Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Supers Foundations

Several years back I wrote an article for Pyramid that did not make the cut. I had hoped to write it as a book, possibly a series of books but GURPS has largely moved away from the Supers genre. I feel that is a loss to the players and that GURPS really can do supers campaigns very well.

When people talk about playing Supers in GURPS they have a couple of concerns that make them wary of actually doing it.

  1. Its impossible or cost prohibitive to build bricks at the same point costs as other characters. I disagree with this sentiment, especially with the rules for LOG ST. Super Effort on ST was introduced in GURPS Supers  but is a bit complicated and clunky to use. LOG ST enables Lifting ST like we see from very powerful brick type supers.
  2. Defenses are too expensive compared to attacks. Every game charges more for defenses than attacks. The real issue here is most people look at high levels of DR and find them too expensive compared to high tech weaponry.  The real solution here is Injury Tolerance: Damage Reduction which reduces the injury taken, If you think about it your favorite supers do not ignore most attacks, they shrug them off. They may not take visible damage but they grimace or grunt when hit by comparable foes. IT:DR represents this perfectly.
  3. Building powers requires a lot of time and math.  This is really the most accurate complaint in my opinion. The math is simple addition and multiplication, not hard.However while you can build pretty much anything in GURPS it may take a lot of time working it out.
The Foundations article was written to point these things out and offer suggestions to speed up character design and offer tactics and ideas for building and playing effective supers in GURPS. I focused on bricks as that is where most of the complaints are and in a magazine article I was very limited in word count. Had that been published I may have written followup articles for various archetypes and made some notes towards that.
I just uploaded a bunch of pages describing my suggested system which instead of templates suggests prebuilt individual abilities and lists of simple advantages that fit various archetypes and power levels. Further I included the stuff I wrote for bricks,
You can find the main page here..Supers Foundations and the brick stuff is on the brick page linked from there.  Most of the archetypes have little or no worked examples as yet, Ill add as inspiration or interest/requests merit.

B- Team Session 5 Java and an Exorcism

B- Team Session 5 Java and an Exorcism

Ceteri Team Recap, Session 5 B-Team - Sept 2nd.

The group spends most of the day at Amos house discussing and discarding plans. Henry and Dillon feel there is too much risk to the concert in ringing more people to the demons hunting ground. Amos says its too late to cancel and shutting the place down would just make it harder to investigate. Also the demon already has victims and will continue to feed on them. Henry and Dillon dont seem to entirely buy it but can't convince Amos its not worth putting more people in danger and they run out of time.
Amos has prepared some charms for the group

The Daily Grind Awaits!

The group arrives at the coffee shop and find it pretty packed. Groupies pretty much haul Lorenzo off for selfies and autographs while the others head inside. Dillon is pulled out of line to test some new treats, Amos goes to help behind the counter, and Henry grabs everyone a table to use as a base of operations.  Talking the staff into reserving it as the bands table lets him anchor it but still walk around which he does.
Lorenzo starts the show and it goes over really well. Amos spots a suspicious tea kettle and tries to keep it out of circulation.
James, one of the owners gets annoyed and swaps it back in rotation saying ts his favorite. After some back and forth the demon grows annoyed enough to reveal itself and try to intimidate Amos, which fails.
Eventually the demon gets annoyed enough to act out and Dillon who has been near the counter puts the possessed James in a grapple. Henry spots whats going on and suggests they get him outside for fresh air as hes looking rather ill (has green drool coming out of his mouth). Amos follows and once outside forces holy water down his throat after having already tried garlic. This causes bleeding and Henry starts to panic but the demon curses them so they haul him out back. Amos says he has to get back to work and heads inside.
Soon the demon starts singing and confirms James can handle things here so heads inside. The entire crowd is mesmerized and singing in unison the same song the demon out back was and Lorenzo is also singing it.  Looking to Amos for a cue he sees him working the stove with the kettles so heads over.  Amos asks them to get James back inside and after that heads to the freezer (small walk in) and tells them he needs to do something.
Both Henry and Dillon are confused, Dillon asks Henry whats going on and Henry shrugs and rolls his eyes "Well he didnt tell me anything either.  Maybe hes going to exorcise it? Lets guard the door in case the demon send the crowd over to stop him."  Henry secures his pistol in case anyone tries to grab it and they wait.

