Sunday 31 August 2014

RPGaDay Day 12 - Old Game Still Played


Will be doing a Pathfinder update soon but migraine’d-out during the session so it may be a little disjointed and I’m not feeling quite right now, so doing this first cost it involves a little less focus. But that’s today’s excuse for poor writing/typing skills.

Day Twelve – Old RPG Still Played

Aberrant, released in 1999. My Pathfinder GM really wanted to run it but only I and Bells (who plays Aaron in Pathfinder) were both free and interested so it’s a small group. 

I’d played Aberrant once before but I barely remember the game except my character ended up superstrong and glowing in the dark. We didn’t pick our powers, the GM gave them to us depending on what we did, and that worked pretty well except one player ended up able to pass through solid matter and used this to take someone’s heart out of their chest. He then couldn’t understand why I was upset by this (he went into some detail in his description) and I think it was his lack of empathy and belief his action was funny that lead me to drop out.

I like the White Wolf system (I like any game where I get to roll massive handfuls of dice – I find it very satisfying) and had forgotten the game above was Aberrant until we started this new one… and (digging through my roleplay folder) I found my old character sheet.

As I said, I don’t really remember the last game I played but Bells is playing in another game. In character, neither us knew how much more powerful we are than normal novas (we are starting to) so it was fine for me out of character to not realise – and fun for Bells to understand.

Also healt and willpower
Because we have so much more quantum, our GM has provided us with pots of glass gems to count it with (ditto for health and willpower) to save damaging our character sheets by rubbing out repeatedly. These are large pots that are utterly full and have been known to push me into what the other two have affectionately named “power giggling”.

That's how much quantum we had early on on the left, a normal nova on the right.

We have a lot more quantum now

We’ve been playing an extended character gen prologue, earning nova points instead of XP (to help us become so stupidly powerful) that I intend to write up now it’s finished, and then start chronicling Aberrant as well as Pathfinder.

Bells’s character, Adam, is bullet-dodging fast, an amazing dancer and can throw lightning around. He’s 17 and parentless (my character hasn’t asked him about that: he’ll tell her if he wants to), had got involved in a local gang but is out of that now.

My character, Chrissie, is early 20’s. She was a nurse and from a wealthy background but her parents did not like her decision to become a nurse and, always a bit rebellious, she rejected their love of money. Things remain cold between them, but she has regained friendship with her brother. Her powers include flight and fire manipulation, and she has mega-strength, dex, stamina, perception, int, wits and charisma. She’s just earned a doctorate in human biology and is now working towards the same in pharmacological chemistry. Taught by her current boss’s dad.

We’re working for Benedict St John of St John Enterprises – basically, a supersmart version of Richard Branson/Virgin. Last session, we assembled our superteam (of normal power level novas) which included a friend of Chrissie’s, Jean Baptiste, her parkour instructor who was a doctor with Médicins Sans Frontières

The prologue ended with the Russian president being shot in front of us. The world is descending into war and chaos.

With thanks again to Autocratik. His Day 12 is here

Saturday 30 August 2014

RPGaDay - Days 9, 10 and 11


I keep forgetting to say, but I’m intrigued by other people’s responses so please share a link to your own blog post or just reply in the comments. Husbit’s been shouting over my shoulder as I’ve prepped some of my answers and has finally done a full list here

To try and catch up a bit (and because Pathfinder tonight means I may slip further behind), I’m going to do 3 together.

Day Nine – Favourite Die/Dice Set

I have written fairly extensively about my dice collection (which has grown, with the addition of blue pearl D6’s cos I have a ShadowRun idea in mind) before, so am just going to link back to that and highlight the haematite dice therein. I don’t use them because I worry about damaging them/the table, but I love them. 

Day Ten – Favourite Tie-In Novel / Game Fiction

I, Strahd by P N Elrod. It gives the background to Ravenloft, Husbit’s favourite game, and is a wonderful, gothic tale. Well-written with a wonderfully rounded main character – despite an inevitable fall towards evil, he is incredibly sympathetic in the true vein of such fiction.

