Whew, I know that I said that the blog was alive again, but man is is hard to get back on the horse. That said, I’m not sure if I’m going to have time to do any of the usual subjects (talking about projects I’m on, drawing costumes based on wines, ect.) but I did have something gaming related going on this weekend, so now you all get to know about it.
Back at PaizoCon2014, I had the distinct pleasure of meeting a fabulous group of people, some of whom became one of my main groups, and all of whom became my friends. One of the best things that came out of this meeting was the FATE setting of LOLON, also known as the League of Extraordinary Acronyms. Now I could go on for ages about LOLON and the lore that we created around it, but for now a short description will have to do.
LOLON–The League of the League of Nations–has been, in one form or another, a group dedicated to thwarting the plans of the Moon Aztecs. You see, when the conquistadors came, a group of Aztecs (who conveniently worshiped Cthulhu) took a gateway to the moon to both escape the invaders and to better follow the Elder Gods. Now it is the 1920s and the Moon Aztec’s latest scheme involves causing the Great Stock Market Crash and using the resulting psychic misery to summon Cthulhu in the flesh. Boarding their trusty zeppelini (a miniature zeppelin with the aspects Highly Maneuverable and Quite Economical) the agents of LOLON spring into action
The game itself spanned two nights, but the bonds forged and the stories told have lasted much longer. In the spirit of that, the Seattle area members of this group hosted LOLONCON, featuring the GMing and playing talents of most of the original group. I’ll have the logo for the gathering up soon (EDIT: Logo posted!), but in the meantime, here’s a picture of a button made for the occasion. The resolution isn’t great here, but featured is a tentacled “L” for the Lovecraftian aspect of many of the games, a zeppelini as the “O”, a Dread tower for the “L”, a d20 for the “O”, and a Numenera “N” for all the Cypher system games played.
Just this past weekend, the Canadian members of LOLON hosted LOLONCON Canada, on account of one of the group’s Australian members paying them a visit. As expected, it was a great time, featuring a game of Dread, a Victorian Monster Hunter game in the Cypher system, and two new systems I had never tried.
The first of these was the Maelstrom system, which I had never heard of, let alone played. Turns out that it was first written by a 14-year-old in the early eighties, within a few years of the first Call of Cthulhu edition. It is clearly made along the same lines, focusing on d-percentile rolls, with the goal of rolling under your skill number, and a realistic feel. There are only ten skills, however, and the mechanic of potentially improving every time you succeed means that there is an exhilarating sense of advancement. As someone who plays a fair amount of CoC 7th ed, however, there is a let down when there is the same amount of success when, aiming for a 50, you roll a 2 as when you roll a 49. Still, it’s a nice look at how systems evolve.
Secondly there was the Gumshoe system. This is a family of settings, each with their own skills and pertinent rules. For example, we played both Ashen Stars (a post-Federation Star Trek/ Firefly-esque setting) and Night’s Black Agents (vampire hunters) and each had similar, if differently named skills, along with a host of setting-specific goodies, like biotech and the like. My favorite thing about this system is the division between Investigative Skills and General Skills. Investigative skills usually do not require a roll. You are assumed competent enough to find out a general set of information based on your skill rank. You can spend a number of points equal to your skill rank to gain more information, but this does not replenish until the end of the game, so spend carefully. General skills generally must be rolled, but you can spend out of your skill rank to give yourself a bonus. Another great mechanic is the piggyback, where one player rolls (spending points as they choose) and others can donate points of their own to lower the difficulty, with everyone involved sharing in the success or failure. You can read more about Ashen Stars (and other great stuff) at Lou Agresta’s RPG Agression.
But I think that’s enough prattle for now. I’ve found out recently that I’m moving post-haste, and need to throw some more things in boxes. Tune in next week, same gnomling time (sort of) same gnomling channel.