Monday, 31 October 2016

Happy Ravenloft

How fitting and respects to GM Warren as he begins his DnD5e game. I had reported, entirely falsely, that he was reopening his Neverwinter realm but in pointy and fact he has begun a Ravenloft adventure for the Halloween season. Despite entering many of the DnD worlds, I have never played in a Ravenloft and ironically as the opportunity presents itself now, it seems I am poised to warp off to the Star Trek playtest. Though now I come to mention it I don't see why we couldn't have some sort of mash up - have there been any Star Trek episodes with vampires in ? I am struggling to recall all of the 726 episodes but I think it would be a master stroke to have a dead character as part of the new crew for the forthcoming series. When I say dead, I don't mean a specifically farcical lifeless corpse that keeps being put in the right place at the right time to save the day and work its way up to captain, I mean a bona fide entity that needs a corpse to inhabit - just imagine exploring the human condition as it relates to its mortality - you only have to look at the Egyptian obsession with death cults to see how an entire civilisation can be shaped or perhaps the dark Afro American backdrop of the Voodoo culture. 

Oddly enough I have commented on more than one occasion regarding GM Warren's night shift patterns and can't actually say I have seen him in full sunlight, though during the lighter months we have casually chatted in the shadows. Either way, I am not one to judge but there remains much unspoken in our weekly meetings and he has received the due title of Daywalker.

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Modiphius mortality

Whilst Star Trek has always been formative across the generations and a popular diversion from parody to philosophy, there hasn't really been an opportunity to froth about it properly on this blog. There were some brief conversations last week at the club as to how certain things will be handled mechanically together with the overarching backgrounds to the various series. Much can only be learnt when we literally roll out the play test but, understandably, one of the first questions on a role players mind when approaching new systems and creating characters is how easy is it to die ?

These issues are prevalent in the Star Trek universe.

Whilst I can understand that in a horror game this is a more pressing issue, it often comes down to tentacles, teeth or claws. Basically a character may not see a vampire coming but a player would not necessarily be surprised to face a grisly death. But at the frontier of space exploration, alien cultures and creatures one would have no idea whether a small purple cube is in fact an air freshener or weapon of mass destruction or indeed both. Pile on top of this that certain cultures may insist on killing several ambassadors as a mark of respect before establishing trade relations, one can see the importance of a non expendable communications officer.

Further piling on top of this is another layer of sleek, stylish and occasionally reliable Starfleet ships systems - Starships are inherently dangerous places particularly with their notorious exploding consoles, transporter glitches, leaking plasma conduits and eminently bypassable security systems. Its a wonder we ever left the planet, but tracing Starfleet Engineering Core's history back to the days of Cochrain banging on a warp core with a spanner in one hand and beer bottle in the other, things start to make a little more sense.

So in the 24th century it would still seem prudent to cross ones fingers when flushing the turbo toilet.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Winter is still coming

The darkening of days and the chafing bone chiling winds are calling adventurers forth for their next realm as we have completed the rituals required to announce the next set of games..

GM Warren has declared a seasonal DnD 5e and will enter the land of Neverwinter once more. A solid favorite and stalwart system now, the 5e always get enthusiastic players so book your space when you can.

In a boldly contrast, GM John will be running a pre release test of the Modiphius implementation of the Star Trek universe. This does interest me - one of the many nice things about an RPG club is that someone is always looking at something new and opportunities for play testing and community feedback are a real chance to engage. See what I did there? Though I think Jon's environment will be pre Next Gen, though there could be time travel...or space gods...or green women. I have to say there is an overwhelming urge to roll up several redshirt security guards for the adventure and work my way through them but I feel that this would not be helpful even tho an Alpha Red security clearance would definitely be more appropriate in the original series.

The StarTrek play test release is due at the beginning of November according to the planetary database,, this means that we will get a couple of weeks of a something. People bring all sorts of weird and wonderful stuff from the dark and amusing corners of the internet but I will bring along a short Chill to span Halloween if it appeals. Whilst many gamers hold great opinions and passions over their mechanics, I am more of a fan of keeping things simple, which means I am often drawn to the 2nd Ed Star Wars where virtually everything is resolved on one D6 table and also I like percentile systems such as Cthulu, MERP and indeed Chill. Straight percentages are just so easy to map to events in general although Chill does divide them into Low, Medium, High and Colossal depending on how close you roll to the upper and lower bounds of your skill score - so if you have a target roll at 60 and roll a check of 05 (low being good), its a colossal roll as its in the top 10% of the target number. This can generate a few fractions but are basically ignored..

