The Beta Campaign. I made have made previous mention to it in a past article, but what precisely is it? While we at Cannibal Halfling are hardly going to take credit for the idea of running multiple campaigns within a group, I think we owe it to at least mention its benefits. When I initially joined a particular group, through which I met the fellow CH staff, a lot of the focus was on a single campaign. This is not to complain about that, and I had a great deal of fun, but as we keep playing throughout the years there are things that I have noticed as we take on new responsibilities in our lives.
Yar! Yo ho, me hearties yo ho! Today, we are going to be exploring Pirates of Drinax, a supplement and campaign for Mongoose Traveller (we’ve previously done a Meet the Party), where the party is brought in to be privateers…and then allowed to do whatever they want, so long as they are willing to pay the consequences for it!
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.
DeGauss stepped off the bus and shouldered his backpack, another day at Halcyon City High School #5 behind him. The house he walked towards was a curious one, first of all because it looked more like three identical houses joined side-to-side. More curious was that one section looked brand new, a second was currently under construction, and a third looked like it would need repairs soon. Just as DeGauss reached the doorway a desktop computer was thrown through the bay window of the soon-to-need repairs section, followed by a torrent of sulfurous cursing, causing DeGauss to roll his eyes; it must be payday again at Collateral Damage Demo and Construction Co. The young man let himself in and started to make his way to his room when a sultry voice piped up: “Ah, young DeGauss. What did the establishment try to drill into your head at school today?”
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 few years ago, I played in my first (and currently only) GURPS game. It was set in the early Age of Sail, using GURPS rules for tech levels where we had to find a new heir to the crown in Tudor-era England after an explosion kills Henry VIII. The game was, in predictable fashion for my group and the system, a little wacky: the leader of the sailing expedition had neglected to put points in either sailing, swimming or leadership. The doctor was a manic depressive pyromaniac (aboard a wooden ship). Our priest was actively planning to betray the party, and the rest of us learned it, leading to each trying to out-scheme each other. The game never finished, but for all the craziness, I still have fond memories of it.
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.
The party has made it to the throne room of the dark lord, stumbling from wounds and shepherding the last of their spells and strength. As they enter the lord stands up and boasts of how outmatched they are, and it’s hard to argue with him as minions lurk in the shadows. Still, the cleric steps forth to rebuke the dark one – only to gurgle as the tip of a short sword emerges from his chest. As the body falls and party members turn to face the culprit the party rogue holds up his bloody blade and swears fealty to the dark lord. Around the table players turn themselves to face the rogue’s player, voices starting to rise, as he shrugs and says “It’s what my character would do!”
“I’m writing this anonymously, because I’m spilling some secrets that aren’t supposed to slip out. Just know that I’m on the right side of true history – whatever TimeWatch says it is – and I’ve done my best to make that happen. And if I screwed up a few times? Well, no one’s perfect . . .” So begins the blurb on the back of a manuscript that has recently fallen into my hands, a century and change after a TimeWatch agent delivered it for publication and the entire print run vanished months later. It’s been out again for more than a year now, though, so apparently whoever made it vanish from the time stream didn’t manage to do so a second time around. Before history gets rewritten once more and I forget I ever read it, let’s review The Book of Changing Years from Pelgrane Press!
“Welcome to the Halcyon City MegaMall. We are currently experiencing a metahuman event. Please evacuate. Welcome to Halcyon City MegaMall . . .” The standard prerecorded warning announcement echoed through the wide corridors and plazas of the MegaMall, abandoned packages here and there on the floor. The only person in sight was a single extremely bored-looking security guard sitting at an information kiosk, idly flipping through a magazine, apparently heedless of the warning announcement. Aside from the lack of shoppers and scattered goods there was no sign of what sort of event might be going on – until the glass storefront of a shop exploded outwards as CryptoHertz and Spitfire were sent flying backwards through it.