In the first episode of my new podcast I’m making a Dresden Files Accelerated character for a game that a friend of mine is running:
Last night I ran a game of Dresden Files Accelerated for five great players, it was a one-shot and–to put a bit of a twist on it–I’d decided to set the game in the wild west rather than the more traditional modern setting of the game. Looking for an iconic town I settled on Tombstone, during it’s waning years after the silver mines had dried up:
Using the Wikipedia page I made the following notes:
POTTED TOMBSTONE HISTORY
- Founded in 1979 by Prospector Ed Schiefflin in Arizona.
- Grew in mid-1880s, last of the boom towns.
- Local mines produced $40 to $85 million silver bullion.
- Town established on mesa above the Goodenough Mine.
Had bowling alley, 4 churches, ice house, school, 2 banks,
3 newspapers and an ice cream parlour.
- 110 saloons.
- 14 gambling halls, numerous dance halls and brothels.
All businesses situated amongst and around silver mines.
In mid-1880s the silver mines pentrated the water table.
- Pumps were destroyed by a fire in 1886.
- Unprofitable to re-build the costly pumps.
- City nearby became something of a ghost town.
The players were told about the setting in advance and asked to create characters using the DFAE rules, shortly before the game I posted the following plot-clue to the Facebook event:
Created using an online tool: https://www.fodey.com/generators/newspaper/snippet.asp
To give you an idea of my prep, below are some of the notes that I made for and during the game.
First of all I started with the main antagonists, a black court vampire by the name of Dillon and his thrall, a young girl with powers of necromancy.
Then I moved onto some of the goon-level flunkies who were going to be acting as muscle for our main villain:
I also made some brief notes of the powers and abilities that these villains had to save me having to look them up during the session:
During the session I also made some notes regarding PC names and incidental NPCs, I also used these index card to keep track of boosts, advantages, etc.
In addition to these note I had a text file with some rough plot ideas outlined, just before we started recording I asked the players for a bit of background and worked to incorporate it into the draft plot that I had written down already, changing it as necessary. The index card method is really useful during a game because it allows me to quickly reference the most needed stats and information without having to flip through the rulebook so much.
If you want to watch the actual play video of the session you can find it here:
Games I’ll be Running
For those of you who aren’t aware, I helped run Games on Demand at last years UK Games Expo (masterminded by Lloyd Gyan). Essentially Games on Demand is a series of two hour long ‘taste games’ where people can just turn up, buy a ticket for Games on Demand on the day, and jump into a game of some sort relatively quickly, each GM assigned to Games on Demand has a number of different games that they can pull out and run for a couple of hours. It’s a great way to kill a few hours, if a pre-booked game is sold-out/cancelled or if you fancy trying something new.
This post is going to give you a taster of the games that I’ll have with me at the Expo. I’m bringing PBTA, Fate and OSR with me, but the other GMs will have different things for you to try.
White Star Galaxy Edition
Emperor Valis rules the galaxy with the aid of the Cabal, his loyal cult of Void Knights. The Star Knights–once mystical defenders of the galaxy–have been all but destroyed, existing now only as a few survivors living in constant fear of apprehension and execution.
The only opposition to Valis and his New Order is a rag-tag rebellion lead by a mix of mercenaries, refugees and senators who have refused to bow to the new regime. Within this rebellion hide the last flickering remnants of the Star Knights.
The rebellion has received word that the New Order is working on a super-weapon that may spell their doom, and so they mount a desperate attempt to stop the weapon, at all costs.
White Star Galaxy Edition is an OSR game inspired by a smorgasboard of different science-fiction franchises, in this scenario you play smugglers with hearts of gold, outcast senators and hunted Star Knights banding together to try and stop Emperor Valis’ secret weapon.
In the darkest of times, will you be the ones to light the spark of hope?
Lamentations of the Flame Princess – Carcosa
In the skies the fireball breaks,
And twin suns sink behind the lake,
The shadows lengthen,
Strange is the night wherein men cry,
And bodies vanish into the night,
But stranger still,
Is lost Carcosa.
Lamentations of the Flame Princess is an OSR game of weird fantasy. The Carcosa supplement takes us to a strange world of serpent people and science-horror inspired by the writings of H. P. Lovecraft and others.
In this game a fireball has plummeted into the mountains near your village, since then strange creatures have been seen, odd noises heard and man have gone missing. The elders of the village council caution but–knowing that there will soon be no-one left if this continues–you have gathered some companions and set out to investigate the source of the disappearances.
Will you find your missing kinsmen, or do only death and horror lurk among the mountains or Carcosa?
Swords & Wizardry FMAG
“It simply won’t do, this is the third caravan to be raided on the Devil’s Pass in the last fortnight, merchants are already threatening to take their business elsewhere. This town thrives on trade, we cannot afford for this to happen.”
