Tuesday, 22 August 2017

#RPGaDAY2017: Day 22: Which RPG's are easiest for you to run?

When I first looked at today's question, I thought I wouldn't have much to say because I don't have much experience running games, and am unlikely to run many (due to having plenty of friends who really enjoy running them). My inexperience means I don't know if I'd prefer to run a rules-heavy or rules-light system (I enjoy playing in both). Something with straightforward, quick combat is, I think, required. But beyond that...

anyway feel the group you're running for is more important. And then I thought, maybe I could talk about that - about the type of group I'd prefer to run for.

I want to run a game for a group of people interested in story-telling and character interaction, which will mean, I think, more prep but an easier time on the night: I want them to interact with each other as well as with NPC's. This means they also need to be people who get on well, and where you don't have one or two load persoanlities who dominate each session, because I don't have the self- or GM-confidence to control that.

On Day 6, I talked a bit about the Buffy game I want to run for some of my aerial friends, and I mentioned I'd bring in a friend who already plays to help out. As much as I love him, that would not be Husbit: he's one of those dominant personalities. There's a few uni friends who'd be invited if they're free, because I miss them as much as because I think they'd be great for supporting new players. Realistically, though, it'd be Bells, aka Adam in Aberrant and my twin brother in Exalted. He and I both enjoy the character side of games most, and value story, learning and exploration over combat (nothing against a good combat, just not our priority). I've already talked to him and he's happy to be my assistant.

Of my aerial friends, the one who's most interested is Rochelle. Check out her Instagram for some great photos of reading on hoop.
Just chillin', hanging by her knees from the top of the hoop and reading, like you do.

She's never played before, but has wanted to for a while so I'd love to get her hooked. She loves to read, and has been lending the Court of Thorn and Roses series by Sarah J Maas - young adult fiction about a young woman under going various trials and tribulations that make me suspect Rochelle will fit right into the kind of game I want to run and play in. She's also a lot of fun!

There's a few others who've said they'd be up for it, but Rochelle's the most keen of the newbies, and Bells the most accommodating of the oldies. They've never met, but I suspect they'll get on just fine.


RPGaDAY was started by Dave Chapman and is currently curated by RPG Brigade. To join in yourself, follow the questions in the graphic and blog, vlog, tweet, or otherwise share your responses with the hashtag RPGaDAY2017.

Monday, 21 August 2017

#RPGaDAY2017: Day 21 - Describe a moment of wonder that arose in play

Eeee! I was feeling all stressed because I didn't have a good answer for today's question - Which RPG does the most with the least words - and I was feeling frustrated that I kept going back to previous years. I was getting already to revisit 2015 (Favourite Setting) and talk about Shadowrun again (can you tell I've got a yearning?) when I went over the the alternate questions just in case, and saw this topic - exactly the sort of thing I'd been hoping for and love talking about.

Which actually makes this really hard! Which story do I tell? I've shared so many already - do I retell a favourite, or find one you've not heard before? Ooooh, exciting decisions!

I'm sorely tempted to go to Aberrant the last time Chrissie saw her parents. It was a very intense scene I enjoyed a lot, but 'wonder'... not so sure. Staying with Chrissie, Mark Knight's comment on this post was wonderful, really made my day to read - but arose as a result of a game, not within it.

I've mentioned the Amazing World of Darkness game I played in at uni, and my Werewolf character, Plays in Shadows, was very good at seeing the wonder in everything. I joined the game when it was already in full swing - the rest of the group had played through from the Roman era, playing descendants in different time periods (to pair up with their Vampires, but everyone enjoyed being Werewolves more so it moved ahead faster: I joined modern day Werewolf and Dark Ages Vampire). My pack had been working together for a little while, and were all born to kinfolk families, either human or wolf, (apart from the metis). My first session, I created a Child of Gaia Theurge (to no one's surprise). 

We started with me in the hippie camp I'd grown up in, living in a caravan with my mother, who'd given me the delightful name of 'Starlight Moonbeam Acorn Rainbow' (I enjoyed that). One evening, I wandered off by myself - and shifted for the first time! This was when the rest of the pack, who by some mighty coincidence happened to be near by, leapt into action. They ran with me as I tore around as an angry crinos, then stayed with me as I shifted back to a confused, naked human. They took me back to the werewolf camp and explained everything to me and helped me through it all.

