Who are the Sigil 6 and what are they up to?

Who are the Sigil 6 and what are they up to?

Real World Origin Story

When the pandemic had just begun my friend got the flu. We had no idea if he had covid or what that might mean. As everything closed down, I called him and asked if he needed me to grab something from the pharmacy or the grocery store and leave it on his front steps. He said, “No, I’ve got that covered. Could you run a game online?”

“Damn right I can.”

That was more than two years ago and we’re still going. We played Trophy Gold for a while and had an amazing time. Then we started with Five Torches Deep and eventually settled into D&D 5e. Character descriptions and links to our AP blog posts are below.

The Sigil 6: Outlands Expedition Team
Made with assets from Thomas Novosel's patreon: https://www.patreon.com/thomasno?fan_landing=true
and Feral Indie Studio's amazing products: https://feral-indie-studios.itch.io/

Made with assets from Thomas Novosel’s patreon: https://www.patreon.com/thomasno?fan_landing=true
and Feral Indie Studio’s amazing products: https://feral-indie-studios.itch.io/

Who are they?

Most of the team met when the Lady of Pain sentenced them into the Maze, a kind of otherworld prison sideways to Sigil. The group was in there for 15 years until the Lady of Pain pulled them out and asked them to serve Sigil as an Outlands Expedition Team, defending imbalances in the Outlands. The team is ambivalent about their mysterious and otherworldly patron.

Logo, Outlands Expedition Team / Deputized by The Lady of Pain / Clerk Ward, Sigil

Jusko Hajek

A human fighter sent to the Maze for banditry and murdering his squire; he was guilty as charged. Nowadays he’s a glorious jumble of honor, bravery and love for his friends.

DM’s Notes: Hajek was the family name of Drew’s character in our old Burning Wheel game; it is a nice tip of the hat. The Hajek family is burning there in the background.

Some of my favorite of Drew’s decisions is when he uses Hajek to highlight the greatness of the other characters.

Sigil 6 Subject Divider

Bugwump

Bugwump is a crotchety, frog-kin wizard. When the campaign began, it seemed like he had been put into the Maze for petty reasons but then John mentioned that Bugwump had been an Arch-mage with an eye towards deity-hood and conquest who had his powers stripped when he was sent Maze-ward. It was suggested to Bugwump that perhaps he is only a clone of the powerful Arch-Mage he remembers and that thought still haunts him.

DM’s Notes: Whenever we meet a famous wizard or lich I ask John if Bugwump knew this person when he was an Arch-Mage. As mentioned in a previous blog post, this arch-magery is a gift.

John does cool stuff in making Bugwump’s magic very amphibian and unique through his descriptions.

Sigil 6 Subject Divider

Trundle

A Dwarf Ranger who makes arcane carvings out of wood, eschewing his stone and iron heritage. The Holdfast where he was raised was besieged by Abyssal forces, a detail I haven’t delved into nearly enough. Trundle took up the holy symbol of a Dwarven priest of portals and became a Mist-Walker while in Barovia.

DM’s Notes: Trundle isn’t a power-house in combat but Teo boxes clever with him and he often pulls out the wild card that ends up saving the team.

Sigil 6 Subject Divider

Kuru

A Halfling Rogue (Arcane Trickster) who took the fall for a heist gone wrong. Sometimes Kuru has lots of heart and other times he ends a problem with a ruthless backstab before it can escalate. The town where he was raised was a kind of ninja-enclave.

While in Barovia Kuru earned the nickname, Kuru Heartbreaker, after destroying Strahd’s crystal heart artifact with a Wand of Lightning Bolts.

DM’s Notes: In every group there’s that one character who will jump on a dragon’s head to try to get at the dangerous beast’s eyes. Kuru is that character; Anthony is that player.