Shortly the crowd reacts, though Lorenzo manages to get them back for a second and keep some distracted while Dillon and Henry brace themselves.  Henry is quickly swamped under the crowd but Dillon manages to hold his ground, even momentarily intimidating the demon. A short time later, maybe a minute or two after he started Amos appears to succeed and the crowd all collapse.
Henry checks on Amos who appears fine and the rest of the group drag people back into the main floor, checking for injuries and laying them out so it looks more like an accident. The group tries to set things up to appear to be a mistake in mixing ammonia and bleach and rely on the Mists for the rest.  When the medic teams show up (Lorenzo called them in) everyone is taken care of and Amos sneaks off with the kettle.
Henry heads to the hospital to check on the previous victims and they wake up soon thereafter.


Dillon is nervous and curious about what the demon told him. Amos finds out the next day that a stranger gave them the kettle. Henry decides to call in sick,citing the hospital visit and says he needs a few days rest, please only call him if its an emergency.

Resting up and recovering from his wounds from the demon Henry, who is not used to resting ponders things uncomfortably.
This group is very dangerous to hang around with but he cant go back to the way things were after having his eyes opened to this hidden world. Horus (he thinks the voice in his head is Horus) said this was the right place and that needs to be factored in as well.
What kind of being is Amos? He can dismiss demons with little effort, and speaks casually even dismissively of conversations with gods! Hes an arrogant ass who feels no need to explain himself and expects others to just follow along and trust it will work out. However he has shown such capability that that attitude is perhaps understandable. When you have that much power and resources your probably used to getting your way and not explaining yourself to anyone.So far he certainly seems capable of handling anything they have encountered.
If Henry is to survive the association he realizes he needs information.

OOC Commentary

I'm having a blast in the game. Amos and Henry had a really bad first encounter and Amos is a pacifist and does not like Henry using a gun. However that tension has added a roleplaying dynamic that is interesting, though the GM and Amos player find a bit frustrating.
 Trust should come fairly soon though, session one was them breaking into a house and Henry trying to stop what he assumed were possible accomplices to a homicidal wife. Henry later shot the evil doll which of course did nothing and annoyed Amos.  Henry had hoped the prayer that made his eyes glow would carry to the gun, and the player was hoping the Imbuements (already paid for, including skill) would activate and lead to understanding his hidden powers.
On Henry's side Amos comes across as somewhat callous and cavalier about things, especially other people. Since Henry is obsessed with protecting people and not used to taking orders its an oil and water conflict. Of course I dont know Amos sheet but so far he seems a bookworm with poor social skills and I'm reacting to how the player is playing him.
Pretty sure it will resolve itself soon  Henry needs to trust and accept Amos attitude and if he stops asking questions and second guessing Amos (easier once trust established, but using the immense demonstrated power as an impetus) maybe he can get past the gun thing.
Also eventually Henry will have other options.
Offered to swap out the character but hopefully it does not come to that, I really like Henry.

Those who have read all the session reports will notice Henry is not pulling his weight, and the in character description Henry has a lot of worries and concerns.  Henry is a 19 year old who learned about this hidden world less than two weeks ago. His Clear Sight set him apart and he suspected supernatural powers existed but still confronting it, especially being attacked by two demon (both of whom used psychic attacks, sort of a temporary sanity blasting thing but not as severe so far as Call of Cthulu) and I'm playing him as pretty much a newbie. As for his capability, the campaign changed a bit from the beginning, we lost a psychic who was going to gather info and so I leaned more into combat in his build. Also the hunting cursed objects was not part of the initial concept, though it came up pretty fast (Before start but after initial builds) .  He is very rounded and has lower attributes than the others but a breadth of skills and advantages.  The catch is many of the advantages were latent till he learns how to use them.  Classic grow into his own kind of build.
With Dillon a combat monster we dropped the latent Imbuements and added Talker! to expand his detective skills. That will help with the cursed object recovery mission, and he still will be very good in combat using his Mystic abilities such as spells and Divine Favor.
Plus that gun Amos hates :)
So while your reading these reports and seeing Henry get smacked around or worrying about his being able to pull his weight those are HENRY's thoughts, not the players.
As I said, I'm having a blast and enjoying myself.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Demon in the Coffee Shop

B- Team Session 4 The Demon in the Coffee Shop - Sept 1st,

Ceteri Team Recap, Session 4 B-Team - Sept 1st.

