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Game Night 3-27-09: Stargate SG-21

stargate1Col Winston and Sgt. Sassy escorted the prisoner they captured in last week’s game out of Scatterpoint across the wastes and to the Stargate.

Meanwhile, Maj. Johnson along with Sergeants Kyle, Emo, Mystery, Steeleflex, and Meeker took the Spiral to Black Shackle to rescue Sister Canondale.  Enroute Sergeant Steeleflex attempted to make the trip on the boarding platform outside the car.  The conductor told Sgt Steeleflex to sit down and politely ordered his party to keep an eye on him.

Major Johnson ordered Steeleflex to sit down.  Just as Steeleflex sat down the team heard the rending sound of the rear door of the car being ripped from its track.  Twelve Malakar marauders spilled onto the train and began demanding money from the passengers.  Sergeant Kyle had the brilliant idea to pull her Zat, put it against the floor and sending a stun pulse through the metal of the car.  Sgt Kyle called for her team to get up off the seats and then fired the Zat against the floor.  She managed to stun the first three quarters of the car but not the Malakar.

Steelflex successfully taunted that Malaker causing them to focus their attention on the team instead of their intended helpless victims.  During the ensuing battle the team discovered three things.  They discovered that Malakar have claws, ineffective against their Kevlar but claws nonetheless.  They discvoered that their P90s don’t deal out quite as much damage against the Malakar as the team is used to.  They also discovered that Zats are completely useless against the Malaker.

The team did manage to finally defeat the invaders and rescued the other passengers.  After the conductor regained consciousness he surveyed the damage to his train.  The team feared the worst having already become a thorn in the side of many of Scatterpoint’s residents.  They were pleasantly surprised when they were given free passes on the conductor’s train.

Next: Rescuing Sister Cannondale

March 29, 2009 Posted by | Gaming Notes, Other Systems, Play, RPG, Savage Worlds, Stargate | , , | Leave a comment

The Eerie Exploits of Ranger Company X part 1

companyxbadgeIntroduction for The Eerie Exploits of Ranger Company X, a Risus setting by Hank Harwell – GM notes are in italics

Five encrypted telegrams from Ranger Captain Earl R. Buchanan of Company X were sent out. Four  telegrams went out to Jack Macher, Vic Abruzzo, Gabriel Cooper, and James Freeman.  The decoded message instructed each to meet Ranger Chris DeHartat the Santa Fe Depot in Galveston Texas. Chris received a message telling him to pick up the other four.  After meeting at the depot they are to meet with Detective Charlie Sorenson at the Galveston Police Department, who will brief them on the assignment.

CHRIS DEHART: Chris’ 57 Chevy purred as he drove it down the road.  Chris, however, was fuming.  The telegram he got this morning meant he wouldn’t be able to prevent the upcoming silencing of Astronauts, Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee.  While Chris agreed that the astronauts needed to be “shut up”, as the CIA hack had so eloquently put it.   He did not agree with drastic measures the CIA was obviously thinking about.  He knew the CIA was planning something big to discourage the rumblings within the astronaut corps.  That’s what Chris had hoped to prevent.

Scientists at NASA as well as the astronaut corps were chaffing at the government’s cover up of one of the greatest finds of the 20th century.  Grissom, White, and Chaffee were planning on going public after they successfully returned from their launch.  The three astronauts figured they would have the undivided attention of the nation at that point.  Many of the scientists and other astronauts agreed with them.  Chris knew the CIA was planning something drastic to keep NASA quiet but now he was headed to Galveston and figured he could stop it when he got back.

Still fuming, Chris kept the speedometer at 75.  He knew he wasn’t going to be pulled over for 5 miles over the limit. He also figured that if he did get pulled over by some rook, his Ranger Badge would take care of any problem.  ‘What could be more important than the lives of at least three astronauts’, Chris thought as he drove.

Less than 45 minutes after he’d left Houston, Chris pulled the candy apple red car into the parking lot at the Santa Fe Depot in Galveston.  A little calmer after venting his frustrations through the gas pedal, he walked inside the depot and picked up a copy of Life magazine from the newstand.  Walking over to the lunch counter he sat down on the second stool and opened the magazine, that was the cue for his fellow Rangers from Company X.  Chris knew the names of who he was picking up but aside from his friend Jack he’d never worked with any of the rest them before.  Well he’d find out who the were just as soon as they arrived and acknowledged his signal.


