Gravely Amusing
Funny things in Dark Heresy

Funny thing happened in Dark Heresy.
I’m running the Tattered Fates campaign for my group. The party had just escaped the slavers’ pit in the last session and had managed to save a bunch of NPC’s - mainly a pyromancer.

Like our party’s own psyker, he had been drugged and was unable to use any of his powers, but I rolled that he’d shake it off a coupla hours earlier than our psyker. Conclusion, when the party reached Vault 13, he was in full control of his faculties again.

One and other thing happened, and our guardsman had been surrounded and captured by the slavers after an unsuccessful recon attempt. The rest of the PC’s were off put by their foe (I don’t know how well they grasped that it was supposed to be a stealthy mission as one of them sulked that they could never take on them all…)

So the NPCs had to take action and save our guardsman. The pyromancer intends to shoot a fireball. Rolls a nine, goes perils. And becomes a FUKKEN DAEMONHOST!

The players guess from my grinning and I’ll roll stats and its appearance. By the dice (with no fudging!) the daemonhost becomes a burned husk cracked with inner fire and engulfed by sentient, fluid flame. With everyone in the room smelling burning flesh. Our pyromancer had literally turned into a fire demon. What a coincidence.

Some failed WP rolls later, only our other psyker stands his ground, while all the rest are fleeing in sheer terror.

Way to clear the room, sure.

Masks of Nyarlathotep S9 - Where we raid the Island of Misr

Last session ended up at a high note and climactic cliffhanger. 

Before we left for the mansion, however, we had to finish a couple of things: A hotel had to be swapped. We needed to send our excess loot back to New York. And finally, Richard Turner decided that our actions had become too reckless and he left for the States too. 

With those done, Terrance Smith (William), Alsid and Ezio left for the House of Misr. (The professor stayed home again. The player spent the whole session sitting and watching us have fun.)

When we reached the island it was early morning (5am). We quickly assessed the situation and saw the bridge was guarded by a torch, but the rest of the mansion looked desolate. It was too misty to confer anything else.
I and Ezio chose to swim over the strap of water, while Alsid stayed behind to guard the painting we had brought with us and in case something happened.  

We scouted the island and spotted only one guard hiding nearby the gates. Luckily Terrance managed to sneak near him. Unluckily he thinks he can take the guard out and aims with the Lee-Enfield.
He fires and - CLICK. The gun’s waterclogged!
The party OOCly breathes in relief, we hadn’t blown our cower yet.
So we wait.
At dawn we haven’t seen Gavigan leave, so Alsid connects the dots that he’s not in the mansion and beguns to cross the bridge. The guard intercepts him and Alsid plays dumb.

What followed is an epic act of synching: I sneak towards the guard wielding my shotgun. The guard notices this at the last moment, but as he turns Alsid draws his kukri and cleaves the guard in half. So far so good.

Poor Ezio isn’t as lucky as he gets noticed by the shore by a patrolling guard and a guard dog. We run for his rescue, but not fast enough to prevent him from getting injured and alerting other guards.
During the battle Terrance got to show his sniper skills by shotgunning the dog off Ezio. I wonder how long he can go until the others stop believing he’s a vet?

Regardless, we are assaulted by five guards who lack firearms. We down a couple before they get to us, but soon we’re brawling again.

Most of us went melee, but I still had my shotgun loaded so I grabbed the moment and decided to help out Alsid.
Shot both barrels and misaimed just a little.
Good thing is that the cultist was dead. Bad thing was I took out a chunk off Alsid too.

Daaaamn that’s awkward.

But luckily everyone else was battling too, so no one really noticed the fumble. We carried on to the mansion and found it to be mostly empty bar one really frightened maid.
We search around the mansion. It soon becomes apparent that apart from the six guards and the maid, no one has been living in the mansion for ages.
We prepare to leave as one of us stumbles on a secret door in the fireplace. Empty room with a bunk and a bible.
And turns out there’s another room, which turns out to be far more interesting.

In lay two bound men: A mutilated italian (mafioso, claims to be a people’s representative) and a renowned egyptologist.

