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!
After over a dozen years of playing tabletop RPGs and nearly as many systems, I got excited about a new game. I had played fantasy and sci-fi and supernatural and post-apocalyptic games, but here was one for my favorite genre, horror (the names and faces of the games have been withheld because this is not a review). The problem I ran into was that I couldn’t find anybody who wanted to run the damn game. Then one day my boyfriend suggested to me that *I* run it. Oh boy. So now I was a Game Master (GM). What exactly had I gotten myself into? Let me tell you a bit about some things I learned in my first forays into GMing. I promise you’ll make your own mistakes, but maybe you can at least avoid mine.
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!
I have a confession to make: I am a massive fanboy for the Dresden Files. A few years ago, I was having a rough summer: I had broken up with a long term girlfriend, I was finding out that my degree was worth less than I thought it was worth, and I was preparing to move to Philadelphia, a city where I knew absolutely no one. And in that time, I finally had the chance to read a book series that I had heard fellow nerds go on about. As I visited a new city with crammed together townhouses, a decidedly different attitude, and loads of history, it became fun to look for ogres under train trestles, secret societies in Independence Hall, and ways to dig into a city where strange but wonderful things lurked.
A hunter of vermin who’s eyeing much larger prey for her flail to be used on. An old squire without her knight, looking for some vengeance and maybe some glory. A bounty hunter chasing down the biggest score of her life. A coachwoman just trying to make her way along the roads with the strangest group of passengers she’s ever moved. Meet the Party is adding a new system to its collection, but this time the dice are the ones making the choices. That’s right, we’ve got randomly generated characters hoping to survive in the dark, cruel world of Zweihander. It looks like they just might, too: these are some tough ladies!
I met our own Level One Wonk via a gaming group that actually spends most of its time playing games online; although the core of original members were all playing together in college, these days they (now we) primarily play over Skype/Twiddla/Google+/etc. However, starting six years ago, we have all gathered together in Delaware once a year to trade stories, raise a few glasses, and play a bunch of games over the course of a long weekend. I’m writing this in Delaware, most of our way through Beach Weekend VI (which I suppose could also, given that the pair of us did most of the GMing, be thought of as Cannibal Halfling Con I), and I’ve definitely learned a few things over the years about turning tabletop roleplaying into a marathon affair.
Are you a Butt-Kicker, a Specialist, or a Story-Teller? There is a huge world of games out there to satisfy every player’s and group’s style. And while there are academic discussions in every corner of the internet, sometimes it’s best to start at level one. Join the Level One Wonk in exploring the possibilities that RPGs have to offer, from Aberrant to Zorcerer of Zo. Today we go back to the wonkiness of RPG histories and take a look at Shannon Appelcline’s Designers and Dragons!
When it comes to playing any tabletop RPG, it’s all about the story. Maybe that story is simple, with a certain amount of murderhobo-ing, minimal ‘story’ in the traditional sense, and lots of loot spent on getting better at being a murderhobo. Maybe that story is quite complex, with character development, multiple arcs, themes and motifs and the like. No matter what, it’s a story of sorts, and everyone around the table is telling it. But what about when parts of that story have been told by someone else? Not just things you’ve used to inspire your game, no. I mean, how does playing in a pre-established setting change things and challenge your group?
Welcome to System Split! Here we’ll examine two very similar systems to see what sets them apart. When the genre, complexity, and even rules system are exactly the same, what makes a game unique? Let’s kick this off by looking at Cyberpunk in the Powered by the Apocalypse system with The Sprawl and The Veil!
Brought on the scene with Apocalypse World in 2010, Powered by the Apocalypse (PbtA) is an indie darling. Apocalypse World itself is a wonderful and incredibly atmospheric game, and the underlying framework has further cemented the game’s popularity and helped propel an entire subgenre of new games. With so many designers embracing the PbtA system, it’s no surprise that Apocalypse World has spawned multiple approaches to popular genres like Cyberpunk.
Among the hustle and bustle of a Sunday crowd of a certain PAX East, I found myself running to and fro through the tabletop area. It was the only day I was able to attend, and I had actually been somewhat forced to go by loved ones because life had sprung some nasty surprises recently (a long story for another time, perhaps), so I was determined to see and do as much as I could. As I actually rushed out of the tabletop area for a panel I came across an old friend from high school I hadn’t seen in a while; we exchanged greetings and well-wishes, then went our separate ways. After that weekend he got in touch, expressing a regret that he’d never gotten to play D&D and that he was wondering if I could help him out with that. Sure enough, I was able to put together a group, and we started playing. That was in 2013. The party reached Level 24 this past Wednesday.