Fiasco – Tangled Twins

“It’s mine,” they shout, once more in synchronization.
“I will kill you,” Danny (the male) says to the other.
“I will destroy you!” Dani (the female) says to the male.
“The gold is mine,” Danny says.
“Fine, keep it!” Dani says. “The mummy, it is mine!”

I’d had this idea to start teaching Fiasco to the kids because it’s a shorter game than our D&D sessions tend to be and thus we can do it maybe a bit more often. I chose the “DragonSlayers” playset because that sounded to me to have the tropes with which the kids would be familiar. With a little burble of rules issues due to my speeding through we had our characters: Kellie and Kelly, Dani and Danny.

You might note a similarity with those names. Well, one relationship was “Simulacrum and Original” and the other was “Golem and Maker” so while the first set thought “Let’s not know who is the real one,” I suggested that there was some kind of magical issue that did this to everyone in the town, related to the shared event of the dungeon collapsing, and maybe the mummy’s mysterious gold ring…

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Dirty Jobs: A Dragon’s Horde

[inspired by letting Netflix’d episodes of Dirty Jobs run while I fall asleep]

“It ain’t so easy as to just kill the dragon and bring up mules for its loot,” the foreman said, making another note on his clipboard.  “It’s complicated.  There’s a whole process.”

He looked up.  “So first off, you have yer adventurer, right? Stabs the dragon in a weak spot, dragon keels over. Now, you’re running on a time schedule. First, you have harvesters. They take the dragon’s bits, right? They’re going to butcher the dragon, separate its alchemical resources and hide from its meat. Meat’s only good for so long, because dragons, they’re resistant to fire even on the inside, right? So you can’t smoke it. You can dry it out, but that takes time because they’re also still resistant to magic. No easy spells taking the water out, right?  Endangered species advocates on your case for killing their particular type of dragon? Ties everything up in the courts.  You can call most of the beast itself a waste, if that happens.”

He shifted to watch some cranes being lowered into the excavated tomb. “So, the next part of that is the Jeweler’s Guild.  Part of yer dues as adventurers. Depending on your registered skills, you get anywhere from forty to sixty-five percent of the haul. Most of the jewels get stuck in the hide, and the coins, they settle to the bottom, tarnished from proximity to the dragon’s exhausts.  You have to assess the value of the gems, send the odd ones to the sages, and get a general amnesty on curses.  That might put you back a few coins for the priesthood of yer choice. Just sayin’.”

He looked up at the cranes again.

“No, no, no,” he shouted, waving his arms.  “Articulation is not the same as balance.  You’ll pull the whole thing–” he sighed as a couple of wizards conjured earth elementals to hold the cranes in place.

“Where was I?  Same thing for the non-cash loot. Depends on the kind of dragon what you might find in the horde.  Some are real collectors, so you need experts to evaluate it, get you a good deal. Can take years. And if you find some kind of powerful artifact? Decades.  Might have political or philosophical issues.”  He shrugs.  “Sometimes, disruptions in local ecology – did the dragon have minions? Is someone else going to make a claim in the stake?”

And of course, you can’t forget to mention excavation and storage costs, guard costs, materials…” he shakes his head.  “Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great windfall for the local economy, but there’s a lot of pieces the paladins just don’t get. Sometimes, well, it’s cheaper to feed the poor things a cow once a week than deal with the hazardous materials disposal. Petrified dragon fewmets can sell, sure, but when they’re fresh and mushy? Ick.”

An Elegant System

I’m not thinking of anything on my shelves that I can just grab and say, “This is it. This is the system I want to use to play.”

[copied to Tumblr]

So, we’ve moved. Well, I have to say it in past tense because we’re living out of the house, and we’ve got everything out of the four storage rooms and into storage in our place, but really, while the binary switch has been flipped, the act of “moving” has merely metamorphosized from nymph to pupa stage.

We’re setting up the front room with the idea that we’re going to start gaming again… and while there are social issues (“We can’t simply get new, less flammable friends,” I explain) involved, I’m of course less worried about that than starting to work on a new campaign.

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How I Design a LARP (part three: Bits and Pieces and Props)

You’re running a LARP. HAVE PROPS. And I don’t mean shoutouts – I mean tokens or other representations of important items.


Someone I know chants, “My process is not your process,” and that applies. The series is called, “How I Design a LARP,” not, “Any Other Way is Unworthy.”

Ask me questions, because I’m sure I am missing something integral to the way I will be running these, and I need good co-GMs who understand my whimsical ways.

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How I Design a LARP (part two: Character Relationships & Goals)


Someone I know chants, “My process is not your process,” and that applies. This series is called, “How I Design a LARP,” not, “If you don’t do it this way, you’re WRONG.”

I am always open to questions and suggestions, but I’m writing this down so future (and current) co-GMs have a piece of my mindset and method to my madness.

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InSpectres! Potter-Style [long]

The stats in InSpectres are usually Academics, Athletics, Technology, and Contact … we used, “Wizardry, Quidditch, Artifacts, and Influence.”

So, we had a fairly successful game of InSpectres with some friends a handful of months ago at one of the semi-local game emporiums and coffee shops. While I still need to show some examples of solid Confessionals (I, myself, have failed at that) I saw that it worked well for these friends, and we talked about using it again. More specifically, I saw the opportunity to blend a favourite flavour (in this case, Harry Potter) with it, if only for the duplicated Confessionals between Draco Malfoy and Hermione Granger: “I am SURROUNDED by IDIOTS.”

So our Elfquest game (yes, I’ll actually post some more about that later) was on hiatus as we were missing our healer-trickster (two great tastes that don’t taste great together) and our working-class lust goddess (um, yeah) so I offered to run a quick one-shot if people still wanted to get together, and since I’d been hinting at this game for a while, I got the go-ahead early.

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How I Design a LARP (part one: Location-Cubed)

See, location isn’t just physical setting, but it includes the time, space, and people involved.


Someone I know chants, “My process is not your process,” and that applies. That’s why this series is called, “How I Design a LARP,” not, “The One True Method as to How to Design LARPs and why you’re stupid and ugly if you don’t do this same thing.”

If I happen to be giving the same advice as someone else, please point me to them, because maybe they have a solution I don’t for some of my issues. Otherwise, I am mostly writing this down as a guide for my co-GMs of the future.

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Paladins now with less din. [4E]

Anyone and their brother can be a paladin. What’s the point?

Paladins no longer have to do stuff to be paladins.

This is the note that starts the list of aggravations for the last session of our 4E game. It used to be that being a Paladin didn’t just require an unlikely succession of die rolls for attributes, but the GM’s constant surveillance of your demeanor and actions. If you acted in anything but a Paladinesque fashion, you were stripped of your special abilities, and became Just An Ordinary Fighter.

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You broke it. I’m fixing it.

Knock me off my kilter, and I’ll get up again. Never gonna keep me down. Erm. Wrong story.

I wrote on my Twitter:

“I can sum up my ACNW game submissions on Twitter: `It’s all gone wrong. It’s your fault. Can you fix it?’ and have characters left over.”

The reason I’m talking about it here and not on my Amber Blog is because this isn’t inherent in any fashion to ACNW, Amber, or even my games.

It’s indicative of a methodology I’ve embarked upon in changing the way I GM.

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Elfquest: Fire and Ice…shaping.

Magic in Elfquest, or “the way we roll.”

Please note that I am actively soliciting comments and game-design questions here on this post, so if you’re feeling like you’ve got something that’ll work, or even work “better,” please chime in!

edited to add:comments now work [sigh]

So we completely reworked the way we had been doing magic, as a skill roll combination that didn’t really fit the comic’s view or the system very well. Number of successes and effect weren’t really rolled together.

I don’t think it’s necessarily munchkinism that has some of our players taking advantage of the fact that several “standard actions” in the system rely on a couple combinations of rolls, and putting all their points in those combinations, but it’s close enough to give me a frown. Does that count?

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