Tag Archives: roleplaying

Scion 2nd ed?!

Over the weekend came the announcement that Onyx Path is a new RP company that has licensed White Wolf products and that they have purchased Scion and will be doing a new edition.

Yes thats right a NEW EDITION of SCION.

You have no idea how much this excites me and I’ve been trying to work out whether I’m more excited about 3rd ed Exalted or 2nd ed Scion.

On the one hand I LOVE Exalted and from what hints the writers have been giving on the forums I’m really interested in seeing what they’re going to do with it. Plus hubby has been telling me that a lot of the setting information given in 2nd ed is just not that good compared to 1st ed. There’s no real mystery as everything is codified and structured and 3rd ed should have a bit more mystery. Also it sounds like they’re going to make quite a lot of changes to some of the rules to simplify/make somethings easier.

On the other hand there’s Scion, a game which is set in the present day and you play the children of gods (Norse, Greek, Japanese, Aztec etc). Seriously how cool is that as a setting?! In theory its a sort of simplified version of Exalted. Except they took all the stuff that didn’t work in Exalted and combined it together to make a game. I remember the very first game we played, we stumbled upon a Toad Demon which tried to eat us. We quite quickly discovered that we were too dexterous for it to ever be able to hit us, and while we could hit it with no problem we would never be able to damage it because it was so tough. It was a stalemate. Eventually one of the other players let himself be eaten so that he could kill it from the inside. It was a boring and very annoying fight and resulted in hubby re-writing an awful lot of the rules to get us something that would actually work. These rules worked for the low levels of Scion and then fell apart as we hit the higher tiers.

So there is the big potential for a playable version of Scion, a game line that was only ever supposed to be a one off. A game line that is a big favourite with a lot of people. I am very excited! 😀

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Woman in Deathwatch

or rather the lack of.

Let me first make this clear, this is not some kind of rant about Space Marines and how its sexist that they’re all male in the 40k Universe. (At least I really hope it doesn’t come across that way.)  Its not something I get my knickers in a twist about, because I enjoy the  Warhammer 40k setting. This is more a post about about an oddity in the Deathwatch rule book.

The tagline for the setting is: “In the grim darkness of the far future there is only war.”

Its a terribly over blow satirical setting, a black comedy based on heavy metal album covers (to quote my husband.)  Its very silly, and whenever we have played Dark Heresy (where you play Inquisitorial acolytes) we tend to ham it up quite a bit, rolling around with shotguns, flame-throwers and as many grenades as you can carry. You shot first and ask questions later, everyone’s a hieratic. (Its a nasty setting, your essentially playing catholic space nazi’s, it’s not pleasant, you have to be over the top with it.)

So getting back to the point at hand, Deathwatch, the RPG in which you play Space Marines. They are all male, there never has been there never will be a female Space Marine.

In the setting this is explained thus: The Emperor, when he walked the Earth, before he ascended the golden throne, was male. He ‘functionally’ cloned himself making Primarchs. Who because they have his DNA are also male. Space Marines are based of Primarch DNA, whis is male DNA. Which is why they are all male. This may be a bit of a silly explanation, its does make it somewhat sexist, but Space Marines are based of Medieval Monastic and Knightly Orders, which funnily enough they were male and this is the feel the 40k universe is going for.  Here are some pictures:

Black Templar/Knight Templar – note the Maltese cross

  

(Black Templare from here, Knight Templar from here)

Dark Angels/A Monk (Cadfael – which is an awesome series) -look at those robes.

 

(Dark Angel from here)

Yes ok the Dark Angel is looking a little more aggressive…

There is however a female equivalent.  Sister’s of Battle. While they are human, as opposed to genetically engineered super soldiers, they are the pinnicle of what a human can be.  The stomp around in power armour (like a Space Marine) and wield bolt guns (like a space marine) and flame throws (like certain chapters of Space Marines, in fact they use them even more, its all about the purging!!) So they don’t live as long a Space Marine, they aren’t as physically strong, they don’t heal as fast, nor do they spit acid, eat peoples brains to get their memories, hibernate (Space Marines aren’t quite human). However they have the same level of equipment, they have the same security clearance, the same rank. Oh and they get the incredibly powerful faith powers, they are literally shielded from everything by their faith. Powerful Battle Sisters can banish demons.  They are in fact based on Nuns (surprise, surprise – can you feel the medieval vibe going on here).

Sister of Battle/A Nun

 

Saint Scholastica, who lived from 480 to 547 A.D., is the patron saint of nuns. Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Look thats metal armour coated in leather,so that it can be embroidered, is that not way cooler than a Space Marines? Ok so those two pictures don’t compare quite as well (like the Dark Angel and Cadfael) Nun’s didn’t walk around in heavy armour. But Sisters of Battle kick some serious ass.

Anyway finally onto the point of this blog post. (I just needed to explain some of the background stuff first.)

Hubby has been reading through Deathwatch (he’s good like reading the RPG books, I just buy them and look at them), and he noticed something a bit strange.

Deathwatch, in the 40k setting, is a Space Marine Chapter that was set up primarily to protect the Imperium from the Alien menace. Deathwatch the RPG is therefore based on this chapter, and so your expected to play a Space Marine because its a Space Marine game.

However, I personally prefer to play female characters, as I’m sure a lot of women tend to do. This therefore presents something of a problem. If you have a female player in your group and they want to play a female character in the game, how do you handle it in Deathwatch?  There are several suggestions for how to do this, for example you could play an Assassin, an Inquisitor, a Sister of Battle or some kind of Chapter Lieutenant (because there aren’t that many Space Marines, so you’d probably be a pilot or a heavy weapons specialist – however you have the potential to be more powerful and operating at the same level with the other three, as you can perform functions that Space Marines can’t – you really think a man in power armour can stealth?).

What is odd however, is that this is not mentioned in the book. It is implied occasionally,that you could a play a non-Space Marine. The game is about the Brotherhood between the Space Marines, and it does mention that playing a non-Space Marine will mean you’re not part of this brotherhood. But it never really brings up the fact that anyone who wants to play a female character could play a non-Space Marine.

Now you could argue that maybe in this day and age they didn’t feel the need to mention it. That maybe everyone can be all ‘grown up’ about this sort of thing. However it is something that could have been placed as a sidebar in the GM section, just noting that if someone would like a non-male character there are options, as opposed to kind of hinting at that. (For example most of the example inquisitors given in the NPC section are female.)

Perhaps we’re (me and hubby) are too used to White Wolf games, which do their best to be inclusive, for all genders, sexuality and races, they are filled with sidebars. And I know Dark Heresy, Rogue Trader and Deathwatch aren’t the same kind of game as say Shadowrun, which uses different fantasy races (orks, elves etc) to represent human races and thus deal with social issues, like racism in game. Which is fine, as I don’t expect that from the 40k ‘verse. I expect horrible situations where generally the only solution is lots of grenades, and flame throwers.

However this kind of thing, is generally what a side bar is for. To point something out that doesn’t fit with the main body of text, to make people aware of something they might wish to consider.

Which is not done here.  Was this forgotten? Did they think they didn’t need to address it because it was ‘obvious’ to those that were writing it and so it should be ‘obvious’ to everyone else? (Sure some people will consider this as an option, but there are people out there, who if something if something isn’t explicitly stated, will never consider it as an option.) Or did they simply neglect to even think about it?

I don’t know. I’d like to think that they simply thought it wasn’t necessary because we live in progressive times, but who can say.

So, moving on from that little oddity, what are the options to run Deathwatch if someone wants to play a female character?

  • Ignore the canon and allow female Space Marines, they’re functionally the same just female – careful about mentioning this online, people will jump down your throat about breaking the canon.
  • Be a dick and say ‘Deathwatch is a Space Marine game, they are male, and I don’t like people playing characters who are a different sex, so no female players.’
  • Think outside the box and allow the player to play a female Assassin/Inquisitor/Sister of Battle as mentioned above.
  • Or one idea my husband has had is to run the game where everyone is a Sister of Battle. But they’re just ‘fanatical nuns with flame-throwers’ I hear you cry. That’s because they haven’t had as much written about them as Space Marines and so don’t have have as much characterisation.

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Dice!!!!!

So we went to Dragonmeet today, a one day RP convention, it was ok. There are two gaming sessions, one morning one afternoon, seminars and retailers selling gaming merchandise.  We played one game in the morning and then wondered around for a bit of the afternoon before going home.  The game we played wasn’t particularly impressive, the rules didn’t seem that good. Hubby say’s it’s probably one of the worst games he’s played in beside two we had at Conception (A Judge Dredd game and a 2nd ed Warhammer game).

We wondered around the trading hall, bought a few RP books that we wanted. (We reckon we’re pretty much set for gaming books, we’ve got something that covers pretty much every genre, all we need to keep getting now are the extra books that are produced for things like Exalted.)

