Tuesday, 28 June 2016

This Is What Happens When You Mix Tarot And An Idea Together !!!

.... And so the adventures of our little sandbox game continues, but with a bit of a twist! Tarot has dug out something Hils and I wrote years ago and has sort of taken it over and made it live again, but not content with that... oh no, she also wants to combine it... fuse it together with the current Clix game we are playing. "Off with ya" I thought. The end result is.....


Star Wars / Dungeons & Dragons / Doom / Descent Journeys in the Dark / Mage Knight Dungeons / Heroclix (and anything else we can think of - thrown in for good measure) campaign game.

Started; written and played on the table top on February 4th 2005. Material stopped, misplaced, lost, and rediscovered again by Tarot on June 17th 2016.

“May the Force be with me.”


Basically, Stevie and Hilary originally planned on running their miniatures through a bit of the futuristic/medieval (Science Fantasy) dungeon crawl; creating linked cameos and continuing threads of tales (which they would write up into short stories, battle reports and campaign journals for their own amusement, and for their friends to read and enjoy). They planned to take huge liberties with a few game companies rules and official ethos: borrowing bits and converting here and there as they saw fit - to `better` suit the purpose of the proposed game. In effect, they both planned to use slices of the Dungeons and Dragons `official` campaign worlds: grafted elements from favourite Games, Films, TV Series, Books and Graphic Novels, and place it all `loosely` in an Outer Rim region of the Star Wars Universe. To this framework, also would be added their own ideas and inventions to create a unique usable whole.

To show exactly how awesome I think the scope of this idea is and the potential I can see in this.. I’ll quickly explain the campaign premise originally conceived all those years ago back in early 2005.

Basically, the guys mixed typical Dungeon Crawl with futuristic Star Wars technology… threw in a bit of classic Sci-Fi horror like Aliens, Underworld, and Doom and then placed the central setting on a backwater (quasi-medieval) planet with only a small high tech Imperial Garrison present. The main `big bad` was to be a particularly nasty Hutt (called Quaffug) who had, essentially, set up an immense gladiatorial style arena and dungeon - complete with hidden cameras, teleporters, one way doors etc... all designed to shepherd people and monsters into desired sections of the HUGE complex (all originally detailed and drawn up I should say... using the World`s Largest Dungeon, by Alderac Entertainment Group. Inc as the nucleus for this rather cool gaming sandbox). According to Hil, there was some debate, because she wanted to set the whole thing in an alternative steampunk Star Wars setting, where as Steve wanted to keep things slightly more streamlined and pure, and stick to Lucas cannon. In the end they settled for a compromise. A High tech setting on a bit of a low (pulp) tech world.

I would like to points out, all of this was all invented long, long before “The Hunger Games” was ever even heard of in book or movie form. In other words, they actually did invent it first, which I find pretty amazing really.

To this, simply add seasoning: a pinch of X-Files, Xena The Warrior Princess, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Zombie genre: and mix in anything else you like, to suit personal taste, and voilà! A game is born.

Spectators flock, gamblers place huge currency bets, bounty hunters lurk, and low life scum thrive like lice on a stray dog’s back… all conducting seedy secret deals within this Crime Lord's Pleasure Complex. Quaffug the Hutt buys, steals, bribes and coerces adventurers into her bizarre spectacular arena... where the promise of untold riches provides the incentive to delve deep. But the temperamental and precocious Crime Lord herself has the final say exactly when she will open the (numerous but hidden) exit gates.... and always for one half of any acquired wealth; a bit steep, one might think, especially as the entrance fee to this `treasure trove` cost’s the willing adventurers (that’s anyone who isn’t simply tossed into the complex for the Hutt`s amusement) almost an arm and a leg, simply for the right to `compete.`

The dungeon is frequently re-stocked with treasures, exotic monsters, creatures and alien races that `come into` lady Quaffug`s possession. The local Imperial Governor even provides criminals for the Hutt`s arena from time to time... for a small percentage of the profits, of course.

But the hidden Underdeeps themselves are far older than anyone seems to realize... even Quaffug, who has quite a firm grasp of ancient things… especially tales and fables concerning lost and hidden treasures! She possesses a whole library of rare works; manuscripts, parchments, holo-discs and computer encyclopaedias, and the Hutt has made quite a study out of anything concerning local history … a hobby that always holds the potential of vast profit – at least within the sub-sectors under her `control.` 

Incidentally, to the best of my knowledge, Quaffug the Hutt was originally an Expanded Universe creation from a graphic novel which I t-h-i-n-k is called “The Bounty Hunters.” Steve just extrapolated upon her, by gleaning as much as he could from the lone cameo she made in that story: and then added some homemade character flavour to this cool crime lord, to make her interesting.

****          ****         ****

Well! That’s just a simplified rundown of the premise behind this solo campaign. As I said just now, Steve and Hil originally planned to run miniatures from their collection through the `dungeons` for their own amusement, and they just bolted on whatever they needed or owned and thought... “hey that would be cool”... including anything they thought worked, tossing it into the equation for good measure.

 I have just remembered where the idea for this concept originally derived. It was a story called `Scoundrel`s Wages` as I said, from a graphic novel (“The Bounty Hunters” by Titan Books). The guys (true to form with their love of creating) fell in love with the notion of continuing the story and taking it to new heights - undreamed of by the author when he wrote his story.

Gratitude to the wonderful graphic books created for us by companies such as Titan Books, Dark Horse Comics etc is immeasurable.

Here is how they started the campaign before they stopped (life got in the way) and the campaign came to an end almost before it got started… before I came along to pick it up again and make it mine,… mine… MINE I tell you.

