Sunday, November 27, 2016

City State of Kainis setting overview

A quick overview of some of the background setting for the City State of Kainis.  This is a rough draft so it may not read all that well.


Kainis is the largest city state on the continent of Sil-Tarren. Having grown from the ashes of what was left of the world from a great cataclysm which occurred a little over one hundred years earlier. A location where survivors of multiple shattered kingdoms came together in an effort to rebuild and survive in a land that was broken. Old grudges were tossed aside and those who were once enemies found themselves dependent on another. Cultures, ethnic traditions and race were all mixed together in one great melting pot to poor forth a new realm.

A ruling council comprised of surviving family lines of old lead this infant kingdom. Slowly pushing their borders out to retake what was once civilized country side that has now been reduced to wilderness and ruins. While dealing with smaller warbands and nomadic tribes also comprised of the descendants of those who survived. Not all are interested in joining with the new nation as it creeps across the land.

They have come to follow a religion that, like themselves, is comprised of ideas carried from many different cultures. All worked together into an idea of balance and dual forces that propel the world forward. Temples are built and prayers are answered for the clerics wield powers that come as a blessing.

A network of guilds have reformed spreading their trades in return for control and power. Various others have set up less savory organizations in their bids to shape things. There is still political infighting, backstabbing and greed as there always will be. Only the chessboard is different now.

Races of the old world have been changed forever. Humans are the most plentiful making up the vast majority of the population. Some Dwarves have survived the ages mostly still digging in the mountains beside Kainis hoping to carve out new numbers. The Orcs are gone, lost in their madness that came with the Cataclysm, those who are encountered are twisted and evil beyond imagining. Elvin kind with numbers over a handful at a time haven't been seen in over a hundred years. All others are believed to have been wiped from existence.

The roles of the characters in this world is one of two ways. First they could be the bands of adventurers, eager to make a name for themselves, spread their faith or fill their pockets. Heading out into the wilderness to help retake what was lost. Find the ruins of keeps and cities still filled with riches and danger. Or they could be tied up in the political fighting within the city. Representing a guild and pursuing their goals, maybe as members of a thieves guild plying their trade on the streets. Or even as servants for the ruling families.


For those who enjoy this blog, the various articles and session recaps and wish to show some support.  The DrivethruRPG and RPGNow links over on the right are tagged with my affiliate code.  Simply click through to their site and buy whatever you normally buy from them and I'll get a few pennies as a kickback.  Or if you don't like Onebookshelf you can paypal me directly at 'peteramthor -at- trulyrural dot com' as well.  Currently this is how I am purchasing new gaming material.  Hopefully I'll be able to get some stuff and start doing short reviews once again in the future.


Friday, November 25, 2016

Pick of the month - Artesia

Artesia started out as a comic from Archaia Entertainment many years ago.  I bought it back then starting with the very first issue and was hooked immediately.  Purchasing every single issue that came out for it until the series seemingly just stopped.  But the world the author/artist Mark Smylie created was just simply stunning.  So much depth in religion, politics and the art of warfare.  Every single page just dripped with inspiration coupled with his amazing art style.  Hands down simply one of the best comics I have ever read.

Three storylines were released; Artesia, Artesia Afield and Artesia Afire.  Also there were three annuals released as well and their stories are collected in the Book of Urgrayne which is also available (for free I may add).

While the series has stopped after three issues of the fourth volume got released (Artesia Besieged) and I'm not sure if it will ever be finished I highly recommend these books for anyone.  Both the comic and the later released RPG.

Issue one is available for free here.

Artesia the first collected trade is here.

Artesia Afield the second collected trade is here.

Artesia Afire the third and final collected trade is here.

The Free Book of Urgrayne is available here.

Then came the roleplaying game 'Artesia: Adventures in the Known World'.  A vast tome that won awards and was nominated for several others.  Using the Fuzion system pushed to it's furthest edges and detailing out the world more than most other games ever do.  It is a hefty read I will not lie, you have to dive into the setting and bury yourself into it.  There is no simply browsing to get a general idea.  Everything is so detailed and dripping with inspiration.  Also all of the artwork is done by the author/artist Mark Smylie so it really does feel like an extension of the comic.  Luckily I picked the hardcopy up when it was released and they seem to be getting a little scarce nowadays as people don't part with it often.

Artesia core rulebook is available here.

The FREE Artesia Compendium is available here.

More information can be found at the following website although it appears to be lacking an update in quite a long time.

Sword and Barrow

Hope you check these out and enjoy them as much as I have over the years.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Jordon and Joseph

Where Astoria and Aedarius represented the creation and end of life. The next to gods represent the creation and destruction of nearly everything else. The twins Jordan and Joseph are the opposites of one another but also necessary forces in the world for just as everything must be created in order to exist all things are eventually destroyed and cease to be.

Jordon the Creator. Dark brown skin with black hair kept tightly trimmed down. His portrayal is always that of wearing the clothing of the working class, a brick layers thick heavily shouldered shirts, a blacksmiths leather apron, a field workers simple robes. His physical size is always greater than that of a common man, taller than any other deity save his brother and physically massive beyond what is possible. On a belt he carries tools of various trades while in his hand he holds a cord knife as Astoria because of their relationship through creation and life. His followers tend to be masons, woodworkers and teachers.

Joseph the Destroyer. Identical to his brother in size and mass but with long unkempt hair in dreadlocks that hang down his back. While he is always shown wearing the armor of a soldier, battered, dented and very worn in. In Kainis it is realized that with military actions comes destruction with no way to avoid, but is necessary for the world to carry on. He carries various weapons strapped to his body but in his hand is an arrow of Aedarius because of their relationship through destruction and death. His followers tend to be soldiers, mercenaries and sorcerers.

They rarely have formal full scale temples set up in their honor. But do have numerous shrines and dedications. Battlefields and training grounds have those for Joseph while guild halls and schools have them for Jordon. In the capital of Kainis there is a formal temple for Jordon in the form of a great hall built from stone, a marvel of architecture in and off itself. Rows of books, scroll and tools line the halls. While Joseph has a temple in the form of a historical battlefield just inside the walls. Building are left as they fell and graves line what were once streets.

Astoria and Aedarius

Astoria is the Goddess of Life and her twin brother Aedarius, the God of Death. They are the two key figures of the pantheon, the beginning and the end, the circle that all life is trapped within.

Astoria is always presented with very pale skin and white robes. She is the one who represents the birth of life, from procreation to child birth and into adulthood. Her clothing depends on what part of the cycle she is currently being asked to influence, naked when it comes to fertility, full robes when it comes to being a mother, and so on. Sometimes when portrayed as defending her children she is shown wearing plate armor polished to a mirror finish. Also on her waist she wears a belt with three daggers each with it's own purpose: cutting the cord during child birth, defending your family and the last a simple tool for eating. Her clergy consists of healers, clerics and caregivers.

Aedarius is always shown as a hunter dressed in black leathers with a bow in his hand. Death is not seen a necessarily bad thing but an essential part of life that comes for every living thing. His skin is pale like his sister but he never wears anything of light color. Although when claiming the life of a lover he is commonly displayed wearing only a loincloth. A frequent saying is that when one dies they have 'caught the arrow of Aedarius' along with an animal being killed for food as a 'blessing from Aedarius'. His clergy consists of paladins, under takers and hunters.

Larger temples for the pair are commonly built as one structure but with a divide between the two. With only one inside door connecting the two that can priests may use, all others must exit one side completely before being able to enter the main doors to the other. The side for Astoria is where marriages are performed, children are taught and even children are born in side rooms specially made for this. Aedarius is for funerals and rites for the dead are performed. Along with cremation and rooms for those who are dying to pass along in as much peace as can be administered.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Jaded Gamer Diary - Division is inevitable

Fuck it.  Division is something that must happen.

I know everybody keeps wanting all the gamers in the world to sing in one song and be a big happy community.  Well in case you haven't noticed that shit ain't happening.  It will never happen by any stretch or leap of the imagination.  Some groups may get along but others will in no way ever get along with each other.

Honestly I'm fine with that. 

This is an opinion I have finally come to after years of being one of the hopelessly hopeful fools who thought gaming could over come all differences.  Railing against people who strived to create more fractures and divisions than were already there, putting up with people who I personally did not like at all and so much more.  It was over the last handful of years that I sat back and really just stopped attempting and just watched the fires.

But now I sit back and realize that there are several people I never want to sit down at a table with for any reason.  Whether it be political beliefs, various groups or movements they support or even just how they act in public.  There are so many damned hate spewing cowards with fan followings that I've lost count.  To much 'hug the bully' bullshit acting like victims who fight back are wrong. 

Now I won't ever publish a list of people to boycott or companies to shun.  There are people, who if I see their name in a book, will prompt me to not buy it no matter how good it may be.  Some companies whose logo is just a turd in my eyes.  I encourage everyone to fall into the splits and fractures however they want.  We don't need to be united in our hate just like we will never be united in what we love.

So love gaming but feel more than damned free to hate as well. 

Monday, November 21, 2016

Jaded Gamer Diary - Kickstarter thoughts over the years.

I've dodged the bullet on many a Kickstarter project it seems.  Although I have had the shitty experience of supporting a couple of turds as well.  But here is an overview of my dodges, what I'm glad to have backed and some pain in the ass moments.  Just a few highlights.

So glad I did not back Far West.  Five years out and it's still not released.  It would have been the first KS that I backed and the premise sounded neat.  But a little voice in the back of my head just said to wait until it is released to look a the book.  That and I wasn't happy with material only being available to backers, reeks to much of the 'collectible RPG' idea.  But I didn't back and man I am happy I didn't as it doesn't seem GMS will ever get the book out and has moved onto having Adamant reboot itself with other lines now.

KODT Live Action Series.  I was really damned tempted on this one.  Been a KODT fan since the early Shadis days of it's existence.  A live action version just screamed for me to back it.  But then I saw Ken Whitman attached to it.  Heard some bad press about him before and remembered his RapidPOD scam that had people wondering where stuff they paid for was.  Not to mention how badly he fumbled up the 2nd edition version of the Highlander card game even going as far as trying to continue to put stuff out for it and make an RPG without having the license.  Sadly a lot of folks didn't dodge any of Kens bullets and are out their cash with nothing that is ever going to show for it.

Numenera.  Yeah Monte Cook Cash Grabs and their 'backers last' fulfillment process.  Decided I would never spend another dime on their stuff again and I still haven't.  By the time I finally got my copy... which was MONTHS after it was available through regular distribution... I had zero desire to even read it.  Which I haven't and never will.  It can rot away in a box for all I care.

Wicked Fantasy from John Wick.  Still a solid damn book and I was happy to have backed this one.  Wick puts out good stuff, I think he's gotten most of it out on time and it's all been top quality.  I also backed Wield at a very high level although I ended up not liking it as much as I had hoped. 

7th Sea I didn't back after I read the quickstart rules.  The changes were not to my liking and the overall system wasn't anything I wanted to play or run.  But thanks to him offering up the quickstart before you back I was able to make that decision.  Was happy to see it succeed but it just didn't fit on my shelf.

Kult whatever edition.  Lies and subterfuge was the lead up to the start of the Kickstarter.  Shady on what system they were going to use and how was one that would 'fade into the background'.  Then it turned out to be Powered by the Apocalypse which doesn't fade into the background at all and is overall the system I hate the most.  Then they lied and said it was originally based off PbtA but changed a lot... then a few tiny previews came out and that was a lie as well.  It was still mostly PbtA and very much close to that cloth.  THEN the multiple editions to fuck over collectors as an attempt to rake in some extra cash.  THEN making thing they said would only be available through the Kickstarter (even though they could easily be POD) as an attempt to rake in some extra cash.  Yeah just a shitty thing all over and I'm glad I didn't back.  People are still waiting for a lot of the lead up promises to occur, including those who backed at a higher level just to playtest and haven't been given anything. 

Unknown Armies.  I love Unknown Armies, I own all the previous books and I managed to get in as a rumor monger in 2nd edition.  But damned talked about pricing a book out of reach.  Over a hundred bucks just to get started (and NO I never paid for the DnD books) was just something I could not justify.  Still trying to figure out how you can justify a game that has had only lackluster sales through both edition with a high priced third.  Whatever... don't want gamers without a lot of money to toss around getting your games so be it.  Not to mention getting a smart ass answer to the complaints of the pricing. 

The Sla Industries miniature combat game.  Yeah the company that wants to special limited edition everything as an attempt to rake every dime they can out of their fans.  Daruma simply made me say 'fuck that shit'.  Now I'm being told a lot of new setting stuff and great artwork that would make a great RPG book for Sla will only be used, and available, in the mini game.  So double fuck that for supporting the RPG in the future as well.  Trying to get us to by the mini game just for more material what the fuck ever.

I backed a lot more.  Some were good, others just okay.  These are the Kickstarters that stick out in my head though.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Cyberpunk Sunday police drone meanderings.

