Vampire the Masquerade: Blood Hunt

This game slipped under my radar but was released a couple of days ago and resurrects to the online gaming world, a beloved IP of mine, Vampire the Masquerade. Developer, Sharkmob are at the helm.

Taking on the role of a member of one of the Vampire clans, fighting it out on the streets and rooftops of Prague. It plays as other Blood Royale games made popular by games like H1Z1 and later Player Unknown Battlegrounds. The arena gets small and smaller as gas closes in, killing anything caught in its path, forcing players into a tight space until only one remains. There’s an interesting mechanic where your vampire can feed on civilians for different buffs or even get extra lives, in case you fall foul of a competitor. Of course, get caught and you break the Masquerade and a hunt begins! Feed at your peril

Different play styles come about through choosing different clans with different specializations or archetypes. The Clan gives a particular skill and the archetype gives another couple.

Clan Brujah has two archetypes – Brute and Vandal. Their clan skill allows them to perform a huge leap. The Brute’s passive skill heals up to 50% of their max health when they aren’t being damaged, while their class skill sends out an energy shockwave to block enemy attacks. The Vandal’s passive skill reduces the damage they take from close-ranged attacks from enemies, while their class skill allows them to punch the ground and create a shockwave that sends opponents flying.

Clan Nosferatu (my current personal favourite) has two archetypes – Prowler and Saboteur. This has class skills that allow them to turn invisible for a few seconds. The Prowler’s passive shows a red trail in the air that only they can see, which leads to other players that have been wounded. Their class skill creates bats that reveal the position of enemies nearby and shows their outline through walls. The Saboteur’s passive skill allows them to turn semi-invisible after crouching, while their class skill allows them to create a poison gas mine that damages over time.

Clan Toreador has two archetypes – Muse and Siren. Their clan skill allows them to project a fake image ahead of them, which they can perform a short-range teleport to, or use as a feint. The Muse’s passive skill refreshes their active cooldowns, allowing them to use their class abilities straight away, while their technical skill acts as a healing regeneration aura that restores themself and allies. The Siren’s passive skill allows them to charm mortals on the map, making it easier to feed on them. Their class skill can temporarily blind opponents, leaving them helpless.

My Nosferatu Prowler, ready for a snack

So far it looks pretty good. Bloody, as you’d expect, given the content but this really gives a fresh spin on the Battle Royale genre and represents the IP well.

Blaugust 2021 Day 8 – Back 4 Blood

OK, so time got away with me and I missed a number of days, but I’m going to keep my numbering so at least I can see how many times I posted.

Back in 2008 a game-changing game was released on the world, Left 4 Dead, a co-operative shooter where four survivors of a zombie apocalypse survive through scenarios filled with endless waves of zombie hordes. The game was followed a year later by the originally titled “Left 4 Dead 2”, same scenario, different episodes.

I was a big fan of both games, playing them on the Playstation 3. Similar games have launched in recent years, notably Big Shark’s “Warhammer: Vermintide” with a similar idea but set in the Fantasy world of Warhammer Fantasy and instead of zombies, you face the rat-men known as Skaven.

Now Turtle Rock studios, makers of the original Left 4 Dead (as Valve South) and Evolve have created what they describe as a spiritual successor to Left 4 Dead, entitled Back 4 Blood. Thanks to Discord user, everwake, I got a key for the beta so jumped in over a few days to check it out.

I can definitely say that what little I saw did not disappoint. It has the same feel and general gameplay of the originals, running and gunning through hordes, searching for supplies, special mobs that can take down a disorganised team with ease. In addition, the game has a card system adding extra buffs and you can select from a deck which cards to use based on your play style. Graphics and sound are clearly improved for a modern version.

Obviously being Beta, the game is not completely bug-free yet, but I loved getting into the world and I look forward to its official release.

Blaugust 2021 Day 7. How not to be an MMO cockwomble

I don’t usually have cause to vent about anything, let alone other players in LOTRO and especially on my server of Landroval which has an exemplary level of considerate community members though but tonight something occurred that really got my goat.

