Review – iHunt: Killing Monsters in the Gig Economy

•April 19, 2020 • Leave a Comment

It’s not often that I encounter an RPG that commands my attention the way #iHunt has. It is personal, political, and unapologetic. It knows what it is and conveys that to the reader in no uncertain terms on every level.

Check out this business right before the title page:

#iHunt is a game by and for the LGBTQ+ community. This is a game by and for poor people. This is a game for all the people society leaves behind and lets fall through the cracks. We wrote this game to see ourselves kicking ass in a world when the game industry at large is still hostile to diversity despite all the claims to the contrary. This isn’t a game with some milquetoast sidebar about how “you are allowed to play gender non-binary characters.” This is a game about marginalized people. Are you allowed to play it if you are not from a marginalized group? Of course. But understand that this is a game written about our concerns apologetically, first and foremost, front and motherfucking center. This is our wold. You’re a tourist. Welcome to the show.

And what a show it is. This statement echoes clearly throughout the entire book. There are discussions on player safety at the table, a chapter on #thinkingpoor, and an endless array of diverse people living, working, and playing on nearly every page. Continue reading ‘Review – iHunt: Killing Monsters in the Gig Economy’

SotDL Session 1: As Below, So Above

•November 1, 2019 • Leave a Comment

Sooo.. session 2 ended up being a lot shorter than planned. I expected to be introducing combat mechanics for the first time and then the players made thoughtful, compassionate decisions that turned a combat encounter into a skill-challenge (D&D 4e mechanic, although may similar contests exist in other RPGs).

Our 4th player made it! “Joe” was renamed “John Johns” was fleshed out a bit in play. Despite the jokey name, this character is the straight man to the rest of the party’s antics.

One of the other players couldn’t be there, but we had a guest who sat in for Grievance and she played them brilliantly. She was a first-time player and really enjoyed the session. If introducing the someone new to the hobby and having it be a home-run experience for them is the highlight of the campaign, I’m fine bombing from here on out.

Session 1

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SotDL Session 0: Exodus

•October 13, 2019 • Leave a Comment

Necromancy! I’m running a Shadow of the Demon Lord [SotDL] campaign for the first time. Blogging has been a huge help in re-capping and organising my thoughts during a campaign, so the blog is back for a bit.

For those that don’t know, Shadow of the Demon Lord is an RPG by Rob Schwalb. It’s a high-fantasy, apocalypse-in-progress RPG with horror elements. A Demon Lord campaign is intended to run in a dozen or so sessions, one for each of the eleven character levels.

Horror is not an easy genre for me. Apart from a session or two of Don’t Rest Your Head, I don’t have much experience running it.

Session 0

Continue reading ‘SotDL Session 0: Exodus’

Savage Star Wars 2

•August 22, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Download: Savage Savage SW 2

Our local Star Wars game is over and we’re moving on to Starfinder for a bit. I thought now would be a good time to share the final version of my Savage Star Wars document.

Except… somewhere along the way the bookkeeping involved in Savage Worlds’ Powers system left me cold. I ended up re-writing over half the document and I don’t feel that it has been adequately play-tested to be considered “final”. I can say that the action flowed much better once we switched to this so.. mission accomplished!

I may come back to this someday because vehicles are still conspicuously absent. However, in the mean time I look forward to your comments!

[Edit] Based on comments  in the Savage World community on G+, I changed “Arcane Background: The Force” to “Force Sensitive”. The was to avoid confusion because all other Arcane Background feats give you access to the powers subsystem.

I ran a spell-check.

Lastly, I moved a few things to make the document a page longer. If you print it double-sided, each rules segment will be self-contained on one physical page. This also had the side-effect of putting all the [Dark] Hindrances on one page–perfect for printing to share with the table.

Savage Star Wars [draft]

•November 16, 2016 • Leave a Comment

*Gasp* An update! I stopped blogging for personal reasons. I finally have something to share and no other place to put it, so I’m back.

I’ve been playing Star Wars on alternate Sundays. We started with Fantasy Flight’s Star Wars RPG which is interesting. However, the GM eventually decided that it wasn’t supporting the style of game that he wanted and he switched us to Savage Worlds.

There is, of course, no official support for Star Wars in this system. The fan-based projects that we found didn’t satisfy, so I started my own write-up. I’m still new to the system, so I hewed as closely to the core rules as I could. When it comes to powers that includes the time-honored tradition of re-skinning existing powers. 😉

You can download the draft here: savage-star-wars

Conveniently, the completion of the first draft coincides with the death of my character, so I’ll be making a new character using this draft for the next session. the really challenge is winning over the current Jedi player and perhaps your approval as well. I certainly appreciate any comments and suggestions you can make to make the document better.

