Eclipse Phase: Machinations of a Lumpy Space Princess

23 September 2013 | Hisham | | Eclipse Phase, GOKL Actual Play, RPG Actual Play, Role Playing Games

The entry title for this Eclipse Phase session report is play on the title of the game Machinations of the Space Princess from Postmortem Press.

Gamera Security's Venusian investigations continued: Kai took on the role of neotenic-morphed Billy Cable Jr. (a.k.a. Brandon Leigh), Darren played infomorph DANAI (a.k.a. Vadislav Sender) and I was again the slitheroid-morphed Hokusai Tarnungshaut (a.k.a. Heinrich Ausfahrt Plissken).

Andrew's Venusian glider-morphed Wandering Ina (a.k.a. Kana) and Matthew's Badal Jones the Lunar Lagrange Alliance Envoy were absent and was used as NPCs at crucial times of the session.

Ivan GMed, as this photo shows:

When the GM wears the GM hat, everyone worry!

The mission, which continued from the previous session, was to help Badal Jones with the security for his LLA ambassador's contingent as they attended the art show that would display the Factors' alien sculpture pieces collected by the reclusive posthuman artist Marquis d’Homem-Christos at the Cumulus Hotel on Aphrodite Prime. There was a second, a more secretive mission from Gretchen Ambelina of Pax Familae: which is to sabotage the art show. The team had decided that these two missions could be run side-by-side without any conflicts of interests.

Adventures in Lumpy Space

First thing in the morning, Cable aided Hokusai to build up Rep for his art social media meshsite renamed Obloquy (the original name Digital Easel didn't have a controversial online activist vibe enough. Also it sucked). Hokusai would update socially controversial artwork, slam heads together, induce squabbling then try to gain and sift intel from squabblers, by pushing the right buttons with people in F-Rep circles. Hokusai's cover ID in Obloquy was Pickman Algol, Cable's was The Lumpy Space Ambassador and although he hadn't activated his account yet, DANAI planned on being an online troll with an opposing viewpoint named Shasta.

Hokusai uploaded a digital painting of the disc of the planet Venus with three layers. The top third of the planet - encompassing the northern hemisphere - showed greenery and life. The middle equatorial third showed Venus' surface as it was. The bottom third was a mishmash of darkness and burning human skeletons that trailed bits of flame and debris into space.

Apparently this "Pickman Algol" dandy was against the terraforming of Venus.


Eclipse Phase: Electromatic For The People

10 September 2013 | Hisham | | Eclipse Phase, GOKL Actual Play, RPG Actual Play, Role Playing Games

Gamera of KL.Last time on Eclipse Phase: Clouds of a Morning Star the team was joined by Matthew's player character Christoph de Beers from the Jovian Republic.

However, there was a quantum temporal flux and the character metamorphed into the Lunar Lagrange Alliance envoy Badal Jones, a Welshman. The out-of-character retcon avoided difficulties of roleplaying a character from a racist, pure humans-only society mixed with a group of posthuman player characters.

Also, Kai played neotenic-morphed Billy Cable Jr. (a.k.a. Brandon Leigh), Andrew played Venusian glider-morphed Wandering Ina (a.k.a. Kana), Darren played infomorph DANAI (a.k.a. Vadislav Sender) and I was back as the slitheroid-morphed Hokusai Tarnungshaut (a.k.a. Heinrich Ausfahrt Plissken).

Jones had commissioned Gamera Security's services for the upcoming art gallery event at the Cumulus Hotel at Aphrodite Prime. The event would display Factors' alien sculpture pieces collected by the reclusive posthuman artist Marquis d’Homem-Christos who lived on the asteroid 163693 Atira and would be farcasting to Venus in a few days.

The mission objectives were clear: Jones engaged GamSec to protect the LLA ambassador during the show and (two session ago, when I was absent) Gretchen Ambelina informed Cable that she wanted the show to fail. The two objectives were not necessarily exclusive. They need to ensure the LLA visitors' safety while they sabotaged the event.

But how would they do that?


Doctor Who AITAS: Feet of Flesh, Feet of Steel

29 August 2013 | Hisham | | GOKL Actual Play, Misc Sci-Fi, RPG Actual Play, RPG Irfan Plays, Role Playing Games

Doug GMed Cubicle 7's Doctor Who Adventures in Time and Space RPG for Irfan and I for the first time and it was an enjoyable night. For Irfan this was the first time someone other than me was the gamemaster.

We played Fox and Olujimi just as they were stranded on the planet Klaris in the far future after hunting and failing to detain the big game hunter Breybrooke who was driven insane, corrupted by alien technology he had unearthed in Kenya in the year 1977.

Episode 01


The game began as the duo was dining with their impromptu host Hermis, a Klarisian who served them haphis, a floating and slowly-spinning ball of edible mass that replenished itself as it was being scooped by cutlery. Olujimi thought it would taste more like cheese but it did not. Fox just ate away in silence.