Sigil 6 Subject Divider

Helewynn

Helewynn joined the group later, an elf (Eldadrin) Barbarian who serves a moon goddess. She has her own strong ideas about honor. Her rage in combat will become stuff of legend and her comrades benefit from her totemic Wolf powers. While in Ravenloft, Helewynn became a werewolf, an honored caste of soldier among the Moon Goddess’ people. The werewolves, wolves and dire wolves of Barovia refer to her as the Queen of the Moon. Helewynn delivered the fatal strike against Strahd.

DM’s Notes: B is new to D&D and makes great outside-the-box combat decisions that are always interesting and fun. When I ask B a question about Helewynn’s thoughts on a topic, the response is always delightful.

Sigil 6 Subject Divider

Failed Soldier (Floldier)

Corpseflea (from Five Torches Deep: Origins) Grave Cleric who has left the body of a dead thief deity and is currently inahbiting the body of a flesh golem made by an angel in Ravenloft (shit got complicated and strange). Failed Soldier has taken his name from the last body he inhabited and has helped refugees from a dead world mourn the death of their home. Failed Soldier inhabited the body of a dead God of Thieves from a dying world, giving the Sigil 6 access to the Godroads; now he inhabits a flesh golem made for him by the lost angel of the Morninglord in Ravenloft.

DM’s Notes: All of these characters are delightful surprising thanks to the wonderful player choices but Failed Soldier is a particularly odd one. Not only because he’s a mote of consciousness who can inhabit corpses but because J players them with complicated soul.

Sigil 6 Subject Divider

What has the Sigil 6 been up to?

Book I: Starting in Sigil

In which we get our feet under us in the Outlands…

Sigil with Rule of 3 Rings

Revisiting Planescape

The adventures in the Outlands were supposed to ripple out into the rest of the planes of reality.

Tables for the Outlands

I don’t think of the tables as Random Encounter Tables but as Inspirational Encounter Tables.

Back in Sigil

“How do you say last rite’s over a world?”
“Maybe the same way we’d say good-bye to a dear friend…”

Not Random but Inspirational

Why did I roll these encounters? There weren’t any fights.

Feuding Gods in the Portal City of Xaos

I wrote down Water, Chaos of Limbo, Feuding Deities.

The Godroads

A few years ago I wrote some notes in a notebook about the Godroads.

Sigil 6 Subject Divider

Book II: Even Death May Die

In which the Sigil 6 travels to Chult because someone broke death.

Even Death May Die
Tomb of Annihilation as played by the Thursday Night Delving Club
made like a movie poster

Chultan Skies

They are flying on pterodactyls…

Bugwump’s Gift to the D.M.

I know that adventurers (particularly, bards) dating monsters is a kind of RPG-twitter cliche. Tonight it made a dangerous and interesting totally unbalanced encounter even more interesting.

Landing in the Lost City of Omu

Jusko was worried about the letter of introduction Vandrilla Shadowmantle gave them to give to the Red Wizards, worried they might get Rosencrantz-&-Guildenstern’d.

Wizards, Derring-do and a Legendary T-Rex

Trundle and Kuru ended up on the Queen of Feather’s head…

Robbing Yuan-ti and Contemplating Magicide.

In which Yuan-ti are robbed and multiple magicide is discussed.

Identity and the Tomb

“Who are we? Are we people who crawl into our allies’ camp and slit their throats while they sleep?”

Hit-and-Run Finale

I forgot lots of stuff in the room that would’ve made he fight harder. It was still fun, still felt epic.

Sigil 6 Subject Divider

Book III: Killing Strahd

In which the Sigil 6 enter a demi-planar prison to kill a legendary parasite.

Curse of Strahd as played by the Thursday Night Delving Club (Friendship, Laughter, Adventure)
Big moon behind a castle with bats flying...

Prelude in Sigil

Trundle got into the spirit of things, wearing a Devil mask and doing a public carving celebrating their last adventure…

Questions Before Curse of Strahd

Helewyn – How do you (or your Goddess) feel about lycanthropes who change shape with the full moon?

