Reactions to the Burning of Teldrassil: Alliance

I did this for my Horde characters as a bit of a writing exercise and figured that I’d do it for the Alliance (FORTHEALLIANCE!) as well.

So here they are. The immediate reactions of my Alliance characters to the burning tree:

Ceryne Moonwhisper: (Night Elf hunter)

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Another arrow found purchase through the Sentinel’s armour, the impact pushing her backwards. She caught herself, leaning forwards and putting her weight onto her front leg. She gripped her spear tighter, looking up to see the undead archer pulling another arrow to his bow.

She took a step forward, her footfalls heavy now, fatigue adding to the injuries she had suffered; two arrows protruded from her torso, one from her left arm and a nasty axe wound still bled from her midriff. Another arrow sunk into her chest, forcing her to a knee as the breath was knocked out of her. She crawled towards the edge of the bridge she had been holding, grabbing onto the side and pulling herself back up to her knees. She tried to stand as a hulking tauren closed in on her, clad in leathers and wielding a long staff, but her legs wouldn’t hold her weight any longer and she fell back to her knees.

“You’ve lost,” the tauren said quietly, raising his staff to finish her.

Suddenly, an explosion in the distance. Then another, followed by another, a staccato of explosions polluting the ambience of Darkshore. Ceryne’s eyes drifted past the tauren and onto Teldrassil, her home. Her eyes widened as she watched the great tree catch fire, tears starting to form at the corners of her eyes.

They wouldn’t. They can’t. It’s not a military target; there are only civilians and non-combatants in the tree!

Ceryne could not control the tears as they streaked down her face. The tauren turned, watching the blaze as the tree lit up the night sky.

“Where is your honour now, tauren?” Ceryne asked, her voice weak as she found it hard to breathe, coughing up blood as she spoke. “Would your Earth Mother approve of this atrocity?”

The tauren turned to look at her, surprising Ceryne as he looked upon her with something she could not quite make out. Regret? Concern?

Sorrow?

The tauren glanced back at the burning tree once more and Ceryne looked to the side. She could not see the civilians she had sent off with the other Sentinels, which means they must have cleared the battle.

At least they made it. My duty is fulfilled.

The tauren turned back to Ceryne once again, placing the tip of his staff on her chest.

“You ask where my honour is? It’s here,” the tauren replied quietly, shoving her hard with his staff. Ceryne fell from the bridge into the river below, the flow catching her and pulling her downstream as her limp body was carried away by the current.

Even as she drifted out of consciousness, she could not get that horrible sight from her mind. All she could see was Teldrassil burning and all she could think about was how its occupants, mostly civilians, would be burned alive, screaming their final breaths.

With tear-filled eyes, her reality faded to black as she allowed the river to carry her away.

Elise Dawnsinger: (Human rogue)

Elise had noticed a lot more night elves in the bar that day. She was used to the fairly cosmopolitan population of Stormwind, but this was an unusually high number for the average night. She hadn’t noticed this while playing, but now that she had finished her musical number and was taking a break she really started to see just how many of them were there.

She turned to a night elf who stood next to her at the bar. He was tall, with matted blue hair and he nursed a tankard of ale. He was clearly sad; they all were, now that Elise really started to look.

“Excuse me, but you look rather down. Got any song requests that’d cheer you up?” Elise asked, beaming a friendly smile to the saddened elf.

He turned to look at her, forcing a weak smile as he shook his head. “No, thank you.”

“If I may ask, what’s happened?” Elise answered, bringing her tone down to a quieter, more sombre one.

“They… they burned it,” the night elf said quietly, almost tearing up at the mere mention of whatever it was. “The Horde burned our home to the ground. I lost my entire family…”

Elise rested her hand on the elf’s shoulder, having to reach up a bit due to the height discrepancy. Elise found this difficult. Her mother had always bad-mouthed the night elves, calling them ‘pompous, self important hippies’, but at the same time, Elise knew all too well what it felt like to lose a home to a genocidal force.

She backed up, putting her own drink down on the surface of the bar and picking her violin back up. She had started to tear up a little, the memories of her own loss still stung as they bubbled to the surface. She gently and carefully wiped tears from the corner’s of her eyes, careful not to smudge her eyeliner, and took a deep breath, steeling her own emotions. With one quick, acrobatic movement, she hopped onto the counter, causing heads all through the tavern to turn in her direction. She prepared herself, violin resting between her chin and collarbone.

“This is a song about a tyrant…” she announced, as she started her musical performance once more.

Kaylin Moreau: (Human priest)

“Light be with you,” Kaylin uttered as her hand glowed with a golden aura, warm holy energies infusing with the wounded night elf’s forearm. As Kaylin retracted her hand, the burns that had previously scarred the night elf had disappeared.

“Thank you, priestess,” the elf replied back, her voice desperate and full of conflicting emotions as she grabbed onto Kaylin’s hand.

Kaylin smiled. “I’m no priestess, just a woman who’s happy to help,” she answered with a warm smile, placing her hand on top of the elf’s. The elf was shaking as Kaylin held her hand, calming her slightly as she let go.

Kaylin got back to her feet as she walked through the park district of Stormwind. It was full of refugees who had fled the burning of Teldrassil. All of them were injured, mentally if not physically, and families held each other tightly as they grieved the loss of their home and other loved ones.

She found her hand forming into a fist as she made her way past King Varian’s memorial, looking to the sea. She felt drained, having used her abilities to heal as many refugees as she could.

I left that all behind me. I said I would never use what they taught me again. I promised I would lock her away.

She turned, slamming her fist into the stonework of the back of the King’s memorial as tears streaked down her face. Anger and rage intertwined with sadness for those who lost everything. She breathed heavily as she leaned against the back of the memorial, staring at the stone floor where her tears started to drip into a puddle.

There’s always an exception to the rule. Calling upon the Light to heal was not the only thing they taught us in the Crusade.

Lyra Dawnsinger: (Human mage)

The young sorceress couldn’t bring herself to believe that the Horde was capable of what she heard they had done. Teldrassil. Burned to the ground. While Lyra held no love for the night elves, she was astonished to see what lengths the Horde would go to.

She quickly grabbed her bag and ran out of the house, running for the stockades. She had received a letter in secret from a relative of her mother’s. She was unsure who this Valendris was, but she shared the Dawnsinger surname and her mother seemed to trust her enough with the task of sending the letter telling Lyra that her mother had been captured by the alliance. She had been barred entry before, but this time she wouldn’t take no as an answer.

She needed to ask her mother why the Horde would do this.

However, as she cleared the mage district she noticed a group of guards surrounding a woman. She was bedraggled and looked like she hadn’t eaten in days. As the woman turned the corner at the end of the bridge on the other side of the canals, Lyra caught glimpse of the woman’s face.

These guards were escorting her mother, Anatheia Dawnstrider, towards Stormwind Keep.

Curious, Lyra found herself following. She needed to know why the Horde would do what they did and this was the easiest way she was going to find out.

Plus, she was concerned for the well-being of her mother. She looked half-dead.

Clarinne Wakefield: (Human warrior)

“Wait, so the Horde burned it down?” Clarinne asked, her eyes wide as she looked at her comrade across the table. The Westfall Brigade had been fairly inactive as of late, with the Defias mostly scattered and the fight with the Legion a little above Clarinne’s capability as a soldier.

“Completely. The night elves got beat bad and then the Horde burned Teldrassil, civilians, children and all,” the soldier replied, leaning back in his chair.

“Nah, you’re just trying to fool me. They wouldn’t do that,” Clarinne retorted, a smirk on her face.

“It’s true,” said one of the officers as he was cleaning his armour, “bunch of refugees in Stormwind. Can’t imagine it’ll make our situation any better.”

“Well, shit,” Clarinne uttered, sitting back in her chair, “we going to answer back? If the Horde are committing genocide, I feel like we should be doing something about that.”

“I imagine so, and I imagine they’ll be calling on us too, so make sure you’re ready,” the officer said as he stood up, walking over to their table.

“Oh don’t worry, I’m always ready to punch genocidal freaks in the kisser,” Clarinne replied with a grin.e

 

Reactions to the Burning of Teldrassil: Horde

I saw this as a forum topic and wrote… well… a decently sized post. Because it was decently sized, I decided to put it here as well, so here they are.

These are the immediate reactions of each of my Horde RP characters to the burning of Teldrassil.

Anatheia Dawnsinger: (Blood Elf mage)

The blood elf sits in her cell, head in hands as she contemplates what had happened. She had heard from the other prisoners in Stormwind’s stockades that the Horde had burned Teldrassil to the ground. She stop the tears from rolling down her cheek. The imagery brought back memories of Arthas and the Scourge and what they did to her people.

