Saturday, August 26, 2017

Conventioning - Gen Con 2017


Okay, so Gen Con happened this past week and everyone is running their recaps so I figured I should too! Because a lot of stuff happened, and this one felt like a weird Gen Con. Not a bad weird, more of kind of a strange weird. The lead up felt like it just kind of came up as a surprise, and the whole way there it didn't seem like it was actually happening.

Then we arrived, and it did. So let me give you a recap of what happened while I was there.

Booth Setup

We get there, and finally get the booth setup. It's always a great time, and the people who are doing all the hard work had done most of the annoying work first (the setup of all the flooring and the carpets on it) and then we got to work on setting up the booth.

The biggest issue came up when the big smirky ball in the sky wasn't inflating because the battery powered inflater we had ... died. Well the battery did. Thankfully the staff at the convention center is amazing and they found a way to pump it up for us and then floated it up right before the carpets went down.

IGDN Social

After that came the IGDN social. Now, at this point I have driven about 9-10 hours myself, and got about 3 hours of sleep in the afternoon before that so I'm a little ... exhausted. Now Exhausted Jonathan mixed with coffee and one drink turns into manic Jonathan pretty quickly so I was a little loud, and a little overly energetic.

That said! It was a great time. A bunch of Canadians took over the table by the door, and we indoctrinated a few of our American friends. They did accept the maple candy of citizenship so it was all okay. Particularly fun to hang out with Rob, Rachelle, Kate, and Anna who I have met peripherally a few times but was able to actually have conversations with.

If you've never been and are an indie designer, I highly recommend it. Loughmillers is a nice space (if small) and there are a lot of the smaller designers that you can hang out and talk with. The key is to get there early and grab a table because space is at a bit of a premium.

They announced the results of the Indie Ground Breaker awards, of which I probably should have kept track of but didn't because see manic Jonathan. I won one of the prizes and got a physical copy of Chariot which is great since I have the PDF. It's like I did the reverse bricks and mortar!

Stuff that happened

GenCon is always a bit of a blur. I got to spend most of it with my booth family, hanging out at the Smirk and Dagger booth. That said, I ran two RPGs.

We Used To Be Friends - Thursday

Ended up with a game of We Used To Be Friends, and it was a 4 hour slot because I find that the city creation and character creation takes a while because people get invested in it. It was nice to have a group of people who were invested in it but blazed through it. Fourty Five minutes and we were ready to go with our town with four clubs. It was a fun time where I got to play this game with Matt and his daughter Teagan. Matt was playing the Libertine and Teagan was playing a super Harriot the Spy like Plotter.

The Episode Mystery was based around why this equipment for this new nightclub got trashed. Which was a perfect episode mystery. For a while it looked like one of the character Duncan might have done it, but it turns out it was the family's security head honcho. It was heavily implied that Duncan's mom was getting kind of handsy with Security Dude at a party.

Shining Moments: 
-Omarr (Hard Boiled) coming out to Duncan (Socialite) and Opening Up, asking them out basically. Rolling a 6 and then the moment happens when that's when everything gets quiet and everyone hears so he basically came out to everyone and their parents.

When asked what Duncan was going to do the response was, "Pause ... and then just walk away without saying anything."

Then the Delinquent "started a fight" with Omarr to try to help them hide their embarrassment.

-Just outside Duncan went outside and had a moment with Matt's Libertine (whose character name I forget) and ended up also rolling a 6 which ended up being this moment where the Libertine thought he was having a moment but Duncan though he was hitting on him too.

"Is that what I am to all of you?" Duncan screamed.

Critical Go Westerly! - Faux Dungeon - Friday

This game was fun! I had a couple of people who had never really played RPGs before, and a bunch of people who I knew (Kate has owned this game for like 5 years and has yet to play it) as well as Michelle and her son Will. I had a table of 7 people but Critical is kind of the game where if you have more people it doesn't bog down too much.

We had everyone but Daphadiana and Tara, but that makes for a good group, and while there was a couple of times someone said something wincy (and I had to keep reminding someone that Angelique is a woman) it was fun. Laughter was had by much people!

Shining Moments:
-Urist has had enough of being trapped inside the demon's ball of invulnerability and wants out. The player goes, "Wait, there's like real stone beneath me. I want to find it, I want to find the real floor."

To which I replied, "So you're saying you want to disbelieve the dungeon?"

"Just checking."

-There was a RDI moment that made me smile.

"The wench over here --"

"HEY! I have a name. It's Mary."

I laughed because I think Mary would have approved of it had she been there.

-The players have messed with the mechanism and find themselves teleported to the actual realm of Ailee the Necromancer, and they see the house.

Barnabus, "Oh! I read about this in Magician's home weekly. It's 4 years out of date but it was very impressive architecture. I mean, there seems to be less bodies laying about the place but I guess that's to be expected."

