Thursday, September 30, 2010

[Aftermath!] GURPS Operation Morpheus: The First Session, Part 1


Session One: Part 1: "Close To Me" (March 2104)

Important People: James (S), Bill (C), Bob (E), Alexis (C)

Important NPCs: Stephanie Shaw MD, Uni Survivors Council Chair and Medical Division Head, Nick English Ph.D. Computer Science, Council Member and Information Technology Head, Ted Gilly MBA, Council Member and Resources Management Division Head, Lt. Mike Garrison, Council Member and SU Militia Commander, Capt. Adele Droblas, Royal Australian Army, Council Member and Commander Sydney University Regiment, Andrew Greenberg Ph.D. Mechanical Engineering, Council Member and Science Division Head, John Seth, Resources Management Division, Food Collection Lead, Fred Johnson, Resources Management Division, Heavy Equipment and Transport Lead, Jay Richardson MS Computer Science, Information Technology Division, History and Current Events Lead, Matt Borselli Ph.D. Physics, Science Division, Equipment Collection and Supply Lead, John Dougherty, Information Technology Division, Background Information Lead, the recently thawed Miles Dayton, Rich Johnson, Amanda Hayes, and John Ritter.

Because James, Bill, Bob, and Alexis have not yet been assigned to their regular work group, they are assigned to work with Jay Richardson to sort through a whole-lotta computer files, emails and hard drives to assemble a more complete history of the Ruin. They are at this job for at least a week before they are called into the Uni Survivors Council on March 21, 2104.

There, they are brought up to speed on the community and some of their questions are answered. They are told that this community is committed to working to rebuild Sydney and the rest of Australia. The Council Chair, Dr. Stephanie Shaw, asks them to form Troubleshooting Group B (TG A is assigned to Miles Dayton, Rich Johnson, Amanda Hayes, and John Ritter) to explore the rest of the university grounds and gather needed supplies and equipment. The Council gives them some leeway to do what they need to do, with a partial (but not complete) list of necessities, as follows:

1. Information: History of the Ruin, Current Local Information, and Global Information
2. Key Cards: Civilian and Military
3. Control of the University Central Defense Computer (UDC)
4. Control of the University proper: All buildings and building computer systems
5. Foodstuffs and Hydroponics Equipment
6. Weapons, Armor and Ammunition
7. Medicine: especially a Plague Serum if it exists
8. Vehicles and Armor
9. Allies

There are two different kinds of key cards, civilian and military. Civilian Key Cards are color-coded and Military Key Cards are metal coded. All Key Cards follow this convention: /. Civilian key cards are colored along the ROYGBIV color coding (Red/7, Orange/6, Yellow/5, Green/4, Blue/3, Indigo/2, and Violet/1). Red/7 is the lowest security grade (7th Level - lab techs, teaching assistants and similar occupations) and Violet/1 is the highest (1st Level - department heads and senior personnel). Military key cards are colored along metal coding (Copper/7, Nickel/6, Sodium/5, Cobalt/4, Iodine/3, Silver/2, and Gold/1). Copper/7 is the lowest grade (7th Level - military rank privates) and Gold/1 is the highest (1st Level - military rank senior staff officers and generals).

The council gives them each a civilian key card (most receive an Orange/6 Key Card and one of them gets a Blue/3 Key Card), and whatever basic weapons (each gets an M16A2 and Glock 17), police armor (each gets standard police riot gear but one gets a suit of military-grade armor) and any other equipment that they need.

Group A and Group B are housed on the first floor of Anderson Stuart bunker, each in a separate living area that can be sealed for quarantine, each with a private vehicle lift to the surface Anderson Stuart building.

End of Part 1

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

[Auld Lang 'Zine] 1001+1 Nights, Issue #15

Issue #15, One Thousand and One Nights and One Night RPG Campaign Design 'zine

Issue No. 15 of One Thousand and One Nights and One Night Campaign Design 'zine was published in October 2007.

This issue continued with the second part of my two-part D20 cop show/fantasy campaign. I give more information on the City Watch and their relations with the Army, as well as standard watchman gear and patrol layout (cribbed from Iridia zine).

On a sad note, I mention the loss of a beloved pet. Lt. Dan is three years gone but not forgotten.

There was only one link in the game notes section and it doesn't work (and I couldn't find the map on Privateer's website so maybe you can find it online somewhere).

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

[My Collection] Artesia: Adventures in the Known World

I'm a big fan of Mark Smylie's Artesia, so when the Artesia: Adventures in the Known World RPG came out, I had to pick it up. Based on the Fuzion rules, the game includes an incredible amount of information on the world, which you can see visually in the comics.

RPG.net has a bunch of reviews (1, 2, 3, 4) as well as reviews on the comics (5, 6, 7, 8). Also, there's an Artesia blog that you can check out.

Monday, September 27, 2010

[Characters] CJ Carella's Witchcraft: Fred and George Smith

I wrote these characters up for a Witchcraft game my friend MW ran a number of years ago for the CMT. I ran George and another in our group, BC , ran Fred. Yes, they are modeled after the Weasley twins.

I remember running George as a professor that made students cry (and thereby gained a reputation at Miskatonic U) while BC ran Fred as a hippy. It was comical, because their disadvantages caused some pretty funny situations.


Frederick Russell Smith and George Winston Smith are identical twins. Born only 13 minutes apart (Fred is the elder) in the early 1970s, their parents, Richard and Emily Smith, were prominent members of a powerful Sacramento Rosicrucian Shrine. Before their birth, Richard cast several potent invocations on his unborn children seeking to augment their latent Gifts. His plan was to raise powerful Rosicrucian magicians, all for the glory of the Shrine.

Unfortunately, his plans were spoiled by his children themselves. A side effect of the invocations was the in vitro awakening of their Sight, allowing the brothers to mindtalk even before they were born. They developed a close relationship at that early point in their lives and remain close to the present. Both boys were strongly adverse to being controlled, either by each other or their parents. But rather than face the direct focus of their parents' considerable will, they chose to bide their time, waiting for the opportunity to strike out on their own. Despite the controlling nature of their parents, they both had happy childhoods.

Awakened to the Gift early on brought the brothers their past life experiences. In each case, George's past life was closely connected to Fred's past life and visa versa. In their oldest past lives, they were both monks at the same monastery, during the same years, in 10th century Britain. Then they were both artists together in 15th century China. Finally, Fred was a Union officer in the Civil War, while George was his orderly. Both brothers have only one word to say about this phenomenon: "Weird."

Their father trained them to create protective and powerful magical vessels in the form of rings (prompting the brothers to call each other "Sauron"). This training has given each of them excellent experience in similar but different invocations. Frederick was trained to create powerful symbols of protection, while George learned to consecrate magical vessels.

After years of extensive magical and mundane education, the boys at last saw their chance to break free from their parents and the Rosicrucians. They graduated from college and escaped to the East Coast, never to return. Their parents' Shrine Leader immediately cursed them as a result. Their accursed states are opposite of each other (George's affects electronic devices and Fred's affect mechanical devices) and woven together in some way, making them difficult to remove.

Fred and George went on to graduate school, where Fred earned a doctorate in History and George earned a doctorate in Myth and Folklore. While he was a graduate student, Fred learned more about the Combine and developed his obsession with various conspiracy theories. George spent his time learning about various myths that may have bearing on their curse.

After receiving their doctoral degrees, the brothers moved to Arkham and they share a small house. George gained employment as an associate professor at Miskatonic U in the Humanities Department and managed to get Fred a similar job in the History Department.

The brothers are identical twins, both tall and thin, but are (currently) easy to tell apart. Fred has long hair and George wears glasses (though he has contacts). Neither is particularly athletic. George prefers suits, while Fred like to dress casually. Personality-wise, the brothers also differ, with George the serious one, stiff and formal, and Fred the practical joker. Fred is a Luddite who can use computers but refuses to, while George is a frustrated internet junkie who can't get a fix because his accursed state crashes his computer. While they may bicker on occasion, they maintain a close friendship and are genuinely concerned for each other's well-being.


George Winston Smith, Age: 26, Human (Caucasian), Male, 5'10", 140 lbs, Short Brown Hair, Blue Eyes.

Gifted Association: Solitaire Concept: Seeker of Knowledge

Strength: 1 Dexterity: 2 Constitution: 2 Intelligence: 2 Perception: 2 Willpower: 7

Life Points: 22 Endurance Points: 35 Speed: 8 Essence Pool: 76

Qualities:
Solitaire Association (+1 on all Tasks involving one specific Gifted Art (Consecration))
The Gift (5 pts, pg 86)
Artistic Talent (Metalworking) (3 pts, pg 74)
Old Soul 1 (4 pts, pg 87)
Increased Essence Pool 8 (8 pts, pg 87)

Drawbacks:
Impared Eyesight (Correctable) (-1 pts, pg 72)
Indebted 2 (-2 pts, pg 73)
Cruel 1 (-1 pts, pg 77)
Honorable 2 (-2 pts, pg 79)
Accursed 1+3=4 (Electrical devices will not work properly for character, all at inconvenient/embarrassing moments, i.e. computers will freeze or crash, phones/fax machines will have excessive static and disconnect, TVs will black out, microwaves will overheat food or beep meaninglessly, & etc.; major inconvenience, extremely complex to remove) (-4 pts, pg 84)

Powers:
Consecration 5 (Jewelry) (10 pts, pg 212)
Essence Channeling 5 (10 pts, pg 86)
Shielding 1 (2 pts, pg 220)
Blessing 1 (2 pts, pg 210)
Mindtalk Strength 1 (3 pts, 233)
Mindtalk Art 1 (2 pts, pg 233)
Mindtalk Art Specialty: Talk to Fred 3 (1 pt, pg 233)

Skills:
Craft (Jewelry) 5 (5 pts, pg 91)
Craft (Jewelry) Specialty: Rings 7 (1 pt, pg 91)
Myth and Legend (Western Civilization) 5 (5 pts, pg 96)
Myth and Legend (Western Civilization) Specialty: British Isles 7 (1 pt, pg 96)
Guns (Handgun) 3 (3 pts, pg 93)
Instruction 3 (3 pts, pg 95)
Magic Theory 3 (3 pts, pg 95)
First Aid 1 (1 pt, pg 93)
Lock Picking (Mechanical) 1 (1 pt, pg 95)
Occult Knowledge 1 (2 pts, pg 96)

Possessions: Several business suits; some casual clothes; leather jacket [D4(2)]; several pairs of eyeglasses & contacts; clip-on sunglasses; complete set of jeweler's tools, materials and equipment; lockpicks; 9mm Makarov pistol [D6x4(12)] & ammunition; several powerful Consecrated rings


Frederick Russell Smith, Age: 26, Human (Caucasian), Male, 5'10", 140 lbs, Long Brown Hair, Blue Eyes.

Gifted Association: Solitaire Concept: Seeker of Knowledge

Strength: 1 Dexterity: 2 Constitution: 1 Intelligence: 3 Perception: 3 Willpower: 6

Life Points: 18 Endurance Points: 32 Speed: 6 Essence Pool: 78

Qualities:
Solitaire Association (+1 on all Tasks involving one specific Gifted Art (Symbol of Protection))
The Gift (5 pts, pg 86)
Artistic Talent (Metalworking) (3 pts, pg 74)
Old Soul 1 (4 pts, pg 87)
Increased Essence Pool 8 (8 pts, pg 87)

Drawbacks:
Clown (-1 pts, pg 75)
Indebted 2 (-2 pts, pg 73)
Honorable 1 (-1 pts, pg 79)
Obsession 2 ("Fight the Conspiracy!",-2 pts, pg 80)
Accursed 1+3=4 (Simple mechanical devices will not work properly for character, all at inconvenient/embarrassing moments, i.e. door knobs will fall apart, door hinges will stick, locks will jam, faucets will break, mechanical clocks and watches will give wrong time, pulleys won't work properly, & etc.; major inconvenience, extremely complex to remove) (-4 pts, pg 84)

Powers:
Symbol of Protection 5 (Jewelry) (10 pts, pg 223)
Essence Channeling 5 (10 pts, pg 86)
Mindtalk Strength 1 (3 pts, 233)
Mindtalk Art 3 (6 pts, pg 233)
Mindtalk Art Specialty: Talk to George 5 (1 pt, pg 233)

Skills:
Craft (Jewelry) 4 (4 pts, pg 91)
Craft (Jewelry) Specialty: Rings 6 (1 pt, pg 91)
Humanities (History) 6 (8 pts, pg 94)
Humanities (History) Specialty: American History 8 (1 pt, pg 94)
Humanities (History) Specialty: Crackpot Conspiracy Theories 8 (1 pt, pg 94)
Instruction 4 (4 pts, pg 95)
Guns (Handgun) 2 (2 pts, pg 93)
Questioning 2 (2 pts, pg 97)
Research/Investigation 1 (1 pt, pg 97)
Driving (Car) 1 (1 pt, pg 92)

Possessions: One old business suit (crumpled); lots o' casual clothes; leather jacket [D4(2)]; sunglasses; complete set of jeweler's tools, materials and equipment; 9mm Makarov pistol [D6x4(12)] & ammunition; small, early 90s automobile; several powerful Symbols of Protection rings; filing cabinets and filing cabinets filled with vital, topical and important information on various Conspiracies.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

[Auld Lang 'Zine] 1001+1 Nights, Issue #14

Issue #14, One Thousand and One Nights and One Night RPG Campaign Design 'zine

Issue no. 14 of One Thousand and One Nights and One Night Campaign Design 'zine was published in October 2007.

This issue heralds a return to D20, with the first part of a new city-watch campaign based in Privateer Press' Iron Kingdoms (one that I have yet to run, I might add), a bit on secret societies, a funny Vecna quote and a salute to the D&D 4th edition announcement.

Several game note links are still active: Witchfire Trilogy (on Amazon), Savage Worlds Iron Kingdoms, Vecna (wikipedia) and the Hat of Vecna (RPG.net thread).

Saturday, September 25, 2010

[Savage Colonial Gothic] Tiberius Scattergood

TE ran Tiberius Scattergood for a few sessions. He's a crack shot but has bad luck. Other than that, I don't remember much about him.

Tiberius Scattergood
Novice + 3 Adv + 20 xp (20xp is unspent).

Agility d10 Smarts d6 Spirit d8 Strength d6 Vigor d6
Pace 6 Parry 4 Toughness 5 Charisma -0-

Edges: Ambidextrous.

Hindrances: Bad Luck, Loyal, Doubting Thomas.

Skills: Boating d6, Fighting d4, Guts d8, Investigation d4, Notice d6, Riding d4, Shooting d10, Survival d4, Taunt d6, Throwing d6.

Long Rifle 15/30/60, RoF 1, 2d8, AP 2, Wt 8, 3 actions to reload.
Pistol 5/10/20, RoF 1, 2d6+1, AP -, Wt 3, 2 actions to reload.
Tomahawk 3/6/12, RoF 1, Str +d6, Wt 2.
Knife 3/6/12, RoF 1, Str + d4, Wt 1.

Tiberius' 3x3
3 Allies: Abraham Hart (merchant), Robert Whipple (Colonial Officer), William Williams (farmer)
3 Contacts: Thomas Rush (Colonial Officer), Joseph Hewes (Slave), Mrs. Arthur Middleton (old
family friend)
3 Enemies/Rivals: Arthur Hopper (self-proclaimed best shot in the colonies), Franklin Huntington (captain of a merchant ship), Oliver Gerry (farmer)

Friday, September 24, 2010

[My Collection] Warhammer Fantasy 2nd edition

I've mentioned my love for Warhammer Fantasy in a previous post and it extends to the second edition as well. I've got most of the books, but have about six or so books still on the list to get.

Green Ronin/Black Industries did an excellent job on these books, with art that is very evocative to the setting - another reason I really like this game.

RPG.net has a number of reviews (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) on the second edition.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

[Aftermath!] GURPS Operation Morpheus: The First Session, The Cut Scenes

Session One: "Here I Am, Stuck In The Middle With You" (March 2104)

The Computer System: In a darkened room, a large mainframe computer is working away. On many monitors around the room are images flashing too fast for the human eye.

The Mystery Man: Sitting in a dimly lit room with a darkened computer monitor and other electronic devices is a man in a military uniform. The uniform is that of a Major and it looks like it is a variation of the Royal Australian Army uniform. His face is in shadow but he uses a desk lamp to read. Suddenly, the computer beeps and the man turns on the computer monitor.

The Russians: There are several people in a room, talking in Russian. It looks like something of a council or community meeting. Several members of the meeting are identified by name: Vladimir, Natasha, Nikoli, and Ivor.

Mount Steele Castle: A medieval dressed noble is standing above a table with a map of downtown Sydney. A servant enters the room and says "My Lord Duke, here are the latest reports." The Duke takes the reports and peruses them. Then he concentrates back on the map of Sydney and points at several locations, including Sydney University.

The Creatures: On a hillside, a young shepherd boy watches his sheep. Suddenly, the sheep are spooked and the boy barely sees creatures moving past the hill.

The Loonies: A whole group of people, obviously crazy, with guns and swords and other types of weapons, dancing crazily, acting totally insane, building vicious traps, torturing small animals and captives, & etc.

St. Andrew's Cathedral: In the darkened recesses of the cathedral, a group of robed figures perform a strange, violent and bloody ritual.

Scouts Commune: A meeting of the Scout Council convenes. Chairman Joe Anderson calls the meeting to order to discuss defense, food production and trade business. Council members Tim Johnson, Amy Kepferie, Ed Hunt, Matt Fu, James Hardesty, Jodie Buller and Ken Wilcox argue about food production quotas, trade and search projects.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

[Auld Lang 'Zine] 1001+1 Nights, Issue #13

Issue #13, One Thousand and One Nights and One Night RPG Campaign Design 'zine

Issue no. 13 of One Thousand and One Nights and One Night Campaign Design 'zine was published in September 2007.

This issue has a background for a character in the Battlestar Galactica universe, including the Savage Worlds stats for him, and another My Style article, this time on Chekhov's Gun, a literary and theatrical technique that works well in RPGs.

Some of the links in the game notes still work, like Frank Miller's 300 and Chekhov's Gun (on wikipedia).

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

[Savage Colonial Gothic] Clive Trelawney

Clive Trelawney was played by XO. He's a British Army deserter but not much as been revealed in his past.

Clive Trelawney
Novice + 4 Adv + 15 xp (15xp is unspent).

Agility d8 Smarts d6 Spirit d6 Strength d6 Vigor d6
Pace 6 Parry 6 Toughness 5 Charisma -0-

Edges: Dodge.

Hindrances: Bad Luck, Wanted (British Army deserter).

Skills: Climbing d6, Fighting d8, Guts d6, Lockpicking d8, Notice d8, Shooting d8, Stealth d6, Streetwise d6, Swimming d6, Knowledge (Mechanics) d8.

"Brown Bess" Musket 10/20/40, RoF 1, 2d8, AP -, Wt 15, 2 actions to reload.
Hanger (Sword), Str + d6
Knife 3/6/12, RoF 1, Str + d4, Wt 1.

Clive's 3x3

3 Allies: Robert Gerry (innkeeper), Roger Sherman (merchant), George Ross (British soldier, old friend)
1 Contacts: Michael York (rich man's factor)
3 Enemies/Rivals: Elma Tailor (former mistress), Richard Witherspoon (constable), Clive's Father (British sergeant)

Monday, September 20, 2010

[Characters] Bon Chance Louie

"Bon Chance" Louie, Jake Cutter and Corky in the Monkey Bar

"Bon Chance" Louie ("Good Luck" Louie) is a character from the 1980s T.V. show The Tales of the Gold Monkey (my post here). He's a perfect NPC for a Pulp adventure game, including my Distinguished Flying Cross campaign.

Louie, no last name given, is the French Magistrate for French Maravillas (French Polynesia), on the Island of Boragora. He's also the local doctor and bar owner of the Monkey Bar. He's suave, has no problem "charming" other men's wives with his sophisticated ways, and rather shifty.

During the course of the T.V. show, he revealed some interesting things about his past:
  • He was sentenced to death in France for an unrevealed crime. But released after the guillotine jammed. He wears a scarf around his neck and never removes it (episodes Pilot, Last Chance Louie).
  • He served in the French Foreign Legion at Fort Zinderneuf in the Sahara, fighting the Tuaregs and witnessed a Viking Funeral (ala Beau Geste) (episodes Black Pearl, Last Chance Louie).
  • He climbed Mount Everest with George Mallory in 1924 but was separated from him on the mountain (episode Legends are Forever).
  • He served some time in prison on Devil's Island (episodes Shanghaied, Ape Boy).
  • He was First Mate of the SS Normandie, a French luxury liner which entered service in 1935 (episode God Save The Queen).
  • He performed a number of autopsies in the medical profession (episode The Sultan of Swat).
  • He's a good poker player (episode High Stakes Lady) with few tells.
  • He negotiated the Treaty of Versailles (well, not him alone) (episode Cooked Goose).
  • Fought in WWI and was left for dead after a battle in 1918 (episode Last Chance Louis).
Whether any of them are true or not isn't the point, but that he's got a colorful past that makes for a great NPC.

"Bon Chance" Louie

Agility d8 Smarts d6 Spirit d8 Strength d6 Vigor d8
Parry 5, Pace 6, Toughness 6, Charisma +2.

Hindrances: Wanted (M), Habit: dallying with other men's wives, Loyal.

Edges: Charismatic, Rich, Strong Willed, Luck, Great Luck, Connections (High and Low), Thief, Alertness.

Skills: Shooting d8, Fighting d6, Boating d6, Climbing d6, Gambling d10, Intimidation d6+2, Knowledge (Crime) d6, Streetwise d8, Persuasion d8, Lockpicking d6, Stealth d6, Notice d6+2, Healing , Taunt d4+2.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

[Auld Lang 'Zine] 1001+1 Nights, Issue #12

Issue #12, One Thousand and One Nights and One Night RPG Campaign Design 'zine

Issue no. 12 of One Thousand and One Nights and One Night Campaign Design 'zine was published September 2007.

This issue had an actual play report from a game I was in at Gencon So-cal, a write-up on a Roman-based webcomic, the death of the print Dragon Magazine, and some info on Ziggurat Con.

The game notes links amazingly all work: SPQR Blues webcomic, GURPS Imperial Rome (Steve Jackson Games), FVLMINATA: Armed with Lightning RPG, Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Eden Games), Morgan's Buffy site, David Macaulay’s City: A Story of Roman Planning and Construction.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

[Savage Colonial Gothic] Conrad Waxman

The third original character in the Savage Colonial Gothic game, Conrad Waxman was played by both CM (in GMs game) and GM (in my game). He's from the future, a student at a New York university that was visiting an old scientist friend when they were attacked by a mage. He was shoved into the time machine and sent back to 1775 where he met up with the other PCs.

Conrad Waxman
Novice + 1 advance + 30xp (30xp is unspent).

Agility d8 Smarts d8 Spirit d6 Strength d6 Vigor d6
Pace 6 Parry 5 Toughness 5 Charisma -0-

Edges: Danger Sense.

Hindrances: Enemy, Habit (Smokes), Outsider (Up-timer).

Skills: Climbing d4, Driving d4, Fighting d6, Guts d6, Knowledge (History) d8, Knowledge (Anthropology) d6, Throwing d4, Shooting d6, Survival d4, Tracking d4, Swimming d4.

Jaeger Rifle 15/30/60, RoF 1, 2d8, AP 2, Wt 8, 3 actions to reload.
w/slug 20/40/80, RoF 1, 2d8+1, AP 2
Tomahawk, RoF 1, Str+d6, Wt 2

Waxman's 3x3
2 Allies: Philip Livingston (antiquitarian), William Paca (physician)
2 Contacts: Francis Lewis (writer), Margaret Penn (boarding house owner)
2 Enemies/Rivals: LeFluer (french mage), Eddie Rutledge (bookseller)

Friday, September 17, 2010

[Resources] The Island of St. Kilda

St. Kilda is an island off the coast of Scotland once inhabited by a hearty people. For two thousand years it had a small population, usually less than 200. In 1930 it was permanently evacuated at the islanders request. Life on the island was hard, with the islanders dealing with isolation for much of the year and very primitive conditions.

The island has the ruins of a medieval village, about 30 houses in all. And several structures date back to 500 B.C. From the first writings on the island in 1202 to the modern day, the island has had a number of busts and further busts. Danish artifacts from a Viking history, smallpox and cholera, poor harvests, Christian missionaries, and the loss of the young men during WWI, the island has seen it all. St. Kilda now is part of the National Trust for Scotland and one of Scotland's five World Heritage sites, and, since 1957, has been part of the UK military.

The history of this island is the history of the North Atlantic and would be a great study for a Viking game or even a modern day naval game or any game with islands and isolation.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

[Aftermath!] GURPS Operation Morpheus: The First Session, Preamble

Session One: Preamble: "Wake-Up, Little Suzie, Wake-Up!" (Late 2003 to February 2104)

Important People: James (Sean), Bill (Chris), Bob (Eric), Alexis (Charles), Scott, Jay Richardson.

James, Bill, Bob and Alexis are living in Seattle, Washington, in mid-to-late 2003. The last thing each of them remember before this all started was their friend Scott bringing a copy of The Stranger to the weekly gaming night and pointing to an ad:

"The University of Washington Department of Behavioral Sciences is seeking participants for a federally funded, international education study. Qualified participants should be a U.S. Citizen, have a valid Drivers License, current U.S. Passport, and no criminal record. Chosen participants will be required for varying length of time commitment, from one (1) month, up to one (1) year. Participants can earn up to $5,000.00 per week at the completion of the study. Contact Sheila at 206-555-1212 extension 316."

Then, as near as they all can recollect, around 28 days ago, they each were awoken in a dark room, dragged out of a strange metal bed and cuffed, and forced out of the room into a very bright corridor.

Over the next several weeks, they experienced a very bad case of freezer-burn, what the doctors call Cryo-Sleep Sickness. The days of pure delirium mixed with excruciating pain included the added benefit of being quizzed about their life and background by nurses to see if they had suffered memory loss, which is a very possible side-effect of long-term cryo-sleep.

Finally, as their heads began to clear, several officials started reading them specific official documents, parts of which they remember:
  • ASS Order #215: All members of the following international scientific experimental groups are hereby in defined as detained civil employees . . . .
  • UN Security Council Order #913b -Native Entrance Act: All members of the following international scientific experimental groups are hereby refused entrance into their country of origin until the crisis situation is past . . . .
  • U.S. Congressional Law: The Patriot Act III: All members of the following . . . .
  • Executive Order #4753, signed by President G.W. Bush on December 1, 2003: All members of the following scientific experimental groups are hereby U.S. Government employees and are subject to the rules and laws of this time of emergency . . . .
  • ASS Order #583: All members of the following scientific experimental groups are . . . .
  • U.S. Congressional Law, Scientific Experimentation order: All members of the following . . . .
  • U.S. Congressional Law, Disease Control Act: All members of the following . . . .
  • Executive Order #5290, signed by President Colin Powell on December 14, 2003: All members of the following scientific experimental groups are hereby drafted within the combined NATO forces and are subject to the rules and laws of military justice . . . .
  • UN Security Council Special Order #942z: All members of the following . . . .
  • Executive Order #8231, signed by President David Henry Wilson on December 25, 2003: All members of the following scientific experimental groups are hereby ordered to offer all assistance to any valid government of the combined NATO treaty (particularly where the members are now residing) . . . .
When they were actually thinking clearly, Jay Richardson, an earlier awakened cryo-sleeper, told them that the world as they knew it is gone, over 100 years ago. It's now 2104. Back in 2003, they volunteered to test cryogenic capsules.

He said, "You've spent the last 100 years as a corpsicle and you aren't even in the U.S. anymore. You are in Australia. At probably the only surviving University research center. And you are in a lot of trouble. We all are."
Jay tells them that they are in the Anderson Stuart building bunkers on the Sydney University campus in downtown Sydney, Australia. The Uni Survivors mostly control the Anderson Stuart bunker. The Sydney University grounds are protected by an automated defense network (mobile robots, gun emplacements, defense towers, SAM and SAS batteries, minefields & etc) controlled by a central defense computer which violently prevents anyone from exiting or entering the university grounds without the proper authorization. Proper authorization is only granted to those people who have current key cards.

"And we need you to survive, just as much as you need us."
The Uni Survivors currently numbers about 200-300 people, with about another 800-1000 still in cryo-sleep. The survivors have full access to the Anderson Stuart bunker mainframe computer system, power plant (fusion reactor), equipment and weapons left over in the bunker, and even the cryo-sleepers' background information. Cryo-sleepers are thawed, as their skills become necessary.

Jay tells them that the Ruin was caused by a super-germ nicknamed the Scourge of God. It first appeared in the Middle East, and then it spread to Ireland, then the rest of the world. WWIII came shortly thereafter as the surviving governments tried to stop the spread of the super-virus by nuking plague hot spots.

"Well, the world went south and the missiles flew. Those that were left figured that scientists knew how to stop the plague, so they looked up the surviving plague research centers. Sydney University was one. Australia hadn't been touched by nukes, but the plague got here just the same."
To add to the chaos of those final days, Australia faced invasion.

"As near as we can tell, one surviving Russian General decided to get as much of the plague serum as he could and invaded. Before you know it, Russian troops are all over Australia, fighting with plague mobs and RAA units, attacking Universities all over. Trying to find a cure. But they didn't find one when it all came apart. Whether there is one, we don't know."
Unfortunately, no one in the Uni Survivors knows what the world is like now. Is there a central government or just a bunch of small tribes beating each other up with sticks and stones?

"We have no idea what the world is like now, because we've all been sleeping while Rome burned. We don't know the full story. And we need to. We also need to know more about what is going on here and elsewhere. If there are any survivors and whether they are friendly or not. Welcome to Australia, 2104, and Operation Morpheus!"

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

[Auld Lang 'Zine] 1001+1 Nights, Issue #11

Issue #11, One Thousand and One Nights and One Night RPG Campaign Design 'zine

Issue no. 11 of One Thousand and One Nights and One Night Campaign Design 'zine was published in August 2007.

I wrote a new D20 supplement: My Very Cute Pony, based on the WOTC hoax from 2006. Another article was on low power magic items, whch included a new Savage Worlds magic sword called Draug Dagnir (Quenya for Wolf–Bane). It also includes a webcomic and a funny quote.

Though I've never run a My Very Cute Pony game (it would be an interesting one to spring on my groups), I have used the sword in several Savage Worlds games.

Most of the game note links still work: the classic D20 My Little Pony RPG Hoax, Pibgorn Webcomic (and on Wikipedia), Stardust (Neil Gaiman and Charles Vess), Enchanted Sword +0 thread (on SJ Games Forums) and English to Quenya (Elvish) Dictionary.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

[My Collection] Mist-Robed Gate

It's probably pretty obvious that I've got Mist-Robed Gate in my collection, since I ran it a month or so ago for some friends. There are some interesting things about this game and I've enjoyed it very much the two times I've played. I hope to get more of it played in the future.

Mist-Robed Gate, unfortunately, does not have any reviews on RPG.net but I'm sure if you are interested in indie games, you'll be like me and find at least some bit of information on it online (1).

Monday, September 13, 2010

[Alignment] Chaotic Neutral

Chaotic Neutral, "Free Spirit"

A chaotic neutral character follows his whims. He is an individualist first and last. He values his own liberty but doesn’t strive to protect others’ freedom. He avoids authority, resents restrictions, and challenges traditions. A chaotic neutral character does not intentionally disrupt organizations as part of a campaign of anarchy. To do so, he would have to be motivated either by good (and a desire to liberate others) or evil (and a desire to make those different from himself suffer). A chaotic neutral character may be unpredictable, but his behavior is not totally random. He is not as likely to jump off a bridge as to cross it.

Chaotic neutral is the best alignment you can be because it represents true freedom from both society’s restrictions and a do-gooder’s zeal.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

[Auld Lang 'Zine] 1001+1 Nights, Issue #10

Issue #10, One Thousand and One Nights and One Night RPG Campaign Design 'zine

Issue no. 10 of One Thousand and One Nights and One Night Campaign Design 'zine was published in August 2007.

This issue has an Actual Play playing the Army Man game with my nephews, Richard the Black Dragon/Spirit Naga mix (in both D20 and Savage Worlds) and a link to Potter Puppet Pals.

Some of the notes links still work: Favorite Half-Dragon mixes (D20) RPG.net thread, Potter Puppet Pals (and the wikipedia article) and Armies in Plastic.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

[Savage Colonial Gothic] Samuel James Pickett

MW played Samuel James Pickett, a woodsman from Ohio and cousin to Ezekiel. His was a sad story: he moved to Ohio to pursue game pelts with a friend, met a native woman and married. He and his friend borrowed money to start their business and his friend ran off with it all, betraying Samuel and his wife's tribe to the British. Many natives died in the British attack and Samuel's wife was one of them. His wife dead, his business in ruins and his life in tatters, he returned to Boston just in time for the game to start.

When I ran the next adventure, Samuel's former business partner turns up - as a British Lieutenant!

Samuel James Pickett
Novice + 6 Adv + 5 xp.

Agility d8 Smarts d8 Spirit d6 Strength d4 Vigor d8
Pace 6 Parry 5 Toughness 6 Charisma -0-

Edges: Luck, Woodsman, Marksman, Two-Fisted.

Hindrances: Poverty, Outsider.

Skills: Boating d4, Climbing d4, Fighting d6, Guts d4, Healing d4, Knowledge (Nature) d4, Notice d6, Shooting d8, Stealth d6 (+2 in wild areas), Survival d8+2, Swimming d4, Throwing d4, Tracking d8+2.

Long Rifle 15/30/60, RoF 1, 2d8, AP 2, Wt 8, 3 actions to reload.
Tomahawk 3/6/12, RoF 1, Str +d6, Wt 2.
Knife 3/6/12, RoF 1, Str + d4, Wt 1.

Samuel's 3 x 3
2 Allies: Cusik the Tuscarora (father-in-law, indian shaman), Richard Witherspoon (constable)
2 Contacts: Jonathan Morton (woodsman), Mrs. Eliza York (married sister)
3 Enemies/Rivals: Marcus Bridge (former partner), Thadeus Clinton (owes money to), Michael York (Clinton's factor and brother-in-law)

Friday, September 10, 2010

[Labyrinth Lord] Missing Caravans: An Ashford Valley Adventure

Here's the final mini-adventure set in my Ashford Valley campaign for my Switching to Guns 'zine, published back in July, and the actual first appearance of Edith the Witch (who I mentioned a while ago). Enjoy!

Missing Caravans
: A Get Ready, Get Set, Go! Labyrinth Lord adventure set in the Ashford Valley

Get Ready:
While in town, the heroes hear about some bandit troubles on the High Bridge Road. A few small merchant caravans have completely disappeared and bandits are to blame.

Get Set:
A local merchant Richard Rich contacts the PCs to get them to investigate. He offers a small reward (he's a Rich but not actually very rich) for them to find his friend. The PCs wander up and down the High Bridge Road without encountering any bandits and see some smoke coming from the forest (which, if they delve into the forest to find the source, encounter Edith the Witch). Eventually they find a campsite with evidence the caravan was camped there recently.

At night, the Morlocks come.

Go!:
A cave near the campsite leads into a new Morlock community. Three to five Morlocks track the PCs and attack when they are in camp for the night. The PCs can easily follow the trail to the cave and encounter the rest of the Morlocks. What is actually inside the cave? Are there any prisoners? That's up to you, the GM.

Notable NPCs:
Edith the Witch; No. Encountered: 1; Alignment: Neutral; Armor Class: 7; Hit Dice: 3d8; Hit Points: 16; Attacks: two claws (1d4) and dagger (1d4); Save: F3; morale: 7; Special abilities: Magical song (treat as Charm Person spell), magical resistance (+2 saving throw on all saving rolls), magical moving cabin.

I've included the stat block for Edith, and if you need more info on her, go here.

Morlocks; No. Encountered: 2d6+3; Alignment: Chaotic; Armor Class: 8; Hit Dice: 1d8; Hit Points: 8, 8, 7, 6, 6, 5, 5, 4, 3, 3, 2, 2, 1, 1, 1; Attacks: short sword (1d6) ; Save: F1; morale: 9; Special abilities: 90' infravision.

The Morlocks are a new factor in the Ashford Valley. Whether they will become allies of the Necromancer depends on a number of things, the least of which is whether they come into direct conflict. Currently, groups of them are moving into caverns beneath Ashford proper and some have even found digs in Clifton. What is making the Morlocks migrate to the Ashford Valley is an unknown but they seem to like being here.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

[Aftermath!] GURPS Operation Morpheus: Character Creation

Back in 2003-2004, I ran this game for my old Tuesday Night Game Group (now defunct). The players were S, C, E and C. I'd been playing RPGs with C and E for years, and knew S and C through them only for about a year or so. Setting up the game was pretty easy as we spoke frequently and emailed on a variety of subject, including politics and social affairs (and, of course, gaming).

Anyways, I said I wanted to run a game during the week and they all jumped on board. I would start the second game of GURPS Operation Morpheus about 6 months later for the Corvis Monkey Troupe, with some similar results but a completely different cast.

Character Generation: Each PC was built by the players using 100 points and GURPS Lite or GURPS Basic, 3rd edition (for the most part). Additionally, each player was given the choice of taking all 40 points of disadvantages as follows (which they did): (-10) Sense of Duty (Nation, Family, Friends) and (-30) Enemy (currently unknown).

This choice was for the simplest possible reasons, so that I, as GM, would not have to keep track of any physical, social or mental disadvantages. Additionally, the advantage Danger Sense was ruled verboten. I just hate trying to keep track of it. Thankfully, no one tried to argue for it.

Each PC was to be a late 20th/early 21st century American. I started the game in Seattle, 2003.

S played James Stenbeck, an Air Force reserve pilot. C was Bill Farnum, a veterinarian who spent time in the Amazon. E ran Bob Dawson, an environmental safety scientist. And C was Alexis Pratt, a military programmer.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

[Auld Lang 'Zine] 1001+1 Nights, Issue #9

Issue #9, One Thousand and One Nights and One Night RPG Campaign Design 'zine

Issue no. 9 of One Thousand and One Nights and One Night Campaign Design 'zine was published in July 2007.

The issue starts with info on who was reading the 'zine back in 2007 by country. I wrote up a magic item in Savage Worlds terms and some Nazi opponents: the Knights of October wizards, a robotic Nazi machine and SS Captain Kurt Dussander. I finish the issue with examining two Red Dawn scenarios.

I really enjoyed this issue and have used the opponents in several games. The robot is quite useful but I've had to lower the toughness to 8 or so to prevent drawn out combats.

There were a number of notes to this issue, some of which Who's Fighting Nazis RPG.net thread, Hellboy and Richard the Lionheart on Wikipedia, and the Hellboy Official Website.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

[Savage Colonial Gothic] Ezekiel Theodore Hollinsworth III

I came up with this character for a Savage Worlds Colonial Gothic game that my friend GM ran and which I later picked up for a short campaign.

The game started as Ezekiel and his cousin Samuel were watching the Battle of Bunker Hill from a distance and went from there, including a visitor from the future, Redcoats, unknown creatures and a haunted mansion. When I ran the game, I added even more Redcoats, more unknown creatures, some tough dogs, a battle atop a runaway carriage, and a hidden grotto under the Old North Church that contained an intact Viking Longboat guarded by the ghosts of it's crew. I've still got the notes around and I plan to post them.

Ezekiel Theodore Hollinsworth III
Novice + 3 Adv + 5 xp (5xp is unspent).

Agility d6 Smarts d8 Spirit d6 Strength d6 Vigor d6
Pace 6 Parry 4, Toughness 5, Charisma -0-

Edges: Arcane Background (Magic), Alertness, Connections

Hindrances: Curious, Habit (Smokes a pipe)

Skills: Climbing d4, Fighting d4, Shooting d4, Stealth d6, Investigation d6, Throwing d4, Riding d4, Notice d6+2, Lockpicking d6, Guts d6, Knowledge (Arcana) d6, Spellcasting d6, Persuasion d4.

Powers: Smite, Armor and Light.

Equipment:
"Brown Bess" Musket 10/20/40, RoF 1, 2d8, AP -, Wt 15, 2 actions to reload.
Tomahawk 3/6/12, RoF 1, Str + d6, Wt 2.
Knife 3/6/12, RoF 1, Str + d4, Wt 1.

Ezekiel's 3x3

2 Allies: Master Smith (freemason, employer), James Wilson (farmer)
3 Contacts: Dr. Lyman Hall (physician), Eddie Rutledge (bookseller), Michaela "Button" Gwinnett (alchemist/chemist)
1 Enemies/Rivals: Thomas McKean (fellow freemason)

Monday, September 6, 2010

[My Collection] Middle Earth Role Playing

I have most of the 1st edition Middle Earth Role Playing books, from Angmar: Land of the Witch King Campaign module to Woses of the Black Wood adventure module. I'm still on the lookout for a few of the Tolkien Quest Solo Game Books and Middle-Earth Quest Game Books

RPG.net has a two-part article on Iron Crown Enterprises (1, 2) that talks about MERP and game history - it's an interesting read. There are two reviews on RPG.net as well (3, 4) but one of them is pretty short.

You can find more online at merp.com and also the old merp.com bit, but still with useful info, from Mark Chapman.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

[Auld Lang 'Zine] 1001+1 Nights, Issue #8

Issue #8, One Thousand and One Nights and One Night RPG Campaign Design 'zine

Issue No. 8 of One Thousand and One Nights and One Night Campaign Design 'zine was published in July 2007.

This issue has a short actual play for a Savage Worlds Urban Fantasy game set in Ottowa (yes, I read Charles de Lint). It was a one-shot in a genre that I hope to get back to someday (probably with the Dresden Files RPG in the future).

I talk about railroading and constraints to players in the My Style article and The Privilege of the Sword by Ellen Kushner in What I'm Reading (I heartily recommend this book and plan on reading it again, soon), which ties with the Mannerpunk article quite nicely.

I also mention a webcomic, Wayfarer's Moon, which, amazingly after three years is still active (and I've yet to catch up on it). I finish off with an AD&D email game that I joined, giving my character's description (I think the game is now defunct).

On the whole, I believe this was a pretty good effort.

I have a couple of links for this issue that still work: Mannerpunk, Ellen Kushner and Everway RPG write-ups on Wikipedia, The Privilege of the Sword at Amazon and Ellen Kushner's Official Website, Gaslight Press: Official Everway Website (no recent updates), an Everway RPG Review, and info on Thematic RPGs (including Everway).

Saturday, September 4, 2010

[Savage Worlds] Urban Fantasy Game, Episode Final

MW returned with the last installment of the Urban Fantasy game. CM played Bruce Archer, a Troll of CS's PC Don Ling's acquaintance, IL ran the grave-touched Steve Smith, CB was Natasha Ambrosius the Urban Scholar, GM played Conroy Sutcliff, CR ran Phyllis Norg the Troll, and I was Nick English, Private Eye, who had for the past adventures explained away any fae or supernatural event by blaming high technologies or new electronic devices (most likely made by the Japanese). BB was unable to attend the game and has some scheduling conflicts for a few future games, so his PC teenage cat burglar Tom Steele was run as an NPC. Hopefully we'll see him back soon.

The night started out with a recap of the previous sessions. The group were returning home after a sci-fi con and ran into some Redcaps beating a homeless man. The man turned out to be an antique bookseller named Milo, who also was a "boon" or "gift" for the Winter Court from the Summer Court. Over the course of the next few days, the group fought some Redcaps, got shot at, tracked down and killed an assassin in a swank hotel, met up with a noble fae who wanted the "boon" in the Faerie lands, went into a bus tunnel and got attacked by gargoyles, found some clues about a disgraced house of Faerie and all around made trouble for themselves and others.

The session started with the PCs returning to Don Ling's domain and some guests awaited them. From the street, we saw the apartment lights on and people, most likely trolls, moving about. In a pincher move that went smashingly, we descended on the apartment and walked straight into the Queen of the Summer Court, waiting for us to chat.

Don Ling took remembered that the Queen had red hair and the woman he made a bargain with in the Fae lands was a blond. Realizing that he had made a really bad error, he waived the rest of the PCs off attacking to find out what was going on. Milo, it turned out, had been grabbed during the tunnel fight and replaced with an animated bundle of sticks. The blond Fae was well beyond our means to handle and the Queen offered to "keep her busy while you recover that which you lost!"

It wasn't really a request.

Nick walked up to the Queen and tossed her his business card - "Just in case you need a P.I. sometime, lady. I work cheap but get results." That got the rest of the PCs in a dither as one doesn't talk to the Summer Queen in such a manner but She smiled at him and took the card.

Bruce the Troll grabbed the stick Milo and said "let's beat him until he turns into a bundle of sticks!" Nick tried to stop him but got knocked out (and missed the transformation from human into sticks) but the rest of the group was "treated" to the screams of pain from stick boy as the troll's meaty fists smashed into him.

We trooped off to Wal-Mart and armed up, buying a variety of shotguns, flare guns and other tools (my PC managed to pick up a box of "Holy Cross" 9mm ammo for his Glock - +2 to damage against supernatural creatures - all for the price of a Bennie).

Entering the Fae lands through the Wal-Mart changing room mirror, we found ourselves outside an ancient house with a bunch of standing stones in the way. We battled Gargoyles all the way, fighting through them, until we made it to the house.

Kicking open the doors, we heard the sounds of dragons fighting (or having sex, we couldn't decide which) further in, so we ransacked the library. Through some clues, the group found the book that Milo had been transformed into and smashed a window to escape.

Nick, however, had other plans. Hanging back, he waited until the rest of the group had escaped via the window and then he went searching for the "dragons." In the ballroom of the house, he found them. The Summer Queen was fighting a dragon controlled by the blond Fae.

Nick saw the dragon as some sort of Japanese animatronic machine controled by the blond so he took a shot at her. Did really well, too, but somehow she had a force shield protecting her - probably another Japanese invention. She smiled and wagged her finger, "bad, bad boy" style, at him.

So Nick took a shot at the dragon. The first shot hit but didn't do any appreciable damage to the beast. Taking careful aim, he put his second shot right in the brain pan, killing it instantly. (In the combat, I had gotten the Joker that round, plus I rolled two aces to get a 17 to hit!).

MW said "Write Dragonslayer on your character sheet." Amusing since Nick explained away every single bit of the supernatural events of the game by any means possible - a dragonslayer who didn't believe in dragons!

Blowing off the smoke from his gun, Nick calmly turned around and said "Take that bitch to town, Red" and left the Summer Queen to her toils.

The session ended with the party back at Don Ling's apartment, walking through the front door to be met by the Summer Queen. We had dinner, Nick seated at her right and Don at her left, and what appeared to be the blond Fae as our waitress. CS tried to seduce the blond Fae but a series of rolls and bennies spent had Don waking up on his couch with a blinding headache and Nick with the blond in Don's bedroom!

A good time was had by all. Whether we return to the Urban Fantasy campaign remains to be seen. Figuring that we'd not get back to it, I had planned on Nick going out in a blaze of glory, totally expecting to be squashed like a bug - but coming out on top, with a dragonslayer reputation as well as becoming a favorite of the Summer Queen!

Friday, September 3, 2010

[Resources] Brandenburg Gate

Built between 1788 and 1791, the Brandenburg Gate is an enduring symbol of Germany and a damn cool edifice. Formerly a city gate, one of 18 around the city, the original construction from the 1730s was replaced with the current structure (which recently was refurbished in 2002) and it's the only remaining one in Berlin. It's got 5 passageways with six pairs of Doric columns, supporting a structure with a four-horse chariot driven by the Roman Goddess Victoria. The outermost passageways were where the commoners entered and exited the city, while the innermost central passage were reserved for royalty.

With over 200 years of history, including Napoleon capturing the chariot, Prussia taking it back, a symbol of Nazi Germany during WWII, and the Berlin Wall during the Cold War, and the fall of Communism, the Gate has a ton of possibilities for gaming, across all those years. And it's also useful in a fantasy setting because it's just so darn impressive.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

[Aftermath!] GURPS Operation Morpheus: Introduction

For September, I've decided to continue the break from the Aftermath! D.C. Campaign and write up some info on another past Aftermath! campaign. (Don't worry, I will get back to the D.C. Campaign.)

Aftermath! Module A1 Operation Morpheus: The Ruins of the University is a setting module, the first of two (A2 Sydney: The Wilderness Campaign is the second one), set in Australia about 100 years after the Ruin.

A super-flu named "The Scourge of God" ran rampant over the world, wiping out most of the population.
Australia was one of the last cohesive governments to fall and in the end, with the United States and the Soviet Union trading nukes to sterilize the planet, researchers sought a cure.

The remains of the USSR military might invaded Australia on a one-way ticket to grab the cure and Australian society collapsed in a frenzy of blood, disease and chaos.
In the midst of this madness, several Australian University compounds survived intact, even as their staff, students and faculty succumbed to the disease, because of early planning - the Universities were fortified with armed and automated defenses, fusion reactors were installed to provide power, and advanced robotics, including security robots, were installed.

The University of Sydney is one of these surviving university - empty of people but guarded by machines. A central IA defense computer, left to it's own devices and continuing the last orders given it by men long dead, is the tasked with keeping the campus secure - and it does so with a vengance. But it realizes that, eventually, the machines will fail without trained personnel to support it and it will fall to the rapacious survivors outside the walls.


But there is hope: a few years prior to the Ruin, a special program testing cryogenics for deep space exploration was implemented. Over three thousand people were frozen to test this technology. Could these pre-Ruin sleepers be the way Society rebuilds? Will the University rise again?

I ran two long GURPS Aftermath! Operation Morpheus campaigns in 2003 and 2004 for two different groups, one of which was the Corvis Monkey Troupe. I wrote up some of the sessions for the other group and will present them here but never managed to get much written on the CMT sessions. No matter, we had a good time playing.

I have a long history with Operation Morpheus. I've run the module nearly a dozen times and I am very familiar with it. At first, I ran it "as written" but never achieved any satisfactory game play - mainly because "as written" is very much like a dungeon crawl, but with very tough opponents, usually robotic security or building defenses, around every corner. Most of those campaigns ended in explosions and TPKs. I kept picking up the module, again and again, trying to get a good campaign going but it wasn't until I thought of putting the setting in the larger scheme of a community that I achieved what I consider one of the best campaigns I've run.

Placing the dungeon crawl nature of Operation Morpheus into a situation where the PCs have to work together for the greater good was all that was needed. Sure, there was a lot of conflict, sometimes with each other, sometimes with their hierarchy in the community, but it set a goal for the PCs to operate with - if they failed, then so did their community, if they succeeded, then tomorrow would have another challenge. It gave the players an opportunity to develop their characters through relationships with other survivors, not simply as a collection of high-tech equipment or special abilities.

I hope you enjoy these write-ups. I think that running these sessions improved my storytelling and provided my players with a rich and live world to interact in.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

[Auld Lang 'Zine] 1001+1 Nights, Issue #7

Issue #7, One Thousand and One Nights and One Night RPG Campaign Design 'zine

The lucky seventh issue of One Thousand and One Nights and One Night Campaign Design 'zine was published in the middle of June 2007.

I reported on Ziggurat Con in Iraq, talked a bit about miniatures (including a pic of one that my friend made in the article - the Pumpkin King for Warhammer 40K), and explained two rules variants - one using Far Side comics for Everway and another using GURPS to build your character as play progressed.

I didn't have any game notes for this issue, probably due to my heavy school schedule at the time.