Tuesday, 25 February 2020

TORG talk

Great name for a podcast but a blog will have to do, some of us have been ticking away a TORG at the Dice Saloon on an occasional weekend and had occasion to meet just over a week ago. Currently we seem to have got in to a bit of a fast an furious situation. We are on the trail of a Faberge Egg effectively stolen by Demons who dominate the Wastelands incursion just outside the St Petersberg hard point. Basically we really are in Mad Max territory and although GM Warren was threatening to introduce a flame throwing guitar into the mix, we have been managing the cliches quite well so far.

Having said this we are working for what's left of the Russian Mafia and returning their national treasure will mean receiving important information in return as part of our shady deal. I wouldn't normally recommend transacting with crime lords but my character has watched a lot of TV and is intimately familiar with the Sopranos and the general semi automatic Pizza wielding goons of the American side of the family so its a case of being more latte than white Russian.

Our task at hand is to win some form of car wars death match race - a cross between wacky races and just whacking people. As as soon as we signed up, we got a TV drone in tow and if we can dispatch our opponents before the race even begins then its just more ratings for the ads. Thing is we seem to have broken the drone and thereby broken the rules too...not sure which highway code we're using now..

Tuesday, 18 February 2020

Pushing Buttons

Roleplayers have many opinions where character generation is concerned. I've seen those who are particularly invested in a system and I mean financially as well as artistically, do deep dives into the material and pull up some very interesting but also quite specific characters. As one gets more experienced then it's good to know that certain systems provide enough narrative to get ones teeth into. As always imagination is the limit, after all there are at least enough personalities for every human being on earth so you can be whomever you like but regarding the nature part of nurture, a non human upbringing is going to introduce lots of interesting traits.

For a GM, starting a new game does mean giving birth to several characters at once and that can be as painful as it sounds. Although players with some experience will do much of the work and carve out their own traits, for setting up a new game I prefer spamming the buttons on a random character generator. Now this has some implications which on balance I quite like. Firstly the characters that come off the production line will be disjointed to a degree - for example in the Planescape the available characters include a pirate Wizard, a Cleric with a criminal background, a Warlock Spy and an entertainer Paladin. Now these are of course not thought out by definition and potentially a little silly but they are amusing and provocative - they are interesting. Automatically it gets players to start thinking about how such people are possible which immediately exercises the narrative muscles even for those completely new to roleplaying which I like. It's also extremely convenient and time saving boon for a GM as well as supplying an instantly playable situation for a newcomer.

The secret of course is that characters are not set in stone, petrification notwithstanding - with a bit of negotiation they can be moulded into something a little more relevant and players can tweak their preferences into a personality they can enjoy playing. Basically its all about reverse engineering people which I am all up for. This is all with respect to fantasy characters for the most part as it gets quite existential for the scifi cyber environments where personality traits and higher functions can be swapped out mid game. I'm not saying we have any schizophrenics at the club, I'm just saying that its difficult to tell sometimes.

Tuesday, 11 February 2020

Locke and Key

As we seem to be struggling to patch together a sane and salient D&D game at the moment, some of us brave few are preparing backup games as a sort of disaster recovery solution for some excessive handbag wielding that has erupted. Artistic differences are inevitable where role players are concerned and I am surprised that in all the years I have been going the the club we haven't had more to be honest. But with particular players put in particular games with particular perspectives when certain combinations are unlocked the inevitable doors begin to close. Whilst I hope that people who storm out come back one day I have come to believe that evolution is a healthy thing even if it begins in contention - pain, when accepted, allows people to change. 

Without wanting to sound too much like the Shadows from Babylon 5, I'm going to gamble that fun will win out over frustration at the end of the day so I am prepping a Planescape should people feel the need to dip their toes into unknown portals. As always its a bit of a struggle to wrestle a plot down in the multiverse but I have some ideas which will be dutifully messed up by the players I am sure.

I also note that a new series has just emerged from Netflix called Locke and Key based on the graphic novels of the same name which is extremely timely given a Planescape as the mechanics seem quite familiar. Whether its a sort of Harry Potter family adventure or something more involved like The Lost Room I don't know but might well be worth a watch..

Tuesday, 4 February 2020


So, cubic volume is a wonderful thing. I mean without a third dimension everything would be just too flat and thin - sort of one dimensional really but twice. Fine if you were just playing Phoenix Dawn or Magic the Gathering but for role players gazing down upon their miniatures there are issues. Moreover there is also a room required to host the aforementioned role players and there is the rub. It seems that everyone has taken the opportunity to come out of the woodwork to grab a character at the start of the adventures and the games may be looking somewhat over full with the D&D at seven players already.

Another dimension to the quandary is that we also had a wandering spirit enter our hallowed halls having spied this very venerable tome. Since meetups has somewhat changed the visitor dynamic, passing players are fewer and further between now although the flip side is that we only need to advertise a popular system and we will get the seats filled very quickly from the real world - social media has generated a somewhat on demand recruitment system. Nevertheless there was at least one seat in the Scum and Villainy so we have managed to squeeze everyone in on paper.

Issue is that I know there was at least one player missing last week. Well perhaps our organic nature will win out as not all of us are there every week and this may bring balance to opposing forces. I myself don't have a seat in any game as I often join any game that is short of an evening but then if the opposite is true I am free to start a relief game. All are options but that fourth dimension I mentioned earlier would be very handy at the moment.