#RPGaDay 2018: Day 21

Question 21: Which dice mechanic appeals to you?

In an earlier post I mentioned a game called Amazing Tales which has a simple ‘each ability is based off a die’ system. When you want to do that thing, you roll the die and get 3 or more. If you succeed you describe what happens, if you fail the GM tells you want went wrong.

I enjoyed this dice mechanic so much the first time I played it that I used it as the basis for a work-in-progress game about vampires which is (now) called Decadence.

Some adjustments were made to the system as we went along–better, older vampires have access to more than one die roll to attempt an action, for example, not to mention a greater spread of dice, and there’s a mechanism called Pride that raises the target for success–but the general idea is still intact and still great.

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#RPGaDay 2018: Day 20

Question 20:  Which game mechanic inspires your play the most?

The very fact that roleplaying games by their nature involve the players and GM sitting around a table (usually) and sharing in the creation of a narrative.

Sure, I, as GM, can say: “Boss Greblin wants you to take this sealed oak box to Los Angeles. Don’t open it.”

And then one of the players can have their character wait until Boss Greblin’s out of the room and be all: “I open the box.”

While the rest of the crew are shouting: “What the actual-“

The game can move wherever we want it to–sometimes in opposite directions, often with dire consequences. And yet it moves. Always.

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#RPGaDay 2018: Day 19

Day 19: Music that enhances your game?

Another glib cop-out answer for this one: too many pieces of music to count, everything’s an inspiration, etc…

I’ve mentioned before that particular pieces of music have sparked whole campaigns, and I continue to listen to all kinds of stuff, so there’s still plenty of stories waiting to be born. 

As for when the games are being played:

We usually have something suitable playing in the background, just bubbling under and not getting in the way. Maybe something movie-soundtrack related, or music of whatever time period in which the game is set.

Unless there’s ominous music playing for an especially tense and quiet bit of gaming, I tend not to notice after a while anyway. Maybe I’d notice if it stopped.

One caveat to all of this is there’s a particular piece of music by Radiohead which for me always lets me know that we’re back in a long running game that our characters can never seem to escape…

Best not to think about it.

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#RPGaDay 2018: Day 18

Question 18: Art that inspires your game?

Too many to pieces to count. Anything from game-book interiors to pulp novel covers to works by the old masters and random stuff discovered on the web. Everything and anything can spark something.

And the art for the new edition of Runequest is just incredible.

One specific image which was an incredible inspiration was by the artist Angus McBride in–iirc–one of the Osprey mil-history books about German Medieval Armies.

A simple soldier, wearing mail, plate greaves and vambraces, carrying shield and falchion and with a chapel de fer upon his weary head.

This guy…

This image had so much weight of history and story in it he became a character that I called Bernhardt of Bremen.

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#RPGaDay 2018: Day 17

Question 17: Describe the best compliment you’ve had gaming.

As a GM, the fact the players continue to enjoy the games is compliment enough, isn’t it?

That said, the other day I was asked if the just ended session was from a published scenario or something I’d come up with myself. As I’d come up with it just that afternoon I was pretty pleased with this response.

As a player, I guess the fact we laugh a lot is where it’s at, and these days I reckon if our characters are doing cool stuff then we’re cool too, right?

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#RPGaDay 2018: Day 16

Question 16: Describe your plans for your next game

Tricky one, this is. I had a ‘next game’ all worked out in my head and had intended to talk about it for this question but–my slowness being what it is and external factors having an influence–I have now begun the running of that game and it is therefore my ‘current game’ rather than whatever will now be next…

I’ll fudge the answer and talk about it anyway on the basis that the session I ran the other day was envisaged as a trailer or ‘teaser’ for the main campaign. The idea was to run a couple of fresh characters through a situation that would form part of the history of the actual game when it kicked off with the full complement of players.

The game proper is called Kings of New England and is run using the Lamentations of the Flame Princess rules-set. Just the basic version, I had toyed with using the newer ‘play test’ iteration of the rules but to be honest they seemed a little harsh for my purposes.

The setting is an alternative 18th century New England, in which the British failed to capture Port Royal in 1713–during the closing stages of Queen Anne’s War–and as a consequence, the French still hold on to the land they call Acadia.

The characters in the ‘teaser’ game are hunting down a man who may have fired the fatal shot that killed the British commander of the Port Royal siege. They know where he lives, at least, but actually getting their hands on him has proved a touch more awkward than expected.

The game in general, as it progresses, will involve various historical factions from the region and also a supernatural element relating to ancient magics and escaped demons. There are also going to be a lot of upstart so-called Kings and ramshackle courts of ruin.

So far it’s going well.

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#RPGaDay 2018: Day 15

Another alternate question for this day, as I don’t have anything obvious or relevant (that I can remember) to provide for ‘tricky gaming situations’, I’m going to go with this:

Question 15: Most innovative game of the past 12 months?

For me, without hesitation, it’s Dialect from Thorny Games.

Dialect is a game about language, about who creates and has ownership over language, and very much about what’s left behind when all those various creators vanish from existence…

Continue reading

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#RPGaDay 2018: Day 14

Question 14: Describe a failure that became amazing.

Not so much a failure as a series of unfortunate time-table clashes and incursions of the Real World into the group’s traditional gaming evening.

The group typically runs two games at a time on alternate weeks, and whilst one of the games was Achtung Cthulhu and going well, the other was supposed to be a foray in the nostalgic-future of Cyberpunk 2020…except it didn’t always happen because people were missing for various reasons, week after every-other week.

What was proposed as a longer campaign turned out to be more of a short sharp shock, couple of full sessions and then done. I think it helped the future-viewed-from-the-80s vibe we were attempting. It seemed like an artistic and narrative choice rather than a necessity.

I guess the point is there’s no such thing as failure, just another opportunity to improvise and adapt.

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#RPGaDay 2018: Day 13

Question 13: Describe how your play has evolved.

Having begun with D&D and AD&D, back in the distant 80s, I think the clearest evolution of playing style has been away from the simplistic, murder-tourist traditions of kill-monsters-get-gold, and towards a (slightly) more thoughtful and interactive approach to the imaginary worlds the characters inhabit.

This counts for both time as a player and as a GM.

As a player I want places to explore and people to communicate with, and as a GM I want to establish those kinds of experiences for the players.

Not everything has to be a Big Fight. Which is not to say we don’t descend into chaotic scrapping from time to time, either by accident or design.

But, now days, it’s just as much fun having dinner with a Rakshasa, in a pagoda temple in Dolmenwood, as it would have been fighting our way up the twelve levels of his tower to find the secret treasure room at the top.

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#RPGaDay 2018: Day 12

Question 12: Wildest character concept?

Short answer: Denmark

The basic set up for the character was: Everyone in Denmark on a particular date vanishes without a trace, and this particular character has access to all of their memories and skills, one at a time and for a limited period only.

This was in a superhero game I was running a few years back, and it later transpired that the character had access to the powers and abilities of any superheroes that had existed in Denmark at the time of the Event.

Also villains.

When last seen the character had recently become the Danish super-science crime-lord Doctor Zinc, who–as an old man suddenly ‘reborn’ into a fresh young body–had set about reliving the glory days of his youthful crime sprees.

Good times.

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