M. Jared Swenson Productions

This blog chronicles my projects, developments, and all things related to tabletop gaming. I will try to avoid rants and reviews. Mostly games I'm developing, and progresses from my campaigns.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Serro's Ship Log

Entry 222

Quiv Battlebred
It's been a couple days of planning. Gra' and Jin'kins took the opportunity to upgrade their equipment and get a few additional treats. They will join a quiv battlebred squad on the ground assault, the ones I am assigned to ferry to Krutos. I was invited to the captain's conference and their grand admiral went over the battle plans. Somehow Primeus knew this would be coming and got any remaining bit of fleet they could to Krutos. So Melthos will be meeting it head on with as much as they can muster. My Needle and a few other ships plan to swoop onto the planet when the 2 fleets meet (sneaking in under the confusion of space battle), and establish a forward base on the outskirts of the capital city. We all travel the lanes tomorrow.

Entry 223

Cardoon Streetripper
With my team, the squad of battlebred, and a streetripper aboard (a cardoon design APC), we arrive around Krutos. And sure enough, a Primeus fleet was waiting for us. Luckily the Melthos fleet arrived first and engaged them in a brutal space conflict. I took the Needle in under the fighting with a couple other small ships and headed straight to Krutos. We enter the planet's atmosphere through the poles and ride under the upper atmosphere storms.

The city had its defenses. Along the rails that made up the cities' infrastructure were missile launchers. Luckily our ECM and armor prevented us from getting any major damage. We dropped on land with what was designated to be our base. The troops and my team unloaded and begin the assault, facing off against the planetary defense forces. I opted to stay aboard the ship and keep it warm. I'm no soldier. I didn't want to leave my ship unoccupied amidst a battle.

Primeus MC (Military Construct)
Good thing too. As Gra' and the rest pushed closer, they met up with a MC that was able to hault their assault. I had the idea to try using the Needle's plasma cannon to take a shot at it from long range. It was a tricky shot. I needed to aim through a couple buildings, but still the shot was potent enough to do a significant amount of damage to the MC.

Our forces regrouped. We had taken the forward base. Next step planned was to take over the citie's transport system. There was no way Melthos would progress on land unless they had control over the rail system.

They looked to me and my team to handle that. Apparently I was the most capable hacker on ground.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Adventures of a C.P.A. (Episode 3, Part 2)

The hag must have sensed something. Something she liked. After stabbing Flint in the neck, she proceeded to posses his body. He could feel her will overtaking him. He tried resisting, but was just too weak from the wound. The others watched as Flint rose up from the ground like a marionette, and vanished.

What ensued was a battle. The hag, having taken a host, still kept her power and proceeded to vanish around the room, reappearing around people, and stabbing them. They felt helpless, as they could only defend from the attack, not wanting to injure Flint any further. John could sense the hag's presence and helped in tracking her movements, and even worked to psychically solidify her form, preventing her from vanishing. Meanwhile Hank had the mind to try talking to the hag. He gathered from the encounter that she was imprisoned in this home, and other homes. That House Tremere put her there. That she survived off the blood, and dreams of the boy who lived here, and in the other homes.

As the team took hits, luckily John was able to prevent her from vanishing. She raged and assaulted who she could. Kody was able to hold Flint as she fought back inside. All the while, they noticed something very wrong. Flint's expression was that of the hag's anger, but she couldn't control the eyes. Flint's eyes were rolled to the back of his head, and the bleeding seemed to slow down. Kent was able to grab some of the salt John brought up and shoved a bunch in Flint's mouth. It would help weaken the spirit. With tremendous effort, and a knife wound of his own, John was able to exorcise the hag. Flint dropped to the floor like a rag-doll, breathless. Bleeding a tiny bit still, Kody leaped to his aid to stop the bleeding. Sensing the battle wasn't going her way, the hag made a bargain. She said she liked this body, and would trade the boy for Flint, for he had sweet dreams and blood. Some of them, Hank especially, briefly considered the trade, but they fought on. Kody with his spectral gauntlets was able to apprehend her. She attempted to repossess Flint, but found when he had dropped, he was over top the holding circle around her portal. She was now trapped.

