20 Apr

Hellfrost Adventure: N1 – Lair of the Vermin Lord

With the snow already falling, the key to thwarting disaster is the village of Dunross, for here are stored the winter supplies of many surrounding villages. Fresh faced and eager, the heroes are hired by a local merchant to collect sacks of flour from Dunross and deliver them to a bakery.

But things are never that simple.

I ran this Savage Worlds adventure about 66% on Sunday with Matt, Alaa, Louis and Declan. We spent a LONG time on character gen so i am going to have to estimate, but I’d say there are about 8 hours of gameplay in the adventure with middling roleplaying and midding adventuring. It’s a classically laid out and developed adventure, with the story and plot first and foremost and the setting second. It is NOT the curiously fashionable [i]old school retro[/i] minimalist ‘map and some stats’. This is a pleasantly told tale of food, famine and conspiracy in the somewhat Anglo-Saxon lands of Rassilon. The adventure reminded me of a WFRP setup, but that’s partly due to the rats, WFRP always seems to have cornered the market in rat based plots!

The adventure is designed for 4 Novice characters and the lads (with their finely tuned minimaxing skills) have trounced all opposition easily so far. With a group of [i]novice[/i] players as well as [i]Novice[/i] PCs then I’d say it is not going to lead to too many player fatalities. The opportunities for interactive roleplaying abound, much can be made of it by players who like to chat and investigate, bit the plot is not overly complex.. no-one is going to be befuddled by this tale.

That all sounds a tad pedestrian, but that would be the wrong impression. I’d say the adventure is a well crafted starter adventure that conveys the themes of the setting well and both allows and encourages new characters and players to stretch their legs.

Plus we really enjoyed playing it.

tripleacegames.com/store/index.php

11 Apr

Life, Liberty and Gaming

We’re having a busy and yet good bank holiday weekend. We are doing a lot of clearance work getting ready for resanding the wooden floor downstairs, decorating the study and having new office furniture built. I am also clearing the garage and moving my work PC and stuff into a temporary home in the dining room. Somewhere in the weekend I have about a metre high pile of roleplaying books and stuff to put on ebay. Lot’s of Glorantha and the like, which should raise money to buy a new, slightly smaller pile of new rpgs and books!

I played MagBlast and Drakon with Alaa, Louis and Matt the other night. MagBlast is a card game of screaming space battles, you have to provide sound effects when launching an attack or the attack fails, and it seems a great beer and pretzels game. Drakon has a very cute premise, which is that you the players are adventurers captured by a dragon in her lair. She decides to have some fun and says the first to collect 5 gold coins can leave alive, the rest will be eaten.. It’s a very simple tile laying game, and at first it seems overly simplistic until you start to appreciate the tactics of how the tiles, which have limited placement, exit and laying rules, can produce quite intriguing looping effects. Then you start to see how you can thwart your fellow players as you rotate tiles, destroy tiles or replace them. Perhaps the lesser of the 2 games and not as rewarding as Cave Troll which is also a Fantasy Flight Games production, but also a short fast beer and pretezels game. I must dig out Citadels for the next ad hoc session. I have not had time to open Wizard Kings yet, but I am hoping for some block game fun with it.

I’m thinking over the Chinese TomCon on May 9-10th? There’ll be two game, one will be Newt’s Monkey game and the other Qin run by Graham. I am torn between the 2. There will be a full day of jollity on the 9th ending in watching Warlords and Monkey Magic. [Looking for Chinese boardgame/wargame for the daytime.]

I enoyed Dom’s Singularities game, which was good and IMHO a much better version of new transhuman/britSF/Culture SF than Sufficiently Advanced. On Monday I run Machine Tractor Station Kharkov-37 for Matt and his friends. I am sure Alaa and Ben will rise to the challenge, but it’ll be interesting to see if they can cope with what is a very typically Lovecraftian adventure. [I’ll not spoil it since you may yet play it one day, it’s a CoC monograph.]

Anyway, back to cables, printers, monitors and a copy of the new Savage Worlds setting: HellFrost which is winking at me from the corner of the room, just waiting to suck my time away..

04 Feb

Gaming Plan 2009

All Flesh Must Be Eaten

Image via Wikipedia

Well it’s taken a month but here is my draft gaming plan for 2009. Ambitious, probably unachievable, but a plan:

General

  • Tidy up Omniverse.net adventure and spells.
  • Sell WHFRP books.
  • Sell TORG.
  • Read Jorune.
  • Read Earthdawn and evaluate for 2010 gaming.
  • Read Gwenthia and re-evaluate and update Cromaigne changes in main pdf.
  • Buy and play more Star Wars miniatures with Kieran.
  • Write up Savage Showdown stats for my SF Near Future minatures and play some skirmish games
  • Play Tannhauser boardgame.
  • Play Stonehenge boardgame.
  • Play World at War boardgame.

