Time to Turn Out the Lights

With two whole months passing without posting here, I have come to realise that I think this LJ page has run its course. Not that there has been any activity on my friends page either in that time TBH :)

With a new campaign starting up tomorrow and my decision not to post Actual Play Reports here, I doubt that I will be posting here anymore.

Amethyst arrives for D&D5e

Over 5 years ago, I came across the setting Amethyst by Dias Ex Machina for D&D4e and spoke about it here: http://grandexperiment.livejournal.com/103300.html. Though I loved the setting, D&D4e's finely tuned system meant that it was not a great fit for me ultimately. As I said back then, I was keen to see if the setting would make it to a more flexible system like True20 or Savage Worlds. I even spent some time considering using the 3e version to convert to True20.

Following a KS a year or so ago, DEM did exactly that, opening up Amethyst to FATE, Savage Worlds, and finally D&D5e. Given my enthusiasm for Amethyst, I was willing to persevere with my lack of enthusiasm for the first two RPGs in order to play in the setting. However, with the release of the D&D5e version, I can now combine the setting I love with a system that I really like too. The marriage (mechanically at least) is still not perfect TBH but its good enough for me.

Here's my review of the book:

Collapse )

There is also a trailer using art from the book:

[Godbound] Bond of Delchard - a sample scenario

Following my experiment with 1 Court and 1 Ruin for the Skyreach scenario, I had a go with a 2 Court scenario called Bond of Delchard.

Predictably, this is much more of a social intrigue scenario than Skyreach, being open in nature, but it came together nicely. It does contain another weapon of mass destruction. Not sure if this is coincidence or a trend with me or the random generators. I expect the former :)


[Far Away Land] 3, 2, 1, point!

I have been using a variant of the world creation system in the FAL Companion to great effect for younger players. I have coined it "3-2-1-point". Each step is done once by one player, before moving to the next step.

Step 1: Take 3 coins or chips and throw them on a blank piece of paper. Each forms a geographical area. This is the same as the system in FAL but the three coins creates a two dimensional shape, unlike the use of two coins.

Step 2: Take two coins and throw them on the same piece of paper. Each forms a path or barrier that makes travel along it easier or travel over it harder. This can be roads, walls, rivers, tunnels, portals, cliffs, etc. It can also be less physical, like language barriers, weather changes, communication networks. This is a new step, but it really helps make the map dynamic, especially for those travelling across it.

Step 3: Take one coin and throw it on the map. This is a place. Again similar to existing Architects of FAL.

Step 4: Point to a place on the map and tell something about it or ask a question about it. This is similar to Historians of FAL but more limited and is useful in fleshing out elements on the map and identifying those elements that are of interest to the players.

After all of this, you should have enough to run a few adventures. I have used this for a fantasy landscape, space sectors, and modern town maps.

Current RPG Projects

Without really trying my RPG calendar has filled up nicely with the following:

Mondays: I am continuing to play in Booby's Tyranny of Dragons for D&D, now into the second half. The GM has shown an interest in playing in one of the FFG Star Wars adventures once we are done.

Thursdays: Due to some anticipated changes, I am now running a short (12 sessions or so) campaign of Ryuutama. Once done, I hope to either run Mutant Year Zero or Godbound, or play in Urban Shadows, next.

Saturdays: I am also continuing to play in James' Tyranny of Dragons for D&D, but with a number of expected breaks this year, I am running Shadow of the Demon Lord when those breaks occur. The first is this Saturday.

Cons: For Buckets of Sand, I have Skyreach for Godbound ready to go, and Far Away Land for the younger crowd (using my 3, 2, 1, point system for scenario creation). I may also look to run Godbound at Not-D&D Con and even Kapcon, if it proves a success.

Family: With Imperial Assault behind us, I am planning on running Lost Mines of Phandelver for D&D for the family on the weekends.

[Godbound] Skyreach - a sample scenario

Godbound (now in its final Beta 1.0 before the KS launches on 1 March - https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B4qCWY8UnLrcSUhNYkIwSjZGc00/view) has a great GM section that provides great advice and tools for the GM. Of particular interest to me were the random generators for Courts (groups of people) and Ruins (places to explore). Both are fundamental components of an Exalted/Godbound-like scenario. Together they create a focussed sandbox where the PCs will succeed at what they put their efforts to but ultimately be left with more strands and consequences as a result.

Anyway, I put the two generators to the test and rolled up one Court and one Ruin and combined them to create a scenario. Once completed, I fleshed over the details, but really the hard work was already done.

I wrote up the result as a 4 page scenario: https://www.dropbox.com/s/yb0ylcjet97k55c/Skyreach.pdf?dl=0

Along with PC creation being so simple, I think I will be running this at Buckets and if it goes well Kapcon too. I have always wanted to run Exalted at Kapcon but the mechanics are cumbersome and I didn't want to strip them back to a point where it no longer reflected its mechanics. Godbound provides a solution.

Jacobi Silverheart in Godbound

I have been reading Sine Nomine's upcoming Godbound RPG and decided to make my my Lunar Exalted PC. Beast doesn't quite deal with Lunar's transformation but its so close that I am happy with how he turned out.

