What did you play this week? (2018)



  • edited July 2018
    NYC Torchbearer #3:

    Ruadri and Yoggo spent days crawling through the dark caverns, first in total darkness, then with makeshift candles. Yoggo nearly fell to his death while traversing a narrow ledge. We failed test after test and went right down the death spiral, both of them gaining every condition but injured and dead. We had great character and environment roleplay throughout, thinking through how these two responded to hopelessness and what desperate gambits they would make to survive.

    The big turn was when we finally camped down and Yoggo made a decent map. We were able to follow that back to water. There were some Carreg drawings by the pool and Ruadri copied them down to learn a bit about Carreg communication. The two dungeoneers then returned to the Carreg camp to tell their story and explain their need for more supplies to carry on. The Carreg returned Yoggo and Ruadri's confiscated gear and the two set off, back into the darkness to find a wizard.

    This was a dense nugget of play that I couldn't imagine being interesting in any other system, but was 100% satisfying in Torchbearer. I earned my first 'Moldbreaker' reward for acting against a belief. Ruadri went from believing "Revelry makes a candle a hearth" to "Fear of Death is a shackle to be broken".
  • I played Brickquest with two different groups for a total of three sessions. I am trying to bolt on a homebrewed RPG system to the chassis. Right now the roleplay rules are handwavy because the game wasn't designed for that.

  • The society of dreamers
    Finally! I prepared the game, built an Ouija-board, drove to a con and found three teammates (all were experienced game masters). We played 6 hours and it was a rewarding experience. Afterwards I asked them, if they´d be interested in a mini-campaign of Wilhelms "Okult". They confirmed. One of the best Con experiences ever!
  • D&D! after 13 days of no games

    just hack & slash pretty much. which suited my mood perfectly
  • I ran The Expanse, from the free quickstart rules/adventure that Green Ronin released a little bit ago. The AGE system plays fast and pretty "trad," and we had a great time.

    The quickstart is really great, actually. It features gay characters without the sexuality being anything other than preference. It has a "random NPC chart" that can generate characters of non-binary status and varied non-EuroAmerican background. It boasts fantastic color art depictions of people of color. One of the two mob bosses is a woman.
  • edited August 2018
    @Adam, cool!

    Since I posted last, our old-school adventure game progressed. Here's a few notes from the last sessions (long post!):

    Session 27
    The dinosaurs fought in the pits and died valiently, netting the party some much-needed cash. Corey negotiated the use of warehouse space for a Portal door in exchange for future magical counter-espionage work. The party traveled to the Quweiq Mines via Al Awaj. They were ambushed by shocker lizards in the desert, but narrowly managed to survive. In the mines, they were ambushed by cultists, who fled. In pursuit, they quickly found a shaft to the second level of the mines, where they left a shield door as an access point.

    Session 28
    The party returned to the shield door in the mines, to find that it had been moved by something with claws. They went about exploring to get their bearings. There were ambushed by two imps, who killed their sole hireling. They traversed a long hallway covered in thick, goopy green slime (without injury, thanks to Corey's wormhole). They discovered a hidden escape entrance into the Cult Champion's quarters, which they mucked up before surprising him, the Head Cultist, and a henchman in the Cult Throne Room, along with a Bone Demon. (They were eating a freshly slaughtered minotaur. Slaves were chained to the walls.) The party drove away the High Priest, killed the Champion, freed the slaves, and made their escape when the High Priest returned with reinforcements. The Champion's body was pulled from the burning room as the party escaped.

    Session 29
    The party regrouped and created their first Stronghold, a warehouse in Al Ain with jetty frontage. They left the three minotaurs and the human slave to recuperate and journeyed back to Quweiq Mines. Originally Alzilu was dispatched by boat to set up a portal, but he bailed when the boat was attacked (and sunk) by fire eels, though he was able to rescue all the people aboard the boat.

    Next, the party traveled overland, but were ambushed by sand worms in the desert. Alzilu took a catastrophic injury, but the party arrived at Quweiq, set up a portal, and retrieved the recuperated minotaurs, who--after reaching the antechamber to the cultist's demense on the second level, found their bearing and led the group to an impromptu, refugee-style camp where the Sangonth escapees were living. Aseer (the white female minotaur) appeared to be an important leader in the camp. The group partook of the minotaur's "hospitality" and camped in their quarters.

    Session 30
    Speaking with the Sangonth minotaurs, the party discovered that the Korgash are set up on the third level, and that Squid-Men of some unknown nature dwell deeper in the mines. They also discovered that the cultists had recently began raiding the minotaurs for slaves/food (the diabolists are sadistic cannibals), presumbly after a lull in new adventurers for them to capture, torture, and eat. The party convinced the (not too bright) minotaurs that the cultists must be in league with the hated Korgash minotaurs. The enraged Sangonth mustered a party of 15 angry minotaurs, led by Aseer, with the goal of assaulting the cultist's demense, freeing the remainder of the dozen Sangonth slaves held there, and murdering every last "Korgash loving" cultist.

    The minotaur's approach was direct: they literally just stormed the cultists via direct assault. The party reluctantly joined in the running combat. Many, many cultists were killed--nearly 25--but ultimately only three minotaurs (including Aseer, by chance) survived to free the drugged minotaur slaves (nine survived, the other six having been executed as the assault began). Unfortunately, the party was trapped in a dead-end room. From the adjacent mine chamber, they heard a familiar voice, the Cult Champion, though he sounded strangely hoarse: "Back again so soon? Good. You'll be delicious. I'll savor every bite." (Cliffhanger ending before the break.)

