Saturday, July 16, 2011

G(+) Funk / Online gaming in the Google age

I tried an experiment earlier today. Actually yesterday.
Ok, a few hours ago.

I fancied seeing how I could use Google+ for casual remote gaming. Sort of like Play by Email, but not.
I thought I could create a Circle, put the players in it, and post a scene setter with picture and have them react to it in the comments.
The idea would be that each post was a stage in the story, and each new post would occur as the action in the comments reached a natural/critical point.

I didn't think it through to well, though.

Firstly, the players I selected confused it with the 'full' online RPG of Fear Itself i'm setting up.
Secondly, I hadn't thought about the posts getting lost in the feed. Players could keep adding comments to one post, and be alerted to updates by Notifications etc, totally unaware that a new post had come out. This also makes it hard to maintain a sense of narrative structure.

So, thinking on it, what i'm looking for in this instance is actually Google Wave.
Didn't they turn that off?

As a side note, I thought i'd give the basic framework of my Modern Mythic pet system a whirl, so this is what I sent out:
You have 10 points to spend between Strength, Sanity and Luck.
You excel at one thing.
You can use a point of Strength or Sanity to increase your chance of success in a physical or mental task.
You can use a point of Luck to turn a failure into a success, or a success into a failure.
Your character needs a name.

This is what I got back, which is encouraging:
 Str 2, San 3, Luck 5.
Jimmy Muldoon.
Excels at darts

 Brock Landers
Str 2, San 4, Luck 4
Excels at Poker

Alexander Braithwaite
Str 6, San 2, Luck 2
Excels at Golf.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Player reactions / Is it ever acceptable to throw a Tarrasque at a 1st level party?

I've an idea for a D&D/Pathfinder game, which riffs off Cloverfield a fair amount.
I want to destroy the city the players are in, and make their challenges about saving themselves and others, and generally getting out alive.
It would not be about fighting the big ass monster.
Repeat, not.
That would happen in the background, with the level 20 NPCs throwing heavy ordinance at it, running up its flanks like Legolas or commanding legions of enchanted Mechawarriors (as cool as that would be) to crash against it like waves against the rocks.
My chief concern is the "moron son from War of the Worlds" effect - one of the players exits the main plot because they don't want to survive, they want to fight futilely against the unconquerable foe.
Players can be morons too.
So, advice, should a DM ever throw a Tarraque level threat at a starting party?

G+ / Pimping invites

If anybody wants a G+ invitation, I can hook you up

Posted via my geek phone

Green Light gogogogogogo / Video Conference gaming update

I have received agreement in principle from my wife to steal the laptop once a week and shout alarming curses into a microphone whilst sat in the kitchen drinking coffee.
In fact, she feels it's quite an elegant solution to our childcare / lifestyle constraints vs my addictive need to geek.

So, win!

I have just sent out confirmation of my commitment to the eight potential players, and we'll see what comes back.
Eight is a large gaming group, but I am expecting some attrition on that number. Not everybody will be available on the same night. Some people will be only passingly interested. It's a system that none of us have played before (Fear Itself / Gumshoe) and is an experiment in gaming media.

Whilst I would like to retain all eight (because they're all good friends who I have confidence in), I wouldn't be surprised or disappointed if we dwindled to four.
If it dropped to less than that number, I'd probably have to rethink some elements.

For the play medium, I want to try Big Marker, who provide a free conferencing service that includes video, voice and IM chat, as well as the ability to upload and deliver presentations on a virtual white marker.
I'm hoping this will allow me to upload text, images etc that can be used in the session.

I've also got myself on Google+, which is showing some potential for virtual gaming. It may be a fallback position should Big Marker go down or prove to be utter wank.

I've set the players some homework. Now to see what comes back.

  • Confirm that you want to and are able to play
  • Let me know what days are good / bad for you
  • Read the rules
  • Think about your character concept. I'll be using the basic character stereotypes presented in the rules, although this is not a high school game. There will be only one character with specific combat and investigation experience (who will be fated to die heroically near the end), and if anybody wants to play one, only one Psychic. If anybody wants to play one of these, then shout out asap. If multiple people want to play one of these roles, then we'll resolve that as it arises.
  • Try out and make sure it works on your PC, and that you're happy to use it. 
  • Read up on Fear Itself at Pelgrane Press's website or my blog.
  • Ask questions.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Everything you've built and care about sucks / A sense of community within RPG Bloggers

I was extremely disappointed this morning to learn that Christian has jacked in his Destination Unknown blog following a rather personal attack levelled at him by a troll site.

It's a shame. I'm a fairly new Blogger, and it's blogs like DU and community members like Christian who encourage newbies like me.

I always found his posts interesting, well thought out and entertaining.

He gave back to the community with free zines and character stats, and, dammit, a hell of a lot of my site traffic originated from his blog.