She stood up, making her way to the bars. She had resisted betraying the Horde, trying to wait out the Alliance’s efforts to partially starve and torment her. She was the shell of a woman by this point, malnourished and barely holding onto sanity with a lack of consistent magic to sate the addiction. It was fortunate she had been trying to condition herself these past few decades to at least need less, or she would’ve turned wretched long before now. She knocked on the bars, getting the attention of a nearby guard.

“I’m ready. I’ll tell you everything you want to know about the Horde,” she said in perfect Common, locking eyes with the guard, “I want to defect to the Alliance. Death to the Banshee Queen.”

(Yep, I race changed her to nightborne and she’s full NPC unless Blizz give us high elves on Alliance side. She’s had enough and is defecting)

Laralla, Valendris and Ilareth Dawnsinger: (Blood Elf paladin, priest and hunter respectively)

Unable to betray their loyalties to the Horde, the three blood elven women sit within the estate’s gardens, conversing about the atrocity that had been committed.

“I am totally not okay with this. Ana was right, we should’ve fled with mother all those years ago,” Ilareth says, her posture energetic, but wholly frustrated.

“Be that as it may, we cannot throw everything out the metaphorical window right now, not after everything that happened in the last year,” Valendris advises the two younger women.

“I also can’t fight in a war that is led by a genocidal corpse. I’ve taken vows since our mistreatment of the naaru,” Laralla responds, shifting her seating and clanking her plate armour slightly.

“Remember what happened to Garrosh. We don’t get involved and we wait. I cannot imagine the rest of the Horde will approve of our warchief’s actions. Keep your skills honed and see to Velurria’s recovery so that if an opportunity presents itself, we are in a position to help bring her down,” Valendris assured the other two.

Velurria Dawnsinger: (Blood Elf warlock)

Comatose. Can’t imagine she’d be too happy about it though, especially if it’s the above trio filling her in on what happened.

Cyressa Starsong: (Nightborne mage)

The nightborne waves as her latest customer departs her company, magic scroll in hand. As the blood elf left her sight, she sighed heavily.

“Thalyssra, what have you done? You’ve aligned us with genocide,” she shook her head before looking to the stars. It was a clear night in Quel’thalas and the stars were in full view. “I will not speak out against our new allies. I will continue to follow your wisdom, First Arcanist.”

She looked down to a pendant she wore. Her family crest. She remembered her parents who always pushed her to be better, she remembered her two brothers picking on her as they grew up together.

She remembered the Duskwatch cutting them down for aiding the insurrection.

“Please, forgive me for standing aside this time…”

Warcraft Character File: Elise Dawnsinger

Decided to do something a bit different. Since I haven’t been GMing last week or this week due to scheduling issues, I’ve actually been inspired by the pre-patch of World of Warcraft Battle for Azeroth to write some Warcraft based items.

One thing I decided to do was write up character files for each of my major World of Warcraft characters. I originally was just going to keep them on my hard drive, but I figured that I may as well post them up here too. The main reason for doing this is because I never put my full background in my Total RP 3 profile (which is a fantastic RP addon for World of Warcraft) and so the finer details are often lost when I revisit the character or have something obscure come up in RP. Writing this all out will help me by having a point of reference for when this does come up and I can accurately track who knows what and how old each character is compared to the others.

The second thing I decided to do is… Well, just watch this space and you’ll find out. I will say that it’s heavily inspired by Battle for Azeroth and the pre-patch event…

Anyway, here is the character file for today. This is my primary RP character (and it’s fortunate that with the new War Mode system I have fallen in love with Outlaw Rogue, because I have never really been much of a melee dps fan).

It’s Elise Dawnsinger.


Elise Dawnsinger

<Wandering Musician and Freelance Scout for the Alliance>

Elise mog

Name: Elise Dawnsinger (previously Lisette Moreau)

Race: Human

Age: 23

Eye Colour: Blue

Height: 5’6”

Body Shape: Athletic

Languages Known: Common (native), Thalassian

Birthplace: Capital City, Kingdom of Lordaeron

Residence: Elwynn Forest

Family:

  • Charles Moreau (father, deceased)

  • Lilyne Moreau (mother, deceased)

  • Alexander Moreau (elder brother, deceased)

  • Kaylin Moreau (elder sister)

  • Jules Moreau (younger brother)

  • Arinella Dawnsinger (mother through adoption)

  • Valendris Dawnsinger (aunt through adoption)

  • Laralla Dawnsinger (elder half sister through adoption)

  • Ilareth Dawnsinger (elder half sister through adoption)

  • Anatheia Dawnsinger (elder half sister through adoption)

  • Lyra Dawnsinger (niece through adoption)

Notable Features / Items:

  • A small, intricately carved flute. The flute appears to have “for the fallen” and a decorative pattern of thorny vines wrapping around the length of the flute carved into the side.

  • A violin that simply features a short haiku carved into the side in Common:
    “Music is a light,
    A light to pierce the darkness,
    Bear your light to all.”

  • A pendant hangs on a delicate silver chain. The pendant features an arrow amidst intertwined, thorny vines that culminate into a flower near the head of the arrow. The flower is encrusted with small, green gems and the design is a flower native to Quel’Thalas.

Brief History:

Elise, born Lisette Moreau, was born into a fairly affluent family in Lordaeron. Her family made their money in high quality tailoring, creating fancy garments for the nobility of Lordaeron, which turned out to be a very lucrative market as the family prospered, enjoying a comfortable lifestyle and good education for the children. She grew up alongside two brothers and an older sister, being the younger of the two middle children. Elise found her affinity for music and the performing arts from a young age and so her parents put her through singing and violin lessons, as well as dance and theatre, which the thrived in.

However, when she was 10 years old, the Scourge came to Lordaeron. Her parents and eldest brother were massacred by the Scourge as they rampaged across Lordaeron, with Elise only surviving as her father hid her away before meeting his untimely demise. However, she was a 10 year old girl in a Scourge infested land. She hid until hunger and thirst forced her out to move. She managed to stay hidden for a time, moving and scavenging what she could to survive. It couldn’t last forever and she was eventually caught while foraging for food. She ran from the ghouls that chased her through the ruined streets of Capital City, unable to lose her pursuers for good as whenever she lost one, another would take its place.

She was fortunate. A high elven ranger was fleeing south from some political troubles in Quel’Thalas and happened upon the chase, taking down Elise’s pursuers and saving the young girl from a grisly fate. The elf, who introduced herself as Arinella Dawnsinger, took pity on the girl and took her in, promising to get her down to Stormwind. They travelled south, moving through Hillsbrad Foothills, Arathi Basin and down to the Wetlands. They kept off road, avoiding chokepoints where possible as Arinella advised that there were people after her and this was the best way to remain undetected.

However, Arinella’s pursuers caught up with her and a pair of elven assassins ambushed her and Elise. Arinella was able to fend the attackers off, but they left her terribly wounded. She disinfected and bound her wounds before pushing onwards. It was a harsh trek across the mountains to Ironforge, as they couldn’t use the roads through Loch Modan through fear of being jumped by more assassins, but the trek proved too much for Elise as she collapsed, the ten year old girl not built for treks across the frigid mountains of Dun Morogh. Arinella carried her, but combining the fatigue of the trip so far, the freezing temperatures and the wounds she sustained in her battle against the assassins, Arinella was unable to make it either, eventually falling unconscious among the peaks of Dun Morogh.

Elise woke up in Ironforge where she learned that some dwarven mountaineers had come across her and Arinella, who was still unconscious and being tended to by a dwarven priest. Aware of the dangers to Arinella, Elise took it upon herself to keep vigil over the elf who had saved her life back in Lordaeron. Fortunately, no attack came and Arinella woke up a few days later, her wounds healed by the dwarves. At this moment, it dawned on them that they would not make it through the Burning Steppes and would have to take the Deeprun Tram. They were surprised to find no one waiting to ambush them, as it would’ve been the perfect place for it. Thankful for it, they managed to make it to Stormwind.

Arinella adopted Elise officially in Stormwind, renaming her Elise Dawnsinger to deter any potential threats following her from Lordaeron; she also quickly took to training her in the skills of a ranger. She taught her survival skills first, so she would be able to live off the land, but also martial skills so she could defend herself. The pair were not rich and opted to live outside the city, taking refuge in the forests outside the city walls so these skills were key to Elise’s development as a young girl. In addition, Arinella insisted on teaching Thalassian, the language of the high elves, to Elise, knowing from her own experiences that being bilingual was a huge advantage in the world. The reasons for this training became apparent very quickly as Arinella was taken in to SI:7 and was quickly dispatched on missions away from home, leaving Elise to fend for herself.

Naturally, the pair spent a lot of time together whenever Arinella was home, with Arinella progressing Elise’s training every time she returned, however Elise started to develop her own skills during this time she was left by herself. She got in with a rough crowd in Old Town and developed into a competent young thief, learning to pick pockets and locks in addition to adapting parts of her mother’s training to urban environments. Thievery was not something she practised all the time, as Arinella quickly caught wind of this and scolded her for it. While she encouraged learning the skills, she kept Elise under control when it came to using these skills, keeping her from crossing the city guard and getting thrown in the stockades.

One way in which this thievery was kept under wraps was that Arinella taught Elise how to play a new instrument. She gave Elise a wooden, hand-crafted flute with the inscription “for the fallen” etched into the side in Thalassian. She never stopped practising her music and made something of a career from it, earning a decent living performing at taverns, considering she did not have the same level of expenses as most in the city due to her living arrangements being outside the city and totally self-sufficient; she sang, danced and played the flute until she saved enough money to commission a violin of her own design.

The real problem came as she got a bit older. When she was eighteen years old, a charming young pirate captain named Leif Stanton was spending some time in Stormwind. Elise was immediately charmed by the young pirate, who in turn was entranced by her music, and she ran off with the pirate, leaving her life in Elwynn behind. She entered a romantic relationship with the pirate and worked alongside her new lover, plundering both Alliance and Horde targets and performing music for the crew during down time. The pair, along with the pirate crew, made a large amount of money over the next two years.

This would not last, however, as the pirate ship was eventually taken down when Elise was twenty, when they attacked what looked like a trade ship, but turned out to be an Alliance naval vessel in disguise. Most of the crew were either killed by the naval troops and cannon fire or simply by execution, however Elise and her lover were spared as he was identified as the pirate captain and she was incorrectly identified as his first mate due to their relationship. The pair were put in chains and hauled back to Stormwind where they were thrown into the stockades and interrogated.

Elise fervently defended her lover and endured the Alliance’s interrogation tactics until Arinella caught wind of what was going on. Arinella got involved as a means of protecting her daughter, both from the Alliance judicial system as well as the pirate she had been involved with. Arinella walked into the interrogation and simply put a file down in front of Elise. The file showed that the pirate had already been released as while Elise was fervently defending him, he pinned everything on her and walked away a free man. When Elise asked why they were still interrogating her, Arinella simply explained that they couldn’t execute Elise without a confession. Heartbroken, Elise would have accepted the execution were it not for Arinella’s advice through the interrogations. Arinella advised that she should come clean, explain the nature of her relationship with the pirate and appeal for national service, as her skills were in high demand with the constant threat of the Horde.

Elise did just so, admitting to her relationship with the pirate and explaining that was the reason she defended him. Her plea for national service was accepted, which she suspected was due to her mother’s influence within SI:7, as she was kept on retainer for scouting jobs, espionage and military support for the Alliance. She worked for the Alliance for three years as repayment for her part in the pirate raids, earning no pay from the jobs the Alliance gave her and earning her money between jobs through performance again. During these jobs she met with one of her adoptive mother’s biological daughters, a paladin named Laralla Dawnsinger who was captured by Alliance troops and she was put in charge of interrogating due to her fluency in Thalassian. Despite the animosity the paladin showed towards their mother, Laralla still saved Elise’s life just before her escape, after an orc from the Horde rescue team almost cleaved her in two.

She suffered another heartbreak when a meeting was arranged between the Forsaken and the Alliance as an opportunity for families to see each other. Elise, who had never had much love for the undead after what they did to her family, only went to re-affirm to herself that her parents were dead. However, she met with her parents, who had become Forsaken. She was unable to chat too much, as Sylvanas ordered the massacre of every Forsaken in attendance and Elise had to watch her parents die for a second time right in front of her eyes.

These days she continues to perform at taverns in Stormwind, especially now that her national service is up and she can actually earn money from assignments she is dispatched out for.


Elise Dawnsinger features in:

 

The Adventures of a Cyberpunk 2020 GM and her players, part 4

It has been a while since I’ve written one of these, but with the move to a new job on the horizon I’ve been a bit busy. Combine that with some scheduling issues and we just haven’t had a session for a while.

Following on from the previous session’s conflict, our player character roster has changed slightly. We have:

  • Edward “Crossfire” Caine – A retired corporate security member who has found himself feeling rather useless, so has taken to edgerunning to keep his skills sharp.
  • Zheng “Hard Truth” Huo – A… paranoid conspiracy theorist vlogger who is obsessed with his job to show the real truth to the masses.
  • Yuveleva “Loader” Konstantinovna – A Russian netrunner with a day job who seeks to earn mega-money through edgerunning.

Important NPCs that came up in this session were:

  • Iron Hawk – A relatively new fixer who is interested in bringing the PCs into the edgerunning scene as new talent.
  • Corrupted_Angel – A young netrunner under Iron Hawk’s employ who has started making a name for herself after a few successful clean up operations
  • Ghost – An edgerunning driver who works for Iron Hawk. New to the area and with weak English, but has a fancy katana.
  • Doc Locke – A fully qualified doctor and medtech working for MediCare who has taken to edgerunning as a means of gaining practical experiences, as well as truckloads of cash.

We picked up the day after we last left off, with Hard Truth recovering from the wounds he suffered in his fight with Plata. He wanted to move, but couldn’t afford to pay a full month’s rent for what would have been about half a week, so he took his chances and waited for the month to be over before he moved apartment. During this time he decided to put his plans into motion and started a smear campaign against Plata, which gave mixed results. He successfully convinced one of the Jackals that Plata was a child molester and all around awful guy, hoping to get some rumours spreading within the gang that they both used to be a part of, but his attempts online were met with failure. He set up a fake profile on social media, spent a few days making “normal” posts, before making posts implicating Plata in sexual assault and pedophilia, however a netrunner by the name of n3t_sh4d0w uncovered the falsification and exposed it to the public.

Plata simply got out of hospital and was told by one of his colleagues that there was this smear campaign that someone tried to do on him, but the account was shut down shortly after being exposed as fake.

Meanwhile, Crossfire decided that he wanted to be homicidal and decided to go into the combat zone, going into Jackals territory in the middle of the night. He crit his streetwise check (hitting an almighty… average difficulty DC. He’s really not streetsmart) and managed to not get lost or stumble upon a group of angry combat zone gang members. Instead he found a pair of mildly intoxicated lovers, waited for the street to be clear, crept up behind them and shot the man in the back of the head, before grabbing the woman and choking her to death. He then put the bodies on top of each other, shot the woman in the back of the head and started to sneak away.

Now, for the record, I’m just as confused as you are, intrepid reader (unless you are Crossfire’s player, as I’m sure you had your reasons). Apparently, this was done to gauge reaction times of the Jackals, but I’m finding myself wondering if it was really necessary. Regardless, Crossfire was spotted sneaking away (as eight nearby Jackals heard the gunshot and one of them crit his awareness roll) and started trying to lose them in the alleys. Not being the most streetsmart of individuals, he got a bit lost and couldn’t seem to shake them. He eventually decided to climb up a building, rolling an impressive athletics check to start the climb, but he was seen by four of the Jackals who opened fire on him. Fortunately, they were unable to hit him before he managed to climb onto the roof of the building. He then managed to lose them while they worked out what to do about this and made his way back to the safety of the checkpoint and the moderate zone.

The PCs were then summoned to a meeting with Iron Hawk as she had a new job for them. They convened at a bar in Syndicate territory, where the PCs were introduced to Loader, a Russian netrunner who was to help them with this job. Iron Hawk’s motivations for giving the PCs this job were mixed. She has her reasons which I cannot disclose here for wanting Loader on the job (can’t say it because then the player could find out and it’s super secret right now!), but the reasons she’s giving this fairly big job to the PCs is a bit of forced development. Either the team will die on the job, or they will learn how to work together and not screw up as much. She used a bird metaphor and no one had the all-important zoology skill and I was disappointed, talking about how birds learn to fly. It seemed to go over the PCs’ heads.

The job itself was an important corporate extraction. The party were to extract an anti-AI researcher and bring him to a secure location in the combat zone. The party asked who was hiring for this job, but Iron Hawk advised that she could not divulge such information, but assured them this was not a kidnapping, as the target desired the move. Furthermore, Iron Hawk informed the party that three of her other more competent edgerunners were unavailable for hire as they were taking care of another job for her; these edgerunners were Corrupted_Angel, who had led the clean up operations following the PCs’ latest screw ups, Ghost and Doc Locke.

The PCs then spent the rest of the session planning what to do and considering purchases on the 40,000eb expense account they had been given for the job (they were told it would be a bad idea to run away with it. Spoiler alert, it would be an absolutely awful idea to run away with it). Loader demonstrated her netrunning prowess, subtly setting up a meeting between her and their target, as his email and phone contact details were undoubtedly tapped, so she hacked into a speaker at his home and made it play a message for him. As I had work the next morning and all most of what was going to happen was planning and purchasing, I decided to end the session there.


I thoroughly enjoyed this session, even though not much really happened. I’ve been waiting to spring proper jobs on the party for a while, and felt this was a good opportunity that would make sense. It’s a fairly substantial problem that the PCs have to tackle and multiple ways to go about it. It will be interesting to see how they go about it.

Furthermore, it will be interesting to compare how the PCs do it compared to the other team who are on a very similar job. The NPC crew, I will admit, were given the bigger, harder job, as Iron Hawk really needs the bigger job done right and didn’t want to risk giving it to this dysfunctional group of PCs she has; they are doing another extraction, but on an Autosoft executive. I have mapped out their plan, done the rolls and bought the gear they would need and I said I would show a comparison of the expense reports for the two teams and the two jobs, as anything bought on the expense accounts needs to be documented.

I can’t wait to see how it all pans out next week / the week after (depending on how long it takes).

The Adventures of a 5e GM and her players, part 4 + 5

Because I’ve been super duper busy this week with work (things are looking somewhat up!) I didn’t have time to write this up. However, I am here now and I am writing this up from memory of what happened, as I largely remember everything last week and definitely remember this week. Well, enough excuses, let’s get on with the juicy details.

As a reminder, the group consists of:

  • Joey “Gruzark” Smith – Half-orc barbarian (berserker)
  • Ownka Bronson – Half orc bard (college of lore)
  • Hank – Human ranger (beastmaster)
  • Andarius Rhyn – Half elf druid (circle of the moon)

Our adventurers found themselves outside a village that they had been heading towards last session. They couldn’t see much activity and saw that the village did not have any walls or farmlands. The group, conscious that most of the world outside was rather xenophobic, approached the town cautiously. However, they weren’t met with torches and pitchforks; or rather they weren’t met with anything. It was incredibly quiet. The streets had no activity and as the group continued into the village they started to notice it was strange. They headed towards the centre of the village, finding the local tavern. They knocked on the door and were greeted by a human in chainmail, wielding a greatsword.

Now this human was… a tad hostile. He didn’t attack the PCs, but also had no interest in talking to them and it was only due to one of the other citizens stepping forward that the PCs were even allowed into the tavern. This civilian told the PCs that a strange man had come into the town last week, but had left soon after. However the next day the town found themselves under siege by the undead. Most of the village population was dead (and risen into undeath) and most of the survivors were sick and injured. The armor clad human turned out to be a paladin of Ghyllis, the god of death, and was protecting the town as best he could, but was only one man.

The PCs rested, but were rudely awoken by an undead attack during the night. A flesh golem was at the head of the charge, with a pair of skeletons and a pair of zombies. Joey looked out the window and took an arrow to the shoulder immediately. He proceeded to jump out the window and go into a rage, which started the combat in full. It was not a particularly challenging fight, with the main issue really being the fact that the flesh golem seemed to absorb their attacks and took a while to go down. Well, and the fact that my players were introduced to undead fortitude when one of the zombies just refused to go down until the paladin hit it with some radiant damage.

The group rested and then tracked the undead the next day, following their tracks to a small, wooded area (where Andarius failed a nature check to notice something plot related. Oh well…). Within this area they found a tunnel that led underground that seemed to be a natural cave (though Joey was insistent they were elven. Rolling a 0 on an intelligence check will do that to you).

This is where the session really ended. It was a bit of a shorter one as I think one of the players had to go and I didn’t want to start the dungeon crawl at that time as I knew what was coming up in room number 1…

Zombies. And skeletons. A whole lot of them. The PCs got into a fight with a room full of undead as soon as they entered. Due to torchlight, the PCs were well illuminated and got shot by crit archers. I call them crit archers because the number of natural 20s I rolled with them this session was disgusting, though they were all firing from out of the PCs’ darkvision and torchlight, so they were getting advantage. The PCs took a surprising amount of damage from the sheer weight of numbers, but were able to come out on top, though Andarius triggered an explosive trap when he cast a spell over it without knowing it was there, dealing Joey a hefty blow as Joey was standing on the other side of it. Joey then proceeded to charge right over the next explosive trap, the blasts totally incinerating his pet mouse.

After a short rest, the party moved ever onwards, more cautiously since the two explosive traps almost incinerated Joey as well. Joey felt wind from one way, so they decided to take that tunnel, managing to avoid the trap that lay in wait for them there. Exiting the tunnel they found a huge underground chasm and some spider webs. Andarius decided to start burning the webs like the good(?) druid that he is, which saw the PCs get attacked by a pair of giant spiders. However, the two spiders were quickly dispatched by the players and Hank harvested enough venom for a single dose of spider poison.

The PCs walked along the chasm, which Joey discovered had water at the bottom by dropping a pebble down and hearing the (very) faint splash. As they made their way along the chasm, using a dancing lights cantrip from Ownka to light their way, they found a naturally formed bridge across. While they debated whether or not to cross, Ownka’s lights came into sight of more undead who immediately attacked the party, firing arrows at Joey. It was here that the dynamic lighting feature in Roll20 came into its own. Joey, having been shot, went into a rage. He could see a pair of zombies advancing through the tunnel and charged down to them. As he reached them he noticed there were more than just two and quickly got swamped by zombies and skeletons, while the archers continued to harass the others as they came around the corner. As they were all grouped up, Ownka used shatter on the melee, hitting the entire crowd of undead but also hitting Joey in the process.

And this is where something big happened. Joey went down in a flurry of zombie attacks. The first one didn’t drop him. The second caused his half-orc endurance to trigger, as it would’ve knocked him down but instead reduced him to 1 hit point, the third attack dropped him unconscious and the fourth caused two failed death saves. Once again, for the third time this campaign, Joey’s survival came down to a d20 roll, but this time luck was not on his side and he failed his third and final death save. Yes, we had a player character casualty this session.

The party eventually managed to fend off the remaining undead, with two zombies being particularly stubborn and causing more damage than they really should have through constant undead fortitude successes, but a fog cloud cut off the archers sight lines so they were unable to harass the back line and stopped causing the multitude of failed concentration checks that they were causing. The party retrieved Joey’s body and retreated outside the cave system to lick their wounds and plan their next move.


I enjoyed this session, though the death of a player character is never an easy thing to deal with as a GM. This particular player character went down with very much a fight, but the PCs were just unable to carve a path to him in time as he was surrounded by zombies and skeletons. I (hope) it has put some foreshadowing into the players’ minds that their three months of jail time has meant that things have definitely progressed in the world and the threats are very real.

I do like that this is a very threatening location. Necromancers in this setting are incredibly dangerous and should be approached carefully; there are reasons why the majority of the non-elven population fears magic and I feel like the PCs are encountering one of them now. I was happy to start introducing another aspect of a big bad as well, rather than just bandits and wild animals.

I believe that next session the players are diving back in, but I sincerely hope they re-evaluate their approach. There’s a lot of potential XP on offer here, as well as a very decent reward, but there’s also a large risk associated with this.

I look forward to see what next session brings.

The Adventures of a Cyberpunk 2020 GM and her players, part 3

This session was a typical “made plans, didn’t get to them” session. However, it was part of my plan that we wouldn’t get to my planned job, so I’m not disappointed. I knew that the players were going to have “things” to do this session, and was I right or was I right!

As a reminder, our PCs are:

  • Eduardo “Plata” Gayoso – A former ganger who joined the police force as he saw it as a way to gain more power (and beat people down legally).
  • Edward “Crossfire” Caine – A retired corporate security member who has found himself feeling rather useless, so has taken to edgerunning to keep his skills sharp.
  • Zheng “Hard Truth” Huo – A… paranoid conspiracy theorist vlogger who is obsessed with his job to show the real truth to the masses.

And our named NPCs who came up this session were:

  • Iron Hawk – A relatively new fixer who is interested in bringing the PCs into the edgerunning scene as new talent.
  • StR33t_Sa1Nt – An enthusiastic and fun loving netrunner who is eager to impress and has a massive crush / hero worships Archangel (a world famous netrunner)
  • Cold Snap – A more experienced fixer who doesn’t like new talent and prefers hiring more experienced edgerunners.

So I will be brief with most of what happened. There was a lot of sleeping and first aid and seeing ripperdocs as two of three party members were incredibly wounded following the previous job. I won’t bore you with the details, but this happened for a while. Hard Truth vlogged about stuff that happened in the world while he rested, however one his way to get first aid from Crossfire on one day he was mugged by some Jackals gangers, one of which got a massive crit roll for their brawling and punched him in the face, bringing him back into serious wounds.

Following on from this, Plata started his revenge-quest, trading some information that he pulled from the police archives to Iron Hawk in exchange for information on Aspect, the corporate who was a part of the opposing team from the previous job. He went for a stakeout, observing her apartment and saw her returning in the evening.

Crossfire asked Iron Hawk for the contact information of an edgerunner named StR33t_Sa1Nt, who was under her employ. Once he had this, he hired her to find a good gunsmith in the local area, but not in the Corporate Zone, and also information about the illegal street fighting ring known as the Crucible. She went to the Net to find the information, but was unable to find it there so she took to the streets, asking around for the information as she wouldn’t admit defeat in this relatively simple task. However, she was not the most streetwise of people and ended up not showing to a meeting that she and Crossfire had scheduled that evening. Crossfire dropped this altogether and continued about his business.

However, a few days later, Crossfire gets a call from a perturbed Iron Hawk. She asks him if he knows what happened with StR33t_Sa1Nt, to which Crossfire admits he does not. Turns out when she went to ask around she ended up getting kidnapped by Cold Snap (which is not a good thing for anyone involved…) and Iron Hawk hired other edgerunners to rescue the young netrunner, as following the last mission that they partially botched combined with this incident she didn’t trust the PCs to handle this.  She also implied that it was an expense that Crossfire was going to be responsible for.

She then called them to a meeting for a new job that she was going to give them, however this is where Plata and Hard Truth finally clashed. Plata had received the information as to who killed the detective and was determined to kill the cop-killer. He got to the meeting slightly before Hard Truth and tried to persuade the bouncer that he was going t beat someone up and that the bouncer shouldn’t get involved. He crit failed the roll and started an argument with the bouncer, at which point Hard Truth arrived and approached, greeting them both. Plata immediately grabbed him, put him in a hold and started to move him away from the bar. At this point, Hard Truth started calling for help, stating that the police were oppressing him in the lawless part of town, which attracted a nearby Syndicate ganger to his aid. Plata threw Hard Truth to the ground and yelled at the ganger to not get involved, trying to intimidate him, but it didn’t work. The Syndicate ganger shot Plata in the arm, rolling near max damage and causing limb loss. Plata passed his death save, but quickly surrendered. Hard Truth tried to punch him, so he dodged, but the ganger shot him again, scoring a headshot and killing Plata. The player burned luck (a houserule I’ve implemented) to avoid death and Plata was taken off to hospital again as he fell onto his healthcare card, snapping it and triggering a team to come and extract him. Hard Truth took his pistol.

Iron Hawk arrived later, arriving 15 minutes in advance of the meeting time (the other two arrived and tried to kill each other 30 mins before), and Crossfire was late as he was trying to move stealthily through the Combat Zone and was badly delayed because the Syndicate are observant (he wasn’t spotted though). In this time, Hard Truth asked how Plata might have gotten the information, to which Iron Hawk replied that she wasn’t the only information broker but he also could’ve investigated it himself, as police tend to investigate when one of their own is killed. During the meeting, Hard Truth spun his tale as to what happened between him and Plata to Crossfire, who was easily convinced, though Iron Hawk saw through his story. When Crossfire asked why Plata tried to kill Hard Truth, she gave Hard Truth the opportunity to explain, but he merely tried looking innocent, so Iron Hawk told Crossfire that Hard Truth had murdered a detective and Plata didn’t like cop-killers. Crossfire then basically called Iron Hawk incompetent which, after botching the last job she gave them (by running in guns blazing after being told that running in guns blazing likely wouldn’t work by Iron Hawk), getting one of her other runners kidnapped by hiring her for a job she wasn’t qualified to do (she was also a bit irritated that he didn’t just ask her for the information, as she is literally an information broker) and causing her expenses that could easily have been avoided… she had to roll a Cool check to see if she would keep her cool in this situation or just have them killed. At this point Hard Truth was dirty laundry, as she knows she shouldn’t have given Plata the information (but he rolled a 26), and Crossfire was showing to be a bumbling old man and not worth the trouble. She passed the check and so she didn’t order their “removal” but she was done with the meeting. Looking at Crossfire and Hard Truth (who was in critical wounds again) and considering Plata was no longer going to run with this team, she decided to give the job she had to her other team she had formed out of the NPCs that the players could hire.

Once Crossfire and Hard Truth had left Syndicate territory, Hard Truth explained that he didn’t trust Iron Hawk, but told Crossfire not to anger her because she’s a dangerous individual. The two would continue to work for her, but the implication from the conversation was that they were going to potentially oppose her in the future.

I have since rolled the dice for the B team and their job escorting a corporate around the Combat Zone to make some deals. They didn’t botch it.

Next week we return to D&D 5e, so this campaign is being put on hold for now (as with my current work hours there is no way I can run two games per week, however once I move to a new role I expect I will be able to because I hopefully won’t be working until 10pm each night)

I’m going to miss my beloved sci-fi subgenre…

New Expansion, New Mains – My Struggle Selecting a Main for Battle for Azeroth

With Battle for Azeroth fast approaching, I feel like I am not alone in my thoughts of what am I going to play come next expansion. Naturally a new expansion is the best time to change your main as all of your gear will soon be outdated and often there’s more than just a new level cap that could affect your decision, with class and gear changes aplenty often coming with a new expansion.

I was a paladin main this expansion, specifically a holy paladin for the extra thicc crit heals, but I find myself willing to try other classes and figure out what I want to play in Battle for Azeroth. I believe I will likely main a healer again, as healing is what I have mained in MMOs since vanilla WoW in 2004, but a few ranged dps classes have stealthed into the equation.

My current plans, as I have most classes I want to 110 (on the Alliance side), is to finish leveling my rogue to 110 as she sits at level 79 currently and hasn’t been played since the Legion pre-patch, as well as leveling a warrior from scratch to try to overcome my incapability to do melee dps. I don’t know what it is, but there’s something about melee dps that I just don’t like. However, the real journey will begin once Battle for Azeroth launches, as I will likely seek to level all of my 110 characters to 120 and then choose to main the one I enjoyed the most.

However, this is only looking at things from a mechanical perspective and I would be lying if I said that was the only draw to a class that I have. There are two more aspects: class fantasy and roleplay affinity. There is a difference, though these aspects are fairly intertwined. Class fantasy is the whole “this is what I identify with and want to pretend to be” where roleplay affinity is “who do I want to pretend to be.” I will be looking at all of these when I finally decide what I want to main in Battle for Azeroth.

Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. The following are the classes and specs that are on the list:

  • Paladin – Holy / Retribution (for solo content)
  • Priest – Holy (might try learning Discipline)
  • Mage – Arcane / Fire / Frost
  • Hunter – Marksmanship
  • Shaman – Restoration / Elemental
  • Druid – Restoration / Balance
  • Rogue – Outlaw / Subtelty
  • Warrior – Arms

The last two are likely not going to make the cut unless I fall in love with melee dps as I level them, and even then they’ll struggle to compete with retribution paladin, as I prefer the utility that retribution can bring to the table. Also, the druid is likely a character I will level from 1 to 120 in Battle for Azeroth, or whatever level Blizzard decide to start Kul Tiran humans at as I really liked the whole wicker element to it and the animal forms look FANTASTIC! (even if I don’t plan on being Guardian or Feral… They’re still lovely) However the others are already level 110 and ready for Battle for Azeroth.

So first I will look at the class fantasy. This is actually where the biggest issue comes up: I love the rogue class fantasy. In D&D you will usually find me playing a rogue or a bard (or a combination of the two), so the sneaky rogue class fantasy is what I love. I will do my best to rank the above classes by class fantasy for an overall look at it:

  1. Rogue
  2. Mage
  3. Hunter
  4. Warrior
  5. Paladin
  6. Priest
  7. Druid
  8. Shaman

This is a problem. My top three are literally all pure dps classes, but I enjoy healing the most. Out of the top five there is a single class that can heal. Furthermore, the top class is melee dps! Oh the horror! I have a problem with melee dps at the moment that I am trying to overcome by leveling both a rogue and a warrior, but as it stands right now I still don’t seem to click with melee dps. Now that I’ve said this, let’s extend the issue by going to roleplay affinity. I’ll do my best to list them in order:

  1. Elise Dawnsinger – Musician and freelance agent from Lordaeron. Was adopted by a high elf fleeing south to avoid political intrigue in Silvermoon. (Hunter and Rogue)
  2. Lyra Dawnsinger – Apprentice mage and small business owner. Again, adopted by a high elf but this one was actually living in Stormwind. Was a homeless beggar girl in Stormwind and now owns a small tailoring business. (Mage)
  3. Wicker-medicine-lady – Not yet made because I need Kul-Tiran humans to release. The idea I’m going with is a natural healer and alchemist with some wicker vibes. More on this once I get my teeth into the Battle for Azeroth Alliance side campaign. (Druid)
  4. Clarinne Wakefield – Former farm girl and member of the Westfall Brigade. She’s… poorly educated, but has a heart of gold. Very simple and direct. Family was killed by Defias who burned down her family’s farm when she was a teenager. (Warrior)
  5. Kailyn Moore (not 100% set on surname) – Former Scarlet crusader. Was turned against the crusade in Lordaeron after a group of crusaders and the forces of the Alliance they were fighting were cornered by undead and had to work together. Saw the horrors of the crusade and turned her back on them. Now a scholar and a priest in Stormwind. (Priest)
  6. Meliaa – Shaman from Draenor. Bit of a spiritual guide to her people, but failed them when her people were killed by rampaging Orcs (after having learned shamanism from one of them). (Shaman)
  7. Tilaara – Lightforged vindicator and veteran of the Army of the Light. DEUS VULT. (Paladin)

Once again, the top two comprises of three pure dps classes and the bottom three are all classes who can heal. At this stage I feel like I’m painting a picture of who I would main in Battle for Azeroth. Clearly I should play either Rogue, Hunter, Mage or Druid. They are the top roleplay affinity characters as well as being the top for class fantasy. It feels like a no-brainer. However, it’s this last list that throws everything out the window… Let’s rank the classes in terms of mechanical enjoyment…

  1. Priest
  2. Paladin
  3. Shaman
  4. Hunter
  5. Mage
  6. Druid(?)
  7. Rogue
  8. Warrior

Yep. We’ve pretty much turned the previous tables on their head. Damn you, Blizzard. Making me love the mechanics of classes I have no class fantasy with or will to RP. I don’t really have time to dedicate to too many characters, so there have to be cuts. I’d love to be able to play all eight, honestly, but with work, tabletop and other responsibilities I won’t be able to pay attention to more than maybe three characters. Now, I’m a numbers nerd, so let’s put this into a table…

Character Mechanical Enjoyment Class Fantasy Roleplay Affinity Average Position Overall Position
Hunter 4 3 1 2.67 1
Rogue 7 1 1 3 2
Paladin 2 5 8 5 5
Priest 1 6 6 4.33 4
Mage 5 2 3 3.33 3
Warrior 8 4 5 5.67 7
Druid 4 7 4 5 5
Shaman 3 8 7 6 8

Which gives a final list of:

  1. Hunter
  2. Rogue
  3. Mage
  4. Priest
  5. Druid
  6. Paladin (5th equal, really)
  7. Warrior
  8. Shaman

Again, no healers in the top three when we look into it from a purely mechanical perspective. It would be an easy choice if I wasn’t interested in PvE and, given War Mode coming in Battle for Azeroth, trying my hand in PvP. Honestly, I think it’s going to take some time to decide when Battle for Azeroth comes out and I will seriously have to consider which character I get the feel for, because going through this has only told me that I have literally no idea what I want to do in Battle for Azeroth. It could be druid, as one of the limiting factors of druid was low mechanical enjoyment, but it has been a long, long time since I have played druid (we’re talking The Burning Crusade levels of a long time ago). At the end of the day, it’s all rather inconclusive.

And here I was hoping I’d find some answers… Well, what do you plan on having as your “main” in Battle for Azeroth? I hope you’ve had an easier time choosing than I have!

Fallout 76 Announced: Have Bethesda Learned?

The Bethesda stream finally sprung to life today as they announced Fallout 76, their next AAA game.

More information will be available at E3, but you can already check out their official teaser trailer here.

This announcement comes perhaps as expected, as Fallout 4 was revealed in the exact same way, with a rather idle stream followed by the official reveal, but I will admit that I am super hyped for this nonetheless.

I have played… a lot of Fallout over the years; not as much as some people, as I know that some people do manage to sink thousands of hours into these games, but a hefty amount nonetheless. It started at university when I picked up both Fallout 3 + all DLCs and Fallout New Vegas + all DLCs in a Steam sale. I installed them both and started with Fallout 3, which was okay and I did play through it in its unmodded entirety, however the real spike came with New Vegas. I loved New Vegas and it remains one of my favourite games to date. I have sunk about 500 hours into Fallout New Vegas, having now sided with House twice, NCR once and independent Vegas once (not Legion though. As a woman I can’t justify the Legion without some heavy amounts of head-canon). I even tweeted the other day that I’d be totally cool with an HD remake of New Vegas, but I will also admit that a new Fallout game also piques my curiosity quite heavily. I then moved onto Fallout 4, which I have so far clocked in almost 700 hours, but have yet to do anything other than siding with the Institute because I’m evil and power hungry…

What does all of this mean though? Why am I saying this? In short, I am saying it as a preface to the main body of this article: what are my concerns? Because I certainly have some.

First, let’s get it out of the way. Fallout 4 was not the best written game. It was an improvement over Fallout 3 (not hard), but vastly inferior to Fallout New Vegas. I felt like the story in Fallout New Vegas was better thought out and more accurately portrayed the various moral greys of a post-apocalyptic wasteland. NCR were corrupt and held onto old world values a bit too much, Legion were very focused on order and the strong ruling (even if they are a bunch of misogynist jerks and are basically wrong about everything #IAmNotBiased), House was a bit of a megalomaniac and an independent Vegas was anarchy. The start of the story was literally “you’re a delivery boy/girl and you get shot in the head after being robbed of your package” but escalated into so much more in a well-paced story that had you find more and more out as you went along.

Fallout 4 felt like a reversal of everything that made New Vegas great. The story didn’t feel as well thought out; it started far more interesting with the whole “my baby has been kidnapped” story but doesn’t really evolve into anything beyond this. The factions are all quite plain, with the Institute being the obviously evil choice, warping your son into a monster and then appointing you as the leader of the Institute despite literally no qualifications to run a scientific super power in the Commonwealth; The Railroad is the definition of one-dimensional, only focusing on freeing synths and nothing else, the Brotherhood is AD VICTORIAM MILITARY FACTION SYNTHS ARE BAD, and the Minutemen are… incompetent, but clearly the good-guy faction.

I really hope that Bethesda have learned from their mistakes and will be approaching Fallout 76 like Obsidian did back with Fallout New Vegas, however this brings me to my second point.

Is Fallout 76 going to be a real Fallout game, or are Bethesda going for something different? I saw an article on Kotaku that hinted at Fallout 76 not being a traditional, single player RPG, which would be disappointing, I will admit. If it’s a battle royale type game I would probably cry and laugh at the same time; crying in disappointment, but laughing at the meme levels. If it’s an online RPG, my previous point still stands; I really hope they focus on the story. I wouldn’t be entirely opposed to an MMO-style Fallout game, however I would be wary as many studios have tried to make MMOs and failed miserably. Call me skeptical.

Obviously we don’t know much at the moment. All we have really seen is the teaser trailer and been told that more will come out at E3. Between Fallout 76 and Cyberpunk 2077 (I hear CD Projekt Red will be at E3?), I will certainly be keeping a very, very close eye on E3 this year, but I just can’t let myself get -too- hyped about this. There are too many unknowns at the moment and I am still feeling the sting of a slightly disappointing Fallout 4 (which was still a good game, just not as good as it could have been!).

Bring on E3!

The Pain of Loss, The Agony of Reunion

It had been a while since Elise had visited the Arathi Highlands. She was working as a freelance scout for the Alliance military and both met her adoptive sister and was almost disemboweled by an Orc with a rather large axe in the same night. It wasn’t a pleasant memory and she didn’t feel ready to be back here, but the opportunity was too good to pass up; it was almost too good to be true. The Alliance had been in talks with the Horde and had organised a meeting for humans and members of the Forsaken who, in life, were previously related. Elise hated the undead. She saw them as abominations that needed to be put down and she needed the closure. The memories of when the Scourge swept across the Kingdom of Lordaeron were forever imprinted in her memories. She was hiding under her bed when she saw her parents massacred by the endless tide of undead. She needed closure. She needed to know her parents had been granted the peace of death. She needed to attend this meet up to confirm that her parents were truly dead.

When they reached the location of the meet up, Elise immediately flared her nostrils in disgust. The Forsaken had gathered near the wall and the Alliance had gathered up near Stromgarde, but Elise could smell the foul stench of undeath on the air. She would hold back her desires to destroy every last one of these abominations for the sake of her King and his orders, but should the Forsaken strike first she was ready to fight, having strapped a sheathed dagger to her belt, though she had left her armour behind. There was some hesitation, as many saw the undead in the same way as she did and it was likely that nobody present on the Alliance side trusted the leader of the Forsaken, Sylvanas Windrunner, to not pull something here. Slowly, but surely, the two sides met in the middle and started to mingle.

Elise wandered through the crowds, seeing humans and undead talking as people appeared to find long lost loved ones. She saw some speaking briefly before parting ways, unable to accept their differences; Elise thought they were the intelligent ones. It was clear that they could not coexist. It disgusted her to see some pairs and groups rekindling long forgotten relationships; these Forsaken were no different from the Scourge that had destroyed their homes in the first place. Nevertheless, she continued to make her way through the crowd, looking for her own parents and feeling rather content that she hadn’t found them.

That’s when she noticed it. It had been so long since she had adopted the Moreau name. She had fully taken on the Dawnsinger name since Arinella, a ranger fleeing from political strife in Quel’thalas, rescued her from the decaying Lordaeron and brought her south to Stormwind. She had almost forgotten what the family crest looked like, but seeing a ring with the crest clearly depicted caused a tirade of emotions to flood through Elise, primarily fear and anger. She took a deep breath, frowning heavily and making her way over to the Forsaken wearing the ring. She reached into her pack and pulled out her own ring that had been gifted to her minutes before the Scourge murdered her family as she stormed over to the pair of Forsaken.

“That ring. Where did you find it?” Elise demanded, pointing at the ring on the undead woman’s hand. The pair looked at her, a brief moment of silence as they looked into Elise’s rather angry eyes.

“Lisette?” the woman asked, her initial offense at the human’s approach melting away in an instant as she looked at the blonde young lady.

Elise’s eyes widened. She had hoped that they were simply grave robbers and that she was going to need to demand that the ring was returned to her. She had always feared this possibility and simply stood still, staring at the pair of Forsaken. She was at a total loss for words.

“Lisette? Is that you?” the male Forsaken asked as well as they both looked upon her. Even though they were dead, Elise could see the hope in their expressions. It tore at her; she hated all undead for what the Scourge did to her parents. She refused to believe that these monsters were her parents.

“It can’t be…” she muttered, taking a step back from the pair of Forsaken.

“You’ve grown so much since we last saw you,” the Forsaken woman said, taking a step towards Elise. “We always hoped you escaped. It was the spark of hope we clung to all these years.

“No, you’re not my parents,” Elise said, shaking her head and recoiling from the woman.

The woman visibly sunk. “I know it’s hard, but-…”

“No! It can’t be. I won’t believe it,” Elise said, looking away from the pair as tears started to flow from her eyes, streaking down her cheek and dropping onto the grass. She refused to believe that these two Forsaken were Charles and Lilyne Moreau, her biological parents.

“It’s us, Lisette,” the male Forsaken said, taking a step forwards and placing a hand on her shoulder. She recoiled from his touch initially, but then let his hand rest on her shoulder as the woman made her way to Elise’s other side.

“Why?” Elise asked, her head now in her hands.

“We didn’t have a choice. The Scourge raised us against our will, but we broke free when his power waned,” Lilyne explained.

“But you’re…” Elise muttered, raising her head to look at the pair of Forsaken through tear-filled eyes.

“Abhorrent crimes against nature? I know, Lisette, but I still believe the Light has a use for us in this world,” Lilyne answered, cutting Elise off.

“How did you escape?” Charles asked, a look of curiosity, but also concern on his face.

“A ranger fleeing south saved me. She took me in,” Elise answered, sniffing and wiping tears from her eyes as she tried to regain her composure, battling an ever rising tide of emotion that welled up inside her.

“That explains the dagger,” Lilyne said with a smile, “you’ve grown into such a beautiful, strong young woman. We’re both so proud of you.”

“This ranger that took you south, I’m guessing she was a high elf?” Charles asked, examining the necklace that Elise wore, an arrow wrapped in a vine, blooming in a flower native to Quel’thalas at the base of the arrowhead.

“Yes. She’s been good to me. Taught me what I needed to survive.”

“You mean elocution and singing lessons didn’t teach you how to defend yourself?”

Elise smiled, chuckling quietly and shaking her head. “No, I suppose they didn’t. Oh, and call me Elise; I dropped the name when I thought you were dead. No sense in getting caught up in politics when our lands and business was destroyed.”

“I agree. Our family had enemies who could still be out there. It’s safer this way,” Charles responded with a nod.

A loud horn interrupted the conversation, originating from the wall.

“Well, that’s our cue. Sorry we can’t stay longer, Elise,” Lilyne said with a smile, “but that’s the signal to return and we dare not disobey the Warchief.”

Elise looked at her parents, tears once again welling in her eyes, until she noticed some undead making a break for the Alliance lines. She turned back to her parents.

“Why not come back with me? You can’t trust Sylvanas, but we can be a family again in Stormwind,” Elise pleaded, holding her mother’s hand as she turned to walk away.

The pair of undead hesitated, looking back to Elise. “I don’t think we would be accepted back in the Alliance, much like you would not be accepted in Lordaeron any more,” Lilyne replied with a soft smile. “I’m sure we’ll see each other again.”

Elise let go of her mother’s hand and watched as the pair of undead started to walk away. However, she caught the sight of a one of the undead running for the Alliance lines collapse, an arrow through his frail form as he lay still in the dirt. Then another fell. More and more started to fall as she saw Sylvanas’s dark rangers open fire on the undead, indiscriminately firing on both the ones who were fleeing as well as those who were returning.

She turned to face her mother and father again and opened her mouth to yell at them to run, but she was too late. Her father took the first arrow straight through his head, the force of the impact knocking his head clean off his body as he tumbled to the ground. Her mother took an arrow to the torso shortly afterwards, crashing to the ground under the hail of fire from the dark rangers. Elise grabbed her dagger and unsheathed it, ready for one to attack her, but nothing came. In fact, no member of the Alliance was attacked at all. Sylvanas was simply slaughtering her own people.

By the time Elise came to realise this, the dark rangers had fallen back and the Forsaken were quitting the field. Dagger in hand, she started to make her way to the Forsaken lines. She wasn’t thinking rationally; unarmoured and barely armed she marched towards the wall, however she almost tripped on her way. Something had grabbed her ankle. She looked back to see Lilyne, barely moving, grabbing onto her ankle.

“Let go!” Elise screamed, wrenching her leg free, although instead of pulling her leg free of the hand, she ended up pulling Lilyne’s arm out of its socket. A look of horror spread across her face as she did and she immediately turned to kneel next to the body of her mother.

“Live,” Lilyne muttered, managing to shake her head in her final moments before she became still.

Elise burst into tears once more, kneeling between her fallen parents. She couldn’t look away from the sight of them.

“Why? They were returning. Why would she do this to her own people!” Elise screamed, stabbing her dagger into the earth in anger. She couldn’t contain the mix of emotions any longer as the mixture of sadness, rage and frustration came to the surface. She looked up to see the Forsaken one last time as they disappeared from sight, her eyes full of hatred. “If I ever get my hands on you, I’ll make you suffer for what you’ve done, Sylvanas,” Elise muttered as she watched them vanish, white-knuckled fists clenched tightly.

 

The Adventures of a Cyberpunk 2020 GM and her players, part 2

What a roller coaster ride we had this week. I planned the next job for the PCs, intending it to be a thinker, one where they would really have to think about it rather than just attack it head on. Thought it would be good to send them up against some more organised opposition without throwing them against corporate security. Yet.

As a reminder, our PCs are:

  • Eduardo “Plata” Gayoso – A former ganger who joined the police force as he saw it as a way to gain more power (and beat people down legally).
  • Edward “Crossfire” Caine – A retired corporate security member who has found himself feeling rather useless, so has taken to edgerunning to keep his skills sharp.
  • Zheng “Hard Truth” Huo – A… paranoid conspiracy theorist vlogger who is obsessed with his job to show the real truth to the masses.

And our named NPCs who came up this session were:

  • Iron Hawk – A relatively new fixer who is interested in bringing the PCs into the edgerunning scene as new talent.
  • Panther – An edgerunning solo who works for Iron Hawk. Very, very good with one-handed guns
  • Ghost – An edgerunning driver who works for Iron Hawk. New to the area and with weak English, but has a fancy katana.
  • Cold Snap – A more experienced fixer who doesn’t like new talent and prefers hiring more experienced edgerunners.
  • Acid – An edgerunning solo working for Cold Snap, dangerous in hand to hand combat
  • Omen – An edgerunning driver who works for Cold Snap
  • Aspect – A corporate manager of some sort who edgeruns by night, also working for Cold Snap

We picked up where we left off last session, with the PCs resting and recuperating after taking some hits from the last job. Plata bought some items through Iron Hawk, which we had already rolled for and mechanically taken care of during the week, and Crossfire came to the Combat Zone every day to perform first aid on Hard Truth to ensure he would heal and his wounds wouldn’t get worse.