Part 1


 Date ~ 1 year after the battle of Yavin.

“…and so there we all were!

Five bounty hunters on the planet Blimph (Its name in Imperial Stella Cartography is Beta 357), chosen by Quaffug the Hutt to partake in her Spectacular Winter Games. Hmmmmm, a grand title considering the `exclusive` guest list the `Lady Slug` had brought together. Lords and ladies, the blood-thirsty and the richly insane, crime lords and their hoodlum entourages, the curious, the gladiatorial bookies and their gore addicted punters… gamblers all, from across the far reaches of the galaxy.”

“They were here to watch us fight: here to watch us display our skills, and hopefully shed bucket-fulls of blood in the process. They expected a gross spectacle, to get these games underway… and we were the main attraction of day one. Five bounty hunters expected to band together to display our ability as a team - and separately, to fight as single cold hearted killing machine.”

“Exactly how Quaffug brought us all together at one time remains a mystery to me. But then again, considering Quaffug… nothing really surprises me. It is rumoured that 4-LOM owed Jabba a favour and has been bought here by the Hutt from the dust bowl planet `Tattooine` in honour of that debt. I can think of no other reason why the android would fight for Quaffug, the slimy bitch… and Jabba was certainly laying on heavy bets with his Hutt cousin over 4-LOM`s chances of success during the approaching `hunt.`”

“Bossk is an animal and gives our kind a bad name. He`d do anything for profit. Dengar`s reasons for being here were unknown to me, but judging by the look of him… I’d guess he`s been down on his luck a bit lately. I’d be the richest man alive if I had an Imperial credit every time I’ve heard it said that bounty hunters make a fortune; and all retire early to live like princes, in Marcher Lord palaces built entirely of gold and jewels – no doubt from a thousand lucrative death contracts. Looking at Dengar at that moment seems proof enough that this myth is bogus.”

“The IG system seems to be working to some hidden (private) agenda and actually appears quite content to be here on Blimph. But then again, IG88 always looks impassive.”

“Then there was me, pfffhh! What can I say. That my pride and honour has bought me here? To show the illustrious collected audience within the Hutt Pleasure Palace just exactly how good at my trade I really am?”


“I am here because my resources and contacts have lead me to believe Quaffug has a fugitive Jedi hiding amongst her vast collection of monsters, aliens and gladiator warriors. Though I am still convinced she is (at the time) unaware of this fact. I see no need to alert her… I’ll find and dispatch the Force Wielder before she even realizes what she`s missed… then collect the lucrative bounty single handed.”

“But for the moment –

 -  I’ll play Quaffug`s pathetic little games; I’ll even shine in bloody red gore to satisfy even the most depraved of her guests. She wants an event? I’d give her a match that will make everyone assembled disbelieve their own eyes. I’ll astound them with a display of skill that will make them all realize exactly why Boba Fett is the best the galaxy has to offer.”

***          ***          ***

History: The tale of a Wererat (WLD Intro).
To be introduced onto the planet at play progresses.

Longtail was an indigenous wererat sorcerer with a quick mind, charisma and great ambition. By research and with the aid of his imp familiar `Achyyx, `Longtail` found out about the dungeon, it`s history and original purpose… long before Quaffug`s people (who had been cutting back the surrounding primeval forests in an attempt to cull the jungle) uncovered the upper levels.

Through Achyyx`s ability to commune with the infernal powers, he learned that there was a long forgotten chapel close to one of the entrances; a chapel that held a gateway to an extra-dimensional space where a multitude of infernal beasts had been trapped. Releasing these beasts, Achyyx told Longtail, would make the Wererat their master and would make a ferocious army available to him. Longtail`s destiny was clear.

Longtail`s endless charm allowed him to bring together a diverse force of humanoids to accompany him on his quest. Gathered from the dysfunctional elements of half a dozen tribes; kobolds, troglodytes, orcs, and even an ogre rallied to his side and agreed to make the journey with the half-fiend.

Fuelled by the promise of treasure and led by lizardfolk guides, Longtail`s force made its way to the dungeon in short order. Entering the long-lost entrance, the humanoids began exploring the area, searching for the tomb’s fabled wealth. Longtail himself, guided by Achyyx, led a small expedition into the farthest reaches.

At first, the humanoids were eager to exploit their new home, greeting the absence of Longtail as a chance to gather as much treasure as possible while the fiend was gone. But as search party after search party came back empty handed and with tales of barren passages stretching for miles in all directions, vast caverns that echoed their hollow emptiness and chambers filled with nothing but deadly traps… trouble ensued.

It had been Longtail`s natural leadership that had held the unusual force together, and now the remaining humanoids were left to their own devices. Soon, the natural rivalries of the various groups began to assert themselves. Insults and slights led to shouting and shoving. Suspicion and rumour that one group had found a treasure and was not sharing it with the others led to bitter accusations. Inevitably, armed confrontations and isolated clashes took place and Longtail`s force was split in two, with the reptilians, composed of the kobolds and their kreshar mounts, troglodytes and lizardfolk banding together out of necessity against the more numerous orcs and their ogre enforcer.

The dungeon was divided between the two sides and each side searched, looking for treasure that they would never find. And as their own searches became fruitless, each side became convinced that the other side had found something. Spying gave way to full-blown battles as the two factions, spurred on by their frustrations, searched and fought across the length and breadth of the area. In a short time, they forgot about searching for wealth and were concerned only with wiping out their enemies.

During this time, the quest of Longtail was ignored by the humanoids, neither side caring any longer about the half-fiend. They would soon be reminded. For even as the humanoids fought amongst themselves, Longtail led his expedition to the forgotten chapel. There, with the aid of his familiar Achyyx, Longtail opened the gateway – fully intent on becoming what he knew he was destined to be.

