God Machine Chronicle – The world according to Maggy Pike

IC blog of first God Machine Chronicle Session
Written by Kelly Grimshaw
Reproduced with permission from the author.
Ok so my life didn’t work out the way my parents planned it. By now I should be on my way to professorship of something or other rather than a uni drop-out living in a run down tennament block.

I don’t usually write down stuff diary style its not my thing and to be honest how repetitive is got woken up at stupid past arse end of midnight because someone has run out of weed? 
Well either I am going to have to tone down the strength of my latest batch-not hard being a failed chemist/botanist or I have to face the fact that reality is a lot more f**ked up than being high as a Hindu cow. And I suppose that writing it down may make more sense so here goes…
It all started off normal enough. Kathy had come round for her usual and some of the medical strength for her MS suffers, we were enjoying a quiet smoke when Brian almost knocks the door off its hinges. Luna, a blue Staffy with grey eyes goes bat shit crazy as she is a dog that likes her peace and here stomps bulldog all over that. While I’m calming the mutt down he tells Kathy that Mr Lung- the owner of the local Chinese has had the shit well and truly knocked out of him and Smoky Joe had found him behind the bins- what Joe was doing there is a question that I don’t really want answering to be honest.
I tell her to go while I finish bagging up and I’ll meet her down there.
While I’m blissfully unaware of what’s going on it all cracks off.
I drop Kathy her birthday bag and as I leave a gang of lads are trying to make their way through a locked door. According to one of the lads who visits now and again Mr Lung has been nicking the local feline population and turning it into that nights chef’s special. I tell him how stupid it sounds but high on hormones they still try to get into the take-out. 
I nip round the back and tell Kathy its all clear and we and the lung family wander off back up to hers.
Nothing out of the ordinary for a snow day in the block? Wait it gets better…
When the lads come back followed by a scary looking old man by the name of Jakub it turns out that there was moggy in the freezer. No I don’t mean dressed and ready to cook I mean a cat in a sack in the freezer, fur, teeth, claws the job lot.
While I’m making a brew for everyone the cat defrosts and is apparently live, kicking and ready to disembowel someone for the pleasure.
After the shock wears off I give it a bowl of milk and then open the door- more for our safety than puss’s. I have no idea why but i have the inclination to stroke it as it wanders off- I’m a soft bugger like that and when no one is looking I have been feeding the ones that look a bit worse for wear. THE THING WAS STILL FROZEN! when I pulled my hand away frost was melting with the heat of my skin!
Well I tried to tell them but they took no notice of the stoner until I poked my head out of the door to see if it had dropped dead to find 3 sets of shining eyes staring at me, that is apart from when a man looking like an extra from a western comes stalking up the corridor. They vanish- I don’t mean scatter as cats do when something bigger than them turns up, I mean one blink they were there and the next it was empty space.
The more abled lads go after him- I really am not sure why, if a cowboy with a burlap sack wishes to haunt the corridors then that’s his business.
So I keep Kathy and Jakob company as Mr Hat seems to have spooked her more than she is letting on-oh got to remember to lend Luna to her for a day, sometimes the sound of a dog can scare away unwanted attention.
When they come back they tell me that Miles (Mr hat) is under the impression that the cats of this block DONT DIE!-yep Mr tinfoil believes these cats are Immortal. Not only that but if we go back and see him tonight then he will have proof. I am a vegan and if this includes ritual sacrifice to the great Isis then we are going to have an argument, tin foil protected or not. 
Makes more sense? 
Nope none at all

God Machine Chronicle – Brians Log: Stardate something or other

IC blog of first God Machine Chronicle Session
Written by Simon Webber
Reproduced with permission from the author.
I can honestly say the last few hours have been the most spectacularly crazy-assed hours I’ve had since that stag do in Prague. I’ve only been back in the country for 48 hours, stocked up me home and thanks to this snow, and I mean snow in a biblical context, I couldn’t get my rig back to the yard. So I figured it would be best to empty it of all my kit which I did and I was heading back to the the tower when I saw Joe. He was carrying a chinese.
Now Joe’s a nice kinda of guy, but his idea of a chinese takeaway was not mine. He was literally carrying the man over his shoulder. Beaten he was, proper beaten, within a inch of his life, so he was. Well. I had to share with Joe that the man was in no fit state. Joes a nice lad, but he’s none too bright when it comes to TLC. 
So we like , take this Mr Lueng back to his takeaway after I use my keen skills to determine that he was indeed beaten badly , by metal poles and the like. We took him back home, to his mother in law, and his daughters. Well, We’d hardly been there five minutes and no sign of a black bean chicken, when 6 hoodie youths turned up intent on giving all and sundry of a chinese persuasion a good kicking for nicking all the cats in the area.
Well, I wasn’t having any of that. You see I’d run up to that pretty Kathy’s place, the nurse, and had brought her down to look see at Mr L. Well, I felt kinda responsible that she was there. So I told the little wankers to f**k off off in no uncertain terms, backed up as I was, with a solid representation of future consequences as provided by Smokey joe. In this case, a broken jaw.
Well, that was another mess to clear up, poor Rob, but if you will cheek your Elders, they are going roll up their sleeves and dispense a can of kick ass all over your face. 
You see for some reason or other, this wayward lads thought that Mr L was stealing all the cats and making dishes out of them.We told them there kids that this wasn’t the kind of pussy lads their age should be getting all worked up about. They agreed and ran off. We saw them off and I went back to check the freezer while Joe talked to some old Pole. Mr Yak something or other, I’m bloody terrible with names with few vowels. God I miss Carol Vorderman.
Anyway’s I only opened the bloody freezer to find a satchel with a blooming frozen cat in.
Well. needless to say my first reaction was I won’t be rushing back to buy a chicken and black bean in a hurry, i don’t care if it comes with free crackers.
But even after this reaction I couldn’t help but feel something wasn’t right about this. It kinda reminded me of that episode of Next Gen, when Picard and the crew are duped into working against a governments enemies only to learn the whole thing was as stitch up and the Crew make right on from what they did wrong.
Anyhow, that said. we took that Rob home, little scamp, and settled him down with some of that there weed. Sorted him a pot noodle and we buggered off back to Kathy’s.
So I showed them all this frozen cat in a bag, which didn’t so much as agree with kathy, bless her. She did her rendition of the Exorcist and damn near could have ruined me boots. I was sorry like, as I didn’t think she’d react like that. But anyways, things went even crazier from there, and not in a nice Dr Seuss kinda way.
That there Cat came back to life and scampered off, and there was some fashion challenged mental case who spooked Kathy. I spotted him in the corridor with a bag dead similar to the one we found in the freezer and he matched the description Mr L gave when we asked him about the bag in the same bloody freezer.
So I ask the guy what his bloody game is and he girly slaps me and runs off.
Well you don’t get away with that sort of unsociable behaviour with Brian Best. They don’t call me the bulldog for nothing, you know.
As it happens I hunted him down like Boba Fett horny for a bounty. Joe caught up with me at the mans flat see. Joe knows I am a man of action and we have this mutual respect thing going on. I don’t mind him watching me back, He’s a dependable sort of fellow if a bit blunt, but I keep him out of trouble.
So we barge are way into this Mr Creepy Mc Fatf**ks flat, and by god it looked like the set of Buffalo f**king Bills..
So then there was this keen interrogation, I plied him with some reverse Klingon techniques and he spilled his story like a toddler without a lid on his juice cup.
Fucked up doesn’t even cut it. Undying cats. It’s the honest to goodness story. No doubt there’ll be some ancient Egyptian relic in the basement too, or a stephen king burial ground underneath the flats. I going back to see what proof this lanky puff has and Joe, well, he knows I’m a man of action and he’s coming for the ride too. I like Joe, I look after him.
Anyway, best keep my strength up and get an ice pack for my face. I can’t decide between the culinary delight of a Findus Crispy pancake or that Iceland beef and peppercorn sauce. Either way, I’m chilling out with me strongbow and revisiting me Original Series. Beam me up Mr Scott, it’s all goin Cat shit crazy down here…