This is actually where the initial fun began. Hard Truth, being a paranoid man, took different routes to meet with Crossfire each day. I had him roll streetwise checks each day to navigate the Combat Zone safely, which he did most of the time, but he managed to fumble the third day’s roll hard, so I brought out the random encounter table. The first one I rolled was that he got too close to corporate security guarding someone and they would shoot at him as soon as he got close, but I felt that didn’t make much sense as corporates have very little reason to go into the Combat Zone unless they’re edgerunners (who generally don’t have their own corporate bodyguards…), so I re-rolled and got possibly the best result I could have hoped for. Hard Truth, eternally wary that the Man was after him, started being tailed. He took alleyways towards his location, to see if this man who was shadowing him would follow through alleyways and he did; Hard Truth was being stalked! Hard Truth hid in an alley, pulling out his gun and holding it head height. The man shadowing him fumbled his awareness check and walked straight into the barrel of Hard Truth’s handgun. Hard Truth pulled the trigger, instantly killing the man following him. As he searched the man, he found a few eurobucks, a gun with some magazines, a wallet and two badges. One was his SIN card, the other was his detective badge. Clearly, the Man had sent this one to chase Hard Truth, when in reality he was wrongly following Hard Truth and was trying to locate a drug dealer who had gotten a corporate executive’s child hooked on drugs.

After this, Hard Truth approached Iron Hawk for information about this man and, being an information broker, she found the information and sold it to Hard Truth at a discounted rate, as he is one of her edgerunners, only charging him 750eb for the information. Hard Truth took photos and then burned the documents, as Hard Truth gave the information in document form to avoid an online paper trail. However, at the same time, Plata learned of the murder of the detective from his colleagues, but didn’t know Hard Truth was the one who was responsible, so he started to look into it himself. He looked around, not finding any evidence, so he approached Iron Hawk for information as well. She was hesitant to give it, as she knew it was one of her own edgerunners who had committed the murder, but promises from Plata of an in with the city police force and a persuasion crit of 26 (the DC was 25 because she’s very hard to persuade) meant that she said she would deliver the information, but told Plata that no one could know where the information came from and that she would deliver it to his place of residence in document form.

So, after all of this, the PCs finally got their job. They were to disrupt a deal between the Jackals and Cold Snap, who was selling sex workers. They were also instructed to bring the sex workers and the Jackals’ payment (as it would be in cash) back to Iron Hawk as well, as Iron Hawk was still looking to profit from the run. Plata hung back to hire on some additional firepower, the party choosing to hire a solo named Panther and a runner named Ghost, both fairly pricey, but also fairly skilled. It was amusing to me, as they hired one of the beefiest NPCs at Iron Hawk’s disposal and the weediest, with Panther coming in with Body Type 8 (strong) and Ghost coming in with Body Type 3 (weak).

Crossfire and Hard Truth went to find some information, approaching a prostitute in the general area of the deal and asking for information while visibly counting a few hundred eurobucks. She didn’t know the answers to their question, however I gave her a cool save to see what she would do… and she failed. So she lied. She told the PCs what they wanted to know and, as a class (yes, it is a class in cp2020) that relies on empathy skills, was quite good at lying to the PCs, so they went away believing they had the correct information. The bogus arms deal the prostitute told them about was later confirmed to be bogus information by Iron Hawk, as Crossfire sent it over to her as something of interest, and eventually Plata had to go undercover as a Jackal to find the real information, being a very good cop by mugging someone in the Combat Zone to ingratiate himself to a group of Jackals.

With information in hand and scouting performed, the group felt confident in their preparation and stormed in, with the exception of Hard Truth who had to loop back around after being spotted by one of the people at the trade. They went forward, trying to shoot the driver in one of the vans and shooting the tires. Panther destroyed both front tires on the van in the alley and put a large hole in the engine block, but was then shot at by Acid, a solo hired by Cold Snap to oversee the deal, who got lucky and hit Panther in the left arm and left leg, which were the parts that were out of cover, causing him a large number of wounds. Ghost channeled her inner Assassins Creed and climbed up the building, disappearing from sight for the time being while the rest of the group pushed in. Aspect, the corporate who was there to negotiate the trade for Cold Snap, grabbed one of the sex workers and threatened the player characters that if they didn’t back off she would execute one. The player characters continued pushing in, Plata trying to intimidate her to make her give pause, however Acid intimidated her more and she kept to her threat, shooting the prostitute in the back of the head. By this point, the remaining three were loaded into the van that the Jackals had brought, Acid intimidating the Jackals to let them take the van and rolling a 29 on his skill check. The driver, Omen, then rolled a 35 on his driving check and smashed through the pseudo-blockade presented by the original, disabled minivan that Crossfire and Panther was taking cover behind. Crossfire managed to dodge out of the way, but Panther was not so lucky, taking 3d10 damage, putting him deep into mortal wounds. Crossfire tried to stabilise him, but with his low tech stat and not great first aid skill was unable to hit the rather challenging DC to stabilise Panther.

Hard Truth also slowly made his way back around to the fight, trying to shoot out the tires of the minivan as it sped past, but was unable to hit it due to its speed. Ghost dropped from the rooftop and onto the Jackal who was running away with the money, killing him with her katana before getting shot by another ganger, failing her stun save (as her body type stat was a paltry 3) which kept happening over and over, as every turn a single attack would get through her armour and cause a single wound, triggering another stun save.

In the meantime, Plata had jumped onto the back of the speeding minivan, grabbing onto the doors and trying to rip them open. However, Acid noticed this and maneuvered to the back of the van, opening the door and stabbing Plata twice with his combat knife, causing Plata to go into mortal wounds. Stun saves and death saves were rolled, but Plata failed them, causing him to be clinically dead. Crossfire heard this and ran over, activating Plata’s healthcare plan by manually snapping the card (as he didn’t have an automatic biomonitor that could trigger it and went down before he could manually do it himself, before rushing back to Panther. When he got back, he discovered that Hard Truth had taken a nasty hit to the leg, the bullet going straight through the knee and rendering the leg inoperable (limb loss is a bitch), but Hard Truth was not quite on death’s door yet, having passed the initial death save for the limb loss, but not quite being in mortal wounds. Ghost managed to have a turn where no attack got through her armour and she promptly walked up to the two gangers near her, decapitating one and severing the other one’s leg, killing both. Crossfire picked up Hard Truth and carried him on his back, before performing a feat of strength to also pick up Panther’s now dead body, calling over for Ghost to get the car. She ran back to her car, unlocking it and power sliding into the alley, allowing Crossfire to load Hard Truth and the body of Panther into the back of the pristine car. She drove them to a ripperdoc known as Bonesaw, who also worked for Iron Hawk, who tried to resuscitate Panther but to no avail; Panther was permanently dead. On the other side, a MediCare team dropped into the street and recovered Plata, successfully resuscitating him with the help of their field ambulance and driving him off.

Crossfire reported to Iron Hawk, who docked their pay for failing to retrieve the sex workers, but then used his own pay to facilitate Plata’s medical costs and Hard Truth came to an arrangement with Bonesaw to replace his leg with the new one. The last thing that happened was as Ghost gave Crossfire a ride home, she was stopped at the gate due to her katana not being a “self-defense” weapon and was therefore illegal. She got on the phone, having a brief conversation in Japanese, before handing the phone over to the policeman who was causing the issues and after a brief phone conversation he waved them through.


This session was looooooooooooooooooong. Literally 7 hours long. There were interesting shenanigans and there’s likely going to be some conflict within the group as Hard Truth killed a detective, which Plata is going to learn about once he leaves hospital as the documents will be waiting for him, telling him exactly who murdered the detective…

I enjoyed the session, though I was a little disappointed with the direct, sledgehammer approach to this job. The players were told that there would be multiple parties here and one of those parties would be a rival edgerunning team. Really what they needed to do was turn the Jackals and the rival edgerunners against each other, and then mop up the survivors, or plant seeds of doubt in the Jackals’ minds and then side with them against the edgerunners. Taking the sledgehammer approach was far from optimal and I feel like they paid for it, making no net profit from this run and losing access to the stronger hire-able solo under Iron Hawk’s influence. I’m hoping that in the future they take the threat of rival edgerunner teams a bit more seriously, as Acid, the solo in the rival team, seriously messed the PCs’ team up.

I’m unsure what I will be planning for the next session. I believe it may be the last Cyberpunk 2020 one for now, as my fourth player is back for the week after next so we will be returning to D&D 5e as that game has priority, but I will see about having this as a regular game as well, but will need to check availability with my players. I’m perfectly happy to run two games per week (as I love doing it), but I will see what my players can do too.