It will soon be time for UK Games Expo 2019, the UK’s premier hobby and RPG event, as ever I’ll be there GM-ing games for Games on Demand. If you fancy a quick two-hour taster session, choosing from a variety of different games and GMs then get yourself along to the Churchill Suite in the Hilton Hotel.Continue reading Games on Demand: Dresden Files Accelerated
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.
For those of you who aren’t aware, myself and Lloyd Gyan have been working for some time on creating a Storm and Sail campaign book for the Fate RPG, this spun-off a campaign that I kludged together using the Fate Accelerated rules and a few ideas that I had, you can find the videos for that original campaign here:
As a big fan of swashbuckling adventure stories, a short while after the original mini-campaign has finished I decided to try and actually make it into a complete campaign book that I could publish as a PDF, Lloyd came onboard a short while later to lend assistance and a valuable second set of eyes to go over things.
I’ve been posting bits and pieces about Storm & Sail for a while (mostly over on Google+) but it’s been slow going in parts because we’ve both got RL jobs and other commitments that prevent us devoting 100% of our time to writing Storm & Sail, however, I’m now pleased to announce that we are getting pretty close to completion. By that, I mean we have most of the layout done with placeholders for artwork (yet to be commissioned) and we’ve sent advanced preview copies to a closed group of people to get some final feedback on the PDF.
Here are a few sample pages to whet your appetite:
So how long before it’s released?
Unfortunately it’s not possible for us to give an exact date when the PDF will be released since it depends on a few different factors:
- How long the artwork takes to commission and create.
- How long it takes for us to get feedback from our closed group.
- Any last minute changes or alterations we have to make.
But we’re hoping to release the PDF as soon as possible, and we hope that you’ll join us on the High Seas 🙂
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.
Love them or hate them, random charts and tables have a long history in RPGs, whether it be to determine wilderness encounters, a random bauble gained at character gen or any number of other potential things. Continue reading Matters of Fate: Random Tables
Recently I’ve been thinking about a simple way to represent scale/differently sized vessels in my Storm & Sail game; I didn’t want to make it too complex, you can see the rules I arrived at in full in the rules google doc:
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1g-LA9GQUJUZm4JqGlb7cioOd4erEcs_QvmlIDwEXIHE/edit?usp=sharing Continue reading Storm & Sail: Amended scale rules
I’ve been thinking a fair bit about skill lists, Approaches and Professions in the Fate system, in preparing my Storm & Sail game (starting next weekend) I’ve decided to go with a Profession based system, but it has got me thinking about just how many skills are actually needed in a Fate game; if you love the current amount of skills that’s grand, I’ve no problems with that, but this post probably isn’t really aimed at you.
Recently my wife Hannah has been running a game using Aspect only fate, essentially the skill rating you add to your dice rolls comes from the number of aspects you have that are applicable.
For example: If you had “Best gunslinger in the county” and “Quick on the draw” as aspects and found yourself in a shoot-out then you could claim +2 as your skill level, one rank per applicable aspect.
This system seems to be working really well at the moment although it does involve a bit of adjudication as to what aspects are applicable in certain situations, and having players who aren’t going to attempt to manipulate the system to get the best rolls in any and all situations; very similar to some of the potential issues that Fate Accelerated can face depending on the level of player buy-in to the spirit of the system.
It also got me thinking about the World of Darkness series of games where attributes are organised into three categories, physical, mental and social, I started thinking about whether or not these three “stats” could be used to replace the existing skill list, and I believe that they could be. Those three labels cover pretty much all situations that I can think of, trying to be diplomatic with somone, roll social, trying to recall ancient lore, roll mental, fighting a pirate, roll physical.
Now I can hear some people complaining and saying that there wouldn’t be much variety using this system, however I think this is where the stunt system can more than adequately pick up that slack, you want to play a character who is more dexterous then brawny, then take a stunt or two that benefit you in those sort of situations, and vice-versa if you want to be the brutal but clumsy barbarian. Although it might be worth the GM being a being more lenient with the situations that stunts can apply to.
As you may know I’m preparing to run a pirate-style fantasy game using a version of the Fate rules that I have compiled, taking inspiration from several different sources. I’ve also been experimenting with the free version of Xsplit in an attempt to make the game more visual for those watching it and as a helpful aid to my players, I’m pretty happy with the layout I’ve now got and have uploaded a small video test of it (you can see this by clicking on the video link below).
Features I intend to use via Xsplit for this game:
- Changeable backdrop images.
- Gold coins as fate tokens that can be moved.
- Screen capture of the players with their fate points below them and their characters name and aspects above them.
- Overlay-able map of the New World.
- I also have a second screen set up that can function as a whiteboard.
As those of you who read my blog will be aware I am currently preparing for a fantasy-Fate I am planning to start in a couple of weeks that will take place in a setting (very) loosely inspired by the Carribean in the 18th Century.
Up until recently I was writing the rules for the game and merrily looking at subsystems for scale, vehicles and all manner of things and slapping them into the Google Doc that I was writing, then it occurred to me that the more I was adding the less and less the game was resembling the elegant simplicity of the base Fate system and was turning into something far crunchier. Now that’s fine if you like crunchier rules (and if you do version 1 of the rules I wrote is here), but it’s not really my bag, one of the things I love about Fate is how versatile the basic rules system is and I generally prefer to stick closely to it. This left me with something of a dilemna, I wanted to have vehicles of different sizes and two magic systems, so how could I include them and keep the game simple.
It was at this point I turned to a game that has rapidly become my Fate crisis-bible, and that is Jadepunk by Re-Roll Productions; I ran a campaign of this game a short while ago (you can see the videos here) and thoroughly enjoyed it, I remain impressed by how thoroughly the designers managed to get across their vision of their gameworld whilst at the same time avoiding the trap of just adding a buttload of new rules to the Fate system. One of the things I loved about this system was that instead of skills the characters had ratings in six professions that they used for their various rolls, so I decided to use this as inspiration for my campaign.
I also decided to keep the names of the two magic systems but trim down the mechanics in the extreme, concentrating more on what they bought to the game fiction.
You can check out the documents I’m working on by clicking the links below:
I plan to continue updating them as necessary until the beginning of the game, the rules are mostly done but the background will be reworked and expanded at a later date.