What did you play this week? (2017)

edited January 2018 in Actual Play
The last thread was great, so let's keep it going in 2017:

What did you play this week?
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  • Aviatrix ran an intense Night Witches one-shot last night. Good stuff.
  • edited January 2017
    Roe Nix's game Storybox, which is really fun. You assemble a box full of random objects and then pull them blindly to both inform the situation and resolve conflicts.

    The story that crawled out of our box was about a wealthy Edwardian family getting taken in by a charlatan in Waltham, Massachusetts. There was sex, there were health tonics, there were copies of the Bhagavad Gita.

    An old pocket watch told us we were in 1910 Waltham.
    A biplane toy told us I was playing George Hall, factory owner.
    A bejeweled elephant told us Kate was playing Charlotte Hall, a society lady enthralled with Eastern mysticism.
    A tin toy car told us JD was playing Owen Hall, 15 year old scion of the family with a yearning for the declasse.
    A knitted snail told us our collective heart's desire was the simple, ascetic life promised by Brahminananda, an itinerant swami visiting Waltham.

    There was a cool scene where Charlotte invited Swami Brahminananda over for dinner and George was hostile and deeply skeptical, sensing - correctly - that this guy was more grifter than spiritual teacher. Charlotte mentioned George's dyspepsia (I had drawn a wine bottle cork earlier to indicate what was keeping him from his heart's desire - George's sybaritic lifestyle). The swami excused himself to the kitchen and whipped up an Ayurvedic tonic. Would George be won over? I drew from the box and got - Charlotte's elephant! Yes, yes he would.
  • Zombie Cinema at Story Games Seattle. But instead of the usual zombie hordes, we were being hunted by men-in-black. Just like Geiger Counter, I think you could use it for most generic menaces.
  • Played a beta version of Atlas Reckoning which is a Giant Mech vs Kaiju game (think Pacific Rim). It was fun but we were doing it as a one shot plus figuring out the system as we went so not a lot of character development happened. I think it probably plays best with multiple sessions. Looking forward to trying that.
  • I cancelled my regular games to prep for MAGFest, where we played:
    - Fate Accelerated "It's Not my Fault" (a set of cards you can get from DriveThruCards). I ran this. Though it's fun, I don't run it that much because it really only fills 2-3 hours before I feel mentally exhausted from the improv. My daughter really enjoyed it.
    - Mutant Crawl Classics. The GM who ran this is a super old-school fan who wanted to try it out. We both seem less than impressed in the after discussion (but for me that was little surprise, since DCC's philosophy never seemed to me to have any redeeming value over other dungeon crawly options on the market.)
    - Pathfinder Society with some friends. We played an adventure where we diverged from the narrative (as in "we know what's up with this NPC and we know it would be best if he came with us right now). The GM self-awaredy confessed that he realizes that if this were a home game, this would be the point to take it off the rails, but for the purposes of organized play, he was sticking with the script. This, coupled with the Know Direction podcast I was listening to on my drive home, led me to a bit of introspection on varying philosophy of "functional bits" of published adventures. That could spawn a thread of its own if I had a moment to spare for it.
  • edited January 2017
    I attended a small convention where I played 4 games over 2 days, all run/hosted by me. Because of convention guidelines, these all had to fit within 3-hour slots:
    • A crowded session of Dread (of the Jenga kind) set in 1917 on the Italian front. This was my usual non-hack of using Dread for a straight-up foot soldiers in WWI game, no "horror" other than the war itself - and only departing from by-the-book Dread in that I don't actually write a scenario (except for character questionnaires) but rather improvise most of it. Most of the time, it's soldiers and low-ranking officers dealing with the boring day-to-day chores of trench warfare and dying random, tragic deaths. Much of the fun of the session came from leveraging the language barrier of having a majority of the players speak in a shared dialect just two players couldn't understand (which reflects the historical reality of WWI era Italy).
    • A game of Dog Eat Dog, marked by the Occupation player going really over-the-top with representing an absurd, crazy culture we Natives had no hope to reason with. It overwhelmingly became an eco-parable about wasting resources. Fun was had.
    • Mobile Frame Zero: Firebrands, where we flirted like no tomorrow, which really payed off for the two of us playing entirely unreasonable but immensely charismatic Bantraesh and ultimately turning our enemies into our new allies - or willing toys. The relationship between my beautiful, radiant Bantraesh prince and a kind, down-to-earth housewife turned revolutionary leader quickly (d)evolved into a Fifty Shades of Bantral scenario. I have decided that 4 is my favorite number of players for Firebrands - there were five of us this time and I don't believe everyone got enough of a share of the spotlight.
    • Lovecraftesque, using the Face of Evil scenario. Deep Ones turned out to be the Final Horror, but I believe we managed to put the scary back into Deep Ones. Having now played Lovecraftesque twice, once without cards and once using them, I don't really see the point of special cards - I feel like the extremely simple rules in the "Playing without cards" sidebar are a much less confusing way to achieve the same net effect.
  • Fate Core Bulldogs! The crew finally tracked down their former captain, who'd stolen all their money and ran off to parts unknown. They infiltrated a cruise ship and dealt nasty revenge on their former boss. They also helped themselves to other passengers' money, which changes the campaign from one about hauling cargo for Class D Shipping to one about being Outlaws Rich AF.
  • Monsterhearts with 2nd edition sneak peek pack. Went well enough, but we're wondering how one can get strings on NPCs without using Turn Them On, which is not always an appropriate move (e.g., not all players will want their PCs to use it on, say, close relatives, even in Monsterhearts).

