What did you play this week?



  • @David_Berg Yeah, I think we passed each other once, said Hi, and ended up in separate spaces again. I had a packed schedule and used any free time I found to rest.

  • Ghosts without Master : My "dark-fantasy" "Castlevania / Dark Souls / Ravenloft / ..." hack of Swords Without Master
    This game sounds like something I'd be interested in learning more about.

    I plan to make it "available" before summer, but it's mainly SWM with a change in Tones (Calm / Sinister), a prompt of a dark universe, where the characters have no name (cause the Dark Lords use your name to get to you), and where magic is rare, and only available through the ghosts of the time where magic was still present (my RadX add for another hack, renamed Thanatomancy here).
  • Sounds cool, @Gulix ! I'm curious, in this context does "calm" mean still, tranquil, peaceful, harmonious, or all of the above? I think I get what "sinister" means here. :)
  • (I'd use sinister & grandiose or something)
  • Played Brickquest (a medieval fantasy LEGO skirmish-rpg) with three of my ESL students--my niece and her two friends--all 10-years-old girls. They had been bugging me to play for a couple of weeks (they love LEGO). I often use LEGO and LEGO topic for teaching slightly older students.

    They were a fairy, a good witch, and a magical cat (I homebrewed up the three new classes to suit their interests). I had already built a five room dungeon (an abandoned knights manor) out of LEGO. They were there to rescue a princess (I know it is corny but they are all about princesses).

    In the first room they faced a death knight. Instead of fighting him, they decided the fairy would turn him into a frog. Then she squashed him with his own halbred. A spiderweb in the corner was a monster generator spitting out spiders turn after turn. They ran from the spiders but the witch was surrounded by them. The fairy ran away through a curtain into another room smack into three zombies. She turned herself invisible then ran back. The cat and the fairy eventually decided to help the witch (after some prompting by me) after they got over their fear of (LEGO) spiders. Eventually the witch, after reading her character sheet more carefully, realized that she could talk to animals and told the spiders to run away. Then the magical cat broke the spider web, finally. Session over.

    It was great fun for them, but the Brickquest combat sub-system is too much of a grind (for me) for a game designed to be played with LEGO with children and parents, etc. or perhaps it is really for AFOL, I don't know, but I need to re-design the combat system so it quick and easy. It needs to be more fluid or it kills the play and roleplaying.

    They did great considering it was their first time roleplaying and they were doing it in their second language.
  • Playing the "can I find one day this month five adults can meet" and "is it viable to volunteer to playtest Pelgrane's Borellus Connection?" "Yes, I think" to #1 and "Probably not" to #2.
  • D&D 5E, in the latest of an irregular campaign. Confronted some witches in their island lair, got schooled by a grick (thank goodness for friends with healing potions) recovered a powerful oracular helm and freed a wish-granting djinn prince!
  • Had a playtest of my partner Marc's work in progress, Unfinished Business. It's a biographical game where you explore the life of someone who died before accomplishing something they wanted to.

    Our departed was a woman in the early 500's AD in the English countryside. Driven by fear, she wanted to leave her "werewolf" husband, but alas, she never did before her untimely death.

    One thing I like about the game as it is now are the various things you can do on your turn. It's somewhat like Microscope and the Quiet Year where you can either do something more involved (scenes in this case) or do something a little shorter (snapshots of the person's life or remembrances from those who survived the main character).
  • @Hopeless_Wanderer
    I love that write-up of Brickquest! For some reason I can't explain, I have a fascination for formal games based on childrens' toys...
  • Writing examples of play for my new OSR horror game. Which pretty much means that I play a GM and three players and their PCs at the same time. Quite surreal.
  • Sagas of the Icelanders: we continue to explore the fallout of the murder of Bjorn Night-Wolf; Aethelwold escapes to East Anglia, and his player brings in a Shield Maiden to be the betrothed of the Man.

    The Bat Hack: The Gals cream Detroit on the road; Dutchy hopes to take a more active role in coaching.