Naturally we freed them and let them follow us around. There was little of note in the secret room. A whole library was hidden there, but they were mostly common occult tomes, so nothing of real high importance. There was also a note that confirmed Gavigan’s part in Jackson Elias’ murder and a connection to both Arthur Penhew and a spice merchant living in London. And another interesting tidbit: Apparently they are also after Jack Brady. Does this mean he’s our ally?

Terrance did find and secure one scroll, before we left the infernal place. Atleast the books made a good kindling as we burned the place down.

We left the island in haste and decided to lay low and tour the countryside for a couple of days.

When we arrived, we noticed that the professor didn’t answer his phone…

Masks of Nyarlathotep S8 - Truth’s learned, truth’s ignored

After a yuletime break we gathered again to continue the campaign. Some new additions to the party were made and we did make some progress. Things are rearing up to quite a showdown and perhaps our last case, before our party needs to leave England for Egypt.
We also made some valuable discoveries on our party’s sosiopathic tendencies.

The session opened with am introduction to “three” new partymembers. After we lost two people to that painting last time, we decided to hire ourselves some translators. (Don’t ask me about that logic, I don’t know either!)
So, say hello to a british-italian translator Ezio Piazzo and his teacher, whose name I forget. (He’s not much of an interesting character, as the player insisted he spent all the time at the hotel reading books. I don’t know whether he wanted to get some of them read, before the reader dies again or if his preservation instinct kicked up a notch. I support the latter theory seeing he didn’t relent, when the GM told us the characters make notes so others don’t need to reread everything.)

The third member was, of course, Terrance Smith. The madness-induced amalgamation of two perished party-members covering William’s inability to face mythos.
He was accepted surprisingly well. The new members hadn’t really heard his name before, so nothing more of a shrug was given. Richard Turner got suspicious (especially as William was now walking), but didn’t say anything. He was beginning to have his own suspicions about out party.

There was only a small mention about the housefire, so we decided to go visit the Penhew Foundation. We got there easy enough, the director, Gavigan, was out, but we managed to score an appointment for the afternoon. Meanwhile we waited we toured the exhibitions: There were many showcases considering an old egyptian pharaoh that was said to rule with magic.
After a while Gavigan arrives and proves to be an amiable and friendly man. He withheld nothing as we asked about the Carlyle expeditions (claiming to be a third one). He told us that he had been a close friend of Arthur Penhew and the two had sent many letters before and during the expedition. Apparently the african woman robbed the expedition forcing them to detour in Kenya and unfortunately meeting their demise there.

He was too helpful. Automatically suspicious!
And so we decide to hit the Foundation at night. Our suspicions are enforced as we have a chat with Mickey Mahoney and he gives us the tale of another victim of the fog-monster. Turns out the poor man has been driven mad and can only utter one word: Gavigan.

Waiting for the night we forge up a plan: We leave the professor home (he insisted) and take the suspicious lizard-painting (yes, the one that eats people) with us. We tell Ezio we are giving it to the Foundation and he believes us. We make our way to the Foundation and try to enter via basement.
There’s nothing interesting there and the only access upwards is via coal chute. So we try again.
"Ezio, we’ll go downstairs so we don’t startle them. We have our manners!"

We time our entrance, when the lone guard is making his rounds upstairs. We spot an old elevator and form up a plan: We put Ezio in the wheelchair and give him the painting sending him up with the lift. We’ll hold guard and then storm the upper floor.
The plan works! Ezio is oblivious and the guard is stupefied - unfortunately only a maid gets sucked into the painting and the guard gets to knock out Ezio. But it’s too late as the rest of us attack from the staircase.
The guard wielded a ritual knife and dies to Jazid’s kukri. We find Ezio and proceed to loot the building.
First we find little of interest, until we discover an underground room near Gavigan’s office. It is full of occult paraphilia including two crates: One containing a clay statue of Cthulhu, another of Shub-Niggurath. The statues disturb us greatly, but don’t prevent us from taking anything not nailed down. Then we are left to think on how to cower our tracks:

Ezio’s player cooks up a mad idea: (I’m really impressed how long he could hold out before resorting back to the sociopath persona he RP’d with Terrance) We loot the upstairs of money and frame the maid as the murder-robber. This gives Gavigan an easy excuse to tell the police. But we leave the money left in the secret room and write a message instead: “The Black Mountain is disappointed in you.”
A cult that’s completely made up. According to Ezio, this would make Gavigan think he’s being targeted by some Cult buying us a little time to act.

We finish our macabre task and head home. Gavigan will no doubt add us to the robbery in no time and we need that time to make the first strike while he’s still confused. We change hotels (while still paying for the old one). We pack up most of our occult loot and send it home to our forces there.
And tomorrow we shall do what has to be done: Storm the island Mansion.
Many will die and perhaps even William will meet his end here. Every policeman and cultist in the nation will probably be attracted to us. But hopefully we shall be long gone to Egypt, when we are found out.

We will be leaving one loose thread behind: the weremonster terrorising London countryside, but… time is short.

We end the session here, so we can dedicate the assault the time it deserves.

I find it funny how our party has developed into a bunch of sociopath’s. For some it is understandable as their sanity erodes, but especially the newer members need to explain a lot how they can agree to such deeds. They are more or less acceptable breaks, but I think it’s more fun to design my coming character to fit that enviroment. Meet Irwin Wright, a rebel without a cause.

Character Concept: Irwin Wright

Name: Irwin Wright
Occupation: Mechanic/Jobless
Age: 48
Game: Call of Cthulhu/Masks of Nyarlathotep

[Will update the statblock later… Maybe.]

Life so far: Irwin Wright is a middle-aged mechanic born in the London downtown. His parents were a honest working-family and he is their eldest son. They provided him with the little education he could afford and indirectly caused the event that defined Irwin’s life: In his teens Irwin got enamored with the works of Karl Marx

The socialist-agenda became the driving motivation of young Irwin’s life and soon he joined several parties and groups driving the rights of the working class. Irwin was never much of a performer, so he soon got frustrated to the politics and the groups he became associated with soon were more concerned with an armed revolution than peaceful politics. There he learned the use of simple firearms and explosives wandering through several revolutionary parties as they rose and fell.
He never got to properly practise his skills as he got arrested in a raid just before his first supposed ‘revolutionary strike’ against the goverment and the ruling class.

Irwin spent the next six years in prison, where he grew disillusioned to the communist agenda. When he was released (the original ten years shortened into six because of good conduct), he chose to become an independent enterpreneur and founded his own mechanic shoppe. As he ran the shop he soon forgot the secret fears about goverment conspiracies to drive him down, got married, got children, got divorced and just before he steps into the campaign, goes bankcrupt and blames a conspiracy against him.

Agenda: Irwin joins the investigators as he intends to “lay low and strike it to the man”. Thus he cares little about breaking the law or breaking into the homes of the rich people. First a little else but debt ties him into the party, but as he encounters more mythos elements, his dedication to the party’s cause will rise. As his sanity erodes, he’ll become more and more occupied with conspiracies against him.

Irwin is reserved and the years spent in prison have made him cautious, yet brutal man. He’s got a bit of a racist streak, but it is something he may overcome on individual basis. In a fight he prefers brawling or simple weapons. A knife, club or even his trusty shotgun in a pinch. He’s experienced in both traditional and electric mechanics and knows how to operate most of the common heavy machines.
Thanks to his revolutionary youth, he also has a knack at chemistry and knows some recipes for basic explosives. Irwin prefers to let others talk to him, while he does the deed.

He wears either his worn and used work overalls or a dusty jacket depending on the occasion. While he does shower, he always looks more or less unkempt fashioning often dirty hair, short stubble and a pungent smell of machine oil.

In the defense of plot

Some time ago I was reading Keychain of Creation, when I noticed one irking detail: After a plot strip, the artist apologised for plot and promised more jokes in the future.

KoC isn’t the only guilty-party, as it is a part of far larger phenomena. Why should an artist feel guilty that his work is not some slapstick?

Personally, I think the problem rises from the first popular webcomics, mainly, Penny Arcade & co. PA’s a gag-a-day strip and I don’t blame it for that nor I claim it’s in any way worse for being one. But a lot of the early webcomics followed the same formula (mainly the over-used “two gamers and a couch” -genre). 