    This is the first time I've been in a game longer than 3 sessions, and it's interesting watching stuff start to build. The Queen has co-opted two of the other three PCs into her gang via the sex move.

    The Werewolf (girl raised by wolves model) left a supernatural enemy alive. She and her adoptive sister had been grounded, but the Queen managed to convince the parents to let them out for ice cream. The NPC step-sister had been sleeping with the Fae, and she ran to the Fae, saying "You sprung me!" and started kissing the Fae.

    The Werewolf had also had sex with the Fae and did likewise, to my delight, causing the adoptive sister to stomp off, furious and humiliated. And, even better, the Fae's attempt to smooth things over crashed and burned. So, while the Queen's hive did take care of the adoptive sister, feeding her ice cream and sending her home, off stage, when the Werewolf arrived home, the first question the parents asked was "Where is your sister?" Naturally, the answer is "kidnapped by the supernatural enemy", which the Werewolf figured out as we broke. I was about to type "She may not want to tell her parents that", but -- well, the player's having a blast with "raised by wolves", and the Werewolf blurts things out, extremely bluntly, so... we'll see.
  • Monsterhearts with 2nd edition sneak peek pack. Went well enough, but we're wondering how one can get strings on NPCs without using Turn Them On, which is not always an appropriate move (e.g., not all players will want their PCs to use it on, say, close relatives, even in Monsterhearts).
    (I'm curious about this, too, although I haven't tried the new rules yet.)

  • We started a game in the Dinotopia universe using Archipelago. It's an interesting struggle for us, since Dinotopia is about exploration, positivity and self-discovery rather than miserable failure and bloody internecine conflict, our normal oeuvre.
  • edited January 2017
    People have been way less interested in City of Brass since the election, so I started building a new social sandbox setting, Towerlands for D&D 5e. It's a fantasy version of Brandenburg, Nordmark, Germany in 1150 AD.

    With some trepidation, I ran it last night for four players. Two had never played any RPG before.

    It went all right. I'll post a summary in a new thread.
  • Last night's GURPS Infinite Worlds installment put us in the mid-1980s in Lebanon. The conceit of this arc is that we keep psychically jumping into a particular family during times of crisis, a la Quantum Leap. Our only mission goal is an intentionally vague "protect the bloodline." While in these bodies we're severely limited in using our usual abilities (our character start at 350 points and are quite powerful). At each century we jump in -- we started during the Crusades and keep revisiting every couple of centuries, typically during wartime -- we the players create the thumbnails of the person our characters are jumping into. I've gone from being a princess in one age to a pauper who scavengers battlefields in another. I love how the current GM has injected so much collaborative storytelling into the arc. Not what one usually expects of GURPS.
  • edited January 2017
    Everway, in a GM-less variant of my own devising.

