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Besides D&D, what are you playing?

Snarf Zagyg

Aleena died for your sins.
I just dug out a copy of Star Frontiers; I am (of course) using it with Knight Hawks (pew pew pew space battles) and Zeb's Guide to Zeb's Dead, Baby (Zebulon's Guide to Frontier Space).

It's a lot of fun, but it does remind me that sometimes you go back and the mechanics are a lot more smooth than you might think (Marvel) and other time, the mechanics are, well, 80s clunky.
 

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Nebulous

Legend
I just dug out a copy of Star Frontiers; I am (of course) using it with Knight Hawks (pew pew pew space battles) and Zeb's Guide to Zeb's Dead, Baby (Zebulon's Guide to Frontier Space).

It's a lot of fun, but it does remind me that sometimes you go back and the mechanics are a lot more smooth than you might think (Marvel) and other time, the mechanics are, well, 80s clunky.
aww, i loved Star Frontiers!!! If WotC brought that back, damn....
 



Nebulous

Legend
Furthermore, darkvision actually looks like this, shades of gray, no color, but at the table, all player see is bright light in all directions in full color at all times. I don't think PCs would WANT to be in full dark as much as they are, it's very disorienting and frightening.

 




aramis erak

Adventurer
Furthermore, darkvision actually looks like this, shades of gray, no color, but at the table, all player see is bright light in all directions in full color at all times. I don't think PCs would WANT to be in full dark as much as they are, it's very disorienting and frightening.
When you again do FTF, you might consider an inexpensive projector or a TV. You can then use your VTT's mapping and lighting tools.

Edit to add: my sunday group decided they want me to run Sentinel Comics again... and self-organized!
 
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aramis erak

Adventurer
I'l admit, my first thought there was playing with a flashlight under your chin. Very atmospheric!
I've achieved much the same effect by chopping the map into separate rooms, which get laid out when perceivable, and removed when not. Lot of prep, tho'.
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
I've achieved much the same effect by chopping the map into separate rooms, which get laid out when perceivable, and removed when not. Lot of prep, tho'.
Oh yeah. I've dabbled with stuff like that. It always seems like too much work for not enough reward. I don't really like using fully to-scale maps and figs anyway. I'm more of a sketch and tokens guy.
 

aramis erak

Adventurer
Oh yeah. I've dabbled with stuff like that. It always seems like too much work for not enough reward. I don't really like using fully to-scale maps and figs anyway. I'm more of a sketch and tokens guy.
I was getting paid, so I didn't mind the extra work.
ALso, I use 8mm cubes on 1cm grids. Makes the maps much more workable... but also more subject to sneezures...
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
I'l admit, my first thought there was playing with a flashlight under your chin. Very atmospheric!
I have played and run tabletop games where lighting effects were used in the room for atmosphere, so my mind when there as well.
 

Campbell

Relaxed Intensity
I've noticed that when running DW it is still too easy to get into the D&D mindset of static fights. You know how in DnD PCs and NPCs just stand there and bash and don't move because it's the best tactical option? Well, in DW, there's no reason for that to exist, and you can have combats flopping all over the place, and without any constraints of rounds or initiative. BUT, I still find fights being static because that's what I'm used to doing. :)
One of the things that is hardest to remember is that resolving player moves is not your GM move. Even on a success you still need to make your move. It should generally be something that sets up future moves and gives a sense of urgency to the proceedings. If the Fighter is engaging with the Orc Chieftain maybe a few orcs are sneaking up on the wizard. Alternatively, sometimes give them an opportunity. Maybe the Fighter hit the dragon so hard it backs up exposing its belly.

Make your moves.

Apocalypse World said:
Whenever there’s a pause in the conversation and everyone looks to you to say something, choose one of these things and say it.
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
I have played and run tabletop games where lighting effects were used in the room for atmosphere, so my mind when there as well.
Funny you should mention that, I was thinking just today about how to use game room lighting to amplify horror-adjacent stuff like Veins of the Earth. I don't think I've done anything like that since I was 12 and had the bright idea to run some sessions in my attic with my friends. We did use flashlights, and I'm pretty sure they ended up under our chins at some point. :D
 

Tun Kai Poh

Adventurer
Our crew didn't play Blades due to our Spider being burned out from work, so the rest of us played a game of For The Honor by Mx_quinn, the She-Ra inspired Firebrands hack.

For those unfamiliar with the Firebrands system, it's a GM-less game by Vincent and Meguey Baker (Dogs in the Vineyard, Apocalypse World) and players often control characters from rival factions working against each other. Instead of rules mechanics, there are a dozen minigames that handle social confrontations, journeys, duels, chases, battles and so forth, each with a range of questions and prompts for players to ask one another (dividing narrative control between each other).

Interestingly, since I was the only one playing a Legion (villain) character, there were times when the division of play felt a little like a regular GMed game. The other 3 players (who usually play in my Blades game) were sided with the Rebellion so they were effectively one side and I was the other. In that sense I guess we fell into more familiar patterns of play, since we were pretty new to the game. There were basically 4 minigames worth of play, including the introductory montage, and I was really actively engaged in the very beginning and again in the last 2 minigames, almost like the GMed adversary side.