Kody was in a rage, and began to squeeze the spirit, killing her. Before it could happen, Kent asked her: "What's your name?!"


"What's your name?!"


"What is your name?!"

"NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" Kody's grip tightened.

"Your name!"

"VASHALINE!" Kody snapped her 'neck', and she disappeared.

They all gathered around Flint's lifeless body. Kent poured some of his healing power into Flint, and John tried to snap his mind awake. By a miracle, Flint coughed, and barely mouthed the words "Why am I tasting salt?"

All in all, it was a success. Barely. Flint did die, but his purpose on the world was not complete yet. He is now a scarred mage twice over. What that may hold for him in the future, he does not know. He can still see her horrible visage when he closes his eyes, and has had many sleepless nights since the incident. She whispered horrors to him as she took his body. The screams of children and others in the homes that made up her cage. Flint was shaken beyond description. It will take a lot of effort to going back to work for Nightfall. He's not so sure he can go back to working with magic and the paranormal. But one thing is for sure, he cannot see himself as being able to go back to being a normal.

As for the hag, Vashaline, Nightfall knows it needs to deal with her again. They were able to banish the spirit, not destroy her. To fully destroy her would take a great deal of effort and magic, but what they did was banish her. She will remain banished for one year and one day. Just as she was before. The team surmised that the boy's father knew of her existence, and kept her banished each year. But one year, he was able to do it, at a great cost. Something happened that killed the father from his encounter with the hag. But because it was a supernatural killing, the paradox made it seem he was just missing. The mother, paradox attempting to make things normal in her mind, concluded that he left, even if she may have very well witnessed the event. Life then went on for the single mother and her boy for one year, and one day. Then the hag came back. She terrorized the boy for a few months, and other in her homes, before the team was able to get to her. Nightfall was not sure which other homes they were. Flint may be the key to finding them. Her visions of the homes are locked somewhere in his mind. And they would need to return to find a more permanent solution for this spiritual menace. Knowing her name will definitely help in the task.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Adventures of a C.P.A. (Episode 3, Part 1)

So I will write of Flint's death.

It started with Hank taking the L-train from work. He noticed aboard the train a small boy riding alone, crying. Hank approached the boy innocently and learned that he is running from home. When inquired why, he claims there is a monster under his bed, and nobody will believe him. At first it seemed to be a likely child's story, but the description raised the hairs on Hank, and inclined him to believe the boy. He presented evidence of hundreds of healing cuts all over his flesh. The sight of that alone would be enough to alarm any decent human being, but on top of that when he said that every night, he felt as though he is being held still, and couldn't scream, blades would cut his skin, then go away.

So Hank took it as a case, and brought the boy to the rest of the team. Upon examination, there is some residual magic surrounding him, but the boy doesn't seem to be aware of it. Kent, our resident police detective, came up with a plan to inspect the boy's home. Kent, John, and Flint went there and met a crying mother. They said that her boy was found, and on behalf of social services they just need to inspect the home and ensure it is safe before returning him. She was cooperative.

While John and Flint went upstairs to check the boy's room, Kent interrogated the mother on what Hank told them. She said a year and a month ago the father left them. No contact with the family. Then about a month ago this started happening. She thought it was anxiety from their father leaving, and that he was doing the cutting himself. She tried taking him to child psychologists, but nobody seemed to be able to do anything about it. She got rid of all knives and blades in the house, but every night when the boy would wake up screaming, she would find some sharp implement near the bed, ones she didn't recognize.

Meanwhile as Flint and John made their way up the stairs, John with his psycho-empathic abilities detected something dark in the home, extremely frightening and angry. Flint only got to the doorway when he tried to detect any magical residue left behind, and saw the house light up with power. The place seemed like a font of magical energy.

Before Flint could steal some for future use, John stopped him and they met with Kent. The mother had given him a drawing the boy did. It was like a collage of different symbols, one they recognized, the symbol of one of the magical scarred houses, House Tremere.

Kent told the mother that she could meet her boy at the precinct. On the way out he arranged for his police friend to hold the mother and boy at the station as long as they could to buy the team some time to really take a look at the home.

The whole group gathered at the home, and things didn't seem normal. All furniture was rearranged. Knives were on the table, all chairs facing the walls. A sense of eerieness clouded the area. They went upstairs to the room and saw all clothing from the closet strewn about the room, then in blood on the wall in the back of the closet were the words "HE'S MINE!" Kody was pretty upset by the whole situation and readied to lay some supernatural beatdown when he flipped over the bed. Under it was a ritualistic circle for a portal. One to a place they could not go or track. Flint readied to lay a hold enchantment around the portal when John went downstairs to get some salt. John found a ghostly vision of a hag appear suddenly and stab him in the chest, then vanish before he could get a couple shots off.

Upon hearing the shots, Kody and Kent went to assist him, leaving Hank and Flint in the bedroom. As Flint finished his initial circle around the portal, he felt a sharp pain in his neck, and found a knife sticking out of it, and bleeding profusely. He collapsed to the floor, gasping for the sounds of a scream he could not get out...

Friday, March 15, 2013

Serro's Ship Log

Entry 221

Luckily Nykus' claim was right. He was indeed important to the Melthos nation, and were happy to pay the 3 million. But he now tells me he has another job for us. He will gladly pay off my debt completely for it.

They have a plan of attack with the moonspiders for Krutos, but they need a fast stealthy transport for a few specialists to be dropped behind enemy lines, and we are just the ship and crew for the job.

I didn't know what to think of it. Technically my job was done, and my duty here fulfilled. They paid already so I could go.

But I could find several reasons to take the high risk job. I've been getting to know and like Jin'kins, and I could see this was important. Melthos could potentially be a much better client nation than Primeus, and Krutos under Melthos control would be a massive bonus. Gra' seems to be having fun and appreciate the action as well. But on the other hand we could get killed. I didn't start this little venture to be a spec-ops military unit.

Damnit, I'm taking the job.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Serro's Ship Log

Entry 219

I was back on the Needle when Nykus came aboard. The sovereign agreed to lend the Moonspiders to help with the war. Exact details of the cost for such an alliance I am unclear on. I'm sure he will know what to do. Nykus asked us to transport him to the quiv homeworld of Melthos so he can pay us there. We would be taking a tourin lane directly to there from this system so there shouldn't be too much risk involved. I reluctantly agreed, knowing it would be the only way to get paid. I couldn't go to Krutos now that we are outlaws there.

As we were leaving the moonspider fleet, we get a call. It's from a young cha'el female named Livesz. She claimed to be Shev's sister, and wished to join us. Apparently she never liked her brother and considered herself freed from his oppression. She felt indebted to us. I reluctantly agreed and let her on board. I would be starting her on a trial period, an internship if you will.

We traveled to a lane leading directly to Melthos.

Entry 220

We pulled out of the lane in the Melthos system. The planet was a few hours journey away. But we found a larger ship hailing us. It's that hezak mercenary from the spa back on Krutos. He is here for Nykus alone, and offered to take him and do no harm to us. Part of me wanted to give him up, but a bigger part of me wanted to get paid, and this hezak merc wasn't offering any money. I tried bluffing that we didn't have him, but somehow he knew.

It was a good think that our new 'member', Livesz, knew how to fly. I immediately had her take the helm and fly our ship full speed toward planet Melthos. Once we reached the planetary defense fleet we would provide amnesty from the mercs.

The bigger merc ship was fast, but ours was slightly faster. The gunner aboard it wasn't a very good shot because we fared well getting past it. It released a small fighter though, which was very fast. The little craft wouldn't be able to travel tourin lanes, but it caught up to us. I got to the plasma cannon and took shots at it, but it persisted. It shot a torpedo which was able to get past our defenses. But the torpedo didn't explode. It attached, like a boarding pod. I didn't know of any that did that, especially since it would be impossible for anyone to survive aboard a torpedo that travels that fast and hits that hard.

It attached to our engine room, so I had Gra', Jin'kins, and the battlebred go check it out. I left Livesz manning the helm while I still worked on the fighter pursuing us.

The three found the torpedo did have occupants, but not biological ones. Four robots popped into the engine room and began establishing a foothold. It was a fierce fight, but they weren't attacking or sabotaging our engine like I thought they would, instead the robots were acting as signal relays for a hacker aboard the merc ship. I found myself in an electronic war with the mercs. It was tough, they had a skilled team of hackers. A few times they were able to power down my engines, causing the hezak ship to start gaining on us. I made it imperative that we killed the bots as soon as possible, or else we find ourselves assaulted by a much bigger ship.

Eventually the 3 warriors got them, and I was able to gain control of my ship again. Livesz throttled it back to full and we were leaving the merc ship behind. An intense close call.

Nykus better be legitimate with the amnesty claim, and he better have my money. At first I felt I may be overcharging him, but not so much anymore.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Adventures of a C.P.A. (Interlude)

I hope you have been finding the adventures of my wizard C.P.A., Flint Richards, at least somewhat interesting. He is definitely finding out there is much more in the world than meets the eye. I can only hope he survives and adapts to it.

One of the things about my character is his naivety, and learning magic through spells and enchantments. In this game there are 7 spheres of magic, and while most characters specialize in at least one or two spheres, Flint has some points in all 7. The idea is he has familiarity and some small ability to manipulate the different spheres because he found the root language of magic.
Mmmmm... leather.
I gave him an expensive pen which will double as his wand and inscription tool, and a Franklin Covey day planner, which he uses as his spellbook. I figured it would be a nice touch for a character with his background.
Spell transfer sticky notes!
So to get into the character a little, I went out and bought a Franklin Covey planner and started working on it to make it look like how a modern wizard's spellbook would look. This was an effort to get a little more into character during the game sessions.
My current character sheet.
This planner has 2 purposes: A visual prop for my character, and it also includes several game notes and rules, and his character sheet and stats. The funny thing is of all the uses for this planner, I don't use it to plan or date sessions. I have my cellphone for that. I imagine Flint has the same set-up. In a modern electronic world, his cellphone takes care of everything his planner would have. Now he finds a convenient zipper notebook with blank pages.

I thought I would include a few scans of the pages of Flint's spellbook. I made them up to look like the frantic scribblings of an excited person, inspired to get as much down on paper as he can.
Speaking of planners, Flint had a chance to look into the planner of their client from last session. The homunculus Cathryn Applegate.

So it featured a lot of very interesting things. First, and foremost, the planner wasn't hers. According to the cover page, it belonged to Bernard Applegate, her "father". I put the word father in quotes because of some other things Flint found. The planner, as it was originally used for, is chock full of numbers, personal notes, and other things. It also had pictures of Cathryn. Only in these photos she is different. Her hair and eyes were different color, but overall the same appearance. She is called Delilah in these photos, including a wedding photo to Bernard. Therein also lies information about a "mail order bride company", and paperwork for Delilah Anastova, a Russian immigrant brought over to marry Bernard Applegate.

So we know the following: Cathryn is russian. She is a homunculus, and was originally married to Bernard, but we assume something happened to reset her again, and he just changed her name, hair and eyes (somehow) and claimed she was his daughter, probably because he was aging and she wasn't.

Flint feels bad for the predicament Cathryn is in now. Not knowing anything about herself. So he now faces the decision to present all information he knows to her to help her get some answers, or help her start a clean slate. She must have found something that night at the marina to cause her to commit suicide, so she may be better off knowing nothing of her past, and yet it would be torture to have so many questions unanswered. Flint wasn't prepared for this sudden type of responsibility.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Serro's Ship Log

Entry 217

The moonspiders! The cursed moonspiders. Nykus finally revealed to me where we were headed, the main fleet and headquarters of the moonspiders. At least he tells me he has an IFF signal we can broadcast to prevent us from getting shot out of the void, and enough to speak directly with their leader, the spider sovereign. He can't tell me why until we get there in front of the sovereign. With that I upped my price up to 3 million credits. That would succeed in getting rid of 90% of the debt I took out on the ship. He insures me he is here on behalf of the Melthos government, and they are willing to provide whatever necessary to fulfil this mission. Apparently using Melthos branded ships for it would have been to conspicuous, so a private trader was the perfect cover.

The world we are seeking, which supposedly has the moonspider main fleet is still a few days away. If we get there, and there is nothing, I'm still charging full price.

Entry 218

The fleet was imposing. It's a massive grouping of ships, mostly small ones - transports and smaller, covering so much of the orbit of this cold world. They let us pass through because of that signal given to us by Nykus. The fleet commander directed us to a small inconspicuous courier ship among the fleet. It supposedly housed the spider sovereign. I got to thinking how great of an idea. What better way to hide your fleet leader than in a smaller ship. Most would prioritize a carrier or juggernaut. It could backfire though because a courier can't really take much of a hit. The Needle is a bigger ship.

Upon docking we are met with an armored escort to the main room of the ship, and there she was, the spider sovereign herself. A regal looking quiv with several limbs out her back, each controlling their own holo console. Upon seeing Nykus, she turns the consoles off, and folds her arms back, and greets him, but it is far from a friendly greeting.

Nykus explains the situation, and it was no less surprising to me. The new nation of Melthos is dying. They won the rebellion by the skin of their teeth, and with a few less than ideal worlds wrested free from Primeus, including their abused homeworld. Now they find that all the tourin lanes leading to and from their space are all slowing down, minimalizing outside trading and support. They need to make a bold move, and make it fast to keep the new way of life for the quiv alive. They wish to take Krutos. At first I was confused, then it made perfect sense. Krutos is the ideal tradeworld. All lanes leading to and from it are fast and healthy, and it's right on the edge of Primeus space, next to the Melthos border. Melthos controlling that world would be leagues of help for the nation, but a major blow to Primeus pride. If that wouldn't be stabbing the bug's nest you just escaped from, then I don't know what would.

Nykus went on to explain that according to the intel he just recieved from Jin'kins' package, Primeus was busy elsewhere. Their main defense fleet was united with Tinteron fighting something at the edge of known space. We don't know what, but now is the perfect time to strike Krutos, and Melthos needs the help of the moonspiders.

The sovereign seemed to be thinking it over, then said if she was to help, a few things would need to be done, one had to be taken care of right now. An angry looking cha'el stepped forward. The sovereign introduced him as Shevs, and he was the lifemate of the moonspider ship's captain Gra' killed a week ago.

We tried to offer up Nykus' bodyguard as an apology especially since the one we killed was a battlebred also, but he didn't seem interested, and charged Gra'. Shevs was a skilled cha'el psionic, and brandished a psi-blade and psi-shield. Gra' immediately went for a grapple, holding the cha'el in a deadly lock. He struggled the entire time while Jin'kins took shots with his claws. It was a close battle, the cha'el made a powerful mind attack which nearly stunned Gra', but they eventually finished him off. Onlookers were cheering at the spectacle and exchanging credits. I stepped in and appologized ot the sovereign about the cha'el's death, but mentioned he chose his fate. The sovereign didn't seem to mind. She agreed to discuss things privately with Nykus. We headed back to our ship.