GABRIEL COOPER: The bus ride from Brackettville to Galveston was 8 hours of unadulterated boredom.  Gabriel was seated in the back of the bus, and no one sat near him.  He was wearing civies, blue jeans and a fairly nice white button up shirt, but his hair still had that clean cut soldier look.  He had his guitar out of the case, and he plucked at strings practicing a new song, but without an amplifier, there wasn’t much in the way of sound.  He could still hear it in his mind, but practicing this way caused those sitting near him to glance at him as if there was something wrong with him.

He was used to the stares, but he still didn’t like them.  As a black seminole, he was part of many worlds, and not all of them seemed to get along as well as they should.  Gabriel had hopes of helping to change this with his music, but so far, he hasn’t played for more than a few drunks at the Broken Wheel.  Someday he’d catch a break, but not today.

He was enduring the bus ride to Galveston because of a telegram.  The Rangers thought they could use him for something.  He was off to meet with someone named Chris DeHart(a fellow Ranger according to the telegram), and from there to meet witha Detective of the Galveston Police Department.  Gabriel was sure what this was about, but he was nervous about meeting withthe detective.  His last run in with police was right before he shipped out to VietNam.  He was out withhis buddies, and when one of them got into a fight at whatever hole they were drinking at (he didn’t remember the name of the place), Gabriel finished it.  They had taught him quite a few techniques for getting out of trouble while he was learning to be an advanced scout, but the trouble in the bar didn’t amount to anything compared with the trouble caused by the police when they showed up.

Gabriel was brought out of his memories when the bus bumped up over a curb.  It had arrived. Gabriel packed up his guitar and grabbed his ruck sack (he didn’t own proper luggage and had learned to travel light in the Army). Gabriel made his way to the Santa Fe Depot.

It didn’t take long to spot Chris DeHart. He was already seated at the second stool of the lunch counter flipping through a magazine. Gabriel took a deep breath and moseyed over to him.


JAMES FREEMAN: James Freeman rode a city bus through Galveston to the Santa Fe Depot.  He was just following the telegram request to go meet Ranger Chris DeHart, but he had a hunch that this could be very important anyway.

The ride on the bus was more facetious than actual.  There were no seats free in the back, and he wasn’t raised to disrespect the older ladies seated there by kicking any of them out; they likely had challenges just to GET a seat because they weren’t white!  Supposed ‘equality’ was a joke… he stood the entire ride holding a strap handhold.  His legs were tired, but he didn’t complain.

He reached his stop.  Other passengers failed to hide relief on their faces to have one less black man among them. Galveston folks were a lot sillier than N’awlins folks; badges weren’t clues enough to them of the good nature of their fellow riders.  James just shook his head and rolled his eyes, then stepped out.

DeHart was easy enough to recognize: not only did he have the regulatory cowboy hat of the Rangers in front of him, but he had many others coming over to him.


VIC ABRUZZO: Vic spent his time on the short trip down Old Galveston Road thinking, “Rod. Rodrigo Vargas. Rod. How’s it goin’, I’m Rod Vargas. My former associates who keep trying to plug me call me Vic, but you can call me Vargas. Rod Vargas.”

He expected somebody to ask why a guy in Texas with a Spanish name didn’t know that language, so he had memorized a convoluted story about where his forefathers had moved around Europe and New England.  Since he started using this cover, a few people had started talking Spanish to him, but when he said he didn’t know Spanish, nobody grilled him about why.

Vic liked the pickup the Feds had loaned him for the witness protection thing.  A green, two year old Ford with all the bells and whistles.  It was nice, but he’d trade it in a heartbeat for not having to hide.

A healthy level of paranoia stirred in him again, and he pulled off at a gas station.  Vic eyed the few cars that continued towards Galveston.  None of them pulled off behind him or exhibited suspicious behavior.  It should have set his mind at ease.  Instead, he worried that someone might be following who was too good to be spotted.

He comforted himself by thinking of the one familiar thing the Rangers had given him: a six-shooter in his boot. The territory was new to him and he had to adjust to some new rules, but some of the tools were the same for this job as his last job.

The rest of the drive passed with fewer glimpses in his rearview mirror.

Vic strode up to the Rangers gathered at the lunch counter in the Santa Fe Depot. “How’s it goin’? I’m Rod Vargas.”


JACK S. MACHER: “No one should have to ride that far in a bus,” thought Jack, as he watched folks get off in Galveston.  He had gone home for a couple days to be with his Mom and the lawyers as they tried to decide what to do.  Dad would be home soon, was all Mom wanted to hear.  But, she did agree to let Jack have the pickup truck and see to the pile of mail Dad was still receiving.