Swords & Wizardry FMAG is an OSR game of fantastic exploration and combat built to recapture the enjoyment and splendour of the earliest editions of the world’s most popular roleplaying game. In our scenario the players are a group of adventurers hired by Lord Harper, ruler of Highpeak, to investigate the matter of the raided caravans. Something or someone is preying on the merchants who are the life-blood of the town, it’s up to you to stop them.
Dresden Files Accelerated
The White Council is at war with the Red Court, a war sparked by the newly sworn in Grey Warden Harry Dresden, but the war is hardly confined only to the United States. Across the pond in the United Kingdom, the city of Birmingham, a group of consultants are called by their contact in the police force to the scene of a most unusual crime.
Dresden Files Accelerated is a FAE game set in the world of Jim Butcher’s popular novels. In this game you play a beleaguered police detective and a group of esoteric consultants attempting to solve a mysterious murder.
Can you uncover the culprit and bring them to justice using your know-how and the powers of the occult, or will the forces of darkness triumph?
“Know this young Centurions, that I, Baron Zeppelin am responsible for the current drop in world temperatures, unless my demands are met he world will freeze whilst I remain safe in my arctic lair!”
Young Centurions is a FAE game where you play pulp-heroes in the early 1910s, born in the first seconds of the new century, each of the characters embodies the spirit of Invention, Speed, Joy or something similar, possessing powers far beyond those of mortal men. Raised to be heroes by a mysterious society, you may be the worlds only hope to stop the mad Baron, a young man born in the dying seconds of the old century who embodies the Shadow of Industry.
Masters of Umdaar
Skalldor–a dark and twisted necromancer–has menaced the lands of the Eternal Kingdom ever since overthrowing the rightful ruling family. He is opposed only by Arthur–rightful heir to the throne–and his loyal band of renegades. Rumours have it that Skalldor has discovered the resting place of the legendary Starblade, such an item would give him power to make his rule over the kingdom everlasting, but Arthur and his rogues race to retrieve the blade too and restore their Prince to his throne.
Masters of Umdaar is a FAE game of gonzo science-fantasy that models itself on classic heroic cartoons from the 1980’s. Can you help Arthur to recover the Starblade before the evil necromancer, or will the entire Eternal Kingdom soon bow to the foul Skalldor?
“This is not a drill, repeat this is not a drill. This is Mister Miracle broadcasting to any heroes that may be left, my old foe Manat has stolen the Helmet of Chronos and two of the Moirae Stones that power it. The others are dead or gone, the Justice Warriors, the Super Friends, all of them. I’m broadcasting this on all frequencies, my only hope is that there are still some heroes out there and we can stop Manat before…”
The world’s experienced and greatest heroes have been wiped from existence by the–now almost god-like–Manat using the Helmet of Chronos, in his last act before being wiped out himself Mister Miracle, mightiest of the Justice Warriors puts out a call to anyone who may be listening, hoping that there are still heroes in the world. That’s where you come in, young heroes yet untested in the forge of destiny, but overlooked by Manat, you are the world’s only hope.
MASKS is a PBTA game of young heroes struggling with responsibility and their legacies as heroes, trying to find their place in the world.
“Well they say that the stiffs have been going missing up by the Old McCorley graveyard, I ‘eard the rumours but never gave it no mind, leastways no-ones been buried their fresh in months. Well that were before the police constable that the Mayor had set to watching over the place went missing, we all heard the screams, loud enough to chill yer blood. I expect that’s why they called you in eh?”
Tremulus is a PBTA game based on the Cthulhu Mythos, in it you play investigators, unwitting victims and daring scholars struggling to maintain their sanity in the face of the sanity-blasting creatures of the Mythos. Something is clearly rotten at the McCorley graveyard (other than the corpses) and the Mayor wants it cleaned up discretly and quickly, there’s a large reward in it for you if you succeed, fail and perhaps the graveyard will have claimed some new residents.
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.
A video log where I talk about the games I’m playing/running at the moment, D&D, Dresden and Star Wars.
We’ve got the next exciting instalment of Thashif’s Dresden Files game coming up this evening, I haven’t got around to doing a session write-up yet but basically we had to clear a nest of ghouls out of a warehouse as a favour we owed to someone, now my character Murdoch wields the powers of hellfire thanks to having a demon inhabiting his body and this power is great for licking out the damage, however it also puts a terrible mental strain on the character meaning that I can only use the power for so long before I’m pretty much useless. During the last session I used the power about as much as I could to take down these ghouls and promptly passed out at the end, not realising one of them was still going, the ghoul then through itself on me and did some serious injuries and well as pulling one of my characters eyes out.
My character has some increased healing abilities, but I’ll be starting this session still on some pretty heavy damage, this got me thinking about the way lasting damage is handled in Fate and some other games. I really love the way Fate handles healing, essentially you are at a disadvantage during the game until you reach your next milestone at which point (assuming you have IC justification) the wound (or consequence as it is called in Fate) is healed. That milestone might come at the end of your next session or even in a few sessions time depending on how the plot of your game develops.
