Municipal Dungeon Delving in the fantasy city of Jaquays (pronounced Jake-Ways) in the wake of the Sorcerer-Kings, who have abandoned this world and have left their toxic labs, wyrd towers and feral pets all over the city-scape. More about the making of this game here.
I’ve been honored to play so much on the Actual Play channel, a place where I’ve made wonderful friends and played wondrous games.
What am I regularly playing off-stream?
On Thursday evenings we play our Thursday night game, founded at the start of the pandemic. We are deciding what to play in 2023 and are playing Into the Megadungeon until we all can get together, put our previous campaign to a satisfying end and get behind something new.
At the bottom of most blog posts you might notice links to my Threadless shop. A few years ago I started combining my librarian’s passion for finding old out-of-copyright pics and general geekery with the Affinity Art Suite and this Threadless shop was born. I set up the shop so the proceeds that would go to me go to amazing organizations. Below is what the shop has earned as of 11/28/22 a total of $346.69 for organizations like Medshare India, Fair Fight, National Queer and Trans Therapists of Color Network, National Center for Transgender Equity and many more.
The first NPC we met was an AI who Daniel named, Stat. I’m thrilled that he decided that Lip considers AI people and wants to save Stat from corporate indentured servitude. Lip has a bit of an exhausted nurse’s cold streak; I really didn’t know what he’d do.
Just one of those things where you play with Affinity by putting city lights on Mars, start playing an AW Burned Over game via video play-by-post and then you look at Canva.com again and there are magazine templates and here we are…
Please join us! Jump on in to the playlists and let us know what you’re thinking. Cheer the protagonists, hiss at the villains and gasp at the complications as apocalyptica is barfed forth, questions are asked/acted upon and fuckery is dealt out.
It is an average night in the Mouse Peninsula when Nurse Lip gets a call to extract a mid-level corporate asshole, Mr. Roark, from a firefight in the courtyard of a storybook castle.
Ell wakes up in his Trenchtown crash-pad to find out that he is a finalist for the prestigious Trenchtown Adventurer’s Grant for the Betterment of Mars. This is a guy who knows all of the angles, watch him work them all in the not-quite terraformed Martian hellscape.
I’m MCing two games in a kind of video-play-by-post and I’m surprised at how much fun it is. At first I was all about keeping it fast and loose. Quickly, I wanted my lighting to be better and to have it look and sound cool for the video recording. I’ll get over it.
Another shock is how good the Burned Over Zine is. The Apocalypse World 2e text is a leap over the original and now the Bakers are vaulting over that with these new moves and playbooks. The new Barter rules are tight.
At the end of the day, the game comes first. I’m glad this kind of play is this much fun. If you give it a go and play this way, please let me know how it goes for ya. If you give our games a listen, please leave comments and ask questions.
With video it kinda feels like play-by-post and it kinda doesn’t. I’ve enjoyed play-by-post games in the past and it was through those games that I realized how much I really love writing. That said, it is a ton of time and effort to play a game like that with lots of keyboard sweat. I’m hoping the quick nature of video responses will keep the sweat factor down and keep the games going where other pbp games tend to fall to the wayside. Also in our favor is the 1 MC/1 PC dynamic that will cut down on exhausting lag. Time will tell.
Daniel and Jay are amazing people. Please support their work.
I’m all over the place this week and thought I’d get the links all in one place in case you are on the road and need to hear me prattle on about games for a few hours but don’t have my cell phone number.
I was sincerely honored to be asked to co-host this podcast about Trophy games with Jason Cordova of Gauntlet fame. The podcast is about Trophy Gold and Dark (and more?) but many of the techniques discussed are usable all over the table and cool monsters are cool monsters. If Monsters from the World’s Birth sound interesting to you, check it.
Daniel and I are playing Cyberpunk A.W. using the Burned Over Zine rules with asynchronous video and I’m totally digging it. It is like video play-by-post. The link above is the playlist where you can find it all.
It is not often I’m gaming and think, “Shit, this feels new to me,” but this game is odd and new. I’m digging it and cyberpunk feels like the perfect genre for it. Daniel is a real-life nurse and he’s bringing to the table.
If folks would like, I could post when we get updates under the twitter hashtag #cyberpunknurse.
Cash, Rules, Everything, Around, Me C.R.E.A.M. Get the money Dollar, dollar bill y’allIt’s been twenty-two long hard years, I’m still strugglin’ Survival got me buggin’, but I’m alive on arrival I peep at the shape of the streets And stay awake to the ways of the world ’cause shit is deep A man with a dream with plans to make C.R.E.A.M.
When some assholes agrees to pay you in cash or credstick, talk to the MC and decide which if the payment is:
Some cash, a nice tip
Take +1 Forward on your next Barter roll
Stupid money, really opulent, more money than you are used to seeing in one place.
Take +1 Forward for Barter and Act Under Fire +Barter if what you purchase could hurt or infringe on the territory of someone else or give you an advantage over a threat, if you fail the +1 is gone.
Fuck-you-money, a monarch’s ransom, some Scrooge McDuck shit.
Buy whatever you want whenever you want but once you buy anything out of the norm word hits the streets. Threats are going to circle you.
If you should buy something really huge and game-changing (aircraft carrier, Manhattan, a spaceship, a satellite, a space elevator, a giant kaiju-punching robot, etc) scale down from Fuck-you-money to Stupid money.
Now I’m going to do my best D. Vincent Baker/Meguey Baker impression with a play example. This makes me nervous because the AW2e book has my favorite play examples ever.
An Example with further thoughts
“More money than I can count? Fuck it, I buy an aircraft carrier with jets and shit. Let’s do this.”
“Cool! Let’s talk about what buying an aircraft carrier looks like in this neon apocalypse.”
“I dunno. usedaircraftcarrier.gov?”
“Let’s think about it. There are U.S. Navy aircraft carriers for sale. Shit, there are some sailing around out there, floating without orders since the Elevator Wars looking for a place to get fuel and supplies. Every so often you hear about a coastal town getting ransacked by one.
“Your local arms dealer, Dremmer has a bodyguard with a Marines tattoo. Word is he served on one and got away. He might know how to purchase such a thing. Maybe ask him to set up a sit-down?”
“Shit, I’m not going to be able to just order one online am I?”
“Want to jack into the net and see if there is a place to buy one online? Sounds like Open Your Brain…”
See what I’m doing there? I’m not telling the player no. Shit, I think the game becomes MORE interesting if they purchase an aircraft carrier. The contact, the sales and the negotiation will be interesting to me and put lots more threats on the map.
I’m not putting hurdles in their way. I’m barfing forth cyber-apocalyptica (raids from off-shore aircraft carriers desperate for supplies…niiiice), thinking off-screen and responding with fuckery.
What I’m not doing is telling them that it is impossible or shrugging and saying that they have no idea how to go about doing that. I’m offering ideas that I think will lead to cool shit happening if they decide to follow up.
An Example That Jumps To It
“Cal wants to buy an aircraft carrier.”
“Cool. Cal hands the jingle over to Captain Dustwich who heads into the Baltimore/Atlanta/Indie Triangle with a small fortune and several platoons of loyal marines. She salutes and hands Cal a saber. The people who have lived and worked on the carrier are looking up at you and your posse…”
A Mistake Example with Correction
“Brushfire wants to buy an aircraft carrier with this Fuck-You-Money.”
“No way. Fuck that. That is ridiculous.”
“Could we talk about it? If it really bugs you I’ll find something else to do. I don’t want anyone to feel unsafe if aircraft carriers are a trigger but I think it could be a fun hardhold and getting to the purchase could make for some fun moves.”
“Shit, yeah. Give me a few minutes to think this over. I was so surprised that I just knee-jerked a negative. Let’s take a break, let me digest and come together and talk about what that would look like, ask each other a bunch of questions.”
I don’t know what they want from me It’s like the more money we come across The more problems we see
I am the magic man. I am your link to the subconscious. I have what you want. I can get you what you can’t have.
I’ve been daydreaming about playing a cyberpunk game using the Burned Over AW rules and listening to Neuromancer while I do chores around the house.
Augury is a drug put into a bath and soaked into the skin that allows the user to drop their consciousness into chaotic blend of digital networks, personal metadata and AI playgrounds that lurk behind everyone’s eyes. The trip is an Augury roll while the character is unconscious and helpless.
Coming down off it, even after a successful Augury roll, the character should Act Under Fire, using +Hard rather than +Cool to deal with the side-effects. If the user has done an Augury without the drug before they can choose to use +Weird instead.
A successful Act Under Fire roll means nothing worse than a headache and a hangover, -1 forward until you hydrate and get a decent meal in you.
Make sure someone you trust is watching you while you have a shared hallucination in a bath tub.
Brain Hitch is a neurological device being developed to gain access to information in someone’s brain and now is used to store and sell memories like old fashioned mix tapes. For the right price, you can live someone else’s thrill – from robbing a bank to a L.E.O.R.P.L. (Low Earth Orbit Re-Entry to Parachute Landing) to sex. There are said to be side-effects for having your memories recorded.
Tower Elites are known to use this drug to slum it and see how the downside live.
Aggravation is a combat drug made during one of the countless nameless wars of the past decade, designed to switch off empathy, pain receptors and fear responses. When you take Aggravation, choose:
When you take Aggravation, choose, however many you’d like. MC Holds 1 for every one you choose:
When you Do Battle, +1 Harm inflicted
When you Do Battle, -1 Harm for an hour
When You Do Battle, +1 Hold
MC can spend these Holds to do any of the following when the time is right:
Tell the player that they feel no fear about a given situation, even though they should. +1 XP if the table agrees what they are doing is batshit dangerous.
Inflict more Harm than the character intended, including turning stun or psi harm into killing harm.
During a stressful situation, the character blacks out and wakes up covered in blood. Ask the player whose blood it is.
Sex Only Better is a pill that intensifies both emotional connections and physical pleasure receptors.
When you have sex on S.O.B., go to the old Apocalypse World book and choose a Sex Move. That happens.
Memories are meant to fade. They’re designed that way for a reason.
A technological leap clock is always ticking with the next big change that science brings. It is coming, a six-count clock. It will change the world.
Yes, the world has ended. World governments are gangrenous limbs rotting in the sun. The earth is dying. But still corporations are looking for ways to get their shareholders and CEO’s into the Towers. Rogue scientists are still plugging away in their black market laboratories. Power supplies are still available and digital lines of communication are still in place.
If the apocalyptic world we see is a corpse, technological leaps are the hair and toenails still growing while it rots in a coffin.
When do we advanced a technological leap clock?
When a player makes an advance.
When a significant amount of time goes by (a week, let’s say).
When a player does a job or hands over a resource to the team behind the technological leap.
Whenever you start a new session.
When the fiction demands.
There is always at least one technological leap clock ticking. When one is resolved, start another. Players can be as involved as makes sense. They can
MC, make up one (or choose one from the list below) and don’t speak its name. Maybe make up a few but only the one with a working clock is the next one. Perhaps the players begin doing work for a lab that is working on a different one. Give that one a clock too.
If you don’t have any ideas, choose from our list or ask the players, “What technological leap is rumored to be out there almost ready to roll out that your character is afraid of or is interested in?
My instinct is to try not to fuck with scarcity too much. I’d stay away with fast-growing food or hydroponic tech that turns every one room apartment into a verdant farmland or replicators that pipe out hot Early Grey tea on the cheap. That said, what the fuck do I know? Try it and let me know how it goes.
Think about how this will change the world, the players’ jobs, the way humans interact.
Will the elites in their Towers take interest? If so, make another clock for when elites send untouchable stormtroopers to swoop in to take it away.
Bodies can be cloned on the cheap, costs about as much as a car
Accessing orbit is about as cost effective as owning a jet
Drugs can make folk telepathic for a short stint with side effects, costs about as much as a designer drug
A human brain can be downloaded into a digital medium, costs about as much as high-end cosmetic surgery
Solar energy gathered from Mercury’s craters can now power 10 earths
A signal is recorded from a deep space array that can only be a sign of alien life
Accessing the bottom of the ocean for building and living becomes affordable, costs as much as land on the surface.
These are just suggestions. Go wild and get strange.
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