Thursday, November 30, 2017

The Uncounted Calamities - Airship Lost - Session Four and Five Gameplay Discussion

The characters set about preparing to make the shard habitable and safe, but first it's time to clean up a little bit of a mess made in the first session.

Session Five Game Mat

Session Four Game Mat
Back to the Airship Lost indexAeryn Lee's Travel Log - Yukimura Amaya's Perspective

As a note, I have waited way too long before writing this report. Also note that I have had two sessions since the last time I wrote a report. I may have some difficulty remembering all the Aspects used. We've had some various difficulties including the fact that one player got a new job and Daylight Savings hit both America and Australia but not in the same way, making it difficult for everybody to be on at together at what would be a reasonable time. As such, we've lost Detective Reynolds from the cast, at least as a PC. That said, I was happy with how the adventure came together overall. I'm still wondering if I may have brought Yakyou in too early, but this presented a useful thing to do when we had two people missing for session four.

As a note, I should probably have hit more mental attacks in this one to account for the weirdness that a lot of people had to deal with.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Gorgon Archer's Teammates - Masks

I probably won't do this for every character but I may go back and do it for the Gorgon examples for Monster of the Week, City of Mist, 7th Sea, and a few other games with a heavy team interaction focus. I'm not going to do the full simulation but I will show their beginning and ending states. They all will get 12 improvements on the idea that Vermin may have joined late but may also have had worse luck on the rolls or produced more Potential in some other way. It just makes things easier.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Gorgon Archer - Masks - Character Advancement

Advancement, or development, in Masks is interesting. One the one hand the most obvious method of development functions pretty much identically to how Advancement works in Monster of the Week. On a roll of 6 or less, you gain experience, referred to as Potential, in addition, some moves well allow you to gain Potential in other ways. After gaining five Potential you reset your Potential to zero and then take an improvement from your Playbooks list. Except for the fact that changing a playbook does not refresh the advanced improvements you unlock (only the basic improvements for each playbook unlock), this is similar to Monster of the Week.

Gorgon Archer - Masks - Character Creation Analysis

Character Creation and the Gorgon Archer

Masks is the third Powered by the Apocalypse game to show up in these examinations. It is a recent game that cuts closer to the original model of PbtA similar to Monster of the Week. However there are a few differences in place. As to the genre Masks is focused on, it is meant to reproduce the sort of stories seen in Young Justice, Avengers Academy, or Teen Titans. These are mostly serious stories that often deal with heavy subject matter spiced here and there with regular bits of comedy to lighten the drama. The characters are mostly young superheroes ranging from mid-teens up to early twenties. A lot of the mechanics of the game are meant to deal with that search for identity that dominates the transition period between child and adult.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Gorgon Archer - Clockwork Dominion - Character Advancement

Character Creation and the Gorgon Archer

Characters advance by the acquisition of Experience Points which are spent on increasing stats with an escalating sequence of costs. The game presents several options for how to award experience points but suggest an average of 2 to 4 experience points per session. One option is for everyone to gain an set reward for every session, referred to as an Installment in the vein of old Victorian serials. This set reward is in addition to any circumstances, such as acquiring a permanent Liability in game play, that might also grant Experience Points.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Gorgon Archer - Clockwork Dominion - Character Creation Analysis

Clockwork Dominion is a recent game put out by an independent group called Reliquary Games. The small group of designers have a small laundry list of degrees including theology, history, and other such things, making this one of the most thoroughly researched games I know of. On level with Nephilim or Pendragon though fortunately without the many layers of complexity those games suffer from. The game is meant to represent a steampunk setting with zeppelins, magic, and steam-powered technology and it does a good job. Among other things, the designers looked up real-life gadgets and oddities that occurred with the Victorian period and postulated one or two steps past that. 

