Saturday, August 19, 2017

RPGaday2017 day 19

#RPGaday2017 day 19
Which RPG features great writing in my opinion?

I'm going to try and separate the writing from the mechanics. Although it's hard, because they are often so intertwined.

There's writing to convey the game setting, for setting specific books at least.  In game writing, you're also trying to convey the mechanics in a comprehensible way.

There should be enough setting material for readers to get a feel for not just the genre, but the tone of the game. To borrow some terms from a superhero game; is it street level, stopping thugs and muggers? Is it citywide, stopping robberies some but mostly dealing with disaster-like events or supervillains? Or country wide? Worldwide? Interstellar? Inter-planar? Or does the game handle different levels of threat, and it's up to the players and GM to set it?

Or is it deadly serious in tone, full of angst and gravitas, or lighthearted and even silly? We used to joke that White Wolf's Changeling wasn't in the World of Darkness, it was too whimsical. It was in the world of dimly lit places.

Is there a enough fiction to give a voice to the kind of people you'd expect to play or encounter? Is there so much fiction, the reader's eye just skims it?

 Even if the mechanics are unwieldy and arcane, they can be communicated well. Or the mechanics might be as smooth as melted butter, but the writing feels like swallowing dry salt.

Dresden Files did an incredible job of capturing the feel of the books' characters and settings, both in language and game mechanics. The fiction pieces, side bars, and 'handwritten comments' added to that feel.

Friday, August 18, 2017

RPGaday2017 day 18

#RPGaday2017 day 18
Which RPG have you played the most in your life?

Hmm, are we talking number of sessions? Game world time? Or Real world time?

I had a Shadowrun game that only lasted a 2-3 years game world time, but we played at least weekly at least 5 years.  I was in a Mutants and Masterminds game that lasted 7 years real world time, playing every 2 weeks. And a DandD 3rd edition that went well into 3.5 edition and stayed 3.5 after 4th came out (how long is that?). There was also a Mage game, back in the late 90s/early 2000s. That one lasted for a few years.

It must have been one of those, but I don't know which one.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

RPGaday day 17

#RPGaday2017 day 17
Which RPG have you owned the longest but not played?

That's easy, Space Opera. My mom bought it for me at the Sears Outlet store when I was in high school. I have it packed away somewhere, along with my dungeon designs from high school (with the thin dungeon walls, and other follies).

We played D&D, Traveller, and Dr. Who in high school. And in college, we played Star Wars, Shadowrun, Middle Earth Roleplaying Game, Runequest, DC, Marvel, a little Villains and Vigilantes, Champions, with a quick dip into Star Trek and Wizards Realm.

I think the next longest owned but not played game would be Elfquest. I even designed my own tribe for it and populated it, at least with names and relatives. I got that one in college but no one was interested in playing it.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

RPGaday2017 day 16

#RPGaday2017 day 16
Which RPG do you enjoy using as is?

I'll limit my answer to games I've actually played or run. The next question; are we talking rules or background setting?

I run and play most of my games as is. I've made some minor changes setting/background to some of them; in my early Shadowrun days, it was rare but you could goblinize as a dwarf or elf. And my co-gm in my 1st game added 'rank' and 'level' to contacts; how important are they within their community and how close is the relationship. But we kept the actual game mechanics as is.

 I guess my answer is Dresden Files. The system is already flexible enough to handle table-level fine-tuning, thanks to aspects. And the setting is rich enough, with enough 'empty' places aka not where the books are set, to fine tune that part, too.


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

I'm so sad and so mad

This is a very interesting article on what Salt Lake City is doing to resolve the issues of chronic homelessness in their city. Make sure to watch the video at the end. Part of the current mayor's dedication to the matter was when he and a colleague spent three days homeless to get an inside view.

Oh, here's a cicada I spotted on Friday.

The Deadlands game on Friday went well. Our prisoner/informant was stupid. Not only did he decide to escape while we were busy dealing with the mining camps but he stabbed the kid who tried to stop him. We patched up the kid and pursued Pyper (the rat chimera prisoner). Of course, a couple characters had been wanting to kill him for ages, and only the Catholic priest and sort of my character prevented it, because you don't kill prisoners. After he stabbed the kid, I wasn't as keen on not killing Pyper. And oops, he got killed while we were pursuing him.

The construction on the road where my work bus stop usually is finally wrapped up. Originally, it was supposed to be done by August 5th and then they changed it to the 11th. They actually got it done the 9th but they didn't move the stop. The stop was back in its usual place on Monday, thankfully. I didn't mind the walk so much but the construction threw the bus schedule off.

I went to see Mom on Saturday. It was a last minute decision, because I was waiting to find out when the August Tri-Tatters meeting was set (for the 19th). I grabbed a couple things for her (box of facial tissues, a 12-pack of Dr. Pepper, and some chocolate) before I headed her way. We went to lunch and then hit the dollar store. She got tired before we finished hitting all the aisles but we picked up a few things for her; nuts, candy, etc and some things for me; book cover, candy, etc. I forgot to stop and pick up Cheerwine, though. Alas, she decided to hand off the Kindle to me. She hasn't been able to master using it.

Here's an old picture she has of me and my brother. Guess which one is which.
When I got back, I heard about the events in Charlottesville, VA. Sunday, I called my Republican congressmen, telling them to either make their voices heard condemning this or I'll understand they condone it (see Trump's statement) and consider them as aiding and abetting racism and Nazis. I try not to get political here, but how spineless do you have to be to not say 'hey, I don't support Nazis'?

And here's just a lovely picture of a water drop on a kale leaf. Surface tension for the win.
coneflower?



RPGaday2017 day 15

#RPGaday2017 day 15
Which RPG do you enjoy adapting the most?

Are we talking house rules? Or are we talking taking a set of rules and applying them to a new setting or new genre?

Frankly, with all the games I want to play as they are written, I don't have time to adapt any RPGs.  I think the closest I came to 'adapting' a game was a FATE game; and well, literally written to be adapted to different settings/genres.

Years ago, we used DandD 3.5 combat in a Chivalry and Sorcery game, but that's the only time I distinctly recall adapting a game. I'm writing this early, so maybe one will occur to me before I post. If that line remains unchanged, I didn't think of any.

Oh wait, no, I guess ADandD is the one I've adapted the most. We house-ruled so much; from how you generated stats, to dumping racial-based class limits. 


Monday, August 14, 2017

RPGaday2017 day 14

#RPGaday2017 day 14
What RPG do you prefer for open-ended campaign play?

I'm not sure I understand the question. Open-ended versus a module or published adventure? Open-ended versus a pre-scripted plot (ie here's the big bad, the campaign consists of stopping it/them*)?

By open-ended, as in 'here's the game world, here are some plot hooks; what do you want to do?' and the GM or narrator or whatever just kind of flows with whatever the players do (**)? Or open-ended as in 'play until we get tired of the characters' (****) or someone moves away?

I don't think that there's one I prefer for 'open-ended'. I think most RPGs can be played open-ended, by any of those definitions; it depends on the group and the GM. A game with a rich world setting is easier to play open-ended (like Runequest) but if the GM puts some hard work into it, they can fill in any blanks, to suit their own purposes and story ideas (like Wizards Realm).


* like the Mage game that consisted of foiling a nephandi invasion of Earth
**like the GM who found the PCs following a plot-hook he'd planted for when they were 5 levels higher***
***Middle Earth RolePlaying game, if you're interested
**** my high school D&D group

I haven't put links in for any of the games I've mentioned. If you read this, and want links, leave a comment and I'll edit this post to add them.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

RPGaday2017 day 13

#RPGaday2017 day 13
Describe a game experience that changed how you play.

I had to really think about this one. I couldn't come up with an obvious answer. I mean, heavy story and roleplay games like Fate have influenced me, but I've always been into roleplay at varying levels, even when the rules didn't explicitly support it.

I think it was running Shadowrun in college. For the first time it was game none of us knew particularly well, and we were all learning the game as we played. We could either stop the game to look up the rule (and we did that sometimes) or I could make a ruling and we'd look it up later.

I learned that my game experience is improved if we concentrate on having fun instead of knowing every single rule in the book (complete with page and paragraph). It's helpful having someone at the table with that kind of knowledge, but if you don't have it, keep rolling.


Saturday, August 12, 2017

RPGaday2017 day 12

RPGaday2017 day 12
What RPG do I feel has the most inspiring art?
First, let me define what inspiring art means for me in this context. Inspiring art is art that gives me a sense of the game genre, the game's feel. Is it a gritty and grimdark game? Then I expect to see shrouded streets, trash-filled alleys, and hardbitten character portraits. Is it science fiction or fantasy or superhero? The art should make me want to make a character that fits in that art.

The original Changeling: The Dreaming art did that for me. Don't get me wrong, Shadowrun and some other games did a great job, too, but Changeling had this dreamy quality. It was one step from reality, or reality through a fantastic filter.


Friday, August 11, 2017

RPGaday2017 day 11



#RPGaday2017 day 11
Which 'dead game' would you like to see reborn?

I've already mentioned Dragonstar. There's also Spycraft, and Teenagers from Outer Space. But no game is truly dead if there's a set of rules available and someone is playing it. And unlike computer games, you can still play your 40-year old role playing game, no matter how many edition of it there have been. You just don't have any commercial support. There are probably other fans who are writing and sharing material, though.

Although....if someone came out with an updated Wizard's Realm, that would be cool. I'd want it, for the nostalgia factor and see what had been changed, even if for no other reason.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

RPGaday2017 day 10

#RPGaday2017 day 10
Where do you go for RPG reviews?

That's a surprisingly tough one. I usually rely on word of mouth on social media or in person. I'm good friends with the owner of the FLGS and he'll bring up games. Or people online will talk about one. Occasionally I go to certain folks on YouTube or check if there's a review on Drivethrurpg. I usually only bother for games I'm on the fence bout.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

RPGaday2017 day 9

#RPGaday Day 9
What is an RPG to play for about 10 sessions?
I'm going to presume that means a complete story/campaign in 10 sessions, because you can always just stop playing, or you can often stretch a game to last 10 sessions.

The only game I can think of as difficult to stretch to 10 sessions is a game like Paranoia, which works really well for 1 or 2, and sometimes even 3 sessions, but it can be hard to keep up for 10. Campaign length often relies on players. Players can go off on tangents, take the plot in a wholly unanticipated direction which can short cut the campaign or extend it.

Look at your players first. Then you can figure out if this is a plot/campaign they'll play quickly or go all over the map before they get to the plot.





Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Tri-Tatters and other matters

The forum meeting ended early but the community service committee meeting did not get moved up. Since some non-delegates are on the committee, that was actually a good thing.

The garden work day went pretty well. There was a good harvest and enough people to weed the paths some. The figs have started ripening. I helped harvest some cucumber and then took the cucumber vine off its trellis (darn those vines are prickly). I also helped harvest a couple figs. Mostly, I took pictures. Claire said I took over 100 photos, which gave her a nice choice of which ones to share.















Thursday was a bit of running around at work. I got to where I needed to be but was missing a key element of the paperwork, so I had to go back on Friday. I also went to the mail services open house. I finally got to see the sorting machine. It's impressive.
Virginia creeper?

Saturday was the Tri-tatters demo at Mordecai House. Four of us were there and we had some lovely interactions. There was a lady from Dallas who was absolutely thrilled to see us tatting. And one girl who loves making bracelets who wanted to try. Stuff like that makes us happy. I took a few pictures.


lanyard from Palmetto Tat Days 2017

My bracelet is not going as well. I made a mistake in the same place 3 times. Not the same mistake, a different one every time, but in the same place. I finally had to cut the ring instead of opening it....again. And I'm only on the 3rd repeat.

Somethingunderthebed had a great idea about using a coil from a comb binding to hold thread on a bobbin.


And here's one of the fans CD gave me. I think these are party members in China. He was disappointed that it's not prettier. I told him it makes a great conversation piece.




RPGaday2017 day 8

RPGaday2017 Day 8
What is a good RPG to play for sessions of 2 hours or less?

That's kind of a trick question. Because almost any RPG can be played in 2-hour sessions (although I would not recommend Chivalry and Sorcery* with combat in it, that takes at least 4-6 hours). If you mean, as part of an ongoing campaign at least.

If you mean as a one-shot or as a picaresque game? That's different. And does that 2-hour include character generation or pre-generated characters?