Session I Welcome to Barovia

In which the team arrives in Ravenloft and the Siege of Ravenwatch begins…

Session II Battle of Ravenwatch

Kuru, being followed by Strahd, throws a fake amulet in another direction so he can get to Jusko and turn invisible. Deception with Dex bonus; Strahd falls for the sleight of hand.

Session III Wolves and Souls

In which the Outlands Expedition Team heads to the village of Barovia and is tested by a pack of wolves.

Session IV Ghosts & Bones

Trundle, when he entered the inn, offered a prayer against fiends (his chosen enemy) in Infernal. Just a nice bit of color that I loved.

Session V – I fucked up numbering; there is no Episode V. 

Session VI Enter the Amber Temple

In which the Amber Temple is entered

Session VII Dark Gifts

Chester suggested they head back to Darkon and take over. “Azalin Rex is gone; the domain is in chaos. A group like you could wreak bloody havoc and own that place.” The Team nixed this idea.

Session VIII New Wolves & Old Friends

In which we see Werewolf politics, exit plans, scouting the Mist and Chultan pterodactyls in Barovia…

Session IX The Execution of Kiril Stoyanovich

In which a werewolf is beheaded, a sword is lit and a plan is tossed aside.

Session X The Crypts Under Castle Ravenloft

In which Jusko leads a team of strangers whose lives have been brutally damaged by Strahd 

Session XI Plans within Plans and the Broken Angel

In which the team starts to plan and make plans within plans and meet the broken angel known as the The Prophet…

Session XII Blood and Philosophy in the Abbey of St. Markovia

We are picturing it like the helicopter approach in the beginning of Predator.

Session XIII The Ballad of Kuru Heartbreaker

The Heart Tower was my favorite encounter that I ran pretty close to as-written.

Session XIV The Death of Strahd

In which the Sigil Six ends of the Curse of Strahd slaying the legendary vampire through sorcery, steel and cunning.

Spending the Ravenloft Fortune

I did not feel like going through the treasure in Castle Ravenloft and tallying it up…

Session XV Loose Ends and Lost Gods

Rahadin and the remaining vampires left the Domain. None are sure where they went.

Books from Castle Ravenloft’s Library

This tome was compiled by Strahd over the years, keeping track of Gloomwrought, through the reports of his messengers.

Curse of Strahd Awards

To hand out to players once the adventure is finished.

Why is Strahd a good villain?

Know that strahd died screaming in daylight.

Sigil 6 Subject Divider

Book IV: All Shadows Lead to Gloomwrought

In which the Sigil 6 walk across the Shadowfell towards the City of Midnight.

All Shadows Lead to Gloomwrought
In which the Sigil 6 walk through the Shadowfell

Encounters, Faction and a Map

Or as Trundle said, “We’ve done enough work for the Lady of Pain; let’s walk through the Planes a while and take our time getting back to Sigil.”

S1 Knights and Elves

They got to a bridge from the mists, over a bottomless shadow chasm, leading into the Shadowfell. 

S2 The Zombie Mob

In which the Sigil Six cross the Dread Bridge, Helewynn is given a gift by the Shadar Kai and 300 or so zombies block their path through a deserted valley.

S3 “What would the best version of yourselves do?”

I put them in an unwinnable situation and they shook their heads and said, “Fuck that.”

S4 Somewhere Between Lord Soth and the Moon

“Don’t do anything stupid unless I come running down the hill. If I do, bring all of the stupid.”

S5 Recruit Villagers, Scouting Ahead and Evading a Dragon

In which the Sigil Six recruit the villagers, scout ahead and meet a dragon in the skies.

S6 The Three Who Are One

I grabbed a Skull Lord from Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes and a Zombie Clot from Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft. They are fun monsters and it was a fun, challenging fight.

The Three Who Are One
3 skulls melded together

S7 On the Salt Road

Kuru started a conversation with the Shadar Kai riders about their strategies in fighting a dragon.

“We run.”

S8 Bounty Hunters

Three things happened that turned the tide of the battle…

Moments in Actual Play

In which we look at a few moments and decisions in the game, considering the techniques at hand.

