Podcast Episode 48 – Hannah talks about Star Trek & Behind the Walls

In this podcast episode my wife Hannah and I talk about my upcoming adventure Behind the Walls


Title Music

Shinigami by XTaKeRuX:
http://freemusicarchive.org/music/XTaKeRuX/Empty_Grave/Shinigami

Used under creative commons licence:
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Podcast Episode 36 – Combat in RPGs

In this episode, Johannes Paavola, Lloyd Gyan and myself talk about combat in RPGs, it’s role, the dynamics of combat and the dreaded topic of dice-fudging.

Music on Podcast Title

Shinigami by XTaKeRuX:
http://freemusicarchive.org/music/XTaKeRuX/Empty_Grave/Shinigami

Used under creative commons licence:
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

You can find the live & uncut version of this recording on Twitch:

Watch Podcast Live & Uncut from RedDiceDiaries on www.twitch.tv

Writer’s Block

Okay, so I’m sat at work at the moment on my dinner break, still suffering from lack of sleep/sleep apnea (hospital appointment soon) and thinking about some particularly non-exciting work I have to do this afternoon, I’ve also got the first game for a 5E Ravenloft (not Curse of Strahd) game I’m running tomorrow and also my regular LOTFP game to run on Sunday. It’s at this point when the dreaded writer’s block strikes.

I’ve already sent out some basic campaign details for the Kingdom of Angels Ravenloft campaign and I have a fair idea of what my PCs are going to do in our Westhaven LOTFP campaign:

  • Kingdom of Angels: Groups of people who have somehow failed their deity find themselves pulled into a dark realm ruled over by the religious tyrant known as the Pontifex.
  • Rose of Westhaven: The PCs are planning to explore the catacombs below the church in Porthcrawl, they also have been summoned to a meeting with the local Lord at the start of the session.

Writer’s block always annoys me, particularly at the moment when I’m reading more books (fiction and non-fiction), comics and watching more films than I do normally, if anything I should have a surfeit of ideas, unfortunately my sleep-deprived brain doesn’t work like that. So this is what I’m going to do in order to try and beat my writer’s block:

  • Jot down some random ideas that I find interesting.
  • Use these to create a very rough sessions plan.
  • Have a skim through some of my RP books that have a similar flavour to what I want.
  • Have a look at the Big List of RPG Plots.
  • Go through the player character sheets and background to see if there are any threads I can pull on there.
  • Have a scroll through Pinterest and look for some inspiring images.

I’ll let you know how I get on 🙂

In the meantime, post in the comments and let me know how you deal with writer’s block, or are you one of the lucky few who never suffers from it?

A few things I’ve learnt about LOTFP low-level dungeon crawling

As you may or may not be aware, I’m currently running a Lamentations of the Flame Princess campaign called Rose of Westhaven, the aim of the campaign was to get me some more experience at running OSR and also to do a game where old-school dungeon-crawling was a big part of it. Currently we’ve had a few sessions to establish a bit about the world background (you can find out more here in the player handout if you’re interested) and a couple of sessions ago the discovery of a corrupted and partially ruined Elven Temple lead to the characters encountering their first larger dungeon.

I’ve had great fun running the game, my players seem to be enjoying it and I’ve already learnt the following about low-level dungeon-crawling in LOTFP:

  • Low-level characters are extremely fragile, if even a basic human antagonist gets a lucky hit in during combat then someone is going down.
  • Healing is extremely hard to come by necessitating a lot of resting.
  • The importance of the Cleric cannot be overstated, that single cure light wounds spell can allow the party to continue for far longer than they otherwise might.
  • Having a 10′ pole to check for traps, along with lanterns and ample supplies of oil is an absolute necessity.
  • As a GM tracking how many turns the characters lanterns are going to be burning for (and knocking a turn off about every minute when they’re not in combat rounds) is actually perversely enjoyable.
  • Having people track rations and stuff like is far more important in a dungeon environment where the players can’t just pop into town and re-supply.

More one-shots for 2018

I generally don’t go in for New Year’s resolutions very much, in my opinion most of them get broken shortly afterwards so I’ve never really seen the point in enshrining them as a resolution, if you’re going to do something then just do it. That said there are a few things–gaming wise–that I would like to do in 2018:

  • Continue my Westhaven LOTFP campaign: all being well we’ll be doing session 6 of this campaign this weekend, the game has been going well and there’s only been a single PC fatality so far. I’ve recently transferred some of the campaign data onto this site and am very much enjoying my first taste of OSR GM-ing, I’m hoping to keep the campaign going for some time.
  • Start up two Ravenloft 5E campaigns: I’ve been enjoying playing 5E recently as part of the Role with Advantage Facebook community, and it’s inspired me to have a go at running a campaign. I decided to go for a Ravenloft-style campaign, because who doesn’t like gothic horror? Just to put the idea of the game out there and try to generate a bit more interest I “advertised” it on my normal Facebook page as well as my Red Dice Diaries page and in various RP communities that I frequent online, the response was great with more people than I can cram into a single group expressing interest. To accommodate the interested parties I’ve split them into two groups and plan to have two separate groups of adventurers knocking around my version of Ravenloft, each game is only going to run once a month so I’m hoping this should be manageable.
  • Continue playing 5E with RWA: Speaking of Role with Advantage, I’m having great fun playing in some excellent games ran by André Martinez and hope these continue well into the New Year.
  • Run more one-shots in 2018: I’ve always found running low(er) prep one-shots and pick-up games to be enjoying and challenging in equal measures (many of the one-shots I’ve run can be found here on my YouTube channel) but found herding players and the other various bits of admin a real chore that could suck away enthusiasm faster than Dracula sucks down the red stuff. To try and make things a bit easier on myself in 2018 I’ve made a Facebook group featuring people who have played in my games in the recent past and who I have found to be reliable, my hope is that by advertising my games in this group first I’m more likely to get players; of course if that fails to secure enough players then I’ll advertise the remaining places in the usual communities online.
  • Release Storm & Sail: The pirate-fantasy campaign for Fate written by myself and Lloyd Gyan is pretty much ready to go, all the writing is done we’re just waiting for a final few pieces of artwork, after that it’s a few last minute layout tweaks and I should be able to release the PDF onto Drivethru RPG.
  • Release more Fate Thins: I really enjoyed writing and releasing my Fate mini-campaign books as PWYW PDFs on Drivethru, I’m hoping to release some more in 2018.
  • Expand my RPG writing: I’ve been playing several different games over the last year and going into 2018, I’m considering expanding my RPG writing beyond the Fate system, although I think to do so it’d have to be a system that I was really familiar with.

So those are my current roleplaying plans for 2018, let me know what your are in the comments 🙂

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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