God Machine Chronicle – The Secret of Specto Vale – Session 1 Writeup

A huge snowstorm is howling outside the crumbling tower block of Specto Vale in the East Midlands, early 2013 has seen terrible winter weather hit a country ill-prepared to deal with such conditions; the result has been people confined to their homes and roads packed with snow and ice, becoming impassable to all but the sturdiest of vehicles. Several feet of snow have piled up around the base of Specto Vale, the ground floor holding a handful of shops, takeaways and a single public house the Red Lion, after a few weeks all contact with the outside world has been cut off by the constant flurry of white falling from the sky, people have emptied the shops of what little food they still contained and most of the businesses have closed their doors. Up on the 13th floor an old polish gentleman Mr Jakub Bodak makes his way along the dimly lit corridor outside his flat, the mans walking stick tapping its way along the concrete, barely carpeted floor of the building; the floor is quieter than the others, something of a local mythology has built up about the strange folk who make their home on the unluckiest floor of the building, and that’s just the way that Bodak likes it, keeps people out of his businesses. Today however, he has some business of his own with Samuel Carson the manager and owner of Specto Vale who lives (if rumours are to be believed as the sole occupant) of the buildings top floor.

Reaching the limit of the elevator, Mr Bodak is forced to walk up a small flight of stairs from the fourteenth to the fifteenth floor, he is greeted by the overweight, blustered figure of Mr Carson who ushers his tenant into his warm office and offers him a cup of coffee from a bag of fine columbian beans sat on the side; it would appear as though the scarcity afflicting the lower floors has not yet reached the lofty heights of the fifteenth. Jakub expresses his concern that he has heard rumours that numerous people have been ejected from the building due to a slight falling around on their rent, in order that immigrant families can be crammed in to make the management more money; tactful as ever Jakub phrases his concern without mentioning the money aspect but pointing out that such ‘re-allocations’ may damage the sense of community in the building. Still blustering Mr Carson says that he will look into what Mr Bodak has said (although his tone suggests anything but) and dismisses the elder gentleman, saying that he is sure they both have work to do; dissatisfied Bodak returns to his flat.
Joe “Smokey” Thomson is stood out the back of the flats in a covered over delivery area, smoking a cigarette when he hears a strangled cough from behind one of the snow covered skips; investigating he finds the badly beaten body of Mr Lung, owner of the local Chinese Takeaway (one of the many businesses that contributes to Thomson’s monetary income), slumped by the side of the skip. Picking up the injured man Thomson began to head back towards the inside of the building, clods of white powdery snow falling from the injured shop owner.
Brian “Bulldog” Best had finished emptying the cab of his lorry, it had been sat unused in the delivery bay since he had returned from his last job; Brian had been carefully extracting his portable DVD player and a selection of Star Trek DVDs, planning to bed down until the storm had passed. As he turned round a figure carrying what appeared to a be a sack or a bundle of sticks loomed out of the white sleet flurry, slowly resolving itself into the shape of “Smokey” Thomson carrying the injured body of Mr Lung over his shoulder; after some initial confusion Brian helped Thomson carried the injured chinese man to the door of the closed takeaway. Banging on the door and shouting lead to Mr Lungs two teenage daughters and mother-in-law opening the door and helping them bundle the injured Mr Lung inside. Having worked several times as a hospital emergency driver, Brian recognised that Mr Lung appeared to have been beaten several with some sort of implement and that he needed some immediate medical help; remembered that a hospital worker lived on the fourth floor he went off in search of Cathy Williams.
As he passed by the door of Maggy Pike, local hippy and well know purveyor of herbal relief, a familiar smell drifted out from under the door and Brian could hear the voices of Maggy and Cathy talking inside; thinking it a stroke of luck he knocked on the door and was soon explaining the situation to both of the women. Accompanying him to the takeaway Cathy was able to use her emergency medical supplies to stabilise Mr Lung and make him as comfortable as possible, although the elderly gentleman drifted off into unconsciousness. After leaving the herbs that Cathy had purchased for one of her patients behind Maggy left and began making her way back home, she passed by half a dozen young men wearing an assortment of hoodies, one of them carrying a crimson spattered bike lock, luckily none of them paid too much heed to the young Ms Pike, one of them even stopping to ask her about buying a ten-bag. 
Upstairs on the thirteenth floor, Mr Bodak watched the unfolding events from his flat window; picking up his stick Bodak began making his way downstair, but his false leg and age slowed him down a lot.
The youths began to hammer on the door of the chinese takeaway, shouting for them to send out Mr Lung, they began to shout about Mr Lung being responsible for the local cats disappearing and that he was using them in his takeaways. Braced behind the door Cathy and Brian were holding their own when Thomson asked them to open the door; fronting up to the leader of the mob, Thomson warned him to leave and then, when he didn’t respond, smacked the youth in his jaw, the loud sound of a cracking jawbone echoed down the corridor, although Thomson took a crack on his arm as the youth wildly swung his bike lock. Seeing their leader go down so swiftly the other youths lost their courage and turned tail, Thomson carried the injured youth outside and dumped him face down in the snow.
By this time Bodak had made his way down the stairs, both being connected with the old-school criminal element, he and Thomson warily recognised each other and it was clear that Bodak both disapproved of the youths actions and approved of how it had been dealt with. Brian and Thomson picked up the youth with the broken jaw who, through painful clickings of bone, said that his name was Rob Smith and he really believed that the chinese were stealing the local cats; attempting to allay his fears the youth was taken to his flat (a dirty, messy affair), given some pain relief by Cathy and was then warned not to interfere again, Brian telling him that the youth had learnt a valuable lesson.
Returning to the takeaway Brian began to root through the chest freezer of the takeaway, finding it mostly empty aside from a few bags of frozen vegetables and a batter rucksack; with a sinking feeling Brian removed the rucksack and peered inside, a frozen feline with clouded green eyes stared back at him, unmoving from the bottom of the bag. Taking the bag into the main room Brian showed its contents to the others, which resulted in explosive vomiting from the squeamish Cathy, Brian was about to carry the bag away when he felt it twitch and, with a screech, the cat (now seemingly alive) leapt from the bag and quickly disappeared out of the door of the flat. Lung has regained consciousness and seemed entirely surprised when the cat was mentioned explaining, via his daughters interpreting, that the bad was not his, a man in a large duffel coat and a hat had paid him £50 to stash his bag in the freezer.
Following the cat outside Brian spotted a man with a thick coat and wide-brimmed leather hat, the man was carrying a burlap sack that he tried unconvincingly to tuck into his coat; Brian spoke to the man briefly, although when he mentioned cats a look of fear crossed the man’s face and he slugged Brian on the chin before taking off, dropping his sack in the progress. Brian, nursing his jaw, picked up the sack; although it was empty there were traces of what looked like animal fur clinging to the inside of the sack.
Later, whilst escorting Cathy back to her flat, Brian and Thomson spotted the strange animal-napper watching them from the top of the stairs, Brian gave chase and was in time to see the man dive into a flat on the 6th floor. Attempts to verbally convince the man to let him in didn’t succeed until Thomson arrived and made some (thinly) veiled threats, finally persuading the man to let them in. The man’s apartment appeared as though it was decked out for a survivalist apocalypse, tins of beans and dried food were stacked in orderly piles; a large blueprint of the flats covered one of the walls, it was studded with red pins and a long red line connected a flat on the 13th floor to the 15th floor diagram. Miles explained that he had been one of the pest control specialists who had recommended getting cats to control vermin problems in Specto Vale, since then he had fallen on hard times and had moved into the apartments  volunteering to keep an eye on the vermin problem as a favour to the management.
Miles outlined a fantastic tale that the cats in the block appeared to be behaving abnormally, they were watching people and congregating in certain areas; the most fantastic element of the tale was that apparently Miles had seen a number of cats be apparently killed and then emerge unharmed, he had stored one in the freezer of the chinese takeaway apparently planning to return and examine it later. Although initially believing the man to be crazy, Brian found himself thinking back to the supposedly frozen cat and how it had revived once the rucksack had been removed from the freezer; the two men left with Miles promising to show them proof if they returned tomorrow evening.

Space colonies

Settlements in Rogue Trader
Recently Conny Delshagen posted on the Google+ Traveller community about whether anyone had successfully used the World Tamer’s Handbook colonisation rules for Traveller: the New Era; although I don’t really play Traveller at the moment i’m always looking for science-fiction ideas that can be incorporated into my FATE-based WH40K Rogue Trader campaign ‘The House of Black’ which (as of the time of writing) is still running on a monthly basis. Reading the blurb associated with the World Tamer’s Handbook on RpgGeek.com it seemed to focus around star system generation and rules for colonisation; although i’m fairly happy with the Diaspora adapted rules for system generation that I have, setting up colonies and such like was not something that I had covered in much detail. I had previously looked briefly at the colony system presented in Fantasy Flight Games ‘Stars of Iniquity’ supplement but, whilst the system seemed very comprehesive, it was extremely detail orientated and (I believed) too complex to be a worthwhile addition to my RT game; I had switched to FATE to reduce the clunkiness of the rules, so adding in a massively detailed sub-system seemed counter productive.
It occurred to me that perhaps this would be a good place to use the Fate Fractal: for those not familiar with the Fate Fractal (or the Bronze Rule as it is also called in the FATE core rulebook) it states:
“In Fate, you can treat anything in the game world like it’s a character. Anything can have aspects, skills, stunts, stress tracks, and consequences if you need it to.”
I had already used the Fractal to a certain extent when defining my rules for space combat (see http://wh40krpg.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/testing-proposed-narrative-space-combat.html for my most recent post regarding narrative space combat) with the players ship treated as a character (having skills, aspects, stunts, stress tracks and consequences).
What sort of stats would a space colony have?
Taking a tip from my work on space ships I decided that colonies would have five Aspects in order to represent what the colony specialised in an potentially one or two Stunts, the colony would also receive 2 stress boxes and 3 consequences boxes (with the standard 2, 4 and 6 values) in the same way as a character (although additional Stunts could be taken to increase the number of stress boxes).
Some examples of Aspects might be:
  • Primitive
  • High-tech
  • Abundance of natural resources
  • Theocratic government
  • Wise sages

