Lex Draconis – Coming To Kickstarter Early 2019!

Check out the Kickstarter preview here!LexDFire

== The Premise ==

What would you sacrifice for power?

You are a dragon. A being of myth and legend. None can match your strength. None can resist your magic. Your soul calls out for power. The more you give in to that urge, the stronger you become.

What are you willing to lose to answer your calling?

Lex Draconis invites you to ask yourself what you might sacrifice for unlimited power. It allows you to unravels the mysteries of time and your own soul. In it, you’ll assemble the shattered pieces of secrets long forgotten. Will you fall to the claim of your birthright and become a savage monster? Or will you fight to retain yourself, and everything that you love?

== Dragons! ==

Throughout history, dragons have existed, but time has not been kind. Asteroids, planetary collisions and other extinction-level cataclysms have shattered the souls of dragons and left their ancient, withered corpses unable to contain the power of those shards. While the bloodlines of the dragons, founded from the first great lizards to rule the primordial fireball of prehistoric earth, have long since passed into the annuls of time, the souls of these dragons remain. Now, they occupy the bodies of mortals. When those souls awaken, the heavens tremble.

A dragon’s pedigree informs their power as well as their weaknesses. Lex Draconis allows you to choose from several draconic lineages still loyal to the Lex Draconis – The Law of Dragons. These include:

  • Laernaea: The mythical hydra of legend, the Laenea are the immortal masters of the dual aspects of murder and regrowth. Believing that death must occur so that life may continue, they consider it their duty to put down others to make way for new blood to rise. Considered immortal; a curse that they live forever when they know they should die.
  • Lotanu: Descending from the most powerful of all dragons, the Lotanu are strong and monstrous beyond measure. Once, they were as kings and masters of the water. Today, the Lotanu are little more than draconic thugs and rebels, bucking against authority at every turn.
  • Meshusu: Claiming to descend from the oldest dragons to occupy ancient Mesopotamia, the Meshusu lineage are the nobility of draconic society. Their sense of entitlement and greed causes them to seek power and wealth even at the expense of others.
  • Nehebkau: Descending from the dragons of ancient Egypt, the Nehebkau lineage are darkling dragons who guard the gates between the living and the dead. The Nehebkau are masters of necromancy and written language.
  • Niddhog: The commensurate villains, the Niddhog lineage venerates the embodiment of dishonor and social stigma. Truth-seekers and secret-keepers, all, the Nidhogg punish the wicked who would otherwise go unpunished.
  • Zhu Long: They call themselves the Torch Bearers, the dragons of the Zhu Long lineage are philosophers that seek to illuminate the world through spirituality.
  • Zmei: Beautiful and charming beyond measure, the Russian dragons that belong to the Zmei lineage are masters of weather. Tied to the world as they are, they see existence as a pleasure to take part in. Some pleasures are mundane while others twist the boundaries of what is considered “pleasure”. Legends say the Zmei have many heads – the Zmei claim that this is because they are masters of social situations, and in their pursuit of cult of personality, they can have many “true faces.”

== The Promise Of Power ==

Dragons are ageless. Dragons are unfathomably powerful and nearly impossible to kill. While the souls of modern dragons fall pitifully short of the amassed force of their ancient predecessors, they are capable of acts of divine good and cataclysmic destruction. Their souls beg to be set free. To amass and consolidate their power. To reign over the world they once ruled. This urge, The Calling, can drag them to the pits of their own personal hell, drive them irrevocably insane and render their minds completely feral.

This is no metaphor.

Modern dragons walk a razor-thin line that constantly threatens to send them screaming into the pits of ferocity and rage. They must constantly contend with a feral psyche that strains against the fragile casing of the mortal mind. Dragons who fall to The Calling will lose any sense of humanity and mortality they had left, becoming little more than cunning, ferocious devils fit for little else than destruction and hunger. That is why The Lex exists.

