Ladies in Hades: May’s CotM

Today we’re joined by GM Witchcraft to talk to him about his game: Ladies In Hades & The Dyval Wears Prada, a truly unique RIFTS campaign. Sit down and tune in to a group who sound like they are having absolutely too much fun!


First off, feel free to tell us about the person behind the GM screen. Where are you from? What do you do both aside from gaming? Wife and kids? Where can we stalk you on the internet, that sort of thing!

My name is Brent and was born forty-five minutes north of New York City in Westchester. I’ve lived (read: gamed) as far north as Canada, out west in San Diego, down south in Houston, and now my wife and I live in Connecticut. I don’t have any children…yet. Apart from gaming I enjoy reading, writing, spending time at the beach, and playing with my cats.

You can stalk me on the internet at:

As you can see I’m trying to parley my passion for gaming into gainful employment. *wink*

So…tell us about Ladies In Hades.

“Ladies in Hades and the Dyval Wears Prada” is a Rifts campaign that I’ve been hosting for almost two years. It is a saga that follows a group of heroes chosen by a magical book, The Codex of Souls, to save the Megaverse. The plot can be distilled into the struggle between four primal forces — Order, Chaos, Good, and Evil — with inter-character conflicts that blur the lines with ethical decisions, moral-compasses, alignment-testing situations, and thought-provoking conundra. The first major event to “rock” the Megaverse and set the stage was the systematic elimination of the gods. Seemingly indiscriminately or randomly they began disappearing, dying, or going crazy. In the wake of their absence our heroes found themselves breaking new ground and treading uncharted territory. Their decisions, henceforth, have literally shaped the face of Rifts Earth, the myriad dimensions of the Megaverse, and the Continuum of Elemental Time.

It’s been really exciting…if you’re into that sort of thing.

wiki.IvanShishkin.WinterWhat do you enjoy most about Rifts?

I enjoy the freedom. I met Kevin Siembieda, the creator of Palladium and Rifts, at their annual Open House event in Michigan. His philosophy is to give the players and GMs lots of ideas as fuel for creativity and imagination. The ideas, much like the rules, are there as guidelines or inspiration. If you like it, use it, if you don’t like it, don’t use it; whatever works for you. It’s that kind of mentality that attracts me most to the Palladium system and the Rifts game line. It’s got everything you can imagine: Ultra high-tech, low-tech, high-fantasy, low-fantasy, swords, sorcery, psionics, cybernetics, bionics, drugs and mutants and dragons and post-apocalyptic mayhem. It’s got demons and gods and elementals and spirits and almost anything you can imagine. Anything goes.

What I have attempted to do with Ladies in Hades is unify the different game lines and mythologies from Rifts, Nightbane, Palladium Fantasy, Phase World, Dead Reign, Splicers (all Palladium game lines and genres) with a common ancestry and creation-myth / mythos. The result, thanks to my wonderful players, has been a collaborative adventure that delves deeply into the heart and philosophy of adventure. With their input and their characters’ decisions Ladies in Hades story has evolved organically…almost holistically through the burgeoning Megaverse. It has been my distinct pleasure and an honor to game with Dave Folmsbee, Dan Simon, Isaac Brickett, and Chris Valli for the last two years.

How regularly do you play, and where do you play? (If you play online, do you use any certain tools to accomplish your gaming such as Google hangouts, roll20, etc.)

We play every two weeks on Saturdays at either my house or one of the players’ houses. We usually start around 1300 and call it quits by 2200. Occasionally it’ll go into the wee hours if we’re on a roll. We use Obsidian Portal to chronicle the game. We have tried using both Skype and Google Hangouts and even Roll20 (once). There’s just no substitute for hanging out in person and rolling “REAL” dice.

Campaign pages look great! Who puts all this stuff together?

A MAJOR debt of gratitude and acknowledgement goes out to Dave Folmsbee (Glistam) for doing much of the organization, tagging, and site architecture. He was INSTRUMENTAL in helping us recover after the “Re-Forge.” As to the content, all of the players contribute in their own ways to the content of the site and, as a GM, I am grateful for any time they can spare to chronicle their adventures. We live in a very busy world with lots of responsibilities and obligations. My players have children, wives, full-time jobs, and all the distractions we escape from on Saturday for ten hours. That they can devote the time consistently to game is the greatest gift I could ever get. Thanks guys!

secret_tunnelWhere do you draw inspiration from when preparing your game? How much time do you usually take to prepare for a session?

I take inspiration from the Rifts Worldbooks and Dimension Books. My players like to jib and joke that what appears in the campaign is barely recognizable as material from any printed book and that it is (rabbit ear quotes) “loosely inspired by” something published. For a mini-boss encounter or a boss-fight I need at least a few hours to prepare. If we’re just humming along — business as usual — I don’t prepare at all.

Aside from Rifts I’m sure you have played other systems too, what are some others you enjoy?

I’m primarily a Palladium guy. I’ve played Rifts, Nightbane, Heroes Unlimited, and Robotech. Outside of Palladium I have played White Wolf extensively with Vampire, Werewolf, Mage, Changeling, and Hunter. I played Gurps a long time ago and even dabbled with AD&D. Nothing really hit home for me like the Palladium Megaverse and the World of Darkness.

How do you know your players, how long have you been gaming with them?

I met them all online about two years ago on the Palladium website. I’ve been gaming with them for as long as we’ve known each other.

How long have you been using Obsidian Portal? What brought you to the site and what keeps bringing you back?

I’ve been using Obsidian Portal since the inception of the game. Victor Peterson (killervp) and his campaign A God…Rebuilt brought me to the site. I have been a member of that game for over three years so when it came time for me to start my own campaign I took a lot of clues and hints and tips and MAJOR inspiration from Victor.

Now that the Reforging has been live for a little while now, what are your favorite parts?

Tagging and the search function are absolutely imperative. It’s very easy to find things and link to things now. Managing the “wiki” is also much easier. For MASSIVE campaigns like Ladies in Hades and A God…Rebuilt it can be a nightmare for people to get involved — especially if they’re new or potential players who are dipping their toes in for the first time. The vast amount of information can be daunting. The Re-Forge has really made it more accessible — especially on mobile devices and tablets.

FairyCarnival_gettingoutWhat would you say the single biggest highlight from Ladies in Hades has been so far?

The events that stick out in my mind most are our parties. When we get together, sure it’s about gaming, but we do so much more than just roll dice. The things I remember are events like the one-year anniversary when Dave brought COTTON CANDY and Isaac brought cotton-candy flavored Vodka and Chris cooked up a bunch of steaks and Dan made spicy burn your face off Calabasa Stew. I remember events like Christmas with the surprise packages and goody-bags and all my party favors and loot and swag and candy and a PINATA! When Isaac crushed the pinata and everyone made a MAD DASH to pickup as much “loot” as they could — for which I awarded experience and money and random items (Reese’s were worth almost 100xp each!). Making Saturdays special for birthdays, holidays, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and etc. has given me such joy! I remember hanging out and drinking beer and tequila with my buddies and sharing the trials and tribulations of tremendous highs and abysmal lows in an epic campaign that has gathered a group of strangers and turned them into fast friends.

Okay, before we get out of here, give us some of your best GM’ing pearls of wisdom.

Game Master pearl of wisdom? Gaming is supposed to be fun. Try to please folks. Keep everyone involved. Manage expectations. Don’t take it too seriously. We get together and imagine possibilities as a pass-time. It doesn’t get much better than that.

That wraps it up for this month folks, be sure to check in next month for another amazing campaign found right here on Obsidian Portal put together by folks just like you. Send your suggestions to my inbox, and we’ll see you next time!

Award Winning!

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Silver ENnie for Best Website, Best Podcast 2012-2013
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