Why I am running a d20 fantasy game

I am about to start a new campaign as a GM. I stepped away from the GMs chair over a year ago because I did not have the time to run a game. Since then we have had two GMs. The first was a first time GM that we tortured into submission the second a veteran that put together a great campaign. Unfortunately, this game has ground to a halt due to real life schedule conflicts. Each time we plan to play something comes up that keeps to many people away from the game. The end result has been no games for four months. In that time we have played board and card games like poker, BANG!, Killer Bunnies, and The Werewolves of Millers Creek.

Although I have enjoyed playing these games a great deal I have realized that I want to roleplay. I have a marginally simpler life now than when I stepped out from behind the screen so I am going to take another shot at running a game.

The first struggle was genre. We almost always play Fantasy. We have played a few short games of Superhero or Future based games but all the long running campaigns have been fantasy. I would love to try a SteamPunk, CyberPunk, Future, or Supers genre. However, I have a limited amount of time to prep for each session so going with something familiar is far easier than trying something daring. So I flirted with a modern or near future campaign but settled on fantasy for the genre. (I did start a story telling "game" in a near future or dark future world to try out the modern genre. The chapters of that game will be published here as well.)

Then I struggled a great deal trying to pick which game system to play. To be honest the real struggle was trying to find a game other than d20 to play. I try not to be biased about game systems but when it came down to selecting a system I found myself looking for any system I could play rather than d20. I sometimes find the game material for d20 to restrictive, or too combat based. So after several days of research I finally made a decision. I will start a d20 campaign and here is why...

I looked at Fudge. I really like the Fudge system, or at least I claim to, but I have yet to run a long term campaign in Fudge. I seriously considered Fudge because regardless of genre or setting I can use Fudge. I could actually mix and match genres and setting in one game with the Fudge system. In the end there just isn't enough stuff there for me to run a campaign easily. I love the Fudge but it is a lot of work for the GM. There are very very few off the shelf modules to use and there is no campaign books for the games I would like to play. I have played a few sessions of Fudge and I liked the system (or I should say I like the mechanic) but I don't want to get into the level of GM preparation overhead that Fudge requires. So Fudge was eliminated form the list of possible games.

I considered Rolemaster but only for a moment. If Fudge requires too much GM investment then Rolemaster is off the scale. I have been a Rolemaster fan for a long time but I just can't get excited about that level of detail anymore.

I also took a long hard look at Harp. About a year ago I tried to start a Harp campaign but the preparation work for the game just sapped all my creative juices. Not that Harp is a difficult game but when I was starting up only the base book was released so I would have to come up with the settings and adventures all on my own. I looked at Harp again and I really like some of the concepts introduced in Harp (Blood talents are a fantastic idea for example) but I don't want to have to buy a bunch of new books for the game and I don't want to invest the time to create my own stuff for Harp so Harp was also dropped from my consideration.

World of Warcraft the RPG was considered for about thirty minutes. I love Warcraft 3. The world is interesting but I don't know the system, the world, the way things work, etc. The game books also cost the earth so WoW was only a flash in the pan on my list of games to consider.

I took a look through my RPGNow pdfs and picked out Rune Stryders. Rune Stryders is a fantasy game that includes mecha - but fantasy based mecha. Giant organic constructs. I read through parts of the rules again and thought about using Rune Stryders for my upcoming game. I really like the concept but I rejected Rune Stryders for the same reasons I dropped fudge and Rolemaster and Harp. No support products.

So that left me with d20.

I looked again at my RPGNow pdfs and found a ton of things to just pick up and play. In less than an hour I have a campaign planned that would span first to thirdteenth level. And the whole thing would use just three products that had cost me a total of $18.87 USD.

The last thing I considered was d20 modern. I looked really really closely at d20 modern simply because I love the way money and damage works in d20 modern. I was very close to trying to take the damage rule from d20 modern and put them into my new campaign. So finally d20 modern was the last thing that dropped from my list and I had a final list that looked like this:

  • d20 Modern - not the right setting/genre
  • Fantasy Fudge - too much prep work
  • Future Fudge - too much prep work and not the right setting/genre
  • Harp - need to buy the books or too much prep work
  • Rolemaster - too detailed
  • RuneStryders - too much prep work
  • World of Warcraft - far too expensive and too much prep work
  • d20 Fantasy (D&D)

So I am going to run a d20 game, even though I am at times extremely dissatisfied with the game system. My hope is to produce a game that is a great deal for all the players (including me) and I think that after going through all the steps and reviews and reading I have selected the right game system.

So I went though this process because I did NOT want to play d20 and came to the conclusion that I actually do want to play d20. The system is not bad and the support products make it extremely easy to set up and play.

Note: Simply because life has a way of doing things to you ("Busy, busy, busy" in the words of Billy Pilgrim) I immediately cancelled the first game session because I was going out of town for the weekend.


New Game, New Story

A new story writing game...

As requested I will maintain a "top post" with the chapters in the correct order.

Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3


Chapter 03

I open my eyes and nearly scream from the pain that assaults my eyes. The light burns into my mind. I can't seem to clear my head or get back to my feet. I close my eyes to escape the light and the pain and I return to my coma like sleep. As I lose consciousness I feel more than hear that there is someone else in the room.

My eyes open but sting with the sudden brightness of light. I close them again and my other senses kick into overdrive. At first I perceive the strong smell of disinfectant so I must be in a place that requires a high level of hygiene.

I move my hands and realize I am under some blankets. They are thin and stiff like a newly pressed shirt. I am a bit surprised how rough the sheets feel. I can almost feel the weave of the sheets as I run my hand along the seam of the sheet covering me. I press my fingers down and feel the soft give of a bed and hear the crinkling of plastic. The sound reminds me of nights long ago when I would tuck my niece into bed. The sudden thought of her brings a smile to my face and I feel a gentle calm. I wonder if she ever needed that bed sheet as I cannot remember a time when she had an accident in bed. She had, in my mind, always been a very smart girl but then again she was my only niece and I had only nephews to compare her too.

I used to visit her and my sister a lot before I joined the firm. I wonder how long it has been since I have seen Them. I wonder why memories of them are more real than where I am right now.

My niece would bug me because she never knew anyone who had two earrings before and would constantly ask me if it hurt when I got my ears pierced. That would always lead into the stories of how I got them.

The first one was from my sister. She thought it would be cool if she gave her little brother this as a present for Christmas. Mom had always said that I could not get one till I was eighteen but my sister worked her over and I was allowed to get it pierced the Christmas year I turned sixteen.

The second was my niece's favorite. I was seventeen and I was having a good time with my friends. It was Friday and we had just won a soccer game that no one expected us to win. We dug deep and we pulled off a major upset. I would like to say that I had scored the winning goal or that I was the goal keeper that had stopped all the shots fired at me, but that was not the case. I played defense but I was first defensive substitute. Don’t get me wrong that position is still important - if someone from the main line grew tired or the coach wanted to rest them up for a special play - then I was sent in. So anyway, we were all living it up and I got a little drunk and passed out. My friends decided to take advantage of this situation. When I sobered up there it was a brand new hole with my school pin in it. At first I was angry, but now it reminds me of all my friends and how we would do anything for each other.

My niece lived outside the city in a place we called the big woods. It has an actual name, but she and the rest of the family just called it the big woods. When I was out there I would run and play with her and that was always such a treat. We would play one of fifty versions of tag. There was freeze tag, hamburger tag and frog tag. Each of them a bit different then the one we played before. Most of them were based on an animal and that you had to act like that while playing the basic game of tag.

I always got a lot of exercise while visiting the big woods a lot more then when I was in the city. Don’t get me wrong I am reasonably fit as I walk to work every day. This is because like most people I could not afford parking in the city... well that was before I joined the firm.

Thinking of the firm strikes me with sudden fear. Do they know where I am? Will they be sending someone to help me? I block those thoughts and return to pleasant memories of my niece.


That is the name my niece used to call me. Well at least now I think I know who I am. I try to open my eyes again, this time only slightly. I squint hoping to see something, but all I see is light. I know this will take time so I wait for my eyes to adjust. I look around. I must have opened my eyes looking toward a window since my eyes are now starting to see more clearly.

I now try to open them fully. The bright lights are gone but the dull pain remains. I can manage the pain and look around the room. I notice I am in a bed. There is a sink near by and a table. The table seems to have a lot of bottles of different sizes on it. There also seams to be gauze on it.

My calm turns into fear as I realize I am in some sort of hospital. How did I get here...? Why am I here...? What happened to me...? Who am I?

I roll off the bed and look at myself. I am dressed in a light blue hospital gown and hospital slippers. I look at the bottles and can't make sense of what they might be used for. The largest is labeled "Refined Equine Latrodectus Serum Globulins". It is the type of bottle doctors use to fill needles. There are a few smaller bottles. One is labeled “Halothane” and another seems to be a pain killer. There are a few that are empty with nothing in them. I look over my body. My right shoulder is sore as if I had recently received a number of shots into it. I lift up the sleeve of the gown and I see a blood soaked bandage. No wonder it hurts so much. I try to peal back the tape on one side to take a look at what is underneath. The tape pulls back at my skin. This is gonna hurt. I contemplate just ripping it off and then notice that the blood and the bandage are working as a clot for the wound. I will have to look at this later when I can soak it off.

Continuing my self examination I find that I have a tight gauze bandage on my left calf. Deep marks along my calf indicate that I had a splint on the leg until quite recently. I also notice a tattoo. I have a tattoo? I scan my memory to recollect when I would have gotten it, but my memory comes back blank. I look at the tattoo more closely. It is a tiny brown cross with some sort of branch wrapped around it. Above the cross are three symbols that I do not recognize and below are three letters. B.R.G. I touch the tattoo and feel a bit of discomfort. It must be new. I feel a bit more scared.

I walk over to the sink and wash my face and neck with cold water. I glance in the mirror. My hair is a bit messed up. It is not an odd look as it often looks this way when I first wake up. I gently run my fingers through it and it falls into place. That is the nice thing about having short hair. I have my two earrings in and I gently think ‘Go tigers Go’. I am a bit thirsty so I look around for a glass to fill with water. There is no cup near so I fill my hands and drink a few gulps of water from my cupped palms. At first I fell a bit of pain as I drink. It might be because I have not had a drink in a while, but it more feels like something else. That’s it. It feels like the time I was at a rock concert for SugaBabes. I had yelled so much that the next day I could not speak and my throat was sore. I try to speak to test my theory.

“Peter piper picked a peck of pickled peppers..”

The words come out very softly and I have to clear my throat on every second word. That must be it, I must have been yelling and that is why my throat is sore. I drink a bit more.

I step over to the window and look out. The natural light actually makes my eyes feel better. I am quite high in a building, maybe as high as six stories up. It looks like mid morning from the light. I can't see any signs that would identify the hospital I am in but across the street is a huge Daimler Chrysler building. It looks like a factory.

I almost fall over when I see the street between the factory and the hospital. There are cars everywhere. Some are parked on the sidewalks and meridians, others are smashed into each other or into trees and poles. None are moving. Some of the cars have blood on the windshields where the occupants slammed into the windows on impact.

I retreat from the window back into the room. I open the locker in the corner and find clothes. There is my Treo. At last something I know is mine. I check to see if it is on but the batteries seem to be dead. I will have to charge that as soon as I get a chance. Also in a small sealed bag there appears to be a key card. It looks like a security card. I flip it over and realize both sides are blank. I put it back on the shelf and put on the clothes but they seem to be a size too big.

I see some glasses and try them on. The room goes blurry. They must not be mine. I fold the glasses and put them into my pocket along with the security card that I had placed on the shelf.

I look into the hallway and see someone else. They are hunched over in the hallway next to a pile of furniture. The furniture seems to be a crude barricade. Looking the other direction the hallway seems do be a dead end. There are three other doors down the hallway. The person seems to be hurt, they are not moving and a pool of blood is on the floor around where they are seated.

I walk toward the other person when a loud bang sounds from inside the building.


