Wednesday, 31 July 2013


So, so true ;)
Surfing on over to Rich J's blog the other day I came across THESE self help points to better roleplaying. As you may have noticed it's a subject I've been meandering around for sometime now.

With our recent disagreements / misunderstandings within the Dark Heresy group I've been "searching my feelings" as to how I roleplay and how close I can sometimes tread to the line of being a difficult or disruptive player, even if just percieved as one.

So I've been thinking back through a number of my more recent charcters and the types that I tend to play and they mainly seem to be Rogues......

In D&D I've played several thieves over the years the most recent, with Jon, being a particuarly irrepressable Halfing version with a wide Oi'rish accent and the need to strike a deal whenever possible called Tobias Flynn.

Over time I've grown to particuarly enjoy the softer skills of the silver tongued con, to achive a result without use of a +1 Mace. It's a skill I have a little of myself and really pushed to the fore with Tobias. I think I'd also have to admit that as I've roleplayed more I've focussed more on role and more recent characters have been more strongly characterised and theatric.

Difficult or misunderstood?
Turning that around I rarely play any form of Warrior type as I just find them too one dimensional, Clerics too pious / boring and Mages too fragile. I've even found a similar theme as a GM, no great surprise really, and often prefered to stitch up my players than smack them about.

Realising some of this I have decided to try and broaden my scope. My Dark Heresy Psyker, Jynx, is the first mage type I've played though he still often ends up as chief interrogator. I use similar skills professionally and this has been commented on within sessions. Having struggled with him, in many ways, I'm now finding my feet and skill set.

Another first, on several levels, Rich J ran a pre-gen Star Wars session on Monday night across Google Hangouts for which I deliberately picked the Trandoshan heavy.

The Droid Bounty Hunter was probably a more effective gun-man but my lad had something of a disgraced noble warrior background to him that I felt gave me more to ROLE with (Sorry ;]). Have to admit that I enjoyed the character and the change of pace, leaving others to the gab skills.

Cute or cretin?
 To finish off, last night down the club I self generated another Star Wars character, this time a Droid Mechanic / Slicer with all the technical skills plus a bent for deciet, deception and blackmail but without any soft skills at all. I was thinking semi evil Kryten but we'll see. So pretty much another Rogue type but the loveable ones that I normally go for....likely to be more of a challenge ;)

So, in eventual conclusion I most enjoy ROLE-playing silver-tongued rogues, a.k.a annoying gits, which, probably, draw me closer to that to the line of being a difficult or disruptive player, even if just percieved as one. I'll admit that I seem to have developed a bit of a reputation in that regard which probably hasn't helped a number of GMs, especially Mr C, but once again its all down to that game contract and level of understanding that I've been on about.

Many of my fellow gaming group read this blog and I'd be keen to hear what you have to say......honestly ;)

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Just surviving?

 This Tuesday at Enfield Gamers Ian rocked up with a recent Kickstarter offering in the form of Z-pocalypse. In honesty it wasn't a first appearance but I think I was getting Jud-ed at Dreadball at the time so it was my first time more than others.

Board Game Geek says;

Zpocalypse is a survival board game set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. Two to four players start in a basement/fallout shelter which can lead out to several base locations or even through the tunnels to sewer grates throughout the transformable board. The survivors are trying to make it day to day in a world torn apart from the walking dead.

As in any survival game, one needs food, guns, ammo, and more. Players go out into the wasteland and scavenge for supplies, or perhaps to find a new gun or melee weapon to fend off the next zombie attack. In addition to gathering supplies, each player forms and controls his own squad – and each squad works to fortify the bases. Your walls and barbed wire won’t hold the dead for long, however, and they’re getting hungry.

Characters receive victory points for killing zombies, building defenses, and successfully completing goals. Victory points show who is soldiering on the best in this wasteland. The final tally of points determines the winner. Victory points also act as experience points for leveling up a character.
The game combines combat, tactics, resource collecting, character development, team play, and strategy towards the goal of surviving in the Zpocalypse!

In short the blurb is not wrong. This is very much a thinking man's Zombie survivor game as compared to Zombicide, think The Walking Dead vs World War Z.

Set over four turns, each of which represents one night, scavenging for food, weapons, equipment and materials to build defences is as if not more important than whacking Zeds. It's also a definate co-op game as each night more Zeds appear who also become more animated and agressive night by night, mutual support is vital.

Each player controls a group of upto four survivors who each have thier own strengths, weaknesses and abilities. Scavenging well is crucial and can recruit extra survivors to your group, equip, armour and feed them. Completing tasks and kill Zeds gain your group experience to unlock combat and weapon abilites that will very soon be put to the test.

For the four of us playing nights 1 and 2 passed well enough and were getting the hang of things approaching night 3 despite having to move bunker due to an event card. Loosing the defenses thatwe had had built up wasn't great but then a further event card saw us quite literally stuck in the mud and unable to make it back to the bunker before the Zeds appeared.

With each player group on a different tile full of ravening Zeds, who got to go first, and nothing to hide behind the game was qucikly concluded without the need to play out night 4!

In all a good fun Zed game with a lot more to it then you'd think, sort of Zombies of Catan. Definately recommended!

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

It's funny because it's true.....

Afternoon chaps,

Now I don't normally re-blog as I find it lazy and banile, in fact I find it insulting to the OP, but this isn't quite the same thing, honest.

Stumbled across THIS and just had to share as I do hope that most of us in the hobby have enough of a sense of humour to see the tongue in the cheek.

It's funny because it's true, however much I'd rather that it wasn't. I'm sure I could go on for pages but all I need to do is sit and nod with a rye smile just like the rest of you.


PS: Having just scrolled down through some of the comments I find my self dissapointed and a liitle bit sad :(

Monday, 22 July 2013

Social Climbers

Afternoon all, happy Monday?

A bit more Dark Heresy last Thursday night and we finally got to employ some of our new toys as things warmed up a bit :)

Sent by our employer, Lord Strophies aka Mr Stroppy, to meet his local investigator we ended up at a mid-hive hard mans pub "The Barking Saint". Cue a bit of group paranoia and an extended recce of the joint that caused great confusion, mainly for Mr C. Eventually our back-water Noble just rolled in and asked for our man by name....and was taken straight to him!

Taken to his private booth negotiations started poorly, at the business end of his Bolt Pistol, and didn't get much better from there. Admitting to holding an encrypted data-slate and a number of influential enemies our man seemed set on stalling any hand over for another two days despite our repeated insistence as to otherwise.
Rejecting his offer, trust is such a fickle thing, we ended up with my goodself attempting my best Jedi mind-tricks in following him from the pub to a local hab-zone. Hanging back I watched him retrieve a case from a dead-drop and just as we began to move in......his head exploded! (this time it was nothing to do with me).

Watching on his Doc Oc assassin lept down from his hidden vantage point, snatched up the case and legged it on his four bionic mechandrites with the four of us in hot pursuit. Despite getting a decent Spasm off and Ryan taking a lump out of his head with his newly acquired sniper rifle he clambered up to the hab-dome roof and safety despite our curses.

The one winner from all this was Rob, who plundering Mr Headless has suddenly acquired a Bolt Pistol complete with a couple of mags, there was some other stuff but nothing else that he could hug, stroke and whisper sweet nothings too each night before bed. No girl's name just yet but this is expected ;)

Heading back up spire we diverted off plot to the local Arbites office to blag a look at the investigation file for our lost lass quoting Lord Stroppys employ. A suitably impressive lump of print-outs was landed in front of us that was heavily redacted but at least showed that the local lads in Carapace knew thier way around an auto-quill, or at least knew a floating cherub that does.

While we were at it we also stopped in at the church that our missing lass used to attend. Ryan played Tim Nice-But-Dim to a tee flashing ignorant cash for near instant enlightenment whilst I grinned manically as his spiritual adviser "that would be an ecumenical matter". Loaded with pamphlets and an invite to an intro session the next afternoon (bring your own raffia) we also got a go on one of the Churches Happy-o-Meters.

You see Mr Headless had previously acquired several of these devices for Lord Stroppy and the circuitry inside found to be both xenos and matching the single unburnt fragment of Aristicus' ill fated Imperial Tarot. Our working theory to date is that the Church use these to detect latent psykers and then recruit them in to be vessels of possession. A working thesis but you know how much we like to hang on to them!

So, we were a little perplexed when our, and especially my, readings came back somewhat background. Must be a set-up.....obviously ;)
Vaguely placated we headed back to Stroppy Towers and got all dolled up for that evening's Church of Possessed Latent Psykers dinner & dance fundraiser hosted by the highly placed Lady Belladonna. Just two tortured souls per table of ten! 

No black tie, more Incandescent Glow-Suits...not so sure it'll catch on myself but then I'm not Gok Wan. Poncing about the place we groped around ineffectually for further leads. Chatting to a flunky we worked out just how high in the Church hierarchy Lady B sat, lets just say its and impressive view!

Just as vague boredom was kicking in and I was looking for a subtle way to manifest as a Daemonhost (JOKE) out came the bubbly before the main toast....,along with Mr C's fiendish plan!

Ryan guzzled his down straight off with the rest of us told that if we'd had a real life drink from the kitchen
that we'd done the same. As group licensed nutter I passed my Psiescence test and worked out that the bubbly had a warp signature complemented by a mixer of tortured soul. Whilst all of us went a quick happy trip, a quick round of Toughness tests ended with a squiffy bunch of investigators and a newly addicted black-hearted paranoid with which point the group had something of a "Custard Doughnut" moment.

After a bit of a re-jig and a little bit of "honest feedback" the result was much the same. One of the guests was second in command to the Sector Governor and looking round ready to Spasm the glass from his hand he had thankfully waved his glass away. Looking for anybody else who might need saving I restrained myself, SHOCK, HORROR, whilst Charlie took a sample for later analysis.

Seeing the evening out behind stilted smiles and blurry some of staggered off into the night with at least one of us plotting a serious dose of questioning for Lady B.

I'll try not to puke on her shoes......probably ;]

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Run Fatboy, RUN!!

Another Tuesday night down at the Enfield Gamers and Rich ran us through the final instalment of FF's Star Wars roleplay. Relatively practiced hands now heads have been wrapped round the interactive dice system rather successfully.

Rich has put up the final write up on his BLOG and I don't intend to re-tell the tale that he has already put so well. Instead I thought I'd offer another set of comments on how I feel the game plays more narratively.

All about the dice of course but more so than with any other game I've ever played before. As Rich alludes to our luck generally ran one way throughout the session,  from terrible to triumphant (pun intended).

Trying to be clever Plans A and B quickly went horribly wrong, net Fails with net Threat = all gone wrong, just as with any "standard" system. What saved our arses were a couple of net Fails with net Advantage = door slammed in face but another left ajar. It's a fine difference and one that demands experience all round the table to make best use of but oh so potentially rewarding.
Being offered a Plan C, though 50% of our own devising, we infiltrated Teemo the Hutt's palace rather effectively.

With our rolls suddenly picking up, net Success with net Advantage, we then managed to access the security systems to locate and isolate Teemo from the majority of his gaurds for a much easier final assault. 
Swinging into action Teemo fled sacrificing his minions to buy him time to escape. Well ahead we gave chase for our dice to really rev up into net. Success  and net Advantage with a few Triumph thrown in to ice the bun cherry and all.

Flushed with success Lady L struck back hard to temper our ardour with Jabba taking insult at his nephew's demise and damning our evidence of his attempted coup as a poorly fabricated ruse.

Heading back off into the Galaxy we had freed ourselves from the shackles of one Hutt only only to chain ourselves to another, bigger, nastier version! Well done us ;)
The point I eventually make is that the dice system allows for a far broader, less rigid range of results. Several times we had a net zero across the board, not a fail or a success simply the status quo. When did that last happen in any other game you've ever played?

To paraphrase a certain bearded games designer the system takes "moments to learn but a lifetime to master". The scope in the mechanics themselves can do half the storytelling for you, you've just got to let it!

You can play it like any other system you've ever roled or rolled with. "I shoot or with my blaster" is fine but there's so much more on offer.

To infinity and beyond?

Monday, 15 July 2013

Avast Me Heartys.....would you like some tea?

Hello people,

Not been too much going on around here recently. Not been too much to report and my Blogger App has been playing up when there has.

Had a few days off last week getting out and about including a visit to HMS Belfast. I work just across the other side of the river from her and have been meaning to have a look for a good long while. Very glad I did and I heartily recommend a visit to all.

Going aboard I soon realised she's a bit of a Tardis. I'd always thought that, for a cruiser, she wasn't the biggest, especially for the Arctic convoys, but with 9 decks she's a real warren and you get to climb from boiler room to gunnery observation platform.

You get the usual posed dummies but there are some pretty impressive interactive bits as well. A lot of the focus is understandly WWII but there was a fair bit about Korea as well which I hadn't really appreciated before.

Get piped aboard sometime, you won't regret it :)

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

It's good to talk :)

Hello people.

All roleplay last week, Star Wars and Dark Heresy, with not a shot fired anywhere! 

Plenty of schmooze and booze on Tuesday night at Enfield Gamers as Rich continued the Star Wars campaign. On the run with prices on our heads were made an offer everyone knew we couldn't afford to refuse. Read it all HERE in Rich's own words. Lots of soft skills on display which work really well with the Advantage / Threat dice system.

Thursday night was more of the same as we opened a new chapter of DH. Happy to say that we've all bedded in much better with this one and have got used to working with the system and each other much better. Plot-holes are still there but they cause much less of a bump these days ;)

Finding ourselves on a light transport we were summoned past two heavily armoured lads to a meeting room. Half expecting a corporate team bonding event run by an over enthusiastic facilitator we were informed that we were to bestowed a singular honour. Hoping for gold, riches and wealth, we're simple folk, we actually got to meet our inquisitor.....

Not quite the "treat" we were all hoping for Ryan quickly got stuck into him about his previously close friend Aristicus and took great delight describing his demise. For once I stayed pretty much silent and checked for gas vents.

As has occasionally been the case we viewed our host with a mix of trepidation, mild hostility and suspicion. Our lad ranked well on the corpulence-o-meter, having lost his legs and one arm replaced by bionics, squeezed into a black ribbed body suit and strapped to some form of personal repulsor unit. So,....Baron Harkonnen then... "bring me that flying fatman".

I know he has a proper name but that's the one were rechristening him with. On a side note what is it with NPC names in pre-written adventures? They're so often Bill and Ben level.

Back at the point we cheered up with the offer of some free kit / filthy lucre which in my case would supplement my haul from Aristicus' crispy fried ashes ;)

Once The Baron could get us to settle down again we were briefed to investigate a number of disappearances on a hive world (insert name here). Mainly from the noble houses our abductees were all members of a certain choir who were gaining recognition within the official Imperial creed. As such discretion, subtly and stealth were key.....

To help is with that we were assigned cover stories. Ryan (assassin) as backworld noble third cousin twice removed from our noble host, Tim nice but incredibly dim. Ron (arbite) as dour bodygaurd, Charlie (tech priest) as advisor / scribe with myself (black hearted psyker) as JESTER! 

Oh the fun to be had, especially with my newly acquired imperial tarot. Pick a card, any card....oops that ones a Spasm :)

Arriving and settling in we spent most of the session questioning our hosts. The latest disappearance was thier ward who was active within the church "finding herself". We were particularly worried that we were facing an incursion of Welsh!!

Digging further we established that the choir focused mainly on recruiting the wealthy, who made regular donations, occasionally running the odd soup kitchen for the lower reaches but concentrating mainly on high end social events. Hmm maybe not so Welsh then.

It was an upcoming social that our hosts, who didn't seem overly bothered by thier ward's absence, had arranged us invites for. So while Ryan practised his dance moves the rest of us came up with various potential leads for Mr C to have to fill for us :) 

Fairly basic stuff like access to the local Magistrates investigation records and tracking down the Choir's bank accountants. If only we could have flashed our badges about but no dice there though Mr C did have a look of resignation. We did manage to avoid any Orange Blancmange moments :)

So no chance yet to put our new gear to use though I'm now warming to the idea of creating the most macabre Jester that I possibly can.

Should be fun :)

Monday, 1 July 2013

Dark Future?

Quick one tonight gents and gents as I've finally finished off Mr C's remaining Chaos Cultists primarily for use with Dark Heresy. This is despite sinking a bit more time into the Thieves Guild on Skyrim recently :)

Same patchwork set of colours drabbed down, the blue seems to come through strongest, much as with the previous set, which overall I'm pretty happy with despite vague concerns that I had one too many colours in the palette at one point.

Anyway, all done and 24 Painting Points on the slate for the month. Just Dreadball stuff left on the list now, two teams, some odds and sods and the pitch all of which are coming along. The real decision will be what to go for afterwards......probably SAGA / LOTR Orcs, Uruks and Gobbos.

Did get an update from Zombiecide 2 the other day suggesting slightly earlier shipping towards the end of August,...that'll be a zombie or a hundred then :)

Who shot Bambi?

I was browsing the wondrous geek-net and came across a roleplay post about different types of game run by differently motivated GMs which struck something of a chord. Then, being the type that I am, I started thinking about it the other way around i.e. different types of playing groups and how they interact with the game the GM is looking to run........hmmmmm ;)

Taking JP's post as a starting point, WE the Dark Heresy group as well as our wider Roleplay group are not particualry keen on "Bambi" level, we're simply too long in the tooth for that.

It does seem an obvious point that as player experience, rather than XP, increases so does the need for a greater challenge along with the need for that all important illusion of choice. It's something with discussed with Mr C, if we feck up and put ourselves in line for a kicking we'd rather it came rather than an obvious fudge. It's cheating the result that we'd far rather earn, that to us is cheating the whole point of why we're all playing the game in the first place.

I suppose in the same way that a Bambi playing group is much easier to GM for being far happier to follow the trail of crumbs provided and not looking to deviate from the given plot. Once again this seems to be a lot about the relative experience of the GM and the group in their respective roles.

At the other end I sort of expect a hardcore group to one going out of its way to kill the adventure, deviating and disrupting wherever and whenever possible. As a hardcore GM might look to expose any weaknesses in the playing group a hardcore group will look to do the same to the adventure?

Thinking about how any group might take on a hardcore GM then maybe not as I suppose any such group would have to be a model of cooperation between themselves? Surely trying to break the adventure itself just doesn't work, literally?

I reckon that it all comes down to the game contract struck. I like this idea and feels like one I've been meandering towards for a while. First off does everybody involved know the terms or even that it exists?

I've gone on about our Dark Heresy issues at some length and all of the above seems highly relevant. We're honestly not trying to break the game or the adventures themselves. We cooperate and plan, have our set moves. I think a lot of it is that we'd like to feel like we're getting back as much as we're putting in. Sure it's the same for Mr C!

So all about balance then, wax on, wax off :)