05 Jul

Continuum 2010: Sunday

Sunday, the last..

Up far too early since, despite being in bed by 1.30.. I blogged and read rpg books until 2.30. Had shower, ate quite a good breakfast and then played an AWESOMELY good game of Savage Earthdawn which EvilGaz ran. I think 3 or 4 of the players were Smart Party and as such the gaming was fast, competent and well paced. Gaz is a great GM and I have loved Earthdawn for years although never run it. It rocked for me.

Then, after a quick visit to the B&B to mark down stock, I joined the rather fine Serenity freeform. Much fun, as I played the incompetent and venal Lt. Tillman. Faded a bit by 5pm, but by 6-ish I was assassinated by the hot dog seller. [I just knew he was an urban guerilla, or possibly a street vendor, or both.] Great game, maybe I didn’t fully rise to it but had a good time.

I then hit the tiredness wall and having already dropped out of Scott Dorwood’s horror game I dropped out of DrMoos’ Toon game and instead talked to people. At first I was almost unconscious, but got back my wind as the night progressed ending with an impromptu storytelling session where Oliver Dickinson delivered a new Griselda story and Jamie “Trotsky” Revell regaled us with one of his.

I made quite good return on the B&B and got rid of a lot of stuff, talked to a lot of friends, old and new, and had my best con in a long time.. but Furnace is coming soon and that’s always a great blast.

Tired now, I have a cup of tea, so a few more pages of rpg books and then sleep, and tomorrow on the train to Nochet.. I mean Newcastle..

04 Jul

Continuum 2010: Saturday

I have had a great day again. Sensibly I didn’t play all day, leaving me time to read my scenario for tonight, and also help out on the B&B stall again. Then I joined the Chivalry and Clockwork game being run by Ken Walton of Cakebread and Walton, and had an absolute blast as all my 17th century religious and political upbringing came flowing out in an awesome game and setting (YMMV). This is what I shall spend my credit note with Cubicle 7 on!

Then I ran the ‘How to run a Mini-Con’ panel with Graham S, Darran S and Neil S and I have to say it was great panel and we had an appreciative audience that seemed genuinely interested.

In the evening I ran Nathan B’s charming Winter Song OpenQuest game with 6 dear friends (4 I knew already, 2 we befriended in the game) and suffice to say, they convrted the orcs and dragons to Christianity and saved the kingdom and the werewolf..

Good chat with Graham, Newt, Tim, Stephen and off to bed to write this and sleep.

FULL day Sunday..

02 Jul

Continuum 2010: Late Friday Night

Well, day one of Continuum 2010 is finished and wrapped, and I’ve done quite a bit. Graham rolled up about 1pm and we unpacked all our Bring and Buy stuff from his boot. I wasn’t doing the B&B but it seemed unfair to pass the organisation to someone else so Graham and I ticketed up and organised the stand, both our stuff and many others. It’s a slow job and took us until about 7pm to complete, but I quite enjoyed playing shopkeeper and it meant I could chat to my god friend Bob “Grim” from Reapers Revenge and the staff of Mongoose Publishing. We sold quite a lot of stuff and handed it on to Dave Williams who will be running it for the rest of the Con. I picked up the new Traveller Little Black Books from Mongoose: The Traveller Rulebook, Mercenary, High Guard and Scout. The pocket size (and they really are pocket sized) and the price point (£10) means they hit the sweet spot for me. Problem is, and this is a sad sign of age, that I will probably not be able to read them without glasses on, but hey.. I have glasses..

Popped to the signup boards and signed up for lost of games. Met Simon Beaver, popped up to the D101 games room, picked up my complimentary copy of OpenQuest, said hi to many people and had a fairly weak vegetable curry. [Mind you fish and chips for lunch was good..]

After dinner I went and played in Darren Driver’s Dragon Age roleplaying game. I’ve followed this game in development as the author, Chris Pramas, blogged about it as he and his company Green Ronin wrote and published it. It’s light, nice mechanics and captures a very dark yet familiar D&D style. It remind me a lot of Basic D&D, and I know Chris wanted that kind of easy-starter feel.. but the mechanics are much better and easier. We played it very dark an grim and my female PC seduced and murdered her way inside the party until Sean Varney’s female mage did for me.. before my PC’s dragon mother did for his.. Big thanks to all, and especially Jaran Wood and Sverre Larre who played into my witches hands so well and happily only to discover she wasn’t very nice after all!

