innocent_man: (funtime)
See, here's the problem. Facebook allows me to post things as I'm thinking of them. As such, where once an idea would have bounced around in my head, picking up speed and refining itself before getting posted to LJ, now I just basically say it (or tweet it), and that's that. But occasionally I feel like I should use this blog. Although I don't know, it's more out of habit than anything. I don't know if anyone's really still reading (which makes me really sad, because I miss the discussions we used to have here, "y'all"). I use it for a dumping ground for my movie reviews, my game write-ups (and even then, those get posted to RPG.Net, too) and, once in a blue fucking moon, character creation.

I had planned on doing two characters a week; the last one I did was here, and that was almost three months ago. Now, since then, I've developed a book and written stories and run games and done lots of other stuff, but making a character requires energy and it requires me to have read a damn book.

That said, I know what RPGs I need to read. I need to read Marvel Heroic Roleplaying because I'm running it next week, and I need to have characters statted up and an Event planned before that. I need to read Monsterhearts because Morgan asked me to run Werewolf when I come to Atlanta next month, but what she really wants to do is emulate the Teen Wolf TV show, and that's not Werewolf, that's Monsterhearts. And I need to read Nobilis 3rd because reasons. :)

Really, though, one reason I haven't logged on is that I haven't actually run one of my regular games in a while. Promethean is on hiatus (hence the Marvel game), Spirit of the Century likewise until Sarah can rejoin us. I'm running Geist on Saturday, so I need to take notes for that, but not tonight. Dresden got cancelled for this month, but we're playing on the 3rd, and Changeling is over but we're playing curse the darkness as a bit of a palate cleanser, and deciding what to play next, on the 4th.

OK, then. Oh, and Tragedy. I need to do a write-up of the awesome game we played last week. Maybe tomorrow night I'll get the table cleaned off and spend some time writing. But, for those of you following the Kickstarter: We're at $4275, very respectable. I still think we could make $5000 before the end (10 days!). Also put this video up today:



Oh, and, more characters every day over at the company site. Which reminds me: I'm behind, so better go do that.
innocent_man: (aurum)
I am, generally speaking, a big fan of player agency in RPGs (by which, just for clarification, I mean real RPGs that you play around a table or [sigh] standing up wearing costumes, not the kind that require screens). I like it when players decide what their characters do, and if that fucks the plotline I've cooked up, that's cool with me. The plotline is mutable, but I want folks to have fun and, more to the point, feel like their character decisions matter.

That said, I have determined that fucking with group integrity is a slightly bigger deal. My Promethean game is off to a somewhat rocky start in that regard, not because people aren't having fun (because unless I'm misreading my group, they're really digging their characters and based on in-character discussion, they're also digging into the moral questions and issues I'm putting forward), but there are some pretty serious clashes of morality and regard for human life, here.

Basically, two of the characters are perfectly willing to kill people. One is hesitant, but ultimately is willing to let "kill the fuckers" be an option. One is not thrilled by the idea of killing, but it's really more about not being forced into killing. And the other two just aren't keen on the idea of taking human life. Which is all fine, I like these kinds of conflicts. The issue is that the characters need to be able to hang out together and go traveling, and for that to happen there needs to be some established trust.

My mistake, I think, we not making the group an established throng before introducing a plot that required a bunch of people to die. I was going for a surreal kind of "what happens in the dust storm doesn't really count" thing, but we didn't quite get there. And unfortunately, NWoD is a traditional RPG where you roll to hit your opponent this time and see how much damage you do, rather than a game where we set stakes and "winning" means "you keep narrative control."

It worked out, but at one point I told a player, "get your character back to the house. You figure out why." I normally don't do that shit, but it was late, I was tired, and more to the point, I've been gaming with said player for enough years that I trusted him with that. It wasn't so much that I was trying to dictate what his characters should do, it was more "I need help keeping this story on track, and I know you're good for it, so help me wrap this up." Like I said, I think it worked, and I think the throng has a tense, but workable, dynamic. They all have milestones relating to the throng as a whole, but in the last story, only one of those milestones was realized - Feather's to "leave the throng to help a person." That says something, I think.

