Friday, February 28, 2014

AFMBE vs. Dead Reign

Alright, so my blog has been found a few times this month by people doing a Google search for "Which is a better RPG, AFMBE or Dead Reign?"

I have played both.
AFMBE, my children, by a long shot.

That is all.

Thank you. 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Campaign Brewing

Stuff I want for my Modern Horror game:

-Multiple supernatural factions with a variety of overlapping and/or conflicting agendas.
-PCs who are monsters
-PCs who are human
-"Unfactioned" monsters as wildcards/bad guys
-Visceral weirdness
-A "second world" much like White Wolf's Umbra or Night Watch's Twilight/Gloom.
-The supernatural to be a corruptive, almost infectious force, capable of turning humans against their will and capable of turning supernaturals into truly inhuman monsters.
-A spectrum of supernatural existance, from humans who have a touch of the supernatural to things that have nothing human left about them at all.

What I'm reading over for inspiration:
-Chill (Mayfair edition)
-Older World of Darkness stuff
-After Sundown (A free self-published rpg by a dude whose last name is Trollman. For serious.)

What I'm thinking about using for a system:
-Basic Roleplaying
-Old White Wolf- mashup of the various "mortal/near mortal" books (Hunters Hunted, Sorcerer, Gypsies, Ascension's Right Hand, etc)
-FUDGE (Despite it requiring a large amount of work on the front end) 

Non-RPG Stuff I want to steal from:
-My modern horror MUD that I play
-Sergei Lukyanenko's Night Watch  novels.
-The first, and only the first, movie adaptation of Lukyanenko's novels.
-Supernatural (Without quite as much angely-demony stuff. If I want to go that route, I'll just run In Nomine)
-The Dresden files novels
-The premise of Dylan Dog: Dead of Night. (The movie was pretty bleh and I haven't read the graphic novel, but the idea is pretty cool.) 

Stuff I do not want:
-"Sexy" vampires. 
-Anything Cthulhu. I am so damn sick of the Cthulhu mythos I could puke.
-Superheroic Characters. Being a vampire or werewolf should have definite drawback. Conflict should be rare and discrete. Magic is scary and ritualistic rather than chucking fireballs.

More as my addled mind susses out the details. 

Monday, February 24, 2014


Many times in the blog, I've talked about my LGS, Local Gaming Store, that being the venerable Dragon's Lair.

Back in college, we used to road trip to this town to go to DL, just because it had way, way better stock than anything in my hometown. The hour drive was worth it.

The place was a dungeon: dimly lit, kind of cramped, with a bathroom that my wife was actually afraid of.

My wife bought her first dice there.

I bought many, many books there.

When I finally moved to this town permanently, I met my first local gamers there and played in a short-lived, admittedly terrible campaign, one where I met one of my dearest friends. (Who has played in 90% of the stuff I've run since 2005)

We used to joke about the owner being a curmudgeon.

Dragon's Lair burned down yesterday.

Last time I was there, which was pretty recently, I bought Deadlands: Hell on Earth Reloaded and Deadlands Noir. I used my fully punched loyalty card. I had no idea it would be the last thing I bought there.

I never did get around to attending an Anime Sunday.

I never did buy that hilarious Highlander ripoff rpg that sat in the used section for, I kid you not, at least ten years.
My wife and I happened to go to dinner and see the owner, his wife, and several of his employees at a table together. She overheard them already discussing insurance and new locations. There is also a secondary location on the west end of town, so all isn't lost.

Still, that old building... it was a fairly constant part of my life for a long time.

RIP, original Dragon's Lair

Friday, February 21, 2014

Back in the House (of BTS)

Last night I rejoined my old Thursday group, now that I've decided I can safely half-ass my way through this semester of graduate school. Although I missed their short Heroes Unlimited campaign, I am just in time for the continuation of Steve's Beyond the Supernatural campaign! I've once again take up the role of Simon Vincent, crime scene investigator, psychic medium, and likely sufferer of Asperger's.  We have one new player and two new PCs, but three out of the five characters are from the "original cast" when we started back in 2012.

I'm pretty sure I've pimped Steven's website, The House of BTS before, but in case I haven't, you should check it out. Steven is a Palladium contributor, gracious host, and a hell of a GM.

I also promise not to be an hour and a half late next week....

Anyway, the party is presently tracking down a quartet of succubi. Simon, being almost totally unable to handle interaction with women, is far more terrified of them than any demon he's ever faced. He would much rather stare down the bear-demon things or  the poisonous Naga from their previous adventures than deal with demons who appear as comely women.

In other news:

-I am creatively stagnant, unable to make any progress with the campaign idea I have.
-I'm finishing up The God That Crawls with my online group this weekend.
-The struggle is real. (Or so my students tell me) 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Death Frost Cut Our Losses

Thus the module is renamed by my dear old friend, James.

My online group had to reschedule the conclusion of The God That Crawls, so I ran last minute session of Death Frost Doom for James and Meghan.. Once again, I made it a pulp adventure, with French and Russian adventurers attempting to find a calamitous magical scroll before Nazi agents could. Rules were a slightly modified version of the LotFP rules. (The skill system/specialist class is really growing on me.)

This is perhaps the most "successful" run of DFD, from a PC perspective, in that only one PC died. They didn't get into the meat of the dungeon and they turned back before they could really Screw Things Up.

Thought: The next time I run this, it will be the Nazi agents. Depending on how it goes, I will pen a follow up adventure. I probably won't have the chance to run DFD until KantCon.

Hopefully this weekend we will finish The God That Crawls.

I'm enjoying playing with my online group (all alumns of RL games from various points of my life, all RL friends from somewhere along the way) and I think next I will run Hammers of the God for them. 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Chill/BRP Conversion Notes, Pt. 1

Aight, so... Chill to BRP.

In Chill (Keep in mind it's the Mayfair version), stats are rated for humans from 10 to 90, with inhuman monsters able to exceed that threshold. Divide by 5 and you have a range of 2-18, which is close enough to BRP's 3-18 starting range for characteristics. Bam. Easy.

Skills... well, both games use a percentile-based skill system, so just use BRP's system in place of Chill's. If there's a skill from Chill you just gots to have, we'll negotiated.

The Art- The Disciplines are essentially learned as skills. They're percentile-based, much like BRP spells, so that's pretty straightforward. I could give PCs a small pool to purchase Disciplines, much like OpenQuest's basic character generation, with the option to cash those in for extra combat skills/regular skills if you want to play a character who doesn't use the Art, or to cash in combat/useful skills for more Art points.
The one snag I run into here is that, in Chill, the skill system distinguishes if a character is Student, Teacher, or Master level in a particular skill. This distinction is purchased aside from the character's actual percentage in the skill. Applied specifically to the Art, a character's proficiency level often affects the potency of the Discipline. I could either assign a proficiency level to a given percentage (Maybe up to 50 you're a student, 60-90 you're a Teacher, 91+ you're a Master)
Disciplines of the Evil Way can be a little more fast and loose, since PCs can use them anyway. (Unless I decide to go full-on Beast Within, but that's an entirely different can of worms I'm not keen on opening yet.)

This is probably about as deep as I want to go. No game system converts perfectly; the idea is to keep the concepts instead of point-for-point, level-for-level. Hell, I'm not even running the (admittedly) bare-bones setting of Chill anyway. I think this game is simply going to be "Chill-esque" in terms of attitude and presentation. I'll probably keep SAVE, RAX, and the Unknown, or at least their near-equivalents, but  I'd like there to be more factions than just The Totally Good Guys and the Totally Bad Guys.

More later.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

The God That Crawls, Part 1

Today I ran The God That Crawls with my Online Crew (we need a better name), which consists of alums from my gaming past (and a few of my dearest friends on the planet.) We rolled out with this lineup of pregen characters:

James played Spencer Willingham, a scholarly magic-user in the vain of Dr. John Dee.
Meghan played Daniel Bakersford, a young soldier with a mysterious secret.
Evanne played Sister Hester St. John, grim-faced witchfinder and sole survivor of Tower of the Stargazer.
Stasia played Maggie, a waifish girl with a talent for all things mechanical, a sharp eye, and no surname. 
Kurt played Edwin Fletcher, a soldier with an oddly cobbled-together uniform.

We used Roll20 for the maps and die rolls, Skype for the voice chat and for "secret notes." Roll20 is serviceable, but kind of annoys me. That will be a different post, whoever. 

A brief summary of the session, with only the faintest trace of spoilers (and nothing you probably haven't gleaned about the module anyway):

The party immediately started doing the Thing You Are Not Supposed To Do in this adventure, so it very quickly turned into a chase. The characters did take a stand for a few rounds against the titular God (really I was just looking for an excuse to say titular), which likely would've made it a very short adventure indeed.

We left off with the party being split. (And with this map, I say "damn you all!) Poor Spencer is off by himself, although he seems to be having an easy time of it, looting and wandering to his heart's content. The rest of the party is sort of cornered by the God and are searching for ways out. They've found some treasure of their own, but it's not exactly jewels and silver coins....

Nobody died, though Edwin would've had he not received prompt healing from Sister Hester. I suspect one more session will allow us to finish things up, for good or ill.

Oh, and the players learned the big secret, thanks to ingenious use of things found in the dungeon by Kurt. 

A few things to note:

-I'm borrowing the basic setting of LotFP, but it is 16th century-ish near-Earth, not actual 16th century England like the module intends. I found that I sort of blended the two, partially out of laziness. Sister Hester's deity is called the Almighty and the players describe her religion as Catholipuritanism. (Stained glass and belt buckles on yo' hat.) The "other guy" is called the Adversary or the Devil. Hazah are Jews with the serial number filed off, Latin is still apparently a language. Also: belt buckles. You have them. Just about anywhere but your belt.

-I gave fighters one special ability, usually something like Veteran's Luck from Stars Without Number.
-Magic-users have 1 in 6 to know about weird stuff. Clerics have the same, but it applies only to Churchy stuff.

-Spellcasters don't have to prepare spells ahead of time, and receive a bonus first level spell if they have 13+ in Intelligence (for magic-users) or Wisdom (for clerics.)

We reconvene in two weeks to play out the conclusion .