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Posts tagged “TableTop

Kitacon Quest – DMing 101 The Panel

On Saturday the 19th of August at 20:00 I will be giving my second panel ever. Considerably less interesting than doing my first, but still kind of a huge deal from where I’m sat. I fully intended to bring back my confidence building panel with some rather necessary improvements, I can’t claim to have been all that organised, but sadly someone seems to have beaten me to the punch as I was declined on the grounds that someone had submitted a very similar panel before I got to it. Not to worry, I always have a fallback: (more…)


Dungeon Master Lego

As a DM, you need to be able to set scenes by using mostly words. Sometimes you might draw a map that you can slowly reveal to the player and some of them might be quite complex, but sadly only 2D. It is possible to build actual 3D models of your maps, which has become a bit easier with the Dwarven Forge pieces that you can piece together however you like, similar to Lego. However, dear RPG players of the world, how awesome would it be if you could actually use Lego?

Well I must admit that I lost interest in Lego some time ago; I think they departed from their core mechanic in favour of cashing in on things like Star Wars, Batman and Minecraft. I thought it would take something drastic, (like having children,) to make me actually need to or even want to buy Lego again. But it appears while I have been ignoring them, Lego have taken on a fan’s idea to make Role Play flavoured lego. A user, going by the name of Ymarilego, submitted their proposal for a Dungeon Master lego set back in January 2017. By January 25th, they already had 100 people supporting it. Somehow this idea blew up on the internet and the idea reached it’s minimum of 10,000 supporters on 22nd Feb.

What this means is that Lego are actually now going to take this idea seriously, by pushing it through their internal review process, which I am sure is based around the sellability and cost of producing the actual pieces themselves. It is in the hands of the so called Lego Gods right now, so all we can do is hope that they make the decision to go ahead and build it.

From what we have seen of the proposal, it looks like that the set will include a few base player characters and some of the more regular monsters as mini-figs. Then the set is broken down into individual squares that you can mix and match or replace the contents of. There looks to be dungeon, as well as building-flavoured blocks, and a hint at some lava based blocks. The additional proposal is to add on some mine cart functionality which sounds like a great little add. For some this may bring somewhat of a cute factor to battling some serious enemies which may or may not appeal to DM’s. I rather like the idea of having many more component parts to build my maps from. Again some may argue that a decent DM does not need physical maps; and I would argue that at times it is absolutely necessary.

We asked our resident RPG expert Joel what he thought of the proposals.

Freedom of Expression

It’s about damn time Lego got together with RP, it’s just a shame it took a fan on the outside to start the ball rolling. One of the pillars of Lego’s popularity is the freedom to create whatever you like from the glorious universal pieces, and in the way they have embraced every genre and collected intellectual properties to give us the rather non-metaphorical building blocks to bring our imagination into the real world.

Roleplay does the same, the numbers become the building blocks, a means to drive imagination, create structure that can help bring our ideas to life and share them with friends. Physical props have always helped make manifest our brilliant ideas, our handcrafted worlds and bring our players deep into our narrative. Well now we can really handcraft those worlds!

Chris mentioned Dwarven Forge because they produce some of the best scenery for tabletop on the market, and their range keeps getting better and more versatile, but you’re still stuck with their own (stunningly beautiful) set pieces that can be moved around. They’re elegantly sculpted and beautifully painted but rather lash you to a theme, fixed paths and immovable scenery components. This project could bust those options wide open. Don’t like a wall? It’s gone. Path too wide? Narrow it. Not in a mine? Don’t be! The Lego Gods would be fools not to seize upon a market yearning for this level of freedom.

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Ok, so you can just buy Lego. There are fantasy kits out there, and they’ve recently brought back the basic bricks in a big way, but we don’t really want to make knights with chainsaws and go-carts (Nexo Knights, what exactly is going on there?) or caverns that change colour every five foot. We also need some dedicated stuff for creating our characters that can be pretty expensive to bring together in a custom mini-figure. I’ve yet to see a well made Lego beholder.

Chris is right when he says a good DM doesn’t need a physical representation for what they’re trying to create, but that doesn’t stop us from wanting it. The market demands, and Lego have given it a new channel through which to demand in very specific terms. If Dungeon Masters are the market in this particular instance then let us speak clearly, we have wanted to play with Lego while role playing for years – hells, I’ve tried to make a set myself with the Digital Designer – because physical representations can make the world feel more real and immerse you further into it, even if it’s population can only move at right angles and have weird yellow claw hands.

Final Thoughts

Fellow geeks, I cannot stress enough how much I want to see this come to fruition. Tell your friends, tell your neighbours, tell your parents. Get everyone you know to go through a very short sign up process and go and vote on this set. Don’t think about it, just make it happen.


My DMing Bucket List

One of my favourite discoveries of recent months, the works of Creighton Broadhurst and his group Raging Swan Press have served as an inspiration and a great resource for me to call on in the quiet moments where ideas are running short and just need to be given a push until momentum takes over.

As it stands I am not short of ideas, but after spotting this headline I’m prepared to push a few planned articles back a week. Creighton‘s list and mine will differ quite radically though, I’m not so interested in running famous dungeons or campaigns, while I sit and peruse some of the classics from time to time I’m a firm believer in finding my own style and adjusting as I play, rather than finding someone else’s style and adapting it to my own, and after ten years and forty articles I’d like to think I know my style at this point. (more…)


e-Collectica Games Day 2016

The thing about a town like Shrewsbury is that it would take you a full lifetime to uncover every corner, unveil every hidden gem. There are alleys off alleys, doors you could walk past a thousand times and never notice, and amongst them are some of the venues e-Collectica have used for their Games Days. The hall upstairs from a church, a hall hidden behind some shop fronts, and most recently the Darwin Community Centre, a little hall just outside of the town centre that’s innocuously concealed behind two gates and a fairly blank looking door, and a faded sign. About the biggest marker on the place is the Pokestop… or maybe the guy stood in the gate on Google Streetview?

When I led this commenting on hidden gems, I was absolutely talking about the Darwin Community Centre. As tucked away as it might be, that place has everything a bunch of enthusiastic gamers could want! Tables!

 

But seriously, there were a few issues in the build up to Games Day, namely a few of the staff being unable to attend due to illness or other engagements; this put some of the schedule out, but it didn’t stop people from enjoying themselves. People arrived and delved straight into the library of demo games, a few people brought new things to try, including guests from the Ministry of Gentlemanly Warfare presenting historical skirmish games.

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I had the chance to field a playtest of a little something I’m working on for something bigger: Six Goblins in an Overcoat. Players take the role of one of six goblins doing their best to present themselves as a single normal human trying to navigate a human town and break into a cat orphanage to get at the tasty, tasty cats inside. It was short but sweet, brilliantly chaotic, limbs were abandoned, swapped, badly coordinated, and I think it could go somewhere with a few more experiments. Anyone who’s in, just say the word…

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And of course the day would be woefully incomplete without the raffle. It’s nice to hold a ticket that could win me something other than a bottle of wine, a pack of chocolates, or some ornament that’ll end up a Christmas present for someone who likes that sort of thing. A bag of dice for the first ticket, followed by Dobble, and finishing out with Back to the Future, which I did not think had a board game… the more you know.

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Finally, the most important news from this Games Day, that there will be another. It was starting to look doubtful, but the venue and the people just made for a much better time, and more importantly a much longer time. Every event so far has had to shut down by 17:00, we squeezed an extra couple of gaming hours into the evening and made full use of every minute, we were still fighting for Tokyo right up until the last call.

There is no fixed date for the next event, but keep an eye on e-Collectica’s Facebook page, or just stay with us on GeekOut South-West, you know I’ll be all over it.


Top 10 – Rituals

It starts with an incantation, sometimes followed with some sophisticated dance. Often requiring some form of reagents, other times it requires sacrifice, we can only be on about one of the most complex types of magics. A mix between pure voodoo, religion and powerful forces unseen in the physical realm, today we’re delving deep in the world of rituals.

To lay some ground rules down for this, a ritual can be anything involving some complex mantra, activity or set-up. It can be easy enough to understand in principle, so long as there’s a reason behind the simplicity, these are rituals which have been prominently displayed in a series, a franchise, or even just as a one off in an episode. It also can feature in a video game, an RPG or otherwise.


Top 10

10) The Rite of Ash’Kente – Discworld

Click for original artist Puggdogg

Click for original artist Puggdogg

Not even the wizards of Unseen University know everything, but they do know a way to contact someone who does. It’s very inconvenient to drag Death from his eternal duties whenever you need an urgent question answered like “What’s that massive new star that keeps getting bigger?” or “What the hell just happened?” and He regularly appears in a bad mood, on one notable occasion still holding the pineapple-cheese stick from the party He’d just been abducted from.

Death is of course subject to wandering off and leaving His family to do THE DUTY, and they also take His place in the circle should the Rite be performed. There are many ways Ash’Kente can be conducted, many of which involve something dying and therefore summon Death by default. The most basic method requires three sticks and 4cc of mouse blood or an egg, but is often dressed up with dribbly candles and octagrams, for the look of the thing.

9) Eidolon Extraction & Cleyra’s Protective Dance – Final Fantasy IX

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Final Fantasy IX, or FF9 as many people know of it, is one of those games that I talk about a lot. Sorry, not sorry. However in this particular instance, it’s worth noting that the game has many different rituals scattered throughout. These are just two of the main ones that affect the game in huge ways:

The Eidolon Extraction ritual is conducted by Zorn and Thorn, the two court jesters to Queen Brahne (and later working for Kuja). They do this to extract the power of the Eidolon’s so their masters can use the power of these beings to wage war across Gaia. They are successful at first, by taking away Princess Garnet’s Eidolons right at the start of the game. They try this at a later point in the game, too.

Cleyra is a settlement of the rat-people, the same species as one of the main protagonists, Freya Crescent. Cleyra is surrounded by an ancient sand storm which keeps their peaceful town safe from all outsiders. To keep the sand storm safe, occasionally they must perform a sacred dance, with music played from their harp. If the sand storm were to disappear, they would be open for attack and thus… war. See how these are all linked, now?

8) Anveena’s Sacrifice – World of Warcraft

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I’d not like to go into too much detail with this one, but this is a condensed version of what this is about. She’s a manifestation of pure energy and was captured and corrupted by Kil’Jaeden’s minions. With the energy of Sunwell Plateau captured and their intent of using all of her existing life force to summon Kil’Jaeden himself into Azeroth via a portal that she would be opening with her own power.

However, true to all heroic characters form, she snaps out of it and she was almost too late. She’s already opened the portal and the humongous demon Kil’Jaeden was already on his way through it. When she realises this, she uses the last of her strength and powers to make the ultimate sacrifice. She seals the portal around his torso, allowing the heroes of Azeroth to unite against this serious danger to their planet. So in short, Anveena both summons and weakens Kil’Jaeden, allowing Azeroth to hold off from disaster and even prevent it… Until Legion happened but we’ll have to wait and see what dangers from the Burning Legion this presents.

7) Summoning Exodia – YuGiOh

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The theory – In order to summon the great Forbidden One you must gather his parts, head and body, and each chained limb. With his entire collection before you he is made whole and you automatically win the game.

The practice – Decks are basically built so that you can do a short series of delay tactics, all while ensuring that the parts come to you quickly and easily so that you slam the lot down on the table and claim a weak victory that no one enjoys.

So far as instant-wins in card games go it’s got a rather nice theory behind it, but sadly Exodia can be readily exploited. If you’re looking for a more interesting instant win then look up M:tG’s Hedron Alignment for something requiring a bit more effort. If you want an enjoyable experience with Exodia it’s readily found in the Abridged Series.

6) Rary’s Telepathic Bond – Dungeons & Dragons Wizard Ritual

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Oh did we ever have some choices here. Amongst the catalogue of spells for all classes and all occasions in the D&D rulebooks, the magic mouths, the unseen servants and floating disks we eventually settled on one that any right minded wizard would have prepped and ready to go every damn day. You see only a right minded wizard should be allowed to do all of the planning and tactical decision making, these stick-waving imbeciles in metal underpants don’t have a clue!

What better way to make your thoughts known (and only amongst your allies) than to have them implanted directly into their minds? The Telepathic Bond allows for immediate mental communication between a full party anywhere in the world (other planes may incur roaming charges) to swiftly and accurately allow the wizard to share his/her ingenious insights into the situation, and to have those insights ignored more profoundly than ever before. A must have for anyone level 10 or above.

5) Summoning Shenron – DragonBall

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Ah yes, summoning Shenron himself can be considered to be a type of ritual. When you think about what a ritual is, it’s something that should be quite hard to obtain, perhaps because of time constraints, perhaps due to resource, or perhaps due to rarity of the objects being used. When you think of it like this, Shenron is in fact a ritual – but how does one simply summon a dragon that will grant you a wish?

You have to go across the Earth and collect all of the DragonBalls. I mean later on, they go off Earth and go to places like Namek and if you count DragonBall GT as canon, then across the freakin’ universe to summon a Dragon. Once you’ve collected all of the DragonBalls, you then have to say an incantation to summon the great and powerful dragon. Only then will you have satisfied the criteria to unleash this massive all-powerful being. I’d wish for unlimited wishes.

4) Human Sacrifice – Goat Simulator

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All shall kneel before Goat.

These days it’s fairly common knowledge that Coffee Stain Studios is built downhill from a ritual circle devoted to the great Hellgoat, whose powers are terrible, and whose physics are all kinds of broke. How else could such a success be made of a dumb little simulator game that doesn’t even work properly? But to activate the power yourself you must first have corpses, delicious corpses to feed the circle!

The most basic setting for Goat Simulator features some of the most interesting locales, like the gravity pit, the skate park, and the Tower, and within each are terrible secrets, but none require such devotion to activate as the circle. Oh sure, you could summon a bunch of lesser goats and do it, but where’s the fun when you could just snatch up the bodies of the screaming and insignificant peasantry to feed your unnatural hunger for power? Goats man, I’m telling you, they’re evil.

3) C’Thulhu Fhtagn – Lovecraft

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Between the dates of March 23  and April 2 every year, those who consider themselves particularly “psychically hypersensitive” and those of a particularly artistic disposition are visited by feverish dreams of sunken cities, ancient temples, and the slumbering gods who wait there. During the investigations of Inspector LeGrasse into related phenomena and the shocking similarities to the bas-reliefs and idols worshipped by disparate cults across the world he is shown a wide variety of nightmarish worship of elder and unworldly things.

Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn

It’s a phrase uttered on degenerate tongues, a fallen band of New Orleans voodoo priests, devil worshipping Esquimaux, in the hasty scribbles of mad artists and the most impassioned verses of drug-addled poets. Those who worship the idols and keep Its name alive are known to practice terrible rituals of blood, and they’re not alone. The people-smugglers of Red Hook demonstrate similar necromantic rites before a squat demonic entity in deep cellars, and in forgotten times the ancient de la Poer family ancestry sacrificed humans in terrible volumes.

2) The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion

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This is a stretch, but bare with us on this one. Oblivion is a game about the whole game leading up to the climactic moment when the big baddy comes out and you fight it off. So far, so standard. But I want you to seriously think for a moment here and let us know what you think in the comments as well. The Elder Scrolls IV is about the summoning of the Daedric Prince of Destruction, Mehrunes Dagon.

Now that’s pretty cool and the game was universally praised (Even with the silliness of some of the glitches and voice issues that characters had)… However, if the whole game was about the summoning of Mehrunes Dagon, then how? Why? Do you remember those portals scattered across Cyrodil? Yes, you’re absolutely right… The whole game was actually a giant ritual to summon the Daedric Prince himself. You’re literally fighting against a massive demonic ritual… And when you stop to think about it, that’s kind of awesome!

1) Nationwide Transmutation Circle – Fullmetal Alchemist

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SPOILERS: Be warned, if you’ve not watched all of Fullmetal Alchemist and fully intend to, then this is a bit spoiler-y. You have been forewarned.

So it turns out the entire nation, the entire place the series is set in, all of it… Was a great big transmutation circle. A massively forbidden one which would see all that was within the circle destroyed. This was something that was put together by the government of the series, much to the chagrin of all of the protagonists. This was a group they had served (although somewhat unwillingly from Edward Elrics case) – and if this transmutation circle was triggered, it would see the destruction of all life within Amestris.

Why on Earth would anybody want to make this massive underground tunnel based transmutation circle, I hear you cry out? Why, of course, it was put together not because they wanted to eradicate life per se, but instead to create a massive, all powerful philosophers stone for the original Homunculus, Father. This was the ultimate plan for the Homunculi throughout… And when you think about a political power having someone that corrupt in charge, it’s enough to make you cringe.


Honourable Mentions

Rituals are one thing, but magic is a realm of almost unlimited possibilities. Although these next two didn’t quite make the cut for our Top 10 list, we felt they needed to at the very least be mentioned. After all, it’s not every day that you get to see powers like these…

Dice Superstitions

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We are creatures of habit and bizarre superstitions. For all that geeks tend towards logic and reason we also tend to observe patterns rather quickly, especially when it comes to dice. We all have that one dice that you can never ever use because it’s cursed, or a particular bag that’s lucky to keep dice in, one person at the table who can never roll a decent number until there’s some obscurely dramatic moment where they get that impossible critical.

