June 2011


Tonight I am hosting the weekly #RPGchat on Twitter. Our usual hostess – @d20Blonde is away visiting family so I volunteered my services for the chat lead.  The topic is chosen and reminders have been tweeted, stop in if you can ..

The other project I have gotten into via Kickstarter is d20 Morningstar. This is a RPG using smartphones and GPS to play out a fantasy RPG. From the d20 Morningstar website:

d20 Morningstar is a mobile role playing game that mashes geo-location with d20 game mechanics. Players search their world for monsters, traps and other player characters; and then interact with those encounters to earn experience and loot.

This sound intriguing especially from the standpoint of being a Dungeon Master and setting up quests for other players. Think of setting up a quest in a park where the players smartphones/GPS are leading them through to the goal and fighting the monsters along the way, intriguing blend of reality and fantasy…

 

I was turned on to Jeremy Keller’s role playing project on Kickstarter called Technoir by one of our Twitter chats. Technoir is a hardboiled cyberpunk role-playing game set in a bleak and desperate future. I am certainly a sucker for Cyberpunk games and settings, I love that blend of tech with the bleak despair of a cyberpunk near future …

Technoir is a roleplaying game. You play protagonists like cyber-tweaked couriers, hard-nosed investigators, and drugged-out hackers making opportunities for themselves in a despairing world. Using a rules-light system with enough intricacies to spark new fires of hardboiled crime novels and cyberpunk science fiction, Technoir lets you coax, hack, fight, prowl, and shoot your way through a dark future. It features Transmissions—city guides brimming with plot nodes to inspire your high-tech adventures—that the GM uses to create tangled and compelling plot webs that expand and evolve as the players’ characters engage it.

This game funded at way over the goal and looks very interesting .

I sat in on a session of  Technoir in order to get a feel for the resolution and mechanics, I liked what I saw of this. The system is built for a narrative style of gameplay the RPGs have trended to lately. I like the simple dice pool mechanic the game uses for action resolution. It seems to be one of those systems which is complex at first but then rolls very quickly once you get the hang of it. In the below video Jeremy explains the basics or action resolution.

I really want to see more games going to the narrative style where the dice roll resolves the action, but the player comes up with the explanation of what actually happened. This makes the GM’s role that of filling in the blanks and moves the gaming experience much closer to the collaborative storytelling that tabletop RPGs have as their potential.

I picked up a copy of Matt Alt’s Yokai Attack! book recently, Folklore in general always interests me and since I picked up a copy of Reality Blur’s Iron Dynasty campaign setting to use for fantasy games set in old Japan with dark magic. Yokai Attack is an encyclopedia of monsters from Japanese superstition and tradition.

My favorite so far would be the neko-mata which are cats grown very old and which have gained paranormal powers. After a cat grows to a certain age its tail is said to split into two and the powers manifest. It is easy to imagine an random encounter for a group of adventurer’s in Iron Dynasty as meeting with a ferocious twin tailed cat who has the ability to raise and control the dead and has a taste for human flesh.

from the Wiki entry for bakeneko:

bakeneko (化け猫?, “monstercat“) is, in Japanese folklore, a cat with supernatural abilities akin to those of the fox or raccoon dog. A cat may become a bakeneko in a number of ways: it may reach a certain age, be kept for a certain number of years, grow to a certain size, or be allowed to keep a long tail. In the last case, the tail forks in two and the bakeneko is then called a nekomata (猫又?, or 猫股 “forked-cat”). This superstition may have some connection to the breeding of the Japanese Bobtail.

The connection between the folklore of the twin tailed monster cat and the Japanese bobtailed cats is one of those interesting crosses of superstition and reality.