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Showing posts from April, 2013

Saturday Shadowrun: New Players and the New Job

We only had one of the previous players and two new players this last Saturday, we we started a brief "prequel" run to get things rolling after we got through character creation
We had two weapons specialist and the technomancer.They got a call about a job and went to a club to meet with Mr. Johnson.The job is wet work.  They need to frame one specific person after taking out two targets.  They only have a week until a specific meeting when both targets will be at one location.  It is a heavily secured casino. I'm not sure if we'll even get back to this story, but it was a nice intro to get the new players into the game.

Saturday Shadowrun: Looking for Something

Last time our crew started out at The Vintage Hotel, a retro-clone hotel decorated like the early 20th century with almost no tech.  In each room, the crew found specific items left for them.  Some paranoia left the crew scrambling for ways to check bugs, but none were found.

The unnamed man went next door to The Prancing Pony, a Tolkien-esque pub with a wide variety of retro-culture.  He happened on another elf and, over a beer, got an earful of local elf culture.  It turns out the local VIcanus Guild of Elves was one of the power groups in the Ground Floor.  They had help found the place to give form to their Tolkien view of the way Elves should be, building their own version of the tree village Lothlorien.

The crew got some sleep.

The next morning the crew carpooled in the used sedan left for them down to the 15th level.  There they found Katong, another local restaurant / club built in grandiose architecture with sweeping tiles rooves, sliding rice paper doors, and exotic gold orn…

Thursday Night Pathfinder: Beholders, Kobolds, and a Mace -- Oh My!

The druid and Nickolai's players have developed work conflicts, so their characters find their ends in this week's game.


When last we left our Pathfinding party, they were stuck behind a closed door in a beholder nursery.

Callel, standing by one of the older beholder children, was ordered to open the door.  He opened the door -- Corrail closed it.  This repeated.  Caleel then cast a spell and walked through the wall into the secret corridor.

The beholder babies mercilessly blasted Nickolai, who unprotected from the magic, was killed instantly.

Caleel, wanting to leave behind his life as a slave, others quickly formulated a plan with the others.  The others hid back in the corridor while Caleel lured in the beholder child.  Once he was in the room, they closed the door and attacked, ambushing the beholder and quickly killing it.

From there the party proceeded next door through a parlor.  In the adjacent room, they spotted a sleeping beholder.  Felix walked in and dispatche…

Game Systems: Maturity versus Definition

Getting into SR4 after being away from Shadowrun has brought me a whole new influx of suppositions about game systems.  One thing I have noticed with Shadowrun in contrast to Pathfinder is the lower level of definition.  Definition, as I use it here, refers to game mechanics.  A game system with high definition defines game mechanics with completeness when referring to "if you want to do this, this is how it works, and this is how it resolves".  A game system with lower definition will not define all of the scenario rules, and in some cases will openly state that it is not defined or it is left up to the GM/players to figure out.  Shadowrun clearly has lower definition that Pathfinder, as the "left up to the GM" idea is all throughout the rule system.

At first, I chalked this up to heritage.  Pathfinder, after all, is based on D&D 3.5 that goes back several decades.  Shadowrun is newer and less developed through play than D&D, simply because it is played le…

Shadowrun: The Visitor

After a bit of character rebuilding, we started into gaming this week.

Three players:
C playing Zephyr, an gnome Adept infiltratorM playing Ender, a human TechnomancerM playing an unamed elven adept face --- A well-dressed man in a suit falls tumbling down a a tunnel, huffing and puffing from a run.  Its a pretty good fall, but a bed of corn stalks pads landing.  Above light pipes, like giant optical fibers, funnel in light.  Its an underground cavern with a dotted sky.  The cavern walls is visible off in one direction and there are people off in the other direction.  He walks towards the people.
Upon closer inspection, there is a road and an open space with all sorts of people -- humans, elves, orcs, and all sorts of others -- whooping and hollaring.  There are internal combustion engines running and firing.  Old cars and vans are strewn about.  The unnamed man keeps walking, changing his looks slightly as he walks into the encampment.  All the vehicles are marked with VW symbols and …

Thursday Night Pathfinder: How Do You Deal with Missing Players?

Thursday nights we have a group of six players that plays Pathfinder from 6 to 9:

R, who plays CorrailC, who plays FelixS, my daughter, who plays VictaerusB, who plays Caleel, the new human clericA, who plays Nickolai the half-orc barbarianB, who plays The Druid Last night we only had 3 of the 6 players show up, and even one of those was 20 minutes late.  One player had told me in advance that he would be out, one player got stuck at work due to a no-call, no-show, and one I haven't heard anything from.
This comes one week after we had to cancel our previous game due to 3 players being unavailable.
From a GM perspective, missing half the party is pretty much a non-starter.  Usually missing half the party also means either the rogue or the healer is missing, which is a recipe for a TPK.  So last night we waited for an hour to see if anyone else would show up and then packed up.
In general, my policy is that if you don't show up and don't contact me for three sessions in a ro…

Cut Scene: Back aboard the Zelbinion

Sheena woke up on a bunk.  The door opened and it got really bright.

