Samstag, 16. Februar 2019

Ultraviolet Grasslands, five sessions in

Ultraviolet Grasslands was Luka Rejec's first larger product on his Patreon and has recently launched on kickstarter. The genre is metal-hurlant-slow-crawl-trading-and-exploring and everything that fits in there. From psionic cats to spectrum satraps to null objects of desire, there is a lot of ... stuff in there without suffocating a referee with too much detail, leaving lots of room for your own stuff. For example, the Ultraviolet Grasslands are the far end of the Rainbowlands, and while there are some tidbits about the various Rainbowlands, it's mostly half sentences or seemingly throw-away remarks that to me feel like an invitation to fill up the gaps and make your own Rainbowlands. Or not, if you're not into that. It's just enough to provide a kaleidoscope of backdrop figments as it stands.

I've been refereeing with the Patreon version for five sessions now and it already is serviceable as is. Most locations fit on a double spread. The setting specific rules are easy and light enough to be bolted on to any game system you want to use (I would recommend using something light and OD&D inspired like Macchiato Monsters or MageBlade! which is what I am using).

What I already built in terms of supporting material

Things I need or want to improve

  • Offer the players more ways to interact with the world. Highlight the exploration angle?
  • Show off more of Luka's awesome artwork
  • Accessing information at the table. I am considering building an index card system. This is obviously not a new idea, I found a blog post covering one way to organize referee information on index cards
  • Make the trading / caravan aspect a more organic part of the game without ripping a traveller-trading-simulations sized hole into it.

Montag, 11. Februar 2019

On Zak

I've been complicit with some of Zaks actions in the RPG community, by defending/rationalizing him in public and private in the past.

I stopped that, unrelatedly, roughly about the time that Mandy Morbid left him, but it was for unrelated reasons, mainly to extricate myself from his system of community manipulation.

I can only ask forgiveness of those that I left standing by their own, failing to be an ally, while I knew about these things.


Montag, 1. Oktober 2018

Two takes on overcasting

One of the common complaints about magic in a Vancian or spellpoint/mana driven system is that casters are awesome while their magic lasts, but useless when it's gone. This led to the idea of the 15-minute-work-day or adventurers (because then everyone rests until the next day) and a general attempt to give casters more caster-like stuff they can do more often (cantrips or whatnot).

Sonntag, 23. September 2018

How to run a continuous game without continuous players (a follow-up)

In I described a bit how I am organizing my current campaign, and a recent discussion on led to some discussions about coherency, emergence of story and other aspects that people assume happens when you do not have the tightly knit group of regular players you "need" to build a "coherent story". That I am putting these into quote marks should give a hint of what I think about this today -- for me it's not necessary at all. What follows are some thoughts on why a game without a stable set of players still can be satisfying in terms of "creating a compelling a narrative" ...

Montag, 23. Juli 2018

How to grow an audience as referee (ineptly)

In a recent G+ Post I wrote about the good problem to have as referee: More players interested in joining your game than you can host in a single session.

Markus Wagner asked me how I did manage to grow the player base, and I answered with
... an open table policy, rewarding attendance nonetheless, player recruiting via special interest Facebook group (English speaking RPGs in Berlin), and word-to-mouth by players.
Sounds simple if written down like that, but I need to unpack a bit because I think each point warrants it's own consideration

Dienstag, 5. Dezember 2017

Mysteriously Missing Monstrosities Pt V: Using the Re-worked Hypogean Travel Shenanigans Tables

Back in May 2017 I wrote about how I re-worked the encounter tables to make them easier to deal with at the table and I ended that post with a promise telling you how this worked out. Using these tables changed a couple things, and some more changes followed a bit later on ...

Samstag, 10. Juni 2017

Quick Review: Macchiato Monsters ZERO (and Extra Shots)

Macchiato Monsters ZERO is a hack of hacks (Black Hack and White Hack, neither of which I know myself). It has some nice mechanics that a both tight and loose, comfortable in a word. The game is complete, has some nice mechanics (I like the death-spirally/doom-clocky risk dice, and the roll all the dice fast equipment generation method). I guess some people will take umbrage with the single-die-roll-combat resolution (players roll and do damage on success/take damage on failure), but I guess that is more about how that feels ... Dungeon World players might feel right at home.

The recently added Extra Shots has a number of referee facing tools that uses the resource die mechanic to have semi-dynamic encounter / event tables: The worse the circumstances, the lower the die size, the worse the result. It's nice that in the current work-in-progress the extra shots each fit one page.

There are also some in-progress die drop tables which are another bunch of tools for quick off-the-cuff prep in the macchiato-fantasy, which is described as "borderlands style" (i.e. exploration of dangerous mostly unknown area, plus safe havens/points of light to return back to).

The map generator deserves extra mention because it is not purely random but somewhat procedural. This promises somewhat more natural looking maps.

Macchiato Monsters is probably the system I will use for short-notice games (at conventions or similar). I am also seriously considering mashing it up with Wonder&Wickedness for a Principalities of Glantri vs. The Grand Schools of the Hypogea spinoff of my current campaign; i.e. Make Total Destroy with Nuclear Powered Lich Mages discovering Hypogean Mana Tar ...
Macchiato Monsters ZERO is available in print from Lost Pages, and in PDF form from OBS