Wednesday, January 11, 2017

New Year, New Games (and Old too...) - State of the Blog III Part Two

Well... I did not expect my first post for the 2017 New Year State of the Blog to devolve into a 4,000 word screed... Apologies to all who suffered through that...

A photo posted by Zack Schwartz (@thatwordyguy) on

So... I ran 11 different games in 2016, got to play in 4, but what are my plans for 2017?

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

New Year, New Games (and Old too...) - State of the Blog III Part One

Hello there gorgeous...

With the turn of the new year, it seems appropriate that I do another State of the Blog post, though this one will probably be even longer and more rambling than previous installments... So, hold onto your dicebags, 'cause here we go!

Friday, January 6, 2017

Big Trouble on Little Rimpoche - New Year's RPG

So, as is our tradition, Thomas and I ran a Holi-New Year's RPG game. Previously we've called it New Year's D&D, though it hasn't always fallen on New Year's. Last year, of course, we attempted to each run the same dungeon of Dortherdoreft, and the year before we each ran a D&D 5e Planescape one-shot and I belief that my (in)famous all-"hobbit" ghoul-battle adventure was also a New Year's D&D game of the distant past... So, because we foolishly try to escalate our nonsense each year, this year we decided we would attempt to run a table-top game with us as tandem GMs.

Obligatory Ancient Psychic Tandem War Elephant pic.

The thought was that we would run a 10-12 player game where we ran it simultaneously, each handling 5-6 players. We discussed (re)using and expanding a Vampire the Dark Ages one shot that Thomas had written and run that was loosely based on or a sequel of sorts to my online influence heavy Toulouse game of yore, but I pushed for Fading Suns instead, thinking that VtDA will be the game I run for my Apocalypse World group once that campaign reaches its inevitable and fiery conclusion. After considering our options, we chose a planet/plot seed from the Weird Places supplement. Spoilers for the Rimpoche section of Weird Places follow...

Thursday, December 8, 2016

We're Not in Parcher's Anymore... (Apocalyptic Dispatches from Parcher's Pt. 3)

Not gonna lie, this is my inspiration for the look of the Beast...

Last session ended with Parcher dying from a nasty 'pede bite, so technically, the PCs aren't in Parcher's Hardhold anymore (Still going to use the Parcher's tag though, so that these dispatches are linked together). I wanted to shake things up as we started our fourth session and saw on my quakes threat countdown that we were due for another seismic event, plus I wanted to force the question right away and up front for Man, whether he'd become the hard holder or not. The easy way to do this, seemed to be another set of Love Letters, so I whipped up a fresh batch. (Reminder to my players not to peek).

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

'Pedes, Pup & Pump-can (Apocalyptic Dispatches from Parcher's Pt. 2)

Hopefully these man-sized millipedes will haunt my player's dreams...

Got in our third session of Apocalypse-World. Not quite as action-packed as the last, but I did some poking, prodding and prep for what's to come (if you're playing the drinking game, take a double for my overuse of alliteration...).

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Corpse Chewer - Or a semi-improv, low prep 13th Age One shot you could run too

After the election my wife asked me to run a combat heavy one shot RPG as a distraction, I've been burnt out a little on 5e D&D lately, so I decided to run 13th Age instead.

I like 13th Age for this kind of adventure/monster fighting combat heavy game because...

