Posts Tagged ‘Editorial’

High Concept

Posted: September 3, 2013 in RPG
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Story CubesI’ve been thinking for a while about some scenarios or setups I’d love to play out and see how they go. Some stuff that just isn’t quite what you’d expect from the lettering on the tin, but that could be fun just the same. I realize that these ideas would for the most part require a very mature group, probably with a high level of trust and would require a clever and well prepared GM to be able to pull off properly so as to not loose the group along the way.

Still, I know I’d like to try them, just to see how it goes…and if they were to fail, I’d hope they could fail spectacularly. (“Holy crap, we just killed Luke and Han!”)

James Bond, From the Novels with Love

Okay, first up, one I came up with a couple years ago when I went on my last James Bond kick. Play using the old Victory Games rules, but set the game during the period of the books, and set up the scenario like it’s out of the books rather than the movies. The Ian Fleming books are very different creatures from the movies they made them into. The novels are far more about espionage, undercover work and being a truly 50’s spy. Give Bond his girly Beretta .25 in the chamois holster. Have him tool around 50’s London and everywhere else, fighting SMERSH and the KGB, and where plans are for things like rocket attacks on London, rather than laser satellites blowing up submarines.
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Blood! for fun

Posted: May 28, 2010 in RPG, Rules
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Wanted to stick in a review of a set of rules I picked up before Christmas.

Blood, from Postmortem Studios, is a modern day horror game for stories along the lines of Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th and Scream.  Now, I love horror movies like these ones.  I remember the original Friday the 13th, and those wonderful John Carpenter films like The Fog and Prince of Darkness…even They Live.  So the opportunity to play those stories out was a big draw for me when I learned of Blood.  So I picked up the PDF.

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Fiasco

Posted: February 18, 2010 in RPG
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I just bought a new set of rules for a game called Fiasco, from Bully Pulpit Games.  I love the concept of these rules!

The idea behind the game is that it’s one of those crime-gone-wrong stories, you know the ones where everyone ends up killing each other in the end over a suitcase that’s supposed to be filled with cocaine but instead has two pair of pleather pants and a gold sequined bra.

Honestly, you’ve got me hooked right there.

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The Office Magic User

Posted: February 16, 2010 in Uncategorized
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I was talking with E today about the “competency levels” she has to deal with at work.  These are odd creatures like “Level two in developing others” and “level four in status reports” and other good things like that.  I said how I figured that if she were to do two more levels in the dungeon crawl she’d probably have enough XP to level up.  And as a bonus, I said, she could get another spell too!  That, of course, lead us off on a discussion of what sorts of spells that could be.  She said that it’d make an awesome blog post and so I felt utterly compelled to write it up!

So now, without further ado, is the grimoire of office spells:

Magic User
Detect Management – Actually it’s pretty easy to find, I think.  It’s leadership that’s rather difficult to come across.

Distract Management – much as we’d like to dispell them, I don’t think that’s possible.  The best we can hope is to distract them and let us get on with our jobs.  The somatic component of this spell is wild hand waving and pointing at a non-existant or irrelevent problem elsewhere.

Silence Blowhard (reversable) – reverse version is Belabour the obvious, verbal and somatic components are a loud librarian shush with finger to the lips, or a bitch slap, caster’s choice (I know what I’d pick)

Leomund’s Tiny Meeting room – If your place is anything like mine or E’s, you can never find a meeting room when you need one.  Either they’re booked solid with recurring meetings originally set up during Laurier’s first term in office, or else they’re unbooked but the door’s closed and someone’s having a tryst inside.  Either way, no work’s getting done.  This spell creates a door in a blank wall that leads to a meeting room for the exact number of people you have attending, includes comfy chairs, a whiteboard (with markers!) and a networked PC that really works.  After seventh level, the meeting room also includes a coffee service.  There are danishes too if cast before noon.

Leomund’s Tiny Business Centre – just like the Tiny Meeting Room, but includes a working photocopier stocked with paper and toner, that never jams, and similarly equipped color and black and white printers.  Any office supplies needed are automatically available in the unlockable steel cabinet against the wall.

Cleric Spells
Create Deck – if it was a wood deck it’d be a druid spell, but no, this is a Powerpoint Deck; 35 full color slides on any topic the caster chooses, and it makes sense too!

Create Clue – for those in the office who don’t have one but could sure use one

Protection from Bureaucracy – gives a sphere of protection from stupid, bureaucratic rules in a 10′ radius around the caster.  No bureaucracy is allowed within the sphere for the (all too short) duration of the spell.

Retire – everyone’s goal!  The material component of this spell is a *large* bank balance.