One of the first orders of business was a spirit quest to find my tribe. They taught me to step sideways (and caught me playing by a pool in the Cairn, using the pool's surface to jump to the umbra and back, chasing shadows of the trees, earning her werewolf name "Plays with Shadows"), and away we went. 

I don't remember the quest well (it was over a decade ago!), but there was a huge mountain that I was very excited to be climbing. It was all a bit... normal for the others, who'd grown up knowing about this sort of thing and who'd been through this sort of thing before, but for me it was all new, all thrilling - all wondrous!The others were (in character) starting to get irritated at my wide-eyed enthusiasm, and had all been through tough initiations with the totems of their tribes, so were looking forward to seeing me knocked down a bit.

Ah, but they forgot I was a Child of Gaia. Eventually, we found a cave with a fire, and there was Unicorn. We chatted for a bit, then Unicorn got me to stare into the fire. Any reason? The others asked, as I stared with complete concentration. I just wanted to shut her up for a bit, was the response. And that was my trial!

The pack's totem was Bear, with whom we all developed a close relationship, but especially me and the other Theurge, Mel's Black Fury. We played through the Apocalypse. Unicorn was killed - in fact, Starlight was the only known Child of Gaia to survive, as we were running around another dimension at the time. The horror she felt on returning to Earth and learning this was squashed to one side while they dealt with the Apocalypse, but it enhanced her bond with Bear, promoting Bear to Child of Gaia Tribe Totem.

The final scene had Mel's character and mine sat next to each other, the only ones of our pack to survive. Lunar approached and explained our work was done: she no longer needed her warriors. All surviving werewolves reverted to their birth form, except me - I'd spent so long in wolf form during the game, it seemed more natural to make me a wolf. So it was left with Mel and I sitting by a pool, and walking away, and a strange pact forming between the people of the village and the wolves who lived nearby, that lasted far beyond anyone remembering the two of us who had caused it.

That was pretty wonderful.


RPGaDAY was started by Dave Chapman and is currently curated by RPG Brigade. To join in yourself, follow the questions in the graphic and blog, vlog, tweet, or otherwise share your responses with the hashtag RPGaDAY2017.

Sunday, 20 August 2017

#RPGaDAY2017: Day 20 - Favourite Horror Game

Today's question is another of those closed questions I find uninspiring, but still none of the alts appeal to me (sorry if I sound grumpy about this - under a lot of stress in my personal life and it's starting to overspill). Best source of out-of-print roleplay games? For me, probably ebay.

Being fed up with short answers, I looked back to 2016, and my favourite horror game. I talked then about a homebrew uni game, Celts vs zombies! 

I'm really enjoying Deadlands, which is Weird West with a good dose of horror, and Husbit's keen to play on that aspect. 

There was a moment in ShadowRun, in the Renraku Archology, when a shopful of dolls turned their heads to me and spoke my name "Kamaya..." in that creepy, lilting child voice we all know from horror films. That whole scenario is pretty terrifying and I'd love to play it again! We didn't 'complete' it because we were pretty damn immersed and all just wanted to survive and get out.

But the best horror games have all been homebrew games in my uni town - the New Year's Cyber Doggies, this year's New Year Alien game and last summer's creepy game set in an alt version of the town (neither of which I've written up yet, which the Alien game is particularly a shame because I had some fantastic dreams that night).

It's the people, of course! Rowan usually GM's, but it was John last summer, and they run for a large group so I get to see loads of my friends and that's great, and it's always fun and silly usually a little scary, with minimal rules and maximum interaction.


RPGaDAY was started by Dave Chapman and is currently curated by RPG Brigade. To join in yourself, follow the questions in the graphic and blog, vlog, tweet, or otherwise share your responses with the hashtag RPGaDAY2017.

Saturday, 19 August 2017

#RPGaDAY2017: Day 19 - Which RPG features the best writing

I'm not sure. I've not read that many rule books, and when I do, I'm usually either browsing for ideas or I'm looking up something specific, which means I'm not focusing on the quality of the writing - unless it's so poor as to be a problem. And that old excuse I keep using this month: most of my books are packed away so I can't even nose through for comparison now.

I haven't read that many tie-in novels either, one for ShadowRun so many years ago all I remember is one of the secondary characters had cheap cyberware boosting his speed and it made him twitch and stutter, and then most of the Ravenloft books - some of which are terrible, to be fair. Most either have good writing but weak concepts, or interesting concepts and weak writing - but the Strahd novels by P N Elrod are very good, in concept, plot and writing. I'd like to read more by her!


