Monday, May 6, 2013

The Old Ones

No, I'm not referring to THE old ones.  In the world in which Hrulvir is perched, I've introduced a race of humans that are, for all intents and purposes, Melniboneans with the serial numbers blacked out. 

I did this because I wanted to use Moorcock's Young Kingdoms as a departure point and morph the setting into my own. 

Accordingly, I decided to use the Melniboneans as a palimpsest.  The old ones, if legend may be trusted, are a mingling of human and demon.  No one knows exactly why or how this mingling took place, but the remnants of this erstwhile culture are treated with suspicion and disgust.

Human tends to project upon this diaspora all manner of perversions.  The old ones are believed to have practiced cannibalism, incest, child sacrifice, and other sordid rituals that are better left unmentioned.  The truth, probably, is somewhere in the middle.

In truth, the old ones once ruled an empire that threatened to span the entirety of the known world.  Their armored legions, at one time, were the most fearsome fighters on the planet.  The remains of this once vast demesne are scattered like bones.  The characters have yet to discover one of this race's tombs.  It will happen, though. 

I have also been thinking of American Buffalo, again.  I was struck this morning by the notion that this race was so wealthy that their noble families used to mint their own currencies.   Collectors go to obscene lengths to obtain these unique, and sometimes magical, coins.  What if the players are hired by one such collector to break into the home of another collector and steal his or her collection?

More importantly, since one of the players is a halfbreed old one, I wonder how he feels about this sort of looting. 

Friday, May 3, 2013

The Many Characters that I've Played

As we all know, one of the hardest things to do is to wrangle a four or five thirty-somethings into sitting around a table and throwing plastic dice at one another.  No one has the time, really - family, work, etc. take precedence.  One of the things that I've done in order to keep gaming, is that I play some online games through RPOL.

I do this because I am inveterate lover of rpgs; I love write; and I love to play new games.  The problem with online games is that most of the games tend to fizzle out.  There are a few, however, which have withstood attritition, and have kept on keeping on.

As a matter of fact, one of the games was so epic, and the group of players so disciplined, that I had to bow out because their posting rate was far too quick for me to participate.  It also didn't help that the game had been going on for five years.  It is very difficult to participate in a game with that much backstory.

There are other games, however, that have been quite amazing.  The game Lacuna comes to mind.  Although that game has ceased, the two years during which that game was active remain some of the most fantastic gaming experiences that I've ever had.  I attribute the lion's share of success to the GM, a great guy named Don.  Don had the ability to roll with whatever oddball decisions our oddball characters made.  He gave as good he got, in other words.

I have also been involved in pretty epic, picaresque Talislanta game.  Although the game does experience protracted lulls, it always picks up again.  The GM of this particular game is also pretty darn fantastic.  The players are great as well. 

I am currently involved in Amber game, as well as a Dying Earth game.  We are in the process of creating characters, which is always fun.  Here are the descriptions of the two characters that I am going to be playing.

From Amber:

The greys and reds of Rene's trump suggest gathering clouds and slashes of blood.  Physically speaking, Rene possesses the graceful musculature of a cat.  His hair is as dark as wet coal, and tangles about his head.  Easily tricked, he's prone to vengeful fits of anger – especially when the past reminds him that few wrongs can be forgiven or forgotten.  
When asked why he loves jazz so much, Rene shifts his tortoise shells and says that the convolutions of bebop remind him of the whorls and curves of the pattern.  There is magic in allowing one's fingers to scuttle and weave across frets, creating melodies from shadows.
When he is not loitering within the halls of Amber, Rene Thomas haunts dark cafes and theatres, playing songs that evoke the melodies of Cherokee, Avalon, How High the Moon, All the Things You Are, and Ornithology.  Onstage, he prefers to concede the spotlight to Dexter Gordon, Charlie Parker, Bill Evans, Clifford Brown, Miles Davis, Pops, and countless others.  He keeps company with men and women of a fey disposition- a lost generation of soldiers, poets, and novelists who speak nostalgically of wars and crumbling regimes.

From Dying Earth:

Balthazar Vaughn IV comes from a long, distinguished line of rakes and libertines.  The entire male line of this family has either been jailed, or succumbed to one excess or another.  It is rumored that Vaughn's father and grandfather murdered one another in a duel over a mistress.   Not wanting to be outdone by his forebears, Balthazar Vaughn IV has spent his days cheating, gambling, and amassing enemies.  He is, like his forebears, utterly convinced that he can talk or feint his way through any predicament, and that he will always remain one step ahead of his fate.

It sounds like a lot of work, but, most games on RPOL unfold at leisurely pace.   The best thing about playing these games is that I've been able to hone my writing skills a great deal.  Everything is text-based, so one has to be able to desribe their character's actions as vividly as possible.  This doesn't necessarily require paragraphs, by any means.  It does, however, require clarity.  Less is often more, as the saying goes.