FLAME OF LOVE

Good vibes…

Catholic poet & writer

candle-546563_1280-1028x683What is this that glows within?
A flame of love, burning gently away,
the dross of worldliness caked upon a soul.
A flicker of light against a dark
merciless existence of days filled
with useless clatter and empty hours.
A flame of love, kindled from beyond
and above the understanding of humanity.
Snuffed out only by faithlessness,
burning ever in silence of soul
for the soul longing for its warmth.

© 2019 richard k carlton

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Oops… It’s been a bit

O_o

Sorry…

I didn’t realize how long it’s been since my last post.  I’ve been caught up in other stuff, I guess.  And when I’ve had time to do something like… I don’t know… MAKE A F@CKING POST… I seem to be doing other things.

I have no excuses. I have simply let myself not write a post <shrugs sheepishly>

So, anyway…

The virtual 24 Hours of Le Mans went okay.  Our 6-man team had fun and brought the car home in pretty good shape; that was our goal.  We didn’t have a ton of drama or intense racing, but we gained positions in a split that was much tougher than we thought it would be.

D&D

The group played a short session the other night.  Differences have been worked out, I guess, because it was the same group.  That, in my opinion, is a good thing.

There is not much to mention since we were mostly recapping and getting our heads back into the game.  Besides, I had to cut it short to watch my St. Louis Blues win the Stanley Cup (HELL YEAH!!!).

What is worth mentioning, though, is that the group has decided to try and force a showdown with their goblin stalker, Slythis.  We left the session with them working out a camping situation on the road to Piketon.  A small merchant group is sharing their camp site – the chosen site for this possible encounter.  This merchant and his guards are well-equipped and seasoned.  They are, at the moment, considered by Bran, Fang and Theren to be an asset for the pending confrontation with Slythis and his nasty dagger.  We are planning on running session 6 Sunday night.  I will definitely let you know how things turn out.

Well, I guess that’s it for the moment.  Again, I’m sorry for not keeping up with my posts.  I’ll get myself back in a better routine 😉

Race Day! When’s Game Night?

Hey.  Wassup?  I hope shit’s going good 🙂

I guess things are going okay for me.  There are few complaints, I suppose.

Anyway, I decided to “bark” a little bit about the next couple of hobby things going on for me.

First, is my next endurance race.  iRacing is putting on its yearly version of the 24 Hours of Le Mans this coming Saturday (tomorrow, actually), and Delta-V will be in the BMW M8 GTE car.  I know y’all aren’t all that into auto racing, so I’ll keep this short.  I’ve been practicing this week, and I think I’m ready to turn some laps.  The possible problem the team has right now, though, is kind of a lack of team.  As of this moment, there are only 3 of us getting ready to race Saturday.  The other members of the team have been quiet.  There has been no chatter from them about their availability, if any, for some stints throughout the 24-hour time period.

I think we can complete the race with 3 guys, but it’s gonna be tough.  That’s a lot of time in the virtual race car for each of us plus time one of the teammates puts in as support/spotter while another is driving.  I don’t think I’m going to get much sleep Saturday :-/

Second…  the D&D game.

I think this next week I will break my “silence” and question my two estranged players about their situation in relation to returning to the “table” for D&D game night.  If there is no reconciliation between the two, I am going to take steps to acquire a replacement player for at least one of them.  I feel bad that they cannot work things out, but I am no longer going to hold off for them.  The other player and I want to game.

I’ll keep you up to date.

As always, I appreciate questions and/or comments.  Thanks for taking the time to “listen”.

Not Sure What’s Next for Game Night

I discovered yesterday evening that the next D&D game night (Session 5, this coming Sunday) has to be cancelled.  There was an unfortunate issue (outside of the game) between two members of the group.  I’m not sure if things will be resolved any time soon based on what I have learned.  That means I’m not sure if/when there will be another D&D game night for our Gods Save the King campaign.

The reason for putting the campaign on hold is that there were only 4 of us – me as the DM and the other 3 as players.  I have built the next couple of adventures in the campaign around the 3 players, so lacking one on any game night creates a significant hole in things for both the story and the needs of the game (a lack of “firepower” if you will).

If there are 4 players, the occasional miss by one player can usually be dealt with.  But losing one of three is far more noticeable.  Besides, I don’t want any of my players to miss out on any of the story they appear to be enjoying.  I’m guessing the gamers out there reading this get it.  I can only hope I’ve explained it enough for the non-gamers.  If not, let me know.

So, what’s next then?

I don’t know exactly.  I can honestly say that I am kind of down and out about this situation.  I was way happier than I realized about ‘returning to the table”.  And now, all of a sudden, the future of the game is uncertain at best.  It sucks.  Tabletop RPGaming is something I really love to do and the game I managed to cobble together with my gamer friends is on hold at best, or over at worst.

Part of me wants to get angry over the situation these two created, but it’s not an issue involving me… it’s between them.  I respect that.  I just don’t like it.

Part of me wants to channel that anger, say, “fuck it,” and go form a local group.  Maybe I should find local people that want to try something like D&D. I enjoy teaching people about tabletop RPGs.  I could also just do it online using Fantasy Grounds.  Since I am paying for an “ultimate” version, anybody that plays with me can use the software for free.

But I want to game with my friends.  I mean I might make some new friends by searching for new players, but that’s not exactly what I want.  I wanted to share this fun with my long-time friends.  I’m just not sure how this is going to work out.

I think I will continue to work on the campaign world.  I have a ton of details and depth I can add to the existing world.  With that new mapping software I have, I can create all the maps I want and help bring my world to “life”. :-/

I will continue to build the campaign arc, too, I suppose.  The story arc, though, is difficult to create sometimes without regular game sessions since the players help create some of the story as we play.  But I will try.

I suppose I will give this issue a couple of weeks to let things cool off and/or settle, but not much more than that.  I want to run a game 🙂

I know this sounds kind of selfish.  I don’t mean it to sound completely that way.  These two are friends, and I don’t want the falling out to be a permanent thing for them.  But all I can do is operate from my point of view and do what I need to do to move along.  It could be difficult to maintain a friendship with both of them, too, if things don’t get resolved.  Another reason I’m stressing… my concern over where this is headed for our little group.

Any thoughts or advice out there? I would appreciate some insight from others.

Thanks for “listening”

Game Night, Session 4

So, we got a game in a week ago this past Sunday night.  Yay us!  It was a bit unexpected actually.  I was supposed to be doing a 24-hour endurance sim-race from Saturday morning through Sunday morning.  I was not going to be mentally sharp enough to run a D&D session after that.  But my “compatibility” with the car/track combination was… not good. So, I bowed out because I didn’t want to be the reason our race – and others’ races – got ruined due to me falsely believing I could handle being in the race.

That opened up Sunday evening for a game session… yay us 🙂

The group picked up right after the fight with the zombies.  So, they investigate the little pond and the area where the goblin (their stalker) performed the ritual to raise the zombies.

Bran notes that he hit the goblin with an arrow as it ran away.  Some investigation reveals a couple drops of blood.  This proves to the group that their stalker CAN be killed.

There might have been a bit of concern about that…

Some discussion leads to a decision to go back toward Piketon Road and camp the nearest wide spot in the road.  Further discussion about their stalker compels Theren to reveal a bit more about his awareness of the dagger; it has “called” to him when it was close and in a recent dream.

Bran and Fang are starting to learn that there’s more to Theren than they thought…

Theren agrees to play the part of bait at camp that night.  They are hoping that making Theren appear more vulnerable will attract their stalker for a more direct confrontation.

Near dawn – no stalker appearance up to this point – Fang hears something moving through the marsh near them.  They prepare for an encounter that does not come as expected.

A goblin (obviously not their stalker) crawls up on the road.  It is nearly dead.

Fang decides to aid the stricken goblin in hopes of getting some information out of it.

Theren begins to question Kolk (goblin’s name) about Slythis (stalker’s name) since Theren actually speaks goblin.  Kolk was part of the raiding group that killed the travelers that became the zombies for Slythis.  Kolk explains that they did the work for Slythis out of fear of his power – Kolk mentions that the dagger is powerful and that Slythis is not all goblin anymore.

The fact that Slythis is changing and more information about the dagger he carries creates more concern about this enemy.

Kolk further explains that his entire village was killed, and the only reason he survived is because he managed to hide after being severely wounded.  Slythis was in too much of killing rage to notice.  Kolk was crawling toward the road for no other reason than to distance himself from Slythis and the carnage of his village.  But in typical goblin thinking, Kolk decides that going back to the village is now possible with his new, more powerful “friends”.

The group decides that it might be worth following Kolk back to his village.  Kolk’s explanation that his fellow villagers “did not die right” generates concern and curiosity.  So, despite the apprehension of encountering Slythis directly, they trek through the marshes following Kolk back to his village.

Arrival at the tiny goblin village reveals brutal and unusual carnage.  Every goblin in Kolk’s village is dead.  Looking at several of the bodies shows deep cuts across their throats – the way Slythis murders his victims.  Their deaths, however, were not “normal murder”.  The bodies look desiccated.  They all appear as though their life forces were drained away.  Kolk’s explanation holds.  These goblins did not die right…

They all agree that the unusual deaths had something to do with the dagger that Slythis carries.  The evidence – Theren’s “contact” with the dagger, the apparent changes in Slythis and the undeniable powers of the dagger, itself – is blatant and undeniable.  It is also agreed that the dagger, if taken, must be destroyed.

The group helps Kolk clean up the village – they burn the bodies… just in case.  Bran and Fang investigate the village shaman’s hut.  They find a horrific scene.  The shaman had obviously been tortured and disemboweled by Slythis.  The shaman’s body, however, is not desiccated like the other goblin villagers.  The hut, itself, is ransacked.  Every item that even hinted at the shaman being a user of magic had been desecrated by Slythis.  What had not been outright destroyed, had been covered in the shaman’s blood and entrails.

Fang notices a small holy symbol on a totem just outside the hut and grabs it.  He hopes he can take it some place to be “at peace”.

Bran, Fang and Theren had noticed smoke rising from the edge of the forest just up the road from where they had turned to go to Kolk’s village.  They figure it’s a large camp or small hamlet.  With Kolk’s village being in its current state, the group decides to go back to the road and seek out the source of the smoke.

Kolk decides he wants to stay in his village partly because he knows he would not be safe at the roadside hamlet – his raiding part had hit the little hamlet in the past – and partly because he feels compelled to try and repopulate the village if he can.  The group bid him farewell and head back toward the road and the roadside hamlet.  They feel that, at the very least, they now have a contact they can rely on if needs be.

The group travels up the road and leave the marsh lands for forest once again.  They arrive at a small road that leads into the forest a short distance where they find the hamlet – the source of the smoke being a smithy and cooking fires burning at a rather nice inn.

As they investigate the hamlet, they discover Jameson, proprietor of the inn, founder of the hamlet, itself, and undisputed mayor of said hamlet.  He is quite a large fellow, standing at nearly 7 feet tall.  Despite his “padding” from age and slower days, it is obvious he is well-muscled and a strong fighter.  Conversation with him reveals his past as a soldier/mercenary and then ultimately settling here to build and operate his inn.

The hamlet exists for the sole purpose of being a place for travelers along Piketon Road to have a place to stay if and when needed.  The money made from the travelers for services rendered is how the small group of residents sustains itself.  The tiny population includes a stable keeper and wheelwright, a couple of farmers that provide produce and meat for Jameson’s inn and the rest of the hamlet, a blacksmith and a baker.

For a very reasonable fee, the group sets themselves up in the in for a night’s stay, a meal and drink for the evening.  They also hope to get any gossip and information they can from Jameson and any travelers staying the night.

That is where we ended the night.

Kolk, for all intents and purposes a nasty, evil goblin might now be a potential ally and/or source of information about the area if or when the group passes through again.

They also get to spend a night in much nicer surroundings than a roadside camping area.

Fang found a shrine to Nira (goddess of nature) at the edge of town in the forest.  He placed the village holy symbol on the shrine and said a prayer to Nira asking for the return of Nature’s will over the evil that had been done to the goblin village.  Evil or not, as Fang sees things, goblins are part of life in the world and is no better or worse than humans or animals.

I feel like they will make it to Piketon in the next session and begin their search for Mert.  Mert is believed to have some sort of knowledge or insight about the sigil that mysteriously appeared on the left palm of each member of the group a few days ago back in Braiton.

This “distraction” from Slythis may or may not be connected to the reason they are traveling to Piketon for, hopefully, some answers.

I guess we’ll just have to wait and see 😉

Thanks for sticking with me.

Sorry for Being Idle

Business… laziness… not writing a blog when I’m near my computer…

Those are the reasons/excuses for no posts recently.  I’m sorry about that… mostly.  I think y’all get it, though.  I got busy with some things.  I got a little lazy over the past couple of days.  When I was at my computer before that, I was doing other things for better or worse. Who can tell?

I do have game night, session 4 in the pipe. We actually played a week ago this past Sunday.

I have another post about my game world in the works, too.  It’s about the world’s pantheon… and maybe more.  I wanted to put some more depth/color out there for my gamers and my readers.

I also got a “shiny new toy”.  I bought Campaign Cartographer.  For the first time in over 20 years, my hand sketched maps and mind’s eye for this world are finally becoming “real”. I’m making the maps of this world as something that looks like a map out of an actual published campaign… so awesome to me.  Needless to say, there have been some hours sunk into that as I learn the software and make my vision into something others can see (and use, in the case of my gaming group).  I’ll come up with a way for y’all to see it, too, if you want.

Anyway, just wanted to do a “drive-by” blogging to let y’all know that I ain’t quit <grin>. So the suffering will continue 😛

Catch y’all hopefully sooner than later 😉

Game Night, Session 3

So, this past Sunday was the third session of our Gods Save the King D&D 5E campaign. To me, there was not too much progress this time in terms of story. But here goes…

Theren, Bran and Fang each stay close to one of the cedars under which they have taken shelter. They do their best to try and see further signs of their stalker. But within a few minutes of it giggling and moving out of sight, they begin to relax a little.

The group tries to settle in for the remainder of the night despite the start they just received. Overall, though, they manage to get some more rest, and by sunrise, the rain has ended.

They eat a cold breakfast and begin to discuss plans for the remainder of the journey. Fang speaks up and recommends that the group pushes a little harder to try and get away from their stalker. He thinks that upping their speed could help generate some distance from who or whatever is hassling them.

The group agrees to give this a try and set off again heading northerly up Piketon Road. The clouds are breaking and giving way to blue sky and sunshine. A greater pace seems possible.

Then they smell it. The marsh lies just ahead. The breeze carries the pungent sweet smell of stagnation. More and more trees look sick or dead. The ground near the road starts looking soft at best. Fortunately, for them, though, the kingdom road is reasonably well maintained.

Around late afternoon, Bran, Fang and Theren are well into the marsh. They have passed the occasional widening in the road. These are obviously meant to be used for travelers that need to camp for the night. It’s at one of these a short distance ahead that they notice a broken wagon.

They approach the site slowly expecting to find what they have been finding… slit throats. But not this time… A short investigation reveals that these travelers (about 4) were set upon by a goblin raiding party. There are signs of struggle everywhere. Fang figures out that there were at least 6-8 goblins… typical… they overpower their victims with numbers.

As they continue to poke around, they notice that the travelers had been dragged away into the marsh. They also start to consider the possibility that the travelers might still be alive. This prompts a decision to follow the trail and see if they might find the travelers.

As the group follows the trail, they approach a stand of trees. From the other side of the trees, they here chanting. With weapons at the ready, they try to sneak up to the edge of the tree line for a better look at the source of the chanting.

Once they get close enough to better hear the chanting, Theren realizes that the chant is in some dialect of Infernal. As they breach the trees, they see a goblin holding a strange looking dagger over his head. He is standing on the opposite side of a small pond performing some sort of ritual. They also see five bodies floating in the pond – they assume correctly that these were the travelers.

Within in moments of spying all this, the goblin completes the ritual by stabbing the dagger into the ground on the bank of the pond. A “wave” of revulsion passes through the group as they witness this. Then the bodies in the pond begin to move.

While the group tries to process what they’ve just witnessed, the goblin giggles loudly (again???) and fades away as he runs into the marsh.

With no way to avoid confrontation with the raised zombies, Bran, Fang and Theren prepare to fight. It is decided immediately that these abominations should not be allowed to roam free. Besides, the zombies are coming for them at the moment.

The fight goes well for the group. Bran used his halberd to good effect. He took advantage of his ability to first slash a target with the “business” end and then continue the swing to bring the pole around and get a second crack. He downed a couple of zombies on his own.

Theren used his warlock magic to destroy a zombie and damage another one extensively. His Eldritch Blast sent rays of dark energy from his patron into his targets. Theren was hit once, but was not hurt too badly.

Fang took the worst of the attacks from zombies, but with his druidic magic and his scimitar managed to finish off the last two zombies.

We ended the night there. The gaming group had earned enough experience points to bring their characters to level two. We worked through the D&D rules to add hit points and any new abilities the PCs (Player Characters) earned for leveling up.

The next time we play, we are hoping to complete their journey to Piketon and begin trying to find Mert. It will be nearly 3 weeks of travel by the time they get there. Then they can start to try and find the whereabouts of Mert and HOPE she will aid them with information they badly need.

Like I said, this one was a bit shorter for us. We had to learn the combat mechanics through the Fantasy Grounds program we use as our virtual tabletop. It really is cool software. I was able to pull up a map for the battle and put “tokens” representing the characters and the zombies so we could use tactics to do battle. The built in game rules were a huge help. Just a couple button clicks and we could make dice rolls with all appropriate modifiers and even determines hits and misses. Since we are geographically distant, it is nice to have the means to still “sit at the table” and use tools like this to help with game mechanics.

See you next time. Don’t forget to comment and like (or not). I really appreciate hearing from y’all. I’m happy to answer questions and take criticism (compliments, too).