Thursday, 20 September 2018

Swords and Planet game(s) looking for players!

Did I get your attention? OK, let me be uncharacteristically curt!

Here's a link where we're planning to play Swords and Planet games (on a forum). It even seems like two different ones might start! (A nice surprise for all fans of Barsoom).

All players are welcome! (Of course, the GMs would pick who gets in, but they seem entirely open to unfamiliar players).
Hope to see you soon!

Tuesday, 4 September 2018

Game: Show me your characters

So, here's a game I decided to suggest on a forum...and then I asked myself, why would I confine it just to a forum?

Find a character generator online (preferably a lifepath generator, but hey, who am I to judge your system preferences)?
Roll up one or more characters.
Write a short story including one or more of them.
Post it on your blog (and link here in the comments) and/or in the thread on that forum.

Here's who I rolled (I'm sure nobody's surprised I used Traveller - I used two generators, however, including a generator for MegaTraveller and a CT generator). And here's the story.

"What follows are a series of confidential-level dispatches, published by the Freedom Of Meaningless Information Law.
By: XX [REDACTED] dTon Imperial Navy craft "Starhawk", class [REDACTED], Imperial Year [REDACTED]
"Following previous instructions, we visited the planet [REDACTED] named "New Callisto", previous information showing that Merchant 3rd Officer can be found there after the crash of her ship, assumed to be the only survivor. It is unknown what was her situation since the crash.
Survey from orbit showed TL was inconsistent: TL 2 for personal combat, TL 6 for communication, some transportation equipment and medicine showed traces of TL 10+!
Following the procedure for extraction, Captain Ivan Morris assigned to the retreival operation Scout Trisha Abe 8B79A4 and her superior Scout Darpana Chen E59647, leader of the operation, under the designated protection of Marine Diego Tamm 846973. Operation beginning."

Report by Scout Trisha Abe to Navy Captain Ivan Morris, commander-in-chief of XX [REDACTED] dTon Imperial Navy craft "Starhawk", class [REDACTED], Imperial Year [REDACTED-circa 60 hours later]
"After finding Merchant 3rd Officer Quinn in her quarters, she refused outright to be saved, stating she prefers the primitive society she was found in, quote, "I prefer to be free and honest here and live with a sword in hand, than to coddle every day Imperial aristocrats, paying them bribes to not interfere with what is good for their subjects", unnquote. Scout Trisha Abe noticed that the jewellery observed on the body and head of Merchant 3rd Officer Quinn and the presence of the sword on her hip were consistent with high status among the locals and attempted to communicate the significance of said fact to Scout Darpana Chen. Scout Darpana Chen refused to listen and stated, quote, "I'm not letting you among these savages, you must need personality reassignment, girl", unquote, after which she proceeded to grab Merchant 3rd Officer and use her significant strength advantage as vice-champion of the Scout Corps in powerlifting to drag her along.
Merchant 3rd Officer was offering only passive resistence until a local came to investigate the noise. Upon seeing the grappling between Merchant 3rd officer and Scout Chen, he acted threateningly, and tried to pull a blade hanging on his hip while issuing some kind of challenge. Following procedure, Marine Diego Tamm shot him in the head, which earned him a commendation for good shooting from Scout Chen, leader of the mission.
Upon seeing that, Merchant 3rd Officer Quinn pulled her own sword and proceeded to inflict life-threatening thigh wound on Scout Chen, which almost fell. Marine Tamm tried to shoot her, but his aim was obstructed by the wounded body of Scout Chen. Marine 3rd Officer Quinn then proceeded to disarm him from his rifle, using her sword. Upon him trying to break distance and grasping for his gun, Marine 3rd Officer Quinn followed him and stabbed him in the neck, killing him instantly.
During this time, Scout Abe was unable to put her gun to use due to the proximity in which the bodies were found, and due to being overwhelmed by surprise at the extraction subject assaulting the extraction team.
Upon seeing the wounds of Scout Chen and Marine Tamm, Scout Abe decided to negotiate instead of trying to disable Merchant 3rd Officer Quinn. Merchant 3rd Officer acquisced to the terms of her offer - to call it all a misunderstanding with lethal weapons and that Scout Abe would deliver medical help to all the wounded - but insisted that the local should be healed first.
Scout Abe was only able to pronounce the man dead, but during this time Scout Chen had expired, too, due to bloodloss.
It must be noted that Scout Abe has no special training for close-quarters battle and was, at this time, in legitimate fear for her life. Her participation in the expedition was predicated on her ability to pilot schuttles, which were similar enough to aircraft the locals were using.
Upon seeing the losses inflicted by the sword of Merchant 3rd Officer Quinn, Scout Abe decided to disregard protocol and to retract to the XX [REDACTED] dTon Imperial Navy craft "Starhawk", class [REDACTED] in order to present her report to Captain Ivan Morris.
Captain Ivan Morris accepted the report and decided to abstain from a court martial over Scout Abe. He did, however, officially recommend to the Scout Service to not renew her contract."

