What did you play this week? (2016)



  • edited September 2016
    Wow, love that gumshoe pbta remix, Jason, seems like it could really scratch my itch for bits and bobs in pbta (like a lot of your work has already done.)

    Finally got to play legacy: life among the ruins this week. Our world is a ruined colony ship with earth-like biomes, drifting through space. The ship's AI is locked in a battle against an alien machine intelligence, both sides fragmented into a plethora of machine gods and demons. Fun shit!
  • Interesting stuff on the NBA/PbtA hack, Jason. Did you post an earlier version once? This one looks like it fixed the scale economy between Investigative & General skills.

    On subject: Trail of Cthulhu, the grand old chestnut of an adventure--The Haunting. I was playtesting some new rules variations I had been working on: extra success benefits, and narrative physical and psychological damage. Results were mixed, and I may just use this as suggestion material for the upcoming new ToC campaign.

    Explosion in Space, the Russian LARP brought to English by Jason Morningstar and James Stuart; with James facilitating! Very good stuff. Everyone died :) and my character articulated the human condition with one of her last utterances: "Oh god, I f***ed up."
  • edited September 2016
    Kerberos Club this week, using Atomic Robo's system and Victoriania's scenario. Ladon went to his father's wife to discuss his daughter, and we realized that Ladon's skills as a sharp bargainer are due to dealing with his sidhe younger brother, which makes so much sense. Dr. Alexander examined a corpse that was moving after the body's death, and Felicity turned into a clockwork dog to follow its scent and is now taking the shape of the dead woman because what could possibly go wrong playing bait, right? Meanwhile, Dorian Gray agrees with Lady Miriam that the sculptor accused of murder simply must be saved from execution! Who cares whether he did the deed or not? They can just execute some nobody who isn't a brilliant artist!
  • I played Lacuna. It was a GM + me + another guy. I liked the setting and the surreal dream stuff going on. I disliked the total lack of mechanical support for what seemed to be an investigation plot. As I told our GM, it seemed that either no roads led to the MacGuffin, or all roads led to the MacGuffin. I didn't feel like I was making meaningful choices about the investigation plot, but realized later that the game was probably not about the mission as much as it's about everything else.
  • I played my second game of Dungeon World. I had fun, but the GM isn't really making the moves he is supposed to or keeping things moving forward. It is a little bit frustrating because PbtA games are so ingenious, and it feels as though a lot of potential is being squandered. I think once I know the group a little better I will offer to GM a session :)
  • My sons and I are playing around with a Microscope game by email; here's the Google Docs link for the ongoing game.

  • We played a game of House of Reeds. Our "house" was a once celebrated brothel on Rt 66 in the early 70's. The sexual revolution was ending and Rt 66 was dying. Our house had seen better days and it's star was fading. We ended up working through the interpersonal dynamics of the staff.

    It was a rough time for our little family as the first round, we drew a departure card and then a disaster card (which reshuffles). The next round, departure followed by disaster. Happened a round or two after that as well. Tough times but we had some very poignant moments.

    Despite the potential, it was a very tame game. Stayed PG-13 with a few ventures into R territory. We all liked the setup so much, we may revisit it for a later game.

    We flirted with some tone issues, but all in all, one of my most satisfying story games so far.
  • I played The Final Voyage of The Selene via Hangouts yesterday as the Juve Mahler character, with an agenda to win the attention of Lieutenant Kazarian as a kind of surrogate parent. I died when Professor Carris' insane teleportation experiment caused a critical feedback loop and blew up The Selene, so I got a legacy flash-forward to show admiralty troops liberating other juveniles from the state-run 'school' that Mahler had escaped from.

    I've been thoroughly enjoying Hangout gaming through the summer and getting a feel for best practices, so I think more Gauntlet Hangouts games are on the cards for the future.
  • Aviatrix I'm so glad you got to play Explosion in Space! It was designed by Anna Konovalenko and Alexey Semenov.
  • Dungeon World one-shot using Funnel World. Six randomly-generated level zero villagers, a crofter, a woodsman, a stoic tax collector, a hunter, an innkeeper and, most hilariously, a large-handed, very strong, very stupid scribe, strike out to reclaim the stolen Hand of St. Ignys in the midst of an apocalyptic storm. They follow a clue to the forbidden Standing Stones and learn that ghostly creatures from beyond the Black Gates are breaking through. One villager dies by ghostly bat swarm. They eventually catch up with the Paladin and Acolyte of St. Ignys who stole the Hand, and learn that the local cleric has been shirking his responsibilities and not bothering to perform the proper rituals to keep evil at bay, and that the Hand must be returned to the Cathedral along with the other relics to be used in a last-ditch effort to prevent the coming darkness. The villagers, foolish peasants that they are, decide that no high-talking city folk are going to steal their local relic, and try to take it back by force, resulting in the death of another villager. Ultimately the acolyte rushes off with the Hand and the Paladin begrudgingly sacrifices herself to save the (completely undeserving) remaining villagers from the ghosts, and they rush back home to tell their tale.

