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!

ICRPG Magic

ICRPG Magic is a new supplement for Index Card RPG has just been released by Runehammer Games.

Runehammer Games ICRPG Magic

The third book in the INDEX CARD RPG series, MAGIC gives you an entire multiverse of SPELLS, MONSTERS, character creation options, full adventures and LOOT! This book is a must have for any true ICRPG fan, and includes a print-cut-play set of assets that will be updated free for life.

Letter from Dr Marhaba to Tom Ovenbird, &al.

Greetings Mr Ovenbird, Greetings!

Please convey my regards to Misters Turner and Glizzard, and thank you for the story of their recent adventures. I’m sorry to hear they have suffered wounds, but am greatly gratified they are in recovery with good prospects for full recovery.

Dangerous as the our worlds are, they are made safer and better by our mutual support of each other becoming our better selves. Do let me know if there’s something I can help with using my resources to aid their progress; but I have arranged for a case of supplies to be sent as soon as possible with items that may be useful in that regard.

I read your notes about the music Turner and Glizzard discovered to a colleague who suggested something interesting. Apparently, my colleague was reminded of some ancient materials recovered from research on the long lost Serpent Kingdoms. There were recovered several examples of musical notation from those ancient days, which have been reconstructed as best as we are able. I’m of course not suggesting that the music you found was from that ancient period, but we were reminded of these reconstructions. I have included a sample being sent by my colleague, which you may enjoy and consider.

Who knows what layers of ancient past might be hiding under the surface of the estuary, just waiting to be discovered. We know that the ancient Serpent Kingdoms covered much of our world, and maybe farther, so finds both of direct artifacts and also lingering influence on subsequent eras are to be found everywhere.

When you mention the broken urn, I wanted to share two practices I’ve used to repair similar artifacts to some success. The first practice has proven useful for preserving the original appearance while displaying the historical damage, but in a way that conserves the efficacy of any effect of magic within, often allowing me to not only preserve the item but to engage in a process of repairing the magical function of those artifacts as well. In this technique, use pure gold to fill and repair crack and defects in the object, which is highly malleable and also allows magic to function. Another property of pure gold is to mellow ill effects from any maleficent magics in the original, possibly creating a much more useful artifact than the original even.

The second, as is true of so many broken things, contemplates that breaks are never fully healed, even in hearts as in urns, but that we can grow larger than our breaks. One can sometimes create surprising new artifacts using the materials from older objects by embedding the older material in new, when the older artifacts are not repairable or to be preserved as examples as they are for research.

I will send some material we’ve used successfully at the University to do this. You’ll be interested to know that this material is actually derived from mud! You may be able to create new supplies from the mud in your own estuary, so I’ll also include instructions on the preparation of more.

News of your Ms Frembas will be welcome when there is some to share.

I have recently received a crate, which I have not had a chance to investigate, from another new correspondent, Take, a small fellow who appears to have recently taken up with a newly unified tribal cohort of Goblins and is seeking out ancient forgotten places with the help of their rather amazingly well preserved oral histories, that stretch far beyond what history even those at this University know. I understand there is, as I write this, a remarkable Goblin Market being built to traffic in the arts, crafts and artifacts from those adventures and more. Sounds like a place of wondrous surprises.

Truly, much amazing news and discoveries are being made by all in many quarters, and I am honored and delighted to be able to play a part in those, applying what resources I have available to me, even if only remotely, whilst I make my own progress here.

Signed & sealed,
Hujambo Marhaba

OOC

(This is an in-character letter sent, with an OOC post-script, back in 2017, to someone playing a solitaire game using the Index Card RPG (ICRPG) rules, as a kind of meta-game correspondence play. Unfortunately, there was only one previous letter exchanged and no others, though I did come up with a draft idea of ICRPG Field Research activity, and so this didn’t develop much further, but there’s a lot about this kind of meta-game play, especially for solitaire, that appeals to me. Adding a series of correspondence to an existing game, that links different tables and players across time and space seems pretty awesome, and potentially wildly interesting.)

