Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Online RPG Sessions I'm Running: Open Seats & VirtuaCon

I’m running four online sessions the second weekend in October. They’re going to be fun. A couple still have room for players. You should come and play.

This is all part of VirtuaCon, the online convention put together by RPG Geek. That’s a great community- and one with a strong international representation (hence games scattered across timezones). Most of the pick-up online games I’ve played have been arranged through their forums. If you’re looking to try new things out or find a quick online G+ session, they’re a great resource to try out.

Here’s the list of games and events VirtuaCon’s offering this year. Many have already filled, but a bunch still have slots open. Supporting online cons like VirtuaCon, LUG Con, ConTessa, and others is a great way to get more gaming out there.

So here’s what I’m running. I’ve posted a little about this before. I’ll begin with the two games that still have room. If you’re wondering what I’m like as a GM, you can check out some videos of me running from my YouTube channel.

Fate Core, Saturday October 11th 8PM Eastern- I’ve got three seats open.

Pitch: Guards in a Fantasy City Attempt to Keep the Peace and Solve Crimes.

Details: Another day on the mean streets of Abashan. In a town of fantasy adventure it’s up to you and your fellow guards to patrol your district, quell riots, take down monstrous invaders, break up foreign conspiracies, shut down wild magicks, make friends in the community, and stop crazed adventurers. Beginning with a morning briefing you must figure out how to prioritize assignments, shirk duties, protect the innocent, and perhaps even earn a little extra coin…

You’ll be able to pick which case you want to run down and how you want to fix things. Play involves a mix of investigation, social interaction, problem solving, and the occasional head thumping.

Behind the Scenes: I’ve run GoA several times, including at Gen Con, and it’s based on a house campaign. I adapted our home Action Cards system over to Fate Core to run it online. I like it because there’s a nice mix of figuring out how you want to figure things out, making your character’s stamp on the world, and dealing with the actual guard business. I throw three cases at the players and they pick one to track down. It is short, sweet, and pretty fun- we’re done in three hours or less. I’ve

Durance, Saturday October 11th 10AM Eastern- I’ve got three seats open.

Pitch: Survival, Conflict, and Drama in a Superhuman Gulag.

Details: In 1981 the World Congress passed the Purity Act to restrict the rights of Mutants. Hostile environment penal colonies and prisons supposedly established to handle super-criminals were repurposed to serve as containment centers and labor camps. Power armor guards, robot controllers, power-suppression devices, and deadly environments all kept Mutants and other superbeings in check.

But times change…

We will play out the story of one of those camps- with each player taking two roles: one on the keeper side and the other on the prisoner side.

This GM-less game will be based on a modified version of Durance. Certain elements defining the Gulag will be decided by polls prior to the game start. To quote paraphrase the game blurb, “Durance is a fast-paced, low-prep, highly collaborative game in the tradition of Fiasco. Players in Durance assume the dual roles of prisoners and guards trying to survive on an outrageously hostile environment. The thin veneer that separates the two classes tends to erode during play, raising questions about corruption, justice and mercy.”

This game is based on the superhero world created by a crack team of RPGGeeks just for VirtuaCon ‘14. You can see the full write-up of that history here. You don’t have to read that or know anything about it to play, but that’s pretty cool, isn’t it?

Behind the Scenes: I don’t think Durance gets the love it deserves. It’s a striking and interesting game. I dig the tension between character drives and the shared need to survive. I posted some notes on the reskinning process of this scenario. As I mentioned on G+ this ended up taking more prep time than I thought it would. Once I dug into things, I realized just how well constructed Durance is. Making it work and keeping focus on both sides (Authority and Convicts) is the challenge in the reskinning. Plus the key elements of isolation and shared struggles for survival. I really, really hope I get enough players for this one to go off. It is probably a tough sell- a slightly fringe and challenging game, with another layer of narrative complications on top of that.

Icons Assembled, Sunday October 12th 10AM Eastern- I have one seat still open.

Pitch: Near-Future Superheroes Aim to Defeat a Tyrannical Overlord

In 2112, Chancellor Helagard seized control of the Earth at the behest of his alien masters, the Kansegu. He moved quickly to take out the world’s superbeings through sleeper agents and his own loyal cadre of Psychic-powered henchpersons. Nine years have passed and the Kansegu have finally cemented their control. All opposition has been crushed.

Except for you.

You’re among the last free superbeings, waging an underground campaign against the invaders. Now a desperate gamble may unlock the secret to defeating the Chancellor and his Kansegu puppetmasters. But first you will need to find Tesla’s Brain…

This game is based on the created superhero world mentioned above.

Behind the Scenes: Icons is really interesting and the new edition brings things together in a much clearer way. It is pretty far away from the Fate original. I see now why some gamers really stress that when people talked about Fate-based superhero systems. The game uses randomly generated character creation. I’m opting not to do that for this one shot. Instead I’m doing some builds based on Legion of Superhero themes mixed with a little randomness. I think that random generation’s great if you’re doing a regular game, where part of the point is figuring out how your character actually holds together.

Fate Core, Friday October 10th 4PM Eastern- actually have the table filled and one person on the wait list.

Pitch: Newly-Minted Superhero Team Tries to Save a City of Crime

Details: Science City, 1937. Once a shining beacon of progress and hope following the defeat of the Kansegu alien invasion, darkness now covers Science City. Some hint at strange forces behind the transformation of this island paradise. But clearly corruption, urban decay, foreign agents, and criminal influence have made Science City a hotbed of vice and crime.

You’re going to fix that.

You’re a superbeing with amazing powers and an equally difficult task. The Transatlantic League, the world-renowned team of superheroes has selected your group to fix Science City. But you only have thirty days. How you decide to do that is up to you: quiet, loud, soft, hard, above board or from the shadows. Will you prove that heroes can make a difference and keep yourselves above the muck?

I’ll set the stage and you’ll figure out what to fix and how to do that. Play involves a mix of investigation, social interaction, problem solving, and the occasional head thumping, should you so choose.

This game is based on the created superhero world mentioned above.

Behind the Scenes: I’m really excited for this one for a couple of reasons. For one I love throwing broad situations at players and letting them figure out how they want to come to a solution. I try to come in with as few preconceptions as possible. I simply put together the structures and shape of the situation. Players always surprise me. For another, Fate Cores a good system for allowing players to do quick and easy “set up” and planning. They can shape action at a distance, add aspects to change the world, or go for more direct interaction. You can do that with any game, but Fate’s makes is easier to figure how to do and actually execute. Finally I also want to see how the Venture City Stories power-builds look in play. I like those mechanics (as well as the faction stuff).

I’m running some cool online rpg sessions that still have room and I want players to sign up.

I’ll also be moderating and participating in some panels, but I’ll save that for another post. 

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