Sunday, June 15, 2014

Rat Queens Dungeon World

Dungeon World was the game of choice at the most recent Monday Night Game Lab, and it was the first time playing it for everyone involved. We'd all played Monster of the Week though, and three of us had played Apocalypse World, so none of us were strangers to the basic mechanics.

The key differences were the types of Basic and Special Moves, the magic system, and the use of hit points. I think we solidly understood everything by the half-way point of the game, except for the concept of Bonds. Normally, you establish Bonds when you create your character: how are they connected, bonded, to the rest of the characters?  In this case we were using pre-generated characters and they had been filled in for us.

On a few occasions we felt the rules were implying an actual modification to the die roll based on Bonds, but we could not find what that would be. Bonds are actually quite important; in addition to helping you decide how you would act in a situation, and how your character would interact with another, there IS a die mechanic involved:  "When a move has you roll+bonds, you’ll count the number of bonds you have with the character in question and add that to the roll."

Dungeon World is a very fun, fast and enjoyable system. If I was going to introduce someone to role-playing games for the first time, this is the system that I would use if we were playing in a fantasy setting.

For more information on Dungeon World:

We were Rat Queens in the game we played. Rat Queens is a fantastic comic about a company of adventuring women. They are rowdy, sarcastic, hard-partying and violent. They are sexy and they are hilarious. If you don't know the Rat Queens, you should check them out immediately!

[Major Spoilers if you are playing this at 2014 Nexus Game Fair]
The Rat Queens were in trouble for leading an angry murder of goblins into the city of Palisade while fleeing.  Sawyer Silver of the City Watch offered them a chance to get out of prison by finding and rescuing the missing children of a small farm community. Saying No meant staying in prison, so...

The girls had to leave immediately, or right after they took a bath, because they reeked of goblin and it was making people ill.

Upon arriving to the village one woman remarked, "This is who's going to save our children? They look more like prostitutes than heroes!" That set the tone for their helpfulness.

Dee was able to commune with the dead, getting details on the last time something like this happened from Edna Smith, the dead grandmother of the village headman. The dead are sometimes more useful than the living.

Striking out towards the low hills, Betty got them a little lost and soon they had to make camp. After getting a fire built and eating some rations, Betty broke out her bag of magic mushrooms and indulged. 

Violet and Dee decided that would be fun too and also dipped into Betty's little bag. Soon Hannah was the only one with her wits about her, and keeping watch. Halfway through the night she heard whispers and sensed she was being watched. Getting Betty's attention she told her they had company and to quietly tell the others. Betty thought she was being quiet but had no sense of her own volume, using a loud stage whisper to say "Grab your stuff girls we got company!"

Battle ensued. Hannah cast Light on a rock and threw it over to where she heard the noises, illuminating several humanoid shapes dressed like ninjas. Dee raised a Zombie Servant from the very ground!

Similar dress, but in tatters, filthy, and more flesh hanging on the bones.

Violet went to chase a fleeing assailant but went off-course and ended up throwing her shield, to no avail. Betty stabbed one of them in the back. Hannah clobbered one with her staff. Soon the Rat Queens had a prisoner, whom they began to question.

The assailants were Underelfs, who had been kidnapping children. Eventually they give details about where the kids were being held, and why--the Elf Queen was going to sacrifice them in a hideous magic ritual that would destroy the surface of the world.

The Rat Queens found the entrance and Dee used Dispel Magic to destroy the magic barrier. Walking in they ran into an annoying, smelly little albino goblin. They eventually decided to walk in the direction opposite of "where heroes go" (as the goblin said) and take his chamber pot, making it into a helm for Happy the Zombie Servant, as Dee had named him. Dee cast Light on the chamber pot and embedded Hannah's Light Rock into Happy's chest, a la' Iron Man. The girls sent him forward to light the way and scare the hell out of Underelfs.