The problem is, when artists think they need to emulate this format to be successful. Most of the internet’s webcomics could be condensed into two broad categories: Slapstick strips and the plot comics. For example, Penny Arcade presents the former, while 8-bit theatre is a good example of the latter type.
Strips are usually more popular and for a good reason: It’s easy to get cheap laughs out of people and it takes less skill than a compelling plot. A bad joke is better than a bad story, because reading a joke only takes a second or two, but if a story is uncompelling, no one will read it through.

Such it is no wonder that many plot comics start as slapstick and go through Cerebus Syndrome only after the artist develops his or her skills. Order of the Stick, 8-bit theatre, Dominic Deegan etc. all started this way before evolving into plot comics.

In theory I see little wrong in that. What irks me is that too often the artist seems to be feeling guilty about neglecting his old following or whatever and is compelled to keep the humour high.
Some succeed in this. Order of the Stick is now mostly plot driven, but the characters are quirky, the setting is funny and mostly the plot moves onward while still being funny and entertaining.
But others don’t seem to realise this potential or just cannot write fun into action. While their plot moves onward, they insert slapstick in between the plot strips, practically destroying the flow.
I cannot say how much I’m bothered by this. Do they really think I’d rather read the main characters go through a witty banter or throw out a movie reference in the middle of a battle or some dramatic revelation?!
The worst contender I can remember from the top of my hat would be LFG comic. It began as a lightly toned comic, while still mainly plot driven, but quickly turned into a dramatic story about Caleanons conquest. Later, when the drama began to overcome the jokes that were written into the script, the comic began putting useless strips here and there that try too hard to be funny. At the same time, resident warlock Richard ceased to be an interesting character as he was flanderized into something so called “awesome”. Lately he’s had little worth as a character as the development has focused on Caleanon. Richard only appears to either do something funny or badass, usually in strips that could be cut out of the canon without losing anything worthy. He’s turned from a quirky and witty evildoer into a soulless machine that spouts one-liners and references. The cheapest form of humour.

Not all examples are as egresious as this one, but usually it’s easy to draw the line between, when the artist wants to move the plot and when he’s trying to be funny.

I say, please, choose between plot and the jokes. And stick with it. I mean, you can have some silliness in a plot-driven story, as long as it is written into the story, not embedded as independent jokes. And you can have some continuity in a slapstick strip as long as you remember to venerate the Rule of Funny.

Learn from the masters: Monty Python’s Flying Circus. They never finished their sketches.

It feels good to be the GM

Last week I held a game continuing my long Dark Heresy campaign. It was my first time GMing since september and damn it felt good!

Last autumn was full of things to do. I was active at the university, I participated (and completed!) NaNoWriMo and picked up karate as a hobby (now a yellow belt, I’ll see whether I’ll continue it the next year).
I won’t claim I did not have time to play games - no, I was a player in a bunch and would’ve definitely had time to hold a couple.

Anyhoo, even as I haven’t been doing any gamemastering of my own doesn’t mean I haven’t learned anything. Quite the contrary, I feel I’ve learned more than on my whole GMing career. Why? Because I’ve played in four games by four different GMs. One of them is the running Masks of Nyarlathotep -game I’ve reported weekly, then I’ve been in one Pathfinder game and two different Deathwatch games.
Before this I was practically the only GM in my circle of friends. Of course, experience is important, but I didn’t really get to expose myself to new ideas or methods. Now I’ve fixed that and last week’s session is the culmination of my long growing urge to create something.

I had to change a few things though. I had intending to run a ready-made adventure, the House of Dust and Ash, to my players, but I scrapped the idea as I had too many ideas of my own to try out. (My players, if you read this, don’t go to read yourself full of spoilers! I still might make you go through it, I like the plot!)

I had fun and I think my players had fun. We got things nicely established for the next session which I hope I’ll be running as soon as possible.

