Kabo Aboom & The Fate of Littleback, Part 1

Here’s a summary of the story of Kabo Aboom & The Fate of Littleback so far, my first playthrough in an ongoing persistent solo roleplaying campaign using the Weave RPG system. You can see all of my actual play sessions in the Weave playlist over on my YouTube, and consider following me over on Twitch so you can catch me playing live.

Back in April, I finally received my backordered copy of Weave by Monocle Society.

This campaign journal entry covers my unboxing, which essentially included a session 0, through my first three adventures since, where things are today.

Unboxing

After unboxing everything, I went on to create my first season and first character. The playset I picked was Goblins R Jerks and I named the season “The Fate of Littleback”. I pulled The Stag / The Turtle / The Coin as the cards that determined the Theme / Location / Boss.

The theme is that a shard has separated from the moon and is hurtling toward the planet, promising doom and destruction when it hits. The location is the back of a Gladedon, a giant turtle, named Littleback, on which an entire city is built, towards which the shard of the moon is flying directly and dangerously. Apparently no one knows yet about the shard, and the turtle has been asleep for aeons, unmoving, an easy target. The boss is Rufus the Red. How will this all play out?

I created my first character, a goblin, named Kabo Aboom with the cards Flame Challenge Two / The Crown / The River / The Inferno. I wonder who this character is and what is their story?

I thought about the playset, theme, and my character for a while, then, even though I had no idea what I was doing, here’s what happened!

Adventure 1
The Stag / The Turtle / The Coin

Living in a private corner of the broad territory on the back of Littleback, a sleeping Gladedon in the Wilds, goblin Kabo Aboom is spending time futzing around in his junk yard and laboratory when Buck Buck, a friend from the swamp, arrives with the news that the sky is falling. The friends try to get in touch with Kabo’s old connections in the Golem Knights, but none remain and Kabo is persona non grata. In a last ditch effort, Buck Buck convinces a guard to trust Kabo, but Buck Buck is forced to give up treasure, and heads home. The guard agrees to help if Kabo will fix a broken golem, which Kabo does; and just in time! A squire of Brighthearth, who found what had seemed like a lone guard in the outskirts, attacks! But, what seemed a single goblin, turns out to be a Kabo, an experienced Golem Knight in now fully functioning living armor. After dispatching the squire, the guard and Kabo head to see Rufus the Red’s private secretary, a squid sorcerer, who is convinced enough to test Kabo with a puzzle. Kabo slices the Gordian Knot, and crumbles the test in some completely unexpected stroke of genius or folly. Kabo is given an audience with Rufus the Red. When Kabo tells Rufus about the shard, Rufus reveals that it was they who called down the shard, hoping to crush everyone living on Littleback to death, and then mine the valuables from the moon shard after everyone is dead. Kabo proceeds to create havoc and destruction in Rufus’ office, find and steals the device used to call the moon shard down; and escapes with that.

Then, for my second session, I still don’t know what I’m doing, but here’s what I did.

Adventure 2
The Gallows / The Watchtower / The Owl

Kabo heads back to his junkyard with the device stolen from Rufus, and gets in touch with his friend Emarius, a dragon with knowledge about cursed devices, to try and figure out what needs to be done to stop, reverse or otherwise repair the damage done; and the coming moon shard apocalypse. While Kabo and Emarius are talking, around the junkyard otherwise normal people start behaving strangely. Then, carts crash, screams are heard, and chaos ensues as people die and then continue to move. Emarius beats a retreat. Kabo head down to the street to find out what is going on. At the gate, Kabo runs into a Dwarven Buccaneer shouting “Prove you’re still alive or I’ll kill you!” They proceed to have a drinking contest to prove they are alive. Kabo succeeds in proving he is alive, but ends up with a killer hangover. Kabo makes his way outside but succumbs to the spins and collapses. When Kabo comes-to, he’s been pulled into a Plucker’s Yum Yum House where he’s fed a revivifying meal of scraps and mold soup; but discovers that he’s stuck, surrounded by living dead, among a group of survivors.

