What did you play this week?

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  • Night´s Black Agents: Unto the fourth generation. We started with crime detection. The revolutionary assassin of tsar Alexander II fled to London. Years later the russian foreign minister visits the city. In his entourage are seven members of the russian secret police (Ochrana) with the order to kill the anarchist. They are successful. Our characters are british detectives, law enforcement officials and similar figures trying to throw light on the murder. The detective is the brother-in-law of the dead. Now they detected an enclave of russian expat revolutionaries in London and a mysterious test tube with blood fell into their hands. The evidence traces back to the russian-ottoman war, maybe even further behind... but there is not much time to follow this lead - the nephew of the detective is kidnapped and the characters become more and more personally drawn into the matter (3rd session, it becomes increasingly thrilling).
  • edited April 18
    Last Wednesday evening we played our Yukon Gold Rush My Life with Master campaign, to which Paul referred above. What a great story!

    My character (the former lawman) was tasked with his most sinister deed yet: to burn down the town's Inn. He managed to save the neighbour (from a violent drunk) and rouse the tenants beforehand. He also ended up confronting his love interest's boyfriend, and stole a promise necklace he'd left for her! That ain't over!

    Meanwhile, one of our other PCs (the clockwork cyborg) returned to the Master's demesne to confront him for once and for all--and failed. Instead of stopping the Master, he got sent on a new mission to stop a terrorist (actually one of the Connections for 2 other PCs) from blowing up the mine.
  • edited April 13
    Thanks for posting about our game, @demiurge. It’s been a really interesting and a lot of fun. The scene you created with Slim Messer - you’re about to destroy the man’s life and yet here you are, helping him nevertheless - was one of my favourite contributions.

    I had a lot of trouble figuring out how Blackheart might continue to feature in the story, and whether he might have exited it altogether.

    However, in that moment where he lifted up the revolver you’d given him, pointing it at your back, he realized that you were not his real enemy - the Master, the mine, and everything it stood for was what had brought about ruin on him and his family. Yes, you had maimed his son, but there would just be another Bush Lavender if he shot you dead, for you were ultimately just a tool for Merwin Smith.

    And then @David_Berg gave me a great opening for that idea by creating a psychic connection to Blackheart, at which point they influenced each other with oddly similar plans of destroying the mine (I’d come up with that plan before Dave did, as we know from the vision of Blackheart stealing away from the Haida camp with a bag full of mysterious equipment). It all came together so organically... quite a joy!
  • edited April 14
    LEGO storygaming again this week with the fairy, magic cat, and good witch.

    After fleeing from the hallway with the three zombies, the fairy re-entered the first room where she had earlier turned the death knight into a frog. The magic cat (still there) decided to step on a golden circle that was in the floor. It was a teleport ring. She disappeared. Then the witch (also still there) and the fairy also decided to do the same because the fairy was still being followed by the zombies. They all teleported to different parts of the knight's manor (different rolls) since they didn't know how to control the ring. They hadn't spent much time looking at anything in the first room (this seems to be part of their gonzo approach to adventuring :smile: ).

    The cat ended up in a room with a magic door/gate on a a pedestal. It was spinning. There was a control panel. She decided to pull one of the levers. The door stop spinning and opened. She went through it, alone (very brave/foolish of her).

    The good witch ended up in the room on the other side of the (zombie) hallway. There was a lot there to see, including a green force-field blocking an archway that she had no way to go through, but the first thing she saw was the zombies milling about in the hallway, so she hid. Unfortunately, she made some noise (partial failed roll) and the zombies started moving into the room where she was. She did find the missing princess they were looking for, though. She was in a stone-walled cell in the center of the room. The witch hid behind it. It was a pretty big room.

    The fairy teleported to a great room with a sculpture of burning blue fire. There were also ghosts there circling the flames. They were enough for her to want to leave, immediately. She ran to the nearest end of the room where there was a green force-field blocking the exit. Using her magical lock/unlock (it probably shouldn't have worked in this situation, but GM fiat*), she stepped through into the room with the witch, princess, and zombies. Chaos ensued.

