Monday, 28 January 2013

Toydarian Grabworms

Howdy All!

Less than a week away from GottaCon, and I'm getting both anxious and excited! Yesterday marked our last session of my Edge of the Empire story arc that I called 'Hunt for the Grabworm'. In preparation for the Con I've been playing as much EotE as I can, running two separate games a week. And with the completion of my Sunday groups' story arc, we're going to take a break from it and play some Deathwatch after the con. Hopefully I won't be too Star Wars'd out afterwards, as I still have two more acts to run in the EotE Beginner Game adventure, The Long Arm of the Hutt, for my other group!

On a related note, I got an email from a party attending GottaCon, asking if I could run an additional EotE session they can attend. I'm for the possibility of running another session so emailed the Con heads, but I seemed to miss the deadline for getting a slot. But they suggested we keep and eye out for no-shows, cancellations, or free areas will could play in.

Anyway on to the Grabworms!

Grabworms were one of my first crafted adversaries in EotE; I wanted to create something interesting and challenging to my players for the finale, so I had them combat a Juvenile and an Elder Adult Grabworm. The wookieepedia entry for them is rather sparse, so I had some freedom to design these creatures. Along with the stat blocks, I wrote up a brief Ecology of them:

Grabworm Ecology
Grabworms are voracious aquatic ambush-predators from Toydaria that use their keen senses and natural camouflage to prey upon the unwary. Juveniles are over 3 meters long and half a meter in diameter on average, and can pose a threat to the indigenous Toydarians, although most Juveniles will only attack prey they can easily swallow whole. A Juvenile will set itself up to ambush prey by swimming to a suitable location underneath an algae mat, and burrowing up through the mat until it's head just breaks the surface. The natural green pigmentation of its hide and seaweed mimicry of its antennae, allow the grabworm to blend in with its surroundings. Using an array of keen senses that include light and motion sensitive eye spots, vibration-perceptive feelers, and olfactory pores, a Juvenile is able to react rapidly to precieved prey, lashing out with its long, blindingly fast prehensile tongue or swallowing it with its toothsome mouth. 

Once a Juvenile grows to nearly double its size, it undergoes a brief change when it turns an adult: It's colouration changes to a muddy brown, to better reflect the larger waterways that it now frequents. Too large now in size and weight to be supported by most algae mats, the Adult grabworm abandons the sit-and-wait tactics of juveniles, and actively stalks prey to ambush. The keen senses that Juveniles possess are further heightened in Adulthood, allowing them to detect prey on the surface of algae mats, which they burst through to attack with tooth and tongue. Rumors perist of humongous Elder specimens that have consumed entire Toydarian villages, leaving no survivors. Detractors ask where do such foolish rumors come from if there are no survivors?

Elder Adult [left] and Juvenile [right] Grabworms with some hapless Fringers

Toydarian Grabworm, Juvenile [Rival]
Brawn 4 | Cunning 2 | Presence 1
Agility 3 | Intellect 1 | Willpower 2
Skills: Brawl 1, Perception 2, Ranged 2, Survival 2, Stealth 2, Vigilance 2
Talents: Ambush [Add a Boost Die to all Stealth & Initiative checks]
Soak/Defense: 5/0
Thresholds: Wound 20
Abilities: Silhouette 1
Equipment: Prehensile Tongue (Ranged; Damage 4; Critical 5; Range [Short]; Ensnare 1, Knockdown), Toothsome Maw (Brawl; Damage 8; Critical 3; Range [Engaged])

Toydarian Grabworm, Elder Adult [Nemesis]
Brawl 5 | Cunning 3 | Presence 1
Agility 4 | Intellect 1 | Willpower 3
Skills: Brawl 2, Perception 2, Ranged 2, Survival 3, Stealth 2, Vigilance 2
Talents: Adversary 1 [Upgrade the difficulty of every combat check targeting this character once] Ambush [Add a Boost Die to all Stealth & Initiative checks]
Soak/Defense: 8/0
Thresholds: Wound 30 / Strain 15
Abilities: Draw In*, Swallow**, Silhouette 3, Fearsome [Fear checks against are Average difficulty upgraded once]
Equipment: Prehensile Tongue (Ranged; Damage 5; Critical 4; Range [Short]; Ensnare 3, Knockdown, Draw In*), Toothsome Maw (Brawl; Damage 10; Critical 3; Range [Engaged]; Pierce 1, Vicious 1 Swallow)

Draw In*
The Grabworm can spend a maneuver to drag a target it has Entangled into an Engagement with it. Additionally, any melee attacks between the Grabworm and an Entangled Target ignore any modifiers from size differences. This only works on targets that are 2 or more Silhouette sizes smaller than the Grabworm.

The Grabworm can spend a Triumph from a successful Brawl combat check to attempt to swallow the target (which must be 2 or more Silhouette sizes smaller than it), who then immediately makes an Athletics or Coordination check (their choice) at a Daunting difficulty. (at a Formidable difficulty if they are Entangled by the Grabworm) On a success, they escape. On a failure, they are swallowed, and must hold their breath for a number of rounds equal to their Brawn rating before they begin to suffocate. (In either result they are no longer considered Entangled if they were.) Swallowed targets are considered to be Engaged with the Grabworm for the purposes of attacking a target engaged with an ally, and if attacking the Grabworm from inside. (Successful internal attacks ignore half the grabworms soak, rounded up.) Swallowed characters cannot be declared the target of any attacks while inside the Grabworm.

Comments Appreciated!

May the Force be with You! ;{١

Sunday, 20 January 2013

2012 Retrospective

So I hadn't been able to spend much time working on this Retrospective as I've been busy gaming. And once I'd been free to spend time compiling it, I found it more difficult than I originally thought it would to write. I think one of the reasons is that I've used my blog for a repository for my gaming experience, so any thoughts or feelings I've had on any games I've played have already been recorded. Hence, I feel at loss for words now that I'm trying to write this review on what I've played the past year. So I'm not going to write any synopses or anything like that beyond minor comments, so I'm going to link to any relevant blog posts I made.

Monthly Blog Breakdown of 2012

January - N/A
Feburary - GottaCon 2011
March - All Flesh Must Be Eaten, GURPS
April - Airship Pirates, Eclipse Phase
May - Heavy Gear
June & July - Mouse Guard
August - Spirit of the Century
September - D&D 3.5, Umläut
October - Ravenloft 3.5
November & December - Fiasco, Star Wars: Edge of the Empire

After some thought, I made a couple of categories my choice games of the past year will fit into:

Jerreth's Choice RPGs of 2012

Choice Core System: FATE (via Dresden Files and Spirit of the Century)
Choice Rules: Star Wars: Edge of the Empire (Narrative dice are brilliant. I love the non-binary results
Runners Up: Mouse Guard (Simple but Innovative); FATE (Easy and Flexible) 
Choice Collaborative Storytelling: Dresden Files (My group has weaved the coolest collective story that I've ever had the privilege of being apart of)
Runners Up: Fiasco (Hilarity); Umläut (Who doesn't want to play a Heavy Metal group?)
Choice Setting(s): - Star Wars or Call of Cthulhu. (I'm both a Fanboy and a Cultist) 
Runners Up: Spirit of the Century (Pulp is heaps fun!); Legend of the Five Rings (Samurai!)

I asked my fellow gamers what systems they enjoyed the past year and what they're looking forward to trying this year:

Laura: "I really liked Spirit of the Century.
Mike: "I don't know what system I liked the best. Legend of the Five Rings was really good. I want to do some Eclipse Phase but I don't know if I'm a good enough GM to run it fully. I really want to try Deathwatch." 
Fraser: "I still absolutely love Mouse Guard. D&D 4 is good in it's niche. Our group works well with convention-style short adventures. I guess I'd like to try D&D Next and Hillfolk: DramaSystem when they're out."

Speaking of the DramaSystem, I supported a few Kickstarter projects in 2012 and eagerly await their releases this year:

On a similar note, there are tons of RPGs that I haven't played; a few I own, most I don't. And with so many interesting games, I feel I can't really make a thorough list of the RPGs I'd like to play in 2013, but I will put up a brief list of games I'd like to try out from my own collection. That way if I do a Retrospective for 2013, I'll have a list I can check off!

44: A Game of Automatic Fear (A simple but interesting one-shot game)
Airship Pirates (I've run two short games of this; I'd like to play a short campaign. Also the latest supplement; Underneath the Lamplight; is now available for pre-order on PDF, with a hard copy due March.)
Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea (Sword & Sorcery with Mighty Thews!) 
Deadlands [Savage Worlds] (I've yet to play/run a western game, and adventuring in The Weird West seems a fun choice) 
Dread (Still have yet to find an appropriate block tower for this innovative game) 
Paranoia (I'm hoping to play this at GottaCon this year. I'd also love to possibly run a game or two) 
Space: 1889 [Savage Worlds] (Quasi-steampunk Victorians in Space!) 
The Extraordinary Adventures of Baron Munchausen (An amazing collaborative storytelling game) 
The Mountain Witch (A really cool one-shot game with a neat Trust mechanic) 
Unhallowed Metropolis (The system seems a little too crunchy for my tastes, but the setting is wicked)

And finally a few RPGs I still have my eye on picking up/trying:

And that concludes my 2012 Retrospective!

Cheers! ;{١

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

SW:EotE Beginner Game Playtest Triumph

So today I had my playtest of the Star Wars: Edge of the Empire Beginner Game, and I must say it was a Triumph! Playing through the adventure with 3 system-new players went just barely over the four hour timer I had set for myself, and that was with a some filler. So I reckon a group of 4+ players should be able to finish of the adventure within the four hours I've allotted for my slot at GottaCon.

