Category Archives: Ask The Readers

Deus Ex Machina

Next month I’ll be running two games at a local con. Initially I planned to run D&D 5th Edition and perhaps even Traveller, but recently I reconsidered. For a con game which also should be newbie-friendly I think a game like Fate Accelerated Edition may be a better choice. So I started thinking about what settings I could use for the games. It quickly turned out that I have a very bad cyberpunk itch that is in dire need of some scratching, so I made the decision to run a game set into the Deus Ex universe.

The game is supposed to be set in the late 2020s or 2030, which is after the events of Human Revolution but way before the original Deus Ex. One of my ideas is that the player characters are member of a government agency looking into a recent crime and uncover a conspiracy (in true Deus Ex fashion). But since I only have a couple of hours the conspiracy is probably not as epic as the one in the computer games.

The player characters, which I’ll generate beforehand, will also be augmented, because you need to put some cyber into the punk to make things really fun. And even though the player characters are government agents they might end up fighting “The Man”, so that punk part of Cyberpunk can be checked off as well. To keep things simple, I’ll use the Fate Accelerated rules as written. Cyberaugmentations will be either part of the Aspects, stunts, or both.

I am also considering taking a new – at least for me – approach on the characters and what their roles will be in the game. Some of the players will take the roles of field operatives, doing the legwork, getting their hands dirty, while other players will support them from the background. This probably breaks a couple of unwritten rules, but I hope it might actually work. The people in the background will always be in direct contact with the field operatives and can support them by hacking into various systems, providing them with background information. There might even be scenes when the background people get in physical trouble as well. Just think of the bad guys attacking the agency’s offices.

Having the player characters in different places is always a bit tricky, but in a scenario like this it may not only make sense, but also add to the tension.

What do you think of my ideas? Can a Deus Ex-inspired game work in a con enviroment and with Fate Accelerated rules? What do you think of my “field operatives and handlers” idea? Is it a recipe for disaster or something that might actually work? Please share your thoughts below!

Musings of a D&D 5th Edition DM

Last year I started playing D&D 5th Edition with one of my regular groups. Actually we just created characters and did a short introductory adventure set into a campaign setting of my own creation. Things went pretty well, everyone had a lot of fun and it was very easy to run D&D 5th Edition.

But my homebrew setting caused some issues. Initially I wanted to create an open sandbox for the characters to explore, but in the end things turned out differently. The frontier town turned into a metropolis and all the ideas I came up with were of the “save the world” variety. And the worst problem of all: it didn’t feel like D&D. I can’t really put my finger on it, but the setting just felt wrong.

My players didn’t mind changing the setting, since we just started, and I thought starting with “Lost Mine of Phandelver” would be a fun idea. Heck, I could even run them through the whole Tyranny of Dragons campaign.  So I did some research and found a lot of less than flattering reviews. Especially Hoard of the Dragon Queen seems to be pretty bad. Continue reading Musings of a D&D 5th Edition DM

Hero Quest anyone?

In my Happy New Year post I’ve mentioned Hero Quest 2nd Edition by Robin Laws. It’s one of the games I’ve bought ages ago, but which I never read thoroughly nor played it. Recently I was bored and picked up a random book from my collection to leafe through it, and this book was the Hero Quest 2nd Edition rulebook. The rules are pretty light, the focus is definitely on a narrative gameplay, but it seems to be much more accessible than Fate Core, which still causes me headaches from time to time. I have always been a fan of Laws’ work and HQ is no exception.

Alas there are not many resources for this game out there. If you look for Hero Quest on Google you mostly find sites about the now out-of-print boardgame of the same name or Glorantha-related material for Hero Quest 2nd Edition or its predecessors. The only non-Gloranthan supplement I could find was Nameless Streets by Alephtar Games, which is a mixture of urban fantasy with the noir genre.

Does anyone of my readers know of other non-Gloranthan material for HQ? Or do you have some tips on how to convert stuff created for other games to HQ? From what I’ve read so far the process should be pretty straightfoward, but you never know. Please share your advice below!