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Brian Murphy
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What's state of the art in espionage/spy genre/007-style shenanigans RPG these days?
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What I saw at the 2018 GAMA Trade Show.

tl;dr: everyone is excited by the growth in RPGs.

Yes, you read that right. And it's probably stronger growth than you realize.
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There's some really good stuff here that a DM can make very good use of:
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Never adventure without your sea bro!
This Monday I ran the second session with the library crew, with players ranging in age from 3rd grade to 45 years. Most of our players are 11 or 12. Nine players in all, plumbing the depths of the Starless Sea.

The adventure is ancient, so there’s no spoiler in noting that there is a nigh-invulnerable, thousand-tentacled Leviathan waiting to eat the party. It is utterly unbalanced, a puzzle that needs to be solved, not killed. This monster has probably ended more nascent DCC campaigns than weird dice and spell tables combined. It sucks.

Our PCs appease the Leviathan with some sacrifices and make it to the ziggurat at the heart of the eponymous starless sea, only to discover a waiting army of beastmen.

The party had previously split in two due to a dispute over the provenance of a longsword. But even if they hadn’t been split, the PCs would in no way be equipped to tackle a beastman army.

One character, run by an 11-year old kid, realizes that they need a plan:

Kid: I want to talk to the Leviathan.

Harley: Uh ... How?

Kid looks to his character sheets, checks their occupations.

Kid: I’m a fisherman. I’ve learned the Song of the Whales.

Harley: O.o

[The idea is absurd. But okay, if the Leviathan could communicate how would it do it? ...]

Harley: Give me the world’s best intelligence check.

… kid rolls a 19, modified by his Int bonus up to 20. Of course.

Harley: Maybe you’ve heard some clicks and whale songs while out at sea. But in order to talk to the Leviathan you are going to need to stick your head in the water. It will attack you.

Kid: Cool.

[PC sticks head in water. Leviathan misses attack.]

Harley: You sing the Song of the Whales. Roll under your Luck and give me the world’s best Luck check.

Kid rolls a 1.

[Internally, I am loving this, but you can’t give it away. Players have to earn it. I give him the old “write down your wish” challenge.]

Harley: Okay. You somehow have a semblance of a language that the beast can understand. But this is on you. Write a message using only one syllable words. Nobody else can help you. Don’t screw this up.

Kid runs off. Comes back with the following:


… and just like that, he has weaponized the dungeon. He’s not trapped in a dungeon with beastmen. The beastmen are trapped in a dungeon with him.




Of course the Leviathan is pretty indiscriminate about who it consumes, so there are escalating Luck checks to avoid being torn to bits. We ended the session with a thousand tentacles writhing up the sides of the ziggurat, to drag scores of beastmen down into the wine-dark seas.

There’s about 30 minutes left before the PCs "level" up to level 1. A big part of me is terrified that this character is going to die to a bad roll before leveling. But this kid’s PC has accomplished more in this session than any character I've ever run through Sailors, so however it turns out, it will be okay.
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This would be an awesome place to run a campaign of D&D:

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Because +Kiel Chenier requested it. Bonus: examples of +K Yani's amazing cartography!
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The first transgender suicide hotline is now up and running in the U.S. You can reach Trans Lifeline at 877-565-8860.

#Trans #Hotline
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