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== The Law of Dragons ==

The Lex Draconis is not just a series of laws to which all dragons must abide, it is also a code of conduct as well as a series of rituals designed to keep The Calling at bay and allow New World Dragons to retain their humanity in the face of immeasurable and constant temptation. When the dragon’s soul first awakens, it is the most vulnerable to The Calling. Unlucky dragons – those who refuse the initiation rituals of The Lex, or those unable to be found by other dragons – inevitably turn feral. These are the dragons of legend. Poor fools that lurk within the stories of knights rescuing damsels, and flying tyrants that burn entire cities to the ground. Those stories still exist and occur today. The Dragons of The Lex prefer to remain concealed; hidden away from prying eyes of the rest of the world and operating on it from within. They amass their hoards in secret, and grow their power in short trickles in order to avoid the sensual tug of The Calling.

== COMING SOON ==

Lex Draconis will be a ~350 page core book designed to coexist with other games in the Modern Universe. It will contain everything you need to play your favorite dragon lineage as well as enough lore to fill a small warehouse.

Keep an eye out for the Kickstarter for Lex Draconis in early 2019!

Follow us on Kickstarter to be alerted when Lex Draconis goes live!

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Under the Skin: Cincinnati – Loveland Frog People

The Loveland Frog People are designed for use with the Modern RPG Setting corebook. Don’t miss the Lex Draconis Kickstarter preview! Make sure to leave feedback! The Kickstarter goes live this month.

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Loveland Frog People
Quote: “(Low rumbling croak)”

Driving along the lonesome roads east of Cincinnati is something that the locals will tell you is rarely a good idea, and never one you want to undertake alone. Reports are sparse and mainly given to hearsay and legend, but if you’re brave and unlucky enough, you might just come across one of the Loveland Frog People.

For fifty years, there have been reports. Most of them report that the creatures are mostly harmless, but fearsome-looking creatures, though on March 3, 1981 a report came in from a young Human boy who was found near the edge of East Fork nearly frozen to death. He didn’t speak when authorities first found him but later, he recounted a tale of a massive, bipedal frog that took his father and left him stranded on the edge of East Fork Lake. The boy made it nearly all the way to Concord by the time he was found – with only a light jacket and one missing shoe to brace him against the cold. He claimed that he and his father were walking along the lake edge when three of these creatures emerged from the mudbank and dragged his father in.

Physical Appearance: The Loveland Frogmen, as they are called, are large bi-pedal frogs. They have mottled or reticulated patterns of dark browns over olive or even green tones and seem to be capable of intelligence and tool use.

Roleplaying Tips: You do not like being seen and especially do not like to be spotted with bright lights in the dark. You’d rather run than fight, but if you’re hungry then you’ll drown your food.

Hooks: The Loveland Frogmen are urban legends. They do not normally make themselves known to mortals and even other monsters or supernatural creatures other than themselves. They are perfectly happy in their bubble nests beneath the muddy lake floor and can survive without surfacing for more than a few moments almost indefinitely. Still, when the winters get harsh, as lakes become polluted or disturbed by construction or when food is scarce (due to any of the former conditions), they may come out to hunt for food. While they are primarily scavengers, they can and do eat humanoid flesh if they are starving with no other options. They are vaguely aware of familial bonds and do not seem to hunt children even under the harshest of circumstances. Their ability to manipulate electricity through wood is certainly something that scientists would like to study.

Loveland Frog Person (CR 2)

NE Medium Humanoid

Init: -1, Senses: Darkvision 60ft., Low-Light Vision, Perception +4

AC 14, Touch 9, Flat-Footed 14

hp 22

mp 0

Resolve 0

Fort +5 Ref +0 Will +1

Speed 25ft., Swim 40ft

Melee Tongue -1 (touch)

Statistics

Str 15, Dex 9, Con 14, Int 8, Wis 11, Cha 8

Base Atk +2; CMB +4; CMD 13

Feats Toughness, Skill Focus (Athletics)

Skills Acrobatics +16, Athletics +5, Stealth -1 (+7 in water and swamps), Perception +4

Known Languages None

Special Abilities Hold Breath, Sparks, Sticky Tongue, Swamp Strider,

Hold Breath A Frog Person can hold its breath for a number of rounds equal to four times its Constitution score before it risks drowning or suffocating.

