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Sunday, 3 September 2017

Friday Night Fight 2e: The Second Match

The match with Lamar Hart before the trainer had stopped shouting at me. At least he'd stop doing that during the match!
Too bad it's another Smoker...only three rounds of silence!

First round:
I began by closing with a hook that he defended. He met me with a jab that I admit I felt. Then another.
And then I dived under the damn jabs and hit him in the ribs, and again, and then I clocked him in the kisser, and on the ear, pushing him back to the ropes.
Then I kept bashing him, finding his eye, which started to swell. I swear the referee was considering a standing KO, but the guy raised his gloves, no problem, and even hit back.
Then I started going for his head. Hit him with a good left hook, then a right. I bet his ears were ringing!
So I continued with an uppercut to the jaw, of course. I thought he was only holding because of the ropes! 
And then he managed to cover up while I was trying to give him a big swing, and managed a clinch. Lucky bastard.
Well, we were still in the first part of the round...

I closed fast, but he met me with a right straight, putting me on the ropes. I tried to lean back and hook, and somehow the nooks of our elbows met in the air, and we got into a clinch. I guess he'd had the same idea.
We both used the time until the end to recover as much as possible, and then he managed to clinch me a couple more times, because we both knew him to be in worse shape. But it was an unanimous 10:9 for me.

Second Round
The less one says about the second round, the better. If it wasn't for the first round, I'd be sorry for not delivering the blood the public had come to see.
I mean, I clocked him once or twice, but not nearly enough to be decisive. The judges decided that the round was 10-10, the motherwhorin' bastards.

The Third Round was 10-10 again. He got a jab or two on me, and I got a left hook in, but it didn't connect well.
Too bad he wasn't a chick. The mudwrestling might have had a point, then.
Sure, given the first round, I'm the winner. But the trainer's going to beat me sore with the pads!

Well, I got some fame out of it, or should I say, notoriety.

Next opponent is Egar Garcia, said the trainer. Classical swarmer, not much of a punch, but steady and has quick reflexes.
I wondered whether he's scared already?
He'd better be. I'll give him all the reasons he might need.

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Friday Night Fight 2e:

This post is about the actual play of a wargame, for a change. Namely, it's Friday Night Fight 2e by Two-Hour Wargames (interesting name for a company, I'll admit).

Now, you'd ask, what happened? Why is Asen playing a boxing ("skirmish"?) wargame, and solo?
Well, I was bored. And I was looking for another of their games, Red Streets Blue Mats, which is about playing a NHB-style fight by yourself.
Didn't find it in the Wargaming Vault, though. So I bought this one, and resolved to see if it can do Rocky, or Hajime no Ippo.
Judge for yourself. I'll only give you an account of the match from the point of view of "my boxer".

Luke Zabiewski was born to fight, they said. Often, while spilling out their teeth.
He was never slow to punch, and seemed eager to hurt people.

I had a lot riding on that match. But Jack Wilingham didn't exactly worry me. He had no weak spots, some said.
I preferred to think of it as "he had no strong spots".
A shortsighted brawler...heh. I intended to do short work of him.
I hoped he'd see my face well before the lights go out for him, but we had a 3-rounds Smoker to resolve. 

(Stats-wise, Luke is an average skill, with aggression that's totally noteworthy).

1st round:
Gained a point during the stalking part. However, all I achieved in the first part, was a clinch. Or rather, several clinches. Screw that guy! Who stalls for time in the first round?
It kinda repeated itself...meaning, I actually landed a jab, and went on to slugging it out. Well, at least this time I scored another point, and was trying to press my advantage. I tried my best shots...and the bastard clinched me again. WTF?
I think he's really scared. I mean, I know most of my rivals are - I have a reputation - but I expected better of this guy!
Still, I'm winning on points...
Points! Hah, that's a joke!

2nd round
I started the next round by aggressively smiling - showing my teeth, really - and a flurry of attacks, which netted me a point.
But then the bastard went on me like a madman, bashing me in the kisser and taking me to the ropes.
Well, that's what we're talking about! Yeah, baby, let's start an exchange!
...except we ended in a clinch. Bastard hits harder than he looks!
After the referee broke us up, I tried to clear my head, but the ringing in my eyes still prevented me from hearing the public. Probably for the better.
The fight was slow in the second half of the round. And I've got no doubts the scorecards gave him that round, after he outboxed me.
I'll show you outboxing, you mother...ahem!

