Monday, October 29, 2018

“They Went That Way” - A Tale of Heroes - Scene 72: Thissraelle

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“What are you waiting for, child?” Brother Mathazar’s question interrupted her thoughts. “Eat! Eat!”

She startled then looked back down at her bowl of stew. The smell of the rich brown broth wafted up into her face, and the meat and vegetables looked appetizing as well.  Beside her steaming bowl was a torn half-loaf of bread. She picked up her spoon and smiled. “Thank you!”

“What has your mind so enraptured?”

She looked over at him, then at the others. Next to him were two other monks each dipping into their own bowls, and across from them sat Antonerri and Granthurg. The giant was, at least, eagerly slurping on his stew, alternating mouthfuls with the bread. The sight of him stuffing his mouth made Thissraelle giggle.

He stopped for only a moment. “What?”

She smiled and took a spoonful of stew. It was delicious and full of savory flavors. She swallowed and reached for her bread.

“I’ve just been thinking of all that’s happened to us. How we all came to be in this place, and now all that we are finding out about the Dragon’s Flame.” She raised the bread. “It’s kind of overwhelming.” She took a bite.

“True. You’ll no doubt be wanting to find your other friends as well.”

Antonerri raised his gaze as he heard that, and Thissraelle nodded. She lifted her spoon again.

“Are you there?”

Thissraelle’s head jumped up and looked around, confused.

“Are you there? Can you hear me?”

She dropped her spoon with a clatter and stood up from the table. She looked frantically around the room.

Granthurg said, “Thissraelle! What’s wrong?”

“I know that voice!” She whispered. “Where is she?”

“You CAN hear me! Talk to me!”

Thisraelle shook her head and closed her eyes. She’s in my head.

“Yes! I am!”

Where are you? Are you well?

“DeFrantis is with me! We’re captured! We need your he--”

“Where are you?” The others at the table stared at her outburst. Her mind fell silent. Frantically, she cleared her thoughts and opened herself up. She looked around the table, trying to find support. “Where ARE YOU?” She shouted again.

“I’m sorry. I’m so sorr--”

No! Come back! Talk to me! Where are you? Her mind, her thoughts were silent. The connection was gone.

She stepped away from the table and closed her eyes. She raised her hands out to her side and began slowly turning.

Granthurg stood. “Thissraelle, are you OK?”

“They reached out to me. They contacted me.”

“Who?” All eyes were on her as she slowly turned. Her hands and head began to slowly glow with an azure halo.

“Karendle.” She kept turning, then stopped. “And DeFrantis.”

Antonerri jumped to his feet. “DeFrantis! Where?”

Thissraelle moved one arm before her to point. “That way. I don’t know how far, but they’re that way.” They all looked where she pointed, out the rain-spattered window into the cloudy dark beyond.


This continues the story of the heroes in Wynne, in Twynne Rivers, in the world of The Hero's Tale, Family Friendly RPGs. Here's more info on The Hero's Tale, and family friendly RPGing. If you like this story, support us at our Patreon!
Thank you: Chet Cox!

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Wednesday, October 24, 2018

“A Gem of an Idea” - A Tale of Heroes - Scene 71: Karendle

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“That’s it!” Karendle gasped. “That’s my pouch! How did you get it?”

DeFrantis smiled. “I picked it up off the floor after I healed you. I didn’t know what it was, but you were reaching for it when I got to you. I figured it was important. I didn’t even have a chance to look in it.”

“They didn’t take it from you when they hauled us away?”

“When you’re a street kid, you learn where to hide stuff that’s been stolen.” DeFrantis chuckled. “I’ve got your dagger, too.”

Karendle looked surprised. “I didn’t have a dagger...”

“Yes, you did. Stuck between your ribs. It’s a pretty small one.” She shifted on the floor. “I’m not sure I could reach it right now, though.”

She held the pouch in her hands in front of her and began to untie the leather strap. It wasn’t easy with her hands suspended by the chains. She looked in the pouch. “I can’t see very well. There looks like one, two, three stones.”

They looked at each other for a moment, and Karendle nodded. “I’d like to fix this. Can you throw me the pouch?”

DeFrantis nodded and re-tied the strap. She wound it up into as small and tight of a bundle as she could, then tossed it. The chains rattled and snapped her arm back. The pouch flew about halfway across the room, then slid a few more feet, still a good distance from Karendle.

Karendle swore an old dwarvish curse. She reached out with her leg to try and scoot it towards her, but couldn’t reach it.

“Try again,” DeFrantis called out. Karendle scooted herself as far from the wall as she could and tried to lay flat on the ground. She stretched her legs out and pointed her toes at the pouch. It was close, but still not enough.

Grunting with pain, she pulled against the chains and reached again, this time able to nudge the pouch with her toes. She carefully pressed on it and shifted it slightly toward her before her foot slipped off. Her arms were hurting in their sockets, as they had to both reach and support her weight. She reached again and was able to move it closer a few more inches.

