Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Games I did! Games I'm doing!

Sorry for the lack of blog action. My schedule has been packed lately, and after a long day of writing and editing, blogging falls by the wayside. My apologies.

What I wanted to talk about today is Recess, and the game I'm running there.

If you look at the list of games, you'll see right at the top "Night's Black Agents: The 80s Strike Back" - that would be the game I'm running on January 19th. Here's a more complete synopsis.

"The world yet again calls upon the saviors of mankind known as Wyld Stallyns to do what only they can -- which is save the world, dude. See, in the year 2113, a way heinous vampire has captured the phone booth and will use it to totally make the world lame and not-excellent. So, Bill S Preston Esquire and Ted "Theodore" Logan will have to assemble a team of heroes to travel to the days just before the vampire rises, the year 2013, and do all they can to stop this way bad thing from happening."

So, I can announce the possible player-characters:

  1. Bill S Preston Esquire
  2. Ted "Theodore" Logan
  3. Jack Burton
  4. Ellen Ripley
  5. Thomas Magnum
  6. Lee "Scarecrow" Stetson
  7. Amanda "Mrs King" King
  8. Jessica Fletcher
  9. Ben Matlock
  10. Debbie Mays * 
* A character of my own creation that I'm testing out.
That's January 19th. Details are here. And here

Now, to other business. Have you seen the Fate Core Kickstarter? It is CRAZY how that just churns right the hell along. I'm so proud to have a part in it and excited for all the authors and writers associated with it.

As the money count rose, stretch goals were unlocked. Several of those stretch goals are settings and adventures for Fate Core. I took a few out for a spin last week with my local group. 

1. Wild Blue by Brian Engard.This fusion of the western and superheroes was a HUGE hit. I mean a ridiculous hit, so much so that one of my players kept the same character (more or less) for the entirety of our gaming evening. In Wild Blue, the players are lawmen tasked with keeping the peace against forces empowered and otherwise that seek to make like difficult. Their job is both helped and harmed by the fact that a whole lot of people in this setting have super powers to one degree or another. 

My group decided (for once) to work together, and they had a relatively simply mission - stop a train robbery before the speeding train derailed and wiped out a town of orphans and grandmothers. Now in Wild  Blue, powers aren't just given out or bought with points...they come with a cost, the idea that you have powers but there exists some limitation or some other side effect which keeps that power in check. Like "I can lift a ton, but only up." or "I'm the fastest gun in the world, but I bleed easy." or "I can remember everything I've ever read, but don't always recall it right."

So my players, who are still adapting to the freedom of Fate gaming set off to stop this train robbery. Fortunately, they did, but not without first unionizing all the prostitutes they could find on board, and wondering if they had enough time to take the roof off one whole car and build riot shields. 

This is significant because this is the first time my players ever got through an entire game of ANYTHING without a) asking me how much experience they got for saving the day and b) not attacking first in combat. Big gold stars to all my players. 

From the Wild West, we went to the Great War with...

2. Kriegszeppelin Valkyrie by Clark Valentine. Set during World War 1, the players are fighter pilots ordered to defeat the hostile robotic forces of a mad scientist whose lair is in Mount Kilimanjaro. It gets described as "Battlestar Galactica meets World War 1", and while I've not seen enough BSG to comment, I can tell you this game is so much more than either an air combat exercise or a chance to see Edward James Olmos chew scenery. 

The game may come with a lot of pre-created options for aces and planes, but my players wanted their own spin on it, so one of them of course statted Snoopy, and another wanted a tri-wing plane. (I did have to prevent them from making a TIE fighter) Once they got in the air though, I watched players who don't normally take to a language-centric game (meaning you have to know the jargon and use it, rather than just roll dice and hope for high numbers) work both competitively and cooperatively (only narrowly saving each other at the last possible second, taunting their robot foes at every turn) and really....enjoy themselves.

With aspects like "Known for last minute heroics" and "Unknown heroic potential" how could they not? 

After trying to get Ernest Hemingway to join them on a victory-lap-turned-bombing-run, we moved onto our newest challenge...

3. The Tower of Serpents by Brennan Taylor. Okay, to understand this, we need to cover some background. For YEARS I have been trying to get my players away from only playing D&D 3 and 3.5 and ultimately to Dresden Files game. YEARS it's taken me to get them more comfortable with new systems and radical narrative concepts and then....and then Fate Core came out. 

And I wanted to streamline Dresden into Fate Core. Because, really, why not? 

So I took my biggest challenge in Dresden - the magic system - and wrote my own quickie version. And then I took this adventure and migrated it from the fantasy setting to where we were going to start our Dresden game, 1895 London (my players are notorious for avoiding the present day whenever possible). It took some geographic fiddling and some name changes, but watching 3 wizards and a lecherous old historian  trying to scale a tower while avoiding magical dangers and traps was sheer enjoyment. When else was I going to use the aspect "Proud sufferer of Foot in Mouth disease" ? Or watch them happily laugh and giggle when the badguys all descend on them, because for once they saw the trap coming and did NOTHING to plan for it? 

Okay, confession time. I'm biased towards all these projects. I edited them. I know their authors. I work with them. But there comes a time when you have to put that aside and just play with your friends around the table. Twitter hashtag #FateCoreGameNight was a huge success, and when another batch of Fate Core expansions comes my way, we'll do another, without question. 

If you aren't one of the 5,997 (at the time of this writing) backers for Fate Core, this is your chance. Spend $1 (seriously, a single buck) and get your hands on some of this stuff. You will NOT regret it. 

See some of you at Recess. We'll talk soon.

Happy writing, happy gaming.