3rd Round
Didn't manage to recover fully, but I still want to bash him! He went into attack mode, again.
Instead, however, I gave him a good jab, and he danced away. Or he tried to - I followed him with another couple jabs, and leaft hook. Sure, I gained points, but more importantly - this time, it was his turn to go to the ropes!
He tried to cover up, sure. And I kept bashing him, through and around his guard, from all possible angles, splitting his lip and chasing him to the corner.
After that, I kept bashing, ringing his ears, swelling his eye, and hooking him in the body. He tried to counter, but I swayed back and landed another shot on his nose, instead.
It was maybe luck, and maybe my trainer's advice had worked. But this made me thinking that it was time to focus on his head...So I did, and after a couple tries going for his temple the point of his jaw, I slipped a shot to the side of the jaw instead. He felt down with a satisfying thump, let me tell ya!
He did manage to get up, however. I knew it wasn't a good enough shot, but hoped he'd stay down.
Didn't matter. He had no head for boxing, not now. He was trying to hang up to the end, and we both knew it. I was on him like stink on shit, hitting him with a jab on the way in, and kept attacking him.
We ended the round in the clinch. Was that his specialty or what? He should try wrasslin' at this rate!
But it was clear who had won, right? I mean, he'd just got knocked down.
Sure enough, the judges gave me the win. It was even an unanimous decision!
I looked at my enemy. He hadn't fallen. Should I bash him again?
He looked startled, as if he'd felt what I'm thinking, somehow. So I turned my back to him, and went to my corner.
I was going to get an earful for not finishing him, and I deserved it.

My next enemy was going to be some Lamar Hart. Better boxer than WJ or me, they said, but he forgets himself when he thinks he's ahead. Add to it that he doesn't like being punched...
I didn't expect to see much issues with him, not once I got to punch him.
The trick was going to be to land those first punches.

So, that's it for today...and for a couple days more, I suspect. But it was hugely entertaining, so I'd expect to play it again!

Monday, 28 August 2017

My Tekumel Campaign

This isn't an Actual Play Report. But it's probably the closest I'm likely to get to an APR for my Tekumel campaign (which is currently on hold).
Mostly, it's info the characters had uncovered.

Here's things I can share with you...strictly non-canon (hear me, Tekumel Foundation:D?), of course!

  1. There's Grey Ssu, and Black Ssu. You know you're in trouble when you see the Red Ssu: roughly average height between the Grey and Black, same form, masters of Ssuavate...they're the "commando forces". And they know strategy and tactics, too!
  2. If you see the Green Ssu, you're doing fine: those are field researchers. It is in your best interest to kill the Green Ones ASAP, because they're skilled in remaining unseen, planting incendiary devices, and pulp-science-enhanced-unwholesome-acts. Of course, they avoid doing either when in their own territory!
  3. The appearance of Green and Red Ssu might be tied to recent genetic experimentation by the Black Ssu. The purpose of such is unknown.
  4. Another hypothesis is that they might be stages for the Ssu. I mean stages in the lifecycle of the species - like the egg-caterpillar-cocoon-butterfly cycle, except with generations of individuals. If this might be possible, it is unknown whether either Red or Green are the last stage.
  5. Zuur is more and more being used to de-stabilize select human settlements. Usually those that get the cheapest sales are also those that have the most strategic position from the last place where the Red Ssu had been noticed.
  6. The Food of the Ssu has been surprisingly versatile lately. Sometimes, it looks like plants that are edible to humans...but remains poisonous. Worst part of it: some people swear that small patches are able to move. The smaller the patch, the faster the wonders what a single "Ssu vegetable" would be capable of!

And that's it for today. Stay tuned for the next update!

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Open RPG Day: Feng Shui 2 One-Shot

This Saturday, I ran Feng Shui 2 on the Open RPG Day in Sofia. 

A warehouse full of Red Lotus thugs, led by a sorcerous "dailo" is processing cannibalistic magical ingredients.
A ninja named Kenji is watching from the beams under the roof, as a police car crashes inside. Cai Tao, a cop from the Occult Investigations department jumps out and offers them a surrender.
Just as this happens, the back door opens, and Granny Hu (pictured below on the right) enters, holding a mobile phone. "Sorry, young man, but do you know how to read that message I've received?"
That's how the game began. Soon after, the thugs realised that Granny Hu has an alternate form. The one on the left is still Granny Hu!
(The player sketched the pictures herself - just to show me what her Creature looks like. You can see her DeviantArt on the picture).

And now a better shot of Granny Hu. Hoping the player would ink the monster, too, at some point...

And then they defeated the sorcerer who was sacrificing the mooks to protect himself, found clues for the plans of the Red Lotus, and discovered they all have a grudge with Big/Red/Fat Chu, a Lotus sorcerer. Oh, and there was a portal to the Netherworld.
Things proceeded from there, in typical Feng Shui manner. In the Netherworld, they learned about the Chi War (by meeting exiles). Kenji got hired by the Lotus as a hitman. The name of his first target was...Cai Tao. The head was to be delivered to Big Chu.
Of course, they improvised a news story proving that Cai Tao has been kidnapped, and went to meet him.
Kenji got cursed with financial ruin, but they killed Chu, who was the focus of their melodramatic hooks. The killing blows - delivered in the same shot - were both suitably bloody for HK cinema (explosions on both attacks).
And then Kenji took out an MP5K and shot the whole clip into Chu's body, for good measure. After that, he reloaded.
Threatening Kenji with ruin brings out the worst in him, I can report.

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Stunning Beauty Chronicles, part 8 (WHoOG)

It's time to summarize a few more sessions. Link to the previous update.

Last time, we realized it's time to begin the long path to Bone Kingdom. But first, we had to gather some entourage.
We signaled the Two-Timing Cockerel that the Jade Maidens are here. He went to talk to "the beautiful one", Zhun Bo, and returned thoughtful. "She's in love with someone", he said, being an expert in love matters, "but her sister Zheng Di is also beautiful".
My wife went to talk to Zhun Bo, because she was curious. When she returned, she shared her observation that the Jade Maiden's tone changed when she was speaking of Brother Wolf.
And she had asked her if she'd like to come and help us on a mission that might help Brother Wolf. She said she could destroy any magic items she finds!
(Pay attention: any items we find are obviously not found by her).

The next morning, both Zhun Bo and Zheng Di were ready to depart. Another person we didn't expect was also with us.
The Well-Kept Lion!
My wife sneaked into Brother Wolf's fortress and told Mirror Boy to come with us. And she committed arson, destroying the room with the mirror, and breaking another mirror to leave charred remains behind.

She barely arrived, and Brother Wolf's student - the hald-deaf one with white-streaked hair - caught up with us. She also wanted to join.
Did she hope we'd find a way to heal her? Or was she just bored? We didn't inquire, and just offered her a place in our column.

Soon after, we had a double marriage (presided by the Righteous Scholar - also known as "my pen-pal" - with me assissting him). Two-Timing Cockerel married the witch's daughter that we'd found in the village (see the previous update) and Big Sister married the Well-Kept Lion.
We kinda had helped to arrange this... Like, we noticed he is talking a lot with her, and both are almost equally tall.
"Well-Kept Lion, what do you think of Biggest Sister? She's a servant of the clan now, and we look after our own!"
"She's nice! I can grapple with her without breaking her."
"Care to marry her? You'd make a good husband for her - you're tall enough. But if you don't, I should keep looking - she needs a good, tall one that she wouldn't look at from above...too much!"
"It's a bit sudden..."
"Sure, just let me know before we reach the next village."
He went to talk to Biggest Sister. Then the two asked me to add them to the ceremony, which is how we had a double marriage.