    Alas for the Awful Sea: Kingsport 1851 edition. The whaling bark Tethys equips for sea; a witch is asked to perform The Marriage of Land and Sea; everyone wants to know, who is the captain?

    Then Carnations (House) Con 2019, the We were happy in Tashkent! edition:

    Montsegur 1244: The interesting thing for me in this one was that Philippa and Esclarmonde basically traded roles, with Philippa being loyal to her father and Esclarmonde desperate to, you know, have sex before the end. She burned after renouncing her faith in the Believers, but also in Satan, Jesus, the nonexistent God, etc.

    Good Society (?????): We set out to make an explicitly Chekhovian drama and by God did we succeed; our little slice of "hell is other people", The Peacock, included an aging Countess, an omnisexual painter, a closeted writer, a hedonistic noble who didn't care about the lives he ruined, and my poor Masha, forsaken by the writer, kept by the noble, and transforming her adolescent despair into an unblinking stare at the black existential pit at the heart of Europe. (She died offstage after killing the titular bird). This one stayed with us for a while, and I may have an idea for my next project. (After all, I need to keep up my track record of writing games that maybe 100 people would be interested in.) I made an appropriate Chekhovian card that said "A Pause" and, for the final act, one that said "The Peacock Screams".

  • Montsegur 1244: The interesting thing for me in this one was that Philippa and Esclarmonde basically traded roles, with Philippa being loyal to her father and Esclarmonde desperate to, you know, have sex before the end. She burned after renouncing her faith in the Believers, but also in Satan, Jesus, the nonexistent God, etc.
  • edited March 2019
    I played the last session of our Muse campaign. It was epic! After all the Elder Gods were killed and disabled, Avery did a super saiyan style transformation into Adonis and fought off the armies of Hades. Then he unbound Ozzie from Azathoth, and trapped Azathoth in Limbo. Phew! Here is the whole Actual Play.

    We also had a great session of Yukon Gold-Rush flavoured My Life With Master. After having mangled a child and beaten his father, my character Bush (the ex-lawman) finally found some of his humanity and let the family go. Unfortunately, he lost whatever he gained when the Boss (Master) forced him to murder a civilian right in front of Bush's love interest Clementine. :-O To make matters worse, the civilian in question was one of the other PC's connections, and losing him will prevent the PC from resisting the Master's next order...
  • I finaly had a chance to run second playtest of my storytelling game, Ring Tales. I always wanted to make a highly portable game and the 9-card nanogame contest in Board Game Geek sparked an idea that was sleeping deeply in my early sketches. So I made some preparation, talked over two of my friends and we managed to meet for the second time to play descendants of people that live on an artifical ring, a cosmic station floating near distant planet, abandoned by its creators.

    There are no dice, only 9 cards to serve every mechanic in the game. The main resolution mechanic itself rensembles Dixit, the Game Master role rotates, and there is also easy set of rules to play with semi artifical Dummy player - a robot companion called R0-BB-13. Yeah, Robbie.
  • Played Trail of Cthulhu scenario The Black Drop. Fun scenario with some interesting challenges. Suffice it to say that I died.

    Continued running my on-again/off-again Call of Cthulhu Shadows of Yog-Sothoth campaign. Last session ended with a TPK at the hands of some cult enforcers. One player didn't have a backup character so we are continuing this week with new characters. My first TPK ever.

    (It's almost like these Cthulhu games have a high mortality rate.)

    Last legs of DnD 5e campaign Out of the Abyss. One of the players was seduced by Zuggtmoy and has thrown his hat in with her. The next session will be the remaining players fighting Zuggtmoy and one of the player characters as her high priest. Should be interesting.
  • Much delayed 2nd session of 2nd season of Monsterhearts, this one (season) with full 2nd edition rules (last having the sneak peek pack, so being sorta 1.5). A bit bumpy as we all tried to remember just what the heck had happened last time.

