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An Audience with the King

happy

Listening to: Something Good Can Work – Two Door Cinema Club

There was only time to set up the first “episode” after everyone finished making their characters and finally choosing a schtick. Still a bit long, but it was so much fun!

While out shopping, the party were approached by a teenage girl with brown and black-striped hair called Tabby Kate. She was out of breath and expressed herself very poorly. When she told them that the king wanted to see them, their first general reaction was to wonder how there was a king in their skyloft city of Bahalla. Still not very eloquent, Tabby Kate rolled her eyes and said it wasn’t a monarch.

“Tycho King. You know, the crime lord?”

This went over better.

Scrimshaw won Tabby Kate’s undying affection by offering her a sample of his signature liquor. Victor had to roll his disaffected nature to decide if he would simply rebel because Nobody is the Boss of Him. He deigned to allow this affront to his independence. Tabby Kate led the party to the Loving Arms Hotel, which was clearly a very high class brothel. Some of the human prostitutes recognised Shae from mutual work as artists’ models, and were friendly but not overly so.

There were a few dolls out in the front, and Jared asked if they might recognise that Viva-3 is an automaton. Novella rolled Conceal to try to keep Viva inconspicuous, but one of the dolls had more successes on her Perception, so she did recognise a fellow automaton. However, she couldn’t possibly know that Viva is a former cop in a doll’s body, so she assumed that Viva was a former prostitute who had bought her way out of the profession. The doll gave a sisterly sort of nod, but now Viva has to be careful not to hang around dolls in Bahalla too much.

Tycho’s office lay beyond the hotel lobby. It was an opulent throne room arrayed with all manner of fine things–obviously stolen or contraband–and he sat in a large chair at the back of it. The man made a fine picture. Fabulously handsome in bespoke tailoring, he had an expensive prosthetic leg that looked more real than a real leg, and a nose made of gold.

Jolly and friendly, he left his throne to greet each of them individually, praising them and showing that he knew quite a lot about them. Tabby Kate served them drinks–Shae got to the Merry level of drinking, while Scrimshaw somehow ended up more sober the more he drank–while Tycho got down to business.

He pointed out that all of them except for Scrimshaw had come from the neovictorian change cage cities, and Scrimshaw knew well enough that the CCCs are terrible places. They’d all left behind loved ones, friends, and in Novella/Penny Dreadful’s case, people she hadn’t even known but had helped by fighting crime. “Not everyone has the opportunities you had–opportunities that you made.

He asked if they knew how the CCCs staved off war amongst themselves. (In my setting, there are CCCs in different countries) The party did not. Novella said that ladies of her station were discouraged from any interest in politics.

So he told them that each city leader gave up a daughter to another city leader, a network of political hostages. You have our princess, so we won’t attack you, sort of thing. “Barbaric, isn’t it?” Tycho wants them to go to the change cage city of Gangnam, ruled by Emperor In Se  Yoon, and rescue the Russian princess, Shuldeshova Bogdana Gennadievna.

Viva wanted to know his motives in asking them to do this. I hadn’t statted Tycho, so I gave him a Mental +7 to see how much of it he could conceal in the contested roll. Viva got three successes. As Tycho is a crime lord and therefore used to hiding such things, I gave him an Easy roll, so he had 12 dice. He didn’t roll a single success.

This was actually one of the coolest parts of the session for me. I had sort of hoped that Tycho could be a quest hub for the characters, mysterious and defined mostly by their reactions and assumptions. But without any successes, he had to answer the question without lying.

The jolliness melted away. He stopped grinning, and they could see the previously hidden shrewdness. This is a dangerous, effective man. And he spoke frankly with them–which usually, Tycho King, the Man with the Golden Nose, does not do.

He said that even though they aren’t actively at war with the change cage cities, they are still enemies. This is a guerrilla tactic, removing political stability so that the CCCs will war amongst themselves and forget about the neobedouins and skyfolk. Leaving them open to strikes from those two factions–or just to leave them safely alone.

He also made an impassioned speech about how it is wrong for these women to be used as pawns. Their agency and freedom were taken from them. The guy is a criminal, which he openly acknowledged. There are prostitutes right outside the door. But the women who work for him are clean, fed, well-paid, and every one of them–including automata–have the option to buy out of the business. He does not approve of the exploitation of women.

The speech had quite an effect on the party. They almost didn’t even ask what he was planning to pay them. I had decided he would offer to pay for fuel and give them 50 Helios once the princess was free and safe. But the next question asked was what Tycho planned to do with the princess when they brought her back. He said he’d give her money and a place to stay, or money to allow her to set up somewhere else. As he has informants in Gangnam, they could even let the princess request they take her somewhere else. He’ll still know they got the job done.

This seemed to satisfy the crew of the Rum Runner that Tycho had no ill intentions towards Princess Bogdana. Which I’m happy to say was a bigger concern to them than money.

Almost as an afterthought, Victor impressed upon him how risky the task was, rolling Conversation. As Victor made a number of successes and his character is somewhat built on his rhetoric, he accomplished this with flair. They get 75 Helios and Tycho threw in the fact that he might owe them a favour. Casually belying how potent a reward that could be.

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How Character Creation Went

2igezom

Listening to: If I Had You – Adam Lambert

The bulk of the night went to character creation, as one might expect. While the options are sparse in some ways–only three cultures and three races, with the latter being either Human or incredibly specific other thing–they’re almost sprawling in other ways. Complications and Talents add enough texture to the game that I had everyone text me theirs so I can keep them in my notes. A couple of the complications even came up once we’d started the game rolling.

Everyone had really great backstories. They are mercenaries flying the airship Rum Runner. Going from who sat to my right at the table and around to my left:

Chrissy is a Victorian Vigilante (a la the song) named Novella Reed-Brooks, who fights crime under the moniker Penny Dreadful and uses bartitsu with a parasol instead of a cane. We referred to her as Batman continually, although she has no dead relatives. Instead, she escaped the Change Cage city she was born in to avoid law enforcement and her much-more-terrifying mother finding out about her nocturnal activities. One of my favourite things about her is that Chrissy took the Proper Sensibilities complication, which I call “pearl-clutching.”

Jared’s character is an interesting gymnastic move in character creation. A peeler (automata law enforcement) with a doll (prostitute) model body whose job it was to bring back those who escaped the CCCs, essentially an undercover retrieval agent. Her name is Viva-3. In pursuing Novella, she took a liking to the vigilante and decided to aid and join her instead of taking her back.

Nick is the captain, a former IAN officer inexplicably named Shadow Pico. Shae for short. When he saw that only upper class men can have that background, he gave her a gender-masquerade backstory ended in infamy due to his Kirk-inspired complication, Constantly Loses Shirt. Due to this, she is also a legendarily disgraced Public Figure, so she’ll be sure to run into some trouble in CCCs. Luckily for me, she is also a Narcissist, which played coincidentally well with my first major NPC.

I shouldn’t pick favourites, but I’m a book nerd, so Gama’s character is kind of my favourite. Victor is an upper-class-born Misbegotten who got out of his CCC right away and ran into the crew of the Ophelia, who are in possession of a Chrononautilus. They went back to, let’s say the rainy summer of 1816. He was hit by a lightning gun in a fight and afterwards met–perhaps was rescued and nursed by–Mary Shelley. She misunderstood his story, but as he said, he got an autographed book out of it. Later, he broke with the crew of the Ophelia and ended up with this crew.

All of them have great names. Ethan’s is Robert “Scrimshaw” Gale, a Skyfolk Inventor who drinks like a fish. Or Captain America. There’s little chance of him getting drunk unless he really tries. But he is scruffy and one of his particular skills is building stills and apparently he keeps up with others of similar interest. He’s also the kind of everyman who relates to each person he meets and responds to most situations with a Yes.