I know the work of Bach is not the same, and separated by much time, but as I listened to the music you linked, I was reminded of and ended up listening again to several reconstructions of ancient music, including the Hurrian Hymn to Nikkal and Ensemble De Organographia, who I got to hear in person a few years ago, playing at Marylhurst in PDX.

Thinking of that in ICRPG terms, I thought there might be threads of musical magic patterns that survive in subsequent compositions that are preserved from even more ancient works from the Serpent Kingdoms.

Consider what a reasonable but not awkwardly extravagant care package from Marhaba, a well funded adventurer at a magical University might include, and that might be send to Turner and Glizzard; perhaps roll a few times on the ICRPG loot tables, or just grab a few ideas; but something no doubt useful to them will arrive shortly or along with this letter. Something like this care package might be similar to one of many supply crates Marhaba would have on hand, prepared to take on an extended dig, for example, with health and wellness supplies, but perhaps with one or two additional gifts added to it, that may prove useful.

When talking about using gold to fill cracks, I’m of course thinking of Kintsugi, an exemplar from Japan of Wabi Sabi.

Also, when talking about creating something bigger than the original, I’m reminded of the Japanese art Dorodango, of making “shiny dumpling” mud balls, a kind of magical process!

That last, shiny mud balls, I can really imagine being a high art in Grung (from D&D) or Torton (ICRPG) / Tortle (D&D) cultures, and may be something of interest for filling out the culture of some non human settlements in the estuary area. Like finding glass balls from old fishing nets on the beach …

I’ve been on a kick thinking about Myconids, Grung, Torton/Tortle as fun “bioforms” for a swampy/wetlands area of play. I can’t shake ideas of Frog and Toad and Wind in the Willows when I think of adventures in a estuary. And, I’ve gone way off on a tangent now. But, I’ve always been very interested in non-human, even non-humanoid, characters, for a game. Lately, I’ve been dreaming of something set in a place similar to the D&D Chult, in the Snout of Omgar, with Tortle, Grung, and idek Kobolds, Myconids and Vegepygmies?!

Welp. I finally managed to record a bit of a new series for the forthcoming ICRPG Ghost Mountain setting, in Runehammer’s ICRPG Worlds, or rather, inspired by what I imagine that setting will be like. The first moments of that posted just now on youtube!

I spent way more time pulling together preparations for that than I thought I would need, but I think it turned out okay. I wanted to do something leading up to an actual Ghost Mountain adventure, as soon as the ICRPG Worlds book is out, whenever it is finished.

It has been getting darker and drearier here as the cold creeps in and the rain begins lasting weeks at a time, and I’ve not been keeping up with regular game streaming lately. I’ve been struggling a bit with that, but I do what I can.

This weekend is PAX Unplugged in Philly, so I’ve been watching streams from there. Last night was Dice Camera Action, a fun series, and tonight is Acquisitions Incorporated. Then tomorrow is The C Team. Those are all D&D live shows. Don’t know if you’ve ever watched any of that kind of thing, but I watch a few of them. Some day, I think it would be fun to be part of a live stream roleplaying game like those!

Anyhow, hope all is well with you and yours!

Thanks!

How to play ICRPG Field Research

Here is a draft from back in 2017 for a little experimental adventure using the Index Card RPG (ICRPG) effort system to do field research, especially for a solitaire adventure but, really, there’s nothing that couldn’t be used in general at your table.

This is the “brief discussion of proper sampling techniques and methods of recording observations” mentioned in Dr Marhaba’s previous letter. I’ve only really worked up structure here, and left most of the details free for your imagination in play. Let me know if you’ve comments, questions, or suggestions, if you use this.

ICRPG Field Research

Determine the maximum number of days in the season
– For example, 2d10+9 days total.

Target for each day is equal to the day number, modified by any momentum you’d like to apply, as below. In part, this represents the increasing difficulty of finding something not yet observed through the season.

Maximum effort that can be applied to tasks each day is equal to the day number x 10.

Work together, with equipment and technique, to gain effort faster; possible equipment or techniques might be things like magnifying glass, spyglass, tent blind, camouflaged clothing, sneaking to a new vantage point, having someone flush the area, trying to observe something that got away last time (as in Easy on repeat attempts), &c.

