Tabletop RPG Podcast and Roleplaying Resources

Category: Musings (Page 1 of 7)

Historical Roleplaying Games

I  noticed an interesting home-brew game called Traveller: 1700 which appeared in Freelance Traveller (Traveller: 1700 link is at the bottom of this page). The notion of using Traveller rules to roleplay in colonial times got me to thinking about what historical eras I’d be interested to play in, so I pinged my game club gamers to see what historical eras most interested them. Here were their responses. I also jotted down some game systems that might work to play in those eras.

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2nd Half 2019 Campaign

I listed a few of the top campaigns I’d like to run someday to the Thursday night crew. Sounds like the tentative plan is for me to fast-track finish the main Redmark campaign (level each session till the end), and then move on to a Traveller campaign, starting with Mason, then transitioning to me.

Campaigns

I rate each of the campaigns below on four points (Sandbox, Recurring NPCs, Campaign Module available, Minis Prep) and give each a score of 1-4, with 4 being the best).

Sandbox City Campaigns

  • 2/4 Redmark City Campaign (D&D) [Sandbox: High, Recurring NPCs: High, Campaign Module: No, Minis Prep: Yes] — Levels 1-8 game set in city-state of Redmark.
  • 3/4 Crimefighters (Fate Core or Icons) [Sandbox: High, Recurring NPCs: High, Campaign Module: No, Minis Prep: No] — Mid-30’s alternate reality Super Noir setting, this time set in NY City.

Space Opera

  • 3/4 Star Wars: Brak Sector Rebels (WEG d6 1e) [Sandbox: Medium, Recurring NPCs: Medium, Campaign Module: Yes, Minis Prep: No]
    — The Brak Sector is a sector of space that serves as a staging area for Imperial Navy missions into the Outer Rim Territories. Rebel forces have made substantial gains in this former mining sector. You play Rebels undertaking missions for the Alliance in this part-Sandbox/part-military-missions campaign.

Hard Sci-Fi Campaigns

  • 4/4 Eris Beta-V (Imperium RPG, Traveller, or Rarescape) [Sandbox: High, Recurring NPCs: High, Campaign Module: Yes, Minis Prep: No]
    — Think Firefly or The Expanse. A team of explorers investigates a magnificent ringed gas giant with its numerous moons. Ancient artifacts of enormous power can be found among the rings and asteroids. Every moon is a unique world to be explored. When the system’s valuable commerce is threatened by unscrupulous agencies, the team must root them out and put themselves at great risk on the icy fringes of interstellar space.
  • 3.5/4 Scientorium (Imperium RPG, Traveller, or Rarescape) [Sandbox: Medium, Recurring NPCs: High, Campaign Module: Yes, Minis Prep: No]
    — Hidden away by sheer distance and forever shrouded from the minds of the curious lies a mammoth artifact from the previous galactic age, the library of Scientorium. Its strange experience chambers offer passage to a million histories on a million worlds, secrets and technologies undreamed of. Now abandoned by all but its automated security systems and enigmatic caretakers, its workings are oddly twisted and jealous, meting out reward and punishment in equal measure. This is a classic science fiction saga, an epic journey across space and time in the vein of Niven or Heinlein!

Fantasy Campaigns

  • 2.5/4 Middle-earth: Eriador Adventures (Adventures in Middle-earth/5e) [Sandbox: Low, Recurring NPCs: Medium, Campaign Module: Yes, Minis Prep: No]
    — While our Saturday group adventures East of the Misty Mountain, to the West in Eriador, other mysteries await. Delve into the ruins of overgrown Fornost, walk amidst the cairns of the Barrow-downs and venture to the lair of the Witch-king of Angmar himself, the ancient city of Carn Dûm — if you have the courage!

Deferred

Sandbox City Campaigns

  • Mage Cops™ (Rarescape) — Wizard constables tackle crimes-of-the-week in NYC. I do want to run this someday, but want to wait till Rarescape is out of Beta and is stable and robust.
  • Dresden Files (Dresden Files Accelerated or Dresden Files RPG (older Fate edition)) — Original Dresden Files universe characters in a city TBD. (Holding off till I read more of the books).

Pulp / Space Opera

  • John Carter of Mars: Phantom of Mars (Modiphius 2d20 system, simpler than the Star Trek 2d20 system) — Uncover the nefarious conspiracy of the mysterious organization known as the Eidolon as you adventure your way across Barsoom to save the people of the dying planet. Phantoms of Mars will take your heroes on a journey full of pulp-action, intrigue and heroism as they race to uncover the Eidolon conspiracy and see just how far it has spread. (Would be great for theater-of-the-mind and podcast Actual Play, so holding off for now).