The group backstory is that each of the PCs was recruited by Mr Phil Onion, a crippled boatswain with an enigmatic nature. He set them all up at a boardinghouse, and found a ship and crew. He’s basically a Coulson. Everyone loves him and he made a lot of groundwork things happen. His motives have not yet been revealed.

Seriously, everyone legitimately warmed to this character and kind of created him together in a storm of laughter and conversation. I was explaining that the crew is made of regular guys but they can individualise them. Maybe play poker or Cripple Mr Onion. I am the only one who reads the Discworld, so I had to explain it, but by then it had been misheard and we all decided that Mr Onion was the go-to crewman and that he had even brought them all together. Like Coulson.

That’s what I’m going for with most of the NPCs. Genuine emotional connection. I love that lady, I hate that guy. To me, it’s one of the reasons to play Airship Pirates.

Looks like I’ll have to talk about the actual session in another post.

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Game tonight

devious

Listening to: No One’s Gonna Love You – Band of Horses

Almost ready to get started. I still need to print out a couple of things, search out my actual physical book (been using the PDF), but I’ve got all of my notes, all of the NPCs I need statted, and my dungeon layout.

This will be the first time I’ve run a game since the Laundry Files. Which went tolerably well. I’m hoping to draw people out and get them to engage with the NPCs. There are A LOT OF THEM. And I’ve made a few minor changes to the setting.

Originally, Airship Pirates is married to North America. It’s kind of disconcerting. The world is incredibly small. While you can generate any number of Skyloft cities, but there are only three Change Cage cities and everywhere else is wastelands with the possibility of nomadic Neobedouins.

So I just gave different countries at least one city. Some of them have real names, like Gangnam or Marylebone, but at least one has a goofy name (Arschgeige) because I could.

Some of the players already have very interesting character concepts, but they haven’t picked a schtick yet. Can’t wait to find out what they decide on. One of the cool things about this game is that it’s assumed that your crew has run together for at least a short time. So it’s more like Firefly than D&D. An ensemble cast who start the game with relationships.

…crap, I have to remember how to build an airship. Back to the book.

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Historical Ship’s Articles

Aboard the Revenge, Captain: John Phillips; signed 1723

(Captain thrown overboard 1724)
  1. Every Man shall obey civil Command; the Captain shall have one full Share and a half of all Prizes; the Master, Carpenter, Boatswain, and Gunner shall have one Share and (a) quarter.
  2. If any Man shall offer to run away, or keep any Secret from the Company, he shall be maroon’d, with one Bottle of Powder, one Bottle of Water, one small Arm and Shot.
  3. If any Man shall steal any Thing in the Company, or game to the Value of a Piece of Eight, he shall be maroon’d or shot.
  4. If at any Time we should meet another Marooner, (that is, Pyrate) that Man that shall sign his Articles without the Consent of our Company, shall suffer such Punishment as the Captain and Company shall think fit.
  5. That Man that shall strike another whilst these Articles are in force, shall receive Moses’s Law (that is, 40 Stripes lacking on) on the bare back.
  6. That Man that shall snap his Arms, or smoak Tobacco in the Hold, without a Cap to his Pipe, or carry a Candle lighted without a Lanthorn, shall suffer the same Punishment as in the former Article.
  7. That Man that shall not keep his Arms clean, fit for an Engagement, or neglect his Business, shall be cut off from his Share, and suffer such other Punishment as the Captain and Company shall think fit.
  8. If any Man shall lose a joint in Time of Engagement, he shall have 400 pieces of Eight, if a Limb, 800.
  9. If at any Time we meet with a prudent Woman, that Man that offers to meddle with her, without her Consent, shall suffer present Death.

~

I’m posting these so that I can pull them up as a reference later when people inevitably ask if the pirates’ code is more than just the word parlay.

bronzejack

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Airship Pirates Dungeon Planning

nerdy

Listening to: She – Abney Park

Perfect song for what I’m doing right now.

So I have made a start on the first dungeon. I’m using RPG Maker VX Ace to do the layout. I even did some eventing, because I can’t help myself and because I got so much done so FAST. I used a project that I think Hubby had for mapping, so none of my usual scripts were in place. That default font is so smegging useless. I always forget how ugly it is and how word-wrapping is a necessity that just is not included without a script.

Anywho, the layout itself took no time at all. The dungeon is actually done, I just need to write some encounters around it. I’ll probably wing it a great deal. It’s how I roll.

dungeon1f

I’m fairly sure that most of my players don’t read my blog… well half of them definitely don’t, and this is only part of the dungeon. So I think I’m safe posting this bit here. I’ve got a couple of plans for that bare little alcove, too.

The dogs are doing well, just had a really minor hiccough where one didn’t want breakfast yesterday. They’re both eating now and they still like me better than Hubby. The three of us are super enjoying time without Hubby or Owen around. Stinky boys. ;p

Haven’t gotten much more done in writing today, but I still have a lot to get ready for Tuesday and I feel more like reading today anyway. I’ve got to read about the different cultures in Airship Pirates and then ask players what Schtick they want to play and gauge if anyone actually wants to do any vehicle stuff aside from the airship.

Vehicles are where the game gets too much for me, so I kind of need to know if anyone cares. ^^; They’ll probably want to customise their airship rather than use the Cordelia (I don’t see them choosing to be a band) and I do know how to do that, at least. But hogtrikes and cars are beyond me right now. Hubby made me a spreadsheet with equipment, which we should possibly print out and share (items in this game are underdeveloped) and I need to get my quick ref stuff out again.

Although I have a number of princesses planned, only a couple of them are statted. I doubt I’ll need to know more than their names on the first night. My favourite one is done, and I’m going to give them a choice of which to pursue first.

UGH big thing I need to do is make a Skyloft city or two. The guys will need a hub and I don’t really want to use High Tortuga. Owen gets out of school in half an hour. There’s not enough time. Grr.

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Progress made

scared

Listening to: No Way Out – Theory of a Deadman

Thursday we started moving house–nothing terribly exciting, it’s not our house. I’m dogsitting. Nominally, Hubby is also dogsitting, but we all know the dogs like me and merely allow him to exist. Anyway, there was a lot of driving back and forth across three cities (which makes it sound more impressive even though it’s not terribly) and shopping for groceries.

We did eventually get the idea of moving my PC out here with us, but it came in a bit late and then Hubby was too tired to set it up. Once upon a time, I did all this kind of thing by myself. Now I can’t lift my PC anymore. Ah well.

Everyone but me is asleep right now. Dogs, Hubby, Owen. There is a lovely sunbeam to warm my toes in, and all that sleeping I am not participating in means I can just wear headphones and write.

1688 words today, 2454 in the last chapter. I am halfway done. There are eight check boxes in my outline, and I have ticked three of them.

I couldn’t really work while we were settling in and getting the dogs used to us–and I was still trying to recharge and read. Still haven’t finished either of the books I’ve been reading, though. One of them is because it’s a roleplaying game book that I am sort of reading cover to cover in preparation for running a game on Tuesday.

Speaking of which, since I’ve gotten a decent amount of work done for today, I need to get back to reading the game book.

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Quick post

Listening to: Headfirst Slide Into Cooperstown on a Bad Bet – Fall Out Boy

Just trying to ease the stiffness out of my hands so I can drive.

I’m still really sick and getting sicker. My voice is on its way out. I sound like a cartoon character. A dying one.

Yesterday, I went back over the bitch chapter and made some necessary additions. Put in about 1500-1700 words. Still haven’t started the last chapter, but nothing bad happened to my outline (which is also backed up) so at least there hasn’t been any recursive movement. Ugh I am so sick I don’t even kn ow if I picked the right word there.

Today I’m driving Owen to Grandma’s house. His favourite place in the world. If he naps, I plan to read more of the Airship Pirates source book. I’m reading it cover to cover this time, and I made it about halfway through Character Creation last night. It’s the most valuable part of the book, since I know some people use it to make novel characters. (I have sort of done it myself)

If the Dayquil really kicks in, I might make a proper start on the Last Chapter.