Locate

Beat target to locate a specimen or observation
– bank tokens equal to the difference above the target
– banked tokens can be used to boost other rolls as desired throughout the trial, an indicator of momentum

d6 which element is the specimen or observation found related to
– earth, air, fire, water, spirit, magic

d4 what is the specimen or observation rarity
– common, uncommon, rare, unique

Observe

d4 timer to indicate how long one has to observe the specimen or observation to get something significant

Rolls on basic effort against target to gather effort against rarity x 10 until the timer runs out
– bank tokens equal to the difference above the target
– banked tokens can be used to boost other rolls as desired throughout the trial, an indicator of momentum

Sample

d4 timer to indicate how long one has to gather a specimen to get something significant

Rolls on basic effort against target to gather effort against rarity x 10 until the timer runs out
– bank tokens equal to the difference above the target
– banked tokens can be used to boost other rolls as desired throughout the trial, an indicator of momentum

Field Notes

On successful observation create field notes

1 Description
– Facts
– Impressions
2 Illustration
3 Store sample for transport, if gathered
4 Reflection

Conclusion

Repeat until your season is complete. How many and how rare were your observations and samples for the season? What leads did you find for future research from those observations and samples? Who do you communicate your findings to and what do they do with them or say in reply?

A reply from Doctor Hujambo Marhaba to Mr Turner’s letter

Greetings Mr Turner, Greetings!

Of course I do recall meeting you at various gallery openings and soever. I’m flattered you’d remember me from our brief acquaintance at those events, but I am soever glad for the letter from you whilst you are on your adventures!

I myself am off on my own for a working sabbatical at the moment, but after I return in the coming month I would be glad to arrange a visit to hear more about these structures you have been exploring, and to help identify the mysterious substance you have found.

With more details, I may be able to help find some references to these creatures whose remains you have found in the academic library, and learn more about them and the history of those structures in which you found them.

As to this substance, I would likely need some time to safely determine the nature of it, so believe I would need to have some of the sample left in my care for longer than your visit. I could send word to you after your return to the estuary area with my results when those studies have completed.

Do let me know your plans and I will have one of my assistants make hospitable arrangements for you and your friend Glizzard at the University so we can discuss these matters of interest. Letters are forwarded to me with only minor delay as needed if they cannot be responded to on my behalf, so feel at liberty to discuss any specifics even if I am currently traveling.

Have you been at your art whilst traveling or, I hope, at least gathering inspiration for the same? The real treasures of travel are rarely only mementos one can carry, are they?

I am curious about this game you’ve mentioned learning from your local friend. Perhaps when you visit we can all find a way to play a round here, and perhaps introduce something new to entertain the faculty and students between their studies.

By the by, I have a colleague who has an interest in fungus, and I wonder about what grows where you are currently exploring. I understand that this is exactly the season my colleague would have staged a trip to gather scientific samples, during a traditionally abundant harvesting period, but was unable to do so. Perhaps you would be willing and able help?

You should look to find a variety of the unique local fungus growths from your area. However, I must convey a warning that some growths may be, as one says, aware of you if you approach them. There are in some locales living species who also are able to communicate your presence to others of their own kind and allies, and some locales have even more rare species which may also pose a danger to you. So I find I must caution you to be wary of complex fungus structures that appear to have been designed to a purpose, which may indicate the presence of these more rare and dangerous species.

Do consider gathering what unique samples you are safely able, placing them individually in glass jars for transport. Any other details you observe will be of interest, to be sure. I have included under separate cover some brief discussion of proper sampling techniques and methods of recording observations usefully which you may find helpful. I know that my colleague will be quite excited to receive those to assuage the disappointment of not being able themselves to engage in gathering this season.

I look forward to arranging for your visit and to help apply my resources here toward resolving your current mysteries.

