FYI

Updates and Skills vs Tools vs Professions

Yeah, so I’ve spent some time today updating my House Rules page, as well as a large number of entries. I can’t say it’s done yet (will it ever?), but things are moving in the right direction.

I’m kind of thinking about a series of posts, one for each profession, that lays out who and where you could find them for my campaign world. There’s all sorts of odd nuances here and there that would be nice to spell out.

I’m also thinking that I hate how the Tools rules end up working out. Essentially, all you need to be able to do is learn how to use a Tool kit (which takes about six months according to the RAW if I recall correctly) and you can make a living at any particular profession. Having been a tradesman for part of my life I can certainly address the fallacy in that but from a strictly gameist perspective it creates an odd mix of things when it comes to Backgrounds and Character Class.

Plus some of those Tool Kits should take a heck of a lot more to learn than a six-month course. Alchemy? Herbalism? Smithcraft? It seems like there should be something like Professions (which are “easy” to start out with) and a selection of skills that, while representing a profession, also require investing something like a Feat (like Alchemy) because of there breadth and depth of knowledge involved. This might mean some more benefits, or it might just mean that the base benefits are just that good.

IDK, something to ponder…

TTFN!

D.

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Neat Interview

A Conversation with Mike Pondsmith, Creator of Cyberpunk 2020

A really interesting interview with the creator of one of favorite games, Cyberpunk 2020. Of note is that Walter Jon Williams, one of the seminal Cyberpunk authors, was a play-tester for the original CP2013 rules and that Mike had not read any Walter Gibson until doing the rule-revisions for that became CP2020.

 

 

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Games I Want to Play in 2017

The title says it all, what games do I want to play this year?

Dnd 5E is a simple choice, we’re still running with the Age of Worms adventure path, along with having to add in the odd adventure here and there. We’re all enjoying it, and I’m still having lots of fun figuring out the details of my campaign world in 5E terms.

Call of Cthulhu 7E – Everyone seemed to enjoy the short intro adventure(s). KT is really interested in playing one of the longer, classic campaigns and with the Pulp Rules that even seems possible without having to have a seemingly exhaustless supply of new characters. The big issue is that I have one player that has no interest in playing it and sits out those games.

Traveller – I love this RPG, and you can see some of my meanderings about the setting here on the blog. For the life of me I can’t decide if I wanted to use the Classic Traveller or the Mongoose Traveller rules-set. But they aren’t particularly incompatible, I’m just increasingly drawn to simpler vs. complicated. Both are pretty simple, and the complications are different in each edition.

Cyberpunk 2020 – Another game that I simply love, combined with a setting I enjoy (especially when I combine it with Traveller). I have to say that CP2020 is a slightly more adult game in the way it explicitly handles some subject matters (cybernetic sexual implants anyone?)- but I like how it is relatively fast-paced and the mechanics are pretty simple for everyone to grasp.

Kult: Divinity Lost – Ok, this may be a pipe dream simply because if Call of Cthulhu is too much horror (body horror, occult horror, etc), and CP2020 is too much sexuality (at least potentially), then Kult is the very grown up mix of the two and is intended to be played that way – think Hellraiser + Martyrs + American Psycho + Se7enMulholland Drive. I Kickstarted this, and have the alpha version of the Quick Start rules that were released around Yule. I’m not entirely certain about the Powered By The Apocalypse engine but would be willing to give it a try. It seems to be trying to be too clever for it’s own good in some ways… But finding players that want to play Kult? That might be the issue…

Lastly, I love to play Runequest – I Kickstarted the reprint of 2E, but what I’m really looking forward to is the new edition. For those who aren’t familiar, it is adventuring in it’s own, highly detailed setting, using Bronze Age technology and tropes. It’s always been a very different kind of game and I haven’t played it in years.  I kind of hope that it gets out this year but I’m actually thinking that it will get Kickstarted and then released in 2018… *sigh*

As an Honorable Mention, I’d also love to pick up the Chicago Unseen campaign that my husband and I co-ran back in the day. It was originally run using Mage: The Ascension, but we just find White Wolf as a system/engine pretty badly broken. I looked at a number of games as a replacement, and finally settled on Witchcraft and Armageddon as a bit of a mashup. The truth is, unless my husband gets excited about it, I can’t imagine that I’d get excited about running it. That may be a game/setting that has finally moved into the pasture, to be mined for ideas and remembered fondly.

TTFN!

D.

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Player Knowledge vs. Character Knowledge

Also, closely related, is Player Intelligence/Wisdom vs. Character Intelligence/Wisdom (and, for that matter, Charisma).

