31 #RPGaDay2020 Experience

One of the important things role-players share is our own personal experiences, both within a game, as well as our personal life. Even when playing in a shared campaign and exploring the same adventures, like with D&D Living Environment, Savage Suzerain, etc., our experiences will be different. All the different games we play all help to build up our own personal library of references and ideas. The same with the different experiences and skill sets enhancing the hobby, particularly as more and more people join-in.

This is one of the reasons I strive to read/watch as many #RPGaDay posts as I can. Even if I personally feel that one post is dull or even negative, the next day the same participant can share something I find creative and/or clear. I also appreciate the positivity most have with this event each year, even when coming across a few negative comments; people have complex lives. I also appreciate that I tend to write a page or two, what I write about might be of little interest to a reader, or they’ve read similar before, etc.

Amusingly, initially I could only think of a few dull answers for this prompt, and then suddenly I had an interesting idea for my memory game about nonlinear experiences. After several hours of writing I now return to this document, and the topic of the role-playing experiences. I think this somewhat obvious post highlights that the RPGaDay experience has worked great for me.

So ends another month of thought-provoking ideas and participants sharing creative answers. I look forward to next year. 🙂

Street Fighter RPG

From talking to numerous players about SFRPG over the years, one of the games old problems was the lack of easy ways to make lots of NPC fighters. In particular the issue of Combat Cards, a core part of what makes the game work so well for many also results in a lot of work for groups, and usually the Storyteller. This is further exacerbated by the different XP and Ranks. If the game was being developed these days, I think embracing technological solutions would help the game overcome this problem. Fortunately these problems have been somewhat mitigated by the community. Such as Warrior’s Fist Special 3 (Punho do Guerreiro 3) providing a system for different XP & Rank ratings. Likewise the excellent Combat Chart Generator at: https://sfrpg.com/sfchartgen/

These tools and other community improvements have helped this game flow better and provide a better experience. 🙂 Imagine what a team with a bit of money could do. 😉

Other Peoples’ Answers

Charles Etheridge-Nunn @charlie_en

https://fakedtales.com/2020/08/31/rpg-a-day-2020-part-thirty-one-alternatives-to-experience-points/

Anthony Boyd @Runeslinger

https://castingshadowsblog.com/2020/08/31/rpgaday2020-day-31-experience/

Bob Freeman @OccultDetective

https://bordermengames.wordpress.com/2020/08/31/rpgaday2020-comes-to-a-close-day-31-experience/

Heather Fey @slapjellyfish

https://ko-fi.com/post/Experience-RPGaDay2020-W7W024MHM

Melestrua @Melestrua

https://melestrua.net/2020/08/31/rpgaday2020-day-31-experience-reflections-on-rpgaday-this-year/

Geek-Life Balance @cybogoblin

https://geeklifebalance.wordpress.com/2020/08/31/rpgaday-2020-experience/

This is a non-exhaustive list; I still have many posts to read today, so I might be adding more links. I’d recommend searching the hashtag and judge those great answers for yourself: #RPGaDay2020, some people use #RPGaDay.

30 #RPGaDay2020 Portal

As someone that loves fusing games, portals are an easy tool to use, but a tool used badly can ruin things. Some of the multiverses of various comic settings are examples of things losing value/meaning when not handled with care; Marvel’s Incursion storyline, realities colliding and one being destroyed, can be considered a literal example of the danger of connecting two points that are not normally connected. The implications of Portals are explored in many popular settings, such as Farscape and Babylon 5 (in particular Thirdspace).

In a recent session of Mage the Ascension, (WoD: Sliders) a player that has slowly been learning the setting, is playing an Orphan trying to get to grips with their awakening. The Chronicle is a complex beast, the players’ clue file is currently up to 30 pages of notes, but they have learned that events in the area are connecting different times, spaces and possibly realities in strange ways. One day the party are talking with Hermetics, discussing clues and the Orphan’s visions about ancient Egyptian Gods, the next they have stepped through a Stargate and arrived upon a Technocractic space station. The player was giggling with joy at the vast differences in paradigms and realities, from the ancient world to being in the distant future. Then things got weirder, they were uploaded to the Digital Web, a sector with a Tron aesthetic. They are heading to the Spy’s Demise in tonight’s session. 🙂

All in all I had been worried it would result in genre whiplash, but the player said they loved it; the veteran Mage player did as well, but it’s all normal to them. 😉 I think it was helped by things having been foreshadowed, plus other weirdness building up. Another key factor was that ‘dynamic reality’ was one of the things discussed before even session 0. Likewise with my Fateful Memories D&D PBEM game I’m running, when preparing the game the player was happy to do something a bit different. The character is currently in Sigil. 🙂

Street Fighter RPG

Of course SFRPG already has teleporting ninjas, plus Warrior’s Fist Special 5 (Punho do Guerreiro 5) introduced a Portal Warp power. An empowered version of Elemental Stride, allowing for a team to pass through. 🙂

For my chronicle that was inspired by Mortal Kombat: Conquest, the PCs never developed access to reality portal generation, that power was kept with the Gods and a few divinely empowered items. I didn’t play a ton of Palladium Rifts, as a teenager it was a zany and Mega-Cool (yes, pun intended) game. The player that was introducing me to it was explaining about his plan to play a Juicer that was going to steal a Glitter Boy suit. That is the sort of thing I wanted to avoid with SFRPG game, well unless a group really wanted to play a game that allowed for Mechas performing Dragon Punches. Nope, I have too many games on the go to entertain this! 😉

Other Peoples’ Answers

Charles Etheridge-Nunn @charlie_en

https://fakedtales.com/2020/08/30/rpg-a-day-2020-part-thirty-fun-with-portals/

Anthony Boyd @Runeslinger

https://castingshadowsblog.com/2020/08/30/rpgaday2020-day-30-portal/

Bob Freeman @OccultDetective

https://bordermengames.wordpress.com/2020/08/30/rpgaday2020-day-30-portal/

Sue Savage @SavageSpiel

https://savagespiel.blogspot.com/2020/08/rpgaday-portal.html

Craig Oxbrow @CraigOxbrow

https://thewatchhouserpg.blogspot.com/2020/08/rpgaday2020-30-portal.html

https://thewatchhouserpg.blogspot.com/2020/08/rpgaday2020-buffy-30b-portal.html

Melestrua @Melestrua

https://melestrua.net/2020/08/30/rpgaday2020-day-30-portal/

Geek-Life Balance @cybogoblin

https://geeklifebalance.wordpress.com/2020/08/30/rpgaday-2020-portal/

This is a non-exhaustive list; I still have many posts to read today, so I might be adding more links. I’d recommend searching the hashtag and judge those great answers for yourself: #RPGaDay2020, some people use #RPGaDay.

22 #RPGaDay2020 Rare

I love Artefacts/Artifacts, so when I was 11 I made sure players got access to them as quickly as possible in my naïve D&D games. Players actually complained about being given lots of magical items, explaining how I was undermining the value of everything.

The psychological impact that rarity has on us is a curious thing, like many things it is not straightforward. Whilst I own a lot of RPGs, I don’t have the money required to be a collector of rare books, but due to many RPGs being purchasable via PDFs, some older works are easier to acquire. Of course, like many others, I still like to own the physical RPG books as well. One day I might get justify the cost of GURPS Prisoner.

Whilst pondering Rare & RPG, I was reminded of the forgery skill at Lorien Trust LARP. If memory serves it was only available via the Scouts or Bards Guild. The skill was rarely used, in part because it required a lot effort to use in game, including OOC referee involvement, but also because if a forgery was detected, then the people would assume one of the Guild members with the skill most have done it. Pesky LARP logistics, maybe this issue has been resolved since I last played that game. This reminded me of an old TED speech about rarity, forgeries, value. Worth a quick watch if only for the explanation of Han van Meegeren duping Goering:

Street Fighter RPG

The impact rarity has on the power of characters is best exemplified by the “Inverse Ninja Law” taken from Dr McNinja:

“One ninja is an elite and powerful adversary. Multiple ninjas make a group of faceless and incompetent pawns.”

I love/hate parallel world ideas; I mentioned I am running a multiverse game, WoD: Sliders, for Day 21. Jet Li’s film The One explores this idea in a daft but fun way 😉

Having reread GURPS Infinite Worlds recently, I contemplated making a MultiVerse Authority version. Who are the Multi-World Warriors? 😉

After playing about with character stats for Jet Li’s two characters in The One: Gabriel Yulaw and Gabe Law, I felt I needed to rewatch the film to do a good enough job. Partly to see what maneuvers they specialise in, if any. But since characters rapidly become super powered, making normal character sheets seemed a bit daft. I might come back to the idea, plus I can use the Aberrant rules variant that is explored in Warrior’s Fist Issue 04 (English), Punho do Guerreiro 04 (Brazilian).

Other Peoples’ Answers

Anthony Boyd @Runeslinger

https://castingshadowsblog.com/2020/08/22/rpgaday2020-day-22-frame/

Charles Etheridge-Nunn @charlie_en

https://fakedtales.com/2020/08/22/rpg-a-day-2020-part-twenty-two-getting-burnt-rare-in-rpgs/

Craig Oxbrow @CraigOxbrow

http://thewatchhouserpg.blogspot.com/2020/08/rpgaday2020-22-rare.html

https://thewatchhouserpg.blogspot.com/2020/08/rpgaday2020-buffy-22b-rare.html

Bob Freeman @OccultDetective

https://bordermengames.wordpress.com/2020/08/22/rpgaday2020-day-22-rare/

Kehaar @DissectingWrlds

https://clarkythecruel.wordpress.com/2020/07/22/rpgaday-22-rare/

Melestrua @Melestrua

https://melestrua.net/2020/08/22/rpgaday2020-day-22-rare/

Geek-Life Balance @cybogoblin

https://geeklifebalance.wordpress.com/2020/08/22/rpgaday-2020-rare/

This is a non-exhaustive list; I still have many posts to read today, so I might be adding more links. I’d recommend searching the hashtag and judge those great answers for yourself: #RPGaDay2020, some people use #RPGaDay.