She slouched, gasping for breath.

“One more try!”

As she drew in breaths, the smoke from the incense made her cough. She took in a breath, and held it as she reached her toes past the pouch and drew it toward her. Then, panting, and coughing, she shifted back to the wall, moving the pouch with her foot along the way. Finally, she sat again, with the pouch in front of her.

“Great. Now how am I going to pick it up?” She looked at DeFrantis, who shrugged. There’s gotta be a way to do this. She looked down at the pouch on the floor between her outstretched legs, right between her knees.  My knees...

She used her feet to push herself and the pouch as close to the wall as she could, then, using the chains as a support, pulled her legs behind her and got up until she was kneeling.  Yes! Yes, this can work!

“What are you doing? Are you getting it?”

Karendle didn’t answer. She moved her knees together, pressing the pouch between them. She pressed hard, gripping it as tight as she could. Then, with a grunt, she pulled on the chains, lifting herself up off the floor slightly. She flipped her legs out from under her and dropped herself back to the floor. She closed her knees to her chest, and fell back against the wall, again panting and coughing from the exertion and the smoke.

“What did you do?”

Karendle opened her eyes and saw the pouch sitting snug between her upraised knees. She reached down with one hand, straining against the chains and took the pouch in her fingers. She gingerly lifted it up and took it securely in both hands and finally relaxed her back and legs. As she slouched, she untied the strap and shook the stones out onto her hand. Two gray stones and a blue gem.

“I got them!” She held them up for Karendle to see. “I got them!”

She looked at them and held them as if she was holding her whole life. The red one’s gone. I must’ve dropped it when he attacked. Oh, well. The blue one’s right here. And here’s the stone with the wizard. She looked at it intently, as if she were trying to see him inside of it.

She shook off her thoughts and put the two gray stones back in the pouch, holding tight to the sapphire. She set the pouch on her shoulder and held the blue stone up before her. She looked across the dim fog at DeFrantis. Her friend smiled and nodded slowly.

OK. Here we go. 

She turned her focus to the gem.


This continues the story of the heroes in Wynne, in Twynne Rivers, in the world of The Hero's Tale, Family Friendly RPGs. Here's more info on The Hero's Tale, and family friendly RPGing. If you like this story, support us at our Patreon!
Thank you: Chet Cox!

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Monday, October 22, 2018

“Magic, or No Magic” - A Tale of Heroes - Scene 70: DeFrantis

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The morning had dawned, but the rain fell on. It was still dark, but some light was getting through the clouds, the trees, and finally the windows. DeFrantis could finally see across the dim and hazy room. It was not as large as an open hall in a castle, but it had a high ceiling and walls, each decorated with several tall windows. Tapestries and curtains hung around in the shadows of the room. It looked like the place had once been a manor for a well-to-do noble, but it hadn’t been cared for in years. There were no furniture pieces, only a few pillars reaching upward into the darkness from the stone floor.

Karendle was slouched against the far wall, with her wrists and forearms dangling by the chains in front of her. Her head was tipped, and her breathing was heavy.

Well, I’m glad one of us can sleep, at least. I guess it’s about time we figure out what we’re going to do.

“Hey!” She called out, trying to rouse Karendle. There was no response. “Hey! Wake up!”  Her head bobbed a little.

“Karendle! Hey!”

“What? Wha -?” Karende raised up and blinked.

“Wake up!”

Karendle lifted her hands and ran them over her face and through her hair, shaking the chains as she did. DeFrantis could barely see the outline of her face and her short, stocky form in the shadows. She heard a grunt.

DeFrantis spoke first, “I’m hungry and I want to find my kids. I don’t know why they didn’t just kill us outright, but we’re here, we’re alive, and I’m wanting to get out of here.”

There was silence for a moment, as Karendle shook herself awake. “ OK, great. I’m all for that. How do we do it? Can you wizard up a way out of these shackles?”

“Not with all this mage’s bane in the air.”

“Huh?  Mage’s bane? What’s that?”

“It’s what’s making all the smoke that’s been choking up your lungs. It blocks your ability to use magic.”

The wind had picked up a little and was blowing the rain more fiercely against the windows. There were no thunderclaps, though, with this storm. Karendle mumbled, “Do you think they’ll bring us anything to eat? If someone does, maybe one of us could overcome him and get a key.” She yanked on her chains either to test them or simply to punctuate her thought. “That would be pretty difficult, though.”

Karendle continued, “Maybe Antonerri or that Giant guy have been looking for us. Maybe we’ll get rescued.”

DeFrantis wasn’t very hopeful. “I don’t even know where we are. How would they find us?” How would they find us. Are they even looking? Did Antonerri even survive the fight? She shook her head, rejecting that thought.

