Thursday, July 18, 2013

Gaming and Other Topics

Lately I've been doing a lot more reading of RPG books then actual playing of RPGs.  I've fallen in love with Dungeon World and am secretly making plans to get my group to try it out one night when the regular game falls through again.  I've been following its G+ Community and Subreddit.  I read through the book and the guide that was written up to help wrap your head around the game and its paradigm.  I can see the fantastic merits to this game, why can't everyone else?

Listening to podcasts about various games makes me want to jump up and play those various games.  Currently in the podcast rotation I have Smiling Jack's Bar and Grill, a Savage Worlds show, Roleplay DNA, a more all encompassing rpg show, The Neo-Anarchist Podcast, a show from the future about the history of Shadowrun.  I've also been listening to the Order 66 Podcast about the new Star Wars:Edge of the Empire game and Narrative Control, which covers gaming and larger picture ideas.

So just from those I have Savage Worlds, Star Wars, Shadowrun, Fate Core, Cortex Plus and a smattering of other games on my mind. I really need to organize my time better so I could possibly get some of these games in online on weekends.

Otherwise I haven't been doing much else with my hobbies. I've been slowly painting through my Warmachine and Hordes armies. I might even have finished a whole model soon, so be on the lookout for pictures.  I haven't cast any plaster in a month or so. My last batch leaked all over the board and I need to scrape that clean in order to cast any more.  I do still have some Merlin's Magic left so I need to use that up.  I haven't even started priming or painting the Bones Kickstarter yet. If I can get on the painting band wagon and do that more often then one gaming night a week I might be able to make progress into that batch.

I did make some progress in recording some test audio for a podcast. It came out pretty good. Now to settle down on one topic and write out some show outlines.

Monday, July 8, 2013

More Discussion on Pen and Paper Gaming

In addition to the two games I talked about last week, I've also been enamored with Fate Core.  Since I just got my hardback copy of the book I've slowly been reading back through the rules to remind myself how it plays.  Since I was in on the kickstarter they've been putting out various versions of the rules, getting feedback, fixing things, putting out another draft, more testing and feedback and finally releasing the final product.  Since a couple of things changed through the various versions I've read I'm getting acquainted with the final version of everything and how to plan out a game I'd like to run.

One of the awesome things about Fate Core is that it can cover a huge spectrum of game types and settings. The number of dials in the rules that you can tweak to make your game more or less like one thing and bring it to where you want them to be is enormous.  One of the hard things about such a setting is the number of dials that you can adjust.  The Fate Core G+ community is a fantastic resource especially for this issue.  Reading through the posts from people having the same mind block on the enormity that you can cover and not knowing where to start lets me realize I wasn't alone in my thoughts.  Thankfully the groups is very helpful in trying to help figure out where you want your game to go and how you want it to get there.

In addition to building up your own setting, there were a number of settings that the kickstarter put into motion.  They will be coming out later this year in a couple of compendium books.  Two of the settings that I am really interested in are Wild Blue and Camelot TRIGGER.  Wild Blue is set on another world where settlers have moved to another new continent and settled it.  It has an american western feel, but the land is much different.  There are trees that get lighter as they age which they then float into the sky.  There is the metal cobalt which lends is properties to the weapons and structures of the setting.  Also each of the PC's will have some kind of power. All powers do have a drawback though.  You might be able to fly, but only in sunlight.  Or you can tell if someone is telling the truth but you can never speak a lie.  They might not even be related. You can shoot force bolts from your hand but you can't eat solid food.  Your group will play as Wardens of the Queen protecting the lands from pirates, the Others and all manner of banditry.  I am greatly looking forward to this setting.  Camelot TRIGGER is a giant mecha setting with King Arthur and the Knights of the Round.  It takes place in the Sol System with each planet having knights and politics of its own. Players will mostly likely be knights of various stripes with the big bad of the setting being MerGN-A the AI that is trying to destroy all of humanity. I'm a fan of what I've read on the setting so far and giant mecha has a special place in my heart.

So in other news, I have a question for anyone reading this blog.  I have thoughts on starting a gaming podcast and I would like to know what people would be most interested in listening to.  Ideas that I've been kicking around include; Actual play of various games and one shots, Discussion of various rules sets, Discussion on various settings, Some kind of review where it would be on initial reading of the rules and then after a playthrough.  If anyone has any other ideas or suggestions I would love to hear about it, either on this blog in the comments or on G+.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Pen and Paper Gaming

So lately I've been reading RPGs that are a bit off from the normal of what I'd read.  Warning, wall of text incoming as I talk about them.

Lately it's been Dungeon World.  I had never heard of Apocalypse World before and looking back it's probably because it doesn't advertise, except through word of mouth, at least not in the usual areas of the internet I look for new RPGs to follow.  Someone linked to their Kickstarter and the initial pitch intrigued me enough to through in my support for the finished PDF.  The kickstarter ended and I got the link to download Dungeon World PDF.  I tried reading it a couple of times but it never really grabbed me.  Eventually I was reading a post on the Fate Core G+ community and someone referenced something from Dungeon World that sounded really cool.  I can't remember the exact details but it stuck in my head and I remembered I had the PDFs so I dug them out and read through the book.  I'm not going to lie, it takes a couple of tries at wrapping your mind around how Dungeon World works.  It is a very narrative game, actually its almost entirely narrative.  When you, as the GM, describe a scene, say one of combat with some kobolds, as soon as you finish describing the scene you look to the players and ask "What do you do?". You don't stop telling the story to set up the map and miniatures, you just start asking what they do, and they respond.  I know, I had a hard time wrapping my mind around this concept as well. So instead of having powers or charms or abilities, you have moves. Depending on your class you'll have moves for your class, but then everyone will also have basic moves.  They go something along the lines of When you attack an enemy in melee roll +STR. Then its roll your 2d6 and check what you've done.  You have stats that give you bonuses that you'll add when appropriate. Most of the time if you roll 10+ you succeed without problems. For the 7-9 you might succeed but you'll have complications. On a 6- you fail, but you get XP. The thing that really turned on the light bulb for me was the part about just describing how you attack can change how your attack works. If I say that I'm going to hide behind a pillar while the kobolds shoot arrows at me, I dont have to worry about armor from the pillar. I said I'm standing behind it, case closed. If I try to pop out now though, now I'll have a hail of arrows to contend with.  Once you read it and grok how everything works it really opens your eyes to roleplaying in a whole new light.  I could go on about it but really just read the rules and you'll see.  They're free online at Dungeon World on Github.

The other game I've been reading a lot of lately is Star Wars:Edge of the Empire.  I know what you're thinking, aren't you already playing in a WEG Star Wars game? Why yes, yes I am. I was intrigued by EotE though and its weird dice mechanics.  So with Edge you have custom dice which have specific purposes. When you roll, you build a pool, starting with your ability dice, which are a measure of innate skill from attributes and skills. Then you add in difficulty dice, which are an inherent measure of the difficulty of the task.  With those basics you roll and check for the symbols, positive dice will have Advantage and Success markings while the difficulty dice will have Threat and Failure symbols. Threat and Advantage cancel each other out and Success and Failure do the same.  You now have a two axis plot of how you're action was accomplished.  You can succeed but have Threat cause issues and you can fail but Advantages will help you out.  Reading through the beginner box set has a great production value and a very concise and easy to understand intro to their ruleset.  I am greatly looking forward to a chance to play this game.

So those are the games I've been reading up a bit on lately.  There have been others but I'll wait until I've read more of them to talk about them here.  If you have any comments or questions let me know.