Monday, 25 October 2010

One-Shots Galore

So I fancy a bit of DMing practice before I try and run a proper game, so I'm going to run a few one-shots and such to get back into the swing of things.

Things I'm planning:

Roadies - a game where the players take the role of various members of a super-massive band's road crew (groupies, managers, roadies etc.) trying to get a show to actually run. Using Risus for fast, fun and non-combat oriented play.

Cyberpunk - Another Day, Another Job - using some kind of stripped-down system (Shadowrun and Cyberpunk don't scream one-shot to me) to run some kind of criminal activity gone wrong - well planned to start with, but watch as chaos slowly creeps in... the plan is to use the basics of Unknown Armies system (chargen and the roll-under-skill percentile system) and add some elements of Cyberpunk 2020 (they said I was mad... MAD!). If I can find it, and convince the group, maybe Fiasco! would be perfect... although, the 1KM1KT Free Cyberpunk RPG competition has just been announced, and some of those games look a blast to run - FUBAR looks to be quite similar in style to Fiasco!, but with a different take on the whole thing...

Monster Hunt - like Hunter: The Vigil, with bigger balls. MiniSix all the way!

... and I dunno what else, as of yet. Time will tell...

Sunday, 24 October 2010

One-on-One Gaming, Or How I Stopped Worrying And Learned To Love Funny Accents

So, as previously mentioned, I'm running a short Duet campaign with my girlfriend, to introduce her to the hobby. Last night was the first session, and we both had a blast.

While I love writing adventures, planning worlds, and generally being a DM, my previous attempts have been met with... mixed success. From the player who wanted to do nothing but punt gnomes and get drunk (in character, luckily), the two newbies who were put off by the other players attitudes (i.e. wildly breaking the rules and making shit up to justify it), and a variety of Play-by-Post forum games that collapsed after naught but a few weeks, I was worried that possibly I just wasn't that great at GMing.

But, at least, I rock at duets.

The Microlite 20 system is a small joy to run. It strips out the splat-bloat of the 3e era, and brings things back to 4 classes, 4 races, and very light rules, with a distinctive 3e feel (AC, not THAC0!). Even then, I've found it great for freeforming with - you can easily drop a few rules here and there and still get a perfectly serviceable framework for quick and dirty fun. NPCs can be made in seconds using PC rules, or just ruled on the fly (I work a three-tier system - you're either Bad (no bonus, maybe a penalty), Decent(no bonus to +2), or Great (+3 or higher). Makes for very easy NPCs, and most rolls can be ajudicated at the roll (i.e., Halflings have Bad strength, but wouldn't incur a penalty to pull themselves up a rope). Simple.

For the adventure itself, we started with a classic - "You all meet in a tavern." The lady doesn't even play RPGs, and she's heard that line before! After making her entrance, and chatting with an ex-adventurer dwarf (whose missing eye made her mindful to always check for traps) about the abandoned Wizard's Tower atop The Great Big Ominous Hill Outside Town, Twiggy the Witch (nee Twiggy the Epic) set about collecting a party of merry misanthropes to join her for some looting and plundering.

- Dave the Unsubtle, Halfling Rogue - tiny, aggressive, mercenary - a Kender in all but name. Known for his entertaining asides, cynicism, and being barred from more taverns than there currently are on the continent.

- Harry the Half-Orc - Fighter by name, Fighter by Intelligence score. Was promised a new sword for joining the party, and first grab of any non-magical pointy things found in the Tower. Loyal, but not particularly well-kept.

- Iona, Elf Druid - was originally concieved as a River Tam-style combat/nature savant, but ended up as a haughty vegetarian with a dickish streak.

So, after resting for the night, and getting any last-minute needs from one of the local caravans in the morning, our intrepis heroes set off, for glory and adventure!

I wanted the game to have more of an "adventurey" feel - less combat, more puzzles and discovery. While there was a brief fight with some Kobolds, the first session was made up of finding out about the tower, the inhabitants, and a few clues about the wizard (Mordenkainen - but not that Mordenkainen!) from his diary. She also managed to find a ward to protect her from the nasty beasties in the basement (Thoqqua - she expressed an interest in the weirder D&D monsters...) and even managed to prise enough clues from the Wizard's diary to bind one of them to her service (her party might need a bit more muscle, so I thought it would be a lovely flavourful way to do it mid-dungeon).

After running the first combat, Twiggy's style started to become apparent - let the others do the fighting, try and back them up with arcane artillery/find ways to turn the fight to their favour. I think the next couple of combats will have some more set-dressing, to allow for a wider variety of indirect combat actions to spice thing up a bit, or I might suggest a Wushu-style "stunting" mechanic, maybe even a FATE-style level of narrative control... but we'll see.

So, positives: Adventuring, discovery, interacting with NPCs, being clever with puzzles/traps

Negatives - too much dice rolling (she had a bad streak, which I think threw her a bit).

Next session will be next week - I will keep you posted!

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

One-on-One RPGing - The Plan

So, I'm looking to introduce my lovely lady to the hobby, and I plan on using a short Microlite20 dungeoncrawl to introduce her to her rules, and I suppose the basics of roleplaying. Retroclones seem a bit too... grognard-y for me - too open and freeform, whereas current D&D is a clusterfuck of maths and builds that she shouldn't have to wade through. So, I'm splitting the difference - new-school basic rules, retro-freedom and simplicity.

So, I'm running an expedition to a ruined Wizard's Tower, long held to be haunted by the locals. Only one group of... eccentric individuals, lead by a great and mighty (level 1) Wizard, dare to enter this forsken place, for plunder, excitment, and muder!
More to come once I finish the adventure outline (it's due this weekend!)


So, this is my first post to "Of Dice And Men", my punnily-titled RPG blog, where I ramble at length about games, ideas, plots, reviews, and anything else my mind settles on long enough to write about.

Currently, I'm planning an adventure to introduce my girlfriend to the hobby, a setting called Agents of K.I.C.K. for the MiniSix system, and a few other things.

I'll start with this adventure.