Next story is going to be very different in tone. I won't say lighter, because y'know, NWoD isn't a light game, but more supernatural and less involving killing people. That said, I do want to examine the conflicts that the Created really deal with - Wasteland and Disquiet - because this story happened so fast that we kinda glossed over that part.

But anyway, I think that telling a player what the character does and having the player decide the character's thought process is an interesting thought exercise for the player, but it's not one I'd want to use much. And definitely a matter of trust between GM and player.
innocent_man: (cookbook)
Points today, 1/11. )


OK, there we go. Now, my thoughts on D&D5E.

I don't care.

No, not quite accurate. I do care insofar as a new edition of D&D will stir things up in the hobby, and that's always fun to watch (when it's not explicitly about guys defending rape jokes or racist card games or something equally uncomfortable). I don't care about the game itself because I don't play D&D and I have no desire to. This isn't (just) because fantasy isn't my cuppa joe, it's because D&D is, on its own steam, boring. It's a ruleset with a limp, Tolkein-cribbed fantasy setting barely hung on it...unless you buy at least one sourcebook. And even if you come up with an awesome setting and story, which my late friend Jonathan did some years back, it's still a system in which by killing orcs, you become a better bard (or whatever).

As I said when Gary Gygax died, even if grandad is a little loopy, none of us grandkids would be here without him, and so I respect D&D on those terms. But I don't want to play it, and I don't think releasing a new edition, with all the gamer-froth that will produce, will bring the hobby what it so crucially needs - new blood.

Now, WotC took a page from White Wolf here (that's my story and I'm sticking to it) and is crowdsourcing. So maybe that will help bring in new players...but I doubt it. I think instead it'll bring in edition warriors. I'm seeing it already on various fora and lists, and it's kind of saddening. The various voices of reason get shouted down or treated like party poopers, and it makes me a little nuts. This hobby needs to be cool for new people, and honestly I don't a math-heavy, bland RPG like D&D is how you do it. I think games like Faery's Tale (easy, appropriate for kids) and, hell, Dread (Jenga!) are going to be the ones to save us, if they hit a wide enough audience. But what do I know, I started with Marvel Super Heroes.

Oh, and: then there's this. This makes me uncomfortable, but I think it's because of the girl being the one having the "sexventure" game. In a more historically woman friendly comic, that wouldn't bother me, I think, but see earlier comment about apologia for rape jokes (which is, of course, not the same thing as apologizING for rape jokes).

Anyway, that's where I'm at on this. I'll be interested to see what D&D5e produces...but I'm glad curse the darkness will be out this year, not next year, at GenCon.
innocent_man: (autumncourt)
Last Friday I ran a one-shot that was, in fact, a kind of side-session from Snowblind. I did a little bit of blogging ahead of time, but let's finally get the write-up done.

Done! )
innocent_man: (coffee)
I've got three games coming up to run. Two of them are ongoing chronicles (that'd be Changeling and Vampire) and the other is a one-shot (Marvel Noir, which I'll get to). We're doing chargen for Misspent Youth next Saturday (for reals this time!), but there's not much prep I can do about that. Oh, and not this Monday but next, I'll run the Desolation game I was going to run last week only [livejournal.com profile] anaka wasn't up to fantasy, so we watched Enter the Dragon instead.

Right, let's kick this pig.

Oh, wait, hang on. One thing first (sorry, pig. Kick you in a second). I was thinking the other day that I really miss using this journal to, like, muse about stuff. I used to do general updates and rants and other such things, and I know for a few months it's been dinners, games and movies and that's about it.

Why, you might ask? Lack of free time (Assassin's Creed and Rock Band 3 do eat my time, as does writing, as do the kiddos)? Lack of inclination? Nah. It's because CMSD blocked LJ at work.