During the 2nd minigame when the game really came alive, they were interacting on a journey (a quest to reach a Legion stronghold ahead of Legion reinforcements) and I was mostly offstage entirely (except to answer one prompt that threw a villainous spanner into the works). So for the 3rd and 4th parts of the session (a flashback argument and a climactic battle) I was involved just like a GM playing the adversary, even though players had a lot more creative control. Anyway we finished the session with my villain defeated in battle (falling from a cliff into darkness like a Disney villain) and our heroes having saved the day. With the option to continue another time. :)

I'm hoping we'll get back to Blades next week since the last thing we did was roll for Entanglements following the seagoing adventure, and we got a demonic offer!
 

Tun Kai Poh

Adventurer
Nobody updating here anymore?

Yesterday I ran a good session of Blackout at A Good Day To Dice, our local monthly virtual con. 2 inexperienced players (played a bit of D&D and/or CoC) and 2 friends I know from the Malaysian LARP community. We managed a pretty satisfying session in 3.5 hours of play (players had discussed chargen picks on a chat group the day before).

Blackout is the PbtA game of women serving in Civil Defence during the London Blitz.

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We created a Civil Defence section based in the fictitious neighbourhood of Bloomingdale College, in the east side of London, which had been unscathed during the first month of the Blitz. The player characters were Rita Lane (Young Housewife, First Aid), Lisa Hamilton (Educated Woman, Rescue Services) with search dog Mikey, Agnes Benson (Old Bird, Air Warden) and Audrey Edwards (Working Lass, Fire Guard).

After nightfall and the initial raid sirens, the women began their night patrol, going through the middle of the Bloomingdale neighbourhood. They helped a local pastor confront a young thief, then comforted the owners and staff of a bookstore that was on the brink of going bankrupt. All this happened before the first bombs landed in the next street.

(these were meant to be easy scenes with low-stakes rolls, the "tutorial level" to get the players used to the system)

As they ran around the corner to Mason Street, Audrey saw with a shock that bombs had exploded right in front of the tenement where she rented a small room, shattering glass and setting the front on fire. She got to work with her little stirrup pump to extinguish the flames while Lisa and Rita climbed through broken windows to pull the injured out.

The old-timer Agnes, who had lived through bombings in WWI, took charge of the evacuees of the tenement, leading them down the street to the nearest Anderson Shelters. But she was unable to convince two stragglers to come along - they stayed around on the street in front of the building to gawk. Audrey dodged a gas explosion. Rita failed to stabilise Audrey's neighbour Julian the lawyer, who had sustained a head injury and lost consciousness, never to awaken.

(this would be an unfortunate pattern for Rita's player during this session)

One corner of the building fell, and Audrey watched as her room, with her only belongings in the world, smashed into the street. A wooden box that held precious memories and illicit narcotics was dashed to pieces. Audrey shook off her grief and rushed into the building once more to find more survivors, followed by Lisa and Mikey. The fire guard exerted all of her strength to hold up an unstable beam so that Lisa and the dog could pass through to search the basement.

(Audrey repeatedly used her It's a Living move to give +1 to Lisa for following in her footsteps, which also gave the women Bonds with each other. They made a good team that night!)

Lisa swept her torch and listened for voices, quickly locating a wounded woman, her little son, and a scrawny pet cat. And also an undetonated 500lb bomb that had punched into the basement.

As Lisa pulled the survivors out, the boy pointed deeper in the basement to where another neighbour was trapped. She pressed on and went back in. Meanwhile, drama was developing on the street. Before Agnes could persuade the gawkers to retreat to the shelters, another Section of Civil Defence women arrived, led by Agnes' rival from the Bingo hall, Lois. The hated Lois bullied her way into taking charge and clustered her group dangerously close to an unstable building façade. Seeing the threat, Agnes blew her whistle and warned them all away just in time before the debris rained down.

The Section gathered the people they'd saved at a safe distance from the tenement. Lisa showed up with one more old man. Rita did her best to help the woman from the basement, but her injuries proved fatal and she died. As the little son wailed over the body, Lisa and her search dog did their best to comfort him, so that they could lead him away to a shelter.

(when Moving On from a Site, the group as a whole rolls to see how stable it is and how much they have saved, based on the Site State at end of the scene. The group rolled well, gaining 2 Victories each. They also rested to reduce Exhaustion from their efforts, and each gained a new Role Move on their playbooks)

Another bomb had gone down near the Bingo hall, where Agnes and her husband lived in a row of houses. After a short rest to catch their breath, Agnes led them through a short cut to come upon a scene of terror and fire. Incendiary bombs had set fires throughout her street. Score of neighbours had pulled the wounded out into the street, but the fires were spreading and there were still cries from some houses.

