Our group got together the other night to play a game and we ended up deciding on a super heroes game using Risus. Snikle already did a great write-up on the game, so, instead of repeating the process, I thought I would do a little write-up on how we came up with the game and how I GMed it.

First off, we started out getting together a little before our regular meeting time. Now here I need to say, we play exclusively online since we are all in different states. We use Skype to communicate and we usually just text during the week, but for game night, we use voice. We have all used different virtual tables, such as Maptool and Fantasy Grounds, but because of the free form nature of the games we have been playing, we’ve just been using Google docs and a die roller.

Now, we like to Google up different images and something that catches our interest. This night, it was the Kick-Ass movie trailer that caused us to choose super heroes and Risus seemed to be the easiest system to implement on the fly. I said I would GM and off we went.

The guys made very colorful characters, as you can see below:

John’s Character: The Night Owl (Spencer Morgan)
Hotel Lounge Hypnotist (4)
“Insecuricist” (3) – Able to make people feel insecure through the use of backhanded compliments.
“Sorta Sleepless” (2) – Never, ever sleeps, except sometimes in times of stress.
Motivational Poster Photographer (1)

Snikle’s Character: Pittfall (Angelina Pitt)
A Teen Drama Queen Band Geek who can KICK-ASS with her dual clarinets(4) current (4)
Never fully dressed and can use it to her advantage(4) current (4)
A dreamer who thinks that she the bastard child of John Woo and an Anime character(2) current (2)

Brennen’s Character: The Hoodoo Doctor (aka Orangelo ‘Gelo’ Lincoln)

Mysterious Spiffy Dressing Voodoo Priest (4)
Womanizing North Country Blues Guitarist (3)
Can speak fluent Spanish, but only when stoned (2)
Insecure Barbecue Chef moonlighting as a graphic arts student (1)

Now we decided on the location of Memphis Tennesee and off we went to create an adventure. I decided to throw in a little of one of my favorite games, Inspectres!, and had them tell me about their head quarters. I even made them roll for the stuff they came up with. Here is pretty much how the HQ part went:

Base:
A small three room flat above the Beer-O-Mat.

Matt want’s a pet guinea pig. Matt rolls a 13, A pet guinea pig that is dyed green that is named Henry Rollins that Matt’s character believes is physic that she consults for cases. He lives off weed grown by Ogranoloo.

Brennen: vintage suitcase with hot sauce collection with medicinal properties.
Rolls a 15

John wants ventriloquist dummy that he used to have in his act before it starting freaking him out. Believes the dummy is a master interrogator. Tommy Pines, hewn out of rough Pine.
Rolls a 12.

Brennen wants a mid 70’s conversion van with a water bed interior hydroponic garden, wet bar, and it is a low rider.
Rolls a 15. Driver of the copped van is Eye-Patch Jan. She lost her eye in one of the acts with John’s character.

Now, they had to come up with images that suited each of these, so we spent a lot of time googling for the best pictures with lots of fun and laughter. You can see two of the great images above. This is of course one of the things I really like about our group, we have a lot of fun playing, but usually have just as much fun coming up with characters or games.

Now as for DMing the game, I asked the players what they wanted to do. We ended up bantering around in their base, doing laundry, when a Thug came in to hold up the place. The great thing about Risus is it was really easy to come up with the bad guys. Here is my stated out bad guy:

Drunk Gang-banger (5)
Slow 6-shooter (3)
Wannabe ninja moves (2)

They took care of him very fast and ended up getting into a cooking contest with the chef, which they also won. Again, I stated up the chef and actually had a cooking duel, which was easy to use do with Risus.

The rest of the night went as you read in Snikle’s post. They fought a few more thugs, then went on to the hideout where they took out guards and guests alike with a combination of pretty girl and great BBQ sauce. However, they did let one guy go, the guy that had been standing at the bar. One of the guys commented that it had been too easy and then realized they hadn’t found the big bad guy. Remember the guy they let go? Oh yeah, that was him. They were surprised and happy (I think) that the adventure could continue. All in all it was a good little adventure and I think the guys had fun.