I envisioned that the High Concept Aspect would represent the dominant form of government on the colony and that the Trouble Aspect would represent some sort of challenge or impending danger the colony.
What benefits would players get from visiting a space colony?
In order to make it worthwhile instituting rules for space colonies (although these rules could also be used for space stations and other sorts of bases) it would be necessary to provide some story reason for the player characters to visit them; the most obvious reason for this is to purchase equipment or make repairs to ships/vehicles, etc.
Using the simple model above it would be simplicity itself to make the Aspects of the station affect what objects the PCs can get hold of, they would be able to invoke the colony’s Aspects as they would any other Aspect to improve Resources rolls along with any other actions as appropriate whilst on the space station; for example, if the players are getting a ship repaired at an orbital facility with the Aspect ‘Adeptus Mechanicus workshop’ then they could invoke this to get a +2 to the repair roll. However the reverse is also true that Aspects could be invoked against the players either by the GM or other players; for example if a character tries to get hold of a stub gun in a colony with the Aspect ‘Primitive’ then the GM could invoke this to apply a -2 penalty to their Resources roll.
Colony Maintenance
In any session where a particular colony is featured the GM should roll 4DF and note the resultant number (Aspects may be invoked on this roll as normal), if the result is a minus figure then the colony has suffered some sort of stress and the negative shift should be marked on the stress boxes/consequence tracker as usual (with any consequences reflecting the slow deterioration of the colony, for example: civil unrest).
If the result is a positive then the colony uses the positive shift to first recover from any stress or consequences it has sustained, if there is any positive shift left after this then add an additional stress box to the colony’s total to represent the colony growing.
Setting up a Colony
One of the great things about Rogue Trader is that the player characters are (unlike the majority of humans in the WH40K universe) powerful people with spaceships at their disposal and commanding vast resources; this means that feasibly the player characters may be instrumental in setting up new colonies and bases, any system that I was going to use would need to represent this possibility.
It is my current idea that, when initially set up a colony has only a single Aspect (which should reflect the colony’s initial challenges, no stunts, a single stress box and no consequences boxes); each session after a colony has set up until it has reached the standard beginning colony statistics it should make a maintenance roll (as detailed above), when the colony reaches a total of 2 stress boxes due to growth then it gains the consequence tracker and additional Aspects/Stunts as per a standard beginning colony.
These are just a few ideas at the moment and will no doubt see further development, however, i’d be interested in people’s thoughts/comments.

One-shot games vs Campaigns

A few months ago myself and some friends (some of whom don’t have the time to game as much as they used to anymore due to family and other real-life commitments) decided that we would run a series of one-shot games on a Wednesday evening every couple of weeks or so, so far we’ve had a Mongoose Judge Dredd game run by myself in which the players tried to track down perps smuggling narcotics from the wasted earth into Mega-City One, a Star Trek hombrew game run by my wife Hannah where the crew of a single federation ship attempted to stop the Dominion in an alternate trek-timeline and a game run by a friend where we played ourselves in a semi-apocalyptic future setting where an evil villain from a RP world had taken over the Earth and our only hope lay in creating characters that could battle him on his own footing. Recently we played a Hunter the Vigil game run by Barry (my description of the session can be found at http://wh40krpg.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/hunter-vigil-session-write-up-agent.html) that I very much enjoyed and am looking forward to the second concluding part, since exparently we spent so long chewing scenery and exploring our characters that we’d only actually reached the start of the main plot at the first session. The game started me thinking about the potential positive and negatives of running one-shot games over the more tradition (in my case anyway) campaign games.

Character Creation
During the course of a normal campaign game we generally try to avoid characters that are too stereotyped since we know that we’ll have plenty of game hours and sessions to further develop the character and explore him in greater detail, this is not the case in the one-shot where you want to get into playing the character as soon as possible, and you want other people to be able to react to him appropriately; in my experience this leads to creating character based more on easily recognisable archetypes. In a one-off session you want to be able to jump straight in, since you know that you don’t have the (often) more leisurely pace of the campaign game – i’ve found that either creating a history from well known tropes that the other players can immediately pick up on is one what of handling this; for example my character in Hunter, Agent Frank Dublowski, is a hard drinking ex-cop whose partner was killed/disappeared on an investigation that was then covered up by the Bureau – not a bad little background for a few minutes work but one that other characters can easily relate to.
Another method of easing this process is the use of games that already involve this process to some degree in the character generation, this was useful during the character generation for the Judge Dredd session, the MGP Judge Dredd rules use their version of the Traveller rules system, which involves making choices on a life-path system to define a character. Using such systems means that, by the time your character is generated, you already have several major points of their life defined, allowing you to crack straight on with the game.
Plotlines and GMing
Convoluted plotlines tend to be a bit of a no no for the one-shot game session, since time is at a bit of a premium (most of our games tending to run for either one or two 3-4 hour sessions) players will want to jump straight into the action and begin working through the plot; I have observed in our games that the one-shot game tends to lead players to have a more ‘solve the puzzle’ mentallity concerning the plot, it is something there to be solved and progressed with. I suspect that this occurs because the characters are less “unique” (although no less fun to play for this) and therefore there is not the extensive background and character details present to elaborate on, the element of personal development and discovery is lessened in pursuit of progressing with the game plot.
The same applies to NPCs and foes in the game, such people tend to be slightly exaggerated or more easily recognisable as one or the other in a one off game, because there is fairly little chance that the NPCs will crop up further down the line (beyond the one or two sessions of the game); when I have been GMing one-shot games I tend to divide NPCs into two camps, the disposable mook and the memorable NPC. Disposable mooks are just that, they are there to provide a brief speed bump to the players, a small combat or obstacle to overcome but they have fairly little character to them beyond their immediate role; one example of this would be a street gang of thugs that menaces the players but inevitably flees should the fight go against them. Memorable NPCs are everyone that the players talk to or that play a major part in the plot, I tend to create some quick stats for these NPCs (focussing on what role I expect the NPCs to play in the session) and give them one or two distinguishing characteristics or hooks that the players can immediately identify them by; these characteristics could be anything from a certain way of speaking, a physical characteristic or perhaps even a piece of equipment or a location associated with the character, as long as it causes the NPC to stick in the player’s minds and as long as it says or implies something about the NPC.
Conclusions
None of what I have written above should be taken to mean that I favour either one game style or the other, they both fill a valuable gaming niche; whilst a long running campaign can be very satisfying and rewarding if done well (and can go places that one-off games cannot), it is far more difficult as time goes on (and real-life commitments intrude more and more on precious gaming time) to muster the players and planning time necessary to do a campaign game justice. This is where the one-shot game comes in, they can be run in a handful of hours with easy to play characters and plotlines that, whilst perhaps not the most complex or convoluted, are good fun and fast-paced.
I would urge anyone who has not run a one-off game to give it a try and find out what a different experience it is.

Hunter the Vigil: Session write-up – Agent Frank Dublowski

Please note: This is a write-up from an IC perspective from my character in a game that I playing.

“Me and Brockhurst were just finishing up a case when the call came through from two other Agents (codename “Ironside” and “Courtney”); they’d tracked a criminal (some crazy woman who’d attached razorblades to her fingers and had cut up Courtney pretty good) to an old house in the Maine town of Rockwell. I’d vaguely read some of the material on the case, it had started with a spate of household pets going missing, then the body of a pet owner had been found bludgeoned to death, but there was no sign of the animal; a further two bodies had been discovered later with the same MO. Following the deaths the crime had been flagged as a ‘serial crime’ and had been bought to the attention of the VASCU serial crimes unit.