    And we hit a mechanical question: What is the appropriate result when the Infernal has sex with their Dark Power?
  • A star-sized monster headed toward Earth, intent on destroying all humans? What have these hippies been smoking? A one-shot game of DayTrippers, starring Kurt Aumueller (MFGcast) as Georg, and John Haremza (Legends of Tabletop) as Caleb.
  • Night´s Black Agents: Until the fourth generation. London, 1895: A police inspector, a detective, a coroner and an informer investigate the murder of a russian immigrant. Everything points to the fact, that the victim was a fugitive revolutionary who leads a London section of his organization. Lately the characters made friends with two of his surrogates and learned about a secret weapon of the anarchists... a mysterious phiole with blood. Now the underground fighters are searching for a medical scientist to cooperate with. Do the criminologists help them?
  • After about a month hiatus, I got to run our Castles and Crusades game again. Missed playing. Had fun.
  • Night´s Black Agents: The Zalozhniye Quartet. Zurich, 2017: heist story, cooperation of the agents with another group of bankrobbers, at least two traitors, armed gangsters in the garage, shootings, explosions, smoke, flying pieces of metal and body parts, police chase, cop talk, pretending... a very big exhalation, then exhaustion.
  • At Emerald City Comic Con this weekend I ran two games with Indie Games on Demand. In the morning I had an excellent game of Downfall. Our flaw was Civility and we weren't allowed to talk about anything that bothered us! It was a fun problematic theme to explore; no one could leave relationships, you were expected to always keep the peace... it was trouble.

    My second game was Companions' Tale, which I hadn't played before. It's really great and I recommend it, especially if you're looking for something with clear rules that's easy to facilitate. If you like The Quiet Year, I really encourage you to try Companions' Tale. It's going to be my go-to map game from now on.
  • At Dice Bubble for larps, Raptor/Falcon/Owl in So It Seems a Solstice (we remade the sky, as we were supposed to), Jelazi in Awakenings and Reconciliations (hey, guess what? You've all been promoted to totally in charge of your country, and get to figure out how to run it!), and Isk of the Zuva in Beasts of the Field (you get to try to win contests as sentients in the benevolent Overlords' Zoo -- there are Cool Prizes!).
  • I've managed to pull another playtest of Facing the Titan, and it's going very well. Still has two things to test out, but the last modifications went very well and made the game better.

    This time, it was time to face Ménébraz, the Living Mountain. A cold, harsh encounter, on top of high mountains, which ended by a betrayal and a beheading (also, the giant stone circle in which we started the reunion ended up being the levitating crown of the Titan, pretty cool).
  • This week we played more Space Without Master, and somehow, throwing a giant cybernetic snake monster at the PCs turned our sci-fi action game into Project Runway in Space.
  • First tryout as HeroQuest Glorantha Game Master. Interesting experience. I want more!
  • While that's worked great for groups of more experienced D&D heads, it seemed to create "when is it my turn?" questions for the new folks.
    Thanks for the report! Yeah, I've seen that drawback as well. Both with orig PbtA games (even though there are so many different trappings, such as a lack of "this spell has one action casting time" affordances etc) and with my houserule. I think the pros outweight the cons but the cons are there.

    (BTW I keep track so that there is still only one action per turn.)

    I've found that those that came from the OSR scene with at best a d6 per side to determine who goes first can handle it fine but those who came from the 3e/4e scene have struggled a bit.

  • I got to play *two whole games* this week! It's amazing!

    First up was Dragon and Warrior, a JRPG story game. Were there battle mechanics? Yes. Did we get XP? Of course. Did we make a bunch of homages to our favorite video games? Most definitely.

    The game follows the story of one hero, with that role plus the other narrative roles (describing allies, enemies, settings, and treasure) switching players throughout the session. It felt a bit like passing around the controller, which I loved. It does a good job of making that type of adventure/fight-y game GMless. Of course conflict doesn't need to be violent--our main conflict of the game was trying to cross the bridge. There were a lot of "look over there!" moves, which works mechanically the same as if we were doing slashy sword moves.

