Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Lovecraft as bad writer?

When I read Lovecraft as a teenager I was looking for suspense and thrills. I did not find it. Instead I found the strange choice of wide distance from the supposed action. Decades later I started rereading Lovecraft exactly for that distance.

It’s a choice to see everything through a filter of disbelief in reality (now). A state of shock that fades out sound and puts the world seemingly in slow motion. The distance he creates also reminds me of what I imagine clinical depression to be like. Lovecraft’s Cosmic Horror is mostly existential and I can’t stop reading him for the out of body experience he provides.

Cthulhu is a stupid looking monster, but it also turned into an universal icon of the wish that everything would come to an end - jokingly of course, because nonfundamentalists don’t believe in Judgement Days, but sometimes wish for it anyways. Cthulhu turned into that fix in geek culture. Dark Gnosis: look it up.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Savage Worlds Low Life: Random Bodul Tables

Roll for the central piece of the Bodul:

1-5 Torso
6 Head
7 Leg or Foot
8 Hand or Arm or Tentacle
9 Eye
10 "Ball"

Roll how many body parts are connected: 2d4 minus 1 (one to seven)

Roll for each of the parts

1 Torso
2 Head
3 Leg or Foot
4 Hand or Arm or Tentacle
5 Eye
6 Primary or Secondary Sexual Organ

Each of these body parts is connected to 1d4 minus 3 additional body parts (zero to 1)
Exception: if you roll a Torso 1W4 minus minus 2 additonal body parts (zero to 2) are connected

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Email RPGs around 2000: White Deer

For quite some time in the late 1990ies and early Noughties most of my role playing games were run in the form of IRC and especially email games.

Sadly some of those are lost, while a few are saved on yahoogroups.

One example for this was the short lived Radiant RPG. You can find an overview over posts in the message archive.

I remembered this game now, because the character I play in my current Necessary Evil game - Crystal Antlers - das Kristallgeweih - originated there. Now people can get the impression that I was inspired by amazing band by the same name, but the idea for the character dates back to the 2nd of October 2000.


Friday, January 1, 2016

My RPG Calendar 2016

January
1st OSB Cthulhu 1: Nachts im Schwarzwald (Jor; Kar, Nat)
3rd OSB Cthulhu 2: Vollmond vor Rügen (Jor; Kar, Nat)
6th OSB Cthulhu: The Shaman and the Captain (Jor; Ale, Mig, Agn, Vin)
8th Splittermond: Zhoujiang Trilogie Teil 3 (Google Hangouts on Air)
11th DSA4: Königstrommeln 2: Dorf der geflohenen Frau (Google Hangouts on Air)
13th DSA5 3: Von Tresen und Ritualmorden (Google Hangouts on Air)  
14th Savage Worlds: Necessary Evil 1: Auf der Spur von Doctor Devolution (Mehr NotizenHangouts)
20th DSA5 4: Am havenischen Hafen (Google Hangouts on Air)
27th DSA1 with DSA5: Das Buch der Abenteuer: 1 Graubarts Haus (Google Hangouts on Air)
31st DS4: Königstrommeln 3: Verrat am Pass (Google Hangouts in Air)

February
3rd DSA1 with DSA5: Das Buch der Abenteuer: 2 Graubarts Arbeitszimmer (Google Hangouts on Air)
4th Savage Worlds: Necessary Evil 2: In Doctor Devolutions Ameisenbau (Google Hangouts on Air)
18th Savage Worlds: Necessary Evil 3: Fight Club (Google Hangouts on Air)
23rd DSA1: Wurzelwahrheit (Google Hangouts on Air)
25th DSB1 5: Die Mamorkönigin in Havena (Jor; Kar, Nat, Mar)

March
8th DSA5 5: Nachts im Stadtpark von Havena (Google Hangouts on Air)
10th Savage Worlds: Necessary Evil 4: Fight Club, Part 2 (Google Hangouts on Air)
14th DSA5 6: Die Bezwingung der Schimäre (Google Hangouts on Air)
23rd DSA1 with DSA5: Das Buch der Abenteuer: 3 Graubarts Geheimkammer (Google Hangouts on Air)