Dice, cards, lucky controllers and mouse-mats, little habits and tics like not looking when you roll or stacking them up. We know it doesn’t make a difference, we know that they’re basically all the same, but… it is different, somehow, it’s yours and it’s special in its own way, and we hang on to them… almost ritualistically.

Rituals

Rituals

If I were to be very honest with you, the reason we picked this for our honourable mentions is because it’s literally called Rituals. We were running out of ideas at first, but when I saw this title, I decided to have a read through and you know what? It sounds pretty interesting. It’s something I’m going to pick up and do a full review on.

Rituals is a game about exploration and the eery connection between civilisation and nature. It looks like it’s quite a short game, but it’s certainly intriguing enough to make me want to get it, play it, record it and share it with you all… But what do you think? Let us know if you’ve played this in the comments below.


Incantations finished, our reagents are expended. That’s it, we’re done, we’ve used up our surplus of supplies and the demand for our next list is just coming through. Sheesh, but we’re spent for this week, so now it’s over to all of you. Help us decide what we do for next weeks’ Top 10 list. You can bet we can conjure up something great from any of the below choices.

Abra kadabra! Hey ho, it looks like we’ve gotten to the end of our ritualistic list of enchanting words and imagery. Nevermind, that’s just the end of the list, but it needn’t be the end of the discussions. How did we do on our list of rituals? Do you think we got the best ones, or did we miss that important ritual in your life? As always, please remember to leave us a message in the comments below, or over on Facebook, Twitter or Reddit.


DMing 101 – Lies 2: Duplicity

 

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Deception is rarely fun for everyone concerned. Ok, so the longer you can keep the grand reveal from your group the more incredible it may be, but in between there’s a long stretch of frustration because people prefer to know things than be kept in the dark.

Ah, but when someone is in on it, then things get more interesting. Bringing someone into the fold makes for an interesting dynamic, pitches the group against one another in the best possible way, and can make for a few rather interesting story moments that will leave your group exchanging dirty looks at one another for years to come. (more…)


DMing 101 – Random Encounter Tables

DMing101

It’s been a long time…

There’s no point in orchestrating every little event in the world, it’s a lot of work for next to no reward, but if every little event is pure storyline then your world becomes bland and featureless. You can fill the quiet moments with quick little scenes and randomly determined vignettes, it’s a classic method of space-filling and a great opportunity to breathe life into your campaign. (more…)


Playing an RPG character beyond your limits

Hello people. I wanted to write this piece for a few reasons and yes one of which was just to prove that I was not just a one trick review pony. Through the course of last year Joel wrote a few pieces on Dungeons and Dragons (D&D), and I thought I would tell you about my experience with Role Playing Games (RPG’s).


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A DM’s Tale

Today one of my oldest gaming friends left town, and it looks like he’ll be gone for a long time.

This is a friend who I have spent the last fourteen years casually talking to about games, films, philosophy, one of the people who got me into Warhammer, and one of my favourite D&D players. Here is someone who became a verb, one that will stay with us for many years to come as new players come and go, and to openly mock and criticize one another over poor behaviour in games. (more…)


eCollectica Games Day and 9th Birthday

I’m busy writing the most elaborate one-shot game I’ve ever made, using D&D 5th edition as my basic format. In keeping with the season I’m going for a horror theme with a shamelessly childish twist, but I take pride in my work! No matter how childish my source material I’m working hard to keep it as traumatising as possible. When I play for fear, I go for the throat, and everything I can bring in to build atmosphere I will be using. It’s the kind of work I only put into an event-grade game.

2576159-jabberwocky1e-Collectica Games Day is upon us, and we’re pulling out all the stops. Along with a battery of new and old games including some Star Wars X-Wing and Armada, it’ll also see the return of Viking Tomato, the ever popular fruit and vegetable based roleplay based on Quotes from the Tabletop‘s very own Mike/Bassios.

More importantly, if this games day goes well, then next year the event can get even bigger! There are speculations on taking the 9:30 – 4:30 event into the evening, and at next the next birthday party – the big 1-0 – even a mini-cosplay competition.

This is how bigger events are born, they grow from the support of the good people like you. People are coming from all over the country for this so if you’re anywhere in or near Shropshire, come down and join us. There’s still time before Saturday to get your ticket for £2.50, unless you want to pay the full £3 on the door, hey we don’t mind. Games start at 9:30 in the Morris Hall on Bellstone.

Anyway, enough of this shameless advertising. Back to work…