Archive for category R!

Tales from the Game Table – My favorite Deaths 1

Ok so everyone knows that in an RPG the death of your character is something that may happen. If you are playing something like Call of Cthulhu then a good death may be the best you can hope for… But there comes for all of us who game the high and low points in the death of a character. Sometimes a death is a good one in which we go out in a blaze of glory becoming the person of legend who will be remembered until at least the next game session. Sometimes the death of a character is just… plain… stupid.

Well when you see the My favorite Deaths header on a tales from the game table I am going to be talking about some of the best, worst or most inconclusive deaths I have ever put a character through… as a player and as a GM.

Gonna roll this out with one of my personal favorite deaths that happened to one of my own characters.

So the entire party was camped around the fire in the middle of no where. This was not the most cliche of nights but hey no one ever said this game group was subtle. And suddenly a lich. Just roll with it.

Everyone jumps up and gets running into fighting mode, because yeah, we bad. My character tries to use his freakish magically enhanced speed to grab a log from the fire and charge into the lich, Because its undead, and undead hate fire right?

So when you have boots of speed, potion of speed, a haste ring and have had training to go faster, well… yeah you got some speed. I figured if nothing else I would distract it so the others could do something.

Oh and just as a note this was in AD&D first edition. With a GM who felt that if you roll a one you botch and a twenty is a critical hit…

Soooooooooooooo…. yeah super high speed character with a flaming log charging realllllly powerful undead ickyness. You might think you know where this is going but you are only partly right…

So I rolled to hit with  a charge with my flaming log of speed…. and I botch…

I am stumbling, trying not to kill myself as I go speed stumbling past the lich…

And the lich attacks, With a clothes line… And a crit… It was starting to look like a bad pro wrestling moment but it gets worse.

The stumble and the clothes line crit were actually enough to kill the character…. and yet the lich, having been insulted by the fact that my character would attack it physically with something so mundane as a log, used its next action to cast disintegrate on my character. Who is already dead.. and still tumbling through the air…

And I almost botch the save.

Fortunately there was enough ash that could be assembled and poured into my magic boots that a cleric could be found to bring me back later….

But yeah…

That was….

Spectacular….

 

Ok so gimme the dice… I need to make saving throws against my own dumb ideas.

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World Building 308 – Whats your story?

Ok so I am finally going to close out the Supers world building series.

Now then with everything else that has been put into this series about world building you most likely are wondering why in the monkey I would save the actual story until last.

Well the reason is because of the evolution of comic books themselves. Just to use Marvel comics as an example… If you look back you will see a number of comic book titles that were created early on. And then for marketing and profitability they put some of their more popular characters together to create the Avengers. And THEN they started thinking about continuity. I know that this is a massive oversimplification and that there are some rather beautiful examples of characters and storylines surviving even from the earliest days of comic book publication. However if you look at comics in general it takes a while to get characters and titles to cross over. And the actions taken in one story rarely directly effect what is going on in another characters book. Or even the books that the character is involved with as a team member (**cough cough** Wolverine **cough cough**) unless the character dies.

When those crossovers finally happen you usually end up having to rewrite so many of the rules on how the world functions, or how powerful one character is in relation to another that you end up changing the nature of characters. When that sort of thing happens in comic books it is not always bad, and can lead to some interesting follow up stories. However when you are playing in an RPG it can really piss players off if suddenly the physics of the world changes. Or suddenly one of the minor villains accidentally becomes unstoppable because now all his stories about magic being real are no longer a joke and no one in the game has magic powers because they were not part of the world and so you cant counter him (sorry personal grudge there). Or when your power levels are not clearly defined and a single agent can take on a super hero (crap another grudge there). Are you getting the picture there?

If you put your story ahead of your world, and your characters, then from my personal experience 7 out of 10 times you will piss off at least half of your players. And yes I have had enough experience in bad supers games to make that assessment.

The second big part of it is that when you are building a world you are going to start finding all sorts of things you want to limit or put center stage. You will discover you want to encourage certain types of characters or NPCs to be a part of the world. And once you have it all laid out that makes it fairly easy to wrap a story into your world.

So all of that is why I save the story for last.

Now then there is absolutely NOTHING stopping you from going the other way around about it. You can totally start with your story and build a world to fit it. There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with doing things in a different order. This is just the order that makes the most sense to me and has worked best in my experience.

The other benefit of doing things in this manner is that if you are someone like me who works with a bunch of different game engines you can pick the one that really suits the world you have built up and take advantage of everything you want to do. That way your world, your game engine and your story all compliment each other. If you have only one engine you like to work with then this sort of order might not make as much sense because your world and story will need to fit into the engine you are using. And if you are using a licensed product then you will have a predefined world to fit everything in to.

So lets take a look at the world I have been building here…

  • 301 – Origin of Power – A cosmic/celestial event causes mutations. Also technology.
  • 302 – Which Earth – Our earth
  • 303 – Timeline – Slightly in the future. So that things like cybernetics and power armor could be possible.
  • 304 – Percent of power – 1 / 25000 have mutation. Specific tech that could be called super powers is more common.
  • 305 – Perception of power – Mutants are the new target of fear and racism, Tech characters are seen as heroes.
  • 306 – Power level – World – Mutants vary but low power is more common, and that does mean power, all mutants have something extra. Tech is fairly standard and can make one man equal to about a Main Battle Tank. Game – Mutants will be on the higher end but not the top. Tech characters will have unique toys that go well past the current standards.
  • 307 – Known Earth – There is going to be an alien research vessel that knows about Earth. They noted the unusual solar flare activity and they have been monitoring the effect on humans since. Both physically and sociologically. They trade out teams on a regular basis and have rules about interacting with humans. I have no intention of introducing the aliens any time soon. I think if the players get creative they might be able to find them and go chat. But unless the game needs a kick in the butt, I have no intention of dropping this in the players path.

So this world gives me a few types of stories I can tell…

  1. Humans who fear mutants and use tech to keep them at bay.
    1. Using tech to take away their powers
    2. Using tech to be more powerful
    3. Using tech to imprison or drive off the mutants
  2. Mutants who want more than what they have
    1. Rule the world
    2. Be free of oppression
    3. Live in peace with everyone
    4. Escape earth and find a world of their own
  3. Mixed groups who want to unite mutants and humans for whatever reason
  4. Normal people living day to day

Personally I want to tell story about characters who want to see how far they can push both technology and mutant powers. And that being heroes is a great way to exercise that growth. This means they are going to be put in the path of human supremacists, mutant supremacists and be looked to in regards to how to develop both tech and powers. They may decide that one side is wrong, or all sides are just too messed up and that they should find another world to inhabit or something else along those lines but that is going to be up to the players to decide.

The game engine I have decided to use is Palladium Books Heroes Unlimited. The reason for this is because it has clearly defined classes for mutants and tech based heroes. And while it wont stop a mutant from taking up tech and using it, there is no way they will ever be as good with it as a pure tech character. Also it is not possible for a tech hero to mutate without a complete change in character class and loosing most of their ability with tech. This division makes the kinds of stories that I can tell in this world a lot more powerful because there will be rules that enforce what sort of stories I want to tell already built into the system. Also there is a random power table that players can use to get their mutations. And personally in a world like this I find that to be a great option. Sure you dont have to use it, but it can make for some very interesting combinations of powers that you would not usually see.

I do have some home brew rules I want to add on the mutant side so that I can have a few over the top powerhouses in the world that will still fit the environment. Such as in the original rules they have a strict rule that if you roll a power more than once you have to reroll. However the publishers have made some NPC characters that have a single power more than once and I want to incorporate that. Specifically into some characters like Dust. If I stack the teleportation power multiple times on the character it will have the same effect that Dan originally wrote up for the way his powers worked.

Any way, that rolls up the world, the setting and the stories I want to tell with it.

Not sure what the next World Building series might be but I will do another in the future.

Keep gaming and keep having fun, all while thinking your own thoughts on how you want to game and what you want to game with.

Now gimme the dice, I need to see how many NPCs I can fit into an ordinary shoe box.

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So what CAN be an RPG?

Hey all… been a while since I did a quick question/rant/whatever thing and so I thought I would just toss this out there… especially since a while back I tossed out a topic called ‘What IS and RPG?

Back in that older post I talked about Table Top, Live Action and PC/Console RPGs. But also that the origins of RPGs are really the “Lets pretend with rules.” I have also been thinking about some of the odd combinations of games that have come up over the years and… well ok so my brain runs in odd circles some times. Just let me roll this out and I hope you will see what I mean.

