The Advantages of Skill Based Games

I have a strong preference for RPG systems that define a character primarily by the skills they possess, such as The Call of Cthulhu (and other BRP based games), GURPS, Eclipse Phase, Alternity and Shadowrun. There are other games which involve skills: D&D, Fate, and so on, but they aren’t based primarily around a set of skills everyone has. D&D has a common skill list for all players, but most of the time it is overshadowed by other things, and many others may have ‘skills’ or ‘professions’ but each character only possesses two or three of these, there isn’t a universal set that everyone divides points between.

Games that use these old-fashioned long skill lists are currently falling out of fashion due to a perception that they are hard to get into, that you need a spreadsheet to play them, and that games with less stuff on the character sheet are faster to play. In my opinion these are all untrue. Certainly, games like GURPS benefit from a spreadsheet when making a character, and no one is ever going to call Alternity a rules-light game, but there are also games like The Call of Cthulhu, which is quite rules light, doubly so as I play a variant that removes a lot of the rules.

So, why do I like skills so much? I like the flexibility they provide and how easy they are to DM. I can customize a character in a skill based game to resemble a real person much more then I can in any other type of system I have seen. The average Call of Cthulhu character gets 400 skill points, of which, on average, 130 are earmarked for skills related to the characters non-work related experiences and interests. So, I have the freedom to drop a few points into painting if my character paints miniatures as a hobby, without harming the core skills that define what he does in the party. In my GURPS game I’ve used the points that I put into Connoisseur (Literature), and it has come up in play that another character had some skill related to the writings of H. P. Lovecraft. Such things do a lot of flesh out the character, and make them feel alive. In other games I don’t have the freedom to spend a point or two (or the game systems equivalent) on something totally unrelated to the characters main role in the party. This is something that is lost when you only have 4 skills or whatever; you really have to put them into something that will benefit the party, or you are letting the rest of your team down. In systems with an excess of points I can get to a level that helps the party, then put points into stuff purely for roleplaying.

Furthermore as a DM these games are pretty easy to run. If a character wants to do something, I just find the closes skill on the character sheet and have them roll that; if they have something related I can let them apply it at a bonus or a penalty, depending on how relevant it is (Say, using Chemist to analyze some biochemical evidence gathered from a crime scene instead of biochemistry: If you know one, you probably took a class or two of the other at one point, but wouldn’t know as much as an actual biochemist). I don’t have to make a call in each situation about what stat is the most important, which is a pain for things like rock climbing as there are strength, dexterity, constitution and mental components. I just find ‘hey, here is a climb skill, roll that unless you can find something more appropriate to the task, or at least close.’

That is why I like skill based games. I do hope we see more of them over time, given that as of late games that use a very limited set of characteristics and abilities are more popular. Perhaps I’ll even set down my ideas for a system I’ve had kicking around in my head for years and years sometime.

Sorry this post was so late; what with playing twice a week I’ve been getting my fill of thinking about gaming in the real world, instead of online. Until I get the urge to write again, Stay Geeky.


Published in: on September 17, 2013 at 9:00 am  Comments (4)  
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Sketching out a character: John Rook

So, I’ve got to make two new characters for the GURPS games I’ve joined, and I’m finding it a bit slow going. So I’ve decided to write down my thoughts and ideas to see what sounds good when I write it down, and see where that takes me. Anyway, here is John Rook, horror writer and self-declared white knight.

The first game is a modern occult horror game set in the 1970s. Everyone is mostly human, but with a bit of magic, something that sets them apart from the normal. I had a character in that game, Dalton, who was able to touch any object and sense the important events in its history; a very useful power for an investigative game. He also ran an antique shop, and had a lot of skills related to appraisal, history and so on, related to his job, not that he needed much help authenticating artifacts. However, in the two years since I was last in this game someone else has taken over the character so I need a new idea.

I was looking over the list of abilities for inspiration (it worked last time) and noticed there are a number of abilities to improve your senses. I’ve been watching a fair bit of castle, and had watched a bit of an Alan Wake Lets Play on Youtube, and had an idea: A writer who investigates paranormal activities and then writes them up as fiction. Now, bits of this character have come to me fairly easily: He is going to be a fairly broad shouldered guy, not huge, but large, and full in the chest (Any resemblance to Nathan Fillon is purely coincidental) with brown hair and blue eyes. Obviously a competent investigator, particularly at finding clues and hidden items, and also a highly skilled writer, with a fair bit of money as a result.