The woman’s name was Claire Rantham, a local eccentric, she had attacked agent Courtney when they had approached her and, with unexpected strength had tipped agent Ironside out of his wheelchair; when we arrived the damn place as surrounded by cats, hundreds of the bloody things. The other two agents were waiting in their van outside the old battered house, after a brief discussion me and Brockhurst agreed to take the back whilst Courtney took the front and Ironside managed communications from inside the van. Moving through the house in a systematic fashion we eventually made our way down to the cellar where we discovered a number of strange red plants that I couldn’t identify; with a sinking feeling I directed Brockhurst to slit open the strangely bulbous grow bags and, sure enough, the desiccated hand of a corpse toppled out.

A sudden noise from upstairs caused us to rush to a ladder leading up the attic; Brockhurst went up first, followed by Courtney while I covered them, we did not have to wait long as the crazed Ms Rantham launched herself at Brockhurst. Swinging himself round agent Brockhurst grappled the struggling woman and forced her to the ground where I tazered the bitch and, when she didn’t go down, applied the butt of a weapon to her chin and she finally lost consciousness so we could restrain her. Brockhurst searched the attic, discovering some red seeds that we took as evidence and Ironside began contacting the CDC as we took Ms Rantham back to VASCU headquarters for interrogation and questioning.

It was then that we were informed by our superiors that the military under project VALKYRIE would be taking over the case and that we would soon be re-assigned; this was bull and stank of a cover-up, just like what happened when my partner Jake had disappeared before I joined VASCU and I had been ordered to forget about it (like I ever would). None of us were happy about it and we resolved to find out as much as we could before our re-assignment, although our attempt to talk to Ms Rantham yielded nothing but the following cryptic words

“She’ll gather the family, those who weren’t loved will return to their mother, and if they come to hurt you, i’ll hurt them first.”

Brockhurst hit pay-dirt, one of his contacts on the forces clued him in on a murder with a very similar MO in the small town of Greenvale, we made the decision to travel their and takeover the investigation whilst Courtney dug up details on a Sheriff George Woodman, the territorial small town sheriff of Greenvale who apparently had suffered some sort of facial injury in an agricultural accident. On the way their Brockhurst talked a little about his father had been involved in some shady types and had disappeared one evening when he was young, apparently old Brock has blown his family fortune on trying to track down his father, instead finding only charlatans and fakes; it was clear that the attempted cover up was as offensive to him as it was to me, I told him about the operation that me and my partner Jake had been on for the Bureau when I had got knocked out and woke up to find my partner vanished and that it had been swept under the carpet, I had sworn not to rest till I found him and that i’d never let a case like that be taken away from me again.

We were driving through the thick forested hills of Maine, it reminded me of some of the strange forest flashes that I had glimpsed whilst handling the red leafed plants in the Rantham house, I was so lost in my reverie that I almost crashed when a person in a bright red jacket ran infront of my car, I was able to bring it safely to a stop and leapt out of the car, running after the person with Brockhurst sprinting after me, damn that boy can run. We eventually found our way to a transformer and some sort of maintenance hut, probably belonging to a local logging company according to Courtney’s research, and as we searched around it a ghastly face appeared at the window; smashing open the door and going in weapons drawn, we were surprised to find it empty but eventually had to return to the car.

A few miles down the road we pulled into the lakeside Grand Deer Hotel where we were met by the owner Polly Oxford who seemed surprised to receive so many visitors out of season; we booked some rooms and talked to Ms Oxford who prided herself on being something of a local expert, at our mention of plants she suggested we speak to a local tree surgeon called Forest Cason. Courtney did a bit more research online, discovering that all of the local land belongs to the Stuart Estate and that there was a local point of interest called the Muses gallery and then we all retired to our rooms.”

Psi-Punk review

Recently I saw a post on Google+ from Jacob Wood on the Pen & Paper Bloggers community asking whether anyone would be interested in reviewing a cyberpunk FUDGE RPG; I contacted Jacob and expressed interest and was , as a fan of dark/dystopian settings, soon eagerly flipping through a PDF copy of the Psi-Punk game.
Review

Front Cover and Blurb
Front Cover

The front cover is very visually striking and yet not over complicated, showing two people battling infront of a matrix-esque background of 1s and 0s whilst a blurred face overlooks the scene; on the back of the book is a fairly standard blurb that sums up very well what type of game Psi-Punk is, it reminded me of some of the similar material on the various editions of Shadowrun (hardly surprising since the two games both cover a similar mix of futuristic and more fantastic elements).
Layout
The PDF seemed a trifle slow to load new pages on the version I looked at, although whether this is due to the way that the PDF is put together or my slightly aging computer I can’t say, it didn’t greatly impact my enjoyment of the book though. Using a twin column scheme, the book has a nice, clear layout making it very easy on the eye without some of the odd/barely readable heading fonts that I have seen used in some other RP products recently.
Contents

