Joshua

I've spent most of my life thinking and worrying about games but not nearly enough time actually playing. That is changing now. In real life I'm a legal aid lawyer, though I prefer the term 'public defender', in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Mar 292014
 

2014-03-17 19.17.25 Here’s an update from Geoffrey et al’s game.  I believe the played on St. Patrick’s Day, 2014.

Geoffrey writes:

After a slight delay, we played another session of QfR on Monday, accompanied by fresh oatmeal cookies, a not-at-all bad bottle of homemade white wine, and the requisite number of cats.

(Comments in italics)

The first session ended with the characters (Derek, Odette, and Joan) gathered together outside a convenience store in St. Collens, NB, in the company of a pair of strangers. The last lines of the evening were Odette asking, “Who are you folks?” and one of them answering, “We’re the Fair Folk.”

Monday’s game began with a monstrously huge man charging out from the alley next to the store and everyone piling into Odette’s car to drive away as fast as they could. The two strangers (who would later be introduced as Gabriel and Cobweb) weren’t very forthcoming with explanations, although they did tell them that the thing that was chasing them was called the Spriggan. Eventually, after they were fairly sure it was far behind them, they paused at a gas station to gather their wits (and, in Joan’s case, smoke a joint), whereupon they were joined by a third stranger, Corbin. Corbin merrily climbed into the car with them all, making it rather cramped, as they agreed to drive to Derek’s house for explanations.

It would be a night of much exposition: I would have preferred to avoid being quite so info-dumpy, but at the same time, it’s hard to avoid that in an introductory session.

The trio explained that they were emissaries from the Seelie Court, tasked with finding champions for an upcoming contest against the Unseelie. Their court, they said, brought happiness and prosperity to an area; the other one brought pain and misery. Whichever court won the contest would determine the fortune of the local lands for the next seven years, but the nobles needed mortals to compete—hence the recruitment of champions. In exchange, the champions would see wonders, be given gifts, and would know that their actions turned the luck of everyone around them.

Joan agreed immediately. Derek hesitated until he was sure that someone would take care of his father while he was off on the adventure. Odette was the last to decide; while she was thinking about it, she noticed that her brother (and Joan’s boyfriend) Travis had left her a message asking where Joan was. When she phoned him back, he told her that it was a mistake, that Joan was with him, and that he was going to come over to Odette’s place.

I think everyone decided at that point that Travis had been found by the Unseelie Court, and was either in danger or had been persuaded by them to join their team of champions.

In any case, Odette finally decided to join, but wanted to be assured that they could go back to find Travis once the three had gone through whatever formal induction ceremony they were supposed to. The Seelie emissaries agreed readily, then ushered them off into the Otherworld through a magical portal.

In the forest-like realm of the Seelie Court, each character was allowed to choose a patron from among the nobles of the court. Joan chose The Piper, a forest trickster who granted powers involving beasts and mischief. Derek chose Mother Coal, whose gifts are sanctuary, healing, and imbuing objects with emotion. Odette nearly followed the Blue Maiden, embodiment of ice and sorrow, but backed away to choose Father Stone—with powers of storms and mountains—instead.

The NPCs used the fact that Odette was an injured dancer to encourage her towards her eventual patron. While it wasn’t initially clear why a mountain fae could make her a better dancer, the nimble goat-legs of Father Stone’s representative may have made that clearer. I think she’s still suspicious, though.

While the evening was fun and I think the players enjoyed it, it was still a bit GM-heavy in terms of how we used our time. I’m hoping that the next session will give people more of a chance to take the reins, have their characters interact with each other more, and generally be active.

2014-03-17 19.47.44

Mar 102014
 

Nat and Sebastian arrived at Joshua’s house last Saturday (March 8th) and collectively we found we were in peaceful possession of a veritable ocean beer. This provided an ideal occasion upon which  to embark upon an rash and unplanned raid on Pirates! by Michaël Janod.

Pirates!, a free tabletop rpg inspired by the eponymous movie by Polanski. It’s a funny and lighthearted game that runs almost on its own, the game master doesn’t have a lot to do while the players perform all sort of foolishness, smiling from ear to ear

Looking at the diagram you see that the game absolutely wants you to roll! Almost everything leads to rolling more and more, this is what make the game going on(*). A successful roll means colourful actions (everybody loves them) and rewards, in terms of treasure points and possibly luck. A failure means epic fails (everybody loves them too) and possible loss of luck. Both are meant to give personal and social gratification.