Now, the DM sent me some questions to answer:

1) (and most important!) What happened to this guy that made him realize there was another world out there, with real monsters – and he was akin to the non-humans?

I’ve got a couple versions of this answer turning through my head. The crux of it was that he met, and possibly killed, a occult serial killer. I’m still working on the how. The first thing I thought up was that he was working on a True Crime novel, before he got into fiction, and finding some leads he decides to follow up himself, leading to him discovering that the killer is still active, and unable to find anyone in authority willing to help him he illegally slays the killer himself.

The other idea I had, is that he meets the killer at a much younger age, when he was taken by the killer. However, he was able to escape, and lead the police back to the scene of the crime due to his suddenly uncannily good sight and vision (He can hear every sound in the background of the place he was held, and every individual odour), though not before his older brother was slain by the killer. Additionally, he saw things while captured that gave him a lasting obsession with the occult and supernatural, and he turned to fiction, particularly dark fiction, as an escape, first as a reader, and then as an author.

Huh, writing things down did help, that sounds much better (if just as chliche) as then what I was thinking of.

2) why did he decide to actively oppose them instead of just hiding/running?

Having seen what horrible things are lurking out there at a young age, he was never able to close his eyes to the things most people ignore, the horrific elements around us. As he grew older, he realized that most people couldn’t or wouldn’t stop the things that are dark and abnormal in the world, and that if he didn’t oppose them, who would? In particular he has drawn inspiration from the morality of authors in the past, particularly Tolkien and he keeps two plaques above his desk: One, quoting a Sergei Bondarchuk’s flim adaptation of War and Peace reads “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing” and the other “‘How is a man to judge what to do in such times?’ As he has ever judged, Good and evil have not changed since yesteryear, nor are they one thing among Elves and another among Men.”, adapted from The Lord of the Rings, and a longer version of the second quote opened his first book.

3) what did he do/what were his life plans before all the occult stuff came into his life?

He was introduced to the occult at a very young age, and as such didn’t really have many plans. His desire to protect people led him to apply for the police academy, but he was rejected, and instead went to university, duel majoring in Religious Studies and History, simultaneously working on his first book, a highly fictionalized account of the serial killer that attacked him and killed his brother. While critics found the plot rather lacking, and several wrote it off as an author insertion fantasy (which to be fair, it was), he was praised for the vividness of his descriptions, and his expansive and masterful use of language. Deciding to focus on his writing, he abandoned the history degree, and finished his Religious Studies degree with a thesis on occultism in the early 20th century, and shortly thereafter published his second book, introducing his most popular character: Blake Stone.

Wow, that worked out a lot better then I expected, as I think I’ve answered all the questions I had bouncing around in my head. What do you lot think? I’m going to slide this into my post queue for next Monday and I’ll also (hopefully) write up my other character idea, for a good ‘ol boy lumberjack named Bo and toss it at you. Until then, Stay Geeky.


100th post!

Or at least WordPress tells me it is: I’ve deleted some posts, and made some hidden, so I’m not sure how many are visible to the public. My, I kinda suck at blogging, considering I started this in July 2009. That is just over 2 a month. Not much compared to awesome people like Chet of The CRPG Addict, Trickster of The Adventure Gamer, or Trey of From the Sorcerer’s Skull. Heck, my Dad manages to update his blog, 600 Days to Brewmastery almost every day (thus the name).

On the other hand, I’m no where near as creative and talented as Trey, and don’t have the motivation of a book at the end of it to keep me going. I’m also don’t have a specific goal like the other blogs I listed: I’m not trying to finish every game in a set genre, or chronicle a journey I’m taking. I just made this blog so that I’d have a place to type out longer things that didn’t fit on twitter. Then I got into it, and enjoyed setting down some ideas I had. However, lately I seem to be less inspired, and have trouble posting. This is probably because I’m spending less time thinking about RPGs: I’ve been gaming less, as various gaming groups have dissolved, and I’ve been moving around more so I’ve had less time to form them.

