Sunday, November 27, 2011

Hobby stuff (and distractions)

Its been a bit since I posted last, what with the convention and holiday and all.

New (to me) RPGs Ive managed to snag
- Esoterrorists - the original Gumshoe system game. Interesting but I picked it up primarily to scavenge good ideas out of it. Ideally Id love to run a fantasy game with Gumshoe elements along the lines of the Nightwatch stories of Terry Pratchett and the Garrett stories of Glen Cook.
- Deadlands Reloaded - Ive been asked to run a short story arc in Savages Worlds flagship setting of Deadlands for a group from the gaming club. Interesting setting and Im working on binding up the pdf I printed out.
- Traveller - this one is a hard back that I think is original edition rules. Very interesting as an example of science fiction games, but I havent had a chance to dig through it.
- Bloodbowl 3e and 2002 annual - all I need is dice and dimensions on the board and I can look into creating myself some ultraviolent football.
- Big Eyes, Small Mouth - I actually ended up with a 1st edition copy, but regardless I may have to sketch out some ideas for some anime campaigns, maybe Appleseed or something fantasy esque.

Current RPG projects
- Most are shelved still from prep for the con, though my first attempt at binding a book (digest sized Stars Without Numbers) is slowly proceeding.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Next campaign to run...

So GASPCon has come and gone, games were run and played but its time to move forward.

Here are the important points
1. It will be run at GASP Gamesdays
2. It will be some form of Fantasy (depending on how liberal you are with the Genre)

So heres my short list of concepts
A) The party collaborates to create the world before we create characters. Everything from available races to the technology level of the era played in to what god(s) exist is completely on the table. I take the world created and spin out adventures.
B) Running TSRs big Night Below campaign box using simpler rules - like Rules Cyclopedia or Spellcraft and Swordplay.
C)Campaign level game - ala Birthright or Council of Wyrms. Create a nation and a character, and run both.
D) Something Weird - ala running a mesoamerican or arabian nights game, something different.

Anything sounding good?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Juggling projects

I havent been posting too much due to real world issues, booking myself heavily with projects and some new distractions. I'm not dead or anything but until Im done with prep for my con games I dont expect to me posting again soon.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Custom RPG take 2

Im not quite dead... but with classes finally done for the summer my time shifts back to my games.

Having had some time to ponder my previous ideas, and more input from other sources has led me to firm up some ideas.

  • Statistics are generated by 3d6 dice rolls, with any two stats swapped.
  • Stats in order are; Strength, Intelligence, Wisdom, Dexterity, Constitution, Charisma.
  • Rather than using 1st edition or later stat modifies I am going with 3=-3, 4-5 = -2, 6-8 = -1, 9-12 = 0, 13-15 = 1, 16-17=2, 18=3
  • Strength modifiers affect melee combat for damage, Intelligence gives bonus languages and resistance to arcane magic, Wisdom affects resistance to clerical magic, Dexterity affect ranged to hit rolls, Constitution affects hit points and resisting poison, and Charisma affects reactions and social status.
  • Once modifiers have been established 2d6 is rolled for Social status, modified by Charisma. 2 or less = slave status, 3-5 = lower class, 6-8 = middle class, 9-11 = upper class, 12+ = nobility
  • Combat will use a matrix based system like Basic and 1e as this lets me maintain repeating results to set a specific feel, rather than the extended rise of newer editions.
  • Weapon damage and weapon proficiency will be opened up while simplified.
Weapons Small Medium Large Two Handed
Warrior 1d6 1d81d10 1d12
Rogue 1d4 1d6 1d8 1d8
Warrior 1d4 1d6 1d8 1d10
Mage 1d31d41d61d8

Dual wielding roll for each weapon and pick one.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Gear Packages and Bases of Operation

The single slowest part of character creation, in my experience is picking equipment. There is rarely that much difference between the gear picked, unless an experienced or crafty player is involved, and yet picking the same stuff takes forever every time. Players are trying to pick enough items to have something for everything, and they try to carry it all.

But this begs the question, why bother?

No, seriously, why bother? What is gained by doing this? -- As far as I can tell, maybe an illusion of player control, but even that's debatable.

My idea for a solution is two fold, as there is both cause and effect to be addressed.

Cause - players feel they need to be prepared for all things at all times.
I blame Tolkien for this mentality, as he wrote the grand wandering story of the One Ring. Ive played too many games were the PCs travel all over the game world, and everything has to kept handy. This isn't completely terrible as its brought things like the Portable Hole and Robe of Many Things which are fun to play with. However since players are wandering and expecting to rely on themselves, you get a laundry list of items. So rather than changing the items available or something extreme, why not just give them a base of operations? Maybe a house, or a ship or some other place where stuff can be stored. You don't need to carry all your crap when you can just pop home and grab that ten foot pole or hydrospanner you need. But that's not the real reason to provide a base of operation, you do it to tie the players into a setting, to incorporate them into a story so they actually might care about at least a few npcs.
Solution - Provide a base of operation with a safe storage facility, and an opportunity to set down roots through roleplaying.

Effect - players want to have items to handle everything
Players should want to be prepared for problems, as thats half of what being an adventurer is about, but there is a difference between prepared and carrying everything and the kitchen sink. Anything can be taken too far, and poring over equipment lists can eat time like no ones business. Most genres have specific gear that's all but mandatory (and the DM had best know their material enough to pick these out) so total them up and write them down as packages, as they should show up. This has the added advantage of reminding the DM what sort of obstacles should be in adventures. If they players only have to pick one or two items and a package instead poring over lists it should go quicker. In fact you should be able to organize packages into specialized forms, such as one for the combat wombats, sneaky types and so on with the gear they need.
Solutions - Organize commonly used items into packages to cut down on what needs to be bought.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Making playing a human appealing to play

In pre-2000 D&D and its close relatives playing a non human (demi-human or humanoid) conferred specific ability or stat bonuses that exceeded anything a human could achieve. On the other hand humans were the only race to have access to all classes and no limits on how far they can advance in those classes. So a dwarven wizard or halfling paladin is out, and a human thief will always be capable of higher levels than an elf, even with the elfs longer lifespan.

This is not a horrible solution, but it can restrict the potential roleplaying opportunities though admittedly there are almost as many or more ways to munchkin out a character. A dwarf with arcane powers is a fascinating concept for example but as they are written up in 1e/2e AD&D they have some rather brutal resistance to magic as they progress in levels.

This leads to question of direction, do you give humans a bonus or restrict demihumans? One of the key concepts of pre 2000 D&D is the fact that the world is human dominated. If demihumans can be anything what is to stop them from overshadowing the humans? An incredibly durable dwarven paladin or the unearthly dextrous elf thief will achieve things over their longer lives that a mere human could, on a purely mechanical level. A wonderful example of this and the various mechanical tweaks tried to fix it is the halfling. As written by Tolkien a halfling does not belong in an adventuring party, because they simply arent suited for it. And culturally, going out adventuring would be treated like a sign of madness. So as the editions increase, they begin to gain additional abilities like luck bonuses until we have halflings that are more like Belkar from Order of the Stick. And the Baggins were never "shoeless gods of battle".

If we give humans bonuses to offset the fact that their mechanical stats are inherently going to be lower, you either give them equal stat bonuses and thereby cheapening the stat bumps that the other races have or an alternative bonus. Perhaps the reason the humans are the most populous and powerful race (besides breeding like rabbits) is the short term view that humans have that motivate them to push themselves hard.

If instead we restrict demihumans then we are limiting roleplaying opportunities, but the ones left are simpler to handle mechanically. The different races then become focused on the racial niches they've carved out. Such as an elf being a mage rather than a barbarian or a dwarf who fights rather than slinging arcane magic.

More notes on my Con Games

Based on my experiences at last year's GASPcon I need to do very specific prep. Rather than worrying about specific stats, as they are easy to create on the fly. What I need more is the mechanics to give a very specific feel to the game and a crib sheet of vignettes and characters to touch on when I need something to make the game fun.

Easy Credit Blues
I want this to feel like a mix of Serenity with Issac Asimov and other late 60s and 70s sci-fi. That means the crew's ship is liable to be falling apart rather than the immaculate ships of Star Trek (the Serenity contribution) while all the possible worlds to visit are remnants of a star spanning empire, with some major similarities between them. However that alone isn't really that interesting in a one shot con game. What I will have much more fun with is a card based mechanism to deal out random secrets that all the players have, things like "you're a traitor and seek to screw the players at a critical moment" or "you're actually a humanoid robot thats attempting to pass as a human". Each card will have ROLEPLAY IT written in big bold letters and "if you cant do this one, speak now!" so they will be warned and informed, and hopefully willing to introduce more elements of chaos and confusion.

