Category Archives: Fluff/Inspiration

Fedoras, waistcoats, and Grey aliens

The BureauAs I mentioned before I haven’t run any roleplaying games in a while. Several plans haven’t come to fruition and over the last weeks I got more and more frustrated. One advice I got by several people is that instead of trying to run an epic campaign, I should start with easier fare to slowly ease into the GM job again. Why not run a couple of one-shots or an episodic campaign instead of one with an over-arching epic story? But as usual I couldn’t make up my mind what kind of one-shot or short, episodic campaign I’d love to run. I tried to make up my mind on my own this time. Normally asking the players for input is a great idea, BUT my evil brain has the tendency to make me agree to running games I later feel overwhelmed with.

For a while I was throwing several ideas around, until I stumbled upon the obvious. For the last weeks I have been (re)watching the X-Files, a couple of UFO conspiracy “documentaries”,and Dark Skies.  I also played the computer game “The Bureau: XCOM Declassified“. So why not run a game inspired by those sources? The players could be members of a secret organisation fighting an Alien invasion and hiding the truth from the population. Very much like in the computer game, the players are sent out in small teams on missions to fight the alien threat, recover crashed alien craft, investigate strange events, et cetera. As a setting I am currently favoring an early 1960s USA, which is also the setting of both The Bureau and Dark Skies, which makes it easier to draw inspiration from these sources. And much like in TV series like X-Files I can easily throw in a Monster-Of-The-Week episode which can be easily improvised if I don’t have any better ideas.

As a system I am almost 100% settled on Fudge. There are two reasons for that: a) Fudge is just awesome and I want to put all these Fudge/Fate dice I bought to good use, and b) I recently rediscovered Micro Fudge, which is a perfect way to play Fudge if you want to focus on playing without having to worry about all the options Fudge offers. Fudge also assumes competent characters (which fits my game idea perfectly) and combat should be fast and quite deadly (which is also a great fit). Last but not least, Fudge can be tweaked to my hearts’ content, which is always a plus in my book.

The only thing I have to come up with now is an introductory adventure and perhaps a few cool handouts to set the mood of the game. Perhaps a custom character sheet made to look like some official government document may help as well. Luckily eyeballing NPC stats in Fudge is extremely easy, so I can create enemies etc. on the fly, when needed, so I can focus on the story during prep.

What do you think of my idea? Please share your thoughts below!

Ask the Readers: What about this alien species?

AlienHello dear readers! Not writing too much on the blog these days, mainly because I’m working on my Thesis. But on those days when the writing is done and I’m not ready to go to bed, I need to work on something else, something to unwind. So I’ve kept tolling away on my sci-fi campaign, Wanderers of the Outlands. I’ve written at length about it here, and one of the topics was alien species. I’ve settled on two alien species for the game, and they will not be common, my idea is for the game to be very human centric.

One of the races is a cat-like species, something common to many sci-fi setting, but for the other species I was going for something completely different, at least as different as I could conceive it! Thus where born the Vuluhuan…

So why does it say “Ask the Readers in the title of the post? I would want your feedback on the species, and specifically about the rules portion. This is my first attempt at constructing such a complex race for Savage Worlds. I know there are Savage Worlds fans among our readers and I will appreciate your input.

Thanks for reading…

Continue reading Ask the Readers: What about this alien species?

Same game, new tools!

Tumbs upAbout two years and a half ago (can’t believe I’ve been blogging here for that long) I wrote a post about the then new game I was playing, Mutants & Masterminds, and I wrote about the tools I was using then for the campaign. They included an Excel sheet for character creation, a campaign Facebook group, so on and so forth. Here is the link for the post. As time has gone by I have only expanded the electronic tools I’m using…

I’m also gone FULL digital. I run all my games from my computer. This is facilitated that my current campaign is a Pathfinder RPG game and there are some excellent resources that allow me to run the game from my computer with minimal book look up, including first and foremost the Pathfinder Reference Document by Paizo and the Pathfinder SRD (which also has SRD for Swords & Wizardry, Heroes of the Modern Path, i.e. a modern version of Pathfinder, and d20 Hero SRD which is the SRD for Mutants & Masterminds).

I’ve developed my own tools to use in my games, Excel sheets for tracking experience points, Power Point presentations to share information, and I’ve embraced PDFs. If available I’ll get PDF copies of the games I’m running. The price of some PDFs can still be a stumbling block. Paizo has very reasonably prices PDFs of their core Pathfinder books, most are $10.00. Pinnacle has their Savage Worlds Deluxe Explorers Edition, both in PDF and print, available for $9.99, that’s a price you can’t beat for a full game. Green Ronin Mutants & Masterminds / DC adventures PDFs are double the price of the other books, but I love their system so much I’ll get them anyway. And I usually get physical books as well and Green Ronin has some nice pre-order prices where you get the PDF at a discounted price.

facebook-logoAs I worked on the Pathfinder swashbuckling game I developed a Google Sites page for the game, and did the same for a very short zombie game (which I posted about here and here). However more and more I am using Facebook for my campaigns. I realize the social media giant has lost a lot of love out there, but the fact is ALL my players are there and use it regularly, so it’s become the most convenient way to share information. The files options in Facebook groups, the ability to create them privately, and the ease of sharing campaign images via the pictures and picture albums, have replaced my Google sites.  I currently have four campaign groups, one for my current fantasy game, another for my past supers game and for the zombie game, and another for the next game, our sci-fi campaign.

Google-logo1 (1)I have not ended my love for Google mind you! I still use Google Drive to share some documents and collaborate with my players and friends, most notably the Pathfinder campaign experience points. I add each session’s award to a Google Docs spreadsheet and the PC’s check it to see when they level up. They are not even writing down their XP anymore.

youtube-logo2How to handle music in my games has been an ongoing battle. I went from no music, to carrying around a CD case with all the soundtracks I used for my games, to creating playlists in my iPod. What I’ve begun to do recently is create playlists on YouTube. There are a LOT of videos for game and movie soundtracks and I just pull them in appropriate playlists and play at my games. Or try, I forge oftentimes, but that’s my new thing. For example here are the playlists for my current Pathfinder swashbuckling game, and for my upcoming Wanderers of the Outlands sci-fi game.

WCCOne last thing… For the Wanderers of the Outlands campaign we’ll be using Savage Worlds and I intend to use Journeyman Games’ Wild Card Creator, since I backed the Kickstarter.

So that’s the state of technology in my game. I wonder; what tools are my fellow gamers and readers of this blog using? Anything you’d like to share? I’m always looking for new tools!

Thanks for reading…