    The fairy used her magic to unlock the princess's cell door which opened, but that only made the princess start screaming, which attracted the zombies. The fairy turned two of the three zombies into frogs but the farthest one still remained. The princess ran into the arms of the fairy (who is human-sized, btw) with the last zombie close behind. Meanwhile, the witch was quickly making a potion to change the last zombie into a frog (they are fixated on turning things into frog, at the moment). The fairy, princess, and zombie all met in a narrow place near between the force-field and the cell, near where the witch was hiding. The witch threw her potion at the zombie (but partlly failed the roll). Unfortunately, she hit the zombie AND the princess, who both turned into frogs (interesting fairy tale reversal!).

    [cut to the cat]
    The final scene was with the cat, who had teleported to a beach. She was face-to-face with a blue-skinned humanoid riding a tiger and carrying a large, transparant, pink umbrella, and a pail. There was a recently built sand castle between them. Wisely, the magical cat asked the blue-skinned humanoid for help. Blue-skin agreed, but there will be a price for helping (hook for the next adventure). [/end session]

    *The girls were having fun. I wasn't going to quibble about whether her magic lock/unlock worked on force-fields. That would have killed the gonzo momentum they were developing.

    We're using a Yes, and; No, but system for this.

    Sorry, this was so long. I will probably start a separate thread for this AP.
  • That was good frogging, and announces nice catting.
  • edited April 14
    The hin gloom stalker's wife has a magic cello that can create a cottage where they can rest. And the cello got completely submerged in red wine for somewhere between 3 and 20 minutes. And to resolve whether or not the cello still worked I called a musician friend and let him settle it. I didn't tell him the sides or the stakes, just asked whether the cello would still work. And he said he believed so, if she retuned it. And that's not hard to do, even on a fretless, it's just fifths. She keeps it at CGDA. (California Guitarists Drop Acid.)

    This is a fantastic game.

    This was an "ice moon" situation, I thought it was a TPK for sure. Which I discussed openly with them. I was like "As far as I know, this might very well be it. I can't think of a way out of this. New chars, or…?" But since they could get their cottage they could rest and get new spells. By a weird combination of spells including… guidance‽!? and bardic inspiration…?! they managed to get out of their conundrum. It was a real drakar&bananer challenge, except legit, & with mechanics. "Physics" (except the weird-ass physics of spells and magic cellos).

    It was a great session of tangibility, of doing math on liquid volumes, on reading up discussions of spell effects on Stack Exchange, and of snatching victory from the jaws of defeat. Also we ruled that lesser restoration spell can sober up your lantern ghost if she gets too drunk but is not enough to de-goatify your enby hin evoker jester if they get goatified.

    I felt really vindicated in this DM style. This is exactly the sort of game I really really value the most. "Mirror story" style.

    Also in the session they were fighting a monster and I thought it was so obvi that they'd win that I at first was like "OK, you can split 700 xp" and they were like "ok, yeah, we can just defeat it…?" which sometimes we do when they are kiting or w/e and the pretty monster can't really do anything. But we talked it out and decided that OK we'll have to roll it out. It is actually a dangerous and non-obvious, even if likely, victory. And the gloom stalker did almost die. In the end they didn't really expend resources, but they risked dying. Also, rolling out the fight was FAST. The new fighting system feels fast to me. Not the world's biggest fight — the boys (a hin gloom stalker and a moon dwarve) vs a CR 3 creature while the other two hin kept the fort under control in the magical cello cottage. But it was made more complicated because they had to hold their breath.
  • What about the new fighting system makes it faster?
  • Untold: adventures await.
    I haven’t been frequenting this site for a while. Fun to see what some of you have been doing. My gaming has pretty much dried up. I play a 2x/month thing w some very old school gamers. They are all about min maxing and rules over narrative. I’m surprised to discover that this is moderately fun for me. Still I’d rather play a story game that encourages shared imagination any day. So I was really thrilled with a recent experience with this Rory story cubes game. It was great!
    We played an alternate steamgrunge Seattle story.
  • I didn't like the prototype version of Untold but the final version has a lot of polish and is straight up a really good story game. I've played it a bunch. It kinda sits in that uncomfortable space of using story game mechanics [why this game is so underdiscussed here on S-G is kinda weird, it is really good, mechanically] for adventure game tropes. But overall I love it.

    Paul, see here
  • Thanks, Sandra!

