The Owlbear and Wizard’s Staff update- September 18th 2021

I thought I’d offer a brief update as to where I’m up to with OBaWs.

I am hoping to host the 4th Owlbear and Wizard’s Staff mini-con in Leamington on 18th September. This is a very difficult decision given that although the Covid-19 restrictions have been discontinued, there is ongoing concern as to the number of cases and the spread of the virus.

At present, I aim to have an in-person event at The Band Factory with some parallel on-line sessions. For those interested, I’ll arrange a curry the night before the con in a local restaurant. The con itself will open at 9am on 18th, with the first game slot 10am-1.30pm, a break for lunch and samosas, and then a second game slot 2.30pm-6pm. We can then retire to the pub.

To make the event as safe as possible, I’d like all attendees to have had the double vaccine, to be negative on lateral flow test, and to not be suffering any symptoms of the virus at the time of the event. I’ll try and maximise ventilation and provide hand sanitiser gel. I’d like all attendees to wear masks when moving around, but will not insist on people wearing them during games. Of course, people are very welcome to wear masks during the RPG sessions and I’ll support that decision.

There are a couple of other caveats. The most obvious is that if the pandemic situation worsens and/or the government re-introduces restrictions, then it may be the case that the whole con may revert to being wholly on-line. The second caveat is that a given GM may become unwell or need to isolate/quarantine – so may be some last minute re-arranging of players into other games. Of course, I’ll try and accommodate preferences where possible.

For those who are intending in-person I’ll ask for a voluntary donation of £10 (via Warhorn) to cover venue hire and refreshment.

I’ve asked GMs to check the entries of their games on Warhorn this week, and to have a think as to whether would like to run in-person or on-line, and then intend to open bookings more widely on Friday 30th July.

The Owlbear and Wizard’s Staff 2020

Venues are all booked for The Owlbear and Wizard’s Staff RPG mini-con in Leamington on the 19th – 20th September!

As on prior years, I’ll book a restaurant for a curry on the Friday night (18th). Saturday will be the main event at The Band Factory http://www.thebandfactory.org , with 12 tables of RPGs in the morning and in the afternoon (AM Session 10-1.30pm; PM session 2.30pm – 6pm). Samosas and RPG swap shop at lunch time. I’ve booked a private room and bar in the Royal Pug https://www.theroyalpug.com for the Saturday evening.

I had requests for us to continue into the Sunday morning for those able to hang around – we’ll have around 6 RPG tables, and also some boardgames and RPG demos hopefully.

I’ll set up Eventbrite and open tickets shortly and will then spend the next couple of months getting the games sorted with GMs before booking people into those from around Easter. One other change – rather than donations, I may add a charge for tickets so as to cover costs for venue, refreshments, and GM gifts. I hope that is ok with people

The Owlbear and Wizard’s Staff 2019

The weekend after Owlbear and looking forward to some reading, dog walks, RPG prep and thinking about next year!

I had a great time last weekend and am very grateful to all those who came and supported the con, both as players and as GMs. Aware weekends are precious time away from work and with family, and attending Cons can be an expensive business. We ran 13 tables morning and afternoon, and I reckon had between 80-90s attendees. I think the changes I made from last year were generally for the good – I’d planned some dedicated D&D tables in advance, booked a bit of extra space (including an extra toilet) and the social events (Friday night curry, Saturday night pub) went more smoothly.

We had a great range of games on offer and hope people got into games they enjoyed. There was juggling around of GMs in last few weeks, but this all went off ok, and I really enjoyed playing in Carl’s game of Dresden Files Accelerated in the afternoon. This week, I’ve enjoyed listening to some of the feedback from the podcasters who attended – dpercentile https://anchor.fm/dave-aldridge The Grognard Files https://thegrognardfiles.com and Roleplay Rescue GM’s Journal https://anchor.fm/rpgrescue/episodes/417-GMs-Journal-21-09-19-feat–OBaWS-e5g5fh . Thanks all for mentioning the Con and for coming to the event.

Thanks in particular to Dave, for running at short notice and bringing lots of drinks and sweets, to Griff for the swap shop, to Bruce for the wonderful Owlbear miniatures, and to Dan for our fantastic art.

For next year, I’m thinking of a similar weekend (want to allow school term to restart and a gap before Grogmeet) – the venue has confirmed that has space for 19th September 2020 and I’ve checked that this won’t clash with September’s Concrete Cow. Also asked about the 26th. Planning to be both bigger and smaller next year – smaller in that may cap to 12 tables (3 in the upstairs room may have been a bit much) but also expanding into the Sunday morning. For this, thought to have 6-8 RPG tables running in the main room (meaning would have 30-32 RPG sessions at the con in total) but using the other rooms for more open gaming (low prep RPGs, boardgames).

Other things I’m hoping to achieve are to ensure we have several women GMs – thanks to Anjuli, Kaye, and Kat for agreeing, and hopefully Erin and Virginia too. As well as D&D streams, I think having a DCC stream is really good so will keep that if possible (several of our attendees are part of the Goodman Games Road Crew). I’d like to have a stream or two for Swedish RPGs (Symbaroum, Mutant Year Zero etc), as well as one for Horror Sci-Fi (Alien, Mothership). Would like to see Pathfinder 2 on offer for a session (Phil?) as well as Vampire 5e, and tempted by a Tolkien/Howard/Moorcock RPG-off (The One Ring, Conan, and perhaps Stormbringer?). OSR, Savage Worlds, Cthulhu, Glorantha are also popular. We’ve not had Legend of the Five Rings or Star Wars as yet so an FFG stream could work too!

Get in touch with any thoughts and I’ll keep you posted!

The Owlbear and Wizard’s Staff II – The Wizard’s Revenge. Warwickshire RPG mini-con, September 21st 2019

We are going to reprise our one-day RPG day in Leamington this year and have pretty much gone for the same Saturday as in 2018 https://asakosoh.wordpress.com/2018/02/25/the-owlbear-and-the-wizards-staff-warwickshire-rpg-mini-con-22nd-september-2018/ 

I did look at other dates as know this isn’t ideal for everyone – 14th September is the Leamington Ale Festival (come for both and make a week of it!) and 7th felt a little close to beginning of school term/end of school holidays. Twitter pals suggested later Sept/early October was busier and wanted to leave a gap before Grogmeet 2019.

We’ll use the same venue as last time, The Band Factory. But this time I’ll see if I can hire the 1st floor too to give us a second bathroom and potentially more gaming space. We ran 10 tables AM and PM last year – I’ll plan initially for 6 tables for GMs to offer games for, and keep 2 for a D&D stream. Last year I stupidly underestimated the requests for D&D so will plan for this a little rather than react! It will then give us two more tables to bring on stream if numbers suggest we need them. To give you a flavour, last year we had games of Star Trek Adventures, Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2e, D&D, Mutant Crawl Classics, Dungeon Crawl Classics, Lamentations of the Flame Princess, Space 1889, Elite Dangerous, RuneQuest Glorantha, HeroQuest, Feng Shui, Monster of the Week, Numenera, Genesys, and FATE Eclipse Phase.

As in 2018, I’ll arrange a curry for the night before and samosas on the day. My other ‘do differently’ item is to book a venue for post-games drinks as last year the pubs were busy leading us to all being rather scattered. I’ll set up an Eventbrite page for ticket booking.

If you are interested in GM’ing (or helping organise) do get in touch!

Trying out L5R 5e character creation with The Grey Crane (Kakita Toshimoko/Greg Stafford)

I thought I’d experiment with the new rules for Legend of the Five Rings RPG this weekend, starting a twitter poll asking which Clan to create a PC.  However, the RPG community had the very sad news of the death of Greg Stafford, wonderful game designer and mystic.  John Wick discussed the role Greg had on him as a person and as a gamer, and in his warm and well-written blog mentions that a character in the L5R setting was Greg, namely the Grey Crane, Kakita Toshimoko, sensei of Doji Hoturi and master of the Kakita Duelling Academy.  Hence, for this first try out of the full character generation rules, and in honour of Greg. I’ll try to create the Grey Crane as a young man, perhaps with some more shamanic elements.

L5Rcore

The Game of Twenty Questions

Part 1: Core Identity (Clan and Family)

All characters begin with Rank 1 in all Rings, and 0 in all Skills

Q1: What Clan does your character belong to? 

Given the above, the Kakita are a family of the Crane Clan. This gives +1 Air Ring, +1 Culture Skill, and Status of 35.  Bushido for the Phoenix focuses on Courtesy.

Q2: What family does your character belong to? 