I know my wife discussed life, philosophy and the future plans with her niece, Two-Timing Cockerel's daughter. I guess it was a lively discussion, because at some point, they left and returned with their clothes in relative disarray. Nothing surprising for the Silken Robe Society...or for any other xia clan: for those of you with a mind in the gutter, the two had fought, not f...
Oh, and I'm proud to announce that my wife had won.
I also hear she had sparred with one of the Jade Maidens (surprisingly, Zheng Di - the calmer one that's not in love with anyone...yet). How or why this happened, I'm not sure at all. I guess it was another discussion (she mentioned something about discussing family and the uses of magic items, but I wasn't interested in the content).

I'm just proud to announce that so far, Stunning Beauty Team had scored a 2:0 in the spars.
Me? I almost sparred Zheng Di, too (and only learned about my wife's spar later), after we discussed their sect's policy on marriage and progeny - namely, they support celibacy and adopt homeless children, who grow as "adopted by the sect". While I agree with the latter part, it seems to me that this isn't properly Dehuan: without the children being adopted in a family, who would take care of their ancestors' spirits after they pass away?
We do have our own practices in Silk Robe Society, yes - but those practices in no way prevent us from doing the right thing. My brothers and sisters, for example, receive a monthly donation since I've been rich enough to afford it, and my venerable parents receive a greater one.
For some reason, however, Zheng Di took my philosophical objections as an attempt to persuade her to do something about it. I was trying to have a discussion, dammit! I mean, I know the Two-Timing Cockerel is likely going to pick her up, make her fall in love, and marry her - he's got practice.
What I really wanted to see was how her views would change after that! But to do that, I needed to know what her views are now.
Screw her (not literally). She was so unconcerned with politeness that I almost considered getting rude* without a formal challenge! Then I considered issuing a formal challenge - though I don't believe power proves anything (or else, Da Su Su would be in the right...which is impossible for someone as stupid as her).
And then my displeasure with her manners took over, and I simply left with a "ok, I guess we're on the same side, at least - we'll keep our side of the deal**, no need to . Been avoiding her since then, too - which means I've been hanging out with Mirror Boy and the Righteous Scholar (both of which would be on the Jade Maidens "to kill" list, if they knew those two are actually magic items and not humans).

One day, Mirror Boy found a path in the forest. Well, he didn't really find it...he could only sense it, and only with his eyes closed.
Luckily, it happened when me and my wife were nearby, so he told us so. We put hands over his eyes and he lead us in the a girl that looked great. The boy looked her with his mouth wide open, which reminded me I had to give him a bees-and-birds speech, and explain why women are necessary for procreation of humans and how that works, exactly (remember - technically Mirror Boy only has a father...though I have my own theories).
We followed the path, and found a fox demon. She offered to take some of our power, and an epic battle followed, in which... we captured her. (With the help of TTC - Mirror Boy ran to call his daddy...literally).
Then we made her an offer, because my wife wanted a fox pet. Regular nourishment for service (it doesn't kill people with our level of kung-fu)...or a honour place in my wife's rack, in her new guise as "fox skin".
No, fox demons don't get fair treatment as prisoners. And that's my wife's good side, anyway...
Foxy almost ran away, but being curious, she returned. And in the end, she agreed to our conditions, giving us a vow. We, in turn, vowed to chase her to the end of the Middle Kingdom and beyond, should she renege on her vows.
More importantly, in the cave - a former temple of some "phoenix" sect - we found some wall paintings showing a secret Phoenix technique.
We had Righteous Scholar copying it, and then we did our best to destroy the entry to the temple.

Later, my wife had a discussion about life, the universe, and fate - with Zheng Di. Sister Fox was mentioned, and Zheng Di mentioned the possibility that it might be that her fate is to die from this poison. She also pointed out that Brother Wolf is killing people in order to prolong his sister's life.
My wife returned in a hurry, got a horoscope reading, and found out that yes, indeed, Sister Fox was fated to die by the poison. Only the Life-Preserving Stone had prevented it for so long.
So my wife sent Foxy to steal the stone from Brother Wolf.
The fox returned with the stone.
Multiple lives had been saved. But Sister Fox was going to die at the end of the month. Such is life.
Me? I was glad I didn't have to make that decision myself - she only announced it in retrospect, as my PC is her PC's husband.