But things did not turn out as he planned. While Longtail could control some of the beasts, he could not control all of them, and soon a wave of extra-planer beasts, driven on by hatred, rushed through the dungeon. Falling on the fighting humanoids, the beasts struck a hammer blow that filled the dungeon with the blood and the screams of Longtail`s erstwhile allies. And even as Longtail tried desperately to gain control, Achyyx and the infernal powers smiled.

 The First Fight (mini battle report):

Quaffug had really gone to town this time, laying on fun and games for over a three hundred wealthy (and bloodthirsty) noble families, big-time-gamblers and blood sport enthusiasts - from across the whole sector of space. Several thousand other spectators (with the credits to afford seats in the arena) flocked the amphitheatre, creating an atmosphere of intense excitement and noise. An army of exotic boys and girls of various races and description, bought trays of delicious looking refreshments round for the paying guests.

Quaffug liked the exotic… also the erotic. Though these facts were obvious simply by looking at her as she sat enthroned in her fine silks and luscious jewels, gold and silver. All Hutts are naturally hermaphrodites, but Quaffug chose to allow the sensual side of womanhood to dominate her persona, and dressed accordingly. The orgies she sometimes arranged, and often attended, were a legend across much of the galaxy, and illegal black-market holo-discs of these sordid drunken affairs fetched a high price in certain quarters.

The opening ceremonies were overwhelmingly lavish. Loud music was played by high tech and freakish bands, supported by troupes of dancers who gyrated energetically in front of the audience; clowns, acrobats and fire eaters entertained from the edges of the arena… and everywhere - strobe and spot lights poignantly flooded each of the events. Huge view screens highlighted specially skilled and interesting acts, and all the time the audience loved it and cheered enthusiastically.

When the warriors finally paraded the arena in a grand procession, suitably scored dramatic music enhanced the atmosphere to fever pitch. And then the games began. At first they were simple gladiatorial fights and displays of martial skills – rarely to the death. But as time went on, these bouts became more and more serious, and blood started to flow. Teams of human prisoners (often chained together) and strange alien races fought terrifying monstrosities, and the crowd screamed and laughed with each new and twisted scene.

But the main event of the first day was left until quite late in the evening. A straight fight between Boba Fett and a couple of Imperial Governor Grappll`s wayward Stormtroopers. If Fett survived, the fight in the arena, and presuming he dispatched both his assailants, he would be allowed `a shot` at the dungeon (the entrance of which sat at one end of the arena, through a huge and intricately carved stone archway that led into darkness beyond).

This game uses the official rules from WotC`s Star Wars game.

Boba Fett     50 points

Scout Trooper on speeder bike (x2)     21 x2 = 42 points

The plain side of the game map will represent the arena. Three (home made) pillars arranged in a  line, with another (fish tank) set of twin columns flanking them to the left along the long edge of the map… is all the cover available during this game. An archway leading to the dungeon sits on the edge of the map at the point where the Scout Troopers start the game - opposite to Boba Fett.

House Rule: every 30 Hit Points a miniature starts the game with, represents the equivalent of a level using the d&d miniatures rules, and will affect the initiative dice each round. i.e. Boba Fett starts the game with 110 hit points, which means (using my discretion) he is a level 4 character (30 +30+30+20 ß round the twenty up = level 4).

Round 1:

Fett rolls 12 + 4 for being a level four character = 16.

Scout Troopers throw 15.

Fett walks into the arena and the crowd goes wild with cheering. He spots one of the speeder bikes way across the other side of the arena and makes an educated/instinctive guess that the other one must be keeping pace opposite him, but slightly out of sight from the bounty hunter, behind a pillar. He runs towards the nearest (end) pillar and plants himself squarely in the middle behind it… out of sight of the bikes. A few jeers from the crowd indicate their displeasure at this seemingly non-heroic move. Fett ignores them.

The Scout Troopers look briefly at one, say something into their helmet mics and split left and right. Accelerating fast, they move swiftly across the arena – approaching Fett`s position from both sides.

Round 2:

Fett rolls 16 +4 = 20

Scouts roll 18.

Leaning slightly, so he can see round the pillar he is using for cover (not moving, so he can use the double attack SA) he lets of two shots at the Scout Trooper and bike on the left. Both shots easily hit and penetrate their target’s defence, causing a total of 40 points of damage. The Speeder careers wildly into one of the pillars and explodes in a ball of flames. The crowd cheers.

The remaining Scout Trooper steers his bike carefully (only six squares) round Fett`s pillar. Spying him, he lets off a shot – rolling 2, which even with his +5 skill isn’t nearly enough to hit the bounty hunter. Nerves obviously a huge factor here, the scout silently curses himself for the missed opportunity, and waits for the inevitable… knowing he will most likely never get another chance.

Round 3:

Fett rolls 7 + 4 = 11.

Scout rolls 17.

The Imperial Trooper swings his bike round in an almost impossible arc that momentarily confuses and takes his enemy by surprise. Praying silently to what ever God was responsible for his sudden good fortune, the trooper aims his blasters, and fires once again – Aayyeee!!!! he rolls a 2.

Fett turns, takes careful aim, and puts two shots squarely into the Trooper and his bike. The last thought on the Imperial Scout’s mind before darkness takes him, is bitterness at having been caught by his officer trying to rape that peasant woman. Grappll`s justice was (as usual) severe, and now his life was forfeit in the arena. The Trooper fell sideways off his smoking bike, and tumbled lifeless to the ground, while the bike plummeted into the side of the stadium. The crowd cheered again.