    And Untold is interesting. I'd never even heard of it before! It has a nice "walkthrough" video on their home page, which explains most of the gameplay:

    https://www.wearehubgames.com/our-games/untold

    (May be of particular interest to @Demiurge.)
  • Started and played two short sessions of Polaris!
  • Yikes, it’s been a while guys. I’m sorry. Real life and stuff. In any case, I played a game again, it was with kids again. BUT it was not in class and I was not a GM. I wasn’t even aware we’d be roleplaying as the kid in question just invented a game on the spot, in a train.

    He drew a labyrinth (and I wasn’t allowed to watch) which I had to solve. First time around, that was all, second time around he included dragons, doors that could only be opened by solving a riddle (mostly, “what number am I thinking about” between a range of numbers, different every time, but also like questions where I had to guess things about him choosing from two options). When a riddle was solved I’d get bonus points that could be exchanged for “powers”.

    I encountered one of the dragons and used my LASER POWER on it, which he ruled distracted it and made it run away (like a freaking cat with a laser pointer) ruling that when I would meet it again, it would have found something and made it be a MEGA DRAGON.

    We didn’t manage to finish it, but it was very fun.

    This kid is seven years old. I am still amazed.
  • Night´s Black Agents: The Persephone Extraction. "The Persephone Extraction", first session.
  • In Space Without Master, the PCs stole 3 spaceships, then crashed two of them into each other, just so they could avoid attending church service.
  • Played a bunch of D&D Tomb of Annihilation + ten thousand house rules as always, but also a couple of sessions of The Hollow Wood with a friend, a… kinda crappy story game but the sessions were good. The first got super trippy with the cards taken kinda literally living seventy years in the woods and then burying my sword and my horse.

    Then we set the next session in an apartment in 1990's Gothenburg, a relationship drama. Both session were good but we were thinking the specificity of the cards were kinda pointless. We would've wanted to use tarot or horoscopes or Story Cubes or something much rather.
  • I'm at GothCon. This far I've run two games of my new gnostic horror OSR RPG 'Kuf'. It has been fun.

    Last night after bedtime I got drafted into running a game of The Daughters of Verona. There was lots of laughing and then it ended with marriages for the lovers and a feast. Good times.
  • Man I was so mad at how you guys were talking about me on wrnu and how I never finished my own gnostic OSR game T_T
  • Played some more fifth edition D&D last night. We had a new player join which great, and they all decided to go back to the Tomb of the Serpent Kings which I was even more excited about (I like that module)! At one point they broke into a tomb and nearly died from a lightning trap only to find the stone coffin inside was totally empty. "Well that was anti climactic", was the general consensus. Previously I would have probably added something to the coffin on the spot but I'm trying to just let things ride and see what happens. That said pretty much none of the coffins have treasure in them in this module?? I might have tweaked that if I had read the whole thing more carefully, feels weird to me. Anyway empty coffins aside I think everyone had a pretty good time.

    The night before I also played some Trollbabe, but it didn't feel as smooth as the last session we had. One player keeps coming up with "acquire this item from this exotic location" as a goal for his character, and I just can't seem to find much complexity or excitement in that. He's actually bringing a lot of cool ideas to the game so I feel bad that I can't meet him with any interesting stakes... At least I have a better idea of the kind of stuff he's interested in now, maybe it will make it easier to brainstorm some options.
  • @ebear, I don't know the exact details or circumstances, but my instinct say that if a player gives me "acquire this item from this exotic location", I need to wrap some relationship complexity around it. Perhaps the item, so long as it remains in place, holds back an ancient evil. But it's also a powerful sacred item for some people in the area, and they worship it. Meanwhile, another person wants to use it in some ritual to save the land. What do you do?