In my opinion, in the end, EVERY game that has characters, or that you can add a character to, can be an RPG. Let me start out with this example. Magic the Gathering, when it was first introduced instructed you that you were a great wizard, and your deck was your spell book and your resources, and so on. So you were playing out a wizard duel. They also very quickly  came out with a few oversized cards that were supposed to represent you as your wizard self. In some ways that sounds like having a character sheet and a random system to determine success or failure. Not only is your deck your randomize but it is also your inventory list. Pretty much how you do things in an RPG. Some of my friends and I build decks to tell a story. We put things in there that have a main character and supporting cast and all the things they need to complete their story, and everyone else’s decks are the bad guys. Again that is like lets pretend with rules…

There are a number of games that have incorporated miniature combat into an RPG so you can do strategic combat and still role play your heroes. Things like Heavy Gear where it was built that way from the ground up, or BattleTech which added Mechwarrior so that you could take your pilots out and continue the story. So why not go all out and grab something like Hero Clix and make an RPG session with it since almost every figure is a character by name?

Or how about taking all the angst and drama in Zombicide and just going ahead and add an acting/in character element to it and turning it into an RPG board game?

Considering that it is an Augmented Reality game Pokemon Go is sort of the largest Live Action MMO RPG that I have encountered. I just thank my stars that most folks dont dress up in person for that one unless they are at a convention.

If you watch things like the Poker championships on cable sports channels as yourself how many of those players are dressed up and taking on a persona and are not their usual self. Are they role playing? Does that make their poker games a role playing game?

I think that pro wrestling might be the very first live action RPG. I mean sure things are scripted but they have to have some kind of flexibility just in case an accident happens. If someone gets hurt for real you need to adapt your script to compensate for that and the narrative planning has to spin. So reality becomes your randomizing factor. But you are still playing lets pretend with rules.

And then what about things like Fantasy Sports Leagues? You are creating fictional teams with real players. Again reality becomes your randomizer. I have heard water-cooler talk about how a players comments really fit his play, or how they could imagine the player saying that to the team members the League player had selected and that is why all of his team members did so well. Its still lets pretend with rules.

In the end depending on how thinly you want to pull at the strings I am pretty sure you could call just about anything an RPG in the end… dealing with your boss? Talking to the IRS? How many other things could you rack up where you are a character in a narrative with supplies and a random factor that can change the story at any moment? I wont go that far but I may have made you at least think about it for a second. 🙂

So in the end for me… I say that anything with characters in it… fictionalized entities in any way… can become an RPG with just a little effort and or imagination.

Just my opinion… whats yours?

Now gimme the dice I need to see how many NPCs I am interacting with on a daily basis.

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World Building 307 – How well is your world known

We are closing up on the end of this series about world building for supers. This installment is about how well the outside universe knows about your world. I left this one for this close to the end for a few reasons. Things like the origin of power and your timeline may have already introduced aliens, magical entities or spirits. And if they have not then you will still want to know, at least in a rough outline, what is out there so you can play with it later if you want to go that way.

If you take a look at the two biggest publishers for comics right now, in their universes the Earth is sort of central to everything. It was designed that way on purpose. That way every angel, demon, and alien powerhouse in the universe has a reason to visit. They all know the planet is there and many of them want to conquer it, and a few want to protect it. Or in one case over in Marvel the alien race see Earth as an asylum world filled with dangerous mad men/women who have too much power and should be quarantined.

On another side of the coin you can see in the Image series Invincible that while there were a couple of alien races that knew of the Earth, most the ones that knew of the planet didn’t care at all. Until the main characters got involved. The series tends to avoid magic and the supernatural so you cant really say whats going on on that side of the spectrum, but given the nature of the author, I figure he had a plan for it all just in case he decided to experiment with it in the story.

In another title from Image, Spawn, you see the supernatural not only fully aware of the world but it wants control. I did not follow Spawn for long but I do not recall aliens other than an occasional guest character.

So I think that you can see, depending on who knows about your world, and how popular it is for engagement, you can have a whole lot of influences sitting around waiting, or actively participating in the fate and the actions of the world you have built. As I mentioned earlier, from your work on your origin of powers and your timeline you should have an idea already if any race or group outside of the Earth knows about the planet at all. This step allows you to flesh that out in as much detail as you would like ahead of setting your game in motion.

In my own campaigns I like to mix it up a bit. Sometimes everyone knows about Earth. Sometimes it is a very small group of outsiders but none of them are directly interacting with the Earth. And of course everything in-between. The easiest for me is to start with limited interaction off world if any. And build into it. It allows me to expand the universe and the story for the game at the same time. As an example, I ran a game for a few sessions based very loosely on the Psi World RPG from FGU. The idea was that a small percentage of humans had developed psi powers and the world was reacting. Well the source of the powers turned out to be alien interaction (I can hear my wife crying out ‘I told you it was the Aaaaaaaaaaaaliens!!!’) and one of their ships had been left behind. About half of the players were human investigators with nothing really special other than high skill levels to their name. By the third session those players were feeling really under-powered. And so the group discovered the original alien research vessel that had crashed to Earth and caused the Psi outburst in the first place. Now the whole group had access to alien technology but it was the investigators with their high skills who could really take advantage of it. This introduced for the players that there was more to the game universe than they thought. The thing is in my back story the aliens (It was Aaaaaaaaaaaaaliens!!!’ sorry just cant get that our of my head now) picked Earth because as far as they were concerned Earth had a barely intelligent and just kinda sentient lead species and the planet itself was far enough from the galactic core to be a middle of no where place that no one civilized would care about at all. And by galactic standards in this setting, they were right. So while there were aliens out there, none of them gave a rats patootie about Earth one way or the other.

So take a look around at your idea so far for your game world. How much do you want to have going on in regards to outside influence? Or even simple acknowledgement of existence? And as always, remember that writing out what you want does not mean you have to do a 120929803790 page dissertation, you can have something as simple as – Aliens and demons know about Earth. Demons like our bars and hang out alot. – in your world notes and that can be used to take you places later. Thats right… just breathe… you do not have to populate the universe and multiple adjacent dimensions before you get going… you can build it as you go, but knowing the starting point ahead of time can make the interaction with players so much easier.

To go back to the world I am building lets see it by the sessions…

  • 301 – Origin of Power – A cosmic/celestial event causes mutations. Also technology.
  • 302 – Which Earth – Our earth
  • 303 – Timeline – Slightly in the future. So that things like cybernetics and power armor could be possible.
  • 304 – Percent of power – 1 / 25000 have mutation. Specific tech that could be called super powers is more common.
  • 305 – Perception of power – Mutants are the new target of fear and racism, Tech characters are seen as heroes.
  • 306 – Power level – World – Mutants vary but low power is more common, and that does mean power, all mutants have something extra. Tech is fairly standard and can make one man equal to about a Main Battle Tank. Game – Mutants will be on the higher end but not the top. Tech characters will have unique toys that go well past the current standards.
  • 307 – Known Earth – There is going to be an alien research vessel that knows about Earth. They noted the unusual solar flare activity and they have been monitoring the effect on humans since. Both physically and sociologically. They trade out teams on a regular basis and have rules about interacting with humans. I have no intention of introducing the aliens any time soon. I think if the players get creative they might be able to find them and go chat. But unless the game needs a kick in the butt, I have no intention of dropping this in the players path.

Ok so the next step is putting it all together and setting your setting in motion.

Play hard and play often folks.

Now gimme the dice, I need to see how many pages I can roll for on a 1d everything roll.

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Game Review #42 – GURPS Humanx (S)

Did you know there is not a decent RPG that has been created specifically for Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy? SIGH… Ok so for review #42 we will stick with SCIFI and hit something a little unexpected.

You may remember a while back I did a review for GURPS. I was not a happy camper in regards to the system, but did mention more than once that when GURPS does a game supplement they go all out. They treat it with respect and do a great job of it. This is one of those examples.

The Humanx setting is from the works of Alan Dean Foster. I got into the setting back in the late 70’s with the book Orphan Star, with Flinx and his minidrag Pip. And I could never get enough. Foster did frustrate the crud out of me more than once when he would write a new book (and I have to say his writing has never stopped improving over the years) and it would come in-between things he had already established as cannon for the setting and it changed two or three things and so now you have to reread to ensure you have everything right in your own head… but that is between me and Mr Foster.

Published in 1987 GURPS Humanx takes into account not only the series of books that is my favorites (Flinx and Pip) but also takes into account the whole freaking setting. And that is not something that is easy to do given the number of books that Foster had published in the setting by that time. In the books 96 pages you got the whole history of the Humanx Commonwealth and even a look at some of the major players. I was really surprised at how much information they were able to cram into such a small space. The weakest part of the whole thing was the art in my mind, considering that they go permission to use the Michael Whelan cover from one of the books.

To be honest I could rant on for a long time about how much I loved this book. And how it broke my heart that it was in GURPS and not a game system I enjoyed. But on the up side there is so much information here that if a GM cannot take this book and put it into their own preferred game system… well I would be looking for a new GM.

Lets take a look at the numbers….

Overall Fluff 4/5 – The only reason I put this at a 4 and not a 5 is the interior art. The details and snippets from the books are just freaking awesome.

Overall Crunch 4/5 – There are a couple of new rules added for the Humanx setting in this book and while I am not a fan of GURPS they fill in for things that would otherwise feel like big holes in the setting. Like I said I may not like GURPS overall, but when they do a source book or licensed item they do not short change you.

Overall Mod 1/5 – This is in the tank because in my case, you have to mod it, into a whole other system. But the level of detail that is present makes it pretty easy overall. I have in the past put it into Star Frontiers (the Thranx and the Vrusk trade up pretty easy) and into Mekton (yeah I was in a ship to ship combat stage at the time)

Overall Fun 5/5 – Ok so I am totally biased and I admit it. I love the setting and I love the way they treated the material. Even though it takes time to mod it to something I can use in a game engine I enjoy, I still think the book itself is a lot of fun for fans.

Total Score 14/20 – I tried to be as even handed as I could given that I dont like the game engine but love the books this is based on. Not an easy task. For a fan of the setting who games I think the book is essential. For a fan of the books it might be a nice to have just so you can see how other people treat the property. For fans of scifi gaming it could be a very nice alternate setting. For fans of GURPS… … … … … sorry, got nothin’ but snark.

All right so fairly short review this week. Oh and yes this is the official post for the week. Seattle’s Snowmageddon 2019 has brought you everything else published this week. Remember this is all my opinion. Get out there and game for yourself. Make up your own bloody mind and have fun doing it.

Now gimme the dice, I need to see if I can make friends with this minidrag.

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Game Review #41 Classic Organizations for Champions 4th Edition (S)

Welcome readers. Yeah, two posts in under a week. No this is not a sign of the apocalypse, that is already underway and in the hands of other management. 🙂

Having recently found out that Hero Games, the creators of Champions, have been putting a lot of effort into adding PDF versions of the Champions game into online retailers like DriveThruRPG I wanted to pull up one of my favorites from my OVERALL favorite version of Champions. Fourth edition.

Avid readers will remember a while back I did a review for another Champions item. CLOWN. That adventure module, and three others from third edition Champions have been updated, reedited and added to this supplement. What was collected in this book was,

CLOWN, the Criminal Legion Of Wacky Nonconformists.

CLOWN

Neutral Ground, A safe space for heroes and villains to chat, heal, and seek advice or training.

champions ng

PRIMUS and DEMON, A government organization to fight super-crime with an almost military efficiency, and a magical organization bent on world corruption and or domination, either would work.

champions PnD

And Red Doom, a very 80’s look at Russian supers and the teams they had in order to counter evil American heroes who might interfere with the Motherland.

champions red doom

The first thing most folks would think about in a supplement like this is, “Well if you are just reprinting old stuff who cares. I can just use the old books.” And while you definitely could the four original supplements were created in first through third editions of the rules for Champions. Now then while the changes between the four editions are not as subtle as going from AD&D 1st edition to AD&D 2nd edition. They are no where near as extreme as say going from Basic D&D to Third edition. Things like Martial Arts and some of the powers went through major changes. And while you could muddle through quite well, it makes it a little easier to have it all worked out for you.

In addition to the rules updates you also had all four books pulled together to tell a single story. That updated all of the characters from the original four books. And pulled in additional ones from other old supplements. And when they built this new story they also mapped it out completely so that characters could be directly involved and change a number of elements for their own world, or they could deal with the aftermath of what happened. When they did the update of the organizations they made some fairly significant changes in a few of them. Everything from reorganizing teams, to completely changing the origin stories for characters and in two cases of the organizations themselves.

The combined effect of the rules updates and the story that was created, along with the effects on individual characters and the grander implications for the world of Champions gave this supplement something that was close to unique in the evolution of the Champions RPGs. A true sense of continuity. This book told players that yes your old supplements still mattered. And look how you can tie them in with all the new stuff that is being created for the game.

Hero games did one other book for fourth edition that started with Classic in the title. And while it collected characters from a lot of previous supplements, it did not try to build continuity like this one did.

While I did not get to play with much of the material here… finding Champions players can be a pain some times… what I did use balanced well and ran just like I would expect anything from 4th edition Champions to run. Very very well.

In the end this book is one of five books that I would put into a bundle to say this is your core for Champions 4th edition. That though can be the topic of a later post.

So lets take a look at this book by the numbers…

Overall Fluff 4/5 – Using a ton of the original art, and adding several new pieces the art fits well into the whole Champions product line. This however is the fluff flaw as well. The art is not really top of the line when compared to comic books or a lot of the high end art that other games were using at the time or since.What really stands out though is the story and the character narratives. It adds a lot of great material and makes for a very nice bit of ongoing plot and gives a lot of potential for players to run with and build their own stories and for GMs to integrate it into their worlds.

