Thursday, October 22, 2009

Gargantua MMO

This is an MMO (Massively Multiplayer Online) game being designed by Nemesis Games. Gargantua is a first in its field as it lets you control a giant monster trying to destroy earth. The game is about to go into testing and they need a few more testers. To be apart of this all you have to do is ask. So go ahead ask and help out, it costs nothing but the time you want to put into it. - game webpage - game forum

Monday, October 19, 2009

Dark Heresy Night 3 and Addendum

So I start off the night going over advancement in the 40k system and have everyone spend their experience points (exp). I give a little recap of where everyone was and made sure no one wanted to do anything more while in Port Suffering. Cheryl did the only reasonable thing in buying some actual armor to go with what she already had.

The next morning arrives, Aristarchus makes sure they are all up and ready to go. Alicia is the only person with drive, so she drives the flatbed. They drive through the wastelands all day. There is not much to see here. It is a site of many battles and destroyed settlements. Aristarchus makes small talk along the way. He first looks at Cheryl, it is obvious she is a Sister of Battle. He does not inquire about her skills.

He next looks to Shawn. Shawn is also very recognizably an Imperial Psyker, just like Aristarchus. Aristarchus just has to make a psyniscience test to see how powerful Shawn is. So again, Aristarchus does not inquire of Shawn's skills.

James is next in line. James' rifle is strapped across his back. Aristarchus asks James how good he is with it. Everyone says almost simultaneously that he is a crack shot. Aristarchus points out the shale crows. They are a carrion feeder of sorts. They will also attack weakened living things. Their main feature is that they have no eyes. It appears as if the shale crows are staring at them, even without eyes. James lines up his shot and actually takes out 2 with one shot. Aristarchus is very impressed.

Next up is AJ. AJ is in his early twenties and sometimes just doesn't know what to do, partly because this is only the second pen and paper he has ever been in. After everyone pointing out what he can and cannot do, AJ did a couple of sleight-of-hand tricks.

Finally Aristarchus turns to Alicia. She is driving and not wanting to distract her from this task, points out that driving is a most valuable skill.

As night starts to fall, they are still in the wastelands. There is no moon at night and there is a higher chance for attack by bandits at night. So they pull off the road for the night. This will also allow for Alicia to get some rest. Aristarchus starts a fire and suggests that everyone except Alicia take turns as look outs for the night.

While AJ is on look out duty, he notices what appears to be a person walking towards the camp. AJ doesn't know what to do. He yells at it first. It doesn't respond. Right as it gets to the edge of the fire light it stops. AJ tries yelling again, still no response. AJ wakes everyone up one at a time. The others try talking to it with no response. Finally James or Shawn wake up Aristarchus. Aristarchus tells it go away. It does not respond. So Aristarchus shoots it. The body crumples. Immediately everyone notices the smell of rotting flesh. Going over to check the body, it looks like it has been dead for a long time. The smell is coming from it. Shawn and Aristarchus both check it for any sign of warp and find nothing. After a short discussion on what it could mean, they all go back to sleep with AJ still on guard duty.

The rest of the night passes with no problems. At dawn they pack up and start out on the road again. About noon, the group arrives in the mountains. Cheryl and Shawn noticed the figure standing up on the ridge first. When they pointed it out, the figure vanished. It was standing with the sun behind it so its vanishing was more of a blink effect. Aristarchus immediately suggested that they should all go check it out. After a short climb, which no one had a problem with, they arrived on the ridge. There on the ground burnt into the rock was a picture of a hawk clutching a skull. Aristarchus immediately dropped to his knees, made the sign of the aquila and whispered "Throne". Cheryl recognized the symbol from her studies on St. Drusus. It was the emblem of Drusus' army. When someone touched the symbol it was still hot.

After seeing the symbol, they got back in the truck and continued down the path. It was dusk when they arrived in Stern Hope. They were greeted at the door by Brother Severus and shown where to park. Brother Lamark then met them and apologized for Abbot Skae not being able to meet them himself because he was attending to a sick girl. Lamark took them to the local inn/cantina. Aristarchus was tired and went to his room. The others had time to look around.

James and Cheryl both tried to find the Abbot with no luck. Shawn stayed at the inn and talked to the locals. Alicia went around and talked to the guards. AJ went up to the cathedral and checked it out.

What they all learned was that a lot of strange occurrences were going on, which they already knew. No one really knew what happened to the people that disappeared. Some bodies were found up on the cliff where the lights have been seen. A local leader by the name of Esha Raine is highly respected by the locals. The warlord Kos'ke has aligned himself with Esha and with the Abbot and protects Stern Hope from other warlords.

AJ was the first to see the interior of the giant cathedral. The altar is in the middle, with rooms on the back wall behind it. Enough pews to hold the town are in two sections with a large walkway between the two leading to the altar. Above the altar is a large rotunda with a mural painted on it. The mural is of St. Drusus crushing a shadowy figure under his boot and holding aloft a sword. In the background you can see crows circling. After a bit of talking and exploring everyone heads to bed.

In the morning, everyone wakes up and has breakfast in the dining area of the inn. Aristarchus shows up after everyone has ate, he looks extremely tired. When asked about being tired, he shrugs it off and just says he hasn't been sleeping well but there are more important things going on. Aristarchus leads the group to the abbey and Abbot Skae. They are greeted at the door by Brother Lamark, who lets them know the sick girl is going to be fine. He then leads the PCs into one of the lecture halls where Abbot Skae and Brother Severus are. Skae again gives them the run down on what is going on, the lights, bleeding walls and disappearances. He also discusses with them how this was all funded, basically he comes from rich nobility. He allowed for questions from the PCs and let them have Brother Lamark as a guide for the day. They asked a few questions of Abbot Skae and he answered them with no hesitation.

Once they got away from Skae, they asked Lamark to take them to the sick girl from last night. He took them directly to the girl. They asked her a few questions and Shawn tried to sense for the warp. It turned out that the sickness was of the warp but it was fading fast.

After talking to the girl and her mom, they asked Lamark to take them up to the ridge where the lights were seen and the bodies were found. Lamark grabs some water bottles, his lasgun and a walking stick. It takes them a few hours to get there and on the way they are attacked by a local animal. During the attack, shale crows circle above them. Once the animal is killed, in rather short order, the body is noticed to have been dead for quite some time. Just like the corpse that approached their campsite on the way to Stern Hope. It was also missing its eyes. At the top of the ridge, Lamark shows them where the bodies were found, now just a smoldering pile from being burned. Shawn finds no real trace of the warp, here.

They arrive back in town in the evening. Shawn and James go to locate Aristarchus and ask him to divine tomorrow and the consecration. Aristarchus gets a sense of foreboding about everything tomorrow. They all go back to their rooms and sleep.

Addendum: James called me after the session and had something he wanted to do during the night. I will add it here as it chronologically goes here.

After everyone drifted to sleep, James sneaks off and heads back to the ridge. He tries to contact Tzeentch to make a deal with him. After several unsuccessful attempts, something comes up behind him and talks. It is a daemon of Malal. He makes a deal with James, if James will get him the soul of the Dancer and his followers, then he, the watcher of destruction, will provide James with information that will help protect the innocents. James agrees to this deal and his left calf is branded with the symbol of Malal. James barely makes it back to his room before AJ wakes up. James gets zero rest for the night.

AJ is the first to wake up, he set an alarm to wake up early. He is up before dawn and is getting up around the same time as the native Ashleen people. He asks what they are doing and they respond, "Getting everything ready for Esha Raine and Kos'ke's arrival."

The others get up later and have breakfast. During breakfast a loud horn is heard, it marked the arrival of Esha Raine and Kos'ke in town. Alicia, AJ and Cheryl went outside to see them come in. They are riding bipedal animals known as dustdogs. Esha goes straight to the priory, while Kos'ke and his men head around to the warrior's camp. The players hear, for the first time, one of Esha's titles, "death singer".

Alicia goes around to the warrior's camp to get a better look at Kos'ke and his men. The rest just eat breakfast and head to the temple. That ended the night.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Promise Keepers

I had forgotten about this organization until Da Bomb mentioned he was going to a meeting. My father went to a meeting in the mid to late 90's and tried to get me to go. I didn't go. I am just going to go over their 7 promises real quick.

Promise Keepers is a Christian organization founded by the ex-football coach of the University of Colorado at Boulder. You can read all about it on their own page or on the wiki page.

