A month of roleplaying games

Gormash's picture

The past month has been heavily influenced by roleplaying games. No, I don't mean those pixelpased things that you have in these newfangled fancy magic pee-cee things, but rather graphite- and imagination-based games with actual social interactions.

In late November I gathered a good friend and two colleagues from work over to create a setting and characters for a game. We knew we'd likely not be able to play until early January, but this only gives me, as the GameMaster, plenty of time to prepare all the nitty gritty details.


Brainstorming in the asylum

We're trying out Fate Core, a very freeform game. In fact, part of creating characters include making our own setting. After a little brainstorming we settled on a generic fantasy world where an old Empire recently (last two generations) broke apart into hundreds of quibbling and warring nations and citystates.

One thing gave me pause though... One of the players wanted to play a Golemancer, giving life to inanimate bodies. How the heck allow this without making this character either too dull to play or incredibly overpowered? I asked for some tips at the G+ community for Fate, and after a picking and choosing from the dozens of replies I made my own system. In fact, it was so good that one of the moderators (and original playtesters) said he'd steal it for his own campaign. ^_^
Probably won't mean much to you, but here it is: Golemancy Fate rules
Oh, and the player liked it as well. ;)

-------------------------------

How much have you paid attention to "Torment: Tides of Numenéra"?
If you're as excited as I you'd know that it's based on the setting "Numenéra" by Monte Cook. Well, I've been reading up on the corebook of the game, and DAMN! I'm in love!

Not only are the book VERY well put together with handy crossreferences to everything you'll be likely to look up, but also extremely well illustrated with atmospheric artwork what really bring forth the feeling the game is going for: Mystery.

The rules are simplicity itself. I'm not going too much into the details here, but here's a few bulletpints of what I think are the best aspects of it:
- Only three stats (Might, Speed and Intellect) that not only measure how good you are at various tasks, but also can be spent to improve on exhausting tasks.
- Minimal die-rolling. You only need a D20, and you don't add/subtract to/from it.
- The GM doesn't roll dies. Players roll to attack, and they roll to defend themselves.
- Minimal stats on NPCs reduce paperwork (most often only 1 stat, some important NPCs 4-5 stats/abilities)
- Only three "classes", but infinitely flexible character generation due to Descriptors and Focus that adds variation.

But that all pales to the setting. I utterly ADORE it.

The short and very simplified version is that the setting is Earth, our world, aproximately one billion (with a B) years into the future. During that completely unthinkably long time eight immensely great and powerful civilizations have risen and falled. Some of these civilization managed to span the stars, some have seeded the world with microscopic nanomachines, some have even modified our star so it's been refreshed/reborn and broken realities wall and punched into other dimensions. And at LEAST one of these civilizations were utterly nonhuman.

No one knows how these civilizations fell, but as far as living memory knows it's somewhere between 800 and 1000 years since humanity started crawling back up from savagery and into something resembling medieval civilization, and thus starting "the ninth world".
The world is a weird and mystical place, often littered with ruins or artifacts of ancient times. These artifacts, called Numenéra by the inhabitants, are both valuable and dangerous, and more often than not completely enigmatic and confusing. Even the wildlife and flora bear the mark of genetic manipulation and tinkering.

One of the most dangerous hazards are the Iron Winds: A sandstorm made up of nanites, completely directionless and insane nanomachines. Anything caught in this stor is altered at random. Any creature caugt in it is lucky if they die quick, otherwise they'll live out the rest of their short life in utter agony as their flesh has melted away and been changed around, even grafted with rock and metal parts that make no sense. (Think of Tetsuo in the last part of Akira)

The fun of this setting is that some people are able to use excedingly advanced tech that looks like magic to anyone watching, and they might not even know it themselves. ^_^

Anyway, I'm REALLY looking forward to try this game!

EDIT:
By the way, this game has the most original and beautiful character sheet I've seen.
Here, just take a look.

-------------------------------

The final RPG is a really short and cute one that I found today:
Hero Kids

It's an RPG aimed at kids age 4 to 10, with very simple yet flexible rules. It took me half an hour to read up on the rules, and while it lack a way for the players to advance (no XP) it has everything needed.
It even came with a 19 page intro adventure that I've printed out and assembled.


Everything ready for sending the Hero Kids into danger!

The premise is that the small village of Riverton is constantly attacked by vile beasts and horrid monsters, so most of the grownups have to go out adventuring to keep it safe. But, while they are away something bad happens and the kids have to take matters into their own hand:
A friend has been kidnapped by goblins, a unicorn is spotted in the woods and has to be protected from the bullywog patroling there, the town baker fell into a whole in the ground and the kids have to go down after him.

The rules are really simple, but flexible enough that kids can make up their own characters/classes. In short you roll 1 or more ordrinary six-side dice and pick the one with the highest number. If you beat the difficulty number set by the GM or the opposed roll you win. In combat ties goes to the attacker.


Zipplocked and ready to bring along

I plan on having an evening or two of this game sometime the next week. :)

Comments


Stigg's picture

That's awesome! Keep us updated on the adventure!


Gormash's picture

After dinner today I pulled out the Hero Kids set I've printed out and prepped, and invited my son to try. After all, he's been pestering me to get it ready ever since he first heard what it was all about.

We ran the introductory adventure "Rats in the basement" where a young boy at the local tavern is kidnapped by giant rats and pulled down into some tunnels below the tavern basement.
My son chose the Knight-kid as his character, despite me urging him not to as it's a heavily defense-focused character with the ability to take wounds directed toward his allies, something that's almost worthless with him playing alone. But alas, when he sets his mind on something, that's waht he chooses. Probably because the illustration is cool.

He quickly grasped the idea of combat and that you roll X dice based on your stats and choose the one with the highest result. He also disliked getting hurt and wanted to quaff a healing potion at the slightest bruise, despite having only two available.


Extremely concentrated when rolling initiative

The initiative roll to determine who went first gave him some problems, though. It seemed like he didn't understand the NEED for it, when all he wanted to do was rush in there and whap some rat heads.
In the end he entered the Rat King's lair (the shot you see above) and managed to thoroughly kick his pink tail into the afterlife.

The mechanics were fairly easy to explain, but some things brought him up short: Anytime I narrated something he couldn't see (being given the key to the basement, finding a small chest, etc) he demanded to see a picture and couldn't quite grasp it. I had to explain many, many times that it was a "pretend" game and that some things he had to pretend happened even if he couldn't see it.

Still, it went really well and took about 45 minutes to run through. Almost immediately after doing the mighty deeds he asked "Dad, can we play it again tomorrow?"
And a little while later he asked "Can we play it EVERY day?"
And the best part of this is that he has NO idea that here's loads more in store:
- I have several adventures lying in wait, some long (2 hours) and some short (30 minutes)
- 20 characters with different abilities to try out, and possibility of making your own
- Multiplayer fun when his brother comes home and can play with him
- Opens up WIDE when he discovers the power of real roleplaying

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.