Druid Spells
Trim deadwood – this produces a large cudgle magically welded to the caster’s hand.  The caster then walks around the office “tapping” the deadwood and magically they all go away!

Save a tree – removes all trace of toner from paper to allow reuse of the 600 page document that someone printed (twice!) and then left sitting on the printer in the business centre for two weeks

Illusionist Spells
Illusion of competence – Lulls viewers into the sense that whatever staff it’s been cast upon actually know their jobs and have a clue as to what they’re doing and how to do it.  The illusion is shattered by actually looking at what they’re doing (playing minesweeper) or asking them a question.

Let me know what I’ve missed!

Top Secret, review

Posted: February 4, 2010 in Uncategorized
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Just some wrapup notes for the top Secret mission…

The game still works.  It was still a lot of fun despite it’s Cold War roots being in long out of date.  I have yet to revisit the original mission that came with the boxed set, which was extremely Cold War in it’s setting, but it could always be run as a retro piece.

The biggest thing I find the system is missing is a trait or ability for spotting hidden things.  There’s no “make a perception roll”, because there is no perception trait.  That was a big failing for it even in 1980 because half of the spy game is seeing things others miss.  I guess it’s intended more as a player perception rather than character perception, up to the player to ask “is he sweating unduely?” rather than does the character spot it.

Top Secret has a strange history of intersecting with the reality of espionage and terrorism.  When the original game was being playtested, notes on TSR letterhead were found about a kidnap plot, and the FBI was alerted.  They visited the company’s offices to investigate!  The module I played, TS-003, had the cruise ship MS Corona highjacked by terrorists in 1982.  The deck plans for the ship in the game are based on the MS Achille Lauro, a ship that really was highjacked by terrorists in 1985!

As for the scenario in the module, I think it still works well.  It’s a tense and challenging game, and I’d love to run it with players sometime, especially in the “tournament” fashion for which it was designed.  For the modern day, however, I think I’d move it to the Carribbean and have the target city as Miami.  And to add tension, I’d have a limit that once the ship crosses the 50 mile limit, the US Navy will sink her with torpedos unless agents have sent the all clear.  Just a little something to up the tesnion for them.  And as for the doctor with his Aqua Staph jars, I’d say he boarded in Miami and was intending to jump ship once they reached made a port call at the right banana republic.

I’ll happily pull this game out again in the future.  I’d forgotten how much fun it can be.  There’s a small community of fans out there still playing and still enjoying this long out of print game.  The one thing to remember though, is that this isn’t (despite all the packaging) a James Bond type game.  It’s far to “gritty” or “realistic” for that.  It’s very straightforward in it’s presentation, not cinematic at all.

But like I said…fun and I’ll definately play it again.

Addendum and some good reading

Posted: January 9, 2010 in RPG
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I realize I forgot to include one point in the “Slave Pits” post…the reason why they refer to Mary’s agility and how she “moves like a demon”.

Using Mythic I randomly determined that yes, she was subject to the “strange powers” rules for humans as listed on page 55 of the Mars book.  And the strange power I got for her was Enhanced Agility, and it was a power that came on all at once.

To handle this, given that she wasn’t being designed for Mars and the special powers rules are supposed to come in at generation time, I opted to say that rather than having her agility start a dice higher, she instead had all of her agility skills bump up by one dice.  Thus the reasoning behind her being described as being especially agile.

Since this is a short post, I also wanted to include a couple of links to some really good reading in the RPG vein.  If/when you’re totally bored of me, go see these sites, they have some (I think) excellent commentary and ideas and tools for gaming.

RPG Diehard (and check out the “actual play” tag there)
Playing D&D With Pornstars (don’t be put off by the name or the “content advisory”, there’s no actual porn there that I’ve seen, it’s just the guy’s day job)
A Character for Every Game (this one inspired me to start this blog actually and he has amazing maps)

The Most Fun I Never Had

Posted: December 26, 2009 in RPG
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I have to admit, I’m a bit of a rules junkie. Very rarely have I passed a set of rules and said “ugh, I would never buy those!” Maybe I look at them like lost puppies or something, that there’s never a set that’s completely irredeemable. Or maybe I’m a sucker. Either way I have far more rules than I’ve ever played.

So to that end, I’m taking a pause from Mars for a post or two and writing up a year ending list of the top ten rule sets I’ve never played but would sorely like to (in no particular order…I could never rank them to find the single most desired unplayed game in my list).  I know I could play each and every one of these with Mythic, and at some point I probably will, but it’s not the same solo as with a group (which can be said for many things!)  For some games, like Cold City for example, group play is almost essential.

So here they are, my top 10 “Games I’d like to play (in a group)”: (more…)