Strange Pitch

•August 23, 2015 • Leave a Comment

I sent the following pitch for a The Strange campaign to a couple of my old Marvel players and they flipped out.

“It should be obvious, even to rooks like you, that for every agent in the field The Estate employs a score or more of non-agents. Their job is to support you in the field or to keep the cogs of bureaucracy turning smoothly. A majority of these people don’t even know what is it that The Estate does. Many of them lack even the spark that would allow them to understand, even if someone were to tell them.

[“Most of them…”, he mutters.]

You are all intimately familiar with the Psych Division and the regs regarding a full evaluation after each mission. In order to perform their function, the counselors are granted full clearance to hear all details you may divulge in your sessions. Any additional information they believe necessary to make their assessment is doled out on a need to know basis. All of those requests, as well as information shared with Cartography used to be funneled through the Director of Psych.

[The chief clicks his remote and the image of a balding middle-age man appears on the wall.]

In 2000 and 8, The Director left for Earth Prime and disappeared with a reality seed that was recently retrieved by The Estate. We’ve sent older, more experienced agents after him but none of these efforts have succeeded, we believe, because the agents were known to him. You are among the best of the new agents recruited since his departure.

You have one hour to review his dossier, to familiarize yourself with his activities under his assumed name, and then we will reconvene to discuss your mission.

[The dossier is for “The Director AKA Kevin Feige on Wikipedia“]

Continue reading ‘Strange Pitch’

The Role of Rules in RPGs

•August 22, 2015 • Leave a Comment

This post has been a long time in coming and it is still terribly incomplete. What can you add to it?

1. Rules prevent or assist in resolving player conflicts. (GMs are players for this rule.)

I am sometimes asked about RPGs by people who learn how I spend my free time but know nothing about the role-playing games. Nearly everyone has heard of D&D but they don’t know what it is. So I start simple. Continue reading ‘The Role of Rules in RPGs’

Random Thoughts: Apocalypse and Revelation

•August 2, 2015 • 1 Comment

I posted the following on G+ last night and the only response was a +1 from Vince Baker. I’ll take it.

A few weeks ago, I had a new thought about PbtA games.

For a while now, I’ve been telling anyone that would listen that I love how the experience of Dungeon World is defined through the player’s moves. Moves have a fictional trigger, highlighting the experiences the designers what you to have while playing their game. You change the triggers and the game will feel different because the emphasis of what is important to your game has changed.

But what just recently occurred to me is that is only half of what moves do. Rolling dice in Dungeon World isn’t really about success or failure–it is about choosing how the narrative will advance from that point. This is just as important as the trigger for establishing the genre and style of game play because it reinforces the beats you want to hit in your game.

I haven’t fully processed this thought yet (I don’t get to sit and think about RPGs as much as I like to), so it’s still percolating on the back burner of my mind. I still have to return to finishing off my 13th Age conversion for the Ravenloft game. I’ve got all the plot notes sussed out, so that’s mostly monster design but I bet I can find a way to use that idea while I’m at it.

It’s too soon to have anything thoughtful to add, but I was encouraged by the response.

I’m not done formulating follow-up questions, but to start:

  • How do I incorporate this technique into my general GMing style, regardless of system? Should I?
  • What other narrative-heavy systems do something similar and what makes them different? The first example that comes to mind is Fate’s Aspects.

This all dances around the idea that system matters. There’s no such thing as a generic system because the mechanics, be they few or many, have a quantifiable effect on the decisions we make as players and GMs. And because they influence how we play and create, they might bring an element of sameness regardless of genre?

Anyway, I’m a big fan of rules that enhance your game-play rather than the opposite.

Expedition to Castle Ravenloft in the 13th Age: Sessions 18 & 19

•August 2, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Sometimes it feels like we’ve hit the doldrums of the campaign. It’s not he story, which is gaining in focus and in pace, but rather the difficulty of managing summer schedules. As a group, we agreed that adding another player might help us meet a quorum for a bi-weekly game. I invited Matt, who played 1ceman in my Marvel: Age of Apocalypse game back when I started streaming RPG sessions.

Sadly, Matt’s availability is due to chronic health issues that have had a huge impact on his ability to make a living as well as the equally chronic medical expenses. Matt is offering his RPG expertise for hire. He will run, design, or help design games for you in return for a donation. If that interests you, check out his Google Plus post on the subject.

Now on to the games!

Continue reading ‘Expedition to Castle Ravenloft in the 13th Age: Sessions 18 & 19’

Expedition to Castle Ravenloft in the 13th Age: Session 17

•June 11, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Back in the saddle after two long months!

Continue reading ‘Expedition to Castle Ravenloft in the 13th Age: Session 17’