One survivor, Dazzle, is revealed as a sole survivor of a prior attack of living dead, called the Battle of the Death of the Bands. Dazzle survived by sacrificing everyone but herself. In an attempt to thwart Dazzle’s plan to repeat her dastardly survival plan, Kabo challenges Dazzle to an epic rock band battle. In the first set, Kabo uses his knowledge of explosives and bombs to set off an intense fireworks display to wow the crowd. In the second set, Kabo releases a storm from a bottle, acts as a lightning rod to attract strikes, and, unfortunately, though he, himself, is immune, fries several of the living audience along with some undead. In the third set, Kabo constructs a Rube Goldberg device of traps and plays a rousing clutch guitar solo that blows up the entire place, along with the living dead; and Dazzle’s plan is foiled! Kabo escapes alive, but the skin of his teeth! Ewe! Skin on teeth must be a Goblin thing. Nasty.

After bringing down the house and slaying ’em dead with the power of pure explosive rock n’ roll, Kabo heads back to his junkyard to gather some supplies and figure out what to do next.

Adventure 3
The Woods / The Architect / The Dawn

Kabo digs up a spare automaton heart and a candle of sticking from his supplies, and has a conversation with the dwarven pirate, just now waking up from their drinking contest. Kabo learns more about the dwarven pirate’s history on the crew of Captain Brasker.

Dwarven pirate managed to avoid the fate of the Captain and the rest of the crew on the Barrow Stern, who were all turned into undead, cursed to ride the waves, making amends for all the misfortune and havoc they caused whilst alive. Dwarven pirate recalled a legend about the World Soul, and had hoped to appeal to that powerful entity to restore his old crew mates to life, or at least free them from their fates as undead.

Kabo heard the claim that the World Soul might have the power to correct or cure the dire peril posed by the pending moon shard apocalypse, and latched onto the idea of heading to entreat that entity for help. Kabo gathered as much information about the journey ahead and set off.

Hijinks ensue, and a fiasco unfolds.

The first stage was to stowaway on a boat, run by a Sentinel Automaton that secretly ferries supplies, whatever awful stuff undead pirates need supplied, and let’s just agree not get into the gory details of that bloody gothic nightmare! The ferry sails from the shores of civilization to a remote rendezvous with Captain Brasker’s Barrow Stern somewhere at sea. Kabo manages to climb onto a netted crate being loaded into the boat’s hold.

But, hijinks ensue. Kabo is discovered at some point on the journey, and tries to convince the automaton that Kabo can work for passage, fixing things on the boat. But, the automaton is unpersuaded. Kabo flees and tries to hide in the dangerous fiery engine room, where his resistance to fire saves his skin. Sneaky little goblin sneaks, and ends up in a convoluted game of cat and mouse trying to stay hidden from the crew that remains on high alert for a little stowaway.

But, a fiasco unfolds as Kabo’s luck and skill fail. Kabo accidentally stumbles upon the roost of a Messenger Phoenix, that beings to squawk, revealing Kabo’s position. Kabo makes a hail mary direct assault trying to deactivate the automaton, but fails. A struggle begins, and Kabo tries, instead, to just blow the automaton up; but fails, and is knocked unconscious.

Kabo is captured, and wakes in a cage. Taken to Captain Brasker, Kabo attempts to make an appeal, using what he learned from the dwarven pirate about the captain, for mercy and help, but fails. Kabo-in-a-cage is stowed below decks, and ignored. But, he’s near the Messenger Phoenix, and Kabo discovers that the phoenix and the dwarven pirate were close friends, and is able to convince the phoenix that the dwarven pirate and Kabo are also friends; and wins over the phoenix as an ally. The phoenix agrees to take a message to the dwarven pirate and to let Kabo out of the cage.

Once freed by the Messenger Phoenix, Kabo tries to construct a fully functioning golem automaton out of his living armor and automaton heart, but can’t get tab a into slot b, and ends up with a paper cut in an awfully sensitive place.

Kabo’s failure comes at a further cost as he is once again discovered, this time by a large, deadly, frightening Poorly Transmuted Rabbit, one of the many lost and broken things that crew this boat, and in spite of a spirited and inventive attempt to lead that creature into a lightning trap desperately constructed from the bits of living armor and automaton heart, but gets absolutely stomped.

Captured again, Kabo is about to be tossed to the sharks, when the Messenger Phoenix returns. A message from the dwarven pirate calls in a final favour from Captain Brasker to spare Kabo’s life.

Kabo’s quest to find a way to reach the World Soul and appeal for aid with the moon shard fails, at least for now. Losing important and treasured equipment, having a dirty secret about dragon-killing in his past revealed and rumours about it spread far and wide, including to the ears of Emarius, not having made any progress toward solving the greater issues at play, Kabo is dumped back on shore, much the worse for wear.