Masks of Nyarlathotep S6 - And it’s downhill from here

William Müller, Richard Turner and Mary Penton (our college teacher, might’ve accidentally called her Miriam earlier) returned to the hotel and gathered their wits. Going to the Island of Misr had obviously been a bad idea and they were in a severe need of reinforcements.

First though, Henry Smith had to be informed of his sons disappearance (as we were too kind to say demise).
A telegraph caught us not long after. “Find my son”, it read.

But the luck was on their side as Henry Smith had more contacts in the area who were more than willing to aid in our investigation. AlSid Al-Jihat, an egyptian PI, joined us along with Angus, an irish medical practitioner. Our new team was topped by Gladys Humpington, who was waiting for us by the hotel. Turns out Terrance Gladstone had a sister. A sister who was eager to meet her brother after such a long while.
Too bad she arrived a day late, as the shaken William gave her Terrance’s weapon and told of his demise. By now he was múch too deranged by the party’s travails to have the courtesy of ignorance. Despite the shock, such a declaration merited an explanation. As Müller was the last original member of the group, he got the honour of sharing the story to the newcomers.
Who are quick to announce him and Mary delusional criminals guilty of severe breaking and entering. Angus diagnoses them both - Richard gets off scatch. He has too much common sense to keep his mouth shut and just say something fishy is about.

As the original expedition is clearly off the record, Gladys, AlSid and Angus decide to take the reins. “We are not going to intrude on a private property. Let us go to the library instead”, one of them proclaims. “We’ll see, whether you are sound enough to walk free. Perusing old books should not be something you could brew trouble from.”
The Library proved fruitful and revealed some things from the houses past. Namely that it’s current owner was also the head of the Penhew Foundation.
It also convinced the newcomers that despite some derangements, Mary and William weren’t as unstable as they had first feared. Time to head home.

They walked the streets with the mist weighting heavily on them. Soon they come to a corpse, apparently strangled dead. The women run to the nearest police box. This is a murder scene and such they’re to be noted.
What they don’t know is that the murderer is still there, but they’ll know soon enough.

As William feels something coil around his throat. A misty tentacle coming from nowhere.
The men gasp in panic as William is pulled back towards the mist. Richard scrambles for his flashlight to see the assailant.
A good choice, as the coil retreats as the light brushes through it leaving William shaken, but alive.

They have little time to celebrate, however. Seemingly done with William, Angus and Richard are swept off their feet. The tendrils are thicker now and flashlight doesn’t scare them. Richard draws his gun, but the bullets go through. Meanwhile Gladys and Mary hear the gunfire and inform the police - who promise to send a patrol.

Richard and Angus manage to struggle against the tentacles, but don’t manage anything but brief respites from the assault. AlSid is shocked, this is something impossible. Something obscene. Wisest of the bunch, he takes to his feet and runs with a kukri in hand.
William intends to follow AlSid, but as his wheelchair stops by some dry brushes he gets a mad idea.
Furiously he tears his shirt off and grabs a nearby branch. Soon the makeshift torch crackles into life and William wheels back to save his companions. The torch works and the tentacles recede letting the victims see a glimpse of the main horror. It is maddening.
William has seen worse and keeps his cool, but the rest aren’t as lucky. Angus bolts away seeing danger everywhere. It is the mist! He rushes to the policebox, shutting the door behind him. Inside he’ll be safe. This piques Gladys’ curiosity, she decides to peek outside and promptly gets the door shut behind her.

Richard is overcome with fear and his mind lashes at something to hang onto. He sees the burning clothes of William’s makeshift torch. Yes, they must keep the beast away. The two run away from the scene, Richard pushing William. Though it was a ruse to get to the main dish: Richard picks at the William’s shirt’s remains. They keep the beast at bay. If he were to eat them, he’ll be safe too.
William is too busy trying to feed his jacket to the dimming torch to notice.

They bolt away with Gladys leaving Angus to his demise. Surprisingly the box does give shelter and he is later freed by the policepatrol.
Eventually they all make it back to the hotel. With newfound respect towards William and Mary. Maybe they were not as crazy as they seemed.
Nevertheless, everyone agrees to buy some oil and cloth for torches, just to be sure.

The sunday goes by recovering and on monday William and Richard remember something. “We’ve lost the rich kid, but he did leave 90 pounds to that mad artist. We should get the money back.”

And surprisingly the newcomers are now more willing to commit crimes. “We should break in”, Gladys says. She did have Gladstone blood in her after all. The rest agree.
Together they decide to wait until McIntyre leaves to a bordell and have William distract the grandma, while the rest sneak through the garage window.

The plan works well - William gets invited in and amuses the grandmother, who has a somewhat disturbing shadow, the light must be playing in the eyes…
…Until Angus accidentally breaks the window.
Surprisingly the lady asks William to go check the garage. “I can still salvage this”, he thinks as he turns.
And gets a knitting needle to his shoulder.

Now alarmed, he yelps and turns around. The lady’s features are twisted “What are you doing with your friends”, she hisses as she raises the needle for another strike.

William doesn’t wait for it as he draws his weapon and shoots.
And it becomes clear the lady is not what she seems. Briefly her features recede to reveal a face of a lizard as she gazes deep into Müller’s eyes hissing “Put down the gun. Go into the garage. Kill your friends.”

With unnatural calm, William goes to meet his friends. “False alarm, there’s nothing to worry about!” he greets Angus waiting at the door, trying to peek what’s awry.
"Everything’s fine!" William exclaims while raising his gun.
Angus notices in time and wrestles the gun away throwing over the wheelchair. William is pinned easily, but what’s to expect from a cripple?

Now the grandlady’s glamour disappears, but the lizardman was overwhelmed and killed without much difficulty. With the thing’s death, William snaps back to his senses. He is let go as he tells Angus to hold to his guns for the night. “Just in case”.
The party scatters to search the house.

They get to the garage, which served as McIntyre’s studio. The man returns home at some point and the lizard-grandma-creature was clearly the only thing keeping a vestige of sanity in the poor man. He is subdued.

We study the paintings, but it takes a while for their horror to set in. When their nature is apparent, it is too late and their sanity-shattering messages hit us fully. Each of the small, mortal minds try to find some way to escape. Angus latches on Mary, unwilling to let go, while AlSid decides he cannot be alone - or the horrors would get him.
Poor Gladys takes the worst hit as the spectacle proves too much for her mind to bear. Broken, she walks out never to be seen again.

The ruckus wakes up McIntyre’s senile neighbour, Ernest Blunt, who decides to find out the source of the clatter. Just in time for the party to unveil the final painting, one covered with a sheet and locked into a drawer.

Meanwhile William’s mind is racing. His mind cannot bear the things he’s seen and the paintings are the last straw. Clearly William Müller has seen too much to be alive. Seen too much to exist. His mind decides this is the case and shuts down everything. It wanders for a second, trying to find something to latch onto. It races through the past and finds something. Terrance Gladstone and Michael Smith. They died on the Island of Misr. Or did they? We never saw the bodies. No, of course they didn’t die. They survived. I wouldn’t be standing here otherwise. Me, Terrance Smith.
And with that he loses all the interest in the paintings and goes to make tea. Just as the last painting is unveiled.

The portrait depicted a boggy vision featuring two moons and more lizardmen. It is not as macabre as the other paintings, but it does seem somehow… livid. Angus, Ernest, Mary and McIntyre look deeply into it.

And then they are in the middle of the scene, being slaughtered by the lizardmen. Angus looks in horror, but his mind is too strongly wedged into reality and he is left alone standing and gazing at the painting. Barely he manages to cower it as AlSid and Terrance Smith (formerly known as William Müller) return.
"Ho, that must be the painting I purchased!" Terrance exclaims and the others are too shocked to protest. Together they take the painting and some books they found and carry them away with the now vacant wheelchair.
By a fling of imagination, they decide to set the house on fire to wipe it away. And walk away into the mist.

P.S.

Phew, that was an interesting session. Before this I still had some hopes that William might, just might, survive alive through the whole campaign. Well, he’s still alive and after xmas we’ll see how well he’ll be able to convince his comrades he’s a completely different person. And in fact, an amalgation of two people.
Nevertheless, I don’t count on him surviving too long, as his sanity is now in shambles. And to top that, he thinks he has skills (mainly combat oriented) he simply doesn’t have.
I have to think of something interesting to roll up next. Shame, I was getting really fond of poor William. (Though this amnesia will last 6 months, if he is really, really lucky, he might just make it and recover!)
I tried something different with this synopsis, adopting a more proselike form. Got hurried, so it slips a little there and there, but say whether you like it or not. I might use it more in the future.

Masks of Nyarlathotep Session 5 - And half of the party dies

After a long, long break we finally had another session last monday!
Here, let me tell you how it went:

Last time we had quit in an alleyway just as a truck pulled in front of the Blue Pyramid Club. We’d just been notified it has something to do with the murders, so we decided to follow. How?
A cab.
Wait, make it two cabs. William’s in a wheelchair and the cab can’t fit the whole apparatus.

So we waste our money hightailing the truck which drives for 90 minutes to somewhere out of London. We stop there and pay the outrageos fare (20 pounds per cab! Preposterous!).

It’s getting misty, but we see the truck going over a bridge and briefly checking with a gateguard before driving off to some island.
With a little investigation we discover that the shores are very steep, but not impossible to climb. There’s couple of hundred metres between mainland and the island and the waters are calm - no big deal to swim through.
Only William has trouble as he’s chairbound. We try to get him across with no ado, so Richard stayed with me to keep me company. (His player wasn’t there, so GM gave me the reins of the character.)

The rest of them go over easily though.
They snoop around and discover a cultist gathering around an obelisk. They watch as four prisoners are dragged as sacrifice.

Then shit hits the fan. Four creatures - undescribable, descend from the heavens - humanoid yet obscene mongrels melding several species together - begin raping the prisoners. Three of them are deeply mentally scarred by this. One catches on fire.
After doing their deed, the cultists throw off their robes in an orgy of rape.

And what happens to the party? Four SAN checks, that’s what happens.

Jonathan Wilde loses his wits completely and goes to 0 SAN. Michael and Terrance lose both over a third, but still got some left. Terrance flies into a homicidal rage while Michael decides he’s seen enough for one lifetime. Only Miriam stays mostly unscatched as she’s hiding in the bushes in a fetal position.

So Jonathan bursts out laughing and runs to join the crowd. He was embraced heartily - or would if Terrance didn’t decide to shoot him for his treachery. This makes most of the cult notice him and he has enough sense to make an escape after failing to kill the leader. Meanwhile Michael runs to the gate in the hopes that the guards would kill him - they oblige with knives.
Terrance dashes to the truck and to his luck finds that the keys are in the ignition. The cultists almost reach the slow truck, so he decides an escape to be the best option. Terrance begins driving the road until he discovers a body lying on the road. “HA! Drive over it- No, it’s Michael, dodge! Dodge!” He steers sharply left and drives over a small cliffhead into the sea.
Terrance fails his swim checks and cannot get up wich urges the observing Richard (we ran to the spot as we saw the truck through the mist) swim to the rescue. He tries, but has to leave Terrance be after he himself almost drowns.
Got his rifle though, isn’t that what matters?

With the distraction Miriam had swum back to us and we make our escape. The cultists don’t follow, but we don’t stop to find out. By morning we stop at a village of Harwich, rent a motel room and get a hot bath and a day of sleep.
William developed a flu from the night, but otherwise we’re unscathed. Not counting that half of our group got brutally killed…

We quit the session as we take a buss back to London. We have some explaining to do to Michael’s father, who’s waiting back in America…

I’ve started project “Fuck The World”, a top secret attempt to funnel magma to the outside. I’ll kill those elephants. I’ll kill all those fucking elephants.
StarkRavingMad - 5th Overseer of the Dwarven fortress “Boatmurdered”. (via captainspycrab)
NaNoWriMo: The Aftermath

So. Well then. November is over and done. I guess.

Month ago I announced I was intending to participate in this year’s nanowrimo and even win it. And well, I did and I returned my full-length novel on the last day (but with plenty of hours to spare!). The net length is about 50 176 words that makes over 300 000 characters. It’s about 80 pages long, but I bet that had I used spacing it would easily double that number.

Personally this all feels a bit anticlimactic. I won the thing and wrote the damn book, what now? December rolled in with no applause. Nothing really ended for me, except the daily quota of writing that I stressed about all the time.
I didn’t even finish the story as I noticed that the vikings didn’t even get to China!
You know, the place their adventures were supposed to set in.

And I won’t count the numerous scenes I want to write or rewrite or the characters I want to add. The story doesn’t nearly fit into 50 000, so there will be a sequel and another one. Atleast in my mind there is, I boasted that I’d write them next year, but I suppose I have better ideas by then.

Did I learn anything? Yes, loads. Most of all NaNoWriMo has been a huge learning experience for me. If you’d compare my prose in the beginning and in the end - you would probably kill me why I’d written such a thing.
For once, I thought I knew what “Show, don’t tell” mean, but still the first half of the novel is full of the characters thinking about what happened to them. It took about 25 000 words to notice the text was far more spacey, interesting and fun to write, if I chopped up that wall of text, wrote the things happening: the action, the discussions and everything.
Secondly I learned that even if the ideas seem so robust and vibrant in my mind and the characters so lifelike, I would still need to plan some things, such as vitals like character’s names and personality. Halfway through the story I got much more interested about my team of villains, because compared to the band of swedes that only had couple of named characters (names thrown in at random), the finns had a clear defining idea and their own hats to make them seem different from eachother. After I had realised that I managed to weave some of that stuff to the protagonists, so in the end they were not all such a bunch of blands.

Third, writing creates more writing. At the beginning of the month, I was worried that writing NaNo would not leave time nor focus to write anything else. On the contrary, I think I’ve written more than before even if I don’t count my daily allotment of novel-time. I’ve shown this blog more love (though I still need to pick a proper layout…), written poems and rustled up some fun ideas for short stories I could write next.
The experience also made me wish to try out other means as the “write the story as it goes” I used in the nano. I think I’ve read too much and written too little, as writing the end scene first feels somehow wrong to me. But to be honest, when the current scene grinds to a halt, it is much more productive to just write that scene lingering in your mind. The one you actually want to write. Even if it is another hundred pages in the future.

And to be honest, I don’t even feel emotionally exhausted as I thought I’d surely be. Morelike, there’s an empty spot inside me, where the nanowrimo used to be. A spot that wasn’t there before, and it yearns be to write more. I think I’ve awoken a beast that cannot be satisfied. Hopefully I’ve atleast gathered the proper tools to combat it.
I also discovered some nifty programs I wish to promote:

Write or Die (http://writeordie.com/) is a handy little thing that helped me finish the deadline on more than one occasion. One’d wonder how much a reddening screen can promote writing.
One piece of advice considering it: Disabling backspace is not as good an idea as it sounds like. First, delete and arrow keys still work so you quickly get other, just slower, means of correcting your typing. (And when you have the means, the urge returns, worse than ever.) Second, for some reason I made a lot more typo’s, when writing without backspace and the sheer weight of errors made me depressed and gave me maybe the worst writer’s block of the month. Enabling the button again cured it straight away.
Otherwise however, it’s a lovely little program that helps one focus to the writing at hand. Though I still recommend you edit it afterwards, especially if you’re writing something more important.

Next Scrivener (http://www.literatureandlatte.com/scrivener.php) is a text editor designed for all kinds of projects, novel-writing being one of them. I didn’t have time to use it for my nano because I already had half of the thing in an Open Office document before getting this program, but I bet I’ll be doing my following projects using this. I like its layout more than yWriter, which I tried a year ago. I still haven’t used Scrivener as much as I want to, so there’s not much for me to say yet. I might make a post about it, if I discover anything I deem interesting (I don’t care about your opinion ;D ).

You can gauge my infatuation with these programs that I bought both of them. Before buying programs from the internet has been somewhat of an anathema to me, but I got smitten with Write or Die’s webapp, so I had to get the real deal and Scrivener seemed so full of potential. Money well spent.

It was a good month and I actually finished. I have to say I’m quite content with myself. Next I should just finish the essays I neglected in nano’s place…