    Play of the game: the crofter tries to rescue the hunter from a tar pit with a pitchfork, rolls snake eyes, and accidentally stabs her instead.
  • Finished up a two session story using Fate Core set in the Bureau 13 setting (Tri Tac Games.)
  • I spent the weekend playing a LongCon of Whitehack in Maze of the Blue Medusa. Had a good time and want to play more Whitehack.
  • Ran Kerberos Club tonight. Dorian's instructed his servants to pick up another emu, a mate for the first. I'm wondering if he should wind up with a zookeeper.
  • Finally got back to the game of Night Witches I'm running for my 12 year-old daughter and her friends this week. We spent most of the previous session in "Night", and so almost all of this week's session was "Day" and boy-o-boy are those moves punishing! It was truly enjoyable to see players "Act Up", hit their 7-9 result, and then still not get what they wanted! Patriarchy ain't fair, kids!

    Also starting a new Burning Wheel campaign tonight for a couple friends. The situation I've got in mind involves an isolationist nation that is inviting a diplomatic party inside their borders for the first time. We're making characters tonight, so I'll know more about what the game will actually be about after that's done.
  • "You don't join a cult to make friends…"

    We wanted to play a Call of Cthulhu-esque game of Follow since we'd been playing a lot of Eldritch Horror, but we decided to side with the winners and awaken the elder god instead of fighting it.

    We used the Rebellion quest, but our rebellion was against humanity. All of it.

    Awaken, Kanaguk!
  • Played Swords without Master for the first time. In the overplayer role as well. It was hard but gratifying. I think I was fighting the mechanics a bit and sometimes trying to force things which made it harder than it should have been. But great fun. We will be trying it again (soon I hope).

    And on a different night, a game of Fiasco. The group decided we were tired enough to not try a new game (Archipelago is on deck) so we stayed in familiar territory. We used the Main Street playset and there were drugs, corrupt politicians and lots of backstabbing and death. Oh, and did I mention the venomous snake? Just a regular couple of days on Main Street in a small town. Best Fiasco game for me so far.
  • Fiasco Touring Rock Band: Lou the head roadie had issues. Her "friend" Tommie back in St Paul is on her case, she's scared the band thinks knows she's gay, the old keyboardist is still hanging around, and the new keyboardist is some Swedish tech head who wants to set himself on fire for the Youtube hits. Everything spins out of control at a gig in a coffeeshop in Idaho, attended by the local Buddhist monks, that somehow manages not to turn into the latest pyrotechnic disaster.

    A lot of fun (I was Lou), and I introduced three people to Fiasco.

    Fellowship the Finale! Arkona the Elf seals the fate of her people as the Fellowship finally confronts Vince face to face. Gorehanson slays the Overlord with his necrotic sword, the squire-turned-knight receives what small virtue remains in the province of the elf queen, the heir brings the knight to his realm, and the elves lay down the stewardship of the world and fade out of existence, healing the wound they inflicted on it.

    Fellowship was a lot of fun; it would probably work better with longer sessions in a less noisy environment, but it mostly sang. (And I know there's a Star Wars hack in there, I just haven't teased it out yet.)

    Next up: the final leg in my Trail of Cthulhu trilogy opens with the wedding of Jimmy Wright's niece to the son of Governor Bradley Grey of California.
  • Maze Rats!
    A very good name for a OSR-style game.
  • I'm really digging Maze Rats, thanks for the link, Jason!

    We played Fiasco this week, which was fairly successful but also ran bizarrely... un-fiasco-like. Read about our "happy fiasco" over here, in a separate thread.
  • Maze Rats!
    @Jason_Morningstar, did you use the 0.1 PDF version at this link, or the version in the Odditional Materials compilation? (And do you know if there's any difference?)
  • edited September 2016
    No idea, Felan, I was just playing. I suspect the Odditional version though, since we also used the Into the Odd starter adventure.
  • Thanks! Looks neat, either way.
  • 48 weeks ago I started a play-by-forum game of OKULT on G+.
    Yesterday I wrote the epilogue for my PC, making this one of the longest running and concluded games I've participated in.
  • I ran yet another two-hour bar session of City of Brass for D&D 5e.

    I only mention it here because I totally fucked up yet the players seemed to have a great time.

    I totally fucked up because I have a procedure for running this social justice sandbox, and I skipped half of it. I had added "you find a trap door to a basement" to my random events table, and that led to a sort of dungeon adventure that was not de rigeur for City of Brass, and despite it being only two rooms, it ate 90 minutes of the two hour slot, and I was rushed and the 8 PM band started playing 30 minutes early.

    I just totally forgot to have the characters tell me where they were eating and make community morale rolls. It's important to the rhythm and mood of the game.

    On the bright side, they had fun killing a giant wasp, and I had fun describing how Parker's paladin got paralyzed by a bad sting, with very graphic descriptions that I'll forego now because there are probably bee-phobic people reading. Love you.
  • edited October 2016
    Oh, man! A D&D game gets sidetracked by a dungeon delve and a fight with a monster!

    What is this world coming to? :)


    (You should totally post some more about the City of Brass game and how it's been going - triumphs, challenges, and so forth. Very interesting stuff!)
  • RIGHT?

    One of my players described City of Brass as "anti-D&D" so of course it's gonna get sidetracked by a dungeon delve.
  • World of Darkness as Powered by the Apocalypse. Turned out to be pretty fun and looking forward to the next session.
  • Trail of Cthulhu The Unanswered Question, my "now set in the 1950s" hack of Tatters of the King kicked off. I designed some Fall of Magic-style sheets to guide us through backstory, and after a few hiccups Jimmy Wright reunited with Charleston Chiu, professor Candace Heartbrook, mad chemist Sam Acererak, and Temperance Murphy to find out what happened to my Jack Parsons-expy.

    Nemesis 382 from Pelgrane's adorable Seven Wonders. We did chargen and the first two acts. My Albi the AI user interface seems to be having existential crises, Dr. Jane broke quarantine to remove a possibly alien parasite from a crewmember, the captain is drinking more, Dr. Jones grouses about being counselor to a machine, and Dr. Krieger can't stop talking about Azathoth. And we're still only en route to the event horizon! Very fun, and I made a mission patch logo to use on the card decks.
  • I offered two weird tabletop playtests with two different groups, and last weekend I ran two larp playtests and played a bunch of stuff - Jay Treat's Starship Freeform, Rachel Walton's Montsegur hack The Liberation of Sisyphus, J. Walton's The Lofty Beacons (outside, in the rain), Troels Ken Pederson's kinky swords-and-sorcery game about dominance and submission.
  • I'd love to hear more about those games - the titles alone are fascinating!
  • edited October 2016
    Troels Ken Pedersen's Sorcery in the Forest is in this collection.

    The Lofty Beacons.

    The rest are in playtest - Starship Freeform is a larp where you play a space opera crew. The idea of atomizing authority out-of-game using the logical stuff in-game characters are responsible for is genius. I played the Captain and drove plot. The weapons officer was responsible for making everything dangerous. The ship's counselor overlaid emotions on every scene. Jay Treat is still working on it but it is great.

    The Liberation of Sisyphus is a sci-fi reskin of Montsegur 1244, also in playtest, really sharp. Instead of burning you go down swinging. Instead of recanting you go back to prison on Mars.
  • @Jason_Morningstar thanks for the links! In the Deep Dark Weird Forest has some interesting stuff in it. I hope when The Liberation of Sisyphus and Starship Freeform are available, it gets announced here. They look interesting as well.
  • edited October 2016
    We had our second meeting for Indie RPGs & Story Games SLC...the first week I was sick and couldn't make it, but apparently they had a very lively and successful game of Fiasco...
    This week we played a game developed by one of our members (Brandon Nelson) called Mongrel 2.0. Brandon has been playing traditional RPGs for a long time and is trying to break out of the mold. His game is fairly traditional and not too narrative, but he had a resolution mechanic that gave you the option to choose how much of your dice pool was allocated to a given task. If you allocated all of your dice you would have a greater chance of success at that task but other things might be neglected; for example, you could roll all of your dice to aim your laser gun but you might not be very aware of other dangers in your environment. This mechanic didn't seem very flushed out or strictly defined; it seemed rather slippery and up to Brandon's impromptu interpretation. That said, I never really got a chance to "look under the hood" so maybe things are more defined then they seem. The dice mechanics were definitely different...players would role a combo of d30s, d20s, d10s, and d6s hoping to roll higher than a target number (say a 7 for example) on every die, and the GM would also roll for this number but using a d6 dice pool that was variable in regards to the number of die rolled depending on the particular roll--needless to say, it was a confounding and strange system and unfortunately I didn't have time to ask Brandon questions about it afterwords.
    We played a one-shot sci-fi game with a lot of intrigue. Brandon created pre-generated characters with motives, secrets, backgrounds, etc. (but these were not part of the actual character sheets or mechanics). Brandon only had about a day to prepare and I was super impressed with his ability to weave a tangled web of intrigue. The session started slow being that we were all playing two characters and had a lot of info to absorb. It got interesting and very PVP soon as we all began mingling at a party of who's who in a pressure controled mansion on a moon. I made a bunch of wrong assumptions that made me plant drugs in a bathroom, pull a later gun on another PC and accuse him of colluding with some space anarchists that attacked the moon home we were in and other crazy stuff. It was very interesting and fun even though it took a little bit to warm up, but eventually things started to snow ball. One of my characters had to get info from one of my other characters so I had her get him high (he was a drug addict) and flirt and pretend to be interested in him; it was kind of weird flirting with a loser (the guy was essentially Brad Pitt's character in Burn After Reading) while playing a woman...I think it gave me a little bit of empathy for the fairer sex :) Two of the other players were amazing at roleplaying and really provided a lot of entertainment. The ending was a little underwhelming because we ran an hour over; we ended up in a "safe-room" in the mansion and radioed for help and the space anarchists and another group who was trying to overthrow the moons security in a coup basically bailed to avoid being caught by those we sent out the signal to...sorry if this is confusing...I'm leaving a lot out :) Anyway, the intrigue seemed to work because of the character's Brandon had made and the setup, despite the game having no machanics that worked to specifically create intrigue. The game design felt very traditional, where most of what the game does is a result of the GMs work rather than an outcome of the games design. It was fun, I think that Brandon is a good GM and it will be very satisfying to see his world expand as he is introduced to new design approaches :)
  • AW2 with the Sunday Skypers and a guest.
  • A dungeon themed game of Forget Me Not and The Quiet Year.

    The Quiet Year had a lot of politics in it (funny timing, that). We were living in an underground complex and many of the questions revolved around what kind of government were we going to have. Democracy vs autocratic? How do we deal with dissent? How do we punish our criminals? And then the obvious question of how many of our limited resources to we expend going outside? Good game but it was a downhill slide all the way.

    One complaint was that without roleplaying, there isn't as much connection to the community. Something we're working on figuring out as a group.
  • Some Polaris and some Follow and some Downfall.

    Someone mistakenly thought Downfall was all pathos and weeping, so we went off and played a session with armored mechs slugging it out on a lava world, and it was glorious.
  • Nothing but Traveller at TravellerCon. But GURPS Traveller, Mongoose Traveller and Classic Traveller, so plenty of variety!
  • Nemesis 382 The captain and Dr. Knight began aging backwards; a phantom planetoid appeared and disappeared and then reappeared, the second time with a full on "Mars is Heaven!" vibe. Albi fried Dr Krieger's brain to make a perfect personality model while keeping him from screwing anything else up; Dr. Knight resurrected him later anyway. Eventually the event horizon was crossed, after several discussions about the nature of the soul.

    This was a lot of fun, planning to run it at Dreamation, I think.

    Primetime Adventures, our 70s California Noir game. Sam sells out her friend Honeysuckle the ex Black Panther; Detective Tommy and Leo the paparazzo find out a state senator is behind the drug trafficking; and just what was the cops had on Sam to cause her to sell out? We'll find out in two weeks in the thrilling conclusion.

    Next week: All Along the Watchtower playtest, our own Bill White's twisted tale of Mythos shenanigans at the 1968 Democratic convention. Power to the pseudopods!
  • We returned to our One Ring game after a short break. They got a mission from Beorn: "Go patrol the northern borders to prevent any raids." The companions decide the best way to accomplish this goal is to enter the enemy lands and stop their chieftain by any means necessary (yes, they do seem prepared to assassinate him). One session in, they haven't started a war yet but it can only be a matter of time.
  • Last night, I ran Basic D&D (Moldvay, 1980) and Keep on the Borderland for four players. Three had never played that edition. One had played it fairly extensively, despite being in his mid-thirties, and knew the module well, too. I changed up enough stuff to keep him guessing.

    They did very well, convincing a dozen of the local peasant types to join them in a quest for revenge against the goblins that had razed their farmsteads. But random encounters are brutal, and their forays into the wilderness cut their numbers down. Eventually, they made it to the Caves of Chaos, falling into area I (the minotaur's labyrinth) and barely escaping with their lives, and then into area G, where they naively accepted the food offerings from the three bugbears, who turned on the party and first slew the 2-hit-point magic-user, then slew the fighter. The rest fled.

    Over the weekend I was at TravellerCon. I ran Mongoose Traveller (1e). I had no new material ready, so I ran my "Merchants of Dennis" and "Independence 2776" adventures, mentioned upthread. The con attracts old Traveller grognards, but they seemed to enjoy my neo-Traveller offerings.
  • https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1xCzKxGJsggFhHjrdoXxasStOMwFdcWndYvxn3dRUXPA/htmlview

    The sons and I continue our ongoing pbem game of Microscope. We seem to have fallen into a pattern of doing dictated scenes (for email convenience) as excerpts from literary sources...
  • Session 2 of a World of Darkness hack using the Powered by the Apocalypse. Spirits are assholes. :-)
  • edited October 2016
    Better Living Through Robotics, The Skeletons, Daddy's BMW, The Warren (four tables at once with four GMs in a shared world), and a playtest of my larp The Line. (I was at Big Bad Con)

    Wille Ruotsalainen's game Daddy's BMW won a Finnish Game-Chef-like competition a few years ago and is super elegant and fun. We played without a GM and it was fine. Play with five and let players trade out cards they don't like.
  • Geiger Counter (alpha) at Story Games Seattle. Our research submarine disappeared mysteriously. What's our plan? Send another sub! What could go wrong?

    Free rides on the haunted submarine!

  • Played Hunter S. Thompson in a playtest of "All Along the Watchtower", which was a lot of fun.

    Ran Kerberos: Machinery of Life, using our hack of the Atomic Robo rules.

    I thought the game was about Our Heroes rescuing a nurse from dastardly villains doing horrible medical experiments. And yes, that all happened (with a lot of rolling for crap on my end), including Felicity turning into a clockwork white stallion and charging out of the villain's lair with the nurse strapped to a table on her back, and then charging back in with Dorian Gray on her back.

    But apparently, what this session was about was Dorian getting jumped, much to his delight, by denizens of one of London's seedier neighborhoods.

    GM: So, you're basically letting them beat you and rob you?

    Dorian: Yes! Wait, my food diary!

    At Dr. Alexander's request (he's fascinated by Dorian's physiology), Dorian started keeping a food diary. So, when the robbers tried to take it, he grabbed it and protested, thus convincing them that it must be valuable.

    Dorian's shouts were heard by the doctor and the fourth member of the group, Ladon.

    Ladon (sighing): I told you Dorian would happen to somebody.

    The doctor was accompanied by Caesar, his created Child and bodyguard. They tried to intimidate the robbers into leaving.

    And now, I started rolling well. So, Caesar starting fighting all but one of them, while the exception was in a tug of war with Dorian over the food diary.

    Ladon sighed and tried to snatch the diary with a vine whip.

    And again, I rolled well. Not astonishingly well, and these guys -- I was eyeballing it, not actually statting them out, but I was figuring, okay, they're thugs, so figure a +2 in the relevant fighty skill, and I rolled two +s on the dice.

    So, there was now a three-way tug of war between Thug, Dorian, and Ladon.

    Felicity's player was actually running late, but we figured comedic timing meant she should show up about now. When the player arrived, we described what she saw. The clockwork woman hit the thug on the head with her fist, and the player rolled a 6 to my total of 2.

    Kerberos. There's the A plot (nefarious schemes), the B plot (social issues ranging from marriage to justice for all), and the thing we actually focus on (whatever zany thing catches our attention, often something I just kind of tossed out there, though this one was actually in the scenario).
  • Trail of Cthulhu: I ran a playtest of All Along the Watchtower with a certain storygamer playing Dr. Hunter S. Thompson. :) I think my favorite bits were: Pigasus the pig/mythos entity taking Jimi Hendrix to see Azathoth and then discussing whether or not he could put a Tristan chord in the song he would write about it; and E Howard Hunt telling Hunter that the Field Museum was "a nexus of occult energies" and to "not doubt that I can make your head explode at 500 paces."

    Coming up, the second session of my "Tatters of the King, except in Trail of Cthulhu and set in 1950s America, and with different main characters" campaign.
  • Not an RPG per se, though it has strong elements of RPG. King of Dragon Pass for Android. I love that you end up with a story of your clan at the end.
  • Pigasus the pig/mythos entity taking Jimi Hendrix to see Azathoth and then discussing whether or not he could put a Tristan chord in the song he would write about it;

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