Signed & sealed,
Hujambo Marhaba

OOC

(This is an in-character letter sent, with an OOC post-script, back in 2017, to someone playing a solitaire game using the Index Card RPG (ICRPG) rules, as a kind of meta-game correspondence play. Unfortunately, there was only one more letter exchanged, and a draft idea of ICRPG Field Research activity, and so this didn’t develop much further, but there’s a lot about this kind of meta-game play, especially for solitaire, that appeals to me. Adding a series of correspondence to an existing game, that links different tables and players across time and space seems pretty awesome, and potentially wildly interesting.)

Doctor Hujambo Marhaba is a dark skinned, improbably tall, and wolfishly strong and lean ICRPG Hill Folk who is a visiting independent research-fellow and many-skilled scholar at the University. Dr Marhaba is rumoured to be generously supported by a controversial but ultimately secret endowment that is not popular within certain factions of the administration, perhaps unpopular particularly because they have been chagrined to find they are impotent to defund or influence the endowment, or Dr Marhaba, in any way. Ultimately even those in the opposition faction are loathe to pass on the research money and fully funded department, to be honest, which has begun to enhance the University’s reputation in many quarters of society.

Dr Marhaba often travels on elaborate and adventurous research expeditions, between much in-demand and irregular lectures about that research, often involving improbably wild stories that prove to be all too real when supported by the evidence of respectfully recovered artifacts and wondrous loot.

The increasingly infamous Dr Marhaba is often consulted by strange and unfamiliar visitors about such mysterious questions, and is glad to help with study and research leveraging University resources, including the use of several student assistants who are available for such assignments as are needed. Dr Marhaba thus also has an increasingly extensive network of contacts outside the University on which to rely when needed. These assistants and other contacts may respond to letters during the doctor’s periods of unavailability, when they are suitable to the task.

As a quirk, the doctor often uses repeated greetings, as in the salutation of this letter.

Dr Marhaba is active in the city arts and creative community, though not central to it, is an inside outsider to the art, university, and city communities. It is at several of these arts community events that Mr Turner and Dr Marhaba became acquainted.

In my thinking, if you are amenable, this could become a series of correspondence to advance the plot of your adventures. I am somewhat inspired by the De Profundis and Quill systems for my thinking around this idea, a way to roleplay via letters. I would hope if we continue that I could have permissions to post these to the Odd Order blog, and you might take a gander at a rather stalled out site for De Profundis that I’d made a while back for inspiration as well.

I’m excited by the way you’ve described your adventures and the golf game since they appear to be largely more about exploration than combat, which I’ve found to be ICRPG’s particular primary focus. My adventures with Take ran into at least one point in one of the sample trials where the main way forward, and way to get the subsequent reward, was clearly intended to be combat, which to which he was ill-suited against the challenge. I’ve been finding that I’ve focused a lot on combat in my videos, and have been thinking about how to include more … other stuff through Effort based tasks and storytelling instead of simply combats.

Anyhow, no pressure if the above correspondence isn’t of interest or doesn’t fit your particular adventures, but it occurred to me as perhaps being an added asynchronous dimension of play to enhance the rest of your own sessions. In any case, I thought Dr Marhaba might be a useful resource and plot device.

Feel free, of course, to include any OOC details, questions, suggestions, or hints to help craft replies as you like with in-character correspondence, thus.

Thanks!

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

Power Up Gamers and L’gat’s Tome of Amazing Creatures

Guest author Jarin DND the Disabled DM writes about Power Up Gamers: Roleplayers for Accessiblity, a group dedicated to making games more accessible to a wider variety of people, especially those with sensory impairments and learning disabilities, and their D&D 5e supplements L’gat’s Tome of Amazing Creatures, L’gat’s Tome of Amazing Creatures 2 of which is currently crowdfunding, as in, there are only a few hours left and they are very close to meeting their funding goal, so go check it out!

Power Up Gamers L'gat's Tome of Amazing Creatures

Power Up Gamers started in 2015 as a single YouTube channel for Jarin DND the Disabled DM. It was a place for him to talk about his experiences as a disabled role player and Game Master. This quickly grew into a Facebook group where others could shared their own experiences.

