A good background story

Before the lockdowns started, a friend of ours ran Berlin – The Wicked City from Chaosium. She had been bugging us to play for a while, but schedules have (as usual) been difficult to synch.

That afternoon almost didn’t push through, but we ended up playing all through the afternoon, into the night, into the wee hours of the morning. We finished the first scenario in one sitting.

(Ah, the long-gone times of real-life tabletop RPG games!)

Berlin – The Wicked City is a sourcebook for Call of Cthulhu, containing three scenarios in addition to being an overview of 1920s Berlin to help a Storyteller craft a CoC campaign filled with notable personalities, key locations, and rich culture.

I’m a scaredy cat. I can’t watch horror shows1, I can’t read horror books2. Dan had played the introductory scenario of Masks of Nyarlathotep for me under the Pulp Cthulhu adaptation, but it was decidedly horror-lite.

I was stressed for a good amount of time during the game. There were more than a couple times that I was seriously considering excusing myself from the game because it giving me a serious case of the heebie-jeebies. The only reason I didn’t was the thought of walking the short block home–alone–in the middle of the night3.

The saving grace was the almost-cheesy, almost-melodramatic back story I selected that I used “just for fun”. We’re starting the next scenario soon (since the quarantine isn’t easing up), and while I’m dreading playing Call of Cthulhu in a small condominium unit in the dead of night, I’m actually looking forward to it. All because of my cheesy, melodramatic back story that amazingly enabled me to feel fully integrated into the story than I otherwise would have.

Our game

We played the first scenario, The Devil Eats Flies. I had no idea what it was about. We just sat down in my friend’s living room and she told us what sorts of people currently populated the city.

I lit on becoming a woman refugee taking on odd jobs to survive. She was hiding her true identity as a Russian monarchist who was a servant under one of the lesser noble families before everything went to chaos.

Dan urged me to go big or go home–be a servant of the Romanovs directly! Why not? Background flavour was background flavour. So, hell, why not? I became one of the handmaidens of the imperial family who stayed behind as they fled Alexander Palace.

I was trying to scrape enough together, but also day-dreaming of finding my lady, the Grand Duchess Anastasia, amid rumours that she had escaped. Not that I could find anything with my barely-living wage juggling three jobs as a secretary at the University, a waitress at a popular diner, and taking on odd tasks at the police station.

(Of course I’m not going to sell my body. I am a lady’s maid, my good sir! For shame!)

Little did I know. Check out what the scenario is about, from the publisher itself:

In The Devil Eats Flies Germany teeters on the brink of economic ruin and political chaos. The ghost of a madman stalks the city, turning its own citizenry against itself. To stop a demonic spirit and save a Russian princess in exile, the investigators must strike a bargain with other sinister forces and ask themselves: who else are we prepared to see die in order to save the city?

What are the chances? Our Storyteller never made a sound as I planned my poor little Russian immigrant’s sad background.

You know that game where you end up mimicking your character’s actions, kneeling down on the floor as you’re entreating someone to believe you?

Yeah, that finally happened to me after over a year of playing tabletop roleplaying games. I didn’t even realize it until after the game.

That probably says more about the types of games I usually play in, but I generally prefer games where there is minimal emotional bleed. It’s not that I don’t like being challenged emotionally–I’m a girl who cries readily at movies and books. But I’m also conflict-averse and more often than not, emotional conflict in games tend to be between players. I’m a PvE sort of person.

This Berlin game gave me my PvE conflict wishes, heightened by all the emotional connections the storyline had with me.

A super brief review

Sure, the highly charged and horror-peppered story probably added to how visceral the game felt for me, though it comes from a different quarter than what one might expect. If you’ve played this scenario, I’m not even squicked at the inherent level of gore in the story. It was everything else. The creepiness of the people. The paranoia, the confusion, not knowing what to do and not wanting my character to go back to her tiny apartment alone (there’s one thing we have in common!).

I’m not typically a puzzle-solver in the tabletop RPG games we play, and this is no exception. So I can’t speak about how ingenious the plot puzzle was, but it certainly felt really clever. We did not play pulp this time around, so we were rather squishy folk, but we survived. Not unscathed, but alive. Of a sort.

We’re playing again soon, and I’ve petitioned a daytime game when it gets to the squicky parts XD

Footnotes   [ + ]

1. though I’m cool with zombie media and general gore
2. but I love Stephen King’s Dark Tower saga–while never having read the rest of his books. Go figure
3. Dan probably wouldn’t let me do that alone, but neither did I want to be the wet blanket

Let your RPG characters live with this local artistic initiative [Feature]

Let your RPG characters live with this local artistic initiative

You know that TRPG character you created and play with every week, so much that you have this vision of what they look like? You’ve thought of exactly how they look, how they sound, how they behave. They have amazing backstories you’ve meticulously penned down (in one of our character folios, we hope — we’ve got something special for you if you do, later below in the article!).

