The Curse of the Scarab

I played in a very enjoyable game of Fate Accelerated last night run by Sam Dimercurio of Chalice in Chains (recommend you give the YT channel a look); I played Asim Shadid, leader of the Sons of Ammon, a band of desert warriors pledged to prevent the rise of Imhotep.

Asim Shadid Character Sheet

The other players/characters were:

  • Alex Gillot as Howard Bowman, an arms dealer and criminal with a shadey past.
  • David Semmes as Hamilton Harris, a disenfranchised banker with a passion for motorcycles.
  • Ian F. White as Charles Manning, a well spoken gentleman working with the British Intelligence service.

Great fun game, good GMing and excellent RP all round; you can watch the video here:

Matters of Fate: The Default Actions

In episode 6 of ‘Matters of Fate’ we discuss the default actions in the game, possible outcomes and how to roll them.

Check out this episode!

Terror on the Outer Rim [Edge of Empire]: Session 0

Character and Setting Generation

Well we held our character generation and campaign creation session (christened session 0) for our Edge of the Empire game that we’re going to be running soon (now named Terror on the Outer Rim): you can see the intro crawl I made for session 0 here:

This was the first actual session we’ve hosted on Twitch and it wasn’t without technical problems, including:

  • The footage uploaded to Twitch seemed to be quite laggy and I was constantly receiving messages about it ‘dropping frames’ during the broadcast, not sure what I can do about that (being at best an enthusiastic amateur when it comes to IT) but I’ll have a look into it.
  • Not being able to use the layouts that had been created since one of the players was fairly late and adding an extra person would’ve changed the screen capture areas.
  • The sound quality varying considerably on Skype depending on how many people were online.
  • For some reason people seemed to talk over each other more, I’m not sure whether or not this is just a consequence of having more players.
  • Skype restricting video calls to four hours.

Despite those problems along with myself and several of the players not being 100% up on the FFG EotE rules yet we were able to get through character creation and also come up with several potential future conflicts for the area where the game is going to be set. There were a couple of additional issues:

  • Generating characters for people without the rulebook is a bit of chore; this is no fault of the people involved (since I certainly wouldn’t expect all players to have to purchase a copy of the book) but compared to games I’ve used with more streamlined character creation I did find the process a bit lengthy and I must say was longingly eyeing the Fate Star Wars hack by Ryan M. Danks at one point (you can find that here for anyone interested).That said I’m determined to persevere with the FFG system and hopefully it’ll get easier as we all become more familiar with the rules.
  • It’s obvious that one or two of the players are more familiar with the EU of Star Wars than I am (having not played any of the related video games) and I can see people quoting obscure “facts” about the setting potentially being a nigglesome issue; I’ve decided to deal with that by assuming that only the current cannon (as established by the films) is guaranteed to be accurate, I may introduce EU elements as the game goes on but it should not be assumed this is the case.

You can see the videos of session 0 below:

Part 1

Part 2

Our next session is a couple of weeks; anyone interested in watching it live can do so on our Twitch channel:

https://www.twitch.tv/reddicediaries/

 

Star Wars Edge of Empire Character Creation live on Twitch

Tonight’s character/setting creation for our upcoming Edge of Empire game will be broadcast live on Twitch at 7pm (UK time), there is a short promo video below:

We’re hoping that if this works then future sessions will also be broadcast live on Twitch (and later exported to Youtube); you can catch all the action on our Twitch channel at http://www.twitch.tv/reddicediaries

Jadepunk Character Sheets

I was asked recently on my Youtube channel by Martin Cumming whether I’d made the character sheets for our Jadepunk game available; having had a look I don’t think I have so thought I’d put links in a quick post on my blog so people can have a look at them.

These are not necessarily the latest versions of the sheets since we moved recently to storing them on Roll20 and therefore I don’t have them all as actually PDFs or anything similar, but these should be enough to give you an idea of what sort of characters we have in the game.


 

Our current cast:


 

Gone but not forgotten:


So there we are a look at the character sheets of those characters, past and present in our Jadepunk campaign; if you’re interested in seeing some of the actual plays of our sessions then you can find them here.

Pre-genned Character Backgrounds for C:tL

You may have seen my recent post about the pre-genned characters that are going to be used in my one-off C:tL game in a couple of weeks (if not you can find it here); this evening I’ve finished writing out the backgrounds for each of the characters and have posted them out to the players (who have already selected which characters they are going to be).

You can read the backgrounds using the following links:

  • Blaze BG

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0ByVpAo4rxDGudnlaUFkxMll3UHM/view?usp=sharing

  • Bones BG

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0ByVpAo4rxDGuWW1yRDVZUWxRdUk/view?usp=sharing

  • Hare BG

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0ByVpAo4rxDGuRlpKV3V6Q2t3Mlk/view?usp=sharing

  • Sway BG

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0ByVpAo4rxDGuZDhGUjNRbjd4SW8/view?usp=sharing

  • Wolf BG

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0ByVpAo4rxDGuOGItYjl0ZEpxMWM/view?usp=sharing

Video Response: Horror Tips

Fantastic Dimensions asked for some additional tips on running horror games in his video, so here’s my response:

How I use Fronts in my Jadepunk Game

Recently I chatted on-air with James Chambers about the organisational aid called Fronts that is featured in the various ‘powered by the apocalypse’ games (Apocalypse World, Dungeon World, Monster of the Week, Tremulus, etc) and how they could be used in other games to help a GM organise their plots and keep track of what is going on. You can find the video here:

You can also find more about Fronts and how they work specifically here: http://www.dungeonworldsrd.com/fronts

Essentially a Front is a GM tool where you create adventure and campaign fronts, each of which features a number of dangers (opponents, hazardous lairs etc), an impending doom (how the world will be changed for the worst if the plot reaches it’s conclusion) and grim portents (events that occur as your campaign progresses to move your plot forward). Each of the PbtA games offers a number of different potential dangers (related to their theme and type of game) and sample moves or actions for those dangers to take.

For example: An oppressive government might have “kidnap an enemy” as one of their potential moves.

This great as a GM tool because it allows you to create your fronts and have them written down for easy reference, the abbreviated form forces you to think about what is important for this particular plot rather than going OTT and writing hundreds of pages that don’t end up getting used and also any time you have a spare moment or a lull in your game you can have a look at the list of moves for the dangers on your Fronts and use one or more of them to move the plot along.

 

I think Fronts are a great way of GMs keeping track of their information and it is a technique that I have taken to using in most games that I run; below are some examples of Fronts used in my currently running Jadepunk game.

If you are one of my players then please do not read this until after the game has concluded.


 

Campaign Front

  • The 13th Governor’s plans for Kausao.

Dangers

13th Governor (warlord, dictator (Apoc World), impulse: to control)
Impending doom – Tyranny (creating a world government with Kausao at the head)
Grim portents:
1 – Uses Windrider crash to justify more draconian laws.
2 – Recruits volunteers to create a new organisation ‘The All-Seeing Eye’, building a new facility on the site of the old Council of Nine building.
3 – Marries Kaiyu Misake, Empress of the Kaiyu Nation.
4 – Uses black jade clockwork and allies to take control of Aerum Nation.
5 – With two of the major nations behind it Kausao becomes the new capital of the world, Governor declares himself Emperor with the head of each nation serving as his viceroys.

Isaku Sota/Sota Family (grotesque (Apoc World)-crave mastery, impulse: to create a clockwork empire)
Impending doom – Pestilence (the replacement of weak flesh with machinery, and the rise of clockwork over primitive biology)
Grim portents:
1 – Provides clockwork warriors in return for access to black jade.
2 – Performs horrible experiments in an attempt to understand black jade.
3 – Manages to create the worlds first “synthetic jade” blood jade.
4 – Discovers a way of using blood jade to create intelligent clockwork creatures.
5 – Sota’s clockwork warriors forcibly convert their creator into a clockwork creature like themselves, he becomes the Iron King.

Kaiyu Misake (impulse: absorb those in power & grow)
Impending doom – Tyranny (ensuring that the Kaiyu nation (and herself personally) become one of the pre-eminent world powers)
Grim portents:
1 – Misake becomes Empress of the Kaiyu Empire following her father’s death.
2 – Brings Kaiyu navy to Kausao to support her husband, becomes a devout follower of a deviant sect of the Way of Suffering.
3 – Calls upon Kaiyu allies to help overthrow the Aerum Empire.
4 – Begins to host lavish parties for nobles, encouraging debauchery and that they take joy in their exalted status.
5 – Is given control of the All Seeing Eye, Kausao becomes a place where no-one dare speak out against the Governor or Misake lest they be arrested by the secret police and enslaved to one of Misake’s Sybarite dens.


