Podcast Episode 41 – Am I too old for the World of Darkness?

In this podcast episode, myself, Hannah and Lloyd discuss whether we’re too old for the World of Darkness, the vampire genre in general and some of the positive and negative sides of Storyteller games.

You can find the uncut version on Twitch:

Watch Podcast Live & Uncut: Am I too old for the World of Darkness? from RedDiceDiaries on www.twitch.tv

You can also find the edited version here on Anchor:

Music on Podcast Title

Shinigami by XTaKeRuX:
http://freemusicarchive.org/music/XTaKeRuX/Empty_Grave/Shinigami

Used under creative commons licence:
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Podcast Episode 40 – Over-production in RPGs

The edited version of our recent podcast recording “Over-production in RPGs” is now available on Anchor, I’m joined by Johannes Paavola, Mathew Bryan, Andre Martinez and Dennis Bach.

Music on Podcast Title

Shinigami by XTaKeRuX:
http://freemusicarchive.org/music/XTaKeRuX/Empty_Grave/Shinigami

Used under creative commons licence:
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Podcast Episodes 31 & 32 – Johannes Paavola double-feature

I’m away for the weekend LARPing so–as a treat–I thought that I’d release a couple of episodes simultaneously, I’m lucky enough to be joined in these episodes by Johannes Paavola to talk about V20, the WOD, OSR, Stars Without Number and other such stuff.


Episode 31 – JP & John talk V20 and WOD

In this first episode of our JP double-feature, we discuss Johanne’s excellent V20 Sabbat game, the old WOD, how it’s aged and a few initial thoughts on the new version of vampire, V5.


Here is a link to the website Utility Muffin Labs that Johannes mentions in the podcast.


Episode 32 – JP & John talk OSR and Stars Without Number

In the second episode of our double-feature we chat about OSR games in general and go all fan-boy about Kevin Crawford’s stuff.


Here are some links related to the discussion in Episode 32:


Many thanks to Johannes for joining us for these two episodes, we hope that you enjoy listening to them as much as we did filming them 🙂

Aside

Committing to a System

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about why I find certain new systems a little difficult to get into, it takes me a while to pick them up, whilst some older systems (like the OWOD system) are very firmly lodged in my mind; now this might not seem like much of a problem but it can be frustrating, since you tend to hit that point of fully understanding and mastering a new system fairly near the end of a campaign (or at least I do). As someone who hasn’t really tended to run a lot of consecutive games using the same system, by the time I swing around to running the same system again I normally have to brush up on the rules again, whereas with OWOD I went through a period in my student days where I was running and playing in many different games all using that system, so I really had a chance to get into it and learn how it worked.

So why am I rambling about this? Well I’m currently running a Star Wars campaign (you can see the videos of that by clicking here), I’m loving the system but, like most games it takes a little bit of mastering; myself and my players are starting to use the intricacies of the system a little more (we are running session 8 of the game in a couple of weeks), but again I fear we’re only going to hit that sweet spot where we’re all up to speed and really comfortable with the system a little further down the line. This seems a shame, and so I’ve decided that, rather than my normal behaviour, running a single game using the system and then moving on to something else, that when my current Edge of the Empire campaign game finishes (although that won’t be for some time yet) I’m going to follow it by running another Star Wars game. I may decide to run Age of Rebellion or Force and Destiny instead of Edge of Empire since these games use the same rules system, but I definitely want to master the system more.

Call of the Wyld Hunt: Pre-genned Characters

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:

  • Blazeblaze

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.

Blaze character sheet

  • Bones

bonesAs 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.

Bones character sheet

  • Hare

hareYou 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.

Hare character sheet

  • Sway

swayYou 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.

Sway character sheet

  • Wolf

wolfAs 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.

Wolf character sheet

Streamlining the WOD: What I learned at UKGE 2015

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.

Writing a Werewolf Downtime

One of the things that appeals to me about version 2 of the NWOD Werewolf: the Forsaken is that the emphasis of the game has been placed squarely back on the hunt, something that i’ve always seen as being essential to the werewolf mythos, after all what’s the point in RPing someone who turns into a predator if they then don’t behave like one? Even in books/films where people are struggling against the curse of lycanthropy the struggled is normally spurred on by the damage inflicted during moonlit hunts.

I’m also playing in an OWED MET Werewolf: the Apocalypse game (helping me to cram in as many acronyms as possible) that my friend Dave is running in Derby at the moment; since i’m a bit wooley on the OWOD werewolf background (being more a fan of the NWOD iteration) I went for a Red Talon lupus ahroun.

Red Talons

The Red Talons are the claws of Gaia; they are her rage at the human race given form, or so they believe. The Talons come almost entirely from lupus stock; only in the last few decades have they even accepted Metis that come from Talon-Talon matings.

Lupus Garou

A lupus is a Garou who was born as and raised as a wolf. Many lupus are familiar with Gaia and bear a strong grudge towards humans for their tampering; this frequently extends to HomidGarou.

I did this for a couple of reasons, one was because I didn’t have a lot of free time to be creating detailed backgrounds and meddling around with influences (something i’ve always seen as more appropriate to Vampire: the Masquerade than werewolf anyway) and also because I didn’t want to get too enmeshed in the OWOD werewolf cosmology, I wanted to focus on playing the part of a predator and enjoying the RP that lead to.

Writing the Downtime

Of course I still do downtimes since they add a lot to the game and allow you to get things accomplished between monthly game sessions, but that left me with a quandry, how could I create a downtime that was actually meaningful whilst still keeping the essential character of the wolf-like lupus hunter?

The answer I’ve found is to try and view everything as a type of hunt; I do this by breaking the downtime down into three stages which I have nicknamed hunt, capture and kill.

  1. Hunt (stalking stage)The hunting stage is all about discovering what you want and working out the best way of going about obtaining it; get the scent of what it is that you want to achieve and then make a few quick darts at it to determine the best course of action.Example: If our werewolf has decided to kill a vampire, follow it for a while, then follow who it speaks to, possibly make a few attacks or feints at some of it’s servants to see how the creature responds; when you know how it behaves then you can move onto the next stage.
  2. Capture (closing in)In the capture stage you’ve decided on your best method of approach and begin to carry it out; once you have decided on an approach commit fully to it, throwing all your resources and abilities into it.Example: We’ve discovered that the vampire has a servant that it particularly values, our werewolf stalks the servant and then captures it, leaving a visible sign (possibly a severed limb, some blood or perhaps a note for the more squeamish) for the vampire to find letting it know that it’s servant is in danger unless it comes to the abandoned warehouse at the docks.
  3. KillThis is the climax of the hunt, once you reach this stage continue to commit fully to bringing down your quarry or achieving your aim, however, a wise hunter does not entirely lose their head; look for ways to maximise your chances of achieving your aims but also leave yourself a get-away.Example: The servant is restrained and left in the middle of the warehouse, whilst our werewolf lurks nearby in a spot overlooking the building so that he can see when the vampire arrives; if he has access to such equipment then he may have rigged the area with explosives, if not then simple home-made devices will do. When the vampire approaches he is allowed to rescue the servant (the emotions of the moment will distract him) and then bombarded with explosives designed to weaken/confuse him, the werewolf then closes in to finish the kill personally.

I’ve found that this approach to writing downtimes allows me to still get a reasonable amount done without the character just becoming a human with fur.