Karendle interrupted her dark reverie. “Too bad we can’t send them a message, right?”

Send them a message! DeFrantis’ head shot up, her eyes suddenly alert. “Hey, when you were back in town, how did you contact the men who had hired you?” Her voice was quick, suddenly intense.


“You said you told them you’d caught a wizard, right? And they told you to go back for Thissraelle, right?”


“So how did you contact them?”

“I used an oculus. A blue gem. I just focused on it, and I spoke with them.”


“But isn’t that magic? I thought you said we can’t do magic with all this something bane smokey stuff!”

DeFrantis’ mind was rushing through a thousand thoughts at once. “But the priest used powers! He blasted Antonerri over and over! How did he do it?”  Her mind began running through her memories of that night.

“What priest?” Karendle sat up, confused. “What are you talking about?”

DeFrantis pictured the Confessor Priest, standing outside her cell, in an elaborate white robe. She saw him turn and shout at Antonerri, and raised his staff. His staff had a glowing gemstone! “An oculus! There was an oculus on the staff! Maybe the mage’s bane doesn’t stop powers from oculi!”

Karendle’s confused look made DeFrantis say it again. “I think we can use your oculi! If that’s true, we might be able to contact them! Thissraelle uses the powers of the mind, maybe we can reach her with your blue gem!”

“Well, that may well be, but I don’t have it. They took my pouch when they captured us.” Karendle slumped again. She had gotten a bit caught up in the excitement.

“Well, maybe they didn’t.”

“Come again?”

DeFrantis shifted her weight, raising herself up on her legs. She reached through her collar, deep under her shirt. It was tricky to reach, because the chains restricted her movement, but in a moment she pulled out her hand and a leather pouch with a drawstrap. She held it out toward Karendle.

“Is this what you’re talking about?”


This continues the story of the heroes in Wynne, in Twynne Rivers, in the world of The Hero's Tale, Family Friendly RPGs. Here's more info on The Hero's Tale, and family friendly RPGing. If you like this story, support us at our Patreon!
Thank you: Chet Cox!

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Thursday, October 18, 2018

“It’s Not Just a Dagger” - A Tale of Heroes - Scene 69: Granthurg

It was mid-morning, but it was still dark and gloomy outside of the cathedral hall. Where normally the rising sun would have streamed bright colors through the eastern stained glass windows, like it had just the day before, now thick rainclouds made it almost as dark as the night. Rain streamed down from those windows, beating with the winds against the panes.

Granthurg sat at a table that had been set up in the back of the sanctuary, strewn with scrolls and a few books. The corner was lit by a few oculus lanterns, creating a glow that made the pages shine and fed his hunger for understanding.

The Dragon’s Flame. The Dragon’s Flame... He leaned back in the chair and heard it creak with strain under his huge weight. He wiped his face with his hands and rubbed his eyes.

He reached over and picked up the ivory dagger. He hefted it, musing. Why does everyone seem to want you bad enough to kill for you? 

When he and Thissraelle had gotten back from the barge late last night, he had wanted to break open his scrolls immediately. Thissraelle had convinced him to get some sleep first. He agreed, but didn’t sleep that much, and got up early anyway. The few resident monks were already moving about and attending to their daily lives, and helped him to set up the table.  As he began to spread out his scrolls, they had mentioned that the Father kept a small library in his chambers there at the cathedral.

Granthurg set the blade back down and turned a few more pages in the tome he had been looking through. It seemed to be records and observations kept by the Father about religious influences in the south of Wynne.

He turned another page and looked at its title: How Can We Justify the Sacerdotis Confesoris? What? He read about the tortures used to extract confessions by some in the city of Twynne Rivers. Intrigued, he turned the page again, but there was no more on the topic. I wonder if this is why Antonerri and DeFrantis didn’t want to come here to the cathedral.

He turned a page, then another, skipping ahead to see if there were more on the topic, then stopped, staring at a drawing on the page. That’s it! That’s the dragon breathing flame! It was a drawing of a dragon with spread wings holding its head up, blowing tongues of fire up into the sky, the whole image surrounded by a circle. He picked up the blade and turned it to place the pommel next to the drawing. The dragon’s tails were curled in different loops, and the flames flickered with differing tongues, but they were too similar to be a coincidence.

The door to the sanctuary creaked as it swung open. Brother Mathazar stepped in. “I’m sorry to bother you. It’s so good to have company here, so we love to accommodate whenever we do!”

Granturg looked up, distracted. A man stepped in behind the Brother, the man Granthurg had fought in the field the day before. He walked with a bit of a limp and soreness, and his hands and feet were chained. His face was down, and he didn’t look nearly as threatening as he had then. The fact that he was flanked by two armed and armored town guards ready to take him into custody made him even less so.

