Categories
Game Design

Just a little link-note for my personal edification: History of fingerprints.

Categories
Links & Resources

Geek bliss

Ever wanted to compare the relative size of an X-wing to a Babylon-5 StarFury, or a Starship Troopers Plasma Bug to an Imperial AT-AT?
Well, shut up, I have, and this is the website for geeks like me: Jeff Russell’s STARSHIP DIMENSIONS

Categories
Actual Play

News Headlines from Around the Core Worlds

Short version of last night’s session: One player’s Senate Representative character and everyone else went to a Masquerade on a planet-orbitting ship — a fight ensued in a ship dock (they were trying to find a kidnapped ally).
To block the exit from the ship dock, The Senate-boy used his Noble Clout to order the valet to pull his personal ship to the outside of that airlock to block it… in order to DO that, he had to tell the valet who he was…
The real problem: one of the characters ‘finished off’ the two unconscious-but-stable opponents they left on the landing-bay floor, then they fled the scene in his ship.
There wouldn’t normally be an investigation (the partygoers are somewhat under-the-table types)… then the Valet got an idea about getting paid for the news leak.
And all this happened on the morning of the day that the character’s Uncle, Bail Antilles, is (possibly) being named as the minority nominee for the upcoming election of Supreme Chancellor…
The City
“Alderaan’s Golden Boy Hits the Town”
“Mysterious Deaths at Gala”
“Antilles Investigation Clouds Election”
CorTimes
“Senate Rep. flees Murder Scene”
“Bontraar Security Tapes Blank, Missing”
Progress
“Swank but Sinister Bontraar Masque Ends in Deaths, Accusations”
Coruscant Sun
“Twi’lek Dancing Girls: Simon A’s Kink”
“Meet the Antilles Assassins”
Alderaan Herald
“Baseless Accusations Fly in Core”
Dl Tgszlg [Bothan Press]
[Bontraar’s Gala Target of Terrorists]
O Po [Nal Hutta]
Senator Antilles kills five, Flees Scene

[with thanks to Stan for the idea]
Categories
Game Design

Resource

Outlaws of The Water Margin — an RPG based in Ancient China — psuedo-free, I think.

Categories
Links & Resources

Cool

Gaming Events.ORG

Categories
Game Design

For the OA game:

Hanyu Pinyin, Zhuyin, Wade-Giles, MPS-2, Yale, and Tongyong Pinyin Cross-Reference Table. Cool.

Categories
D20

House Rule: Called Shots

Found a good one in the Quintessential Fighter:
CALLED SHOTS
There are many more ways to cripple and defeat an enemy besides simply swing a weapon at him again and again. Some instead choose to aim their blows at specific body parts, not only dealing damage but hindering the enemy’s ability to keep fighting.
How it works:
You can make a variety of called shots, provided you meet the requirements listed below.
1. First, you must score a threat against your target.
2. Rather than rolling to confirm a crit, you announce “Called shot to [body part]” instead, then make the roll that would normally confirm the threat.
3. The base damage is applied normally, but if the confirmation roll succeeds, consult the chart below rather than doing normal critial damage.

    Arm

  • Requirement: BAB +2 or greater
  • Effect: Victim drops held item. 1d4 damage. -4 to all checks and attack rolls using wounded arm.
  • Duration: d6 rounds
    Leg

  • Requirement: BAB +2 or greater
  • Effect: 1d4 damage. Speed halved. Climb, Jump, and Swim @ -4.
  • Duration: d6 rounds
    Groin

  • Requirement: BAB +2 or greater
  • Effect: Victim Staggered for d6 rounds.
    Head

  • Requirement: BAB +8 or greater
  • Effect: 1d4 damage. Stunned: Loses Dex bonus to AC, can take no actions, attackers +2 to attack victim.
  • Duration: d4 rounds.
    Eye

  • Requirement: BAB +10 or greater
  • Effect: 1d6 damage. -4 to all Dex-based checks. Two such injuries = blindness.
  • Duration: d6 hours, eye loss possibly permanent (DC 15 Fort to avoid)

Called shots only work against the same sorts of targets that Critical Hits are Effective against. The effects of these can be negated early with the use of Cure spells or Healing checks. (Unless referring to permanent eye loss, which would require regeneration.
Also: There are variant rules for monks that cause similar effects in combat. They are different in that they require Stunning Attacks instead of critical hits (so are more controllable) and allow Fort Save. Also, they can be targeted against more body locations.
Use of those rules for “Pressure Point Attacks” doesn’t mean that monks cannot also use this rule when they score a threat.

