Friday, June 17, 2011

Games I have plans for

First game I have plans for is obviously Mutants & Masterminds. I just blogged about it, so won't do it again. Read HERE more about it.

We started to play All Flesh Must Be Eaten but didn't go further than three sessions. Actually in third session the action really just began. For some reason at that time my player wasn't that interested for AFMBE so we put it in the freezer. I really have plans for that campaign and I know how it would go and what is the ending (of course the end depends on character... if she gets that far). I wish we will continue it some day, because I have a feeling it is great.
You can find three first sessions at my ~Kronikat~ blog* here:
In Finnish:
With Google Translate into English (Google Translate Fin to Eng is wonky):

I also have some plans for My Life With Master. Originally I though that it would be a vampire ghoul relationship but after re-watching Saw movies I thought Jigsaw Amanda situation would be better. I did cover this also in my last post here.

One game I already have adventure in my mind is Call of Cthulhu set in 20's. I know details and how it will go, but haven't written it down. Character is already made. Point is, that character is an astronomer or something (cannot remember details, but she deals with stars somehow) and one night she finds this weird planet. Without internet whole world cannot know about it immediately. This planet is one evil monstrosity from Yer Booke of Monsters sourcebook. The planet kinda thingie. And what happens in the end? Mental asylum here I come! This is what I want to be Call of Cthulhu where character actually goes nuts. That is one main quality in CoC games and I will abuse it.

Maybe these will be the games I will run next in some kind of order. At least I want to finish All Flesh Must Be Eaten BBQ From Hell and play Call of Cthulhu Bad Moon Rising.

5 games from my collection I really want to play

I have several games I have never played nor read fully. I like games, they look good on my shelf. More is better. I like to shuffle them. But I don't have time to play or read all I want. That's why we made an arrangement with my player. Every second game we play is something different we don't usually play.

Our main games basically are Vampire: the Masquerade and Fading Suns. Vampire: the Masquerade because we play it the most and Fading Suns because longest campaigns are played with that system and setting. There's been other games which have been played more or less frequently, but V:tM and FS stick up pretty good from the pile.

So, I got those neat games and now I got great motivation to read and play them. Next after this V:tM campaign will be Mutants & Masterminds, so I leave it out of this list.

5 Games From My Collection I Really, Really Wan't To Play (GM)

  1. Even though Vornheim: the Complete City Kit (buy it here NOW) isn't a stand alone RPG but a sourcebook I'd like to play it. I'd like to create whole campaign or adventure using basics of it. Create a city with it and let player play there. Vornheim is great, it is atypical fantasy with eerie feeling and strangeness in it. Only problem is, that I am not happy about the idea using D&D3 nor AD&D2 to run it, but still I'd like to run it with D&D type rules. I got one OD&D clone I found pretty interesting (not OSRIC) but don't remember its name and with quick Google couldn't find it. I hope I have it saved in some of my hard-drives or memory stics. That could be the system to run Vornheim campaign.
  2. My Life With Master. I see very well how the master would be Tzimisce (vampire clan) and player would be his ghoul minion. I see it so well, that I want to play it. Another set could be like Jigsaw and Amanda scenario. Especially in Saw 3 where Amanda in the end... well, watch the movie. As I play Vampire a lot, Tzimisce ghoul setting wouldn't be that new so I'd stick with Jigsaw Amanda type. Yes, I want to play My Life With Master like that. Sounds pretty awesome, gruesome and tragical.
  3. Unknown Armies. I have heard lots of good about this game but I am not sure about what it is like at all. There is magic what works neatly. And then there are some secret societies I recon. And stuff. No idea what player character would do or anything. But I guess it's a cool game, because I do like horror. But second here with Unknown Armies is Kult. The setting is the bomb! Maybe if I combined Unknown Armies with Kult? Has anyone done it? Yes, that sounds great. Kult's setting added to Unknown Armies and UA system what isn't that bad at all. I think that Unknown Kult would be kick-ass.
  4. Pendragon. I like the saga and generation model of this game. It would be awesome to speed up the game a little bit to see player's characters line to go further where player actually isn't playing a single character but actually continuum (can I use that word here?) of a family line. I can see how that would be epic and I can see how tragedy would fit it. It would be great, sad, beautiful chronicle. Or at least I wish it would be.
  5. This is hard and somehow I see these games as a couple as I received them at the same time. They are totally different, but I see them as a pack (thank you Juhana Petterson. About Ikuisuuden laakso in Finnish). Anyways, Ikuisuuden Laakso is this RPG about penguins. Actually about drama, being outsider in your own community etc. It might work best as a one-shot or short campaign and I think that drama is the key in that game. Even though the game is about penguins it is actually way more deep than that. Itran Kaupunki (originally Norwegian game but translated into finnish) is this surrealistic strange city with all dream kinds of elements. It is really weird but fascinating setting. It is a great read but frankly that kind of games I am not sure what is supposed to happen in them. I guess in that way I am more traditional. But drinking wine and painting the surrealistic city, characters, events... that would be... surreal. So fifth place is divided among these two, because they arrived in the same wrapper (makes sense? No?)
Those are currently my top 5 games I'd really like to play. (Actually top 6 because fifth game is actually two really different and separate games, but no one notices that small thingie there).