    I also had a delightful game of Legend of Aesthetic. The game is a masterpiece of getting you to reincorporate elements from previous moments, and if I can ever get my hands on a copy of it, it is going to be one of my go-to games.
  • Monsterhearts 2 Season 2, having agreed that if the Infernal has sex with their Infernal Power, we'll handle it by each getting a string on the other. Players starting to initiate scenes with each other, which is very much to the good. Ended with a revelation to the utterly unsubtle Infernal (who used to be the Werewolf) that she immediately blurted out to the entire class.

    Started to read Good Society and having an itch to see if I could run Kerberos Club with it, particularly a somewhat darker mix.

    Pondering what to run at Rainbowcon (if I run anything, as this is a small housecon where folks vote on the offerings). Current front runners, due to constraints (short session, family friendly, simple) are Dinosaur Princesses and Itras By.
  • Some time ago, we played Outrageous, a 200 worder about pushing the boundaries of pop culture to illuminate the general public.
    It seems like our session was leaked.
  • I've stopped posting in this thread b/c we play D&D at few times per week (maybe "one" is the most common amount of sessions but two or three happens often) and we're still doing the same campaign since last summer. But I thought I'd drop a note to let people know that the last session yesterday we didn't have any real fights so I couldn't test out the new fight system I wrote last Monday.

    A lot of fun dungeon exploration and trap interaction and puzzle… uh... attempting.
    They destroyed their rope and one of their bedrolls. I've been saying everyone needs stats, right? Not only that, but everything needs stats. I was like "OK, the rope needs to make a DC 15 strength check. Someone please roll for it, it has +7 at not snapping." Drooma (a druid PCs) was like "I'm tossing in my insp on that!" giving the rope advantage and going from a 65% chance of holding to a 88% chance of holding. But dice are fickle and it still snapped♥ letting Ran (a wizard PC) get sucked in to a propeller. They had a gaseous form that I allowed; in hindsight the casting time on that is a full action, not a reaction. But I can't fix that retroactively.
  • edited March 2019
    And today I played another session with a new group including two new players. They loved the game. And coincidentally on the train home I heard the words "short or long rest" from the next cart so I went over there and butted in and flashed my D&D books and started talking D&D with a group of random guys! (Seemed to be around 17yo…? #justguessing) They were on their way home after playing their first session ever! I gave them some tips ("make spare characters" being one I remember… mostly they had questions and I was like "OK we've tried doing it this way, which has these pros & cons, and doing it that way, which has these pros & cons, so it's a tricky problem.")

    As far as our session I finally got to try the legendary "Holy Sword" adventure from 2012. Slightly updated for a diverse audience, I changed the word "gender" to "mer". So the orc PC got turned half mer, half orc. A mer-orc. We had a blast, six very noisy players + one unapologetic B for a DM (i.e. yours truly) so this beer&pretzel type adventure was the perfect fit

    It was also a session that made me feel vindicated in my "never fudging" attitude since some things happened coincidentally that, because they were real, were very satisfying.
    The party was split and one of the two trios were getting absolutely clobbered by wraiths and just when they were about to die, the other trio finally made it back to them. And one PC did die and we had two clerics. Both knew Revivify. One had the spell slot left (Neo -Vancian™), the other had the diamond dust you need for the spell. Bam! What a perfectly satisfying climax to a long day of playing. They discovered just a fraction of what this wild & unrule one-pager had to offer but we had a blast! Including sometimes getting angry ;)

    After the D&D session we tried our hands at playing a board game as an RPG. We made backstories and drama. (It was Dead of Winter.) We all played in character as our group leader and taking special care of our own personal followers treating them as NPCs we controlled.
  • As far as our session I finally got to try the legendary "Holy Sword" adventure from 2012.
    I’ve never heard of this, and Google isn’t helping me find it. (Too many false positives for spells & magic items.) Got a link, or an author’s name, or something, please?
  • Massive "Holy Sword" spoilers → here it is — all on one page.

