Saturday, March 27, 2010

Streets of Madness: Scene 2

Scene 2: The Interview

Chaos Factor: 6

Characters: Jimi, Eddie

Threads: Find out who killed the dead guy.

The Set up: My idea to start scene two is to have Jimi go and interview the wife of the dead guy. I rolled an 8 for the modifier die so there is no modification of this concept.

The Play:

“Mrs.Rosse like to ask you a couple of questions about yesterday, it was two days ago right..”

The lady across the room from me on the couch looks at me with glazed eyes and nods a slow confirmation to my question. I’m not sure how productive this is going to be, however, we matched her husbands DNA to strands of hair from her apartment so our department had to give her the news yesterday that her husband wasn’t just missing. He was dead.

“Did he go to work?”

“I don’t know, he left for work.”

She looks at me accusingly like I’m forcing her. Maybe I should play this slow.

“Look, we could go through these questions in a couple of days if you’d like. I just like to try to get them out of the way while the events are fresher in your mind if you can handle it.”

“It’s ok Mr. Harrigan. I.... I just miss him...” She sobs a bit with her eyes on the floor.

“What did your husband do for a living?” I know the answer to this but I wanted to give her a softball question to get her started.

“He is, was, a stock broker.”

“Was he depressed?”

“No, I don’t think so,” She runs her hands along the length of her jeans, “he had his bad times like anybody. I wouldn’t say he was depressed? Do you think he did this to himself?”

“I’m not ruling out anything yet Mrs. Rosse, would you mind if I used your bathroom?”

I head back to the bathroom and pretend to take a leak. I turn on the water in the sink and look around. Maybe there is something here.

Q: Does Jimi find anything in the bathroom? [unlikely, No]

Q: Does this lady know anything or not? [50:50, Yes]

Coming back into the room from my search in the bathroom I decide to end this interview quickly.

“Look Mrs. Rosse, we can tap dance around this all day but I’m going to lay it to you straight. I think your husband was murdered, I don’t think committed suicide by climbing into a lion’s cage. I think there is a decent chance that you know something. If you want to see whoever did this brought to justice tell me what you know.”

She looks at me with fierce eyes for a moment and I think she might charge me from across her glass coffee table. Instead she gets up and walks with zombie steps back into her house. I follow.

From the bottom of a desk she pulls out a plastic file binder and places it on the top of the desk.

“Mr. Harrigan, my husband was a gambler. He would bet on anything and after some time that moved into his business practices. He came across a large sum of money during the stock boom and pulled a lot of it out before the crash. We were going to get a better house, but instead he invested a great deal of it into a little known salvage company. I don’t know what they are up to, but over the last six months he has spent more and more time with that file. The other night he spent quite a while pouring over the contents of that folder before heading out. That was the last time I saw him.”

End Scene. I lower the Chaos Factor by one since this interview worked out for Mr. Jimi.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Streets of Madness: Scene 1

This is my first amateur attempt at running a Mythic GME game. I'm running it solo for now, but later I'm thinking of adding my buddy. Unless Jimi gets torn to shreds by some kind of lovecraftian horror or poisoned by a serial killer or shot by a junkie, etc... Check out Risus Monkey to see a real master run this kind of game.

Scene 1: The Murder...

Chaos Factor: 5

Characters: Jimi

Threads: None

The Set Up:

I had already decided that it this game had to start start with a murder. I decide to roll on the random event chart to get an idea for focus.

Random: [NPC Action, Malice and Animals]

I then ask a question:

Q: Was someone murdered by zoo animals? [50/50, Yes.]

The Play:

The constant ringing of the phone pulled me out of sleep. I pick up the phone. It’s the L.t. There’s been a death at the zoo and something doesn’t smell right about it. I tell him I’ll come down quick and hang up. A few minutes later I’m leaving my crummy apartment and head down to the street using the elevator.

Q: Is it raining? (50/50, exceptional yes, of course...)

As I leave the apartment, I pull my coat tight about myself to ward of the buckets buckets of rain crashing down. I head to my rust heap of a car and get inside; it starts like a charm. I take a moment to listen to the rain on the windshield, but it will take more than a spring shower to wash away the filth of this city.

It isn’t far to the zoo, just a bit uptown from the apartment. The whole place is lit up in blue and red lights from the police cars. I pull way into the back to avoid the journalists and then I see a couple of boys in blue standing with Eddie trying to put up a tarp or something to hold back the rain. Eddie is in forensics and he can’t be happy that he hasn’t had a chance to pull anything out of those black cases at his feet. Decent enough guy I guess; just don’t get him started on baseball.

Q: Was it a man who was killed? [50/50, Yes]

Walking up to them they start telling me all about it. Somebody fell or was pushed into the lion cage and was ripped apart by the beasts. I think about that for a second or two. There is a fence and then a wall and then a moat - this somehow got through all of that to end up dead in there. They broke the lock on the fence but how did they get across that moat. I walk in there and take a look. The body is hanging over some rocks like a rag doll, blood streaming down the rocks. Just then I notice I’m standing in the cage with the lions. They are in the back of the cage lying up in the back, away from the rain, their cold eyes glaring down at their fresh kill.

Q: Was there any symbols of the occult? [Likely, No]

Q: Are there any other clues? [Very likely, No]

The fate machine has decided there are ZERO clues about this murder to be found.

Hours later Eddie and his buddies haven’t turned anything up. I can’t believe that this is anything but a murder. You just don’t walk into a lion’s cage for no reason. I head on out of there to get some sleep. Eddie will be at it for the rest of the night but there is no reason for me to stay. I head back to the apartment to get some sleep there will be time enough talk about this one in the morning.

End Scene. I decide to raise the chaos factor since pretty much nothing went the way of our protagonist...

Friday, March 19, 2010

The New Solo (maybe Duo) Game

I figured out what I'm doing for my solo (maybe duo) game. It will be using Mythic&Risus and will be a horror/mystery genre, I'm thinking of calling it: Streets of Madness.

Here is my character:

James “Jimi” Harrigan


A lean hard man with the characteristic black overcoat covering a wrinkled suit. Jimi was in Operation Desert Storm where he served his country and saw some things that would make you shiver. He has also seen a couple of things in this city that would spin your head but he tells no one so they don’t think he is crazy. Once Jim gets into a case and starts following a lead he becomes an obsessed bloodhound following the clues where ever they lead. You better hope they don’t lead to you...


“Nose to the Grind” Detective (4), Ex-Special Forces (3), Alcoholic Weekend Warrior (2), Stared into the Dark (1)


Beat up car (with one police light that he can throw up on top in times of need and a police radio), wrinkled suit, 9mm pistol with side holster and three clips, cell phone, notepad, pencil, swiss army knife, metal flask with the hard stuff, Big Red chewing gum

In the back of his car he also has:

12 guage shotgun in the trunk, crowbar, spare tire, rope, duct tape, coffee cups, portable filing case with files

Cliche Explanations:

“Nose to the Grind” Detective: following leads, interrogation, dodging the landlord, dodging bullets, putting crooks in jail, hitting the bottle, shooting pistols, picking locks, using the internet, connections in the force, police authority, reading people

Ex-special forces: being tough as nails, running, shooting, hiding, being unfazed under gunfire, having nightmares and not talking about them

Alcoholic Weekend Warrior: knowing every bar in town, being able to handle a bottle, knowing the regulars in most of the downtown places, waking up in an alley

Stared into the Dark: thinking that there might be strange things out there that regular people don’t know about, having a little bit of knowledge about the occult

The influences for the game to name a few: Sin City, Lovecraft, Seven, Dark City, The Big Sleep, Trail of Cthulhu, The Wire, The Salton Sea, the Black Dahlia, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, X-Files, etc...

This is my first modern game in a while and I'm expecting it will be full-on cliched and fun! I'm pretty excited about it. Now I just have to figure out if my buddy is going to join in... figure out where I'll locate it and get going.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Rolemaster (Take 3) and Amethyst

Having read over the rolemaster core books I set right out to make a character. I started small - a common human ranger. I rolled some stats, then potential attributes, then modified for race, chose some languages then started flipping through the skill list and figuring out things like development points and power points, etc...
Well, lets just say that I may have been accustomed to a simpler way of making characters over the last couple of years (during which the only systems that I have used are Fudge, Risus, and 2nd Edition DnD). I'm not sure I have the time or patience right now to make Rolemaster characters unless I got a group together who would get me inspired to do so. Or maybe if I can figure out that Fudge conversion for Rolemaster that I think is a really juicy idea....

Anyway, I shelved Rolemaster for the short term and I am following the sacred teachings of Risus Monkey by trying to get a Mythic game started up. For now I may start up solo and then add my buddy in later if that makes sense. I'll probably post something up about the game I am planning in the next couple of days. I read through that book over the last couple of days and it immediately "clicked".

Also, Chris Dias of Dias Ex Machina contacted me about his game Amethyst which is being sold by Goodman Games. I checked out these links here, the pictures here, the free adventure Biohazard ( a zombie apocalypse style game), and finally this youtube clip. I wrote this blog post a while back about adding guns to ODD, well this game adds guns, and computers, and cars, and pretty much everything about our modern world to the conventional D&D game. Chris popped the top off his head and completely imagined a really excellent world where all the stuff that exists in our DnD games "came out to play"...

I think this picture that I popped into this post pretty much sums up the game (to Chris Dias or artist Nick Greenwood - if you want me to take this down I will immediately). They talk about it quite a bit in that cool YouTube series where they not only discuss the gameworld but how it evolved with the art from Nick Greewood (who did like 99.9% of the art for the game apparently). I've said before that having Peter Bradley do like 90% of the art for the Castles and Crusades game set up a consistent look and brand for that game. I think the same will hold true for amethyst.

Anyway, I can't say much more since I haven't picked up a copy of the game (I probably won't anytime soon since it is written for 4th edition DnD which I have no plans to play). The combination of technology, magic, fantasy, politics, and interesting imagery makes me want to slap my practical side silly and BUY THIS GAME (which is saying that I have like 50 different campaign worlds that I downloaded as part of the Haiti bundle and like 50 more campaign worlds that I have thought up in my sick head and don't in any way need another game world).

I'm not a fan of the 3rd edition, 3.5 edition, and 4th edition DnD rules - however, just because you don't like the rules doesn't mean there is a lot of gold in a game world/concept regardless of the rules. I could see me running a game in the amethyst game world using any of the familiar rulesets that I have become accustomed to over the years. Or if my DM buddy would get his $#!& together and want to start up our tabletop game (which was supposed to use 4th edition rules- since this DM likes 4th edition and convinced all us "old-timers" to try it but then never started the game all winter long after we made characters in November)

Maybe, just maybe I could convince him to run this game-world instead of the standard fantasy world he had been thinking of running a campaign in.

Who knows, I may go rogue and pick up a copy after all. If I watch that YouTube video about the art one more time I'll probably fail my saving throw and cave in to a moment of consumer weakness :)

Monday, March 15, 2010

Updated Game Map and Related Information

My PBEM campaign is now forging ahead at lightning speed for a PbP game. As a result of that I haven't been posting much on the blog. My new player joined the crew and together they have investigated more of the dungeon. They finally encountered a Hextasaur (albiet a half hit die "baby" one) and they put a beat down on it in two rounds thanks to the bastard sword of the groups barbarian. It did nearly kill one of the druid's animal companions.

Here is an updated game map:

Although functionally they have really only explored like 3 additional rooms in two months our group is posting like crazy and having lots of fun.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


Now that I have partially digested the three core books of the Rolemaster Classic edition that I have purchased I've come away with a couple of thoughts:

1. I'd really like to play this game in the traditional table-top form... I'm still working on getting a gaming group together, maybe I can convince them to try Rolemaster.

2. Arms Law is awesome and you could use it to add some critical hits to almost any game.

3. I think you could use a Fudge based system for attributes and skills to simplify character creation. Fudge and Rolemaster are both very modular so I think the fit could work out. I love the ease and detail of Fudge/Fate style character creation but I'm not a huge fan of the granularity of fudge dice and the way combat plays out in that game. I'm going to be thinking about how the two could be combined over the next couple of weeks.

Unrelated to rolemaster I picked up the Mythic Game Master Emulator and I might try to use that to run either a solo game or a game with a good buddy of mine who is separated by some distance and I think has the right kind of mojo for playing this Mythic game style. I ran into the Mythic system by reading over some of the stuff here. Maybe I will even post some of the game content up on my website in a similar fashion to the monkey if it ends up working out for us.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

My new player

I added another player to my PBEM Greyhawk game. He is playing a female Rhenne thief named Esmeralda. My players have explored a little more of the dungeon now - and so I inserted the new character into the dungeon with the following backstory:

There are some strange albino people living in this underground complex. You came to the dungeon with a group of adventurers who were exploring the desert for sunken treasures lost to time. When you came to this lost city, your group was beset by a group of six legged lizard creatures and slain. While they were fighting you found a secret door at the base of the idol and ran into the dungeon.

Talk about out of the fire and into the flames. As you entered the dungeon you were immediately immersed into a horrible fight between two groups of albino men whose language you couldn't understand. In the midst of the this battle was strange half orc who was carrying something like a quarterstaff wrapped in leather on his back. Both groups seemed to be trying to capture this half-orc alive, while also trying to kill each other.

You never got to see how it all turned out, because somebody with a club smashed you over the head. When you woke up you were without your backpack, trapped in a room in the dungeon in the pitch black with nobody about. Luckily, your money pouch was still at your belt and you still had your trusty thieves picks and your dirk. Otherwise you are lacking equipment and trapped in this dungeon probably waiting to starve to death.

Just then you hear a strange scuffling noise outside of the door...

He, he, he - I love just tossing new characters right into the middle of the game! It is one of the things that gives me the GM jollies!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

RPG Lite PubCrawl 3: SLUG

Yep, slug ---- this stands for Simple Laid-back Universal Game system. This is about as rules light as it gets. The rules fit on one page. There are a bunch of games like it. They are usually put out there with comedy gaming in mind or for when you just want to do some cooperative story telling with some minor injection of rules and randomness. I'm going to make this overview as light as this game is. Lets get right into the elements analysis:


Explanation - in SLUG, you can make your character any way that you choose as long as the GM can understand what you are good /bad at.

Action Resolution - if the GM isn’t certain that you will automatically succeed you grab some dice (any kind or number really) - higher is better. The GM decides by the result how good you did and adds in factors from your character description to modify this.

Development - throughout the game if you think it makes sense you can add ideas to your character if the GM agrees.

Adaptability (5 out of 10) - while in theory you could run any kind of game with this type of system - this kind of light hearted system

Feather Scale (10 for 10) - there is only one page of rules - nuff said.

Combat (2 out of 10) - There really aren’t any specific combat rules. I guess if you really wanted to have a combat you would have to make them up. I think following in the spirit of the game you would just have the two contestants each roll some dice and you would modify the rolls with modifiers based on the character sheet. Whoever comes up with the best total would “win” the round. You could employ the magic rule of 3 and say if one character “wins” 3 times in combat he has dispatched his foe. You could be free form and let the winner decide what that means (death, grievous wound, or in “combats” that are non-violent, verbal, or really more a skill contest you could be creative, maybe the loser has lost self esteem or finances or something) with GM approval.

Longevity (5 out of 10) when you feel that you character has been practicing a skill in the game or you have revealed something new and important about the character’s past - if you can convince the GM that it should be added you just put it down on the character sheet.

SLUG is a fun idea and I think you could actually use it to play roleplaying games with very little additional development. The players and GM have to be on the same page with their interpretation of the character and the spirit of the game.