Sunday 30 April 2023

Get me Spider-Man, she said.

I wanna play.

That's it: I wanna play now. I want to play an RPG right away!

I am busy I am an adult. I do not have time for anything!

Zak S

I dunno if it's an ADHD thing, or if it's a "we all live in a country at war and last year we stopped playing and went into a bomb shelter because the alarm sounded", or if Zak is just right about what he says. 

But that's exactly how I often feel. 

Like today I had no plan, no books, no adventures to give to my players. We just agreed that they're agents of SHIELD and it's Marvel universe and let's pick the simplest way to write down your characters and play

So they are a dysfunctional team of spies, and Maria Hill wants them to recruit Spider-Man yesterday. 

Can we burn down New York City, m'am? 

And Hill says, I want Spider-Man and I don't care how you get him to me, but if you burn something or kill someone you'll answer because I don't even know you. 

And one of the spies has her memory all busted and she doesn't remember her teammates if she's separated from them for a couple hours, but she pretends to have memorized the whole Domino's menu and just makes up pizza names because she can't blow her cover. 

And the other spy runs into a burning building and suddenly remembers that he's taken some samples from Peter Parker's chemistry set, and tells the others "If I die, give the money from my jacket to the Director - the samples are on the banknotes". Then he runs into the fire. 

And the third spy looks  captain George Stacy in the eye and says "Look, officer, we're SHIELD - if we didn't have a damn good reason to take this boy down, we wouldn't even be in New York. Now let us do our job". 

And in the end of the day, they're not so dysfunctional. 

And they don't know everything that has happened, but they connect the dots and look at the patterns. 

And we play. Because that's the only thing we can do not to go crazy. 

Or is it just me?

Sunday 16 April 2023

This is Cam Banks.

 This is Cam Banks. 

Cam Banks worked on some stuff that I cannot criticize because, frankly, I never tried playing it. Partially it was because of the fans of Banks's stuff who tried to explain to me why it was so good, and failed miserably. 

Even though I would try everything Marvel-related back in the day, 

I still don't know how this one is supposed to work. 


 According to wikipedia, his Marvel game was discontinued because it didn't sell well enough. Which happens a lot, and doesn't say anything about Cam Banks as a person. 

What does say something about him as a person, however, is this. 

Spending two years trying to find something 

that Zak Smith did wrong and failing sounds like fun, I guess? 

 Cam Banks posted it on social networks, on Facebook and on Twitter

On both, comments from people unauthorized by Cam Banks are disabled, so I guess he doesn't want to talk about it. 

However, the are some comments on Facebook page that either were posted before Banks changed the settings for the post, or were made by people that are his Facebook friends and so can comment there, and those are rather colourful. 

The people, who I presume are the fans of Cam Banks, push two narratives. 

1) How they love Cam Banks and what a wonderful person he is, 

and 2) how they hate that Cam Banks, the wonderful person that he is, admitted that he did wrong, that he shouldn't have supported allegations without proof, and that he followed the court decision. Which is literally the legal thing to do. 

Does that mean that they wanted Cam Banks to act illegally? Looks that way to me. 

Does that mean that those people, who claim to "support the victims" and "bravely stand against criminals", are liars who do exactly the opposite of their claims? Looks that way to me. 

Anyhow. I can honestly say that there's finally one work published by Cam Banks that I enjoyed reading. 

And it's this one. 

By Cam Banks, 13 April 2023.

Playtesting was fun.

Finally, sitting with people and playing Lamentations of the Flame Princess is part of my job. 

It's been a long journey, but I'm finally at the place where I was always meant to be. 

Thanks to my players, I almost immediately had to deal with things that I didn't think of, although I obviously should have. The next several days will be dedicated to fixing those, and improving everything else. 

The magic-user had only one spell. And of course it was Summon. It actually worked fine, that is, the summoned creature did not kill the party. 

I completely forgot about the hilarious joke I've written into the adventure and had to explain it later. And it wasn't funny. Curses! 

P. S.

My favourite dialogue from today's game:

"So how many corpses is the dwarf carrying now?" 

"Four... no, wait - five". 

Thursday 13 April 2023

It has been a busy week

My bard character died. Thank goodness Zak wasn't there. In my defense, I said I was about to do something stupid, and trying to garrote a wight was the stupidest thing I could do at the moment.

I wrote up my next character, and he's more ridiculous than the bard ever was. 

I got a diploma for "developing Ukrainian journalism in times of war". Well, I'm pretty sure I didn't make it any worse, and I've never been a journalist when we weren't at war, anyhow. 

I've been re-reading some books to get in the mood for writing that adventure, and I find out so many strange and horrible things about people. 

You know why I feel so stressed out? Because I haven't swung my sword for a long while now. Gotta fix it.

Wednesday 5 April 2023

On the question of Trapmaker's art

Our yesterday's game session started with James and Becami deciding to interrogate the hobgoblin that we captured. The talk went well (my bard was the translator - you hang out with Zak's cleric for a while, you have to pick up some Goblinese), which led to the mention that dungeon exploration is much more rewarding with a Speak to Monsters spell. To which Jeff Rients replied that well, yeah, but there's no Speak to Traps spell. And also told a hilarious anecdote about a player who wanted his character to be able to speak to walls that was printed in the very first issue of Dragon magazine, but I'm not telling it, look up the issue or ask Jeff, it's funnier when he tells it. 

Anyways, this made me think. I've never been trained to be a sapper, but I learned a thing or two. 

Thing one: landmines took some time to develop into what they are now. They started out as just "step on it, get shot in a foot" thing, which wasn't all that effective. They evolved into something that sent a message. You take a step ahead - you will be maimed. You'll be crippled and in pain and your comrades will see what happens to you and they'll have to take care of you. So keep that in mind. 

Thing two: in a sapper's mind, everything can be booby-trapped. And will be, given half a chance. A good sapper thinks in a special way, different from a normal person - that's what makes them what they are. 

So what does that give us, tabletop roleplaying-wise? 

You can play it simple, "You roll for traps - okay, you found this acid-filled thing that would've melted your face if you didn't notice it in time, good for you", or just forget traps altogether and focus on whatever is fun for you and yours. 

Or you can make the traps say something about their makers. Like that Indiana Jones movie - the traps are tests, they are questions and you need to answer them correctly. 

In So You Want To Be A Hero PC game, the Kobold has a fire trap on his invisible stash of gold. The message here is sort of clear - "I live in a cave and have no friends, and I want whoever wants to grab my stash to die". 

The cleverly hidden poison trap on the ridiculously simple lock that kills Tasslehoff in Silvanesti says "I know there are Kender in the world and I hate the fact". 

Or you can make it into more of a "trap language", especially if some of your players have this sick kind of mind that would make them good sappers. You can give them some extra bits of information - like the person who set this trap was left-handed, or used a rare sort of perfume to mask the smell of acid, or clearly had a deathwish because the way the trap is set it could've killed them as they were setting it and they evidently didn't care, or their favourite colour is blue. It can help the players track a trapmaker down. It can help the characters understand what is the message that the trapmaker is sending, and to whom.

Note to self: after I finish the current thing, I want to try and write up a trap-centric adventure. And probably a Trapmaker character class while I'm at it.

Monday 3 April 2023

Holy trunk it's April.

Things are a little hectic, Personal life, hardware, software, everything is somewhat crazy and requires fixing. 

Good thing I have most PDFs I use printed out, otherwise it would take a while recovering them. 

On the other hand, I'm working on something for Lamentations of the Flame Princess. Can't say what it'll be but I hope people will enjoy it. 

This last part would've sounded better on 1st of the month, I guess, but there you have it.

Answering Jeff Rients's twenty questions for our Krynn game

We're still stuck in Spidernesti, so this is what I mean when talking about "land".   What is the deal with my cleric's re...