Categories
Game Design

Really fun word.

gliriform(adj) – Resembling a rodent.
Just… makes me think. [evil grin]
From the Grandiloquent Dictionary.

Categories
Game Design

House Rules

We’re doing these already, but I wanted to get them down in writing so that it’s clear to everyone.
Dissipate Energy
Dissipate energy only works against energy damage to Wounds. It has no effect against vitality damage or stun weapon attacks. Also, the DC for the Fortitude saving throw is “10 + damage dealt,” not just “damage dealt”.
Stun
If a character hit by a stun attack makes his or her Fortitude save, the character is unaffected by the stun attack and takes no damage. A character who fails the Fortitude saving throw is unconscious for 1d4+1 rounds. This ruling includes characters in the area of effect for a stun grenade. This supersedes the rules in the SWRPG-RCR.

Categories
Actual Play

Prince of Alderaan — 01/31/2003

The group, working seperately, all seek to stop a plot to assassinate Senator Antilles.

Categories
Actual Play

Prince of Alderaan — 01/09/2003

It’s 4 AM local time and we open with an image of two towers — the two tallest buildings in the area. We see gritty marketplaces where dirty people buy dirty vegetables and speak some sinister-sounding language. A wiry thirty-ish Caucasian man enters a ground floor apartment whose bleached wood “hookers and beggars” exterior tells us it’s a seedy hotel. He enters a room, releases an electronic lock on a door inside, opens a datapad, picks up a comlink, and identifies himself as “Phin” and requests permission to log on. Permission is granted by the guy on the other end of the line, and with sweat dripping from his forehead, he uploads information. There’s a loud knock on the door, and guttural shouting in a harsh alien tongue is heard outside.

Categories
Actual Play

Price of Honor, Session 02/28/2003 — Keep on the Borderlands

When we last left our heroes…
With information in their hands the conclusively linked both Devilish activity in the area to a burgeoning slave trade and the hidden darkling city of Denab Knur, the group decided to head north (center of the Duchy of Caer Maighdean, home of the White Eagle Monastery, and the direction of Denab Knur). After some map review, they decided the fastest way to get north was to go west; specifically by following the Laigh River our of the foothills and through the southern reaches of Maighdean Forest to the coast of Northsea and the road that ran along the coast north to the County (and south to Hyrmsmir).
The hike took several days (during which Karina located them and rejoined the group, and group passed several abandoned or ruined strongholds along the banks of the river, but opted to avoid rather than explore them — most looked quite picked over or poor wooden contructs to begin with, so the possibility of loot was slim, and they wanted to move quickly.
That plan changed as they neared the edge of the forest and spied a relatively intact stone keep on a rise above the river. They planned to ignore it and move on by, but the inhabitants (though certainly not the original inhabitants) had other ideas.
Maighdean Forest has a reputation for deadly fauna and premiere among them are the Maighdean Grizzlies — great beasts that have been known to singly attack and destroy entire groups of foresters — they are normally solitary creatures.
Normally.
Eight of them came pelting out of the keep’s gaping front gate or through the gaps in the walls and charged the group in a sort of rage.
Still, these were heroes who had faces the worst Hell could offer: surely these beasts were nothing to worry about?
The first charge nearly killed Karina (who found out that illusions don’t work very well on creatures with a good nose) and badly hurt Ran. The group slowly managed to pull themselves together, and only one beast survived to run off into the forest, but when the battle was over, the only thing the group wanted to do was find a place to rest and recuperate — the castle (surely abandoned now that the bears were gone) looked quite inviting.
What they found while exploring was a largely intact castle of quite good design — several of the walls had been slighted (either by the original battle that drove it’s inhabitants away or the depredations of it’s more recent owners), and most of the wooden interiors were rotted away or destroyed, but the overall edifice was quite solid and remarkable. The group rested up and continued exploring in the morning, having located a stairwell that led into the bedrock below the castle.
What they found beyond the basic pantry was a series of largely unfinished chambers that the original masters had never properly completed and one lone stair that led into very old construction that certainly outdated the keep they had seen above. Therein they encountered a skeletal knight gaurding the entrance, armed with a remarkable sword (claimed by Shayla after they narrowly defeated it). The battle was hard-fought and the group decided to rest up before continuing further into the crypt beneath the castle they were already beginning to think of as ‘theirs’.

Categories
Actual Play

Price of Honor, Session 01/24/2003 — All Tied Up

It’s been a long time since we’ve tuned in to the tales of the “Price of Honor” campaign, and a lots happened.
To sum up what’s gone before:

Two Years Ago: The Homely Hearth of Hyrmsmir was an Inn like many others: decent food, decent help, and a warm and cheerful fire lighting the walls and ceiling… Wait a second, that firelight is coming from outside the Inn; from the city walls, in fact. Are those screams you hear? The sounds of goblin battle cries? It doesn’t look like your going to get a chance to try the cook’s new dessert cake.

One Year ago: The city of Hyrmsmir had lost its treasured status as a small, safe port on the shores of Northsea. Hyrmsmir was well on its way to becoming a prosperous trading town until the armies came out of the mountains to the east and into the lands surrounding the town. Trade dropped off. Fewer caravans and ships arrived. Hordes of orcs, goblins, ogres, and giants marched as armies with order and discipline under the cover of night. When the armies came, Hyrmsmir was not prepared. The ?Battle of Hyrmsmir? was a massacre, able only to buy the inhabitants time to barricade off small portions of the city. Over the last year, however, men have returned to Northsea coasts, determined to reclaim their lost homes. Although the city proper is still held by the twisted armies of the conquerors, men have managed to gain a foothold in the ruined city, hiring adventurers to recover sections of the city, piece by piece.

Six Months ago: Our Heroes become entangled in the plots of the Duke of Hell behind the armies holding Hyrmsmir and are pulled into the 2nd plane of Hell itself, to the mirror-city of Harmsmire. After a series of (mis)adventures, the heroes narrowly manage to prevent the culmination of the plot that would have swapped the Hellcity with it’s counterpart on their home plane.

Six weeks ago: The group returns home, having discovered that their worlds the prizin an infernal contest — six Dukes of Hell are secretly competing to see who will be the first to conquer the Grand Duchy (or the largest part thereof) — they have set themselves against these hidden foes in hopes of stopping all of the other five Dukes of Hell and maybe even saving the world.

Background: The campaign takes place past the borders of the Duchy of Caer Maighdean, the shores of Northsea. More information on the campaign is here, and notes on the earlier game session and characters are here.

Today:
Following rumors of slave caravans and infernal activities, the group has left Hyrmsmir, moving north and gradually northeast along the lower foothills of the Peace Mountains, skirting the swamps of the Lizarim and moving into the Maighdean Forest as it climbs into the mountains — the altitude climbs as the temperatures drop, and the group finds out the the rumors of Devils in the Hills are true.
Two cornugon devils attack them on a mountain pass, and the group is tested (especially without their mage, who is on a personal quest creating several wands). They win through the fight, collect the booty and continue on to what looks like their bolthole in the mountains.
Unfortunately, the bolthold is guarded by a number of Ropers that have been modified in some manner to function out of doors. The party nearly overwhelmed, but manages to hold out… until Gebbet runs up and tries to open the door to the bolthole right away and triggers a trap that summons in another Cornugon. Oops. (He’d feel worse about it if Grim hadn’t told him to do it.)
The group camps out of doors and posts guards — convenient, since they’re ambushed in the middle of the night by hobgoblin troops that they handily dispatch even with Whisper staying wrapped in her bedding. The next morning they go through the hobgoblins things and discover that this operation is commanded from the hidden ogre city Denab Knur. They make plans to pursue this clue to it’s origin.

Categories
Links & Resources

*sniff* ahhh the good old days

That’s Right…
we’re about to go old school on you!

In general, the concept and imagination involved is stunning. However, much more work, refinement, and especially regulation and simplification in necessary before the game in managable. The scope is just too grand, while the referee is expected to do too much in relation to the players. If you need ideas to help you along in your own fantasy adventure games, these booklets will be of use; otherwise your ten dollars will be wasted. I do not suggest these to the average wargamer.

via Boing Boing

Categories
Links & Resources

What are your Stats

A happy little quiz that will give you Your D & D Stats!
A little Warning. at least 2 annoying pop-ups upon entry.
Mine for all of you curious types out there
STR – 8
DEX – 11
INT – 13
CON – 12
WIS – 10
CHA – 9
So I guess I’m a really bad Wizard…
P.S. No cheating Clovis…

Categories
Conventions

Genghis 2003

Via Rey:
So, for all those wondering “where is that sexy hunk of man that goes by the name of Rey?”….
Email me here.
For those wondering where “that other guest writer is?”: I’ve been at Genghis Con, Denver’s largest gaming convention in Colorado.
Man, am I wiped out.
Nevertheless, here are some six word reviews.
Living Greyhawk: Almost died way too many times.
Living Force: Man, do they need new writers.
Serial Pulp Adventures: Serial Pulp kicks a$$! For shizzi…
Being RPG Coordinator at Tacticon: What the hell was I thinking?
As a warm-up before my stint as RPG Coordinator for Tacticon, I did (just about) all the RPG mustering, lots of packet scoring and a variety of other jobs, while still playing and judging.
As I said, wiped out.
The convention was quite a bit of fun, as always, though the experience was slightly diminished with the main group of people I hang out with at these things in another country. Which means I got to hang out with some other people. I’ve now confirmed some things I already knew:
1. Rules lawyers interrupting games suck.
2. A good judge can make a bad scenario good.
3. A bad judge can’t help but make a scenario bad.
4. Some times, the only way to get people what they want is to be an a$$hole.
5. I will never play in another Greyhawk interactive. I may help run them, but I really have no desire to play in another one.
6. I really love my wife and son.
Anyhow, I now have to prepare for the mayoral campaign of my Greyhawk character. I have so much RPG-related work to do, it’s silly.

Categories
Game Design

Grist

Forgotten New York, a study of the city-that-was. Tons of fun stuff for the right campaign.
Related: Dark Passage is a cool site detailing(sometimes with just pictures, sometimes with accompanying text) explorations of abandoned buildings, subways, and structures. (via ***Dave)

Categories
Links & Resources

Neato

Lord of the Rings characters in anime style.

Categories
Links & Resources

“The Balrog takes 7d6 falling damage…”

Two Towers: LotR as a D&D game, and tons of other stuff.

GM: Failed your climb check, huh? You slip and plummet.
PC1: Cool!
PC2: Cool? Dude, you’re falling to your death! Now we have to finish this stupid quest without your mage.
PC1 (ignoring PC2): Can I see my sword?
DM: Err… sure!
PC1: Okay, I want to fall down and grab my sword from mid-air.
PC2: What the hell? You dropped that like two rounds ago when you failed your balance check, then you wasted another round calling me a “fool” in character.
PC1: So?
PC2: You know how far something falls in three rounds?
DM (ignoring PC2): Okay, you’ve got it! Glamdring slides into your hand. You see the balrog falling below you.
PC2: But balrogs have wings! It says so right in the MM!
PC1 (ignoring PC2): Cool! I want to go attack the balrog!
PC2: You WHAT? Are you stoopid?
DM: You… umm, okay. Roll to hit.
PC2: What? No AoO?
PC1: A critical! I hang on to him and keep hitting him on the way down. Whack! (to PC2) This is going to be MY kill, baby. All those lovely, glorious XPs for a balrog, mine alone.
DM: (rolls a critical for the balrog that would kill PC1, panics, ignores dice) It missed you! Roll to hit again.
PC1: YEAH! You’re going down, servant of Melkor!
PC2: This is stupid. I’m going to go get some Mountain Dew.

