Friday, October 31, 2014

Discussion: Favorite Ghost or Ghoul

It's Halloween. What's your favorite ghost or ghoul? What spirit or other form of the undead just gets to you?

For me it's the Bansidhe (Banshee?) I'm not sure why, but ever since I've been little I've been terrified of the things. It's probably from watching Darby O'Gail and the Little People when I was too young for it or something, but it's a fear I never quite got over. Anytime a Banshee comes up in a game or fantasy story it tends to give me chills with memories of a child's terror.

How about you? What sticks out for you? Why?

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Tips For Running A Horror One Shot

This year Halloween falls on a Friday. For gamers like us that gives a great opportunity to run one shots that match the Holiday's theme and flavor, and while that can just mean the supernatural a lot of folks think it equates with Horror and that is not a bad thing.

That said, today being the Wednesday before Halloween I figured it'd be a good idea to go over some tips and tricks that can help.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Shows About Crime

Shows about crime tend to get fairly popular on television. People love to root for criminals and it's fun to watch heists. Several comedians have jokes about how people will trade anything to be part of a heist. With all the popularity it isn't surprising to think that people would enjoy games about crime, or at least the kind of crime you see on TV. However, there are some things to consider when you're left wondering why crime in your game leaves half the city ablaze, but on TV has no one being the wiser.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Links to Canon. Links to the Past

When a game has run for a long time it develops its own sort of canon. By that I mean the "official timeline" that fans would use when debating points about what is going on. In the case of a long running game though, the Canon would be what actually happened in your game as opposed to the fanciful retelling that people use when telling stories. Not that players naturally want to lie or exaggerate when telling stories, but as human beings that tendency lives within us and so deeds tend to grow in scope and scale until, at some point, the Death Lord that the party barely took down comes across like some epic 1v1 with the party Paladin with holy smitings raining down from the heavens.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Attacking Past Victories

This Friday sees my L5R game once again being played and the conclusion to the first major political event in the game - the party to announce the PCs to the Courts in the Imperial city the game is set in. The first part of the party was mostly setting the stage with the PCs getting ready, showing to where the party would be held, and the order in which the various NPCs arrived. I'm playing it up with the same drama as I would a major battle scene, because that is - in essence - exactly what this is.

Monday, October 20, 2014

A Death That Is Chosen

Over the past weekend I went to see the movie Fury with some friends. It's a good movie, and I don't want to ruin anything but the summary for the movie on Rotten Tomatoes says that it's a group of soldiers, in a tank, behind enemy lines, and they're out numbered and out gunned. I feel that means it is safe to say things are dire. The kind of dire where, were it to be a Table Top Role Playing Game I would expect PC deaths - if not a TPK - to be the result at the end of the day. And that is something worth talking about.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Discussion: Favorite Mechanic From The Last Game You Played?

What is your favorite mechanic from the last game you played? Preferably a table top RPG, but if you played some other game with a mechanic you want to gush about, than go for it.

For me, the last game I played was FATE: Core. The mechanic I love the most about it is the Tagging system for Aspects.

For those that don't know, an Aspect is a word or short phrase that describes a character. Something like "The #1 Sword in all Bravosi" for a certain Water Dancer from Game of Thrones, or say "Leader of the Autobots" if we were making a sheet for Optimus Prime. Now, a player can invoke their aspect to give a bonus to themselves on a roll relevant to the aspect. However, the GM - or other players - can tag the aspect to force the character into a bad situation or certain course of action based on the aspect.

For example, say there is someone loudly proclaiming to be the greatest swordsman in all the world. The person is a drunk and a fool, but your character needs a distraction to slip past some guards unnoticed. You give a Fate Point to the player and say you are tagging his aspect "#1 Sword in All Bravosi" in regards to the drunk. The player then has their character go up and dispute the drunk's claim, a duel ensues, and you have your window.

I love this mechanic for a number of reasons. One, is that it pays the player every time a negative part of who their character is comes up, which encourages players to play into their flaws/negatives to create interesting situations. Two, is that it lets the GM and other players bring another character into a scene or the spotlight for a moment or two.

With this mechanic as a GM I've paid PCs to all be present for a big thing. As a player I've paid a PC to have them come along with the group. I've even used it to pay a PC to take charge and grab what became a crowning moment of awesome.

It's a wonderful mechanic, and I wish more games had something like it. So, what is yours?