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Tweet RPG: Hack ‘N’ Slash Hero: The Character List

The latest RPG I’m playing isn’t a tabletop game with 600+ pages of rules.  Oh, not at all – I’m playing Tweet RPG.

It’s a game played (appropriately enough) on Twitter.  The rules for character creation and game play are explained in a few paragraphs.  The players vote on the course of action the hero will take at a given point in the story.  The choice with the most votes is the action the hero takes.  There are a few other kinds of votes as well, but they really are very simple.

I’ve followed @tw33t_rpg for a few months now, but this is the first opportunity I’ve had to join in on a game.  I’m also honored to be the creator of the first character to play in this game: Douglas McMichaels, law enforcement officer of America’s Wild West.  The gameplay started just this morning, and you can join in any time.

Take a look at the link below to see the 83 characters people created, and have a look around the site for the rules of the game.  And, please, if you are interested, join us!

Tweet RPG: Hack ‘N’ Slash Hero: The Character List.

 
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Posted by on Monday, 16 April 2012 in Gaming

 

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Thinking Aloud – Samurai Jack As An RPG Setting

I recently received a treat from Netflix: Disc 1 of Season 1 of Samurai Jack. I had watched it intermittently while it was on Cartoon Network and enjoyed it immensely.  While I watched the original episodes, it occurred to me that the world of Samurai Jack would be a wonderful setting for a role-playing game.

It covers so many genres.  To name but a few:

  • Fantasy From the katana-wielding Jack to the demon Aku, as well as all the magic present throughout the series, this world is rich in the fantastic.  Add to it the honor of Samurai Jack, to the obviously-evil minions of Aku, and there is a strong fantasy element here.
  • Sci-Fi It is mentioned in the series that Aku has ruled Earth for “thousands of years.”  If his reign started not too long after Samurai Jack’s battle in Episode 1, when samurai were prevalent, then he would have come to power anywhere from the 10th to the 19th century.  That’s nearly a 1000 year span.  Nevertheless, it is roughly the time of feudal Japan.  So the show occurs in our alternate future, in at least the 30th century.  This gives technology plenty of time to evolve beyond the present day.  Indeed, the show features laser weapons, space travel, and even extraterrestrial species.
  • Steampunk More than a few episodes have featured robotic cowboys, clockwork beings, and steam-infused automatons.  There are also plenty of multi-level technologies present in the same place.  All of these are hallmarks of steampunk in one form or the other.
  • Post-Apocalyptic The evils of Aku have caused untold devastation to the world and its inhabitants.  Add to that the other-worldly species that have become dominant, and you have a ruined, or at least an unrecognizable, Earth.

Given the multi-genre aspect of the setting, the system has to be capable of handling this.  What would work for this?  Again, to name but a few, from my admittedly-limited knowledge:

  • GURPS The king of generic, genre-spanning RPGs, it can handle these sorts of settings with ease.  The question is, then, can it capture the feel of the setting? It is a very mechanical, realistic system, which may be a point against it.
  • FATE Spirit of the Century, built on FATE, is an awesome system for a pulp-style game.  I love the over-the-top feeling it encourages, which definitely fits with Samurai Jack.
  • FUDGE The foundation of FATE, FUDGE can work superbly here.
  • 4E Amethyst Yes, it’s built on 4E Dungeons & Dragons, but it beautifully mixes the fantasy of D&D and the futuristic technology of a sci-fi setting.
  • 4E Gamma World This works very well for the post-apocalyptic/sci-fi feel of Samurai Jack

I know I’m missing a heck of a lot of possible systems in this list.  Do you have any suggestions for a Samurai Jack RPG?

 
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Posted by on Tuesday, 27 December 2011 in Gaming

 

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RPG Seeds – Sea Priestess

As a long-time GM, I’ve found inspiration for adventures, campaigns, characters and locales in some of the most unusual places: history books, novels, paintings, sculptures, conversations, and songs, to name but a few sources.  Here, I will briefly describe an idea that came to me while listening to Edge Of Seventeen by Stevie Nicks.

Enter our antagonist – the Priestess of Umberlee, The Bitch Queen.  I chose Umberlee because, at the time, we were playing in the Forgotten Realms, and, in my mind, the antagonist worshiped an evil(or at least very demanding) sea god.  This Priestess has found an ancient and abandoned temple to Umberlee in a cave on a cliff overlooking the sea.  The temple was built by an aquatic race thousands upon thousands of years ago.  At the time of its dedication, the cave itself was submerged.  For some reason, however, the sea withdrew, the cliff rose out of the water, and the entrance remained undiscovered until recently.  How or why did this happen?  Did Umberlee punish her worshipers for some transgression?  Did she lose some great battle to another god – the temple becoming the prize?  Perhaps it was simply a natural occurrence, the result of an earthquake, or global cooling caused the sea level to drop?  The answer to these questions could provide further hooks for the story.

What are this Priestess’s goals?  More personal power?  More power for her goddess?  Does she wish to establish a following on land for her goddess?  To me, Umberlee seems the kind of goddess who prefers smaller, more numerous groups of worshipers – as a Choatic Evil deity, larger institutions just don’t seem her thing.  I’ve always thought of the Priestess as wanting to establish a small cult devoted to Umberlee.  She seeks to increase her own power by increasing the influence of Umberlee.  To this end, she needs followers…

Umberlee, The Bitch Queen

Enter the cultists – two young men who serve the Priestess, in more ways than one.  Yes, it’s hackneyed, but the Priestess has recruited the two youths by seducing them.  They each seek greater attention by carrying out her orders, as well as sabotaging one another’s efforts.  Not only does this competition have them putting forth more effort toward the Priestess’s goals, but also serves Umberlee’s desire for conflict.

For her part, the Priestess spends her days deciphering the ancient inscriptions on the walls, statue bases, stone tablets, etc. found within the temple.  She sends her devotees for supplies, scrolls, and other items that may be of use in her endeavors.

Enter the heroes – this is where the PCs come in.  Perhaps the Priestess’s two cultists have been too ambitious in their tasks?  In gathering supplies for a ritual, they killed a local sage who became suspicious of them.  Or they’ve been poaching beasts considered sacred to a conclave of druids or elves.  Perhaps her devotees’ families are concerned about their sudden elusiveness and shirking of responsibilities.  Or, for the darker campaign, perhaps the ritual calls for the sacrifice of “the blood and entrails of three-and-ten whose souls are pure” – and young children have been disappearing from several towns, villages or cities as of late.

I have to admit – I have a fairly well-defined framework for this story, but I’ve left much of it out of this post.  I’d rather give a general idea for you to use in your own game(s), rather than specific details that wouldn’t work for you at all.  Besides, I believe that a good GM would rather fill in the details himself or herself.

Speaking of which, how would you use the Priestess in your campaign?  Would you like to hear more details from me, or would you care to fill in the blanks on your own in the comments?

 
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Posted by on Monday, 25 July 2011 in Gaming

 

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