Only your party members haven’t seen how amazing (or troubled!) your character is! If you’ve been thinking of finally getting some art done for them, there are tons of artists opening their commission slots nowadays.

The nifty thing is, you can get all that done, but also help people out during this pandemic by participating in Art for Frontliners!

We heard about Art for Frontliners a few weeks ago and was immediately struck with how clever and beautiful it was as an initiative. They are a group of artists who want to help our local frontliners and fellow Filipinos fight COVID-19 in their own little way.

From as low as ₱350, interested people can choose a particular artist from the Art for Frontliners artist pool to make an amazing piece of art just for them — but instead of paying the artist for the piece, buyers send their “payment” directly to a local cause that either helps our frontliners or countrymen in need. People get their art, and charities get their donations, and frontliners get some much-needed help in these trying times.

I felt like I wanted to participate, but my art is pretty much currently limited to simple shapes and doodles, so I have to leave the art-ing to professionals. But we wanted to do our bit to help spread the word around by sharing the initiative and talking about it here in Hey, Meepling.

(If you’re interested in joining their initiative as an artist, just message the page and get in touch with them! They’re super approachable and friendly.)

The initiative had its seeds in Twitter. The founders started seeing the #ArtForMedPH hashtag used on the social media platform, and with other like-minded artists, decided to boost the signal by creating a proper Facebook group and getting the word out! They raised over ₱10,000 in one day after their launch on April 3, and by April 17 they had raised ₱50,000 donations! How’s that for helping out?

(We also listed some other initiatives at last week’s blog post if you want to help out more during these challenging times! If you know of more–let us know and we’ll add to the list!)

Get your art and help others, too

Art for Frontliners have new artists coming on to pledge their time regularly, so while some artists’ commission slots might be full, there are definitely others whose art style one might be interested in. We’ll have a list of their current artists below so you can browse, but there are more coming in as the days go by, so feel free to check out their full roster!

There are three tiers for artwork available through the initiative: ₱350, ₱500, and ₱1,000 tier levels, and interested people can choose what kind of style and level they would like to receive and donate that amount to one of the charities at HelpFromHome.ph. Send the proof of payment, reference photos, and your artist of choice to them, and sit back and wait for your chosen artist to craft your dream artwork.

Contacting them via the Facebook page is super easy to do, or you can also email them at artforfrontlinersph@gmail.com if email’s more your thing.

We’ll list down their current artists below so you can do a quick glance and also stalk take a look at the rest of that artist’s work!

We’ve also noted if the artist specializes in concept/fantasy art, or does fan art/portraiture.

Go forth and donate! (And get great art!)

(If you’re curious about the Hey Meepling freebie – just keep going!)

The artists of Art for Frontliners

Hi I’m Julia! Some call me by my art name, Nami. I’m very much inspired by the art
style of Studio Ghibli. I mostly draw nature and dainty things. (Instagram, DeviantArt)
I love to explore and express myself in all forms of art but most especially through digital
painting✨ <3 (Instagram, Website)
Hello, I’m Cyd and I like to draw, eat, and nap. I am basically a cat. (Instagram)
Hi I go by the name haneul in art and I’m a concept artist ü (Website, DeviantArt)
I am Akimiel and sometimes I draw. (Facebook Page)
Hi I’m Cen, I like to draw the universe and fantasies inside my head. (Instagram)
Hi I’m Luce and I like to draw things I love hihi (Instagram)
I do mostly pet portraits and donate the proceeds to Animal Welfare Organizations of my choice. (Website)
I love to illustrate aesthetically pleasing concept art ❤️✨ (Instagram)
Self-taught | Illustrator | 07.13.1997 (Instagram)
I’m usually a laid back guy who often gets mistaken as lazy. I like to let my mind wander in a chill atmosphere, to be able to see the world in a different perspective. (Instagram)

And finally, for staying all throughout that…you get a cookie! Well, not exactly. But…

Here, get a character art sticker template

While we were talking about how cool getting art done for your characters, we realized that’s all well and good, but we don’t exactly have a way to put it onto our folios.

Well, until now!

We’re putting out a small digital freebie — a template where you can copy+paste your character’s art onto, print it out (on sticker paper, or regular paper and just have some glue ready), and paste it right onto your folio or tome! Instant character art perfect for your beautiful folio and tome!

FINALLY. That portrait portion of the character sheet has always been a little sad-looking :(

Chuck your email down below to get the zipped templates! They are in PSD format, but should work for any graphics program that can open PSDs. We’ve got templates for both the 2019 or 2020 version of our character notebooks!


