Sunday, June 28, 2015

The Funeral of Gustav Waecter 1

Earth, England, 1928

Another game using Fate Core with no magic system / extras. This is a followup to "Argonne, but Not Forgotten." 

Argonne, but Not Forgotten, part 1

Argonne, but Not Forgotten, part 2

The player characters have been called to Oxford, England to attend the funeral of their comrade Gustav Waecter.  The late autumn day in 1928 is cool and dry.  Only Louis Mentur, Rudy McGraw, Eugene, Andrew Waecter (Gustav's younger half brother), and Katherine O'Reilly attend.  It is rumored Gustav had been married but no further family was present.

Following the service, they retired to the pub, the Bear, for refreshment.   They began telling stories about Gustav and recalling their encounter in the Argonne Forest a decade before.  Mentur toasted to the first time the met Kathrine in Baghdad seven years earlier.

*****
Mesopotamia, 1921 

Weeks before the Cairo Conference would establish the King of Iraq, a member of the British government in the Mandate hired Louis Mentur's Tete de Morte company (which now included McGraw) to escort him and his family to Mosul from Baghdad.

The family took two cars - with Katherine and the children in one car - and two trucks with mercenary and British soldiers.

A few hours north of Baghdad, they came across a wrecked truck on the road.  When they stopped to determine what was happening, Mentur alerted his truck to be ready in case of attack.  And not long after they stopped, a group of raiders on horseback attacked.  The British officer insisted they were being attacked by Bedouins, which Louis disputed.  

The first car and truck sped around the wreck, but once the second car with the children and Kathrine attempted to the car tumbled off the road and down an embankment, landing on the side.  Mentur rushed to the car with his Tommy gun, while Rudy and the soldiers prepared for the attack.

Mentur's player created a Stunt called "I like the sound it makes!"  When Creating an Advantage with his Tommy gun, he gained +1 Boost if he receives any Boosts.  He applied three boots to the incoming raiders of "Scared Horses."  This gave his side three +2s to use when he rolled an exceptional success.  

Several of the raiders were killed in the assault as well as several British soldiers.  Rudy received a nasty wound to his leg that would result in a new aspect "War Wounds." 

Close examination of the dead raiders revealed uniforms from the Ottoman Empire as well as British and French deserters.  Each raider wore a medallion of a spiral symbol Louis and Rudy had seen in France a few years earlier.

Rudy and Louis meet Katherine for the first time.  They finish escorting her and the children to Mosul.

Eugene and Andrew's players ran British soldiers in this flashback. 

The story continued with The Funeral of Gustav Waecter, part 2

Monday, June 1, 2015

My first RPG: Star Wars d6

I've taken a break from running games for my group as another member ran an Eclipse Phase campaign and now a second is running a Dark Heresy campaign.  That said, I've run a few games related to my Fragments of the Last War campaign here and there.

Recently, we've only been getting together about every other week, so I decided to try my hand at organizing an online game.  Not sure yet what system or setting, but that will be in the works.

That said, I've been thinking back over the games I've played and run recently. My joined my first roleplaying game.  I'd a few books before, but never played until college.  A buddy of mine decided he wanted to run a Star Wars game using West End Game's d6 system.

West End Games was formed in the 1970s to make boardgames, they began producing rpgs in the 80s.  They published such games as Torg, Paranoia, Star Wars, and the d6 system.  That had some others, but these are the ones I am familiar with - though I've only actually played or run Star Wars and Paranoia.  They went bankrupt in the late 1990s and the Star Wars line moved to Wizards of the Coast (converted into the d20 Star Wars in the early aughts.)  Since 2009, d6 was made open source as Open d6.

I think coming at roleplaying from both the Star Wars story and the d6 line, I learned to approach it from a character/story driven perspective rather than loot gathering/murder.  Not a judgement against loot gathering and murder though.  Later when I began playing Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, I certainly had fellow players who enjoyed that game style.

My first character then - whose name I can't even recall now - was a former Imperial navy officer.  An aging man in his 50s, he'd been forced into retirement because of his worsening alcoholism.  We were playing 1st edition d6 Star Wars, and I don't recall any mechanical benefits for flaws. I just felt I needed a flawed character thanks to reading lots of fiction and my expectation that interesting characters have strengths and weaknesses.

We planned to upgrade to 2nd edition once our GM bought it, but never did.  I've read 2nd edition rules since and felt they fixed some combat issues.  Once our pilot was wounded by blaster fire and couldn't walk. I ran back from the ship and - spending a force point - dodge the barrage of shots that should have killed us both, only to return the pilot to the safety of the ship.

Cinematic? Yes.  But I recall dodge being obscenely unbalanced toward the defender.  This helped me, as I never once fired a shot during the entire campaign.  My first non-combatant character and it speaks to the versatility of the system that I could be effective without fighting.  Playing AD&D the next year, I learned this wouldn't always be the case.

The trend continues.  My Eclipse Phase and my Dark Heresy characters were non-combatants as well.

I really liked the d6 system.  It was simple (roll some d6s vs a difficulty).  This is the same reason I came to prefer White Wolf's Classic Storyteller system in the late 90s.  The templates confused me at first, but once I had the idea I took the failed Jedi template, stripped out Force powers, and combined it with the Military officer.  I had a character who was good at social skills and could challenge R2-D2 in astrogation.  I also convinced the GM to let me make up a skill - Alcohol consumption - which I only used to see how long I could survive a bender or to find a bar.

I liked that gear wasn't really that important - even playing AD&D and later 3rd ed D&D, I couldn't remember to check gear.  In the Star Wars game, I don't think I even wrote down a blaster pistol.

But then I didn't need to really.  Fellow player Joey, made a near human bounty hunter with fantastic combat skills.  After I introduced my character and we played a bit, he decided his bounty hunter required goggles not to be blinded - species from a dim light world - and was often confused by people's emotions.

Our fellow player Sean started out playing a Wookie mechanic for our Tramp Freighters game, who became a good friend of my character.  After his Wookie died while we were helping some Rebels, I took my character through a brutal bender and then had him rejoin Imperial Intelligence.  I used my position on the Tramp Freighter to out rebels.  Sean's new character, an OCD human mech hired by Joey in my absence, was with the rebellion.

What began as a tramp freighter game became one of espionage.  Which d6 Star Wars handled just fine, but which the GM didn't want to pursue, so we ended the campaign - our characters going different ways.

Having read later editions of WEG Star Wars, I would like to have continued the game.  The system was simple and flexible and our rp focus was on more than just combat.

I ran a d20 Star Wars years later, but the game wasn't nearly as satisfying, primarily I feel because of character classes and levels.

I've debated hauling out Open d6 for a game, but there are things I'd want to change now that I didn't then.  I'd change the way Fate/Force points work ( I want more of them and I want them more powerful.)  Aspects and Fate points are the two take-aways I like from running Fate Core.  The crunch of d6 provided a nice skill/attribute set and the possibility for an unfair universe to kill you.  I'd also want to revamp the social system, but that's been true of every game I have ever played / run.

I haven't played the new Star Wars.  I've heard decent things about it, but what I liked about d6 is that we weren't heroes saving the world.  We were flawed people, living our flawed lives and living with the consequences of these choices.
And this for me, is a better story.