    It's largely an Archipelago hack, but it also integrates all components from the original game: the Fate Deck, Vision Cards, element wheel, powers and magic, etc. Essentially, what used to be GM prep in classic Everway becomes a collective, ongoing effort of making sense of a Realm's oracle - a process which effectively replaces Archipelago Destiny Points. I also included various bits from a work-in-progress I call The Fourth King (in turn a spin-off from my white whale project Cast Down from Eden) which are meant to give the game a certain episodic structure, with most conflicts exploding and being resolved near the end of an episode.

    This was the first session - excepting an afternoon we spent creating characters a couple weeks ago - and, of course, mostly a playstorming. We're satisfied enough to carry on with the experiment, fine-tuning as we go.
  • (Rafu, I'd love to hear more about this "making sense of a Realm's oracle", and how it orients play. Are you willing to chat about that?)
  • Sure I am. Though probably this thread isn't the place for it.
  • I played a 3-player session of Meridian this week. Our Journeyer was a young boy trying to make his way back home to London during WWII. It was my second time playing the game (first time running it), and we struggled a little bit with having only one player as a Touch. You can read the full summary over at Story Games Olympia!
  • Over the past couple of weeks:
    • Advanced Fighting Fantasy: British 80s dungeon-crawl curio; possibly qualifies as OSR these days? Charmingly hokey intro dungeon in a well, featuring a bar with no reason to exist other than to refresh the adventurers, resulting in entertainingly surreal dialogue with the hobbit staff.
    • D&D 5e Adventurers' League micro-one-shot: Not totally my cup of tea, but try everything once except incest and folk-dancing, right? It was okay: we fought fire-breathing vampire bats, with our monk tragically perishing in the effort. My main take-home is that you can get through a surprising amount of content in an hour in this format.
    • Age of Anarchy: We persuaded the Earl of Chester to back the Empress Matilda over King Stephen, and my corrupt monk faced down his nemesis, the austere Abbot Ralph. Funding on Kickstarter now, folks!
    • The Warren: I was GMing this time. There was conflict with vengeful squirrels, a tussle with a badger who had taken up residence in forgotten tunnels, and diplomatic disputes with the rabbits from the warren in the walled rose-garden. There are bits of the rules I'm not totally sure about (Shrewd seems a markedly better stat than Strong, it's not really clear when to apply Resist Panic) but nonetheless it plays very nicely in practice.
    • In the penultimate session of our latest Infinite Worlds arc, we snuck onto an airbase, stole a helicopter, and rushed to a cave we knew to be the epicenter of weirdness on this Earth echo. In a previous decade the cave was a hideout for a madman and his Cult of Bright Colors. We arrived to see rival agents at the mouth of the cave fighting...battle kittens. The adorable yet deadly florescent felines held us off long enough to engage a transit beam and open a gate to the Lisa Frank dimension. Our final session promises to be a showdown with minions from a Lisa Frank nightmare on a dark side of the moon more rainbows than shadows.
    • Archipelago: Dinotopia and Undying
    • Kingdom last week, Firebrands last night.

      Brainstorming our Kingdom, as you do:

      player: "Let's be a cult"

      another player: "What kind of cult?"

      yet another player: "I've been into moth imagery lately. We could be the Keepers of the Moths, or the Moths for short."

      yet another other player: "But if we're the keepers of the moths, we're not the moths. What if everyone else is the moths? We're keeping humanity from flying into the flame…"

      And that's how we suppressed learning and technology on our world.
    • yet another other player: "But if we're the keepers of the moths, we're not the moths. What if everyone else is the moths? We're keeping humanity from flying into the flame…"
      Awesome.
    • I went to London Indie RPG meet, where I played:

      HEARTS BLAZING: card-based space opera game where you deal cards representing your character archetype's tropes to score points to pass a scene. We ditched the "space" part and played the Blade Runner squad of the Nu-New-York police dept, gunning down rogue AIs. The trope cards meant you were seldom at a loss for what to do with your character, but also meant each scene felt overstuffed, and it also sometimes felt unclear who was supposed to narrate opposition. Might work better with fewer players (we had 5).