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Character Generation Library - Unhallowed Metropolis

I got this game ages ago, and I haven't actually managed to play it yet. It's not so surprising because I don't frequently get a chance to play much lately, and the game itself is one that requires a pretty good understanding of how the parts work in order to really get it but that's fine because the setting is what makes this game amazing.

Instead of it being some kind of history game, it's a far future game based off of something that happened in the past. So in 1905 there's basically a zombie outbreak pretty much right in the middle of the industrial revolution. Because of all the death and destruction we don't really get much past that stage, so it's set in 2105 but very much has that Victorian feel. I read that again and again because of how much I love that idea.

Now, to the details:

Game: Unhallowed Metropolis - Revised
Pages: 345
Genre: Science Fiction, Horror
My Familiarity: Read it once or twice
Designers: Jason Soles and Nicole Vega
Publisher: New Dark Games (My 2011 book says Atomic Overmind)
Affiliate Link to core book

Step 1 - Character Concept

This is where you kind of do that over arching view of what your character should be. It's where you choose your calling, which is like your class. I just saw Castlevania, let's Alucard this up by saying that my character is going to be a Dhampir Vampire Hunter. A human corrupted by vampirism without going full vampire.

I think this character is out for revenge, the thrill of the hunt is just a side effect.

I also get all these cool things for the being a Dhampir:

Alien Grace, Blood Drinker, Half Lifer, Hatred of Vampires, Heightened Vision, Immune to Vampiric Mind Control, Sense Undead, Unnatural Passions, Vampiric Transformation, Dustman

They have cool effects, and are mostly what it says there, but yay free stuff.

Step 2 - Select Starting Attributes

There are 6 attributes, Vitality (Health), Coordination (like Dexterity), Wit (Perception and Reaction time), Intellect (how smart you are), Charm (Poise and force of personality), Will (Strength of Mind)

You start with 1 in each stat and get 25 points to spend with each stat point costing it's value, that means going from 1 to a 2 costs 2 but going from a 1 to a 3 costs 5 (2 for level 2 and 3 for level 3).

I think this is going to be much more on the killing things than the being suave and debonair. So I'm going to be putting up more things like Coordination, Vitality and Wit to be aware of what's going on.

3 Vitality (5 points)
4 Coordination (9 points)
3 Wit (5 points)
2 Intellect (2 points)
2 Charm (2 points)
2 Will (2 points)

Prowess is Derived from Coordiation + Wit which gives me a 7.

Step 3 - Select Starting Skills

The Calling gives you a list of starting skills, and you get 25 points for those or other skills. As a Dhampire Vampire Hunter I get Melee Weapon at 2 and Unarmed Combat at 2 and 5 other skills at 2. They also have a limit based on the skill which is tied to an attribute, or not. It's not consistent at all.

Also, if you have ranks in combat skills you get stunts per rank, so that's something.

4 - Acrobatics (Coordination) [Costs 7 points]
2 - Archery
*Night Fighter
*Trick Shot
2 - Concentration [Costs 3 points]
3 - Melee Weapon [Costs 3 points]
*Fast Draw
*Lucky Shot
*Two Weapon Fighting
2 - Paraspychology (Intellect) [This is the knowledge of the paranormal]
3 - Shadow [Costs 3 points]
3 - Survival [Costs 3 points]
2 - Thanatology (Intellect) [Costs 3 points - This is the knowledge of dead and dying things]
3 - Unarmed Combat [Costs 3 points]
*High Kick
*Ground Fighting

That looks like a pretty well rounded solo ass kicker.

Step 4 - Corruption

Everyone starts with at least one point of corruption. You can't get rid of this regardless of what you do. The three paths of corruption are Physical, Desire, and Drive. Since I'm a Dhampire I can't have any physical corruption because I'm already there! Yay vampirism! 

This one is easy. It's a Drive one and it's Consumed. My life is just a vehicle for my work.

Step 5 - Spending Custom Points

You get 5 extra points to spend on either more attributes, skills, or cool qualities. I think I'm going to fixate on qualities because those are "new."

Okay, Reputation - Street is certainly in. It's 3 points and it's nice to be known as someone you don't cross. Same with Reputation - Underground which is 2 points and takes up all 5 right now.

Step 6 - Qualities and Impediments

I'll need to take some bad things to get more good things now.

Infectious Bite because I think it's kind of fun, which gets me 3 points
Melancholy which gets me 4 points, and a character that has a hard time with difficulty.
Night Terrors because he can't sleep well which gets me 2 points which puts me at 9 total for buying more qualities.

More qualities include

Quiet, 3 points because being so silent even vampires can't hear me is good
Safe House, 4 points
Time sense because it's only 2 points and that's all I have left.

Step 7 - Buy Shit

I'm good, thanks.

Now just for details and a history.

Edmund Minster was a young man when he learned a secret about his family. His mother was a Dhampire who had decided to leave, after having fulfilled her revenge on the vampire that had killed her sister. However, the vampire's childer came back and killed her, leaving Edmund in the cycle of violence that seems to be continuing generation after generation. It is his turn to take a spin on the wheel, and he wants to end it. Not be coming to a mutual understanding, but by removing as many vampires as he can.

