Jul. 11th, 2011

amnesiack: (goplaynw)
This past weekend was Go Play NW, one of my favorite events of the year. I got to see a lot of awesome friends, met tons of cool new people, and played a flurry of great games.

Friday
1) Panty Explosion Perfect: Joel was the Superintendent for David, Lesley, Chris and me. When setting our expectations for the game we said "slice of life" and then proceeded to play a rockstar from the future, twin spirit cat-girls (one good, one evil), and a ninja. Yui (my time-traveling musician) was on a mission from the future to accelerate mankind's movement towards utopianism by forming a rock band to play the school's cultural festival. She wrote songs like "The Formula for Curing Cancer: No, It Really Works!" and "Weather Machine To Help Clean Up The Environment". She saw an opportunity in the twin cat-girls who played drums and guitar, but was stymied by the evil sister's plot to kill and replace her good, popular twin. In the end, though, we all united to fight off the demons that were attracted by our psychic feud, and we rocked the school towards a brighter tomorrow!

2) The Tulip Academy's Society For Dangerous Gentlemen: We had about an hour-and-a-half left in the slot after finishing PEP, so I pulled this out, and Ogre, Lesley, and David decided to play with me. Our Society was dedicated to being the top ranking fighters in a Street Fighter-esque underground international mixed martial arts tournament society. David and Lesley played the scions of rival underworld families, one bent on turning his family's business legitimate, the other planning to dismantle the criminal empire entirely. Ogre and I came from more sedate backgrounds, and were focused on using our martial prowess to find true love. The King (the only female Gentleman, who earned her place by defeating every other Gentleman in combat using their choice of combat style) gave us our mission: we had to defeat members of the Fraternity of Deadly Brothers, a rival fighting group from The Thorn Academy, known for their underhanded, cheating ways. We got through the introduction scene and two character scenes before we had to call it a night, but I kept all the materials, and since we're all local, hopefully we'll be able to finish it at some point.

Both games were super fun. Next post: Saturday!
amnesiack: (goplaynw)
Continued from here.

Saturday
1) Dungeon World: Friday evening I cajoled Adam into running DW during this slot, and I'm very glad that I did. Our Fighter/Thief/Cleric/Wizard party was on a mission from the local baron to track down a wayward tax collector. Little did we know that we would encounter insidious cultists of the ancient snake god! The game started a little slow as we got our feet under us (and gradually woke up fully, I think), but by midway through the personalities of the characters had fleshed themselves out nicely. Our human cleric was faithful to the god of Labor, and wasn't too picky about who everyone else worship, he just wanted to make darn sure they worshiped somebody. The halfling thief was our gregarious, friendly peacemaker, constantly trying to wheedle his way into a profit. The elven wizard was constantly analyzing, looking for weak and strong points, and making sure every base was covered before a move was made. My elven fighter was a veteran of the Great Orc Wars, seeing shadowy threats around every corner and itching to stick her spear into them sooner rather than later.

Dungeon World does a great job of building on the framework of Apocalypse World while branching out as its own thing. It retains a great classic D&D feel, while ditching a lot of the constraints of D&D (in particular the lack of player-generated content and the rigid wargame-style combat). There were definitely bits that took getting used to; in particular, Spout Lore was tricky for us at times, in that we were trying to use it to wheedle information out of the GM, when it was really intended for us to provide information to the GM. I wish we'd had another 30-60 minutes to play (or pushed to get to the point we ended at sooner so that we good move past it), but it was still satisfying, and I enjoyed it a lot.

2) Japanese TRPG Sampler: Andy Kitkowski brought a smorgasbord of "in the process of being translated" tabletop rpgs from Japan and gave us some little tastes of each. It wasn't really a gaming session, more of a seminar with examples and brief audience exercises, but I very much enjoyed the previews of all these games. In particular, I'm very excited to see Ryuutama (a feel-good "natural fantasy" game that comes across as a sort of Spice & Wolf style story engine in a Miyazaki setting) and Shinobigami (rival ninja clans fight monsters and have crazy emotional fallouts with one another in a modern setting).

3) Ghost/Echo: Adam was going to run Technoir in this slot, but he got delayed elsewhere, so Matthew Klein, Dale, and I hung out and eventually decide to give G/E a try. It went amazingly well. We played it in a GMless style, tossing the ball around for scene setting and antagonism, referring to the roll tables and name/place lists frequently. For whatever reason, the three of us were just very synced up creatively, and we created a fantastic game that was a potent combination of Inception, The Matrix, Neuromancer, and City of Lost Children which had us hopping through levels of reality fighting digital ghosts and enemy agents.

4) Technoir: Adam rescheduled our missed game here. I'd been wanting to try Technoir for a while, having read a couple versions of the beta and contributed to its Kickstarter because I love the cyberpunk genre. It was fun, but we had some mixed results. As expected, the Transmission and plot map pieces (which borrow heavily from Fiasco setup and Sorcerer-style relationship mapping) were golden, creating a quick and intricate web of interactions. However, we found (as others have) that the resolution system lacked the teeth we wanted it to have. I find the adjective-adding system neat, but conflicts feel like they're just about rolling dice until the GM decides that it's been going on long enough that the NPCs should give. It's really difficult (really, almost impossible) to decisively win anything.

As far as our actual play went, our characters were a freelance guerrilla journalist hacker, a ladder-climing pharmaco rep razorgirl, and a Luddite corrupt cop. The core of our conspiracy was a hacker dissident named Alice3, who had been jailed for unknown reasons shortly after a suspicious murder and clean-up took place. Technoir is really meant to be an ongoing game, and we only played long enough to follow a bunch of threads together to unveil the shape of the events that were occuring; we didn't actually get to do anything about it. Still, I'm happy to have gotten to play it. Thanks, Adam!

July 2011

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