Tuesday, 24 September 2019

Art and Spiders

Sometimes universes are just too screwed up. Sure, virtual reality systems will tend to bend the sense but that's sort of a given when you put on the headset. Last Saturday we got in another of GM Warren's TORG sessions which was really the start of the main campaign as the precursor sessions were just an introduction really and covered the events of the Great Invasion in the "near now". The characters have bedded in somewhat although we did have the option to select a new one - Jack went for this but the danger of having a new character around that its tempting to Martyr it off. I say this specifically as there is a Torg Martyr destiny card that allows the successful outcome of an action at the expense of the death of your character. Indeed GM Warren had brought about 20 or so pregens along so I think I see where this is going.

For reasons the party found themselves in Copenhagen - still relatively untouched as a still preserved core environment but we were investigating a raid on an art gallery buy a party of Vikings who subsequently captures some of the guests and drove off in a white van. Having pursued the clues we eventually ended up rescuing a few of them from an underground cavern which was experiencing a mass invasion of spiders. We managed to get out alive but it doesn't sound good.

With universes and dimensions colliding and alien civilizations mixing with humans it's a volatile environment for sure but the issue with such systems is that they do need a very carefully thought out structure otherwise players will have no feeling of control or interaction. As I have said before I am unsure of whether TORG is just too random as without some reasonable expectations then the characters are just adrift in a sea of crazy events. This is where established narratives are helpful and TORG is an old system to be fair but for me the jury is still out as I am struggling to cope with a Viking raid, missing art dealers and giant spiders. Perhaps we are still playing Feng Shui and I haven't noticed yet..

Monday, 16 September 2019


Last week as GM Dave was away we decided to take a break from Arctic Zombie attacks and play a Feng Shui one shot set in the Arctic where zombies were attacking us. A break is as good as a rest they say and  in this respect we have coined the phrase Non Player Zombie or NPZ given the number of undead we seem to be dealing with at the moment in various games. Feng Shui is designed to be instantly ridiculous and with that in mind its sets the scene for the players right from the start. To be honest we spent a few minutes role playing before the subtitles and guns came out and from then on wards it was pure badly dubbed pulp.

GM Jack actually gave me my old character from a few years ago, 'Walter', who is an ex-military PTSD afflicted pizza delivery guy. In fact it was the smoothest character introduction I have ever had as whilst the party were operating from a secret base they decided to order a takeout. Having immediately compromised their location when I turned up with a pizza the only options were to shoot me or hire me. There was a brief discussion I recall but happily enough I was conscripted.

Whilst the game is instantly fun I am not a great fan of its mechanics. Whilst I do like the exploding D6 I am unsure as to why they designed the rolls around a positive and negative result - basically roll a D6 and subtract one from the other to get a result and apply modifiers. With an average result of zero of course it comes across as somewhat of a coin toss but for a B movie narrative I suppose it might be appropriate. Also there is a rather contrived initiative ladder where a token for each player is placed down on each rung and as actions are consumed, the tokens are then moved down appropriately - when all tokens have dropped off the ladder, its reset again. The system allows scope for more mechanics in this area of course but at the end of the day I do believe simple is sensible particularly where a fast action games so I think it interferes from the atmosphere overall. Nevertheless we succeeded in staying alive for the next scene and no one stormed off set.

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

The Scene

There is a Chill in the air and whilst this could be either the ambient Autumnal onset or a indeed GM rule book being thrown at a player, either way, the kids are back to school and the gamers are back to their dice. We are entering student season again and whilst I don't mean to imply that they should to be hunted with Labradors we can expect some to wander in soon looking for warmth and pizza.

For our part the Warhammer, Nameless Land and Walking Dead Thing are all going strong and numbers are stable if not a bit bloated on a busy evening. I may well fire up another D&D soon depending on circumstances but we'll see how the month goes.

A brief radar sweep of the scene in general also seems to be picking up plenty of activity. The now regular open drop in D&D sessions at Dice Saloon on Wednesdays from our own Mark and Jo and seem to be very popular with Mark posting regular reports on Facebook.

Last Saturday also saw the annual BURPS Reunicon also at the Dice Saloon and whilst these are the great old ones from my university days they do still make the annual pilgrimage back to their roots and also sell tickets to anyone else wishing to join their rituals.

The Craft Beer Company base is holding another Entmoot this Thursday and I may well attend before dashing up the hill to our own club. These sessions are a bit odd as its a massive community that never seems to be there but the meeting tends to be either packed or empty depending on random factors.

I'm not sure what other satellite games are going on as a whole from the Railway Club crowd but I know we have another TORG session coming up soon from GM Warren so I will report back if we survive.

All in all it seems that the RPG train shows no sign of slowing down any time soon..

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

Libris Arcana

Dice are not enough.. Sounds like a James Bond film to me. Over the last few weeks I have become dimly aware of how many people have been buying themselves pretty presents over the summer. There was a time in the good old days when gem dice were frowned upon, when real role players used heavy solid plastics and D10s had twenty sides, but as manufacturing technology has exploded and gem cutting artisans have quickly moved into the shady world of epoxy dealing, everyone can have a numeric niche thsese days.

As the hobby has exploded so have the dice offerings and also as our resident startup entrepreneur Nick will tell you, there are always interesting packages rolling in on KickStarter. He is somewhat like Norway in that he seems to own five percent of every random number generator on the planet and has his own Michelin Star system for ridiculous t-shirt designs. Whilst I am unsure of how much return one would expect from an investment in a dice company, I suppose its true to say that people will always need numbers.

To be fair though, I recently grabbed a black and white D10/100 from Krzys who was handing them out in rather good spirits but I am suspicious that he may have in fact filled his home to the point that his older dice are falling out of the windows. But this is in no sense a criticism as I myself picked up a few keepsake boxes of Chessex dice at a comic convention and I recall the hoards of fans frantically digging through their huge dice bins in some sort of speckled D4 gold rush.

The point is that whilst I initially chortled at the fact that there are now dice subscription services from companies such as LibrisArcana where you can select from a number of options to receive a new set of choice dice each month, I actually think that there may be enough multi facet addicts that now need a regular sided fix. Well I'm not proud and I try not to judge. After all, you only live dice.