Game systems

March 22, 2008: 7:50 pm: Cons, Game systems, GMing, Playing

No posts for almost two months? Argh!

Let’s see, right now I’m basically just playing in one monthly D&D 3.5 campaign (which has been going on for a few years now), with an occasional session of a D&D-like fantasy homebrew. To paraphrase someone else, you game with the gamers you have, not the gamers you wish you had.

Last weekend was Ambercon U.S., and it was the third year in a row of my not attending. Somehow it seems like longer. I think it’s probably unlikely that I’ll be going again, but it’s not impossible.

The Black Road 2007 is now about three-and-a-half months away (registration is still open), and so far it’s looking like this year we’ve got enough GMs that I’ll only need to run two games. Which is kind of a shame, since I’d like to run three! The ones I’m likely to actually run are another installment of Fortune’s Fool (my pirate zeppelin game using Spirit of the Century), and a game of Best Friends (the details/setting of which I still haven’t decided on). The one I’m unlikely to run, despite wanting to, is a session of In A Wicked Age.

That’s the status of my gaming at the moment.

January 15, 2008: 10:06 pm: Game systems

This weekend, thanks to my preorder, I got a PDF copy of Vincent Baker’s newest game, In a Wicked Age.

In this wicked age…
…Gods, demons and mortals contend with one another for power…
…Law and civilization are new, and no one is their master…
…A simple midwife can set in motion the downfall of tyrants and great empires…
…Your birth is not yours to choose, but your fate is what you make it.

In a Wicked Age
sword & sorcery roleplaying

I’ve only had a chance to read through my copy once, and, as was the case with Dogs in the Vineyard, I’ll probably need to read the rules again, check some actual play threads, and then play some myself before I really get it. What I think I understand so far though, I really like.

For now, here’s Vincent’s Anyway post from 2006 that started the genesis of the game, and here is an AP thread. There’s also plenty of discussion going on about the game at the usual places, like Story Games and The Forge. Also impressive is the number of new Oracles that have been designed in the days since IaWA came out, moving it into realms other than the original swords and sorcery.

And yes, there’s every chance I’ll run a game of In a Wicked Age at TBR this year.

December 14, 2007: 9:58 pm: Game systems

Jonathan Walton has started putting together a list of Free Games That Deliver, which hopefully will keep growing over the next few days and weeks. You can read more about it in this thread on Story Games.

September 10, 2007: 7:19 pm: Game systems

What’s that? A pirate game designed by Vincent Baker?!


The PDF is available now, and there’s supposed to be a print version in the not-too-distant future.

And, though Poison’d just came out at Gencon, there are already some actual play posts out there if you look for them, as well as discussion over at the lumpley games forum.

March 12, 2007: 6:49 pm: Game systems

Today my copy of Spirit of the Century arrived in the mail!

March 7, 2007: 9:02 pm: Game systems, Game theory (or close enough)

Here are a couple of fairly recent items that may be of interest to Amber players/GMs (though the topics apply to other games too), in case you missed them.

Rob Donoghue talks about applying tags to Sorcery (and maybe other things too):

But suppose when the character picked up sorcery (or some other power – sorcery’s just an example) they chose a keyword like fire, shadow, travel, tarot, art, thunder, elemental, alchemy, atlantean, infernal or anything else. Maybe that keyword is picked from a (hopefully long) existing list, maybe it’s totally freeform, maybe it’s a player-built list, maybe there’s a whole set of sub-rules for keywords, like elemental dominance. Doesn’t really matter, though it definitely helps if the list of keywords is accessible.

So now they have a sorcerous style. They’re a fire mage, or an alchemist, or a demonologist or whatever. That’s color, and color is cool, and if we just left it at that it would be a nice reminder to players to choose a style. The real value comes, however, when we start introducing plots. Take something as mundane as a locked door. If it’s magically locked, it’s bypassed pretty quickly as we look up sorcerer’s in the yellow pages. If, however, we say that it’s trapped with Fire magic or bound with atlantean runes, then the number of people who can help is reduced. On some intuitive level that may seem like a dangerous thing, but practically it is far more motivating and it gives the guy whose keyword came up a much more clear-cut opportunity to be cool.

Tony Lower-Basch starts a Story Games thread about Amber and the tyranny of the blank page:

Then I took a break from it, and coming back I notice things. The very first thing I notice is that the game system says “You have the freedom to create any character, from anywhere, ever! Make the world from which he comes, and all of his supporting NPCs. The power is finally in your hands.”

God, I find that unhelpful. And, from the evidence of people I’ve played with, they find it unhelpful too. They immediately latch on to the few things that are rigidly defined in the setting, and build from there. Who is your character’s parent? Which of the elder Amberites do they know, and what are their relationships with them? Where do they stand relative to Amber, the Pattern, the Courts of Chaos, and so on?

Now … potentially … the freedom to create anything includes the freedom to create rigid anchor points that the other players can latch on to, as starting points for their own characters. But in practice, I find that people look to the GM to do that, no matter how much the GM asks them to do it themselves.

Both are worth a look.

March 5, 2007: 8:51 pm: Game systems

So, one of the things I’m seriously considering running at this year’s The Black Road is Vincent Baker’s Afraid, which is a variant of his most excellent Dogs in the Vineyard. It’s still in the beta stage of things, but is apparently quite workable the way it is, so I’d like to give it a shot.

I was reminded of this desire by this cool post on Story Games. And now I want to run it even more.

February 26, 2007: 10:30 pm: Game systems

How are things coming along on the Dresden Files RPG? Fred gives us an update:

The conclusion there is that I’ll be startled if we have anything more than a proof by the time GenCon lands on our heads (it’s always a bit earlier in the year than I want it to be, I think), but y’never know, we may end up finding a printer who can do a good, sizable hardcover run in a short timeframe. I’m not holding my breath on that point.

I’m definitely in the camp of wanting it done well rather than quickly, but I’ll still hope that there’s a possibility of the game being ready in time for Gencon, without compromises in quality to make that happen.

January 28, 2007: 3:31 pm: Game systems

Over on Story Games, Willow Palecek posted an alternate setting for The Mountain Witch called Battlestar Fujiyama. It looks pretty interesting, with the usual set of Dark Secrets replaced by ones that include things like being a Cylon agent, and the Zodiac representing what Colony the character is from. If you’re a Battlestar Galactica fan, it’s well worth checking out.

January 5, 2007: 9:41 pm: Game systems

As part of the Designing Dresden series of posts over on the official Dresden RPG site, Rob talks about why they chose the Fate system as the base for the game.

We want to make sure that when the group consists of the fae halfblood daughter of Jenny Greenteeth, the lover of a Muse, a Kung Fu wizard, the Autumn Knight and a pizza delivery guy, that everyone gets to be awesome.

So to do that, were going with Fate. It’s not the only game that this is possible in, but for our purposes, it’s the best match.

Sounds promising, doesn’t it? I’m definitely looking forward to seeing this one when it’s ready to go, especially given how well the boys at Evil Hat have done with games like Spirit of the Century.

And did I ever mention that I played a small part in getting Dresden and Evil Hat together (for the game I mean, since Jim and Fred already knew each other)……?

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