Feeds:
Posts
Comments

“Alright, you’re characters have fought hard in the Riverlands but now it’s time for some fun festivities.” announced the game master.

“The King’s uncle, Lord Tully, invites you to attend his wedding to one of Walder Frey’s daughters at the Twins. Hopefully, the union will restore strength to the army of the North!”

The players look at each other with absurd faces. GAME OF THRONES OVER, MAN!

The worst part about running in the setting of a great story is the damned great story! Thanks Mr. Martin for your beautiful art, which has sparked my own creativity – now, get the hell out the way.

A Song of Fire and Ice is still being composed and I don’t want it to drown out my own li’l melody. I can’t really add on until it’s done and I don’t want to tarnish such a saga. The future is still in motion – like Yoda said while he popped open a can of Pepsi to earn Lucas another few million dollars.

This leaves us the rich history of Westeros, where only a few nerds such as myself have delved.

Option 1 – FATE of the Dragon Throne

A hundred years before Danerys married Kharl Drogo, King Aegon Targaryen IV, the worst king in the history of Westeros, legitimized his bastards on his deathbed. This created dozens of heirs in royal line. Shortly after, one of his royal oopsies made a play for the throne. It becomes known as the Blackfyre Rebellion.

The events are far enough from the series to have narrative freedom, but still feel like GoT. I didn’t make this up. I read this in the Hedge Knight series. George R. R. Martin is spilling over with fucking talent.

A game requires conflict and this is a good one. Player characters need a Trouble or Struggle to define themselves against. Daemon Blackfyre is this great warrior with lots of charisma. The crowned king Daeron Targaryen is a bookish administrator trying to focus on fixing the damage his father did. Uber jock versus Super nerd on an epic scale!

iaza13775128174800

Nerd.

The players I have lined up are mostly unfamiliar with the setting. A few think of GoT as “D&D with lots of talking”. There’s only a little magic in Westeros and few other tropes of medieval fantasy games. How can I run GoT AND fulfill comfortable expectations?

Option 2 – FATE of the Seven Lands

Six THOUSAND years before the death of King Robert of the House Baratheon – ruler of the First Men, the Andals and the Rhoynar, the first Andals conquered the Vale of Arryn. They brought with them the Seven Gods and steel to the wild spirited First Men with their many Old Gods. The invaders aim to spread the Faith to the seven lands of Westeros, civilize hundreds of clannish kingdoms and destroy the wierding powers of the Great Weirwoods with their inhuman keepers.

Whether the players play First men, Andals or whatever else, this mythic age holds only potential. I see it as sort of GoT with classical Roman flavor. The Andals as the Romans battle with their steel spathas ringing against bronze scale armor of the “barbaric” First men.

Add in the Crusades with the themes of old tradition versus alien ideas.

This is a vaguely detailed setting in GoT’s past where there was magic and sorcery. This is where the supernatural powers that Brandon is learning about were much more common. The Children of the Forest used dark magic to destroy a peninsula! Snarks and Grumpkins REALLY do prowl the dark woods doing evil faery tale shit! Dire wolves? Dire bears, boars, mammoths, dire EVERYTHING!

orcmountWhich would you choose? Why?

Advertisements

My gaming imagination has been recently rekindled … actually, has been set a FUCKING BLAZE with the release of the FATE Core Role-playing Game by Evil Hat Productions.

“Why is the hat evil?” Doesn’t matter – focus!

“What’s a Role-playing game?” This.

“… … that’s weird.” Check ya later.

“Cooooool!” Keep reading.

FATE Core takes awesome ideas like When You play the Game of Thrones, You Win or You Die and makes it a game Aspect that shapes the whole story, one scene or the fate of a single character.

Obviously, I want to run a game in this setting and have sketched out some ideas.

Skills – I need to make these tie in to what the characters in Game of Thrones go through and excel at so the players can feel like they’re in a book or on the show. Couldn’t/Wouldn’t represent the sex, but came up with these:

Physical Skills

Agility, Aim, Conceal, Endure, Fight, Muscle & Ride

All self-explanatory. Endure and Strength are separate. Tyrion can’t lift a boulder like Hodor (Muscle), but could drink him under the Wall (Endure).

Social Skills

Command, Console, Deceive, Impress, Intimidate, Mock & Wealth

When he learned of his father’s death, Jon Snow would’ve become a traitor to the Knights Watch. Good thing Samwell had Console to help his grief.

Since Aspects are true, Deceive attempts that contradict obvious Aspects always fail.

Tyrion tries to Impress upon Cersei that they need to work together, yet all she does is Mock him.

Mental Skills

Aware, Connections, Consider, Lore, Medicine, Search & Will

Aware is used for perceiving your surroundings – so it can defend you against concealment. It can also help you see past some deceitful tricks that rely on misrepresentation.

Connections is the ability to know the right people for the right purpose. Lord Varys and Lord Baelish use this to gain secrets from their spiders and little birds. Does this eunuch really have a gash down there? To learn who’d know, roll Connections against a HIGH difficulty.

Consider represents the ability to deduce subtle details. It helps you unravel a deception or look beyond a shallow impression. It can oppose Wealth to help you reach a fair deal.

Will is defense against Intimidate or Mock, that’s why they call Tywin Lannister “Ole Will Face”.

Lore is recalling anything you could’ve read in a book or heard around a camp. The more obscure or secret the fact the higher the difficulty of the roll. It covers rumors, legends, actual history or even trivia – like Catelyn Stark’s recipe for lemon cakes or the number of relatives Queen Cersei has slept with (at least two).

What a I missing? Lock-picking? Use Consider.

What do you think? This is a good time to share.

stark1LOW Aware skill.

Mavion stopped his task for a moment to touch his left cheek where the bullet passed through his upper jaw. Even he couldn’t have dodged the shot, but he reacted fast enough to choose it’s destination. There was enough blood, David assumed, to believe he was killed. Still, he was disgusted by the arrogance shown in not making sure he was a down target. Now and then he still got nose bleeds and the hearing in his left ear went out, yet he lived.

Sevie didn’t die, physically. The attack was a brutal warning to her father from a rival corp, Durflan Mining. Mr. Ordonez received 75% of his deposit back from Achilles Shield. It was a bit more than the standard  payout for the service package he bought. It would’ve been less had the girl died.  Funeral expenses would’ve been less than the life-long physical rehabilitation and counseling she would now need. These arbitrary numbers were the price of Sevie’s rape.

*   *   *

When able, Mavion visited her where she convalesced, but didn’t find the same young women he knew. The natural beauty forming was replaced by a cosmetic caricature of prettiness meant to conceal the damage. The eyes that held great wonder and reflection now gazed hollowly, even the real eye that remained was as cold as the new false one. Sevonia’s manner was measured and formal, her warmth extinguished. She thanked him for his efforts, but underlying the polite tone was a hurt dread only a once friend would hear.

In the hardest way she had learned the world was not safe regardless of guards, privilege nor the money that bought both. It was a place of predators stalking within murky uncertainty. The innocent were not beneficiaries of justice. She was just a corp-family asset to be plundered, “daughter” was a mere classification. Heroes could not protect her, as they didn’t exist beyond the commercial fictions. David Mavion was not, nor ever was, her hero. This realization numbed her heart, as much as it broke his.

Brought back to present, the lonely man at the table finished assembling the device and finalized the ceremonial by loading the tungsten razors into their cartridge. Magnetically propelled, this ammunition was silent and produced minimal recoil. Additionally, they would NEVER cause jams. It was what he had needed for the last job of his career.

*    *    *

Mavion entered the Durflan Mining offices, where Charles Gerbel operated. The reasons for his extortion of Ordonez didn’t matter. The look on Sevonia’s warped face was all David needed. He bought a hacker to circumvent their security and cripple their facilities to allow his infiltration. The half dozen agents that he couldn’t avoid would nurse broken bones and concussions to allow him to reach his target, and as punishment for being mercenary evil-enabling garbage – like David had been.

The doors to Gerbel’s lavishly appointed office suite opened suddenly and  unexpected given the enforced security lock-down the building was undergoing. Mavion glided in to find two guards between himself and the executive that ordered the assault. They started but obviously thought he was one of their people here to report on the situation. The one on his left was the one from the ambush. He was the one that shot David and taught Sevie a brutal lesson. Mavion stood quietly meeting his eyes until the man’s horrific recognition spread over his pinched features a moment later. He calmly reiterated his previous challenge to the assassin, “Come on.”

The man sharply barked, “INTRUDER!” as he lowered and drew his weapon. Mavion waited until the weapon was pointed directly at him before raising his sliver gun in response and deftly pivoting his body to the right. Before he even heard the pistol’s report, he could feel the shot zip past his head in a parallel path to the one that felled him last time. His own weapon released a high toned hum as two magnetically-propelled ionized razors sliced through his attacker’s head.

The second guard managed two rushed shots at where David had been a second ago. The hum of the sliver gun belatedly announced where Mavion rolled to his left. A razor tore through his wrist and a second ripped his shoulder’s muscle and bone. He dropped his weapon with a shrill shocked gasp as his arm fell slack both bleeding and electrocuted. After three swift strides, Mavion  closed and blurred a pistol whip across his jaw to bring on much welcomed unconsciousness.

Gerbel crouched behind his desk slamming frantically on the alert button that was disabled like the rest of the building’s com-network.  David strode up to the desk as the executive shouted impotently, “Who are you? What do you want with me?”

David answered with all the steadiness of professional detachment, “Sevonia Michala Ordonez.”

Gerbel furrowed in confusion, “Who? Who the hell is that?”

Mavion’s then damaged left cheek twitched in what may have been a smirk or frown. “Daughter of Ricardo Ordonez, chairmen …”

“She was spared!” the man objected desperately, before realizing all pretense of innocence had just fled with that admission. Angered by his own folly, he indignantly pressed on. “A warning was sent! Ordonez complied! He threatened our interests, and we responded! Such IS business!”

David lowered his head wearily and released a shuddering sigh driven by his own anger and shame. That infected woman, Sevie and many others were just pawns in this “business” that was conducted amongst these monied monoliths. Nathaniel, Shime and of course himself were just the agents of this unchecked avarice. He was no different than the one that shot him and hurt Sevie: an instrument of death formed from a once human shell.

Mavion’s senses peripherally caught Gerbel reaching for something in a desk drawer as the man blathered on. “In these sort of large scale dealings, my friend, the naive fool should have know a certain amount of collateral dam …”

A protractedly long whine from the sliver gun cut off the executive with the finality only a torrent of tungsten could grant. Mavion turned his back to the blood splattered desk and reloaded before exiting the suite.

*    *    *

David sat with his newly cleaned, assembled and loaded Ares Viper pistol cradled in his hands. Its precise metallic lines mirrored his own mind more than anything in this life he now lead. He was still a protector, but now only to those his outdated honor deemed worthy. Down here, at the bottom of society, there were some that wanted to make a change to the world. They ran in the shadows of corporate law, which itself had little regard for their hardships and injustices.  As a fugitive, there was no better place for him. Still living by the gun, but now only he decided where it was aimed and why the high whine would sound.

They say that in these times there was no right or wrong. They were wrong. Right was whatever it took to allow the mind to accept rest without regret. This was a luxury no salary, benefit package nor stock share could buy. It was, however, one David Mavion with his filthy apartment and dingy third hand clothing could finally afford.

It was time to cash in. Without a glance, he flicked the bottle cap and hit the room’s power panel. The yellowed light above ceased its harsh glare.

Mavion adjusted the ejector port to align precisely with the primary actuator. David turned the fasten-wand so slowly it was hard to see the movement. A half millimeter mistake could cause a catastrophic failure in the device, which could quickly lead to the end of his life. Yet, it was important that he do this without computerized gauges. They may have greater accuracy, but still a mere human had programmed them.

Mavion had greater need to be on point. He must be responsible for this. He had to determine the course of his life. Safety was always an illusion.

*    *    *

Sevonia Ordonez was a sheltered seventeen year old girl of corporate wealth not unlike Mavion a decade and sixty missions ago. Bookish but blossoming into a statuesque beauty, the girl was intent on her studies in history and philosophy.

These were subjects David had himself enjoyed between the tedium of Virtual Programming 106 and Poly-planar Algebra 202. They discussed them often as he and his associates escorted her to and from classes, lessons, recitals and other engagements that her father, an Aztech corporate chairman, approved of. Although, papi was ignorant to her fraternization with the help.

Nothing went on between them that was … unprofessional. Sevonia, “Sevie” he called her,  clearly has a crush on him but was too shy to try anything beyond a suggestive double-entendre. Mainly her aim was to fluster his implacably on-the-job cool. After several rough assignments, this low prioritized contract seemed the next best thing to a vacation for Mavion.

He felt … safe, but David didn’t see the target on his admirer until the trigger was pulled.

*    *

They caught Nathaniel and Shime by surprise outside the restaurant. He’d curse those two G3’s for their carelessness but it was a Tertiary Risk Assignment, and their deaths did alert David. He had the girl under the table and weapon drawn when they walked into the door as other customers screamed or dived for cover.

He fired over the assassins heads to halt them and avoid hitting any civilian running in between while also letting them know he was another source of danger, so stay clear! The single shot made the weapon jam, which no doubt had been aligned by the best computerized gauges.

The intruders had no such hard luck with their shots. One slammed into the armor over his stomach just before another hammered through his unprotected thigh. He regained his wits from the storm of pain in time to look up from the floor and see a shotgun muzzle aimed for his face at the end of a jacketed arm.

Burning claws seared his muscles as they hyper-reacted. Slowed like this, the attacker was able to watch his wrist broken, elbow dislocated, shoulder twisted then feel the pain of each before Mavion’s palm crushed his windpipe.

A scream snapped David around, his unsteady steps nearly toppling him – if what he saw didn’t. The second assassin had Sevie on her knees sobbing and wailing. Her long dark brunette hair bunched in his left fist and a pistol in the other. Four strides away, but with a agonized leg it might as well have been a mile. A smile crossed the bastard’s face, and for a moment he ever so slightly favored Garner Atwolf.

Mavion eyed the gun with all of his focus – measuring it’s aim as though he were holding it from the reverse point of view. He measured it as pointing to his left eye. Hard choice, but there was nothing else to do. The girl would be dead already if that was the mission – now she was just insurance Mavion wouldn’t kill them. He was the threat that endangered Sevonia.

He tore open his shirt to reveal the armor beneath and shouted with all of his fear for Sevie, hatred for his own failure and guilt for everything he’d done in his career to those that were as helpless as he was now, “COME ON!!!”

The man’s shot spun David’s head left and his whole body twisted to that side as he fell to the floor.

To be continued? …

David began piecing together his instrument. The activation assembly and impeller rod connected together then fit into the primary housing. Mavion cleaned the leads to the main power cell with a number 4 filament brush. He plugged it into the housing and a high-pitched whine sounded for a moment before fading out, letting him know the device was live. Indicator lights along the bottom of the rod cycled in sequence as the component began to charge.

He could feel the way the tool would hum when he used it. His mystical muscle memory could assemble the entire collection in a minute, but the ceremony required each part receive full attention. Too many things could go wrong when the pieces came together.

*    *    *

Garner Atwolf was a thin man with neatly cropped hair whom wore ovular black designer spectacles although his annual salary as Enereon Vice President of Operations could have bought the best optical surgery for every citizen in Provo, Utah that needed it. The bonus he’d received for exploiting a legal loophole to drill into a local lake could buy each kid a set of those specs, for those that could still see.

The operation released chemicals into the local water supply that gave thousands a degenerative nerve disorder. 65% lethal in most cases, but 90% to those exposed if under the age of twelve. None of those afflicted were employees of Enereon, so they weren’t classified as collateral damage. No required compensation for Enereon to dole out. The protesters strongly disagreed.

A firefight was going on in the lobby of Atwolf’s hotel, so Mavion was rushing him through a service corridor to get to the rear carport. Suddenly, from a service elevator four armed protesters cut them off half way and let David know immediately that someone in his detail had given them their route.

Mismatched street clothing, antiquated slug pistols and hunting rifles plus the haphazard masks they wore suggested the betrayal was sympathy driven rather than monetary. The couple of hundred nuyen they could scrape up was a half hour’s pay for an agent of Mavion’s rank.

The VP coughed out a startled cry as he hit the ground hard under David’s pinning grasp. The agent squatted into a firing stance, nearly sitting on the back of Atwolf’s neck to shield the executive and drew his weapon.

*    *

The executive’s armored limousine could be heard screeching off when Mavion returned to the corridor. Atwolf was away and safe, or headed to another ambush later – Achilles Shield’s contract was fulfilled so it didn’t matter to him anymore. What was of interest was finding some clue to the traitor in his unit.

David could taste blood from the cut on his lip from a slug fragment while his side throbbed from where his armor kept a poorly aimed shot from doing worse. The four bodies were still lying where he dropped them in an arrangement a professional would recognize.

The nearest one to the door had died trying to run, but now lay with his head at David’s feet. The pants were damp with urine, the only notable detail or discovery. The next had been effecting a firing retreat and was on its back with a throat wound. It was fitting that the mask rustled up to cover the dead face. Neither did this one have anything. The first two were brave, or at least eager, and died on their bellies pointing towards where he and Atwolf had hunkered down. The left one had taken a point blank face shot, so he started to check the right one to postpone dealing with the mess.

When rolled over, its … her mask fell loose to reveal the face of a woman that hadn’t, nor would ever, see her thirties. High cheeks and almond eyes spoke of Native/Latino heritage. Her skin was a deeper bronze than David’s own, except for infected black and grey veins blanching the right side of her face a puss yellow – common symptom of the disorder. The milky eye nearest the corruption had been dead for a while. Untrained and with no depth-percep, still she shared the point position in this attack on Atwolf. She must’ve been very eager, and stupid.

He snapped his gaze off her vacant expression to continue the search and found something, a folded paper print of all things. A wrinkled low-res picture of a smiling boy, maybe eight years, hugging a smaller girl giggling mid-squirm. Some lake reeds, sand and water framed their apparent autumn frolic. Their resemblance to the woman was as deep as the ache in David’s bruised ribs. Perhaps mother and children were together now … probably not, stupid thought. For the moment, the picture was all that was. … … …

Mavion refolded and replaced it, then rose to casually stride towards the lobby to rejoin the rest of his team were. He didn’t hear anymore gun fire. This was good. Maybe the other protesters had fled, been arrested or gave pursuit to the limo, whichever spared more blood. He’d explain his brief exchange of fire to Summers and have the G2 write the action report.

David didn’t want to recount this job, find any leak, identify these assailants nor find their relations for arrest.  He just wanted this day to end as the ache returned to his notice.

To be continued …

Lion Spirit lager swooshed around the base of it’s dark bottle as though the bitter musky flavor could be improved by the humid air of the disheveled apartment.

It wasn’t some hundred year old chardonnay composed like liquid aromatic art in the 1960’s from breeds of real grapes aged in barrels of actual oak.

David knew it was an alcoholic byproduct made in the process to synthesize some industrial solvent or machine fuel that was deemed dilute enough for consumption. The brew was combined with taste enhancing chemicals, food dyes and effervescence agents then bottled and labeled as Lion Spirit. Marginal production was the corp-term for selling garbage as though its what was intended, and the means that fed, clothed and sheltered most.

David took a swig of the liquid and leaned back from the small table with a sigh. Under his caramel tan skin, his lean muscle relaxed over the sharp ribs of his thin torso as he dangled his head back, heavy with a bush black curls. The piss-colored light above flowed over vaguely semetic narrow features, stubble dusted thin lips, a lightly scarred left cheek bone and lit his weary amber eyes.

They took in the small dim living space strewn tornado-style with discarded paper Taiwanese food containers and color-faded clothing of mostly dark or gray earth-tones. Colors spoke gang affiliation around here, and David Mavion was for hire. A neat and clean-cut professional would stand out like a diamond amongst turds in the slums. The apathy of the lazy or imbalance of a madman would be judgements made about this hovel that would serve as further camouflage. Why make a search easier for any agent that broke in while he was away?

The sauce-stained table held a small 3” by 6” metal box of precision brushes and fine ceramic tools in slots next to an array of electronic and mechanical components, themselves arranged in orderly fashion by function and in relation to each other. A shiny stack of half-inch long triangular tungsten razors sat next to a hollow cartridge to the right of the congregation.

Compared to everything else in sight, one would think ancient mystics left these as some cryptic message. Not so. These pieces and their organization were the true evidence of who Mavion actually was. The weekly ceremonial these artifacts featured in were his anchor against the dark fetid tides of his chaotic life.

David sat up, took a silk cloth from the box and gave it a spray of cleanser. He began to wipe down the handle assembly and let his mind wander.

*    *    *

Francis and Abigail Mavion turned their military experience into an A-rated security contractor corporation called Achilles Shield. Mother’s inheritance and high class contacts sold Dad’s expertise and personnel to give their three children a protected upbringing. As the youngest, David was privileged to be beneath their notice yet availed of actual literature – instead of the standardized specialist vocational curriculum and reinforcing entertainment content.

Stories of heroes filled his imagination with dreams of the kind of man he would be. Good empowered ordinary men to win out against circumstance and insurmountable evil. He’d later learn those tales were as exaggerated, or plain false, as their legendary times were removed from the world outside his gated community. The protection he received, and being the only boy in the family, made him special. Yet, something else revealed itself in his early adolescence.

Twenty years before he was born, The Awakening returned, or some say added, actual Magic to the world. Symbol regained extra-personal power and science lost its understanding of every facet of reality. It was a natural force the corporations couldn’t control, so fear and demonize.

David learned Mother had a brother that turned into a troll in the Goblinization outbreak, whom was then disowned. This was why he hid his burgeoning talent, although it was more blessing than curse.

Hyper-Synaptic Reactivity gave David blindingly quick reflexes that preserved the accuracy of an action taken with meticulous patience. If he drew a highly-detailed picture of a turtle while concentrating, the boy could draw it the same way fifteen more times in a fraction of the time it first took. The same was true with dance steps, dart throwing or any other coordinated exercise.

The peaceful, safe life his parents envisioned for their youngest was no more, as this gift gave him too much utility to the company. The youngest Mavion received the best and most varied combat training Achilles Shield Security could afford. David would get the chance to be a hero, but not like those he’d read of.

To be continued …

As a new comic, I continue to consider how to put my personality into my humor so others can understand me. I think this is a continuing art practiced by all performers, but I don’t have a big (or even small) audience that follows me. I’ll get lucky to get a nerd or two near my level of geek.

I’ve been working on a deodorant bit that of course skews a bit obscure, because this is the type of knowledge that nerd’s love and that binds us in fellowship like the One Ring. If you didn’t get that reference, you understand my issue and are a hermit or should be shunned like one. Let’s dissect this literally (not with a scalpel … but … yeah):

Premise: Know what’s ANNOYING? The LIES commercials use to sell CRAP.

A true observation made with a hostile attitude (power words in bold) that most would agree with. The question posed engages the audience’s curiosity. Crap can be interchanged with shit, which is better for the second S word after sell. So far, so standard.

Axe Body Spray doesn’t drive women crazy. That LIE just drives douche bags to buy Axe

This is joke number one of the bit. I consider this a chuckle-worthy appetizer punch line. It may insult Axe-wearing douches in the audience, but they’ll feel better by the end of this. Showing the nerd flag makes the average person feel superior, and it’s about to get geeky.

I like the Axe knock-off BLADE. It’s cheap. It works.It SLAUGHTERS VAMPIRES!

Blade Fan Fiction

Surprise exaggerated connection between the deodorant Blade and the Black half-vampire vampire hunter comic book character played by Wesley Snipes in movie of the late 90’s early 2000s. This get’s a strong to moderate guy laugh but loses most girls. Those ladies that do laugh, I make note of for after the show.

It keeps your armpits from BURNING in sunlight

Tag based on one of Blades special vampire powers that gets a smaller laugh bump. Geek laughter guaranteed though. This is where the laughs begin to die off if I continue connecting to the character. So, I go meta.

Blade does NOT drive women crazy … (beat) … but it DOES give them JUNGLE FEVER.

Another surprise exaggeration connection but to the actor this time. Comic geekery to movie nerdery. Snipes starred in the controversial Spike Lee movie Jungle Fever 20 years ago where his character gets in an interracial relationship.

Obscure for many audiences, but I LOVE it so much! The Jungle fever idea ties in so well with the Axe fantasy of women going sexually crazy. That I’m a Black comic makes it work on another level. A decent amount of Black people will get it, so maybe this version should go in the arsenal for that audience.

For the mainstream, I may as well keep referring to the Blade character with his $2 billion movie franchise.

Blade does NOT drive women crazy … but it drives the undead BACK to HELL … where they BELONG!

“Where they belong” needs to be strongly emphasized to push the implied opinion that vampires or undead should exist, which is ridiculous but absurdly follows the bit’s attitude.

This is where the bit concludes right now. I’ll audience test the revisions later this week, but you can give me a preview. Comic readers (comic book lovers or comedians that read) let me know your comments and suggestions.