Doom comes to Barvales
I will be drawing on the whole survival horror element of Death Frost Doom, Resident Evil, and some of the video games Ive been playing up the weird and horrible aspects that Lamentations is intended to have. A major element of the game will be surviving, with an eye to either carve out a new niche in the new order or take back the city from the horrors. That means gaining or protecting resources and taking advantage of all the resources I provide. My Doom players will get cards too - dealing out a card listing the character as being a local of Barvales, a pious pilgrim, or an outsider who has come to take advantage of the holy ritual everyone is coming together for.

For both games Im looking to deal out personality quirk cards, to give the players something to roleplay besides the cliched stuff like the drunk scottish dwarf.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

[A2Z] A is for Almarand, the stone that stalks

Almarand is a whispered denizen of the area around the bottom of the Walk. Attacking only on the dark of the moons, even armored and armed warriors have been taken by the creature. However it only ever takes one victim a night, leaving no witnesses and few traces. Two months ago a boastful warrior armed with a magically ensorcelled blade boasted that she would slay the beast and managed to convince the authorities, civil and criminal, to clear the road surrounding the Walk on the night of the dark. For the first time a cry was heard, but it was fierce and inhuman. In the mornings light all the was found was bloodstains and chips of rock. A sizable reward for the recovery of the magical blade, and a somewhat smaller one for the capture or destruction of the creature, has since been raised.

This completes the initial stage of my A2Z of Bridgeport write up - now I need to make it up into a document and start layout.

Custom RPG notes, part 3

As I ponder my little experiment, and listen to all the Thacoshammer, Save or Die and Roll for Initiative podcasts, Ive noticed that what I want to run is almost a lite version of 2nd edition D&D with hacks to the combat system - the circle is now complete as I return to my first rpg ever.

One of the more disappointing mechanical conceits of older D&D is the overly complex weapon system, where weapon access is limited by class or proficiency. Now admittedly some of these do have something remotely approaching logic (i.e. classic wizards spending all their time learning spells rather than swordplay) but even those break down when you look at them too hard or change part of the setting, like clerics being restricted to blunt weapons when the major religion is say a Norse pantheon. Secondly having damage variation by specific weapon is a detail that I don't feel actually helps the game, even when it doesn't inspire munchkins (ahem 2e katanas..) as your just as dead if the sword blade thrust through your chest is 2.5 feet long as you are when its 3 feet long. So to simply damage and allow cooler roleplaying characters and choices Ive knocked up a little table.

Weapons Small Medium Large Two Handed
Warrior 1d6 1d8 1d10 1d12
Rogue 1d4 1d6 1d8 1d8
Warrior 1d4 1d6 1d8 1d10
Mage 1d3 1d4 1d6 1d8

Dual wielding roll for each weapon and pick one.

This hopefully will allow the sword wielding mage or the cleric with an axe, as weapons are only mechanically important for how big the they are and leave the specific weapon up to the player to roleplay.

And anyone know how to fix the big gap ahead of my table?

Prelimanry Con Game Writeups

Doom comes to Barvales - Lamentations of the Flame Princess

    Barvales, beacon of civilization amidst the the Great Dismal Swamp, is the site of the single largest carnival and market within 1000 miles. Vendors, pilgrims and wanders from the surrounding lands come together once every two years to haggle over, celebrate and experience the wonders that will be there. However this year things may be different, as an ominous prophecy of doom for the city has been circulating. Security has been increased, with many mighty mages and holymen hired to be present and the city leaders are CERTAIN all will be well. But hey, that guy over in the corner looks a little pale and sick.....

     Doom comes to Barvales will be run under the Lamentations of the Flame Princess Deluxe rules, but no prior experience with them is needed if you have any clue how to roleplay and can roll dice. Characters will be provided, but a black sense of humor and experience with the playstyle of games like Resident Evil may help you live longer...

The Easy Credit Blues - Stars Without Number

    The simple fact is, it costs alot to keep a ship running. After one too many tariff, tax and cheating merchant, the captain needs to make some coin, now. Even knowing its too good to be true he's taken a job that promises low risk and great money. Just a simple little run across the sector to drop off some humanitarian supplies and pick up some art, thats all. Just a simple job....

     Easy Credit Blues will play under the free Stars Without Number rules, an old school inspired sci-fi game. All you need to play will be an understanding of roleplaying and a willingness to think laterally.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Thoughts on Free RPG day (or the swag I got and what I think)

Free RPG day has come and gone yet again, and the lucky people got there swag. Before I go onto the break down of what I got I have to toss out my problem with the whole idea, we're preaching to the converted. Rather than reaching out to non gamers Free RPG day seems to me to be more of a pre-Origins, pre-Gencon demo for too many companies upcoming products. If you want to grow the hobby, why put the material where basically only existing gamers go? I mean admittedly there will be some random people walking in, or the tragic gamer girlfriend dragged along that will see something that catches their eye. And maybe some existing gamers will explore outside their comfort zone (ahem D&D fanatics) but there isn't the access to non gamers that is needed to truly expand.

Anyways, bitching is done.

What I got - Fantasy Flight's Black Crusade, Goodman Games' Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG, Green Ronin's Dragon Age RPG.

Black Crusade - this is my big winner of the day. Black Crusade is FFGs fourth book to its Warhammer 40K rpg trilogy (yes we are going into Douglas Adam territory). What makes Black Crusade different is the characters, as you play Heretics. Now that means its dead easy to do an evil campaign and play soulless evil monsters, but the cool stories will spring from the fact that the appellation Heretic comes from the Imperium, so this could be anyone from a defeatist trooper to someone with a modern day liberal view. All that matters is that your outlook on the world differs from the official views of the Imperium, therefor you are a heretic. This looks EXTREMELY interesting. The adventure is pretty straightforward, but a nice twist on a jail break adventure, but with combat and interaction.

Dragon Age - this has been an rpg Ive been very curious about for quite a while, as Ive heard very good things about game play, and the stunts idea are quite cool. I had thought that the game was a little closer mechanically to traditional d20 games, but its different. Now I have just enough to ponder material to steal. The adventure is actually quite nice, with a mix of combat, exploration and interaction in it. The main reason that this isnt a top marks product is the fact that the back cover talked about Dragon Age boxed set 2 - it has roleplaying and exploration stunts! I want that!

Dungeon Crawl Classic rpg - oh were to start with this. Its not a bad product, but its definitely not what the cover offers. The rules in the booklet are, well nonexistent. You have brief notes on the differences between the system and both old and new school D&D, and a link to the beta document. I guess my bigger problem is with the weird dice it wants to use - I dont understand the point of adding additional dice. Now on the plus side you get two adventures, though both are written to be brutal, and some very cool artwork.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Custom/Experimental RPG notes, part 2

Here are some additional ideas for my custom brew of D&D.

  • Rather than sticking with death at 0 hps or -10, I think a more characterful idea is death at hp = -(max on hit die). Therefore a wizard would shuffle off at -4 while a fighter would last to -10.
  • Im considering digging out a master list of the kits available in 2nd edition AD&D to blend into a list of archetypes. This would allow for the changes needed in some kits *cough* Bladesinger *cough* to make them all playable, roleplaying features to add to the game. This should dovetail nicely into my revamp of nonweapon proficiencies.
  • Im thinking of at least writing up a version of the minion concept from 4e, as it simplifies large scale combat alot, even if it weights things in the favor of the players more than I like.
  • Quite possibly one of my favorite concepts in rpgs, I want to draw on the concept of degrees of success, like is found in Alternity. If specialties work much like 2e's proficiencies, roll under the stat+1, then using the same algorithm from Alternity for degrees of success. A straight roll under is an ordinary success, meaning you completed the action successfully. A roll thats half or less of the target number is an excellent success, granting extra damage, bonus profits or benefits or simply a heroic success. A roll thats under under the a quarter of the target number is an amazing success, one that gives significant damage increase or a success that the player can narrate (within reason).

We're all one big cult here

 I have to give full credit to Steve at Postcards from the Dungeon for the bullet points in this write up.

Cults are a wonderful possible villain for campaigns, but most are portrayed in very cartoonish, one dimensional ways (I'm looking at you Cthulhu cults). This is a complete shame as many, many more stories can be spun out of these groups. If they arent monolithic cartoonish cults, suddenly there can be interplay between factions and with the party, roleplaying of negotiations or turning a faction, and resources for fighting the cult. 
  1. Three main categories of people
    1. The ignorant outsider (hasn’t been inducted into the mystery, yet)
    2. The loyal insider (is a member of the cult)
    3. The apostate outsider (is an ex-member of the cult)
  2. Three subcategories within the cult
    1. The nominal member (in name more than deed, does the minimum)
    2. The active member (whole heartely believes; volunteers; above & beyond)
    3. The inner group (the leader & those immediately around them; same rules do not apply, may violate the very premises that are imposed on the other members)
  3. Three rings of information
    1. Outward facing truth (intended for the ignorant outsider)
    2. Inward facing truth (intended for the loyal insider)
    3. Core (secret) truth (what’s known by the leader & inner core)

    Rather than use this just for cults, I think almost any group based villain could be explored this way. In fact I think blending the opponent creation section from Misspent Youth with this list to create a quick build enemy creation process.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

An Experimental Idea - RPG this time

As much of a fan of pre 2000 D&D as I am, I'm always looking to tweak and modify the rules to fit ideas. Listening to my various podcasts on gaming has brought different aspects of the various old editions that I enjoy, along with some ideas for fixing the areas that were a bit ignored. So heres some preliminary thoughts and mechanics I want to explore.