If you have a one or two scene adventure, most games can be played in 2 hour sessions. Games I have played in short sessions include Indiana Jones, Ironclaw, and Feng Shui. But even Pathfinder, a game some consider rules heavy, can have a 2-hour game session, if you use pre-gen characters and a one or two scene adventure. Feng Shui on the other hand, you can do character generation and an adventure in 2 hours. Even with gaming novices. Fate is the same. You can get started with partially created characters and finish them in the game.



*Chivalry & Sorcery has a great setting, and it's a good game. But the combat is a bit complex. Or at least, that was the case for the edition we were playing.

Monday, August 07, 2017

RPGaday2017 Day 7

#RPGaday2017 Day 7
What was your most impactful game session?

That's actually pretty easy. It was a one-shot session of Star Wars we played in college.

Half the players didn't show up and half the players who did show up brought someone else with them. The GM brought out a one-shot she'd been toying with, using pre-gens. It was a flashback to our campaign; back to the Fall of Catalus (or Death of the Jedi).

This was after the 1st three Star Wars movies (Chapters IV, V, & VI), but before the rest of them. In our version, Jedi did get married and have kids. One of our characters was the daughter of one such; she was a force sensitive, without being a Jedi herself. Another PC was separated from her husband, Anakin Skywalker, and on the run. She had some Jedi training, and the lightsaber which had belonged to the former PC's father. The flashback would explain how she got it (in game there had been a very fraught discussion when the 2 PCs met 'what are you doing with my father's lightsaber' and all that).

I got there a bit late and there were only 2 of the pregens left. I decided to play the Jedi father of the PC (he was going to die, it was a plot point). The PC of 'my' daughter was playing her younger self, as was the partially trained Jedi on the run.

Now, unlike in our usual Star Wars game, my character was a fully trained Jedi warrior. Which means, when he met Darth Vader in battle, he didn't die like I expected. He fought Vader to a standstill. So here I was, making these telepathic death speeches to 'my' daughter...and then surviving. But it was all very dramatic and everyone stayed in character and we played for hours, finally wrapping up around 2 or 3 am.

Although I didn't know the term, this is also when I experienced the most bleed. The player of 'my daughter' sent me father's day cards for years after, because those paternal feelings lingered.

Sunday, August 06, 2017

RPGaday Day 6

In case you've lost it, here's the graphic of the questions again.

#RPGaday2017 day 6
You can game every day for a week. Describe what you'd do.

First, before the week, stock up on food and drinks. Wherever we're gaming, we're going to need fuel.

First two days, play all day, only stopping for hourly stretch breaks and food breaks. The third day, we'll go out for at least one meal, maybe even two. Repeat. 7th day, we'll have wrap up and one shots or just for fun games.

For those 6 days though, I want a campaign. We could use a Pathfinder Module, although I'd love to do one of those 6-book campaigns, but I don't think even a week would be enough time.

Or maybe we could play finally get through a Buffy game, or Leverage, or Dresden Files. The game system or setting is not as important as the experience.

If we're feeling a bit burnt on the 2nd or 3rd day, we could do game-related without gaming. Make some in-game props or write diary entries/articles from our character perspectives.

That week would be a great time to do a deep dive into one game. Learn the rules enough so we can play smoothly without stopping to check books. Delve into our characters and really role play.

Saturday, August 05, 2017

RPGaday 2017 day 5

Here's the graphic, fyi
http://autocratik.blogspot.com/2017/07/rpgaday-2017-announcing-rpgaday-again.html

#RPGaday2017 Day 5
Which RPG cover do you feel best captures the spirit of the game?

Hmm, I can really only speak for games I've played. 7th Sea has a good cover. But so does Spirit of the Century. The original Shadowrun cover did a good job. But I think I'll go with Blue Rose.

It's not a particularly action shot, but the art speaks to the type of the game. This game has social and explorer aspects to it that are just as important as the combat aspects. The slightly dreamy picture of someone with a scepter, a surrounded by blue roses, butterflies, and cats, but with brambles in the picture, tells you this isn't hack and slash. You open the book, knowing this isn't D&D (or Traveller or Space Opera or Gamma World).