I haven’t actually played much old school D&D but it probably the game for which I’ve read the most fiction, also enjoying the Dragonlance novels (there’s a moment where one character recalls the death of another and it gets me every time). This is Husbit’s influence – he has played a lot of D&D in general and has many of the novels and novellas and books left lying around near me tend to get read…

Day Eleven – Weirdest Game

And again, going to cheat and just go with one played.

It was run by Monty using The Window system. I hadn’t come across the system before but really like it. The setting was a game Monty and Troll Luke had developed together - a floating island of criminals in a dystopic near future. The ‘island’ was made up of boats, cargo containers, anything that floats and could be lashed together, placed on top and live in. Parts of the island were underwater. It was run by (I believe) an AI but the group sort of fell to pieces before we got very far into it. Which was a shame, because it was fascinating and I liked my character. I’m hopeful one or other will write some novels set there so I can learn more.

My character, whose name escapes me, was a bit psychotic. She’d been born on the island – no idea who her father was so she’d make men old enough feel uncomfortable by calling them “Daddy” (this included Luke’s character). She had severe mental health problems, probably some form of sociopathy (I remember writing one of her stats as “would happily shoot a puppy in the face”). She liked explosives and knives. She was pretty horrible, but for me it was interesting to explore that side of human nature (in an extreme form) and the setting allowed me to do so. I know there was some pretty deep meta-plot going on, too, and really wish we could have explored more.

The system is lovely and I really like the way it’s driven by story and character rather than rules and numbers. I know a few players who would struggle with it, though.

With thanks again to Autocratik. His Day 9 is here (and I want the dice dispenser!), Day 10 here and Day 11 here

Friday 29 August 2014

RPGaDay Day 8 - Favourite Character


Day Eight – Favourite Character

Isn’t this one of those things you’re meant to never ask a roleplayer? I know I’ve certainly done my fair share of boring other people to death with my beloveds. Indeed, the primary purpose of this blog was to be able to share detail of various characters without having to see that glassy-eyed response in my audience…

But the truth is there is something lovely about the enthusiasm with which a geek speaks of their favourite characters, so I’m really pleased to see this here.

I love most of my characters, but those I am most deeply attached to are, probably unsurprisingly, those I have played the longest – so Kamaya, Plays, ‘Mathilde,’ Kella and Svetlana are I think my top 5. It is very hard to pick between them.


Kamaya was my character in the first ShadowRun game I played – a Canadian Japanese-Native American elf adept born to a human family, she had travelled to Seattle to avenge the death of her brother (hooked on BTL’s). She joined the game after achieving this and feeling at a loose end. I intended her to be more of a pacifist, only killing if necessary and using non-lethal bullets. Of course, these don’t pierce the armour security guards inevitably wear so I soon gave up on my lofty ideals and was as much of a killing machine as the louder players and NPC’s (there were pacifists in the group, but they were quieter so placed less peer pressure on me).

When the GM got his hands on the Magic in the Shadows supplement, we adapted the character to be a shaman-adept, with Cheetah as her totem because she was so fast. Her preferred weapons were some uzi-type gun whose name I forget and her monofilament whip – she lost this in the Renraku Arcology (which I would love to revisit because we barely scratched the surface) but on the next corpse was told she could find another (yay for puppy-dog eyes) with a target number of 30-something on a D6. I reached 40.

Eventually, Kamaya became so powerful I felt it was time to retire her. I had a nice little plan to set up a chain of pubs, clubs and restaurants and set herself up as a fixer with these as her front. The GM wanted to tie off one plot (we’d seriously pissed off Ares Corps) so had her best friend (NPC wolf shaman Tark) cranial bombed to death in front of her. Was a bit upset by that because it meant I couldn’t retire her, even though we’d agreed it…
Starlight aka Plays in Shadows

My character in the modern-day Werewolf part of the Awesome Uni WoD Campaign, I have spoken about Plays before. I really liked her innocence and child-like nature (a theme we will return to with both Kella and Svetlana) but am not going to add to what I’ve already written. 


I played Assamites in the Vampire parts of the WoD with Starlight/Plays. One of the other players played Ravnos, and they looked a lot of fun. So when another friend at uni invited me into her Vampire game, I jumped at the chance to try them out.

The game was set in Austria or somewhere in that area, in the early 19th Century. My character introduced herself as Mathilde, a Toreador passing through. It didn’t take long for the other players (although not their characters) to twig there was some masquerade going on: I kept making vaguely feline paw-to-face style motions. Owen, playing the excellent Russian Malkav Jana, had me pegged as a Gangrel from the first session I joined. I think he was as amused as I when it finally tumbled out I was actually a Ravnos.

My character never had a set name – she was old enough to barely remember the name she’d used when alive and was known by those other Ravnos on the same path as her (one from the Ravnos book) as Ursel (something the other players never knew) and chose a new name for herself every time she changed location. She’d been born in India and had grown up as part of a group of travellers with a Ravnos vampire living in their caravan. She’d had her eye on my character, and when I was deemed old enough she changed me with the agreement of my parents.

I really liked the character. Most of my characters are healers and basically nice: this character had ‘bully’ as her nature and her weakness (which worked very well with Jana’s nature of ‘egomaniac’: every time I bullied her it was all about her so we both regained willpower. An accidental bit of powergaming!) She was where I learnt about being a trickster and I found that a lot of fun and very liberating.

Her primary focus was chimestry. She was very fey/wyld orientated – her overall goal was to wipe out all vampires to free the energies caught up within their bodies. One NPC, a Lasombre called Maxmilian, ended up blood-bound to her because he wanted chimestry and she wanted the shadow power whose name momentarily eludes me. His tentacles were thick and tentically. I always pictured hers as more delicate and tendrilly – like a bramble or climbing rose.


I’ve spoken about Kella briefly before. She was my character in an epic homebrew game based on Final Fantasy 10. Kella started out as a white mage (of sorts) and ended up a summoner. She had a child-like naivety that was an external façade, a shield to protect her from the horrors of the world. Inside, she was steel and determination but to be able to maintain that she needed this other appearance. Svetlana can be a bit like this. 

I think Kella is so dear to me because she had a younger sister that my GM played exactly like my real world younger sister without having met her, for her beautiful love story and for the intensity of the game itself: it left me in tears more than once.


It’s probably obvious that I rather like Svetlana. She’s my character in the Pathfinder campaign that makes up a large amount of this blog and she’s lovely. She’s optimistic, confident and caring – she is, in many ways, the person I would love to be. Kella and Plays share this with her (although there are times when I would love the lack of care for others that marks ‘Mathilde’ – the way she does things for her own entertainment without even considering another may have feelings that could be hurt. Liberating in small doses, but not something I could deal with doing in the real world).

I’ve said a lot about Svetlana in various places on this blog so I’m going to leave you with my GM’s description of her: 

With thanks again to Autocratik. His Day 8 is here

RPGaDay Day 7 - Most Intellectual Game


Day Seven – Most Intellectual Game Owned

I’ve been really struggling with this one and done a more thorough search of other people’s responses (this one is my favourite, but I’m really intrigued by the game described here) for inspiration.

As discussed before, I don’t own many games so am again going to cheat and go with a game I’ve played/own by proxy (I figure it’s still in keeping with the ethos of #RPGaDAY to do it this way when my answer-pool is otherwise a bit limited and I’d probably have to go with ShadowRun again – cyberpunk settings are as capable of being about intrigue and subterfuge as strength and cyberwear).

Numenara looks like a clever game but I haven’t played it (yet – very, very much want to!) so can’t include it.

Vampire: The Masquerade is definitely a contender here. I’ve played a few different campaigns and mini-campaigns and there is definitely a lot to this game. Personally, I prefer Werewolf; the Werewolf campaign I was in was more intellectual than I understand Werewolf normally is because Werewolf is about that barely-controlled inner rage, which is not particularly intellectual. So back to Vampire. Because it is (usually) about intrigue and deceit and power struggles, it has the scope to be very intellectual, enough to make my head spin in at least one campaign. But vampires are inherently physically powerful, too, which is why I haven’t gone with it as my final choice.

I’ve chosen Call of Cthulu.

I’ve only played the game once and didn’t enjoy it. I don’t like the mythos on which it is based, either, and think H P Lovecraft is probably the most overrated author I’ve ever had the misfortune to read (most of arguments I’ve been given to this can be quenched by reading M R James, a ghost story writer who slightly pre-dates Lovecraft and whose control of the story is much, much tighter). I do love the Arkham Horror board game, though, and have come to the conclusion that the roleplay game is probably very good; I was just a bit unfortunate with the circumstances of the game I was in (little things, like a character who was an experienced war veteran having to make sanity roles when a gun went off and a failed sanity role on a boat leading to a fear of horses because the GM was running to the letter of the rules).

This game is a game of horror and the best horror is that which plays out primarily in the mind. Ambrose Bierce’s The Man and the Snake is a wonderful example of this. For that reason, Call of Cthulu is probably the most intellectual game I (sort-of) own.

With thanks again to Autocratik. His Day 7 is here. I’ve not actually seen it yet because I’m at work without headphones. Having read his bit at the top, I may need to change my mind to Traveller or Rolemaster, but I rather like my answer. 

Thursday 28 August 2014

RPGaDay Day 6 - Favourite Game I Never Get To Play


Day Six – Favourite Game I Never Get To Play


I’ve been wanting to play Changeling since playing in the Awesome World of Darkness Campaign run when I was at uni. It was the first time I’d come across World of Darkness and – having grown up with a deep love and respect for British and Irish folk and fairy tales (and world mythology in general) – Changeling really appealed to me. But no one at uni wanted to run it because it was too complicated and no one back home wants to run it because they think it would be played with fairies who are fluffy and light – and thus boring.

But a large part of why Changeling appeals to me is that doesn’t seem to be the case. It looks to me like it’s been designed to deal with the dark/light nature of the fey – the way that human morals don’t necessarily translate into fey morals.

I’m also interested in the need to keep the wild places in the world. It was described to me as that you could be living as part of a travelling carnival (which sounded like a wonderful setting) but you would really struggle in something like a pathology lab (which also made me want to play and subvert that – find ways to bring the wild into science… that might be more of a Deadlands thing, though).

Disclosure: I haven’t actually managed to get my hands on the rule book yet, so I could be completely misinterpreting what I’ve been told, but I really, really like the sound of this game. These days, I’m even half tempted to suck up my fear of GM’ing and try and run it myself; if nothing else, it would be a lovely excuse to re-read my various British/Irish myths and legends collections. Although, in honesty, I rarely need an excuse for that.

With thanks again to Autocratik. His Day 6 is here.

((PS: See! Catching up!))

RPGaDay Day 5 - Most Old School Game Owned


Day Five – Most Old School Game Owned

I’m going to cheat here, and write about a game I own by proxy rather than a game I own myself. I own some old World of Darkness; I have a seemingly permanent loan of WFRPs (1st Edition); and I own/have loan of 3rd Ed ShadowRun, but none of these are particularly old school (or maybe I’m just older than I think).

I was tempted to cheat using Hero Quest. My Grandada used to run the game for me and my younger siblings – I was always the elf, my brother always the wizard and my sister happy with either barbarian or dwarf – and he used to bring a ‘roleplay-lite’ element to the game. We found a copy in a charity shop and bought it because we loved the game so much, but it was never quite as fun with anyone else in charge. The game sits in my Dad’s board game cupboard now. It’s not necessarily old school, isn't technically an RPG and probably should have been mentioned on Day One instead, but I didn’t think of it then!

Husbit’s brother, an avid gamer, sadly died last year and we inherited all his roleplay books. There’s a fair few, mostly Cthulu and Dungeons & Dragons. Including some pretty old D&D bits and pieces. So that’s my ‘most old school RPG owned’: AD&D – many supplements, 2 players’ handbooks, and I believe the core rule book. I haven’t ever looked through it, though. It still makes me feel a little - not sad, as such; melancholy, maybe? - to see the books because they make me think of Jules and all the sorrow there.

With thanks again to Autocratik. His Day 5 is here.  

PS: trying to catch up! This should have been posted yesterday but was chilling out after an awesome circus session. Made real progress on a move on the silks I'd been struggling with, which was very exciting to me. Annoyingly, didn't have time to go a second time to be filmed, so can't share. And no circus for a fortnight now! 

Tuesday 26 August 2014

#RPGaDay Day Four - Most Recent Purchase


Day Four – Most Recent RPG Purchase

Technically dice. Lots of dice. I’ve been having a hankering for some ShadowRun so have just topped up my D6 collection with some pretty blue pearl dice from Ebay that arrived the same day as my #shinynewtablet, which made Friday a very exciting day for me! And before that I needed many D10’s for Aberrant and Tritex Games were lovely and helpful there.

But the last book I bought was Abney Park’s Airship Pirates.

I think it's pretty

Abney Park were a goth band who gave themselves a steampunk makeover. Husbit discovered them and I think they’re great so when I discovered there was a roleplay game based on their steampunk backstory, I got very excited and used Husbit’s birthday as a convenient excuse to buy it for myself.

I haven’t had a chance to play it yet because it turns out that I was the only one interested. I really like the story in it, though – the world feels like it has a lot of depth and I remain hopeful to find time and players to have a go at this.

With thanks again to Autocratik. His response to Day 4 is here.

I had a bit of troubling getting the book off the shelf to photograph it... We inherited a lot of Cthulu, D&D and misc shortly after I bought it and they've taken over my shelf!

Monday 25 August 2014

RPGADay Day Three - First RPG Purchased


Day Three – First Game Purchased

The first core rule book I had was WFRPs (Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay). I was actually given this by some friends before I joined the Buffy game discussed in Day One. This book was being leant to me because they wanted to play and needed someone to GM and thought I’d do. The game never happened. I still have the book; Ed (I think it was Ed’s), if you ever want it back please let me know.

The first game I ran, ShadowRun, was also run on a borrowed core rule book (Jon, if your brother ever wants it back I do still have it. It’s possible people shouldn’t lend me books…) but I did pick up some of the supplements – Man and Machine and Magic in the Shadows. So they would make up the first RPG purchase I made (excluding dice).

Because so many of my friends are much more experienced players/refs and because I tend to play rather than run games I don’t have that many books of my own. Husbit, on the other hand, has a fairly respectable collection. Mine takes up one tiny corner of the bookshelf that overflows with his.

With thanks again to Autocratik. His response to Day 3 is here

Sunday 24 August 2014

#RPGaDay Day Two - First Game GM'd


Day Two – First Game GM’d

ShadowRun (3rd Ed).

From Day One, the second game I played was ShadowRun and I loved it – particularly the mix of cyberpunk and fantasy that I know is some people’s biggest reason for disliking it.

When I met the Husbit, I knew I liked him but lacked the confidence and experience to just ask for his number and needed a ruse. I knew he gamed, so convinced my brother and one of his friends to join a ShadowRun game that I would run – and invited Husbit and a couple of other people in his group (so’s to not make it look suspicious…).

I don’t remember much of the game. The idea was they were low level group trying to carve out their own little patch of gang territory before moving on to earn money by running. It didn’t work out that way.

Husbit played a mage with a mad Mexican dwarf who lived in his hat. It was a bit too silly, really, but I didn’t know how to stop him and wasn’t too bothered. I don’t think I’d let him do that now. My brother’s friend played a human with a bit of a cat fetish – she had whiskers and a full facial tattoo to make her look like a tiger. I liked her character. I don’t remember anything particular about the others.

There were some amusing moments. I remember one character botching a stealth role and it was decided he was trying so hard to be stealthy he was being rather obvious – hiding behind lampposts; ducking whenever the target turned around; that sort of thing. It lead to a song – the “I’m SNEAKING” song, complete with ‘being stealthy’ poses.

The game wasn’t great; I was a pretty terrible GM. But the group – in one form or another with several hiatuses – has continued and is now our Pathfinder group. Of the original members, strictly speaking only Husbit remains because I took a break for uni and rejoined. 

Aerial Hoop - Tummy Drop

So way back when (well, back in June) I posted about circus class and failed to upload a video. And then last week I managed to post a load of other videos and pictures and finally that first one.

There's a move I mess up at the end of that first video and I now have footage of me succeeding at that move!

So, video one:

and video two:

It's not brilliant: I failed to pike properly as I came through before hocking on to the top bar - but I did a better job of bringing my legs through together rather than one at a time (every week I get a little better at it!) You may then notice I re-straighten my right leg after hocking on: my calf cramped as I pointed my toe and it made me a bit anxious to do the tummy drop so I stretched in the hopes of releasing the cramp. It didn't work, but never mind. It happens to me sometime - I don't know if it's part of being unfit, part of being hypermobile, or something else.

After that, I then messed up the backward lean out - this is partly because I haven't done it as often as the front lean so it feels a little awkward still. I also didn't put as much stretch into it as I would have liked to because I was a bit worried about the cramp.

I think I had the bar in the wrong place when I did actually drop - I think I normally have it in the place I started it in and normally stretch my back out to move my head away, rather than move the hoop away from my head. Not sure - it's several weeks since I last did a drop but it did feel a bit different compared to before. I know I didn't land in the right place, which is why my front balance (one of my favourite moves) is such a mess and I stagger before coming off.

Still, it was nice to do a tummy drop again and I'm very pleased with my steady improvement in getting up onto that top bar. I really like working up there.

Saturday 23 August 2014

#RPGaDay Day one - First Game

I’ve come a bit late to the game (various pathetic excuses), but now going to start on the rather lovely RPGaDAY. I did consider waiting to September, but that only has 30 days and I’ll be too busy come October, so I’m starting mid-month instead. To be fair, some of my responses are going to be so short that they’ll be joined together in blog posts. Others will require one all of their own.

Day One – First Game Played

Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I’ve mentioned this briefly before, but will go into a bit more detail now.

I was a gangly, spotty, 16 or 17 year old and the only girl regular at my local Games Workshop. I’d been going down for 2 or 3 years, since my little brother had got into the hobby because Dad wanted someone to accompany him to the store. Through this, I became close friends with the staff and other regulars and when my brother lost interest I didn’t.

One day, one of the full-time staff members, Andy, asked if I wanted to stay behind and join their Buffy game. I was a huge fan of the show (still am, actually. It got me through my teenage years) and he thought I might like roleplay. It sounded like fun and it was a massive confidence boost (something I badly needed) to be invited to something outside of GW. My Dad was a little wary: he’d known students (he claimed) who’d become so involved in roleplay games that they missed exams. I’m not certain I believe him now, although I absolutely did at the time and that may have been the point of the lie – to appeal to my need to achieve academically to keep me from taking a game too seriously.

Anyway, however it ended up, one evening after the shop was closed I helped tidy up (a few of us most trusted regulars would from time to time, in return for lifts home or just cos it meant we could carry on chatting. The staff would probably have been in serious trouble if Head Office ever knew, but it was one of many ways the staff made us feel important and helped us through the hell’s highway that is puberty) and we went upstairs to the stockroom.

Andy sat me down and we created a character based on me – with a few alterations. Oz was my favourite character (I still secretly imagine he and Willow get together again. Willow and Tara are probably my other favourite characters. But it's close), so I wanted to take the werewolf flaw, and Andy said that would work as a way to bring me into the game (but ultimately we never used the flaw and it was more like I got free character gen points. A bit of a shame, but never mind). And I wanted to have magic because, well, magic is cool! So a few points there. But otherwise, I was playing me, living in my home town with my friends and my family.

The other players joined us and the game began with their Watcher introducing me and saying he was going to be keeping an eye on me (what I knew but the others didn’t was that he’d saved me from a werewolf attack). They were surprised to see me but quickly caught me up on what they’d been doing and the ways the world was ending (which was why the Watcher was in town even though there was no Slayer locally).

It was fun! Andy played himself in the game from time to time, but his character knew nothing of the supernatural world so it could be interesting to try to keep him innocent, as it were (Andy as GM was keen that Andy as NPC didn’t get too involved because it would be complicated for him). I learned more about the neighbouring town (the one with the nightclubs and, actually, where I now live) from the game than from going in real life – and my first clubbing experience was so that I would know what they were talking about because the local metal nightclub – The Villa – was the venue for a lot of the action. (It’s probably part of why I ended up working there, actually. It was a brilliant job, so I’m pleased.)

Playing ourselves meant I didn’t have to get into character, but using lateral thinking and working inside the game lead one of the other players, Tom, to invite me to his ShadowRun game “for something a bit more serious – I think you’ll enjoy it” and the rest, as they say, is history.

 With thanks to Autocratik for the idea. You can check out his response to Day One here.

Wednesday 20 August 2014

Pathfinder - The Crusade part 7

Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4 / Part 5 / Part 6

With Jerribeth defeated, we quickly ransacked her room to find some codes and secret signs the Templars use (should help the efforts of the Crusade) and some other oddities, including a necklace that screamed of magic but I couldn’t figure out its purpose. Pocketed for the future because I’m not sure it’s safe.

Checked the rest of this side and found, beyond the cells, an icky room with two humanoid-corpses and writings carved into the back wall. Those with better knowledge of anatomy than I realised the bodies had been alive when their organs were removed. Made me feel sad and ill together. Evander looked at the writing and something in him snapped – it was wrong, all wrong; unfinished; didn’t make sense; not right. Alexei used stone shape to destroy the wall: as best we could tell from Evander’s expletive-laden rant, it was the beginnings of a spell to loosen all natives of Golarion from this plane – to make it easier to teleport us to other planes.* That didn’t seem like a good thing to leave half-finished in a demon stronghold.

After that, we headed back to sneak to the other – but the demons guarding the cathedral in the centre spotted us as we tried to figure a way to sneak past and charged. Didn’t take long to deal with them.

The cathedral was impressive – pillars lining the way to a large altar with another statue to the demon lord Baphomet. The high, vaulted ceiling was painted with stars. Two small rooms lead off from either side – one, strangely enough, seemed to be marked with a magic circle against evil… The other, a meditation room of sorts, with cat-o’-nine-tails and other creepy things, most notably, a creepy book written in Abyssal – pocketed with the necklace because I could hear discussion outside in the cathedral itself about removing the Baphomet statue. And the next moment, a deafening, shattering crash as Evander took his flail to the statue’s leg and managed to topple it.

As the sound died away and our hearing began to return to normal, we knew the noise would have drawn the attention of every remaining accursed demon in the place. We took up defensive positions and waited for the onslaught. It was not long in coming.

I started by setting up a mind fog on the stairs to the room. It was swiftly dispelled and I hid** as the mages in the first wave stone-shaped away a section of the wall… the fighters – Kieran, Aaron and Evander – quickly dispatched the Templars who rushed through. Some kind of noxious magical smell left Aaron vomiting in the corner and nearly took out Alexei as well – in defence, he threw up a blade barrier, circling the stairs. Demons rushed through it, several falling as the blades sliced through them. Those that made it were quickly taken out and Kieran ran through the blades – fending them off and letting his shiny, shiny adamantine armour deal with the worst of it – to take out the few demons remaining. I used my shiny new Sceptre of Heaven to Holy Smite the group, and Alexei summoned a demon of his own to help.

It was hard, with Aaron nearly being killed by a barrage of magic missiles, but at the end we were victorious and no wounds we couldn’t patch up. This should make the rest of our explorations a bit easier, at least! But it’s a shame we didn’t manage to take any alive for questioning.

 *I may have misunderstood – Evander is controlled by Husbit as Alexei’s cohort but he was voiced by the GM with the instruction from Husbit (who’d been sercret-noted what Evander learned) to “relay that info but as if you have tourrettes”. And I was tired and neither I nor Svetlana has much knowledge of the planes and I had several people trying to explain so got a bit muddled. I *think* the spell would turn all natives into outsiders, but that’s a bit of a guess.

** Svetlana is not very good in combat – particularly in comparison to Kieran and Evander. It did bother me for a while and everyone blamed the fact she’s multi-class, but I’ve realised she’s very good outside of combat and I’m focussing on that. It can mean that combat-heavy sessions (like this one descended into) can risk being a little dull, but I got Husbit to let me roll some of the damage for his blade barrier shield so at least I felt a bit involved. I’m sure there are other ways I can continue to do that whilst keeping Svetlana safe (and in reserve if the party need that sneak attack surprise!)