Game Background
Right, now to the actual meat of the book, the contents; the book begins with the usual introduction of the concept of roleplaying games, a brief run down of what is contained in the other chapters and an explanation of the FUDGE system used by the game; I have a certain fondness for FUDGE given that it was one of the precursors to the FATE system that I currently favour and was the first roleplaying games that introduced me to the idea of using words to represent difficulty levels rather than solely numbers.
This chapter is followed with a brief history chapter, detailing the events that lead to the game world differing from our own; there will be nothing particularly surprising in this chapter to anyone who has playing cyberpunk or occult style games. The game takes place in 2096, 80 years after a psychic called Nathan Hunter escaped from a covert North Dakota research facility and revealed the existence of psychics to the world; psychics were created as a result of military experimentation begun by the Nazis, continued by the Soviets and later by the Americans in the wake of WWII. Although initially outraged by the indignaties heaped on the psychic by the military, the public who once called for their release now find themselves marginalised by those members of society possessing strange powers that they cannot possibly compete with; into this arena steps the company MagiCorp who deal in items and technologies designed to even the playing field. I enjoyed reading this chapter, although there is nothing startlingly original in it and there are some well worn tropes used (nazi experimentation for one example), they were handled well and were written up in a straight-forward way without any unnecessarily flowery language; the brief history tells you what you need to know in the space of a few pages.
There follows a more lengthy description of the world history, seeming to take a fairly Americocentric view of the fture world (although there are smaller sections hinting at activities outside of the National American Union (a future state covering America, Canada and Mexico); this section is a little more stodgy and difficult to digest in my opinion, but persevering with it does give some interesting ideas for games set either during the fictional history or for events influenced by it. The history as a whole is fairly normal cyberpunk fare with the additions of psychics (known as “mentals” within the setting) and technology that blurs the line between tech and magic, huge megacorporations dominate the future society hoarding wealth and resources, keeping them away from the common man; there is a very interesting write-up of how the inevitable world food shortage was dealt with as populations rise, leading to real food becoming a prize commodity and most people subsisting on a nanotech produced Soylent Green styled substance called “nano-food” (thankfully without the main Soylent Green ingredient).
Psi-Punk paints a word where the current social/economic gulf has become vast indeed, the rich and corporate minded are able to afford the luxury of real food and elevate themselves using magical technology from MagiCorp whereas the multitudinous poor are forced to live in squalor often turning to crime as the only real means of supporting themselves; this has given rise to a powerful criminal underclass of gangs, mobsters and ghost cartels (high organised data-thieves) who are occasionally cracked down upon by a corrupt police system. The description of the class divide and the criminal elements of society is very well written and interesting, the only slight flaw IMO is that a number of concepts are introduced before they are explained (for example the concept of ‘Wraith Butchers’, people who murder astral travellers are introduced before any real mention of astral travel is made), however this is a minor niggle at most. The last part of this section focusses on ‘Street Runners’, independent mercenaries for hire, the game suggests that the default party of players would be made up of Street Runners.
Character Creation
The character creation section begins with an interesting discussion of Archetypes, with each one listed receiving a brief write-up and suggestions of how they fit in society; a very interesting diversion from the norm in these sort of games is in some of the titles used to refer to the archetypes (for example: Brenner, the german word for ‘burner’ is used to refer to pyrokinetics), this helps give the game a slightly different feel, hinting at the game slang and language usage without being too intrusive or obvious.
Characters in the system are determined by three primary attributes (body, mind and persona), each of which is then divided into two seperate sub-attributes (ie. strength & dexterity for body); primary attributes are determined by totalling the modifiers of the secondary atttributes – this reminds me somewhat of one of the suggestions for handling attributes in the old AD&D Skills & Powers book; the primary attributes seem a bit unnecessary to me and the book itself even says “On their own, attributes are rarely checked against,” I would argue that the game could have potentially been streamlined a little by removing these primary attributes, although TBH since they are rarely used and are derived from the secondaries it’s not really a massive problem and should have little impact on the actual enjoyment of the game.
The character creation chapter is quite dense with numerous modifiers being used, build points to determine skills and luck point dice being modified by skills; IMO this may prove quite daunting for players or GMs not used to a lot of number crunching and figuring out modifiers, although anyone used to some of the more crunchy systems like D&D3.5 or Pathfinder shouldn’t have a great deal of trouble adapting to it, personally I prefer a slightly more narrative approach, but I can appreciate that there are RPers who enjoy the “crunch” of game rules a lot more than myself.
After this there is a discussion of Gifts and Faults; this should be familiar territory to anyone who plays systems that allow merits and flaws (World of Darkness or Savage Worlds for instance) and allows players to tweak their characters a little using a provided list of merits (that cost build points) and flaws (that gain a person additional build points) whilst personally not a fan of flaws that allow you to get extra points to spend on your character (since I think it can be open to abuse) this part of the section is very clear and well written, I am sure that any sensible GM running the game (ie. one who doesn’t allow overuse/abuse of the Faults) will find this is a useful addition to their game. The book itself very pointedly mentions several times that the GM should be careful not to allow abuse of the Faults system.
Luck points allow the players to either accomplish an unopposed action automatically and with panache, reroll a skill check, reduce the level of injury taken in a combat, to cause a favourable coincidence (with GM approval) or (if they roll a high enough success) to cause a truly extraordinary/astonishing result. I’m a big fan of anything that allows the players to also have a degree of narrative control within a game and take control of their players destinies so I think that Luck points are a welcome addition to the game.
At the end of the chapter there is a very useful character questionnaire that provide 30 questions a player may want to consider when making their character and a summary of the creation process.
Equipment
Chapter three is basically a big list of equipment, vehicles and weaponry for you to tool your character up with, it is fairly comprehensive without being ludicrously detailed and provides additional interest by introducing Gifts, characteristics that can be applied to weapons in order to customise them. There is also a discussion of how magic (items that emulate psionic powers) can be created and how much they cost.
Playing the Game
Psi-Punk uses the standard 4 fudge/fate dice roll (4DF) common in FUDGE, FATE and the various systems that use similar rulesets; a player takes their 4DF (each dice containing two sides marked ‘+’, two sides marked ‘-‘ and two that are blank) roll thems and adds the resulting modifier to their skill or attribute, the final score can be references on the games Trait Ladder to determine whether or not that have succeeded.
In Psi-Punk the Trait Ladder looks like this:
Astonishing +7
Extraordinary +6
Phenomenal +5
Wonderful +4
Superb +3
Great +2
Good +1
Fair 0
Mediocre -1
Poor -2
Abysmal -3
So if you had a skill of Good (+1) and rolled -, +, +, blank then your final score would be Great (+2). I’m a great fan of this system and think that it has an elegant simplicity to it as well as the visual element of the Trait Ladder.
Details of how wealth works in the game (basically an addition to the Trait Ladder) and how to run a combat follow, these sections are well written (if a little dry) and fairly clear.
Psionics and Magic
Chapter five of the books contains a more detailed look at the psionic and magic systems present in the game; in game terms psionics are the ability to control and manipulate your surroundings using nothing more than the power of your mind, whilst magic is a term referring to electronic devices that manipulate energy to produce similar effects to psionics. Psionics are only available at character generation although magic devices can be acquired/purchased in game; psionic powers are linked into attributes and are rolled using 4DF like any other ability, on a successful roll they can generate a number of effets as discussed in the book; a large list of psionic powers and magic devices follows this, there aren’t really any surprises in here but the lists are comprehensive and would certainly allow most players to create the psionic or magic user of their dreams.
Hacking
Always a potentially troublesome element I find in cyberpunk or sci-fi games, chapter six deals with hacking; i’ve always seen this (along with space combat) as a potential problem area in a game because it can result in the exclusion of players not involved with the main action and, although it is possible for a decent GM to jump between two groups, it does result in a somewhat choppier/more disjointed gaming experience. Psi-Punk seems to reduce haxcking to a series of Computer Use and Technical skill rolls which can be modified by equipment used and research performed before hand; it then diverges into explanations of how to psionically hack computer systems and how to manipulate people via social engineering. Psi-jacking functions very similarly to normal hacking, however social engineering switches the various technical rolls for social based skills as the player character attempts to manipulate the target into doing whatever they want; there is also a lengthy explanation of how to control (“jack”) people using psionics.
Whilst I think some of this section is a bit lengthy, it does do a good job of reducing the various strains of hacking down to a manageable level that could be completed without the rest of the player party being forced to sit on the sidelines during a lengthy hacking session (as has happened with some other similar RP games)- this is to be applauded, although I think the number of rolls required could have been reduced even more.

