Wednesday, July 06, 2011

RPG Carnival: My BadAss RPG

First off, the Elthos Universe has got Mr. BadAss Bunny as it's Mascot, so that's hard to beat.

Second, I would say that the adventures that come out of Elthos are pretty badass as well.  I try to GM concepts that I think will surprise my players, and in some of the more recent cases the most badass thing they did was shrink down to the half the size of rice-grains in order to escape an enemy, riding on the backs of aphids.

It all started with chores.  I have my players as members of a large household of swine herders way out in the sticks, with lots of chores to do.  They are between the ages of 12 and 16, and don't know much beyond their farmstead.  They got involved, however, with a shadowy character that promised them huge wealth if they would plant certain black seeds on the first day of spring. Nope, they could not wait and planted them right away - wrong move!.  As soon as they did there was a tremor in the earth, and that got the adventure rolling.  They went to pay a visit to the local Monastery of the Golden Sheaf (sacred to Minvar, the Elkron of the Earth) so they could report the quake (but not mention the odd coincidence regarding the black seeds).   Along the way they met Old Biddy Mable, and managed to rescue a girl and her brothers from the lonely witch's magical snare.   The Abbess at the Monastary was kind and helpful, and all was well, until they got lost on their way home and wound up in the Black Forest.  There they met Lady Lucia who governed the Green Dragon Inn, and met some swindlers there, one of whom took a fancy to a Party member named Morgana.  Whoopsie, in the morning the Party woke up to find that Morgana was missing from her room.  They pursued up into the mountains where they found an old ruin occupied by a rather brutal gang of thugs, lead by a magician named Thurwulv.   There they were, cornered on the parapet of an ancient tower, having rescued Morgana, and in the process causing the death of her captor, Mr Montague (who happened to have sincerely fallen in love with the girl, who herself fell in love with him despite his crooked ways).  Trapped by Thurwulv and his men thursting for revenge, the Party escaped
Old Biddy Mable
with the help of Biddy Mable, who happen to be watching over them from afar.  She brought them into Weeleena's Tea House (an interdimensional tea house that fey like to visit).   To escape they climbed the Shrinking Stairs, and found themselves half the size of a grain of rice, and were escorted by two Princes of the Aphid people, upon whose backs they rode to discover the Aphid Temple inside a stone on the western parapet wall, and communed with the Holy Aphid there (an old man).  As it turns out the Insect Kingdom is ruled by a mysterious Insect King (whom they never saw, but had a big influence from afar). Despite having a King, however, the world of the Insects is fraught with faction and continuous warfare.   The Locust Ambassador arrived.  He was a large bulky half-man/half-Locust, redish in color, and plated with magical copper armor. He demanded that the Aphids support their claim to the King that the Ants stole their food and must deliver it, ALL of it, to the Locusts, or they would rise the Grand United Army and destroy all the green things of the valley.  This of course included the Player Character's home town.   They got busy.  First they decided to capture the Locust Ambassador (they were not big on diplomacy), and haul him in front of the towns folk so that they could see there was a real threat coming, and so help them to build a huge bonfire on Mount Zin in which they hoped to focus the Locust Swarm and destroy it.  The focusing would be done by praying to the appropriate Elkron at the right time to funnel the winds in such a way as to drive the Locusts into the blazing mountain grotto.   This plan was executed, the Red Locust Ambassador captured, with the help of Lady Isabella, a LadyBug Princess who took an interest in one of the Player Characters named Storm Wizard (aka, John Bellowick), and her body guard, Captain Ferdinando the Wasp Warrior.  Unfortunately, what they didn't know was that the ferocious and barely containable Red Locust Ambassador did not come alone.   His brother was nearby watching with a Squadron of Hypnotic Crimson Mosquito Fighters (think Air Force), and Water Bugs (think Artillery), not to mention the Silver Locust Ambassador who himself was another formidable opponent.  An epic war broke out between the Locust forces and those of the King, who had taken umbrage at the audacity of the Locusts and sent two Ant Armies to rectify the situation and capture the errant Locusts.   During the battle the tiny sized adventurer's found a tunnel under  rock that lead into a spider cave, which was actually the entrance to the Temple of the Spiders, and nearly got lost in the Illusions and trapped the 'Web of Lies' therein.
Nevertheless they escaped and as they fled on the back of a lady bug into the distance they watched the last moments of the battle from the air wherein the Locusts were finally captured by the Ants and their Wasp Warriors (the other Air Force). Needless to say, it was exciting.   And that is to leave out quite a bit of detail about how Juliette Bellowick died, and was able to rescue Pamela McFearson from Limbo, and managed herself to be seduced by the Dark Scorpion Prince of the Underworld, and escaping there arrived safely at the Monastery where the Abbess had performed many a life-summoning ritual.   By the end of the story (and leaving out lots of details) the Party made it safely home to their anxious father and ailing mother, and so ended that Chapter of the Campaign.  Oh, needless to say, the black seed that Juliette had planted in a flower pot grew into a peculiar and monsterous plant-man the size of her thumb which sprang out of a hairy black bulb on the top of the plant.  The bottom of the plant was a long stringy vine that overflowed down the side of the pot, down to the floor boards and vanished below the barn.  They tried cutting the vine but that, as it turned out, was not as easy to do as they had hoped.  The vine, as it happens, was what old mama Bellowick tripped on when she banged her head and fell ill, soon after the Bellowick children disappeared off into the sunset on their adventure.  Fortunately, when they finally got home, they were able to call upon the friends they made along the way to bring mom healing soup, and so everything turned out well.

Overall, it was pretty damn BadAss.  I wrote up the entire story in prose with all of the actual dialog and detail and maps on my Blog.  You can find the whole "Actual Play" Story write up in Chapters here, which is another BadAss expression of Elthos.   And then of course there was the incorporation along the way of the Elthos Tarot Deck, another bit of BadAssery that I created with the amazing artistic assistance of Jason Moser, by which Morgana foretold the Death of Mr Montague, though in the end it saddened her greatly.

Lastly, the final BadAss aspect of Elthos are the "One Die System" (ODS) Rules which is a Mini-System I created for the Literary Role Playing Game Society of Westchester so we could try out GMing ideas at the local pub where we have our meetings.   The Elthos ODS has turned out to be a pretty handy little system, that as it turns out is simple enough, yet complete enough, to run a reasonably light weight Traditionalist, non-Genre-Specific game.  It also has the virtue of being programmable due to is simple mechanics.  So I created one more BadAss thing - the Elthos ODS Web Application that runs all of the ODS Rules as a web based Application.  It allows GMs to create their own Worlds, roll and manage Characters, equip them, and maintain records of their adventures, doing all necessary calculations.   Basically a Gamesmaster's Toolbox, and World Weaver's Development Studio.

Ok, that is all the BadAss I have (except also for my Elthos Drawings!).   But gosh, that's enough already!  Sheesh!!

And finally, a warm and hearty "Thank You, kindly" to our RPG Carnival Host at Nevermet Press!

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