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We played a pickup game of supers, because of a movie preview we had all seen, and decided to use Risus. I plan to do a writeup of it here, but for now, Snikle has a great writeup that I encourage you to read! You can find it here.

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I had some free time the other night and the some of the guys were online, so we decided to run a game at short notice. We choose Inspectres because it requires no preperation and it is incredibly easy to just pick up and run, even with new people. I encourage you to check it out and pick it up (here is the link), it is a really cheap and awesome game!

We played this game via Skype and Google Docs.

Here are the characters that the guys quickly made:
Brennen’s Character
Name: Amelia Dubois
Description: A thin, sickly girl in her mid-20s. She dresses in old handmade dresses from the 1940s.
Background: Amelia has been haunted since she was a small child because of her psychic abilities. As a result, she was ostracized by her classmates and sought refuge in the library of the ancient boarding school her parents abandoned her to.
Talent/Weird Abilities: +1 die when contacting spirits
Characteristics: She knows lots of eccentric old psychics.
Academics -4
Athletics – 1
Technology – 1
Contact – 3

John’s Character
Name: Danny Morrow
Position: Gopher/Intern/CEO
Description: High school kid. Tall, lanky.
Background: Starting pitcher on the varsity baseball team. Started hanging around the franchise after a weird encounter. Not one of the cool jocks, but has a foot in that world simply by virtue of being integral to the baseball team. Volunteered to be an errand runner for the group just to be a part of the team and get some insight into this other world.
Talent/Weird Abilities: Can throw virtually anything with uncanny accuracy.
Characteristics:
Academics – 2
Athletics – 4
Technology – 1
Contact – 2

Jared’s Character
Name: Marvin Thomas
Descripton: Wimpy, nerdy, hacker, bookish type. Inventor and master-mind (hard for me to play, I think)
Background: Once lived in a home with parents. Now lives in an apartment. The end.
Talent/Weird Abilities: Max Brooks +1 to weapons when dealing with zombies, ghouls, or other corporeal undead/monsters.
Characteristics: Strong, silent type wrapped up in a 90 pound weakling’s body.
Academics – 4
Athletics – 1
Technology – 3
Contact – 1

We had a fourth player join us, but his Skype cut out before we got started and he never did join back in.

After the characters were made, we took time to build the franchise. The way it works is that whoever comes up with the materials that they want for the franchise have to make a Technology roll. This really keeps things interesting as they succeed or fail, and many times, them telling me what they get when they fail is much funnier than when they succeed.

Franchise
Small franchise. Landlord owns property, old, dilapidated victorian mansion. Independent business.
Landlord does not know what they do.
Danny Morrow’s old aunt is financing the business. She expects a decent return, better than the stock market. Wants proof that ghosts are real.
Large branch of the Inspectres Corp just moved into the area.
Ghosts are the specialty of this franchise.
Secretary: Melissa, good secretary, a little ditsy and does not believe in ghosts. She thinks they are crazy, but doesn’t say anything because she needs to pay the rent.
Library: Misc unsorted books that he can sometimes use.
Danny’s Car: Old ’70s Cadillac convertible. Sea-green and an eight track player. Bad Company track jammed into the player that cannot get out.
Contacting Spirits Equipment: Equipment that can contact or capture spirits.
Brennen has a haunted Ouija board but by a ghost or demon that just likes to screw with him.
Danny: has a bag of Wiccan blessed baseball gear. Bats and balls and helmet.
Jared rolled a 4 on tech for the flashlights and got the following:
Flashlights: Old, cheap flashlights. Christmas lights ducktaped to a beer helmet with a 9 volt battery in the beer spot.
Brennen rolls for uniforms (2) but wants the GM to decide the fate, I oblige with the following:
Uniform – Old person velcro shoes, horrible plaid pants, with suspenders. Wife beaters with a suede jacket to go over it. Garbage bags with holes cut out. Old fishing hats with the lures still in them.