The telegram was interesting.  He and Dad had played with ciphers while camping in the Grand Canyon when… God… How old was Jack? 12?!  So many places; seemed like it had to be longer ago than that.  But, this? Official, encrypted, addressed to Dad…  Hell, he was surprised the courier had let him sign for it.  And, then to find it was one that Dad had taught him?

So Jack packed a thermos of coffee, a box of Oreos, the M1, and his trusty goalie stick (almost made the varsity team at the private school, twice before he graduated) and drove to Galveston.  By the time he got there he was very thankful for Dad’s Obsessive-Compulsive care for the truck.  Also glad to be in Texas where no one looked twice at the rifle, but instead raised an eyebrow at the hockey stick.

He knew no one would recognize him, not with two inches of hair on his head and a semester of fuzz on his chin. Dad would not have approved, but since he wasn’t home, Jack just hadn’t bothered.  After the drive though, he was considering making a stop in the rest room.  So, knowing that under the hair he looked a lot like his Dad, he hoped the disguise would be successful and scanned the crowds coming and going for Galveston PD.

After a half hour of that, it occurred to him that, A) his Red Sox cap probably stood out like a beacon, and B) a detective probably would not be wearing a uniform. So plan B.

Jack took a seat at the lunch counter, ordered steak and eggs and a bottomless cup of orange juice, and pulled out a large card board sign reading, “J. Macher.”

March 28, 2009 Posted by | Other Systems, Play, Risus, RPG | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

D&D 2e Game Day 3-22-09

One month to the day after we left off our 2e D&D group returned to the game.  The month long hiatus was due to a job schedule change for our DM.

The lawful/good characters, including Nevets, dashed down the stairs that were revealed last session.  Entering the chamber the characters discover members missing from the party before Nevets joined up bound and chained to the walls.  Also in the room are the obviously tortured remains of Nevets party.  Along the wall are various religious symbols including that of his Diety, Jahwei.  Two trolls, three ogres and four drow were fighting over the spoils in the center of the room.

Bawb, the militant wizard dwarf who was rescued in the last room went invisible and began to free the captive PCs.  Sir Gallahad, noticing that his Diety’s symbol had been desecrated charged into the midst of the fighting monsters with a battle cry.  Hawrayn stood back and threw stars from his robe of stars and hit the ogres.  Nevets not having a long-range weapon followed Sir Gallahad and began attacking drow.  After freeing the captives, Bawb cast fireball on the two trolls.  Meanwhile our Kender, Rayne, began stuffing the loot into her coat of many pockets.

After the trolls ignited, Bawb cast another fireball.  The party seeing what was happening made sure the rescued characters were right behind us and we evacuated.  Nevets grabbed all the religious icons and the party made it out just as the trolls erupted in a humongous fireball that consumed everything in the room.

Heading back upstairs, the party took time to heal and go through the treasure retrieved by Rayne.  Nevets received back the bow carried by his party’s archer.  The party entered the next room to discover 10 drow waiting for them and three Pedapelps.  The drow attacked as soon as we entered the room.

Rayne, our Kendar, decided to change clothes in the middle of the battle.  At this point the DMs dice began to fail him.  The DM decided to roll to see if one of the drow had been mesmerized by Rayne’s striptease.  Our female Aquatic Elf asked if the drow fighting her was mesmerized as well.  The DM rolled a critical miss on that and the drow were not only mesmerized but began to fight the fellow drow whenever they came near our females.  Nevets cast enthrall over the drow as the rest of the party battled on.  Nevets was successful.  OOC I asked if Nevets successful enthrallment caused a permanent change in alignment.  The DM and I rolled percentiles and I beat him.  Our female characters now had bodyguards, Drow with permanent changes in alignment.  Apparently the DM had decided that some of the drow in the room were in fact dragon riders.  He asked all of our ladies to roll percentiles, each beat him.  Not only do our ladies have bodyguards but the bodyguards each have dragons.  By this point the DM is pulling out his hair.  Meanwhile the rest of the enthralled drow vacated the room just as Nevets used his new bow and enchanted bow string to deal with the pedipelps.

All of this overshadowed the emergence of a specialized monkey.  The monkey was designed between myself and the DM in an effort to teach one of the players a lesson.  More on the monkey later.  As we shut down for the night, the party was introducing themselves to the new members of our party.

