Kia Ora viewers

Today's Topic: Now what?!

Fingers crossed, my life is about to calm down a lot and finally allow me to be in and/or run an RPG campaign! My campaigning has been incredibly limited this year due to study taking over my life but I have been itching to run a whole load of games! Here's a quick run down of some of the games I've been desparate to play.

Cane Hill: A Monsterhearts campaign set in a (real) abandoned asylum in London. This is my second attempt at running this campaign, after a glorious beginning that was cut unfortunately short a few years ago. I ran the first session of the new game at Minicon (more on that later) and had an absolute blast. It will definitely be worthwhile to continue.

Ryuutama- Spring Adventure: I teased a second story arc for my Ryuutama players earlier this year that would involve a time skip and a new adventure. I had a lot of fun in the previous mini-campaign and would love to get the players together to try for a part two.

7th Sea: I don't know exactly what this one would be about. John Wick has been sending out a huuuge array of new content from the Kickstarter and it's now possible to set a game of 7th Sea almost anywhere in the (fictionalised) world.

Uncharted Worlds: This is another system with a huge range of new opportunities and content I am excited about. It is especially worth plugging the newly published Colonies supplement, which I was able to get early access to. This supplement provides a lot of ideas for running a game of Uncharted Worlds in a developing colony on a planet, rather than the standard starship type campaign.

With so many options, and my time still being fairly limited, I've been finding it pretty difficult to decide how to spend any newly acquired free time!

What I'm playing

Though I've been busy, I've not been playing nothing. I recently attended SAGA's third Minicon of the year and played in a number of games. This included session one of my Cane Hill Monsterhearts game. I really enjoyed finding ways to pit characters against each other in different ways. Especially with the five PCs we have, it can be difficult to juggle all of the characters' interests and desires, but I think by the end of the session we had managed to get all of the chips in place. I have newfound appreciation for the Unicorn skin (one of the Second Skins) as the table had a collective realisation moment that the Unicorn was a Disney Princess.
I also had a frustrating but enjoyable time in a very bamboozling LARP that I am not at liberty to say much about and a very fun, and perfectly written for a convention slot, one off D&D game run by my friend Christopher. We were the local law enforcement trying to deal with the fact that adventurers were in town and wreaking havoc. I had a blast informing a sinister wizard that, while necromancy wasn't illegal, he really would need a permit to be robbing those graves.

Here's a thing

I have been listening to the always excellent One Shot podcast and, though I am waaaay behind, I just listened to the amazing Feng Shui 2 episodes. The hilarious product placement in episode three, with characters "turning to camera" and talking about Pepsi and Lays potato chips gave me a very stupid idea. So, I have made a very small hack for one of my favourite games, Primetime Adventures, to mechanise product placement. It was also inspired by a "shipping" mechanic developed by Matteo Supo. Have fun with it if you dare! I have not tested it myself... and quite likely never will ha ha.

Primetime Products


Primetime Adventures

Kia Ora friends

Today's Topic: Games online!

I currently have friends who are not only all over New Zealand, but spread out across the world. If I was more of a video gamer, then MMORPGs or other multiplayer video games would be a good way to connect with them, but I really do prefer traditionally analogue games. That being said, I am by no means opposed to bringing technology into play. I harbour dreams of screens built into tables or hidden speakers playing soundscapes to liven up a game session.
I still haven't fully experimented with Play by Post or attempted to run a traditional RPG via webcam, but I am certainly interested in the possibilities there.
In a number of the RPGs I've played, the games have continued their lives online between sessions. In a Primetime Adventures game I ran, the players and I cast every character in the game as a real actor, posting a picture of them to our facebook group in a growing album. My game club's Living Dungeon World projects featured players posting in character to the facebook group with reports of adventures and requests for aid. While this occasionally could become a little overwhelming, I think that it really added to the collective worldbuilding that made those games great.
While there are a few tools out there for helping you run tabletop RPGs online, I can't help but feel that the big step that will really make it easy and rewarding is still to come.

What I'm playing

Yesterday I finally got around to organising a game of Viewscream, which is a kind of larp system that is designed to be played through a group video chat, using Google Hangouts or Skype. I was fortunate enough to play with three of the most experienced and competent LARPers I know, which really contributed to the game being a success. The system gives you characters who are the last surviving members of a starship crew, separated and dealing with emergencies before they can make their escape. The system is also set up so that it is impossible for everyone to make it out alive.
I am looking forward to trying the game again with a different scenario to make the most of the webcam format. Other players were prepared with props such as lights and cables to be messing with and code that they would throw up onto the screen as damage reports. I struggled a bit myself with coming up with suitable technobabble, but the other players carried it well. I'm also excited at how easy it seems to write a scenario yourself.
Viewscream's design necessitates the use of technology, and I think this is a good direction for making online play better. When the technology is inherent to the design, it feels less like a barrier and more like a tool.

Here's a thing

This isn't exactly new, but it does relate well to the topic I ended up writing about today. A while ago, I got quite excited about the idea of creating hypertext fiction. Essentially, that's digital choose your own adventure books. This is one I made based on a Ryuutama scenario I ran. The tool I used was Twine and I highly recommend it if you are interested in creating these playable stories. I found it fairly easy to use and intend to use it as a teaching tool when I have my own English classes as a different approach to creative writing.



Viewscream cover



October 2017

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