Tags: far away land

[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.

Kapcon 2016 Plans

This is subject to change, but I think my plans for Kapcon 2016 will be as follows. Nothing as big as last years' Vault of the Dracolich, but a couple of easy to run and lower prep con scenarios instead. This year, Sam, Ayla, and Sophie will be helping out with GMing Adventure Squad, so that leaves me with some room to play with.

Round 2 and 6 - "Kish Kaisei" for Tenra Bansho Zero: I have been enjoying a lot of samurai tales this year and Tenra Bansho Zero is a perfect RPG to emulate them. As with my previous TBZ scenario, its easy enough to tone down the OTT and anime elements for something a little more traditional. Something closer to Rurouni Kenshin, Sword of the Stranger, or Vagabond.

Round 3 and 4 - "Handful of Dust" for Urban Shadows: I planned to run this in round 4 last year, but it didn't arrive in time and I didn't have sufficient chance to playtest it. It has now arrived and it looks excellent.

Round 5 - Adventure Squad: In the round that I am not running Tenra Bansho, I will be in Adventure Squad. I will have Epyllion and Icons ready to run. However, I am hoping to just support Sam, Ayla, and Sophie. Sam will have Ryuutama, Ayla will have Lone Wolf and Far Away Land, and Sophie Far Away Land.

Best RPGs of 2014

This is cross-posted in NZRAG.

So each year I put up a post to get a feel from Wellingtonians what RPGs published that year have been their favourite. Though this thread is aimed at RPGs published in 2014 only, please feel free to mention supplements or any other RPG you encountered this year that stood out.

Last year's thread is here: http://grandexperiment.livejournal.com/243831.html.

2013 was a simply amazing year with two new RPGs entering my Top 5. This year was almost as good and continues the trend since 2010. In addition to new RPGs, there was also a new edition of the hobby's granddaddy, D&D, which looks to achieve an excellent balance between broad appeal and focussed design. While KS continues to fuel new RPGs of high quality, this year also seemed to see the first wave of Kick Failures. Combined with backers growing more discerning, the KS surge seems to be ebbing to some extent.

My main success this year was actually running my top 2 RPGs from 2013. Atlantis is the first game since much venerated Exalted (and my having two daughters) that saw me return to running ran a long term campaign of my own creation; also replacing the long running Exalted game that I was playing at the same time. This culminated with Atlantis' 3rd and final KS that took place earlier this year. I took advantage of the opportunity to show appreciation by spending the most money I have ever spent in one go on an RPG. It felt good and justified to me why KS can be such a positive process.

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[Far Away Land] Whoa! Here Comes a 7 year old GM!!

In a momentous occasion, my 7 year old daughter ran an adventure for me on the weekend. It was the module Whoa! Here Come the Dead for Far Away Land RPG. It went remarkably well.

I have been running Far Away Land for her and her younger sister for a while now. I have detailed the first session of that game elsewhere. Far Away Land is an excellent RPG for younger players and we have tried most of the usual suspects. The core mechanic has very little math, it is flexible and vibrant and it also satisfies all my criteria as an experienced RPGer too. The setting creation mini-games are also fabulous for involving younger players and harnessing their ideas.

My daughter surprised me when she said she wanted to GM too. I think she was enamoured by having secret stuff behind a GM screen, but she has a genuine gift for storytelling and entertaining, so I agreed. Fortunately, Far Away Land has just started releasing a monthly series of short adventures. I would normally be reluctant to have used a prewritten adventure but the FAL series seemed perfect. I had run the first, Isle of the Rat Wizard, for the two and it had been a fun and simple affair. The adventures are 5-6 pages long and come with a cool piece of art and an even cooler map. So far, the adventures have consisted of a mini sandbox, with a settlement under a threat. They then detail various historical events, items, plot hooks, people, weather and monsters associated with that. My daughter also has a fascination with vampires, so the second in the series, "Whoa! Here Come the Dead", really caught her interest.

Though she is a good reader for her age, I sat down with her for half an hour and read it to her. We used a highlighter for the salient bits. We then had a refresher half an hour session the day before the game. She told me of things she wanted to add and I discussed how to do this, along with a series of other ideas she may want to use (assuming she would forget all of it).

When we got around to playing, I helped her along especially around rules calls and the like. However, she ran most of it by herself and she was amazing. In the climax, which she has added stuff too, she had a tendency for the self-indulgent (what GM doesn't!), ingrained on her from playing with her young friends, but overall she was conscientious and even ad-libbed ideas that blew me away. She also retained a lot of what we had discussed and never showed any sign of indecision or faltering during the 75 minute game.

The result is that she wants to run again and is eagerly awaiting November's "Crazy Maze Daze" adventure. My 5 year old has also demanded to GM, though I may work on a scene for her to do, given her young age :)

If you have young RPGers in the family, I can't recommend Far Away Land enough. Hell, its great for mature players too. Those that want to run with young players, I recommend using this character sheet that I created that allows for skills to be done freeform, and as pictures rather than words.

Kapcon 2015 Plans

Its still a little while away, but here are my plans for Kapcon 2015. Like last year these have kind of grown without much planning. Sam is again organising the Con and I will be organising Adventure Squad on the Sunday. So, the idea is for low key games, even if I look kind of busy.

Round 2 - Shadows of the Moon for Atlantis: I kind of wanted to do some straight forward fantasy RPGing this year, but D&D5e feels lacklustre for Con play and I don't want to go up against it directly with something like Dungeon World or Castles & Crusades. Atlantis has been the hit of my last 12 and I have wanted to run a Red Nails homage game for nigh on 10 years now. So, the stars aligned for Shadows of the Moon: http://kapcon.rpg.net.nz/?q=node/659.

