The year is 1802. The Barcosa, a merchant ship equipped with cannons, sets sail from Amsterdam under Captain Claas de Ruyter to buy goods in Java. The ship’s hold is filled with bricks and weapons. Chief merchant Henk Kuipers manages gold and silver coins which are to be used to buy spices, textiles, and fine fabrics.
What follows is the journal of Gerrit van der Zee, a sailor aboard the ship. How we came into possession of it is something we cannot divulge, but it is enough to say that the journal covers about three weeks, and that van der Zee had no idea upon leaving Amsterdam that this would be The Last Voyage of the Barcosa.
I run a tea shop on the border of the living and the dead. The recently deceased visit for one last hot drink before their long journey to the Great Beyond. Time is strange here. Days and memories blur. Nobody visited yesterday – I am sure of that. Someone passed last week, but I am unable to picture their face.
The fog thins. A figure approaches. I stoke the fire. “Welcome to the last tea shop,” I say. “You are welcome here, To The Dregs.”
The war with the androids has made everyone paranoid. Including me, and including my interrogators. See, Asimov Landing Station is on the far edge of the galaxy, manned by only a skeleton crew, most of them scientists doing research. Nothing ever happens here. But after the government discovered that androids have the capacity of perfectly mimicking human beings the atmosphere in the Station has started changing. Several things had gone wrong or malfunctioned in non-critical but totally avoidable ways before, but now things are getting more severe: research has been delayed, the station’s systems have broken down at critical moments, and people have disappeared. Station security has singled me out as a suspicious person and they’ve taken me in for questioning. I’m starting to wonder… am I really human, or a sleeper agent with programming? Could I be one of them?
There’s a vast diversity of experiences that fall under the big tent of tabletop roleplaying. From different playstyles to games to even venues of play, everyone plays a little bit differently. There are some things that are common at one table and unthinkable at another. And some products, from battlemats to GM screens to even pre-written adventures themselves just aren’t seen at every gaming table. That said, if someone, say, reviewed RPGs for five solid years and had never once ran a pre-written module, you could be forgiven for saying they might be missing out on a common gamer experience. Well, that someone is me, and this month I made a change.
Do not think that the title of this review is a quip about the Troika module The Forest Primordia. I do not call it “My First Module” out of snark, it is literally the first prewritten module I have ever run in a serious game (my attempt to run the Tomb of Horrors doesn’t count, for multiple reasons). I don’t think I’ve ever had anything against modules, but for me the interest in running games was always couched in writing, and using pre-written material always seemed to produce a disconnect where there didn’t need to be one. As a result, it took about twenty years of my RPG career before I decided to give one a whirl.
If you are reading this, there is a good chance you already know who I am, but just in case: Hello there! My name is Cory Deepwood, and I am a witch. I have been practicing for many years, now, learning the ways of the earth and the sky and quite a bit in between. At first it was tradition, passed down from my mother to me . Eventually, though, I began to think of myself as something of a steward, taking care of the lands I have worked on and the people within them. Within these pages are the spells and appurtenances I have used in my craft. Whether I have now passed it to you or you have found it in a dusty library somewhere, I hope you use my Grimoire well.
Join the Cannibal Halflings for an Actual Play adventure in the world of Ryuutama: Natural Fantasy Roleplay! Two travelers walk the Grandile Road towards a festival, but they’ll have to contend with the rigors of the journey, mystical occurrences, and mischievous marauders along the way.
Learn along with the players about how to play this RPG by Atsuhiro Okada, often described as “Studio Ghibli’s Oregon Trail”. When the journey comes to a close, hear what everyone thought!