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Squall - probably of Scandinavian origin; akin to Old Norse skval: useless chatter (Merriam-Webster)
It's my goal to have the LONGEST blog pages around. Kind of.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Savage Worlds - Firefly using High Space 2 & 3

Wow, am I behind on my posts.. I'll combine the last 2 games in this play session posting.

Into the black in a ship with no name...  What could go wrong?

For the introduction, read this posting. I am using the High Space rule set and playing in the FireFly 'Verse.

As mentioned previously, the ship is unknown to the crew. I provided them with a blank ship sheet (well, they knew the size of the ship, a displacement of d8) and they filled it out as they made their escape through an active space battle between the Alliance and Reavers. Not only did the crew have to navigate safely through a battle scene, they were discovering the capabilities of the ship they just stole.

As the action unfolds, the ship attempts a direct course to get out of the battle area ASAP. The plan is to go FTL when they get to the appropriate distance away from the planet. The space station they just escaped from was orbiting around the planet. In game terms, the ship should be able to hit FTL in 10 combat rounds. In that time, they managed to attract the attention of 2 Reaver ships, one of which they destroyed, and ignore comm requests from the Alliance. Alliance fighters were dispatched to "escort" them back to the space station, but a confusing round of cross fire had the Alliance fighters exchanging fire with Reavers, instead.This confusion led to our heroes' escape.

Finally in FTL space, the crew has found out several things about the ship during their plight in the battle:
  • It's got a leftover AI that seems much like a Jewish Mother. The ship is very concerned for their well being, diet and relationship problems.
  • The ship makes disturbing mechanical noises that are untraceable.
  • Although some weapons are equipped, the ship is built more for speed and stealth.
  • The ship has no ship's log, records, name or signage.
The programmer builds a record for the ship and gets it into the Cortex records. The crew votes in a Captain (the Mechanic) and then finally name the ship: The Golden Ducat, aka 'Duck'. More records are created for the ship and uploaded for record keeping and a general attempt is made to be mostly legal in order to be able to land anywhere slightly civilized. Speaking of which, the next decision is where to go and what to do.

The plot so far is that the truth about the Reavers has been revealed through the Cortex vid channels (ala the Serenity movie) and it has yet to really sink in to the public for any sort of outcry. However, there is the major Reaver / Alliance battle that has been hushed across the 'Verse, and the crew of the 'Duck' witnessed it first hand. This is just one more coverup by the Alliance that the crew might want to reveal. In the meantime, Saul has shared his information about a new drug that the Alliance is testing / manufacturing that is supposed to be similar in quite a few respects to the failed Miranda drug. Many of the crew decide that if they can do something to blacken the eye of the Alliance, then it might be worth doing. Problem is, they know nothing about where this production facility is or really what they can do about it. First things first, the crew needs money and that means a job. Persephone is their decided destination. As an added incentive, one of the characters has Badger as a contact, so this might actually work out.

On Persephone, the crew do some talkin' and dealin' but get right on getting to and talking with Badger. To start off the meetin', the crew shows Badger some of what they found in a hidden hold of the ship. Weapons, though small arms to be sure, but at least they didn't come hat in hand, so to speak... He says they can work out a sale for some pocket money. It helps to get the ball rolling for the second part of the conversation: finding a job. Badger says he's got something a might dicey, and so far no one has taken up the offer. He can provide them fuel and supplies if they do a job for him. The payment terms are left a might vague as far as the return goes, but he's willing to fund them. For now. He tells them of a braggart that came through a while back talkin' about a great new drug that was sure to hit the Core sometime soon. The fella says that folks will be linin' up for it as it's got a great high. Unfortunately, the info was limited and Badger finds it hard to believe. After some time researching, Badger has managed to figure out a location; a planet that some of Skeeter's people, Native American Indians, colonized a few decades ago, that is far out on the rim and who want to be left alone.  Badger thinks that he traced the bragging fella to the same planet, although to or from, he doesn't rightly know. But he's willing to gamble on the crew to find out. The job is simple. Bring back some product, and he'll pay 'em for it. The more, the better, and the sooner, the better. He wants to be the only supplier for as long as he can.

The crew talks over the deal and accepts it. Saul thinks the job and the Alliance drug might be connected or even one and the same. Time isn't wasted as the crew prepares The Duck for flyin' and tries to launch before anyone really takes notice of her. Fortunately, they launch with no questions from the docks. Maybe Badger had something to do with that, too. To the Black they go.

Ever paranoid, the crew decides on a route that will take them to an agriculture planet close by the planet they are heading to, to try and throw off any scent or suspicion. I decided on Whitefall as their destination. The crew spends a day for some information gathering. Skeeter cultivates some information from the well-experienced of the town, while others find gamblin', drinkin' and fightin'. The crew ends up with some idea of folks who come here looking for supplies, always buyin', and never sellin'. And they're a heap a trouble, too, causing folks all kinds of issue. Fortunately, they only show up once a month or so. The local waterin' hole is still cleaning up from their last visit from a few days ago.

Tanned, rested and ready, back into the black they go. They approach the colony world (I called it Terra Ariel - and yes, for you who are in the know, I am using that adventure). They completely avoid the orbiting ship and land near the colonists. They spend a few hours talking with the colonists (mostly Skeeter, as these are his people and some are distant relatives) about what they may know. The colonists are reclusive and avoid any contact; the fact that they have Skeeter on the crew is the only reason their presence is tolerated. They don't gather much information other than that occasionally folks come up missing. They suspect the Others, but any scouting party sent out have never returned. They've never been attacked or confronted; there have been no dealings with the Others at all, except that they both know the existence of each other. The crew voice their intentions of investigation and two young warriors volunteer to help.

The planet is void of any mammals; all of the local fauna is insect-based, and everything has a red hue to it. The Warrior guides help the crew get to within a few miles of the Others' compound, where they decide to stash the Mule and continue on foot. The Warriors are wary, being unfamiliar with this territory. The ground is soft and spongy in spots, leading to one of the crew, Lock, the engineer, falling through the ground and into a giant underground tunnel. A few seconds later, a loud chit-chit-chit sound  appears to be approaching the crew. In the dim light, Lock sees a giant bug rushing at him, apparently to get what looks to be a tasty meal for it. Lock pulls his laser pistol and fires at the approaching bug, causing no damage to its hard shell. Bulldog, Steady and Eliot jump in to help. After a few shots and a twisting attack, the bug is still going strong. The electroblade that was pulled from the weapons stash is most effective as Bulldog nearly cuts it in two with one swing. Just in time, too, as another bug is approaching from the opposite direction. The crew has time to set up a concentrated attack, and that bug is dispatched fairly quickly. They climb out of the tunnel and are able to rest for a bit.

That's where we ended the session; next session will be in the compound...

Monday, April 14, 2014

GameStorm 16

What a Great GameStorm16!
 (Except I suck because I didn't take a single friggin' picture all weekend long.)
Last year I took on a volunteer role at the yearly convention as the Assistant to the RPG coordinator. Which means I do some grunt work for my RPG Coordinator, Ron. I got this role because last year I wanted to organize a Savage Saturday Night.

This year was the 2nd Annual Savage Saturday Night and a new event was added: Fateful Friday Night. Both of these events were successful.  Savage Saturday Night was a full house with 7 games and at least 5 players at each table. Local game store, Guardian Games gave us Dice to hand out! We also had some gift certificates from Pinnacle as prizes. With the dice and certificates, each table had 4 things to give out.

Fateful Friday Night had 4 games with 5-6+ players per game, and the Dresden Files game had over a dozen people signed up for it. Next year we hope to have more Fate GMs for the event in order to accommodate the demand. Local game store, Guardian Games gave us gift certificates to hand out! We also had some gift certificates from Evil Hat as prizes, too.

It's hard to say what my number one highlight of GS16 was, but I must say that it was having a game that I am co-developing in the GameLab. This game has been around for a few decades; it's a card game with a WWII army man theme. It was developed by myself and my friend Ash when we were teens.

We had quite a few play testers from ages 8 to 68 and we got some really good feedback. Now we need to come up with a solid card design and find an artist who wants to draw army men and toy images, so we can publish this bad boy. 

Ash did a great job getting interest in the game and running the demo events. His idea of surrounding the signup sheet with army men got us 10 play tester signups in 5 minutes!

I am going to start a new page and more postings about this in the future, so stay tuned if you're interested.

Shane Hensley and John Goff
This was going to be my highlight until I decided to put Bellum in the Game Lab. 

I was looking forward to this event for over 6 months, ever since I heard that Shane Hensley was going to be our RPG Guest of Honor. And a month or two before this year's GameStorm, we were able to add John Goff to the Con. 

Shane and John both ran several games throughout the weekend and I was privileged to play in a John Goff Deadlands Noir game. I also got to play in two games with Shane as a player, but not in a game where he GMd - I had some time conflicts and choices had to be made. For some photo documentation, here is Shane's Photo record of his trip to the Con. Needless to say, I got Shane to sign my Savage Worlds Deluxe hardback and John Goff to sign my Deadlands Noir hardback.

Then John did something pretty cool. There were a few of us who were part of the Deadlands Noir Kickstarter, and John had all of us sign his copy of the book.

One more item of interest, shortly after GameStorm was over, I received a Private Message on the Pinnacle forums from a guy who was introduced to Savage Worlds at GameStorm. And his first ever game was with Shane as the GM. I thought that that was pretty cool.

Thanks Shane and John for making my GameStorm awesome!
Masters Game
This was a brain child of Ron, the RPG coordinator. Since we all run games on Savage Saturday Night, the idea was to get all the GMs in a game together. This was an off-the-books-by-invite-only secret game. John Goff hadn't arrived yet, but we did have everyone else. Ron ran the game for us. It was a sci-fi themed game that turned a little silly, but was enjoyable.

Low Life
I ran a one-shot of Andy Hopp's Low Life setting for Savage Worlds, twice, once on Friday and once on Sunday.

Both games went well with a lot of character calamity, disgusting references, and good times. This game is great fun to GM; I really have to flex my creative side.

Since the adventure takes place in a six-story building called the "Museum of Random Stuff", I had to come up with exhibits on the fly. I should have had a list of them prepared. My favorites were the Poo Room, the Hall of Smelves, and the Stretchy Pants exhibit.

Agents of Oblivion
My Savage Saturday Night game, as per tradition, was an Agents of Oblivion game.

Each year I use the same agents, but increase their level. Next year they'll have achieved the rank of Seasoned.

This game was an adventure called 'Clear Water' written by Michael Ysker. The agents need to investigate a Mid-Western water bottling plant. The supposition is that an enemy agency, Pandora, is involved in something dastardly at the plant. I won't give away too much of the ending, but it does end up with some aquatic tentacled goodness at the end.