[generic] What are we running and playing

I started running Apocalypse World: Burned Over on Saturday; the AW you know, but with much less sex & horrific violence, a sort of 12 certificate to the previous version's 18.

One of the more helpful differences is the introduction of 'Hard Zones' which are basic starter setting templates, with a few evocative locations listed so that you can spend more time playing and less time deciding where things happen. I chose 'The Bottomless Vaults', a vast underground complex where the remnants of humanity sought shelter from the danger on the surface around 100 years ago.

All the playbooks get a major overhaul, with some being merged (The Operator can also function as a Rigger) and some being refocused on their niche (The Angel becomes The Medic.) The merry band in my game are:
The Lawmaker: leader of a survivor community, in this case based around an old ore processing facility, with advanced tech of the Old World that produces metal castings with little supervision.
The Gearcutter: a technician, engineer and trader; they bargain with other communities for the parts they need and then use their skills to make what is required (basically a new version of The Savvyhead)
The Volatile: a heavily armed soldier, this one guards the shipments of ore being brought into the foundry (combines elements of the Battlebabe and the Gunlugger)
The Weaponized: a living weapon, depicted as a cyborg in the rules but the player wanted to play them as a bio-engineered insectile life-form, which was fine by me!

An interesting change is how many/most of the playbooks have a unique box-out that provides them with some special concerns or benefits for their character, so the Lawmaker gets to decide the laws that their community lives by, the Volatile gets a big list of advanced weapon to choose from, the Weaponized also gets their own advanced gear list, but must choose a couple of drawbacks that go along with being what they are and so on.

For our Session Zero, we made PCs, sketched out the world and something of its history, learned a little bit more about the characters and then, with a good roll from the Lawmaker, decided it was FireFest, an irregular holiday that is held when the biggest ore shipments come in and the foundry is churning out processed materials. The Lawmaker presided over a dispute between citizens, while the Gearcutter tried to make some jingle by helping another citizen build a dance floor over a hole in the ground; when this inevitably collapsed under their weight, it was the Volatile who flew to the rescue and saved the citizen (barely) while the Weaponized was sent to seek out the Gearcutter and return with them to make sure they were doing their actual job of maintaining the foundry. Then Discord crashed and cut us off about 30 minutes prematurely, but at least that gives me time to get all these threats formally arranged for next Saturday.


Level 7 Blingmaster
So at Nottingham’s Ludorati Café over the last few weeks, I have ran Alien RPG ‘Chariot of the Gods’ for a new group there. Five fresh players all keen and enthusiastic.
It has a great set up in the private room called the Cube. I can connect to the TV screen and there is a nice Bluetooth speaker in there’s too.


It took two sessions, approximately six hours, to finish with nice bits of role playing along the way.
All the PCs managed to survive as they did follow their agendas.

It was great fun.

I have now started my Tales from the Loop campaign with them, starting with my BigTrax and Magic Tricks scenario I have ran many times before at conventions. We’re two sessions in with that now too, exploring not only the adventure in the Land of the Loop but also the tragic home lives of the Kids too.
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I put together an impromptu game of Root today, using the free quickstart rules on Drivethru: none of us have ever played the boardgame, but we were interested in playing this anthro take on incursion, revolution, struggle and subterfuge.

I really like the rules for injury, exhaustion & decay (the latter represents your supplies & equipment in the abstract, but also tracks the durability of individual items and acts as a stand in for currency), but it took a while to really get the reputation rules; I pushed them hard, to try to bring them into play and test them, but they never really found a place in the story we wove, at least.

I intended this to be a quick 'in & out' mission, with the PCs being employed to look into what was being built in a nearby clearing, in case it signified an escalation in hostilities between the birds and the cats, but of course it didn't prove to be quite as simple as that, mostly because one of the PCs managed to blow themself and an ally up while attempting to provide a distraction.

We're definitely not playing strictly to the given setting, as the PCs include an anthro cow and a mink, but we've enjoying it and have agreed to carry it on into a second session when we can get together for it again. There are some very useful tables to roll on to create your own part of the Forest where adventures take place and give it a sense of being a living, breathing place; these provided some springboards for me that created a plot far deeper than I had anticipated...


Rune Priest
I'm playing in a Call of Cthulhu campaign set in Bristol in 1984. Members of a certain age will know who I'm paying homage to when I say my investigator's a private detective named Terry Shoesmith. I don't think he's going to last very long. Despite having GM'ed (Keepered?) a fair amount of CoC I've made just about every mistake in the book as a player.


The Guvnor
Staff member
Further in Dolmenwood: the Fall of Malbleat Manse The "heroes", having taken a commission from Lord of Lankshorn to rescue his daughter Esmerelda, and had perilous travels through blizzards and the Catacombs below the Manse, had laid up to sleep, the corpses of the unread Vargouilles thrown into the corridor outside. It was as the Otyugh was gobbling up these corpses that they decided to open the door and investigate. It was fierce but even trying to retreat the Otyugh was doomed. (Shame, I always think they are just misunderstood). So, they had to get up to the Manse proper. I used playing card geomorphs to randomly generate the Catacombs and to my delight there was no connection to the upper floors but there was a Sewer, where I was sure the Otyugh had lived. So I decided the garderobe was above there, and sewage and waste was tossed down. They were attacked suddenly by the ghouls they had heard yipping all night. They slew them easily and were not infected. They crawled up the slippy sewer hole and into the garderobe, skulked past the kitchen and waited. The rogue halfling was disguised as a mini chef and poisoned the 'herdman stew' with aconite, belladonna and hemlock. They waited. They heard as the servants started to wail... They made their move. The final battle was fierce.. every goatman was fighting with disadvantage, their ranks thinned by poison. I had reskinned an ogre (does Scymes actually do this as a vivimancer?) as a gigantic halfbreed and yet they took everyone down, albeit with two of them making death saves. The priest of Attunwe made it away in a flying black cauldron, but they freed Esmerelda and they now understand the addercorns. What now? Ideas?

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Staff member
I think my second Alien demo game may well be dead in the water as the fates conspired against us.

Starting to get nervous/excited about starting running Curse of Strahd later this month.
We had a week of games on our Discord server last week, with two new members to play with!

Monday was a game of Apocalypse World: Burned Over but set on a roughneck spaceship trying to make a living running the deep dark beyond civilised space; it all went very Event Horizon and there was a high body count.

Tuesday we tried playing Dead of Night, but tech issues meant we had to cut it short.

Wednesday was Parsely day and I acted as the Parser for three players trying to solve the Action Castle adventure! They finished with a score of 94!

Thursday we tried a mod of Parsely that was intended to be more improv, by using dice to randomise outcomes instead of a sticking to a pre-scripted adventure, but it still needs some work.

Friday was a Fiasco day and we played a Twin Peaks-like game of strange dreams, buried secrets and surreal appearances by a stranger in a moose head.
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Just tried running Band of Blades but after a couple of weeks decided to abandon it.

I love the idea but I felt there several problems for our group.

First the amount of bookkeeping was overwhelming both the players and the GM. With more skill and dedication from me and the players a lot of this could be blended into the game to create a fun narrative, but instead it large box ticking and adjusting. And the amount of paper at the table, I felt a full on filing cabinet would've been beneficial.

Secondly the amount of improv required is quite an ask. Roll up 3 missions with the players, let them choose what they want to play then pull a compelling mission out your ass on the spot.

Thirdly the players found largely playing a different character every week a bit strange, and brought them out of the narrative somewhat. I imagine some more weeks into the campaign this would be less of an issue.

It was enjoyable in parts, but also a bit stressful to run, so decided to can it as I've got enough stressful things going on in my life already. I'd like to give it a go as a player with an experienced GM though.

So I'm returning to Whitehack next week as it's fun, quick, stress-free gaming.


The Guvnor
Staff member
The Dragon of Dreg Part 1
Following the consolidation of their power in the liberated Manse of Malbleat, having secured some stone golems to protect it in their absence (a "fair" trade with the Drune), our heroes headed out to deal with the threat of the Dragon of Dreg that has been known about and growing for about 2 weeks in game time and about 3 months IRL!
In short, Dreg has been devastated by a Black Bile Dragon that was badly wounded whilst pregnant and crawled into the centre of the town, and laid two eggs in the town square.
The dragon's kobold worshippers moved to secure the city and then to purge the surrounding hex from inteference.
The game, which was run largely as 2 very big set piece mins based battles with a 'montage' style series of skill challenges in the middle.
The feel was 'Stalingrad' urban warfare with kobolds deploying every trap they could, hanglider bombers, and yet.. the players eventually won thru and faced down the two newly hatched wyrmlings..
Then Mummy arrived and we called it a halt for the night, we played from 19:00 to 23:30, with a nice preamble meander from Lankshorn to Dreg via Hall of the Harridwns, and we all had a good time.


dragon of dreg.jpg
Next weekend (30th) I'm running the first part of Sandy Petersen's Ghoul Island for a group of 5 - don't know how far we will get but we have all Saturday, so potentially quite a way. Had to brush up a bit on 5e as we have mostly been playing 3.5 recently.

I also got my copy of Fria Ligan's Alien which looks pretty good, so will try to fit in one or two of the cinematic scenarios. I like the M:Y0 system.
Running: Pawns of Destiny - Savage Worlds/Beasts & Barbarians; The Arioniad - solo Classic Traveller (at the moment, anyway); 28 Months Later - solo Savage Worlds.

Playing: Golden Age - Genesys; Desperate Times - started as Edge of the Empire but being converted to Genesys on the fly.

Just one more campaign. I can stop whenever I want to.


Staff member
I finished running the Alien RPG with the Tavern gang a fortnight ago, which was fun, and am now two sessions into the preamble for the Curse of Strahd which I've posted about in the Personal Blogs section.


The Guvnor
Staff member
Brackenwolde Gazette
Feast of St Baldric, Sunning 21st, Year of our Deliverance 777
By Ducal Warrant of Her Grace the Duchess Mathilde of Brackenwolde, Lady of Tolmenwode, Protecttor of the Faith

Dragon of Dreg Slain by Unknown Heroes.

Haexonoma, the cruel black dragon that has been devastating the sinpit of Drregg since early Grimvold is dead! Since it crawled out of the river Hameth, wounded from a deep claw along it's right flank, the Bile Spewing Serpent killed the pathetic inhabitants of the river and sin port of Dreg. Shortly after the Unholy Wyrm dragged itself into the town, a horde of Black Koboldes began to enter the town, slaying all and building a nest in the town square. The pitiful inhabitants of the fled across the Hameth to the wicked Priory of P...... under the shelter of the sinful High O.... of that wicked den of gambling and licentiousness.
Haexonoma tried to fly and yet kept tumbling to the ground, unable to fly with her wounds. So did she lay two eggs in the town, which hatched forth two wyrmlings, one male and one female, Helfarrian & Hesrexia. All seemed lost as the town buildings were wrecked, dissolved with bile, or set on fire. Black mists rose from the Earth, and hordes of stinging insects drove out the remaining kin of the town.
As Her Grace, Duchess of Brackenwolde, raised her banners to summon the fyrde and march to the aid of the ever disloyal Drreggirrim, a band of adventurers came out of the High Wolde, apparently fresh from some skirmish with the goatkin 'Lord' Malbleat. Suitably weird and occult in their demeanour and history, they are reported as a Vicious Half-man, an Emaciated Elf archer, a moss covered Grimalkin Knight, a Pyrate covered in Rybbons, a Boy, and a Purple Devil-kin with horns.
In a battle reported by our correspondent, an apothecary of some note hailing from distant Lankshorne, the battle was most epic and vicious. The koboldes deployed catapults, wicked traps of scorpions, bees and insects. The black mists swirled as dragonscale warriors and shamans brought spell and axe to bear upon the adventurers. Then the wyrmling attacked! Spewing forth acid bile they wounded the Ribbon Pyrate badly, and then came forth Haexonoma!
All watching from the island swore that the adventurers would die, but the Emaciated Elf and Purple Devil-kin peppered Haexonoma with arrows and blasts of an eldritch nature. The Grimalkin Knight and the Ribbon Pyrate found their strength and fought on. Then, in an act most cunning, the Vicious Half-man mounted the dragon's spine and stabbed it to death from atop (although some say it were the Purple Devil-kin that delievered the death spell).
Such is the licentiousness of the disloyal Drreggirrim that immediately upon the death of the cruel Bile Spewing Serpent they began an orgy of feasting and gambling and the taking of powders and fungi, that lasted from the Feast of St Clyde, through the Solstice Feast of St Elsa, right up until the Feast of St Baldric. Knowing the fecklessness of the folk of that place, they are probably partying now whilst a giant makes patty-cakes with their poor grandparents' bones and blood..

First Age

D&D h@ck3r and Hopepunk
Staff member
Danger in Risen Vale
(AKA The Family Christmas Game)

A Pathfinder 2e adventure for Tiers 1-3

Once upon a time in Palar, deep in Risen Vale, there was Tallemin, a small hamlet that bothered no-one, but kept busy with the rich land and the very occasional lost traveler. Beyond memory, but recalled in campfire stories, a curse fell upon the place. Something terrible and evil was disturbed and, despite belated intervention from Lord Barast, the place was abandoned, with survivors fleeing to Horton, the larger settlement lower in the vale. Stories continue of unquiet spirits, haunted reaches of the Greenhost forest, and something at the heart of it all, watching and waiting.

The stories seemed far away until recently. Now, the outlying farms of Horton are themselves in danger. Could it be the same evil that is still mentioned in hushed stories about the fire?

Lady Gyla, ruler of the surrounding lands, long lived, eternally youthful, widow of Lord Barast, has commissioned you to travel North from Horton and investigate what is going on.