  2. Not only did we leave the dungeon, I went back into town to purchase healing, and then went back to the group.
  3. I did that again in Thelport, going back into the city to purchase magical healing. This is the bane of extensive dungeon crawling.
  4. Started an adventure, then dropped it, unfinished.

That last one happened after I was done with my adventure and personal quests in Thelport, but the rest of the party was still engaged in their own adventure. Mark threw out a lead, I followed it, but after starting it out and finding out some of the information to be had, I dropped it because of a lack of local connection to the area, therefore to the adventure itself, and because we wanted to leave Thelport already. During that stint we lost two party members, gained a new one, and lost a player who left for personal reasons.

We have now arrived in the city of Argalis, and here my character apparently has taken center stage. Argus Fisner is part of a minor noble family that is in somewhat of a decline, and he has come home to find his family manor in greater disarray than expected, his father dead, and his cousin, Tobias, who runs the family’s affairs, still the same ass he remembered him to be. Not only that but a cleric of Justicia (the goddess Argus follows), she who really was responsible for turning Argus into more than another bored noble and helped him join the Order of the Red Gryphon, has been murdered and her killer is now wanted. Their names? The cleric was Lady Aleena, and her killer the wicked wizard Bargle the Infamous.

Oh yes, they of the Red Box. Can we say “Revenge?”

On the personal side, I look forward to some intense roleplaying with Argus. They way I set this up, Argus and his cousin Tobias are the only male heirs to the family title and holdings, with Argus having obvious priority. Thing is, since Argus joined the Order of the Red Gryphon five years ago, the one who has really been there to help the elder Fisner run the family affairs has been Tobias, who is understandably jealous. With papa Fisner now gone, the issue of the inheritance is forced, and that means Argus will have to choose where his future lies, as a knight helping out in the world, or as head of his family. Good stuff all around.

Who said that a play-by-email game cannot be intense and fulfilling?

[Witch Hunter] Witch Hunter PBeM Started

January 18, 2008 Leave a comment

This past Tuesday, Jan 15, we officially started the Witch Hunter play-by-email game I’ll be running. My players are Mick Bradley (of The House of the Harping Monkey fame), Chris Engler (once of Carpe GM Podcast, now just another bald Canadian), Mark Gedak (another Canadian [not bald], my DM in the D&D PBeM, and co-host on The Digital Front Podcast), and Josh Hoade (my best friend whom, though we both live in Miami, I rarely get to play with). I was originally going to have only three players (Mark, Josh and Mick), but Chris saw a post I made about Witch Hunter (click on the Witch Hunter tag on this post and you’ll find it) and asked if he could play; he had the book already, had read it and was psyched, so I said sure.

Right now we’re starting character generation. All but Mick have sent in to the group their character’s stats (Mick has sent them in partially, he’ll redo this weekend) and in some cases the background information. Even before everyone had sent in their history, we already were faced with our first mini speed bump, as Chris’s character (the way he had envisioned playing him) would clash severely with at least two of the other characters. Chris offered to roll up a new character, but we exchanged a few emails on the subject, and agreed that the conflict inherent in the characters’ backstory was one we wanted to explore in-game. I personally asked Chris to be mindful that his character was supposed to be part of a team, but I was clear that I did not want him pulling blows. If the character(s) need to be retired later on for story reasons, rock on.

So hopefully by this weekend everyone will send in their stats and background, and then I’m going to take a page out of Spirit of the Century, and have them do a “shared novel” phase of character creation, the idea being that they are not being drawn together by chance and that a couple of them will have met, perhaps even gone on a mission against an agent of the Adversary together, before the start of the campaign. Once this is done, I’ll have them all choose Convictions, a new rule I am adding based on Burning Wheel’s Beliefs & Instincts (which I’ll flesh out and post to the Unofficial Witch Hunter Wiki).

Witch Hunter has me excited in a way I have not been since D&D 3rd edition came out, where I find myself jotting notes down for new rules bits (some of which I will be fleshing out this weekend for something I cannot yet talk about). We’re just doing character creation, and I’m already excited; can’t wait till we get into the meat of things.

Categories: Gaming Tags: , , ,

[WttE] Minotaur Vanquished, Quest Fulfilled

November 20, 2007 Leave a comment

Earlier today my Play-By-eMail D&D group finished Halls of the Minotaur, the opening adventure in our Dungeon Crawl Classics campaign, West to the Empire. After 4 days adventuring, and pulling a dungeon crawl first for me: actually getting out of the dungeon to regroup and going back to the village to resupply, today we finally arrived at the chamber of the minotaur lord, Toth-ror. It was frightening and dangerous, but we won the initiative, and we delivered righteous justice upon this scourge of the weak. It was especially poignant for me, since I am playing a character who was the squire of a knight killed by the minotaur, so that allowed me to put in some roleplaying bits that helped me develop this once-pregen stock character into my personal avatar in the game.

Kudos go to Mark Gedak for running an awesome game, a game that understood the medium in which it was developing, and took advantage of those, a game that was as much good ole dungeon crawl as it was a challenging excercise in cooperation and focus. Thanks go to my fellow players also for an excellent time and for the effort put in the game as well as in developing your characters (even if the road you took for development makes me groan from time to time).

We will be putting together adventure journals of this adventure, and I’ll be sure to share it here as well.

Now, more adventure awaits, and I am ready for it.

[WttE] West to the Empire PBeM Report

November 7, 2007 Leave a comment

Order of the Red GriffonEver since I posted that I was going to start playing in a D&D/d20 Play by eMail campaign called West to the Empire I have not said anything else on the subject. It has been mostly due to real life stuff and my attention drifting to other things, but fret not, I have been playing and it has been awesome.

This is my first time playing pre-gen characters–Squire Fisner, in my case–and while, indeed, at first I had absolutely no attachment to the character, little by little that faceless pre-packaged set of stats has become MY character, Squire Argus Fisner, of the noble Fisner family of Argalis, novice in the Order of the Red Griffon, and now heir to the honor and legacy of his falled mentor, Sir Galwaith. I very much look forward to playing Argus a lot more.

Mark, our DM, has been doing a bang up job running this play by email game. The main problem is the lag time between actions, and at one point or another we all have been either waiting or causing the wait; it happens, it’s part and parcel of the format, you deal with it. One thing Mark has been doing that I am incredibly glad for is that, as a DM, he treats this as a narrative, so even though the technical part is a bunch of statement declarations and dice rolls being emailed back and forth, Mark takes the time to, every Action, weave all our disparate orders and rolls and whatnot into a narrative block of description that incorporates all the ambiance of our environment.

So, to summarize, it’s been awesome, and now we are heading back into the dungeon to begin the final act, and track down this minotaur that has been terrorizing the forest and villages nearby, and enslaving a tribe of kobolds to do its bidding.

You can check out the West to the Empire website Mark put together for our mutual benefit.

Finally Getting to Game: Victorian Age Vampire and D&D PBeM

After a loooong time in the works, after a lot of interruptions and other projects getting in the way, after I got off my lazy butt and put the finishing touches on what I was missing, my wife and I are finally ready to start our Victorian Age Vampire chronicle in about a week or so. We’d start this weekend, but we’ll be out of town on a mini-break, though I plan to use the driving time to talk about the game and her character, as I try to get as much info possible to weave the story around that of her PC.

This will be a New World of Darkness game as far as system, using the Victorian Age Vampire book as thematic source material, but for the most part I am looking forward to creating a semi-new mythology for our game; as I told my wife, you might meet a vampire that calls itself a member of the “Ventrue,” but you simply cannot assume you know what “Ventrue” is or means based on your player knowledge. I’ll go into the reasons more in depth later on. I’ve actually set up a tag for “Victorian Age Vampire” so it’s easy to follow the development and the game play.

Fortune of fortunes, I am now also playing in a D&D play-by-email campaign built around Goodman GamesDungeon Crawl Classics (DCC) adventures. The campaign, West to the Empire, one of the suggested Adventure Paths in DCC #35 assembled from various of the DCC modules, is being run by the excellent and tidy Mark Gedak (who has done a lot of HMP work both for and with me), and aside from myself, there are two other players, a fella named Kurt and David Jarvis (of Reality Deviant Publications, my collaborator on the DaVinci Labs line for HMP). I am playing a 0-level aristocrat named Squire Fisner, a pregen that came with the first adventure, DCC #35A Halls of the Minotaur (part of DCC #35 Gazetteer of the Known Realms). I’ve already customized this pregen a little by giving him the name Argus and a bit of a backstory which I hope to expand as we play. Though I’ll admit play-by-email is not necessarily the optimal way to play for me, I’m just happy to be in a game, and Mark is organized and detailed enough that I feel good about the whole enterprise and about the opportunity to actually do a bit of roleplay via text. I’ve also created a tag for “D&D PBeM” to track thoughts and play reports from this game.