And remember — stay safe, stay online, and support local. :)

We Play Too Much – Part 3 (Games I Run)

The past few weeks has been quite crazy here at the Hey Meepling HQ, from attending great local conventions, trying out new games created by local designers 1, and setting up new products for our shop. But things have evened out a bit, and I finally have the time2 to finish this overdue finale to the We Play Too Much series, where we talked about the Games I Play and the Games We Play. So without much further ado, these are the Games I Run 3.

Manila By Night

System: Vampire the Masquerade, 20th Anniversary Edition

The Ruins
The Ruins

Ah, Vampire the Masquerade, the game that has successfully converted me 4 away from Dungeons and Dragons. I am a relatively new tabletop gamer, having been playing and running since 2016 only, and initially most of my gaming experience came from D&D. But on one fateful night, one of our friends introduced me to the World of Darkness. He also ran a short lived campaign, also set in the busy streets of Metro Manila. I was immediately hooked, and was turned into a huge fan of the Vampire the Masquerade series ever since then.

Saddened by the immediate end of our campaign, I contented myself with just reading the various City By Night books and others that I could get by grubby hands on. But alas, the call of the blood was too strong to resist, and eventually I decided to run my very own Vampire the Masquerade campaign using the 20th Anniversary rules, and setting it in the city most familiar to us, Manila 5.

This is currently the longest campaign I am running as a Game Master, or more precisely, as a Storyteller. I have been running it once a month since January 2018, with a few breaks every so often. The entirety of 2018 is what I dub the “first season”, while we are now in our second and last season for this specific chronicle.

Over the months, we have gone through a number of players, originally starting with around 10, but now reduced to four consistent/core players. Namely, these are Veronica (Carlo), the Toreador socialite; Alessa (Che), the Nosferatu informant; Adrian (Nico), the Malkavian teacher; and Lexi (Chester), the Caitiff doctor. I even have a co-storyteller, Kyle, who works in the background helping me run the discord channel and creating plots and NPCs.

The campaign is set in 2014, Metro Manila. Originally, the first season is me trying to find out what works for me and the players, so I ran all sorts of plots: political, mystery, investigation, occult, and others. The players were trying to learn about the society their characters live in, how it is to be a Kindred, and the nightly routines of unlife. They had encountered a kid who was also a werewolf, prowling the walled city of Intramuros; they investigated the disappearance of a ghouls master; they played corporate espionage to uncover blackmail against the grandchilde of the Prince; they stopped the importation of blood-infused drugs; they investigated floating body parts in the Pasig River; and even seeing with their own eyes the horrors of the Battle of Manila as reenacted by spectres; and many more.

Eventually, the first season came to a fiery end, when the Sabbat made their final move, and struck swiftly and brutally, deep in the heart of Elysium during a gathering of important Kindred of the city. Right before their eyes, the coterie saw their world and their friends burn.

The second season deals with the fallout of this attack. Here, the Sabbat now control the city, and the Ivory Tower has crumbled, with most of its elders and leaders now dead. The players try to survive nightly, evading the Sabbat and its packs. They have even joined the Resistance group created by the few remaining elders and the former Sheriff to retake the city. Some of them have chosen to take a page out of the Sabbat playbook by infiltrating the Sword of Caine itself, and try to bring it from within; the others decided that convincing the Anarchs of Quezon City and Marikina to join the Camarilla cause is a more worthwhile endeavour. They even worked with the remaining Tremere to create magically encrypted social media accounts for safer communication.

I am very excited to see how this long running chronicle will end. Will the players retake the city for the Camarilla and be its new leaders? Will the infiltrators betray their allies and join with the Sabbat cause? Or will they meet Final Death for defying the unholy crusade? Whatever the outcome, I am proud to have run this campaign to my current and previous players. I hope they enjoy the ride till the end, I know I will.

The Darkening of Mirkwood

System: The One Ring 1st Edition

The One Ring Roleplaying Game, formerly known as The One Ring: Adventures over the Edge of the Wild, is, in my opinion, the best tabletop RPG set in the fantastical world of J.R.R. Tolkien. It was designed by Francesco Nepitello and Marco Maggi, and was published by Cubicle 76.

Immediately, upon reading the TOR books, you will get the sense that the creators of this lovely game have a great passion and respect for the characters and the world that Tolkien made. And since both of us are huge fans of Lord of the Rings 7 and The Hobbit 8, it was an easy decision to start a campaign, set in Middle-Earth, using this system.

With this in mind, we decided to round up all of our TRPG friends who are also fans of the works of the Professor. So for the next few months 9, I will be running The Darkening of Mirkwood campaign book for The One Ring, while Angela will be chronicling the fellowship’s many adventures.