S9 The Old Githyanki Gate

Are the players interested in this job? Does it sound fun? Are the characters interested in this job? We talked it over and folks were interested.

S10 The Drow Job Prep

In which Kuru finds trouble in a Drow kitchen and the Sigil 6 prepares for the job.

S11 The Execution of the Drow Job

In which blood is spilled at a spirited Doors of Fate gaming table and Kuru disappears with an Aboleth.

S12 Back in Sigil

In which the Sigil 6 get Kuru back, make a Wish and get back to Sigil.

Sigil 6 Subject Divider
Imbalances in the Outlands with Rule of 3 circles, Key and Sword and Sigil 6 symbol

0 Sigil 6 Questions

At this point, I really hope we take it to 20th level. I’d love to be able to get that Gamer Merit Badge. More than 30 years playing these games and I’ve never taken a D&D game from 1st to 20th. I think we’ve go the momentum to do it and hope the scheduling holds up and we get there together.

1 Acorn Problem in Bytopia

The players didn’t come out with their realization that Divast was in fact, Garl Glittergold in illusory disguise until the last minutes of the game. When Helewynn offered him half a muffin, he called it, “an offering,” a slip that Jusko noticed. Failed Soldier had a piece of Gnome-tech from Dosk, allowing him to see the spirits of the dead. During one of Divast’s many (many) temper tantrums, he seemed to be talking to a spirit of the dead and throwing them away. Why would he be doing that?

S2: A Balanced Deal with a Heaping Side of Lore

They brokered a deal between the Druids and Garl, despite the god of the Gnomes trying his damnedest to get them to slaughter them all.

S3: The Vampire, the Lich and the Raven Queen

It was an odd night and I might’ve not managed the spotlight as well as I might’ve.

Sigil 6 Subject Divider

S1 Locate Object

In which the Sigil 6 track down Strahd’s second-in-command, who got away from them in Barovia; she is now a crimelord in Gloomwrought.

Sigil 6 Subject Divider

What else?

What is an Outlands Expedition Team?

What is the Bingo XP Variant that the Thursday Night Delving Club uses?

Sigil 6 Questions – Why D&D 5e and more…

Judd's Shop
Science Fiction and Fantasy Designs
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https://shopofjudd.threadless.com/

Thursday Night Delving Club t-shirt

At the start of the pandemic, a little more than a year ago, my friend, Anthony was feeling sick. It turned out to just be a cold but we didn’t know that. We were scared. I asked him if I could grab some groceries for him and leave them on his porch or get something from the pharmacy. He didn’t need any of that.

“Could you run a game?”

“Fuck yeah, I can.”

We’ve been gaming strong for more than a year now and this t-shirt celebrates that.

100% or the proceeds generated by this shirt go to Stop AAPI Hate (and Threadless throws in a few more bucks). We love the idea of our geekery and friendship somehow, in some way, making the world a better place. After the brutal hate crime last week our Asian siblings, friends and colleagues in the hobby, have had a brutal week after a particularly brutal year. It is nice to use our creativity to support them in some small way.

All of the items in this story go to wonderful charities.

LINK TO SHIRT

In which we begin Book 3, Nara and the Burning Wheel

The Ballad of Bina Janos as a rumpled softcover.

Sean and I playing Burning Wheel started out because a Blades in the Dark game we both played in had a few nights a month where he and I were the only players who could make it. I suggested a BW side-game and now, several years later, that campaign is still going. Having just purchased a map making program I made a map:

The map helped. It forced me to name things and gives things shape. The human dukes were divvied up into 3 groups that I think of as the Gold Dukes, the Iron Dukes and the Wyrd Dukes. That will help when I need to make up a human on the fly. I can see where they are from and know a bunch about what their political life is like. Naming the dwarven holdfasts wasn’t something I thought about but became important later. Only now have I started to get more firm ideas about Ostofair and Andune.

