Goblin Court Jukebox

Tonight we played Goblin Court by BESW, a drift of Lasers & Feelings that imagines the group as fae goblin visitors at a human court. The castle of his court has lots of secret passages and a mage’s tower that adds intrigue, but the court suspects that a spy has infiltrated their number. We are Rhea an inquisitive artistic goblin who hopes to get kissed, Aglet a gregarious animal loving goblin seeking to make friends, Enki an inventive goblin tailor who also wants friends, and Finster a blunt goblin mechanic who hopes to share secrets. The Queen has commanded us to use our magic to secretly deliver a message to a powerful but tiny dragon named Amethyst who lives far from the court. She hopes that this will impress her lover, Count Deere, but unbeknownst to us, a mechanical bard opposes our mission.

We learn of our mission when Aglet returns to the goblin quarters with our instructions from the Queen. Finster begins to collect maps and plan their route, while Aglet recommends which of her equestrian friends might accompany us. The group decides that each of us should present the dragon with a gift. Next the Queen asks Rhea to paint her lover without being noticed before our departure. Working incognito, Rhea manages to pull off a quick watercolor sketch of Count Deere, but the likeness isn’t very true; in fact, in the painting he strongly resembles another lord of the court…. While we have time, Enki delivers a new dress to Princess Anna and her lady-in-waiting. While they like the dress, they ask Enki to festoon it with more froufrou spangles so it draws more attention when the Princess enters a room.

We finally get out on the road toward the dragon’s lair. On the first night camping, we’re awoken by a loud noise and see a large metal box rolling into our campsite on large treads with a grill in the front. We don’t initially react, but then the sounds coming from the box change and we’re writhing in pain as it becomes a piercing scream that cuts into our brains. After briefly trying to bury our heads, we use our magical pebbles to communicate a plan to retreat and regroup, which we do with only a few tumbles and falls along the way. We decide we must disable the weapon, so we return to our camp and while Aglet, Enki, and Rhea distract the mechanical box, Finster, whose ears have been sewn shut, opens up the box and gums up the works, so the piercing sound stops. In the silence, the box began to speak, explaining that he is a cursed bard, transformed into this mechanical monster and that if they deliver the message to Amethyst, the dragon will destroy his village to please Count Deere, who holds a grudge against his people. We promise not to deliver the message, but how do we make the Queen believe that we have?

Unfinished Fiasco

Tonight we played, or started to, a session of Fiasco by Jason Morningstar using the “Saturday Night ’78” playset by Will Hindmarch, Wil Wheaton, and Jason Morningstar. Our big crew consists of former child star and world traveller Daisy and her sister Cassiel, who resents her sisters fame and now holds incriminating surveillance footage of her; Peter a poor and disillusioned bartender at Studio 54 who is secretly pining for small-time hood and completely oblivious motor-mouth Billy the Kid; Billy’s partner in crime and muscle is Tony, who desperately wants out of this life of crime and believes that he can find it by dancing with Penny, an incredible dancer who used to be appear on Daisy’s show back in the day but has never gotten much direct attention or respect her talent deserves.

Fiasco - A game about powerful ambition and poor impulse control from Bully Pulpit Games
Fiasco poster from Bully Pulpit Games.

Our story begins with Peter and Cassiel in Studio 54 complaining about Billy and Daisy and how they keep getting ignored. They’re ready to run away together to San Francisco to start over. Tony convinces Penny to enter an upcoming dance contest after they come off the dance floor. Later, Daisy approaches Penny about dancing with her in a publicity stunt that could get Daisy another shot at a show. Daisy suggests that the relationship with Tony is holding Penny back. That same night, Billy takes Tony with him to the docks to shakes down a security guard to find out when the big shipment is coming in, and while Tony uses his fists as requested, Billy never cottons to how easy it would be to bribe the guard for the info. A day or two later, Cassiel accosts Penny coming out of Daisy’s place and tries to convince her that Daisy is bad news and that Penny should stop letting the little twerp walk all over her. Penny doesn’t know what Cassiel’s game is, but agrees to make a visit to Medallions one night alone to see if “people recognize her.”

We finish up for the night with the story unresolved after Bill overhears Peter talking on the phone about a big shipment coming in for the club next Wednesday. Peter gets very confused after Billy says he and Tony are partners, but Tony acts like he doesn’t like Billy at all. Billy offers to let Peter join their crew, but Peter just walks away shaking his head.

Montage picture of Cassie dressed in 70s fashions including bell bottoms, platform shoes, and a peasant blouse.

Microscope on Zodiac Gods

Tonight we played Microscope by Ben Robbins exploring the history of a universe populated by the gods of the Zodiac. We start with the Ascension of the Gods when the gods coalesced from the porto-matter of the Big Bang into their canonical forms. Then each god creates the heavenly bodies associated with each sign, and the group combine their power to create the Earth. The next period is when humanity and the gods come together. The god Keron manifests as a king in order to sire progeny among humanity, and at one of his weddings, his bride’s sister creates controversy as she fails to recognize the gods for what they are, but humans are but a blink of the eye to immortal gods. Keron’s bride and her sister are long estranged until eventually the sister tries to kill the wife, so Keron transforms the sister into a particular species of snail. Later Capricorn and Sagittarius appear at a festival and convince many attendees to become worshippers, and Cancer bestows the power of light upon a the pearl in the clam idol created in her honor. Trying to compete, Pisces and Aquarius create an amazing water and air show that threatens to bring the heavens down to Earth, which threatens to destroy the balance of the universe until Capricorn stops them.

Concentric circles create the illusion of a tunnel and below it says Microscope.
Microscope badge courtesy of Lame Mage.

This is the beginning of the period when the gods are directly competing for control of humanity. A human war is stopped when Leo and Cancer become annoyed and descend upon the battlefield in their canonical forms and routed both armies. Virgo and Gemini have an argument about who will gain the dedication of a library built by a group of Mercury worshippers, with Gemini as the patron of words winning the dedication. One of the bystanders, a fruit seller, who helped adjudicate the argument has a daughter named Petra who creates a diorama out of cherry and peach pits of the library that is displayed in honor of Gemini in the library itself. Mysteriously, the gods ability to manifest on Earth wanes, and when the gods meet their conclave devolves into open warfare between them. The war eventually ends with the gods agreeing to leave the human realm, but some continue to manipulate the world by manipulating the natural world directly.

This leads to the Nature Wars when the ability to manifest is quite limited. Taurus manifests as an indestructible vine that threatens to overrun the world and disrupt the ecosystem. Aries and Cancer manifest as wolves to teach wild wolves how to protect nature from the vine expansion and gives them elevated intelligence, which leads them to using the illuminated pearl to signal and communicate with each other over vast distances. Finally, we come to the Death of the Universe and the end of our history. During this period, Virgo, Capricorn, and Taurus hit the ancient diorama of the library, causing the pits to erupt into a massive tree that bear a combined fruit with beautiful blossoms. This brief moment of beauty before precedes the gods working together to destroy the universe in order to reform it anew in a different schema.

The Love Balloon

Tonight we played The Love Balloon by Ray Chou & Vincenzo Ferriero of Mythopoeia Games. We are the guests and a crew member of the majestic airship Cloud 9 on a peripatetic voyage through the Caribbean to Paris. The ship’s Gopher is Percy Winthrope, a young man with more energy than time determined to make everyone else happy. Staying in the Presidential Suite are George Dogwood, an elderly widower who lost his passion for life when his wife Becky passed away, and his caretaker Beatrice Clover, an aging divorcee who is tired of caring for others and needs time for herself. Henley Howard, a young, inveterate salesman running away and on the lam, has a room with a balcony view. In the Bachelor Suite is John Smith, a gorgeous hunk of man trying to travel incognito for a change. Dwight Forte is a middle-aged detective of paranormal activity determined to find romance, so he’s booked the Single Ensuite.

The Love Balloon, a story game of ... hijinks, humor & romance is printed on the left-hand side with two dancers doing the charleston to the right.
The Love Balloon logo and art from Mythopoeia games on Itch.io.

Our story starts at the Embarkment as we all board the ship. As Percy shows Henley around the ship to help orient him, the salesman refuses to take no for an answer and sells him a variety of trinkets and tchotchkes. After Beatrice gets George settled in his room, the old man heads for the bar, but she keeps reminding him to only have one before dinner. Dwight goes to the gym shortly after boarding asks John how to operate the treadmill, hoping to strike up a conversation and perhaps more, but his hopes for an accountability partner are not met tonight.

Our first Day in the Clouds aboard ship Henley meets George at the bar and guesses his initials, while George buys him a drink and a bottle of memories (lily perfume) from the salesman. Dwight meets Beatrice at the Buffet where they discuss their work woes, so after asking for relationship advice, Dwight agrees to take George to the casino so Beatrice can get some time to herself. Percy crashes into Dwight coming from the buffet and the passenger complains about the lack of service and cleanliness of his room. Dwight tries to get a free pass for the buffet, but Percy personally escorts him back to the buffet to restore his plate of shrimp.

At our first Port of Call in Antigua, Beatrice, John, and George ride into the Cavern of Reflection. John stories of his youth on the island, and convinces the two to splash themselves with water from the cave to rejuvenate themselves. In the Sky Tower, Henley offers Dwight a wool scarf but Dwight is disappointed that he isn’t offering anything more personal than various items stolen from his employers stock. They take in the sites and discuss visiting Paris until Dwight asks for a kiss, to which Henley replies he’ll put together a Paris date package for Dwight to purchase. John Smith lounges at the beach and Percy assists him by putting sunscreen on the bombshell’s back, gaining his attention and approval.

Line drawing of the dirigible air cruise ship the Cloud Nine with it's deck and pool visible on top of the air hold, the conning tower toward the rear of the ship, and gangplanks leading up inside the main body of the ship.
Image of airship Cloud 9 courtesy of Mythopoeia games.

During Night with the Stars the group walks together along the top desk and realize they have become friends during the voyage. Under the Moonlight has Dwight finally getting his kiss from Henley, though still only on the cheek. George tells Beatrice that he’s ready to get on with living now they’ve finished the trip, and offers to give her some money when they get back home to try something new in her life, since she’s grown tired of always being at someone else’s beck and call. John Smith asks Percy if there is anything he can do for the Gopher, and they go walking off together, hand in hand.

During Disembarkment, George and Beatrice thank Percy for all the help and George asks Percy to tell the Captain that his dad enjoyed the cruise. Henley and Dwight depart together talking about their forthcoming adventure in Paris, and Henley gives Percy a black silk rose to woo John with, free of charge. John departs the ship, looking back at Percy holding the rose.