Tuesday, 12 June 2018

The Inquisition

Everyone has a breaking point. This is a principal that has driven both sides of the intelligence war for thousands of years from spies to their inquisitors. Latter day politicians continue to sell waterboarding as an interview technique and purgatory on Earth comes in the form of eternal detention where guests somehow never quite qualify for the full and fair trial of civilised society. Don't get me wrong though, this isn't a political tirade nor is it moral ambiguity. Torture works. Indeed it is considered an art by those who you never want to meet and whilst I have a soft spot for psychopaths, we do not sadly have one to hand in the Part Time Gods.

We have been trying to crack a murder case and for better or worse we have captured a suspect along with a sympathiser. When I say suspect I refer to someone manifesting divine powers he shouldn't have whilst trying to kill me in person. This has naturally led to little room for doubt. Sadly my character is not the brightest blue collar worker to grace the sewers of New York so after a couple of weeks of punching people in the face, it's beginning to look like a case of faked identity as our guests really don't seem to know what is going on. Things will not go well but when a killer can appear to be anyone who then can you trust and how can you trust what you see ?

But to be fair, it all comes back to the principals of spycraft; never tell people more than they need to know and if possible, recruit agents without them knowing. Deception is also an art.

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

The Stream of many Eyes

A significant shift in tectonics has occurred this week with respect to this years Wizard's of the Coast live twitch "Stream of many eyes" broadcast over the last weekend. Its an important annual event for WotC in terms of engagement and being spread over three days it was also a chance for the designers to sit down in roleplay sessions with some of the internet's more ubiquitous GMs and players from Critical Role.

There is also a sort of implicit keynote during the intimate fireside chats with the brand director Nathan Stewart, as well as some more formal round tables with the D&D architects from the company as a whole but also a healthy dose of cheese as WotC actually built a complete studio in the Waterdeep theme to showcase some of their community initiatives.

The big news though is that "Next month we're going to talk about a couple of different settings that people can start playing as early as this year,". The implication for new world settings is profound in that it could be finally the time we see re-released and updated source books for some of the most loved D&D titles. It may be that only some of the old worlds will be brought back but we are waiting with baited breath for any of the following 5E content: Greyhawk, Forgotten Realms, Darksun, Dragonlance, Planescape

So keep your many eyes peeled.

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Very Strange Indeed

Interdimensional heroes tend to come and go over the years but its worth mentally noting in the background where they actually appear from and where do they disappear off to next ? It's a narrative that underpins all sorts of adventures and characters such as Quantum Leap, The Matrix, Sapphire and Steel, Dr Manhattan, Rick and Morty and Mr Benn to name but a few.

It is a brave GM that stretches themselves across several universes but providing that the detailing is in order than a party can be afforded some scope to follow their whims. Bearing in mind that some environments are a life's work, Tolkeinesque commitment isn't necessarily required to deliver an immersive experience; just make sure your party are kept busy. But sometimes you can get away with sheer shock value, at least for a while and GM Alexi has initiated his first dimensional jump of The Strange into Tellytubby land. This shocked me and I'm not even playing in it.

The sheer impact of the reality does start to give way to logistics as of course Tubby language is very primitive but I understand from the players that more complex communications can be achieved using ones built in monitor. Given of course that the entire universe consists of a small green hill, I trust their dilamma will be short lived. Where they will jump to next will be anyone's guess, though if I were to guess....

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Slings and Arrows of Outrageous fortune

Not entirely inappropriate for a Star Trek rpg, we are indeed quoting Shakespeare now. However I actually refer to last weeks Exalted antics and it was a relief to have back at it after our GM returned from his holiday to put another chapter of the adventure on the table. The quandary of last session was to devise a plan to steal some rare and magical tree petals from the walled and patrolled garden of an influential town chief.

Planning is usually an excruciating and mostly irrelevant pastime in role playing but whether it was by the alignment of the planets or just that no one felt like arguing the toss we concocted an elaborate plan off the bat which comprised shooting at some branches from the other side of the wall and collecting the shavings downstream from a small brook running through the property. A sort or covert remote tactical topiary siege. All that would be needed for the house guard was a small distraction which I was very happy to provide by way of a conga involving as many bar flies as possible.

