innocent_man: (Default)
I feel like making a character, and Savage Worlds characters are quick. I would also really like some variance in my icons, but it costs $35 to have as many as I would need. Sad. Anyway.

The Game: Slipstream
The Publisher: Pinnacle Entertainment Group
Degree of Familiarity: Pretty familiar with Savage Worlds, but I've only read this game.
Books Required: The core the Slipstream book.

In Spaaaaace! )
innocent_man: (dmh)
So, it went off pretty much like I planned, actually. :)

The characters were riding to go find Nikolai's missing vodka. Lillie was riding her own horse, while Sheriff and Suzi were driving a wagon (Suzi driving, Sheriff riding shotgun, Shortstop in the back asking if they were there yet).

They came to the place where the road split off into the valley, or they could take the carriage across the grassland, which led to a cliff and a waterfall. They chose the valley. They got a ways in and noted that there had been a scuffle - wagon tracks, horse tracks, then everyone goes back the other way. Lillie took this moment to cast Armor and Hunch. Her Hunch revealed fear, but not violence - apparently the bandits had taken the wagon by threat, not force.

Shortstop jumped out and went to scout ahead. Lillie followed at a distance. Shortstop blew his Stealth roll and rounded the corner to see some guys sitting around a fire. Then he glanced right and saw two more hombres behind some brush, pointing a rifle at him. He yelled for help, and all hell broke loose.

Lillie came riding in and cast her Texas Twister spell, knocking the two guys in the brush out of commission. Shortstop ran up to one of the other guys and kicked him in the head, dazing him. Suzi, ever cautious, struggled with Sheriff for the reins, and wound up booting him out of the carriage as they got closer.

And then a mysterious man in the black - masked, dressed in leathers - flew down from the cliff. He threw bolts of black magic at Lillie's horse and at Shortstop, stunning and wounding the boy. Some of the cowboys took shots at Lillie, but between her magic and my piss-poor dice, they missed.

Sheriff rolled in and shot one gunman dead. Another took a shot and winged him, but Sheriff just cocked back the lever on Justice (his revolving shotgun) and dropped that feller, too.

Lillie moved her twister so it covered the magic-throwing hombre, and Sheriff realized that he recognized that guy - he'd seen those bolts of magic before, and it wasn't a pretty memory. Shortstop recovered enough to throw a punch, but he was too weak (and too out of Fate chips) to do any damage.

Suzi rolled in and called up a miracle - the bonfire flared, engulfing two of the men. By now, there was just one guy left who wasn't Shaken or dead. Well, and the Faceless Stranger, but he flew up out of the twister and back to the cliff, whereupon he escaped. "Coward," snarled Sheriff.

The last guy accidentally shot his buddy dead (aiming for Lillie, whom he called "Devil woman!"). Suzi rolled up and scared him half to death, and he revealed they'd stolen the vodka and kept the drivers alive. Apparently "the boss," the dude in black, had plans for them. At this point, the characters noticed that based on the bad guys' horses' brands, they all worked for Black River Railroad.

They loaded up the corpses, the survivor, the vodka and the drivers and took it all back to Novygrad. When they got to the saloon, they found Nikolai there entertaining. He was sitting with a beautiful woman and her two servants - one a big, tall fellow in black, and one a demur-looking young woman in a black dress.

Her name, the characters realized, was Mina Devlin - and she owned Black River. But Nikolai was apparently smitten with her. She said that she was looking to put in a stop here in Novygrad, which would be good for the town as well as her railroad. The other characters were suspicious, and Shortstop, who has the tact of a 12-year-old (and is played by one), called her out about the men they'd fought. Mina said that one of her security details had been ambushed and their horses stolen, so those folks were probably the ones that did it.

And Shortstop also wondered if the big guy, Jessup, was the man in black they'd seen earlier. The body language and the hat looked similar. But he denied it, and Nikolai said that the only way that Jessup could have gotten here before the characters if he'd been at the fight was to fly.

With these suspicions, then, Mina left with Nikolai to have dinner and the characters went to bed down for the night. Suzi looked at Mina and told her how much the town loved Nikolai, and how no one wanted to see him come to harm. "Don't worry," said Mina. "I have no plans to hurt him tonight."

Somehow, this didn't make anyone feel better.
innocent_man: (mine)
So here we are at Origins. Yay!

Took us some time to get out yesterday. Mostly that was because Heather's been backed up with work the last month, so I amused myself taking pictures of people with my new phone:



Michelle, waiting.


Aaron, waiting.


Me, waiting.


Heather, wait...oh, hang on, there she is!


So we left, drove to Columbus, listened to Patton Oswalt on the way. Nifty. Got into Columbus, checked in, and then Michelle and I headed out to play Desolation.



Ah, back among my people.


