AquaVertigo Publishing

Marching into Spring

Here in Eastern Iowa, we’ve been experiencing spring weather in February, when we should still be seeing snow or ice. It’s dry and windy. The wind howls around town and our house and keeps us from walking the dogs due to winds at 30–40 miles per hour. Sirens scream as fire trucks race to yet another crisis. And all we can do is react. Sometimes that’s the best we have in us. Sometimes, it provides an impetus for more once we have the space or time to rest and reflect.

My hope and plan is to take some time during our local Spring Break to get some rest and reflect on the work ahead for AquaVertigo.

Here’s where I’ve been for this week.


Dark Well Season 2, Session 2

The Dwellers continued their individual threads, ending together to share some info and plot.

  • Roland begins plotting with another politician to possibly interrupt a coup between factions and perhaps pull a coup as well to hopefully save the world from a total climate catastrophe.
  • Baxter establishes a connection with an entity (the Devourer of Worlds) before assassinating his sister via poison at a social event.
  • Terry stumbles upon a secret saurian faction based in Washington, D.C. (via their center-of-the-earth base’s elevator) and is asked to serve as a component for a replacement project to the prior one under the Washington Monument to save the world and extend life through the cosmos as a “conduit to the cosmos.”

Notes: The mechanics seemed to be operating as expected.

Found Season 1, Session 6—Finale

The Foundlings dealt a powerful blow to the Foundation by wreaking havoc on its Network.

  • The Stuntman continues touring the Foundation’s Centre, making a deal with the Hacker to get out before taking advantage of the disruption and guiding them free with help.
  • The Artist made sure the Werewolf Virus was in place before watching and then exiting the Network and coordinating the pickup of the Stuntman and others from the Centre.
  • The Professor exited the Network and met with the Stuntman to learn of the plan to go before the Werewolf Virus implanted into the Network came to life and tore it apart from the inside. The Professor convinced the Aid to help them leave the Centre.

Note: With the use of the modified Foundation Map testing from the last session and this one, things seem to be working well.

Upcoming Conventions

Forge Midwest in-person convention

  • Dark Well: I’m planning to offer to run this game in person for at least one slot in April in Madison.
  • Legends of the Realm: If I’m able to have the time, I’d like to have this game updated and ready for another round. I will have to think about how to streamline it for use as a one-shot because the more recent version works better as a longer or multi-session game.

May the 4th online Star Wars convention via the Open Hearth Gaming Community

  • Flames of the Rebellion (Mobile Frame Zero: Firebrands): I’m looking forward to running this game for at least one session. This is my hack of Firebrands for Star Wars: Andor.
  • Jedi*Run (Psi*Run): Given that this idea just popped into my head, I’ll ponder it and then probably offer it as well. The premise is Jedi trying to survive the purge/Order 66.

Thoughts on the Legacy of War

Something that’s been on my mind recently with the development of Eye of the Magi (EotM) is the broad topic of the legacy of war. There is the obvious death and destruction. And then there are the lingering effects, some of which are not understood or dealt with for years or generations.

Some of the IP I’ve used as inspiration for Eye of the Magi touches upon this.

I have an Amber Diceless RPG series I’ve run over the years that deals with this more directly. In Amber Legacy: League of Shadows (AL:LoS), you play members of a secret group who are tasked with handling situations related to the leftovers from the Black Road War. Each member, not usually of the Blood of Amber, has a direct tie to an Amber Elder with an agenda. Conflicts of purpose while on missions are part of the core of these games. One of the things I work to make clear is the messiness of war and how it destabilizes lives and worlds.

If you’re interested in learning more about AL:LoS, leave me a comment or contact me directly at

After running Eye of the Magi for the first time a couple weeks ago, a player suggested I watch an anime series called Pumpkin Scissors because of the similarities with inspirations for my game.

Image from IMDB.

I’ve been watching the show and am impressed with how it brings up societal issues and reminds me of some of the things I did with AL:LoS. These things grounded the sometimes tendency to glorify war, and I feel that Eye of the Magi could use more grounding elements. And I say this not to make the game more real, but to provide a sense of contrast and substance.

When I ran EotM for the second time, even though we played in a version of our world today, the players seemed to respond favorably to the use of elements about community connection and a sense of meaning in the work their characters were doing.

This is something that the group of protagonists in Pumpkin Scissors also confronts. They are ridiculed for working to provide war relief and make enemies when they actually remove corrupt people from power. And they really do seem to want to help or serve the people. That’s something I find true in AL:LoS and could be stronger in EotM.

Next Steps

Begin to plan the work during Spring Break.


Let me know what you think. Was this helpful or insightful?


DMK, the founder of AquaVertigo, is a creatively curious artist, author, designer, educator, entrepreneur, and organizer based in the Midwest, USA.

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