Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Sword & Sorcery: First ideas for a Fate Hack

Recently, I had an idea for a very simplified version of Fate Core/FAE. You have two only two values on your sheet: Sword & Sorcery.

Sword: The value for sword governs all physical actions your character takes, including social actions that rely on your physical presence (such as intimidation).

Sorcery: The value for sorcery governs all mental actions your character takes, including social actions that rely on cunning and manipulation (such as persuasion or oratory).

In addition to those values, each character has a number of Talents. A talent can be sword-mastery, breaking & entering, horsemanship or seduction. If a talent applies to a roll, you get +2 on the roll. Only one talent at a time can be applied to a roll. Talents replace stunts.

The talents shouldn't be too broadly defined, but also not too narrow. Currently, I am torn between them having either the name of a profession (like swordmaster, sorcerer's apprentice, courtisan or knight) or being named like typical skills (like seduction, sword, axe, climbing).

Everything else remains like in FAE: five aspects, one stress track, consequences, four actions, four outcomes, etc.

If you like fantasy races, you could describe permissions for those races with the relationship between Sword & Sorcery. For example, elves have to have Sorcery > Sword; dwarves vice versa (Sword > Sorcery); and maybe half-elves have to have Sword = Sorcery.

I am going to refine this somemore in the next days.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Playing around with the Deck of Fate

I finally got my Deck of Fate in the mail. I want to use it for some fancy tricks during play. Here are my ideas:

The Hand of Fate: Each player is dealt three to five cards, depending on the style of the campaign. Three might be grim and gritty, four is about average and five is heroic. Instead of rolling dice, you play cards. Each card with a negative value you play, nets you a Fate point at the end of the current scene. After playing a card, you immediately draw a new one.

Fate Points:  When playing with a Hand of Fate, Fate points allow you to add +2 to the card value.

Stress: There is no stress track! Instead of taking stress, you reduce the value of a hit by discarding cards from your hand. If you cannot (or don't want to) discard any cards (because they have a zero or negative value), you take the remaining value of the hit as consequences. Cards lost to stress may not be refreshed until after a conflict. If you cannot discard any cards and don't want take any more consequences, you are taken out.

Shuffling: All discarded cards are shuffled back into the deck after either the -4, +4 or unique 0 has been played.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Storytelling RPGs: What are they?

As promised, starting from November 1, 2013 the blog is switching back to English.

David Reichgeld has arrived at an interesting definitions of storytelling RPGs:

1) A storytelling RPG gives at least one person at the table narration rights.

In a traditional RPG, the only person to hold narration rights is the GM. He alone can introduce new facts and truths into the game world. The players usually only react to the descriptions of the GM. Without any person to hold narration rights, the game is not really an RPG. In a storytelling RPG, the players have a way to gain the narration rights in some way, e.g. by rolling dice, spending tokens or playing cards. They get to add to the game world.

2) A storytelling RPG gives the players (as opposed to the GM) the right to narrate not only their actions, but also the consequences of their actions.

In a traditional RPG, the players describe their (re)actions to GM-introduced events, and the GM describes the outcome of these events. In a storytelling RPG, the players also have the right to narrate consequences to their actions. Maybe not always, maybe depending on some condition to gain the narration rights, e.g. rolling a high enough result, succeeding at their task or spending some sort of tokens.

If those two definitions are applied to RPGs, then suddenly it becomes a bit easier to separate traditional RPGs from storytelling RPGs. Indeed, suddenly you realize that the whole World of Darkness line-up, despite the name of the system are not storytelling games at all. But other games are. Houses of the Blooded, Numenera, Dungeon World and FATE come to mind. Everway, for example, shows the first glimmers of being a storytelling game. All you have to do is passing the interpretation of the fortune deck from GM to players.

Do I believe in this definition? Yes, I do. That's why I am including it in my blog. Am I going to add to that point of view? Not for the moment. But feel free to comment on this post.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Tag #31: Wer war der / die beste SpielleiterInn, bei der Du spielen durftest und warum?

Also den einen besten Spielleiter gibt es auch bei mir nicht. Es gibt inzwischen eine Reihe Spielleiter, die ich aus ganz unterschiedlichen Gründen schätze:

Daniela: Weil sie die Ideen der Spieler am Tisch wunderbar aufgreift und zu unglaublich schönen Geschichten verwebt. Und eine Spielleiterin, die über sich sagt: "Bitte überrascht mich mit euren Einfällen!" finde ich einfach ursympathisch.

David: Weil er unglaublich gut erzählen kann und seine NSC sehr plastisch darstellt.

Frank: Weil ich beim ihm das Gefühl habe, dass er die Regeln fair anwendet und bis ins Detail kennt, so dass ich mir als Spieler um die Details keinen Kopf machen muss. Die Deadlands Noir Runde hat mich da sehr beeindruckt.

Sophia: Weil sie mutig Neues ausprobiert und sich und ihre Spieler wacker durch den Spielabend mit Systemen führt, die für Spieler und Spielleiter komplett neu sind.

Dann gibt es da noch den Spielleiter der Reign-Runde auf dem Sternenhimmel, die sich lose an Sternwanderer anlehnt. Er schafft es, eine ruhige kleine Geschichte mit den Spielern zu gestalten, und einen dabei den Stress des Cons vergessen zu lassen.

Last, but not least: Ein ehemaliger Bekannter von mir, der sehr gut leitet, sehr dramatisch und sehr spannend - vorausgesetzt, er ist emotional auf der Höhe. Er leitet mitreißend. Und ist an sich mein Favorit. Leider wechselt er Spielsysteme recht schnell und hält Kampagnen nicht durch. Seine Ideen jedoch sind/waren brilliant.

Originally posted on November 3, 2013.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Tag #30: Wie ist Deine Meinung zu neuen Medien (pdfs, Tablets, Onlinerunden, Würfelapps, ...) im Rollenspielhobby?

Neue Medien und RPGs: Ich elektronisiere meine RPG Vorbereitungen seit ca. 1997 als ich meine erste Dark Ages Kampagne vorbereitetet. Erst waren es kurze Skizzen zu Hausregeln, dann waren es komplette Hausregeln und Versatzstücke aus den ganzen Quellenbüchern, die ich zu nutzen gedachte und damit griffbereit brauchte. Die Rundenorganisation habe ich seit Mitte des letzten Jahrzehnts auf Email umgestellt. PDFs waren der nächste Schritt. Mit Copy-Paste wichtige Informationen zusammentragen und jederzeit am Computer nachschlagen können - ein Traum. Mit dem iPad wurde meine Spielbibliothek dann vollends transportabel. Heutzutage wiegen mehrere Regalreihen Rollenspielbücher nur noch 350 Gramm. Beim vorletzten Übernachtungscon hatte ich meine Tasche noch mit Regelwerken gefüllt, diesmal war es nur noch ein schlankes Tablet. Leider lassen mich meine Spielleiter keine Würfelapps benutzen - aber Würfel sind auch wunderbar haptisch. 2013 kam dann Skype und Google Hangouts zum Instrumentarium dazu. Somit habe ich keinerlei Scheu vor den neuen Medien und begrüße sie im Gegenteil sehr.

Originally posted on Nov 3, 2013.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Tag #29: Spielt Ihr in Eurer Runde mehr selbsterdachte Abenteuer oder Kaufabenteuer?

Pauschalantwort: Das hängt vom System ab. Bei Earthdawn und D&D war mir früher das erstellen von detaillierten Abenteuern immer viel zu aufwendig, auch gerade wegen der NSC Werte. Also griff ich zu Kaufabenteuern und gestaltete eine Rahmenhandlung drum herum, welche die Abenteuer verband und mit Bedeutung anreicherte.

Inzwischen improvisiere ich gerne und häufig, so dass ich entweder ein Setting sehr genau vorbereite (bei Vampire z.B.) oder mir kurze Notizen und Überlegungen zu einem Abenteuer skizziere (bei Dungeon World, Numenera, Vampire, Fate). Das hat auch für mich den Vorteil, kein Abenteuer lesen zu müssen und mich nicht in Widersprüche zu verwickeln, wenn ich dann doch eine Antwort improvisieren muss.

Mein heiliger Gral ist eine Fantasy-Sandbox Kampagne, die ich bisher noch nicht erfolgreich auf die Beine gestellt habe.

Originally posted on Nov 3, 2013.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Tag #28: Hattest Du schon mal einen Rollenspiel Burnout?

Burnout im klassischen Sinne nein. Aber wenn es darum geht, Ideen für neue Kampagnen zu entwickeln, bin ich mitunter etwas arg schnell und hüpfe von System zu System und Setting zu Setting. Wenn ich dann total mit Ideen zugeflutet bin und meine Gruppe mal wieder nicht insgesamt für eine Idee begeistern kann, verfalle ich darauf Vampire in irgendeiner Inkarnation zu leiten - das einzige System, das uneingeschränkt mehrheitsfähig zu sein scheint. Das brennt mich dann langsam aus und im Sommerquartal liegen meine eigenen Runden dann sehr häufig brach.

Originally posted on Nov 3, 2013.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Tag #27: Hat Rollenspiel bei Dir schon mal zu einer Beziehung geführt?

Der Vollständigkeit halber meine kurze Antwort zum heutigen Tag: Heute passe ich mit ner ausführlichen Antwort. Ja. Und es endete nicht gut. Zwei Mal.

Über Beziehungen im partnerschaftlichen Sinne hinaus, hat Rollenspiel viele Freundschaften gestiftet.

Über Beziehungen im partnerschaftlichen Sinne hinaus, hat Rollenspiel viele persönliche, langanhaltende und gute Freundschaften gestiftet und für das Kind einer Mitspielerin bin ich Patenonkel geworden.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Tag #26: Wie kommst Du mit einem Charaktertod klar?

Ich spiele viel zu selten, um häufig mit dem Thema als Spieler konfrontiert zu sein. Bisher musste ich mich damit erst einmal im Rahmen eines Vampire Live auseinandersetzen. Wenn der Charaktertod schön inszeniert ist und es zur Story passt, dann werde ich damit gut klar kommen. Wenn der Tod zufällig und undurchdacht wirkt, eher nicht. Das Live war leider eher die zweite Kategorie, da die SL den Spielern viel zu freie Hand ließ.

Als Spielleiter bin ich inzwischen recht unbarmherzig und bestimmt kein Würfeldreher mehr. In meiner D&D 3rd Edition Kampagne zu Anfang des Jahrtausends hat mir der Spieler eines Paladins recht subversiv aufgedrückt, dass ich mich um das Überleben seines Charakters zu kümmern habe. Da bin ich leider drauf eingestiegen. Inzwischen bin ich klüger. Lebenspunkte sind die Ressource des Spielers. Allerdings sehe ich auch zu, dass ich Charaktere nicht sinnlos in "Zufallsbegegnungen" sterben lasse. Sollte der Spieler aber tatsächlich Gefahrensignale ignorieren, wider besseren Wissens und Gewissens mit seinem Charakter Gefahren eingehen, die ihn an den Rand der Existent oder darüber hinaus bringen, dann lasse ich die Würfel fallen wie sie fallen. Gelingt es dem SC dann zu triumphieren, hat er einen echten verdienten Sieg davon getragen. Geht es schief und sein Charakter stirbt, dann ist es seine Schuld, die Gefahr nicht rechtzeitig erkannt zu haben.

Ein Nachsatz: manchmal, bei manchen Spielsystemen gibt es u.U. auch die moralische Keule und der Charakter, der beständig Unschuldige metzelt und Verbrechen mit - wie es im deutschen Recht so schön heisst - niederen Beweggründen begeht, hat eine Begegnung mit dem Karma und erleidet ein gar schröckliches Schicksal. Das mache ich z.B. bei den World of Darkness Spielen oder allgemein in der Urban Fantasy ganz gerne. Bei eher Actin-betonten Rollenspielen lasse ich die Moralkeule zuhause.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Tag #25: Gibt es für Dich im Rollenspiel Tabuthemen und wenn ja welche?

