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Saturday, 17 August 2013

My first Traveller PC: Lazarus De Bell

I just wanted to share that. Here is Lazarus, complete with life story. He got lucky enough to live through 11 terms in the same career.
Yes, he ended up Admiral. A blade-wielding admiral who holds the noble title of Duke.
Here is his story...

I was born the third son of a war baron, but I wasn't really prepared to rule. My first-born sister, however, got herself killed in a Marine mission, as is the family tradition. I fear for my future children, but they still have my bigger brother to shield them from becoming inheritors to the title.
Had him, that is, until he got himself killed in a war. Damn inconsiderate of him, if you're asking me! What, I have now to leave my social sciences and go enlist?
I suspect Dimitri has let them shoot him to avoid the boredom. I might as well, but that would be treason to my family name.
Damn.
Well, if it has to be the military, I can at least pick something nicer. They say chicks dig navy men, so... navy it is!

***
What the hell? They didn't want me? I'm too slow for them?
My physical development is fully within norms. Let them go impale themselves on the nearest dick, and I'm going to the Draft.
Any similarities are strictly coincidental.

***
The Draft got me into the Navy. I suspect my father has pulled a few strings. That, or a few bureaucrats need to be replaced - either the ones that stopped me earlier, or the ones that let me in now.
I'd rather string the former than the latter.

***
The army teaches you to do lots of thing, but Basic training teaches you to do them quick, dirty and with no finesse.
Please God, if you exist, don't let me fall in the hands of Navy doctors! They learned it in Basic, too, I hear.
I'd rather have a proper butcher.
Oh yes, I got commissioned, but not promoted.

***
Success! Got promoted, learned basic blade combat in order not to look like a fool in duels.
Still, the guys that already have the same rank didn't like it, claimed more time in the Navy should matter more than titles, and tried to arrange me a lawsuit for sexual harassment. As if I need to harass an unwilling partner.
Damn the bitch, too, I barely noticed her. But I guess they paid her handsomely. Ah well, it's better if I don't mention it in front of witnesses. Duels wouldn't help my case.
Let's see how much they'd withhold from me for the analgethics...anagathics...whatever. I'm on life-extending medication now!
I'll still see my father dead, and claim my own title. Although he says he wants to see grand-children before that. Maybe he's got them, but I haven't returned back in the ports I have visited.
Hmm, that maybe gives me an idea...

***
Got another promotion. Administrative duty is killer.
It might yet become my killer as well.

***
Bladework is great way to pass time. Which is kinda necessary when you can't make friends with most people under your command - because they're not your equals, nor with those equal to your rank - because they're not of your rank out of service.
Really, I had no idea a spaceship can be such a lonely place.

***
I was promoted a marquis. I guess my father has died from envy, since I didn't see him there.
Or he had just died. Whatever.
We were never all that close.

***
This diplomatic mission seems like it can become fun. I just have to negotiate a ceasefire.
Time to dust off some of my father's lessons. He was known for his mettle.
Although maybe I should better try and remember how Mum persuaded him that the best course of action is whatever she thought it was. She remained unknown, precisely because of her mettle.

***
Got another mission for the same place. And now they say the negotiators are at risk. Damn fanatics, and if it's what I suspect, damn the ones that are pulling the strings as well.
Sure, I can dispatch any two of their would-be assassins with a paper knife. If I notice them at time, that is. And if it's not a bomb.
Guess it's time to practice spotting the unusual things. The practice of smelling the violets' roots doesn't appeal to my sense of aesthetics.

***
Promotions, promotions...it's what happens when you're doing your duty.
Got a book finished. People are dying to learn how we almost died in that damn diplomatic mission, and why their neighbours are still at war despite it.
The publisher thinks I should add more duels and svelte chicks instead. I'm not folding, he's a moron - that was a classic diplomatic clustefuck that many scholars would want to know about.

***
Got another book published. The cadets should learn how to dispatch an enemy with a penknife, damnit! That's necessary in order for this planet to be prosperous.
And I should become rich.

***
It seems I've befriended a possible enemy. Although she said she's got a possible business proposal... plus, you know. Close contacts.
But her planet could still go to war with us. And if I haven't mustered out, I'll be leading our fleet. And she'd be leading theirs.
On top of which, my crownprince is hating me for busting his little conspiracy. Sure, it's impolite to add slow poison to your father's anagethics - a killer combo, I can assure you.
I couldn't be promoted further from an admiral, though.