The Darkening of Mirkwood is a complete campaign, which spans three decades in-game, and is mostly set within and around the areas near the great forest of Mirkwood. I was told by more veteran players that the campaign seemed to be akin to The Great Pendragon Campaign10 by Chaosium.

The players hail from the free-folk of Middle-Earth, from Elves of Mirkwood, Dwarves of the Lonely Mountain and the Blue Mountain, even a Hobbit from the Shire, and much farther still, is a Rider of Rohan. The players will deal with the Shadow growing within the forest, and they will try their hardest to push back the darkness as it expands year by year. They do this for various personal reasons, perhaps to protect the people that they care about and their own personal holdings, or as a mission from their liege.

I am quite interested to see how the campaign will unfold, especially since this is the first campaign of its kind that I have run. Additionally, due to the news that the 2nd edition will be released soon, I might convert the current campaign to the newer edition, but we shall see. So stay tuned with us, as the fellowship’s adventures are immortalized here.

Masks of Nyarlathotep

System: Pulp Cthulhu

This is the newest campaign out of the three, and another first for me due to how the game is set-up. Normally, Call of Cthulhu games by Chaosium Inc., are run with a team of investigators, as they try to “stop” the end of the world. But this time I am trying out the Pulp Cthulhu rules for the 7th edition. Here we can have a game akin to Indiana Jones, The Mummy, and other Pulp-inspired media.

This is the perfect system to run, since I am running it as a one-on-one campaign with Angela. Just like the aforementioned pulp heroes, Angela is following tradition and going at it solo and maybe a sidekick or two 11. The reason for this is due to limited time, and a schedule becoming more congested than EDSA 12, so we decided, why not play a campaign with just the two of us. Additionally, Pulp Cthulhu is a great choice since I can keep it more on the side of Action-Adventure than Horror 13.

Perhaps you ask, why Masks of Nyarlathotep? First off, this campaign book is one of the most beloved campaigns for Call of Cthulhu, and having played it once 14, I wanted to try it out again and finish it. Secondly, I believe that the campaign is perfect for an action-adventure, since it involves globe-trotting, fighting an evil cult who is trying to bring the end of the world, and even going toe-to-toe with various eldritch horrors. Also, the 7th edition books are just so gorgeous and it is, in my opinion, one of the better laid-out campaign books in general.

Recently, we have unearthed the journal of a certain Caridad Benitez, M.D., and in her diary, we saw the colorful life she lived back in the 1920s and her multiple brushes with the weird and horrific, as she and her friends try to stop the Black Pharaoh from ushering the end of the world.

This series of articles are finally done, but the gaming does not end. Even as I finish writing this, multiple ideas for a campaign are racing through my mind. There is also the need to try out all of the games that we bought from Session Zero, and eventually make a review of them as well. But with this, I hope you enjoyed reading about the games we play, and I ask you now, do we play too much??

Footnotes   [ + ]

1. stay tuned for the next RPG posts
2. just enough for me to write this article
3. and where Angela is also a player
4. thru dominate and blood bonds
5. more accurately, Metro Manila
6. the 2nd edition will soon be released!!!! GAAAAAH
7. both the books and the movies
8. the book and the 1978 film
9. years most probably
10. 80 year spanning campaign
11. which I play as well, as a quasi-NPC
12. joke’s on you, nothing can beat EDSA congestion
13. Angela is not a big fan of the horror genre in general
14. reaching up to end of London only

Session Zero Haul

We came back from last Sunday’s Session Zero renewed and full of admiration for the diversity of game designers, artists, and crafters we have locally. It was so difficult to stick to a budget and we, er, ultimately blew it out of the water (sob) but it was worth it! We met so many lovely people and we’re so excited to show you our haul.

So many awesome stuff! We opted to split our mission: Dan checked out the game designers’ booths and Angela scoured the artists’ and exhibitors booths. Perhaps it wasn’t such a good idea, as we ended up buying so. much. stuff. XD

Angela scored some awesome accessories from Briarwood Crafts and Gleam Trove!

Dan scored some fabulous games:1

We’ll be playing them in the next few days/weeks and let you know how we fare! So stay tuned!

But of course, when you have so many amazing TRPGs…you need something to keep your dice sets and sheets and pencils in! And Angela found just the thing:

The best thing here is…look at that perfect pocket inside, just the right size for Hey Meepling character folios!! (hint, hint)

We also found ourselves with a BUNCH of new stickers, stationery, pins, etc from all these amazing artists! Take a look at this haul from waterdiet, Miss Adventures, Pachiary, TheIzzyPeasy, @putotoyart, and DMPaulG. (And yes, that is two Hufflepuff pins…HUFFLEPUFFS REPRESENT!)

We’re so happy to get so many games and so much loot, and we’re already looking forward to next year’s Session Zero! We had a lot of fun–what about you? Share your experience and loot in the comments below.

Footnotes   [ + ]

1. but not enough :(… so many amazing gamess arghhhh

Session Zero’s coming up: We’re so excited!

Finally, it’s Session Zero time this Sunday, August 25! Session Zero is an event that shines the spotlight on local game designers and makers, and there is a lot on offer this weekend! There has been so many people on the #RoadToSessionZero and we’re so hyped to check out all the awesome stuff available during the 11am – 8:30pm event. There will be game designers selling and playtesting their games, artists showing their work and open for commissions, merchants selling their awesome geeky wares, and streamers and many more besides!

Hey, Meepling will be there, too! We’ve been busy at work with the stuff we want to bring to Session Zero, and here’s a quick lowdown of what you might expect from our table at Booth 23 (straight on from the entrance doors, our table is on the right side!).

Character notebooks galore!

We’re definitely bringing a selection of our D&D character sheet folios and tomes to Session Zero. Tomes will be in faux leather, bewitching black, bravest blue, and radiant red, plus our last two stock of our gold filigree limited edition tomes.

We’re also bringing along a few mini notebooks if you’re like me and just want that mini notebook itch ;)

We will also have a little extra personal pet project on show, and will also be accepting orders for customized notebooks during the event (though not making during the event–you can order the notebooks during, and we’ll work out the schedule with you).

Notebook accessories, wut?

So we’ve come bearing a few cute accessories for your character sheet notebooks! Behold:

Spell slot clips come in 10/pack, and are available in black, gold, rose gold, silver, purple, and green. They’re perfect for the spell slot trackers, or just to make your notebooks pretty.

Item sheet and animal companion sheet stickers! They’re just the right size for half a page of the character folio and tome. While they aren’t going to be fountain-pen friendly, they most definitely are pencil-ready! And of course there will be some cute dice stickers available as well.

We might have one or two more things in store — it will be a surprise!

Terrain coasters for everyone

These aren’t going anywhere, but it will help your adventures get that extra mile! These double-sided cork coasters protect your tables from guests’ drinks on one side, but also enable the best adventurers on the other! We’re bringing the usual favourites!

Alignment perfume, what’s that?

Are you a neutral, lawful, or chaotic? Perhaps a dash of good and evil? We’re bringing a small batch of our new alignment perfume at Session Zero. We’re starting off with the basics: Neutral, Lawful, Chaotic, Good, and Evil.

  • NeutralFlexible in your own skin: musk and bamboo.
  • LawfulPrim and proper, but with a backbone of steel: tea and metal.
  • ChaoticA heady carousing, free and unpredictable: sweet rum and tobacco.
  • GoodA clear soul: crystalline white musk and holy sandalwood.
  • EvilA sweet black temptation: dark chocolate and sticky caramel.

Unfortunately we can’t mix during the event, but if you don’t mind the multi-week curing time wait, we can also take orders for making your perfect alignment mix during the event.

So we’ll see you, alright?

We hope to see you at Session Zero this Sunday August 25, 2019! Event is at Green Sun Hotel Focus Rooms 6-7, and starts at 11:00 am until 8:30 pm. Registration is currently open, but walk-ins are very welcome!

We will be at Booth #23!

Hope to see you there!

We Play Too Much – Part 2 (Games We Play)

We’re continuing the self-revealing series, where we find out how much games we actually play in a month.1 Last week, I talked about the Games I Play, such as Changeling the Lost and a livestream game of D&D Adventurers League. This week, let’s continue by discussing the games where Angela and I are both players.

Ghosts of Salt Marsh

System: Dungeons and Dragons, Fifth Edition
DM: Paul

Having played and finished multiple campaign adventures under DM Paul G , starting with Storm King’s Thunder, we have recently begun our fourth campaign, called Ghosts of Saltmarsh. Our group has been playing every Saturday since September 2016, with short breaks in between campaigns. Angela joined our Saturday group during the last campaign, where we played Waterdeep: Dragon Heist.

For our Saturday campaigns, we are also using the organized play variant for Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition, known as Adventurers League (AL), where standard rules are set up to easily enable any Adventurers League player and/or dungeon master to jump from one table to another if they wish to.

So let’s talk about the Ghosts of Saltmarsh campaign for a bit. This hardcover book is not your typical campaign adventure.2 Instead, it is a compilation of popular classic adventures from the first edition of Dungeons and Dragons and from Dungeon magazine. These adventures are converted for the fifth edition rules. Additionally, these seafaring adventures which center around the titular port town of Saltmarsh will lead characters from level 1 through level 12.

