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.
A month ago or so we tried out a new card game, Falling: Goblin Edition and while crazy it was a lot of fun. The premise of the card game is that you are a group of Goblins who, for whatever reason, are falling and are sure to die when you hit the ground. So you take on the goal of trying to be the last one to hit the ground.
The game is very fast paced and lacks a true turn based system as you just fling cards as fast as they are dealt out. While it took us a couple of games before both the dealer and the players had figured out what we were doing, once we did it worked nicely. With such a fast paced game it did an excellent job of simulating the story line. While you were busy pushing other goblins (players) or grabbing onto thing to try to slow your decent the ground appeared with an unexpected “Thud!” often without you seeing it coming.
I wouldn’t recommend the game for kids younger than perhaps late Middle School, the pace would be a real challenge and the lack of true turns was a challenge for even the table of seasoned gamers I was playing with. It did make for an entertaining passing of time though while we waited for the last member of our gaming group to arrive for the evening’s table top session.
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.
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.
Before you head off into the land of LARP you need to understand the two basic types of LARP that exist. The first is Boffer LARP and the second is Non-Boffer LARP. Let’s look at these a little bit closer.
Most Boffer LARP’s I have encountered are based in a medieval time frame; usually a fantasy setting that includes some form of magic. There are a group of people that run the game, they decide the plot and play out all of the NPC’s from the wench at the inn to the dragon in the cave. Then there is a group of players, they dress up as their character and attempt to navigate the various plots that are thrown their way. Some events are single day and others are weekend long where you are your character both day and night. Typically there is an over-bridging story arc that carries from one event to another, while smaller stories come and go along the way.
Non-Boffer LARP’s come in a greater variety of setting then do their counterparts; everything from -cavemen to vampires are covered this way. Resolution of skills is usually done via Rochambeau or through other means that do not involve actually swinging a weapon or rolling dice. Usually these events are single day events, and some carry a story arc that covers multiple events. This variety of LARP lends itself well to a convention setting as no weapons are required making it more hotel friendly. Costuming is strongly encouraged to help set the mood and make staying in character easier.
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.
My first encounter with boffer combat was through my college boyfriend playing a home grown LARP (Live Action Role-Playing) Game. We wore period style clothing, and used boffer weapons for combat. Our group played each Sunday at Mt. Tabor Park in Portland, OR. It is actually where I got to know my first husband, who still plays boffer LARPs just different games. In fact my kids have their own boffer weapons as well.
However it seems that all of the strange looks we got at the park were for nothing as boffer has now gone mainstream. NERF has introduced a line of boffer weapons called N-Force. I checked them out online and then in the store the other day and took a good look at the Nerf N-Force Battlemaster Mace Axe. While the construction is safe enough for most kids to play with, I would still have to say that they are not as well padded as the boffer weapons typically used in a LARP setting. Add this together with the lack of set safety rules that are part of a boffer LARP, and you could end up with a bit of modern-day boffer bruises.
Despite my concerns over the potential safety risks with these weapons, I think that they would be awesome if combined with a bit of boffer combat rules, such as no head or groin shots. It is nice to see that another element of our gamer world has hit the mainstream. It just goes to prove that the geeks shall inherit the earth.
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.