Friday, July 29, 2011

How different valued coins were abstract back then

ANKH, first game I both played and owned. Currency was in three different coins. Ten copper coins equals one silver coin. Ten silver coins equal one gold coin. Really, really simple. But what made it a bit funny and abstract when I think about it now.

Obviously, if something cost 2 silver coins and 5 copper coins and character didn't have change, he payed three silver coins and got 5 copper coins in return. That makes perfect sense. But one thing was bizarre. If character had 8 copper coins and got 5 copper coins more, magically those 13 copper coins transformed into one silver coin and three copper coins in his purse.

We marked currency down adding them together in coins and if there was enough that it would be more valuable currency, it transformed to it!

If character had 2 gold coins, 8 silver coins and 9 copper coins and he got 12 copper coins wouldn't it be logical, that he now had 2 gold coins, 8 silver coins and 21 copper coins? Yes, but our logic told character now had:
1 copper coin, 0 silver coins and 3 gold coin!

How silly. Too much math in school I guess.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Few adventures and stories I've GMed and played in a nutshell

One night I was remembering all games I've been involved and there are like hundreds of them. Some I don't remember at all, some distantly and some really clearly. Here I will write some of games I have been in. Not that detailed descriptions but just short overviews.

Games I have Gamemastered

Vampire: The Masquerade - Night Speed Children
Chronicle about Toreador who wanted more. Game was about gaining respect from other clans as a Toreador proving to be something else than just an emotional and fragile artist. Also contained a lot of tuning cars. Character clashed with Sabbat what wanted him to join them.

Vampire: The Masquerade - After Sunset
Nosferatus and Brujah aren't pleased with Ventrue leadership and decide to start a revolution. Character and his sire finds out that Ventrue prince is not actually part of Camarilla or Ventrue at all. Brujah and Nosferatu team up to destroy the Ventrue administration of the city.

Vampire: The Masquerade - Before Dawn
Second part for After Sunset where fake Ventrue prince is destroyed and into city arrives a person who claims to be an investigator from Camarilla to find out what happened to Ventrue prince. But investigator is something else that he claims to be. Rogue Nosferatu who roams lands to destroy older vampires to gain power in goal to prevent Gehenna and wants player character to join his dark quest of murder.

Vampire: The Dark Ages - Eternal Autumn
Character's husband is murdered because they couldn't afford paying taxes and saint who is a legend embraces her to be a vampire. Character is introduced to vampire society and taken away from his miserable and poor peasant human life.

Praedor - Rings Of Summoning
Characters parents are murdered and she soon finds out that evil cultists are after rings of summoning and after her as she is more powerful than she actually knows. The quest begins where character tries to find the rings before evil cultists but accidentally she summons evil which she must now fight. But evil is not always as evil as is thought.

Fading Suns - Lost In Space
After quick escape from planet's authority something goes wrong entering Jump Gate and the crew gets lost in different dimension. Or that they think. Actually they got into the future and now they must get back to their own time escaping revengeful military captain who's space station they blew up. They get into different times before they get back home.

2300AD - Space Bacteria
Doctor with high reputation finds out about strange virus from space traveler. The virus seems to grow fast and has shared conscience and intelligence. He must stop the virus by traveling to that distant moon where the virus is evolved to a monster and it's only goal is to infect universe and grow big.

I ran out of time, so cannot post more at the moment, but maybe some day I will introduce few of the past games I've ran.

Paraller universes - the setting of dreams

This is just a draft of idea I got. It is not finished, detailed or thinked throughout. The idea is to use in a roleplaying game, campaign or even just one adventure. It is not rules specific, so could be used with almost any system.

Parallel Universes And Multiverse

First you might want to check this Wikipedia article to get some idea about this topic. There's lots of to read and I will just pick an idea or two from here and there. But you might want to refer to that Wikipedia article for more detailed article or if you are really interested in this topic, might want to find better articles from Google search.

What I write here, is fictional and doesn't represent my beliefs and should not read as an ultimate truth about life and existence. This is fictional idea for roleplaying purpose, not to be taken seriously from me.

The main idea I will introduce is that every choice you make in your life, splits to another dimension. If you decide not to go to work today but instead take a lazy day, dimensions split in half where in other dimension you went to work. Basically you split in two lives but are only aware of what you live in. As your split dimensional choice in parallel universe does also. You can imagine that there are countless of these multiverses from the beginning of humanity. Several of you, several of other peoples... countless parallel universes.

Also time is relevant. There is no time line in different dimensions and universes. Past is as present as future is.

Accessing Other Parallel Universes

You ever had a dream, where you were in a space ship, or commando mission or even a warrior in barbaric era of fantasy? That actually is reality. At least in some other universe.

Sometimes when you dream, you leave your body and enter a body of one of your parallel self of another multiverse, if also he is sleeping. As there are countless of different versions of you in different kind of realities, it's a big change that some of you is sleeping simultenously. That's when you get to live his life. But the results rarely are permanent as the real person did not live the moments. You just get to live a blink of his life what doesn't affect his life. And vice verca, some other parallel you might get into you when you sleep and live your life in his dream.

But there are some rare exceptions, where you actually live the life of parallel you and the cause is usually amnesia or disorientation of late past.

Also other trained people can access parallel universes via their parallel selves by meditation and astral travel. They might just randomly travel where they get, or try to focus to certain point they knew as their destination. It doesn't always work as the parallel self must be asleep to enter him. Some who master this practice of astral travelling might at will be able to take full control as long as the subject is asleep and make differences and really affect the universe he is.

Usually taking place in parallel universe is just a dream what doesn't affect anything. And usually people don't know they have traveled to other self in another reality as they just think it is an ordinary dream.

Story Seeds

Character sees dreams. Maybe when several player characters are asleep they meet at parallel universe together, as they know each other in this reality, they might know each other in another reality also. Or they might not know each other here, but might know each other in one or several of parallel universes. This might be a good story seed. Characters are everyday people not aware of each other in this "real" world, but when they sleep they are together fighting dragons, solving murder mystery in 20's or even in distress in spaceship emergency landed on an isolated planet. When they wake up, they are back in "real" world.
Will they try to seek each other in "real" world to find out what is going on? Will they accidentally see each other at streets and recognize each other from their shared dream? And what does it mean? What will they do, as their strange shared adventure continues every night.

Also one might try to change here and now by trying to travel into past to make his present future different. Problem is to master the arts of astral parallel travelling and also to find right place to make the difference. It will be a campaign to travel into past in different worlds from 20's gangster area to victorian slavery and fantasy world fighting orcs (at some point in history, maybe reality divided in half making orcs and high fantasy happen, who knows). After a change when he wakes up, world might be totally different, and he must travel back in his sleep or astral traveling to fix things and try another route. Results might be, that when he has changed the past and wakes up from his parallel travel world is not 21th century as we know, but dystopia after World War three occured in 70's. Everything can happen!

Game System And Setting To Use

Best effect you get is to use setting of modern times where we do live. It is familiar for players, so all the strange parallel universes of dreams will be more distant and weird. Also setting should be as down to earth as possible, so strange things feel more stranger.
For parallel travel you could use the same setting, but might give parallel universe setting detailed extra skills. You might decide them or let players pick few. It should be quick and it represents the things you do in dreams. Shoot weapons even if you never handled one or wield a sword. That happens in dreams and it is actually residual energy and memories of your parallel self.

For parallel universes you might want to use another game settings of your choice. But you could use the rules same to keep things simple.


This is just a quick idea I wrote down before I forget it. It is not completed, but with a little thinking and tweaking you might quite easily get your own inspiration from this text to run dream based parallel universe adventure.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

[oWoD] Translating old manuscript, example of how I deal with extended actions

Extended actions are those where you need certain number of cumulative successes to finish your task. Usually long term tasks like repairing a machine with several different parts in process or translating a manuscript where are several different sections. That manuscript translation is an example I am going to use here.

Core System For Extended Actions

I have to say that I've played Vampire: the Masquerade (most used oWoD system for me) so many years that I am not any more sure what is a house rule and what is written in the book. oWoD has evolved to this point how I play it now and I rarely have to check rulebook nowadays. So, I might give this core system for oWoD extended actions as it is presented officially, or there might be some house rules also. I am not sure anymore.

When Storyteller gives player character an extended action, Storyteller should determine these steps:

  • What attributes and skills is dicepool
  • What is the difficulty
  • How many successes is needed to accomplish the task
  • How much time one roll takes
Player can roll as many times as he has time to spend in his extended task or he fails miserably to negative overall successes.

Successes And Advancing

Every time player rolls his dice pool, it takes the amount of time Storyteller has ruled it to take. In that time player gets as many successes to his overall task accomplishment as he had successes in that roll. These successes are cumulative.

Example 1. Rolling successes.
Character is trying to translate manuscript. Storyteller tells, that it uses Intelligence and Occult for dicepool. Difficulty number is 7 and one roll takes 2 hours to accomplish. Storyteller might or might not tell the final successes needed, but in this example Storyteller has told that translating the manuscript needs total of 10 successes.
Player rolls his dicepool and gets 3 successes. In 2 hours he has advanced roughly 1/3 of translating the manuscript and can continue the work.

When player character gains all needed total successes, he is done with the task.


Time how much one roll takes time in game world is essential. It determines, how much player character can do it in a row. For a vampire night might turn to morning before she can continue or there might be a deadline in which time period it must be ready. But in some situations studying and translating the manuscript there might be infinite time available if player does it for his character's own purposes. Still, there might be other activities what can delay the work.

Failing A Roll

When player fails his roll not gaining a single success he hasn't advanced a bit in his extended task.

Example 2. Failing.
Character has already translated 3 successes worth of the manuscript during the first 2 hours and continue his work. Player rolls dice, but doesn't get a single success. His character spends next 2 hours, but cannot advance in his translation at all.

Even though character fails advancing in his task, if there is time to continue it right after or even later some other day, he can do so without a penalty. It only means that during that last 2 hours he didn't advance in what he did. Maybe there was a hard part, his mind wasn't completely set in a task or what ever. He spent that 2 hours trying, but without advancing.


When there are no single successes and result 1's, character botches (basic rules). That means, that during that period of continuing the work something went wrong, and player character looses as many successes that far as there are 1's. But you should also include this in roleplaying. Some possibilities in manuscript translation why character's work had a step back.

Example 3. Botching.
Character has already gained 6 successes of needed 10 and he continues his work. This time his highest number is 6 what is not a success and also he got three 1's. He botched and decreases 3 from his overall successes this far. Storyteller tells, why player character's work had a drawback. He spilled coffee on his work and must do that part again.

There are several possibilities to explain botching and the drawback it caused. Here are few to give some inspiration for botching translating manuscript:

  • Spilled coffee on work
  • Forgot to save and computer crashed
  • Fire alarm set off (in this Storyteller can roleplay this, or just tell how fire alarm set off and now player character is standing outside of the building with his notes he had time to gather some of them missing, or took his laptop in a haste and forgot to save)
Also you might not want to set drawback to successes but instead rule that something came in the way that disturbed character's work so much he cannot continue it for some time. Urgent things to take care of, office he is working in fire, hostage situation or something...

Or if character gained enough 1's for really bad botch (at least 5) then combine the two. He lost the work and also is disturbed so much cannot continue for a while.

When It Just Doesn't Work?

You might also rule, that when successes are in negative (botches after botches) the current work cannot be continued at all. It is up to you, should it be -1 to successes or even -5 when character must basically start all over again after he has for example advanced in skill dot or even gained new knowledge or new resources to continue.
It doesn't mean that character cannot ever again do it. It just means with those skills he has now or with currently available resources it is not possible. So character must re-invent the study with new resources.

It could simply be buying and installing a better software for a computer, getting a book or two around the topic of the manuscript, learning more with experience (points), talking with more experienced person to gain new ideas or even a small side quest.

If your adventures main plot is to translate that manuscript to be used it would be really inconvenient if it just was not possible. Work your way around so character can do it. It might take extra trouble, investments to better equipment or even a side quest to continue that.

Don't let dice to ruin your game, let them be your guide what possibly can happen and how.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

I need some equipment to be able to write while in bed

This post is about moments of inspiration mixed with generally being lazy and wanting maximum comfort.

I do have a tabletop computer, but sometimes I just don't want to sit at desk. It is not the nicest position and especially after a long day I want to be in comfortable position. Even my urge to write this blog or continue one of my projects is not strong enough that I would always sit there.

But I also have a laptop but there are two problems. Usually in evenings my girlfriend is using it surfing internet or watching videos as I do something else like read. Even though that was available for me it is way too big, heavy and clumsy to be used comfortably in bed. Also big problem is the heat. It's got enough already so I don't need extra sources of heat in the bed.

I do have also this Nokia N82 with unlimited internet access, but the buttons are really uncomfortable. They are small and hard and keeping this mobile phone in hand while writing makes every single inch of my hands hurt. I can surf internet and write short posts with this but creative writing doesn't sound good idea. Also this is a bit slow to operate and when I write I want all the stuff from my brains out as fast as possible and I want my ideas to flow freely into text and edit it later.
I could write some simple notes down and write them better later when on PC but for that purpose old good pen and notebook works better (I gotta buy a notebook!)

I also have old but working Pentium 2 300Mhz in working condition I could put in bedroom. But I'd need some small screen next to bed. Not too clumsy looking. Not sure are there small 11" or something LCD screens what would work with that old times. Also cordless keyboard and mouse would be a must. Don't want extra cords next to bed only because I get inspiration when tired and lazy. But this is an idea I could consider. One problem is though that current OS installed is Windows XP and it is way too slow. Tried to install Ubuntu but the PC isn't powerful enough. Need to find some light but easy to use possibly Linux based OS for it first.

So, should I just go old school and buy a nice set of different color pens and a notebook or should I start to tune my ancient Pentium into bed(room) word processor? Or should I try to make short notes with there horrible buttons of N82 risking the health of my wrists (because of work I have had minor wrist problems)?
If I just had a notebook I'd start to write some fun stuff for my YDIN setting. Computers seem to be too dominant today as I am short of paper.

I'll check now what kind of options this mobile phone provides for text writing, then maybe write a thing or two and continue reading

Frelling in Fading Suns

I am currently editing and blogging my Fading Suns campaign's game sessions to my campaigns blog (you can find it here in Finnish, but google translate can give you a hint what's going on). When saving sessions to blog I found that we use a lot of word "frell" when playing characters. Some of you know that frell is word from tv series Farscape and it is basically an space equivalent for F-bomb.

Usually characters in my games don't curse that much if it doesn't suit for character or NPC concept. People speak quite strictly in that manner. But in Farscape word frell was used quite frequently and I think it suits it. Everyone knows what it means and how it is used, but somehow it doesn't sound as vulgar as dropping F-bombs. I also like Farscape a lot and maybe got an idea from here and there to my campaign. Actually, after watching four seasons of Farscape I got urge to play Fading Suns.

So, we took word frell from Farscape and made it into Fading Suns lexacon, and now we had people frelling!

"What the frell was that?"
"Let's get the frell out of here!"
"This frelling machine doesn't work."

It sounds scifi and for some reason gives more depth in situations of distress or frustration. And it's fun and safe to use. Even though frell is just another science fiction space word for f*** it is not that bad.

Also another word we used was "dren", what is equivalent for s**t. Not as much as frell, but some times. When reading campaign session save games, using both of these words every now and then in a situation you would say f**k or s**t but instead characters say frell or dren, it gives a nice extra touch for the game. There have popped also few other words, but not often enough to mention.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

So hot!

How I experience summer heat should be also noticed on roleplaying games. For me +25C is too much. I like temperature to be around +20C in the summer. This summers best this far has been +33C when I almost literally melted. Today has been quite bad - +30C last time I checked.

So, what's the problem? I mean, last winter it was few weeks around and over -30C and generally few months over -20C. Ok, I don't like that cold, but if I had to choose which end of that 60C yearly temperature difference I'd prefer the most, I'd go with the lower end I guess.

ANYWAYS, there is a point here. I don't like heat and I don't function well. Don't like to work, basically suffer all the time, don't want to do anything. I just feel uncomfortable and it sucks.

Based on me, I naturally as a nerd started to think how my attitude problem towards heat would work in roleplaying games. And here's how:

HAVE OF HEAT (disadvantage, flaw, or similar)

Level 1. Easiest for character, less valuable for extra character points. When temperature is above +30C and there are on cooling available (ice cold beverage, cooling fan, possibility to strip etc.) character suffers mediocre negative modifies to his actions.

Level 2. Mediocre for character, mediocre value for extra character points. Same as above but also temperature above +25C already gives minor negative modifiers to actions without cooling.

Level 3. Hard for character, high value of extra character creation points. Temperature above +20C gives medium penalties for actions unless cooling is available. +25C gives high penalties for actions unless cooking is available. Over temperature +30C high penalties apply to actions and cooling doesn't provide any help. Character just cannot stand that hot at all.


I hope this works. If I recall this is my first time blogging from mobile phone. Let's hope it works!