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, May 24, 2013

My wife's first game of D&D (Part 2)

Last week I touched on the first RPG I ran for my wife. So the first big step was creating her character. Naturally I didn't want to bore her with different feats, the nuances of character creation, or all the different classes, so I wanted to keep it simple. I asked her what type of character she would like to play. Thinking of all the books you've read, the movies you've seen, what type of heroin would you like to be?

After bouncing some ideas back and forth, she fixated on a strong female warrior type reminiscent of some of the girls in Frank Frazetta's artwork. An artist we are both fans of. She also had the idea of an amazoness type warrior woman. So I figured the best character archetype would be a barbarian.

Now, True20 doesn't have character classes, which is what I like about it. Basically you can choose either the Expert, Adept, or Warrior character types. Warrior was the obvious one, but the choice of gear, skills, and feats are what separates her from a soldier. Giving her the quintessential 'Rage' feat, which would temporarily boost her stats seemed appropriate.

There was another key thing about RPG's that I wanted to drive home with my wife, and that was the RP part of RPG. I wanted her to create a backstory for her character that helped define her actions and decisions. One that gave her character a goal and demeanor instead of a sheet full of numbers you roll on. After some more lively brainstorming, we settled on the following:
Maevik was the daughter of the tribal queen of the Amazon forest tribe. This matriarchal society believes in strength and prowess of their leader. The tribal queen is required to have several daughters to determine who will be the next queen. There was Khyos, the first daughter, and then there was Maevik, the second. Khyos and Maevik never quite got along, mainly because they both knew that they would have to fight one day for the crowning headress. It didn't matter who was born first, it only mattered who would win in mortal combat.

Then came the fight for succession, and Maevik was beaten by her older sister. Unwilling to accept defeat, but having no choice, she ran away from her tribe, and absconded with the queen's sword, the Widowmaker, which was the symbol of the queen's power and authority. She also took one of the tribe's young dire wolves with her.

Maevik has been an outcast and hunted by her tribe for a year. She took work where she could get it, and has been living as an adventurer since. For a few months she has been traveling with the others of the party: the orc, Hogel Leftshooter, the dwarf Galazbryn, and the leader of the group, the tiefling named Verital.
You could imagine my pride when we came up with an actual interesting female character, one with flaws, strengths, and an interesting past that may provide an issue in her future. Beth seemed excited about the concept of Maevik, and her animal companion, the young dire wolf named Fang.

Soon we gathered around the table to start her first adventure. More on that next week.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Wartech Campaign: Experimental Rules (Part 2)

This is a continuation of reporting what experimental rules worked and what didn't for our Rogue Space Wartech campaign. Last week I explained the Skill system which worked really well.

Stun Points
We had given characters a second set of health points called Stun points. These were meant to represent your character's non-lethal damage. Losing all your stun points knocked you out cold. They were also easy to recover. Your character's stun points is just his/her health points divided by 2 (rounded down). Some weapons did stun damage only, and it would work well for psionics. Using and pushing psionics didn't eat up your health points, instead it did your stun points. This allowed for more liberal use of psionics without making them so deadly to the user.

Well this rule looked good on paper, but it really didn't effect play all that much. It only served to convolute the rules where they probably didn't need to be. Few things did stun damage and few times did we use our psionics and noticed any difference when using stun points instead of health points. So in short this rule really didn't add anything to game's experience.

Two Damage Types
The idea here was weapons do either Physical or Energy damage. Why? Because armor. Some armor would be more effective against energy weapons than physical weapons, and visa versa. So a weapon would be listed as something like M(ph) meaning Medium Physical damage, and some armor would have 2 defense values: M(ph)/L(en), meaning you roll Medium defense vs physical damage, and Light defense vs energy attacks.

Well this didn't really work out either. For simplicity most of the time the GM would stick with one damage type and then at some point you would forget there were 2 different damage types. Most armors too would just have the 1 defense die which did equal defense vs. both damage types. So this really didn't come into play much either, and only seemed to clutter up the character sheet.

Next week I will get into a few rules that actually worked really well.

Friday, May 17, 2013

My wife's first game of D&D (Part 1)

When my wife, Beth, first learned that I played super nerdy role-playing games like D&D, she had to rationalize dating me a little bit. It turned to one of those things where she didn't have to embrace it, or act on it, just support me loving it. I would occasionally regale her with tales on how awesome it is, but her eyes would glaze over like mine when she talked about shoes.