I am accustomed to running my own daily stair runs, a 6 man instance that is the current daily end game but today I joined someone else’s run. It was a little odd as I was the third man in, the other two being in the same kin as each other. I recognised the name of one of them but have had no negative dealings. We started clearing trash mobs and normally at this point, the lead would be calling for more to fill the six. Often this isn’t necessary but it’s generally accepted that its good form to give everyone an opportunity to join a run. I asked if they were inviting anyone else, which they did but ran straight into the first boss before the others had reached the fight. This happens to reset the boss so as soon as they arrived it did so, so we went through the fight again. As is usual I looted and one started shouting, why did I loot, not everyone was in the instance. Sure enough, we had done it on five and the sixth man hadn;t entered. It seemed odd and I apologised saying I hadn’t realised. They promptly booted the sixth man without a word.

The rest of the instance went fine with the five of us, no problems, then as we were about to kill the final boss, the leader booted me without a word. This starts a countdown before I get booted from the instance but I had seconds to grab the chest before I realised what had happened. It seemed they intended me to not get the loot.

Don’t do that, it really is a dick move. I feel somewhat vindicated that I managed to get my loot in time but I’m sure they were having a good laugh. Idiots!

Blaugust 2021 Day 6: Play by Post Update 2

Further to my earlier post about the current state of my play by post games on Gamer’s Plane, here I go through what’s currently happening in my other games.

Call of Cthulhu – Masks Of Nyarlathotep

Following the end of the Time To Harvest campaign, I’ve decided to launch one of the biggest Cthulhu campaigns ever written, often considered the best. I’ve never had the opportunity to run it, so this updated 7th edition version is beautiful, easy to follow and well illustrated, I’m enjoying it already. This one has been tricky to get started, as very firmly set in 1921 but the characters were previously in an adventure ten years later, but a bit of timey-wimey, bendy-wendy stuff related to portals they passed through and we made it work.

The heroes has just arrived in Lima, Peru to meet the head of an expedition to a before undiscovered pyramid. Not much else to say without going into spoilers for the new players but needless to say, Horror’s Await!

Call of Cthulhu – Shadows of Yog Sothoth

This one has been going on for some time and is very slow going, but the characters are currently in the Scottish portion, having rescued a baby from the clutches of serpent people with a penchant for sacrifice, they are now in a standoff against the main villain and her henchmen.

Call of Cthulhu – Flotsam and Jetsam – Insanitarium

This one is fast becoming my favourite campaign. In the last scenario, the investigators were sent to investigate the reading of a will for a woman purportedly well over 100 years old. Uncovering the family’s dark secret of a bloodline of Deep One hybrids, they also discovered that one of the investigators is related and cursed to change into one of the sea-dwelling creatures, or so he was told. Approached by a mysterious character with a magical needle, who offered a warding tattoo to protect against the curse. The character went through with it and it has a dark side-effect, he needs to sacrifice a deep one every sixty days.

Following that episode, the characters are now investigating a rash of supposedly virgin-births taking place around a wellness centre.

Blaugust 2021 Day 4 Still taking the hobbits to Isengard!

Since discovering Lord of the Rings Online (LOTRO) back some 12 years ago I have taken a shine to MMOs, trying many differing ones but none compare to my first love, as is the case with many. I have taken breaks here and there but otherwise have played consistently for those 12 years.

In that time I have amassed a ton of characters over a number of servers but Landroval is my main home after my original server of Windfola was cast to the wind. Occasionally on this blog I record where some of my commonly played characters are up to and how I spend time in game.

Jestro – Level 130 Hobbit Hunter – currently my most complete character in terms of gear, he spends most of him time running the daily “stairs battle” to obtain Embers of Enchantment, the end game currency.

Pinhealer – Level 130 Elf Minstrel – Also running Stairs daily and half way to being geared. Downside is that I need to go through the gear grind twice, for DPS and for Heals. I’m not an incredibly talented healer but they seem to be in demand, especially in raids.