March 26, 2009 Posted by | Gaming Notes, Legacy D&D, Play, RPG | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Eerie Exploits of Ranger Company X an Introduction

companyxbadgeMy Good Friend Hank Harwell has developed a setting for Risus, entitled “The Eerie Exploits of Ranger Company X”.  Hank put a lot of work into this setting and decided to test play it as a PBP.  What is the Eerie Exploits of Ranger Company X? you might ask.  In Hank’s own words; “Perhaps the oldest and most widely respected law enforcement agency in North America is the Texas Rangers. They were established in the early 19th century by Stephen F. Austin, the American-born agent of the Mexican government, as a defensive troop to protect colonists in Texas from the depredations of hostile Indian tribes. As Texas grew, from a colony to a Republic to statehood, the institution of the Texas Rangers also evolved. Originally intended as a frontier defensive force, its mission grew into serving alongside the army, hunting outlaws, and maintaining law and order in lawless areas.
Ranger Company X was set up as a secret branch tasked to defend Texas against supernatural and other-worldly threats. While described as a company of Rangers, it is not a part of the established Ranger order, but instead reports only to the President of the Republic (later the Governor of the State).”From the .pdf

The Eerie Exploits of Ranger Company X is designed as a horror/supernatural/Western setting. It is inspired, partly by the horror and Western pulps of the 1930’s, as well as radio and television shows like The Lone Ranger and The X Files.

I hadn’t played Risus before this but Hank’s treatment of the setting intrigued me.  Hank sent me a beta copy of his setting description and directed me towards the link for the free Risus rules.  After creating my character I was ready to go.  I’m looking forward to a return to some PBP and my first foray into the Risus system.  With permission from Hank and the players, I will be distilling the PBP turns into a coherent story line and posting them for your enjoyment.

March 24, 2009 Posted by | Gaming Notes, Other Systems, Risus, RPG | , , , | 1 Comment

World D&D Day 2009 at The Core

gameday2009PITs 1, 2, & 3 woke early this morning.  They were eager and anxious to play D&D today.  So we went off to work and flew through the day.  We left for our local game store, The Core in Cedar Falls, Iowa and arrived at at approximately 3:30.

When we got there, they had three tables going fifteen players total.  I took the time to talk to Mike Blanchard, the owner.  According to Mike, when he got to the store at his normal time there were already people waiting outside.  All three tables were busy all day long from opening at 10:00 until an hour after closing at 5:00.  Mike reports that most of the folks who came to D&D day were new customers.  He also reported a 25% increase in sales traffic.  The Core is thinking seriously about making a monthly event for their customers.  As far as Mike is concerned this day was a success.

Just about the time I finished talking with Mike the owner one of the tables opened up.  PITs 1-3, a family friend and I took positions around our DM for the afternoon, Mike (not the owner).  For my newer readers you must know that I have never played D&D beyond 2e.  Also I have only recently been playing D&D after a more that 20 year hiatus, so my perceptions of what is or is not D&D is based on 20 year old memories and my recent return to playing 2e.

Mike, our DM, explained the new rules for 4e and handed out the characters.  Pit #1 took the Drow, Pit #2 took the Tiefling Invoker, Pit #3 took the Dragon Born Paladin, Tony, our family friend, took the War-forged Barbarian, leaving me with the Gnome Bard.

My first impression of my character, aside from the fact that she was female and I don’t cross-gender RP very well was that Bards rock.  My character hardly moved during the first encounter and she took out one the Troglodytes by singing the Song of Discord at the Dire Bear.  The poor Troglodyte never had a chance as the bear dropped our Barbarian and went for the Troglodyte.

My second impression is that this game resembles more the games my kids play on their game cube or PS2 than it does any form of D&D that I remember.  Now I’m not saying that in a disparaging manner at all.  We had a blast.  The kids enjoyed it.  I enjoyed it.  In fact, we had so much fun I plopped down the cash for the PHB, MM, two boxes of miniatures and the Starter Set.  I haven’t delved into any of the rulebooks yet so I cannot comment on easy or hard it is to create characters.  I cannot comment on how easy or hard it is to DM this game but Mike handled the whole thing without consulting any guides at all.

The ONLY complaint I had and heard from all tables is that the module was not constructed to be  played in one sitting, or as one gamer put it, “Wizards certainly weren’t kidding when they said D&D DAY“.  I didn’t catch the name of this person just that I overheard it coming from another table, but I have to agree with him, after nearly three hours we just finished the first encounter.  We had gone an hour past closing time.  We hadn’t realized the passage of time at all but as I stated previously we had fun.

