Write-up!

Sep. 18th, 2012 02:06 pm
innocent_man: (redtalons)
For some reason, my fingers have gone all tingly when I try to type, so this might take me a while. But hey.

OK, so last night I ran a one-shot involving both changelings and werewolves. It went pretty well, I think, but I do want to mention a couple of things about crossover (to the, like, four people still reading this journal. I miss when LJ had lots of people in it. Fucking FB).

Anyway, crossover in WoD games has always been a somewhat fraught proposition, and I've never really been clear why. Rather, I have, I just don't agree. In OWoD, it was harder because the mechanics didn't work all that well on their own (don't bitch, you know it's true), and they weren't designed to work together. But beyond that, the games were thematically very different, to the point that, f'rex, a vampire's existence in a Werewolf: The Apocalypse game was somewhat problematic. Now, in NWoD, regardless of what kind of supernatural character you're playing, the themes of the World of Darkness in general permeate, and the games are written so that they can all exist in the same world with a minimum of fuss (this makes me a little worried for Mummy, since several of the controlling creatives on that project have limited experience writing for NWoD, but I freely admit I'm talking out of my ass because I haven't seen anything for the game yet). Anyway, it makes crossover easier on the face of it.

But the other thing is, "crossover" doesn't have to mean "have these characters fight." A pack of werewolves and a motley of changelings, or even a coterie of vampires, can get along (werewolf/vampire is harder because there's a lot of OWoD baggage) just fine, mechanically and otherwise. It just helps if there's a good reason for everyone to be talking. Here, check it out.

The game. )
innocent_man: (Default)
Right, so. Lots to do. Check it out:

House of Cards. )

And then last night, I ran Changeling.

changeling! )

Apes!

Mar. 6th, 2012 07:52 am
innocent_man: (coffee)
So last night I ran Terra Primate. Unisystem is nice and easy, very simple to port it into whatever kind of game you might like that involves magic and/or psionics. I much prefer Cinematic Unisystem, but it's a simple enough matter to add in Drama Points and go from there.

We also discussed what games we want to play going forward. We were alternating Leverage and Hunter, but then the Hunter story ended and we were going to play Game of Thrones, but then Michelle's school schedule went nuts and we just watched movies on Mondays in prep for Oscars for a few weeks. Leverage is ending next Monday, since Max is gone (I'll have thoughts on that situation - the game, not Max - at a later point). So last night the group of us talked about what we might like to play going forward.

One discussion was: long campaign versus short story? A couple of players (including [profile] hellgirl5, who isn't actually playing, though of course we still value her opinion) felt that shorter stories are preferable because they allowed a switch-up of character, genre, situation every so often, and I grok that. I have lots of different games I want to run. Other players hadn't actually played in a longer-running game, and would like to try it. And since not everyone can make every Monday, what we decided was to keep the "two games, running biweekly" thing going.

One of those games is going to be Promethean: The Created. That was pretty much unanimous; a bunch of players wanted to try it and [personal profile] docelboze is keen to play it again. And I'm thrilled to run it again; there's a bunch of things I didn't get to do first time out, and I love the game anyway. So there's that (we're doing chargen the week after Leverage).

And then Sarah wanted to do something else with FATE. I'm running Dresden (it occurs to me I didn't really post much about that game, but that's because we're not done with chargen - I'll post about it when we finish this Saturday), so I didn't want to run that, but Matt suggested a John Carter-inspired game, and since that was my first exposure to Spirit of the Century anyway, I'm game. So in three weeks, we'll do chargen for a Mars pulp game using Spirit of the Century rules. That one, I suspect, will be a one-story kind of thing, and then maybe Michelle will take over running that slot for a while. A bunch of people want to play Shadowrun, but I ain't running that. :)

Anyway, apes. )

And finally, points. )
innocent_man: (mouseketeer)
Well, hell. I was going to run Mouse Guard this Friday as a one-shot, but now the fella that I was counting on to help me figure out the system can't make it. I'm not sanguine about my ability to run this game without help, but on the other hand, as I'm reading it, it doesn't look too insane.

Hrm. If John and Sarah weren't playing, I would totally run curse the darkness, but they're already playing that (next Friday, in fact). Other suggestions included Dread and Slasher Flick. I dunno. I like using these one-shots as a way to run games I haven't, but maybe it'd be better to default to something I know well?

Or maybe do Icons, since it's easy?

Anyone out there ever played/run Mouse Guard and have something to say about it?

Points. )
innocent_man: (Default)
It's all about the fae. So, Fae Noir is an interesting little RPG in which you play people or fairy creatures in the 1920s. The fae returned to the world shortly after (or during? don't have the book handy) the Great War, and from there we pretty much segue into a Prohibition, bootleggin', 20s-era RPG with noir overtones and leprechauns.

It's a weird mashup. It's fun, the players enjoyed it. System seems fairly intuitive - roll d8s equal to the trait you're rolling (but if you're rolling a Skill, just the Skill, not Skill + Attribute, which annoys me because 1 point in a Skill is pretty useless) against a target number, generally 6. Multiple successes are good, difficulty can be represented by adjusting target number or number of successes (so, much like OWoD).

I have to say, having played NWoD extensively and lots of indie games with simplified systems, I find this kind of needlessly complex, but whatevs, it's easy to fiddle with. Magic system works more or less the same way, only you roll for control of spells, which is a touch I like, though I'd need to see it in a longer game to know if I really like it (but see also: Unleashing in Dark Ages: Fae).

So! We're in France, after the War, but in a city that hasn't really recovered. Much of the infrastructure is bombed out, and the people are kind of seedy. Our characters:


  • Cedar, a faun. She used to "go" with GIs stationed in France, but now they've left. And she's lonely, trying to indulge her depraved lusts without new young men around.
  • Jack O'Halloran, a leprechaun. Jack is a seedy character himself, trading stolen goods and looking to get rich(er) as he passes through town.
  • Pascal, a psychic. Used to be a fraud, then his building was bombed. He can use real magic, but most of his money comes from making underground black market connections.
  • Jeanne, a Tuatha. She's a dancer and Parisian entertainer, one of the most famous in France. But she's also indebted to her agent, and that's why she's dancing in this bombed-out town.


We join our heroes in a bar... )
innocent_man: (autumncourt)
I'm in a meeting just at present. Well, not true, it hasn't started yet. But soon, and for the rest of the sodding afternoon. There are a thousand places I'd rather be, and that's without trying. Worst part is there are no outlets, so I can't plug my computer in, which means it's gonna die sometime before meeting's end.

I will, of course, listen dutifully to the meeting's contents. I'm sure it will be riveting.

Anyway. Changeling. )
innocent_man: (abyssal)
There's a lot of stuff I want to do today. Offhand, I can think of five different posts I want to make here. Let's start with that list-y stuff:


  • Whispering Vault write-up.
  • Idle blogging about a kickass chronicle I want to run.
  • Go to grocery store for veggies for tonight's stir fry.
  • Buy dog food. This is not optional.
  • Get stuff ready for tomorrow (Hunter notes, clothes).
  • Leverage prep.

  • Bloggity thing about an article I read the other day.


Think that's enough? Good grief. OK, starting off with some gaming. Whispering Vault! )

Having run the game with a little more prep and a lot more sleep this time, I like it. I think the system works OK, though if I were running it long-term I would definitely skew down the Difficulties; they're too high for Stalkers to be effective, and Stalkers should really be bad-ass. Another way to handle that is to avoid asking for rolls at all unless it's something that the Stalker might really have to work at, which is a good rule of thumb anyway.
innocent_man: (Default)
So last night I ran a one-shot. Only had three players (had four, one cancelled), but it worked out OK - nice little short game interrupted by the general chaos of a household to which two teen boys have suddenly been added. In any case, we'd played this game called Exquisite Replicas.

Our characters:


  • Coral Essex, a cab driver and somewhat paranoid cat lady.
  • Rover, a pot dealer and low-level street scumbag.
  • Calcutta Monroe, millionaire heiress and sometime actress.


All of the characters had run afoul of this smelly dude named Ezekiel, who'd warned them about the "Othersiders". They all laughed him off, but then that night, well...

Read more... )

Impressions: I like the setting for the game, and the notion of monsters from another reality is obviously near and dear to my heart. The system is very much like NWoD; you're rolling X + Y in d10s, but looking for 1s and 2s (one success and two successes). It worked OK, but the probabilities are odd because you can ask for more successes to indicate difficulty. I think if I were going to run it long term, I'd probably just use the dice system from WoD (8, 9, 10 succeeds), because the number of dice is about the same.

Beyond that, it was a good time. There's a lot of fun setting elements and creepy horror, and y'know I like that. I think if I were going to mash up Don't Rest Your Head and Shattered Dreams with this game, I'd just change Otherside to the Mad City and say you get there through other people's nightmares.
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: (hunter)
I ran this game as a one-shot, but you know how it is.

So the characters started off at the diner, just where we left off. They talked about their options, and there was some discussion that maybe they should try and find the shadowy government group that deals with supernatural shit (they figured there had to be one). The end decision was - aided by Max - that really, they could walk away, but they were all empowered, skilled intelligent women and they could do something. Tory, not really buying the "vampires" bit still, did want to find Amanda Kazmercyk, so agreed to stick with it for that goal, at least.

They thought of what they knew about vampires, and then decided to split up for an hour, shower, and then regroup at the spa where Amanda had gone missing. Justine, meanwhile, called her police coworkers, and learned that Amanda had waved to the spa worker from her car, he'd turned around and gone back into the spa, and then she'd vanished. Her car door had been open when it was discovered. She'd been dragged through the woods behind the spa (and the characters verified that).

The characters also discovered, though, a secondary trail coming to "meet" the evidence of dragging from the spa. This person had left a footprint - bare, probably female, running on the balls of her feet. (Justine: "Who runs on the balls of their feet?" Tory: "If you run flat-footed, you're slow, and that's why you have such trouble doing wall runs.".)

Following the trail(s) through the woods, they found it emptied out behind a mostly-abandoned strip mall. The only store left was a liquor store, but it had closed early the day of the abduction, and the police had already grabbed the (mostly useless) video tape from the back door.

Now, the characters figured they should have a plan in place in case they did find a vampire, so they took the rest of the afternoon and taught themselves the Staking Tactic. Of course, Molly wasn't strong enough to actually help with it, but she was training for strength and fighting.

With the Tactic mostly under their belts, the women decided to scope out the area where they'd found and fought with Amanda, and where a man called Chuck Lowe had died walking his dog. They found the scene of the crime, and heard an odd whistling sound - a man calling a dog. Tory felt something horrifically cold step through her, and they heard a voice calling, "Ringo?" That was the dog's name.

Molly managed to make contact with the man, and his ghost appeared, torn to shreds and missing part of his arm, but still looking for his dog. They talked with him and managed to get him to understand his condition, whereupon he relived his death. He told the characters that he'd seen someone coming toward him, and then gotten tackled and bitten, and then bitten again and lost his arm, and then all went black. He also mentioned that his dog had a microchip, which Justine noted.

After initially thinking maybe he'd hang around and see if Ringo would find him, the women convinced him that Ringo might already be waiting for him in the Great Beyond, so Chuck passed on. (This little encounter, by the way, gave them enough Practical Experience that Molly bought up her Strength and Brawl so she could participate in the Staking Tactic.)

Justine activated the microchip, and it pinged back in the same area as the strip mall and the spa. They figured that since the strip was mostly abandoned, something might using it as crash space. They investigated and found a hole stuffed with smelly garbage. At that point, Max heard something behind them.

A naked woman, beautiful, bloody and feral, walked out of the woods, saw them, and let out a terrifying scream. They reached for their weapons (they'd brought stakes and the like), but could not bring themselves to raise them. And then Molly and Max were tackled from the side. Molly by Amanda, and Max by an EMT that Justine recalled had gone missing some weeks earlier.

The fight was on, and man, but the dice had it in for these girls. We had four dramatic failures in this scene (all from risking Willpower and failing), and most resulting in the characters hitting each other. The vampire grabbing Max bit her and drained some blood, but much of it just fell out of his mouth. Amanda-the-vampire tried to keep hold of Molly, but never quite managed it, and finally pounced on Max once the other vampire had released her and gone for Tory.

Jan, Justine and Max tried to get the Tactic going on the EMT-vampire, but the penalties they had for not practicing it enough were hurting them (not to mention that Tory couldn't get free of the grapple). Finally, Molly smashed a bottle of Black Velvet on the Amanda-vampire's head and lit her up. The fire seemed to panic the naked vampire (who hadn't done anything besides watch), and she vanished into the forest. Now with Molly's help, Tory got herself free, and Jan hammered the stake home. Not wanting to get caught, they lit the vampire on fire and he burst into eager flames, and the women left.

They came back the next day and found the vampire's lair - animal and a couple of human corpses, but no vampires. Justine called it in, and found herself on traffic duty for a few weeks afterwards. Max got a text message from her mysterious friend Cypher ("You could have asked for help, you know.").

And some time later, a couple of suits came to the precinct to meet with Justine's boss. "Who are they?" she asked a fellow officer.

"Dunno," he said. "Some agency I never heard of. VASCU?"
innocent_man: (morbo)
I use Morbo's head because it kind of looks like a butt.

Oh, did I run Low Life last night? Yeah, I sure did. :)

I made a character for this game back here, tried to run it at Arisia last year but didn't get players, and I've kind of been wanting to run it for the right group. See, I have players who can release their inner 12-year-olds at the drop of a hat (actually, I have players who seldom put them away at all), and I can get behind that.