Boba Fett strode forward across the arena towards the mouth of darkness that lead down into the dungeon below. He was hardly even aware of the cheering masses, or the fans ever hopeful of catching their hero say something to the crowd. However - as usual, Fett didn`t say a word.

 Fett enters the Dungeon:

Stepping cautiously between the cold stone pillars at the far end of the arena, Fett entered into the gloom and followed the straight, dank narrow passageway. His suit’s sensors told the bounty hunter he had covered 220 meters before emerging onto a worked slab floor. Looking about him with trained ease, he saw that he had entered a large, empty square chamber hewn completely from stone. Fett saw two iron doors; one to his left, and another (slightly bigger one) in front of him. Dismissing the portal to his side he stepped up to the large iron door and pushed firmly. It opened inwards. As the heavy portal shifted and swung silently back on its hinges, the edges seemed to disappear into an inky black darkness that lay just beyond. Fett allowed the door to open completely and watched as more and more of it was swallowed up in the barrier until only it`s hinges were visible. Peering cautiously into the darkness for signs of movement, he could see nothing. Even his helmet’s sensitive all spectrum scanner could not interpret the images before it. The only thing Fett was vaguely aware of was the erratic moaning of the wild winds as they breathed and sighed through the myriad of tunnels and twisting paths. The dark way before Fett revealed nothing of what lay ahead. He knew he faced some kind of force field, but his sensors could not tell him the composition!

Fett stepped forward through the barrier and became enveloped by the darkness, so that… where he stepped into the nothingness, he appeared to disappear completely and become a part of the night. The sensation was strange and a little disconcerting so he pushed his way forward, and after only a few seconds he emerged on the other side.

Suddenly aware he had visibility once more, the Bounty Hunter switched his sensors to wide beam torch, and light flooded the area all around him. But although his torch was state of the art and extremely powerful, the illumination it provided seemed pitiful against the vast expanse of darkness that surrounded him; none the less, it was a lesser gloom. Not the impenetrable wall of nothingness the force field had imposed. Feeling behind him, Fett discovered the wall he had just stepped through was now solid. He smiled grimly to himself, but was not unduly surprised by his discovery. Quaffug was full of surprises and as they went, this one was not an immediate problem to him.

From somewhere overhead… coming (it seemed) from the walls themselves, a sound blasted the silence and echoed disturbingly. It was a slow, deep rumbling: “HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA.” The laughter seemed to go on for quite a long time, and Fett was able to detect other (lesser) laughs and cackles behind the main theme.

“You`re just full of surprises Quaffug!” Boba Fett said, almost contemptuously to the walls, aware there must be hidden speakers and microphones, probably hidden all over the place. But if it had been the Hutt`s voice Fett had heard amplified … it didn`t speak again.

Returning to his present predicament, Fett allowed his torch to roam a region of what appeared to be a chamber. As far as the light penetrated… which wasn’t nearly as far as he`d have liked, Fett was able to determine what appeared to be in a large natural cavern. Water dripped constantly from the ceiling and collected in deep pools of water, or ran in veins along the floor, before vanishing into cracks in the stone. Rusty chains dangled way overhead from the roof, occasionally clanking off one another when the un-earthly breeze blew. Fett spotted two more iron doors, one straight ahead of him and the other to it`s side.

Nothing else broke the unending mass of worked stone and the chill dank air worked hard to probe the Bounty Hunter`s Mandalorian armour, but to no avail. But obviously something else in the chamber was not so fortunate – judging by the dry cough coming out of the darkness.

Stepping carefully towards the sound, Fett flipped the switch on his blaster to power up the cell. A fain hum - barely audible and gone in a second, told Fett his weapon was ready to fire. Three wretched, filthy looking creatures, Orcs by the look of them, sat huddled together in the northeastern corner of the cave, one of them trying to stifle another cough. Somehow, Fett got the immediate impression that these humanoids were deserters from a larger force, perhaps somewhere else within this labyrinthine complex; judging by the way they were attired… weapons and kit strewn about them in an uncaring fashion - like tired and defeated soldiers? The haggard expressions, with deep bags over their scar pocked faces and their ashen paleness, warned of their weakened state.

Fett stood and surveyed them for a few seconds, but when it became obvious that none of the three Orcs were going to make any aggressive moves towards him, the Bounty Hunter could see they were no threat and stepped over to the nearest door. Looking back towards the humanoids for a moment, Fett pointed a gloved finger at the door and arched his helmeted head in an expression that meant “well?”

If any of the Orcs actually knew what lay beyond the door that Fett was gesticulating towards, they only shrugged, raised their eyebrows and looked away. But even as Fett approached the door he could smell that something was amiss.

Switching on his air tank, his rasping breath through the breathing filter sounded ominous. Pushing the portal open, the source of the smell became obvious, as more than a score of bodies were piled up in the chamber beyond. Perhaps a dozen kobolds and half as many troglodytes lay stripped and decaying in a large heap. The varying states of decay told Fett the pile had grown over a period of time.

Fett was glad he`d had the foresight to switch on his breathing tank – `filth fever` was a nasty was to go if not correctly diagnosed and treated swiftly; but his suit`s sensors were all ready screaming out bio-warnings and cursor lights winked to warn of airborne contagion.

Fett walked swiftly through the room, closing the main chamber door behind him as he went. A final nod of his head towards the Orcs as the portal closed, towards told them he was not going to kill them.

Fett`s sensors had outlined a concealed stone door in the eastern wall, and readouts were advising him of a central pivoting hinge… probably Dwarf design. Fett pushed through the heavy rock door, which slid silently aside with accustomed ease.