Our characters were already level three by the time we started this campaign, since we played a few AL modules before this.

First off, Angela is playing Lia, a half-elf grave cleric, and a follower of Kelemvor, the God of the Dead. Lia is following in her mother’s footsteps as a guide for the dying and the dead, and a staunch enemy of the undead and of those who would befoul the natural order of life and death.

My character is Vagra, a half-orc barbarian that follows the Path of the Ancestral Guardian, and the last of the Howling Wolf tribe. She is searching for the one responsible in betraying and sacrificing her entire tribe, and through happenstance was able to meet Lia, who helped her in controlling the vengeful spirits of her ancestors. Because of this, she now follows Lia wherever she goes and tries to protect her from harm.

Recently, they found a clue regarding the one responsible for the massacre of Vagra’s tribe that led them to the up and coming port town of Saltmarsh. Here, they joined up with other adventurers after they were hired by one of the town’s council members to investigate the mysteries of a haunted mansion located a few miles from the port town.

Being a fan of swashbuckling adventures, especially with the prospect of having our own ship, I am quite excited to see where this campaign will lead us and all the shenanigans in between. I am also interested to see how my character will play out, since this is the first time I am playing a barbarian.3

Komainu

System: Legend of the Five Rings, Fifth Edition
DM: Chester

Legend of the Five Rings is set in the fictional empire of Rokugan. The setting is inspired heavily from Feudal Japanese culture, with other East Asian and Southeast Asian cultures sprinkled in for good measure. Here, the empire is divided into seven Great Clans.4 The players usually create individual samurai characters coming from these Great Clans, who embark on adventures filled with drama, suspense, humor, romance, and horror.

I have experience in playing and enjoying the fourth edition for Legend of the Five Rings, having played a courtier of the Ide family from the Unicorn Clan. This time however, in the fifth edition, we are all playing samurai characters from the Lion Clan, which is considered as the Right Hand of the Emperor and the clan unrivalled militarily, as there are no sharper tacticians and no larger armies in all of the empire.

I play Akodo Mamoru, who is assigned as the squad leader for this group. Born from a peasant family, he has since been adopted as a reward for his peasant father’s services to their lord. He was, since then, raised to become a samurai, and with only a few select people knowing his true heritage.

Angela plays Matsu Kagami, a meek shugenja5 who studied in the Kitsu shugenja school, to the dismay of her relatives, especially considering that the Matsu family are renowned as fiery warriors and fill the ranks of the vast Lion armies. But either way, she was also assigned by her lord to join our group, on a mission to the Spice Islands under the control of the Mantis minor clan.

Our first assignment was to head to Dragon’s Guard City to the east, to investigate piracy in the area. After breaking thru the bureaucracy, experiencing treachery, battling with spirits, and eventually figuring out where the pirates were, we also learned that there seems to be a greater conspiracy at play. In light of this, we were elevated as Lion Clan magistrates and were sent next to the city of sin known as Ryoko Owari, which is held by the duplicitous Scorpion Clan. Here we are trying to start a war between the multiple drug cartels in the city, while trying to learn more of the conspiracy in play.

I am really enjoying the campaign we are playing, where every session/episode will most definitely contain some sort of drama for the characters or their mission. Additionally, the new system needed a lot of getting used to at first, but eventually the more narrative focused style is quite appropriate for the more personal stories we are trying to tell in this campaign.

If you want to find out more and follow where our campaign goes, Chester, our DM for this campaign, also has his own blog where he posts summaries of our game sessions.

So tune in next week for the final part of this series, where we talk about the games that I am currently running.

Footnotes   [ + ]

1. Knowing the problem is half the battle, kids
2. With an overarching main plot and multiple side plots
3. i.e. a meat head type of character
4. Lion, Scorpion, Crane, Dragon, Phoenix, Unicorn, and Crab
5. priest

We Play Too Much – Part 1 (Games I Play)

Last week, I’ve talked about how the both of us got into tabletop role-playing games, essentially our origin story into the hobby.

I also mentioned last time that I will talk about the games that we are currently playing. I lied–sort of–and instead of discussing all of our games1 in one giant post, it will instead become a series of posts, which will be divided into three parts: Part 1 – Games I Play, Part 2 – Games We Play, and Part 3 – Games I Run. The next two parts will be posted in the following weeks.

So without much further ado, let me talk about the Games I Play:

Lost But Not Forgotten

System: Changeling the Lost, Second Edition
Storyteller: Chester

Being a fan of the World of Darkness setting, Vertigo’s Fables and Del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth, it was quite easy for my friends to persuade me into joining a Changeling the Lost campaign.