Sparks While holding a long wooden stick, Frog People are able to unleash a hail of electrical sparks. This shower can only travel up to ten feet, and those within a ten foot line from the Frog Person can roll Reflex to save for half damage. Sparks deals 1d4 fire damage per Hit Die of the Frog Person (2d4).

Sticky Tongue A creature hit by a Frog Person’s tongue attack cannot move more than 10 feet away from it and takes a –2 penalty to AC as long as the tongue is attached (this penalty does not stack if multiple tongues are attached). The tongue can be removed by making an opposed Strength check as a standard action or by dealing 2 points of slashing damage to the tongue (AC 11, damage does not deplete the Frog’s actual hit points). The Frog Person cannot move more than 10 feet away from the target, but it can release its tongue as a free action.

Swamp Strider A Frog Person can move through any sort of naturally difficult terrain at its normal speed while within a swamp or water-filled areas.

Under the Skin: Cincinnati – Aadesh

As a part of an NPC Codex series for the Modern RPG universe, I will be posting various NPCs, Locations, Hooks and more awesomeness for Cincinnati. This information can be used to expand your universe, as well to dive deeper into the sample story provided in the Modern RPG Corebook. Of course, you can also use these NPCs in your own game in your own city as well!

Make sure to subscribe to this blog for updates and new content to add to your story. 

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Aadesh Yadav Anvi

Quote: Everything is lawful for me.

Aadesh is one of very few known Rakshasa to exist in the world, and the fact that he has taken up residence in a place like Cincinnati has confused and bewildered government agencies and street mages alike. His methods, powers and motives are completely unknown. One thing that is certain is that those who have acted against him or foiled any of his endeavors quickly wind up one of the many vanished on the Cincinnati streets or under-claw of the mischievous and often cruel creature, doing his bidding. With but a word, he can exert near-total control over city officials and authorities, much to the dismay of police and politicians that veer toward the right side of the law.

Aadesh owns the Viper’s Den night club in downtown Cincinnati and can almost always be found in the VIP section on the second floor, overlooking what he calls his kingdom. He is often accompanied by a very tall blue-skinned woman and rarely accepts the company of anyone else, unless he has a job for them, or they have something of worth to offer him.

Aadesh is a great fence if the characters need to offload illegal goods, but he hates technology – especially those who bring it with them to his table. He’s been known to completely destroy laptops and cell phones in the pockets of those he sits with just for suspicion of recording his conversations. He’s just about the only guy in Cin-City that is known to be able to go from one plane to another and practices necromancy as he pleases, and he’s willing to help others in that endeavors, too.. if the price is right.

Physical Appearance: Mr. Anvi dresses impeccably at all times, often wearing expensive and outlandish suits and jewelry. He can sometimes be seen wearing traditional Hindu dhoti, and prefers shades of deep pastel purple, gold and white. He often smells of Al-Rehab cologne especially tailored by a fragrance artist in Columbus. He carries a cane composed of dark wood with a golden cap in the shape of a tiger with an open mouth that holds a rather large sapphire.

Roleplaying Tips: Everything that happens is because you planned it that way. Nothing is beyond your control, but surprises can be an amusing distraction from an otherwise boring lifestyle. You have seen and felt more than any mortal could ever dream, and one of the pleasures that still echo in that hollow thing you call a heart is disrupting the morals of mortals, and corrupting the naive or righteous. There is elegance in simplicity, especially when it comes to your devious plans. Complications are inevitable, but should be cut away as soon as possible. You enjoy the misunderstandings of rakshasa in philosophy and mythology and while you know exactly where you came from, you aren’t about to tell anyone else.

