Category Archives: Uncategorized

Feedback – an apology

My apologies if you’ve tried to send feedback via the contact us section of the blog, there seems to have been some problem that has prevented me from receiving notifications where this part of WordPress is concerned. I think that I’ve now got the problem worked out and have responded to the messages that I could salvage.

Again my apologies.

Abridged Videos?

Unfortunately, during the last session of our Rose of Westhaven campaign a windows update related hitch meant that–whilst the players could hear me during the session–none of my audio actually made it onto the live-stream, obviously this is a bit of a problem for a game where an RPG where the GM does the scene-setting, describes NPCs and such-like. It’s not realistic for me to re-record all of my audio for the session, but it occurred to me that I could probably put together an abridged version of the session and record audio for that, clipping in some of the players dialogue.

That got me thinking, how many people actually watch/like actual plays in the first place?

Do you like and watch actual-plays?
I like them but don\'t have time to watch them.
4 Vote
I like them and watch them.
4 Vote
No I don\'t like them or watch them.
2 Vote

I appreciate the difficulties people have with actual-plays, personally I enjoy watching them (always good to see how other people game and pick up some ideas) but it’s rare I get to sit down and just watch a Youtube video for three or four hours.

The following is the abridged video that I put together for our Rose of Westhaven game:

This took me most of an evening to snip and edit the player dialogue in with the newly recorded audio (although I can think of a few ways to cut down that time if I make another such video). I was thinking that it might be worth switching to such videos instead of the full actual-plays if they make the game more accessible to people, what do you think?

Would you prefer to watch an abridged video of sessions?
Yes
5 Vote
No
3 Vote

Alas for the Awful Sea: Session Notes

On Saturday 13th January I ran a one-shot of Alas for the Awful Sea, a Powered by the Apocalypse game from Storybrewers Roleplaying. The game focuses on the strife and struggle for survival in 19th century coastal towns. If you’re interested in watching the actual-play video you can find it here:

One of the things that makes this game great for one-shots in my opinion is the guidance that the book provides for getting your game up and running, there are also some cool reference sheets and templates that you can fill in to plan out currents (bundles of plot that interact with each other) and any towns or villages.

Towns and villages are a central focus of the game and–in a manner similar to Dungeon World’s Steadings–the game provides a design sheet that encourages you to think about the industrygeography and size of the settlement. For our game I created a raggedy, old postal fishing village known as Newport, it’s main industry was fishing and it was a small settlement with less than 500 people in it.

The sheet also has space for three distinct groups operating in the settlement, since I wanted to go for a tradition vs. innovation theme in the game, I went for an old-moneyed family, the traditional local fishermen of the village and a group of smugglers whose enterprise is threatened by the new innovations in the area.

There is also a sheets for designing currents, the games way of grouping plot together, effectively you create a conflict (the book provides several examples) and then detail a number of NPCs who motivations either directly support or oppose one side or another of the conflict. The GM is encouraged to create currents that link to each other but not to plot out everything 100%, simply setting up the motivations, dropping the players into the middle of it and then seeing how things play out.

For our game I created two conflicts, one involving the conflict between innovation (in the form of a new mechanised fishing vessel created by the old-moneyed Waincroft family) and the villagers of Newport who cleave to their traditional ways of life. The Waincroft family is represented by two NPCs:

  • Hercules Waincroft: Patriarch of the family, an ex-Captain in the British Army whose family became rich from war-profiteering but who now seeks to give back to society with the invention of a new mechanised fishing vessel, designed by his son.
  • Bobby Hess:  Foreman working for Mr Waincroft, has far less lofty goals and isn’t afraid of applying brute force to ensure his master’s will is carried out and his position maintained.

The villagers are represented principally by:

  • Matilda Harris: A young woman from Newport, in order to give her a personal reason to oppose the new vessel I decided that she believed her husband had been killed by the vessel.
  • Ben Harris: The brother of Matilda’s husband, a more moderate voice amongst the villagers who is looking to find a non-violent way out of the conflict.

Because I’ve not run this game before and wasn’t sure how long it would take to work through the main plot I decided to create a secondary plot-line that could be brought in if necessary or ignored if not, I went for a Romeo & Juliet style secondary plot where the young son of Hercules Waincroft had fallen in love/was having an affair with Emma Harris the daughter of Matilda, an affair disapproved of by Verna Waincroft (Hercule’s elder sister) and aided by Father Francis Richmond (a kindly local priest). Although this plot-line was referenced in the session, it didn’t really need to take centre stage since the players got so involved in the main plot, it was good to have it stashed in the background though, if necessary, it would not have been difficult to bring it out.

There is also a sheet where you can jot down details of important locations for your session, I noted down four of them (one of which didn’t really get used), but it’s always handy to have things available to reference easily while GM-ing a session.

Alas for the Awful Sea–like many PBTA games–encourages the GM to create questions and not to answer them prior to running the session, but rather to leave them and actually play the game to find out the answers.

I just jotted down a few simple questions, most of which were answered during the course of the game. I find this a very useful method of getting myself into the right frame of mind for running a game, and it also helps keep things interesting for me as a GM. After all if I know everything that is going to happen in a game session then it’s a bit flat and not particularly interesting for me, that’s why I love it so much in games when players–and their characters–do things that confound and excite me.

The sheet also has some space for additional NPCs and for making Custom Moves, their are guidelines for this in the rule book but I didn’t really use Custom Moves in the one-shot.

During the game I made some simple notes on a few A5 sheets of notepaper just to keep track of what was going on, from the first two sheet you can see the notes I made whilst we were doing the character discussion and questions at the start of the sessions.

The third sheet of notepad was used for random notes that I made during the session as I created some NPCs on the fly (using a random name generator to help), just noting down some brief details helps me maintain a degree of consistency, even during a one-shot.

At one point I’d noted down in advance that I wanted the innkeeper to be called Maisie, but for some reason I spaced on the name when it came up and I said Bessie, no problems though, I just scrubbed out the original name and ran with Bessie for the rest of the session.

I had a great time running the game and will definitely look to do so again in  the future, the play-aids and reference sheets are extremely useful, as is the advice in the books. Our session ran with me only having read through the book a couple of times and noted down a few details in advance, a large part of this was thanks to the play-aids. I think ‘Alas for the Awful Sea’ is a great example of a PBTA game and really helps set the GM up for running a good session.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dresden Files Accelerated – The Motor City Files

I recently had the good fortune to be invited to play in a short mini-campaign of Dresden Files Accelerated ran by John Drury of Roll For Your Fate; in case you’re not aware, Dresden Files Accelerated Edition (referred to henceforth as DFAE in this article) is the second game in Jim Butchers Dresdenverse– you can find more info on that here–the first used an early iteration of the Fate Core system and was great fun but was a little clunky in places IMO. DFAE uses the streamlined Accelerated build of the system and has obviously benefited greatly from lessons learned since the original was released.

Continue reading Dresden Files Accelerated – The Motor City Files

3Brothers Campaign Intro Trailer

It may seem a little odd to do a teaser video for the campaign, after all we’re 3 sessions in to our 5E D&D Campaign with the fourth session taking place tomorrow, however I had some free time and wanted to make a short video hinting at some of the campaign worlds history, the battle to throw off the shacles of Gith oppression occurred 100 years before the start of our campaign.

The Obisidian Portal site for the campaign can be found here: https://threebrothersdd5ecampaign.obsidianportal.com/

Getting started for my D&D game – The Welsh Piper

As with many things in life (and as someone in my workplace has just remarked to me) when one door closes another often opens, and although the door has closed (well, shut a little bit) on Star Wars, at least for my regular Sunday group, although I’ll still be running one-shots and trilogies in a galaxy far, far away under the auspices of the Tides of Change roleplaying community for as long as people want to keep playing them, we’ve decided to try something different, a D&D 5E campaign. Continue reading Getting started for my D&D game – The Welsh Piper

Complete Graveyard Shift

Just ran a very enjoyable session of Edge of the Empire for a group of great players (most of whom I’ve not had the pleasure of gaming with before), the session was titled ‘Graveyard Shift’ and focussed on a group of smugglers who had been hired to take some colonists on a pilgrimage to the Alderaanian system. I’ll be putting up a post shortly discussing how I thought the game went, but until then here is the complete list of videos connected with the game. Continue reading Complete Graveyard Shift

Idea for Star Wars planning

As is often the case with my campaigns I’ve found the notes for my Jadepunk game (and this post is mainly about Star Wars so stay with me here) getting more and more expansive, necessitating more time to update them and making them a little bit more unwieldy to use; as someone who has a fairly poor memory notes are pretty much a must have for me when it comes to running RP campaigns, in order to maintain any level of internal consistency. I’m always looking for new/more efficient ways to store my notes and have moved from hard-copies to storing them in a tiddlywiki to help with this.

Continue reading Idea for Star Wars planning