Gym: 3
Library: 2
Credit Card: 2
Bank:

Starting Interview
Aunt Portia Morrow brings in her bridge team, as potential investors. She asks many questions and tries to point out they they make a decent profit, however Amelia keeps pointing out that they haven’t been paid yet. Danny is uncomfortable since his aunt made him CEO even though he is the youngest member of the crew and has the least amount of experience. Marvin was just off in his own little world.

Job:
I made a roll here on the random chart, and this is what I got: 8,5,2,3 – Frantic, City worker, Transformation, In the water.
So I came up with: Olmar – Overweight balding man working for the labor union wants to hire them because they were working in the sewer and it froze over. His buddy turned into a block of ice.

Jared jumped right into the first confessional and gave us the following:
Jared Confession – Young kids just impulsive and wanted to jump right down in the sewer. Don’t they know what happened last time? Fortunately, I just finished my Ghost Toaster 9000. Hopefully we can keep from getting it wet.

Research:
Brennen rolls 5 on contact- (gaining one franchise die) and finds out that the workers have been hearing noises and whispers, but they thought it was expanding pipes and drunkards.

Jared rolled a 6 on academics (gaining two franchise dice) to see what he could find out about the situation. He learned of the Stink fairy (Etherious Malodorous): A notorious urban legend known for haunting toilets. He jumped to the conclusion that this is what was causing the problems in the sewers.

Investigation & Suit-up:
The team heads for the sewers and jumps right in. It is still mainly frozen, but has a little melt off on the top.

Amelia attempts to contact spirits. (gets a 6 for contact – gaining 2 franchise dice). She starts to shake and then she says coldly, “They are buried down here in the sewer, its so cold, so very cold.”

Amelia takes to the confessional booth this time and tells us:
Amelia Confession – I know Danny was supposed to be a good pitcher, but I didn’t realize he could pitch that fast and accurate with a piece of poo.

Since this is the first time Danny has seen Amelia contact spirits, he gets a little stressed out and has to roll two stress dice. He ends up with a low 2, and gets frazzled! He takes two ranks of damage in contact, and has a hard time talking from then on.

Marvin attempts to get more information from Amelia. (Rolls a 5 in contact, gains 1 franchise die) She discloses that there are lots of dead people down here in the sewer. As they go deeper into the dark tunnels they find a large cavernous open area. Here it appears the city dug under a cemetery and the coffins fell into the cavern into the poo. The spirits are fairly perturbed about this.

Danny is already frazzled, so he is unfazed, but seeing all those coffins, bodies, and spirits, Amelia and Marvin both have to roll two stress dice. They pass with flying colors though, each of them with a 5 as their lowest roll and they shake it off to continue business as usual.

Amelia rolls a contact ( 2 sixes, gets 2 franchise dice) to see what more she can find out. Her eyes roll back in her head and starts babbling and falls into a puddle of poop. She recovers and says, there is something down here and it is very angry, he has been in the area for a long time, before the white man came. She doesn’t think it is a fairy. She thinks it is an ancient bog spirit.

Marvin starts to set up the ghost toaster where it won’t get wet. (Rolls a 6, gaining another 2 franchise)
Gets it set up and aims at the appropraite direction and sets it off. It works, and keeps running too well and starts to suck the cavern in a little bit. Amelia, notices why they can get it to shut off, Marvin used duct tape for the switch.

Danny starts to run towards the toaster, with his baseball bat, but he slips and goes face first into the muck, bat flying out of his hands into the muck. Still several yards short, he comes up with a frozen turn and hurls it. (He gets a 6, gaining 2 franchise dice) It goes end over end and impales the side of the toaster. It sparks and goes silent. The stench hits the group as the hot toaster melts the turd.

Marvin and Amelia tell Danny to carry the toaster out, but Danny pulls rank and tells Marvin to carry the toaster back.

Amelia goes into the office of records and researches the matter. (She rolls two 6s, gets 2 franchise dice) She borrows the library phone and calls Danny. Apparently his great uncle Harold is the engineer who planned to build the sewers directly under the cemetery. They have to set it right or the spirits will never rest. Danny asks that they don’t tell Aunt Portia, but Amelia thinks they should.

Cut scene where they are flying down the highway. Montage, the car is going down the road with Bad Company blaring as they are on the way to meet with Olmar.

They wrap up the job by meeting with the Olmar for tea and tell him what they found out and collect the money. Amelia makes sure they get a little extra for her own pocket. The sewer hasn’t unfrozen yet, and they are going to have to remove the bodies and re-bury them but the ghosts are taken care of. They put the ghosts in a containment system that should contain the next thousand years. (The camera cuts to the garage where the cadalic is housed and the lights come on with the eight track player starts to play.)

Roll Credits.

That’s where we ended the game. We had wrapped up the investigation a little early because of the late hour and the fact that they had reached their franchise dice goal. All in all, it was a great game and we had a lot of fun.

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Picture John found...

We played our second session of S7S the other night and I finally had a chance to listen to the recording and take proper notes. Here is the actual play of the session, I hope you find it as amusing as we did! The really interseting part of this game is that we played it using Skype and Onenote! A shared Onenote notebook is really an awesome thing. Now we just need to find a die roller add-in for Onenote.

Scene One:
The session started where we left off on session one. Markato (played by Matt) was heading into the hold of a boat called the Dancer’s Dream to investigate, while Mal (played by Rob) was on the ship Merchant’s Game, looking for clues while sabotaging the ship.

Markato finds the hold loaded down with armor, weapons, gunpowder, and all sorts of armament, as if the ship is prepared for some type of battle. He also finds two people in the brig, which is by the magazine of the ship, Trynn and Gamba (played by John and Brennen). When questioned as to why they were in the brig, Trynn and Gamba told Markato that they had been drunk and boarded the wrong ship by accident. Markato let himself into the brig and using his Rogue and Pirate fortes, he was able to get the shackles off the two, now sobered, prisoners.

Scene Two:
Back on the Merchant’s game, Mal goes up to the top of the deck and lectures the crew about a saboteur that is in their ranks. He explains that he wants the saboteur found before he is able to sabotage anything and that everything looks in tip top shape. He then, makes a hasty departure and rushes back to Markato.

Scene Three:
Markato has been talking to Trynn and Gamba and convinces them to join h im in a join venture. As they are talking, they hear a shout go up, “All hands on deck, Captain on board!” The crew all runs up to the deck while Markato quietly shuts the brig door with the three of them in there. He confesses to the two that he is not exactly who he claimed to be a moment ago and that the situation could get a bit “hairy” and tells them that a quick exit may be necessary. Gamba freaks out a little at this, but tells Trynn to just stick to whatever plan Markato has and not to improvise.

(Side note – here we got a bit confused about whether the front and back of the ship were called aft or bow and which side was starboard and port. John came to the rescue by posting a picture into onenote that answered the question. The information age is good! We all had a laugh at the title of the picture though. I included it here so you can see for yourselves.)

There was a small ventilation shaft running from the brig to the top of ship that allowed them to hear what was going on. The captain told the crew that Barstrom (who Markato is disguised as) ran into trouble and that they were going to have to move up the time tables of the trip. The crew is silent for a moment, then one finally speaks up and says, “but captain, Barstrom is on board right now, he’s down inspecting the holds…” The captain roars that this is impossible and tells the crew to find him immediately!

Markato hatches a plan and asks Gamba if he can make a fire. At this point, we had a little fun because Gamba said that he can make a fire out of anything, just give him two random objects to rub together and presto, fire! It was a great little add-in and they found two sticks that he could make a fire with. Markatos plan is to blow up the magazine! Once Gamba starts the a couple of fires, he gets a flash (Gift of the Merhorse Forte) of two people opening the door and entering the hold. He grabs his two scimitars and waits next to the door. Very shortly, two guys check the door and yell “FIRE!” then jump into the hold. Unfortunately for them, Gamba was waiting…

Duel:
Gamba uses a full attack and uses his Savage Warrior forte with his duel scimitar technique to reroll a die, getting him 16. His defense is just his +4.
The two minions roll and 12, netting them 4 damage ranks. Their offense is just +2. So Gamba narrates that he steps up with this scimitars crossed, and uncrosses them, taking off both their heads. He comments, “Now you will remember the name Gamba.”

The fires are smoking now and the other crew is alerted to the fire. So Markato grabs some buckets and the three run up the stairs. Markato sheds all of the disguise that he can, and tells other they pass to go and grab more buckets so they can get the fire out. Up top, the captain is telling everyone that the fire is the first priority!

Trynn makes herself look more presentable as they are getting to the top of the ship, and tells a sailor “I’m a lady, shouldn’t they get off first? Help me!” The sailor points her to the gangplank, but Gamba sweeps her up over his shoulder and carries her off, all the while Trynn is kicking him in protest. Gamba is also carrying an extra sack that bulges with what looks like two bowling balls. Mal makes it to the ship just as they were getting off.

(Gamba described himself as a bald Echo character from Lost at this point, and I awarded both Gamba and Markato with a style die for the plan and the fire)

Scene Four:
They all head to Denny’s Pub to decided what to do. Mal gives them all the information on the other ship, and they try to figure out what the plain is the people are trying to pull. In the end, they all decide they will follow the Merchant’s Game, wait until they have harvested the Airwhale Ambregris, then try to take over their vessel.

They decide to load up on chain and grapeshot, just incase, but they do not want to destroy the vessel. The Merchant’s game is a between the size of a sky junk and a sky galleon, with lots of cargo room and a slow top speed. It does have 12 cannons though. Theoretically, they can mane the boat with three people, but they are drinking when making this plan…

Scene Five:
On the way to the ship, Markato stops by a ladies shop and buys a fancy ladies gown for Trynn, has it boxed up and stowed away so the rest of the crew does not know. Their ship is two docks over from the Dancer’s Dream so they can crawl up to the crows nest and check on it.
Mid-afternoon the next day, they see that there a ship-wrights making repairs and they are trying to figure out who the heck the bodies belong to. They estimate it will take a day to make repairs to the Dream.

Matt here uses a style dice to introduce an element: While Gamba is spying, he knows Trynn was married to one of the other noble houses and he has a secret dark side as an imperial spider. And that man comes onto the boat being fixed, because it is Trynn’s husband. He dumped Trynn and that is why she drinks so much now. He is somewhat disfigured because of what Gamba did to him. Brennen spent a style dice to add the disfigured. John spends one to say she is still married and part of the reason she fled the house. She ran away because she was being constrained into the role of wife. Gamba was his slave and Gamba is fierce loyal to Trynn so he kicked her husband’s butt. Gamba watched Trynn grow up. Her husband found out she was going to run away and he branded her like he branded his slaves.

Gamba gets a vision with the gift of the Merhorse. A face he doesn’t recognize, but someone important heading to the Bloody Maiden with someone that he does from the Merchant’s Game crew member. When he explains the vision, it is someone Markato and Mal had worked with before on the Bloody Maiden. The guy has a peg leg, the navigator from a previous run.

Also, there is talk out along the docks that people are on the lookout for a Gamba, Trynn, and Markato. They have a good description of Gamba and Trynn, but not Markato due to his disguise. There is a price for all information about them.

Soon, two people start to approach the ship. They see it is Peg Leg Willie, and they remember that he is a guy that would sell his mother for 2 pieces of silver. “Me and my friend here are looking for work.” They have a little history with the guy. They ask for permission to come aboard, but Markato denies it at first.
_______________________________________
At this point, the game came to a close because I lost internet connection, and when I got back, one of the other players had lost connection to. So stay tuned to find out how this adventure concludes with the final session!

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This week I actually had a chance to run a game again for the first time in a while, and we actually got to play a game system that I have been dying to play again for two years, PDQ. Actually, we played using PDQ#, which I think is a little better than the just PDQ. By the way, the rules themselves are a free download here: PDQ# Rules.

First, I’d like to say that the game rules and setting are really well written and allowed me as a GM to play fast and loose. I can say that I actually did not prepare at all for this game other than reading through the rules and skimming the setting briefly. There is only one other game that I have been brave enough to do that for, another awesome game called Inspectres! However, after reading through the rules, the GM section, and the example play part, I not only felt like I didn’t have to, but that I might actually take away from the game if I did. The example play part of the book is pure gold by the way, and I am very thankful the author included it. Not overly detailing the game let me go where the characters wanted to go, not take them where I wanted the story to go.

We started off the night by letting the guys create their characters. It was great because this only took about an hour, and the only reason it took that long is because the players had trouble deciding what exactly they wanted to be and they were unfamiliar with the setting. They both ended up making Pirate characters, but while one was a skyship captain, the other was a Master of Disguise rogue. Since they were both pirates, I gave them a ship that is not theirs, but on lone from a mysterious benefactor and declared that they are ship-mates that have served on the same crew for a while now, giving them a bond.

The characters began the adventure on the sky island nation of Barithi, in a local pub. Picking something from the Motiviation of one of the characters, I tell them about a conversation they overhear from a seemingly drunk man. He is talking about an ship that will be making a very lucarative run by harvesting mystical materials from a beached airwhale. The characters head over and immediately begin loosening the mans tongue with drink. At this point, I had some idea of what could be going on, but the players came up with some ideas all their own.

One of the characters (snikle) decided to see if he could read the man using Past: Ex-Physician to a Noble and Nationality: Barathi and discovered that the man was higher up that he was playing at and was not being a truthful. Then, he used a style die to create a ring that contained some truth serem that he slipped into the mans glass. (He got a style die for this)

They then really question the man, and start to take him home. Once they finished, they knocked him out and took his clothes so that the Master of Disguise could see what was really happening on the ship. I had an idea of where to take the story at this point, the man was of a different house than he was claiming and just wanted the ship of the competition to be ambushed. However, the players had some ideas of their own and when they started talking about them, I decided to go with them because it seemed like more fun and like it was what they wanted to do. Another benefit of not having everything already laid out.

At this point, the characters head to the ship Dancer’s Dream and, disguised as the man, board it and decide to make an inspection. Once on board, snikle rolls well and the sailors take him to be the man he is disguised as. They find that the ship is headed to Colrona island and through some good leading dialogue, find out that there is a second ship actually headed to the airwhale and that this one is just a decoy. He then sends one the the sailors to the second ship with the other player’s (Rob) character, saying “the master demands it to be inspected.”

Rob’s character managers to get the the sailor talking along with way with some nice rools and find out the second vessel is called Merchant’s Game and that the airwhale is on a small un-colonized island. Merchant’s Game is a large slower vessel meant for carrying lots of cargo, but it is also well armed to defend itself. Asking Rob what his character wants to do when they get to the ship turns out awesome. Rob decides to make a roll and spend a style die to bend things to his favor and sabatoges the ship by tossing all the wicks to the cannons overboard. If it hadn’t have been the end of the session, he would have recieved a style die for it.

That was were we ended for the night, and it was a load of fun. The game mechanics are great that allowed for a lot of character narriation, I was simply a guide and it a great experience. PDQ was always one of my favorites and I have a feeling that S7S will my favorite game for quite some time.

To find out more about the the game setting and mechanics go here: Swashbucklers of the 7 Skies.

I will post more adventures as they happen.

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