[generic] What are we running and playing?

Newt

Rune Priest
Skyraiders of the Floating Realms (system lite D100, high on fun setting) came to the end of Season 2 after a total of thirty sessions in total, with the end of the Great Sky Race. Our plucky crew escaped the machinations of the Hidden Kingdom of the Orge Maji, and actually came out with the purple-skinned tusked humanoids on their side. The head of the House of Mysteries (the OM's spies) warned them that the Great Sky Race was set up with an ulterior motive of weeding out the best Skyraider ships and crews during it. That last year's winners had been ambushed by the race's organiser, Captain White and her crew who actually work for the villainous West Star Merchant League (boo hiss). The characters decided not to go to Captain White's Sky Island base, the infamous Black Dog Isle, to claim their prize as the last ship standing, but instead retreat to their home island (Dead Man's Isle) and plan for the arrival of the West Star Merchant League fleet en masse in the coming Season 3 (which may or maybe next week, or after a break of a couple of months playing something else).

OpenQuest Thursdays too is coming to the endpoint of the first scenario arc. The character's time as Aspirants of the Imperial Way is nearing an end, with their sponsor Guildmistress Cowena sending them north to the isolated area of Red Rock. This area is almost autonomous of Imperial rule, and word has reached Cowena that a group of Imperial Tax Collectors has been slaughtered by a group who is known as the Magic Five, a group of heroes who drove off enemy champions of the Burning Heart Horde over twenty years ago. Have these once heroes of the Imperial Way turned against the Empire. Cowena fears as much and has sent our Aspiring characters to kill the Magic Five, on the pretext of an Imperial Law/Myth that all traitors should be executed. In return, the characters will be initiated into the Imperial Way, be granted land and a villa. While most of the group seem content to go along with this state-sanctioned murder, one of them Vorn the Scribe suspects that more is at play and that the Magic Five may not be responsible for their actions. The characters after a journey of five days north, reach Tree Burg - the home of the Magic Five's followers. There they find rioting in town, which they put down strongly. They find a shrine to the Magic Five who are worshipped as saviour heroes by the locals. Questioning the self-styled priest of the shrine, they learn that he believes that the group has been betrayed by their magician Malafax. They travel north to confront the Magic Five at their mansion, stopping off at the impressive landmark that is Red Rock itself. There they find Malafax dug in an old temple of the Earth Mother. He tells a tale of woe, how the spirits of the enemies they put down twenty years ago, were summoned against them in this very temple and possessed his companions after one of their gatherings. How Malafax only escaped because he doesn't drink and had his wits about them. The characters armed with this knowledge prepare to head north to the Magic Five's Mansion, determined to resolve the mater.
 
Apps session 4 consisted of:

- Robert being captured and imprisoned in an abandoned building, to be interrogated via some speakers and other electronic equipment hastily mounted on a table in front of the chair he was tied to. After repeating the question "Who are you?" a few times, the interrogators devolved to a conversation in Russian, giving enough time for Robert to escape and rescue another captive from a make-shift hospital bed in another room. This poor, malnourished figure needed a wheelchair to escape, which also served as a battering ram to break out through the door to the outside.

- Elyse digging through Mia's stuff to get a handle on what her real interest in the relationship was; a confrontation between them was then eavesdropped on by Mitchell, the new sort-of-unwelcome guest in the house, but Gregory caught the spy and confronted him loudly over it. There was a brief flash of violence from Mitchell, who begged the other housemates to trust him and agreed to let them go through his stuff to show good faith.

- The search of Mitchell's belongings turned up some small, concealable hand-to-hand weapons and a false passport; Mitchell tried to explain that there were some bad people after him and he had needed to conceal his identity to escape them, but Mia, who knows when someone is lying to her, sensed that this was only half the truth. Further investigations and accusations were put on hold though, as Robert returned with the rescued captive under his arm. Elyse applied her nursing skills to this patient, who once somewhat rehydrated was able to ask, "Where's Everett?", one of the other school bus crash survivors and consultant medium for Mia. Looking askance at each other, the housemates asked why he wanted Everett and also, who was he?

"I'm Hadrian; I'm Everett's brother," he replied, claiming to be someone missing presumed dead from the bus crash for the last 15 years...

To Be Continued!
 
Two games this week:

Apps episode 5 turned into a lock-down situation, as Gregory stressed out and bunkered down when he was attacked by Nikolaj, the mooching skaterboi, after the latter was discovered bugging the house on the behalf of the Russian gang. Gregory got badly beaten and Elyse wanted to take him to hospital, but mysterious & dangerous newcomer Mitchell healed his wounds... with a kiss to the lips!

Mia captured Nikolaj and, with Robert's help, tied him to a chair in the dining room, but a power cut plunged the whole house into darkness; Gregory lost his shit and started locking the house down, with Elyse's help, while Nikolaj gave himself some serious, skin-tearing rope burns while trying to escape, showing almost no sign of pain as he did so. Hadrian staggered out of his bed and said to someone "Leave him alone!" at which the room shook hard and Nikolaj became a screaming, weeping kid, horrified at his own self-inflicted wounds.

Just when you think it can't get any worse, Everett (the medium & Hadrian's brother) arrived at the locked-down house after being summoned by Mia, but was shot in the back at the front door, as the Russians arrived! Gregory decided it was time to break out his hidden stash of assorted weapons he'd bought blindly on the dark web, but as he went to open the crate, he grabbed something that clicked and then started ticking...

...

We also played a one shot of Liquid Soap this week, with three characters living their lives in a rural, Colorado mountain town that was facing an economic downslide... but we included an armed siege, a stolen helicopter crash, a billionaire being swindled out of as much cash as the swindler could stuff into their coat and the ski resort café having it's roof ripped off. Never be afraid to go gonzo in a one shot new game with new players! :D
 
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May did not go the way I planned it. Two sessions of Feng Shui and one of The Great American Witch cancelled and no new games starting up mean that even with North Star I ended up having a comparatively quiet month. Oh well. At least I got to play Hammerheads, which has been on the to-do list for a while now.

Ongoing games:

Feng Shui 2: Still playing through Burning Dragon (well, actually we finished tonight, but that's June so doesn't count). Got a bit annoyed at this adventure actually, because it wants to be an investigation and mystery of some sort. Sadly we didn't know, so after we finished cutting down the bad guys with swords and blowing them up with sorcery, we didn't think to interrogate their remains for the info-dump they were supposed to give us. Better than that, we've apparently missed at least one fight scene, because it was gated behind some sort of Notice roll, and none of the PC's have the required skill. A hidden fight scene? In Feng Shui?? And then there is the strange athletics/martial arts competitions, which we are obviously supposed to enter but can't really find a reason that we should. In fact, I'm not entirely clear why we are still hanging around this festival, given we've rescued the person we were looking for and can't find any trace of the obvious bad guy.

The Great American Witch:
Game 1, Wall Street Crash, only managed one session this month, but it was a good one. The coven decided to go see the woman suing one of them for $25 million in medical malpractice, as you do. Two of them (who aren't being sued) decided to pretend to be police to question her. One dressed in her stockbroker better-man-than-you pants suit, and the other dressed as...grade school teacher gothette? Anyway, turns out the woman (who had been totally cured by magic) is now completely riddled with terminal cancer. The ex-doctor witch goes for the blessings again, and has a bit of an issue reaching out for divine blessing. The long and the short of is the witch is now carrying the terminal cancer the woman had, while the woman is out for the count having had every part of her body blasted with God's love.

Game 2, Fear and Loathing. Two sessions for this one. Having made it to the Hopi reservation, the coven discover that one of their enemies, the Hopi-magic using member of the Seven ruling witches of North America, is on her way to confront them. They rally the tribe with some stirring speeches (and a little family drama) to do a tribal dance to withdraw the tribe's magic from the hands of the outsiders, robbing the arriving witch of her power. They draw her away into the desert and take her down with a little magic of their own, and return to the tribe to decide what to do next. Turns out she's some sort of crazy 'look at all the good we did for witches by screwing up everyone else' type, so the voodoo queen strangles her. A hasty bit of spell casting later ensures that her spirit crosses over to the next life, instead of whatever nasty shenanigans it was trying to do. The tribe are still doing the ritual dance, and seem to be quite happy about keeping Hopi magic for the Hopi. Can't see how that could be an issue for the rest of the witches who currently use it. Anyway, they get back on the road and as they leave the reservation and the voodoo queen's cell phone gets reception again, it goes wild with notifications. We'll find out next session what has happened...

One off games are represented by North Star this month, where I ran one of my Traveller scenarios (for the first time since last year) and got to play in two games of Hammerheads (the Cortex Prime-powered Thunderbirds game).

Hammerheads was quite good fun, but really quite different to anything I was expecting. I think the best way to describe it is like I was roleplaying a session of the Thunderbirds board game. You roll dice against Threat Pools, which represent the disasters and other consequences that you are responding to. It's quite tricky to start with, you feel like you are barely holding your own against some of the problems while the others are getting away from you, but as you subdue them it starts to accelerate towards success. Good fun, but quite mechanical to begin with. I imagine as you get more comfortable with the system (which is pretty simple), you would have more concentration to spare to get into the roleplaying part of things. Worth a try, I say.

May update:
+8 sessions (+4 player/+4 GM)
+2 systems (+1 player/+1 GM)

Running totals:
44 sessions (28 player/16 GM)
15 systems (12 player/3 GM)

SessionsPlayed2021_05_31.png
 
Another double play week...

Apps session 6 began with a flashback to Gregory on the bus 15 years ago, just as it started to skid on the icy road... but it didn't crash and they all drove on safely, with Gregory now seated beside mysterious new friend Sonechka, who assured him, "It will all be alright now."

Back in the present day, in the house, Robert, Mia and Elyse are all stunned and confused, their ears ringing, their vision blurred, but within a few minutes they piece together the facts, with pointers from the wrecked rear wall and the pile of rubble with Gregory's severed arm poking from it. 'Luckily', the explosion has deterred the Russians from attempting to enter the house and they are chased off quickly as everyone decides its best to get out now before the authorities arrive to investigate.

The focus of the session cuts back and forth from the fleeing housemates to Gregory's other life, which is similar to the one he had but features Sonechka in everything he does. Things feel strange though and he has odd flashes of his old life, culminating in a confrontation with Sonechka and a call to Robert's cell phone, which he picks up! A shaken Robert tries to dismiss this impossible phone call, while Elyse does her best to patch up Everett's bullet wound and try not to think about what happened to Gregory, who is now arguing with Sonechka and expressing his doubts and confusion... just as Klaas drives the old school bus through the wall and everything goes dark.

All parties get some more information during this, with Hadrian spilling the beans to the refugees in the car and Klaas doing his best to explain things to Gregory: there is something called 'Molotok' which makes people want to commit harm and hurt people, while something else called 'Butylka' seems to have a hold over the dead in some way; also, Mitchell is really Daisy, who definitely did die in the bus crash! Before any other facts can be revealed or questions asked, Everett suddenly recovers... and says he is Gregory! Cliffhanger!

...

This Saturday, we test-piloted our new Quest campaign, to get on the same page as to expectations: it played out a little rough around the edges and we'll be making some character and tone changes before the next session, but the setting seems solid and I'm keen to see where the PCs go with it.
 
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Guvnor

The Guvnor
Staff member
I ran my first game of Mörk Borg today (at 7hills). It went well. I had had to research doom metal since my metal experience ended with Motorhead and Judas Priest, but I think I got it and had a suitable playlist running on Rythm Bot in Discord. We did the VTT on Roll20, essentially using it as a table to display pictures and handouts and using the (good) character sheets on there.

The themes are doom, death, religious apostacy, death, doom.. so I summoned my old Moorcock Stormbringer tropes and with the help of the the excellent Scvumbirther random character generator and the random dungeon creator jumped in with a five room dungeon template (ish) and as much as I could remember from @GuyMilner.

I kept it fast and so did my players who swore, bit the heads off pixies, importuned goblins and gobbed in the faces of trolls. Great roleplaying and utter scorn of planning was evident (hooray).

The system is lethal, has loads of tables, and has both a system and art aesthetic I grok. I'd mod the "broken table" for more granular and gruesome outcomes.. but after a dabbling with modern light OSR systems (like Black Hack), I think I have found.. that I have a new doom metal addiction..

I'd play with this group again...

PS: One thought I do have though is that for those that like their systems less random Gonzo but still gritty might be to use the setting but adopt the Forbidden Lands system.
 
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Nathan

Rune Priest
I kept it fast and so did my players who swore, bit the heads off pixies, importuned goblins and gobbed in the faces of trolls. Great roleplaying and utter scorn of planning was evident (hooray).
And a great game it was too!
 
Mitchfest Seven Hills was good. I made up for missing North Star by running two games and playing two games, which is a lot more than I usually do for online cons.

Saturday was playing - 13th Age and Liminal. I got to play Bowie playing a high elf bard in 13th Age, and play a hedge wizard who went on to shout at ghosts, get dressed up, and go on a dinner date with a river goddess in Liminal.

On Sunday I ran two games. The Cortex Prime game of alien ruins and space colonist drama was so good we’ll get together again to resolve some dangling plot threads. Cortex Prime is lovely; my first chance to try it out. Out of the Ashes was really nice to bring out in “public” and things worked well.

As for the Mitchfest arrangements, I’ll have been playing the uke for six months by then…though it still might not be worse than typical Garrison entertainments. Anyone remember Fawlty Towers?
 
Gaming here has somewhat fizzled out recently. Began lockdown with a flurry of online activity, running a homebrew game based on British folklore and children's literature along the lines of The Dark is Rising, and a fantasy / western / pirates / cult mash-up using Fate, and playing BitD and RQ. Alongside this, loads of boardgaming on boardgamearena.com. Over the last couple of months, these have gradually faded somewhat with folks struggling to maintain enthusiasm for online rpging. Shame, I was enjoying it! The Fate game begins again this week, though, so hopeful for a resurgence, and who knows, now the vaccinations are rolling out, maybe face-to-face gaming may resume again soon...
 
I 'only' had 10 sessions last month, but that included a full four-session convention, so without that it would have been relatively barren. Got five under my belt so far this month alone though!

Currently have a few games on summer hiatus as well

So I'm running Call of Cthulhu, Liminal and will soon be running some D&D 5e Theros
I'm playing Deadlands, Barbarians of Lemuria and World Wide Wrestling
 
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