Changeling the Lost is a personal horror RPG, which is part of the Chronicles of Darkness (CoD) line, published by White Wolf Entertainment. The game’s tagline is “A Storytelling Game of Beautiful Madness”…and what beautiful madness we have experienced indeed.

In this game, we play as Changelings, humans abducted by the enigmatic Gentry (or True Fae) and are taken to Arcadia, the fairy realm, where the Gentry reign. The abductees are changed into faerie creatures with particular roles for the amusement of the True Fae. These roles correspond to certain fairy-tale archetypes, such as Fairest (Ice Queen), Beast (big, bad wolf), and others. These Changelings eventually, through whatever means, were able to escape their captors and leave Arcadia, and get back into the real world. However, once back into the human realm, they are now Lost–and each Changeling, no longer truly human, try to reintegrate themselves into society, either by reclaiming back the lives they have lost, or try to build new ones by forming their own communities.

I have been playing my Fairest character, aptly named The Tyrant Queen, on a monthly basis since August 2018. Other members of our troupe include Lark Neverdance, a Fairest, and Dolus Strokes, a Darkling. Together, we have encountered and experienced many bizarre things: from surviving the assault of shadowy vampires stalking the night, brokering a peace with warring factions of werewolves, busting a changeling trafficking group, to conducting a heist of a celestial vault owned by mythical dragons–and many more weird adventures. To top it all off, we are on our way to becoming the champions of a “capture the flag”-type tournament.

Overall, I am enjoying my time playing the campaign and exploring the game’s various themes, from going off into bizarre adventures and to figuring out the personal journey my character will take, whenever she encounters the people in her past life.

I recommend the game for mature gamers, since the game tackles various sensitive themes and topics. I also recommend it to anyone who would like to try playing a fairy-tale type character, set in the modern world but with a darker and sinister twist.

If you want to follow our troupe’s past and future adventures, do check out the blog maintained by our Storyteller.

“Let’s Play: Adventurer’s League”

System: Dungeons and Dragons, Fifth Edition
Dungeon Master: Paul

Every Sunday night, I am a part of a livestreamed campaign where we play various community created modules for Dungeons and Dragons. Specifically, we play the organized play variant known as Adventurer’s League, where certain rules are set up in such a way that anyone can easily jump from one table/campaign to another.

Here, I play Vladimira Clay, an elderly human and shadow sorcerer. Since she was young, she always wanted to go off and explore the world, but has started a family before she was able. However, since her husband had died and her children now each have their own families, she has decided to finally go and become an adventurer.

Previously, we have played the Heir of Orcus Verse 1 and Verse 2 by Anthony Joyce 2, where we were hired to search for the hidden temple of Orcus, a demon lord. The modules were fun to play through, and at certain points quite stressful–let’s just say, we survived the final encounter due to sheer luck (but I say this in a good way).

Currently, we are still a fledgling party trying to figure out how to best work together, and getting to know one another. I cannot wait to see where our adventures bring us, but from what I hear where we’re going, devils and angels are involved, so that’s gonna be fun.

That wraps up the games that I play. Tune in next week, for Part 2 – Games We Play. In the meantime, tell us about the games/campaigns you are a part of by leaving a comment below!

Footnotes   [ + ]

1. I think we’re playing too much XD
2. for fans of the old 16-bit video games of the 90’s, you will definitely enjoy this series

August Hero Feature: Astrihd Cruz

For our hero feature for August, we have Lanz’s Aasimar Wizard, Astrihd Cruz. Also, impromptu sneak peek of our coming-soon folio and tome sheets!1

Here is what Lanz has to say about Astrihd:

Known to many as the Angel of Tyr, Astrihd Cruz, a knight of the order of holy judgement, spends her days praying over the sick and destroying evil whenever it crosses her path.

Or, at least, that’s what she wants everyone to think. If you ask her brother, he’ll tell you that Astrihd Cruz is a nosy, curious thief wanted under many names and aliases. A con artist who’ll lie, cheat, and steal her way to getting whatever she wants. Don’t let the pretty blue eyes fool you– she’ll rob you blind.

In truth, the young aasimar searches for answers–why was she and her brother found wandering the wastelands after a bloody war? Why was she, an aasimar by blood, abandoned by the gods? What did she do to be cast out of heaven? The answer must be out there somewhere– and she’ll get what she wants no matter what the cost.

Catch Astrihd’s shenanigans every Sunday as Lanz and the Greasy Snitches stream their adventures through Adventurers League Community-Created Content, led by DM Paul G! Watch their stream every Sunday at 8pm SGT (+8 GMT) with Tabletop Philippines.

Want to get your character featured on Hey Meepling?

We’d love to see and feature your amazing characters immortalized on a Hey Meepling folio or tome! If your entry gets featured, you also get a 5% discount coupon for in-stock items in our online shop. For more information on how to join, check out the contest mechanics on our shop.

