Random Campaign Creation

I was visited yesterday by a friend of mine who lives nearby, he brought his young son (12 years of age) round with him, the idea being that we’d all watch some films, whilst we were chatting and having a couple of cups of coffee the conversation turned naturally to tabletop RPGs (since both myself and my friend are gamers). About halfway through this conversation my friends son spoke up and said, “Would we be able to do some roleplay now?” Continue reading “Random Campaign Creation”

Terror on the Outer Rim [Edge of Empire]: Session 0

Character and Setting Generation

Well we held our character generation and campaign creation session (christened session 0) for our Edge of the Empire game that we’re going to be running soon (now named Terror on the Outer Rim): you can see the intro crawl I made for session 0 here:

This was the first actual session we’ve hosted on Twitch and it wasn’t without technical problems, including:

  • The footage uploaded to Twitch seemed to be quite laggy and I was constantly receiving messages about it ‘dropping frames’ during the broadcast, not sure what I can do about that (being at best an enthusiastic amateur when it comes to IT) but I’ll have a look into it.
  • Not being able to use the layouts that had been created since one of the players was fairly late and adding an extra person would’ve changed the screen capture areas.
  • The sound quality varying considerably on Skype depending on how many people were online.
  • For some reason people seemed to talk over each other more, I’m not sure whether or not this is just a consequence of having more players.
  • Skype restricting video calls to four hours.

Despite those problems along with myself and several of the players not being 100% up on the FFG EotE rules yet we were able to get through character creation and also come up with several potential future conflicts for the area where the game is going to be set. There were a couple of additional issues:

  • Generating characters for people without the rulebook is a bit of chore; this is no fault of the people involved (since I certainly wouldn’t expect all players to have to purchase a copy of the book) but compared to games I’ve used with more streamlined character creation I did find the process a bit lengthy and I must say was longingly eyeing the Fate Star Wars hack by Ryan M. Danks at one point (you can find that here for anyone interested).That said I’m determined to persevere with the FFG system and hopefully it’ll get easier as we all become more familiar with the rules.
  • It’s obvious that one or two of the players are more familiar with the EU of Star Wars than I am (having not played any of the related video games) and I can see people quoting obscure “facts” about the setting potentially being a nigglesome issue; I’ve decided to deal with that by assuming that only the current cannon (as established by the films) is guaranteed to be accurate, I may introduce EU elements as the game goes on but it should not be assumed this is the case.

You can see the videos of session 0 below:

Part 1

Part 2

Our next session is a couple of weeks; anyone interested in watching it live can do so on our Twitch channel:

https://www.twitch.tv/reddicediaries/

 

[GM tools-RPG] Edittable old newspaper template

This is a resource that TheRogueDM put me onto for use in my Jadepunk campaign, it’s a Powerpoint presentation that allows you to create an antique style newspaper:

[RPG] Jadepunk Character Sheets

Some small alterations have taken place on the characters getting them ready for the first session (I tend to allow players to make minor alterations to their character sheets up until the third session), below are the current backgrounds and character sheets that we have.
Ba Tu Satoru
The man who would be known as Ba Tu Satoru was the son of the sculptor Yutaka Kazami. When he was a small boy, he made a friend at school, whose father was Isaku Jirou. One day, the fathers collaborated in a contest run by one of the council of 9, the goal was to present to them the greatest clockwork sculpture (fame and fortune as the reward). Kazami, being a sculptor by trade, lacked skill at engineering and making clockwork, while Jirou was poor at aesthetics, but they worked together to cover each other’s faults. Additionally, since his father’s eyesight began to fail, Ba Tu would help Kazami by working on the finer details of the sculptures for him, though everyone else believed that he was just there to watch.
On the last day of the contest, Jirou betrayed Kazami. He made his own son stop Kazami’s son from trying to help his father. Jirou’s son, while crying and begging for forgiveness, bound his best friend’s wrists and legs and went into Jirou ‘s hideout with him. Jirou locked him in, until he could come back .Meanwhile, Kazami killed Jirou in a rage and then fled the city, abandoning the search for his son. Since Jirou could not arrive back to release Ba Tu after the completion the boy began to starve in his prison.
Ba Tu would have eventually died, had it not been for the chance arrival of Dogen Hōinbō, a blind professional assassin who just happened to be passing by at the time with his dog Kuro, who noticed the pair. Hōinbō saved the boy and took him in. The trauma caused by his near-death experience left him unable to recall much from before his rescue.
Sora Yoshida
Born to a Naramel nomadic tribe called the Red Talons Sora Yoshida spent his child hood years hunting for red jade out in the desert wastes with his family. Educated by the elders of his tribe Sora, became accustomed to the traditions and beliefs of the old gods, the pursuit of virtue.
While navigating the dune sea Sora came across a long abandoned village, uncovered by the erratic winds that trap the unwary. Upon approach an airship crashed into the village with a thunderous roar, not unlike laughter to Sora’s ears. Racing to search for survivors, only one is found close to death and covered in strange, almost animated tattoos. 
Before Sora could react the man grabs him by both fore arms and whispers to him, “My time is at an end but yours is just beginning, you have been chosen for a great task, Sora and I am afraid a difficult burden”.
The deserts are no place for children, so unlike the other clans Naramel’s youngsters grow up fast, usually gaining a hard survivalists edge. Sora already had enough problems with the weird dreams and compulsions that seemed separate from his own. He had though the incident at the abandoned village was a nightmare he had dreamt up until the incident at grey tower trading post. He had been unpacking satchels of red jade to be bartered for provisions when he suddenly found himself involved in a dispute with a water merchant and the local militia. 
With a strength that seemed beyond him he threw the guards into the fortified town wall.
To prevent his execution for this folly his clan smuggled him out and sent him to a distant relative in Kausao city.  There he confided in what would become his mentor about what he had witnessed, He believed the solution was to honour the old gods through an ancient series of traditional dances. Secretly also a martial art Sora spent several years practicing and perfecting this tradition. That is until his mentor’s temple is shut down by corrupt law enforcement cracking down upon any form of martial arts.
This leads Sora to end up coming into contact with the City’s less savoury characters in order to survive.  
In return for a favour owed Sora was able to learn something of his “condition” from a contraband book. It tells various tales of the land, some familiar to him while others totally alien. The tale of the laughing emperor was particularly interesting. It spoke of a legend of a man who managed to imprison a powerful spirit referred to as a djinn whose magic came from magical ink that adorned its body. Forced to aid in the creation of an empire, when the mocking emperor made a grave error in insulting the creature wishing it could stop him if he could, knowing that spirit could no directly lay a hand upon his owner. The djinn in retribution sacrificed itself into a thousand shards reportedly imbuing individuals who come into contact with them with the power to fight tyranny. 
A small faded illustration of a man bearing remarkable tattoos not dissimilar to Sora’s own was also provided. Most interesting was the bracelet the sketched described as being the way in which this dangerous legacy can be used. 
To find this item if possible and learn to control his tattoos Sora decides the time has come to fight back.
Kaiyu Yuuto



Background TBC

[RPG] Initial Jadepunk Characters

Thoroughly enjoyed our character generation recently for our forthcoming Jadepunk game, although they may still be subject to some tweaking and alteration, here is a look at the initial character designs.
Kaiyu Yuuto 
A young man raised into a life of priviliege who secretly became friends with a young girl from the poor district and, through her, was lead into helping the Jianghu fight against the oppresive regime of the 13th Governor.
Ba Tu Satoru
Born the son of a clockwork engineer, Ba Tu Satora was betrayed by a friend and left to die; his unlikely saviour came in the form of Dogen Hōinbō, a blind assassin who rescued the young boy and trained him in the ways of the silent killer.
The Tattooed Man (character name pending)
Inheriting strange black jade tattoos and a legacy of mysticism when he discovered a strange creature in a crashed airship, the tattooed man now uses his formidable powers to fight against the corrupt regime that holds Kausao in it’s vice-like grip.

[Video-RPG] Jadepunk Setting & Character Creation

Myself and the three players for our forthcoming (and as yet untitled) Jadepunk game (Thashif, Jenny and Mathew) did a hangout last night where we did character creation and a bit of setting creation (hashing out the basic details of the characters home district within KauSao city). Very enjoyable (as always with this group), and we’ve got the first session scheduled for Sunday 28th, really looking forward to running it 🙂

[RPG] Monstrous Questionnaire

As a companion piece to my GM Tips – Making monsters monstrous video, please find below a quick checklist for creating monsters based on a mythological model, answering these questions will give a bit of extra background and interest to truly monstrous monsters.

Questionnaire

1. How was the monster created?
– A result of divine procreation with a mortal (answer question 2).
– As a result of a curse (answer question 2 & 3).
– Created by a great power for a specific purpose (answer question 2 & 4).
– Monster is actually a form of lesser divinity or similar power (answer question 6).

2. If a divinity or higher power was involved in the creation what was the nature of the power involved?
(these descriptions are based on the greek gods listed on http://www.rickriordan.com/my-books/percy-jackson/explore-mythology/greek-gods.aspx but you can substitute your own)

– Sky
– Home & family
– Sea
– Agriculture & farming
– War
– Wisdom
– Music, poetry & prophecy
– Moon & hunting
– Fire & the Forge
– Love & beauty
– Merchants, Trade & Thieves
– Wine & celebration
– Underworld & Death
– Sleep
– Victory
– Choices
– Revenge
– Messages & Communicaiton
– Magic & spirits
– Luck & Fortune

If the monster is the offspring of a god then it’s powers will be related to their parent although they will normally be reflected on the physical appearance of the creature.

Example: The god of sky may sire a creature with huge wings or that is feathered like a bird.

Example: The god of sleep may give birth to a creature that only exists during the hour of dreams (night-time) or that can only be seen in the time just after waking when dreams are closest to the real world.

3. Why was the mortal cursed?
– Directly insulting the god.
– Taking actions that directly oppose the god.
– Wronging loyal servants of the god.
– Mis-using a talent/abilities granted by the god.

A mortal cursed by the god will tend to have powers and abilities that reflect those of the deity that cursed them, however they are often made twisted and grotesque.

Example: The god of sky may curse a person to become a monster harpy, a twisted bat-like creature with a barely human face.

Example: The god of sleep may trap a cursed person away from the waking world allowing them only to communicate in dreams, or perhaps they cause bad dreams and trouble sleep wherever they go (making people irritable and causing them to turn on the cursed individual).

4. What purpose was the monster created for?
– To punish those who oppose the gods.
– To guard something precious (also answer question 5).

Monsters created to punish someone are normally specifically tailored to deny those being punished some aspect of their life that they value or require, without simply killing them.

Creatures created to guard something precious are normally encountered only in the vicinity of the thing that they are guarding and have senses that cover the area, making it very difficult to sneak up and purloin their treasure. However, most such creatures have a method via which safe access to their charge can be obtained incase the gods should seek to send a favoured servant to acquire the item.

Example: The god of sky creates a giant eagle to guard one of his thunderbolts, the bolt lies in a huge nest constructed by the beast on an impossibly tall mountain.

Example: The god of sleep creates a monster to punish a debauched town of celebrants, the creature pursues them through dreams which begin pleasant and turn to nightmares, causing them to wake without the benefit of rest.

5. Where is the precious item located?
– In a faraway land.
– In a geographical inaccessible place (the bottom of an ocean, the top of a mountain).
– Protected in a hidden demi-plane accessible only via a portal or when specific conditions are met.
– The item is located inside or is part of the creature itself.

6. Which deity is the creature related to or affiliated with?
– Pick one of the deities from question 2 (or add your own).
– Then choose a more specialised/specific element that might fall under their portfolio (ie. clouds for sky, nightmares for sleep, vanity for beauty, etc).
– A lesser divinity will have powers and abilities related to it’s specific portfolio, these will be reflected on it’s physical form to a lesser degree.

Example: Related to the war god, a lesser-divinity of violence & fury may appear as a huge man with bulging muscles, glowing red eyes and a permanent expression of fury.

By making choices from this list and thinking about the various elements you should be able to create a monster in the style of the ancient greek/roman myths.

As an example: I’m going to create Kalkedos (the swamp troll from the video) by using the questionnaire.

Kalkedos the Swamp Troll

1. How was the monster created?
– As a result of a curse (answer question 2 & 3).
Kalkedos killed his neighbour when the man rebuffed Kalkedos’ intent to woo his daughter, drowning the man in the swamps near his home.

2. If a divinity or higher power was involved in the creation what was the nature of the power involved?
– Merchants, Trade & Thieves
As he died the merchant, a loyal follower of his god, cursed Kalkedos and the god of merchants answered, lending power to the curse. Kalkedos was transformed into a lumbering, clumsy creature with warty skin, green the colour of envy, his mind twisted he gathers the filth of the swamp to him as his ‘riches’ blind to the fact that it is refuse and lashing out at another who dares try to steal from his treasure.