April
1st DSA5 7: Der Ende der Spiegeldämonen (Google Hangouts on Air)
4th DSA5: Efferds Vergeltung 1 - Nächtliches Warten auf Verschwörer (Google Hangouts on Air)
7th DSA5 (Hosted): Winter im Radrumtal 1 (Google Hangouts on Air))
12th DSA5: Efferds Vergeltung 2 - Beschatter und Lichtbringer (Google Hangouts on Air)
20th DSA5: Winter im Radrumtal 2  (Google Hangouts on Air)

May
12th DSA5: Efferds Vergeltung 3 - Im Seetiger & Silberrochen (Google Hangouts on Air)
24th DSA5: Efferds Vergeltung 4 - Das Lager der Neckerhändler  (Google Hangouts on Air)
31st DSA5: Efferds Vergeltung 5 - Kampf gegen Kaltylak (Google Hangouts on Air)

June
-

July
11th Realms of Cthulhu: Wien 1925 A1 - Begräbnis und Leichenschmaus (Google Hangouts on Air)
12th DSA1 with DSA5: Das Buch der Abenteuer: 4 Silvanas Befreiung (Google Hangouts on Air)
18th DSA1 with DSA5: Nedime - Die Tochter des Kalifen (Google Hangouts on Air)

Aug
3rd DSA1 with DSA5: Im Wirtshaus zum Schwarzen Keiler (Google Hangouts on Air)
11th DSA5: Efferds Vergeltung 6: Vor Praios' Richtstuhl (Google Hangouts on Air)
14th Marvel Super Heroes 0: Angriff der HYDRA-Agenten
17th Marvel Super Heroes 1: Captain America & das Ding am Crisianischen Empfang (Google Hangouts on Air)
23rd Realms of Cthulhu: Wien 1925 A2 - Im Keller der Pension Hubert (Google Hangouts on Air)
25th Realms of Cthulhu: Wien 1925 B1 - Leichenschmaus und Kartenspiele (Google Hangouts on Air)
28th Call of Cthulhu: Inmitten Uralter Bäume 1 (Jogix; Roll20)
31st DSA5: Der Weiße See 1: Begegnungen (Google Hangouts on Air)

Sept
14th Realms of Cthulhu: Wien 1925 B2 - Im Keller der Pension Hubert (Google Hangouts on Air)
15th Hellfrost 1: Giftanschlag beim Fest (Kali; Roll20)
18th OSB: Die Insel-Expedition 1: Die Unterwasserhöhle (Nat; Kar, Jor)
21nd Realms of Cthulhu: Wien 1925 B3 - Die lebendige Tote (Google Hangouts on Air)
24th OSB: Die Insel-Expedition 2: Durch den Dschungel (Nat; Kar, Jor)
27th DSA5: Der Weiße See 2: Eine fast ereignislose Reise (Google Hangouts on Air)
29th Hellfrost 4: Blut in der Bibliothek (Kali; Roll20)

Oct
4th Finsterland 1: Lynchjustiz in Schwarzenbrück (Pils; Youtube Live)
6th Hellfrost 3 (Flashback): Frostbart, der eisgeborene Schlächter (Kali; Roll20)
10th Fragged Empire: Geisterschiff Karthago 1 (Jogix; Roll20)
13th Hellfrost 4 (Flashback): In der Anari-Festung (Kali; Roll20)
14th DSA5: Späte Post 1 (Fjanz; Youtube Live)

Nov
1st Savage Worlds: Zombie Run 1: Al and Debbie (Kali; Roll20)
3rd Hellfrost 5: Aus dem Gefängnis von Nara (Kali; Roll20)
8th DSA5: Ey Mann, wo ist der Kaiser der Diebe (Lorion; Roll20)
10th Hellfrost 6: Gesucht nicht gefunden, Besuch bei einer Lady & Reise zu ihren Schafen (Kali; Roll20)
12th DSA5: Heldenwerk: Kibakadabra (Lorion; Roll20)
14th DSA Classic: Einbruch beim Alchimisten (Lorion; Roll20)
16th Finsterland 2: Der Heiratsantrag (Pils; Youtube Live)
17th Savage Worlds: Zombie Run 2: Molotow-Cocktails, Autos & Centerfolds (Kali; Roll20)
19th DSA5: Kibakadabra 2 (Lorion; Roll20)
22nd DSA5: Der Weiße See 3: Efferdsgebete und ein solcher Schrein (Kite; Youtube Live)
23rd Savage Worlds: Low Life: Das Mysterium von Splata (Jor; Youtube Live)
25th DSA-Erzählregeln: Lothak von Purpurfels' Burg (Nick Nack; Youtube Live) 

My RPG Calendar 2015
My RPG Calendar 2014
My RPG Calendar 2013 
My RPG Calendar 2012
My RPG Calendar 2011
My RPG Calendar 2010
My RPG Calendar 2009
My RPG Calendar 2008

Monday, November 30, 2015

Director Awards: The Game

You can find the basic idea for the game here: RPG board game with shifting GM

Here is the list of cards.

Set up: every players picks a Director. Currently they are just called Two, Three, Four, Five and Six. (Use normal playing cards.)

Now every player picks three random Profession cards, plus two Advantages, two Disadvantages, one Item and one Connection. //Gender card??///Motivation card??//

He places one Profession in each of his three Cast areas: Protagonist, Support and Antagonist. The player puts two of the other cards in each of the three areas, whatever way preferred.

Example: Players gets Scoundrel / Rogue, Gun Nut and Prostitute. Also: Advantages: Tough, Rich, Marksman; Disadvantages: Slow and Phlegmatic. Item: Secret File Connection: Mafia //Stud, Girl, Female//The player goes for: Protagonist: Gun Nut, Tough, Phlegmatic Support: Prostitute, Rich, Secret File Antagonist: Scoundrel, Marksman, Mafia

Next he picks 2 Location cards and plays one in the centre of the table. The 2nd one the player keeps in his hand.
Example: Laundry, Motel. The player puts Motel in the centre of the table.
After every player has set up their cast, each player picks a Relation card. And plays it to one of the players' Cast members on his right. He decides who of his cast is related that way to whom from the other cast. And keeps the card next to his cast member that it relates to.

Example: 2nd players gets Ex Asylum Inmate, Detective, Soldier; Charismatic, Fighter; Short Fused, Brainwashed; Map; Corporation 
The player goes for: Protagonist: Ex Asylum Inmate, Short Fused, Fighter; Support: Soldier, Charismatic, Short Fused; Antagonist: Detective, Map, Corporation; He also got the locations Police Station and Prison, and decides to play Police Station. 
Now both players pick a Relation card: Player one gets _______________ has been a friend to me when others were prejudiced. He decides to play it from his Protagonist to player 2's antagonist (the Scoundrel). Player gets _______________ saved me from certain doom, and I must repay them. and plays it from his Protagonist to player 1's Support (the prostitute).
After this set up phase, the director for the 1st Act is decided randomly, by picking a card with the Number of the director.

The aim of the game is create the most exciting story with the current set up (and hopefully not pissing off any of the players). After every Director directed an act, the game is over and an anonymous voting for the best director and winner takes place.

The director picks specific antagonists and their connections as well as Moves! to attack the Protagonists and Support. He sets scenes at locations and sets the Motivational or Drama Framework that lures the Cast in.

The Director also decides at this point, which Locations (from all the players' played out cards) will be featured in which act/phase (one per each of the three phases) and what Characters and Events are featured there. The Director does not need to note this down or prove it by card. He should be able to change and improvise during the game, if he comes up with a more stringent development. But having a set up before the game really starts gives a good framework as starting point.

The Non Directors of the Act play their characters and get (or spend?) points for invoking their cards.

Protagonists have plot immunity, but can lose cards while support characters can potentially die, as can villains. But the role of a character can shift. Still someone is always gonna be the a protagonist.

