Thursday, July 31, 2014

Demon: Lore of the Realms

The Realms is a dangerous and impressive place.  (Skyrim Picture)
Sense the Barrier
Your experiences crafting the pocket realities that formed the Realms (or alternatively exploring the ones made by others) means that you can automatically tell the strength of any barriers between this world and any other.  You can sense such dimensional rifts so long as they are within Faith x yards of your current position for the next hour.  You can automatically identify any Avernian Gates to the underworld, unwarded Realms bastion entrances or haunted locations for what they are.  While you can sense other dimensional doors / rifts (i.e. closed hedge gates, realms-based bastion doors, verges and Abyssal rifts) you will not automatically know precisely what they are.
Action: Instant.
Cost: None.
Dice Pool: Wits + Investigation + Realms (clash of wills if gate is warded against detection).
High Torment: You can force open or close an existing Avernian Gate to allow both yourself and others to pass through for minutes equal to Faith.

Reach Across The Barrier
You can see and reach into Twilight to lift objects out of the ephemera (can be a handy way to pick up various human-oriented relics) which can then be used as though they were real for hours equal to Faith.  You can also place objects into Twilight which you may then later retrieve.  You cannot see or touch other ghosts with this power. 
Action: Instant.
Cost: None.
Dice Pool: Wits + Larceny + Realms.
High Torment: You can temporarily forge a Size 1 or 2 object out of ephemera which you can then use for ten minutes per Faith dot.  This cannot be used to forge working items relying on electronics or chemistry (i.e. guns) though it may forge their simulacrum.  It could be used to forge a knife, hacksaw, handcuffs, or money.  These items are real for all intents and purposes before finally dissipating.

You can move in and out of Twilight at will for hours equal to Faith.  While in twilight you are insubstantial and can therefore move in any direction.  You can move at thrice your regular speed.
Action: Instant.
Cost: None.
Dice Pool: Dexterity + Larceny + Realms.
High Torment: You can move in and out of Twilight as a single reflexive action which allows you to step out of Twilight and strike someone, then hit them again before moving back into Twilight.  While this does give them a chance to hit you, if there is a single person you can roll opposed Wits + Stealth to time your appearance behind them right in order to ignore their defence for your first strike.  This power lasts for turns equal to successes + Faith.

Twilit Gate
You may phase as many individuals as are touching you into twilight where they will remain for hours equal to your Faith or until you help them leave.  While in twilight they are insubstantial and can therefore move in any direction at thrice their regular speed.  You can injure someone in twilight when you are also in twilight.  This lasts for hours equal to Faith.
Action: Instant.
Cost: 1 Faith.
Dice Pool: Dexterity + Occult + Realms - Resolve.
High Torment: You can bind your targets to you which prevents them from escaping or attacking you which allows you to move them to a location of your choosing before you all step out again (you must exit with them) at which point the binding ends.  This version of the lore lasts for minutes equal to Faith + successes.

Realms Mastery
You can either reach through or into twilight as a reflexive action without crossing fully (allowing you to strike with a weapon or touch attack while incorporeal *and* deprive the enemy's defence if you make a successful opposed Wits + Stealth roll though you still must make the roll to strike) OR you can immediately open an Avernian Gate in any portal (i.e. doorway or narrower cavern section) which remains open for rounds equal to faith allowing anyone to enter or leave during that time.
Action: Instant.
Cost: 1 Faith.
Dice Pool: Manipulation + Occult + Realms - Resolve.
High Torment: You can cause an Avernian Gate to have its own suction and gravitational force which requires all those (other than yourself so long as you don't move your feet from the spot where you cast the spell) who stand within Faith x 10 feet to need to make successive Strength + Athletics rolls each round or be drawn five feet toward (or through) the gate.  Suitable handholds give them a +1 to +3 bonus.  The victims may choose to forego their strength roll to make another action (i.e. attack you) but they will be pulled 10 feet toward the gate instead.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Demon: Lore of Ghosts

The dead can talk when you learn how to listen.  (Skyrim picture)
Speak With The Dead
You may speak and see any wraiths currently in twilight within the local area for the next hour so long as you could see them with your naked eye if they had materialised.
Action: Instant.
Cost: None.
Dice Pool: Presence + Expression + Ghosts (- Resolve for high torment).
High Torment: You can force the wraith to truthfully answer questions equal to successes.

Summon the Dead
You can call either a single named wraith (must be their real name) who are haunting a space within a mile of you OR you can summon all local wraiths within 100 feet x Faith of you.  The wraith can remain in your presence for hours equal to Faith or until dismissed (at which point they can venture only as far as they normally can).
Action: Instant.
Cost: None.
Dice Pool: Presence + Occult + Ghosts (- Resolve for high torment).
High Torment: You can force the wraith to remain by your side for days equal to Faith though this is a Morality 5 breaking point to them due to the unnatural nature of their situation.

Command the Dead
You can control a wraith's actions (other than their speech) for hours equal to Faith.  You can give as many commands during this time as you gain successes.  Alternatively you may spend one Faith at this time to instead give the wraith plasma equal to successes and sanity for the next hour.
Action: Instant.
Cost: None.
Dice Pool: Manipulation + Persuasion + Ghosts - Resolve.
High Torment: Assisting you becomes akin to a vice for the wraith who regains a point of willpower every time they fulfil a command ... making them more prone to fulfilling your commands in general.  The wraith must make a Resolve + Composure roll at the end of this time or become hostile to life for days equal to your faith.

Wraithful Embodiment
You can provide the wraith with physicality for minutes equal to Faith + successes although the ghost still lacks any sense of touch or taste and a reduced sense of smell.  They appear effectively alive and wear the clothes they either died in or were buried in (depending on the cultural significance of such clothing).  They have no working artifacts from life (i.e. a soldier will not have a boot knife at hand).  Each source of damage they suffer reduces their manifestation's length by a full minute.
Action: Instant.
Cost: 1 Faith.
Dice Pool: Manipulation + Occult + Ghosts (versus Resolve + Power Stat for high torment).
High Torment: You can force a wraith into an object, binding it within a prison to create a ghostly relic (see new World of Darkness Reliquaries) which can be used by any who hold it and know what to do with it.  This can also be used on a demon if you can catch it first though demonic souls cannot realise their full potential without the use of Forge as well.  The ghost / demonic mind is dormant while within the object though releasing the mind inflicts an immediate Morality / Torment roll due to the constant tension inflicted by the reaper's own tormented contamination.

Restore the Dead
You can provide the wraith with permanent sanity that lasts for months equal to your permanent Faith and provide it with a connection to the ambient faith in the area which grants it plasm equal to the initial roll's successes every night.  The wraith may also treat you and several other nominated places, objects or people (equal to your permanent Faith) as anchorage points which it may freely travel between.  The wraith may also spend experience points on regaining Morality (and on an exceptional success on this roll immediately regains one Morality).  Ghosts maintained in this way have 9 dots worth of Attributes and three Numina - they are either reduced or empowered until they reach this point of power.  The ghost may add the connected demon's Faith rating to resist control (presuming they are connected to another demon and not a human).  This lore use may be renewed upon its expiration point.  Due to the nature of the sympathetic connection, only one ghost may be tied to one person at any one time though the Reaper may feel free to assign more such connections to other living sentient creatures - though again each person may only maintain one such connection.  The connected individual may see and speak with their ghost (and vice versa) automatically and without a roll.
Action: Instant.
Cost: 1 Faith.
Dice Pool: Manipulation + Empathy + Ghosts (versus Resolve + Power Stat for an unwilling ghost / living creature connection).
High Torment: You can provide the benefits as outlined above but instead of providing the chance for the wraith to regain Morality, they instead regain twice as many plasma as successes per night and have an additional vice relating to obeying your character's orders regardless of their current connection.

Monday, July 28, 2014

LARP Achievements

This might be a terrible idea or a wonderful idea.  I'm not really sure which.  I guess it depends on whom you game with.  Basically you take all of the things you want to encourage in a LARP and then you create icons that you print out on sticker sheets.  Someone meets the criteria, they get a sticker (and maybe a cookie).  Why?  Well you can't offer cash prizes and experience point incentives don't work for every player and when they do work they tend to create big power level gaps.

There could be stickers for reaching your tenth, twentieth and fiftieth boon owed to you or owed by you; stickers for your first feeding mishap; stickers for consistent costuming; stickers for submitting your thirtieth downtime; and stickers for helping out a certain amount of time.

So what do you think of that idea?  Absolutely awful?  Or just crazy enough that it might work?

Friday, July 25, 2014


I've re-read some of the old demon lore write ups and realised they need a bit of an edit to make them read more nicely.  Unfortunately I'm still knee deep in LARP preparations and Home Front sourcebook revision so that's diverting time, attention and resources away from this blog.  I figured the rules are the thing so I'll keep putting them up for now as I do them. 

They haven't been playtested (sorry) but I have extensively played through the original rules so I have a pretty decent idea of what I don't like about them.  I've also sourced advice from my husband who's pretty solid on rules, mechanics and all things crunch.

At some point in the future I'll run / play some more demon with the new rules and I will use these and see what works and what doesn't but in the meantime I'm eager to hear about your thoughts, reflections or experiences with these rules.

Demon: Lore of the Wind

Create Wind
You can create breathable air that emerges from your hands for minutes equal to Faith + successes.  If you are surrounded by gas or water you can cup your hands over a person's nose and mouth to provide them with clean air.  If this lore is used in an enclosed space which would increase the air pressure then instead it replaces the existing air with breathable air to ensure that the current air pressure is maintained.  The strength of the wind created in this way is, at most, equivalent to your breath (i.e. you can blow out a candle at close range).
Action: Instant.
Cost: None.
Dice Pool: Dexterity + Expression + Wind.
High Torment: You may produce a poor quality of air that can cause a person to lose consciousness.  This high-torment form of created air is unstable and deteriorates rapidly so it can't be used to flood a room. However, you can use this as part of a grapple, in place of another grapple manouevre you can choose to hold your hand over their nose and mouth and so long as you can maintain this hold for rounds equal to your victim's stamina they will be rendered unconscious for the next scene.  This only affects creatures that need to breathe.

Command the Wind
You can use the surrounding air to manipulate objects as though you had strength equal to successes that can be used against anything within yards equal to Faith.  The wind itself cannot deal damage but one could use this to hurl a pot or a knife using your successes as a dice pool.
Action: Instant.
Cost: None.
Dice Pool: Dexterity + Expression + Wind.
High Torment: You can pick a location within yards equal to Faith and wind spills forth erratically from that location in all directions up to Faith in yards (consider it to have Strength 2).  This can make an excellent distraction and if placed in an air filled with dust and leaves it can provides partial concealment.

Fist of Air
You can now wield your wind as a ranged attack with a distance equal to Faith in yards that deals lethal damage equal to successes.  This weapon has the Knockdown effect.  So long as the mechanics remain the same, the precise aesthetics of this power's use can vary between fallen so some might literally seem to throw a ball of air or fire it from their hands while others might appear to wield a whip of air.  This deals bashing damage.
Action: Instant.
Cost: None.
Dice Pool: Presence + Expression + Wind - Defense.
High Torment: Create a homunculi that exists only to create havoc.  It persists for rounds equal to Faith, Size equal to Faith and has a dice pool equal to successes plus level in this lore and it can fly at half your speed.  It can act independently.  It cannot communicate with you and therefore cannot be used as a scout.

Shield of Air
You may totally ignore the harmful effects of gas and air pressure (up to 15,000 feet) and you can add your Faith to your Armor rating against projectile weapons and anyone who makes a melee attack against you must roll to avoid Knockdown.  This lasts for a scene.
Action: Instant.
Cost: 1 Faith.
Dice Pool: Presence + Expression + Winds.
High Torment: You may apply an irritating shroud of air around a target which reduces perception and defence by successes for a scene and inflicts a -1 wound penalty to all other rolls.  This lasts for a scene.

You can fill the air with a gas that has Toxicity equal to successes which dissipates when it moves beyond thrice your Faith in yards which lasts for a scene OR you can create a wall of air that can be either a dome with a radius equal to or less than Faith or a straight wall up to Faith x 2 meters long and Faith in meters high that has a Strength and Armour score equal to Faith + successes which resist any attempts to move (requiring a Strength vs Strength + Athletics check) or attack through it though the caster may freely walk through it and leave it standing behind you for a scene OR become shrouded with wind which provides successes to speed and initiative for turns equal to successes OR you can cast Fist of Air twice in a single turn.  Only one of these effects can be active at any one time.
Action: Instant.
Cost: 1 Faith.
Dice Pool: Presence + Expression + Wind versus Composure (if subject unwilling).
High Torment: You can activate the wind shroud to gain successes to speed and initiative as well as either releasing the Toxicity gas or using Fist of Air twice in a single turn.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Demon: Lore of the Firmament

Senses Link
You can share the senses of your thrall for a scene though you are limited to their own sensory abilities (i.e. you cannot see through a blind person's eyes).
Action: Instant.
Cost: None.
Dice Pool: Wits + Empathy + Awakening versus Resolve (if target is unwilling).
High Torment: You can intensify your thrall's sensory abilities, temporarily extending their range so that you can see, smell and hear twice as well as the thrall otherwise could.  Your thrall also benefits from this ability though it costs them 1 bashing damage due to the sensory overload.

You can now scry upon a person from a third-person perspective so long as you have a connection to them.  You can observe a human (or a supernatural with awareness or kenning for the cost of 1 faith) for rounds equal to Faith + successes without detection and up to a scene beyond that if you're willing to let the victim get a suspicion that someone is watching them.  You take no penalty on the roll for having an intimate connection to them (i.e. hair, blood, semen) or a -2 penalty for a treasured possession (i.e. childhood toy) or a -4 penalty for a personal possession (i.e. their car keys).  The roll is automatic if you know the Fallen's true name.  If you don't know the target's real name (i.e. celestial or birth name) then you take a -4 penalty.
Action: Instant.
Cost: None or 1 Faith.
Dice Pool: Wits + Empathy + Firmament versus Composure + Power Stat.
High Torment: The Scourge can turn the suspicious tingles onto another nearby object or person with Faith x 10 yards of the subject, causing the target to become suspicious of that person (i.e. fearing that a neighbour is stalking them or that a fellow criminal is wearing a wire).  You don't get to select their fears or their reactions to those suspicions.  You only pick the target.

Mouth of the Damned
You can speak through the mouth of your thrall for minutes equal to successes + Faith and are able to cast any verbal spells using their voice (i.e. Radiance) though these powers may only affect a single target.  These rounds do not need to be consecutive and if you are also using Senses Link you can telepathically connect with your thrall for the rest of the scene - taking hold of their voice here and there across that time to insert your words and use your social skills.
Action: Instant.
Cost: None.
Dice Pool: Presence + Empathy + Firmament - Composure (if subject unwilling).
High Torment: You can either strike the thrall mute for a scene once you have finished utilising their voice or you can gain a +3 bonus to non-supernatural presence rolls while speaking through them as the unnatural cadence of your voice.

Touch From Afar
While scrying on a target you may activate this power to allow you to direct your powers at them through the connection for rounds equal to successes (each power thus used requires it's own roll).  All rolls are penalized by your connection to them if penalties exist.  If you are currently using Senses Link or Many Places At Once you may treat your thrall as though you had an active scrying attempt (though touch attacks still require you to touch them).  Your spells can only affect one target - which is either the target you are scrying upon or a single individual you select within the spell's range centered on the thrall you are temporarily possessing.
Action: Instant.
Cost: 1 Faith.
Dice Pool: Wits + Empathy + Firmament - Resolve.
High Torment: You may use a lore that affects multiple targets that is treated as though you were in the place of your thrall or selected scrying target.  In the event that you are using a thrall for this conduit, you may choose not to affect them with the spell.

Many Places At Once
You can take total control of one or more of your own thralls for a single scene and may see through their senses, speak through their mouth or cast spells through their spatial positioning as though you were truly there.  If you are simply co-possessing one thrall you may retain consciousness in your own body though with a -2 penalty to all actions but if you wish to possess multiple thralls then you will fall unconscious for the duration.  You will awaken if your body is harmed in any way but not if it is moved.
Action: Instant.
Cost: 1 Faith.
Dice Pool: Presence + Empathy + Firmament versus Resolve.
High Torment: You may manifest a single apocalyptic form trait through all of the thralls you are currently riding to gain that extra edge - though doing so costs the thrall one willpower point per minute it is used.  If emptied of their willpower you lose your connection with that individual but retain your connection to the others.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Demon: Lore of Awakening

Find the Faithful
You gain a sense of the direction between you and an individual whose name you declare.  This is automatically successful if you know their real name (celestial name for a fallen; birth name for anyone else).  While you gain a sense of their direction you do not know precisely where they are and must follow in that direction until you reach them.  If you are seeking out a fallen and know their true name you get a precise location for them relative to yourself that lasts for the normal amount of time.  You may only attempt to find a particular person once per day and your sense of their direction lasts for hours equal to Faith.
Action: Instant.
Cost: None.
Dice Pool: Wits + Investigation + Awakening (versus Composure + Power Stat if you don't know the target's real name or for the target to ignore the high torment influence).
High Torment: The person you are targeting feels suspicious and paranoid as though someone who means to do them harm is in the room with them (if there is anyone else there) or will reach them soon.  The target doesn't know that the cause is supernatural in origin and simply feels it on an instinctual level and will react accordingly to the various people they meet.

You can purify a single target of all their toxins and infections by simply touching them.  This won't work on genetic afflictions unless the affliction causes or is caused by a toxin or infection (i.e. can remove the ramifications of a celiac eating a lot of gluten).
Action: Instant.
Cost: None.
Dice Pool: Presence + Science + Awakening (versus Stamina + Power Stat if the target is unwilling).
High Torment: The Scourge will cleanse the victim of any beneficial drug or pharmaceutical as well which can immediately undo the effects of that medication (i.e. remove the effects of Ritalin, anti-depressants or anti-schizophrenic medicines) effective immediately.

You can wield the healing breath to restore a single person to full health or aggravated damage with a touch, though you cannot cause a person to regenerate a missing limb.  Add your Faith to your successes and then distribute them accordingly: 1 for every 3 bashing, 1 for every lethal, and 3 for every point of aggravated damage.
Action: Instant.
Cost: None.
Dice Pool: Presence + Occult + Awakening (versus Stamina + Power Stat).
High Torment: You can afflict a single target with a poison (Toxicity equal to Faith + half of your successes) or a disease of your choice whose value is equal to or less than the required successes which acts normally (examples include 1 success = common cold, 2 successes = influenza, 3 successes = malaria, 4 successes = tetanus, 5 successes = ebola).  Subsequent strikes speeds the symptoms worsening progression by days equal to successes.  You may heal someone and apply a poison or a disease at the same time.

Healing Aura
You can choose to apply the effects of the Heal ability selectively to a number of individuals equal to Faith in a radius equal to Faith.
Action: Instant.
Cost: 1 Faith.
Dice Pool: Presence + Occult + Awakening (versus Stamina + Power Stat).
High Torment: Your viciousness contaminates your aura and causes all of those present within Faith in yards to take bashing damage equal to successes for rounds equal to Faith that this power lasts unless they move out of range of the power.

Restore Life
Death is not an immediate process.  It takes time after the heart ceases to beat for the brain to die sufficiently that the soul and azoth is untethered and freed.  You may restore life to a recently deceased body, providing the essential spark of azoth to bring them back, and allowing the ghost to return to their form.  If the individual has been dead for less than 5 minutes, they are unaffected by the change.  If their brain was destroyed or they were dead for longer than that, then they will be called back to their body from the underworld.  The initial ghost may freely reject their second chance which leaves the body alive but inert and available for either a ghost or a demon to possess.
Action: Instant.
Cost: 1 Faith.
Dice Pool: Manipulation + Occult + Awakening (versus Resolve + Power Stat).
High Torment: Instead of giving the original owner the choice, you can attempt to tear them back into their body (requiring a contested roll), OR you can refuse to give them the chance and instead open them either to the nearest ghost or a disembodied fallen angel (either of which may struggle with you or each other to claim the body in a clash of wills).

Monday, July 14, 2014

Demon: Lore of Patterns

Patterns allows one to find that which is of great import.  (Skyrim picture)
Trace Pattern
You sense the importance of each object or person to an event within faith in yards. This manifests as crystalline threads connected to your self that only you can see. The thicker the tread the more important the object.
Action: Instant.
Cost: None.
Dice Pool: Wits + Investigation + Patterns.
High Torment: The demon threads show everything in his vicinity that could be used to injure, distract or cause harm to another. The thickness of the thread reveals its potential to do harm.

Sense Congruence
You can get a sense for a location and a time where a particular event is going to occur.  This event must be more uncommon then when and where a particular person next go to sleep and must be more specific then when will someone attack a particular person.  As with the latter example, it would be enough if you added a specific location, type of attack or type of attacker (i.e. John Beverly, pair of devils or pack of werewolves).
Action: Instant.
Cost: None.
Dice Pool: Intelligence + Occult + Patterns (versus Composure + Power Stat for high torment).
High Torment: Observation can affect the outcome of any event and thus the event you examine is more likely to go violently wrong and, if already violent, is likely to become more painful for all concerned.  Individuals involved can roll to resist this power.

You can spend a brief period of time in quiet contemplation to create a second sense for dangerous situations.  Once during the next 24 hours when something particularly unexpected, dangerous or eventful happens (in other words, when events go to Initiative), you not only automatically go first but you get to hear every other involved person's intended action before deciding on your own action.  If you choose to take a dodge action you instead get to times defence by three.
Action: Instant.
Cost: None.
Dice Pool: Intelligence + Occult + Patterns
High Torment: Your vicious and vindictive nature allows you to add bashing damage equal to successes to this first action.

Causal Influence
You can choose to affect the web of fate so that at some point between 1 hour - 10 minutes per Faith to Faith in days (your choice) a person receives a message, object or opportunity of your desire.  This could mean that a person happens to put up an advertisement which another person happens to read out loud while your intended recipient happens to pay attention (thus hearing it and feeling to their bones the importance of that message) or it could involve the fallen dropping a pistol which is picked up by a child which is taken by a parent which is thrown out of a car window which is picked up by a thug which is deposited behind the dumpster by a thug which is right where the target needs it to be when they are flung to the ground by a mobster.  Or a bouncer could be distracted by an old friend just when the target wishes to enter.
Action: Instant.
Cost: 1 Faith.
Dice Pool: Intelligence + Investigation + Patterns.
High Torment: Your inner cruelty can only nudge things through acts of violence.  The intended recipient is accosted by a person with schizophrenia who has had that phrase echo through their mind repeatedly and with force, the pistol is left behind the dumpster by the thug who was shot in a gangland shooting, or the bouncer is punched in the face and distracted by a distraught passerby.  You have no control of the situation beyond declaring a number of people equal to Torment (who must be known by name or a specific detail) immune to such violent repercussions.

Twist Time
You can alter the flow of time for yourself and move through a bubble in time where everything moves according to the normal amount of time while the world around you is slowed down considerably for rounds equal to Faith + successes.  Everything you touch (including other people) enter your time bubble for so long as you touch them.  Anything you pick up and throw will seem to pause in space for this time before dealing lethal damage equal to successes to any target.
Action: Instant.
Cost: 1 Faith.
Dice Pool: Intelligence + Science + Patterns (versus Resolve + Power Stat for high Torment).
High Torment: The sudden flicker in and out of time damages the will of those who are suddenly caught up in, robbing them of a single willpower point and inflicting a derangement upon them that lasts for 24 hours.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Roleplaying Book Styles

I've realised more recently that I have a real preference for how roleplaying books read.  Although layout is important and I don't notice pictures except by their absence (unless it's a bestiary), I find that the books that hold my attention are the ones that write in a flavourful, succinct and precise manner - a hard combination to be sure.

I've found that Blood & Smoke is an easy read because each section clearly states what it needs it to say and does so through the use of rich analogies that also helps it paint a consistent picture of the game, style, and roleplay experience on offer.  Therefore reading it gives you not only a firm view of the rules but an equally full comprehension of what being a vampire feels like -- which is great because another culture's / creature's psychology is far harder to understand than a few basic rules!

On the other hand, I've found some of Trail of Cthulhu rulebooks a bit dry because it's rules are so quick, rapid and summative that my eyes glaze.  Ironically enough sometimes you need a few extra words to be succinct in a way that captures attentions and allows additional clarity. 

Does this mean I dislike the Trail of Cthulhu books?  Not at all.  There are parts that are rich in analogy and I love how they include extra details like clues left behind by monsters.  I just have a preference for Blood & Smoke (though not all White Wolf books - some are waaaaaaay too lengthy and spend an entire book belabouring a couple points).

I'm wondering how Call of Cthulhu 7th edition will go?  I liked the 6th edition book well enough, though I didn't find it mesmerising it was a solid read.  Hopefully it is an even better read!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Campaign Inspirations!

Still being slack with the posts (I know!) but I'll get back into the swing of it soon enough.  That's the only problem with running a near daily for a couple years, you end up needing a bit of a holiday.  Don't worry, though, I'll be back into it soon enough.

I have thus far purchased these three beauties from Cryptocurium for my Masks of Nyarlathotep campaign (and potential actual LARPs):

And hopefully this one as well if I can get to it before it sells out:

You can purchase some of them yourselves over here.

I've also recently received my Blood & Smoke copy from the God Machine genre in the mail so there's plenty of reading material for me there in preparation for my LARP.

Thursday, July 3, 2014


Not all maps need to be beautiful.
Floorplans are quite useful for those of us who can't visualise a floorplan based off of a verbal description or, at least, whose visualisations are quite mutable and easy disconnects from other people's.  While many games can survive without them, there can be problems if one person is heavily visual and quickly cobbles together an image in their mind only to have it change, shift and slide with the GM's whims.  While not always an issue, it does undo all of the GM's good work and can cause issues, complaints and arguments in a tactical situation (such as a fight).

So what do you do?

Well, remember that the map doesn't need to be an ornate and beautiful work of art made using the Sims 3, architectural floorplan program or even an RPG focused map maker.  It can be a hasty scrawl on the back of the envelope.  You can pre-make it or wing it, and not every detail needs to be placed (or labelled).  You certainly don't need a grid unless it helps you draw or your game system cares quite a bit on 5ft squares (though even there some groups quite readily guesstimate positioning without a map).

You also don't need to use miniatures if you have a floorplan.  So long as everyone is on the same page and knows how the place sits, recalling people's positions is normally very easy especially as most games don't really care whether a person is within 12 feet of another!

Also, players, be aware that your GM may not be made of money so if you want schmexy floorplans and you know that your GM may adore making them should they have the option, you could always offer to purchase them a mapmaking program (funds permitting). 

This isn't to say that you are required to do so, or that your GM even wants to make maps, but should you and they be agreeable to the idea, it can be a nice thing for your GM to get a treat even if that treat is so that they can make the play experience better for you!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Decision Making in Horror

Outlast Shows How It's Done
One of the oft-forgotten tricks of a good horror game is that it best revolves around the choices you make and the choices that denied to you.  You can't simply choose to make an infection curable or to deny someone else being infected at all, but you can choose what to do about it and it is that choice that makes the whole thing scary.

Do you leave the room now when there's a creature potentially lurking out there or do you wait?

Do you fight or run from the creature oozing from shadows?  If you fight, will that inevitably lead to you wasting ammunition and health levels and potentially dying?  If you try to run, is there anywhere you can go?

You don't know the outcomes but you do know the questions and in it is within those questions that most of the fear springs.  After all, there is a sort of peace in inevitability.  If you only have one option then at least it's not your fault if something bad happens but what if you could have done something differently?  What if your favourite NPC - your character's daughter - only lost her fingers because of a decision you made?  What if it's your fault?

If you'd only been smarter, brighter, braver, you could have succeeded where now you have failed....

Yes, I know, once that failure hits and the shame and bitterness wells up you've fallen into tragedy (which can be good, too) but it's that fear of entering the world of tragedy that makes fear so salient.  It's the fear of loss, the fear of suffering and pain, that stays with you.

Horror can be made up of many little elements - disgust, shock, pain, scary truths, and strange ways of looking at things - but fear is always anticipatory.  The reality may be terrible but the fear is always of the next step.  So if you make the next step meaningful, if you allow the onus to fall on the player characters, you can create a deeper, richer and more frightful game.

What do you reckon?  How does that sound to you?