Updates

I’ve done some overhauling at the Padawan’s Cave, removing the star maps that I don’t find myself using at all, and getting together a house rules page.
Quite a bit of the changes are happening in the Prince of Alderaan section, where I’ve added little snippets on some of the major NPCs and have started messing with an intro page for all of the characters. Big development! A picture of Bail Organa of Alderaan, A.K.A. “the Boss”.
Right now, the “Overview” page is also the “NPC” page, but I think I’m going to change that pretty quickly… I don’t care for the look of it very much as it is.
Star Wars Trivia: I’m almost sure they called the senator “Bail Antilles of Alderaan” in Ep 1, but now it’s Bail Organa, which makes sense, but that doesn’t explain Ep. 1. Am I remembering it wrong? Is Antilles some sort of whacked-out honorific? Are there two Senators from Alderaan, both named Bail, both important, but with different last names? Doesn’t seem likely.

Session Eight: Head Trip

We couldn’t play on Friday, due to the weather, but we did manage to get everyone together Saturday night for session eight of The Prince of Alderaan, a d20 Star Wars Campaign.
Quick Summary: Dag and Corvo are sent on a ‘routine rendezvous’ in the Inner Rim to pick up a parcel the Senator has made a deal for. Their contact is very hard to find, and apparently very popular with local bounty hunters.
Things are going wrong, so the Senator sends the rest of the group to help out. (Including planting a new recruit to the Antilles household in the camp of the enemy).
The group manages, against great odds to recover (intact!) the head of an old protocol droid that had been recovered by the Bimm tech-scavenger they were to meat. Details are sketchy, but it appears that the droid, when whole, belonged to Someone Important, was discarded accidentally, and is sought by many people.
Other interested parties seemed to include:

  • Two (possibly) unconnected paramilitary groups, at least one of which seemed to have some Republic Military Training (maybe even Senate Guard).
  • One criminal organization who seemed to think their current boss is the heir to all things belonging to the Boss’ predecessor — the droid apparently numbers among these items.
  • One unnamed droid representing his ‘master’.

Weekend plans

This Sunday, I’m coordinating my 2nd Gameday at Collectormania (which I’d provide a link to if I knew it).
The first gameday was easy — very short notice, so not too many people showed up, and all I needed was to run the same scenario twice myself and go home. Piece of cake.
People had lots of warning this time. A good thing — lots of participation.
LOTS.
3 or 4 tables for each time slot (depending on if any more people show up), which means more judges than just myself (I’m good, but not that good, people), which means organizing a “Slot 0” so the judges can play the module ahead of time and get a chance to get acquainted with it, which means finding someone to ‘eat’ the module (never get to play it)…
Much bigger deal.
Big thanks to Dave and Lori, who agreed to Slot 0 and be on call to run events. HUGE thanks to Jackie, who has never GM’d before, and not only ran the scenarios, but ran them with very little prep time, did a GREAT job, and then offered to cover any overflow at the game day.
[I think she just wants a chance to kill one of Bruce’s character’s, though — keeps muttering something about “payback” and “motherfucker”.]
So it should be a big Sunday. Friday is the Star Wars home game, which Lori is joining, and Saturday is (maybe) the beginning of Randy’s Amber game.
Another weekend full of gaming. Whee. This is why we never get laundry done.

Session Seven

Star Wars Campaign
Session seven was on Friday the 22nd, and I’m going to talk about that as well as a few notes on the prior sessions.
First, let’s summarize.
Session One was a rescue-in-space scenario where the characters (all members/servants of the Antilles household and currently stationed on Coruscant) are tasked by the Senator to recover/rescue an agent who has important information from the fringe. A ship is hastily bought (via a loan from the Senator) and the mission accomplished with no small amount of pain and blaster fire. The ship is beat up quite badly, and everyone learns the inherent usefulness of Starship Operations: Transport.
Session Two ostensibly involved a favor for one of the Twi’lek Senate officials, in which the group would recover the official’s missing son. It was actually a clever means to an end for Senator Prince Antilles: in investigating the disappearance of said Twi’lek (during trips to both Tatooine and Ando Prime), the party managed to reveal that the twi’lek official not only wasn’t related to the kid, but had strong ties to the Hutt criminal syndicate. The offical leaves Coruscant and the Twi’lek Senator (whose name currently escapes me) the official was working for is disgraced and discredited. The heros were a bit miffed that the Senator sent them into this blind.
Session Three had the party sent to recover a missing shipment of supplies that the Senator had sent to a poor low-tech settlement. What the party realizes upon being assigned an Air Car in order to search is that the low-tech settlement and missing shipment are both somewhere in the lower levels of Coruscant itself. Delving into the guts and abandoned roots of the City Planet ensues, and the party runs into several nasty force users employing Gamorreans, and some kind of “Darkside Ghoul” that had been locked in the undercity for years. They eventually retreat, having recovered most of the supplies, and leave further investigation and heroics to another day… or perferably another group.
Session Four and Five were “Welcome to the Jungle”, an inherently under-explained and incomplete module that nevertheless had a good premise that was useful to me. The Senator assigned the group bodyguard duty for a member of the diplomatic corp (old friend of the senator’s) about to have a meeting on an Ithorian Herd Ship. Blackmail at the end gets the Ithorian home-world very upset with the captain of the herd ship, and the group makes off with quite a bit of hush-money and a cordial hatred of hoojibs.
Session Six and Seven used, at least in part, “Kashyyk in Flames”, also from Star Wars gamer. A more interesting module, which I started by putting the players into a Senatorially-hosted ball at the Antilles Estate. The players are to act as escorts for various guests. In the process they impressed the Wookie Senator enough that he requested Senator Antilles aid in shipping some documentation and supplies back to Kashyyk. Wackiness ensues, and the party ends up revealing a plot that would have allowed the Trandoshan Senator on Coruscant to pass legislation to allow logging and mining operations on Kashyyk in unpeopled areas.
I’m pleased with how things are going, and I’m just about ready to start pulling in threads from previous sessions and get the main story arc really flowing. I was happy with the Alderaanian Embassy Ball — it let me introduce some good NPC’s I can use later, and bring in some of the more interesting members of the Senate for a cameo appearance.
Last session, Robert had to bow out of the game, so we’re down to five. I’m considering two possibilities: adding a sixth (probably Lori), or keeping it at five to let us focus a bit more. Then again, with this group, focus is always a problem, and would be if there were only two people. Still, can’t say we don’t have fun.
The end of session seven also led to a good cop/bad cop confrontation between the group’s jedi padawan and the grizzled spacer scout. On one hand it was a great scene, but on the other, player vs. player interaction (espeicially when one has a clear situational advantage) are always fraught with alot of high emotions (and personal stress for the GM.)
C’est la vie. It has been interesting. Hopefully it will remain so.

Finally, a really gamer geek quiz

What D&D Character Are You?
I Am A: Neutral Good Half-Elf Bard Thief

Alignment:
Neutral Good characters believe in the power of good above all else. They will work to make the world a better place, and will do whatever is necessary to bring that about, whether it goes for or against whatever is considered ‘normal’.

Race:
Half-Elves are a cross between a human and an elf. They are smaller, like their elven ancestors, but have a much shorter lifespan. They are sometimes looked down upon as half-breeds, but this is rare. They have both the curious drive of humans and the patience of elves.

Primary Class:
Bards are the entertainers. They sing, dance, and play instruments to make other people happy, and, frequently, make money. They also tend to dabble in magic a bit.

Secondary Class:
Thieves are the most roguish of the classes. They are sneaky and nimble-fingered, and have skills with traps and locks. While not all use these skills for burglary, that is a common occupation of this class.

Find out What D&D Character Are You?, courtesy ofNeppyMan (e-mail)

Thanks to Ms. Roy for this link.

Ghengis Con

Ghenghis Con was very cool for me last year, because it was my first real experience stepping back into mainstream gaming, something I hadn’t been a part of since starting the on campus gaming org in college that introduced me to most of my friends.
Last year was a new experience for a lot of people — d20 was starting to catch on seriously, and Living Greyhawk was just really getting rolling (having only really run at one or two major cons prior to that point), and I had a great time. I didn’t GM, either — I just played.
This year was better. Jackie came with, we played all the Living Greyhawk stuff together, we had a great time with a lot of our favorite people to game with, I introduced my wife to a few people I knew that she didn’t, and I didn’t have to GM this time either.
The best part was that I really didn’t think we’d be able to go this year at all, and instead we got to play almost everything I was interested in playing. Very cool.
So, heydy ho to all those folks out there I saw, and all the ones I missed, and hope to run into you again soon.

Game Tonight

Session Seven? I need to put some GM logs up for the game, but nothing today. Need to get the house cleaned up and run errands.
Robert and Dave G can’t make, so it’ll be… well, weird, not to put too fine a point on it.
Update
Actually, a couple people couldn’t make it, so Session Seven hasn’t happened yet, and we ended up running a small Oriental Adventure game that started on Saturday and sequeled into a Sunday afternoon session, so I’ve yet another intermittent game to write about.

Up up and away

So we started playing the Justice Squad campaign this weekend. Lots of fun. Here’s my personal good/bad/ugly list.
Good
– I’ve never been in a game GM’d by Dave, whom I’ve heard only good things of. No surprise, his style is different than mine, but great fun for everyone, and I always enjoy watching other people work and taking mental notes.
– Supers. It’s just fun. Maybe it’s not Star Wars, but I’m not PLAYING Star Wars, am I? One of the really long-running and fun games I played in in college was a Champions supers game, and I just love the feel of calculating knockback on a hex map. Whee.
– Rules. I’m pissy about BESM most of the time, but I worked my ass off on figuring out a workable version until SAS (supers from goo) comes out, and it seems to be working.

Bad
– I can’t min/max a character they way I could in Champions (nor to I want to anymore), but I know the rules better than probably anyone else playing (for now). While the characters themselves are all very cool concepts and built on the same points, there was a certain feeling disparity between them, simply because of design efficiency. This isn’t to say we don’t all have a few points ‘wasted’ on things like Painting or Horseback riding, but after the play-test and redesign, I felt like the character’s I designed were a little overwhelming.
(Offside of this: I’m also helping Dave by statting out some bad guy NPC’s — so I guess I’ll reap what I’ve sown in the long run.)
All in all, really fun though, and I’m looking forward to the next installment a great deal.

Game tonight

Session … not sure what number… sixth? The group just levelled up to 3rd. Rey can’t make it, so I think the scenario I was working on might have to wait a bit.
Which means… NO idea what’s going on tonight. There is one possibility, I suppose.
I’ll end up running Kashyyk (sp?) in Flames, which I’d pretty much decided not to run, but I didn’t want to get into a new major arc with player’s missing. This is going to be a problem for the next couple weeks, I think, since Dave G’s going to miss a ton of the next couple games, and Ghenghis Con is coming up in 3 weekends. Mess.
KiF ended up taking longer than I figured (I started the session with a big party, so we didn’t have the whole night for the module, but I had fun with the party, and I think most other people did as well.
The fact that KiF will take another session to play through is fine, though. The same people will probably miss it next time, which works, and we’ll be able to wrap it up and be ready for the bigger story to start up after GC.

Proper Care and Feeding of your young Geek

This Saturday, I ran a little one-shot for Jackie, Justin and the Hill-Kleerups. Justin was playing his ubiquitous halfling thief, and was scouting ahead.
This has become a wonderful tool for working on communication skills with the Boy (which he doesn’t realize). I describe to him what is in the room, using the ‘normal’ boxed text. Everyone else is sitting at the table, but they aren’t ‘there’, so he must then turn around and tell everyone else what he just saw, reinterpreting and retelling as best he can. It’s an excellent little trick, and one of the reasons that I use prepackaged modules for these one-offs, since I’m more likely to hit some new words for him to learn.
Aside from his use of the word “passage” instead of “hallway” or “tunnel” at one point (which illustrates how the gaming’s helped his vocabulary), there was this exchange:
Him: Okay, the next room is really big, with big piles of garbage in it, and there’s rats crawling all over the garbage. Someone put out box-trap things to catch them, and I saw some guys come in and collect the trapped rats and then leave.
Jackie: Where?
Him: No, they were just regular rats.
We’re warping him.

Game Tonight

Game tonight. I got Nothing.
Addendum: Dave sent me something funny to cheer me up.
pvp20010807.gif
Comments on the game and thoughts on the storyline: tonight I’m using a module out of Star Wars Gamer: “Welcome to the Jungle.” I don’t mind using packaged modules, and this one was interesting enough, once I got through the lack of background info… there was a LOT of that missing.
I’ve been twisting these pregens around to make them fit, and it’s worked out so far — WTTJ is basically babysitting a diplomat, whom I’ve made an old friend of the Senator, and I’ll be doing something similar with Kashyyk in Flames after this one.
Still, the first session we played of WttJ was a mess, simply because I hadn’t prepped it well enough, and it required more work than most. Second session (two weeks after this post), explained more and concluded the story to my satisfaction.