02 Jul

Friday: Almost started

Here we are, sitting in the bar waiting for the registration to open at 1pm, and finishing off some proper work work before launching into gaming. I won’t even list who’s here, since I’d miss someone off, but hey, the gangs not all here and it’s already great to see everyone!

I have prepared the basic outline of the panel on running mini-con and have had a nice cup of tea, so I’ll post this, ring the missus, and then jump right in..

01 Jul

Continuum 2010 Part the Prelude

Here I am in John Foster Hall in Leicester, site of the twice yearly roleplaying convention Continuum. I have come a day early rather than coming all the way from London to Sheffield and back to Leicester in the morning. London wanted to charge me a lot to stay there, and here I can hang with the cool kids: the Committee.

Very hot and drained in this hot and humid weather I have freshened in the room and once I have typed this update will go and find Loz, Darran, Colin, Simon, Rich and the others again and see what’s what.

I had a not great Continuum last time, I was not really recovered from my sarcoidosis and it all was stressful and not great. This time I have a few commitments, a few games, but my key goal is to relax, not worry, have a few beers, and chill with old friends before setting out to Newcastle on Monday by train.

If I see you, hiya! If you see me and I don’t see you, hiya! If you’re not here.. well there’s always Furnace..

26 May

My Traveller game starts

My Mongoose Traveller went like a dream, it was great. I am running a Star Wars Saga adventure converted week by week and largely on the fly, for Empire read Solomani, for Rebel Alliance read 3rd Imperium (yes but the players chose which side they wanted to be and they chose the Imperium). It’s set in the Gemini subsector and started in a tethered spacesport above the planet Gwynedd. It’s a simple pick up and go mission for the PCs who are all operatives of Imperial Naval Intelligence, which has started to heat up as the SolSec (SS) have started to focus in on their contact and the cargo that the PCs are to collect. After a short bloody firefight (which the PCs survived but which taught them a lot about Trav combat) they have had to abandon plans to go back up the beanstalk to the space station and are now stuck on the surface of Gwynedd, on a mountain full of sheep, rain and locals who not only are strongly Solomani but also Welsh, Methodist and always singing!

I am very keen for advice on how to run Traveller games, a longer set of guns for the players, and the best way to map and record my new planet data.

Now for a movie: http://www.traveller3d.com/traveller-trailer.avi

24 Mar

Steam games to come to Mac!

It’s official, Valve’s digital distribution service Steam is coming to Mac, and bringing Left 4 Dead 2, Team Fortress 2, Counter-Strike, Portal, and the Half-Life series (along with Source) with it this April. But there’s more. Apparently, through Steam Play, gamers will be able to play supported titles (anything built on Source, it seems) on a PC (say, at work) then continue the game from the same point on their Mac (say, at home). Both versions of these games come bundled in one price—which is completely, totally, unbelievably forward-thinking and awesome.

http://bit.ly/9X30Yj

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15 Mar

Gardening, Reading, Gaming,

Branch with catkins in early spring

Image via Wikipedia

Last week was 3 days at home working hard, with a seminar at Sheffield Hallam University by the CILT on the recession (but as usual became a row about bus regulation), then 2 days in Newcastle at the Industrial Research Strategy Group presenting on freight modal shift and it’s decline as crown on EU freight transport policy.
Then Saturday I was up at 7.30 and did some full on gardening, tipping and sorting my compost bins, some great compost from there, and all from teabags and vegetable clippings and cardboard! Beds nicely rejuvenated after I discarded the broad beans that had died of chocolate spot and the cauliflowers that had frankly been frozen and thawed so many times that all but 3 were rotten. Colected my parcels from the Post Office, 2 nice new pairs of trousers, a copy of a Zombies: A Field Guide, and True20: Revised Edition. Sunday was an aching day for me, but we got our act together and went and bought a Pussy Willow tree, a Virgina creeper and a sieve to sieve the remaining compost of the not-quite ready bits of cardboard.. Then a good shop at Asda and home. We’ve been watching Sopranos quite intensively. We finished Season 3 last week and started Season 4 this weekend.