I guess I should be angry at the mouth breather who attacked him. Instead I'm just disappointed.

Posted via my geek phone

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Let Dream Combat Commence! / Changeling vs Mage vs Psychic

Supplemental to my earlier post about Changeling: the Lost and Inception style combat, I've been flicking through my other nWoD books, trying to determine what other supernaturals can indulge in Oneiromachy.

Reading Mage: the Awakening tells me that a Mage with Mind 4 can enter a sleepers dream and mess around with the content of the dream.

It also tells me that any Mage can enter the Universal Dreamspace, the Teneros, by meditating. They can also use their magic in much the same way as they can in the waking world, with the added bonus of being Paradox free.

There is a suggestion that Mages may encounter the True Fae whilst on an Astral Journey.

Reading Second Sight tells me that both Psychics and Sorcerers can enter dreams and interact with the sleeping world.

They are comparatively defenseless, though.

After all of this, it's also clear that in the dreamworld, Changelings kick ass.

I can see great potential for cross over, both conflict and cooperation, in this.

Posted via my geek phone

Reality rebooted / Mage campaign idea

Age of Ravens

I read this excellent article by Age of Ravens, which talks about the incoming DC Universe reboot and comic book reboots in general, and asks how this could be achieved in an RPG.

The players may be aware that the settings continuity has just been reset, they may not. The same applies to the characters.

So, how could you run a game like this?

My first thoughts were that wouldn't it be cool to have the characters fight to prevent the world ending, fail, and then discover that the whole of reality has been reset, and is carrying on regardless, just with some major changes.

Then I thought 'you could do that with Mage'.

Yup. You could. Easily.

Thinking about it, I think it could be run as a bridging campaign between Mage: the Ascension and Awakening.

The New World of Darkness is a paradigmatic shift away from the Old World of Darkness. Similar, but not the same. Familiar, yet alien.

Posted via my geek phone

The Trouble with Dreams / Changeling: the Lost does Inception?

I'd always glossed over the Dream rules in Changeling: the Lost. Yeah yeah, they can enter dreams and do stuff. Blah blah blah. 
That is neither exciting nor awesome.

Then, on Friday night I finally watched Inception.
Now, Inception is not the best film in the world, not by a longshot, but it is chock full of ideas. It tries very hard (as my wife generously said), and features a lot of complex concepts (five layers of reality? WTF) though.

So, whilst watching it I found myself thinking 'this could be a good game if it was cleaned up a bit. What system would best support it?'

Duh! Changeling: the Lost. Obviously.

So I've been reading the Dream rules in C:tL again. And again. And again.

I really want them to make sense. I really do.
I've gone over them so many times, and keep feeling as though there's something missing.
A Changeling can clearly do some cool shit when in a dreamscape, i'm just at a bit of a loss on how they get into some dreamscapes.

I found this thread on the WW forums, which answers some of my questions, but not all.
The final entry in the thread goes some way to clarifying the rules, which to my mind are quite poorly articulated.

My current understanding of the rules for entering dreams are:

  • Changeling enters own dreams - No cost
  • Changeling enters own Fetches dreams - 1 Willpower
  • Changeling enters the dreams of a person dream pledged to them - 1 Glamour
  • Changeling enters the dreams of a mortal - Meditation roll, 8 successes required, must be in a Hollow or Hedge
  • Changeling enters the dreams of another Changeling's Fetch - Meditation roll, 12 successes required, must be in a Hollow or Hedge
  • Changeling  enters the dreams of a person Dream-tasked to another Changeling - Meditation roll, 16 successes required, must be in a Hollow or Hedge

Additionally, I believe that the Dream Contract 'Forging the Dream' allows a Changeling to sidestep the 'needing to be in the Hedge/Hollow rule, and enter a sleeping Mortals dreams by being able to see them instead.
I've come to these conclusions because I can't quite see why somebody would want to rape another member of their Motley's dreams, or why a Fetch would sign up to a Dream-Task Pledge.

I'd really appreciate it if somebody with experience of running Dreams in a Changeling: the Lost game could give me some pointers here.

Now, back to the cool shit - Using Changeling to run Inception/Extraction missions.
The Oneiromancy section in the core rules clearly states that a Changeling can Learn About the Dreamer, but limits that knowledge to statistical knowledge - Virtue, Vice, Derangements, Willpower, Social/Mental Merits and Flaws.
I would say that a Changeling could also Extract one secret per five successes on the Wits + Empathy + Wyrd roll. The Changeling would have to specify what they were looking for - the combination to a safe, the location of a kidnapped child, the missing ingredient to a potion - and roll for success. They couldn't just randomly fish.
Oneiroimancy also states that a Changeling can Convince The Dreamer, and load them up with additional dice to be used against them in a social situation.
I think this is where Inception comes in. I think a Changeling could implant one simple idea per 5 successes on the Wits + Empathy + Wyrd roll.