    Session 31
    Lots of combat as the frontal assault continued. After debating their approach for some time (while trapped and contained in the back room), the party eventually hatched a plan, just as invisible imps attacks by again exploding any open flames, thereby dropping the mine chamber into darkness. (If the party had waited longer to hatch a plan, they may have been slaughtered. I was tracking Exploration Turns in real time as they debated, with the imps attacking in two Turns.) While the minotaurs held off the cultist initiates and warriors in the hallway, Scheherazade and Angus fought off imps and, later, a pair of bone demons (one of whom Angus ripped back into Hell with his Spiked Chain-Whip of Disruption.) Meanwhile, Corey created a wormhole through which Alzilu cast Transmogrify Surface, using golden liquid from the mummy tomb to douse the area. Unfortunately, both the Cult Champion and the High Priest made their saves and escaped the area before dissolving into golden liquid. The High Priest rolled a good result from the magic fountain fluid and gained +1 Might and Knowledge, effectively leveling up. The Cult Champion, on the other hand, aged 30 years in a matter of minutes. Both fled to regroup. The vulture demon, however, died instantaneously by collapsing into golden liquid itself. Many of the minotaurs died killing the remaining cult initiates and warriors, but Aseer again survived (by chance), with the human translator/man servant Herst bandaging her wounds.

    The party tried to track the Champion and High Priest, and in doing so explored more of the facility; they discovered several mine chambers set up as barracks, including two warriors trying to don armor. Both were killed, after the second failed to be imtimidated by Alzilu's shadow form and by the physical torture the party inflicted on him. The party also discovered the Slaughter Pits, including meat hooks, quicklime pits, a bleeding floor, and lots of abbatoir instruments, as well as a specialized torture room. Eventually, they stumbled upon a cultist scout and dispatched him, but not before he cried out to warn the remaining cultists, who had holed up in a defensive posture in the Throne Room. The party tried to charge in, but discovered that they were outnumbered now that the minotaurs had retreated to recover: four warriors, four initiates, two bone demons, and a black vulture demon all occupied the Throne Room, in addition to the Champion and High Priest. One round of combat ensued, in which Alzilu took a minor injury, before the party cast Revisitation and retreated to Umiyid City.

    ETA: Campaign website, linked to the setting Primer, if anyone is interested.
  • edited August 2018
    NYC Torchbearer #4:

    Yoggo and Ruadri left the Carreg camp and headed deep into the cave, hunting for loot. Both heroes were eager to get to town, but not so eager to go in empty-handed. They scaled a number of cliffs and scrambles, burning through their gear and racking up conditions along the way. They were diligent about frequent camping to stave off the grind of dungeoneering, but a few unlucky rolls quickly put them in a desperate position.

    After days of feverish searching, Yoggo’s intuituon ultimately led them to a boon; the bloody feasting pit of the now-dead cave worm. Yoggo attempted to craft some crampons to scale the tunnel down to the loose clay broke apart and he tumbled into the depths. There, he crafted a ladder out of chitin to let him up to a treasure laden ledge.

    Another dwarf came down the landslide into the cavern and stumbled into Ruadri. He was Snorgg, an old friend of Yoggo’s who prickled at the addition of a halfling to their once-proud dwarven band.

    Snorgg and Ruadri hauled the treasure (including a huge worm egg!) up of the pit and helped Yoggo back up to safety.

    I enjoyed this session, especially Yoggo's evocative leverage of his belief: "The greatest craft is forged in the fire of the heart, and its name is Courage." His flame wavered this session, but never sputtered out. Shane is killing it.

    I felt some of the double edged sword of highly-invested Torchbearer play this time. It can feel futile to be running through resources faster than you can accrue them, and that is especially true when you are having to take a hit to skills from suck it up/ sweat it out, since advancement is otherwise the one resource you can count on developing over time. And yet, when you're spending your last check to recover from a condition that you think might kill you, and you land 3 successes on 3 dice, there's real cheering and high-fives all around because you know all there are innumerable possible paths to your halfling's grisly death, and you really want him to see the sunlight before he goes. Hat's off Simon (the GM) for bringing that pressure every time.
  • Night's Black Agents: Solo Ops: Layla Khan is having a bad day: memory problems, mysterious injuries, and oh yeah she's in Hungary? I had fun playing this with our own Lisa Padol, though the system feels a bit raw.

    Dungeon World online at the Gauntlet: Breda Hjalmarsdotter finally puts on her armor and draws a sword for the first time in years as she confronts evil in the heart of the ruined town of Swineford. Oh, and gained a sort of squire who had been abducted by the fae. A fun end to this abbreviated OSRish DW game.

    Fate of Cthulhu: Kate is beginning to fade from the timeline and this is the least of her worries given that the future wife she isn't supposed to have met yet is going on a date with her past self, Ith/Jule has started a Youtube-based cult, and there's a third, evil...er...more evil version of herself running around. It's fun to play with a group that's having such a good time that you keep going after the playtest ends :smile:

    Monsterhearts at the Tuesday Meetup: The death of Mr. C the drama teacher continues to have ramifications, as Det. Sean O'Ryan and his partner Elena Gonzales are on the case. Anna the ex-Mortal returns from her time in the Fae kingdom as the Chosen, and Tien the ghost really wants to kill Brady. Oh, and the Infernal's personal demon turns out to have a nice little cult going. My Kingsport 2018 game continues to bounce along.