She is also an avid book reader, and we struck a deal that I would read one of her favorite books if she would read one of mine. So I couldn't think of a better book to get her to understand RPGs than this one. In case you are not familiar with this book, here is a brief synopsis:
Confessions of a Part-time Sorceress is a smart, humorous examination of the Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying game from a female gamer's point of view. The book delves into the myths and realities of gamer stereotypes. It explains how to build a character for a D&D game, how to shop for gear, how to play, and how to find the perfect gaming group, all the while exploring the things that make the D&D game a rewarding and recurring social experience for both men and women.
It's a great intro to D&D book for non-nerds because it is written by one who knew nothing of it going in. It was written for people exactly like my wife. She enjoyed the book, and then when she was done, she surprised me with the following words:
"You know, I would be up for the notion of trying a game of D&D."
I was excited and anxious. I had the opportunity give someone their first RPG experience. I haven't had that thrill since my first game ever. So I immediately began working on the game.

There were so many options for what game to play, but I decided to try something traditional. A fantasy game with some crawls and mystery. Standard fare. Also for the game system, I wanted to go with a simple lighter version of D&D. I found True20. Beth had a small fascination with the d20, so finding a simple d20 system worked great for that. I'm really not a fan of the d20 games and systems, but I find True20 to be the more tolerable. It's open ended enough to not be rigidly class-based and I like the narrative aspect of it. I wanted to avoid a game that focused on miniatures use. Luckily too the book came with an adventure module, one which would be the perfect little standalone adventure. I did want to make sure it was more than just a dungeon crawl grind-fest.

With that, we made characters. I got my brothers and sister in on the game. People that Beth would be comfortable playing with.

The party list consisted of the following:

Hogel Leftshooter
Jarom Swenson
Orc Scout - Male
A reclusive orc tracker who has definitely spent more time outside of civilization than within. He wields his bow with deadly precision, as well as a skinning knife which saw much use scalping the heads of his kills. He's also missing several fingers on his right hand. Nobody knows how.

Julia Swenson
Dwarf Warrior - Female
A headstrong but thoughtful dwarf fed-up with life amidst the hearth, seeking some thrill. She wields dual-swords and is always found on the front line protecting her companions.

James Swenson
Tiefling Fire Adept - Male
The manipulative and disgustingly handsome tiefling has been seeking to increase his power through experience. He has on himself some very rare tomes, of which no one knows how he came upon them. Fera te Fatar (Flame Lord's Edict - in demonic) and Anat DuForal (Anatomy of Us and Others - in elven)

Beth Swenson
Human Barbarian - Female
Then there's my wife's first character ever made. I will get more into her in next week's post, but for now here is a beautiful art piece Jarom made for her to commemorate this significant event in Beth's life.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Wartech Campaign: Experimental Rules (Part 1)

My brothers and I, and one of Jarom's friends (who's first experience roleplaying this was) ran a game set in our Wartech setting. We plan on making our own RPG system for it, but for now we just wanted to run a game that explored and developed the setting and events more than anything. And it worked quite well. Jarom's story arc he ran for us we can see as being a great Intro-to-Wartech module we would release for the game, and it would do well of establishing the setting, and the players therein.

So I thought I would write a couple small articles on what game and experimental rules we played it in. Again, this didn't use our planned game system, but instead we used Rogue Space. A quick and dirty simple system that would get the work done. But we wanted to go ahead and throw in a few hacks to try to emulate the feel of Wartech. I gave a brief description of those new rules in this post here. I will extrapolate on them in a few posts on which ones worked and which ones didn't.

