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Latest on Finding Haven

While I wait for my editor to get back to me, I thought I’d share some of the art from the game. The cover was drawn by Eric Quigley, with graphic design by Craig Judd.

You can check out the character sheet here: Finding Haven Character Sheet

I’ll be demoing the game at Dragonflight. Hope to see some of you there!


Finding Haven about to be Published

I’m pleased to announce that, after years of playtesting, Finding Haven is ready for publication. The art is all in, all that remains is to await the final professional edit and the graphic design layout. I’m hoping for an early August release. 

Monsterhearts Episode Two 

At the party, Nix is able to knock her assailant out, after which she and Morrigan steal a Lexus and head to Discovery Park. 

Back at the park, Tien wrenches Odessa from the vampire’s grasp, and attempts to flee with her. However Lyra’s mesmerizing eyes take hold of him, and Tien agrees to hear her out. The vampire reiterates how she is reasonable, helping to keep this region safe for both human and supernatural folk alike; she warns Tien that if Jonathan, a particularly vicious vampire, is able to take up residence here they will all regret it. She denies taking Jamie, as she would never be so sloppy as to just disappear someone. She tells Tien to do his homework on this, and quickly vanishes. 

Tien comforts the stunned Odessa, then goes to find Harvey, whose body is broken and dying. Tien heals him with his transference power, listening to how he had an unrequited crush on Jamie, and his other woes. He leads the now healed but shaken Harvey out to the parking lot, where Morrigan and Nix have discovered Odessa, who is no longer catatonic but starting to freak out. Tien takes Harvey and Odessa home, making up a story about how they were attacked by a rival school’s student. 

Morrigan and Nix search the park for any sign of Jamie, and follow her trail to a grove off the main paths; the center of the clearing contains a flat stone slab. The area has some signs of recently being occupied, mostly with many people having sex. The PCs discover that the stone slab was used as a kind of psychic battery to absorb and discharge various intense emotions, including sexual ecstasy and terrible fear. Tien rejoins them, and after doing some computer research discovers a disturbing but informative letter, from a 19th century newspaper man by the name of Benjamin Gilbert. Having lost Jamie’s trail, they call it quits for the night.

The following morning at Seattle High, they notice that Harvey looks quite pale, wears sunglasses, and seems to be uncomfortable in the sun. Tien questions him, and he mentions how a hot blond chick showed up at his house, wanted to be invited in, and they had a wild make-out session. The “hickey” she gave him is, in Tien’s estimation, rather large, and looks like a wound that’s several days old – but no such wound was there last night in the park.

Students are being interviewed one-by-one by SPD’s Detective Avery. He asks standard questions like when they saw her last, who did she hang out with, did anyone not like her, etc. but also takes pictures of their shoes. He also asks about her yoga classes, and they notice a brochure about a new yoga studio entitled Order of the New Dawn.

American history class is doing a segment on local history, so based on clues from the Gilbert letter, Nix and Morrigan decide to research Chinese immigration during the 18th century gold rush. Searching for the name “Ling”, they discover the sad event of the massacre of Chinese gold miners on the Snake river (read more here: The Snake River Massacre). Four names jump out at them: J. Canfield, Frank Vaughn, Hiram, and Hezekiah. 

Morrigan, obsessed with finding out how and why she was resurrected, learns that Stacy’s mother, who recently lost her job, worked at the same hospital that treated her after the accident. Morrigan seductively cozies up to Stacy, and they have an intimate rendezvous in the girl’s locker room. She convinces Stacy to invite her over for dinner, so that she can interrogate her Mom; Stacy agrees.

Nix and Tien look for more clues to Jamie’s whereabouts. Nix decides to head down to the OND yoga studio. It’s an impressive place in a high-rent downtown building. When she enters, the assistant looks her over and says, “oh, you have one of those auras. You must be here for the soma.” The now-smiling assistant leads her back to an office, where a very fit Mr. Stile greets her from a challenging yoga pose. He bids her welcome, and asks what flavor of soma she wants. Confused, Nix blurts out that she just wants to know where Jamie is. Stile frowns, and says the police already asked about this. When Nix persists, Stile tells her to remain in the office, and leaves, locking the door behind him. Concerned, Nix tries to figure some way out of the room, but can’t. The door opens and two large men in business suits enter – and she can tell immediately that they’re vampires. “You made a bad mistake coming here,” one of them says, shaking his head.

Tien, meanwhile, has done such a bad job of researching that he attracts the attention of the police. Detective Avery stops by to grab him from the library. He accuses Tien of knowing more than he’s telling, and when Tien remains uncooperative he says he’ll have to come downtown. While headed to the police station in the back of Avery’s car, Tien makes a break for it – using his ghostly power he phases through the car door, into the middle of traffic. Brakes squeal and cars are rear-ended as Tien flees across the road. He heads with ghostly speed to the yoga studio.

At Morrigan’s dinner with Stacy and her mother, Morrigan guilt-trips Stacy’s Mom into telling her about two of the doctors who worked on her after her accident. She confirms that these doctors, while not unknown, tend to show up infrequently, and mostly for unusual cases. She also tells Morrigan that, from what she heard, when the paramedics first brought her in to the hospital they thought she was dead, and had covered her with a sheet. 

Back at the yoga studio’s office, Nix tries to escape, making a break for the door, but is caught by one of the vampires. A big fight ensues, Nix kicking one of the creatures savagely while biting off the hand of the other. During the struggle she hears one of the vampires call the other “Hiram”. Unfortunately they are strong and fast, and she gets hurt, pinned to the wall by a vampire. 

Tien arrives at the studio as well, and the assistant repeats that, “oh, you have one of those auras, you must be here for the soma,” and escorts him to the back office. From down the hall, a frowning Mr. Stile tells them to go back, now is not a good time, but Tien hears Nix cry out in pain. He darts past Stile and his assistant, and phases into the room. He pries a vampire off of Nix and tries to escape with her, but again the vampires are too fast. One of them catches him and tears him apart. He escapes death by becoming his darkest self, which in his case means he becomes an invisible poltergeist only able to interact with inanimate objects. He throws the office table into the vampires, but one of them catches it and reverses the throw, blasting it into Tien. The creatures slam Nix onto the floor, then tie her up; wrapping her up with the sheet from the sofa, they carry her out of the building. Invisible, Tien follows. 

To be continued…


Monsterhearts, A Clue or Two

A letter from Benjamin Gilbert

 The whole history of the fire we published in the Times was a lie, of course. The fire had nothing to do with that foolish Swede in the wood shop, we just used him as a convenient scapegoat. It was all because of the vampires. 

 Hunters from the east were on their trail, and had been for awhile – one of the creatures they called “Jonathan” was particularly disruptive, hardly bothering to cover his tracks as he left a trail of destruction, broken lives and broken families from New York to Oregon. He ravaged Seattle for weeks before we finally trapped him and his henchmen in the wood shop. The owner, may he Rest In Peace, was part of the plot, and invited them in so they would be unable to harm innocents when we confronted them. The vampire Jonathan – an exceptionally tall man, with dark hair, striking blue eyes, and an ugly scar down the right side of his neck – tried to compel us with that curious mental power they have, but we’d taken precautions – the standard herbal remedy from the old country proved effective. But we were unprepared for his extraordinary speed and power, and that of his companions. 

 DeMarigny took out two of the bloodsuckers with stakes, and I wounded one with my silver knife, but failed to slay it. Grossman’s bullets proved entirely ineffective, and Jonathan snapped his neck in the blink of an eye. DeMarigny and the other hunters fought like lions, but the vampires were just too fast. Jonathan knocked the knife out of my grasp and pinned me to the wall with an insane strength. He forced me to watch, helpless, as they drained DeMarigny of his life.

 Gloating, the evil vampire looked into my eyes. “Now that your friends are dead or dying, I think we’ll take our time with you. You organized this hunt, and are worthy of special interest.” 

 Although my heart quailed within my breast, I put on a brave face. “Do your worst!” I cried, “I go to meet my maker with a clear conscience!”

 Jonathan’s grin grew wider. “No, you won’t,” he crowed, “because I will turn you. You will join us, and I will personally supervise your transition as you feed on the innocent and helpless. You will receive a punishment beyond death.” With these words, fangs sprouted from his mouth and he bit down, piercing my neck. I am not ashamed to say I cried out then, in greater despair and horror than I had ever known. 

