Dungeons & Dragons: Attack Wing. Weirdest Game Ever.
I’m sorry. The things we saw that day… they come back to me in my dreams. Dreams that sometimes overtake my waking mind. Like that poor, tortured creature that we… we just…
Like I was saying, we reached the bottom of the ladder and found ourselves in a chamber that was emanating a vacillating, greenish purple light. It was hard to think, and at the edges of my vision I thought I could see… things… but when I tried to look at them directly, there was nothing there. The light seemed to come from strange writings that covered the entirety of the domed vestibule. Leve tried to read the words written in those horrific hieroglyphs, and threw up. He said he couldn’t understand the writing quite yet, but he was on the verge. There was something terrible, yet beautiful… enticing… and very, very wrong about them.
Leve failed to read the writing, rolling against a Difficulty 5 (Challenging) intellect check, even after spending 2 intellect points to reduce the difficulty to 4 (Difficult).
Whether that awful skittering sound was in our imagination or not, we decided to keep moving, quickly delving further into the ancient complex to get further away from the ladder room. We went on, minute after minute, trying to keep our minds focused. The psychological muck that this place seemed to be giving off, made wading through your own thoughts and perceptions difficult… exhausting… like carrying a heavy pack through a bog. Occasionally, our thought processes would speed up jarringly, and our senses would perceive the cavern around us in startling detail and deafening volume. We heard a noise that was something between growl and scraping sound, coming from down a darkened side passage. Drawing our weapons, we went to investigate.
As we walked, we began to see something moving in the dark. We stopped when we saw, in terrible detail, an intelligent abhuman called a murden, caught in glistening, wormlike tendrils. They appeared to have the murden restrained, with their ends penetrating the murden’s body, pumping fluid in, and taking fluid out. Its eyes… I’ll see its eyes in my dreams for the rest of my life. And the thing is… the AWFUL thing is… murden are psychic, leaking their thoughts out around them. When we got close, we were given flashes of sensory input. Terrible images. Feelings. Pain. Terror. It was screaming. Screaming into our minds the taste of a madness born of a terror unthinkable.
Murden are villainous, deceitful, opportunistic creatures topside, but the creature we found here was no villain anymore. It was just a tortured sentient screaming to be saved, released from the hell of its current existence in that nest of horror, wormy tendrils reaching down its throat… its nose… ear holes… everywhere. This is where I lost my soul. Where we all lost our souls. We didn’t know how far out the tendrils could reach. We didn’t know if the tendrils felt our presence yet. We were scared. Terrified.
We left that poor thing there in the web of glistening tendrils. We left it there screaming, alone in the dark.
There was no roll involved here, ladies and gents. The decision to leave the creature in the clutches of the awful tendrils, alive, was one made unanimously by the players, in character, through role-playing. The bystanders watching us play appeared to both agree with, and loathe the decision. The players spent minutes trying to justify the decision, more to themselves than anyone else, methinks. The decision to explore the dark side-passage to see what was there, even though it was obvious that the way forward was the way onward, earned them XPs for discovery. When you’re playing Numenera, your GM will throw you little hints and clues that something is there to discover. Keep your wits about you while you’re playing or you could miss an opportunity like this.
Unexpectedly, it looks like there’s going to be more than four parts to this, based on how the scenes in the adventure played out. So…
…To be continued….
It’s almost time for Halloween, Central Canada Comic Con, and JimCon. That means it’s the end of the convention year for Shared Weave Games. This time of year always feels like new-years to me, as I’m sure it does for many others who count the passage of time by convention seasons.
For me, this year has been one of change, introspection, nostalgia, and creative endeavour.
We saw the launch of a new (and somehow old) edition of Dungeons & Dragons. We’ve seen incredible new RPGs like Numenera, and 13th Age come into their own. Feng Shui is getting a new edition <https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/atlasgames/feng-shui-2-action-movie-roleplaying-game-by-robin>, and Battletech is making a comeback on the table. It’s a renaissance on the tabletop that, like the new edition of Dungeons & Dragons, is both invigoratingly new, yet comfortingly familiar.
This renaissance isn’t only happening on the tabletop. We’ve also been watching a resurgence of beloved genres on the digital platform thanks to the phenomena of Crowd Funding, that we’ve been told were long dead by “industry insiders”, and corporate executives, due to what they claimed was “a lack of fan interest”.
We’ve seen fantastically successful campaigns by inXile Entertainment <https://www.inxile-entertainment.com/> which have fed a resurgence of the classic CRPG with titles like Wasteland 2, and Torment: Tides of Numenera.
inExile is still taking pledges directly so they can add even MORE content to torment. The current stretch is to fund the re-addition of “The Gullet”. Go on over and get in on that. In on pledging. Not into the gullet.
The Space Sim genre (in my opinion, the best digital role-playing platform on the planet) is being outright resurrected thanks to the legendary Chris Roberts, and the his company Roberts Space Industries. They had an unimaginably successful crowd funding campaign for it’s drool-inducing game, Star Citizen.
I’ve reminisced on the past, and realized that major mundane life events, changes, and milestones have coincided with major changes in my Gaming Life. Moving through elementary school to junior high, junior high to high school, and high school to adult life led to changes in gaming groups, and introduction to new games. Financial hardship led to me needing to develop games, and/or to repurpose games I already had.
Clue: The RPG anyone?
Since my extended brush with death that my family calls the dark period (2008-2011), I’ve reevaluated every priority I’ve ever held. The disease is currently in remission, but it may come back at any time and do me in, slow and painful. I got to thinking… if that happens, none of the games I created when I was poor will ever be able to be enjoyed by anyone else. My children will never know the kinds of things that their dad made. I will have left nothing.
In 2010, I started frantically working on writing down all of the games, systems, and worlds that I have in my head, desperately trying to get them out. While none of them are ready to be released yet, I feel better for having writ them into a place where my work can at least be continued, should the disease rise from its torpor. Over da’ Boards is the closest to my heart, as it’s the first game I ever created (I was 11 years old), but it’s the most complex of the games to release, and still needs rigorous testing. It’s going to be Shared Weave’s flagship, and after playing it constantly over the last four years, I can honestly say that you’re in for a treat when the first whistle blows.
In the process of getting the games out of my head, I think something came loose, like the cap of a fire hydrant. I started this blog, a doodle page, three comics (The Sacred Ice, RPG Knights, Bubbles!), a vlog, and I’ve been busy rewriting famous songs into gaming filk. All of this on top of writing and running a 13th Age campaign, a Pathfinder campaign, various one-shots to run demos for Numenera and other RPGs, AND write enough down to be an entertaining panel guest, when I’m invited to speak.
While the site and the company were launched as a platform to sell games, ironically, it’s the blog, the comics, and the appearances that have garnered the site the vast majority of its regular readership. If you’d asked me a year ago if I’d have a thousand regular readers for this kind of thing, I’d have told you that you were a few sanity points short of a cultist.
All in all, 2014 has been a great year. I’ve met hundreds of amazing people, in this vast family we call the gaming community. While we’ve heard some terrible, hateful things come out of the vocal, psychotic fringe of our community, I am proud to say that I never saw anyone treat anyone else with disrespect or unkindness in all of my travels. The people around me welcomed me, and everyone else around them with open arms and open minds, regardless of differences.
When I wrote the dedication for JimCon last year, I celebrated all of you, and thanked you for the life I’ve had. I’d like to thank you again, and ask that you help heal our community by spreading welcoming acceptance, kindness, and love to our brothers and sisters of gaming.