Post LARP post

Well i’m sure you’ll have noticed that all’s been quiet on the Red Dice blogging front for the past few days; that’s because i’ve been indulging in the other aspect of the roleplaying hobby that I enjoy, namely LARP. For those of you who may not be aware of LARP (or LRP as it’s sometime’s called), it stands for Live Action Role-Play and is basically a group of people who act out or physical represent the action of a roleplay game (to some degree or other depending on the system). Now I first remember hearing about LARP when I was reading the second edition Vampire the Masquerade rulebook; it talked about the possibility of acting out some more conversational scenes but didn’t really include any rules or much in the way of suggestions how to do that so I didn’t really think much of it.

The next exposure I had to LARP was when I was mooching around my FLGS Spirit Games and heard someone discussing a Minds Eye Theatre Vampire game that was going at the nearby station hotel; being really into the Masquerade at the time I went along and for the duration of that game I enjoyed playing various vampires, first in a Sabbat game run by a good friend of mine and then later in other various games. Mind’s Eye Theatre is a game where you act out what your character is doing but whenever combat or anything occurs there is a system (normally based on rock-paper-scissors) that takes over; this is a bit of a compromise and puts MET halfway between tabletop and LARP to my mind, the advantage being you can run it in much smaller surroundings and more cheaply without having to worry about insurance or anything (since it’s none contact) but on the other side games (especially combat heavy games) can get really bogged down and it can take ages to resolve a large combat.

That’s not to say that MET cannot be enjoyable, I still play in a Werewolf: the Apocalypse game that I very much enjoy and have run a Hunter: the Reckoning game in the past where I tried to bridge the gap between contact LARP and MET, I don’t think the experiment was without it’s flaws but the people who played in the game seemed to enjoy it.

I play in a couple of contact LARP systems, the Outcast system (which I help crew and very much enjoy) and the Lorien Trust system (where I play a type of fey known as a redcap); these systems actually have a contact based combat system where foam latex weapons with solid cores are used. The Lorien Trust runs four main events in the UK, two in May and two in August, i’ve just got back from the second May event, known as the Great Edrejan Fayre (previously the Heartland Games); the premise for the event is basically a fantasy world version of the olympics where the various nations of the fictional world gather together and compete in different games. I’m not really into the games themselves TBH personally, although I certainly don’t begrudge the people who enjoy them, so the GEF is normally a fairly quiet event for me, sort of a “rest event.”

This event got off to a fairly slow start but on the second day everything to get much busier; I few of the highlights for me were:

  • Oberron king of the Fey visiting the mortal plane.
  • Getting to do some more diplomacy (my character being a diplomat for our faction).
  • Swearing fealty to Arcadia and the two newly elected fey princes (one seelie, one unseelie).
  • Accompanying a group back to my IC home the Everwood to locate a mute fey’s missing memories.
  • Having another player redcap fill me in on what he has found out about our races history and being able to potentially help out with that.

This brings me to one of the fundamental conflicts I have when it comes to contact LARP systems, by nature i’m not a particularly physically active person and to a great extent contact LARPs rely on your OOC abilities (for example: i’m not a fast runner so i’m never going to play some incredibly athletic character); given that I don’t have enough money to do LARP and other holidays, live-action events double as my holidays so I at least want to relax a little bit. I do normally come away from events feeling like I enjoyed it but that I could have done more during the event if only i’d been a bit more awake or more motivated.

That said, i’m working on motivating myself more and had an excellent time at the GEF, i’m part of a group of beastkin, urucks and fey called Squad D, and I always enjoy hanging around with my friends, also really enjoying my redcap character; hoping to start delving a bit more into the racial background of the fey as time goes forward.

I also tend to die a lot at LARPs and so i’ve always got half an eye to my next character, currently I have two in the pipeline, a dwarf and a dark-elf but i’m hoping to survive for a while as my current character since i’m really enjoying that at the moment.

Perhaps I just need to take more energy drinks to LARP? 😉

Writing a Werewolf Downtime

One of the things that appeals to me about version 2 of the NWOD Werewolf: the Forsaken is that the emphasis of the game has been placed squarely back on the hunt, something that i’ve always seen as being essential to the werewolf mythos, after all what’s the point in RPing someone who turns into a predator if they then don’t behave like one? Even in books/films where people are struggling against the curse of lycanthropy the struggled is normally spurred on by the damage inflicted during moonlit hunts.

I’m also playing in an OWED MET Werewolf: the Apocalypse game (helping me to cram in as many acronyms as possible) that my friend Dave is running in Derby at the moment; since i’m a bit wooley on the OWOD werewolf background (being more a fan of the NWOD iteration) I went for a Red Talon lupus ahroun.

Red Talons

The Red Talons are the claws of Gaia; they are her rage at the human race given form, or so they believe. The Talons come almost entirely from lupus stock; only in the last few decades have they even accepted Metis that come from Talon-Talon matings.

Lupus Garou

A lupus is a Garou who was born as and raised as a wolf. Many lupus are familiar with Gaia and bear a strong grudge towards humans for their tampering; this frequently extends to HomidGarou.

I did this for a couple of reasons, one was because I didn’t have a lot of free time to be creating detailed backgrounds and meddling around with influences (something i’ve always seen as more appropriate to Vampire: the Masquerade than werewolf anyway) and also because I didn’t want to get too enmeshed in the OWOD werewolf cosmology, I wanted to focus on playing the part of a predator and enjoying the RP that lead to.

Writing the Downtime

Of course I still do downtimes since they add a lot to the game and allow you to get things accomplished between monthly game sessions, but that left me with a quandry, how could I create a downtime that was actually meaningful whilst still keeping the essential character of the wolf-like lupus hunter?

The answer I’ve found is to try and view everything as a type of hunt; I do this by breaking the downtime down into three stages which I have nicknamed hunt, capture and kill.

  1. Hunt (stalking stage)The hunting stage is all about discovering what you want and working out the best way of going about obtaining it; get the scent of what it is that you want to achieve and then make a few quick darts at it to determine the best course of action.Example: If our werewolf has decided to kill a vampire, follow it for a while, then follow who it speaks to, possibly make a few attacks or feints at some of it’s servants to see how the creature responds; when you know how it behaves then you can move onto the next stage.
  2. Capture (closing in)In the capture stage you’ve decided on your best method of approach and begin to carry it out; once you have decided on an approach commit fully to it, throwing all your resources and abilities into it.Example: We’ve discovered that the vampire has a servant that it particularly values, our werewolf stalks the servant and then captures it, leaving a visible sign (possibly a severed limb, some blood or perhaps a note for the more squeamish) for the vampire to find letting it know that it’s servant is in danger unless it comes to the abandoned warehouse at the docks.
  3. KillThis is the climax of the hunt, once you reach this stage continue to commit fully to bringing down your quarry or achieving your aim, however, a wise hunter does not entirely lose their head; look for ways to maximise your chances of achieving your aims but also leave yourself a get-away.Example: The servant is restrained and left in the middle of the warehouse, whilst our werewolf lurks nearby in a spot overlooking the building so that he can see when the vampire arrives; if he has access to such equipment then he may have rigged the area with explosives, if not then simple home-made devices will do. When the vampire approaches he is allowed to rescue the servant (the emotions of the moment will distract him) and then bombarded with explosives designed to weaken/confuse him, the werewolf then closes in to finish the kill personally.

I’ve found that this approach to writing downtimes allows me to still get a reasonable amount done without the character just becoming a human with fur.

Matters of Fate: Skills & Stunts

In this video we take a look at skills in Fate Core and how Stunts can be constructed and used.


You can also access the audio only version of the file here.

The Fate Core SRD can be accessed by clicking here.

Matters of Fate: Skills & Stunts

In this episode we take a look at skills and stunts in Fate Core.

Check out this episode!

Mythic Gods & Monsters

A guidebook for game masters on how to create mythic gods and mythic monsters that meddle in the lives of the player characters. This book makes filling out a pantheon with unique and interesting gods fast and easy. It then arms GMs with the tool to make mythic monsters to challenge PCs with.

