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


Anthony Boyd @Runeslinger


Bob Freeman @OccultDetective


Sue Savage @SavageSpiel


Craig Oxbrow @CraigOxbrow



Melestrua @Melestrua


Geek-Life Balance @cybogoblin


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.

21 #RPGaDay2020 Push

An old work situation, my then boss asking players at a game meeting: “Are saying that want to be able to push a button called ‘Play Game’?!” Several of the players did in fact say “Yes”. A great example of how a room full of players, and in this case customers, want different things, to push things in different directions. The context was to do with whether to simplify some complex mechanics down to a simple process, some wanted it, others preferred to micro-manage things. The following week at work had some lively conversation, but the upshot being goods things were designed.

One of the regular tabletop games I’ve been running has the working title ‘WoD: Sliders’; this is not the TV Series Sliders, but I have used that title because things can slide between realities, they just need a Push. To summarise, characters exist in different realities, the PCs are a connection between the realities, each an axis. I almost choose this game for yesterday’s topic, because the players are investigating a problem that has clues in different realities; player clue file is currently 30 pages. 🙂 In one reality the PC is a Mage, whilst in other realities they are either a: Changeling, Werewolf, Wraith, Mummy, Vampire and finally Hunter. The players have various multi-reality powers, for example they can Push things between realities. Linking back to my opening anecdote, the players choose to have these mechanics hidden from them, to effectively have a button they can push that keeps things simple for them at the start, and they FOIP the powers (Find Out in Play). So far the characters have used a few Push powers, but are not sure exactly what is happening and have become suspicious of them.

Whilst I had wanted to run a game with the players understanding the big picture going in, so their PCs would have control over their multi-reality powers, but the players choose otherwise. I am happy enough that they liked the idea, trusted me to run it, and crucially I didn’t push the system on to them.

Street Fighter RPG

I recently looked through some old SFRPG house rules I made many years ago. One big topic I pushed back then was Fight Camp Preparation. Since then I have learned a lot more about game design, different martial arts and training in general, so some of these old ideas are laughable to me; thankfully a few still hold up IMHO. One of the dodgy ideas was that of a character pushing fitness. The idea actually goes back to old games: Panza Kick Boxing (Amiga) and C64 Barry McGuigan World Championship Boxing, both of which had fight camp mini-games.

Note I’ve not posted the mechanics here, because they were part of a package, which I think needs a solid rework. I wouldn’t want to push ideas that I think are faulty. 😉

Other Peoples’ Answers

Anthony Boyd @Runeslinger


Charles Etheridge-Nunn @charlie_en


Sue Savage @SavageSpiel


Craig Oxbrow @CraigOxbrow



Kehaar @DissectingWrlds


Melestrua @Melestrua


John M. Kahane @jkahane1


Geek-Life Balance @cybogoblin


Paul Baldowski @deesanction


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.

17 #RPGaDay2020 Comfort

I briefly mentioned a heart-warming RPG fusion on Day 7 Couple. Part of how I fused Ryuutama, Golden Sky Stories and the Changeling games was to apply a comfort filter, dramatically downplaying the many dark aspects in Changeling. A Studio Ghibli like version of the Dreaming allows for the Ryuujin role from Ryuutama to fit nicely, in this case being a helpful Fae/Chimera. I love the Discworld, another guiding idea is: do the opposite of what the Lords and Ladies would do. 😉

Fusing games can result in a confusing mess, a familiar comfort blanket ruined, so to speak. Thankfully, so far this fusion has gone well. I think partly because I’ve played lots of Changeling tabletop, so I am familiar with the darkness of the game. Additionally, the wife and I spent many years immersed in Fae plot at Lorien Trust LARP, which massively ‘borrowed’ from Changeling.

This Tuesday, we will have another session walking along the cliffs and gaming; not like a LARP, but a pleasant walk and talk. I am planning a picnic. I look forward to the next adventure of our comfort blanket.

Street Fighter RPG

I‘ve briefly pondered running Honobono (heart-warming) style SFRPG sessions. Chibi versions of the World Warriors are of course Super Kawaii. My wife is not interested in learning the SFRPG combat mechanics, planning a fighting career, etc., but she did like how cute the fun tile-matching game Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo is. 🙂

Another game direction I’ve considered is the Respite Realm I mentioned for Day 13. Maybe a game borrowing heavily from Spirited Away, besides spirits, fighters come to rest and learn. Does a warrior trick the young girl in to lending them one of Yubaba’s trinkets, resulting in a Bison like threat to the Mortal Realm?! Hmm, almost something here. 😉

Other Peoples’ Answers

A great blog post about other cosy games, check out Charles Etheridge-Nunn @charlie_en


John M. Kahane @jkahane1


Heather Fey @slapjellyfish


Anthony Boyd @Runeslinger


Sue Savage @SavageSpiel


Geek-Life Balance @cybogoblin


Craig Oxbrow @CraigOxbrow




Melestrua @Melestrua


Phil Viverito @philviverito


Kehaar @DissectingWrlds


Insomniac @1nsomniac13


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


Craig Oxbrow @CraigOxbrow on Rules-light RPGs.


