Hi there, Jimbles here again with a few more tales, but with a preamble first.
I’ve noticed that I’ve been writing posts that are just fluff entertainment, leaving all of the crunch to Keegan. While that’s not necessarily a bad thing, I think I can do a bit better. Due to my documented inability to keep characters alive (See Does anyone else die a lot?, Part two on those horrible deaths incoming.) I’ve gotten pretty good at creating new characters. I’m going to codify it and make it interesting; then show you my 5 step process for streamlining a backstory. It’s by no means perfect, but it works.
But today, I’ve got a particular subject on my mind. A bunch of my friends and fellow players are known for coming up with twisted situations and bending the established lore in such a nefarious way that the players are left flat-footed. Once, I asked one of them how on earth they come up with their ideas. It may have been an outburst along the lines of “WHERE DO YOU COME UP WITH THIS STUFF!?”
The answer was interesting. She said “Well, for this game I thought “How can I make a player make a bad choice for the right reasons?”
I’m not being paid for this. Not a great start to a blog post.
Our illustrious blog-master and my deadly DM is currently caught in China with a respiratory tract infection. While that sounds like a the beginning to a Spycraft session, I’m serious. Because the great Firewall of China blocks WordPress (Alongside Twitter and Facebook.) I’ve been asked to take over posting duties for just a moment.
Sad news is I’m terrible at it. I’ve decided it was a good idea to bring the World of Darkness into direct light. Maybe illuminate a section on which I may have a slight edge on.
The World of Darkness is a modern horror roleplaying game by White Wolf (Now published by The Onyx Path.) using the “Storytelling” system. As a horror setting, the Storytelling system is a rules moderate. It doesn’t quite get as fly-by-your-pants, stats-mean-nothing-only-drama-is-allowed as Freeform, and it definitely steers clear of the D&D/Pathfinder pitfall of having rules for everything under the sun.
The mechanics are simple. All rolls and contests are decided by a number of 10 sided dice. Rolling a 8, 9 or 10 is considered a “success”. A 10 allows you to roll again, giving a chance to increase your successes. This form of open-ended rolling can lead to truly unexpected results, far more so than a standard “critical hit”.
While I can harp on about the crunch of the system, the main draw is the mood, themes and stories found in each book. The FLUFF! White Wolf’s fluff is the best in the business. Each rule book spends at least 50% of the time talking about how it feels to be chased down a darkened street by a brutish beastie. In the Vampire setting, much thought is given to the question “What do you do if you live forever?”, something that can be considered a driving question. This gives a personal element to the game. Each storyteller is primed to ask deep questions to reinforce and build player’s characters.
Most recently, I was playing an SCP Foundation type game with a skilled Storyteller. Through careful application of the mechanics and descriptions cribbed from the WoD core book’s stories, he successfully terrified the lot of us. I feel as if we were using a less evocative system, one without a focus on lethality and danger, his efforts would’ve been subdued.
Thanks for reading my guest post, feel free to leave questions in the comments, and I’ll try to get to them.
Update: I’ve received the picture I ordered of Varian. I think it’s turned out really well, and I’ve added it to the post. For details on the artist, see the miscellaneous information section below.
Well ladies and gentlemen, I’m back. I’ve actually been back from down the coast for a while now, but have been run ragged by training my replacement at work, settling into my new role, and getting back into the gym. Throw in a bit of illness over the last few days, and I’m wrecked.
To top it all off, the work I’d done on finishing off the back story and so on for Norva Wintarius was lost when my computer crashed while I was writing it up. Combined with the fact that the friend I built that character for has now dropped out of my Skulls & Shackles game (meaning Norva got only one appearance as a PC), I’ve kind of lost interest in finishing her off for now. I still plan on going back and fixing it up at some point, because I really like the character concept, but it won’t be for a while.
Instead, I’m moving onto the second installment of The Unusual Suspects. This time around we’re going to take a look at my character from a weekly World of Darkness game I play in.
So, let’s meet tonight’s guest…
Warning: This update doesn’t really have a whole lot to do with gaming. There are some mentions of it here and there.
I’m sure most readers people reading this will recognise the title of this update as a reference to Pink Floyd’s song Time. For anyone who doesn’t know it, the full verse is as follows:
And you run and you run to catch up with the sun, but it’s sinking
Racing around to come up behind you again
The sun is the same in a relative way, but you’re older
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death
Welcome back to Cooking the Cosmos. My apologies for the extended delay on getting this posted, over the last few days my internet access has been incredibly unreliable, and I ended up frustrated to the point of giving up until it decided to start playing nice again. Now that the worst of it appears to be over, I figure it’s time to get back in business.
As I said last time, this update will focus on choosing a system for your campaign setting. I find that it’s best to choose a system as early as you possible, as it gives you a framework of game mechanics to build within. There are three major questions to consider when making this decision, so I’ll be using both the Project Helleborus and Urban Magic campaign settings to help demonstrate the process.
I know it’s a bit late, but merry Christmas to all! I hope everyone had an excellent time with friends and family, and had plenty of good food and drink. I did intend to have this and the next part of Cooking the Cosmos posted before Christmas, but unfortunately I ran out of time, what with preparations for the shutdown period at work, and needing to travel to visit my family. Still, on the plus side, since this is now a post-Christmas update, I can say thank you to everyone for the awesome loot I received. All of my gifts were thoughtful and much appreciated, but I’d like to give special thanks to the following people for presents that were extra special to me:
- Nell, who baked me delicious white chocolate and raspberry cookies. Nell runs the food blog I Need a Feed, which can be found at http://ineedafeed.wordpress.com/, and she’s an excellent cook.
- Elena, who gave me a set of green and black d10s that will be perfect for our weekly World of Darkness game. Elena also helps keep me fit by dragging my lazy rear up Mount Ainslie every Saturday, so a big thank you for that.
- My housemate, Graham, for a Netgear wireless adapter that can actually make use of the ac protocol capabilities on my new router, as well as a couple of custom t-shirts based on Gravity Falls and Ugly Americans.
- My Parental Units, for a new queen-sized bed and mattress, as well as helping me buy a new washing machine.
- My brother, for giving me some money to buy some Pathfinder source books that I’ve had my eye on for a while now.
My new World of Darkness dice. Thanks Elena!