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Showing posts from October, 2014

Dungeon Accelerated: Rumors and Research

One of my goals for Dungeon Accelerated is to allow the GM to create and run a dungeon with as little prep as possible. Every good GM knows hat one of the easiest ways to shorten your prep is to let your players do the work for you.

The Atomic Robo RPG includes a great subsystem called Brainstorms, in which the players build the scientific mystery they are going to solve. The GM presents the scenario without a solution in mind. When the players reach a point where someone asks a question that points toward that solution (such as "How can this be happening?" or "What do we have to do to stop this?") the group enters into the brainstorm. Whoever takes part in the brainstorm rolls a skill, and the winner at each step gets to introduce a fact about the situation. The facts together add up to a hypothesis, which becomes the absolute truth of the mystery.

While the body of a Dungeon Accelerated game is going to involve exploration and action, I think a similar system to …

The Crow for Devil's Night

Every year on October 30, Devil's Night, I watch the 1994 Brandon Lee film The Crow. Since today is also GURPS Thursday, I thought I would stat the character, Eric Draven, in GURPS. This is Eric as he appears in the film.
Eric Draven 423 points ST 17 [10]; DX 16 [0]; IQ 11 [20]; HT 11 [10].
Damage 1d+2/3d-1; HP 17 [0]; Will 13 [10]; Per 11 [0]; FP 11 [0].
Basic Speed 7.00 [5]; Basic Move 8 [5]; Dodge 10; Parry 13.
Social BackgroundTL: 8 [0].
CF: Western [0].
Languages: English (Native) [0].
Advantages Appearance (Attractive) [4]; Musical Ability 1 [5]; The Crow [333].
Perks: Special Training (Parry Missile Weapons unarmed without DR 2+ on hands) [1].
Disadvantages Obsession (Vengeance; 6 or less) [-10]; Social Stigma (Dead) [-5]; Wealth (Dead Broke) [-25].
Skills Acrobatics (H) DX-2 [1]-14; Interrogation (A) IQ+1 [4]-12; Intimidation (A) Will+1 [4]-14; Karate (H) DX+4 [20]-20; Musical Composition (H) IQ+1 [4]-12*†; Musical Instrument (Guitar) (H) IQ+2 [8]-13†; Musical Instrument (Drum…

No Post Today. Enjoy The Missing Scarf.

Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase 3

Marvel Studios announced the huge slate of films for Phase 3 of its Cinematic Universe. The roster now includes:

Captain America: Civil War, releasing May 6, 2016Doctor Strange, November 4, 2016Guardians of the Galaxy 2, May 5, 2017Thor: Ragnarok, July 28, 2017Black Panther, November 3, 2017Avengers: Infinity War Part 1, May 4, 2018Captain Marvel, July 6, 2018Inhumans, November 2, 2018Avengers: Infinity War Part II, May 3, 2019 As a geek, this list is like Christmas: confirmation of the long-rumored Black Panther film; the revelation of Captain Marvel, and in the current Carol Danvers incarnation, as the fans demanded; and the surprising addition of Inhumans. The Internet gets to spend the next five years debating just what each of these films will contain. 
Personally, I'm not sure how they're going to do Civil War, especially as it's a Captain America film rather than an ensemble piece. I'm hope that the Ragnarok in Thor 3's title refers to the cyborg clone of Tho…

Our Clue is in Another Castle

Sometimes in an investigative scenario, the best clue you can acquire in a scene is the certainty that there is no information to be had. 
For players, the “no-info” clue can help close off avenues of speculation, narrowing the focus of the investigation onto more fruitful paths. In the middle of an investigation, you may just have too many leads. A properly constructed GUMSHOE adventure will give you clear connections leading to new scenes, but you can still bog down play choosing between them.
Paradoxically, non-clues reinforce character competence. What seems at first to be a failure to gain information is actually an example of the investigators discerning that there is no information to be had. The distinction is subtle but important, and GMs should play up that, yes, the characters are good enough to know the difference.
For GMs, the non-clue can also help pacing. When telling the players that there is no information to be had, you can insert a silent (or not-so-silent) “yet.” …

Save Game: A World of Adventure for Fate Core

The latest Patreon-sponsored World of Adventure for Fate Core is available now. Save Game mixes the nostalgic action of classic video games with infection horror. A virus known as the Glitch has infected the island of Tendoria, and its greatest heroes are now Zeroes, corrupted and creepy.

Designer Rob Wieland has done a fine job pastiching the 8-bit video game generation. His influences are pretty clear if you know where to look, but the Zeroes and their realms are more than just your favorite games with a new coat of paint. Doc Chompah is clearly Pac-Man (with a bit of Doctor Mario thrown in), but Good's Mile Hospital takes the labyrinth of that game and turns it into Silent Hill. Castle Tempylvania infuses the gothic atmosphere of Castlevania with the hall-of-mirrors tension of a spy thriller as its Zero, Agent Brad DeVries fights against both the Glitch and his own vampiric heritage.

+Evil Hat Productions is procuring some of the best art in gaming for these worlds, and Save Gam…

Martial Power

A few weeks ago, I wrote about games I'd like to play. One of those games would be a high-powered GURPS fantasy game. Alongside Divine Favor and Sorcery, I want a power for martial characters that includes cinematic skills, imbuements, and a few combat-related abilities. Here's a writeup for such a power.
MartialSources: Martial.
Focus: Combat-related abilities relevant to trained soldiers.

This power requires the Code of Honor (Soldier) [-10] disadvantage. If the character breaks this Code of Honor, he loses access to all Martial abilities immediately. To regain them, he must spend a week away from other missions to atone, train, and reconnect with his fellow soldiers.
Martial Talent 15 points/level In addition to rolls to use Martial abilities, this talent also added to the following cinematic and imbuement skills: Blind Fighting, Breaking Blow, Flying Leap, Immovable Stance, Kiai, Power Blow, Pressure Points, Pressure Secrets, Throwing Art, Zen Archery; Arching Shot, Bank Sh…

Dice and Disney: Adventureland

Adventureland does not present a coherent story like Main Street U.S.A. does, but the individual attractions have richer stories of their own that suggest gaming hooks. So, let's dig in.
Jungle Cruise (Pulp-mode Trail of Cthulhu one-shot) The Investigators are passengers on an expedition along the Amazon in search of a temple recently reported by another team. A tribe of locals believe that the temple is home to a sleeping god, and they violently resist any outsiders who might wake the deity. The closer the Investigators come to the temple, the more dangerous and eerily coordinated the jungle wildlife becomes as well.
Magic Carpets of Aladdin No one is sure why Prince Aladdin's friend the Genie created so many flying carpets, but now the streets are full of them. Young people race each other from one side of the city to the other, dodging market stalls and spitting camels. Your characters are members of one such carpet gang, perhaps thieves and street rats as the Prince himsel…

Bundle of Tentacles+2

Bundle of Holding is currently offering the Bundle of Tentacles +2, a collection of Cthulhu Mythos roleplaying games and adventures. This includes at least two Trail of Cthulhu adventure supplements, Out of Space and Out of Time. (I sat "at least" two with spooky foreknowledge.) In addition, the Bundle offers the centuries-spanning Red Eye of Azathoth, the Dreamlands epic Sense of the Sleight of Hand Man, and the Apocalypse World-based tremulus.

The minimum price for the bundles is $11.95, but if you beat the level-up price (currently $25.17) you get even more great PDFs. Ten percent of the proceeds go to two fine charities: Doctors Without Borders and Room to Read. The Bundle of Tentacles +2 is available until Devil's Night, Thursday, October 30.

Aspects in GUMSHOE

Both Fate Core and the GUMSHOE system have been released under very permissive licenses. In fact, when Pelgrane Press released the GUMSHOE System Reference Document, they used the same dual-license scheme of Creative Commons and Open Game License as Evil Hat. This says to me that the folks at Pelgrane knew a good thing when they say it.

