Wednesday, 27 July 2016

I don't like you either

Despite the hours that roleplayers can spend arguing over an encounter or solving a situation there are equally as many occasions where you have to think on your feet. This is often amusing as it is exciting as when you inject magic users into any given dilemma the possible outcomes can range from the surreal to potentially universe threatening. As from my last post, the Strike game last week revolved around the all time classic bar fight. In fact I would say its almost an unwritten rule now that when a role playing party enters a drinking establishment then someone must end up with at least a broken nose before the party leaves. Its a bit like the fabled Samurai myth that before sheathing a weapon its must have drawn blood, even that of the owner if necessary. So yes, I would go as far to say that it is a matter of honour for the seasoned player.

The bar scenario in the (currently WWII) time travelling Strike eventually boiled over from a room full of drunken spies and bodyguards. The different factions all had their personal guard there ahead of a pivotal meeting but we knew that at least some of them had been infiltrated by time travelling Nazis, or those who backed them. The brawl however escalated quickly out of control as in this particular bar fight, not only was everyone armed, but they also comprised of a mixture of trained special forces and military personnel who have, broadly speaking, no qualms about pulling out weapons over dinner.

Cut to the chase, during the fight at least someone in the fray shouted "it must be Strike" so we at least know we haven't just slaughtered a room full of innocent people, but either way we abruptly had a room full of dead bodies to deal with when, at the same time, we heard the senior officers coming down to see what was happening. Well, being a necromancer and suddenly needing a room full of amicable people pretending to be drunk , all I could do was reanimate all the bodies and quickly sit them at the tables and bar. Keeping them talking we told the officers that everything had calmed down and that we would sort it out - hoping that they wouldn't notice their soldiers starting to gnaw on each other or shuffle around a bit too absently. Whilst I think we have got away with it so far we now have 20 undead minions to look after and a bar bill to pay.

Speaking of bills, thanks to GM Bill for running his stopgap 618 adventure - not a game I know much abuot- but I'll have chat to him next time, though unbelievably he has implied that it too may involve time travel. We have had a few new lovely members recently and are hovering around a possible regular third game if interest holds so plenty of seats to be had in various universes at present, past or future.  GM Rob also continues his Numenura thogh havent had any reports of a bar fight as yet.

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Always time for a bar fight

Its a bit of a weird co-incidence. Although weird is a somewhat relative term when it comes to role playing scenarios.....and role players for that matter. It would appear then that the Numenera players are also tinkering in time travel technologies albeit as much over the players heads as it is in the game of Strike. This is going to involve a lot of complicated and confusing pre game chatter as the weeks go by as for my part, I am always interested in what general approach the GMs take to the fundamentals of cause and effect. I always think it likely that there is a universe collapsing paradox laying at the heart of such plots or possible time quakes cascading forward chasing parties into alternate futures. Either way a great deal of care will need to be given to the temporal footprint of adventurers in any given context, or the future wasn't what it was supposed to be.

Words fail me literally as I am reminded of Douglas Adams point..

"The major problem is quite simply one of grammar, and the main work to consult in this matter is Dr Dan Streetmentioner’s Time Traveller’s Handbook of 1001 Tense Formations. It will tell you for instance how to describe something that was about to happen to you in the past before you avoided it by time-jumping forward two days in order to avoid it. "

Personally my character is just along for the ride but I am secretly hoping that in fact both games are set in the same universe, just billions of years apart - it opens the real possibility that the GMs can swap groups for an episode as we go on missions in each other's timezones. However with respect to well laid plans, we should really concentrate on cocking up our own game before moving onto someone else's.

Following on from last weeks Strike episode of time travelling Nazis, we find ourselves in 1943 at a meeting of the great powers, German, Soviet and American. It's a week before a pivotal summit and we are all hanging out at the same hotel bar with the other delegations' security details, trying to pry information out of each other by seeing who can drink the most. All the characters are tired, paranoid and  inebriated. This is only going one way...

In the Numnera in GM Rob's very own words:

"the party seek an ancient and mystical key the time-travelling wizard from centuries in the future identified as a thing called a "fuse" to stop a giant metal being transmitting nightmares to the population of the nearby town. They have found this key in the possession of some goat-like creatures who killed the priests guarding it. Finding their camp at night, the party plans their attack."