Friday, August 04, 2017

Solar Eclipse Interlude

If you are in the US and you want to know how much of the eclipse will be visible where you are and when it will be visible, Vox is here to tell you.

RPGaday 2017 Day 4

#RPGaDay2017 Question 4: Which RPG Have I played The Most Since August 2016

I think Savage Worlds Deadlands, because I have a twice-monthly campaign. I play the niece (fictional) of Bass Reeves. And in the most recent session, I managed to kill a prehistoric croc with one stab of my Bowie knife to its eye.

I also have a monthly Pathfinder game. I'm running that one, so you'll have to ask the players for funny stories.

Yep, that sounds right. I wish I were playing more and different games.  Alas that the real world interferes with my gaming schedule.

Thursday, August 03, 2017

RPGaday2017; Day 3

#RPGaDay2017 Day 3: How do you find out about new games?

Mostly on G+. Brie Sheldon has their 5 questions or so interviews with designers. I follow many designers and gamers on G+, who are either sharing their work or talking about other people's work. Sometimes it's as they're publishing it, sometimes it's as they're writing it, and sometimes as they're doing a Kickstarter to publish it.

Occasionally, I'll see something in the preview book at my FLGS.

I used to also see new games at cons but financial stuff came up and I haven't been to a con in a couple years. Sad face.

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

A Day Late, but hopefully not a dollar short

It was my monthly date with Autumn Breeze and we lingered over supper, talking. I got home late and then I was dealing with some of mom's paperwork. By the time I got done, it was late and I was tired, so I went to bed.

I bought a birthday card for my sister-in-law and then found out it needed extra postage. It is a lovely card but it meant a trip to the post office. First I found out how much I needed and then decided to get some extra stamps while there. Guy pulled out the new solar eclipse stamps.
solar eclipse stamps from post office
You see the stamp in the lower right hand corner? That's how they look normally. See the stamps in the upper left corner? That's how they look with a little heat applied, like someone put their hand under the sheet. I immediately wrote letters to my usual correspondents; 'hi, how are you? Hope your summer hasn't been too hot? Have you seen these stamps? Aren't they neat!?'

I will be a teacher's aide in two classes at Palmetto tat days. I've started one project, the longer one. It's a name badge lanyard and uses about 170 beads (yay, beadspinner). I've completed it. And I made many, many mistakes. So I will make another one before Tat Days. First, I'll make the bracelet for my other class.

Mom's phone charger had definitely disappeared. CD and I went to jumpstart her car and get it inspected. I decided we could go get her a new charger while it was being seen. It took a looong time to charge her car enough for it to start. It was 'five more minutes and we stop before CD's car overheats'. CD sat with mom's car running (to charge up the battery) while I got her phone and did another look round for her charger.

The plan mostly worked. We did drive it to be inspected. We did get lunch. We did find a charger*, although the Radio Shack I went looking for had closed. However, they were not able to inspect the car. Because the car had been jumpstarted, the computer gave a 'not ready' answer to most of the emission questions. The car had to be driven 50-100 miles to reset the computer.

I plugged mom's phone in with the new charger and then drove home. I immediately drove it to the inspection station near me. The guy was 'oh, it's only half-hour til we close, there's no way we can get it inspected today,' and he was very relieved when I said, 'I wasn't expecting you to inspect it today, I thought tomorrow.' That they could do. Although they already had a line up for Saturday and it might be midday before they got to it.

*The salesman at the phone store was quite insistent on giving me a quote. I had to tell him, "If I have to deal with one more thing, even that, I'll break down in tears" to get him to stop. Even then, he gave me his card, etc.

CD had class on Saturday, so if the car wasn't ready by the time he had to leave, he could drop me off and I could drive to my tatters' meeting from there. It turned out, he had to go buy new shoes. They were both whistling due to holes. He had to go a bit out of his way, but he got a good deal.

The Tatters' meeting was nice. I made good progress on the lanyard (despite screwing up a floating chain). Carolyn had brought in some old workbaskets and I got one from the 1940s. Neat!

Anitra's husband had seen a listing on Craigslist for a woman who used to own a bead store who was gradually selling off what remained of her stock. He made the arrangements and a few of us went to her apartment after the meeting. I got some lovely beads, including some silver(ish) drops that are metal and a tiny bit heavy. They'd be good for something that needs a tiny bit of weight to hang right.

She had two lovely foster dogs. The newer one stayed isolated most of the time. She has a tendency to jump on people, but she's a lovely, friendly, Pit/Lab mix.

Monday, LotRO was supposed to have an update, opening Mordor and High Elves. An annoying bug cropped up and they delayed it until Wednesday. So our LotRO date will be postponed, too. It's going to take at least an hour for the update to load so I'd better take a nap when I get home.

Tuesday, was my monthly date with Autumn Breeze. We went back to our usual diner. It's under new management. They've painted the walls and put a new mirror in the bathroom. It's nice to see more than my face from the nose up while I'm washing my hands.

Wednesday is also the monthly Forum meeting and the committee meeting will be afterwards. Then it's about half hour or so at work, take lunch, and then out to the garden for the Forum sponsored workday. It's going to be a hot one, so I'll really need that nap.

Another picture. I think it's Virginia Creeper.


RPGaday2017: day 2



#RPGaday2017
What is an RPG you would like to see published?

That's a hard one, because my faves have been published; and most of them are even good (Dr. Who, Leverage, Pathfinder, Ironclaw, Fate, Dresden Files, Spirit of the Century, 7th Sea, etc).

I think I'd like to see an updated edition of Dragonstar. It was an interesting setting, fun to play, and they handled science fantasy quite well in my opinion. It was D&D 3rd edition in space. You had the various D&D races and you had an empire ruled by the 10 dragon colors. The long reign of the metallic dragons is over and the reign of the chromatic dragons has begun.

https://doctorstrangeroll.files.wordpress.com/2017/07/rpgaday2017.jpg

RPGaday2017 addendum

This is a good idea, and I think I'll do some variant of this.



I'm participating in #RPGaDay again this year (I haven't missed one yet) but I'm applying the critical lessons learned in previous years to keep it fun and celebratory. You may find this approach useful as well. My rules are:

► Strip the prompt of all superlatives (favorite, best, most, etc), replacing the superlatives with general awesomeness or otherwise broadening it. For example, if the prompt is "The RPG that makes the best use of ping-pong balls," I rewrite the prompt to "An RPG that makes awesome use of ping-pong balls."

► Replace any reference to "RPG" or "game" with a broader reference to all RPG items. So, "An RPG that makes awesome use of ping-pong balls" becomes "An RPG item that makes awesome use of ping-pong balls," so now it's not just about core games, but also open to sourcebooks, modules, etc.

► Replace any prompt that doesn't invite me to celebrate the quality of gaming or gaming stuff with something that does, so questions like "How does your group refrigerate your shoe-boxes filled with beige speckled d12s?" will be tossed out entirely and replaced with a backup question. Since many of the provided backup questions would themselves be tossed out under this rule, I'm going to slide backward along the timeline instead. If the 2017 question doesn't invite me to celebrate something or someone, I'll drop back to the 2016 question and so on back to the orginal 2014 set. I won't be repeating any answers, though, just fresh answers to classic questions. I'll apply the same to prompts I've got nothing for (for other reasons), too.

Here's hoping you also participate, with whatever tweaks make it the most fun for you. See you 'round the burning hashtag throughout the month of August!

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

RPGaday2017 : a month of answering questions 'about my gaming.

RPGaday2017 Day 1
What published RPG do you wish you were playing right now?
I'm torn. I'm about to be in a Blue Rose game and I'm really looking forward to it.

But there's also 7th Sea, Swashbucklers of the 7 Skies, Pugmire, Dresden Files, almost anything FATE, Ponyfinder, Shadowrun, Ironclaw, Feng Shui, and Urban Shadows. It's not quite 'ooh shiny' because there are some games out for years that I'd love to play. I have played Dresden Files, FATE, Feng Shui, Shadowrun & Ironclaw in the past and I'd love to play them again. I'm in a 7th Sea game online but it just started and I don't know if it will last. I'm sure if I thought a bit, I could add more games.

There are so many good games out there. If I played three times a week, a different game every time, it would still take me months to get through my list of 'want to play'.

Addendum: There's a wrestling game; It Came from the Late, Late, Late Show; The One Ring; Spycraft, et al.