Hopefully this will change soon. I’m getting that gaming itch again, I’m listening to podcasts again, which is where I get a lot of my gaming inspiration for some reason, and I’m rejoining a sweet GURPS game I was in back in 2011, now that I’m back on the West Coast. Additionally, #RPGChat is providing me a lot of inspiration, though it tends to come in the form of points I’m trying to convey, rather then setting and roleplaying ideas.

I’ve had fun writing this blog, and really, my only regret is that every time I start to establish any sort of a community I don’t post for ages and ages and everyone stops reading it.

Anyway, if there is anyone out there still reading this: Thank you. I’m glad someone enjoys my ramblings and ravings. If nothing else, I know a lot of you have found my post on Keep on the Shadowfell Maps (by far my most popular post, and one I created just to keep track of the links I was finding. I was horribly embarrassed when I discovered I hadn’t even spell checked it, and it was my most read post by a factor of ten).

Thank you for reading these 100 posts, and lets hope it doesn’t take me another 4 years to get to 200.

Until next time, stay geeky.

Published in: on May 3, 2013 at 9:00 am  Comments (4)  
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Things I learned at my last gaming convention: Beware of kids

A few weeks ago I attended a local gaming convention. Now, I’ve been going to this con on and off for about 10 years now, and pretty much every convention I’ve had fun at. This time, sadly, was an exception. I did have fun, but unlike most past cons where I’ve had mostly great games, I only really had 2 great games this year, and 2 OK games. Now, I’d like to specify, this wasn’t the cons fault. The staff were very professional, great about tracking drop outs and getting walkins into games they wanted to play, and had wicked prize support (I got so. much. stuff.). In some cases it wasn’t even the DMs fault; a player was a jerk in one, for example. However, I decided to do a series of blog posts on what I think went wrong with each game, and how they could be improved, as in some cases I don’t think the person that was ruining the game, whether player or DM realized what they were doing. Given that, I have decided to do a series of blog posts detailing the various problems I had at this con.

I’ve decided to start with one of the decent, but not great games. None of the players were painfully bad, the DM was competent, the the adventure was OK, if not great. However, the DM and one of the players showed up with their kids. Both very young, six perhaps? It was obviously prepared ahead of time, as both kids knew each other and one came in costume as “his” character, a halfling ninja known as “Red Ghost”.

Now, I’d played with the adult actually playing Red Ghost before, and he was normally quite good, even if he went off alone and got into trouble more then I prefer in the party’s rogue. However after they brought their kids….the kids were well behaved for the first hour or so, happily rolling the dice and trying to follow what was going on. The second and third hours were less pleasant. The DM had to keep track of his kid, and what 6 players were doing all at the same time. That didn’t go so well. The last bit of the game was more salvageable, but only because the con gave the group a giant foam d20 as prize support, and there was an open area near our table where the kids could run around and throw it at each other without bothering the table.

Yeah. Con advice from Canageek: Until your kids are older and more mature, don’t try bringing them to cons, at least not a 4 hour, serious, game. None of us want to lose a character we’ve spent 8-12 hours (it was only a 1st level adventure) levelling to die because you were too busy keeping track of a kid to pay attention to the map. This goes double for the DM, since you have more work then any of the players, keeping track of all of us AND all your monsters.

Four hour games are just too long for young kids: Get them into gaming at home, when you can take breaks when their attention span is used up. Perhaps find a con with shorter games more suited to kids (Kobolds Ate my Baby comes to mind as an easy one to teach them). But for Gygax’s sake, don’t subject them and us to 4 hours of pathfinder with a child OBVIOUSLY bored out of his head. It isn’t fair to either them or us.

Until next time, Stay Geeky.


Edit: Some people are misunderstanding what I’m saying: I’m not saying kids shouldn’t be gaming. I’m not saying don’t being them to the con at all. I am saying pick appropriate events for them.
For example: The board game room has a lot of games that the kids could have been full participants of, rather then being bored and just rolling the dice then going off to play by themselves or falling asleep.