The Grey Crane is a member of the Kakita family, a family known for its skill in duelling.  This grants +1 Air or +1 Fire, and either +1 Aesthetics or +1 Meditation.  Fire is a creative ring so I think I’ll take a +1 there and a +1 Aesthetics to reflect Greg’s imagination and inspiration.  He has a starting Glory of 44 and 7 koku.

Dragon's_Claw_Katana_1

Part II: Role and School

Q3. What is your character’s role and school?

Kakita Toshimoko is going to train in the Kakita Duelist School (Artisan, Bushi).

This grants +1 to both Air and Earth Rings and I can choose five skill increases of +1 out of Courtesy, Design, Fitness, Martial Arts (Melee), Meditation, Sentiment, and Smithing.

I’ll take +1 Courtesy, +1 Martial Arts (Melee), +1 Sentiment, +1 Fitness, +1 Meditation

Available Techniques: Kata, Shuji, Rituals

Starting Techniques: he gains Iajitsu Cut: Rising Blade (something I noted on my reading – this is a rank 2 kata, but prerequisites are ignored for techniques gained during char gen), and can choose Shallow Waters or Weight of Duty as a beginning Shuji.  I’ll choose Shallow Waters (helps the Grey Crane detect people’s desires and ninjo).

He has a starting Honor of 50 and the following School Ability and Equipment:

Way of the Crane (School Ability)

Starting Outfit: Travelling and ceremonial clothes, daisho, yari, travelling pack, attendant (I could have swapped the spear for a bow, and the attendant for a pony).

Q4: How does your character stand out within their school?

This is a choice to increase one Ring.  I’m thinking the Greg in the Grey Crane will have made him stand out as being self-aware, insightful and mystical, so will take +1 Void

Part III: Honor & Glory

Q5.  Who is your character’s lord and what is their duty to them?

Reading up on Kakita Toshimoko, he served with the Imperial Guard initially as an impulsive young samurai, but after worked alongside his father, Kakita Toshimo in the academy.

So, we’ll say his lord is also his father, Kakita Toshimo, and his duty, or giri, at present is to serve is an assistant instructor at the Kakita dueling academy.

Toshimoko1

Q6.  What does your character long for?

Again, thinking of Greg, I’m going to say Toshimoko’s ninjo is spiritual enlightenment – this is more typically an aspiration for monks, shugenja, and those of the Dragon Clan so will certainly be a conflict for a Crane bushi, particularly one who is rather constrained by teaching in the dueling academy.

Q7. What is your character’s opinion of their Clan?

Despite his mystical side, Toshimoko thinks highly of his clan and wishes to serve them to the best of his ability. This grants him +5 Glory.

Q8.  What does your character think of Bushido?

Kakita Toshimoko  would endorse Bushido, and the Crane emphasis on Courtesy.  This grants him +10 Honor.

Part IV: Strengths and Weaknesses

Q9.  What is your character’s greatest accomplishment so far?

This steps aligns with the choice of a distinction advantage.

I’m thinking to combine his mystical side with his time with the Imperial forces – when a young samurai, patrolling near the wall, Toshimoko detected and defeated a Shadowlands infiltrator.

He gained the distinction Sixth Sense

Q10. What holds your character back the most in life?

Here I get to choose an adversity disadvantage. Hard to know for Toshimoko – in some of the literature of the setting, he enjoys his sake and the company of women but not to extent of being addicted or a compulsive flirt.  However, issues of paternity crop for him as a NPC in the beginner box adventure, so I am going to select Bitter Betrothal – perhaps his tour of duty, and now the hours he spends at the academy, has lead to him neglecting his wife and family.

Q11.  What activity makes your character feel at peace?

Here I get to pick a Passion linked to the Grey Crane’s hobbies and interests.  Looking over the list, Enlightenment is an option and I think will enhance the shamanistic side of Greg I want to reflect.

Enlightenment (Void) 


Type: Spiritual
 Description: You are devoted to the principles revealed in the Tao of Shinsei and are well on your way to transcending this existence. 
Effects: The following apply to a character with the Enlightenment passion: 


  • You feel no attachment to mundane items and earthly titles; you cannot be tempted with material wealth or the promise of power. 

  • After performing a check to detach yourself from material concerns (such as a Meditation [Void] check to contemplate your place in the universe or a Survival [Void] check to exist in harmony with your environment), you remove 3 strife. 


 

IMG_2325

Q12. What concern, fear, or foible troubles your character the most?

Here I get to choose a Specific Anxiety.  It mentions the younger Toshimoko as impulsive so I will select the Impatience anxiety.