On the ride home I asked my kids and Tony what they thought of the game.  Tony thought it was pretty cool and couldn’t understand why folks have complained it wasn’t D&D.  My boys were quite pleased with the fact that we are now the proud owners of the first two core rulebooks and some miniatures to go with it.  PIT #1 is torn, she’s pleased we bought the game but upset that she’ll be leaving for Basic in just over three months.  I wasn’t the only person who bought books from the Core today based on the demo.  At least locally D&D Day was a success. 

My only complaint with the day, we didn’t have enough time to finish the whole game.  Since we were the last players of the day, our DM graciously allowed us to keep the entire module so we could finish it on our own.  Mike let on as we were packing up that the module went on for a total of four encounters (something that as of this writing I haven’t confirmed yet).  2.5 hours per encounter x4 encounters = 10 hours.  10 hours means that I had to base my decision to but based on what I saw in my character.  Had it not been for the fact that my kids were all “Wow, this is so-o-o cool.” I might not have bought anything.  WotC could’ve made a smaller adventure similar to Savage World’s famous “One Sheets” and had more than one of those for folks who had more time to spend playing.  That might have been better for showcasing the “new” races and classes, giving folks the time to play more than one character and see just how cool it was.

Effort by WotC to publicize D&D Day: B- (had I not been a member of the Bloggers Network I don’t think I would’ve heard about it.)
Effort by WotC to showcase 4e: A- (only because the adventure needed a lot more time than most anyone locally had to actually spend at The Core)
Efforts by our FLGS, The Core: A+ (Our DM was very knowledgeable kudos Mike.  The tables were set in such a manner that the noise level was not a problem)

Will we go again? Yes.  Will we attend the proposed monthly ‘event’ game at The Core? Yes.  Do I wish that I could’ve been there in person at some of the other events? Yes.

March 21, 2009 Posted by | Blog Carnival, News, Reviews and Culture, Play, RPG | , , , , , | 6 Comments

Game Night: 3-20-09

Last night all six of my regular players were there.  One player who had previously only attended long enough to make a character brought along two new folks.  So we had a total of nine.  There was some disappointment as I had stated earlier that we’d try to play Necessary Evil last night.  However due to Mrs VS chemo treatments and a long day at work I never got NE prepped correctly and I won’t run a game completely off the cuff.

The article about my efforts to homebrew RunePunk into a Stargate campaign is still in the works but one thing that needs to be brought out.  The Andari in RunePunk have become who they are from mishaps through accidents of the ring doors.  I have replaced the far doors in RunePunk with ring transports from Stargate.

Last week the team successfully helped out Lady Winterwood and received her recommendation for some work in Scatterpoint.

Last night Chancellor Peak IV summoned SG-21 to a meeting.  Lady Winterwood had informed him and (I hope that none of my players are reading this) unknown to the players hired them out as mercs to the Chancellor.  Chancellor Peak summoned them to Grey Mesa and “asked” them for their help in the mysterious disappearance of Sister Cannondale.  SG-21 accepted the job as Chancellor Peake dropped clues that the team might discover the identities of some of Scatterpoint’s government.

The team was directed to the Royal Crown Bar to a meeting of the Entropy Society, which is the last place Sister Cannondale was seen.  The team received a letter of recommendation from Chancellor Peake’s friend Lord Topper and off they went.

Gaining entrance to the bar the team began their investigation.  The new sniper, Chief Master Sergeant Meeker, climbed a building across the street to keep the bar under surveillance.  The team cautioned their leader to not pull a gun on the bartender.  After some quiet investigation the team determined that Lord Angst and Lady Ennui, the leaders of the Entropy society were upstairs.

Sergeants Mystery and Sassy bluffed their way upstairs with a forged note as the guard was not too bright.  Sgt Kyle bribed the bartender to allow her to bring drinks upstairs to the VIP lounge.  Sgt Steelflex attempted to taunt the guard after Mystery and Sassy had made their way past.  He succeeded and managed to get picked up one handed by the neck.  Major Johnson used the ensuing chaos to sneak past the guard.  All this happened while Colonel Winston continued to question the bartender.

The upstairs team was able to determine that Sister Cannondale had been moved to Arthur Shaw’s flat in Black Shackle.  The team downstairs continued to have fun with the guard as they discovered that stabbing him in the arm did not slacken his grip on Sgt Steelflex.  The guard kicked Sgt Emo away and finally threw Sgt Steelflex across the bar.

Sergeant Meeker tried to take out Lord Angst when it appeared that the upstairs team was in trouble due to Maj Johnson’s direct questioning of Lord Angst about Sister Cannondale’s whereabouts.  Lord Angst took a gut shit and direct shot to the head and still managed to call out for the guards to deal with the infiltrators.

Major Johnson jumped out the window.  Sgts Sassy, Mystery and Kyle ran back downstairs.  Colonel Winston ordered a retreat.  Sgt Emo dragged Sgt Steelflex’s unconscious form outside.  The team regrouped and made their way to the Spiral for the trip to Blackshackle.

March 21, 2009 Posted by | Gaming Notes, Play, RPG, Stargate | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Fortune Cookie gaming hooks.

I had an intreresting round of Twitter last week with Geek’s Dream Girl.  She was talking about some of the fortunes she was reading in her fortune cookies.  Tounge planted firmly in cheek, I replied that if you added “in the Dungeon” you suddenly got great plot hooks.  Unconvinced?  I DLed these from the Free Fortune Cookie Quotes at Chinese Fortune  Let’s see what we come up with.

Got one of your own? feel free to share.

There is a true and sincere friendship between you and your friends in the Dungeon.
There’s something in the dungeon that might tempt your PCs to turn on their friends.

You find beauty in ordinary things, do not lose this ability in the Dungeon.
Why would you lose this ability?  Maybe those good-looking treasures aren’t what they seem. 

It takes more than good memory to have good memories in the Dungeon.
Your PCs enter a village.  They locals remember your PCs though not fondly.  They’ve been here before but don’t remember doing so.  The answers are in the dungeon.

Your blessing is no more than being safe and sound for the whole lifetime in the Dungeon.
The only way out of the Dungeon is through the apparent death of one of the PCs.  The final room is reached with the entire party intact they find themselves right back at the beginning, but the monsters have all leveled up.

Plan for many pleasures ahead in the Dungeon.
A different sort of dungeon.  It’s a village where the PCs have every pleasure met, but at what cost?  Will they realize the danger before it’s too late?

The joyfulness of a man prolongeth his days in the Dungeon.
Every PC in a good mood gets a bonus to his saving throw.

Your everlasting patience will be rewarded sooner or later in the Dungeon.
THE treasure will only reveal itself after long hours of contemplation.

Make two grins grow where there was only a grouch before in the Dungeon.
Kill one monster and two take it place.  Killing the monster is not the answer.

Something you lost will soon turn up in the Dungeon.
Lost NPCs (wives, followers, sidekicks) who have been killed meet the PCs as they travel along the dungeon.  Why?

Your heart is pure, and your mind clear, and your soul devout in the Dungeon.
Or else.

As the purse is emptied the heart is filled in the Dungeon.
Taking the treasure from this room will only bring despair. 

Be mischievous and you will not be lonesome in the Dungeon.
A dungeon where every trap is a practical joke.  The real danger is in the PCs being lulled into a false sense of security.  “We were only hit with cream pies in the last room.”

You have a deep appreciation of the arts and music in the Dungeon.
Parties without a Bard have a very hard time with the clues in this dungeon as they are all musically based.

Your many hidden talents will become obvious to those around you in the Dungeon.
Upon entering this dungeon, The PCs will have to battle aspects of their own personalities.

March 17, 2009 Posted by | Fluff/Inspiration, RPG | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Game Night 3-13-09

Open Game Night @ the Youth Center ( I REALLY need a cooler name for that).  We had 22 folks show up.  The RPG table ran our ongoing Stargate campaign.  Below is a synopsis of Friday’s game.

Stargate SG-21– The team has gated to P4X-514 or Scatterpoint as it is known by the locals.  Led by Lt. Col. Winston, the team consists of Major Johnson, Sgt. Emo, Sgt. Mystery, Sgt. Sassy, and Sgt. Kyle.  The gate on P4X-514 is located in the mists approximately 10 miles SE of the city proper.  The world is rich in Naquadah.

SG-21 is tasked with determining who the planetary ruling body is and then negotiate with them for the mining rights.  The problem? SG-1 spent a week on planet and was unable to determine if the was a unifying planetary government.  SG-21 is on extended assignment to determine as much as possible about the planet.

Sg-21 gated in and made their way to Pitchpit.  After determining what the local currency was and discovering that the local law enforcement is not all that observant, they hopped the Spiral to Grey Mesa.  The team determined that the best way to learn about Scatterpoint was to go to a local bar.

