Future Youtube Videos

* RPG BUGBEARS – Excessive searching and obsession with detail.

* GM tips – Make sure your players understand the goal/aim of your game.

* GM tips – accents & vocal mannerisms

* Player tips – collaboration & selling

* RPG Questions – Importance of maps

* GM tips – The entirely improvised session

* RPG Bugbears – Lengthy scenery descriptions.

* RP based around equipment.

* Published metaplot vs sandbox

* Soundtracks in RPGs

* Railroading

* Getting new players involved in RPGs

* Balance of Prep

* Selling for other people

* “what people want” – make sure NPCs have motivations

* When to cut your losses with a rules system

* Player Tips – Creating compelling characters

* GM tips – Describing a scene

* Player Tips – Be cooperative

* Player Tips – The pluses and minuses of social characters

* Combats that take too long, chewing up entire sessions

* G+ hangout sessions – when to cut your losses

Jadepunk campaign newsletters now available

I’ve always been a huge fan as a GM in creating newsletters and things like that for games, I think it’s a great way of giving your players a wider view of the world and a sense of scope that things are occurring outside their own little bubble, this is great because it gives a campaign that sense of consistency and additional texture that can really help make a world come alive.

I’ve been producing newsletters for our Jadepunk Skyless City games and I’ve now made them available on the same page as the video files.

You can find them by clicking here.

1000 subscribers thank-you video

As you may or may not be aware Red Dice Diaries Youtube channel recently reached the landmark of 1000 subscribers (we’re actually a little bit past that now), we’re obviously over the moon about this and wanted to film a short video to thank everyone who has supported the channel 🙂

1000 subscribers on Youtube

I’m pleased to announce that my Red Dice Diaries Youtube Channel has now reached 1000 subscribers (it actually reached it last night, as of time of writing i’m slightly over); I do intend to record a proper thank you video incorporating some suggestions from members of the RPG Brigade (previously the Youtube RPG Brigade, the community that first encouraged me to create a channel), highlighting some of my favourite moments from RDD, talking about what I think i’ve learnt creating the channel and giving you a glimpse of what exciting stuff we have forthcoming for the channel (the expansion of this website being one of them).

Until i’ve got time to sit down and record the video I just wanted to put this post here to thank everyone who encouraged me to setup the channel, people i’ve gamed with online and everyone who has been supportive or offered constructive criticism as we’ve gone along (special props to Tim Harper who gave me some great advise about content when starting out and, along with several others, provided a great deal of encouragement and support) – I hope you’ve enjoyed the Red Dice Diaries ride so far, the future is looking bright with more to come in 2015/16.

