Tag Archives: RPGaDAY

RPGaDay 2016 Day 7- What aspect of RPGs has had the biggest effect on me?

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I’ve been a roleplayer for most of my life, well over 2 decades and before that I played wargames and before that I watched Dungeons and Dragons the cartoon. Even before I know what roleplaying was I was roleplaying, running around the school yard pretending to be Hank the Ranger, or a Transformer or a Thundercat.

I can’t think of an aspect of my life that hasn’t, in some way, been influenced by roleplaying, whether it’s writing this blog, the books I read, the TV shows and movies I enjoy, hell even the friends I have. Ask my wife and she’d probably say that the part thats had the biggest impact is the sheer amount of stuff released (and that I seem to be compelled to buy). Through it all though, the same aspect of roleplaying has had the biggest impact on me and it is the very thing that drew me to the hobby in the first place, storytelling.

Way back, before I knew RPGs were a thing, I played Heroquest, a GW game produced by MB Games and in that I played a mage and that mage developed into a character as the story of the campaign developed. Later, a friend introduced me to Dragonlance and it was those stories that made me want to create my own.

The storytelling of RPG’s lets me live and and experience in worlds beyond ours, worlds where the impossible is an everyday occurrence and where I feel what it’s like to be someone else. In the same way as actors like to step into the shoes of the character, be they hero or villain, I like to do the same, to explore what it’s like be someone else and do things that I would never normally consider doing, even if they were possible.

Not all of those things are heroic or good, but within a safe space, with my friends, we can explore the stories of the various heroes and villains of a world and collaboratively tell their story. Playing a villain can be a very cathartic experience, taking frustrations harmlessly and helping to build the greater story of the campaign and, more so, an effective, memorable villain makes the story, if you don’t believe me just watch Game of Thrones.

I still read, still watch films and TV, play computer games and more and in all cases my favourite thing is the story, how characters and events evolve and expand to become a cohesive whole within the context of their setting. Everything is about the story for me, from the things I choose to watch to the things I choose to do, above all, it’s the story that matters and that comes from Roleplaying.

RPGaDay 2016- Day 4, Most Impressive Thing Another’s Character Did?

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The most impressive thing I ever saw a character do, bar none, was in an epic level game I ran as an extension of the campaign I mentioned in the last post. After the world was saved the party returned as heroes, were granted marriages and lands and even kingdoms, they opened up magic schools, started druidic circles and generally went on with their lives.

I thought it’d be fun to do something with those characters, kind of a last hurrah, and so i converted up the old 2nd ed D&D adventure A Paladin in Hell and set them on it. One of the first encounters, tailored for the party, was an ambush at a tavern, 9 Pit Fiends, banished from the world at the end of the last campaign, Teleported in and attacked the party. I figured this would be an entertaining and trying encounter for the 22nd level party, one to impress upon them the seriousness of the task ahead. I was wrong.

So very, very wrong.

The Pit Fiends dropped in and took their surprise round, causing a little damage and we wen down to initiative. It was at this point that Pit Fiends move like Gelatinous Cubes when compared to the speed of a 22nd level Arcane Archer (remember it had been a while since the main campaign ended and we’d been playing low level games since).

Lightning Quick the Arcane Archer unleashed a volley of arrows from his Artefact Bow, hitting with a full 7 attacks and dropping, literally killing, 7 of the 9 Pit Fiends in a single action. The other two, thinking twice about the people they’d trifled with were about to Teleport out on their action but it didn’t even come close to that, they were dead before they could blink.

So, the most impressive thing i’ve ever seen in a character do, kill 7 Pit Fiends before they can even act in combat, when it’s the Pit Fiends who set and sprung the ambush.

It’s hard to challenge a party at that point…..

RPGaDay 2016- Day 3, Character Moment you are Proudest of?

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This is a hard question, i’ve been roleplaying for almost 25 years and i’ve had hundreds of characters in that time in dozens of different games and systems. It’s even harder because, despite all that, i actually DM way more than I play and so my proud character moments tend to be few and far between.

My proudest is probably the death of one of my more beloved characters, a wizard by the name of Sam and that was back in 3rd ed D&D. It was at the end of an extended campaign, one that ran for probably 2 and a half years at uni with session twice a week, sessions that regularly lasted 12 hours.

The campaign spanned my homebrew world, Ravenloft, Planescape and back and ended with a grand incursion of Tanar’ri into the world through a rift caused by the the Altraloth Bubonix. The only way to seal the rift was through personal sacrifice, one of the players needed to sacrifice their soul to hold the rift closed and save the world.

The party didn’t shirk from this responsibility, even the evil members, they’d travelled long and far to get back home, they’d lost friends and allies, killed friends and allies and sacrificed everything for the chance to live (and maybe rule) in their home plane again and they would not give it up without a fight. Several argued that it should be them, that they should be the one to make the great sacrifice but, in the end Sam took that choice from them.

Sam was a twice dead wizard, killed and reincarnated twice, as a pixie, though he’d never let you know it, he never wore that form. He’d been dead before, he’d held his dead friends and he’d been to the Abyss and fought Demon Princes and he knew this incursion would mean for his world.

Most importantly, Sam could not, would not, let any more of his friends die while it was in his power to stop it and, as a level 22 wizard with epic level spells at his disposal, it was within his power. Sam stopped time while the other argue, he stopped time and teleported himself into the rift, sacrificing himself and his power to save the world.

A lot of people would argue that a DM PC shouldn’t have this final great moment, but Sam was more than a DM PC, he was MY character, he’d been with the party since level 5 (when my former monk contracted vampirism and left the party) and he’d been through a lot. Sam was much more than a DM PC, he wasn’t a plot device to drive the story forward, he wasn’t their to make up numbers (the party was regularly 7 players and me), he was there because I wanted to play the game and my players had no problem with that.

RPGaDay 2016 Day 2- Favourite Session since August 2015

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Since August 2015 I’ve been involved in just 2 campaigns. One was a very short lived Dragonlance campaign that I was running using the D&D 5th edition rules and the other is the one I’m currently playing in, which is a Dark Heresy 2nd edition Campaign.

Dark Heresy 2nd edition is significantly better than 1st edition and it allows us to do what the original system did not, which is play full ordained Interrogators within the Holy Inquisition of Mankind, with the power and horror that that honour bestows. This is really good for me, it gives me a way to grow my character within the confines of 40ks strict universe and gives me a goal and direction. For my character, Lady Pandora of House Frigore, a hive noble from an ice world, who was drafted into the company of an Inquisitor after her time on a Black Ship due to her psychic abilities, that goal is singular, to attain the rank of Inquisitor herself.

So what does this all have to do with my favourite session? Well it’s in the pursuit of that goal that that we ended up in my favourite session, which was actually very recently. After an extended mission looking into a Xenos smuggling operation Pandora was recuperating on a backwater world. She’d been in tough a Rogue Trader contact about any rumours concerning a Force Sword, since she wanted a more effective way to combat the enemies of Mankind and, in my mind and hers, it makes for a more imposing Inquisitorial figure. This came about because, off hand, I rolled a 01 on the requisition test for a Force Sword while we were re-equipping our characters.

Rather than just gift me a swords, something that felt very unrealistic to myself and my GM, it was agreed that we’d have a side quest around it. This lead us to a Space Hulk, one that was once a Black Ship with an Inquisitor on board, one who owned a force sword named the Scourge of Weakness. This ship had been lost after it’s geller fields failed and it succumbed to a warp attack, with all hands lost. On board we found that the ship had the sickly taint of Nurge and proceeded with caution.

My favourite session wasn’t the most recent however, which is the one in which we defeated the presence and claimed the sword while freeing the soul of the Inquisitor, it was the one before that, the one in which we were searching a black and derelict ship, one encrusted with rust and disease, with horrors lurking down every corridor and rheumy eyes peering from the darkness. I like sessions like that, ones with a touch of dungeon crawl and a dose of horror, they are more tense, and have a real feel of peril to them.

In my head I always liken sessions it to Doom 3 and it’s superb moment of horror when all the lights go out in a corridor and an evil laugh fills the air as the red back up lighting kicks in. The fear of the unknown is exciting, it draws you in and makers you hang on every description, analyse every clue lest you miss something that spells your doom. Roleplay is at it’s very finest to me when horror is incorporated and pulled off because the ever present threat of death is what makes the game exciting and horror, good horror, should always leave you feeling that death is an imminent possibility at all times.

RPGaDay 2016- Real Dice, dice app, diceless, how do you prefer to ‘roll?

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Another year, another RPGaDay….

In the increasingly digital world I’ve seen an increase in the use of dice apps with companies like FFG using them for a number of their games such as WFRP, X-Wing, their Star Wars line and more. For FFG this makes sense since their games require specialist dice that can be expensive to get hold of, especially in the quantity you might need for the RPGs. Still, for me they don’t have the right feel to them, they can be useful for testing out probability, but it’s not the same as the tactile feel of the dice.

So, for me, it’s real dice and always will be. Specifically it’s these dice-

Green Dice

Or, sometimes, these dice-

Hematite Dice

The green gem set are dice I’ve had for almost 20 years and I’ve used them since fairly early in my gaming life. I use them whenever I’m a player but refuse to use them when I DM because I don’t think it’s fair to use my favourite dice in situations that might kill my players…

The 2nd set are stone dice, specifically hematite. If I’m not using the green dice then I use these when I’m a player. My wife bought these for me as a birthday present several years ago and I just really like the weight and feel of them. There are a number of alternative material dice, dinosaur bone, meteorite etc. that I’d love to get and use.

As a DM I use dice from one of the several pots of communal dice I have for players. I prefer to use these as I have less of a connection with them and so feel like they are less likely to favour me over my players.