Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Fifteen Games

These are the first fifteen that came to me, in the order they popped into my head.

  1. Street Fighter: The Storytelling Game
  2. Dungeons & Dragons
  3. Kult
  4. Underground
  5. Marvel Super Heroes
  6. Heavy Gear
  7. Vampire: The Masquerade
  8. Shadowrun
  9. Castle Falkenstein
  10. Dark Conspiracy
  11. Cyberpunk 2020
  12. Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay
  13. Call of Cthulhu
  14. The Fantasy Trip
  15. Ars Magica

I was thinking "RPG only" at the time. If I'd been including other games, the Street Fighter video games would have bumped something off the chart, and Legend of Zelda and Mario games would probably have been in there too. Given the unpredictability of stream of consciousness associative thinking, I don't know what would have been bumped in particular. Hat tip.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Royal Subterranean Diplomatic Corps

In addition to a recent Rainy City game, which I'll try to post about eventually, we've lately been playing The Royal Subterranean Diplomatic Corps, inspired by a post by "Josh Roby" at Story Games nearly four years ago. I'll give you his pitch first. Then I'll follow up with some notes from our game.
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.
We're three sessions into a Royal Subterranean Diplomatic Corps mini-campaign here at Superhero Necromancer HQ, and so far it's lived up to its promise. Intrepid diplomats have been offered a number of possible sites to visit on diplomatic missions, and two negotiations have been completed. Successfully? (By some measures!)

The following diplomatic assignments have been completed so far:

  • 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.
Other sites which await visits from the Corps include:

  • 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.
Finally, the following sites can also be seen on the map of the kingdom, but no diplomats have been sent to them as yet:

  • 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

I'll never read Planescape's prose the same way again

From Steve Roud's discussion of Cockney rhyming slang in his excellent London Lore: The Legends and Traditions of the World's Most Vibrant City:
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.