Happy gaming to you all – wherever you are in the world 🙂

[RPG] Jadepunk Character Sheets

Some small alterations have taken place on the characters getting them ready for the first session (I tend to allow players to make minor alterations to their character sheets up until the third session), below are the current backgrounds and character sheets that we have.
Ba Tu Satoru
The man who would be known as Ba Tu Satoru was the son of the sculptor Yutaka Kazami. When he was a small boy, he made a friend at school, whose father was Isaku Jirou. One day, the fathers collaborated in a contest run by one of the council of 9, the goal was to present to them the greatest clockwork sculpture (fame and fortune as the reward). Kazami, being a sculptor by trade, lacked skill at engineering and making clockwork, while Jirou was poor at aesthetics, but they worked together to cover each other’s faults. Additionally, since his father’s eyesight began to fail, Ba Tu would help Kazami by working on the finer details of the sculptures for him, though everyone else believed that he was just there to watch.
On the last day of the contest, Jirou betrayed Kazami. He made his own son stop Kazami’s son from trying to help his father. Jirou’s son, while crying and begging for forgiveness, bound his best friend’s wrists and legs and went into Jirou ‘s hideout with him. Jirou locked him in, until he could come back .Meanwhile, Kazami killed Jirou in a rage and then fled the city, abandoning the search for his son. Since Jirou could not arrive back to release Ba Tu after the completion the boy began to starve in his prison.
Ba Tu would have eventually died, had it not been for the chance arrival of Dogen Hōinbō, a blind professional assassin who just happened to be passing by at the time with his dog Kuro, who noticed the pair. Hōinbō saved the boy and took him in. The trauma caused by his near-death experience left him unable to recall much from before his rescue.
Sora Yoshida
Born to a Naramel nomadic tribe called the Red Talons Sora Yoshida spent his child hood years hunting for red jade out in the desert wastes with his family. Educated by the elders of his tribe Sora, became accustomed to the traditions and beliefs of the old gods, the pursuit of virtue.
While navigating the dune sea Sora came across a long abandoned village, uncovered by the erratic winds that trap the unwary. Upon approach an airship crashed into the village with a thunderous roar, not unlike laughter to Sora’s ears. Racing to search for survivors, only one is found close to death and covered in strange, almost animated tattoos. 
Before Sora could react the man grabs him by both fore arms and whispers to him, “My time is at an end but yours is just beginning, you have been chosen for a great task, Sora and I am afraid a difficult burden”.
The deserts are no place for children, so unlike the other clans Naramel’s youngsters grow up fast, usually gaining a hard survivalists edge. Sora already had enough problems with the weird dreams and compulsions that seemed separate from his own. He had though the incident at the abandoned village was a nightmare he had dreamt up until the incident at grey tower trading post. He had been unpacking satchels of red jade to be bartered for provisions when he suddenly found himself involved in a dispute with a water merchant and the local militia. 
With a strength that seemed beyond him he threw the guards into the fortified town wall.
To prevent his execution for this folly his clan smuggled him out and sent him to a distant relative in Kausao city.  There he confided in what would become his mentor about what he had witnessed, He believed the solution was to honour the old gods through an ancient series of traditional dances. Secretly also a martial art Sora spent several years practicing and perfecting this tradition. That is until his mentor’s temple is shut down by corrupt law enforcement cracking down upon any form of martial arts.
This leads Sora to end up coming into contact with the City’s less savoury characters in order to survive.  
In return for a favour owed Sora was able to learn something of his “condition” from a contraband book. It tells various tales of the land, some familiar to him while others totally alien. The tale of the laughing emperor was particularly interesting. It spoke of a legend of a man who managed to imprison a powerful spirit referred to as a djinn whose magic came from magical ink that adorned its body. Forced to aid in the creation of an empire, when the mocking emperor made a grave error in insulting the creature wishing it could stop him if he could, knowing that spirit could no directly lay a hand upon his owner. The djinn in retribution sacrificed itself into a thousand shards reportedly imbuing individuals who come into contact with them with the power to fight tyranny. 
A small faded illustration of a man bearing remarkable tattoos not dissimilar to Sora’s own was also provided. Most interesting was the bracelet the sketched described as being the way in which this dangerous legacy can be used. 
To find this item if possible and learn to control his tattoos Sora decides the time has come to fight back.
Kaiyu Yuuto



Background TBC

[Actual Play] Skyless City – Session 1

This is the first session of our new Jadepunk campaign, it finds our heroes aboard a sabotaged Aerum airship plummeting towards Kausao, perhaps our heroes weren’t the only ones attempting to take advantage of the Governor’s aerial tour of the city? But can they allow the massive collateral damage that the airship crash will cause?