Looking forward to seeing your amazing heroes!

Footnotes   [ + ]

1. We plan to debut these sometime later in the year. Stay tuned!

Our TRPG origin stories

Hey meeplings, get a cup of your favorite beverage1, sit down and relax, as I tell you a tale of how two geeks got into the wonderful and limitless worlds of tabletop roleplaying games.

But first, let us define what is a Tabletop Roleplaying Game (TRPG). According to the internet, it is defined as “a form of role-playing game (RPG) in which the participants describe their characters’ actions through speech. Participants determine the actions of their characters based on their characterization, and the actions succeed or fail according to a set formal system of rules and guidelines.”2

Essentially, in a TRPG we have the players, who act out their characters that interact with other characters and with the world, which is usually created by a Game Master (GM)3. The GM, on the other hand, usually has a bigger responsibility: since they act as the main storyteller and arbiter, it is their duty to describe the world and its inhabitants and how it reacts to the players’ actions.

What I like about tabletop roleplaying games is the freedom to do what you want–but obviously in a respectful way especially with the other participants–with only your creativity and imagination as the limit. Also, in a world where social interactions are now done largely thru social media, it is somewhat liberating that TRPG sessions, especially those that are in-person, have become a social gathering which enables the participants to interact face-to-face with others.

With that, let me finally begin with our TRPG origin stories.

Dan’s experience

I have been a fan of fantasy and sci-fi genres in various mediums, from books, games, movies, etc., but RPG video games are the biggest contributor to my interest in tabletop roleplaying games. Games such as The Elder Scrolls series, World of Warcraft, Runescape, Witcher series, Pillars of Eternity, Fallout series, Star Wars: KOTOR, and many others.

I learned about tabletop roleplaying games thru pop culture osmosis, such as the D&D episode of Community. Eventually, I was able to watch Critical Role4 and this basically gave me the final push to actually look for games to join.

My first game was D&D 5th edition which was played online via Roll20. We were able to play up to two sessions where I played a Gnome Tinker. The campaign ended abruptly and this just whetted my appetite further to play more. Through lurking in various Facebook groups, I was able to join a supposedly one-shot game, but this time, it was in-person and we were playing the organized play variant for D&D 5th edition called Adventurers League.

I played Nefarian Blackclaw5, a Black Dragonborn Paladin. The module/campaign that we played consisted of multiple mini-adventures which caused our group to meet, surprisingly, on a weekly basis, and we kept playing the next modules of the series. Eventually, this group of strangers became really good friends and even became event organizers still running D&D and other RPG games6.

Angela’s experience

She has been an avid reader since she was little, being exposed to various fantasy series such as Lord of the Rings, Wheel of Time, October Daye, The Old Kingdom, The Song of the Lioness, The Chronicles of Prydain, and many others.

She learned about TRPGs from the interwebs and due to joining collaborative writing activities online when she was younger. Many years later, she met one of those writing friends in person and after talking about how she missed writing creatively, they recommended she try joining TRPG groups. Angela then initially tried to join a new campaign set in Wheel of Time, but due to various reasons, the campaign did not push through. The next opportunity was during the Singapore Open Gaming convention, where she was able to try a one-shot of The Dark Eye, a German fantasy roleplaying game, which initially did not meet her expectations.

More opportunities were few and far between. Finally, early in 2018, she found out that Critical Role had just started its second season–she had been seeing it around the Geek & Sundry channel from watching Wil Wheaton’s Tabletop and Titansgrave segments, but was hesitant to start watching when there were so many season one episodes to go through to catch up. With season two, however, she ended up binge watching it for a couple weeks–and after hearing from a guy she met a few months back via board games7 that he planned to run a one-shot game set in the World of Warcraft universe8, she jumped at the chance. She played a Draenei9 Priest named Tala, and together with her party, they played through the intro of the Alliance arriving in Northrend.

Today, both of us play TRPGs on a weekly basis in various campaigns/settings, which we will be talking about in a future post. Additionally, we will also be putting up summaries of games that I run under the Our Campaigns category, so stay tuned!

What about you? What was your TRPG origin story? Leave a comment below!

Footnotes   [ + ]

1. Tea, coffee, beer, or whiskey for me, please.
2. All hail Wikipedia.
3. Also called Dungeon Master, Storyteller, Referee, etc. depending on the game system.
4. We both identify as Critters. I started watching since Vox Machina, while she started with the Mighty Nein.
5. Rest in peace.
6. We are now known as the Greasy Snitches.
7. i.e. ME!
8. Both of us have spent countless hours playing World of Warcraft.
9. She plays Alliance, I play Horde. Love finds a way haha.