Overall Crunch 4/5 – While there are no new rules in this book, this book has examples of just about everything you can do with the Champions game engine. Using those examples you can really map out how to do a lot of the more complex things in the game engine like vehicle design and base construction with a lot of ease.

Overall Mod 4/5 – Champions as a whole is really easy for me to mod. And plots and character elements are usually very easy to mod too. However the story elements and background are so well integrated that it can be a bit of work to pull out and use only parts of it, or to add a lot of additional items to it.

Overall Fun 5/5 – So I seriously love this book. Even with a few flaws and not great art it is one of the best supplements that came out for Champions 4th edition. At least in my mind. And as noted above, I enjoy it so much I put it as one of the books you would want to consider your core material to play in the Champions universe.

Total Score 17/20 – A high score, but in my mind this is one where if I have a really good game session or three with the material again I would likely bump it even higher. The book is not without flaws, but overall it is a very very useful collection of material that should not be under rated.

Ok so as always, this is my opinion. Get out there, read it, play with it, and decide for yourself if you agree.

Keep gaming and have fun out there folks.

Now gimme the dice, I need to see how many comic-book villains can fit into the CLOWN car for rapid transit.

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Tales from the Game Table – The Negotiation

Ok so this trails back to the days of yore. I think it was 7th grade. Which would have put things in 1984 or 85. I was playing with a D&D 1st edition group in the school library. Other than the fact that the group had two people co DMing the game and I think that Dan the RPG man was there I really do not remember everyone at the table.

We were in our third or fourth session I think. We had already had arguments about whether or not your character actually had clothes if they were not on the character sheet, and a few other things. But in this session we had actually gotten into town and some of the players were trying to figure out how to make a little extra money. Sadly I do not remember a lot of the details. But this one event has stuck with me for years…

One of the party decided to sell something. And instead of just rolling to try and get a deal one of the DM’s decided we had to roleplay it out.

The negotiation actually went on for almost ten minutes. But the final was worth it. It went a little something like this…

DM: No 70gp is my final offer.

Player : I wont go below 90.

DM: 70gp

Player :  95.

DM: You cant go up.

Player : 98.

DM: 65!

Player : 100.

DM: 60!

Player : 90.

DM: 95!

Player : I’ll take it.

Both DM’s: DAMNIT

Players: WOO HOOO!

Librarian: I know I said you can play here but keep it down.

Everyone: Laughter

Now then the values are likely way off, and the build up to get to that part of the afternoon was hectic and some of us at the table had been a little frustrated up to that point because this was taking so long and we were getting no where. The DM negotiating just wanted to ‘win’, and ended up getting tanked. It was a bloody awesome bait and switch. I did not do it, but I saw it done and was there for it. I could be off on the year too, it may have been sixth or eighth grade.

That little group didn’t last too long. Well, I did not last in that group long. Not really sure if it folded or if I just left because the two DMing the game were so strict. And by strict I mean that the character they said had no clothes was not allowed to just drop more coin and have them, they had to role play going into a town naked (because for some reason none of the other characters extra clothes would fit them) and then buy them while setting up that character with a bad reputation for wandering into town without clothes.

So just a little one to start this segment off on. Hope you all got a chuckle.

So gimme the dice… I need to pick pocket some clothes.

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World Building 304 and 305 Percent of Power and Perception of Power

Hey there readers. So yeah I took a week off to take care of other things and rest up a bit and never said a bloody word. So it goes some times. 🙂

With these two parts of creating a world for supers being so tightly interconnected most of the time I thought I would save myself a little work and put them together into a single entry.

The overall percentage of people who have power in your world will change things dramatically. If you take a look at most superhero settings in comics you will usually have something like a 1 per 10000 to 1 per 100000 ratio of people with super powers compared to people who do not have super powers. Although I think in Marvel Comics the City of New York is getting closer to the 1 per 100 ratio.

If you would like another comparison there is an episode of the old Disney Darkwing Duck series (I think, I cant find it so I am not really sure if I did not imagine the whole sodding thing) in which a superhuman from another world comes to DWD’s world and says there is a mission only he can resolve. Well it turns out that everyone on that world had super powers and they needed someone without powers to be the constant victim who needed saving.

There is also a difference between high power and low power levels. If you look at DC comics Legion of Superheroes. They are in a setting where many of the alien races have what would be considered to be super powers. And for the most part every member of the race has them. There are some powers though that are essential to survival in their native world, but seem silly if not useless outside of that environment. (cough cough Matter Eater Lad cough cough) Most of the time this results in the character being considered useless and relegated to the Legion of Substitute Heroes, or just kicked out. However when Superboy/girl (now that would be an interesting character) shows up with so much power, he/she is in without question.

And then if you want to see how that all ties into the overall perception of power in the real world… just take a look at political or military or even business leaders. The folks without power (in whatever way you measure it) are usually afraid of the people with power unless they have a way to level the playing field.  Or if there is a method by which you can take the power away from them.

I think by now you are getting the idea.

Low power and high frequency of powers usually means that acceptance is easy.

High power and low frequency usually means a lot of fear and really stupid things begin done to protect the innocent against this strange and powerful threat. (Think X-men)

I mean in psychological terms it is really common in humans to fear what you do not know or do not have.

But the thing is that you are going to be creating your own world. With your own timeline and setting and reasons for powers. Well, if you want to you will be. So why don’t you decide?

Personally I like using the fearful masses type of setting because it gives me an excuse to have a lot of people doing stupid things to protect themselves when they dont have to. It can really establish a sense of, “This is why we need to be heroes, to save them from themselves.” into characters.

But when I created Delta City I set that environment up so that unless you were from out of town, seeing someone fly by on a carpet, or in a cone of energy was just a “Hmmm 9am, must be Tuesday.” level of acceptance of the strange, and different and powerful. Heck in that setting the scariest things are the trash men and women because they have means of dealing with ANYTHING that might pop out of the wood work when they are picking up trash.

That is also why I put these steps at this time in the world building process for supers. You already know where, why and for how long powers have been around. That can help you scale the every day persons reactions. And give you some great story elements. I mean if powers are showing up in 1 out of every 10 people. And they have been around for a couple hundred years. Acceptance should be rather high. Actually at the couple hundred years point as long as the supers have not tried to take over the world too often even at the 1 out of every 10000 should be having a very high acceptance of powers.

But it is your world, and you dont have to do it that way if you dont want to. And thats the fun of it. You build your world and explain it how you want it to be.

Now then for the world I am building as part of the exercise for this presentation I have decided that powers are going to be at the 1 – 25000 level. So a city with a population of 1000000 should have 40 super powered individuals in it. Yeah I know that you need to take into account the local suburban regions and overall population growth over areas that are not directly incorporated that could up the total number of supers in that city by as much as 130% but I really dont want to get that realistic) Also with a short time line I am going to go ahead with the ‘fear and loathing’ reaction of the masses.

All I can really do at this point is to suggest you think about it. Maybe on your earth there are countries and places that accept supers and some that dont. Some might seem them as agents of evil or possessing powers that should only be in the domain of deity, so they have to be purged. Maybe they are seen as saviors. Maybe no one cares.

Its your world, build it your way. And have fun.

Ok so I need to get going again…

Gimme the dice, I need to see what happens when 23 super powers converge on the same bouncy ball pit… no really I need to see this…

Have fun and keep gaming all…

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Tales from the game table

Now then just to set the stage, the featured image here is from M.W. Kaluta. I dont own the image, but I have seen it all over the web. I think I may be the only person whom I have seen who gives the name of the creator and their web address.

Anyway, I have decided to toss another aspect of my game history and such into the blog. Tales from the game table is going to be another ongoing series like the world building, and game reviews that reaches back to memorable events and game sessions to re live times when things went… oddly. Sometimes it will be my own stupidity and sometimes it will be the craziness of others.

Now I am kinda hoping that some of the other folks I have gamed with will reach back to me (Dan, John… others…) and remind me of a few, especially of the times I really made a hash of things so that I can laugh at myself.

I will be referring to people in the real world in these articles, by name. Not full name, and frequently, if I can remember, I will tie the real name into character names to give a little better look at what the heck was going on at the game table. However when these stories are about the people more than their characters… no character name will be included.

I am making this post so that word can spread and the next time I put this banner and image up on my blog folks will have been forewarned. I know that not everyone I have ever gamed with will know of my blog, or see me on Facebook or other places my blog cross posts. But a few may spread the word and things may get around. You see if there is anyone out there that wants me to keep my yap shut about game session stupidity then I want them to speak up. Tell me not to post it, or something.

If I happen to get someone speaking up after I have posted something I will be happy to take it down and issue them a direct apology. I don’t think there will be anything that I can say that would be damaging to someone reputation, career, or personal life. I may damage their ego… but that should be it.

All in all this should be a fun set of flashbacks to strange and silly moments in my gaming past. I hope to entertain and have some fun.

