Cursed and Haunted, Stories of an Abandoned Japanese Hotel

royal-hotel.jpg

Near the middle of Okinawa, Japan a building of horror and ruin rots like a bloated corpse on a polluted beach. Nakagusuku Hotel, a place cursed by fate slowly seeps its horror into the local landscape. The forest seeks to reclaim this haunted place, but it still lures people in. With its horrific charms and evil malaise those who visit the place become touched with a madness.

 

It started in the 14th century with a death.

 

Lord Gosamaru the ruler of Nakagusuku killed himself on August 15th of the Chinese calendar, during a Tsukimi (Moon viewing) banquet. He killed himself because the king sent Lord Amawari, the Aji (lord) of Katsuren and the General of his army, to destroy him.

 

One horrible death in a string of killings.

 

Many lords since then have fought and died near these castle walls. Princes and lords have come. Armies have clashed against these walls. And many bodies littered the earth.

 

The tombs of the dead stacked up outside of the castle. Buried in the ground with markers above.

 

Sometime in the middle of the 20th century the Govt of Okinawa Japan moved the tombs. But they forgot to move the bodies.

 

Instead in 1975 a wealthy businessman built Nakagusuku Shiroato Kogen Hotel Leisure Land. Right where the bodies of all those lords, ladies and fallen soldiers still remain.

 

Monks from the nearby temple warned the owner about building his wonderful hotel. A place filled with a petting zoo and waterslides. But the rich man would not listen.

 

Mid 1975 construction stopped. Workers complained about “accidents” happening on the job site. Staff fled the jobsite believing it cursed.

 

So the owner decided to sleep in the unfinished hotel for a night.

 

Some stories say he died. Others claim he went insane and was committed to an asylum.

 

Now this horror hotel sits, a ruined area, shunned by everyone. Even the U.S. Marines declared the area off-limits to service members in 2014 after a string of incidents.

 

Now let me tell you my story about this place.

 

I visited the hotel many times during my deployment to Okinawa Japan. I would say boredom and the lack of interesting things to do besides drink led me to this place. One can find all sorts of mysteries hidden in the ruins. My love for dark things drew me like a moth to a flame.

 

If you decide to visit this place, take a friend with you. And make sure you carry your faith or science. For the unexplainable lives here.

 

One can look around the burned out remains of the hotel and see the graffiti from many locals and foreigners who visited the place. Shabby buildings with mold and heavy vegetation haunt the landscape. The forest of Okinawa japan looks to reclaim the land for itself. Several buildings have caught fire over the years, creating an air of doom and despair.

 

Inside one building you can see the zoo area where animals were supposed to go. Old artwork grabs at you. Nearby is a staircase leading to a lower level. A level unexplainable, hidden in darkness.

ruins-4

Something lives under that staircase.

Two separate incidents of viewing “yellow, intense eyes surrounded by darkness” have been reported during my time there. One man was assaulted by something under the stairs. It shook him to the core. He never went back. I never saw those eyes. But I do know others have seen it.

 

Near the castle is an opening leading underground. It is unknown what is buried here, but it feels as if the place is alive with heat and a malevolent presence. Locals still burn candles and send prayers here. I felt the heat radiating well over 110 degrees. Stalactites and stalagmites cover the cavern. Moisture hangs in the air. Sometimes candle will still burn giving an eerie glow to the place.

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I went down there. An intense heat hit my face and I left quickly.

 

I explored the castle as well.

castle-1

Within is the remains of a well. Cold air and moisture cling to this area. One can feel the temperature drop within 50 feet of the well. I could feel something swirling around me once I entered the lower stairs area.

 

Around the ruins, several homeless and insane men and women still live. One night while travelling down an alley I was assaulted by someone or something throwing heavy bricks. They landed near us scaring us off. We ran.

ruins3

Strange music and voices can be heard on the winds.

 

Another time visiting the area between the castle and the hotel ruins, a strange reed flute could be heard lilting on the wind. One time the sound came close to us. It was just four of us. We wanted to look around at a new spot. We talked as friends and we heard the strange melody in the background. Once we stopped talking it stopped. A second time it happened. Then the music kept playing and playing. It chilled us to the core. We ran as fast as we could back to the car.

ruins-5

Something nefarious remains in this hotel. Someday nature will swallow it whole. Yet the evil that resides within will remain.

 

Take a look at some of the pictures of the hotel and castle below. Decide for yourself if you think it is haunted.

 

I personally believe several spirits and insane people live here. They do not welcome visitors. Do not spend the night here.

 

If you want to read up more on these ruins and check out more photos check out the articles below.

 

https://abandonedkansai.com/2012/06/20/nakagusuku-hotel-ruin-the-background-story/

 

http://en.rocketnews24.com/2015/07/03/haunted-abandoned-hotel-complex-on-okinawa-is-a-lesson-against-messing-with-japans-spirits/

 

And some history here

 

http://www.nakagusuku-jo.jp/en/history

 

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A Resurgence of Gods

So it is time,

The 10th anniversary of my table top RPG New Gods of Mankind is around the corner. To celebrate, we will be working a kickstarter next ear along with a 2nd edition of New Gods of Mankind!

