Archive for category Topless Robot

All The Damn Vampires

This Saturday we kicked off the 2014-2015 season of DGS’ Vampire Conclave. I ran the first session of Sunset Cove, which went really well. The first half of the game was mainly character generation and background, with a short role-playing session after, in which our characters all met up for the first time and explored a bit fo the city’s night life. 4 of my players are running characters that are new to the city, while one of them chose to start with trouble right out of the gate by playing the childer of the Seneshal. Lots of drama and player interaction ensued. I have a good feeling about our player mix.

Sunset Cove is my first attempt to run the new Blood & Smoke rules, which is basically the new edition of Vampire the Requiem. I am really enjoying the new rules so far. Many of the Disciplines have been rebalanced, and the character generation system is very similar to the points method we’ve been using out of the Mirrors book. There are also several other changes to the mechanics of the game that seem to be encouraging my players to think more about their characters life and unlife in a more dynamic way, with rewards for achieving goals, maintaining their masquerade, and the introduction of touchstones, which force a player to think about what actually keeps their character grounded in their humanity, rather than have it be another stat on their sheet. The book also had several exercises to use during character generation, to give the characters a richer background and explore how they all might be connected to one another. Most of them will be familiar to anyone who has done improv or taken a creative writing class, which makes sense given that the game is largely about telling a story and improving it out.

In other news, this is our first year of actually having TV shows we are trying to keep up with in real time, instead of just binge watching them after they’ve been cancelled. So far, Gotham has been off to a good start, Supernatural was kind of a snore fest, and Doctor Who makes me want to throw things at the television. We’ll see if Constantine or Hannibal prove to be a weekly treat or a disappointment. I have high hopes for Constantine, but am only cautiously optomistic about Hannibal given how uneven last season was.

You can check out David’s ode to 10 seasons of Supernatural over on Topless Robot here.

I have also been watching David play Shadow of Mordor. So far I think I made the right call of playing passenger, rather than picking up a second copy. The cut scenes and some of the NPCs have been entertaining, but the game play seems to be a mixed bag. My take away as an observer: The mechanics feel very Assassin’s Creed, which is kind of cool, but doesn’t feel very Lord of the Rings to me. A vast majority of the enemies are Orcs. Yes, I know it’s Lord of the Rings, but from an observer standpoint, it gets a little old after awhile. I would like to have seen more variety in bad guys. The main storyline seems really short, and the “open world” very tiny. As far as I can tell, there are only two main maps, with 4 “camps” of Orcs each. Fallout or Skyrim, this is not. So, I give it a “meh”, keeping in mind I’m just following along, not playing. David seems to be enjoying it alright.

#SpookySongOfTheDay Project

4: Concrete Blood – Bloodletting

5: Blade Soundtrack – New Order’s Confusion

6: Lady Gaga – Monster (Hillywood Warm Bodies parody version)

7: The Birthday Massacre – In the Dark

8: Ladytron – Ghosts

9: MC Frontalot – It Is Pitch Dark

Thing I am geeking out on this week:

Espionage Cosmetics – Borderlands Collection











A collection of loose pigments and nail wraps in the Borderlands color schemes and iconography. I am really loving this trend of geek-oriented brands headed by geek gals for geek gals. The orders ship on 10/14 (same day Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel drops) so you still have time to get your order in. I have plans for the Vault Hunter pigment already.



, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Dead Gamers University

As mentioned in the previous post, this past Saturday I did a presentation for the Dead Gamers Society’s Dead Gamers University workshop on building NPCs for your campaign. I think overall the presentation went well. My only real issues were that I went last, so everyone seemed to be getting a little burned out by the time I went up, and that next time I need to practice my timing more. I went too long, and even then didn’t get to cover everything I wanted to cover.

For those of you who could not attend, and the edification of GMs and potential GMs as a whole, here are some highlights from my presentation:

This is basic heirachy of various types of NPCs you might want for your campaign, including some samples and an outline of how they might relate back to your PCs:

Types of NPCs                

Antagonists – The NPCs working against your PCs

                                Villain (Joker, He Who Shall Not Be Named, Prince Humperdink, etc.)

                                Mid-Tier Villain (Harley Quinn, Snape, The 6 Fingered Man, etc.)

                                Rabble (Stormtroopers, Palace Guards, Gangrel Bodyguard #5)

                Supporting Cast – The NPCs helping your PCs

                                Patrons (Obi Wan Kenobi, Dumbledore, Clan Primogen)

                                Faithful Assistants (Chewbacca, Alfred, Samwise McGee)

                                Helpful People (Friendly Shopkeeps, Police contacts, Bartender you trust)

                Everyone Else – Making your setting seem more alive

I also had handouts (because I love hand outs).

One tool I love busting out for character creation, both of the NPC and PC variety, is a list of questions that help you explore more about who your character is to make them seem more fully fleshed out. I got this tool from a creative writing class we took several years ago, and it’s awesome. You can check a sample list of questions here .

I also suggested making a list of names or traits you can easily refer to during game play when you are having trouble making them up on the fly. I find this bit of prep especially essential if I’m doing anything set in a fantasy setting or with cultures I’m not as familiar with.

In other news – we are cooking up a new article for Topless Robot that is video game oriented, and might possibly be attending a certain local convention that relates to a certain local video game studio. But that’s still in the planning stages, so no promises on the later.

Thing I’m geeking out on this week:

Aisha Tyler’s Girl on Guy podcast – If you are a fan of Archer, or just strong geeky women who love “guy” stuff, this is a great podcast to check out. Aisha is a great interviewer. The “Self Inflicted Wounds” segment is especially awesome. I just stumbled across this a month ago and I actually started over from epsiode one because so far they are all so great. Go download an episode or twelve here.


, , , , , , ,

Leave a comment