Chatting with Rob Davis last night, helping him sort out a character for a forth-coming Star Wars one-shot that I’m running and generally shooting about roleplaying games, past campaigns and the normal sort of stuff that RP enthusiasts tend to do when they get together (or chat via the medium of the internet as we were doing), Rob bought up a very interesting point. Continue reading
To those of you who aren’t aware BrigadeCon is an online tabletop RPG convention that was started last year by the Youtube RPG Brigade and has been continued this year by a talented team of organisers. You can find details on the convention by clicking on the link below:
Basically the Con is 24 hours of online gaming (normally using Google Hangouts), panels and giveaways; last year was great fun with people from different timezones getting together and gaming.
So what am I doing for Brigade Con 2015?
Well last year I ran a couple of panels for the convention whereas this year I’m going to be running two games, you can find details below:
The Thing from the Hills
(Fate Accelerated, Wild Blue Setting)
“Just a few generations ago, the people of what would be called the Blue Lands came in search of wealth and fleeing religious persecution. When they arrived, they found a land steeped in magic, valuable resources… and the Folk, inhuman and amazing magical beings. Unfortunately a war erupted for the Blue Lands, and the settlers won – pushing the Folk far to the west of this vast continent and establishing a kingdom in the Blue Lands.
The Blue Lands is now wealthy and wondrous, taking full advantage of the miracle mineral Cobalt, and the Skywood trees that grow lighter as they go older… even floating into the sky! But too, now are Powers: men and women born in the generations since arrival with gifts of superhuman talents and abilities unknown, and the numbers keep growing…
In order to negate potential dangers of Power abuse resulted in the creation of the Queen’s Wardens, the law-enforcement organization of Major Powers answering only to Queen Aurora V and no limit to their remit to defend the Blue Lands. With vengeful Folk, sky pirates, bandits, noble intrigues, monsters and more… get ready pardner.”
Word has reached the Wardens that something is killing the calves of Emerson Kleebergers herd in the ranching town of Edge Hill, threatening to stop the precious flow of food to Cobalt City; at his wits end Kleeburger has dispatched a message to the Queen begging her to send someone to investigate.
(NWOD werewolf using simplified rules system)
“There’s something wrong in your territory, there have been a rash of strange death, each victim dying with a rictus grin etched on their features; the deaths started when Bobos Circus of the Fantastic moved into the area, but strangely none of the mortal authorities seem to have made the connection, leaving it to the supernatural guardians of the small town of Strangehaven to track down and hunt the cause of this laughing plague.”
This game is a NWOD werewolf game where the players will portray members of the Uratha pack who claim the sleepy American town of Strangehaven as their territory; the game is for 3-4 players and uses a simplified version of the NWOD system more suited to one-offs, there will be a selection of pre-genned characters available as the pack finds themselves with a deadly mystery on their hands. Can they determine it’s cause and end the strange plague or will the small town die laughing?
Picture by Edward Walton Wilson, used for non-profit purposes, no challenge intended to any copyrights.
I’ve spent the last few hours writing up notes on the NPCs for my Changeling one-shot; I don’t want to post too much up at this point (although I do intend to put all the material up via Google Drive links after the game has run) so as not to spoil anything for my players but below is a taster of the sort of notes I’ve been making.
As many of you may be aware, I’m currently prepping a Changeling: the Lost one-off game; I’ve just got to the point in my planning where I’m starting to actually put the stats down for the NPCs.
One of the things I like about Fate (okay look, I’ve done well, I got a whole sentence out before I mentioned it ;)) is that important NPCs are genned up like normal characters, but minor characters have a quicker method of creating NPCs where you basically note down a couple of descriptive terms for them and then jot down a few things they are good at and a couple they are bad at. Everything else they are considered to be average at.
I wondered whether this could be applied to NWOD; the corebook defines attributes and skills like this:
So for the game I’m running (certainly for minor NPCs) I’m going to use the following dice pool ratings:
Bad at: dice pool 2
Average at: dice pool 4
Good at: dice pool 6
This should hopefully allow me to quickly create some minor NPCs without needing to have a cribsheet for them all.
Corrupt Beat Cop
Description: Uphold the law, willing to look the other way for the right incentive.
Good at: Shooting, driving
Bad at: Resisting a bribe, working out when they are being tricked, resisting mental coersion.
The NPC will be assumed to be ‘average’ at anything not mentioned in the above description (dice pool 4).
You may have seen my recent post about the pre-genned characters that are going to be used in my one-off C:tL game in a couple of weeks (if not you can find it here); this evening I’ve finished writing out the backgrounds for each of the characters and have posted them out to the players (who have already selected which characters they are going to be).
You can read the backgrounds using the following links:
- Blaze BG
- Bones BG
- Hare BG
- Sway BG
- Wolf BG
I’m preparing for the Changeling: the Lost one-shot that I’m going to be running in a couple of week; in the game the five players are going to be using pre-generated characters, I’ve just finished creating them, anyone interested can find details below:
You were once a promising sports star at NYU, the local newspapers called you the “shining light of the football team”; a small ligament injury caused you to briefly lose your edge but some of your team-mates said they’d
scored something to help you get it back so you arranged to meet them at Central Park. Unfortunately it turns out something else has seen your light and it took you and your team-mates to a land of cold and pain where you burned to light the way for inhuman things, somehow you lead some other captives to a way back, they’re your team now.
As a mortician attached to the NYPD you eventually started to put the pieces together, every 10 years a dozen people disappeare from the blocks surrounding Central Park but it appeared as though someone was covering
it up; you poked a little too deeply and one night as snow began to fall and you investigated one of the disappearance scenes the Horned God came for you, spiriting you away to his land of night where your skills were put to use preparing his kills, some of whom cried out in all too human voices; then one day you found the key to free the burning man from his prison.
You used to work in Central Park, sure you’d heard the rumours about how the previous ranger had disappeared almost 10 years before and that they’d been unable to find a replacement, but you loved your job and weren’t going to let any urban legends spoil it. So one night when you heard a sound like
an animal in pain you rushed out only to see a young woman being snatched away but a horned creature sat atop a demonic horse; without thinking you tried to prevent the abduction and were rewarded by being
taken to a land of ice and snow where you became the prey they hunted.
You were one of the finest dancers touring with the NY Ballet when one glorious winter night your fiancé popped the question you’ve been waiting to hear just outside the entrance to Central Park; horns sounded in the background and for a moment you thought Mark had hired them, but it was not only Mark who your beauty had captivated, and your new suitor
spirited you both away to a land of beautiful madness. You never saw Mark again but in time you were able to use your whiles to discover the location of the key to help free yourself & some of your fellow captors.
As a bouncer working outside the clubs in the districts surrounding Central Park you normally knew when to keep clear of trouble, you could almost smell it; you never knew why when you heard the young red haired man being taken that you tried to interfere but the next thing you knew you were bounds and shackled, little more than a hunting hound. Somehow you managed to survive; holding on to your humanity and your sense of
self until the young man appeared again, now burning like fire and lead
you back to the human world.
One of the things I really enjoyed when playing the excellent NWOD games run by Amy Williams at the recent UKGE (you can read my post about that here) was the condensed/simplified version of the NWOD rules that were used; these worked great for a one-off session and are something I was keen to carry forward myself.
Since i’m going to be running a Changeling: the Lost one-off soon I decided to have a go at putting together a condensed NWOD cheatsheet to give to my players (very few of whom have played NWOD before).
You can view the sheet by clicking on the link below:
I’ll shortly be running a Changeling: the Lost game one-off (using a streamlined version of the rules); in order to get the players into the mood of the game I created the video below:
In my previous post about streamlining the New World of Darkness I talked about condensing skills, this got a lot of interesting comments that make me think about the logistics of it a bit more and whether doing so would make the game too generic/less detailed; those of you who’ve been keeping up with my blogs and video posts will be aware that i’ve recently got back from the UK Games Expo, a large RPing convention that takes place over her in the United Kingdom. During the convention I played in two NWOD games games ran by Amy Williams, one was a mortals based game and the other Werewolf: the Forsaken; both games we very enjoyable and, by necessity due to the time-limits imposed by a convention slots, used a streamlined version of the NWOD rules.
I was absolutely blown away how the few minimal tweaks that Amy made actually made the dice-rolling/rules side of the game far quicker to play and, like any good GM, resolved to steal the ideas to use in my own home games.
So how did the method work?
Well keep in mind that we were playing pre-genned characters in a convention scenario, but basically there were a few things where dice-rolls are normally required that we were just allowed to do without recourse to a roll; the two main examples that jump out in my mind are entering the spirit world and changing shape in the Werewolf game.
I loved this because it not only reduced dice-rolling and sped up the game but it also meant you didn’t have that slightly deflated moment when you’re at a dramatic part of the game and you attempt to do something cool that is in the nature of your supernatural type only to be stymied by a poor dice-roll.
The other thing was that our gifts/supernatural powers were more loosely defined than they would be normally; basically if you had a group of powers that involved manipulating darkness, you’d simply say what you wanted to do and then make a dice-roll, success being based on your result.
One other aspect of the game that wasn’t really used in the tournament was the morallity mechanics, I’d like to keep these in the game somehow but will probably have to put more thought into how to streamline them (if necessary).
Using this method in Future
Okay, so below are my current thoughts for how i’m going to run a streamlined NWOD game:
- Use existing character sheets with various attributes + skills.
- Willpower expenditure adds 3 dice to a roll as normal.
- Health works as normal.
- Merit dots add to any roll where they are relevant and can be used (rather than the normal effects).
- Supernatural powers: Players describe the effect they are attempting to achieve based on the purview of the power, they then make an attribute + skill + level of dots in the power roll to determine if they succeed.
- Supernatural strength stats (blood potency, etc) can be added to rolls to resist the application of supernatural powers.
- Werewolves can add reknown dots as extra dice to any appropriate rolls.
- Changes or effects that are inherently part of a supernatural creatures make-up (as opposed to acquired by a power) do not require dice-rolls (ie. werewolves entering the spirit world, changing form).
I’m sure this will require some additional testing outside of a convention to make it work more in a campaign framework, but I think this is a great solid foundation to begin on for building a more streamlined WOD system.