luckykaa: (d20)
I like the Spike d6 system. Basically the way it works is roll a d6. GM rolls a d6. Stuff happens. Usually. Soemc haracters use cards instead.

This was [personal profile] flickums' Twisted Princess game. I was Alice. I was quite mad and wanted Disneyland back. I was assisted by Malificent, Frollo from Hunchback, and Dr. Facilier from The Princess and The Frog. Our usual GM was unable to make it so Flickums ran this as a one-shot.

Damn those princesses were mean!

Alice had the cool mechanic that she used cards rather than dice. Different cards had different effects. Mostly the face cards. It was probably a mistake for me to keep shuffling them but I'm a fidget and I like shuffling cards. I kept summoning hedgehog/flamingo croquet sets.

It was a fun game. Nice story. I heartily approve of any mechanics light/roleplay based game.

luckykaa: (d20)
I went to the Traders' hall at the Rolepaying event. One of the tables had a lot of roleplaying books. I was tempted by a Star Trek game, but it turned out it was the Player's Handbook. It has the rules to play but possibly not enough to run a game. You also need the narrators handbook.

That seems like quite an investment.

Too many games are aimed at people who already play RPGs. And these are hefty books. There's a lot to read before you can start having fun and actually playing the game.

They're not all that newbie friendly. Especially for a newbie GM.

You should be able to pick up a book, having never played an rpg before, get a group of friends together and just play. And some systems are good for this. Spirit of the Century came with example characters, lots of examples and a scenario. And mentioned how to play with ordinary dice. Cthuhlu is a little dense perhaps, but does come with everything you need in a single volume. Plus the rules are pretty simple anyway. With something like D&D; it requires a lot of work and effert to get started, and the rules can be pretty complex (although later editions have improved this). The target market is people who have played the previous games. I think nobody, except those few who bought the early boxed editions back in the 70's and early 80's, ever played without someone else introducing them to the game.

Something I was somewhat impressed with was Challenger RPG. It actually does give a lot of genuine advice for a newbie! I have certain issues with the dice mechanics (see earlier post - I'm not that keen on d20 systems) and it does seem a little heavy on jargon but I am quite pleased and it's well worth the £0.00 I spent on it. It even came in e-book flavour!

I quite like the idea of running a game but it frightens me. It should be fun and easy, not frightening and a chore! Too many games seem to forget this.
luckykaa: (d20)
In Tabletop RPGs skills are modelled using dice and a "skill" parameter. You state your intention to attempt a task. The Game Master (GM) asks you to roll. The mechanics of the system ensure that people who are good at a skill are more likely to succeed than those who are not.

Dungeons and dragons mostly relies on a roll of a 20 sided die. Some games use percentile dice, or sets of polyhedrals. But how do we acurately model skill?

Let's compare two archers

John Klutz (skill level: "incompetent") has barely a clue. He holds the bow incorrectly, takes a bad stance and tries pulling the arrow rather than drawing the string. The arrow will still go in a direction approximating forwards. But he'll rarely get a bullseye.

At the other end of the scale, we have the legendary archer (Robin Hood, or Katniss Everdeen). They never miss!

A fluke for John Klutz is hitting the centre ring. A calamity is hitting someone behind him.

For the legendary archer though, we expect that. Even a mere Olympic archer will hit yellow more often than not. A fluke result for a legend is Robin Hood hitting the arrow that's already in the target. A calamity is Katniss not hitting the centre when it mattered most.

Flukes and calamities are what makes things exciting. They add more than a simple pass/fail. Robin Hood doesn't just win! He passes into legend! Katniss needs to do something incredible to make up for the failure. These are million to one to one shots, and in fiction, according to Terry Pratchett, "million to one chances crop up nine times out of ten"! And they should, but in games, it should be nine games out of ten. Not nine attempts! We do want it to be possible for this to happen.

We can simply roll a die. A standard six sided die (d6 in gaming parlance). This makes the extremes come up a little too often. 1 in 6 attempts are flukes. 1 in 6 are calamities. That's far too frequent. You can make them less common with 20 sided dice (d20), or even percentile dice.

It lacks something though. All results are as likely as each other. In a skill based challenge they're not. In my archery example, the target has a yellow circle, a red circle, a blue one and a black one each of the same thickness. But because the diameter is larger, the area is larger. The red circle has 3 times the area of the yellow centre circle. John Klutz is more or less hitting random points on the target so he'll get 3 times as many reds as yellows. The expert is aiming for the centre, so should get substantially more yellows.