OK, so goats, wizards, priests, keys and metal things. Got it. So if anyone out there has has experience with time travelling killer goats then we would appreciate a few pointers.

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

World of Romans

I have heard it said  that sometimes too much knowledge is a bad thing. Generally speaking I am a huge fan of not being ignorant and I have a high esteem for those working in the fields of teaching and research. I can see that knowledge under duress can be a difficult situation, i.e. where torture may connect someone with the wrong end of a variety of secrets as well as medical instruments but it is equally the case that  you are not going to escape a grizzly ending whether you divulge classified information or not. It is more the case that the burden of some decisions can leave you wishing that you didn't know what you know but I suspect that this is really about the office you hold at the time, a lesser of two evils or perhaps or having to enact laws that leave little choice in an outcome. The difference between fault and responsibility will often mean that the blameless will shoulder the burden for the people they are responsible for despite what they may know or indeed those that have to sacrifice themselves for the greater good just because they know it to be for the best. Life isn't fair, but we know this already. 

But role playing can take this dilemma into extra dimensions, literally, and not to ramble on too much further without a cause, the scenario set for us in GM Jack's Strike adventure does serve to keep all this in mind. The point is Time Travel. At this point in history the party seem to be on both sides of an ancient battle fought between the Celts and Romans. A foregone conclusion from whatever perspective you may be looking at it from but unfortunately from our perspective it appears that we are also up against some Time Travelling Nazis who have brought tanks to the battle. So a bit like undead steam powered, Nazi zombie robots, the steam punkish scenario is already brimming with B movie action and hilarity.

The fun thing about charging around blowing up tanks and trying to level the odds in an future-historic field of battle is that its all too easy to be caught up in the action and forget that decisions we take now are going to have profound effects in the future. Anyway, we have a secret weapon - a horse, who's secret ability is that it can't talk! ....confused ? a cunning plan ? does it know more than it is letting on ? Can it convince the Romans that we aren't spies ? Unlikely at this stage I feel....

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Kickstarting Games

So some of us are returning from out annual holidays about now and there are some ancient voices whispering on the winds of email foretelling that they may also soon return to claim their rightful seats at the role playing tables. In all respects the forces are gathering and we have two challenges to be met by brave and wise gamers, both actually from kickstarters.

GM Jack is running a STRIKE! A kickstarter that had 418 backers raising 9192 canadian dollars is targeted to deliver fast action combat with exciting twists. Created by Jim McGarva the RPG Drivethru responses are good so far. Here is the spiel to give you a flavour.

What sets Strike! apart?

Every roll is 1d6. This makes it fast and easy to learn, teach, and play.

Setting agnostic. Strike's exciting combat and surprising twists fit smoothly into any setting.

No boring failures. When you don't succeed there's a twist: maybe you get what you want or maybe you don't, but either way something interesting happens that changes the situation.

Non-binary resolution. Despite the simplicity, there are four or five distinct possible results on every roll, not just Success or Failure.

Speed! Because of the simplicity, and helped by other tweaks, the game runs very quickly. Combat only takes 20-30 minutes, even at high levels. The system supports players taking risks and gives characters interesting options without being burdensome and pulling you out of the game to crunch numbers.

Character creation is simple too, and there are no false choices. Now instead of spending time trying to spend points and sorting through endless lists, you can just pick a background to give you basic skills, pick a class and role, do a little bit of customization and get to playing.

Variety without complexity. Combining your choice from ten classes with any of five roles gives you fifty unique options that will each play very differently from one another. Re-skinning guidelines help you create exactly the character you want with ease.

Also Gm Rob is starting his Numenera. Augmented with beautiful artwork it will be interesting to see if the games mechanics are as equally impressive as the backdrop.

Step a billion years into the future—into the Ninth World, where the remnants of previous civilizations’ technologies are indistinguishable from magic. Based on Monte’s Cook’s Cypher System, a new RPG system that focuses on story and ideas over mechanics.

I will post back with some of our club's experiences of it after its been running a couple of weeks. Definitely my favourite video tho so come along and let yourself go.