Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Sins of the Crusade Episode 03, Season 02

Thanks to +Il Pella , +Wilton Heath , +Dan Mungham , and +Mike Dulay for playing.

Summary of Events

After the events in Taranto, we fast forward 3 months (mid May to mid August) as the Party has made arrangements to Sail to Constantinople despite the Summer Weather. Bohemmond and the party manage to settle their extradition, with promises of Doux-some title*  they travel east to formalize Bohemmonds oaths to the eemperorand earn his rightful inheritance from his father, Robert Guiscard, which is all the lands east of Italy.

The party made many arrangements and relationships changed and evolved. Tertius and Xeno's men have increased in number, although they still bring around their core and elite band with them when they can. Cato has increased in status, earning the confidence and place of confesor to the man who tortured him and brought him to ill health, Baron Dominic of Matera.

Joining them is the household of Lady Olena and many of the cast who may have bailed Taranto ship. Behind the Scenes - prior to leaving, the estates were "mortgage" to the Church at the desired amount need to campaign. This is roughly the entire "Net Income" of the estates and the monopolies for 5 years (an arbitrary number). With Papal officers as hostages they were able to get the money and leave behind Taranto and Matera to finance their new campaign abroad.

When the Party arrived there were many who greeted them (agents and solicitors), particularly Agents of various Houses. Xander (short for Alexios, because there are MANY  men named Alexios in greek since Alexander the great) of Dalassenos who offered the Emperor's courtesy. There was an exchange and Cato decided he would rather be in his more modest household than to be isolated in the Emperors' Guest palace. The rest of the lesser Agents and Solicitors were turned away.

Xeno arranged for his men, and let them loose under the guidance of Miroclones. They were all to rest for the months of journey they endured and to rebuild morale and confidence. Xeno went to explore the City an Berthold with him, they were looking for answers to questions about the events in Symrna that led to his capture and enslavement.

Xeno and Berthold had to dodge spies, a common pest found in byzantine court. Naturally very cunning, they were able to conceal their movements and finally disappeared into the crowds of Constantinople. They met with Marten of Bucarri, a retired captain who had a very politically neutral reputation. he had no great commission, but did not have many enemies. Xeno knows he is not clean, but cannot say he was dirty from the stories he heard as he served in the Navy.

Marten received them with great skepticism and suspicion. Still he listened, as something about Xeno made him a credible man despite his undisciplined appearance. Xeno talked about Symrna and the raid that happened 8 years ago (1084) when Tzarchas attacked and captured the strategic city and port. Marten has little to say to Xeno except that his story would have bring great interest to one of the generals, and the first one to approach him about it he should tell Marten.**

When they left Marten they stumbled on a high born youth and lady who were being harassed by thugs. Xeno made them out as soldiers, and approached them while Berthold covered him with his bow. Xenos' voice carried across the busy square and people turned to look, the soldiers were cowed and could not make their move when the attention was all on them. They made their presence scarce. The Lady thanked him, and asked to speak with them in private as they were one of the many solicitors who sought Bohemon's audience.

Xeno brought them to his ship. Where they talked, he learned he was Peter and Lady Belanca of Aaranal. It was a mother, a distractedly attractive lady, pleading for a commission for her son and her son did not know the humility to ask for such. Xeno could see the boy as less than a man (not yet 16) and has very little discretion. He would allow him service under him, as a commander if he would bring to Xeno 20 men who would fight for him in a months time. Peter looked disappointed and tried to hide it, and a mother looked worried.

A commotion got loud outside the ship and when Xeno came to look there were men brawling with his own men. They attackers tried to burn the ship but only stopped short by burning the unloaded supplies and goods near it. Xeno rallied the others and pushed them back, Rjugot managed to stop a bolt with his shield as flew to Xeno and Peter was able to cut down and route some men with just his short sword. The docks were not like the ship and Xeno survived by Fate, only losing a few men and manage to take down the ambushers who quickly fled when their first attack was rebuffed.

Impressed with the youth's prowess with the blade, Xeno gave words of encouragement in seeing Peter come with his 20 men. When they examined the bodies, they were under the command of their former master Constantine Umbertopolous (aka Umberto).