Just a reminder that the PDF of Mythic Gods & Monsters (written by Johnn Four and myself) is available from leanpub.com:

https://leanpub.com/mythicgodsmonsters/

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Spider and Me Are Mates

Played in a small one-shot tonight ran by Ian F. White that was based in a version of the Mad Max apocalyptic future; had great fun despite numerous technical problems at my end (halfway through my powerline adaptors lost their link to each other so I lost connection for a while and had to get on wirelessly which isn’t ideal).

The game featured (as befits a Mad Max style game) an odd assortment of characters:

  • Squirrel (played by Chris Wilhelm): A violent bastard for hire, older brother of Rat and our driver who owned a machete that was actually taken from the Thunderdome that was his prize (and blood-splattered) possession.
  • Pig (played by John Aubrey Moore): An information dealer who may not be much in a fight but had keen eyes and an ability to spot an enemys weaknesses.
  • Rat (played by Ian Christiansen): A curious kid who was always getting into trouble but could be vicious if he was backed into a corner.
  • Sebastian Crow (played by myself): An ex-priest who had lost his faith during the apocalypse and now wandered the deserts looking for a sign that God had not deserted the world.

The game was a fairly simple scenario where our motley band of people were supposed to meet up with our contact Spider only to find out that he’d been kidnapped by a local gang trying to force him to tell them where the gasoline stores he’d discovered were located; we then rode in like bad-asses to rescue him. Even though the game was only a couple of scenes long it was good fun and I believe demonstrated how dramatic Fate combat can be when you have a group of players who are up for just throwing themselves into the spirit of the game.

Very enjoyable and I hope to game with the people again soon.

Fate Core Character – Sebastian Crow

Playing in a Mad Max inspired Fate Core one-shot this evening hosted by Ian F. White, very much looking forward to it.

We were given the following background info (please note I didn’t write the background info it was provided to us by Ian F. White the host of the game):

Relevant points in my interpretation of the world of Mad Max:

(Some of the following points do not hold up to detailed scrutiny, but we’re going to gloss over that fact in the name of entertainment and playability.)

• There was a limited nuclear war a few years ago, amongst the nations of the Northern Hemisphere.
• Nuclear radiation fallout, famine, drought, and civil war combined to decimate the world-wide population, and the global civilization as a whole, collapsed.
• The world quickly ran out of stored processed fuel and munitions. Therefore, fuel is scarce, guns are scarcer.
• Most major cities still operate to some degree. Enclaves were formed by groups of survivors around strategic resources.
• The land in between these Cities and Enclaves descended into lawlessness, occasionally punctuated by a lone farmstead or trading post.
• Anyone travelling through these lawless areas would have a vehicle (personal or shared), and be constantly on the lookout for more gasoline…

Character background and lead-in to the scenario:

• What type of vehicle do you (and your ‘partner’ if applicable) drive?
• What weaponry do you favour?
• Why the hell are you trying to make a living in the Australian Outback?
• How do you know the entrepreneur Donny “Spider” Webster?
• In what form is the message “Met me at Fifi’s on the 23rd. Spider” delivered to you?

Here is a link to the character that I have created Sebastian Crow.ron perlman

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0ByVpAo4rxDGuVUJSampJTGMtb0k&authuser=0

And the extra background info:

• What type of vehicle do you (and your ‘partner’ if applicable) drive?
A rusty looking (but well maintained) motorbike covered with religious symbols.

• What weaponry do you favour?
A shotgun that Crow refers to as the Sword of Azrael.

• Why the hell are you trying to make a living in the Australian Outback?
Crow believes that (as he lost his faith & then found it) this harsh new world is a test, a new flood or crucible designed to forge man into something better than he was, but to do that people need to be show the way. He travels the outback looking for signs from the Lord.

• How do you know the entrepreneur Donny “Spider” Webster?
Crow has a monetary arrangement with Spider, given Spiders contacts he keeps an eye out for anything weird that might be a sign and lets Crow know in return for regular payments.