    Monsterhearts: Kingsport '76 online at the Gauntlet: This is the first formal session of my ongoing experiment in running Monsterhearts in Lovecraft Country (begun by accident at the Meetup.) It's 1976 in the sleepy town of Kingsport; Tom the Chosen has scored something called "liao" from their dealer and has visions of a tidal wave sweeping over the town. Jackie the Werewolf encounters her darkside while taking a trip on liao too. Curtis the Deep One (reskinned Serpentine) is tasked by his Ma to make sure the travelling preacher they've invited to help the congregation is doing okay; and Evelyn the Witch has a date to the beer party up on the Head tomorrow night. Fantastic work from everyone and the Bahstan accents flew fast and thick :smile: I'm so happy with how this went that I'm going to put up a bunch more runs in the next couple of months set in different time periods.
  • edited August 2018
    Playing in a con game one shot of Monsterhearts 2.
    The MC did the thing that I sometimes see new MCs do — not really good at letting time pass. We had a 4h slot, 1h setup (fine♥, included rules explanation) and 3h gameplay. And in those 3h of tabletime, maybe 20 mins passed diegetically. A lot of the hoox we set up went nowhere because it was so decompressed. Letting time pass is one of the most underdiscussed DM/GM/SM/MC skills.

    The MC was really good at poignant deets. The infernal's patron was a guitar busker, that was cool. I was the queen, a non-supernatural leader of sort of a slasher cult. We also had a vampire and a mortal, the mortal dropped the game after the setup tho.

    Everyone else at the table, MC & other players included, seemed intent on treating my queen as low-status (outside of the gang). So I went author stance and leaned into that, letting her fail, letting her try & be rejected. It made me miss Hillfolk where you don't have to author stance as much, since what I want to do is aligned with what the game wants me to do; my character wants to engage the other PCs. Unlike MH where I constantly had to nudge ourselves into interacting more.
  • edited August 2018
    I got to play quite regularly the second half of July. Our meetup group has grown and we are now consistently getting two tables going, which means we have gotten to play new games more often as there have always been enough players willing to try something new.

    The games we played since my last post:
    Archipelago The setting was a Caribbean world, where the merfolk and humans had just emerged from a war under a tenuous peace. Resentments remain on both sides, with the merpeople divided on how to react to humanity’s continued presence and incursions into their territories.

    Out of Doge Got to play it again with a different group as we had some time to kill during a gathering on a weekend. It was an art heist gone terribly wrong. Ended with two of the characters getting some ice cream after disposing of the two other ones...

    Until We Sink Lots of drama in the family run hotel as the father (and hotel owner) does not want his daughter to leave as he needs her to stick around to keep the struggling hotel a float. Two affluent guests are staying at the hotel, trying to convince the daughter to leave and explore the world. The first scenes were a bit rough, but the game got really going in the later scenes, providing a great play experience. The group seems to like this style of game. Are there other games like this one that you would recommend?

    Tall Pines The townspeople of Tall Pines became embroiled in a murder mystery when a promising teen musician died under mysterious circumstances... or so it seemed. His death brought quite a few loads of dirty laundry out to air. Our “series” followed an aspiring filmmaker, an especially friendly debutant, a criminal mastermind, a butterfly mystic, and two officers of the law as they uncovered harrowing secret after harrowing secret about their small mountain community. Most of them died.

    Downfall Our Flaw was 'Survival of the Fittest' and our elements were fire, death, and trees... what this meant was people that lived in huge trees and who would burn every year the weaker family tree. This was one brutal games of Downfall; usually we end up playing goofy themes but the way the Flaw combined with the Elements made for a very aggressive community. Roleplaying the antagonist was perversely fun.

  • At a con, someone saw my D&D t-shirt and said come with me and sat me down and asked me to roll up a char on my smartphone. I don't have a smartphone so I grabbed the back of an envelope and wrote down a character using the standard array.

    Really fun group. One guy was hard to play with — especially in a group that size, seven players — and he left. Could be that he got annoyed with me. He was the kind of guy that 1. doesn't know how much they talk, 2. doesn't know how loudly they talk, 3. doesn't know how little he lets everyone else talk, and 4. doesn't listen, doesn't interact, doesn't care about other PCs. He was also the only guy but I know plenty of sweet guys♥ so I don't hold him against the rest of you guys♥

    He could be awesome in a smaller group because he wanted to create a backstory, talk about it etc etc.

    I backseat DM:ed AF! But trying to sort of direct us players into a unified voice, giving the leadership to some of the more softspoken & new players. And they ended up having a blast after the guy left.
  • D&D every day for a while?
    Today the 2p Keep on the Borderlands campaign with two of the players from my Tomb of Annihilation group. They have a lot of NPCs with poignant back stories, they've taken on a husband and wife team, Lashak and Kinetel. And one of the
    captives from the hobgoblin torture chamber
    has joined the party, Faray.

    Lashak got lost and separated from the rest of the group, Kinetel has lost a leg and Faray has lost an eye and has also internal bleeding. The lingering injuries rule is amazing♥

    Kinetel is still working for the PCs but without her husband and her leg… the tension at the table is…

    Also. My house rule was very cruel: They used drama tokens on the goblin boss & I spent that to give them disadvantage on the encounter check on the way home. That's why the gnoll ambush that cost them that eye, foot etc etc happened :bawling:
  • Ran another session of my Masks: A New Generation monthly. It was supposed to be the last session for a friend who is moving, but he cancelled because he had moving stuff going on. So I wrote his character out by having him promoted to the Superior Six, the industry-branded super-team sponsored by Rook Industries (which is about this universe's equivalent to being sponsored by Lexcorp).

    I also deleted his character from the influence matrix I wrote up for the game.

    That was a mistake. An NPC in a potentially adversarial relationship with the PCs that has influence to/from multiple PCs is like a gold mine in masks, and I really shouldn't have overlooked that (which became clear partway through the game). As it stands, he looks to fill a role similar to the one Speedy played in Young Justice.
  • We tried to play Tall Pines: Deep Space Monitor today. It seemed like a relatively easy game with cards after two runs but we were unable to run it effectively in a casual 'party game' way. A sour but useful experience.
  • Tomb of Annihilation 116 days in the jungle and finally some dungeon crawl! That's right, 19 sessions of just random encounters before this!!!!!! TBH ToA is a pretty crappy hexcrawl compared to something like Land of Nod where every hex has something.

    But this was a very interesting session with many of their beloved NPCs dying. One of my fave sessions in a long time.
  • We ended our "Apocalypse World" campaign. Next project: "Archipelago".
  • GenCon, so lots of stuff -- everything I signed up for, plus a GoD game of Psi-Run, first time I'd ever played that. I ran two sessions of Clockwork: Dominion and played one game of Night's Black Agents, two of the Yellow King RPG, one of 2nd edition Grim War, one of Call of Cthulhu, one of Savage Worlds Kerberos Club, one of I Was a Teenage Creature, and one of GRAM. I also got a quick demo of the Cypher system (as we both knew I was too exhausted to focus on anything longer) and an explanation of Invisible Sun (which still leaves me with a question about what the game's actually about, but it's not like I had the budget or the luggage space to buy it).
  • Played Brickquest again.
  • The characters got cornered in our homebrew PbtA game. Skeletons were following them so they opened a gate to escape but unfortunately met around 50 zombies. The beginning of our next session could be a TPK :)
  • Was at a small RPG convention, played in/ran/facilitated three games. The problem with this particular convention is that 3-hour slots are enforced (except for the occasional double slot, making it 6 hours): that's always too short for me!
    (I'm also skipping the games I've played in July, despite that being quite an interesting topic - perhaps in a later post?)

    The King is Dead with 3 old friends and a relatively newbie player (who became/we made king eventually). We started late and had to rush the ending a bit, but still really good! My first time playing TKiD, but I'd played Firebrands - got an impression TKiD improves on that! It's fun (for a given definition of "fun") when the reunion between two star-crossed, almost-lovers segues into war. Would definitely play again.

    Crawl a dungeon w/Rafu (that's actually [a reasonable translation of] what I called it on the convention schedule).
    A friend joked that, considering how easily the event filled up, next time he thinks of running a dungeon crawl at that convention he'll include an NPC named "Rafu" so he can technically call the game like that.
    I ran a party of five through (the first couple rooms of) The Sky-blind Spire by @Fuseboy using an (incomplete) set of rules I'd just cobbled together from scratch and salvaged parts. They worried way too much at the front door, discovered a secret passage by applying torch-fire and getting burned, killed two [really big scary monsters - but I won't spoil the dungeon for you] by taking them one at a time, and generally had a good time. Players were all old hands at roleplaying, more or less disappointed with various 21st Century forms of D&D, who looked at the dungeon crawl as a nice back-to-the-past experience - same as me, actually - and that's probably the best sort of crowd I could have wished for.
    Despite it being a really short dungeon crawl, I'm really satisfied with it and perhaps excessively pleased at myself, because everything went almost exactly as I'd hoped for. The character creation guide booklets I'd written just the day before the con worked fine and made character creation a breeze, including equipping. 20 minutes into the game, I think, we had a fully and functionally equipped party of 5, plus 3 NPC henchmen and 1 NPC guide, rolling their first Read a Sitch check to set up camp by the lakeside in the shadow of the spire. The magic-user shined without even casting his one spell (Summon Venusian Beast Companion) because he was allowed to detect magic at will (with a form of Read check, really). The specialists (a traps-and-locks kind of thief and a circus acrobat) got to do their things: scout ahead, check for traps, etc. The fighters got to ambush the first of two charging [REDACTED] making it trip on a length of rope and fall to the ground, and the henchmen helped in slaughtering it.
    I got a ton of useful data so I know I'll be improving on Perception checks, designing a different subsystem for trapfinding, re-introducing some form of "spite" damage for monsters and beefing up their Combat Rating.

