No plan survives contact with the players. I was fortunate enough to be a part of the Pregame for Dice for Brains Season 4 some time ago, a method that GM Ross uses to populate the story with interesting NPCs and setting details. We were told we were to be data pirates, and the assumption going in was that we were going to be (possibly nefarious) antagonists for the main characters of Season 4. That . . . wasn’t exactly what happened. The crew of the Lost and Found operated in the background as Mor’a, Darlene, and Lon tried to complete their own job, only the L&F‘s Captain Zaja meeting them openly. In this five-part Table Fiction we’ll see how that crew came together and how they became what helped shape the events on Centares. Our tale is from the perspective of one Klatooinian thief, and begins on the Smuggler’s Moon . . .
A few years ago, I was eager to chat with a friend regarding a popular movie franchise (one involving a wisecracking raccoon). While I gushed I can remember joking that Rocket Raccoon was “(Character’s Name Redacted) Spirit Animal”, to which he responded “Dude, Rocket is your spirit animal!”
Now, in real life, that is hardly the case. But as I’ve thought back on it, a lot of my characters had fallen around that pattern: a cocky, wisecracking, tech-focused character who was more than willing to risk the overall safety of the party to make things “interesting”. Looking back, I had seen the original Guardians of the Galaxy film just as I had started a character in Edge of the Empire, and it bled through.
Having players choose pre-existing characters from works of fiction to serve as models for their own is a fairly common occurrence. In fact, clones of Drizzt Do’Urden became so popular that its use has been parodied (in Order of the Stick and Goblins, just to name two). For that matter, historical figures are fairly common. A lot of people want to play their version of Rommel or the Red Baron.
A rookie Warden, a wizard assigned to protect the city against supernatural threats, receives his first assignment. The last known priestess of an ancient order devoted to fighting the unholy comes to terms with both her powers and with living with one foot in the old country and another in America. A changeling journalist seeks out stories to trade for protection, hoping to buy enough to keep her Fae mother at bay. A grad student, who is a member of a secret society at least as old as the United States, disguises his supernatural research as part of the studies for his degree. Meet the Party brings you ready-to-play characters, complete with backgrounds and relationships, for use both in your own games and as inspiration for creating characters of your own! This week, we have a group of supernatural investigators in the (possibly ironically named) City of Brotherly Love: Philadelphia!
So why does one play an RPG? Why do we live and die by the dice?
Some people love rules. Their hearts desire to crunch numbers, using and exploiting the respective systems they play in order to deliver maximum “l33t Ub3r Pwn4g3” as the kids say, or at least used to say like 13 years ago. The characters they create are vessels to deliver the sweet stats and abilities they’ve selected and lovingly crafted. Players like this focus on the “G” in “RPG”.
Others focus on the “RP”. They love the escape. They love getting lost in characters and stories, and the stats and skill trees are just there as a vessel to get into the headspace of another person.
This post is in essence an extension of the latter. In a departure from this blog’s usual fare, I present to you, the reader, a story in two parts. This story takes place in the Dresdenverse, that is to say the universe of Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files series of urban fantasy novels and accompanying Fate-based RPG, appropriately named The Dresden Files Roleplaying Game. It takes place in the year 1937, and it’s from the perspective of a certain famous author.
And for those who enjoy a s’more, (some crunch with their fluff, get it? Food jokes. Man, we’re killing it right now.) at the end we’ve included a ready-to-use character sheet for your own Dresden Files RPG campaign.
With that, pour yourself a brandy, a hot cup of tea, a Faygo, or whatever you would normally pour yourself, and enjoy “Probation”.
Rating: PG-13 for brief language.
A spy and scout for the Rebellion who has picked up a number of strays with his ship. An old soldier who had found a living as a doctor, returning to the fight to atone for past deeds. A survivor from an extinguished Order, stealing to survive. A former star of an Imperial Academy, forced to flee because of a secret she did not even know she possessed. Meet the Party brings you ready-to-play characters, complete with backgrounds and relationships, for use both in your own games and as inspiration for creating characters of your own. This time we’re destined for the dark times between the death of the Republic and the rise of the Alliance, as we create Star Wars Roleplaying characters using Dawn of Rebellion!
A fallen aristocrat who hunts for renewed glory for her family at the edges of space. A meek corporate citizen who watched his life ripped away. A wounded vet, once marked for greatness, who looks to find her purpose once more. A wealthy artist, looking desperately rekindle his creative spark and renew his fame’s upward trajectory. A talented scout who is looking to turn his abysmal luck around, and might have found a family along the way. Meet the Party strives to create ready-to-play characters for a variety of systems and settings, both for your use and to inspire you in making characters of your own. This week, we will be taking a look at a recent update to a classic with an impressive number of die-hard advocates: Mongoose Traveller!
A woman born into squalor whose determination and aptitude for violence moved her from the most obvious career paths as she forges a crew of her own. A grifter with a knack for playing roles above his station perhaps a bit to well, and who might just be living a con of his own. A street child with a knack for getting where she is not supposed to, who is finding that she must choose between the old ways of her people and the new life they are building for themselves in Duskwall. A mad arsonist, who’s inventions, as terrifying as they are, can prove to be incredibly useful…if you don’t find yourself experimented on first. Meet the Party strives to create ready-to-play characters for a variety of systems and settings, both for your use and to inspire you in making characters of your own. This week, we will be taking a look at the award winning indie tabletop game Blades in the Dark from our friends over at Evil Hat Productions.
Welcome back to Level One Wonk, where new campaign day is every day! Starting scenarios run a huge gamut in role-playing games, but it’s the tropey tired ones that continue to haunt the institutional memory of this hobby. “You all meet in a tavern” has steadily been replaced by “you all wake up in prison”, but the fact remains that establishing a campaign introduction without player input makes you vulnerable to these and other contrivances. There is of course a time and a place for every kind of campaign introduction, but sometimes you want to both get into the stuff your players care about as well as make them care quickly. This is when you want to run a Session Zero.
Welcome back to Level One Wonk, where together we will wonk out on various and sundry gaming topics! Now that you’ve finished gorging yourself on turkey (and maybe checking out some Burning Wheel characters), it’s time to look down that home stretch of the year, get ready for the holiday season, and maybe even make some New Year’s Resolutions. Instead of thinking about the game today, let’s think about the gaming group. While playstyle, system, and campaign all play into a gaming group having fun, there are even more basic structural elements that are key, and it all comes down to who’s doing what.
A strange cultist who everyone ignored until he accidentally summoned a lesser demon. A noblewoman, cast to the nunnery for birthing a bastard and now on the run from a coup. A rebellious participant in said coup, who found his true god within the Cult of the Dead Stars. Meet the Party is jumping systems again, this time generating a trio of unlikely heroes for Burning Wheel!