To Be Continued

But, the moonshard is still hurtling toward Littleback! What happens next? Find out in my next adventures!

Illimat Variant: The Butcher in Solitaire and Solitaire Variant Improved

In a recent stream, archived on my youtube channel, I tried to play the Solitaire Variant of Illimat [also], and hoped to actually follow the rules this time, as I had been unintentionally playing what I’ve called Easy Stockpiling. However, I ran into a bit of a pickle when I revealed The Butcher, a Luminary from The Crane Wife expansion.

The issue is that when The Butcher is revealed, the Luminary in the opposite field is discarded. However, according to the Solitaire Variant: “The goal of Illimat Solitaire is to reveal and collect all four of the Luminaries.” And if you’ve not already claimed the opposite Luminary, there are no longer four Luminaries to collect.

In the video, I muse over the question, for the result of my second game, whether revealing The Butcher ends the game with a loss, as it is no longer possible to claim four Luminaries, or could victory now still be had by claiming all possible remaining Luminaries (three, or four if The Newborn adds one more)? Or, perhaps victory is only possible if The Newborn adds back a new fourth Luminary?

Note that the Solitaire Variant also says, “If there are fewer than three cards remaining [in the draw deck] when a Luminary is revealed, the Luminary is discarded and a full victory is impossible.” This would suggest that the most proper reading of the variant is that if revealing The Butcher discards one of the four Luminaries, then full victory is now impossible.

At the table, I decided that I would try and see how it played out, but noted that I may have lost that game. I then continue to play and successfully claim the remaining three available Luminaries on the table.

After I was done streaming I asked Keith Baker, via Twitter, about this and he responded, “The Crane Wife Luminaries aren’t designed for Solitaire. The only one that seems like a good match for Solitaire is The Boat.”

Okay. Not with that attitude it isn’t. And, now, I’m going to go off on that.

First off that response didn’t actually answer my question, but rather shut it down. Way to put the kibosh on the enthusiasm of a player!

Point of order: Given that Solitaire is itself a variant, and changes the way Luminaries work, none of the Luminaries were designed for solitaire, per se.

Also, that’s weak sauce. If the response to trying to play the game with an expansion is that the expansion wasn’t designed for that, instead of trying to figure it out, then that is as much to say the expansion should be labelled as not valid for solitaire play, and I shouldn’t have bought it. Best request a refund. And, get off my lawn.

That seems also to be the opposite of what I think of as creativity and a game playing attitude.

Frankly, as a solitaire-only player, that makes me feel like I’m not welcome to play the game at all, and that the Solitaire Variant was a grudging afterthought. Perhaps it was only that. Perhaps I’m not. Perhaps solitaire players aren’t.

News from the game designer is, essentially, if you’re a solitaire player: Don’t buy The Crane Wife expansion. It’s not for you. If you want to play by the rules as designed, don’t.

Well, fuck that. That’s bullshit.

Beyond that I’m probably now less interested in trying to make solitaire work for any other Keith Baker games, and I had actually been considering another. But, even leaving other now unlikely game purchases out, I’ll have a bad taste in my mouth for any future Illimat expansions, and am far less enthusiastic about trying to participate in Society of Luminaries meta-game stuff or likely to follow through with buying several available, completely optional, Illimat tchotchkes I’d been seriously thinking about spending real money on as a would-be solitaire once-and-no-longer-future enthusiast of this game in particular.

With all due respect to Keith Baker, screw that wet blanket noise. I bought your damned game and the twice damned expansion with my damned limited and precious gold, and, by the eternally damned gods, I’m going to damned well play the freakin’ hell out of it. Moreover, I’ll be damned if I’m not going to do it now just to spite you. I mean, damn, man!

For the game and expansion I’ve got and paid for already, of course it is possible to play the game with the expansion as a solitaire player. It’s just a matter of figuring it out. It’s just a darned disappointment and dang discouraging to have the game designer say it isn’t.

Now I’m done ranting. Except in my head. I’m still mad and ranting about this in my head. Damn. Maybe I will put the game on a shelf not to be played again after all. I don’t know yet. We’ll see how I feel about it later.

On the other hand, to be fair, I think you can see why I’m single, live alone, have no friends, and only play games solitaire.

Welp. Okay then …

If you’re still here, here’s how I suggest you can play with The Butcher in Solitaire, served three ways. The first way is the closest reading to the canonical Solitaire Variant. The second is slightly more divergent. The third is my personal favourite of the three, and ultimately is my suggestion. For the third, I preface that with a suggestion about a change to the Solitaire Variant that I think improves it, makes it more fun and friendly.

The Butcher in Solitaire #1 — When The Butcher is revealed, the opposite Luminary is discarded. If not already claimed, the opposite Luminary is discarded and a full victory is impossible.

The Butcher in Solitaire #2 — When The Butcher is revealed, the opposite Luminary is discarded. If not already claimed, the opposite Luminary is discarded and a full victory is impossible unless The Newborn is later revealed in play and causes a new fourth Luminary to be made available, and all of the new four available are claimed before the draw pile runs out.

Solitaire Variant Improved — Where the Solitaire Variant says or implies the goal is to “collect all four of the Luminaries”, read “collect as many Luminaries as possible.” That means that you want to claim all the Luminaries available on the table, though that number might increase or decrease based on the Luminaries revealed. Then, you can always note how many Luminaries you claimed and if you got all Luminaries on the table before running out of cards in the draw pile, thus “2 Luminaries, Loss” or “4 Luminaries, Win”. Hey, and since we’re here, let’s also change the preamble to be less disparaging and dismissive of those playing solitaire, where it claims to exist to “provide solace” for those with “no companions” or only for “sharpen[ing] your skills when plotting revenge on a future opponent”. How about simply saying that this variant is for those who chose to have fun playing solitaire?

The Butcher in Solitaire #3 — Using Solitaire Variant Improved, when The Butcher is revealed, the opposite Luminary is discarded. This reduces the number of available Luminaries that can be claimed to three, unless The Newborn is revealed and causes a new fourth Luminary to be made available. (If The Butcher is not revealed, but The Newborn is, and causes a new fifth Luminary to be made available, that increases the available Luminaries to five.) Continue to play and claim as many Luminaries as possible before the draw pile is exhausted. If there are still Luminaries to claim when the draw pile is exhausted, you may wish to consider Solitaire Rounds to continue playing.

 

Twogether Baker The Decemberists Illimat

Illimat Variant: Easy Stockpiling

In a recent stream, archived on my youtube channel, I describe a few possible new variants for Illimat [also]. One of those is Easy Stockpiling, because I seem to have forgotten about the rule that I can stockpile only if there’s a way to claim the pile in my hand at the time, so …

Easy Stockpiling — One can decide to allow allow looser, easier stockpiling. In this variant, one can stockpile even when there’s no way to claim the pile in one’s current hand.

 

Twogether Baker The Decemberists Illimat

Illimat Variant: Market

In a recent stream, archived on my youtube channel, I describe a few possible new variants for Illimat [also]. One of those is Market, and here’s my current idea on what that could be.

Market Variant — In multiplayer games, the card that could have been dealt to the player after the dealer as their 4th card, which they are not given in regular play, is placed into the “market”, a separate single card deck on the table, face down.

A player may, on their turn, play a card from their hand, face down into the market, to claim the current market card. This is taking their cards to “market”, following the farming metaphor of sow, harvest, and stockpile.

 

Twogether Baker The Decemberists Illimat

Illimat Variant: Solitaire Rounds

In a recent stream, archived on my youtube channel, I describe a few possible new variants for Illimat [also]. The first of those is Solitaire Rounds, and here’s my current idea on what that could be.

Solitaire Rounds Variant — Instead of a loss after the first round, re-shuffle claimed cards back into a new deck and start a new round. Scoring now includes how many round it took to win, with the goal of claiming as many luminaries as possible in as few rounds as possible.

In this variant, there are as many rounds in a solitaire game as need to claim all luminaries, or until the player decides to cease. If the player decides to cease play, then the number of rounds is noted as the number followed with a + sign. So, a player who claimed all luminaries on round 3 would note 3. However, a player who does not claim all luminaries, but decides to cease play on round three notes 3+.

One can record a result for this variant with the number of luminaries claimed and the number of rounds played, such as “2 Luminaries, 3 rounds” or “3 Luminaries, 2+ rounds”.

 

Twogether Baker The Decemberists Illimat

They Who Were

They Who Were by Todd Sanders, from LudiCreations and Passport Game Studios found at Goodwill in Moberly. “Who among the pantheon can win enough glory among their believers, so that their story can be passed down through the generations?”

Nox

Nox, a game by Steffen Brückner, from Passport Game Studios “Become the Master Trickster” found at the Goodwill in Moberly