The Escape from Mos Shuuta adventure itself is fairly linear, but in the case of it being an introductory/convention adventure this is a good thing. I believe the way it introduces new game mechanics per encounter is an excellent way to teach the system to newcomers, as my players picked up these very quickly. Not only that, but my experience with the Beta allowed me to easily adjudicate any thing not covered in the basic rules.

I also learned a few tricks to speed up play for the session I run at the con, like pre-writing a stat blocks for the hero's ship and the various NPCs they might encounter. Also, keep a handy Quick Reference Guide or two available for spending Advantage, Threat, Triumph, and Despair.

All in all I'm really happy with how the playtest turned out on a number of fronts: The game was both easy to teach and learn; the adventure fit well into a four hour timeframe; and most importantly: my players and I had fun! This all really makes me confident to run this game. :) Also to boot, my players were eager to play the follow-up adventure: The Long Arm Of The Hutt, which I am more than willing to oblige! :D 

On a related note, Fantasy Flight Games just posted some great news on Star Wars: Edge of the Empire: They've finally announced how much the Core Rulebook, the Game Master's Kit, and the Roleplay Dice are going to cost, and when they're arriving at your FLGS: second quarter 2013. I can bet your dicebag I'm totally going to have all three in my hands come April!

May the Force be with You! ;{١

Sunday, 13 January 2013

GottaCon Event Update


After a bit of polite prodding on the event organizers, my session of Star Wars: Edge of the Empire has finally been added to the con schedule and is now available for gamers to sign up, register, and play!

On a related note, this Tuesday I'm planning on getting some practice in teaching the SW:EotE Beginner Game by running it for a group of players who've yet to be exposed to this system. And who knows, one of them might even be someone who's never played an RPG before! I'm looking forward to what hopefully should be a fun and informative session.

SW:EotE Beginner Game Pregens
SW:EotE Beginner Game Pregens

I want to give a shout out to my fellow gamer and fanboy Nathan, who went out and got the PDFs of two bonus pregen characters for the Beginner Game: Sasha and Mathus; and the Bonus Adventure: The Long Arm of the Hutt; printed and bound. With these quality print copies, I'm now able to have up six players during my game instead of the usual four permitted, and I'll also have backup adventure material in case the con group flies through Escape from Mos Shuuta or I run a follow up session Sunday.

The Long Arm Of The Hutt Bonus Adventure

May the Force be with You! ;{١

Thursday, 10 January 2013

GottaCon 2013 Anticipation

Happy New Year!

The first post of 2013 will be mostly uninteresting I'm afraid, just me yakking about my plans for the beginning of next month.

I got my tickets bought and registered for GottaCon 2013, and so far I've signed up for a few RPGs:

  • a free-form/custom Star Wars game in Slot 2 (7pm-11pm) on Friday. I'm interested to see what kind of system the GM is using to run this game, but I'm sure I'll enjoy it because it's Star Wars!
  • a Paranoia game during Slot 8 (Midnight-4am) on Sunday. I couldn't miss this chance to play my first Paranoia game. Seeing this game run doesn't make me feel bad about choosing not to run it. (Which is probably for the best since I've never run let alone play it before!)
  • and Marvel Heroic Roleplaying during Slot 10 (9am-1pm) on Sunday (hopefully I get enough sleep after the Paranoia game not to pass out whilst playing Supers for the first time)

The game I'm running, Star Wars: Edge of the Empire - Escape from Mos Shutta, isn't currently listed on the registration site at the moment, as they have yet to update the schedule. But it is up on the Excel and PDF listings during Slot 7 (7pm-11pm) on Friday. I must say I'm looking forward to it, as well as a little nervous it being my first convention game. I hoping my enthusiasm and my fanboy'ism paired with my love of RPGs will make it enjoyable for my players.

Some dudes from VCON demoed this really neat Sabacc card game last year, and looks like they're planning on doing it again. Alas it's during slot 7 so it looks like I'll miss it again.

I've also begun collecting a few items I'm planning on putting up on the Gamers Silent Auction: An extra copy of Unhallowed Metropolis that I won as a prize, and a spare copy of Spawn of Azathoth I snagged when I was up island early December. I'm hoping they'll catch a few peoples interest and fetch a decent price, but I'm not looking to win big on them, I'd rather they find a good home. I might throw up a couple 2nd Ed. D&D books for cheap just to clean up my library. The missus' and I have been doing a bit of early spring cleaning, so I'm keeping an eye out for anything else I'm willing to put up on auction. To quote the Jawa's unofficial motto:

"not to look for uses in a salvaged item, but rather to imagine someone else who might find a use for it."

So, so far I've got a bit of my time scheduled at the con, but there are many more slots to fill with something to do. I'm hoping more RPGs will be added that I'll have interest in signing up for, otherwise I might just take in a Boardgame or two. Or just enjoy the con itself.

Cheers! ;{١