Between the Lines

After the previous session about a week has passed and the group has been busy. Henry checked in with the Childress family who are doing well and mostly blocked out the events. He also heads to the the grandmothers place and cleans up the secret room with the materials she gifted him.
Taking careful notes he offers to loan the materials to Amos since Amos could possibly make immediate use of it and check it for cursed items or such. However he has the condition that Amos offer it to Meghan when she comes of age. Henry's traumatic experience when he was a child shaped his life and awoke something magical in him and a guide would have been welcome. In case Meghan who is apparently the granddaughter of a powerful witch awakens to her own power he wants her to be prepared and have access to what he feels are family heirlooms.
Amos however declines saying he cant promise anything of the sort and that magic is dangerous.

Henry carefully looks over everything, hoping he can get a feel for them as he has a few other objects, but feels nothing but good vibes.  Also he cannot read any of the books. He talks about storing them in a safe room at his house and Dillon volunteers that hes a construction worker and willing to help - so Henry hires him.  Amos, offers to protect it from scrying with some magical wards and offers some construction tips. They decide on 2 forty foot cargo containers buried in the backyard with a tunnel to the inside of the house. This project costs several thousand dollars but should provide a safe space for Henry to store his own materials and whatever he may come across later.
Note: Ward against scrying strength 26; iron containers, washer used to paint the walls with salt and salt poured around it as well. Also silver and other materials are used inside. The entire thing also is climate controlled and connected to the house.
Perhaps because of the questions, Amos decides to have a week long crash course on the supernatural and its Boston community in particular,

Henry actually skips running for a few days to help his leg heal up but does some of his usual town checkup and hits the Last Call pub he was introduced to. Due to construction and the class he spends far less time on this than normal.

The Sleeping Students

As Dillion is being given a tour of the town by Lorenzo, he spots a newspaper with a strange article about three college students in a coma after a visit to a coffee shop, The Daily Grind. Lorenzo reads it and feels there may be a cursed object involved so assembles the group.
The place is sparkling clean and was heavily checked by the health department and specialized medical people, possibly the CDC. The theme of the place is antiques and seems ripe for a cursed object.
The group checks the place out, Amos apparently is a connoisseur of antiques and bonds with one of the owners, they even let him work behind the counter to show off how things work. Lorenzo is recognized for his musical fame and asks about open mike. They make a quick call and cancel an act for the evening so he can perform. Dillon really enjoys the food and becomes a guinea pig for some custom treats they want to experiment with. Henry chats up the customers and scans the place as well as he can, hoping to find something. The group departs to go over what they found (not much) and prepare for that nights show,

The Demon in the Coffee Shop

Lorenzo turns out to be a terrific and versatile singer, and apparently has a lot of fans.The show goes over very well and makes the place a lot of money, helping offset recent negative publicity.
After the show everyone heads home and will discuss ideas the next day. Henry however has a dream, and not the good kind!
He finds himself in the shop and sees  the three students in a coma sitting a a table - they do not look well.They appear haggard and have holes in them. Henry hears a voice from the counter and sees a demon standing there who talks to him. Something about how Henry looks tasty and Henry desperately tries t wake up, but to no avail. The demon casually walks over to Henry and bites him!
Desperate and in pain Henry prays for strength and aid, suddenly finding himself in a river.
Looking around it feels like Africa and he guesses hes in the Nile. He spots a man on the shore playing chess and heads over, dunking himself in the water first as a symbol and hoping to wash any demon spit off him.

Sensing the being is an Egyptian deity (Thoth or maybe Ptah he guesses), but not his patron Horus he takes the cue that he is here to have a conversation and asks permission to sit and play. He loses in just three moves :(
Rather expecting to lose, he is still a bit embarrassed at losing so badly and fast - fortunately the spirit does not seem annoyed.  Henry thanks him for his help and is asked why he was fighting an Akkadian Dream Demon in a dream. The spirit looks him over and Henry feels his soul tingle (Anubis?) and says he can see a little while Horus is interested in him and calls him Get of Horus.
The spirit than dismisses him and offers a gift.

Henry wakes up on his lawn (he went to sleep in the bed, so was presumaby moved to the yard so he could get medical help) with EMTs working him over and saying he died. They rush him to the hospital, even though he insists hes fine.  After all what are they going to do to help him recover from a demon attack?
Once in his room Henry calls Amos and Lorenzo so he can let them know what he found out. Amos shows with Dillon in tow and after being briefed says it was likely Thoth and that his cat once talked to Anubis. Lorenzo flirts with his doctor who then releases Henry AMA.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Lets look at Illuminated

The Illuminated advantage is an exotic one that lets its owner be aware and part of a secret conspiracy. It was part of GURPS Cabal, GURPS IOU, GURPS Voodoo and GURPS InNomine which are all essentially supernatural conspiracies. It was ported into Fourth Edition pretty much as is.
If, however had it been built for Fourth from scratch what would it look like?
I have tried building it but its a bit clunky.
Start with Detect (Conspiracy), is it Rare [5], Occasional [10] or Common [20]?
That your noticed is a limitation, though the reaction bonus would be an enhancement. Possibly a wash. Making it cost the same as Illuminated [15] would require +50% on Occasional or -25% on Common.

The Case for Detect

In a conspiracy campaign Common is probably about right, the PCs would be more involved in it, plus the secret masters would have tentacles everywhere.
  • Discern others on Sight without error, sounds like use of Reliable but could be accounted for with the +10 for in plain sight bonus.
  • Others spotting you would be an Active or noisy limitation.
  • The +3 Reaction Roll is perhaps a Reputation bundled into it. Treats as Rep +3, small class of people [5].
  • Floating certain skills to the higher of them or IQ is probably a feature.
    • So Detect (Conspiracy) [10] + Reputation 3 (Illuminated, small group) [5].
That makes for Active Sense, -50% on a Detect (Occasional) to account for others with this advantage being able to not only spot you but sense your influence in affairs.

Why Bother?

In making this a Detect various modifiers can be applied such as Vague, Precise, Targeting, Analyzing, etc.
Also I feel Detect should have some kind of Active limitation, so that works too.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Ceteri game recap, Session 3 B-Team

Session 3 B-Team Recap - Demons and Poltergeists, Oh My!

This is one players and characters perspective of the session, to see the GMs recap go over to RavensNPennies This is a long recap, including some of Henry's inner thoughts.
Last session Henry led the group to an old client and they found a cursed doll and went to research it.

After leaving the Childress home, they headed to Amos's place to do some research and prepare spells. Lorenzo felt there was a connection the grandmother, partly because her rose bushes had been attacked. Henry did some background work checking that out and it turns out she had Covenant connections. While Amos was working on his magical preparations he asked Lorenzo and Henry to sift through his garage and find a valuable bracelet that could help.  After an hour or so digging through boxes they found it and Amos said it was an antique and needed to be treated carefully, then threw it in a closet or something.
Disgusted with what seemed a waste of time Henry headed out to the yard for Bishops evening hunt. After a time an individual drove up on a motorcycle and was greeted by Lorenzo who brought him out back to talk with Amos. Curious, Henry called in Bishop and headed over to see what was going on.
Turns out this new guy Dillon is the brother of an old companion of theirs (Timothy) who died in a fire and just drove to Boston looking for him.  Dillon is trying to find out what happened and they are being evasive about the circumstances, apparently trying to avoid talk of the supernatural. After a few minutes Henry gets too frustrated, calls them assholes and offers condolences for the death of his brother. Admitting he never met him, he explains how it sounds like he died a hero so maybe he can take some comfort in that.
They then head inside and they explain a little more while handing out refreshments. Both Henry and Dillon are surprised when Dillon's glass floats off toward the kitchen for a refill. Dillon carefully avoids it thereafter. Amos offers to cast a tracking spell to see if he can find the brothers missing body. Henry finds this fascinating and asks a few questions, learning that the spell would work with hair or other body parts, not just the blood of a relative. Henry declines to ask why they never cast the spell before, thinking its likely Timothy left some such in the car they parked in the garage. No need to drag up more trouble, but asks if anyone can cast such a spell as it could be great for detective work. Amos seems to downplay its value in ways Henry feels dont make sense (10 minutes to cast, only shows where they are at the time of casting) so there may be other reasons to avoid it, involving demons perhaps?

They decide to check out the grandmothers place so Henry, Lorenzo, and Dillon head out with Amos staying behind. Dillon rides with Henry and Henry offers to help find his brother after this, though warns him its a very cold case so slim odds. Dillon asks about this magic stuff and Henry explains he was skeptical at first, and to some extant still is but hes seen enough to admit at least some of this is real.  Also, though they come across as strange, and perhaps a little callous (specifically Amos) he thinks there both basically nice people.

Arriving at the brownstone which is empty but still maintained Henry sees a woman in an upper window that looks like the dead grandmother. They head directly for the door, which opens as they arrive and Henry walks in. Lorenzo expresses mild concern about breaking and entering, to which Henry replies they have been invited. Of course that wont be a good explanation for the police but Henry is confident he can explain everything if they happen to show up and heads upstairs to where he sees the grandmothers spirit. Lorenzo and Dillon stay downstairs, possibly wondering who and what Henry is talking to. Henry confirms the spirit is Sharron Norcross, the dead grandmother and shes quite concerned. Henry explains hes trying to protect her family and shes surprised he can hear her. He explains he is reading her lips and they have a short conversation.  Sharron takes him upstairs to a secret room and indicates a shelf of books. She explains that he should take a white leather bound book to a White Witch to help remove the cursed doll, also that the doll is not what it seems (A detail Henry seems to forget to mention later) and asks if he will swear to protect Meghan the granddaughter,  Henry hesitates a moment recalling how these things can workout from stories he has read but decides its important, he intends to anyway, and that she probably wont twist it somehow. A chill comes across him, affirming its a big deal and she offers everything in the room to him if he saves them.
Meanwhile...A police officer pulls up to the house, apparently having been called by a nosy neighbor who saw them enter. They hide quietly and the officer leaves muttering about the nutty neighbor.
Henry heads downstairs and they all leave with Lorenzo stopping to get a clipping from the rose bushes for Amos.

Back at Amos's Henry explains the purpose of the book and Amos skims it but apparently does not know a white witch. While working out plans Lorenzo (he must have made a great impression on her) gets a frantic call from Cassandra which is quickly disconnected with a scream.
They pile in the cars and head over as fast as they can and make great Navigation and Area Knowledge Boston rolls for the fastest route, saving at least 15 minutes travel time.

Arriving at the house Mindy (the maid) is on the front lawn crying), front door is open and they hear screaming from inside. Cassandra is floating in the entry way, Henry runs past her to get Meghan and hauls her downstairs and away from the doll before she starts floating too.
Dillon attacks the doll then comes downstairs, A chaotic melee ensues, ending with them placing charms in the walls and trapping the spirits back in the doll. See the GM recaps for much more detail on the fight.


  • Henry prayed for help in saving the girl and was told he had the power to smite the demon. The glowing eyes seemed to hurt it but not smite it, which means he needs to figure out how that works and be more effective. Apparently he does not believe in his power strongly enough, though this time it worked out next time it might not go so well and that cannot be tolerated or risked.
  • He hurt his knee when the poltergeist tossed an ottoman at him, but no broken bones and hes confident a day or two of rest will heal. However he decides to wrap it and skip the morning run for the next day or two and power through it.
  • These cursed items are really bad news, Henry needs to get better prepared or he may endanger the group, or worse- innocents.
  • Lorenzo seems like a good guy,the werewolf thing probably helps him in a fight but Henry was too distracted to see if it affected this one. He seems more grounded than Amos.
  • Amos isn't exactly growing on him yet but it seems undeniable hes good at this magic stuff and that gesture at the end giving the family some closure was nice. He seems like a decent guy who cares about people, though maybe not more than his books or plants. However he seems to have his head in the clouds and takes people for granted. Probably mostly trustworthy, though depending on him seems risky (who knows how reliable magic is) and he seems to ask people for meaningless tasks, such as wasting time on a stupid bracelet.
  • Dillon seems earnest, and Henry will start some records searches on Timothy and since he saw the warehouse on the map will check out the scene for clues. A year later its unlikely Henry will find anything but at least hes going to try.
  • Henry plans to go back to grandmas house and get the stuff she offered him. Probably hand it over to Amos but if the family has a history of magic and all that has happened to Meghan she may come into it later so Henry wants her to have it once shes old enough if she wants it.  Also any private or confidential materials will be excluded.
  • Henry is planning on checking out the pub and see if he can find out more about the supernatural situation, maybe even someone who understands and is willing t explain this stuff.

The TIP Report

Checking in at work he informed Mike (his boss) that he might be taking a day or two off for some pro bono work. Checking in on an old client it appears someone has been vandalizing their house. The husband, a prominent and connected attorney he did some bodyguard work for awhile back is on a business trip and Henry is concerned for the family. So far it seems to be just poisoning prize plants and some minor property damage, unlikely to be organized crime and he hopes to get this resolved quickly. He also informed the office that the last case (Possible cheating spouse) was resolved satisfactorily and check should be in the mail.

Player Comments: Its good to be a valuable employee, even better when the boss is bought as a Patron<g>.

Friday, February 7, 2020

Library Access in GURPS

Over on the SJG GURPS forum there is a thread about buying a Library as an advantage.
Like anything in GURPS there are multiple ways to build something, each with their own trade-offs.

Unusual Background Type

This assumes libraries are in the setting and accessible to those meeting qualifications.
  • Public Library card: This is a feature as anyone can get one, though these libraries will be limited. Feature
  • University Library: University libraries tend to be pretty large and have a lot of scholarly works, but are more limited in access.  This is a perk, 1 point.
  • Specialty or Secret Library: Few people may even be aware of, much less have access to these, often obscure and specialized libraries or information warehouses. This is an Unusual Background advantage. Cost varies.
  • Government Service: Typically requires a level of Security Clearance (p. B82). Cost varies.

Contacts Advantage

Contacts are in one way an obvious solution, ask a librarian! Having to go to a location rather than phoning a person is usually a feature, and GURPS Social Engineering: Keeping in Contact has some useful ideas and ways to tweak Contacts and Contact Groups. Generally they wont do Favors, just provide information so should be cheaper. Also consider using alternative ability pricing, the precedent for this was set in Monster Hunters Power-Ups 1, specifically the I Have a Friend power up (p. 16).


Talents provide a skill bonus.  This can simulate a bonus to one or more skills representing a lab or research facility, including a library. For this approach apply modifiers such as Gadget (portable computer, to entire buildings) or Accessibility and Preparation Time Required.


This advantage is often used to represent the ability to plan ahead, so seems like a solid candidate. It takes a minute to use, IQ roll, and is in your head so portable.  Adjusting it to a Library concept requires some tweaks.
You have access to a library, storehouse of books, computer database or network, or maybe consult spirits or the collective unconscious. Statistics: Visualization, typically with the Preparation Required modifier (needs to be modified a step from the 1 minute base).
  • AI, Memory Palace, or Supernatural assistant for extremely fast access, 1 minute (Base time) +0%
  • Very well organized and method to quickly get to the right material, possibly a very efficient computer user interface, 10 minutes -20%
  • Well organized, quality user interface, or specialized library, 1 hour -30%
  • Typical large library, 8 hours -50%

Apply to general IQ or 1 specific skill, +1 point per additional skill it can be rolled against. When rolling against a skill the bonus applies to that skill or actions that could result from that skill only! This is basically the skill substitution perk.
  • Results of a successful IQ or skill roll.
    • Full MOS would apply for building from a schematic, or knowing the exact ritual you want to use.
    • Half Bonus if researching plans for a very specific situation or task and it works almost exactly as expected.
    • General Guidance with wildly different events than expected gain 1/3 bonus.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Evil Doll

Session 2 B-Team Recap - The Evil Doll

This s one players perspective of the session, to see the GMs recap go over to RavensNPennies
Last session Henry met the group and they retrieved a cursed ring from his client. That night Henry had a dream and an old client he had did some body guarding for awhile back appeared to have a cursed doll in the families possession. In the morning after breakfast and morning prayers and his morning 5 mile run with Bishop (pet falcon) so he could eat, he cleaned up and prepared for the day.

He did a background check on the two people he had just met. Amos seemed to have several properties, some recently acquired and had earned some money from writing some books. Lorenzo was a volunteer fireman and squeaky clean. He then checked on Mr. Kudrow from yesterday and door was already replaced and he and hs wife were very happy and off to vacation in the islands.  Checks in the mail.  Wished them the best and was happy they seemed to have confused the events a little but are happy.  Next he checked records on the Childress family, nothing overtly suspicious so he headed over to meet his new associates (not yet friends) to get some background and let them know about his lead. Henry simply had no idea how to handle a cursed doll and wanted to see if it was possible to extricate it without danger to the family.
As he was bout to knock on the door the couple headed out, apparently Amos was really hungry. They went to a nearby diner (great food by the way!) where Lorenzo put away a truly impressive amount of food. Henry explained about the doll and when asked for a description he made a sketch for them. Unfortunately it appears there are a LOT of cursed items floating around and Amos said he could not give any real info without seeing the doll.  They agreed to head over to the Childress residence.

Henry escorted Amos in and introduced him as a research assistant, though he had to convince him to clean up a bit and make himself more presentable. Note to self, remember to rep;ace the alcohol wipes in the first aid kid. Lorenzo was a bit behind and followed them in his truck, probably lethargic after all that food. They encountered some gardeners spreading fertilizer and trying to save some white roses that were dying.  Apparently they were sick for no discernible reason, as were some in the back yard.  Amos has a knack for plants (surprising Henry by speaking fluent Spanish) and had a chat about the plants. Hearing the gardeners explanation Henry looked the rose bush over for insects and noticed even the bees were avoiding it. Something odd there.
Henry left them with a nod to indicate he was headed inside and talked with the maid and Mrs. Childress,who was really stressed out and had taken up smoking again. Mr. Childress was on a business trip and Henry gave a vague cover story that he had heard some things and wanted to check on the family. He assured her it was probably nothing but he didn't want to take chances. She explained about the rose bushes (transplanted from her mother) and Henry used that as a reason to look around and that if they were vandalizing plants it was probably just scare tactics, nothing serious like last time. A porcelain horse fell off the mantle, startling her and she told the made it was happening too often so stop placing them on the edge, Amos and Lorenzo came in,Henry introduced them and they went to the backyard.

Once they had some privacy, Henry explained the odd things he noticed and they saw a large dead circle of grass (Amos had already been there) under the daughters bedroom. While they were talking Henry looked through the wall and saw the doll. Unfortunately the doll saw him too and was not happy! She told him the girl was her meat and Henry fainted from fright. Lorenzo woke him up with smelling salts and while they had a hurried discussion the maid brought Amos some tea (odd duck this one) and a rock fell on Loremzo's head, though it didn't injure him. They took that as cue to head inside. Henry headed to Megan's (daughter, 5 year old) room while the others headed to the kitchen.

Megan ran up to Henry for a hug, he lifted her and gave her a little whirl. She was having tea with the doll and introduced them. Henry and the doll had a brief staring contest where this time he did not pass out. They talked for a bit till Amos came in, saw the doll, earned brownie points with a cat he had in his pocket (yes, a real live cat!) that played with Megan before apparently noticing the doll and hissing at it and batting at it,  Good kitty!
Megan didn't like this though but Amos cheered her with a little flower in a glass bubble.
After a bit they left, had a brief conference then went to Amos's place for some research. Henry was not thrilled with the delay, but supposedly these people know what there doing.

Henry continued thinking mean things about that doll, though the others warn him burning it might not resolve the situation.

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Heroes Gate

There are several realms bordering the Shattered Lands, but Heroes Gate is the most accessible and best well known.
Total Area 1,325,014 sq miles. Population 640,000

  • Farmlands 701,478 sq miles. Setback from the front lines and maintained with canals from the inland sea. Primarily food crops, some wheat and corn, but also textiles such as cotton. Animal husbandry is a mix between cattle, horses, and sheep.


Heroes Gate was founded centuries ago on the ruins of numerous fortifications as the bulwark against the Shattered Lands and those things that come out of it  It is a major defense for the Commonwealth and was founded in part by revenue from other realms. Between it and the Shattered Lands lies a great river that was shaped to come from the Barrier Mountains and run along the border, till pooling in Deaths Call sea. Since the time of its founding other border realms have grown up out of border fortresses but Heroes Gate gets the most acclaim. Besides being the most easily accessible from the bulk of the Commonwealth it is famous for its high quality training academies in military and magical studies. It is considered the premiere place in all of the Commonwealth to receive combat training and has regular expeditions to the Temple of Thoth of the First Kingdom, a renowned source of magical and spiritual learning.


The land is dotted with watch towers to spot any creatures that may have slipped through the border walls. As that rarely happens, they mostly serve to keep banditry to a minimum and travel is generally the safest in all the realms.
The border itself is a massive cold river flowing from the icy Barrier Mountains with a long well fortified wall on its side and massive bridges crossing the river at key points. This river is enchanted with large glowing rune stones to purify and fortify it against Outsiders and numerous spirits reside within and nearby.
There is a massive inland sea centerward and at the edge of the border called Deaths Call where those who served well are buried with honors. A colony of merfolk live in the sea and maintain the large necropolis as well as trading fish and other goods.