Die erste richtig schwere Frage. Tabus können entweder darin bestehen, dass sie am Spieltisch gar nicht vorkommen dürfen(!), oder sie tauchen auf, weil sie gebrochen werden. Wenn man festlegt, dass bestimmte Themen gar nicht auftauchen dürfen, impliziert das die Schließung eines Gruppenvertrags bevor man mit dem Spielen beginnt. Das habe ich allerdings noch nie erlebt, dass sich eine Gruppe vorher zusammengesetzt hat, und alle ihre Ängste auf den Tisch gelegt haben, man eine Kanne Tee dazu trank und beschloss, diese Ängste, die jeder mutig hingelegt hat, aus dem Spiel zu verbannen. Denn nicht selten ist trifft man beim Rollenspielen ja auf völlig neue Leute und da geht man nicht gleich mit seinen Ängsten und Traumata hausieren.

Von daher kommt es wesentlich häufiger vor, dass ein Tabuthema im Spiel auftaucht und die Spieler_innen schnell signaliseren, dass man das Thema nicht vertiefen soll. Hier sollten Spieler_innen und Spielleiter_innen schnell reagieren und die Szene beenden bzw. das Tabuthema zu umschiffen.

Ich selber habe ein Problem mit detailliert beschriebenen Folterszene. Ich habe bezüglich der Folterszenen meinen WFRP SL klar gemacht, dass ich das nicht beschrieben haben will. Leider hat er das mehr oder minder nicht akzeptiert. Ich werde das Thema beim nächsten Mal mit mehr Nachdruck angehen. Ansonsten bin ich nicht bereit, weitere Tabuthemen hier im Forum auszuwälzen. Wenn ein SL oder Spieler_innen auf die Themen treffen, werden sie es sehr schnell merken.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Tag #24: Wie oft kommst Du dazu aktiv zu spielen?

Ich spiele oder leite im langjährigen Jahresmittel etwa einmal die Woche. Entweder Freitag oder Samstag geht es im wahren Leben zur Sache und die Würfel rollen. Entweder spiele ich Freitags Warhammer Fantasy RolePlay 3rd Edition oder Iron Kingdoms, oder ich leite am Samstag Vampire: The Requiem oder Vampire: The Dark Ages.

Durch Hangouts kommen noch ca. alle 2-3 Wochen eine Sitzung dazu. Wobei im Augenblick ein Ausnahmezustand zu herrschen scheint und ich diese und nächste Woche mit Hangouts und RL Sitzungen auf sage und schreibe 7 Spielsitzungen in 14 Tagen komme. Das ist rekordverdächtig.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Tag #23: Was für ein Gegenspieler ist Dir besonders im Gedächtnis geblieben und was machte ihn für Dich so besonders?

Hier greife mal nicht in die Mottenkiste. Sondern schicke meinen Lieblingsbastard ins Rennen: Fürst Ozymandias aus Breemster, dem Handlungsort meiner Vampire: The Requiem Chronik. Ozymandias (mit bürgerlichem Namen Gilles de Rais), ein Ventrue aus der Blutlinie der Gorgonen und Mitglied des Zirkels der Mutter (Schauder. Bei uns heißt das Kreis der Greisin), ist seit dem ersten Spielabend am 1. November 2014 für den Großteil der Missgeschicke der Gruppe verantwortlich. Die meisten hassen ihn, aber trauen sich nicht ihn anzugehen, und bis vor kurzem war er mindestens einem Mitglied der Spielergruppe sogar sympathisch. Die Spieler hassen ihn ziemlich gerne und planen, und planen und trauten sich nicht. Jetzt haben sie es geschafft, dass der Ältestenrat den Fürsten abgesetzt hat - dummerweise ist der Ahn noch am Leben. Und am 1. November glauben die Spieler es geht ans Verteilen der Pfründe... *muahhahah*

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Tag #22: Was für ein Film oder was für ein Buch hat Dir am meisten Inspiration für Dein Rollenspielhobby gegeben?

Aus der Auswahl, der mich inspirierenden Medien nehme ich jetzt mal die aus, die mich auf die Fährte des Hobbies gesetzt haben; also weder der Hobbit, noch der Herr der Ringe, noch die Belgariad & Malloreon, noch Die Nebel von Avalon und der Darkover-Zyklus sind meine Inspirationsquellen für Kampagnen und Abenteuer. Das Rad der Zeit und das Lied von Feuer und Eis haben eher Kampagnenabstürze inspiriert als tolles Rollenspiel. Es gibt aber eine Fernsehserie, die mich tatsächlich inspiriert hat, und ein Abschnitt der Serie hat Pate für ein Abenteuer gestanden, dass ich einmal mit FASA Star Trek und einmal mit Space 1889 geleitet habe: Doctor Who: The Curse of Fenric.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Tag #21: Wie leicht kommst Du auf Rollenspiel-Ideen und wie schwer fällt es Dir, diese auszuarbeiten?

Interessante Ideen und anderer Blödsinn fallen mir leicht genug ein. Meistens entwickele ich das dann am Spieltisch weiter. Abenteuer bereite ich meistens gar nicht bis skizzenhaft vor. Dafür schreibe ich und arbeite damit Hintergründe aus. NSCs, Stadtbeschreibungen, Kampagnenideen. Mit diesem Fundament lässt es sich dann ganz entspannt improvisieren. 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Tag #20: Gibt es ein System, dass Du immer schon mal spielen wolltest, aber nie dazu gekommen bist?

Es gibt genug Systeme, die ich gerne mal ausprobieren würde, aber das qualifiziert für mich nicht als "spielen". Spielen bedeutet für mich, eine Kampagne aufziehen und mindestens ein halbes bis ein ganzes Jahr in ein oder zwei wöchigen Abstand zum Spielen zusammenzukommen. Alles andere ist für mich "reinschnuppern" und "austesten". Und in der Tat, in der Kategorie gibt es zwei Systeme, die ich gerne mal richtig spielen würde.

Das erste System ist aus den 1990ern und heißt "Mage: The Ascension". Bisher ist jede Spielrunde/Kampagne für Mage: The Ascension gescheitert. Und zwar egal, ob ich Spielleiter oder Spieler war. Es ging nie über die ersten 2-3 Sessions hinaus. Es ist als ob ein Fluch auf mir lastet, nie Mage: The Ascension spielen zu dürfen.

Das zweite System ist ziemlich jung und heißt "Numenera". Wie bei den beiden Einführungsrunden festgestellt habe, macht mir das System sehr viel Spass, kommt meiner Neigung der minimalen Vorbereitung entgegegen und hat eine spannende Welt. Hier ist es kein Fluch, der mich zurückhält, sondern bisher mangelnde Gelegenheit überhaupt das System mal anzutesten. Mir hat der Test gefallen. Ich komme interessanterweise sehr gut damit zurecht, keine Würfel ablegen zu müssen (ist bei Dice Stream auch besser so) und fiebere stattdessen mit, ob die Spieler ihre Würfe schaffen, denn ich bin ja ein Fan der Charaktere!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Tag #19: Wie abergläubisch bist Du in Bezug auf Deine Würfel?

Bei Würfeln achte ich darauf, ein farblich passendes Set zu haben. Ich stelle meinen Spielern auch gerne meine Unmengen an Würfeln zur Verfügung. Aber meine Lieblingswürfel sind für mich reserviert.

Okay, da gibt es dann noch meine grünen Spielleiterwürfel des Todes... Ein Set aus durchsichtig grünen Chessex W10, die tatsächlich unglaublich gut würfeln -zumindest wenn ich sie bei Vampire the Requiem gegen die SC einsetze...

Und mein echter Aberglaube: Fudge-Würfel (nicht Fate-Würfel) würfeln schlecht... Mindestens genau so schlecht wie Dice Stream!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Tag #18: Hast Du ein Lieblings - Rollenspiel Genre?

Früher war ich ein ganz klarer Science Fiction Fan. Serien wie Mondbasis Alpha Eins, Raumschiff Enterprise, Raumpatrouille Orion und Captain Future sei dank. Dann entdeckte ich die Fantasy durch den Herrn der Ringe und die Belgariad. Aber das waren nur Zwischenhaltestellen auf dem Weg zu meiner großen Liebe: Urban Fantasy. Die Kombination aus Phantastischem und der Realität.

Ich mag Urban Fantasy, weil das Basissetting den Spielern sehr schnell zu erklären ist; weil es einlädt, sich mit Geschichte, Städten und Legenden der Erde zu beschäftigen; und weil die Spieler keine andere Geisteshaltung als die Postmoderne einnehmen müssen. Gleichzeitig ist das Feld mit Spielen wie Vampire, Mage, Changeling, Dresden Files und Deliria sehr weit aufgespannt.

Zur Urban Fantasy bin ich schleichend gekommen. Erst war da Vampire, dann gab es eine BBC Serie namens Neverwhere, ich entdeckte die Dresden Files und natürlich Fernsehserien wie Nick Knight, Clan der Vampire, Blade und heute die Schwemme an True Blood, Vampire Diaries, Teen Wolf, The Originals, Secret Circle, Sleepy Hollow, Fringe  und Tomorrow People. Ja stehe dazu, mir gefallen diese Serien. Die sind nicht nur was für kreischende Teenies. Die Urban Fantasy ist und bleibt mein Lieblingsspielplatz. Daher freue ich mich auch auf "The Strange".

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Tag #17: Gibt es einen Spieler oder Charakter der Dir imponierte und falls ja, hast du versucht ihm nachzueifern?

Fast habe ich gedacht, dass ich dazu nix erzählen kann. Aber jetzt fällt mir doch was ein. Mich hat tatsächlich in den 1990ern des letzten Jahrtausends mal ein Charakter so beeindruckt, dass ich ihm nacheifern wollte. Und zwar Marcus Cole, der Ranger von Babylon 5 mit seinem Den'Bok. Also spielte ich in Midgard einen Waldläufer und der SL gab mir sogar einen Kampfstab, den man einfahren konnte. Was lernte ich daraus? Erstens, ich mag Midgard nicht. Zweitens, Midgard ist ungeeignet einen SciFi Charakter abzubilden. Drittens, man sollte sein Konzept nicht 1:1 klauen.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Tag #16: Was ist Dein Lieblings - Rollenspielmonster ?

Da hätte ich fast einen Tag übersehen. Dieses Mal fällt es mir schwer, eine Anekdote zum Besten zu geben. Geschweige denn spontan ein Monster zu benennen. Mir fallen da jetzt Sahuagin, Derro, Dämonen und Vampire ein. Wobei Vampire ja Spielercharaktere sind. Dämonen kann man sehr gut in fast allen Rollenspielen von Buffy bis Vampire einsetzen. Sahuagin finde ich irgendwie cool seitdem ich die Moonshae Trilogie von Douglas Niles gelesen habe. Und Derro sind einfach herrlich verdrehte Zwerge.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Tag #15: Wie ist die Akzeptanz deiner Verwandtschaft / nicht rollenspielenden Bekannten bezüglich Rollenspiel?

Als ich noch Teenie war und mit dem Rollenspiel anfing, war das einzige Kommentar meiner Mutter: "Dann bist Du wenigstens aufgeräumt und nicht in irgendwelchen Discos unterwegs." Somit war ihr das als Freizeitbeschäftigung lieber als andere Samstag Abend Unterhaltungsprogramme. :)

Inzwischen ist sie total im Bridge vernarrt und erzählt mir immer, dass sie spielen geht. Dann fragt sie mich, ob ich am Wochenende auch spiele. :)

Was Freunde und Bekannte angeht, muss ich bedauerlicherweise sagen, dass mein Freundes- und Bekanntenkreis zu gut 95% aus Rollenspieler_innen besteht. 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Tag #14: Was war Dein erstes Rollenspielsystem?

