Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Setting: Seattle

or, Seattle by Night - Do it Yourself

I am in no way a citizen of Seattle nor have I been there at any point of my life. Yet, when Gm'ing games for World of Darkness, I sometimes turn to America, with a simple reason that it's more feasible to have larger cities there.

The following information might get heavy on World of Darkness setting, and certain terms will not be explained.

There had been quite a few games I ran there, and to say the truth, the city itself only served in a few small, nearly insignificant ways, such as mentioning a few small landmarks, or having a really rough map for the areas.

In truth, the game could have been taking place anywhere in the world, but for a few things.

Seattle, is, or was, theoretically, an Anarch Free State. There is no real evidence behind it, but there is a VtES card that proves me on the right track.

What else do we know - in recent years, Anarch 'rule' has been undermined and stolen from them by immigrants from the east - Asian vampires rushed to take a place of power at first opportunity.

So - the Baron, of course, was to be a Gangrel, thus I ended up with Viktor, loosing his fancy title, as he couldn't really have been the one of old.

This Viktor, was actually somewhat young, eight generation kindred, risen to the post as a result of his actions and not words.

Anarchs tend to do that - Viktor was a Baron born from the time when, fifty years ago, he killed the remaining two primogen who didn't try and leave soon after Anarchs took over.

Then, I though - he's a Gangrel, a clan not widely known for their politics and bookkeeping. So - he had to have help. Some young ventrue, perhaps? Enter Robin Withers.

There was no special choice - I randomized it by the cards, looking for a female Ventrue. Also, I had used the name before, when the cast wasn't set as it is now.

What is Robin's motivation? Power and control, of course - and when it can't be done in Camarilla,  one can try her hands at Anarchs.

Robin held most of the information. Information was power. She held Viktor's faith and all the information that could be found. In truth, she was constantly reminding Victor the things he had to know and things he should do, while remaining, at most, in the shadow.

But there is a degree of control one can have in an Anarch city. Thus, there must have been others who had certain influences in the city. Say, four major gang leaders. Thus, I found them among the cards, too.

Assad - the vampire with a plan, closed off from others, yet innately curious.

Hezekiel - the Brujah, who believed in true Anarch values, and wouldn't live with any power's influence in Seattle.

Taylor - Toreador who believed in letting clanless bunch be somewhat equal with other Annarchs.

Alonzo - one of the older kindred in the city - the Nosferatu lived there for a long time, and it didn't mater who was on top, he was in the city.

Then, there was a question of  outside conflicts - thus, some hunters to serve as a distraction, a powerful estate of Giovanni, and the looming threat of Catathians from Asia. Seattle is a huge port, handling a fourth of all Asian - USA sea trade traffic.

Of course, an outer threat would make Anarchs grow closer? No - that wouldn't be as interesting. Probably the only are Viktor tried to have power, was in the streets and the gangs there. It was a direct confrontation with Giovanni, who hold a substantial business as a National Crime Syndicate.

There was a short forum game even, about Giovanni and their NCS, I gm'ed once. In Seattle.
Thus, Diego Rosallini - the only tie with Giovanni resources.

So - the confrontation had to have been there for quite a while - and it ended in a convenient truce. Baron keeps Anarchs from throwing stones at Giovanni mansion, and Giovanni keep their pawns away from Baron's playground.

A truce, enforced by Joshua Tornopolski - a huge asset of the Baron. A kindred who has some recognition yet seeks stability. Joshua held most of the finances of the Seattle in his hands, and was, however lightly the term can be used with vampires - a friend of Viktor's.

Thus, both Victor and Joshua were for leaving Giovanni alone. The opposition, would be Hezekiel and Taylor - two important names in the city that want every non-anarch gone.

Only careful threading by Robin helped to hold the situation, as well as respect anarchs had for their baron.

Yet, to make things more interesting Robin involved herself with Cathayans, who offered her power and thus, began the fall of Seattle - the state the players are thrown in.

She let the conflict against Giovanni to spark in new light, making a deal with Donatello Giovanni, promising them an ignited conflict between Anarchs, and stopped helping mediate certain matters. Thus, the sudden rise of Hezekiel and Tyler to remove Giovanni.

At that point, any conflict was good, for blood was being expended.

And Cathathians had a plan for that - to bring a city on it's knees - they feed rather differently than usual kindred, thus, targeting the blood supply of an already overpopulated city was a crushing blow.

