Sunday, August 26, 2012

Ok, maybe I can get behind that / Promethean: The Created

I had a flick through my copy of Promethean: The Created this morning, and didn't hate it.
Well, I've never hated it, but I've not loved it either.
I was excited when it came out. I thought it'd be a bit ... I dunno... More.
I thought there would be more than animated corpses, specifically.
I get the Frankenstein's Monster angle, the perverse and ungodly spawn of mortal hubris, but that's where it ends.
If you're going to have a Golem inspired monster, then why not just have a Golem. Nope, instead we have an animated corpse commonly confused for a Golem.

I thought the game would have the following:
Reanimated Corpses - AKA Frankenstein's Monster
Animated Statues - AKA Golems
Robots - AKA Um, Robots, maybe Data from ST:NG
Dolls, Toys and Puppets - AKA Pinocchio
Clones / Bio-Engineered Humanoids - AKA Tyrell Corp. Replicants
Artificial Intelligences (AI) - AKA Skynet, although I'd use this one as an antagonist rather that a player option.

Promethean does have Clones as an antagonist option, and I believe that Robots feature in one of the supplements, but it's still not what I was looking for.
I firmly believe that the central theme of pursuing mortality and the threats of Disquiet etc are still relevant with the options I listed above, and this disappointment has coloured how I think about the game for years.

This morning I had a look at it with fresh eyes, though, and didn't find myself wanting to completely rewrite it. I just accepted things as they were. Much better.

I still think it'd be a hard sell to potential players - you're a monster who everyone hates, who rots and discolours the very earth and the surrounding environment if you stay too long there, and you are trying to become Human.
I only think Wraith: The Oblivion would be a harder sell.

Monday, August 13, 2012

And now, a short interlude / No messages from our sponsors

I've started getting crappy spam replies recently, so I've reluctantly switched captcha back on.
Believe you me, I hate it too, but not as much as spam...

Embrace the 21st Century and all its technological wonders / RPG apps? Yes please

The new game by Monte Cook, currently being Kickstarted via the link below, comes with an Android/iPhone app to assist with character creation and gameplay.

How good is that?!
And how... Unusual.

RPGs have been flirting with electronic and online play aids for years now, from virtual game boards to dice rollers, from PDF rulebooks to NPC generators.
I have tried out a number of different RPG apps for my Android phone, yet none have been official.
Not that I wouldn't buy an official app, I've just not seen one.

This is the thing... I don't get why there aren't any official apps out there.
I'd buy them. My gaming group would buy them. Apps are usually cheap, and they save a helluva lot of space. I just need my phone, not a bag o' stuff.

I would explicitly pay for any of the following official apps from White Wolf, Pelgrane Press, Paizo, WotC and the indie game press:

Virtual character sheets
Character generators
Dice rollers
Resource managers - Initiative / Health / Items
Rules and quick references
NPC generators
Campaign trackers

I think there's a market for this stuff - if there wasn't, then there wouldn't be so much fan material available - and I think that RPG publishers are missing a trick.

Numenera: A new roleplaying game from Monte Cook by Monte Cook — Kickstarter

Friday, August 10, 2012

Blocking is for chumps / Late to the Skyrim party

I'm late to this party, by about a year, so I apologise for the total lack of news flashes.
I am, however, going to talk about what I've learnt (decided) so far.

1. Blocking is for chumps, dual wielding is where it's at. As far as I can tell, the trick is to not let them get close enough to hit you.

2. Forget racial stat boosts, I want to see in the dark. I played about an hour of Oblivion, not including character creation, and soon realised that I couldn't see for shit roughly half the time. Solution: Khajit. I don't give a monkey's about cat-man cuteness, or claw attacks or bonuses to sneaking (ok, I care a bit about that). What I do care about is being able to see the goblin dog fuck that's just jumped me in the cave.

3. Cleanse with Fire! So far, a five second burst of flame has solved every single problem I've had. Hands down. I'm hoping that there's a "take off and nuke the site from orbit" spell later on.
I suspect that I'm screwed when I meet a foe with some level of fire resistance.

4. Beauty gets you killed. More precisely, stopping to admire the stunning visuals usually means that you're about to get ganked, like a tourist in Glasgow.

5. Minions are kinda cool. I've a guy called Sven following me around. Far as I can tell, his main functions are: distract foes, get in the way of my Flame blasts, stare at me with his piercing blue eyes. He got killed by a giant spider, and I was unexpectedly sad. I missed him. Luckily I was ganked by a group of Druegar (is that right?) and we were happily reunited in the save game.
But we're not a couple.

6. I am totally indecisive. Thief? Warrior? Mage? I'm racially predisposed to stealth, chose a combat blessing and use magic in every encounter. I'm conflicted. I've leveled up a couple of times, and upped my Magica and Health. It's Stamina next.

Admittedly, I'm yet to reach level 3, and I'm still on my first quest, so most of this is probably wrong... Actually, no. I'm adjusting the difficulty down a notch, so I can play like a n00b. Fuck it.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

How the Virtual Adepts have upped my game / Social Media in RPG

I am on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn, Instagram, Blogger and, um, email, I guess.
When I don't have a data connection on my Android Cell, I get itchy.
People could be communicating... without me!
I probably have a problem. A 21st Century addiction, no doubt.

I do love it when I can legitimately use social media, though, as I'm sure thousands of graduates the world over do when they say "I can set up the businesses Twitter feed, no worry".
I have been running Aberrant for my gaming group recently. It's been going very well. I finally get Aberrant, after 12 years, and can run it confidently.
The players have fully embraced their characters and the setting as well.

My gaming group, being consummate nerds, have always used internet tools to communicate. We originally used Google Groups to organise, share and discuss our games, then moved onto Facebook messages, because, like it or not, we're all on Facebook.
With Aberrant, though, the most delightful thing has happened.

In-Character profiles, status updates and fan pages. It's ace.

May players have set up:
Solar Flair's Official Facebook page and Twitter feed.

The Adonis' Facebook page

A Facebook page for Dan Peterson, the best friend of Max Control

In return, I've set up a Facebook page for a recurring antagonist, Arnold Deekus, as well as a Twitter feed for him ( @deus_rex_ad ), and a local news Twitter feed - @pulsecitynews

The end result is great fun. I've been running downtime activities and in character interactions using a mix of Facebook and Twitter status updates, Facebook messages, texts and emails, which has borne strange fruit, and definitely furthered the plot.

We're taking a break from Aberrant whilst I recharge my GM batteries, and someone else is running Black Crusade. We have been told that, unfortunately, Chaos Marines do not blog.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Platform 14, Piccadilly Train Station, Manchester / The joys of hardcopy RPG books

Platform 14 is a pretty inauspicious platform, as far as these things go. The only remarkable thing that can really be said about it is that it's the only North facing platform at Piccadilly... If you want to go North of Manchester - Bolton, Wigan, Liverpool, Preston, Chorley - you travel from there.

To me, though, it holds an additional significance, one I am reminded off every time I step on it.
When I bought my copy of Vampire: the Masquerade Revised Edition, I sat on Platform 14 and started reading it.
For years, whenever I bought a new gaming book, it was here that I'd get my first proper look.
When I was running my V:tM campaign, it was here that I'd first read through a source book and think about how I could use it in the game.
I remember each of the clan splat books, the Dark Ages: Mage Infernalism book (oddly, this one really stands out in my mind), World of Darkness: Sorcerer, The Time of Thin Blood book (the exact name escapes me right now), all read on Platform 14.

All of this is now long gone, of course. I catch my trains from another station. I don't have the semi-disposable income I used to (whilst I can make the conscious decision to spend my grocery money on a book and not have lunch for a week, my family get really pissed if I apply that to them). Hardcopy RPG books are scaling down to near non-existentence, and the brick & mortar stores along with them.

I miss the old days. I miss being able to walk into a shop, buy a book and then read it on the way home.