Now, I really enjoy Desolation, but haven't really managed to play a game of it that emphasizes the sad state of the world, rather than going for cheap laughs. And I still haven't. The fellow who ran the game was the same one that ran Hollow Earth Expedition for us in 2009. That game was kind of weaksauce, so I admit that when we realized it was the same guy, we were a little apprehensive.

It was better, though. We didn't have an immature 16-year-old and his equally immature dad making boob jokes the whole time, for one. The GM liked screaming "RAT CHEESE!" a little too much (it made sense in context), but beyond that, it was a well-run sandbox game - he plunked us into the situation, and we just tore shit up and had fun. Interesting note: The other player (it was just me, Michelle and this other woman) not only had no experience playing RPGs but had to be told, conceptually, what an RPG was. She got right into it, and she seemed to have fun; I'm just wondering how she got to that table.

Anyway, once again, characters were just photocopied from the book, but that's fine. The GM had trouble explaining the system (took too long, made my eyes glaze over), but once we got rolling he did well - didn't stomp on our plans, didn't interrupt the players (I fucking hate that), and ended the game when it ended, rather than shoehorning in a T-Rex. I approve. Wasn't awesome, but was fun.

My Grade: C+

So then we went to bed. Up in the morning! I had tickets to Prawn!

Well, fuck. No one showed. I got a refund and one we went.



The familiar skyline from the hotel window.


Con on the Cob! You should go!


At the Chessex booth, you can buy a scoop of dice. Don't pretend you aren't tempted.


So we got some lunch, did some shopping, and swung around to play in a demo of mad-scientist card game.



This dude even looks like a mad scientist.


The game is fun; you basically try and build evil experiments and collect victory points for the really important ones (like Underground City and Weather Control). Early gameplay, though, is slow; Michelle and I thought of some improvements, but they weren't simple enough to justify buying the game and house-ruling. And I have other stuff to spend money on (read on).

So then we had a game of Deadlands. Oh, Deadlands. Highly awesome. This was the Savage Worlds version, but all the fun stuff is intact. I played a huckster, slinging cards around for magic. It was a pretty straightforward "go get the dude off the mountain" scenario. At first I was concerned because we were tailing along two badass bounty hunters...but then the mutant bears popped out and ate them, and I knew we were fine and weren't going to be dwelling in NPCs' shadows. Yee-ha!

It was a good time. I had a shining moment (casting a Speed spell and rolling up behind the bad guy and capping him in the back of the head before he knew I was there), we got to shoot a bunch of zombies. I could have done with a little more RP, but honestly it was a two-hour game. And just look at this awesome setup:



The little orange things are corpses of things we shot. Boo-ya!


The GM explained the rules to the newbies perfectly and patiently, knew the characters and the rules well, and kept things moving. His characterizations were memorable, and it was generally a great time.

My Grade: A

Then, dinner! (Lemon Grass, a fusion place down the street. I recommend!) On the way we passed a dog biscuit store (no, really) with some interesting art:






Then, Ganakagok!

I've played (run, really) this game before, and was really happy to be playing it. Our players fell into it right away, and we had this cool, exciting, very epic Norse-ish story going on, involving elemental spirits, burned cannibals ghouls, giant fucking owls, snow rhinoceri (OK, they didn't figure in directly). My character was a fire-tender, a young boy who learned at the feet of the elders and kept their fire burning so they could stay warm.

One thing I didn't like: During the scenes, we only did the die-shifting round once, not twice (if you know the game, that makes sense, if not, don't worry about it). That changes the play because it changes the strategy, but it didn't end up mattering much. The story was awesome, we concluded and everyone, I think, was happy about how the Nitu people ended up.

The GM could stand to work on pacing a little bit, but only if I'm being really nitpicky. He definitely had a good feel for the game and did a good job at ceding control and ideas to the players, which for Ganakagok is essential because if it's not a shared story, it's one dude telling you a story.



Our story mats, if you can read any of it.


My grade: A-

I actually talked to Bill White, the author of Ganakagok, a little after the game, about curse the darkness and he totally got it, even from a brief description. Made me feel like I'm on the right track, if I can just distill what I really envision the game being about down from where it is now.

But I digress. Tomorrow, more gaming, including Changeling and Unknown Armies! Yay! Origins!
innocent_man: (Default)
(Why John? He's named after another famous lobster named John.)

Anyway, last night we did a Chopped dinner. Check it.



Baby bok choy, pork chops, Babydell cheese, white wine, everything bagel thins, oranges.


Yeah, lots of ingredients. Still. What would you do? )

And then tonight, I was going to make fish and chips, and then Heinen's had lobster for $10 a pound. Heck, that's not bad. And Michelle and I have an anniversary this weekend. So we got a lobster:



"Hey, guys."


Lobster John freaked Teagan right the fuck out. Like, she was fine until he(?) moved, and then she'd run away. Fortunately, she got over it.