  • One of the few changes to D&D that 3.0 did that I can actually get behind (just because I have to explain things less, and players who arent as comfortable with math seem to like) is the replacement of Thac0 with the additive attack result method. I personally prefer descending armor but the approach of Target20 resolves combat, saving throws and has an option for thieves abilities. This would have the advantage of resolving the math issues simply and uniformly.
  • Rather than going with usual critical hits on a natural 20, Id much rather explore at least the concept of "cinematic moves" from Dragon Age: Dark Fantasy Roleplaying though this still needs alot of work.
  • Rather than staying with existing weapon restrictions that prevent the cool ideas like wizards with flashing blades, a concept I came across on my podcasts was using some sort of graduated damage, so a warrior will be able to do more damage with a longsword than a wizard but both can use the blade.
  • Thanks to ThacoHammer podcast, Ive been pondering the concept of nonweapon proficiencies, appropriately renamed, rather than skills as they tie into stats and the overall concept of ability rather than training. The reason that this is desirable is the simple fact that the characters of a quasi-feudal world will be much more tied to who they are rather than some sort of training or equipment, for example a noble is noble by birth or courageous action, not wise investment or skill at a trade.
  • Stats will be rolled 3d6 6 times and placed as needed
  • One of the my favorite habits of games lately has been giving players poker chips that allow the player to cash one in to add/edit an element of the setting. For example the players could need to get info from a shop keeper and the player could spend a chip to say the shopkeeper is really an old army buddy of the fighter and much more friendly to him than otherwise.
These are my original thoughts, with spells being pulled from existing D&D (why reinvent something when there are thousands of spells already written)

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Campaign questionnairre

While I haven't sat down to clean up, revamp and compose my A2Z blog posts into a single, coherent pdf I have still been pondering a batch of general RPG posts, as I'm getting itchy to run a new campaign. As a result, here's a rough draft of the questionnaire Id want to hand out before planning a campaign.

Campaign Questionnaire
  1. What genre of game do you most want to play? What is the least appealing?
  2. What sort of stories do you want to tell? What sort of motifs would you like included?
  3. What motifs, stories or imagery is off limits or unacceptable?
  4. Whats weird or unique about the setting?
  5. What level of grit/realism do you want? Should combat be Cinematic or Realistic?
  6. If magic (or superpowers or psionics, etc) is available, how rare is it? How powerful?
  7. How powerful should a character be? Are they above average humans, superhero-esque, or something in the middle?
  8. What level of character death is acceptable? Can a mook or minion kill a character on a lucky roll?
  9. How much is the GM allowed to use emotional pushbuttons?
I think I need to reorganize this slightly, but thats why its a rough draft

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

[A2Z] Z is for Zagyg's Throne

Zagyg's Throne is the throne of the Harbor-King, named for the man who turned the Guilds against Lich who manipulated them. A rather unimpressive chair, much of its value comes from the defensive magic worked into it, warning its user of imminent teleportation, while offering to delay the incoming travelers.

[A2Z] Y is for Ye Olde Den O' Lust

Ye Olde Den O' Lust is one of the most famous or infamous brothels in Bridgeport, where any taste can be catered to, for the right price. Occupying one of the upper regions of the Underport, the Olde Den (as it is known) is almost a landmark of the town, and caters to many of the different groups in the city. Rumors of additional service provided, up to disposal of bodies, have never been proven.

[A2Z] X is for Xandura

Xandura is the unofficial spokesperson for the wizards of the Walk. While not the most powerful magically, her peoples skills are much better than the other mages. Her ability to deflect the inquiries of the Magister of the Hidden Light has earned her the respect of most of the wizards, and those who do not respect her tend not to last long for a variety of reasons. Her regal appearance, political skill and rich connections to various merchant houses make her a force to be reckoned with.

[A2Z] W is for the Walk

The Walk is the district encompassing the dwellings of the nobility and the 25 most powerful wizards living in the city. The district is centered on the hill overlooking the port, with the Harbor-Kings dwelling at the top of the hill. No house may be taller than his rather squat and unprepossessing house, resulting in the tallest houses being nearest the base of the hill, which is predominately the territory of wizards and their towers. The interesting side effect for the others of the Walk, those trying to sneak into the Walk must avoid the ire of these mages, and given the sheer amount of wealth and magic items contained in the houses of the Walk this gives all but the most overconfident thieves pause.

[A2Z] V is for Verenthus

Verenthus is the Gibbet Lord of Bridgeport, a massive treant who has been bound as the city's executioner for the last 300 years. Once a week the towering walking tree leaves the depths of the Great Mire to march to the Tower of the Lawgiver down the grand Venue, the gibbet cages swinging from his branches, some even still bearing raving convicts. Verenthus stops his march for no man or beast, so a bell is rung ahead of the behemoth in an effort to limit the number of fatalities.

Sickness and covering A2Z

Been sick for almost 2 weeks now, time to catch up on A2Z podcasts and finish up the ones I had planned.

[A2Z] U is for the Underport

Underport is the conglomeration of some of the oldest parts of the city, built over again and again over centuries. Tying into the New Day Sewers in spots, and preventing the sewers to reach areas of the Warrens, the Underport has been built upon to the point that the street is a full story lower than the walks and entrances of the building around them, and are prone to flooding due to storm surges. Underport serves as both a history of the origins of the city and a festering canker in it. Some of the seedier businesses in the city occupy flats in this area, places like illegal fences, strange brothels and bookstores that specialize in questionable or illegal materials.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

[A2Z] T is for Tower of the Lawgiver

The Tower of the Lawgiver is the municipal heart of Bridgeport, housing most of the bureaucratic offices for the city, with the exception of the harbor services and the fortified mansion of the Harbor-King. As a result more sermons in more congregations have railed against this den of iniquity and vice then even the flesh bazaar that are the brothels of the Warren. Bribery, graft and embezzlement are not just common, but the way business is conducted in the halls of the Tower, with even the pretense of hiding this having been discarded under the last Harbor-King.

The current Harbor-King, Scolelar, has publicly made his views known that the Tower needs to cleansed of the the corruption in it. While the common people of Bridgeport like the idea most have adopted a wait and see attitude, as other reformers have come and gone before with no changes.

Friday, April 22, 2011

[A2Z] S if for Secrets of the Seawalls

The Secrets of the Seawalls is a collective title for the strange and occasionally useful objects found by the brave, or foolish, adventurers who plumb the depths of these massive edifices. Everything from strange music making floating spheres to the Habor-King's blade of office have been brought to light, and most, in the great tradition of Bridgeport, have been sold to the highest bidder. Amongst the more powerful guild families and the noble houses, the possession of a Secret of the Seawalls are a status item, and the mages of the city have found that some items have uses in their laboratories. This has spawned a small market for recovered items, and a larger market in forgeries and thefts of existing items. The upside as the civic government finds it is that the greater dangers of recovering the items from the bowels of the seawalls tends to limit the number of "practicing" adventurers in the city, without requiring the disposal of bodies.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

[A2Z] R is for the Rock and Rhaum

The Rock
The Rock is a strange spire of stone that is home away from home for the dwarves of Bridgeport. Rising up from below Bridgeport, and made of a stone not native to the area, the Rock is an island of order in a city of chaos. However only those of dwarven blood or proven friendship with stout race are ever allowed inside, and consequently legends of great wealth hidden inside circulate. What is known is the quality of the metalwork that is released from inside is breath taking,as are the prices.

Rhaum is the agricultural center that feeds the city of Bridgeport, collecting the produce of the rich surrounding farmland. The merchants of the town have become almost as rich as the guild leader families of Bridgeport itself by providing for the never ending hunger of the city. Strange stories of cults and obscene practices abound among the poor as they look on the fat, soups farmers in contempt, and maybe some stories are true.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

[A2Z] Q if for Quint's Pub

Quint's Pub has become a landmark where the Bridge district meets the Sailors district, with the enormous shark head mounted above the entrance staring out at the harbor. Owned and occasionally operated by Quint, once an adventurer who retired to a life of fishing that he retired from after losing most of an arm to the huge shark whose head graces the door, Quint's is a mecca for those who take their living from the sea. Virtually any sort of sailor can be found here, though the prices tend to limit it to the officers of the ships of the harbor. Even sailors who will not be staying in the Sailors district make it a point to stop at Quints, as so much gossip and information for the brotherhood of sailors passes through its door.

[A2Z] P is for Patrician Josef of Traer

Patrician Josef is the leader of the Traerian religion in Bridgeport and speaks for the Street of Worship in mundane matters with the civil government. As the leader of the largest congregation in the city, Josef has considerable power, putting him on par with guild leaders, and his word carries great weight.

However in the last month a bedraggled street preacher has been making accusations about the Patrician in his daily street sermons. Strangely no action has been taken against him as he performs miracles after each sermon.

[A2Z] O is for the Organization

The Organization is the organized crime syndicate that has massive control over much of the vice in Bridgeport. In stark contrast to the civil government of the city, the Organization is known for a rather rigorous level of honesty. While this should not be confused for a gentle nature, the ruling council of the Organization has made it abundantly well known that cheating and stealing from the "family" is not acceptable. Those ambitious individuals in the group are encouraged to expand the vices catered to, the range controlled, and protect the "family". The reach and power of the Organization is complimented by a reasonable relationship with the Harbor-King. While quite content to flaunt the usual laws of the land, special circumstances have cropped up to cause surprising cooperation, such as the cleansing of the worshiper's of the Dark God Tz'Anchul from the lower wharf area 5 years ago.

(The Organization is a mafia inspired organized crime group with a twisted but stringent code of honor. Blending elements from the Godfather with the traditional thieves and smuggling groups of fantasy)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

[A2Z] N is for the New Day Sewers

The New Day Sewers were once a point of pride for citizens and slaves of Bridgeport, but have not aged gracefully, in recent years becoming overrun by vermin of the criminal and animal sort. Part of a citywide program to improve and beautify the city, and built with masters guidance the sewers were planned to be the unseen heart of the project. While completely successful at removing the sight of filth and refuse from the streets of much of Bridgeport, it also became an artery for illegal commerce and travel in less than a fortnight. Consisting of a spiderweb of tunnels under most of the city, all manner of beast can be found in the dark spaces. Amongst the people of the Warrens there are rumors that the builders used existing tunnels and hidden rooms to save money, meaning no known map of the true extents of the tunnels remain unknown to this day.

[A2Z] M is for Magister of the Hidden Light

The Magister of Hidden Light is the official title of the city's sanctioned witchfinder. Needless to say, his encounters with the various mages of the city are tense and stressful encounters.
As the head individual tasked with rooting out the worshipers of the Dark Gods from amongst a population that is alarmingly oblivious to the threat until it is confronted with it, the Magister was given authority to use any means he or she deems necessary to protect the general people. There is always terrible suspicion of misuse of this amazing power, as no one, not even the Harbor-King is above suspicion or reach. This has led to horrific purges, though the current Magister is a quiet retiring woman known for a keen eye and pale features.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

[A2Z] L is for the Light Seawall and the Librarium

Light Seawall
Rising only 85 feet above the eastern entrance to the habor, the Light Seawall is so-called because of the flickering patterns of light on its side that appear at times. Made of a similar strange metal as the Dark Seawall and the core of the great bridge, the Light Seawall holds back the storm swells of the seasonal storms without the slightest problem.

Of much more of a problem has been the numerous religions and cults that have sprouted up around the strange lights. Everything from pacifistic cults that believed the light patterns were messages from a higher power to guide them to enlightenment to nihilistic doomsday religions that believed that the patterns were signals that the wickedness of Bridgeport need to be purged with fire and blood.

The Librarium is the repository for knowledge in Bridgeport. Created over 175 years ago to maintain and record all the literature that passes through the city, the goal of the Librarium has been expanded and changed over the years. As various proscribed and debauched documents have been recovered when dark cults are discovered and ferreted out, a permanent storage location had to found. With funding from the Harbor-King of the time a special wing was added to the Librarium to serve as a repository for documents deemed too disruptive to be sold or allowed free.

Friday, April 15, 2011

[A2Z] K is for Knut and for the King of the Rats

Knut is the grizzled and stoic leader of the guards of the Stores. While not officially in charge of any group beyond his own men, in any matter that does not directly involve their employers interests even the other guards in the Stores will listen to Knut due to his repeated actions to improve and protect all the guards in the area. Knut is never seen without his magical falchion, a thick heavy cleaver blade with the rumored ability to protect its wielder from any sort of poison.

King of the Rats

The King of the Rats is a legend with two major stories tied to it. Inagio, the master cheesemaker, swears by all he holds dear that this mythical monster is active in the under-city realms of Bridgeport. Somehow manipulating and controlling the numerous rodents in the city, this being uses them to work towards some unknown goal.
Amongst the dregs of the Warrens, those too poor or crazy to have a place to sleep indoors, there is a tail of a strange beast that is occasionally seen, though those who have seen the creature usually disappear or are found gnawed to death a few days later. Described as a massive rat with a cluster of smaller rats attached to the tip of the massive rats tail, and all the rats have eyes that glow with an eerie green light.

[A2Z] J is for Johann DeGrapheneed

Lord Johann DeGrapheneed is the tall and gaunt unofficial leader of the non-magical inhabitants of the Walk, the home to the most powerful families and the wizards of Bridgeport. Known for his wisdom, patience, and uncanny knack for building groups through compromise Lord Johann is the spokesperson for the Walk when an overall consensus is needed, such as when issues arise with the Wizards of the Walk.

[A2Z] I is for Inagio

Inagio is the master cheesemaker of Bridgeport, maintaining a shop with over 5 journeymen and 20 apprentices and a burgeoning clientele amongst the most important people in the city. However he is also whispered about in rumors throughout the city for his fantastically stories of an ongoing "war" with an unseen enemy known as the Rat-king. The normally jovial figure who has been a fixture of the city for almost twenty years has become a nervous and paranoid shadow of his past self. What does he know?

Friday, April 8, 2011

[A2Z] H is for the Harbor-King

The Harbor-King is the official title of the lord of Bridgeport, arising from the Harbormaster who first drew the Ebon Blade forth into the realm of man and defeated the liche who was manipulating the city for its own weird pleasure. In theory the title is hereditary but in the 300 years it has existed it has passed peacefully less than a dozen times, usually do the great popularity of the holder among the masses and an impressive magical backing from the Walk.

As the final authority on all things involving the harbor, the Harbor-King literally has his hand wrapped around the heart of the city, an idea that has spawned innumerable assassination plots.

The current Harbor-King is Scolelar of the house of Adean, a man in his thirties with an iron hard determination to run the city as he feels it should run. This determination surprisingly has a major goal of improving the lot of the poorest of the city and reforming the civic government.

[A2Z] G is for Great Mere

The Great Mere is the massive cool weather swamp/bog just to the south of the city, whose history has been tangled with Bridgeport since recorded (human) history in the area. Currently used as a dumping ground for city waste, both chamber pots and the occasional servant who has heard too much, there is also deep ties to the Mere with the Lizardfolk of the city. The frightening mystics and literally cold blooded blades-in-the-dark of the lizardfolk all trace their heritage to this massive swamp. Rumors hold that somewhere deep in the interior is an ancient city, a remnant of the past glories of the scaled folk, however the floating islands, dangerous predators and the clannish folk of the swamp have kept any of the glory hounds from returning with tales, at least as far as anyone knows...

[A2Z] F is for Far Az-Hrad

Bridgeport exists because of trade first and foremost, and the far land of Az-Hrad is one of the most dangerous and riches trade routes known. Only the great seawalls of the harbor of Bridgeport can protect the big ships needed for the long voyage from the vicious storms the Sea of Storms spawns every Spring and Fall.

With a travel time of roughly 3 months, only the best provisioned and largest ships can safely make the whole trip to Az-Hrad, however the rich spices and exotic goods they bring back have built many trading dynasty over the years. The various island colonies and harbors used as way points for the voyage also work wonders as convenient places to "retire" a troublesome family members among the dynasties, as no one of value pays attention to the strange stories that common sailors bring back...

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

[A2Z] E is for Eramus, seneschal of the Organization

     Eramus is a name only whispered in Bridgeport, as he his the right hand and mouthpiece for the shadowy syndicate known as the Organization. Known as the "Seneschal" due to his direct hand in running and maintaining the various businesses that the group runs or takes its cut from.

     A very non descript man of average height and weight with bland brown hair, until someone meets his eyes, which are described as the most soulless that can be found in a man who hasnt traded his soul to the Dark Gods. Considered an old fashioned sort of criminal, Eramus is known for using a straight razor of the sort barbers are known for unless his target is known to be immune to such mundane weapons, and for following through on any promise or threat he makes.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

[A2Z] D is for the Dark Seawall, Dreamers and Disturbed Cultists

The Dark Seawall
     Rising over 120 feet above the western edge of the harbor that is the heart of Bridgeport, is the dark and forbidding edifice of the Dark Seawall. One of the few parts of "Old Bridgeport" that hasn't been built on by squatters, or they haven't lasted long. The stark angular shape of the Seawall is a frightening but solid edifice that can be seen from all but the most tangled and dark sections of the Warrens, providing both a home to bogeymen and protection from the highly destructive storms of the Spring and Fall. Stories abound that great riches, wonderous objects and frightening foes can be found inside the Seawall, as it is not solid like a mountain its size, but more like the various ruins found in the surrounding areas. Even more unusual is the material it is made of, a strange metal that even the most skilled dwarven craftsmen can work with only the greatest effort. As a result only a few entrances have ever been created, and are all heavily guarded or sealed. However cthonians still manage to escape from time to time, implying more exits exist but are unknown.