Player's Guide with Tennant on the cover

Stranded on Klaris

City guards knocked on Hermis' door, and the guard leaded, a woman named Hollis, insisted that the newcomers who helped fight off Breybrooke be brought before their leaders. The guards were heavily hooded and gazed only at the floor. Hollis took them through the Klarisian city with domed buildings, columns and floating light globes. Olujimi and Fox were brought to a tall chamber with alien sculptures that floated and appeared to slightly move. Obus, a hooded man wearing elaborate robes and a tall collar awaited them there.


Eclipse Phase: A Jovian Jovially Joins

26 August 2013 | Hisham | | Artwork, Eclipse Phase, GOKL Actual Play, RPG Actual Play, Role Playing Games

Last time on Eclipse Phase: Clouds of a Morning Star... the Gamera Security hypercorp gang was involved in several events, namely Cable played by Kai having a freefall date with Gretchen Ambelina of Pax Familae down through the lethal atmosphere of Venus, and Darren's AGI DANAI having to perform an impromptu psychosurgery on the other AGI Wandering Ina, played by Andrew.

But I was absent because of Eid vacation and stuff. In-character, Hokusai was busy setting up a new online ID and creating an art community site called the Digital Easel to boost his F-Rep and attempt intelligence gathering there. (Or is he?)

This week!

We were met by Captain Christoph de Beers an envoy from the Jovian Republic with military background, played by Matthew. Christoph's superior Ambassador Marie MacDonnoll will be attending the invitation-only Marquis d’Homem-Christos' art show, which will showcase the sculpture he acquired from the mysterious aliens called the Factors to be held at the ballroom of the Cumulus Hotel at the aerostat Aphrodite Prime.

Gamera Security was recommended by one Jovian Major Kate Stackhoff (from episode #somenumber which I did not participate in) back in Jupiter space, who noticed that Gamera matched the profile of another troubleshooter hypercorp she was familiar with named the Fastball Express. (All the forks all the time!)

God forgive me for what I am about to do

Night's Black Agents: Hipster Pirates of the Celtic Sea

31 July 2013 | Hisham | | GOKL Actual Play, Nights Black Agents, RPG Actual Play, Role Playing Games

GOKL returned to playing the modern age vampire conspiracy game Night's Black Agents after a brief hiatus. Darren - Eclipse Phase's infomorph DANAI -  joined us as a burnt Russian agent Nikolai Kaidanovsky, a medical doctor. (No, Darren had not seen Pacific Rim.)

The Story So Far

The agents had been investigating Emartech Pharmaceuticals, the corporation which was experimenting and mass producing a certain type of blood. This blood had been tainted with a mutated mycoplasma haemocanis virus and had been used as a possible biological agent. In Sweden, the group had recently encountered a white supremacist terrorist group whose members were infused with this blood to wreak havoc during Eurovision 2013. The blood gave their operatives superhuman powers.

The previous session was not blogged about here. Why? Because I failed a roll during an impromptu seduction scene on the head of human resources of Emartech in Cardiff, Wales. And Misha had to bail Zlatan out of the hotel causing both IDs to be burnt. It was an embarassment. Sami and Misha was calling for Zlatan to have a "Walk with Zlatan" all the way driving back to London.

And Suddenly...

Elsewhere, the Russian, Kaidanovsky, had been investigating old Soviet experiments on extrasensory perception from the 1980s when he received a burn notice from his superior. The General informed him that a Norwegian container ship Heimdall was en route from Sweden to Wales. This mysterious cargo had been hastily taken out of Sweden and sent to Emartech in Cardiff. He was told to meet up with freelance agents in London who had discovered documents pertaining to his investigation while they were in Sweden.

The team, upon arriving in London, received an online dead drop communique from Hagar Thurson, their Swedish ally, telling them to expect Nikolai at the airport.

They pick up Nikolai in their Lada Niva and interrogated him as Zlatan drove around London. Abraham van Helsing, the surviving borzoi hound, sniffed Nikolai and gave him his thumbs up, though he did not have any proper thumbs. Although Nikolai kept calling Russia the Soviet Union for some reason, they cleared him to join the team.

Planning Begins

When informed of the Heimdall, the agents realised that this was the ship that was en route to Cardiff port that the NGO there - an Emartech dupe - was supposed to protest against when it docked. Zlatan thought they should intercept and try to find out what's on the ship before they entered UK waters. If it was meant for Emartech, then there might be a clue to the haemocanis virus-infected blood that had been going around Europe.

The team thought to call their hacker Jacob (whose player Macx was absent - and left his PC visiting his Point of Stability in Italy) to hack the AIS database to track the course of the Heimdall, but Sami did it immediately via the Marine Traffic website. (Actually Sami's player Ivan did it on his tablet during the game and provided live AIS tracking of ships in the Celtic Sea, which was pretty freaking cool. Night's Black Agent is definitely a game where players need to use mobile devices as live props on the fly.)

