Thursday, 30 July 2015

A Mist Opportunity

The Achtung Cthulu has begun in absolutely classic style. Our group of average well to do sub continental jet setters were taking a usual Indian internal flight  from Bombay to Calcutta, where upon the plane was veiled in a strange and yet B movie like mist as our pilots lost their navigation. Instrumentation was curiously malfunctional as well as everyone's watches losing time during the affair. Our adventure had begun and in pre war air cabin luxury.
Through the mists strange red lights were apparent and also seemingly correcting any course deviation, they brought us down eventually into the vast mountain escarpments of the Himalayas.. or that is what we thought. Putting aside our surreal journey we have found ourselves in some sort of even more surreal Buddhist enclave, not just cut of from civilisation but, I suspect, cut off from reality entirely!
By reason of fate or design we have been asked by the Abbot to assist in challenging some less enlightened neighbours of theirs in another valley as it appears that, for reasons unknown, they have managed to acquire a transmission tower...and are in contact with ze NAZIS!!
Its all a bit overwhelming for everyone at the moment and my character is not sure where he is going to get the morning papers from but if the Nazis get a foothold in the Raj then it will be the end of business as we know it...

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

In space, no one can hear you scream

As you may have had already heard; new games started being run last week at our wonderful club.

My use of a semicolon was not unintentional as prior to Eclipse Phase starting, we had a very interesting discussion on the pluralisation of an octopus. Lines were drawn, alliances formed and backstabbing commenced between the camps of octopi, octopuses and octopodes. As no clear victor emerged from the rubble, we went on to roleplaying!

I must say, even though I picked a ready-made character, it still took me quite a while to copy everything onto a blank sheet. Fortunately, GM Rob was kind enough to explain some of the character aspects I wasn't sure about which is always helpful. I'm told that making a character from scratch for Eclipse Phase is highly time consuming.

The current session started off with us waking up in our spare bodies. If you're unfamiliar with Eclipse Phase, suffice to say it's a sci-fi setting where conciousness is downloadable so changing bodies is everyday business. Last thing we remembered was getting ourselves backed up before venturing out of our space station to check out some ghost space ship that happened to drift by. That was too weeks ago (how ominous!).

The rest of the session was spent on getting around and trying to stop our oxygen from leaking out as something was attempting to open up the station's external hatches. Some of the doors were also welded shut with junk. Ferocious cutting and chopping was had!

We managed to stabilise our situation and started to breathe without fear of running out of air when.. suddenly... a cliffhanger happened!

Something's coming for us...
and it's not existential angst...
that was sorely lacking...

Thursday, 23 July 2015

New Games for Old

After a week of email storms the electronic front is clearing and we have two games emerging for the next several weeks. Achtung Cthulu makes its second instalment of Shadows of Atlantis. GM Jon:
"Shadows of Atlantis is set during the early days of the war as the British intelligence community begins to become aware of the threat.
A pair of British spies embedded in Vienna in August 1939 became embroiled in the investigation of the death of a noted German archaeologist, gathering local allies along the way. An unearthed journal provided clues to the motivation for the murder and the identity of those responsible, along with information about valuable artefacts scattered across the world. It seemed likely this was all related, but the group fled Austria when war broke out.
They headed for Rome, as Italy was still neutral and the spies were hoping to find a pair of local agents who had gone missing. They found them in a slave labour gang working on an underground archaeological dig administered by the same organisation that was responsible for the professor's death. Following clues in the journal, they realised that their enemy was trying to locate one of the artefacts and they staged a raid to beat them to it. Things got very weird as they battled reptilian humanoids in the catacombs beneath the Eternal City, claiming an ornate shield with odd properties as their prize.
Returning with the shield to London, they were inducted into the fledgling Section M and sent to Egypt as part of a multi-pronged mission to seek the remainder of the artefacts. The group chased clues across Cairo, eventually enacting a local prophecy that saw them enter the Egyptian Underworld to battle Apep and recover the second artefact. It could have been a drug-induced dream, but they did come back with another odd object...
Meanwhile, another group of agents and innocent bystanders is en route by air from Calcutta to Delhi..."

In another world or universe entirely, GM Rob is bringing a game new to the club, Eclipse Phase. In his very own words:

Okay folks, if people want something a bit more sci-fi and transhumanist, I have the post-apocalyptic transhumanist horror game Eclipse Phase on offer. From Wikipedia:

"Eclipse Phase is a post-apocalyptic game of conspiracy and horror. The setting takes place after a World War III project to create artificial intelligence went rogue under the influence of an extraterrestrial entity known as the "Exsurgent" (best described as an organic computer virus with the capacity to infect both machines and animals with sapient qualities), resulting in the deaths of over 90% of the inhabitants of Earth.

Earth is subsequently abandoned, and existing colonies throughout the Solar System are expanded to accommodate the refugees. The setting explores a spectrum of socioeconomic systems in each of these colonies:
A capitalist/republican system continues in the Inner System (Mars, the Moon, and Mercury), under the Planetary Consortium, a corporate body which allows the election of representatives but whose shareholders are nominally most powerful.
An Extropian/Propertarian system is established in the Asteroid Belt.
A military oligarchy rules the moons around Jupiter.
An alliance of Scandinavia-style social democracy and Collectivist anarchism are dominant in the Outer System.

From there, the setting explores various scientific advances, extrapolated far into the future. Nanotechnology, terraforming, Zero-G living, upgrading animal sapience, and reputation systemsare all used as plot points and background.