At this point, things get longer and more mathematical. )

My conclusion here: The roll and keep mechanic is probably the best, both for elegant modelling and for general nice results. The next best is probably roll a bunch of six sided dice and add the modifiers. Noit sure which oif these I go for in my homebrew game but they're certainly my favourites.
luckykaa: (Wolf)
Friday:

[livejournal.com profile] flickums came. We went to the pub and played cineplexity. Once again Flickums whuppedmy arse completely by knowing about films. Ordered nice beer, and tasty food. It's a bit of a hipster pub so the food is well presented but not as good as the solid hearty fare of the Metropolitan. Also trendy pubs have this weird thing where the pile the food up. We returned home and went for a spooky halowe'en weekend thing of watching Ghostwatch. Kind of an odd bit of TV history in that it seemed a little undecided about whether it was a hoax or a drama. It was quite clever in a lot of ways and while the acting was somewhat mixed, I can understand why some people were taking in. And as flickums pointed out it does predate things like Blair Witch.Much hilarity was had by repeated mention of a "Glory Hole".

Saturday:

Finally resolverd the Ikea Wardrobe saga. I will probably go into more details in a later post. However, managed to hire a van for 2 hours from Hertz 247. Marginally cheaper than a full day from Easirent, and they do cover fuel costs.Since I have no car this did involve the epic trip from one end of the tram network to the other, which takes a while. On the positive side, this did mean I could return the wrong wardrobe, and there was no quibble at all about a refund. Celebrated by eating meatballs, then took the epic tram journey home. Hertz Ikea Van rental is pretty good when it works but Hertz seems to have a slightly odd issue with believing I am who I say I am (They sorted it over the phone so no real issue). Everything beign automated does make things fairly efficient. Type in the code, check the damage report is correct, and then you're free to go. Wish they had reversing sensors though. Fortunately a chap with a flat cap saw us out.

Went up to Huddersfield to see Cat and Frodo. Train was a little packed but we got seats. And were really pleased to get out at Huddersfield since this is where all the football supporters got on. Was an offer to get a taxi back woth Frodo but that was a miscommunication somewhere along the lines about finishing times. Still, we had directions by taxi. Although the house was hard to find due to some rather odd numbering scheme. Still, we found the place. Cat and Frodo's daughter seemed to take a shine to me. Ordered Pizza, but they forgot Flickums's.  Frodo ran an RPG for us. RPG was based on Fallout. We all died horribly! It was a lot of fun though. Involved much running around and avoiding being killed by gribbly monsters.

Sunday:

After a busy Saturday we just wanted to spend lots of time sleeping. That was fun. Eventually dragged ourselves out of bed an into Didsbury village where we acquired cheese fro baking, and then went to see Dr. Strange. Kind of enjoyed it. It's decent Marvel fare. Bongledooch is good, as ever, and there's plenty of action. So we saw that, went to the arcade and played lots of games invloving shooting. Apparently pirates had machine guns. Who'd have thought?

Returned home and watched Bram Stoker's Dracula. A film that I had a certain level of trepidation about; mainly because of Keanu Reeves playing Jonathan Harker. Actually it's not so terrible. Even though Keanu constantly looks like Ted "Theodore" Logan, and while - bless him - he tries to do a British accent it isn't exactly great, at least Jonathan Harker isn't actually all that significant a character after the Castle Dracula part. And it is a fairly faithful adaptation of the book (apart from the slightly odd reincarnation thing). Plus gorgeous costume (oscar winning) and set design (oscar nominated).

Sadly, as ever, I needed to send Flickums home at this point. But I get to see her again next weekend :)
luckykaa: (Wolf)
Another weekend of fun and frolics with [livejournal.com profile] flickums.

Had spent the night at the parents'. So drove home at a snail's pace through traffic on the M25 and M1. Still, at least the Dartford crossing is less insane than it was. Arrived before flickums so couldp pick her up from the station, and we had the chance to eat pizza and watch X-Men: Days of Future Past.

We went to the fair on Saturday. Decided not to try the hang from a bar for 2 minutes challenge. Watched some other people do it. 2 minutes is a very long time! Had a go at a shooting range. I suspect corks are too light to knock a ring off a bottle. Went to a different shooting range and shot sweets off a shelf instead. Much more successful. Tried "The claaaw" to win a cuddly toy but it dropped the prize. Flick won me a prize though. It was a prize every time, and she won me a dragon.

We went on the dodgems. We went on the scary caterpillar roller coaster. One or the other of us may have been too wussy to go on the spinny thing.

We saw X-Men Apolcalypse. That was fun.

Sunday I ran my Spirit of The Century game. I really need to come up with more of a plot next time I run a game. And understand how the mechanics work. It was all a bit chaotic. Still, people had fun.

Flick had found Sky High in a charity shop so we watched that. It's a funny film. Not a must-see by any means but funny and doesn't take itself remotely seriously. Well worth the 99p.

Monday we went to Warhammer World. Flick seemed excited I wasn't quite sure what to expect. I was also a little uncertain if I was in the right place when we seemed to be heading through an industrial estate. It seems to be lots of Warhammer gaming tables and shops selling warhammer stuff. Also a nice restautrant/bar called Bugman's Bar. I had a lot of fun reading the descriptions in the menu. "A feast worthy of the Dwarf Kings of Old!". Was given a taster game with a staff member reffing for us. Fun although the set-up did seem highly luck based.

And then flickums had to go home. Which is something I really hate about this.

We need to live closer together :(
luckykaa: (d20)
After last weekend's fun frantic plushie roleplay, I really feel an urge to do more.

I need more geeky friends to do this with. There is the Leicester Roleplay guild, and I might go down to do that, but I'm not really all that enthralled by the idea of playing in a big D&D game and there's really not a lot of encouragment for other people to run games. People seem to like the big nerdy High fantasy fest.

Ideally I should set up my own group. With blackjack. And hookers! Or at least with an upper limit of number of players in a game. The group in Amsterdam did things a lot better.

They had different games running every week, with the games agreed in advance. The GMs were actively encouraged to volunteer well in advance, and the games were advertised on the meetup page. Players were asked to sign up for a game when they clicked the RSVP button, or they could take pot-luck on the day.

The trouble is, I have no idea how to go about setting something like this up. The guild seems to be happy doing things their way. Other people who may be interested have their own issues - mainly that a handful of roleplayers can be kinda hard work. They have a point. But if I did, where do I start? Where can I find an affordable venue? How do I promote it? How do I actually encourage people to GM?

And do I really want to? All I want is a game that I care about.
luckykaa: (d20)

I was persuaded last minute to go to a gaming event. Flick's friends had some last minute dropouts, and so I was invited to join a team at the student nationals. Nominally a competitive event, but mostly about having fun. Had a choice Between Board Games, D&D and Humour. Wasn't really keen on 2 days' worth of board games, I seem to be the only geek in the world who isn't really into D&D (dislike classical fantasy and crunchy systems), I went for Humour.

But of a crappy night's sleep. But that sort of thing tends not to catch up with me more in the evening. So I signed in and played game #1.

Game #1 was an Urban Fantasy game. Or is it Fantasy Urban? Whichever isn't about your dream townhouse... GM was late due to public transport hell though. We played a bit of the Dr. Lucky Card game while we waited.

so we were a bunch of supernatural types working for a good guy organisation. I was an American Werewolf in Hampshire.

Fun was had. I didn't really get as into it as I like to. Didn't really have a good handle on my character, and wasn't all that proactive, but my sense of smell and heating worked well. Found combat a little tedious, but then, I usually do. Lack of interesting options. Point gun and shoot.

Would have liked too have stayed around a little and socialise, but I was feeling tired and grouchy and so we went home for an early night.

Game #2, was a plush toy based game. I was Cthulu. We were even given toys to play with. So, this bring a cute and fluffy game the first thing we did was kill someone, and then we killed his daughter. Plot was thoroughly detailed by this point, so GM turned it into a sandbox. We decided to take over the world. But there was to much infighting, so we only took over parts of the town. And caused a civil war between plushie factions.

Was hoping to loiter around and chat for a bit but everyone was going home. These students lack the stamina of seasoned conventioneers.

