12 June 2014

Exploring Atlantis 10: The Greek Pantheon Part 3

It's been a while since I added any Greek gods for Atlantis:The Second Age, so here are four more. (Part 1, Part 2)

Persona: Zeus is the god of the sky, oaths, rulers, and law. He is the father of many heroes and all the Olympians, either literally or figuratively. Zeus is regal
, judgmental, lusty, and authoritative. He is the supreme god of the Greek pantheon. Zeus is usually armed with a thunderbolt, and rides in a chariot drawn by the Hippoi Athanatoi, horses who are the children of the Four Winds.
Symbol: The thunderbolt, the eagle, and the oak
Dominion: Air, Law
Precepts: Uphold all oaths and punish oath breakers.
                  Follow the rules of hospitality and avenge any wrong done to those who seek it.
                  Do not rebel against a land's rightful ruler.
                  Do not harm an eagle.
                  Storms are the wrath of Zeus. Do not fear them unless you have offended him.

Persona: Hades is the god of the underworld, wealth, the dead, and all things beneath the earth. He sits on an ebony throne, overseeing the underworld. Hades is stern, gloomy, fair, and pitiless. He is the ruler of the dead and jailer of those who transgress against the gods. Hades possesses a helmet of invisibility, and rides in a golden chariot drawn by four black horses.
Symbol: The
key, Kerberos the three headed dog, the bird headed staff, and the narcissus
Death, The Dead, Law
Observe the proper burial customs.
Look away when making an offering to Hades.
                  Do not
let anyone steal from you. Punish the offender.
                  Do not let
entreaties for mercy cloud your judgement.
Death is the eventual lot of the living. Do not seek to cheat it.

Persona: Artemis is the goddess of the wilderness, wild animals, the hunt, and childbirth. She is a virgin goddess, punishing those who would violate her modesty. Artemis is chaste, graceful, energetic, and wrathful. She is the huntress and the bringer of sudden death, particularly to women. Artemis is armed with a silver bow and arrows, and rides in a chariot drawn by six golden antlered stags.
Symbol: The
stag, the moon, the hunting dog, and the silver bow and arrows.
Animal, Death, Fertility
Be chaste and modest in all your actions.
Aid anyone in need of a midwife.
                  Do not
let anyone of the opposite sex look upon your unclothed form.
                  Do not let
those who transgress against you go unpunished.
The greatest pleasure in life is the hunt. Do not forgo it, except at great need.

Persona: Hermes is the god of travelers, trade, tricksters, and boundaries. He is the herald of the gods and guide for the dead. Hermes is cunning, eloquent, mischievous, and friendly. He delivers dreams and loves a good prank. Hermes is usually equipped with his famous staff, purse, traveling cloak, sandals, and cap.
Symbol: The
kerukeion (caduceus), the pédila (winged sandals), the petasos (hat), and the tortoise.
Fortune, Travel, Trickster
Do your best to come out on top of any transaction.
Aid fellow travelers who are in need.
                  Do not turn down a request to act as a messenger
                  Do not let
an opportunity for a good prank go to waste.
Treasure and wealth belong to those who can keep them. Do not fail to 

                  illustrate this fact to others, if the opportunity arises.


06 June 2014

And We're Back....... Sort Of

Due to both an ongoing medical issue in our household and being really busy at work, I haven't been able to game or post on this blog. Work has now slowed down, so posting will resume, but my Atlantis: The Second Age game is on indefinite hiatus until the medical issue is resolved. I still have a few Atlantis themed posts in the works and should get them up next week. I'm also working on a new feature tentatively titled Panning for Gold, where I will examine a book, movie, historical period, etc., and see how many gaming ideas can be gleaned from it. Stay tuned.  

18 April 2014

No Actual Play Post This Week

There will be no actual play post this week. Most of my players attended a gaming convention this past weekend, so we didn't have a game. Some people just don't know how to set priorities:).

Exploring Atlantis 9: Meet the PCs Part 4

(Here are Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3

I haven't finished introducing all of the player characters yet.  Next up is YD's character, Ulhurr. Ulhurr is an Uluka, or Owlman. The Owlmen are one of the Andaman races created by the Atlanteans as specialized soldiers and servants after their failure with the Nethermen race. There are a variety of other Andaman races including Nemeans (lion-men), Anubim (jackal-men), Asena (wolf-men), Balam (jaguar-men), Tritons (gill-men), and Taurans (Minotaurs or bull-men).

All Andamen share certain traits regardless of species. The blood of an Andaman, when mixed with milk and fed to the type of animal the Andaman was created from, will tame the animal, making it easier to train and loyal to that Andaman. All Andamen are allergic to silver and take extra damage from it. Andamen are at a social disadvantage when dealing with Atlanteans and have a natural reluctance to attack them. Andamen who are not Nemeans also are at a social disadvantage when dealing with Nemeans. These traits are believed to be side effects of magic used to create the Andamen or to have been bred into them deliberately by the Atlanteans.

The Uluka's racial abilities include swift and silent flight, a limited ability to communicate with birds, excellent hearing and vision, and the ability to operate in an oxygen poor environment for extended periods.
Name: Ulhurr        Profession: Scout
Race: Uluka (Owlman)   Culture: Curracurrang     Age: 27    Renown: 0

Attributes:   Str +1  Dex +1   Con 0  Spd +3   Int +1  Per +2  Wil +1  Cha 0 
Combat Rating +2  Magic Rating +1  Wealth Rating +1 
Hit Points 18   Hero Points  5  (1 in Fire, 1 in Earth, 1 in Air, 1 in Water, 0 in The Void, 1 in Empyrean)

Skill Levels:
Atheltics 5  Evade 9  Handicraft: Bowyer/Fletcher 2  Influence 2  Instinct: Initiative 3 Languages: Atlantean 10  Literacy: Atlantean 3  Lore: Engineering 5  Parry 4  
Perform: Dance 2  Profession: Guide 10  Resolve 1  Stealth 10  Tracking/Shadowing 5 
Unarmed Fighting 2  Weapon: Gun 0, Heavy 0, Melee 7, Ranged 10, Thrown 0

 Talents: Advanced Missile Training

Disadvantages:  Relationship: His brother is an enemy
                              Internal:  Claustrophobia
                              External: Bad Luck

Destiny: To bring the Curracurrang culture to a level of civilization equal to any in the world

Walking the Life Paths.  Ulhurr had a savage Upbringing and was the child of a retired Hero.  He had a Childhood Encounter where he "Watched a god renew his life force in a Vril pool. When he looked upon the god's true form and began to burn, the god took mercy on him and saved him from the awesome sight." Family Status brought the result "Family lost all wealth through betrayal or mismanagement." Ulhurr went through the Previous Adventures section 3 times. By the end, Ulhurr had made an enemy of his brother by causing him to lose face (He exposed the fact that his brother was responsible for the family's lost fortune.), fought pirates in the Saharan Sea and "threw a spear through ten men…or at least that’s how the story goes", and discovered a little known fact during his academic studies, becoming skilled in engineering.

10 April 2014

Exploring Atlantis 8: Actual Play Report Part 2

(You can find Part 1 here)

The party retreated down the road until they were just barely within visual range of the grove. There, they paused to rest, shake off the effects of the wraiths' fear attack, and plan their next move. Their biggest concern were the bows carried by two of the men in the grove. If they again fell prey to the wraiths, the party felt that they would be easy targets for the men. Ulhurr, the owlman, volunteered to fly back to the village and recruit villagers armed with bows to assist in the attack. Everyone else agreed to this plan and Ulhurr flew off toward the village. 