 When I was weak and dizzy from blood loss, he opened a vein in his arm and forced me to swallow some of his blood. “You will die soon now,” the vampire said, “and when you wake up, you will be one of us.” I was too weak to move or respond, and lay slumped against the doorframe. The exit was inches to my right, but may as well have been on another continent. The creatures turned to begin feeding on those wounded hunters they hadn’t yet killed, and tears fell from my eyes as I heard their cries of despair and pain. 

 It was then that she appeared. Beautiful, with a face showing traces of an ancestry from the east, and dark hair that fell in curls onto her shoulders. Kneeling down, she looked at me, and I thought I saw pity in her eyes, combined with a steely determination. I struggled to rise, entreating her to flee, to save herself, but she shook her head. “Invite me in,” she whispered, “and I will help you. This I promise.” 

 It was then I knew she was another creature of the night. My first instinct was to refuse her, but then, what did I have to lose? My fate was already sealed. “Come in,” I managed to croak. 

 Instantly she entered, followed by companions of her own. They were like a storm, unleashing a savagery upon Jonathan and his faction that words cannot describe. It was in this struggle that the fire started. I managed to crawl out of the burning building, and watched as the battle between the vampires continued, first onto the roof of the woodshop and then onto neighboring rooftops. The conflagration spread, as burning vampires set nearby buildings alight as they screamed and died. And so the Great Seattle Fire began. This was the truth we dared not print in the paper. 

 I died at some point during the night. Ling found me later, and cared for me, showing me how to feed. She had her own reasons for wanting Jonathan dead, but of these she forbids me to speak. She believes that monster perished in the fire, but I am not so sanguine. It is this Jonathan’s fault that I now walk as a creature of the night, condemned to darkness and to feed on the living for as long as my foul existence continues. And I make it my only goal to take vengeance upon this villain, and all those like him, who prey on the innocent with cruelty and malice. 

 I write this so that those on the inner council may know the truth, and be warned, and so take appropriate action. In my next note I will confirm for you the best and most reliable methods for warding against and destroying vampires. I urge you to employ these methods and protections throughout the region, using whatever excuses as may seem fit to the council. 

I am most sincerely,

Benjamin Gilbert

A vampire

Monsterhearts Episode One

I’m MCing Monsterhearts 2 for my gaming group right now, so figured I might as well post the updates to this blog. Here’s the first one!


Nix, the Hollow, a magical construct possibly created by a government agency

Tien, the Ghost of a teenage boy who died when forgotten in the cold by his friends, many of the current students of Seattle High

Morrigan, the Ghoul, died in a car wreck with a friend, but was resurrected, possibly by a secret government experiment 

Homeroom is abuzz with gossip when the police arrive to question Ms. Waterkin about the disappearance of Jamie Tyler, a student at Seattle High. The other major subject of discussion is tonight’s party at Sandy’s house, the rich and popular girl who lives in Blue Ridge; “everyone who’s anyone” will be there, which excludes our main characters who were not invited. 

During gym and lunch, we discover that Lucas (NPC) is into Nix, who is dramatically uninterested in him. Tien has a crush on Odessa, who unfortunately is hanging around Harvey, the mean jock. Tien gets intimidated by Harvey, but is able to shut him down and embarrass him in turn. Meanwhile Lucas invites Nix to Sandy’s party, who accepts, but then plans to bring Morrigan along. Tien approaches Odessa about the party, but discovers she doesn’t really want to go – she’s worried about Jamie, and wants to help look for her. Based on a clue that Jamie was last seen headed to Discovery Park, they decide to go there to search.

Nix and Morrigan ambush Lucas and he reluctantly drives them both to the party. Sandy is perturbed to see Morrigan, who she deliberately said wasn’t welcome, but she doesn’t stop them from entering. The party is in full force with loud music, flashing lights, kegs and people doing kegstands, dancing, and teenagers diving into the outdoor pool. Nix notices that a small crowd has gathered around an exotic and beautiful dark-haired girl, who Lucas calls Lyra. She senses there’s something different about Lyra, and Lucas takes Nix through the crowd to meet her, with Morrigan pushing along behind. Very quickly Nix concludes that Lyra is a vampire, and so does Morrigan. When her eyes fall on Nix, Lyra’s eyes widen. She dismisses her hangers-on and drags Nix into an empty bedroom, where she questions her closely. Nix doesn’t reveal much, but gets the impression Lyra knows she’s not human, and is concerned she might be a construct made by one of her enemies. Lyra tries to seductively bite Nix on the neck, but Nix flings her off. The vampire smiles, then quickly vanishes. In the meantime, Morrigan tries to goad people into dangerous stunts, like jumping off the roof into the pool. She winds up on the roof of the house with Nix.

At night in Discovery Park, Odessa and Tien search for a hidden grove that Jamie used to go to with some weird friends of hers. They find the grove, but hear a twig snap nearby, and a red light dances around the clearing. Tien tells Odessa to stay quiet and not move, then moves towards the red light. It turns out to be Harvey, who is also out looking for Jamie. Tien and Harvey have words, then Tien calls out for Odessa that it’s safe to come out – but she doesn’t reply.

Meanwhile, Nix refuses Morrigan’s temptation to jump off the roof, and climbs back onto the third floor through a window. She’s alarmed to see an apparently stoned and distraught teenage boy inside, who says, “I don’t want to do it… I don’t!” Nix asks him what’s wrong, and he says, “I don’t want to kill you!” as he draws a gun and levels it at her. She tries to persuade him to drop the gun, but he just starts crying, and pulls the hammer back. Morrigan hears this and bursts into the hallway, and rushes the boy, grabbing for the gun. She misjudges and the gun goes off, hitting her in the shoulder. In the ensuing struggle, the boy loses the gun but slashes Morrigan with a knife, who falls down a flight of stairs. He turns to attack Nix, sobbing about how he’s sorry but he has to kill her.

Back in the park, Tien is horrified to see Odessa up high at the furthest reaches of a tall Douglas Fir, in the cold embrace of Lyra. He flies up to meet them and pleads with the vampire to let Odessa go. Stroking Odessa’s hair lovingly, Lyra says she’s pleased to meet Tien, and offers to make an alliance with him. In return for Tien’s help against her enemies, she promises to give him what he’s wanted for so long – vengeance against all those friends who left him to die in the cold. She will even release Odessa to him, unharmed. The vampire asks for a sign of his sincerity – subdue Harvey, who is still cluelessly wandering around the grove, and bring him to her.

At the party, Nix jumps out the window and climbs down a drainpipe to the ground. Knife-wielding boy pushes his way through the gyrating bodies on the first floor with little notice, except for some snickers from a couple of stoners. Outside, he finds Nix and attacks her, crying about how “she” is making him attack. Nix falls to the ground as they grapple, and is cut in the arm; sand spills out of it. Morrigan, badly wounded but still functional, stumbles towards them.

Meanwhile at Discovery, Tien subdues Harvey, and flies with his body towards Lyra and Odessa. Lyra smiles in triumph when she sees him, but Tien flings Harvey at her with all his strength. She cries out and is stunned by the blow: she manages to hold on to Odessa, but no longer has her in a tight embrace. Harvey’s unconscious body bounces off her and falls through the trees, breaking multiple branches on the way down to the hard ground.

To be continued…

And Now For Something Completely Different

There were some cool ideas flowing on the Story Games forum, so I stole one of them and came up with this: A Truly Silly Dungeon Crawl. Just for the pure fun of it. Let me know what you think of it, and if you actually play it let me know how it goes.

It’s copyleft attribution non-commercial share-alike, which basically means you can copy it, distribute it, and change it how you like, but don’t sell it.

My Entry for Game Chef 2015

Well, here it is:

If I did it right that should be a Google Doc that anyone can open, read, and add comments to if they wish.

It turns out that I had a very busy week so only really had a day and a half to work on it.  I think that I was able to put together a playable game though, one I’d actually like to try out in real life.  I couldn’t make it fancy-looking with art and graphics, but such is life.

The theme this year was A Different Audience, and the ingredients included Dragonfly, Abandoned, Stillness, and Dream.  I interpreted the theme metaphorically and made it part of the setting; the ingredients I chose were Stillness, Abandoned, and Dragonfly.  The Dragonfly became a ship sailing on the seas of a fantasy world, where the characters aboard are on a quest for inner peace (Stillness) and risk being Abandoned by the gods.

It’s designed for a one-shot session, where by the end of it the final fates of the characters will be discovered.  I hope you enjoy reading it, and please leave me feedback on the game below.