When Worlds Diverge
The seventh chapter of the book deals with the online world of the Net and the mystical world of the Astral Plane that both exist alongside what we know as our world; the net is omnipresent in the form of Augmented Reality (AR) overlays of the real world, this is a concept that I first encountered in RP during reading one of the more recent versions of Cyberpunk and is a great way of bringing elements of this realm into a game session without excluding people who aren’t playing hackers. Psi-Punk does allow people to project themselves into the Net however it does provide for people bringing along passengers, thus very neatly sidestepping the exclusion problem mentioned above, I think this should be applauded and is IMO a great decision by the authors. The discussions of hwo the Net appears, can be used and the various challenges that a player party might face in this realm are very interesting, with security programs being treated as cutdown versions of characters who can attack or otherwise attempt to disable an invading Ghost (hacker).
The Astral Plane appears to be a mystical alternate realm that suitably calm and focussed people can project their consciousnesses into, mechanically it functions much the same as the Net realm save that the unwary traveller may find themselves assailed by magical creatures rather than intruder counter measure programs. I found the inclusion of an Astral Plane a little odd given that, by and large, magic in the rest of the book has been referred to as machinery.
Game Mastering
For me the star of the book is the Game mastering chapter, that contains some great advice on how to plan and run a game, also containing advice for tweaking or excluding the various rules sub-systems throughout the book; it also provides advice and tips on bringing the players into the creation process of the setting and the various adventures something that, as I said earlier, I am a big fan of. The chapter includes some no-nonsense and useful advice on adjudicating difficulty levels, handling the GMs pot of Luck Points and creating NPCs to challenge the player party.
Sample Adventure Brain.Net
The sample adventure that comes with the main book is an interesting one; it deals with an attempt to recapture lost sensations of the past and the cost that people pay when corporate greed and the need to meet deadlines overwhelms the public good. Brain dot net begins with a fairly standard pub brawl style opening that does have a certain nostalgic feel if you’re an old school roleplayer and I feel the adventure is a good introduction to the world of Psi-Punk drawing on selected elements from its history.
Overall Verdict
If you’re looking for a cyberpunk style game setting that combines the numerous different types of dystopian future settings into one and binds them all together with the FUDGE rules system then you can’t go far wrong with Psi-Punk; the rules may be a bit crunchy and unnecessarily bloated in places but the setting of the game is genuinely quite interesting, containing enough oddities and little flashes of originality to make it worthy of consideration against some of the larger RP games of a similar genre. The writing style of the book is clean and concise in the majority and the art, whilst only black and white, is very appropriate to the setting.
Personally i’m quite likely to take the background of the system and convert it to use with the much simpler FATE or FAE systems from Evil Hat productions which, given they are both based on FUDGE, should be quite easy to do; however for just over £10 you can’t really grumble with the sheer amount of material that is crammed into Psi-Punk.

Psi-Punk is available from RPGnow priced at $19.99:
http://www.rpgnow.com/product/114830/Psi-punk

Character sheets for the God Machine Chronicle

Having finished working on the character sheets for my God Machine Chronicle game (run using the FATE system), in preparation for the first actual (post character gen) session i’ve typed up the character sheets in neat and added pictures (chosen by the players).
Thought i’d post them here so people could see the sort of Aspects, Stunts, etc that my players and I are including in our GMC game.

Cleaning metal armour

I’ve always shied away wearing metal armour at LRP (live-action roleplay) before, partly due to the often high costs associated with such equipment and also due to the fact that my one attempt to wear partial chainmail had resulted in a lot of back pain even with a large leather hero belt supporting much of the weight. However, recently I was lucky enough to be given two pieces of metal armour (shoulder pauldrons and a set of arm bracers) by a couple of friends; as anyone who knows me will tell you, I love free stuff and so determined to give metal armour another go- my excursions to the Outcast system proved an ideal run out for the metal armour.

The armour I was given was pretty rusty when I got it and I did not have time (or the knowledge how) to clean it prior to the event and so I wore it as it was; I had a great time during the event (as detailed in this post) and was able to cope with the weight of the metal armour (although I did end up going to bed early most nights due to fatigue). Whilst at the event I was able to ask a few people there who have experience of metal armour and caring for it (such as CJ Bateman) for any tips and advice they might give me about how I look after the armour.

The process below is based on what they told me and some additional research that I did into the subject.

This is what the armour looked like when I got it – note the rust on it.

Step 1: Removing the Rust

There were two main ways that I had found online to remove rust from metal without have to use specialised cleaning materials; the first was to use white wine vinegar and scouring pads, the second was to soak the plates in diet coke for a few days.

I decided to attempt the white wine vinegar method first; a quick trip to Morrison’s furnished me with the necessary vinegar and scouring pads and I set to work on the armour when I got back.

The vinegar had the effect of making the armour plates take on a slightly duller finish but this didn’t particularly bother me and it was possible to visibly see the rust being removed from the plate.

