Category Archives: Fluff/Inspiration

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!

Welcome to Valheim!

On Saturday I ran the first session of my new D&D 5th Edition campaign. It’s set into my own homebrew campaign, which focuses on the continent Valheim, which is being colonized by the people hailing from the Shattered Lands to the south.

Inspired by the Elder Scrolls computer game series, things started off with the whole party in chains and on their way to Valheim and an unknown fate. When the ship arrived at the port in the city called Threshold (my hommage to the D&D of old) they were escorted by the city guard to meet their Captain, a Khazad (dwarf) by the name of Torek Ironfist. He was examining an Imperial order while explaining them that they now were members of the Threshold City Guard and under his command.

From there the newly “drafted” recruits, a Dragonborn fighter (who wants to become eldritch knight later), a Human Cleric and former officer of the Imperial Army, and a Tiefling Sorceror and Folk Hero, started their first night shift. After having a cup of Khazad darkbrew (aka coffee) and a couple of tasty donuts they investigated the weird sounds citizens have reported hearing in the cemetery. They met the pale and somewht weird groundskeeper and heard the howling screams coming from all directions. Hearing these sounds instilled fear in them, so they sought a way to plug their ears. Using candlewax this was easily done, and they were able to investigate further.

Since the adventurers weren’t that easily scared off, the unknown powers at work here sent three skeletons after them. A short and quite dramatic fight ensued and eventually they noticed that the groundskeeper’s hut was abandoned. From the clues they gathered it was obvious that the groundskeeper had been dabbling with necromancy and has now fled his shack through an underground tunnel which led into the canalisation.

After reporting back to Torek the session was concluded. As I’ve noticed in other play sessions before, D&D 5th Edition is much easier to play and run than many editions before and especially the new background options make the characters much more interesting. My players seemed to enjoy themselves as well and were already making plans what they wanted to achive in our next session. My homework is now to creating a map of Threshold and the surrounding area, so that we can all visualize things more easily. A GM’s work is never done!

Sci-Fi Fridays! Wanderers of the Outlands Part XXI

Of all the Sci-Fi Fridays! posts, this is the easiest one to write, since it was written for me. As part of the preparation for my Savage Worlds sci-fi campaign, about which you’ve been reading the background materials and house rules over the past 20 weeks, I asked the players to write introductions to their characters.  I typically give out bonus Experience Points before the campaign begins for things such as these, and this time around was no exception. They could earn bonus Experience Points for drawing or finding character portraits, finding a miniature, writing a background, all in all if they did everything they would get 5 XP and their first Advancement (in Savage Worlds terms) before the game commenced. Needless to say, every player did it!

Besides the campaign survey, which I had handed out months ago as I sat down to prepare the campaign, as to make sure my preparations met their likes and expectations, I also asked them for a little list before the game began. I called it the List of 9. I wanted them to list 3 plots they would like to play, 3 goals their character had, and 3 enemies they’d like to face. No further instructions. Some players gave me general one or two word answers, others wrote paragraphs for each. That was ok, I wanted an idea, a baseline to know what they would like to play as we began the game.

Continue reading Sci-Fi Fridays! Wanderers of the Outlands Part XXI