Bite-Sized AP: March 2011

edited March 2011 in Actual Play
OK, to kick off March I'm going to post about February. Hey, what can I say, I'm backed up on awesome little play moments!

Westchesterville (80s new Mutants using Smallville):

Manuel de la Rocha--Empath of the White Queen's Hellions--sneaks onto the Xavier School grounds to cause trouble, revenge for his humiliation in the two teams' last battle. He comes upon good-hearted but awkward Sam Guthrie (Cannonball) training in the Danger Room with Kurt Wagner (Nightcrawler), while repressed, guilt-ridden Rahne Sinclair (Wolfsbane) looks on. Unseen, Empath magnifies Rahne's attraction and admiration of Sam to unnatural levels. She's overcome and rushes to him after his gymnastics exercise, exclaiming "Oh Sam, you were magnificent!" She throws herself into Sam's arms and gives him a victory kiss, which becomes a frenzy of kisses and caresses as her animal desire runs wild.

Kurt, feeling a little nudge from Empath as well, thinks to himself that he's glad Rahne is loosening up and admitting her feelings, and steps out to give the kids some privacy. Sam, meanwhile, frantically tries to fight Rahne off, as she continues her affections and answers his protests with encouragement to let himself go and deny their love no longer! finally Sam puts his foot down and shoves her away, exclaiming: "Darn it Rahne, ah don't wanna do that with you!"

Rahne stands in shock as the words sink in. Then with a rush of shame and horror at what she's done, she flees the Danger Room in tears, transforming to wolf and dashing out to the Westchester woods to escape her humiliation, while Sam stands there helpless and confused.



Pitch-perfect Claremont teen anguish!

Peace,
-Joel

Comments

  • Played another game of Microscope yesterday, and it was great!
    It was about the Spanish conquering South America, until they faced the Mapuche who actually could fight back. Ninjas, China, Volcanos and Religious fanatics were in the Yes list. Royal Spanish artifacts were hidden inside wooden sculptures and found in an ancestral tomb hundred of years later. And we still aren't clear on the role of the Spanish King's personal ninja guards... I hope I get to play more on this history.
  • Jonatan, that's a "problem" I've had with Microscope every time I've played it-- I always want to play a more traditionally character-focused RPG in the awesome setting we create. Maybe someday.

    Anyway, last night my crew tried out Magical Burst, Ewen Cluney's game of dysfunctional magical girls. The PCs consisted of:

    Knight Eternal, who controls fear and is being anonymously blackmailed about her monster-fighting,
    Eternal Star, an idol singer with magical music and a key-shaped sword,
    Nurse Witch, a lightning-slinger with a terminal illness,
    and her semi-estranged sister Princess Witch, a yankee/delinquent with a heart of gold and powers over Nothingness.

    The girls all shared the same familiar, a three-eared cat they referred to as "Meowgician" because its true name had too many apostrophes and caused birds to tumble out of the sky dead when spoken aloud.

    Overcharge and Fallout were the story-driving killer app; the game started with the Nurse Witch scuffling with a Buddhist monk trying to exorcise the demonic influence hanging over her, which drove her so berserk she scourged him unconscious/dead with lightning bolts, leading to her trying to do the same to her sister's boyfriend, escalating to a face-off between sisters. The Princess Witch won out, but passed out from the emotional stress. Meanwhile, a classmate saw Knight Eternal using her powers, and, mad with the need to preserve her secret, Knight used her fear powers to convince the witness to commit suicide, opposed by Star's soothing magical voice. She returned the girl's psyche to balance before she harmed herself, but things went even further awry because Knight gained six Overcharge on that roll and her powers went wild, creating a horrific Magic Burst we treated as a localized fracture in reality gushing forth hordes of shadowy youma. All the magical girls dodged harm, but the priest was torn to bloody ribbons, and the unlucky boyfriend's soul was annihilated and his empty husk made home by demons. Compounding this awfulness, Star had also gained a ridiculous amount of Overcharge during the last exchange and acted out by impulsively planting a kiss on the rescued classmate, repulsing and confusing her so much that a youma possessed her too. That led to ANOTHER Overcharged fight between magical girls, which ended in Star saving the innocent girl's life from her bloodthirsty teammates, but at the cost of her body being permanently warped by the huge magical energies she'd called on. And all during the fighting, their "familiar" watched quietly nearby, tail swishing happily.
  • We finished an Apocalypse World game by building a machine that fixed the world.
  • Had a mini-convention this weekend. All sorts of games got played.

    But my favorite lasting artifact? The last game on Sunday was Puppetland, played on a table with a whiteboard top. They re-drew their character sheets with dry erase, and then one of the players drew the story out in pictures.

    image

    I'm going to be sad when I have to erase it for the Deadlands game Thursday...
  • edited March 2011
    We played streamlined Remember Tomorrow (basically eliminated PCons and NCons, use Ready / Willing / Able for everything).

    Young hacker Lola, out to make a name for herself and live up to her Dad's rep, gets pressured by the underground truth-seeking media group Veritas. They want to know what she knows about the subliminals Phoenix Down mafiosos have been splicing into skins (sensory recordings). Lola doesn't like getting pushy emails from strangers (particularly when she's the tech who was putting in the subs), so she flips it on them, backtraces their internets and then broadcasts their secret hideout all across the net. Veritas has many enemies, including the cops, and they swoop in and bust heads. Score 1 for hacker Lola, 0 for smug whistleblowers. This was a face-off scene that the antagonist thought was going somewhere else, but the player running Lola went atomic when pressured. Nice.

    In a later scene, Lola is sipping 'spro at her favorite hipster cafe, expecting accolades from all her scenester friends for her virtual victory, but instead she's getting the stink-eye from a lot of her peers. An angry confrontation ensues. "What the hell Lola? We thought you were with us, not The Man." Turns out a bunch of her friends are secretly Veritas, young idealists working the streets to put out their digital zine and expose corruption endemic in the system. Lola just got a bunch of them busted. Oops. This was another face-off, but instead of a literal attack, the goal is just to make Lola feel guilty and lose some Willing. Lola tries to arrogant-up and call them amateurs. Dice crush Lola, and she meekly offers to help undo the damage anyway she can. So much for the hotshot hacker.

    So far the Light hack is working much better for us than our previous Remember Tomorrow games. A lot more detail and discussion in the full Skins and Screens actual play.
  • So we're sort of secret agents searching for a missing scientist, who happens to be the immortal Ben Franklin. Its just a thing, he's an asset who took an unauthorized flyer from his gilded cage beneath MIT, the usual. But, for reasons too complicated to elucidate here, we cannot think - or even know - his identity without drawing the attention of horrific dark forces determined to thwart our efforts and destroy the American experiment. This makes tracking him down a challenge. We're up for it!

    So we hypnotize ourselves and go looking for "this guy on the hundred dollar bill" - in Boston - during the April 1975 opening of the Bicentennial - with the Queen of England and Gerald Ford in attendance - surrounded by Benjamin Franklin impersonators and body-jumping demons from some DMT hell.

    It gets crazy, but the best part is that whenever anyone at the table utters "Ben Franklin", they have to roll to see if they just broke their psychic conditioning.
  • Mike, remember the machine we built fixed *our* version of the world. It wiped out everybody else's.

    I can't decide whether my favourite moment was:

    - realising that my Hocus' brother (who'd left in episode 1 swearing revenge for my mishandling of his wife's pregnancy) had returned as a hocus himself leading several caravans worth of hippy cannibals, or

    - Burdick, our Savvyhead, meeting the version of himself from our Apocalypse World's pre-fragmented timeline and then - very casually - swapping bodies with him.

    Mostly, though, the 15 sessions of our game have left me having learned the lesson that violence really can solve problems.
  • Posted By: Steve HickeyMike, remember the machine we built fixed *our* version of the world. It wiped out everybody else's.
    Details, details.
  • Jason: WTF.

    Love,
    John
  • AW, with three newbies and one semi-newbie. Mercer is trying to take over the hold, and has got his own powered suit to deal with it. It ends in a battle between the Juggernaut and Mercer, while October Frost rescues one of her orphan foundlings who's been taken prisoner. She kills his guard in front of him and then tries to calm him down, missing her +hot. She's nearly naked, covered in blood, holding a sword in one hand and a knife in the other, and she's just come sprinting out of the darkness to kill a man in front of him.

    Needless to say, he bolts into the darkness.

    (But it all ended happily!)

  • edited March 2011
    I played Dungeon Squad, as a player, with three nine-year-olds as my partners in crime. My brother ran the game. Here's our main wizard, Mirlin:
    image
    He has a pet owl. Here's Tiger Wind, our main tiger guy:
    image
    The guy playing Mirlin took a very mercenary attitude and wouldn't help anybody unless they paid him (to be fair, he was saving up for a 100GP wizard's laboratory). At one point he found himself in dire danger and begged us for help. We all got our money back, coin by coin. Kids are mean and so am I.
    Here's some audio of me making my guy and getting a lot of advice.
  • Jason: That is mathematical!
  • Mars Colony. Kelly breaks up the government-sponsored media monopoly, which everyone assumes is just a propaganda mouthpiece anyway, and foments open grass-roots journalism. News Corp is broken in two, the old media branch and a new utility company that owns the broadcast equipment but is required to give free access to other news agencies without bias.

    Journalism is Kelly's secret weapon. She knows that so long as independent investigative journalism thrives, it will keep the real problems of the colony from being swept under the rug.

    (sadly I rolled perfectly, which inspired the "Questionable Methods" rules option, so you could opt to get Kelly in more trouble)
  • edited March 2011
    @Jason:
    Playing with kids is majikul.
  • London Indie Game Meetup last Saturday.

    After the first slot we were trying to sort out games for the second slot.
    "I fancy Lady Blackbird."
    "I can run that if there's interest."
    *much murmuring of interest*
    *much searching and rustling in my bag for my copy*
    *many offers from everyone else of their copies of the game if I can't find mine*
    ...
    A thoroughly awesome game that involved the Ghost Pirate King Uriah Flint reaching through mirrors, a thoroughly incompetent Cyrus Vance and a game the had us all splitting our sides all evening.

    (My own Terror of the Serpent Men! which I'd run in the earlier first slot saw a group of Pulp Heroes saving the Earth and Venus from the Serpent Men though Princess Aphasia was left Almost Certainly Dead trying to stop the doomsday rocket!)
  • I love things reaching through mirrors!

    Terror of the Serpent Men sounds cool. Is it online?
  • I've had my first time over skype - as a game facilitator. We played cute gm-less game called "Morderstwo w Katedrze" (Murder in the Cathedral).

    We proved the victim was beaten to death with organ-grinder crank in a ritual murder due to contract from a secret organization. The murderer was an elderly, limpy man, who had a passionate affair with the victim.
    And my prosecutor, Jonathan Ashcroft, 3rd lord Chopstick, has won the game! ;-)
  • Dungeon World. The aristocratic paladin's sister has "run off with her lover", a month before she is to be married to another to cement a critical alliance. Paladin, thief and wizard set off to bring her back. Things are not as they seem and after various misadventures they are set upon by assassins. After defeating them, the wizard enacts a ritual to raise a spirit of the dead. The spirit rises from the corpse. They can ask it three questions.

    WIZARD: Who do you serve?
    ASSASSIN: Tamaaq.
    THIEF: Fuck, who is Tamaaq?
    ASSASSIN: The evil dragon we worship.
    PALADIN: Why was my sister abducted?
    ASSASSIN: She is Tamaaq's chosen.
    PALADIN: Wait! Where is she? Where is my sister?
    The spirit laughs and dissipates.
    PALADIN: Noooooooooooooooooooo!

    So great, and we ended the session right there. Dungeon World is just beautiful. The characters and their options are so much fun. It is getting tighter and tighter with every draft. We're loving it!
  • In our weird homebrew last night, there was a fight in space! The ill-starred crew of Soyuz-11 and a super secret Air Force MOL mission duked it out on the surface of a weird alien asteroid with unknown intentions in a parking orbit over Berlin in 1971.

    The coolest thing for me was that none of the Soyuz-11 crew made it back to Earth alive (although two of them survived aboard the pleistocene space-ark), which means that history wasn't changed that much. We didn't try to make that happen, but it was satisfying when it did.

    I've been gaming a lot recently.
  • Microscope, in which we learn that all our idols have feet of clay.

    Kartan, leader of the slave revolt, turns out to be a bit of a disappointment. He led his people to freedom and overthrew the government, but when we zoom in to see how his fledgling nation gets along with its neighbors (who want peace but also want to keep their slaves) we find he's enjoying his new power too much to risk it. He'd rather secretly make peace and remain safely on his new throne rather than march off to liberate the neighboring slaves, much to the disgust of his old comrades-in-arms. He fires up the mobs with promises of liberating crusades, but secretly prepares a diplomatic visit to make nice to the wealthy neighboring rulers.

    He's no Spartacus. But the history already says that, later on, cascading slave revolts sweep through the colonies. If Kartan is pursuing profitable peace instead of further rebellion, how does that happen?

    We play a scene of the diplomatic visit, with Kartan's unctuous advisor touring the slave farms with his wealthy host. The advisor was a former slave, liberated in Kartan's revolt just a few weeks ago, but now he's dressed in the finery of his former masters, hob-nobbing with the nobles, and looking down on the other slaves. The slave-turned-aristocrat even chides his host when a slave's outbursts go unpunished. "In my country, such behavior would never be tolerated from a slave..." Says the former slave, with zero sympathy and twisted irony. Wonderfully despicable.

    But when the lusty advisor tries to take a beautiful young slave girl out of the fields "for finer things…" her father is driven to a fury. He impales an overseer with his pitchfork, the other slaves seize their chance, and before you know it, Kartan's visit sparks the rebellion after all... Yay history!
  • edited March 2011
    Another episode of Fukurou Clan misfortunes in John Wick's Blood & Honor.
    The team is mixed - two story-gamers, two hardcore mainstream gamers and one newbie. We had some issues (again) with "all this inventing the plot for a lazy GM" but it's getting better (or it's my hope speaking).
    Nevertheless we achieved some beautiful scenes and that's a success.


    l.
  • edited March 2011
    My players in Hatchet city took the names Guv Andus (hardholder), Messy Triton (brainer) and New Hampton Vikings (skinner). The skinner builds a miniature version of Hatchet city populated by candy people and dress up two local kids as Guv and his nemesis Ambergrease and lets them loose. The message gets home but unfortunately one of the kids is a sick wader he took pity on earlier so when the rest of the town joins in the candy orgy of destruction the parasite clock jumps from 3 to 10.

    The brainer figures out a way to physically touch Blind-Blue through one of his proxies and they share a laugh when they both implant the commands "Kill Ambergrease" into each other. Then the brainer pops Blind-Blue's skull like a blueberry.
  • Been playing L5R's "City of Lies" box adapted to "A Dirty World".

    Had to put quite some work into this, but it's working so far. Well, except the Yasuki Magistrate and his Kitsuki aid got slaughtered in a back alley, as they refused to compromise after putting the drug lords up against the wall (that plan to "temporarily" legalize the opium trade was nice though).

    Next week: the Shosuro spouse of the Kitsuki comes to demand retribution, a monk descend from his monastery to understand what happened to his favorite student, and a Moto bodyguard has to justify how come he's still alive and spending big in geisha houses.
  • More Love in the Time of Seið, this time at CONcrete Cow.

    Which meant more brain-biting axes to the skull, a whack of mead-fuelled coupling in the Lovers Bower, bloody ravens whispering the words of the Old Gods in the middle of furious storms, and babies being ripped from wombs for terrible purposes. All that and some flavour of incest, this time between the Knight and the Princess. Game on, good times.

    Has there ever been a game where the Earl is played sympathetically? He's been a right proper bastard in all the games I've played, a man of cruel sex and wild ambition. I'm keen to play him more sympathetically - or at least try to - next time I run this out. I've played Love three times now in just over a month, and these elements have cropped up in every game. They've always been good when they've cropped up, but I gotta say that I'm all incested out. I'm still keen to play Love, but Do It Differently is gonna be popping up little more to keep the game fresh.
  • Posted By: PeteHas there ever been a game where the Earl is played sympathetically?
    No, not as far as I know. He's positioned as a lightning rod for conflict.
  • An unpublished playset by Will Hindmarch, called The Zoo, got chosen and played by one of the tables at last Saturday's "Taste of Fiasco" event in DC - it went very well and centered on the zoo's only remaining dolphin, which the director was trying to sell to a Columbian drug lord as a quinceañera gift for his daughter. There was a hilarious scene between an animal rights activist and the dolphin (who was, tragically, only an NPC - missed opportunity).
  • Microscope, "Rodent Monarchy Fission."

    MIcroscope feels more like a toy than a game to me and that makes me very happy. Playing with the microscope is like playing with EPIC LEGO.

    I get into the fiction of the game over here.
  • edited March 2011
    Finally played Leverage! Woo!

    I ran what turned out to be called "The Brazilian Job" for three players, using only the random-roll job creation in the book and a wikipedia article on crime in Brazil. The Clinic Compaixão in Rio needed its cancer therapy meds, but they were held at the port by a corrupt BOPE official looking to score points with a local drug lord. That's where the crew came in.

    We had a tourist helicopter tour that turned into a recon op, a scuffle with Favela muscle in a hotel bar, police interrogation at gunpoint in a dirty cinderblock cell, rappelling from a cargo crane, and a very timely application of the "Friends in the CIA" asset to finally take down the mark.

    Fun was had by all. And, now that I've played, I won't feel as guilty about all these Cortex Plus hacks floating around in my brain. :)
  • Dev ran Blowback for me at PAX East. It was AMAZING. I wish more people would run my game for me, I had so much fun. We played with his girlfriend Laura, who is awesome, and also Vincent who is okay if you're into that sort of thing.

    I was playing a civilian, Jenna, who was completely oblivious to everything except that she really dug the bookish dude, Wade, who let her play spy sometimes. Wade was hyper-aware of everything except my character's general incompetence and feelings for him. Laura's no-nonsense commando was freaking awesome, too.

    My character's roommate, Damian, was really into her— and oblivious, she never noticed, and kept ditching him to hang out with Wade, or inviting Wade along when they were going to do things together. Wade was staying at this super sketchy La Quinta in Somerville, MA. Anyway. Jenna's about to slip out to go to the big heist, and Damian stops her. "Where are you going?! What is this shit that Wade has gotten you into? You're going to get yourself killed? You're going to get ME killed! Dudes followed me home from work last night! This is not cool, and you're not leaving until you tell me where you're going!"

    I barely make my Provocateur roll and manage to convince him I'm not going to a heist. "Look, Wade's taking me to The Melting Pot, okay? I didn't want to tell you because I know how you feel about non-local chain restaurants and I knew you'd be all judgy but WADE IS TAKING ME SOMEWHERE NICE AND I DON'T CARE."

    This causes enough stress to break my relationship with Damian. He shouts "Oh REALLY! I'm getting FUCKING TAILED because WADE IS TAKING YOU TO THE MELTING POT. Fine! Fine. I don't care WHAT happens to you at the La Quinta."

    After the heist, during Blowback, I make Wade promise we can move in together, to a real apartment. Awk-WARD.

    Oh yeah, spy stuff happened too.
  • A nice summation from one of the players in our Dungeon World game after we finished the 3 session long adventure "Barrows of the Iron King"

    "After mighty striving we have vanquished the Iron King by tricking his undead dragon into breathing its coldfire upon the seat of his power. I am released from the foul ghoul rot, but now I've gotten myself cursed from picking up the Iron King's foul blade. Oh well, at least we left with some gold in our pockets."

    - Colin
  • We were supposed to play AW tonight, but one of us was out sick, so the remaining three of us tried Shooting the Moon. Would the alien seal-woman Pelt-like-Moonlight-On-Waves preserve the fragile peace of her warlike species? And would she choose the human exo-anthropologist Avalon for her mate, or rather young Searches-For-Shiny-Things, brother to the hateful upstart Blood-on-the-Sands.

    As is typical for us, our one shot was more like a half shot, with time for just one round of scenes. The first two were relatively quiet, but since we were wrapping up early, we decided to go big for the last one: storming mobs, phasers on kill, sororicide. I was left wondering what the game would have been like if we'd been able to continue; maybe we should play more games as if the first round were the last.
  • Did a playtest of Fenomenet at a local minicon. Participants were I, one of the other GMs from Nordnordost, a guy who four hours earlier had played in his first RPG ever and a 12 yr old girl.

    Fun was had by all in a strange 1920'ies pulp setting. The game ended in brilliant tragedy when the Hero, almost turned into an avatar of Bastet returned to his lover, the chief archeologist's wife.

    He found her dying on the floor, and since he wanted her to be his queen when he conquered the world he tried to infuse her with his power. But her already weakened body could not take it so she died in his arms. Oh the grief.

    Enter: His lover's daughter. As he sees his lover in the young woman he decides to infuse HER with his divine power instead. Seems weak bodies were a family trait, as the girl also died in the process. OH THE GRIEF!
  • Posted By: WilhelmDid a playtest of Fenomenet at a local minicon. Participants were I, one of the other GMs from Nordnordost, a guy who four hours earlier had played in his first RPG ever and a 12 yr old girl.

    Fun was had by all in a strange 1920'ies pulp setting. The game ended in brilliant tragedy when the Hero, almost turned into an avatar ofBastetreturned to his lover, the chief archeologist's wife.

    He found her dying on the floor, and since he wanted her to be his queen when he conquered the world he tried to infuse her with his power. But her already weakened body could not take it so she died in his arms. Oh the grief.

    Enter: His lover's daughter. As he sees his lover in the young woman he decides to infuse HER with his divine power instead. Seems weak bodies were a family trait, as the girl also died in the process. OH THE GRIEF!
    Did the 12 year old gilr find all of this funny? how so?
  • edited March 2011
    Posted By: Albi_SG

    Did the 12 year old gilr find all of this funny? how so?
    Yes, she had a blast, and took an active part in the narration of the story. IIRC, it was her narration that killed the daughter.

    The game was played with a from above perspective, only rarely did NPCs even get a name. This perspective is not inherent in the game as such, but the rather turbulent surroundings didn't lend themselves for character immersion. I think the style suited her very well.
  • I realize now my bad habit of underestimating children's ability to take things lightly (and their generally wicked nature, by the way). Thw whole story taht came out of it seems so cool, anyway: kudos.
  • edited March 2011
    Also, she was chaperoned by her older brother and then her (gamer) mother. It was a very friendly game.

    I don't mind playing with young players, but I do adjust the content and style of the game accordingly. I would never run Montsegur 1244 with people under 18 for example.

    As I was playtesting the mechanics of the game the perspectives of a young player and a beginner were very usefull.
  • Posted By: Wilhelm

    I don't mind playing with young players, but I do adjust the content and style of the game accordingly. I would never run Montsegur 1244 with people under 18 for example.

    .
    I was not suggesting you had been inconsiderate in playing (if it came across like that, i apologize), i was just curious to understand how such an ending had played out at the table.
    Posted By: WilhelmAs I was playtesting the mechanics of the game the perspectives of a young player and a beginner were very usefull.
    I am long since convinced of the value of a "naive" opinion, one not biased too much by pregressed knnowledge: happy to see it put in practice also by more experienced players than me :)
  • My Apocalypse World game... the brainer has just killed a person driving away in a car with his puppet-strings hold, and the car slams into a tree and it's all pretty awful. He goes to retrieve some weird tech she had, and asks if there's anything of note in there. So I say, "well her skull's split open and there's some weird looking coppery wires all through the grey matter" The brainer's player says "I take a closer look" and motions grabbing a strand and pulling...

    Also, Pinkie the chopper's attempt to take over the whole damn area the game is set in came to a bloody, crashing halt when he messed with Lavender the maestro'd. Turns out that starting a war in front of her bar is a really bad idea: there were no survivors.
  • Free Market @ Game Storm. Hans, Aspen (sp?) and me playing, Mike Sugarbaker as the superuser

    Our MRCZ: ReDuvai, bringing back the authentic lifeforms of Old Earth (or a reasonable facsimile), now in convenient pocket-sizes! "Yes, the giraffabat is an authentic Earth species. Yes, we're positive. The wings just make the long neck even more effective. Well in that case can I interest you in one of Earth's fierce nocturnal predators, the glorilla?"

    We had a fantastic time, but I'm not sure the rules really spun us up so much as the starting setting and then bouncing off each others' creativity. We did have one magic mechanical moment, with Boomhauser, the politest assassin ever (played with uber-professionalism by Mike) clearing the air with Aspen's character before whacking him to avoid Frownies and Flow problems, and Aspen trying to talk him out of it. Aspen was horribly outgunned, but using every trick in the book he got a huge edge and should have won, but then lost disastrously anyway, entertaining the hell out of all of us at the table. Hans and I, tremendously impressed by the hitman's poise and professionalism, both friended him as he politely marched our partner to the airlock.
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