Monday, 4 July 2011

Reposting my random ideas post...with a couple of additions.

I was just going to edit the first one and add a tag, and it went all to hell. So I just deleted it.


Fairy Tail

Fairy Tail is a Japanese Manga (and also Anime now) setting. It is a fantasy setting, stuck somewhere just before the industrial revolution I would guess, with Magic replacing a lot of those advancements.

In this world, most mages join guilds, which allows them to take guild missions to make a living. The guilds also act as foster homes apparently, making a lot of them very tight knit and act like extended families.

My intention with this game is to run a group of down on their luck, silly, and incorrigible group of young mages looking to do something with themselves. I plan on setting it outside the Kingdom of Fiore (where Fairy Tail is based) so I can pretty much do as I please and still bring in details and plots from the series without having to worry about overlapping or things not making sense (at least no more than my usual on the run method of GMing allows).

I’ve already got a group of players and characters for this game actually, but we had to push the game back for now. I’m running it using Mutants and Masterminds 3e and I’m very excited.

Important Points:
  • Missions for the players. Have a big collection of missions they can pick and choose from, with big rewards but also the possibility of failing.
  • Money Matters. If they plan on surviving they’ll need the money from the missions, and everything has its cost.
  • I tend to try and go serious with my games. This game should be the opposite. I will be the source of comedy as much as possible, and this will hopefully make the drama much more poignant in exchange when it (sparsely) happen.


Cryptos (working title) is my personal ideal of the Mutant genre. I love the X-Men. I love the characters, some of the plots and the theme...but I always feel like it gets muddled in the overarching Marvel universe, for all I care the aliens, sorcerers, time-travellers and gods can just retcon themselves.

I don’t have a lot thought out for Cryptos. It would obviously be very similar to the X-Men in genesis, but I would like to build this as ground-up as possible.

The plan is to set the characters at the beginning of the story. They will be part of the first to manifest and they will, if they wish to, be able to shape what happens from there on...or at least try.

MnM is also the system of choice for this.

Important Points:
  • Player choice. They are in control of what they do and how they use their powers. I’m not a big fan of running evil characters though...but we’ll see how I handle that if it comes up.
  • Overarching consequences. What the characters do in turn must have an effect. Sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse.

How to Train your Dragon

I am a big fan of the movie. I own it and watch it all the time, my girlfriend also bought the audiobook of the first book (David Tennant reads it heh), and I listen to the soundtrack when walking around town more often than I will admit.

The book has this really sad aftertaste to it, because Dragons are no more. The narrator talks about them in the past sense, for they went away and never came back.

But what if they did?

I’d like to run it very light. Focusing the first part of the game on finding the dragons and befriending them. Players would stat their characters, but I would create the dragons. They would have to learn slowly what the dragons can do, and in time probably help them develop in certain ways.

I’m not sure this would work well for a tabletop game and I might run it as a Play by Post or similar setup.

My original intention was to run this using the Monsters and Other Childish Things system. The issue with this is that the system tends to make the Children not very effective or useful, which in this kind of game I don’t want. It could just take a little tweak to the character generation, probably just more points.

Important Points:
  • Dragons are myths. Dealing with this should be the first focus. How do you tell your parents, your tribe? How do you convince them if your dragons are too scared to come with you and how do they react when they finally meet?
  • They’ve been away for hundreds of years, what has made them come back and should you be worried?

Summer Stories

A proper MaoCT game. Set in the fictional Hocico Bay, California, it is a game of fourteen year olds trapped in a town with a rating not adequate for their young minds. Of course, the monsters from beyond time and space that are their friends don’t really care about ratings, so why should they?

This game was supposed to start at the end of last year, but ended up being replaced by my L5R game. I did some work here: Summer Stories.

This is another game that might end up being run online. I think the ORE system lends itself to PbP games because of the simultaneous rolling system.

Important Points:

I have forgotten. I have notes somewhere that I must find.

Heralds of Valdemar

I will never deny I love the Heralds of Valdemar setting by Mercedes Lackey. It may have many flaws but I accept the whole as the foundation of my love of Fantasy.

The fact that I love it so much is why this idea is hard. On one hand it want to run make sure everything is right. On the other hand...I wanna play!

The obvious choice would be to use Blue Rose, which was basically designed around the Valdemar series and other similarly themed novels.

But I don’t actually own Blue Rose (yet) and I might consider using something else. Maybe MnM (because, why not, I’m using it for everything else already) or True20, the successor to BR.

Power Metal Band...IN SPACE!!!!!

If you haven’t noticed, even though I enjoy the levelling aspect of games like D&D, I enjoy evolving characters and situations much more. This shows in the fact that I like starting games low and build up to greatness. That’s what I particularly want in this game.