Skill System
This was to be done in lieu of Backgrounds found in the Rogue Space rulebook. Once you got your FASER attributes distributed, you had some points to spend on skills. We did something like 10 points. We felt that worked for starting heroes that had some experience under their belt. (Younger upstart heroes could have something like 6 points, while seasoned veteran heroes had upwards of 16) Using a point, you could buy a skill and have a +1 in that skill. Then if you wanted to spend another point, you could raise that skill to a +2. Starting heroes could not have more than a +2 in a skill. Skills were grouped under the different FASER scores, so when it came time to do an action, you checked if you had a skill that covered that action, and for the roll you add the appropriate FASER score + that skill score. If you do not have a skill for the action, then you just roll the appropriate FASER score.
Example: Gra' was going to fire his gun on the pirates of the ship he was invading. This action would normally add just your Fighting score (+2), but since Gra' is skilled in Range Weapons (+2), he adds that as well. So he gets to add a+4 to his active test.
The idea behind this system was to be a little more specific than defining your character's career. So instead of just being a 'Ship Pilot' for the GM to decide what exactly that encompassed, you could specify what kind of Ship Pilot he was, and what other little things he was good at. Here is the list of skills we used for Wartech, and a brief description of what they covered:

  • Strategy = Understanding and executing tactics and tactical situations.
  • Athletics = Physical strength and prowess. Also deals with sports and throwing objects.
  • Acrobatics = Physical nimbility. Gymnastics and balance.
  • Endurance = Resisting pain and fatigue. Enduring punishment and damage.
  • Heavy Weapons = Use of large mounted or held weapons. Indirect fire weapons.
  • Range Weapons = Use of most firearms and portable ballistic weapons.
  • Melee Weapons = Use of bladed or bludgeoning weapons.
  • Martial Arts * = Skilled hand to hand fighting styles. Highly disciplined. (Your unarmed attacks can deal L(ph) damage and you gain a +1 to defense roll vs. melee attacks when in a fighting stance)
  • Brawling = Brutal hand to hand fighting. Unarmed fighting. Grappling. (Your unarmed attacks deal L(ph) damage or M(ph) stun damage)
  • Intimidate = Threatening and striking fear into the target for cooperation.
  • Survival = Ability to survive with low food and water and hostile conditions.
  • Manipulation = Manual dexterity and control. Sleight of hand.
  • Stealth = Art of sneaking, hiding, and moving unheard and unseen.
  • Vehicles = Standard surface or low altitude vehicle piloting/driving.
  • Aircraft * = High altitude or low orbit vehicle piloting.
  • Spacecraft * = High orbit or interplanetary vehicle piloting.
  • Perception = Alertness, awareness, observation, and intuition.
  • Investigation = Searching, tracking, interrogation, and noticing details.
  • Business = Knowledge of existing businesses and business protocols and operations.
  • Archaeology * = Any history dealing with pre-known time. Usually before the existing calendar.
  • History = Recorded history of the factions and recent planetary records.
  • Law = General galactic law knowledge, and protocols.
  • Biology * = Knowledge of life science. Botany, genetics, zoology, etc.
  • Physics * = Knowledge of physical science. Chemistry, astronomy, planetology, etc.
  • Medicine * = Diagnosing and treating medical issues. Surgery and advanced first aid.
  • Navigation * = Procedure of navigating on the surface and in a star system.
  • Subspace * = Anything dealing with Tourin lanes or subspace knowledge and navigation. (Note: Tourin lanes are the Wartech setting's form of FTL, more on that in a later post.)
  • Religion = Knowledge of current religions and their beliefs and practices.
  • Streetwise = Know-how and protocols of underground or street culture.
  • Charm = Interacting with others to change attitudes and even seduction.
  • Bluff = Lying or convincing of falsehoods or avoiding information leaks.
  • Diplomacy = Reaching agreements or understandings with same or different cultures.
  • Command = Leading others and inspiring courage and communicating in combat.
  • Insight = Reading mannerisms or sensing moods or motives in someone.
  • Resolve = Inner strength to deal with mental attacks or stress. Used in keeping yourself from dying when at 0 hit points, and to keep yourself from getting knocked out when at 0 stun points.
  • Entertainment = Performing arts. Singing, dancing, comedy, drama, etc.
  • Meditation * = Enhance focus and concentration for healing and checks. Used for negative effects from psionics and for recovering stun points.
  • Technology = Repairing and technical use checks. Deals with mechanics and electronics.
  • Computers = Computer operation and advanced use. Deals with hacking.
  • Demolitions = Setting explosives and creating them.
  • Security = Knowledge of security systems and protocols.
  • Systems = Knowledge of ship and large vehicle systems and operation.
  • Creativity = Talent or aptitude in creating anything convincing or immersive.
  • Armor = Operating features of advanced power armor. Such as CAFs.
Note 1: Any skill listed with an asterisk* cannot be used untrained. Meaning someone not trained in Physics cannot attempt any checks that Physics may cover.
Note 2: You really do not have to list all the above skills on your character sheet, or memorize them all. Only the ones that you purchased for your character. With the exception of the * skills, you are assumed to have a +0 score in the ones you did not buy.
Note 3: In some cases, just having the skill may not require a check. If a character is trained in Vehicles, he can drive the car casually to their destination without any issue, but if a character were not so trained, then he would probably need to do Acquiring attribute checks to make sure he doesn't make a mistake!

This system worked very well, and we loved the feel of it. The list of skills can be easily altered to fit the feel of any campaign.

More experimental rules in a later post next week.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Adventures of a C.P.A. (Interlude 2)

(The following events take place a few days after the events of Episode 2 and before the events of Episode 3. It also deals with new information found in the last Interlude.)

Flint was nervous about giving her the book. He knew she was a homunculus, a magical creature entirely humanoid and built for a purpose. He knew she also killed herself, and when they die, the don't really die, but (for lack of a better term) reboot. Things about them change. Their physical appearance, identity, and even memories. He knew all this from his fellow companion, Kent. Kent too was a homunculus. He had his change a long time ago, and has been searching for answers since.

The dilemma was should he let her start a new life and figure things out on her own, even if it meant confusion or her past? Or did he give her the book, the planner she had kept all her notes and pictures in, to piece history together, even if it meant it could lead her to the same place she was before, and her suicide. Flint decided for the latter. He himself had questions of his past, particularly that of his father whom he never met, and would do anything for answers.

The doctor lead him to the hospital room with "the girl that fell in the lake a few nights ago, and with amnesia." At least that was the only description he could give them. Luckily they were agreeable in letting him visit, even though he had no name to give. Flint must have been one of those guys that seemed harmless enough.

She was sitting up, looking out the window. It was Cathryn alright, but different. The beautiful features and shape of her face were unmistakable, but instead of the long straight blond, she was a readhead, with changed skin complexion and faint dots of freckles. Flint nervously approached.


"It's Kate." It's an odd thing, paradox is. The universe fights what it can't rationalize. When a homunculus undergoes its 'reboot', it knows its new name, and most of its records disappear, except a few which identify it with its new name. They must have found a driver's licence on her with the changed picture and name, hence why she wasn't a Jane Doe at the hospital.

"Sorry, my name is Flint Richards, C.P.A."

"Hello, Flint. Are you my accountant?" The question caught him off guard a little bit. He did not expect it for some reason.

"Uh...yeah." It was a lie, but he at least had an 'in' to her life. The group did want to keep tabs on her, because it could lead to insight about that mysterious case of which they had no answers to.

"Well, at least I know two things: I fell in the lake, and I have an accountant."

"I have something for you, it's a book that belonged to you. Hopefully it has some answers to your questions, and even about, your father."

"My father?"

"Yes. I'm sorry to tell you he passed away shortly before you fell in the lake." He reached to hand her the book. Just as their hands got close, their fingers touched briefly. A faint spark jumped. At first to anyone it would seem like static, but the expression on her face, and the feeling Flint got told different. Flint could feel like his life was a sudden open book to her, as though he knew she could 'read' him.

"You're a wizard." She said absently. Flint was in stunned silence. It seemed like hours passed between them, without a word, but it was only half a minute.

"Uh... yeah..."

She took the book, and flipped through the pages, pausing on the ones filled with crammed words and phrases that made no sense when Flint first perused the book. "But you are not with any of the houses."

The truth was the magical houses remained a mystery to Flint. He knew they existed, but didn't know much about them. "Are you of any of the houses." He asked her, assuming her in a trance, like she could answer any question. "Your father?"

She flipped through a few more pages of scribbles, and said "Bonisagus. I don't know him, but he must be Bonisagus." She runs her fingers accross the photo of him, and her from a past life. "It's sad. I don't recognize him, but it makes me sad."

Her sad eyes looked up at Flint, then turned to puzzlement. "Why aren't you of any of the houses?"

Flint had no answer.

