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Phil Corpuz
133 followers -
Full-time freelance writer and data miner, part time gamer. Wishes to reverse that.
Full-time freelance writer and data miner, part time gamer. Wishes to reverse that.

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Now digging through Cthulhu Dark Zero, the KS backer preview to the upcoming rules-light RPG. "Preview" is kinda misleading as OMG, this is a lot of content right up front and it's pretty good stuff. The actual rules don't even hit the double digits in page count, but they're clear and elegant, and I want to see them in play soon. The real gold looks to be the practical advice on writing mysteries and running them on the table, followed by sample settings and scenarios.

Some pretty good nightmare fuel while waiting for sleep to claim me and tomorrow's mini-con.

With this, the Pendragon bundles, and the ton of other books I've been getting for background reading, (whether for Arthuriana, Filipiniana texts, or general geekery) my to-read pile is growing far faster than my ability to read through them.

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I'm fairly new to the entire "let's make toy battles of historical tanks" thing, as my miniatures gaming has usually been fantasy or far-future in setting. I am morbidly amused by the fact that it appears to be impossible to get any three scale modelers or miniatures gamers to agree on the look of RAL 7028 "Dunkelgelb" and the various camo schemes it was used with, due to a variety of reasons.

This blogpost takes a nice look at the Late War German "Hinterhalt" or Ambush camouflage scheme, explains many of the sources of disagreement, and also comes with nice photo references. I decided to use a different set of colors to work with for my Dunkelgelb base for my Gale Force 9 Tanks models, but this was a valuable and informative read.

Now I just need to make the time to just sit down and paint stuff.

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Had so much fun this afternoon running Night Witches, +Jason Morningstar' PbtA game of the most badass women aviators of WW2 at the Gamers & GMs May Day mini convention today. We had great table chemistry with a group that had two really active Instigators who kept the plot rolling with their shenanigans and bucking the patriarchy, while the other players took the hint and capitalized on the openings that the two hellions created. We even had a neophyte player who did a great job of rising to the challenge, RP-ing with the best of them even though it was her first time trying out tabletop RPGs.

We got a good amount of gaming done, with two day-night cycles of Downtime and Missions in a bit over 3 hours of play (+30 min chargen). The patriarchy was bucked, the tender ministrations of the NKVD were redirected to worthier persons of interest, and supplies were procured through many less-than-legal shenanigans. Targets were hit all through the Kerch straits, including a memorable raid that had everyone slow-flying away, silhouetted by the fireball of a burning fuel dump. We will gloss over the less glorious second night, which did extensive damage to a German railway depot, but also shredded all three planes participating. Everybody seemed to have really enjoyed themselves. Now I really want to try a full campaign.

Pictured is prep work from the night before, using the cool sample character portraits by +Claudia Cangini to provide visual pegs for NPCs.
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Last minute jitters as I prepare to run a game of Night Witches tomorrow at a local mini-convention. Looking through the handouts I need to print, as well as reviewing all the little details, NPC cards, and other things I need.

Also rereading Osprey's "Heroines of the Soviet Union" by Henry Sakaida for bios of the real life pilots of the 588th Night Bomber Regiment / 46th Taman Guards whose exploits inspired the game.

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Painting progress this morning, a Zhuyong Invincible from Corvus Belli's Infinity, one of the infamous power-armored Terracotta Warriors in the service of the Yu Jing State-Empire. Went with the stock color scheme of Yu Jing yellow-orange, with a bit of blue-green and a more extensive (if still incredibly messy) attempt at non-metallic metal. I like the pointman stance he's got, leading the pack and posed like he's only half a second away from kicking ass in the name of the Dragon Emperor and the Communist Party.

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Battle language, the culture it builds and is built from, how it can obscure, protect, comfort, and occasionally remind the trooper of beauty and home.

I keep seeing jargon and euphemisms studied in the context of helping people do terrible things, so it's nice to read about the other side of the coin, and how battle languages can help protect the heart of the soldier who has to go through the hellish and absurd.

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Confession: While I've played in a number of OSR games with my groups, I've also kind of avoided running OSR, because (and I know this is kind of stupid and unfair) I tend to be very allergic to appeals to nostalgia, even though if you strip the aesthetic away, the project of building sleeker D&D-likes and modules that are evocative as hell while also taking them in interesting places is something I can totally dig.

That said, have finally found an OSR module that I badly want to run: False Machine's "Deep Carbon Observatory", by Patrick Stuart and Scrap Princess. Tempted to reskin this for my go-to campaign setting, Eberron. Such fun to read and plan out the possibilities. Love the scratchiness of illustrations, though on the maps, usability might be a bit of issue (glad somebody's done a top-down conversion of the DCO itself). Still, dig the visual style.

Also in the reading pool, Misty Isles of the Eld, for something more gonzo. The Eld remind me, hilariously enough, of WH40k's Dark Eldar.

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Managed to spend all afternoon of Good Friday out at one of the few restaurants open for the Holy Week holiday with friends trying out a one-shot game of Night Witches, a PbtA historical game about the all-women 588th Night Bomber Regiment. First time giving this one a try, and it was a great learning experience towards potentially running Night Witches or the related fantasy RPG The Watch for upcoming events. Need to do some more reading about the Eastern Front and the airplanes used by Germany and the USSR.

Lessons learned:
-Coming up with concepts is great, but need to provide more guidance (or simply pre-fill) advances and moves on the character sheet.
-Make sure that at least one player starts out at least as a Jr. Lt. or higher rank.
-Forgot a cardinal Apocalypse Engine rule of pushing for messy PC-NPC-PC relationships right from the get-go. Make sure everyone has at least one regard slot pointed at another player and possibly an NPC.
-Need pre-made names to fill out the combat section's roster of other pilots and navigators and simple pegs, that I can use or trim as needed.
-Need to be more aggressive in pushing the Daytime threats and moves so that players don't feel so lost at the start. (Mission Pool concept needs to go into play immediately, I think)
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Having a lot of fun with Mass Effect Andromeda, warts and all. In previous games, I've preferred the brutally pragmatic "Renegade" choices for my FemShep, but I find it interesting how changing the context from "survival in an omnicidal war" to "finding and building a new home" points my FemRyder to more idealistic choices. It's kind of astounding how, 600 years later and a whole galaxy away, the Andromeda Initiative's leadership council seems dead set on repeating the mistakes of the Milky Way in the Andromeda Galaxy.

Also included, pics of some of my favorite characters. Vetra Nyx, your ship's Turian supply chief does great as the Tempest's shipmom. It's nice to have a Turian character who isn't a military, honor-bound hardcase. Simultaneously tough and caring, as well as a shrewd black market dealer, I can totally imagine her doling out weapon heatsinks and making sure that the team eats their veggies and takes their vitamins.

Jaal Ama Darav, Angaran resistance fighter, adds a valuable Andromedan voice to the Tempest crew. I like him a lot. Equal parts curious and awkward and working hard to understand these newcomers from the Milky Way just as we're trying to understand the Angara and not repeat the mistakes of old colonialist a-holes. Also surprisingly good at setting up time-delayed joke bombs.

Last up, Nakmor Kesh, Chief Superintendant of the Nexus space station. Practical, no-nonsense, and in charge of the heroic challenge of keeping the lights on and the people of the Nexus fed on an unsustainably small supply base, Kesh has no time for the political BS going on in the Initiative's leadership council. I love her so much and I swear, sometimes I feel like they should just space the rest of the Council and put her in charge. It's always the female Krogans who are the wise ones in the species, it seems.
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4/6/17
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So I may be running the KS playtest kit in April for a Tabletop Day event, and I'm reading up like mad on the playtest kit and related games (Night Witches, Urban Shadows).

I wanted to check the Experience economy in the rules to see if I understand things right. (couldn't seem to grok the actions that provide you experience, but I think I've got them now) Characters only get experience from:

-mission rewards
-If you're the target of Provoke Someone and you opt to give the reaction the other player wants.
-Playbook unique moves (all seem to have at least one way to generate extra XP for themselves and/or others they interact with)
-Using a highlighted Active Move

Did I miss anything? How slowly/quickly does that tend to work out for advancements in your experience? What I'll end up doing is a one-shot of maybe 2, 3 Missions tops, so I don't expect a ton of XP and advancements anyway, but it's something that I've been wondering about.
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