Friday, April 8, 2016

One-Shot Preview

Earlier this week I ran a Cypher System mash-up of Die Hard and Harry Potter that I called "Witch Hard" you can watch the actual play on YouTube and check out my session plans on this week's Nuts & Bolts.

Witch Hard went pretty well all things considered, and I have to follow up with a similar One-Shot based on the only sequel to Die Hard that ever got made Die Hard with a Vengeance! (don't try to correct me or I'll start reminding you about that 4th Indiana Jones, or the Star Wars prequels...)

It's early days yet for this one but I have a concept and am starting to brainstorm ideas.



Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Nuts & Bolts #74 - Witch Hard

Last night I ran a game live on-air with a group of folks I have only limited and partial experience GMing for. You can watch the ensuing chaos here if you like. These are my rather meager notes for last night's game. Mostly its some character names with their cypher system "stats" and some other notes.

Dramatis Personae
  • The Heroes
    • Ellie, a Dishonorable Speaker who Negotiates Million Dollar Deals for Breakfast (Interprets the Law), played by +Darcy Ross 
    • Mark Kirkson, a Mystical Adept who Focuses Mind Over Matter, played by +Michael K 
    • Kai Yay, a Wierd Wizard (Adept) who Controls Beats, played by +Andrew Cady 
    • Nigel "Stinky" Fingerbottom, a Craven Adept who Rages, played y +D Shoe 
    • "Flash Bang", an Inquisitive Warrior who Fights with Panache, played by +Brie Sheldon 
    • Ophelia Storm, a Jovial Speaker who Never Says Die, played by +Bijaya Shrestha 
  • Allies
    • Argyle - level 2 house elf
    • Sir Albertus Powell, Sgt. at Arms - level 4 (as Mechanical Soldier)
    • Tagaki Yoshi - headmaster (no level provided because he's a plot device)
  • Antagonists
    • Hansel Gruber - level 5 witch
      • often uses "Severus Spoonus" spell "because it's dull, it'll hurt more"
    • Theodosius - level 5 occultist 
    • Karl der Wilde - level 4 werewolf
    • Karl's minions - all are level 2 Orcs initially, but come back as skeletons thereafter
      • Francus, Antony, Alexander, Marcus, Kristoff, Edvard, Uli, Heinrich, Fritz, Johan
  • school halloween party, PCs sneaked away from party to do ... something (ask a player) 
  • Gruber and his men attack party and round up students and staff
  • Theodosius is tasked with breaking into the headmaster's arcane vault (level 7)
    • vault contains Grabthar's Hammer
    • use "horror mode" as a timer to push play along?? (ed: see here)
I decided to give everybody 1 less than their capacity as part of an effort give me the freedom to dole some out in game and to create some degree of scarcity for a 1-shot. As it turns out I randomly rolled an arsenal ...

  • Ellie
    • a level 8 strength boost 
  • Flash Bang
    • Inferno wall (lvl 4)
  • Ophelia
    • Effort Enhancer (combat) (lvl 3)
  • Kai Yay
    • Detonation (singularity) (lvl 10) (good god have mercy!)
    • Ray emitter (mind disruption) (lvl 7)
  • Mark Kirkson
    • null field (lvl 5, acid)
    • adhesion (lvl 1)
  • Nigel "Stinky" Fingerbottom
    • Infiltrator (lvl 5)
    • Speed boost (lvl 3)

Other starting gear
Because I didn't want students at school laden down with weird stuff I decided that everybody got the following
  • Everybody gets a cell phone
  • Everybody gets a Wand (light weapon, short range, 2 pts from any pool you prefer to attack)
  • Everybody gets a school uniform
  • I'd deal with bonus equipment from Descriptors as needed.

And that's about it. I have some sketched maps that I could fall back on in need, and grabbed this one for the "main floor," but in my mind I really only knew that the classrooms were below the party, the dorms above, and at the top would be the headmaster's study and the vault. Beyond that I just knew I needed to push things along and keep the play moving fast and fun. 

Monday, April 4, 2016

Story Seed - Infiltration

Image Source:

"How's it going up there?" the voice of my hacker freind Melody asked in my ear. 

"Oh, it's just great. Quite the view from the top you know. Makes me get why the fat cats can ignore what happens down below; from up here it's almost beautiful."

"I meant how's the suit smartass," Melody replied. It was her stupid plan that had me doing my best Spiderman up the side of the AppleSoft corporate arcology. 

"Oh. Not bad. The electrostatics are working out just fine so far, though I think I know why the prototype was in storage, its discharging like nobody's business. I'm actually wondering if-"

"Yeah, OK, good," Melody cut me off like always. "You're about a hundred feet from the executive apartments level. Once you get there you should be able to see the air exchange exhausts."

I shook my head and started climbing again, "I remember the plan Mel, I'd not a dolt." When she didn't reply I just focused on my climb, trying to ignore the static discharges from the suit as I went. After about fifty feet I heard the whispered whirring of my team's drone swarm suddenly close on me. 

"Hold still, incoming security swarm." Mel's voice cut out as she killed the comms line. I froze, the swarm surrounding me were now operating on a semi-autonomous AI. They hovered near me and waited, and I did my best to hang in there. The heavy droning hum of the corp's security swarm grew louder as the grew close. I tongued the helmet switch to activate the active camouflage and held very, very still. 

The security swarm keyed in on the Mel's little drones and the AI did what it was meant to and sent the swarm scurrying away as fast as possible. The security swarm broke up, each unit trailing one of ours and leaving me hanging on the side of the arcology alone in a sudden quiet. I breathed my relief but gave it an extra hundred count before I started again. With luck the next time security posed a problem I'd be inside the building. 

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Last Week Today - Week of March 28 - April 3, 2016

Story Seed - Lakini's Origins

Nuts & Bolts - Hacking the Cypher System Part 1: Horror Mode

April Fools 


A new CypherCaster Magazine is now available! I've got an essay about making the cypher limits feel more integrated into your games. Please check it out and if you would write a review and let us know how we're doing.