13 #RPGaDay2020 Rest

I think that the Rest prompt has resulted in many outstanding responses, plus @Runeslinger’s interesting answer whilst following his own path. Definitely check out at least some of the links below, most are quick reads, and whilst Complex Games Apologist provides a long video, it has the normal high standards for that channel.

Respite Realm

Whilst the following was designed with Street Fighter in mind, it could be an interesting addition to any fantasy/mystical setting; divine spell, magical item, blessing (curse?), etc. I partly drew inspiration for this idea from the film Spirited Away, but gave it a martial arts focus for my SFRPG game. For the Ryuutama-Changeling game with my wife, I am planning a visit to this type of realm that will probably be more like the bath house in Spirited Away. I have continued to experiment with this idea for my Flow Fighters game, as the idea changed after I studied more psychology and worked in social services, but I kept the SFRPG version simple, but that is for another day.

Adventurers typically take a lot of chances, push themselves to extremes. For anyone pushing themselves so intensely it is important to listen to our bodies, to know when to rest, to heal; something that has been a struggle in my own life. Most fantasy settings allow rapid healing, Street Fighter is no different, but typically there are no rules regarding training, so there is no guidance about respite. For my chronicle inspired by Mortal Kombat: Conquest, characters ran the risk of training too hard, plus aggravated damage was a more common occurrence, so I added several Spirit Respite Realms. Tokens blessed by a God of Healing, allowed a party to visit one. There are health deities all over the world, different spirit traditions, so this can be a way to add a variety of diverse cultures from anyway, in to one convenient location; a chance to be creative.

For my game some Respite Tokens are gifts that are linked to a particular realm, whilst some tokens were universal, allowing a user to visit a random Respite Realm. Characters could learn about particular realms that suit different specialist needs, but that is beyond the scope of this article. 😉

By using a Respite Token, the party needs to meditate and then they can cross over in to the Respite Spirit Realm; this takes between a few minutes to an hour; intentionally slow to prevent this being used as easy get away method. 😉 I made a Respite Token party sized for the convenience of game play, maybe in your game you’d prefer each PC to use a token each.

Whilst visiting a Respite Realm, a character could heal aggravated at quadruple the normal rate! Time passes in the Respite Realm at the same rate as the physical world; so this is not much use for quick tournaments. Additionally, if they stay long enough to be fully healed, then the characters well feel rejuvenated and regain all lost Chi & WP.

Visiting a Respite Realm can help with psychological healing, soul damage, or other esoteric problems, but I’d advise against any quick fixes for something as complex as the mind or soul. The spirits in this realm can provide assistance, guidance, etc., but their answers might be cryptic at first, or they recommend something extreme. I think this is an area best discussed between the player and the GM/group; certainly not a way to take a character trait/arc/story away from a player.

Being of the spirit world these locations might provide a chance to learn more esoteric matters, or a character may: offer their services, make a request, bargain, and so on. Spirits should not be taken lightly by mortals, so whilst asking the spirit to open a portal to somewhere else in the physical world to travel about faster is possible, a spirit might be offended being treated as a fast travel hub.

Other Peoples’ Answers

Complex Games Apologist @CGApologist

Bob Freeman @OccultDetective

https://bordermengames.wordpress.com/2020/08/13/rpgaday2020-day-13-rest/

Geek-Life Balance @cybogoblin

https://geeklifebalance.wordpress.com/2020/08/13/rpgaday-2020-rest/

Anthony Boyd @Runeslinger

https://castingshadowsblog.com/2020/08/13/rpgaday2020-day-13-couple/

Heather Fey @slapjellyfish

https://ko-fi.com/post/Rest–RPGaDay2020-F1F321UCM

@PPMGamer

https://www.ppmgames.co.uk/2020/08/13/rpgaday2020-day-13-rest/

Kehaar @DissectingWrlds

https://clarkythecruel.wordpress.com/2020/07/13/rpgaday-13-rest/

Charles Etheridge-Nunn @charlie_en

https://fakedtales.com/2020/08/13/rpg-a-day-2020-part-thirteen-short-and-long-rests-are-a-dull-mechanic/

Paul Baldowski @deesanction

http://thedeesanction.com/rest-rpgaday-13/

Sue Savage @SavageSpiel

https://savagespiel.blogspot.com/2020/08/rpgaday-rest.html

John M. Kahane @jkahane1

https://jkahane.livejournal.com/2170102.html

Phil Viverito @philviverito

https://www.theseoldgames.com/2020/08/rpgaday2020-13-rest.html

The Kind GM @TheKindGM

https://thekindgm.wordpress.com/2020/08/13/rpgaday-2020-day-13-rest/

Melestrua @Melestrua

https://melestrua.net/2020/08/13/rpgaday2020-day-13-rest

This is a non-exhaustive list; I still have many posts to read today, so I might be adding more links. I’d recommend searching the hashtag and judge those great answers for yourself: #RPGaDay2020, some people use #RPGaDay.