Ok so thats going to be it this week. Short post, short note, short sheet.

Now gimme the dice, I have to make a random roll on a d10000 to see which crazy story goes first.

Keep gaming and keep having fun folks.

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Game Review #40 Night City – Cyberpunk 2020 (S)

Greetings readers. With the still pending release of Cyberpunk 2077 from CD Projekt I thought I would get a little ahead of the curve and pull out a few of the Cyberpunk 2020 books and see if I could give myself an edge when 2077 is finally released.

On the top of my list is one of the game supplements that has been at the top of my list for years when it comes to city guides. City guides have been around for a long time in gaming, and one of the first that really got me going on the idea of an entire publication for a city setting was the City State of the Invincible Overlord. I got the Mayfair Games boxed set version when it came out (1986/87) and was floored at the amount of detail that they had and it got incorporated into many of my game worlds going forward. There were others that I found and read/used/loved/hated after that boxed set. Some older, some newer, but none of them captured my imagination or respect in the same manner that the City State did until I found Night City. I will freely admit that I did not get it as soon as it was printed, but it was not too long there after.

Night City, after I read it, set my new high standard for a City guide. There have been a few that have come close sense, but it takes a lot to equal it.

Let me give you a few ideas why.

To start off with in its presentation the Night City guide is formatted to look like the kind of material you would get from the in city Data Terms. Data terminals that you can use to get everything from maps to the daily newspaper. It then goes from a general overview of the city, with everything from weather to hot spots before going into a history of the city itself. Then it moves into things that get a bit more specific, like depending on your finances where you might live and how you do it, the descriptions of street gangs (the Bozo’s are still one of my all time favorite gangs and I am reeeeeeeeealy hoping they make an appearance in the 2077 game). Then it finally moves into specific regions of the city. Including specific locations, hot spots, local characters and even the types or some very specific contacts that you can develop in each region.

Now then inside that presentation it also slips in game specific stats. However it does it in such a way that you feel like it is supposed to be there. Like when talking about the street gangs they do not give you set stats for your generic members of the gangs. But it gives you averages and then adds a little color as well. For example the Interlock System that Cyberpunk uses has a stat called Cool that defines your mental stability, and a few other traits. Under the listing for the Bozo’s under Cool it has the comment – “Do crazy people truly have Cool?” (Page 53). That kind of added flavor gives a nice touch that does not distract from the presentation and still makes it useful in game.

The third big deal is that this book is actually great for all of the in game roles that players can have and that game masters can abuse for NPCs. Not just in local hots spots or encounters and contacts. It also has layouts for a few sites on the Net so that you can set things up for hacks. It has details on corps and the law so if you are playing a corp or a cop you can have material to enhance your game. And it has details that you can use to add to any character that would have been hinted at in their Lifepath at character creation. And for those that dont know Lifepath is a series of tables that you roll on at character creation to set up a background for our character. Or at least the framework for one that you can flesh out.

Last big deal is that this is one of the few game supplements in a cyberpunk or scifi setting in which, to myself at least, all of the art and technical-esqe art fits. It is rare that you can say that about the art in any game book. Usually there is something that takes you out of the moment and makes you go… why… really, why is that here?

So I have no idea if this game book would be helpful at all when 2077 comes out. The scenes that have been shared so far give me a bit of hope that at least some of the material will be on the nose. And since Mike Pondsmith himself is involved with the creation of 2077, and he is a solid story teller and enjoys Easter eggs as much as anyone, I cannot see it being completely useless.

Ok so thats my rant about it, lets see how I set the numbers.

Overall Fluff 5/5 – Read all of the above and you will see that the fluff is out of control here. I would have given it a six out of five if I could let myself out of my own rules.

Overall Crunch 2/5 – There are no new rules in this book, but there is also nothing that breaks existing rules. So it has a low score here because nothing is added.

Overall Mod 5/5 – Interlock is one of those systems that you can mod the heck out of. The Fusion System and CyberFang prove this. And the material is presented in such a way that it is very easy to drop in your own NPC’s or full fledged features to make the city match you own game, or even game engine if you want to export it.

Overall Fun 5/5 – Again read the above and you will know I think this is a blast. Even though the setting is a dystopian cyberpunk work.

Total Score 17/20 – Ok, pretty high score. And it is WORTH IT. Nuff Said. (Nuff Said credited to the memory of Stan Lee, because he is forever awesome.)

Ok so thats my post. Hope the new year is kicking much ass for everyone already and that your game days rock even harder than last year.

Now gimme the dice, I have to see how many Bozo’s are around here and clowning…

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