Example: A Move! card played by the the Director can have the outcome on Actor failure that the protagonist has to shift role with antagonist or support, or that the support dies.

All three roles can be banned for the rest of the act. For example through injury or imprisonment.

The Director plays all the Support and Antagonists, he can also play his own Protagonist. Support and Protagonist of the same player have a special Bond that gives a bonus on reaction rolls (card picks??) to each other. Antagonists collect bonus points (experience or spotlight points) that make them stronger, by showing up / foreshadowing.

Romance scenes gives bonus points?




Monday, November 23, 2015

Savage Synnibarr: Cloudpuncher's Secret Chamber

After having entered Captain Cloudpuncher's house in the giant's city of Ship's Home, Trush - in giant baby form -, Dita and Douro chat with Cloudpuncher's mother and her niece. The mother asks Dita who was the woman with whom he had the child, but Dita is able not to spill the beans and just giving vague answers. Douro decides to leave the house in the meantime to check the surrounding streets.

Dita releases Cloudpuncher's ghost from her Ghost Lamp. She asks him to float upstairs and retrieve his slave trade journal. But while he at first promises help, he does not return from upstairs - even after 20 minutes. But as soon as he is free he starts mocking her, calling her a stupid b for taking him to the place that he wanted to spend his afterlife and that he knew making her survive as a kid could pay off one day. He tells her that upstairs in his realm, he is nearly invincible. Then he disappears floating through the door.

Dita decides to send more ghosts upstairs after him: three dead soldiers, a creepy girl and a winged unicorn. One of them returned after some time, telling that Cloudpuncher's ghost disappeared behind a secret door upstairs - in a room that is protected from any magic or supernatural interference with magic traps.

In the meantime the young women decided to bring giant baby Trush to bed in the other room downstairs. Cloudpuncher's mother joins her. Dita has asked before, if she could stay one night in the house and is offered a sleeping place in the kitchen.

The two female inhabitants sleep soon and baby Trush sneaks out of the bed he shares with Cloudpuncher's mother and meets Dita in the hallway. They ghosts have told them to take care of a trapdoor on the staircase and that way they are able to overstep the wire activating it.

Upstairs they know to pick the left door and while it is locked, Dita can open it easily with her Amazon's Toolkit. She and Trush enter Cloudpuncher's bedroom. The ghosts told Dita about the secret passage under the panels, but she does not know the password. Trush is able to find a microphone though and  computer system that controls the secret door. With his Computer Domination ability he easily takes full control of the system and opens the wall.

He and Dita are able to enter Cloudpuncher's secret chamber: a room with a desk and many maps as well as a stuffed Winged Giant Grizzly that is five meters tall. The bear is standing on a box that seems to contain Cloudpuncher's secret slave trade journal. On a second glimpse the grizzly actually looks too lifelike - especially in the eyes - to be stuffed. Dita lifts the giant bear with her telekinetic powers and Trush steps towards the box that seems to be glued to the bear's feet. But as soon as Trush touches it, the bear comes to life and shoots laser beams from his eyes at Dita. She gets hit and barely is able to dodge in a way that her shoulder is only superficially burnt. She is still holding the bear with telekinesis and Trush is pushing away the box. She releases a chi shout but the bear is not even registering. She realises that Cloudpuncher's ghost has manifested in it.

Dita comes up with a plan. She tells Trush to leave the room as fast as possible and follows him. As soon as they are out, she lets Trush lock the secret door via the computer system. With all the anti magical barriers in place, Cloudpuncher should be locked in his secret room forever.

Dita and Trush look at the content of the box: there really is the journal in it. The big leather bound notebook contains all slave trade related business transactions written in ink. Dita is able to find her brother: he was sold to a person called Lady Strahd. It seems Cloudpuncher has a bimonthly meeting point with her a mountain range not to far from Ship's Home. She is buying young boys at all these occasions.