One of the sometimes often over looked aspects of a cyberpunk setting is the use of drones.  Some of that may be that a lot of early writing of genre really pre-dates the usage of drones.  Much like most scifi classics never saw the idea of the cellphone coming.  Now that they are here we need to look at where they will be used at to put the into the various worlds.

This time I will be talking about what is going on right now.  North Dakota has become the first state in the US to legalize the use of drones carrying less then lethal arms to be used by the police. The bill passed does a few other things likes completely prohibits lethal arms and makes it where the drones cannot be used to collect evidence without a proper warrant. 

Here is a link to an article on said bill.

However warrants can be looked over if there is known criminal activity taking place.  Such as a gunman holding up in a shootout with the police, etc.  The 'known' part gets kind of sketchy from time to time.  In a cyberpunk world it would get even sketchier meaning they would go even further.

So police drones would become a very obvious part of police activity.  Some of the non-lethal arms could even include the classic Arasaka Nauseator from Cyberpunk 2020 making it a flying, moving form of crowd control/dispersal.  A mass effect device that would get whoever just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time as well.

So the next time you have the cops in your game be sure to give them some back up.  Lots of it.  In the form of drones the character may not be able to do anything about.  Especially once AI is introduced and they may not even need a human pilot to guide the drones.


For those who enjoy this blog, the various articles and session recaps and wish to show some support.  The DrivethruRPG and RPGNow links over on the right are tagged with my affiliate code.  Simply click through to their site and buy whatever you normally buy from them and I'll get a few pennies as a kickback.  Or if you don't like Onebookshelf you can paypal me directly at 'peteramthor -at- trulyrural dot com' as well.  Currently this is how I am purchasing new gaming material.  Hopefully I'll be able to get some stuff and start doing short reviews once again in the future.


Sunday, November 13, 2016

Writing haitus

I don't feel like writing right now.  So there won't be articles for a bit.  The Kult 'trimming the fat' rules should be coming when I start back up again.  The session recaps are in limbo as I lost my motivation to run the game AND I need a new place to run it at as I don't want to step foot into the previous location ever again.  Cyberpunk Sunday articles will start back up again at some point.  Right now go look at all the Ghost in the Shell live action stuff that dropped.  It's all over youtube and social media in scifi circles. 

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Cyberpunk Sunday Facial Recognition Software and Style

Facial recognition software has been in the news for years now.  Although it's more prominent in film, books and movies than anywhere else.  Where we see an organization of some sort going through database after database trying to find a match to an unknown person caught in video, in a photo, etc.  Amazingly some people don't realize how far along the technology has come... or for how long companies have been compiling our images into a said database. 

Take this article over at Bigthink. It explores many of the ideas of what is going on, how little the average person knows and how it may affect our rights in the future.  But what you are here for is to see how this can affect things in game besides the obvious of somebody finding out who you are.  Than answer to that is of course.... style!

For as long as people have been talking about facial recognition software there have been people talking about how to beat it.  Most of this is done through make up, hairstyles and anything else that can break up a computers ability to single out the key focus points of a human face. 

This could lead to a massive style movement in society aimed at just making it harder for them to be identified.  Exact copies of makeup among a group so they all look the same could be popular among gangs. Celebrities who want to walk out without being spotted by a paparazzi computer scanning through public domain camera's located all around a city.  The common person who just thinks there is to much Big Brother in their day to day life. 

Another attempt to fool the computers has come from light emitting glasses of some sort.  Disabling a computers ability to pick up the points on their face due to lens flare or blurring out what they see.  Again all based against the focus points a system looks for.  Again an entire range of fashion could spawn from this, something you could see hundreds of people on the street wearing. 

Now for the more financially well off and desperate there are the choices of plastic surgery and full on facial restructuring.  From slight mods here and there to rebuilding your face down to adjusting the bone structure of your face.  Expensive, probably painful, lots of recovery time but with a bigger payout for your ability not to be recognized by either a human eye or an electronic one.

Just some ideas to work into your cyberpunk games when it comes to what society 'looks' like in a world monitored by corporate and government computers 24/7.  Maybe even add a skill for a character to have for their ability to mask themselves.  Entire stores dedicated to selling the makeup and accessories necessary. 