Thump, thud, thump, thud, thump, thud.  It was Fishguts, the Captain.  Sheena opened her eyes wider.

"There you are, missy, back in the waking world."  He smiled.  "It's good to see your eyes open again."  Fishguts sat on the bunk.  "If you're feeling up for it, Phaeralyn, I mean, the old wizard wants to talk to you."

Sheena caught on to him tripping over the wizard's name.  It was the first time she had heard it.  Maybe some things changed since she had been gone.

She followed Fishguts across the desk to the wizards quarters.  Fishguts knocked and then opened the door, holding it for Sheena.  She stepped in and her eyes quickly adjusted to the darkness again.  The old wizard was reading a book with strange symbols in it.  She glanced at it but reading the symbols seemed to make her hurt more.

"There you are, our favored crewman.  Seems you must have found some luck in …

Cut Scene: Weldon Escapes

Weldon sat up and rubbed his shoulder through the synthetic plaid of his shirt.  "Ow" he mouthed, not actually speaking.  Stun batons hurt.

Weldon started a web search on AR for "Weldon Smith" while he grabbed at his right eye with his fingers.  Forcing back his eyelids, he grasped his eyeball directly.  There was a wet squelch as he gave it a tug and it was extricated from its bio home.

It looked like a normal green eye except for a set of ten or so shiny gold leads poking ever so slightly out of the back and the slight tint of blue in the gel that hung to the back of it. He closed his empty eye socket, keeping his other eye open to identify the center pin.  He pressed it firmly and set the eye onto the floor.  A new node flipped open on his AR PAN status.  He held his nose at the tip for moment, adjusting to the pungent smell of sterile artificial joint lubricant, aka "blue smooth".

He tasked it with a simple command to "free me".  Pieces of t…

The Importance of Character Narration

I had a topic come up in the context of the Thursday night game that reinforced an element of character play that I had come across last time I played:  character narration.  To discuss this element I want to talk about the magic circle, framing and bleed.  If you're not familiar with these topics, EmergentPlay has excellent discussions of all three topics:  The Magic Circle, Frames, Bleed.

Imagine when your gaming rituals start.  Maybe you start by reviewing your character sheet before leaving for the game.  Maybe you sit at the game table, trying to remember what happened last time.  When I prepped for playing Crayla, my crass irreverant ranger, I would play certain songs, and even watch scenes of certain movies (the Alien movie with Sigourney Weaver playing basketball).

Entering the magic circle of gaming often involves transforming our behavior into that of the character, getting into their head, their senses, their feelings, and the situation at hand.  No matter how we get t…

Cut Scene: Sheena's Voyage

The sepuchral guardian, a great magical cage of iron surrounding the rotting flesh of a skeletal corpse with glowing red eyes, dropped two heavy arms against Sheena, landing with a hollow thud.  A plume of rotting stench spewed over the party.  Sheena's body crumpled into a pile of black with an uncharacteristic yelp.  The party jumped to her defense, shooting bolts and arrows.  Vicaterus drew her longsword and slashed at one of the creatures.  The second guardian fell.

Eerily, its dead arms started to move in unison with the still standing guarding, pulling energy out of the walls into a ray of red feathery flicker.  With a loud boom, a beam streaked from the ceiling and hit Sheena and she was gone.

Victaerus gasped and collapsed to the floor over the spot where Sheena was.  Tears flowed down her rosy cheeks and fell onto the shiny armor.  She dropped her sword with a clang and the shield crunched as her arm fell.  Her last remaining friend from the ship was gone.
Sheen felt …

Cut Scene: Weldon

One Areas security officer looked at the other.

"Yeah, I see the alert.  I'll take a left at the next corner.  You can jump out and make the grab."

"This is my last one for today.  Tomorrow, I'm driving."

"Fine, fine.  Just don't botch this one.  I need to get home for my daughter's birthday party.  We've got a clown coming and everything."

"How old?"


The Ares van rounded the corner smooth and surveillance cameras on top scanned over the turn-style entry to the public transport hub.  A green box surrounded an image of one of the pedestrians on both security guards' AR.

"That's him.  Go go go." yelled the driver as the van came to a stop.  The second guard had his baton out as he charged into the suspect's back.  It was hard to tell if the "Stop.  Security." was actually said before he shocked the civilian into a heap of twitching muscles.

The security guard rolled the guy ove…