It also suggests a question: how can I mix these two great systems? And the first obvious answer is to introduce aspects into GUMSHOE. But where? And how should they work?

In Fate, aspects are wired into the fate point economy. GUMSHOE's economy is contained in its abilities and their point pools. Logically, aspects should hook into pools and spends. Invoking an aspect should cost one of more ability points, and compelling one should earn points (that is, refresh a spent pool).

Note: If you are unfamiliar with how aspects work in Fate, shame on you. You can read about them here. The advice on creating interesting aspects holds true in GUMSHOE as wel…

Convergence Stunts

In Rituals and Convergences, I presented the idea of using ritual magic (in the form of a challenge) to imbue a scene with aspects and stunts as a magical convergence. As a mechanical framework and a narrative device, a convergence is perfect for hanging other rules off, including character stunts.

The Fate System Toolkit introduces the concept of triggered stunts. These stunts trigger off a particular circumstance, require a skill roll, and have an effect based on whether the skill roll succeeds or succeeds with style.

Triggered stunts relating to convergences allow individual characters to leverage a convergence for additional effect. This can represent a ritualist's personal expertise, even if they enacted the convergence with others.

My Fellows' Strength: When you participate in a ritual of convergence with allies, roll Lore against Fair (+2) opposition. If you succeed, you gain a free invoke of one ally's aspect. If you succeed with style, you get a free invoke on one …

Dreams in Action

The following ultra-tech drug lets you play the dream operatives of Inception in your GURPS Action campaign. To create such characters, you can use the Dream Operative lens with any of the templates in GURPS Action 1: Heroes.

Oneirozine: Developed for military training, this drug opens the user’s mind to the dreams of other users around them. With proper sedation and monitoring, a group using oneirozine can create entire realities within one member’s subconscious. Together, they can explore these worlds, and anyone with the Dreaming skill can change elements of the dream as they go. One dose of oneirozine lasts 24-hours, so most users will require additional drugs to remain asleep for the full period. Injection. $4,750 per dose. LC2. Dream Operator 20 points You have been trained to create and explore dreams using drugs like oneirozine. The best dream operators have much in common with intelligence operatives, so you possess many skills of real-world spies.
Skills: Dreaming (H) Will-1 […

Karthun Kickstarter in its Final Hours

The Karthun: Lands of Conflict Kickstarter wraps up tonight at 10:00 PM EDT. Over the last month, the project has collected pledges of over $42,000 from more than 1,000 backers. The system-neutral setting book has been expanded from 160 to 320 pages and will now include a 24"x36" poster map of the world of Karthun. In addition, a GM's Guide will be published in PDF giving rules and advice for a half-dozen systems, including Fate, Dungeon World, and 5th Edition D&D.

I'm really looking forward to seeing this project develop. What I've seen of the setting in d20 Monkey is a stylish and exciting take on fantasy, and I can't wait to have the book in my hands.

Congratulations to +Brian Patterson and +Tracy Barnett on their first venture together as Exploding Rogue Studios!

Dice and Disney: Gaming Main Street U.S.A.

The first thing guests encounter when they enter the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World is Main Street U.S.A. This land is an idealized representation of an American town at the turn of the 20th century. It features shops and walk-around characters steeped in this sense of small-town Americana.

Main Street U.S.A. doesn't have many of the attractions visitors think of when they envision the Magic Kingdom. In fact, it officially has two, but a third attraction that spans all other lands begins here. The Walt Disney World Railroad and the Main Street Vehicles are conveyances, but the Sorcerer's of the Magic Kingdom game mixes interactive video with trading card game elements.

So how can we use the attractions of Main Street U.S.A. to inform tabletop roleplaying? How about a worlds-spanning campaign frame that features an entire multiverse threatened by a conspiracy of villains led by the god of the dead himself?
Walking Right Down the Center There is a town somewhere in middle Am…