Hard Sci-Fi Campaigns

  • Blood & Steel (Imperium RPG, Traveller, or Rarescape) — After investigating a space anomaly, a group of fighter pilots find themselves on a starhopping quest to save humanity. (Think Battlestar Galactica) (Not very sandbox, and not a lot of recurring NPCs)

Fantasy Campaigns

  • World of Redmark: Caress of Steel (D&D 5e) New sandbox D&D campaign based on the 80’s Rush albums ‘Caress of Steel’ and ‘Fly By Night’. (Not on the table for now due to work required to run this)
  • Middle-earth: 4th Age Quest (Adventures in Middle-earth/5e) – Adventure in Middle-Earth a millennium before the Lord of the Rings. “Know this, people of Gondor: were it not for the selfless souls in Arnor who with flashing blades and spilled life-blood fought against the Witch-King and his foul blight in Angmar, our free lands would not have known peace, and our bright cities would long ago have crumbled into forgotten ruins.” (Deferred to after Mirkwood campaign)

Mini-Campaigns (~ 3-6 sessions)

  • The Secrets of Cats (Rarescape or Fate) — You play magic cats secretly working to save the world.
  • Firefly: Civil War (Firefly Cortex Plus or Rarescape RPG) — Epic mini-campaign conclusion to a Firefly campaign Todd, Mason and Stan were running a few years back.
  • Reich America: The Shadow Covenant (Rarescape RPG) — Resistance fighters uncover a terrifying secret about the Final Reich.
  • Solomon Kane (1600’s Fantasy/Horror/Monster-Hunters) — (Rarescape RPG) — Cut a righteous path in a world of evil! You have seen the path to redemption, a road paved in the blood and bones of the evil you must defeat to save the world from its unholy taint. Face that which preys on men’s dreams, their fears, and their very souls. Walk The Path of Kane. Your enemies span the globe, reaching out from every shadowy corner of all four continents. Men, magic, and monsters of the darkest hearts and basest desires threaten the very world you tread. Humanity is lost without the will and steel of good folk like you.

Top Stuff I Want To Run Someday (2019 Edition)

Been thinking about the ‘stuff I’m itching to run someday’ so thought I’d jot it down. Interesting how things evolve: see my post in 2017, my post in 2016 and my post in 2014 of things I was itching to run in prior years. This year I’m also adding two additional categories: ‘Currently Prepping’ and ‘Other Players’ Campaigns’.

Currently Prepping

These are settings which I’m actively running as one-shots and building out ready-to-run campaigns. Any of these would be candidate campaigns to run after my Redmark campaign concludes.

Sandbox City Campaigns

  • Mage Cops™ (Rarescape) — Wizard constables tackle crimes-of-the-week in NYC.
  • Crimefighters (Rarescape or Icons) — Need to test out the Supers rules before this setting would work.

Star Wars d6Star Wars Campaigns

  • Brak Sector Rebels (WEG d6 1e) — The Brak Sector is a sector of space that serves as a staging area for Imperial Navy missions into the Outer Rim Territories. Rebel forces have made substantial gains in this former mining sector. You play Rebels undertaking missions for the Alliance in this part-Sandbox/part-military-missions campaign.
  • Arkanis Sector Privateers (WEG d6 1e) — You play privateers (pirates) working for the Rebellion to harass and disrupt the Empire.

Other Players’ Campaigns

There are campaigns which other players in my Thursday Night Dice group have said they’d like to run or play at some point.

  • Bailey — Superhero (prefers a crunchy rule system), Star Wars (original rule system preferred), D&D.
  • Jeff L.— 13th age for a short campaign. Anima.
  • Mason — Game of Thrones inspired campaign (currently considering Fantasy Age or a d100 ruleset for this future campaign).

Stan’s Other Backlog

Swords & Sandal / Sword & Planet Campaigns

  • Legends of Lemuria (Rarescape) — Think John Carter of Mars.

a9fae6c1b8ea2a0ca4902edf6cd14820Hard Sci-Fi Campaigns

  • Blood & Steel (Imperium RPG, Traveller, or Rarescape) — After investigating a space anomaly, a group of fighter pilots find themselves on a starhopping quest to save humanity. (Think Battlestar Galactica)
  • Scientorium(Imperium RPG, Traveller, or Rarescape) — Hidden away by sheer distance and forever shrouded from the minds of the curious lies a mammoth artifact from the previous galactic age, the library of Scientorium. Its strange experience chambers offer passage to a million histories on a million worlds, secrets and technologies undreamed of. Now abandoned by all but its automated security systems and enigmatic caretakers, its workings are oddly twisted and jealous, meting out reward and punishment in equal measure. This is a classic science fiction saga, an epic journey across space and time in the vein of Niven or Heinlein!
  • Eris Beta-V(Imperium RPG, Traveller, or Rarescape) — A team of explorers investigates a magnificent ringed gas giant with its numerous moons. Ancient artifacts of enormous power can be found among the rings and asteroids. Every moon is a unique world to be explored. When the system’s valuable commerce is threatened by unscrupulous agencies, the team must root them out and put themselves at great risk on the icy fringes of interstellar space.
  • Eschaton: The Dark Star(Imperium RPG, Traveller, or Rarescape) — Interstellar explorers investigate a mind-boggling megastructure hidden in deep space. (Think Ringworld)

Fantasy Campaigns

  • World of Redmark: Caress of Steel (D&D 5e) New sandbox D&D campaign based on the 80’s Rush albums ‘Caress of Steel’ and ‘Fly By Night’.
  • Middle-earth: Darkening of Mirkwood (Adventures in Middle-earth/5e)  — The Necromancer may have been cast out of Dol Guldur, but a lingering darkness remains over Mirkwood, a shadow that will grow ever longer as the years draw on – unless a band of brave adventurers step forward and hold back the gloom.
  • Middle-earth: 4th Age Quest (Adventures in Middle-earth/5e) – Adventure in Middle-Earth a millennium before the Lord of the Rings. “Know this, people of Gondor: were it not for the selfless souls in Arnor who with flashing blades and spilled life-blood fought against the Witch-King and his foul blight in Angmar, our free lands would not have known peace, and our bright cities would long ago have crumbled into forgotten ruins.”

Mini-Campaigns (~ 3-6 sessions)

  • The Secrets of Cats (Rarescape or Fate) — You play magic cats secretly working to save the world.
  • Firefly: Civil War (Firefly Cortex Plus or Rarescape RPG) — Epic mini-campaign conclusion to a Firefly campaign Todd, Mason and Stan were running a few years back.
  • Reich America: The Shadow Covenant (Rarescape RPG) — Resistance fighters uncover a terrifying secret about the Final Reich.
  • Solomon Kane (1600’s Fantasy/Horror/Monster-Hunters) — (Rarescape RPG) — Cut a righteous path in a world of evil! You have seen the path to redemption, a road paved in the blood and bones of the evil you must defeat to save the world from its unholy taint. Face that which preys on men’s dreams, their fears, and their very souls. Walk The Path of Kane. Your enemies span the globe, reaching out from every shadowy corner of all four continents. Men, magic, and monsters of the darkest hearts and basest desires threaten the very world you tread. Humanity is lost without the will and steel of good folk like you.

Mini-Series Podcast Games

Some one-shots and mini-campaigns I’d like to run on the actual play podcast at some point. — Stan

The Secrets of Cats (Fate Core)

The Secrets of CatsCats are magical; cats understand sacrifice and the power of names. 

A decapitated mouse left on the doorstep or pillow is a powerful ward, and a spell wailed by the cat chorus confers even greater protection. When evil is on the rise and the safety of the neighbourhood is at stake the Parliament of Cats is there to stand firm against the darkness.

Take Silver Ford, for example, a sleepy tourist town near a played-out old silver mine. When kids messing around in the mine accidentally rouse an ancient evil on All Hallows’ Eve, the secret and magical cats of the neighborhood are the only thing protecting their special people from the things that go bump in the night.

Loose Threads (Fate Core)

Loose ThreadsOn the edges of fairy tales live members of the Company—collateral damage from someone else’s Happily Ever After.

Maybe their fairy godmother got lost on the way, or they failed to solve the riddle, or their siblings forgot to save them before riding off into the sunset. Now Company members live on the edges of tales and travel the In-Betweens, helping others like them who need rescuing from ogres, reversing of curses, and freedom from the evil clutches of bandits. People who the stories have forgotten. It’s difficult work, and every story must end eventually.

How will yours turn out?

Masters of Umdaar (Fate Accelerated)

Masters of UmdaarRise up against the Masters of Umdaar!

Behold the fallen world of Umdaar, home to savage warriors, cyborg insects, and merciless warlords. Oh, and lasers—lots and lots of lasers. The Masters rule with an iron fist, and the people’s only hope are the archaeonauts and their quest for long-lost artifacts of power. But will the Masters get there first? Masters of Umdaar, our latest Fate World of Adventure by Dave Joria, is a retro tribute to such shiny serials as John Carter of Mars, Flash Gordon, He-Man, and Thundercats.

Firefly (Cortex+)

Firefly RPGKeep Flyin’! Prepare for thrilling, new adventures in the ‘Verse with the Firefly Roleplaying Game! Set six years after the Unification War, the Firefly Roleplaying Game faithfully branches story elements from the popular FOX television series, while simultaneously expanding on the Firefly setting. Powered by the Cortex Plus system, which emphasizes character interaction and story development, this core rulebook features everything you need to venture into the black, including character archetypes, ship stats and creation rules, locations and planetary systems, a detailed Episode guide, story hooks, and more.

In our campaign, we’ll pick up where Mal and his surviving crew have started a rebellion against the Alliance and now have their HQ aboard a captured Alliance vessel. Your crew has taken over the Serenity and now take various odd jobs between helping out (as best you can) the burgeoning rebellion.

(This will be a continuation and conclusion of this earlier mini-campaign which was put on hiatus).

Gaslight Heroes (Cortex Prime)

Gaslight HeroesEvery few centuries, hidden cosmic energies align and make possible the origins of super-powered individuals. In ancient Babylon, Greece, and many other cultures, these rare people wielding their unusual powers became the stuff of legends. Many legends and even pantheons arose based on the half-truths about these super-powered people.

In 1800s London, the ley lines foretold by Stone Henge converge to again enable select individuals to gain untold powers. Now, these chosen individuals begin to discover one another.

But not all these powers belong to benevolent souls. In the misty shadows of late-night London walk both heroes and horrors.

Welcome to the world of the Gaslight Heroes!

(This will be a continuation and conclusion of this earlier mini-campaign which was put on hiatus).

 

 

 

Trial Run of GroupMe for Messaging and Scheduling

Folk, I’d like to try using GroupMe for a couple of weeks for all communication and scheduling for the Thursday Night Dice group. If we have a good experience, we’ll then try it out with the Saturday Night Dice group. If we all still like it after a month, we’ll consider switching over from Meetup to instead use GroupMe.

Until further notice, please respond to BOTH GroupMe and Meetup invites for Thursday Night Games.

Background

We’ve been using Meetup for over a year and although at the time it was the best featured product on the market for community scheduling, there’s been an ongoing complaint from a few about getting calendar notices for campaigns that folks are not in (this is a limitation with how Meetup works). This past week I had a chance to use the GroupMe app all weekend long at PAX Unplugged to chat with my fellow Expo attendees. It was a great experience. GroupMe does everything that SMS Chat does, but it (in my opinion) does it better).

General Observations

GroupMe works essentially like SMS text messages, but it is reliable (Meetup is not), and has a nice Desktop version you can use in your PC web browser. You can have real-time chats that integrate well with calendars and polls. I do think this will give us better engagement, and will let us segment calendars, polls, and chats to individual campaigns. The key downsides of GroupMe are that (1) it has powerful features, but it takes a bit of tweaking to ‘tune’ message notifications, (2) calendaring is more convenient for users, but a bit more tedious to GMs to set up, and (3) there won’t be one ‘global’ view of the calendar, so we’ll have to be extra careful not to schedule games over each other.

All in all though I still am willing to give it a try. (Google+ is still not an option; on iOS Google+ no longer has Events as an option).

Getting Started

Probably the easiest is to just follow the link I will email you (if you’re in the Thursday Night Dice group).

Alternatively:

  • On your desktop, visit GroupMe.com and register for a free account (if you don’t have one already).
  • On your phone, install the GroupMe app.

Getting To the Calendar and Polls

The one thing that isn’t intuitive (it’s a bit like Snapchat in some regards) is getting to the group ‘Menu’). Simply click on the icon of the group once you’re in it at the top right of the screen.

Feature Comparison

Stuff Meetup Does Better than GroupMe

  • Recurring calendar events
  • Waitlist Support
  • Guest Support (you can allow folks to add 0 guest, or maybe 2 guests for example)
  • Website integration (shows calendar on Dicehaven.com; not possible with GroupMe)
  • Month-view of calendar events (it appears this feature will disappear on Meetup after their new software update)
  • Sync with Google Calendar (GroupMe can do Google Calendar sync but it requires https://ifttt.com/connect/google_calendar/groupme app and looks complicated)

Stuff GroupMe Does Better

  • Free with unlimited groups
  • Segment multiple groups with each group having its own calendar events and messaging (we could have 4 or 8 sub-groups, with a specific group for each campaign, plus groups for things like Lone Star Game Expo planners)
  • Configure email reminders for events to be for custom days/times before event
  • Better, realtime chat notifications (Meetup’s are unreliable)
  • Mute Notifications for One Group or All Groups
  • Office Mode (notifications will not be sent to group members in order to minimize distractions)

Key GroupMe FAQs

Also see all the GroupMe FAQs.

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