***
That's it! I'm taking the money, and going to FERA, or whatever the organisation was called.
Also, I'm not going to draw the ire of the crown prince to the Navy. It's not why I've been working nearly 45 years for the planet's glory!
There's a whole wide space out there. I'm going to see it, and visit my sons and daughters while they think they're out of parental control in foreign universities!

Lazarus' a Life Story
I was born the third son of a war baron, but I wasn't really prepared to rule. My first-born sister, however, got herself killed in a Marine mission, as is the family tradition. I fear for my future children, but they still have my bigger brother to shield them from becoming inheritors to the title.
Had him, that is, until he got himself killed in a war. Damn inconsiderate of him, if you're asking me! What, I have now to leave my social sciences and go enlist?
I suspect Dimitri has let them shoot him to avoid the boredom. I might as well, but that would be treason to my family name.
Damn.
Well, if it has to be the military, I can at least pick something nicer. They say chicks dig navy men, so... navy it is!

***
What the hell? They didn't want me? I'm too slow for them?
My physical development is fully within norms. Let them go impale themselves on the nearest dick, and I'm going to the Draft.
Any similarities are strictly coincidental.

***
The Draft got me into the Navy. I suspect my father has pulled a few strings. That, or a few bureaucrats need to be replaced - either the ones that stopped me earlier, or the ones that let me in now.
I'd rather string the former than the latter.

***
The army teaches you to do lots of thing, but Basic training teaches you to do them quick, dirty and with no finesse.
Please God, if you exist, don't let me fall in the hands of Navy doctors! They learned it in Basic, too, I hear.
I'd rather have a proper butcher.
Oh yes, I got commissioned, but not promoted.

***
Success! Got promoted, learned basic blade combat in order not to look like a fool in duels.
Still, the guys that already have the same rank didn't like it, claimed more time in the Navy should matter more than titles, and tried to arrange me a lawsuit for sexual harassment. As if I need to harass an unwilling partner.
Damn the bitch, too, I barely noticed her. But I guess they paid her handsomely. Ah well, it's better if I don't mention it in front of witnesses. Duels wouldn't help my case.
Let's see how much they'd withhold from me for the analgethics...anagathics...whatever. I'm on life-extending medication now!
I'll still see my father dead, and claim my own title. Although he says he wants to see grand-children before that. Maybe he's got them, but I haven't returned back in the ports I have visited.
Hmm, that maybe gives me an idea...

***
Got another promotion. Administrative duty is killer.
It might yet become my killer as well.

***
Bladework is great way to pass time. Which is kinda necessary when you can't make friends with most people under your command - because they're not your equals, nor with those equal to your rank - because they're not of your rank out of service.
Really, I had no idea a spaceship can be such a lonely place.

***
I was promoted a marquis. I guess my father has died from envy, since I didn't see him there.
Or he had just died. Whatever.
We were never all that close.

***
This diplomatic mission seems like it can become fun. I just have to negotiate a ceasefire.
Time to dust off some of my father's lessons. He was known for his mettle.
Although maybe I should better try and remember how Mum persuaded him that the best course of action is whatever she thought it was. She remained unknown, precisely because of her mettle.

***
Got another mission for the same place. And now they say the negotiators are at risk. Damn fanatics, and if it's what I suspect, damn the ones that are pulling the strings as well.
Sure, I can dispatch any two of their would-be assassins with a paper knife. If I notice them at time, that is. And if it's not a bomb.
Guess it's time to practice spotting the unusual things. The practice of smelling the violets' roots doesn't appeal to my sense of aesthetics.

***
Promotions, promotions...it's what happens when you're doing your duty.
Got a book finished. People are dying to learn how we almost died in that damn diplomatic mission, and why their neighbours are still at war despite it.
The publisher thinks I should add more duels and svelte chicks instead. I'm not folding, he's a moron - that was a classic diplomatic clustefuck that many scholars would want to know about.

***
Got another book published. The cadets should learn how to dispatch an enemy with a penknife, damnit! That's necessary in order for this planet to be prosperous.
And I should become rich.

***
It seems I've befriended a possible enemy. Although she said she's got a possible business proposal... plus, you know. Close contacts.
But her planet could still go to war with us. And if I haven't mustered out, I'll be leading our fleet. And she'd be leading theirs.
On top of which, my crownprince is hating me for busting his little conspiracy. Sure, it's impolite to add slow poison to your father's anagethics - a killer combo, I can assure you.
I couldn't be promoted further from an admiral, though.