RPGaDAY was started by Dave Chapman and is currently curated by RPG Brigade. To join in yourself, follow the questions in the graphic and blog, vlog, tweet, or otherwise share your responses with the hashtag RPGaDAY2017.

Friday, 18 August 2017

#RPGaDAY2017: Day 18 - Which RPG have you played the most in your life

The first RPG I played for any length of time was ShadowRun, for a couple of years. Then I wandered off to uni, where I played a World of Darkness campaign for the best part of 3 years - I played other games too, but none for as long. (Actually, that was pretty great: I got to try loads of games, while still getting the long-running, in-depth games I particularly enjoy.) One was Aberrant (though I didn't know it at the time), mentioned now as we'll come back to that later, because this is RPG played most, not campaign.

Then I came home and played a mix of games, usually only for a few months at a time (this included some ShadowRun, but not enough to give it the topspot). We played a bit of Deadlands in preparation for The Flood, the campaign we're currently playing in, but before starting the campaign proper, we moved on to Pathfinder. We're now playing The Flood, but I think it's been around a year.

Then Rich also started running Aberrant for me and Bells, and we played for a good couple of years, but even adding the couple of months I played at uni doesn't do enough, because we then switched to Exalted, which we've been playing for a couple of years - so that doesn't get to win either.

It's going to be Pathfinder. It's far from my favourite system, but I love my main character.



RPGaDAY was started by Dave Chapman and is currently curated by RPG Brigade. To join in yourself, follow the questions in the graphic and blog, vlog, tweet, or otherwise share your responses with the hashtag RPGaDAY2017.

Thursday, 17 August 2017

#RPGaDAY2017: Day 17 - Which RPG have you owned longest but not played

Between us, Husbit & I own a fair few roleplay books, and we've played maybe two thirds of the settings. If you go further and break it down to source books, that probably gets to be even worse odds - especially if you take him out of the equation and only look at me.

But of all the books, of the ones that are actually mine, I think the one I've had longest and done nothing with is Abney Park's Airship Pirates. (I say mine, I bought it for Husbit but he wasn't all that interested so I claimed it for me ;-) ).

I bought it because I like the band Abney Park and I was entertained by the back story they created to justify their change from goth to steampunk and the concurrant change in line up. It feels like the start of a roleplay story: their plane was caught in a freak accident with a time travelling dirigible (the Ophelia). They combined with the survivors of the crash to become airship pirates (see Wikipedia and their website).

The RPG in a far future that's pretty broken, with most people living inside a huge walled city where rebels and dissenters are thrown in the 'change cage' and there's dark things going on. Outside, there are many dangers but also more freedoms. You've got people living in cloud cities, you've Neobedouin nomads, and of course the airship pirates themselves.

I'd very much like to play or run it one day, but for now I'm happy just owning it and enjoying the setting.


RPGaDAY was started by Dave Chapman and is currently curated by RPG Brigade. To join in yourself, follow the questions in the graphic and blog, vlog, tweet, or otherwise share your responses with the hashtag RPGaDAY2017.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

#RPGaDAY2017: Day 16 - Which RPG do you enjoy using as is

I'm afraid my answer today is going to be as wet as yesterday, and for basically the same reasons.

I guess although I haven't played in ages, ShadowRun is probably the game I most enjoy playing as is. The setting is really rich and the history well put together: using the return of magic as the justification for why technology that we take for granted but which wasn't considered when the game was written doesn't exist in the game is a great get-out clause and helps keep me immersed.

I was very disappointed when 2012 swung round and no elves were born.


RPGaDAY was started by Dave Chapman and is currently curated by RPG Brigade. To join in yourself, follow the questions in the graphic and blog, vlog, tweet, or otherwise share your responses with the hashtag RPGaDAY2017.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

#RPGaDAY2017: Day 15 - Which RPG do you enjoy adapting the most

I'm a player, not a GM, so don't very often get involved in adapting games, and while I know both Husbit and Rich make changes to settings and scenarios to suit the campaigns they want to run, because I don't know what's been changed or what it's been changed from, I don't know which changes I'm enjoying more, as it were.

Still not inspired by any of the alt questions, and don't really have anything to add to my answers for this day in previous years, so it's another very short one from me, I'm afraid.


RPGaDAY was started by Dave Chapman and is currently curated by RPG Brigade. To join in yourself, follow the questions in the graphic and blog, vlog, tweet, or otherwise share your responses with the hashtag RPGaDAY2017.

Monday, 14 August 2017

#RPGaDAY2017: Day 14 - Which RPG do you prefer for open-ended campaign play


It's not about the system or the setting, but the people you're playing with and the story you're telling.

There are for sure some systems that don't lend themselves to long-running or open-ended play, either because the xp progression means you'll become too powerful for the world too quickly, or because there's a point where you run out of stuff to spend it on or levels or whatever, and as much as I love Svetlana and want to continue her story, I do find Pathfinder and D&D systems to be frustrating for long term play because combat slows everything down.

I guess the genre I most enjoy true open-ended play, with no long-term goal, is something cyberpunk'y, something like ShadowRun. To be honest, it's the only game I have played that way, and I did enjoy it for something to dip in and out of, and for all my protestations on Day 9, I actually kinda miss it and would kinda like to play in a campaign like that again. One day, with more time and more energy...


RPGaDAY was started by Dave Chapman and is currently curated by RPG Brigade. To join in yourself, follow the questions in the graphic and blog, vlog, tweet, or otherwise share your responses with the hashtag RPGaDAY2017.

Sunday, 13 August 2017

#RPGaDAY2017: Day 13 - Describe a game experience that changed the way you play

I'm really struggling to answer this one. I don't think I play very much differently to when I first started playing, and where things have changed, it's been a gradual process as a result of, well, getting older! Experience in playing, desire to seek new experiences, different people to play with, different amounts of time to play, all that jazz.

I looked through the alternate questions and was uninspired, and going through previous years' questions I find: 2016 - What makes a successful campaign, which would largely be talking about things I talked about on Day 9; 2015 was Favourite RPG podcast, and I don't really listen to podcasts; and 2014 was most memorable character death. There have been a couple of character deaths since then - Steve, one of Paul's characters, blew up or drowned or got shot with the boat he was on, and Zabeel, one of Husbit's characters, climbed on a fire demon thing while covered in gunpowder and similar stuff and went out in a great fireball of glory to save the rest of us.


RPGaDAY was started by Dave Chapman and is currently curated by RPG Brigade. To join in yourself, follow the questions in the graphic and blog, vlog, tweet, or otherwise share your responses with the hashtag RPGaDAY2017.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

#RPGaDAY2017: Day 12 - Which RPG has the most inspiring interior art?

Again, feeling sad most of our books are packed away. Those that haven't been packed are Buffy the Vampie Slayer and Deadlands Reloaded, and of those two, Deadlands is more inspiring art because Buffy is mostly stills from the show - and I love the show, but drawn art is more interesting to me, for an RPG.

But after we packed the books away, the Paranoia Kickstarter delivered. I've not yet properly looked through it, but Husbit has had a look and suggests the art because it gives a real feel for the game.

And having nosed through, I have to agree with him. The art isn't the most exciting or the most beautiful I've seen, but it's fun:

Image from the back of one of the books, of one clone about to shoot another to earn an award
The art isn't what caught our attention, though; it's little touches. The page numbers are held within security cameras and the chapter headings are surrounded by eyes.

Fun and constantly observed? Sounds like Paranoia.

RPGaDAY was started by Dave Chapman and is currently curated by RPG Brigade. To join in yourself, follow the questions in the graphic and blog, vlog, tweet, or otherwise share your responses with the hashtag RPGaDAY2017.



Friday, 11 August 2017

#RPGaDAY2017: Day 11 - Which 'dead game' would you like to see reborn?

I'm not sure exactly what's meant by 'dead game' here - I play (and have played) a lot of games that aren't (weren't) being actively published, because one of the joys of RPG's is that once you have the book it doesn't matter. You don't need OS support and patches to keep playing it. You just need some friends and some imagination.

I'm going to assume it is intended to mean something not currently being published, with no new supplements coming out.

And I'm going to talk about Cyberpunk

There's rumours that there will be a new table top RPG to accompany the Cyberpunk 2077 computer RPG, but I'm finding it hard to find anything out about it.