This is a great way of doing it IMO and helps get rid of one of something I’ve often seen in other games, players rushing their characters in recklessly heedless of the vast amounts of damage they’re taking because they know that they can rest up for a day or two, heal up and then get back to doing what they are doing best. I’ve always thought that if you take damage it should have some actual lasting effect during the sessions, when it does people in my experience tend to be less willing to fling themselves heedlessly into danger or, if they do, they are at least aware of the potential cost.
So in tonights session I’ll be starting off pretty beaten up, but that’s fine, it’s the price I pay for taking down the ghouls last session, it gives the characters who are healthy more time to be in the spotlight, adds some interesting complications for the session and also, above all else, gives me something a bit different and interesting to roleplay. How does my character react to being injured? How is his mood affected? Does he still behave in the same way? Will this have affected how he views situations in the future?
All these questions and more both help you to play the character during the session whilst injured and even considering them means that you’re adding extra depth and richness to your character portrayal.
In this weeks vlog I talk about a couple of the games I’ve played in recently and my decision to step away from LARP for a year.
Last Sunday I played in the first session of Thashif’s Dresden files game, I play a character named Clarence Murdoch, a demonically possessed PI, the following is a brief IC report of what occurred.
It was New Years Eve and Murdoch I was drinking, I hate this time of year, there are are more murders and somehow the damn ghosts always manage to sniff me out, so it wasn’t much of a surprise when I lowered the whiskey bottle to see three ghosts in-front of me, two standing, the third in a wheelchair.
“Now I don’t hold with any of this haunting sh*t, if you want help, tell me what you need and we’ll see what I can do, otherwise you can turn and get out.”
The wheelchair figure relayed how he and his two fellows had been killed by a huge figure and that they had all served together in the same regiment during WWII, the ghosts wanted some kind of closure so, after a bit of a talk I decided that I’d help. As usual the voice of a certain someone wasn’t happy about it.
“What do we gain out of this Murdoch?” moaned the gravelly voice
I was that busy talking to the voice in my head that I didn’t notice some lunatic with a sword running at me screaming about holiness (or something) and that I had to die, I didn’t have time for that sh*t, sick of evil people trying to use me and good people trying to kill me so I warned him to stay back drawing my gun, when he didn’t I fired. I was surprised he went down so quality.
Of course, wouldn’t you know it, detective Connelly was there, damn IA agent has been dogging me every since that business a few years ago with Golubov, although he’d never been able to make anything stick, he’d made damn sure that I was ‘politely’ asked to leave the force. He’d seen everything and insisted on dragging me downtown, although I knew he couldn’t make it stick, I’d warned the madman and he’d kept coming it was an open and shut case of self-defence.
I was let out of my cell by Danny, a young cop I remember from my time on the force, he was one of the good ones.
Eventually they had to let me go and I was able to make contact with Tobias, he’s some kind of vampire, but he doesn’t feed on blood, he can sniff out his particular type of food, fear; I hoped he’d be able to help me find the murderer, it seems there’d been another killing while I’d been locked up. After a while of driving around the district where the other unit members lived we’d got nothing, zip, nada, and we needed to find some information before anyone else got killed by this thing, so I did what I had to do. I made a deal with Arioch, the demon that’s normally rattling around inside my head, the location of the killer in return for him being behind the driving seat of our body for 24 hours, I’m sure I’ll regret it later but we had no time and no options.
Arioch was as good as his word and we were soon driving to an apartment where a little guy called Tony leaved, we talked our way in and were looking around when Tony swelled up into this huge troll creature. Summoning fire I set to bringing the monster down, with Tobias providing firearms support, we were starting to bring him down (although the hellfire magic I learnt from Arioch was taking its toll on me) when he started screaming about the victims deserving it and them betraying him. Well it turns out that Tony was part of the military unit in WWII and had been the one holding secret information about a code used by the Allies, when captured, his friends had handing him over for interrogation by the Nazis in order to save their own skin, and now he was seeking revenge. Tell you the truth I can’t blame him.
I told Tony a bit about my own past and how my father had a hand in making me like this, we eventually able to convince him to confess to his crimes on the understanding that the still-living members of the unit would be investigated and bought to task for their betrayal. When he’d shrunk down, I left Tony at the precinct with Danny, although I had to bring the kid into our world, something I was hoping to avoid, once you’ve seen the supernatural the damn stuff seeks you out and you can’t go back.
Then I returned to my apartment, leaving Tobias to go about his business, after all I had a deal to keep.
We start preparing for Thashif’s forthcoming Dresden Files game, and I get confused about some of the difference between DF version of Fate and Fate Core (I blame tiredness):
In this weekly vlog I talk a little bit about LARP but mostly about TheRogueDM’s WFRP campaign that I’m currently playing in: