Carl's Amber Invitational...

I was recently invited to a email Amber game. I am very excited. I really enjoyed the Amber novels and I am looking forward to another opportunity to be a player rather than a GM. I am very interested in this game, I think it will be terribly entertaining. I will be playing Kef and will be posting a character log here for the game as I am doing for Lydin.

I am curious how the Amberite backstabbing will play out. About a year ago I tried to set up a competitive play by post game that died a horrible death when I realized how much work the whole thing would be**. In that game I stole borrowed a technique form Rob Donohue and Fred Hicks. Each character owed another character for something that happened before play started, each character had a secret, each character knew someone else's secret, each character secretly supported another character, and each character secretly despised another character.

**This game is the one that I am currently using as a writing exercise right here - Mystanamyr's Cat. I am currently working on "Act 1 Scene 4: Into the Market" but I am having difficulty getting the story moving.


Pandarus - Voices of the Battle

My time in captivity has ripped at my psyche and once again the voices have resurfaced, voices that I had long ago suppressed.

This time it is different though, at first the voices were there as a distraction, a way to seperate me from the terrible torture that my Orc captor would visit upon my body. When the prison barge started to sink and the dangers of the moment bore down on me, the voices were gone.

Everything is such a blur during the escape, the swim to shore and arrival in town. But one thing sticks with me, is that I am now part of a group of fellow prisoners united in a common goal to seek vengeance on our captors.

We spent the next night in an allies house (a fletcher by trade), but his true allegiance is unclear to me. The night was filled with the sounds of screams from outside and within, culminating with Hawber and Gworeth attacking one another, and Gworeth almost paying the ultimate price (I am wondering if all of this is real, or new torture methods are attacking my mind).

After a restless and fear wrought night, morning blissfully arrives and we make or way across the river to investigate the strange happenings in the forest at the behest of our ally. It is here where we encounter creatures that seem to be dead, but are clearly attacking us and we must fight to save our very lives. Quickly I strike at the nearest, connecting with it and causing it to fall, at which point laughter rings in my ears......not the joyous laughter of companions, but the sinister laugh of my demons. The demons are goading me, challenging me to look at my so called allies and see the way they cower in fear at the first sign of combat, but I am too busy to do their bidding as another creature has taken the place as the first and I am once again striking out. The battle seems to end quickly, although from the appearance of others and the carnage it must have been fierce. With my weapons still and a threat no longer engaged, the demons once again go silent.

Following this battle I am still shaken and don't recall what transpired next, but I find myself at the edge of the woods witnessing an unlikely meeting. Humans and the creatures (I must ask the fletcher what they are) in a discussion across the field, then the humans leave, after throwing a prisoner to the creatures. Clearly with the our battle weary members, the two large forces that seem to be working together and our mission to observe and report back, it is time to leave. We make for the bridge, weapons at the ready as noises from the trees approach, but nothing happens and we safely make it across the bridge. Before my blood cools from its adrenaline induced boil, the demons begin to talk....taunting me to cut the ropes of the bridge, while some of my companions are still crossing.....but upon reaching the other end and as the noise from the trees subsides the demons go quite. Once the party has all arrived safely across the bridge, Hawber wants to do what my demons demanded of me....almost as if they were in his head to. Gworeth and I do manage to convince him not to cut the bridge, as none of us really wants to go swimming again anytime soon, and everyone gets a feeling that we will be crossing the river again tomorrow.

Now we must go back to the fletcher and hope that he will provide us shelter for the night, and that our report will enlighten him so that he may give some more information that we vitally require.....our very lives and vengeance may depend on it.


Lydin's Story Part 2

continued from Lydin's Story Part 1

Day 68
After reaching the town we search for the fletcher. He welcomes us into his home and provides food for my new charge.

We gain important information from him and are granted housing for the night. Strange things happen during the night. Several time during the night we hear screams and see lights. Yue, Tugwyn and Gworeth leave to investigate.

Near morning Gworeth is attacked by Hawber. I heal both and warn them that we must work together to survive, especially in untamed towns like this one.

We leave the fletcher and strike out into the forest. This forest is not a happy place. The undergrowth is harsh, game is scarce. Someone has over hunted to allow a live and vibrant place to reach this point. We reach a rope bridge and cross the river. The far side of the river is where our enemy is massing his troops.

We see many many tracks. The path we are on is used by a great number of people. We follow the path as far as we dare. Yue is attacked from the east side of the path. We look but can not find a source for the attack. We move on but are more cautious.

As dusk approaches I take Screech to find a suitable place to camp. Deadfall is everywhere, but wee need a place where we can safely light a fire. A good stone to defend with would not hurt either. No more than 50 paces from the path I hear a group moving towards me. Screech scents them and is fearful of the scent. I slowly back towards the path and safety trying to see what is stalking us. Whatever it is, it is not natural to these woods. This may be the force that has choked the life out of the forest.

I back onto the path just in front of my enemy. Gworeth and Pandarus have heard the foes approach and have drawn weapons and are ready. Behind me they come out of the woods. They are dead but they move. My masters have taught me of the foul creatures but I have not seen them before.

As they move towards me I think of what my masters have taught me. I have no skill against this type of foe. They move towards me and I am scared. I see Pandarus slash at one of these ugly forms and it falls to the ground. Perhaps if I unleash the forest to trap these abominations I can help the forest kill these monsters. Tugwyn moves past me, he seems to be happy to see these things. He makes some gestures and a dark colored blast takes a creature right in front of me. Part of the creature falls to the forest floor, but it still sinks dirty claws into my arm. I try to keep from retching.

Gworeth and Yue have engaged another group. I slash at this creature in front of me. I falls to the forest floor. I try to put myself between These foul things and Screech. Pandarus slashed through another creature. Hawber is beside me. After attacking Gworeth last night I am unsure if he is there to help us until he crushes the beast that is trying to reach Tugwyn. Tugwyn launches another spell that carves a gaping hole into another of the creatures.

After that each moment blurs into the next. Another of these creatures scores a deep scratch across my chest. Thankfully these creatures are defeated. I would like to burn them, to erase there presence from the world, but it would be too dangerous in this forest. We can not stay here. We start to make our way back to the town. We see a group of men in the distance. They seem to be talking with a group of these monsters we have defeated. One of the men appears to be a prisoner, he wears a sun sigil. I know I should recognize the sigil but I can not seem to recall why. These creatures boil my blood I want to trap them, to cut into them, to use my hands, my teeth, to kill these men that will talk with these monsters.

The men leave on of their own to be attacked by the beasts. The screams, the screams are maddening. We move off to the bridge. We hear the pursuit getting closer. We clear the bridge and watch waiting for these horrible creatures to break through the trees and start to cross the swinging ropes. Hawber is ready to cut the bridge, Pandarus and Gworeth try to stop him. Long moments pass as we wait and watch the far shore. No enemy appears.

We retreat to the town hopefully the fletcher will grant us house guest again this night.

Lydin's Story Part 1

Day 1
I am taken captive! I should have known better than to trust men who wear snakes as sigils.

Day 12

I am alone on the ship except for my cellmates. Yue, Tugwyn, Gworeth and myself shared a small, smelly, room. At times I would grow so tired of that room and of those people, I would wish that the smelly orc and his guards would take me into the torture room. It was painful but it reminded me that the world was still there, that if I waited and took my chance I might still breath free under the trees before I die.

I was not the first taken, Yue and Tugwyn were already in the room when I joined them. Gworeth joined shortly afterwards.

Day 25
I keep sane by counting the hours until I can go an be with the animals again. Time is strange in this room but I think they let me out once a day to care for them. My friend Scratch is up top, she is not doing well. I fear she will die. Some of the guards have been mistreating the mounts. I am doing my best to help them recover.

Day 45
It had been a long time since I have seen the forest.

Day 65
This evening we plotted an escape.

I would hide behind the door. Once that rotten orc entered I would slam shut the door and Yue, Gworeth would attack the bastard while I secured the door. We hoped to kill him and use his weapons on the guards that would surely come to save him.

Day 66
It did not go as planned. After weeks of the same pattern the guards entered the room! Yue and I shared a long look and both bolted out of our prison. We knew we had but one chance. If we could just kill the orc we might have a fighting chance against his guards. Months of being malnourished and torture did us in. Unfortunately, I did not have the strength left to harm the orc. I managed only to burn myself quite badly. Yue made crude attempts but he too failed to score the kill we needed. We had hoped that Gworeth and Tugwyn would be able to win free, but the guards closed the door to the cell separating us.

In the end we managed only to make the wraith of our captures to fall on us rather than our comrades.

Day 67
I awoke to a horrible sound and the floor beneath me shuddered and slid me across the room. Tugwyn tried the door and it was open! A chance for freedom! In our rush to escape we all fell over ourselves as we attempted to exit the room. Once we climbed up onto the top floor we saw immediately that the ship was sinking very quickly.

I rushed to save as many animals as I could. Scratch was already in the water, I play she makes it to shore. One of my dogs is dead, the others are weakened by the crash. Many of the other animals are injured. I doubt I will save many, but I free those I can.

Many of the animals can not make the leap into the water, few of those will make the shore. I hope they have the strength to make the swim. I hope I do. Gworeth and Yue have returned they have not been able to locate our 'friend' the orc. Tugwyn is still in the boat looking for our gear. We can not wait for long we too must make a try for shore. Tugwyn returns empty handed.

We all leave the boat together. I try to help the animals along the way but I am too slow, too tired, I have not recovered from the escape attempt. I do not know how but I make it to shore. I suspect Gworeth pulled me the last half mile. Yue and Gworeth seem to have made the trek without as much difficulty as myself and Tugwyn. His frail form is motionless on the beach. I crawl around looking for signs of Scratch.

If I have lost her I am lost.

I finally find her trail. She is hurt, the trail is bloody. I follow it into a thicket. I can not find her, I have failed her. Finally I stumble upon her, I can feel her fur, now we are whole again. I am too late! Scratch is dead! I can not look at life the same way, how could I have let this happen. She looks whole but the blood trail leads away.

Retching I leave my friend and follow the blood trail. Scratch has done what I could not. I could not save her, but she saved her cub. I did not even notice she was carrying a litter. I will care for him better than I cared for his mother. Screech, I will call him as he is already exercising his lungs.

When I return a group of men riding well fed animals meets us on the beach. Our number has grown by two. Hawber and Pandarus were also captives on that boat. The men talk to us about our enemy. They wish us to assist in revenging their lord on the man who killed Scratch. I agree to this mission.

Alas my dogs did not make the swim successfully. I see signs that some of the other animals made it. Perhaps later we can track some of them and recover what we can.

We move on to a large town to the north. We must find the Fletcher who will assist us further. This is badly used land. It is colder than I am used to and has been over farmed and grazed. There is no game to hunt, no roots for the pot or berries for health and good cheer.


RPG meme bandwagon

Wow, this was a whole lot tougher to answer than I thought it would be. Apparently I am not the story based gamer I thought I was. I picked up on this from Carl.

1. What is the first RPG you ever played?

D&D Basic Set. We must have played that introductory adventure with the Rust Monster a thousand times.

2. What RPG do you currently play most often?
Play: D&D 3E
GM: Fudge

3. What is the best system you've played?
This is an immensely tough question as recently I have GMed much more than played. Which system was the best "system" I've played? Probably HERO. Which system was the most fun? Rolemaster.

4. What is the best system you've run?

5. Would you consider yourself an: Elitist/ Min-Maxer/ Rules Lawyer?
I would like to think I am an elitist, but that just isn't true. I am also sometimes a rules lawyer in that I have read all the rules/books, but not in the sense of challenging the GM's ruling but in being a reference manual for what the rules state. I can also Min-Max with the best of them.
I think these types of categorization are not required because each game type can be fun. The problems arise when you try to mix them. An Elitist will have no fun in a group of Lawyers, and a Min-Maxer isn't going to enjoy a campaign with a group of Elitists.
As a player I try to fit in with the group, or if I can't to find a group into which I can fit. As a GM I try to emphasis story over rules but I am not always successful.

6. If you could recommend a new RPG which would you recommend? Why?
Fudge, with Tri-Stat dX a close second.

7. How often do you play?
Once or twice a month when things go right, four or five times a year when they don't.

8. What sort of characters do you play? Leader? Follower? Comic Relief? Roll-Player/ Role-Player?
A lot of times I find my self playing a Leadership role. However, at times I will purposefully not fill that role to be within the bounds of the character. Also some games and groups tend to favour a Roll-Play rather than a role-play.

9. What is your favorite Genre for RPGs?
Fantasy, although I am getting into steampunk right now and am enjoying it a great deal.

10. What Genres have you played in?
Primarily Fantasy, but I have tried a lot including Modern, Near Future, Far Future, Cyberpunk, SuperHeroes, and cross genre. The one I have not played but am eager to try is Steampunk.

11. Do you prefer to play or GM? Do you do both?
I prefer to play, but I GM a lot because no one else does (and because I own/read the books). GMing can be fun, but it can be a lot more work.

12. Do you like religion in your games?
I try to allow as much as possible, what is NOT allowed is recreating a real world religion in the game. You can have a lot of similarity, but not a copy.

13. Do you have taboo subjects in your games or is everything "fair game"?
I have two subjects that have special status in my games, one is comical (or at least the player think so) and the other is deadly serious.
The first is that none of my game worlds have snakes.
The second is any form of sexual assault. I always tell the players before hand on what is acceptable and what is not. I also always tell them that they get one and only one warning before I take action. A first offense is a complete party death, the innocent are punished along with the guilty. A second offense result in me NOT participating in the game group any further. I have had 2 first offenses, I have never had a second offense.

14. Have you developed your own RPG before?
Not really, as a GM I usually modify the combat systems making them much more deadly. One of the reasons I really enjoy Rolemaster is that there is ALWAYS a true danger to the characters life. I find is frustrating in a lot of game systems when the players get a sense of security in that they know how ridiculously powerful they are and that they don't need to fear an enemy because they couldn't possibly die...

15. Have you ever been published in the Gaming Industry? If so...what?
Not yet, but I'm working on that.


Why Steam Punk Rocks

Steam Punk Rocks.

I have to admit I have never played a steam punk game, but I want to and soon. I was thinking about why my cross genre games slowly migrated to a single genre. The reason is that they all had a intrinsic flaw (Me). One genre was more, better, faster, etc than others. It might have been that technology was more powerful than magic. Or the fantastic was more fun to play in.

Now I am not blaming this on the system or the modules, or at least not entirely. This falls squarely on my shoulders. Steam Punk seems to have built in genre balancing, the technology is more powerful but flakey. It allows the players to have the best of both worlds.

I really do not like the idea of game balance, and cyberpunk seems to have some of the worst examples of game mechanics that make no sense but are in place to uphold game balance. The most blatant of these is the rule that adding cyber components "steals your soul" making it harder to use magic. What crap. I would love to play a mage with a memory module. Imagine storing spells on a sim soft. Memorize hundreds of spells by simply downloading them into a memory chip that you can change on the fly. Need a fireball? Simply insert the correct chip and fire away.

The problem is that when you introduce that you change the nature of the game. Why would a player play a mage WITHOUT this type of memory module? A natural mage can memorize X number of spells, a cyber mage can memorize as many spells as can fit onto a memory chip. There is a clear advantage to playing the cybermage.

The problem is that the players have to be able to see beyond the empirical advantage. The GM (me) has to get the players to see the benefit of playing the disadvantaged character.

This is why my games failed. I could not get the story to supersede the rules.


Seventh Sanctum

Once again I have gone an embarrassing length of time without a post. So I am going to do a quick review of Seventh Sanctum. Seventh Sanctum is a site dedicated to various random generators. From character names to groups to super powers.

This type of generator can be a GM's best friend when the game is on and a name is needed, or a magic item, or even a creature to challenge the party. No matter what you need you can find something that will help you on this site.

I once needed to populate a library with books. Using the Bookspinner generator it took less than 2 hours to generate literally hundreds (500-600 books) with this type of detail

The Study of Summonings
* This book is of above-average clarity because of the excellent, well-planned chapters. The book's well-done nature allows one to easily find that it has no useful information. Though flawed, one can definitely see that the concepts and information do show a great deal of insight.

Advanced White Magic
* This book is all but impossible to understand because of it having no kind of organization at all. If one miraculously managed to understand the book's contents, that person will find it is extremely informative. One will also find that the concepts and information do show a great deal of insight.

A Wizard's Encyclopedia of New Wizardry
* This book is easy to understand. A short look at the book will show that it is extremely informative.

A Peacetime Comparison of the Halbierd and Falchion
* This book is all but impossible to understand mostly due to terrible diagrams. A talented person may be able to derive some understanding from the book and find it is extremely informative. Despite its good traits, the contents show some plagarism.

An Account of the States' Ancient Heroes
* This book is very clear thanks to the excellent, well-planned chapters. It's easy to determine that it is reasonably useful. After a quick exampination, one will find that the concepts in the book do show a lot of original thought.
* Examining the book, one will find: Some personal notes, in a recognizable, but foreign language, unrelated to the book, concentrated in select sections of the book. Pieces of paper with notes, in incoherent writing, that seem to have to have no single purpose.

I have also used the Dragon Generator to quickly come up with a dragon description.
Hatetearer - She is a mature adult dragon. She has gold scales which are almost mirror-like. Her breath is a bolt of electricity. She is extremely sadistic. Her fighting skills are exceptional. She lives in a forboding wasteland. Her hoard is huge.

Flightwings the Great-winged - She is an elder dragon. She has silver scales and exceptionally large wings. Her breath is a cloud of gas that puts most beings to sleep. She is very arrogant. Her skill at mechanical items is quite refined despite her size. She lives in a friendly city. Her hoard is giant.


Interactive History part II

Because I am not quite busy enough I am going to try to resurrect a play by mail or play by post Interactive History Game.

Step One: Re-read the rules and maybe reformat them into a single html page.
Step Two: Recruit players.


The Role of the Dice

For reasons I can not yet make public I have been considering alternative systems and mechanics to my much loved fudge system. This has led me to seriously examine the systems I like and why.

First the crunchy bits:
Iron Crown's excellent Rolemaster series. This was a system I fell in love with years ago. I love the detailed skills, and to be honest the hundreds of tables appealed to me for some reason. I loved the complex combat cross referencing, and the criticals were just the best. I fell away from the game because keeping up with all the books was too expensive and the hours and hours of character generation were just too much. I still try to convince people to play War Law every once and a while, but I still haven't gotten any takers.

Hero System. I have to confess, I don't think I ever actually played Hero. I have created hundreds of characters but I don't remember ever actually playing a game. I love this systems detail. The 5th edition with the power stunts and power frameworks is brilliant. But as with Rolemaster the hours and hours of character generation (while fun) were just too much.

All these games I like because of the detail but I find they have too many restrictions, and the game crunch means it is a lot of effort for the GM (usually me) to get everything together. I find that the latest d20 D&D game is the same way. Even a simple group of Kobalds can take forever to describe because they can all have different skills and feats.

I still buy these games and supplements for them for the detail but usually I only use the detail as background for more free form games.

Now onto the smooth stuff:
A game I have half read, is Over the Edge. As I have only read the character generation rules I can not speak for how good Over the Edge is from a system point of view. However, the reason I have only read the character generation rules is because I desperately want to play this game as a player. I know if I read the rest of the rules and the setting information I will be hoisting a session and I am holding out hope I will get to play the game.

Fudge from Grey Ghost Games. I love fudge, I still have difficulty playing Fudge out of the box. But with Fudge I can tinker to my hearts content. I recently tried FATE:Fudge and found it was also an excellent game, although I ended up using the Fudge attribute ladder rather than the FATE ladder.

In recent years my most enjoyable moments have all come out of Fudge or Fudge based games. The name and description of this blog come from a Fudge product (Believe it or Else). In a perfect world I would continue to use Fudge but things that are going on in the Fudge community are upsetting me to the point where I am looking for alternatives. (more on this in another post).

So that means I need to find a new system.
The options:
A simple and interesting system is the EABA system from BTRC. This is another universal system that seems quite sound. I have read 90% of the base rule book and downloaded samples from 3 or 4 setting books. It strikes me that the EABA is an excellent system, the only thing I think would be difficult would be a cross genre game. I have never played the EABA system so I could very well be wrong.

From the Canadian (yeah!) Guardians of Order is Tri-Stat dX. I like a lot of things about this system. It is a very elegant system with a very very cool powers/abilities framework. I would live to play in a Tri-Stat game. As with the EABA a cross genre game might cause a problem.

The yet to be released Open Core System. I am going to pick up Open Core, if for no other reason to see what it is like and whether it will make Gatecrasher a better game. I love the Gatecrasher universe. Magic and technology together, to me the feel of Gatecrasher is a very nice mix of "Hitchhickers Guide to the Universe" and "Wizards". Hopefully Open Core will bring a less number crunching system to the setting. I don't know if Open Core is the generic system I want.

I have also downloaded the free Fuzion rules. I haven't read the entire ruleset, but it seems a bit too crunchy for my taste. This is most likely a system I will read simply to borrow the best

Or do I just build my own system? I have built or rather I should say I have hacked Home Brew systems before. Rarely does a system see play when I haven't adjusted something about it. Sometimes successfully, sometime not.

Now after all that rambling I have come to the point, do I need a SYSTEM or is it all about the MECHANIC?
What is it about the systems I like? The details, the flavor, the setting information. What is it I dislike about those same systems? The resolution mechanic. I love Rolemaster for the detail, I think the resolution mechanic to tedious and at times too slow to keep the players interested in other players activities. I love the power framework rules in Hero, but I don't want to deal with the accounting required for character creation and management.

What do I like about Fudge? The simplicity of the resolution mechanic. So maybe I just need to come up with my own mechanic. If I were to role 4d4 instead of 4dF would I still be able to get the flow that I like so much from the Fudge game? This is something I am going to look at very closely, I have several resolution mechanics I have used from time to time. I even have a ladder resolution system I tried long before found fudge. Maybe all the time I have spent looking at new system is just a search for a new mechanic.


Dark Future Heroes Issue #1

So the game began with a whimper. I was not able to do a lot of prep, so I started out with a lazy kind of story. The players jumped all over a incidental character and totally took the story in a new direction.
I had to completely change the direction I was going to take the game. I had a lot of fun, and the players said they had fun too. Hopefully we will be able to maintain some momentum and continue the sessions. So far the cast consists of Terry Miles (the former military man), Hank (the bossy woodsman), Vincent (the mechanic), and Preacher. These four have managed to land jobs within the "Special Projects" department of the August Corp.
We are still learning the fate system and the story element combat are new to me so I am just hoping to make the first couple of sessions quick paced.


Act 1 Scene 3: The Chase Begins

The Cats owner smiles at Ofriox and says "You poor misunderstood creature, I am who I am, and you have signed a pact with me to save my cat. I would recommend you honour your agreements with Mystanmyr!"

Drift, Vyu and Soekkiu reach the end of the street just moments ahead of McKinley and Anibka. The pair has disappeared into the crowd on the side street leading to one of the towns main market plazas. Iwan is perched on a second floor balcony and is pointing towards a window across the street yelling "One of them went in that window!" With that he flaps his wings and heads down the side street towards the market. "The other one went this way!"

Vyu and Soekkiu start sprinting down the crowded side street. The knock over many locals in an effort to keep up with Iwan. Briemi reaches the corner, he just catches Vyu as he disappears into the crowd. Anibka and McKinley are looking at a street level window. Drift is staring blankly at the dwarf as he approaches the trio.

Briemi is about to ask what is going on when several of the green and brown armoured city watch start pushing their way through the crowds. McKinley curses under his breath and dives in through the window. "It's Clear! Quick get every one inside." He calls from inside.

McKinley is next through the window, followed by Drift. Anibka drops into the room and tells the group "Ofriox just arrived, he is running interference with the watch, but I don't know how much time it will buy us." She peers back trough the window, grimacing. "I don't give two flying farts about that cat, but those two will answer for the damage to my bar before they answer to the watch."

As she speaks Drift starts to leave the room, slowly plodding down the hall outside. Briemi reminds Anibka, "It's my bar too. " He motions to the hall and says "we better not let Drift get too far ahead. "

After the dwarf and Anibka leave McKinley pauses to watch the city watch as they try to deal with Ofriox. A small group of Ofriox's mass breaks off and heads to wards the city market, another flies into the room as McKinley watches. "I thought you'd never join us, lets get moving." Shutting the window and throwing the lock closed McKinley and a small bit of Ofriox head down the hall way after Drift, Briemi and Anibka.

Rolling the dice...

I am looking at some different dice options for my upcoming super hero game. I think I am going to give each person a 8 dice pool. The pools will consist of: 4 regular dice and 4 super dice. The regular dice can be used at any time, the super dice can only be used to augment or defend from a super powered action.

These dice could be added to a roll or could be used in place of a wound. I think allowing for the super dice to absorb wounds is a little powerful but it would allow a player to play a character with no super powers and still survive a battle with a super villain.

These dice will give normal power characters a way of augmenting their abilities without spending fudge points for every action. These dice would not refresh automatically though, some event (rest or healing for example) would be required to recover these dice.

I am not sure how this will work out but I am looking forward to trying it out.

I am also looking at using "wild cards" as a means of character development. I am going to try the FATE game system ( but I am going to allow for on the fly character generation. At points along the way the players will draw cards, and anyone who draws a wild card can gain a super power, everyone else gains a regular aspect. Super powers will be treated like an aspect except: super powers get 4 skills and 2 stunt points rather than four skills points. The skill points must all be spent on skills directly related to the super power. Stunt points can be spent on stunts for the super power. Skill points can also be used to buy stunts.

So the aspect City Cop could gain the skills: observation, firearms, driving, and kowledge:law. The super power Ice Creation(Heroic Scale) could gain the skills: Shield, Sled, Sword, Bolt (with 2 stunts), it could not gain the skills firearms, or driving.


The Big Secret

Okay, I am coming clean...

Almost a year ago I GM'd a d20 game based in a smallish town. Their were some strange murders going on, their was a large dark smelly monk running around town, there were some sneaky robed figures robbing homes and businesses, and their was a smuggling problem.

The party nearly killed themselves trying to solve all this. They thought:
The monk was the kingpin of crime, running the smuggling operation.
His minions were were killing the people that knew too much.
They were also looting the homes of those that were too powerful to kill off.

Totally wrong, and since the campaign will never be completed I will reveal the secrets here. First the monk was just a distraction. I didn't have anything planned for him but pressed him into service for a quick mission when only have the group showed up.

The murders were a vary complicated plot.
Day 1:
Martin Roban (the cobbler) dies in the wilderness and becomes a memory eater (from the Creature Collection by Sword and Sorcery Studios) . Memory eaters remember their lives and do not realize they are undead. They return to their jobs and homes only to have family and friends flee in terror. They kill there friends and family. Once these people are consumed it gains some of their memories and the patterns repeats.

Day 3:
Martin returns home and kills his wife Sarah Roban.

Day 4:
Martin returns to work and kills Jacob Wren his apprentice. Jacob Wren become a memory eater as well.

Day 10:
Martin kills William Blythe, Sarah's brother.

Day 12:
Martin kills Kent Lyske, William's employer. Kent Lyske also becomes a memory eater.
Jacob Wren kills Katy, a waitress and former girlfriend.

Day 17:
Kent Lyske kills Brent Lyske his brother and William Blythes landlord.

Day 19:
Martin kills Grant Speary the tanner.

Day 20:
Kent kills Laurence Clavy his former best friend

Day 21:
Jacob kills Cassandra Youge, Katy's best friend

Day 24:
Jacob kills Albert Younge, Cassandras father and Rebecca Younge, Cassandra's mother. Rebecca Younge becomes a memory eater as well.
Martin kills Thomas Banik, customer of Grant Speary.

Day 25:
Kent kills Dennis Carre, Laurence Clavy's brother-in-law

Day 29:
Martin kills Randy Fallmen, associate of Thomas Banik
Kent kills London Lyske, Kent's brother
Jacob kills Mitchell Cooper, Cassandra Younge's boyfriend
Rebeccca kills Geoffry Wilson, Rebecca Younge's boyfriend.

Now to complicate matters the robberies were being committed by ratmen living under the city. They would find out about people who had been killed and then clean out their homes and businesses, so the party only had 2 to 4 days before the evidence would be totally removed. Also many of the murders were not reported the day they happened so the party would have to construct the timeline then find the connection.

They were actually almost onto it, they actually witnessed one of the murders but because they were trying to tie the murders and the robberies to the monk they lost the trail and had to start again.

The ratmen they actually solved that part, if not in the way I anticipated. They decided to stake out the Younge household and managed to surprise some ratmen in the act of robbing the house. They then found he entrance to the catacombs and cleaned them out.

Thinking they had solved the murders they left town and were planning to return. I kept up the murders and the random chance the victim would become a memory eaters. When they returned to town they would have found the town in complete shambles. The town watch and the monk would hold only a small part of town besieged by the masses of undead and pockets of ratmen. Another part of town is held by the crime boss and his family.

Oh and the smuggling problem. That was just something to get them out of town to allow for the Memory Eaters to get started and multiply. So they took a job with the crime lord to deliver a package. It kept them out of town until day 10. I was going to have the smuggling problem slowly deteriorate the economy so that the costs in the town would slowly rise, but that was just an afterthought.

Carl's Superheroic rules dilemma

Carl's problem strikes close to home because I was planning my own superhero campaign at the same time Carl was planning his.

The problem is the scale of abilities:

So let's say we have the following non-overlapping Scales:
* Normal
* Heroic
* Super
* Cosmic
Heroic always beats Normal, Super always beats Heroic, etc. Extenuating circumstances can change this... multiple Normals combining their efforts might be able to win over a Heroic character, etc. And, of course, this doesn't describe the whole character... just individual abilities. So you could have Great Super Strength, but only Normal Superb Armor, for instance.
The idea I am playing with is this. Take Heroic and make it twice as good as Normal. So when doing a dice contest Heroic rolls twice and can add 2 to those rolls. Normal rolls once. Normal has to beat both Heroic rolls to win Heroic only has to beat normal with one. Normal can beat Heroic, but it is not very likely.

I also like dice pools a lot. I will probably give each player a dice pool of 5 to 9 dice for power stunts and the like. If the Normal character really needs to beat Heroic then adding dice from the pool will better his odds but it will still be in Heroic' favour.

Super would roll 4 times and add 4 to the rolls. So Normals chances are really really limited. And Cosmic rolls 6 times and adds 6 to the rolls. Normal just doesn't really stand a chance.

I would also allow for Fudge points to assist the test. I have several ideas I want to test out, where Normal spends a fudge point: to get extra dice for the test, to reduce the opponents addition to the roll by 2 (Heroic adds 0, Super adds 2, Cosmic adds 4), to eliminate one of the opponents rolls (Heroic rolls once, Super 3 times, cosmic 5 times). The one thing I want to block is the use of fudge points to get a ridiculous result. I remember reading on Dragon Magazine (I think) about the Marvel Superheros Game an how it was technically possible for Aunt May to use X number of Karma Points to get an automatic kill result on Galactus.

One final though before bedtime. A lot has been said about Cyclops and how he seems to be a one trick pony, and that a single dimensional hero would not survive in an rpg. I think one of the problems is that Cyclops was designed to be part of the team. I think that if you analyze the comics characters like Thor, the Hulk, Spider-man are designed to be stand alone heros so they have powers that are more fully rounded, offensive and defensive. While the teams X-Men, Avengers, Alpha Flight contain characters that were designed as part of the team. Players can design a single character to play like Thor, or they can design a team of characters to play like New Mutants. The same limits placed on the single character apply to the team but the team is played as a unit but a single player. It allows for Cyclops to be a one trick pony because he is only one aspect of the team he is part of.


Game Dream #13

Mitch Evans has posted Game Dream #13

How do your players determine whether a creature / obstacle / NPC is "out of their league"? What happens then? Do the players immediately attempt to flee? Is there in-character or out-of-character decision making? Do you usually have an escape route planned?
Okay, this game dream has so many different memories jumping out of my grey matter. I spent a great deal of time sorting through some great game memories that all start when I have has that sinking feeling ... "Uh-oh, we are in serious trouble here."

As a player I generally play fairly heroic, sometimes tragically heroic, sometimes not, but I am never too afraid to take on something that might be beyond my characters abilities. As a player I have had some serious and some funny moments were I have not seen the danger until it was too late.

I had an acrobatic rogue type that was trying to save a healer. I knew I was in over my head but I figured I would use tactics to save my butt and the healers'. We were toe to toe with a large wing-less dragon. I waited until the dragon struck then I ran up his leg and onto his head. Ah-ha! I thought, now I have the advantage, I can attack and he can't strike back. The DM gave me three chances to leap off the dragons back. Each time I gleefully drove my short sword home. It wasn't until the DM started rolling dice and a fellow player asked how high the ceiling was that a I got a very sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. I can proudly state I did save the healer, but it was by sacrificing myself because the party did escape as I was integrated into the ceiling.

I can remember a famous battle where we were in a small room with a bone devil and a skeleton. We were quite powerful so we made the bone devil got splat rather quickly. It was then that the skeleton boomed out in a rather impressive voice (and this is a direct quote) :
"Now foolish mortals face the wrath of.... dammit! I can't pronounce this name!".

Once we finished ridiculing the DM we realized that the skeleton was not just fodder and we were in trouble. Prismatic walls were in place to protect the skeleton, a well timed Disjunction spell reduced my mighty fighter to a whimpering shell. All that saved us was the mages' well used wish. Now the best part of this entire story line is this party of earth shaking hero's ran in fear every time we even thought a skeleton was anywhere near us. As players we all new the 4 skeletons roaming around the graveyard were not going to be the massively powerful liches that humbled us entirely, but we thought the characters would be a little scared for a bit.

Now I can also remember one such event where the players not only triumphed over forces beyond their abilities but changed the campaign substantially. The party was pretty much entirely made up of fighters. In the party was a blade master, completely dedicated to his sword. We were hired by a baron to clean up a infestation of monsters in the catacombs under his keep. All things went well until the blade master discovered that the monsters spat acid. His beloved blade was ruined. We climbed back into the keep and the baron was there with a surprising number of guards.

The blade master threw the ruined sword at the feet of the baron and demanded that it be replaced. The baron demanded an apology. Words were exchanged. Out of character discussions were held. Finally, myself and another player took matters into our own hands. We knew that to try to fight our way out we were dead men (and dwarves) but if we took the baron as a hostage... We ended up carrying out a months long guerrilla war campaign against the baron. He would send out patrols to capture us, we would kill them an send the uniforms or badges back to the baron. This baron was supposed to be our ally and benefactor but he turned out to be the main villain for the campaign.

As a GM my favorite in over your head moment came in a rolemaster game. I did not own any monster books so everything was a character. I had a NPC I had added to the group because they were a little weak, but then we had three new players join. So I changed my plans for the group. I had the 'friendly' NPC turn into a nasty traitor. The group had just managed to defeat a pair of orcs when the traitor struck. His two cohorts (a great man and a arch mage) rushed in and the three bad guys hit the party while they were still recovering from the previous battle.

Now the players were a odd bunch. One of the more normal players was a half-elven weretiger who was also a healer of sorts. Once the traitorous ambush was complete the trio fled down a hallway. The weretiger chased them down and noticed that the great man (about 9-10 feet tall in full plate mail armour) was guarding the retreat of the other and was standing mere feet from a 50 foot deep pool of water.

"I'm going to charge into him and try to knock him into the water." the weretiger explained.
"Are you sure? He was just man handling you guys earlier, maybe you should help the party with their wounds first." I warned.
"I'll knock him into the water, then go help the guys."
"Okay" I said shrugging.

The weretiger made a pretty spectacular roll for his attack, and as I had anticipated the great man completely obliterated it.
"He reaches out and catches you as you charge into him. He has a fairly good grip on your neck, and he hasn't shifted more than ten centimeters closer to the pool."
The weretiger gets that 'Oh shit' look, and says "Can I break free?"
"sure" I reply
"I'm going to go help the group with their wounds..."


Game Dream #10

Mitch Evans has posted Game Dream #10

During games, how do you keep track of the various plot hooks, hints, and people? Are you a master of the arcane memory arts and keep them in your head? Or, are you a mere mortal who must put them to paper? How much notekeeping is too much? Do you find you are more or less organized in game than in real life?
As a player I try not to take notes. I have a pretty good memory and I find I remember more than the character generally should anyway.

A few game dreams ago you talked about time travel. I really only take notes to make sure that important continuity is maintained. At times I will have as many as 8 to 10 plot lines going at once. When this happens I usually make a little chart to keep the plot lines synchronized at certain points.

I think that note taking is too much when it starts to interfere with the flow of the game. Players should also take into account the character when they are making notes. A long time ago I posted an article about mapping in games. The idea was that players make flawless maps even if their characters are illiterate oafs. I came up with a scheme that would make mapping more and more difficult for players whose characters are less and less capable of mapping. The same could be said of note taking. I can see a nerdy Mage taking copious notes and cross referencing entries. Even a smart rogue might make notes on poisons or locks, people(potential targets) and traps. A woodsman might make notes on particular plants, animals, monsters, etc. I would draw the line as a GM when a player wanted to take lots of notes for a brain dead thug.

Usually, if the character is such that he should have remembered a meeting or event I will tell him such and give him enough details. If the character is not I will remind them that they have met before, but nothing else. If the character is completely dense I will not only remind the player that the character would not remember any of the previous meeting I will also occasionally change the "facts" from the previous meeting, either subtly or obviously, so the player can not grant the character an unfair advantage.

I am way more organized as a GM than in real life. Although I am working on that, I am starting to use the "Harvard" time tracking system, and I have to admit I am starting to use it in game as well as out of game.


Solve the Mystery type plots

I have always liked plot lines that revolve around solving the mystery. The plots can be very intricate and details like in a solve the murder plot, or very simple like in a room puzzle.

The DM Design Kit, although very old and based on an older version of the Dungeons and Dragons rules is a fantastic resource for designing these types of adventures. It was the tool I used to define Mystanamyr's Cat. I think it is a great tool and at Only $4.95 USD (6.46 CAD) it is very affordable.

The product is made up of three books (all in the same PDF), the first book is the "Adventure Design Rulebook". This is the guts of the book, it steps through in detail the steps required to build a good adventure. Although this is based on the D&D ruleset, it is very easy to adjust the concepts to other rule sets. This is the place where you can read about how to build your plot, describe your featured villain, build traps, and my favorite a really neat way to define a chase scene. This is the valuable book for me, I learned a great deal about adventure hooks, planning, and plot layout. I also like some of the interesting documentation ideas presented.

The second book comprises a series of forms that you can use to construct your adventure. These are still based on D&D, and have a lot of info that other systems don't need. It is still pretty simple to adapt to other systems. There is a completed adventure used as a example through out the book.

Finally is the adventure cookbook. I have not really used this book that much, it is a create an adventure book for when you don't have a plot line in mind. By stepping through the process it will help you create a pretty cool adventure form nothing. I usually have too many plot ideas rather than too few so I don't get a lot of use out of it.

The only thing I really dislike about the product is the horrid scanning job. Every page has the text of the next page showing through the scan, and te pages are not scanned square.

Over all I really like the product and I am very glad I bought it. I would recommend picking it up (and I don't recieve any kick backs if you go and purchase it).


Game Dream #9

Mitch Evans has posted Game Dream #9

What is the most positive thing you have gained from your gaming experiences? How have games helped you with personal growth? How do you feel about your children (if any, now or in the future) eventually playing role playing games?
I think roleplaying has been a very beneficial activity in my life. I have met so many really cool people at the game table. The 'networking' that is available to me from that experience is invaluable. I can not think that I would be friends with many of the people I know if it were not for gaming. Gaming has been a largely a escapism activity but I honestly have learned some things from the process.

I think the 'deepest' thing that I associate with roleplaying is the benefit of objective self evaluation. As a player you can disassociate from the character and evaluate the characters personality, actions, etc. In the same way I have benefited from objectively looking at myself. It gives me the insight to make changes about myself (I am now a non-smoker for example). I have also witness that a radical change needs to be worked at. I am sure we have all witnessed a character switch personalities or moralities in mid game. What I have noticed though is that the player has to work at a new personality or the character or the old personality will creep back in. In the same way when you make a change in your life you need to work at it continuously.

I will most certainly introduce roleplaying to my daughter when she is older. I hope she enjoys gaming as much as I do.


Etger Finch

Etger was a sick a lot as a child. Growing up in the sprawl he never really got a chance to flourish. He spent a lot of time alone, looking at things, figuring out how they work.

Once he saved enough for a dermal jack, he started spending every available minute inside the net. This was home to him. He started designing components, then entire rigs. Soon he was getting offers from corps, to join the security teams.

Etger wanted no part of the Corps, he wanted the net all to himself. He started to build more and more sophisticated net constructs until he was ready. Then Feb 12, 2154 he did it. He permanently injected himself into the net. Etger wasn't as smart as he thought though, the transfer wasn't complete. Etger Finch, free roaming AI, lost his personal will. Now he exists only to help other hacks in the net.

When you encounter Etger he will initially appear to be a standard web construct but will have particularly avian features. Etger will not communicate, and will make no aggressive moves, simply attaching himself to the hack. Once attached he will follow the hack through the net until the hack gets into trouble, then he will attempt to help the hack out of any problems she might encounter. Etger might even wait around a entry point for the hack to return if they jack out.

Etger is in search of his lost bits of personality. As a construct he sees the missing parts as applications or programs and will not take it lightly if anyone points out that his personality dies with his meatspace body.

Etger was very good as a hack, he is even better as a construct. Etger has no physical stats in the real world (meatspace) but in the net (cyberspace) Etger is very formidable. He has Great body. Good Strength, and Legendary Agility. He has 4 basic intrusion programs: Great Stealth/Deceive, Great Block, Good Attack, and Great Repair. He has 6 utility programs: Legendary Crypt/Decrypt, Superb Evaluate, Great Search, Legendary Trace, Good Virii/Corrupt, and Good Deploy.

Once his chosen hack starts to attempt an action Etger will assist. Either by competing the action for the hack or assisting the hack, depending on the task and the hacks skills.

Usually Etger appears as an avian (finch) construct. He will take on the colors of his chosen hack also mimicking them in size. If Etger attached\s to a Corp security hack he will turn on the hack once he discovers that the hack is from a Corp security team.


Game Dream #6

Mitch Evans has posted Game Dream #6

Have you attended a game or media (i.e. comic book / SF) convention? If not, what's kept you from doing so? If so, how was your experience, and what can you share with others to nudge their decision one way or the other?


I have one good excuse and one feeble excuse. The good excuse is location, location, location. I live in Leduc, Alberta, Canada. The nearest game convention seems to be on the other side of the sun. The cost would be prohibitive at this time. Now, onto the feeble excuse: location, location, location. I lived in Ottawa for three years and never attended Can Games in Ottawa or any of the Conventions in Toronto. Part of the feeble excuse is that I spend an horrid amount of time at work. This means my vacation time is pretty much tagged as family time, not that I would want to change that, it just means that it will be a while before I am going to attend a convention.

All that being said, both my wife and I miss Ottawa, so if I were ever to get a paying RPG job, even a small one we could visit Ottawa and write off the expenses. So anyone looking wanting to hire me to be a booth babe (for the record I am a 34 year old male and I am NOT in great shape) please contact me ;)

Game Dream #5

Mitch Evans has posted Game Dream #5

To what level (if any) do the groups you usually play with encourage communal creation of the game world? Are the players spectators, or do they actually have a say in the plot (moreso that just guiding it by the actions of their characters)?
I have tried to involve my players in the game world creation on several occasions with mixed results. I always start out by stating that I can not guarantee I will be able to incorporate everything that is brought forward, but I promise to do my best. After all if you bring forward a new variant of snakes I can't really introduce that into my game worlds (none of my home brew worlds have snakes, its a very unfair and biased rule, but its mine).

I have gotten three levels of response in the past: none, some, and too much. None is the standard response. Most of the time my players just want me to define the world and they are happy with that. It can be frustrating at times. Especially when I am trying to do some really sweeping story arcs that would require some really indepth investigation of character backgrounds. Unfortunately most of the backgrounds I received were "Bob was a large kid and grew up to be a warrior". None can also be a good response because it means that I have a blank canvas to colour in.

Some information is really the best response. In general it allows me the greatest freedom to plant my story hooks, while still allowing the players to assist in defining the flavour of the world. It is also the most work for both player and GM because a lot of extra communication is required outside of the game.

Too much information can be a killer. If you have to try to merge several seemingly incompatible world concepts it can become a real problem. If you have three players describing the same world, one as a frozen tundra, one as a planet wide desert, and a third as a global fain Forrest, no one is going to end up with the world they envisioned.

I have also tried (unsuccessfully) to set up a society game to be played concurrently with a character game. The idea being that each player would define a society and would play those societies shaping the history of the world. This game would be played as an offline exercise. At the end of each session the results from the previous moves would be revealed and discussed. The next set of moves would be due before the next session. This was planned to use the Fudgified Aria rules. Due to a lack of interest the idea never actually got going.

Game Dream #4

Mitch Evans has posted Game Dream #4

What is the role, if any, that movies and books play in your campaigns? When entering a new genre, how important do you feel seeing (or reading) a good genre example becomes? Have you ever been assigned a "mood" book to read by the GM, or gone to a group movie viewing? How do you feel about game-based fiction, whether "pulp" novels or movie attempts?
I have never assigned reading for a group. The only time I have recommended reading or movies is to people who are having difficulty with character concept. I always recommend they see THEIR favorite movie or read THEIR favorite book, then return with the character they want to play firmly defined for themselves. Once that is done we can make that character archtype work for the game we are playing.

Ever since reading the C.S. Freidman Cold Fire trilogy (Black Sun Rising, When True Night Falls, Crown of Shadows) I have wanted to play a campaign in that world. I loved the "involuntary" magic o the world. Similarly, I purchased Terra Incognita after seeing League of Extraordinary Gentleman. But have yet to play either.

Game based fiction is a mixed bag. Some I have really liked (The Horselords Trilogy), some I have really disliked (The D&D movie). I really enjoyed the shifting point of view in the horselords trilogy. The only praise I can give the D&D movie is that they did a good job of filming an actual game session, unfortunately only one player showed up so the DM had to supplement the cast with a lot of NPCs.

We went to see the D&D movie as a group. Our DM at the time got us all free passes. Most of the group was disappointed in the movie. Only one was pleased, but he went into the movie expecting it to be complete crap.

Game Dream #3

Mitch Evans has posted Game Dream #3

Some people play RPGs to enjoy a viewpoint or way of acting that they just couldn't do in real life. Others seem to play characters whose motivations are more their own. And some folks do all of the above and everything in between :) What character of yours was most like you "in real life"? Which of your characters is the least like you? Which did you find more fun to play, and why?
For some reason I find this question very difficult to answer. I can't recall a character that was "most like me" or "least like me".

As a player I usually have a very distinct character concept before I start development. I have stolen characters from movies, books, games, etc and tried to mold a character into that archtype.

I guess the best answer I can give is that I usually have a few of my personality traits (goofy sense of humour) in most characters. On the other hand I try to play character that are not just like me. I am fairly pedantic in real life and when I play a character with that trait I usually don't enjoy it at all.


Act 1 Scene 2: Taking to the Hunt

In the confusion several things happen at once.

Ofriox slides over towards what is presumed to be the cats owner. He telepathic sending is registered by all in the room. "Who are those men, and who are you? If we chase after your cat how will we find you again? Do you have any tokens or information that will help make the hunt a short one, and what will you offer if we are successful? Speak quickly!"

Drift charges out into the street calling for his comrades to follow him. Vyu and Soekkiu rave after Drift. Iwan launches into the air and follows watches Drift from above.

Anibka slowly looks over the damage done to her common room. She gathers some supplies and heads towards the door. She is watching Bremi and trying to read his reaction to the damage done to the inn. After a few moments She move to the door.

McKinley watches Anibka go over the battle scars on the walls as he strides to the bar and finishes his drink. He drops a coin down on the bar "Here you are barkeep. Keep the change. Bless you and your fine ale!" He turns, heads for the door first grumbling "Here we go again." He sees Anibka striding out the door and shouts "Anibka don't forget me!"


Game Dream #2

Mitch Evans has posted Game Dream #2

One of my favorite plot complications that I like to introduce as a GM is to create an environment where the players are forced to deal with unsavory characters that they would otherwise destroy. From either a player or GM/ST point of view, what is your most vivid recollection of this occuring in your games?
I have never successfully introduced this as a GM. The players always seem to have baulked at the idea, or purposefully failed at tasks.

In a very short campaign run by a friend of mine. I was playing a very opportunistic bard, and along with a fighter from the group we hired on to transport some merchandise from our current location to an outpost some three days away. The packages were quite small and we were paid quite well. We jumped at the job.

Now, on to the out of character information that I knew but Belak (the bard) did not. The rest of the party (a druid, a paladin, a fighter, and a cleric) had hired on to patrol the trail between the town and an outpost three days away. They were charged with the capture and return of any persons who were caught smuggling. The bard and the fighter dutifully went along to help our friends, all the while they were actually looking for us.

As time went on we discovered that the smugglers were actually transporting ingredients for potions. These potions were used to free slaves. I (not my character) later found out that the disreputable characters were assisting the freedom fighters, and the "good" characters were hunting down people for the slave traders. I thought it was a brilliant plot twist. The game came to an unfortunate halt before the rest of the party caught on to the smugglers in thier midst.


Game Dream #1

Mitch Evans has posted Game Dream #1

After reading the last 2 Game Wish posts I was very pleased to see the start of the game dreams. I have net been keeping up with this blog very well so hopefully this will be the kick in the ass I need to keep it going.

When Role Playing Games are discussed, the subject of first-person versus third-person character narratives sometimes surfaces. When you play a character, do you assume first-person, using your voice as his or hers, or do you use third person, simply describing what he or she is doing? Do you switch between first and third person, or try to adhere to one? When other players are in character, does the use of first or third person affect your immersion in the game?
I actually try to use first and third person for different effects.

First person is for 'real time' interaction. If the players are talking to the watch guard and the conversation is going to go on verbatim. I will assume first person. On the other hand, if the conversation is just a back drop for something else, I will use third person to summarise the key things that happened in the conversation. For example if the players are talking with the bartender looking for info about the location of someone. I will summarise the key information they gleaned in third person. I had a player describe this as first person for the game, third person for the 'cut scenes'.

All combat is described in third person though. That's mainly because I describe what the players can see is happening not what the opponent is planning. It is not until the opponent act that they get to hear what actually happened.

Finally, to be completely honest this behavior is just a goal. I stick to it for the first hour or two of a session the slowly slip into more and more third person.

As A player I try to use first person to say what the character is saying, and third person for out of proposed action descriptions. For example, if I am going to try to rob a storekeeper, I might say "I was wondering if you can show me some pearl earrings.",then add, "He is going to try to force the clerk to the floor and tie him up once the display case is unlocked."

I don't find that the mixing of voices interferes with the enjoyment of the game. I think it might change the immersion of the game, where third person leads to more of a spectator of events rather than participant in the events.

I do find that the group speaks together. If one member starts off in third person, then those that follow will continue in third person.


Act 1 Scene 1: To Take up the Chase...

Its been a long and tiring day. You are sitting at the inn enjoying your supper when a man in a odd red robe sweeps into the common room. The man is un-naturally tall and carrying what appears to be an overgrown and frail house cat. He makes a rather grand and conspicuous entrance, taking a table near the bar and ordering for himself and the cat. Soon the spectacle is over and you all return to your meals.

The next interruption of your meal is not what you expected, the table, the entire room, even your own body seem to waver and stretch out, like reality is being molded and remade. You fear some type of attack on your sanity when as suddenly as it has begun, it is over.

You are surprised to find yourself lying on the floor, picking yourself up you see you and your friends are arranged in a circle around the strangers table (McKinley is actually draped over the table itself). The strange man is standing pointing towards the doors, yelling something, you can't quite make out. Painfully you stand up and take stock of yourself, every thing seems to be OK, you just lost some time.

Again, the strange man is yelling at you, concentrating you clear your mind and hear what he is saying for the first time.

"You have agreed to save my cat, now after them! They must not have a chance to harm her in any way! Quickly they are getting away!"

Glancing at the door, you notice for the first time that a battle was fought near the door, there is some blood on the floor and scorch marks on the doors and walls. One of the doors has been torn off its hinges and through the opening you can see two men running from the Inn, One is hobbling, both are trailing smoke.

You look at your companions, they are all picking themselves off the ground, and you look out the door. The two men are almost to the end of the block.


Cast of Characters

Anibka, human female
A slight woman. Most dismiss her as a child, or at least someone too small to be a threat. That has been a fatal mistake in the past. She is a formidable opponent, always ready to use her arts to her advantage.

Breimi, male dwarf
Short, even for a dwarf. A real wild card, no-one in the group knows much about him and he does not talk about his past. Powerfully built, Breimi is always ready to use his weapons in extremely violent ways.

Drift, male unknown
A immense being of an unknown race. Drift is a very large very strong and very dense person. He was raised by a pair of human that adopted him at a very young age. Judging from the scars the pair were not nice people.

Dupoa & Poso, female elf & symbiote
Dupoa (host) a 'normal' female elf, is slightly thinner, and apparently much stronger than her elven heritage would indicate. Dupoa is someone who knows what she wants and is willing to use what ever skills and powers available to her to get it.

Iwan, male draconian
The smallest of the draconians, he is also the only one with fully functional wings. With a four meter wing span, his smooth green body is adorns with tattoos and symbols. Those that watch closely can actually seen the lines and images move independently, as if the ink was alive. Whenever his friends are in need, he has always been ready with his formidable mental powers.

McKinley, male human
A short, but very stocky, man. His past is a seemingly open book. Both hands branded, and his left ear is docked. This is apparently what a dedicated thief looks like.

Ofriox, swarm?
What is Ofriox? As far as you can tell, Ofriox is a sentient swarm. A swarm of what? Well, if leeches had wings, that would be getting close.

Soekkiu, male draconian
The largest of the three draconians, Soekkiu lacks the wings the other draconians sport. Glistening yellow scales cover his very powerful frame. His ten centimeter claws have always been ready to defend his allies, and rend his enemies.

Vyu, female draconian
Almost drab Black scale cover the female draconian. Her wings are much smaller than Iwan's, but they still allow her to glide impressive differences. She caries herself with pride and almost radiates danger. Her skill at arms would challenge even Briemi.


Mystanamyr's Cat

I started this a while ago, planned to be a Play by Email. However I realise now I do not have the time to actually plan and execute a game. I am re-doing it as a excersise in creative writing.


Critical Miss: The Magazine for Dysfunctional Roleplayers

I recently went through the archives of Critical Miss and read or re-read the articles that caught my eye.

Generally these guys are funny. Specifically these guys are exactly like the guys I have gamed with. I read about the classic campaigns and high fantasy games other people have played in, But I have never had that type of game. So either I am a dysfunctional gamer, and those other people are not. Or those other people are lying.

My Critical Miss Top 5
Number 5
The first article form Critical Miss I read.
The Problem With Roleplaying

Number 4
Proof that I am not the only guy that has to deal with bad material and dysfunctional players.
Critical Miss: Issue 3 (The Worst Roleplaying Game Ever Written?)

Number 3
The first time I read it, I laughed so hard I forgot how to breathe.
Jonny Does Stupid

Number 2
More proof that I am not the only guy that has to deal with bad material and dysfunctional players.
The Second Worst Scenario Ever Written
The Players Speak

Number 1:
Easily the easiest to choose. I know it looks like I am wimping out and picking a three way tie for top spot, but I am not. Any of these three articles would be in the running to be my favorite article. But I find when read in chronological order, they are even funnier (and they are all related).

How James Wallis Ruined My Character's Life
James Wallis Replies
Wolfgang's Guide To Screwing Your Fellow PCs

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