In this fashion, Fett moved carefully through a multitude of chambers, corridors and tunnels… all devoid of interest. A week old cave in from the roof where the ceiling had become saturated by years of acidic dripping water, and a patch of green algae that looked for a moment like `mage blight` (an arcane ooze that sometimes fills the Underdeeps and old places), but which turned out to be merely a harmless phosphorous green moss… were all that distinguished Fett`s travels from the rest of his wanderings.

But after several hours wandering the silent, dank tunnels and paths, checking numerous chambers and caverns along the way; ascending and descending flights of winding stairs leading to higher and lower levels, Fett concluded that this area was dead.

But, knowing he was most likely being surveyed closely by Quaffug and a whole arena of spectators, no doubt from a massed array of concealed cameras and pick-up mics, Fett was careful to conceal what he had discovered, by nonchalantly passing over the interesting bits for future study.

The obvious conclusion to be made here, merely by studying signs and using his skills, was that there had been several small skirmishes in this area. Signs indicated that humanoid races had been involved in a confused mass of fighting, and over a long period of time… for Quaffug`s sport and games? No! Fett thought the fighting looked different somehow; besides which, Quaffug`s arena was relatively new, the some of these pitch fights looked to be far older. Fett had discovered another pile of rotten bodies, a lot older than the first mass grave he had found. But the disturbing thing about these had been the way something very big had been starving enough to eat several large chunks out of the corpses. What ever it was had given up attempting to eat the carcasses… but the bite marks were alarming.

Fett also concluded that these upper levels had once been infested with vermin (rats and weasels) and `roof cloakers,` (giant land squids that look like huge black wet blankets) but none of the dried up husks were recent.

He also hid the fact that his sensors had discovered a carefully concealed sink hole… most likely a deep well, and that there were indications the hole had been disturbed and used recently – by something climbing down. Scorch marks on the edges of the sliding fulcrum floor looked, to Fett, remarkably like those a light saber could have made?

Eventually, the hunter sat down on a plinth, and lifted his helmet visor just enough to drink a few sips from his bottle, and consumed a few synth tabs. He waited, hardly moving for what must have seemed hours. Eventually, a human voice, one of Quaffug`s servants no doubt, crackled over a mic: (actually, quite close to his head) “follow the guide and he`ll lead you to an exit.”

Soon afterwards, a rather small, squat looking Gamorrian snuffled into view, and vaguely gestured for the Bounty Hunter to follow him. Tired of the lack of sport the hunter was providing, Quaffug had decided it was time to show Fett the way out…. this time.


Let The Games Begin!!!

“Hi, I`m Lucius Bardello… your games host for the day, talking to you live from Quaffug`s Palace in the Outer Rim. With Quaffug`s Winter Games well underway and the first day’s entertainment, a mere taster of things to come, it is perhaps time to get to know a few of the more colourful characters due… potentially… to `compete` on day 2. I say potentially because of course, no one knows until the names are drawn out of The Felt Caps* by the Mad Hatter who or what will fight in the dungeon arena during any given match.”

 * One cap holds pieces of paper containing the names of all the day’s competitors, the other holds computer chips to insert into `Gloria` (the giant games  computer), which triggers various gates to open within the arena and/or dungeon levels, so that hungry and vicious monsters can roam free. Only the computer can determine ( based on the micro chips fed into the machine by the Hatter before play commences) exactly which monsters are let loose during any given game.

“But wait a moment… no, it looks like Quaffug is pulling the scheduled program for the time being; not surprising considering the amount of carnage that was committed during yesterday’s blood bath. In fact Caretakers had to work through the night to clean the Arena for today`s events.”

“No… it certainly looks as though Quaffug is switching today’s games to the vast Holo-Emitters to cut back on expense…. and I should point out to you Ladies and Gentlemen, Aliens and Entities, that these games come to you… at no small expense, by the generosity and kind spirit of your host: The Fair and Amorous Lady Quaffug. As I`m sure you are all aware, the Holo-Emitters project a 3D visual feast which looks and feels like the real thing. In fact the sensation is so realistic…. an alternative reality experience, as some experts have coined it… that most competitors who die within the mainframe of the Matrix, have to be resuscitated… and actually bought back to life by our paramedics here in the stadium. But accidents can happen Ladies and Gentlemen; and the shock and trauma to the nervous system is sometimes too great for the body to handle, in which case, even the skills of our doctors and nurses is simply not enough – and sadly death can occur in these extreme situations.”

“But now back to the games and… yes, thank you Giles… I have just been handed a piece of paper containing a list of the competitors who may or may not be taking part in today’s entertainment. Remember, only once the Mad Hatter pulls the names from The Cap is anything definite and finite.”

“So without any further ado, let me hand you over to my co-host, the lovely and delectable Dusty Miller for a behind the scenes look at the characters… the real heroes and heroines… ones who make The Games what they are.”

“………….over to you Dusty.”

“Thank you LB. Good morning to everyone here at Quaffug`s Palace, and let me welcome you all here as we embark on the second day of the festivities which comprise the Great Winter Games.”

“Before the games commence, I`d like to show you some behind the scenes glimpses at the men, women, and…. others…. who risk their lives here for your entertainment, and the whispered promise of vast riches, honour and fame.”
Trenloe & Astarra, the `unspoken` leaders of The Glyph Gate Delvers

“Trenloe the Strong ~ foremost fighter and authorative voice of the twenty strong Gang of  Adventurers called The Glyph Gate Delvers. An honourable man; lured here by the love of a woman.. they say? His skill in melee is matched only by his loyalty to his friends and his lust for adventure.”