Bound to the scene of his crime, Kalkedos is unable to leave the swamp unless he receives the forgiven of the merchant’s daughter (who fled when her father died), should this happen and she be able ot convince him to leave the swamp then the curse would be lifted.

3. Why was the mortal cursed?
– Wronging loyal servants of the god.
Killing the merchant.

If you produce any monsters using this system drop me a line about them either to reddicediaries@gmail.com, i’d love to see your creations.

[RPG Blog Carnival] Campaign Idea: Putting a twist on transport circles

Campaign Idea: Putting a twist on transport circles

Continuing the December Blog Carnival idea of putting a twist on things (the original post can be found here), this blog post is an idea for a campaign setting that puts a different spin on the transport circle; this idea will work best in a fantasy-style campaign where magic is available and their is some reliable means of magical transporting available, whether this be transport circles, portals or whatever, for convenience i’m going to refer to them as transport circles in this blog post.
Campaign Idea: They Come from the Circles
  
Background: Transport circles are one of the most convenient forms of transportation for those who have either the magical know-how or the money to pay someone who does, allowing for almost instantaneous transportation from one circle to another, no matter the intervening distance. Occcasionally people feel a little nauseous or dislocated for a few moments after transport, but it quickly passes and the effects are harmless.

To the lay-person it seems as though powerful mages and articifers are capable of creating transport circles wherever they wish, however, the truth is a little more complex, normally the innate reality of the word resists transport magic, making it very taxing to cast such spells, however, there are spots in the world (that can be identified by the those with the appropriate arcane learning) where the reality of the world is weaker, allowing for construction of transport circles with far less effort and expense, large cities tend to build up around these areas as wizards and those seeking to benefit from the circles flock to such sites.

The campaign begins: Below is the suggested sequence of events for a campaign using this model, feel free to intersperse events and adventures not related to this plot between the suggested points otherwise it will feel like everything is connected somehow to the transport circle and it may seem a little laboured or forced.

  • Have a few adventures reference the use of transport circles in very minor ways, perhaps have the PCs use them or an ally use them, but make them seem very much like a convenient plot device or background element trying not to draw too much attention to them.
  • A notable mage vanishes whilst attempting to create a new transport circle.
  • If there are any mages in the party perhaps have them make a couple of rolls to determine some basic facts about transport circles, such as the weak points in reality that allow them to be easily constructed.
  • Over the course of the next half dozen sessions a number of people are found brutally murdered and torn apart near transport circles.
  • The bodies of the murdered people appear to have been slashed to pieces by extremely sharp and thin blades (infact two-dimensional claws).
  • In the area where the murders took place, both existing transport circles and any magic dealing with transportation or planar travel is easier to cast and lasts for far longer (this is due to the fact that reality has been weakened by the appearance of the creatures from beyond the circles).

The Truth

The weakened points of reality that allow for the construction of transport circles are actually areas where creatures from another dimension have broken through into ours; normally these creatures do not appear in our world, however occasionally the conditions are just right (the stars align, ley-lines converge, or whatever is suitable for your game) to allow these creatures to enter our reality and hunt the people and animals that live there (whom they see as particularly favoured prey). When these creatures arrive they shred reality in the surrounding area as they pierce the invisible membrane between our world and theirs, weakening it to such an extent that magic can be used in our world to travel from one location to another.

Messing around with transport magic in the areas of weakened reality eventually attracts the attention of the creatures who hunt, attack and eventually kill their quarry; inevitably the creatures will eventually catch wind of the PCs and will attack them. Unfortunately the creatures (which resemble two dimensional hounds made of shadow) are very difficult to destroy since they are capable of instinctively using transport circles themselves, however, any effect that prevents magic or stops a transport circle working binds them to our dimension for it’s duration making them easier to deal with. The creatures are intelligent hunters who are fully capable of withdrawing if they seem outmatched (aided by their ability to instinctively use transport circles or just fade back into their own dimenion) and using pack tactics; a party who believes they have successfully seen off the hounds may find themselves menaced again by shadowy creatures from transport circles in the future.

Additional Suggestions

Perhaps the PCs eventually find a way to enter the Hounds own dimension and take the fight to them or perhaps there is some way to poison/proof transport circles and magic against the attention of the Hounds.