Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Character Creation


So the mysts are clearing and we have a part time plan for our part time GMs and suitably enough one of them will be running the afore mentioned Part Time Gods alongside the Exalted. Last couple of weeks we have been preparing GM Andras's Exalted characters, and whilst this is on the more complex side of character generation it is achievable with a little help and a lot of patience, though I will need another week to read through all the skill definitions just to determine which ones I don't particularly want. It can be quite a barrier to a new players but sophisticated systems are not just completely arbitrary - one can sense the effort of the designers to make skill and attribute definition more lifelike. But at the end of the day I do feel its a bit of a labour of love rather than pragmatics as it all boils down to numbers however role playing does have its fair share of people passionate about such mechanics.

Having said this we did have enough down on paper to start off the adventure and jumped in as part of a travelling band of thespians. I think the professional phrase is an Entertainment Events Management Company. Fortunately we have happened upon an immensely wealthy patron who needs us for his imminent celebrations so we will be quids in for hamming it up as we put on a play and or concert. As much fun as it will be push the amateur dramatics for a session or two I very much suspect we will suddenly be in a murder mystery when someone doesn't actually get up after a stage dive. When you are having too much fun role playing its important to become extremely paranoid as a rendition of Meat Loaf's Bat out of Hell might mean exactly that.

Funnily enough I don't think I have ever played anything like a Bard, tho I have run a game with one in it. Generally speaking I get the impression across systems that they are more of a jack of all trades but in D&D they come with a specific lineage of course where in the 5e they join either the Colleges of Lore and Valour. Whilst they have their own class spells and abilities there is a nod to their heritage with access to a limited set of spells from other classes and bonuses to all their skill checks.

In other games, the Star Trek is now underway as is the Warhammer so I will be pressing the GMs as to when we will get the first mashup of Orcs on the starboard bow.

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Ping Pong Power Play

“It is always wise to look ahead, but difficult to look farther than you can see.” – Winston Churchill

So we are trying to settle the dust on our new set of games. Warhammer and Star Trek are now running and the third session is now looking like an Exalted, tho GM Andras can only offer this on a part time basis.

There will be some more conversations to be had about how to juggle this but whilst it's not ideal, the club did actually used to run a pattern with four games; each pair of games run every other week. I think this was a result of having too many GMs spread across too few players, but wasn't in theory a problem. We certainly saw a lot of systems but the issue was that if a GM missed a session then the corresponding gap would be potentially four weeks which not only made it difficult to remember what was gong on but it also doubled the duration of the games and made it difficult to roll over to new systems when the time came. But the logistics of running a large group informally entail a lot of compromises and its always nice to give a new GM a go.

Nevertheless, related to this, in geological timescales we are actually a growing club and whilst the Warhammer has packed in seven players, we are still comfortably three games but the first discussion has taken place regarding the logistics of a fourth game. This sounds very organised but basically entailed me leaning over the bar and demanding that the ping pong club surrender their table to us or feel the wrath of the dark side. However, I was shocked that my opening gambit was not perhaps the best approach and whilst I attained my ale I was firmly told that there is an active and fanatical ball sports community and that ping pong was definitely off the table. Seems that the pong enthusiasts are in fact allied to the snooker and pool faction...

This will require some more subtlety and leverage on my part but the road to the iron throne is not an easy one... I will need an undead army. And I don't mean painted miniatures.

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Plane Sailing

So, games are ending and we have a very busy and eagerly awaited Warhammer that GM Max has begun. Last week I walked in on some sort of clerical meeting with several people busily scribing character sheets with various large tomes scattered about sprouting post it notes akin to a nest of jostling birds at lunchtime. I though it prudent to take my overflowing beer to another table. This leaves remaining players to choose between GM Jon's Star Trek and GM Krzys's Part-Time Gods. 

Now we are hovering on the awkward three and a half games worth of players but as seven adventurers have climbed aboard Max's game it may just be enough to balance us out across the three in total, depending on the other GM requirements. But if one player sneezes in the Warhammer and flies off their seat and another lost soul should wander in then I have prepared a fourth game which may suddenly be needed.