“Runewitch Astarra ~ one of the Great Battle Sisters of the Iron Throne – some say? Others claim she is a renegade wizardess from Guidi-Prime… a barren and desolate planet situated on the Core Edge of the Spinward Marches. Some say she is actually indigenous to Blimph, and is in fact the run away slave of an Imperial Merchant… when his amorous advances became too much to bear, she slit his throat! Another rumour will have you believe she is a Princess of some long lost and broken Royal House.”

“Which ever story you believe… if any, Astarra has some considerable measure of the `gift` and uses it to provide an array of pyrotechnics to aid her fellow Gang members. Her ability with Glyph Runes alone makes her a valuable asset to those fortunate enough to have her on their side.”

Andira Runehand & Sir Valadir: brother and sister united in noble deed.

.... Meanwhile.
Tarot Takes Over the Narrative….
{{Tarot asked if she could take our old defunct campaign and play about with it, linking all the above with a current HeroClix mini campaign based in and around Angel City, and blend it all seamlessly. “Well” I thought, “This I gotta see” Of couse, Hil and I said yes. The rest is now up to her. Let`s see what she does with it all. It may not be obvious what she`s doing at first, I`d say, but if I know tarot, she will blend it together seamlessly... in a few weeks... by the time she`s done playing with it all}}.

Father and Daughter: Part 3
Jim limped towards the small window overhead, but even before he reached it, he knew he would never be able to grab a hold of the edge and heave himself up. It was simply too high set in the wall, at a point almost intersecting the wall and the ceiling itself. Besides… peering more closely, even if he could get up there, the aperture was far too tiny for him to squeeze his body through.
No Jim was stuck with only one other choice. He would have to find another way out of here!
 Feeling in his pocket for his lighter, he retrieved it and flicked the wheel. The illumination revealed a series of stone and brick passages, leading off in several directions from the cistern above. By a series of short second uses from his lighter (so as not to burn his fingers), Jim was able to stumble his way along the widest passageway, through the inches deep slimy water (of what was obviously some sort of old sewer system), and head towards, what he hoped, would lead him to a way out of this bad, rotten smelling place.
Eventually he found himself confronted by a great, vast double door ahead. One half of the portal lay ajar, and pushing his head carefully through, he looked through, trying to discern into that lay beyond.

It was a large chamber.  A dim flickering pool of sickly yellow seemed to bounce off the walls creating ominous shadows… from an, as yet, unseen light source…. a torch most likely. The chamber was old, very old, and Jim felt the years of history pour into his senses as he surveyed what seemed to him to be some sort of strange subterranean hall.

Pushing open the twin portal, Jim was surprised to find they swung open without too much effort. Entering the hall he allowed his eyes to adjust to the sights around him. After a few moments he was able to discern a low humming sound coming from a strange looking arch resting off the ground, upon a stepped podium over on his right.
As Jim approached the strange, almost other worldly object, it burst into a wall of swirling colour.
"Oh Hell" He muttered under his breath. "I`m coming Barbara, hold on.... hold on girl."

Should he step through… or should he not?

 in another part of this complex, near, but not in earshot... four strange looking creatures… terrifyingly strange and monstrous in their appearance… cautiously make their way through an entirely different part of the sewers. Their reason for being here, as of yet, unknown to us?
I hope you enjoyed my whacky little tale.
More to come soon.


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you so much Dungeon Lord, I`m so very pleased you enjoyed it. Not too long and boring for you hehe. That was my worry.. that it would send everyone too sleep.

    2. A interesting post, Miss Tarot. Please, give us more...

    3. Oh thank you so much sweetie, I will I will xx

  2. Very interesting and this has taken off in a direction I never saw coming. I love the way you're mixing so many genres and games into something that is uniquely yours.

    This takes me back to my own very early role-playing days when I ran a massive campaign that lasted for months. My players all played Mega City One Judges on a quest to find the Chief Judge who had been kidnapped and whisked off to the Cursed Earth. I threw everything into the mix just so I could use my entire figure collection in one game. Setting it in the Cursed Earth meant that just about anything could happen. So I used Fantasy figures, Vikings, Wild West figures, Star Wars figures, and figures that I had made. The rules I used were converted Dungeons and Dragons rules! Fun times and it showed what could be done with your imagination. I put a lot of work into that campaign but it was all worth it. My players loved it and would talk about it for years afterwards.

    I think you can achieve something similar here with this campaign. I wish you well and will, of course, be following you all the way.

    1. Stevie and I have heard you mention your old `magnum opus` campaign before Bryan, but it really nice to hear you open up and talk about it with us so vividly.

    2. Thank you so much for your in depth reply and comments Bryan. I`m so glad my article.. my little touch of madness, awoke such good memories or you of your own past gaming glories. You should relive those for us all to hear some time.

      Wouldn`t that be cool actually, when I think about it. An ongoing "Nostalgia Corner" where gamers talk about their personal gaming highs of the past.

    3. Hmm. "Nostalgia Corner". What a great idea. When I played that campaign I mentioned computers were in their infancy and blogging was unheard of. It would be great to relive those past times. I would love to read about what other gamers got up back in those old B.C. days - Before Computers.

  3. Wow, Tar`, you`ve created a monster of a backstory for this game. Yet strangely manageable, and nicely sandboxed. I think this is probably THE epitome of how to go about creating a table top rpg campaign. Its a classic showcase of "How To". But more-over, its a the start of a living campaign, because I can attest to the fact it actually is on going and very much alive... thanks too you Tar`, you`ve managed to pull in all sorts of nice new (and some not so new) threads to create an interesting weave within which we can work and play.

    Excellent. I was especially delighted to see Imperial Governor Grappll make a cameo appearance in the story (if only in name) haha, oh my its been a long time since I saw that name mentioned. And seeing Fett take such centre stage really gets my Star Wars juices going again.

    I was wondering how we`d introduce the Ninja T`s into the game *chuckles* now I know how ^^

    Top Notch Tar hun.

    Steve :))))

    1. Don`t worry Mr Steve, YOU`RE playing the next session with me hehe.

      .. AND you Hils.

    2. I will, I will, I will. Next issue will be very Turtle themed { and maybe we will find out what`s happening with Barbabra too, with a quick... "meanwhile" <-- creepy laugh WOOhahahahaa!! ).

  4. Well done Tarot, I think you have just proven a point: you CAN write an in depth article for a gaming blog that doesn't need to be all photos, eye candy and reviews about current games on the shelf. Sometimes a bit of savoury spice and meat makes a really nice change from candy-floss and cake. It made me smile wide to myself, because I can actually remember playing all this through, years ago: and I was always sad it became one of those `defunct` campaigns which never got off the ground.. Sadly, the way of so many good game ideas: but unlike many, this didn't fail due to lack of care and attention, but due to life events (at the time) getting in the way. Kids, school, college, job/house moving, etc. By the time the dust settled, the planned campaign had gone right out of our heads. Thank you Tar` for bringing back so many cool memories. There is a cool quote Stevie likes to use often: “you SHALL go to the ball Cinders". Which applied here means; thanks to you, YES we SHALL re-visit this old campaign, bring it up to date, mix it in with existing ideas, and fuse the lot into an even bigger and greater game.

    Very nice work Tarot dear.

    1. Thank you Hil, I just wanted to do something a little different is all.

      If I`ve managed to kick-start you into revamping this old game, with renewed enthusiasm, then I`ve succeeded. The game can only be better because of it, and that in turn means more stuff to write about in this blog, right?

  5. What can I say that hasn't already been said? Mind boggling bursting with everything cool, but still managing to produce a cohesive whole. I'll admit I did read it in two sittings, but only because I was watching 'The Living and the Dead' and I can't resist a good Victorian ghost story...

    I like the idea of 'Nostalgia Corner' although it does smack of cardigans and Werthers - perhaps 'Tales from the Archives' or 'Memories Restored' might be better?

    As for the portal...don't do it Jim! See if you can find a way back upstairs first.

    Nice work, Tar. Crazy in the best way.

    1. Thank you thank you thank you *big hug*

      I so very much wanted to bring all this amazingly rich material into the game, and was so worried it couldn`t be done without being too contrived. I only wish I could have bought it all into focus and alignment in a single article, but the thing would have been far too long (as it is, I pushed the bounds of article length as far as I dared, I think lol), so, sadly, has to be split into two parts. But by the end of that, it WILL all make proper sense.

      {{and I can't resist a good Victorian ghost story...}}

      I can't wait to see "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies".

      And What do you think of "Penny Dreadful" ????

      {{As for the portal...don't do it Jim! See if you can find a way back upstairs first.}}

      *Smiles at you* good.. goooood,. *rubs hands together as she plans*

    2. ((...What do you think of "Penny Dreadful"????))

      OMG!! It's flippin' amazing! Whilst this is based on the first series and the couple of episodes I saw of the 2nd (no Sky anymore...) I absolutely love it! It's the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen done properly, I.e. more like the comic.

    3. It gets far getter in 2 and series 3 is simply WOW.

    4. PS The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen graphic novels are very good (the film wasn't bad either), but I think they lost the plot a bit after Mina bought the team up to the 1960`s (1969).. mind you I DO like the 3D glasses that come in that psychedelic annual omnibus.. the 3D interior art is really WOW.. groovy! Very reminiscent of Woodstock. But going back to the original 2 LoEG books (back to the Victorian War of the World era), they got the tone just right all the way through didn't they.

    5. I don`t know 'The Living and the Dead' I shall look that up for sure, I too adore all things Victoriana. Is this an HBO series by any chance?

      'Tales from the Archives' or 'Memories Restored' both sound good, what you think Bryan?

    6. I like them both, Tarot, but with a slightly greater preference for "Tales from the Archives." I think this idea is worth including in our blog. From my own gaming experiences there are a number of truly memorable scenarios and campaigns I played that I'd love to relive and share with a wider audience. Like any good games master, I still have all of my old notes and maps from these games.

    7. Hil - I loved both original LOEG series, although the creators have now ruined Rupert the Bear for I also enjoyed the film, although it wasn't the comics.

      Tar - 'The Living and the Dead' is the new BBC1 series with the bloke that played Merlin starring - it's deliciously creepy.

      Bryan - I too have several 'Tales from the Archives' which I'd love to share, from a variety of games I (usually) ran. The problem would be picking which one to do first! Hmm, the Hellraiser/Paranoia crossover or stalwart Victorians discovering a lost civilisation of Aztecs in Masque of the Red Death? Decisions, decisions...

    8. I think we might be onto something here. Jez, if you want to share your old gaming experiences with us here on our blog you'd be more than welcome to. The same applies to anyone else.

    9. Oh GOD don t.... DON`T!!! hahahaa like you, good old innocent Rupert will just never be the same again for me lol.

      Merlin... Sam Eliot? or that new Colin Morgan (who loos like he`s only just been weaned off wearing nappies, and learned his brooding facial expressions from Brad Pitt by watching "Troy" over and over haha).

      {{Victorians discovering a lost civilisation of Aztecs in Masque of the Red Death}}

      Masquerade the Vampire by any chance?