09 #RPGaDay2020 Light

After a childhood full of Cyberpunk, WFRP, and D&D, it was not just rules light/lite that interested me, but unencumbered characters. Shopping can be fun, many RPGs provide escapist fun when it comes to planning and acquiring many different items for our characters, but obsession and greed can run things; both IC and OOC. Whilst still at high school I came to realise why some games felt like a struggle, the circular emphasis some had regarding loot and acquisition, how for some players it invited them to step on the murderhobo treadmill. Obviously a few clearly choose murderhobo treadmill, I could at least appreciate the clarity of preferences they provided, so we didn’t waste each other’s time.

Discovering V:tM in 92 helped me learn different things, in part because with much older adults. One bonus being that typically Vampires do not care about lists of items, no more PC shopping obsession; both as a player and a GM/ST. Playing various TTRPGs and Play-by-Mail helped me find peace with regards to PC shopping; obviously growing up and getting some maturity helped. 😉 Curiously being introduced to GURPS and Champions was interesting, both could feel encumbered due to all the options, but they could also be played in in a light way as well. I also liked that the old Storyteller was a bridge between detailed equipment lists and specialised explanations and the more minimalist systems. I appreciate that some see this as a half measure, or even categorise Storyteller as crunchy due to vast list of powers; well it is, but as always they are optional. People can of course play any as murderhobos … keeping this light 😉

Returning to Cyberpunk in 96 resulted in a very different game. 🙂 The vast lists of equipment were now appreciated for what they added to the setting and an individual’s style. The differences between the various firearms and armour barely mattered.

Not a separate Street Fighter answer today, just to explain this is one reason I love SFRPG, it is very minimalist in regards to equipment, focusing on character and martial arts. For its time it was quite revolutionary, showing how building a focused relationship between ‘Rules-Setting-Goals’ could enhance the game. Some people saw the game as a joke, a few I spoke with saw the minimalist setting as slapstick. The game was not helped by the company handling, the fast turnaround leading to the infamous Players Guide. Still the overall game was solid back in the 90s, just amend Cartwheel Kick many times and its golden; these days the community has hammered the problems out. 🙂

With SFRPG, whilst a few equipment lists exist, for most games they are irrelevant. Interestingly, for the people I have run games for, they have never complained about the depth of the Special Maneuver system, because it is clearly a part of the heart of the game. I was tempted to add a mechanic or maneuver for today, but I’ll keep to the Light prompt and reflect upon what will enhance, not overload.

Other Peoples’ Answers

Anthony Boyd @Runeslinger

https://castingshadowsblog.com/2020/08/09/rpgaday2020-day-9-close/

Craig Oxbrow @CraigOxbrow on Rules-light RPGs.

https://thewatchhouserpg.blogspot.com/2020/08/rpgaday2020-9-light.html

Sue Savage @SavageSpiel

https://savagespiel.blogspot.com/2020/08/rpgaday-light.html

ivanmike1968

Bryon1187 @bryon1187 duration of light sources

Kehaar @DissectingWrlds

https://clarkythecruel.wordpress.com/2020/07/09/rpgaday-9-light/

Melestrua @Melestrua

https://melestrua.wordpress.com/2020/08/09/rpgaday2020-day-9-light/

Paco from GMS Magazine @gmsmagazine

Bob Freeman @OccultDetective

https://bordermengames.wordpress.com/2020/08/09/rpgaday2020-day-9-light-dark/

Roberto Micheri @Sunglar

@PPMGamer

https://www.ppmgames.co.uk/2020/08/09/rpgaday2020-day-9-light/

Heather Fey @slapjellyfish

https://ko-fi.com/post/Light–RPGaDay2020-Z8Z3217ZJ

John M. Kahane @jkahane1

https://jkahane.livejournal.com/2168887.html

SM Hillman @smh_worlds

https://zer0meansyouredead.wordpress.com/2020/08/10/rpg-a-day-2020-light/

Paul Baldowski @deesanction

http://thedeesanction.com/light-rpgaday-9/

This is a non-exhaustive list; I still have many posts to read today, so I might be adding more links. I’d recommend searching the hashtag and judge those great answers for yourself: #RPGaDay2020, some people use #RPGaDay.

07 #RPGaDay2020 Couple

I am striving to answer each day with a couple of answers, so far so good. J For my general RPG answer I wanted to write about my personal partnership. I got reacquainted with an old college friend, Tracey, at Lorien Trust LARP. We soon began dating, and years later we married. 😀 Over the years we have attended many LARP events together, plus some re-enactment events. Whilst we have played tabletop together, those games are sadly rare, like me, Tracey has many hobbies.

Since we had more time due to the lockdown, we discussed ideas for a tabletop game. Tracey preferred a one-on-one game, using a classic player & GM narrative, but crucially she wanted to draw upon Studio Ghibli. She loved the look of Ryuutama & Golden Sky Stories, and we decided to fuse them with Changeling: the Dreaming. It has been a lot of heart-warming fun, plus we very much appreciated being able to play as a couple. During a few of our walks we have chatted about the game and even role-played scenes.

SFRPG: Couples & Helpful Horde

Street Fighter is quite a quirky setting, drawing tropes from many places, resulting in a world that is both comedic and dark. I have a couple of thoughts on the setting, plus also on couples. 😉 One thing I appreciate about the setting is that any person can become a fighter, regardless of: culture, gender, size, etc. So, I love that the helpless romantic partners trope is easy to subvert in SFRPG.

Firstly, since the core of SFRPG did not include a Merit & Flaw system, why should any person in a PC’s life be helpless? Whilst most of my SFRPG games have been about a team of PCs fighting Shadaloo and other dark forces, a few PCs have had detailed families and/or romantic relationships. Even if an NPC is seemingly an average person, one that has not yet have demonstrated any fighting prowess, and they are about to be captured… then KAPOW!, the thugs are knocked out! The partner could be a: ninja, government agent, an ordinary person with a bit of training, secretly raised by a master, etc. The helpless trope is even subverted in a few movies, with weaker characters surprising the bad guys with some slick move that we saw the character learn earlier in the story.

Secondly regarding Couple and SFRPG, it is not rare for PCs to fight a horde of thugs, but sometimes a film/book has the villages rallying to help a PC, forming a Helpful Horde. In real life a motivated group of people, is quite dangerous even if they have no training, but especially if they throw things or use objects. Also whilst a well-trained person can defeat a group that attacks them one at a time, a group pile on would be a nightmare to deal with; of course SFRPG is not real life, so handle in a way you prefer. Maybe when the PCs are down, captured, etc., the players could even play/guide a Helpful Horde, this way the players don’t feel they are as powerless, that their IC relationships and their PC actions are what has helped to save them. The fanzine Warrior’s Fist 01 and WF11 explored Horde mechanics and ideas; Brazilian versions are here.

The advice about subverting tropes and Helpful Horde applies to other games. Whether citizens in Cyberpunk, a stellar colony, 40k Necromunda, Supes game, Dungeons & Dragons, etc.

Other Peoples’ Answers

Anthony Boyd @Runeslinger choose to explore Strange for day 7

https://castingshadowsblog.com/2020/08/07/rpgaday2020-day-7-strange/

ivanmike1968 on coupling of the ideas: make-believe & gambling

How many dice to use? A couple might be best?

Dancing Lights Press @LightsPress Lovely retconning.

https://dancinglightspress.com/rpgaday2020-couple/

Phil Viverito @philviverito@keksnase3000 Cute story

https://www.theseoldgames.com/2020/08/rpgaday-7-couple.html

Geek-Life Balance @cybogoblin

https://geeklifebalance.wordpress.com/2020/08/07/rpgaday-2020-couple/

Leojenicek @D_and_DHaiku

Kehaar @DissectingWrlds

https://clarkythecruel.wordpress.com/2020/07/07/rpgaday-7-couples/

M&B Liam @_Boganova_

Charles Etheridge-Nunn @charlie_en

https://fakedtales.com/2020/08/07/rpg-a-day-2020-part-seven-couples-roleplaying/

Paco from GMS Magazine @gmsmagazine

SM Hillman @smh_worlds

https://zer0meansyouredead.wordpress.com/2020/08/07/rpg-a-day-2020-couple/

Heather Fey @slapjellyfish

https://ko-fi.com/post/Couple–RPGaDay2020-F1F520YPQ

Shades of Vengeance @Shades_of_Venge

https://www.shadesofvengeance.com/rpgaday2020-day-7-couple/

John M. Kahane @jkahane1

https://jkahane.livejournal.com/2168473.html

Sue Savage @SavageSpiel

https://savagespiel.blogspot.com/2020/08/rpgaday-couple.html

Bryon1187 @bryon1187 with a couple of videos 😉

https://matthewjconstantine.com/2020/08/16/rpg-a-day-2020-week-one/

This is a non-exhaustive list; I still have many posts to read today, so I might be adding more links. I’d recommend searching the hashtag and judge those great answers for yourself: #RPGaDay2020, some people use #RPGaDay.

04 #RPGaDay2020 Vision

Visualization & RPGs (Trial Scene). I have spent some time researching and pondering the topics of Motor Imagery & Creative visualization. Whilst half of my degree is in Psychology, I am far from an expert, so I will avoid misleading anyone with poor scientific summaries. More usefully, I think many people will be familiar with the common parlance term: Visualization. Like many people I have used visualization in many ways, in particular with practicing martial arts and running, but also with RPG. Because of health these days I can do far less physically, but I can still run through positions and movements in my minds-eye.