Adventure Front

  • The Aerum War on Kausao

Dangers

Kausao Government (ambitious organisation, impulse: maintain the status quo)
Impending doom – Usurpation (replacing the current Aerum regime with one more sympathetic to Kausao)
Grim portents:
1 – Isaku Sota presents the Governor with mechanised armour for his soldiers (adapted from his own clockwork armour).
2 – Using the mechanised armour the Governor launches a full scale assault (backed by the Kaiyu) on the airship fleet.
3 – The Kaiyu are unaware that a group of Shadow Warriors were dispatched to the Aerum Nation as soon as the Governor received word of their potential dissatisfaction; the Shadow Warriors strike and kill Aerum Koji the ruler of the nation.
4 – Using agents in the Aerum government a puppet ruler who follows Kausao’s lead is chosen; he then requests the assistance of Kausao in putting down rebels.
5 – Governor sends mech-armoured troops to back up his puppet ruler, Aerum nation now becomes a satrapy of Kausao.

Aerum Koji/Aerum Nation (Horde, impulse: to grow stronger and overcome all resistance in Kausao)
Impending doom – Tyranny (annexing Kausao and making it a province of the Aerum Empire)
Grim portents:
1 – Aerum Koji realises that Governor is moving to a pro-Kaiyu stance and realises that the Windrider incident was designed to disgrace their nation as a prelude to most overt hostile actions by the Governor.
2 – When word of the wedding is received Koji dispatches an assault airfleet to demand the Governor stands down.
3 – Airfleet come under attack from the Kaiyu Navy and the Governor’s forces, eventually they are defeated by the new mech-armoured troops.
4 – When word of Koji’s assassination occurs and word of his replacement reaches the airfleet many of them realise that the Aerum Nation belongs to Kausao, and rather than give in they take their ships and retreat into neutral lands becoming rebels and hoping to one day free their homeland.
5 –

Uddoratto Syndicate (ambitious organisation, impulse: to infest from within/take by subterfuge)
Impending doom – Impoverishment (seeking to prolong the conflict so that they can get maximum profit out of it)
Grim portents:
1 – The original plan was for the Kausao forces to wait until they were fired upon first, a member of the Uddoratto accidentally ordered a bombardment from the Kaiyu navy to begin.
2 – Uddoratto members attempt to leak plans for the mech-armour to the Aerum forces.
3 – During the chaos looting is widespread, many of the goods stolen fall into Uddoratto hands or are fenced by them.
4 – When the Aerum are defeated, it is a member of the Uddorratto Syndicate who is elected to rule the country on the Governor’s behalf.
5 – Under their rulership the Aerum Empire becomes a dark place ruled by bandit lords and brigands.


 

 

The Importance of Feedback in RPGs

No-one starts off as the world’s best GM, when I think of how truly shocking that very first game of WFRP I ran was I give a little shudder, but at the time we all had fun and we learned a lot from that first game; I always say to people that there’s nothing wrong with not being a perfect GM as long as you’re always trying to improve and you’re putting that effort in.

One of the best ways to improve you games is to solicit feedback from your players, now you can ask players for feedback in the aftermath of a game session but some people don’t feel comfortable giving feedback in-front of others or need a bit of time to reflect on the session and get their thoughts in order; I find it best to ask for feedback a day or two after a session has completed. One other issue with feedback is that it can be difficult for players to know where to start or what sort of feedback you are looking for, after all someone just saying “the session was crap” might be accurate in their eyes but it’s not particularly helpful from the perspective of a GM seeking to improve their game.

So what can I do?

The best way that I have found to get feedback is to make a feedback form available to players shortly after the session that asks them to rate various facets of the game and also asks specific questions, this not only makes it easier on the players but also ensures that you get the sort of feedback that will be useful to you as a GM.

You can find an example of the feedback sheet that I use for my Jadepunk game by clicking on the link below:

Click here for Jadepunk Player Feedback Form

feedback-t2

Discussing Fronts with James Chambers

In this video I discuss Fronts (an excellent tool for GM organisation and plot planning pioneered in the Powered by the Apocalypse series of game with James Chambers.