Had a lot of fun. Glad I was invited.

luckykaa: (d20)
Went to the RPG guild again. Choice of 2 games. One seemed hugely over-full, so I went with the other one. It was a wander round dungeon slaying monsters type game. Something I'm not too keen on because it seems like a video game. On the plus side, we did have a couple of slightly crazy players, including a drunk dwarf and a pyromaniac elf. So I did have fun. And I don't want to criticise the GM too much because he was willing to actually run a game. The real problem was simply a lack of games running.

So I really need to step up. Except, I know why people run games like this - It's because it's easy. Conflict drives plot, and combat is the most obvious and easy to run form of conflict. It also finds the players rather than have the players need to work out the plot. Games I played with the people in Brighton were a lot less fighty, and so was [livejournal.com profile] masterofapath's Vampire game as far as I remember (as an aside, we should really have another round of that).

I guess I should do another SotC. Except FATE doesn't lend itself to one-shots. Plus if I do go that way, I need to work out a few issues.

Better fast character generation.
Spending a whole session making characters probably is fun, but I kind of want to play a game. Ideally I want to avoid pre-gens.
I also need to be a lot stricter about aspects. People chose beneficial ones. Perhaps I just need to be stingier with FATE points here.

Create my own plot.
The pregen I dug out didn't actually make sense when I came to run it. I actually have a number of basic ideas. I just need to piece them together.
I need more intrigue and roleplay possibilities.

Most importantly, I want to avoid fights unless the players initiate it. We can have other sorts of contests.
luckykaa: (d20)
I've been wanting to run a game for a while. I had a nice bunch of friends who were willing to let me. It seemed sort of okay.
The players were lovely, because I was sensible enough to choose lovely people as players.

I was running Spirit Of the Century, and using a pre-made adventure. SotC is a Fate based game, so the mechanics are pretty simple in principle. There are a lot of skills though. Also a lot of stunts, each with its own speciallised rules. The setting itself is pretty accessible. 1920's pulp adventure. It gives a lot of scope since we have secret agents, pilots, mad scientists, jungle lords and explorers.

Quite a few things I want to do differently if I do this again.

I didn't feel I gave everyone enough to do.

Need to keep better track of time.

I really neded to understand the mechanics better. But it's a lot easier to understand them once they've been used. That's something that's more about familiarity with the tools.

I wasn't strict enough about the nature of aspects. Everyone chose predominantly helpful ones. And there seemed way too many fate tokens. Perhaps it's a case of needing to up the difficulty a lot. If I do this again I'll experiment with making it a lot harder to get shit done.

The real thing I want to do differently is run a different type of story. I don't like crunchy games. I want plot and character stuff. And my players were very much into that. Part of this was the preboiled plot. It was a decent pulpy plot involving cultists and a giant tentacle monster, but it was a little action heavy. For me, ideally, combat should be player initiated, and entirely optional. Sure, if people want to go in guns blazing, they should do that. If they want to be more subtle, there should be a clear means of doing this.

I did quite like the stuff that was happening at the party. There was some musing about stealing a plane. That sort of thing is fun for me. You get fallout and complications. Pissing off a Congressman because you gatecrashed his part and stole a plane is the sort of things that leads to plot.

The system is really not designed for one-shots. It's really best if there's a campaign, and if players generate their own characters, that gives some clues as to the sort of campaign they want. Character generation takes an entire session though. The process is good fun; it involves people chatting about how their characters know each other and generating characteristics from that. I have no idea how to go about this.

I have some experience now. I'll probably have another bash one day and see if I cna put what I've learned into practice.
luckykaa: (d20)
Dice are an important part of RPGs. I'm sure there's a perfect mechanic somewhere. I did try coming up with a new one years ago when toying with Tales out of anchor with [livejournal.com profile] flannelcat. Never worked though.

The classic mechanic is simply to use the dice score. Add the die to your skill, and if that's higher than the difficulty level then you succeed. There are other arithmetic mechanics, but they're generally equivalent. Here's the thing, no matter how inept you are at a skill, it should possible, through sheer chance, that you will succeed. Likewise, no matter how high the skill, it's possible that something goes wrong; the sword breaks, the gun misfires or whatever. And because this is a about the story, this theshold should actually be lower than in the real world Million to one shots should happen all the time; maybe not nine times out of ten, but once or twice per session makes for some drama.

And this really doesn't allow for that sort of nuance. You could make a natural 20 a success, and a natural 1 a failure but that is a bit artificial. The other problerm is the linear level. A high level will win statistically 19 times more often than an untrained character. All tasks are clamped to that range. It's a little unsatisfying.