Jacobi Silverheart (Silver Jack)

Strength 14 (+1) Check 7
Dexterity 16 (+2) Check 5
Constitution 13 (+1) Check 8
Wisdom 8 (-1) Check 13
Intelligence 10 (-) Check 11
Charisma 18 (+3) Check 3

Saving Throws
Hardiness: 14
Evasion: 13
Spirit: 16

Wealth: 0
Experience: 0
Dominion: 0
Influence: 2
Effort: 2

Hit Points: 9
AC: 1
Deadly Beastman Transformation 1d10+2 Check 17
Moonsilver Reaper Daiklaive 1d6+2 Check 17
Fray Dice d8

Facts: Survived on the edges of the wild, Stories are told of told of Silver Jack, Compassion stolen by a parasite god

Goal: To reunite with his true love

Alacrity, Beast, Passion

Cannot be surprised.
Can speak to animals and is never willingly attacked by unintelligent natural beasts.

Gifts of Alacrity
Swifter Than The Sun On Turn: Commit Effort. Your movement rate is twice as fast as your fastest pursuer or quarry, to a minimum of 60 feet per move action.
Walk Between the Rain Constant: Your natural AC is 3. You cannot be hit by anything not driven by a purpose unless you allow it.

Gifts of Beast
Red in Tooth and Claw On Turn: You have or can instantly manifest natural weaponry that does 1d10 damage and counts as a magic weapon. Against natural or magical beasts, these weapons always strike against AC 9.
Many-Skinned Mantle Action: Adopt the shape of any beast, natural or magical. Alternately, transform a human within sight into a natural beast; Commit Effort until the end of the day to affect those of greater hit dice, who also get a Hardiness save to resist.

Gifts of Passion
Fashioning a Friend Action: Commit Effort for the scene to beguile a visible creature, inspiring it to feelings of friendship and cooperativeness towards you.

Kapcon 2016 Report

I attended Kapcon 2016 in the weekend. Though the energy seemed more subdued than normal, it was a good Con. The energy (though lower) felt more focussed, it ran smoothly, and I was really happy to see people acknowledging and enjoying the long-lived social aspects of the Con (no doubt enhanced by the disappearance of the mid year Cons).

On Friday, Sam and I had a nice meal with Margie, Hix and James, before a fleeting visit to the pre-Kapcon drinks. The space was tight and noise made talking hard, but I was able to catch up with a few of my favourite people. I then managed a relatively early night's sleep, which paid dividends later.

Saturday morning I took off and helped the Kapcon Organisers and chatted with Nasia, Morgan and Hannah. Given that it was a scenario of my own making, I was happy to hear that Sam's first run of Ryuutama went well. Players of both this run and her second one later in the Con said they were keen to play more, which is always a good sign.

This was followed by my first run of Shadow of the Demon Lord. It ran pretty good with a standout player performance by Cat as a hard bitten Dwarf witchhunter who died of a heart attack at seeing the big bad. I wasn't happy with my own performance as GM, to be truthful, but it was a good wake up for my later games.

In round 3, I ran my second game of Shadow of the Demon Lord. This was a low powered game and with random PC creation. I was worried about it to start (character creation with tired player can be woeful) but it was reliably fun. Robert Vincent owned his murdernating goblin gangster resulting in one of the most hilarious hostage negotiations I have experienced.

I offered to withdraw my round 4 game at the start of round 3 to allow Conan to run his game, only to find that Conan withdrew his game at the last minute. I played in Undying run by MikeS instead. It was enjoyable (it felt like a Vampire Diplomacy) and I would definitely like to see it in action over a few sessions. As it was, I found that only one session skewed some of the play, leaving me a little unsatisfied. I also struggled with the walls of text move sheets, but that would disappear with some more play. I wrapped up the day being the last to leave the building with Russ and Morgan.

I woke up on Sunday tired. Adventure Squad loomed and its always a massive energy sink. Luckily, in the first round Karen ran a game of Mermaid Adventures and Dylan ran 5e. So, I dodged the GMing bullet. I did introduce the squaddies to Tsuro and Love Letter. the best pick me up that morning was seeing how much the squaddies (and their parents) enjoyed themselves. Adventure Squad continues to grow and I think its a great thing for Kapcon.

In round 6, I ran my second run of Shadow of the Demon Lord. I was worried about energy levels but I had a great group, with JonB being the driving force of the group with great player support all round. The session was probably my most enjoyable of the Con. I was happy to see that both Ayla and Sophie had run in round 6 as well and people were impressed. The Kapcon Organisers were also kind enough to recognise Sophie as the youngest Kapcon GM to date :). Fraser also ran a 10 session D&D5e game that round (which I had asked him to prepare on really short notice) and it went very well, resulting in him winning the prize for best single round. I left with my family after round 6.

My main impressions from this Con were:
1. Shadow of the Demon Lord is a really fun game.
2. I did a lot to make the Con fun for other people.
3. Adventure Squad is awesome and needs to continue to grow and be supported.
4. I am tired.

[Shadow of the Demon Lord] My first pregens

I made my first set of six 4th level pregens for my upcoming Con game, Measure of Faith, and I went with rolling almost everything randomly outside of the main choices. These are a group of badass witch hunters, who are on the periphery of the Cult of the New God.

This is what I got:

Collapse )

I am very happy with the result. I can see these as a group in a book or movie, and each one is one that I would happily play.