[Video-RPG] Jadepunk Setting & Character Creation

Myself and the three players for our forthcoming (and as yet untitled) Jadepunk game (Thashif, Jenny and Mathew) did a hangout last night where we did character creation and a bit of setting creation (hashing out the basic details of the characters home district within KauSao city). Very enjoyable (as always with this group), and we’ve got the first session scheduled for Sunday 28th, really looking forward to running it 🙂

[RPG] Fleshing out Kalkedos the Swamp Troll

Okay, so in our previous post about designing mythologically inspired monsters we came up with the basics for a creature called Kalkedos, once a greedy man who was cursed by the god of merchants when he killed his neighbour (a loyal follower of the god) after the man rebuffed Kalkedos’ intent to woo his daughter, drowning the man in the swamps near his home. As he died the merchant, a loyal follower of his god, cursed Kalkedos and the god of merchants answered, lending power to the curse. Kalkedos was transformed into a lumbering, clumsy creature with warty skin, green the colour of envy, his mind twisted he gathers the filth of the swamp to him as his ‘riches’ blind to the fact that it is refuse and lashing out at another who dares try to steal from his treasure.

Bound to the scene of his crime, Kalkedos is unable to leave the swamp unless he receives the forgiven of the merchant’s daughter (who fled when her father died), should this happen and she be able ot convince him to leave the swamp then the curse would be lifted.

So what else do we have to do?

Strictly speaking nothing, we can pick some appropriate stats from a monster manual/bestiary (or create some) and run with the monster as it is, however, there are a few additional questions that we help us flesh out the monster a bit more.

What does the monster look like?
We’ve already described Kalkedos as being green of skin and ugly of aspect, however we can flesh this out a bit further, keeping in mind the reason for his curse; since he was a greedy, grasping man I envision him as having long arms and powerful muscled hands that can shoot out of the water, grabbing prey, throttling it and dragging it below the water. Kalkedos also has large reflective eyes used for scanning the swamp for treasure and any trespassers attempting to steal what is his.

What abilities does it have?
Physical power is Kalkedos’ main ability, however the god who punished him did not want him to die in the swamp (since that would end his punishment) so Kalkedos regenerates all but the most vicious of injuries in time, however, no matter what he stuffs into his huge fanged maw the creature is always lean and permanently hungry, denied the ability to sate his urges and lusts.

What are it’s weaknesses?
Since Kalkedos is always hungry he is easily lured with food, his greed also leads to him being attracted to shiny objects whether or not they have any actual worth; however he is unable to look upon the truly beautiful since it reminds him of what he lost, seeing people or objects of great beauty drives him into a rage and he will go to any lengths to smash the offending object/person.

Is there a way to break the curse?
Besides the god of merchants, the only way for the curse to be broken is if the dead merchant’s daughter or a direct descendant of hers, forgives Kalkedos his crimes and can convince him to leave the swamp; if this happens then his warty troll skin will slough off and he will be restored.
  
If you’ve come up with any interesting creatures using our guides please drop me a line at reddicediaries@gmail.com, i’d love to hear about your creations.

[RPG] Monstrous Questionnaire

As a companion piece to my GM Tips – Making monsters monstrous video, please find below a quick checklist for creating monsters based on a mythological model, answering these questions will give a bit of extra background and interest to truly monstrous monsters.

Questionnaire

1. How was the monster created?
– A result of divine procreation with a mortal (answer question 2).
– As a result of a curse (answer question 2 & 3).
– Created by a great power for a specific purpose (answer question 2 & 4).
– Monster is actually a form of lesser divinity or similar power (answer question 6).

2. If a divinity or higher power was involved in the creation what was the nature of the power involved?
(these descriptions are based on the greek gods listed on http://www.rickriordan.com/my-books/percy-jackson/explore-mythology/greek-gods.aspx but you can substitute your own)

– Sky
– Home & family
– Sea
– Agriculture & farming
– War
– Wisdom
– Music, poetry & prophecy
– Moon & hunting
– Fire & the Forge
– Love & beauty
– Merchants, Trade & Thieves
– Wine & celebration
– Underworld & Death
– Sleep
– Victory
– Choices
– Revenge
– Messages & Communicaiton
– Magic & spirits
– Luck & Fortune

If the monster is the offspring of a god then it’s powers will be related to their parent although they will normally be reflected on the physical appearance of the creature.

Example: The god of sky may sire a creature with huge wings or that is feathered like a bird.

Example: The god of sleep may give birth to a creature that only exists during the hour of dreams (night-time) or that can only be seen in the time just after waking when dreams are closest to the real world.

3. Why was the mortal cursed?
– Directly insulting the god.
– Taking actions that directly oppose the god.
– Wronging loyal servants of the god.
– Mis-using a talent/abilities granted by the god.

A mortal cursed by the god will tend to have powers and abilities that reflect those of the deity that cursed them, however they are often made twisted and grotesque.

Example: The god of sky may curse a person to become a monster harpy, a twisted bat-like creature with a barely human face.

Example: The god of sleep may trap a cursed person away from the waking world allowing them only to communicate in dreams, or perhaps they cause bad dreams and trouble sleep wherever they go (making people irritable and causing them to turn on the cursed individual).

4. What purpose was the monster created for?
– To punish those who oppose the gods.
– To guard something precious (also answer question 5).

Monsters created to punish someone are normally specifically tailored to deny those being punished some aspect of their life that they value or require, without simply killing them.

Creatures created to guard something precious are normally encountered only in the vicinity of the thing that they are guarding and have senses that cover the area, making it very difficult to sneak up and purloin their treasure. However, most such creatures have a method via which safe access to their charge can be obtained incase the gods should seek to send a favoured servant to acquire the item.

Example: The god of sky creates a giant eagle to guard one of his thunderbolts, the bolt lies in a huge nest constructed by the beast on an impossibly tall mountain.

Example: The god of sleep creates a monster to punish a debauched town of celebrants, the creature pursues them through dreams which begin pleasant and turn to nightmares, causing them to wake without the benefit of rest.

5. Where is the precious item located?
– In a faraway land.
– In a geographical inaccessible place (the bottom of an ocean, the top of a mountain).
– Protected in a hidden demi-plane accessible only via a portal or when specific conditions are met.
– The item is located inside or is part of the creature itself.

6. Which deity is the creature related to or affiliated with?
– Pick one of the deities from question 2 (or add your own).
– Then choose a more specialised/specific element that might fall under their portfolio (ie. clouds for sky, nightmares for sleep, vanity for beauty, etc).
– A lesser divinity will have powers and abilities related to it’s specific portfolio, these will be reflected on it’s physical form to a lesser degree.

Example: Related to the war god, a lesser-divinity of violence & fury may appear as a huge man with bulging muscles, glowing red eyes and a permanent expression of fury.

By making choices from this list and thinking about the various elements you should be able to create a monster in the style of the ancient greek/roman myths.

As an example: I’m going to create Kalkedos (the swamp troll from the video) by using the questionnaire.

Kalkedos the Swamp Troll

1. How was the monster created?
– As a result of a curse (answer question 2 & 3).
Kalkedos killed his neighbour when the man rebuffed Kalkedos’ intent to woo his daughter, drowning the man in the swamps near his home.

2. If a divinity or higher power was involved in the creation what was the nature of the power involved?
– Merchants, Trade & Thieves
As he died the merchant, a loyal follower of his god, cursed Kalkedos and the god of merchants answered, lending power to the curse. Kalkedos was transformed into a lumbering, clumsy creature with warty skin, green the colour of envy, his mind twisted he gathers the filth of the swamp to him as his ‘riches’ blind to the fact that it is refuse and lashing out at another who dares try to steal from his treasure.

Bound to the scene of his crime, Kalkedos is unable to leave the swamp unless he receives the forgiven of the merchant’s daughter (who fled when her father died), should this happen and she be able ot convince him to leave the swamp then the curse would be lifted.

3. Why was the mortal cursed?
– Wronging loyal servants of the god.
Killing the merchant.

If you produce any monsters using this system drop me a line about them either to reddicediaries@gmail.com, i’d love to see your creations.