Thursday, July 30, 2009

My "Settings": Epilogue

In more TVTropes-related news that nobody who reads this thing actually gives a crap about: It has been drawn to my attention that the entire "I Am Not Making This Up" entry has been deleted, complete with a discussion page that seems to be populated almost entirely by people who wear their pants on their head.

Naturally, in the meantime someone posted the following story to the completely unmoderated page I was making fun of last post:

Last night, (6/26-27/09) this troper dmed a 3.5 campaign set around finding and killing a great warlock bent on sapping the world of magic. On one adventure during the campaign, I had set the party off to finding and killing a large snake-like creature, so that the king of the dwarves within the city would give them passage through to the underground cave that was normally fit for royals to exit in case of immenant evacuation. Well, the party headed off to gain supplies at a store selling most everything needed for a good adventuring trip. It was over seven hundred words, good lord, I pasted this thing into Microsoft Word to do a word count and it nearly took up an entire A4 page, there is even an aside 100+ words long describing everything in terms of Super Smash Brothers, no seriously look:

...Coup de grâce on the creature, finishing it off in a super smash brother's smash attack combo like none has ever seen. To my mind it was like Having Marth on one side and Shiek on the other (the level being Final Destination) while Ike is doing Great Aether, Knuckle Joe and Smashing it, the hammer brothers are throwing hammers up at it at the same time and palkia and dialga are going back and forth slicing it, lynn strikes it and as Ike brings the creature down to the ground both Marth and Shiek release their attacks, a huge light arrow from one end and critical hit from the other, dealing so much damage and epicness that instead of the creature being shot off in some random direction while yelling "we're blasting off again!!!" *ding*, it just disappears in a puff of smoke and confetti Halo 3 style. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE.

My brain is now permanently damaged.

Of course, I am told that I would have to be brain damaged to come up with some of the settings I've run, which makes this only a 6 on the 1-10 Awkward Segue Scale.

I haven't mentioned a few settings yet - most of them, because they're not fleshed out, or even not mine (e.g.: Eberron, if I ever ran it). This post is dedicated to those, to let some people know what I am doing.

And if you scroll down, I tried 4th Edition!!

Chelsea Clinton High School

A few posts ago I mentioned I'd like to do ">Something set in some kind of unusual high school, because for some reason I've been pretty interested in that." And so I did!

Actually the game is called "BESMecha" by the players, because it's in BESM and has mecha. Normally naming a game when you're a player seems to be (at least when I'm the DM) some kind of weird gateway drug to composing "soundtracks" for the game to show off your "musical talent" and trying to make everyone listen to and comment on your retitled Guilty Gear vs. SNK songs that are vaguely thematic, but at this point I have digressed so hard that I am now going to have to go through several seasons worth of dimension-hopping and poor storylines just to get back to the original point, which was describing this game.

Short version: Far future. Humanity has spread into the rest of the Solar System (a prototype faster-than-light ship went to Alpha Centauri and never came back or established contact) and divided into three economic blocks:

  • Atlantic-Pacific Treaty Organization, pretty much the US + Canada + the UK + Australia + Japan + New Zealand, I guess.
  • the New European-Russian Union, aka the rest of Europe + Russia, and
  • the East Asian Alliance, which is fairly obvious.

...And a few other states fending for themselves nobody cares about. The point is, for some reason a bunch of kids have started to show strange psychic powers (generally telekinesis, telepathy etc.) and the government (in this case APTO) has decided to enrol a lot of them in a military high school on the Moon where they just happen to be able to get mecha.

Yes, it is fairly loose on the science.

So far it's doing pretty well, though there have been a few problems that usually stem from BESM being an easily breakable system (advice to all readers: openly considering giving your character permanent mind-control powers and then insisting you're joking usually goes down about as well as calling someone a "borderline dog molestor" and acting surprised when they're offended). Then again, the latest edition of BESM explicitly states that the rules rely on people using some damn common sense, so what the hell.


Another horrible name for a horrible game aw snap!

The M is for Magic! It's one of those "Modern setting only magic is real!!!1" things, which so far has been an excuse for whatever silliness I can come up with. So far the game has included

  • Lethacoatl, an Aztec god trapped under an ice cream store
  • Mad scientists who can make weather machines and spaceships that travel through dimensions but can't make money
  • A land of dreams guarded by a lawful/chaotic pair of gatekeepers who mostly pester each other
  • Kukulkan challenging the PCs to soccer
  • Internet wizards
  • Immortal pirate businessmen
  • Edward Lincoln riding a time-traveling wooly rhinoceros
  • The Yith as time-traveling energy beings devoted entirely to running temporal zoos, with preserving the space-time continuum as a secondary objective
  • A Roman firefighter ghost haunting a phone box
  • Isaac Newton founding an order of wizard-assassins
  • Extremely irritable Super Nintendo machines
  • Witches, wizards, warlocks and webcomic artists
  • Specifically, shapeshifting gorilla webcomic artists
  • Bunyips
  • An angel so small his occupation is sitting on shoulders and his "mighty steed" is an RC car
  • Fenrir is female
  • The Ghost of the Internet, a major villain despite the fact that he doesn't actually exist yet in-universe and little of his backstory is logically consistent
  • Aliens obsessed with disco

The PCs are a detective-wizard, a soccer player who gets his powers from Lethacoatl (whose remains he kept in a duffel bag), a myconid, and the first PC's NPC witch girlfriend's PC familiar.)

I love this genre, I really do.

4th Edition

Yep, I did it.

A bunch of IRL pals wanted to get into D&D, and I figured I'd break their tabletop virginity on 4th Edition. We're running Keep on the Shadowfell; right now we're in the middle of Irontooth's lair, which is a bitch of an encounter.

It's hard for me to give thoughts on 4E yet; I want to play it a little more, first. Also, this is really not the right group for qualitative playtesting. At the moment it consists of

  • A friend and veteran gamer playing a cleric of the Raven Queen to fill a player slot (doing a pretty good job)
  • An "Unaligned" human fighter who tends to assume everything works like a console RPG and is clearly into hack-and-slash with the minimum of talking
  • Another human, this one a rogue, who has at least played a bit of D&D before and whose only flaw is his character tends to insult people a lot and his player metagames
  • An openly evil tiefling warlock whose player assured me he can play evil well

So, er, yeah, going well.

The warlock has at least avoided the whole "kill! maim! burn!" chaotic-stupid way of playing Evil; most of any problems he causes stem from not thinking things through properly. Once I talked him out of "giving" a kobold minion he'd Intimidated into service to the village wizard, having it rob the wizard of his scrolls, and framing the rogue.

He's also the source of the comic; the adventure is set around the village of Winterhaven, which is having a kobold problem. The mayor is offering 100gp for the problem to be dealt with, though nobody had stated the price by the time the adventurers approached him. The book also mentions that the mayor has respect for "heroes" and not "treasure-hunters", which I took to mean he didn't like greedy people who seemed to be in it for the money.

Either way, though, it's generally a bad idea to play the "we're amazing adventurers and don't care about you enough to stay behind and stop you all dying unless you give us lots of money" extortion card against a farming village when you're level 1 and nobody has heard of you.

I'm not sure exactly what will happen when villagers start telling them how impressed they are with the PCs being modest and charitable enough to accept a lesser price, but it's going to be interesting.

That's all for this week. Next week, by popular demand: Planescape: Magical Girls!