Design a site like this with WordPress.com
Get started

Mythoard 24 and a Villainous Interlude

This month’s Mythoard is in, and it is time for another review. Below that is some more fictional writing practice detailing what happened to Wits and the Thin Woman from the train heist adventure. Give it a read and tell me what you think about the pacing, characters, writing style, or whatever else comes to mind. You get a little more content than just a review and I get some feedback to improve my writing. Win-Win!

This month hits a smattering of different game systems and magazines. Included within are an old adventure for AD&D, a simple adventure for low level characters that I found boring and useless in the ways that older modules used to be. Namely, that the descriptions took too long to describe irrelevant details mixed in with a few unique tidbits that are not nearly exploited or explained well enough.

There is also a Knights of the Dinner Table magazine filled with “day in the life” D&D comics, advertisements, and a few articles. The most useful article lays out how to use a high level character as an NPC in your game.

The other inclusion is a digital book detailing an adventure in a city besieged by the undead. I haven’t been able to get the digital download link to work, so I cannot review the text, although it sounds interesting, if hard to drop into an existing campaign.

Crawling Under a Broken Moon part 2 is an alphabetical order of random tables covering a theme of post-apocolypse from traders to enemies to weirdness. Should I run such a post-apoc campaign or possibly to use in the wastelands of a high-fantasy game with a little re skinning. They are all different authors but seem to consistently hit the right mix between useful details and concise, evocative fun.

The Rappan Athuk pre-generated character guide is exactly what is says on the tin. It lists a number of 1st level characters with their stats in both a Pathfinder and Swords & Wizardry style, that includes a 6th level version of each as well. If I ran my NPC’s as stat blocks rather than vague ideas with fudged abilities and relative stats that feel right in the moment, this would be a useful resource for me.

The Swords & Wizardly Light is a handy two-page, concise rulebook put together by a combination of Tenkar and Frog God Games. I am quite happy with my current fantasy gaming system, but I have gotten a request to run a simple game to introduce a friend’s spouse to RPG’s and this might just be the ticket to get their foot in the door.

The Creaks is a Mythoard style half page town drawing and summary along with a tavern and rumors. Perfectly sized to sit in my inspiration folder, ready for when my players get to the coasts and I want a rickety, dangerous shanty town on the water.

 

“Alleged”

“Train robber is over in cell three, take a look at his manacles will you?”, said the stocky man with unshaven scruff and deep bags under his eyes.

“Alleged train robber and actual victim,” boomed the manacled man, “but I appreciate you calling someone to look at these manacles, I apologize that my size has been causing you issues, but these really are starting to chafe.”

“You been good and kind, Mr. Wits, but it’s policy that we cannot leave a prisoner unsupervised with manacles on. Least, not since that one fellow strangled himself. I still haven’t found the right curse words for what idiot slapped those on a man your size though, we might just have to cut them off at this point,” Iasack grumbled, “I am not paying your rates for you to stand around stare, if you could get moving locksmith, I can finish this up and get a few hours of shuteye before I have to be back here in the morning.”

The tiny gnome, stutters out a greeting before dropping his lockpicks when the seven foot tall prisoner leaned forward through the cell door, his shoulders brushing past both sides of the doorway. “Why do I feel like the frog with a scorpion on my back?” squeaked the gnome.

“You wound me, sir. I would say this is much more like the lion and the thorn.” Parson “Wits” Tarris grinned, “If anything, I am the frog and my traveling companion is the scorpion, with the spending habits she has.”

“If it were up to you, we’d have walked to Goldfield to save a copper! I would rather be the sleek scorpion than the bloated frog, too!” the thin woman in the opposite cell growled, “ If you would just use that bulk of yours to pry open the manacles, we all could have gone to sleep hours ago, but no, someone’s got a big chip on their shoulder.”

It was three hours past sunrise before the gnome had returned with an enchanted saw that he blearily turned to the metal of the restraints. As the blade grew closer to flesh, Wits flinched with each push. “Oh come on, big guy, you think I have some sort of vendetta against you, who’s stuck manacles have ruined most of my favorite lockpicks,” the gnome grinned devilishly, “you who have beaten me in sixteen straight verbal jousts of Gilgalgol over the past two hours, and who now finds themselves under the sharpest saw I could get my hands on? You who now has that very saw sliding closer and closer to your fleshy wrists with each push?” He began to giggle, which led to cackling, to a resounding laugh ending in a choked cough.