A new website is up now for your viewing pleasure.

Home

Some noteworthy things.

2nd Edition will streamline the rules with only 13 primary domains and several secondary domains (including the primary ones)

Miracles will be easier to cast.

Levels for Gods will be introduced.

You can play as god or hero.

A new campaign, Lions in the storm will come forth. This will be also titled the Great War of Naalrinnon.

The timeline will be sped up to 500 years in the future. Humanity has advanced and uses Natural gas along with steam engines. (Steampunk setting).

Overall it will be an exciting time. More details will be released in the monthly newsletters coming out. Sign up now at the website above.

I will be personally posting more here and on Niume. I just need to find a good subject to write about.

Take care,

Your Nerd,

Richard

 

 

Writing History Books for Kids

So besides the novel still in edit hell, I have a couple of other projects I am working on. One is a bestiary for the New Gods of Mankind/ Anointed Table-top RPG. Something a friend recommended. I plan to see what I can do about the outlines. I have someone leading the project but I plan to insert my ideas and put a proper outline to it.

I am in contact with publishers overseas on a series of books for kids. The idea is to take world history and role-playing game mechanics to create a new way for kids to learn. The books and complexity would vary on the audience. But it would be an incredible endeavor and one I would happily take on. Turning ancient rome into something fun for kids to learn about is one of my many dreams.

With that said, I hope all of you will bear with me as this blog has been rather sparse in postings as of late.

More things will come around the corner as it becomes available. I will get back to posting here on a weekly basis soon.

Be well my fellow readers and geeks.

 

Richard

Not Dead Yet

Folks,

I apologize for not blogging as much as I normally do. My work is taking over my life right now as I learn a new skill set. I still plan to publish Dragon Gods Rising very soon. I need to finish my third edit and then set up the Lulu account. I believe a lot of you will love the story.

So I am going to share part of Chapter 1 here. I did finish a third edit and well I have neglected you.

Chapter 1

Her claws worked delicately setting up miraculous dragon trees made of peppermint herbs mixed with forest pine and birch wood. Each plant grew to a height well over ten meters tall and three meters wide with smooth, peeling bark protecting its meaty interior and sap. Long, grasping, widespread branches held peppermint leaves close to its trunk and pine needles at the ends. Slowly Draax cultivated and shaped each one to support the weight of a full grown dragon.

 

Nine total ringed a large clearing, with other, more normal trees protecting its location. A carpet of lush blue grass over ten centimeters tall decorated the setting. The Seeing Pond lay due south of their meeting ground with waters from the pool siphoned to this small meeting place. A small pool with vapors floating up from its surface lounged near the center of the gathering spot. Perpetual sunset ruled in the Herbal Gardens of Hate, Revenge and Trust, giving strange tints and qualities, sharp and stunning to each plant growing. A ring of nine hills with peppermint herbs growing on it ringed the Seeing Pond, dotted by more pine and birch trees. The Dragon God of the Boiling Seas worked her fingers, cultivating the earth, making sure her small meeting place was ready for her pantheon of disagreeable deities. Several chosen souls from her heavenly realm guard the outer hills which ringed the trees, keeping straying wraiths and hate-filled souls at bay. Two of her chosen dead council, vision priests, sat near the private seeing pool at the center, ready to show places and people in the steam rising up from the water.

 

Careful work and planning went into this meeting. It was not often all nine dragon gods gathered. It would be a first for them all to gather at her request since the War of Elementals. She wanted everything perfect. Draax went up in her serpentine form to one of her salamander vision priests. “Show me a true current reflection of my incarnation. I need to make sure I am properly groomed.”

 

“As you wish my goddess.”

 

The steam slowly showed her form incarnate within the Celestial Garden. A serpentine dragon, with folded wings and long sinuous arms and legs looked back at her. Beautiful, iridescent aquamarine scales covered her body, capturing the sunset’s eternal light here. Dark, electric plum eyes stared back at her with yellow slits, brimming with fire. Delicate fronds covered her long neck made of silver blue. Her long snout held a perfect symmetry and her two prominent fangs rested on her lower jaw slightly. Deep blue claws covered in an iridescent coating retracted and expanded. Draax knew her beauty for this meeting could not be matched. She worked hard preparing for each god and their personality. Her quips and barbs matched the temperament and mood of each dragon. She had spent seasons having internal arguments, playing Fate, playing the role of one of her rivals, twisting logic, making sure everything, every thought was covered.

 

Draax had nothing to lose and everything to gain at this meeting.

 

A puff of ink black smoke circled around a miracle tree, spiraling along the slender trunk. A dragon, slender and long, with obsidian black iridescent scales and shadow black eyes formed from the smoke and curled along the supple branches. Star-like lights twinkled in and out along her body, giving the impression part of the skies above came down to rest in a dragon’s body. A small sigh escaped her snout with a puff of smoke. “Ah Draax, you created the miracle dragon trees again. A wonderful choice. The mix of plants soothes me, yet fills my thoughts with passions. Do not think for a moment I am ignorant of your motivations and plots. I can see your plans. I know things even Fate can only speculate about.”

 

“Kanos, Dragon God of the Fires above, I would not presume to tell you anything. If you see my plans and you are here, then obviously you approve. Your presence honors me and confirms my beliefs that you will stand by my side. I need your support.”

 

“Oh and support you shall have. We all came into existence when the invaders began to destroy this world. United we drove those parasites from our home. We are all brothers and sisters, united in creation. Yet we fight. For we are passionate people.”

 

“Salamander passion and desire is what this world needs. The Undines can only muster enough will to defend what is theirs or kill for food. We consume, we devour, we exploit and we grow. Salamanders are not content with the status quo. My plans match the will of our people. You must see that.”

 

“Draax, I see your ambition as well. The seas will belong to you. Yet this serves the greater good. For too long we have settled for a stasis. Some will call the years golden but I will call them static, a pause in our unification of the world. The war between husband and wife, Celundynn and Plthunlos will serve to be a great catalyst.”

 

“Indeed great goddess of the stars.”

 

“Oh your words are so much honey laced with poison.”

 

“Why thank you lady.”

 

Another dragon god arrived, shaking the ground on impact, grinding claws into the rich soil, shredding the grass. A mighty serpent, covered in bright reddish bronze scales and gold trimmed claws roared into the skies above. Muscles underneath the scales rippled in a pure flexing show of masculinity and prowess. Xenthi, Dragon God of the Flaming sky quickly dashed to where Draax chatted with Kanos. An oversized golden claw gripped her body in one swift, violent motion, talons pressing into the scales of the female dragon’s neck.

 

Draax already mentally prepared for this reaction. She remained calm and composed even with his hot breath in her face. Xenthi was so much fun to provoke and make up with. She started fights with him just for the make-up sessions of hot steamy sex. Xenthi boiled over like hot water and soon calmed down when the winds changed. All smoke and fuss. He played right into her hands every time. She smiled as his grip threatened to rip her head off.

 

“You dare summon me! After the quick departure and hiding. We are supposed to marry and create offspring! Instead of exchanging vows you went into some despicable pit, running from our love.”

 

“Lust my dear, lust. Never confuse love with lust!”

 

“It is the same! We have urges and we both want to see new gods for our people.”

 

“I believe the operative term is ‘you’ not ‘we’.”

 

“Insolent and beautiful. Cunning and desirable. Why did you leave my side?”

 

“I needed time to think.” She licked at one of her claws, grooming her hands in a delicate way.

 

Xenthi removed his large claw from her neck. A golden eye surveyed her form. His tongue flickered looking for scents. “One should not think as much as you do. But you are a complicated creature. It might be why I desire you so much.”

 

“It could be.”

 

“Be wary of what you say today. I will find a good tree and curl around it, waiting for the others. I need to commune with my chosen on the mortal realm. I shall leave my form on this tree and come back to it when the meeting starts. Summon my attention then.” Xenthi curled his muscular form around a tree and closed his eyes. He turned his eyes back towards the mortal realm, leaving the conjured form only partially aware of what was going on.

 

A moment passed after Xenthi curled around his tree. From nowhere the presence of a mountainous dragon, earthy dark brown scales with lumps of black volcanic rock stuck on his form, appeared. Red lava eyes peered out from a rectangular head. Huge claws with black, dull talons dug deep into the earth. The dragon sniffed the air.

 

“Ah, miracle dragon trees, my favorite smell. Fresh and full of vigor, much like our people. Too bad it lacks common sense.”

 

“Xethalchoate, my favorite debate sparring partner. How good to see your huge, hulking form.”

 

Draax relied on his calculating, yet generous mind. Xethalchoate had heart, but his goals remained selfish as ever. He would only cooperate if he saw an advantage. But sometimes his help could be won if she played the sympathy card.

 

The dragon moved up to the tallest of the trees, which was obviously meant for him. The giant dragon boomed, “My bulk is about as thick as Xenthi’s wit. I reflect the thick headedness of my brother in form.”

 

Xenthi opened one glaring golden eye, “I hear your ill words Brother.”

 

“Yes and you still have no clue on how to respond except by violence.”

 

“I will refrain until this meeting is at end. Then you will face my wrath.”

 

“Why can’t I face your intelligent banter or ingenious ideas? Maybe because you have the brain of a forest giant, filled with sticks and always in pain about something.”

 

Draax looked over at Xethalchoate, “Now is not the time to exchange words. Rest your frame on the tree I made for you. The meeting will start soon.”

 

“If this will benefit our people I am all ears, Lady of Storms.”

 

“Indeed it will, Dragon God of the Fires Below.”

 

Gleaming armor flashed into existence, bright steel glowing with the eternal dying sun, giving off red and orange colors mixed with the bright steel color of the forge dragon Moorhanos. The salamander god, smaller than even Kanos, looked impenetrable in her suit of scaled armor made from her forges. Unlike her counterparts she stood on her hind legs. Her tail she used for balance and twin fang-like swords hung from her belt around her waist. Slender arms, long with delicate fingers reached out and held the pommels of her resting swords. Swirling flame patterns danced on steel armor. Moorhanos looked the part of a might salamander warrior except for the dragon head and golden cloak on her back. On top of her head rested a single gold band with a glass monocle attached to it. The monocle fell down across her left eye. She defied her kindred’s desire to transform into a dragon. Moorhanos enjoyed the scientific advancement of her priests as well as the might of her finest warriors.

 

Draax decided to belittle the forge goddess’s ego, keeping her in check but giving her a sense of worth at the same time. “The paladin returns to us. Oh mighty paladin of the forge, what wonders will you create today? Will you create for us a mechanical back scratcher?”

 

“Save you pandering for someone who cares Draax. I am here at the request of our most respected sister Kanos. My steel and inventions ride on your ships, but I also know you are not to be trusted. Only my weapons and constructs can be fully trusted.”

 

“But came you did. Are you still mad about the gnomes stealing your secret to folding steel over 100 times?” Draax eyed her sister.

 

“Do not think for a moment I have forgotten. I believe one of your spies gave up the information before death, is that not right? Somehow you stole the secret, wrote it down and traveled to the Crater of Lugos only to be ambushed…”

 

“By the Khoro Dhonil.”

 

“Yes those insufferable assassins the gnomes use. They bury like moles and pop out at the most inconvenient time. I will kill every gnome in existence if I have to in order to get my secrets back.”

 

“And I will gladly help you do this, but first we have more immediate aims.”

 

“The Undines?”

 

“Yes Moorhanos, Dragon God of the Melting Ore. We will have our revenge but we must wait for everyone else to appear. I set aside a tree especially for you.”

 

“I see you set up our favorite trees with a carved seat. Very thoughtful sister. You have my attention. For now.”

 

“Thank you dear sister. I promise not to waste anyone’s time. This is my word and my people’s word.”

 

Sounds of old leather wings flapped in the air. Several books fluttered downward, landing with a small thud. Scrolls appeared from nowhere in an empty miracle dragon tree next to where Tukono’s books landed.

 

A smaller dragon god arrived following the books dropped to the group. Her thick wrinkly hide covered her frame with scales brittle and frail. Moldy large black and green wings flapped twice and landed near the tree she marked with her scrolls. White tufts of long hair stuck out on her large neck and wizened head danced in the celestial breeze. Yellow, ancient claws dug slowly into the ground. The old dragon rose and curled around her marked tree slowly. Green eyes with yellow slits, full of intelligence, glared at Draax.

 

Draax knew her old form was an act. She hid her true powers behind her frailty. Tukonos desired knowledge in all of its sacred and profane forms. She would only give her so much, less she become gluttonous. Just enough would she feed her to keep her interests.

 

“Am I in the right area for this auspicious gathering?”

 

“Yes sister. Your books and reading are making you old. I know you wish to record this event for our people. But I have yet to understand where you stand, Tukonos, Dragon God of the Searing Thought.”

 

“I stand as always, for tradition and rule of law. I stand for our people and for our ways when we first strode the earth, cleansing the filthy invaders from our soil, destroying them. Rumor has it the invaders have been recreated once more! This will not stand!”

 

“I have heard the rumors as well. I will speak of this during our meeting. Please be patient Tukonos, my dear sister. I have much to speak on besides this new creation.”

 

“Undines will be our focus?”

 

“Yes sister they are. You will understand more once my speech is complete.”

 

A loud clash of symbols echoed through the meeting area. Everyone looked to see who appeared. Standing near the small seeing pool, a large salamander warrior with a dragon’s head stood in fully detailed brass armor, form fitted and molded in flames. A huge double edged sword clung to her back, with a large cross guard, well over two men tall. Dragon runes covered the sword and everyone felt its power.

 

“Good to see you again Draax,” spoke the armored warrior.

 

“Our houses remain allies and all is well, Thaminx Dragon God of the Burning Earth.”

 

“So why have I been summoned here? Do we wish to discuss some strategy to destroy our hated enemies? Undines? Gnomes?”

 

“Yes sister. Your strategies and tactics are always needed. I will share the news first with everyone, then we can convene to plot and strategies with those willing to offer suggestions.”

 

“If it involves rending flesh and ripping off Undine heads I will be there, Thaminx,” Xenthi interjected.

 

“You have no tact as always brother. But we can always use you and your followers at the front lines.”

 

“Where else would I be? Hiding in some cave, planning, not doing anything?”

 

“I strike with my sword Kelhandros and my mind. I choose when and where. You have no such discretion and no clue how to win a war! You can only win battles with brute strength. You have no strategy and your tactics consist of brute force. You still remain the ignorant oaf.”

 

“Sister, brother, please! We will all find a way to fit in and vanquish our enemies.” Draax groomed her claw nervously. “We must maintain order her until I am finished announcing the news.”

 

“You have delayed long enough Lady of Storms. Speak the news NOW! So I may leave.” Xenthi puffed a large flame into the sky.

 

“WE MUST WAIT FOR TWO MORE, LOVER.”

 

Xenthi eyed her questionably, the last statement struck home.

 

She played him like an old reed flute. With ease.

 

Draax smiled her sweetest grin just for Xenthi.

 

“Very well we shall wait my sweets.” He curled up on the tree once more with his muscular form.

 

An empty miracle dragon tree filled with a smoky serpent form. Slowly the shape wrapped around the tree, quietly. Only Draax and her keen senses spotted her first. Draax projected a thought instead of speaking for the group to hear.

 

It is good to see you sister. I see you have chosen another form.

 

“I wish to only stay for the announcement sister. I have other things to take care of. Missions of mercy and deceit.”

 

“Mercy and deceit often do not go hand in hand.”

 

“Oh yes they do Lady of Storms. You can take what you are doing to poor Xenthi now. I have done as much before. I just know how to really get in and out of his embrace. I love the feel of his muscles bulging against me. But I am sure you know this as well.”

 

“Sharing the same Dragon has never been my intent. But I have other aims Maathenos.”

 

“So I see. I would like to meet with you after your second meeting with the Lady of Battle is over.”

 

“I can arrange that, Dragon God of the Burning Moon.”

 

“Yes I would like that.”

 

A savage roar announced the last Dragon God’s arrival, shaking trees and moving the very bodies of each dragon present. A huge, mottled dust brown dragon appeared in the center. Oversized claws and fangs gleaming white grasped at the green earth. She roared again and everyone saw her. Wild reddish orange eyes glared at everyone challengingly. No one ever took up the challenge. Even Xenthi with several battles under his belt against her did not feel up to her willingness to bring war into this garden area.

 

“Sister, it is good you arrived.”

 

“I would rather be roaming out desert home of Arablis.”

 

“I thank you for your presence. Kalamandi Dragon God of the Flaming Spirit. I will not take long.”

 

“Speak, worm.”

 

Draax addressed everyone from her own tree which she now curled around. Everyone had a tree. Kalamandi found the last tree and scratched at the trunk with her claws, waiting in frustration.

 

“This meeting is a unique one. Not since the days of the War of the Elementals have we gathered. Our personalities have evolved. Our people have grown. But we have a hunger. For we are Dragons and we are ever hungry.

 

“We want to bring an order to this world. Something we have lacked. This order would be ruled by us. We will bring our values and our way of life to every place, every corner of this planet. Dragon values and Salamander ways. Our heaven right here on earth. The fittest will survive of each and every species. There will be no weak link.

 

“The two remaining gods of the Undines, Celundynn and Plthunlos, fight with each other. We have all witnessed their fighting. But like myself we wondered why?

 

“I know this answer. And it come from our original enemy. The Invaders.

 

“After we destroyed the floating city of Ar-Indurr for their violation of our sea treaty, it started a chain of events even we could not predict.

 

“Plthunlos went mad with grief from this battle. He brought the Invaders back to our world in a similar, yet new form. They are called Humans.”

 

Several Dragons gasped. A few stared intently at Draax.

 

“We know Fate intervened in this and fooled Celundynn. This started the war between the two. She killed his physical form twice. He hunted down her followers while losing his followers in droves. Plthunlos turned into a creature Fate called a Leviathan. Even after his physical defeats he came back stronger than before. Plthunlos feasted on other Undines’ fears. Plus he used these new humans to lead raids on his wife’s ships and ours.

 

“Our secret enemy are these humans, created by Plthunlos who sabotage our ships and interrupt our trade. This is why House Draax cannot deliver on time.

 

“We must turn the tables on this.

 

“I propose we find all humans, bring them to our cities and make them into our servants, our slaves to sabotage for us.

 

“We must hunt down all humans.

 

“Now the second part of this will be simple. We will gather our armies and march against the strongest city the Undines have. We will crush Celundynn and her followers at the city of Jaash. We will conquer Jaash and subjugate all to our rule. The world of Naalrinnon will belong to us, the Dragon Gods and their humble follower the Salamanders. Humans will be to the Salamanders what they are to us, the children of fire. Salamanders will lord over all this world and destroy all those who stand in our way. Even the gnomes will have to bend a knee to our might. These two first steps will lead us down a path of glory. For all of us.”

 

Draax looked across the pool to each and every god. They silently waited for more words. She had their undivided attention.

 

“With you, my brothers and sisters we will rise up and bring our order to this world. United as one pantheon!”

 

Every dragon roared into the sky of the Celestial Garden. The whole celestial garden shook with their mighty, collective roar.

 

This book will see the light of day by end of summer.

What Cha Working On Boss?

Hey everyone,

I wanted to let you know that yes, I am busy. Things are pretty hectic and I wanted to give you a brief update.

Currently still working on Salamanders of House Draax sourcebook for Anointed: Mantle of the Gods and New Gods of Mankind. This will bring one House and society of the Salamanders to life. Since Draax is the Dragon God of the Boiling Seas, expect to see the salamander version of marines to fight. Here is some stats for you to chew on.

SM

I am testing out these marines and the whole house with a great group of gamers including Sean over at https://heavymetalgm.wordpress.com/ I appreciate them putting up with all the new content while I work it out for publication.

Also a second book with detailed career paths, domains and powers filled out will be coming too. Currently working on a Witch Anointed Character and adding in some cool, low level Cantrips as a single power to work within the system.

Speaking of new stuff.

Currently working on a card game called Giants of Klundynn. It is a 2-4 player game where each player takes turns as a Giant with an army of elite smashing another player’s village and followers. Four types of decks will be in the game: Ogres and Humans, Trolls and Orcs, Minotaurs and Beastmen, Behemoths and undead. The whole game is meant to feel like you are wrecking total devastation like in a Godzilla movie.

Playtesting happening soon.

Still waiting for edits and proofreading on the novel, Dragon Gods Rising. I plan to release the novel in June.

I will be running lots of Demos on @roll20 or live in San Antonio at your local game shop.

Going to find a few things to write about this weekend for sure. Expect a couple of nice blog posts.

Catch you guys later.

 

 

Barbarians at the Table: Exploring Hack and Slash Gaming

Gaming is a form of escapism. A way to leave the dull confines of our day jobs, school and life in general. Even though we humans have conquered disease, viruses, mass genocide (in a significant portion of the world) and our own madness, we still desire to leave behind our boring lives and explore. It is our unbridled lust for exploration of new places and desires to act out our inhibitions that powers the gaming movement.Gaming has swept the modern world, even putting other forms of entertainment to shame. We humans desire to hack and slash. We want control over our world and to rule ourselves by the sword.

Dooku_Obi-wan_choke

It is when we escape through gaming that we often “do” things we normally would not even consider in our modern society. Acts of power and violence are tossed around as we delve deep into the game we want to explore. We do not hold back from pickpocketing the town guard. Our trigger finger is ready to blow apart Stormtroopers, Nazis and the nearest obstacle in our way. In Table-Top fantasy games we often slaughter wholesale orcs and trolls without a care for consequences. It is this, shoot first and ask questions later many game masters have a problem with. The barbarians are at the table and ready to play. Can you game master with people whose primal instincts are in full swing?

We will explore in this article several reasons why we should entertain these barbarous gamers. Also we will look at the dark side of humanity, shunned, but still there in all of us. In our last few paragraphs we will explore ideas on how to incorporate consequences and alternatives for our barbarian gamer friends.

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Artwork by Frank Frazetta

Noted psychiatrist Carl Jung spoke about “the shadow” in each and every person. This is something we deny exists in ourselves and we project on others. It can take on a life of its own called “The Other”. Anthropologist have found in every culture we humans portray some very dark elements. This list includes

 

  • Aggression and Proscribed Violence
  • Jealousy
  • Lies and Manipulation
  • Shame

 

The Greeks had a term for outsiders and people who acted primarily on the dark side of their nature, barbaros “barbarian” which is an antonym of the word polites or citizen. Often Greeks would hurl insults at each other with this term. We can see the barbaric nature of man is in all of us. Yet we strive to be good citizens, not giving in to our dark nature. But early man could not survive without these traits.

It is therefore good for humans to explore the dark side of their nature. You cannot know what to resist if you have no idea what you are resisting. Our highly civilized society has no room for random acts of aggression that lie within all of us. But growing up we find no outlet for our dark selves. Gone are the days of playing cops and robbers in the neighborhood. Gaming, can and should be used as a healthy, modern outlet to explore the dark nature of man and ourselves.

Game Masters should entertain tabletop barbarians for several reasons.

 

  1. It is a healthy outlet and exploration of the dark part of our nature.
  2. Our better selves can know what these acts feel like without actually performing them in real society.
  3. Healthy role-play of different personalities leads to empathy.

 

The last part must be emphasized. In order for us to be great citizens of the country we belong to, we must learn to practice empathy. What is empathy?

Noun: The ability to understand and share the feelings of others.

It comes from two Greek words, em- in and pathos –feeling.

Why do we need more empathy?

So we can understand each other and live in a civilized society. You can find a great article about empathy here.

While it is good to understand our dark nature, it is not good to have players run around without any consequence of their actions for many sessions. We are creatures of habit and game masters who constantly allow for players to do what they please without consequence miss a great opportunity for exploring our inner selves.

Just as in real life, if we rob a liquor store, we should expect jail time. In our table-top role-playing games we should allow consequences to happen. Players who go into a dungeon, kill all the orcs and leave with the loot should know there will be reprisal. The orcs should have relatives and clans with kin. They will be looking for blood. Also if the orcs robbed the dungeon from someone else, like a necromancer, this necromancer will come back to get his gold. This can be played off as cursed gold, marked by the necromancer and it allows the party to be tracked. The entire point is, make sure actions have consequences. This way you can show all sides of a player’s actions. Too often we get into a kill zone and just play out a slaughter-fest. If this is what you intend, then by all means go for it. But if you want your games to impact a player’s life, bring consequences into the game.

Another area to explore while delving into our dark selves is our ability to care about others. Motivating new players to care about their actions goes with consequences. Often we think still in family terms and keep our ideas about who counts as family at a tribal level. Give players a tribe to belong to. Even if it is a society of misfit adventurers it gives a sense of belonging. Often the dwarf berserker will not care about the elf minstrel. If the dwarf berserker joined a league with the elf whose uncle is a necromancer, that will give some reason for the dwarf to care about his elf friend. Bringing family and friend groups into a game raises the whole role-playing session to another level. It helps us practice empathy and find reasons to practice caring.

We all have a barbarian lurking inside of us. Denying this will not vanquish the dark part of our nature. It is healthy to explore this aspect of us through table-top games. The theater of the mind is a great simulator of life. With the right game master and players, a collaborative environment of storytelling and exploration can commence in a simulated place. Do not worry about new players smashing through everything. Encourage them to feel comfortable in their role and allow for them to explore who they are role-playing. Without this discovery within table-top games we cannot grow as mature, empathetic beings. Role-playing games can be a great way to create bright, empathetic citizens of our world.

 

 

International Table-Top Day April 30th!

Ladies, Gentlemen, Gamers of All Ages,

April 30th is a special day set aside for Table-Top games. Come and get your game on at one of many marked and unmarked locations. Everything from Board Games, Card Games to Table-Top RPG games will be covered. Just about every game store will be doing something for that day. If you are looking for an international location participating with Geek and Sundry’s Table-Top Day you can click on this link here.

Geek and Sundry will be live broadcasting on their website. You can hit their Twitch Feed here. For more information on Geek and Sundry, go here.

Why do we need such a day?

So we can celebrate a hobby that unites the world in game. For one day millions of gamers will rise up and role dice, drop cards, move tokens, place miniatures and flip through rules. It is a day to wave your geek flag high. If you love games, it is nice to have a special day set aside for Table-Top RPGs.

This blog and the writer has his own personal reasons to love this day.

New Gods of Mankind

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Check out the full line of PDFs for your next table-top game on RPGnow and find our new sets on Roll 20. We have a free sample PDF you can download now here.

If you have no friends nearby to game with, just log into Roll 20 or Fantasy Grounds and find a group.

Actualizing Antagonists and Villains

AAV

Creating memorable antagonists, be they heroes, events or villains, anchors your game or story with a personality. A foe in direct conflict with the players. Dungeons and bosses, storms and rivals vie for the chance to put an end to your player’s current state of livelihood. Often building an implementing such a fiendish creation requires much time and preparation. After creating a tavern and quest plot, this should be the main focus of any game master. When you create an antagonist, you should keep in mind their looks, personality, motivations, ties to the players (direct or indirect) and flash. This applies not just to evil liches, but a paladin from a rival order, a dungeon keep belonging to a dead uncle or a huge blizzard filled with horrible creatures.

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“The steam slowly showed her form incarnate within the Celestial Garden. A serpentine dragon, with folded wings and long sinuous arms and legs looked back at her. Beautiful, iridescent aquamarine scales covered her body, capturing the sunset’s eternal light here. Dark, electric plum eyes stared back at her with yellow slits, brimming with fire. Delicate fronds covered her long neck made of silver blue. Her long snout held a perfect symmetry and her two prominent fangs rested on her lower jaw slightly. Deep blue claws covered in an iridescent coating retracted and expanded. Draax knew her beauty for this meeting could not be matched. She worked hard preparing for each god and their personality. Her quips and barbs matched the temperament and mood of each dragon. Often she spent seasons having internal arguments, playing Fate, playing the role of one of her rivals, twisting logic, making sure everything, every thought was covered.

 Draax had nothing to lose and everything to gain at this meeting.” (Dragon Gods Rising A novel I am currently editing)

The physical description of the main antagonist must be accurate, detailed and evoke a response from your characters. Too often a storyteller will just describe the highlighted main bad guy as “a tall person dressed in black armor wielding a great sword.” Or a huge dungeon sprawling across the underbelly of a city. Color in your antagonist with feelings you want to illicit from your audience. Each color contains a lot of deep meaning. You can find a whole chart of emotions attached to colors here. I recommend throwing in the color red, orange or yellow somewhere, even if it is small. Make sure the personality you give matches the description you are about to relay to your players.

Loki

Creating a personality for your antagonist often involves going into dark territory. Fear and hatred often come up along with greed and lust. If you want more information on dark personality traits go here. Even the most armored saint like paladin will show some type of negative trait which they try and justify. Objects and events can have personality as well. This should tie directly to the emotional reaction your party will have towards the event. This reactions colors the personality of the event or object.

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Motivations often come into play when dealing with main antagonists. Game masters should lists the goals of their main antagonists and ensure they are marching towards them in every game session. This allows the game to be more dynamic and not so player centered (although the players are the stars of the show, but the world must continue to grow and revolve). When you seek to give your antagonist a goal, make sure it is one many people will oppose. This will create the conflict needed to create interesting drama. An excellent article breaking down motivations lies here.

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Tying the characters to the antagonists can take your story to the next level. The scorned, necromantic uncle creating an army of undead can fuel many hours of game time. Giving your characters a personal stake in the game allows for players to follow the given plot course without railroading. This is important as too often players will complain of game masters ‘forcing’ them to do a dungeon. Sometimes even an indirect motivation helps. Let us say the necromancer is not related to any of the party, but has a need to destroy a town in which a player’s aunt lives in. Again this ties the players into the plot. Feel free to experiment with this but be careful of player’s emotional responses. Storytellers walk a fine line here.

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The final topping on this antagonist dessert is flash. Flash means an invoked magical, technological or appointed special use of an object, clothing, weapon or spell. This ties in to description but deserves its own special paragraph. Often one can remember a foe by the way they carried their beautiful dragon emblem sword. Or maybe a rival wizard loves to shoot dark purple fireballs that explode with a hellish screech. Maybe the cloak a paladin wears is corrupting the otherwise virtuous paladin and now has latched on with a life of its own. Do your best to create a dazzling idea your players will not forget.

Creating a memorable story is the goal of any game master or writer. Take care in creating your antagonist and you will be over halfway to creating a fun night filled with conflict and challenges. Feel free to send over your ideas for an antagonist to share with everyone.

 

 

Professional Nerd Bastard

Hey readers,

I just wanted to share some pretty cool news. I am now a part of the Nerd Bastards team. Cool right? I will be blogging my heart out three to four times a week for them. I am super excited about this. It gives me a chance to showcase my talent on a bigger stage.

Darth-Fanboy

Right now I have three pieces up on their site.

Here

He-Man Resurrects as a Kids Reality TV Show

Here

Brand New Character Posters for ‘Warcraft’ Show Off Their Best Poses

And a Featured Post about Star Wars here

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Let’s Acknowledge The Unspoken Character of ‘The Force Awakens’

Enjoy as I will be posting much more from this website. Novel coming out soon!

Tips on Creating Inns and Taverns

TCI2

Original Artist here

Adventurers, in any genre, game or story need food and shelter. A good portion of your beginning and ending to a table-top game will take place in an establishment where drinks, food and shelter can be found. Some stories revolve around a saloon or bar. From a mining colony close to the Kuiper belt  to a historical inn set in Oxford, England, characters will come into these establishments made for travelers and wayward souls. One can find a plethora of information about inns and taverns from the past here . Inns, bars and taverns serve as the cornerstone to any gaming or story universe and should be crafted with care. Some game masters or writers will simply grab established material such as The Three Feathers for Warhammer or bring to life the Friendly Arms Inn found in Forgotten Realms . But most writers want to create their own ideas. Every place characters go should be stocked with interesting personalities, descriptive drinks and food, paid services and a small stock of goods to purchase and plenty of quests, game ideas for many nights of gaming. Maps of the place may, or may not be needed so keep in mind what type of game you are playing. Seedy bars with lots of fights will often need to be mapped out.

Below I will give you some great tips on making your own establishment for your next story or game.

TCI3

Cool mixer and music for image found here.

Inns and taverns get their personalities, backstory and looks from their owners. Creating the barkeep, servants and owner is essential and need to be top priority. When you describe the building you will be describing a part of this character as well. Approach this task from a perspective of character creation with a twist. Usually tavern owners are much older and have tons of life experiences behind them. Craft your establishment owner using a history of adventure. Tie them into specific events occurring in a timeline within your world. Older, experienced adventurers usually make up two thirds of inn keeps. Give them at least two different classes (or jobs) with a few legends. Tie at least one story to the founding of the bar. Once you create the owner, create her family as well. Most inns are family ran. Some inns do have an owner not in attendance with a small, poor family running the show. Make sure your barkeep, waitress, and stable-hands/ servants can answer the following questions:

  • What do you have to drink?
  • What kind of food do you serve?
  • Do you have any room to sleep?
  • Can you stable our mounts/ Room to park our vehicles?
  • Is there anyone hiring?
  • Are there any rumors going around? (Quest Related questions)
  • Do you have any goods/services to sell?

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Artist here

Food and Drinks further define the reputation of the tavern that might stand on its own or be a part of the inn. I highly recommend watching a few shows on foods especially for a fantasy game such as Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmerman and Booze Traveler If you have multiple non playing characters staying at your inn, tell your players what they are eating/ drinking. A lot of information about what type of person they are can be gleamed from their food choices. Fantasy species such as dwarves and elves have their own types of particular foods. If an establishment carries delicacies for a particular species it might give the players more information to enrich the gaming experience.

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Creating the inn itself should be the next item in your mind. A short paragraph describing the establishment always comes in handy. Take into account where the staff and owner sleeps. Also determine if the place is near a city or serves as a small in-between location. When you figure out where the exact location of the inn is, you can determine what type of trade agreements have been made to keep the place stocked with food, drink and goods. Think about the logistics of this establishment as it could come into play later on. Helping the bar owner with a problem involving her shipment of hops and barley would benefit players in many ways.

The tavern/ bar/ inn should be a place chocked full of ideas and one shot games for your players. Understanding the local economy, trade, wildlife and weather will give you much to go on. Local big personalities should flock to the place in order to recruit for dangerous missions. In a sci-fi campaign big time smugglers and crime lords could recruit here as well. It is important to throw down many seeds for adventures. By exploring the area around the Inn you can ensure the nearby graveyard might pose of interest to the adventurers.

By now your head should be brimming with ideas. This place of rest should be your number one area of generating ideas for adventures within the campaign setting. Creating a city is nice, but can be extremely cumbersome for people pressed for time. Try and localize the action and realize less is truly more. The typical bar and inn might be a well-worn troupe but it is quite effective in creating one shot or campaign games. Use it to the fullest and reap the rewards of happy gamers and game masters for a focused, small effort.