Thursday 24 January 2019

Roll for System Shock!

[A wizard did it]

In AD&D, you'd have to roll for 'System Shock' when resurrecting a character. I don't feel like I've lost a point of CON though...

This blog has been, if not dead, then very nearly dead for some time now. One measly post in 2018! And that was mostly to say you could watch me play rugby on live TV! 

Obviously I haven't been playing much. And, until recently, not all that much had changed since that post way back in spring 2018. Well, I am playing now - and as a player no less! - in an online game of Scum and Villainy. 

Playing in a game, rather than running a game, has allowed me to realise a few things. First is that any complaints that I might have about my players not learning the rules are a little hypocritical. I have the rulebook, I skim the pdf on my tablet, but without the responsibility for running the game looming on the horizon I have been able to get by thinking more about my character in the game world (Finn 'Vapour' Dyson, pilot of the Lazy Susan) than how the rules work. I wouldn't say that Scum and Villainy is a game that 'leans invisible', to borrow from S John Ross, but our GM Orlanth Rex has at the very least done the heavy lifting that allows me to concentrate my 'tactical play' on the decisions in the game world rather than on decisions in the game system

I other words, I have been allowed o enjoy roleplaying without the responsibility to do anything other than 'play well'. But scratching an itch rarely gets rid of the itch - often you just need to scratch more- and it has led me to wanting to jump back into DMing, GMing, Refereeing, Directing, whatever term you might prefer. So I think I'll have to start my own online game (or games), with people who have the patience for an out-of-practice games master with a preference for games from the lighter end of the crunch spectrum.  

So, consider me resurrected.


  1. I just finished running a campaign for my group with blades in the dark (ported to 40k/dark heresy). I rather like the system. Not too heavy on book keeping but encourages a lot of fun emergent events and PC role-playing (as opposed to roll-playing). I look forward to seeing your thoughts on scum and villainy.

    1. Have you written about your Blades in the Dark Heresy game? I'd love to read that. I'm so used to running games rather than playing it is a little difficult for me to *see* the system from this point of view. We're playing again on Sunday night - I'll try to start thinking a little more systematically (pun intended) about the game.

    2. I wrote up an adventure log which I posted to our facebook group to keep everyone up to speed if they missed a game (or forgot what happened 2 weeks prior). I suspect you are more interested in thoughts on the system itself? If I did some sort of writeup what would you be most interested to hear about?

    3. Let me think about that - I still really need to grok Scum and Villainy. I hadn't really grasped the extent to which being a player leaves with such a partial view of a game system, especially something like S&V/BitD in which so much of the useful bits and bobs are GM-facing tools designed to help you run adventures.

    4. It's interesting to hear that. I thought BitD was very much character facing expect for the obvious stuff a GM would obscure about plots and enemy plans etc. It might be a GM difference? Clocks are on the table, devil's bargains can be take or left, the difficulty of using certain skills/approaches is noted explicitly, characters have a chance to flashback to carry out actions to help themselves in the moment. Enemies don't have hit points (they may have clocks for their health). Most notably the players are the ones that make rolls, so enemy successes are usually (although not exclusively) a result of player failure. A huge amount seems to be open to players in my mind.

    5. Yes, I see what you mean. I think that a bit of that - such as the GM being explicit about the difficulty of various approaches - is stuff that has been creeping into my GMing in other games. A lot of it though is probably down to the fact that I don't get much chance to play RPGs as a player, much less play a new RPG system as a player.