Maharaja Rakshasa (CR 22)

LE Medium Outsider

Init: +14, Senses: Darkvision 60ft., Perception +31

AC 37, Touch 24, Flat-Footed 27

hp 310

mp 463

Resolve 26

Fort +16 Ref +21 Will +18

DR 20/Piercing; SR 35

Speed 45ft

Melee Three-Section Staff +31/+26/+21/+16 (1d10+15; Critical 15-20)

Ranged .357 +32/+25/+20/+16 (2d6+16; Critical 18-20)

Spell-Like Abilities Clairvoyance (1/day), Command (3/day), Comprehend Languages (Constant), Detect Technology (Constant), Polymorph* (Constant)

Spells Known Arcane Sight, Charm Monster, Charm Person, Confusion, Contact Other Plane, Creation, Dancing Lights, Daze, Detect Disease, Detect Magic, Detect Lie, Detect Thoughts, Dimension Door, Greater Discharge, Disguise Self, Disintegrate, Dismissal, Greater Dispel Magic, Displacement, Dominate Person, Elemental Body, Ethereal Jaunt, Fear, Grave Words, Hold Monster, Hold Person, Identify, Greater Invisibility, Mage Hand, Mind Probe, Mislead, Modify Memory, Overheat, Passwall, Planar Barrier, Private Sanctum, Probability, Psychic Surgery, Speak With Dead, Subjective Reality

Statistics

Str 27, Dex 28, Con 30, Int 25, Wis 22, Cha 29

Base Atk +20; CMB +28; CMD 52

Feats Combat Casting, Combat Reflexes, Dodge, First Blood, Improved Critical (Knife), Improved Initiative, Mobility

Skills Acrobatics +27, Appraise +29, Bluff +35, Concentration +27, Diplomacy +30, Disguise +30, Drive +31, Intimidate +30, Knowledge (Art, Behavior Sciences, Biology, Business, Civics, Current Events, Cypher, History, Occult, Philosophy) +25, Perception +31, Sense Motive +37, Stealth +30,

Known Languages English, French, Hindi, Spanish, Urdu,

Wealth Bonus +67

Special Abilities Celerity, Change Shape, Reincarnation,

Celerity Aadesh is deceptively fast, and is capable of moving faster than his opponents when combat begins. When initiative is rolled, Aadesh may, as a free action, spend a Resolve Point to reroll initiative. Aadesh may keep the highest of these rolls.

Change Shape Aadesh is rakshasa and, as such, has the supernatural ability to change shape however and whenever he desires. Doing so only takes one round. This version of Polymorph is not an illusion spell, and cannot be resisted. For all intents and purposes, Aadesh’s true form is the form taken when Polymorph ability is used. This ability costs 5 Mana and 1 Resolve Point to use.

Reincarnation Aadesh has seen several cycles of life and reincarnation. When killed, Aadesh will be reborn anew during the next moon’s cycle. By losing half his Resolve Points, he can return as whatever shape and life form he likes, and at whatever age he desires. To determine when Aadesh will return, roll 3d10. The number rolled is the number of days it will take for Aadesh to reincarnate. He always takes precautions to leave himself in control of his assets even upon reincarnation through clever phrasing in his will.

Note: Aadesh has access to numerous artifacts and powers not listed here. If you feel that the provided information for Aadesh is lacking, or that your characters would easily subvert the rakshasa, do not hesitate to give him additional abilities to help tailor him to your game as a malevolent benefactor for your player characters.

GameDev Meditation – The Grind

On one of his more arduous hunts, after days of patiently tracking and weeks of planning before that; crawling through the dirt and enduring difficult conditions, Theodore Roosevelt finally got the bull caribou he had been chasing. It was a big animal, taken down only after taking several shots in a chaotic confrontation.

“It was one of those moments,” he later wrote, “that repay the hunter for days of toil and hardship; that is if he needs repayment, and does not find life in the wilderness pleasure enough in itself.”

What he was saying is something we all know but constantly lose sight of in life: Yes, the rewards are nice, but the process of earning them is plenty wonderful too. A hunter who only enjoys bagging their quarry is likely to be a disappointed hunter, nine times out of ten. More importantly, they are a blind and deaf hunter who needlessly misses out on the majesty of life outdoors.

Too many of us are like this in many aspects of our lives. We are so focused on an end result – on achieving the success, fame or wealth we crave that we don’t even notice the little pleasures of the experience and the people around us. Stoicism speaks constantly of returning to the present moment for a reason. They practice their power of observation for a reason too – so they wouldn’t miss out, so they would truly see and feel and take in just how lucky they were to be alive. By practicing the dichotomy of control, they also knew that the journey is up to us, while the outcome is not. As a hunter, Roosevelt understood this innately. Getting the kill? That’s luck. Listening to the birds sing, breathing in the forest air, enjoying the time away from the city, well.. that’s up to you.

Find pleasure enough in what’s present today. Don’t get distracted by the outcome you crave or fear. Don’t demand repayment for the struggle, because the struggle is where the true rewards live. The weight is supposed to be heavy! That’s where strength comes from. Your lungs are suppose to burn! That’s where speed and energy come from. Cherish these things while you can, while it’s still in your control.

Enjoy the grind. Enjoy the work. Enjoy everything you can, while you can.

Lions, Tigers & Dragons, oh my!

As Modern is entering its final phases of production and closing in on that fabled release date, I’ve begun to look long past the release of the core book toward the many places that the game and its setting will go in the coming years. I’m so excited to see what players make of it. I’m hopeful that the vision I have for the game will reach players in a meaningful way. At the very least, I hope some fun can be had from the game.

Derivations & Hard Choices

Over the course of development, I’ve had to make some difficult decisions regarding the setting as well as the design of the game as a whole. The first of these tough choices was one that wound up placing two roads before me that, once chosen, would be incredibly difficult if not impossible to go back on in order to make another decision or a different choice.

The Kickstarter advertised Modern as a Pathfinder compatible game. In fact, the Kickstarter was called “Pathfinder: Modern Adventures”, so its pretty obvious what I had envisioned on the outset. Moving forward, as development progressed I quickly began to realize that in keeping the game completely Pathfinder compatible was putting a lot of pressure both on the game’s design, originality and setting. So my first choice was whether or not I was going to continue to keep Modern 100% compatible with Pathfinder, or if I was going to let the game direct the way it wanted to go and follow the design of the game. The choice took weeks as I waffled back and forth. I didn’t want to upset anyone, especially the Kickstarter backers, but on the other side of that coin, I also didn’t want to create a game that felt forced. I wanted to provide a genuine experience that was true to the vision that I had for it. Something that would help revolutionize how d20 system games are seen. In the end, I chose to remain true to the vision. From that point on, the work came easier. I strayed from Pathfinder compatibility and the game and setting are so much better for it.

Perhaps later on I will create a “conversion kit” that will allow the game to be run fully compatible with Pathfinder rules. But that’s a story for another day.

The next choice was almost as difficult. It derived from the same question asked in the first choice: Do I remain true to the vision, or do I try to maintain compatibility? The choice was whether or not I wanted to design a character advancement system unlike Pathfinder – levelless and possibly classless, with additional powers, abilities and stats purchased separately, with experience used as more of a currency to purchase advancements. Luckily, I was able to find a balance; a compromise between a vision of realistic character advancement while remaining somewhat true to the Pathfinder system. The game would keep its levels, but add a lot of additional customization and advancement options to allow players to create truly unique characters. I kept the level system, but added balance and flavor. When I attended GenCon this year, I had the amazing opportunity to talk about my game with the magnificently talented Karl Bergstrom from White Wolf’s Vampire the Masquerade 5th Edition. Through my conversation with him, I was able to gain quite a bit of insight into the way character advancement and creation would be designed in Modern.

