Sunday, 31 August 2014

RPG A Day - All Month

A handy roundup of #rpgaday.

1: First RPG Played
2: First RPG GMed
3: First RPG Purchased
4: Most Recent RPG Purchase
5: Most Old School RPG Owned
6: Favourite RPG I Never Get To Play
7: Most “Intellectual” RPG Owned
8: Favourite Character
9: Favourite Die / Dice Set
10: Favourite Tie-In Novel / Game Fiction
11: Weirdest RPG Owned
12: Old RPG You Still Play / Read
13: Most Memorable Character Death
14: Best Convention Purchase
15: Favourite Convention Game
16: Game You Wish You Owned
17: Funniest Game You’ve Played
18: Favourite Game System
19: Favourite Published Adventure
20: Will still play in 20 years’ time...
21: Favourite Licensed RPG
22: Best Secondhand RPG Purchase
23: Coolest Looking RPG Product / Book
24: Most Complicated RPG Owned
25: Favourite RPG No-One Else Wants To Play
26: Coolest Character Sheet
27: Game You’d Like To See A New / Improved Edition Of
28: Scariest Game You’ve Played
29: Most Memorable Encounter
30: Rarest RPG Owned
31: Favourite RPG Of All Time

Quite a few answers involve havering. Six of them refer back to TWH to some extent. And of course, Day 4 is already out of date.

RPG A Day 31: Favourite RPG Of All Time

#rpgaday‬

Day 31 Question - Favourite RPG Of All Time

Well then.

Hmm.

Corebook or line? Or the Actual Play rather than the games themselves?

Oh sod it, do all three. Be thankful I only have three answers.

Corebook: Adventure! is the book I wanted when I bought the official Indiana Jones game when I was twelve.

Line: Vampire - and cheat further to include both Masquerade and Requiem.

As a GM: The Watch House. Well, duh.

Saturday, 30 August 2014

RPG A Day 30: Rarest RPG Owned

#rpgaday‬

Day 30 Question - Rarest RPG Owned

Some pretty darn obscure ones. Some published in a single issue of a magazine. Some very small press. The Dragonmeet 2002 game-in-a-day Incarnate, which was never quite actually published.

But for rarity of something that could have been mainstream, that I picked up in a high street John Menzies book department near the Fighting Fantasy types it imitated: Monster Horrorshow.



It features a slightly more complex gamebook-style system, has monsters drawn from Celtic mythology, spends about the last third of the book on a great big one-use adventure, and insists on calling the GM “Werewizard”.

But it features some great GM advice.

There’s this golden rule:


And it also discusses player psychology, mixing genres (a horror game in modern-day Madrid will stick out more than one in 19th century Transylvania...) and the sample adventure has one of the PCs become a werewolf... and advises picking the smartest player who will make this work.

I’ve never run it in a quarter-century of owning it, and likely never will. But I still value it.

Vampire: The Requiem - Actual Play chapter 5

5: YOU ARE NOT WELCOME


Friday, 29 August 2014

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Vampire: The Requiem - Actual Play chapter 4

4: GO

Sheridan Le Fanu

Google informs me that today is Sheridan Le Fanu’s 200th birthday. Raise a glass to Carmilla. A glass of something red.

RPG A Day 28: Scariest Game You've Played

#rpgaday

Day 28 question - Scariest Game You’ve Played

Probably the Call Of Cthulhu session I GMed where one of the players was rather tired and emotional and threatened me with a chair. Realistically I could have taken him, but still.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

RPG A Day 27: Game You'd Like To See A New / Improved Edition Of

#rpgaday

Day 27 question - Game You’d Like To See A New / Improved Edition Of

I’ll sidestep starting my own edition war...

I admit bias again. I look forward to the planned new edition of Adventure! because it will likely mean supplements and adventures and the like.

And also because I might get to write for it.

But if I were to pick a game I’d like to see a full-on shiny new edition for...

Star Trek game that imitates the space opera action, breakneck pace and emotional content of the new universe would be cool. (Saying that is, of course, inviting an edition war already going on.)