Will I play them? I hope so.

Super heroes give me headache thinking next game

So, when we finish our current Vampire: the Masquerade campaign, we will play Mutants & Masterminds. But I got one major problem. My jar of Gamemastering is empty for this genre. I have collected and read lots of supers comics when I was a kid. So I know the basics. And I have seen many new superhero movies. Many of them are really good. Like Watchmen and Iron Man movies. Also, Mutants & Masterminds rulebook itself is a great book for superheroes and full of ideas.

Still, I don't have any single idea what I want to run or how.

I am still waiting for my player to create character concept. That would help a lot. When I know what kind of character player wants to play, it is easier to tailor the adventure around her character's concept. So, I am waiting for that at the moment to have some kind of a clue.

But main problem is what I would like to run. I would like to run more gritty superhero game, where hero is not planet busting, flying and laser shooting mega-human. I would like character to be more down to earth type, maybe just slightly above normal people. Like avenger of her own, or fighter of justice in smaller league. It would be great when world wouldn't be full of superheroes running wild and doing their super-stuff and every corner isn't full of super antagonists. That's what I would like to run. Also, I'd like world to be dark like Gotham City or World of Darkness like.

Still, I have to erase above, because it wouldn't be different enough. We play lots of Vampire so basically my ideal superhero game would be Vampire: the Masquerade without fangs. Basically no problem with that because I do like stuff like that but what's the point then trying out new game if you just wrap it in same wrapping paper as other games I usually run? That's why I in the other hand want to run something totally different to make Mutants & Masterminds gaming experience something different. Different game with different game. Not just slightly different modifications in same setting what we usually play.

So, what I should do is run cartoonish colorful superhero game with character who has these neat powers and who is way above normal people. That would be different, that character would be someone who has potential and capability to make difference in the city. Normal police operation to free hostages in bank robbery would be blasting in, lasering mobs and being a tabloid hero of the day. That kind of stuff. And climax would be battle against superhero villain with evil masterplan!

How would it go? Few sessions normal cases where superhero can do his superhero stuff and be awesome. Player would enjoy that because his character would be superior to normal crooks. He would be cool. Also some drama to add. Maybe family, friends, lover, daytime job or something he must hide his super identity. So it would be fast paced action packed pwning against crooks while he has normal person issues when he is out of his costume. Sounds good to me. And maybe I could tie all individual crooks and happenings in same plot and behind all those is main villain. Who of course is up to something bad what would affect whole city if he succeeds.

But what would be that mega evil plan behind all those smaller incidents? That is something I have to work out. Normal robberies would be all tied to that mega plan because that antagonist needs something to finish his evil device, what would do mind slaves of all citizens? Hmm... I have seen that story somewhere in the movies or comics. But as my player is not as familiar with superhero genre maybe it could work. It would be so basic superhero adventure that it could very well be my first Mutants & Masterminds adventure ever. Don't see need here to invent whole wheel again and do some great thinking for supers adventure, but I could very well go with the stereotypics and run that.

Maybe that is good reason to write Mutants & Masterminds adventure. Make it stereotypical superhero game. That would be different from what I usually run. Fast action, fancy costumes, secret identity, normal life issues, super antagonist with mega evil plan. I think I will go with that. Sounds superhero enough for me.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Devil, movie where Devil himself is caught in elevator. Also RPG scenario idea

About The Movie

Link to imdb and link to trailer at Youtube.

A group of people are trapped in an elevator and the Devil is mysteriously amongst them.
-From imdb.

Devil is movie where the tension is built within the people stuck in elevator. Among them is the Devil himself and he wants souls of those people. Movie could have been ok if it wasn't so stupid. I spotted several "mistakes" or stupidities in the movie like why was one character let in the building when it was closed, who would go move with a wooden stick a broken electric cord what's in a pond of water etc.
And the movie wasn't scary. It could have been more scarier if it was just made a bit differently. It is not easy to create movie where all the horror happens in one location. And when the horror happened, it was lame. When lights went out in the elevator, Devil worked. You didn't see anything interesting happening and you knew that now when lights flicker, you get to see darkness and after it see what happened. On the paper it could have seem to be a good horror and suspension effect, but for me it didn't work.

I wish this would have been better movie, but it failed miserably. It had potential, so I'd give it 2 stars out of 5. Nothing special, not that good, not scary or thrilling.

But let's get down to the business...

Inspiration For Roleplaying Game Scenario

Warning! Might contain spoilers of the movie!

Basically, you could choose any modern horror game for this. Or any other modern game if you don't want to put that horror RPG of yours on the table when players might know already what's coming. I think this scenario could work best, if players don't know before game that it's supposed to be horror. But if you start running game with average characters set in modern time where player characters are supposed to do what they normally would do, wouldn't players anticipate horror anyways?

Player characters should be normal average people. They live normal life but you should ask players to write one "dark secret" per character, which other players shouldn't know. Those dark secrets are the key, why they are later stuck in the elevator and why Devil wants them! Also, it could be good to add a couple of NPCs. Those are the ones who you kill first and those are the game elements what tell players that something is not right in the elevator!
So, characters are normal people and they don't know each other. They just happen to be in the same elevator because they have errands to run in the same building. Ask players what their business should be in the building during the character build.

In my opinion players shouldn't be aware of each others characters and who they are, what they do. That should be drama and they could talk to each other when stuck in the elevator.

So, now we got characters, who have dark secret and the reason why the Devil wants them. Characters have a reason to go to that building and they have background they can in-character talk about with each other.

In the movie trigger for the Devil to come visit the building was suicide. Suicide invites the Devil. So one or more of the characters might see that there was a suicide before they enter the building. It's up to them how they take it, but you could lighten it up and try to make it just "normal every day life what happens". Someone might know that there's one firm what lost great amounts of money, or have heard rumors of it. Anyways, great business building and bad economics or failure in business could end up someone killing himself.

In the elevator they are strangers. Might say "hi" out of politeness if it's their character. But then there's power cut or something and the elevator gets jammed! For some reason (in the movie) there were no floors near to get out from the elevator, but if there was, the doors would be stuck and cannot be crammed open. They might buzz alert button but microphone doesn't work. They can hear voice from control center though. Or if you don't want to add more NPCs they could be totally alone in the elevator.

Now I suggest you let players interact together. Let them do what they do. Let players play their characters. More you are silent at this point, more players realize that hey, we are stuck here and maybe they start to interact or co-operate trying to figure a way out. Or maybe one of the NPCs stuck with them is an ice breaker.

Then, let the small things happen. Scratch/bitemark on the back or something small. They might accuse each other for that, be paranoid but only you know it is supernatural. When things start to go wrong, lights go out and when they come back, one of the NPCs is dead. Who is guilty of manslaugter? But that wasn't the last one to come...

Problem here is that this is not terrifying if after NPCs you continue killing player characters one by one. Some of the players would be left out of the game, and that is not fun. But if you just kill the NPCs but let player characters alive, that is boring as well. One suggestion is that when a player character is killed, he gets to play a NPC and gets more insight knowledge and can try to help other players. At this point you can open communications to the elevator and let one dead player at first be the security guard. The next possibly police officer etc. Maybe even someone who tries to fix the elevator.

If some dead player character's player becomes elevator repairer you might want to get him on top of the elevator but he cannot get in. That's how that player can communicate with other's through the elevator ceiling. Point is though, that player character's are stuck in the elevator as long as Devil wants them to be there.

Also, if dead player characters get to play NPCs you can share some extra infromation for them and it is up to them how they use the information in the benefices of other players. Will they help, how much they will tell what they know etc. For example one NPC in command center might tell about this myth about Devil and he suspects that the Devil is here because of the suicide (like in the movie) and one dead character's player gets to play his co-worker hearing these stories. Does he believe it? And after another player character dies and player gets to play police officer, how does he take these Devil talks?

This is thriller where player characters actually co-operate and get to know (after their "main characters" death) other corners of the story. But who is the Devil? I suggest, it will be another of the two player characters still alive. Give one note per survived character. Other note reveals the mystery and tells player that he is actually the Devil, and note tells what he actually wants to do in the elevator and reveals that this player's character killed everyone else there. Other player gets just some random note. Something about... well, go figure it out. Something that doesn't yell out loud "I am just a note and this message is nonsense, I bet other player got something reeeally sweet!" Try make irrevelant note also something that will make player think that other player didn't get anything more revealing.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

My rpg alphabets

A-Z, first rpg or word related to my gaming and few words explaining it.

A for Attacks. Even though usually my games are more drama than action, fighting sequences are cool. Actually, fighting in my games is more awesome as it is rare.
B for Botch. Nothing is more annoying or more hilarious than a botch. In bad case you feel like tearing your character sheet to shreds, but sometimes you cannot stop laughing.
C for Character. Characters are as important or even more important as an adventure. You can read adventure aloud from source book for any character, but it is characters what make it unique.
D for Dice. Every roleplaying game needs some sort of dice. Otherwise it can lack the "game" part. And dice are fun. How often else I could use my favourite, 10-sided one?
E for Epic. Don't know how epic my games are, but I like to think that they are deep enough to stick out. I don't use pre-made material, but rather write adventures on the go based on player (character)'s decisions also.
F for Frenzy. Even though frenzy is only one rule in Vampire: the Masquerade, it is not that simple. Player should be able to roleplay his character's frenzy, or otherwise it's just rolling dice.
G for GURPS. GURPS, maybe best known universal system. I have played it, but decided to never again touch its core book. Still, I got few GURPS supplements, and they are great.
H for Heaven Vs Hell. My first real rpg project. But I didn't like how rules worked, so I did start working out YDIN generic rules for me to use. Forgot HvH and started to put my mind on YDIN instead.
I for Indie. At first I thought that indie games are some weird stuff with weird rules and shared storytelling and really narrow focus on possibilities. Then I found out, that "indie" can be also more traditional rpg, it's just basically that it wasn't printed by big company.
J for Jokes. There must be fun in games and gaming. You are there having good time. But if you launch a fart-joke during suspension moment in Cathulhu, I don't approve.
K for Kult. Oh why the setting is so awesome and full of terrific horror, but the system is one I don't like. And why haven't I modded it, so I could play it's awesomeness. Still, I have used elements of Kult in other games every now and then.
L for Loot. Loot is most definately for certain types of games and campaigns. But oh golly how fun it is to collect. Bonus fun, if you get to roll random chart what dire rabbits pockets contain.
M for Monsters. Monsters are great. But I'd like to run a game, where monsters are unique and not found in Monster Manual; they could be more terrifying. Maybe I should check out Lamentations of the Flame Princess.
N for Nuurori. Some weird "kid" who has this obsession with techno-playing and stuff. Posts thoughts in few forums and trolls this blog. He has project called Space-Jerusalem. Go check it out!
O for (now LibreOffice). This is my tool to save and edit also rpg documents and material. Neat free program. Had to include OOo (LibreOffice) because I do use it really a lot for rpg related things.
P for Pooka Trickster. Pooka Trickster is one type of fae included in Vampire: the Masquerade antagonists section. It sounds silly, and at the time I used to call my girlfriend that. Or just Pooka. No reason, her name doesn't even sound close that.
Q for Quarterstaff. Wizards main weapon. But why is it so lame? I mean, in Baldur's Gate it's almost better to throw sticks on enemies than use that. I want more things like Quarterstaff-Of-Doom-For-Beginner-Wizards-So-They-Don't-All-Look-Old-People-With-Leg-Or-Back-Problems.
R for Revenge. Every now and then someone close to player's character dies. There has been more than one time when player character has had revenge in his/her mind. Great drama, and it is good that player is fond enough for NPC that she wants to revenge his/her death through her character - or something.
S for Space. Science fiction is not my favorite, but Fading Suns is so cool, that I have GM'd two really long campaigns in it. Actually Fading Suns campaigns might both have been longest campaigns I've ever ran.
T for Taunt. I wish more games had a system, where you can taunt enemy and gain maybe a bonus? Or if you fail, enemy gets better attack bonuses on you. In movies they always put each other down before attacking.
U for Underdark. That's where drows live, Isn't it? I kinda like drow. Warhammer drow are badass, but Drizz't Pantsy has ruined the image of drow forever. And ever. I hate him.
V for Violence RPG. I downloaded it, I laughed at it's low humor. And the rules, they are priceless. Whole book is really fun to read, but can you actually run it? I suppose you cannot. But if you are over 25 years old and can take loads of cussing, you should read it. Bad taste of humor is huge bonus.
W for Wizard. Wizards in D&D are dull in my opinion. I like more free sorcerers, even though they might not be as powerful as wizards. And I've always found young low level wizard as a stupid weakling. Old wizards, they are too dumbledore. Can do stuffz but never do anything helpful. Except the evil ones, they do harmful.
X for Xenophobia. I think there should be more xenophobia in science fiction, what I have seen. I've blogged about it here.
Y for Yglbraghagrag. Why always orc priests, lizardman gods and Mythos monsters must be random letters in most unreadable way possible? Who remembers those? And then people wonder for silly nicknames. GM: "Orc god of doom is named Yglbraghargrag." Players: "Ok, George it is."
Z for Zombies. Almost every game has zombies, and there are games dedicated for zombies. Maybe most well-known is All Flesh Must Be Eaten. Since zombies hit popular culture, they have been here to stay. Zombies in dungeons, zombies in space, zombies in wild west. Beware, zombies.

Now, you dear reader go fill your rpg alphabets, and link them to comment section below! Remember, first thing that comes in your mind, is your first answer.

Eerie fairy forest (Youtube video inspiration)

When you hear strange music, but no one playing. Feel that you are watched, but don't see anyone. When you see strange vegetation which seems to be alive, you know, that you have wandered too deep. Fairies are tricky folk. Some are playful, some tricksters, some just want to observe strangers. Where there is fairy magic, the forest is alive.