    Make it interesting and non-obvious. I don't know if that helps, but there you go!
  • Well that was anti climactic
    "Climactic" is a term used for narrative arcs; you're not supposed to be building a narrative arc, you're offering a trip to a dangerous and exciting world♥♥♥

    That way, when awesome story stuff happens, they happen, rather than are just being told as part of a tale. Of course they then become fodder for tales that live on for a long time. The "gazebo story" was in the seventies, the "mirror story" was in… oh, has it been almost seven years already? #old2097
    Anyway empty coffins aside I think everyone had a pretty good time.
    Keep up the pretty good work♥
  • BTW this is my picture of our bard. CW sad af song lyrics Ashinell
  • I played some 5e with my younger cousins this afternoon over a video call. They're the best.
    Well that was anti climactic
    "Climactic" is a term used for narrative arcs; you're not supposed to be building a narrative arc, you're offering a trip to a dangerous and exciting world♥♥♥
    I think I actually agree with you, but I'd put it another way. I think anticlimax is itself narratively interesting and absolutely not something I would have included on my own unless I was playing the game in the systematized way that I was. It's like if I had mixed this cookie batter myself I would have only put chocolate chips in, not all these dumb walnuts. Except by following this other recipe I got to find out that having more than one flavor is cool, and the walnuts give a nice crunch. Ok never mind what am I talking about.
    @ebear, I don't know the exact details or circumstances, but my instinct say that if a player gives me "acquire this item from this exotic location", I need to wrap some relationship complexity around it. Perhaps the item, so long as it remains in place, holds back an ancient evil. But it's also a powerful sacred item for some people in the area, and they worship it. Meanwhile, another person wants to use it in some ritual to save the land. What do you do?

    Make it interesting and non-obvious. I don't know if that helps, but there you go!
    Actually now that you mention it, I did do that. But usually this player tends to just walk away from stuff that I make non-obvious or morally ambiguous and picks a new goal. Probably would require more context (like a threads worth) to dissect if I could be doing more there, but I think it would be more efficient to just try and talk to him about it first.
  • (Agree 100% about the walnuts Ebear)
  • My 14-year-old students loved Diadem! (a game about electing the new Roman emperor, inspired by Amidst Endless Quiet)
  • @ebear,

    That sounds like a difficult problem, you and the player being on entirely different wavelengths. Perhaps it’s worth starting a new thread about that! A tricky challenge/situation.
  • Played The Goose of Grillner Grove with my in-laws! It was very silly, but a fun short game. We tweaked the rules a little to remove the GM and replace that role with a character role (the visitor). We also replaced the take-turns story-telling structure with a group conversation.
  • I played two turns of a very strange and baroque board game called “Kingdom Death”. What a wild beast that is!

    It’s got a lot of RPG adjacent stuff in it, like characters who progress in power, story events with random outcomes, and the development of a community (a sort of town) as you play.
  • I played the first round of a playtest of my epistolary duet RPG "Wish You Were Here", where I wrote some friendly advice from a deceased blues musician who may or may not have sold his soul to the Devil.
  • I played the finale of a seven session Torchbearer adventure. Torchbearing has taken a back seat in my RPG life while I've been developing my own games, so it's been good to get back to it. The adventure is Floating Castle Ardmore by Shane King. It's been a great Miyazaki-like high adventure.

    I always surprise myself with how much character advancement systems keep me invested in long-term play. My magician will level next session and go through a winter phase with a full coffer, which in Torchbearer may be even more valuable.
  • I started running Masks: a New Generation and have had some player turnover, which is always awkward in PBTA games because the departing player leaves behind some of their prep and I feel obliged to tell the new guy that they should try to play with the elements we already have on the table and not add too many new ones. (Personally, I love a challenge like that, but I'm aware most people don't.)
  • I ran Masks: a New Generation. The heroes are pursuing an ex-PC that disappeared, and of course, nothing is going like I expected. After discovering a secret lab of a member of a golden age superhero group turned villain (not public knowledge), they learned that one of his experiments is the assistant DA, leading a secret double life as a vigilante named The Revenant, because the villainous Project Proteus kidnapped his kids, and probably their missing friend as well.

    Further, Yayael (the Transformed) became a Harbinger when he revealed he was secretly an agent sent back in time by his tribe in the far future.

    Night Gaunt (the Beacon), who last session convinced the tech villain the best way to get what he wanted was to go into business, this session switched over to the Brain playbook when he revealed he was playing with the last piece of psychic cyberware that their old villain Bastion used, and it re-activated and disappeared.
  • Playing the Tainted in an Urban Shadows game. The Oracle brought in an ordinary mortal to... well, as I saw it, to help with something that didn't need help, but okay. The Fae thought it'd be a good idea.