I knew the BW system wouldn’t be an issue with Sean. He might hate it (and that would be fine (but he didn’t)) but he wouldn’t bounce off it the way I’ve seen some folks do. So I asked him to take a look at the BW Situations I had tweeted and one of those tweets grabbed him.

When I imagined this campaign, I imagined a conscripted soldier who returned home to farm and just wants a peaceful life but is very aware of the perils of war. Instead, Sean burned up Bina Janos, a servant who worked in a tower at the crossroads, serving the knight there. It was not what I expected at all. The game straight up made me nervous. There aren’t many (any?) fantasy books about Bina Janos. She didn’t secretly have magic powers nor was she secretly the lost child of a queen or a knife murder goddess in hiding.

Bina was a mother who married a decent guy, a wheelwright (and it is a Burning Wheel game…huh? get it?) and had a daughter, Nara, with him. She had been taken from a nearby village during some feuding and never went back home. She got by with a skill called Soothing Platitudes, being good at her job and knowing the local gossip.

That first campaign was an exercise in GMing failure without beating up the player. In following Bina’s journey we learned and made up a bunch of mythology in the world. The Burning Wheel, an actual physical artifact that could be seen like an arcane beacon atop a northern mountain and its church. The lore behind the dwarves and the elves that was leading to war. The 17 Great Debts of the Dwarven Princes. The politics behind the human dukes and the songs of the human peasants. There are immigrants from a faraway continent who have traditionally guarded the gold mines and the caravans that take the gold from the mines to the capital after a few local knights turned bandit or rebel lord, trying to control the wealth.

During the game it was clear that a dragon still had an important elf, a consort to the elf queen, and so the second book was about a working class dwarf in charge of tunneling into an abandoned holdfast that was being squatted in by a dragon. The dragon was trapped within but still, there was real imminent danger there.

Into the Vault as a worn softcover you might find burned under some dirty towels in your cousin’s hatchback.

Pellara the Pillar would become Pellar Dragonsworn and also Prince Pellara Dragonsworn of the Vault through the course of play. That was not at all my intent. I wanted to stay away from noble games but she was born to and was the matriarch of a working class family. To be honest, having a game about a strong woman taking control of a political situation driven into the shitter by born noble princes felt pretty damned good. All of those dwarven holdfasts at the top of the map suddenly became very important. I made notes on each prince and what made those places unique.

I was making stuff up as I went and adjusting to the beliefs Sean made but I daydreamed myself enough content to give myself structure so I wasn’t ever making shit up in a void.

Arcs

In a subreddit someone asked how GM’s make character arcs. It might look like I very carefully planned everything. Book 1 and 2 are both nine sessions long.

I didn’t. I didn’t plan a damned thing. There was no arc in mind. I didn’ tknow where Sean’s beliefs would take us. I know how I want to push on them but once I push, I have no idea how Sean will react to that pressure. I didn’t want each game to be 9 sessions long and I don’t mind if Nara’s time in the campaign takes 3 sessions or 99 sessions.

Here’s what I wrote in the thread:

Just let he players deal with the problems and cool stuff and arcs will happen naturally because we are humans and we like to find patterns and familiar rhythms in things. Don’t plan the solutions, just put forth the situations filled with problems and wonder and see what happens.

Me, saying stuff, link above

This third book’s situation is more vague. We found out in the first book that Bina’s daughter, Nara, was Gifted and might be destined to be the next Arch-Mage. What does that term even mean? Arch-Mage. All we know is that an Arch-Mage is a wizard who picks up the Burning Wheel, braves its sorcerous fires and takes it down the mountain. We know that her destiny is wrapped up in that mess. I am relying on the lore we’ve built and the fact that we’ve barely scraped the surface. There is still so much that Sean doesn’t know and Nara can learn.

I’ve started writing notes about how Arch-Mages are selected and the previous Arch-Mages and how each of them has led to the current state of affairs in wizard society. We will get to see Wheelholdt from a very different point of view. I’ve been daydreaming about wizards, apprentices and how they learn, what their hierarchies are like and how they interact with the rest of human society.

B1: I’m supposed to carry the Wheel down the mountain, but nobody will tell me why! I’m going to find out what happened LAST time an archmage did it.
B2: To take the Wheel I must master the School of Fire. Great, more mentors! Ah well, fighting this prophecy has never worked out, I better get to it. I’ll find a praticioner to teach me.

One of the things BW does well is learning. Seeking out teachers and reading books can be a big deal.

I’m glad we’ve got an empty third belief to start off with, it allows Sean to jump on something that comes up in play as we get to know Nara.


Here are the playlists for the first two books. Come join us in a week for the beginning of the the third. I have no idea what is going to happen. Or…I know some stuff but have no idea how Sean is going to play Nara. We’re going to find out about the history of wizardry and Arch-Magery. We’ll see where Nara fits in all that mess and if she agrees with the prophecy told to her mother years ago that said she was destined to pick up a fiery magical artifact created by a sorcerous fire god.

We’ll be at the Actual Play twitch channel next Friday at 9PM EST or so, please stop by if that kinda thing is your cuppa tea.

Also, Sean put the first book’s games into a podcast if that is a better format for ya.

The Ballad of Bina Janos, Book 1
The Rise of Prince Pellara Dragonsworn

I’m adding a link to the third arc’s playlist just so they are all in one place:

Book III Nara and the Burning Wheel

An odd night on a barren hill

When I have the energy to do so, I try to write a short synopsis of our Trophy Gold games. The dice kept telling me that strange and terrible things were happening. Who am I to ignore them?

This was tonight’s synopsis:

In which the treasure-hunters made camp on a hill after meeting a lost soul, discussed theology, went to bed for the night, thinking that they would wake up and go plunder the Palace of the Skeleton God with Blackwolf.


The Sisters, gods, devils, and saints of this world had different plans – very different plans.

It was complicated. A goat that had lost its herd instincts entered camp and was accidentally lit on fire – an amorphous blob-beast, drawn to the hill by the sorcery, ate the flaming goat and took on its characteristics. The treasure-hunters fought the flaming goat-blog-man and killed it.


Somewhere in there a god was spoken to in all of its fell, patriarchal glory and a soulless copy of Elezio (Evilezio), an illusion of Elezio brought to life by a sorcerous mishap, gave terrible dating advice to Revel.


Sometimes it just goes like that.


We’ll get to the Palace next week.


“Even by wizard standards that was a pretty fucking crazy night.” – Blackwolf, Wizard

Cyberpunk Thoughts with Daniel


Having just recorded an episode of Daydreaming about Dragons about finding common ground in your genre expectations, this video spoke to me. We probably should have had this conversation before we started playing but I was eager to get a move-on and try this asynchronous thing. We got a little lucky in our cyberpunk thoughts aligning but there’s also a bunch of years of friendship and play in the mix.

As we began play I listened to the Neuromancer Audiobook, read Neon Leviathan, and rewatched Blade Runner. I’m listening to the Burning Chrome audiobook.

The first NPC we met was an AI who Daniel named, Stat. I’m thrilled that he decided that Lip considers AI people and wants to save Stat from corporate indentured servitude. Lip has a bit of an exhausted nurse’s cold streak; I really didn’t know what he’d do.


The game continues as Lip meets with a freelance broker for the Stat Job in a local Mongolian food joint. The Cyberpunk Nurse youtube playlist is here.

The rules we are using are from the Apocalypse World: Burned Over Hackbook.


Scum and Villainy Digital Missive

I’ve been using gaming as a good excuse to make cool looking things with the Affinity Suite. Today was a mission download for our SnV game:

COLDBRINGER CELL / TARGET: NIGHTFALL’s EQUATOR-TRAIT / CAR # 8972001 / MISSION: DISUPRT TRANSPORTATION OF RESOURCES IN ORDER TO ERODE HOUSE MALKLAITH’S ALLIES’ TRUST / INTEL: GUARDED BY 51ST LEGION

More Campaign Book Covers

Sean has our Bina Janos Burning Wheel Campaign from a youtube playlist to a podcast. He’s breaking it down into bite-sized chunks and offering commentary as he goes. If AP is your thing please check it out.

The ribbons coming off the wheel might be my crowning artistic achievement. You’ve gotta start somewhere.


Lip, the Cyberpunk Nurse, is at TTI HQ, talking to a mid-level exec and getting a feeling that not all is well. Playlist here.


Ell, the Mars Operator, is caravaning through a dried out riverbed and hoverbikes are attacking; shit is getting Fury Roadish. Playlist here.


Cyberpunk Nurse and Mars Hustle were made with templates from Canva.com and then turned into old books with Affinity.

The Ballad of Bina Janos was made with the following pixabay items and then turned into an old book with Affinity:

Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

Mars Times / Financial Predator

Just one of those things where you play with Affinity by putting city lights on Mars, start playing an AW Burned Over game via video play-by-post and then you look at Canva.com again and there are magazine templates and here we are…

…in-game magazines.


Mars Operator Playlist


Cyberpunk Nurse playlist


Attribution

Picture of Mars: Image by Alexander Antropov from Pixabay

City lights torn from 3 different images by skeeze from Pixabay

Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay (altered heavily with Affinity)

Magazine Templates from canva.com


Asynchronous Cyberpunk with Apocalypse World’s Burned Over Zine

Asynchronous Cyberpunk with Apocalypse World’s Burned Over Zine

Please join us! Jump on in to the playlists and let us know what you’re thinking. Cheer the protagonists, hiss at the villains and gasp at the complications as apocalyptica is barfed forth, questions are asked/acted upon and fuckery is dealt out.

It is an average night in the Mouse Peninsula when Nurse Lip gets a call to extract a mid-level corporate asshole, Mr. Roark, from a firefight in the courtyard of a storybook castle.

Click here for the Cyberpunk Nurse Youtube Playlist


Ell wakes up in his Trenchtown crash-pad to find out that he is a finalist for the prestigious Trenchtown Adventurer’s Grant for the Betterment of Mars. This is a guy who knows all of the angles, watch him work them all in the not-quite terraformed Martian hellscape.

Click here for the Mars Operator Youtube Playlist


For those asking, “Judd, what the eff is this?”

I’m MCing two games in a kind of video-play-by-post and I’m surprised at how much fun it is. At first I was all about keeping it fast and loose. Quickly, I wanted my lighting to be better and to have it look and sound cool for the video recording. I’ll get over it.

Another shock is how good the Burned Over Zine is. The Apocalypse World 2e text is a leap over the original and now the Bakers are vaulting over that with these new moves and playbooks. The new Barter rules are tight.

At the end of the day, the game comes first. I’m glad this kind of play is this much fun. If you give it a go and play this way, please let me know how it goes for ya. If you give our games a listen, please leave comments and ask questions.

With video it kinda feels like play-by-post and it kinda doesn’t. I’ve enjoyed play-by-post games in the past and it was through those games that I realized how much I really love writing. That said, it is a ton of time and effort to play a game like that with lots of keyboard sweat. I’m hoping the quick nature of video responses will keep the sweat factor down and keep the games going where other pbp games tend to fall to the wayside. Also in our favor is the 1 MC/1 PC dynamic that will cut down on exhausting lag. Time will tell.


Daniel and Jay are amazing people. Please support their work.

Daniel rocks out with cool game design at Highmoon Press.

Jay is the man behind the amazing Diceology podcast and the Madjay Zero Hustle Patreon.


Cyberpunk A.W. – B.R.E.A.M. Barter Rules Everything Around Me

Cash, Rules, Everything, Around, Me
C.R.E.A.M.
Get the money
Dollar, dollar bill y’allIt’s been twenty-two long hard years, I’m still strugglin’
Survival got me buggin’, but I’m alive on arrival
I peep at the shape of the streets
And stay awake to the ways of the world ’cause shit is deep
A man with a dream with plans to make C.R.E.A.M.

Wu-Tang Clan

Yesterday in our Cyberpunk Nurse Asynchronous Video Play by Post game, Daniel agreed to take Mr. Roark (fuckin’ Roark, man) to an underground hospital so he could avoid corporate assassins out to get him. He agreed to pay him.

Nurse Lip agreed to take payment in old school Trauma Team International gear but what if he went for the creds?

Here’s the move, inspired by the Burned Over zine and Apocalypse World.

Cash or Creds

When some assholes agrees to pay you in cash or credstick, talk to the MC and decide which if the payment is:

Some cash, a nice tip

Take +1 Forward on your next Barter roll

Stupid money, really opulent, more money than you are used to seeing in one place.

Take +1 Forward for Barter and Act Under Fire +Barter if what you purchase could hurt or infringe on the territory of someone else or give you an advantage over a threat, if you fail the +1 is gone.

Fuck-you-money, a monarch’s ransom, some Scrooge McDuck shit.

Buy whatever you want whenever you want but once you buy anything out of the norm word hits the streets. Threats are going to circle you.

If you should buy something really huge and game-changing (aircraft carrier, Manhattan, a spaceship, a satellite, a space elevator, a giant kaiju-punching robot, etc) scale down from Fuck-you-money to Stupid money.

Now I’m going to do my best D. Vincent Baker/Meguey Baker impression with a play example. This makes me nervous because the AW2e book has my favorite play examples ever.

An Example with further thoughts

“More money than I can count? Fuck it, I buy an aircraft carrier with jets and shit. Let’s do this.”

“Cool! Let’s talk about what buying an aircraft carrier looks like in this neon apocalypse.”

“I dunno. usedaircraftcarrier.gov?”

“Let’s think about it. There are U.S. Navy aircraft carriers for sale. Shit, there are some sailing around out there, floating without orders since the Elevator Wars looking for a place to get fuel and supplies. Every so often you hear about a coastal town getting ransacked by one.

“Your local arms dealer, Dremmer has a bodyguard with a Marines tattoo. Word is he served on one and got away. He might know how to purchase such a thing. Maybe ask him to set up a sit-down?”

“Shit, I’m not going to be able to just order one online am I?”

“Want to jack into the net and see if there is a place to buy one online? Sounds like Open Your Brain…”

See what I’m doing there? I’m not telling the player no. Shit, I think the game becomes MORE interesting if they purchase an aircraft carrier. The contact, the sales and the negotiation will be interesting to me and put lots more threats on the map.

I’m not putting hurdles in their way. I’m barfing forth cyber-apocalyptica (raids from off-shore aircraft carriers desperate for supplies…niiiice), thinking off-screen and responding with fuckery.

What I’m not doing is telling them that it is impossible or shrugging and saying that they have no idea how to go about doing that. I’m offering ideas that I think will lead to cool shit happening if they decide to follow up.

An Example That Jumps To It

“Cal wants to buy an aircraft carrier.”

Cool. Cal hands the jingle over to Captain Dustwich who heads into the Baltimore/Atlanta/Indie Triangle with a small fortune and several platoons of loyal marines. She salutes and hands Cal a saber. The people who have lived and worked on the carrier are looking up at you and your posse…”

A Mistake Example with Correction

“Brushfire wants to buy an aircraft carrier with this Fuck-You-Money.”

“No way. Fuck that. That is ridiculous.”

“Could we talk about it? If it really bugs you I’ll find something else to do. I don’t want anyone to feel unsafe if aircraft carriers are a trigger but I think it could be a fun hardhold and getting to the purchase could make for some fun moves.”

Shit, yeah. Give me a few minutes to think this over. I was so surprised that I just knee-jerked a negative. Let’s take a break, let me digest and come together and talk about what that would look like, ask each other a bunch of questions.”

I don’t know what they want from me
It’s like the more money we come across
The more problems we see

The Notorious B.I.G.