      DOWNFALL: We were an island of superheroes who discriminated against the mundane humans in our midst, and who threatened to vaporise the French after they offended us. It played fast and smooth. We wound up having lots of abstract discussions about the validity of international law and the separation of executive and judiciary, but in an enjoyable way. Recommended.
    • Friday the 13th - Mutants & Masterminds - my first home-brewed session after running the out of the book "Emerald City Knights" game. I introduced a villain I like, pulling on the PC backstory to help set it up. The PC backstories are a little light; in addition to Fate's consequence mechanism, I am missing it's more entrenched backstory/trouble generating mechanisms.

      Thursday the 19th - Night's Black Agents, also the first improv game after running a long scripted series. I'm running the impov-ish Dracula Dossier campaign, and pulled in the "Zalozhniy Quartet" after PC actions pulled me in that direction. Now I am going to have to get the players more in the mind of making and following up on their own goals rather than having it spoon fed. They ended up tying up a loose end from the scripted campaign, which is a fair enough compromise, I suppose.
    • I played The Daughters of Verona with some veterans, a trad gamer and a beginner. People laughed. There was a feast and marriages for the lovers in the end.
    • Played my Everway/Archipelago/homebrew mash-up again - 2nd episode in our 3-player "campaign".

      The content was good, mostly commentary on the 1st episode. Once more we found ourselves in a Realm with serious problems of policy due to a malicious and inept ruling class after the king had passed out, and once more there was violent rioting - but this time the status quo was finally restored. Once again isolationism was involved, but of a more mundane sort, and people in charge feeding their subjects lies, but the lie itself was much more complicated. A PC went on an involuntary killing spree again, but not the same PC as before, and this happened under magical compulsion. Once more we fought against dark magic and my PC failed to learn our enemies' arts because our enemies were dead. In fact, the whole corrupt ruling class of the kingdom ended up murdered, again.

      Design-wise, I have established a formal in-character debriefing scene. I'm now considering fiddling with my end-of-session conflict/flashpoint mechanics a little more.
    • I've run the second session of "The Carmilla Sanction". A couple of the Agents undercut each other as one decided to kill a potential source of information on the grounds that the man was a Nazi and a cultist, which is legit, especially as she had a Drive of Revenge specifically against cultists. So, she rigged the man's toilet to explode. Another agent decided to set off the explosion when it wouldn't kill anyone, including the target, on the grounds that she wanted him alive until they knew everything he did. Ironically, this was the one Jewish Agent.

      We began character generation for a game of Princess: The Hopeful, which I'm playing in and not gming -- yay!

      We also had a session of Diaspora, where my PC, Graf Linus von Schultz, also known as the Butcher of Old Terra, on account of sending nukes and missiles against crowded areas (the first wasn't him, but he took credit for Reasons, while the second was him, and was him nuking his family castle for actually good and sufficient reasons, and when the area was unpopulated by civilians, I think) is trying to figure out a) whether he needs to be ready to blow anything up, b) whether taking credit for looming catastrophe will mean those who hate him will get their act together to stop the catastrophe (not exactly his fault -- had to do with unrealized side effects of space elevators that grow on their own), and c) whether anyone can disarm a nuke that an enemy just set to go off right next to where he and his companions are. This coming week, we will hopefully find out whether everyone's dead or the bomb got disarmed, and perhaps just what we can do about the growing space elevator before it does something nasty to the Earth's seas or crust or something -- neither Linus nor I quite understand the technology involved.
    • This weekend was Kapcon, my local annual convention!

      Played:
      - Fall of Magic
      - Tales From The Loop
      - (my own, almost finished) Three Dooms
      - Life On Mars
      - (my own, also almost finished) Heavy Metal Æons
      - Feng Shui 2
      - Ghost Court
      - Monster of the Week (as a hunter)

      All of those were great fun, but probably my top games were Fall of Magic (it was with two really great other players), Heavy Metal Æons (because it was really fun and seems like I've smoothed out the last issues in the rules), and Tales From The Loop (because it is just so great, and this was another game with great players who got totally into the setting).
    • Kapcon was pretty great this year.

      I facilitated:
      - Bluebeard's Bride (twice)
      - a playtest of my game, The Perfect Heist
      - Love in the Time of the Seith
      - 183 Days
      - Cartel

      ... and I played in Farflung and Ghost Court.

      Bluebeard's Bride was something I felt I got better at GMing as I went along. Cartel was, as ever, fantastic. I'm busy scribbling notes for a Rat / Informant playbook at the moment.
    • Last Sunday we had a partial crew so we decided to do a FAE one shot of It's Not My Future (a one page sci-fi character and starting scenario generator inspired by Evil Hat's It's not My Fault cards.) What do you do when your infinity engine turns out to be a fake and is just a chaos engine?
    • More Archipelago: Dinotopia. We only had three people show up and Archipelago gets a little creaky with three, but we made it work. Some snakes stole our magic egg.
    • Trail of Cthulhu, The Unanswered Question, my "Tatters of the King in '50s USA" remix. Fresh off their return from Carcosa, the Investigators went for some R&R in New Orleans only to be drawn into the bizarre circumstances of an attempt to summon the ancient Muses to Earth. A remix of Oscar Rios' "Song and Dance"; I overprepped a bit which makes me railroady.

      Trail of Cthulhu "The Dying of St. Margaret's", Graham Walmsey's purist adventure. This was a tune-up to run it at Dreamation, and mostly landed. Probably I need to cut a loop out of it (which Graham actually recommends in the notes.)

      and finally a Fiasco playset to generate some backstory for my Masks of Nyarlathotep run at the Tuesday night meetup. At a wild jazz party on Long Island a Miskatonic professor, a psychologist, an explorer, and a railway brakeman working for a bootlegger met and talked with their friend Louise "Jackson Elias" Jackson. The psychologist and the explorer decided to get married and bring the professor on a trip to Egypt, and we discovered that the explorer and the brakeman had both played major league baseball in 1917. Fun!
    • I played Pathfinder. My ifrit bard 6 / swashbuckler 3 modeled after Julie d'Aubigny, Le Maupin, survived the "I think we're all going to die" cliffhanger that held us in suspense since September (we couldn't all get together to finish) and leveled up. We haven't saved the day, but we did meet a half-slumbering evil demigod and lived to tell.

      I got momentarily cranky at the end of it. The mountain we were underneath is cursed with some kind of mutation magic. We all rolled on a random mutation table twice: once for a benefit, once more for a boon.

      Another character (the fighter) got a really cool "charm person" benefit (at will, once per round, no limit) that stepped all over my niche.

      I'll get over it.
    • I'd like to see that Masks Fiasco playset.

      Yesterday, I played Diaspora. Apparently, some nuclear bombs, at least ones jury rigged from other things, have off switches. Or something -- I'm not playing a techie.

      We managed to stop the moon from crashing into the earth for the moment, and to stop the growing space elevator which was growing through the moon from destroying the museum at the moon's center, left by a previous civilization, powered by a huge pool of anti-matter. Currently, the moon is touching the earth's atmosphere, and likely to merge with earth over the next few years, which means it's not an immediate problem, unlike whatever short term effects this has, including, oh, folks on earth shooting missiles at the moon. And apparently, the supercomputer that Graf Linus von Schultz surrendered to (so it wouldn't destroy the earth -- he claimed to be the ruler of the planet and hence empowered to surrender on earth's behalf) is the plague folks have been trying to stop, which is boggling Linus, who figured he'd just done a simple paper surrender that didn't, you know, actually do anything other than keep his home planet from getting destroyed. And... just why does space krill from New Buffalo work as a plague cure, again?

      Today, I'm running Kerberos Fate, using Atomic Robo rules suitably rechromed, and the main thing I need to do before game is figure out how to stat out a steampunk Victorian RAMPAGING MECHA!

    • Yesterday I played Preservant.
      I have to say, good job to the author!
      Initially it looked and felt like almost like a copy of Microscope and Follow ... two games I did not enjoy.
      And instead it worked really well and got me engaged and having fun; an unexpected and very welcome surprise :D
    • edited January 2017
      Kerberos Fate: We did not get to the fight with the RAMPAGING MECHA!
      But, we got to use SCIENCE! An Invention was INVENTED to deal with the RAMPAGING MECHA!
      Ah, I was reminded that there were tea parties. Including one I failed to play out, to a player's disappointment. I am trying to get through to the player that it's not merely acceptable, but downright desirable to tell me, out of character, "Hey, this thing you're skipping over, I wanted to play it out."

    • Currently, the moon is touching the earth's atmosphere, and likely to merge with earth over the next few years, which means it's not an immediate problem, unlike whatever short term effects this has, including, oh, folks on earth shooting missiles at the moon. And apparently, the supercomputer that Graf Linus von Schultz surrendered to (so it wouldn't destroy the earth -- he claimed to be the ruler of the planet and hence empowered to surrender on earth's behalf) is the plague folks have been trying to stop, which is boggling Linus, who figured he'd just done a simple paper surrender that didn't, you know, actually do anything other than keep his home planet from getting destroyed. And... just why does space krill from New Buffalo work as a plague cure, again?
      I'm loving these AP snippets of yours.
      We only had three people show up and Archipelago gets a little creaky with three
      Does it? I haven't noticed. But then, all my experiences playing Archipelago with more than three players are from quite a few years ago, so it's entirely possible I can't even remember or haven't experienced "non creaky" Archipelago.
    • @rafu it works better with four or five, where nobody has to think about more than a single setting element, where there are more eyes on the table to call out "try a different way" or "harder" or "more detail" or whatever. But obviously it is fine with three.
    • This I playtested Fedora Noir and was a jaded detective! Then I destroyed an empire and a friendship while clashing swords in Reflections!
    • it works better with four or five, where nobody has to think about more than a single setting element, where there are more eyes on the table to call out "try a different way" or "harder" or "more detail" or whatever.
      Ah, I see what you mean! thx
      Yesterday I played Preservant.
      I haven't heard about this game. Link?
    • We played Archipelago last week for the first time. The game didn't resolve in time because our characters started out too far apart fictionally from one another. I think our group took a little too much liberty with the rules; for example, people would really stretch what aspects of the story were covered by their "Resources" and try to control the story too much using them very liberally. I think there was too much conflict and players trying to control the story individually, rather than working together to make the story better. It's funny, I think typical groups would under use the rules and I felt we overused them. I think Archipelago is probably a really great game if people are willing to share the story, but I didn't feel like it was our best effort in that regard and people used the game's tools to push their agenda rather than build something together.

      We've also been playing Freeform Universal. I like the dice outcomes and their interpretive nature, but I think the three session campaign was enough for us and we're done with the system.
    • Preservant
      official blog : http://www.bendutter.com/sigil-stone-publishing/perseverant-rpg/
      finished KS : https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/sigilstonepublishing/perseverant-rpg-a-survival-story-game

      The fiction rolled out well.
      The events succeeded one another without impediments.
      And the betrayal mechanics was just SOOOOO sweet ;)

      I also liked how, even when you win a challenge, you lose evidently more than you get. It really puts the pressure on, the sense of grim survival rather than over the top heroics. And it makes the social scenes very common, desirable, and relevant.

      It's a game I would like to play again :)

      Unfortunately the rulebook is explained in the style of Microscope and Follow, which is to say, like the instructions of a korean stereo :P
      It offers almost exclusively pure procedures, clear and dry, which is something I like because it usually means the rules are easier to find, understand and use.
      But somehow it is... I don't know... too technical?
      It's hard to make sense of the rules just by reading them, and a bunch of concepts seem thrown there without actually explaining them.