    Society of Dreamers: I love this game! However, accepting to work on its Italian translation - released last year - came with the burden of a string of abridged convention demos, enticing to prospective buyers but ultimately unsatisfying to me.
    I though this time it would be different - I had secured two consecutive slots, six hours total, which ought to be enough for a full game. But it filled up to max capacity (5 players including me), we failed to start on time (morning game, supposed to start at 9:00, and we'd all had after-dinner games ending at midnight the night before) and the majority of the players had to run and catch a train before the afternoon slot was officially over... All things considered, we were reduced to about 4 hours and a half out of the 6 I'd planned - hardly enough time.
    To cut on the pre-game but not sacrifice any part of it, I decided not to make a character myself (character creation takes 2 scenes per character, so I reasoned I would save at least 20 minutes this way) but otherwise be an equal player. This plan perhaps backfired in that I ended up playing timidly, as a less than equal player, in order not to sound like a GM. When it seemed like one of the players - the one the least used to equal-participation RPGs I believe - was doing more than his share and hogging the spotlight a bit, out of genuine enthusiasm I've got to add, I didn't do as much as I could have done to reign him in, worried I would sound like a GM shutting him down.
    Enthusiasm for the setting and subject matter was generally high. I knew one of the players was a XIX Century buff already, but another one really surprised me by demonstrating a lot of knowledge about weird stuff. Unfortunately, some of the players were really bad at cutting scenes and (as @2097 pointedly said above) at "letting time pass"... Those who were contributing the most content also contributed an endless amount of useless clutter on top of that (perhaps because they weren't very good at "giving in", or at letting go of previously held ideas) and kept adding more and more stuff to each scene. Thus, we were only able to play two scenes of Weaving (bad) - three scenes short of a full round - and had to rush it to an ending which didn't feel quite like an ending to me.
    What can I say, tho? It's no easy game, and everybody seemed to walk away quite satisfied, so I've at least shown them a little known gem of the form. I promised myself I'll only schedule it for fewer players and longer play-times from now on, however, so we can play more relaxedly and take breaks at appropriate times and take better care of each other.
  • Went to the "Drinking & Dragons" gaming meetup last night and didn't run a game, for once. Played Torchbearer for the first time. Four of us spent a lot of time dealing with mechanical things and forgetting the fiction. It was sorta fun anyway.
  • edited August 2018
    Ryuutama Naora and their goats are back, now exploring the first layer of the abyss. An adorable fox makes our acquaintance, and we debate using that as a gift for the dragon who guards the gate to the second layer (the dragon likes adorable animals). Then the meerkats attack, but fortunately Koji speaks squirrel and that's close enough. I love the mood even as the relentless churn of the system is a smidge annoying.

    Monsterhearts at the Meetup. It's the big dance! The Fae never wears a shirt, the Werewolf is sure that going as his date on a full moon will be fine, the Infernal has to deal with a sudden intervention/exorcism, and the Vampire gets a surprising revelation from the Dean. Madcap fun with a big table (6 players!) that I managed to somehow juggle into shape.

    Monsterhearts: Kingsport '76 online at the Gauntlet: With the Deep One hybrid caught up in a sudden religious ceremony, we got to meet Billy the Mortal, a Leif Garrett-style would-be guitar god. The Witch discovered that having a wolf at her mind's door (result of a botched hex last session) was more than she bargained for, the Werewolf's cousin discussed why he's called Lobo, the Chosen pushed liao powder and had a strange conversation, and everyone was a bit disturbed by Jimmy the rather sinister/friendly preacher. I adore this game <3
  • Four of us spent a lot of time dealing with mechanical things and forgetting the fiction. It was sorta fun anyway.
    Lol. I had the same experience with my first Torchbearer run. My main criticism of the system is that it presents players with dozens of mechanical buttons and then is like "No don't press those buttons! Focus on what your character is doing." Many of the mechanics (grind, tests, town phase) are designed to keep pressure on players rather than giving them tools to solve problems. You need to grok these systems to play optimally (which is as much about choosing when to fail is it is about how to succeed) but you want your actions to be rooted in the fiction until the GM calls for a test, and then be strategic in how to respond. I wish this was a smaller hurtle, since I think Torchbearer is really great once you're over it. I hope you get the chance to play again!

  • Monsterhearts at the Meetup. It's the big dance! The Fae never wears a shirt, the Werewolf is sure that going as his date on a full moon will be fine, the Infernal has to deal with a sudden intervention/exorcism, and the Vampire gets a surprising revelation from the Dean. Madcap fun with a big table (6 players!) that I managed to somehow juggle into shape.
    I was the vampire! This was some expert juggling from @Aviatrix and the disparate threads (of plot and angst) kept knotting ever-tighter. A total hoot.
  • Lots of games due to a minicon on Saturday!

    Confusion minicon:
    * Heavy Metal Æons playtest (it was fun, but a TPK)
    * Index Card RPG (new to me, really fun and quick system)
    * Monster of the Week (as a hunter! I failed lots of move rolls)

    Regular games:
    * The One Ring (finishing this section of The Darkening of Mirkwood for our Monday crew. next up is Curse of Strahd - a long time since this group played any D&D, although a few have been playing 5ed in other games)
    * Nightmares Underneath (my office lunchtime game. they've explored most of the Fire Mine now, only the deepest depths remain).
  • Final NYC Torchbearer session:

    Ruadri, Smorg, and Joggo ran into a new face below ground. An amnesiac warrior had gotten lost in the caves. He remembered a love of good pickles, but not his own name. Since he had stumbled down a hill of loose rocks into this chamber, the party dubbed him ‘Scree’.

