Category Archives: Uncategorized

Across the Pond

Wow, it’s been several months since I posted here. My life took a pretty crazy turn, and I just totally lost focus on this blog.

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So… I moved to London at the end of June for my job. That not only threw a kink in my gaming life, but kind turned my whole life on it’s ear. But now I’m finally settled, and London is starting to feel like home. I was really lucky to have latched on to an acquaintance from the Fate Core Google+ community, Tom, who lived near London. He and his wife have quickly become dear friends of me and my wife. So now I’m trying to establish a new life for myself here in the London RPG scene. This has been one of the most stressful experiences of my life, but things are finally starting to settle in and I feel like we’re finally starting to have fun, and are starting to call this place home.

Pubs Instead of Stores
First of all, there aren’t a ton of gaming stores here, or at least I haven’t been terribly successful in finding them. But, unlike the US, the FLGS’s aren’t really the hubs of gaming activity that they are in the US. Most just don’t have much room, so they aren’t able to host game nights and such. Thus, there are lots of clubs (some sponsored by stores, many not) where folks meet up and play games. Meetup.com has been a great way for us to connect with different fun groups. Many of these groups meet in pubs, rather than stores, which I thought was brilliant! Tom introduced me to a great little group called London Indiemeet which get together regularly to play indie RPG’s. It’s usually a short night of one-shots. I’ve gone twice now and run something in Fate. My first game was a game of Faeries, using Fate Accelerated, which was good fun, and the second time I ran Secret of Cats, which had just come out. I should probably write a whole post on the Cats game.

Time Zones
I’ve had plans to try and continue my Fate Deadlands game with the crew from theRPGAcademy.com and my home Dragonriders game over Roll20.net, but timezones are making that really difficult. The East Coast US is 5 hours behind me here, and my old home back in Utah is 7 hours behind, so it makes things really tough.

So What Am I Doing?
I’m still playing lots of Play by Post games, and the recent release of D&D 5E has created lots of fun stuff going on on that front. I’m determined to get some regular games started over here, but it hasn’t happened yet. I’m planning to go to a London convention called Dragonmeet, and probably run a game or two. I’m doing some solo play of a party through the D&D 5E adventure Lost Mine of Phandelver, just to get a feel for how some stuff works. I’m still fiddling with Fate-relates stuff a lot.

So anyways, I’m still alive and rolling dice here on the other side of the pond. I’m starting to like it here, and I’m starting to adapt to the different culture, gaming and otherwise. I’ll try to start posting here on the blog more often again.

Cheers!

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Deadlands Fate – Session 5

Deadlands Fate

See the Deadlands Fate Collection HERE.

This session was recorded and you can hear it at theRPGAcademy.com. It was divided up over two episodes.

Episode 6 – The Searchers… of the Barn

Episode 7 – Mcabre and Mrs. Wessell

What Happened?

The first portion of this session (Episode 6) picked up directly where the previous session had left off, on the front porch of the Wessell ranch house. Sebastian continued hitting on Lizzie, while Martin and Jonah interacted more with Samuel and Jared. They agreed to stay for the next day and help with some repairs around the ranch in exchange for a lodgings and food before they headed off on their way.

Things settled into exploration mode as the PC’s started checking things out. My goal here was to make things seem completely normal, but make the players totally paranoid. This first half was all interaction role playing. The action finally came with the climax in the second half.

Jonah made the acquaintance of Lizzie’s shy but charming little daughter, Annie. He also got a strong hint that Jared was a bad dude. This scene was just freaking adorable, and was a nice contrast to the otherwise dark tone of the campaign.

We got some wonderful insights into Martin’s background and personality as he hung out in the barn with Eric and the lonely cow, Bessie. I really wanted to bring out more of his backstory, since he’d sort of just been the random holy man that had hooked up with the other two. He really won over Eric in this scene.

Sebastian kept working his way into Lizzie’s skirts, but got sabotaged by Jonah. Good times.

They found the slaughter room behind the locked door in the barn (it is a ranch, after all!), which was more than a little creepy, but completely understandable. But they also realized that for a ranch, there seemed to be a distinct lack of livestock, aside from Bessie. There was a delightful sense of paranoia at this point, but no one could really put a finger on why. Scott was the most vocal, and I was just loving it!

The next morning they woke up to a fabulous breakfast being served. The meat was very unusual, and Eric stormed out, and Annie seemed noticeably depressed. What was hilarious was that Scott was freaking out, calling out his suspicions about the meat, but didn’t let it change Martin’s actions. He had actually pinned the tail on the donkey, but I just kept my cool and kept moving forward.

Breakfast came to an abrupt halt when Eric’s friend Steve came crawling down the stairs headfirst, (thump thump! thump thump!), which got everyone’s attention. Only when he pulled himself far enough forward past the stairs did I reveal that his legs had been amputated, and only bloody bandaged stumps were left. Quickly putting 2 and 2 together, the PC’s sprung to their feet and Sebastian had his guns drawn.

A fight broke out in the dining room that was pretty cool, involving flipping tables, running out the front chased by a freight train named Jared, and some fancy gun work from Sebastian. I handled the Wessell family  very loosely in this conflict, shooting from the hip on skill levels and some simple Aspects as I felt they made sense. From my prep, I had a basic idea of what made each tick, so it wasn’t too hard at all.

During the fight, Jonah ran out of the house, and headed to the barn to burn it down. At this moment I raised the stakes and showed him a horde of zombies descending on the property. There was a unanimous reaction of “Oh shit! I forgot about the ZOMBIES!” I couldn’t have been more pleased with this moment! This was one of those priceless moments where you legitimately surprise your players. The zombies started swarming the ranch busting in through the back kitchen door and windows, and generally making a mess of the conflict in the house.

The entire scene ended with the PC’s running away from the ranch house being overrun with zombies, the barn on fire. I would have liked to spend a little more time in this final scene, but we all had to call it a night, so the end was a little rushed. They now have Eric, a teenage boy, and Annie, a little girl, in tow, which should be all sorts of interesting. I will represent those two as a group Aspect, which I’m sure will see some use.

They are headed to their first legitimate town that we’ve seen since this began, which should dramatically change the nature of their challenges and conflicts. I’ll also use it as a chance to have the players help collaboratively create some of the Places and Faces of the city (a la the City Creation rules from the Dresden Files RPG).

Finding Inspiration

I totally stole this story arc from The Walking Dead video game Season 1 Episode 2 – “Starved for Help”. I knew that none of my players had played that game, so I felt free to steal with impunity. I made quite a few changes to convert the St. John family from Walking Dead to the Wessel family in my game, but I kept to the general premise. It gave me a very clever twist that felt totally in line with our creepy Weird West setting. Honestly, even if any of them had played the game, I think there were enough initial differences to obfuscate the connection until the big reveal at the end.

Lesson – Don’t be afraid to steal ideas. Steal from movies, games, published adventures. Take good ideas wherever you find them, and then twist them to fit in your game.

-Razorstorm


Deadlands Fate – Martín

Deadlands Fate

See the Deadlands Fate Collection HERE.

Martín is one of the PC’s in our Deadlands Fate game.

Tetabiakte Martín Maldonado de Jesús

(tetabiakte means ‘rolling stone’)

yaqui_deer_dancer_poster_by_godzillasmash-d3hh1xb

High Concept:  Tribeless Jesuit Mystic
Trouble:  The specters of those I’ve failed pursue me
I keep one moccasin in many worlds
I always have an allegory
Quick to run

Approaches
Careful +2
Clever
Flashy
Forceful
Quick +1
Sneaky +1

Abilities
Athletic +1
Combative
Mystical +2*
Skilled +1
Social

*Martin uses my simple “Magic in A&A FAE” rules. Mystical is the skill he uses. The skill points he invested in this skill is the cost of the Extra. By default he can only use it to Create Advantages or Overcome Obstacles. Before the game started we came to an understanding of what sorts of things we imagined his magic doing so that we were on the same page. If he ever wanted to use it to attack or defend, he would need to spend a stunt to unlock those actions.

Stunts

Because I know many faces of one truth, I get +2 when I’m Social with religious leaders.

Because the specters of my past relentlessly pursue me, I am never caught by surprise.

Because of my connection with huya anía (the wilderness world), I get a +2 when I am Carefully Mystical to create an advantage from natural environments or unworked plant matter.

Refresh: 3


Chupakabara

Deadlands Fate

See the Deadlands Fate Collection HERE.

This abomination, based on the Chupacabra, is a small gray or brown creature with a vaguely monkey-like appearance, a large head, long arms, and short legs. Its hands and feet end in vicious claws, and it has a round mouth filled with jagged teeth.

I converted this monster from the Deadlands Reloaded Marshals Guide. It is intended to challenge a party of 3 starting Fate PC’s. 

 

Chupakabara

Chupakabara

“Bloodthirsty Chupakabara” “Small Nocturnal Ambusher” “Too Fast to See” “Frenzied Whirlwind of tooth & Claw”

Skills

Fighting +4
Fearsome +3
Stealth +4
Athletics +3

Stunts

Frenzied Whirlwind – Gain a +2 to Fighting Attack without moving and target two or more targets
Blurred Movement – Gain a +2 to Athletic Defense if moved one zone this exchange
Fearsome Screech – Can make Fearsome Create Advantage rolls against all targets in the same zone without splitting shifts.

Stress: 3

Consequences: Mild & Moderate


Deadlands Fate – Jonah Augustus

Deadlands Fate

See the Deadlands Fate Collection HERE.

Jonah is one of the PC’s in our Deadlands Fate game.

Jonah Augustus

Jonah Augustus

High Concept: Gentleman Bounty Hunter
Trouble: City Slicker
I don’t take orders anymore!
I knew you would do that
I blame God
Approaches
Careful +1
Clever +2
Flashy
Forceful +1
Quick
Sneaky
Abilities
Athletic +1
Combative
Influential
Skilled +2
Social +1
Stunts

Because I was a sharpshooter in the Army, I can make a Skilled shot with my rifle when shooting from a distance

Because I am so trained at social interaction and predicting how people will act, I get a +2 when I make a Clever Social interaction to create an advantage.

Because I knew you would do that, I can spend a Fate Point to to take an NPC’s invokes for myself and deny them ability to make any further invokes themselves.

Because I was an Army scout, I get a +2 in physical activity when I Carefully Athleticly Overcome Obstacles.

Refresh: 2


Deadlands Fate – Simple Zombies

Deadlands Fate

See the Deadlands Fate Collection HERE.

This is the standard zombie I’m using in my Deadlands Fate game. I don’t want to reveal their cause yet, but they are very much styled on Walking Dead style zombies. They are meant to be easy to handle, unless they gang up on you. I may make them tougher down the line, if I need, but for now, they are doing their job in this simple form.

deadland_zombies_by_drstein-d4ilmuz

Zombies

Shambling Corpse
Ravenous Appetite
Scent for Blood

Good at: Tracking by smell (+1), Biting (+1)

-Razorstorm


Deadlands Fate – Session 2

Deadlands Fate

See the Deadlands Fate Collection HERE.

We played the second session of our Deadlands Fate game right before the holidays. The recorded podcast of our session is up at theRPGAcademy.com.

Episode 2 – “The Good, the Bad, and the Zombie”

What Happened?

We jumped in right in where we left off the last time, with the dead train passengers rising from the dead. Martine fled from the zombie in his car, shutting him behind a door. He then moved through the train back towards the conductor’s car, where Jonah and Sebastian were. He reached a passenger car and saw the same scene of carnage that the others saw in the passengar car near them. Passengers rising from the dead, eyes glassy, their bodies twisted, attacking the other surviving passengers and Apache raiders alike. At this point the players suddenly thought to ask about the cowgirl they’d seen earlier. I got a big grin on my face as I let them know that in the confusion of the attack, she is nowhere to be seen.

Martine avoids the carnage by climbing on top of the passenger car, at which point he sees the cowgirl on top of the conductor car ahead of him. She swings over the edge of the train, kicking in through a window in a move that would make James Bond proud. She crashes through the window of the conductor car, where Jonah was, kicking the conductor square in the jaw, and immediately pulling her gun on Jonah. She insisted that he hand over Sebastian. To prove just how serious she is, she shoots the conductor in cold blood.

Sebastian was just outside the conductor car, and proceeds to pull a clever trick to send a stream of zombies from the nearby passenger car pouring to the conductor car, but not before Jonah managed to jump out of the way. The zombies attack the Wichita Witch assassin in the conductor car, and the last the group heard was a loud frantic chanting, and then a fiery explosion. Just outside the conductor car, Sebastian agilely makes his way up to the roof of the passenger car, where Martine has also ended up. Jonah was stuck down just outside the conductor car fending off the attacks from the zombies down there, with some assistance from covering fire from Martine up above. He turned a grapple to his advantage and leapt from the backs and shoulders of zombies up to join Martine and Sebastian on top of the passenger car. This whole sequence was pretty badass, and full of pulpy awesomeness.

At this point everyone realized that since the Witch’s explosion, the train was starting to slow down and would presumably stop, with them standing on top of a horde of zombies. Rather than get trapped up there, the heroes opted to leap from the train down a shrubby hill, with Martine’s mystically enhancing the vegetation to cushion their fall. Sebastian and Jonah had a little middair scuffle trying to make the other cushion their fall for them. It was pretty hilarious.

The train continued on down the tracks, carrying the zombies on down the line. We ended with the heroes realizing that they while they had escaped the immediate crisis, they now had a new problem on their hands. They were stranded in the middle of the Arizona desert and were completely unprepared for such a trek.

This was a super fun sequence. I felt like I invoked some legitimate horror at the beginning with the zombies, but things naturally took on a very cinematic and pulpy quality before long. The players started getting a better feel for how Creating Advantages can really be effective. The characters really started coming into sharp focus. And most importantly, everyone seemed to have a great time!

How Did It Work?

Through the train sequence, I established each car as a zone, with the platforms between them also creating another zone. We got into a bit of confusion when Sebastian tried to pull off his trick to sick the zombies from one car on the Wichita Witch Assassin in the other. I had to stop the action and sketch things out roughly (since I’m really not using tactical maps at all) to clear it up. I ended up letting Sebastian’s player, Michael, spend a Fate Point to declare that the doors opened up a certain way to pull it off. I probably made it too easy for his trick to neutralize the Witch, but it was clever, and I was just kinda rolling with stuff. In retrospect, I really like her as a recurring issue, so I’m kind of glad no one actually saw her die.

As Jonah found himself trapped on the platform with the zombies, I planned to ramp up the pressure by progressively stacking a growing teamwork bonus against him. However, he got out of that mess after the second round, so it didn’t really have time to build up that much pressure.

Frankly, there really hasn’t been anything too lethal yet. I’m still feeling my way out for how difficult different things are. A little stress was taken, and a few Fate Points were spent by the players, but there were no Consequences taken, and I didn’t spend any of my Fate Points. This was definitely a session where the “rule of cool” reigned.

I haven’t come up with a good method yet in Roll20.net to keep track visibly of PC stress, Fate Points, and aspects. The character sheets in Roll20 are just inaccessible enough, and awkward enough. Thus far, everyone has their characters on the same Google Doc, which I can easily toggle over to peak at. Not a great solution, but working… sort of.

-Razorstorm