Alternatively, one of the people was the DM. Why not instead of signing up to run a Pathfinder Society game, sign up to run something that the kids could have been a full part of, with their own characters. Kobold’s Ate My Baby keeps coming to mind, as it is silly and immature. Off the top of my head, Ada used to run a game of RPGKids for her two kids. You know, something they can enjoy, instead of suffering through it.

I think getting kids active and involved in gaming; having them sit there bored isn’t the way to do it. Get them involved with a game they can enjoy.

Published in: on March 26, 2013 at 12:24 am  Comments (2)  
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Code of Conduct for my game

So I have decided to make this weeks post on what I’ll expect out of players for my game. It is pretty simple, and I’ve never had a problem with it in an online game.

In the words of TheWyrm from IRC:

  1. “You get to role play your character.  You are still responsible, as a player, for the behavior of your character if it disrupts the game, because you chose that character personality and can freely modify it.  As such, claims that being ‘in character’ is an excuse to behave in a way that lowers enjoyment of the game for others is unacceptable.”
  2. “The game does not occur in a vacuum.  Your behaviour outside the game, in the D&D community and towards the other players, will impact your ability to play the game.  If you pick fights with or troll other players outside the game, just like with a real life game, don’t expect a place for you at the table at the next game.”
  3. “You have two main responsibilities in the game: Have fun, and help others have fun.  If you’re not having fun, talk to (not gripe at) the DM or find a different game.  If your enjoyment of the game comes at the expense of others enjoyment, D&D is not for you.”

I think these points are very eloquent and relevant and would like to see what other people think of them. I’m not running D&D- I’m currently looking at GORE and OpenQuest for my summer game, but I think they still apply.

I’d also add

4. “It is the players responsibility to contribute to the party. If you make yourself more effort then you are worth by stealing from the party, getting them into repeated trouble or other such antics asking your character to leave the party is a valid option”

Sorry for the short post, I’m not feeling that inspired this week. So, what do you think of those guidelines?

In other news, no one I emailed about my change of system has emailed me back, so if you are intrested in a weekend OpenQuest or GORE game (Both d% roll under systems) please let me know!

Thanks for reading! Until next time, Stay Geeky!


Published in: on May 15, 2011 at 11:49 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Update on my online summer game

So as you may have guessed from my review of Dungeonslayers, I will not be running a game of it this summer. I’ve gotten into a GURPS game on Wednesdays, but well, I have weekends free. However, I forgot how much 1.5 hours in transit and 8 hours of work a day took out of you, even if you have free time, so I’m going to have to limit what and when I’m capable of running.

1) I have been looking at what system to use. So far I’ve looked at FUDGE, ‘Warrior, Rogue & Mage’ and both Red Box Hack and Old School Hack. None of them have seemed to be quite what I am looking for, though I would like to place some FATE & FUDGE. The current front runner for my summer game is GORE. GORE was designed to be an eldrich horror game, in the sprite of another game I play a lot. However, it uses a more D&D like magic system and is freely available, so I think with some house rules it could make a good, if high danger, dungeon crawling game. Additionally, it is simple enough that I think I could convert old D&D monsters to it- Since it is % based I could just make a D&D character of the appropriate level and see what that monsters chance to hit would be, then use that.

2) I’m still interested in the following ideas from my planning post– I’m having less energy after work then I thought, so some of them are not as feasible. Basically I don’t know if I have the energy to run the Dimensional Hopper game and Tangents is definitely out- I don’t have the energy for the planning either of these would take. I’m also less sure of the Megandungeon based ones until I get my feet under me- I’m thinking I could start a standard game with smaller dungeons, and if it goes well move it into a megadungeon. On the plus side, if we use GORE then we could include guns in the X-Crawl based settings if we wanted.

I know what times I can do this at now: Friday night post 7pm, any time Saturday, or Sunday night, ending no later then 9pm, all Pacific Time. I don’t get hope from work until 6 most days, later on many, and that leaves me just enough time to shop, eat and relax a bit before I have to go to bed.  This allows me to move things along a bit, as I have narrowed down the times to the point I feel fine taking applications to join in and suggestions on what to run.

3) I think Google Wave, Maptools, IRC or similar is more my speed right now. I don’t have a webcam or a decent mic, so yeah, voice seems like a bad choice.

So yeah, there are my current plans for an online game. I’m willing to look at other free gaming systems, and if I do use GORE it will be with some houserules (Probably more skills, might use pointbuy. It has rules for gaining HP already, but I will have to look at the system more. I also might tack on a simple XP system, as ‘when you finish the adventure’ doesn’t work in megadungeons.

So, is anyone interested in playing? Leave a comment! Ask questions! Please!


Ideas for my online game

As you all probably know, I am planning on running an online game this summer. I am not officially recruiting yet, as I am unsure of my schedule once I start my job, and that seems like an important thing to know. However, I love writing out game ideas, so I thought I would set some down here.

Idea #1: “XSlayers” (Ie Dungeonslayers meets X-Crawl) I’ve blogged about this one a lot before, specifically when I first mentioned my summer game. To recap: The players are sports starts who descend into short, premade dungeons before a live and televised audience. A Master of Ceremonies runs the show,  providing live commentary, flavour and possibly altering the dungeon as the players move through it.

Idea #2: “Megaslayers” This is very similar to idea #1, except that the players move through a large megadungeon. A megadungeon is one of those giant, many levelled complexes with perhaps hundreds of rooms in it, where the players will never truly “clear” it: New monsters will move in, old ones will leave, and monsters may well migrate as the players kill others and create vacuums within the dungeon. This is set in the same world as number 1, but instead of being a short sports event this is a weekly show. Players still are in a modern setting, but instead of being in a small dungeon 1-page dungeon style affair they are in a long megadungeon, and thus can play monsters off against one another, retreat to the surface, will have to rest in the dungeon and conserve resources.

Idea #3: “XSlayers Classic”  This would be like idea #1 except that instead of going through an adaptation of a one-page dungeon or something short that I cook up the part will go through an adaption of a classic adventure. Probably an old TSR adventure, but I can take suggestions provided players promise not to use out of game knowledge to their advantage. This could very well branch into “Megaslayers Classic” if a longer adventure like the Temple of Elemental Evil is chosen to.

Idea #4: Straight up Dungeonslayers: If the modern-reality TV dungeon idea is not popular then I could go with running a traditonal fantasy version of Dungeonslayers.

Idea #5: “Dungeonslayers Classic”: If people like the idea of mixing Dungeonslayers and classic D&D adventures, but do not like the idea of the modern-dungeon crawling then I could do that to.

Idea #6: “Megadungeonslayers” Again, Megadungeon+Dungeonslayers but no modern.

Idea #7: Dimensional Hoppers: Another idea that I have blogged about before, this game would involve the players travelling across dimensions in search of a way home. Each dimension will be part of a slightly different genre and tech level for a highly episodic feel, but with (hopefully) continuing characters. I would be using a variant BRP system.

Idea #8: Dungeonworld/The Sargasso of Dungeons: Really I can’t think of much to add to this, except that I’d probably use Dungeonslayers, or if I can’t get support for that something like Warrior, Rouge & Mage or a retroclone. This one could be modern, fantasy or some combination of the above.

Idea #9: Tangents. I recently found the Tangents book for Alternity and discovered that it has a really cool adventure series in it. I would be willing to run this with the caveat that players either have to make their own characters or use a premade one from the adventure, as I don’t have enough experience to help them with it as I do the other systems.

I think I’m the most interested in running #1,#3 and #7, followed by #4, #5, #8 and #9, but if I get a bunch of enthusiastic players for any of them I think I’d catch the enthusiasm myself pretty quickly. Also it should be noted that while I listed a bunch of megadungeon ideas they all rated pretty low on my list: This is likely because I’ve not run enough dungeons yet to create a good atmosphere in most of them, and have them react organically to events in the dungeon. The Sargasso would be an inherently random place, so I think it might work more easily… That isn’t to say I wouldn’t try, which is why I listed them. Ideas which I really like, but am unsure I could run, like this idea I have for a game set on a Spacehulk/Sargasso of Death setting I haven’t listed, as I am sure I could run it, but can’t think of a system I am comfortable enough with and that has enough creatures for me to stock it with.

So, does anyone have any feedback on these ideas? Would anyone be interested in playing in one of them? Questions on bits of the setting that seem unclear? Just want more details on one or more of them? Please leave a comment!

Until then, or next time, Stay Geeky!


[Let me tell you about my character] Dick Chandler

Back near the start of my blog I posted up a character I was using for Ada’s Serenity game. I meant to post more characters, but I’ve been DMing pretty exclusively. However, to keep myself sane I joined a Call of Cthulhu group playing via Google Wave. Anyway, here is my character: I started with a concept, then rolled stats. Since I rolled so badly the DM let me boost them up to the point buy value, so I tweaked them to fit my vision. I added notes on him as I wrote it, which is why they are scattered throughout the statblock. I’m a bit worried that I’ve spread my skills a bit thin, but if we do more than one adventure it should work itself out as I’ll increase them more quickly.

Richard (Dick) Chandler

Summary: Dick Chandler is a cop who fell from grace after refusing to let a murderer walk. He now works in Arkham as a private dick, spying on cheating spouses, running background checks and whatnot. Lately he has been growing bored due to a lack of challenge, and melancholy as he feels he misses the feeling of making the world a little safer, one killer at a time. (more…)

RPG Blog Carnival– New Year, New Game!

The RPG Blog Carnival LogoSo I have decided to join the RPG Blog Carnival this month, which is being hosted by The Action Point, with the topic of New Year, New Game.

This hits at an excellent time, as my old game is wrapping up. I started running it two and a half years ago with 3 players. Since then two have graduated and moved away, and we have had several players join, two of which still play with us. The last of the original players has requested a special conclusion for her character, so I’m taking the time to work that into the final adventure(s). I’ve never written an end to a campaign before, and I’ve never worked a players desires into an adventure before. Therefore this year I will end a campaign with a bang, and it will be awsome. For me anyway. This is Call of Cthuhlhu.

However as Alex, one of the graduated players, cannot make it down much, and he is central to the game. Therefore I’ve been starting to look at an alternate game for when he is not here.

I crafted two plans originally and presented them to my players. The first was that I would run Dungeonslayers in a traditional fantasy game. This did not meet with great enthusiasm as two of my players thought the 10 pages of rules was too complex (I pointed out that Call of Cthulhu has 300 or so, but they already know those ones, or at least are familiar with the ones they need and I tell them the rest. We ignore most of them anyway.)

My second proposal was for a dimensional hopping game, similar to (though I didn’t realize it until later) Dr. Who, Reboot, Sliders, Alternity’s Tagents setting and GURPS Infinite Worlds. I have already blogged a bit about this setting, but in my original post I said I would never run it. This game was the more popular of the two, and I have decided to run it, spurred on by my discovery of the BRP Adventures book, which has enough alternate earth adventures to keep my game going for a long time. My idea for the game has advanced somewhat beyond where it is in the posts I’ve put up, with less of an emphasis on being chased, so I don’t have to worry about my players reading this. This setting works very well with the episodic adventures my players enjoy, and allows me to drag and drop any adventure that I can find & convert. Therefore I am going to start a new game this year, with a campaign that I’ve written from scratch, though it will connect publish adventures.

However, I was reading the host’s post in the carnival and very much liked point number 3: Run a related one-shot with Disposable Characters. I decided not to run a related one shot, but just a couple of the adventures that I was going to put into my new campaign, with the pregenerated characters they come with, and just tell the players the rules. I’m hoping that this will get them over there fear of new game systems as well. I may also find a way to let them bring characters they like into the genre hopping game, as one player doesn’t like rolling up new characters, and I think it would be a cool way to introduce new characters. I am not sure how many one-shots I am going to run before starting my game. Everyone had a great time at the last game, and I have a number of these introductory one-shot adventures, so we will see how things go.

Another thing I want to do this year is finish the adventure I am writing. I am almost done: I was about 80% done at the start of the summer, but have done almost no work since then, except for stating up each NPC. I am not going to attempt to get back into writing it until this summer, but if everyone could remind me of it I would be very grateful. I mean, all I have to do is write the final scene and it is ready to go…

And my final resolution: Play more games this year. I stressed myself out a lot less last semester, spent far less hours on work, and far more relaxing than ever before…and got my highest average since entering university, despite one of my classes having the highest workload of any class I’ve taken, and another being the single hardest class I have ever taken. Therefore, I am going to try to play more games and be more social this year, so that I don’t get buried by stress. Here is to gaming increasing my marks!

Finally, I have one very evil resolution: This year I am going to kill a character. I’ve been far to much of a carebear DM, prompted by early experiences where players got mad and fought tooth and nail if I killed  even a first level character. Therefore this year I shall kill at least one established character, not a new character, or a character during a one shot, but an established character. Bwahahaha.

Well, there are my resolutions. Until next time, Stay Geeky!


Published in: on January 24, 2011 at 12:37 pm  Comments (1)  
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My Christmas Game

EDIT: A very, very helpful person (Thanks Chrysalis) on IRC has helped me clarify my post:

The game is a dungeon crawl gone reality TV show. Contestants enter the dungeon, slay monsters and disarm traps, while live and televised audiences look on and are helped on through the gripping action, the highs and lows, in a manner similar to sports commentary.

This means players are expected to supply their actions as sports commentary, a wild and gripping way to describe the action, but also embed inside little statistical information such as ‘The last time a Young Adult Red Dragon was felled in 3 rounds by a 5th level party was back in 1996 by the Sharpe Dressed Elves.

The rules that will be used are from Dungeonslayers. No prior rules knowledge needed to play the game and characters can be made on the spot. Character creation and playing involves things like ridiculous outfits, over the top stage presences and armour that shouldn’t work.

I am looking at 4-6 players for a one-off session before the 2nd of January, due to holiday constraints. The game will be run over IRC or via Maptools.

Original, less well organized post follows.

Hello all! Another self-interested post: I am going to run a game over either IRC or via Maptools sometime between when I post this and January 2nd. It would be a one shot adventure and I’ll just pick whatever day the most people will be free on. Likewise I’ll pick whichever platform people choose, and just post the map as you explore it to flikr or photobucket since it doesn’t use tactical combat.

I’ll be using the very nice looking Dungeonslayers rules as they look quite good for fast play, yet at the same time are quite slick and modern.

To recap my idea:

Anyway the idea is…. a dungeon crawling game loosely based on XCrawl, where modern day gladiators descend into D&D style dungeons to fight monsters and traps for the amusement of the audience. Little touches such as bonus experience for narrating your actions like a sports commentator will hopefully contribute to the atmosphere.

To make this more silly your game states would be your stats in world, tracked the same way that they do baseball stats. My Dad likes baseball because of all the stats you can track and the weird things that happen (For example there is one play, don’t as me what it is, that has only happened 3 times. 2 of them were on consecutive days, as some player heard about it and thought ‘Shoot, I could do that’ and managed to do it the next day.)
Now instead of batting average you have BAB or THAC0, and so on (I was going to give more examples, but I don’t know baseball stats). Instead of some odd play with passes and runners you have “The last time a Young Adult Red Dragon was felled in 3 rounds by a 5th level party was back in 1996 by the ‘Sharpe Dressed Elves’….”

Now I’m going to have it a bit more fantasy than I planned originally, so that I can use a modified form of the adventure that comes with the rules, since I’ve never run Dungeonslayers before. This updates the idea a little, with it being more heavily fantasy that I originally planned, however I’m sure I can find ways to keep the fact that you are throwing your lives onto the alter of television in your minds. Also, though it should be obvious, please don’t read the sample adventure.

If you want any more details or want to express interest in playing please leave a comment below, email or IM my gmail: username Canageek. (Don’t you love spam? Stupid bots)

Anyway, until next time (or I run this) Stay Geeky!


P.S. I’ve run this game, and it went quite well, though I only had two players. They both hit second level, just, and got about 1/4 to 1/2 way through the adventure. I’m looking to finish the adventure, though I’m not sure when I will have time: If I am very lucky and don’t have much work I might be able to doso on the weekend of Jan 8-9, 2010. Drop me a comment here if you are interested in playing.