  • It's basically D&D. I mean, it's not official Wizards of the Coast branded D&D(TM) but it's got a unified d20 mechanic like recent D&D, the classic classes, races and a lot of the feel.
  • It's good at what it does and focuses on that. It's not the game I'd run if I wanted to run a social intrigue game (probably, right now, V20 Vampire the Dark Ages would win) or the game I'd run if I wanted a gritty game where the PCs struggled to survive (for now, that would probably be Shadow of the Demon Lord) but for a combat heavy game where PCs will have cool stuff to do during combat and you want a high fantasy feel it's an excellent choice. 
  • 13th Age PCs are surprisingly simple(ish). For the game I just used some pre-made 4th level characters (and recommend you do too) and they all fit onto a single page without needing a magnifying glass to read the type. Even if players make their own PCs, they really only need their class write up at hand to play and won't need to flip between multiple sections of the core book the way any of the spellcasting classes in 5e D&D do (and remember that 5 of the 12 classes of 5e have spellcasting and gain or can gain spells, though that Totem Barbarian who gets two spells as rituals won't need the book as much as the wizard, but still...)
  • Icon Relationships, Backgrounds and One Unique Things encourage player investment, even for one shot characters.
    • A few memorable one unique things from when I ran this...
      • Renowned as a 'fuck-up'.
      • Attracts random cats when she sings.
      • Half of his face looks like a corpse.
So, without further ado, here is Corpse Chewer, a semi-improv, low prep 13th Age One shot. It's semi-improv because I'm providing the skeletal sketch of the plot arc and combat encounters but you can improvise the description of the dungeon and environs itself and some of the flavor bits can be tailored to the icon relationships the players pick.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Bringing a Hand Grenade to a Tire Iron Fight (Apocalyptic Dispatches from Parcher's Pt. 1)

First, a reminder, please consider supporting my 2016 Extra Life campaign. It's not often that I get to put my nerdy hobbies to the cause of good, so donations do mean a lot to me. Thanks!

So... last month I started a new Apocalypse-World Campaign, taking the second edition rules out for a test drive, and got to run a second session this last Saturday. For this particular campaign, I went in blind, not having any ideas what I'd run until the players chose playbooks and created their PCs, and so I ended up having the following to toy with (a note, Parcher is the Hardholder NPC I created once it was clear there wasn't a Hardholder PC to run the joint):

  • Pinky - The Chopper
    • A woman with a busted face, wiry body and kind eyes. Wearing combat biker wear and a grotesque prosthetic leg with lots of straps, buckles and a complicated harness.
    • Has 2 harm gang medium savage mobile 1-armor, vulnerable to breakdown. Notable gang members: Winkle, Goldy, Stinky, Gary (the new Guy), Larry, Harry and Barry. Gang can call her Half-Pint, but no one else can.
    • Left Man bleeding and did nothing.
    • Has a side-car for Thirteen to ride in.
    • Just coming back to Parcher's Hardhold on day 130.
  • Ming - The Driver
    • An older Asian woman with a fine-boned face, sad eyes and a slim and frail body. Wearing an immaculate windbreaker suit. Also has a comfortable, hand-built, prosthetic leg with a complicated harness.
    • Has a Buggy that is fast, pristine, luxe and cramped.
    • Has been with Firefly for days on the road.
    • Also just coming to Parcher's Hardhold.
  • Man - The Gunlugger
    • Concealed gender, battered old armor, a dull face, sad eyes and a stringy body.
    • Carries a silenced sniper rifle, a shotgun and a shit-ton of knives.
    • Got Ming out of some serious shit and used to ride with Pinky's gang until they abandoned him in Parcher's Hardhold. Now serves as Parcher's enforcer and sometimes bodyguard.
  • Firefly - The Battlebabe
    • A woman with a girlish face, merciless eyes and a slim body, clad in display wear with high boots.
    • Wields a long-bladed sword staff.
    • Does odd jobs for Parcher, as well as Twice, who runs a club in the hardhold.
    • Has fought shoulder to shoulder with Man. Trusts all the PCs but Pinky, who she thinks she can take in a fight.
  • Thirteen - The Child-Thing
    • A girl with a pretty face, wise eyes and a child's body, clad in scrounge wear.
    • Always hiding from the Wolves of the Maelstrom, perversions of birth, who look like beasts under their disguises but they have empty holes for eyes and they only howl when their nature is revealed.
    • She has a radio that speaks only to her, and her den is a crooked, labyrinthine set of interconnected tunnels and boltways with ways into basically everyone's spaces, even if they've taken pains to close them off.
    • She thinks Ming and Man might be Wolves of the Maelstrom.
Fair warning... plenty of foul language below the cut...