I think, in fact, that I wouldn't want to get any dirtier with Low Life than about PG-13. Once things get to R- or NC-17 rated, I'd want to play HoL instead, which is unabashedly a mature audience, more mean-spirited game. But Low Life is kind of all about fart jokes in a post-apocalyptic setting, and once in a while, I'm good with that.

So, last night, we had:


  • Sybil playing Major Mallowfist, a cremefillian warrior with a brass-knuckle contraption that looked like a handful of marshmallows.
  • Will playing Zob, a tizn't who combines the head of a dog, the quills of a porcupine and the legs of a cheetah (and carries a cool weapon that fires chainsaw blades).
  • Al playing Skull-Cruncher, a horc warrior with a gigantic polearm type weapon he affectionately called "Scalper".
  • Sarah playing Snurfle Smelf, a smelf smellcaster who bravely took the Freak Occurrence Magnet Edge.
  • Fredrick playing Zard, an oofo dementalist, obsessed with oofo technology.


Now, here's the thing: I had nothing prepared. We had other stuff to do yesterday, and I wanted the players to make characters, so I didn't have time to stat baddies or anything. But lo! Low Life comes with this neat little mad-lib kind of thing that, with a few dice rolls, makes a setup for you. So:

Once upon a time the heap felt like exploring someplace. They went to a library in the bad part of town and learned about a hidden treasure that was awaiting discovery near a hidden weirdo's tower.

So we started off in the library. I had lots of fun describing the library as the stereotypical "seedy bar" from every fantasy game ever, except that the patrons were staring at the PCs over their dusty tomes, rather than frothy beers. They asked the librarian for help, and she (a bodul) pointed them toward the travel books. There, Zard paged through a book and found a reference to a tower whose owner tried to rig oofo tech all through it. And one day it went "boomf" and vanished.

But the crater was nearby. Mallowfist stuff it under her (?) shirt, and the librarian noticed and demanded a deposit. So they paid it!

(I had drawn a map and put down minis as if for a fight. I figured there was an even chance they'd run, rather than pay.)

So they headed to the outskirts of town to look at this crater. And there it was - big crater, but when they tried to get in or reach in, they felt resistance. Invisible wall? Mallowfist punched it, but it punched back, so they decided that wasn't the way to go.

Suddenly, butts! Yeah, one of the monsters in the book is the Hair Bare. They're little butts with legs and sharp teeth, and a pack (what the hell would the collective noun for butts be?) came bumbling out of the trees to attack the party.

But (ha!) no matter how hard they bit or farted, the PCs weren't fazed. They beat, sliced and shot the creatures, and finally Zard used his Fear power and panicked most of them (sadly this also gave Mallowfist a crippling fear of butts, but eh). Other highlight: Snurfle used Beast Friend on one of them (which isn't listed as a smellcaster power but should be) and was very sad when her little butt friend ran off at the end of the fight.

After the fight, they still had to deal with the tower. Skull-Cruncher tried beating through it; that didn't work. Zard shot it with his tar-flinger, but the tar just bounced back (and Zard ducked, fortunately). Finally Snurfle inflated her nostrils and sailed high over the tower...and lo, there was a crack! (More butt jokes, jeez.)

No, really. An aperture. She drifted down to land on the invisible roof, but didn't land gently enough, and bounced. She kept bouncing, and finally re-inflated her nostrils before she went into orbit. Then she sat on the edge and saw a horc sunbathing (ew).

She dropped a button on his head, and woke up and asked who she was. She indicated her friends, and he invited them in. He was especially excited to see Zard, as there was some oofo tech here he couldn't read or work, he said. His name was Bowchaser.

He let the characters in, and showed them to a big keyboard-looking thing. Zard could indeed read the instructions, and played the tune. There was a great "boomf" noise, and the horc started convulsion. His "shirt" exploded outward, he turned inside out, and there he was, the unholy amalgam of oofo and horc! And here come more face-huggers, which he directed to...well, face-penetrate the characters!

The battle was joined, clearly. Highlights included one of the facehuggers jumping on Skull-Cruncher, who just decided to ingest the little bugger (all horcs can do that). Clever, I though. Snurfle's Freak Magnet came up, but always to her detriment - a reek bottle failed to open, enemies ducked at the wrong time, stuff like that. And Bowchaser was pretty badass, and he beat on Skull-Cruncher pretty badly.

But then Zob turned, having shot a bunch of facehuggers, and shot Bowchaser in the back with his chainsaw gun. Bowchaser was already Shaken at that point, and the blade cut through him. Bzzrgt!

But he must have been a load-bearing boss, because the tower started to collapse. The heap ran outside in time to see the whole thing fall. They picked themselves up, and started working on finding metal to sell. So although they didn't find the hidden "treasure" (rather, they did, but it turned out to be an alien parasite), they at least got to sell off some cool oofo metal for a lot of clams, and they got to hit walking butts with swords.

And really, what more can you ask?
innocent_man: (punk rock)
Um, OK, wow. I thought I did this Chopped dinner already.



Chicken, malt vinegar, coconut, fresh mozzarella, ziti.


What would you do? Well, first thing, you'd probably crack the coconut. I went to this site, and followed the instructions.



First, put nails into the ends.


Then, drain out the milk.


Then, put the empty shell in a towel and apply two children with hammers.


Then, scrape out the meat. Yum.


OK, NOW what would you do? )

Last week, I ran a variant on Monsters and Other Childish Things. I had this notion of running a game for princesses trying to rescue their princes, and this seemed like a good way to go. The princesses each had a magical companion (the "monster") and I just used the system more or less as written.

I did, however, introduce a magic mechanic - in exchange for your companion being a little less powerful, the princesses can take a Brains Skill called _______ Magic (player's choice) and cast spells based on that magic. So click for more. )
innocent_man: (Default)
Tonight I made dinner. Monday night we played Icons. Shall we go in reverse-chronological order?



Chicken, mini cucumbers, animal crackers, orzo, sharp cheddar cheese.


Ingredients chosen by Teagan, as you can probably guess. What would you do? )

Anyway, Michelle is beating her head against the last week of classes, so I ran an Icons one-shot. Actually, I gave the players a choice between that, Cat and Slasher Flick, and they picked the one they hadn't played.

Icons, as I mentioned here, is a kind of stripped-down Marvel. Nice, quick random chargen, easy-to-follow system. One complaint - figuring out damage on the fly isn't easy (I wound up winging it), and I definitely felt like another read through the system would have been good, but that's no one's fault. Lots of example villains, though, so I had lots to work with. Oh, and there's a sample game at the back, called The Wages of Sin, which I ran.

The Characters:


  • Catalyst, played by Gail. An alien who crash-landed on Earth and was raised by a rock-n-roll groupie. Spoiled rotten her whole life. Her only power was Energy Detection, but her stats were decent (honestly, she wound up a little underpowered).
  • Quauntum, played by Andrea. A physicist who trained herself to reach into other realities and bring in time-duplicates. Also she can freeze time around opponents. Nerdy and smart, lots of skills, some bad luck.
  • Kung Lao, played by Matt. A Southern boy (and bit of hick) and video gamer, his console exploded while he was playing Mortal Kombat and he gained the strength to benchpress a jet, as well as super senses and a personal force field. He named himself after his favorite character and hit the streets!
  • Solita, played by Sarah. A magician's assistant who found a magic hat that gave her some impressive wizardry powers. Honestly, this character was kind of lost for me amidst a plethora of Arrested Development references.


SHAZAM KABLOOIE! )
innocent_man: (hypnotoad)
Last night, I ran a one-shot of a game called Ganakagok. Very much an indie game, billed as "Mythiopoetic Roleplaying." I liked it upon reading it, and wanted to give it a shot.

Basic premise: The land of Ganakagok, which has always been dark, icy and starlit, is changing. The characters know that everything is changing, and this the story of how it happens. There's a lot of setup and detail in character creation, and the game itself has everyone taking turns as active player. Most of the resolution is about who gets narration rights, rather than succeeding and failing, and so it appeals very much to the kind of gamer than enjoys Dogs in the Vineyard or With Great Power....

I also made dinner. So let's take this in chronological order?


Apples, mangos, crescent roll, leftover turkey and dubliner cheese.


One of the folks playing had some GI issues, so cooking anything too spicy or strong was out. Which is fine. I had lots of turkey leftover from Thursday (I made my first turkey, and OMG it was awesome), so that was a start.

What would you do? )

And then, as we wrapped up dinner, we started working out the game. You set this up by laying out two cards from the Ganakagok Tarot (you can use a normal deck, but I downloaded the cards and had a set made at Office Max). The first two cards are for the situation in Ganakagok, and the next two are for the Nitu people. We laid out the cards and decided that there's been lots of seals around lately, and every day is a feast. But there's conflict in the village - the hunters are saying, "Whoa, we keep killing the seals and there won't be so many next year." The elders, sick of hardship, are saying, "Nah, let's party." And meanwhile, the characters have their own visions...

The nose is the tastiest bit on a seal. )

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