Wednesday, 15 August 2018

RPG a Day 2018: 15. a tricky experience you enjoyed

RPG a Day 2018

15. Describe a tricky RPG experience you enjoyed.

Well, there was the time I ran a Buffy game at Conpulsion with the series cast as PCs, and the role of Giles, the Watcher, was taken by one of the guests, game writer Phil Masters - who literally wrote the book about Watchers for the game line. That gave me some stage fright. He was very nice about it.

Monday, 13 August 2018

RPG a Day 2018: 13. How your play has evolved

RPG a Day 2018

13. Describe how your play has evolved.

Hopefully it’s changed quite a bit in the previous decades... but I’ve always leaned towards genre emulation, and of late I’ve pushed that further in mechanical and meta ways.

I’ve also adjusted regular game features like the average amount of combat per session - notably the time I ran Buffy in the afternoon and V20 in the evening and threw pretty much all the combat into the Buffy game.

Having gone totally kitchen-sink with Buffy for six years, I now tend to alternate between games with similarly high Weird Levels and ones with much lower ones, like Buffy and V20 again. I often end up saving ideas that won’t fit one for the other - after a year running a military SF game about facing one alien culture, I had half a dozen ideas for adventures too weird for it that went into my plans for a Star Trek game.

Sunday, 12 August 2018

Congratulations to David and Julie!

RPG a Day 2018: 12. Wildest character concept?

RPG a Day 2018

12. Wildest character concept?

Hmm. Most superhero games (and close enough like Buffy) encourage these, so from outside those...

A high-level Cyberpunk 2020 series about a corporate troubleshooting team. Two players loaded fairly normal characters with a lot of tech. One went with an artificially created psychic...

And I worked back from the limitations of skillsofts, biochips for plugging in recorded skills, which can only go so high because the sense memory doesn’t match your body’s - so I made a character who could slot in world-class skills because she was secretly one of a family of highly trained specialist clones. And sometimes she’d just send the most appropriate sister for a mission.

I went further with this idea in a Marvel game with a character who could uplink to various specialised bodies, but as noted, that’s superhero gaming for you.

Saturday, 11 August 2018

You are being watched, Wally

The government has a secret system - a machine - that spies on Wally every hour of every day.

RPG a Day 2018: 11. Wildest character name?

RPG a Day 2018

11. Wildest character name?

Since I already mentioned Ronan Honigsman, Clenched Jaw Of The North, Sounder Of Mjolnir’s Thunder, Modi Of The Get Of Fenris And Warder Of The Sept Of Warriors’ Blood...

Another that stands out was Protocol Skull, a Cyberpunk 2020 Solo who more-or-less recovered from a fatal gunshot wound to the head but had some issues with her memory and vocabulary, taking her new name from the first words she remembered.

Friday, 10 August 2018


Ghostwatch and the real stories it drew from, by documentarian Adam Curtis.

Thanks to Stephen Collins for the link.

I was there that night, Hallowe’en 1992, and I’d read the Radio Times in advance and saw the Screen One ident so I knew what was up, and could only watch it purely as drama. I like to think I would have twigged before the end.

(I also borrowed some footage from it for one of my planned Doctor Who PBP episodes, based on the unmade Mark Gatiss script about the Doctor landing in a live haunting broadcast. Naturally I ended the trailer with an ominous Please Stand By card.)

RPG a Day 2018: 10. How has gaming changed you?

RPG a Day 2018

10. How has gaming changed you?

I’ve grown up and lived with gaming for roughly three-quarters of my life, from age about eleven to forty-four and counting, so... probably quite a lot, really.

It’s affected my social life, my professional life, likely helped with public speaking, and definitely boosted my vocabulary of obscure words.

Thursday, 9 August 2018

RPG a Day 2018: 9. How has a game surprised you?

RPG a Day 2018

9. How has a game surprised you?

Usually it’s when a player grabs a session and pulls it in a totally new direction.

The classic example in The Watch House was, of course, the time I was about to reveal that Natalie’s too-good-to-be-true new potential boyfriend was a villain, but Matthew’s player had him jump way further with the too-good-to-be-true part and make him magically appear as CAPTAIN RUGGED.

More recently, a planned Vampire: The Masquerade 20th Anniversary Edition session was paused for a week as Marcie the Malkavian was revealed to have diaberlised her sire - when her player had him take over her body...

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

The 100 Season Five

After I was surprised The 100 came back last year, it’s already been confirmed it’ll be back next year, otherwise I’d be surprised again. It has quite a knack for smashing its setting. May we meet again.

Stealing the Death Star plans

Rebels nearly did it as well. Because of course it did.

RPG a Day 2018: 8. How can we get more people playing?

RPG a Day 2018

8. How can we get more people playing?

Plugging away at it. Appearing in geeky media like different games on Geek & Sundry helps, as does appearing in mainstream media. Being inclusive, and trying to be more inclusive. Showing the array of games available.

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

RPG a Day 2018: 7. How can a GM make the stakes important?

RPG a Day 2018

7. How can a GM make the stakes important?

I run a lot of games where death and serious harm are off the table, and action is an excuse for the players to show off. PC death isn’t generally very interesting to me.

But in those cases I may put in emotional stakes instead, going dramatic (or soapy) with it.

Bought and paid for NPCs like contacts will generally be reliable and safe, but other social and romantic connections might get strained more easily. (This comes through in the Buffy RPG reflecting the show, where combat Qualities and social Drawbacks mean a lot of characters are good in a fight and bad in a relationship.)

Emotional stakes are one example of personalising them as well. I’m not going to actually blow up the planet the game is set on, but I might blow up the PCs’ houses.

Every now and then I will run a game where death and other effects are on the table, but it doesn’t usually go that well. I’ll still tend to pull my punches.

Monday, 6 August 2018

RPG a Day 2018: 6. Making a world seem real?

RPG a Day 2018

6. How can players make a world seem real?

This is usually up to the GM first and foremost, but players can contribute a great deal. They describe what their characters do as well as choosing what they say, and create their backgrounds, and can in many games add details pertinent to them, like what their homes and possessions and connected NPCs such as contacts are like. They can bring more in, such as visuals (miniatures, art and so on) and more details like background and bluebooking between sessions.