You are a band from a backwater planet (maybe the origin of a millennium-old legendary rock band not falling into darkness) and are trying to make it out in the very big universe...cuz in this space, you will make them hear you scream.

I’m open to running or playing in this one. I think I could enjoy running it particularly, cuz it would mean I would have an excuse to actually delve back into music and music history.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Of My Love of Randomness...

I love crafting new characters. I always have since my first roleplaying chats to wrestling with the latest M&M rule-set until it did what I wanted.

I build characters in one of two ways:

  1. Create a concept and then try to stay as true as possible inside the realms of the systems. This usually works better with point-buy classless systems. But if you know the system/setting it can work with anything.

  2. Build a character mechanically and allow the choices to build a story in my mind. I prefer this method when I am unaware of the setting, among other things because it allows me to pour through the flavor text of my option and learn enough to actually build the character AND fit him in the world.

I must admit to a weakness for randomized chargens though. Because it liberates me from choice making and I can delve completely into the art of fleshing the character out.

I love it not only because it saves me from over thinking my choices, but also because it acts as a shield against the efficiency bores that like to comment on my builds. “I didn’t choose to be this gimped, blame the dice.” Now, of course I generally draw the line at a character that is so self-limiting he might as well just roll over and die, but it allows me to experiment with suboptimal (and thus hopefully, interesting) characters that even I would have not thought of before.

Some of my favorite randomized chargens are those of Teenagers From Outer Space, the random monster rules for Monsters and Other Childish Things and Dark Heresy (and the whole 40k series for that matter.)

The result of my latest encounter with randomized chargen is Mir, the Imperial Psyker of Feral origin. I rolled everything except the career path (because I wanted a psyker). He’s going to see play for the first time today, and to get a better idea of how his mind worked I wrote this: Personnel Files. I’m not completely happy with the second part, but I think I definitely have a better feel for the voice of the character.

May you dice land on the table!


Tuesday, 3 May 2011

A Big Round Table

Summer’s rolling around at an ever increasing pace (from an unreliable point of view...namely me) and a lot of things are changing.

I will probably be heading home for the Summer. The downside is the heat will most likely do me in. For good this time. Upside is if I manage to subsist as a poodle of geek I will be running another few sessions of...well, something, but that’s for another post.

The reason for going home is that me and my better half will most likely be leaving the apartment we’ve been renting for the last couple of years and we need some time to plan, recoup and charge on.

This brings me to my current beef: A table.

Our apartment, despite its small size is actually quite comfortable for playing. We have a sofa and a comfy chair, a small round table and enough chairs. My current Sunday game actually holds 7 players plus myself GMing. And although sometimes it can become a bit hot and there is some jockeying for the best spots, we get along.

When you lack a table you can sit everyone at games are different, specially if you have (as is my case) too many players. Things become much less centered, already easily distracted players become attention deficit cases and in things like combat, they also become slower.

At first I could ignore a lot of this because we were all setting into a new system and some people were complete newbies to RPGs, but after a few sessions, the chronic lack of attention to the game is getting to me.

Now, I’m aware that people can’t be full on all the way through the session. Among other things, RPGs are social events and the break down into personal conversations and goofing around is what actually keeps a regular game going. This is all fine...but when I am in the middle of a battle between two armies, after some kind of time travel, and enemies that are inhuman. I expect at least 10 minutes of people paying attention and being involved with what’s happening.

Of course, I am also keenly aware that part of the job of keeping people’s attention comes down to the GM...and I have been lacking, specially over the last few sessions. But both factors seem to be feeding into each other and making improvement so much harder. Also believe me when I say I am very shy...asking for attention in that way is not just an ego thing, and kinda out of character for myself.

So: a table.

Not just any table, I want a big, ideally round, table. So that everyone can see each other, and there is space for character sheets, aids, maps, glasses of coke, GM’s screen, my notes, a half-empty dangling box of pizza and a laptop.

Is that too much to ask for?

I mean, at least I’m not asking for this.



Thursday, 24 February 2011

Long belated second part

I meant to have this up the weekend before leaving, actually, I'm pretty sure there is a version of this in some random folder in a computer in Spain. But since at the moment I'm looking out the window at a very beautiful Glasgow day, I'll have to do it all over.

Of course, I have forgotten all details, so excuse me if I make things up. ;)

I believe that the only thing that marred the second session was that one of my friends was missing. Of course this meant that I had to reevaluate all encounters on the fly, and that's annoying, but what saddened me was that there was a nice buddy chemistry between two of my players that was the closest that they got to actually roleplaying and it was lost. The game though was still a lot of fun.