Sipping their drinks in the Broken Arm Bar, the team witnessed a nicely dressed woman come into the bar and then leave by the back door.  Four thugs followed immediately behind.  Major Johnson and the four Sergeants immediately stood to render assistance.  Col. Winston gave them permission to go while he stayed inside to question the bartender.  Three of the thugs were attempting to separate Lady Winterwood from her amulet.  The team rescued Lady Winterwood in the alley while Col Winston pulled a gun on the bartender.

While Col. Winston discovered that pulling a gun on a bartender in Scatterpoint is not a good idea, twelve Bluecoats demanded that Lady Winterwood give them her amulet.  Before fleeing the scene she threw her locket into the trash and told the team that if the returned it to her she would reward them.

After defeating the Bluecoats and finding the amulet, SG-21 found Lady Winterwood and returned her locket.  SG-21 now has a lead on ‘work’ on the planet so they can earn some of the local currency.

I’m using Reality BlursRunePunk as the setting for P4X-514.  I’ll be commenting further in upcoming game logs about my homebrewing this setting for use in my Stargate campaign.

March 14, 2009 Posted by | Gaming Notes, Other Systems, Play, Stargate | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

RPG Blog Carnival: War! Is it really game-able in an RPG?

rpgblogcarnivallogocopyThe Book of Rev is hosting this month’s Blog Carnival.  As the title indicates War! is the subject.  I sat for the longest time and tried to think of how to write about war.  The more I got to thinking about it, the more I wondered if war was really game-able in an RPG.  “Sacrilege!” I hear the masses shout, “War is at the heart of most fantasy settings”.  Before you start composing your rebuttals, hear me out.  Also remember this is my own opinion and as always YMMV.

Let me start with Wikipedia‘s entry:
War is reciprocated armed conflict between nation-states or large political groups.  A group of combatants and their support is called an army on land, a navy at sea, and an air force in the air. Wars may be conducted simultaneously in one or more different theatres. Within each theatre, there may be one or more consecutive military campaigns. A military campaign includes not only fighting but also intelligence, troop movements, supplies, propaganda, and other components. A period of continuous conflict is traditionally called a battle, although this terminology is not always applied to conflicts involving aircraft, missiles or bombs alone, in the absence of ground troops or naval forces.

Is war even a viable part of your campaign?  That depends entirely on what you are playing.  If you’re playing a high-fantasy setting, yes war can be part of the overall campaign.  Super Heroes? you could game out a campaign of an internal struggle with the super hero community (Marvel’s Civil War) or stakes on a universe altering scale (DC’s Crisis).  In my own Stargate campaign the Gou’ald war is an ever present part of the background.  If you’re playing a game in a film noir setting then probably not.

By the definition of modern war, the combatants are large groups of forces sub-divided down to a unit level.  The armies, navies and air forces partake in a number of battles over a period of time.  Even taking war to mean the final epic confrontation in the Lord of the Rings, we’re still talking about masses and hordes of people.  In my experience, most RPG groups are limited to the parts played by the PCs and associated NPCs controlled by the players, not the actions of the vast armies.

But Mr. Vulcan, sir, as you stated earlier, our RPG group has an ongoing campaign set in the midst of a war.  Fine, are you gaming out the war? or the battles and skirmishes that your group participates in?  I’m not implying that war cannot be part of your RPG campaign. but you game out each skirmish not the complete war.  The sum total of those battles make up your war.

My all-time favorite game is Car Wars.  This name, although catchy, is somewhat of misnomer.  However, “Highway Battles” probably wouldn’t have sold quite so well.  In the beginning CW wasn’t even an RPG but you definitely were not gaming out a war.  Individual battles were the backbone of that game.  Conflicts between your adventuring group and whatever evil the DM throws in your way is still at the heart of D&D.

War-gaming is handled very nicely in games like Axis and Allies, Risk, and other games of that sort.  First person shooters such as Call of Duty and Medal of Honor do a great job of letting you participate in various battles.  My own personal take is that in your RPG campaign you are not gaming out the war but rather, how your character responds to war.

Gaming out a war is a game about tactics and strategy.  Fighting with your PC is gaming out a battle.  So is war game-able in an RPG setting?   Yes, but only as a larger overall campaign/story arch.

