[RPG] Numenera Session Notes

I’ve just finished running a very enjoyable Numenera where the whole of reality and even people’s memories was questioned by the player characters before they discovered the horrible truth that the world they thought that they knew had been ended hundreds of years before at the hands/tentacles if an alien menace called the Widow Makers and that their world was a copy saved from destruction through the mind of a genius Nano and the power an ancient machine called the Latos.
The final session of the game was broadcast live (despite some technial difficulties) and can be watched by clicking on the video thumbnail below.
Despite the dark premise the game ostensibly had a happy ending with one of the player character taking the place of the previous occupant at the heart of the machine and repairing the damage done to their world.
Given that the campaign has now finished I thought that i’d share some of the notes that I made in advance of the final session; a lot of this had existed up until this point only in my head but I wanted to get it all down in black and white before the last game.
The picture below shows the bizarre ecology that existed within the bowels of the great machine:
The picture below shows the rough layout of the area where the final session took place:
More details about the stalactite tower hanging from the cavern roof and the inhabitants:

A closer look at the great machine:

A few quick sketches and stat-notes for the potential encounters during the final game:

I really had a great time playing Numenera, the system is fairly easy to use (although not the most intuitive i’ve ever used) and get to grips with and the strange background is great, encouraging you to think of truly weird concepts and use them in ways that you might not have considered before.

Caradoc ap Skegovax – Age of Arthur character

Age of Arthur Character Sheet
Caradoc ap Skegovax

I’m currently filming a review of Wordplay Games excellent Age of Arthur RPG (a game of heroic fantasy with historical/Arthurian leanings) for release on my Youtube Channel on Wednesday 29/01/14, in the review I talk about how easy the character generation is, it occurred to me that it might be useful for people to see the character that I created for a game being run by my friend Dave.
So without further ado below is the character sheet (2 rough pages, 1 final sheet page) of Caradoc ap Skegovax (Caradoc son of Skegovax) a pictish druid who believed his parents dead and was adopted by the aging druid of the pictish settlement where he lived; when his mentor was slain in the great battle against the Saxons, on his death-bed he revealed that Caradoc’s mother had in-fact been one of the fey and that, when his father had died, she had returned to her own people. Caradoc swore to his mentor as he died, that he would always keep the old ways in his heart and would bring the land and it’s people back to the old faith.
These first two sheets are my rough working out and jotted ideas/notes.
This last sheet is the simple final character sheet that our DM printed out for us and has the neat(er) version of my character written up on it.
Looking around on the internet I also looked for a picture to represent my character, since I always find having a visual representation of things in RPGs really helps people visualise characters, items and locations.
This image really grabbed me and represented everything that I wanted to portray about my character in the game, although he is part of the tribe Caradoc is as much at home in the wilds and with the animals as he is civilisation; leaning on his ancient staff and carrying a small leather bag filled with herbs and roots he wears both man-made garments and the skins of animals, seeking to meld the two worlds together, living in harmony as he strives to return people to the ways of the old faith.
Since I played a largely combat character in the previous Dresden files game run by my friend (and because I was eager to try out the excellent looking magic systems in Age of Arthur) I pretty much went for an all out arcane and research-style character; I did have to make some tough decisions regarding what to take since all magic in Age of Arthur requires a skill and a stunt to use it, this meant that a lot of my skills and pretty much all of my stunts were taken up by various magic styles, making me a jack of all (magical) trades but master of none, whereas if I had focussed on one I could have taken additional stunts to expand my capabilities within that domain.
In the end though I have a druid who is capable of placing druidic curses and blessings on people, divining the future, healing with a touch, wielding the illusions and glamours of the fae by calling on his heritage and of changing shape into a number of different animals; this is great but i’m sorely lacking in other departments as a result and will be relying on my wife Hannah’s and my friend Kelly’s characters to keep me safe from more mundane threats, handily their characters are both far more physically capable than my own.

Red Dice Diaries – video uploads

Recently i’ve been thinking about the frequency with with I upload videos to my Youtube channel, and i’ve generally approached it in a fairly sporadic way so far, posting videos when and where inspiration strikes me. I’ve been trying to discipline myself when it comes to managing my RPG campaign notes recently and have already started to see that have a positive effect, allowing me to manage my time more confidently (which is important considering the amount of games i’m involved in ATM, not to mention real-life commitments). My channel is now approaching 200 subscribers (197 as of time of writing, thank you everyone out in Youtube land who had subscribed, it is great appreciated :)) it has struck me that my channel might benefit from some of the same disciplined treatment.
Starting this week I have set myself the aspiration of putting out a single new video every Wednesday, this seems a fairly manageable target and should hopefully give the people following the channel a more regular schedule for new stuff being uploaded rather than the sort of scatter-gun approach that i’ve been taking so far.
So what videos do I have in mind at the moment?

Well the following are just some of the ideas that I have that I want to get around to filming:
  • Review – Age of Arthur (Fate)
  • Review – Within the Ring of Fire (RAW Immersive Games)
  • GM tips – Getting new players involved in RPGs
  • GM tips – how to encourage players to be more active in sessions
  • LARP bugbears – lengthy NPC briefs (with no notes)
  • Roleplaying based around equipment
  • Plus the usual actual-plays and stuff like that
I’m really excited and looking to the more regular schedule and filming some more videos over the coming weeks, hope that the people who watch my channel (and anyone who is new to it) will enjoy the videos 🙂

I’m not sure yet whether i’m going to use the new schedule to also update this written blog, I expect that i’ll try it for a bit and see how it works.

Numenera style Fate Accelerated character generation

Just before this Christmas I spotted a copy of Monte Cook’s Numenera RPG in my FLGS (Spirit Games) and, having read some interesting reviews on the book (and being quite a fan of Monte Cook’s variant D20 supplements) thought i’d treat myself to a copy as an early Christmas present. The setting is an intriguing blend of science-fiction and fantasy sent in a future version of our own world, but many million years in advance of present day; the inhabitants of this world call it the ninth-world since eight great civilisations have risen and fallen back into the dust before the beginning of the game, each leaving their mark upon the game world. A large part of the game involves the inhabitants of the ninth-world digging in the ruins of the past, discovering oddments and technology that can help them survive in their own world.
So how does this relate to character generation in Fate?

I hope to do a full video review on Numenera for my Red Dice Diaries Youtube channel, I wasn’t massively sold on the rules system, but the background and the blending of sci-fi and fantasy (along with the theme of exploration and discovery) is a great one and extremely compelling.

One of the mechanics that I did like was that a short sentence is used as a character descriptor that takes this form: “I am adjective noun who verbs.”

For example, a suitable description might be “I am a tough warrior who carries a sword forged from dragons scales” or “I am wise shaman who speaks with the spirits of the dead.
In the Numenera rules the adjective helps to determine your character stats, the noun determines character class and the verb determines your characters focus (the various cool abilities that you can call on during the game).
It will come as no surprise to those who know me that, as soon as I starting reading this, my mind turned to how this could possibly be used in a Fate game; although I plan to give this more thought after the Christmas period, my current idea is that it could be used to aid character generation in a streamlined version of Fate.

So how would that work?

Well the player would start with the sentence and would pick one of the Fate Accelerated approaches as the adjective, the noun would be the high concept of the character and the verb would be a stunt.

For example: “I am a quick pirate who is captain of the ship, the Crimson Dagger.

The player would get a default skill roll of +0 for all approaches and a +2 for the approach chosen in their adjective, the noun would represent the high concept and could be invoked/compelled in a normal way; the verb would be a stunt using the normal Fate Accelerated rules for stunts (either a +2 bonus in specific circumstances or a 1/game rules exception).
For example: If I created a character with the sentence “I am a sneaky thief who is deadly when striking from the shadows.

This character would get +0 on all approaches besides sneaky (one which he would receive a +2), could invoke/have compelled the concept of thief as per the normal rules and would have a stunt that allowed them to gain a +2 when striking from the shadows.

This isn’t a 100% foolproof or completely defined method at present, but I certainly think that it has potential.

Expanding and linking my channel

After Jacek Brzezowski commented on one of my videos on G+ about setting up an RSS feed it occurred to me that I had a number of different ‘pages’ spread across the internet to do with my blogging and Youtube channel; it occurred to me that it might be a good idea to consolidate them.

Below is the current list of ‘pages’ for my channel: