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Creating an RPG

By Charlie Dougal

One of my many mottos is “If you’re going to do something either be lazy, or aim for something more difficult than you think you can handle… that way if you fail at least you fail at something hard.” Not my most concise motto, but you get the point. Oh and when I say RPG I am specifically referring to pen and paper (though many of the general ideas can be translated to video games).

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Roleplaying Variety

– By Charlie T Dougal

Many of us at the AGS love a good role-playing game. There is a wealth of difference within this game-type; each with their own merits and potential draw-backs. Though I don’t claim to know everything about these (some not by a long way), I will be delivering an overview of a few systems that give a broad impression of pen and paper RPG genre.

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To Be A Geek.

By Charlie T Dougal,

What does it mean to be a geek? Well, at the risk of making this a very short article; here’s a quote from Dr. Who (The Lazarus Experiment) which I think sums up the word nicely:

“Tish Jones: He’s a science geek, I should’ve known.
The Doctor: Science geek, what’s that mean?
Martha Jones: That you’re obsessively enthusiastic about it.
The Doctor: [grins] Oh, nice.” (From http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1000257/quotes)”

The Doctor is glad of this label, and why not? After all, the ancient stereotype “geek” was afforded is a vague and unfair generalisation, just like all stereotypes.
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GM’s Blog – Dresden Files One-off Game

By Skimble

I’d never run the Dresden Files before but I have a hankering to run the game to the extent that I’m planning to stop my long-running Geist game in favour of it. Being overly confident in my own ability to wing things I decided to learn the basics of the Fate system behind the game in a week and then run it as a one-off sampler game after the AGS Intro Meeting.

This is how it went.

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GM’s Blog – Exalted Easter Game

For many years now I’ve made a habit of taking a break from my regular weekly games to run something completely different during the University holidays. This began because even though I was not a student some or many of my players were, and they weren’t around to play during term breaks.

Even though most of my current players are also alumni and could keep on playing, I have maintained the habit. Running a different game for a while is a bit like eating a sorbet between courses; it cleanses my mental palate and satisfies my urge for novelty, allowing me to return to my regular games with gusto once they resume after the break.

This Easter I have decided to run a short Solar Exalted game comprised of four sessions that, I hope, will carry a single story.

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GM’s Blog – Geist: The Sin-Eaters 15th May 2012

For those who don’t know, Geist: The Sin-Eaters is a game in which players portray those given a second chance at life. They died but were offered a bargain by a spiritual entity called a Geist. It would let them live again and in exchange they would share their life with it. The resulting gestalt of living flesh and deathly energies is called a Sin-Eater. Sin-Eaters are all able to see and interact with the dead and gain power by resolving or consuming the ghosts of the departed. They are also able to physically journey into the Underworld to seek forbidden knowledge and to interact with those long dead.

This game has been running since Geist was published in 2009 and features a group of Sin-Eaters in London who have recently bound themselves together into a krewe (s supernaturally bound group that channels energy from the Underworld)  in the face of competition from two larger krewes. Their krewe has no official name as yet but the characters have also founded a company called Twilight Investigations which offers help with troubled spirits and other occult weirdness.

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Eclipse Phase GM’s Log – 16th May 2012

Last session the team traced exsurgent Damon Brandt to the aquatic habitat Atlantica. They found he had dark-casted his ego there using the services of a criminal orca named Bandit. With this knowledge and the Mesh ID of a Firwall sentinel named Grey Man on Atlantica the team prepared to egocast there to catch the target before he could infect the habitat with the Dagon strain of the Exsurgent virus. Continue reading ‘Eclipse Phase GM’s Log – 16th May 2012’ »

GM’s Blog – Eclipse Phase – 9th May 2012

This is the first part of a series of logs relating to my experiences running my Eclipse Phase game “The Centre Cannot Hold”. The game has been running since Eclipse Phase was published in 2009, and focuses on a group of Firewall sentinels operating in and around the Locus habitat in the Jovian Trojans. The basic setup for the game and the characters can be read about here.

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Geist Downtime – Better than Life 1

– By Andrew “Rannos” Moran

Some of the players in my LARP have busy schedules, and are unable to make it to my game,  so I send them little stories and snapshots of what their characters were upto during the game instead.  

Better than Life 1

The unyielding rain beats down around you at an odd pace like a slow Danse Macabre. With the thin canopy overhead providing little shelter you’re a sitting duck, and you know it.  Every step forward your feet sink a little farther into the mud, squelching loudly and ungracefully up the sides of your boots.

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Changeling: The Lost Fiction – “Cause to Act”

A story based on our “Changeling: the Lost” Live-Action Roleplaying Game – written by Laura Mason

Sally slams the computer shut with a click, tears in her eyes. Why would he not come and see her? He was her friend wasn’t he? She thought they got on well before. She frowns, pursing her lips, her hands balled into fists on the laptop for a moment before moving it. She puts her face in her hands. She likes him. Okay not as much as Arty, but he is her friend.  “I haven’t slept yet,” he had said. A tear glistens on her cheek. The tawny owl that has been sitting on the back of the sofa, reading the messages with her, flaps down to sit on the arm next to her.

“He will be okay.” It says, its voice soft and whispery, concerned. She looks at it, tears still migrating downwards. “He is strong; you said he was when he taught you.” Sally shakes her head and the owl moves again, sitting on her lap now; it snuggles up against her. She strokes its soft brown feathers absently, lost in thought. He had been so kind to her, helping her learn and dancing with her.

“But if he’s not sleeping…” She argues with the owl, which swivels its head to look up at her with large eyes. Her voice is hoarse and full of emotion, more tears falling. She remembers the night up in the hotel in London; he had been so very drunk and his kisses… She should not think of them.  She is Arty’s now. The owl’s voice brings her mind back to the present.

“He will sleep. He said he would. He can look after himself.” Fluffy the owl’s voice is full of concern for her. “What are we going to do about the water spirit things?” She shakes her head.
“I don’t know. I could go and talk to them again I guess. Or ask someone else what they think about it maybe,” she speaks solemnly and then sighs. “I need to do more to help. Lucan cannot do it all on his own.” Determination creeps into her voice. “I wish I could do something to help him.”

“He’s your friend, and he’s polite, I’ll help him if I can. What are you going to do?”

She looks away shaking her head a little. “I don’t know. I need to think about it. I can’t go and fight beasts, I’d only get in the way.”

Fluffy snuggles against her.


Something shuddered next to her and she felt a lurch as she almost fell. Her eyes snapped open, struggling to stay on the bed. Scrabbling with the covers, she managed to avoid the floor. What on earth? She sat up, suddenly remembering where she was. Arty lay next to her, shifting around in his sleep. She felt his skin on hers and memory returned to her, her silvery cheeks flushing and her heart skipping a beat. She looked at him with a smile, breathing in his cinnamon scent, before frowning. As he shifted his expression contorted with fear and pain. A nightmare. Panicking slightly, she leant back down, her hand touching lightly on his temple, her thoughts drifting.  Casting around for anything, she pushed into Arty’s mind. Changing the dreamscape there with her agreement.

The breeze fluttered the leaves tentatively above her head, the mottled sunlight dancing on her skin. She exhaled, it had worked. She looked around, her eyes searching the forest around her. Autumn it was, or late summer and the plants were bearing fruit around them.  The leaves were a mixture of golden brown and green depending on how the plants felt.  A large table cloth was stretched out in the clearing where she knelt. She smiled at Arty and his answering smile was full of surprise. “You changed it?”

“Yes, you were having a nightmare I think. Nearly pushed me out of bed,” she teased, lightly, smiling. He blushed slightly, looking guilty.

“Sorry. I- I didn’t mean to fall asleep.”

She smiled, taking his hand. “It’s okay.”

He put his arm around her and he sighed happily. The air warm on her skin, she looked around once more. It was exactly as she remembered it, only the flowers on the forest floor were still growing.  It had been a good picnic in the waking world, the last one of summer and everyone had a good time lounging about, eating and throwing flowers at each other.  They had named Biff the champion of summer, after Mortar had beaten them all in the competitions. Everyone had joined in; or nearly everyone. The only downside was that Arty hadn’t been there, that would have made it perfect.

Sitting up, she gently manipulated him so that he was lying down with his head in her lap as she ran her fingers through his hair. “I love you Arty.”

Pulling herself out of his dream, she blinked, looking down at him once again. His sleeping form now lay peacefully, a smile on his lips. He moved slightly, not waking, taking hold of her hand and holding it to him, starting to snore gently.

Writing a One-Off Game

– By Skimble

I recently had the pleasure of writing and running a one-off World of Darkness scenario called “Fresh Meat” for a weekly meeting. While I was working on the game I spent quite a bit of time thinking about the general process of writing a one-off  scenario.

This article is the result of that thinking. Hopefully you will find it useful if you’re interested in running a one-off game, especially if you’ve never done so before.

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Short Story

 By James Galloway

This short story is set in the same universe as my Monday night GURPS Monster Hunters/Cyberpunk campaign, a dark future where the lowlifes and mega-corporations aren’t the only dangers lurking in the shadows. Here a group of freelance corporate espionage agents find out that the simple job they thought they were taking on wasn’t so easy after all…

Cross checked over his pistol manually, just to be sure. The cybernetic linkup through his palm should notify him of any problems, but it never hurt to take a second look. Not that he was expecting tonight to be troublesome; he and his associates had been hired to appropriate a Eurere Biotech transport truck and drop it off on the outskirts of St Louis, a relatively simple snatch and grab.

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