Q13.  Who has your character learned the most from during their life?

I’m thinking the greatest influence on him will have been his father, Kakita Toshimo.

Here, I get to pick an advantage or a  disadvantage and one rank in the a skill linked to the relationship.

Despite wanting to take another disadvantage so I can get +1 Theology, I can’t think of another which fits the character concept.  So developing the impulsive bushi idea further, I’ll take Daredevil as an advantage.

Part V: Personality and Behavior

Q14. What do people notice first upon encountering your character?

He has a long plait down his back, he does not dye his hair as many Crane too, but even as a young man there are streaks of grey in his hair.  He walks nimbly on the balls of his feet, never at rest, and in a scroll case he carries a copy of the Tao of Shinsei.

Q15. How does your character react to stressful situations?

He becomes more jocular and less respectful – this can extend to insulting people with immature jibes.

Q16. What are your character’s preexisting relationships with other clans, families, organisations, and traditions?

He had a close relationship with the Imperial Forces, with the Kakita Dueling Academy and has developed a friendship with a visiting Togashi monk.

As a gift, he received a finger of jade from the Imperial Guard.

Part VI: Ancestry and Family

Q17.  How would your character’s parents describe them?

Toshimoko’s parents are proud of him – they would describe him as a promising young duelist and teacher, if slightly impulsive.  They are concerned about his spiritual side, but are glad their son honors the Kami, the Fortunes, and the teachings of Shinsei.

Here I get to increase a skill by +1, and will take Theology to reflect the above tension and again Greg’s shamanism

Q18.  Who was your character named to honor?

Slightly complex as Toshimoko is a diminutive version of Toshimo. However, like this step so perhaps can think where Toshimo comes from in family.  I get to roll 2d10 on a random table to find out facts about ancestor named after, and can pick one of these ancestors and then a further d10 to find out more if indicated.

I rolled a 9 and 5.  Looking at table 2-1, can pick Imperial Heritage or Discovery.  Former fits more I think.  Get +10 Status and the Blessed Lineage advantage.

Q19.  What is your character’s personal name?

Toshimoko, reflecting he is the son of Toshimo.

Q20.  How should your character die?

Toshimoko hopes leave behind the academy in the near future and die defending Crane lands against their enemies, or better, he wishes to re-join the Imperial Guard and defend the Emperor against the minions of Fu Leng, and die in this duty.

Toshimoko's_Death

To sum up, The Grey Crane

Clan: Crane

Family: Kakita

School: Kakita Duelist School

School Rank: 1

Air                   Earth               Fire                  Water              Void

3                       2                       2                       1                        2

Honor: 60

Glory: 49

Status: 45

Ninjo: spiritual enlightenment

Giri: Assistant instructor at Kakita dueling academy.

Distinctions: Sixth Sense; Blessed Lineage.

Adversities: Bitter Betrothal

Passions: Enlightenment; Daredevil.

Anxieties: Impulsive.

Personal Outburst: He becomes more jocular and less respectful – this can extend to insulting people with immature jibes.

Skills: Culture 1, Aesthetics 1, Courtesy 1, Martial Arts (Melee) 1, Sentiment 1, Fitness 1, Meditation 1, Theology 1.

School Ability: Way of the Crane.

Techniques:  Kata – Iajitsu Cut: Rising Blade; Shuji – Shallow Waters.

Endurance                  Composure                  Focus               Vigilance

8                                    6                                    5                        2

Void Points: 2

 

Please let me know if I’ve got anything wrong!  Vale The Grey Crane Greg Stafford,

The Owlbear and the Wizard’s Staff: Warwickshire RPG mini-con. 22nd September, 2018.

Together with Matt (@chimpy20), Lee (@leejneilson) and Griff (@doc_griffiths), we are arranging a one-day RPG event in Warwickshire on 22nd September.

The Bear and the Ragged Staff is the symbol of the Earls of Warwick and, subsequently, of the County, and we thought eminently suitable for a D&D makeover, and hence  the Con’s name became The Owlbear and Wizard’s Staff.  Thanks to Mrs Griff for the stunning artwork.

We’re going to try and keep it simple.

RPG sessions morning and afternoon, with a lunch break.  Time for a trip to the pub at the end of the day.  We’ve hired the Band Factory in Leamington as our venue – lots of space to spread out tables, near the railway station, pubs, and places to eat.

We’ll open the doors at 9am and the first RPG sessions run from 10am-1.30pm, break for lunch, and second session run from 2.30pm-6pm.

So far, we have 6 tables confirmed for each session with very kind GMs offering their services.  Games on offer are likely to include Dungeon Crawl Classics, Lamentations of the Flame Princess, Star Trek Adventures, Numenera, Shadowrun, RuneQuest Glorantha, HeroQuest Glorantha, Call of Cthulhu, Space 1889,  Monster of the Week, Feng Shui, and Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay. Hoping to have a 7th table with Star Wars (AM) and D&D 5e (PM).

I’m waiting to finalise the venue hire and will then set up tickets via Eventbrite, ideally to be available in the latter part of March.

Hoping to see you there!

@asako_soh

asakosoh@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

Reflections on a 2016 of gaming

It does seem a little narcissistic to write anything about my own RPGing over the last 12 months and apologies in advance, but I hope it is of some interest.  However, at least it will serve as a record to me of my RPG  activity and of my impressions at the end of the year. I’ve thought of a few themes that have stood out for me: GMing at Cons, gaming on-line, and what the actual games are I’ve played most of over the year. Despite the geopolitical horrors of the year, it’s been a good one for gaming.

Conventions

So, I think over the year I’ve managed to get to four gaming conventions and I was registered for Dragonmeet but sadly couldn’t attend in in the end. One of my goals for 2016 was to run some games at conventions.  I’ve run RPGs for groups, both face to face and on-line, and with gamers I’d not met before at clubs I’ve been part of over the years, but until 2016, hadn’t offered a gaming slot at an organised convention.

My first experience came at the kind invitation of @paulbaalham to run a game at the UK D&D Tweetup, held at The Dice Cup in Nottingham in March.  I’ve not played an awful lot of either D&D or Pathfinder, and Paul kindly let me offer a game of 13th Age, and I ran the excellent Free RPG Day adventure Make Your Own Luck , by the great Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan. I really enjoyed running this and was pleased that my players were people I’d met on Twitter. I should also thank Pelgrane, Wade Rockett and Cat Tobin for the stuff they sent to help me run the game. 13th Age remains my favourite level/class-based fantasy RPG.

So after my first experience, I was keen to do some more and offered up two games at the UK Games Expo in June.  I decided to go for a game I’d not had a lot of experience of and offer Shadow of the Demon Lord and an old favourite, Legend of the Five Rings.  For the former, I had a chance to playtest with some local gaming friends,  to try and figure out if it was practicable to run both a ‘starting’ and a ‘novice’ adventure, with levelling up in-between, in a 4-hour session.  This turned out to be do-able so I ran a double bill of  The Slaver’s Lash and The Demon’s Wet Nurse at the Expo.

For Legend of the Five Rings, I ran another Free RPG day release, this time Legacy of Disaster .  This latter session began a little badly – it was a Saturday morning and I’d dashed over to the Chaosium stand in the tradehall (7th edition CoC selling out!) and returned only five minutes before the start time, and two of my players gave me some grief for not being there at least 10 minutes before the start time (as specified in the instructions to GMs, apparently).  However, we recovered from this slightly rocky opening and had a great session – not least because a couple of the players knew the setting really well, and the others were new to it, and it was fun to see them getting into roleplaying honourable samurai with tough choices.

In addition to running, I was able to play in three excellent games too.  If my love of L5R doesn’t quite give it away, I very much enjoy Wuxia RPGs and was able to play in @gspearing ‘s game of Qin, and @boreders game of Symbaroum (of which, more later).  Finally, I was able to get a session in with players with whom I game on line with most weeks – we were all able to get tickets in on a 7th ed Call of Cthulhu game, run by Tim Evans. This was one of my best RPG experiences ever, not only because of the game, the players, and the GM, but due to the Twin Peaks elements of the story.

The next convention I attended was The Grand Tribunal in Cheltenham in August.  This originally was an Ars Magica convention but seems to have broadened to include other RPGs from Atlas Games too.  Here I didn’t run but managed to play in a couple of sessions – one of Ars Magica and one of Feng Shui, run by the excellent @dimbyd .  I didn’t really understand the freeform LARP which opened the day (I just wandered around aimlessly, being confused, until I decided to attack stuff – my tried and true RPG tactic), but it was a wonderfully friendly meeting, with a great raffle, and fish and chips.  Very grateful to @CJR23 for the warm welcome.  Here’s the link for the next Grand Tribunal 2017 .

cpl7gdcwiaa06gf

The final Con was the fabulous Grogmeet in Manchester in November, organised by Dirk the Dice from @theGrognardfile and the other Armchair Adventurers.  Dirk kindly let me run the old West End Games d6 Star Wars RPG and I used the adventure ‘Rebel Breakout’, from the 1987 1st edition of the game, and created an opening crawl.