To keep it interesting for myself I wanted to run a D&D to get some more GM hours under my belt following a few practice sessions I had last year. But which sceanrio ? Well, with a nod to a few pages in the new 5e and an ancient but pristine box set that has been sitting on my shelf for twenty years, I have prepared a Planescape adventure set in the center of the Multiverse encapsulated within the most splendidly impossible of cities, Sigil - The City of Doors. Planescape adventures do need some attention to detail as every opening (doorway, fireplace, chest or cabinet) could be a portal to absolutely anywhere so there can be a tendency to uproot an experience and leave players spinning and never having a feeling of structure or heritage. But I think this is unwarranted - even though Sigil is a city of portals, it is in all respects also just a City, with a guard, blacksmiths, taverns, merchants, builders etc etc. Whist its packed inhabitants are either planar natives or just prime travelers, the wild variety of species that crowd its streets do not have to detract from specific tasks or narratives. Basically if you combine Tokyo with Gatwick at rush hour, you begin to get the idea of day to day life. But people not only survive in such environments but they can also set down roots and thrive.

Sigil itself is a fascinating place, partly because of its toroidal physics but more so because of its quasi Ruler (or perhaps prisoner), the Lady of Pain. Wandering the streets seemingly for all eternity, she will dispatch any force, army or entity that attempts to unbalance or claim her realm. Her very gaze will shred any opponent instantly and as if that wasn't enough, she has the ability to fold dimensions and trap insurgents within an infinite Maze. Not even the Gods can sway any leverage here and they stay well away. I heartily recommend the excellent bite size videos by Jorphdan on all aspects of the D&D universe  and his Sigil and Outlands brief is no exception.

For now the game may not be needed but as always, it can be added to the list and is also sympathetic to one-shots on the occasion a GM is away. I might even run it as a home game if I can find enough players.

Wednesday, 10 January 2018


One might think it a little alarming to start the year off by musing on how to kill people, tho it is normal for role players have slightly psychotic conversations from time to time. To be fair I am a little unsure as to how many people we will have settled on for the next round of games starting soon, or more specifically with the winter rush we often get I would be concerned to have 10 people trying to squeeze themselves into a single game.

So given the fact that its been at least six months since I have killed someone, I have volunteered an overflow D&D if required. This necessarily includes challenges and of course consequences but I will endeavour not to be too contrived, except to say that the most ludicrous trap I have come across was a Kobold on a rope suspended above a pit trap behind a closed door. Given the relative ease at which Kobolds can be dispatched one would naturally think nothing of charging straight in. Rolling my eyes under such circumstances tends to be a prelude to rolling a new character and this instance was no exception, though I have since harboured a deep seated hatred of all things rope like. And I do see some ropy things.

I will go back and double check the PHB for specific rules on swinging. Certainly there is a climbing skill and associated falling damage but I suppose a swing would just be a variable difficulty class depending on its challenge and also whether any drama is also included. Swinging for dramatic effect though should really only be attempted by experienced players such as Erol Flynn or possibly Harrison Ford.

Having said all this I am reminded of a previous Chill session regarding an undead Hangman the party had to deal with. That was roprey of an entirely different kind.

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Its a date

So its 2018 in our universe and we are looking forward to another grand year of mucking around so clearly everyone's new year resolution is to come along to their local role playing club, have a beer make some new friends, play some games, have some arguments, throw some things around and storm out. An experience not to be missed and all are welcome. But in keeping with our temporal temperament here are a few other notable dates for your diary..

2019 - Replicant terminations via the Blade Runner initiative

2022 - Soylent Green distributed to offset global starvation
2032 - Terminator kills John Connor
2035 - Positronic robots extend the Three Laws  to enslave mankind

2054 - PreCrime police department set up in LA
2063 - Zefram Cochran completes the first Warp Drive test in the Phoenix
2122 - Nostromo lost
2164 - Daleks invade Earth
2256 - Babylon 5 construction completed
2274 - Sandman Logan 5 leaves the Domed City
2381 - Cmdr J.J Adams lands on Altair IV
2491 - Buck Rogers emerges from coma
2517 - Crew of the Firefly uncover the Reaver conspiracy
3001 - Frank Poole revived
4846 - Commissioning of the Andromeda
10191 - Year of the Atredies governorship of Dune

802701 - H.George Wells encounters the Eloi
3000000 - Dave Lister wakes from stasis
5000000 - Yithians inhabit the bodies of the insectoids of Earth
End of Time - Everyone has lunch at Milliways