With all of this, the game encourages players to confront existential threats like aliens, weapons of mass destruction, Exsurgent Virus outbreaks, and political unrest."

Players are "egos", pure consciousnesses of either humans, uplifted (non-humans given human-level intelligence) or AIs. Egos can be backed up, installed into new bodies (anything from human to projected light, including robotic bodies of all shapes and sizes, bodies of uplifts, even things like a swarm of centrally controlled insects similar to the future Yithians in Call of Cthulhu). Egos can also be forked, creating 2 sentient beings who are exactly the same up until the point of forking or remixed fork, altering aspects of the fork to create things like a barely sentient AI that mimics the original's behaviour or a combination of several original egos into one person.

It's uses a percentile based system with 00 on the dice actually representing 00 as opposed to 100. Criticals (either success or fail) are caused by rolling doubles (11, 22, 33, etc) on the dice.

The game is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License. The publishers encourage players and gamemasters to recreate, alter, and "remix" the material for non-commercial purposes.


Blimey. Well which universe sounds less dangerous then ?


Thursday, 16 July 2015


What happens at the end of the 13th Age ? One could presume that as with some movie franchises that they have a good thing going with, potentially unlimited sequels, but I was surprised that having played last time we didn't start a 14th Age. This may be a facetious point but on the up side it will mean that any 13th Age game will just continue to climax to an even better finale. In this vein our incumbent adventure is approaching its last instalment for the time being and sees the party in another Kobold infested situation. Will we ever find out who killed the Pharaoh ? Who is altering the rivers in Punt ? Who Will the first archaeologist ever find anything old to dig up ? All these questions and more will come to a fruition tonight.

Blades in the Dark is easier to round off at any point as its more of a chess game wilth knives. Whist the protagonists, organisations and entities continue to shift and vie for power in the player generated back plot, it is only occasionally interspersed with first hand player events. It is a game I shall miss as its a well balanced cross between a board and roleplaying game that offers play on two distance levels without ever having to roll a dice. I am not so well steeped in roleplay to know whether it is a unique approach but its an experience definitely worth having.

However, now is a good time to think about re/joining as we are about to rotate and reinvent games and there are plans a bubbling. In our Gnome driven steam and cog powered Yahoo system there are contenders emerging for the next adventurers. We are thinking of reincarnating a D&D5E back to Thursdays. Its generic appeal and profile fit well in a public facing club and often encourage the dedicated, though we also offer it on a Tuesday also. GM Jon has spoken of the continuation of his popular Achtung Cthulu and GM Rob has also been wafting a space adventure around.

We shall cast all our magical ingredients into a hat and see what sort of rabbit we can pull out of it....stay tuned folks..

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Reminiscing Retail Roleplaying

Coming up in club comms this week is the forthcoming opening of another Brighton Games retail experience - Games Saloon. The history of Gaming shops in Brighton is not an illustrious one. There is though the stalwart Games Workshop that has survived as long as I can remember. Not specifically a roleplaying shop, I do remember wandering in there many years ago when they did  used to stock Merp and ICE modules from my Lord of the Rings days but I haven't been inside for a looong while but like a small shrine on a winding road I should really pop in and light a candle.

I do remember Wargames Haven more recently, nice try but closed after 12 months in 2009 sadly - lots of space for table top but floor area in Brighton does come at a high price.

Dave's Comics in the North Lanes is another long serving outlet that has reinvented itself several times over the years. I did have the pleasure of meeting Dave himself on occasion and my other half used to run the shop from time to time when he wanted to pop out for a cup of tea. Sadly no longer with us his shop has gone from selling large bundles of rpg modules that Dave must have bought in wholesale second hand and now aims for the premium boxset market but if you have the money then always worth popping in. I do remember a Magic the Gathering section staffed by an incredibly knowledgeable wizard during its hayday.
Who remembers the Brighton Adventurers Guild store in the North Laines ? It was before the internet.... and before even the Adventurers Guild ?..Well we have to go back as far as the RPG section in the local Virgin Megastore.
So how will Dice Saloon fair ? Well hopefully in the digital age their business intelligence should really have made the decision as to viability but at the end of the day its community that matters so with sharp pencils and an escape for the imagination do pop in for a crumpet.



Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Never Trust an Old GM

So I have been away for a week an my own adventure that netted absolutely no gold or  experience points. I shall pause only to point out that I walked passed  a Warhammer shop in Helsinki. Specifically I didn't go in to see if it was actually war hammers they were selling as it was closed; the owner was absent presumably because his son had been captured by internet trolls.
So piecing the week's email evidence together it would seem that GM Bill has been having some fun with our 13th Age Party and life insurance may have to be cashed in. Quote:

"Life can be hard sometimes.
You're a big fierce Ankheg, you fear nothing.  You're enjoying a relaxing day, lurking in your burrow, when a whole row of meals arrive.  Juicy soft little creatures, no exoskeletons, you can just bite straight into them and eat to your heart's content.

That's how it was supposed to work.

But then somehow they turn out to have sharp bits, and weird explosions of fire and stuff, and before you know it you're losing legs left, right and centre and really not feeling king of the hill any more.

And then, to add insult to injury, the adventurers you barely scratched get themselves utterly mauled by a mere ochre jelly.

Given the options between fighting a rather ugly, giant insectoid or a yellow jelly, I can see how guards may have been let down here. I would suppose jelly is something you have to reward yourself with after a particularly trying day or something to indulge in at Christmas.
Just remember folks, wobbly, delicious deserts are no trifling matter and can have you for Christmas too !