Next to the journal there are shackles in the box. Dita is able to feel that those are not ordinary shackles, but some made out of Venderant Nalaberong, the only power being able to withstand gods. These Venderant Nalaberong Shackles of Eternity are able to bind even a god for time neverending.

As the fight with the bear  - especially the chi shout - made some noise, even with closed magic barrier doors, Trush decided to return to his baby role. He steps back on the stairsteps crying. Actually Cloudpuncher's mother really woke up and came to the halllway. Trush pretends to stumble down the stairs and right into her arms. She is relieved and brings him back into her bed.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Pen and Paper RPG Actual Play List (English)

This list collects Actual Plays of pen and paper roleplaying games session that actually were entertaining for me to listen to.

The Dark Eye - Im Spinnenwald (Spider Forest)
This game literally takes 15 two hour sessions to take off, but once it it starts following the adventure, it gets fun. I link to that specific session.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

An RPG Board Game: Everyone has a turn as Gamemaster

I have never in my life encountered a board game that was able to simulate the open structure of an RPG. Lately I came up with a new approach that maybe can solve this issue.

One of the problem those games encounter is that they require preparation of a GM not to stay very static. While in an RPG being the GM is the reward in itself, this breaks down in a board game simulation of an RPG.

My approach is to make every player the GM in each session of the game.

My basic idea was: elements are randomly shuffled around before the (sub)game starts and the GM of that section tries to create a story/ an adventure based on this card.

After half an hour his turn is over and the next player, becomes the GM. There are two different ways for it to play out: a completely new story starts, or the new GM continuous the current one.

At the end of the game - after everyone took turns - the winner is the one who gets most votes for his or her adventure. This voting process should be anonymous. And it should be split in to multiple categories. Additionally voting for best "normal" player can take places. Even splitting it up, for best actor, strategist, etc.

A potential title would be: Storyteller Power Hour, although something based on the theme of the cards could also make sense.
"The Oscar goes to" would be a title if you want to make it more mainstream. In this case creating a random title for the story/ movie would also be fun. Another option would be "Director Awards".

Actually you don't even need cards: a set of tables should do the job as well.

Categories for cards or tables could for example be:
Profession
Strength
Weakness
Location
Items

Here you can find a list of attributes for random generation.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Troika Campaign and Adventure Planning Tool

I found this in my archive. Supposedly it is enough to plan a campaign.
  • Pick three themes
  • A list of three conflicts that might happen in the game.
  • A list of three interesting NPCs that might be encountered.
  • A list of three interesting locations that the PCs might visit.
  • A list of three "tone-setting" events that might occur, to give genre-flavor.
  • A list of three plot-moving revelations that might occur.




Friday, October 30, 2015

The Big Blackout - Contemporary Mini Campaign

This is a mini campaign I intended to run and that was replaced with another game. It is intended for players who don't care for fantastic elements. It is supposed to feel at least somewhat like GTA. Everyone plays a person that was convicted for a crime. It is the player's choice if the crime was actually committed by the character or not. Use the crime table to find out what the crime is.

It all starts in a courthouse. It is focused on an unspecified city.

COURTHOUSE (Plot Point 1 = PP1)
All the characters are in one room together at the court, after being sentenced by judges, waiting for a transport back to prison. With a giant guy (Blabes). “I don’t like your face!


2 cops (guns) are also in the room, but will ignore fights without weapons.


There is sudden tumult, sirens, cops whisper, then run out (PP2). Blabes starts attacking right away.


6 more cops (guns) are in the building. SWAT (8) will arrive, but are busy.


1 girl (secretary): “I can show you a secret way out, if you swear to pay me back.”
Hands over 2 key cards for -2 floor elevator. “Just follow the Hieroglyphs!”
UNLOCK PP3

AMOK GUY (PP2)
A psycho with trenchcoat has entered the main hall of the courthouse. He blocks basically the only exit. He has 5 hostages. SWAT teams (24) come from outside, but 8 cops are on the other side.


The Amok guy asks to talk to the president and newsstations, because “we are all controlled by beings on couches in another world. we are just imagination! they are even drunk!”