Chapter 02

I open my eyes and see bright lights. They burn into my mind and cause a great deal of pain. I am not sure where I am. I try to sit up but I can't get up. I sink back down into the darkness of oblivion.

I am awake again.

I briefly open my eyes but the pain is still there. Without opening my eyes I examine my surroundings. The light overhead makes a small droning sound but beyond that I only hear my own steady breathing. I reach out my hands and find that I am in a very small room. I can almost reach both of the walls from where I lay on the floor. I open my eyes again and take a quick look around. This is a an odd room indeed. I can not figure out what kind of room I am in, the doors to the room are quite a distance to either side.

I take a look at myself. It looks like I am in pretty good shape for someone who can not remember his name, life, or how he got to be naked in a strange room. I notice a smell which is kind of arousing.

Next to me on the floor there is a uniform neatly folded in a plastic bag.

The rest of the room is empty.

So why is a naked man left in a odd room with a freshly cleaned uniform?

There is a strong smell of cleaner, and the floor is very clean. Next to me on the floor is a uniform. It appears to be the uniform of an fireman. I take a look at the uniform. There is a lot of medals on the uniform, it looks like military issue.

A memory strikes me. This is my uniform, but I haven't been in this uniform since I left Fort Wayne, but that was a long time ago.

I tear the plastic off the uniform. It appears to be in good shape. While I put on the uniform I notice that I have a recent head wound. It is not bleeding but it is very fresh. I don't seem to have any other cuts.

Bending over to pull on the uniform pants I notice a massive bruise on the left side of my back. What would have caused that? I stretch to check my range of movement. It doesn't seem to be limiting my movement but it does cause a twinge if I have to bend or reach. I button up the uniform and read read the name off the name tag. Boatman. This is my uniform so my name must be Boatman.

I take a long look around the room. This almost looks like a hallway. The far door has a bloody hand print running the length of the door. Is is the only thing that is not white on any of the walls.

I walk over to the door with the bloody smear on it. I look at my hands. I didn't make the marks, or if I did I cleaned my hands really well afterwards. The blood is still sightly wet so it must have happened only a short time ago. There is something about the hand print that strikes me as out of place but I can not place what it might be.

Other than the hand print the door has a few scratches along the edges. Like someone was trying to grasp the side of the door but was not able to manage to grip it. Who ever made those scratches was desperate to get out of this room.

I take another look at my hands. No way I made the scratches either.

I check the door, it is locked from this side. I try the knob. As I turn it the lock clicks open. I lock the door again and rethink my situation.

I am in a long strange room, with one of my old military uniforms. Someone was recently in the room and tried to force their way past a door they could have easily unlocked. Someone else left a long bloody smear on the same door.

I walk to the other door. It is closed but not locked. There is no marks on this door and no blood either. I look back at the other door. It is like someone was marking their territory with that bloody print.

I sit back down on the floor and consider my options. The pain behind my eyes is getting better but it is still painful to look at anything too bright. There is nothing else I can think of to do so I decide to find out where I am.

The pounding in my temples is starting to subside but the pain and pressure is still pretty intense. The lights are no longer painfully bright. So I have confidence that I will recover in due time. All my training comes in handy though. I can hear my internal clock counting out the minutes to me. Don't stay in one place. Do not rest in an uncertain location. I know I will not start feeling better until I have discovered where I am and why I am here.

I open the unlocked door and I find myself in a large room. Based on the color scheme and construction I can now say for certain I am in a hospital. I am immediately struck by the smell. It is a cross between sweat and musk. Maybe someone is marking their territory. Across from the door is a huge mirror. The mirror is at least four meters across and almost two meters high. In the center of the room is a large bed. It is an adjustable bed similar to a regular hospital bed but with straps and attachments that look like they would hold someone to the bed in various positions. The bed sheets are sweat soaked and a considerable blood stain covers the upper portion of the bed.

Walking across the room to the bed the door closes with a loud and audible click. My footsteps are loud and dull on the polished floor. The room has a clean and military feel to it. How long has it been since I was in a military institution.

Next to the bed is a long and narrow tray table. Two dozen tools a lined up on the table. Some I recognize but there are others that are a complete mystery. Looking over the tools arrayed on the table I start to get a tight uncomfortable feeling in the pit of my stomach. It looks like the last person in the bed grasped for something on the table and covered the parts of the table and some of the tools with blood and gore. There is some blood spray on the floor ceiling and wall that clearly originated from the bed.

The bed and the table evoke vague memories from my past. I can not identify the source of these memories through the fog in my mind. I have a stark fear that I have been in a room like this before. I have a sudden and urgent need to leave this room. Looking back at the bed my memory flickers to life but I still can't identify the event. All that I can do is shake my head and tell myself it can't be true but what might have happened in my past.

I can't see anything else in the room of any significance. I am more than a little uncomfortable staying in the room.

My own dull footsteps beat a cadence to exit. On the back of the door there is a symbol drawn in blood. It looks like a bio-hazard symbol. Why would anyone draw a bio-hazard symbol in blood? I drop to one knee to examine the marks. The strokes are deliberate and it is quite clear someone is trying to send a message.

I open the door and step back into the hallway. It is past time for me to leave.

I walk back down the hallway and move through the other door. I have a distinct feeling I have walked this hallway before.

On the other side of the door is a much smaller room. Across from the door is a small seating area. In the seating area is a door marked washroom. The seating area is immaculately clean. The seating area has a couple of vending machines. The machine has M&Ms, my favorite. I step up to the machine wishing I had some change. The deja vu feeling gets even stronger. The glass is cracked exactly where I remember it... I have been here before.

To the right of the waiting area is a large metal strapped door. To the left is a hallway that must lead to the elevator.

I figure it is time to get as far form here as possible. Headache or not I jog down the hallway to the elevators. Next to the elevator is a large orange thirteen. Thirteenth floor. Next to the elevator is another bloody hand print. There is no call button to get the elevator though. Looking overtop the elevator doors at the lights indicating the floor the elevator is on.

As if on cue the elevator starts to rise. Five. Six. Seven. Eight. Each light is accompanied by a clear and loud bell. I look at the lights and my jaw drops. There is no thirteen. The lights stop at twelve. I head back to the seating area as the elevator hits the tenth floor.

I hear the elevator doors opening as the washroom door closes behind me.


Chapter 01

I open my eyes and try to focus but all I see is are bright lights and blurry images. I seem to be lying on a cold floor, which causes me more than a bit of concern because I can't seem to remember how I got here. Actually I can't remember where I am.

I lay back down and close my eyes again. Focusing on what I am doing and where I am... a sudden frightening thought hits me. I can't remember who I am. A cold sweat covers my body as I struggle to remember who I am and how I came to find yourself... where?

I try to raise my head again and a stabbing pain behind my eyes forces me back to the ground. I try again to raise my head but the pain explodes once more and I fall back to the floor. I fight to remain conscious but I slide into darkness once more.

As my head starts to clear I open my eyes a second time. I see my surroundings much clearer.

I am naked in a private room somewhere in the a hospital emergency room. There is gauze on my right hand. I feel under the gauze and discover a cut that feels and looks a lot like it was made with the broken base of a forty pounder of Vodka.

Every pore of my body wants to go back to sleep, but what the hell is this crap in my mouth. The light is stabbing my brain with such vehemence that I think my name is Blue, but I am not sure.

I get to my feet and look around. I use the bed for support and see my clothes on the floor and in a garbage container. I paw through the clothes looking for a hint of where I was and where I could be. The black silk t-shirt with the silver 'fsck me' across the front is ruined. There is too much blood on it for my comfort. I drag the brown leather pants out of the trash and a black case falls to the floor with a clatter.

My blackberry! I can't live without that!! I pick up the case and attempt to wipe off the sticky mess that coats it. Luckily, my blackberry case is shockproof, waterproof and securely closed, unless I unlock it with my thumb print, so it appears fine. I set the case on the bed and sit down and see if I can find anything else of value.

I dump out the trash and dig through looking for my wallet. The bastards! My wallet is gone. The pants are coated with the same sticky mess as the blackberry case, and the shirt is coated with blood. No help there.

I push the clothes back into a pile near the trash. Grab a gown from the shelf and pull it over my shoulders. It doesn't quite cover as much as I would like. They obviously don't design these gowns for someone six feet three but I can't be running around naked. I shuffle toward the door and see my socks and boots neatly stacked on a chair. I grab them and go into the bathroom.

Looking in the mirror a single name pops into my memory. Knash! I thumb open my blackberry and dial my best friend, Knash. As the phone rings, I laugh out loud, painfully, when I see a 'No Cell Phone allowed' sign reflected in the mirror. I hope Knash is still alive this morning, if it is morning.

Knash's message service picks up. I'm not surprised that the voice on the message play back is my own. I am telling myself that if or when I call the girls names are Monique and Sara and we went to club called 'the Aphrodisiac'. What the hell would I be doing in a club called the Aphrodisiac? A new memory hits me. I remember deciding to goto the club. It has a reputation of being one of the hottest clubs in Cleveland.

I hit a button to rewind the message playback. It is fairly normal for Knash or myself to call ourselves and leave details of what we will not remember in the aftermath of the night before.

I am pissed at myself for not being able to remember the girls. Wait! I think I can recall one of the girls...

A loud grunt form the hall interrupts my memory. I pause the playback and stumble out of the bathroom. On the way out I catch a good look at my reflection. I have some kind of black charcoal all over my face, mouth, and the front side of my chest and stomach.

I poke my head into the hallway. There is a sign on the opposite wall that reads 'Emergency Room'. There is bloody foot prints on the floor and a smeared red hand print on the wall.

The grunting noise seems to be coming from down the hallway.

The noise will wait.

I pull myself back into the room and sit down in a chair. I thumb the playback back on and listen. My own voice describes for me Sara. I think I can remember her - a goddess, blond and tiny, just the kind of girl I like. Ah Yes. Man, I hope Sara explains why I woke up naked, rather than the huge cut on my hand

I pull the gown back off my shoulders and move back into the the bathroom. In the mirror, I examine my 'blackened' reflection. I would think I would remember a fire big enough to coat me with this much ash. The soap in the sink is not doing anything more than create new black smear across my chest. I need to clean myself up. I walk back into the room and see an open box labeled 'Medicinal Charcoal?. That is the source of this black crap. That is when it hits me! I wasn't burnt I was poisoned! Alcohol poisoning! Well that much alcohol and getting my stomach pumped would explain a lot. No wonder i am so dehydrated and hungry.

I grab a couple of bottles of soaps and disinfectants. I turn on the shower and try different soaps until I find one that will clean up the charcoal. It takes about a gallon of industrial-strength soap, my skin has only a slight discoloration (and no natural moisturize left).

I dry off and pull on my socks and boots. Then I put on the hospital gown again. I managed to open up the cut on you hand during your shower and dressing. I press the call button but by now I are fairly certain no one will be coming. I do notice that the grunting noise gets louder when the call button is pressed.

With a bit of searching I find some fresh gauze and replace the bandage on my hand.

My eyes are still burning and my head is still hurting and now my hand is starting to throb. But my hunger is starting to drive me to find some food, any food, even hospital food.

I push out the door and down the hallway toward what the sign indicates is the emergency room. This is far too quiet for a hospital emergency room. The grunting is being drowned out by the droning hum of the fluorescent lights.

As I move toward the Emergency Room the moaning and grunting starts again. Maybe there are other people here after all. The sound keeps getting louder as I lurch down the hall. I guess from the sound that there is more than one person nearby.

I reach a intersection in the hallway. I see a candy machine in the emergency room to your right and the cafeteria is straight ahead another three hundred meters. The grunting sound is off to my left. It might be coming from the nurses station or maybe from one of the examinations areas.

There is a lot of blood on the floor of the emergency room. In the hallway I am in the floors are fairly clean but the floor leading from the Emergency Room to the nurses station has bloody smears and foot prints running the length of the passage.

I hear an odd scraping sound like someone dragging their fingernails across a smooth surface.

I try and I try but I just can't clear my head. My body refuses to listen. Where the hell am I? How did I get here? Through the fog, one memory comes through. Me and the little tech-weasel, Knash, had been doing our usual "hack-into-unsecured-web-sites" Friday night thing, with - of course - the usual libations, but then what?

Well, I am off to find some liquid, and Knash, and maybe why there's blood all over the place and no people in the hospital. Nahhhh, first things first, liquid and then Knash! I head out down the hall to the intersection, and then across to the cafeteria. Hopefully some good samaritan will buy me a Coke - since a beer is likely out of the equation.

As I step into the intersection the hallway the grunting sound immediately stops. Somehow, I get a feeling that it is just gonna be one of those kind of days...


Roleplaying Inspiration

I have recently seen Serenity (a lot) and am reading Snow Crash. Both are making me want to roleplay.

Serenity (and Firefly)
I have fallen in love with Serenity. It is an excellent movie but beyond that watching it makes me want to jump in and play a character in that world. The character interactions remind me of conversations I have heard around a gaming table. One example is the exchange between Mal and Jayne:

Mal: Do you want to run this ship?
Jayne: Yes!
Mal:Well... you can't...

That is exactly the kind of dialog I would expect to hear around the table. The character interactions are also reminisce of roleplaying situations I have seen. The characters don't always get along. They bicker and fight and in some cases are mean to each other. This type of behaviour gets worse in the Firefly series when the characters actively act against each other.

The characters are also not "white hat" heros. They are scoundrels and scumbags. They are criminals that do good only when there is no other option. They all have an unexplored back story that makes them feel more like a roleplaying characters I have seen. This is in part because the series was cancelled.

So I hope Serenity roleplaying is in my near future.

Snow Crash
Snow Crash is a "cyberpunk" novel, but is more light hearted and upbeat than any other book I have read in the genre. I would describe it as Sienfeld meets Neuromancer. This does not do the book justice though. The plot is rich. The characters are well done. The interaction of the characters in the real world and inside computers is except. I think the saving the world aspect of the book resonates with the gamer in me. I can very easily see my buddies coming over and playing in this world.

The tongue in cheek nature of the setting screams roleplaying to me. The main character "Hiro Protagonist" delivers pizza for the mob. The in jokes and cliches make me think of characters I have met at the game table.

My Inspiration
Both these stories are roleplaying inspirations but in different ways. I wish I could GM a game like Serenity. The characters interact smoothly, even when they disagree. The plot moves quickly, but the pace doesn't feel rushed. In my games an in character disagreement drags the game to a halt. Hours can be spent convincing the other characters to participate. Bribes and threats fly. The mood is broken and the pace of the game is destroyed.

I wish I could play in a world like Snow Crash where the characters and setting are off beat without the silliness spiral starting and leading directly to a game ending Monty Python revival. Maybe I need to stop recruiting players that read Critical Miss ;)

I know I could do these things but I lack something that would make the game a success.

I am not sure why these stories affected my roleplaying drive so much more than usual. These stories have rekindled a writing and story telling drive in me and I have started an online freeform game. The game is immensely fun and has been very well received. I also dragged out a old project that I have been working on on and off unsuccessfully for 5 years. I finally started to make some solid progress.


Wrapping Fudge results beyond Legendary

After my last post (on dice pools, linking attributes to skills and keeping results inside the adjective ladder) I was talking to a friend about Rolemaster. Rolemaster (version 2) to hit rolls allowed the characters to "wrap around". This meant that a very high roll could result in two, three, or even four hit results and critcals.

I am now wondering if this would be helpful or hurtful for Fudge. To keep the results in the adjective ladder you could wrap very high rolls.

Given a task that has a Good target and a rolled result of Legendary+7. To wrap the result you take Legendary result and look at the remainder subtract 4 from the remainder to convert to a adjective. In this case Superb. So the resolution would be a Legendary result AND a Superb result. Two successes!

There is far too much math in this for my tastes but I am going to keep working on this to refine the idea.

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