    Before play I went through and noted the page numbers for the pretties in the MM and the items in the DMG.
  • Finally cracked open Lovecraftesque! Our game was more Black Mirror than Lovecraft, but in a good way. I seem to remember another thread here about Lovecraftesque, so I'll put more of my thoughts over there...
  • I played Muse yesterday night with my cousin, the cousin that inspired me to start writing games in the first place! We played a 3500 AD Mars Colony scenario. The protagonist Mathieu was a hyper-potato farmer (you know, giant Mars potatoes) with muscles on his muscles, and all he really wanted in life was a medal. Meanwhile, Jacques, a horribly ugly cyborg-AI hybrid, wanted to steal Mathieu's body, and Mayor Gazdan was a secret pro-Earther plotting to destroy the Martian colony. Well, Jacques failed to steal Mathieu's body, the Mayor failed in his plot and was unmasked, and our protagonist managed to get his medal for his part in stopping the Mayor. So one of the happier endings I've seen in this game. :-D
  • edited April 2019
    I've been at Elinacon all weekend, a small private storygames meet-up involving food & friends among other things: here's what I played.

    Saturday afternoon was for facilitating Blood & Water, and involved a woodwife, a changeling, a bridge troll, a ghoul and a werewolf trying to live in harmony together in South London. As usual, everything that could go wrong did, with the woodwife just barely managing to save her daughter from a vengeful ghoul, whilst at the same time the stopping her from ending the world; the changeling & werewolf spun off into their own 'Games of Thrones' style series about courtly intrigue among the Fae; and the bridge troll was left stacking rocks, trying to make the worlds longest bridge.

    Saturday evening I got to play Monsterhearts 2 and picked the Hollow, outlining them as the Mortal's childhood imaginary friend brought to life to protect them. I decided the best way to do this was to stop the other students at school from taunting him for his Goth tendencies, so naturally I burned the entire senior year.

    Sunday afternoon was for Something Is Wrong Here, a Lynchian-storygame of delusion and surrealism. I described it as 'peculiar & intense' and was one of the few story games I've really needed to decompress from for a long time: the presentation of the game was very evocative and supported the tones & themes wonderfully.

    Sunday evening ended with Troublemakers... for seven players! We picked 1950s rural England, on the south west coast, as the setting, with the Daredevil, Dog, Crush, Knuckle, Delinquent, Ranger and Mouth taking on Russian spies out to steal a British superweapon disguised as a haunted lighthouse with a guest appearance (or should that be guesht appearance?) from Sean Connery as James Bond.
  • We played a german hack of Poutine this evening. It was great fun... and we´re heading for a sequel in two weeks.
  • James, those are some great writeups! I enjoy reading them, short though they are.

    This week, we continue an ongoing game of My Life with Master, with three fellow familiar Story Games folks (@David_Berg, @Jeff_Slater, and @Demiurge), as it approaches its final conclusion. I am the Master, and they are the Minions. It's out first time trying My Life with Master, so it's been quite the adventure! What an interesting game (and challenging in some ways).

    We chose a somewhat unusual "Yukon Gold Rush" setting for our game; an icy gold mine somewhere far in the North, with miners and cowboys and prostitutes and standoffs with fast-drawn pistols, but also with a touch of weird clockwork and alchemy and Native American spirit magic. It's fairly serious and dark in tone, and two of the Minions are rather more of the powerful and intimidating variety than the typical "meek and pathetic" Minion described in the text.

    Some people I've talked feel that going with this (instead of the default/implied Gothic Eastern Europe vibe) might be losing some of the charm or mystique of the game. We've definitely struggled with this in places - the individualism of the Western genre is somewhat at odds with the static power balance and social order implied by the game itself. However, I think we're starting to find our stride with this game.

    It's challenging for me to really "bring the Evil" as the Master (it does not come naturally to me!). The game pretty much expects you to "deprotagonize" the PCs, and that's very much against the grain of everything I normally do in gaming. However, I find release in the Connections scenes, where we get moments of kindness, beauty, or gentleness. I imagine the final confrontation will bring further catharsis.

