amnesiack: (goplaynw)
Continued from here.

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!
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.

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: (uber die)
I'd gotten really good about exercising by walking/jogging around Greenlake while the weather was still nice, but that went into sharp decline as the days turned dark and the weather turned foul. While I'm still able to get out there on occasion (Sunday was a beautiful example), it became obvious quickly that if I was going to maintain any sort of regular workout regimen, I was going to have to join a gym. So yesterday I did just that.

It's overpriced for what I'm getting, especially compared to the big chain gyms, but it's two blocks from the apartment and has everything I actually need. The barriers that will keep me from exercising are extremely low, so having a gym that is 98% as easy to use as the trail around the lake is paramount and worth the extra expense, for now at least.

On an unrelated note, some friends of mine from the Seattle punk community wanted to get into roleplaying and knew that I was really immersed in that world, so they asked me to run a game for them. I pitched a handful of things, and it looks like we're going to be playing Burning Wheel starting in a couple of weeks. I'm going to run The Sword as a way of introducing them to the system, and then we'll discuss the overall campaign and get things rolling. I'm pretty excited.
amnesiack: (uber die)
The more I play D&D, the more I dislike the racial ability bonuses. More often than not, the race/class parings I'm really interested in are completely sub-optimal because the ability bonuses don't line up with the necessary abilities for the class. While it would be completely possible to just build the character that way anyway, I find it really difficult to divorce my thinking away from the tactical nature of the game, and that +2 to two abilities can end up making a pretty big difference in a character's effectiveness.

One Bad Egg (RIP) addressed this problem via their Hard Boiled Cultures supplement, suggesting subcultures within each race that had their own unique ways and corresponding bonuses. That's fine, if the players/DM accept it and someone wants to put in the work to create it. But what I really want is to just do away with race-based ability bonuses all together and just let players assign a +2 to two abilities at character creation, just like they do at levels 11 and 21. The races would still be diverse mechanically via their racial attributes and feats, but it would be way easier to play a wide variety of race/class combinations without sacrificing effectiveness.
amnesiack: (uber die)
I've been reading Night Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko and thinking about the games that could be used to play in a setting like this. Mortal Coil comes immediately to mind, but, for now at least, I want something that's both mechanically less complex and something that mechanizes the struggle between free will and the machinations of the waring Others that is present in the book. Reading through the pdf of Don't Lose Your Mind has re-excited me about Don't Rest Your Head, so I thought I'd take a stab at hacking it to play in the Night Watch world. Here's what I've got so far. )
amnesiack: (suicidemouse)
I picked up the Don't Lose Your Mind pre-order this morning, and I've been reading through the pdf on breaks and while waiting for reports to finish rendering.

Overall, it's a cool addition to Don't Rest Your Head. The "advice" sections on creating and using Madness Talents aren't particularly revolutionary, but they might be useful for people who are having trouble coming up with their own ideas (which, I suppose, is the book's overall point anyway). Where the book really shines, though, is with the twenty-six example talents (one for each letter of the alphabet). I particularly like how the relationships between the talents and the Fight and Flight options are detailed, and I love the fact that the sorts of Nightmares you become if you succumb to a particular Madness are described. I think these steps are worth including for all Madness Talents for any DRYH game that's going to run longer than a single session.

In a nice bit of textual unity, it feels like most of the talents choose one of the suggested talent creation methods from the advice section and run with it. Some are like slightly askew superpowers, while others are more of afflictions than tools. Taken as a whole, you end up with a nice mix of the weird, the horrific, and the just plain fun.

Some of my favorites are "T is for Teddy", "X is for Xenophile", "H is for Hands", and (of course, being me) "N is for Ninja".
amnesiack: (uber die)

The Cosmic Gamblers

A Game of Competitive Narration, Played In Fleeting Encounters

by Andrew Henderson & Lukas Myhan


(With apologies to Michael Moorcock and his brilliant book Blood: A Southern Fantasy, which I rip off shamelessly)

The world is populated by Gamblers. The games they play are the games of reality, creating fictional worlds and pitting their elements against one another for dominance. Such games are often fleeting, played in idle moments and brief passings between other activities until one or the other emerges victorious.Read more... )
amnesiack: (uber die)
Ben Lehman, author of the blisteringly awesome story game Polaris, is now taking preorders for his new game Bliss Stage. In Bliss Stage, you play a teenager who combats alien invaders by piloting a mecha constructed from the dream-fragments of your friends, loved ones, and enemies. How much more awesome can you get? He also set up a promotional quiz...

"I'm a Devoted Lover!"

"Every time I fight... everything I do... I'm thinking of you. I do everything for you. No one else understands me. If anything happened to you, I just couldn't go on."

Personality:As a Devoted Lover, you're absolutely committed to a single deep relationship. In battle, this commitment makes your ANIMa a deadly weapon. At other times, however you're isolated and moody. Can your love survive the realities of combat?

Advice: Get out more. Your commitment to your lover is admirable, but you need to make more friends. Even if you can't see it, your dependence has put enormous strain on your relationship. Paradoxically, if you spent a little time apart, your love would get deeper. This is easier than you think. Others may find you a little stand-offish, but they'll like you as soon as they get to know you.

Which Bliss Stage Pilot are you?
Bliss Stage
amnesiack: (suicidemouse)
Lots of coolness going on lately... but I'm too scatterbrained at the moment to talk about it. Instead, I'll bore you with more gaming talk.

Assuming that everyone responds to let me know that they're up for it, I will probably be running John Wick's Cat for a group of four people on Thursday. The game is an awesome little slice of rules-lightness, and it seems like a lot of fun, but I've never really cared for the character sheet in the book.

So, I made my own. Take a look, and tell me what you think! It sort of follows along with John's design, but there's a bit more room for the things you need to write down, and it doesn't use the curly-cue font that the default Cat sheet did.

The picture is Anarchy Cat from *Malta's deviant art gallery; it's used without permission, but hopefully she won't track me down and kill me for it. I only used it because it's awesome, not because I intend for it to be a challenge to her rights/ownership in any way. ^_^
amnesiack: (uber die)
I've had this bouncing around in my head for the last couple of days, and it seems that the only way to get it out will be to write a little bit of it down, and here's as good a place as any.

The second episode of Future Imperfect went well, I think. Lots of intrigue, double-dealing, and behind-the-back shenanigans, but the team still managed to pull off their mission, thus keeping their handlers happy. I've been thinking a lot about the structure of the game, though, particularly in regards to rules set, which I'm still not liking a lot. Combine this with some discussions (both online and offline) that I've been involved in lately about Dogs in the Vineyard, and this is a sample of what percolates up: Cogs in the Machineyard )

Note: Posted via email.


Apr. 7th, 2007 04:31 pm
amnesiack: (Default)
My print copy of Beast Hunters arrived today. It's truly a beautiful book. Thanks, Christian and Lisa!
amnesiack: (uber die)
I finished reading Don't Rest Your Head. Wow. I really wish someone would run a game of this where I can play. I've never been particularly good at GMing games with crazy, off-the-wall settings, but I love playing in them. Next up, The Zantabulous Zorcerer of Zo. Once that's done, I think I'm going to have to take a short break from going through my huge stack of unread games in order to start going through my huge stack of unread graphic novels.

Life is good.

Note: Posted via email.
amnesiack: (mohawk1)
My first review on went up this morning. It's a slightly-modified
duplicate of the Beast Hunters review that I put up here, but
considering the traffic that gets, it's pretty cool to see it in a
more public forum like that. If feedback is positive (which, so far, it has
been) I may try to submit a few more there every now and then.