Misha discovered where her British Intelligence handler Emilia Sanderson kept a rigid inflatable boat away from prying eyes and clandestinely "borrowed" it as well as other nautical gear from its dock for the group's seagoing caper.

In the meantime, Zlatan shopped around for weapons and tactical gear. He found some Balkan gunrunners running MP-7s outside London. They might have been Balkans but Zlatan wasn't sure. They might have been from Peoria for all he knew. On the way back to base, a police car attempted to intercept him. But Zlatan employed his Afghanistan War driving skills to weave through the night traffic and lose the cops.

Operation Begins

Everyone wore Arabic keffiyeh, night vision goggles and a kerchief over their mouth - even Abe the dog. Zlatan thought the keffiyeh made everyone look like hipsters.

So some time after midnight, when the Heimdall was 10 miles from the UK shores, the hipster pirates of the Celtic Sea fouled up the container ship's propellers by dumping a steel cable mesh netting onto the path of the ship. They infiltrated over the side and onto the Heimdall, leaving Nikolai and Abe to guard the boat which was tethered to the larger ship by cables.

Sami with an MP7 and Misha with a sword stormed the bridge while Zlatan covered them with his starlight scoped-sniper rifle. Sami's fluency in Arabic convinced them that they were some sort of unlikely modern day Barbary Pirates - even if Misha looked very obviously an Asian woman. The captain told them that the cargo they obviously wanted was below deck and was guard by two Welshmen. Zlatan smashed their radio before proceeding.

They raided the cargo bay and discovered a structure made for medical experiments, constructed from two cargo containers. Powerful UV floodlights shone upon it. The first Welshman, Jones, immediately saw that they had been boarded and yelled to his partner the second Welshman also named Jones. The second Jones quickly slammed the med bay's door shut from within. Zlatan shot the first Jones in the chest before melting off the med bay's door lock with liberal application of thermite.

The team swept into the container, weapons aimed and in full intimidation mode. The compartment had biological lab equipment and a computer terminal. Another locked, heavier class of security door led into a much more secure clean room. The second Jones surrendered and told them that they had absolutely no idea what they're dealing with.

Sami pulled up the CCTV feed from inside the clean room on the terminal.

Within were a series of cages. Within each cage was a dog. Wild dogs.Their eyes were red and bloodshot. As soon as the team activated the monitor, every dog - all of them unmoving and maintaning the same waiting stance - turned to look at the camera as if they knew they were being watched. It was unsettling. Why were these being delivered to Emartech Pharmaceuticals in Cardiff?

Stay tuned for the next exciting session of Night's Black Agents.


Eclipse Phase: Moose Kipper

23 July 2013 | Hisham | | Artwork, Eclipse Phase, GOKL Actual Play, RPG Actual Play, Role Playing Games

Posthumanity is just hands out awesomeLast Sunday, the Eclipse Phase group, playing the members of the Gamera Security hypercorp finished off our investigation of Cloud Nine aerostat on Venus.

After their "patron" Kage Musha ordered all GamSec operatives off Cloud Nine so his personal force can take over what seemes to be the hypercorp Yamaha-Pacifica's illegal weapon manufacturing facility there, Billy Cable Jr. and Hokusai Tarnungshaut pilot their airship back there to pick up DANAI and Wandering Ina, both in the Venusian glider body.

DANAI-δ, DANAI's delta fork in Cloud Nine's mesh network, masked an airlock from the security systems so DANAI/Ina could jump off the aerostat and onto their airship. (Cable had rolled critical success for airship piloting and was expertly flying the ship, cloaked in Venusian clouds.) Suddenly, DANAI/Ina was/were interrupted by the inner airlock door opening. It hid by jumping off the airlock's external platform and hanging on to its edge.

It was Dario Silvestri from the factory who was enjoying a bit of recreational drug Alpha. DANAI/Ina used its electronic rope to grapple Silvestri, then used a Zap round from a coilgun to blow a whole quarter of his head off. (It was a mistake. Honest. A Zap round usually stuns. But not just at so close a range.) DANAI/Ina pried off Silvestri's cortical stack from his exposed spine and glided off the aerostat.

However, it wasn't used to the morph and air thermals blew it off course. Thankfully, Cable's awesome piloting skills allowed him to match DANAI/Ina's erratic fall and for the second time caught a morph falling off an aerostat.

Then they returned to Octavia, the largest aerostat in the skies of Venus where they considered their next move.

First they decided to open a physical office on Venus, and thought the Parvarti aerostat would be a good place to be. They sent word to Wandering Kid and Dexter Morgan (the PCs with absent players) to begin moving their stuff from the current office on the Gerlach habitat in space to Parvarti, but leave a barebones office presence back on Gerlach.

Secondly, DANAI wanted a new morph. After much deliberation, the team spent credits to custom design a brand new morph for it. The new morph is basically, two human-looking hands (synthmorph) connected with a cord of 10 meter-long electronic rope, fitted with a cyberbrain with mesh insert, cortical stack, voicebox, sensory equipment on its knuckles, lidar, grip pads, skinlink, eelware and chameleon skin. It would be able to function as an extra set of hands if wound around another person, or be a thrown weapon that would be able to stun an enemy with its eelware, or creep up to an enemy to inject a drug into him or her. We also purchased two skillsofts in Unarmed Combat and Infiltration. Its initial WOUND THRESHOLD is 5 and DURABILITY 25.

We called it the "Janet" morph. 

And now there exists a character in our Eclipse Phase game that looks like this:

He'll never get a leg up on things

Which i think is pretty freaking awesome.

Wait a second. Whatever happened to Danai-δ?

To be continued next time on "Eclipse Phase: Clouds of the Morning Star".


Eclipse Phase: A Hidden Industry

08 July 2013 | Hisham | | Artwork, Eclipse Phase, GOKL Actual Play, RPG Actual Play, Role Playing Games

We're friend of the children. We even have a FREE CANDY white van.GOKL's Eclipse Phase "Clouds of the Morning Star" story arc (gamemastered by Ivan) continues from the previous session. Wandering Ina (played by Andrew) and DANAI (played by Darren) - both in a single Venusian glider morph - continued their investigation of a massive ego theft ring that may have passed through the Cloud Nine aerostat - a floating city in the skies of Venus. Meanwhile, Cable and Hokusai (played by me) manned their newly purchased airship, hidden in the clouds out of sight from Cloud Nine.

Since Kai was unable to make it, this session had three player characters, but with two of them inhabiting one body, which was a great concept in roleplaying.

The Setup

It was time Hokusai delivered more weapons and gear by sneaking onto Cloud Nine. DANAI/Ina had managed to hack into Cloud Nine's aerostat administration network and gave themselves Security-level permissions in the system. Employing The Bus That Couldn't Slow Down gambit, Ina saved 30 minutes of video footage in all security cameras and wrote a script that would override the camera feed with the looped captured footage where and when required.

DANAI/Ina upgraded their user permission to Admin-level in the system and discovered that the hypercorp that leased the unmarked commercial and manufacturing spaces was Yamaha-Pacifica, producer of habitat machinery. Digging deeper, they discovered that the faces behind the hypercorp had tie to the Night Cartel crime syndicate.

DANAI also peeled off a Delta Fork of its ego - named DANAI-δ - to be implanted in the security system and would take over sousveillance operation when required. They created a faux Mesh ID that would be tagged on Hokusai when he arrived aboard. Then they suppressed the external security camera as Cable drove the airship from below toward a low-security airlock. (Cable might have seen spiral shapes in the Venusian clouds as he piloted the ship, but there has been no confirmation.)


Eclipse Phase: Blimps and Back Seat Driving

24 June 2013 | Hisham | | Artwork, Eclipse Phase, GOKL Actual Play, RPG Actual Play, Role Playing Games

We're friend of the children. We even have a FREE CANDY white van.The adventure continued on and around Venus... even as the atmosphere outside where we played appeared to resemble Venus in texture and colour. But we're not talking about the Great Smothering Haze of 2013; we're talking about last Sunday's Eclipse Phase session.

As Kage's people began investigating the unregistered airlock from which the Spulturatorah Arcology ego bank thieves of had escaped from Gerlach station, Gamera Security returned to their office, leaving Wandering Kid in his battered arachnoid morph to help guard the airlock.

Aggregators via Mesh links alerted them to a relevant news story that developed in the in Jupiter space: Diz, the infomorph inhabiting their old spacecaft the Fastball Special had hacked into Jovian traffic control to allow itself a clear path upwards from the ecliptic plane... toward interstellar space. The ship was unoccupied at the time, other than a hundred kilos of paper cranes. Cable informed this to async Quill - in real life this was communicated by text message - who suggests the dog-shaped sociopath flexbot Kay be launched from Jovian space to go after the wayward ship. "Fetch, boy!" Hokusai thought that Kay would return, hurtling back from deep space with the Special in his jaws.

In other news, the Jovians had started playing nice with Planetary Consortium, and then promptly started unilaterally dropping giant mobile atmospheric processors on the Galilean moons to begin terraforming them.

Finally, they learnt that Hitoha Hiroshii, sister of their teammate Mitsuba had started to extend her influence in the Planetary Consortium. Their uncle Miyazaki had gained a position in the Consortium.


Eclipse Phase: Venereal Problems

10 June 2013 | Hisham | | Artwork, Eclipse Phase, GOKL Actual Play, RPG Actual Play, Role Playing Games

The GOKL Eclipse Phase RPG campaign "Fastball Express" has started up again, and the uplift neo-octopus Hokusai Tarnungshaut is back in action, except he no longer has eight tentacles. Three game sessions were held so far and I managed to participate in two.

So the story goes: some of the intrepid posthumans of the Fastball Express hypercorp was darkcasted to Parvati, an aerostat high above the surface of Venus. Hokusai had died some time earlier his octomorph blown up by a bomb, and the team retrieved his cortical stack and resleeved his ego in a worker pod morph. 

However, Hokusai remembered nothing else before waking up in an arachnoid sleeve at Parvati with Billy Cable Junior the neotenic, Danai and Dexter, their memories edited "for security reasons". (That doesn't sound suspicious at all, right? RIGHT?) Their Morningstar Corporation contact gave them a mission to discreetly investigate diseased biomorphs which had then disappeared along with their egos without a trace from the aerostat.

Venereal disease investigations!

However, as I wasn't able to attend the second session, I discovered that the company had experienced a TPK. After successfully completing the mission, a chunk of the Parvati outer skin came off and sucked the group outside. Everyone fell many, many leagues down into the inhospitable Venusian atmosphere.


GOKL Escapes The Insurmountable Ned

21 April 2013 | Hisham | | GOKL Actual Play, Modesty Blazing, RPG Actual Play, Role Playing Games, Star Wars

Earlier today I ran Star Wars Edge of the Empire for GOKL for the second time, using the Beginner Game truncated rules and extra stuff found on the internet.

Everyone was given 10 XPs from the previous session with an option to advance their characters. Qillian Ryn the Trianii and Darter Kel the Zeltron advanced their characters. 41-VEX the manumitted colonist droid saved his XPs for later.

That's my stash of custom Star Wars RPG paper minis

NPC stats and GM notes and stuff

A Brief Prologue

A brief prologue was run to account for the absence players of Lowhhrick, Oskara and Nora. The commandeered Corellian YT-1300 light freighter Krayt Fang landed on a small oceanside shadowport on Rodia. Actually before landing, they kicked the ousted slaver captain Trex out into the humid Rodian swamps a hundred klicks from nowhere. An outlaw tech would be able to install a new BoSS transponder on their ship, but only for 10,000 credits as times are tough. Seeing that the crew did not have the money, the outlaw tech suggested they look for work at the Ithorian herdship that just made orbit recently.

Landing Bay 1138

This particular Ithorian herdship, named Green Fields, was an interstellar starship that was disc 5 klicks in diameter and had a giant transparisteel canopy 4/5th of the diameter that has a living jungle and ocean biomes.There was a central island that formed a mountain 400 meters tall. This type of herdship travelled from system to system and opened their doors to locals as tourists, encouraging them to visit their biomes, to stay in their hotels, to go on safaris and to generally spend a lot of money there.

Krayt Fang was berthed at Landing Bay 1138 at the rim of the Green Fields. Darter, 41-VEX and Qillian went out into the bustling landing bay which was able to support two medium ships and eight light ships such as their own. There were technicians, deck officers, tourist groups heading to or from their ships, load lifter droids, security droids, hustlers, businessmen, entrepreneurs and wanderers. Thanks to some fast talking Darter found a terminal that listed immediate job ads. Most did not pay well, but one ad from Captain Beru Highbringer paid 4000 credits per successful applicant. The job: crew of a Corellian YV-664 converted freighter - now a tour ship - that brought tourists offship to visit gorgeous astronomical sights of the region.

Landing Bay 1142

There were three Lambda-class Imperial shuttles berthed in Landing Bay 1142. Worried, Darter asked around about them. An Ithorian deck officer told them not to worry. Imperials were always boarding the herdship wherever they stopped; always looking for rebels - especially when there were so many outsiders aboard the ship. So far none had been found on Green Fields.

The trio met with Captain Highbringer at the cantina at Landing Bay 1142. She was a grizzled spacer, as grizzled as a 28 year old human female with long, wavy blond locks could be. It disturbed them that she kept disrupting Darter's spirited job application pitch to her by whispering strangely to the old force pike by her side as if it was alive.

It was even more disturbing that she hired them and paid them half in advance because the inanimate force pike had somehow "allowed" her to.

Before leaving they noticed four humans in casual tourist garb slipping into the cantina, a woman and three men. They were all clearly on edge, as if on the run from pursuers. The group decided not to interact with them.

They returned to the Krayt Fang to pick up their gear as well as extra space suits. (Yes, even VEX grabbed a space suit for arcane reasons.) They had a light lunch with Nora, Oskara and Lowhhrick before returning to Landing Bay 1142.

Pash isn't used in this campaign

The group's initial pool of 4 Destiny Points among 3 PCs 


Night's Black Agents: The Eurovision Job Ends

08 April 2013 | Hisham | | GOKL Actual Play, Nights Black Agents, RPG Actual Play, Role Playing Games

And thus ends the Eurovision Song Contest Job where the company investigates a white supremacist terror group in Malmö, Sweden. This arc of the game took four sessions and in the final session, things go south for the group and then some. A game campaign recap can be found here, followed by descriptions of certain scenes that led us to the finale.

A thematic change in the game is that the players discovered that the Lampir-blood boosted terrorists were not merely from a fringe group, but part of the consipracy that led to the top levels of the Försvarsdepartementet (Ministry of Defence), who was trying to bring down the Socialdepartementet (Ministry of Health and Social Services) who had become our allies in Sweden. Therefore, we were not just running our operation in neutral territory, but in a country that was steadily becoming an enemy terrority.

The party split up between Jacob, Misha, Rose with borzoi hound Abraham Lincoln; and Sami, Zlatan, David with the other borzoi hound Abraham Van Helsing.

Team one would guard Romany singer Milla Cesarescu - lead singer and social activist of the band Half Kingdom - in her Malmö hotel room before the contest from attacks that her security detail will not be prepared to deal with. Team two would rendezvous with Snorre Dahlquist, the Health Ministry Special Agent, to visit the late (no thanks to Zlatan) Dr. Ishmael Sjöberg's house in Blackeberg, near Stockholm.

Three game highlights followed.


Night's Black Agents: Zlatan's Story

12 March 2013 | Hisham | | GOKL Actual Play, Nights Black Agents, RPG Actual Play, Role Playing Games

This is not a full actual play report of the recent Night's Black Agents session gamemastered by Kai, but it highlights one of the reasons why I roleplay. One of the many descriptions of a tabletop RPG is a cooperative storytelling game where the gamemaster (GM) sets up a story and referees in-story conflicts and their outcomes. At the same time, players act accordingly as characters in that story and also provide foil for the GM to feed information and story points back at the players in a dramatically satisfactory way, if possible.

In a way, we are reading a spy novel or watching a spy movie as we are developing it together.

Here's what happened which involved me playing the Bosnian wheel artist Zlatan Kljujic:

But First, A Campaign Recap

Here's what happened beforehand during the first three game sessions of the "Eurovision Song Contest Job":

Sami Härkönen obtained two borzoi hounds which he trained and renamed Abraham Van Helsing and Abraham Lincoln.

The agents received information from Rose of the Camon Gang that they'd found a relative of Vin, their Romany hitter who displayed vampiric characteristics. This cousin is one Milla Cesarescu, a singer for a Romany punk band Half Kingdom who would be participating in Eurovision Song Contest 2013 in Malmö. Milla had publicly announced that she was going to unmask racist elements in the Swedish government and upon arriving at Malmö, Jacob, Sami, Abraham van Helsing discovered that a white supremacist terror group had targeted her.

Meanwhile Misha, Abraham Lincoln and a new addition to the company, the cleaner and medical examiner David Verdasco who stayed back in London to monitor the remnants of the Camon Gang witnessed the slaughter of Gary Camon and his men by an unknown group who displayed superhuman strength. The gang's terrified survivors, Rose and Mister Grey, joined up with the agents, informed them that Vin had been taken and wanted their help to leave the country.

Back in Sweden, while Jacob and his media contact Ebba Östberg investigated Milla, discovering that one of the terrorists named Mikko Mikkel-Mikkelsen displayed superhuman strength and limited mind control abilities. Sami and Abraham van Helsing shadowed Mikko while gaining a shadow themselves, one Snorre Dahlquist, a special agent for the Swedish Ministry of Health. Thanks to Sami, Snorre - who had also been investigating the terrorists as well - became an ally.

As Misha and David smuggled Grey and Rose out of England, Snorre, Sami and Zlatan tracked Mikko to a cottage in the woods near Nybro. In the cellar, viewed with a endoscope, Zlatan discovered Nova Lind, the aging mentor of Half Kingdom who disappeared some years ago, strapped to a chair being drained of blood, which is used to give the terrorists the superhuman strength.

Zlatan of course had made his mind up what these creatures are.

The Two Abrahams

But Second, A Zlatan Recap


GOKL Escapes Mos Shuuta

18 February 2013 | Hisham | | GOKL Actual Play, Modesty Blazing, RPG Actual Play, Role Playing Games, Star Wars

I've already run Star Wars Edge of the Empire RPG Beginner Game adventure for Irfan, so now I would see how it would fare with half a dozen experienced tabletop RPGers, namely the guys at GOKL.

