Fiasco : The Ballad of the Claytons

I’ve recently acquired a copy of the very enjoyable Fiasco RPG from Bully Pulpit Games, unlike most traditional RPGs it doesn’t require a single gamesmaster and is more akin to a group storytelling game where you all create the elements of the story and then the scenes that take place in it. I recorded the audio from our first session and uploaded it to Youtube.

Warning: Strong language used throughout.

Clarence J. Murdock – Dresden Files Character

Dresden-Files-RPG-V1-V2As you’ll probably be aware if you’ve read my recent posts, we wrapped up my Jadepunk Campaign a short time ago, Thashif has stepped up to fill the timeslot and is going to be running a Dresden Files game, alternating with my FFG Star Wars campaign. I’ve played a little bit of DF but not a great deal and have only just actually acquired the books and am avidly reading my way through them, it uses a version of Fate that is a pre-cursor to the Fate Core rulebooks. It is easy to see places where the game was streamlined and tweaked between this version of Fate and Fate Core.

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Ritual Magic in Jadepunk

Aside

In the main Jadepunk rulebook, one of the lesser nations, the Ahlmac, are described as:

“blood worshippers, believing that power even beyond what jade can give is found in one’s own blood”

This was very interesting to me since magical effects obviously do exist in the system but they are largely confined to strange martial arts techniques or various amount of jade-based technology; however the write-up of the Ahlmac seems to suggest that they may have some form of power beyond that which Jade can offer. Of course this could be simple superstition or even techniques built using the normal Asset/Stunt system provided in Jadepunk; recently however I reviewed the excellent Crestfallen RPG by Dan Hiscutt (you can see the review by clicking here), one of the rules mechanics that really caught my attention was the way that rituals worked within the setting.

In Crestfallen magic is a slow and subtle art that involves rituallists gathering power and then shaping it to create a magical effect; it occurred to me that this could very well be ported into other games and that it might be an ideal match for the Ahlmac blood magic.

Please note: I’m not going to go into too much detail about the Crestfallen rules specifically here (if you are interested then I urge you to purchase a copy once it is availabe for generally release) but am going to produce some mechanics inspired by them.


 

Ahlmac Blood Rituals

Ahlmac blood rituals are represented by a series of rolls:

  1. A, Explorer roll to accumulate the required components of the ritual.
  2. A Scholar roll to prepare the ritual.
  3. The profession used for the third roll depends on the nature of the ritual:
    1. Aristocrat: Rituals of social manipulation and control.
    2. Engineer: Manipulating/interfering with Jadetech.
    3. Explorer: Aiding transportation or movement.
    4. Fighter: Inflicting harm or protecting someone from it.
    5. Scholar: Gaining knowledge or insight.
    6. Scoundrel: Rituals of disguise or theft.

Please note: In order to use Ahlmac blood rituals the character must have an Aspect that gives them narrative permission to do so, Assets can also be built that provide bonuses to blood sorcery.


Example Asset: Master of Blood Sorcery

Cost: 1 refresh
Technique
Guiding Aspect: Whatever aspect allows the character to use Ahlmac blood rituals.Feature: Focus (adds +1 blood ritual rolls)
Flaw: Situational (only when the caster has drawn blood in the scene)


Performing a blood ritual takes a day, however this can be reduced for each of the three rolls that is succeeded with style.

Number of Rolls succeeded in Style

0 – Ritual takes one day to perform.
1 – Ritual takes half a day to perform.
2 – Ritual takes six hours to perform.
3 – Ritual takes three hours to perform.

The difficulty of each roll depends on the effect that the rituallist is trying to achieve.

Explorer Roll Difficulties
This difficulty roll is based on how obscure the ingredients are and the final outcome of the ritual, the difficulties below list the type of enemies that could be affected to provide an example.

+2 Minimal – a non-combatant.
+4 Lesser – a single mook.
+6 Greater – a group of mooks.
+8 Major – a main villain.

Scholar Roll Difficulties
This roll is based on the surroundings and trappings that the rituallist has to hand, some example are given below:

+2 A lot of preparation, the rituallist is taking their time or is in a place consecrated to the Ahlmac religion.
+4 An average amount of preparation, the rituallist has had time to adequately prepare the ritual space.
+6 Minimal prepartion, the rituallist is hurried.
+8 No preparation or the rituallist is under fire.

Final Roll Difficulties
The final roll difficulties are largely left to GM discretion but should be based on the desired effect; for instance if the ritual were to inflict shifts of harm then the GM might take the number of shifts as the difficulty.

What if the ritual goes wrong?

A failed Explorer roll means that some mistakes were made with the trappings of the ritual and that the affect which occurs is not precisely the desired one, a failed Scholar roll results in the uncontrolled power of the ritual being released causing strange side-effects whilst a failure on the final roll depends very much on the desired effect of the ritual.

If you’re looking for further inspiration for ritual use or one method of using them in your games then I highly recommend that you check out the Crestfallen RPG.

Post LARP post

Aside

Well i’m sure you’ll have noticed that all’s been quiet on the Red Dice blogging front for the past few days; that’s because i’ve been indulging in the other aspect of the roleplaying hobby that I enjoy, namely LARP. For those of you who may not be aware of LARP (or LRP as it’s sometime’s called), it stands for Live Action Role-Play and is basically a group of people who act out or physical represent the action of a roleplay game (to some degree or other depending on the system). Now I first remember hearing about LARP when I was reading the second edition Vampire the Masquerade rulebook; it talked about the possibility of acting out some more conversational scenes but didn’t really include any rules or much in the way of suggestions how to do that so I didn’t really think much of it.

The next exposure I had to LARP was when I was mooching around my FLGS Spirit Games and heard someone discussing a Minds Eye Theatre Vampire game that was going at the nearby station hotel; being really into the Masquerade at the time I went along and for the duration of that game I enjoyed playing various vampires, first in a Sabbat game run by a good friend of mine and then later in other various games. Mind’s Eye Theatre is a game where you act out what your character is doing but whenever combat or anything occurs there is a system (normally based on rock-paper-scissors) that takes over; this is a bit of a compromise and puts MET halfway between tabletop and LARP to my mind, the advantage being you can run it in much smaller surroundings and more cheaply without having to worry about insurance or anything (since it’s none contact) but on the other side games (especially combat heavy games) can get really bogged down and it can take ages to resolve a large combat.

That’s not to say that MET cannot be enjoyable, I still play in a Werewolf: the Apocalypse game that I very much enjoy and have run a Hunter: the Reckoning game in the past where I tried to bridge the gap between contact LARP and MET, I don’t think the experiment was without it’s flaws but the people who played in the game seemed to enjoy it.

I play in a couple of contact LARP systems, the Outcast system (which I help crew and very much enjoy) and the Lorien Trust system (where I play a type of fey known as a redcap); these systems actually have a contact based combat system where foam latex weapons with solid cores are used. The Lorien Trust runs four main events in the UK, two in May and two in August, i’ve just got back from the second May event, known as the Great Edrejan Fayre (previously the Heartland Games); the premise for the event is basically a fantasy world version of the olympics where the various nations of the fictional world gather together and compete in different games. I’m not really into the games themselves TBH personally, although I certainly don’t begrudge the people who enjoy them, so the GEF is normally a fairly quiet event for me, sort of a “rest event.”

This event got off to a fairly slow start but on the second day everything to get much busier; I few of the highlights for me were:

  • Oberron king of the Fey visiting the mortal plane.
  • Getting to do some more diplomacy (my character being a diplomat for our faction).
  • Swearing fealty to Arcadia and the two newly elected fey princes (one seelie, one unseelie).
  • Accompanying a group back to my IC home the Everwood to locate a mute fey’s missing memories.
  • Having another player redcap fill me in on what he has found out about our races history and being able to potentially help out with that.

This brings me to one of the fundamental conflicts I have when it comes to contact LARP systems, by nature i’m not a particularly physically active person and to a great extent contact LARPs rely on your OOC abilities (for example: i’m not a fast runner so i’m never going to play some incredibly athletic character); given that I don’t have enough money to do LARP and other holidays, live-action events double as my holidays so I at least want to relax a little bit. I do normally come away from events feeling like I enjoyed it but that I could have done more during the event if only i’d been a bit more awake or more motivated.

That said, i’m working on motivating myself more and had an excellent time at the GEF, i’m part of a group of beastkin, urucks and fey called Squad D, and I always enjoy hanging around with my friends, also really enjoying my redcap character; hoping to start delving a bit more into the racial background of the fey as time goes forward.

I also tend to die a lot at LARPs and so i’ve always got half an eye to my next character, currently I have two in the pipeline, a dwarf and a dark-elf but i’m hoping to survive for a while as my current character since i’m really enjoying that at the moment.

Perhaps I just need to take more energy drinks to LARP? 😉