RPG Knights - Multiclassing
It’s almost time for Halloween, Central Canada Comic Con, and JimCon. That means it’s the end of the convention year for Shared Weave Games. This time of year always feels like new-years to me, as I’m sure it does for many others who count the passage of time by convention seasons.
For me, this year has been one of change, introspection, nostalgia, and creative endeavour.
We saw the launch of a new (and somehow old) edition of Dungeons & Dragons. We’ve seen incredible new RPGs like Numenera, and 13th Age come into their own. Feng Shui is getting a new edition <https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/atlasgames/feng-shui-2-action-movie-roleplaying-game-by-robin>, and Battletech is making a comeback on the table. It’s a renaissance on the tabletop that, like the new edition of Dungeons & Dragons, is both invigoratingly new, yet comfortingly familiar.
This renaissance isn’t only happening on the tabletop. We’ve also been watching a resurgence of beloved genres on the digital platform thanks to the phenomena of Crowd Funding, that we’ve been told were long dead by “industry insiders”, and corporate executives, due to what they claimed was “a lack of fan interest”.
We’ve seen fantastically successful campaigns by inXile Entertainment <https://www.inxile-entertainment.com/> which have fed a resurgence of the classic CRPG with titles like Wasteland 2, and Torment: Tides of Numenera.
inExile is still taking pledges directly so they can add even MORE content to torment. The current stretch is to fund the re-addition of “The Gullet”. Go on over and get in on that. In on pledging. Not into the gullet.
The Space Sim genre (in my opinion, the best digital role-playing platform on the planet) is being outright resurrected thanks to the legendary Chris Roberts, and the his company Roberts Space Industries. They had an unimaginably successful crowd funding campaign for it’s drool-inducing game, Star Citizen.
I’ve reminisced on the past, and realized that major mundane life events, changes, and milestones have coincided with major changes in my Gaming Life. Moving through elementary school to junior high, junior high to high school, and high school to adult life led to changes in gaming groups, and introduction to new games. Financial hardship led to me needing to develop games, and/or to repurpose games I already had.
Clue: The RPG anyone?
Since my extended brush with death that my family calls the dark period (2008-2011), I’ve reevaluated every priority I’ve ever held. The disease is currently in remission, but it may come back at any time and do me in, slow and painful. I got to thinking… if that happens, none of the games I created when I was poor will ever be able to be enjoyed by anyone else. My children will never know the kinds of things that their dad made. I will have left nothing.
In 2010, I started frantically working on writing down all of the games, systems, and worlds that I have in my head, desperately trying to get them out. While none of them are ready to be released yet, I feel better for having writ them into a place where my work can at least be continued, should the disease rise from its torpor. Over da’ Boards is the closest to my heart, as it’s the first game I ever created (I was 11 years old), but it’s the most complex of the games to release, and still needs rigorous testing. It’s going to be Shared Weave’s flagship, and after playing it constantly over the last four years, I can honestly say that you’re in for a treat when the first whistle blows.
In the process of getting the games out of my head, I think something came loose, like the cap of a fire hydrant. I started this blog, a doodle page, three comics (The Sacred Ice, RPG Knights, Bubbles!), a vlog, and I’ve been busy rewriting famous songs into gaming filk. All of this on top of writing and running a 13th Age campaign, a Pathfinder campaign, various one-shots to run demos for Numenera and other RPGs, AND write enough down to be an entertaining panel guest, when I’m invited to speak.
While the site and the company were launched as a platform to sell games, ironically, it’s the blog, the comics, and the appearances that have garnered the site the vast majority of its regular readership. If you’d asked me a year ago if I’d have a thousand regular readers for this kind of thing, I’d have told you that you were a few sanity points short of a cultist.
All in all, 2014 has been a great year. I’ve met hundreds of amazing people, in this vast family we call the gaming community. While we’ve heard some terrible, hateful things come out of the vocal, psychotic fringe of our community, I am proud to say that I never saw anyone treat anyone else with disrespect or unkindness in all of my travels. The people around me welcomed me, and everyone else around them with open arms and open minds, regardless of differences.
When I wrote the dedication for JimCon last year, I celebrated all of you, and thanked you for the life I’ve had. I’d like to thank you again, and ask that you help heal our community by spreading welcoming acceptance, kindness, and love to our brothers and sisters of gaming.
It’s been a year since I began this grand experiment, and it’s expanded well beyond its original purpose. I’d originally started the site as a place to sell the games that we’re making, but perfection in game design is a painstaking and protracted process. It became clear that it was going to take a lot longer to perfect Over da’ Boards than I thought, so I was paying for domains and hosting for a site that wasn’t actually doing anything.
It was when I was out on the ice helping teach my sons how to play hockey, that a thought came into my head:
If I was a player in a bloodsport hockey league like the one in Over da’ Boards, how would I feel about being a little league hockey coach, let alone the coach of a team that my sons were on?
It was then, out on the ice during the frigid cold of a rural Manitoba winter, that The Sacred Ice was conceived. I brought the idea to Ben, and he was enthusiastic about the project. I designed the scenes and wrote the story, Ben took what was in my head and put it into pictures, and we brought Chantal in do do backgrounds and shading. Soon the first panel was up, and sharedweave.ca was on its way to becoming what it is today.
Since then I’ve imported Doc’s Box from Blogspot, shot and edited some silly talking-head videos with Ben and called it Ben Over and Doc I.T., added 2 more comics and a doodle page, and gave Ben a page to show off his Warmachine mini-mods, Iron Kingdoms fan fiction, and whatever else he wants to do.
Even with a long hiatus in the middle that forced a complete re-launch of the site, we’ve managed to garner a regular readership of over a thousand, with 2500 new visitors a month:
I’d like to take a moment to thank all of our regular readers for coming by and reading what we write, and checking out the things we make. I’d also like to thank everyone who came by the site to check us out and give us a chance. It’s nice to know that people are appreciating what we make. It keeps us going.
I’d like to take a moment to ask a favour of our fans:
We are tiny organization, with no more than three people, so we can only yell so loud. If you like what we’re doing here, make some noise. Spread the word. Share the links. Talk about us. Come by our social media groups and talk about whatever nerdy thing crosses your mind. Participate in our forums. Visit us at the conventions.
Above all, let us know what YOU want, and how we can do better.
Time out’s over. Game on!
Apparently, patch weekend went well.
Bubbles, the Biclops Beholder
(Click Here for Part 1)
(Click Here for Part 2)
“Wait a second Hawmett… there’s something here.”
Benthre’s player succeeded a level 3 (demanding) Intellect roll, getting a 12.
I’d noticed that there was a barely visible seam on the edges of the front of the rostrum, on which stood the great statue of the disturbing hooved and tentacled thing. I tapped the stone with a small crafting hammer from my kit, and sure enough, there was a hidden compartment inside. As I looked for a way to open the hidden compartment, I kept my eyes averted from the statue, for my head swam, and bile rose in my throat every time I looked at it. It seemed there were faces, eyes, limbs, and other body parts in the statue that were there, but were replaced by some other disturbing thing as my eyes moved over the statue’s surface.
As I moved around the side of the rostrum, I noticed that one of the statue’s tentacles reached down farther than the rest. As I placed my hand on it to examine its surface, I heard a “Schick!”, and a round section of stone opened at the end of the tentacle, leaving a suppurating sphincter. I looked over at Leve, and he immediately said, “No. NO. HELLS no. Just… no.”
Hawmett said with a smirk, “You’re the Jack Ben. Get Jackin’.”
“Tragg ME. Fine. You’re both windstripped traggers, you know that?”
It bears mentioning that I ran this game on the main sales floor at our local FLGS, Game Knight Games and Cool Stuff, and at this point people had started gathering to watch us play. Everyone at the table was going “Ewwww” and cringing when I described the sphincter, and so was our impromptu audience. Benthre’s player started looking around the table, and at the bystanders, contemplating doing the unthinkable. “Well… uh… I…. I….”
Everyone was saying “No… no man… don’t do it… oh GOD don’t do it…”
“…… I shove my arm into the sphincter.”
Everyone, player and bystander alike, cried out in unison. They cringed, and shuddered, and laughed in glorious disgust. We’d now grabbed the attention of everyone who hadn’t yet gathered at the table.
Incidentally, this was originally a 1 XP discovery moment. I bumped it to 2.
I rooted around in the… canal… for a bit, and found recessed places in the… flesh?… where my fingers could get into. It was difficult, but I contorted my digits into a position where all four of the recessions were filled by a finger. It was at this point I heard a “Click!”, and the front panel popped out a bit. As I withdrew my arm from that horrible place, the slime that I expected to stay on my hand withdrew itself from my arm and back into the sphincter, like when you dangle spit from your mouth and then suck it back in. I think it would have nauseated me less had the slime remained on my arm.
I set the difficulty level of the Speed check to open the lock at Level 5 (Challenging), so Benthre needed a 15 or better. He lowered it one difficulty level by convincing me that his hand, being partly mechanical could bend in ways his fingers couldn’t. He then lowered the difficulty one more step by spending 3 speed points to reduce the difficulty another step. He rolled an 11 against the new target number of 9, and picked the lock.
In the compartment we liberated a good bunch of shins, and some bizarre looking s. One of them seemed to glow, but a point in the middle of it seemed to draw the light toward it. It also had an ominous red switch. We gave that item to Leve. There was a tube with a claw on it, and Leve said that he believed the device to be mounted on the shoulder. We gave that one to Hawmett, and when he put it on his shoulder, it snapped closed, digging into his skin. A cable shot out of it and attached itself painfully to the back of his head, dropping the big man to his knees. Leve rushed to his side, concerned for his lifebound companion. Hawmett gave Leve a reassuring look, and stood up. Wherever Hawmett looked, the tube looked, and he said he could feel in his mind that the tube was some sort of beam weapon, similar to the beams of the trap we’d encountered earlier.
“Ben, you’d better not make us regret joining you in this insane pastime of yours.”
“Passtime?”, I said. “I’m in this to get rich.”
It was only partly a lie. I took the three vials of viscous liquids. Leve said they might have some regenerative properties if applied directly to wounds and lesions.
This is one of the most fun parts of being a GM in numenera. You can make up ANYTHING and hand it to the players. Sure, you CAN do this in other systems, but Numenera is designed to let you do it and not break your players’ suspension of disbelief, and with it their mindset and sense of immersion. Not only that, but as I intimated on Reddit, Numenera = Inspiration. If you’re running dry on creative juice, read you some Numenera. It’s dream food.
We went out to the outer walls of the room to check for some sort of egress. As we found a hallway out of this room, we heard the distinctive scratching skittering of the things we’d just fought off, but from a larger number of them. MUCH larger.
We began to run down the hallway as fast as we could, but we knew we’d never be able to outrun them. It was then that the hallway ended in a hole, and an ancient ladder made of some sort of rope descended down into the darkness. We started racing down the ladder for our lives.
Everyone succeeded in a speed check, but I handed 2 experience points to Leve’s character, and told them that they could hear the rope above them starting to snap, and the bottom was still nowhere in sight. He gave the extra point to Hawmett’s player… and they began to frantically discuss how to get themselves out of this mess. It was then that Bethre’s player saw that he had the Numenera equivalent of an uber immovable rod, called a “Reality Spike”. This thing not only anchors in space, but in time, dimension, and reality. You could anchor something on the event horizon of a black hole if you wanted to.
We heard the ancient rope ladder starting to snap and unravel at a weakened point some place above us. I drove my Reality Spike into the wall, and tied the rope ladder to the Reality spike. We then continued racing down to the bottom of the shaft, and when we got to the bottom, we could no longer hear the skittering of the creatures above. Here, deep in the hollow mountain, under an unfathomable volume of rock, we were bathed in a sickly purplish-green light, surrounded by horrific carvings and a language etched by minds un-sane. Into what kind of nightmare has the Order of Truth sent us, and for what purpose?
To be continued…
I am posting part 3 of the story style review of Numrnera tomorrow, and I think Ben has more content on the way as well.
Shared Weave’s manga series “The Sacred Ice” is coming out of hiatus for hockey season as well, so stay tuned.
For those of you waiting for Over da’ Boards (the game that “The Sacred Ice” is based on):
The rules are done.
We’re now working on making the rulebook the best teaching aid possible, and we are developing instruction videos to make learning the game even easier.
If anyone is in Winnipeg and surrounding areas who wants to join the OdB Franchise Owner Rules beta, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to get in on the pre-season.
Good night, and game on!
RPG Knights: Newbie Nightmares #1