      Also, it spends far too much time worrying that people don't hurt their feelings, but it does so in what I consider an ineffective (and extremely obnoxious, if not outright ridiculous) way.

      That said, the game runs well, and delivers on its promises.
      Which is what matters to me :D
      Definitely recommended.
    • Played two new games Remember the Time and Mind of Margaret.

      In Mind of Margaret you play emotions vying to control the same character. Our hero was a failed Art Criticism Masters student who was now working as the night concierge at a venerable New Orleans hotel, and who was *positive* that if he could just get his thesis in front of the eyes of the Howard Hughes-like recluse Dr. Dubois, it would all turn around for him.

      Remember the Time is about old friends being reunited after drifting apart and reminiscing (or lying) about old times. Our reunion was two of us waking up tied to chairs by the third, who we'd sent to jail years ago…
    • Tonight after dinner (it was my birthday party) we tried Witch Quest for the first time. We started late and everybody was tired, so we didn't actually finish the scenario (which was A Lost Smile straight from the book, of course) - though I was under the impression that we could have reached a conclusion quickly hadn't we been that sleepy, with just 1 more hour or less of focused play.
      I was the GM and there were 3 witch+cat pairs and I was satisfied that it didn't feel like an overwhelming number of players - which is quite unusual. I had printed out character sheets (a simple, quick and dirty layout using a fancy font to make it look more compelling) with game terms translated to our local language and including the complete skill list: this sped up char-gen, though at least one player complained of having to roll too many dice (not about the randomness of char-gen, but about the actual time it took to roll 1d6 twenty-six times in a row and record the results -- I guess we're just spoiled by sleek and focused modern designs).
      The one thing everybody loved was the Cat Magic spell list, of course!
      One small thing I changed was that I handed out Portent and Shadow cards as the very first step in creating characters. Thus, players already had a vision for the character to strive to achieve when they picked their skills.
      Another change I made was, instead of attempting to roll doubles on 2d6 I hacked challenges into attempting to roll 1s on 1d6. This has the same probability, but significantly shorter handling time because you can roll your entire dice pool at a time, instead of re-rolling over and over. Sure, attempting to roll doubles feels more "magical", but I still believe this was a good idea.
      Something I unexpectedly got confused about is that some skills - such as Fortune Telling, say - appear to duplicate magical effects, so players kept asking to roll for challenges against those skills rather than engaging the spell-casting system - thus generating reduced opportunities for spectacular failures.
    • This week was the once a month grand conjunction where I play my periodic games 3 days in a row:
      Thursday: Night's Black Agents. Now in full improv mode running the Dracula Dossier. The players orchestrated a raid on an Edom (corrupt vampire-control branch of MI6) safehouse/prison; I used it as a chance to let them meet some prisoners who I hope will play into longer term plots for the game.

      Friday: Mutants & Masterminds. I ran a weird scenario where the players had to intervene in a fight between Dollface (a self replicating AI who likes to play dress up and similar games) and the Chessmen (technology thieves who irritated Dollface by stealing one of her technology caches). A lot of the fun of this game derives from how the players view their contribution to the setting. For example, the Rook (resident batman clone)'s player describes his headquarters and behavior to emulate the campiness of the old Adam West series.

      Saturday: Pathfinder. Running two games where I have to churn out adventures has me falling back to published adventure mode for this one. I am running bits out of "Razor Coast" for this one.
    • Rafu, we have done the same hack on the skill system. WQ is lovely.
    • edited January 2017
      We started a game of Wilhelm's While the World Ends.

      A desolate, post-apocalyptic future, where humanity has more-or-less destroyed itself, but a group of hyper-intelligent Artificial Intelligences attempt to keep them safe from each other.

      We decide to invert the usual sci-fi script, where AI develops murderous intent or tries to enslave humanity, and instead created a future where the AI is reasonable and morally superior to humankind.

