12 RPGs for the 12th Month

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Re: 12 RPGs for the 12th Month

Postby simonpaulburley » 4:01pm on 13 Dec 17

"Realistic" games designed to evoke emotions in me and make me empathise with the unfortunate experiences of others.

This applies to all media, actually. I read, watch and play to escape from the mundanity and negativity of the real world not to revel in it. But RPGs, particularly, have the ability to evoke an emotional response that I wouldn't enjoy. So Grey Ranks, Ribbon Drive, Monsterhearts, Ribbon Drive, Night Witches, Monsegur, Road to Lindesfarne etc. Don't sound like fun to me.
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Re: 12 RPGs for the 12th Month

Postby Neil Gow » 6:14pm on 13 Dec 17

I'm well behind aren't I? OK, deep breath...

Question 1: 1st to 2nd December
You’re running an RPG to introduce new players to the RPG hobby this month. Which game and genre do you choose, and why?

Monsterhearts - the system is simple, the setting is universal and the amount of monster is easily dialed up or down.
I'm doing this at the moment with my partner and she's loving it. Or D&D, because there's no reason why people now cannot learn the same way I did in the coal shed.


Question 2: 3rd to 4th December
Which genre tropes that come up in an RPG genre of your choice do you love, and never get tired of? Why do you love them?

Big fan of urban fantasy and therefore a big fan of the hidden reality/city within a city thing that comes with it

Question 3: 5th to 6th December
You’re building a fantasy setting for the RPG of your choice. Which ingredients do you put in? Which “standard fantasy” elements would you choose to leave out?

I'm going to be THAT person and say, delete all+don't replace; the gaming world doesn't need another fantasy setting.

Question 4: 7th to 8th December
Tell me about your character in an RPG you’re currently playing, or have played this year.

Morgan Morrigan, the winter fae vessel of the once powerful Irish goddess of the same name. Three personalities; the spunky DJ, the 'Shakespeare in the Park' warrior and the scary-as-hell The Ring style prophet/healer. In stressful situations her personality changes randomly. Chaos ensues.

Question 5: 9th to 10th December
You’re running a historical or alt-historical game. What place and time in history do you choose? Are you including fantastical elements of any sort, and if so, what?

You need to ask? Seriously? OK, apart from the obvious, I would be doing the Crimean War in Space

Question 6: 11th to 12th December
Do you follow any particular RPG authors? Which RPG authors have works you admire, and what are their stand-out pieces of work?

Follow? Nope. There are literally dozens of RPG authors who have produced work that I admire so too many to mention really without contravening the first answer!

Question 7: 13th to 14th December
Is there an RPG genre which you sort of like but gives you severe mental blocks. What do you like about it? What are your mental blocks?

Anything vaguely 'oriental' does nothing for me and I can never remember names. I'm been playing the new L5R and I just make up nicknames for the cards rather than remember their actual names. And, of course, anything with Cthulhu on it.....
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Re: 12 RPGs for the 12th Month

Postby ragr » 8:02pm on 13 Dec 17

I don't really have any genres that qualify; there are genres I don't like but that's not the question.

I'm going to choose a game rather than a genre, although it might be a genre of its own; witty fantasy maybe.

The Dying Earth. I really enjoy Vance's novels and a run through of the rpg would be fantastic. But what if we can't quite capture that strange bonhomie and reckless banter. What if it just became another old fantasy game? I couldn't bear it.

What's weird is I don't even really like intentionally humorous fiction, but there's just something captivating about Vance's novels. I think this is just one to read and frown over.
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Re: 12 RPGs for the 12th Month

Postby Darran » 11:43pm on 13 Dec 17

Question 7: 13th to 14th December
Is there an RPG genre which you sort of like but gives you severe mental blocks. What do you like about it? What are your mental blocks?


It is going to be Star Trek for me.
I first looked at the FASA rule books back in the early 1980’s with the buzz about the Wrath of Khan and tried to get a game going but we just ended up doing the Star Fleet battles with the miniatures.

Now I look at the new games but I think I would struggle with the ‘squeaky clean’ Star fleet officers and the other species are too one dimensional for me.
I like my spaceships to have ashtrays! ;)
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Re: 12 RPGs for the 12th Month

Postby Stronty Girl » 10:02pm on 14 Dec 17

Question 7: 13th to 14th December
Is there an RPG genre which you sort of like but gives you severe mental blocks. What do you like about it? What are your mental blocks?


And following on from Darren... it's Star Wars for me. I can accept the Star Wars universe when it is on the screen, but it has always felt horribly broken in games (and in some novels). There is too much You really didn't think this through, did you? in the setting, and having Jedi makes it too unbalanced.
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Re: 12 RPGs for the 12th Month

Postby thenovalord » 11:55pm on 14 Dec 17

Neil Gow

You need to ask? Seriously? OK, apart from the obvious, I would be doing the Crimean War in Space



Sweet
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Re: 12 RPGs for the 12th Month

Postby James Mullen » 10:32am on 15 Dec 17

Question 8: 15th to 16th December
Talk about your typical approach to preparation for running an RPG. Is there a particular method you generally follow? What use do you make of published setting or adventure material, if any?


  • Think of a starting point for a story ("You're cops who get called to a murder scene... but the victim turns out to be something inhuman.")
  • Decide which system best fits that elevator pitch (Dead of Night, PrimeTime Adventures, one of my own games, etc)
  • Decide whether to use pre-gens or group character creation; if the former, pre-gen the characters.
  • Jot down a few notes on locations/characters/scenes/twists I would like to see
  • Find a place, a time and some players: play it.
  • If it worked, polish the game up a bit for playing it again with other groups in the future, adding more detail and building upon what took place in the first session.

I will use published settings, sometimes, but I usually prefer to put my own stamp on them instead of stick within the material provided by the publishers; I will almost never, ever use a published scenario or adventure material, because I prefer character-lead/driven stories and there's no predicting how any given player will portray their character.
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Re: 12 RPGs for the 12th Month

Postby Polar Blues » 1:21pm on 15 Dec 17

Question 8: 15th to 16th December
Talk about your typical approach to preparation for running an RPG. Is there a particular method you generally follow? What use do you make of published setting or adventure material, if any?


It's chaos, definitely a weak spot in my game. I can improvise but I don't enjoy it but I am very inefficient in how a prep and easily distracted. I am not one of those lucky people who can multi-task, planning game stuff with one side of their brain while the other side is busy at work or talking to their significant other. Basically if I don't sit with a notebook or computer and say "OK, now I am working on game prep" it does not happen.

As for published adventures, I do use them form time to time as a source for ideas or specific detail. But they are just as much effort to "fix" and internalise as creating an entirely new adventure, just a different kind of effort.

For an ongoing campiagn it get's easier. The fact that you by then you know the player characters and have things in motion already makes it easier to just nudge things forward. Eventually I do land on a "method" to prep but that tends to be specific to that campaign.
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Re: 12 RPGs for the 12th Month

Postby simonpaulburley » 9:44am on 16 Dec 17

Prep?

Almost all of my gaming is at conventions, remember.

So:

1) write RPG rules that aren't "clever" and require less prep.
2) self publish them to give them some legitimacy
3) about three months before a convention, when they're asking for games, come up with a cool idea and submit it.
4) forget it.
5) suddenly remember on the train down and hurriedly scribble some notes in an old exercise book.
6) mentally modify during the character creation phase to steal the great ideas from the players at the table.
7) busk the first session.
8] if it doesn't work and/or the lack of prep shows, scrap the adventure.
9) if it works, write it up a bit more neatly and run it again at another convention.
10) eventually type it up properly and drop it into a published product.

I don't tend to write my own adventures for The Black Hack. Why bother when there's so many good ones already out there? I reasurect my favourite old D&D adventures from the 80's - TSR, White Dwarf or Dragon. (There are loads sitting in Imagine waiting to re-emerge.) And, of course, I may have mentioned, occasionally, in passing, that my simple introductory game uses a mini-dungeon downloaded from YouTube.
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Re: 12 RPGs for the 12th Month

Postby ragr » 12:56pm on 16 Dec 17

I pretty much exclusively use published scenarios and campaigns so get an awful amount of use out of them. The main reasons are related to prep time which I'm generally short of.

My prep routine consists of a couple of full reads of the material well ahead of running and then a follow-up read of the sections likely to feature in a session a day or two prior to the play. I sometimes worry that I haven't read far enough ahead and will fall short of the play but in reality that seldom happens. I do tend to encourage myself to take notes regarding the scenario but I never actually do except when it comes to rules regarding a particular scene or activity; I think the notes thing is something I feel I should be doing, like it's a GM responsibility but, to date, a lack of notes has never caused any real problem during play; this might be a benefit of playing online games and I might get caught out one day when playing f-t-f. One advantage I do have in some games is a player or two who will actively post notes online which alleviates the need for me to spend time summarising the previous events; these players are an absolute godsend. In the absence of such a player I'll normally post a paragraph summary online prior to the session.

This routine works fairly well for me and only starts to get a little fraught when circumstances conspire for a couple of games to be starting up at around the same time; a position I've been in recently with the commencement of an Esoterrorists campaign with a shedload of information at the start and a 13th Age game with an unfamiliar setting and some rules tweaks to get my head around.
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Re: 12 RPGs for the 12th Month

Postby thenovalord » 1:12pm on 16 Dec 17

Question 7

Star wars for me too. Fine to watch, but doesn't translate well to a role-playing group. The movies have numerous groups scattered across the galaxy at the same time. Ultimate splitting the party. Very difficult to duplicate in a social game setting

Modern era games I don't get on with either. I wouldn't know where to start to run one!
Last edited by thenovalord on 1:21pm on 16 Dec 17, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: 12 RPGs for the 12th Month

Postby thenovalord » 1:16pm on 16 Dec 17

Question 8.
An idea will pop into my head, sometimes inspired by various media.
I then think how to make it into a game.
Then I'll rummage through previous scribblings, published stuff to see what I can adapt/steal.
Then I'll try and pull it together with as little effort as possible!!!!
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Re: 12 RPGs for the 12th Month

Postby Stronty Girl » 2:00pm on 16 Dec 17

Question 8: 15th to 16th December
Talk about your typical approach to preparation for running an RPG. Is there a particular method you generally follow? What use do you make of published setting or adventure material, if any?


Stage 1: Think of the core idea, and the PC or NPC it centres around. Scrawl a few notes on this on whatever scrap of paper I have to hand.
Stage 2: Get distracted by other Real Life stuff.
Stage 3: Realise that I have to run a game in a couple of weeks, and sit down to do more work on it. Expand on the notes, then decide I need to research something on the interweb.
Stage 4: Research stage. Get the facts I need but get distracted by some other random cool facts for future plots (e.g. there is a 'machines graveyard' in Chernobyl from which several highly irradiated helicopters have disappeared - that is so going in a Dr Who game as a machines coming to life plot!) or by cool pictures (e.g. I needed some 'alien looking' caves for reference pics, and spent aeons admiring this artist's carved caves on various websites https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/ra-paulette-s-hand-carved-caves. I've modified the plot of the original game slightly to justify using these as reference pics!).
Stage 5: Realise I've got so many notes on so many bits of paper and files I'm losing track. Draw myself a flowchart of how all the encounters/scenes link together, to get it all straight in my head, and make sure there are no 'dead ends' or railroady chains of events.
Stage 6: Draw maps if needed.
Stage 7: Realise the game is getting very close.
Stage 8:Re-write or type the notes so all the relevant info is clumped together, rather than being scattered across a dozen different bits of paper. Fill in more details (e.g. give all the NPCs and towns names) as I'm doing this.
Stage 9: Run the game, still with a chunk of plot in my head rather than on paper.
Stage 10: Modify the plot and notes based on how that first game ran. Modify maps if needed, based on player feedback.
Stage 11: Run the game again at a later date, for another group.
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Re: 12 RPGs for the 12th Month

Postby Darran » 2:32pm on 16 Dec 17

Question 8: 15th to 16th December
Talk about your typical approach to preparation for running an RPG. Is there a particular method you generally follow? What use do you make of published setting or adventure material, if any?


    Pick a TV show or film to set the game in.
    Write a random blurb about the scenario.
    Research the hell out of the setting.
    Generate the player characters from the lead characters in said media.
    Make the character sheets pretty.
    Work out an opening scene to start the scenario.
    Make up six NPCs to help or hinder the PCs.
    Bake for three months at gas mark 5 to fix in my mind.
    A couple of weeks before final grilling, make props and handouts.
    Run!
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Re: 12 RPGs for the 12th Month

Postby Stronty Girl » 1:17pm on 17 Dec 17

Question 9: 17th to 18th December
You're planning to run some science fiction, in a setting of your choice. Is there any particular technology you want to include because the possibilities intrigue you. Is there any standard piece of “future technology” you’d rather leave out?


Like to include:
1. Genetic engineering and/or cloning - I think I posted recently about how I like to have a 'man-made' underclass in SF games, such as uplifted animals or Blade Runner style replicants, for the moral dilemma or themes of oppression and racism. I'm also a biologist by training, so am intrigued by (realistic-ish) biotech solutions to problems.
2. At the moment I am very enamoured by 3D printing in my game. It's like having a Star Trek style replicator, but you have to sit around drinking a cup of tea (earl grey, hot) while waiting for your new telly/diamond necklace/klystron generator to be printed. It makes equipment lists and resupply very different.
"Can I have a...?"
"Yeah, Amazon will print one off and deliver it at lunchtime."


Rather leave out:
Scanners which can tell you how many 'lifeforms' (i.e. people and monsters, but not bacteria or butterflies) are in that ship/base/old mine working from a squillion kilometres away, and even which rooms they are in, what they are wearing and what they had for lunch. I don't mind the SF equivalent of a modern drone using thermal imaging, or Mr Spock using his tricorder from a few feet away, but I resent 'magic tech' which destroys all the mystery before you've got near the plot.
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