Friday, December 9, 2016

General Gamery: New Roles, New Campaigns, and a New Plan


I know, I know.. who's this guy darkening up my feed?

That's on me. I haven't really touched this blog in... well.. okay.. Too Damn Long (tm).

Sorry about that.

I have a ridiculously adorable 2 year old and a lot of gaming to do.. so while I haven't been avoiding you, fearless reader, I just needed some space.

But I'm back. And I've made a plan. Okay, a few plans, but first some accounting:

New Roles

Pathfinder Society Roleplaying Guild

For the last eight or nine years, I've played off and on in Paizo's worldwide ongoing Pathfinder fantasy campaign, the Pathfinder Society or PFS for short. For those that don't understand this style of play, let me video game reference it for you. Your home campaign is Elder Scrolls: Skyrim. You can make uber powerful characters and enjoy a rich, intense gaming experience pretty much at your own pace. But you are limited to playing with a defined group of people and it tends to keep the scope of the game small-ish. Pathfinder Society is the equivalent of Elder Scrolls Online. You are more limited in what you can do with your character, and the game is not as deep or rich.. BUT you are playing with people from all over the world and it is far more balanced than Skyrim at your house with all your fancy mods.

But I'm not just a spokesperson for PFS, I'm a client!

No seriously. On a whim- okay, it wasn't exactly a whim- I put my name up there to join the ranks of Paizo's Venture Officers within the Pathfinder Society. From conversations I'd had, PFS seemed to be waning in the Queen City area, and with fantastic new stores opening locally, this would not stand. I jumped on to run games twice a month at the newest, and prettiest comic store in the area, Up Up & Away in Blue Ash and was rewarded with the position of Cincinnati's ranking VO, the Venture Lieutenant. I've worked with several of the local stores and brought in new (and fantastic) blood in local GMs to help me revitalize the area.

And we've had great success! One of my Venture Agents has risen to take over the role of Venture Lieutenant of Northern KY, and another former venture officer has returned to the fold to assist me as a co-Venture Lieutenant for our city. These are good times.

New Campaigns

A few months before Gencon, Rise of the Runelords came to an end. No, the PCs did't reach the end of the story, and despite some serious close calls, there wasn't a TPK either. But it found an end point that suited it.

While we've continued playing in a monthly Pathfinder: Carrion Crown campaign run by one of my awesome PFS venture officers, I wanted to lay low for a bit and plan for new games to run. With Gencon coming, we filled in with some home games of Pathfinder Society in a very irregular and inconsistent capacity. But all that was to prepare for what was to follow.

Mutants and Masterminds: Emerald City Knights

Mutants and Masterminds has always been one of my favorite games. Since it is essentially a standard D20 game with some very compelling window dressing, it was a fairly easy game to slot my regular Pathfinder group into for a monthly game. Savvy gamers and longtime readers know MnM to be a standard 4-color superhero game and Green Ronin's Emerald City Knights campaign builds on that idea.

As a tool to help me in my GM prep for the game, I designed and printed out a set of face cards for every PC, NPC, and villain in this series of adventures. The front of each card has a picture (usually from Green Ronin's excellent sourcebooks and adventures) of the character/location/event with a player friendly blurb. On the back, each one has game data and statlines pulled form the adventure text. This is handy for introducing and bringing back NPCs for the players to interact with and keeping me from flipping through books in combat situations.

I don't own the rights to any of these characters, so I won't be putting these up on Drivethru to sell or up here for download. But I highly recommend something similar if you have the requisite talents required.

The story itself is pretty straightforward. In Emerald City on the US northwestern coast, there is a catastrophic event called the Silver Storm. During this event, many people are injured and some die. But still others are changed by the storm's effects giving them wondrous powers- some become heroes, others have more nefarious plans. No one knows what caused the event, but our heroes have made it their job to find out.

Our heroes seem to run the gamut of origins.

Lionheart- At fifteen, Fiona Perez was abducted by Labyrinth and forced to undergo the DNAscient process. The telepathic abilities she gained from the experiment helped her escape, but fractured her mind. For a time, she worked alongside fellow escapees Rant and Rave as the psychic villain, Fiasco. But after Labyrinth captured her again, she was rescued by her enemies, the teenage superheroes called NextGen. With the Master Mage's help, NextGen was able to repair Fiona's fractured psyche and gave her a new start. With a new heroic identity, Lionheart enrolled in Claremont Academy and became a valued member of NextGen for a while. After heroing for years, Fiona put away the tights and moved to the west coast as a social worker intending to help children stuck in similar situations she had been through.

Vegas- To say that Zack Slater was born lucky would be too easy. Zack was born to Emerald City's upper crust as the heir to Slater Advanced Ideas Inc. But rather than his father's genius, Zack's uncanny luck allowed him to skirt by on his good looks, charm, and natural athleticism. Where Zack tread, women and attention followed. The silver spoon kid enjoyed anything he could desire, until he fell for the lovely Amanda Agostino. When he last saw her, Amanda claimed she was leaving him because she had gained super powers and had no time for a silly little rich boy like him. As a result, Zack did something really, really stupid. He thinks that mixing a cocktail of a bunch of unlabeled chemicals in his father's lab gave him powers. In reality, he's just supernaturally lucky that he isn't already dead.

Reaper- Dr. Lillian Graves thought she had found her calling as one of the most respected emergency room doctors in the city. But there were clues early in her residency that something was amiss. She always knew when a patient was near the end of their life,and even could see something of their image passing on- if only from the corner of her eye. But recently, she learned that there was more to her parentage than she could have ever suspected. Supernatural bodies had labored to bring her to life, and she had the Fates invested on one hand, and Death himself on the other. While Death expected her to join his service as the first among his reapers, for now the Fates had other plans for poor Lilly.

Ghost- When the U.S. Army came calling, Sgt. Quincy Carlisle signed up for tour after tour, dedicating himself to the defense of his country and the brothers he forged in the desert sun of Iraq and Afghanistan. But when he  tried to return to a normal life, the war came with him. Sgt.Carlisle could never shake the specter of the things war had made him do and the soldier he had become. Homeless, jobless, and suffering from PTSD, Quincy had planned to pawn his beloved rifle, Daisy, for his next meal when the Silver Storm hit. But now, he has found that he had to concentrate simply to maintain solidity, and even the bullets he shoots from Daisy's barrel can become intangible enough to pass through solid steel.

Dr. Dino- Dr. Paul Moncrief is the leading expert in the Cretaceous and Jurassic periods on the North American continent. When the Silver Storm hits, the paleontologist was working on the newest display for the Emerald City Museum of Natural History, the most complete skeleton of a tyrannosaurus rex ever discovered. Little did he realize that the storm would merge him with the dinosaur at a genetic level making him the super-strong powerhouse, Dr. Dino.

Fastball- AJ Dalton had never dreamed of becoming a super hero. As the starting third baseman for the Emerald City Ospreys, he was already living his dream of baseball super-stardom. When his manager set up the signing for AJ on a beautiful day at a store opening on Yellow Brick Row, he thought it would be the least exciting day of his week. But after the Silver Storm hit, all AJ could consider is whether he could still play for the Ospreys with his newfound light based super powers.

I'm sure there's a lot more I could talk about here, but until the Emerald Guardians (as our heroes have named themselves) discover more about the events they have found themselves involved in, I'll refrain from giving away any juicy spoilers.

Pathfinder: Curse of the Crimson Throne

With the anniversary re-release of this fantastic adventure path, I knew it would be a hit with my group. Sadly, Mary is sitting out on this one because of taking care of our Princess Monster (tm), but in that case she gets to see behind the screen of my GMing duties and read ahead of the players.

Here's the 30 second pitch for this campaign:

The king is dead! In the Varisian port city of Korvosa, the death of a monarch leads to chaos, and only the PCs can hope to save the city from its own darkest tendencies. As the rule of the young queen grows more and more draconian, it's up to a band of bold adventurers to stop the spread of tyranny before all of Korvosa is crushed beneath her iron fist.

In the Curse of the Crimson Throne Adventure Path, the heroes delve into the depth of urban adventure in order to stop riots, combat a plague, root out organized crime, and rescue political prisoners before escaping to the harsh badlands of the Storval Plateau, where only the friendship of the barbaric Shoanti and a weapon drawn from the heart of a gothic castle can give them the strength to return and depose the evil queen once and for all.

Our group is a little less diverse than I expected:

Junior Moncrief is a Dwarven cleric of Desna from a small mining town outside the Korvosan hinterlands. Young and impressionable, this is Junior's first time in a big city like Korvosa and while he's found work at one of the local places of worship, he still misses the small mining town where he grew up.

Natzumi is a Ratfolk wizard that spent much of her life with Varisian caravans and until recently, was a student at the Acadamae. As a ratfolk painted in varisian colors, she's already less than trustworthy to the good people of Korvosa. But being a bit shifty herself and caring for an unsavory drugg addict half-elf named Tsuto makes it much worse.

Orik Vankercaskin was an NPC from our last campaign. He's a former mercenary that was on the wrong side of Thistletop in Rise of the Runelords. A decent fighter, great with a bastard sword and prone to making bad decisions.

Caden grew up an orphan in Korvosa and was one of Lamm's Lambs. Despite his unscrupulous youth, he found hope and rescue from Gaedren Lamm in the guise of Lilly- who eventually fell victim to Lamm's wrath. In despair, his hand found the sword and his soul fround the Inheritor's grace. He's been a paladin of Iomadae ever since.

Dray either doesn't know, or doesn't speak much of his past other than from the bottom of a bottle. He's varisian and not opposed to do more underhanded jobs for the right pay. But since his only remaining parent died under Lamm's orders, he's wanted nothing else than to see the shafts of his arrows protruding form Gaedren Lamm's chest.

A New Plan

Amazing! I have a plan. Like many of my plans, I don't foresee them all coming to pass. But who knows? We might get lucky.


My game collection has continued to grow and there's a lot of smaller, lesser known games I'd like to shine a light on. Games like Hologrid, Epic PVP, and Kodama all have been gathering dust on my shelf waiting for me to talk about them. Newer materials from Games Workshop like the new Warhammer Quest, Blood Bowl, and Horus Heresy games need this attention too alongside newer minis games like Konflikt '47, the new edition of Heavy Gear, and Dropfleet Commander. Not to be outdone, there are RPGs I want to talk about like the new Chill, Headspace, and so much more. These will be making their way soon.

Marvel Burger

This week, Marvel Comics has resurrected my favorite hero, Nova. With Rich's return, it has rekindled my interest in this particular column. As I originally planned, I'd be giving a play by play of each issue in the original Man Called Nova run and end it with characters and/or scenarios for play with the long lost Marvel Heroic Roleplaying Game. In the next few weeks/months, I should be jumping back in with a repost of Issue 1 and soon after a jump to Issue 2.


Operative Word.

Tell Me About Your Character

Following in the footsteps of Matt McFarland, my fellow Saturday Morning Gamers, Jonathan and Geoff, have begun to slog through their RPG collections and they are making a character for each game. My plan is to do the same, with a slight variant. A lot of my collection is made up of several editions of the same game or setting (D&D, Marvel, Star Wars, Star Trek, Shadowrun, etc.). So while I will document the characters and process for most games normally, for those with multiple editions I will be making one character and remaking the same character for each edition. Ideally, this should give some insight to some of the decisions the design teams made and how they differ even with the same subject matter.

Or I'm just being lazy.

You decide.

Either way, I will be putting up a list of my games and update that list as I create characters. I hope to start with Star Wars in the lead up to Rogue One next week.

More to follow,
~ The Doc

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