Tuesday, 17 January 2017


Winter made its frozen fingers felt this last week with snow storm warnings keeping would be adventurers safe and warm in their hobbit holes and out of trouble. Of course those of us who either braved or fooled the elements met once more to see a Thursday evening out. As we were a rag tag selection of players across all of the games we availed ourselves of another board game, kindly brought along by Jamie, Lords of Waterdeep.

Much like a snooker referee bar the white gloves, Jamie steered us through a few disjointed and unfamiliar rounds of play before the penny began to drop and we started to play properly. Players are given a fixed number of rounds to place tokens in areas that gain them gold or 'adventurers' - basically little squares of different colours. Quest cards can be picked up, intrigue cards can be played affecting actions and property can be purchased to earn future rewards. During play points are awarded during some events but at the end of the game, large point totals are derived from the resources acquired over the rounds and quests completed.

At the end of the day the game doesn't really borrow anything from the D&D genre in which it is set and is more about decision making in a more classical board game sense - it certainly lacks a narrative. but its easy to compare everything to Talisman. Still everyone got involved and happily rolled their faces in gold at the end.

GM Jon has checked in regarding the Next Stat Trek module that is beaming in for the play test and I believe the Ravenloff is also on for this Thursday. I will pack another Chill, just in case.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Case Closed

SAVE archives return 29.09.1994, Bigfork, Minnesota, USA
Major Incident, Unknown incursion

Entity: Executioner, sub category Hangman

Behaviors: Interactive illusion via psychic attack, probable cause of local spate of apparent suicides by hanging across the county for at least  a 10 year period. Probably bound by remains and/or items of significance or ritual when alive; in this case a personal bell and/or bell from county jail chapel rung before executions whilst legislation carried death penalty. Partially corporeal manifestation, occasionally phasing, violent and aggressive. Unknown Servitor entity - probably wife, manifesting as ghost with similar behaviours albeit less potent. Possible living servitor maintained by ritual/blood sacrifice -ref Spectral Hound. Possibly accompanied with manifestations of victims, not harmful in this case.

Cautions: Psychic attacks, Evil Way. Deception by appearance as living being. Victims self harm unawares by strangulation manifesting as tightening noose around victims neck.

Vulnerabilities: Physical attack, harmed by organic contact or impact from weapons beyond a certain age. Impervious to weapons of newer construction, certainly firearms. Bound by ward - sound of chapel bell ringing. Possibly destroyed by burial ritual involving items of significance.

Additional: It is as yet unclear if executioners become Unknown during their life or after death. Part of this process is binding to items or places prevalent during execution rituals whilst alive. Motivation unclear.

References: 1956 South Africa,Col. Reinhold Hurst, concentration camp commandant shot 1945.  1830 France,  Charles-Henri Sanson Royal executioner died 1806. 1634 Yucatan Mexico, Akotec High Maian Priest died circa 1330.

Entity: Spectral Hound

Behaviours: Servitor entity of low cognition, manifesting as semi corporeal, large dog. 

Cautions: Behaviour in keeping with living attack dog of considerable strength.

Vulnerabilities: Physical attack, harmed by organic contact or impact from weapons beyond a certain age. Impervious to weapons of newer construction, certainly firearms. Unsure if entity can be destroyed or whether it is a servitor bound to master entity.

Additional: note, executioner in question owned attack dogs during his employment - probably correctional enforcement animals

References: Numerous possible - specific instances: West England 1900 Dartmoor. Romania Brasov 1868.

Status: Case Closed

Monday, 2 January 2017

Space Time

Its that time of year again. In fact every time of year is a time of year again, with the exception of the extra second we all received  due to slowing planetary rotation. Whilst that particular second was brand new, history repeats itself in recognisable fashion at the roleplaying club. Contrary to my pre Christmas confusion, more Star Trek is in fact warping in from Modiphius as GM Jon continues to execute his orders from Starfleet command.

I am not sure if a new moon will accompany the new year but I get the impression that every moon is a full moon in Ravenloff and GM Warren's fiends will continue to stalk his players this Thursday in the D&D.

The Chill fill has a session to run before concluding but as the other games are still in full swing it may depend on who has risen fully awake from their Christmas suspended animation before we make any plans on what to do next. But as I understand it, resdolutions scamper about in early Janruary so if you are looking for a thoroughly intriguing lack of exercise then I can heartily recommend coming along and making some new friends in deadly environments.

Basically if you are curious about roleplaying..........


Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Santa Pause

Well, its that time of year again. Or specifically it ain't Christmas until Hans Gruber falls off the Nakatomi Plaza. 

Our intelligence services tell me that the Belmont is closed tomorrow due to the Elves so the next formal meet will be on Jan 5th. We are officially on Pause, tho there are rumblings about what may or may not be happening on the 29th- I suspect it may involve ale - if I find out in time I shall drop a quick note here and if I find out too late then I shall write a formal complaint. If I don't find out at all then I will make something up.

Its an interesting juncture in our cycle as the phase of the games have been slightly out of alignment as GM John has been running pre release Star Trek playtest against the manufacturers time scale which has now completed, GM Warren is currently running a popular D&D tho I suspect it hasn't run for enough sessions yet and I was running an extended Chill filler due to the need to juggle both the roleplaying calendar and to absorb additional interest.

So some sort of transition will be in order for the new year I expect. In fact you can call it a resolution - GM Bill is intending to re-open his 13th Age but we have not yet convened about the round table to resolve strategy so in appropriate style we will drift merrily through the fog and high spirited fumes of Christmas and with favour emerge sober for another year of adventures.

Watch this space. 
Particularly if Sci Fi is involved.

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Very Special People


Roleplaying is a special hobby. Though it borrows from all the best aspects of a community pastime it also brings together a wide variety of colourful people. Imagination is something that everyone has ordinarily, though fortunately I am unsure regarding psychopaths, and despite this one has an opportunity to express oneself artistically as much as applying oneself deductively to any given scenario. As Mark, one of the Chill players commented, his detective's drawback of impulsiveness is very useful in cutting through a lot of preamble despite the rather adverse consequences; an echo of a distant cousin in chivalry we all know too well.

More specifically one can approach the hobby with a method actor's mindset. A nod to the Larpers here and we do entertain those who like to get out on occasion. Putting aside even the fun of dressing up and sheer effort people can put into costume, a tremendous aspect of live roleplaying draws from historical reference, typified in re-enactments. As much as one can learn about events in school or by watching dramatised histories in motion pictures, there is nothing quite like actualliy smelling the sulphur of gunpowder burning the air or feeling the weight of chain mail on your shoulders whilst breaking camp or indeed gazing hopelessly around a field of dead bodies. It simply can't have been all that different in the past and there are moments when you are there. This is a kind special.

The ability to inject a fair amount of humour into a game also brings people together in special ways. Other than clever plays on words and ironic words in clever plays, jokes are for the most part anecdotal on some level which requires one to imagine a point of view. Abstracting from this in many of the fantastical worlds we inhabit just explodes the farcical possibilities and its not uncommon to forget ones head is on fire during tense negotiations.

And then there are just Very Special People. I shall just attach a couple of photos of our last meet while we played something equivalent to Twister for the inebriated.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Power of 3

As we are being quite popular at the moment and earning a few more gold coins for our Railway Inn, a little clarification for the interweb is needed I think regarding the games that have sort of settled now for this round of play.

Star Trek, the initial play packets from Modiphius have arrived and GM Jon is taking the first players through its metrics boldly going where no roleplayer has gone before. Appropriately a science fiction background to an analytical gaming approach but after the first session the players were positive enough to stand around in freezing cold weather after the club turned out, espousing its virtues. Seems like a positive start and it will develop rapidly I am sure.

Here is some clever copying and pasting

"As the crews of the U.S.S. Venture, U.S.S. Bellerophon, U.S.S. Thunderchild, explore strange anomalies and discover new life while uncovering an ancient civilization and mysterious technologies, those aboard the U.S.S. Lexington will shape historical events for those very ships."

From SciFi we move to fantasy; in the Ravenloft D&D 5e Adventure GM Warren is trying to bait and bite players with a Werewolf at present. As vicious and challenging as these monsters are I would note on behalf of would be adventurers to his realm is that this is where there story begins. What is waiting for you later on is likely to be far less amenable to dog treats.

Finally we have A Horror by the name of Chill. Currently in its 3rd edition, tho  I procured a set of 2nd ed books at a only a few pounds each so we are currently playing classic style. I have always described it as a quick fix Cthulu but to be fair it has its own investigation phase. I will keep it episodic so that the game can close or continue easily depending on numbers but at present our party, consisting of  Envoys as part of an international organisation called SAVE, are on the case of an entity known as the Hangman apparently responsible for the deaths of a number of transients and also a State police officer. Pieces are starting to fall into place for the current case but there have been no arrests as yet..tho our intrepid Envoys are closing in on something..

So the full spectrum is on for would be gamers out there who can pick between the worlds of SciFi, fantasy or horror. So if you're looking for a game outside of those genres then I can only suggest you go and make your own universe and bring it along.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Green Girls

Seems like drama has been surrounding more than one of the new Star Trek universes. GM Jon has completed his pre Star Trek Star Trek and has now had the first missives from Mordiphius as their playtest undocks. In reverse order they are apparently feeding us the Next Generation first and then by a twist of time travel the earlier series comes later. This will of course be very interesting in and of itself but as purveyors of the trade a play test has special interest for us as a club. I expect no less than two hundred opinions on various aspects of the game and hopefully by the end of the run we will have thrashed out the complete compendium of Starfleet Rules and Regulations. 

There is also drarma in the real world of Science Fiction as some of you may be aware that the upcoming series Discovery is also making its media present by way of the first castings but more importantly there has been significant controversy over the new ship.

Aesthetics can be a blurry subject and in futuristic scenarios will often split the audience or indeed crew, but for my part I come heavily down on the lazy bastards side of the argument. Over the generations there have been distinct efforts with regard to Starfleet ship evolution and there are various apologetic videos squeezing the Discovery design into the fleet lineup but basically, bollocks. Someone in the design team got out a compass and set square and had an early lunch. What do you get if you join a circle onto a triangle ? Well you get a circle and a triangle joined together. I do hope that the sheer nafness can enhance the experience in the same way as wobbly bits of soft focus sixties special effect.

As club numbers are up at the moment I had occasion to run an impromptu Chill but as it was originally intended for two sessions of about four players I couldn't quite squeeze it into one evening particularly as I had six players - immediately splitting the party up and shooting the good guys. What could I have possibly expected? Still, a game is afoot for the next occasion and the investigation phase is definitely giving way to the grisly death section.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

A quiet revolution

So this Monday I popped down to the Craft Beer Co pub at the top of North St to see what all the virtual fuss was about on the Prime Internet Plane. Having survived the initial encounter with the bar staff thee is much to report...

Firstly there is the Hero, Simon Appleton, who has been running the Brighton Boardgamers for many years and as people were telling me, the interest in RPGs have grown to the point where he pulled up his socks, girded his loins, dusted off his glasses and spurred off a specific meetup internet group to handle the growing interest. This last Monday saw an Entmoot to welcome new players and coordinate GMs - I suppose a bit like a fast dating event where people can sample each other before exchanging bodily fluids. And speaking of fluids I did pry the bar staff to impress upon me their lightest and finest ale of repute, to which I received my due but at the princely bargain of £2.80 !! This is going to spur a serious debate in and of itself being 30p less that we get in our social club. Nevertheless I digress. 

Deciding to turn up 20 minutes late just to be cool I levitated my pint upstairs and was shocked to find myself jammed in a doorway due to the sheer number of interested parties crammed into the event. I counted at least 25 before I stopped. But it all started to make sense as each GM introduced themselves and offered up what they intended to run. There certainly weren't enough tables upstairs for all the games to be seated but a lot of the GMs were intending to start a game in the new year and not necessarily on the night. I also got the impression that the pub will prioritize other paid events so I can see on occasion the role players having to give way. Simon mentioned to me that space was indeed an issue, specifically in the classical Newtonian sense. After the meeting many left as others were sitting down to play so as interesting as it was to get the lay of the land I shall pop in on a 'normal' evening and see if I can get an impression of how things work during a typical week and also to see how many of the new players actually found a game. Nevertheless what wonderful people. But the bottom line is that our GMs should be posting our games on the meetup site also when we revolve..or whenever they need new players

On this note we have also had an up welling of interest through our doors and for now a few new visitors are staying to sample the universes we have on offer and typically, last week, even despite a couple of regulars missing, 14 people turned up.

This is definitely grounds for a new game at this point and although I have been carrying a Chill around in my back pocket during the games rotation, typically I didn't bring it last week, Nevertheless our Gary rescued the evening with a hearty Talisman.

Oh, and I accidentally bought  DMG over the weekend but more of that in another blog, except to say that the most venerable proprietors at the Dice Saloon also told me that there has been a bit of an upsurge in DnD sales and enquiries at their end. What on earthdawn is going on..?


Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Dooom and Gloom

 The Star Trek has sort of pre started as Modiphius plays with the space time continuum within its own release window. GM Jon has kindly  stepped in with a pre Star Trak, Star Trek. Whilst he sports a couple of early systems he has gone for an original Last Unicorn implementation of the original series. Whilst it was produced by Last Unicorn Games (LUG - now absorbed in WotC) in the 90s it is an extremely nostalgic rendition in the style of a genuine late 60's Haynes Manual, More specifically the iconic artwork of typical 60s and 70s compendiums are faithfully reproduced in terms of it production style which lends itself even more faithfully to the setting of the original series - the only thing that's missing is the soft focus.

Apparently the scenario surrounds a prime directive protected pre warp planet upon which a starship has crashed - accidentally I presume. On further investigation it seems that the crew are missing along with a significant amount of advanced equipment. This has all the hall marks of a great episode and I am wondering whether it will be resolved through time travel, shooting evil aliens or sleeping with an Admiral's daughter. I shall attempt to sit down in this game for an episode depending on what the rest of the club is doing.

The DnD is on hold for another week due to our GMs night shiftyness which is always an excuse to bring out a weird card game or two. True to our constitution someone brought along a 2nd ed 'Gloom'  which is a wonderful and slightly narrative card game where each player starts with an Adams family set of characters and has to ruin their karma so much it actually kills them. Opposing players can use their cards to cheer them up so its a basic tug of war between positive and negative modifiers but if you character dies happy then their positive score counts against you whereas a fatal event for a severely disturbed character with a negative score counts for you. During each play, a story is advanced based on the action of the previous player to compile a wonderful and ridiculous adventure.

It an refreshing and creative change from desperately trying to keep characters alive.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Roleplaying Radar

Over the last week we have been casting out our roleplaying radar into the local community to see what is floating about.

This blog, whilst an ancient and revered tome, is probably not one one would choose when promoting a club, tho as I inherited it, it still tops the Google list for the sheer amount of time it has been around when one searches for roleplaying in Brighton. Despite ones opinions of Blogging we do seem to get wanderers in on a semi regular basis. whether it is shelter from the elements for a cup of tea, or someone specifically interested in something we are doing, its always interesting to meet adventurers passing through our doors and occasionally, they stay.

For our part the club is designed around  more transient, public facing experience with a hour or so of socialising followed by a couple of hours role playing - a gentle and welcoming pace I would say but with just enough time to get a sense of adventure for a newcomer and if you are lucky, a feeling of accomplishment and who knows, good friends of dubious character - or dubious friends of good character - I forget which. The format has been tinkered with but evolution has set us in our current niche. The games are short at about 3 months and synchronized so that players turn over to mix - new stuff is never far away.

Like a good TV show, some games generate spin offs in the form of home games where people can get a more in depth experience and there is also a monthly Earthdawn running for five to six hours at the local Dice Saloon role playing center as yet another opportunity to escape reality, tho there is a small cost  for the table for the day, its a pleasant albeit busy environment. There are also open Pathfinder games for passers by run by the regulars there I believe.

This last week gone some of us have also invited ourselves to a fairly new Mondays meetup event at the Craft Beer Co in upper North Street where we understand that two DnD games are running. The Meetups site is a natural place to look for RPG games and I think the North St GMs are using it as a sort of e-booking system so you have to register with each of them or get on their respective waiting lists. They start at 18:30 to 19:00 so earlier than us but I dont know if it would describe itself as a club in the sense of events being co-ordinated. However there is a specific meeting on the 21st to discuss additional games and some of us will be popping along, so I shall report back, but I can tell you now that we shall not be sheltered from the full force of retail beer costs compared to our spit and sawdust, slightly damp, late 70s, Dr Who episodic, public facing, jukebox dysfunctional, subsidised railway social club.

As 'special interests' go Brighton does seem to have a thriving roleplaying scene; ironically from my home on the 7Dials I can go North, East or South for about 10 minutes either way and hit a public roleplaying event of some sort. 

I wonder what dark forces in the West have done to veil the scene....perhaps it is just for evil parties.

Monday, 31 October 2016

Happy Ravenloft

How fitting and respects to GM Warren as he begins his DnD5e game. I had reported, entirely falsely, that he was reopening his Neverwinter realm but in pointy and fact he has begun a Ravenloft adventure for the Halloween season. Despite entering many of the DnD worlds, I have never played in a Ravenloft and ironically as the opportunity presents itself now, it seems I am poised to warp off to the Star Trek playtest. Though now I come to mention it I don't see why we couldn't have some sort of mash up - have there been any Star Trek episodes with vampires in ? I am struggling to recall all of the 726 episodes but I think it would be a master stroke to have a dead character as part of the new crew for the forthcoming series. When I say dead, I don't mean a specifically farcical lifeless corpse that keeps being put in the right place at the right time to save the day and work its way up to captain, I mean a bona fide entity that needs a corpse to inhabit - just imagine exploring the human condition as it relates to its mortality - you only have to look at the Egyptian obsession with death cults to see how an entire civilisation can be shaped or perhaps the dark Afro American backdrop of the Voodoo culture. 

Oddly enough I have commented on more than one occasion regarding GM Warren's night shift patterns and can't actually say I have seen him in full sunlight, though during the lighter months we have casually chatted in the shadows. Either way, I am not one to judge but there remains much unspoken in our weekly meetings and he has received the due title of Daywalker.

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Modiphius mortality

Whilst Star Trek has always been formative across the generations and a popular diversion from parody to philosophy, there hasn't really been an opportunity to froth about it properly on this blog. There were some brief conversations last week at the club as to how certain things will be handled mechanically together with the overarching backgrounds to the various series. Much can only be learnt when we literally roll out the play test but, understandably, one of the first questions on a role players mind when approaching new systems and creating characters is how easy is it to die ?

These issues are prevalent in the Star Trek universe.

Whilst I can understand that in a horror game this is a more pressing issue, it often comes down to tentacles, teeth or claws. Basically a character may not see a vampire coming but a player would not necessarily be surprised to face a grisly death. But at the frontier of space exploration, alien cultures and creatures one would have no idea whether a small purple cube is in fact an air freshener or weapon of mass destruction or indeed both. Pile on top of this that certain cultures may insist on killing several ambassadors as a mark of respect before establishing trade relations, one can see the importance of a non expendable communications officer.

Further piling on top of this is another layer of sleek, stylish and occasionally reliable Starfleet ships systems - Starships are inherently dangerous places particularly with their notorious exploding consoles, transporter glitches, leaking plasma conduits and eminently bypassable security systems. Its a wonder we ever left the planet, but tracing Starfleet Engineering Core's history back to the days of Cochrain banging on a warp core with a spanner in one hand and beer bottle in the other, things start to make a little more sense.

So in the 24th century it would still seem prudent to cross ones fingers when flushing the turbo toilet.