From the available pregenerated characters in the adventure Escape from Mos Shuuta, Ivan played 41-VEX as a manumitted medical droid, Razzman played the Twi'lek bounty hunter Oskara, Macx played the Wookiee hired gun Lowhhrick and Doug tweaked Pash the smuggler into Nora Romanova. Darren and Kai jury-rig a character generation using the Beta rule notes found online and became, respectively, Qillian Ryn the Triannii assassin and Darter Kel the Zeltron scout and bush pilot. I might have screwed up the chargen a bit because of lack of complete rules.

The adventure's encounters are designed so GMs and players get the hang of the system. For example, the first encounter teaches us about options on hiding in a cantina. The second encounter takes us through combat with a drift of Gamorreans. The third forces players to interact with NPCs to acquire a gear important to the story.

However, GOKL players being GOKL players, things blew up and died in encounter one.

We're at Darren's place!

The Cantina

Nora, Oskara, Lowhhrick, 41-VEX and Qillian had crossed the local crime lord Teemo the Hutt, and Teemo's band of cudgel-bearing Gamorreans were now combing Mos Shuuta for them. The group ducked into the Devaronian's cantina to look for the pilot they hired beforehand, namely Darter, just before Gamorreans spotted them and chased in after them.

Oskara flipped a table. Nora jumped over the bar. Qillian slipped his knuckledusters on and crept into the shadows by the doorway. VEX orders a drink - a pitcher of motor oil. Darter, following the band of newcomers' example bounded to the dance stage where the Twi'lek dancer was dancing by a pole. He immediately tried to charm the pants off her.

As the pig guard burst in, the person with the keenest eye, fastest reflexes and swiftest hand moved first. It was VEX. He cooly downed his drink much to the bartender's slack-jawed surprise. However, the guards saw Oskara who was already behind the flipped table with her blaster rifle ready. She had the advantage and blew a hole in the lead Gamorrean. From the stage, Darter wriggled his butt, reached into his tight pants and a dart gun appeared was in his previously-bare hands. He took a firing stance and shot a dart at another Gamorrean, which sadly bounced off his thick bacon-smelling hide. Nora popped up from behind the bar and fire a wounding shot into his shoulder while Qillian snuck up from behind the Gamorreans and punched one with his knuckleduster, dazing the pig guard. All had fallen but one, who turned to the one who had shot him: Nora. But then VEX drew his blaster, spun and fired. The last thug fell.

Nora introduced Darter, their new pilot, to the group and the horrified Devaronian bartender yelled at them to get out of his bar. Darter explained that he too was in Teemo's bad books for seducing Teemo's daughter. The others would have lost their lunches at his story if they had eaten something for lunch.

Epic droid roleplaying going on...

Night's Black Agents: The Little Prince Job Ends

04 February 2013 | Hisham | | GOKL Actual Play, Nights Black Agents, RPG Actual Play, Role Playing Games

The second part of Night's Black Agents game run by Kai continued two weeks later with everyone present, namely Shiina "Misha" Mikado the Japanese grifter and heavy hitter, Jacob Novazembla the Dutch hacker, Sami Härkönen the Finnish grunt and Zlatan Kljujic the Bosnian driver! The spy stuff adventure in London continues from the last episode.

Ivan's charsheet

I did not have the time to produce a play report in my own words, so here's Kai's diligently written report (with bonus GM's Commentary in italics.)


Night's Black Agents: The Little Prince Job

25 January 2013 | Hisham | | GOKL Actual Play, Nights Black Agents, RPG Actual Play, Role Playing Games

Maulidurrasul, a national holiday, fell on a Thursday, and the GOKL guys invited me to play the new GUMSHOE system RPG Night's Black Agents. The venue was at Doug's new place which was not 3 klicks way from me along a straight road. I was happy to join them.

Night's Black Agents allow players to roleplay spies in a contemporary setting... where vampires exist in the shadows, and some of them call the shots.

The GOKL gang

The group consisted of Shiina "Misha" Mikado the Japanese grifter and heavy hitter, Jacob Novazembla the Dutch hacker, Sami Härkönen the Finnish grunt and me, Zlatan Kljujic the Bosnian driver. We had been called to the Stafford London, a hotel at Saint James's Place, which was across the way from Buckingham Palace by Air Marshal Morgan Prince of the British Ministry of Defence.


Trail of Cthulhu: The Watchers In The Sky

05 September 2011 | Hisham | | GOKL Actual Play, RPG Actual Play, Role Playing Games

And so it came to pass Kai attempted to run Trail of Cthulhu role-playing game which he bought at DriveThruRPG. For a demo run, he also purchased The Watchers In the Sky scenario. All he needed were volunteers to run through the scenario who would sacrifice their sanity for the game.

There emerged seven ill-fated volunteers.

From the pdf copy!

SWD6: The Rancid Putrefaction of a Cosmic Caterwauling Cabal

30 July 2011 | Hisham | | Artwork, GOKL Actual Play, RPG Actual Play, Role Playing Games, Star Wars

Last Sunday, I ran a Star Wars RPG D6 game for the GOKL group. It started out as a one-shot, but who knows; the tale might continue another time.