For more pictures of people attempting to block facial recognition software check out this link to a google image search on the subject: Blocking Facial Recognition


For those who enjoy this blog, the various articles and session recaps and wish to show some support.  The DrivethruRPG and RPGNow links over on the right are tagged with my affiliate code.  Simply click through to their site and buy whatever you normally buy from them and I'll get a few pennies as a kickback.  Or if you don't like Onebookshelf you can paypal me directly at 'peteramthor -at- trulyrural dot com' as well.  Currently this is how I am purchasing new gaming material.  Hopefully I'll be able to get some stuff and start doing short reviews once again in the future.


Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Kult There Will Be Blood session two

This weeks session recap.

Only one player couldn't make it due to illness which is something I can handle.  Although it took a bit of the potential fighting ability from the group should danger arise (which it did) his character not being there wasn't a game killer.  Plus it was easy to explain him away, simply said the character had fallen ill as well.

It picked up a couple days after the last game and they were still trying to piece together what had happened.  Lucy, who had tried the new drug last session, had found herself desperately wanting more and no other drug would give her that fix she now needed.  They all began investigations using what sources they had and using a hacker their boss had tipped them off to.


The body of Jones had turned up.  After their hacker friend got some information from the police computers they find out his body was in the large hookah they saw the last session.

The hookah itself was a strange mess of tubes, liquids and a small cooker in the bottom.  With some strange arcane symbols etched around the inside of it.  Andrew thought the symbols looked familiar but isn't sure.

Former users in the area are buying up more drugs now trying to get the fix they were once getting.  They are also buying from other sources than Hume since it was his people that got the place raided by the police.  Thus the source of their loss.

Drugs sales in another part of town are dropping rapidly in a run section on C Street.

The gut puking bad guys body was discovered.  Nine miles from where the players thought they killed him.  His body having been cut open, guts laid out and another symbol in blood drawn around him.  All in the playground of a shut down elementary school.  Also the police identified him as a well off lawyer that had gone missing eight months ago. 

No new info on Philanthropist Inc.

Then on with doing some footwork and heading down to C Street:

After talking with some locals and spotting a guard who was at the last hookah location they discover another one in an abandoned building.  They guys at the door would only let Jeff, Tammy and Lucy in but turned away Andrew and Shelly without really giving a reason (they then went on to find other ways in). 

Lucy immediately took a hit much to the dismay of Jeff who thought it was a bad idea.  Tammy, being a drug chemist herself, decided to take a hit also to see if she could figure it out just form the effects.  From that she determined that there is something really wrong here and she has no idea how to replicate this form of high, especially the hallucinations experienced which were like seeing bits of another persons memories. 

After a bit of work and messing around Jeff finally finds a way to get the top of the hookah and opens the top revealing a deep blue colored liquid, rather thick and slimy.  Then discovered the body of another person inside of it with some tubes stuck in him matching the injuries they saw on Jones autopsy photo.  Jeff gets a sample of the goop and they start to head out.  But not before one of the other users tells Tammy that the boss still expects payment for the meeting last time and they have three days to decide which of them will die.

Then back at Hume's bar they examine everything they have discovered.  Tammy does a field test on the blue liquid and comes to the conclusion that, whatever it is, should be causing the effects they were getting at all.  As they discuss this Lucy starts to come out of her high and spots a glowing crack in the air before her when she reaches out she accidently pulls her, and the group, through the illusion into a side reality of the bar much like they saw after their fight with the gut puker last time.

Grabbing up some paperwork on the tables that looked important to what they were doing the group decides to try and find their way out of the building.  Only to be attacked outside by a large creature of flesh, steel and glass with a snap jawed head somewhat like a crocodile.  In the ensuing battle Jeff is fatally wounded as the thing runs it's fingers through his chest and Lucy suffers under its jaws and is flung off to the side.  Andrew hotwires a car in the parking lot and runs the thing over and they pull their injured friends back inside.  Suddenly, just as quickly as it happened, they find themselves back in their regular reality.

Lucy and Jeff are hauled off to the hospital and Hume tells the others to get out of there before the police grab them up as well.  Andrew wakes up in the ER, hooked to life support, unable to move only regaining consciousness for a moment before passing back out. 

Thus ended that nights session.


For those who enjoy this blog, the various articles and session recaps and wish to show some support.  The DrivethruRPG and RPGNow links over on the right are tagged with my affiliate code.  Simply click through to their site and buy whatever you normally buy from them and I'll get a few pennies as a kickback.  Or if you don't like Onebookshelf you can paypal me directly at 'peteramthor -at- trulyrural dot com' as well.  Currently this is how I am purchasing new gaming material.  Hopefully I'll be able to get some stuff and start doing short reviews once again in the future.