Savage worlds uses an interesting mechanic. You roll a polyhedral die, with the number of sides related to your skill level. If you roll the maximum, the die "explodes" - you get to roll again and add to the score. This can happen multiple times. You also get to roll a D6, and if that rolls higher you take that score. The D6 may also explode. This does make it a lot less predictable. It also means in principle, anyone can manage any difficulty. If I declare a difficulty of 600 for firing an arrow in the air, the wind taking it and it hitting the villain killing him, then there's a mathematical possibility (approx 1 in 653 318 620 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000) that after rolling a hundred 6's in a row the bottom level character succeeds. Plus it allows polyhedrals, which I like because I'm a maths nerd and Iike platonic solids. People seem to criticise it a lot though. Never really been sure why.

To be honest, I'm actually quite happy with the Fate system. 4 dice with + and - on, plus your base skill must equal or exceed the difficulty. So basically another arithmetic system. But it gains in one respect - aspects. You can tag an aspect and get a bonus. It works. Although there it's mainly about supporting the story. If you do something awesome then you are more likely to succeed. It is about the story. It works.
luckykaa: (d20)
I wanted to play a game of Spirit of the Tentacle. Unlike most role-players I've always preferred pulpy action over high fantasy. I also wanted to have some experience running an RPG. A bunch of friends were willing to suffer my novice GMing skills.

After struggling with coming up with my own plot I decided to pull one off the internet. It covered most of the elements I wanted. The only thing missing was a travel montage. But I am well aware that plot elements can be recycled. I also came up with some semi-genned characters. With some brief concept and background and a couple of sample aspects - character traits that can be tagged for a bonus or can be invoked to punish.

Players seemed happy with the chartacters and quickly threw in a bunch of their own aspects. So that was pretty good. Started in media res, with the players outside a speakeasy. I also learned the phrase "in media res". So spent too long planning. Things I learned - prod the players to settle on a plan. Also didn't have my papers organised. Next time I'll staple the plot docs together. Still, they came up with a plot. It lent itself to some potential action and subterfuge, and colour. So, plan settled, they went in, had a decent idea of what to do and got into a rumble pretty darn quickly, which is exactly what we expect from the setup, from roleplayers and from pulp adventures in general.

Action escalated quickly as a tentacle burst through the floor and attacked. Lots of fighting. The players managed to get hold of the McGuffin, and chase the tentacle back, and even rescue the safe. Was quite happy with how that first round went. A couple of players grabbed some of the money from the safe, so I figured the aspect of "pocket of dosh" might be fun. FATE doesn't seem to allow adding long term aspects like that but whatever - house rules say they do.

Act 2 caused problems. I need some knowledge dumping I was expecting the players to be proactive and go out and bust heads or hit the books. They instead investigated the McGuffin. That's fine and all but I had no idea how to prod them. It was getting late (not too late - we had more game time but a couple of people were tired), so we called time.

So things I've learned - am quite happy with the whole things happening and generally managing to let players do what they want to do without them hijacking the plot too much. People seemed to have fun and said they had fun, so that's the most important success. Worked out that I can avoid the tangents by interrupting and asking people what they want to do. Have learned not to worry too much about dice rolling. Do need to improve time keeping. Also need to prod players a lot more. That last one is tricky.
luckykaa: (d20)
I've had the Spirit Of The Century rulebook for a while now. It looks like a good system. I love the setting! I want to run a game.

I did have a reasonably conveniently located group semi-organised, for when I got back to England. But I'm less conveniently located. Plus I wasn't with [livejournal.com profile] flickums at the time, and do rather want to involve her, and her librarian assassin or whatever it is she wants to play.

In Fate based games, character creation is apparently a big thing, and takes up the first session. I can't really do a multi session campaign, and wouldn't want to. Plus people rather like pregens. This is a more solvable problem. There are rules for accellerated character generation, and Stack Exchange tells me that they can be adapted to pregens, so that's probably not a big problem. It also gives a ot of scope for players to add their own stamp to the characters. Coming up with a set of reasonably interesting characters might be a bit tougher.

Final problem is I am really not all that experienced with GMing. I've had a couple of goes. I've learned that I really hate doing combat encounters (so Ideally I'll leave fighting as an option), I am no good at timing, and am terrified of railroading too much, or leaving players completely in the dark. I also have no idea whatether pitfalls to avoid.

