The Unusual Suspects – The Samurai

Good evening all. Once again, my apologies for the rather long delay between updates. I’m still incredibly busy with work, but I’ve also been suffering from a bit of writer’s block… every time I’ve sat down to write something recently, I’ve ended up staring at the screen for an hour or so, then giving up and playing some Final Fantasy.

I’m also likely to be offline entirely for at least a few weeks through the coming month or so, due to some travel I have coming up for work. While I’ll be able to check email and so on, getting on the blog is going to be highly unlikely.

So, I’ve decided to do a quick update for The Unusual Suspects as a way of easing myself back into it and making sure I’ve at least got something done before I’m away for another month or so. I’ll try to get another update or two up before Saturday, which is when I fly out for the first bit of work.

This character is one that I didn’t actually create myself, but I did have quite a bit of input into his design. He was built by the GM for a Supers game that I was joining part way through. I’m afraid the writing for this one might be a little rough, but right now it’s about all I can manage.

So, without any further delay, let’s meet tonight’s guest…

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A Friendly Word of Advice

Today I just wanted to share something that I’ve learnt from spending half of my life as a role-player on both sides of the GM’s screen. This is probably going to come across as a rant, and if I’m being honest, that is exactly what it is. But I like to think that it’s a justified rant, and also fairly topical at the moment given a situation that is occurring in a game that I run.

The advice is this:

Do NOT be a dick to your GM.

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The Unusual Suspects – Norva Wintarius

Note: This update is as yet unfinished. I did intend to have it up last week, but it’s been unbelievably hectic for me lately, with a trip to Sydney to see Alestorm, someone managing to damage my scooter to the point that I had to take it in for repairs, and trying to finish off work stuff before I take a week off. As I am away for the next week, and I don’t know if I’m going to have any internet access where I am, I’m going to post what I’ve got for this update so far. I’ll be coming back to finish this off at some point in the next fortnight, hopefully by the end of next weekend.

Well, it took a bit longer than I’d hoped, but I’m finally ready to get started on a new series for the blog. Welcome to the first installment of The Unusual Suspects. Each update will focus on a different character that I have created, whether it’s one of my own player characters, a non-player character or a PC I’ve created for one of my friends to use. After a description of the character and a summary of their personality and backstory, I’ll go into detail on the build, including:

  • What sort of game they’re being used in
  • What I did to try and make them an interesting and memorable character
  • How I balanced the build so that the character is useful without having to be the best at everything.

I’m also in the midst of arranging for a friend of mine to do some character artwork for these updates, but at the moment there’s no timeframe for when that will happen. When it does, then I’ll try to get artwork done for the earlier pieces and come back to update them.

So, now that we’ve got the introduction out of the way, let’s get started. The first character I wanted to introduce is a recent creation, and has only seen a little bit of play. So let’s take a look at…

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Yo ho, haul together, hoist the colours high…

As you can probably gather from the title, this entry is somewhat piratical in nature. Its taken from the song Hoist the Colours, written by Hans Zimmer for Pirates of the Carribean: At World’s End. Although it is my least favourite of the movies thus far – I haven’t seen On Stranger Tides yet – I absolutely love that song. So for those of you who may not know it, the full lyrics are below:

The king and his men
stole the queen from her bed
and bound her in her  Bones.
The seas be ours
and by the powers
where we will we’ll roam.

Yo, ho, haul together,
hoist the colors high.
Heave ho, thieves and  beggars,
never shall we die.
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Cooking the Cosmos – Part 3: Choosing a System

Welcome back to Cooking the Cosmos. My apologies for the extended delay on getting this posted, over the last few days my internet access has been incredibly unreliable, and I ended up frustrated to the point of giving up until it decided to start playing nice again. Now that the worst of it appears to be over, I figure it’s time to get back in business.

As I said last time, this update will focus on choosing a system for your campaign setting. I find that it’s best to choose a system as early as you possible, as it gives you a framework of game mechanics to build within. There are three major questions to consider when making this decision, so I’ll be using both the Project Helleborus and Urban Magic campaign settings to help demonstrate the process.

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A (belated) merry Christmas to all!

I know it’s a bit late, but merry Christmas to all! I hope everyone had an excellent time with friends and family, and had plenty of good food and drink. I did intend to have this and the next part of Cooking the Cosmos posted before Christmas, but unfortunately I ran out of time, what with preparations for the shutdown period at work, and needing to travel to visit my family. Still, on the plus side, since this is now a post-Christmas update, I can say thank you to everyone for the awesome loot I received. All of my gifts were thoughtful and much appreciated, but I’d like to give special thanks to the following people for presents that were extra special to me:

  • Nell, who baked me delicious white chocolate and raspberry cookies. Nell runs the food blog I Need a Feed, which can be found at http://ineedafeed.wordpress.com/, and she’s an excellent cook.
  • Elena, who gave me a set of green and black d10s that will be perfect for our weekly World of Darkness game. Elena also helps keep me fit by dragging my lazy rear up Mount Ainslie every Saturday, so a big thank you for that.
  • My housemate, Graham, for a Netgear wireless adapter that can actually make use of the ac protocol capabilities on my new router, as well as a couple of custom t-shirts based on Gravity Falls and Ugly Americans.
  • My Parental Units, for a new queen-sized bed and mattress, as well as helping me buy a new washing machine.
  • My brother, for giving me some money to buy some Pathfinder source books that I’ve had my eye on for a while now.
My new World of Darkness dice. Thanks Elena!

My new World of Darkness dice. Thanks Elena!

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Cooking the Cosmos – Part 2: The Basics (Continued)

Hey guys, welcome to Part 2 of Cooking the Cosmos, my series about world building for role-playing games.

I’ll be kicking this update off by creating a second campaign setting to use as an example throughout this series. After that I’ll discuss ways to expand on the details of your setting, and deciding on what you want your characters to focus on when first introduced to the world.

So, first up, let’s get another campaign setting going here. I’ve decided that I’d like to move away from the fairly traditional fantasy setting that I am using for Project Helleborus. I’ll still be using fantasy, but I’m looking at a modern-day urban fantasy setting, inspired by the Urban Magic series by Kate Griffin. I can not recommend this series highly enough, if anyone is interested in giving it a read please see the end of this post for more information.

Concept: A modern-day city with a hidden society of magic users and supernatural creatures. Magic has adapted to modern society, drawing power from industry and society rather than from nature.

Themes: Changing nature of magic; Hidden society; Urban magic; Clan warfare; Maintaining humanity; The pursuit of power; Keeping magic secret.

Now for a quick back story:

Magic has always been a part of the world, hidden from mainstream society. However, magic as a force is a mirror of the state of humanity and its environment. The shift from a rural society to urban living has had severe effects on the nature of magic and the methods used by practitioners. Where once sorcerers would summon vines to entangle their enemies, now they summon barbed wire. The herbs once used for warding away ill intent have been replaced with a spray painted image of a stop sign.

In the hidden magic societies within each city, there is a truce between the various tribes and clans of practitioners, as well as the supernatural creatures. However, relationships are strained, and small flare-ups are common. Sitting outside of all of this are the sorcerers, the rare natural adepts who are born with magic in their veins. They belong to no clan, but are respected, and often feared, as their powers are unpredictable and near unimaginable. Now though, someone is hunting down the sorcerers, and drawing together lesser magic users using fear and the promise of power.  Those who resist, die.

I’ll be coming back to this setting whenever I need something to use as a comparison or contrast for Project Helleborus. For now though, I’ll leave it as is and move onto demonstrating start fleshing out the details for your world.

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