The Dreamers
      Roughly one in one hundred children born in Bridgeport are special, known as Dreamers due to their uncanny and disturbing habit of whispering secrets and disturbing truths while sleeping or in drug induced trances. It is almost like another force takes control of their voices while they are unconscious and enjoys the chaos and disorder caused by these revelations. More than one decadent noble house has been destroyed by the whispers from a common born Dreamer revealing secrets that none should know. Needless to say there is a thriving black market of those who would find these children and keep them drugged into unconsciousness to reap any secret they can. However there are dark rumors of what terrible fates inevitable be fall those who seek to manipulate the Dreamers as though the force that loosens their tongues does not approve of anyone trying to monopolize or control the chaos the secrets can create.

Disturbed Cultists
     A frighteningly regular occurence in Bridgeport, there are always those who are seduced by the whispered offers of the Dark Gods and Demons that haunt the world. Worse still, not all these offers are lies, tricks or half-truths that are used to tempt the weak willed. Using dark rituals, ancient spells and unwholesome congress with cthonians, they seek to bring the Dark Gods back into the world or reawaken those who sleep in the world.

Monday, April 4, 2011

[A2Z] C is for Cthonian

Cthonian is the name used by scholars and wizards to describe the creatures found inside the Dark Seawall. Rather than any particular breed of creature, cthonian describes any beast that is not naturally found outside the Dark Seawall. Ranging from the smallest anklebiters that even the scum of the Warrens can be fight to horrendous beings that blast the sanity from most that encounter them, cthonians are described as malleable creatures especially prone to mutation and change. Even within a breed individuals can vary widely, where one is small and easily injured, another may be resistant to any sort of non magical attack.

Rumor has it that the ratmen of Bridgeport are partially bread from cthonians by a mad wizard roughly 350 years ago when the crafting new lifeforms was a rage amongst the denizens of the Walk.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

[A2Z] B is for Bridgeport

Day 2, the Letter B

Bridgeport is a city without pity, a Noir city in a fantasy world. Heavily inspired by Ankh Mor-Pork and Tunfaire in fiction, Bridgeport blends in some darker elements from the stories by H.P. Lovecraft and Robert Howards among others, at the expense of some of the humor that defines Ankh Mor-Pork.

Bridgeport is intended to serve as a possible setting all in itself, with a mix of urban and dungeon adventures available, in sandbox form.
Bridgeport consists of;
  • the Guild district - on the tip of the peninsula, home to the moneyed class that provides much of the commerce that makes Bridgeport the city that it is
  • the Walk - the district that the upper and magical class dwell in on the rise of shoulder of the peninsula. Access is restricted and troublemakers, the poor and other undesirables are generally kept out
  • the Warren - the twisting and twisted slum where those who are down and out live and extending from the Guild district west to the harbor mouth on top of the Dark Seawall. Many weird occurrences are almost commonplace here, along with crime and stories tell of entrances to the Dark Seawall that are not regularly known about.
  • The Sailors District - a small but important district at the mouth of the harbor built on the Light Seawall, this is where sailors from all different cultures on the Sea of Storms meet and mingle.
  • The Bridge district - those who dwell on the great bridge connecting the seawalls, a bridge so high even the tallest masted ship can comfortably sail under, are generally considered a weird group. Inevitably richer than those in the Warren, an odd (and disquieting amount as far as the Lords of Bridgeport consider it) array of Secrets of the Seawalls can be found here. Home to what would amount to the adventurer class in Bridgeport, the Bridge is known for brothels, barrooms and flophouses, and those stores were anything can be had, for the right price.
  • the Stores - are known for the warehousing and storage capacity of the city, and among the quietest area in the city due to the sheer amount of watchers and guards in it. Theft is dealt with extreme harshness and lack of "due process"
  • the Street of Worship - is the dividing line between the Walk and the Guild district and home to all the official temples of allowed religions in the city, in addition to some empty or closed buildings.
  • the Rock - an unexplained rock spire jutting up from the edge of the Guild and the Warren, the Rock is the unofficial home away from home for all dwarves in the city. Visitors (only humans or lizardman, as ratfolk dont count) without a proper dwarven escort or special credentials will be turned away with varying levels of pleasantry depending on where the visitor is found.
  • the Light Seawall - the Light Seawall is a strange metal wall of unfathomable depth that protects the eastern entrance to the harbor, named because of the strange openings that will occasionally light up with an eerie light. Several current and past religions have sprouted up, based upon interpreting the strange lights.
  • the Dark Seawall - a much larger, taller and altogether grimmer looking companion to the Light Seawall, the Dark is the defense of the western entrance to the harbor. As this side of the harbor bears the brunt of the seasonal storms coming off the Sea of Storms which makes many of the residents of Bridgeport willing to put up with the occassional weird noises, strange creatures and horrific stories that afflict the Warrens

Friday, April 1, 2011

[A2Z] An Artifact - Bridgeport

The Ebon Blade - The hereditary (when succession manages to occur) symbol of rulership of Bridgeport, the Ebon Blade is a short sword, with an intricate hilt and a blade made of the blackest color known to the world. Rumored to have been found in the depths of Dark Seawall, the Ebon Blade shows up roughly at the same time as the Consolidation of the Guilds and the defeat of the lich who had been manipulating the Guildmasters into their war.

The Ebon Blade ignores armor, striking its target as though unarmored (magical bonuses are still added in) and shields its wielders mind from any scrying, mind reading, and mental influencing, from any source weaker than a demigod.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

[SFD] Some players have all the luck

Quick post - but its amazing what you find when you actually zoom in enough in google maps to actually see business names pop up. The campaign may shift radically if the players arent brain dead.... What are the odds?

Because Im insane like that

Hmmm - this could be a way to force myself to post more about Bridgeport or Bryn Mawr and nail down some tropes and ideas that I want to come through no matter what.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Another quick ponderings post

Interesting read over at Playing DnD with Porn Stars (NSFW in general) about setting books and how little most people read them, which I totally agree with with the exception of Battletech in my case. So Im figuring that each player probably has one setting they will read any and all setting books for, while the rest just get skimmed at best. So if I want to craft my Ideas for Bridgeport (using LoFP) or Bryn Mawr (generic OSR) I need to balance my urge for detail with enough interesting material, predominately gaming material and brief vignettes, to get people to want the material I produce.

So by this logic I need to write down what is almost my GM prep style, minimal info and some game stats - just enough to get the GMs imagination going in new directions.

I think I can do that.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

[SFD] Recap of 3/12

As we joined our "heroes" again for the first full session they were bedded down in old ruins, the remains of a pre-war tavern. During the downtime David Davidson, the Vault security guard sent out by Sal began to convulse and even the medical ministrations of Josef and his Vault training could not save him from the ravages of radiation, succumbing to it puzzlingly fast. After finding a picture that made them realize that copper was used in major amounts in the brewery industry before the Fall.

A major commotion in the streets brought everyone to look as an elderly figure ran down the streets, followed by a horde of degenerate humans, chasing after him with various blades and clubs. The young scruffy girl climbed up ontop of Fluffy for protection, just in time for Fluffy to charge into the fray, presumably to "play". The battle was extremely lopsided as the players had ranged weapons and the cannibals only had a leader with a sawed off single barrel shotgun. Jeeves entered a bizarre and vengeful state, while Fluffy playfully crushed all who came into reach, as the cannibals frantically flailed at him with no success. No one knew what exactly to do when the newcomer pulled out a strange firearm and blasted at the cannibals with searing light. The cannibals broke and ran after the dirty young girl vaulted off Fluffy to land behind the cannibal leader and neutered him with her straight razor (greatly assisted by a massive critical hit from Jane Doe's hunting rifle).

After the battle, and a bloody Jeeves returned from chasing cannibals, introductions were made, energy weapons were drooled over and plans were made. Newcomer Jeremiah led the party to a weird walled off street, inhabited by a community of black ghouls who apparently had worked at the nearby Glow before the fall. Trading on the canned goods found in ruins in the February session, the party was able to gain the recipe of pickles, food and some ammo along with some additional information for the surrounding area. After much debate it was decided to clear out the nest of cannibals at their source, as no one would complain about taking valuables from dead cannibals, and hopefully some work later on. The plan to destroy the cannibals revolved around using the dirty girl as bait and lead the degenerates into the blast radius of a bomb cobbled from car power-plants. A believable plan, good dice rolls and an obsession with using rat bodies as some sort of distraction for the cannibals managed to lead to a massive, earth shaking explosion only a few blocks from the nest of cannibals, a pre-Fall bus depot.

