Monday, August 29, 2016

Thermal Factors

I spent my recent vacation in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park. With every exploration into the wilderness I game it out. Yellowstone National Park is remarkable for the thermal features. Sure you have the vast plains, dramatic waterfalls and idyllic grassy meadows, but the warning signs are thrown up for the scalding hot water which just erupts out of the earth.


So the next time your B/X party of adventures are striding across the wasteland unimpeded have the ground they walk on start to erode their foot gear. Three days in and the PC starts taking damage, to their feet. Let them do the calculation. "But I can't survive the march out" if I'm takng damage from just walking.

Don't surprise the players. That is just shit GM'ing. But give them an inclination of  the slow degradation of foot gear. Any asshat of a PC will pay attention to it.

Which leads to the next question; when is it appropriate to introduce a waste land to characters. Only after they have picked a marching order!

Anyways I'm thinking 1 point of damage a day until protection is achieved or environment is left.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

I should have ran

but I decided two players wasn't enough. I don't think I have the chops to keep a small crowd entertained. Pretty soon you are down to one person and then you are in a relationship. I have one of those, It is work. RPG's are a chance to sit at the counter and kibitz with the lunch crowd.

But it is better than that. After a couple of sessions you get to see who sits at the front of the class, They want to play and as a GM you lovingly set up the pieces because they are nothing but dreams until another puts their hands on the table.

No one is herding cats here. But the most success I have had with running a game online is with a firm theme, regular set times, and being at the virtual table as the host ready to go.
So when I cancel a session I am seriously conflicted. Even if one person shows up shouldn't I run the session?

I've always decided no because I think a table top RPG runs best with three players minimum. That is one GM and three players. So four. With three PC's gaming the GM has some of the session work lifted off their shoulders because the group of players are going to start creating and carrying adventure ideas. So as a GM I get to start playing more. Less script, more random tables, and more riffing off of cause and effect being driven by the players.

I've had some really good two player sessions. But for regular campaign play I see three players essential to carrying the story.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

The USR Community has been busy

Scott Malthouse's (U)nbelievably (S)imple (R)oleplaying game has gathered a small but loyal following which is found at the Google+ community here.

There has been a new "Hack" of this rules-lite system; a Samurai Noir setting called Blood and Silk by +Talon Waite as well as a preview of +Pete Segreti 's upcoming Roman Empire game Swarm of Barbarians.

+Appalachian Elf has been geeking out over Somnium Void, a Space Opera setting and has been showing off his hard copy of the rules. We wait with baited breath for him to reveal how he had it made!


Saturday, August 6, 2016

Google Hangout Campaign Greatest Hits

I've run four campaigns on Google+ Hangouts since 2012 and they have all been stand out examples of the best talk being shopped around here on the OSR gaming blogosphere. Here is why. First reason is me as a Game Master. I haven't done it in a long time. I gave it up a long time ago because I couldn't do it right and I couldn't get good information on why. This all changed because of the internet. I didn't have to try and figure out this problem in a vacuum anymore. There is a wealth of information available and willing game groups are a video chat away so my game is going to be better out of the gate. Stage two; actual play. Playing all the time (for me that is once to two times a month) bad habits and bad ideas start to get run into the ground. Stimulus/response. Like a punk album. Players make the game, but nothing happens without a world builder. And the world builder needs help. I have a job. I have lovely friends and family. I have deep powder to ski while my knees hold out. I don't have a lot of free time. Now I need more material and am making purchases. Spending real money and not running off of old ideas and free pdf's. Well fresh ideas and free pdf's are probably running the show at this point. Either way the salient real time data is bearing fruit. I appreciate well done game tools, adventure materials and random tables that help me run what the hell my players are mixing and matching at the table. This has generated Stage three;


my current  Clockwork & Cthulhu campaign has just been completely taken over by the players. I run sessions now just so I can read the voluminous stories they spin after. I'm thinking soon I'll be slapping restraining orders on 'em all!

Actually, it is more being at peace with my role. I'm a game master. This is the job I can do well in this hobby. My lovely binder with the few PC's alive I treasure are a rare artifact. The binders filled with the scaffolding required for PC's to climb on is my time well spent.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

July should just die

but what do you do, as a GM, when the PC's are driving a story better than you could? How do you keep up?

Classic Traveller Sector ETU-AI215

Ridicules how the simple set of rules presented in the original Traveller game can lead to a fully satisfying and realized sci-fi game world. I ran an adventure arc with a module written for a classic fantasy setting. Adapted for sci-fi horror, and ended up with a fully fleshed out universe setting. 


Part of the Outer Frontier (who knows what that means) this scrub of a Traveller universe I was forced to create it after ruminating over what would be the consequences of the PC's actions.. When I mean sparse I'm talking four systems total, tenuous jump routes built on jump one tech, and not a lot of civilization. Just to keep it manageable in my GM mind. But even these limitations I enforced on the homebrew subsector the emergent play of the PC's has sprung so many tentacles I can't read enough science fiction to keep up with the possibilities.  

Great game system.