***
That's it! I'm taking the money, and going to FERA, or whatever the organisation was called.
Also, I'm not going to draw the ire of the crown prince to the Navy. It's not why I've been working nearly 45 years for the planet's glory!
There's a whole wide space out there. I'm going to see it, and visit my sons and daughters while they think they're out of parental control in foreign universities!

Strength 11
Agility 8
Constitution 8
Intelligence12
Education 11
Social 15 (Admiral Duke Lazarus is at your services...or you're at his services, more likely).


High Population: Streetwise 0
Industrialised: Trade 0
Formal education: Social Science 0
Pilot (Capital Ship) 1
Vacc Suit 1
Zero-G 1
Gunner (Ortillery) 1
Mechanic 1
Gun Combat (slug throwers) 1
Melee (blade) 4 (Yes, he can kill me with a pen knife while picking his teeth with the right hand).
Admin 1
Pilot (shuttles) 1
Leadership 2
Recon 1
Diplomacy 1
Tactics (naval) 1
Romantic relationship: Wife (and presumably, kids).
Contact: Diplomat from a "possible enemy" planet. She's from FERA, too.
Enemy: High-ranking noble (quite likely, the crown prince, because a Duke couldn't be threatened by anyone less).
Looks: 22 years old (taking life-prolonging drugs for 40 years now).

And that's the glorious Lazarus Le Bell! He entered the Navy through the Draft, got Commissioned, got promoted a lot, got accused of a crime and cleaned his name up, got married, became one of the best blade fighters out there, made friends with a potential future enemy, made enemy of the crown prince, and mustered out at the top of his glory.
(Well, I was going to roll a 12th term. But since I was rolling him with Invisible castle, when I inadvertently closed the tab before deciphering the last roll, I actually decided to muster out instead. And it made sense for the character as well.)

At the end, I like the guy, and he is really giving me a swashbuckling vibe!

Thursday, 15 August 2013

RPG.net just gave me the image of a party of adventurers asking the dragon to give them a fetch quest. He doesn't have anything for them.
Let me share it with you.
"I am Lue the Dragon, and I'm bored of all you, adventurers that offer to bring me whatever I want. Bring me a tankard of ale, while you're at it...no, I'm not going to give you anything for it. But we could talk.
Thing is, do you think I need you clumsy, earth-bound humans to fetch things for me? I think I've got a bone somewhere nearby, but the only thing you'd get for fetching it to me is another bone... like my dog did.
So, what do I really want?
Worship me! Be my high priests - meaning, if you fail me, I'd get you high in the sky before dropping you. Ever heard about great power and responsibilities?
Yes, I want you to worship me, become my priest, and intimidate - or persuade, or seduce them, I could care less only with negative numbers, which most of you don't know - so, [B][I]make[/I][/B] those guys over the hill worship me as well! I don't care if you use an army or an anthill, three pieces of flint, a piece of polished glass, and some feathers.
What? No, that's not a cunning plan I'm suggesting. I was just talking about junk you could offer them for trade. That is, if they were stupid enough to trade worship for that. Their forefathers were, a couple centuries ago. Not any more. I'm missing my tribe!
Once you accomplish the conversion, though, you could leave with even a nice diamond from my treasure. I'm going to promote other people among them to be my chief priests. And you? You'll be the patron saints that the Lue the God of Fire can invoke. Win-win, don't you think?
If that doesn't work for you, I could take something else. See, there's this trading caravan. If someone was to hire themselves as their guides and then lead them near my lair at night, they could easily become rich from the spoils I can't carry, or have no use for. But bring them at night! Normally, they're passing nearby during the day, because then their nasty crossbows give me pause. But in the darkness? Yeah, screw them.
You don't want to bring them to their deaths? Ah, I see, fellow humans. Well, then, can you go to the other dragon lair over there and plant this small thing to the wing of the male dragon? The only catch is, he shouldn't notice. Once you do that, light a fire on the hill in front of it, and get back here. Your payment will wait.
Sorry, but your lot seems conditioned that we dragons want people to fetch things for us. I had a dog for this, and it had fiendish intelligence, so it was good company. Until it died last millennium.
so yeah, much to your surprise, you'll find that I want much the same things you do: power, riches, influence, sex - with my own species, I take princesses only in the usually vain hope they would be good company.
If you wonder those hills long enough, you'll find that the same is true more or less with every sentient and sapient being here.
Oh, and I want my own prejudices confirmed. Though I don't mind new information that could teach me what they are. Unlike the rest, however, not everyone in those hills would appreciate such knowledge."

Monday, 12 August 2013

Female fighters and Waif-Fu: Yes or not?

Well, as is almost traditional by now, I'm taking the topic from RPG.net. Because people debate what matters to them on this forum. And right now they're debating whether it's "right" (good, politically correct, fair, realistic - everyone has their idea of what should be prioritised) that most female fighters are drawn with about as many muscles as the average ivy.
As is also the tradition, I'm not going to comment on that. Instead, I'd tell you about my games. Because if you're here, I can only assume you care.

Most of you don't know that I'm running Exalted... well, I am, and my group has got many sessions already. It's invitation-only, so I'm not talking about these games.
So, last week, I used an Exalted Dragon-blooded Martial Artist. As a PC soon uncovered (as my players are notorious of sticking their noses everywhere), she was ashamed of her body for looking too athletic, which came naturally to her. Because of a sheltered upbringing in a monastery, she has been brought to believe only thin and/or "soft" girls are attractive. She also believed that women who can and love to fight, are a turn-off for men, or at least socially unacceptable. So she was really worried what her future husband would think of her.
(Of course, that was part of what her relatives had made her believe. The goal was to control her easier, while she was raised in a far-off satrapy of the Empire. Well, abusive relationships aren't exactly uncommon among my DBs).
The player that discovered that promptly disabused her of said notion (with comments on the tastes of her relatives that would make a veteran pimp proud). Then she promptly got married her off to a Lunar ally, which probably promotes her to an almost PC status - or at least to recurring characters status.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Evolution of a GM, through a Storyteller, to a Referee

The discussion of GMing styles reminded me of how my style has evolved. Only read if you're interested in such personal history.

Still here?
Actually, mission-based was actually the way I started, you could fail or succeed, but this was the mission (although objectives could change on the way, and there could be alternate, though tied missions). That was natural to me, since I've been a fan of gamebooks long before I knew about RPGs.
Then I let myself be persuaded by (probably well-intended, but still deficient) advice on Internet that railroading is the supposed mode. Then I discovered illusionism, again by Internet advice (and the GM advice in some books confirmed it). Then, after several years of alternating these two, I almost burned out and left the hobby.
And then I tried something that looked like a sandbox, again inspired by my gamebooks, and what I had come to believe a game should be in order not to cause me burnout. The Internet actually said there's no way it could work, but I figured, what the hell, I'm leaving anyway if it fails.
It worked.
I almost started a thread about my discovery, but when I mentioned it, some people on RPG.net mentioned they're already playing in this way.
So I began looking for more info, and found such both in the indie community and in the OSR community. Both advices improved my style markedly, I might add:D! Along the way, I discovered and tried some more "narrative" style of running games, too, which don't work well outside of their respective systems.
And now I've decided what doesn't work for me, and I'm happily using everything else. That includes the mission-based approach that I started with.

Monday, 5 August 2013

I just found my country on Cracked, and that's BS...

Just Number 6, Cracked.Com? NUMBER 6? You want me to expand your knowledge of the topic?
...yeah, Bulgarian insults are rated as #6 out of the top 9 on Cracked.com. And they included almost-forgotten ones, but not the classical "your semen should go dry, your name should perish and your relatives to die to the 9th branch of your family". And don't get me started on upir (the original of the vampires) curses.

http://www.cracked.com/article_16275_the-9-most-devastating-insults-from-around-world.html

Also, I call bullshit on any list of curses that doesn't include the Russian ones. But that's another matter.



And yeah, I'm mildly amused. But I was wondering what to blog about, too. And it was a slow day at work.

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Third Monthly Open RPG Day 2013 in Sofia: On Mighty Thews

So, I've written on this blog that we had decided to conduct an RPG event in my home city of Sofia. Now, we've decided to make it a monthly one.
We call it Open RPG Day, because it's like Free RPG Day, except you don't get a quickstart for participating. Instead, we give you the opportunity to try a new game.
The GM has to explain the rules before the game starts, and you're better off assuming the people have never seen your game.

This time, I ran On Mighty Thews. The above is the map we created before play began, as the game instructs you to do.
The game started with them running after the army they were in has been decimated by the Raiders.
It ended with the Mischievous Amazon becoming the ruler in King's Whore Store, along with the practical healer, the extreme guy dead by the hand of another PC, the ambitious thief running away with extremely valuable emeralds.


Also, the new Amazon regent and the healer decided that they don't need to change the castle's name (which I named in memory of King Robert, I must admit). "We're women, but it just means the whores will be male now."
I call this "gender equality in action"!