Two years later and the community has grown to support various charities such as the Special Olympics, Child’s Play, RPG Research, the D.O.T.S. Program (a currently private effort to 3d print Braille dice and Braille RPG Supplements in order to give them free to players who are visually impaired), and others. To date, they have contributed over $500 USD and over 100 hours as volunteers.

In addition, since 2017, Power Up Gamers has grown to include a publishing arm, which has the stated goal of raising awareness of the difficulties players with visible or invisible disabilities experience and training those interested with a plethora of techniques and methods that can both support special needs and improve storytelling in general. To support this mission, the publishing arm has specifically allocated 10% of all profits to go directly to one of the chosen charities in addition to fundraising events such as sale days in which 100% of their profits will be donated to charity and events where Power Up Gamers host gaming sessions with any donations made going directly to charity.

To date, Power Up Gamers has officially released 3 products which are all on DriveThruRPG with plans to release a fourth product on Dec 16, 2018. The first product of the three is a Fiasco Playset PDF entitled A Fiasco In Camelot and is pay what you want. The second product, also pay what you want, is a single monster PDF for the fifth edition of Dungeons and Dragons entitled The Dire Cougar. The third product is available as PDF and softcover and is entitled L’gat’s Tome of Amazing Creatures.

Power Up Gamers L'gat's Tome of Amazing Creatures Cacticorn

L’gat’s Tome of Amazing Creatures includes 26 new and flavorful creatures for the fifth edition of Dungeons and Dragons with a heavy theme on planar and elemental type monsters. In addition, Power Up Gamers has included various tables in this supplement including a d100 Adventure Hook Table, Challenge Rating Tables, Terrain Tables, and Monster Type Tables. Along with this, there is a section detailing 12 Locations which include Sight, Sound, and Sensation flavor text along with a suggested trap and puzzle or riddle for each Location.

Power Up Gamer is approaching the last hours of its second Kickstarter which will end on August 30th, 2018 and is currently 85% of the way towards their initial funding goal. The campaign focuses on the funding of its next monster manual, L’Gat’s Tome of Amazing Creatures 2.

Power Up Gamers L'gat's Tome of Amazing Creatures 2

The new product is aiming to include another 26 new, flavourful creatures for the fifth edition of Dungeons & Dragons. This time we are focusing on the fantastical non-hostile denizens of L’Gat’s Prime Material Plane. In addition, much like the first volume, Power Up Gamers is including the various tables including a d100 Magic Item table and 12 new Locations.

The book will also carry the company ethos of supplying gamers with ways of making their games more accessible to a wider variety of people, especially those with sensory impairments and learning disabilities.

Power Up Gamers L'gat's Tome of Amazing Creatures Crystal Golem

What does 2019 hold in store for Power Up Gamers? According to its Founder Jarin DND, 2019 will be a huge year for Power Up Gamers with a heavy focus on releasing smaller products more often for the fifth Edition Dungeons and Dragons along with a couple Fiasco Playsets. In addition, Power Up Gamers is striving to double their donations to charities to a total of $1,000 USD and 250 volunteer hours. Along with this, Power Up Gamers is hoping to donate PDF copies of their various products to organizations which support tabletop gaming such as RPG Research and the D.O.T.S. Program.

So, what does this mean to the average player or gamemaster? It means there will be a lot of new content available for reasonable prices that may be used in individual gaming sessions. In addition, it means that Power Up Gamers will be able to continue their endeavors to bring Accessibility and Inclusiveness to the Tabletop RPG community as a whole. In addition, it ensures that there will always be a safe and conducive environment for anyone who wishes to partake of this wonderful hobby which includes the wide range of people from various backgrounds and life experiences that can offer advice and support for the individual gamer.

Jarin DND, the Disabled DM, is the founder of Power Up Gamers. Jarin has been a Game Master/ Dungeon Master and player of D&D for over 30 years along with a published author for most of his life. He has had several poems and short stories published. In addition, he also has a speech impediment, autism spectrum disorder, and arthritis; so accessibility and inclusiveness are deeply important to him on a personal level.

Want to create for Rigaroga’s Odd Order? Submit your Pitch!