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Friday, 31 March 2017

[RPG] Keeping Players Interested In A Game You're Not Totally Convinced Will Take Off...

The skyscrapers of Central District dominate the Knight City skyline...

During my recent ruminations on a possible future superheroic RPG campaign (probably using Villains & Vigilantes 3.0, when it is properly released) I expressed doubts about balancing my love of the comic book genre with the reality of running a superhero tabletop game.
"I fear the game could quickly devolve into superpowered Dungeons & Dragons on the streets of Knight City, rather than the multi-layered, character-led, sub-plot laden, dream campaign I've long entertained."
However, Erik Ménard, my partner-in-playtesting (you may recall we were given a behind-the-curtains peek by one of the game's creators, Jeff Dee, during last year's Kickstarter campaign), quickly came forward with some suggestions to defuse my genre-emulation anxieties.

"I don't think this will be a problem, provided you get the Tuesday Knights to invest in their characters' [civilian identities] and truly understand their motivations for doing the 'hero' thing, " he wrote.

"When we were playing the Vanguard City campaign, [Percy, the gamesmaster] had us really delve into out characters' pre-hero [life, before] he gave us our powers. For example, my character, Christopher Church, was an emergency room doctor, who also did ride-alongs with the VC ambulance service. He'd also served a short stint with Doctors Without Borders.

"He was all about serving humanity, to the best of his ability. His powers were just an amplification of this. Also due to his origin he had a strong desire to protect humanity from the dangers of the amoral application of science. He thoroughly believed that science should serve the greater good..."

Erik suggested I "start now" and get the Tuesday Knights to work on their characters' real lives, adding:
"...have them create people that would 'Do The Right Thing' even without powers; develop there families, friends, N.P.C.'s . Make Knight City a living, breathing place, and they'll want to be involved. Give them a stake in the city, too. Let them develop parts of it, like we did in Vanguard City, then it truly becomes not just your City, but their's too.
"By time you get started they'll be chomping at the bit to see how all that work unfolds."
I'm wary about asking too much of the Tuesday Knights right now, having already got (some of) them working on character concepts for a Knight City campaign, then pulling the plug, talking about changing the genre, and then finally throwing my hands up and admitting to burn out (in the wake of our hugely successful three-year Heroes & Other Worlds fantasy campaign).

Pete has very generously stepped up and relaunched his Top Secret campaign, so one session into that, I don't want to be seen to be trying to steal the spotlight back to a campaign that still might not even take off.

I'm looking forward, also, to being a player again and letting someone else do all the heavy-lifting on a campaign for a while.

I pointed out to Erik that: "One thing that needs to be factored in is that our monthly game sessions are usually just 2.5-3 hours long, which is why and [always tried] to run them at breakneck speed.

"And not all of the group have the time - or, more importantly, inclination - for 'away-from-table role playing' (the classic concept of 'Blue-booking')"

Erik pointed out that I should let those willing to participate in this 'added value' style of play run with it, and then maybe their enthusiasm will become infectious, and inspire the others to make their contributions to the development of Knight City.

We shall see.

Hopefully I haven't queered the pitch too much with my faffing around. And when Pete decides - however far down the line that is - that he's getting tired of running his campaign, I can start sounding the Tuesday Knights out again on the possibility of donning masks and capes to battle crime in Knight City.

Weekly World News: The Hunt For Bat Boy, Episodes Three & Four...


Thursday, 30 March 2017

Apes Together Strong In Dramatic Trailer For War For The Planet Of The Apes...


In War for the Planet of the Apes, the third chapter of the franchise, Caesar and his apes are forced into a deadly conflict with an army of humans led by a ruthless Colonel. After the apes suffer unimaginable losses, Caesar wrestles with his darker instincts and begins his own mythic quest to avenge his kind. As the journey finally brings them face to face, Caesar and the Colonel are pitted against each other in an epic battle that will determine the fate of both their species and the future of the planet.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Spider-Man, Spider-Man, Does Whatever A Spider Can... Even If It's Something Stupid!


[RPG] Campaign Musings Now That I'm Not Gamesmastering...

Villains & Vigilantes 3.0 Ready To Read On My Kindle...

With Pete taking the reins of our monthly gaming group, for the welcome return of his Top Secret SI campaign (now time-shifted back to the 1980s) that has lifted the (self-imposed) pressure on me to 'have something ready to run'.

My thoughts, naturally, turn to superheroes - because 'superheroes are my life' - and the fact that the pre-release (art free) PDF of the Villains & Vigilantes 3.0 rules has been released to Kickstarter backers.

I've queued it up on my Kindle, but I really hate reading long documents on the thing, and art-free means this is a wall of text and tables that can be slightly overwhelming.

Nevertheless, it's got me looking again at my beloved Knight City setting, dusting the place off after a three month hiatus, and starting to fill in some more blanks, kick around some background ideas etc

As much as I love superheroes (in comics, on TV, in the movies), however, I'm still not 100 per cent certain that the genre is a good fit for the Tuesday Knights (based on my disastrous previous, short-lived, V&V campaign with our group).

I fear the game could quickly devolve into superpowered Dungeons & Dragons on the streets of Knight City, rather than the multi-layered, character-led, sub-plot laden, dream campaign I've long entertained.

The second game I've been revisiting is Mongoose's Traveller, which now has a swanky, full-colour, second edition out.

As I learned from Nick many, many years ago (when we were at school), when it comes to human-level sci-fi Traveller can't be beat. It can't do superheroes, but for Aliens, ValerianStainless Steel RatStarship Troopers, Star Trek etc emulation it really is the perfect system.

The final game in the melting pot is the John Carter RPG from Modiphius. Only problem with this is: it's not out yet and there's still no sign of when it will arrive.

Last I heard it was - following the company's previous, usual, form - going to be launched with a huge Kickstarter later this year.

I hope that's not the case and they just publish the game, but I guess we'll have to wait and see.

Who Ever Said Shakespeare Has No Relevance In The Modern World?

March's Picture Parade...

Sunday, 26 March 2017

An Introduction To Judge Dredd...


Spidey's Just Hanging Around New York, Looking Cool...


It is utterly ridiculous to judge an unreleased film by three promotional posters (and a couple of very similar trailers), but if Spider-Man: Homecoming captures the brightness, cheekiness, and general bonhomie of these three posters then there's a very good chance it will be the finest Spider-Man film to date (not that the last two will be that difficult to top).

Happy Mother's Day!


Saturday, 25 March 2017

The Justice League Are United...


Fuelled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman’s selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince, to face an even greater enemy. Together, Batman and Wonder Woman work quickly to find and recruit a team of metahumans to stand against this newly awakened threat. But despite the formation of this unprecedented league of heroes — Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg and The Flash — it may already be too late to save the planet from an assault of catastrophic proportions.
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