I need fate tokens (to keep track of fate points)! Can probably work something out here though. Wonder if I can find anything that would be suitably themic for 1920's adventurers.
luckykaa: (Games)
Dark Heresy! Warhammer 40K based rpg. A bunch of heroes here to quash the rebellious gangs on a planet. The tone was set by Minta singing "the wheels on the tank crush the heretics". I was an arbitrator by the name of Thaddius. I was randomly given the quirk of "pierced ears", and it was decided that this was because that was fabulous. Fabulous Thaddius, or Captain Fabulous to my underlings. I suspect his actual rank was much lower than Captain. We alos had a psyker with us. He seemed a little too sensible though. Also his scruffy robe and constantly rotating eye wqere distinctly unfashionable.

We were invited to the captains table. Captain Thaddeus chatted about fashion. Minta ate a lot and at some point started to be referred to as Minty.

Ship broke.  Weird stuff was happening, so we went to investigate. The tech priests didn't have a clue what was going on. The Navigator had some vague idea. Minty realised that some of the food had been stolen and went off to investigate that.

We eventually checked the manifests, found a weird-ass devicce claiming to be an "artwork" that was giving off nasty psionic noise. Minty tracked down the food to some random passenger and shot them.

Shortly after the ship was invaded by weird mech type things. Captain Fabulous let out a heroic girly scream and ran away. Minty pulled out her granade launcher and started blowing the alien things up. Captain Fabulous contimued hiding. Our Psyker set about killing the beastly alien things in a methodical businesslike way. Eventually Captain Fabulous regained his nerve. Marched back in there, guns blazing. doing some serious damage at one of the boarders. Minty took a shot and accidentally killed a security redshirt.

Captain Fabulous then picked up his club, made a death curdling (but still somewhat girly) scream, and charged the nearest enemy, leaving the remaining one to Minty - who could now go back to her precision grenade launcher and finish off the last invaders.

Turns out the beastly alien invader things were after the artwork giving off psionic noice. It was now gone.

Our report skipped the part about Captain Fabulous's girly scream, and made it quite clear that the redshirt's death was a mercy killing.
luckykaa: (d20)
So, I want to run a game. Shame I have no idea how to go about it.

I bought Spirit Of The Century, read the rules, have a general grasp of them, but not nearly enough to actually run a game. I think I have some players but haven't actually worked out the logistics of playing with them. They do live in rather disparate places.

Not quite sure how to set up a plot or actually run the game.

To be honest it would help a lot if I had characters first. Perhaps I should just put together some characters from basic archetypes or something and let people pick them if they want. But what archetypes? And how much detail? Or should I leave this up to players? There's quite a lot of detail to the attributes, but that can be summarised easily. Not so sure about stunts. There's a lot of them and I have no idea how and when they actually come into play.

I can come up with a basic concept and plot. I am tempted to steal an Egyptian pyramid plot from a video game I thought had a nice premise. I'd need to throw in some villains, but ancient sects and mysterious cults can be thrown into the blend easily enough. Still have no idea how to make sure this works for all character types. What I'm less sure about is the nitty gritty. Details. How much detail do I need? How do I balance action and how do I avoid railroading? How do I get them on the plot in the first place. I'd rather not dictate the mission to them. They need to learn that they need to prevent a major disaster (the fact that they are the ones to do it is fundamental to a pulp character so that's not a problem).

So, I guess I'm really stumped on what my next move is. Arranging a group, creating characters and working out a plot all seem to be dependent on each other.
luckykaa: (d20)
The Netherlands role play guild is nice group. They organise occasional GM training sessions. I'd like to GM a game.

Here's what I learned:
  • Aim for a couple of turn based rounds and a few more flee flow rounds.
  • Easiest to start with a pre-written plan and re-skin and adapt to suit.
  • Communicate with players. Say if you're inexperienced, make sure people are aware of the scope what themes are out of bounds,
  • Prepare! Learn the rules understand who's who.
  • If things go off track and you need to improvise, then steal! Pinch from books, TV shows, films...
  • Take a break if things are going completely off track. Gives a few minutes to think about things.
  • Different types of problem players.
  • Try to spot if someone seems distracted and needs to be pulled in.
All useful stuff. More useful - they had us run a 20 minute session of a game. 4 in a group, play for 20 minutes then switch GM. The players had problem-player cards giving different player types. I got to run the turn based combat section. This is the sort of area I'm particularly bad at. Having a bunch of players deliberately trying to make life hard for me didn't help (They were playing power gamer, rules lawyer and out-of-character knowledge guy). Got a bit flustered at the start but managed to get on top of things. The players were absolutely lovely once they broke character.

Still not totally convinced that "No, but" is a good idea except in rare circumstances. Maybe it's because I'm used to playing with a bunch of crazy thespians who instinctively say "yes, yes, yes!" but I think it's a lot more fun if you give players a lot of freedom and go easy on the rules.

Really need to put all this into practice at some point.
luckykaa: (steamy)
Oh what a crazy gang we had. Our captain was good with his fists and bad with money. We had our quiet but deadly bodyguard - I forget his name; lets call him Frank -  and Lily - heart of gold, and fists of lead. As for me, I'm Sammy-Jo. Mistress of disguise and all-round charmer.

So as soldiers of fortune, we had a mission. Get the stolen data disk, and if possible the guy trying to sell it. We knew the name of the guy trying to sell it but that wasn't a lot of use since we had no idea what he looked like except that he was a master of disguise. We did know who he was trying to sell it to. Some big shot Admiral who was so famous they named the moon after her.

Even getting planetside wasn't easy. We didn't even have a docking fee. Our fine Captain had lost most of his money in a poker game, and I was feeling the pinch myself. The others had a bit of spare change but it was all in Federation credits, and would'ya believe it - they would only accept those rebel dollars. So I stepped up and talked the guy into giving us a little leeway. Putty in my hands.

So it took a while to find the party. We got a little distracted on the way. Cap and Frank took some work for a crime boss, I got myself a job sorting out the tech for the sound system. Well, I'm pretty capable with electronics, but couldn't make head nor tail of this. Lily tagged along as my assistant and while she barely knows how to use a tablet, she seemed to somehow figure it out, more or less. So we had it all rigged to blow out the lights if we wanted to.

That evening we stopped for drinks and entertainment at a local gambling den. Lily was trying to impress a couple of troopers. Didn't go too well. She poured beer over herself, then picked a fight with a bunch of locals. I probably should have stuck to the sidelines.Physical violence is not my thing, and they couldn't tell a stun-gun from a pistol. So when I came to, it seemed that the guys had floored the rest of the brawlers, and somehow the Captain got an invitation to the party. So seemed we all had a way in.

Now, the captain is just no good at subterfuge. Honestly, what sort of person answers with the truth when asked what they do for a living? And while he did manage to get to the Admiral, and the guy who was trying to sell her the disk.  Cap seemed to be struggling, so I slipped into something more fitting for a party and played the role of the Captain's assistant. Managed to get a look at the merchandise, and was hoping someone might get the hint and cause a distraction. They didn't so I grabbed it, did a death defying leap off the balcony and waited for the lights to break. Which they completely failed to do. I had to struggle and dodge while letting the others actually fight out of there. Lily managed to shoot out the lights. And shoot up the bar with explosive rounds causing the chaos and fire we needed, and set the admiral on fire. Frank shoved a guard out of the way giving us a chance to escape. And because of Lily has such a heart of gold she even stopped to extinguish the general by shooting a barrel of beer.

Quite a riot. But it was time to scarper! We ran for it, paid our docking fee and our pilot stepped on the accelerator. Somehow the old bucket of bolts we use as a shuttle held together and in a mighty fine piece of piloting, Lily pulled got us through before the landing bay doors closed.
luckykaa: (Games)
So pondering the sort of game I want to run I considered a heist movie would be fun. And it would. Further reflection suggested that this would also be biting off more than I can chew as an inexperienced GM.

This did not stop game design brain from researching systems and pondering how it could work. Was particularly intrigued by a flashback mechanic.

Players start with an overview of the plan, a map of the venue, which is largely accurate (is there crime jargon for this?), and the results of casing the joint. They also get to hire NPCs for the jobs they don't have the skills for. They need to have a basic plan, and prepare an alibi.