Games I want to play

  • Play Qin
  • Play a One Roll Engine game
  • Play MRQ
  • Play GUMSHOE
  • Play StarBlazers
  • Play Cold Crusade
  • Play I-War
  • Play HELLAS

Games I’d like to run

Run Pathfinder Chronicles using BRP:

with cults like RQ3;
with simple Elric! level rules;
3 2-3 sessions, not necessarily with the same players.

Run Vikings using either Savage or Wordplay;

use RQ Vikings as source;
use Beowulf (various versions);
Create a short (3-4 page) players pack for playing Vikings (non system specific),
Culture,
Mythology,
Gazeteer,
Scan and collect lots of images and flavour;
Collect suitable music;
Write a 3 session arc, 1 of which is suitable for a con game, not necessarily the same players.
 

Renuwal Survival Horror using AFMBE:

3 part Trilogy of single games,
underground lab,
escape from the town,
post zombie apocalypse;
Strongly influenced by Resident Evil but with some twists;
Collect music and images;
Use the AFMBE pregen characters from sourcebooks,
Age the characters from game to game,
Not necessarily the same players;
Suited to cons.
 

Noir – Mean Streets – A Dirty World:

Prepare to run noir style games as one offs using the scenarios in Mean Streets book;
Consider using ‘A Dirty World’ or GUMSHOE, but probably stay with genrediversion from MS book;
Lots of photos, images, maybe some music;
Suited to cons.
 

Deadlands one off:

Mix up Deadlands and Coyote Trail and GURPS Wild West sources;
Use the Coffin sourcebook;
Be able and ready to run at short notice.
 

B5 Traveller:

Probably not going to happen in 2009, but read, prepare, evaluate.
 

Battlestar Galactica rpg:

Probably also not going to happen in 2009 but read, prepare, evaluate.
 

Talislanta:

Probably not going to happen in 2009, retire to shelves and allow to ferment.
 

Freeport:

Not going to happen in 2009, read if time and life allows.
 

Gwenthia:

Not going to happen in 2009. Need to resolve system and just how well I can get on with MRQ. Need to play some more MRQ.
 

Let’s see how it goes

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
12 Jan

Gaming Plans 2009

I have managed to review my gaming in 2008, which was quite successful given how often I travel and how ill I was in the early half of the year. Planning for 2009 is quite difficult.

Part of the problem is that we have had regular monthly TomCons at ours once a month and my friends and I have sampled a wide range of roleplaying games and a smaller set of boardgames. We had the first TomCon of 2009 this weekend past and had a great game of Britannia followed by a fun game of Serenity rpg, spoiled only by my being in rather a silly mood. The weekends are great, they fulfill all the key needs, meeting good friends, eating, some drinking, playing games you’ve never tried and running some of the rpgs we all have on our shelves and which we look at with guilt everytime we walk past them..

I am very happy with TomCons.

But I also need to run something over a slightly longer period of time. Now I am not unaware that my work life (40% away from home) means that I am very unreliable for ongoing weekly games, but it has been possible before to start a series of games (usually with my son and his friends or my mate Martin) and stagger through 5-6 sessions without too many interruptions. Indeed I ran D&D like that for over 2 years when I first moved back to Sheffield. About 50% of Tuesdays I am at Martin’s and we are currently playing our way through a Pathfinder/D&D game. Only problem is that we never seem to get more than 2 players and ref on Tuesdays and that’s almost too close to zero sometimes. My son and his friends are too busy playing World of Warcraft to play trad rpgs these days, altho’ maybe I could drag them together for a one-off sometime.

There are cons. Due to my issues with Gwenthia, or possibly a broader rush of anxiety, I haven’t run any scenarios at cons for some years. I got in a real tizzy about it all, which is very odd and quite embarassing. I have some confidence that I may have faced that bugbear and won, providing I use published material and stay away from commitments with or to others, but simply turn up, post up and play. We’ll see.. I shall certainly do 2 cons this year, probably Conpulsion (but watch how work stacks up), Furnace (better turn up to that one) and maybe 1-2 others. That means that quietly and without too much fuss I could run 2-4 games at cons.

I could play/run at our local hobby shop: Patriot Games on Monday nights. Now this is a seemingly sensible idea. There is a shop, it is full of roleplayers, the games are often over subscribed. But oddly getting players is difficult. I sat with 2 players running Savage Worlds 50fathoms for some weeks next to a d20 game that was massively overfull, and yet despite a nice poster and making it clear (I think) that we’d happily take onboard 2 more players, we never got another one. Perhaps a game of something mainstream might attract more players, or perhaps I need to ask the owner to use his pull and drag in some players to make a full group? I’d be happy with a five week run if I could pull it off.

