- Street Fighter: The Storytelling Game: We played this twice this year, once near the beginning of the year and once just last week. Both sessions have been a blast. Street Fighter is an effortlessly fun game for me. I know the rules, I know the world, and I have plenty of ideas for modern pulp and martial arts adventure. It plays fast and always has a good balance between action, adventure, and banter. This time around, Street Fighter also served for a Christmas adventure involving fist fights with the Bavarian Illuminati in an Alpine castle ski resort with the krampus running amok on the slopes.
- Dungeons and Dragons (Rules Cyclopedia): The Rainy City campaign is primarily built on a D&D Rules Cyclopedia chassis, with D&D pastiche elements. One of the players is running an OD&D alchemist from Dragon Magazine, and I use the 2nd edition AD&D spell and magic item compendiums as well as any monster books from any classic edition of D&D that are handy. It's also an easy pick up game for me as I have the city handy for play when needed. It doesn't hurt that it's a chance to use my favorite version of D&D, the BX/BECM/RC line.
- Apocalypse World: I enjoyed this each time we played it. I ran it once and played it twice, and I'd be happy to play it again. I regret not having done any linked sessions -- each play session was more of a independent one shot, and my understanding is that the game works best with campaign play.
- Dungeons and Dragons (4E): Played a one shot of this at a con. I had a good time playing a classic wizard (i.e., one with more ego than ability).
- Dungeons and Dragons (Pathfinder): This is our default system for The Royal Subterranean Diplomatic Corps. I've run it for most of the sessions but also played in one. I especially like 3.x D&D from the player's side of the screen. RSDC tends to be a very talky game, with relatively little in the way of action and fighting, so we're probably not leveraging most of the 3.x game system. But I'd be hard pressed to imagine some of the PCs having been conceived had a different game system been the basis.
- The Fantasy Trip: I just love this game. We used it for a campaign last year, but this year I think we only played it once as an RPG, using it for a one-shot Rainy City session at Halloween. It's a good fit for the rainy city, as it comes pre-packaged with alchemy and gargoyles and skill checks for burglary and the like.
- Call of Cthulhu: CoC made a cameo appearance in one of our Royal Subterranean Diplomatic Corps games, when a group of diplomats entered the Desert of Cosmic Horrors. We did an on the spot conversion of the characters to CoC terms and used a loose approximation of the system for action resolution and sanity checks in the desert and pyramids of cosmic horrors. The players were, I think, rightly relieved when they returned to their D&D stats.
- Gamma World (D&D 4E-based edition): This game seems to have almost entirely taken over our gaming since its release. It's easy to see why. It's sleek, random fun, and it accommodates all the weirdness you throw at it. Here are some examples from our recent play of the game: a Chernobyl blasted plant super soldier; a pyrokinetic samurai named Markus (but if you like you can call him "sensei"); a spirit of the earth emerged from a cave to set things right (and destroy abominations); ninjas made of nightmares serving a baboon ninja lord with a nightmare sword; vampires of the frozen north with an undead army, a frankenstein's monster mad scientist, a werewolf in the basement, and a crashed flying saucer out on the snow; a robot shark death machine serving fish men in a nautilus submarine; the robot collective's "vandals" poisoning a river to kill mutants; a fat crocodile crying on his jet ski because it won't start; getting trapped in the fever dreams of a super-psychic little green man from outer space still stuck in stasis; competing in the "pain games" (think Running Man); and of course, The Curse of the Kill Bot...
Friday, December 31, 2010
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Monday, November 29, 2010
- strange stars above the desert, uncountable, unrecognizable, wrong
- silent jackals, always watching from the next dune
- an archaologist from another world, gone quite mad and making terrible sacrifices upon the altar hidden in his tent
- the archaeologist's shadowy double (demon? ghul? doppelganger?)
- runes of the crawling chaos, messenger of the outer gods
- a trap-filled pyramid, of course
- mummified guardians inviting the diplomats onto a funerary barge
- the black river to the underworld
- the shade of the great kingdom in the underworld, safe these long eons from the crawling chaos
- the boy king and god of the great kingdom, who was happy to negotiate, for all the good a dead king's alliance will do them in the face of cosmic horrors above
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
- Street Fighter: The Storytelling Game
- Dungeons & Dragons
- Marvel Super Heroes
- Heavy Gear
- Vampire: The Masquerade
- Castle Falkenstein
- Dark Conspiracy
- Cyberpunk 2020
- Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay
- Call of Cthulhu
- The Fantasy Trip
- Ars Magica
Monday, October 18, 2010
For thousands of years, the Kingdom has beaten back the monsters lurking in its darkest corners, raided the abandoned dungeons where they dwelled, and slaying the beasts wherever they were found.With the ascension of Good King George, however, we have seen the dawn of a new day. Guided by his new bride, the drow queen Sabine, the King has outlawed violence against monstrous citizens of the kingdom and established an order of diplomats to visit the dungeons and collapsed castles where they dwell in order to make amends.It is George's unique wisdom to understand that the so-called "monsters" really are people, too, driven into the inaccessible reaches of the kingdom by fear and ignorance. Millenia of war have only served to oppress these poor souls, denying them the opportunity to own and till fields and raise their spawn in as much comfort as they could. The only permanent solution to the situation was not annihilation and genocide, but coming together in the spirit of peace and understanding.The job of George's Diplomats is not easy. Generations of mistrust have turned the hearts of the monsters cold and hard, and what few stop to listen believe that a human king would extend an olive branch to their kind. The situation is made even more difficult by the actions of a few diehard "adventurers" who refuse to let go of the ways of the past. But still, no matter the history of violence or the continuing remnants of hatred, the diplomatic corps stands ready to create tomorrow by building bridges of hope, understanding, and mutual respect.
- Winterpeak, home of the Winter Witch, as well as the nearby Glacial Rift of the Frost Giant Jarl. Diplomats have successfully made contact with the Winter Witch, though unfortunately they also awoke her father, a very old god from a different age: the North Wind. She was not very happy about this! He is a cold, uncaring god, but the diplomats did manage to make a deal with him: he would allow them to worship him and build his church within their kingdom. For although he does not need worshippers, he likes them! Now, there will still be the matter of dealing with his ten sons, who are sure to invade the kingdom to slay him when the next winter arrives. But that is months away! Plenty of time.
- Dungeon Skull Mountain (I couldn't resist), a vast megadungeon fortress where the Dark Lord dwells, along with his nine. The diplomatic corps has made contact with the Dark Lord and his nine, and they have made a deal with him. Admittedly, in the process, one of the diplomats did quit the corps and join the Dark Lord (better job prospects, in terms of promotions, you know). On the other hand, one of the nine, the Vampire Lord Lightbane, quit the forces of Dungeon Skull Mountain and joined the diplomatic corps. So some progress was made! Now the Corps need only find the location of the god of death so that the Dark Lord can kill him. Before the end of the year. As stipulated in the contract.
- The Spider Swamp, where numerous expeditions have been sent in the last six moons since the founding of the RSDC. None have returned, yet. But now that the training has been doubled to two full days, the leaders of the Corps are really quite certain that the next group will meet with success.
- Crater Town, where a star fell some hundred years ago, and where miners now dig for strange and precious metals and stones. Many miners have over the years fallen prey to strange humours and have begun thinking... gelatinous... thoughts. Diplomatic relations must be opened with the entities behind these thoughts.
- The Pit of the Necromancer
- The Black Duke's Fortress
- The Mines of the Mountain King
- The Valley of the Unicorns
- The Desert of Cosmic Horror
- The Shire
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Several terms that started as rhyming slang have now entered the general language, albeit not at the posh end of the spectrum. It is not uncommon to hear the verb to rabbit (from rabbit and pork), meaning to talk a lot, or for someone to say, 'Let's have a butcher's at that', or 'That's a load of old cobblers'. There are many people who say 'He's a right berk', or 'He's a proper Charlie', without realising that the words originated as contractions of Berkshire Hunt and Charlie Hunt.
Saturday, September 18, 2010
Alderic thus decided: he would take no horse down to the river's edge, he would not row along it in a boat, and he would go alone and by way of the Forest Unpassable.How pass, you may say, the unpassable? This was his plan: there was a dragon he knew of who if peasants' prayers are heeded deserved to die, not alone because of the number of maidens he cruelly slew, but because he was bad for the crops; he ravaged the very land and was the bane of a dukedom.Now Alderic determined to go up against him. So he took horse and spear and pricked till he met the dragon, and the dragon came out against him breathing bitter smoke. And to him Alderic shouted, "Hath foul dragon ever slain true knight?" And well the dragon knew that this had never been, and he hung his head and was silent, for he was glutted with blood. "Then," said the knight, "if thou would'st ever taste maiden's blood again thou shalt be my trusty steed, and if not, by this spear there shall befall thee all that the troubadours tell of the dooms of thy breed."And the dragon did not open his ravening mouth, nor rush upon the knight, breathing out fire; for well he knew the fate of those that did these things, but he consented to the terms imposed, and swore to the knight to become his trusty steed.It was on a saddle upon this dragon's back that Alderic afterwards sailed above the unpassable forest, even above the tops of those measureless trees, children of wonder.
Thursday, July 29, 2010
- Elves run for days on end. If elders and pregnant women fall behind, they leave them to die (Dark Sun Campaign Setting: Rules Book, p. 6). It's a good thing elves are so fertile, otherwise they might have a population problem!
- Elves are a race of itinerant thieves (Dark Sun Campaign Setting, choose any page with the word "elf" on it.).
- Elves travelling with outsiders set up "tests" of "trust." These tests might include sabotaging the water supply and seeing if they still get a "fair" share. Also, getting captured by enemies on purpose or picking unnecessary fights with deadly enemies for the sole purpose of forcing potential "friends" to step up into mortal danger to prove their "trustworthiness." Elves get bonus XP for doing this kind of thing (Dark Sun Campaign Setting: Rules Book, p. 66). Yes. Elves are worried about whether or not you can be trusted.
Monday, April 19, 2010
- "hanging its head in front of the most holy man, harmless and as if obedient"
- "meek in spirit and with friendly noise"
- "hanging its head, sobbing"
- "it put its head on the ground"
- "it humbly rolled its eyes, as if itwas feeling guilty and begging for mercy from him"
- "it put its head down to the ground"
- "like a pet dog"
- "the dragon stood there like a sheep"
- "that wildest of dragons left and hurried away and never appeared again anywhere"
- "What more? The abominable dragon obeyed the saint's commands"
I'll let Christine Rauer's treatment of the topic from her book, Beowulf and the dragon: Parallels and analogues, do the talking here:
This is not the dragon subdual of D&D, and I doubt these dragon myths had any particular influence on the introduction to "dragon subdual" into the game. But it does set a legendary and mythical precedent for dragon subdual of a different kind.
Level of Cleric
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Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Friday, April 2, 2010
Monday, March 29, 2010
Sunday, March 21, 2010
Saturday, January 23, 2010
Even his wife's face seemed changed as he entered the room. It was white and expectant, and to his fears seemed to have an unnatural look upon it. He was afraid of her.
"Wish!" she cried, in a strong voice.
"It is foolish and wicked," he faltered.
"Wish!" repeated his wife.
He raised his hand. "I wish my son alive again."
W.W. Jacobs, "The Monkey's Paw," 1902