“Well, you don’t have the keenest eyes because the first one is already cut. I’ve been sliding the saw across your flesh for the last dozen pushes. Ha! This saw couldn’t cut flesh if I wanted it to. You wouldn’t believe the stories of where this thing has come in handy, or what delicate places I’ve had to cut metal out from.” he shuddered for a moment before quickly finishing the other manacle, then setting to pack up his equipment.

“Ha. Such a joker. Really the epitome of slapstick. I am reconsidering having let you win any of those games at all now, Jovi.” Wits smirked, “Thank you, Iasack, for taking the time to get me out of those. Sorry to bore you with our Gnomish game of words.”

“It was something to keep me awake, speaking of which, let’s lock that cell door so we can all get some sleep.”, he smirked as he pushed the foot of Mr Wits’ drunken cellmate in far enough to close the door. The figure snored loudly, almost choking on a lock of their green hair. “You’ve got a big week of ahead of you, the judge is on his way in. Messenger says the judge was delayed a bit on his hunting trip, but should be in by the evening. Hope it works out for you,” Iasack nodded.

 

“If the Northern Train Company, would like to state its witnesses, we can begin this hearing”, stated the barrel chested, bearded man in slate grey robes.

“Magistrate, sir, we would like to propose for a delay as we seem to be unable to locate any of our passengers in town. Unfortunate luck as it is, they have all traveled on to business in other towns and would need time and compensation to travel. However, we would like to instate the mortician’s report and passenger list as evidence. Our conductor was slammed into the ground with considerable force and Wits, also known as Mr. Parson Tarris, was the only individual on the train capable of such a feat. One look at this brute should prove it well enough, but his clothing clearly marks him as part of a theatre troupe, the other members of which attempted to rob this train,” the lanky man intoned with a wide-eyed stare through his glasses at the mountain of a man sitting across the aisle from him. As he sat he pushed the empty chair next to him out from the table slightly, turning its heavy wooden back to face Mr. Wits.

“So, your company has called me back from my hunting trip to tell me you have no witnesses for a crime that appears to have been solved by adventurers putting down all involved, and want to lay your case on this man being present as the only one capable of an act of brutality,” Magistrate Arden Williams boomed, “Which then leads me to my next point of asking just how you intend to prove that Miss Kolena Omun is implicated in this.”

“Sir, I… well, certainly we could afford to wait for the adventurers, heroes of this sordid affair, to respond with their testimony? These two dangerous looking individuals would serve the public interest best by being kept away from the public anyway, wouldn’t they?” wavered Joseph Planker.

“I must object to my accuser’s terms and baseless slander…” Wits spoke, glancing downward at this hands, balled together on the table.

“As well you should. I agree with his objection towards your insinuations of his character based on appearance and stature. I was recently reminded of my appearance as such, a green haired elf ran screaming from me when I simply offered her a spot at my campfire just the other day. Planker, you would do wise to stick to the facts of the case, and not rely on stereotype to lazily make it for you,” the judge turned to Wits, “However, the mortician’s report and passenger list do make for two points of circumstantial evidence, which is only compounded by the fact that you and your travelling companion adorn yourselves as theater workers. I have taken the liberty to confirm that you both were employed as Lampshade Theater members in Corona, the same group known to have instigated this attempted heist.”

“We would actually like to call on Iasack, if your honor would allow it,” started Wits, “it was to him that we gave our confession of misdeeds.” The NTC representative took off his glasses to wipe them on his shirt while smiling to himself.

From the back of the room, where he had been seat, Iasack strolled up to the center of the room and took a seat next to the judge. He affirmed his oath of duty to the law and order of Goldfield before Wits was allowed to ask, “Iasack, we spent over a week in the cells of your office, during that time, can you relate what occurred?”