    The party's two dwarves spent days carving through a cave-in so we could get back to town. Once back in the sunlight, our adventurers were ebullient. Joggo loaded the others into an old mine cart and pushed them most of the way back to town, shouting about the glory of Dwarven Halls all the way.

    There had been a fire in the town market, so Joggo crafted the needed gear himself. Smorg couldn’t manage to sleep off his sickness in his family’s cramped quarters, so he went out looking for a dwarven witch. He came back with blood on his lips and his hair tousled (muttering about owing a debt) but he yet lives. Joggo and Ruadri found a buyer for their dragon’s egg and did some research about the wizard they were tracking. The party set back out to find him, though Smorg and Joggo were stopped at the gates by debt collectors. Turns out that dragon egg money didn’t carry them as far as they had hoped.

    Great conclusion to the campaign that was the highlight of my summer. Town phases can be a delicate balance between dry checklist and meandering distractions. Our GM did a great job of keeping to procedure but giving everything a distinct flavor. If he could earn embodiment for the dwarven witch that “helped” Smorg, he’d have my vote.
  • Just ran 2nd post-playtest session of Fate of Cthulhu, which wrapped the arc.

    Among the many awesome moments by awesome players was when a situation had gone WAY bad and K8's player reminded Kate's player that she'd taken a defined-on-the-spot corruption stunt allowing her to rewind an action.

    The Washington Monument did not get blown up (but apparently, every game I've been in where someone has a Secret HQ, it's somewhere inside the Washington Monument).

    Sydney continued to run for State Senator of Maryland, on a platform of guns, SIM rights, and no technology, to which he added hand baked cupcakes.

    Samson (working on his chronicle of the campaign): It was at this point the campaign decided to use tasty treats to lure in children.

    Technically true, as Sydney was hoping to lure in Ith's evil timeline version.

    Sydney then decided to run for president, and when he won, put his wife in charge of technology (which was not a bad move, as he's married to K8), remaining convinced that it would only take a short while to get rid of all the technology.

    Somewhere in there, the main villain (Kate Beta) set a trap to kill Our Heroes. And then, Sydney's player said, in character, that the trap I described was there, sure, but there was also an antimatter bomb in the oven, so I figured that was there too, sure. And then K8's player decided that there had to be a third trap. I wondered if we were going to continue iterating, but I think only cupcakes got iterated.

    K8 had Kate's railgun for some reason, I think intending to use it in disarming a trap by blowing up a wall (after being assured by Kate that it was on its low setting), but Ith dissolved the wall.

    K8: So we don't have to use the railgun.

    Kate (who knows herself): But you kind of want to use the rail gun.

    K8: ... Here, take the railgun.

    Kate: That's good, because I was lying about it having a low setting.

    Sydney's version of what to say during an interview: I like guns. I like cupcakes. I'm an environmentalist. (Points to the bike he rode into DC on account of he wouldn't have been able to find parking for a car.)

  • Triumphant! Super Heroic Roleplaying Game - in fact my group has largely been playing this over the last 3 years, with alternating GMs.

    Other Dust - also gave this a go. Chargen is slower than I'd like and there are far too many skills but the games seems to run smoothly.
  • The One Ring
    Remember Tomorrow
  • Starfinder - exciting escape sequence
    Mutants & Masterminds- despite feeling underprepared, I pulled the trigger on a return plot for Dollface, the “let’s play dress up “ villain. The players seemed to enjoy, but I’m a little self critical.
    Pathfinder - session was supposed to wrap up the campaign, of course we didn’t finish.
  • edited August 2018
    Definitely not this week. Last month, simultaneous with the Dog and Wolf game I told y'all about here.

    We were on a 10-day seaside holiday w/family. Almost no Internet. I'd brought The Hour Between Dog and Wolf to play with Barbara (which means I'd brought two dozen d6s in two colors and a handful of glass bead tokens too), but no other games printed out. I had my battered old laptop with the usual 9GB library (and counting) of indie role-playing games in its hard-drive, of course. I was sort of bored, as I usually end up being in those circumstances as I dislike sunbathing and can't swim.
    We met some relatives of Barbara's, had quite a good time together, and for some reason one of them remembered about our role-playing hobby. She wasn't quite sure what it is, mind you, but she kept bringing up the topic, implying it might be something her 12yo granddaughter would enjoy. When this came up again during an evening of playing cards, I thought, why not, and broke out an impromptu all-family game of Fables of Camelot. I can run that game almost entirely from memory, you see, printed character sheets aren't really needed, and what little I didn't know by heart I could look up on the computer screen; plus, an adventure tends to be short.
    Different people had different reaction to that... In hindsight, they weren't a very cohesive group, and I would rather like to play different games with some of them (including the grandmother who was then rather sorry she'd "broken the game" - what she did would make excellent Fiasco or Apocalypse World material, actually). The aforementioned granddaughter obviously had a blast... and I had a blast, too. It was apparent to me she was born for this - and she asked for more.

    And so it was that, for the remainder of the week, Barbara and I kept going on play-dates with this brilliant young relative. I offered those games I thought we could play with the (severely limited) available equipment, and we picked some based on topic, as usual. We had a really good game of Follow, the superheroes quest played out in a very X-men-ish way with perhaps a hint of Watchmen. I think the girl played a character straight from some favorite TV series of hers, but that worked like a charm. It ended in a tragic victory, built on a platform of death and lies, and our youngest player (hers was the only surviving main character) was quite mad at us for being mean - which, in all fairness, we are.
    Undeterred, we played Microshock #1 (aka Altered Carbon the RPG, or so I've been told). This was harder and more confusing - partly because Barbara and me hadn't played it before. Despite hiccups, we managed to weave a really nice Phillip K. Dick-esque story, ending in reveal and (of course) death, of sorts.

    We definitely played with the girl as equals, as she were an adult, which isn't what we normally do (Barbara works with children that age, you see). We didn't just do it for a change, we did it because her brilliantness and enthusiasm invited it. Let's hope she won't hate us for it! ;)
  • Brickquest, second short session. An elven ranger, human cleric and dwarven sapper are fighting their way through zombie and skeleton-infested crypt to rescue a princess.
  • Night´s Black Agents: The Zalozhniye Quartet (penultimate session of "Out of the house of ashes").
  • Tried out Lovecraftesque and Untold which fuses rpg elements with Story Cubes. Both were great!
  • Fate of Cthulhu: The finale. Somehow the world managed to get saved, Kate's future wife will live, and her former landlord became President. And Kate's not even erased from the timeline! So of course she's started building a new time machine...

    Delta Green: Elena Gonzales is a Salem born IRS agent who somehow gets mixed up in a haunted house of pure deadliness. She scrubbed the mission after one agent went down and chalked it up to all in a day's work. A pretty tough little meat-grinder.

    Monsterhearts at the Meetup: Baron and Anna resume their fitful attraction, while Baron discovers that being head of a cult is a lot less fun than he thought as the elders pile him with paperwork. Meanwhile Mariko the Mortal thinks she was responsible for bringing back Tien the Ghost, and the dark god Sergius is threatening dire consequences if someone doesn't kill Lily Chen. And who is this preacher who's been invited to town by the cult?

    Monsterhearts: Kingsport '76 online at the Gauntlet: School's out and half the cast are working at Friendly's. Liao powder is the hot new drug, Cal's father has a serious talk about whether or not they should even want to go down to the water, Jackie transforms into a wolf and attacks Rev. Wilkins and Tom the Chosen. Meanwhile, Evelyn the Witch has an intervention staged against her and conspires to figure out more about Jimmy the preacher. And what does that vision of slaughter at the Bicentennial mean? Another awesome session from a very game group of players.
  • Microshock #1: Alternator again, with a friend we were really happy was visiting us. The game was quite good, and at the end the Revenant really doubted his own identity.
  • Other Dust last night. Not bad but the system is a bit of a mish-mash. Far too many skills, most of which are unuseable. Also different bits of the system have different die rolls (like its a d20 system but the priority roll is a D8)- it needs to be unified.
  • Torchbearer session last night was a bit of a challenge. It was a first town phase for some players and we had a hard time switching back into fiction-first mode afterwards. We did too much negotiation (around what skill was relevant, reasonable obstacles, etc) and some players wound up getting way less spotlight than others. Too much time in the weeds of mechanics and I hardly got to see who the characters were. We'll try fresh next time and then we are due for a winter phase. Hopefully a session of characters swapping stories over the fire will reinvigorate us.
  • Forbidden Lands (Swedish hexcrawler) and Cyclopean Bluffs (a Lovecraftian playset for Tall Pines). Both nice but nothing really extraordinary.
  • edited August 2018
    Playtested my game Thornwood: School of Magic this week. Created characters, which was fairly quick but everyone seemed happy with how defined their characters were and we definitely ended up with three unique characters. It was a 2 hour playtest all told.

    The characters bonded over preventing Rona's pet bird-dog from launching itself at another table, though Jonas got a bit scratched up in the process, Bryth was glad for the distraction from people asking questions about their burns.

    They all get sorted into house Ash, associated with wild freedom.

    Jonas' older brother is in his senior year and something of a troublemaker that smuggles banned items into Thornwood, so Jonas gets to work straight away on learning the skills necessary to become a valued member of the family smuggling ring. He starts learning a spell of invisibility, his initial experiments go awry though and people notice him more and more throughout the week. This comes to a head when Professor Splinterworth's attention is irresistibly drawn to Jonas as he is leaving class with a coat-full of illicit jinxes-in-a-jar. Luckily Rona is a bit klepto and is able to snatch the goods from him before ol' Splinty notices.

    Bryth has an affinity for brooms, both their flying broom and the enchanted broom-people that are the caretakers of Thornwood Keep and the grounds. They decide to learn a summoning spell so that they can call their broom to their side at a moments notice. Being an intellectual sort, they are able to make good progress on the spell with no unfortunate side effects.

    Rona, wild and free and enamoured with Roshy her little violent but cute bird-dog, decides to spend her first week at school planning and executing a break-in to the potions supply closet with her two new pals in order to procure some seeds that will turn the bird-dog into a living mood-ring that will change colours based on its emotions. They sneak in after classes end for the day and narrowly avoid getting discovered on their way there.

    While there, Jonas asks Bryth if they know any plants that would produce a pleasant stupor, they don't but a quick (and risky if they read something wrong) perusal of some herbalism books points them toward something that will do the trick. Unfortunately it was also quite a conspicuous and rare plant, so the potions teacher is going to ramp up security and start an investigation for sure!

    Overall it was an awesome playtest, nailed the feel of the game and pointed out a few things that needed improvement / thinking about.
  • edited August 2018
    D&D back after summer break! The Oracular Dice show their kind side to the players after several sessions of wandering Stonehell finding nothing but death and perplexion. They find a cache of 3,800gp and encounter a group of vengeful monsters (from a tribe the characters suspect looted the Imperial Tomb they opened earlier). Most of the party get to shine during the encounter:

    The warrior-poet turned demon-samurai(poet) slay a couple together with his minions (losing 2 in the process)

    The sumo wrestler catches a retreating monster with a net and pins it to the ground.

    The prismatic wizard tortures their prisoner with blinding light and his radiant aura Charms it giving them almost perfect intelligence on the enemy (if not for their unstructured interrogation).

    The next session will the exciting, the players have good and reliable information leading to a great treasure but it's guarded by tougher opposition than they've ever met before. They have lots of warm bodies to throw at the problem in the form of the demon-samurais minions, but the defensive position of their enemy means they'll be massacred unless expertly deployed.

    Significant PC:
    4th level mage (as of this session)
    3rd level thief
    3rd level barber-surgeon
    3HD demon-samurai
  • My inner bureaucrat at the WorldCon Business Meeting (an odd bastion of relative sanity, this year, my two motions being to suggest we thank a committee head for cat herding and to call a question, both of which were met with much approval), a musician at our concert at WorldCon, and someone with restraint when shopping in the dealer's room (which is true compared to GenCon -- I merely filled the holes in our Girl Genius collection and our collection of Ursula Vernon's T. Kingfisher books, and picked up a few other things...) and my suitcase weight 5-10 pounds less than it did coming home from Gen Con.
  • We wrapped up a game of Tales of Entropy which started last February (!!!), moving ever so slowly. It was a very interesting, diverse group of people, and, though it took us a long time to find our footing here and there, there were some excellent contributions from all.

    A Renaissance-era merchant city with a deep history is turned upside down when a Dragon awakens and enters it in the shape of a man with golden-hair. At first, he is imprisoned, but he wins over his captors by opening the Moon Gate and showing the Inquisitor that magic is real, and part of his domain.

    Meanwhile, the scion of an ancient House secretly ruled by a mind flayer-esque "Patriarch" saves the life of a young boy, who becomes possessed by the Patriarch, and begins to turn into a dragon himself.

    The city's social fabric is turned upside down and the Dragons rule together, the greed of the merchants leading them to ruin.
  • This past Sunday my Coriolis crew met for our fourth session. Following a disastrously paranoid freak out at the end of their last gig, the gang of free traders/low rent spies struggled to pick up the pieces, literally get the crew back together, and find new work which will take them to a different star system and let me showcase some more of the background and politics of the Third Horizon
  • Masks: We finally get back to it. While Polar Vortex (our Legacy) hits the talk show circuit, we take out an electro based super, get invited to Nocturne's secret academy, fight Godzilla in the danger room, and visit the land of the dead to meet the Delinquent's parents. So good to visit these characters again :)

    Monsterhearts 2 at the Meetup. The Evil God Sergei continues to demand that the Ghost kill Lily Cheng. The Mortal tells the detectives that the Ghost is dead; the Chosen tries to evolve a plan; and a brief guest appearance from the Ghoul leads to more mayhem.

    Monsterhearts 2: Kingsport '76 online at the Gauntlet: In the finale, Evelyn the Witch helps the Deep Ones with a summoning ceremony; the Werewolf struggles to control her powers; the Chosen fights Deep Ones maddened by their years in Hoover-era concentration camps, and then the Werewolf. Also, Cal the Deep One shows Evelyn his true face, and meets his grandfather. This was a very inspired crew and I adored playing with them. Next up: Monsterhearts 2: Kingsport 1692, wherein we see just how well MH2 does witch hunts and Puritan teenagers.
  • Okult - it was a sensational experience. Very good game, very good Gamers, very intense session. We played 6 hours and will need a second session to conclude the story line. I´m looking forward to it.
  • Okult - it was a sensational experience. Very good game, very good Gamers, very intense session. We played 6 hours and will need a second session to conclude the story line. I´m looking forward to it.
    That matches my own experience w/Okult bit by bit! This game by @Wilhelm Person ought to see more play.
    I actually believe the reason we don't get to talk about it much is, it's both such a good game and so streamlined already, nobody's tinkering with it, either to fix it or hack it - it's perfect already. Is "too good for its own good" a thing?
  • We had a second world-building session of Archipelago that we're playing online. We've made a super fun Miyazaki-style Europe a la Porco Rosso / Castle Cagliostro. Last session we started making our characters: a runaway princess who wants to become a pilot, a young mechanic who wants to see the world through his camera lens, and a lonely railway conductor looking for happiness.

    It's exciting to be playing a multi-session game again--I haven't done that in ages!
  • Chiarina, glad you liked it. Yes, I plan 3x4h sessions for OKULT, but 2x6 sounds nice too.

    I've kept playing both the PbP Until Dawn and Burning Empires. Slow but steady.

    This evening I playtested a friend's boardgame/RPG hybrid Our Ship. It worked much better in practice than I had guessed from his description of it last week. Would play again.
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