Friday, November 24, 2017

Gorgon Archer - Chill 3rd Edition - Character Advancement

As with the character creation, the character advancement of the game has not changed much from it's second edition. You still advance primarily by acquiring and spending experience, referred to as Development Points. However, there are two other methods of advancement. One, as stated, was the ability to take a new Takeaway after each case. This would be a particular memory or incident that occurred to you on the case which can be used by you to draw on later to your benefit. The other is the ability to change your Drive if both you and your GM agree that your character has outlived their original Drive.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Gorgon Archer - Chill 3rd Edition - Character Creation Analysis

Chill is a game that I have a fair amount of nostalgia for even though I have never played more than a single scenario. It was the first time I really ran a successful roleplaying game scenario rather than just a succession of combat scenes and also featured a moment of an actual scare. My brother, some friends, and I were playing at night when we were in our mid-teens and I was running the haunting scenario in the second edition core book. We had some tension building and our dog started banging her tail against the glass door scaring the hell out of us for about five seconds or so. This game also represents the first time I started using the official mechanics recreate a concept that was not originally intended by the creators. In this case, I used the "Multiple Personality" disadvantage to create a heroic werewolf. 

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Dreams of Corruption and Pursuit - Set 1: Boulevard of Broken Dreams - City of Mists

At what point do nightmares stop being nightmares and start being just a fact of life? I don't know why I'm asking you, but I don't know why I ask you anything.

Just to have a way to clear the air, I guess. That's what the psychologists would say.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Gorgon Archer - City of Mist - Character Advancement

Character Creation and the Gorgon Archer

Warning: I made a mistake on gaining Build-Up which has caused each instance of Build-Up gained below short by 1. I accounted for this and it luckily didn't change the simulation.

One of the first things that City of Mist's rulebook points out when you get to the section on character advancement is that the advancement of the game is largely player-driven. On the one hand, point buy games have been doing this for three decades and descriptive character creation games like Fate and other Powered by the Apocalypse games have similarly been granting players control of the trajectory of their character. So this is not actually terribly unique, but City of Mist has very interesting mechanics in play that cause the development of a character's narrative to dovetail with the development of their character mechanics that are unique.

Gorgon Archer - City of Mist - Character Creation Analysis

Character creation in City of Mist has one stand out component that should be mentioned. There are no numbers involved in your character description. You don't have stats like Strength or Intelligence. Instead you have what the game calls Themes. Each of these Themes represents an important facet of your character and comes with a number of Power Tags representing characteristics that fall within that Theme. There are four Themes to each character and each Theme starts with three Power Tags and one Weakness. Plus, a starting character starts with an extra Tag and an extra Weakness on one of their Themes.

Gorgon Archer - Call of Cthulhu 6th Edition - Character Advancement

Character advancement in Call of Cthulhu is accomplished by the use of skills. When you succeed at a skill in a particular adventure then you gain a check mark against that skill. At the end of the adventure, you will make a roll against that skill. If you roll higher than your percentage then you have learned something new and increase the percentage by 1d10. If you roll lower or equal to your percentage then the success falls within something you already knew and you do not improve.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Gorgon Archer - Call of Cthulhu 6th Edition - Character Creation Analysis

Character Creation and the Gorgon Archer

I shall start off noting three things. The first is that I do not own the most recent edition of Call of Cthulhu (7th) and I've heard that it is the first edition to make some significant changes to the way the game works. Having not seen it, I can't say for sure what those changes would be. "Significant changes" in the context of a game as solid and stable as Call of Cthulhu has been for 35 years could be quite minor in comparison to the sort of changes seen in Dungeons and Dragons in that same period of time. The second thing is that Call of Cthulhu, barring some point buy mechanic in 7th edition, is not a game that is particularly conducive to creating a concept before you sit down to play. You roll for your stats in this game and as such your dice rolls are going to heavily influence the sort of character that you will be creating. The last is that this is, again, a character where the term "gorgon archer" is going to be used as an epitaph or guideline rather than a literal truth. Non-humans in Call of Cthulhu are bad juju and they are not for the players to portray.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Gorgon Archer - The One Ring - Character Advancement

Advancement in The One Ring is done by acquisition of two types of experience points. There are Advancement Points and Experience Points. Advancement Points are used to improve Common Skills while Experience Points are used to improve Valor, Wisdom, and Weapon Skills. Basic Attributes do not often improve though there are some Virtues that can affect those. These are acquired in two ways. 

Gorgon Archer - The One Ring - Character Creation Analysis

Character Creation and the Gorgon Archer

As with the Legend of Five Rings character, this is going to be a gorgon in terms of a title, insult, or epitaph. As such we're going to be having a woman that lives on the edges of the wild and is an outsider for some reason or another. I only have the core book and Rivendell for character options. The Rivendell book has the Dunadan and Noldor options.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Gorgon Archer - Beast: The Primordial - Character Advancement

Storyteller was one of the first games that combined the scaling experience point requirements of Dungeons and Dragons with the point buy systems like Hero System. Where as in Hero System the first improvement will cost the same as the second, third, fourth, and onward improvements (unless a limit or advantage was specifically attached to that improvement), in Storyteller systems each increasing rank in skills, attributes, and other abilities is more costly than the last. This has been a structure that has been duplicated in a number of different games including Shadowrun, Legend of the Five Rings, and 7th Sea. When it was originally going by the New World of Darkness, Chronicles of Darkness also followed this method but then came the God-Machine rules which came just before the rebranding.

Gorgon Archer - Beast: The Primordial - Character Creation Analysis

Beast is one of the more recent splatbooks put out by Onyx Path for their Chronicles of Darkness line. For those that are unfamiliar, Chronicles of Darkness is the rebranded line of games that used to be known as the New World of Darkness including Vampire the Requiem and Werewolf the Forsaken. With the return of their original line of World of Darkness into print due to customer demand, they changed the name of their newer line to make it easier to differentiate. 

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Starter Kitting Divine Blood

Geek and Sundry has recently started a new show called Starter Kit which they produce on their Alpha channel. The premise is to run a short adventure for a game to serve as an introduction into how the game is played. They start with character creation and move onward to running through the adventure. The players they use are mostly new to roleplaying games with one or two players who are more experienced with RPGs in general but perhaps not the game being featured specifically. They started with Dungeons and Dragons, of course, and have since moved on to 7th Sea. Their forums are already taking suggestions for future features.

Being the developer of an small roleplaying game, I've given some consideration to how I might set up such a show. Of course, there's no reason I might appear on the show. I've sold perhaps three hundred copies of the game to date and while I've heard from a few people about their campaigns, I'm hardly a well-known or popular game, but it is an interesting thought process none-the-less.

That said, you are likely to find at least some of the mechanics of my game show up on the Starter Kit as my game is a variation of Fate and I am sure that we'll see Fate at some point or another. Most of my gameplay is taken from Fate Core with a few things here and there from Strands of Fate. On the other hand the character creation is almost entirely based on Strands of Fate.

Gorgon Archer - Shadowrun 5th Edition: Point Buy Method - Character Creation Analysis

I wasn't going to do this method of character creation and just leave the Priority Chart and the Life Modules as the methods to examine for Shadowrun until I realized how much the advancement would have changed if I had been dealing with a gorgon who had been a street-samurai. As such, I am going to go ahead and do this. I am also now noticing that there is a 4th method of character creation that I might end up doing by creating a mage so we can have a Shadowrun gorgon with actual petrification abilities.

Gorgon Archer - Shadowrun 5th Edition - Character Advancement

Character advancement in Shadowrun is based mostly on the acquisition of experience which is named Karma. However, with cyberware, the acquisition of money can lead to improvements to your base character as well. Karma is rewarded at the end of a run. This means that a run that lasts multiple sessions might only last through two or more sessions, though that should be the exception. There should also be a distinction between a run and a job. A single large job might be broken down into several component runs, for example.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Gorgon Archer - Shadowrun 5th Edition: Life Modules - Character Creation Analysis

Character Creation and the Gorgon Archer

I was going to just stick to the default version of character creation for Shadowrun, but I decided that the Life Modules version would be interesting to run as well. Shadowrun is interesting as a game in the way that has three very distinct from each other character creation methods. In this case we're going to be focused on the Life Modules optional method.

Gorgon Archer - Shadowrun 5th Edition: Priority Chart - Character Creation Analysis

Character Creation and the Gorgon Archer

Shadowrun is a game that has been around since 1989, only a couple of years before Vampire the Masquerade came out. There were a number of games coming out at that period that were aiming at a grimmer and grittier sort of setting. It merged two genres that at the time were considered something that just didn't fit together: cyberpunk and Tolkien-style fantasy.

Gorgon Archer - Star Trek Adventures - Character Advancement

Character Creation and the Gorgon Archer

Star Trek Adventures uses a Milestone based advancement method that will be immediately familiar to anybody who has played Fate Core. As with Fate, there are three tiers of Milestone: Normal Milestones, Spotlight Milestones, and Arc Milestones. Similarly, they each have a list of benefits that they provide and which stack with each other. A Spotlight Milestone includes a Normal Milestone and then some, for instance. However, while the basic structure is almost exactly the same, Star Trek Adventures substantially alters the execution of this advancement mechanic in some very interesting ways.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Gorgon Archer - Star Trek Adventures - Character Creation Analysis

This is a game where there aren't any actual gorgons in the setting. There is a species referred to as the Medusans named due to the fact that their appearance can drive people mad, but they are a non-corporeal, telepathic race and thus don't really match the idea of the gorgon I've been operating with. That said, there is a wide variety of species within the Star Trek universe, and a species with tendril hair is not far out of the possibility. While there are no particular species for that, the game does allow for a GM and a player creating their own species.

Gorgon Archer - Divine Blood - Character Advancement

Divine Blood advances by the acquisition of experience points as with Strands of Fate, but the way those points are acquired is more similar to how you would advance in Fate Core. I make use of Milestone advancement with the same basic criteria and names as you find in Fate Core. However, instead of the benefits Fate Core would provide you the reward is experience points. A Minor Milestone grants 1 XP, a Significant Milestone grants 11 XP, and a Major Milestone grants 26 XP. These amounts were chosen by looking at what the Fate Core milestones granted as a benefit and then modeling that in the Strands of Fate point buy.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Gorgon Archer - Divine Blood - Character Creation Explanation

I'm not going to call this an analysis because it is revolving around my own game. The basics of the game are very much the same as Strands of Fate, however, I have used specific alterations to the basic structure and the way Power Advantages work. The primary differences between Divine Blood RPG and Strands of Fate is in the gameplay which is very much drawn from Fate Core. While Strands of Fate tends to weigh the importance of numerical bonuses a lot heavier than most Fate games, Divine Blood RPG as I conceived it goes back to using the Aspects as the primary context for viewing the character while still weighing objective stats higher than Fate Core would. So, on to the differences between default Strands of Fate and Divine Blood RPG.

Gorgon Archer - 7th Sea - Character Advancement

Character Creation and the Gorgon Archer

Character advancement in 7th Sea is based entirely on completing stories. This includes your Hero Story itself and the Gamemaster Stories created for the group as a whole to follow. The difference is that the reward of a Gamemaster's Story isn't set when it is created. Instead, once a band has completed a story they get to choose one of the advancements available to a Hero Story. 

Gorgon Archer - 7th Sea - Character Creation Analysis

This will be an interesting analysis as I have only recently acquired this game. As I've said elsewhere, the gorgon archer, or just the gorgon in general, is one of the first character concepts I toy with in a new game and one of the ways I learn a new game is to toy with creating a new character. Now the setting in question doesn't really give itself toward playing an actual snakes for hair gorgon, but we can build a character around the idea of an epitaph as we did when we made the Snake Clan archer in L5R. That said, we're going to have a character with a touch of magic but still mostly focused around the archery. (I type this and then find a way to do it anyway)

Friday, November 10, 2017

Gorgon Archer - Legend of Five Rings 4th Edition - Character Advancement

As with Hero System and Strands of Fate, characters in The Legend of Five Rings gain experience points as they progress. The standard metric for awarding experience is 1 XP for the session, 1 XP for roleplaying well, 1 to 2 XP for accomplishments in game, and 1 XP for each session where they roleplayed out their weaknesses well on top of general roleplaying. These XP spend exactly like they do in character creation. Glory, Honor, and Status will also fluctuate over the course of the game and it is possible that players might acquire some Advantages and Disadvantages through play as well. 

Gorgon Archer - Legend of Five Rings 4th Edition - Character Creation Analysis

Character Creation and the Gorgon Archer

Legend of Five Rings is decidedly focused on the activities of humans. There is a species of rather reserved snake-people that are, more or less, recognized as good spirits, but I do not have statistics for them and while some have married into humanity, this has resulted in having humans with a little bit extra to explain some clan benefit. All that said, there is an analogous situation that we could draw on for the character concept as there was a minor clan referred to as the Snake Clan which was focused on hunting creatures of blood magic until they were infiltrated and corrupted so thoroughly that the Phoenix Clan had to step in and destroy them all. The survivors of the Snake Clan have been trouble-makers ever sense. An uncorrupted scion of the Snake Clan would present an analogous situation to the isolated gorgon of the other examples.

Gorgon Archer - Strands of Fate - Character Advancement

Strands of Fate uses experience points instead of milestones to guide its character advancement. The average is supposed to be about 3 pts per session and increasing that up or down based on the events of the session and how fast the GM wants to see things advance. You spend these experience points to gain certain benefits including swapping out Abilities, Advantages, or Aspects; buying new ones, increasing Refresh and so on. 

Gorgon Archer - Strands of Fate - Character Creation Analysis

I have done a discussion of the differences between Fate Core and Strands of Fate in the past and I have linked that though it by now is far out of date with my current perspective on the two games. I have considered a couple of things about this because Strands of Fate character creation is the foundation of my own Divine Blood RPG though I have used a specific set of options and dropped some standard rules for that. In the end, I have decided to start with the basic Strands of Fate book rather than the options I prefer to customize it with out of my own design or via the Strands of Power sourcebook. I will then later do a gorgon archer with my own Divine Blood RPG which will also stand for one of the ways you can develop Strands into your own thing.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Gorgon Archer - Monster of the Week - Character Advancement

Advancement in Monster of the Week is done by gaining, or marking, experience as with Hero System and D&D but the manner in which that experience is gained is significantly different than with those two systems. In Monster of the Week you mark experience whenever you fail a roll which is a common but not universal experience gain mechanic in PbtA games. If you look at the character creation page you might also have another method some characters gain experience as many of the playbooks have a move where the character can gain experience when their personalities or backstory causes difficulty in the ongoing hunt.

Gorgon Archer - Monster of the Week - Character Creation Analysis

Monster of the Week is a Powered by the Apocalypse game, meaning it uses the same basic system created for the Apocalypse World game system. There are a couple of features of these sorts of games. One of those is that creation of the world is done simultaneously with play and the GM is encouraged to ask players to fill in some of the details about what is in the world. This generally begins with character creation but continues through play. In this regard it is not too different from Hero System or Fate style games, both of which give the player the option to create world elements when they craft their character. For example, even creating a gorgon archer in these systems adds the existence of gorgons to the lore of the setting.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Gorgon Archer - Fate Core - Character Advancement

Character Creation and the Gorgon Archer

Advancement in Fate Core is centered around Milestones. There are three kinds of Milestones: Minor Milestones, Significant Milestones, and Major Milestones. Whenever one of these milestones is achieved it allows the players increase or alter their character in different ways. In general, you get a Minor Milestone at the end of every session or make major progress on the current scenario; you get a Significant Milestone at the end of every scenario or make major progress on the story arc; Major Milestones are reserved for the end of a story arc or for those sessions that result in major upheavals to the world as it relates to the game. Major upheavals would be things like the defeat of a major recurring villain, the collapse of major institutions within the setting, a sudden increase of scope bringing the campaign from a local to a regional level, or anything else that causes a serious change to the face of the game world.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Gorgon Archer - Hero System 6th Edition - Character Advancement

Character Creation and the Gorgon Archer

Similar to Dungeons and Dragons, Hero System characters advance based on acquiring experience points. However, where as in D&D experience slowly accumulates and is used as a determiner for when a particular threshold is reached to trigger a new level, Hero System characters can choose to spend the points as they come in. There is usually a place on the official character sheets to keep track of how much experience has been spent as time goes on so that you can do a cost check further on and tell whether the character has too many or too few points (it does occasionally happen that points get lost in the shuffle).

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