Meanwhile Cato has the help of his loving brother in having Bohemmon's entourage settled in. He managed many things, and was a terror to his servants in getting many of the other details done. And when he thought he had time to rest is broken body, Dominic starts calling, seeking him. Taking his mercenaries Velus and Mathew. Dominic had solicitors and he had to rebuild his staff, as many has abandoned him when he mismanagement of his estates.  When Cato arrived he found Xander of Dalassenos filling Dominic's head with garbage and inside the clutches of who ever Xander may really be working for.

Many solicitors but Cato was only interested in the non combatants, after filtering them he found them of use - first was a (Charlatan) healer, as if he never heard of so much none-sense come out of one place, second was a discharged student Jurist (aka Lawyer) who seemed to have been discharged for his relationship for his master, and lastly a Slav who claimes to be a Greek pyromancer. While Cato added these characters to his staff, Dominic was under the impression they worked for him.

Xeno brought word of their former masters betreyal and many agreed they better clear things up with him. Bohemmond being aware of all such affairs, wanted to meet this Frank who worked for Greeks and had his own many questions to ask him. Insisting, Cato had no choice to let his master and Tancred join them.  

When they arrived in the estate, it was already dusk and many of the city lamps were lit. The estate looked dark and when the servant was made to approach the door he found it open and a feast laid out, Berthod is first to investigate. They all go in and find the candles burning low (in food preparation it deters flies and other pests), and many of the lamps not lit. They could hear Umberto talking and they called out to him from in the dark house. He replied, a figure framed in shadow. He says its a bad time, and apologizes to them. When they asked why he sent his men to attack them, he was silent and his head seems to drop.

While others talked to the Umberto, Olek, the Pyromancer, began to eat the cold food. He noticed an oil that was hard to tell, because that same smell was usually on him. He found it translucently on the floor, food and many places. He quickly leaves, with an expression of fear. Cato quickly follows him.

When a figure seem to move silently beside Umberto, The figure lit something and Rjugot threw his spear at who ever it was. The figure got run through and droped what blossomed into fire that ran through the house. The structure began to burn quickly, and white intense fire lit the walls and gate. Xeno and Bohemmon grab one of the heavy tables and ran using as cover. Trying to out run the fire's strength as it seemed to be focused on the courtyard. They break through the servants gate into a crowd that has formed try to prevent the fire from spreading with water (to no effect of some of the fire).

The crowd felt dangerous and someone struggled to have a clear shot with his crossbow behind the cover of people. Bohemmon ran for cover, tancred rushed at the crowd parting it. Rjogot was able to quick shoot his arrow at such a short distance. As the figure is struck, many blades appear from the shadows and the crowd panics. We ended the game there.  

*(note that prior to the crusade all the titles were very not as nuanced as Duchy, County, Principality. it was their introduction to the byzatnine regional system that created such nuances and the adoption of the high princely title of Duke)
** John Doukas is the current Megas Doux or Supreme Admiral, the Emperor's uncle Constantine Dalassenos (age 50s), and Emperor's younger brother Durongoi of the Fleet Nikepheros Komnenos,

Monday, November 3, 2014

Gaming in the Brain: that should Include Min Maxing myself.

What else was I busy with?

2007 i got married and joined an airsoft team, I know its 2007 because I had Laser Eye surgery at about Dec the same year. So i was 27 with such a metabolism that I could eat 3000-4000 calories without gaining much, after 30 I gained 50lbs (from 130lbs). Now the healthiest I can be without having symptoms of bad nutrition (canker sores, allergies, etc) is 165lbs trying to be within 1,500 calories everyday (how far my metabolism has deteriorated).

Took me 7 years to improve in Airsoft. 7 years from a Mindset that could not apply my gaming to Real life and always wishing I could. Getting hung up with so many things that did not matter in the long run.

Much of my team were all former Gamers who had families and no time to play. I still run games, its just 5am in the morning until my family wakes up and you can see me in the videos juggling that poorly. Then I wake up fairly early for an Airsoft game on the next day. I learned I will need to keep adapting my favorite past time in many forms that allows me to grow and thats changing and hacking a lot of myself.