I had long hesitated to play because I found it hard to believe that the GM had so little responsibility to make a story happen. But it is true.  The little rules booklet, happily contains “an adventure story” that one can use to a re-assuring crutch (peg leg?) to get things started.  But it only takes a few minutes of play to realize its unnecessary.  I wouldn’t say this game facilitates emergent narrative so much as emergent ludicrousity(sic). It most definitely achieves what it sets out to do, capturing the tone and colour of the Polanski movie of the same name.

To learn the rules we started with a dramatic reading of the booklet (since all rules are provided in character). As amusing as this was it got old soon and we switched to me just bringing the players through character creation … at some point that simply devolved straight into the adventure.  We used one of the provided scnario “The Pirate King”.  The best action occurred in the Port El Perfido where the pirates tried to stage a prison break to rescue Jack Pumpkin – the holder of the secret treature map. One pirate attempted to infiltrate the fortress by “swinging” over the ramparts. We pictured a Wile E. Coyote style catapult launch from a bent over palm tree.  The failed roll clearly indicated that he had splattered himself against the fortress walls. Meanwhile the other player thought to stake out the execution grounds, hoping to prolong the Jack Pumpkin’s life by blowing up the gallows.  His failed “devastate”  roll killed 4 important townsfolk and won him his own death sentence which put right in prison with Pumpkin.   Meanwhile the other pirate successfully ‘teased’ a scullery made into switching clothes with him allowing him to infiltrate the prison… he was stuck drag for the rest of the game which turned out to be of great assistance avoiding the ire of Big Melinda and her swarthy crew of lady-pirates later on.

 

 Posted by at 1:24 pm
Mar 062014
 

The ‘Hali-fatality’ campaign continued at Games People Play tonight.  Present: Joshua, Nat, Cater, and Alissa; regrets: Sebastian.

I really felt like tonight was a break through in terms of fun and excitement at the table. The stories started to develop.  Characters took off and crisis points started to bloom. In many ways I was less prepared than before but committed to really connecting with my NPCs and playing them for real on a moment by moment basis.  The players equally started to show me what their characters were like in a crisis and their humanity started to peek through.

Stephen Demoine

Play began with Stephen Demoine – Emily is at his apartment again. More distraught than ever as she relates a bizarre event during her data-gathering dive this morning. While in the depths of some pretty horrific shit in Tufts Cove out by the power plant, and significant depth she came face to face with a powerfully built naked mad, swimming freely in the frigid winter waters. after some awkward attempts to be soothing Stephen convinces her to get some sleep.  No sooner has she does so then Kyoteh starts fiending for her breath.  He want’s ‘just a little. She’s asleep and wont know. Stephen can’t allow this and agrees to take Kyoteh out into the city to stalk some victims.  They set up watch on South Park street and start following some drunken frat boys deeper into the South End through bad luck it takes some time before Stephen finds an ideal moment to attack.  Kyoteh’s first ‘hold’ attempt fails on the bro, sending him running in panic. Stephen deftly positions himself to trip the boy as he passes him and send him tumbling.  Kyoteh is then ordered/permitted to ‘feed’ doing his power in lethal damage against him.  This makes the punk pass out and Stephen feels obliged to call 911 for fear he’ll aspirate and die before waking up.

“911 what is your emergency”

The ensuing conversation becomes the first of several awkward calls to emergency services. Thinking fast, Stephen lies about his name and address and the circumstances of the injuries before cutting off the call and high tailing it.  Narrowly missing running into the first responders. Three boys end up in the drunk tank that night telling crazy stories about a night-stalking devil.

Tasha Garien

Back at the station, Tasha has to browbeat the Officer in Charge into releasing Simon Kim into her custody so she can take him for an emergency psych assessment in the hospital. She’s forced to comandeer her partner Jeremy and also the reluctant Vernon as security support since the suspect will need to be guarded at the hospital. At the hospital Annabel admits that although Simon is telling crazy stories of having been “possessed”, she doesn’t actually think he’s crazy.  She wants to keep him out of police custody in order to learn more.  Tasha wants Simon out of the Chief’s hands for as long as possible so they agree that by Annabel will not medically clear him for release.  Simon goes to sleep.  Vernon defects. Jeremy stands guard.  Tasha decides that this would be a good time to deal with the demon contained in her badge. He’s not ready to give up much about his agenda, demanding to be bound and offering to hand her the answer to Karla Strang’s murder. Tasha is too prudent to accept such an offer and puts him on hold.  While grabbing a couple hours of sleep the demon makes an attempt to break the contain, and against all the odds fails!

Vincent King

Vincent is in a bind. He’s summoned Wimpi into a fine antique bottle as a way of showing off to Sasheen, who so desperately wanted to see a demon. However the shock to her system of seeing sorcery in action put her into shock. Vincent scrambles to giver her first aid but she seems to be having a heart attack. (Two failures on an untrained first aid roll). He can either call 911 or try sorcery…

‘911 what is your emergency’

At least Vincent doesn’t need to lie about his name or location but while on the phone with dispatch he makes himself a meal for two, eats from both plates, and hides his recently acquired modified firearm. EHS is perfectly professional and determine that a pre-exisiting heart condition is threatening Sasheen’s life. Vince is invited to ride along. He opts to bring Wimpi in a bottle with him. Interesting.

Stephen Demoine

Kyoteh is now fat and happy and Stephen is relatively certain he hasn’t directly killed anyone tonight. Time to meet Kyla again. She said she’d wanted to see him again to discuss the book.  The book she says ‘called for him’. They meet at McDonalds on Spring Garden Road. The conversation quickly turns to Sorcery.  Kyla suspects.  She tells him she’s kept all mention of the Sorcerous book and the link to Stephen out of her report but in return she wants him to tell her a little about ‘what’s really going on’.  Stephen leads her outside and they walk along the dark side of the locked public gardens.  He explains his discovery of and mind shattering encounter with the demonic world and his summoning and binding of a demon. She wants to see it. He orders Kyoteh to appear. He refuses. He punishes and orders again.  Again Kyoteh disobeys.  (Binding contract favoured Kyoteh by 2).  Finally Stephen punishes Kyoteh down to 1 pt.  By this time Kyla is suspecting that she’s dealing with a delusional man.  But on the third try a severely weakened Kyoteh manifests as the haunting black spectre with burning blue eyes.  Kyla is reasonably disturbed and screams make him go…  Kyoteh rebels again but is successfully forced to comply.  Now Kyla has tons of questions and accusations.  She quickly deduces that this demon is responsible for the asphyxiated corpse on her examination table. She pegs Stephen as a twisted vigilante with delusions of grandeur. Finally she gives him the original book and leaves.  Stephen glances at it warily suspecting it might be a demon itself as he hobbles away Westward toward home.

Vincent, Stephen, Tasha et al

Enroute to the hospital, on board the ambulance Wimpi decides to make a break for it. With shattering success he burst out of his bottle manifesting as a full size passing demon in the shape of a 17th century able-bodied alcoholic seaman. This is too much of a shock for the EMT’s to handle and the ambulance drives off the road directly into the public garden,  just a few hundred meters from where Stephen and Kyla had been talking.  The van rolls, sending everyone flying bu miraculously no one is injured except for Wimpi himself who takes a light concussion.  The EMTs pile out of the ambulance, extricate and Sasheen while calling for a second ambulance.  They briefly question Vincent about what the fuck just happened and his answers do the exact opposite of what he hopes and instead of allaying their fears provokes them into calling police.

“911 what is your emergency…!”

“Some wise guy hijacked our ambulance and caused a nearly fatal accident… his accomplice appears to be armed with a… a sword or some kind of cutlass.!!

“Stay where you are help is on the way…”

Before police arrive, Stephen, hearing the noise and seeing the crash hobbles back, compelled or drawn to the crisis.  Upon arrival he instantly recognizes Wimpi as a demon and by deduction quickly determines that Vincent must be a sorcerer. Acting on a noble impulse he attempts to banish Wimpy. This doesn’t work. Wimpy response in rage and stabs Stephen deeply in the guts with his cutlass. Stephen drops and Wimpy disappears into the gardens.

Police arrive. Including Tasha who was wakened by Jeremy when the first general calls for back up started coming over the radio. ( The weirdness of the reports tweaked Jeremy intuitively that he should alert her. ) She quickly recognizes the stabbing victim as a Sorcerer as his clothes pulled back reveal his unnatural scarring.  She then turns her attention to the ambulance hi-jacker who’s been taken into custody.  Police searching his person found a severed human toe in his possession.  His explanations send Petrys into a ringing frenzy.

At this moment, sensing the presence of two sorcerers. Sss, the demon in Tasha’s badge starts reaching out.  He makes a fresh attempt to breach the containment, and he badge explodes into shrapnel.  Bind me! he hisses into the ears of Vincent.

No.

Sss turns to the unconscious (coma?) form of Stephen and approaches him in a dream.  Stephen readily agrees and snap-shot binds him.  Two victories favour the demon.

As everyone involved is debriefed, taken to cells, or hospital respectively Tasha is finally dismissed from emergency duty.  Before she decides where to go next she gets a text (its 3am) from Kyla Mardine.

‘Tasha, I need to talk to you’

 Posted by at 10:48 pm
Mar 062014
 

March 6th saw Alissa, Geoffrey, Jennifer, Joshua, Nat and Sam gather at Joshua’s house.  Festivities included a quick but satisfying game of Coup and some stimulating playtesting of some of Sam’s current prototypes.  First we played his story telling game that pits competitors against each other in an attempt to move objects and characters around a map through narrative force. One fun outcome was that the winner, didn’t even get to play the winning move.  Someone else, in the midst of telling their story brought about the other player’s victory condition. In Uncooperative Dungeon Crawl, the players once again showed great cooperation… but to no avail.

 Posted by at 10:43 pm
Mar 032014
 

We played at Games People Play again.  We were missing Nat who was busy traipsing around the world.

Tasha Garien:
We met up with Tasha at home and got to know her morning ritual. She makes a breakfast omelette and uses copious onions, the cutting of which generates tears sufficient to bathe her ring thus meeting the demon’s need. At work she learned a few pieces of news (1) Kyla Mardine at chief medical examiners office had produced a suspiciously bland post mortem on Sam Smythe the mysteriously asphyxiated corpse of a university professor. It contained no hint of the weirdness that Kyla hinted at during their meeting. (2) A suspect in the Karla Strang murder has been arrested… and there is talk of a ‘confession’. Tasha is able to convince another officer Vernon Forbes to give her access to the prisoner: a dishevelled computer science student named Simon Kim. In the interrogation Simon is acting highly paranoid and delusional. He’s confessing and lying and apparently seeing demons even as he speaks. Tasha pulls strings, contacting an old colleague of her late husband, and gets a psychiatrist (name?) to come and do a clandestine assessment of Simon. Later, with the interview room to herself she reaches out and encounters an unbound demon lingering. “Bind me and avenge my murder!” it demands. Wisely she opts to snap contain (+1) him into her police badge to buy time to learn more about who she is dealing with.

Vincent King:
Vincent is still walking home after being dropped off on a country road when Sonya shows up in her own car. She’s excited rather than intimidated by the attack earlier. She wants him to infiltrate the Cornwallis Group. When she learns that Vincent sent them towards Sasheen, she’s concerned about what might have said
meets Sasheen: she doesn’t suspect his duplicity. Asks to be initiated into lore. He invites her over to witness a summoning. She sufferes mental injury from witnessing sorcery. He summons a “wimpy spirit” (he hopes) and contains it (+1) rather than binding it.

Shake:
wakes up with dancer named Ka’een. Leaves in a hurry to dive into the harbour. Dominic takes over during hte swim. Startles a researcher (Emily Methune). Seeks his money in pp park. Ambushed by a blue devil biker who mugs him for cash in hand ($556 – not the main stash). Visits Damien… Damien is on the run from the Blue Devils and the police. Talk in an alley.. get jumped by 3 blue devils. Damien gets outa dodge while Shake shake’s em up. Dominic helps out by seriously confusing them before Shake lays down a beating. Seriously injurs a BD — turns out to be the one who mugged him… recovers like 26 bucks.

Stephen Demoine:
Kyoteh’s need has not been met. He’s clearlty getting anxious. Simon Kim calls, desperate to meet to discuss a make up of his last exam. But he doesn’t show up.

Feb 182014
 

On February 11th, 2014 something strange and marvellous took shape in Halifax.

Geoffrey reports:

About 25 years ago, my gaming group in Toronto decided to try something that was unheard of: a roleplaying game in which the players didn’t handle any dice, never saw their character sheets, and didn’t even necessarily know the rules of the game they were playing. We called it “Zen roleplaying,” and it went on to be our standard approach for many years to follow. Recently, I wanted to go back to that style of playing, so I put out an invitation here in Halifax for players who would be interested in a character-heavy game of urban fantasy. On the 11th of February, we had our first session.

The Story so far:

There are three players, who were asked to think of characters from the small fictional town of St. Collen’s, New Brunswick. The main requirements for the characters were that they be fairly ordinary, that they knew each other in some way, and that they would be willing to answer the call to adventure when it came. We ended up with:

Derek, a physically imposing, sensitive loner who dabbles in pottery when he’s not working as a check-out clerk at the local supermarket;

Joan, a restless and troubled teen looking for any way to get out of town;

and Odette, a former dancer who left St. Collen’s to pursue a career but was forced to return after an injury.

The first thing to arrange when we met was to establish how the characters knew each other. Joan, we decided, was dating Odette’s younger brother (Travis, a pot-smoking would-be musician seven years older than Joan). Joan had noticed Derek as someone who seemed just as out of place in town as she was, but probably hadn’t approached him yet. Derek had noticed the attractive Odette, but likewise hadn’t said or done anything to introduce himself.

I’d expected that most of the session would be taken up with getting the characters familiar with each other, but that part moved along so easily that we had time for opening scenes:

Joan, while smoking up at her boyfriend’s place, answered a knock at the door from a ragged-looking young man who asked for her specifically. He offered her a chance to leave town and do something exciting, and (despite Travis’s protests) she took him up on it without a second thought.

Derek was having a night at the local bingo hall when a woman in a Victorian nightgown sat down next to him, started chatting with him, and soon urged him to come away with her. She didn’t say why, and seemed so out of place that her presence was starting to raise some eyebrows among the bingo players, but he finally relented and went along.

Odette was picking up dinner (a pack of cigarettes) at the convenience store when a small man with a cane barred her exit and growled that she was coming with him. When she refused, he grew more threatening, and when she threw down her purse in the assumption he was there to rob her, he crouched down over it and started eating the money inside. That’s when she ran.

Outside the convenience store, and near Odette’s car, the three characters ran into each other. After the initial “what are you doing here and who are these people?” questions, they were interrupted by the sight of an impossibly huge figure barrelling out of the alley by the store. That’s where we ended our first session. We pick up again in early March.

While it’s still too early to say how things will progress, everyone in the group was comfortable enough with the game and each other that I think the story will roll along quite smoothly. Their characters are only lightly sketched out now, but they’ll have time to fill in more details during play; what’s important is that they all seem to have good, clear ideas of who they are and how they’re motivated.

Feb 172014
 

A week ago today about a score of board and card game designers and enthusiasts congregated at The Board Room.  Sam Fraser had this report (originally posted on Google+)

Last night I hosted the first Halifax Board and Card Game Designers meetup at the Board Room Game Cafe. It was a big success! 19 people showed up, and 1 person more couldn’t get in, so an even 20 people made the effort. That’s a great turn out.

Beforehand, I was worried that I would be the only one with a prototype to work on, but there were at least 5 people with a playable prototype, so that’s awesome. There is a 4x civ-building/exploration game, a deckbuilder set in the French Revolution, a bluff-based nuclear war card game for 3-5 players that takes under an hour, my uncooperative dungeon crawl, plus one super secretive proto.

We agreed that we would meet on the second Monday of each month at the Board Room, while designers would sign up for their weekly Open Gaming night to try out their protos and get feedback from the public. The monthly meetings would be a chance for a show & tell session, and to dig into some of the deeper challenges.

There were a lot of good discussions about things relating to game design too. Which print on demand service has the best quality components (The Game Crafter beat SuperiorPOD), best Kickstarter strategies, and using using games for social change. We even talked about creating an official society that would enable us to send a “Nova Scotia delegation” of designs to different conventions, thereby minimizing costs and maximizing exposure. Cool idea.

So if you are in Halifax or not too far away and want to join us, send me an email at sam@growgiantgames.com or join the FB group athttps://www.facebook.com/groups/halifaxgamedesigners/. It’s gaining lots of momentum!

 

 Posted by at 11:31 am
Feb 172014
 

Word has it that Sam Fraser (Grow Giant Games) has been testing an interesting prototype.  On February 6th I believe Sam and Alissa played out a few permutations at The Board Room.  On the 7th Sam and Joshua met at Joshua’s house and experimented further.

I know I gave plenty of feedback during the session on the 7th but something comes to mind today.  The one word I wouldn’t use to describe the game I saw in play is “uncooperative”  this might change with more players but I feel the rules for positioning, directing melee vs. spell damage as well as the stock of cards representing a shared pool of hitpoints all went further to foster and demand cooperative play more than many games that explicitly sell themselves as cooperative.  This is not a bad thing.

 Posted by at 10:36 am
Feb 032014
 

Last Thursday (January 30th) we gathered at Games People Play to commence the Sorcerer campaign.  Alissa, Carter, Joshua, Nat, and Sebastian engaged in some exciting “story now” role-play. As for the venue, while Games People Play lacks the style and amenities of the Board Room, our table at least had something we’d all been missing: HEAT! We were at least warm and toasty.  We also enjoyed the lower ambient volume which made dialog intensive role-play much easier.  And of course, its hard to beat the price.  Although I’d love to play Sorcerer in the comfort of someone’s home, GPP is pretty decent compromise for now.

Play report

We assembled and dealt with a few last housekeeping concerns. Then jumped into play. My humble goal for the session was for each character to get to roll some dice either in combat or while practising sorcery. We achieved at least 2 decent combats and the other two characters made some Lore checks at least so I’m satisfied.

Vincent King

received an invitation to attend a fancy ball for left-wing radical intellectuals at the Westin Hotel. He was to be an honoured guest, though not expected to give a speech. KT (the object demon residing in a severed toe) clearly wanted to come to fulfill his desire for hobnobbing with high society. Vincent’s solution was truly idiosyncratic. He used spirit gum and gauze bandages to attach the toe to his own thumb. I suppose this was a way to allow the demon some exposure and attention. In retrospect I certainly should have rolled, during combat, to see if this fell or (more likely) painfully tore away.

Vincent was met at the door by Sonya Aranha who had invited him. She kept him close throughout evening. The keynote speaker at the Gala was a certain Carlos S. Lopez, a fiery member of Hugo Chavez’s executive in Venezuela. After his rather incendiary speech, Sonya invited Vincent to take a walk with her along the waterfront and meet some of her associates involved in some covert liberal activism. Before the meeting occurred however Sonya and Vincent are jumped by some thugs disguised as rowdy students on the boardwalk. They are quickly separated and Vincent is left fighting two on his own. Though he throws some convincing punches, they ultimately overwhelm him and whisk him into a waiting vehicle. Once inside he’s threateningly interrogated about his sources for his most recent novel “Fear Starts Here” which with thin veneer of fantasy contains a biting indictment of the Cornwallis Groups role in a recent ship-building tragedy.

Eager to escape scrutiny, Vincent gives them the name of an innocent shopkeeper Sasheen Miller. Sasheen owns an occult books and curiosity shop in Dartmouth. Vincent had been a regular customer of hers for sometime.

 

Tasha Garien

opens the drama in conversation with her boss. Chief MacKay. She’s already been warned away from the Karla Strang murder, and today she’s being sent to meet with the Coroner about a mysterious death the night before at Dalhousie University. At the Coroner’s office she meets Kyla Mardine and learns that although the death is indeed mysterious, there’s nothing to point to obvious foul play. Tasha suspects Sorcery could be involved and studies the body closely but can’t quite place her finger on any paranomailty. She does get the very strong sense that Kyla is not telling her everything though. Before she can press further her partner Jeremy Pyke interrupts with a concern that a B&E might be in progress at the Recycle Depot.

They arrive to find signs of a large fight and one body, masked, alive but unconscious and bleeding out on the floor from a deep chest wound. Tasha administers first aid while Jeremy calls for EHS and backup. Tasha gets a good look at the victims face before he’s taken away in an ambulance. Returning to the scene, she and Jeremy give it a good sweep but are unable to gather any solid leads as to what went down here. They head over to the home of Damien Knox – the person who called in the tip.

Damien is cagey and uncooperative at first but he eventually cracks under Tasha’s persistent questioning and admits that he had participated in staging a robbery. He said he called the police because he was afraid his friend ‘Shake’ was going to get caught up in it all. When asked to describe the people he’d left the office open for, Tasha recalls the face of the person sent to hospital. Jeremy tells her he knows “Shake” from the street.

—-

Shake

Damien told him this evening that the depot main office would be unattended and the safe unlocked. “Go and take the money they owe you”. Shake went along with this plan and stumbled on to three masked men plundering the office. One came at him with a crowbar which Shake handily took off him and used to mortally injure one thug. The other two escaped. Shake then handed control of his body over to Dominic who took the look (a couple thousand dollars) and left the area in search of a good time.

Stephen Demoine

News of Prof. Sam Smythe’s mysterious demise causes shockwaves throughout the university. Especially affected is Emily Bethune, a postdoc fellow who has been dating Stephen for a couple of months. She arrives at his doorstep with a well packed bag intending to stay. She’s been finding Halifax more and more alienating lately. She’s particularly troubled by a certain Simon Kim, a student who’s been showing her excessive, if not particularly aggressive attention recently. Some simple inquiries on on Stephen’s part suggest this Mr. Kim is rather obsessed with him as well.

Late that evening Stephen receives a strange phone call from Kyla Mardine who wishes to discuss Sam Smythe with him. They meet at the 2nd cup, Simon Kim is already there, though he leaves in a hurry after Stephen notices him. Kyla reveals that Sam Smythe was in possession of a book in which he had written Stephen’s name. She leaves him with a package that appears to contain a book. Stephen carefully hides this in an anonymous locker at the athletic center, being careful not to open the book. At one point in the even he stares Kyla down trying to detect a mark of sorcery on her. Results are inconclusive. At home he hacks into Sam Smythe’s email account and runs a quick search for his own name with negative results. Emily wont sleep; wants to use his computers.

 

Jan 242014
 

Jochi Khan, Tsolmon and Bainer… are the names of three important figures in the tragically short history of the Bronze Horde.  As a contemporary of Ghengis Khan, Jochi struggled to make a name for himself and his 100 followers (and their families).  Camped outside the Silver City he cherished visions of glorious conquest.  Alongside of him, his faithful Capt. of the Guard Bainer swore to make this a reality.  However, their aged Shaman, Tsolmon (Bainer’s mother) warned an ignominious fate awaited her people if they did not turn their eyes from the corrupting allure of ‘civilization’ and return to their pure and savage roots to the North.  Half-heeding her advice Jochi’s horde half-sacked the silver city plundering only its farms and fields before turning northward. This half-measure yielded equivocal results.   It wasn’t long before waning morale lead Bainer to turn upon his liege and seek to take control  of the piddling horde.  At the moment of greatest confusion, Ghegis Khan and the one true “Golden” horded descended upon them swallowing them up completely.  In sadness, Tsolmon departed this material plane through self-immolation.  Jochi-Khan chose to die in a makeshift arena providing sport and amusement to the Temujin’s greatest warriors.  I’ll be dammed if I haven’t somehow completely forgotten what became of Bainer. But I’m sure it was equally tragic.

This was my first time to play Kingdom with veterans Alissa and Nat.  I enjoyed it, but I’d like to play again with stricter adherence to the rules and procedures.  I find one of my chief pleasures in the collaborative creative activity of these style games is interacting with the constraints imposed both by the procedures of play as well as by the divisions of authority between players.  When the rules are too loose, either by design or non-observance I feel like I’m just a member of a story-writing committee. (And that’s about as fun as it sounds).  I think we had plenty of fun because as a group, we’re getting more and more used to each other. We know each other well enough to know that everyone’s sincere about creating good stories.  I feel all we need is games that give use licence to push hard in order to ramp up dramatic conflict.

Comments?  Please!

 Posted by at 2:08 pm