The Seven Promises:

1. A Promise Keeper is committed to honoring Jesus Christ through worship, prayer and obedience to God's Word in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Okay, I thought that was just being a Christian, so you have to promise to be a Christian? I don't know of any non-Christians that go to this, so this seems rather redundant. Also, you have to promise this? Shouldn't this be more of a given as a Christian?

2. A Promise Keeper is committed to pursuing vital relationships with a few other men, understanding that he needs brothers to help him keep his promises.

So you have to promise to have male friends. Again shouldn't you be doing this already? And aren't friends supposed to be able to keep you honest? This is just another part of life. Why should anyone be told to do these things or make a promise to do them? They should already being doing it.

3. A Promise Keeper is committed to practicing spiritual, moral, ethical, and sexual purity.

I am assuming they mean a sin free life. If you are a Christian, shouldn't you already be striving to do this? Otherwise you come off as a hypocrite, especially when you are trying to pass laws to force others to follow what you say.

4. A Promise Keeper is committed to building strong marriages and families through love, protection and biblical values.

They are really going out on a limb, you should love your family. Again who has to make this promise? This should be an evolved trait that everyone but sociopaths have. Do the leaders think every Promise Keeper is a sociopath?

What is meant by protection? I will protect my loved ones at any cost. Again this is something I don't have to be told to do or promise to do. There is a line I won't cross though, and that is when it infringes with the rights of others, especially because of imaginary threats. I, of course, am speaking of the bullshit lies like Gay Marriage will destroy regular marriages.

Lastly, if you want your family to live by "biblical values" that is fine by me. As long as you are not denying your children or any member of your family their own life, like the Nuemann's of Wausau, Wisconsin nor is physical abuse acceptable. Now if you try to implement your archaic "biblical values" on others is when I have a problem. Separation of church and state is to protect everyone and especially religions themselves. For some reason, dominionistic fundamentalists can't seem to understand this.

Examples of good "biblical values":

"Let the women learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression." (I Timothy 2:11-14)

"Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything." (Ephesians 5:22-24)

"Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head. And every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head—it is just as though her head were shaved. If a woman does not cover her head, she should have her hair cut off; and if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut or shaved off, she should cover her head. A man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man. For man did not come from woman, but woman from man; neither was man created for woman, but woman for man." (1 Corinthians 11:3-9)

"women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church." (1 Corinthians 14:34-35)

{1Corinthians has one of my favorite chapters in all the Bible, chapter 13, but is full of misogyny also}

"Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.

Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers." (1 Peter 3:1-7)

"Give me any plague, but the plague of the heart: and any wickedness, but the wickedness of a woman." (Eccles. 25:13)

5. A Promise Keeper is committed to supporting the mission of his church by honoring and praying for his pastor, and by actively giving his time and resources.

Seriously, you have to be told and promise too help out an organization you support and take on as your lifestyle?

6. A Promise Keeper is committed to reaching beyond any racial and denominational barriers to demonstrate the power of biblical unity.

You have to be told and promise not to be racist???? WTF?

7. A Promise Keeper is committed to influencing his world, being obedient to the Great Commandment (see Mark 12:30-31) and the Great Commission (see Matthew 28:19-20).

Another promise to obey the Bible. Again, maybe I completely misunderstood Christianity while I was a part of it, but shouldn't this be automatic. Isn't one of the tenets of Christianity to follow the Bible?

So there are the 7 promises. It seems to me that the founders seem to think that most of the men coming to these things are sociopaths, because all of these you should be doing anyway. I do all the ones that are not religious specific without being told too or having to make a promise to do it. This is the core of Promise Keepers but not everything.

Secular Student Association

The SSA is a great organization helping to unite students in universities all over the country. Right now they are trying to raise $50,000 that will be matched by a donor. If you have a few dollars to donate it will be much appreciated.

This is the organization that got the Creation Museum tour, that I went on, together.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Dark Heresy - Night 2

So after stranding my players in the future at the end of night 1, I had to go over new character sheets and have some time with each person in getting them somewhat up to date with the Warhammer 40k Universe. Only two people really know anything about 40k, James and Cheryl.

They spent about a year traveling and training from Terra to the Calixis System. They were each introduced to their Inquisitor, Kaltos. Kaltos and his advisers actually trained Shawn and sanctioned him as a psyker. Kaltos is a pyromancer and each of his advisers are one of the other psyker fields. Everyone was separated during the trip and did not get to spend a lot of time together, Shawn even less than the others. They were all given basic equipment before they arrived at Scintilla, the capital of the Calixis System.

Once they arrived, Kaltos got them all together to give them a briefing of why they are where they are. Recently, Divination Psykers have detected a lot of chaos energy started flowing into the Calixis System. Shawn noticed that this description was similar to the description given to them about Hochland. Cheryl also pointed out that Hochland and Calixis are similar in that both are more rural areas. Kaltos found this interesting. Kaltos went on to tell them that they are going to Iocanthos to help oversee the christening of a new Cathedral. There have been some psychic activity in the area, bleeding walls, strange sounds, etc. This may be related to the influx of chaos energy and the acolytes are to keep on the watch for anything unusual.

After the briefing, one of Kaltos' advisers flies the PCs to the public space station. They are given passage on an old freighter that is heading to Iocanthos. The estimated travel time is about a week (travel through the Immaterium is not always exact). The only contact for the PCs on the ship is a very weasel-like man named Sebek. Sebek is their only contact with the crew.

Sebek shows them to their "room". It is a large communal room with hammocks and a single bathroom. As Sebek is leaving, he says that he will be back by for dinner to show them to the cafeteria. When he left he locked the door behind him. This didn't sit well with Shawn and James. They now thought the ship had something to hide. James talked Alicia and AJ into action. Cheryl sat back and just observed, saying as long as they aren't heretics then she has no opinion.

James' first plan is to get Sebek into the room and tie him up, something like that. Cheryl points out you can just ask him if they will leave the door unlocked. James uses the intercom to talk to Sebek asking about the lock and about getting some battle narcotics. Sebek says he will ask the captain about the door. They usually lock it because normally they have a lot of passengers and don't want them getting in the way of running the ship. This particular trek almost never has passengers and sense the PCs are the only passengers, Sebek is sure that something can be arranged. James still settles his deal with Sebek and convinces (pays extra) Sebek to deliver the stuff as soon as possible.

Sebek shows up a few hours later with a couple of bodyguards. James scraps his plan to jump Sebek. Sebek then tells them that he discussed the door lock with the captain and that it was decided that it didn't need to be locked. He still insisted that for the most part to stay in the room as to not disrupt operation of the ship while in the dangers of the warp. James proceeds to buy "slaught" from Sebek.

James now has a new plan to go and investigate the ship for anything illegal. Shawn, AJ and Alicia agree to the plan. Cheryl is indifferent. Since James and AJ are the only ones with any kind of stealth, it is decided that they should be the ones going on this exploration. First, Shawn wants to test his new psychic abilities. So he decides to use an ability that will let him know how many people are in the area.

When Shawn does his little trick, he rolled a 9. Whenever a psyker rolls a 9 they have triggered Tzeentch's curse and have manifested a side effect. In Shawn's case there was an eerie wind blowing for 30 metres around Shawn. In other words, Shawn alerted the very people he was trying to detect. He did succeed in detecting them. Shawn let AJ and James know how many men were in the area and that 3 of them were headed this way.

James decides they should just go out anyway. So the two, AJ and James, head out in the hall and start walking. Shortly they are passed by Sebek and his bodyguards. Sebek smiles and says hello as he passes. Sebek goes straight for their room. James and AJ continue down the hall and take the first corner. They are in the living quarters of the ship and are passing room after room, most closed and locked (they never try a door). They finally come across an elevator. Inside they find that it needs a pass key to access restricted floors.

Meanwhile, Sebek has entered the PCs room. He is a bit upset at Shawn. Shawn doesn't realize that what he has done is just put up a big flashing neon sign for the ship saying "Hey Daemons! We are over here!" if even only for a second. So Shawn was verbally reprimanded for his actions.

James and AJ make a quick scan of the elevator to see if they notice in alarms or cameras. They don't notice anything. AJ finds the emergency hatch on the top of the elevator. The two pry it open and climb out. This sets of a silent emergency alarm to maintenance. James thinks they should go down because that is where the cargo bays would be, and he is right. So the two go down the ladder to the bottom floor, 2 floors down. Once they get there the elevator door is shut and needs to be pried open. Both of them attempt to pry it open with their knives. AJ breaks his knife. The doors are opened though.