After Ulhurr left, the remaining party members rested while still keeping an eye on the grove. It wasn't long before they noticed six people at the grove's edge. Five were the same men as before, along with another individual wielding a long staff. Asrok wanted to get a better look. Using his assassin skills, he melted into the underbrush and silently moved into blowgun range of the men. (Note: Asrok used his Talent, Shadow Walking, in order to move unobserved.) He had previously coated some of his darts with paralysis poison in order to have a nonlethal attack option in case some of the men were mind controlled villagers. Since he had them, he decided to put the darts to good use. In very short order, he had taken down three of the men, including the two bowmen.

The men in the grove knew they were under attack, but were not able to spot Asrok. In retaliation, the staff wielding man directed a group of wraiths towards Asrok's general area. The wraiths started flying in a gradually shrinking spiral around Asrok. It was only a matter of time before they found him. In desperation, Asrok made a mad dash between the wraiths. Somehow, he made it.

Upon seeing all this activity, Phoibe, Tafkap, and Naseer prepared for battle. However, the three remaining men chose to rapidly retreat back into the grove and the wraiths followed. Asrok rejoined the others. They decided to press forward with an attack on the grove and not wait for Ulhurr and the villagers to arrive. Phoibe, the priestess, told the others that if they trusted to the power of Athena, she could protect them from the fear caused by the wraiths. (Note: Phoibe planned to use her Talent, Righteous Words, to inspire the party and help everyone resist the wraiths' fear attack.) They entered the grove, Phoibe loudly chanting a prayer to Athena.

Meanwhile, Ulhurr had caught up with the group of villagers who were transporting the injured attackers (formerly missing villagers themselves) back to the village. He explained the party's desire for more bowmen to assist in attacking the grove. The villagers agreed, and when they arrived at the village, four bowmen were added to their group. They all set back out for the grove. After a short distance Ulhurr told the villagers that he would fly on ahead and rejoin the party. If he deemed the situation too dangerous, he would fly back and warn the villagers.

By this time, the rest of the party had encountered the wraiths again and discovered that, indeed, Phoibe's words helped them resist the wraiths' attacks. Powerless, the wraiths retreated. They continued toward the center of the grove unopposed. At the center, they found a gigantic blackwood tree of enormous girth. The tree had grown into the side of a small building, causing it to collapse. Asrok, Tafkap,and Naseer chose to examine the ruins, while Asrok circled the tree. It was determined that the building was probably a small shrine used during rites connected with the planting or harvesting of the blackwood trees. Asrok discovered a crevice in the tree large enough to admit entry into the apparently hollow interior.

During this time, Ulhurr had arrived back at the location where he had left his companions. They were nowhere to be seen. He did find the three men Asrok had poisoned. Surmising that the rest of the party had reentered the grove, Ulhurr took to the air hoping to see or hear something through the grove's dense canopy. Instead, he encountered the bats once again. They were still guarding the tree. Five individuals, larger than their brethren, broke away from the cloud of bats and headed in Ulhurr's direction. Ulhurr landed on a nearby treetop, unlimbered his bow, and in an amazing display of skill, quickly dropped three of the bats. (Note: Ulhurr used his Talent, Advanced Missile Training, to attack the bats.) The bats crashed through the canopy, landing near the rest of the party. Seeing the skewered bats, they realized that Ulhurr was in the canopy above them. Phoibe shouted to Ulhurr, asking him to join them. Ulhurr dropped through a thin spot in the canopy, leaving the bats behind.

Reunited, the party entered the crevice at the base of the tree. Inside, they found a common sleeping area large enough for 8-10 people. They poked unenthusiastically at the filthy bedding before discovering a small tunnel leading down and to the right. After lighting a small lantern, Asrok crawled in first, followed by Tafkap. It was a tight fit for the burly Lemurian. The rest of the party followed, though Ulhurr did so with the greatest of reluctance. (Note: Ulhurr has the Disadvantage, Claustrophobia. His player could have activated it for some temporary Hero points, but chose not to. He still roleplayed it though.) When Asrok reached the end of the tunnel, he could see that it led to a small underground chamber that was obviously part of the ruins above. As he exited the tunnel, Asrok was attacked by two of the men from the grove, They had positioned themselves on either side of the tunnel exit. Asrok rolled across the chamber and drew his sword. Tafkap gathered his legs beneath himself and sprang from the tunnel mouth. The two of them quickly dispatched both of the men. The rest of the party entered the chamber. It was furnished with a few crude pieces of furniture and was slightly less filthy than the sleeping chamber above. 

At the far end of the chamber, a tunnel large enough to walk through single file sloped downward into the earth. Faint light emanated from the tunnel mouth. The party entered cautiously. At the other end was a room hollowed out between the great tree's roots and lit by a few fitfully burning torches. Cells had been dug into the walls of the room. Behind wooden bars were the blacksmith and his family. The party released the captives and tended to their injuries. When asked about the man with the staff, the family told the party that he had been there, but had left through the large tunnel at the other end of the room. No one in the family knew where that tunnel led, but when they had first been captured, they had witnessed another prisoner being dragged into it. They then heard some faint screams. The other prisoner never returned. A debate about what to do with the family then occurred. The family wanted to return to the village immediately. Much of the party wanted to continue down into the tunnel. A compromise was reached. The blacksmith and his family would wait in the hollow tree for either the party to return or for their fellow villagers to arrive. The party would follow the man with the staff.

 This tunnel was larger than the others. It was almost ten feet in diameter, with walls of tightly packed earth. At the far end, they found what appeared to be a large, natural hollow in the earth. It, too, was lit by a few fitfully burning torches. The hollow was approximately 20 feet high, 40 feet wide, and 60 feet long. At the far end, a large hole could be seen plunging straight down into the ground. Between the hole and the party stood the man with the staff.

In a querulous voice, the man demanded to know "Are you here to serve Meiroth?" When he received no reply, he began to pray and threatened the party with "Meiroth's wrath". Tafkap strode up to the man and, almost casually, struck him down. Gravely injured, the man continued to pray to Meiroth and to berate the party. Asrok and Phoibe conferred. Neither of them had heard of a god, demon, or spirit named Meiroth. 

Phoibe stayed behind to treat and guard the wounded man while the rest of the party continued towards the hole at the far end of the hollow. Blood smears could be seen around the hole and a strange rumbling could be heard coming from its depths. Suddenly the rumbling became louder and the injured man began cackling with glee. "I think we are about to meet Meiroth" shouted Tafkap as a gigantic worm-like creature erupted from the hole. Purple, with a yellow underbelly, the creature possessed an impressive mouthful of teeth, vestigial eyes and two small stalk-like tentacles on its face. Ulhurr took to the air as Tafkap and Asrok moved in to attack. Naseer moved to one side and cast a spell. Fire sprayed from his hands and scorched the beast. The worm writhed in pain, which caused Asrok to miss with his attack. Ulhurr also missed while trying to target one of the stalks. Tafkap struck a mighty blow to the creature's side. He was surprised at the toughness of the worm's slimy, segmented body. It tried to crush Tafkap under its bulk, but he nimbly dodged out of the way. It then tried to grab Ulhurr out of the air with its mouth, but missed. In retaliation, Ulhurr chopped into the worm's densely boned skull with his axe. Naseer again bathed the creature in flame, while both Tafkap and Asrok sliced into it with their swords.

Tired from his spell casting, Naseer fell back to where Phoibe and the prisoner were. Phoibe had bound and gagged the prisoner, in case his prayers were having an effect. Freed from guard duty, Phoibe charged into fray with her spear, stabbing deeply into the worm's underbelly. Tafkap, Ulhurr and Asrok had also scored additional hits on the creature. The worm thrashed to the side, smashed into Asrok, and knocked him down. Phoibe and Tafkap both stabbed the creature one more time before it fell back into the hole.

Asrok noticed that he was experiencing an unpleasant tingling sensation on the slime covered portions of his body. Naseer then attracted everyone's attention when he said "I don't think that worm was Meiroth. I think that's Meiroth." and pointed at the ghostly glowing apparition floating above him.      



04 April 2014

Exploring Atlantis 7: Actual Play Report Part 1

I kicked off my Atlantis: The Second Age game this past weekend. Over all, it went fairly well. I could definitely stand to be more familiar with the rules than I am, but that will come with time.

The party consists of Phoibe, the Hellene priestess, Tafkap the Lemurian warrior, Asrok the Hesperian assassian, Naseer the Ophiran sorcerer, and Ulhurr the Uluka (owlman) scout. The adventure started with everyone on board a ship bound for Azae, one of the islands that make up Atlantis. However, due to a fierce storm, the ship found itself run aground off the shore of Diaprepea, an Atlantean island just to the south of Azae. The party had the choice of either waiting for the ship to be repaired, waiting at a nearby village for another ship to eventually come by, or to travel several days to Mehedra, the capital city of Diaprepea, and seek passage to Azae from there. The party decided to rest at the village for a day or so and then journey to Mehedra. They rested at the village tavern and spoke to the tavern keeper about the island in general and about their planned travel route. The party learned that Diaprepea was famous for producing excellent soldiers and not much else. They also learned that the mountainous interior of the island was the abode of unnatural monsters, whose origin was rumored to be a long lost Atlantean military base. They also learned that their planned route would take them past a pre-Cataclysm blackwood grove that was rumored to be haunted. (Note: Atlanteans plant a blackwood tree when a child is born. The tree is tended during the life of the person it was planted for, and when that person dies, it is fashioned into a coffin. Because so many people were lost beyond recovery during the Cataclysm, uncut blackwood groves dot Atlantis, and are often considered haunted.) In fact, the villagers had suffered from several disappearances in the past few months, and it was strongly suspected that the blackwood grove was involved.

 The party spent the night at the tavern, which also doubled as the village inn. Upon awakening,they discovered that the village blacksmith, along with his entire family, had been abducted during the night. Ulhurr examined the blacksmith's home and determined that around 8-12 people were involved in the abduction. The tracks led to the road in the direction of the blackwood grove. The party, along with 5 villagers, set out in pursuit.

As the party neared the grove, they entered some ruins. The villagers explained that a pre-Cataclysm town once stood here, but that most of the stone had been carted away long ago. Only the occasional low wall or pile of rubble was present now. Suddenly, a ragged group of 5 men burst from concealment amongst the ruins and began hurling stones at the party. (Note: Very poorly aimed stones, I might add. This was just the beginning of a night filled with abysmal die rolls by the GM.) Ulhurr, Tafkap, and Asrok quickly put down 3 of the attackers with well placed arrows. Naseer cast a shield spell on himself. Phoibe charged one of the remaining attackers and stabbed him with her spear. The last attacker threw a stone which ineffectively bounced off Naseer's shield. Asrok then shot the last foe with an arrow, wounding him severely.

Three of the attackers were dead. Phoibe treated the survivors, who were recognized by the villagers as two of their own who had vanished months earlier. All of the attackers looked disheveled and gaunt. The survivors appeared to be mentally unbalanced, wild-eyed and mumbling to themselves. They did not respond coherently to questioning, though one of them did warn everyone to "Stay away from the tree!". The party decided to send the villagers back home with the injured attackers and explore the grove themselves.

They approached the grove. Ulhurr flew into the sky to conduct an aerial reconnaissance. The branches of the trees were too tightly  interwoven to allow him to see into the grove, bu he did spot one tree near the center of the grove that was larger and more gnarled than the other blackwood trees. When he flew toward it, a large flock of bats took to the air from the branches of the tree and headed in his direction. He turned around and reported his findings back to the rest of the party. The party decided to split up. Ulhurr would fly to the large tree and draw the bats to him, while the rest of the party advanced on the ground.

Ulhurr engaged in a delightful aerial ballet with the bats, who seemed unable to touch him (Note: More of that absymal die rolling I mentioned earlier.). The rest of the party entered the grove. At first they noticed nothing except for the darkness under the canopy of the regularly spaced trees. Then they noticed movement out of the corner of their eyes. They gradually realized they were surrounded by insubstantial wraiths, who then attacked. Other than feeling a slight chill and a sense of unease, the party suffered no ill effects (Note: Next game, I'm using a different d20.). They did discover that, likewise, their weapons had no effect on the wraiths. As they continued forward, they encountered 5 men advancing toward them. These five seemed better armed than the previous five, though still wild and disheveled looking. At that point, the wraiths attacked again, unnerving everyone except Naseer. Upon realizing that he was the only one unaffected by the wraiths attack, Naseer cast a spell that caused a glowing, wailing, green wall to rise up between the party and their new attackers. It didn't actually do anything, but it stopped the advance of the men. Naseer then led everyone back out of the grove.

In the meantime, Ulhurr had grown bored with playing tag with the bats. He decided to up the ante. Grabbing his axe, he flew directly to the tree and cut off one of the uppermost branches. This had an immediate effect on the bats. They converged on the tree and started flying around it, only chasing Ulhurr if he approached too closely. Undaunted, Ulhurr performed another flyby, chopping off another branch. Then he noticed a green flare lighting up the sky in the direction of the road.  It was Naseer, using a spell to let him know that the rest of the party had left the grove. Ulhurr rejoined everyone else.

Temporarily stymied, the party retreated back down the road toward the village. And the grove? The grove awaits their return.  

28 March 2014

Exploring Atlantis 6: The Greek Pantheon Part 2

Here are a few more Greek gods for Atlantis: The Second Age.
(Part 1, Part 3)

Persona: Poseidon is the god of the sea, fresh water, earthquakes, and horses. He is the father of many heroes. Poseidon is
impulsive, wrathful, lusty, and competitive. He is one of the three supreme gods of the Greek pantheon. Poseidon is usually armed with a trident, and often rides in a chariot drawn across the surface of the sea by brazen hoofed horses.
Symbol: The dolphin and the trident
Aegae and Olympus
Dominion: Water, Earth
Precepts: Compete for what you want, even if it currently belongs to another.
                  Protect that which is yours.
                  Do not let a slight go unanswered.
                  Do not harm a dolphin.
                  Water is sacred. Do not pollute it. 

Persona: Dionysus is the god of grapes, wine, ecstasy, and madness. He is the patron of theater. Dionysus is
hedonistic, riotous, uninhibited, and inspirational. He usually travels with a procession of
maenads (wild women). Dionysus is usually armed with a thyrsus, and often rides in a chariot drawn by exotic beasts, such as leopards, lions, bulls, and griffons.
Symbol: The thyrsus (a fennel staff tipped with a pine cone) the cup, and the grape vine.
Dominion: Fertility, Moon
Precepts: Reward hospitality when you travel.
                  Celebrate freely.
                  Do not let the uninitiated view the Mysteries of worship.
                  Do not cut down a grape vine.
                  Wine is sacred. Do not refuse it. 

Persona: Hera is the goddess of women, marriage, childbirth, and the night sky. She is alternately a patron or foe of many heroes. Hera is jealous
, vengeful, solemn, and majestic. She is the wife of Zeus, whom she often advises, and queen of the Greek gods. Hera usually wears a crown and veil, and often rides in a chariot drawn by cattle.
Symbol: The
pomegranate, the cow, and the cuckoo
Dominion: Fertility, Law
Precepts: Offer counsel to those in need of it.
                  Render aid to any woman during childbirth.
                  Do not harm a woman in a temple of Hera.
                  Do not let a slight go unanswered.
                  Marriage is sacred. Do not dishonor it.