Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Size Matters

We are sort of approaching the beginning of the end of this cycle of games if the usual time spans are anything to go by. Circumstances have juggled us quite a lot over the last few months and as always Christmas made it presence felt including one storm warning on one particular Thursday this month. Whilst people will, at a push, risk their characters I wouldn't suggest that any role players try to make the games at the cost of their own lives, though that would be impressive dedication for which I would immediately press the Social Club to install a small shrine dedicated to fallen dice throwing mortals. If my bat senses are anything like accurate, we are waiting for Paramount merchandising to authorize the next batch of Modiphious scenarios for which GM Jon had kindly offered to intersperse with some classic Star Trek gaming to keep the rabble from revolting and GM Warren continues to press his players whilst he is daywalking but at some point soon the sun will set upon him once more.

Sniffing my colleagues' brains I am interested in Garry's upcoming Farie Wood, which is a home grown system of 20 yearsish as I understand it that was in fact published for a while. Whilst I am less interested in systems per se as opposed to narratives, I did have one experience in an old DnD game that I wasn't expecting to enjoy. The old home game I used to attend ran an Evermeet setting which for those that don't know is a nod to the Farie genre. The island of Evermeet is now sort of separated from the Prime Material plane and as we played it had a definite glowy cartoony ambiance to the environment. At the time we had a mixture of a giant, fairy, elf and cobold (rescued as a pup and brought up by elves). Despite this peculiar mix of friends and foes the adventure was both challenging and the world itself was interesting with regard to its unique/planar properties.

I suppose its not too unusual for a game to have characters of varying sizes but between a farie at about 3 inches up to a giant of 20 feet, it is exceptionally important to say who is standing on who's shoulders when trying to reach that naughty wizards tome on the top shelf. But large differences can create close friendships and despite the family friendly aspects of playing storybook characters, some of the situations got quite close to the mark. So, the moral of the story is, if  you wish to live happily ever after, take fairies who can cast fireballs seriously and try not to get trodden on by anyone whos shoes are bigger then you are.

Tuesday, 24 January 2017


Much occurs to me in casual conversion these days. That is not to dismiss the content of the conversations I have with people of course but the once bright lanterns that illuminated my mind are now more akin to tangled Christmas tree lights with a loose bulb somewhere.

At some point last meet whilst we were all catching up in the bar we had a brief chat about some of the Chill filler games I had been putting on with a nod to plots and back stories. Whilst the first Chill fill case is closed now there was enough interest from those present to have a stab at another small scenario so some brave few took up their badges of office once more as SAVE envoys battling the Unknown.

Now my approach in designing scenarios, at least in terms of plot, for  many of the more typical adventuring genres always seems to result in a go there and do that formula. I then back fill a detailed plot with characters and attempt to make sure there is at least the opportunity for everyone to be involved with something although of course it quickly becomes player led. See some of my previous regarding off road player handling. Now this is fun and generates its own story as well as often creating unexpected outcomes. But where the Chill differs is that I seem to have been caught a little on the back heel with it as its just really a filler game, so much of the detail simply doesn't get done. However, whether this becomes advantageous to a horror or mystery game is an interesting question.

The point is that with a more loose, irrational set of circumstances, a natural sense of mystery is generated. The motivations of non human entities cant necessarily be derived and characters do not have to know why certain things work or why some things have to be done as a matter of ritual rather than logic. One gets a much more medieval or indeed primitive experience when someone is caught up in events that own them rather than being the other way around -  a sense of helplessness or in the case of horror, a loss of hope.

So whilst players may reflect after an adventure with some unresolved frustration of how things didn't make sense or indeed how they were supposed to work out certain situations, it's the sound of one hand clapping. Sometimes knowledge drains hope. Sometimes some things are too much to bear. And perhaps the world does not belong to us after all.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017


Winter made its frozen fingers felt this last week with snow storm warnings keeping would be adventurers safe and warm in their hobbit holes and out of trouble. Of course those of us who either braved or fooled the elements met once more to see a Thursday evening out. As we were a rag tag selection of players across all of the games we availed ourselves of another board game, kindly brought along by Jamie, Lords of Waterdeep.

Much like a snooker referee bar the white gloves, Jamie steered us through a few disjointed and unfamiliar rounds of play before the penny began to drop and we started to play properly. Players are given a fixed number of rounds to place tokens in areas that gain them gold or 'adventurers' - basically little squares of different colours. Quest cards can be picked up, intrigue cards can be played affecting actions and property can be purchased to earn future rewards. During play points are awarded during some events but at the end of the game, large point totals are derived from the resources acquired over the rounds and quests completed.

At the end of the day the game doesn't really borrow anything from the D&D genre in which it is set and is more about decision making in a more classical board game sense - it certainly lacks a narrative. but its easy to compare everything to Talisman. Still everyone got involved and happily rolled their faces in gold at the end.

GM Jon has checked in regarding the Next Stat Trek module that is beaming in for the play test and I believe the Ravenloff is also on for this Thursday. I will pack another Chill, just in case.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Case Closed

SAVE archives return 29.09.1994, Bigfork, Minnesota, USA
Major Incident, Unknown incursion

Entity: Executioner, sub category Hangman

Behaviors: Interactive illusion via psychic attack, probable cause of local spate of apparent suicides by hanging across the county for at least  a 10 year period. Probably bound by remains and/or items of significance or ritual when alive; in this case a personal bell and/or bell from county jail chapel rung before executions whilst legislation carried death penalty. Partially corporeal manifestation, occasionally phasing, violent and aggressive. Unknown Servitor entity - probably wife, manifesting as ghost with similar behaviours albeit less potent. Possible living servitor maintained by ritual/blood sacrifice -ref Spectral Hound. Possibly accompanied with manifestations of victims, not harmful in this case.

Cautions: Psychic attacks, Evil Way. Deception by appearance as living being. Victims self harm unawares by strangulation manifesting as tightening noose around victims neck.

Vulnerabilities: Physical attack, harmed by organic contact or impact from weapons beyond a certain age. Impervious to weapons of newer construction, certainly firearms. Bound by ward - sound of chapel bell ringing. Possibly destroyed by burial ritual involving items of significance.

Additional: It is as yet unclear if executioners become Unknown during their life or after death. Part of this process is binding to items or places prevalent during execution rituals whilst alive. Motivation unclear.

References: 1956 South Africa,Col. Reinhold Hurst, concentration camp commandant shot 1945.  1830 France,  Charles-Henri Sanson Royal executioner died 1806. 1634 Yucatan Mexico, Akotec High Maian Priest died circa 1330.

Entity: Spectral Hound

Behaviours: Servitor entity of low cognition, manifesting as semi corporeal, large dog. 

Cautions: Behaviour in keeping with living attack dog of considerable strength.

Vulnerabilities: Physical attack, harmed by organic contact or impact from weapons beyond a certain age. Impervious to weapons of newer construction, certainly firearms. Unsure if entity can be destroyed or whether it is a servitor bound to master entity.

Additional: note, executioner in question owned attack dogs during his employment - probably correctional enforcement animals

References: Numerous possible - specific instances: West England 1900 Dartmoor. Romania Brasov 1868.

Status: Case Closed

Monday, 2 January 2017

Space Time

Its that time of year again. In fact every time of year is a time of year again, with the exception of the extra second we all received  due to slowing planetary rotation. Whilst that particular second was brand new, history repeats itself in recognisable fashion at the roleplaying club. Contrary to my pre Christmas confusion, more Star Trek is in fact warping in from Modiphius as GM Jon continues to execute his orders from Starfleet command.

I am not sure if a new moon will accompany the new year but I get the impression that every moon is a full moon in Ravenloff and GM Warren's fiends will continue to stalk his players this Thursday in the D&D.

The Chill fill has a session to run before concluding but as the other games are still in full swing it may depend on who has risen fully awake from their Christmas suspended animation before we make any plans on what to do next. But as I understand it, resdolutions scamper about in early Janruary so if you are looking for a thoroughly intriguing lack of exercise then I can heartily recommend coming along and making some new friends in deadly environments.

Basically if you are curious about roleplaying..........