The Rancid Putrefaction of a Cosmic Caterwauling Cabal

Episode 312: All Heaven Broke Loose

Long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, aboard the space station Kwenn that served as deep space commerce and transport hub, there was a Rebel cell, who sat all day for days in a spacer's cantina named The Drunken Dewback, waiting for their first mission. Then one day the young bartender gestured them to the bar. She told them to go to Anchorhead on Tatooine where they will be given an important mission briefing.

Chapter One - We're So Starving

The Rebel cell consisted of Avril Mantessa, Pew Pew and Tyvokka.

Avril was a young Jedi who had been cloistered away and trained by her Jedi parents in secret after the Jedi Purge. She has yet to use her lightsabre in combat. Pew Pew was a short furry Ewok gunslinger who wore a wide-brimmed sombrero, a poncho and a pair of blaster pistols. No one knew where he came from. And finally, Tyvokka was a Wookiee who owed a life debt to a pirate who died recently. Finding himself without an aim in life, he signed up with a group of rebels.

A view from the gm screen

Lompy watches as Tyvokka the Wookiee mulls over his next step with Pew Pew the Ewok strapped to his chest baby pouch.

The trio headed down to the spaceport levels and entered a bay filled with light freighters and transports.


Adventures In Time, Space and Victorian London

16 May 2010 | Hisham | | GOKL Actual Play, RPG Actual Play, Role Playing Games

Player sheet and sketch
On Sunday I played in Cubicle 7's Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space role-playing game. Usually Doug GMs, but Kai guest-GMed the game I was in.

Kai deliberately GMed the session rules lite and with a more freeform style which allowed for cinematic fast play.

You have Attributes and Skills which allow you to do pretty much everything with an allocated number from 0-5 or above, 5 being a something you're exceptionaly good at. To perform a task, a player rolls 2d6 + the appropriate Attribute + the appropriate Skill. You roll against a target number. The harder the task, the higher the target number.

You also have Traits, giving you some special abilities or bonuses to your rolls. Traits can be good or bad, with names that range from the simple Attractive, Brave and Charming to the more esoteric Time Traveller and Run for your Life!

If you opt to take Bad Traits, such as Clumsy, Cowardly and Phobia, you gain extra points to put into more Good Traits or into your Attributes and Skills.

Those are the basic rules.


A Robot Rescue - Bad Example, Episode 4

23 March 2010 | Hisham | | Bad Example, GOKL Actual Play, RPG Actual Play, Role Playing Games, Star Wars

Bad Example of a logoLast Sunday, the GOKL gang continued the role-playing adventures of Star Wars: A Bad Example in the Spacelanes.

Two new players, Nigel of Singapore who played Bob the Wookiee, and Razzman who played Reelo Jackson the Rodian bounty hunter, joined the party as they embarked on a mission to retrieve their kidnapped crewmates, beginning with Weapon X the HK-78 assassin droid.

The previous episode can be found here.

Episode 4: Our Droid Is Not Open-Sourced

Long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...

Upon exposing a traitor Starson O'Kreem in the mobile asteroid pirate stronghold Irontooth Station, pirate lord Slaughter Maelstrom has confirmed a truce with the crew of the Bad Example. After returning to Sriluur to pick up Tickley, the crew sets off to recovered their captured droid companion Weapon X.

Using the data taken from O'Kreem's datapad, they attempt to discover Weapon X's location and soon track him to a warehouse in the Rodian district on Coruscant.


Pirate Politics - Bad Example, Episode 3

22 March 2010 | Hisham | | Bad Example, GOKL Actual Play, RPG Actual Play, Role Playing Games, Star Wars

Bad Example of a logoAbout six months ago, I ran the third Star Wars D6 game with the GOKL crew, which continued from Episode 2. But I was a bad GM then and did not take notes (mentally and on paper) of what occured. Here is a rundown of the lost Episode 3 of Star Wars: A Bad Example in the Spacelanes.

Details such as combat and NPC names were lost. New NPC names are fabricated for the purpose of continuity in the adventure and will be considered official for upcoming games.

Episode 3: Piracy, Treachery and Kidnappings

The crew of the Bad Example, Hunter Maelstrom the freighter captain, Nek'Koh'Moo'Su'May a.k.a Annie the Trianii, Ssssawar the Trandoshan chef and the clone Adenuneasily enjoyed the dinner set out for them by The Five Skulls Brigands. Weapon X, the HK-57 droid, just sat and made small talk. The pirate leader Lord Irontooth had earlier revealed himself as Slaughter Maelstrom, Hunter's brother. Sitting beside him were his two lieutenants: the suave, young Starson O'Kreem who smiled graciously at the newcomers, and the bald, older Yoat Jumpo who appeared to regard them with distrust.