I have been reading Games of Thrones by George RR Martin and (despite the fact that everyone else read it 14 years ago) have really got into it. Will not buy into the current rpg, but I so would like to play it at a con or locally.. hint hint. I have been reading OpenQuest, which  is a very nice lighter (it’s not LITE) version of the RuneQuest I played for so many years. I running adventures set in the Savage North at Cons all year, and I am looking forward to it. I also bought and read the Dungeon of the Bear, the classic T&T dungeon from the mists of time.. Wow! What an amazing artefact of it’s time. Traps, puzzles, swinging doors, utterly inexplicable locked rooms containing 3 orcs who must somehow be in suspended animation to have survived in there. I’ve never run T&T as a GMed game, so I have madly offered it as a game for the March21st TomCon, with Savage North as the alternative. I suspect I may need to re-acquaint myself with the rules. True20 calls me as ever, offering the lost hope of a class/level/d20 rpg that is playable, flexible and doesn’t set my hackles up.. I have already bought more rpgs this year than I will run in 5, so nothing new there, but I hope to sell on quite a few at the Con-Quest bring and buy stall, or ebay if needed.

The weather improves, I have trays of seedlings popping up all over a table in Matt’s room, and having cleared the back bed the weekend before last all look good for the spring garden. It’ll be time to brush off the Leica and Canon and get out for some photography.

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20 Nov

OpenQuest

The wonderful thing about the Open Gaming Licence and other such open licenses is that it has allowed a plethora of retro, alternate and innovative games derived from Open Content and the core System Reference Documents, such as the 3.5 SRD, the RuneQuest SRD, the Traveller SRD and others. Up until now the RuneQuest SRD has generated the GORE game system, which looks to be rooted in gothic horror games, and now is joined by OpenQuest.

OpenQuest uses the classic D100 rules mechanic, which uses percentages to express the chance of success or failure. It is a complete and easy to play Fantasy Roleplaying game, with monsters, magic and exotic locales. Open Quest is based on the Mongoose RuneQuest SRD (MRQ SRD), with ideas from previous editions of Chaosium’s RuneQuest and Stormbringer 5th, mixed in with some common sense house rulings from the author’s twenty years of experience with the D100 system. Everything in the core OpenQuest rule book, except the illustrations by Simon Bray, is open gaming content under the Open Gaming Licence. This means that you can use all or part of the book to produce your own games, rules, adventures even for commercial release as long as you include the Open Gaming Licence included in the back of the book.

Why another d100 game when we have Mongoose publishing RuneQuest and Basic Roleplaying from Chaosium? The answer has to be that OpenQuest is both a modern lean game system and also a game that recreates the retro feel of the older versions of RuneQuest, specifically RuneQuest 1 and 2 from Chaosium. OpenQuest has cleaned the Mongoose SRD of not just many of the new systems that Mongoose added, but has gone further and removed many of the older BRP stalwarts. The skill list has been pared down and rather than the tendency in Mongoose books to add new skills, this takes a rules ‘lighter’ approach. The religions and magic hark back to the Chaosium RuneQuest days, so spirit magic, divine magic and sorcery behave far more in a RQ2 style, maybe a little more cinematically. Strike ranks, hit locations, hit points for weapons, are all gone leaving the first genuinely light d100 game. On the other hand some parts of the Mongoose additons to RQ are there. Hero points, which I am never totally sure about, are here; as is a view of experience rolls that frankly sits uneasy with me. I have never seen the ‘tick chasing’ that people talk of in the usual Chaosium d100 experience systems, and if it happens below my notice then it’s never danaged the game. I shall go back to the RQ3 experience rules which are simple, clean and elegant.

OpenQuest was released for a few months as a wholly free pdf, an act of massive generosity by the publisher D101 games. Thousands of copies were downloaded before the full version reverted to a (very inexpensive) paid offering, and the print copy is very reasonably priced in line with other ‘retro’ games such as Labyrinth Lord or OSRIC. The OpenQuest Developers Kit is a free SRD from which others can build their own games, and the OpenQuest Companion wiki is growing with ideas and additions to the game. The exciting news is that a new ‘Hyborian style’ setting for OpenQuest: The Savage North will be with us soon, written by the talented John Ossoway. Othe developers are known to be working on ‘powered by OpenQuest’ games even now.

OpenQuest is not a pale imitation, it carves a distinctly simple and cinematic path between the complicated route that Mongoose takes and the encyclopaedic vagueness of the current BRP from Chaosium. However it still shares such a core with both that any previously published product from any other d100 game is easily utilised with OpenQuest and vice-versa if you wish. I shall port some of my favourite rules from RQ3 and Stormbringer back into OQ, and I could easily see a ref porting a lot of the rules from OQ into BRP or a Mongoose based game.

OpenQuest – D101 Games | OpenQuest | DriveThruRPG.com

[I have added my affiliate code to the link above so I may get a few clacks in my bag if you buy something]