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Using a bit of my lunchbreak (edit: and afternoon no-coffee break) to sneakily finish an LJ post I started last night... I thought I'd talk about gaming. Specifically roleplaying. Partly because it's always been an activity close to my heart, but also because I've actually done some of it again for the first time in... far too long. For somebody who still identifies himself as a roleplayer, I've done precious little actual playing lately.

[ profile] nishatalitha has been going to the London Indie RPG Meetup for a while, and I decided that I'd skip out of another regular SF meet I go to (it's annoying that they clash, but what can I do!) to give it a shot. I'm extremely glad I did, as I got a chance to not only play a rather cool new game, but I also got a chance to try out my first go at a GM-less RPG.

Read more... )
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My next tabletop RPG plan is to do somehting pulp-ish... but as a vague future plan, I've got a hankering to run some cosmic level Unknown Armies.

That's the level of gameplay where everyone knows the score, and the PCs are players on the scale of (for example) trying to influence the invisible clergy. I'm thinking of having the PCs as a cabal called "The Synod" (or somesuch), and their reason for being would be to try to put their people into the clergy and get rid of any clergy that they don't like. Players would need to have a good grasp of the Unknown Armies background and setting.

Who might be interested in such a game?
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I'm working on something for a game, and have a bit of a gap in my knowledge. I'm looking at a kind of professional advancement system for a fantasy world, and need to work out what the next level would be in this particular career path:

I've got the following for my "out-and-about, largely opportunistic thief" type career path:

Lifter - Somebody who steal unattended or unsecured items, which are usually of little value. They don't have to interact with people unless things go wrong.

Mugger - Somebody who uses force (or more often the threat of force) to separate an individual from their valuables. This lets them get at more valuable goods.

Sandbagger - Somebody who makes themselves appear innocuous, waiting to be sure that their mark is unaware of them before making their move, usually knocking the mark senseless and taking their possessions before they can be identified. This lets them get at valuable goods with little chance of being identified.

What's the next step up in training and career for this kind of young professional? I suspect it might be something to do with picking targets... but if I go that way, what would be a good name for it?
(For reference, con artists, hired muscle, housebreakers, pickpockets and fences are in different progressions already)
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Today, I have had a busy but hopefully productive day. I'll probably post more in the not too distant future... we'll see!

Additionally, I have made a couple of purchases. I have acquired "Order of the Stick: Start of Darkness" - the Xykon and Redcloak focussed OOTS prequel. I've also picked up "Phonogram: Rue Britannia" - a graphic novel based around a britpop obsessed phonomancer. [ profile] darklittlefox and [ profile] lawrencegillies, you will probably appreciate this!

I also picked up two white-wolf freebie intro things - one for Scion and one for Changeling: The Lost, both of which look... interesting. I shall peruse them further. I was good and resisted buying any actual RPGs - I should do something with some of the ones I already own before I buy anymore (Reign, Spirit of the Century, Don't Rest Your Head, etc...).
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Right - I am still going to be around tonight. If you want to come round and chat about characters or flesh them out or actually stat them up, you can do so. This isn't going to be a big organised session, but I'm free if people want to get something sorted.

I'm looking at a big session on either Wednesday 27th June (7pm) or Sunday 1st July (2pm OR 6pm). This will be another "discuss things, talk setting and establish elements of gameworld" deal. I won't be making chilli this time, but I suspect that a massed ordering of pizza or chinese might happen. Which one we use will be based on who can actually make the dates. If nobody lets me know, then I can't guarantee that either will happen.

As ever, comments about this should go on the forum. If you want to get updated about new forum posts, you can get email subscriptions whenever somebody posts there about Transhuman Space (or in general). There's also an RSS feed or an Atom feed that you can pull into your feed-reader of choice - you could probably even pull it in to LJ as a syndicated feed if you wanted to and get the posts to appear in your friends list.
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So, I'm going to do a general chat session about this game again - hopefully ending with a bunch of characters ready to go... When can folks make? I'm going to suggest sometime this weekend, as I appear to be un-busy.

Comments & general feedback on the forum please, as it's easier for me to track responses properly there.
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My copy of Reign arrived yesterday. I've not finished reading it yet - in fact I've barely scratched the surface - but already I have ideas. It looks mighty in a large number of ways... I was expecting to buy it, read it, strip out the setting and use my own. The book's even written with that kind of thing in mind - it's a system or toolkit with a sample setting included, pretty much. but unexpectedly, the default setting is looking rather amazing as well - considerably more detailed and well thought through than pretty much any other RPG I've seen. Which is impressive, considering some of the competition out there!

To be fair, I should have expected this from Greg Stolze, really.

Unfortunately, I may not be able to properly showcase it in a one-off game. I may have to run a short campaign of some kind. I don't know exactly what yet, but even with the default setting I've got so much flexibility and cool stuff to play with that I could run any kind of fantasy you might fancy in a believable and consistent world.

The company rules are also a new contender for a replacement for massive chunks of MET backgrounds, influences, etc.
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A general reminder and kick to egham LARP type folks out there...

There's an Exalted game this saturday.

It's been announced via email. It's had the gamedate and location listed on my forum for weeks. It's been talked about and stuff. It's also been a month since the last one, two months since the one before and three months since the one before that (big clues, there). If you're playing in it, but have forgotten about it, or for some reason are unaware of it, you have nobody to blame but yourself.

If you play in the game, try to be there. The past couple of games have been fantastic, but need more of the players to be there before it can really kick off. If you're not going to be there, please try to let [ profile] thankyoukindly know ahead of time so he can plan accordingly.
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Oh, as an aside... my website's forum is back up and running again. I'm trying to stir up some Transhuman Space LARP discussion over there, so go login and post. You should be aware that the forum uses a different login to the rest of the site... I hope to change that, but need to rebuild a few bits of the site first... or at least come up with a system to sync the two together.

There's also a forum category for discussions relating to [ profile] thankyoukindly's Exalted LARP. As soon as you're signed up for the forum, you should be able to join all of the discussions...

For reference, the forum can be found here!

My "big thing" at the moment is to try and get folks to go there and let me know availability for Transhuman Space shaped things... If you're interested in this particular LARP, go post stuff!
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Right... If I'm going to get this thing off the ground, the following things need to happen, in the following order:

1) I need to talk to players about the setting.
2) I need to talk to players about character ideas, and work with them to generate characters.
3) I need to work out any obvious pre-existing character groups and relationships based on character ideas.
4) I need to tailor the plot to ensure all characters can get involved to an appropriate level.
5) I need to pick start dates and convince somebody to handle venue bookings and the like.

I figure that #1 should happen in the form of a social gathering with a bunch of talking about transhumanist/Hard SF with a mind to seeing what fits the game setting and what doesn't. I'm prepared to have a bunch of transhuman space books on hand, along with inspirational material and the like, as well as being around to answer questions and the like.

#2 can be started at the aforementioned gathering, and continued afterwards, possibly with another planned session, possibly with quick one-to-one character gen sessions.

#3 is something I can do in my own time after #1 and #2 are done, but might need to consult players about.

#4 is something I can do in my own time after #1, #2 and #3 are done.

#5 is something that can be at least provisionally done at the gathering mentioned in #1.

What needs doing NOW
We need a time to have this gathering. I'd suggest an afternoon into evening kind of deal in a nearby weekend. If the weather's good, we can have a barbeque. If not, we can have munchies and general chat. If this isn't possible then we need to pick a decent weekday evening. For this to happen, we need to know when folks can do. So, folks, When can you do?

Comment here with availability!
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So, if any of you guys are interested in general LARP discussion and community, the LARP forum over at is currently under threat of closure as it's kind of petered out a bit and way never hugely prolific to begin with. However! Whilst the quantity and speed of traffic has never been great, the quality of it has been rather good indeed. Unlike any other LARP forum I've encountered, it covers all styles of LARP in some way and is truely international. The board owners are keen to find ways of keeping the board going, but at the moment feel that unless things pick up, they'll have to close it to make way for other things.

I've picked up a whole bunch of useful advice, tips and tricks that I either have used or plan to use... as well as ideas for plots, subplots, game dynamics and ways of handling various things. If you're interested in taking part in that community, or in discussing the games you run or play with other folk around the world, go sign up. If you don't like the rest of the place, no worries - just spend your whole time in the LARP forum and the other stuff will never bother you!

That said, I tend to frequent Tangency, Other Media and the Tabletop RP board as well, and find them mostly enjoyable.
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Here's a checklist of the current state of play with my upcoming Transhuman Space LARP:
Plot issues - I've managed to tidy up the majority of the lingering problems, and anything that's left is loose ends, and will probably get sorted when I can add characters into the mix.

System - I'll be using a system based on FATE. I've found a decent way to simulate fudge dice using a deck of just 18 cards. If I can print off a bunch of appropriate symbols and a get a bunch of self laminating card pouches (or non self laminating ones and a laminator), then we'll use cards. Until that point, four quickfire rounds of RPS works nicely for four 0/+1/-1 dice. We will also need a method of tracking FATE points. I suggest either just counting and using trust, or using tokens of some form. I'll post a quick guide to how stuff works at some point - it might be daunting at first, but it's actually quite simple when it comes down to it.

Characters - Yes, we'll probably need some. I know a few folks have character concepts already and I've spoken to a few others about it. What I need to have by the end of the character gen process is a character sheet for your character. One of the good things about FATE is that it draws significant parts of your background in and works them into the character gen process. I'll accept a little bit of supplemental background as well, but if it's not covered in the character gen process then it's only ever going to be minor details. Anything I get beyond what goes into character gen is going to need to be in the form of quick bullet points for easy reference.

Occasionals / NPCs - I have a couple of characters that might well only be occasional. If you think you'll maybe make half of the games... I may have character options for you. As for NPCs - I am quite likely to need some from time to time.

Cost - I'll need to find out how much it costs to book the upstairs room of the social hall, and find somebody to assist with the organisational side of making sure it's booked and all that. I'm a bit rubbish at such things, so I prefer to devolve the responsibility if possible.

Time - I'm thinking of using the afternoon of the Sunday after the Exalted game, because that reduces travel requirements for non-local players. Other options can be considered, but that's where my thoughts are right now. When will it start? Depends what characters I end up with, as I'll be tailoring plot elements to the characters... so will need some characters...

Character Gen Session - Now, it'll probably take a bunch of these sessions... but I'd like to start getting some statted characters together so that I can pull the last plot details in line and actually get things started. Suggestions of who can do when might well be useful.

More? - There's almost certainly a bunch more that I should info-dump as well, but I can't think of it right now. Feel free to ask me questions about the game.
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Just submitted my downtime... Unfortunately, I didn't manage to properly speak to [ profile] majic13 properly, and he's about to flee these shores for a fortnight, so my actions are not in any way tied up with those of my protege! Ah well.

I know that [ profile] thankyoukindly is keen to recieve downtimes, so if you've not scribbled yours yet, please do so! The more he gets, the more he can tailor future games to fit what we want!
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I've got a concept for a character for Runnymede Dark Ages... but not a character sheet yet. I've got who he is, but he's currently completely lacking any form of history. I'm trying to decide if I should try to go tomorrow or not - right now I'm feeling kind of wiped out, so don't feel like frantically doing character generation and coming up with a background..

I'm also still feeling quite burned out on Dark Ages... and I'm not sure it's a good idea to go along with a new character if my enthusiasm's not quite there yet. I also have nothing I can sensibly use for appropriate costume... It's a minor point, but it's another niggly thing that puts me off. Right now, I'm thinking I'd be better off waiting for next month, or waiting until after the planned "IC time gap".

What's even more worrying is that the burnout seems to be fading faster when I think about being an ST again. I don't want to go back to being an ST in a WoD game using MET, though. Or at least, not out-of-the-box MET.

I still want to run Transhuman Space as a LARP, but right now I'm stuck on trying to think of enough to keep players occupied in the first couple of sessions... the time they spend getting into the setting and the character, before they get a good enough handle on things to start interacting with any kind of plot. Right now, the later sessions don't pose a problem... There'll be plenty going on. But I think those first two sessions might be a bit dull unless I can think of some kind of IC icebreaker or "start with a bang" kind of deal that isn't enough of a bang that everyone ends up completely screwed!
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RP Character Meme )
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Is it wrong that I'm delving quite deeply into theoretical physics as research for a game? Actually, to clarify that question a bit, is it wrong that I'm delving quite deeply into theoretical physics as research for a game that isn't Transhuman Space, or even another SF game?

I mean, it's entirely likely that I won't use proper scientific theories in the game un-butchered - but I feel it's only proper that if I'm going to butcher something I should at least know what it is first, and understand it enough to identify the main features.

I'm going to be butchering science for entertainment. The way I see it, it's a bit like butchering an animal for food - if I don't know what it is or what it looks like, how am I going to start. If I wanted to butcher a chicken (taking it as an assumption that there are no butchers around and I have to do the job myself) and cook it for my tea, I don't just go outside with knives and butcher something at random on the offchance that it will turn out to be a chicken.

I'd first make sure I knew how to identify a chicken... It's a stupid feathery ball of visciousness with two legs, two wings and (usually) one head. Usually brown or white. A creature designed to create more of the same and to feed predators or scavengers. If I miss out that crucial first step I might end up with something like "poubelle a l'orange" or "fillet au motocyclette" or something.

Of course, I'm only actually writing the science butchery into the game bible, which no player will ever read (unless I decide to release it after I've run a few games). It's mainly there so I can ensure internal consistency of stuff and not confuse myself in terms of what does what.
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Last night, on the train home from work, I started trying to think about a Dark Ages character. These thoughts didn't last long, and were rapidly overtaken with thoughts of how rubbish the influence categories in faith and fire are, and some possible ways to re-cast them so that they're in some way representative of medieval society and culture.

Now, because my brain is fairly quickfire with silly new ideas at the best of times. So naturally my brain wandered off onto something else as a result. Why just recast the influences? Why not just chuck out the whole system and start again.

Now, I've not really put much thought into this for LARP purposes (although I have been fiddling with a FATE -> LARP conversion as well), but in terms of Tabletop, FATE would be a fantastic fit for a story and character focussed Vampire game. My thoughts went pretty much along these lines:

Vampire -> FATE v3 initial thoughts )

I'm not planning on running anything sensible or regular with this in the forseeable future. I have my Transuman Space LARP to run first, as well as a few other tabletops and my Horror/Ghost Story/Unexplained Events LARP (tentatively named "Scare" - which is what I'll probably use my FATE LARP system for). However, the idea interests me enough that I might play with it a bit more or try out a couple of one shots every now and then.

What I'd like is for people to give thoughts on this. Obviously, knowing both Vampire and FATE would probably help with this, but any comments are welcome.
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I have an idea for a new game. The idea would be for a short initial run to establish characters and setting, which could later be used for more short runs if the interest was there. I'd most likely use something based on FATE for the system (because it's mighty), but I'll be as relaxed as ever about such things.

General premise would be something like a cross between Blake's 7 and something vaguely cthulhoid. Characters enter play as indentured labourers, sentenced to a life of doing all the dirty and dangerous jobs for a government operated deep space salvage vessel. Basically, doing all the jobs that might be considered too risky for anyone else to do. The jobs that require expendable people.

As an example: "We need to get all of the valuable cargo off that ship there - but it's starting to break up is far to unstable for us to risk a real crew on. So we're sending you lot over instead. Or, if you'd prefer, we could just space you now instead. Your choice."

A bit more setting info: Aliens have not been encountered, but are generally believed to be "out there" somewhere. Evidence of their presence has been found, but they have not. Humanity has, in places, evolved or been re-cast to suit different environments or to provide new abilities. These are usually looked down on by "normal" humans. They couldn't afford to live anywhere comfortable, so had to give up their humanity to live somewhere else.

Humanity is largely led by a gerontocracy which is also a plutocracy and a technocracy. Led by the elderly, who are also the wealthy and the well educated. In some cases the wealth came first, and led to longevity treatments and better education. In other cases the strong technical education came first, leading to the development of longevity treatments and the accumulation of wealth. In rarer cases, the age came first, and longevity treatments were performed late in life to preserve the individual. Political dissidents are rare, and are dealt with discreetly but thoroughly.

Longevity treatments can sustain human life almost indefinately, but are incredibly expensive. They are also illegal except for those deemed "indispensible" by the government... which is usually an identical list to those who are members of the government and their cronies.

I'm quite in the mood to try running things for a different player group to my usual bunch... Partly because I like changing things around from time to time, but also because I plan to get Itinerant Space Lepers (my Transhuman Space game) up and running again as well, and want to avoid too much player crossover between them. Although as he's expressed a distinct interest in playing something SF related, I'd probably consider letting [ profile] lawrencegillies in.

[ profile] shadowjon and [ profile] d_morff, might you guys be interested?

Anyone else? I'm looking at a small game, and I'll work out more details (where and when, etc...) once I know who's interested.
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A while back, I suggested a local games day.

The idea was to gather all of the myriad gamers in the area together and basically mix them all up to play a few different games. Back then, the idea fell over because my life got eaten by something or other.

I'm suggesting it again now. If you're interested, there's a discussion on my forum (You'll need to sign up for the forum to post to it).

We need the following if it's going to happen:
People to run games
People to play games

The idea is that it's aimed at locals and people who are known to locals, and that it's focussed on tabletop games in the daytime slots and a single one-off LARP in the evening. Interested parties, sign up for the forum and post in the thread. If interest grows enough, I'll add a forum specifically for the event, which can cover things like working out when to do this, how much it should cost, etc.

[To clarify - we're starting with locals and friends of locals. This might change, but I think trying to do too much too quickly would be a msitake. Start small, and if it works, do it again but maybe with a few more folks from further afield, and so on.]
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Right... some folks will be pleased to hear that I have just ordered a couple of Transhuman Space books with a mind to continuing the game at some point in the not hideously distant future. Okay, so they're apparently being shipped from the US by a crippled pedestrian or somesuch, and will take forever to get here, but the two books and shipping from Warehouse23 cost less than buying one of the books and shipping if I bought them here in the UK. I think they've got absurdly reduced prices on anything GURPS related that isn't 4th ed. Which is handy for me, because I get cheap books without an out of date system because I'm stripping out all the GURPS anyway.

As a potential teaser for where things might go, the books I have ordered are as follows:
snipped for friendliness )

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