Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Skill Challenges

In our next session, I'm going to try something a little different for the investigative turns.   I'm going to used a modified skill challenge system, suggested by this video by Matt Colville:

Colville Skill Challenges

Here's a description of how the investigation will play out:


CLUE SEARCH SKILL CHALLENGE
For Each Investigative turn spent looking for clues, follow this procedure.
  • The players divide into any number of groups, larger groups mean better chance of success, smaller groups means greater possible number of clues discovered.
  • Draw 1 Consequence Card per group
  • Each group undertakes a Skill Challenge. Each player draws a card, and then in initiative order they pick one skill and describe how they are using the skill to look for clues. Cycle through each member of the group, rolling for skill success. Repeat, with each player having to switch skills after each cycle, until either 3 Failures or 5 Successes are made, with a Raise equaling 2 successes.
  • If 5 successes are achieved before 3 Failures, the team gets a Clue, For each additional 3 successes that accrue before 3 Failures, grant an additional Clue Card. But, once 3 Failures total arise, the turn is over.
  • Drawing a clue card which will eliminate 1 hideout location or 1 Holy Ghost identity. (If the first turn proves too easy or difficult raise or lower number of successes needed in subsequent turns). Certain powers can be substituted for a skill check, but again, no repeats.
  • On Turn 12, Doctor Valiant will get to one of the objectives first

Thursday, June 1, 2017

The Future of the Gotham Campaign

I figure that "To A Bloody Pulp" has reached about mid-point.   We were figuring it to last about a year.   My vision (and it's just that, my 2 cents, we really want to know what everyone wants) of the next half runs as follows:

  • The Goal of the Gotham City Restoration Project is to eliminate 5 of the gangs or factions that threaten the city.   The Wound Ravens only need a strong shove to go (could be in a single session), the Disciples of the Bound Devil are pretty close (could go in 2 sessions).  
  • When 5 gangs are eliminated, then you should all see behind the curtain as to who Mr. Cheavers and the Committee that he answers to really are.
  • Then we can have a grand finale where we fight the mysterious puppet-masters that have pushed the gangs to become so dangerous that Cheavers and his crew had to intervene.
  • If we don't eliminate 5 gangs by January 1 1935 (2018), then we've lost and the terrible consequences unfold.
A GM-less finale session where everyone's character can play sounds fine to me, maybe invading a maze-like lair or just a giant set piece battle with scores of combatants (like the finale of Mutants and Muskets).

As to returning to Gotham, I don't think that that is a question we need to even bring up now.   If we want to come back to Gotham, we can, and when the spirit moves us we can follow its lead.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Future

Dave and I are starting to think about what we want to do next as a group. Specifically things like:

  • How do we end the current "Bloody Pulp" campaign
  • Will we "auto-GM" the end so that we can all play, or will there be a GM for the finale
  • How do we put Gotham to bed? Will we ever want to come back?
  • If we do come back to Gotham, would it be in the "present day" or in the past? Or the future! Gotham 2100 FTW!
  • What do we all want to do next?
  • If you have any thoughts or opinions, they would be welcome. Add comments below. Dave and I will be sharing our thoughts shortly.

    Tuesday, May 30, 2017

    Scene

    Mr. Cheavers enters the second floor conference room of the Team C headquarters building.   He sits down and calmly looks around.

    Cheavers:   "Good morning, Mr. Chains, Mr. Malju, Mr. Keys, Mr. Cop.   Where is Captain Freemont, he was supposed to be here."

    (Freemont's voice from down the hall):  "I'm on the phone."

    Cheavers: "If you would be so kind..."

    Freemont (to phone):  "Listen, ma'am, I've told you, Dr. St. Giles isn't here."

    Cheavers:  "Are you coming?"

    Freemont (to Cheavers):  "Just a second, sir."

    Freemont (to phone):  "Miss Weinstein, I told you I'd leave Dr. St. Giles a message, there's nothing else I can do.   This is a firm good-bye."

    Freemont (to himself):  "How did that dame get this number?  What was Rhombus thinking?"

    A dumb question

    How the hell to I get to my character to edit stats and shit. Bitch.  Got this cool pic for Friday Jones.

    Monday, May 29, 2017

    Scoreboard Update and Action Shots Session 12

    A Crushing Victory for Team C

    The Wound Ravens gang took 46 points of damage in the last session.  They're roll on the damage reaction chart was devastating and the gang was broken.   The loss of 3 leaders (Flaming Death, Scorchy and Burny) in addition to 31 flunkies was a morale catastrophe for the gang.   They are very brittle now.

    Additionally, the death of Bronski dealt 5 points of damage to the City Hall Machine.

    On the flip side, as the newspaper reported, there is a Shoot on Sight order out for Sweater Vest and Space Cop.

    Action Shots:


    Wednesday, May 24, 2017

    The Premise for the Next Campaign, Obviously


    The Important News for what is to come





    From the Daily Tribune, May 23, 1934




    Rash of Arsons Sweep City


    by Harry Lipshitz
     
    Over the last few weeks, a series of arsons have been committed across Gotham.   Police refuse to consider that they are related, but the repeated use of massive amounts of jellied gasoline and other accelerants seem to argue otherwise.  The Grand Haberdasherium suffered significant damage and will be closed for weeks.  A cab, belonging to 


    Isuzu Wakasashi was destroyed in its overnight lot.  The house of Mildred Johnson, mother of the late Walter Johnson, was burnt to the ground.  Noted scientist Dr. Marcel Mattieu is in the hospital with extensive burns over 75% of his body.  This menace must be stopped!

    Friday, May 19, 2017

    Even More Blasts from More Pasts

    I've spent a bunch of time reviewing old logs (through the Lords of Hack main site, History Links).
    I think that Dave Hanley was with us up to Slipstream (2010). 


    I actually really liked the Wilderlands of Hack campaign, despite the fact that it was short and we had real attendance issues.   The adventures were a lot of fun and some neat stuff happened.   Slipstream seemed a bit disjointed.   It seemed we didn't have a lot of agency on our end about what happened.


    Gatavia III was just awesome.   The two things that were broken were the economy, it seemed an interesting feature, but ended up being more of a bug.   The upkeep fees were just insane, and the domain stuff was more trouble than they were worth.    Second, the summoning magic was just broken.   Every problem could be solved by throwing a hydra or a horde of summoned berserkers at it.  But, the characters were great, the adventures were varied and interesting.


    Mutants and Muskets was also a lot of fun.   It was filled with all kinds of crazy, and at the same time had a good sense of the feel of dangerous overland travel, plus crab people.  Remember Cookie's 'Puma Steaks"?



    Monday, May 15, 2017

    Blast from the Past

    Each day at school we have what is called "Wildcat Period" for a half hour at the end.   We each offer different activities: study halls, tutoring, etc.   Every once in a while I offer "Dr. Nelson's Story Time", where I read a story aloud.   It turned out to be harder than I thought it might be to find something that fits into 25 minutes or so.  


    This past Friday, I had been reading over some old game logs in my spare time and had a Story Time coming up.   I decided to read the log to the second episode of the Skull Collectors' campaign (ACKS), where Brother Punchy, Murderface and Rotwang murdered the guy they were supposed to rescue and got outlawed from Portchester for the rest of the campaign. 


    It went over like gangbusters, the kids seemed to really enjoy it.



    Monday, May 8, 2017

    Scoreboard Update: Queen of Fate

    After the Queen of Fate Adventure, the Sons of David gang have increased their damage score to 67, our new leaders as most busted up.   Their condition, however, remains standard, the iron hand of Izzy Mandelbaum keeping the gang on course.   Mandelbaum, Mandelbaum, Mandelbaum!



    Monday, April 24, 2017

    Scoreboard Update and More

    1--Scoreboard Update:


    As predicted, the Disciples of the Bound Devil passed the 50 damage mark and I rolled on the chart.   They have become Demoralized and have a -1 to all Spirit Checks from now until they next have to roll.


    2--Action Shot 1
     The Disciples approach from one side, while the Ghost Dragon ninjas on the other, the Wound Raven Gangsters are in Real Trouble


    3--Action Shot 2:



    Suds O'Brien and his top men return to their cars after robbing the Silver Moon, but wait, is that the Rhombus Mobile they hear in the distance?  They might be in for trouble.

    Action Shot 3:


    Here is the artist's rendering of the horror that Dr. Rhombus saw emerge from the Grimsby Building. What could this dread monster be?

    

    Tuesday, April 18, 2017

    Schedule, Take 2

    Okay,  Tim had made a mistake about his schedule.   


    He can make it April 30,  May 14, May 28.


    I can't do May 14.


    Should we try:


    April 23 and 30


    May 21 and 28?


    So, 2 weeks in a row, then 3 weeks off and then 2 weeks in a row?


    Is that too much?  That would get Tim in here at least twice.



    Monday, April 17, 2017

    Upcoming Schedule

    The next game is Sunday, April 23, fixed.


    It looks like Tim can make it on May 7 and May 21st,  are those good for everyone?


    The bad news is that Tim will be moving to Pittsburgh in July.



    Friday, April 14, 2017

    Henchmen Update

    I rolled for our 3 surviving soldiers:  Phil (Harmonica), Joe (Filthy) and Jack(Mumbles).  I rolled for Phil twice, since we didn't do it the time before, and he survived that one too.

    Phil got an advance, so I gave him  "Rock and Roll", so he might be able to use a machinegun or thompson effectively.

    Joe got an advance too, so I increased his Drive and Notice to d6 each. (We often need a driver and a guard)

    No luck for mumbles

    Wednesday, April 12, 2017

    Plot

    When we GM, we are in charge of a few really important things regarding the story at hand. First, we need to provide antagonists. Next, we need to have some sort of a plan that these bad guys carry out. But pacing is also important, particularly with our group with revolving game masters and a "serial" vibe which I simply love. I want to address this in this post.

    In the past few sessions for "To a Bloody Pulp", I've been the game master for half of the adventures. I always want to make sure that we end the adventure with a big, satisfying finish at the end. If you were paying attention, I even time it. I try to make sure the opening action happens by 4:30, we get pizza in the "investigation rounds" at 6:45, and I even try to set a timer to let me know at 8:00 that I need to set up the final confrontation. This is because I know that we aren't all in our twenties anymore (except maybe Tim?) so we all need to end our game well before ten o'clock because we can't stay conscious that long.

    I love that as a group our conceit is that adventures are self-contained and that there is always a "beginning" and an "end." This way, each game is appropriate for the story told for whomever shows up. If a player can't make an adventure, or if we want to exchange PCs we can do that. It isn't weird, and PCs don't just "disappear" in the narrative. However, this limits the scope of each particular adventure, and I'm realizing that as a GM I've got to manage our use of time as well.

    For example, last game you guys had already found who had Rufus directly (helps to have a mind reader in the group) so the bit about Elizabeth and Lamont was no longer relevant. I kind of had to keep it anyway or else parts wouldn't have made sense. Once the PCs circled back, I kind of wanted to hand wave that part away since it was no longer needed to drive the story.

    To that end, I would like to propose a "plot device" rule. Once a game, if the players are taking too much time dwelling on details that don't necessarily drive the plot the GM can call "plot device" and put an end to it, perhaps narrating what happens rather than letting the players flounder. Then, if the GM narrates some sort of coincidence or tells the PCs that they notice something about an element that wasn't looked at before (like "Why would you guys like to check all the abandoned buildings around this fish canning plant?" would have helped in Jason's game) to get the plot train back on track the GM may take a benny.

    Thoughts?

    Tuesday, April 11, 2017

    Coda

    Following Sunday's adventure, there were a few "loose ends" that we didn't have time to tidy up. If all the players could decide if you have any decisions about any of these points I'll let you act on them. Otherwise I'll assume that you just let sleeping dogs lie.

    There remains a few loose ends to this adventure that weren’t covered in play, including:
  • What was Sanitation Commissioner Stan Fullerton’s role in all this?
  • What happens to Gwendolyne Cobblepot and Lamont Merriweather, Rufus' younger brother?
  • What should be done about Snow’s hidden rooms in St. George's Episcopal Cathedral?
  • Where is Nathan Snow now?
  • Thursday, April 6, 2017

    Tuesday, March 28, 2017

    Character Death

    With Maria Cobblepot dead, I'm in the market for a new character. I've gone through some research on making one, and on page 43 of the rulebook, I came up with this quote:

    Replacement Characters: When a character dies, his new hero begins play with one less Advance than his last.

    Maria died with 32XP, so I'm going to create a new character with 25XP, and add the 2XP for the adventure that Maria died in. Does that sound reasonable to everyone, or should I forfeit the 2XP?

    Monday, March 20, 2017

    or perhaps, Meet Team C






    Wilson Jenkins


    Human, male, seasoned XP 20

    Code Name: The Ramrod

    There’s nothing that moves faster than 2 feet that Ramrod can’t handle like a guy handles some easily-handled thing.  Eat his dust, losers.

    Attributes: Agility d10, Smarts d6, Spirit d8, Strength d6, Vigor d6                           Pace: 6, Parry: 5, Sanity d6, Toughness: 5

    Skills: Boating d6, Driving d10, Fighting d6, Riding d4, Notice d4, Pilot d10, Shooting d10, Stealth d4,

    Edges: Ace, Steady Hands, Rock and Roll

    Hindrances:  Bad Luck (major), Cautious (minor), Quirk (won’t start a car without a cigar in his mouth).

    Special Item:  Race Car with internal mounted Lewis Gun

    Background/Motivation:  when the Freeman gang burnt out his garage, this former soldier and auto-racer knew that it was go time, it wouldn’t be the gangsters who would cross the finish line in this race.


    Meet Team C

    Stefan Malju - AKA Evil Eye

    By day, an executive from Trintopec, the new petroleum company in Trinidad. By night, he is the invisible avenger the "Evil Eye." He was given the mystical power of invisibility by the ghost of the leader of a slave revolt named Sandy, and directed to take his talents to Gotham to prevent “the enslavement of the entire human race.” He uses his powers and considerable skills to right the wrongs perpetrated by the powers that be in Gotham.

    Human Male
    Rank: Seasoned (20XP)
    Attributes: Agility: d10, Smarts: d4, Spirit: d4, Strength: d6, Vigor: d8
    Skills: Boating: d4, Drive: d4, Fighting: d6, Knowledge: Business d4, Notice: d4, Shooting: d10, Stealth: d10, Streetwise: d4, Penumbral Step: d10
    Pace: 6; Parry: 5; Toughness: 6
    Edges: Arcane Background - Superpower (Invisibility), Combat Reflexes, Two-Fisted, Extraction, Dodge
    Hindrances: Bad Luck (major), Cautious (minor), Quirk - He loves to take trick shots (minor)
    Powers: Penumbral Step (Invisibility, Darkness)

    Wednesday, March 15, 2017

    Helmets

    I was thinking that perhaps we need a rule for helmets.  Right now they just give a fifty percent chance of providing armor protection against head shots.  However, only really good shots do head shots.  It hardly seems worth the the weight.

    However, during this period time, a steel helmet was the only armor that soldiers wore.  The did it because it prevented lots of deaths from artillery shell bursts.

    Maybe we should say that a helmet gives protection against Area of Effect attacks.  That might make them worth considering.

    Monday, March 13, 2017

    Wednesday, March 8, 2017

    Wednesday, March 1, 2017

    Balancing the Team



    My player character has an advance coming next game, and I'm debating where to spend it. I'm considering dropping it on making Maria a crack driver, but it occurs to me that we rely on Maria mostly for her questioning and persuasion skills which could use a boost. What are you guys planning on taking?

    Tuesday, February 28, 2017

    Hospital Stays

    After Rusty Keys' hospital debacle, I believe we need some rules centered around getting professional care. According to the rules on page 78 of the rulebook, the healing skill may only be used in the "golden hour". Additionally, only one roll per character may attempt to heal. After the golden hour only supernatural healing or natural healing will help. Unfortunately, natural healing takes a game-week for the first roll. That could make a game pretty suck-tastic if a player character takes one hard early in a game and is forced to limp through the remainder of the session. With that in mind, I would like to suggest the following supplementary house rulings for discussion:

  • PCs and NPCs who present themselves at a hospital during the "golden hour" may roll a healing check for care. The check is done as if by a wild card with a D6 healing skill. In case of a failure (or god-forbid a 1 on the healing die), PCs may choose to spend a "bennie" to roll again at +2 (as if the hospital ALSO had the "healer" edge).
  • Players who deem their characters too "beat up" to continue may choose to switch PCs mid-game and play an alternate PC. This could either be a the player's own alternate (such as Bob's Two-Chains / Friday Jones) or one of the henchman from HQ - Eugene, Pierre, Gorak. In case of a switch, the player chooses which characters win the experience at the end of the adventure.
  • Sunday, February 26, 2017

    Ice of Night


    What is the purpose of these dark pylons? Find out tonight, in Ice of Night!

    Wednesday, February 22, 2017

    Tuesday, February 21, 2017

    Pay Out Revised--Corrected


    Getting rid of the duplicate row, we are left with this.  It makes the kill jar results much less predictable and harder to "game the system".  But, I'm a little wary.   It might be better to add an extra row in each tier, to make a bad set of rolls less devastating.   I don't quite know how to proceed.  I guess the answer is to not kill people who don't need killing.


    SECTION 3:  THE PAY-OUT--REVISED
    • When the GM designs the adventure, he should have set up 3 possible results:  Extraordinary Success, Success or Failure.    An Extraordinary Success will be counted as a Level 8 result;  A Success  will count as a level 6 result, and a Failure will count as a Level 4 result.
    • For each chip in the Kill Jar at the end of the session, the GM rolls 1d6.   If the result is a 6, then the Level of the Pay-Out is reduced by 1.
     
    Level
    XP
    Gear Cards
    Blue Cards
    Henchmen
    8
    3
    3 per PC
    3
    +2
    7
    3
    2 per PC
    2
    +1
    6
    2
    2 per PC
    2
    +1
    5
    2
    1 per PC
    1
    0
    4
    1
    1 Per PC
    1
    0
    3
    1
    0
    0
    -1
    2
    0
    0
    0
    -1
    1
    0
    0
    0
    -2
     
     
    Henchmen draws:  +1 represents choice of either 1 specialist or 2 soldiers.  +2 represents either 2 specialists or 4 soldiers, 0 represents no change, -1 or -2 indicates either 1 or 2 random henchmen quit/desert/disappear.

    Thursday, February 16, 2017

    Revised Pay Out Draft







    Here's a draft of a revision of how to handle the Pay Out.   I would remove the permanent henchmen from the Blue Deck and replace it with draws from the 2 henchmen decks we're working on.   The news story results/city goes wild never meant much so they'd be gone.   The Kill Jar effects become less predicable.




    SECTION 3:  THE PAY-OUT--REVISED


    • When the GM designs the adventure, he should have set up 3 possible results:  Extraordinary Success, Success or Failure.    An Extraordinary Success will be counted as a Level 9 result;  A Success  will count as a level 6 result, and a Failure will count as a Level 4 result.
    • For each chip in the Kill Jar at the end of the session, the GM rolls 1d6.   If the result is a 6, then the Level of the Pay-Out is reduced by 1.




    Level
    XP
    Gear Cards
    Blue Cards
    Henchmen
    9
    3
    3 per PC
    3
    +2
    8
    3
    2 per PC
    2
    +1
    7
    2
    2 per PC
    2
    +1
    6
    2
    2 per PC
    2
    +1
    5
    2
    1 per PC
    1
    0
    4
    1
    1 Per PC
    1
    0
    3
    1
    0
    0
    -1
    2
    0
    0
    0
    -1
    1
    0
    0
    0
    -2




    Henchmen draws:  +1 represents choice of either 1 specialist or 2 soldiers.  +2 represents either 2 specialists or 4 soldiers, 0 represents no change, -1 or -2 indicates either 1 or 2 random henchmen quit/desert/disappear.