Anyway, here's the character sheet:

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Character Generation Library - Classic Battletech

Going through my drive library right now, because it's easier than grabbing a book at the moment. I have "Classic Battletech" which I remember as Battletech 3rd edition.

I grew up loving battletech. We used to play it at Bryan's house with coins for minis until the wee hours in the morning. It's where I loved to play with infantry and artillery even though the game is about giant stomping robots. I bought the 3rd edition of the RPG as soon at it came out when it was still put out by FASA. Some of my good friends make up the current Catalyst Demo team in Toronto, current and forever Vulture Cup Champions.

I have a grasp of this game. Anyway, since it's on the list, let's do it.

Game: Classic Battletech
Pages: 242
Genre: Science Fiction
My Familiarity: Pretty good.
Designers: Bryan Nystul
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
Affiliate Link to core book

Step 1 - Affiliation

You are never just you in Battletech. It's Feudal space time so you have to come from somewhere. Normally I play Davion because who doesn't want to play as the people with the big metal fist on a sun background. Clan stuff is less interesting to me because of how stratified everything is.

With that in mind, let's go Steiner because money and social military stuff is fun.

Primary Language: German
Secondary Languages: Scottish Gaelic, Italian, Swedish, English
Bonus Skills: Negotation +2, Appraisal +1
Traits: Increase value of Timid and Combat Paralysis by one when purchased after life path
Path Restrictions: None, +1 when rolling on Free Trader Path.

Step 2 - Life Path!

Classic Battle tech has a pretty extensive life path system. What happens is straightforward but the ending gets all ... kinds of extra complicated. Anyway, you get stuff when you pick a life path, and then you roll for the random event that shaped you.

Stage 1 - Early Childhood

Let's goooooo Nobility. Because Steiner.

Time: Character is 10 at the end of this stage
Attribute Minimum: SOC 5
Attribute Thresholds: STR -1, BOD -1, RFL -1, INT +1, CHA +1, SOC +1
Traits: Wealth, Well-Equipped, Enemy
Skills: Language/German +1, Protocol/Steiner +2
Next Path: Prep School
Event: 4 - I have a younger sibling who covets my inheritance [Enemy]

Okay, so wealthy family with a younger sibling. We never got along since mother died. I moved on and he just couldn't, and blamed me for "getting over it." Now they feel like they deserve all of what mother left us in her will.

Stage 2 - Late Childhood

Since I'm the elder child, I'm totally going into Prep School. I have to prepare to take over the family, and it was a great relief to be away from my younger brother.

Time: Character is 16 at the end of this stage.
Attribute Thresholds: SOC +1
Traits: Well-Connected
Skills: Academics/Biology +2, Computers +1, Language/English +1, Protocol/Steiner +2
Next Path: New Avalon Institute of Science
Event: 9 - Every school needs a "source," and you happened to be in the wrong place at the right time. [SOC -1, Contact, Wealth, Appraisal +1, Negotiation +2, Streetwise +1]

So my character is at Prep School, and because of the family connections I to cover for someone who brought in some illegal substance on the school. Which gave them access to a whole network they didn't know existed, but ultimately became aware that the family still had some ties to it. Which is why they were let in.

I think this character is a woman dealing with a jealous younger brother now. With that in mind, off to the New Avalon Institute of Science.

Stage 3 - Higher Education

New Avalon Institute of Science time! Oh, because it's classic it's still after the Steiner Davion marriage so Federated Suns are apparently still a thing?

Time: 2 Years
Attribute Minimums: INT 5, WIL 3, SOC 3
Attribute Thresholds: INT +1, SOC +1
Traits: Poverty, Well-Equipped
Skills: Bureaucracy/Federated Suns +3, Computers +1, Academics/Biology+2, Academics/Chemistry +1, Language/English +1, Perception +2
Next Path: NAIS Major Subpath
Event: 9 - Got the best professor at the school [Add +3 to any one skill learned in this path so Physics]

Subpath: NAIS Major
Time: 2 Years
Traits: Well-Equipped
Skills: Any four relevant skils +1, Anyone field skill at an additional +1
Fields: Scientist
Event: None
Next Path: NAIS Advanced Studies Subpath

Subpath: NAIS Advanced Studies
Time: 4
Attribute Minimums: INT 6, SOC 4, DEX 4
Traits: Wealth, Well-Equipped, Well-Connected
Skills: Add +1 to Half the skills earned this path so far (round up) and +1 to any four other skills
Fields: Doctor (requires Scientist)
Next Path: Civilian Job

So, my character she graduates as a doctor at the age of 26. I think that's the family business, doctoring. She went into it to take care of people, like her mother who ended up being sick. It was her unconscious way of dealing with the death.

Okay, Fields are something you need to explain. When you have a Field they're a bunch of skills that come under it that you can use those points for. I've got Scientist and Doctor. This will be important later (like I said, the life path is fun but a little ... convoluted at the end ... character creation comes with a worksheet because ... you'll see).

Scientist gets:

Doctor gets:
First Aid

Stage 4 - Real Life

This gets into a bit of repetition. You can keep doing this for as long as you want, it just takes time. She's going to do her doctor job for 4 years and we'll see what happens.

Path: Civilian Job
Time: 4 years
Skills: Career/Any Relevent +3, Career/Any +2 twice, +1 any other skill. I get to choose an option, so I'm going to say Leadership +1
Event: 6 - I hate my job and day dream the hours away (-1 to all skills gain on this path which is pretty painful)

Okay, so she gets there and it's everything I hate about my family rolled into my day job. Thankfully there is money so she's going to travel next.

Path: Travel
Time: 1d6 Years (rolled a 1)
Skills: Interest/Any +2, Zero-G Operations +1, +1 to any other skill. Choosing: Art/Painting +1
Event: 10 - You are in the right place at the right time to stop the assassination of a duke. [Good Reputation (2), Contact (2), Wealth]

Okay, so I think that's where I'm going to end it. My character is 29, and just had a life changing event. She saved a fellow noble from an assassination attempt, and the thrill of all that made her want to start her own kind of doctors without borders, except I don't know if it's altruistic or not ... it's just starting.

Ha! That's it. She's starting her own "mercenary" group but it's not about the standard stuff. It's looking to go for people who need help and protection. Maybe she'll scrounge up a Mechwarrior or two for protection.

Step 3 - Assign Attributes, Traits and Skills

Okay, here's where we spend things and go back and deal with time line. You get 50 points to spend on Attributes and positive traits. I can take negative traits in order to get more points.

There are nine traits, Strength (STR), Body (BOD), Dexterity (DEX), Reflexes (RFL), Intelligence (INT), Willpower (WIL), Charisma (CHA), Edge (EDG), and Social Standing (SOC).

I need to find out what the minimum requirements are for my life path and what the thresholds are. The thresholds are were the cost changes for those attributes. Thresholds start at 6 (except edge which starts at 8) and then are modified by life path. Also there's an age thing, but since she's 29 there isn't any bonus or penalty.

Stats - Minimums - Thresholds 
STR - None - 5
BOD - None - 5
DEX  - 4 - 6
RFL - None - 5
INT - 6 - 7
WIL - 3 - 6
CHA - None - 7
EDG - None - 8
SOC - 4 - 7

Okay, so I'm going to have to spend to the minimums, which means that 17 of my 50 points are spoken for. There's a chart and 4 is listed as "fair" for a description. So I'll put that into STR and BOD and REF which has me as 29 points. I think I'll up SOC to 5 and EDG (which is a luck stat) to 6 which puts me at 36. CHA to 6 and DEX to 6 which makes it 44. 6 more points to play with, oh! Will, which will become a 6, which puts me at 3 left, so one more for INT CHA and EDG. Final stats look something like this.

STR - 4
BOD - 4
DEX  - 6 
RFL - 4
INT - 7
WIL - 6
CHA - 7 
EDG - 7 
SOC - 5 

Now come traits. I've already got a whole bunch so I'm not going to get anymore.

Then skills ... this took me a while to figure out the first time I did it.

So you take all those pluses that you earn and add them up. If you get enough Skill points you get that level of skill. If you have any extra you can spend that later. So I have Medtech 1+3 which means 4. That means I have a +1 skill with 1 skill point left over. In full here are the list of skills and I have 12 extra skill points.

Academics/Biology +1
Academics/Chemistry +0
Administration +0
Appraisal +1
Art/Painting +0
Bureaucracy/Federated Suns +1
Career/Scientist +0
Career/Doctor +0
Computers +1
First Aid +0
Language / English +1
Language / German +0
MedTech +1
Negotiation +1
Perception +1
Protocol/Steiner +1
Streetwise +0
Surgery +1
Training +0
Zero-G Ops +0

Now I can spend the difference between levels in skill points to increase them. So it's 2 points to go from a +0 to a +1, and 4 points to go from a +1 to a +2.

Administration +1
First Aid +1
MedTech +2
Negotiation +2

Those are the only skills I'm changing. 

Step 4 - Buy Shit

Nope I'm good thanks. If I was playing the game, sure because it will come up but not in this so I don't have to and I'm not gonna.

Step 5 - Finishing Details

Name: Rika Muller
Age: 29 (Thanks Life Path)
Affiliation: Steiner
Height: 5'3"
Weight: Who the fuck cares.

I would have a contact through school, the prep school contact is another Mercenary named Henrik Zajac. The really big Contact is P.K. Steiner a third or fourth cousin, the Duke that I saved from assassination. I already have one Enemy with my younger brother and so the other one is a Word of Blake fanatic who was trying to have P.K. Steiner killed who we'll call Geoff Bergevin.

She's got a slight German accent that she's been working hard to get rid of too.

Jesus this is long. Imaging what it's like if I bought things. The first image is the worksheet, the second one is the character sheet.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Character Generation Library - 13th Age - Massium Cardinal

Time to get back to this. The list of games I have is growing and not making time for these is slowing me down.

When in doubt, alphabetical is the way to go. That means 13th Age, which I have only heard of rather than actually played. Mainly because it felt too close to D&D for my tastes, but if you're going to make games you need to grab things that people find interesting because there's a reason for that and
if you can figure out that reason you can only become a better designer.

I've decided to try something new. I've got the game information below, and an affiliate link so if you're interested in the game and want to pick it up clicking on that link will send a small amount of monies my way which I will probably use to buy more PDFs which will allow me to put some more effort into this.

Game: 13th Age
Pages: 325
Genre: Fantasy
My Familiarity: None
Designers: Rob Heinsoo & Jonathan Tweet
Publisher: Pelgrane Press
Affiliate Link to core book

I will admit I was skeptical at the beginning, but the icons dragged me in right away. The Archmage and the Crusader made me immediately think of characters and then I got to the others and I get right away why people like this as a game. The descriptions are okay, but it's the True Danger that really also makes me excited.

Now, onto the character creation Checklist.

1. Choose Race

Old terrible fantasy standby. This isn't an indictment on the game, just fantasy games in general. And the game has Drow. *sigh*

Since I have to pick one, let's go Wood Elf because I think travelling is a thing and from the Icons I don't think a lot of high elves travel as much in my mind.

That means I get either a +2 to DEX and +2 to WIS. I think I'll go with +2 WIS.

I apparently get Elven Grace which means I get all the extra actions which ... sure. I'll take it. I mean it's really not something you're going to get more than maybe 1 or 2 of but still ... I'll take it.

2. Choose Class

It's very much a D20 game, but with that in mind let's go Bard. Because why not? I'll do the class stuff afterwards.

3. Generate Scores

I don't have dice on me, or a way to show it so I'll just do point buy. I get 28 points to buy my abilities.

STR  12 (4)
DEX 15 (8) 17 (because of class bonus)
CON 10 (2)
INT   10 (2)
WIS  12 (4) 14 (because of +2 bonus)
CHA 15 (8)

4. Combat Stats

As a bard I can chose to have Dex be what I use to attack with.
Melee is +4 to attack, +3 damage on hit and +1 on miss
Ranged is +4 to attack, +3 damage on it and 0 on miss.

AC is 14
PD is 12
MD is 14

There is that "general level of AC" thing, which is nice and then the middle of the three stats which ... is interesting but okay.

5. Your One Unique Thing

I like this. It's a nice little mechanical thing that allows me to create cool features about my character without actually making it a mechanical thing.

I am the true voice of the Crusader, my voice rings out with their victory.

6. Class stuff

+2 to DEX or CHA and I think right now with the way I'm going it's DEX because I have a feel they're going to be in the fray a lot.

The bard songs tend to be a lot cooler here, so that's something.
At 1st level I start with non magical musical instruments, a melee weapon, a ranged weapon, some form of light armor and other minor elements my background suggests. I'm going to be cautious and get the 25 gp because again lazy and dice are out of reach

Level one I have (7+Con Mod)x3 HP. That's 21.
1. Adventurer Feat
2. Battle cries or 2 level 1 spells (going with battle cries)
3. Three Talents

My Adventurer's Feat is Pull It Together which gives people 1d4 healing as well as the benefit of the battle cry.

My talents are Battle Skald, Storyteller, Balladeer which means I get an extra battle cry, and I get some other songs and stuff. I will admit to being a bit confused, not because the book isn't good but more because I haven't done this kind of thing in a while.

My Battle Cries are Move it! Pull It Together! and Stay Strong! My song is Chant of the High Druid.

7. Other stuff

So they have relationships with Icons and Backgrounds, which I think are way more fun than the other stuff.

So Relationships are Positive 2 with the Crusader, and Negative 1 with the Diabolist because I want to hunt demons!

Why? Because of my backgrounds. Gave the character a name of Massium Cardinal and he was an Orphan (orphan 1) and lived on the streets of a major city until he joined the Church of the Crusader (I'm sure it's something like that, I'm too lazy to look it up and so Priest of the Crusader - 2). There he spent most of his young life learning what was right and true with the world, and that he was part of the battle to defeat evil. There he rose to the ranks of Choir Master, and was teaching Choirs all around when he felt called to take the battle to the Demonic Ranks of the Diabolist and is now crusading forth.

See, that shit's the fun part. Math is gonna math.