*In the wuxia sense of "getting rude", also known as "applying boot to the butt".
**As mentioned in the previous episode, my wife actually concluded it in such a way that we don't need to help them find magic objects.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Musings after reading World of Gor and Tales of Gor

I have nothing but good words about the World of Gor. It is an almost invaluable* the world-setting as presented in the novels. Period. No objections on it.
I have, so far (I haven't read it to the end, but I'm close) one objection on Tales of Gor. (As an aside, do you know how often I have that few objections? It's an amazing feat that Desborough's book only provokes that few objections from me).

What is that one thing that I disagree with?
"Only the Panni** have systematized unarmed combat. The rest of Goreans rely on (natural ability)". I might be paraphrasing it slightly.
But this contradicts the books - in many, many places.
First, it is known that even peasants practice wrestling. Wrestling is always the first systematized style to emerge wherever humans live, but rarely remains the only one, unless the practitioners wear heavy armour (not the case on Gor). And given how many empty-handed styles have evolved from the use of weapons, it just makes no sense to me.

Second, the fighting slaves are mentioned to be "the real masters of unarmed combat" on Gor. Who trains them? (Hint: probably warriors, if they're lucky). And I can't believe the Caste of Assassins would have overlooked the use of such techniques to quickly subdue and kill a target that's hard to reach with weapons - say, a rich Merchant.

Third, Tarl and others repeatedly show quite high levels of mastery of the unarmed combat in the series. Here's an example I found in Magicians of Gor.
"I seized one of the lads by the wrist and, drawing him quickly across and about my body, and over my extended right leg, flung him to the stones, where I held him, my grip shifted now to the palm of his hand, his wrist bent, far back. He screamed with pain. Another fraction of a hort, the least additional pressure, and his wrist would be broken."
That's a move that's well-known to everybody who has ever trained in martial arts. But I don't remember Tarl having been a fighting slave - and anyway, he was doing such moves after the first time he was on Gor, while exiled on Earth.
Another example is at the end of the books where an Earthman brought to Gor obtains freedom (after being a Fighting Slave...sorry for not digging the exact title, but I can guess it was Something of Gor).
There's a moment when a group discusses killing a man empty-handed. One of the men gathered says something like "maybe, but only if you're very strong".
An Warrior corrects him: "It doesn't require strength, just skill".
The former Fighting Slave merely nods and confirms.

Thus, I'd conjecture that unarmed combat should be an option for both Warriors and Peasants, not to mention Assassins (and former Fighting Slaves). Though of course, weapon skills should be higher and more valuable - but one can hope the fighting system itself would take care of that!

That aside, I admit I'm tempted to produce a table for Gorean Chess. It sure seems to have...unexpected possibilities!

*Well, technically, I know exactly how much it's worth - just check the price on Drivethru;). But if you plan to run this game, you really want the setting book.
**Japanese transplanted on Gor.

Monday, 8 May 2017

The story of my Exaltation

That's about my current character, the Patrician of the Realm (in Exalteds's...
Last session he got Exalted. As the GM put it, "you can't get any better as Solar material than that" (Solars are Exalted by the head of the setting's pantheon, the most powerful god of them all - and are thus the most powerful Exalted. She thinks they're also the most arrogant...which I wouldn't dispute).
How did I prove myself arrogant enough to get Exalted (after quite a few sessions of play)? By negotiating, believe it or not!

It was a good negotiation with Fair Folk. These are, in Exalted, the kind of "fairies" you see in old tales - the kind that come, charm you, steal your soul, and age your body beyond repair;).
Then they make a tale about it, because Fair Folk are creatures of tales.
Now, one you have a picture of the Fair Folk in mind, imagine meeting old, powerful Fair Folks which were powerful enough that decades ago to have captured a Lunar Exalt, chosen by the second greatest goddess out there. (How did I know that? Well, that's the Lunar that had accompanied me to that place, as she had volunteered to guard me - I'm starting to think she's developing a thing for me...)
Imagined those Fair Folk? Good.
Those are the Fair Folk I negotiated with from the position of strength.
Before becoming an Exalted myself - remember, I was still an unproven mortal.
After transgressing on their turf, which - in that area - would grant them "rights" over my soul.
Insolence, you say? It's part of the genre!
Hey, the very reason we were there was totally S&S: my mentor in sorcerous arts sent me to harvest the poison of a ancient god-snake as big as several houses. We were in the process - the god-snake didn't mind, as nothing less than a deer counted as worthy of his menu, and he likes when people use his poison to make medicine - when the Fair Folk came.

Thing this place, the mortals live on the huge trees, hundreds of meters high. The Fair Folk and undead, by ancient contract, don't go up - but anyone who gets down, can be freely feasted upon.
As they put it after appearing at midnight, "by an ancient contract, you're ours - but please amuse us, we're willing to listen to your pleading..."
Me: "Well, I'm rich. I can buy 10 slaves and lower them to you here, or 20 slaves".
"An unscrupulous one? I like that! Let's negotiate."
"...but for 20 slaves, you make a volt-face, leave, and make sure we're not disturbed by anyone else in the next two days and nights".
I was willing to suffer their presence in the vicinity for the next couple of days.
And, as I pointed out to them, they can kill me in unimaginably awful ways, or they can get 10 or 20 other souls to feed on in the same way.
"She alone is worth more than that", they said, pointing to my Lunar companion.
"You don't stand a chance to catch her, anyways."
"We had captured her already. Didn't she tell you?"
"When was that?"
As it turned out, 50 or 60 years ago. The Exalted live for much longer.
My character had been around Exalted (Dragon-Blooded Exalted, but still) his whole life. He just smirked, knowing that in 50 years, an Exalted martial artist, like the Lunar, can go from initiate to master.
"Good luck capturing her again. Anyways, I'm negotiating for myself - she can climb those trees back faster than you can imagine, I've seen it. So, what's your word?"
Basically, I got them to the point where they wanted the slaves, and they wanted me. Decision points...
So the solution of the fair folk lady was to try and seduce me to give them both. With loads of Willpower, I resisted - much to her dismay - though she was tempting, and my character does like seductive women like her.
Of course, I knew she could just decide to take my soul anyway. So my rejection was formulated in the language of stories.
"No, much as you're's still a no. Though it's tempting!"
"Then why don't you come?"
"Ah, but consider what the story would be: I met a beautiful fair folk lady, and we fucked in the forest. Sounds like a young buck vaunting his exploits! Boring! But then, consider instead this story: I came across a beautiful woman of the Fair Folk, seductive as a dream, who wanted me for her bed - but despite me wanting her as well, we could never do that, for the mortals are too different. So we separated, still longing for each other...Now, that's a story! It speaks of wishes unfulfilled, of burning lust and desire left unsatisfied - because of higher reasons. It is a tragedy to the participants, and hints at deeper truths and plot devices at work, and yes, maybe, of a continuation!"
She was instantly sold, and thus the negotiation concluded;).
And when they left, I was feeling great, excited and powerful, while the Lunar almost had to pick her jaw off the grass.
Not the least, because I was shining in gold.
With the colours, and caste mark, of the Swords of the Dawn.
My laughter erupted. I went after the Fair Folk, and used that surge of power, such as I haven't felt since then, to kill the hobgoblins guards of the Fair Folk Nobles, to break off the man's hands and legs, and knock the lady out. I brought them back.
I had noticed the Lunar felt all tense just by seeing them.
"Was any of them displeasing towards you during your captivity, dear?"
"He most certainly was!"
I handed her my knife, handle first.
"Start cutting him. If you cut him too little, I'll finish him off."
She took her time, and he was dead at the end. In the meantime, I bound the woman before she would wake, and spoke with the ancient god about myself.
What was I now?
Was I really the incarnation of an all-powerful sorceror who would destroy my soul, as the Immaculate Monks had taught me?
Should I suicide?
"In all fights, the history is written by the victors, do you not know? The ones that lost are always guilty!"
Of course, being a Patrician, I'd seen that already, Dragon-Blooded Exalted brethren had no qualms about acting like that in front of me.
"Some of them were mad. Others were still kind, and caring", was the ancient god's verdict. "It's up to you what you would become".
In a way, that made it even harder to decide what to do next.