March 5, 2009 Posted by | Blog Carnival, Fluff/Inspiration, Gaming Notes, RPG | , , , | 3 Comments

Gaming in the Universe of: Harry Potter


Database reviews for:
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

If anyone knows about a pencil and paper Harry Potter RPG, please let me know.  My Google-fu may not be as good as yours and I didn’t find a single RPG.  I did find well over 100 individual fan-based online games but not a single die-rolling version.  My first question is why?  Harry Potter is the best selling children’s series of the 21st century.  Warner Bros. is desperately trying to figure out how to make Harry Potter 9.  I can’t imagine that no one has thought of of an RPG set in Rowling’s universe.

How would I incorporate the Harry Potter universe into an RPG scenario?  The series is tailor made to be picked up and dropped in toto into any Sword and Sorcery fantasy (you know, that system that Hasbro is issuing cease and desist orders to blogs for even mentioning the name of their intellectual property) game without any alterations, just file off the serial numbers.  Without much alteration it would fit well into a space fantasy setting as well.  Imagine Dumbledore as Yoda and you see what I’m getting at.

Putting Harry Potter into a hard science fiction RPG (Star Trek, Stargate, Firefly) is a little more problematic.  My solution to this would be to replace the “magic” with “science”.  Examples of this would be; broomstick flying with anti-gravity piloting skills, alohamora –replaced with some sort of lockpicking device.

I’m not sure how much mileage a GM could get out of Hogwart’s setting.  Playing the characters themselves would be fun for younger children but not so much for teens and groganards.  Setting some kind of mystery or quest at Hogwarts would work well for an adventure but I think an entire campaign set there would wear on your players after a while.

Savage World stats for:
*note* these stats are average only, abilities and skills should be adjusted according to the year being played

harrypotterHarry Potter: Seasoned
Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d8, Spirit d8, Strength d6, Vigor d10
Skills: Fighting d6, Guts d8, Investigation d6, Knowledge (Magic) d6, Notice d8, Persuasion d4, Stealth d4, Streetwise d4, Survival d4
Charisma +4; Pace 6, Parry 5, Toughness 7
Fame +45 (His name is known and his face is more recognizable as the years progress)
Hindrances: Enemy – Lord Voldemort, Heroic, Branded (unlike the PotSM Hindrance this increased his fame), Outsider (the degree of which decreases depending on what year you’re playing the characters, Harry can be clueless about some things in his world because of outsider status), add the hindrance of Young if playing first or second year
Edges: Arcane Background (Magic), Beast Bond, Inspire (only after 5th year), Filthy Rich, New Power, Wizard, Hard to Kill
Gear:Includes his wand, his broomstick, a cloak of invisibility (after 1st year), and an enchanted map that shows the location of others (after third year)

hermioneHermione Granger: Seasoned
Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d10, Spirit d6, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Fighting d4, Guts d4, Investigation d6, Knowledge (Magic) d8, Notice d8, Persuasion d6, Stealth d4, Streetwise d4, Survival d4
Charisma +4; Pace 6, Parry 4, Toughness 5
Fame + 10
Hindrances: Curious, Heroic, Loyal
Edges: Arcane Background (Magic), New Power, Charismatic, Alertness, Beast Master, Wizard
Gear: Broomstick, Wand

ron_weasley1Ronald Weasley: Seasoned
Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d6, Spirit d6, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Fighting d4, Guts d4, Investigation d6, Knowledge (Magic) d8, Notice d8, Persuasion d6, Stealth d4, Streetwise d4, Survival d4
Charisma +4; Pace 6, Parry 4, Toughness 5
Fame + 10
Hindrances: Poverty, Heroic, Loyal, Fear of Spiders
Edges: Arcane Background (Magic), New Power, Beast Master, Wizard
Gear: Broomstick, Wand

dumbledoreDumbledore: Legendary
Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d12+3, Spirit d12, Strength d6, Vigor d12+1
Skills: Fighting d10, Guts d8, Intimidate d10+1, Knowledge (Magic) d12+3, Notice d10, Persuasion d10, Stealth d10, Streetwise, d8+1, Survival d8, 
Charisma +10; Pace 6, Parry 7, Toughness 8
Fame +75
Hindrances: Code of Honor, Loyal, Heroic, Pacifist (minor)
Edges: Arcane background, Champion, Beast Master, Power Surge, New Power, Imp Rapid Recharge, Wizard, Hard to Kill
Gear:Has access to nearly any magical artifact the GM determines.

March 2, 2009 Posted by | Fluff/Inspiration, Gaming in the Universe of..., Gaming Notes, Other Systems, RPG | , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments