Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Shakespeare at 450

Today is World Book Night and William Shakespeare’s 450th birthday. We’ve done Shakespeare here before but as the current Banquo Award holder I should add that there are more things in Heaven and Earth than just that column...

As well as prophecies, witches and ghosts in the tragedies, A Midsummer Night’s Dream helped cement the modern image of faeries (and love potions) and The Tempest had a hand in setting the style of wizards as well - Harry Potter needs his wand like Prospero needs his staff.

Both concern characters trapped in a strange place and affected by powerful beings, a solid basis for many an adventure - although the players will probably want to defeat the “monsters” messing with their lives rather than letting them run their course. Find a way to outwit the fae nobles and undo the love curse and donkey head, or persuade Prospero to give up his revenge for Miranda’s sake?

And then of course there’s Shakespeare himself. Elizabethan England and the sort-of-united Jacobean Britain was a wild and dangerous time to live through, especially as a celebrity whose ideas were heard by hundreds every night. He was alive and working around the time of the Spanish Armada and the Gunpowder Plot.

A troupe of actors could make an interesting adventuring party, with access to all levels of society, especially when you mix in some of the fantastical elements of the plays - Kim Newman’s Drachenfels features the Warhammer equivalent of the Bard getting into all sorts of trouble when the villain of his new history play turns out to be slightly less dead than he should be...

DRAGON!


Happy St. George’s Day, the Watchers’ Council’s favourite holiday. After all, as well as dragons, eastern European tradition has him fighting vampires as well.

And as Pun Dog tells us, the flag is also a big plus. (Sorry.)

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

The Nationals 2014

Short version: 

Leicester.

Urban Fantasy.

Buffy.

The PCs (almost) all being in a band, recycling the characters from 2011 and 2013 which in turn recycled the PCs-as-band idea run as a PBP and expanded on in A Buffy Season. Partially recycling the 2011 adventure as well, which in turn was also the finale of TWH season four. I am nothing if not economical with my ideas. I’ll try to write it up as a demo adventure and short Actual Play reports just to stop myself using it a sixth time...

Generally went well. Players did character-y stuff, made jokes, slayer showed off, witch was inventive, lead singer was concerned about the gig...

Pictures of groups when photographer Facebook-ifies them.

50/60 in quiz. Did not recognise the flags of Caprica or Krypton. Winning team got 58. Nerds. ;)

More when more awake.

Next year: De Montford.

Teenage eagle huntress

Sometimes life finds player characters.

Monday, 14 April 2014

The WOD MMO closure

I got back from two internet-less days at the Nationals to find that the World Of Darkness MMO project has been cancelled, with its staff made redundant. I learned it from Eddy Webb’s Facebook, as he was among them. I hope none of them have a rough time ahead.

The Worlds Of Darkness will go on. Rich T on the announcement, and Onyx Path’s continuing plans.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

The British Revolution

A time travel related plot hook, posted here rather than the Who blog as it might fit Timewatch better. The result of a BBC Four documentary, The Regency. I hadn’t actually known quite how close we came to a revolution during this period, between the Peterloo Massacre and the Cato Street Conspiracy. With no viable replacement for the Prince Regent, could we have had another British republic? And if so, what would that do to history? The Industrial Revolution and age of empire would look very different...

Friday, 4 April 2014

How to keep a lid on a potential world-changer

Do you want to temporarily feature something that would change the setting drastically if it became an ongoing feature? The Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. episode T.A.H.I.T.I. addresses this issue in a couple of useful ways.

Cut for spoilers:

They were enemies - now they fight together!

The old classic of two enemies being interrupted by someone they can agree is worse. Not just approaching “the enemy of my enemy” but it happening right there and then. Love this one. Particularly when the new alliance is uneasy. They may become friendly rivals later, of course.

Borrowing a partial quote from issue 7 of Marvel’s GI Joe, one of the first examples I ever saw of this trope, where our heroes team up with the Oktober Guard against Cobra. The Guard are an immediately likable bunch, which helps sell it. (I think the Imperial commandos teaming up with Luke and Leia against a weird alien threat in a Star Wars comic came first. This seemed more of a stretch, as Imperials are way worse than Russians.)

A hunter pursues a decent-Humanity vampire into an office building, with a small night staff there. Then the Sabbat/Strix/VII show up. Can the vampire persuade the hunter to protect the people inside, avoid breaching the Masquerade, fight the worse-things-than-her and not get a shotgun blast to the back of the neck at an inopportune moment?

Good & Evil, Inc.

Rose Bailey’s Fantasy Heartbreaker is active again, looking at this urban fantasy action setting and hacking a rules system for it.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

The Houses Of Middle-Earth

I must admit I’m rather surprised nobody has done this Game Of Thrones style name/flag/motto combo before - except for House Baggins when the joke really began. Given that I did it for the clans of Vampire: The Requiem before the show even started...

Of course, it then made me wonder what the Houses would be in Middle-Earth. And it occurred to me that some of their leaders would be “great kings of men...”

That would be a bit awkward in the event of a Fellowship of heroes from the various Houses, having to fight their ancestors.

Look at how much trouble House Skywalker had there...

And a further thought - each of these great kings becomes like their heraldic beast. The great dragon, the golden lion... the mockingbird. Maybe not the squid, much as they deserve it...

And what if you had the chance to save someone from ending up like that? That seemed to be the way one of the five kings was going...

(FFG’s Midnight setting is essentially “what if Sauron won?” with the what-if being his successful corruption of some key heroes of the good. Having that be a risk in the here and now... hmm... possibly something to include in a theoretical fantasy setting...)