Problem is that how do you prune a tree from a hundred feet away. Well oddly enough, swiss army arrows have been around for centuries for all sorts of tasks from fire cage heads to rope cutters and as much as I try not to learn new things it was quite interesting to discover what our ancients did with their bow skills. History aside we did appear to be completely successful but the amount of personal mana I had to use in order to manipulate several guards and a long line of drunk people did mean I finished the session with the glowing head of a powerful deity...oh well, perhaps no one will notice..

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Balance and Bloopers

Actually I sit slightly corrected as the Warhammer did have an extra wind up session last week. Not sure what GM Max does to wind up his players but I would say its fair enough after a few months arguing over whether anyone brought the rope or not. For more modern media it would also be appropriate to have a blooper reel I think or even director's commentary at the end of the show but I am unsure as how you would recap all of your fumbles after a game is over; perhaps rerunning a scene with just a D1. This week should now see the start of The Strange from GM Alexi.

We have had some new blood in briefly and big credit has to go to GM Jon for squeezing in the guest players at the absolute last minute but the Star Trek does afford the opportunity to beam in a redshirt at any given moment. I know that two weeks ago Vic triumphantly sacrificed his security character in true Trek style, and last week I very much suspect Dave had a similar dilemma, tho I haven't yet caught up with the rest of the crew for that particular log entry. I am sure I will hear all about it.

Part Time Gods and the Exalted are somewhat sporadic at the moment due to real life issues; as fun as they are when they can be run, there was always going to be the eternal problem with running games alternatively and as much as we have tried to include GMs who express enjoyment in running certain projects, they have, at the end of the day got to be there. Not for want of trying though, I think we can close on the idea in future really as I think we can say we have thoroughly experimented with sharing GM slots and it doesn't work. We will see what happens this week but as always 'if we run it they will come..'

Tuesday, 8 May 2018


Last week saw the Dramatic conclusion of GM Max Warhammer adventure and whilst there may well be more chapters to come, everyone left on a high at the end of the evening. When I say high, I got the impression that it was a bit of a bloodthirsty buzz. Before the session began, I did think the players were a little presumptuous as they were beginning to discuss possible rewards at the end of the session; one I think wanted a Griffin for some reason.. perhaps for laying eggs for breakfast.. whilst it never a bad thing to be ambitious it can also be embarrassing to decide who gets the bad guys magic items particularly whilst he is standing in front of you still wearing them. Basically, rule 243, don't count your Griffins before they hatch.

As the games are all slightly out of sync GM Alexi has offered to run something Strange in the meantime. When I say Strange I think I mean Strange. Not a game I know even after having a beard for many years but it sounds fascinating. From what I could tell its set in a number of parallel universes that diverge more and more as you hop from one to the next; the farther you jump from your original universe then the more difficult it gets to find your way back. In this RPG though your narrative changes with you as inter dimensional jumping does mean you begin to take on the aspects of your new world in terms of your environment but you may of course inherit a different past as well. Sounds like a classic case of multidimensional schizophrenia to me.

GM Jon's Star Trek is about half way through at present so perhaps best described as a classic double episode and the Exalted and Part Time Gods have still a ways to go yet in both of their murder mysteries, but we do now have a suspect for the PTG as people who use spreadsheets shouldn't be able to immolate and teleport. Despite my best as a Rat Catcher, it seems our prey is somewhat more devious... fly paper is not what it used to be I can tell you that.

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Sea Quest


So we are a Brighton based club and whilst we inhabit many universes its important to keep it real regarding fish and chips and bank holidays by the sea; apologies if that comes across as too alt right but you are always welcome to jump into a portable hole if you need a safe space.

Interestingly I don't ever recall playing an adventure set underwater and it doesn't particularly seem like a popular choice for GMs. For my own part, I also feel that its not something I would be  interested in doing either; I wonder if its something hidden deep in our genetics akin to a fear of spiders and snakes. I suppose there are significantly more logistics involved in things getting wet tho and to while away the hours arguing over damp waybread doesn't make for the most exciting interactions. I don't suppose the latest incarnation of Aquaman helps much either.

It may be that the days of the Victorian lido and bracing undercliff walks are behind us but the great promenades and seafront arches of Brighton still come alive over the warmer months and something is stirring down there.

Seems that there may be another gaming venue opening its doors as I have heard from a friend of a friend who knows someone who went for a coffee who encountered a roleplaying party. I suspect that along the lines of a coffee shop plus experience the ambience does lean towards the board gamer if the shelves in the pictures are anything to go by. 

So welcome to C:\Side Quest

Barely a stone giants throw away from the pier - do pop in if you are out looking for adventure.

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Battle Potatoes

I have not yet tried my luck in the great Kickstarter lottery but a bit like a 21st Centuary Bagpuss,  I do gleefully paw over curiosities that fellow club mates acquire on their clicky travels. Of late, Nick has been sporting a range heavier and heavier dice and whilst there is definitely quality in good workmanship I am concerned that eventually he would need a small civilization to help roll his latest D10 finely cut from a small neutron star. Still, role playing is a very sociable pastime I suppose.

Sadly the only Kickstarter that really had me excited has just gone on pause; its not gone though so there is yet hope but clearly the creators want to do a proper job and are biding their time... I therefore am still potentially very excited to present to you, 

Kartoffle Krieg : Potato Wars

"There are two types of potato in this world - those who peel and those who mash"

Along the lines of a tabletop war gaming, each general is given a number of potatoes together with a choice of armaments and ordinance. After constructing what you consider the most fearsome tuber albeit it a maris sniper or slow but deadly King Edward, you engage on your agreed terrain with all the usual stats and mechanics for resolving table top battle.

Basically you have to watch the Video whilst its still available to get the full effect I think, but what I particularly like is that there are also options for the larp crowd as summer approaches; what better way to enjoy the forest and really be one with nature ? 

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Prison Break

Finally being able to speak to people without inflicting 1D8 acid damage on them meant I had the pleasure of catching up with everyone at the club last week and it seems like the games have been busily rolling along. 

I had reports from the Warhammer that the entire party had somehow ended up in jail. I didn't particularly push as to why as in my experience criminals are usually full of angry, bitter recriminations and I would probably have to take each of the players aside to make a formal statement in order to piece together the bigger picture. Besides, I wouldn't want anyone to stop talking to each other on my account. Either way without having to avoid an awkward conversation, I was told that they had cleverly broken themselves out but sadly had immediately got themselves re-incarcerated again. This would make for a very short Prison Break series but of course the game is not over yet and will fill in the blog when I know more.

Boldly over to the Star Trek, it seems that Klingons are particularly strict when it comes to data protection policy. From what I understand, one of the Starfleet officers had beamed aboard an enemy ship in order to download data from the ship's log. In accordance with Imperial Data Protection Orders, the diary was in fact tied to the ships self destruct mechanism. Complications being what they are it seems that the bridge section did manage to eject itself before the rest of the hull detonated. Single handedly taking out a Klingon ship would be worth a lot of experience points I would imagine but not sure if it counts unless that was your original objective..

Finally in the Part Time Gods, we are beginning to be pawns in a larger game as it seems that a ruthless killer is pulling strings to get some of us together with other pantheon members presumably in order to kill two birds with one stone. My rat catcher smells a trap as I am alone with another hapless part time god after receiving an anonymous call out to an office block. However there is a very suspicious cleaning lady doing cleaning things so unless its a double buff, she is going to get taken out first along with her super mops if things get dirty...

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Dark Matters

Whilst I am still declaring myself quarantined due to feeling like I have been French kissing Darth Vader for a month, my mind has been freed to wander the cosmos and as a result I can now confirm that we have made significant inroads to solving the Dark Matter issue that has been plaguing physicists for many years. For those who aren't doing VHT Physics (Very Heavy Things), a significant amount of the matter in the Universe is in fact missing, though its effects can be explicitly observed. Apparently the experts have been looking everywhere, including Ebay and the Dark Web, but to no avail.

Drawing inspiration from our current Star Trek game, role players gain a unique insight into such problems of course and it was clear to us in an instant that there is an avenue to the Fermi paradox that would explain both the lack of extraterrestrial communications as well as accounting for suspiciously absent things, namely, Cloaking Devices. If you consider large fleets of warships all pumping out energy, ie mass, to keep their cloaks running then already you can envisage a warlike species mass manufacturing such ships that would be all but invisible except to indirect measurements. And whilst I hear you all trolling that even vast fleets of Klingon ships could never account for most of the missing matter in the Universe, I would direct your attention to the fact that Romulan ships also have cloaking technology and that said ships are in fact powered black holes. QED.

