Tuesday, 27 September 2016

I remember Talisman....

Given that last week GM Jack was on holiday, our Gary brought in his copy of Talisman. Now it seems that when you ask a lot of role players about Talisman, you often get a distant look in their eyes and the response, '...I remember Talisman', like trying to recall where you left your car keys in 1985.

Its an odd one as tho there have been several versions it just seems to evoke exactly the same heartwarming experience as an old Mr Kipling Apple Pie advert; the board looks to me like it's never changed.

The game comprises several character classes with Strength (attack), craft (magic points) and life (life) tho with a varying alignment. The board comprises 3 realms to negotiate to achieve the Crown of Command in the center of the action. What I really like are the massive stack of items, followers and enemies which become trophies if you kill them. It generates a huge space of possible circumstances for a player and also, as the game goes on, more resources are gained and more stats can be raised - a sort of levelling up. Notwithstanding of course that one can also lose what one gains and if characters land on the same square they do have the option to attack each other.

There are shady and welcoming places on the map which appeal to various character demeanors and also just generally dangerous caves, crags and graveyards where monsters can lurk. Once an adversary is exposed in a place it will stay there until slain and its body claimed as a trophy, so the realm slowly populates with creatures and items as the game progresses.

For our session, Gary's character got killed off quite quickly so he went from a Dwarf fighter to an Assassin. My humble Monk made steady progress but whet up to a more dangerous realm before he was ready and died off (though he was weak mainly thanks to Fade attacking me with his Ghoul on several occasions). The Ghoul in question just generally fared badly as Ghouls do but it was Nick's Priestess that was the actual winner who made it as far as the third realm with all his finesse and heavily upgraded character. Though I would credit Fade as the spiritual winner playing his Ghoul in fantastic style just wandering to and from the graveyard - occasionally into the Chapel where he would burn in the light but did so anyway just to scare the nuns. When he wasn't in his graveyard, freaking out the clergy or biting other players he was being ignored in the village.

All told after a couple of hours hilarity it really felt like we had an adventure rather than a game but despite the occasional snakes and ladders issues of getting knocked back randomly it was wonderful to play it again. I daresay I'll pick it up again in another 30 years.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Old Lamps for New

What is the most powerful adversary one can imagine? One could roll out a number of super villains perhaps, or indeed alien lifeforms bent on domination, xenocide or simply an instinct to kill, There are sinister and subtle nemeses in the form of irradiated particles, bacteria of the like that rescued us from 19th century martians or the humble virus; corporate, as engineered by Umbrella, or natural, in the case of the planet simply wanting to wipe the slate clean and start again.

One could be more straightforward such as a natural disaster from great floods to a hail of meteorites, but then again we have Bruce WIllis. We could be set upon by vampires, tough we have  sunlight and in the case of Werewolves we have silver. With regard to aliens we have Captain Picard and in the case of viral dangers we have Milla Jovovich.

There are the inherent flaws such as man's appetite for self destruction, loathing, control and bad hygiene but in order for evil to exist within us there must also be good and where there is body odour there are deodorants.

The point is that the more I think about it the more these are all straw men - each opponent or dilemma comes neatly prepacked with its retrospective antidote. One could even make an argument for cliche in the human struggle.

No, it has struck me that ineptitude should have been the eighth deadly sin. The option that the world would end with a whimper or possibly even an apology. The real dangers are the Homer Simpsons of the world and of course and there is a little Homer Simpson in all of us - he has no adversary, constraint or education and he is thoroughly likable. No one fears him and so he is expediently allowed to press important buttons at random.

I theorize that our game of  Strike could be approaching such a moment - we will soon be up against a Genie; or in other words a voice controlled interface of stupendous and indifferent power. Whether it will be us or someone else wishing for something, I don't think it matters, there is a distinct possibility of wiping out all reality in a fit of bad grammar.

At present we are fighting mutant Gorillas attacking the Great Wall of China in its medieval hay day. More precisely an escaped chemist/shaman is devolving people into a vast hairy army to conquer ancient China and to prove this theory via the proper scientific method our dear Nick has been dipping spiders into Gorilla serum, producing some form of grotesque, godforsaken Spiderape,

Never give a curious player random potions.