Brother Mathazar shrugged. “He said he wanted to talk to you before he left.”  He stepped back, and nodded to the two guards before gently closing the door. It clicked in the heavy, awkward silence.

Finally, without looking up, the man spoke. “You brought me back here and had me healed.” Granthurg just looked at him closely, until he continued. “I couldn’t move. You could have easily left me there in the meadow, in pain, for the wolves. Now, I’m alive. I can walk.” He looked at the shackles on his wrist.

He looked up at Granthurg and the things on the table, seeing the dagger. He smiled a little. “I guess you do have it, after all.”

Granthurg laughed and picked it up. “This isn’t mine. My boss--My friend owns it. I had no idea this was what all of you were after. I don’t know what it is, still.”

The man shrugged. “Others will still come after it. Lots of people want it. Lots of powerful people. Lots of people who aren’t powerful enough, yet.” He looked at Granthurg and smiled. “But don’t worry. I won’t tell them you have it. I’ll tell them it’s gone. I owe you that much.” The guards looked at each other with uneasy glances, then pulled on the chains, moving him toward the door.  “Looks like I’ve got to go.”

“Yes,” Granthurg replied, adding, “Bless your steps.” The man nodded, accepting the blessing, and stepped toward the door, chains clinking on the floorboards. The guards opened the sanctuary door with a creak.

“A question for you!” Granthurg blurted. The man stopped and looked back. “You said I was going to sell this to The Dragon’s Flame. Who is that?”

He nodded. “I only know what I’ve heard. I was sent from Twynne Rivers and I don’t know Dirae very well. But it’s said that they’re a dark and dangerous cult that worships dragons. I think they were tangled up with the slavers at the old inn. Don’t let them know that you have that blade. I’ll bet that won’t go well for you.” He took in a breath, then bowed his head slightly toward Granthurg. “Bless your steps.”

Granturg nodded, and the man stepped through door. As it closed, Granthurg looked back down to the image on the page.

Worships dragons?


This continues the story of the heroes in Wynne, in Twynne Rivers, in the world of The Hero's Tale, Family Friendly RPGs. Here's more info on The Hero's Tale, and family friendly RPGing. If you like this story, support us at our Patreon!
Thank you: Chet Cox!

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Monday, October 15, 2018

Shameless Plug #2

Hey, everyone!

Thanks so much for coming to our blog and reading about gaming! Thanks for following the story, and our characters, Granthurg, DeFrantis, Thissraelle, Antonerri, and Karendle. Just yesterday, my son, Jacob, and I worked out the basic plot outline for the next story arc, well into next May or June! I say, I'm very excited!

This weekend, if you're in Northern Utah, in Provo, please come see us at the Timpanogos Game Convention! We'll be demoing The Hero's Tale and Seeker's Quest both Friday and Saturday!

Also, if you believe in great games with your kids for amazing bonding and family learning, and if you've been enjoying the thread of our fantasy story, please consider supporting us with a Patreon pledge! Just a few dollars will help, and will allow you to read the story a week in advance of everyone else! You can spoil it for your friends!  :-)

Thanks so much for your visits, your comments and your support!

“It’s a Long, Long Story” - A Tale of Heroes - Scene 68: Karendle

Karendle pushed her back up against the wall, and brought her knees up to her chest. The chains on her wrists made that difficult. The stone masonry was cold against her back.

How can I tell her? I was trying to capture her, not kill her! But, I would have sold her out just like the slavers. And my contacts told me not to tell anyone. But she saved my life. I owe her at least that much, don’t I? But where do I start? She thought for a moment, then began.

“I came to Twynne Rivers from the western mountains because I wanted to learn to do magic. I went to the wizard’s guild, but they wouldn’t take me. I’m part Dwarf, and Dwarves don’t ‘do’ magic. Or at least the High Elves in the guild don’t think so. I met a couple of humans who told me how I could do magic right away, and even get back at the guild. I was thrilled! They showed me these stones, gems, that gave me magic.”


“Yep. They showed me how to use them, a little. Then, they told me that I had to go capture wizards. Two of the stones they gave me, gray, dark stones, were just for that.”

“That’s how you zapped the one on the barge?”

“Yes. They said that wizards are evil and are ruining our city. They said they’d pay me well for every wizard I brought them. So, I set out on my task. I heard about a shadow wizard that had been caught stealing from a local inn, and I figured that would be an easy start.”

“So, that was me.”

Karendle hesitated. “That was you. I lost you for a while after you ran from the tower. I wasn’t trying to kill you. I was trying to catch you. I didn’t really know how to use the stones. I guess I still don’t. I lost you, anyway, but found you back at the waterfront on Grunthos’ barge.”

“Granthurg.” DeFrantis corrected.

“Yeah. Him.” Karendle took a breath, choked, and coughed. She shifted against the wall. “So, when the fight started, I thought it was others coming after you. I rushed in. When the other wizards showed up, I don’t know why, I suddenly had a chance to get a guild wizard! And it worked! I was so excited! The guys that hired me were pretty pleased as well. I was going to take him back to Twynne Rivers and get paid. I would have been out of your life completely.  But then....”

Karendle didn’t like the pause. “But then... what?”

“They told me to go back. They wanted Thissarill, or whatever her name is. I guess she’s a big deal for the wizard’s guild or something. They told me to capture her. I don’t really know why.” I don’t really know why I’m doing any of this. “But before I could get back to the inn, I was robbed, and he stole my pouch with all of my gems. I had to get it back, so I tracked him to the dark market, where the slavers were. You have to understand, my whole new life was given to me in that pouch, and taken from me when he robbed me! I fought him and grabbed it. That second blast was meant for him, not you. I grabbed my oculi and blasted him, just out of sheer spite. It didn’t work. I missed him. He rushed me and stabbed me instead. He would have killed me.”

Karendle fell silent for a moment.

DeFrantis continued, “In the chaos you created, I lost sight of the children being sold. I had hoped that they would lead me to the children I’ve been looking for. Now I have no idea what happened to any of them. I have no idea what happened to Antonerri, either.”

Karendle dropped her head to her hands. The smoke irritated her eyes. “I’m so sorry. I was only worried about myself. Now here’s the mess I’ve gotten us into.”

Then they fell silent. Only the steady rain and the occasional lightning flash cut through the haze.


This continues the story of the heroes in Wynne, in Twynne Rivers, in the world of The Hero's Tale, Family Friendly RPGs. Here's more info on The Hero's Tale, and family friendly RPGing. If you like this story, support us at our Patreon!

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Thursday, October 11, 2018

“It’s a Long Story” - A Tale of Heroes - Scene 67: Karendle

A stroke of lightning hit very close, with a bright flash and loud clap. Karendle jolted awake with a shout, a gasp, and a jangle of chains. The room was dark once again, and she tried in vain to see her surroundings. She could hear rain pelting windows, but could see no light from them. The air was thick with a heavy, musky incense that was difficult to breathe. The floor below her legs was cold, hard stone. She tried to stand, but the chains on her wrists, over her head, prevented her. She moved her legs under her and sat up against the wall that held her shackles.

“So, you’re awake now.” A voice spoke to her from across a room. She tried to focus her eyes in the direction. It was female, and it sounded familiar. It carried a tone of anger, though, that she didn’t quite recognize.

“Who are you?” The smoke made Karendle cough when she first spoke. “Where are you?”

“I’m right here. I’m chained to the wall, like you are.” DeFrantis replied. “And you know who I am.”

Karendle was surprised. “I do?”

“You’ve been chasing me for a week, now, but I have no idea why. I would say that you had finally caught me, but it looks like you’re just as caught as I am!”

Silence fell again, with a weight that hung like the smoke in the thick air. The only sound was the rain. Lightning struck again, more distant, but still bright enough to flash through the windows and illuminate the room. She recognized DeFrantis in the shadows from across the floor, and she looked away.

Her mind was clearing, now, as she became more fully awake. She remembered things, images. You were running from the guard tower, and I threw a blast at you. You were on the barge when I captured the other wizard in the stone, and when we traveled up the river. You, the giant, the elf girl, and the other man. You were there at the dark market when I got my oculi back from the thief. You were there when he stabbed me...

“You were the one that healed me!”

“Yes. Yes, I was.”

After a pause in the darkness, Karendle asked, “Why did you save me?”

“I don’t know. Maybe you can tell me why you were trying to kill me!”

“I wasn’t trying to kill you!”

“A couple of fireballs say otherwise!”

“That wasn’t meant for you!” Karendle thought that over, “At least, the one in the market wasn’t...” The rain again filled the empty spaces in between their words. “Maybe I’d better explain.”

“Yes. Maybe that would be a good idea. Take your time. I’m not going anywhere.” Karendle heard DeFrantis’ chains rattle, as if she were settling in for a long story.


This continues the story of the heroes in Wynne, in Twynne Rivers, in the world of The Hero's Tale, Family Friendly RPGs. Here's more info on The Hero's Tale, and family friendly RPGing.If you like this story, support us at our Patreon!

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Tuesday, October 9, 2018

The Murder Hobo - How to Be a Great Narrator (Game Master), #3

Recently a friend of my son’s was over an they were playing Fallout. Actually, the friend was playing, and my son was mostly watching. I don’t know much about the game. I was sitting at the kitchen table writing scenes for “A Tale of Heroes” (the next few have been really cool for me to write!), but I was marginally paying attention. I’ve also watched them play it pretty extensively before. It seems to be mostly wandering around trying to not be killed by various mutant monsters. Yes, there are some other characters involved that you occasionally meet, but mostly, you’re running around trying not to be killed.

And, much of that “trying not to be killed” part involves killing everything else out there. There’s a kind of core assumption that anything that doesn’t look like (mostly) a human is dangerous and should be killed immediately. Then, when their bodies litter the ground, you can search them over for anything useful to your survival and move on.

Fallout 4 is rated “M” for “Mature”, and this description is from it’s ESRB page:

“Content Descriptors: Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language, Use of Drugs

“Rating Summary: This is an action role-playing game in which players assume the role of a fallout shelter resident emerging from a post-apocalyptic world. As players traverse the open-world environment, they complete various mission objectives and use machine guns, machetes, lasers, and explosives to kill mutants and other human survivors. Battles are frenetic with realistic gunfire, explosions, and large blood-splatter effects; some attacks result in slow-motion dismemberment and decapitations. A handful of scenes depict chunks of flesh as well as severed heads and dismembered corpses. During the course of the game, players can consume a variety of fictional drugs (e.g., Buffout, Jet, Psycho) through the use of a menu; repeated use of these drugs leads to an addiction status and various negative effects for characters. The words “f**k,” “sh*t,” and “a*shole” are heard in the dialogue.”

Now, whether or not games are too violent is not my point, here. My frustration is that this text not only shows the more extreme moments of combat, it also pretty effectively describes the plot. By that, I mean the entire point of the game. There really doesn’t seem to be much deeper substance there beyond killing things and grabbing stuff.

Now, there’s more than just rated M games that seem to suffer from this malady. I love to play “Breath of The Wild”. This one is rated E10+ (meaning that it’s rated for all players, but recommended more for ages 10 and up). There’s a little more to the story line, and a few more options for actions, but mostly it involves wandering the open countryside killing bokoblins (or other denizens of evil) and taking what they have that’s of use.

There are thousands of other games with a similar, underlying concept. Even games as “child-friendly” as Adventure Quest and Wizard/Pirate 101 are still all about wandering around, defeating bad guys and taking their loot.

All of this comes, I believe, from the rich tradition of tabletop role-playing games. In the beginning, D&D began as primarily a dungeon crawl game. As a party of adventurers, you found a underground network of halls and chambers (no one is sure who built it), populated by horrific monsters (no one is sure where they came from), that got stronger and more terrible the deeper you went (no one knows why the structure was dug so deep). As the game moved into above-ground adventuring, it was easy enough to carry on the tradition of killing and looting. It’s easy to justify if you’re raiding orc and goblin encampments, but if your character is evil, it’s a lifestyle that’s easy to claim.

And thus, the murder hobo was born.

The murder hobo wanders from village to village, killing and looting. As an RPG lifestyle, it’s an easy way to live. You have a constant source of experience points and gold pieces to feed on, and before long, you’ve leveled up enough to be a feared local legend.

While the community may mock the playstyle, it seems most tabletop and electronic game systems still actively encourage this way of life. I’m kinda surprised that it’s not its own character class by now.

So, what can you do? Well as the GM (Narrator) of the story, you can do two things:

First, you can make a story line so exciting and compelling that the idea of just wandering the countryside making mayhem is downright boring. Give a focus, set up a quest. Give them some real, true villians to fight! Make it a real story!
Second, make consequences happen! If someone kills just out of spite, greed, or boredom, have the friends or family of the victim come after the character. Constables, guards, or local law can come down hard on the lawless as well. Finally, in The Hero’s Tale, use negative karma points to make life difficult for the offender.

Maybe there is a villian among the villagers! I think a cool 2-3 session adventure would be for a party to be hired by a local king or noble to go capture a local murder hobo who is causing panic amongst his peasants. Find him and bring him to justice!

Let’s make our games less rampage-ey, and more heroic!


This continues the story of the heroes in Wynne, in Twynne Rivers, in the world of The Hero's Tale, Family Friendly RPGs. Here's more info on The Hero's Tale, and family friendly RPGing.If you like this story, support us at our Patron!

Monday, October 8, 2018

“The Dragon’s Flame” - A Tale of Heroes - Scene 66: Granthurg

The rain wasn’t hard, but it was steady, forming pools and streams in the street. Grathurg and Thissraelle held their cloaks tightly as they moved through the dark from the cathedral to the wharf.

“Slow down a little!” Thissraelle complained, “Where are you going?”

“Back to the barge. And I don’t want to be seen.” He said, glancing back over his shoulder. She ran a few steps to catch up to him.

“What’s at the barge?”

“Answers, I hope.” He kept up his stride. Assuming everything is still there.

They approached the wharf. The waterfront in Dirae was pretty long, and there were several docking ports for boats and barges. There were crates and boxes all along the street above the docks, and Granthurg slipped between them to cover his movement. It wasn’t easy, as tall as he was. Thissraelle followed suit.

“You OK?” He asked, as they paused behind some cargo at the top of the dock.  She nodded.  He looked up and down the riverfront, illuminated by a couple of bright oculi suspended on poles high above the wharf structure. He moved quickly, but carefully down the slippery dock to his barge. When he got there he stepped onto it, and helped Thissraelle. He immediately moved past their own cargo toward the steering platform at the stern. As he did, he saw that the boxes and crates had been untethered and tossed around. Many had been opened, with their contents strewn over the deck, now soaked and ruined. He heard Thissraelle say, “What happened here?”

Granthurg stepped over the clutter and said, “They’ve been here. I knew it. They probably searched here when their man didn’t come back from the dark market. I’m glad we were safe up in the Cathedral.”

He stepped up onto the platform, under the tarp. The noise of the rain beating on it was oppressive. One of the barge’s lighting oculi had been taken, and the other was dim, making it hard to see. Before him on the deck was his trunk, opened and overturned. He sighed and bent down, turning it upright. He knelt and began putting scrolls and clothing back into the trunk. Thissraelle knelt next to him and helped. “Some of these got a little wet from the rain. Still, it looks like they’re not badly damaged.” They latched the trunk closed.

“Is that what you wanted? Your scrolls?” Thissraelle asked.

“Yes, partly.”  But there’s more. Before she could ask, Granthurg had turned around and stepped off the stern of the barge, landing in the river with a huge splash.

“Granthurg!” Thissraelle scrambled to the edge of the platform, and looked over just as his head bobbed up out of the water. He spat and shook the drops from his face, a gesture that was a bit useless in the rain. Then he rose up and stood on the bottom. The water was just below his shoulder. He smiled up at her. “It’s not that deep here.” He stepped forward, then ducked his head as he passed under the barge, between the long floats that kept it buoyant. He felt along the floats as he moved further into the darkness, his hands searching.

“Are you OK back there?” Thissraelle was leaning over, with the rain falling on her head, trying to look over the edge.

His hands hit the box, and he reached up to untie it. Once it was freed, he held it over his head and moved through the water back to the stern. His boots were slow on the slippery, muddy riverbed as he ducked to come out from under the barge.

He handed it up to Thissraelle. It was a small, wooden box, only a few feet long and a half a foot wide. She set it on the platform.

“Can you lift me up?” Granthurg said with a smile.

Thissraelle laughed a little at the irony, then extended her hand. Nothing happened. Granthurg looked up, blinking in the rain.

“Hang on”, she said, and refocused. Her hand began glowing slightly with a shade of blue, and Granthurg raised up, dripping, until he was even with the platform. He hovered there, and shook most of the water out of his shirt and pants, then stepped onto the barge. He knelt and reached for the box, being careful not to drip on it.

“What is it?” Thisraelle leaned in to look.

“I don’t know. It’s Rinkmoor’s. I suspect it’s what these attackers have been after, so I hid it that night that everyone else slept in the inn.” Granthurg set it in front of him. “It’s not mine, so I didn’t want to open it. But if our life is at risk, I need to know what we’re dealing with.” He looked at her, as if for approval, or reassurance.  She nodded.

He reached to his right and grabbed a small metal wrench from the deck, and easily twisted off the lock. Gently, he raised the lid.

Inside was a beautifully ornate dagger, with a curved white blade and a finely stitched leather hilt, set on soft black velvet. Granthurg picked it up and turned it in his hands. The blade looked like ivory, but not like any he had seen before, and was etched with intricate and overlapping lines. The crosspiece was a dark metal and shaped like two arms with clawed hands. The pommel at the end was a large disc with a pattern carved into it. Granthurg turned it in the dim light to see it better, and sharply drew in his breath. “Oh, Rinkmorr, what have you gotten yourself into?”

“What?” Thisraelle asked, “What is it?”

He turned the blade to show her the design. It was a dragon, breathing fire.


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Thursday, October 4, 2018

“The Prayer of the Wicked” - A Tale of Heroes - Scene 65: Antonerri

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Antonerri picked up a small reed from the cup by the candles. His arm was sore and stiff from the bruising he’d received at the dark market inn. He held the reed in the flame of a candle until it caught a small tongue of its own fire. Then he slowly, painfully, used it to light more candles for his own prayers.

The sanctuary of the cathedral was dark, punctuated only by occasional colorful outbursts of lightning coming in through the stained glass from the storm cascading outside. The room smelled of incense and heating fires. The warm glow of the candles in the rack surrounded him as he knelt down before them.

He bowed his head.

But no words came.

His heart was filled with emptiness. He knelt as an offering, but had nothing to offer his Creator, nothing to give. Only failure.

He heard footsteps behind him, but didn’t look up or turn. He heard the rustling of robes as Brother Mathazar also lit a few candles and knelt down beside him.

After a few moments of silence, Brother Mathazar spoke. “We’ve moved the children you rescued safely to our orphanage. Are you well? You took quite a beating.”

Antonerri kept his head bowed in silence.

“But I suspect,” Brother Mathazar continued, “That the beating you have taken has been much deeper than what happened yesterday.”

Antonerri breathed deeply but still kept his gaze on the candles. “And DeFrantis? Is there any word?”

The brother shook his head, and looked at Antonerri. “They say that confession is good for the soul...”

At that, Antonerri tensed, and stared intensely at the monk. His eyes narrowed, and he hissed with menace, “The last time I was told to confess, to purify my soul, the powers of light were not so cleansing.”

Brother Mathazar turned and sat on the steps of the altar. “I don’t know what you’ve been through, or what you may have done. I don’t claim to have any answers, either. I’m just offering a chance for you to unburden.”

Antonerri looked him over, then returned his eyes to the candles. “I am unworthy. But I don’t understand it. I have been cast from the church, and my own powers have left me,” He took a breath, “And I have no idea why. My greatest sin is to defend the weak, to fight for those that can’t fight for themselves. Isn’t that what we’re supposed to do?”

The brother nodded.

Antonerri continued, “So what great sin am I guilty of? Why has the Creator abandoned me?” The rain blew on the windows as he fell silent again.

“Has He?”

Antonerri glared at him again, with a quizzical brow.

“I don’t know, but it seems to me that he’s still using you to help the weak. You have saved three children from the depths of misery. You have three friends who value you enough to save you, and it looks like there is at least one other that needs your strength now. I wonder how they all feel about your ‘worthiness’.” He reached out and grasped Antonerri’s shoulder and patted it in reassurance. Then he pressed on it to support himself as he stood.  “I’ll bet they lean on you, too.”

He stepped away from the altar. “I’ll leave you to your prayers.”


This continues the story of the heroes in Wynne, in Twynne Rivers, in the world of The Hero's Tale, Family Friendly RPGs. Here's more info on The Hero's Tale, and family friendly RPGing.

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Monday, October 1, 2018

“Oh, No, Not Again...” - A Tale of Heroes - Scene 64: DeFrantis

It was the sound of lightning and its flash that awoke her. Immediately, low hanging smoke filling the room bit into her eyes and made them water. DeFrantis clenched them closed, then shook her head, and covered her eyes with her hands.

Her hands were heavy, and as she moved them she heard the clinking of metal. She looked down, and in the dim light she saw the shackles on her wrists, each attached to a separate chain. She stretched out her hands, and quickly the chains went taught, attached to something up above her head. She could only move her hands down to about her shoulder level.

She let herself breathe and instantly recognized the smell.  Mage’s bane! Again!

She felt cold, and shivered. The room wasn’t drafty, but it was obviously not heated, either. There was another flash in the window, revealing strong rains falling on the glass. Rain. More rain. The more things change... She remembered what had happened last time a heavy storm blew across the Wynne River meadows. She had been captured and locked away, just as she was, now. That was how she had met Antonerri.

Antonerri! Her head jumped up, scanning the room. Then she remembered. They had been separated back at the inn, the dark market, when the explosion had gone off.

As if on cue, another lightning strike illuminated the room, and she saw another figure asleep against the opposite wall, chained as she was. Karendle! You’re the reason I’m here. You’re the reason he’s not.

She had crawled across the floor of the dark market place, toward the bleeding and dying Karendle, and tried to save her, tried to use her shadow powers to keep her from slipping into the darkness of death. It had worked, but she looked up and saw the points of swords in her face. Someone was shouting at her, but she couldn’t make out any words in the chaos of the moment. Then something had hit the side of her head, hard.

She drooped her hands back against her shoulders, resting them uncomfortably as they dangled by the shackles. You’re the reason I lost sight of the children.

She took another slow breath, then coughed. The mage’s bane smoke made her dizzy. She hung her head. Her mind danced with images of life in the old abandoned chapel with the other street kids. Andrina was the youngest, at about eight, and the most playful. But she had gotten a little sick with the rains right before DeFrantis had left to steal some food.

She remembered when Tomanas, who was almost her age, had first told her of the offer to buy the children away. She had been shocked, but he had pressed. “They’ll be out of our hair, and we’ll have enough to live on for months! Maybe we can even get a real place to stay, and some real food!”

Now here I am, locked away again. I’m of no use to anyone. I’m out of tricks. I’m out of options. Maybe that’s just the darkness of the mage’s bane telling me what it thinks I want to hear. She yanked on the chains in frustration. They laughed at her with a jangly chuckle.

Or maybe it’s the truth.


This continues the story of the heroes in Wynne, in Twynne Rivers, in the world of The Hero's Tale, Family Friendly RPGs. Here's more info on The Hero's Tale, and family friendly RPGing.

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Start the whole story from the beginningStart from where this current story arc begins.