Now, it's not like I was spending hours on LJ when I should have been working. Actually, I used to jump on at lunch break, write a post, log back off and go to work. But they fucking blocked it, and now I go most of the day without any real Internet access (other than email), so when I get home, I've got too much else to do and I've already made whatever rants I need to make in person.

So if that's the problem, when school's out (FOR THE SUMMER! \mm/) I'll wind up posting more. Seriously, our cock-knocker governor should give me plenty of rant material.

Anyway, pig-kicking. Vampire: The third letter. )

More prep later. Right now, lunch.
innocent_man: (Default)
So this is 2011. Feels about the same.

No, really, I had a...well, really, a great year. I mean, yes, it's amazing I made it out of 2009 alive, but I did, and 2010 has been strange, but it's been awesome at the same time. I'm in imminent danger of liking myself on a consistent basis, and that's odd for me. :)

So, anyway. This is going to be a long post, but mostly it's the stuff you all read this blog for anyway (right?): A gaming write-up, a chopped dinner, a character, and some musings about life in general in the new year. Let's start with that last bit first.

I don't have any particular resolutions for the new year, other than the ones I usually make: Do right by my family, genetic and intentional. Write more (I'm hoping to really work on this one, but I gotta start slow and manageable, because I tend to either do nothing but write or do nothing except write). Run/play awesome games. Cook as much as possible.

Gotta say, if there's one thing that has really defined at least the last few months of 2010, it's probably cooking. I've really enjoyed exploring ingredients and techniques and I've really loved cooking for the people I love (my kids, of course, don't generally groove of my cooking, but every once in a while I find something that's up their alley). Now the trick is going to be staying healthy. I've put on some weight since Thanksgiving, and I'm hoping to start working out this semester. Hopefully Michelle can help.

Oh, my other project beginning this year is to watch every movie I own, alphabetically (just because it's the easiest way to keep track). But I'll post about that separately.

One more thing before the character write-up: I didn't do the traditional family party last night. Michelle, Sarah and I stayed in, ate shepherd's pie and chocolate ice cream, and watched Crank and Crank 2, which were both ridiculous and thoroughly enjoyable (first one's better). And it was exactly what I needed, and although I'm sure folks at the party missed our company, I'm not going to feel guilty for taking some time to be with the people I love.

I am, however, going to do something fun with my kids this week. That's a resolution.

Gaming:

So I ran a Hunter: The Vigil one-shot Thursday. As usual, it's really going to be a two-shot.

This is the cut. )
Character:

And now, a character. But which game? Hmm.

The Game: Marvel Universe Roleplaying Game
The Publisher: Marvel, I guess.
Degree of Familiarity: None. I've read it, but it doesn't really turn my crank.
Books Required: Just the core.

Yes, another superhero game! Whee! Can't have too many, really.

This reads more like a...I dunno. Board game, kinda sorta? But no board. No minis. It's a resource allocation game, where your stats are decided by where you put your stones. No dice, just shifting stats around, which is fine. It looks playable, but as I've said about other games, I have some awesome supers games (With Great Power..., Marvel Superheroes, ICONS) so why bother with one I only half-like?

Zap! )

Dinner:

So, I didn't take pictures, because I suck. But still, my ingredients were:


  • Chicken
  • Prickly pear syrup
  • Spicy mustard
  • Rotini pasta
  • Parmesan herb dip mix


What would you do? )
innocent_man: (daeva)
I'm on lunch break, my Vampire chronicle is on my mind, and I find that I can type ideas a lot faster (and more comfortably) than I can write them. Notes under the cut, so if you're playing in The Show Must Go On, stay out. Anyone else, feel free to drop in.

Bright lights of Vegas. )
innocent_man: (autumncourt)
I'm at work (on lunch!) and I want to take some notes for my Snowblind chronicle. I have my copy of Dancers in the Dusk all set. If you want to have look into my Storytelling process, click the cut below. However, if you play in this chronicle, I humbly advise you keep your grubby eyes off. You'll find out soon enough anyway. :)

Into Matt's Mind! )
innocent_man: (themepark)
Huh-huh.

Conversations with a student!


The Scene: Talking about grouping concepts and items. We've already done the thing where I list three things and the students say what group they're in, so now we drop do to listing one thing and then figuring out groups that it could possibly go in.

Me: OK, how about "pig?"

Student: Animals?

Me: Sure, but let's get more specific. What kind of animals?

Student: Fat animals.

Game Prep!


Tomorrow I'm running the first session of my Vampire: The Requiem chronicle. I'm nervous, a bit. First of all, I haven't run Requiem all that extensively. A few one-shots here and there, but nothing long, and it's been a long while since I've run any kind of Vampire game. Plus, vampires got lame recently. They started sparkling.

No, really, I don't blame Stephanie Meyer (I do, but it's not entirely her fault). Here's the problem with a Vampire game: It always seems to get metaphorical. People talk about running their vampire games like The Usual Suspects or Brick or Godfather or whatever. I want my Vampire game to be about vampires. Undead creatures that drink blood. But for that to work, you have to pay some attention to their society, and I really like the covenants. But I also like the notion that existence as a vampire is lonely, and that the only people you can really talk to are people you can't trust.

There's going to be an air of tragedy to the game. In a way, Vampire is an inverse of Promethean. Promethean has the potential for tragedy, but at least you're making progress. In Vampire, you're slipping away, little by little, and damn, but that dovetails nicely with the themes I have set out for this game.

Oh, right, I haven't mentioned: I'm running this game. Not the same characters, of course. What happened was this: We made characters, we played one session, then drama happened and the game got canceled. Which sucked. And now I have players who want to play Vampire (well, three that want to and one that's willing to), and I really want to use the setup I had in Vegas. But I realized last week that I can't use the same setup for the first story, because it shares too many plot elements with the first story in Snowblind.

But as I'm thinking about it, I'm finding I really like the notion of inevitability and tragedy being major thematic elements in the game. I just need to make sure that players don't feel powerless, and that means involving them in the narrative structure of the game.

Which means, [livejournal.com profile] docelboze, [livejournal.com profile] hot493, [livejournal.com profile] jadestrick23 and [livejournal.com profile] magicloaf, y'all need to feed me suggestions, feedback, ideas and so on, because I don't railroad without having my players build the tracks.

And, finally:

Character Creation!


The Game: Mouse Guard
The Publisher: Archaia Studios Press
Degree of Familiarity: None with this game specifically. I played Burning Empires at Origins a few years back.
Books Required: Just the core.

Squeak! )

And that's it! Now, dinner and work on Vampire.
innocent_man: (cahalith)
Werewolf characters might actually be more work than Mages to write.

I'm running Werewolf tomorrow night, in preparation for con season. I'm running this game:

The Mother Road - Route 66 - used to be a vibrant and powerful spiritual route in the American Shadow, but the Fire-Touched changed all of that. Now it's up to good Uratha like you, members of the Lodge of 66, to make things right. And you will, by cordite, blood, and burned rubber. Let's ride!

...at Origins and at GenCon.

Now, in prep for the game, I need some antagonists. I statted a pack of Fire-Touched for the Pure book, and I like them, so I'm using them, but that's just three. So I'm making up another small pack. That means I need to create 3 werewolves, plus totem, whole-cloth, for NPC purposes, unless I want to be cheezy and grab some of the ones from the back of the Pure book (which I might).

But then the PCs. Now, normally I make 10 characters for a 6-player game, but I'm thinking I might just make 6 like I did for the Promethean game I ran at cons last year and call it a day, 'cause I still have to stat a totem in any event.

On the plus side, because of the brilliance of Mr. Gone, I can make characters right on my laptop and then take them upstairs and print them, so that's happyful.

Right, bedtime, then making characters all day tomorrow.

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