What I learn in each hobby has to be applicable in everything else I do or else it gets forgotten. If its important a detailed report in my private journal of the entire Thesis of the idea and how I can simplify it to conditioned response or a simple mnemonic.

Now a days I need to simplify my running games and run my GURPS Fate-like lolz. A betrayer to the hard core gurps guys lolz. I think details should just be in the SIM games and not in the table top - because in an airsoft game or sparring match those details are done in less than a second but in table top game it adds minutes (IMO) per turn and in many instances (adding a lot of waste), what happens on the table are activities that GM and Players can wrap up quickly and push the story forward.

130lbs ( medium), 180lbs (A large), 160lbs (medium)... now I have a lot of ill fitting clothes lolz.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Sins of the Crusade Season 2, Episode 2: Desperate Enemies

Thanks for +Mike Dulay , +Il Pella , +Alais Legrand , and +Thunder Clonch. +Wilton Heath was unable to join but gave a heads up early. 

I think there were many disconnections for me in this game, about 3, and one which put me out for a while.  

Basically what happened is the Party recovered some documents in Latin and in Cryptic Euphemisms, after murdering Reverend Father Peter and the messenger he was with. Their italian and philosophy allowed them to identify many of the nouns, but it was their Theology that allowed them to see through the religious symbol used to describe the situation. Basically it was manipulation of Baron Dominic, a guilt ridden lord who has had many failures and disasters despite being very capable.

The made all sorts of plans of revealing the ill gotten evidence, but all lead to a simple question: "How did you get this". When there was question who would broach the evidence to the lord, Lucretia offered but no MAN would suffer a lady to be placed in danger. Especially when the party has a particular guilty streak when it came to her origins.

Konrad and Berthold, again had a different opinion on the matter. Konrad being the most Classically trained offered her defense, that the "weakness" her gender had was her strength in this matter. Like all practical friends and loved ones, the first thought of a woman without adequate male protection occurred to them - and it was too risky...

But Lucretia had a history of not listening to her betters, and when she stole off Raoul and Berthold almost ran her down thinking her a Spy. She got a bit of a beating from Raouls horse but she survived and was able to make plans in how they will try to pretend to be emissaries and rest the evidence to Dominic.

The plan would have gone smoothly if there wasn't a whole army of co-conspirators who was in the camp. Also when the Party encountered the Lord, he was beating the Crap out of Cato to the tune of "Your making me hurt you!"

Berthold and Raoul co to track and observe the co-conspirators while Lucretia, simply walked in to the lords tent making him Strike her as she witnesses the beaten body of Cato. Lucratia, played by Thunder Joe, was dealing with Dominic and found a very confused and complicated person - "his good, but has a hard time being good".

Dominic was an Ideal lord, and met out violence and justice as would expected any christian lord. He also gave mercy when expected, and did not shirk from his martial duties. But even good and competent men are not immune to Fate and Chance, and poor management of the holdings and an aggressive neighbor made Bohemmond a boogeyman to him. In Peters notes, it was easy to demonize Bohemmond and make him the scape goat of all Dominics problems to get him to launch a surprise attack on Bohemmond - dehumanized as a the Devil.

While this was happening Berthold was able to have a quick pick of the key enemies, while Raoul was able to sow discord in the camp. The opportunist thief archer wanted to know the face he should aim for in the crowd and Raoul could feel the doubt of the lord magnified in his men, and tried to plant the idea of desertion instead of wasting their lives fighting.

You cannot turn a man 180 degrees but you an slow him down with doubt. When the letters were eventually revealed it had the opposite effect, gavlanizing the remorse and loss Dominic felt with the death of Peter, but when read aloud who is skilled in Rhetoric, the euphamisms were a slow acting and painful poison that drove a knife through the lord. Dominic's virtues got the better of him, and this demoness was going to be struck down - except for the words of Cato that gave he pause to see the blood he has covered his hands.

Enough reason surfaced to summon Lucretias companions, and when they had more to report swords and blades emerged from the Tent door. Raoul took many of the stabs, but dominic, lucretia and Berthold kept them at bay. When they left the tent the Conspirators were trying to kill Dominic, and Bohemmond emerged from their camps flank along with Xeno and Teritius to smash the army. Lucretia was able to call their banners and stop them from fighting Dominic and concentrate on the Papal forces Roger Borsa employed.