Decisions of the council of officers of XX [REDACTED] dTon Imperial Navy craft "Starhawk", class [REDACTED] on the possible forceful extraction and/or punishment of Merchant 3rd officer Sophia Quinn and/or punishment of the locals of [REDACTED], a.k.a. "New Callisto".

"Following the report of Scout Trisha Abe, the following decisions were taken:
1. Merchant 3rd Officer Sophia Quinn is considered to have voluntarily, albeit implicitly, refused to renew her contract with the Merchant Service. Her actions were considered indication enough that no confirmation was required.
2. Merchant 3rd Officer Quinn's insurance policy, requiring that upon her involvement in a crash, "every possible effort" should be made to recover either her person, or her body, is to be considered fulfilled successfully.
3. No other actions on retrieving and/or punishing Merchant 3rd officer Quinn are to be taken. It was decided that such actions are neither warranted nor practical against the locals, either, given that the locals were probably unaware of Merchant 3rd Officer Quinn's insurance and might have considered the extraction attempt an attempted kidnapping.
4. The Council makes formal Captain Morris's recommendation to the Scout Service to not renew Scout Trisha Abe's employment for another term of service."

Scout Service, HR department. Regarding: The recommendation made by the Council of Officers of XX [REDACTED] dTon Imperial Navy craft "Starhawk", class [REDACTED] concerning the employment of Scout Trisha Abe.
"We have received your recommendation. Regretfully, we must regretfully inform you that it was not sent for consideration to the Head of the Department, because Scout Trisha Abe didn't apply for renewing her contract for another term. After serving her second term, on Imperial Year [REDACTED] she took her retirement benefits and booked High passage on Free Trader "Space Maiden", requiring an unusual point of delivery: planet [REDACTED] named "New Callisto". As the planet doesn't have a Class A-D Starport, standard rules regarding former members of the Scout Corps in unaccessible locations apply.
Please accept our considerations!"

Edited for publication: Assistant Manager Ema Naqamurra"

Merchant 3rd Officer Sophia Quinn 863676 Age 26 2 terms Cr41,000 Skills: Bribery-1, Steward-1, Sword-1Service History: Attempted to enlist in Merchants. Enlistment accepted. Commissioned during first term of service as 4th Officer. Promoted to 3rd Officer. Voluntarily reenlisted for second term. Chose not to reenlist after second term.

Scout Trisha Abe 8B79A4 Age 26 2 terms Cr70,000 Skills: Air/Raft-1, Jack-o-T-2, Mechanical-1, Pilot-1
Service History: Attempted to enlist in Scouts. Enlistment accepted. Voluntarily reenlisted for second term. Chose not to reenlist after second term.

Assistant Manager Ema Naqamurra
StarPort=B, Size=Small, Atmos=Thin, Hydro=Dry
Population=Med, Law=Moderate, Tech=Early Stellar
Asst. Manager (Rank 3)
Handgun-3, Admin-2, Brawling-1, Carousing-1, Grav Vehicle-1, Instruction-1, Liaison-1, Neural Weapons-1, Computer-0, Wheeled Vehicle-0
80000 Cr
0 Cr/Year
11 / 15
Low Passage, Middle Passage, High Passage
hide detailed history
Rolled UPP = 7BC687
homeworld skill: Computer-0
homeworld skill: Wheeled Vehicle-0

Spoiler: NPCs
† Scout Darpana Chen E59647 Age 38 5 terms Service History: Attempted to enlist in Scouts. Enlistment accepted. Voluntarily reenlisted for second term. Voluntarily reenlisted for third term. Voluntarily reenlisted for fourth term. Voluntarily reenlisted for fifth term. Death in service.

† Marine Diego Tamm 846973 Age 22 1 term Service History: Attempted to enlist in Marines. Enlistment accepted. Death in service.

Thursday, 19 July 2018

A Princess Goes Treasure-Hunting With Her Best Friends 4Eva!

So, I think we got another player into RPGs, the youngest in Bulgaria.
She's 6 years old, and she's my daughter.
Unlike many people, her first game isn't D&D, because her mother Refereed (if you think I dislike D&D, you should realize I'm quite moderate in comparison - though as a Referee, Elitza's mother doesn't care all that much about the system).
Actually, the system is a mix based on Zenobia by Paul Elliott. Meaning, Zenobia provides all the rules except character generation.
The character generation is based on a mix of Traveller's skills and attribute system, but generated using the Playbooks and Threat from Beyond the Wall". There's a Blighted place outside of the Village and Castle/Manor.
(She's using Nobleman's Wild Daughter, I'm one of her best friends - the Village Id...I mean, Hero she grew up with. Her aunt is also playing, she's the local witch's apprentice who talks to animals or some other boring magic shit. But at least the witch's apprentice has persuaded a wandering swordsman to show them some tricks with a sword...she's not a complete loss! Plus, she's a friend.
The daughter's character, on the other hand, knows I doubt my worthiness as a hero!
BTW, These Details Were Provided For You By The Awesom Beyond the Wall Playbooks!)

Bottomline: my daughter is playing a Princess, and we're her friends accompanying her on a quest to find a lost treasure! We already passed near a Magic Lake. A Giant Talking Turtle gave us a quest to bring her a chestnut of the tallest tree from a meadow that we're going to encounter after we pass through the forest. In return, the Giant Talking Turtle got us through the lake on her back.
Once there, we made camp, they gathered berries and mushrooms, and we made soup. I mostly kept the fire going (and provided the kindling).
Then we got to sleep, and during my watch, I detected something that was, maybe, approaching us covertly in the bushes. Of course, I imitated going to take a piss, and stabbed it with my trusty spear!
Took the piss right out of a goblin. And got jumped by the other four.
That's when I raised the alarm, while keeping my distance. We killed them in a fight with some lucky dice. Don't think anyone was even hurt.
Any of us, I mean.

On the morning, we heard the calls of a dwarf who had fallen in a ravine. Now, when I say a dwarf, I do mean a dwarven-dwarf, small and short-legged...think "hobbit miner", or "Santa Klaus helper". So keep in mind it couldn't get out alive, but to us, it was a kid's game.
We saved it, of course. It turned out he was looking for a very special stone...not some mere diamond - they were digging those out of their mine - but a whetstone. Those picks ain't sharpenin' themselves, it seems.
It thought it was seeing a natural whetstone, actually, but then tumbled and fell in the ravine.
So, reacting quickly, I traded it my whetstone for a diamond! Hey, Stephan might be a simple village boy, but he knows a good trade when he sees one...
The dwarf also told us that the "meadow" where we could find the chestnut isn't a natural one, but a magical clearing, prairies-sized. The Little Fairies lived there, in the Giant Flowers.
And they've created the Three Giant Eagles to protect their flowers by killing any animals that went to the meadow.
Sick bastards, those fairies.

After giving us that info, the dwarf left. I searched for the whetstone he'd spotted, and after finding it, had earned a diamond for basically nothing. A good deal, I'm telling you!
We made plans, but the current one is to go to the Magical Meadow during the night, and to negotiate passage with the fairies.

Fun fact: the daughter totally refused to start playing until and unless we provided her with a miniature to represent her character!
So she got a paper miniature, because all of us were able to help preparing that (and we've got a printer at home).
Then she demanded we should also have miniatures for our characters.
We took some of her dolls. Which means our Village hero is some kind of bug-man, and the witch's apprentice is some Disney princess I can't identify...
Miniatures are alive with the new generation, it seems! And even Theater of the Mind people like me and her mother bow to the demands of the New Generation.

Thursday, 12 July 2018

What do you know...

I actually got a reply to my previous post regarding the political situation in the USA!
Actually, that's two replies. The one I'm going to post I've received via PM on a forum I frequent. Because the poster said he can't post a comment, for some reason...
(I just tried to reply on the other comment, which was hugely amusing. No luck. How do you lock yourself out of commenting on your own blog? Either way, it seems quite likely he was unable to post.
If anyone else encountered the same problem, I'm sorry! Will try to fix it, too, though I'm no expert.)