Who will notice the explosion? What will be found in the depot? Can the players survive their plans?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Good weather and a finished project

Not a long post due to being busy on some other projects.

The weather finally has warmed up enough to allow for priming and sealing, so the last of my matte sealer went to coating my 15mm Spetsnatz.

Up on the build table I finally have the last bits to finish building of the Halo Flood inspired corrupted powered suit, converting/sculpting an alternative female FCC Boomer for my Mercs force, rebuilding the upper arms of my Domanei Seraph for a more realistic shape, 15mm hunter/bounty killers and working on terrain for 15mm modern and 28mm near future.

Now for my Guinness for St. Patrick's Day

Friday, February 18, 2011

[SFD] Recap of the game 2/12

Here is a short recap of the first session.

Edison, leading his motley band of scavengers, had bought a scavenging permit for the remains of Grosse Point. Using some secret records he had recovered, Edison was hoping to find the remains of a hereto unknown Vault that he could recover tech from. At the same time, S.A.L. was preparing to sen "her" group into the Wastes on their "Shopping Run". As Fluffy pounded on the massive door sealing the Vault, opening procedures began. An awkward introduction followed, vastly facilitated by the "movies" that Jeeves managed to project, especially enjoyed by Fluffy. Making the decision that working together would allow both groups to have a better chance of success, the new band set out. Almost immediately a man ran by, chased by dogs. Jane Doe decided to randomly shoot one dog as Fluffy tripped the running man. Following after the dogs were handlers and a man on horse. When the one handler saw his now dead dog he had a fit, before being shot by the rider. After determining the party had a valid scavenging permit the newcomers simply dragged the fallen man off.

After rooting through some ruins the party stumbled on to a small personal fallout shelter, filled with canned goods. Chasing after a possible lead on pickles the party began to head west.

The travel west was assisted by the cobbling of a Supermutant powered wagon. Strange sights were noticed coming from the city center, including a sight of some weird light in the sky leaving the center of town.

The session wrapped up after a close encounter with the radiation of the Glow. The party pulled off the highway and bedded down for the day.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

[SFD] Some gear and Edges

I've added two additional resources to the Savage Fallout booklets, Savage Darwin's World and Savage Gamma World. The single biggest benefit will be additional tech, pre-written for me to use. I find this wonderful as it means more time to spend on trying to figure out how something like a Stealthboy will actually work. As one of the players wants a Stealthboy as an integral part of his character. Since the piece of tech is that important I think its time to create an edge, however not every piece of tech costs an edge. Regular gear is still available, but it can be stolen, broken or worn out.

Sheath Armor - the standard riot gear of America pre-fall (power armor being the exclusive province of the military) was stocked in the Vaults, for the inevitable civil disturbances in the monolithic vaults. As a result the remaining suits tend to be in the hands of vault dwellers and their descendants  or those who have found and cracked Vaults.
+3 armor, 100 credits, 10 lb weight (does not include a helmet)

Friendly Persuader - not popular with most dwellers of the Wastelands due to their lack of lethality, the Friendly Persuader was created to arm police forces of pre-fall America. Powerful but non lethal this handgun has much of the profile of the classic .38 cal revolver that was standard issue for police across America from the 1880s well through World War 2. Quite capable of subduing a suspect rather than out right killing them, only those few attempting to uphold justice in the wastes even consider using them in the current era.
Friendly Persuader - 15/30/60 - 2d8 damage - 30 shots from one micro energy cell - AP2, inflicts Fatigue instead of wounds, Semi-Auto, target is shaken if received fatigue damage, 500 credits, 4 lbs

New Edges
These edges are going to be character creation only - they are specifically intended to certain characters, unless some negotiation comes in.

Weapon of Mass Distraction (intended for SirJustinSane's character)
Requirements: Novice, Attractive, Spirits d8+
You've got some impressive "assets" and you sure know how to make the best use of them to make sure that your opponent's attention is where you want it to be.
When wearing any outfit that leaves at least 75% of your skin exposed, any attack roll made against you suffers a -2 penalty, in addition to any other modifiers that apply. This penalty rises to -4 if you are Very Attractive.
by JackAce

Gear (intended for the Swede)
Requirements: Novice, not available to Vault born origins
You got your grubby hands on a piece of pre-Fall technology. The technology of the Ancients was amazing, almost magical in its reach and power. Use the weird science rules to create an item, but replace weird science with Science as the skill roll, with a default to Smarts. This includes the rule that a 1 on the skill roll triggers a malfunction. 
example - Stealthboy
10 power points (recharges one point per hour)
mimics Invisibility spell (cost of 5 points)
Duration 3 (additional round for each extra point spent)
Character becomes invisible, -4 to notice, IF there is a reason to suspect an invisible character. With a success for notice roll, -4 to target. On a raise the penalty becomes -6

Req. Novice, Persuasion d8+
Some call your character a wide-eyed idealist, but there is no mistaking the fact that he believes what he says. Anytime your character is telling the literal truth (as he knows it), he gains a +2 bonus on Persuasion rolls. He loses this bonus if he exaggerates even slightly.

Flashbacks (minor)
The Hero has suffered a traumatic event in his life that has taken a portion of his sanity with it. Whenever the Hero sees or hears an object, person, sound etc. that may have been linked to a specific traumatic event in his life he must make a Spirit roll. With a failure the hero suffers a flashback and is shaken, he may begin hallucinating and acting as if he were actually in his flashback.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

[SFD] An Experimental Idea

While listening to podcasts at work I came across a totally intriguing concept, having nonactive players stepping into crowd npcs and roleplaying them. I call them "crowd npcs" as these are npcs whose sole existence is to be scenery, players familiar with older Crpgs will know them as the "Sigh, times are tough" bar patrons. The whole idea of being a DM who DOESN'T have to roleplay the minor scenery npcs when the party, of course, splits up to try and pursue two goals or more at once. This is a wonderful idea for me as it allows some additional player control of the plot as they can dictate additional elements of the world, as I have no problem rolling with the changes. However there are a few rules to this idea;
  • Dont be a dick - just like Phil Plait says, this should always be a golden rule
  • Pick an unimportant npcs - dont pick the king, pick a servant or bodyguard
  • you're playing an npc to add flavor, not to try and add to the plot
  • dont do anything to harm another PC (causing trouble for your own PC is fair game)
Im quite willing to allow this with any player ive run for before, and others are welcome after they have gamed with me and gotten a taste of my style.

    Tuesday, February 8, 2011

    [SFD] Random thoughts and notes

    Just a miscellaneous post with the hope to organize my thoughts some.

    Overland travel in Savage Fallout: Detroit
    • Walking - 4.5 mph or around 24 miles for an average days travel
    • Horses - 25 miles roughly, can be pushed to around 50 miles
    • Motorcycle - 40-60 miles per hour
    • Cars - as fast as the engine and your nerves will handle
    • Sail ships - 120 miles in a day
    Scavenging permits - I think it would make sense for some of the more organized (or ruthless) power groups in the area to issue scavenging permits to various wandering scavengers. In return for a portion of all scrap or relics found the scavenger is legally allowed to hunt through ruins in the power groups area. Punishment for scavenging without a permit will be branding on first attempt and probably death on a repeat offense. Variation in the cost of the permit or what is expected to be recovered makes perfect sense, as someone digging through a pile of beams and bricks is one thing, cracking into a military storage depot is much different.

    Speaking of scavenging Ive decided on a location for the Vault that starts up the campaign will be in Grosse Point and the exit to the outside world faces South.

    Pirates of the Big Lakes - this idea needs expansion, wonder if there is a Gammaworld module for this...

    What is the starting date of Savage Fallout: Detroit - I think I need a random day generator and work from there. 

    Sunday, February 6, 2011

    [SFD] Character Sheet

    Just a small posting - heres a link to the Character Sheet I edited. Savage Fallout: Detroit Character Sheet

    Opinions and thoughts?

    Saturday, February 5, 2011

    RPGs and whining

    I found a wonderful little comment on James Raggi's little rant that I need to try and focus on for gaming (it ties into Zak at Playing D&D with Porn Stars Vegan Wrap commentary).

    DRANCE said...
    One bad thing about the Internet is that every douche can now put forth his opinion as fact an inflict the whole world with his blather. Here is what I have to say: What makes you an ideal candidate to pass such judgement? This is your opinion. So keep it to yourself. If you have such a problem with rpgs then do something creative and bring something new to the table, instead of sitting back and passing judgement. Stop whining. Stop assuming that your opinion is fact. I’m pretty sure that there are lots of gamers having lots of fun and have no inkling of this creativity “crisis” you see in the industry. Just go game and let everyone have fun in their own way. Stop being a navel-gazer. The point is to have fun. If you are not, maybe RPGs are no longer for you.

    Friday, February 4, 2011

    [SFD] Player goals, or "what to show up with?"

    As we move into the final weekend before character generation and kicking off Savage Fallout: Detroit people have been talking more about their characters goals.

    I dont need, or even want, players showing up with detailed plans for their characters. Thanks to the disaster of both my abortive D&D 4E campaign and the Changeling: the Lost misadventure have shown me that allowing character motivations to become too widely divergent is a recipe for disaster. So here's a general list to keep in mind

    • Keep it simple and basic - we WILL flesh it out later
    • try to keep it suiting Fallout, and if you dont know Fallout think generic or "Book of Eli" for motivation
    • dont get totally attached to a motivation or goal - you might hear something that inspire you to something you never thought of
    • be open to other comments or ideas, you might get a twist on your idea thats even cooler
    Heres some additional old advice I found on Greyhawk Grognards blog

    Advice for Players from... the Players Handbook

    There's a whole section in the back of the Players Handbook called "Successful Adventures." I liked to think I was being pretty slick, since I read it over and over, and none of the other people I played with at the time seemed to even realize it existed in the "flyover country" between the spell descriptions and psionics.

    • set an objective
    • survival at lower levels is usually dependent upon group action and team spirit
    • Avoid unnecessary encounters
    • Do not be sidetracked.
    • If the party becomes lost, the objective must immediately be changed to discovery of a way out.
    • Co-operation assumes mutual trust and confidence
    Yes, it is OLD advice but still true

      Tuesday, January 25, 2011

      Random miniature projects

      Being a gamer with both ADD and gamer ADD I always have additional projects going, almost the point of distraction. So in an effort to atleast organize the ideas its time to make another list; mini, system (if applicable) and some quick notes or status.

      • Firestorm Armada Dzindrezi box set, Firestorm Armada - currently working on converting the battleship and building the little destroyers (?)
      • Vikings, Song of Blades and Heroes - predominately Wargames Factory hard plastic, though I found a Reaper female viking that just needs the wings removed from her helmet and the paint touched up to be ready to join the army. The plastic figures do unfortunately have some flat spots where the mold lines and mold seperation show through (as chainmail is miserable to try and clean lines from)
      •  Corrupted powered suit, possibly AE-Bounty or Flying Lead - I picked up most of a Suit (I think an Infinity TAG of some sort) that was missing the right arm and any antenna like add ons to the body. In my bits collection is the pincer thing from the Soul Grinder. Using that as the right hand I remembered the Flood from Halo. Yes, I never played more than one level of Halo 1, but Ive heard most of the plot. That means sculpting a right arm and adding grotesque things hanging from the body and tentacles or tendrils.
      • SS Germans, AE-WW2 - Pulling out this project due to the reorganization of the workbench and picking up the Bolt Action/Warlord Late War Germans. Mostly just needs paints.
      • Blood Angels Space Marines, Warhammer 40k - these figures are partly an experiment at learning how to paint reds well and then they will be traded or sold off.
      • Battlemechs, Battletech - this is a long term and ongoing project. The current mech thats getting attention is a Deva that I need to scratch build upper arms for.

      [FA] DS Reginleif - work in progress pics

      I briefly mentioned that I had a Dzindrezi fleet box that I picked up cheap because it was second hand and badly put together. To be a little more accurate the Battleship was assembled badly, as the two hull sides are designed to be assembled with a space between them. However I was not that lucky - the prior owner did his damnedest to lock the two hull sides together, and I was missing a small piece intended for the very aft of the model. While the battleship wasnt as badly warmed as the cruisers (which I have not even touched as that will involved alot more work then I want to deal with right now.

      Anyways - on to the conversion Ive started for my "battleship" which I think I'll count as a dreadnought.

      As the pic shows Ive added an extension to the chin, reminiscent of the Super Star Destroyer Eclipse from Star Wars: Dark Empire. The small grey dots in the slot are magnets that Ive glued in with the hopes of creating at least 2 versions on this hull.

      The view above shows off the much expanded width of the vessel, as I used three 1/8" balsa sheets to create a much bulkier and hopefully brutal look. The primary version Im hoping to build for this will have a design concept of a heavily armored, heavily gunned sledgehammer. A major inspiration, equipment wise at least, are the Warhammer 40k Battle Barges. Short ranged, even more reinforced than usual, totally lacking fighter or mine capabilitys but with extensive close in weaponry. The magnets will mount blisters that mount both broadside gun racks and quad barreled point defense units as well. The magnets are there for the possibility of the blisters being swapped out for winglets mounting some sort of weapon assemblies or subhulls.

      Still got alot to do, much less figuring out a base and painting. Right now I am thinking of using a pack of the "googly eyes" you can get at craft stores as the bodies of my turrets and just mount brass rods as gun barrels. Once the kit is fully built I can look into statting up the model using my buddy's Firestorm Armada rulebook, unless I just get it next time Im out at Legions.

      Thursday, January 20, 2011

      [SoBH-Vikings] Spare us from the fury of the Northman

      I recently picked up Wargames Factory's Viking Huscarls and Viking Bondi boxes. These are very nice minis, injection molded plastic with great options for weapons and equipment, and a great price point with 32 figures for $20. With my copy of Song of Blades and Heroes and the additional books I got for Christmas I have the perfect little rules for a Viking warband in 28mm. Two more pewter figures from Reaper for my heroes and I'll have my initial warband plenty ready.

      Right now I am look at/have built
      • 1 Armored warrior with axe and shield
      • 1 Armored warrior with 2 handed axe
      • 1 Armored warrior with spear and shield
      • 3 Unarmored warriors with spear and shield
      • 3 Unarmored warriors with bow
      I want at least 5 bow man, 5 of each version of spear and shield and 5 hand weapon and shield, then add in my Reaper heroes and see where I stand.

      This brings up some wonderful terrain options for me;
      • A Viking long house
      • Rune stones
      • Stockades - as stealing livestock is aways good for scenarios
      • Sacrificial tree, with bodies hanging

      [SFD] Preliminary changes to the character sheet

      More on Savage Fallout: Detroit rules

      I've found an interesting blog with some good Savage Worlds material for Fallout. One of the big changes from Savage Worlds Explorers Edition rules is a shift in skills, as Im starting with the Savaged Fallout list as it makes sense to me and fits the source material. So here are the lists, my additions are bolded to keep in line with SWEX;
      • Attack skills
        • Fighting (Ag) (including thrown weapons)
        • Small Arms (Ag)
        • Heavy Weapons (Ag)
        • Explosives (Ag)
      • Tests of Wills
        • Intimidation (Sp)
        • Taunt (Sm)
        • Gambling (Sm)
      • Skills
        • Notice (Sm) (including Investigation)
        • Stealth (Ag)
        • Lock-picking (Ag)
        • Climbing (St)
        • Survival (Sm) (including tracking)
        • Science (Sm)
        • Repair (Sm)
        • Medicine (Sm) (replaces Healing)
        • Drive (Ag) (replaces Boating, Driving, and Piloting)
        • Ride (Ag)
      • Interaction - add Charisma to all
        • Persuasion (Sp)
        • Streetwise (Sm)
        • Barter (Sp)
      Now these skills are straight out of the computer games so Im highly favorable to these. The problem I have is a mechanic for barter, as bartering should be very important in the game. Characters never have everything they want so trading needs to be important. But I also wanted this to be at more roleplaying than rollplaying. That said this group of skills is actually 4 choices less, so skill ranks should be a little higher than usual, which Im ok with as the Fallout world would weed out the less skilled pretty quickly.

      Wednesday, January 19, 2011

      [SFD] More resources and some thoughts

      Ive started fleshing out material and ideas for Savage Fallout:Detroit and Ive found some additional materials.

      Thanks to Wikipedia
      Known as the world's traditional automotive center,[6] "Detroit" is a metonym for the American automobile industry and an important source of popular music legacies celebrated by the city's two familiar nicknames, the Motor City and Motown.[7][8] Other nicknames emerged in the twentieth century, including City of Champions beginning in the 1930s for its successes in individual and team sport,[9] Arsenal of Democracy (during World War II),[10] The D, D-Town, Hockeytown (a trademark owned by the city's NHL club, the Red Wings), Rock City (after the Kiss song "Detroit Rock City"), and The 3-1-3 (its telephone area code).[11][12]

      Ive managed to find some maps of Detroit, predominately downtown so Im starting to look into some of the major landmarks marked on the maps. But some early emerging trends/groups
      1. Automotive production
      2. Automotive workers
      3. The former canadian border
      4. Michigan Wolverines
      5. gangs
      6. musicians
      7. Red Wings fans - random tentacly creatures too?
      8. Gross Pointe

      And its quite strange to see "is it Detroit or a Fallout 3 screen capture" games online...

      Random Material

      • The construction of Detroit's skyscrapers began after World War I. Hudson's department store, the tallest in the world, was completed in 1924, the same year as the 29-story Book-Cadillac Hotel, the city's most exclusive and then the world's tallest hotel. The Buhl Building was completed in 1925; the Penobscot—the city's tallest building for half a century—followed in 1928; the Guardian Building opened for business, along with the David Stott Building, in 1929.
      • In 1919 Henry Ford declared history to be “more or less bunk.” A decade later Outlook magazine proclaimed Detroit to be “the most modern city in the world, the city of tomorrow. There is no past, there is no history.” Derided and dismissed, historical laws have nonetheless had their say.
      • Midwest BoS Citadel, a pre-war motor/ammunition factory that built some of the first fusion powered cars for America and Ammunition for the Alaskan Frontline and American Army stationed in Canadian cities to "keep the peace."
      • Climate - Detroit and the rest of southeastern Michigan have a humid continental climate (Koppen Dfa) which is influenced by the Great Lakes. Winters are cold, with moderate snowfall and temperatures at night occasionally dropping below 0 °F (−17.8 °C) around six times per year, while summers are warm to hot with temperatures exceeding 90 °F (32.2 °C) on 12 days.[33] Snowfall, which typically peaks from December to through February, averages 43.3 inches (110 cm) per season. Monthly averages range from 24.5 °F (−4.2 °C) in January to 73.5 °F (23.1 °C) in July. The highest recorded temperature was 105 °F (40.6 °C) on July 24, 1934, while the lowest recorded temperature was −21 °F (−29.4 °C) on January 21, 1984.[34]

      New Title additions

      As Im trying to organize my pile of projects and ideas into something that remotely approaches a list, Ive noticed a need to tag my posts simply. Posts should break into one of the numerous miniature/wargame projects and my RPG projects. Here is a tentative list, and anywhere a lowercase x is at, think of it as a placeholder to further narrow projects.

      [SoBH-x] One of my several warbands for Song of Blades and Heroes.
      [WWW2] Further adventures of weird world war 2 germans, predominatly for AE-WW2
      [FA] Firestorm Armada Dindrenzi fleet (this was purchased half off, because someone made a hamfisted attempt at assembling it the battleship - to the point where I have to convert the battleship)
      [BT] Battletech - my baby, my first wargame and still the one I play the most
      [SFD] Savage Fallout: Detroit - Savage Worlds rpg set in the world of the computer games of Fallout
      [LoFP] While Bridgeport was not chosen for my GASP gamesday game, I do want to explore the city more

      Tuesday, January 11, 2011

      Some history research for Savage Fallout: Detroit

      Ive started on my research in Detroit, as Ive never been there and Im trying to extrapolate a new version of the city for the game.

      So here are the salient historical features I want to include;

      • Industry spurred growth during the first half of the twentieth century as Detroit became the USA's fourth largest.
      • Consolidation during the 1950s, especially in the automobile sector, increased competition for jobs.
      • An extensive freeway system constructed in the 1950s and 1960s had facilitated commuting.
      This will give me a major, ruined urban wasteland to work with. Along with massive freeways for quick, but dangerous, travel paths.

      Neighborhoods - well Wikipedia has a whole article on that - - have to ferret out some cool details and post some well know Wasteland information for different communities. This is about the detail level Im looking at
      On the off chance someone from the Detroit area comes across here please let me know if Im missing a website for info.

      Sunday, January 9, 2011

      Another project

      I've been working on another project, to open up a whole new boat load of projects.


      Its still got a massive amount of organizing but most of the building is done

      New Game at GASP

      Well the people have spoken and the next game I run at GASP will be a Fallout based game using Savage Worlds. Right now the game will start in the general area of Detroit, and it will be about 250 years after the war.

      The initial party consists of;
      The Vault Dwellers
      A damaged, decrepit robot sent out by the Vault's computer
      2 naive Vault Dwellers sent out to escort the robot

      The Scum
      A tech-worshipper scavenger
      who hired
      A chaotic scum sucker
      A "Tame" Supermutant
      A exceedingly sneaky shifty fellow

      There are still 2 slots open that I have sent invites to.

      More will be posted as I come up with it - I still need to find maps and such
      Resources - I'll be reading this closely as its a new conversion, hopefully its better than has gone before. - here are the free test rules for the game

      Wednesday, January 5, 2011

      Social Strata in an rpg

      How important should social strata really be in a game? Ive been reading an older book on medieval technology and its effects on social change, and one of the recurring themes is how there was a clear line between the peasants and just about everyone else. Which leads to the question - does that kind of line really belong in an rpg? Should it be a mechanic or is it just enough to roleplay it?

      Mechanically this can get really messy really quickly. In all honesty the higher up the social ladder someone is dramatically affects vast numbers of things, from what they are allowed to own, to who they can marry and what they are allowed to do. But Im very conflicted as to how much that should be involved in a game. While Im sure there are "vegan wrap eaters" out there in the blogosphere that think playing a realistic peasant would give you a wonderful story, I for one play rpgs to have fun, and playing someone who is all but legally tied to the land, probably married before they are 18 and legally not allowed to own "real" weapons doesnt sound too terribly fun to me. You see, I want to play a character who can, or run a game where characters can, sally forth to save the day or wrest booty from the clawed hands of the enemy. While combat can be enjoyable, I use it more as an ends to a means (much like most of history has used it). Im somewhat interested in what the PCs do during a combat but Im much more fascinated with what they do after it. Prisoners, booty, wounds and the dearly departed tend to involve a much more intricate story then any sort of sword thrust or parry.

      But I entered the hobby with AD&D 2e, I remember the issues some of the kits had (kits for you youngin players were a fascinating concept where picking a kit let you narrow down a class to a more specific archetype), where mechanical advantages where NOT balanced by mechanical advantages. Instead they were "balanced", by and large, with roleplaying disadvantages, and they are not the same thing.

      In an ideal world every gamer would be fine being restricted by roleplaying disadvantages, chosen to fit a specific concept they created, with a wonderful and compelling backstory that explains motivations and provides story hooks to interact with the campaign world. And also in an ideal world I wouldnt have to work and could spend my time expanding and perfecting my abilities in anything I wish. Since that isnt reality I have to pare back to a more realistic view, perhaps something as simple as players willing to buy into a world I craft, willing to name their character, and try and explore a few of the plot hooks I toss out.

      So what does this mean for social strata? First of all there needs to be some sort of mechanical representation of the differing statuses, and in mechanics simplicity is a virtue. Second, there needs to be some sort of advantage to pick a lower class or some sort of random mechanic, unless the game is intended to be began with the party all being roughly one status. Third there needs to be some sort of system for increasing or decreasing status. One key idea I thought of to help with this is a list or chart showing the where races and classes stand relative to each other.

      While bored at work I started plotting out some of the strata Id use in the Lamentations of the Flame Princess game I'm prepping for call "Bridgeport Blues". As the game is fairly heavily based on Lankhmar stories and Garrett P.I. stories, there are some similarities to Late Medieval and Early Renaissance social groups.

      Racial Strata
      1. Humans - humans are top dogs in the city. Rumors of decadent parties and orgies among the noble families are constantly circulating
      2. Dwarves - dwarves are less powerful than human nobles, but the difference becomes much less the lower down the social ladder you go. Rumors have every dwarf rich by human standards but their unpleasant habit of slowly and painfully executing thieves has kept most from discovering if there is any truth to the rumors.
      3. Lizardfolk are accepted but actively disliked by many humans in power, and dwarves view them with distrust due to their arcane powers. Rumors are spoken of dark rituals on moonless nights, and lizardfolk are often blamed when people go missing.
      4. Golems do exist in Bridgeport, though most people never see them. Most are not mystical protectors of treasure but rather unsleeping, unceasing manual labor around and mostly under the city. The major reason more are not found is the hideously high cost and impressive skill needed to produce them.
      5. Ratmen are usually treated just better than animals, trusted with dull, menial, but necessary tasks in a city of Bridgeports size, like waste management. Regardless of their actual intelligence the average Ratman is treated like a dim witted child by most, when they are noticed.

      Class strata
      1. Nobles
      2. Rich Merchants
      3. Warriors (noble scions serving as officers)
      4. Working merchants and Master Craftsmen
      5. Soldiers and Yeomanry
      6. Craftsmen
      7. Workmen
      8. Peasants
      9. Slaves (yes Im going to deal with them)

      Monday, January 3, 2011

      Zak does it again

      One of the RPG blogs I follow and enjoy reading the content, but not the comments to, is Playing D&D with Porn Stars (yes it is very NSFW, so watch where you read it).
      And in the last week or so there have been a bunch of good posts - so I'll try to spread Zak's words.

      His take on social interaction, here, suits me perfectly. I've been having this conversation ad nauseum lately and my patience is never my strongest suit for people like that, so I've alot of respect for Zak for handling it so often. And finally, since random charts rock in old school play, here is a wonderful little treasure generator.

      While Im not a huge fan of the mechanics he uses for his games, and neither is he from some of the comments he makes, but they work. And a good game with eh mechanics is better than no game with perfect mechanics.