After 4 hours of waiting, the SWAT team (16) comes in. Probably a short fight. They take everyone prisoner again. Shortly after the Complete Blackout! (PP4) starts.

THE DOG CAVE - ANUBIS (PP3)
Under the courthouse there is a cave. It can be accessed by following hieroglyphs (1st Scarabeus, 2nd Ankh, 3rd dog head) in old archive file rooms (encounter: old file lady).


In the final room, remove a shelf to find an neo classicist Egyptian mural. Press in order of path: Scarabeus, Ankh, dog head. Opens mural as secret door: wet stairs down cave.


Dark, dog barking. Then attack by dogs.


Cave has many forks. Main way leads  to old subway tunnel not longer in use. You can walk out over rails at a station. When coming out, it’s completely dark. Complete blackout! (PP4) Some scared people are in the subway station. They just lie on the floor and cry.

COMPLETE BLACKOUT! (PP4)
Electricity is out for a few hours and it’s getting dark. There are traffic jams everywhere, as all the traffic lights stopped.


People walking to their apartments in poor neighbourhoods will have them either be blocked off by police units (1d4)- there is a fight going on behind, nobody is allowed to pass - or by gang members with knifes and guns.


In rich neighbourhoods corporate security by Janus Systems or Group 7 have closed down the entrances and don’t let anyone in


After dark the looting starts. 1d12 looters take stuff from a store. After 1d20 rounds police or a gang will show up.


For more details use the Blackout Random Tables

STREET BLOCKADE


While driving a car, the characters notice that the street is blocked ahead by cars parked together. 2 people with rifles stand in fron, 6 more with guns are hiding behind the cars. They look like a random group of everyday citizens. Some wear suits or business dresses, others shirts and shorts. The are between 35 and 80.


They don’t want anyone to pass and send cars back.


“We don’t trust you! Go away!”

THE ONE LIGHT


While most of the city block is completely dark, there is one bar that seems to have normal light. There is a crowd of people in front drinking. It seems everything is normal. Inside the bar is crowded. They only take cash obviously. There is a basement with a disco.


The bar has it’s own generator. It’s run by a survival maniac called Inza. She tells that she saw that coming and that she is prepared. She says she is looking for guys with guns to find her friends (actually a militia, but she won’t tell), as they did not show up. She has to stay at the bar.


Behind the disco a steel door leads to a bunker where she stores a lot of weapons. Even anti tank bazookas. She won’t tell anyone about it. The weapons are for her friends, militia.


The militia members (4 with guns) actually ended up - paranoid - as they are, dug up in the telephone franchise shop of on of the members only 2 blocks away. They had a stand off with a local gang and 2 gang members have been killed and lay out on the street. From time to time gun shots may get the attention of people nearby. The gang decided to wander off after some hours, but left 2 kids at the corner, who are supposed to ask for reinforcement (running) when someone moves inside.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Savage Synnibarr Space

Between the first Synnibarr adventure that turned into a 12.5 sessions mini campaign on the alchemist Durana's plan and the Agent-Nelson/Cloudpuncher campaign, there was an intermezzo in space - with the spaceship discovered under water.

The space adventures were supposed to be continue further, but I dropped the campaign after three sessions, because I got the impression that the players were too powerful.

Admittedly that was more an issue of me being scared to power up the NPCs enough, but I still had issues, as a normal space opera setting can't compete with the power level of Synnibarr.

Anyways: I never did a write up of the game and this should be a start.

We played 4.5 sessions. (Like in the "1st season" the final session was too long to fit into one evening or afternoon and had to be continued another day.)

In my 2013 gaming calendar the sessions can be found under the following names:
  • The Home Space Express
  • Spacestation V
  • 2 teams of Slavers
  • Through the DarkTek Office to the Vault
  • The Taker: Grenades & Eyeballs
This is what happened as far as I can remember. I used my private GM notes for the summary.

The group leaves the Synnibarr on the  spaceship they found under water


Next: Back on Synnibarr: Ninjas in the rooftop lounge