"They're coming for you, Flint. They are coming for you because of who your father is. The Fraternal Order of Hermes will be contacting you soon." Her words didn't seem to come from her, more like coming from a machine, which Flint found even more unsettling than the news. "But different houses within the Order may contend for your membership and loyalty."

By this time Flint had already begun to back away. He didn't want to appear rude or insensitive, but it was too much for him to take in. "Uh, well, ok. Um. Here" He fumbled in his suit pocket for a card "Here is my card. If you have any questions, or need any help, uh, call me."

Just as he turned to leave, heart racing, she called to him. "Flint!" His head turned back only far enough to see her out of the corner of his eye. He didn't want her to see his panic. "Pick your associations carefully." She returned to the book, flipping through the pages like a speed reader.

He barely made it to the parking lot before he dropped to his knees, wheezing heavily. Instinctively he began reaching for his inhaler. What did she mean? What about the houses? His father? Who was he? Was he a wizard too? Was Hermes coming for him because his father was a Hermes as well? Or were they enemies?

The familiar touch of the cold inhaler met his lips and he sucked the spurt of medicine, bringing immediate relief. If they came for him, what then?

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Kickstarter: Engine Heart

If I were to suggest to someone the idea of playing Wall-E the RPG, they may laugh it off as a joke. But then they would think about it for a while, and actually start to consider it.

Not necessarily playing as one of the main characters from the movie, but imagine the same world that Wall-E survived in. Now imagine you are a different robot somewhere else, who has miraculously survived just as Wall-E has, and built up your own quirky binary personality. Maybe you survived because you adapted, adopting new directives for survival. Maybe you survived by keeping with your original programming, even if it means danger to others around you.

So I present to you, Engine Heart, the RPG about playing simple helpful bots in a post apocalyptic world. Nobody knows what happened to the humans, not even the bots. They just endure.

This was a game that was created on my forum I like to frequent, and I had a small part in its creation (very small, more like encouragement and surface feedback) like the other RPG I presented here. It's made by a talented game designer known on my forum only as Viral. He has made other little quirky titles, but Engine Heart is the one that is lauded as his greatest creation.

The game is already published, and you can buy a print, but he is doing a Kickstarter campaign to get copies made so they can be shipped to local game stores. I talked with my store owner here in Idaho and got him to volunteer to be on the list for stores that will receive copies when the Kickstarter finishes. He has already reached his funding goal, so this isn't a call for support. But check it out. You can download it for free here. Read the book and tell me you don't want to run a game of friendly robots in a harsh world.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Adventures of a C.P.A. (Episode 5)

It was just supposed to be a quick trip. They don't remember anymore why they were out on an errand. They just know what it turned into. The day was beginning to end, and the sun was about to set to a new full moon. John was still back at Nightfall headquarters because he doesn't do well during day trips. Kody noticed the fuel getting low on the suburban, so he pulled into a gas station for a fill-up. It had been a long drive, and the rest of the group saw this as an opportunity to stretch their legs.

Flint needed to pee pretty bad, and went straight for the bathrooms. Kent and Hank went inside to see what snacks fancied them. Kody began to fill the tank when he heard a biker gang pull in. Six heavy bikes with burley, leather clad, bearded men pulled into the station. Kody couldn't help but notice the beads of sweat they were all dripping, and the crazed and panicked look on their faces. He assumed they were meth-heads by their demeanor, then he overheard their conversation:

"Man I miscalculated that trip. I didn't realize there would be so much construction on the freeway."
"It's almost nightfall, what are we gonna do?"
"It's ok, we just gotta find a place to hole up for the night."
"Wait, anyone see Kevin?"
"Shit! Where's Kevin? Fan out, find Kevin!"

Flint was finishing up in the bathroom when a huge biker stormed inside the room. At first glance something seemed off about him. His leathers were barely fit over his body, stretched tight, and his helmet looked like a child's size compared to his head. Then the man started grunting in pain, and got bigger. The jacket and pants began to rip from the strain, and his helmet popped off. Flint backed off and looked looked into the mirror. No reflection. Weirder still while he looked in the mirror, he heard nothing. He glanced back at the changing biker and heard the painful cracking, tearing, and now growling. Then back at the mirror; no reflection still and silence. He would have to ponder that later because he then faced a giant silver haired werewolf. Flint cried out for help.

The other bikers now knew where Kevin was. Two of them rushed in the store toward the yelling. They piled into the door, but the beast held its massive arm out and kept it closed. They began pounding on it; "KEVIN!" Kody reacted to the commotion as well, following the 2 bikers to the door.

Flint quickly pulled out his sticky pad and pen/wand and scribbled down a quick protection spell, then slapped the note on his shirt, but it was too late. The beast had bent down to bite him on the shoulder. Luckily his scrawny frame and response made it only a flesh wound.

Kody was joining the bikers and couldn't get the door open. Seeing a necessity to help his friend, he shifted into his Kodiak bear form. Hank saw this and immediately turned to the attendant behind the counter. "Believe me when I say this, but we are not here to rob you. Is there anyone else working here?"

In a stuttered foreign accent, he said "Hajim is working in the back."

"Good, get down behind the counter and don't come up for anything." The man drops to the floor.

"Wait!" interrupts Hank, "Can I get a quick pick?" A shaking hand reaches up and presses the button on the register, printing the lotto ticket.

Kent, never without a sidearm, pulls it out and rushes to one of the bikers at the door. He pulls the man back and slams him against the wall, demanding an explanation. The man goes from a panicked visage, to a completely straight calm look, and says: "It's a full moon. Crazy things happen during a full moon." In almost an instant the man transformed into a black haired werewolf, as well as the other at the door. It threw Kent off and across the room.

Flint had reeled from the bite, and scrambled under a bathroom stall. He pressed his hands against the stall door and quickly chanted a Matter spell. The stall's material shifted from its cheap graffiti'd painted aluminum, to a solid wall. He felt his chest begin to tighten and the shortness of breath. Instinctively he reached for his inhaler and took a hit.

The bear called Kody was able to pile into the bathroom now that the wolf was distracted. Without skipping a beat he slammed into the giant beast and up against the bathroom wall. Slamming repeatedly the two created a massive hole in the cinder-block wall and rolled outside.

Kent was already back on his feet. He knew he had to get to the suburban because his bag of weapons were in the back, as well as the silver bullets. He had to dodge a few of the other now-werewolves on his way there. Finally getting to the bag, he grabbed his B.A.R. and the clip of silver tipped rounds.

Hank was facing one of the werewolves now, but he noticed it struggling. Almost as if it was trying to control its own actions. Finally instinct got the better of it and lunged at Hank with its claws. A deep gash came in on his chest, knocking him down. Then the creature's head splattered open, and it fell limp. Hank saw the standing figure of Kent, rifle aimed. The body fell to the floor, back in human form. There were more still. Hank teleported himself behind the counter. The attendant was no longer there. He must have run off. Underneath the counter he noticed a shotgun hanging up. He quickly grabbed it and aimed up, ready to shoot the next thing that looked over.

While Flint had calmed down, a wolf's head with yellow eyes peaked under the stall. In a deep growl and in the best audible voice it could muster, it said "Are...you....okay?"

"Uh.." said stunned Flint "Yeah?"


Meanwhile outside the hole of the bathroom, the silver werewolf had made it back on top from the melee with Kody, and it bit into his neck. Blood poured from the wound, but luckily got mostly flank. Kody began smacking back with his giant bear paws. He also saw a new set of black werewolf hands reach around the silver wolf's neck, chocking it. Kody had the presence of mind to see it was trying to get the big one off of him. The large silver werewolf couldn't take the beating much more and fell unconscious. Another black werewolf arrived and joined his peer. Police sirens were heard in the distance. They both shifted into regular wolves, nuzzled the body of the silver werewolf, then ran off into the night distance.

Kent had made quick work of the rest of them, leaving the remaining 3 as corpses in the station. He was changing his clip when he too heard the sirens. He joined Kody, who was human again, as they stood over the body of the silver werewolf. They both looked at each other, having the same thought. They couldn't let a dangerous and out of control creature such as this loose. Two of the others seemed to be able to keep control, but the rest did not. Especially this one. Kent fired a round into its head.

The group was able to quickly get to the suburban and drive off. Except Kody. He took one of the bikes. They rode off before the police arrived. The next day they all saw the report in the paper of a biker gang vandalizing and shootout of a gas station.