    And after, when the mortal saw too much stuff, my Tainted figured the solution was obvious. Shower mortal with praise, commend their common sense, buy them several drinks, maybe give them money. It was the Wizard who, after someone tossed around the term "magic", decided to explain that magic was code for *shows gun*. At which point, Tainted just handed mortal money for "hazard pay", but hey, still not a problem.

    Only now the Oracle felt guilty, so the Wizard decided to suggest just wiping their friend's mind of the last hour. The Oracle decided this was best.

    I found this hilarious. I mean, my Tainted's willing to commit all manner of foul deeds to keep the City safe, if necessary, but really, why are we jumping there as step #2 or so? Ply the helpful, if out of their depth, soul with drinks and money. Why complicate things?

    The other hilarious bit was the running joke about the Fae searching for someone.

    "He's on the East River."

    "Oh that's -- wait, on, not in? That's a good sign."
  • 8th session of our death mystery themed homebrew PbtA game called Catacombatan. A few lessons learned:
    1. PbtA games really really starts to shine over multiple sessions!
    2. Actively coming up with hooks and options to do for PCs every session (influence: 13th Ages) initially sounded as an interesting idea but its a heavy burden for me as an MC and established a bad attitude where players mostly react to my prep and do less proactive stuff!
    3. In 'trad' games where I have to prep I often fall into a trap by madly trying to 'serve others taste' which turns prep into a chore or work. I know that the solution is evident to a lot of people but I really had to force myself to put things which I am interested in into my game :) The ideas all came up on the bus to the cafe where we play and throwing them into the game was risky but I think it brought some fresh air and momentum!

    Highlights:
    1. Trying to strangle a PC on a romantic lake floating by her assassin lover. It was soo epic!
    2. A honorable PC surprisedel me by opting out from a weird looking assassination attempt and by that she learned that it was a trap! Now she has the upper hand in her organization!
    3. The only male PCs weakness made him fck up the most important spiritual transcending attempt in the setting but he also learned that there might be also some kind of conspiracy avtively sabotaging it so it is not (just) his fault.

    We also tried out The Lodger, a horror party RPG. We rolled well and managed to wipe out the sinister Lodger in 3 days (45 minutes) which turned the original creepiness into a 'it looks like a horror movie but actually its just a rotting cat corpse between walls' type of hipster meta-horror movie :D
    Although I still liked it but using the optional daily drama rules is highly recommended!
  • edited April 27
    That sounds interesting! I’d encourage you to start a new thread about Catacombatan, and maybe share some of your design.
  • That sounds interesting! I’d encourage you to start a new thread about Catacombatan, and maybe share some of your design.
    I actually already wrote about the mechanic components here: http://story-games.com/forums/discussion/21728/progressive-pbta-elements

    It is also based on the threads about epic gaming from the ?early? summer of 2018.

    @Picador started to translate my Hungarian rules. BTW this makes Picador my officially first translator :)

    If you have specific interests or questions @Paul_T , please ask them!
  • Played a couple more scenes in our ongoing Polaris game! Our knights are... having a rough time
  • 8th session of our death mystery themed homebrew PbtA game called Catacombatan.
    Ah, ok. There’s no real information there, though! I’m more curious about how the mystery aspects of the game work.


  • Our knights are... having a rough time
    <3 Polaris so much
  • Played a couple more scenes in our ongoing Polaris game!
    Me too! But I think we're doing great. I have no doubt my music will heal my beloved's hollow soul. Just you wait and see.
  • Love in the Time of Seið. The Jarl leads the forces of the king into battle. He wants to come back as victor, marry the Princess and become the new King. The Seiðkona is willing to support him in battle, his further plans she declines. At home the old King broods over the past. Many years ago he killed his brother to inherit the throne, but the ghosts of remorse never let him calm down. At least, the Princess and the Knight form an alliance against the Jarl... but during a meeting by moonlight, the Princess realizes, that her beloved Knight is a lycanthrope. We have great fun but need a second session to finish the game.
  • edited May 5
    Other Borders. New mini-campaign just beginning on LegendsOfTabletop. We did chargen on Slack but then we switched to Youtube for a live recap of session 0 and one round of scenes. OB uses the "Malandros" hack of Robin Laws' DramaSystem, which replaces the cards and procedural rules with PBTA-like Moves. Players Shawn Koch, Jesse Pyne and John Haremza enter a world of drugs, money and magic in the American southwest.