I adore ShadowRun - I love the mix of cyberpunk and fantasy themes. Husbit and other members of my usual group are less enamoured which means I'm not going to get to play with them (and haven't the time/energy to take up with another group, though I do know interested people). But Husbit does like the cyberpunk genre and has run Cyberpunk 2020 before, and other members of our group would like to play it.

Which brings us back to Cyberpunk 2077, because thanks to the rumours Husbit's said he won't run 2020 but will wait for 2077 instead.

So hurry up 2077. I'm loving the games I'm in, but I do miss me some sci-fi.

RPGaDAY was started by Dave Chapman and is currently curated by RPG Brigade. To join in yourself, follow the questions in the graphic and blog, vlog, tweet, or otherwise share your responses with the hashtag RPGaDAY2017.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

#RPGaDAY2017: Day 10 - What part or parts of a session do you look forward to the most?

The official question for today is "where do you go for RPG reviews", and I don't really go anywhere. It's unusual for me to be specifically looking for a review; more often I'm reading a review because someone who's blog I follow is writing a review. So, check out Mark Knight's RPG Knights, Sophie Lagace's The Reef, and Matt Bramley's No Games No Glory (although he hasn't blogged for a while - I must poke him). Otherwise, it's the same answer I gave on the 3rd: social media, especially G+, especially the G+ Tabletop Roleplaying Games community.

Which makes for too short and boring an answer for my taste, so I'm going to answer one of the alternate questions instead - it's the one on the list that most excited me and I think it's a shame it didn't make the main list: it encourages discussion over what makes us passionate about our hobby, the whole point of RPGaDAY.

So, what part or parts of a session do I look forward to the most?

There's two things I particularly enjoy: one isn't very roleplay'y, and the other is deeply so.

Firstly, I love puzzle-solving. It doesn't come up very often, but I enjoy it when it does. I have a cryptic crossword app on my phone, which Husbit knows is what's absorbing me if I ever go quiet. The bit of my brain that seeks puzzles is the same bit that's why I'm damn good at my job - it's why I even have the job, because we got to do aptitude tests as part of the interview.

That being said, I'm not always good at puzzles. I have a tendency to over-complicate them (which is something I have to watch out for when I'm coding). For instance, I was playing TIME Stories with Husbit and Matt (of No Games No Glory) and his wife Em who also loves puzzles, and we got to a bit and we worked out what the answer would be by common sense, but we couldn't understand how to reach that via the puzzle. The boys made us drinks, and Em and I sat together debating and scratching our heads and sketching things and shaping things and writing random letters down until it was long past midnight and we went home and returned to finish a couple of weeks later and sat down and the boys glanced at the cards and showed us the answer...

And then we went to an escape room, The Macguffin Project (steampunk circus theme? Sold!), and Husbit called me over to the puzzle he was looking at - we need someone good at maths - and I went, oooh, algebra! Yay! Ok, so we don't have enough information here to just solve it, so we're going to have to do some simultaneous equations, which is cool - don't very often have a reason to do those any more, and with nothing to write on I have to do them in my head! Even better! Can't be lazy... oh wait. Suspect most groups aren't going to include someone who has this much fun doing something this complicated. Quick! We need someone who's bad at maths!

And sometimes the puzzle is solved really easily because you and the GM happen to have the same favourite film, so when she describes an endless corridor you instinctively describe running your hand along the wall and thus find one of the hidden side paths...

Oh, and the shiny puzzle boxes I've bought for Husbit the past couple of Christmases. Though I know how they all work, now, so we can't use them in game any more. But they're fun and if we get new ones that I don't know - you can give them to your players and let them try to figure it out, and if their character's stats suggest they'd have an easier time, you can give hints on successful rolls, or something.

That's rather more on puzzles than I intended. Story puzzles - where you pick up on and figure through the clues - are probably the most common kind. I think it's a lot harder to include physical and mental puzzles in roleplay games and it hasn't happened often, but I enjoy it when it does (except when I can solve it really easily and am informed my character wouldn't be able to even though they're meant to be better than me. That's ... frustrating).

Closed puzzle box: the others are packed in hopes of moving house

This one is still out, because (as shown here) we're using it to store power-point tokens for Deadlands

The thing I love, love, love is inter-character interaction and, particularly, relationship building. So Chrissie's relationship with her parents (as much as it upsets my GM to be so emotionally mean to me!) and realising she's in love with Steve have been highlights in Aberrant. The reason Kella is so dear to me (besides the fact she got a fantastic, high-story ending to her campaign) is that I got to interact so much with the other player characters, Kyann, Rax and Reisha. And similarly Plays in Shadows, who had her pack protecting her (albeit sometimes with exasperation). And the Buffy game that started it all for me made it easy by having us play ourselves.

I love playing with Bells. Especially in Aberrant and Exalted where it's just the two of us playing, we build these incredibly tight connections between our characters that makes them a real pleasure to play. I read a piece recently titled 6 signs your novel may be pretty damn good and while I felt it was badly written to the point of undermining its intent to provide writing advice, I thought the point on "close and intense relationships" was compelling, because that is what I enjoy playing. (I'm not claiming to be a better writer than the author of the piece, but I'm also not a professional writer nor selling writing courses.) My friend Rowan, who played Reisha in the Final Fantasy game, is the one who most often runs games for us when I revisit uni, but when he gets to play, we often end up playing characters who are close friends or connected in some way, and in the past I've played with other people where that just falls into place naturally, but it's Bells I most often get to have that with these days and I love it.

I'm going to tease you with a few more bits of our Exalted game by way of example.

We're playing twins, as I've mentioned before, and his character (Kito) is 10 minutes older than mine (Taji) - but mine's a lot bossier and more spoilt. So normally she'll take charge and expect her own way, and every now and then he'll pull rank - by pointing out the age difference. It's a small thing, but fun.

Kito had a relationship with the daughter of the ruler of one of the Satrapies. This was back when we were Heroic Mortals, acting as official representatives of the Realm. Kito kept it secret from Taji because they were only there a few days and it was his first love and I'm not sure if he was a little embarrassed or didn't know how she'd react, but either way, he didn't want her to find out and she had other things on her mind - like proving how amazing she is at diplomacy and negotiation (and, crucially, learning that she wasn't as good as she thought, but that she could learn). Fast forward a couple of years (time gets a little spongey sometimes), and they're Solars - Lawgivers - Anathema and hunted by the Realm, but Taji sees Sondar, the ruler, as a potential ally, and wants to test that, because if he proves to be an enemy then she needs to know so she can prepare to take his city: it has resources she wants. So off they go to visit, and Kito asks for a private moment with the daughter, Lady Ena. Taji thinks it's a bit odd, because she'd got on well with Ena - they're both artists - but doesn't think about it until after, when Kito returns looking harried. She asks what's up and he says nothing, so she leaves it until they're alone. And he explains that he really likes Ena but because they're Lawgivers now it wouldn't be fair on her to stay together because she'll be hunted too, and also because once they find his Steward (Lunar) mate, that'd complicate things even more. And Taji listened and understood. And we roleplayed that walking back to the car because we'd got sidetracked and timeskipped the moment of the conversation in game. (Normally we'd try not to play things away from the GM, because a lot of GM's like to know what the characters are up to, but we both wanted that conversation - we really like the sibling moments.)

The solar/lunar bond is something I'm looking forward to exploring! Part of the long term story will hopefully involve us both finding our partners. It'd be less work for the GM if there were more players who could play them, but I've got suspicions we may have already met mine, and if I'm right I love the way the GM plays him; I've become attached to that representation and anyone else would do it wrong.

That's another cool interaction, even if I'm wrong about their bond (and I might end up using wrong terminology, a friend has been lending me Sarah J Maas's A Court of Thorns and Roses series - the second is much better than the first - and there's a similar concept there). When Kito and Taji exalted, they were quickly spirited off to another Creation to be trained, before being dropped back to start taking over the world... And the first order of business was to contact allies. And the first ally Taji wanted to contact was Undying Fury. He terrifies the entire party because of his power and the way they met (they may have accidentally slaughtered his village - something Kito and Taji will never forgive themselves for) but this was the moment Taji realised what was rotten in the Realm and knew which side she was on (it was pretty cool - I look forward to telling you about it). Kito wasn't sure Fury would respond, but he was actually the first to arrive, and on seeing Taji he gave her a deep, scrutinising look - almost enough to intimidate her in its intensity. Her heart pounded and she invited him in to break the tension. She'd heard about the bond by this point and wondered, but wasn't ready to ask.

Since then, he's talked to her more than anyone else, accepted her pestering questions, carefully changed topic when she's pried to much into her previous incarnation or his mate's previous incarnation (she thinks he hasn't noticed she's noticed him doing so), and saved her life. He's also accompanied them on most adventures whether invited or not - which Kito's become used to, even if he's still a bit afraid of Fury. It's reached a point where she assumes his presence and protection the way she does Kito's. She's finally got him to talk a bit more about his mate's previous incarnation and his past, and was hurt when he talked about looking for his mate and how things would change for him when he found her - because she was, by this point, basically convinced that he was her mate, but he was using the future tense. But when she asked the mate's name, he gave her birthname, not her Exalted name, which has given Taji a quiet hope again.

I'm scared to ask out of character because a) he's a powerful ally and I don't want to presume and b) it'll be revealed in due course and I'm looking forward to the story. And Taji's scared to ask in character because she knows how deep Fury's bond was and how much his mate meant to him, and she doesn't want to insult him by trying to claim that if it isn't hers to claim. But she does wonder...

And that sort of interaction and mystery, that's what I look forward to the most!


RPGaDAY was started by Dave Chapman and is currently curated by RPG Brigade. To join in yourself, follow the questions in the graphic and blog, vlog, tweet, or otherwise share your responses with the hashtag RPGaDAY2017.

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

#RPGaDAY2017: Day 9 - Campaigns: do you prefer set length or open-ended play?

I looked at today's official question - what is a good RPG to play for about 10 sessions - and didn't have an answer because that simply isn't the way I play, so I needed to look to the alternates list. I was sorely tempted to go back to 2014 again, because today was "favourite die/dice set" and I love talking about my dice.

So many pretty dice
But there on the alternate questions list is a really good question to explain why I'm hard pressed to answer the official question: do you prefer set length or open-ended play?

And my answer is kinda neither. To me, "set length" sounds like "you have 10 sessions to complete this in", and "open-ended" sounds like "this will meander forever with no real idea of where it's going".

I love the homebrew one-off sessions my uni friends run for us when we visit (such as the Cyber-Doggies game from New Year a few years back), and the Pathfinder one-off I created Kally Hopebringer for (that I intend to write up at some point maybe, because it was cool and gave us some answers about a Deck of Many Things Svetlana once handled...), but I prefer campaign play - I like to really get into the skin of a character, until I'm thinking as she is, and feeling her emotions (I love reaching a point where I'm crying in character with real world tears - as long as there's happy emotion too - too exhausting otherwise!), and that's easier to do if you're playing for a while.

I like to have as much time, as many sessions as it takes to follow the story - but I want the GM to have an idea of what that story is, where the major points are and where it's going to end: I love a satisfying conclusion (see previous discussion on the World of Darkness and Final Fantasy Noir games I played in at uni: these had a huge impact on me and both had these powerful, intended conclusions).

And that's great for the games I'm in at the moment. The Pathfinder campaign with Svetlana, Alexei et al has got an end point that Rich, as GM, has had in mind since the campaign started. Our actions in the campaign are shaping exactly how it's going to pan out, and I have sought (and been given) reassurance that Svetlana at least will get a "happily ever after" (one of the problems of becoming too attached, and something I started to expand on as a footnote until I realised I've really got enough to say for it to need a whole post), but we don't know the full details as yet.

Deadlands, we're running through The Flood, so we've got a pretty good idea where the campaign's leading us and what the ending will be, and similarly once we've done that we'll be genning new characters to run through the other campaigns in the series, with the idea being all our characters will be legendary by the end and we can pick which to use for the final confrontation.

Aberrant and Exalted I know even less about than Pathfinder, but again there's epic plot - and an intended ending in the recesses of Rich's mind. I think the Exalted one is due to be especially epic, as fitting the setting. I hope so anyway. I'm really enjoying playing Taji. And that's where I come back to wanting to have as much time as it takes to reach the ending: I don't want to rush things to fit a predetermined real world timescale: I want to be allowed to meander and take side routes and turn things on their head and get back to the main plot and slide away from it again and explore the world until I'm satisfied.

I've enjoyed open-ended play, such as in the ShadowRun campaign that was my first 'serious' roleplay. It worked well for what we had: a mixed group of people who couldn't all make every session, so Tom would give a Run to whoever was available and wanting to play, and there would be dribbles of larger plot feeding in, but it just ran as long as people were interested, and I've always felt a bit sad that there wasn't something more structured to that - especially when I wanted to retire my main character and he realised there was some plot he didn't want to miss out on that required her so he tried to thrust it on us and it all didn't work very well and that's when real life got in the way and I didn't have so much time to play and drifted away. I do regret that - she was a cool character, but I wasn't happy with where the game was heading.

It's like remembering someone who's died: whenever I think of my amazing Grandada, I remember that last time I saw him, when he was fading as the cancer ate him away. Give me a satisfying ending, and I'll only remember the love. (Sorry, overly dramatic; and especially sorry if that comes across as trivialising the death of a loved one. 2 decades on, I'm still cut up by the death of my Grandada, and the fading out is a lot of why. He was a fantastic storyteller and such a loving grandparent.)

I like to have a conclusive ending because life doesn't give these out often. I'm a big believer in Terry Pratchett's Pan narrans description of humanity: "the storytelling ape". We think in stories, tell our lives in stories - but as I get older, I realise more and more that isn't the way life works, and I find it depressing and frustrating. So let me have it in a game.


RPGaDAY was started by Dave Chapman and is currently curated by RPG Brigade. To join in yourself, follow the questions in the graphic and blog, vlog, tweet, or otherwise share your responses with the hashtag RPGaDAY2017.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

#RPGaDAY2017: Day 8 - Favourite Character (interaction)

I found last year's questions more difficult to answer than previous years, so when I found S. John Ross's suggestion on how to handle questions this year, I liked it.

Today's question I find difficult. I don't think I've ever played a session for less than 2 hours! The alternate questions, as they stand, don't particularly appeal to me (though I could probably make something out of "What part or parts of a session do you look forward to the most?")

But then I looked back at previous years, and spotted the very first year, today's prompt was my very favourite roleplay topic: my favourite character. So how could I resist that?*

Way back in 2014 (when I came to the game late so didn't reach day 8 until the end of the month...), I talked about 5 of my favourite characters and why I loved them. You can read that here. The prevalent theme I picked up on at the time was innocence and compassion, which is still true of characters I love, but I've also realised that interaction with other characters matters just as much, maybe more.

To demonstrate: I'm currently playing Solomon in Deadlands. She matches the 'innocent, compassionate' archetype I'm so fond of, and I think she's a great character. I'm really enjoying the campaign.

On the other hand, my Exalted character, Taji, has an average human Compassion score of 2, while her Temperance is 3 and her Courage 4 (I forget whether Conviction is 3 or 4). She's a driven leader, and there have been times I've found that hard to play because I care, but Taji would be able to rationalise that away, or not care in the first place.

So on paper it would be Solomon I'd prefer, but I've got a deeper bond with Taji, and I think it's all down to character interaction.

There's a few factors at play. One is the nature of the two groups: Bells and I really enjoy character interaction, PC and NPC, while I think that's of less interest to Paul, Rich and Husbit. The size of the groups probably matters too, to a lesser extent: two of us have to interact more! The biggest is that Kito and Taji were designed to be close.

They're twins, as I've mentioned before, and intensely loyal to each other. Kito, as the elder, is fiercely protective of Taji: whenever we get into a fight, Kito will literally stand between his sister and danger, even when he's afraid. Taji actually takes this completely for granted, which shows how good a job he's done of protecting so far - I love that as a roleplay thing! She's actually quite egotistical and doesn't notice half of what he does for her - but equally, she'd lay her life down for him. He always hides when he's been hurt defending her, but whenever he's been seriously hurt, she will do everything in her power to save him (it risks getting a bit Supernatural at times, though neither of them has actually died yet) (that's right, I linked you to TV Tropes. Good luck escaping that!) (I really wanted to link you to one where specifically siblings keep resurrecting each other, but that one will have to do). Which, to be fair, in their mortal lives, mostly consisted of her hanging around and getting underfoot while other people fixed him up.She's the better speaker of the two, pushier and tends to take command, but the reason she has the confidence to be like this is because she knows, unquestioningly, her brother has her back. And that's great fun to play.


RPGaDAY was started by Dave Chapman and is currently curated by RPG Brigade. To join in yourself, follow the questions in the graphic and blog, vlog, tweet, or otherwise share your responses with the hashtag RPGaDAY2017.

*I also realised why I preferred previous years' topics: they were prompts rather than questions; they were open-ended and less restrictive than current; and they encouraged focus on the things you find exciting, you aspire to in a game.