The only sane man in the situation, Assad, was too focused on himself and his gang, that he didn't warn others enough, about the new arrivals in the city and rising powerbase, that seeped the resources the second a conflict between Anarchs and Giovanni turned into war.

Thus, the Scene is set. Seattle is a place where soon the power balance will fall, where Anarchs, Giovanni and Cathahians are trying to wrestle control from each other, where gang leaders are suddenly finding new information about each other, that  Robin carefully let them know, sparking old and new grudges into full blown fires, and the Baron is blissfully unaware what is about to happen to his domain.

To top it all up, I released six players into that mess.

And what is always the case, it only made things worse.

Monday, 16 July 2012

GDL and Temeraire #1

Or, how you (don't) mix GURPS, a drop of history and Temeraire book series.

With the recent, Lithuanian pride boosting, summer date of the Battle of Grunwald, where Lithuanians always try to take as much credit for the victory as possible, I've remembered the small experiment I did with the Temeraire setting in one RPG game.

For those who don't know what paper RPG is, I'd like to link you to a past post, but it's in Lithuanian, so, unless I suddenly find more time than I can use (yeah, right), you could probably google the subject matter. In a nutshell, RPG is a story that is created by players and the Game Master, that is usually called a GM.

GDL stands for Grand Duchy of Lithuania, (LDK in Lithuanian) and it's about the period of our history that everyone would have liked us to have stuck in, because listening to anyone from around here, it was such a great time... Well, there were some moments, true, but same here as anywhere else, really.

Temeraire series is about a question that the author (Naomi Novik) raises. What the history would be like, if people had dragons? As the books focus on the gunpowder age with Napoleon wars and Brittish air force, they do mention that the world always had dragons.

So, in once, in a middle of the summer, similarly to this one, I decided - why not. As with all the games, the first problem wasn't the plot, as usually there are hundreds of ideas, but the question of a system. I actually was and still am looking for a light-ish system that has reasonably executed ship-to-ship, or, in this case dragon-to-dragon battles.

In my desperation, I didn't home-brew anything to that matter, but, have decided to fall back on GURPS lite. GURPS is a system that I dislike, but can play or GM without much problems, except a bit of personal discomfort.

Here, I home-brewed a few advantages and created a crew for the dragon, as well as thinking over what statistics would the dragon use and how all the combats and confrontations would work. Simply enough, the party (mostly unchanged for the most time), and the characters that changed a few players in the times I Gm'ed in that story line were thus:

Captain - any dragon crew has to have a captain, and following the Tremere ideas, dragon exclusively listens almost only to its captain.

First-mate (equivalent) - there's always a guy that helps to command, and while Captain is concerned with guiding the dragon, he is concerned with crossbows and other crewmen and performance of the orders.

Crosbowmen leader - a guy that's in charge of fifteen  crossbowmen. The shoot stuff from the dragon back, obviously.

Swordsman leader - a guy in charge of nine swordsmen, who all have hooks and ropes - in truly desperate times, when one dragon starts clawing the other there's is a possibility to drop your men on the other dragon, or otherwise, threatening the captains life and thus effectively taking over the dragon. This is the guy that has to do that, or look that no one would take over their dragon.

Surgeon - a guy that can heal both dragons and humans, esecially ifthe dragon lads someewhere in the middle of the woods. Usually has a child helper in training.

Harness master - a guy that is in charge of harnesses and ropes, and the one everyone's lives are hanging on, literally. Usually has two to three helpers.

Signaler (reserve character) - a man with good lungs and a few flags/ candles in boxes - one that gives signals form afar, trying to communicate with dragon formations or the ground. Has two children watching on both the wings.

That gives us a crew of 36 people, quite much, but somewhat of an expected standart for heavyweight dragon.

There's also a dragon, of whom there are quite a few different breeds.

Here, the people were a crew of the only Kazilik in GDL, gifted by the former (at the time) khan Tokhtamysh, when he visited the Grand Duke asking for help.

What adventures there were and the historical background will probably be covered in other parts. Sometime in the future.

To be continued...

And now for something completely different

Arba, kaip dabar apsimesiu užsiniečiu.

With the recent decline both in enthusiasm and time, I have thought about forgetting this blog altogether, and leaving it to gather virtual dust and other creepy things that virtual objects gather.

However, I believe that I could bother myself for at least a few more updates, but, most probably without ever stating any updates times, or anything to that regard. I do have a semi-reasonable level of control in English language, and I figured, why not.

So, I'll give a try to do a few English updates, probably translating some of the former stuff, or simply writing anything RPG themed that I take a liking to.

People are asking me to GM another VtM game, so if they manage to poke me to the point where I will agree (or, they will manage the logistics of setting up the group to come together at preset times by themselves), I'll end up Storytelling again. In that case, I promise to publish at least something about that game too.

For those who have just opened the page and have no idea why it's suddenly in English when it wasn't before, well, it's just me being stupid and deciding that I need to lose even more time and this here is a small blog for thoughts about pen and paper RPG and anything remotely to do with that.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Europos Vardų Įvairovė

arba, kaip "Liučiena priėmė Čiarlzą ir Wilhelmą į svečius"

Šiandieną, vėl šiek tiek apie personažų vardus. Apie tai galima rasti ir „Vardai ir kaip juos lengva pamiršti“
Kadangi amžina žaidimų pusproblemė – jo personažų vardai, šį kartą išbadinėju tam tikrą metodiką, kurios ankščiau nesu taikęs. Vardų sąrašas iš kurio pasitaikiusiems npc personažams parenkamas vardas nėra jokia naujiena, tačiau šį kartą kiekvienai Noble Blood giminei priskyriau po regioną ar šalį (daugmaž iš akies) iš Viduramžių ir Renesanso Europos ir pagal jas parankiojau vardų iš valdovų ir jų žmonų.
Tai pasirodė kiek sudėtingiau nei galvojau.
Visų pirma, pusę Europos valdė Fernandai (italai, ispanai, prūsai) , Charliai Ir Wilhelmai (prancūzai, anglai, vokiečiai, prūsai). Tokie vardai piktybiškai kartojosi per visas gimines. Iš kitos pusės tai tik paryškina tai , kaip visi monarchai ir kilmingieji susimaišę tarpusavyje. Prancuzai turėjo kalvas Luisų/Liudvikų.
Bet ne apie kilmingą kraujomaišą, o apie Noble Blood – manau, nors galiu ir klįsti, jog giminei priskyrus šiokį tokį etninį atspalvį, bus lengviau atskirti vieną giminę nuo kitos ir tuo pačiu tai galėtų tarnauti kaip gairės galvojant personažų vardus žaidėjams. Šalia Michailo, Vladislavo, Boriso ir Zbygnevo lakstanti Lučiena priverčia pakelti antakį.
Todėl čia grubus apmatas regionų ir po keletą vardų kiekvienam jų, kuriuos aš pasirankiojau ir, matyt, naudosiu artimiausiuose Noble Blood žaidimuose. Dalinai šią sistemą jau naudojau žaidimuose apie šiaurę su keletu nukrypimų – dabar gi pasistengiau rasti nišą kiekvienai iš giminių.
Bear – Novgorodo kunigaikščiai - Gleb, Ostomir, Riurik, Davyd, Igor, Oleg, Olga
Wolf – Rusijos/Kijevo tsarai - Michail, Anastasia, Dmitrij, Helena, Ivan, Vasily, Vladimir

Eagle – ATR karaliai ir kunigaikščiai – Jedvyg, Vladislav, Casimir, Krystyna, Salomea, Zbigniew, Zygmund

Aligator – Didžiosios Britanijos monarchai:
Anne, Charles, Edgar, Edward, Elizabeth, Emma, George, Harold, Harold, Henry, Matilda, Victoria

Raven – Prūsijos kunigaikščiai:
Bismark, Albert, Dorothea, Ferdinand, Frederick, Joachim, Luise, Marie, Otto, Sophia, William

Spider – vieninteliai iš už Europos ribų – kalifai iš islamo kalifato. Čia buvo problema su moteriškais vardais, tai teko parankioti šiaip arabiškų vardų:
Aamira, Abdullah, Ahmad, Akram, Al-Hakim, Alisha, Az Zahir, Yasmeen, Khadija, Latafat, Rashid, Taki, Wafi, Zahira

Dragon – italų (Florencijos ir milano) valdovai:
Boso, Piero, Matilda, Lorenzo, Giuliano, Freancesco, Eleanor, Lucrezia, Maria, Giullia, Rosa, Louise

Owl – graikų polių valdovai ir gal koks mąstytojas pusiau netyčia:
Agis, Alexander, Antiogos, Argeia, Audata, Dion, Iphitea, Leonidas, Meda, Myles, Olympia, Philip, Pyrrhos

