Changing the Mood

Theatre Masks, by emeraldfury

Theatre Masks, by emeraldfury

The last few sessions of Savage Legend have been quite dark; a demon plague wiping out a village the PCs saved months ago (and them being framed for it), the son of the PCs’ benefactor dying before their eyes, the end of a long quest to bring back a bride for the (now deceased) Baron’s son. And this with two eleven-year olds among the players (my kids).

Saturday’s set pieces were a single combat (trial by combat) to establish their innocence, a library visit (works well with Savage Worlds, but I’ll relate that another time elsewhere) and then a trip to an island monastery to obtain information from a deceased saint.

Once they’d solved the (rather neat, even if I do say so myself) puzzle to determine the saint’s long-lost resting place, it was time to pour the necromatic oil onto the bones and quizz him regarding the location of an ancient relic. Unfortunately (ha-ha), the saint is missing a few pieces, notably a scapula, femur, patella and several carpals. Before he tells the party where the relic lies, he wants to be completely reassembled. And the skull is turning out to be quite talkative.

Smuggling a talking skull out of a respectable monastery under the nose of the monks who were delighted that the bones of their patron saint had been located once more has been fun. And now we have the task of finding the bones ahead of us. The next session should be quite a laugh.

So we’ve moved from my wife having shivers down her back at the description of the death of the Baron’s son to the hilarity of a loquacious skull in a monastery. Either mood setting would be oppressive or annoying if it was permanent, but I enjoy having the feeling that I can play with these registers a little to entertain.

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Visual Inspiration

If there’s one thing I can literally waste hours doing, it’s browsing through fantasy art. It feeds my imagination, gives me things to dwell on and figure how they would look in a game setting. It’s incredible, how much artistic talent there is out there and I bow humbly before anyone who can draw or paint effectively.

Deviantart.com is one of my favourite haunts and I’ve picked up a few favourite artists over time. Here they are:

And last but by no means least of course, Dragon Warrior’s very own

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Two New Savage Worlds Character Sheets

After a year of playing Savage Worlds and three iterations of my custom character sheet, I feel qualified to publish it for others to use:

Character Sheet

For historical reasons, here are the sheets that we actually use. When we transitioned from DW to SW, wanted the characters to map approximately with their relative rank without losing too many skills. Because DW uses one attack value to cover SW fighting, shooting and throwing, I condensed them at the d4 and d6 levels. I did the same for a couple of other skills at the same time.

Savage Legend Sheet

Happy gaming!

Addendum: By request – Custom Character Sheet With Alphabetised Skills

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Sometimes it all Goes Right

So last Saturday saw us playing the last session of Bitter is the Bark, a three-parter I wrote around the party having to find the material components for a cure for lycanthropy for a minor princess whom they were supposed to be safely escorting through the wilds.

The penultimate scene was a fight against an evil tree, a war tree and some twisted tree-sprites. My son was rolling on a roll in the fight against the war tree, throwing a massive 38 points of damage (Raise, Joker, Mighty Blow). As he then took up sword against the limbs of the evil tree, the rest of the group were cheering him on: “El-a-than, El-a-than, El-a-than!” I think that will be a treasured memory for years to come and all the confirmation that I needed that my family is into this as much as I am and that it was a good idea to include them.

The last scene was a hell-for-leather 60 mile ride against the clock to get the last ingredient back for the potion to be brewed. Everybody really enjoyed themselves (well, apart from the absent druid’s player that is, who’s PC is now embedded in a Blood Oak, but that was all part of the plan any way). A write-up of he last episode is found under Karickbridge Tales above.

Trying to dissect the game afterwards to determine what was so enjoyable, we came to the following conclusions:

  • Ownership; the princess was a PC turned NPC – they had personal involvement in seeing her cured.
  • Clear objectives; they started out the adventure knowing what they had to get, not necessarily knowing where to get the components, but knowing where to start looking.
  • Some memorable foes and combats; as well as the war tree, there was the wyvern incident. Cool fight.
  • Risk; there was a real sense that they could fail the task right up until the last horse-ride.
  • A good dose of puzzles and dramatic tasks.

Now to take those lessons and run with them.

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Bitter is the Bark

A brand new Savage Tale: Bitter is the Bark.

This fantasy adventure for a group of Seasoned or Veteran characters is centred on the party having to obtain the material components for a cure for lycanthropy; wolfsbane from the grave of a saint, blood from the werewolf that bit the victim and an aliquot of quicksilver. The components have to be assembled and administered before the next full moon for them to work, otherwise the victim will become permanently afflicted.

The wolfsbane can be obtained from a nearby monastery, although the monks there are less than forthcoming and the plant will need to be obtained by guile. The werewolf will need to be tracked down to its lair, identified and neutralised so that blood can be obtained from it whilst in its human form. The quicksilver can either be found in an abandoned dwarven mine or obtained from an alchemist in exchange for a rare alchemical component.werewolf clipart

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Skynet – for Real

Skynet becomes real

Completely off my normal topic, but why isn’t this all over the geekosphere? The UK has today launched a Skynet military satellite:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-20781625.

No-one seems to be making the obvious connections: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skynet_%28Terminator%29

Maybe the Mayans were right after all…

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Repost: Review of Public Attitudes to Gaming

As a Christian who plays RPGs I thought it worth reposting the following review article on roleplaying and the public/media. I’m still very careful about who I tell about my roleplaying. With colleagues because I don’t want to face ridicule, with Christian friends because I don’t want to face suspicion. Which doesn’t mean I don’t tell either group, it’s just that I choose my confessors wisely.

http://rpgr.org/documents/rpg-research-documents/web-version/defamation-of-rpg

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