What I came up with was written out on the plane ride home to Texas from Indianapolis. By the time I finally got to sit down at my laptop to get to writing everything out, my head was absolutely on fire with new ideas and goals. The relationships between a character’s species (which is what Modern calls “race”) and class became more fully defined and flavorful. Where class and species was at one point completely separate, now they were intertwined. Each combination of species and class now had their own defining bonuses and abilities. Character creation for an Orcish Esper, for example, became somewhat different from how a Human Esper was put together. And that very same Orcish Esper would differ in character creation from an Orcish Operative or Fighter.

Every choice I’ve made so far has been to create a great game for the players, and an amazing universe within which to play.

What Is Yet To Come

The goal for Modern was similar to any other world designed for tabletop role-playing. I wanted to create a world that felt real; lived in. The goal is to create a world that feels both familiar and utterly alien at the same time. A world that looks the same from afar, but close-up is quite different. I think, so far, I’ve been successful. The game puts up a fantasy-tinted mirror to our own world. I am proud of what’s been done so far, and look forward to everything that is to come.

The Modern corebook will be a standalone game. It will contain everything that a group needs to sit down and play. The first release, the core book, will encompass “mortals”, basic species and classes, as well as feats, powers and abilities for Humans, Elves, Dwarves, Gnomes, Halflings and Orcs. They are the everyday population of the world. But they are not the only population.

Modern is a large-as-life setting. Within it, my goal has been to define typical fantasy tropes in a realistic, modernized way. Because of this goal, there will be other releases for the setting that will allow players to step into the shoes of many other fantastic species and character types including Shifters & Lycanthrope, Ghosts and even Dragons. These additional standalone games will be as much a part of the Modern setting as the original core book. They will help define the universe of Modern, expand on its rich history and mythology and give players more viewpoints from which to see the world they’re playing in.

Thank you all for your support during the design process. I am looking forward to our New Years Day release!

Until then, you can pre-order your copy by clicking this link.

In Case You Missed It

Last night I had the distinct pleasure of joining the legendary Dan Davenport of #RandomWorlds for a Q&A regarding my newest tabletop role-playing game, Slasher. In it, I answered many questions regarding the game itself and the process of its creation.

For those of you that haven’t played the game, Slasher (Revised allows you to step into your own slasher film, taking on the roles of Director, Survivor and even the Killer itself. The game uses Fate Core rules as a platform and adds a few cinematic twists to bring a terrifying romp through your very own horror movie.

In case you missed it, you can find the Q&A by clicking this link.

Pride & Joy (Short Story for Modern RPG)

Have you ever wondered where the term “Real Estate” comes from? Real. Estate. As if there are estates that exist that are not real. That are fake. The name itself, real estate, gives you a sense of comfort. Of reassurance in your dependency on your ownership of the land and your ability to tame it. So what do real estate agents sell when they sell you a home? They sell you peace of mind. They sell you an idea. They sell you the thought that your estate is yours and you control everything that walks or grows upon it. That a locked door can truly separate you from the outside world. Just like any other salesperson, Joy didn’t sell a product. She sold an emotion.

“What the fuck was that?” Joy shouted in between bursts of gunfire as she pressed her shoulder to the thick wall of sandbags that she’d jumped behind. In a few moments, Joy had gone from sitting in a coffee shoppe thinking she’d kill for another espresso to being faced with the idea of actually having kill just to see another one. “Where the fuck are we?”

Where the fuck, indeed. “We’re not in Kansas, anymore.” said the man that had brought her here. He was a man of seemingly genteel nature. Sharp, angular features and even sharper ears. Joy had seen elves before and the ears were a dead giveaway that this guy was probably one of the Noblesse. The only reason she knew that was because some of her biggest clients were elves. She preferred them because they knew the value of land and usually weren’t afraid to pay her asking prices and considered negotiation to be distasteful, unlike the dwarves who would shortchange her for every penny they could in a deal. So when he sat down at her table and ordered another espresso for Joy before she’d even spoke her want for another cup aloud, she assumed that his odd mannerisms and prying questions were a simple byproduct of elfen weirdness.

How wrong she was.

After an uncomfortable few minutes of questions that the man always seemed to know the answer to before she spoke them, she finally inquired. “Are you in the market?” she asked. The man simply smiled. His triangular beard made his teeth seem just a little too sharp. “No, my dear. Not entirely.” When he spoke, he did so with a southern drawl that flowed from his lips like hot molasses. “I have something to show you. Would you be so kind?”

Looking back, Joy will question whether or not the man had used a spell to bend her actions to his will. She was typically far more cautious than this, having been raised in an area where you had to look over your shoulder when you had to walk down the street. Yet, upon being asked, she rose from her seat, picked up the large black case she had in the seat next to her and followed the man in the white suit. “Where are we going?” she asked. Her voice was calm. In fact, her entire demeanor had shifted from her mid-morning rush of calling customers and stressing out over sales numbers. Now, she simply walked along the street with the man, unconcerned about the next sale. “Should I drive?”

The man grinned at this, “I do not think so my dear.” She was thankful for the response, too. She drove a car that was far too expensive for her to afford in order to appeal to her affluent clients and their keen sense of vanity. “Where we are going, we will not need a vehicle.”

That should have been one among a vast array of warnings to escape now. To get out while the getting was good. And perhaps some small voice in the back of Joy’s mind was indeed pleading with her to turn back. To get into her car, just steps away as they passed, and hit the gas. To escape the man as fast as she could and never look back. While she will only momentarily question whether or not she was under the geas of a spell over the next few days of her life, she will wonder about her lack of warning signs for much longer than that.

“I have some friends that I would like you to meet.” said the man.

“House hunters?” Joy asked. Naive.

“Hunters, of a sort.” said the man.

Their destination wasn’t far. The coffee shop had a small parking lot which happened to be enclosed on two sides by a tall chain-link fence. It was the door, however, that caught her attention. Or rather, it was a bit of a gate. A simple red apparatus that curved up and over itself in flowing patterns and flourishes. It was double-sided and seemingly made of wood. Joy knew that the handles were gold, but that was the only thing she knew about the door. She wondered if it had always been there, and how gold door handles managed to go without being stolen right outside and in plain view of the street. She also wondered why she didn’t recognize the design of the door. She was versed in elfen architecture and design principles, but this brilliant red door did not register anything in her memory. This should have been her final warning sign.

“Come.” said the man. Ever the gentleman, the man’s pale hand, tipped with long, sharp nails, grasped the golden handle and opened the door for Joy.

When Joy stepped through the doorway, she found that the exit disappeared behind her. She found herself on a path that sat atop a sharp incline on both sides. It was narrow and wreathed in glowing orange flames on both sides. Joy imagined that she would burn up before she found the ground if she fell over the sides. Sporadic, curving spires reached upward out of the bellowing flames like clawed fingers. Joy gasped in awe at the place. She hadn’t noticed that her exit was gone. She wandered forward toward a calm blue light up ahead. The light itself emanated from a circular portal from which unfurled massive, sculpted wings tipped with horns.

The portal opened for her, and Joy felt like an eternity had passed. She felt nearly weightless, as if she sat at the apex of a roller coaster. Anticipation only matched by the feeling that the laws of physics had forgotten her. As she stood before the massive portal, she watched as reality itself seemed to unravel before here. Before she could register the impact of the movement, Joy found herself in a large field of golden grain. The sky was brilliantly blue and stars shone beautifully overhead, nearly close enough to touch.

“Where in God’s name are we?” Joy gasped.

“God?” said the voice of the man who stepped beside her to peer at the vista as well. “Nowhere in God’s name. You might say,” the man paused. His skin began to glow with a pale white light that caused the bones beneath his skin to become clear. “Quite the contrary.”

Joy whirled to face the man as if she were suddenly aware that she was in grave danger. It was too late. She was alone for the moment. There was a moment of pause as she took in the air. It was fresh and clean, like a memory of a summer morning from her childhood.

A dull roar began to close in and she peered upward. As her eyes narrowed to get a clearer vision, she could make out an aircraft. It looked old. Perhaps a small personal aircraft. As it flew overhead, she couldn’t help but notice the odd insignia on the aircraft’s wings and side. Were those swastika?

She watched as the propeller-driven plane made a wide arc and began to circle back toward her. It rose and crested in the sunlight. Joy had to raise her hand in front of her to help alleviate the sharp pain in her eyes from the light. As Joy looked back upward she could see the plane heading straight toward her. It was diving. She continued to watch for a few moments, not fully registering the danger until the sound of whirring turrets and the cracking sound of the minigun sent bullets to either side of her. The ground became dark as Joy turned to run. She found shelter behind a wall of sandbags as the plane flew past.

“You!” Joy roared, and unclasped the large case. Joy was creative in her tactics to acquire clients. She sold to the elite and the affluent, so she frequented the same places that the affluent did. Before she had met the man in the white suit, she was returning from a fencing class. It was an expensive gym that catered to the wealthy in her town but she found herself an avid fencing student. Still, her time spent in the gym was always disappointing. She couldn’t afford to embarrass her clients so, as clever and skilled a student of the sword as she was, Joy allowed herself to lose nearly every day. The glint of the sword in her case caused the man to raise his hand, “Now, now. No need for that.”

“Who are you? Where are we? What are we doing here?” Joy demanded.

“Have you ever heard the phase, “There is a special place in hell for people like you?” before, Joy?” The words rolled off his tongue like sugar. His teeth were sharper now. How she hadn’t noticed his antler-like horns before caused her grip on her sword to tighten. “Well.” There was a suggestive tone to his voice as he looked upward again toward the plane once more. Only this time, the plane wasn’t just a plane. She watched as the metal contorted and bent. The wings crumpled and curled into real, biological wings. The propeller became a yawning maw of razor sharp teeth. It landed before the pair with a loud crash. It was a massive demon now, emblazoned with Nazi insignia like some long-dead Third Reich soldier. It’s circular mouth opened wide and it roared.

“They weren’t exactly kidding.” the man said, and stepped before the creature. Joy, sword in hand before her, stepped to the man’s side. “My name is Asmodeus. And I’ve brought you here,” the man’s cane rose to point at the monster, “Because of those.”

Find Ray at GenCon and get a Free Book!

Free PDFs of Warsong Second Edition!

Would you like a FREE copy of Warsong Second Edition?

If you see me walking around in Indianapolis this year for GenCon, take a picture with me and tag me in your social media with the hashtag #HGatGC and I’ll give you a card with a super secret URL that’ll nab you a free copy of Warsong Second Edition.

Example:

You see me in the halls after a seminar. You walk up and say hello and ask if you can take a picture with me! Post the picture in a tag with me on Twitter using the hashtag #HGatGC and BAM! I’ll give you the super sekrit URL that you can use at any time in August to get yourself a copy of Warsong Second Edition.

If you don’t know where I’ll be, check my social media or take a gander at my itinerary.

Ground Rules

  • If I’m in a game do not approach me.
  • Do not approach me in the bathroom.
  • Be cool! Show respect for myself and other people in the immediate area. We’re all here to have fun, right?
  • I’ll carry five cards a day. Once they’re gone, they’re gone. (Sorry!)

BONUS!

Don’t be shy about approaching! At the end of GenCon, when I’ve arrived home, I’ll randomly choose a person from those who used the #HGatGC hashtag to send a free signed physical copy of Warsong Second Edition! Sorry, but you have to be in the United States to get the physical copy. Shipping and Handling can be a killer.

 

SUMMARY TIME!

Step 1: See my ugly mug roaming around at Gencon.

Step 2: Say hello! Ask to take a picture with me!

Step 3: Upload that picture, tag me in it (Facebook or @HGGamingStudio) and use hashtag #HGatGC.

Step 4: Get a free copy of Warsong 2nd Edition!

Step 5: Get entered to win a signed, physical copy!

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See y’all there!