Epitaph for a Misguided Hero

We played another game of Epitaph by Marc Hobbs this week, this time with all new players and in a fictional fantasy setting.


Grathar is a dwarf living her entire life underground, among the caves and underground lakes of the under dark. She relishes the tranquility of living below ground and the seriousness of her people as they mine the gems that power magical spells and devices in our world. When the gems are emptied of their magical power, they turn into colorful dust. She wants more than anything to have the frivolous jesters of the Academia banished because they besmirch and slander our ways with their jokes and their profligate tossing of the colorful gem powders.

Grathar (she/her)

Born 12th year of Austin Hjorth II — Died 75th year of Austin Hjorth III

Overhead shot of group of people sitting around a table covered in dishes while a warm glowing light shines from the right.
Epitaph cover courtesy of Less Than Three Games.


Born: 12th year of Lord Austin Hjorth II in Crystome

Age 20

Festival accident that leaves her uncle Folum injured.

  • Snapshot: Marching jesters throwing colored dust, causing people and animals to turn to run, a pair of dwarfs in their path, the older dwarf (Folum) wrapping a protective arm around the younger (Grathar).
  • Reflection: Recognizes that her feelings then were too easy, too simple.

Age 23

A family trip to underground hot springs when her father plays the didgeridoo and teachers Grathar love of music.

  • Snapshot: Grathar sits rapt watching her father play a didgeridoo beside the hot springs, cementing her love of music and her appreciation for the solemnity of the underdark.
  • Reflection: Feels how this moment put her on an arduous path toward an abstract principle rather than the concrete people who make it meaningful.

Age 127

Cinteele Hjorth recalls the solemn protests at Academia Jesteria

  • Remembrance: Cinteele recalls how the dwarves marched so quietly in soft-soled shoes while waving their signs: “It’s not funny.” Grathar was never intentionally funny, but often inspired us to laugh a lot, especially in the student scripts the following semester. Praxus’ script won third place that year.

Age 202

Failed negotiation with an emissary from the surface world.

  • Scene: Larry the halfling questions Grathar about whether she could ever accept the sincerity of other people when they practice the traditions, but Grathar insists all must carry the same sincerity in their heart as she does.
  • Reflection: Grathar regrets not having gotten to know Larry better. She wonders what might have been if they had become friends and what the halfling might have done later in life.

Age 224

Barivar’s banishment.

  • Snapshot: Grathar looking on as Barivar is carted away, banished by Lord Austin Hjorth II, weighing in her hand the festival powder she will use to rescue and release him.
  • Reflection: Mostly she feels fondness for her adopted son, whom she loves so ferociously. But that nostalgia is tempered by her indignation she felt at the child being abandoned by those spiteful royals. Her whole life turned on this moment.

Age 224

Dedicating Barivar to the old ways at the Amethyst Springs, not long after adopting him from banishment.

  • Snapshot: Grathar holds the toddler Barivar in the dark at precisely the right moment to feel the silence and comforting weight of the dark, hums the resonant tone, and moves as the space beckons.
  • Reflection: Grathar feels her responsibility for Barivar replaced the responsibility she had previously felt to this point for the solemn and sombre traditions.

Age 341

Moments before her death with her friend Praxus at the Pearl Grotto.

  • Snapshot: Praxus throwing powder as they dance between the stalagmites, colorful dust turning the water multicolored, Grathar laughing and enjoying herself immensely.
  • Reflection: Proud to be and feel so free, so unlike where she had started.

Died: 75th year of Lord Austin Hjorth III in the Pearl Grotto

Grathar chokes when too much festival powder gets into her lungs while playing with her friend, Praxus, the Master Jester.


  • Praxus, devastated when Grathar dies because of their play, begins a new performance tradition where the jesters walk in silence in their softest shoes. The guffaws of audience usually break the silence thanks to the jester’s antics.
  • Barivar must conduct the traditional funeral rites for his beloved adoptive father. Afterward, he uses his tenuous royal connection to help spread Grathar’s ideals more widely.
  • Lord Austin Hjorth III, in his official capacity at the funeral, jovially recalls her bothersome youth and the grace and kindness she developed in her mellower, older years. He says all will miss the solid gentleness that had come to characterize her life.
  • Roknet Bellsod, Head of the Student Script Department and a good friend of Praxus, dedicates a trophy of a bronzed soft-shoe in Grathar’s name in the main hall trophy cabinet at the Academia Jesteria. Whenever people walk by and create enough vibrations, a bell springs out and rings loud.

Power & Grace & Nemeses

This week we played the Lasers & Feelings hack for superheroes Power & Grace by an unknown author. We are a newly-formed team of supers known as Outsiders, a well-financed and connected team of four supers led by Saving Grace, the legacy of one of the greatest heroes of the previous generation, a trained martial arts expert. Also on the team is science researcher Silver Streak with his frictionless field generator suit that allows him to move at super-speed; Psi-Klone who uses his telekinetic mutant powers to protect the populace; and Miss Fortune, a brooding mystic from another dimension who can barely control her bad luck powers. We have formed as the Outsiders because each of our arch-enemies—mutant mastermind Revolt, wacky gadgeteer Widget, psychic vampire Luckystrike, and chaotic blaster The Troll—have banded together into a villainous syndicate that we can’t hope to match alone.

Our story begins with Saving Grace getting an alert about syndicate activity at an abandoned cathedral, so he contacts Psi-Klone to join him. Recognizing the insignia of a mutant underworld gang on the boxes a group of suspicious characters are moving into the cathedral, Saving Grace springs into action and easily defeats the half-dozen mooks. When he enters the truck, a trap is sprung and he’s trapped inside. Psi-Klone uses his powers to unlock the truck, but Troll blasts him just as the tumblers turn. Together, Saving Grace and Psi-Klone take out Widget, but as Troll escapes, he activates the pre-wired truck bomb. Psi-Klone launches the truck straight up above the cathedral, so the explosion causes damage but no loss of life.

Having captured Widget, Miss Fortune releases her powers while questioning him about the syndicate’s plans. Unfortunately for him, he lets slip enough random details that Silver Streak can piece together the group’s intentions. While we were fighting at the cathedral, Revolt was fomenting dissension among the mutant population and will be unleashing them upon the diplomatic function at the old mansion that houses the Silesian embassy. The objective is to assassinate the Silesian dictator and start a war between the mutant and the human populations. Despite his crimes, we decide we must protect the dictator to save the world from such a war.

We split up and secret ourselves throughout the party: Miss Fortune serving appetizers, Psi-Klone mingling with the guests, Saving Grace guarding the dictator directly, and Silver Streak patrolling the perimeter. Miss Fortune leads a pair of disguised mutants deep into the mansion but gets lost herself. Saving Grace finds the guard detail’s decisions suspect. A mysterious woman extends Revolt’s offer for Psi-Klone, a fellow mutant, to walk away now before it’s too late. And Silver Streak runs into the initial frontal assault by the horde of mutant forces. Inside, Troll leads the assassination squad and blasts through the window where Saving Grace is protecting the dictator. Psi-Klone refuses Revolt’s offer, and running toward Saving Grace and radioing for an evac of the dictator, opens a hole in the wall for Silver Streak to run through. As the dictator disappears in a flash of silver, Saving Grace takes down the Troll. Psi-Klone creates a massive telekinetic vortex to occupy the attackers while the civilians escape, and Saving Grace dashes for the control room to find Miss Fortune.

Lost in the mansion, Miss Fortune has encountered her nemesis, Luckystrike. He tries to persuade her to join him, for they are the same, two sides of the same coin. His good luck countering her back luck, together she could live a normal life. The pressure to resist and protect herself from his mental assault overwhelms her, so Fortune’s powers go out of control, causing the mansion to begin shaking apart. Luckystrike always steps just out of the way of any falling debris, but Saving Grace locates her on the monitors and races to her aid. He engages Luckystrike in hand-to-hand, each dodging the other, neither able to land a solid blow, until Saving Grace stuns Luckystrike long enough for the pair to escape.

Outside, Silver Streak trips a few blocks from the mansion, felled by a Widget trap. As the giggling gadgeteer spews his venom at Silver Streak and pulls the trigger on his multi-gun, the Streak grabs the dictator and dashes away. In the blink of an eye, he has sped up a car park, dropped the dictator, circled back and come down on Widget from behind and above, just as the energy begins to emerge from the device. Psi-Klone flies into the sky to meet Revolt, who soars above the mansion, conjuring lightning. Revolt taunts him about the inevitability of the war; humans being so easy to provoke, it’s only a matter of time. After several exchanges, Psi-Klone knocks Revolt out of the sky using a car, and as he descends to the ground is joined by the rest of us. Revolt unleashes a ball of chain lightning, but working together, we manage to short out Revolt’s powers and knock him out, ending the fight.

In the epilogue, we see Silver Streak in his lab disassembling one of Widget’s devices, and Psi-Klone reaching out to the mutant community. Miss Fortune runs off to be alone, but later she receives a text from Saving Grace asking if she’s like to hang out.

Galactic Watering Hole

This week we played Galactic by Riley Rethal as a small group of strangers brought together to support the Liberation in defeating a Mandate blockade of water to a planet of rocky deserts and no political affiliation. We are Annabelle Sophie, a diplomat or a spy, who believes in peace but knows you can give no quarter to the Mandate; Pickles, an alien, a scoundrel, and a scofflaw out to bank some credits and pester the complacent; and repair-bot 2B-D5 (Two-bee), who collects favors hoping for a chance to build something truly special.

Galactic cover showing a ragtag group of misfit rebels with planets and stars in the sky behind them.

Our story begins with Pickles in a cantina recognizing Annabelle Sophie as someone who’d gotten in their way on a recent job and deciding to confront the diplomat. Annabelle tries to brush off Pickles attention in order to keep a low profile, but Pickles won’t be dissuaded and pokes the diplomat until getting a rise from her. Annabelle pulls a knife to get the alien to back off, even though she’s never actually use it. Having been roped in by Pickles during the provocation phase, Two-bee tries to make peace between them and suggests they repair back to its repair depot. Once ensconced inside the repair depot, the group realizes they can work together on the water problem. Pickles knows of a comet coming through the system soon that could be a source of water the Mandate can’t control. Pickles has the comet’s trajectory and coordinates but needs a crew in order to make the rendezvous. Annabelle remains suspicious of Pickles, knowing that last job was paid for by the Mandate, but agrees to go along to keep an eye on them.

Pickles explains that their ship is in the police impound lot, so first they need to break in and bust out the ship. Unbeknownst to the others, Pickles doesn’t have a ship and will be stealing whichever ship suits their purposes. Annabelle uses her contacts to arrange for the guard to be away from the control room long enough for Two-bee to slip inside and access the terminal. Two-bee changes the sweep pattern of the patrol-bots to create a corridor through the lot for us to enter and take a ship. Pickles selects a ship, hot-wires it, and blasts out of the lot with us all aboard, but we bounce off one of the depot buildings on the way out.

In space, Pickles must take an oblique route to avoid the Mandate patrols, but that brings us to the rendezvous behind schedule, requiring us to adjust our intercept trajectory. As we begin our approach, the ship’s stabilizers come loose due to damage from our rocky take-off, requiring Two-bee to quickly effect repairs while we’re still flying. Thanks to its phenomenal success, we manage to land successfully on the surface of the comet. Because of our late arrival and the relatively small size of the ship we stole, we can only take a sample of water that we can use to secure funding for a proper harvest mission. Unfortunately, we launch ourselves up in the direction the comet is traveling. As we turn to get out of its way, the comet clips the ship and sends us tumbling off into deep space, bringing today’s adventure to a close.