Hubby also bought a JUGs worth of dice, for what was quite a reasonable price:

Dice

If you’re interested heres the numbers:

  • 69 d20s
  • 38 d12s
  • 107 d10s
  • 32 d8s
  • 83 d6s
  • 51 d4s – These will probably just get used as caltrops if the need ever arises they are pretty useless otherwise, the d12 that are d4s are much better.

We’ll never need to buy dice again!!!

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No Value in old RPG books?!

So hubby likes to peruse the RPG.net forums/Exalted forums, and often likes to tell me some of the crazy things he reads. I don’t mind this most of the time, I’m coming to the realisation that I can’t really be bothered with forums it takes time to rifle through them, read the stuff, post stuff, time I can better spend elsewhere like say knitting, reading a book or writing. Often its the same topics that come up again and again and this morning was no exception, but this time I felt the need to write a blog post about one of the topics on the Exalted forum because well… It’s a bit of an odd one.

Someone commented on the forums that no one where he lives wants to play Exalted because they think its a finished line.
I’ll give you a moment to re-read that sentence. Or perhaps to put it another way. They don’t want to play the game because it’s old and no longer supported. (Which in this instance is not the case, White Wolf have simply switched to PDFs and a print on demand service as this is cheaper than physical books.)
Neither myself or hubby can quite comprehend this idea. This would be like someone saying that they don’t wish to read Jane Austin, Oscar Wilde, Shakespeare, Edgar Allan Poe, H.P Lovecraft etc etc etc  Or if I said I don’t want to watch Casablanca,  Brief Encounter, My Fair Lady, Dr Strangelove etc etc etc.
Look the point here is that there are a LOT of good old things, if you just write it off because its old, how do you know you’re not missing out on something really good?
Ok yes older roleplaying games could well be hard to get hold of, especially older editions. But in this instance we’re not even talking about not being able to get hold of the game. Nor are we talking about people not liking that particular genre of game. In this instance someone had the books, the others didn’t even want to play because they felt the game was ‘old‘ and ‘not supported‘.
Now if you’re new to roleplaying then yes it makes sense to simply buy the latest edition of whatever game it is, but if someone wants to run a game in an older version then don’t just simply write it off. (Unless perhaps the rules work better in the new edition, I for instance don’t think I could really play 1st ed Exalted any more, I like 2nd ed.)
A part of me wonders whether this weird attitude is to do with how roleplaying games are sold. Walk into a book shop, there’s a classics section, walk into a DVD store and classic movies are mixed with contemporary ones.  Walk into an RP store? And they will probably only have the latest edition of whatever game you are looking for. I’m not arguing against this, there are limits to space and you have to sell what people will buy. But does that give people the idea that because its not on the shelf no one is going to play it ever again?
Additionally this whole releasing new editions of systems, again I understand why, you’re trying to improve the system, sometimes by completely changing the gaming mechanics. (e.g. Basic, 2nd Ed, 3rd Ed, 4th Ed D&D) but again some people seem to have the impression that because the new edition is out you can no longer use the old one.
And this idea of the system no longer being ‘supported’ we aren’t talking software here!! (Unless the system is truly riddled with errors and lacks substantial errata – but that’s what house rules are for.)
Not trying to pose any kind of solution here, and I believe these people are in the minority, but I just find it a really odd world view to take!

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A weekend of horrors from the beyond

Ok so the title might sound a bit more dramatic than my weekend actually was, which was a weekend of roleplaying but still, it is apt. The weekend just gone was a bank holiday and we spent a fair chunk of it at Shadow Con V. To be honest this was more of a large gathering of roleplayers then an actual convention like Conception but still it was good. We (and by we I mean myself, C and a few other friends) were all signed up to the Deathwatch game in the morning, and were then playing different things in the afternoon.
I’ve cut the post for length.
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Conception 2011

So for the last few days I have been at my very first role playing convention, Conception http://www.conceptionuk.org/ a friend of ours went last year and persuaded us to go this year.  Because we booked ‘late’ (it wasn’t really that late, but we didn’t book in the 2 mins after midnight when booking opened) we ended up in a caravan.  Yes that’s right a caravan at the end of January. It was alright on the first day but I think it must of got colder day by day (yes I suppose the weather did mention something about that, and the ice on the car on Sunday may have been a hint of that) but brrrr yes damned cold, we ended up having a second duvet over the end of the bed to keep warm. Luckily we weren’t in the caravan most of the time, as we were busy roleplaying.

