Friday, March 4, 2016

Shadow of the Sea Lord - Interesting Things in Freeport

I was asked early on as I built my pre-gens for this game why I didn't give them the extra Interesting Things and money that the book suggests for characters starting after level 0. The money issue is because I will eventually re-equip the characters to fit the setting and the adventure and I don't see value in holding myself to a semi-arbitrary cash allotment. The Interesting things was an issue of wanting to create my own list just for Freeport. So here are 20 new Interesting Things for use with Freeport.
  1. A map of A'val and the surrounding islands, with notations in a strange unknown language.
  2. A tiny idol jade of the serpent god Yig.
  3. A strangely shaped key that can lock (but not unlock) any lock.
  4. An used up hand of glory.
  5. A collapsible spyglass that only functions if the user is standing on a ship.
  6. A palm sized box in the shape of a treasure chest that is twice as big on the inside.
  7. A tiny vial filled with a lick of flame from the Great Green Fire.
  8. A simple wooden mug that makes any beverage taste better.
  9. A power bag that never runs empty.
  10. A length (2 ft) of scaly green leather.
  11. A defaced and inactive yellow sign.
  12. A map of Freeport from 50 years ago.
  13. A writ for a crate of cargo, but the warehouse and contents are unreadable.
  14. An amulet in the shape of a leering skull that laughs when you kill something.
  15. A collection of splinters from every ship you have ever sailed on.
  16. A belaying pin made from dark black metal, that weights as much as balsam wood.
  17. A tricorn hat that never seems to fit right.
  18. An eyepatch that restores sight to the blind eye behind it.
  19. A large jewel that glows brightly under moonlight.
  20. A sealed glass ampule of an unknown alchemical substance that looks like tar.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Nuts & Bolts #69 - Third System's a Charm

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The longest running campaign I played in (not counting play by post games) was a Palladium Fantasy game during college. One of my best friends ran it, and us players had a good time finding treasure, slaying beasts, and rescuing damsels. My current group contains that same GM and one of the players (now his wife), but the game has changed. We've bounced around in recent years, playing a lot of different things, but when the topic of maybe taking a dip back in the old stomping grounds of Palladium once more came up I balked. 

Still love the setting, but I the system hasn't aged well, least not in my eyes. We tried to make a go of it anyway, but it didn't last long. The mechanics just ... didn't feel good in play anymore. We adapted to a low powered Mutants & Masterminds, and ran through a huge story arc like that, but that didn't feel right. Jump to recently. We're trying to decide what to play next, and the topic of running out the last arc of that most recent Palladium game came up again. I suggested that we jump into the Cypher System (ah ha welcome to the point of this ramble!).

Why did we choose the Cypher System? Well, for starters, adaptation of the PCs was quick and easy. We looked at the prior versions of our characters and the types were a clear fit. My wizard would become an adept (or a nano since we decided to use Numenera Types for the sake of the GMs familiarity), and his wife's martial artist Kiesa was an easy pick warrior/glaive. Descriptors took a little bit of effort, Alek was pretty wizardly, and ultimately I settled on Mystical since that seemed the best fit. Meanwhile Kiesa had been very "ninja-y" so Stealthy was an easy pick. 

Lastly we came to Foci, which was both easy and tough. Kiesa was an unarmed fighter and there are a few options like Needs No Weapons or Masters Wuxia, the latter of which was determined the better pick. For Alek I found myself turning once more to Casts Spells, a focus I am familiar with from playing in +James August Walls Ardeyn set Fantasy game. It may not be my first choice to replay the same focus, but it gives me a chance to make different choices for spells to have ready and accompanying spells and skills from the Nano type.

On the GM's side Cypher is also ideal to run. I've written before about why I like the system, including the diceless GMing, and I've even created new descriptors, foci, and even settings. My freind Jim Walls has even converted a Dungeon Crawl Classics adventure to Cypher System with little apparent effort. The setting makes being a GM easy, and gives GMs the tools needed to be quick on their feet and easily run games with as much, or as little, planning as desired.

What's my point here? Well, as I indicated above, I am finding that the Cypher System works really well as a "generic" RPG system to fit to other settings. Up until now if you wanted to use Cypher you were either playing Numenera, The Strange, something homebrew or something adapted. None of those are poor choices by any means, but the missing option there were original settings designed specifically for use with the Cypher System Rulebook. Missing until now that is...

The World's of the Cypher System Kickstarter campaign started this past Monday. I'm writing this on Sunday afternoon, but I am willing to wager that is it funded and probably has hit a couple stretch goals by the time this goes to post. I don't have any insight into the settings being offered that isn't public record at this point, but if Numenera and The Strange are any indication they will be interesting, different, compelling, and exciting. Best of all they'll be written up with all of the fun stuff in the CSR in mind. I'm pretty excited for these settings, most of all for Unmasked the dark supers setting. If you've got any interest in the Cypher System and this Kickstarter check out the campaign page, the Cypher Live interview we did two weeks ago, and look for an upcoming episode of Cypher Live where we dive into the new rules of the CSR in a little more detail. 

Monday, February 29, 2016

Story Seed - Poorly Laid Plans

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I got inspired by the Worlds of the Cypher System Kickstarter that started today, specifically by the Predation setting, and decided to write this. Dunno how close I hit (or miss) the mark, but ... I find the idea of a trio of intelligent utahraptors named after the Three Musketeers humorous at least.


When it comes to questionable decisions that will come back to haunt us, I will certainly not be surprised in the least if any of our actions here do. - excerpt from Dr. Entwhistle's journal


"Is this anything other than a bad idea?"

Miller nodded, "Sure, it's also really stupid."

Mandy laughed, "Valid, but we need that power core, so I think a stupidly bad idea is probably what we're stuck with." Miller nodded and checked the encampment again through his binocs. "Four sentries ... three anklos, and a t'rex right?"

"Yup." Miller sounded resigned, like the lopsided odds were just a thing, and not a thing they could change. He was right, of course. "This is one stupid bad idea, even if Trixie can take out their t'rex we don't have anything that can hurt an anklo, let alone three."

Mandy sighed, "That's why we won't even try. Athos, Porthos, and Aramis can easily outmaneuver the anklos, get in, get the power core, and get out. They're the best part of this stupidly bad idea." Behind her a trio of chittering hisses voiced their agreement. "And they know it, don't you boys? Yes, you do."

Miller laughed as the t'rex snorted loudly, silencing the three u-raptors. "I agree with Trixie, the Musketeers still have their work cut out for them." He sighed, "But, stupidly bad idea or not, we need that power core. OK. Everybody get into position, Trixie starts this show."

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Last Week Today - Week of February 22 - 28, 2016

Story Seed - Tabula Rasa

Nuts & Bolts - Recalls Past Lives (new Cypher System focus)

Shadow of the Sea Lord - Eren Auma


Did you watch Cypher Live last week? +James August Walls +Ryan Chaddock and I had a great conversation with +Shanna Germain +Charles Ryan and +Tammie Webb Ryan  from +Monte Cook Games to discuss their upcoming Kickstarter for Worlds of the Cypher System!