Posted on January 13, 2019
There are a few homebrew rules I made that deviate from the Cypher System rulebook: they’re setting specific stuff like the various magic systems, doin’ stuff on horseback, which is a big part of the genre and reloadin’ guns which we tested in session 2. While they fit the feel of the ol’ Deadlands game, they’re a bit granular for Cypher – Cypher System is more of a broad strokes and low rules kind of a game.
But Shootouts are central to a Western game and in a prolonged gun battle there should be a sense of urgency, which I hope the Reloadin’ rules add to. Players have unlimited ammo, functionally, bookkeeping is for other games. So ammo tension has to come from the limited magazines and not your total fund.
Recap: you declare how many rounds you want to load, that’s your target number (I.e multiply it by three and try to roll under that on a d20). Pass, you succeed, fail you only get one in. It’s a simple mechanic, so it isn’t injecting a whole bunch to remember. The gamble and the all-or-just-about-nothing aspect favours tension over realism, but this ain’t Twilight 2000 compadres.
Rolland tested this out last night as he was working an over-under shotgun during a zombie attack. Unfortunately his rolling was on brand and he fucked up two reloads… OF A DOUBLE BARREL SHOTGUN. This meant he got one shell in and had to decide whether to forgo shooting next turn to load another or just blast away. As it turned out he alternated between pistol shots and shotgun blasts in a way that was thematically EXACTLY WHAT I WAS GOING FOR. I think the idea will get a bit more of a test when someone is trying to stuff their six-shooter in the heat of the moment so we’ll see how it goes then.
There wasn’t much chance to see Hexes or Horse-ridin’ at work last night as they don’t have their horses yet and Bartimus’ Hexes aren’t combat oriented.
Part 2: Hot Coach to the Sheep Station.
The posse found themselves trying to make a fast getaway with a slow cart, with a US Marshall-led posse presumably forming up behind them and their relief horses nowhere in sight. As Curly and Rubber Dan discussed their desperate options, a fast moving four-horse stage came into view.
Curly wasn’t one to usher these folks into a life of crime… but he also believed that they were bank robbers… so… Rubber Dan thought robbing the stagecoach was their best bet of getting quickly away from a vigilante posse likely to come in guns blazing. But the not-actually-desperadoes, um… never actually robbed those banks. Probably. Read More
Posted on December 24, 2018
Ooh, boy, it’s 2am, but I wanted to try to get this down before I hit the hay. Forgive me if I am hazy on anything, I wasn’t particularly well organised while I was saying it, and I’m not much better now. I’ll get to updatin’ the world background before we play again.
We got through Character Generation tonight and had a little time left over to get playing. Even though it’s the Numenera crew playing another Cypher system game, it takes a bit of adjustment even to go back to such low powered characters as a lowly Tier 1. Tier 1s are still, compared to other RPG starting characters, really capable, bit still, these guys are used to the abilitypalooza that is Tier 5 and 6 in Numenera, so starting over takes some doing.
I gave a bit of background from Deadlands and explained the two new rules bits – Ridin’ effect on actions (the faster, the harder), and Reloadin’ (the more you try to stuff in, the harder it gets) and managed to do it without making any double entendres.
Then pretty much just let everyone take the Type, Descriptor and Focus they wanted and let them work it out themselves. The only thing that got us stuck a bit was that you get Skills by choosing the Skill buying Ability as one of your starting Abilities. It’s strange to start a character with so few skills – you might conceivably start the game with only one Skill and a bunch of Abilities.
And in the end, we had our four characters, correct me if I’m wrong on any of this guys:
Calpurnia ‘Callie’ Georges – A Lucky Fightin’ Sort who Never Says Die. You might be forgiven for thinkin’ Callie was a young feller at first glance, but this is one tough gal who knows who to navigate a fight better than most men, in an age of fightin’ men. She might have Hired Gun written all over her, but there’s more to her past than that.
Bartimus E. Tarnsworth… maybe Tarnsworthy – An Exiled Huckster who Operates Undercover. Formerly Professor of Mythology At Brown University, Bartimus comes West to start a new life. Maybe as a tutor or something else COMPLETELY ABOVE BOARD AS FAR AS ANYONE KNOWS.
Mars Johnston – An Empathic Spinner Who Sees Beyond. Gifted – he says – with an ability to see so much more than everyone else, he’s seen plenty already. A Veteran on the right side of the Civil War, Johnston got himself a bit o’ education, before decidin’ that wasn’t his thing. After his stint in the Army was up, he decided to head out West to really get to know people, you know?
Lewis Colman – A Sharp Eyed Drifter who Calculates the Incalculable. Lewis lost his family to Dakota raiders and so heads west to Wyoming, a land he visited before and loves, to start anew. He was a commissioned officer in the US army and after that, a railroad surveyor, putting to good use his ability to calculate outcomes. Colman and Johnston knew each other in the army, although it was purely by chance that they met on the stage out to Wyoming. Lewis could tell you what the odds of that chance encounter was.
Part 1 – Invitation to a Necktie Party Read More
Posted on September 24, 2018
I’ve been enjoying running Numenera, as long as I don’t have to go off book too often. Sometimes I’m really feeling the improv nature that the rules permit and encourage, and sometimes I’m super not in the mood. Fortunately, I have plenty of material to lean on most of the time.
I’ve also been enjoying running Paranoia, not just because I think it’s a good game once you get around the Initiative rule, which isn’t that tough, but is a bit clunky in practice (often because I can’t remember what number I just called out), but because there’s no long term commitment.
I got three connected adventures to run and three more connected adventures, but no campaigns or long running stories or fascinating character backstories to juggle. Those are all things that enjoy, but being free of them and just having a four night stand with a fun game is pretty rad too. And hey, leave your players wanting more and they’ll hopefully remember it fondly, rather than remembering only when the campaign ground to a halt.
This winter, we’ve got some changes going on. Numenera 2 is out, with all new adventures and stuff. Male Blilie 2 is out now too, so it makes sense to take a bit of a break in Numenera – or at least the current storyline. I have a small campaign that’s designed for new characters and could run that with no impact on Bryce. Or anyone else. It’s just a game, jeez.
I have another couple of games either coming this Winter (hopefully) or having just arrived. The Stars are Fire is a Sci-Fi RPG using the Cypher System that Numenera players are familiar with, but setting appropriate. The Legend of the Five Rings is a fantasy RPG drawing from Eastern legend and history. (Because Oriental Adventures is SO problematic guys). Star Trek Adventures is an erotic horror LARP. No, not really, its Star Trek, having adventures.
L5R and Star Trek both have Starter Kits, aside from the main rulebook. I’m a fan of these, with their custom maps, pregenerated characters and their learning curve scaling adventures. I think it’s a great way to spend $25-$40 anyway, but it’s a great way to get people dipping their toes into a game without splurging.
The L5R one is LUSH, Fantasy Flight pouring the franchise rights into their magical machine that spits out glossy new editions of card games, board games and RPGs with shared art and fluff. They are able to flood a property onto the sales floor. So if you see stuff for L5R, it could be any one of the game iterations.
The L5R starter kit puts you as almost-samurai of several of the great clans, attending your gempuku, coming of age ceremony. Which is also a contest. Which is also not quite what it seems. Plenty of investigation, social play, world revealing as you go and each encounter is staged to introduce a new mechanic as you go, so you don’t have to understand your character sheet before you play, but chances are you will understand it by the end of the first session.
I’m crushing really hard on this setting its deep, deep lore and the possibilities that the setting raises. The complexity of the game is really all in the situations you put yourself in and consequences your actions have. Imagine if everyone in Game of Thrones was a Paladin. Imagine how fucking complex that would make it.
I haven’t seen the Star Trek one yet, but I’m interested in that too. Needless to say, that’s one that I shouldn’t run until Bryce gets his life back right-side up. The rules for that one are surprisingly simple. Roll 2d20, and try to roll under your (Attribute+Specialization): you only need one success to pass the test. And good news, player characters are hyper-competent! Far cry from Star Fleet Battles of yore. Players play Star Fleet from Ensign to Captain, (this is a game that’s fine with splitting the party and balanced so rank isn’t too important to playability) with the Ship itself a shared character that they all have a role in creating and playing. I’m excited about this game,… just gotta find the elusive Starter Set and get Bryce out and playing.
There are, of course, other RPGs I want to play (Fiasco, Dusk City Outlaws (nudge nudge, JIM) Dark Heresy, good old Call of Cthulhu) but those have a long shelf life and aren’t going anywhere. Similarly, I and probably you, have a boatload of board games. Rising Sun certainly hasn’t been extinguished in my mind yet and I haven’t started painting yet… And I have Tang Garden coming too sometime soonish, (I think). And there are still plenty Mansions of Madness to burn to the ground as we try to save them. And Doomtown. And did you know I own Blood Bowl?
What I’m saying is, we’ll survive the winter. I’ll shoot out an email and try to figure out what people want to play and when, once MN United’s season is done (I don’t think we need to worry about playoffs…)If we end up playing something that isn’t your cup of tea, I wouldn’t worry too much, I’m not committing to anything for too long. Chances are your choice will come around.