AAR: The Haunting of Ypsilon 14
15 Oct, 2021 mothership fvtt

Survive. Solve. Save. Pick one.

Back in August, I had a game of Mothership for the first time in ages. Mothership (MoSh) is a sci-fi horror game that leans strongly on the style of the Alien films. Humans have spread among the stars, but it’s grimy, dirty, and technology is fallible. Space is big and scary, but you have to put up with it, to earn some money from The Man. The character classes are Scientist, Android, Teamster, and Marine; and don’t need any explanation if you’ve seen the films.

I honestly thought I’d written about it on here, but I bought a lot of MoSh stuff in ZineQuest 1 when Pound of Flesh came out, and wasn’t writing up my experiences then. After a frenzy of games (and getting back into RPGs in general), Mothership took a back-seat for me. I think I travelled through Gartner’s hype cycle on it - I played a few different games of it in rapid succession. There’s a lot I like about it, but after a while it does feel unfinished, and some of the rules stack a bit messily for me. For example, each class typically modifies the behaviour of rolls for players around them. So if you’re playing this with a 5e mind to a balanced team1

Very soon the promised final version is launching on Kickstarter and hopefully that will answer all the questions.

I ran The Haunting of Ypsilon 14. This blog will contain extensive spoilers! Also CWs for body horror and animal death.

AAR: Into the Odd Stellarium
9 Aug, 2021 rpg into the odd fvtt

I finally got round to trying Into The Odd. It’s by Chris McDowall and a forerunner of Electric Bastionland. I was interested in something rules-light, but I’d previously struggled using Maze Rats. The most contraversial thing of ItO is that it has no to-hit mechanic. All attacks hit, you only roll damage. That’s certainly an efficiency saving, you’re halving the rolls. Players don’t have to wait through a turn and then flub their attack. The only problem, the enemies don’t miss either…

The dungeon I used was the Stellarium of the Vinteralf. The vinteralf are glacier-dwellers, and æons ago built a stellarium to investigate the heavens. It’s been abandoned and forgotten for some time, but the heroes have been told it’s poking out of the ice again. Pillage it!

AAR: Webs of Illmire
8 Aug, 2021 evils of illmire 5e fvtt

Last time in Illmire, the Ranger Leithidir turned out to be cursed by the Deathly Spade. If only Yorivar, Illmire’s druid, was still around! Leithidir would also still like to replace his hand, he’s only been able to find a wooden one.

After a lot of arguing, the party choose a route that involves going through as much forest as possible, to utilise the Ranger’s favoured terrain. This goes well until the edge of the lake, where a Giant Crocodile 🐊 attacks them while fording a river. This ambush is super effective!

AAR: Fake news of Illmire
8 Aug, 2021 evils of illmire 5e fvtt
I’ve got terrible at keeping up with these. Let’s try to sort that out! The players leave the surrounds of Illmire and get supplies, and more importantly recruits to reinforce Illmire. They travelled out on the King’s Highway, and got torrentially rained on. I like AiME and so a good excuse to make this journey a Journey with Exhaustion and suffering1 is one that’s been missing for me up until now.

AAR: The cult of Illmire
27 Apr, 2021 evils of illmire 5e fvtt
So last time, the players decided to sneak into the cult’s temple in Illmire. Coincidentally they managed to knock out the window to the only room without cultists inside it. This session started with a happy murder of all the cultists desecrating the temple that didn’t surrender in time. Most notably the ranger found a sacred mace, that he very carefully didn’t touch with his skin and passed back to the cleric for safe-keeping.

AAR: The Terrors of Illmire
25 Mar, 2021 evils of illmire 5e fvtt
We continue the tales of the Evils of Illmire. And what I’ve learned while running it. The party start in the sunken Bastion, keeping a Black Skeleton Turned at bay while they rob his throne room. They then have a short rest, and explore the room unlocked by the key on the Skeleton’s belt. Some normal skeletons provide no trouble, but the Wraith they unleash from the cell is much more of a problem, especially when it starts raising the freshly interred skeletons as Spectres.

AAR: Going Underground in Illmire
28 Feb, 2021 evils of illmire 5e fvtt

So, last time, in the Evils of Illmire… well, it went a bit to shit. See for yourself.

Rancidius, priest of the Cult of the Illuminal Star, and the bandits defer to him. He knocks Vert, the paladin, to the ground, and then pulls a mindphage from his ear.

Useless thing, so much for control. You were supposed to have betrayed the party much earlier! Not that I suppose you needed to, you’ve been much less competent than I expected!

The monologing continued in this vein for some time. Once “Father Rand” got this out of his system, he dispatched the group to the cult HQ for sacrifice to the Fearmother. However, en route, the cult see mantismen causing problems ahead, and resolve to tip the party into the Gecko Pit and call it quits.

But they’re keeping the loot, of course.

AAR: Consequences of Illmire
6 Feb, 2021 evils of illmire 5e fvtt

In the last writeup, the party was surprised by an owlbear…

But before that, I got the party sketched! This was done by HodagRPG, see their zines on itch.

Four panels showing a half-elf cleric, half-elf ranger, dragonborn sorceror, and dwarven paladin
The party of three half-elves and a dwarf

Clockwise from the top right, we have:

  1. Leithedir - elf/human ranger
  2. Vert - dwarven paladin
  3. Yentor - elf/dragonborn sorceror
  4. Corkas - elf/human cleric

I really like the sketches, so do my players. It was about the cost of a round of beer, and in Feb 2021, that is an option I do not have. 🍻

AAR: Unexpected Evils of Illmire
10 Jan, 2021 evils of illmire 5e fvtt

Continuing from part one, this post summarises the next two sessions. The party decide they want to investigate the bandit camp (shown by the tower in the map below).

Hand-drawn hex-map showing Illmire, with a tower to the east, mine to the north, lizard to the west
Things close to Illmire

This of course is Just Great as I’d prepped the temple because they were very keen to go back last session. I had the map in FVTT though with some walls on it, so it was more-or-less ready to go. I just didn’t have NPCs, encounters etc ready.

AAR: The Start of the Evils of Illmire
23 Dec, 2020 evils of illmire 5e fvtt

Time to start The Evils of Illmire!

The Evils of Illmire
The Evils of Illmire

I got this via its kickstarter earlier this year as it looked nice, and more importantly, it was cheap for digital. It’s the sign of a good one that I wish I had it in print as well now! Handily, it also has a D&D 5th Edition conversion, that came a little later than the main booklet.

It is a sandbox set around the town of Illmire. As the title hints, shenanigans are afoot…

AAR: Grant Howitt’s Stone The Crows
10 Dec, 2020 gshowitt stone the crows fvtt


This is an actual line from the video game of ‘Vampire: the Masquerade’. It has always stuck with me as an ARPG that wasn’t that bad, but with some cracking voice acting.

So for Grant Howitt to make one of his monthly one-page games actually called STONE THE CROWS, and then actually have to raid the bleedin' Tower of London - well, I was sold pretty quickly.

Also it’s based on Guy Richie’s ouevre of Cockney gangster films, which is certainly a fresh change from eurofantasy or scifi, where I typically end up.

And finally, I bought FoundryVTT to move from roll20 and self-host. Helps get my nerd-cred up, I’ve always wanted to run a NodeJS server. So a nice light game to start with, why not?