After this chapter we skip the Trip to Constantinople where a Norman Prince arrives to take his place among the great families of the Empire.

everyone got 3cps, and 4cps to give to others.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Got some Sparring Gear, Not HEMA but it would do.

Its not HEMA, but it should do till I make my own HEMA grade stuff. This is from STIX.

All I really need to spar is the Padded Sticks, but if we want to be a little bit more aggressive and attack important vital targets (like Head and Hands) then these would be needed. This is by no means complete, one should own a pair of "heavy sticks" any hard wood stick that would weigh 2-3lbs each for muscle conditioning and control. 

55USD for the helmet and about (4lbs or 1.9kg), 12.5USD for the gloves, and 8.5USD for the padded sticks. The padded sticks are easy to DIY, the gloves a bit harder, and the helmet is the hardest. This is their largest size. These all should fit an XL person. Sadly its really expensive to deliver it by plane to the US amounting to about $150usd from the quotes I get (the cheapest way is by Freight, which means someone has to buy them in bulk and sell them there lolz).

Compared to the Stuff in Amazon, its a pretty good price, and I can't find it in Aliexpress and the Local "Ebay" called Sulit aka OXL. 

Like I said, I'm a bit deviating from Gaming RPGs, but going more into Simulations and trying to apply my gamer mindset in my health. I am about 36 and I really need to pour more hours of my day into fitness. As a sedentary person, I need to have at least 1 hour a day of light exercise or 10k steps/8km a day. 

Not HEMA but a Great beginner set

This is meant to be used against "live Sticks" or best padded sticks. There is really no point in hurting the person, the ideal is to be able to make full strength blows that are safe. The grade of the nylon fabric is fine but many of the parts are made of a light but rugged upholstery pleather. The more fights he better, the less injury the more fights. 

Knowing the cost it takes to make this, STIX is the Original Manufacturer. They get their materials from the textile manufacturers themselves (I would know since its the only local textile maker in the country) instead of wholesellers and this the lowest it can go. You are getting this with no middle man adding to the cost. The company has a pretty good marketing arm, but very small which means it has minimal effect on the prices. 

But you cannot compare this to HEMA stuff which is mean to be used against spring steel. The pleather would be terrible against it and would require some repairs depending on how strong the blows expect. Although if you are using wooden or padded weapons, this would allow you to let your armor be your practice target. 

So what I have planned is 30 second fights, padded sticks, and a Ref calling points for "control" (which is pretty much the same in Kali as it is in HEMA when I was fighting in tournaments in high school). There are several key drills and conditionings that need to be done, and the BIGGEST barrier is schedule since I have to make sure I recover well and don't sacrifice much of my sleeping.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Sins of the Crusade Episode 01, Season 02

The week the party sworn themselves to Bohemmon, it feels a bit like some trickery. The Prince of Taranto has enemies, and they have begun to move against him. Their oaths are immediately tested, but not everyone took them willingly. 

A rift between Xenophon and Cato, Cato exposed Xeno to protect him and such betreyal is not easily forgiven. They have aired their grievances with each other that night, but all is not so easily forgiven.
A Norman scout, Raoul, discovered the suspicious activity and was able to report it. His witness expired, despite great effort to keep him alive. Reporting with detectable levels of inebriation and the lack of important details he was disciplined and assign to the new Captains, Tertius and Xenophon.
Cato presented the information to Behommon, who then heard the counsel of his men. Bohemmon was a difficult master to please, and did not like people to merely present problems but propose and offer solutions – Cato picked up on that only to be trapped to offer his services to “turn” the army on to Bohemmon.

When the party left, they moved quickly with 100 men between two captains, Xeno and Tertius, who can be mustered within the night and before the light of dawn they marched. Xenophon's 20 bulgars joined Raoul as advanced scouts, moving as flank guards.

Not long after they discovered the advance party of the opposition. They maneuvered and with the help of the bulgar scouts able to ambush them. Tertius, Xeno, and Bronn, maneuvered the forces that allowed them to set the trap, while Berthold captured its captain, a man named Antonious. They learned Baron Dominic of Matera marches against Bohemmon with over 1,000 men.

Antonious was tortured by Xeno, and was a hardened and loyal man – an Idealist. They are supposed to “treat” with the Baron, and to turn the force to aid Bohemmon when he marches to Constatinople... they realized they have a hostage, and they need to offer, them a suitable exchange in order for the lord to listen. They drew straws, and Cato drew the short one. Despite his cleverness, his friends know too well how to protect themselves from his sweet words – they hardened their hearts but gave them their promises they will make sure they get him out alive if things go south. At least Cato, was able to redeem some of his honor to Xeno.

When Cato was handed, word of Antonious's condition was learned and he was made to pay. Cato learned a Reverend Father influenced Dominic's and found himself with a lord desperate and afraid, and courtier in the cloth. At great personal suffering Cato overcame, and had the lucidity to challenge the lord's perceptions. Still his position as a hostage allowed his presence to be controlled and as the army marches Closer, bohemon has no word to Dominic's summons.

The Party also has also no word from Bohemmon. Taranto has been silent, no messengers or scouts have come to replace those sent to give word on their status. Already the army has marched near the walls, and waiting.

They decided to send in their own and investigate the Army camp. Rjot, Raul, and Berthold sneak in. They manage to seek undetected and come upon the priest, who happens to relaying messages to someone else. It became a simple matter, and they kill him and the messenger. They were almost successful except for chance that someone checked on the priest. They manage to kill them too, only to alert the camp and they ran.

When Dominic learned of the priests death, he appears before Cato with a knife at his throat.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Blog Update: Out of Prescheduled Posts and Hibernation

Hey guys, It seems that work has caught up and I can't update regularly for the while. Can't post regularly, probably just post some game sessions updates, but I don't know how my schedule will be until after Feb.

I will fulfill my obligations of running 5 sessions of sins of the crusade. (enough sessions until the VERY busy December), anyway I really want to RP and have fun while obligations can still be held at bay.

Its October, and November is filled with work and social obligations for Xmass prep, and Jan and Feb is the coolest and best season to go around the Philippines. Then there is plant OSHAS and ISO certification I have to focus on, and the bosses moved up the timeline :(. Then there is having no Nanny, and getting around to finding a DOLE (dept. of labor and employment) certified agency is just one more ball to juggle when I dont know how to juggle.

If ever I will be posting in "Trying to Game Work" blog since my brain will be filled with problem solving / gaming these challenges and blogging is still my "VENT" and way for me to constructively deal with my frustration.

There is a chance that this will be changing a bit more as I shift to Heavy Combat/Sparring, Airsoft, Fitness, and Community building, and various gamed personal improvement... when that happens I guess I'll have the time to meditate if I "turn in" my RPG bloggers "card" as I've would have gone off the reservation. My only claim to RPGs would be the Open RPG system i plan to set up based on the research I make for these hobbies.

Change and Age, I kinda accepted it and the trade offs long ago. Its hard to sustain things when so many things need our attention: family, work, friends, and curiosity.  

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Game Updates

Sins of the Crusades is running a second season. Unfortunately I have a big schedule problem, since we lost the nanny, and its kinda time consuming getting a replacement, I have to run my game earlier, in Philippine Time (GMT+8, or EST+12) thats 6am-10am. Although I can run it as early as 5am-9am. Unfortunately in EST that translates to 5pm which is still within the work hours of the guys over there, and people usually are available at 7-8pm because of travel and other chores. (uggg)

I'm running Games, and work is now more time consuming. My Gaming related hobbies have gotten more intensive. Like many gamers who are hitting 40s and up migrating hobbies to be more athletic is what is going to happen. Sitting down to game has to be more efficient and bang for buck, which is why I can't seem ever go back to Face to Face from the convenience and flexibility of Online (when schedules go to heck, Online has the least frustration).

Airsoft is my current "more Athletic Gaming", I plan to get into Heavy Combat as well. The rise and popularity of HEMA is helping have more ideas, best practices, and equipment available.

What happens to my Face to Face gaming Accessories, is that they become re-purposed for my son.