Reflections on the UK Games Expo

It’s been a few weeks since I was at the UK Games Expo, a yearly gaming convention that takes over the Birmingham Hilton hotel and a signficant amount of the Birmingham NEC, I’ve been a few times and always look forward to seeing a lot of the UK people I game with online “in the flesh,” this was my first year actually GM-ing at the convention though.

I was asked by Lloyd Gyan–Modiphious game advocate, RP Hipster and general great guy–who I game with a fair amount, to help him and a few others run Games on Demand, essentially the idea being that people who haven’t prebooked into a game in advance can rock up, buy a quick ticket for a game from the desk and then stroll down the room where we are and jump into a game. This is a great idea because the pre-booked games sell out pretty fast, perhaps you weren’t sure if you could make it, or perhaps you came for something else but are interested in this roleplaying thing that people have been banging on about, well if that’s the case you can still get in a game on demand. Continue reading

Engage Smug Mode

Or “why are so many people unwilling to play anything but D&D”?

 

I’ve just been reading a post on one of the online Facebook roleplaying groups that I’m a part of, where someone asked what seems like a fairly simple question: “What are the reasons that so many people are unwilling to play anything but D&D?”

Now, I’m not the worlds biggest fan of D&D–although I’ve played all but the earliest editions and have been looking with interest at some OSR stuff recently–but even as I was preparing a reply along the lines of “well there could be numerous reasons, visibility of the game line, it’s what their friends play, etc etc” a number of responses popped up that gave me serious pause for thought. I’m not saying that all of the responses were in this vein, but there were certainly a number of posts that suggested people who stuck with D&D were afraid to play other stuff, or were too self-conscious or were subterranean Morlocks crouching in basements fearing to step into the warming light of the cool new systems in town. Okay, I’m exaggerating on that last one, but you get the idea?

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What should you do when a session feels a bit flat?

We’ve all been in that position from time to time when you run a game session that you don’t feel is up to your best standards, this could be for any number of reasons, you might be tired or have other things going on that serve to distract you from running the game. Continue reading

My Prep Dilemna

As anyone who has gamed with me will tell you–when it comes to running RPGs–I like to do my prep, some people can pull off amazing sessions with little to no prep and that’s absolutely grand, more power to them, however, I’m not blessed with a particularly good memory so it buoys up my confidence to know that I have notes prepared concerning what has already occurred in a campaign and what might be about to occur. However, this has left me with something of a dilemna recently when it comes to the prep for my Heart of Darkness Star Wars campaign and my Dungeon World campaign; both campaigns are recorded on my Youtube channel meaning I’ve got the actual play videos that I can refer back to in order to update my notes.

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RP Rambles: What I love about roleplaying

Telling Stories

I’ve been giving a lot of thought recently to my future and what I would like to be doing with my life, and however I look at it I keep returning to the idea of writing–and in particular storytelling–as something that I find both very gratifying and extremely important to me. Storytelling is one of the main reasons that I got into RP-ing and, no matter how my GM-ing abilities and gaming experience may have changed it’s that central desire to tell a story with other people that keeps bringing me back to the game time-after-time. Continue reading

Final Xsplit Layout for Storm and Sail Game

As you may know I’m preparing to run a pirate-style fantasy game using a version of the Fate rules that I have compiled, taking inspiration from several different sources. I’ve also been experimenting with the free version of Xsplit in an attempt to make the game more visual for those watching it and as a helpful aid to my players, I’m pretty happy with the layout I’ve now got and have uploaded a small video test of it (you can see this by clicking on the video link below).

Features I intend to use via Xsplit for this game:

  • Changeable backdrop images.
  • Gold coins as fate tokens that can be moved.
  • Screen capture of the players with their fate points below them and their characters name and aspects above them.
  • Overlay-able map of the New World.
  • I also have a second screen set up that can function as a whiteboard.

Starting the session already injured

We’ve got the next exciting instalment of Thashif’s Dresden Files game coming up this evening, I haven’t got around to doing a session write-up yet but basically we had to clear a nest of ghouls out of a warehouse as a favour we owed to someone, now my character Murdoch wields the powers of hellfire thanks to having a demon inhabiting his body and this power is great for licking out the damage, however it also puts a terrible mental strain on the character meaning that I can only use the power for so long before I’m pretty much useless. During the last session I used the power about as much as I could to take down these ghouls and promptly passed out at the end, not realising one of them was still going, the ghoul then through itself on me and did some serious injuries and well as pulling one of my characters eyes out.

My character has some increased healing abilities, but I’ll be starting this session still on some pretty heavy damage, this got me thinking about the way lasting damage is handled in Fate and some other games. I really love the way Fate handles healing, essentially you are at a disadvantage during the game until you reach your next milestone at which point (assuming you have IC justification) the wound (or consequence as it is called in Fate) is healed. That milestone might come at the end of your next session or even in a few sessions time depending on how the plot of your game develops.

This is a great way of doing it IMO and helps get rid of one of something I’ve often seen in other games, players rushing their characters in recklessly heedless of the vast amounts of damage they’re taking because they know that they can rest up for a day or two, heal up and then get back to doing what they are doing best. I’ve always thought that if you take damage it should have some actual lasting effect during the sessions, when it does people in my experience tend to be less willing to fling themselves heedlessly into danger or, if they do, they are at least aware of the potential cost.

So in tonights session I’ll be starting off pretty beaten up, but that’s fine, it’s the price I pay for taking down the ghouls last session, it gives the characters who are healthy more time to be in the spotlight, adds some interesting complications for the session and also, above all else, gives me something a bit different and interesting to roleplay. How does my character react to being injured? How is his mood affected? Does he still behave in the same way? Will this have affected how he views situations in the future?

All these questions and more both help you to play the character during the session whilst injured and even considering them means that you’re adding extra depth and richness to your character portrayal.

Whatever happened to the Fate guy?

Chatting with Rob Davis last night, helping him sort out a character for a forth-coming Star Wars one-shot that I’m running and generally shooting about roleplaying games, past campaigns and the normal sort of stuff that RP enthusiasts tend to do when they get together (or chat via the medium of the internet as we were doing), Rob bought up a very interesting point.  Continue reading

What is Adventures on the Outer Rim?

Adventures on the Outer Rim is the umbrella term that I’m using to refer to the loosely linked series of trilogies and one-shots for the FFG Star Wars RPGs that I’m going to be running over the next year and possibly beyond. When I first signed on with the Tides of Change FB group, a community dedicated to running Star Wars games Continue reading

Why I love droids in FFGs Star Wars games

When you make a character in one of the FFG Star Wars games (Edge of the Empire, Age of Rebellion or Force and Destiny) you receive a baseline of characteristics determined by your race and than an amount of experience points to spend on improving characteristics, buying specialisations and other such things. Droids start off with all of their characteristics at one and you have to spend to buy them up whereas other races generally have some slightly higher scores in that species area of expertise. I’ve seen a few forum posts decrying the droid build saying that you can only be as good as a non-droid character in a relatively narrow area of expertise, TBH I have no idea if this is true or not since my own choice of droids as a species has nothing whatsoever to do with the characteristics that you get. Continue reading