A second edition of Marvel SAGA with more thorough playtesting would also be nice.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

RPG A Day 26: Coolest Character Sheet

#rpgaday

Day 26 question - Coolest Character Sheet

I admit bias here. Gregor Hutton’s Best Friends puts character generation on the character sheet and is still nicely legible and thematically styled in an A5 sheet.

(Gregor replies: Thanks Craig! I hate you as you’re Cooler than me.)

The Playbooks (customisable pregen / templates) from Apocalypse World and its descendants are a great idea, but not quite character sheets as such...

Vampire: The Requiem - Actual Play chapter 3

3: THIS IS OUR CITY

Monday, 25 August 2014

RPG A Day 25: Favourite RPG No-One Else Wants To Play

#rpgaday

Day 25 question - Favourite RPG No-One Else Wants To Play

Favourite RPG I Never Get To Play was Day 6, so I answered for playing then and will answer for GMing now.

Unfortunately Aeon / Trinity gets to appear on both lists, as I have never run it as written, except a few online sessions. I have used the system and some of the tech (but not the setting or the psionics) for a military SF game that ran for an academic year, that’s all.

I could add games I’ve pitched and gotten one or less players for, like a Heroes-style plainclothes-supers game and a modern-style Star Trek game.

And then there’s historical settings for Vampire. I got to play Dark Ages for a few weeks once before the ongoing game set in Spain dissolved on contact with the Transylvania Chronicles. And three more weeks with someone else. And a one-shot. And as an historian I’ve never gotten to run it. Or Victorian Age. Or Requiem For Rome. Or even New Wave Requiem. (I have gotten to run games set in the 30s, 40s, and 70s, but never from an actual book.)

Oh, and Demon: The Fallen. Zero sessions.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

RPG A Day 24: Most Complicated RPG Owned

#rpgaday

Day 24 question - Most Complicated RPG Owned

Let’s say in core rules rather than overall. I do, after all, own GURPS.

Shadowrun was a pioneer in dice pools and counting successes. A lovely simple little system. But then it added a complex magic system with its own rules in two main varieties (with more in later books) and a complex cyber-decking system with its own rules and subspecies for every Tolkien-y race and more cybergear than Cyberpunk 2020 itself in the basic rules and multistat weapons and special rules for vehicles and Physical Adepts and other kinds of Adepts and... It gave you a lot of options, maybe more than needed, and a lot of gamers really like that, but to me a whole lot of them felt like they could have streamlined.

Most unnecessarily complicated RPG? MERP.

Vampire: The Requiem - Actual Play chapter 2

2: WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?

Saturday, 23 August 2014

I just heard that Lucy and Doug’s baby has been born. They met through The Watch House.

RPG A Day 23: Coolest Looking RPG Product / Book

#rpgaday

Day 23 question - Coolest Looking RPG Product / Book

Inevitable answer: Nobilis 2nd Edition.


Now that said, I really liked the Shadowrum Duels fighting game action figures. Big and chunky, weird and fun. Never got them myself as they were expensive, though, and no idea how the game played.

The logo badges for assorted World Of Darkness games are nice and neat, especially the smallish black and silver Vampire ones.

So that’s big and elegant, big and chunky, or small and elegant. Cool means different things. I can’t think of a small and chunky example at the moment.

Friday, 22 August 2014

RPG A Day 22: Best Secondhand RPG Purchase

#rpgaday

Day 22 question - Best Secondhand RPG Purchase

Do auction lots count? If so, the Dark Harvest: Legacy of Frankenstein art collection.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Vampire: The Requiem - Actual Play chapter 1

On RPGnet...

NOBODY WANTS YOU - the game I ran before Blood And Smoke came out, thanks to Rose Bailey for sharing it in advance.

1: GET OUT

TEN YEARS!

Happy 10th birthday to the new World Of Darkness and Vampire: The Requiem.