So we shall see where the runes fall for the forthcoming characters in their various games and whether they will make it to Christmas.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

The Walking Disney

In true faffing style we have managed to stretch out the games for another week which buys us valuable time to carry out our quarterly bloodletting rituals and sacrificial ceremonies with regard to the next set of adventures. 

In a previous Strike post I had documented concern as to  how on earth we were going to take out a Genie. Despite all the experience and intelligence of a small determined group of role players its really took about an hour of arguing before a possible situation presented itself. It would appear that in this timeline of wartime London and entire fantasy realm has been created simply for the amusement of our absconded super villain, Aladdin.

Where there should be a hardened Capital city during the Blitz, there are mountains, lagoons and flying pirate ships. More accurately it seems that evil Aladdin is a roaring fan of the Peter Pan franchise. Presumably after discovering his own immortilisation by the Disney corporation he has come across all manner of entertainments and the scenario we are presented was a battle between Hook and Pan himself, with Tinkerbell in the mix.

Somewhat taken off guard on how to proceed we waited until the skirmish was over with a view to taking over Hooks ship, giving us at least a distraction if not a solution to defeating the Genie. Of course it is the case that we don't actually need to defeat the Genie as such, we just need to separate it from Aladdin whilst we lever him against us capturing his girlfriend, Princess Jasmine - or constructive, socially aware, eco-friendly kidnapping as I would like to refer to it.

Fortunately, after the battle, Hook took his ship across London to raid for supplies, where we were waiting in a local shop for his minions to appear. Having subdued them and subsumed their identities we returned to Hooks ship with zombie pirates in tow, with the aim of dominating the rest of the crew in turn. Despite however making colossally crap rolls of a 1 and a 2 on my D6, we did worm our way out of being keeled hauled by promising to help Hook capture the Pan (Tho being keel hauled on a flying ship perhaps isn't that bad)! Blinded by his revenge and somewhat shallow incarnation, he has avidly agreed to take us on board so to speak, whereupon we can slowly convert the lovable rogues of the Jolly Roger into the grotesque and murderous brigands of the Flying Dutchmen - Peter Pan meets Pirates of the Caribbean. I for one are looking forward to a tiny undead Tinkerbell.

Unfortunately I cant stop to think about this scenario too much otherwise I will freak out but for now we are committed to cartoon carnage and turning the Disney romp into more of a Minecraft hack and slash. Well at least its a plan.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Off Road

Its always a bitter sweet moment as a game draws to a close and also a slightly paranoid one as well. Both GMs indicate that their games have about a session left, but it is often the case that players can have a very different opinion about this, so do watch this space.

Whether its not wanting to let go of a character that you feel you are just getting to know or just not wanting to leave things undone, there can be a sense of players just not stopping. I wouldn't necessarily say that this is character momentum as it can equally be a result of disorganization, fumbles in game or the sheer obsession of a party's mindset. Basically straying from the path is technically a separate adventure in and of itself and more often in GMing I see the glazed look of a crazy idea solidify across a players face and transform into rational determination and he shoots off into the distance in search of experience points.

Whilst we joke about this sort of thing in the Roleplaying community all the time this would make a good Derren Brown episode. The extent to which someone can convince them self can be enormous bordering even on hypnotic; arguing is one thing but once an internal psychological battle has been won then there is no reserve and beyond this it is only at the stage of being surrounded by dead bodies that one stops to ask 'so how did this happen...'. Its one thing to bring yourself down a peg or two but another to explain that to the local law enforcement. Excepting of course those that thrive on genocide which is always a bit worrying when we catch up on some other peoples gaming news over the past week....

Anyway, despite the club game cycles being relatively short at about 2 to 3 months, longer campaigns can simply be chopped into chapters which is more satisfying I think. We have some long standing campaigns that are still open such as GM Julian's excellent Warhammer Fantasy and Gm Bill's Game of Ice and Fire where we are forever upgrading our Homestead duck by duck to eventually overthrow Kings Landing. I fully expect this to be the Finale of the TV show.