We laughed, cheered, jested and jeered. They hacked down goblins and gargoyles, found two hidden chambers and a mystical ruby covered in gore.

Of course, a lot of what I did was pretty common fantasy fodder, nothing groundbreaking, but the open eye wonder of my players young and not so young was most enjoyable.

From a technical standpoint the game fared much better and much smoother. I set up all of my gear as well, and this time brought my laptop and an old small PC we with the projector in the living room. This allowed me to use MapTools to project the map onto the table and control things like effect areas, moving hazards and uncovering the map little by little with a lot more ease than during the last session.

This combined by the slightly more knowledgeable group meant we moved at a much faster pace than the first session.

This session I was as well much more comfortable with the rules in Spanish. Not only the rules, but my own capacity to narrate. I will ashamedly admit that I even felt good when I used a word they had never heard before...I have not lost my Spanish, it is just kinda rusty.

This extra breathing space was mostly in my head and I tried to keep a manic pace. It also allowed me to make use of my prepared material much better. The background music and sound effects were greatly appreciated...specially in the last battle.

The cunning investigating of my players led them to take their newly acquired gem to a room they had already explored and discover a hall underneath the small dungeon. I prepared an increasingly tense and dark piece to narrate the description of this freezing eerily lit cave.

They discovered the lair of a young white dragon and valiantly defeated him. It was the hardest game in the two days of playing (as was the intention) and it was delightful to see them scamper for their lives and moan as, of course, they all failed too pass the attack tests on their dailies.

They got payed, but did very little effort to piece together the vague background plot I had devised and thus they were left hanging and wanting to know more....just were I wanted them. *evil cackle*

If I have time I might consider carry on running this game over the Internet with MapTool, but we’ll see.

Game on,

PS: I’m aware this was a crappy entry. heh.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

New Year, more gaming!

Hullo non-existent readers!

The last three months so a sharp drop in my regular gaming and planning spirit. Some people say life gets in the way, most of the time I feel like I'm getting in the way, and I'm trying to fix that. One of the ways is of course, more gaming! And on to that because this is no place for my personal maudlin.

Like many other gamers out there I guess, my parents suffer an acute misunderstanding of what roleplaying actually is. My father has always been too serious to let himself go and my mother's only contact prior to me gaining interest was Tom Hank's Mazes and Monsters, you can see how this is not ideal. Thankfully my parents are awesome and simply let me be.

When I'm excited though I talk, a lot. Talking to a wall, even a human one with ears, is boring, and thus I decided to try and remedy my mother's ignorance (I dismissed my father, that was a mistake, and probably another blog post) so that she would at least sorta get what I was going on and on about.

I proposed the idea to her a few months back. She was not very sure at first, afraid she would not get anything and still unsure about what it all entailed. Once again I tried to explain what rping was ("Cops and robbers with rules, bla, bla...") Thankfully we both share quite similar tastes in literature, so I offered something that would be familiar: dragons, warriors, wizards and big baddies with twirly moustaches. If you haven't guessed yet, yes D&D. And yes, I ran 4th ed because its the edition I was most comfortable with. Also, I got together a group of old friends who she knows and would be comfortable with, and most importantly who didn't know the rules either, so she would be learning at the same time.

I was really aiming to make her feel comfortable and place as much of the work on myself as possible so she could focus on her elf warlock and blowing up giant rats and goblins.

When I started out planning I wanted to make it original, refreshing. Then I realized these were new players. Clichés and the old stuff are there because they are tried and proven. I did want though a simple game in a pretty generic setting that would make them focus on what we were doing and not worry about the rest, with a very obvious hook and a short dungeon crawl with a nice and epic final baddie.

Then came deciding how much effort I wanted to invest in this. The final hour tally is around the dozen because as per usual I went overboard.

There were a number of ideas I have wanted to use for quite a while, and it being Christmas what else is there to do? I waited until after the 1st, and once my friend and family obligations were met I sat down to work.

I have been toying with Scene Sound with quite a while, which allows me to organize sound effects, music, etc for scenes. Script sequences and have randomized effects.

I found a premade tile set meant for printing and used GIMP to mess with it and personalize it to my specifications.

I even printed out square crossed paper to map out the layout and mess with it until I was happy. I hadn't hand drawn a dungeon in almost a decade, it felt quite awesome.

Then something unexpected happened. The color printer died on me and the black and white printer was not behaving. Solution: Put the projector on top of my mother's hutch in the dining room and project the map onto the dining table. Sometimes the problems bring on awesome solutions.

We didn't manage to get through the dungeon because some people were late and the usual explanations needed to get newbies on their feet just took too long, but what we did manage to do was fun! A lot more fun than I had had in months.

My father calls after we finished and asks my mom whether she won or not and of course she's at a loss. I ask her if she enjoyed herself or not and she smiled and said yes, she had no idea what she was getting herself into and had loads of fun; we all won.

More when I finish the game tomorrow!

Don't Stop!

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Things come before...

I have spoken to a few people about this idea...not too many, just some of my regular RP table mates, to get some feedback, but at the same time allow my head to stay in place and my choices mine.

Most of the initial response was of interest, with some healthy worry about the feasibility of it all and the work needed to make it work. This was all expected and great, I got some options to mull over and investigate and so forth...I mean, if it was going to be straightforward and easy I wouldn't be writing a blog now would I?

What I hadn't had before was the opinion of someone that has actually been in a similar game. His opinion was rather negative and it sort of took me back a little bit, and then it dawned on me that I didn't really care for the negative opinion based on previous least not the way I received it because if felt like a definite and unmodifiable truth. These things take a lot of work, are cumbersome and never pan out correctly, basically, with no warning, suggestion or even a good luck.

So I don't care.

I'll refer back to the top of the article, if this were going to be easy there wouldn't be a blog...not only that, there wouldn't be a game.

I'm not doing this out of a need to complicate my life or prove something, like any other hobby endeavour this is me scratching a personal itch, in this case, an interest in learning and experiencing different games AND a curiosity about a universal storyline superimposed on other established settings.

So I will carry on searching for people interested and willing to go along with the experiment and maybe put that effort in to make it happen...and pay for the pizza if the game's at my apartment.

Live on,

Monday, 26 July 2010

Keep flying'...that game...

I became a fan of the Firefly series, concept, universe, characters, etc, etc a few months AFTER it got cancelled, which came as a big shock when I found out. But you all know that story and a thousand like it, and if you don't, a simple google search will fill you in.

Of course as a gamer I had the opportunity to extend this love and enjoyment with a nifty little book, a couple sets of funny dice and a few friends. Which I most definitely did about a month ago after getting the core rulebook from a friend as a gift (slightly dinged books in your local store are an awesome way to get nice RPGs).

As I set out to make this happen I convinced my girlfriend (who is not a fan), the guy who got me the book, his girlfriend, and another couple that I know from my local gaming society.

During the week I got my players at different moments and genned the characters with or they helped each other and we were set.

At the beginning of the game we had a run down town with a busy bar, a Core doctor down on his luck, a crazy woman with a love for only two things: engines and duct tape, a female muscle for hire with awesome cooking skills and deadly knife accuracy, a techie that doesn't know when to shut up...or turn off the creepy, and a pilot with some dodgy friends and the spine of a mollusc.

My plan for them was rather easy. Using the pilot's friends in low places I was going to dangle a nice little carrot. A simple job, take a ship with a crew, pick up some cargo from an embargoed planet (barely illegal, really!) and take it somewhere else. Easy money.

Now most players are rather or completely new to RP, so I had to push them a little bit to keep them moving from now and then, but they've all really tried to stick to their characters principles and characteristics, leading to interesting moments (like when the character with kleptomania decided to steal the lucky charms from the character with superstitious + coward...while she was flying.)

Originally I planned it to run over two sessions (we play Sundays). But it became obvious with the characters messing with each other and a couple of bad rolls, that things would have to stretch a bit, and I am hoping the this weekend will be the last, at 4 sessions. And all in all I have been glad with the way things have gone, and my players tell me they've had fun, and unless I failed my Awareness roll, I don't think they're lying to me.

I have though disliked two things.

First, it seems that my own handling of the game and the mood at the table provokes the game to devolve into a lot of slapstick and IC silliness that I would rather avoid, it is something that seems to happen at every game I run, no matter the genre. Now I understand that part of the beauty of Firefly and Serenity is its capacity to be both humorous and dramatic...but when the crew name their old battered up boat Cheese Monkey, well...that's just a tad too much I think.

I think I need to make a stronger effort at the beginning of the game to set up the mood I am aiming for...probably even at the time of recruiting the players, and have a stricter hand during the session over the OCC banter, but I seem to tell myself that every time with little to no success.

The second issue is the overrunning of the game, now that is in itself not too much of the problem, if the game extends itself and the people keep coming, then things aren't too bad, because they're enjoying themselves. But when I have a limit (for example I would like to run a game or two at Conflagration next year) I really need to be able to eyeball and control the flow of the game better.

Now in part I know both of these things have a lot to do with the variation of the gamers and my personal experience and versatility, so it's something that I hope to improve.

I just sometimes wish that I improved faster, heh.

I'll try and write something once the adventure is over and I'll also post something at some point in the week about my plans for my next game (not related to my big multi-game enterprise).

Roll well,