Vixen – Prancūzijos valdovai:
Armand, Felix, Gaston, Jean, Jeanne, Joan, Jules, Louis, Patrice, Paul, Raymond, Raoul

Horse – Ispanijos karaliai ir kilmingi žmonės:
Alfonso, Armadeo, Carlos, Felipe, Helena, Irene, Isabella, Marcel, Mercedes, Miguel, Pablo, Sofia

Lion – Vardai iš Šv. Romos Imperijos ir šiaip Vokietijos įžymybių sąrašų:
Rudolph, Berengar, Mary, Karl, Bernhard, Adolf, Aususta, Heinrich, Henry, Werner, Fritz, Hans, Emmy

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Dar viena fiesta

Arba kaip XXIcentury nieko nespėja

Dar viena RPG fiesta jau nebe už kalnų, o tiesą sakant visai greitai. Vasario 11 dieną, šeštadienį vyks šis renginys, ir vėl važiuos arba nevažiuos žmonės į jį ir bus arba nebus pilna žmonių.

Apskritai trendas paskutiniu metu kaip ir aiškus – žaidėjų mažėja, o meistrų kaip ir iki tol paprastai užtenka, kad būtų po penkis žaidimus per sesiją. Jeigu neklystu, žada būti 12 žaidimų, iš kurių du teks garbė arba gėda meistrauti man.

Paskutinius porą mėnesių nesu nieko meistravęs, tai reikės kiek prisiminti kaip viskas vyksta. Sudėjus su standartiniais pasiaiškinimais, kodėl nėra laiko niekam, šį kartą turiu nuvilti, jog greičiausiai nebus tiek handout‘ų kiek esu įpratęs per fiestą atsinešti ir net jei jų bus, tai jie labai gali būti, jog bus rašyti ranka, o tai nėra pats geriausias dalykas.

Taigi, o ką aš ten galvoju pameistrauti:

Pirmas žaidimas, yra su namūdine Noble Blood sistema, apie kurią tikrai galima surasti šitame puslapyje (na, du mėnesiai tylos nieko nereiškia). Dalinai siužetą kabliuosiu pagal prieš tai žaistus įvykius šiaurėje, todėl jei paruoštukų nebus, bus bent sąrašas visų svarbesnių personų, kuris bent dalinai sutaps su šiame puslapyje talpintu dideliu sąrašu iš prieš tai vykusios fiestos.

Veiksmas suksis apie apsiaustį kalnuose, kurią prižiūri keleto baronų ir baronetų armijos. Kai šiaurėje kažkas užsilipa ant aukščiausiojo kalno ir pasiskelbia karaliumi, dažniausiai jį tiesiog nuneša sušalusį žemyn ir palaidoja kur pakampėje, tačiau šį kartą užsilipęs vyras ne tik kad nesustiro į ledo gabalą, bet ir prikėlė kažką, kas ilgus tūkstančius metų miegojo lede.

Antrasis žaidimas, kuris turėtų vykti naktį, bus pagal nWod taisykles ir pagal old Wod pasaulį. Na, realiai tai bus šiek tik mišinio, ypač taisyklių atžvilgiu, tačiau visa esmė – mėtysim xd10 ir tiek žinių. Abiejuose žaidimuose.

Tam tikri motyvai bus pasiskolinti iš kadaise pradėtos, bet neįsivažiavusios kampanijos apie vilkolakius.

Veiksmas vyks Sietle, tačiau miesto žemėlapių prieš sesiją prašyčiau nenagrinėti – jeigu ir bus žymių ir svarbių vietų, jas ir žinosim. Kitaip tariant labai didelio geografinio tikslumo galima nesitikėti.

O kas atsitiko Sietle, kad viskas pakrypo plaukuotam keturkojui ant uodegos? Viskas paprasta – tiesiog policininkai sugalvojo suimti ne tą žmogų kurį reikia, ir tai jau yra pakankama priežastis tikėtis, jog žmogus bus perkraustytas iš vienutės ten, kur jam reikia būti. Tačiau teritorija nėra sava ir žingsnius teks rinktis saugiai – žaidėjai bus ne itin švaria veikla užsiimantys mirtingieji, kurie dėl tam tikrų giminystės ryšių žino daugiau negu paprasta gatvės liaudis. Ir jie žino, jog suimtasis nelauks daugiau nei savaitę.

Taigi, susitiksime rpg fiestoje. Ji vyks Rikyje, vasario 11 dieną, ir registracija turėtų prasidėti vasario pirmosiomis dienomis, fantastika.lt forume.