While this usually couched in terms of things that the players know that the characters don’t, everything from simple Out-Of-Character knowledge based on listening to other players to a real-world doctor playing a character with no medical knowledge, I want to talk about this from the perspective of things the players don’t know that their characters do – many of these notable because I have done them so the disparity can be glaring when I try explain how something does or doesn’t work.

The short list I’ve run into in my games over the years:

  • What it is like to hike with a full pack for anything from short daytrips, to extended multiday backpacking trips.
  • Related to the above, but what it is really like to travel “overland” when there is no trail.
  • Also related to the above, but travelling or simply living in radically different climates. Forest is different from plains is different from jungle (not me, but my husband served during Operation Just Cause in Panama and my father served in Vietnam, so plenty of 1st Person data there) is different from badlands, is different from desert (husband also served in Desert Storm), etc.
  • What combat is actually like. Ok, so I have a couple of vets in my group, but most people have never even been in a serious fight as an adult. They’ve never studied martial arts, never thrown a kick or a punch or received one either (let alone a throw or taken a fall).
  • Related to the above. Guns. Never fired them, never handled them, no idea of what it takes to conceal one, etc. etc. etc.
  • Knives and swords follow – FWIW I’d almost rather be shot rather than stabbed…
  • Ok, wearing armor – and just how much it can mess with movement and comfort (and how much it doesn’t, depending on training and design)
  • Hunting and dressing game – I have players who would prefer to think that meat came in plastic packages on trees. The nuts and bolts of draining blood, gut removal, etc. is beyond them.
  • Amusingly, since I started doing rock climbing again last year (indoor only, this summer should see us grabbing rock again) the number of people who’ve never done rock climbing or any sort of technical (aka, with a rope and/or harness) climbing is pretty small.
  • Can we say the same thing about canoes?

Now, none of this is a problem exactly, the problem is when a player’s entire corpus on knowledge of this sort of thing comes from RPG’s, CRPG’s, movies, documentaries, and the occasional Reality TV show (though those latter two can be pretty illuminating for some topics). It’s been awhile since I’ve had a player who argued some point of detail, at this point my players have all pretty much established their areas-of-knowledge and expertise and we use them all to our advantage.

D.

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And, in a more modern vein…

IMAG0194

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What’s happening!?!

So, we are on a bit of a break from the D&D 5e Siyahchal Campaign, the characters have liberated the town of Diamond Lake from it’s corrupt mayor and the worst of the mine owners as part of the process of dealing with the Cult of the Ebon Triad. Devin has been installed as a Baronet with responsibility for the town and much of the surrounding area. We’ll pick things up again in a couple of months “real-time” and a year or two “game time” when the stars shift again, threatening an Age of Worms…

In the meantime we are playing Call of Cthulhu 7e, and Pulp Cthulhu at that. One player is taking a break (Cthulhu really not being her thing) but everyone else jumped at the idea of this system. I’m setting the game in Chicago, starting it in 1920, and continuing on somewhat from where I left the small campaign set in wartime Paris that I was playing with MR and KT. I’ve combined the classic Haunting scenario and the more recent Edge of Darkness scenario into one larger, interlinked narrative.

We’ve played one session and everyone seemed to have fun, I’ll do what I can to keep people abreast with what is happening. You can follow thin links above and see what characters people have, and while I have modified the traits for Pulp Cthulhu somewhat (and I’ll post my changes here in the next week or so), the “double hit points” and extra rules for luck makes a good start to a more survivable game.

TTFN!

D.

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Call of Cthulhu 7e has arrived!

So, this past Monday I was happy to find on my doorstep the box containing my long awaited Call of Cthulhu 7e rules – and I have to say that I find browsing and reading the rules much easier in physical form than on the PDF’s I’ve had for awhile. It also means that I’ll have to update a couple of my previous posts to be more in-line with 7e rules. (EDIT: Done and Done)

I’ve also been looking at the fact that I’ve been running my current 5e campaign for about a year-and-a-half now – and as the Age of Worms continues to threaten it would easily continue to run for many more years. That isn’t exactly a problem, but historically I’ve tend to run games/campaigns for between 1-2 years and then flipped to another game/genre to help rejuvenate myself creatively – and I’m certainly hitting that point now.

So I think that I have one solid chapter in me for the 5e campaign. The party has successfully plundered the Whispering Cairn, discovering treasures and lore of the Wind Dukes that have been long-hidden and is now preparing to investigate one of the local mines – suspecting the owner of being part of the Cult of the Ebion Triad and working towards bringing about the Age of Worms. The party can complete that and I’ll have an excellent place to leave things and even give the party some significant downtime before we pick up the campaign again.