RPG A Day 21: Favourite Licensed RPG

#RPGaDay‬

Day 21 Question - Favourite Licensed RPG

Guess what my favourite licensed RPG is.

Go on, guess.

Okay, I’ll explain why Buffy The Vampire Slayer gets the nod.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Myths at the table

Noah is very much a film of two halves. Russell Crowe leading a pretty if rainy mythic adventure with special guest disfigured stone Watcher Angels, and Russell Crowe going mad on a boat in the dark. Both are roughly accurate to his bit of the Bible, although the Watchers are a bit of an embellishment, and the end really is.

Before the rain starts it’s largely set in horrible rainy wasteland east of Eden which I can imagine being the version in the classic World Of Darkness, enlivened by glimpses of beauty and flashes of strangeness. And rocky Ent angels. The portrayal of The Creator (aka God) as a source of visions and miracles who never appears on-screen works well, I think, while the depicton of the Creation as a super-accelerated version of the Big Bang and evolution with a discreet gap between monkeys and (glowing golden) humanity doesn’t.

We play with a lot of myths in gaming, from real-world pantheons in everything from Scion to Marvel to angels and demons next to faeries and Frankenstein in the World Of Darkness settings. I for one don’t want to cause offence, but view Biblical stories as just as much fair game for interpretation and inspiration as history, Greek or Norse myths, Tolkien, or Star Wars.

I’ve never had Cain(e) on stage in Vampire: The Masquerade for example, but that’s mostly because he would shift the games power and Weird Level way too high. If I ran Demon: The Fallen I would probably feature its Miltonian/Byronic Lucifer. I’ve never gone as far as The Exorcist, but that’s on general grounds of taste.

I probably wouldn’t set a game in Biblical times because it would be sure to hit potentially offensive themes in all directions. And also because all those shabby robes and sandals lack a certain panache...

RPG A Day 20: Will still play in 20 years' time...

#‎RPGaDAY‬

Day 20 Question – Will still play in 20 years’ time...

Personally I’m hoping that in twenty years’ time I’ll be a cybernetic immortal living on Titan. And not a garishly painted skull adorning a cannibal’s dirtbike in a post-apocalypse wasteland.

But assuming a middle course, I’ll probably be running some version of Vampire and playing a superhero game of some kind.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

RPG A Day 19: Favourite Published Adventure

#RPGaDay‬

Day 19 Question - Favourite Published Adventure

I like published adventures, though I hardly ever run them. For one thing, I keep making up my own settings and tend to have adventure ideas pouring out of me. For another, Storyteller games don’t get very many.

Once again, I have a few answers...

As an independent thing, it’s a choice between Over and Under - Shadows Over Bögenhafen for WFRP and Grace Under Pressure for Call of Cthulhu. Oddly, Shadows is more trad Cthulhu than Grace. I ran Shadows when it came out, and it was probably the most successful of the Enemy Within adventures for my group. I haven’t had a chance to run Grace.

For a mini-campaign in one book, Giovanni Chronicles IV: Nuova Malattia for Vampire: The Masquerade. As an “epilogue” to the previous three books, it gives the players new characters and a view from the bottom of vampire society and organised crime in a 20th century Mafia epic. The main drawback is the connection to the first three books, so the last of the adventures it contains is about tying them together.

Vampire also gets my vote for best adventure in a rulebook. 1st and 2nd edition Masquerade end with Baptism by Fire, in which a group of young Kindred go to a party. It changed what an adventure could be for me. I talk about both of them here in the Vampire Challenge.

Last but not least, a magazine adventure. Fated Voyage, from Challenge issue 46. While I hardly ever run them, I got this in 1990 and have run it twice, both times in the last three years, neither time for its intended system or setting.

Monday, 18 August 2014

RPG A Day 18: Favourite Game System

#RPGaDay‬

Day 18 Question - Favourite Game System

Kinda has to be Storyteller and/or Storytelling really. Specifically when applied to low-powered characters like Kindred in Vampire or Psions in Trinity, as it often gets unwieldy once the number of dice you roll for something you’re good at passes double figures. Below that, it gets out of the way and the dice pool gives a nice probability curve, and the character sheets are easy to read, and it mostly gets out of the way of the game. Favourite variation would, naturally, be Adventure! - which adds some meta to the game with its Dramatic Editing system, but it’s fun meta so I don’t mind.

Favourite specific rule - initiative in Doctor Who: Adventures In Time And Space is ordered based on what you’re doing. Talking goes first, then Running, then Acting - doing anything else - and finally Fighting. A simple idea that captures the show perfectly.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

RPG A Day 17: Funniest Game You've Played

#RPGaDay‬

Day 17 Question - Funniest Game You’ve Played

One-shot, probably the Secret Society Of Supervillains.

Consistently funny per session, TOON. Also a key game in my GMing development.

Funniest among other things... well, that really has to be Buffy The Vampire Slayer and specifically The Watch House.

As SteveD who was inadvertently responsible for TWH’s concept has previously noted, one of the great game-friendly things about Buffy is that it takes the genre-savvy snark players will be doing around the table and lets it go in-character.

Another element of TWH in particular is that the players went all in for it as well. Some of the funniest sessions and episodes came from their ideas and plot hooks, either on the night or pitched in advance. The super-awkward body swap was suggested by the players involved a few weeks in advance. The invasion by the revived Milli’s home dimension was another player’s idea. That time we made Henry Cavill a superhero five years before DC did was the result of the players on the night getting an idea and running with it wildly. Going behind the scenes of the TV series was me ripping off Eerie Indiana, but the players playing each other rather than themselves was totally their idea.

The No Permanent Damage rule that was in place was also a factor. Being kidnapped or body-swapped or split into two beings or flung into a nightmarish future would all be more-or-less okay in the end. This led to the players conspiring to get their characters into trouble in a way that a game with permanent stakes generally doesn’t. This counted for drama as well (hence the Memorable Character Deaths) but especially for comedy. Like TOON, where it’s no big deal if you walk off a cliff, it provided a safe space to mess around and show off.

And it had a long time to develop running gags and motifs. The phrase “pig bit?” has a special place in my heart.

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Congratulations to the ENnies winners.

nWOD 2nd Edition and Beast: The Primordial

nWOD Second Edition will now be called nWOD Second Edition.

And the game for 2015 is Beast: The Primordial, developed by Matt McFarland.

Trinity news coming later today. ;)

RPG A Day 16: Game You Wish You Owned

#RPGaDay‬

Day 16 Question - Game You Wish You Owned

Since I have a great big collection... actually, the answer’s fairly obvious, after Favourite Dice not being dice.

Marvel SAGA. I didn’t get a copy at the the time and it’s now very OOP (there have been two official Marvel games since) and rare. I should note that the powers are an unplaytested minefield of wonky rules exceptions and I’d never run it as written, but that card mechanic is just so neat I want a copy of my own.

Supplements I wish I owned? That’s easy again. The Buffy/Angel supplements that were written and going through editing when the line was cancelled.

Star Wars: Imperial Assault

I think Fantasy Flight just announced the Star Wars skirmish miniatures game I never knew I always wanted. A Descent style game that comes with character miniatures and has a small group of highly badass Rebel heroes blasting lots of Stormtroopers and sometimes avoiding Darth Vader during vital missions.

(Speaking of Stormtroopers, this is post TWH 1138.)

Friday, 15 August 2014

RPG A Day 15: Favourite Convention Game

#RPGaDay‬

Day 15 Question - Favourite Convention Game

Let’s do this thoroughly. Playing and GMing, at cons in general and at the Nationals.

An unexpected hero

New trailer for World Of Warcraft: Warlords Of Draenor (I don’t know who/what/where Draenor is, and must admit it’s not the MMO release shortened to WOD I would have cared about most) brings up the headlined character...

Spoilers...

Thursday, 14 August 2014

RPG A Day 14: Best Convention Purchase

#RPGaDay‬

Day 14 Question - Best Convention Purchase

We have entered the chart’s mysterious Gold Zone. Gen Con, I guess?

I have been at other conventions over the years, mostly Conpulsion but also the Nationals, Dragonmeet, the UK Games Expo, Gen Con UK, and the Grand Masquerade. I have gained a variety of interesting things at charity auctions and general sale, as well as putting a variety of things into charity auctions too.

The physical winner really must be my TGM copy of Vampire: The Masquerade 20th Anniversary Edition, signed by just about everybody involved from Justin Achilli to Tim Bradstreet to Rose Bailey to Dhaunae and Lorenzo, fellow panel-question-askers turned models. I went to New Orleans (partially) to get it, after all.

The play-a-game-with winner must be Call Of Cthulhu GMed by SANDY PETERSEN. Not only that, but I was the first PC to die. Dracula stomped on my gut and he said it was “like putting a foot through soft snow.” I remain proud to this day.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

RPG A Day 13: Most Memorable Character Death

#RPGaDay‬

Day 13 Question - Most Memorable Character Death

The first I ever saw in a game where death was entirely optional. Followed a few real-time months later by the first resurrection I ever GMed as the player came back. And then a PC becoming both a vampire and a ghost. After two separate self-sacrifices.

Otherwise, probably the guy who tried to betray the party in a Vampire game and got shot in the back of the head and dumped in a scrapyard shortly before dawn. It was the last session of a violent game, this kind of thing happens. And I say this as a GM with a pretty low PC body count in general.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

I'm meeelllltiiiinnnng!

1939 was quite a year for pop culture. As well as Batman in the comics we also got Dorothy on the big screen, 75 years ago today. I suspect the Winged Monkeys have caused more nightmares than the Caped Crusader...

RPG A Day 12: Old RPG You Still Play / Read

#RPGaDay‬

Day 12 Question - Old RPG You Still Play / Read

Not oldest, just an example?

I got a new edition supplement for Advanced Fighting Fantasy a few months ago, but haven’t run it in decades. (And thanks for that stab of nostalgic ennui...)

Call Of Cthulhu was already around when I started, and I’ll get The Unspeakable Oath when it comes out, but again, haven’t played or run since... early 2000s maybe?

Okay, summer 2012 I ran a slight hack of WEG’s Star Wars first edition. That was its 25th anniversary. (The slight hack being DIY advantages and disadvantages, and counting 4s as successes of the D6 dice pool rather than adding all the dice together.) I think one of the players I had was born before the rulebook came out.

Monday, 11 August 2014

RPG A Day 11: Weirdest RPG Owned

#‎RPGaDay‬

Day 11 Question – Weirdest RPG Owned

All RPGs are weird... from a certain point of view.

Foregoing the purposely weird one-shot games like Violence and Puppetland, there are still games with in-depth tactical systems for playing Watership Down, games about running a fast food delivery service while studying ninjitsu, games about being in high school without monsters to fight, GURPS books for The Prisoner and Riverworld and Horseclans, Ducks in RuneQuest...

Consider what a weird idea Call Of Cthulhu is without the benefit of hindsight. I’m sure I’m not the only person doing #RPGaDay who heard of H.P. Lovecraft through the game. And it’s a game about highly vulnerable characters (generally with no powers or magic weapons or even armour) fighting these obscure monsters. And it’s set in the 1920s!

Or how about Paranoia? It’s a comedy take on 1984 where every PC has six lives and the stories players tell are almost all about how they died.

But okay, my winner here is probably The World Of Tank Girl. Yes, you read that correctly. The World Of Tank Girl. For WEG’s Masterbook. Based on the film rather than the comics. Bought sight unseen. There’s one thing about it I like, which is the character quirks table. And I say this as someone who just Kickstarted the best-of comic. In hardback.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

RPG A Day 10: Favourite Tie-In Novel / Game Fiction

#‎RPGaDAY‬

Day 10 Question – Favourite Tie-In Novel / Game Fiction

Five examples - none actually novels. (I really should get around to reading The Subtle Knife.)

The Beast Within for Vampire: The Masquerade was a short story collection rather than a novel, so it was essentially a bunch of liftable characters and adventure hooks. Not all of them worked for me, but enough did that I happily reread it last year when preparing a Requiem game set in the same city.

Do purely in-character artefacts like The Book Of Nod count?

Both examples that are directly useful in-game.

But for fun?

Showing obvious bias, George Alec Effinger writing for Trinity and Warren Ellis and Greg Stolze for Adventure!

Game Fiction for a game I hardly ever play: the Dungeons & Dragons comics by Leverage creator John Rogers.

A novel I considered but disqualified, Drachenfels by Kim Newman as Jack Yeovil, because it charges headlong away from the Warhammer universe with nary a backward glance.

And finally a real oddball choice. GDW’s Challenge magazine had a regular feature, the Traveller News Service, a page or two of news stories in the Traveller universe - adventure hooks, and fallout from published adventures and the Traveller metaplot. As someone not into the game, it still made for interesting reading.

And then in the issue previewing Traveller: The New Era, in which a sentient computer virus destroys intergalactic civilisation and decades pass before recovery begins, this happened.



And the next issue’s TNS page was all like that. Even the page listing in the contents was. And the issue after was a test signal interrupting it, before normal service was restored, decades of game time later to support the New Era setting.

I love that kind of thing, when the story intrudes on the format, like when an episode of a TV show has a modified credits sequence.

Saturday, 9 August 2014

I Was A Teenage Player Character

A bit of a follow-up to Batman Week, as Comics Alliance discusses the importance of Spider-Man and the teen or otherwise just-starting-out hero standing up to adult worlds they are not quite ready for.

Remember when you were the weirdest person in the world?
Of course you do.
You were strange and a stranger, a misfit hoping to pass until adulthood set in. Everything about you was wrong - your looks, your attitude, your parents, your skin, your strength, the gaping glowing fiery hole in your face where your mouth and lower jaw used to be.
During this period, your inner thoughts were shaped by two fierce hopes. One was that somewhere, someone would appreciate your uniqueness. The other was that this uniqueness would one day cause everyone to admire you or at least take you seriously.
What you were, of course, was a teenager.
Warren Ellis, pitch for Generation X

When I was a teen coughty-cough years ago, I often played youngish adult characters, somewhere around Batman’s perennial age of 28. I didn’t really want to identify that directly with my characters, I wanted to play a grownup - much like Spider-Man does. I wanted to play a character who had his act together and knew what he was doing. I’m still waiting for that part of my life to start.

I went back to late teens and early twenties for an ongoing Buffy game starting when I was... 28. And quite a few of my players were also contemporaries of mine, although some were actual freshers playing freshers.

There’s a lot of adolescence to new Kindred in Vampire (especially early Masquerade) as they are brought in to a stagnant world and encouraged by the game to stick it to The Man. I’d consider a high school game now - it would very much be about the ups and downs of youth.

It basically says “Everybody who made it through adolescence is a hero.”
Joss Whedon on the mythologising of Buffy

Playing a character just starting out and making their first mistakes may need the benefit of hindsight.

RPG A Day 9: Favourite Die / Dice Set

#RPGaDay

Day 9 Question - Favourite Die / Dice Set

As I mentioned in answering the same question in the 30 Day Vampire Challenge, I don’t really have dice superstitions or find them pretty. But that was just for Vampire, so here I guess I can expand to other RPGs and randomisers which aren’t actually dice.

The Marvel SAGA card set packs a lot of nice ideas into a small space. You get to choose which “roll” to use from your hand (which varies in size with how capable your PC is) and since the suits map to the game’s stats and using the right kind lets you add another card from the deck (or more if that trumps as well) the highest number isn’t always the best. There’s also a fifth suit, DOOM, which goes to the GM after use and can pretty effectively model the villain-beats-everyone cliffhanger of ongoing comics (although not as well as being able to do it at will). You take damage from your hand, so could be unexpectedly flattened if you take damage while holding a bad hand. The positive, negative and neutral symbols are keyed to recovery from damage as well, so they can bring in sudden reversals and second winds. And there are the optional events, boosts for character callings (Guardian, Repentant, Etc.) And there’s always the option to have a random superhero or villain from the card art pop up and join in a battle in New York.