Here's the link:
amnesiack: (uber die)
I finished reading Primetime Adventures last night. It is a seriously cool game; I can definitely see why it gets the love that it does all over the internet. I have some small issues with the layout (examples are set in text boxes that come at the end of the page, which is not always at the end of the rules section/paragraph that it's illustrating, so you have to either stop mid-section to read it, or turn the page, finish the section, and then backtrack to read the example), but it's otherwise a great example of a simple but powerful game wrapped up in tight package. I'm not sure I'll do a full-sized review on it (I feel like I would need some actual play before I could say a lot about it), but I'm glad I read it.

Don't Rest Your Head is next; I've been looking forward to this one for a while.

I've also got a friend reading my print-out of Beast Hunters at the moment, so hopefully we'll swing into some play on that one very soon.
amnesiack: (roseskull)
I acquired a not-new but new-to-me set of shelves from [ profile] preciousjade and [ profile] grandmoffdavid last night. It's one of two shelves that I laid claim to when they offered, but I'm unsure as to how I'll be able to transport the second one, as it's very tall. The one that made it home is short and the shelves are very shallow, which makes it problematic for storing "traditional" rpg books or trade paperbacks, but it's perfect for most small press rpgs and digest-sized graphic novels. I've been out of book shelf space for a while now, so there have been numerous stacks of books all over my bedroom (generally on the floor), which isn't very big to begin with, but now I can glance over and see Spirit of the Century, Scott Pilgrim, Dogs in the Vineyard, Love the Way You Love, Dictionary of Mu, and Demo (among a host of other things) all snuggling up with one another on shelves where they can't have a cat wharf a hairball on them or be accidently knocked over and subsequently stepped on by me. Rock.

Note: Posted via email.
amnesiack: (tentacles)
You are an elite warrior who stalks the monstrosities that threaten your tribe and savage your land. With every tattoo inked in the blood of the beasts, you claim more power. With every kill, you prepare to face stronger foes. Only the most skilled and most cunning Beast Hunters survive. Will you?

Thus reads the back cover of Beast Hunters, a new two-player rpg from Berengad Games. In it, one player takes on the role of the titular Hunter, while the other becomes the Challenger, presenting the various obstacles and conflicts that the Hunter must face.Read moreā€¦ )
amnesiack: (geek pride)
For a few years now, I've been buying small press games, reading them,
loving them, talking to an annoying degree about them, but rarely ever
getting to play them. This made me sad. Then, I started listening
to gaming podcasts, and I not only heard about people who were playing the
games I wanted to play, but they were playing them with the very people who
wrote them. This made me extra sad and a tad jealous.

But now, my prayers have been answered, and in my very own city, no less.

Go Play Northwest!

Note: Posted via email.
amnesiack: (tentacles)
I finished reading Beast Hunters today. Reading pdfs always takes me longer than reading a print version of something, but the fact that I actually made it through the whole thing, without waiting for the print copy to arrive, is a testament to its quality.

Freaking. Awesome. Game.

A much more detailed review to come.
amnesiack: (uber die)
Covert Generation takes the theme of 10-17 year-olds waging a high-tech guerrilla war against the powers that be and wraps it up with workable narrative-focused system. While it may not be a game for everyone, it provides some unique mechanical twists for those who are already interested in its genre material. Read more... )

Note: Posted via email.
amnesiack: (mohawk1)
My copy of Primetime Adventures arrived yesterday. I've been hearing good things about this game for a while now, but it's never been available at any of the shops I buy my games at, and it's taken me up until now to actually get it into my head to sit down and order it online. I finished Covert Generation today at lunch, so I'm trying to decide whether PTA or Don't Rest Your Head will be next, after I finish Beast Hunters.

I also received my dvd of Afro-Punk, a documentary about race identity within the punk scene. It was directed/shot/edit by James Spooner, and I was never able to make it to one of the screenings that he held around the country, so I'm very excited to finally be able to watch it on dvd. I think it will be an extremely interesting counter-point to American Hardcore, which I watched just a couple of weeks ago.

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