I fried up some cod and made some fries for the kiddos (we had some too, of course) while I got the pot boiling.



"This is gonna be like a sauna, right? Sweet!"


And then, finally, it was time for Lobster John to become more delicious.



"Mmmm! Smells like thyme! Is it thyme? Also lemon juice, right? What's for dinner?"


Well, John, turns out you are.



"Ah. Well, then."


Yum.

And now, more game stuff that players should avoid. )
innocent_man: (r&g)
OK, so characters are made. Game is set in India, the year is 1890-something. Most of the characters are British. We've got:


  • A British soldier who found a welcoming home in India, moved in with a family there. Came home one day to find that a rakshasa had killed them. The Rippers arrived and killed it, and ripped the beast's whiskers (which the soldier, who is of yet nameless, took). Military connections, part one.
  • A mad scientist who came to India to further his studies involving mediation, chakra, and electricity. Student of Tesla's. Also nameless, so far. His device is a ray gun (that is, the Bolt power).
  • Basil (no last name yet) is a big-game hunter who came to India to find and shoot the local wildlife, but wound up killing supernatural beasties for the Rippers. No supernatural powers, just a lot of shooting talent. Worships Kali, and has an enemy in a Royal Army doctor-turned-Cabal member.
  • Reginald Whitlock (oh, look! Someone who names their characters!). Hellfire-club-ish Brit who was disowned by his family and forced to move to India in shame for his...proclivities (inspired heavily by Ashwood Abbey). He has the tongue of a demon, which makes him a superb liar, but he can't speak at all to someone who is pure of heart.
  • Mathilde Burrows. A British girl who took sick in India and was given a healing treatment from the same doctor mentioned above. The treatment improved her strength, but was Rippertech, so y'know, drove her a little nuts. She's also psionic.
  • Isobel Grey. A former circus performer who went out with her brother searching for new animals for the show, and found a werewolf. The werewolf bit her brother, who then was destroyed by Rippers. She got his eyes as Rippertech.
  • Asha Ellerson. Born of a British father and an Indian mother, Asha was educated in England and then returned. As a result, she fits in nowhere. She's a linguist and a pacifist, and is definitely the cultural expert of the group.


So, the good news: I have an awesome, exotic setting. I have some characters with some fun backstories. I have a ready-made villain who crosses over several of the PCs backgrounds.

The bad news: I have 7 players, which is a heavy group. I have only a one-shot, and I have no child care for most of it.

Any players reading should stop reading now. )
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: (Default)
Tonight you get both dinner and a character! Wooo!

First, dinner. Our ingredients, chosen by Michelle, Heather and Teagan, were:



Steak, oranges, puff pastry, chard and raisins


What would you make? )

Oh, and while I was cooking, we had visitors:



Cael: "The deers are eating grass!"


Cael: "The deers! They are so cute!"


And now:

The Game: Pirates of the Spanish Main
The Publisher: Pinnacle Entertainment Group
Degree of Familiarity: Some with Savage Worlds, none with this game.
Books Required: Just the one. Unlike most SW products, you don't need the SW core. All the rules are right here!

Yarr. )
innocent_man: (fett)
So! Back from Con on the Cob. Well, back in the sense that it's over. I didn't go back today; I did something to my back and the notion of sitting on those hotel chairs wasn't appealing (feeling better, though - evidently needed some couch time).

In skimming Facebook, I found the Iron GM competition. Looks pretty awesome, right? Like, I'd totally make time to go to a con and compete for that. Except...they want the games run in OGL 3.5.

How. Lame.

I mean, ignore the fact my opinion that d20 and most of its variants kind of blow. There are some things that the system just doesn't do well. It's not a good universal system; I personally don't even think it does what it wants to do especially well. The only thing to recommend it for this kind of thing is that it's ubiquitous. But this whole "you can run other systems, if the rest of the table unanimously agrees?" Blah. The system makes a difference. A game written for Savage Worlds is going to feel very different than a game written for WoD, and neither of the would be quite the same as a game written for d20.

Anyway, I think someone should do a similar competition at GenCon and let the GM use whatever core system s/he's comfortable with. But anyway.

I ran two curse the darkness playtests, and got some good feedback that I'll be summarizing in its own post. I also sent out a playtest packet to a bunch of people, so hopefully folks other than me will run this game and help me get it ready for primetime. That's exciting. Yee!

Right, so, today is "hang out alone and do laundry" day, which I admit I needed. I shall now make a character. Since I need something quick, and since I haven't cracked open my immense stock of pdfs for a while:

The Game: MARS - A Game of Savage Planetary Romance
The Publisher: Adamant Entertainment
Degree of Familiarity: None with this setting, though I played in a Spirit of the Century game that was kind of similar. I've got some middling experience playing and running Savage Worlds.
Books Required: The Savage Worlds core rules and the MARS pdf, and here we go!

Mars needs PCs, women or otherwise. )
innocent_man: (themepark)
More gaming stuff this time, not as many pictures of my kids. Still a few, though.

Saturday! )
innocent_man: (r&g)
Here's the thing about Savage Worlds setting: There's not really any focus on theme. It's basically action-movie gaming, but there's no irony to it, no deeper implications. I'm not saying that to complain, mind, because I really like the SW settings I've read, Necessary Evil especially. It's just odd to me because I'm used to World of Darkness games, which pride themselves on those deeper thematic components (whether or not they work is up to the reader).

That said, I've got a game setting in mind that I think SW would be perfect for, that I'd actually consider licensing the system to use if I could put the money together to publish. And that's precisely because the system does what it does so well.

But for now, I just finished reading Rippers. It's an interesting setting; Victorian monster-hunting, which by itself seems pretty straightforward, but the founders of the organization you're working for were John Dee, now Jack the Ripper (I know, right?) and Abraham Van Helsing. Reading the book makes me think of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen or Anno Dracula; everybody shows up, at least as a mention. Running it would take some work not to drift whole-hog into pulp, but it would be a fun game to play, I think.

So let's rock!

The Game: Rippers
The Publisher: Great White Games.
Degree of Familiarity: None with this game, some with Savage Worlds.
Books Required: The Savage Worlds Explorer's Edition and the Rippers book.

Killin' vampires in gaslit streets...it's like old times! )
innocent_man: (snorkel)
Well, my initial idea for this evening's fun hit a snag - I'm out of space on my gaming bookshelves, so I need to buy another one before I can finish cleaning my office. Don't suppose anyone wants an assload of Jyhad cards? Happy to trade them for an RPG.

Anyway, I decided to make a character. Initially I was thinking Terra Primate, but I just read 50 Fathoms and figure I ought to do this one before the knowledge fades from my brain.

The Game: 50 Fathoms
The publisher: Pinnacle Entertainment Group.
Degree of familiarity: None with this game specifically, though I've run Savage Worlds in the form of Necessary Evil.
Books required: The Savage Worlds book and the 50 Fathoms book.

Into the ocean, end it all. )

And that's it. Next: Probably Serenity, and since [livejournal.com profile] danieltallon is going to run Serenity this might put me in the position getting to play one of these characters! Wow!
innocent_man: (mentak)
Today's offering on the altar of creation (which really doesn't make sense, but sounds good) is Necessary Evil.

The Game: Necessary Evil
The publisher: Pinnacle Entertainment Group, by way of Studio 2.
Degree of familiarity: None, yet, though I'm running a one-shot in a couple of weeks.
Books required: The Savage Worlds book and the Necessary Evil book.

Ren is the villain, and you're just a hostage. )

And there ya have it. Next up: Dunno. Ex Machina, maybe?
innocent_man: (abyssal)
I got a copy of Low Life last year at Con on the Cob, after getting robbed out of victory in a Rock Band tournament. I mean, honestly, I'd rather have the copy of the game than the first prize (free admission to this year's CotC, because I'd have gone anyway), but it's the principle of the thing.

Anyway, Low Life is a Savage Worlds setting. Calling it post-apocalyptic would be both accurate and misleading. Yes, it's after the Bomb drops and all of Earth is blown to Hell...but now the Lowly have risen. Meaning that you can play such scintillating characters as sentient blobs of poo.

I'm not a fan of scatalogical humor normally, but I was 12 once just like all of us, and I'm perfectly happy to unleash my inner 12-year-old. I can appreciate the funny behind the smellcasters and so on. In fact, if I have one complaint about Low Life, it's that "Mutha Oith" should have been spelled "Mudda Oith," since "Mutha" looks like it should be pronounced "Moo-tha".

Anyway. Phonology nerdiness aside, let's get to it.

The Game: Low Life
The publisher: Pinnacle Entertainment Group, by way of Mutha Oith Creations.
Degree of familiarity: None, though the book was bedtime reading for a while.
Books required: The Savage Worlds book and the Low Life book.

What da grackel-fabbit!? )

That's it! That's probably the last one you'll get before Origins, as I'm likely to be busy as heck the next few days. Feel free, though, to tell me what RPGs I should buy at the con.
innocent_man: (mouseketeer)
I've been reading Conspiracy X of late, and a couple of people requested it, so I was all set...but I don't have a character sheet. And I have the 2nd ed (the one published in 1996), so most of the sheets I've found online are for the Unisystem version. So ConX will have to wait, but it'll probably the next one I do.

Today, though:

The Game: Savage Worlds
The publisher: Pinnacle Entertainment Group.
Degree of familiarity: None. And oddly, I don't think we're playing any at Origins. I definitely need to play something with this system.
Books required: Well, see below.

Avast! )

And that's that. Next time: Con X, probably.

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