“Gladly, Mr. Wits. This young man has spent the better part of eight days and nights in my cells where he was initially very accommodating to having his manacles become stuck. Despite his size and apparent strength, he never once resisted a request or order and was unfailingly polite to me,  my staff, and even a drunkard that we hadn’t room for in another cell. Three days ago that changed, and we noticed that he had become withdrawn, even to be short with myself before he requested a private audience. Once in my office, he told me that it was true that he had been part of the theater group and even heard of the train heist plot in passing, he had put it out of mind, knowing that he intended to break with the group as soon as they reached Goldfield. He related to me from their a number of details that conform with the mortician’s report. The dwarven conductor had certainly suffered severe blunt trauma not possible by a normal man, but what doesn’t line up are the odd patterns of die stains on his clothing. Wits confided in me that the leader of the troupe had used her own special command of magic to make the attack. This also matches the recorded testimony of the engineer as well, noting some sort of colorful force magic user. For someone noted as being as dangerous as the NTC contends, Wits would have had ample opportunity to break his manacles, force his way out of the cell, or attack me in an attempt to escape,” officer Iasack regalled.

“It is understandable to me, your honor, that the NTC representative absolutely must pursue someone for this crime, their shareholders would not allow idleness. I also empathize with the law, in that citizens will demand justice and a trial,” Wits began, “What I do not agree with though, is the idea that someone must pay for this crime, I am someone, so I must pay for it. My companion and I have done nothing wrong. We were in fact roped into this mess as victims of the radicalization of our former boss and have been held for over a week without a single witness or piece of evidence that show we were involved in this unfortunate situation.” He stood on finishing this situation, to muffled gasps and visible flinching of a number of the individuals in the room, to kneel and state, “Please look past the outward appearances and judge me by my actions.”

“So we’re all just going to overlook the fact that this man has admitted association with the group that undeniably murdered a number of citizens and nearly destroyed the Line of Fire? The fact that all the passengers on the train are coincidentally out of town, on business, or pursuing a lucrative deal? You find it convincing that a man is able to act contrary to his nature for a single week to avoid justice? At the very least, we can wait until the adventurers…” shouted Joseph Planker.

“That is quite enough! You seem to be without further evidence to put forward, despite an already generous time period for you to contact witnesses. Need I remind you that they needn’t appear in person and could have given written testimony through any ranking official of the Empire? You of course do know such a thing, as you have done so repeatedly on criminal cases against your competitors in the shipping business. I have taken the liberty to message a few of these passengers, only to find that they refuse to respond to your inquiries any further because you have repeatedly pestered them about this in writing for the last week,” bellowed the judge, “ This case will be thrown out until such a time as when you can present any evidence at all that these two were specifically involved in the crimes that you allege. I will not be party to the witchhunt of someone with an intimidating appearance who for all this court has seen, has been a model citizen. Parson Tarris and Kelona Onum, the case against you is dismissed and you are free to go.”

“Thank you your honor, it will be good to feel the sun again,” Wits spoke sagely while Kelona gravelled, hidden  in a hacking cough, “Suck it, Planker.”

Mr. Planker said nothing at this, his eyes squinted and searching around the room as he filed his own paperwork into his bag. His days ahead were going to be tough, the Northern Train Company was his biggest client and he wasn’t likely to stay on retainer for much longer.

 

Parson Tarris and Kelona Onum gathered their belongings from officer Iasack after visiting the small jail, with Wits slinging both burlap sacks over his shoulder. They took the north road out of the large town, with many of the farmers and miners the town is known for staring at the giant man, imagining what profits his musculature could reap. He had a plan, a backroads path to Gallow City that would avoid Refuge, the place those adventurers had wandered off to.
Joseph Planker sat alone in his office, drinking a double whiskey. He thought to himself, “May as well break out the good stuff, I won’t be getting much of it once NTC hears of this. Where could I have messed up though? Did that green-haired boy mix up my letters and send out too many copies of the form letter? Next time, no matter how good the deal is, I’m sticking with my usual guy for delivering summons and form letters,” then he added as an afterthought, “Assuming I get a next time.”  

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

mishaburnett

more than one way to skin a cat

Hiverlord's Hijinks

Traveller RPG content, for the most part.

Tryep's Possibly Mythical Stories

Where Myths Are Maybe Real

Sandpaper Sunflowers

Eclectic Modern Farmhouse DIY and More

AnarchyDice

Tabletop gaming, terrain crafting, and other sundry nerdy hobbies.

The Grinning Skull

As soon as your born, your dying. tick tock... Everybody afterwards.

%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close