This does, as that big paragraph indicates, make it pretty game-y and a bit tactical rather than fading into the background, but the added element of gambling and picking tricks can be a lot of fun.

Friday, 8 August 2014

RPG A Day 8: Favourite Character

#RPGaDay

Day 8 Question - Favourite Character

Let me tell you about my character...

As a player, of my own?

Generally I GM more than play, and when I play I often take the “and we need one of these” roles rather than having an idea that jumps out at me. But there are exceptions.

The character I’ve had the most interesting character-based play with is probably Charity Chance, Agent Of S.H.I.E.L.D. in 60s-style Marvel SAGA. Originally designed to be nice and simple - Emma Peel / Modesty Blaise in the Marvel Universe or the Black Widow with the serial numbers lightly painted over - over a hundred issues and more sessions she became more of a Sydney Bristow as she acquired a troublesome sister, a secret connection to a Golden Age hero, an arch enemy, a few romantic complications and a temporary position of command, and only avoided acquiring superpowers because I specifically wanted her to stay mundane, while staying true to the original goal of kicking bad guys in the face.

(This game also saw Corona, the best example of comics-style powers rising and falling I’ve seen in a game, and Steamhammer, a great badass who was also a rich source of comedy.)

As a GM, which PCs am I the biggest fan of?

This probably goes without saying for those who have read my Actual Play stories. Hint: pink hair.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

City adventures and adventure series

During discussion of Chicago By Night and its supplements for Vampire: The Masquerade getting to Blood Bond, this occurred to me:


It’s a pity that Chicago-set adventures fizzled out soon after, because a series of connected adventures would have made for interesting reading and good game material, like a violent crazy drama series that the PCs are the stars of, and very different from the epic quest model that most RPG adventure series default to.

Of course, each would be based on assumptions about how the previous ones went, which would get hard to manage pretty quickly. “If Lodin died three adventures ago, Modius has been deposed and Neally didn’t go off to become a Sabbat whipping-boy, change X, Y and Z...”


I think it’s a pretty interesting idea, if rather niche. Start with a setting book laying out the major NPCs, and establish where they are likely to go across multiple adventures planned down the line if the PCs don’t change their fates.

All the adventures would have to have some plug-and-play elements and room to be adapted out of the series and for changes made to the series as published - for example, Blood Bond concerns a specific NPC having his existence ruined by a rival, and as noted in the thread could work with several other NPCs in Chicago and environs.

Each adventure would build on the default setting, while hopefully also being useful outside. And after a dozen or so, the city would be a very different place, whatever the PCs chose to do...

RPG A Day 7: Most "Intellectual" RPG Owned

#RPGaDay

Day 7 Question - Most “Intellectual” RPG Owned

Scare quotes!

Hm. RPGs are by their nature cerebral and emotional, enlarging vocabularies, improving mathematical skills and encouraging social interaction. This is why roleplaying sees use in educational and therapeutic contexts.

But I have quite a few purposely highbrow games.

Vampire: The Masquerade for spreading ideas of story and theme and character?
Nobilis for the deconstruction of Jungian archetype and nihilism?
Polaris for the tight focus on recreating the inevitability of tragedy in the passing of a golden age?
Pendragon for the thorough analysis of Arthurian story and the discussion of history, myth and popular storytelling?
De Profundis for the Psychodrama section?

Yeah, De Profundis is probably a good bet here.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

RPG A Day 6: Favourite RPG I Never Get To Play

#RPGaDay

Day 6 Question - Favourite RPG I Never Get To Play

Favourite RPG No One Else Wants To Play is on the 25th, so I’ll address games I never get to GM then. So this is me being a player now, rather than a GM, which is more common.

