Wow. That has been an interesting month. A cold followed by a bit of a cough (no, not coronavirus) slowed me down, and a whole series of other bits and pieces as well. My wife is preparing to start a new job, so we have had all the up and downs of interviews and preparing to leave a long-term employer. The government have added yet more paperwork for the training providers I work for (Part Time) and that inevitably gets pushed down to me. However, this is just …
There was a rant here that I took out J But you get the idea!
It has, on the other hand, been a quiet month on the game front. I spent a few days thinking about building the Rules Website that I spoke about in the last post. I even went as far as creating a game and a Wiki at RPoL so that I could think about structures and start putting some content together. It didn’t go well, as I soon realized that I wanted to do a number of different things.
- I want to include the rules changes I have used (or have considered) to make my D20 games work faster, or more easily, on RPoL. Anything that delays a player posting holds the game up. Effects that run for more than one round, may need tracking over weeks of real time. There are lots of little tweaks. (Note: I run slow games with a once-a-week post rate)
- I want the site to only contain ‘Core’ rules, but I also want it to be usable for both Pathfinder and 3.0/3.5e. So whose core rules? I suspect that this is not an insurmountable problem – but it is one that I haven’t thought about yet.
- I started putting my own tweaks in. For example, Gnomes haven’t had a strong ‘persona’ across the game’s history, and every new version /publisher that comes along chops them about a bit more. Because of this, Gnomes don’t really feature in games worlds I write, and I found myself writing an article justifying why I wasn’t going to include them as a PC class on the website. Now this is something I do want to do for my games world site – but I don’t know that I want to mix the two up together.
So that project has been put on hold and sent back for more consideration. One day I will learn to separate the three things – either that or I’ll just publish a whole new games system with an integral world … Well, a man can dream :}
However, there have been some real positives this month. We recently finished the Kingdom Round and I promised the players that I would start up a couple of pure RP threads for them to play around in. These are ‘Fuzzy Time’ threads that run alongside the adventure threads. The PCs are still out adventuring, slaying monsters and exploring deserted strongholds – but they are also doing social / RP things that are outside the normal timeline. I monitor ‘Fuzzy’ threads, to make sure that they don’t cross over with the ‘Adventure’ threads, but the players, generally, understand the concept and I don’t have to interfere all that often. It has worked really well as a way of letting players develop their characters, without interrupting play.
One thread took a group of PCs into Restov, where they have been meeting up with their families, shopping and politicking. That particular group gave been exploring their backstories and (in some cases) forging strong links and relationships between their characters. A second group took a boat south to explore Jovvox (Yeah! Gnomes. But this is Paizo’s game world, rather than mine) and Mivon. So far we have got to Jovvox, and we are about to go and have dinner with a gnome merchant. There are others who have been in the woods trying to catch a thylacine. They have all been great fun to watch, and they have given me (and the players) an opportunity to understand the characters better. And the ‘Boat Trip’ thread gave me the opportunity to wheel out one of my favourite NPCs – Helga!
Helga first appeared in my Kingmaker table-top game, when I needed someone who knew their way about boats and Mivon. As she was going to be a recurring NPC, she had to have a character sheet of her own, and that meant I could be a bit more flexible within my own NPC guidelines. Helga is a Half-Orc commoner, who grew up on the Mivon dockside and finished up working on the docks and as a sailor in The River Kingdoms. And as everyone knows, River Kingdom sailors are not far short of Pirates ….
Helga is now L5 and has some nice gear for a commoner – including hand-me-down magic items passed on to her from her previous employers. She has a very low charisma, negative mods for Diplomacy and Bluff – but a decent Intimidate modifier. As a Ship’s captain she barks at her crew, threatens them – but is always there alongside them with her Masterwork greataxe (or her Brass Knuckles) if ever they are in trouble. Her Str and Dex are high enough that she doesn’t get pushed around by the everyday folks of a city.
But she is great fun to play. She is never very diplomatic in what she says to her bosses, and tends to tell things as she sees them, rather than prettying them up. And then she shouts at her crew, and (potentially) anyone else she is lower down the pecking order than she is.
I like playing Helga!