Klingons are real of course, but there are also rules that govern hiding away large amounts of stuff in fantasy games - for example putting a bag of holding into another bag of holding is something that should always be encouraged if you are not actually participating in a game - combining extra dimensional spaces is both fun and rewarding..

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Lich phones

So I was drunk and talking to a role player this week, or possibly I was drunk and I was talking to someone who I thought was a role player.. or I suppose its also possible I was drunk and there was no one there at all. But more importantly there was definitely a conversation involving at least one person with the possibility of additional non-corporeal entities of some kind in attendance on the subject of green wearable technologies. This may not have been a coincidence in so far as there may be a number of individuals who have "crossed over" with a particular interest in the subject.

Like most people, I have been an avid fan of the wind up radio and there are also a number of finely crafted kinetic watches on the market now. The technological age continues to augment our already unbelievably happy lives by also offering us the possibility of devices that operate using nothing less than our own electrically generated current. A bit like a potato light bulb I suppose; certainly in the case of some people I know.

Now, kinetic energy is one thing, and I don't have any problem in principal generating lots of short fast movements whilst making the kettle boil for a cup of tea, though I might struggle to make one for a friend at the same time, I would heartily make the effort. But where exactly is my electricity coming from..? If there is anything in the world like life force, then surely this would be it. Given then that I could be attached to several brand named products happily feeding on my life energy at any one time, what exactly happens when my life force drops below zero ? and by how much ? Are we talking feeling like a zombie for a day ? Or are we in Lich territory here?

As a species we do need to keep on top of all of these methods of extinction and I fear that I have come upon yet another but for now just make sure you wrap yourself in insulation before going to bed to ensure a good nights recharging.

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Food for thought

As I have been I'll with the phage over the last couple of weeks I have been left with no other choice but to let my mind wander on the subject of role playing. Never takes long to raise an eyebrow tho, Vulcans not withstanding, as I have come across a new initiative, possibly quite literally.

Seems that munchies at the tabletop are now entering a new dimension as a German pastry cosplayer by the name of Sonja has made an entree into the market by producing a full range of sugar based edible dice. Now I can see some issue there to be fair as we do consume a fair number of Onion Rings of an evening but I admire the business model of allowing customers to eat their tools as it should provide a fairly constant income stream. Not sure if it would be wise to extend the approach to character miniatures, terrain relief or edible paper but a particularly tasty enemy would struggle on the Darwinian scale.

If however you are more of a chocaholic rather than a sugar addict then sadly I have to tell you that the indegogo "Candlyize your game" only manged to hit %2 of its funding goal. Whilst I understand the candy  market is very competitive, I suspect that the market for lovingly crafted chocolate polyhedrons is actually quite a small one, but one has to admire their excellent video.

"For warriors that know the bitter taste of defeat"

Perhaps on a more seasonal note, something along the lines of Bunnies vs Face Huggers is more to your taste. Anyways, Happy Easter.

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Mirror Universe

It was my pleasure to pop down and see everyone at the Craft Beer RPG club last Monday. Much as on other occasions its always nice to chat with familiar strangers and swap mutually embarrassing stories. This time round I had a brief catch up with Simon Appleton who continues to support the scene and who was also promoting his Larp event in Pulborough scheduled for the summer. We were also frothing about the latest version of Paranoia (25th Anniversary Edition), though I hadn't realised it went from 2nd edition to 5th edition in honour of its own dysfunctional narrative and I also didn't realise that Microsoft requested the creators to change the name of the ParanoiaXP series. Luckily Microsoft is our friend and we can trust them.

The Meetup was well attended overall with several GMs touting their wares; my favourite being a "Honey Heist" one page rpg one shot where you play one of several bears on a mission to steal the aforementioned honey. There are of course two stats: Bear and Criminal.

There were also a few D&D games getting their share of attention and by the end of the evening everyone had someone to talk to. As a predominantly virtual organisation I never know quite what to make of the club as there is no particular indicator as to the overall number of games or players, but the semi regular meetings do seem to keep topping up interest on the back of lively scene; its a sort of mirror universe to our venue I feel. Nevertheless I represented the Railway Club admirably and made everyone aware that they would always be welcomed with frozen lasagne and a very friendly punch in the face.