So we met up with our two friends (who can both thankfully drive) and I’d like to especially thank P for doing most of that. The convention isn’t too far from Bournemouth so it didn’t’ take too long to get there from London, and once there we drove straight to the site in order to put our names down for games on Thursday. Only then did we drive to the site where we were staying (3 miles away) to get our keys and dump our stuff. We had to get our priorities straight after all, games first, accommodation second.

How Conception works is that they effectively take over a holiday park for 5 days. It’s a win win situation, means the park gets fully booked in January, when they’d normally have barely any visitors, while the con doesn’t have to pay to hire out the main hall/pub etc to have the tables in. Additionally as gamers pay money for the games (£3) much money is raised for charity.

So what follows is further information on the games I played in, there were 3  four hour gaming sessions a day, and I had said I wouldn’t play in them all…. Yeah I ended up playing in every session from Thursday morning till Sunday morning. That’s a lot of gaming time and meant everyone was extremely tired, a little argumentative but we all I believe had a lot of fun.

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Last week

So I got rather distracted last week from doing any kind of blog update at all. On the Friday (22nd) we (me and C) went up to Hull for the weekend. And to answer the many questions I got of ‘Why would you go there?!’ a friend of mine from uni lives there now with her husband. The plan was that his brother was going to run a Dark Heresy module. It pretty much took us the whole weekend to get through it. (With breaks for food and sleeping in between!!) We started at the beginning of rank 3, and I’d forgotten just how incompetent low ranking characters are, also it doesn’t help when your dice decide they want to role in the 80s and 90s. To much playing Exalted I think! Somehow or other we managed to survive, and hopefully destroyed all the evil Xenos and Heretical Tech stuff that was about. (I’m frankly surprised we made it out at all, seeing as one character spent more than half the adventure on -1 hp.. ahh I did actually miss having a psyker around to cast heal….. but as I was playing a Sister of Battle it was probably for the best!!)

On the Monday we did actually take a wonder around Hull, (because I might as well see the place while I’m there) and even though my friend has lived there for 2 years now and that Hull isn’t that big, she ended up seeing bits of it she hadn’t seen before.

I took the whole of last week off work, as it was half term and meant I could spend some time with C. Though I did have to pop into work on the Tuesday evening as I had my after work sewing class.

Then, on Wed we spent quite a bit on getting me my own stuff to bake with (spatula, cake tin, skewers, silicone cake tins etc etc) I haven’t had a chance to use any of it yet, but that combined with the Mary Berry’s complete baking collection (not quite sure thats the right name but there are about 250 recipes in there for cakes, biscuits, bread, tarts etc) then I should be able to get some baking done. Though I still need to look at getting myself a mixer.

We spent the rest of the week swapping between playing Fallout: New Vegas (which I keep calling Fallout 3, I think because it looks pretty much the same and there’s less syllable’s!) and Fable 3. I may do a separate post with a sort of review on them both, but so far I am enjoying them, although it’s been a while since I’ve played a game in First Person Mode, and so Fallout is giving me a little bit of trouble, I can’t play it for too long without feeling a bit queasy.

Last night we went to the Royal Albert Hall to see the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra do a night of Bond, where they played all the theme music from the Bond Movies. I really enjoyed this, it’s funny how many songs are increadibly famous and are Bond songs. Sure I have seen all the Bond movies, but it’s not untill you hear all the music together that you really realise that. It was presented by the lady who played Pussy Galore (Honor Blackman, at least that’s who I think it was, shows how much attention I pay to what’s actually happening at concerts I go to), anyway she gave a little speech about each bond movie before the orchestra played the music. It was a bit funny because they decided to leave the music for Die Another Day till the very end (after the most recent Daniel Craig ones) due to the whole issue with MGM, but at the very end the conductor did announce that apparently MGM are signing a deal with Spyglass. so there is hope yet for some more Bond movies, and I raelly hope more Bond Movies with Daniel Craig. (yummy!!!)

And finally today is November 1st which means Nanowrimo has started, I didn’t really feel like getting up early this morning to do some writing (didn’t sleep very well), I left my notebook at home, I’ve spent most of my lunch break typing out this post (because if I don’t do it now I know I never will and I’ll forget!), and I’ve got the Exalted game tonight…. so I’m behind already! I’ve also got potentially quite a few things on this month (I’m going to loose a fair chunk of this weekend) now I know I’m not going to hit 50k works but still it’d be nice to get started! Of course my other problem is that I may have already started to lose interest in the idea I had but I’ll have to see, at least I have extensive notes, that may help.

Right that’s enough waffle for now, I may be able to get out a few words for Nanowrimo before lunch ends… maybe and without notes… :/

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