      The AIs disarm humanity, to keep them from destroying each other, and attempt to keep them docile. (One of the characters fights in the gladiatorial arena at "Camp Aggression", one of few places where violent behaviour is not prohibited.)

      However, the AIs decide that they have been wrong in keeping humanity subjugated, so they start a program to hand knowledge and power back to the humans.

      First, they construct the Hall of Human Achievement, a sort of museum which celebrates all the incredible acts of art, creation, and science now long-forgotten by humans.

      Then they pen something called The Book, which is a text combining the most important elements of spirituality, religion, philosophy, and human knowledge, and start distributing it to humankind. (I created the Book as somewhat analogous to the fire Prometheus brought down to humanity in Greek myth; a tool for human empowerment and freedom, but one which can be used for good or evil.)

      We are playing to find out how this will change human society. Will the humans relearn the lessons of history and begin to rebuild a new civilization, better and more grounded than anything before? Or will they use the knowledge in the Book to reconstruct tools of power and wage war, threatening to destroy themselves as well as the AI?

      My character's Fear (which could come true if I play poorly and don't maneuver so as to roll enough dice my scenes) is that the Hall of Human Achievement is revealed to be a lie; a total fabrication. I advised the players to come up with Fears that they genuinely find scary; this one fills me with dread!
    • edited January 2017
      We started a game of Wilhelm's While the World Ends.

      A desolate, post-apocalyptic future, where humanity has more-or-less destroyed itself, but a group of hyper-intelligent Artificial Intelligences attempt to keep them safe from each other.

      We decide to invert the usual sci-fi script, where AI develops murderous intent or tries to enslave humanity, and instead created a future where the AI is reasonable and morally superior to humankind.

      The AIs disarm humanity, to keep them from destroying each other, and attempt to keep them docile. (One of the characters fights in the gladiatorial arena at "Camp Aggression", one of few places where violent behaviour is not prohibited.)

      However, the AIs decide that they have been wrong in keeping humanity subjugated, so they start a program to hand knowledge and power back to the humans.

      First, they construct the Hall of Human Achievement, a sort of museum which celebrates all the incredible acts of art, creation, and science now long-forgotten by humans.

      Then they pen something called The Book, which is a text combining the most important elements of spirituality, religion, philosophy, and human knowledge, and start distributing it to humankind. (I created the Book as somewhat analogous to the fire Prometheus brought down to humanity in Greek myth; a tool for human empowerment and freedom, but one which can be used for good or evil.)

      We are playing to find out how this will change human society. Will the humans relearn the lessons of history and begin to rebuild a new civilization, better and more grounded than anything before? Or will they use the knowledge in the Book to reconstruct tools of power and wage war, threatening to destroy themselves as well as the AI?

      My character's Fear (which could come true if I play poorly and don't maneuver so as to roll enough dice my scenes) is that the Hall of Human Achievement is revealed to be a lie; a total fabrication. I advised the players to come up with Fears that they genuinely find scary; this one fills me with dread!
      Paul, I've been thinking of playing this game for a bit. What did you like about it? How did it play? any issues? What was your overall impression? I would really appreciate it if you messaged me, posted, or whatever. Thanks :-)
    • Rafu, we have done the same hack on the skill system. WQ is lovely.
      Sweet to know! :D

      BTW, do you have any hints or tips for designing scenarios?
      "A Lost Smile" - well, the first half of it, anyway, the one we played - felt a bit too much like a computer game script because of the long "talk to person A, who then refers you to person B, who then refers you to person C, and so on" grind-loop. There's a choice of how to deal with each encounter/step - and I actually appreciate that there's no single "right" solution, a wide array of alternatives are allowed for - but only as long as each encounter/step ultimately leads to the next one.
      I'm curious what would happen if I used more Dogs in the Vineyard/Fables of Camelot type scenarios, where I skip most of the "investigation" part by shoving the meaty stuff right in the players' face and only focus on how they choose to deal with it, as well as the aftermath.
      Probably better start a new thread if you care to answer this question, though.
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