Dec 162013

We finished up the Dresden Files game this last Friday. Due to just being plain sick we were missing one player but we forged ahead anyway. It was a brief but brutal session.
When we last left our heroes, they had gotten pretty banged up fighting the gang of Jade Court Vampires. They decided to play it save and go into overkill mode. They snuck through the service tunnels until they discovered the lair main of the Jade Court and their boss. Then they found a gas main. Then a little thaumaturgical hoodoo and they have an odorless cloud of natural gas that gets gently pushed into the lair. The resulting explosion sent several manhole covers in the area flying and resulted in on Apple store burning to the ground. Yes, I could played this up more as a GM but it was time to wrap things up.
Then the group goes about setting up the Red Court and the Denarian in final showdown. They managed to via some social maneuvering to get both of them at the same place at the same time. They sat back and watched the slug fest. The Denarian ended up winning and pretty much taking out the remaining Red Court Vampires. Hoping the fight weakened the Dinarian, the party charged in with hopes of finishing off the fallen angel. It was another tough and bloody fight. The player characters got really banged up. Artie blew his entire magical wad in one big spell that only annoyed the Dinarian. It was a fight of attrition after that. Here’s one place where we used my little house rule about missing player characters. And it worked pretty well. The missing character is handled like an Aspect for the group. They can invoke him once for free in each exchange. Pretty simple. And to the point. Needless to say, the party barely took out the Dinarian.
Then on to the Fairy stuff. The party gets all of the factions together at their apartment because it is “Centrally Located”. This was a really brief encounter and just really a role playing exchanged. A few offers were by the Fairy Courts that were politely turned down. Mab and Titania both do their parts to summon Puck. Puck goes ballistic but is powerless to do anything. He slowly shrinks down to the size of one of the Wild Fey and is taken into custody by Titania. And here endeth the campaign.
Yes, I know these notes are very short compared other posts. But this was the last and clean up session. I’d say all in all that it went well. The players enjoyed it and FATE was really easy to run as a GM. We talked briefly about what will happen if the group decides to do another Campaign in New Bay City (Note the first time I used this setting was for a Mage game). They agreed that it would be fun but probably better if we used a different set of rules. FATE is fun, easy and quick. But we all felt there was a little too much “hand wavey” stuff and that after a while everything just started to feel the same. But this a debate for the far future.
So what’s up next? Well, the Classic Deadlands campaign is still going strong. We’re going to be starting a Pathfinder game (Serpent’s Skull) very soon. Personally, I’m going to get my old-school game up and running after the Holidays. But more on that one a little later.

Oct 102013

So that Dresden Files game has been going on for quite a while now. We’ve given the system a great run and we’ve kicked the tires. FATE is a good system but.. Yeah, there’s a but. As one the players said, “There are times when you just want to roll dice and kill some monsters.” So true.
As A GM, I love the easy prep and how easy it is run things off the cuff. This is very important because the players will run all over the place in FATE games. The players loved the freedom and ability to affect the world. Everybody loved the quick play.
Because it’s a story game, there’s lots of story and some times that wears on people. Just like the comedy RPG’s. It’s hard to be funny all the time. This is my bit of sage advice for any FATE GM’s out there. Don’t ever jump the shark. If the story is coming to an end. Let it end. If everyone is having fun then good but intentionally drag out and hope for the best isn’t a great idea. I don’t plan on doing that to the players or myself. The other thing I’ve noticed after a pretty long campaign is that a lot starts to feel the same. No matter what is going on.
Now with that being said, don’t take this as an anti-FATE rant. Play a few games and sit back a relax. There’s a lot that you can learn and transfer over to just about any game. Back when we were going the Kingmaker Adventure Path with Pathfinder, we used Aspects for the characters. I plan on introducing something like in just about every other game I run. Also, let the players contribute to the world. They love that. It gives them more of a connection to the world and it takes a little bit off the GM’s plate.
Yes, FATE is still on my little list of way cool games to play. And there’s a damn good chance I’ll be playing or running it again. Maybe a Sci-Fi game or something. Who knows?