    We're also experimenting with slightly more diffuse narrative authority than in a typical GMed RPG - sometimes I frame scenes pretty hard, but at other times the players get a lot of say about what happens, when, and how. In this most recent session we had a really neat scene where one character used some kind of mix mystical alchemy and Native American spirit magic to establish a connection with a young boy, whose face, once half crushed by the most terrifying Minion, was saved by turning the destroyed half into a golden mask.
  • I ran 7 sessions of Goblinville at PAX East and played in a brief one. Games on Demand has been a major pillar of my RPG life and getting to run my own game there was a dream come true.
  • Congrats.
  • Started to read Good Society and having an itch to see if I could run Kerberos Club with it, particularly a somewhat darker mix.

    I had much the same thought about running a Le Carre spy story with GS - it seems very reskinnable into a situation where all the protags know (or know of) each other and there's a standard of behavior. I'm thinking West Berlin, 1965. Let me know how yours turns out.
  • Downfall with new folks and then the Lovecraftesque game @Caroline_Hobbs mentioned. Also played a game of Union a while before that.
  • Started to read Good Society and having an itch to see if I could run Kerberos Club with it, particularly a somewhat darker mix.

    I had much the same thought about running a Le Carre spy story with GS - it seems very reskinnable into a situation where all the protags know (or know of) each other and there's a standard of behavior. I'm thinking West Berlin, 1965. Let me know how yours turns out.
    If I do it, sure -- and tell us how yours goes!
  • Ars Magica: Tower in the Rock (one more step in our neverending Ars Magica Saga).
  • Monsterhearts, the Technical Difficulty Edition, aka we had a lot of trouble remoting in one player. That said, I think I know where I'm going, at least unless the players steer elsewhere.
  • Stars Without Numbers Revised

    After getting their asses handed to them by the inhabitants of the planet they wanted to explore, the Players spend most of this session just talking with each other onboard of their ship. Lots of blaming each other for what went wrong and dealing with the traumatic experience of getting thrown of a dam.

    The XP system we are playtesting is really delivering the more character driven play we wanted. We are using a combination of Blades in the Darks XP questions and Hx from Apocalypse World.
    The BitD bits will need some more tweaking but our Hx variant especially seems to work really well.

    SWN is an interesting game in that it seems to be the intent that you hack it into your own personal thing. I doubt that any two SWN tables play the same game. At least we are definitely playing something very distinct from the RAW.
  • GOAT CRASHERS, we had a big group who were trying to crash a party for the ultra rich inside a huge hexogonal tower. Got in by and things went sort of nuts.

    There were some publicity stunt a involving eating bowls of hundred dollar bills covered in cocaine my character in particular fainted (as he was a fainting goat) and woke up with the cast from the good place. As it turns out Ted danson was working for the FBI on an undercover sting to take down criminals in the party.

    Long story short Ted danson was added to the goat psychic Network and then was killed by the satanic goat. Which through the whole goat psychic Network into flux, my goat sacrificed himself to reconnect to the network. (He literally fainted on his sword)

    The whole thing send off a beam of light that brought down benevolent intergalactic aliens that asked goat kind to join them and the Earth began exporting cocaine to a glowing cocaine Superior product.

    I have no idea if this is a typical game.
  • I played some Trollbabe last night after playing a lot of D&D over the past two months. It took my brain a minute to switch over into the right mode, but I think the fact that I had hardly prepped anything at all was actually helpful.

    It ended up being one of my favorite sessions, and it seemed to click for everyone at the table in a way the game never had before. At least by the end.

    We had two Trollbabes and their adventures never intersected but unlike in previous sessions it still felt like everyone was engaged even when it wasn't their scene.

    I think one of the most helpful changes we made to our game was how we started it. In the book it basically says that the players pick a location from the map and start the game traveling to that place on foot and eventually encounter the "stakes" of the adventure. That was alright, but this time we sat down and the players already had some ideas about what their characters wanted to do.

    One player wanted to magically travel to realm of the elves and find the greatest bard in the universe. He told me that the elves live in a police state where they party all the time because "joy and opulence are mandatory". The other player told me she wanted to find a "mastodon trapped in amber" so she could give it as a gift to her love (a Trollbabe from a different session). The stakes ended up being about other things of course, but they were such fun ideas it really made my role a joy. I felt a lot more like a facilitator than someone "running" things.
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