There are several Visualization RPG topics that I will explore on other event days, from ways to prepare a game as a GM/Organiser, running through mental images of a character arc or backstory, designing games and imagining play. For today, I wanted this answer to focus on PCs’ & Visualization of a scene. This has me thinking about player expectations, another fascinating topic for another day, but to clarify I mean a character visualizing a task, particularly something they have time to prepare for.

Some game scenarios are about the PCs preparing for something: a competition, a physical puzzle, rescuing hostages from gunmen, a fight with a dragon, etc. Can the PCs earn a mechanical bonus if they have practiced (drilled) and visualized the action?

Visualization could be a way to explore play, to carry out a dry-run of an encounter. This could be developed to cover what the PCs think the scenario will involve. This could add an extra level of surprise, when the opponent they have imagined fighting many times turns out to have an unknown ability, or a weakness the opponent has is false. I have used this Trial Scene technique with new and young players. Some apprehensive players may find this method extra helpful.

To clarify: I am not referring to rewinding game time / reloading the game. That is another topic entirely. Some games even suit it, although it is a bit of a cliché in fantasy, well it was in my school D&D games.

As for bonuses, well, given the multitude of game systems and methods of handling tests, the scale of a bonus will depend on the group’s preferences. I’d recommend the number be small, a way to trial the idea without overwhelming the system. A 5% modifier for a percentile game, +1 for D20, is a good starting point. Maybe an extra dice for games using a dice pool; maybe a distinctive dice is used, requiring a higher target number?

Visualization and Practice for SFRPG

This topic is a big part of my magic martial arts game: #FlowFighters: Visualization and Practice. I originally developed the idea in the 90s when playing games like Street Fighter and Ninja & Superspies. For Street Fighter, the game wonderfully includes a method to help a character prepare for a fight on short notice. With an Insight roll, after observing the person for 3 rounds (30 turns), combat cards can be revealed; yes the PC can watch fighters to see what Manuevers they use, but it is a big difference seeing some of their stats! The game also highlights the value of other methods, in particular how a good Manager can find out information about other fighters.

I am taking the idea a bit further here. Fighters have habits; the good fighters reduce those habits and typically diversify their techniques. The exceptional fighters take this even further, minimising these details so they are near impossible to exploit. This also applies to Team Fights.

If a character knows about another character’s fighting habits, maybe they can exploit those weaknesses by drilling specific movements over and over. The character gains an extra soak and damage dice with 1 specific Manuever of theirs, against 1 specific opponent for 1 specific Maneuver. Crucially this will not guarantee a fight outcome, nor destroy player expectations or system balance. Consider any mid-ranked PC drilling to win a fight with any World Warrior.

Maybe a group would like to explore multiple Visualization and Practice? I don’t recommend it, whilst fight camps are a big deal in the real world, do we want training and drilling to power creep SFRPG?

Should this be auto soak? I’d suggest it is a dice roll. Maybe pre-roll to save slowing things down, to not break combat card habits. Up to you. 🙂

This modifier could apply against other people that fight in a similar way, but only if the character knows this. Keep the heart of this idea of Visualization and Practice in mind, how similar are they? Because if their reach, timing, general size, or other factors are too different, then the Visualization and Practice bonus shouldn’t apply.

Fighters from the same school may all have a habit of performing a Maneuver the same way. Maybe a PC recognises this. But again the Visualization and Practice bonus is unlikely for all practitioners from that school, because of the differences between the fighters, each individuals subtle habits.

We could take this idea to a silly level if we think of D&D Ranger with Favoured Enemy, but in this case ‘Enemy Style’. Crazy, hmm… don’t do that. 😉

Drilling Time: I would recommend a fighter needs a few weeks to a month to drill a combo enough. I do not recommend it requiring any experience points.

One downside to Visualization and Practice for SFRPG, it is something else the GM needs to consider for each fighter. Maybe only PCs can do it, giving them a tiny bonus over a few opponents, if they can prepare!

Temporary Bonus: Opponents can change their habits. So, Visualization and Practice won’t give a permanent bonus. Also, what if their habit is a misdirection, a rumour.

Inigo: I am not left-handed!

Other Peoples’ Answers

David F Chapman @Autocratik

https://www.autocratik.com/2020/08/rpgaday2020-day-four-vision.html

Anthony Boyd @Runeslinger

https://castingshadowsblog.com/2020/08/04/rpgaday2020-day-4-vision/

The Rolistes Podcast @rolistespod on different visions of what the status quo is

Sue Savage @SavageSpiel

https://savagespiel.blogspot.com/2020/08/rpgaday-vision.html

Kyle Porter @porterportfolio

Kevin B. Madison @dungeonmusings

https://anchor.fm/dungeonmusings/episodes/Beginnings–Change–Vision–and-Threads-ehmlcd

Charles Etheridge-Nunn @charlie_en

https://fakedtales.com/2020/08/04/rpg-a-day-2020-part-four-vision-as-a-great-narrative-prompt/

