Gaming Archive

  • This post picks up where last fortnight's post left off. Last time, I outlined using The Chinese elements of earth, wood, fire, water and metal to create a varied bunch of roleplaying (convention) characters. This post will dive even more deeply into the well of wankiness to show how to create a group dynamic. The Chinese elements are different to the familiar scheme of the four Greek elements of fire, earth, air and water. Whereas the Greek elements are used solely to categories the natural world, the Chinese elements are used to show natural processes. We can hijack the traditional interactions between the elements to create a webs of tension and alliances within the roleplaying group.

    Chinese Elements for RPG Characters (2/2)

    This post picks up where last fortnight's post left off. Last time, I outlined using The Chinese elements of earth, wood, fire, water and metal to create a varied bunch of roleplaying (convention) characters. This post will dive even more deeply into the well of wankiness to show how to create a group dynamic. The Chinese elements are different to the familiar scheme of the four Greek elements of fire, earth, air and water. Whereas the Greek elements are used solely to categories the natural world, the Chinese elements are used to show natural processes. We can hijack the traditional interactions between the elements to create a webs of tension and alliances within the roleplaying group.
  • <p>This post is the first of two which looks at hijacking the five elements of the Chinese philosophical tradition for this purpose. Today I’ll simply outline the “personalities” of each element. Next time (probably in a fortnight), I’ll look at the tradition and fixed interactions between the elements and how to use these to develop a fun set of characters.</p>
<p>Perhaps it’s a function of the Sydney/Melbourne/Canberra roleplaying scene of the late 1980s and 1990s but I think that the five character party works best for convention gaming. There’s no chance of the two-two deadlock when four characters are used  […]</p>

    Chinese Elements for RPG Characters (1/2)

    This post is the first of two which looks at hijacking the five elements of the Chinese philosophical tradition for this purpose. Today I’ll simply outline the “personalities” of each element. Next time (probably in a fortnight), I’ll look at the tradition and fixed interactions between the elements and how to use these to develop a fun set of characters.

    Perhaps it’s a function of the Sydney/Melbourne/Canberra roleplaying scene of the late 1980s and 1990s but I think that the five character party works best for convention gaming. There’s no chance of the two-two deadlock when four characters are used […]

  • <p>A good GM can tie the dread secrets of the player charcters’ background into the very structure of the narrative so that these past events must be dealt with in order to advance the story. I’m not one of those GMs. I have neither the time anymore nor the smarts to work out these complexities. So, here’s a bunch of tricks you can use to fake it in your roleplaying sessions.</p>
<p>First, the secrets. These can be of two general types, although I generally would not mix the two in a single player group. It just doesn’t seem to work.  […]</p>

    Using Player Character Secrets

    A good GM can tie the dread secrets of the player charcters’ background into the very structure of the narrative so that these past events must be dealt with in order to advance the story. I’m not one of those GMs. I have neither the time anymore nor the smarts to work out these complexities. So, here’s a bunch of tricks you can use to fake it in your roleplaying sessions.

    First, the secrets. These can be of two general types, although I generally would not mix the two in a single player group. It just doesn’t seem to work. […]

  • <p>Allan and Nicola, half of my gaming group, are moving to Melbourne 1700 km away. We’ve been role playing weekly since about mid-2007, playing mainly Chaosium’s Call of Cthulhu RPG but with occasional forays into Deadlands, Space 1889 and the like. Although we’ll try to keep the group together using various online meeting and conferencing tools, I’m going to miss terribly the face-to-face interaction.</p>
<p>The main feature of the group is our focus on making the best story we can. We bounce continually character and plot ideas off each other during play, off to our own character’s detriment. The twists  […]</p>

    I has a sad

    Allan and Nicola, half of my gaming group, are moving to Melbourne 1700 km away. We’ve been role playing weekly since about mid-2007, playing mainly Chaosium’s Call of Cthulhu RPG but with occasional forays into Deadlands, Space 1889 and the like. Although we’ll try to keep the group together using various online meeting and conferencing tools, I’m going to miss terribly the face-to-face interaction.

    The main feature of the group is our focus on making the best story we can. We bounce continually character and plot ideas off each other during play, off to our own character’s detriment. The twists […]

  • <p>I have a growing urge to create a fantasy setting. Where the urge comes from I have no idea but, given my gaming background, this desire will almost certainly take the form of a role playing world. This post is about inspirations and tying them simply into something approaching a coherent whole.</p>
<p><em>In the far future, the sun is huge, bloated and red. The earth is a desert but for the scattered communities around the former Antarctic circle clinging to the receding shores of the polar ocean. One sprawling tangled ruin of a once great city is our focus. As </em> […]</p>

    City in the Dust: A Story Setting?

    I have a growing urge to create a fantasy setting. Where the urge comes from I have no idea but, given my gaming background, this desire will almost certainly take the form of a role playing world. This post is about inspirations and tying them simply into something approaching a coherent whole.

    In the far future, the sun is huge, bloated and red. The earth is a desert but for the scattered communities around the former Antarctic circle clinging to the receding shores of the polar ocean. One sprawling tangled ruin of a once great city is our focus. As […]

  • <p>Until AusCon II (October 2011), it had been about five to six years since I last presented a roleplaying scenario. Before then, I’d been running con games regularly since 1990. I found that the design principles I used to use (waaaaay back then) don’t seem to cut it any more. Here’s the way I’ll be approaching future convention scenarios.</p>
Think Inside the Box
<p>Linear plots just plain don’t work. A linear plot is one that relies on scene A leading to scene B leading to scene C, etc. In an environment in which you have limited time to finish the  […]</p>

    Lessons from AusCon II

    Until AusCon II (October 2011), it had been about five to six years since I last presented a roleplaying scenario. Before then, I’d been running con games regularly since 1990. I found that the design principles I used to use (waaaaay back then) don’t seem to cut it any more. Here’s the way I’ll be approaching future convention scenarios.

    Think Inside the Box

    Linear plots just plain don’t work. A linear plot is one that relies on scene A leading to scene B leading to scene C, etc. In an environment in which you have limited time to finish the […]

  • Here’s a couple of reflections on AusCon II – Convention for Nerds and Dorks which was held over the weekend of October 1-2 in Brisbane, Australia. I came out of retirement for this con to run a Space 1889 adventure, The Deathless Hordes of Mars (PDF).

First, some general impressions: there was pretty well something for everyone at AusCon. I was there for the roleplaying (natch) but there was miniature gaming downstairs (where 40k players belong), stalls for various game merchants and associated gamer services, […]

    AusCon II – Return of the Native

    Here’s a couple of reflections on AusCon II – Convention for Nerds and Dorks which was held over the weekend of October 1-2 in Brisbane, Australia. I came out of retirement for this con to run a Space 1889 adventure, The Deathless Hordes of Mars (PDF). First, some general impressions: there was pretty well something for everyone at AusCon. I was there for the roleplaying (natch) but there was miniature gaming downstairs (where 40k players belong), stalls for various game merchants and associated gamer services, […]
  • <p>As previously threatened, I’m writing a roleplaying convention game again. I’ll be running a <strong>Space 1889</strong> scenario called <strong>The Deathless Hordes of Mars</strong> at AusCon II in Brisbane, Australia, in October. This post has the advertising blurb for the adventure and a little about the Space 1889 game.</p>
<p>Space 1889 is the original steampunk roleplaying game. It sets itself in an alternative history in which Thomas Edison (who else?) has invented a device which can be used to propel ships through the luminiferous ether between the planets. This has opened up the way for colonisation of Mars and Venus and  […]</p>

    Space 1889: The Deathless Hordes of Mars

    As previously threatened, I’m writing a roleplaying convention game again. I’ll be running a Space 1889 scenario called The Deathless Hordes of Mars at AusCon II in Brisbane, Australia, in October. This post has the advertising blurb for the adventure and a little about the Space 1889 game.

    Space 1889 is the original steampunk roleplaying game. It sets itself in an alternative history in which Thomas Edison (who else?) has invented a device which can be used to propel ships through the luminiferous ether between the planets. This has opened up the way for colonisation of Mars and Venus and […]

  • <p>This is the second of two posts on how I write role-playing convention scenarios, distilling twenty-odd years of over-thinking what I do. I’m coming out of retirement to write for AusCon being held in October in Brisbane and I figured that was the perfect opportunity to step up on the soapbox again.</p>
<p>Next after the characters (see last post) comes the story. I’m not going to tell you how to come up with a plot for your scenario. As GMs, we all know how to do that. What I will mention, however, is a couple of tricks I’ve learned that  […]</p>

    Back in the Game – Part 2

    This is the second of two posts on how I write role-playing convention scenarios, distilling twenty-odd years of over-thinking what I do. I’m coming out of retirement to write for AusCon being held in October in Brisbane and I figured that was the perfect opportunity to step up on the soapbox again.

    Next after the characters (see last post) comes the story. I’m not going to tell you how to come up with a plot for your scenario. As GMs, we all know how to do that. What I will mention, however, is a couple of tricks I’ve learned that […]

  • <p>I’m coming out of retirement to write a role-playing scenario for AusCon in October. I wrote and presented my first scenario at a role-playing convention in 1990 and in the last twenty-odd years I’ve written plenty more. I’m not sure yet what this one is going to be but I thought this was a great opportunity to think again about how I approach the writing process. This is the first of two posts.</p>
<p>Convention scenarios differ from my regular gaming night in two important respects. At an RPG con, I don’t have the luxury of sitting around for the first  […]</p>

    Back in the Game – Part 1

    I’m coming out of retirement to write a role-playing scenario for AusCon in October. I wrote and presented my first scenario at a role-playing convention in 1990 and in the last twenty-odd years I’ve written plenty more. I’m not sure yet what this one is going to be but I thought this was a great opportunity to think again about how I approach the writing process. This is the first of two posts.

    Convention scenarios differ from my regular gaming night in two important respects. At an RPG con, I don’t have the luxury of sitting around for the first […]

  • <p>This may come as a surprise to you but I’m kind of a nerd. No, really. I’m a nerd.</p>
<p>One of the ways in which this manifests itself is roleplaying games which I’ve been playing fairly constantly since a friend introduced me to playing Dungeons and Dragons outside the school library in 1981. I soon ditched this gateway drug for the hard stuff: Traveller, Call of Cthulhu and more recently Conspiracy X.</p>
<p>Why am I telling you this?</p>
<p>To remind you that since moving the Brisbane a little more than ten years ago, I’ve kept a kind of sub-website for  […]</p>

    Ten Years of Roleplaying Campaigns

    This may come as a surprise to you but I’m kind of a nerd. No, really. I’m a nerd.

    One of the ways in which this manifests itself is roleplaying games which I’ve been playing fairly constantly since a friend introduced me to playing Dungeons and Dragons outside the school library in 1981. I soon ditched this gateway drug for the hard stuff: Traveller, Call of Cthulhu and more recently Conspiracy X.

    Why am I telling you this?

    To remind you that since moving the Brisbane a little more than ten years ago, I’ve kept a kind of sub-website for […]

  • <p>I’ve been suckered into playing <strong>Games Workshop</strong>‘s Blood Bowl. And not just playing but playing in a the Fisherman’s Stout Bloodbowl League.</p>
<p>I’ve been interested in this game since it first appeared as a liftout in a holiday edition of <strong>White Dwarf</strong> magazine – way back when it was still owned by Steve Jackson Games and not an in-house advertising vehicle for GW. The game is basically a parody of American football played with fantasy races. Of course, given my Flintloque proclivities, I’ve settled on a team of elves.</p>
<p>Elves, being what they are in the Warhammer universe, are  […]</p>

    Blood Bowl

    I’ve been suckered into playing Games Workshop‘s Blood Bowl. And not just playing but playing in a the Fisherman’s Stout Bloodbowl League.

    I’ve been interested in this game since it first appeared as a liftout in a holiday edition of White Dwarf magazine – way back when it was still owned by Steve Jackson Games and not an in-house advertising vehicle for GW. The game is basically a parody of American football played with fantasy races. Of course, given my Flintloque proclivities, I’ve settled on a team of elves.

    Elves, being what they are in the Warhammer universe, are […]

  • <p>Played the first game of what will hopefully become a long running Flames of War campaign on Friday night. The campaign is basically the Allied invasion of Sicily in 1943. There’s four of us playing: two playing the Axis forces whether Italian or German, one playing the British and I’m playing the US army led by the lunatic General George S. Patton. </p>
<p>What we did on Friday night was the initial pre-invasion preparatory raids with the aim of securing objectives in order to make the beach landings easier when we fight them out on the table top. If we were  […]</p>

    Flames of War – Sicily Campaign

    Played the first game of what will hopefully become a long running Flames of War campaign on Friday night. The campaign is basically the Allied invasion of Sicily in 1943. There’s four of us playing: two playing the Axis forces whether Italian or German, one playing the British and I’m playing the US army led by the lunatic General George S. Patton.

    What we did on Friday night was the initial pre-invasion preparatory raids with the aim of securing objectives in order to make the beach landings easier when we fight them out on the table top. If we were […]

  • <p>I’ve started reading the first of the Dresden Files books by Jim Butcher. Not bad stuff and a good page turner. Dresden’s world is kind-a like Film Noir meets Harry Potter. I’m enjoying it a lot.</p>
<p>One of the throw away lines used to show just how wierd Chicago can be and to show just how blind the the ordinary folk are to it is the idea of the city disappearing for a period of at least on hour from satellite photos. Apparently, the ground was still there but instead of concrete and asphalt there was trees, grass and animals.  […]</p>

    RPG Campaign Idea

    I’ve started reading the first of the Dresden Files books by Jim Butcher. Not bad stuff and a good page turner. Dresden’s world is kind-a like Film Noir meets Harry Potter. I’m enjoying it a lot.

    One of the throw away lines used to show just how wierd Chicago can be and to show just how blind the the ordinary folk are to it is the idea of the city disappearing for a period of at least on hour from satellite photos. Apparently, the ground was still there but instead of concrete and asphalt there was trees, grass and animals. […]

  • <p>I’ve been thinking on-and-off on a bunch of song lyrics for many years. To me, they’re quite evocative and I’ve wanted for the longest time to use them to create a roleplaying campaign world. </p>
<p>Wanky? Of course. Worthwhile? Maybe.</p>
<p>The problem is that I can never quite nail it. I’ve never been able to pin down exact what the world looks like, behaves like, who the characters could be or what they might be doing. So, in the interests of <i>intarwebs collaborations</i>, I’ll post the lyics here (without the band name or song titles – just to make it  […]</p>

    RPG Campaign World?

    I’ve been thinking on-and-off on a bunch of song lyrics for many years. To me, they’re quite evocative and I’ve wanted for the longest time to use them to create a roleplaying campaign world.

    Wanky? Of course. Worthwhile? Maybe.

    The problem is that I can never quite nail it. I’ve never been able to pin down exact what the world looks like, behaves like, who the characters could be or what they might be doing. So, in the interests of intarwebs collaborations, I’ll post the lyics here (without the band name or song titles – just to make it […]