Das erste Regelwerk, das ich mein Eigen nennen durfte, war das deutsche Traveller von FanPro. Ich habe es damals in unseren Kleinstadt-Buchhandlung (Buchhandlung Kern in Vaihingen/Enz) bestellt. Warum Traveller? Ganz einfach: weil mein Vater mich seit frühester Kindheit zum Science Fiction Fan erzogen hat. Anders kann man es nicht bezeichnen, wenn man im Alter von 4 Jahren bereits Mondbasis Alpha Eins gucken darf. Dann kam in der Grundschule Raumschiff Enterprise hinzu und dann Raumpatrouille Orion. Das prägt! Daher traf ich meine Auswahl nach gründlichem Studium von Knaurs Großem Buch der Rollenspiele und es musste Traveller sein.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Tag #13: Hast Du jemals versucht ein eigenes Rollenspiel zu schreiben und wie weit bist Du gekommen?

Meine ersten Gehversuche, ein Rollenspiel zu schreiben, habe ich unternommen bevor ich jemals ein Fantasy Rollenspiel gekauft hatte. Basierend auf Knaurs Großem Buch der Rollenspiele, Der Welt des Meisters und den FantasyAbenteuerSpielBüchern habe ich handschriftlich ein eigenes System entwickelt... nun ja... irgendwo habe ich das vielleicht noch.

Den nächsten Versuch, der auch fertig wurde, war eine würfellose und zufallslose Variante von Fudge-on-the-Fly. Habe ich auch ein paar Mal geleitet. Meine wichtigste Erkenntnisse: aus diesem Versuch: zufällig Methoden zur Ergebnisfindung einer Handlung (vulgo: Würfel oder Karten) bringen mit wenig Anstrengung unglaublich viel Spannung ins Spiel, und eine Handlung, die komplett ohne Zufall auskommt, ist verdammt schwer zu meistern.

Am dritten Versuch, unter dem Arbeitstitel "Schicksal, Blut und Sieben Sünden" knabbere ich immer noch. Das soll ein Vampirrollenspiel auf Basis von FAE werden und kein WoD-Conversion/Klon, sondern eigenständig. Aber da zahne ich noch an wichtigen Konzepten. Solange die nicht gelöst sind, komme ich da gar nicht weiter.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Tag #12: Was für einer Deiner Charaktere sah auf dem Papier besser aus als er sich dann spielte?

Das ist mir erst kürzlich passiert. Auf dem Sternenhimmel. Ieuwain ap Daffyd war ein Waffenmeister in Fais, einem auf FATE basierenden System. Auf dem Papier sah der Halbelf mit Aspekten wie "Ein Schelm, der böses dabei denkt", "Die Nacht ist nicht zum Schlafen da", "Ich bin nicht nur moralisch flexibel" und "Arawn (sein Doppelspeer) ist immer an meiner Seite." total umgänglich und auch durchaus etwas liebenswert dubios aus. Im Spiel hat er sich dann zu einem schweigsamen, bedrohlichen Eigenbrödler entwickelt. Einer der Spieler meinte nachher, dass es ihm schon imponiert hätte, wie gradlinig mein Charakter war und wie egal ihm seine Umwelt war (als Halbelf mochte man ihn nicht sehr). Trotzdem war es nicht das, was ich eigentlich spielen wollte. Naja, wenigstens weiß ich jetzt, wie ich meinen Iron Kingdom Nyss Ranger/Sorcerer in Zukunft spielen werde.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Tag #11: Bist Du lieber Spieler oder Spielleiter und warum?

Ich leite lieber. Ursprünglich war es auch bei mir so, dass ich der einzige Leiter war. Inzwischen ist das nicht mehr so, aber ich leite trotzdem gerne. Beim Spielen suche ich mir die Leiter und Systeme sehr genau raus, da ich oft schon gemerkt habe, dass mir spielen nur um zu spielen keinen Spass macht. Auf G+ bieten sich jetzt auch mal Gelegenheiten, Systeme zu spielen, die ich schon immer mal spielen (und leiten) wollte.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Tag #10: Was ist Dein Lieblings - Kaufabenteuer ?

Das ist ne schwere Frage - v.a. für jemanden, der meistens Abenteuer selber schreibt/improvisiert. Meine letzten Kaufabenteuer, die ich geleitet habe sind die Earthdawn Abenteuer und die D&D 3.0 Abenteuerbände, die mit der Sunless Citadel losgehen. Mein Warhammer SL tendiert dazu, Kaufabenteuer zu erweitern und zu verfremden also weiß ich teilweise gar nicht was ich gespielt habe. Die alte Enemy Within Kampagne fand ich beeinfdruckend, aber durfte sie nie zu Ende spielen. Scheidet also auch aus. Okay, dann führe ich folgendes ins Feld:

Die AD&D 1st Edition Abenteuer UK2 "The Sentinel" und UK3 "The Gauntlet". Die Abenteuer durfte ich mit AD&D 2nd Edition durchspielen und habe sie mit AD&D 2nd Edition und D&D 3rd Edition selber zweimal geleitet. Die beiden Abenteuer sind ziemlich cool und drehen sich um ein echtes magisches Artefakt (den namensgebenen Sentinel) und geben einem die Gelegenheit gegen einen Feuerriesen und seine Armeen zu kämpfen (oder lieber nicht). Einfach ziemlich episch das Ganze. Dazu kommen noch Gnolle als Gegner, die ich sehr mag.

Die Honorable Mention geht an Crown of Kings: Das ist ein Kampagnenband für das Advanced Fighting Fantasy RPG. Die Kampagne faßt die vier AbenteuerSpielBücher der Analand Saga zu einer, durch eine Gruppe spielbare Kampagne zusammen. Und die Analand Saga ist nun mit Abstand mein allerliebstes Kaufabenteuer.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Tag #9: Was ist das verrückteste was Dir beim Rollenspiel passiert ist (Outgame)?

Outgame, das ist einfach. Als ich meine Vampire: The Requiem Runde ins Leben gerufen habe. Für jene Runde, die am 1. November 2013 neun Jahre alt wird, hatte ich drei Spieler. Unter anderem auch eine Musiklehrerin, die sich für Rollenspiel interessierte und angeblich Death Metal hört. Sie wollte unbedingt mitspielen. Nach der ersten und noch stärker nach der zweiten Sitzung sagte sie mir, dass sie Schwierigkeiten habe, einen Charakter zu spielen der tot ist. Das führte nachher auch dazu, dass sie nach der dritten Sitzung aufhörte. Dazwischen hat sie uns allerdings bei der Terminfindung schon komisch angeschaut, als wir partout alle zwei Wochen regelmäßig Sonntags spielen wollten. Sie unterstellte uns etwas "sektenhaftes". Nach ihrem Ausstieg hatte ich sie nochmal angeschrieben und sie war da sehr distanziert.

Zusammen mit einigen anderen Aussagen, die sie getätigt hat, und der offensichtlichen Kluft zwischen dem Death Metal und ihrem Auftreten (das doch sehr konservativ tutelig war) und ihren Befindlichkeiten über Tote, hat sich bei uns der Verdacht ergeben, dass sie gar keine Rollenspielerin war bzw. auch keine sein wollte, sondern evtl. einfach mal in ihre Eigenschaft als Lehrerin in das Hobby spähen wollte. Und ich muss bis heute sagen, es blieb der Geschmack des ausspioniert worden seins zurück. Vielleicht tue ich ihr damit unrecht, aber so kam es damals nicht nur bei mir an.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Tag #8: Was ist das verrückteste was Dir beim Rollenspiel passiert ist (Ingame)?

Mit einer beinahe 24-jährigen Rollenspielkarriere noch ein Ereignis zu finden, dass an Verrücktheit andere Ereignisse überbietet, ist eine harte Nuss. Aber es gibt tatsächlich ein Ereignis, das raussticht und mich bis heute amüsiert:

Damals bei Earthdawn: mein T'Skrang Nethermancer hatte gar nicht so viel über den T'Skrang Schwertmeister und Cousin (ein anderer SC) gelästert, aber der Schwertmeister hatte wohl genug. Er forderte meinen Nethermancer zu einem Duell auf Leben und Tod. Er war sich ganz sicher, dass er es gewinnen würde und ich einen neuen Charakter brauchen würde. Und dann würfelten wir Initiative. Mein Nethermancer war schneller. Und dann zauberte ich die Geisterhand (oder so ähnlich) und würfelte Schaden: W8 + W12. Erst fielen eine 8 und eine 12, dann fiel eine 8 und eine 12, dann ließ mich der W8 mit einer 6 im Stich, aber der W12 würfelte noch tapfer eine weitere 12 und dann eine 7. 65 Schadenspunkte. Der Spieler des Schwertmeisters schaute sich seine Lebenspunkte an und musste erkennen, das sein Charakter tot war, ohne einen einzigen Schlag geführt zu haben. Da der Spieler offensichtlich versucht hatte, bei der offenen Runde im Wolkerweg, seine persönliche Fehde mit mir im Spiel auszuleben, erfüllte mich der Wurf mit großer Genugtuung.

Und so lernte ich, den W12 zu lieben. Die beiden Würfel habe ich (glaube ich/hoffe ich) irgendwo immer noch. Es waren der erste W12 (blau) und der erste W8 (rot), die ich mir Ende der 80er Jahre noch vom Taschengeld gekauft hatte. In Stuttgart, im Obletter. Der einzigen Quellen für seltsame Würfel, die ich damals kannte.

Ein Nachtrag: Das verrückteste Ereignis habe ich tatsächlich verdrängt. Dabei war der wtf Effekt der Spieler dabei einfach wunderbar. Dresden Files im Magischen München: Zwei SC hatten ein Nonnen-Kloster infiltiert, weil sie von satanistischen Umtrieben dort erfahren hatten. Die SC waren eine Sorceress (Uneheliche Pfarrerstochter) und ein Changeling (Goblin). Jedenfalls bewahrheiteten sich die Gerüchte. Die Äbtissin war wohl eine "ältere" Sorceress, die versucht hat, die Äußeren Tore zu öffnen. Jene Tore, die der Gatekeeper unbedingt geschlossen halten möchte... Dazu möchte sie ihre 12 jungfräulichen Nonnen opfern. Die Sorceress schafft es mit Müh und Not die 12. Jungfrau davon abzuhalten, der Äbtissin in den Keller zum Ritual zu folgen. Sie wehrt dabei drei Red Court Vampire ab. Eine wahrhaft epische Schlacht in der Klosterkirche. Der Goblin versucht derweil das Ritual zu stören, dass ein Loch in die Mauer reißen soll und Outsider hinein lassen wird. Das Ritual ist in vollem Gange und und die Äbtissin öffnet das Tor zwischen den Welten. Mit dem Tod jeder Jungfrauen stabilisiert sich das Tor mehr und mehr. Der Goblin stürzt sich auf die Äbtissin, wirft sie über seine Schulter in das entstehende Tor, um das Ritual zu unterbrechen. Ein Erdbeben geht durch das Kloster und das Tor beginnt sich ganz zu öffnen. Der Spieler des Goblins schaut mich sprachlos an... Ich sage: Das war wohl die zwölfte Jungfrau. Der Spieler des Goblins: "Wer kann denn ahnen, dass die Äbtissin nach 100 Jahren immer noch eine Jungfrau ist!"...