So, where does that leave me?

Well. It says that I have about 5-6 one-offs that I can run this year. That’s good fine gaming as long as I have cured the con jinx, but even if not I can probably do 3. It says that as long as I am ok with 2 players I can run maybe 8 sessions on a Tuesday in a spread over 4 months.. and that can be almost any kind of gaming, as long as it’s not Middle Earth (unless they play uruk-hai hunting hobbits). It says that if I get my local shop owner to help I could do a 5-6 week run on Mondays at the shop.

You know, that’s not at all bad. I think I can move forward and plan.. 3-6 one-offs and 2 5-6 week story arcs..

29 Dec

Games Games Games: 2008 Retrospective

So time has come to try and write a plan for gaming in 2009 which I can then fail to achieve, but which is fun in a kind of speculative daydreaming way. To do that I need to first mull over 2008 and see where I am coming from before I know where I am going to..

I tried in 2008 to focus on setting and not system, I am not so sure how well I succeeded.

In terms of purchases I tried to resist or at least go second hand. I bought quite a bit of Earthdawn second hand or very very cheap (when the USD-GBP rate was almost 2:1) since I loved the setting way back when but never ran it. I have sold a lot of Glorantha stuff and will continue to do so. I bought an AFMBE book, and I rather fell in love with the Paizo Pathfinder Chronicles and bought and read the first three even though they are D&D [I’d probably Savage them]. I avoided buying the new Basic Roleplaying book from Chaosium, which is fortunate since last week I saw a copy and realised that as a credited playtester I was entitled to a free copy.. it arrived today. I resisted the Battlestar Galactica rpg, but will succumb in 2009, I faced down the nostalgic pull of Dragon Warriors and despite resisting Trail of Cthulhu I did buy a few GUMSHOE games (same system) and enjoyed reading them. My ongoing love for the City of Freeport setting went wild as the setting went system free, but I haven’t fully read or played there. My purchase of the Blue Rose rpg must be put down to gspearing geeing me up, although it’s a very interesting setting.

Gwenthia, our shared world fantasy setting, has been getting me down all year. I can’t keep up the leadership role and the creative tensions have driven me away from the setting and all d100 game systems. My angst about this drove me into a cycle that meant I couldn’t face running any games at cons in 2007 or 2008, and as such I have done nothing with it all year.My

I ran Talislanta several times, which was a huge buzz for me since I’ve loved the setting for years, but somehow thought it was too big and weird for my friends. What nonense! It’s like Glorantha or The Forgotten Realms; you take a small area and just game away like it was 1976 and the idea of a huge game world didn’t exist yet.. I was delighted by how simple and smooth the system ran, and I think that all the games have been great successes, especially the one at a TomCon.

I don’t think I ran anything else this year until December when I ran Mean Streets, a noir rpg set in 1943 New York. Very much a settings led choice, since the system is very light and the setting/adventures very generously provided in the cheap pdfs.

My rpg BBS, The Tavern, has pootled along ok this year with only one php insertion attack and one migration between servers which my friend Simon managed well. The migration threw everyone’s cookies bonkers and I am still not sure everyone who wants auto login has it. We hosted the chat forum for the Continuum and Furnace cons, and people seem to enjoy hanging out there in a small cosy environment. I am grateful that when things get sticky Simon helps.

So, did I achieve much? Well for a year when I have been really quite unwell I have played a lot of great games, but not run many. So be it. I have greatly enjoyed playing Wordplay, lots of Savage Worlds, Traveller, Sufficiently Advanced, SCION, Atlantis, D&D 4e (!), Pathfinder Beta, SimpleQuest and many others so I think 2008 turned out to be the year of playing, and in fact it was great fun with great friends!

Next year.. or in a few days.. my 2009 plans!

.

02 Nov

10 Films to Annoy Geeks and Full Frontal Nerdity

I liked this run down of films likely to annoy the geeks amongst us:

10 Films to Annoy Geeks

I also loved this loving tribute to the gaming geeks amongst us:

Full Frontal Nerdity

Whilst I hate to reduce my chances of winning (I have actually won some VNUnet comps) I’d also love a friend to win a Samsung netbook with a 120GB SSD:

VNU net Samsung Flybook Competition

So, less of a blog and more of a list of links, but hey, somedays that’s all you need.

Now I have to complete a Talislanta adventure and I have 3 hours to stat up a Drakken tomb..

“Fly my monkeys.. Fly!”