That begs the question of what I could run next. I have a strong vote from at least one player for Call of Cthulhu though to be truthful I’d rather wait until I had Pulp Cthulhu on hand to use. I’m interested enough in what they’ve done with 7e that I think that Pulp Cthulhu might be a good substitute for my own pulp rules – or at least mesh with them well enough that they added significantly to the game (or add a better framework to manipulate).

My other two “stand-bys” are also possible – Cyberpunk 2020 and Traveller. Now I’ve run many games with a mash-up of the two, but I have been somewhat fond of the Mongoose 1e version of Traveller and have the entire SRD saved to hand out to players if need be. It is a simple game that hearkens back to Classic Traveller in many ways, and I’ve been tinkering with a non-OTU setting for a couple of years now (much of it, thankfully, not lost when my hard drive crashed). I’ve been really pondering the concept of Proto-Traveller a great deal, and somewhat consciously rejecting the OTU – while at the same time amused and amazed at how different the OTU seems to be from what everyone assumed after reading Agent of the Imperium by Mark Miller.

Cyberpunk 2020 is a very rich setting with a very easy engine. It’s theoretically hampered by the conceptual twitching provoked by the idea that it is actually set in the year 2020 – and that could be hard to sell a great many people. I think that it might work better as a “Cyberpunk 2200” set a couple of hundred years in the future, that changes the canon timeline but much of the flavor text of the game can remain the same. Perhaps a future where the solar system has been explored and settled but where there is no FTL travel so we remain stuck in orbit around Sol for all intents and purposes – though I suppose a bit of Bladerunner-inspired flavor means that the Tannhauser Gate could be a thing…

TTFN!

D.

 

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Well, crap…

Things are a bit disorganized at the moment because I suffered a catastrophic hard-drive crash… Next (and final) step is to see how much a professional data recovery service will cost. Yeah, it’s a business expense, but I don’t actually make that much money compared to the mountain of student debt, plus things like the mortgage, etc.

And yes, I know, I know I should have been backing things up better – that is also a story in and off itself. Several stories actually, most of which involve HIPPA requirements. That’s actually not nearly so hard to deal with these days…

But, the insult to the injury here is that I’ve been making a concerted effort to get rid of paper – as in get rid of all the extra printouts of things that generally just occupy space. So, many of the things that I used to have an extra hardcopy of?

Eaten by the shredder and gone, or otherwise simply tossed out.

C’est la vie!

If things can’t be recovered then I’ll be forced to reconstruct things. Some of this is a huge pain in the ass – and some things simply won’t be. I can’t remember everything, let alone what I might or might not have tucked in away on my hard drive. Some of what I end up reconstructing I may have to simply decide what format in – some were Publisher files, many were in Word, some in Excel. I’m certain that not all of them were organized as well as they could have been.

So, while I’m hopeful for recovery, I’m also looking at this as an opportunity – no matter that it will come with a fair amount of work.

D.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Take care, drive safe, and enjoy time with those close to you!

TTFN!

D.

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Samhain Thoughts of the Unnatural

One of the things occupying my attention this October was the amazingly successful Kickstarter for Delta Green. I’m always of two minds to crowdfunding Pagan Publishing, and the craziness that has accompanied both Call of Cthulhu 7E and the various add-ons for the Masks of Nyarlathotep doesn’t make me less inclined to question the think hard about Kickstarting gaming items.

The family was also a backer for Traveller 5E for that matter…

One the one hand, while I’ve crowdfunded the Paganistas for, well, forever it seems. They do have a horrible, horrible tendency to have very badly delayed releases. Heck, they still have a massively delayed previous Kickstarter that doesn’t seem close to fulfilment.

That said, they have always delivered (even if years late), and their products are some of the best written RPG material out there.

I also have to say that I am really digging not just what we’ve seen of CoC 7E, but also what Delta Green the standalone RPG looks like. It actually seems like a somewhat simplified and stripped down CoC 7E with a somewhat more evocative Sanity system. I like the “Unnatural” skill as opposed to the “Cthulhu Mythos” skill for purely aesthetic reasons (as they are mechanically identical), and while I haven’t crunched my way through the details of Killing Damage I’m generally trusting of the designers for it to work the way that they want it to.

So, while I may have some catching up on the 5E game to do as far as posting and campaign content, I think I may mine the pages of documents I have for my CoC campaign(s) for content as a way to make sure that things are getting posted regularly.

D.

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