Jodri – Level 130 Dwarf Runekeeper – I’ve been playing Jodri the lot these recent weeks as although he’s level cap, he’s not completed Minas Morgul yet, which restricts him from some weekly quests. Also doing daily stair runs with him for more embers.

Brandenhelm – Level 130 Human Loremaster – Brandenhelm only gets pulled out for dailies, but like Pinhealer, he is not well geared for much more than that.

Diaspora – Level 121 Captain. Most of my solo questing is on Diaspora as I’m trying to get her to level cap, despite knowing that will add to the grind! Currently she’d in the Vale of Anduin, running errands for the Beornings

Knifesedge – Level 115 Human Hunter. Knifesedge is the character that I play with my daughter and he has run with Itse, the Loremaster from level 1. Currently they are in the Beorning lands too, but Minas Morgul is just around the corner and we can start the grind of running dailies together and maybe even the odd raid or two!

My other alts are all on the back burner at the moment so apart from crafting they barely get logged onto but I’m thinking my next challenge might be to level Saxlang my guardian, as I don’t have a tank in my cadre of characters and they are always in deman on the server.

Blaugust 2021 Day 3. Play by Post update part one

As mentioned earlier this week, most of my roleplaying these days is done online, via a play by post platform, Gamer’s Plane. I sometimes use this blog to update what’s going on in my games.

Call of Cthulhu: A Time For Harvest

This Cthulhu campaign ran for just over five years and finished a couple a weeks ago. It’s the first full blown campaign I’ve managed to complete is PBP and it’s a very satisfying feeling. The final episode featured a new team as all but one of the original characters died, but sadly the surviving player wasn’t around to rejoin and see the game the end.

Spoiler ahead!

The scenario, which involved students wrapped up in a Mi-Go plot to take over the Earth from a secret base on the Moon was thwarted when investigators traveled to the moon itself via a dimension gate and blew up the Mi’Go’s access point.

Warhammer Fantasy – Paths of the Damned

Paths of the Damned: Ashes of Middenheim (Warhammer ...

The party recently wrapped up the first scenario in the campaign, Ashes of Middenheim, in which the heroes uncovered a chaos cult that had infiltrated the church of Ulric to the highest levels are were attempting to cause civil war with the Sigmarites. The adventure culminated in the party fighting half a dozen frenzied members of the Brotherhood of the Axe, the Deputy High Priest and minor demon. Almost the entire party were taken out leaving heroic former Watchman, Harald Haselrieder to defeat the demon single-handed.

Spoiler ahead!

The party have since discovered that a relic that they brought to the city contained part of the soul of Xathrodox the Red Flayer. They are now heading to the capitol of Altdorf in pursuit of the second part embedded in a knife. the Dagger of Yul K’chaum.

Warhammer Fantasy – The Enemy Within: Death on the Reik

Age of Ravens: Death on the Reik: Reading Warhammer's "The ...

Well into the campaign now, on the third scenario Death on the Reik and after discovering an imperial signalling device is being built on the foundations of an observatory, they ventured below finding it guarded by undead, each holding a strange key. Five of these keys were found and Six keyholes, indicating one missing. They also found evidence of some kind of expedition planned in the past to a place called Devil’s Bowl. Right now they are at Devil’s Bowl which appears to be the site of a meteorite landing, the surrounding land blighted, Skaven appear looking for a stone. Meeting a ghost who claims to be part of an expedition gone wrong and a nearby cave with more undead, will our heroes put two and two together?

Blaugust 2021 Day 2 – First forays into 5th Edition D & D

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ll know my passion and perhaps my history with tabletop RPGs. From the age of 12 when I discovered the first edition it has been the cornerstone of my gaming experience, moving to 2nd edition through my late teens and college years before drifting off to other systems like Warhammer Fantasy and Call of Cthulhu (both of which I still run in Play by Post games)

I never really dipped into 3rd or 4th edition or anything in between but I have recently been tempted to try 5th edition, thanks to the great podcasts/Youtube videos of two Matts, kings of the hobby, Matt Mercer and Matt Colville. As I no longer have a tabletop group and all my gaming is done by forum post, it’s hard for me to learn a new system but recently I took the plunge, both as a player and a DM

As a player I have joined a game over on my PBP site of choice, Gamer’s Plane. My character, Father Belathor Smythe, a human cleric of Lathander, former alcoholic and gambler turned holy man who carries with him a mysterious red egg.