The armour after the surface rust had been removed with white wine vinegar.
Step 2: Removing any lingering vinegar or rust particles on the surface of the metal
I did this simply using some toilet tissue and gently dabbing at the surface of the armour plates.
Step 3: Polish the metal

In order to polish up the metal a little I purchased some Brasso wadding that I used in a circular motion to bring some shine back to the metal; although it hasn’t restored the former shine to the unrusted sections of metal I believe that this may have been due to some linger rust particles (despite my attempts to remove them), I plan to have another attempt at polishing the plates once it has had chance to dry.
Cleaned up pauldron when I started polishing.
Set of pauldrons, cleaned plates on the right and still rusty plates on the left.
Many thanks to all the people who offered me advice on how to clean and take care of metal armour, I also found the following website very useful:

Outcast 9 – The Cleansing (LRP event)

As a bit of a break from the normal tabletop fare that makes up the majority of this blog I thought that i’d take this post to talk about the recent LRP (Live-action Role Play) event that I attended “Outcast 9 – The Cleansing“; for anyone not aware LRP, or LARP as it is sometimes written, is a style of gaming where, instead of gathering round a tabletop to RP out the various bits of your game, you actually costume yourself and represent that character physically (normally using foam latex weapons sculpted in a realistic fashion that have solid cores but are cushioned enough to prevent injury). I’ve been LARPing since about 2005 on and off (depending on finances, since it’s not a particularly cheap hobby) and mainly attend the Lorien Trust events (a blog of my IC “diary” entries for my last two characters can be found here http://squad-d-lt.blogspot.co.uk/); however a friend of mine started getting on to me about another system called Outcast, which was a smaller system run by Nic Doran and a lot of other people that I knew from the Lorien Trust.
Being quite limited budget-wise I ummed and ahhhed about it for a long time, about whether or not I could justify spending money on more kit and paying for more LRP events; however I was eventually lured into participating both by the enthusiasm that everyone I spoke to who had attending an Outcast event displayed, and how well they treat their crew. Again, to those not familiar with LRP, since the players are physically representing their characters, you also need people to represent the foes and monsters they will face; this ‘monstering’ or ‘crewing’ is normally free or low-cost at most smaller events as a thank you for giving up your time to basically get pummeled on your weekend (in the nicest possible way). Outcast really do seem to look after their crew, operating where you accrue a discount toward the next event you play based on the amount of events you have monstered, with three monster events getting you an event playing completely free; monsters are also catered for and provided with bunks when available (depending on what site is being used).
I attended Outcast event 8 with a few friends monstering and had a great time; being my first experience of a smaller more story-driven system I was initially very surprised by how willing the ref team was to run with story ideas or elaborate on stuff that had been done by the players as a reward for good roleplaying.
Example: At Outcast 8 myself and my friend Pigeon were asked if we would mind playing corpses for a scene, we were the bodies of two deceased knights from the Sol Victus (one of the groups within the game) who had been slain by demons whilst trying to protect the recovered pieces of a puzzle key; after the initial checking of our bodies, etc I was quite surprised when one of the players went to the lengths of laying out our bodies in a repose fashion and saying a prayer over us, even putting one of his weapons with us as a mark of respect. This would have been cool enough, but the refs, as a reward for the players RP and to return his weapon, had the order raise us as Risen (one of the playable races in the game, effectively deceased people given a second (and final chance at life)) who then went to thank the player for his efforts on our behalf. Upon our return to the monster room myself and Pigeon were both told that if we wanted to keep these monster roles then we could do so, needless to say we jumped at the opportunity to play these characters with a bit of background already established.
This was reflected again in Event 9 when I was asked to play a manikin, effectively a golem-like automata created by the Sil, a race of snakemen, to follow their orders and act as combat fodder (basically rock hard combat beasts but with no real motivation beyond following orders was the impression I got of them following my brief). The Sil in Event 9 were being lead/controlled by a number of evil demons who had us out looking for some magical herbs that the players needed to cleanse the land of demonic taint; obviously if we got them first then it was bad times for the players. When the monster group split up, I was ordered to guard the entrance to the glade and do what the snakemen I was with said, the players entered the glade and took the snakemen captive before I could do anything and so I reverted to the original order of guarding the glade.
This lead to an entertaining 15-30 minutes of the players trying to puzzle out what my monster was doing as I remained stationary, pivoting on the spot to face the last person who had moved and only striking if someone came within reach of my polearm; being unable/unwilling to talk (I wasn’t really sure on this on an out of character perspective so I stayed quiet, assuming that I could always have been an early/defective model of manikin) the players couldn’t get anything out of me via conversation. Eventually someone theorised that since the Sil created me I might be programmed to follow their orders and that, since I obviously had no magic, presumably I recognised them by sight; fetching a player snakeman (from a different tribe) the players discovered, after a few minutes, that I would follow orders from the snakeman (although they were a little wary since that meant presumably I would also follow orders from any other snakeman, including the demon tainted Sil).
I spent a good hour or so stationed as an expressionless manikin at the player camp as they tried all manner of mysticism on me, eventually culminating in one of the fey linking his soul to me via a magical ritual, giving him the sole ability to command me; having been well looked after by the players (given drinks and a chair, which was greatly appreciated) I was eventually sent to guard the boats on distance shores, giving me an excuse to return to the monster room and continue helping crew the event. It was a great encounter, good to see the refs run with it, and being asked to bring the kit with me to future events was also rewarding, not sure whether this a potentially secondary character for me if my Solarian dies (again) or just a recurring monster role, i’d be happy with either.

Photograph courtesy of Harland Quarmby.
Outcast is also very much a family system that caters very well for children, those below a certain age are linked to a realm of innocence, dreams and nightmares that contains reflections of things in the real world; this includes monsters, although only those connected to the realm of innocence can repel them. Basically this is a good justification for having monsters (denoted by a blue sash) that can only be affected by children (although the monsters can (mostly) still affect adults), clearly denoting encounters for the younger members of the system whilst also giving the kids a chance to feel like heroes when the adults call on them to help them against the monsters. Obviously there are various levels of appreciation for the rules amongst the very young members of the game, but I was quite surprised by how many of the children fought very safely and, if told how they needed to respond to a certain call or rule, were generally very good at following the instructions.
The rules system in general is very easy to grasp, certainly if you have played Lorien Trust or any other fest based system, I can speak too much for the magic system since I haven’t got into that, although I know there are several distinct types of magic that all work in different ways; all XP and spending is handled online via the game website:
Currently (as of time of writing) the website is unavailable because they take it down and bring a copy with them to each game so that it can be updated, it should be up again soon.
Overall I thoroughly enjoyed Outcast, event 9 was only my second attempt at wearing any metal armour (my first abortive attempt at Lorien Trust lead to a lot of back pain and swearing), having been kindly donated some shoulder pauldrons and bracers by friends, and I seemed to cope with it a lot better this time, although I will be looking for some more padded clothing to go under it in future (especially since i’m planning on buying a chainmail shirt to go with it). The system is great fun, very story driven and with a friendly player base – i’m booked up to monster event 10, the last event this year and then will do my free play event next year; i’m currently planning to continue the method of monstering three events, playing one, monstering three, playing one since you still accumulate XP for your character whilst monstering and also it helps the system and everyone’s enjoyment by ensuring that they have enough crew.
I highly recommend the system for anyone who wants to try LRP in a (very) reasonably priced, story driven environment with a very friendly player base.