• In what form is the message “Met me at Fifi’s on the 23rd. Spider” delivered to you?
Spider knows that Sebastian has a soft spot for youngsters (believing them to be innocent and undeserving of the harsh world created by their parents), so he sends a youth with the message.

sebastian crow

How many games can you actually run?

Have you ever had one of those ideas that seemed like a brilliant one at the time, but then in the cold light of day, maybe not so much?

I’m sure we all must have done right?

Well I had one the other day, it was late, must have been nearly midnight, i’d got up early at 6:00am to play in a StarWars Edge of Empire one-off run by Runeslinger (you can find a link to the AP of that session here) and really enjoyed that, banged a load of energy drinks down me, went to a local RP convention then I came home, did some blogging, drank some more energy drinks and kept writing until near midnight. It was as the witching hour approached that I was sitting at my keyboard, Edge of Empire corebook tantalisingly within reach that a thought occurred to me:

“I could probably run an Edge of Empire campaign at the same time as my Jadepunk game”

I was chatting to a couple of people online at the time, but the idea seemed like a really good one as I started to crash, the last of the caffeinated goodness from my earlier feast of energy drinks spent; I went as far as to start writing down the skeletal notes of a campaign outline and began musing idly about what day I could run it on – Saturday was out because otherwise i’d be running games on both days of the weekend and I’d never manage to get into a one-shot, how about Tuesdays? I was going to be playing in a bi-weekly StarWars game run by somebody else on Tuesdays, but perhaps I could slot my game in on the other weeks; i’m pretty sure that some of my Jadepunkers would be interested and I could always look for other players on the many RP Facebook groups I’m a member of.

Luckily for me it was at that point that I really started to crash and, making my excuses retired to bed. When I woke up the next morning the idea of running another campaign seemed a little silly in the cold light of day, after all, it would effectively halve the planning time that I’d have for Jadepunk and would mean that I’d have to organise two groups of people, with all the scheduling difficulties, correspondence and other things that entails.

If you find yourself in the situation where you’re thinking about running another campaign, I’d suggest asking yourself the following questions:

  1. Do you have the energy to run another campaign?
    Although running games is fun, a lot of effort goes into them and it can become exhausting if you take too much on, leading to the dreaded GM burnout.
  2. Do you have the time to run and plan another campaign?
    There’s only so many hours in the week, work and other real-life stuff tends to eat up a lot of time for most of us, so seriously consider whether or not you have the time to devout to it, keeping in mind that you’ll be splitting this time between your new game and any current campaigns you’re running.
  3. Is your significant other going to murder you?
    A very important consideration, whilst playing non-stop RPing games would be a dream come true for some, even if you have a very understanding other half, they may frown on the amount of time you have to devote towards running yet another game.
  4. Could you get your fix another way?
    If you’re just looking for a change of pace or maybe want to try out a new system, perhaps running a one-shot or one-off session might help to scratch that itch and, since it’s only a one-off it won’t chew up so much of your time.

    If you want to run a one-shot I highly recommend giving the Tabletop RPG One Shot Group Facebook community a look.

Hopefully once you’ve answered those questions you’ll have more of any idea of whether running another RPG campaign is actually desirable and feasible…

…and I definitely can’t run another game…

…nor do I want to…

…definitely not…

…mmmm …Starwars.

 

Jadepunk campaign newsletters now available

I’ve always been a huge fan as a GM in creating newsletters and things like that for games, I think it’s a great way of giving your players a wider view of the world and a sense of scope that things are occurring outside their own little bubble, this is great because it gives a campaign that sense of consistency and additional texture that can really help make a world come alive.

I’ve been producing newsletters for our Jadepunk Skyless City games and I’ve now made them available on the same page as the video files.

You can find them by clicking here.

1000 subscribers thank-you video

As you may or may not be aware Red Dice Diaries Youtube channel recently reached the landmark of 1000 subscribers (we’re actually a little bit past that now), we’re obviously over the moon about this and wanted to film a short video to thank everyone who has supported the channel 🙂