Monthly Archives: August 2015

Dragonflight: Sunday


Sunday Morning:  Motobushido

My second Motobushido game was on Sunday morning,  This time I only started out with three players and only had a four hour timeslot.  I cut the First Founding and spent more time on questions/links, and in going over the system.  Initially because of the small number of players I decided to make the Taicho optional, but I got a fourth player late, and added him in as the Taicho.

The plot for the game was that a new leader had arisen in the land and had sworn to wipe the scourge of the Motobushi from the face of the earth.  There had been several major battles between the leader’s forces and the Motobushi, and the Motobushi had lost (again – poor Motobushi).  The remnants of several packs, low on resources, had decided to meet at Three Peaks Cavern VIllage (AKA the small town of Shasta Caverns in Northern California) in an attempt to form some sort of coherent plan to defend themselves.  Among the packs was the PC’s hated rival pack, the War Pigs.

There were some great ties brought in by the players.  One character had killed the Leader’s son here, and had ties to the local daimyo.  One character had sworn to kill the local law keeper for the rape and murder of his sister.  One character’s grandmother lived in town, and was trying to convince him to settle down.  There was a magical shrine to the Kami of 3 Peaks Mountain.  The War Pigs showed up and were acting like belligerent and cocky Motobushi, and their leader even stabbed the law keeper (which caused the character who had a vendetta against him to apply a tourniquet, wait for the law keeper to wake up, then untie it so he could watch the life drain from the man’s eyes.  DRAMA!)  The Taicho eventually dueled the leader of the War Pigs, who was wounded and driven away, and the War Pigs were then given the choice to join the pack or die.  Grandma petitioned the Taicho to let the Gyoja of the pack, her grandson, settle down in Three Peaks Cavern Village and tend the shrine to the local Kami.  There were portents of impending disaster.  Forces of the local Daimyo showed up and were convinced to help defend the town.  Then a huge army of the Leader showed up, along with several packs of Motobushi who had sworn allegience.  The leader himself rode on a huge motorcycle with a throne mounted on the back, driven by (who else?) the former leader of the War Pigs!  The Kusawaki ended the game with a massive duel as she rode headlong into the mass of the leader’s army, eventually crashing her bike into his and killing him (I got an allowance though, so the head of the War Pigs managed to escape).  Though bloodied, the pack survived (except for the Kusawaki).

Though I was running on Sunday morning, I found this game to be less tiring and stressful than the one I ran on Friday.  Three seemed to be just a bit too few Motobushi to really get pack synergy going, but four really boosted the level of interaction a lot.  Based on this and the fact that I found 6 to be too many, my conclusion is that 4-5 is the “sweet spot” for Motobushido participation.

Sunday Afternoon:  Robo-Rally

I do not know why I do not own a copy of Roborally.  I really should.  Our friends Mark and Laura picked up a copy at the flea market of the convention and we sat down and played a quick, one board game.

Roborally is one of those games that is at once ridiculously easy to learn and very difficult to master.  In order to be successful you need to be able to bring several skills to bear – the ability to think and plan your moves, since your turn is scripted, the ability to understand the mechanics of what goes when so that you can make use of terrain features and not be killed by them, and the ability to be where your opponents aren’t shooting at you and to convince them to shoot at someone else.  Note however that in Roborally your actual fun may be in inverse proportion to your skill.  Tooling around the board free and easy is great for capturing flags, but much of the fun and humor of the game derives from watching your robot (or someone else’s robot) get lasered, crushed, smashed, or otherwise destroyed in a brutal and horrific way.

Anyway, I won.

Sunday Evening:  Omega Zone

we had an hour to kill on Friday evening so I agreed to run a quick game of Omega Zone.  The nice thing about this FATE Accelerated game is that character creation comes down to a few card draws and you are done, so there is plenty of time in an hour to create characters and still run a quick adventure.  In truth I was tired and in that “exhausted yet wacky” end-of-convention space, so I really don’t remember much about the game except that it involved a jelly blob felid, a brain in a tank, and some others trying to stop a K’reen war bot in the shape of a giant Bob’s Big Boy statue from flattening their neighborhood.  Stupid K’reen.