Sue Savage @SavageSpiel



Bryon1187 @bryon1187 duration of light sources

Kehaar @DissectingWrlds


Melestrua @Melestrua


Paco from GMS Magazine @gmsmagazine

Bob Freeman @OccultDetective


Roberto Micheri @Sunglar



Heather Fey @slapjellyfish


John M. Kahane @jkahane1


SM Hillman @smh_worlds


Paul Baldowski @deesanction


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




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


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


The Anxious Gamer uses prompt Change to give a review of 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.

#RPGaDay2020 Day 1 Beginning

Since I committed myself to giving two replies each day, one for any RPG and one for Street Fighter RPG, I get twice the fun each day to finalise my thoughts. Where to begin? How best to begin? So many options, so I’ve brought back my #PieChartofIndecision to help me decide, plus to help prevent me from writing a rambling blog; like talking about painting figures and models. 😉

My Street Fighter RPG Answer

I have created a new fighter: Yūta Shirou. They could become a Circuit Prospect, maybe added to a future issue of Punho do Guerreiro (Warrior’s Fist).

My Any/Other RPG Answer

A week ago I began writing a long article analysing about how I started designing my adventure for the previous Trophy Gold Incursion competition. Due to a family health emergency, I didn’t finish it before this year’s RPGaDay started. In part because the article had grown and I also added the question of how and why I begin many of my games the way I do. On a related note, I sometimes use the approach: In Media Res, particularly with one-shots or for short gaming sessions. There is a great video by Complex Games Apologist talking about this technique, linked below.

Linking numerous thoughts shown on my pie chart together, I decided to write about an old subject dear to me: Mage. The classic World of Darkness could end in numerous ways; of course, there was no requirement to align any of the old game lines with what became the Chronicles of Darkness. Interestingly there was one idea that provided a strong link for the end of Mage: the Ascension, to the beginning Mage: the Awakening, which is an idea I have been working with in one of many Mage chronicles. For anyone curious, Charles Siegel explains one method to Terry Robinson on an episode of Mage the Podcast. The World of Darkness infamously almost had its beginning explored via Exalted, but that idea was abandoned, still the links are there. The Beginnings of Cycles.

Other Peoples’ Answers




Complex Games Apologist

The Anxious Gamer discussing a great tool to help with beginnings


A great blog post by Vivek Santayana


Samwise Seven shows us a cool location and discusses family

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.

Review Mage Made Easy

TL;DR: the book covers what the title says and has some useful suggestions. If you are a Mage fan this book has ideas for you. If players/STs are struggling then I definitely recommend this book. If you are a Mage expert, maybe this book is just a 3/5 for you, since experts likely have many proven dynamic pitches, plus the ability to quickly adapt and personalise chronicles; but maybe they’d still get something from this book, or enjoy reading more Mage things.

For those wanting more details, here is a deep dive. From my experience, players new to Mage typically fit into one of the following non-exhaustive groups:

A) Those that need help with the scale and implications of the setting. Character creation alone introduces a lot of Factions; does a player need an overview of each?

B) Those that struggle with the concept of what Spheres can do, plus maybe the rest of Mage’s metaphysics: Paradox and its many manifestations, the different realms, and in particular the topic of what counts as Coincidental / Witnesses / Vulgar magick.

C) Those that also that struggle with A + B.

D) Those that struggle with neither.

For people wanting more advice for dealing with Group B, I can appreciate why some might give the book a 3/5. However, from a certain P.o.V., Satyros does provide advice about the Spheres, from Focus over Spheres, ways to reconsider Witnesses and Vulgar Magick, different ways to use Paradox, to highlighting centring a game low level characters and stories, on more mundane but personal matters. My advice is don’t be quick to dismiss how these threads interact with each other.

Some might think advising people to strip back the scale of Mage, especially given the vast number of books, never mind just looking at the size of Mage 20th, is a simple and maybe even useless answer. I disagree, years ago I used to talk about the rich setting and the fun creativity of the Spheres, some of the players admitted to being intimidated before they began. When I returned to Mage I had an easier time persuading some new players to explore the game by focusing on the personal, not trying to summarise lots of factions, history, or metaplot.

I particularly liked the Arcane Approaches section. Whilst some may view this section as being weak or even obvious, maybe in hindsight it is. Personally, I think it helps make things easier, especially when combined with the rest of the book.

Will players in Group D benefit from this book? The title itself then should be an obvious indication to them about the book’s goal. It seems unlikely that Group D will see this book as a must read; I don’t think it is for them, but if someone enjoys reading Mage books, then I’d recommend this.

Could this book have gone further for those in Group B? Maybe, but I’m not sure more explanations will achieve what some are after. I’ve not experienced long-term problems with people in Group B, since over the course of a chronicle they have learned their characters range and explored different potential; but, I appreciate others may have different experiences. There are other products available that look at the Spheres, Nodes, etc., and maybe this work will inspire another product focusing on the details that some are after. I’ll be reviewing Sources of Magick next 🙂

I enjoyed the book and I think this book succeeds in its goals, 5* drivethrurpg, 4* on Goodreads. 😀

https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/314476/Mage-Made-Easy-Advice-from-That-Damn-Mage-Guy?affiliate_id=11172 (Mage the PodcastMage the Podcast Affiliate Link)


Warrior’s Fist 8 Street Fighter Translation

I’ve finished translating another issue of Punho do Guerreiro, a Brazilian fanzine for Street Fighter RPG (SFRPG). Issue 1 is here, plus an explanation of why I am doing this.

Following on from motor racing in issue 7, this issue includes more rules about driving. Fusing Mage: the Ascension with Street Fighter, this introduces a simple yet interesting way of handling True Magick. This issue adds a new Maneuver: Sense Magic. The tale of Snow and Blood. Ken Master’s Yacht in Kabuki Town. A dangerous Circuit Legend. A clarification about MMA, as well as the difference between a starting character and a fighter that is new to big fight organisations like the UFC.

As normal thanks to Punho do Guerreiro team for the original issue, plus Eric and Odmir also did some extra work for this translation 😃

Issue 8

Warrior’s Fist 6 Street Fighter Translation

I’ve finished translating another issue of Punho do Guerreiro, a Brazilian fanzine for Street Fighter RPG (SFRPG). Issue 1 is here, plus an explanation of why I am doing this.

I’ve corrected a few errors in previous issues. Lots of pesky formatting issues for this issue, plus some difficult translations, however, I think I’m getting better with practice. But, I guess I’ll still be tweaking things at a later date 😉

This issue has an interesting approach to introducing Changeling: the Dreaming to SFRPG, balancing the dilemma of how best to summarise that vast game setting, whilst retaining a key part of the identity of Changeling. A look at Unique Backgrounds, Glory & Crowds, adding depth to Firearms, Another Golden Pot Underground Arena, CL: Brock Thompson, Combos School is back, and a cool Maneuver: Second Skin.

Issue 6

Treasure & Speculation Street Fighter RPG

There have several interesting Street Fighter RPG posts recently. Firstly, a fun cover by Benjamin Terry fusing the Chicago By Night cover (Vampire: the Masquerade) with a brick border design to give a great street tone; hidden reference to brick destroying bonus rounds? 😉 Chat here.

Update: A link to the commissioned picture has been added below 🙂

Secondly, an interesting discussion about: “What would you like to see in street fighter second edition?” Sadly there won’t be a 2nd edition due to licensing issues, but still fun to discuss ideas, to read the many interesting responses, as well as see what topics others prioritise; definitely worth a read 🙂 Wonderfully Andrew J Lucas joined in the conversation 🙂 Andrew is the creator of Street Fighter Player’s Guide, as well writing the Spirits of the Forest adventure (Adventures Unlimited), and he is also a contributor to Contenders. Andrew generously offered to look for some old files, which he then shared!

Andrew’s proposal for The Duelist https://www.facebook.com/groups/sfstg/permalink/1251147298422607

Andrew’s proposal for an expansion: Walking in Shadow https://www.facebook.com/groups/sfstg/permalink/1251147931755877/


The files are in Word 6.0 format, another reminder of what ancient treasures these are 😉 They proved to be an enjoyable read, thanks again to Andrew for sharing them. Andrew gave an interview in 2016 discussing the old Street Fighter design days, which can be read here.

Thirdly, Ingo Muller wrote a new SFRPG adventure. Ingo is working on an English translation; read about it here 😀 As normal the Brazilian SFRPG group is always active and worth checking out https://www.facebook.com/groups/sfrpgbr/

Lastly, an interesting review that I think nicely summarises SFRPG. The article covers the zany, the bad, but crucially also the effective aspects of the game.


Update https://www.facebook.com/groups/sfstg/permalink/1254024961468174