    Chargen/recap takes roughly half an hour.
    Actual Play begins around 27:15
  • Played more Space Without Master, discovered some nefarious plots going on in the universe, that tie disparate elements of the setting together.

    And an assassin managed to sabotage the PC's ship by custom printing stickers that messed with the neural circuits of the ship's repair robot. By changing one or two pixels slightly, the AI was convinced that the ship's engines were missing and had been mysteriously replaced with apple pie. But the other readings said the engine was there... so the robot returned an error and failed to fix the ship.
  • Got to play in a session of Goblinville for a podcast recording. It was fun seeing someone GM the game just from reading the game text. Great GMing and great fellow players.

    It was kind of intimidating, since I knew the GM from his game (The Indie Hack) and some of the players from their work (Girl Underground and Codex) but it's always fun to play with people who are very tuned in to what makes for good table culture. There was a very collaborative spirit and good reincorporation of things the other players introduced.
  • edited May 10
    Played two sessions from the same game of A Thousand Years Under the Sun. It's not a long game but we are playing during lunch break, so three short sessions. It's a fun game, even though we are bad at drawing. With two players, and only ten turns each, we have started a lot of arcs that won't see their apices. The game probably works best with four or more players (as many as seven or eight).

    We are using the map we create for the start of our upcoming Archipelago game/campaign. One neat thing about ATYUTS is that it generates NPCs as well as a map and a history. If you use all the arcs that's more that 50 NPCs, of which many will be part of the setting history. We haven't done the best job keeping track of them all. Some have been lost to history.

    Our map contains a tribe of crocodile-hunters, some bear-worshipping neandertals, some Amazons, some chariot-barbarians (wiped out by the Amazons), a splinter group of dark-worshipping Amazonian cultists, a Tolkien-esque wizard in a dark tower, a sea god, and an Empire of Light (which is off the map edge).
  • Night´s Black Agents: Unto the fourth generation. Instead of conducting a polite conversation with the victorian wirepuller of a kidnapper ring in a fine carriage, our detective shockingly screamed at him, intimidated him and shot him twice... at the Marble Arch in public! Latish it became clear, that his opponent is a member of the House of Lords. All the man wanted from the player characters was a dubious test tube with blood. Ridiculous! Of course, the characters have no evidence for his crime. Now our detective is behind bars and his friends have to find the kidnapped child of his sister by themselves. Do we have an execution next time?
  • I played a game of Muse with my coworkers. This time it's a strictly realistic (no magic or sci-fi) setting of plagues, chaos, philanthropists and billionaire cannibal conspiracies (a la Pizzagate). We used real-life actors and celebrities for all of the main characters! It's hilarious to play, but I'm not sure how savoury it is to write about here. I know, I'll try to protect the famous people's identities!

    The story so far: a certain ex-vice president was inducted into the cannibal conspiracy so they could use his algorithm (see if you can use this pun to figure out his identity, groan) to help spread a plague and discredit a rival billionaire inventor. Simultaneously, Breitbart broadcast propaganda on a manufactured Elongate scandal regarding this inventor (can you guess who the inventor is yet? Hint: it's another name pun). We've had at least 2 or 3 people get eaten alive by billionaire cannibals so far. The billionaires file their teeth to points to make it easier to eat raw flesh, and wear fake teeth on top (like reverse Halloween vampires). Finally, our 3rd main character (you may know her as the neuroscientist from The Big Bang Theory, and yet she is also a neuroscientist in real life!) was fighting to stop the plague and got gunned down in a clever cannibal contrivance. :( Who will save humanity from the plague now?

    In other news, we're still trying to organize our next game of My Life With Master!
  • Wow. Sounds like you should publish your first "setting book" for Muse.

    Of course, it would be called... the best title ever:

    Reverse Hallowe'en Vampires
  • Session zero and a bit of playing in gnostic horror OSR RPG Kuf. A friend is writing an adventure module for it, and today we had the first play test of that. I had a lot of fun.
  • (I don't suppose there's an English version of that anywhere, Wilhelm? The RPG, I mean, not the module.)
  • Translation is ongoing. I hope to complete it during the summer.
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