Saturday, August 24, 2013

A dangerous artifact for Numenera



Petrified Beamer

"Diorama"

Level : 1D6 +2

Form : It is a small hand held device with only one obvious trigger and function.

Effect : Upon contact the device will petrify all living matter. Dealing 6 points of at up to short range. If a PC gets to Zero in any pool from the damage for the beam they become frozen in place. The places the player in a state of suspended animation. The weapon does not seem to have a reverse statue function.

This weapon is a rapid-fire weapon and it can be used with the Spray or Arc Spray abilities that glaives and jacks have but each “round of ammo” used or each additional target selected requires an additional depletion roll. The weapon will replenish it's self to full capacity after a depletion if left in a warm, sunny and wet place for 28 hours.

Depletion 1 on 1 D20


The following are story hooks and aspects of the user / weapon interaction. Being very powerful i felt that a few words might help with balance, plus i just really like this Beamer and just may have to add it to the pile.






Some say the weapon is haunted and has passed from user to user for centuries.

The local Aeon Priest wants to buy it as it is the only thing that can stop his failed experiment.

The user slowly gains access to the people the user turned into stone causing a flood of knowledge and convoluted impulses.

The weapon has DNA detection and will not fire upon species that have owned the weapon before.

The weapon will not fire on members of the users own species.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Gems and shameless self promotion.

Hey there friendly internetlandia neighbor!

While many of you know me as the mad man on your computer screen who talks ad nauseum about games and gaming. You may not know that every once in awhile i do write something original.

Now, i have attempted to write with people in the past, varying degrees of success.
Well this time +Cameron Corniuk and i have cooked up something awesome for your OSR adventures.

With description of 50 gemstones and the many reasons to start including them on your equipment.

The book allows for a new level of customisation of items for high fantasy games. The mechanics are straightforward and fit perfectly into your dungeon crawling, dragon slaying Saturday evenings.

Check out OSR Gems over on Drivethrurpg and give your players a world of new options for their characters!


Thursday, August 15, 2013

I'll be a wanted fan!

"Wanted fan in Luna City,
wanted fan on Dune and Down,
Wanted fan at Ophiuchus, wanted fan in Dydeetown.
All across the sky they want me, am I flattered?
Yes I am!
If I could just reach orbit, then I'd be a wanted fan."
-Larry Niven, from Fallen Angles.

At the beginning of this year i had an epiphany.
I had been running my games with a majorly false assumption about my role as DM.

I had always tried to make my games hard. I always figured that the whole point was for me to challenge my players. Each encounter becoming more and more deadly as they progressed. Each encounter became dependent on skill rolls and it was always a constant contest between my players and myself.

Then i picked up Apocalypse World after a particularly wonderful one shot.

In reading it, it gave me a suggestion that caused a light bulb to go off in my head.
"Be a fan of the characters, your job is to make their lives more interesting not harder."

Now i get that some of you may have taken that short line of text for granted. But, for me, it completely changed the way i looked at the whole dynamic. Now as a DM my job is to make the game more interesting for the players, not to make it harder for the characters. I now look at each game as a film of sort. A film in which i root for the characters walking around on this screen that exists in this theater of the mind. I want to see what they will do when they win. I want to see what they do when they fail. I want to see what they do when the players start seeing their plans and other machinations come to light and fruition.

I have taken this Powered by the Apocalypse mindset into all of my other games. I now want to see what the characters do next. I root for them and am maybe a bit over eager to see them be awesome.

This suggestion has allowed me to get back to the concept of "Games are supposed to be fun". No longer do i feel the need to find the best way to kill my PCs or stymie a group. It has changed my gaming style and has allowed me to go from "Running games for others" to "Playing a game with others". The difference is huge.

DMing advice.

Now, i don't know about you.

But.

Running a game for me has been a constant evolution of ideas since i first picked up a set of dice.

How to run a game that is engaging, quick and fun is a challenge for the best of us. Good thing there is a great deal of advice out there, sadly most of it just doesn't seem to jibe with my way of thinking. I don't fault the authors, just my odd way of looking at the universe.

So to that, i shall endeavor to tell you what works for me. I have spent a great deal of time listening and reading about the topic that strikes very close to my heart and i hope that it sheds a bit of light on how you can run a better game.

1) Speak with confidence.
Being a DM is about leadership. Being a good leader means having a handle on your situation at all times, or at very least looking like you do. Don't let the rules and regulation of any game get in your way as a DM, they are only tools and tools are only as good as the one using them. If you find a rule that gets in your way, stomp on it. If you find a rule that allows you to wax poetic and frame your adventure in a pleasing manner, use it. Being the DM means never having to back down to the words on the page. You are there to create a story with your players and to run a fun game, nothing else matters.

2) Do your Goram homework.
Each setting has it's own flavor. If that flavor does not fit well into your headspace, play a different game. Going into a game with little to no clue as to what you are doing is as Sun Tzu would say "entering dangerous ground". Being unprepared does not automatically mean that your game will crash and burn, just that running without a good conceptualization of setting and mechanics will make your life that much harder and slow your game down. Crack open a book before you start each game. Read over the rules briefly and familiarize yourself as best you can. Any time put in before a game has a tendency to pay you back in a better game experience.

3) Group dynamics are important.
Be it a D&D game or any real world work environment. a good group dynamic can make or break any situation. Be sure that your group understands who is in charge of your sessions. Do not allow unruly players to damage your mission. Often times speaking in a professional manner to a troublemaker will end many an issue. Sadly sometimes problem players will not take instruction and will continue to cause problems.

As a leader this can pose a challenge and sometimes simply booting a player is not an option. But luckly for you, you have a group. Peer pressure and peer policing is the best method for curbing problem gamers. You have a group because they want to play and have a good time. If it is not patently obvious that there are issues, speak calmly and plainly to your group about it. Odds are you are not the only one who is frustrated and the more people who voice their displeasure the better.

4) When in charge take charge.
When you are running a game you are the Alpha and the Omega of your little virtual universe. Take your players suggestions and review them thoughtfully. But at no time kowtow to a player. You can seek counsel in your players and find a great deal of wisdom in their words. But constantly backing down will set an unhealthy paradigm in your group. Feel free to take advice, listen and try to understand but this is your game and the better the players understand and agree to it the better.

5) Semper Gumby!
A good DM has to be quick on their feet.
There is a certain amount of mental dexterity that comes into play when running a game. Being able to react and always leaving yourself room for the unexpected is a skill that is vital to the successful running of a game as well as a handy life skill. Being able to think on your feet is the first prerequisite to being a good DM and a good leader. Never forget that you have a group of people who are invested in having a good time and that as the DM they are your team. If you ever find yourself floundering for new ideas, talk to your group and listen to what they have to say. Stay flexible but never lose sight of your goal.

6) If you are not having fun, you are doing something wrong.
Finally, these things that we spend so much time and energy on are just games. They are meant to be grand distractions. They are flights of fantasy and adventure that the vast majority of people never experience in real life. They are good excuses to spend good time in good company and if you ever find yourself not thinking so, something is wrong. Talk to your group, see if there has been a change as of late that has influenced gameplay in some manner. This may cause your group to have an adventure of their own if one of their party is facing a challenge in real life.

In the end, running a game is very much about leadership and team building.
The skills you learn running a RPG are directly translatable to life and work, so let your game time be a time of learning and honing your skills. Let your lifetime be one of fun, confidence surrounded by your team, family and group.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Isn't Odd.


Greetings and Salutations!

I got to thinking about oddities in Numenera.
This is something that i enjoy about roleplaying games. It's the spark of inspiration and the drive to create something in this new and strange world. To look at the setting and find some small part that inspires you is a wonderful feeling, but i digress to the things people would be interested in.

Oddities

  1. A small metal cap that constantly plays the same 5 images.
  2. A jar shaped like a small unknown animal that makes beat noises when opened.
  3. A flexible piece of synth that displays odd pictures surrounded by text in an unknown language
  4. A bottle that constantly refills itself with water.
  5. A set of small stones that vibrate when within 2 meters of each other.
  6. A silver disk that appears to be made of metal, yet feels like animal fur.
  7. A key that beeps loudly when near a lock it can not open.
  8. A small bottle that emits different smells each time it is opened.
  9. A set of comfortable shoes that seem to be made of some indestructible material.
  10. A Jacket that seems to always be two sizes to small on any wearer.
  11. A Mirror that shows a constant flow of symbols across the bottom.
  12. A small egg like object that tattoos the bearer with unknown symbols.
  13. A magnet that causes all metals it sticks to rust at a frightening pace.
  14. A belt that makes the wearer look fit and trim.
  15. An odd looking cap that fits no one properly.
  16. A helmet that fills the wearers ears with white noise.
  17. A glove that allows the wearer to draw poor but recognizable images.
  18. Socks that keep feet dry in any condition.
  19. Glasses made for a being with compound eyes
  20. A knitted cap for beings with antenna. 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

A Giant Dragon looking at the 9th World.

Hey there boys and girls!

So tonight i joined in on a hangout with +Cameron Corniuk that was all about Numenera.

The first thing that i noticed and the folks i was chatting with agreed.
We need a Quick Start guide for this game to give people who are just now hearing about Numenera. The system is not difficult to explain, mostly. But putting a bare bones codification of character creation on a few sheets of paper would make the whole experience a bit easier. It would also give a bit of motivation to those few who want to drop $9,999.00 for the players guide.

There was a bit of a hubbub over the concept of GM intrusion and the fact that there is an economy of Experience points. But, for those of you out there in internetlandia who are familiar with +Fred Hicks' blockbuster game FATE should be right at home with as the system functions in much the same manner as Aspect Compels. This gives your players an oprotunity to accrue XP and have a hand in the narritive process of the game. Personally i really dig this "Aspect" of Numenera, because i feel it causes greater player buy in.


I just picked it up the other day. It's 4 of the 5 official stories available right now. 
The Amber Monolith the first of the stories and is contained in the Core Book as an introduction. It starts painting the picture of just what you can expect from the 9th world. The rest of the stories continue in the same vein and work toward adding more distinct flavor to this new setting that seems both very familiar and yet very much oddly alien. For 2.99 you get 3 different formats of the stories for all the different reading devices that you may employ. 

The players guide is up for sale with cards for the low low price of $9,999.99. Sadly it does not come in the glove box of a new Honda, but i am pretty sure that your local Honda dealer will include the book with the purchase of a new Civic, but you won't get the cards.

In all seriousness the book (without the cards) is 8 bucks. And the strenght of writing and the art make the players guide a no brainer for anybody interested in taking part in the adventure of the 9th world.



RPG.net the controversy 
The other day RPG.net kind of blew up.
It seems that certain people are angry.
I honestly have very little interest in what people freaked out over but i include it for those who read tabloids.


If you are looking for official updates on Numenera you need to visit the 9th world hub. The community there is very much excited about the further adventures in the world of Numenera. So if you are looking for a quick dose of "Yippie!" this is a place to meet other folks who are pumped to play.


Transmissions from the 9th world
The last 2 podcasts have been highly suggested for GMing the game as +Monte Cook is interviewed and talks about the 9th world in great detail. Google Plus is also a great resource for all things Numenera as it has loads of gamers who are comfortable with gaming online via Hangouts.






Character Sheets.


This is the character sheet that has been included in the main book. While i can appreciate the amount of work that went into creating it.

Personally i find it to be overly busy and distracting. I know that other people could use this sheet without swearing, sadly i am not one of them. That is why i have already pestered +Glen Hallstrom on this topic and really hope that he creates yet another one of his fantastic character sheets.

Using Numenera to play Numenera.

One of the coolest bits i heard last night was the fact that there will be an application for the two major PADD software systems (Nothing on a LCARS app yet). The good news is that once the app is released by the goodly people at 3lb games it will be up in the iTunes and Google Play stores for $2.99 and promises to be a great addition to your game.
The official FAQ for the Numenera App.

And last but not least is the big brain this whole shebang came from. And honestly his name being on the project is something that anybody with a large stack of books (or access to google) knows well. +Monte Cook has been a real force of awesome in the gaming industry for a good long while. His name has been on so many projects that have brought a real value for the dollar to your gaming table.

So for me, it still took a bit of convincing. But not much. Once i started character creation last year and Numenera triggered a bit of crazy in me i was hooked. I gladly dropped the largest chunk of change on a single game that i have ever parted with in over 25 years of rolling dice.

For those of you who wish to know more about just who is Monte Cook i can suggest visiting his homepage.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Your invitation to Gamer Chat is here!

I just feel the need to extend an invitation to you goodly google gamer to come on down and check out a bit of Gamer Chat.

It's always a good time, and it's a great opportunity to get into some of the great games going on here.

Meet new gamers, find out about new games and make your game better by learning from your fellows.

So come on down, the waters fine and don't forget to roll Charisma!

Welcome to a place of landmines, history and 2 cups of anger in every box.

Guardian East's August Issue

When you try to put your characters in dangerous situations in interesting places. There is no place like a country that has not that long ago been the site of a war.

Serbia, Bosnia, Macedonia, Kosovo make up a goodly chunk of eastern europe and when i was there last there were 3 land mines for each man, woman and child.

This made taking a walk a whole hell of allot more interesting.

Today things are changing in the Balkans. But if history is any indicator, a shit storm is brewing somewhere in the mountains and fields.

The Guardian is a KFOR news magazine and it could bring a new perspective to your games and settings. Because in most settings, the environment isn't out to turn you into pink mist. This can add an element often found in high fantasy games into your modern day adventures.

What places inspire your gaming?
What places can you think of that has an equally dangerous environment for your gaming group?