Bite Size Actual Play July 2012

edited July 2012 in Actual Play
D&D, we are in the catacombs of the Iron God, and find an area of magical darkness. Stumped, we send in the poet (technically a scholar).

DM: "You bump into something, it feels like iron, has four legs, and a rounded top."
Poet: "There's a statue of a turtle in here!"
DM: "The legs are taller than you would expect for a turtle."
Poet: "A turtle.... ON STILTS!"


  • He truly is a poet.
  • I've been playing World of Dungeons with my girlfriend Carly. Awhile ago we watched Bender's Game and she came away wanting to play a D&Dish game. She'd tried D&D before, though, didn't like it, and so asked me to play something with her that was "more like Apocalypse World." Here came World of Dungeons which was all that I wanted and no more!

    I got my hands on B1 - In Search of the Unknown and on one martini-drenched afternoon we played until I couldn't describe the dungeon in anything but a wizard voice. Her character, Wester the wizard, negotiated with magic mouths, stomped centipedes, found hidden golden coins in the mouth of a demonic idol by sacrificing a rat to it, and befriended an orc (who she's named Gruk) before being severely wounded by kobolds and being chased into a stairwell and barricading the entrance. She has only explored maybe 4 or 5 rooms in the 50+ room dungeon and she's having a blast.
  • The SundaySkypers wrapped up their Spirit of the Century story arc and damn if we didn't leave chomping at the bit for more. In a nutshell, the heroes managed to escape by the skin of their teeth and the sabotage they did to Shah Khan's flying fortress left both of them licking their wounds. What was extra interesting to me was the game system talk after the session. I'm grooving on the fact that a bunch of gamers can meet over the internet and not only yuck it up but do some critical analysis as well.
  • Ran my first session of Lady Blackbird last night and it had an awesome ending. After getting past an imperial blockade and navigating the Remnants, Lady Blackbird finally arrives at the lair of Uriah Flint. He is shocked to see her. She first met him after he kidnapped her, they fell in love, and she convinced her parents to pay his ransom. Turns out only one of them was in love, but the other is in love with the idea of trying to ransom Lady Blackbird again. She offers a toast to Uriah’s unexpected good fortune, but as he goes to drink it, she infuses the wine with lightning. Simultaneously, Snargle has shrunk himself to less than an inch tall and glided his way into Uriah’s mouth. The pirate king drinks the electrified wine and falls to the floor convulsing. Snargle re-enlarges himself and uses his mimic ability to perfectly mirror Flint.

    So the final scene of our game is Uriah Flint writhing on the ground as a perfect replica of himself bursts out his chest. “Well,” Lady Blackbird says to Snargle/Flint, “Looks like this is your ship now.” Bad. Ass.
  • damn, Blazmo, your crew plays it tight.
  • The Regiment at GPNW. John Harper announces he wants to "try out" some updated rules. But instead of WW2-era, we are playing Delta spec ops commandos in modern day Rio.

    He whips out an iPad, plays with Google Maps until he finds a street view of a terrible-looking "favela" slum on the outskirts of Rio.

    (I'm paraphrasing his prep here) "You are escorting a politician friendly to the CIA in a lightly-armored Land Rover through a path that he has insisted on but that you find way too dangerous. Two of you are bodyguards inside the vehicle. Two of you are on 120-sec alert back at base with full load outs and access to a tiny insertion chopper. You encounter a two-way ambush with a drug gang member firing a RPG from the front, and a SMG-armed crew dodging from car to car and firing bursts in your rear. WHAT DO YOU DO?"

    In medias res, indeed!
  • edited July 2012
    [Delta Regiment] This game was maybe my highlight of the convention. It was really fun and the "operation-as-adventure" with the Liberty moves between sound feel exactly like what a certain sub-set of my gamer friends (the overlap of RPG and Call of Duty / Battlefield / etc fans) needs.
  • Played Old Dogs as part of my 'Short Form Nordic Goodness' slot at GPNW.

    We played a group of radical animal activists who came together 30 years later for one last blaze of glory as we tried to invade a pharmaceutical plant. Using a 70s custom van. We popped a lot of pills before our run and things got real hazy.

    When Susan's character fell on top of a purloined bag of blood samples, I thought she had fallen on a bag of (laboratory) rabbits. I cried "gonzo" but the other players thought it was just my player being high.

    Excellent little game. Well worth 15 mins at your gaming table.
  • Durance; Good Omens con at Endgame with Sean Nittner, others.

    Over setup we come to find out that our planet is run by an idealistic, sober, church-going governor and a sly, capitalist Dimber Damber that provides the planet's denizens its sins and vices.

    The governor mandates that all convicts attend church on a daily basis; the chapel, located in the tunnel-compound ruled by the Authority, becomes the meeting place of the feminist revolutionary who has delivered the Dimber Damber an engineer who's discovered a whole host of high-altitude emeralds in the planet's mountain ranges. The crime-lord and engineer strike a deal, and as he stands up his coat opens; green jewels pour out. A riot ensues - the trigger-happy marine fires on the crowd, and the Dimber Damber dies in terror (we rolled the dice, had a tie - 'someone dies, filled with terror').

    In the ensuing chaos, the governor falls from grace as he attempts to install his pawn as the new Dimber Damber, but in the mean time the old crime lord's right-hand man has pulled together the convict auxiliary (that the governor had raised to help handle the incoming deposit of prisoners) and seizes control. From there everything falls to pieces - the feminist revolutionary attempts to blast her way through the convict auxiliary to get the sables on the return ship (there's no way they're letting the women go); the bumbling marine is installed as Dimber Damber after he smears the new one's reputation; others die, rise, fall.

    All in all, it was an awesome story that come together collaboratively, with no prep. So good.
  • (Jenga) Dread: We're a bunch of scavenging assholes who think we've found the big score - a colony ship dead in deep space. We're wrong; it is full of space zombies and we go from FUBAR to very, very FUBAR. Tower falls, comms guy goes nuts. Tower falls, medic and the alien get blown up, taking the escape pod access code with them. My guy, the captain of our rapidly dwindling mercenary band, gets to an escape pod that had already been opened. The only other survivor, the engineer, could squeeze in with me and maybe we'd make it but maybe not. So I button up, tell him I'm sorry through the sealed hatch, and eject. He's fighting zombies and only heard the code once. The GM says "You can try to punch in the six-digit code from memory, one pull per attempt", and it was priceless. He actually made it on the third pull, and will surely be hunting his ex-captain across the universe. it was such a nice adjunct to the already player-skill focused rules of Dread to have him trying to remember that damn number as he pulled blocks.
  • Classic Traveller, at Dexcon:
    We travellers are in our very own scout ship, on a planet with habitable high elevation mountain peaks descending untold miles into lowlands with insidious and therefore unlivable atmospheres due to corrosive elements and high pressure. We have taken the ship to the very depths of the planet seeking a source of organic diamonds from which we plan to steal four tons and fill our cargo hold. We’ll make an easy 1 million credits per ton if we pull this off. We have overcome our own ineptitude--evidenced by things such as failing to plan for the debilitating impact of the atmosphere on our ship and our environmental suits, requiring multiple hasty repairs, plus the lack of robust enough harvesting equipment to cut diamonds--to harvest maybe a quarter ton of the organic diamonds. It is still a haul worth 250,000 credits, more with a good broker. We lift off from the surface counting our blessings...only to have the repairs to the ship fail! The ship implodes due to atmospheric pressure. No survivors. Awesome. The bottom line: the reason why the PCs are special is because they are the ones trying these schemes. If it were safe and easy, everyone would be doing it!
  • edited July 2012
    Ashen Stars ‘The Justice Trade’, at Dexcon:
    We’re a ship of Lasers--mercenary lawmen on the frontier of Combine space--hunting for a missing ship overdue at its next port of call. We find the ship, and track a missing shuttle to the planet Thrax, home of the insect-like Kch-Thk. The Kch-Thk are unique among the seven peoples of the Combine in that they possess a racial memory--immortality through rebirth. We have learned that the captain and crew of the shuttle have developed a biological weapon that will erase the genetic features allowing the Kch-Thk racial memory, making real death a possibility for the Kch-Thk. We are in a position to intercept the madman commanding the shuttle and put a stop to his evil scheme. But first, our captain insists on establishing a contract with the Kch-Thk planetary government in advance of services rendered! We have to pay the bills, after all!
  • edited July 2012
    Ninja Panda Taco at DexCon:

    My minion 'Stosh' didn't have much luck, continually backing the wrong Mastermind for reasons of sentimentality and simple loyalty. In the end , his tool belt sported only the pudding pump he started with, a golden throne, and a monofilament wire made of carbon nanotubes.

    Baron Rabid von Zeppelin came within a single step of ruling the world, the 'Pocket Lint' and 'Rule World' parts of his scheme successfully enacted. And though he thwarted more of his enemies' schemes than ay of the other Masterminds, even his Star Trek T-Shirt and Improbable Gun could not thwart the diabolical Dixie-loving aristocrat who eventually triumphed, leaving him alone to nurse a grudge with his Angry Racoons and take solace in his Fascist Fetish.
  • At Dexcon, I ran:

    Three sessions of Shinobigami (and learned a lot from each one! Most importantly, that it can work with just two players and one GM, and pretty well too). My session with Ken Hite and Irwin was an awesome one, with sufficient crying and stabbing, extreme photojournalism, arms dealers and fox-spirits.
    One session of Tenra Bansho Zero
    One session of Ryuutama, which was VERY fun, but I feel like I gave Krista too much paperwork as the merchant.

    A theme that came up recently was "moai heads", which is one of the monsters in Ryuutama, in the "Demon Stone" monster type. The travelers worked slowly towards a city on the shore, only to be attacked by two flying moai heads. They also had an ale-drinking contest with four catgoblins, which they won pretty much instantly. Matt's "Handsome Hansel" blacksmith with an iron church bell strapped to his back, and Adrian's anime healer-boy were some very fun and interesting characters.

    Yesterday, my bi-weekly Ryuutama group had to deal with the town's vampire rabbit problem. Because I was on a big Moai kick, it turns out that the vampire rabbits were actually controlled by a VAMPIRE MOAI HEAD. Which shot circle beams at the players like in Gradius. The players overcame the obstacle, and collected a few pelts plus a stone large shield (qualities: Sturdy, gross); this let them finally buy some armor!

    Boring monsters? Moai heads are the answer.

  • edited July 2012
    Dominic is the spoiled rich-kid star quarterback - but he's also the heir to some sort of monster-slaying destiny; turns out his father is the head of the Templars. Last night he went too far with a prospect for the cheer-leading squad, and ended up dumping her body in the ocean.

    Vincent is a male cheerleader. He thought it would get him some chicks, maybe some cred at school, but he was wrong... at least until he met a man who offered to make all his dreams come true. Now he's the head of the squad and top man on campus.

    Mara was a geeky A/V nerd who dreamed of being popular. The new head cheerleader said she could try out for the team if she cozied up to Dominic at the big New Years party. She doesn't remeber exactly what happened, but she woke up hours later on the beach, not feeling that well. Guess she's on the squad now though! And maybe she has a boyfriend!

    Mr Bernard, the new history teach has caught some students' attention. He's the guy who made the deal with Vincent, Mara seems to remember him being on the beach when she woke up, and Dominic recognizes him from the Templar's Most Wanted list.

    Things go very bad, very fast.
  • Mr Bernard, the new history teach has caught some students' attention. He's the guy who made the deal with Vincent, Mara seems to remember him being on the beach when she woke up, and Dominic recognizes him from the Templar's Most Wanted list.

    Things go very bad, very fast.
    I love making the teacher do double-duty as the dark power. Last game of Monsterhearts I played (Tuesday), we established that the dark power was another student - Mally. That was a super awesome idea, it turned out.
  • edited July 2012
    It worked super well; Dominic and Vincent 'teamed up' right away, leaving Mara out in the cold. They were gonna "run the school". Then Bernard showed up and the two boys quickly turned on each other, putting Mara is a great position to make her own play.

    Mara the Ghoul was amazing. Her Hunger was 'being popular'.

    We also had a late add character (Olivia the Ghost, played by my wife who has no role-playing background) who ended up being a Candyman/Bloody Mary analog. She started out in her Darkest Self, waiting till someone called her by name. Then she'd manifest, striking down bloody vengeance and horror and then voluntarily become her Darkest Self again, vanishing. Then she'd wait till some fool called her again.
  • Her Hunger was 'being popular'.
    That's the best thing ever.
  • Apocalypse World: The world ended in ice, not in fire. Lobster, the Chopper, has taken some of his boys down the way to buy fuel for their snowmobiles from their usual place, a gas station-cum-fort near Lady Belmont's hardhold. Nevermind that last week he smeared lady Belmont's son all over the snow; he didn't know who he was at the time, and she doesn't know he did it (and it was one Nero the Operator's gigs, anyway).

    There's one of her knights there, though, head-to-toe riot armor and an auto-shotgun. His friend at the gas station explains that Dipshit (that's his name) is taking down names: anyone who gets gas has to swear fealty to Lady Belmont. Fealty? Like, you give her some jingle and fight for her and she's got your back. Lobster's having none of it. He has Sunny, a big guy with a big grin, rustle a stun gun out of his machine and sneak up behind Dipshit while Lobster distracts him.

    Act Under Fire: Blown. Sunny's stun gun fails to go off, and when he checks it he tazes himself. Dipshit spins in surprise, firing; Sunny's hit twice before Lobster's machete takes him in the neck, between the armor plates. He's meat, Sunny's in a bad way; the closest medico is at Lady Belmont's. He has Kevin, the gang's rookie, load him up and roll off while he figures out what to do with Dipshit.
  • Cthulhu Dark, at Dexcon
    Andrew Mellon, his family, and the art broker Joseph Duveen confront the art critic Bernard Berenson at his Italian villa in an argument over the authorship of the 16th century painting ‘Adoration of the Shepherds.’ Berenson claims the work is by Titian; but his proofs cannot be expressed in words. The Mellons have begun to realize that Berenson has gone insane--and thinks himself to be Titian. Duveen, however, knows the claim to be false because the actual painter, Giorgione, speaks to Duveen in his dreams!
  • edited July 2012
    Metrofinal Transantiago at Story Games Seattle. We learn a important lesson about the pre-afterlife:

    Bodhisattvas do not wait in line.
  • Just finished a World Of Dungeons G+ hangout session. The cleric almost managed to kill the barbarian, who was on his last hit point after the final boss battle against an undead bugbear knight, while trying out a magical artifact with unknown powers at the end of the adventure. Luckily, the barbarian passed his CON save.

    What is even better was that the barbarian actually encouraged the cleric to try out the artifact, and gave him detailed instructions on how he might be able to activate it. The cleric failed his INT check and activated it in the direction of the barbarian as they were talking.
  • We just wrapped a playtest session of my Apocalypse World secret police hack and it went really well. One of their cases revolved around a wealthy art professor with subversive leanings that the Department Twenty (Culture and Religion) wanted to put away. They black bagged his place and found evidence that he was in deep with Department Six (Passport and Border Control) from way back, but why? They stole his file from a Department Six records facility and everything went to hell. In the end one State Security officer (poor, clueless Bates) was dead, another (a traitor) was missing, a third (a good man) was disgraced and the fourth worked a little bureaucratic magic to save his own tail. Sort of a blood opera, but it was a one-shot so they didn't hold back.
  • Heroquest 2.0, set in the City of Pavis

    Last session: ghouls swarm the city. The PCs find the rich merchant who paid to use the ghouls as shock troops in his war against a street gang. They teach him not to treat with chaos. Then, he gives them free passage into the Big Rubble (a county-sized ruined walled city) so that they can slay some scorpion men to use in exotic baked goods to feed the newly-arrived Troll caravan.

    No matter how high I am for High Fantasy, it always comes out sword and sorcery. But, then, I always liked Leiber and Vance more than Tolkien or Terry Brooks.

    Players still try to live out the heroic archetypes of the gods the follow. But they don't go about it stupidly.
  • A little earlier today I ran a session of Golden Sky Stories to playtest the new character types we're working on (pony henge and fish henge, with a rabbit and a dog joining in). The henge helped a girl find her little brother, who had wandered off to hang out with the local ocean goddess, Lady Nishiki. It took a bit of flailing around for them to reach the goddess' undersea palace, but it wasn't too hard for the henge to persuade the boy to come back home, with the promise that he could come back later so the goddess could play more Pokemon. The fish henge need some fine-tuning, but they seem to work really well overall. I did purposely make an aquatic adventure to make his life easier, but then it's meant to be kind of an advanced character type for players to use more sparingly.
  • We just wrapped a playtest session of my Apocalypse World secret police hack and it went really well.
    Really wild game. Double-crosses, distrust and animosity between the characters, black-bag operations, reputations and lives ruined.

    I could really see this game being used to run a session set in the world of James Ellroy's American Underworld Trilogy -- FBI agents, cops, CIA operatives, all working together against a mutual foe, but keeping an eye on each other just the same. Because one of them might be a Red.

    Or perhaps a game of Fringe -- you've got an agent from our world, an agent from their world, and a member of another agency that gets sucked into the investigation, unaware of the bizarre circumstances. Same principles: some can be trusted, some can't; some will investigate each other, and some will try to solve the case; some will live, and some will die very badly.

    Top-notch gaming session.
  • Hot Guys Making Out (in which they totally didn't)
    It is Spain, 1936. Gonsalvo (16) is in the town market doing some shopping with the maid Maria, and Honoré has dressed Gonsalvo in a boy's uniform which was perhaps appropriate at the turn of the century. Gonsalvo misunderstands when the other boys point and laugh. He blushes and buries himself into Maria. He thinks the boys know something of his relationship with Honoré.

    Honoré returns to the two of them, and Gonsalvo is able to confess his earlier embarrassment. Honoré cannot speak of his feelings, but chastises the other youths. He asks the young Gonsalvo if he still feels the same embarassment.

    Gonsalvo, in a moment of rare and decisive action, declares that he wants to lunch right here in the square, and they can think whatever they will.
    I love the way the cards totally drove the scenes in this game. It feels very well crafted.
  • Panty Explosion Perfect!

    We were in Space! (It was the theme of the convention, so why not?)
    The Atarashi School is on the last authentically verifiable piece of the real Earth! It is a large enough chunk for habitation, consisting of the Atarashi School, the dormatories, and even a small shopping district.
    It has been restored to the way it must have looked over two thousand years ago, and students enjoy a curriculum based on a historically accurate reconstruction of Japan during the period.
    Which meant that it had tatami floors, sliding doors (which slid on their own, and chimed every time with bells and Hello Kitty saying "o-hai-yo!")
    Also, all the images on the walls were horribly anachronistic, and all of them had watermarks (since that's how the historians discovered them)
    They went too far back on some things, skipping internet, computers, and even bound books. The library consisted of a card catalog, which then pointed students to a grid of scrolls nested in the walls.

    Most of the teachers were real people, but due to a special grant, the science teacher was a tablet pc on a moving arm, and would talk to the students. His face was that of the "Brain Age" guy from the Nintento DS, and he constantly asked students "I have detected a student in the hallway. I can provide Hall Monitoring access for only $19.95. Please contact your administrator and request this service immediately!"
  • Pathfinder, Council of Thieves adventure path.

    The party challenges the half-crazed satyr leader of a clan of murderous redcap gnomes for leadership, in hopes of securing the clan's support in breaking a siege.

    Before the duel, the rogue offers the satyr a delicious cup of premium Mwanghi coffee, even sipping some herself to show that it's safe. It's a false-bottomed cup, the satyr is poisoned and instantly falls unconscious. After a quick coup-de-grace, the redcaps cheer their new leader.
  • Pathfinder - Our party arrives to a half-ruined city, where we have to find a way to free a man accused of killing his girlfriend, though her body has never been found. We hear stories about a bug-bear and other 20 people who have dissapeard in the same way, leaving only some blood on the places where they dissapeared. The only victim found is a brutally murder child, his body destroyed beyond the resurrection and restoring abilities of the local priestess of the Inmaculada.

    We keep asking questions, find the local magic item vendor is up to something, though an undercover paladin on the town can't find any proof. After unsuccesfully trying to find anything on him, we leave for the caves where the townsmen slained the bugbear a month and a half ago, two weeks after the dissapearings started. We find the necklace of the girl, the now empty tomb of the bugbear... and I find an old friend from the temple where my monk trained, now turned into a Lord Wight, along with the 20 dissapeared townsmen and the girl, turned into wights themselves.

    Barely managed to destroy them all, thanks to our halfling rogue and his opportune bolt of undead slaying, critically shot to the head of the lord wight, as our cleric consecrated the place to prevent more unwanted resurrections. Turns out once turned into zombies, these people couldn't get a true resurrection performed on them, so we buried them. Gave the necklace and the condolences to her father and boyfrined, as well as setting him free. And we gave a final visit to the vendor.

    We find the morningstar used by the bugbear on his house and interrogate him with no results... except for that smile we can't take out of his face: he knows we have nothing on him. So I leave him unconscious and plant the hand wrappings of the undead monk on him, and tip the paladin on that. We leave the town, finding out the paladin is now in prision for killing the vendor (these people don't believe the "detect evil" ability of the paladin is proof of anything) and swear to come back and free him once our other quest is done...
  • Squeaking in at the end of July!

    We just had the best game of Archipelago, kicking off what looks to be a three-session game. So much fun! The premise that developed was that we were all part of a mud show, a traveling carnival playing to river gilly's up and down the Mississippi valley in the late forties. Our show is so small everybody does two jobs. My guy is the advance man and magician. We have a strong man who takes care of our gorilla (Daisy) and lion (King). There's a clown who runs a ten-in-one and the owner of the Calhoun Family Wonder Show, and ringmaster, who happens to also be a dwarf. Finally there's the obligatory 16 year old runaway.

    The coolest thread among many was establishing that our clowns are a really rough crowd of hard living guys, who save the kid from something perhaps worse than a beating in Cape Girardeau and win his teenaged awe. He wants to be a clown, he wants to be a badass, and they are OK with that. My guy, the advance man, something of an alcoholic dandy, is not. He pulls Clive the head clown aside and tells him to let the kid grow up first.

    We didn't know where the scene would go. I'm making a demand, and "that won't be so easy!" somebody shouts. A card is drawn - I won't get what I want, but I'll learn something useful in the process. Greg, playing Clive, tells me the clowns like the kid and won't tell him what to do, that they love to have fun and their fun is a little rough but they are good guys. And what is unspoken but understood is that they are all veterans, they were all on Saipan and at Normandy just a few years earlier and clowning is how they are approaching normality again from a safe distance. It was a cool scene and a really important revelation.
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