SeaFarers: TheePort

  • Characters are from the fishing port of Theeport located on the western coast the country.
  • The town has nearly 1000 people within it’s area of influence – 10 miles radius from the dockstone – a large dolmen at the main dock which historically was used to secure longboats.
  • The weather is mediterranean so characters wear minimal clothing. Armour is almost unheard of because of it’s weight and heat. There are really only two seasons – a cold autumn and a warm summer. None of the characters will have seen snow unless they specify so in their origin.
  • Houses in the docks area are usually three story. The basement floor is used for non-perishables and manufacture. This is like the “garage” and small boat fishermen would keep their boats and equipment in here. The ground floor is perhaps 4-5 foot above ground level and is where the family sleep and where their valuables are kept. The top floor is the living quarters and where the cooking occurs. Entry to the dwelling is via the top floor using either a ladder or stairs. This is historically due to flooding. for the rainy season, a Storm Roof covers the entrance in the ceiling.
  • Houses further away from the docks are flat roofed. The poor tend to have a single room dwelling and keep seating and “non valuables” on the roof, again accessed via stairs or ladders.
  • Wealthy houses are less like caves and more like houses. People who remain devout to the Old One still prefer houses which are entered through the roof and remain dark and cool.
  • Gold and copper are the most valuable metals due to their use in jewelry.
  • Barter is still prevalent though minted bars are needed for dealing in the cities. This currency consists of silver bars around the size of a stick of gum (though thicker) with a single hole punched in them so they can be hung on a string. There are three values. Bars, Gilds and Gems. Bars are simple cards of silver, gilds have gold etching/plating on them and gems have gold etching and semi-precious stones embedded in them. For the villagers, one bar is probably equivalent to one months salary. One Gild equal to about 5 years salary. One Gem around a lifetime. So the ratio is 1 gem = 10 gilds. 1 gild = 50 bars. Or thereabouts.
  • The diet of the average fishermen is mostly these sardine/herring type fish. Grain is rare. Leafy spinach-like vegetables are boiled into submission and served with the fish. Root vegetables do not grow well in this region and most people are unfamiliar with tubers as a result. Fermented grain beverages (booze) is rare and treated as a privilege though it uniformly causes horrendous hangovers. One type of shellfish produces a toxin which, in small quantities, causes relaxed elation, in higher doses hallucinations and in high doses, asphyxiation. It’s popular and served as an additive to a kelp-based salty tea.
  • The local laws are enforced by the Fishers, a town hall of any adults who have PAID for the privilege. The cost is 1 bar per year per vote per person (which must be paid in bars and gives a reason to trade with the city). If you are not part of the Fishers at the start of the year then you cannot participate til the following year when you must pay your tithe. Wealthier people can pay the bar tithe of others in return for their loyalty and often will make sure any adults in their family are paid up so they can corral much of the vote. For law enforcement, lynch mobs are still pretty frequent. And the stocks are always occupied for one reason or other, anything from assault to just being generally unliked.
  • The town is run by the Harbour Master. An elected position within the Fishers.

SeaFarers: Characters

Our beginning characters in SeaFarers are going to be inhabitants of the fishing port of Theeport which lies on the West coast of a large country. The Narrator has decreed that we should all know each other to start, come from Theeport and know a little about boats or the sea.

I use the term Narrator to describe Paul as we’re using a “story game” approach to making characters and resolving conflict.

Here’s the first sample character, a girl called Turi and a brief description of the system we’re using.

Traits : “Turi is a shell diver like all of her family. She is tall, thin and wiry and like most in the region is dark, with coppery-brown hair. She lives with her three brothers and her father – an arrangement which has made her tomboyish and she’s a capable wrestler as a result. She carries a steel knife and a diving shell which allowed her to stay underwater for nearly 10 minutes. She has collected a small fortune in pearls and semi-precious stones from her diving exploits. She never knew her but her father claims her mother was a woman of influence from one of the big inland cities. Her family are somewhat devout to the Old One and still have a small shrine to her in their basement.
Drive : She is Driven by her desire to gain wealth and travel to see if she still has family in the cities.
Flaw : Due to an overdive when she was younger which caused her eardrums to burst, Turi is 40% deaf

In addition to the details above, each character has three scores: Hand, Wounds and Story Points. We’re using a playing card resolution model.

Hand: the number of cards the player can hold.

Wounds: The character can take up to three wounds

Story Points: representing opportunities for the player to take control of the outcomes of scenes.

Conflict is resolved for the most part by the player choosing a card from his hand and playing that against a blind draw from the deck. There’s a randomising element (the Deck) and a small amount of control the player can exert on the outcome because of the cards she may hold in her hand. She might play a high value card to win a conflict or might choose to play a low value card in a low stakes conflict as an opportunity to get a better card on the next re-draw. Underlined traits allow the player to play a second card (adding to the value of the first) if they choose.

We’ll continue to add more to the system and background as time goes on and transpose highlights to the WIKI. We are also still recruiting for a couple more players from the Greater Belfast area?

SeaFarers

As I mentioned before, we’re losing our Pendragon GM to the greener pastures of London and I was quite enjoying playing rather than being the GM which is why I’m not rushing in to start up either the Zombi game or continue the WatchTower game (which would need Gav back anyway as we’re down too many players).

A couple of months ago, Paul mentioned he’d like to run a fantasy game which started out small and built up big, reminiscent of my Ars Magica game from the early 90s where I started all the players with Grogs to allow them to get a flavour for the region before allowing them to have a Magus or Apprentice.

So, over the last couple of days we’ve been building a background on the WIKI, making a new game system and writing snippets as well as generating characters and personalities, gods and towns. I’ll dispense some of the stuff I’ve written here on the blog too for public consumption.

SuperMunchkin

As most will know, I’m an RPG-slut. But we’ve had some upheavals recently with people coming and going due to really crap reasons (getting married, moving out of the country, etc).

So we played a card game.

Super-Munchkin only took about an hour to play with three players so it’s decent enough for evenings when no-one has anything prepared. We only got a third of the way through the event deck so there was probably room for a couple more players.

I’m wary of card and board games obviously being an RPG-slut as I mentioned, and doubly wary of a card game which makes a farce out of superhero-gaming – the genre I like most of all.

It’s a fun game, not perhaps as fun as Zombies!!! but worth a look. It only takes a few rounds in the game to go from donating free cards and assistance to other players, to bargaining for cards and treasures to then deliberately hamstringing them. Kinda goes against what we claim is part of the spirit of the RPG (teamwork etc) but it’s just a bit of fun, right?

Would I recommend it? Maybe. The original game, Munchkin, was perhaps a little more groundbreaking and some of the cards are a little but stupid but as I said, we only got a third of the way through the deck as Paul trounced us and got to level 10. To extend the game, had we thought, we should have  insisted on level 20 being the end of the line. but simply doubling the level required is more likely to triple of quadruple the amount of time it takes to play (as level goes up as well as down).

From superheroes to Knights errant.

Last night we decided to give The WatchTower a rest as we’ve lost Yellowfist for a couple of months due to his impending martial marital duties.

Thus ensued a discussion about what to play instead. A long discussion.

We eventually settled on Pendragon. Paul is playing a Roman Christian from Dorset. Rob is playing a Saxon from Silchester. And I’m playing a Cymric Christian from Lindsey.

My character, Uwain, a stocky Northerner is overshadowed by his bearlike Saxon friend and his Roman friend in terms of family glory (he starts with 15 whereas the others start with hundreds). He’s also the only player to start without a proper warhorse. He is, however, the better swordsman, lancer and horseman of the three and has gained some reknown for his valor.

At the start of next session, we journey to a tournament…somewhere…for something…

A picture is worth a thousand words. Literally.

It’s always been a frustration to me that I can’t draw.

Jared and I have debated this a few times during my forays to Paris. Nightfall had the advantage of having DavA, Chippy and Stuart. Lucky bastards.

I need artists for WotW, I need an artist to help me with the imagery for Viride and I think we could do with a concept genius for Status: Refugee. The vision thing is easy but translating that vision into the brain of another who has not been there for the inception is very difficult.

My friend Paul, a graphic designer and branding specialist of some note, suggests I:

start hanging out in the art college.. without looking too pervy..lol

Hm, that’s not going to work.

He also says:

is it better to write around images or should images come from story?.. better to team up with a artist and work together.

That’s the problem. I don’t know many artists. And without hanging out at the Art College with a bag of sweeties, I’m not likely to find any. There’s certainly none in TTN that I can see.

Back to the scribing board for me, I guess.

More on sexism (plus registration and comments)

I’ve turned off registration for comments because it should be off. Bit of a mea culpa there.

I am enjoying the discussion on sexism in RPGs which has been continued on thedeadone.net and Mary’s blog.

I wrote: “Some game companies are currently trying to market cute and fluffly and romance and “social” games to women which is utterly patronising.”

Mary writes back: “I can answer this personally without examples. I see games as inherantly a social thing. Hanging out with a group of people is a social thing.

I’m not disagreeing here but I deliberately put “social” in inverted commas. Gaming is a social activity because it usually means hanging out with people who have a similar interest. This is not the same as a “social” game.

I don’t know if I’m communicating this well but I’m trying to illustrate the difference between “gaming as a social activity” and “a game which contrives social situations in game”. We all know the former and real men squirm at the thought of the latter. Ahem.

Do I need to examine the way I do things? I have no women in my gaming group. Does this mean I have been shooing them away with my inherent and aggressive male chauvenism?

I did a check with the women I know. Some gamers, some not. They don’t think I’m a male chauvenist. I did need to check.

Tonight at TTN

Tonight at TTN we made characters for my upcoming WatchTower superhero game. True to form we generated them using the random generation rules for the Marvel FASERIP system and we’ll probably convert them to something else later.

Paul ended up with a Priest who has the uncanny ability to transmute compound materials into other substances, shape solids at will, ionise the air and also disrupt the physical structure of objects. He theorises that he could probably part the red sea, change water into wine, walk through walls and still be able to shake a stick (ie, fight).

Rob started out with some stinky powers (Communicate with Animals) but by the end had managed to get a character who could fly at over 200 mph, was extremely resilient, lift ten tons with his hands, levitate 75 tons with his mind and fire heat and force bolts. The similarity to the Superbloke was not lost.

Aidan also started out with some stinky powers and a result so crap that he started again. Second time round he still had a technology-based hero which gives some serious disadvantages but by the end could, through the use of a battlesuit, go toe to toe with the others as well as be generally resistant to harm, become almost imperceptible through stealth and ….wait for it….. teleport 25 million miles…

Some of these characters are VERY powerful and, to be honest I’m not overly worried about that. It’s okay if the players are A-listers but I will insist on a bit of troupe play so that we can get some B-list and even civilian characters involved. I want to use this game to test my Relationship Tree idea for trouple play. Let’s see how that works out. I’ll detail it in the next couple of posts.

I’ll get the player concepts written up this week and given to the players and we should be able to start next Monday. I’ve still got to get the first Newspaper written and already my week is filled up. Crumbs!

Weekly Gaming

The game at TTN was delayed again essentially because in the middle of the afternoon my car died. I did eventually get a courtesy car but the day was so cocked up anyway, I just cancelled.

Today I’m reading the Gear Krieg RPG. It’s really really nice.

Tomorrow night, KinnyGraham will help us resume our madness in his popular Delta Green game and we’re also discussing a future Gaslight game under Michael’s guidance. I’ll be posting details of my character as I make him up!

Next week, we’re skipping TTN again due to family stuff.

Life is never simple.