Anyway, the character sheet is at the bottom. I'm quite sure I've fucked this up but practice, practice, practice.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Conventioning - Breakout 2017

Breakout happened! There was a long list of guests and a lot of amazing games and tonnes of fun were had. That's thanks to the tireless efforts of all the volunteers from the GMs who volunteer to run events to the staff that work relentlessly to make sure everything is run as smoothly as possible. It's a great convention, and everyone I know had a great time.

That said! What did you do Jonathan?

That's a good question self.

Saturday was mostly about panels.

First Panel was on GM Troubleshooting, with Matt McFarland, Robin Laws, Anna Kreidar, and myself. I was there as a last minute replacement of the missing Emily Care Boss (who was ill) and Guest Boss (who was tending to the ill) and it went really well. It was thankfully not a lot of the standard "I hate my group and how do I make them change" but a lot of great questions in regards to preparation, and how do you feel you should structure things.

Second Panel I was just moderating but it was the State of the Industry Panel so that means it had Eric Lang, Michelle Lyons-McFarland, Robin Laws, and Jonathan Gilmour. It was a pretty good panel, with a lot of questions and only a few limited "I have a statement to show off how smart I am, but I'm going to pretend it's a question" moment. The biggest difficulty I had was that there were lots of board game questions and fewer and fewer RPG questions, so to throw things to our RPG guests I had to kind of find the RPG nugget in them and then pass them along to the RPG part of the panel. I think it was a great time, and lots of people seemed to enjoy the information and had a good time which was great.

That night I got to run a game of We Used To Be Friends with Megan, Duan, Bill and Amanda who were amazing. They were experienced players, and had been through a bunch of games together including The Watch by Anna Kreider and Andrew Medeiros which I have heard nothing but amazing things about, so that's great.

We had a Delinquent (Amanda's Zia), The Hard Boiled (Duan's Casey), The Libertine (Bill's Nadeem), The Socialite (Megan's Kobi), and my Ingenue (Sparrow). I wanted to play the Ingenue because I was interested to see how it would play and what it needs, I tend to usually play the Tech Geek because I have all the love for Mac.

Anyway, the episode mystery is that someone, my Rival Erika, got fired from her job for stealing tips and her little brother swore that she didn't do it and went to Zia for help. Zia talked to the kid for information, and Amanda rolled Gumshoe and asked "Why should I care about this" which is because someone that Zia had listed as an enemy was the person who was the first suspect and this would be a great way to bring her down. So she called Casey to help her figure this out.

Casey was at home with Sparrow because he had been kind of somewhat under "house arrest" since he ended up blowing the whistle on his cousin. Zia and Nadeem ended up showing up and Nadeem got their attention by throwing rock at the window, even though they didn't need that. Sparrow ran interference (because everyone loves him, how could you not believe him) and Zia asked for Casey's help which he was happy to give because it would give him something to get out of the house.

Nadeem got sent out to get Erika out of her house and over so that Casey, and Sparrow, could talk to her and see what's going on. They got some more clues and were going to meet up with Zia at the underground mining tunnel club that we had built when we built our town.

Kobi didn't really seem to have a spot, so Megan did the one thing that I really hoped would happen and started working on her personal mystery. Megan picked a scene where Kobi had just come home and her parents were arguing about telling her something, so she hid and tried to Gumshoe it. I think we messed up because she should have still received a clue, but she did hear something about a facility and her cliffhanger was her dad walking over to her and asking, almost shouting, "How long have you been there?"

Because there was a cliffhanger we moved on to the party where Nadeem was already there trying to flirt with the suspect. It was great because he failed to flirt and managed to get a clue anyway because the Libertine is meant to try and fail and be okay with it. But what was awesome was that the suspect (whose name escapes me) was totally aware of what Nadeem was doing and set a trap for him later and told him to meet her by the lake.

Casey and Sparrow show up, and Zia who likes to mess with Sparrow's mind drops down from the balcony above right in front terrifying Sparrow. Amanda went to the move "Sometimes I'm up all night thinking about myself" where if she does something dangerous to turn someone on. She made the 10, which means that Sparrow changed his relationship with her (it would be more than that but that's what it said at the time) and so I decided "Okay, it's Rival. You've got to stop doing that to me." And that became a thing where clearly the Delinquent had a thing for riling up the Ingenue.

This is getting long, so to quickly start summing things up. Nadeem ended up getting attacked by some guy who turned out to be the manager at the restaurant in the Casino where Erika and the suspect worked. Then he got arrested for trespassing and spent some time in a chair next to a cop while hitting on everyone.

Kobi watched it happen, and got away but fought with her friend (the suspect) about it, and then went home to do some sleuthing on her parents. She ended up finding the name of the institute they were talking about.

Casey solved the case, with help from Sparrow and Zia, and made Erika's little brother's day. Turns out that the manager was the suspects cousin. The suspect was the one stealing the tips, and the cousin didn't want to get her in trouble so he framed Erika for it.

With Sparrow, I decided to use my Rival move with Zia. Ended up getting a 10+ which means I get a bonus, so I chose take +1 forward if you challenge them. Since Zia seemed to be intent on turning that into a game of I can make you feel things I used the Ingenue's turn someone on move, which is when you act innocent or naive. Rolled a 10+.

Zia's reaction was, "I've been waiting for this for a while. My place, or yours."
Sparrow demured and said, "My mother wouldn't approve."
Zia replies, "Hot. Your place then."

And scene.

It was a great game and it showed me a few things.

A. The "What should you care" question is so good early on because it provides that kind of impetus for a lot of things. It's not as useful later on, but that's why you get to ask other questions.
B. I think I made is explicit in the text that you have to deal with a cliffhanger before a character can appear in another scene, but I think I have to go back for it.
C. I ended up going over the few casefiles that had a "turn someone on move" and made them a bit more uniform and a lot more interesting. I had originally just replaced the "give them a string" with "change your relationship"
D. The question for the mystery was so good. When we were wondering how to make clues fit, going back to the question made it way easier to figure out.
E. The personal mysteries are perfect if your character really isn't doing much with the episode. If we were able to play with it longer you can kind of have two or three stories going on at the same time and it doesn't feel like it's dragging things apart. In fact, when we started to come up with ways to get Kobi into the episode, it felt more forced than letting her explore that mystery on her own.

Sunday I ran Critical!: Go Westerly - The Importance of being Gwendolyn

I had a bunch of players who were nice, and I had Michelle playing in the game which was awesome because she was supposed to play in this game when I first wrote it. I'm glad she got to play it because it's my version of Tom Stoppard's Travesties, where you have a game that's about a situation that is also about the Importance of being Ernest.

There were quite a few laughs and while I made the mistake of booking two hours (I had a thought to run Faux Dungeon, but switched my mind in regards to the game forgot to do so and so only had 2 hours of game) rather than 3 or 4. That said, it was super amusing and a good time!

I managed to playtest a bunch of stuff, as well as get a few board game moments in. It was a very good time, and something I recommend for everyone. Seriously, if you're looking to get someone into trying out games, or trying out conventions I can't recommend Breakout enough.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Conventioning! Play & Pub Toronto

Recently Dancing Giant Games hosted a Play & Pub convention in Toronto this past weekend. I had a great time for a few reasons.

The first was the it got Curt Cover from Smirk and Dagger up to check out the prototypes as well as try out a few things that were coming down the pipeline for S&D as well.

I'm not going to talk about every game, because we played a lot in a wide variety of levels of completion, but I'm going to hit on some highlights.

1. Finally got to play Biotix. I totally get why Curt is publishing this game. It's quick, so much fun, and very much backstabby. It's backstabby in the way that feels like you're also making strategic moves. Also, the germ meeples are adorable and everyone will want to play with them.

2. Got to play a Fast Food game by Joel Colombo. I didn't get the name, it was something about Drive Thrus and it was so good. Like heavy crunchy kind of "what am I doing" kind of game. Funny thing about me, I love playing those games and in part is that at no way shape or form does my designer brain go that far down the pipe.

Got to talk about how to many shorten it for players who are new to the game, or aren't quite fully versed in that kind of heavy game.

Also, there's a tag line that I hope he uses so hard. I have a long standing joke when someone asks me to define a "euro" game and I yell out "Is it about farming or colonizing shit? If yes, then see Euro." I know it's not quite the same, but anyway I think it's a good joke. That said, we're playing this game and I have an epiphany, "This is truly the American Euro. It's not about farming, it's about Fast Food."

3. Saw a couple of designs from Chris Chung. A lot of them were in alpha state, but there were some really good games but my favourite was Spell Smashers which hopefully we'll see in certain formats when he gets some more work done on it.

It was a great job by Kevin to get this up and running, and a great first time con!

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Character Generation Library - CyberGeneration

Welp, about time I check this one off the list.

For those of you who don't know, there was a period of time where I had the line license for CyberGeneration. It really was the first RPG I ever got into. This was the game that got me into roleplaying, this was the game that after no one had touched it for years made me want to start making product for it. This was the game that I kind of burned out on pushing it for so many years, but I still love it oh so very much. I don't get to play a lot of RPGs so I haven't brought it to the table, but whenever I open the book I get all those old NPCs running around in my head shouting to get out. I also own two copies of the main book, but last time I checked I can do this by memory alone.

Anyway, for those of you who are like "What is this game?" CyberGeneration started out as a spin off expansion book to Cyberpunk 2020 and then got a second edition and became its own game. It used a streamlined version of the Interlock system, which was the system that R. Talsorian used for mostly everything from Mekton Z, to Cyberpunk, to CyberGen even used to have a fusion with Hero System at one point in time.

History lesson is over. Time for a character.

Step 1. Pick a yogang.

With all the expansions there were 28 different yogangs to pick from. I'm just going to grab one from the book, and since it seems rather topical I'm going to go with a Rad. They're the political activist kids who would organize and agitate for change. Since this is still Cyberpunk, the upper case C is important, they aren't above using psychological tactics to get what they want done.

Step 2 and 3. Provide Details and Description

Game asks next for Gender (it's Sex but this was 95 so let's update our language here and now), Age, Height, Weight, and a description.

Last few characters have been dudes, let's make a woman. She's 16 and is 5'8 and who cares about weight because again let's update this for the future.

Description is going to be a lot easier. She's been politically active forever, and has been fighting for democratic reform as long as she can remember. The setting in the world is that US is gone and replaced with the Incorporated States of America, and this character has been organizing grass roots movements to try to make small democratic reforms. Lately she's been fighting for the rights of Carbon Plague victims because she doesn't trust any of the propaganda coming from the government and the corporations because she's heard it all before.

She's Chumash, and was born and raised in Night City. She's got long hair, that she frequently braids, and is button fiend. If there's a button for an event, she's got it someone on her button coat. It's just a regular denim jacket, but the buttons are all over it. It's even helped her out in a fight a few times, and ended up stabbing her once or twice.

Step 4. Yogang stuff.

When you pick your yogang, you get some gear to start the game with.
1. Personal V-Term
2. Armored Duster (AR5) with 20 pockets inside
3. Tracker and 10 Tracer Pins
4. Light Handgun

Step 5. Stats

You get 50 points to put into your stats. There are nine of them. A lot of them look familiar, there's INT (Intelligence), REF (Reflexes), EMP (Empathy), LUCK. There are some ones that are very Cyberpunk. There's an ATT (attractiveness) stat (because it's cyberpunk, the how you look doing things matters in the game). A COOL (how well you keep it) stat, as well as a TECH stat for technical ability. There's a MOVE and a BODY (strength) stat as well.

Minimum is 2 maximum is 8 with 5 being the average because in Cyberpunk you max stat is 10 . I figure someone who is very brainy, and not afraid of physical stuff but isn't someone who wants to spend a lot of time with tech.

INT 8, TECH 2, BODY 6, REF 5, MOVE 3, EMP 8, COOL 7, LUCK 5, ATT 6

Not much of a runner either, but she doesn't try to be in places where she'll have to run.

Step 6. Your Wounds

Because she's got a BODY of 6 that means her HITS are 6 (basically HP, but it's more based around a streamlined version of the old Cyberpunk Interlock system).

Step 7. Skills

I get 40 points to put into my stats. There are 11 basic stats, and 1 yogang stat. Everything has to have at least 1 point in it, and the maximum is 8. Having a 3 in a stat is considered average.

The list is a condensed list, and it's something that I've always enjoyed. I like it when there are a lot of things that cover a wide range of possibilities. List of skills are:

Streetfighting - Punching, Kicking, Shooting
Jockstuff - Running, Jumping, Climbing up a tree (hiding the makeup up there)
Blend - Making yourself vanish in normal looking situations
Streetsmarts - How well do you know the people on the street, what to do, what not to do
Schoolin' - General Educaiton Skill
Little Angel - How well you can make adults discount you for being teens
Thiefstuff - B&E, thieving stuff, that kind of thing
Get A Clue - General notice and awareness
GenSpeak - The ability to communicate in slang or code
Fearless Leader - How well you can get people to follow you
GoGo - Driving, riding, moving things with wheels really.

The yogang skill that a Rad has is called Organize, which is your ability to get people out on the street doing thing. It's also your ability to prey upon people's weaknesses to get them to do what you want.

Seriously, the game is so different the older I get. When I was younger, I didn't see the sinister side of a lot of the yogangs but holy hell there's a lot you can do to play this dark.

Anyway, skills. Fighting isn't a priority, but not something to ignore. Not much for running and jumping, and for blending either. Which means that I think she's not one for pretending to be something she's not.With that in mind, this is what I got:

Streetfighting 3, Jockstuff 2, Blend 1, Streetsmarts 5, Schoolin' 4, Little Angel 1, Thiefstuff 3, Get A Clue 5, GenSpeak 3, Fearless Leader 3, GoGo 5, Organize 5

That's 40 points on the button. Again, I used to do this a fair bit.

8. Your Mall Stuff
I'm not going to buy anything, because one of the cool thing this game does is that it plays the first session as character creation. It gets a bunch of characters from disparate walks of live and gives you a stressful situation for them to deal with. Doesn't even ask you to do all these stats first. I starts with "Who are you, okay run for it."

9. CyberGen Type
This is also something that comes from the game. I rarely had people start evovled, but it happened fairly quickly. To be honest, it was a great way to get players who might not have been into the game into the game a lot more because now they had cool powers that made them hunted by the government.

10. Your Tag
Time to name the character. a letter and it was N so I'm going with Nichole "Pins" Lloyd because that was also randomly generated with a name generator. Pins is what I'm keeping though because I like it.

Below is the character sheet, int two parts because you can't fill the PDF, and editing it to type in it is also ... prohibited ... for some ... reason.

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