Down the new hall are some large hanger like doors. There are no guards, but there are two men heading towards the elevator. James asks if they are armed. They have common laspistols, holstered on their side. Neither PC really does anything as the two men approach. The mechanics ask, "Is everything okay? We are here checking out the maintenance alarm that just went off in the elevator, what happened?"

James replies, "Sorry we got stuck in the elevator and lost, can you help us out?"

"Sure, you are passengers correct? We can take you back to the proper area."

With that the maintenance men summon the elevator and take James and AJ back to their floor. AJ attempts to pickpocket the elevator key, unsuccessfully. The maintenance man didn't notice the attempt though. They return to the room and no more attempts are made at discerning what was in the cargo hold during the brief trip.

When they arrive at Iocanthos, Sebek takes them down to the cargo area to board a drop ship to take them to the planet's surface. After they board one of the crew members ask if they have ever done this before, of course none of them had. He offered a sedative for anybody who wanted one, only AJ took him up on the offer. The drop ship then did as it is named. The drop took about 30 minutes and it was a literal free fall for most of the trip. AJ, Shawn and Alicia threw up. AJ throwing up made me laugh because that meant he missed his toughness check by over 30, that was the bonus of the sedative.

Once off the drop ship, they were first approached by a member of the local government. He started to question them on why they were there. I was proud, because the PCs pretty much told him to fuck off. Shortly after, a cherubim approached them and handed them a piece of paper. The paper had Kaltos' seal and told them to follow the cherubim to Aristarchus, their contact on Iocanthos.

The cherubim proceeds to fly over the crowded streets of the city, while the players struggle to keep up. Periodically it stops and sees that the PCs are having trouble keeping up and it just waves at them before proceeding on its route.

During this trip, Cheryl and Alicia notice a few people that seem to be staring at them. These are younger men with their faces painted with blue flames. The PCs try to pursue but quickly lose these Ashleen (what the native humans are called) men in the crowds.

The group continues to follow the cherubim down a few alleys and out of the crowds of the main streets. Down one of these alleys, a half-naked, badly sunburned man with wild dirt-caked hair and blue and white flame tattoos across his face accosts them. He starts yelling wild comments and obscenities at the group. Nothing anybody tries calms him down, nor can anyone make out anything sane in his rantings.

While they stand there, a shout is heard behind them saying, "Begone off-worlders! We don't need your kind." and 7 young Ashleen men attack them.

The men never draw their weapons and instead just use their fists. James draws his pistol. The fight is over after 4 rounds. James captures one of the men to question. The only thing the Ashleen tells them is "the wise ones have seen the darkness brought from afar." City guards show up shortly after the fight is over. Alicia flashes her badge to them and they let her handle it. James ends up killing the one hostage they have. He then drags the body out into the street and yells, "This is the fate of all heretics!"

Alicia notices that the madman disappeared during the fight. The cherubim takes them to the Ordo Hereticus compound where Aristarchus is located. Once inside, they notice Aristarchus handling some ivory Imperial tarot cards. When he sees them, he puts the cards away and comes over to shake everyone's hand.

They discuss the ambush, but Aristarchus brushes it off as a normal part of life on Iocanthos. He proceeds to tell them more about the mission and that he is a relative of St. Drusus, so this is a high honor to be part of this dedication of a cathedral in honor of St. Drusus. Aristarchus also speaks about the psyker phenomenon that has been going on in more detail than what they had been told. He tells them that he has rented a truck and supplies. He also gives them each a vox communicator so they can all stay in touch. He also says they should leave first thing in the morning and that he was going to bed to rest for the trip. The sun is setting but everyone has free reign to check out the town and talk to the locals.

Alicia decides to head to bed. AJ decides to check out the shops and see if he can find anything out from the locals. James shadows AJ to make sure he doesn't get into any trouble and to see if any more Ashleen attack. Cheryl goes to talk to the small order of Sisters Battle located in the same complex they are in.

AJ buys a new knife and heads to the bar. He doesn't learn anything from the locals. James follows AJ without AJ noticing. No Ashleen are seen any where.

Cheryl studies up on St. Drusus. She finds out that he battled a Daemon of Tzeentch that went by the name "the Dancer at the Threshold". She remembered that the only thing they knew about her parent's activity had something to do with "the Dancer". She also could not find any good pictures of St. Drusus.

That is where the night ended. Tomorrow night is the next session.