Crowdfunding Campaign Countdown: 3may2021

Here’s a selection of crowdfunding campaigns that are counting down, ones that I’ve noticed and am currently watching as of May 3, 2021.

  • 53 hours to go: “Academies of the Arcane. A new RPG book with rules to make magical schools, their houses and professors. Including 90 new spells and 36 new backgrounds!” Basically Harry Potter houses / Kids with Brooms but a magic school supplement for use with the Troika! system, an official release from Daniel Sell and Melsonian Arts Council itself.
  • 3 days to go: “Ruins of Symbaroum for 5E. The acclaimed dark fantasy world of Symbaroum adapted for 5E, introducing custom rules, origins, classes, creatures and more.” From Free League, this super cool established setting and campaign, but converted to 5E; and all pledge levels get full Foundry VTT modules for the whole thing. Wish the Foundry VTT included a full implementation for the original system! But, there’s a gazillion stretch goals unlocked, so lots of stuff available even at the lowest pledge level.
  • 4 days to go: “The Bleakness. An indie horror TTRPG about traveling into the North on an ancient road. Venture into The Bleakness.” From Twisted Image in Seattle, this is a complete “uniquely immersive horror experience” with a old school d20 but rules-lite stat-less survival horror “system, campaign setting, and detailed adventure arc” all in one volume. Being fulfilled by Exalted Funeral.
  • 4 days to go: “Let’s Make More MST3K & Build The Gizmoplex!. Together, let’s make more MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000 *without* a network + BUILD THE GIZMOPLEX, an online theater for live events!” I’m not even sure what I could say about this. If you don’t know what MST3K is, you must be living under a rock. This campaign is a bright beacon for the future of MST3K long into the future, as it includes promise of a full indie streaming and community platform for more beyond just the season being funded, and two core riffing teams, along with the potential for up to two new riffed movies with Joel himself returning!
  • 8 days to go: “Orbital Blues. A Blues-infused Space Western Roleplaying Game, with an accompanying Cassette EP.” From SoulMuppet, this is a “lo-fi space western roleplaying game” which is also a “lo-fi space western roleplaying game” with a rules-lite d6 system with 3 main stats from Best Left Buried. Includes a digital EP of music, optionally available on actual tape cassette.
  • 17 days to go: “Fantôme: A Multidimensional Tarot Deck. A bewitching 78-card tarot deck inspired by classical illustrations in geometric design and equipped with a multidimensional guidebook.” A new divinatory deck of “geometry, mystery, and traditional brutalist artwork all blended together with the storytelling of tarot”.
  • 19 days to go: “Sirens: Battle of the Bards. 5E Campaign and Setting in a City of Artists where Bards Inspire Revolution” From Apotheosis Studios, designed by Satine Phoenix, and wit the participation of a laundry list of other D&D luminaries, a 5e campaign about bards, delivered on tabletop and across many VTT systems.
  • 23 days to go: “Ironsworn: Starforged. The sci-fi evolution of the award-winning tabletop roleplaying game. Supports solo, co-op, and guided play!” From Shawn Tomkin, following Ironsworn and Ironsworn: Delve, this is a next gen PbtA for solo, co-op, and guided play as “a spaceborne adventurer sworn to undertake perilous quests.” Digital preview edition and playkit immediately available, and completely playable, for all backers since day 1. Lots of stretch goals complete, and many days left for more. There’s also a hardship pledge available.
  • 24 days to go: ChangedStars – A Sci-fi TTRPG In an interplanetary future, the Trinity has emerged from the ashes of a long-dead empire to bring hope.” This is “a sci-fi roleplaying game set in a bright-yet-perilous future. Inspired by utopian feminist science fiction and contemporary gritty speculative futures, ChangedStars presents a modern-take on a post-patriarchal society for the players to navigate. Explore a non-humanocentric future full of immersive culture and diversity in this unique realistic-yet-colorful setting that’s alien without alienating anyone at the table.” Using a unique d6 success system, with four main stats, and a meta currency for pushing rolls. There’s an included adventure, but promises of more to come, so not a complete campaign yet.
  • 28 days to go: “The Complete Gaia. The Complete Gaia collects the entire fantasy comic in two A4 hardcover volumes. A making-of + art book supplements the graphic novel.” Back in the days when Project Wonderful indie ad auction system still existed, this makers of this campaign were placed ads for their comics over on Hermetic Library, and apparently I was one of the more important ad placements for them. But, they contacted me to say they were running this campaign for a complete volume of their 10 year comic, which is coming to a close. “The Complete Gaia collects all 950 pages of the English version of the comic in two massive A4 hard cover volumes! Of course all pages will be printed in full color!” “Gaia is an epic high fantasy comic about a group of graduates of a magic academy who try to save their friend Lilith, an enchanting and amazingly talented wizard, from execution after she was falsely accused of murder. On their quest, Ilias & Co. cross paths with Viviana, a master thief who may be able to help them. But neither Lilith nor Viviana is quite what she seemed at first, and they soon face dark forces that move kings like pawns on a chessboard.”

There’s what I’m currently watching, and thought I’d share with you!

Have you been watching a crowdfunding campaign I should know about?! Are you running a campaign and want to tell me about why it’s awesome, maybe? What have you seen upcoming in the geeky, nerdy space that caught your eye? Get in touch!

Update 5may2021:

Summary for the period ending April 2021

My last summary was back in September 2019. And my last post was in March, 2020. Yeah, that was a while ago wasn’t it? I was on indefinite hiatus. But, I still did some things whilst I was gone. I don’t know that I’m back to posting, let alone regularly. But, I thought I’d post something.

So, here’s a summary of stuff since then up until the end of April 2021.

