Monday, February 4, 2013

The Week That Was Games and Iron Reviewer

So I’m not under much illusion anyone pays enough attention to this blog to notice the posting frequency and such. I expect like most blogs readers check it out when a title catches their eye. That being said, I’ll explain the weirdness of January which saw nearly daily posts. Most of those dedicated to Legend of the Five Rings reviews...

Since the beginning of 2011, I’ve been part of the Iron Reviewer contest over on RPG Geek. Thirty some of us, each writing RPG reviews within a deadline. For the first year, the reviews were due once every two weeks. For the second year, we had to do them weekly. Then when 2013 arrived, it sped up to one review a day. Six of us remained for the dailies. I chose to work my way through the L5R material because I thought I could approach it from a useful angle. Plus there were three dozen items to report on. Early last week, the competition narrowed down to myself and one other survivor. I suggested we increase the pace further, upping it to two per day. He accepted and we managed that for three days. On Thursday evening, he bowed out, leaving me the only survivor of the contest after 25 months.

110 Reviews, 176,500 words, leaving me with an average review length of about 1600 words. 

So anyway, I won that contest- which means I’ll be slowly my pace on writing reviews for a bit. I’ll probably still do one a week. I also want to finish out the L5R pieces, since I only have about a half-dozen to go. In March, I begin another series of History of RPGs lists, beginning with Steampunk/Victoriana. I’ll do Post-Apocalypse after that. I also have some other articles I’ve had on the back burner and a number of other writing projects to get squared away.

Also, here’s how the games I ran last week went:

Changeling the Lost Vegas G+: The group finishes up their exploration of Sunswept Ranch. But first they have to torment their new NPC, Teodoro, more than a little. Following that they finally reach the hidden hollow, only to discover a house made of glass. Andi breaks off from the group, only to be attacked by a massive venomous crystal snake. The group converges and beats the hedge beast into splinters. They discover a second notebook page and another tarot card. Finally they return and report in to Simon Maggots, who agrees to take them on as caretakers of the facility. You can see the video here. As an added bonus, because I forget to deselect, you mostly see me, the GM, in this video. Lesson learned.

Mutants & Masterminds First Wave Series Two G+: had a session with some technical difficulties at the start (my sound card seems to have died). Put together a work around with a second computer. This was the second session, and I'd distributed some news before the game (see here). I gave them a once around where they could look into individual details and set up some investigation. I used that to reveal that Thor had not returned, but in fact was being impersonated by Loki. I think getting that out on the table for the players (but not the characters) will allow for some good role-playing. It already generated some interesting scenes. The group began to investigate one of the new designer drugs on the street- quickly identifying it as magical not conventional. They also met with the new Special Prosecutor for Heightened Crimes, Matt Murdock.

Libri Vidicos Good session. The group returned to school. Beletan had to figure out a caper to keep his romantic interest from failing her music final exams. She's a skilled pianist, but won't perform in front of anyone. One series of hijinks and illusions later and he had her secretly playing for the assessment panel. The others worked with their various NPCs- establish and finalizing links and setting up plots. Sergei has started to have the younger duelists follow in his wake; Lucy has her mechanics group; and Sokka was assigned to take over teaching a basic elements course for a week. Valmont was secretly asked by the Headmaster to bring together a new Student Council, with Valmost as his "inside man." He bribed him with the leftover equipment from the vanished Thiefly Arts instructor. As an added bonus, Lucy finally figured out how Chaining works. Now she has to come up with a way to stop it.

Last Fleet We'd had to bump the last two sessions, which is always a pain to reset from. To avoid the whole "where were we again?" and draw out discussion of plans, I went from the plan the group had decided on at the end of the last session, taking down the Orcish Mercenary Fleet they assumed would be sent to hunt them. So I started out right in the middle of things, with the group hiding in a fog bank observing their enemy's fortress and set of ships. I let them retcon preparations on the fly and come up with a plan. They ended up using some valuable magical resources they'd acquired a half dozen sessions ago to break the bonds holding a piece of skystone and send it hurtling into three of the four docked vessels.

While the rock was moving they came around and attacked from the rear of the fortress as a distraction. The hope was to slow the ship's response time to the oncoming rock of doom. They engaged a group of Elvish Dragon riders, observers from the Dominion of Timbers, hoping to co-opt their dragons, only to discover rider and dragon were bonded- a situation complicated when Chain discovered one of them was his soul-twin- the situation went off the rails and the group took damage and was forced to butcher the Dragon Riders. Some escaped to carry word back to their Emperor. The Orc Mercenaries descended on the PCs and Whet took out a Vampire Captain by distracting her with the potent lure of dragon blood- cutting her head off as she drank. Lira plucked the eye from the head of the Ratman second-in-command of the Mercs, leaving him alive to be a returning enemy. The rock hit, shattering three of the four ships and the PCs and their pirate allies stormed the flagship, the Dreadnaught Vengeance. They just barely dealt with the crew in time, while Marreg fought Cairn Stormwill, leader of the band and cursed Orckiller. Dweena fired a shot that briefly disrupted her magic items, and with a stroke, Marreg cleaved Cairn's head from her shoulders. The ship was in their hands!

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