Month: December 2012

My gaming 2012 and a look into the future

While the teenagers from my neighbourhood are busy blowing everything up with fireworks,  I sit inside my apartment and ponder about what a great year 2012 was. I achieved my bachelor’s degree, immediately found a job and met a totally fantastic girl. I’m physically healthier than ever before, and more confident than I was ever in my life. I don’t want to sound arrogant, but 2012 was pretty much my year.

Personal achievements were not the only thing that made 2012 glorious. From a gaming point of view, the past year has been freaking fantastic as well. In this post, I want to honour digital and tabletop titles that made my year.

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TSWoD – Anima explained & the birth of Fiddles

Hello guys and gals, and welcome back to another post about my The Secret World of Darkness project, in which I melt the rules of the new World of Darkness with the setting of Funcom’s The Secret World. In today’s installment, we will elaborate the aforementioned Anima power stat and pool, and start the creation of an example character. Call your secret society and tell them Cthulhu has to wait, because this will keep you busy!

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You’ll never forget your first one…

 

I’m spending Christmas at my parent’s place, and since my gaming computer is not so easy to carry around, I’m stuck with my laptop here. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t visit my family so I can game twenty-four-seven, but it’s nice to have something with you to keep in touch with the world.

My lack of hardware made me find games that I could play on my laptop, and so I discovered that the PC version of the RPG classic Final Fantasy VII is on sale on the Square Enix Store. Since I’m more than willing to pay just €6,50 for such an epic game, I opened my PayPal wallet and just minutes later, I returned to Midgar and the adventures of Cloud and his allies.

It’s a crazy experience, revisiting the game that started my love for the genre. It’s like travelling back in time, knowing what the future of RPG’s will look like. Playing a game with an old-school ATB combat system (and a still awesome magic system) makes you forget about the emphasis modern RPG’s put on action-rich combat and dynamic experiences. The quite linear progression of both the story and your characters is something that would be the death of any new title, but in the time this jewel was released, it was praised and loved. Oh, how I remember the days when I put the first of three discs in my PSX, and how my brother, my friends and I enjoyed the marvelous world Square had created. Dressed in our pyjamas and armed with endless reservoirs of patience, we became one with the epic story and grand world of Final Fantasy VII.

Maybe it’s nostalgia combined with the holiday spirit, but as I equipped my heroes with Materia and started chasing Sephiroth, there were several occasions that brought tears to my eyes and a kind of sadness. I know that this generation of gamers will never experience a game like this again, and that my children will ask me what “my” generation found so great about this game, but just like my first kiss, I will never forget my first RPG love. I’ve already placed a box of tissues next to my laptop, knowing well what moments of tearjerkery await me.

Now excuse me, while I trod down memory lane, slaying monsters and breeding Chocobos…

Riverlands Saga – My Song of Ice and Fire

“The Iron Throne, GRR Martin” by MarcSimonetti. Click the picture to go to his awesome gallery

 

Judging by all the TSW posts you’ve been seeing so far, you might think that all I do is playing one MMO when I’m not working. Fortunately, I was lucky enough to start a monthly SIFRP game with two of my long-time players. Next to this campaign being my first time using the SIFRP rules and Westeros setting, it is also my first time playing via Skype. Yep, the times where my friends and I could just meet to game are gone, as we decided to spread all over Europe. I raise my mug of Dornish wine in honour of modern technology, allowing us to play through the world-wide web.

Anyway, the campaign, which is titled the Riverlands Saga, focuses on the minor House Yannor, bannerhouse to the Tullys in the Riverlands. Taking place just a few months after Robert’s Rebellion, the player characters have been tasked by Edmure Tully to investigate rumours of trouble in House Dulver. It seems that the lord of the House is preparing for war, and the last thing the recovering Riverlands need is another vendetta between rival Houses.

The main characters are Jonas Yannor and his twin brother Gavin, along with the bastard and ward from House Bolton, Dana Snow. Jonas, as heir of the House, is being groomed against his will to rule the Yannor lands one day, while his twin brother shows far more interest in such a function. Dana, a talented huntress and reluctant noble lady, dreams of a stranger from the North and longs for roaming the wild lands one day. This unique combination of characters is an interesting mix, which has already shown to offer some great stories.

Next Sunday, we’ll play our next session, and I will post recaps of all the previous sessions on this blog as soon as possible. In the mean time, I’m curious to hear about your experiences with roleplaying in Westeros. What stories can you share from any corner of the Seven Kingdoms?

The apocalypse – what a letdown

Fiddles_picture015

So, the end of the world came and went, with less fireworks and zombies than some of us had expected. Well, at least in the real world. In TSW, zombies keep stalking every player who ventures into the wild, and gigantic beasts of the apocalypse wait to be slaughtered by the champions of Gaia. The dialogue on the picture above also taught me a new way to insult people, so I guess Armageddon isn’t half bad.

How did you end spent the End Times? Did you slay undead in your favourite MMO or at your game table? Share your tales in the comments!

Discounts on Doomsday!

Well, considering I’m writing this post without fire and brimstone falling from an ashen sky, we can be sure that the end of days will not be today. What we will get, though, are some nice discounts on Steam. Next to some really sick prices on some really epic game bundles, The Secret World is now available with 25% discount. So, if you haven’t checked the game out yet, give it a spin for just a bit more than €20 (or whatever currency you’re using). Trust me, supernatural monster hunting and conspiracy-solving was never this fun!

TSWoD – Anima stat, overlapping templates and more!

Another day, another post about my endeavour to dip the World of Darkness in the awesomesauce that is The Secret World. In the previous post, I talked about the basic premises of this project, and today, we will take a look at the only “homemade” rule, along with some ramblings about the material used. Get your spells and conspiracy theories, we’re going in!

Anima
In TSW, a creature’s Anima is its life force. It is something that runs through everything on this planet, but that can only be controlled by a few. Sorcerers control their own Anima to empower their spells, and hideous creatures from the Hell Dimensions seek this essence out to consume and devour it. While Anima is no resource in the MMORPG, it is an aspect that separates the player character from many other agents in his secret society. Swallowing a bee sent by Gaia gives one the power to manipulate Anima, which is quite helpful in the fight against draugr, vampires and the Filth.

In order to measure all supernatural creatures on an identical scale, TSWoD could use Anima as a power stat and power pool. Like Vampire’s Blood Potency and Vitae, or Werewolf’s Primal Urge and Essence, TSWoD’s Anima would measure a creature’s supernatural capacity and ways to manipulate Anima. The latter should be interpreted in the broadest way possible. An old sorcerer would have have the same Anima rating as a vicious demon, but both would show their bizarre powers in different ways. Anima would be a unifying stat, that makes it easier to compare the rather varied palette of otherworldly beings in the setting.

In many ways, Anima would work like the Arete stat presented in Mirrors. It would provide characters with additional health, supernatural resistance, heightened Attributes and a way to heal bashing damage. Unlike Arete, Anima will also grant access to a pool of Anima points, which can be used to fuel the effects of Anima. Also, Anima might not grant any access to Masteries. I’ll get into the reason for that right…now.

The amount of cool stuff is too damn high!
As I have mentioned in my previous post, I’m trying to emulate the setting of TSW with just three books: the core book, Mirrors and Second Sight. Even though this is a small amount of books, it still offers a lot of options. If a player decides to create a character, both Mirrors and Second Sight offer treasure troves of powers, backgrounds and so-called “minor templates” (supernatural templates that do not have an own power stat and pool). I’m afraid that the both books, along with an Anima stat that grants additional supernatural power, will create far too mighty characters. Of course, additional rules can limit that, but I’m still not so sure about it. I guess the only way to see if it works, is to create a character…

Well, guess that gives away what we’ll be doing next time. In the meantime, please share your feelings about an Anima stat and the amount of cool powers found in Mirrors and Second Sight. I’ll be here to listen to your feedback. Stay alive!