Skyless City: Session 15 – March of the Iron Giants

Our heroes embark on a mission to secure one of the Governors new suits of armour, but can they survive the return of an old ally or will they fall into shadow?

Written material for my Changeling: the Lost game

I’ve posted a video talking about the planning that went into my Changeling: the Lost one-shot and the actual play of the game is also available on my Youtube channel; I’ve also combined all of the written material and graphics that I prepared for the game into a single zip file that you can access.

CTL Call of the Wyld zip file

 

Stack-of-Books

Planning my C:tL one-shot

Since the C:tL one-shot has now officially finished I can put up my “planning of” video showing some of the stages I went through to prep for it:

Call of the Wyld Hunt: One-shot Changeling game

Actual play video of our one-shot Changeling: the Lost game where a group of escapees from Arcadia go to extreme (and sometimes terminal) lengths to reclaim the lives that were stolen from them:

Tabletop Rambling: GMing Voices in Your Head

Whenever anyone prepares to run an RPG there are various questions and worries that go through your mind, this is short video about that:

Sample Changeling NPC – Briarwolves

I’ve spent the last few hours writing up notes on the NPCs for my Changeling one-shot; I don’t want to post too much up at this point (although I do intend to put all the material up via Google Drive links after the game has run) so as not to spoil anything for my players but below is a taster of the sort of notes I’ve been making.

Briarwolves – Hounds of the Horned God

briarwolf

Quick NPC stats for NWOD

As many of you may be aware, I’m currently prepping a Changeling: the Lost one-off game; I’ve just got to the point in my planning where I’m starting to actually put the stats down for the NPCs.

One of the things I like about Fate (okay look, I’ve done well, I got a whole sentence out before I mentioned it ;)) is that important NPCs are genned up like normal characters, but minor characters have a quicker method of creating NPCs where you basically note down a couple of descriptive terms for them and then jot down a few things they are good at and a couple they are bad at. Everything else they are considered to be average at.

I wondered whether this could be applied to NWOD; the corebook defines attributes and skills like this:

Attributes
o
Poor
oo Average
ooo
Good
oooo
Exceptional
ooooo
Outstanding

Skills
o
Novice
oo
Practitioner
ooo
Professional
oooo
Expert
ooooo
Master

So for the game I’m running (certainly for minor NPCs) I’m going to use the following dice pool ratings:

Bad at: dice pool 2
Average at: dice pool 4
Good at: dice pool 6

This should hopefully allow me to quickly create some minor NPCs without needing to have a cribsheet for them all.

Example NPC:

Corrupt Beat Cop
Description: Uphold the law, willing to look the other way for the right incentive.
Good at: Shooting, driving
Bad at: Resisting a bribe, working out when they are being tricked, resisting mental coersion.
The NPC will be assumed to be ‘average’ at anything not mentioned in the above description (dice pool 4).

All about Aspects: What I’m hoping to do with my first PWYW PDF

I’m going to be started work soon (within the next couple of weeks) on my first solo PDF, I’ve been published in a book joint-authored by Johnn Four and myself (Mythic Gods & Monsters) but in that I wrote content, Johnn handled the layout, posting the pub to leanpub and pretty much everything else (and did an excellent job); this will be the first time I’ve actually published anything entirely as a solo effort. When I was thinking about what I wanted to do for the publication I turned to my favourite system Fate; initially I thought about doing a ‘world’ supplement (and may still get around to doing that later) but I really wanted something that a lot of people could just pick and use and that would immediately be useful in their games.

Aspects are one of the core mechanics in Fate and are used to define everything from momentary advantages, to significant parts of a characters background, signature equipment and even interesting parts of the terrain or environment; however, it’s also a mechanic that a lot of people have expressed confusion about or find bewildering. I can understand this, after all, being confronted with a game mechanic that relies on description and that you can feasibly do almost anything with can be a little overwhelming.

An analogy I’ve often used is the if an artist is giving a blank canvas and told ‘paint me something, anything’ it can often be difficult to get started since there are so many possibilities, however if they are given a bit of guidance or once they are over that initial hurdle it can be a lot easier to begin the act of creation. This is what I want to do with my PDF, provide some structure and ideas that can be taken and used in people’s game to speed up creation of Aspects without unnecessarily restricting the.

One of the things I’ve picked up whilst writing for Johnn Four is that he’s very much a fan of articles that provide content that GMs can take and use in their game rather than in more general advice; this is something I greatly respect since there is a lot of general advice out there (not that this is a bad thing, I enjoy giving advice on my Youtube Channel), if I’m going to create a PDF then I want it to be something that has a use.

So I’m starting to hash out what I want the contents to be and thought I’d jot down my ideas at the moment:

  1. A brief explanation of how the aspect mechanic works and some suggestions for incorporating it into non-Fate games. This will be the introductory chapter of the book.
  2. The main meat of the book will be a number of madlibs that provide a basic structure for an aspect you can then plug in words and phrases related to specific genres; each of these will be provided in tables so that people can roll on them if they want a random outcome, or they can simply make choices if they are using them as a starting off point.For example: A high concept madlib might go I am a [ occupation ] who [ event ] until [ traumatic event ]; you could then plug any number of different words/phrases into the madlib.I am a disheartened academic who researched the occult until I read from the forbidden tome.I am a savage warrior who spend years mastering the sword until my home village was destroyed by marauders.

I’m hoping that I can feature a number of tables that have general suggestions as well as some that are more genre specific; for instance, whilst there are almost as many savage warriors in sci-fi as their are in fantasy, the same is not true of sorcerors. Each of the entries in the book will have suggestions for how they can be compelled/invoked as an aid to players and GMs, and also some suggestions for tailoring them for different types of game.

Given that this is my first solo-effort in regards to publishing, I’m not entirely certain how long the PDF is going to take to write and I’m pretty much doing it as a one-man-band both because the issue with aspects is something that a number of people have mentioned to me, and also because I want to see whether it is going to be feasible for me to release more solo stuff in future. Hopefully once it’s done I’ll be posting it for purchase (on a PWYW basis) on each Leanpub or Drivethru RPG (once I’ve looked into their processes a little more).

Hope you’re as excited about this next phase for Red Dice Diaries as I am 🙂

Circuit board tree image designed by Mastermindsro, you can see the full design here; used under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

Why I love the idea of the new (2014) Star Wars continuity

Galactic_Empire_emblem.svgNow before you start cursing me or flexing your force-grip hands let me explain:

For me Star Wars has always been about the films (yes even the fairly poor prequel films), I’ve never really dived into the Expanded Universe stuff and nor have I played the million or so Star Wars computer games that have been created over the years; however I really enjoy the films and have always been interested in the RP potential of the Star Wars setting (in-fact I think WEG D6 Star Wars was the third or fourth game I played), collecting various different versions of the Star Wars RPG over the years. Lately this has culminated in me getting copies of Edge of the Empire and Age of Rebellion from Fantasy Flight Games; I was lucky enough to play in an excellent one-off game run by Runeslinger that really fired my enthusiasm for the game and, like a lot of GMs, if a game makes me enthusiastic then I want to run it.

After a bit of shuffling of my schedule I was able to fit in an Edge of Empire game and we’ll be starting that shortly; one thing that became obvious during the character creation session (and that I had not considered before) was that there were certainly some of the players who had a greater knowledge of the Expanded Universe of Star Wars than myself and I’ve sometimes found people who have invested time in acquiring such knowledge can be a bit precious about perceived errors or things that contradict it.

So what does this have to do with the 2014 continuity?

Well, around about the time they announced that they were making a sequel series of films, Disney (new owners of Lucasfilm) announced that the films would not be beholden to anything established by the previous Expanded Universe and that only certain sources would now be considered as canon, the EU being re-classified as Star Wars Legends (Wookiepedia, the Star Wars wiki handily has a ‘canon’ and ‘legends’ tabs for most entries). This announcement was widely met with disbelief and anger from many fans who had been hopefully the films would tell some of the great stories from the EU, at the time it didn’t really bother me one way or the other as someone who wasn’t really up on the EU, when they came out I’d no doubt go and watch the new films but that was as far as it went.

However, as I started putting together the Edge of the Empire game and getting ideas from the players and was considering what to do regarding this vast stock of Expanded Universe lore that some of players knew very well and that I had no intention or inclination of frantically studying to try and bring myself up to speed, it occurred to me that Disney/Lucasfilm had handed me the solution to my problem – I would use the new continuity.

Of course I’m not entirely going to avoid the EU since there are some great aspects of it that I’m sure will add to my game, however the baseline of the setting has been set using the new canon, this means that players with a huge stock of knowledge about the EU won’t have an unfair advantage, should hopefully cut down contradictions and it means all of the information they need is easily available in one place; basically if it’s on a ‘canon’ tab on Wookiepedia then it is assumed to be the truth in our game setting.

As far as I’m concerned the new continuity gives new GMs and players the opportunity to pick up a Star Wars RPG and run games without having to digest a vast amount of accumulated lore, it frees us up to tell our own stories in the Star Wars universe without having to constantly having to justify our ignorance of the Expanded Universe.

Matters of Fate: The Default Actions

As promised here is the video version of our sixth episode in this series where we discuss the default actions in Fate.