(Agnes' move The Old Path saved a lot of time and grief in getting the Section to the next site quickly. In fact, the Old Bird's abilities were the most powerful in our game!)

Agnes drew upon her Air Warden training. She set out a plan. She would organise survivors to move the less wounded into the still-intact Bingo hall, which had escaped damage and was a street away from the flames. Rita would treat the worst wounded where they lay on the street (despite her appalling failure rate to date). Audrey and Lisa would fight the fires and get them under control, so that Lisa could safely access places where survivors might be.

(Air Warden Shotcaller move: When you lay out a multi-step plan, everyone involved gets +1 as long as they follow the plan)

Audrey and Lisa organised a few survivors for a bucket brigade based around a decorative garden pond, but found the blaze growing too fast. Meanwhile, Rita managed to successfully treat an injured person for the first time that night - it was her children's teacher Miss Jones. Rita made sure to demand better grades for her kids.

Old Agnes then noticed a parked motorcycle she recognised. It belonged to her nephew Theodore, who must have come to visit that evening while she was out on patrol! She wondered if Theodore and her husband Benjamin were all right. Mounting the bike, she rode all along the street to size up the situation. She could see Audrey and Lisa's effors were doomed, and pointed them towards a two-storey home that appeared to have survivors upstairs. And she also noticed the wreck of a staff car at the far end of the road - their local commander and his aides were dead, and nobody else was going to come take charge. Finally she managed to locate her husband Benjamin, who was helping to tend to the wounded. With tears in his eyes, he told her to keep going, he'd be fine, just take care of the people in worse danger...

Audrey and Lisa tackled the next house, with the firefighter in front, smashing through stuck doors, stepping over the dead on the ground floor, and clearing the way. They made it through the smoky stairwell and up into a bedroom where they found two kids, one too panicky to move. Audrey decided there was no time to try to talk, so each woman picked up a child and went out through the balcony, leaping to the roof of a shed. As they exited, they saw what Agnes' reconnaissance had missed: the smashed fuselage of a He-111 bomber just behind the back fence, sections burning and unexploded bombs in its belly.

Audrey's warning was almost too late: the fire set off machine-gun ammunition from the bomber which sprayed across the street, wounding several people including Agnes. While Rita did her best to treat the injured (failing and losing another patient), Agnes summoned up all her strength and ordered the other Civil Defence Section on the scene, led by Lois, to deal with the spreading fire.

Somewhere in the distance, a Hurricane tumbled out of the sky, smashing into Bloomingdale College. The Section looked at each other. They were all exhausted but the night wasn't over yet. Together, they moved on from the street, hoping that Lois' group would be able to keep things under control. They ran ahead into the burning night...

(after this scene we rolled for Victories for this second site and called time for the game. We counted Breaks - Agnes had one breakdown from exhaustion - which cancelled Victories and went to the epilogue, the march of years after the war. The character sheets include Victory questions to ask at the end based on how much you score. So the players each narrated their lives based on their scores)

Rita: Her children were evacuated to the countryside to her parent's home to wait out the rest of the war. When they came back, they had grown distant to their mother. Henry Jr went into politics, while Rita Jr became a doctor to save many lives (unlike Rita). Rita's husband Henry returned from the war with many medals - and alcoholism. After the war, she kept busy in a failed acting career.

Audrey: There was nothing left for her in England after the war, so she emigrated to the United States, starting a new life in a small town as a writer. She never married, but raised cats. Lots of cats.

Agnes: Theodore survived the war and made his aunt very proud, eventually becoming an aircraft engineer. Agnes offered advice to the women of her section: "In life, you have to push forward," and so they did.

(Agnes' player, being the Old Bird, took the option to give 1 Victory away to Rita, so her advice helped her recover from her failures as an actress, and she went into government service creating propaganda. In exchange, Rita was there for Agnes at the end, and her daughter the doctor helped ease Agnes' pain on her deathbed)

Lisa: Mikey the labrador did not survive the war. After the war Lisa became a journalist with a passion for art. While covering a painter's work, she fell in love with him and they were married. She inspired him to create a painting of the four women of her Bloomingdale College Civil Defence Section, immortalising their efforts in the war. Lastly, she wrote a memoir of her time in the ARP, and the crucial focus of the book was that one brutal night of the Blitz when the bombs hit her neighbourhood...

20200627_164710.jpg
 
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Tun Kai Poh

Adventurer
In case anyone wondered what else gets played over here, A Good Day To Dice had 5 online sessions on Saturday including my session, with a total of 20 players signed up. Besides my Blackout game, the other one-shots were:
  • Follow, a fantasy scenario titled Dragon Must Die
  • Dungeon Crawl Classics, a funnel scenario using the Stonehell dungeon
  • Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space, a scenario featuring the Cybermen in modern London
  • Dialect, a scenario called Outpost about a Mars colony.

And I've been posting links to my Malaysian interview series, which includes key figures from our Adventurers League and Pathfinder Society.
 

Mythological Figures & Maleficent Monsters

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