Belathor with his prized possession (Figure designed on HeroForge)

My second foray needed a little more planning, I decided to GM for my daughter. She has played kids RPGs through her early years, games like First Fable, but this was her first proper step into a “grown up RPG”. As we both love Tolkien we decided to use the Adventures in Middle Earth. Our first Adventure, saw Chara the Beorning Wanderer, outcast of noble birth, aid a man and his son from Lake Town, through Mirkwood and to the Forest Gate on the edge of her Ancestral lands.

Learning the system was a lot easier than I thought and playing in person definitely speeds up the learning process over just reading to books. I’m already prepping the next adventure for Chara and with a long school holiday ahead I’m sure there will be many more tales to come.

Trudvang Adventures 5E Kickstarter about to close!

In case you haven’t seen it, get yourself over to the Kickstarter page for Trudvang Adventures 5E. It looks incredible!

This is a new setting for Dungeons and Dragons 5E! For 20 years Trudvang has been a hailed and awarded fantasy setting.

Set in a world inspired by norse and celtic myths and folklore, Trudvang is set in dark forests, the home of trolls, lindwurms, grendels and old mysetrious places where elves worshipped gods that long abandoned them.

The beautiful artwork is built on classic sagas such as Beowulf and the Celtic Mabinogion.

Now it is time for us to share this fantastic and unique world setting with all 5E fans out there. Trudvang Adventures is a game setting for 5E and it is inspired by Norse and Celto myths, mythologies and folklore with a twist towards the dark and down-to-earth. Whereas many fantasy settings take place in taverns and dungeons, Trudvang adventures is set in deep and dark forests where you will find trolls, lindwurms, grendels and old mysterious places where the elves worshipped their gods that abandoned them, or dark nests filled with treasures long lost.

At time of writing, there is just 68 hours to go and for $50 you can snag The Adventurer pledge set:

  •  Settings companion (+PDF)
  •  Hero Companion (+PDF)
  • Character Sheets
  • Trudvang Poster Map
  •  Game Master Screen 
  •  Wurmtongue (+PDF)
  •  Ribbon bookmarks 
  • Spell sheets
  •  Wildheart (+PDF)
  • Spelldeck

#Blaugust2019 – New Organised Play Campaign from Chaosium

Call of Cthulhu has been in my life for many years. Whether as fiction; the Cthulhu Mythos being classified a genre unto itself thanks to the work of HP Lovecraft and those that followed or in roleplaying form, the RPG Call of Cthulhu produced by Chaosium is currently in its 7th Edition and is currently having something of a renaissance thanks to its introduction of a one-shot on popular podcast show, Critical Role

I have been running Call of Cthulhu Campaigns in my play by post sites for many years and today I got some exciting news, a new “Organised Play” Campaign is coming later this year. These are designed for GM’s that play publicly to introduce players to the game, often at conventions, and are available to insiders, part of the “Cult of Chaos” – GM’s that apply for this honoured position. I have been playing their last campaign of this nature on Gamer’s Plane – A Time to Harvest and the introduction of another campaign is great news, especially if the quality of the stories are as excellent.

Entitled Flotsam and Jetsam, this campaign is a four-part serial, and introduces the journal, Strange But True! and presumably, the investigators will be employees of the newspaper.

STRANGE BUT TRUE! is a weekly newspaper publishing “true” accounts of the bizarre, the weird, and the frankly unbelievable. Elijah Cleaver, the chief editor and publisher, may have a taste for the outlandish, but he knows that the world is filled with darker secrets than most of his readers could care to imagine. When he can, he uses the resources of his newspaper and its loose network of investigators to uncover the truth and present it to an incredulous readership. Whether or not such investigations result in a publishable story, Cleaver hopes to, at least, make the world a safer place.