Friday, July 25, 2014

Old-School Conspiracy-Mapping with Night's Black Agents

I think I need a bigger corkboard. Here's what my Night's Black Agents PCs have uncovered of the conspiracy as of session 3 (and that third session was only about 2 hours of play). Mostly stolen from The Zalozhniy Sanction: Russian mafiya in the top and left, undead in the the middle and creepy locations below that, plus a subplot or two over on the right. NBA's mechanics actually give the PCs bonus points for every piece of string linking people or places.

When non-gamer visitors come over they see that wall and immediately start asking if I'm investigating a murder. (Note to the surveillance team in the white van that's always down the street: It's all just a game. I promise.)

Thursday, July 24, 2014

No Use Matrix Tables, Play Og!

I just signed up to run a session of Og: Unearthed Edition at the Dragonflight convention next month. I'll also be GMing it this weekend for a group of friends from my wife's workplace.

I just keep coming up with crazy ideas to spring at the poor cavemen.  Ran down to Top Ten Toys and Archie McPhee to get some megafauna and other props. Being a gamer is fun.

I'm also currently toying with the idea that a sheet of black construction paper and an old Icehouse set makes a good simulation of the table with the matrix of control crystals from the inside of a pylon in Land Of The Lost. The idea is to present the players with the sort of intellectual challenge that makes D&D gamers groan and start asking to short-circuit it with an Intelligence check... knowing full well that as cavemen, they'll just smash the device with rocks and clubs. It's your classic unsolvable puzzle situation, but this time no one has any delusions about needing (or being able) to actually solve it. I mean, I did work out a puzzle for it, but I'm not expecting the players to actually solve it, and the plot won't bog down regardless of whether or not they do. No use smart thing, play Og!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Push 'Em Off The Pier

Here's an NPC action I made for my Warhammer Campaign. It's very situational, only any good for staging a brawl on the docks.

The card also hasn't been tested at all, so I make no promises about it. The PCs in my campaign short-circuited the encounter before the henchmen could even show up. They dropped the villain to within 2 wounds of a KO before he could act (or call for help), and then shot him again after he surrendered.

My plan had been to use the "Overboard!" card from the Dreadfleet Captains POD expansion as the "new terrain card" mentioned on the triple-success line, but you might choose a less daunting card if your water isn't quite so deep and fast.

MINOR SPOILER ALERT: The above card is very loosely based off an encounter from The Enemy Within, and to a lesser extent the Grapple card from the core set. I scaled it back considerably from the effects of the opposed Athletics rolls on page 132 of TEW because the original tests were a bit over the top. In the adventure, the NPCs only needed a single success to automatically knock a PC out of the fight. This meant a simple Ruffian NPC with 1 Expertise had a 30% chance of effectively one-shotting a min-maxed melee-oriented PC and as high as an 80% chance of doing the same to the party's wizard or other low-strength character. I know the game is pretty deadly, but those numbers seemed un-fun. My version cuts those numbers down to 7% and 20%.  (GM's who feel I'm going too easy on the PCs could change the triple-success line to a double-success line to set the numbers at a more threatening 16% and 63%.)