Monday, October 7, 2013

Tag #7: Erzähl von Deinem Lieblings - Rollenspielcharakter

Harte Frage. Ich habe das "Problem" zu oft zu leiten und zu selten zu spielen, daher ist keiner meiner SC lange und viel gespielt. Der Jahrgang 2013 weist zwar einige interessante Gestalten auf, aber so recht mag sich da keiner auf Platz 1 schieben. Aber ein paar meiner "Helden" sind mir schon ans Herz gewachsen. Komischerweise alle auf den Sternenhimmel Cons entstanden.

Das ist Snorri der Bleiche, mein Godi aus der "Saga of the Icelanders" Runde. Er beherrscht verbotenes Seidr, das es ihm erlaubt schwanger zu werden. Und er hat dadurch sogar einen Sohn, der sich vom ihm nicht sehnlicher wünscht als "Be a father!". Leider ist Snorri nur ein Eltern. Anmerkung: Der Sohn wurde von einem Mitspieler gespielt. 

Dann ist da Jasper Latimer, ein aufopferungsvoller Diener in einer Sternwanderer-ähnlichen Welt (System: Reign), der sogar einen Liebestrank mit falschen Zutaten versehen hat, um eine Prinzessin vor den bösen Klauen des Lord Wolton zu bewahren. Dumm nur, dass der Lord jetzt ihm in Liebe verfallen ist, und Zwerge beauftragt hat, einen Keuschheitsgürtel für Jasper zu schmieden.

Nachtrag: Ashkelion Lunar, mein Dungeon World Wizard, entwickelt sich tatsächlich so, wie ich es mir für Ashkelion immer gewünscht habe. Er ist ein sharp-eyed Wizard with wild hair, a thin body and strange robes. Und wird am Dienstag, 22. Oktober, die 3. Stufe erreichen.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Tag #6: Was für einen Würfeltyp verwendest Du am liebsten?

Mein Lieblingswürfel ist der W12. Mit ihm habe ich in Earthdawn einen One-Shot Kill bei einem Duell mit einem anderen SC hingelegt, der sich damals ganz sicher war, er würde mich besiegen. Aber sein Charakter kam noch nicht mal dazu auch nur einmal zu zuschlagen. Ich habe in reiner Selbstverteidigung gehandelt. Der andere Spieler wollte mich gezielt aus dem Spiel werfen.

Heutzutage kommt der W12 leider selten zum Einsatz. Am ehesten bei Savage Worlds. Spiele nur mit W12 sind extrem selten, aber es gibt sie. Thousand Suns und Colonial Gothic benutzen ihn ausschließlich für das 12 Degree System. Auch Broken Rooms benutzt nur den W12 und macht auch noch nette Würfeltricks mit ihm (muss da noch mal genau schauen, welche. Ist ne Weile her, dass ich das gelesen habe).

Honorable Mention: Der W10 wird an meinem Spieltisch am häufigsten gewürfelt. Und natürlich sind FATE Würfel (jetzt gibt es sie ja) auch total cool.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Tag #5: Was ist eine Lieblings-Klasse?

Meine Lieblingsklasse sind Magier/Zauberer, weil ich Gandalf, Belgarath und Polgara einfach beeindruckend fand. Und weil in den frühen Rollenspielen Magier noch etwas mehr zu tun hätten, als einfach tumbe auf den Gegner einzuprügeln, Erfahrungspunkte zu sammeln und aufzusteigen. Als Magier suchte man noch nach neuen Zaubersprüchen, musste gut überlegen, welche Zauber man sich einprägte und mit ihnen haushalten - statt einfach sofort alles zu verballern. Damit waren sie damals (im letzten Jahrtausend) schwerer zu spielen als andere Klassen. Und im Gegensatz zum Kleriker konnte man seine Feinde mit dem Feuerball wegflammen!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Tag #4: Was ist Deine Lieblings - Rollenspielrasse?

Meine Lieblingsrasse sind Elfen/Elben. Ich bin da total durch Tolkien verdorben. Nicht umsonst verschlang ich das Silmarillion in wenigen Tagen. Platz zwei geht dann allerdings an zwei Rassen, die jeweils nur in einem Setting vorkommen: T'skrang (Earthdawn) und Thri-Kreen (Dark Sun).

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Tag #3: Was ist Dein Lieblings-Setting?

Mein Lieblingssetting passt zu meinem Lieblingssystem: Vampire: The Requiem. Wobei man bei Requiem mit seiner "Werkzeugkisten-Mentalität" gar nicht wirklich von einem Setting reden kann. Nirgendwo sonst habe ich die Möglichkeit, mir meine Vampirstädte und Mythologie selber zurecht zu schnitzen und die Gruppe damit zu überraschen, was ich noch so alles aus dem reichhaltigen Fundus der Werkzeugkisten gezogen habe.

Und als "Honorable Mention" muss unbedingt noch Vampire: The Dark Ages genannt werden. Gerade im ersten Teil der Reihe (bevor es in Dark Ages: Vampire umbenannt wurde) verflechten sich holzschnittartige Illus und gute Texte zu einer atmosphärischen dichten Welt des düsteren Mittelalters. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Tag #2: Was ist Dein Lieblings - Regelsystem?

Mein Lieblingsregelsystem ist gar nicht so einfach. Ich bin durchaus bekannt dafür, dass ich FATE sehr liebe. Aber gemessen an dem was ich tatsächlich leite und was meine Spielrunde begeistert spielt, ist mein tatsächliches Lieblingssystem das Storytelling System von White Wolf, v.a. in seiner Vampire: The Requiem Ausprägung. Zu dem System äußere ich mich online seltener, aber leite es erheblich häufiger als FATE.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Tag #1: Wie bist Du zum Rollenspielhobby gekommen?

Im Deutschunterricht in der 8. Klasse haben wir Bücher vorgestellt, die wir lesen. Eine Klassenkameradin hat den "Hexenmeister vom Flammenden Berg" vorgestellt. Ein Buch, mit innovativem Konzept, bei dem man sich seinen Weg durchs selber suchen konnte. Ich habe es mir ausgeliehen und mir kurz darauf "Die Zitadelle des Zauberers" gewünscht. In der Stadtbücherei habe ich dann "Knaurs Großes Buch der Rollenspiele" entdeckt. Dann Traveller von Fantasy Productions bestellt. Und schließlich die DSA Basisbox gekauft (vom Taschengeld). Die ZauberZeit wurde bestellt und gespielt hatte ich bis 1989 immer noch nicht! In der Umgebung meiner Kleinstadt in BaWü (Vaihingen/Enz), gab es keine Rollenspieler. Aber AD&D hatte ich entdeckt!

Zum Spielen kam ich das erste Mal kurz nach Silvester 1990 in Baton Rouge. Der Sohn meiner Gasteltern nahm mich erst zu einer Runde MegaTraveller und dann zu AD&D 2nd Edition mit.

Zurück in Deutschland fand ich 1990 Anschluss an meine erste AD&D Runde. DSA war gestorben. Und seit 1991 leite ich selber!

Monday, September 30, 2013

Pre-Launch 31 Tage RPG Quest

Over at Google+ in the community "Rollenspieler (Deutschsprachig)" the "31 Tage RPG Quest" will be started on October 1. I am participating in this RPG Quest and will be answering the question for each day. Unfortunately, this is a German language community and therefore, the posts of this blog will switch to German for the whole month of October, 2013. I am truly sorry for that inconvenience, but I really want to archive the posts in my blog and do not have the time at the moment to do a proper translation that preserves content and tone of the post.

Starting with November 1, 2013 there will be English language posts again.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Fate, Blood & Seven Sins: Interesting Discussions on the Web

This is just a short, informative reminder for myself. There are two rather interesting ideas pertaining to my planned Fate, Blood & Seven Sins hack:

How to convert VtR Blood & Smoke straight to FATE Core

How to use the Wild Blue Hack to do vampiric weaknesses

Interesting things to take away from both articles:

  • The more powers vampires gain, the more weaknesses they get
  • Hunger is basically a trinary state: vampires are sated, hungry or ravenous. In FATE this might translate as having no consequences associated with thirs, one or more consequences associated with thirst and being taken out by thirst.

Now, the only issue is: how do you gain thirst consequenes and how do you get rid of them?

You would probably gain thirst consequences for not meeting the blood requirements of a discipline, as defined by a roll. You would lose them by hunting and feeding. How to emulate that ties-in to the sevcn sins. The sin related to the thirst would of course be Gluttony.

From there, the question is: can each sin be used for all four actions or is each sin tied to specific actions, thus losing a bit of the free format of FAE? Thus, would Wrath be limited to physical attacks and overcoming physical obstacles, Pride to social attacks and overcoming social obstacles, and so on? Most importantly, what would I use Sloth for? Getting other people to do your job? Could it even be the "Age" statistic, thereby implying that older vampires are getting tired and bored?

Drinking blood and satiating your thirst could change internal consequences into external ones. For example, by removing your mild "Thirsty for a sip of blood" consequence, you would create an external aspect: "Drowsy party goer" aspect that symbolizes your feeding and goes away at the end of the scene. Or removing the severe "Thirsty beyond reason" condition creates a "Dead body hidden in the closet" aspect.

Or, drinking blood removes your consequences but creates campaign stress. Campaign stress clears at the end of each session. But stressing out the campaign creates a lasting consequence related to the discovery of vampires.

Enough rambling... as long as the central issue about drinking blood is not solved, I can't really go ahead with FATE, Blood & Seven Sins.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Fate, Blood & Seven Sins: Humans are Fragile

Today, I was browsing through the FATE System Toolkit and discovered the section on scaling the stress tracks. Then it suddenly became clear what I need to do. Humans don't have stress tracks at all. If they are Supporting or Major NPCs, they take consequences right from the start. If they are mooks, they are taken out immediately. In FAE a mob of mooks would have a standard stress track. In FATE Core mooks would still get the supporting bonus. But if they take even a single point of stress, they are taken out.

Vampires on the other hand will have stress tracks, and probably complications acting as a blood supply, as suggested by one comment. Not sure how to go about this. The stress track of course represents the ability to shake of minor (and not so minor) damage. The complications will power the stunts and allow the vampires to get additional bonuses for physical feats.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Fate, Blood & Seven Sins: Continuing the Work

I am starting to itch for my go-to-game Vampire: The Requiem, when reading "Reap the Whirlwind", the FreeRPG Day starter kit for Vampire: The Requiem 1.5 called "Blood & Smoke: The Strix Chronicles". But I don't really care for the rules update in God Machine Chronicle. It seems to be a bit excessive compared to the leaner versions of Vampire: The Masquerade and Vampire: The Requiem. Also, I have a long-running chronicle (8.5 years) that shouldn't have a radical switch of rules after such a long time.

But then I remembered my first steps with Fate, Blood & Seven Sins. Back then it was based on White Picket Witches, but before my first playtest I switched to FAE. The first playtest was ho-hum. The player feedback was: you didn't notice that you were a vampire. The playtesters had a lot of experience playing vampire, and the said there should probably be some mechanic to remind you who you are. They said, there was no blood pool of any sorts, nothing to really get you to hunt for blood at all. Something they think is very elementary for the vampire experience. A bit disheartened, I put the design away to be pulled out later. Now I feel later has come around.

Today, I re-read Duncan Bain's blog post on The Thirst by accident. My game needs something similar as the Thirst. Maybe something called the Hunger, which would be nice since there is a vampire movie with Bowie, Sarandon and Deneuve by the same name.