 Posted by at 10:00 am  Tagged with:
Dec 172012

We had our last Dresden Files session before the holiday break. I decided that we’d speed up the timeline in the campaign. This way after a couple weeks off from gaming we can come back and advance the city and get things rolling again with a semi-fresh start. Here’s how things went down:
We finished up the football season. Yippee! New Bay City University won the championship. Alex The Werewolf continues to be the local football here. When the campaign started off he was the bumbling country boy. Now he’s a start and getting a few kickbacks from the alumni.
We sped through the baseball season. The Dude is really The Dude of Baseball. And now New Bay City University has two championship sports teams but its not going to the Dude’s head because after all he IS The Dude.
Finals: And this didn’t go as planned. But we muscled through it. Alex cheated, bribed and just tried to weasel his way through the finals. He still failed. Artie the Apprentice Wizard brewed up his “Genius Potion” and did a little divination but still in the long run. He failed too. The Dude did manage to pass. The others are on double secret academic probation.
Amongst all this chaos, Artie takes the time to confront the Dean. Artie spells out a simple ultimatum to the Dean. Tell him what is going on and why he’s being used as a delivery boy or the Dean can just get his own packages. The Dean asks for time and tells Artie that he’ll get back to him. A couple days later Warden Lake shows up at Artie’s dorm room. She asks him to come along with her to a meeting at her office. Once he gets there the Warden tells him to into her office. She stays in the waiting room (along with Whisper and The Dude). Inside, Artie is a little shocked. Sitting there waiting for him is the Gatekeeper who explains to Artie what exactly is happening. The Dean has the position of Custodian of the Vault. It is his responsibility to collect, store and protect various dangerous magical artifacts. Some of these artifacts has dangerous side effects and many would drive a normal person mad. Plus, there’s the temptation to possibly use some of said artifacts. Many a Custodian has gone mad or worse. The secondary role of the Custodian is to be a Gatekeeper in training in case anything should happen to the current Gatekeeper. The theory is that if a wizard can stand up to all of those magical artifacts, he should be able to watch the Outer Gates. The Gatekeeper makes it clear how important the Dean’s job is, he also stresses the importance of keeping an eye on the Dean ahould he be driven mad.
Then we get into the meat of the session. It’s Pirate Days! The local festival kicking off the summer vacation and the tourist season. The local radio station is having a big contest! They’ve hidden old pirate coins all around the city. Whoever collects the most coins wins a shiny Shelby Cobra. This wouldn’t be so terrible if there weren’t a Denarian loose in the city. Finally, the second major villain of the campaign shows up.
For this I made a little mini game. I wrote out the names of all the major NPC’s on index cards and dealt them out on the table face down and placed a coin on one of the cards in the center. We decided on 13 “rounds” and then the Denarian would have his new host. The rounds broke down in this order:
Puck: could switch the position of any two cards.
The Player Characters: Each PC could use their skills to do one of the following. Turn a card over. Switch the position of any two cards (one of them must be face up).
The Denarian: Could move the coin to any adjacent card.
At the end of 13 rounds where ever the coin ends up, that NPC would be the host. To add a little more drama, I allowed the PC’s the option of putting themselves into the mix. Alex the Werewolf took up the challenge.
It was pretty exciting. The players were having to make all sorts of moral decisions. Do we let this really bad and powerful person get the coin or do we throw somebody else under the bus. For some reason, Milo Swanson the Mild Mannered City Clerk kept getting throw under bus.
After all the rounds, it was the moment of decision, the Denarian had a few choices but basically boiled down to two. Alex the Werewolf (A PC) and an unknown person (the card was still face down). I let the players decide what the Denarian would do. It was a pretty short debate and the best and most dramatic story twist would for Alex to take the coin and be the new host. The player heartily agreed and even encouraged it a bit. We did some quick calculations and there was no way that Alex could remain a PC. So there’s a whole new plot twist for the next story arch. We’ll see if Artie can save the love of his life from a Denarian. If the Dean finally goes off the deep end and a host of other questions. I had no idea that the story would end up like this.
And that dear readers is sacrificing a PC for story. Man, fucking cool.

Dec 132012

The FATE Core Kickstarter is the current buzz. I’ll be honest at first I didn’t quite get FATE but then the little light bulb went on. And if anything I feel this game has made me a better GM and player.
As a GM, the collaborative world building is an easy way to get player investment. As an added bonus, it takes off some of the burden of world creation off the shoulders of the GM and lets the players say what they want in the campaign. It gives the players a sense that the characters are actually part of the world and have some sort of history and connection.
When it comes to actually running an adventure (just like Savage Worlds), FATE has taught me not to sweat the little shit. You know that’s one of the things that really started to annoy me with Pathfinder. A butt load of different “Conditions” that were only slightly different when it came to game mechanics. Screw it. Keep it simple. Keep rolling. Keep playing. Looking up the exact wording of a particular little tweak is pretty much a waste of time. And it’s pretty damned boring.
As a player, Aspects are a quick and easy way to outline a character. Even if it’s a game that we aren’t using Aspects. Just a little 3 x 5 index card can serve as outline for my character beyond a bunch of numbers.
So even if you aren’t into FATE there’s still something there that can help out in other games. Crap, you don’t even have to use the exact crunchy bits, just give it look and apply some of the philosophies. It just might save a little bit of time and headache.

 Posted by at 10:44 am  Tagged with:
Dec 042012

I like FATE. Heck, I was gnashing at the bit to run a Dresden Files game and know that I’m doing it, I like FATE even more. So yes, it’s a damned fun game. So yes, I recommend it and suggest backing it.

But I’ll be honest, my interest is a little more than personal. Now, it’s professional. I had to move up some scheduling of products over at Magic Pig Media and announced my own little FATE based game. Fantasy Adventures & Dungeons Encounters. . In a nut shell, Ever want to play a a Half-Dragon/Half-Dark Elf/Half-Succubus/Half-Vampire Amazon/Ninja/Pirate/Sorceress? Now you can. Comment here or there.

 Posted by at 10:48 am  Tagged with:
Sep 172012

While preparing for my Dresden game for this Friday, I started thinking about Aspects again and just how cool they are.
Aspects are the awesome sauce. Aspects are like RPG bacon. They can go with any thing. And here’s the neat part. Thrown on top of just about any game system they bring a lot to the table. Since Aspects are descriptive, they are really great about bring a particular mood or feel to any game. In a way, Aspects are without genre and that’s what makes them neat.
I know some folks don’t particularly like the “story game” type thing. That’s OK. And maybe you just has systems that give out some sort metagame points for players to spend. That’s OK, too. Then just use them as a creative spring board for character generation. No mechanics thrown in there. Just a note sheet to reference something about the character than raw numbers or some sort arbitrary things.
But that was just and random thought that flew my already over taxed brain.

 Posted by at 10:06 am  Tagged with: