Tag Archive | ttrpg

Recent Games I’ve Played

Part of the game shelf

I’ve been playing some games. Here’s what I thought about them:

Worlds Without Number: I wasn’t a fan despite my love for Stars Without Number. We made characters and I ran a few combats. Overall, I found it too crunchy. I think Kevin Crawford is designing a very different game than one I want to play. For one, I’m drifting away from games with detailed skill lists. I’d rather it was all summed up in a word or two background/archetype. Still, the chassis fascinates me, and as always the world-building tables are brilliant.

Scum & Villainy: Space games are hard. Everyone has different expectations of how science-y they should be. Are we playing Star Wars, Star Trek, Alien, Dune, or what? Is there FTL? Is there FTL coms? Can I download a city map to my communicator? Etc Despite all that playing Scum & Villainy has been fun. That said FitD games aggravate my adversarial player vs GM tendency that make me an obnoxious player. I want to plan the heist away from the GM’s eyes so they can’t prepare or counter for it, which has likely made our GM frustrated (sorry). Also, FitD games use too complex terminology (position, effect, quality) that get in the way of the game. Maybe this is the result of Roll20’s pop-up window getting buried under tabs and popped out crew ship character sheets, but figuring out position always slows momentum.

The Quiet Year: We used it to develop the backstory for a horrible place in our Scum & Villainy game. Great to play in tandem with another game to flesh out some backstory as well as on its own.

Into the Odd: I ran a game using Mysthead 3. I liked it and will probably write it up in more detail. It was fun and light-weight enough that I felt like I could easily bolt more complexity to it without a problem. And contrary to the advice its designer gives elsewhere I’m fine doing stat tests to avoid outcomes. My biggest concern is what’s the typical campaign’s longevity? Could a game that meets weekly for a year be built around a single group of characters or is this better for one shots? At some point I will likely make my own bespoke setting for it.

Bedlam Hall: A PbtA game where you are the servants to a family of awful aristocrats. Great fun for a one shot or short campaign, but run it too long and you have to wonder why your servant hasn’t quit yet. Which can be its own fun. In our game the goal ended up being to survive long enough to hand in your resignation. A great game for that gamer who wishes Paranoia had a Jeeves and Wooster supplement.

Delve: a solo dwarf-hold building game. I focused more on the map-making bits than the combat/resource management game. My goal was to make something to use in a Play-by-Post game I hope to run later this year. More about that if it ever materializes and proves interesting. This game gave me a good setting and an interesting story, which was exactly what I wanted from it.

Scrypt: A Lexical Fungus

It’s been a bit. I’ve been lazy. I’ve also been working on another issue of Mysthead. I might also have started to post some game stuff to itch.io. Mostly bespoke classes for Old School Essentials and an adventure.

One thing I want to add to my game table are condition cards that impact roleplay as opposed to mechanics. One inspiration was the card game The Grizzled, but I’m sure it’s been used elsewhere. So I took that idea and mushed it with the notion of what if languages could be infected with astral lichens and, lo, scrypt was born!

Scrypt is a living language despite being millennia old.

A remnant of the wars between the proto-gods, scrypt thrives like a linguistic lichen within the fertile soil of other languages. When one reads scrypt the words remain inside the mind. This can allow an untrained person to cast spells. However, it may also allow suggestions, enchantments, and worse to take root in the minds of the unwary. More importantly, scrypt attracts aetheric parasites when not maintained properly. Using scrypt is not to be done lightly.

Beware of scrypt-skull!

After every use of a scrypt-carrying scroll, the user must make a WILL save. If they fail, consult the table below. Effects last D4 hours.

(Give a reward, XP, fortune point, whatever, to players who make a valiant effort.)

  1. Jobberknowl: All nouns must be reversed when spoken, ie “knife” becomes “efink”.
  2. Dretched: Replace the first syllable of polysyllabic word with the prefix “dretch-”
  3. Coranto: Speaker must knock twice at the start and end of every sentence.
  4. Imbrangle: The speaker must start every sentence with “Imbrangletanglemangle…”
  5. Zelant: The speaker must include at least one blasphemous phrase in every sentence.
  6. Nullfidious: The speaker can only answer questions in the negative, although they believe they are answering accurately.
  7. Grudgins: All nouns are replaced with names of prepared foods like “pickled herrings” or “sliced ham”.
  8. Javeljaum: Classic spoonerisms, swap the prominent sounds of close words.
  9. Igniferent: The speaker must discuss the flammability of every noun they mention when speaking.
  10. Stelltwire: Speaker must replace spoken nouns with words that rhyme with the intended words.
  11. Colsleck: Speaker inverts the syllables of words when speaking.
  12. Chrysopo: Speaker appends the syllable -opo to every syllable they speak.
  13. Cinqpace: All numbers are increased by one, ie “Anyone for tennis?” becomes “Anytwo five elevenis?”
  14. Xeriff: The speaker gains a fluent knowledge to a centuries outdated legal code and references it constantly.
  15. Saltimbanco: The speaker turns every conversation into a sales pitch for Saltimbanco, an invigorating health elixir.
  16. Katexoken: The speaker will only speak if addressed as royalty.
  17. Dogbolt: Speaker must add -og- before each vowel in a syllable.
  18. Nist: The speaker can not remember the exact name for any item or person.
  19. Haqueton: Speaker drops the first letter of every word.
  20. Yblent: Speaker must shift vowels one place to the right (“a” becomes “e”) while speaking.

And that’s that. My goal is to get the rest of the zine done before December, which I am on track to do. That’ll be over on my Patreon when it goes live. There’s a poll there now to determine next year’s old weird book to read.

Mysthead 2 // Who or What Is the Boss?

Hey all,

I’ve put together another issue of “Mysthead” my RPG fanzine. You can get it and the first issue by supporting me on patreon. CLICK THIS TO GO THERE. In this issue you’ll find lore about Mysthead’s elf and goblin populations, a playable gossiping spider race-class (“The Rumormonger Spider”) for Old School Essentials, and tables to generate whispering skulls, hot spider gossip, and elf-goblin political structures. So as not to make this post a complete advertisement, I’ve included the elf-goblin political structure generator below.

Take care for now!

***

Elves and goblins often have peculiar ways of governing themselves. While all manner of geases may determine what actions may or may not be taken when within either ones domain, there is usually some higher authority consulted in times of great peril or confusion. Often these have a clear criteria they follow: the most cunning, the eldest, those who achieve some renown. Other times the criteria is more obscure.

Below you will find an assortment of odd sovereigns to rule over your goblins and elves. Roll, choose, and/or mix and match:

  1. A class of astronomers who seek advice from the stars. Their wisdom is renowned.
  2. An ancient tree at the center of the Arkenwyld and served by an order of life-bound guardians.
  3. A sacred book that rewrites itself every day.
  4. A great elder abstracted with age and lingering on the brink of stupor.
  5. A young sovereign wrestling with their first bout of nostalgia.
  6. Your mom. My mom. Every body’s mom. The literal All-Mother
  7. An ancient ethernaut stranded in this world by the vortex shoals.
  8. A squabbling court of siblings intriguing against each other and eager to find allies.
  9. A council of ancients, so old they resemble cicadas. Time has no meaning to them.
  10. A singing harp, whoever can master its song rules for a decade.
  11. A council of white-coated priests who read the movements of rats in a maze.
  12. A set of bone dice kept locked in a vault. They bear no numbers or glyphs and can only be read by a trained seer.
  13. A human child, obnoxious and utterly spoiled. The child’s about eleven.
  14. Three gnomes in a trench coat. It started as a gag but now they’re in too deep.
  15. A spider of epic proportions that feeds on secrets and makes its lair in a darkness beyond reason.
  16. The movements of some infernal or divine beast like a hen or a pig. It is attended by priests and kept within a heavily guarded enclosure.
  17. The winner of an extreme athletic event done without assistance and far from sober. Not all who attempt it return.
  18. An odd stone that weeps a slurry that induces visions. It’s not from this world, nor even this reality. The hangovers are abysmal, but it works.
  19. An elf sovereign exiled from another land. They are keen to get their revenge and regain their kingdom.
  20. An intelligent monster like an ogre magi, dragon, or sphinx kept as a prisoner. They are treated with reverence but know they live in a gilded cage and long for their freedom.

What Made the Goat Go Wrong?

“The only domestic animal known to return to feral life as swiftly as the cat is the goat.”

There in the barn, biding its time, watching the villagers go about their daily business, the goat waits. Something strange has happened to the goat, and it is no longer right. Yesterday, it was as normal as any other goat in the field. Now an uncanny intelligence burns behind its horizontal pupils.

What happened to the goat? Roll below to find out:

  1. A skyrock landed in the back fields. The chromaspectral beings within changed the goat before they died.
  2. A bored fae taught the goat to read and write for a laugh.
  3. Long ago a mindlord’s ethership crashed near here. Its engines have slowly released mutagens into the soil. Fortunately, the goat ate most of it.
  4. It’s not always demons, but often it is. This is one of those times.
  5. The goat stayed out overnight, and the full moon’s light made it weird.
  6. A passing saint blessed the goat. Now the goat seeks to free other goats from demonic domination.
  7. The goat was found unconscious beside the alchemist’s garbage heap. No one knows what it ate, not even the alchemist, but the goat hasn’t been right since.
  8. A terrifying night with nature cultists scared wits into the goat.
  9. Those little red mushrooms that sprout in the cow pasture after the rain.
  10. The goat saw a goat on a passing aristocrat’s coat of arms. The goat thinks it’s royalty now.
  11. Drunk scholars kept the goat as a pet. The goat had the best manners of them all.
  12. Unknown to all, the goat’s descended from the Thunder God’s pets. A single thunderclap was all it took.
  13. The goat is the chosen one. It was supposed to be the orphan swineherd, but destiny’s arm slipped. Now only the goat can save the world.
  14. One too many head-buts with a rival goat.
  15. A passing fiddler played in the fields and the music was enough to make the goat dance.
  16. The goat is the last great project of Vinssloss Nerkutt, the legendary animal trainer.
  17. One of the goat’s parent’s was a dragon in disguise. The goat may occasionally breathe fire.
  18. A voice on the wind gave the goat a true name before disappearing.
  19. A recently deceased soul has been reborn inside the goat. The goat must finish a task the soul failed to do.
  20. It is better to have loved and lost, than to have never loved at all. Heartbreak made the goat strange.

If you would like to see the full playable goat class for your tabletop games, it’s available for free on my patreon: THE UNCANNY GOAT.

Enjoy!