@SLEGARCHIK254

Roberto Micheri @Sunglar

Questing GM @questinggm on vision, and the importance of checking it

Craig Oxbrow @CraigOxbrow writes about visual media and visualising characters

https://thewatchhouserpg.blogspot.com/2020/08/rpgaday2020-4-vision.html

Complex Games Apologist @CGApologist

Eric Jacobson @viscounteric writing about vision and how it relates to topic of railroading

https://gamingwiththegnomies.blogspot.com/2020/08/rpgaday2020-day-4-campaign-vision.html

Ben Erickson @darkcyril looks at gazing

https://corerulebook.wordpress.com/2020/08/04/rpgaday2020-vision/

Bryon1187 @bryon1187 on game vision and relationships

Paco from GMS Magazine @gmsmagazine on understanding our vision and our scope

Leojenicek @D_and_DHaiku

The Kind GM @TheKindGM

https://thekindgm.wordpress.com/2020/08/04/rpgaday-2020-day-4-vision/

Melestrua @Melestrua

https://melestrua.wordpress.com/2020/08/04/rpgaday2020-day-4-vision/

Ryan Heck | Aqualith Media @aqualithmedia

https://ko-fi.com/post/Aqualith-AM-RPGaDay2020-Day-4-Vision-Illuminati-P5P420JUX

M&B Liam @_Boganova_

Adam Dickstein @alien_barking

http://barkingalien.blogspot.com/2020/08/rpgaday-challenge-2020-vision.html

This is a non-exhaustive list; I still have many posts to read today, so I might be adding more links. I’d recommend searching the hashtag and judge those great answers for yourself: #RPGaDay2020, some people use #RPGaDay.

02 #RPGaDay2020 Change

The Change prompts a passionate response from me, about exploring how a tiny Change can cause large effects. After playing some games for a while, usually a campaign/chronicle, I love exploring how even a tiny change to a mechanic can majorly changes things. I appreciate that this can cause surprising results. Some players don’t like this. Plus, not every game suits this. To clarify, I am referring to things that change during play, the areas of the environment can change, possibly whole laws of reality. Whilst this is not a common event for games/settings like D&D, it can happen, whereas it’s built into Mage: the Ascension via Reality Zones, likewise the varying effects on Changelings that the different regions of the Dreaming have. Similarly, games that focus on parallel worlds like GURPS Infinite Worlds or Cypher System’s: The Strange, etc.

An old work meeting discussing different designs for Quest, our play-by-mail RPG, and how to beat the memory limitations we had; the problem with working with old Pascal code. The aim was to reduce how much human moderation was needed with certain game aspects, so we could spend that time writing more and better stories, providing players more meaningful role-playing choices. The relevancy to tabletop is that I worked on designs to introduce tiny modifiers to achieve large effects on the game. I drew inspiration from RPGs like Mage, WFRP’s Realms of Chaos (Elric setting 😉) and Magic: the Gathering; from the global enchantments to Artifacts like Howling Mine; how different dynamic tweaks in play could change the feeling and maths of a game, without destroying what the game is. I surprised my old boss, who was happy to hear I was improving my ideas and how I explained them; in my first year working with him, I’d typically talked about big sweeping changes; I was still learning how agile the reality of business was and learning the delicacies of balancing the different preferences of each game’s community.

This leads me to my Street Fighter RPG (SFRPG) answer for today. From the 90s I have pages of game notes about adding/tweaking mechanics to achieve different outcomes. Like many role-players passionate about martial arts, real and fake, I was also a fan of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT) and Mortal Kombat (MK), etc. When I first saw MK, and learned its setting, I pondered how to handle the mysterious Outland within Street Fighter, maybe borrowing from D&D’s Manual of the Planes, or the various Umbras for the World of Darkness? But… I knew one thing was common for players of SFRPG, the design approach taken resulting in a surprising speed of play, despite the sheer number of maneuvers. So any alteration to combat could quickly bog the flow down.

I ran an alternate SFRPG game that was similar to the TV show Mortal Kombat: Conquest, where characters could receive Blessings and Curses. For example: Shichifukujin (Seven Lucky Gods) Blessing grants +1 Attribute as an Auto Success once per day, which could be allocated before or after a roll! This is not quite the same as a Merit/Advantage or Flaw/Disadvantage, because it can come and go. Although once per day, this is a powerful ability, for example, a botch can be negated, or a character could see how much damage an opponent has done to them and then grant themselves +1 soak, or make their Dexterity one point higher, which could mean they gain that lucky bit of speed to avoid a nasty combo. Crucially once per day is a big restriction; is it best to save it? Luck is a fickle thing, each time they use their Blessing they could lose it, starting at 1 in 10 and raising by +1 each time it’s used. Characters could do things to please the Shichifukujin, doing so could reduce or even reset the counter. Initially, it resulted in players taking more time to decide, but after a short while, most of the time it was quick, thus not undermining the speed of play aspect of SFRPG.

As I’ve nearly caught up on Punho do Guerreiro (Warrior’s Fist) translations, I have been able to see what the team has previously explored. After RPGaDay I can go over my old ideas and work on a series of articles for the fanzine. 🙂 Also I’ll emphasis clarity of presentation, unlike the section above. 😉

Based upon this old temporary blessing idea, I added something similar to my Trophy Gold Incursion entry. I will be breaking down what I did, in a later blog post, the good and the bad.

Other Peoples’ Answers

Autocratik discussing change in gaming tastes

https://www.autocratik.com/2020/08/rpgaday2020-day-two-change.html

Runeslinger

https://castingshadowsblog.com/2020/08/02/rpgaday2020-day-2-change/

Melestrua with a fun framing for the discussion of an important practical topic, find out what CLOC is:

https://melestrua.wordpress.com/2020/08/02/rpgaday2020-day-2-change/

Complex Games Apologist discusses the interesting topic of environment stats.

IvanMike1968 gives a lovely summary about one of the beauties of this hobby.

Bryon1187 gives an interesting quick answer:

Craig Oxbrow’s The Watch House highlighting the usage animated GIF and RPGs

https://thewatchhouserpg.blogspot.com/2020/08/rpgaday2020-2-change.html

The Anxious Gamer uses prompt Change to give a review of Magical Fury

https://theanxiousgamer.wordpress.com/2020/08/03/review-magical-fury/

This is a non-exhaustive list; I still have many posts to read today, so I might be adding more links. I’d recommend searching the hashtag and judge those great answers for yourself: #RPGaDay2020, some people use #RPGaDay.

Warrior’s Fist 12 Street Fighter Translation

I’ve finished translating another issue of Punho do Guerreiro, a Brazilian fanzine for Street Fighter RPG (SFRPG).

The last few issues have had some epic stuff, this issue maintains that level. I’ll start by mentioning the Mud Arena, it may sound straightforward, but this is a lot of mud; dirty and deadly! D&D Alignments is a complex topic, which sends many role-players off on epic rants at its mere mention, why on earth would we want Alignments in SFRPG… oh, this is quite a simple and nice adaption, adds flavour, not restrictions; definitely worth a read 😉

Rules for Traditional and Olympic Karate, sweet. More interesting strategy analysis with the School of Combos part 3. New options for Cyber characters. Rope Boost, what a fabulously simple, yet clever, maneuver, very thematic when tied with this issue’s examination of Professional Wrestling and how it fits into the Street Fighter universe.

All in all, an amazing issue 😀

Issue 12

Minor fixes have been made to prior Issues; here is a link to the folder. The whole folder can be downloaded as a Zip file 🙂

RPG Impact 10

Continuing with RPG Impact. For my tenth RPG, I’ve chosen Pendragon. I recall seeing this game at my local games shop when I was still at school. No one I knew played Pendragon, and I thought the idea of King Arthur was boring compared to all the other games, so I didn’t discover this gem for a few years. As I mentioned in my Call of Cthulhu post for RPG Impact 6, I finally played some Chaosium when I was 18, and then was taught a bit about the company and Greg Stafford in particular.

I was impressed when I first read the book, but due to all the other games I was playing, it got put on to a list of games, and for years it was never chosen. When I did return to Pendragon was I surprised at myself, how had I not prioritised this game?

Like many growing up in the UK I’d read and seen lots of Arthurian legends over the years, so I had a basic grasp of variation on the tales. Whilst I still thought as the Knights of Camelot as interesting, but I’d mostly been playing games about super powered entities (Vampires, Changelings, Mages, Supes, Cyborgs, mystic Samurai, etc.), in some cases radically changing society or even reality. I recognise that so many games, such as Middle Earth or Changeling the Dreaming, have Arthurian legends at their core, so to an extent I did get to explore some common themes and character arcs. When we played something more mundane, it was modern day or near future.

I’m one of the many role-players that enjoy research, experimentation, buying new games just to read them. The indie scene is fabulous and rich with new ideas and tweaks. With Chaosium I am reminded of the old games company Looking Glass Studios, makers of many amazing and innovative games, in particular System Shock, which led to the epic Deus Ex and also less impressive but still great Bioshock, as well as the fabulous Thief series. Another quick PC game comparison, Planescape: Torment, which for years was a niche gem, but reviews by the likes of PC Gamer had the score go up every few years. For me Pendragon is like this. An RPG gem that many know about, but sadly most role-players don’t.

Pendragon had a big impact upon me for a few reasons. One being the winter season downtime system, not only is it different from most role-playing games, it is also something that easily fits a Play-by-Email style. The game’s focus on family and lineage is great, plus ties in with the game’s troupe style play. After completing my psychology and writing degree, I also gained a new perspective on the brilliance of Pendragon, specifically in regards to the personality mechanics. It is common for games to build upon the ideas of Freud or Jung, but less common to build upon the more complex science like the Big 5 personality traits, I think Pendragon’s personality traits are sublime. I appreciate that some players hate those sorts of things, feeling they are the tools of punishment by bad GMs, etc., but for any doubters, trust me with Pendragon it works wonderfully, empowering characters, supporting the themes.

There are a few videos about this RPG, such as: