Thursday, 25 December 2014

Happy Roleplaying!

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

A Good 'Ole Book Burning

I get the impression that our 13thAge game is starting its end soon, partially because we are getting beaten up within an inch of our lives but GM Jack is also asking us some tell tale questions. I have enjoyed playing a Paladin enormously and am now just trying to squeeze a few more things onto his bucket list before I have to put him down for a bit. To be honest, despite the fact I think the GM has occasionally felt a little bad about the beatings we have been getting, I have no complaints, particularly as we are still only 1st level characters. Oddly enough it really doesn't seem that way; I have 48 hit points, some magic items as well as some spells. The point is that I try not to get too attached to characters in general and particularly not low level ones; the occasional demise does keep a healthy respect for a game. Anyway, having exposed some undead trafficking in a crypt by an as yet unapprehended cultist, we took a brief break by burning some of his books we found.
The grounds of this particular Cathedral are somewhat of a Hyde Park corner, or religious shop window for recruitment for all of the major religions in town. A veritable extremist shouting match, but nothing raises interest levels more than a good old book burning. The extent to which burning knowledge for the Greater Good is concerned is a fun topic - not sure whether you can call it specifically censorship as opposed to aggressive editing but where there is right there is wrong and is an ignorant lawful citizen better than an educated neutral one ? I feel a Judge Dredd ethics approach coming on... I am a little curious if my character would extend this to burning witches and the like - I wouldn't want any creature to suffer for the sake of it but some heinous characters do need to be made an example of and people need to know where evil will inevitably lead. Sort of fighting fire with fire.
Book burning has a long and esteemed history but I am a little perturbed that the Wikipedia article doesn't cover book burning in a particularly good light so I might try an make a case; more so as there isn't an option to burn web pages.
I suppose we will find out where this will go in due course, but for now we believe our arch villain to be a member of the Lamp Lighters Guild. One of those invisible but ubiquitous professions suited to serial killers and leafleters. The bastards.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

The Great Dalmuti

Its on occasion when a GM can't make it for some reason that people pull out various weird and wonderful board and card games. A couple of weeks ago for example we played Zombie Fluxx and Love letter. Zombie Fluxx is a wonderful chaos where there are so many cards in play its madness just trying to work out what is going on and, just when you think you are about to win, they are all collected in and reset. I would suppose panic and chaos are essential ingredients in any Zombies apocalypse. Good fun but I won my first game without even realising it; like a lot of rule sets its a matter of getting to know the cards. Love letter, however, is a much faster paced game of deduction whilst trying to discard all of your cards - much more amenable to a round of drinks.
Nevertheless, my favourite by far is The Great Dalmuti, more so as you can actually roleplay if you have able bodied people who are prepared to be shouted at and scorned for being plebs. Basically its a game of social standing and everyone is arranged in a circle, playing a particular ranking character. We have a Great Dalmuti, a Lesser Dalmuti, various Merchants/middle men, a Greater Peon and, the lowest of the low, the Lesser Peon. The lesser Peon is responsible for collecting in the cards, re-dealing and general tidying up in as miserable a way as possible.
I prefer to add some spice and arrange the room appropriately. The nicest chair, usually a comfortable  office swivel one with arm rests is for the Great Dalmuti, the lesser Dalmuti gets perhaps a fixed chair without armrests, but very comfortable nonetheless, the merchants can have nice big pillows to sit on or optional bean bag if available, the Greater Peon, perhaps a folded bath towel and finally the Lesser Peon, nothing at all - or maybe a flannel if its Christmas. I also like to give the Great Dalmuti a seal of office such as an umbrella and/or hat; something to poke people with is fine.  Just like the Stanford Prison Experiment, given the right tools, its wonderful to watch the game roll.
The game is a bit like gin rummy, and there is a race to lose your cards each round to retain your standing. The first to lose their cards becomes the Great Dalmuti, the second the Lesser Dalmuti and so on. Unfortunately for the Peons, the deck is always a bit stacked against them as the Dalmutis tax them a couple of their best cards at the beginning of each round but there is sometimes the option of Revolution when the kings swap places with the beggars.
During play idle chat is fine, provided it goes through the proper channels. Everyone should be polite and reverential to the Dalmutis, though they should always ask permission from the Lesser Dalmuti before addressing the Greater Dalmuti directly, laugh at their Jokes and generally tell them how wonderful they are. Merchants can generally be agreeable and self affirming whilst people should talk down to the Peons and make sure that they are getting on with things. The Lesser Peon should always go through the Greater Peon before addressing anyone or be beaten/poked with an umbrella.
One for the family at Christmas if you don't mind not talking to them for a week....

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

The Illustrious history of Poultry

So, people are taking the **** a bit at the moment as I have just started to play Skyrim, hugely rated for its open world scenarios it nevertheless slips occasionally into ye olde artificial intelligence. My first encounter, perhaps like all first impressions, has shaped my destiny it seems. It was dark, snowing and I was trying to find refuge for the night when I stumbled across a small town - I would guess its the one nearest the initial spawn point. New to the game and with a slow computer, I was struggling a little but it was playable, so I staggered through the open gates looking for the Inn. The locals appeared benign enough in an automaton sort of way, when suddenly there was a sound next to me and I was set  upon out of nowhere. Panicking and turning around with my great axe in hand, and I think it was even a misclick, I naturally swiped out at what transpired to be a chicken (presumably on guard duty) deftly slaying it in an instant. It was at this point that every local in the vicinity drew their knives and dived onto me psychotically stabbing and slashing. Still not quite sure of what was going on I defended myself against these screaming fanatics until a small pile of dead bodies had the last word, including unfortunately, someone who I was supposed to talk to. Well, I decided to carry on with the game but have not since returned to the City of Holy Poultry, but honestly, if I accidentally killed someones Chicken in the real world I would not expect a national outcry.

So, I'm not sure what I learnt but it did bring back happy memories of other Chickens I have crossed on my gaming road. Notably the Dungeon Keeper chickens were some of the most amusing. Not actually a force for good or evil as such, buy you could possess them and immerse yourself in their gestalt- wandering around a dungeon and occasionally pecking at the ground - what better way to while away the hours.

Not really a role playing game at all but I cant resist reminiscing about my favorite teenage arcade game, Joust. Not chickens as such bit magnificent flying ostrich type war creatures with mounted jousting Knights, that when colliding, the player or npc with the lower lance would be dismounted. Survival depended on successfully jousting through each wave. Oh and if you flew too close to the lava at the bottom of the screen a molten hand would rise and try and grab your birds legs, dragging them into the fiery mire. Brilliant.

More on topic I am reminded of the Rolemaster War Turkey. There isn't enough room here to post the stats as its Rolemaster; not that one should be too concerned on the field of battle but I would suggest budding generals not underestimate them when deployed in force.

And finally the Cockatrice, not to be underestimated, whilst you are laughing at a dragon with a chickens head, you are in danger of staying that way as if you fail the petrification, you'll suddenly be made of stone. Not sure what would be worse - the feeling of your bones turning to masonry or the fading sound of clucking laughter as you pass away realizing that you've just won a Darwin award...