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.

 

Out with the old and in with the new…

…logo that is.

Don’t panic, Red Dice Diaries will still be bringing you your daily doses of Tabletop RPG goodness, with the new website and new stuff I have coming up for the channel in 2015/16 I wanted to symbollise that we’re moving forward and evolving; I’m pretty much in love with the theme that i’ve used for the website and the more muted colour tones on that so i’ve spent a few hours this morning re-working the various logos and art pages on our connected social media streams.

Hopefully you’ll like the new logos (although they may get tweaked a little bit from time to time) and art and you’ll be with us as Red Dice Diaries moves into the future.

Happy gaming 🙂

NEW LOGO

 

1000 subscribers on Youtube

I’m pleased to announce that my Red Dice Diaries Youtube Channel has now reached 1000 subscribers (it actually reached it last night, as of time of writing i’m slightly over); I do intend to record a proper thank you video incorporating some suggestions from members of the RPG Brigade (previously the Youtube RPG Brigade, the community that first encouraged me to create a channel), highlighting some of my favourite moments from RDD, talking about what I think i’ve learnt creating the channel and giving you a glimpse of what exciting stuff we have forthcoming for the channel (the expansion of this website being one of them).

Until i’ve got time to sit down and record the video I just wanted to put this post here to thank everyone who encouraged me to setup the channel, people i’ve gamed with online and everyone who has been supportive or offered constructive criticism as we’ve gone along (special props to Tim Harper who gave me some great advise about content when starting out and, along with several others, provided a great deal of encouragement and support) – I hope you’ve enjoyed the Red Dice Diaries ride so far, the future is looking bright with more to come in 2015/16.

Happy gaming to you all – wherever you are in the world 🙂

Could the EoE dice be used in Fate?

DiceFanAs a massive fate-head one of the signs that I love a new system is if I immediately think ‘how could I convert it or some of the mechanics to run in Fate?’

So I played Edge of Empire for the first time earlier today (you can see the video of the hangout here), great game hosted by Runeslinger and I really enjoyed it; the game uses dice with special symbols on them to build up a narrative around a dice roll rather than a simple success/failure dichotomy. I love this as an idea and think it could be adapted to be used with Fate.

This is by no means a tested system, just a few ideas I’m jotting down whilst they’re in my head, I might revisit it later when I have more time to playtest.

Okay so you’ll need some knowledge of the EoE dice mechanic to understand this but here goes…

Dice: Instead of rolling 4DF you choose a number of green ability dice equal to your skill/approach; for each stunt you have that is applicable to the situation you upgrade one of your dice pool to a yellow proficiency dice.

You then add a number of purple difficulty dice equal to the difficulty of the task (as per the EoE book) if unopposed, or equal to the opponents skill/approach if they are directly opposing you.

For each stunt the opposing NPC (if applicable) has that applies to the situation one of the purple dice is upgraded to a red challenge dice.

If you have an aspect that is applicable you can spend a Fate Point to add a blue boost dice to your roll, these are also added for other beneficial conditions; for every negative condition or aspect/fate point combo the GM uses you add a black setback dice.

You then roll the dice pool and determine results as per the EoE rulebook; I haven’t considered what the various extra symbols (triumph, despair) could be spent on yet.

Fate points: Characters get Fate points as normal, although if you wanted to represent an ebb-and-flow in the way destiny points work in EoE, you could combine the player Fate Points into a single pool; when they spend a FP from the pool it goes straight into the GMs fate point pool, and when the GM spends a FP the spent points go into the players pool.

Compels: These would work as per the Fate rulebooks, however you could also accept additional setback dice in your pool in return for fate points.

 

 

Beer & Pretzels 2015

Every year my FLGS Spirit Games hosts a gaming convention at the local town hall called Beer & Pretzels; I normally have a wander down each year and this year was no exception, after trundling down to the store to buy Age of Rebellion myself and Hannah (my lovely wife) headed back to the town hall and stopped in.

There is normally far more wargaming and boardgaming than RP that goes on at the convention, it’s good fun if you love those things, but as anyone who knows me will tell you, my wargaming years are far behind me and i’ve never really been one for boardgames; the idea of spending hours allocating resources and pushing playing pieces around a board may be some peoples idea of fun (and if you love that stuff, go for it, have fun) but to me it sounds like being trapped in some unfathomable level of hell (that’s right i’m looking at you Settlers of Catan). However today I was feeling decidely chipper with an excellent one-shot of Edge of Empire under my belt, a great number of energy drinks quaffed and the prospect of purchasing a copy of Age of Rebellion in the near future, so my wife persuaded me to give some boardgames a go.

I must say that in the few hours we spent there I actually had a great deal of time, perhaps my previous grumblings about board/card games (except Battlestar Galactica and Family Business, those games are ace) were unfounded, or rather only applied to a few games in particular.

librium 2First of all we played a game called Librium, it’s basically a cool variant on Jenga, where you put cards with slots into a centre card mounted on a magnet (normally stuck on a bottle top or from a pendulum, we bought a set that comes in a can serving as the base – well cool); we actually met the creator there and also spoke to him the previous year, very nice bloke and he gave me a complimentary clear plastic laser-cut keyring which is has now proudly taken it’s place on my big bunch of keys (love a freebie).

 

We then went on to play a game called Trax which is all about building the longest line of your colour out of tiles in an eight-by-eight grid, i’m sad to say that this game looked a lot more fun than it turned out to be; originally it looked like there was a limit on the types of patterns you had on your tiles but it turned out each one was double sided and had the same design. It was an interesting concept but not one I’ll be racing back to revisit.

Myself and Hannah then returned this game to the extensive lending library of games that is provided at Beer & Pretzels (a great feature of the convention that, whilst not possible at larger cons, does make B&P stand out) and pulled out a game called Forbidden Island.

Forbidden Island turned out to be an excellent co-op game where you race as a team (playing randomly dealt character each with a special ability) to collect four mysterious treasures and escape in a helicopter as the island sinks around you. This was a great fun game, simple to understand that we played a number of times, the first we escaped with a sizable time margin, the second we lost because in the first couple of turns Hannah’s character drowned as the part of the island she stood on sank and, if a character goes out of the game then it’s game over. Our friend Guy turned up just as we were about to pack the game away so we had another game, this time missing out by the narrowest of margins, the helipad sinking as we ran towards it; although we’d lost we reversed that turn and did things slightly differently (christening it a ‘directors cut alternate ending’) to see if we could’ve won. Turns out we could have, but I suppose that’s the benefit of hindsight.

Another cool thing was one of my friends from LARP, Andrea turning up and say hello so that was cool; unfortunately Hannah had work to do and I was itching to read some Starwars goodness so we heading home at about 5pm.

Overall a very enjoyable day and, if you’re ever in the Burton area of the UK around this time of year I highly recommend you give Beers & Pretzels a look.

 

But I don’t want to buy funky dice!

So what if you’re fired up for FFG Starwars fun (like I am after this mornings DiceFanone-shot) but you either don’t have the money to spend on special dice (or perhaps you just don’t want to pod it out)?

Well don’t worry there are a few ways you can enjoy the game without having to own the special dice.

  1. There are conversion charts for using normal dice in the corebooks, although I think this might be a bit of a pain in the backside to use in game and would slow things down a little.
  2. If you’re playing your game in a hangout you can find EoE Hangout tool here that will let you roll dice, track destiny points and will also calculate the results for you.
  3. If you’re running a face-to-face game and have a smart phone there are a number of EoE dice-rolling apps available here for Android and Iphones, also there is a windows phone EoE dice app available here.

So don’t worry if you can’t get hold of the physical dice, there are still options, if nothing else they give you a way to try before you buy.


 

Edit 16/05/15 17:21

It’s been pointed out to me by Christopher Ruthenbeck that you could actually just buy basic dice (or even blank dice) of the relevant shape/colour and then put stickers with the relevant symbols on them onto the dice as another solution, although you’d probably be better to seal them with clear nail varnish or something similiar.

My first session playing Edge of Empire

You might be wondering what i’m doing posting at such an early time in the morning (UK time)?

Well, I was lucky enough to playing in my first Edge of Empire game this morning, a one-shot kindly ran by Runeslinger (a member of the RPG Brigade), you can find a link to his youtube channel and blog here; the game was a one-shot and has been recorded on Runeslinger’s channel.

The game featured myself playing Jummuri a Twi’lek smuggler who was trying to find a way to free his tribe from the yoke of Hutt slavery and Shivox a gand seeking to make a name for himself (played by Jason of Mr Mephisto’s Geek Manifesto); this was my first game using the system, I own the corebook for EoE but hadn’t really tried it out yet but was looking forward to giving the game a try, in particular the narrative dice mechanic (dice with a variety of strange symbols) intrigued me.

To summarise the session, we were on Viv station in the Korla Sector, a place known for it’s criminal enterprises but that faced the encroaching darkness of an Imperial presence including a large blockade capable Imperial vessel; a Bothan contact of ours named Rek was supposed to have arranged repairs to our vessel, but they hadn’t been carried out. Eventually we located Rek and it was revealed that he was on the run after falsely being accused of killing the hencman of Hutt crimelord called Jabba; an out of control bounty hunter known for unauthodox disintegrations was on Rek’s tail so he offered to trade ships with us (switching our small Firespray for his customised YT-1200) if we’d provide a distaction whilst he escaped.

We agreed and ended up fleeing the station ahead of bounty hunters tracking Rek (believing him still onboard), at one point even having to make a scary ride into the icy ring of one of the systems planets to shake off someone magnetised to the hull of our new ship and trying to burn their way through. We got barely escaped the icy asteroid belt with our necks, although we did manage to lose our unwanted passenger, only to be confronted by the Imperial blockage ship as the session drew to a cliff-hanging close.

So how did I find the game?

Well without beating around the bush I absolutely loved it, Jason was a pleasure to game with, a great deal of banter developing between his serious and social inept Gand and my smooth talking but ultimately insecure Twi’Lek, Runeslinger had a very engaging style of gamesmastering and was quite willing to take into account suggestions from the players (always a good sign in my book); this lead to a very enjoyable gaming experience that was well worth getting up early and consuming a large quantity of energy drinks for.

The system itself seemed fairly easy to understand (although I think there are some areas where Runeslinger did a lot of the heavy lifting mechanics-wise) and I felt that by the end of the session I was really starting to understand how they worked.

The process was made a great deal easier by the fillable EoE character sheet that I downloaded (you can find it here) and the rules reference sheet (available here) that I got off the internet and had open whilst the game was running.

But what about the funky dice mechanic?

Edge of Empire (and the other FFG starwars games) use special dice with various symbols on them:

DiceFanI’m not going to go into exhaustive detail about what these dice and all the symbols mean (if you want more of an idea then the reference sheet should help, as well as the books of course) but basically you create a pool of dice, some positive and other negatives, you then roll them and the symbols determine not only whether you succeed or fail but also whether any complication, bonus effects or such-like occur.

I have to admit to being a little skeptical about this at first, any mention of buying special dice tends to make me a little uneasy, however this feeling was eased slightly by my discovery of the Edge of Empire dice app for Google Hangouts; however in game I found that, even by the end of this one-shot, the use of the dice was becoming fairly intuitive and after a few early checks of my reference sheet I was starting to remember the names of the different dice and being able to read the rolls very quickly. The mechanic seemed to add an extra dramatic/narrative element to the game, every time you made a roll it wasn’t just either (A) you’ve succeeded or (B) you’ve failed but it gave the GM guidelines as to how to add extra touches of narration and entertainment into the scenes.

Overall I am very impressed with EoE based on this first play and am going to be playing in a bi-weekly campaign soon which i’m looking forward to; it’s definitely becoming a strong contender for a future campaign (although not for a while since I’ve got a lot of Jadepunk to run first).

What can I say? Daring flights from bounty hunters and whizzing through asteroid fields at death-defying speeds, what better way is there to spend a Saturday morning?

World of Darkness with a touch of Fate

A slightly rambling discussion about streamlining the World of Darkness and incorporating elements of Fate:

https://youtu.be/JNV2atBKICM

Welcome to the Red Dice Diaries

Welcome to the revised Red Dice Diaries website, I love roleplaying games and the shared creative stories that we can tell with these game. I’ve always seen RPGs as a collaboration between different people and, since I started my first roleplay blog back in February 2013 (and began putting out roleplaying videos on my Red Dice Diaries Youtube Channel shortly after), i’ve wanted to put my own ideas out there for other peopl to look at, consider, shake up and generally tut about; what I got was far more than I expected, i’ve had the priviliege of talking to and gaming with some excellent people thanks to the miracle of modern technology.

They’ve been exposed to my ideas and in return i’ve read great material from numerous different authors (even starting to have some of my own material published) and have been able to consider ideas from people with different backgrounds, worldviews and lifestyles – all of this has helped me become a better roleplayer and I hope that other people have gained from it as well. But there has to be a way of doing more and expanding more (despite the grisly spectre of ‘limited free time’ who menaces us all as real-life takes a more pivotal role); in that spirit I’m planning to bring all of my Youtube, Blog, Podcast and other RPG material together using this one website to make it a one stop shop for all your tabletop roleplaying game needs.

Eventually the reddicediaries.com domain that I own will point to this website (rather than the older site); however at the minute it’s in the process of transferring but I couldn’t resist tinkering around with this new site whilst that was going on.

This website was built using WordPress on the webhost Tsohost; i’m currently hoping to create more audio/podcast material and have signed up for a Libsyn account to do this.

Many thanks also go to Liz Mackie for her invaluable technical advice whilst I was considering re-creating the Red Dice Diaries website.

Skyless City – Session 12 – Blood on the Sand

Session 12 of our #Jadepunk campaign; Ba Tu has fallen but in destroying him has the governor tipped his hand?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EVtnSkOm7nw