The castle is being over-run; the King has been Usurped and the town is crawling with the enemy; Imperial troops have entered the base, or the undead have broken through the walls. It is time to use discretion, the better of Valor, and live to fight another day. In an RPG getting players to flee overmatched fights is hard to do, but when presented with an overwhelming force they may decide it’s time to fall back. In this Set Piece, I will discuss how to run a fun encounter where the heroes are on the back foot.
The Players are forced to flee overwhelming odds. This kind of idea requires some setup. As a GM you can spell out the scene. The army arrives and your forces are falling there is no way you alone can stem the tide. This scene could follow an epic Hold the Line type fight that failed or could just be the result of events the players had no hand in. Try not to be rail-roady; if the players wish to fight to the end you should let them. Just don’t let up on them. This should lead to a captured or imprisoned set-piece or maybe just player death.
The mood could be utter chaos and fear or it could be composure in the face of adversity it really depends on how the players play things. Do they give orders? Do they calm the hysterical? Or do they find a shadow to sneak in towards a hidden way out of the city? Take your cues from them. Show the effect they are having on the people around them with their fearless demeanor, or show the chaos and death occurring as they run away. If they choose the latter route you don’t have to punish them. Maybe show others trying to lead and get swarmed by the fearful mob, or cut down by a defector or the enemy. Sometimes making whatever decision they choose seems like the right decision after-the-fact makes for a more enjoyable role-playing experience. Continue reading “Set Piece: Fly You Fools”→
This a tough questions because memories fade. What was impactful for me years ago may not seem all that impactful anymore. However, something that happened 3 sessions ago may still resinate with me. Well with GenCon approaching this year I still remember the best session I had last year:
Last year at GenCon I played in my first LARP game. It was sci-fi themed. Basically a group of us, just over a dozen I think, ended up on a starship stranded in space. Rescue was weeks out and life support wouldn’t last near that long. A classic Sci-fi scenario.
I’d never LARPed before but going in I decided I was going to give it my all. I embraced my character and played it full tilt. I was a guy with something to live for. Not a heroic or brave guy, but someone who had a family back home I supported and a very sick kid who needed my help.
As tensions rose on the ship and the inevitable was discovered, (most of us had to die so at least 2 of us could live) I didn’t take things well. As everyone resigned themselves to their fate I was the decerning voice. I was not one of the ones chosen to live. A couple people were more important, the fate of worlds rested in their hands. What did I care for worlds though; my world, my family, rested in my hands. Inevitably the decision was stolen from me by the actions of a few of the crew and I had to accept my fate.
It was an intense role-playing session but a hell of a lot of fun. A few of us from the game gathered at a bar afterward and drank till the wee hours of the morning, decompressing and reveling in the shared experience.
Which RPG Cover best Captures the Spirit of the Game?
Well, I would have to say that has to be the cover for Tales from the Loop. With the beautiful art from Simon Stålenhag. This is kind of a cheat because Simon Stålenhag’s art is what inspired the RPG in the first place, his art IS the Spirit of the Game.
Regardless the cover is a beautiful piece that conveys the idea of wonder and adventure from the eyes of children, in a setting of futuristic past. The art throughout the book is great and you can read more on my impressions of the actual game in my Fan Friday Post.
Which RPG have you played the most since August 2016?
This was actually a tough one; at first blush. I have played Roughly the Same number of sessions of Gods of the Fall, Achtung: Cthulhu, and a Cypher System game set in FFG’s Android Universe. Then I realized that Gods of the Fall just a setting for the Cypher System.
So the answer is Monte Cook Games’ Cypher System. The rules are fun versatile and easily adaptable to whatever setting you want to create. I have thought of many games I could easily run using this system. Heck, last August I quickly threw together a Warhammer Fantasy Cypher game to run at GenCon with my old Warhammer buddies. We had Bright Wizards, Slayers, Witch Hunters, and Priests of Sigmar battling the Skaven horde in no time… And it was Glorious.
It will be interesting to see if Cypher maintains this place as most played next year as Modiphius is calling to me with their great offerings and I am discovering the joys of PbtA games. Still, however, Predation just came out and I’d love to get into a game of it.
Well, I usually find out about a lot of new RPGs through social media and browsing Kickstarter. But lately, the place that has introduced me to new (to me) RPGs in the most meaningful way is a YouTube and Twitch program called RollPlay by @itmeJP.
This is a hard question there are so many cool RPGs out there all genres are represented. I would have said one that combines tech and cool dinosaurs like a childhood favorite of mine Dino Riders, but along comes MCG’s Predation so I have that now. What are we missing? A StarGate PRG? No that exists.. a Narrative Pirate game, nope John Wick has us covered? A teenage monster dating sim? Monsterhearts 2 is already here. It is hard to come up with a concept that isn’t already out there.
Well, there is one… The one I’ve been thinking about for some time. In the mid 90’s I picked up a computer game at a local mom and pop software store that proceeded to suck away hours of my life. In the game, I ran an organization and recruited named and controlled squads of soldiers as we desperately tried to thwart an oncoming Alien Invasion. That game was X-Com UFO Defense.
Ever since playing that game I thought of how cool it would be to play an RPG game based off of it. You played the soldiers but also took part in base building ala Mutant: Year Zero dealt with research and deciding what missions you wanted to go on. The game doesn’t have to be about tactile combat like the video game, in fact, I would prefer it not to be. I instead envision a game with cinematic battles with aliens. The game is about the soldiers the relationships they form, the sacrifices they make, the risks they take, and ones they leave behind.
Sure there are Alien invasion RPGs but none I’ve found that center on the members of an organization trying to fight back.
I’ve actually thought of trying to make this game myself. Hacking the Cypher System and using rule structures stolen from Mutant: Year Zero, I even started writing a few outlines but I never got too far before I was pulled elsewhere. But still, I’d love to see someone make a valiant try at an X-COM RPG. If something like this already exists. Please let me know.
So this is a thing the folks at PRGBrigade put out. It seemed like a fun exercise to try. This is different from my normal blog posts, most of these will be shorter, but it will be more frequent. I hope you enjoy my answers please feel free to give your own opinion.
So Day 1 What published RPG do you wish you were playing right now?
Coriolis is a Science Fiction RPG taking place in the galaxy of the Third Horizon. It is described as Firefly meets Arabian Knights. The universe seems rather cool and rich in ideas. It is a setting where the gods (ICONs) are thought by most to be real and they are prayed to often. It is a world that is a bit gritty and lived in and has a wondrous but also scary and depraved view. It’s more a dystopian future but not everything is bad. This is a space game where there aren’t large fleets, massive armies, a big bad enemy, or an oppressive empire to overcome. Instead, you are just trying to make your way and survive. You can be a hauling crew, a bounty hunting crew, a salvage crew, you name it the options only limited by the ideas at the table.
It’s an interesting take on this type of sci-fi a new sand box to play in, with rules I really like. Coriolis is built on the back on the Mutant: Year Zero engine. But much like Tales from the Loop modified them to create a very Narrative game in the 80’s that never was, Coriolis makes great changes to the core to make a gritty sci-fi game with just the right amount of crunch.
I’m particularly impressed with the ship combat rules. In Coriolis space ship combat is not something that happens with fleets against fleets anymore there are not that many ships around. Instead, it is more cloak and dagger affairs as you second guess your adversaries plan to out maneuver them. It is more like old school submarine combat. Hunt for Red October style. It seems to play our more like combat in the Expanse or Honor Harrington than something like Star Wars or Star Trek. Intense and interesting with rules that make sure everyone on the ship as a meaningful role.
I’ve not had the pleasure of playing in a game of Coriolis just yet or even running one (if I had I would or already wrote a Fan Friday about this game yet) but I really hope I can find the time to find a game to play in in the near future.