Round 4 - Handful of Dust for Urban Shadows: This will be during the LARP. The RPG has only just finished its KS, but the Archetypes and Move sheets are already in good enough shape to run. The World of Darkness/urban fantasy vibe is strong with this one and along with the Apocalypse World engine, it seems like a perfect fit for the tabletop round during the LARP. I hope to run this mostly 'off the cuff' from player contributions: http://kapcon.rpg.net.nz/?q=node/664.

Rounds 5 and 6 - Adventure Squad: This year I am limiting my options to just Far Away Land and Golden Sky Stories, both of which have proved themselves excellent for your players: http://kapcon.rpg.net.nz/?q=node/585.

That just leaves the outside possibility that I may want to run Ryuutama once it hits, though I suspect that it will need to wait until I have a scenario idea, which means its out for this year at least.

So, rounds 1, 3 and 7 are free :)

The Wonderful World of Kickstarter

Kickstarter has been a bit of a rollercoaster ride in its first few years of its operation. But I think it is finally hitting its stride.

Initially, it was a bit lacklustre and risky. A few of the projects from those early days are finally beginning to fall over (Quantum) or become so painful that they should fall over to be put out of their misery (Far West). Then there were the boom years where projects were both amazing (Tenra Bansho Zero) and overreaching (Myth and Magic). Now they seem to have calmed down a lot more with a greater proportion of moderate yet still successful projects (Urban Shadows). Some companies have also built KS into their ongoing release cycle with success, bith large (Onyx Path) and small (Khepera).

I have been finding myself becoming more KS savvy too, and I have had three recent incidents where I used the greater interactive nature of KS to get even more from my RPG hobby:

1. Joirel for Far Away Land: Though I did not pledge at the top level, the KS creator considered my contributions on the forums and support generally should be rewarded by being to create an NPC for the RPG. I created Joirel, an NPC based loosely on the archetype of "heroines lost in another world" like seen in Narnia, Twelve Kingdoms and Rayearth. My primary aim was to try and capture my daughters' interest. However, it also brought to the creator's attention the need for greater female representation in the NPCs for FAL, making it a much cooler game in the process.

2. Nihodggr for Atlantis: Atlantis has been a big RPG for me and, as a way to say thanks, I had been preparing to pledge at the top levels in the final KS for the line, being the bestiary Theragraphica. I also wanted to add in my big bad for my Thursday night campaign into Atlantis canon. The amount of art for the book meant it was up against it to just get funded (made even harder as this was the second supplement). There was also very serious doubt about it hitting the same full colour hardcover as the previous two books. Fortunately, my pledge got it over that line, much to my pleasure. Also, my big bad will now be gracing the back cover of that book :) This could be the highlight of my entire RPG hobby career and something I will forever be proud of.

3. The Vessel for Urban Shadows: This KS has been a bit of a gamble for me. Based on my Dungeon World experiences and what I have seen in preview, this could be a good solution for all of the World of Darkness woes that have plagued my last 15 years. As soon as I pledged, I proposed an archetype covering beings where a life force was imbued into something else, like Frankenstein, Golems, Homunculi, and even "Pet Cemetery" like possessed animals. I also commented that the "Wild" Faction could do with a 4th archetype to match the "Power" and "Night" Factions. I even argued for the name "the Vessel" over something like "the Created" in order to broaden the concept. I was surprised to see the archetype, name and all, becoming a stretch goal that is shortly to be reached. Having made a stamp on the RPG, I am even more hopeful it will prove a success for me.

[Far Away Land] Adventure Squad PC Sheets

With Far Away Land due to arrive today, I have been pondering making a few mods to how the rules are presented in FAL for Adventure Squad, where the players will be aged 5-10.

Most of my mods are to the world building exercise, but for PC creation, instead of writing Boons and Flaws, I going to have the players draw them instead :)

I created a variant PC sheet for this here: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/14355510/FAL%20Jr%20Sheet.pdf

[Far Away Land] First Impressions

I received my PDF copies of Far Away Land last week, and the books are on their way. Leaving aside how this was easily the best KS I have been involved in, the RPG is simply wonderful. I am betting that this will be my top RPG for 2014 :)

Far Away Land is an excellent light hearted fantasy RPG. It has its roots in old school D&D in terms of what the book covers (mass combat, crafting, kingdom management, travelling), but it has been completely rebuilt from the ground up. The result is an excellent Order of the Stick or Adventure Time style fantasy RPG. Its quirky but it takes the inspirations that make it quirky pretty seriously, adding a real depth to the comedy and fantasy.

The base system is robust yet easy to use (and imagine it would remain so even after a few beers). There is a lot of flexibility from PC creation through to world building and running the game itself. It relies on GM discretion and the group's social contract, but if you are playing Far Away Land, you should be ready for free form creation with the rest of the group. Its also a very complete RPG as it stands with rules, setting, creatures, magic items, world building, adventure building and much more.

Far Away Land is also an excellent RPG for young players. The system isn't dumbed down for a younger audience, but its pitched well at them. Its focus on fun and trying to roll with whatever your imagination creates will be appealing to that audience. I also suspect that the world building exercises may be an excellent activity for younger players as they can tell stories, create worlds and draw maps, that inspire the adventures that their PCs adventure in.

I plan to try Far Away Land in at least two events. The first will be at Not D&D Con, which will be mature and experienced RPGers in a relaxed setting. I am tempted to simply adapt on the fly the story of the Hobbit to the world created during the world building exercise.

The second will be at Adventure Squad. For the latter, I plan to add some structure to the free form aspects of world building by creating 6 geographical features and 6 architectural features to be placed on the map by the young players. I will then attempt to tease out stories and concepts about the world on the map, including identifying several denizens that inhabit it. With any luck, this exercise will be a game in and of itself and provide the backdrop for the adventures that PCs of the young players.