Mucho Gaming

We went to WiCoU this weekend. ALL of us, for once. Jackie enjoyed herself a great deal with the GM’s she had, and we got to play at the same tables, AS PLAYERS, all day — it was great.
Justin played a double slot at an all-kids table and had a great time, then got to play a couple hours of Diablo while we gamed. He even won his table for the RPGA votes, which is cool.
Still… it was… sheesh, something like 15 hours of straight DnD — that’s a lot of math. Jack and I both advanced our personal character projects and fought the good fight. No one got killed. Lots of fun.
Must go sleep now.

Friday

Game this Friday will be the DnD campaign. Margie can’t make it, but Robert’s wife can. Normally, I’d be against adding a seventh player, but I have ulterior motives — if I can get his wife psyched about the game, then maybe we’ll be able to introduce a little flexibility in Robert’s game schedule — right now, we can only play on Friday nights, which aren’t always optimal.
Also, hey, it’s always good to meet more people.

This week

No games this weekend. Next weekend is WiCoU, which I plan to be playing in, not running. Good for me. Getting the registrations done this weekend.
Also need to get my Ghenghis registration worked out, because Rey needs a couple Amber game slots on the board. Need to find out when my openings are.

Wishlist:

– Oriental Adventures
– Farscape RPG (or even frigging info on when it comes out)
– Tome and Blood sourcebook
– Silence and Song sourcebook
All of the WEG modules converted to d20.

Game Log 3 — Down Below

Third game session last night, another one of the sessions I’ll refer to as “Establishing Shots”, to use a movie term.
First Session was meant to get the group working together and get them their ship, also introduce a few little nuances of the system that become sort of important later (ship proficiencies, for example).
Second Session establishes that Antilles doesn’t always tell them everything, or tell them the truth, although they are, generally, on the side of the angels, nonetheless (if the assumption is that the Prince is on the side to begin with.)
This one, Down Below, sent the group into the bowels of Coruscant the city-planet (their home), and I got to give them a slice of the things that go on beneath the upper crust of the planet. Gammoreans and force users rooting around in abandoned structures that shouldn’t have any working mechanics and yet somehow do. They visited the squatter-city of Down Below and met a few of the inhabitants, learning that there are some decent people there (might be interesting if something comes of that), and I think the expectation is that they might have to go back later. It wouldn’t be a bad idea if they did; some more familiarity down there might give them a place to run if needs be.
Next time, I’ve said we’re going to be dealing with the Senate.
Summary, by session:
– Session One favored the Scout/Pilot immensely, since everyone else was at a disadvantage while shipboard.
– Session Two … well, I’m not sure that favored anyone.
– Session Three definately favored the more military and sneaky types, although Juli’s nobel is doing pretty darn well in combats and whatnot (he’s taken out… two Gammoreans in hand-to-hand thus far into the campaign.)
Next session will favor the guys with diplomacy, gather info, sense motive, useful language skills, and so forth. There /shouldn’t/ be a lot of combat, maybe any, but that’s the way it is in the Senate.
Having finished that episode up, I think I’ll have all the establishing shots done, and can continue a bit more into the main story arc. The nice thing is that so far I’ve managed to drop some foreshadowing into every session, although it’s not likely that anyone has recognized it as such.

OGL stuff

These guys want me to do some work with them, prompted by Hocus Pocus, Mumbo Jumbo (which I wrote for BESM in the 1st Edition days).
Surprised. Complimented. The site is nice, and the idea and plan is a good one. I’m intrigued.
That said, I’m not taking on any more projects until I finish the NaNoWriMo, but this place looks pretty interesting (haven’t checked out the rules they’ve written already, though, so…).
Anyway, gamers of the world who read this page (a six of you) — might wanna check them out.

Rock Star (like Meatloaf)

You know that maxim that the camera adds 10 pounds?
Well apparently the internet turns you into an emaciated bookworm (at least if you let it). Curious about my logic? Read on.
So I went to AmberCon Northwest this year. This was going to be a big deal in the way of meeting people, since many of the folks involved were folks with whom I have been conversing via email, off an on, for years – literally. I believe it would have been somewhere around mid-95 when I joined the Amber mailing list (back BEFORE it was amber@logrus.org).
Bolthy, Epoch, Chris, Kristen, Simone, and of course local folks like Meera and Kingsley — like most geeks, I’ve actually met people in real life whom I’ve met first on the internet, but those were all one-on-one situations — this would be the first time I was meeting a large population of My Personal Internet ™.
The concensus. I’m a lot bigger guy than… everyone… expected. Some people found this really startling. It was starting to give me a complex.
If, like Jon said, I’m a rock star, it appears I’m someone like Elvis in the later years.

Urg

I haven’t put an entry in here for so long that MT has removed all my other entries — too old. So here’s the Halloween update.
I’m leaving for Portland tomorrow for Amber Con North West (ACNW). The con runs 3.5 days, and while I participate in a con or gameday almost every month, this will be my first AmberCon. I’m fairly excited.
Fairly.
Jackie has been wondering why I haven’t been more psyched. Here’s a few reasons why most people might get excited and why I’m not.
– I’m going to be staying with Jon. This should be fun. Should. I haven’t seen Jon in 5 years, however, so who knows. Maybe it’ll be awkward as hell. On the right hand, I’m really glad not to be shelling out another couple hundred bucks on a hotel room, on the left, I sort of feel as though I’m missing out on some of the ambiance of the con by not rooming where everyone else is. The coordinator is local to Portland, and even she is staying out there.
– I’m going to be going to Con. Big Deal. I go to Cons all the time. I GM weekly, and when I’m not running something, I’m thinking about running something, so I don’t fit the profile for the typical Amber Gamer — most of these guys are not in regular games, and this con is one of thier big chances to hang out with people who share thier interests, and like the same game they do — ADRPG is a fringe community within a Fringe community, as such… not a big following. In Denver, with the active RPGA membership, Cons are monthy, normal, dare-I-say boring events. At least boring in the fact that they are happening. So I’m not psyched just because of the con.
– Meeting new people. That’s great, unless I don’t gel with the group of people out there. Might happen, might not. I’m not short of friends, and unlike some, I don’t think that adding to the list is something one needs to work on day in and day out for your whole likfe. I’m comfortable with my current list of friends, and I’m not counting on AmberCon to help me out in this regard.
– Get to Travel. BFD. I do that all the time. It’s not exciting, it’s just work. Ditto staying in a strange bed, eating strange food, in a strange town — all these are things that I associate with work, not play.
All that said, I am excited as much as possible, and I’m sure I’ll be even more psyched once I get there and start meeting people and playing. Here’s my schedule:
Arrive Portland, 2:40pm PCT, Thursday.
Reception — Thursday, 5:30 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Slot 1 — Thursday, 7 p.m. – midnight (Castle of Crossed Destinies)
Slot 2 — Friday, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. (Christmas in Amber)
Slot 3 — Friday, 2 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. (All Cats Are Kings (Meera is using Swift to run this!))
Slot 4 — Friday, 8 p.m. – midnight (A Comfy Nights Stay at the Happy Crossroads Inn)
Saturday: nothing going on until…
Slot 6 — Saturday, 7 p.m. – midnight (Skeletons in the Closet)
Slot 7 — Sunday, 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. (eXcessive Force: The Tentacle Files — this is supposed to end at around 2pm instead — I need to make a character up for this one, still)
Depart Portland, 6:30am (!!) PCT, Monday
These are the times when Jackie is glad to have the 85 lbs. Great Dane/Lab roaming the house. I’ve seen him pick out intruders… it’s imposing.
The main slot on Saturday was going to be where I would run a game, but I signed up late, so I didn’t get enough people signed up, so I’m open. There’s a guy I know in Portland who wanted to get together for lunch, but other than that, I’ve got nothing going on (other than needing to write some stuff for NaNoWriMo.)
The Sunday slot usually breaks up and ends up dissolving into a socialization event at the Inn’s bar — I’m down with that, since my flight doesn’t leave til the next day.

Cool

Added a new Shapeshifter class to the d20 Amber Basic Character Classes. I really like how that guy turned out. Also, tweaked ranger and got rid of Druid.
Things still to do:

  • I figured out the rules for making Trumps (needs more detail), but not the rules on how to use them. Extension of this: mental combat.
  • I need to fiddle with the age brackets for chargen. Realized it’s not quite right yet (following some testing).

Addendum: Just doubled the size of the Feats section, adding a bunch of “Background” feats, as well as things like Improved Familiar and Heroic Recovery (A.K.A. “Cockroach”).

d20

Updates to the Amber d20 pages. Specifically, did some work on the character classes, notably Ranger. Started the painful process of eliminating non-genre spells from the Magic section. Finished the Feats and skills for Logrus (Probably won’t do the non-canon powers for a long while, especially since my favorite power (Twilight) can be done more easily with the Prestige class Shadowdancer).
Did a bunch of reformatting in the skills, feats, and power skills section, and reeditted the equipment section.
Also, slowly replacing the term Gold Piece with Game Point (thus abstracting money).