The Secret World TTRPG

Take me back to Agartha.

I’ve been  lurking in the Star Anvil Discord (Twitter) since February keeping my eyes peeled for some further RPG details. yesterday we finally got something concreate.

Kickstarter coming in October.

 

Still not much to go on and I think we aren’t likely to get much more before the Launch, we already know that it’s going to built on 5e and feature the 3 factions from the FunCom MMO, not completely sure where it sits on the timeline

There has been snippets of artwork shared over the last few months in the discord and I am really looking forward to seeing what the product looks like.

I was always a big fan of The Secret World concept, world and lore, mostly getting on board via the Tørnquist link and staying after play testing as the game and story were really good fun. I always loved that TSW never shied away from it’s mature rating aiming for a purely adult audience from the start, many MMO games frequently earn a high rating that originates from strong violence and adult topics, such as Elder Scrolls Online.

I know strong language is not everyone’s cup of tea and may had led some folks to avoid or leave the Secret World. However for me the fact characters swore in cutscenes and voice lines was a breath of fresh air, felt more immersive and made them feel more true to life. Terrible things were happening and the NPCs vented that anger, rather than using substitute words or fricking phrases.

While my dice collection gently weeps

Touching on my favourite TTRPG system and my go to system for most new games.

When it comes to Table Top RPG games, despite being weaned on AD&D 2E and the occasional game of Shadowrun my favourite RPG system still remains FATE (plus the FAE and FATE Condensed variants), mostly as it not only allows the players to guide the narrative, but it encourages creative exploration of player characters and how the various facets of their personality evolving over the course of gameplay.

I feel it really captures the collaborative nature that is sought after in our TTRPG worlds, interpretation of descriptions both character and world can be played on and alters how the game evolves.

I’m not going to lie the system isn’t for everyone, if a player struggles to be imaginative and/or creative then they aren’t likely to find as much enjoyment from the mechanics and gameplay to the same extent as someone that does.

A new player joins

However over the last few years a new contender has turned my head and has fast become my go to system/framework when I want to run a game that my players can  pick up easily and dive straight into.

I am, of course, talking about Powered by the Apocalypse (PbtA) framework (or games inspired by it), originally created for the Apocalypse World game it has re-enforced the concept of fiction first TTRPGs.
By simplifying systems and player classes it actually paves the way for the storytelling to shine through, making it great for both one-shots and campaigns alike.

I have run a number of games that are PbtA and the familiarity of the core mechanics means that as the GM or player it has a familiar feeling, which is one of the factors in my turning to it as my first port of call when pondering a new game. There are a large number of PbtA games out in the world and they cover so many genres that you are likely to find something that fits your needs.

My first experience of a PbtA game was Monster of the Week , the game that mimics the episodic style of ‘Monster of the Week’ TV shows like Buffy, X-Files and Supernatural.
It’s a blast setting the players up as Monster Hunters, exploring their history and reasons for becoming one, what makes them tick and what their relationship is like with the other team members. I also love crafting settings, monsters and characters for this game as I can almost picture them featured in a show and it lends itself to my creative process when fleshing out details and behaviours.

If you want to play something different and memorable with your gaming group, I can’t encourage you enough to look into running a Monster of the Week game.

Need a quick overview?
Check out this “How to Play” video from World of Game Design, which does a great job of summing up the game key features in 15 minutes.

Last minute plug

I am going to do a small plug here for a friends PbtA game, created by the wonderful Remescient (funnily who I met while watching MotW streams on Twitch) Starhold is a space-themed survival horror TTRPG set on the very fringes of our universe, a hostile and unforgiving environment, where one false move could spell disaster.

Originally released in 2020 earlier this year the game was made free via Ko-Fi, not only does it come with 8 Playbooks, each one has 3 variants too, so you have a possible 32 different combinations to choose from.

 

RPG Notetaking

I always like take notes when playing Tabletop Role Playing Games, however moving into the digital world I have found it tricker to do.

If course I can use a pen and paper or one of the numerous erasable notebooks. The paper solution is kind of wasteful, but when the games run on for years it can be difficult to find the right note book/pages or you may have destroyed the notes in that time.

So I’m sold on writing and keeping them digitally, there are a number of solutions that take your notes and digitise them but that again suffers from the difficulty in searching through them.
I have tried to use a note on Roll20 to keep track of them however as I have my windows pop-out of the main window, which when it goes into edit mode, re-attaches itself to the main window, vrenders it frustrating as it’s in the way of the scene.


So for the last month I’ve been testing out CherryTree which as the name suggests makes use of a tree structure to allow you to build a hierarchical structure for your notes.

The application has a huge list of features that I won’t begin to list but I’ll pick the most useful for me and my TTRPG note taking my requirements which are fairly straightforward.

  1. Customisable Colours and Fonts
    I want a dark scheme but not always black or grey, I need to able to read it comfortably.
  2. RichText
    An editor that allows me to highlight words and even cut and paste
  3. Link between Nodes for cross referencing
    To help referencing information between different areas
  4. Ability to search
    Straightforward I know but I want to be able to find data as and when I need to refer back to it.

So far I’m very happy with the application and I can even export nodes into PDF if I want to share anything with other team members.

The language of games

Not long after getting into tabletop gaming properly we were visiting a Local gaming cafe/event, when one of the organisers explained to us that many games are designed to be language agnostic and in many cases the instructions are published online in a variety of languages. The big reason for wanting to do this is that often the prices from UK stores are much higher than on say the Amazon German website. I usually keep an eye on games for sale but haven’t purchase any since getting this information, until now. When scouting at games on Amazon I spotted that there was a Big Box version of the tile game Carcassonne. In the box is the Base Game, the two expansions Inns & Cathedrals and Traders & Builders plus nine mini-expansions The Abbot, The River, The Flying Machines, The Ferries, The Messengers, The Gold Mines, Mage & Witch, The Robbers, and The Crop Circles. The English version was £76 but lurking on the site was the German version for £48, not one to looked a gift horse the mouth, I had a quick look online and found the Big Box instructions were available to download for free in my language, so we ordered the beast.

Now as much as we own the base game and an expansion it maybe kind of odd ordering something we already have but in all honesty having a single box with all the components is a more preferable option than having to home lots of separate boxes, they all just take up room.

I have to say I’m quite happy with the purchase, now to get them rules printed out.

 

Monster of the Week

After a riot of a evening on-call Friday night/Saturday morning, I decided that I would skip my blog post yesterday, In all honesty I couldn’t focus long enough to write anything down. So only 5 post this week, we’ll have to see how next week pans out.

Always on the lookout for another Role Playing game to add to my ever growing collection, this week I picked up the 2015 revised edition of Monster of the Week published by Evil Hat (nothing to do with me owning many Evil Hat products already honest). The premise of the game is straight forward, the Players are a bunch of monster hunters, each bringing unique skills and approaches to the party. The aim of the game is to gather information about, track down and then slay a monster, think Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Supernatural, Grimm, Dr. Who and dare I say it even Scooby Doo.

As is often the case, I liked the concept of this Game from the write ups, which is what spurred me into the purchase. On reading through the book the implementation looks to be very nicely done and the book is written in the order in which you need to perform steps. This is a nice feature as having to jump around in a book to find that one paragraph is frustrating as hell, especially when you are first starting out with a new game/system.

The game allows each player to pick an archetype (Hunter Type) each is customisable through the use of options that are unique to each type, thus allow every team to have variations and feel more like a character you have dreamt up rather than a cookie cutter wizard or rogue. The game imposes a restriction that each Hunter Type can only appear once in a team, this forces players to diversify, but since there are 12 Hunter Types in the book, plus some additional suggestions given, further still there are resources online that have some prebuild Hunter Types, or if done are to your exact liking you can make your own.

https://www.evilhat.com/home/monster-of-the-week/

If you would like to hear some sample gameplay I recommend the Party of One Podcast who recently ran a session, it’s about 1 hour 20 minutes long and gives a wonderful overview of the mechanics and how the game plays out.

If you would like to hear more stuff the MBMBAM folks have just kicked off a mini-arc on their Adventure Zone podcast:
Here are the links for the Setup Episode and for Episode one.

I’m looking forward to trying this game out and will keep you posted.