Saturday, July 30, 2016

El Filibusterismo's Simoun in Eberron, Part 2

Check out Part 1 here!

The immaculately dressed man makes a courtesy. "Simon ir'Baran, a humble jeweler and purveyor of wonders and antiquities." The dark crystal lenses of his spectacles whir as they telescope in and out to bring you into focus. He strokes his goatee and smiles. "How may I be of service?"


"An infidel and heretic. Krystom ir'Wynarn's 'reforms' would turn our people away from the Silver Flame in the name of some naive 'enlightenment' and cast us into darkness. That man represented everything that was wrong with the decadence of the aristocracy. We are well rid of him."
-High Cardinal Krozen

Roeder CamaƱag as Simoun.
Photo owned by Gantimpala Theater.
Simon ir'Baran / Krystom ir'Wynarn
Medium humanoid (human), neutral evil

Armor Class 15 (concealed chain shirt)
Hit Points 27 (6d8)
Speed 30ft.

STR 10 (+0)   DEX 15 (+2)   CON 10 (+0)   
INT 12 (+1)   WIS 14 (+2)   CHA 16 (+3)

Skills Deception +5, Insight +6, Investigation +5, Perception +4, Persuasion +5, Sleight of Hand +4, Stealth +4

Senses darkvision 60ft., passive Perception 19 (Eyes of Night)

Languages more than what he is expected to know.

Challenge 1 (200XP)

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Late Night Rambling: The GM's Role

I recently had a discussion with some friends about a GM's "power" to call on fiat to change rules on the fly. It has its merits - sometimes, it is faster for a GM to adjudicate a contested rule instead of combing the books for the right rule. When this happens, it is generally a good idea to discuss the contested rule after as a group. And let's not forget that some groups see the extra time looking for the right rule as a small price to pay in the name of consistency.

Friday, April 29, 2016

El Filibusterismo's Simoun in Eberron, Part 1

Jose Rizal's El Filibusterismo is one of the classic works of Filipino literature, and one of the most memorable characters of the novel is the enigmatic Simoun. A mysterious jeweler and pawnbroker, the elegant financier glides through the hallways of power in the peculiar "frailocracy" of the colonial Philippines, hobnobbing with prelates, colonial bureaucrats,  and the native elite. Always immaculately dressed and never seen without his distinctive tinted spectacles, Simoun hovers around the halls of power, ready to provide favors for favors, sharp-tongued advice, or a little loan here and there for his friends. Woe to those who cross the man, for he always seems to know the details of past misdeeds that he can wield like the sword of Damocles. 

A man of smiles and honeyed words, unbeknownst to many, Simoun is a man pursuing a vendetta. Wronged by Church and State, betrayed by his own people, his family destroyed and his lady love sent to a convent to be the plaything of an amorous friar, Simoun is determined to set the halls of power on fire, an explosive revenge that would make Edmund Dantes proud.

Monday, March 21, 2016

L5R: Mantis Through the SEA Lens (Introduction)

I wasn't even a teenager yet when I first heard about Legend of the Five Rings. I was a young kid into Magic: The Gathering at the time, and I saw this completely different TCG that had two (!) decks, provinces, strongholds, holdings, and that peculiar quirk of bowing to your opponent after your turn is done to say "table is yours." It had samurai, it had honor, and it was something I really wanted to try. But as it happens, it's a miracle that was able to afford Magic on a schoolboy's allowance in the first place. L5R was simply out of reach.

Fast forward to my college days and beyond. I have abandoned TCGs as RPGs appealed to me more. Here I am running Dungeons and Dragons and it offshoots for my players, juggling hubris for awakened magi in NWoD, and running around as an ork MMO player/criminal in 2078. But I haven't touched L5R. Rokugan had accumulated an enormous metaplot since my time as a wide-eyed kid looking at Dynasty and Fate decks, and this presented a barrier to entry for me. (It doesn't help that most of the L5R fans I can draw with a game pitch locally would know tons more about the metaplot than I ever can.) L5R's aesthetic also seemed to give me the vibe that Asia = Japan and China, and I personally found my Southeast Asian (SEA) roots underrepresented.

When I told my friend and L5R aficionado +Jay Steven Anyong about my reservations on running L5R, he asked, "how about running  a Mantis Clan game?" So I looked up this Mantis Clan.

Oh boy.

Moshi Ira of the Mantis Clan

A cursory glane at tha Mantis makes me think that they are perfect for running a SEA-themed game. They exist on the corners of the Empire, and interestingly they are not as pivotal to the head canon of L5R fans. They are a conglomerate of former minor clans, which ties well with how SEA thalassocracies functioned. They do not shy away from gold/koku, and by tweaking their "greed" a little bit you can subvert that into the SEA concept of honor.

They still feel a bit too East Asian for my tastes, though, so I will probably have to do a little tweaking and reskinning.

Let's see how this goes.