In the last week of April, I got 1 Gbps Internet to my house. I’ve gone from DSL, which I’ve had for the last couple years after the cable company doubled their rates, to brand new Fibre, recently installed to my neighborhood, and now have 1 Gpbs speed to my home. I worked at one of the first commercial ISPs back in the 90s, and we ran our entire business on 3 T1 (1.5Mbps each) and later upgraded to a T3 (54Mbps) on which we supported 10,000 customers. Back then, through work, I had upgraded from dialup to ISDN (128 Kbps) to an actual T1 to my home, and I thought that was blindingly fast! Hey, but, also, my very first modem even, when I was a kid, was 300 baud, or 0.3 Kbps, and I had to manually dial the phone and then unplug the cord from handset and swap it to the modem before the other side hung up! Now I’ve got a symmetrical 1 Gbps to just me and the cats. Wild.

And, I actually did a real live stream on Thursday over on Twitch. It’s also archived on YouTube. It was a first look and readthrough of the preview edition of Ironsworn: Starforged, a brand new sci-fi setting and rule set, that’s currently in crowdfunding.

I’m tentatively thinking about streaming every Thursday from 4:20pm until 6:66pm (which is 7:06pm in normal time telling). We’ll see how it goes! I never did get around to setting a regular schedule for streaming. It’s like the one box I never ticked. Yeah, I don’t know. Same stuff, just regularly.

One of the things that I missed about streaming was that it really, oddly enough, cut down on how much time and effort it took to create videos. I mean all I had to do was set up and film and I was done, hit a button and archive it to YouTube. Easy peasy. No going back and editing. No having to upload the video over DSL. The whole process for even a simple video took an entire day! That’s not even mentioning the fact that if the video was longer than 30 minutes it took longer to upload than letting it go overnight, and so I’d end up having to wait around not being able to use any Internet until it was done even the next day. Totally a shit show. And unpleasant. That and so many other reasons that just kept piling on, like the constant noise and drama from my next door neighbors, nonstop every day, including psycho-couple arguing and yelling all the time and that time when they had their power shut off and ran a generator in the backyard for over a month. I mean, fucking hell. There’s still constant noise over there, but it’s not quite so bad as it was. Small favours, I guess. But, even not streaming, it was still hard to record when there’s so much noise and bullshit, and the effort required far outweighed the resulting fun, right? Yeah. That’s just a taste. I don’t really want to keep talking about it anymore right now.

By the by, I switched my YouTube away from being Odd Order to just being me as Rigaroga, so the “friendly” link has changed, and I’m pretty sure I got that updated most places, except where I didn’t. Although this blog is still under the Odd Order name and domain, I’m probably at some point going to migrate that over to Rigargoa also. At some point that will probably happen. Odd Order never went anywhere and if it’s just me, then it should be just me! I can still do on my own blog, as myself under the guise as Rigaroga, anything I would have done with Odd Order, just not as an imaginary and non-existant collective Odd Order anymore. Oh well. It seemed like a nice idea at some point in the past but didn’t happen.

Also, I killed all my Rigaroga and Odd Order social media. There just wasn’t any point and no one was interacting with me, so I gave up howling into the void. I did go back and recreated a Twitter account, but only so that I could create a private list of accounts I found myself going back and checking for updates every once in a while; but, it’s private, has neither followers nor is actually following anyone. Let’s just act like that doesn’t exist at all. I made the choice not to engage in any of that anymore for the geeky stuff. That’s brings me back around to the blog, and I’m not sure what point it serves anymore, to be honest. I’ll keep thinking about that, but it is possible that just archiving important links, like the old anthologies, and dumping the rest, will be where I end up.

I don’t even know what all else to say. So much time has passed, and so many things, both huge and tiny, have happened … Let’s just move on from here and see what happens now? I mean, after this point, you know, where I point to all the things that happened in the time that I’m moving on from. D’oh!

Well, that’s enough from me for now.

Ironsworn Actual Play

Here’s videos and archived streams since September 2019

The Tales of Mukoda, Session 1

Here’s a summary of a continuing story, The Tales of Mukoda, a series of actual play in an ongoing persistent solo roleplaying campaign, with my character Mukoda ha’Varou, using Ironsworn and Ironsworn: Delve, and other parts of the system. You can see all of my actual play sessions in the Ironsworn playlist over on my YouTube channel, and consider following me over on Twitter or Instagram as well, or check out all the other things.

This campaign journal entry covers session 1, which is episodes 4–10 of actual play in the video playlist.

Session 1

Welcome to the world of Ironsworn! But, why does it have to be me?

On the world, in the Ironlands, somewhere near nowhere, there is where we begin. Living recently in a dying Ironlander circle community, inside-outsider Mukoda ha’Varou is already swearing iron vows and getting into trouble in Stonetower.

The situation in Stonetower becomes complicated quickly as Mukoda learns more about an ongoing Varou threat. For a dying circle, there sure is a lot already going on around here. And then true enemy is revealed!

A Haunt coalesced on the Stonetower ceremonial mace. Mukoda travels to the Varou, who have the Stonetower ceremonial mace, then convinces them to allow a ritual to break the Haunting bond.

But, the Haunt joins in the ritual keening song and takes angry form in front of all. Mukoda battles the Haunt whilst the Varou are all held sway, unable to break free on their own volition.

Barely surviving the bitter fought battle, Mukoda yet successfully defeats the spirit keened from the Stonetower ceremonial mace. Now fellow Varou are freed from the frightening Haunt’s influence. Mukoda is emboldened and the way forward is made clear but iron vows are demanded.

Stonetower ceremonial mace is returned, and the tale told. Warden and community are compelled to pack up and dissolve, but Stonetower’s dark secret is revealed. Mukoda is sworn to convince the Varou of Stonetower community sorrow and make amends. In return for forgiveness, Varou demand Mukoda swear to become a protector of their community and their marks that claim this territory. Mukoda requests to join, but is rejected by Wardens.

A final sojourn is made in Stonetower whilst community disbands the circle’s ceremonial claim to that place. Of Ironlander circle’s presence at Stonetower nothing but memories and detritus sustains. Stonetower itself now appears an empty and unclaimed husk, not much more than just structure seems to remain. Mukoda returns to Stonetower Varou and becomes part of their community as promised, learning more about their shared ancestry and culture. And, stories hinting at new future troubles to explore are heard.

To Be Continued

But, what have I recently learned?

Read the more at The Tales of Mukoda, Session 1 Lore

The Tales of Mukoda, Worldbuilding and Truths

Here’s a summary of a continuing story, The Tales of Mukoda, a series of actual play in an ongoing persistent solo roleplaying campaign, with my character Mukoda ha’Varou, using Ironsworn and Ironsworn: Delve, and other parts of the system. You can see all of my actual play sessions in the Ironsworn playlist over on my YouTube channel, and consider following me over on Twitter or Instagram as well, or check out all the other things.

This campaign journal entry covers worldbuilding and truths, which is essentially the second part of session 0.

Worldbuilding and Truths

Welcome to the world of Ironsworn! But, what is this world where I am?

As a reminder, I consider this part of session 0 to be, essentially, a cross-table conversation that includes others in my own thinking about worldbuilding, and that I’ve been informed by the solo actual play series by Adam Koebel and Mark Hulmes, and the co-operative actual play by All Systems Go. Think of these as cross-tabletop inspiration and dialogue for the worldbuilding and truths for my solo play!

The Old World

The sickness moved like a horrible wave across the Old World, killing all in its path. Thousands fled aboard ships. However, the plague could not be outrun. On many ships, the disease was contained through ruthless measures—tossing overboard any who exhibited the slightest symptom. Other ships were forever lost. In the end, those who survived found the Ironlands and made it their new home. Some say we will forever be cursed by those we left behind.

Quest Starter: A settlement is stricken by disease. Though this sickness bears some similarities to the Old World plague, it doesn’t kill its victims. Instead, it changes them. How does this disease manifest? Why do you swear to seek out a cure?

This is particularly interesting right now, so I’ll be informed by the overall COVID-19 pandemic; very timely and current. Lot’s there to explore. But, I’m also reminded of discussion from Barbara Tuchman’s A Distant Mirror, where I learned about the way in which the Black Plague caused not only lots of death, but what came after that: a great deal of movable and immovable wealth that was available and unclaimed, ripe for concentration to those who survived. There was a kind of feeding frenzy on what was left behind and apparent increase in personal wealth for those who lived and were able to claim it.

The Old World illness means that not all who sailed to the Ironlands survived the journey, or lived long after arriving. There may be entire boats that crashed on the coasts filled only with dead and unclaimed belongings. Other landings may have lasted long enough to start settlements, but then failed and have left ghost towns behind. Those communities that made the journey and managed to survive are now filled with fear and paranoia about sickness.

Perhaps part of what happened in Stonetower is that it finally fell to illness, or the fear of illness.

Some circles may be holed-up, being very rapacious and holding on to wealth, and keeping other people out; and there may be others that are empty and abandoned; and so on.

Not to make light of pandemics, in general, or COVID-19, specifically, but this seems timely to play around with these ideas.

Iron

Inscrutable metal pillars are found throughout the land. They are iron gray, and smooth as river stone. No one knows their purpose. Some say they are as old as the world. Some, such as the Iron Priests, worship them and swear vows upon them. Most make the warding sign and hurry along their way when they happen across one. The pillars do not tarnish, and even the sharpest blade cannot mark them.

Quest Starter: Your dreams are haunted by visions of a pillar which stands in an unfamiliar landscape. What do you see? Why are you sworn to seek it out?

I think definitely building off of all the conversations from the cross-table inspiration I’ve mentioned, I feel like these pillars are “Bones of the Earth”. There’s these mysterious iron pillars all over the Ironlands, and maybe they are on ley-lines, but it’s kind of apophenic, meaning you can’t quite tell if there’s a pattern. You can’t really tell if there’s a pattern, Every time you think you’ve discovered a pattern, further observation falsifies that idea; but they still seem to be in some as yet unrealized pattern.

Building on the “Bones of the Earth” idea, these pillars are phenomenally hard on the outside, but there is actually a kind of molten metal in the middle. The Old World was Bronze Age, but we’ve now got these iron pillars that can be tapped, like maple syrup, and you can get molten metal, iron, out of them, to use. Maybe we can’t ever or only rarely scratch the outside of these pillars, but every once in a while there’s cracks, or maybe rarely with enough force a crack appears and you can tap into a pillar and get this substance out.

I think there’s also some mystic effect to these pillars, similar to the discussion about them by All Systems Go. I don’t mention in the video, but I can definitely imagine some Land of the Lost kind of Pylon thing going on with some pillars, or maybe those appear some other way. But, there’s some way that the pillars cause Ironlanders to go a bit crazy, maybe the pillars have caused previous waves of now vanished Old World settlements to collapse. The pillars, perhaps being on, or forming themselves, some kind of ley-line network, are how the Ironlands are imbued with not only iron, but also mystic energy, effects, and anomalies.

There’s a lot to build on with these implications and possibilities that come from the metaphor of “Bones of the Earth”.

Legacies

Other humans sailed here from the Old World untold years ago, but all that is left of them is a savage, feral people we call the broken. Is their fate to become our own?

Quest Starter: You find a child—one of the broken. It is wounded, and hunted by others of its kind. Do you protect it, even at the risk of inviting the wrath of the broken tribes?

Before the Ironlanders, before even the firstborn, another people lived here. Their ancient ruins are found throughout the Ironlands.

Quest starter: Miners uncovered an underground ruin. Thereafter, the people of the settlement are haunted by strange dreams. The ruins call to them, they say. Several have disappeared in that dark, ancient place— including someone important to you.

I definitely want both of these legacies to be true. I feel that the other humans succumbed to the effect of the iron pillars, and the mystic energy of the Ironlands; I’m thinking here of the broken being like Morlocks, and the newest wave of humans as Eloi; something to discover and a theme to explore. I also definitely want there to be ancient ruins all through the Ironlands, with a complex mysterious pre-history.

Communities

We are few in number in this accursed land. Most rarely have contact with anyone outside our own small steading or village, and strangers are viewed with deep suspicion.

Quest Starter: In the dead of winter, a desperate man arrives at a snowbound steading. He is wounded, hungry, and nearly frozen to death. His family has been taken. By whom? Will you brave the merciless winter to save them?

We live in communities called circles. These are settlements ranging in size from a steading with a few families to a village of several hundred. Some circles belong to nomadic folk. Some powerful circles might include a cluster of settlements. We trade (and sometimes feud) with other circles.

Quest Starter: A decades-long feud between two circles has flared into open conflict. What is the cause of this dispute? Do you join in the fight, or swear to put a stop to it?

I don’t think there are any big cities yet, and we’re at the point where there may be a couple of larger communities, or clusters of circles, starting to form; but for the most part there are only small circles that have formed, lots of little outposts, loosely connected by infrequent trade and pony express style communication systems. There would likely be more circles along the coasts, staying nearer to where they landed. Of all places, the Havens are where the most expansion into the interior has occurred.

Also, circles are not really tied to specific location, although they can stay in one place, but they are tied together by their community. Some circles are nomadic. And, they can pack up and move, sometimes.

Each circle has their different quirks, and are mostly isolated from other circles.

Leadership

Leadership is as varied as the people. Some communities are governed by the head of a powerful family. Or, they have a council of elders who make decisions and settle disputes. In others, the priests hold sway. For some, it is duels in the circle that decide.

Quest Starter: You have vivid reoccurring dreams of an Ironlands city. It has strong stone walls, bustling markets, and a keep on a high hill. And so many people! Nowhere in the Ironlands does such a city exist. In your dreams, you are the ruler of this city. Somehow, no matter how long it takes, you must make this vision a reality.

I feel like leadership is varied from circle to circle, and depends on how the circle formed, and the people in the circle.

Defense

The wardens are our soldiers, guards, and militia. They serve their communities by standing sentry, patrolling surrounding lands, and organizing defenses in times of crisis. Most have strong ties to their community. Others, called free wardens, are wandering mercenaries who hire on to serve a community or protect caravans.

Quest Starter: You come upon a dying warden. She tells you of an important mission, and charges you with its completion. “Swear to me,” she says, reaching out with a bloodied hand to give you an object crucial to the quest. What is it?

I really like this. There are a number of inspirations for me for this. I want a Yojimbo, wandering ronin kind of deal; wandering into a community, and getting hired by one faction or another; moving from community to community. I also feel like Wardens are kind of militarized traders, who travel with trade caravans but are also really well funded. Their kind of Knights Templar-ish. They go around and do the Witcher kind of thing, with Monster of the Week, discover the big bad and defeat it, but they also do occasionally team up and do The Three (or Four) Musketeer things.

But Wardens are also a kind of fraternal organization, like a Knight Templar or Freemason, Wardens have fraternal bonds where they can go to any new community without previous relationships, but have that bond with the Wardens to rely on; inspired a bit by Revolutionary Brotherhood, which discusses in part how one of the changing roles of Freemasonry was to create a social support network of strangers as immigrant Europeans expanded toward westward travelling to new communities alone.

Freewardens are the travelling version, where Wardens are tied to a circle in some way.

Mysticism

Some still find comfort in the old ways. They call on mystics to divine the fortune of their newborn, or ask them to perform rituals to invoke a bountiful harvest. Others act out of fear against those who they suspect of having power. However, most folk believe true magic—if it ever existed— is lost to us now.

Quest Starter: Someone close to you is accused of cursing a settlement, causing fields to go fallow and cattle to become sick. What is the evidence of this? Will you defend this person and uncover the true cause of the settlement’s troubles?

Magic is rare and dangerous, but those few who wield the power are truly gifted.

Quest Starter: You have heard stories of someone who wields true power. They live in an isolated settlement far away. Who told you of this mystic? Are they feared or respected? Why do you swear to seek them out?

Magic courses through this land as the rivers flow through the hills. The power is there for those who choose to harness it, and even the common folk often know a helpful ritual or two.

Quest Starter: Someone you love walked the paths of power, and succumbed to it. Who are they? Why did they fall into darkness? Where are they now? Do you seek to save them or defeat them?

I think there’s some of all three of these going on. I don’t think there are Merlins. Or, maybe one or two, but still very rare and mythical? There aren’t any organized Hogwarts-style structures. What we’re tending more towards a more pervasive folkloric mysticism. Kind of like the Celtic Catholicism in Secret of Roan Inish. Superstitious, ritualistic kinds of mysticism. I think everyone knows there are these effects, but it’s very folkloric and not very clear to most people how it works.

There’s a kind of Andromedia Klein style magical realism, where things one does have effect, but the causal link is always not completely clear. The folkloric mysticism of the Ironlands is rooted in the world, and “does not often include overtly fantastic or magical content, but rather looks at the mundane through a hyper-realistic and often mysterious lens.”

But, at some point, I also imagine things will get more complicated, with complex rituals being possible. Some people maybe have a kind of Myth Adventures style core ability in a concrete non-obfuscated way to grab the energy of pillars, ley-lines, and soever for wild effects.

I think, like the iron of the pillars, and probably very connected to them, the Old World didn’t have iron or magic either. No one in the Old World knew that magic existed until arriving in the Ironlands.

Religion

I’m going to go a bit off on my own tangent with this one. I have zero interest in there being any complex organized religion, definitely nothing like Roman Catholicism.

In the same way that there is in Cosmicism, there’s the Elder Gods, Old Gods, and people; and in the Theogony of the Ancient Greeks, with Primordial, Titan, Gods, then Household Gods; and soever.

For this, I’m thinking that what is thought of as Gods are structured linguistically. I’m not entirely sure how this will work, and I’m not thinking this all is very present. I may not explore it much? But, I think the oldest, most alien Gods are Nouns, so like the Elder Gods. Then there are Old Gods, Verbs. And then there are New Gods, which are Adjectives; Demi-gods, adverbs; and personal Gods, maybe, are, like, Pronouns (See what I did there?!), and maybe household Gods are Prepositions and so on.

I don’t think religion is super present. There aren’t Gods thundering over everyone. And, I don’t think there’s an organized priesthood. Maybe there was in the Old World, but it got so fractured on the way or in the Ironlands that there isn’t much left.

I think there’s also maybe some American Gods style Old Gods from the Old World and New Gods from this place, being found in Ironlands. Some, perhaps the Verbs, were brought with us, but the Old Gods we didn’t know about, the Nouns, were already hidden and behind things, and there’s New Gods from this place, Adjective and Adverbs, being discovered or being revealed.

I feel like the praxis of all these entities is more like Shinto than Roman Catholicism. I have no interest in having an organized Christianity in my imaginary world. But people feel these powers, and perhaps feel empowered by them in this place, by their relationships with these entities, these concepts. Like the Prometheans are like Forethought; and Huginn and Muninn are Thought and Memory; these abstract concepts are personified in an entity, a collectively created, generated entities. As they have power in these Ironlands, they have start to have real effects in the real world, that have started to coalesce and have real stuff happen. I even think, perhaps, that in the Old World this wasn’t at all true, and these are new experiences of having these real effects and real relationships have only started occurring in the Ironlands.

Firstborn

The firstborn live in isolation and are fiercely protective of their own lands.

Quest Starter: The elf, outcast from his kind, lives with Ironlanders. Over time, he became a part of the community. Now, he is dying. He yearns to return to his people before he passes. Does he seek absolution or justice? Why do you swear to help him? What force opposes his return?

There are definitely the various Firstborn (Primordials, Giants, Elves, Varou, and all those creatures, communities, and cultures) that exist. But I don’t think they necessarily are constantly present, or everyone is aware of them. Just ike our circles trade but aren’t in constant communication, and they Freewardens are more aware of the Firstborn than the general population, because they travel and have more contact; like the Night’s Watch is more aware of the threat in the North. The Firstborn are not abandoned or gone; they are definitely here. They are not specifically in isolation, but it just happens that everyone in the Ironlands is in isolation.

Beasts

Monstrous beasts stalk the wild areas of the Ironlands.

Quest Starter: A prominent Ironlander is consumed with the need to bring vengeance upon a specific beast. What makes this creature distinctive? How did it earn the wrath of this Ironlander? Do you aid this person in their quest, or act to prevent their blind hate from destroying more than just the beast?

I think Beasts are like the Forest Spirit and Boar Spirit in Princess Mononoke. These are the ideal, exemplar, heroic versions of the animals. They exist. I think most people know they exist, but they are rare. Every once in a while there’s a clash or something happens that rouses the exemplar to show up and make itself known.

Horrors

We are wary of dark forests and deep waterways, for monsters lurk in those places. In the depths of the long-night, when all is wreathed in darkness, only fools venture beyond their homes.

Quest Starter: You bear the scars of an attack by a horror. What was it? Are those scars physical, emotional, or both? How do you seek to make yourself whole again?

I think I got this confused a little with Monstrosities in Delve. But, these awful things exist. The horrors, the mutants, the cosmic horrors are out there, maybe in the ruins, maybe near pillars. These will be more rare, like boss fights, as I play.

To Be Continued

But, why does it have to be me?

Read the more at The Tales of Mukoda, Session 1

The Tales of Mukoda, Character Creation

Here’s a summary of a continuing story, The Tales of Mukoda, a series of actual play in an ongoing persistent solo roleplaying campaign, with my character Mukoda ha’Varou, using Ironsworn and Ironsworn: Delve, and other parts of the system. You can see all of my actual play sessions in the Ironsworn playlist over on my YouTube channel, and consider following me over on Twitter or Instagram as well, or check out all the other things.

This campaign journal entry covers character creation, which is essentially the first part of session 0.

Character Creation

Welcome to the world of Ironsworn! But, who am I in this world?

Inspired by Adam Koebel’s Half-Elf character, I started to think about another First Born ancestry: Varou. I’ve decided to be Half-Varou.

I use the Oracle to workshop a name, and come up with Mukoda. I decide my full name includes my ancestry and is Mukoda ha’Varou.

Thinking about character stats, I struggled a bit, because all of the stats seem “wolf” like to me, but I settle on 2 Edge, 3 Heart, 2 Iron, 1 Shadow, 1 Wits. I’m thinking that this character isn’t inherently very sneaky or deceptive, nor particularly knowledgeable or observant. I felt that I’d like to be reasonably quick and agile, as well as reasonably physical and able to endure; I’m equally skilled in both ranged and close quarters combat, but not super great at either. What I have in most abundance is courage and willpower, and social skills to match; probably something I gained whilst trying to navigate the world as someone with mixed heritage.

Mukoda ha'Varou character stats

I set my starting Health, Spirit, Supply, and Momentum where they all are at when fresh, prepared, and ready to go.

For my initial long term goal, I decide that I want to have a character that has realized the barest beginning of mysticism and the powers that knowledge makes available. I think I’ll start out with at least one Ritual, but that I want to find out more. Finding out more is a process that I’m not sure about yet. I’ll figure that out later. But, the Path itself involves fulfilling an formidable, or harder, iron vow in service to an elder mystic just to become a Ritualist, and gain the Asset.

I decide this background vow’s overall difficulty is Extreme. I’ll figure out more about what this looks like later too.

I ask the Oracle for a settlement name, and the response is Stonetower. This will be an Ironlander settlement where I think I will begin my tales, though I know nothing else about the world or where this settlement is in the world, yet.

My first two bonds are with people I’ve met so far. The first is with a bandit, who wants to advance their status. They are sociable, bold, and stoic. This bandit I know is an Ironlander named Katja. The second bond is with a trader, who wants to defend a place. They are attractive, armed, and insensitive. This trader I know is also an Ironlander named Ikram. I’ve met Katja and Ikram as I’ve travelled on the road, and have at time been on either side of the perennial, universal conflict between bandits and traders. I’m not sure yet how they feel about each other, but it could go either way!

I decide that my third bond will be with the Stonetower community. Since this is an Ironlander community, I will be an inside-outsider. I have mixed ancestry, but I’m probably mostly familiar with Ironlander culture as that is who I’ve been around most growing up. There will likely be a lot of tension around my mixed heritage throughout my ongoing campaign, as something to play around with as continue.

I’ve been living in community with Stonetower, trying to experience what it is like to be more settled and have roots in a particular location. My mixed heritage has been increasingly troublesome as there’s been an ongoing conflict with a nearby Varou community. Some Ironlanders in Stonetower feel like I’m a spy or advanced scout for the Varou, but others feel that I must step up as an ambassador to stop the conflict with “my people”. There’s a lot of personal tension with the community around this.

However, the Oracle tells me that Stonetower, as a community is dead, civilized, and abandoned. There’s not much left here. The Ironlanders are the last dregs, trying to survive as a struggling outpost whilst still keeping up appearances, due to most of population leaving for elsewhere on account of the Varou danger.

I decide that I may explore having or developing a relationship with the Warden, or Freewarden, in this community, possibly seeking to become part of that group. But I’ll find out more about what Wardens look like during Worldbuilding later.

I next draft out cards from the Assets deck to see what randomly happens. Three Rituals: Keen, Leech, and Lightbearer. All three are ones that I was actually considering! Reflecting on these in relation to Mukoda as a character, I settle on the ritual Keen as one of my three starting Assets, especially since it relates to the Varou Keth blade from my heritage. I also realize that my stats probably aren’t ideal for Rituals, as perhaps I should have had more Wits, but I’m okay being sub-, or quasi-optimal.

Mukoda ha'Varou character Ritual Keen

I consider Companions, but am not super excited about them now. Next I run through the plethora of Paths and Combat Talents, and think about them in combination with my particular character. I settle on adding the Combat Talent: Cutthroat and Path: Wildblood to finish rounding out my starting three Assets.

Mukoda ha'Varou character Combat Talent Cutthroat

Mukoda ha'Varou character Path Wildblood

I think these fit very well with what I imagine to be Mukoda’s life up until now, on the hard scrabble and bloody dusty road as a Half-Varou.

Finally, I also decide to narratively provide myself with my keth, a curved Varou dagger, which I gained in my youth, as part of a rite of passage required before becoming an adult Varou. With that comes some narrative imperatives, such as that I had at least enough cultural contact with my Varou heritage to have undergone this ritual, in some fashion. I’ll find out more about that later, no doubt!

To Be Continued

But, what is this world where I am?

Read the more at The Tales of Mukoda, Worldbuilding and Truths

The Tales of Mukoda, Introduction and Shout-outs

Here’s a summary of a continuing story, The Tales of Mukoda, a series of actual play in an ongoing persistent solo roleplaying campaign, with my character Mukoda ha’Varou, using Ironsworn and Ironsworn: Delve, and other parts of the system. You can see all of my actual play sessions in the Ironsworn playlist over on my YouTube channel, and consider following me over on Twitter or Instagram as well, or check out all the other things.

This campaign journal entry covers my introduction and shout-outs, which is essentially a prelude to session 0, coming up next.

Intro and Shout-outs

Welcome to the world of Ironsworn!

“In the Ironsworn tabletop roleplaying game, you are a hero sworn to undertake perilous quests in the dark fantasy setting of the Ironlands.

Others live out their lives hardly venturing beyond the walls of their village or steading, but you are different. You will explore untracked wilds, fight desperate battles, forge bonds with isolated communities, and reveal the secrets of this harsh land.

This series is an experiment in trying to more closely follow zero-prep principles, in part because I haven’t before, but also to try to make things easier on me between sessions, and make me feel more like diving in. I have had difficulty getting to the table to play, and sometimes even actually playing even when I’ve gotten to the table ready to play. So, this is a try at making the journey a little easier.

Are you ready to swear iron vows and see them fulfilled—no matter the cost?”

I think my first exposure to Ironsworn was Geek Gamers’ two solo actual plays, a year ago: Geek Gamers’ Ironsworn playlist

What got me to finally realize I wanted to play this game was the Delve preview with Shawn Tomkin on aFistFullofDice. Delve just seemed so cool! aFistfulofDice’s Ironsworn: Delve Sneak Peek!

I also want to mention that my own thinking about worldbuilding has been informed by the solo actual play series by Adam Koebel and Mark Hulmes, and the co-operative actual play by All Systems Go. Think of these as cross-tabletop inspiration for solo play!

Also, I just want to also mention that I’ve been given a timely boost by The Arcane Library / Kelsey Dionne‘s recent email about motivation.

Check out the mini hex crawl map I’ve created and am using for this campaign, included in my minimal suggestive tactical maps collection.

As usual, in my solo RPG actual plays, I’m also using my Pyramid Arcade by Looney Labs for minimal minis, some assorted acrylic treasure gems, and the usual suspects of dice, clip board, hipster PDA, and so on. I may end up using other stuff along the way as well, but we’ll see if I need anything else.

As a final note, thanks for the track Bloody Tears by Quincas Moreira, which is provided by the creator freely for people to use in their videos.

To Be Continued

But, who am I in this world?

Read the more at The Tales of Mukoda, Character Creation

Summary for the month of September 2019

Here’s a summary of activity for the month of September 2019.

I started out the month by taking an indefinite hiatus from streaming live, and I’ve also stopped doing videos for video games for the foreseeable future.

Starting the month, I cancelled my expensive Internet link, and tried out a couple of alternatives. The first was a 4G LTE mobile hotspot which turned out to have only a fraction of 4G LTE speeds. Turns out a wired DSL line was faster, for some value of fast that isn’t. So, even still, I’m doing that. How strange to be on a “slow” line. I mean, there was a time when a T1 at 1Mbps was out of this world, both in speed and expense. I started out, way back when, with a 300 baud modem.

I’ve been able to upload videos, but some of the longer ones can take … quite a while. A two hour video uploading to YouTube took me 36 hour, not including editing and preparing, nor including time to restart when the upload fails. But, I’ve been managing to do some videos each week. Started some new games, such as Tunnel Goons (with the Shroom Goons jam), Adrift, and FATE, and have started some pre-play work on papercrafting for The Forgotten God campaign using D&D 5e Solo.

I also had a number of videos queued up for premieres through the first half of the month, which helped keep things going each week whilst I was struggling with options. There’s the ongoing Stranger Things related series, which is still going. I also premiered the series finale of “The Island with No Name” from the Seas of Vodari Quickstart.

That’s about it. No posts to the blog this month. Just a few actual play videos and social media posts. Might stop doing the blog soon. Idek.

Here’s videos and archived streams this last month

Summary for the month of August 2019

Here’s a summary of activity for the month of August 2019.

The final couple episodes posted to the archive of season 1 of Expedition: The roleplaying card game by FabricateIO. Through ten quests I leveled up three characters to retirement.

I also continued playing D&D 5e solo with characters from the Stranger Things themed D&D Starter Set. I actually added one more, Max’s Zoomer, an archetype of Rogue, to the other five. But I continued with them using the first of three linked 4e modules themed around the Shadowfell, starting with H1 Keep on the Shadowfell. I’ve been calling that adventure Keep on the Upside Down, and the first have posted to the archive, while the rest I’ve streamed will post through mid-September, once a week. I streamed through Episode 7.

I finished streaming episodes of season 1, The Island with No Name, the introductory adventure in the Seas of Vodari Quickstart Guide. I got that because I was a backer of the crowdfunding effort, and played it because it seemed like a fun thing to do next.

For Seas of Vodari, instead of playing a bunch of full characters, I decided to try one character with some sidekicks, using mostly the Sidekick rules from D&D Essentials Kit but also considering the Unearthed Arcana Sidekicks rules as well. For the most part it worked well. It took a little while to get used to the sidekicks, and to stop treating them as full characters, instead of as support characters. And, a few episodes in I realized I needed to add an additional, third, sidekick. Even then, through the entire playtest, I feel like I was very underpowered. I suspect that if I play using sidekicks again, I’ll treat the suggested levels for encounters as actually n+1; so that if an encounter thinks characters should be level 1, I really need to be at least level 2 when playing solo even with a good roster of sidekicks. Ultimately, it was a pretty harrowing adventure with lots of danger faced! But, it was super fun to get to play the character I played and I really liked the funny, silly sidekicks I created. I’m actually sad to see that come to an end and felt bad for what I put them through!

I’ve got prep notes for tabletop RPG things I’ve been thinking about doing solo … but I’ve made a really big change recently that means I won’t be streaming anymore.

I actually did also stream a few video games this last month, so those are listed below too. But, I’m pretty much done with doing videos of video games, I think. Just no one ever watched them except for me (watching myself play a game in a video I already played when I streamed it is strange and silly!) so there’s not really any point to it. I always liked getting to check out new indie games when devs or publishers sent me a key, but also felt bad when I streamed them but had no audience watching. So, yeah. Going to let that go.

I did keep doing re-run marathons on Twitch through last month with all the videos that hadn’t expired. All in all, hanging out for 17 hours two times a week by myself commenting on myself playing was a bit much. I did see a lot of unique viewers and so forth, but not really any increase in people following my profile or hanging out to chat much.

I did see a few people come to my D&D 5e solo streams and hang out, which was pretty fun, and we joked about things and thought things out in realtime. I’ll miss that now that I’m not streaming. But, as great as that was, here’s the thing: I’m currently seeing more people checking out my actual play videos on YouTube in 48 hours than check out my streams on Twitch through the entire month. Still not a lot, but it’s a big difference! It seems like people find me on YouTube a lot easier than on Twitch.

A couple months ago, the promotional pricing on my Internet expired, and I called to cancel; but, I was told I could have a new promotional pricing that was only $1 more than it was. Okay, cool. Only that never got applied to my account. I felt lied to, to be honest.

There are two companies in this town working on symmetrical gigabit fibre but neither are on my street yet. They each charge about $100/mo which is a lot. But Spectrum/Charter charges $91/mo for a soft 400/25, and in comparison that’s just bonkers. When it was only $70/mo I could justify it. Not at $91/mo.

So, that’s it. I cancelled my overpriced high speed Internet service at the end of August. That means I won’t be streaming again for … who knows how long? Permanent hiatus until further notice. I just can’t justify the expense, and the only reason I justified the expense to myself was that I needed it to keep streaming. Without one leg, the other falls too.

I’ll probably try to record and post more actual play videos as premieres to my YouTube and Twitch channels to see if I keep it up. If I can get them uploaded. I’ll try it out, and I’ve got until mid-September queued up from past streams to tide people over until I do figure out a way, if it can be done well enough.

No longer thought of myself as a streamer even though I was streaming, and now I’ll not even be streaming. But, I may still post videos as premieres. We’ll see how it goes from here!

But, either way, that’s my summary of things through the end of August.

Here’s videos and archived streams this last month

Summary for the month of July 2019

Here’s a summary of activity for the month of July 2019.

The announced July 4th release date for the new rules and app for Weave by Monocle Society came and went with resounding silence. Eventually the app was updated, and the new rules made available, but only via a link posted on their Discord. However, the old rules are still what’s on their website, and the app has some of the same old issues along with totally new showstopper bugs. The app isn’t just a companion app, but it’s required to play. So, when I create a character and the character doesn’t save to the season, that’s a showstopper. Also, the new combined rules are a lot more complicated than the simplified ruleset I was using, but I can’t even try them out because the app is so broken. The app also doesn’t seem to have all the features that were supposed to be available, such as a playset editor, so I can’t while away the time making a new playset either. I’ve given up trying to play Weave for now. Maybe given up for good. It’s a shame, really, because season 1 was really fun and full us surprises to play. But, in the end, I can’t play what I can’t play.

I’ve finished season 1 of Expedition: The roleplaying card game by FabricateIO. Through ten quests I leveled up three characters to retirement. Mostly I did fun silly quests, but there ended up being a funny narrative I built for myself to tell them as a linked story. The final quest was pretty great, a dungeon crawl, and a suitable conclusion for the characters. Cool. I’m looking forward to starting up a new season with new characters and trying out some of the many other quests. Also, I keep thinking about looking into writing a quest or two myself, but haven’t gotten around to that yet. But, the last couple of episodes will post to my YouTube channel in August, although I already played them. If you want to watch them now, just head over to my past broadcasts on Twitch while they’re still there, before they expire.

I also finished season 1, comprised of 4 episodes, of the Hunt for the Thessalhydra from the Stranger Things themed D&D Starter Set. This was my first ever time trying to play D&D 5e solo! I feel like it worked pretty well; though I did lose track of some of cool abilities the 5 characters had available. Too much to track even though I used the Looney Pyramids for minis and Arcane Library Combat Cards to help me out; also I got the adventure on D&D Beyond. But, that was exciting to try.

I could continue the series by using the 4e modules themed around the Shadowfell, starting with H1 Keep on the Shadowfell. I’m not sure yet.

If I do more Stranger Things, I’ll keep all the characters, and probably add a Rogue Zoomer named Max. But, for other series, I’ll definitely tend toward one character with some sidekicks, instead of a party of full character sheets to keep track of whilst playing.

I’ve got prep notes for tabletop RPG things I’ve been thinking about doing solo, and now realize I’ve gone insane. Forgotten Realms (Beginner, Essentials & Ghosts of Saltmarsh), Ultraviolet Grasslands [also, also], Seas of Voldari, Humblewood

… but I’m still not sure what to do next! I guess I’ll know when I know, and then I’ll be doing it. I’m looking forward to the next thing … whichever thing that turns out to be!

Also, I actually streamed a few video games this last month! But, no posts other than the previous summary.

This last month I have started to do re-run marathons on Twitch. I’ve been doing a Sunday Solo Tabletop Roleplaying Rerun Marathon and a Tuesday Video Game Stream Rerun Marathon. I’ll keep doing those as long as there’s past broadcasts that haven’t expired.

And, that’s yet another month off the grill, toasted and sliced and presented on a pretty plate.

Here’s videos and archived streams

Summary for the month of June 2019

Here’s a summary of activity for the month of June 2019.

I finished Season 1 of Weave by Monocle Society last month. Littleback has been saved from a dastardly moonshard apocalypse! Essentially the triumphant end of season one! Since this game helps me develop a narrative story at the table, I posted summaries of my adventures, and Part 2 posted this last month. What next? Further adventures with Kabo Aboom? A different Weave playset? I think I’ve decided I will wait for the new rules and app on July 4th. I’ll decide what to do next at that point. Hopefully, some of the issues I’ve had with the app will be resolved, without new issues. Plus, I’ve got some ideas about what I’d create for some playsets, if doing that with the new app is as polished as promised.

I’ve continued playing Expedition: The roleplaying card game by FabricateIO. I made it through the three tutorials and finished my first non-tutorial quest, although the video posted to my YouTube channel today, I played it a this weekend, before the end of the month. Unfortunately, there’s a showstopper in that quest that makes it impossible for me to complete. I don’t know what the issue is specifically, internally to the app; but, it presents as the app hanging when I click on the “victory” button at the end of what I presume is the final battle. So … I don’t know. I hope that’s not something that happens a lot! I mean, this quest is a featured quest that won one of the writing contests, so I’d have imagined that it would have been well tested and functioning, right? Yeah. Without the app, and quests, if that turns out to be an ongoing, pervasive problem, then I’m not going to continue playing.

I went through all the prep notes for tabletop RPG things I’ve been thinking about doing solo, and now realize I’ve gone insane. Phandalin (Beginner & Essentials), Stranger Things, Ultraviolet Grasslands [also, also], Seas of Voldari, Humblewood … plus ongoing Weave, Expedition, Gloomhaven, and more … yikes.

And, that’s not even counting things I’ve kind of soured on playing, like Index Card RPG, Illimat, and Invisible Sun, but have series started that I’ve thought about continuing, after a fashion.

For playing D&D solo, I think I’ve got in mind that I’ll play the Stranger Things adventure Hunt for the Thessalhydra first. I’ll stumble through that and see how it goes. And then I’ll think about how things could go smoother, better, and, if I’ll continue. I keep noodling about it, and should just get to it at some point. Maybe.

And, that’s another month on the books, in the can, for the record.

Posts on the blog this last month

Here’s videos and archived streams