Still, here's Frank Mueller's reply. I'm quoting with minimal editing (mostly new paragrpahs, which I think were lost during the copy and paste).

"Perhaps not the 1860's, so much as the 1850's, and then the War in Missouri in the '60's

The main war during the ACW, was regional and despite the protestations of some, it was about slavery - and in support of Asen's original thesis, just [like] the current President, Democrats of Lincoln's day didn't even wait for him to attain office to decide that they just knew that he was going to ruin their world, before he'd even had a chance to act.

Today's American division is far less a matter of region, and more of a neighbor vs. neighbor and brother vs. brother divide, the way "Bloody Kansas" was divided in 1854 by the Douglas Kansas-Nebraska Act. I used to live twelve miles from the place where John Brown lead six of his neighbors down to a creek where he decapitated them with a broadsword. 35 miles north was the site where pro-slavery Missourians trapped a group of Free State men in a school house. They blasted them out with a cannon.
Once the War started, Kansans called Jayhawkers would form vast companies of raiders to pillage Missouri homes of Union and Confederate alike, while in Missouri itself, neighbors and relatives alike would murder one another by night and broad daylight alike over politics. Missouri Bushwackers would wear Union uniforms and ride around and shoot any civilian that tried to 'helpful to them Yanks', while the real Unionyroops would march about and punish those who weren't helpful by burning their homes.
No part of America was torn apart like Missouri was, and that's what we're walking into. I see old pictures of the Civil war in Lebanon in the 70's and wonder not if, but when that happens to our cities. Beirut was once a beautiful city. By the mid 80's it looked like some dystopian Sci-Fi end of the world set.
But the really desperate part is, I no longer see a way out. We have become two separate peoples, and contrary to what some would say, diversity is not strength, unity is. Not unity of color, but unity of culture and belief. If we could find a way to separate into our respective people's and just go our own way, civil war might be avoided, but I've yet to see that kind of maturity on either side.
So hunker down my fellow Americans, teach your children good principals and Survival, and pray like your lives depend on it, because they do.

Frank Mueller"

Well, I just got a lesson in American history.
But then this actually supports my original gut feeling. Though I can't say I'm glad to have confirmation.

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

The political climate in the USA and the 1930ies

I swear, the next time I see any Internet "expert" comparing the situation in the USA to the 1930ies, I'm just closing the tab!
My friends in the USA: you shouldn't be afraid of comparisons with the 30ies. It's simply not the right comparison.
But you should be worried. And, I don't know, take some kind of measures.
Because the right comparison with a time in American history is with the 1860ies.
Yes, the way I see it, your nation is that divided. I hope you'd prove me wrong, or at least that you'd prove that you've learned better conflict management.

That's all for today.

Sunday, 1 July 2018

Do you have "secret shortcuts" for grokking the way to roleplay particular concepts?

Sometimes we, especially as Referees, roleplay people we've got a hard time understanding with our usual logic (whether it's elves in Glorantha, or Fair Folk in Exalted, or inquisitors who are genuinely concerned about their victims...)
So, how do you go about it?

My example is the Fair Folk in Exalted. My secret is that I model them after "dirtie hippie storygamers playing a traditional game and trying to get their schtick to apply".
Yes, the Fair Folk are the guys and gals who pick a genre and try to behave like the heroes and heroines. And expect the game to accommodate them by inserting the tropes.
And are then disappointed when my NPCs seldom do.

What are your secrets?

Monday, 25 June 2018

It was a good day, Gaming-wise!

It was a good day...
-Finished my gladiatorial mini/skirmish game. That one might see the light of day...

-Started what should be the final form of my setting (which I actually plan to publish...possibly in Bulgarian and in English).

-Continuing work for a beta-test I'd promised to conduct.

-Found some materials which would make running my Legends of Steel campaign (even) easier.''

And of course, dealt with my regular job. But yeah. Overall, great day for gaming!

So, what's the moral of this story?
Well, I guess everyone can draw his or her own conclusions. But if you want the moral I took from all of it, here it is:

"Thou shall begin your day with NSFW activities as often as possible!"


I'm now thinking more tales should come with a practical moral like this. (And of course, the original tales like Red Riding Hood actually did).