    10. Sam Elliott? You mean Sam Neill, although a Wild West version of King Arthur would be pretty cool. No, it's Colin Morgan - although he's now bearded so looks older than twelve now.

      And whilst I did play Vampire:The Masquerade, it was the 2e AD&D Ravenloft Victorian spin-off, which was called Masque of the Red Death. This particular campaign was filled with fantastic quotes from the players, who really got into the spirit of the era, one of my favourite being "We need more flaming monkeys!"

      For Vampire, I ran my own campaign "Amsterdam by Night"...I could go on...

      Imagine if you three in Ireland got together in a room with me and Bryan - we'd be gas-bagging all night! And probably be very, very drunk...

    11. Yesssssss, of course Duh! Sam Neill I meant *chuckles and shakes had at self*

      {{No, it's Colin Morgan - although he's now bearded so looks older than twelve now.]}}

      *Falls off chair laughing* I`m sorry I know, I KNOW he`s good, he just ... looks... so YOUNG lolol. Pinch his milk shake and cookies and I think he`d cry.

      Good Man, the 2e AD&D Ravenloft Victorian Red Death WAS an amazing module. I actually worked for White Wolf Publishing at the time (on that series) and even I have to admit TSR 2e was far better. Actually I LOVE Ravenloft 2nd edition (waaaaayyyy better than the 3.5 WotC version, I personally think, and I don't know what the new 5th ed is like), but WOW didn't it kick a punch back then.... so much so that even now, as you know, its STILL regarded a pretty timeless classic, and has evoked soooo many spin offs, my head almost spins with it.

      I WANT very much to hear more about your Amsterdam by Night campaign. Maybe "Tales from the Archives" needs to get underway quite soon.

      Us all in Ireland, playing games, our home made wine and beer flowing, Hil`s country cooking, the `gang` all assembled, wow what an image.

    12. `shakes head at self` would be more efficient*

  6. First of all TURTLES!!!

    TMNT will enhance any campaign no matter what. Forget what HIl said I want to see those Turtle minis in photos! Lots and lots of them, Pretty pretty please T xx

    I like it, I love the eclectic mix, I love the tie in with the Gordon's from earlier. Brilliant!

    BC I wrote an entire RPG system complete with skills/traits, combat system and psionic powers for post apocalypse. It ran to hundreds of pages of typed out notes lol. Found about half of it recently in the loft and played a mini campaign with my kids and their friends (all late teens) and they loved it so much so that they wanted to carry on but life gets in the way doesn't it? The campaign map and and notes were all hand written in my teenaged scrawl hahaha.

  7. hehe, you SHALL see them... you shall. Next chapter will be big into Turtles, and I`ll make sure there are lots of photos for you hehe. Next part will see it all beginning to pull together into more of a single plot... if all goes as planned.

    I`d love to have seen your RPG system. If everything Ive seen of your work is to go by, it must have been utterly awesome.

  8. What IS it with Mutant Ninja Turtles? You only have to say the word "TURTLE" and every boy/man in the block suddenly goes all gooey eyed with silly inane smile across his face hehehe.

  9. *chuckles* I know what you mean Hils. Though I truly never got into Turtle mania myself. Far too many "hey dudes" and what the heck IS a "cowabunga!" and in all honesty, these guys put me off Pizza for LIFE.

    BUT somehow, the 2014 movie hit the right tone for me, and wasn`t too shabby (despite the fact, most hardcore turtle fans seem to hate the movie hahaha I cant win lol). The HeroClix Turtles appeals to my sense of fun...i.e. "lets take these critters and alter them slightly, and put a macabre twist in there". Tarot knows my thinking and promises me she will take my beloved Ninja guys and stay true to my unique ideas on this lol.

  10. I`m intrigued now...

    Could it be:

    Zombie Turtles?

    Pig.. ooops, I mean Turtles in.. spaaaaceee!!!?

    Mature/Geriatric Ninja Turtles?

    hmmm, the mind boggles.

  11. Hil, for me, it's because I can remember how cool the TMNT were when they first appeared in their comic strip. The overall tone was a lot darker back then. The rot set in once they got their own children's cartoon series on TV and suddenly they became far too kiddie friendly. UGH!!! What Steve is planning on doing is to re-establish the dark tone of them. It's a decision I fully support and admire. Oh, and I hate pizza as well! ;-)

  12. Exactly Bryan, the original strip was a lot darker and the turtles were deadly, the attitude was still there, although they all had the same colour bandannas that only changed when they started being directed toward children and needed to be distinguished apart more easily by younger folk.

    I love the new films Steve, although I actually prefer the earlier films with guys in suits as the martial arts were real rather than cgi.

  13. Ah, I begin to see. Thank you for bearing with me and nurse maiding me through Ninja Turtle Facts 101. They begin to sound more interesting by the second, and this begin to explain why Stevie goes all boggle eyed at the mention of them. Cheers guys.

  14. Well, I love my Ninja guys. The fact they are rendered in gorgeous plastic, AND in HeroClix form as well, fills me with covetous desire (sorry Stevie, I think you pretty much need to resign yourself to the fact you`ve lost your ninja`s to my personal collection at this stage).

  15. ..... is this another permanent loan my dear?

    1. mmmhmmm

      *has the grace to look a bit sheepish*

      *.. but soon bounces back, smiling and stroking her lovely green men*

  16. Just found the greatest comic ever - Batman and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!

  17. oh GOD WOOOOOW THANK you for this, its absolutely flippin` amazing.

  18. This is simply incredible, thank you so much for sharing. SO well done and wow its all freeeeeeee.

  19. You`ve made some people very happy with this Andy. I shall enjoy reading too and try catch up on this Ninja mania. I want in, and this seems a good place to start.