Also this got me thinking. In his Shadowrun 2050 hack for FATE Core, Rob Wieland calls out stunts as spells or as cyberware. In my first attempt, I created the vampiric powers close to the spells from White Picket Witches. But since the stat I associated with these spell-like powers was Age, the players kept failing their activation rolls. Therefore, I am thinking of doing it differently this time. Maybe I'll call out certain stunts as "Powers" or "Dark Gifts" or something like that. These stunts emulate the supernatural powers, work like real stunts (i.e. no activation roll) and you get to have a maximum of Age+X of them. But because you are a vampire, you have to take at least two. Not sure about their power level though. If they work on the same level like regular stunts, they won't feel very vampiric. One way would be to rule that mortals do not get to take any stunts in this game, thus de-powering them compared to vampires. Another way would mean stronger stunts. Stunts that don't balance with other stunts. But I am not so sure I like this. Having only vampires (and maybe other supernaturals) with stunts creates an immediate divide between ordinary humans and vampires. Also, I can still keep the traditional stunt structure in place... hm... on the other hand, the Extras chapter in FATE Core nicely details how stunts can be double or triple-strength. Need to do some more thinking on that. Suggestions welcome.

The next thing to consider: standard vampiric powers as portrayed in popular TV series like Vampire Diaries or True Blood should be baked into the character from the beginning. Things like supernatural strength, speed and resilience (except towards sunlight) should be available to any vampire. Maybe relative strength based on Age, as this seems to be a common denominator when watching or reading about them in a modern context. Using those abilities might kindle the Hunger (much like described in The Thirst). Still need to decide how Age plays into this, how Hunger is handled (e.g. as separate stress track, as mental stress or something else, but stress seems to be a good way to do this).

The last item to consider is mythology and origin. With Vampire City there is already a game out there that allows you to custom build your vampires, their origins, the social structure and so on. Then, there is Vampire: The Masquerade. One of the strongest aspects of that setting was the involved and complex mythology surrounding the Kindred, as well as the easy to grasp war between two vampiric groups. When looking at Vampire Diaries and True Blood, then personally I found the stories involving the origins very fascinating. Same with reading "The Queen of the Damned". In the end I am torn between creating a toolbox that can be used to create a variety of vampire settings or creating a firm background on what it means to be a vampire in my game.

Expect to see some solutions to various quandaries I've pointed out in the not too far future.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

FAE with Aspects and No Approaches

Just a short article today on using FAE without approaches. The idea of FATE with just aspects and stunts has been floating around the internet for some time. Taking FAE as a basis this could be accomplished quite easily, by removing approaches from the game. Instead, each character aspect gains a rating:

  • High Concept: Good (+3)
  • Trouble: Terrible (-2)
  • All other aspects: Average (+1)

When you are asked to roll, you select the appropriate aspect and roll with its rating. If your trouble applies, you have to roll at terrible (-2). FATE points can be used as usual to invoke and compel aspects. So, if you are rolling your " Sole Mage-Priest of the Moon Goddess" aspect at good (+3), you can still invoke the same aspect to get an additional +2 to the roll. You can even invoke your trouble aspect, in case you think it'll help.

Stunts templates will drop the approach from their wording and it is probably a good idea to limit the circumstances in which it applies some more, as without approaches stunts become more broadly applicable. Thus the stunt template for the +2 bonus would look like this:

"Because I [describe some way that you are exceptional, have a cool bit of gear, or are otherwise awesome], I get a +2 when I [pick one: attack, defend, create advantages, overcome], when [describe a circumstance]."

Milestones will also change a bit:

  • Minor milestones allow you to switch the ratings between two aspects as long as it is not your high concept or or trouble aspect instead of allowing you to switch ratings between two approaches.
  • Significant milestones allow you to raise the rating of an aspect by one, as long as it is not your trouble aspect. No aspect may be raised to a higher rating than the high concept aspect. The high concept aspect may be raised as high as superb (+5).
  • Major milestones will remain unchanged. 

In FAEntasy I could see this hack working. The high concept aspect and some other aspects are based in your classes. Thus, getting rid of approaches will tie your character concept to a rating, kind of like the approaches as classes that I initially proposed.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

FAEntasy: Magic

Finally, we are getting to another interesting bit of the rules. As a means of diving into the mechancis, I am going to tackle the five questions that the magic toolkit tells us to ask of magic. As source material, I'll consider the original game and include some comments on Old School+ games.

Note: FAEntasy assumes you are using the red dice and blue dice rules for weapons and armor from the FATE Toolkit. Why? Because I think it is cool.

1. Tone: In the original source material, magic is neutral force that can be used for good and evil. Usually this is reinforced by having a neutral goddess (or rarely, god) present in the setting. Magic is also usually divided into divine magic available to clerics and arcane magic available to wizards and their like. In some Old School+ games, arcane magic is portrayed as a source of chaos, while divine magic is seen as a force of order or law. In FAEntasy the tone will determine how you cast your magic. Are doing it carefully like a cleric (or druid), flashy like a bard, forcefully like a sorcerer or clever like a wizard?

2. Costs: Magic is tiresome, slowly wearing the wizard out, until he can't cast anymore spells. At least the associated fiction talked about magic in those terms. In game terms, the wizard or cleric ran out of spells sooner or later. For FAEntasy, this means that casting spells and using magic causes stress (and maybe consequences). For now lets say: each spell causes the caster exactly one stress. This may not seem like much, but remember: there is oly one level-1 stress box.

3. Limits: Arcane magic usually cannot heal people, but is devastating when attacking. Divine magic on the other hand is quite handy for healing people, damaging and destroying the undead or protecting someone from harm, but not as powerful on the attack. These limits translate into a number of rules for FAEntasy magic:

  • Arcane magic cannot restore consequences.
  • Divine magic can restore consequences or rather speed-up healing. With a Fair (+2) result, a cleric can completely heal a mild consequence. With a Great (+4) result, she can turn a moderate consequence into a mild consequence. With a Fantastic (+6) result, a severe consequence can be turned into a moderate consequence. Successive castings can heal grievious consequences.
  • Divine magic can resurrect people, but it is Legendary (+8) difficulty and the cleric will take an extreme consequence twisting one of his aspects, except the hight concept aspect.
  • By taking additional stress, an arcane mage can turn normal fate dice into red dice when directly attacking with his magic. The maximum number of dice he can swap is equal to his casting approach.
  • Clerics can only do that, when attacking the undead.
  • By taking additional stress, any spellcaster can turn normal fate dice into blue dice, when directly defending against an attack that causes stress. The maximum number of dice he can swap is equal to his casting approach.
  • Apart from these rules, magic can be used to either create an advantage, overcome an obstacle, attack or defend according to the normal rules for the four actions in FAE.

4. Availability: Magic is usually not part of everyday live. But there are temples around and wizards for hire. So you can expect at least a couple of spellcasters to be part of an adventuring party, but hiring one is still not cheap, depending on services requested. I'd suggest at least a Great (+4) difficulty when seeking help at a temple or tower. The more difficult the magic sought, the higher the difficulty goes.

5. Source: Here some campaigns diverge wildly. It could be planes of negative and positive energy, an invisible web of power stretching over the land, growing things,  pure chaos, the gods & deities or your own inner conviction.

This is it. These are the basic rules for FAEntasy magic. In the coming posts I am going to elaborate further on divine and arcane magic.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

FAEntasy: Races as Aspects & Stunts

The fantastic races will be done mainly as aspects. Below you'll find some quick and handy description of the races. Each race contains some ideas on invoking the race for a bonus or reroll. Those ideas can easily be turned into stunts to make them available more often and more reliably, but they don't have to. In terms of FATE Core Extras, each race is an extra with an aspect as permission. Usually, this aspect should be part of your high concept. Yes, that means that for some invokes you'll have to decide, if you want to lean on your class or your race. Remember that each aspect may only be invoked once per roll.

Hint: You might want to have other aspects relating to your race and/or class, so you can gain a bigger benefit out of them.

Note: These are just examples to get you started.

Dwarven Aspects


  • Invoke to defend against poison or magic, to detect odd and unusual things about stonework, to attack or defend with axes, to attack or defend against orcs, goblinoids or giants, when appraising or crafting objects.
  • Compel when confronted with orcs, goblinoids or giants, to argue with an elf, when outdoors, to covet gold and other riches.

Elven Aspects


  • Invoke to see in the dark, to attack or defend with swords, to attack with bows, to defend against enchantments, to notice things, to remember events from a hundred years ago.
  • Compel to defend the forest, to feel and behave superior to humans, to get into an argument with dwarves, to take the long view on things.

Gnome Aspects


  • Invoke to see in the dark, to defend against illusions, when small size is a benefit, to attack and defend against kobolds and goblinoids, to listen well, to defend against giants, to craft illusions, to brew potions.
  • Compel when small size is a disadvantage (and other gnomish stuff, never cared much about them).


Half-elven Aspects


  • Invoke to see in the dark, to defend against enchantments, to notice things, to get along with others, when being an elf or human is an advantage.
  • Compel for feeling as an outcast from humans and elves, to be subject to prejudice from humans and elves, to react badly to those prejudices, when being an elf or human is a disadvantage.

Half-orc Aspects


  • Invoke to rage against your enemies, to be a hulking brute, when being an orc is an advantage.
  • Compel when in polite society, when confronted with prejudice, when being an orc is a disadvantage.

Halfling Aspects


  • Invoke to to see in the dark, when small size is an advantage, to be fearless, to do sneaky stuff and thievery (it took only one halfling to ruin the reputation of a whole race), to remain hidden and unseen.
  • Compel when leaving the characters comfort zone, for breakfast, when small size is a disadvantage.


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

FAEntasy: Options for Aspects & Approches

Edit: I am not doing a third post on aspects, as I consider that overkill and want to get on with the design. But +Paul Vencill over at G+ had a nice idea about the aspects and representing "classes". He suggested that each "class" should take up an aspect slot in case of "multi-classing". I want to include something like that. Also I forgot to mention something about the other aspects in the post.

Okay, I read some interesting comments on my approaches for FAEntasy. One reader even said: call them classes instead of approaches. Another one insisted that the way the approaches are worded, they enforce multi-classing as a default. Yet the next suggestion was to use the six common attributes as approaches (but that's already been done over here).

Approaches in FAEntasy are not classes. First, they do not include everything that is necessary to form a class (e.g. Fighter covers only close combat, whereas Ranger covers ranged combat). Second, even a Good (+3) Thief may know a thing or two about the campaign world (which could be covered with Bard or Wizard).

Anyways, here is another option to use Approaches and Aspects that is closer to standard FAE:

Aspects for a game inspired by Old School+

  • High Concept: Your high concept ideally includes your class (and race, if you are anything but a plain human). The possible classes could be (but are not limited to): Fighter, Ranger, Barbarian, Paladin, Cleric, Druid, Monk, Wizard, Specialist Wizard, Sorcerer, Thief, Bard or Assassin. You can even cover a multiclass in your high concept (but you have to take an additional aspect for each additional class you want to cover). If you want to be a spellcaster, be sure to mention Cleric, Druid,Wizard or Sorcerer in the hight concept. More on that in the post about magic. Examples are: Dwarven Knight of the Nether ReachesWoodland Ranger of the SkogurhörmulegurThe Thief Who Stole the Elven Juwel, Elven Ranger sworn to the Queen, Sole half-elven cleric/mage of the Moon Godess.
  • Trouble: Works identically to FAE. This aspects serves to propel you into adventures and make your live really interesting. Examples are: Outcast from the Woodland RealmHunted by Ragnar the BlackenedOrcs have taken everything from me!
  • Alignment: This one is new. Basically you select one of the nine alignments (Lawful Good, Neutral Good, Chaotic Good, Lawful Neutral, True Neutral, Chaotic Neutral, Lawful Evil, Neutral Evil or Chaotic Evil). The fun thing: in FAE, the GM can compel you to act in accordance with your alignment and it gets you FATE points. Don't forget to self-compel!
Beyond the initial three aspects, it's up to you, if you want to fill your remaining two slots on the spot or you want to wait until an aspect suggests itself to you. Unless your high concept mentions a multiclass.

Multiclassing

When you multiclass, you have to relate one aspect to each class that you are taking. Of course, this can include the trouble aspect. Thus, you are limited to a maximum of four "classes". Also, since the additional classes have to be mentioned in your high concept, you can add additional classes either at the beginning of the game or later on at major milestones when you are allowed to change your high concept.

Approaches for a game inspired by Old School+

Surprisingly, they stay the same as in standard FAE. In fact, there is no change at all. The "old-schoolness" is completely bound up in your aspects. The beauty: you can play FAEntasy right out of the box, no need for a fancy new character sheet. You simply grab your favorite FAE character sheet and you are good to go.

Okay, what do you think? Which way do you like more? The one outlined above or the one previously described?

Monday, June 17, 2013

FAEntasy: Character Aspects

Okay, I am itching to write about magic, but first I need to settle aspects. Also it is rather uncomfortably hot over here, so I am going to keep it short. The character aspects will of course include:

  • High Concept: Ideally, the high concept ties into your highest approach. Indeed, in order cast spells, your high concept aspect must tie into the appropriate approaches (Cleric and/or Wizard). If your have an average (+1) or higher approach as Cleric or Wizard, but your high concept doesn't indicate that you are a spellcaster, you will have knowledge about arcane and/or divine magic, as well as all the other abilities associated with the Cleric or Wizard approach, but you won't be able to cast spells. Otherwise, the high concept functions identically to FAE. It describes what your character is about at his or her core. Examples are: Dwarven Knight of the Nether Reaches, Woodland Ranger of the Skogurhörmulegur, The Thief Who Stole the Elven Juwel.
  • Trouble: Works identically to FAE. This aspects serves to propel you into adventures and make your live really interesting. Examples are: Outcast from the Woodland Realm, Hunted by Ragnar the Blackened, Orcs have taken everything from me!
  • Alignment: This one is new and basically you select one of the nine alignments (Lawful Good, Neutral Good, Chaotic Good, Lawful Neutral, True Neutral, Chaotic Neutral, Lawful Evil, Neutral Evil or Chaotic Evil). The fun thing: in FAE, the GM can compel you to act in accordance with your alignment and it gets you FATE points. Don't forget to self-compel!


Beyond those three, it is up to you, if you want to fill the remaining two slots at the beginning of the game or if you want to wait until an aspect suggests itself to you.

As an additional treat, I am adding the character sheets for FAEntasy.

FAEntasy plain character sheet
FAEntasy form-fillable character sheet

Thanks to +Paul Kießhauer for his idea on having a spellcaster approach without being a spellcaster.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

FAEntasy: Approaches

Okay, in my last post, I mentioned something called "FAEntasy" which is the working title for my hack of FAE with old school gaming. I love the old school renaissance (short: OSR), as my articles on the Drowning Woods show. But most OSR games don't have that many "fiddly bits" as one of my players called them. Especially my favorite Old School+ game: Lamentations of the Flame Princess. One solution to that issue would be using FAE (FATE Accelerated Edition, in case you are wondering). Since FAE is already using the Open Gaming License (OGL for short), it becomes part and parcel with a lot of old school inspired gaming in form of the SRD of the third edition of the oldest fantasy RPG on the planet.

This is my attempt for hacking FAE into a FAEntasy game recognizable to fans of old school gaming.

First, I am going to replace the six approaches with classes (kinda like BareBones Fantasy). I will still call them approaches, but change their name and function. The new class-based approaches are:


  • Bard: The way of word and song. Making a good impression, getting people to react favorably to you, finding your way around respectable society.
  • Cleric: The servants of the gods. Nurturing and healing with words of wisdom. But also smiting the undead and casting spells in the name of demigods and deities.
  • Fighter: The warrior who wades into battle, swinging his sword, smashing his enemies with knowledge of war and tactics.
  • Ranger: The scout and woodland archer. Knowing how to use ranged weapons, how to survive in the wilds, how to hunt and track enemies.
  • Thief: The ultimate urban survivalist. Sneaking and hiding, attacking from the shadows, knowing your way around the seedy underbelly of the cities. Fencing stolen goods aquired illegally.
  • Wizard: The sage who knows spells and secret knowledge. Also called warlock or sorcerer, magic-user or mage. She wields the arcane might that permeats the world.

Each player will start of with one Good (+3), one Fair (+2) and one Average (+1) approach. The all other approaches will remain at Mediocre (+0).

Why these six? Well, I figured that a combination of them can be used to build other classes like the assassin (Fighter/Thief), the druid (Cleric/Ranger), the barbarian (Fighter/Ranger) or the paladin (Fighter/Cleric).

Something awesome...

I just have to show off those



Playing FAE

Yesterday, at the FreeRPG I've GMed FAE (FATE Accelerated Edition) at a not-so-local game store. It went quite well. Here are my observations from the game (and some other FAE game I did via G+ Hangout).


  1. Using methods works quite well, since it gets players to describe how they employ their approaches, thus automatically adding descriptions to the game. Yes, of course they are trying to justify their best approaches. But to me that's a feature not a bug. Gets players thinking about their actions and describing them.
  2. I've got a hard time coming up with mooks on the fly. I think, I need a book of mooks or a mookipedia of some sorts. A place where I can describe mooks that may show up in advance (depending on genre).
  3. Stunts that are directly affecting attack or defense rolls should be limited. At least for the NPCs.
  4. Also, while designing pre-gens for a convention game, I've got trouble coming up with good and interesting stunts. I also may need to create a reference here. Maybe based on FATE Core's stunts as a quick go-to-list.
  5. I've got trouble coming up with non-physical conflicts in FAE. This needs to be addressed.
  6. Conflicts seem to drag on in FAE. Yesterday a battle between three PCs, five groups of mooks and two main NPCs dragged on forever. Forever was around 2-3 hours. I am thinking about implementing my stress-free FATE hack into a FAE hack.
  7. For running a fantasy game, adding weapon rules might be a nice idea. This could at least speed up physical conflict. Alternatively, add a new stunt template to FAE that describes weapons and armor that are special or integral to a character.
  8. When playing FATE Core Fantasy, I usually add a special boost called "Loot" to the game. Loot can be used to boost the resources skill for buying things. I've yet to figure out how to add loot to a FAE game, since resources don't map to an approach (I could imagine someone spending money in a flashy way, or someone doing clever haggling, or spending his money carefully... hm.. got my answer it seems.)
  9. Also, when statting PreGens never assign a Fair (+2) Forceful approach to a spindly Eunuch for being headstrong, rather give him a stunt... Or compel him more often not to attack forcefully.


All in all, FAE is fast becoming my got to game for convention play. Easy to prepare, easy to explain, and working well in-game.

Expect some mooks, stunts and more musings on FAEntasy soon.

Friday, June 14, 2013

A bunch of Charakter Sheets for FATE Accelerated Edition

Okay, these two sheets are in German. They are the plain and formfillable version of a FAE character sheet.

Plain German FAE character sheet
Form-fillable German FAE character sheet (saveable in Adobe Reader XI and higher, I guess)

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Extra: Secret Societies for FATE Core

This is an idea based on the "Schools of Power" on page 291 of the FATE Core System. This can be used for games about secret societies, spy games or similar campaigns. I am going to use it for a Victorian Age game. This article gives the basic template without any examples.

Extra: Secret Society

Permission: an aspect describing the membership in the secret society
Costs: 1 Aspect slot, 1 refresh

Being a member of a secret society grants the character access to the resources of the society. Therefore, she is able to use either her own skill or the skill of the secret society (which ever is higher). Also, the character may learn the special stunts listed for her secret society at normal cost. If she is using skills at the societies level or the special stunts, she is employing techniques, tools or manpower from that society. Someone watching the character and being knowledgeable about secret societies, might recognize which society she belongs to.

A character willing to pay the costs may belong to several secret societies, as long as they are no rivals. It is almost unheard of to be a member of two rivalling secret societies.

Secret Society Template

Aspects: Each secret society has three aspects related to its organization.
Skills: Each secret society offers a single skill column topped at great (+4).
Stunts: Each secret society offers three stunts related to its concerns,
Rivals: Each secret society has at least one rival secret society.

For skills it is probably best not to include any skills that have a direct attack application. So, from the default skill list Fight, Shoot and Provoke should not be used. In case a society teaches combat techniques, it's probably best to give them an appropriate stunt.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Space 1889: Riders of the Upper Nepenthans

Wherein a small group of stepperiders accompanies a pregnant woman to meet her future husband. A  story about glory and battle told at the fires of the Upper Nephentans.

Ranix the Warrior, Fazuuk the Seer and Tarn'k the Hunter are given the task of bringing the pregnant woman Kiszula to meet her future husband Prince Harka from the Lower Nephentan tribe. Among the stepperiders of Mars, it is taboo to marry within ones own tribe. Kiszula managed to get herself pregnant at the last tribal gathering and insists that the child is Prince Harka's. So the princes of the Upper and Lower Nepenthans brokered an agreement for a marriage between Kiszula and Prince Harka. Fazuuk, Ranix and Tarn'k are now suppossed to take Kiszula to the Ruumet Breer Graveyard located between the tribes' territories.

Tarn'k scouts ahead on his gashant while the other three Nephentans follow on their own gashants and with the gashant carrying the dowry for Kiszula. Travelling with a pregnant  Martian woman is exhausting. Her constant complaints are met with stoic silence by Ranix, chatter about the ancestors by Fazuuk, and an absent minded "Yes, Kiszula" by Tarn'k. Maybe that's why Tarn'k acts as an outrider.

Near the end of their journey to the Ruumet Breer Graveyard, Tarn'k encounters a carcass of a slain ruumet breer. From the wounds it looks like steppe tigers had slain the mighty beasts. In the distance, he spots a cave that might be the lair of the steppe tigers. He leads the group on a detour to avoid directly crossing through the steppe tiger territory.

At nightfall, they set up camp. Fazuuk proceeds to settle down Kiszula as comfortably as possible. Tarn'k builds the fire and Ranix keeps watch. Then Kiszula asks Tarn'k to come over and asks him to bed down next to her during the night, because she is cold. Tarn'k elegantly passes this task off to Fazuuk who tells Kiszula that he knows how difficult things are. Kiszula says he can't imagine what she is going through. Fazuuk tells her that the female ancestors also speak to him and thus he knows what to do. He gives her a broth of steppegras beer and herbs that settle her down - and make her somewhat delirious. She implies that Prince Harka wasn't alone with her when she got pregnant, that he didn't lead "his gashant to the watering hole" and that he isn't even interested in women. Surley, the ravings of a delirious mind and nowhere near the truth...

Later at night, during Tarn'k's watch, the young hunter suddenly hears a noise in the dark. He draws his bow, wakes Ranix, tells him to be silent and cautiously proceeds away from the fire. Indeed, they are not alone. Two steppe tigers are circling around the camp. Tarn'k shoots an arrow but narrowly misses one of them. Then the steppe tigers leap into the camp. Ranix get badly wounded, Tarn'k lets loose arrow after arrow and Fazuuk protects Kiszula and prays to the ancestors. Indeed, the ancestors are on the side of the Nepenthan warriors. Ranix manages to slay both steppetiger after Tarn'k has hit his them with arrows several times.

Afterwards, Ranix insists on moving the camp a bit; and in the morning hours, Ranix and Tarn'k start to gather trophies from the carcasses: teeths, parts of the furs and Tarn'k successfully removes one of the bone plates from a steppe tiger's skull. Fazuuk tries to get Kiszula to eat some raw steppetiger meat to make the unborn child stronger. Then the warriors and Kiszula continue their travels.

On the last day of their journey, Tarn'k finds some trails of heavily-loaded  gashants and as he arrives at the Ruumet Breer Graveyard, he finds a discarded metal flask with some clear liquid that smells and tastes alcoholic. The alcohol is much stronger than any steppebeer. Probably belonging to some red nosed invader.

After a while, the entourage of the Lower Nepenthans arrives. Their gashants look as if they were wounded and their leader Tenpashan demands to married to Kiszula. Fazuuk refuses and after some huffing and puffing by Tenpashan and his warriors, he gets to the bottom of the tale: Prince Harka was apparently shot down from his gashant by some red nose warriors that he tried to attach. Instead of helping him, Tenpashan ordered a tactical retreat. With the prince dead, he'll become the next chieftain of the Lower Nepenthans. Kiszula would be his fourth wife. Fazuuk then brokers an agreement: the Lower Nepenthans will guard Kiszula while Fazuuk, Ranix and Tarn'k will verify that Prince Harka is indeed dead. Also, if Kiszula marries Tenpashan, the Upper Nepenthans will receive eight rifles. That settled, the three warriors proceed to track the red noses.

Tarn'k can easily track the trail left by the gashants of the invaders. The red noses aren't particularly careful to conceal their tracks. They feel rather secure out here in the Nepenthes-Toth Steppe. As the night falls, and Phobos and Deimos rise in the sky, Tarn'k finds their encampment behind a hill. He sneaks closer, signalling Fazuuk and Ranix not to approach. Tarn'k sees several earthmen dressed in uniforms sitting around a campfire, drinking and joking while a lone guard patrols the perimeter. Also, he sees a cage large enough to hold captives with one huddled form inside. That could be Prince Harka.

Tarn'k reports back to the other two warriors and they formulate a plan. Ranix and Fazuuk will approach the camp to trade the prisoner, while Tarn'k will sneak around to the cage ready to free the prisoners, if Ranix and Fazuuk fail.

As Ranix and Fazuuk approach openly, the red noses call their officer forth. He speaks some Koline and the trade commences. But unfortunately, Tarn'k is discovered and all hell breaks loose. Ranix is gravely wounded by the sabre of the office, but with the help of Fazuuk's ancestors and Tarn'k's arrows raining down, the three Martians prove victorious.

Tarn'k opens the cage and discovers that there are not one but two prisoners. One is a savage High Martian without wings, the other one calls himself "Hamfreyy Laawreenz", a warrior of the Princess Kwin Vyktooreea, a might warrioress chieftain from Earth. Ranix collects the rifles and ammunition of the fallen invading warriors. Also, he claims the sabre as his trophy. The High Martian confirms to Tarn'k that Prince Harka is indeed dead.

Triumphant, but with sad news they return to Kiszula. Haamfreyy and the High Martian come with them, to be taken to one of the canals after the marriage ceremony. Fazuuk marries Kiszula and Tenpashan. The warrior return with 38 rifles, steppe tiger furs, and teeths and bones from the beasts to the Upper Nepenthans to be hailed as heroes and celebrated.

Note: I keep wanting to write "... her future ex-husband". Definitely reading too much After Elton.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Space 1889: Scandals in St. James's

Wherein five adventuresome gentlemen meet for a rather unintentionally scandalous evening at the Travellers Club in 1889. Acquaintances are made, the Russians make a move and dinner is interrupted.

The evening starts at the estate of the Sir Winston Lawrence, chanting can be heard from downstairs. As the head of the household investigates, he finds his daughter Elizabeth Lawrence listening to the chants of a human who tries to clean the house with fake Martian chants. Her sister Lydia is watching from the stairs. Sir Lawrence doesn't find that very amusing and has his Martian butler, Vincent, remove the fake Martian guru from the property. Vincent (his Martian name being unpronounceable to most humans) complies and while escorting the guru out, secretly retrieves the 20 pounds sterling that Miss Elizabeth had paid the fraudulent guru. Sir Lawrence has a stern talk with his daughter in the meantime and decides that it's best, if she gets married soon. Miss Elizabeth begs her father to not reconsider taking her to the dinner reception of Sir Robert Whitecliff at the Travellers' Club. Sir Lawrence relents and tells her that she can still come.

Meanwhile at the Travellers' Club, Humphrey Lawrence, the estranged and missing son of Sir Lawrence, is talking with his High Martian travelling companion. The winged monstrosity gulps down raw meat and speaks in a strange mixture of Martian and German.

William Herondale, gainfully employed with the Foreign Office in London and a second-degree nephew of Sir Lawrence, meets with Sir Pinterbottom at the request of Lady Amelia Pond, a woman playing in the Great Game for the British Intelligence agency. William had met Lady Amelia in Cambridge where she had recruited him for the British Intelligence agency. After spending some time in Istanbul and getting entangled with a Russian operative called Natasha Iswolska, William had returned to London and a new assignment with Sir Lawrence. Officially, his mother asked her uncle to employ him, but unofficial William is under orders of the British Intellegence agency.

Sir Pinterbottom sits on a bench and reads a newspaper as William approaches and sits down next to him. Pinterbottom tells him about the dinner reception at the Travellers' Club and more or less points out that this is important business that William is attending there. The young man should keep his eyes open.

In the evening, Mr Huntingdon, a veteran of the second Afghan war and a suitor of Miss Elizabeth is travelling by Hansom cab to the Travellers' Club to attend the same dinner reception as the other gentlemen. His cab is forced into a detour because of Irish dock workers rioting in St. James's. That is just a bit odd, because the dock worker union was suppossed to have ceased their strike some days ago. Nevertheless, Mr Huntingdon arrives at the club, limps in and deposites his big hunting rifle at the reception desk.

In the drawing room, others are already waiting. Sir Lawrence with his wife Margret and their daughters Elizabeth and Lydia, and the young aide William Herondale. Butler Vincent is standing discreetly on the side, ready to serve his master Sir Lawrence. Shortly after Mr Huntingdon enters, a big burly Russian named Ivan enters and asks the somewhat impatient Sir Lawrence and entourage to follow him to the ballroom. William finds this a bit odd, since the dinner reception will be held in the smoking room.

The assembled ladies and gentlemen follow Ivan and he leads them to meet with his employer, Duke Alexander Petrovitch Iswolski. When William is introduced to the duke, he reacts a bit impulsively and tells him to give his daughter Natasha his regards. Sir Lawrence is irritated by that. His aide is not supposed to speak before him. As introductions are finally made, Sir Lawrence belittles the Russian diplomat in a rather insulting manner. But that isn't what concerns the duke. He merely wants to present Sir Lawrence with a mutual acquaintance.

Humphrey Lawrence is waiting in an anteroom with several doors. He has been told by Mr Robert Whitecliff to wait there. Humphrey is patiently waiting for the dinner reception of Mr Robert Whitecliff to begin. He is wearing leather pants, boots and other rough travelling gear. Suddenly, one of the doors is opened by Ivan. Humphrey wonders why it is the door to the ballroom and not the door to the smoking room, when Duke Iswolski points to him and presents him to his father, Sir Lawrence. While doing so, he tells Sir Lawrence that Humphrey was found wandering the streets of Syrtis Major in a rather dishevelled state and slightly out of his mind. Humphrey is glad to see his father, but his father will have none of it, even implying that Humphrey is an imposter.

Miss Elizabeth swoons upon seeing her lost brother, but Mr Huntingdon manages to catch her and carries her to a nearby couch. He tells Vincent to get some water. The Martian butler leaves, but encounters Ivan who tells him that Sir Whitecliff is already waiting for his guests to arrive. Vincent goes back to the ballroom and tells Sir Lawrence that Sir Whitecliff is waiting. Duke Islowski leads Humphrey back into the anteroom. Everybody else leaves for the smoking room granting Miss Elizabeth and Mr Huntingdon some time alone. She complains about her tight corset and asks Mr Huntingdon to please loosen it a bit. Of course, the love-struck Mr Huntingdon complies. Then both of them go to the smoking room, just in time before Sir Lawrence sends Vincent to get his daughter.

Besides the entourage of Sir Lawrence and Duke Iswolski, Mr Runark is attending the dinner reception. Sir Whitecliff is a tycoon building etherships for her Majesty, Queen Victoria. The HMS Canterbury is his most recent project and is affected by delays. The dock workers strike is just one of many issues. The HMS Canterbury is suppossed to contain a lot of new and innovative designs, yet none of the patents have been registered yet. The maiden voyage will take the HMS Canterbury to Mars, but things are not going well. Apparently, Sir Whitecliff is getting desperate by inviting a Russian duke and his competitor Mr Runark to  dinner. He hopes to gain something here.

Before the dinner begins, Sir Whitecliff opens the door to the antechamber and introduces Humphrey to his family. None of the assembled guests hint at meeting Humphrey earlier already. Sir Lawrence greets his son a lot warmer than just minutes before and asks Vincent to pick out some suitable suits from among those stashed at the club. Vincent leads Humphrey upstairs to help him get changed. When the two return, the dinner has already started.

Mr Huntingdon flirts with Miss Elizabeth who tries to get William Herondale to join into the discussion too. William obliges and smiles at her. Something that Mr Huntingdon doesn't find very amusing. He gets into a duel of words with Mr Herondale. Mr Herondale likes the dance of words and secretly delights at appearing to flirt with Miss Elizabeth. Though his true target is Mr Runark. The other tycoon is rumored to still be single at a rather advanced age and to have a rather unseemly close relation to his personal secretary and aide. William know the secretary from meetings in circumstances best not mentioned in polite society. Now, William is casting occasional glances at Mr Runark. Mr Huntingdon elbows him in the side causing William to loose his composure on the first try. But finally, Mr Runark notices the young man's interest.

During dinner, Vincent uses the opportunity to nose around the club a bit. He notices Ivan, the butler and bodyguard of Duke Iswolski going upstairs. Discreetly, he follows him and observes that Ivan exchanges coin with a person guarding a door, saying something about 9 o'clock and the duke leaving at that time. Vincent looks around a bit and finds another door leading into the guarded room. There he picks the lock and carefully opens the door. On the other side, a High Martian is sitting in the room still chewing on raw meat and muttering words Koline and German.

Shortly before 9 o'clock, Ivan enters the smoking room and whispers to Duke Iswolski. The duke gets up and excuses himself from the dinner, since he has to attend to urgent business elsewhere.

After the duke leaves, the dinner is interrupted as an angry young man intrudes into the smoking room. He confronts Sir Whitecliff and apparently is his son Michael Whitecliff. Father and son go into the adjoing room. Then a loud noise is heard like someone hitting somebody right in the face. William very rashly jumps up and goes into the other room to see if everything is alright. Sir Lawrence tries to stop him by asking for a few words, but William brushes him aside more concerned with the well-being of Sir Whitecliff.  Unfortunately, invading a families privacy in Victorian times is a social gaffe. As he opens the door, he watches Michael Whitecliff storming out of the room and Sir Whitecliff holding a bloody handkerchief to his nose. William asks if everything is alright and then escorts Sir Whitecliff back into the room. None of the others have noticed the blood.

Sir Lawrence is rather angry at his aide, and even Miss Elizabeth is not so sure, if William will be adequate competition for Mr Huntingdon. Suddenly, noises can be heard from outside. Mr Herondale walks to the window and sees rioting dock workers in front of the club. They throw a brick through the window which narrowly misses Mr Herondale. From downstairs noise indicates that the front door has been broken open. Upstairs, Vincent sees the guard lifting his rifle, turning to the door and shooting through the door - presumably to kill the High Martian.

In Closing: This report is of course heavily biased by the person witnessing the events and reporting them to his superiors in the British Foreign Office.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Monsterhearts: Devil Falls, AK Episode 3

In the third episode only three players were present: Max the hollow, Annalee the witch and Baron the infernal. A week has passed since the party and the disappearance of Chloe. The episode opens at the funeral of Erica. Annalee refuses to attend, therefore she isn't present. Max more or less watches impassively. Baron tries to throw some of the merrow ash into the grave, but is prevented from doing so by grandma April. The old witch wants to talk with Baron and grabs his ear. That's when he pushes her into the open grave. Max jumps down to help the elderly woman to get out. But apparently, she has broken her leg. The football team helps to get her out. Baron wants to runs off, but is stopped by Ms Chamberlain the homeroom teacher. She gives him detention for the rest of the week. Baron huffs off. Max follows him.

Meanwhile, Annalee has taken refuge in a quiet corner of the library. She gazes inward reaching for visions. She sees how Carol prays to Kal'Thoragh to set her free. The demon lord complies with her wishes and opens her cell door and loosens her straight-jacket. She attacks the nearest orderly and kills him by chewing through his neck with her bare teeth. Annalee feels that Carol is coming for her and Max. Frightened, she runs from the library into the arms of Spencer the groundskeeper. He corners her and she eventually faints. He carries her off into the gym.

During a short break, Max wonders where Annalee is. He asks around until he meets Misty, Iris and Amanda. They tell him that they haven't seen her at all. Baron hovers around the edge of the conversation, while Misty tentatively tries to flirt with Max telling him that she's sorry for what they did. But she also reminds him that without the witches he'd literally be nothing at all.

While Max is talking with the witches, Baron talks to his best friend Veronica. Then he suddenly has an insight where Annalee is. He sprints to the gym followed by the coven, Max and Veronica. Just in time they stop Spencer from doing something unmentionable to Annalee and wake her. Annalee runs out into the rain, while the three remaining witches turn on Spencer who is fleeing. Baron runs after Annalee, and Max goes after the witches.

The witches are standing at the edge of the hockey field, chanting. Spencer is climbing a ladder into the lighting rigging. Max suspects the obvious: the witches want Spencer to kill himself by jumping down to the hockey field. He starts to talk the witches out of their course of action. They don't really listen. In the end, Max grabs Misty to carry her away. Misty slams a pair of scissors into his back. Max is injured, but the circle is broken and Spencer survives.

Out on her way to the greenhouse, Annalee meets the merrow. The one that Chloe turned into. Baron stops in his tracks as well and flees into the greenhouse. He slams the door shut and cowers on the ground. Annalee is lunging with her knife at the throat of the merrow. Baron gazes into the abyss. Something unexpected happens. He sees a vision of how he can save himself from Kal'Thoragh by saving Annalee and trying to get away from his demonlord. He hears the words "God loves you." He gathers his courage and leaves the greenhouse to confront the merrow.

Annalee manages to wound the merrow, but it lashes out at her. Enough is enough. Annalee changes. Her hair becomes darker, her fingernails grow, she becomes her darkest self and casts an illusion. Suddenly, to Baron and the merrow she appears as an incarnation of Kal'Thoragh the Butcher. The merrow retreats in panic. Baron kneels down and sees that his demonlord reaches for him with his flaming sword. Annalee cuts of a lock of hair from a terrified Baron. The boy flees to the front of the school to get away from her.

Max, Baron and finally Annalee go to their sixth hour class: English Literature with Coach Delgado. Since Max and Baron arrive much too late, he gives them detention. Annalee arrives last, almost five minutes before the end of class. Delgado talks to her, giving her the choice between detention and joining the school newspaper. She opts for the latter. Then she tries to turn him on. He turns her down. She is hurt and turns all the books in class into bugs. Everyone freaks out. Except Baron and Max. Baron crushes the big bug in front of him and pulls its intestines out. Max watches calmly and suspecting something to be very wrong with Annalee. Annalee flirts openly with Gary who tries to protect his screaming girlfriend Faye. Delgado suffers a nervous breakdown. Class is over and Annalee persuades Gary to join her in the cellar for some hot kissing.

Annalee drags Gary down into the boiler room where they start making out. Kissing turns into much more. Afterwards, Gary gladly gives Annalee the friendship jewelry he shared with Faye. Annalee is happy, but not finished. As the two leave the cellar, they stumble upon a corpse. Another cheerleader has been killed. They inform Principal O'Rourke. But when they return with her, the corpse is gone.

After school's out, Max and Baron return from seeing the school nurse James who treated their wounds. They join Coach Delgado and the hockey team at the ice stadium. Zack is there, Baron's friend from the WoW guild, Veronica and Annalee. All three want to watch the hockey practice with Baron. Zack uses his iPad to tape the whole thing. Veronica doesn't like Annalee being there. She's afraid that the witch is after Baron who she's secretly in love with.

The hockey game between Team Max and Team Baron is surprisingly evenly matched. A whole lot of calling on dark powers is going on until Kal'Thoragh grants victory to Team Baron. Coach Delgado looks pleased that Baron is finally becoming a team player and offers him a place on the ice hockey team. Baron - to everyone's surprise - accepts.

Annalee is cheering Baron, and Veronica has had enough. She pushes Annalee into the row in front of her. But Annalee isn't intimidated. She causes all the hockey sticks to turn into snakes. Coach Delgado suffers another nervous breakdown. Zack runs out, leaving his iPad behind. Annalee snatches the iPad. Veronica also is visibly shaken. Delgado leaves to see the nurse and leaves Baron in charge. Baron simply ends the practice session by saying: "It's over."

TO BE CONTINUED

Notes:

  • Annalee is still in her darkest self. Currently, I am not sure who she harmed the most: Carol or Faye. I told her Carol. She said "Oh, that's easy. I just drive to Fairbanks, go and see her, and then apologize." If things would be that easy, we wouldn't play to find out...
  • The characters had another vision (not mentioned above) and know that Kal'Thoragh needs five dead girls before he can start to manifest.


Monsterhearts: Devil Falls, AK Episode 2

This was session I preped with a threat, a custom move and a love letter. Annalee the Witch, Max the Hollow, Cassidy the Werewolf and Baron the Infernal were joined by a new student, Gabriel the Angel. Gabriel knew that god loved Baron more than him, and Cassidy reminds him of heaven.

We cut back to the early afternoon and see that Baron drugs the beer with the green pills obtained from Paul. Just as Kal'Thorag the Butcher had commanded him to do. Then he goes back to the school and puts what is left of the pills into Boyd's locker. Boyd is the arrogant goaltender of the hockey team, and Coach Delgado's son. Baron doesn't like him in the least - though it is a mystery why.

Cassidy, Max and Gabriel arrive at the party early that evening. Cassidy and Gabriel both drink the drugged beer. Max doesn't, because he knows what is in there. Baron tricks Faye, the chaste and pure class president into drinking some of the beer too. Gary, her boyfriend keeps asking for Annalee who hasn't come to the party yet. The two fight a little and Faye stumps away frustrated. Just in that moment, Cassidy picks up screaming from beyond the hill leading back to town. Cassidy recognizes the scream as Annalee's. She runs off, followed closely by Gabriel and Baron.

When they reach a frightened Annalee, they see that she's attacked by a a hideous monster with green scales, black lanky hair and iron claws - the merrow that killed and almost ate Erica. They save Annalee from the monster and attack it. Baron and Gabriel hurl rocks and a golden glowing mug (Gabriel manifesting some of his powers). Cassidy changes into her wolf shape behind their backs and attacks the merrow viciously. The three of them bring the merrow down, while Annalee flees to the (questionable) safety of the party. There she meets Max and her friends Carol, Amanda, Misty and Iris. The five girls form a secret witches' coven. Carol, Amanda, Misty and Iris keep eyeing Max.

Meanwhile, Baron, Cassidy and Gabriel kill the merrow. Cassidy, still in wolf shape runs into the woods, and Gabriel follows her. Baron sits down besides the corpse of the merrow to gaze into the abyss listening for the commands of his master, Kal'Thorag. His demonic master answers and lets the body of the merrow burn into fine green dust. He commands Baron to take the dust and use it to turn someone into a merrow. Baron happily agrees.

Gabriel confronts the wolf and calls her on being Cassidy. Cassidy turns back into her human shape, and Gabriel lends her his jacket. Just then they are interrupted by Melissa, the head cheerleader, and her boyfriend Todd, the captain of the hockey team. They immediately suspect Cassidy and Gabriel as having had sex in the woods. Melissa giggles and makes fun of them. Then she and Todd run off to tell the others.

Finally, everyone is back at the party, happily drinking. Baron gets close to Chloe who had been pregnant with Kal'Thorag's child last summer, but choose to have an abortion. He puts some of the dust on her. She immediately begins to transform. Everyone is shocked, but nobody had noticed Baron doing the deed. As Chloe transforms slowly, hardly anyone notices. Annalee runs to her coven un order to do some magic. She wants the other students to flee. Together with her coven she enacts a big illusion of  approaching police sirens. Panic breaks out, everyone runs away. Gabriel and Cassidy drive off the merrow, before also fleeing. But now both are injured.

Carol collapses after doing the spell. Carol had been the designated driver and everyone else except Max has had something to drink. Max agrees to take Annalee and her friends home in Carol's pickup. On their way back to town, the car collides with a big black shape. Annalee blacks out. When she comes around again, she is alone in the car. Max and the witches are gone.

Cassidy and Gabriel end their flight at the football field behind the school. They start treating their wounds and eventually start kissing. Kisses turn into touches, touches turn into cast-off clothing. In the end, Melissa would be correct with her assumption.

In the meantime, Annalee walks home and tries to find out where Max is. She locks herself into her room and sacrifices Max' diary that she stole in order to cast a spell. She falls into a deep trance and enters Max' body. When Max opens his eyes, he is bound inside a cave, naked and in a ceremonial circle. Amanda, Misty and Iris are also there. Unbound, admiring their captive. As Amanda crawls all over him, Max gazes into the abyss. There he receives strange visions. He sees four girls (Amanda, Carol, Misty and Iris) forming a homunculous out of clay, praying and pouring life energy into the clay. Carol is not with the others. Instead, in the vision, in a small corner of the cave, she sacrifices to Kal'Thoragh. As she sheds her blood, the demon lord animates the clay creature who turns into Max. The hollow is tainted by the dark energies of Kal'Thoragh. Annalee's contact with Max gives him fleeting access to her spell powers. He confronts Amanda and casts a withering aging spell on her. As Amanda flees in horror, Misty and Iris etch a bit closer and Max, still bound, get's them to spill the story. They wanted their very own boytoy. That's why they created him. Annalee withdraws. Max convinces Iris and Misty to cut him loose. Then the two witches flee, leaving the still unconscious Carol behind.

Annalee has a good idea where the cave is located, even though she hasn't been there yet. She takes daddy's car and drives to the Devil Falls at the end of Crescent Lake. On her way there she tries to figure out how to help Max. She doesn't like where her thoughts are leading her. She suspects that Max was created as vessel for Kal'Thoragh. She wonders how to break the bond between demon lord and vessel, then she understands clearly that she has to kill Carol.

Max meets her halfway around Crescent Lake, but Annalee insists on going to the cave. There she plans to murder Carol, but in the end cannot bring herself to murder the unconscious girl in cold blood. Instead, Annalee and Max take her to grandma April. Annalee spills the story about Carol's involvement to her grandma late at night. The elderly witch binds Carol and the next day, she is taken to a mental hospital in Fairbanks.

Next morning in class, Ms Chamberlain the homeroom teacher announces that a new student will join the class. His name is Gabriel and he just moved to Devil Falls.

TO BE CONTINUED

Notes:
- Mostly went well. I should have let Annalee roll "Manipulate an NPC" to get her grandmother to help. But that roll didn't matter in the end.