They ran into several guards, some with very well-defined pectoral muscles and the open shirts to prove it. They killed or ran them all off.  Happy the Zombie Servant got the chance to eat Elf brains, and moaned for more. A fancy if dirty cape was found, and affixed to Happy the Zombie Servant. With the chamber pot on his head, he looked a lot like Mysterio.

They found a room with an altar, and Violet discovered it was hollow! Opening it revealed a trove of diamonds. Dee left a note on the altar for the Elf Queen: "Thanks for the diamonds." Dee also took the time to draw a happy face on Happy's brightly-illuminating chamber pot.

Hannah cast a spell that allowed her to see a tiny purple pony with wings when she closed her eyes, and that led the way to where the children were. Unfortunately it didn't care about walls, so Violet and Betty spent some quality time knocking through a stone wall to reach the children. Probably there was an easier way.

Kind of like this I guess. Never imagined such an image would be on my blog.

The kids were scared out of their minds by Happy the Zombie Servant but Dee calmed them down and Betty gave them candy. Just regular candy. Everyone trooped out the way they came, but there were a bunch of angry Underelfs waiting for them in the altar room, including the super-creepy necromantic Elf Queen. She demanded the children, Violet told her they peed on the altar, and battle was joined.

Like this, but against Underelves

The kids saw a chance to run out the front and took it. The Rat Queens covered their escape until the Elves were worried more about protecting their Queen, and the girls followed the kids--only to find that the annoying albino goblin was preventing their escape. Betty launched a dagger at him and hits him in the eye! He fell down dead and everyone escaped, with the kids and the diamonds.

The Rat Queens deserved an epic fiesta after that, I'm sure...

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Gold From the Ceiling, an Adventure for Murderhobos

I was lucky enough to come across the 2nd Edition of a role-playing game called Murderhobos, by Brent P. Newhall. I was impressed with the humor, the mechanics, the art and the price. While I was trying to craft my pitch to the Monday Night Game Lab suggesting that we give it a try, Brent posted a contest for best Murderhobos adventure.

I'd never written an adventure before, most of the time I write notes and keep the rest in my head. But I gave it a try, and to my pleasant surprise, I won. Probably it helped there were only two other submissions, but still. 

Check out the game, it's a fun read (rated M for Mature) and download the adventures, they are about a third of the way down the page.

This cover is awesome.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

A Single Small Cut: Lamentations of the Flame Princess

Ladies and Gentlemen, Mesdames et Messieurs, Damen und Herren, from what was once an inarticulate mass of lifeless tissues, may I present a cultured, sophisticated, Man About Town.  WAIT WHAT IN THE SEVEN WOUNDS IS THAT...ABOMINATION

Horrifying and disgusting, but much worse when combined with Sarah's detailed descriptions.

I finally had the chance to play Lamentations of the Flame Princess.  It's more like D&D than Dungeon Crawl Classics is really, like Basic D&D but with black-powder firearms and a horror element. The world is a fantasy-horror version of the 30 Years War. They burn pointed eared magic-using people at the stake in this world, so we had to convince them that our elf was just a weird albino guy with a strange accent.

A Single, Small Cut is designed to be a short adventure, played as a one-shot or right after your party has emerged from some hideous dungeon or grasping wilderness.

That didn't stop us from making it into an all-night affair, but we had a larger group than usual and we rolled up our own characters.

Our party consisted of a Sorcerer, two Specialists, a Fighter and an Elf. I got a huge kick out of blasting at things with my brace of flintlock pistols, and the Elf was crucial to our success: by reversing his Enlarge spell, he shrunk our huge and disgusting opponent and gave us the fighting chance to kill it. Here, I took pictures of that.

A huge hideous mass of flesh and sphincters and fluids

Still hideous but 60% smaller thanks to arcane Elf magic

I enjoyed the system and the scenario very much and hope to run something myself at some point soon.

You can pick up "A Single, Small Cut" here:

Free rules with no art for Lamentations of the Flame Princess here!

But if you like grisly, sexy art then you'll want to buy it.