One of my most popular posts on my blog has been my short list of floor plans. Having a map of an area is one of the easiest ways to not only plan your rpg adventure, but also to make sure that all of your players are visualizing the same thing. Anything that keeps everyone on the same page helps to reduce confusion and arguments, both of which take away from the joy of the rpg.
So without further delay here is another list of floor plan links you may find useful in your games. Most of these are aimed at the near past, modern, or near future time periods. Hope you enjoy them.
Here is the second installment of our on going It Came From the Late, Late, Late Show our GM provided us with a longer game, I believe it took us 3 sessions to finish the storyline and that included staying up a bit later on the last night.
This adventure was a two part story line, in the beginning section we were humans discovering the monsters and bringing them back to our research lab to study them. The trip back was one of the two most memorable sections as we got attacked by modern day “pirates”. It was an attack by hippies on a Greenpeace ship who simply would not believe that we were not whalers. Of course the fact that we had to use an old whaling ship to bring the creatures back to the lab and that we tried to keep them from going below deck certainly wasn’t helping our cause any. Eventually we drove them off but not without a struggle.
Then we switch to the awakening of the monsters and us taking them over as our new roles for our actors. This is where our GM really got the chance to break out his homemade hex map, terrain and miniatures. He is really into Lego’s and so that is what we use for mini-figs when he runs. Of course we collect them too which makes them super easy to locate and use.
So as the ubur monsters (think Godzilla style) we were bent on destroying the town, as well as our arch enemy. Turns out that, at least for us and our dice, the hard part would be the electric lines they had laid down in our path. We came far too close to dying out over them before we even got into the real battle.
These images are from the end of game and give you an idea of the carnage as well as our GM’s homemade battle map.
Here is the write up of the movie poster, the characters and rule summary, as well as the entire adventure. Hope you enjoy. If you end up playing or running it I would love to hear how your adventure went.
A few months ago our Call of Cthulhu DM ran a one night game of It Came from the Late, Late, Late Show. I had never played the game before, though I had read through the rules a while ago. For a long time now I have had a love for what I call the one-book-wonder role playing games. My preference is for games that are low in rules as I find they are more fun to play. When you have multiple rule books, like in Shadowrun for example, it is easy to get caught up in the myriad of rules and forget that the joy of the adventure and the interaction of the characters is what makes a really good story and therefore a really good game.
In this case the game was epic in nature and well worth writing about. Our DM got his inspiration from the Grave Robbers from Outerspace card game, which is another great card game I will need to write more about someday. He used the cards to help generate the plot locations and encounters, which I thought was a terribly novel approach to getting ideas; a really great way to get the creative juices flowing. Even the name of the adventure came from the cards, which is a part of the rules of the card game but I will cover that in another post. As per the name of the post, the adventure name was The Ghost Returns for High Adventure on the Coast of Crusade.
If you have never played It Came from the Late, Late, Late Show I would recommend it. In it you are playing an actor that gets cast into various roles to be in a late night movie. Needless to say, these shows are low budget so a bit of cheesiness is in order. For example the major bad-guy in our adventure was this horrible tentacled creature, with several arms that waved about seemingly at random. We found this large creature was only affected by sharp objects and the more that we punctured it the more that it let out a hissing sound until it eventually deflated and laid flat across the ground.
In case you are looking for more details on our adventure, or need a one night run for your group. My DM has blessed me with his notes from our High Crusade, and allowed me to post them on my blog.
Last weekend was another exciting gaming convention, sure wish I could go to more of them. As it is nearly bedtime for me this will be short and sweet.
For those that don’t know, Gamestorm is a gaming convention held each year in the Portland/Vancouver area of the PNW. The last few years it has been at the Hilton in Vancouver, WA. For 3-1/2 days we take over the entire convention space and fill it with RPG, RPGA, Miniature, Indie, Board/Card Games, LARPs, LAN, CCG, and console gaming. There is something for everyone and all have a great time.
According to my recently purchased copy of The Element Encyclopedia of Secret Signs and Symbols by Adele Nozedar, a wand is a symbol of power. Adele writes “The wand is an essential tool for anyone who aspires to a position of authority and power: witches and wizards, druids, bishops, and the monarchy”. I had always considered wands to be associated with wizards and fairies and the like, but had never carried that notion over to bishops and monarchs before. What an interesting idea. It made me wonder what modern day items would be considered wands based on this definition of a wand as a tool representing authority and power.
Modern day wands
The first that comes to my mind is the gavel. I can’t help but see this as a wand based on Nozedar’s description. Considering the authority we consider a judge to have, and certainly the authority considering they can hold your life in their hands. Though I must admit while I can easily tie a judge’s gavel to power and authority, I have trouble imagining it providing any sort of magical ability to the wielder in the way I typically visual a wand doing.
The next that comes to mind is a school teacher’s marker. This, of course, has changed over time and depends on the circumstances. In many cases today it is the dry erase marker or the greatly feared red pen. While teachers are not the figures of authority to adults that they are to school children, there is still power in the red pen that marks your mistakes and your grades on each paper you turn in. A small wand by most standards but perhaps a stronger level of magic due to that.
I am sure there are other great modern day wands out there, what can you think of?
Bring it to you RPG
So neat idea but how does it apply to your RPG game. I can see this being a great tie in either in a ShadowRun or Champions game. Any of your major NPC’s could be a closet magic user, implementing their wand as a focus item without letting on to the world their true nature or abilities. It could be used as a surprise for the characters who may not see it coming. Back in the day I played in a Champion campaign where many of the major politicians were magic users, they just used them to gain and keep their positions and only as much as needed so that it was not well known to the general population. Just goes to show that magic users can wield their power in a low-key, yet highly effective way.
What creative ways have you used wands or focus items in your games?
There are so many places to gain inspiration for the plots that a DM throws their character group into. For me I find much of my inspiration comes from the books have read as well as the movies I have watched, that combined with my own vivid and active imagination. Since I run primarily Fantasy Genre games there is not much from the modern day that I draw from. However, my husband has introduced me a show that, while a number of years old, would provide plenty of plot ideas for the modern or near future genre DM.
Our current old TV show on Netflix is Mission Impossible; which aired from 1966 to 1973. For me this puts the show airing before I was even born, but it is still awesome enough to deserve watching. I would dare say that we have all heard of it, especially the “this message will self destruct” quote, but many of us have not actually watched it; at least I hadn’t until this last month. The show definitely shows it age in the dress and manners of the actors, but the plot is top rate, as is the scripting. It is an excellent training for anyone looking to run a Shadowrun game or better yet a D20 modern game. The situations are great, and far better than what I could think up. And even if your players were complete Mission Impossible buffs the randomness of the dice rolls and character skill sets would prevent them from following the script of the show exactly. Heck, even in the show it often doesn’t go as planned and they have to fake it and fly off the cuff to get through and out again.
In the last episode we watched, the group of agents had to infiltrate a foreign group looking to do something in the way of an attack on America. To infiltrate the group to learn what it they were doing and stop it, they captured another group of people who were supposed to go to the training session and then pretended to be them. In the end this had he agents pretending to be foreigners in a training environment learning how to be American’s. I won’t give away the whole plot, but just this group of American agents pretending to be foreign agents who were to be pretending to be American’s was rather enjoyable to watch.
So if you are looking for new and fresh plot ideas for your games, then I suggest you take a look at some older TV shows and movies to see what they have to offer. Not everyone sitting at your table will be in the know of the show’s plot and you can add fuel to your creative GM imagination bringing your games to life.
One of the things that really helps with the atmosphere of any RPG is having the setting down right. In the fantasy based games I run that is fairly easy to accomplish as they are not required to stick to any hard laws of anything, including physics. Magic, deities, or mystical creatures can go a long way towards explaining away any difference between your game world and the standard reality that we all live in.
However, when you are running a modern or near future game the requirement for the setting to more closely match the reality we live in increases greatly. One way to add that finishing touch is to have detailed maps of the major buildings that are part of your plot. With all the detail that goes into a modern building this can be a major time sink for the DM. To help solve this problem, here are a number of links to various building types whose floor plans are out on the internet. If you don’t find what you are looking for here, just do a web search for building floor plans.
One of the things about role-playing is that it tends to be something you do for years and years. It also seems to be that most gamers move through a myriad of gaming systems depending on the tastes of their gaming group over the years. Of course this means an ever growing collection of gaming books and character sheets to keep track of. Recently I picked up an old copy of the 1983 TSR Red Box and needed to find a character sheet for my boy to make his first character with.
Thanks to modern advancements we no longer need to do them all by hand or make our way to a copy machine, we can just go online and find them. And in my searches I stumbled across what is to my knowledge the ultimate character sheet site on the internet, RPG Sheets. They have everything from 2300 AD to Wraith: The Oblivion. I suggest you check them out next time you need a character sheet for pretty much any game.
So, you have a friend that wants to game but can’t make it to the table, what should you do? Perhaps they live somewhere else, or maybe they are on vacation, or perhaps they are in a care center after having a tracheotomy? Well, no worries so long as they can talk, type, or write flash cards they can join you at the table!
Our friend was recently in the hospital and then care facility for a month, once he was off the strong pain meds and realized he was missing game we had to do something. So, we hooked him up with a net book complete with web cam from one of the group, and then setup my trust laptop also with web cam to take care of things on our end. We used Skype since I already have an account and is conveniently free for this sort of thing. Of course another program if you have one handy would work as well.
We used this for two games and it worked pretty good. While we had some issues with the volume these were mostly due to an air compressor that was running on our friends end and nothing else as the problem was not as evident in session 2 when the compressor was not being used. Also I would recommend that if you have a USB web cam that you place the camera on the game side up higher if it is an option so it isn’t on one person all night, we didn’t think of this until after the game.
As an alternative, I have some friends who have used Second Life for RPGs with distant people. To be honest, I didn’t really get Second Life the first time I checked it out. I can understand the appeal, I just find it doesn’t hold my interest. Perhaps I am much to busy in my first life to want to manage a second one too.
So when an adventuring party is faced with the challenge of stealing a dragon’s horde out from under a dragon what is the best approach. I suppose this particular problem has been covered before and will likely be covered again, though I doubt too many other groups will find the ultra creative approach that my gaming group decided to take.
First off I should clarify for you that 1) this party is evil, made up of demonologist, necromancers and the like and 2) there was never any intent on slaying the dragon, just removing as much treasure as they could with minimal effort and sacrifice of life or limb. Now that we have those basic facts covered we can proceed with the story of how they achieved this goal. Oh, I guess I should mention that I was running Legendary Lives 2nd Ed. in our typical Friday night game.
So the plan, that almost went off, was to lure the dragon from its home in the side of the mountain and while it was out and distracted to rush the lair and steal as much treasure as they could and escape. The escape route was clear for they have a magic circle made of 26 leather sections that can be laid down in a pattern to teleport what ever enters the circle to another place based on the pattern the pieces are arranged in (think Stargate). But now they had to determine how to lure out the dragon.
Well the groups assassin found in the small town a contact that would sell him a dragon sized dose of double-vision poison. This, they hoped, would provide them a fighting chance. But the poison had to be ingested, so they devised a cunning plan. They bought a cow, and a towns worth of bacon and two cheese wheels [can you see where this is going]. Then headed up the mountain, once they felt they were close enough they used their fire magic to cook all the bacon at once. With all the freshly cooked bacon they wrapped it around the cow, attached the wineskin of poison around it’s neck and tied the two cheese wheels to its back. Double, bacon cheese burger on the hoof; sure to attract even the mildest of dragon’s away from their treasure. Who could resist that much bacon???
And while there is much more to the story, which I will cover in another post someday, I will say that they did successfully part a fair amount of the treasure from the dragon with only minimal party damage. All through a judicious use of bacon!