The Revised Expanded Updated (‘REUP’) version of Star Wars RPG is free to download here and the free D6 Space rules are here

Here’s a fab video of the day from Dirk (Grogmeet 2016) showing some of the games happening at this very friendly event, and my own reflections on the game written for the Grogzine, which Patreons can download here .  I really enjoyed this day – it was great to meet the Adventurers in the flesh, enjoy a couple of pints afterwards, and a good chat on the train back with @doc_griffiths.  Looking forward to Grogmeet 2017 and thinking about Ars Magica, Marvel Super Heroes, FASA Star Trek RPG or 1st edition Legend of the Five Rings.

On-line gaming

Since meeting Tamsyn (@xtamsynx) and Craig (@craigpbrown) IRL at the 2014 UK Games Expo, we’ve been playing online most weeks – together with Col (@dampscot), Paul (spookshow71), Blakey (@Burekeii), and initially, Liam (@Evoroth).  This continued throughout 2016, despite busy lives, and we’ve played a wide variety of games including Call of Cthulhu, Far Trek, Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyberborea, Solomon Kane, Rippers, Dresden Files Accelerated Edition, The One Ring, Shadow of the Demon Lord, Dragon Age, City of Mists, Monsterhearts, and a Fate Accelerated version of Nights Black Agents.

Far Trek RPG is free to download here and gives a super experience of playing in the Star Trek TOS setting. I was pleased to get a game of City of Mists in and I ran the free starter. It seemed to go well and gave me the chance of running a ‘Powered by the Apocalypse’ game – looking forward to the full game being released.

I’ve also been playing a regular on-line game of Star Wars Edge of the Empire RPG with @chimpy20 and @chrissyspill and others.  This took place most weeks, except for a bit of a gap when Matt was moving house during which I ran some of The One Ring.  Fantasy Flight’s Star Wars RPG has been the game I’ve played most of over the year – because of the weekly on-line game and that we’ve been playing it too in our face to face tabletop group. I’ve really liked the gradual character progression (with Xim Chamra now being a rather dangerous gunslinger and assassin), the flexible choices available, and, if you wish to get into it, the modifications the PCs can make to their ships and equipment.  The game’s mechanics keep every roll interesting and give the players a key role in generating narrative.  The game feels very dramatic with lots high action and I hope to play more in 2017.

In addition to these more regular games, I was very grateful to @dimbyd for inviting me to an ad hoc game of Feng Shui on roll20 and to @chimpy20, @rpgkitchen, @zos93, and Dave, from our tabletop group, for getting together at short notice to try the first playtest for Modiphius’ Star Trek Adventures (sign up here) .

RuneQuest 2 (or ‘Classic’) has a rather special place in my heart.  Not only did I play it ‘back in the day’, but when I moved to Warwickshire, and joined a local gaming club, it was the first RPG I got invited to join after a hiatus of about 12-13 years.  Hence, I was delighted by Chaosium’s kickstarter to republish this edition  and to join a game of RQ2, ‘The Sea Caves’ (part of the Old School Resource Pack), run by Dirk the Dice (@theGrognardfiles). We played as Humakt Ducks, with me as Mal Hard.  The screenshot below shows Eddy checking the fumble rules as he lost his left leg – yet again. Dirk has kindly written up the session here and here’s a link to another RQ2 game that Dirk ran for the RPG Academy crew just the other night.

There’s a lot of Glorantha on the horizon, not only Heroquest Glorantha (which I picked up from the UK Games Expo) but also 13th Age Glorantha and a new edition of RuneQuest (with design notes found here at Chaosium’s blog).

Games I’ve Played Tabletop

In addition to games on-line and at Cons, there have been those I’ve played around a kitchen table.  The year started well with a one-shot Pathfinder session.  Sadly, I can’t get to the Gaming Club I mentioned above at present (due to week day commuting) but we got together for a RPG session of ‘We Be Goblins’.  This was rather a hoot, but the amount of prep did surprise me.  Here’s the infamous Goblin Song and the free PDF of the adventure.

pathfinder

My main tabletop group meets every 4-6 weeks and we’ve had a good year.  We began with Keltia, run by Stef, before moving into Star Wars Force and Destiny, run by Matt (@chimpy20), and then moved the same PCs into an Age of Rebellion game run by Jimbo (@jimbohawkins).  This has been a great contrast to the on-line Star Wars game – more moral challenges and my PC, Minerva Voight (a seer/Makashi duelist) is much less combat-focused than Xim, having spent XP on developing her more supportive and divinatory force powers.

 

Stef and I have also met up with our families on a couple of occasions and played Hero Kids with the children.  Hoping to get another date together soon to try No Thank You, Evil!

 

I’ve also become part of an occasional Sunday morning group – we first met to try the new Conan RPG quickstart (available here free), but it was also where I tested out my plans for Shadow of the Demon Lord in preparation for the UK Games Expo.  Since then, we’ve tried The Strange, playing the highly recommended Eschatology Code and are now working our way through The Copper Crown campaign for Symbaroum. I’ve been really impressed by Symbaroum – I had a great time playing it at the Expo, and found it smooth to run.  Easy rules, players roll all the dice, and a very rich and evocative setting, with magic in the game being inherently corrupting.

Finally, I was lucky to get to a session of Dungeon Crawl Classics, run by @leejneilson, at a FLGS in Rugby, together with @doc_griffiths.  We played through the surreal and dangerous funnel adventure,  The Hole in the Sky, getting to the end but with a rather reduced party of PCs.  Hoping to do more – for a fun, gonzo, dungeon crawling experience, DCC is hard to beat.

Final Thoughts and Looking Forward

Looking at the above, I’m rather amazed at the amount of gaming I have got in over the year, despite work, family commitments, the need for sleep etc.  What is clear is that in terms of hours it has been the Star Wars RPG from Fantasy Flight Games which I have played most of, being both a tabletop and on-line game for this year.  On-line gaming has really opened up opportunities – it is much easier to play on-line for a couple of hours  in the evening after work, than arrange a 4-hour session face to face.  Plus, you don’t need to go out, and can raid the fridge for beer.  It has also meant that people I have met on-line or at Cons are now people I can game with.

At the end of the year, it is playing Symbaroum and reading the beta of Coriolis that are at the forefront of my mind.  I think 2017 will be a year where I hope to play more Swedish RPGs, including Mutant Year Zero and Tales from the Loop.  I also think that the RPGs being put out by Modiphius, using the 2d20 system will feature highly – I’m a huge fan of Star Trek and hope to do more of the play-testing and pre-order Star Trek Adventures in January, in advance of release at GenCon.  Several of us backed Conan, so that too will feature.

I like games of occult and magic, so hope to play Unknown Armies and Kult, and am always happy to play or run the excellent The One Ring, and I want to run some more Cthulhu (whether Trail or Call). I hope to try HeroQuest Glorantha (still sad to have missed @dimbyd’s Dragonmeet game) and gain some more experience of ‘Powered by the Apocalypse’ games – perhaps try Monster of the Week.   Of course, if I can find players that are up for it, the Rokugan of Legend of the Five Rings or the Mythic Europe of Ars Magica are also always waiting, and still want to play in any of the Worlds of Darkness. I’ve just finished off character creation for a PBEM game of King Arthur Pendragon, to start in the new year.

 

Finally, and thinking of the next generation, I’ve recently met the dad of one of my son’s friends.  He is a gamer too, and he and his son have been playing some Dungeons and Dragons 5e.  We’re all meeting up for some boardgames soon, but we both hope that may develop into some RPG sessions with our boys.

This has become rather longer than planned.  Apologies for wittering on and, if nothing else, the links may be useful. I hope everyone has a wonderful new year and best wishes for 2017.  I hope the dice land well for you and that we all get some good games in.

 

[Speaking to the kami] Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition Basic Rules – Let’s make a character

D&D5th

 

Like many others, I was excited when 5pm GMT came as thought Wizards of the Coast may be opening up the office and was eagerly awaiting the free download of the the D&D basic rules. I didn’t have to wait long.  Mike Mearls’ heart strings were being tugged by pictures of moping pets on Twitter and shortly before 6pm I’d got the PDF on my laptop.  The Starter Set is also out and should be with shops who are linked to the Wizard’s Play Network, with UK’s Leisure Games getting some copies tomorrow (Friday 4th July).  However, the Starter Set doesn’t contain character generation rules and hence, the rules we have for that will be in the Basic Rules until the Player’s Handbook is out in a couple of months.

So, I thought I’d try these rules out.  I have a slight penchant for Tiefling Sorcerers, and have played one in 13th Age, Pathfinder, and D&D 4E.  Given that that build isn’t in the rules as yet, I’ll aim for something as close as I can – a Human Wizard, from the Dragonlance setting. Step 1 Race:  The ethnicities given are those from the Forgotten Realms, but given that my PC is going to be based on the red-robed Wizard, Raistlin, of Krynn I’ll ignore those.  Human traits include +1 to all abilities, I get common language plus one other, a free choice of alignment, base walking speed is 30′.  I’ll choose an age of 22 and a height of 5’10”.  Step 2 Class: Hit points 1d6/level, at level 1 6 + Con modifier.  He is not proficient in any armour, or tools but can use as weapons daggers, slings, darts, light crossbows, quaterstaffs.  From my class equipment list I’ll choose a quarterstaff, an arcane focus, a scholar’s pack and a spellbook.  Saving throws are intelligence and wisdom and I can choose two skills.  I’ll go for Arcana and History.  He has a Proficiency Bonus of +2, Class features of spellcasting and arcane recovery, and knows 3 cantrips and can learn 2 level 1 spells, and has 6 in the spellbook.

Next up is abilities.  I’ll choose the array suggested: 15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 8.  Keeping Raistlin in mind, I’ll allocate the 8 to Str and the 10 to Con, to reflect his poor physique and infirmity,  the 15 goes to Int.  He can be terse and grumpy so 12 to Cha.  Too high a wisdom may be a block to the reckless pursuit of arcane power so I’ll put the 13 in Wis, and that leaves the 14 for Dex.  With the +1 for abilities he gets as a Human we have:

Str 9 -1 Con 11 0 Dex 15 +2 Int 16 +3 Wis 14 +2 Cha 13 +1

Step 4 Describe your character: Raistlin is an ambitious young wizard, determined to find greater power.  He can be contemptuous of others and taciturn, with loyalty only for his brother.  He is thin, leans heavily on his staff and is wracked by coughing fits on occasion.  Alignment is tricky for Raistlin – I’m going to go for Chaotic Neutral. Given his adventures in Krynn, his second language will be Draconic.    Personality: the rules suggest to look at the highest and lowest abilities.  So, for Intelligence I’ll go for ‘obsessed with magical study’, and for Strength I’ll have ‘leans on others for support’.  The Sage background looks appropriate and looking at the list of Ideals and Raistlin’s alignment, I’ll choose ‘Knowledge – the path to power and self improvement is through knowledge’. The Bonds and Flaws suggested don’t quite capture my conception of the red-robed wizard.  For Bond, I’ll pick his brother Caramon.  For Flaw, I’ll adapt one ‘unlocking a mystery is worth suffering for’.  The Sage background grants two further skill proficiencies, but in Arcana and History, which have already been picked from the wizard class.  The rules say I can pick two others instead – looking back at the other choices for Wizards, I’ll take Insight and Investigation.  I gain another two languages and I’ll pick Elvish and Giant.  I gain some more equipment: ink and quill, a letter from a colleague, common clothes and pouch with 10 GP.  Raistlin was a wizard’s apprentice and gains the feature ‘researcher’, allowing him a knowledge of libraries, universities and scholars and where to track down information.

Step 5 is Equipment.  With only 10 GP, Raistlin can’t afford a light crossbow.  He will buy a bedroll, backpack and healers’ kit leaving him with 2 GP left.  Given that he has no armour or shield, AC will be 10 + Dex modifier, so 12.

Step 6: bringing it together.  Raistlin is going to have stay out of melee combat with only 6 HP and no armour.  However, he brings a lot of knowledge to any party, plus his spell casting ability.  He has 3 cantrips so we’ll choose Prestidigitation (recalling the times entertained people with magic tricks), Light and Fire Bolt.  In his Spellbook he has: Sleep, Identify, Detect Magic, Burning Hands, Magic Missile, and Shield.  He has memorised Sleep and Burning Hands.

And that’s it.  Pretty fun attempting to re-create a level 1 Raistlin in the 5th Ed rules set.  Looking forward to more options in the PHB!

 

Raistlin_Majere_by_Altana