Most gamers are not criminal masterminds with the planning ability of a chessmaster combined with the strategic genius of Napoleon.They simply don't have the ability to plan for every single possible contingency. Of course, their characters are. So to simulate this, they're presented with an overview of the arena, and plan each section in turn before playing out that section of the plan and improvising if they roll badly. Whether it goes to plan, or is a complete cock-up, it's assumed that this is an eventually we planned for. End of section, we have a flashback to the planning table.

We have a fixed number of dice. Each action requires the dice are rolled (this requires some experimentation with mechanics, a single d6 against difficulty would probably work adequately, although a handful of arbitrary polyhedrals adds a little more chaos). A failure means that an extra obstacle is thrown in the way But the eventuality has been planned for. A 1 is always a failure and means that the die is removed from the pool.

Players need to have enough dice to get in, get the loot and escape. Mistakes lead to a gradually increasing chance that the plan will fail and everyone will be arrested/killed. The diminishing dice pool gives players an idea of how likely they are to succeed and when they need to abort and try to get out of there.

Should be playable with a little experimentation and play testing/tweaking/balancing. Does need a skills mechanism, and I don't know enough to work out how that should behave.

So, I have no intention of running this. Aside from inexperience, it's not much more than a concept right now. Am sharing in case someomne else wants to run with it.
luckykaa: (Games)

So that's settled then...

May or may not be running a game of unspecified system set in unspecified theme, with [livejournal.com profile] omylouse and other unspecified players at some point. Unless I end up getting an extension or another overseas job, in which case, I won't but might do it online.

I've made the mistake that I keep making - being too eager to accommodate everyone else. I need to pick a system and a time. If I run it they will come.

Still need to decide what game I want to run. I know what I prefer in terms of settings.


  • Modern Era (Victorian or later).

  • Rogues/Independents. No, the players can't call on the resources of the Empire/Federation/Republic. They might find themselves up against that though.

  • Low combat. Especially firearms (also applies to magic missiles and the like).

  • Dice mechanics more interesting than D20, but not requiring anything more specialised than a couple of sets of polyhedrals or vast number of D6's.

Would be kinda fun to do an 80's era computer conspiracy thriller but I think that would be more about my fun than the players. Time travelling might be fun, of course. I could have another bash at Serenity. Although last time I did that I didn't sense most players were all that keen.

So this is another appeal to people who know about these things. What would be a good system? Also what does a GM need in terms of source material?

luckykaa: (Games)
Been pondering RPGs a lot recently.

I feel a need to play one.

I feel I should try running one at some point. I'm a little inexperienced at this having run a total of 2 sessions. Am really not experienced enough to know what's involved in making a good game. It does somewhat depend on players. My habit of living in a different country from everyone I might play with complicates this a little as well, of course. Still, I may return.

So, people...  would you like to play a game?

And if so what? What do people like? What settings and systems do people like?

My other thought was more cerebral. Dice mechanics. I was going to analyse them, but then I found someone had already done so. Particularly liked the ideal DoS distribution.  One thing that matters to me is that it should be possible, however unlikely, for the lowest skill to beat the highest skill through sheer dumb luck. A weakling, flailing around manages to hit the barbarian right where it hurts.

For Anchor I played with a system that should have fit the ideal distribution reasonably well. Roll multiple six sided dice. The higher your skill, the more dice. Highest die is the one that matters. Didn't work. Too many wins. Might work with multiple D20s but that reduces its accessibility. Not everyone has dozens of polyhedral dice.

I'm sure there is a better system.
luckykaa: (Default)
So, I've been reading John Scalzi's Redshirts. Generally about the poor sacrificial crewmen
  and thought it could make a fun little RPG, along the same lines as Puppetland.

Ideas so far - this is just ideas. Not a fleshed out design:
  • 45 minute "episodes" (maybe with commercial breaks but I haven't worked out the mechanics of that). More about the story than the dice.
  • All player action is in script form. You either speak, or refer to yourself in the third person to give character direction.
  • Merits/flaws
    • Comic relief - Gives some sort of bonus to character if you make players laugh.
    • Non red shirt - Doesn't actually improve chances of survival, but still costs a point.
    • First name - Increases your chances of survival.
    • About to be married/about to retire - increases chance of death.
    • "You just had to say it" - Tempts fate by speaking.
    • Mary Sue - annoyingly perfect.
    • Relationship with series regular - at risk only when away mission includes series regular
    • Played by famous actor - no idea what this does.
Thoughts?

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