Aeon / Trinity. This is a game I own the whole line for (except the Battleground skirmish wargame and the dice), wrote part of a fan supplement for and am working on the new edition core rulebook for the setting. And not counting a few online games, I’ve gotten to play this for one session.

Vampire: The Requiem. GMed both editions (including Blood And Smoke before it was released thanks to the generosity of developer Rose Bailey) and played one session. At a convention. For World Of Darkness games. In America.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

RPG A Day 5: Most Old School RPG Owned

#RPGaDay‬

Day 5: Most Old School RPG Owned

This depends on one’s definition of Old School, of course. Random character generation? Books of monsters? Ampersands?

RuneQuest, I guess? The GW reprint. Bought several years into my gaming career. Call Of Cthulhu is too genre-specific, I’d think. Warhammer is too... British? These goalposts seem decidedly mobile.

No, I don’t own any D&D rulebooks.

Monday, 4 August 2014

RPG A Day 4: Most Recent RPG Purchase

#RPGaDay‬

Day 4: Most Recent RPG Purchase

It’s been a whole month! Since I got the Mage: The Ascension 20th Anniversary Edition quickstart. I missed out on Free RPG Day and had to buy it (although the PDF is free). And in my defence, the month before GenCon is pretty quiet.

Sunday, 3 August 2014

RPG A Day 3: First RPG Purchased

#RPGaDay‬

Day 3: First RPG Purchased

I imagine these first three questions yield more varied answers from people who started with groups rather than self-starters.

So as to not say the FF RPG book again, I will step back to why I got it. I had already started in on the Fighting Fantasy books - not sure which one I started with, but I definitely remember getting City Of Thieves from my cousin Lesley (eldest of the five) and the straightforward adventure story, nicely detailed horrible setting and Iain McCaig artwork really helped hook me.


I wrote about Bad Cities like Gotham, Lankhmar and Port Blacksand recently. Nice to adventure in but I wouldn’t want to live there...

By that point, the books had already included Starship Traveller, a Star Trek style space opera (which I couldn’t actually solve, but never mind) and were starting to show what RPGs could do in their format. Other gamebooks started to appear, notably the Lone Wolf series (those attending Dragonmeet 2013 got to see me geek out about meeting author Joe Dever) and experimental versions like the 2000AD game-comics Dice Man and historical educational gamebooks, as well as magazines - Warlock for FF and Proteus for a gamebook in one.

It was a bit of a golden age for geeky kids with a couple quid pocket money, and helped bring me and quite a few of my generation into the hobby, to pick up miniatures stocked next to them, to grab a copy of White Dwarf when it was still about RPGs...

This is why we miss RPG magazines on shelves even if the age of the net has smashed magazines - a visible presence people can stumble on without looking for it can make all the difference.

Saturday, 2 August 2014

RPG A Day 2: First RPG GMed

#RPGaDay

Day 2 Question - First RPG GMed

As Day 1, only with a couple weeks’ insight into being a player that lead me to conclude that (a) killing loads of PCs wasn’t actually fun and (b) coming up with full-on Fighting Fantasy go-left-or-right decision trees was not necessary, and the PCs could and would wander off any map I drew, however large a sheet of paper I used.

Second RPG GMed was total freeform systemless gaming for one player as we wandered around at lunchtime at school. Kinda where I learned my style.

Friday, 1 August 2014

RPG A Day 1: First RPG Played

#RPGaDay‬
Let’s do this.

Day 1 Question - First RPG Played

Fighting Fantasy: the Introductory Role-playing Game. (Something I share with Jon Hodgson, it turns out.) As I have mentioned on this here blog thingy before. A familiar super-basic system, a little book of how to GM, two dungeon bashes. Played one (and died due to a GM call I still think is unfair) and GMed another, then had to make up my own so the group (my brother and our five female cousins) could keep going. I was the only one who really got hooked as far as I know. Then my cousins moved, I went to high school and built a regular-ish group, some of whom I still roll them bones with today.