“Bow before your K’reen overlords!”

It was a quick, fun adventure and I think everyone had fun – and if they didn’t, don’t tell me because I want to remember the convention ending on an up note!

So that’s a quick overview of Dragonflight.  It was a great convention.  Thanks to all the hard working staff who made it possible!

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Dragonflight: Saturday


Saturday I was planning on attending two games – Sophie’s “FATE of the Mouse Guard” game and Sophie’s “FATE of Agaptus” game.

Saturday Morning:  FATE of the Mouse Guard

For the morning game I got into FATE of the Mouse Guard, run by Sophie.  We were all playing mice, based on the comic by David Peterson and the RPG written by Luke Crane (though she ported it to FATE Accelerated).

I played a big, bad Patrol Leader with a big axe and a necklace of weasel teeth, a veteran of the Weasel Wars who saw weasels behind all troubles (this character was shamelessly stolen from the character previously played by our friend Jayson).

We were out on patrol strengthening the scent barrier when we were attacked by an angry mole.  This struck everyone as weird because moles don’t usually attack mice.  After a fierce battle we chased the mole off, then followed it back to its lair, where we discovered that there was some other sort of alchemical scent marker present.  But while the scent we used for the scent barrier was meant to drive predators away, this one was meant to drive animals into a state of aggression.  We eventually discovered a tunnel and laid an ambush and encountered – WEASELS!

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It was a tough battle.  Weasels have weight (which in this game is a means of measuring relative size) and there were two of them, so we could have been really badly mauled if we had taken on both at once.  Luckily the ambush spaced them out and we were able to drop them one after the other.  I got in a nice, big, weasel-whacking shot that did 8 levels of damage to one of them.

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Triumph!

All in all it was a fun game, and I thought that the mechanics developed for FATE of Agaptus worked well for simulating differing sizes of opponent.  You really need to watch out for characters that outweigh you in the game, because they can really mess you up quickly and the rules for healing are more severe than in regular FATE.  Be forewarned!

Saturday Afternoon – down time

I had planned on playing in Sophie’s FATE of Agaptus game Saturday afternoon.  Sophie and I have this secret convention plan whereby we list one less space than we will actually accommodate, so we can get into one another’s games.  However, there were a ton of people at Sophie’s game (somewhere around 8-9) and so I ceded my spot to someone else and went upstairs to work on my Sunday Motobushido game.

After the Friday game of Motobushido I noticed that players unfamiliar with the game had a hard time initially remembering the effects of what each move did in relation to the other moves.  There is an online chart to help with that but it is somewhat dated and inaccurate.  So I made up a couple of sets of 5×7 cards with the various moves on the front and their interactions with other moves on the back, to pass out for players who were dueling.  I also made up some cards detailing pack resources (which were all going to be very low for my second scenario) as well as lists of how you spent resources and how you regained them.

My feeling about resources is that for one-shots they are really only useful in a few ways.  First, they give a good overview of what condition the pack is in.  Second, they can be the focus of the adventure.  But unless you have a Shingari in the party, keeping strict track of resources is something of a drain – either you as the GM have to do it or you have to delegate it to someone NOT the Shingari – and if a player picked up a character other than the Shingari, it’s because they weren’t excited about keeping track of pack resources so you really shouldn’t dump on them.

Something I WANTED to do but ran out of time for was make up pages showing the outcomes of the various types of duel to put in my GM screen.  I decided not to do that after a) taking longer than I thought to make up the index cards and b) not particularly wanting to pay the expense of using the hotel business center (turns out it was free, but I didn’t know that at the time, and I am used to hotels charging for use of the business center in terms of number of internal organs).

I heard that Sophie’s game was a lot of fun.  Darn it!

Saturday Evening – Monster Draft

Addicted Pixies and the High Bludgeoner!  "Monster Draft"!

Addicted Pixies and the High Bludgeoner! “Monster Draft”!

Saturday evening we were invited by our friend John and his friend Jay to play in a playtest of his game Monster DraftMonster Draft is, as you might guess, a game about monsters.  The premise is that you have all been working for the sinister Whisper Queen, controlled by a gem in your forehead, helping her conquer everything and kill everyone and generally be all master villainish.  But the Whisper Queen died.  And now you are free to seek your destiny in a fantasy land ravaged by war.

I got “android” as my character type and “chronicler” as my profession and from there decided that I was an android motorcycle.  I had huge speakers mounted on my back and skulls (and spikes [and smaller skulls on the spikes{and even smaller spikes on those skulls}]) and the Whisper Queen used to ride me around while I blared out her praises, her triumphs, the worthlessness of her foes, and power chords.

My adventure primarily concerned minotaurs.  For my first encounter I tried to rescue a band of minotaurs from a magical tsunami, but failed and was able to bring out one minotaur calf as a survivor.  “The Littlest Minotaur” became my companion as I searched for other minotaurs to take him in.  Unfortunately we ran into some warangutans and he fell into a chasm.  I jumped in to rescue him, only to discover that he had not fallen in at all and plunged into the chasm myself.  My story wound up with me being reunited with the little tyke and convincing the warangutans to form a community with us because I could serve as an awesome aphrodisiac by playing love songs on my huge speakers.

Afterwards we had a nice discussion with John and Jay about the game and ways that it could be changed/improved/modified and what we liked and what we didn’t.  It was a fun post postmortem for the session.

Then – time for bed.

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Dragonflight: Friday


Dragonflight 2015

Sophie and I went to Dragonflight in Seattle, a convention that we have a long history with, and for which Sophie still volunteers (she does the program!).  We had a great time!  I’ll be making several posts on the games we played in and ran.

Friday:  Motobushido – Sword and Static

I ran this game of Motobushido, and had a big crowd of 6 players.  The plot was based on my previous Sword and Static game, with trouble finding the pack as they rode the icy mountain roads to the shrine of their founder, Kawasaki Sensei.  I changed a lot of the details, however, so that Sophie could participate again without knowing the plot.

In this case there were lots of individual plotlines going around (I made sure that everyone got asked a question about the locale so that everyone had some sort of tie in to scenario).  One character had to murder someone in town, one had brought gifts for the children of the orphanage, one had a secret treasure buried in the area, etc.  That made for lots of fun, particularly when the Taicho’s wizened mother-in-law became a faction!

My main plotline involved the nefarious War Pigs, who had come out the worst in the previous summer’s conflicts, plotting to corrupt the spirit of Kawasaki Sensei and unleashing it on the Fool’s Glory pack.

I also ran the First Founding for the first time and asked questions about the war – I had taken a 6-hour slot to make sure I had time for this.  Running the First Founding was interesting.  For a little while the players struggled with the pregen characters, but they eventually found their feet and had a lively argument that wound up with the Sapper setting off all his explosives and Sarge pushing him down a hill.

The game was lots of fun, with the characters eventually building a “Doofcycle” out of several captured motorcycles, and going head-to-head in a simultaneous battle with the War Pigs, local gun runners, and the corrupted spirit of Kawasaki Sensei.

Overall everyone seemed to have a good time.

Postmortem:  6 seems like one too many for Motobushido.  Between all the various hands that players had, the player deck always seemed to be nearly empty.  Both of the player jokers were out and active almost immediately.  Because duels take awhile, it was sometimes difficult to make sure that all the players had enough screen time.

I think in the future I will make sure to add in the second and cohort rules in the first founding (and modify some of the characters accordingly) because they don’t take that much longer to explain, and I would rather not get bogged down with additional rules explanations during the first “real” duel of the game.  It saps energy and momentum.

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