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Earthdawn Sundays

Whilst the club meets on a Thursday provide a wonderful nexus for RPG cross chat and an excellent chance to try new games, with a relatively speaking high turn over, the evening is basically quite short providing a typical session of between two to two and a half hours of role playing. Added to this that transportation volatility and the general bustle of weekday life can mean further variation in play. Also, despite the weird and wonderful yesteryear environment of a Victorian converted 70s style social club, it can be a somewhat alien experience for newcomers. All things being equal though there is free space for games, cheap beer for those that seek it and a jukebox installed with a Genuine People Personality chip from the Sirius Cybernetics corporation.

So in an almost Zen like counterbalance GM Warren has installed a monthly/ whenever anyone can make it session at the local Dice Saloon RPG centre. The advantage of this is a proper session for a few hours that you can get your teeth into in a dedicated and decorated environment without weekday stress and the need to get pissed. I am very pleased to see that the Dice Saloon is still around given a very difficult market but that the gaming spaces available for rent do potentially give us another home from home with coffee reasonably priced as I understand it. It will be interesting to see how this evolves.

Anyways, at the moment an Earthdawn scenario has begun. I do have an old Earthdawn book kicking around and remember finding the spell system quite complex given the use of matrixes (which I guess is the proper plural form in magical circles), but never actually had a go. The game has begun in an underground citadel, or kaer, during a time of plague that is afflicting some of the Elves as well as a string of inexplicable suicides, Whilst the malady seems to be incurable its origins are mysterious - a previous  kaer expedition looking into this having since failed to return. It seems our party have had more luck if you can call it that by way of coming across some poisonous mutated plants and other vile creatures. Just a matter of connecting the dots whilst not being flayed alive I suspect.

Good luck to the I say and I hope to pop in for a session. In the usual Thursday slots, the Strike continues with a battle at Strike HQ and the Numenera is ongoing with no reported fatalities as yet.

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Time Bandits

The Strike continues in Time Bandits, chandelier swinging, roller coaster style as we are now back at the start of the Roman Empire wrestling with a wrestling problem. We have to re-capture two temporal inmates, super villains in actual fact, who are virtually indestructible fighters. To further their ambition they have installed themselves ego maniacally as a daily act in the Colosseum and making a fair amount of coin in the process. It is interesting to note that given all the knowledge and power they have regarding the future they still succumb to their vanities rather then lever their potentially devastating control over events. I would suppose its hard to change even when you are presented with the world at its feet.

Nevertheless, these jokers are such showmen they have been beating all the gladiators to near death and are running out of people to fight, Or should I say, living people to fight. True to my roots I have gained access to the gladiators infirmary as the resident doctor and are now duly 'tending' to them in my usual necromantic way, thus providing us with suitable actors for, hopefully, the grand finale.

So how to capture ego maniacs ? Well the answer is always give them enough rope. As this is the Roman era, everyone knows the  great classic Helen of Troy so we are building a wooden horse for our wrestlers to burst out of and fight off all the Trojans and win her back. Thing is, when they get into the horse, we will have a timely portal arranged for them and they will be simply stepping back into captivity. Surely they will realize where they are as soon as they step into the horse and out into Strike Headquarters ? Well, of course the answer is to build another horse at the other end of time into which they will fall ! This should buy us the opportunity to close them off and collect our well deserved cake.

This being one of the most ridiculous plans I have ever been involved with in my entire life I am convinced it will be a complete success.

On a more drunken note, whilst wandering home afterclub, we came up with another Dragons Den winner - Asterix the Ghoul - a sleepy cemetery in France where long dead heroes just want to be left in peace. But due to those pesky Romans, Asterix, Obelisk and their dead friends, Cacafonix the Banshee, Necrofix the ReAnimist and their faithful hound Deadmatix all go on countless fun adventures keeping them at bay. 

I don't remember much after that, probably for the best.