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Archive for March, 2010

How do you get your Game on?

By David Stibbards

Thinking about running a new game in the coming academic year (worries about jobs and PhD’s aside) I began to wonder if there are any preferred ways of constructing game worlds and plot-lines.

This particular game, a post apocalyptic London, has been motivated by a strange, geographical impetus. Many of the ideas have sprung from maps of the city, and talking to Londoners (cocknius londinium) about some of the more distinctive and fitting monuments/eyesores. Battersea power station, Westminster Palace and the many museums. This all got me thinking; how do other people start planning their games?

I can see the relevance of forming your world around your plot, but having the geography of the world define the path the plot might take feels a little unusual. Does anyone have any more bizarre ways of forming the game world? The principle NPCs’ agendas first? A particular message or cause you want the players to get behind?

How do other people do it?

Shadowrun Saturday: Slow Boat From China

by Azrael, Skimble, Richard, & Joe

Prelude

John drew back his focus from the street outside the taxi, looking at the AROs that only he could see broadcast from his PAN. At the top left of his vision, his clock, counting down to his departure time, and in the middle of his field of view, reviewing his tickets once more. He’d had a nice relaxing holiday for once. No unexpected excitement on his outbound journey, nor once he arrived, and now his trip was all but over. Just the short cruise home to go. Sure, it’d be faster to take the sub-orbital, but the last time he visited an airport he ended up nearly killed fighting terrorist plane-hijackers. Cruise liners were absolutely the way to go – slow, boring, and not interesting enough for anyone to try and hijack.

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Shadowrun Saturday: Little Trouble in Big China

By Azrael, Skimble, & Joe

Game Date: Thursday 6th March 2070

Prelude

On the tenth floor of an office block, a worried man looks down at the body on his floor. He reaches down and grabs the ankle and starts pulling it further into the room, closing the office door behind him after a quick glance to confirm no one is looking. He drags the woman out of immediate view from the office door, looks down one last time at her blood-matted hair, and shakes his head.

Locking the office door behind him, and leaving the door to the reception area open he leaves, heading for an urgent meeting with his friend Dan Dan Soong.
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Narrative Conflict

By Skimble

Narrative conflict is an important element in the creation of drama. Since roleplaying games are in the business of telling dramatic stories that involve rich and detailed characters, it is therefore a useful concept to bear in mind when devising plot hooks or resolving the consequences of the players’ actions.

While combat might be the most obvious type of conflict it is by far not the only one that can arise.  In fact I would argue that it is one of the least narratively compelling forms of conflict.

So what are some of the other types of narrative conflict, and how can they be used effectively to tell dramatic, exciting and interesting stories?

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Orcish Myths: Creation

By “Tolgron”

For those of you looking for something akin to the brutal cunning of Gork or the cunning brutality of Mork, be prepared to be disappointed. This isn’t like that at all.

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Review: Geist: The Sin Eaters

By Ian Warner

Introduction

Geist: The Sin Eaters is the latest in the New World of Darkness line from White Wolf Studios. There was a lot of anticipation and confusion about this game. The fact the title is the German for Ghost made some think it was the New World of Darkness’ version of Wraith. Although there are some similarities, this is not the case. A Geist is a hybrid of a Ghost and a Spirit. Although it was once a Ghost it has now surrendered its identity to become more conceptual. Geists can make a deal with a dying human, offering a second chance at life in exchange for a spiritual merging that creates a Sin Eater. Wraith was clearly an inspiration but this is a totally different game with a new and inventive type of supernatural. This put many Wraith fans off on its own but I was not so deterred. As much as I love Wraith I was willing to try out this new and decidedly more upbeat Death themed game. So here are my thoughts.

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Shadowrun Saturday: Special Delivery for Mr Priam

By Azrael

Date: Wednesday 05.02.2070

Prelude

A mysterious Fixer known only as Mr Priam contacts Sammy Lee through his contacts in the Red Dragon Triad.  Mr Priam wants a groups of Shadowrunners to break into the Accio Inc facility on Hong Kong island and steal the data on their new budget range Comm Link the Accio Apollo.  The only problem is, Mr Priam doesn’t want there to be any trace that the file was stolen…

Is Sammy Lee’s newly formed team up to the task?  Can they cope with running on Hong Kong Island?  Will they invoke the power of 3… tune in and find out!
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Review: Blood Bowl (PC)

By Ian Warner

Introduction

Blood Bowl is a computer game adaptation of the classic Games Workshop miniatures board game. Its stated aim is to capture the spirit of its tabletop equivalent and translate it into a violent sports game like no other. This it excels at.

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A DM’s Guide to Character Creation

By Andrew Moran AKA Rannos

Character Creation

The best campaigns have the best characters in them, The GM creates the story and the world and moves the plot forward, but the players themselves supply the fun and excitement that will keep them coming back week after week.

So how can a DM help?

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Thinking Outside The Box

By Skimble

Players are well known for coming up with actions the GM could never have anticipated. Give them an innocent-seeming maiden who pleads with them for help in dealing with some kind of heinous monster and they’re just as likely to kill her on the spot due to their suspicion that this is the lure in some kind of cunning trap.

Rather than being something to fear though, this propensity of players is something that can be encouraged and even, sometimes, rewarded.

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Call us Legion

- For our flaws are many.

A review of “Legion” by Skimble

Archangel Michael on a poster from "Legion" Before I continue I should confess that I enjoyed this film quite a lot. That is not to say that “Legion” is a good film by any stretch of the imagination, but I certainly found it to be enjoyable.

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Shadowrun Saturday

By Azrael

Hey chummers!

Following Skimble’s suggestion, I am holding back more Shadowrun write-up posts so as to have a weekly release schedule. I have a handful of write-ups that follow on from each other, all part of the same campaign, and I’ll be posting them each Saturday (hence the title of this article). No, there isn’t a write-up released today, this week’s got posted before we came up with the catchy Shadowrun Saturday idea, so you’ll need to wait until next Saturday.

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