Things went off the rails for a while as I injured my back slightly and sitting at a computer (or indeed doing anything much at all) became something of a jaggedy pain for several weeks. Not fun.
Managed to get some stuff done amidst the ensuing doldrums.
There was no Achtung Cthulhu since the last episode I mentioned. There should be plenty more to come though, as the scenario we have embarked on is rather long and we have barely scratched the Italianate marble surface.
The game that was called Mortal is now called Decadence and there’s even character sheets. The rules continue to coalesce around the essential everything-off-one-die-roll and pride-is-key central concepts. I ran a session of the game set in a different (earlier) time period to the ‘Russia 1917’ first outing, and it featured a lot more combat, which enabled much discussion and resolution about how the nitty-gritty of vampires fighting mere humans should work.
The return to OSR gaming finally happened, with a week of character creation and background detail, and then it was off to Dolmenwood to see the sights and try and avoid getting instantly killed by something horrible.
A change to the usual set up this week, as we start with:
Could have been PC gaming but despite having purchased the Brothers in Arms 3-game collection at a very low price, I completely failed to install it on my PC. I was distracted by the equally cheap and even more hectic Battlefield 4 on PS4, in which I have achieved very little so far; beyond marvelling at the pretty graphics and the sheer amount of ammunition expended.
Achtung Cthulhu continued to happen. The characters investigated some suspicious goings on in Rome, and managed to avoid launching an infiltration mission that would most likely have ended in a fascist bullet-storm and many, many allied fatalities.
Back with more waffle about what I’ve been up to lately, in a vague attempt to build up a blogging habit.
The proposed launch into OSR did not happen as planned, due to unforeseen circumstances for one of the players, and there was a short discussion about what the rest of the group should do instead. In the end, I decided to run a session/play-test of my fledging ‘game about vampires, and stuff’.
The plan was to do a bit more blog stuff this year, keep things ticking over, stay up to date with gaming and writing projects as the weeks and months went on. So, that’s going well…
Anyway, the gaming group have just finished a short, scrappy, some might say cursed, sequence of Cyberpunk games. Like the 2020 game itself it was all Very 80s. Rogue cops, a dodgy Doc, a media-babe with a bunny-girl makeover.
There were drugs, high technology corporate sleaze, old (dead) friends, sentient computers and surprisingly little gunplay.
Due to a restricted time frame it ended like a one-season television show cut off in its prime. Our heroes, mid-heist, discover they’re hacking the wrong computer and then:
I had a dream about people turning into cows. Not actual cows, more a kind of Gerald-Scarfe-Pink-Floyd-video grotesquery of lumpen bovine humanity. It starts with the hands and feet, maybe, becoming useless club-like stubs at the ends of spindly limbs. The rest of the body is bulked out, the epidermis peeling away to leave dun coloured patches of blubbery flesh. The face is elongated, snout like, the ears are curved protrusions of stretched skin. In a certain light I guess they do look more like pigs? But in the dream they called them cows at first and that name sort of stuck.
It’s not a localised event. It’s a worldwide phenomenon; a social crisis and a health catastrophe. How does the world respond? How do family and friends cope if it happens to a loved one? What do you do if it begins to happen to you?
I woke up before that part of the dream unfurled itself. In many ways that’s a blessing.
Question 31: What do you anticipate most for gaming in 2018?
In terms of the gaming community, I’ve no real idea as I basically just noodle away doing whatever gaming is available and pay very little attention to the wider gaming fellowship beyond what passes before my gaze on Facebook or the occasional blog.
Personally, I’m very much looking forward to getting my hands on new Runequest, new Stars Without Number, and also a game about language called Dialect.
Going to attempt to run Lamentations of the Flame Princess at some point as I have a scenario in mind that I want to try out, with a view to some future vague attempt to get it published maybe.
More space games, more super-spies, more all round fun and mayhem. Just keeping the momentum going really.
And reminding Stephen Herron that he needs to publish more stuff for Broken Rooms.
Question 30: What is an RPG genre-mashup you would most like to see?
Urban fantasy and anthropomorphic animals. I think that would be cool. I have an idea for a novel ticking over at the moment (called The Crow Boy, there’s bits of it scattered about this blog), which features magic, steampunk style crazy science, old gods and new deities; all wrapped up in a tale about birds and cats and surly rats. I think there’s probably a game there too.
Other options for mash-ups:
Buffy the Vampire Slayer…in space!
And also something which is probably best described as a cross between Harry Potter and the Battle of the Somme.
Question 21: Which RPG does the most with the least words?
The original Recon game from RPG, Inc was about forty pages long iirc, and that certainly seemed to pack a lot in to very little.
I get the impression/seem to remember that a most of the early stuff had a very low (initial) page count, and that later editions seem to sprawl a little bit more – extra system, more background, general mission creep.
(In which everything gets left to the last minute and I do a couple or three round-up posts instead of one a day)
Question 14: Which RPG do you prefer for open-ended campaign play?
As my games tend towards endless sprawl, I’m happy for any system to be used for on-going campaigns. Case in point, the supers-in-Berlin-1950s game I’ve been running for a while, I already have it in my mind that I can step forward to the 60s at some point and keep the same world rolling along. Then the 1970s and ever onward.
Given the number of times I’ve done this sort of thing I suppose the correct answer is ‘superhero games’. They provide me with my preferred vehicle for building worlds, histories, legacies.
Question 15: Which RPG do you enjoy adapting the most?
I don’t really enjoy adapting them so much as I sometimes feel compelled to adjust or throw away any bits and pieces that annoy me.
There was a fatigue system in Runequest 3rd Edition, for example; couldn’t be bothered with that at all.
Question 13: Describe a game experience that changed how you play.
Easy cop-out answer: Every gaming experience promotes change or else what’s the point, eh?
Alternatively, I guess playing Fiasco, although that didn’t so much ‘change how I play’ as it made me want to play more games that had that kind of vibe: building scenes, collaborating, creating epic-ness out of very little.
Also, there have been a few over-planned RPGs in the past that have gone so badly off track that I always tell myself from here on out I’ll just set up the general environment and then wing the rest. That sometimes works. I can often stick to that style. For a while.