Fun stuff (via Randy).

Categories
Links & Resources

Interesting stuff

For me:
Deirdre%2C%20the%20doomed
Which Royal of Amber is your Parent?

For Jacob:

Which Royal of Amber is your Parent?

Categories
Links & Resources Nobilis

Interesting stuff

As of 30th November 2002, Hogshead Publishing Ltd is leaving the adventure-gaming industry.

Please note that the company is not going bankrupt. It is refreshingly solvent. However we are bored, creatively frustrated, and increasingly despondent about the future of the specialist games industry. After our successes in 2002, particularly the mould-breaking and critically acclaimed games Nobilis and De Profundis, we think we’ve gone as far as we can, and this seems a suitable high-point on which to call it a day.

Nobilis has moved to Guardians of Order, and will be available from them with immediate effect. The English-language licence for Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay has handed back to Games Workshop. SLA Industries is back under the control of Nightfall Games.

All the future products Hogshead has announced products are cancelled. The only exceptions to this are the Nobilis line, which will now appear from Guardians of Order, and the full-length Warhammer FRP adventure, Fear the Worst, by Michael Mearls, which we will be making available within a day or two as a free PDF download from our website, as a farewell-and-thank-you present to all our players and fans.

Shame — I’d hoped to check them out when I went through London in February.
Very interesting that Nobilis went to GoO, since McKinnon was/is heavily involved in another diceless game for a long time. Sorta makes sense. Nobilis fans should be encouraged.

Categories
D20

Captain Oblivious

I’m taking a ‘regular campaign’ hiatus for the month of November so I can do other stuff-that-is-not-gaming. Interesting conversation today.
Player: So are you dropping [game] permanently or starting it back up after November?
Me: I’m starting it back up for sure.
Player: Oh. [pause] I don’t think you should.
Sometimes I become glaringly aware that I have no idea what’s going on around me in terms of my friends and acquaintances. It was (apparently) true in college (something that’s become clear to me in recent months, talking with my old college friends), and it seems as though I’m pretty well out of the loop even today.

Categories
D20

Kick ass

I found someone to run Living Arcanis for me this weekend so I can play the module instead of GMing it.
Kethos will ride again. Yee-haw.

Categories
D20

Yet another Living Campaign starting up

I’m so there, man.

Categories
Game Design

Random drifty bits

What I’m running:
Star Wars “Prince of Alderaan” campaign.
DnD campaign
Oriental Adventures campaign
Pulp Adventures
What I’m playing:
Cry Havoc
Living Greyhawk*
Living Force*
Living Jungle*
Living Arcanis*
* Truly, the living campaigns let me play in a bunch of stuff I’d never have a chance at normally.
What I’d like to be running:
Oriental Adventures more regularly.
Spycraft as a very small home game. (One, two, maybe three players).
Star Wars campaign
Living Arcanis as a monthly home game (while somehow continuing to play my character).
More Pulp Adventures (which necessitates writing more modules for it).
What I’d like to be playing:
Living Arcanis (mostly because of my character, although the plotting is strong*)
Living Force (mostly because of my character*)
Living Greyhawk (mostly because of the storyline)
Living Jungle (largely because of the storyline and setting)
I think one of the great strengths of a Living campaign — playing them at a con, at any rate — is that the players can enjoy the setting/storyline/character without being ‘stuck’ with a GM they aren’t entirely happy with… every table is a different GM, so if you get one that isn’t all that, at least you know that the next table should be … well, better hopefully, but at the very least different.
* – I wonder, since I don’t play very much, how many players continue playing in a campaign they don’t find that interesting largely because of their character. I see a lot of players whom I know to be very creative people recreating/reusing characters from old campaigns — I have to think that the reason they want to revisit that character concept is because they don’t feel they fully ‘played it out’ in whatever previous game the character was in. In that vein, these observations:
I don’t think I’ll ever need to play a Gwydion or Bob again (more definately for Bob), although I might use Gwydion simply because I’m lazy and it’s simple for me to portray him.
I keep recreating Kethos – he’s been an NPC in… something like 3 games and now he’s a PC for another game… I know it’s at least partly because I never got a chance to really make him a main character.
Conversely, Seebor (whom I’m playing in Living Jungle) is basically a throw-away character — I couldn’t tell you two things about his history, although I think I have his portrayal down well — in that case, I’m not playing Living Jungle to play the character, I’m playing to participate in the storyline and setting. I know how Seebor acts, but I don’t have any idea why.
So… I know people who have a generic character template they fall back on to fulfill a specific role that allows them to interact with the storyline (I did that in Living Jungle by making a ‘generic strong hunter’), and I know players who are playing the game mostly as a vehicle towards playing a particular character (Amber players do this a lot — I did that with Gwydion and Bob, who were both conceived without close regard for the actualstoryline of the setting — Dave G does that with his string of “monks with a name that starts with A”, although arguably, that might actually be his ‘template’ character).
Getting Depth
With luck, your preconceived, fully-realized character might begin to reflect parts of the storyline as they grow, thus becoming more a part of the whole setting, but as they came into the world with a lot of detail already (so to speak), they might not ever entirely ‘fit’. They might never feel quite ‘done’. This is happening successfully with Gwydion, unsuccessfully with Bob.
For me, the best possible combination is a ‘character template’ character who, in interacting with the campaign, gains depth retroactively by interacting with the setting and/or by discovering/revealing history. I say this only because that’s generally the way I write my characters in stories; I only know how they act — I find out WHY they act that way as I go. (Or I never do, and that’s alright as well, because people are complicated and not even they themselves know why they do everything, or remember their entire history perfectly.)

Categories
Links & Resources

Bob say, “moron.”

Well, this might have been easier than all that blue makeup for playing Bob.
On the other hand, I’m not a moron.

Categories
D20

Tick Tock

We’re coming up on a changing of the guard, I think. People’s schedules are changing, including mine, and I forsee a major alteration in my regular gaming schedule, probably within the next month.
Not sure what I think of that.

Categories
Game Design

“Well, I didn’t know you were called Dennis, did I?”

Turn of a Friendly Die: WISH 14: Cross-Gender Play

What do you think about cross-gender characters (i.e., men playing female characters and women playing male characters)? What about GMs playing them as NPCs?

Wow, this could be a long post.
In my ‘regular’ gaming group (by which I mean the dozen or so people with whom I game regularly in one genre or another), there are quite a number of people who (either infrequently or invariably) play cross-gender characters. I’m going to talk about them in turn and my response to them, and contrast them in turn with some of the folks that never play cross-gender (in my experience).
Juli
Juli’s probably the poster-child for successful male characterization (see Lysander in the TiHE pages for more info). She almost never plays females (and rarely plays anyone who isn’t a fighter/warrior/athlete of some sort), and although her men tend to be… comfortably in touch with their baser interests, they all come off ‘right’. A little rough around the edges, not much good in a social setting, but ultimately with a heart of gold… maybe a lot like the guys she tends to surround herself with. Her portrayals are honest, visceral, and from the gut: she simply is the guy she’s playing, and while she’s playing them, she whole-heartedly feels the way a guy would feel in that situation — her portrayal is emotional in a large sense. It works. It seems odd to say it, but when Juli’s playing, she’s often playing a large part of herself, which is odd to say of a happily married woman playing beach-bums in chainmail 🙂
She plays guys so well that one of her characters inspired one of my favorite characters to play: Tye, who is very much in that ‘lopsided grin bright blue eyes’ mold.
Dave H
Dave is all about subtle body language. He’s created… lesse, three four female characters (out of six total?) for one or another of my games, and what I take out of almost all of them is that he puts a lot of effort into the subtleties conveyed visually by a character. His chinese cat-girl looks like a chinese cat-girl, and is quite different, visually, then Della, a sort of slightly-cherubic Beru-with-a-blaster pistol newlywed adventurer he runs for some of our Star Wars stuff. His portrayals are always carefully considered, and the more complicated the scene, the more he thinks about how the character in question would react. This is a very different method than Juli, but it also works, and it’s great fun to catch his little ‘tells’ that he’s planted here and there.
Dave G
Dave’s played a few women either in games I’m running, playing, or both. His portrayals are a great contradiction for me: he’s very comfortable playing something of a ham in these situations, and his female characters are always a little over the top. I don’t necessarily consider them sexist — I guess I’m curious to know if women do, but I think someone would say something if they did — in some ways it’s the same question that’s raised in my mind when I see a woman playing a ‘flaming’ gay man. The contradiction? he’s playing a… almost a parody (but a parody that certainly exists in literature and other media), and I like more honest characterizations, but he plays it so well that I still enjoy it. Does it work? YMMV.
Margie
Initially, I didn’t list Margie as one of my cross-gender players. Then I realized that, of the six games I’ve GM’d with her in them, she’s played four male characters. I had to wonder what it meant that I forgot. Upon consideration, I think it comes down to this: each of her characters have certain important characteristics, but none of these key character bits hinge on the sex of the character (understandably, Dave H approaches his character concepts in a similar way). In her case, the sex of the character is merely part of the whole picture.
Jackie
Riiiiight. Jackie’s obviously not one of the cross-gender players. She plays women because she finds strong female characters interesting. Males aren’t. The reason I mention her here is that her characters do exhibit some of the polarization one sometimes sees in cross-gender characters: professional virgins with no interest in romance, or very sexually aggressive characters.
Me
Well, I’m not going to sit back here and just point fingers at everyone else now, am I?
Me as a player
I’ve only come up with one character that just seemed to ‘need’ to be female. That’s Sarah Parker, aka “Bombshell”, the team-leader and group ‘brick’ for Dave Hill’s super’s game. She’s sort of an amalgamation of Fairchild and Alias (the TV show, not the comic), and as such, there was a certain… sensitivity that I needed in the character that seemed to be female in nature.
I doubt I pulled it off in the flesh. I didn’t do the sorts of female tells that Dave does, I wasn’t ‘in’ the character the way Juli is, and Sarah’s not a vamp, so using Dave G’s technique was right out — I suppose, like Margie’s characters, most of the femininity of the character was in my head. (When you can lift 170 tons, there isn’t a lot of waifishness to portray.)
Also, people just don’t look at me and instinctively use the female pronoun set.
I’d love to write the character. I think she’d be a tremendously interesting and fun protagonist, and I think my wife would like reading her. Who knows?
Mostly, though, I play males, and frankly I think I play them better, so that’s what I lean towards. There you are.
Me, the GM
I think I’m much more successful (not perfectly so, but better) with the female NPCs. I’ve always been happy with Fiona from TiHE (though she was rarely played), and I’m currently pretty happy with Nayda in Prince of Alderaan.
Scene: Nayda has amnesia due to a combination kidnapping/drug overdose. Group has arrived at the apartment of a guy who claims to be a recently-abandoned ex-boyfriend of hers. Stepping into the abode, they are greeted with discarded food wrappers, dirty clothes, and a scent that could only be described as funk.
Nayda: (whispering to others) I know I’ve never been here before.
Keema: I thought you had amnesia.
Nayda: I do, but I know I’ve never been here before. [significant glance around the room]
I think Lori (playing the only female character in the group) finally started to understand Nayda at that point, and I think I started to get a third dimension into the character. Maybe. We’ll see.
It’s been a long time since I’ve had a pivotal female character in a story that I’ve written (I end up playing them much more in RPGA stuff). Maybe my preference for male characters just carries over.
I’d really like to be able to play the virgin/sexpot dryad from Cort’s ACNW game as well as he does… that would be my ultimate goal. I’m not there yet.

Categories
Actual Play

Session 16 – Prince of Alderaan

Star Wars: The Prince of Alderaan
The RimWorld Bacta War
Part IX: “Automatic”

The group on the independant space station (Corvo, Dag, and Keema) find themselves in a heavy gunbattle with two improved humanoid battle droids and a Droideka. Everyone is badly beat up from the battle, and nearly half of the Rim World Consortium is taken out (including the ship’s captain they were supposed to be introduced to by the 1st mate), but they beat the things down (and cart at least one of the droids (the droideka, natch) back to the ship under a tarp.

The Iktoch group (G___, Sharess, Nayda, and Simon) end up in a fight with themselves… or clones of themselves… or something. It becomes more evident as to what is going on when one of the attackers drop with sparks flying. The six attackers are all droids. The “jedi” have repulsor pads in their hands and feet to increase Jumping and simulate Force push effects. The false jedi’s “lightsabers” use a completely different technology, projecting heated plasma into a ‘magnetic bottle’ that looks like a blade. The weapon’s output is someone less than that of a Jedi’s weapon, it doesn’t cut through solid substances nearly as easily, and the power supply for such an inefficient design is tapped completely out in just under a half hour of use.

The group on the space station negotiates to follow the pirates to a neutral meeting zone on a nearby mining colony. Upon arrival, the pirates have left their ship and are chasing all over the base. It turns out that one of their own number was a spy for the Trade Federation and has jumped ship. The “old” captain was very careful about not mentioning their RWC ties to planets like Naboo (where they get supplies), but the 1st mate mentioned it out in the open to the PC’s after the fight. The fellow is obviously selling this information to the highest bidder (or taking it back to his employer).

Simon locates the speeder that their attackers arrived in. He works on the craft’s GPS for a few minutes and manages to create a ‘back track’ of the vehicles route out of the Iktochi wastelands. Everyone hops in and they take off into the wastelands (after sending most of the droids back with the police).
The wastelands are unfriendly, and the quartet’s speeder is accosted by a “tri-horn bull” (aka a “reek”) — a native, ugly herd animal that is very territorial. They avoid it and finally come to a narrow canyon that ends in a large concealed blast door. As the stolen speeder approaches the door, it opens onto darkness beyond — apparently automatically.
They have a bad feeling about this.

Categories
Game Design

Yeah, but what’s he like?

Turn of a Friendly Die: WISH 13: Character Backgrounds

How do you like to build character backgrounds? Do you think they are important or not? Do you prefer to write an elaborate background, or fill in later? Do you find character quizzes like the one in the ADRPG or related exercises like the round of questions in Everway character development to be useful?

I tend to build character backgrounds in pieces, grabbing bits from here and there in my head. I think they’re important as a concept, but I’ve had as much success with a very sketchy idea that turned into a detailed persona as I have with a very detailed background. Perhaps more: I think that with a very detailed background you can end up writing yourself into a corner that conflicts with the game you’re going to be playing in. I’d rather write a few short things that give a sense of personality with only a few hints of actual history (more of less, seasoned to taste, depending on the campaign).
I’ve had the most initial fun with “this is the character, and this is his ‘bit'”. If that works, you can fill in the depth as you play.
I don’t particularly care for character quizzes as a player, although they are interesting enough if they aren’t going for more detail than I’m comfortable with defining at that point. I’ve never done the Everyway QnA thing (all the players, pregame, ask each other questions, in character, which should be answered truthfully, but may or may not be known In Character once the actual campaign begins), but it seems as though it might be an interesting exercise IF you were playing the right kind of game.
IF. Big if.