Actual Play – To Forgive is Divine (2/19/2011)

GM: Sean Nittner
Players: Shannon, Daniel, Duane, Cassie, Brent and Maggie
System: A variant of Primetime Adventures.

See here for more information about how this game was set up: To Err is Human…

Travis and I ran our Gods and Heroes game again at DundraCon. This time with a few new twists. We introduced some new objectives for the gods (to rally favors from the other immortals) and a more codified means of gaining influence in the island. I also started the gods game off with a kicker, they were all preparing for a race across the Mediterranean when the fates came to Olympus to tell them that only the god with their golden ship would win the race. The fate cast out three golden ropes for the gods to squabble over… and squabble they did.

We also had the advent of bronze age technology on our wireless connections. The connection started slow and degraded for the first hour until it was totally unusable. I was very frustrated by this but it created some emergent properties, such as the gods in Olympus having to use other gods and messengers to find out what the heroes were doing… and the gods weren’t always all that honest… go figure.

What rocked

The new props (actual laurel wreaths, golden rope, a crown, etc) were great.

The game still delivered forth fickle, greedy, child-like lords of Olympus, as it should.

Explain explicitly to the gods that they needed the heroes influence to claim island territories was very good.

What could have improved

Don’t bring olives. Nobody but you eats them Sean.

Game prep is at least 90 minutes, not 60. Best to shoot for 120 next time just to be safe.

Without wireless, the game is very frustrating to run. Backup plan for next time: Speakerphone calls between the rooms (with Gods on mute), A very long USB extension cable going directly to the camera in the heroes room (if gives enough power to make that work), co-opting the inevitable people who hang out to watch the game to act as our messengers, cast clairvoyance.

Explain to the gods that if they hide out in Mount Olympus the whole time they may be safe from the pranks of the other gods, but they won’t gain the heroes favor they need to win. I.e. get them downstairs!

Narrative Control – Episode 53 – Mad Props (Part 1)

Hi and welcome to Narrative Control.  This episode and the next are all about props we’ve used in games.  This show we’re talking about maps, apparel and dressing up existing game elements like dice, character sheets, etc.

Hosts: Sean Nittner and Eric Fattig

Length:  34:00

Show Notes

[00:28] Intro to the show.  Talking about props.
[01:40] We already talked about some of this in Episode 17 – Included props on the cheap, documents and customized character sheets. Check it out .
[03:30] Maps… the forgotten prop. [04:39] Map of Bel in Apocalypse World:

[05:29] Island map for Agon.  Showed which gods held dominion. Blank version.

[06:31] The Map of Rokugan showing off all the problems we had to handle.

[08:28] Territories in Mouse Guard. Big Map:

Little Map:

[10:30] The map of our memories in 4E.  I put in mud pots for you Babe.
[11:50] Dress like the fiction. Costumes.
[13:06] Gnome spies got (from such classics as Gnomes Like Us, Dr. Gnome and Gnome Impossible) got different hats for each important NPC.
[12:48] Put on a Chiton when you play a Greek.  Dressing up for Agon:

[15:30] Liberty spikes and “distressed” wear for Apocalypse World:

[16:22] Laurel wreaths for the gods: Laural wreaths at Amazon.
[17:02] Getting costumes at local costume shops, like this one at UC Davis: Enchanted Cellar.
[18:21] Mons in our L5R game. Badges of office, clan, family or post.
[20:07] More subtle effects.  Dresden Files cops game, I took the role as the police chief, I kept adjusting this:

[22:07] Dressing up the existing gaming elements: Dice, character sheets, game currancy (style dice, fate chips, artha, etc).
[22:50] Police Dresden game: Badges on Fate chips made with Token Tool.
[23:31] Used Gwendolyn and Liam for Persona and Fate in Mouse Guard:


[24:05] Matrix: There is no spoon.  Currency in RAM:

[24:49] More generic. Poker Chips: Discount Poker Shop. [25:43] Apocalypse World: Shotgun Shells.

[26:53] Mouse Guard – Dice color matched the cloaks:

[27:51] My Life with Joker: Purple and Green Dice at Chessex.
[28:12] Burning Empires.  Blue became the color of the common people.  Nobody wanted the blue dice.
[29:03] Burning Wheel. The Gift.  Dwarves get red dice, Elves get blue.
[29:44] Character tents.
[30:00] Pretty character tents.  Clear picture frames at Bed, Bath and Beyond
[30:36] Including other bits like characters keys (from Shadow of Yesterday), aspects (from Fate), etc.
[31:12] “Dude, where’s my sword?”  Players poking each other in the keys.
[32:23] Aspects on sticky labels to add to character tents.  Here’s my Mouse Guard traits:

[33:26] A hint of the topic to come soon.

Direct Download: NC_Episode_053.mp3

Actual Play – Sleeping Serpent (7/17/2010) at Good Omens Con 4

GM: Sean Nittner
Players: Karen, Loyd, Justin and Xavier
System: Agon

Agon is an action-packed roleplaying game about ancient Greek heroes who face brutal tests from the gods. With bravery, cunning, honor, and strength, one hero will prove to be the greatest and secure immortality in legend.

Agon supports fast-paced, competitive play, with mechanics designed to create an even playing field for players and the game master. Oath-swearing and trash-talking are highly encouraged.

Okay, I’ll finally admit this a month later. I took the entire week off work before Good Omens Con to prepare for both the con itself and my Dresden game. At noon on Friday before the con it finally hit me, CRAP, I’m running TWO games at GO CON! I had an audition game at four in Berkely so I figured I had at least a few hours to prep it. Then I looked at my calendar and was reminded that I had a hotel to tour for Big Bad Con in Pleasanton at 2:30. Which gave me exactly one hour to pack up all my stuff into the car and prep for Agon.

I was SO happy that a) Agon is relatively low prep and b) all my normal props (character tents, power chips with matching portraits, and my Greek Tarot deck) were quick at hand. So I printed off a few more character sheets, crammed it all into a box and raced out.

Then after a day of touring the Four Points by Sheraton and playing in Justin Mitchel’s Iron Kingdom’s game, I schlepped over to my sister in-laws house to finish creating Good Omens dice bags and write the adventure. Thank you, thank you, thank you John Harper for making such an easy adventure creation system in the back of the book. Roll some d12s, keep what you like, chuck the rest and weave it all together. Sure, we’ve got a couple of different communities. Ares wants war, Hermes wants a crown stolen and Artemis wants a hunt. What would each of these establish? That took some thought… and bam! Each of these actions (whichever happens first) will dictate the king or queen of the Island and promote the god that gave them that status to the favored one on the island (god’s are always motivated by self-interest).

As usual I told the heroes that they would have three major objectives but that I left the specifics up to them. In this case they chose to find an oracle, defeat the gorgon and take the crown and then use that to choose a leader to start the war (effectively completing quests given by both Hermes and Ares but only appeasing the latter because they did it in his name).

What rocked

Agon, as always was a ton of fun to run. I take simple tasks like “let’s go talk the oracle” and fill them with cryptic assassins, snakes, spirits, collapsing tunnels and an ornery old hag. It means we’ve got plenty of challenges, lots of strive and tons of glory.

I got players to shout their names. I love that.

Karen was the only player who chose to play a human (not a demi-god) and she had the highest glory at the end, much to the chagrin of the half gods.

I loved having daddy and mommy come down from the heavens to mess with the heroes that weren’t following the. Ah the hubris of man, and how fun it is to smack them upside the head for it.

Lots and lots and lots of smack talk and competition between the heroes.

Openly defying the gods. Loyd took a statue of his mother (Artemis) and used it as target practice with his bow. WOAH!

I was dressed appropriately

What could have been improved

The quests probably would have made a bit more sense of I had thought them out a bit more and not been so rushed.

I kept rolling crazy high. I swear my average roll on 2d8 (keeping only the highest die) was a 7.5. I think it was kind of demoralizing for the players. But on the up side it just meant they spent three weeks in the woods having a drunken bender to recover.

Actual Play – To Err is Human… To Forgive is Divine (5/28/2010)

GMs: Sean Nittner and Travis Lindquist
Players: Lots, including Martin, Jay, Shaun, Kristin, Matt, Jennifer, Brent and others.
Systems: In A Wicked Age/PTA and Agon

The origins

This game, these games, sprung from an idea that’s been banging around in my head for years. Alex Miller was the one who pitched it to me, so many years back: “You need to do a game of Gods and Heroes, where you take your projector and a webcam and a couple laptops and let the Gods see everything the heroes are doing.” It was this bold, crazy idea but hell, I had all the gear, why not try it.

And then I wondered what system(s) would I use? How would I coordinate with the other GM? Who would the other GM be? How would I keep the gods entertained enough with their own petty squabbles that they didn’t get bored just watching the heroes? How do we adjudicate the gods effect on the heroes when they want to bring on some smiting? All these questions, most of all who would run it with me, put this project firmly in the “someday” category (read: never)

Then, on a lark I threw out the idea to Travis and he was like bring on the wine and olives, let’s do this! His energy and excitement really got the ball rolling. So we talked some, played some Agon (which we both loved) and finally submitted the games to KublaCon. I can say right now, if not for his energy, excitement and persistence these games would have never happened. Thanks man. Thanks a ton!

Building this from the ground up.

Actual Play – Vacancy in the Underworld (4/4/2010)

GM: Sean Nittner
Players: Morgan, Martin, Jeff and Gil
System: Agon

This game was killer and reinforced how easy it is to have fun with Agon. I barely did any prep for this game. Essentially, I just one of the quests I had run for my local crew, tweaked it a bit and boom! I had an adventure.

Prove the Glory of your Name

Actual Play – Island of Astra Part 2 (3/13/2010)

GM: Sean Nittner
Players: Alec, Travis and Steve
System: Agon

Wow, I’m somewhat surprised that there is a part two to this game. Don’t get me wrong, I’m loving Agon, but I ran the first session expecting a one shot… people coming back for more is awesome. And awesome it was!

Quest for Hades

Actual Play – Island of Astra (3/5/2010)

GM: Sean Nittner
Players: Travis, Eric, Alec and Shaun
System: Agon

For Glory! I don’t think I’ve ever pulled conventional GM/Player RPG out of my ass this quick. I read the book and got very excited about the game. Then Travis read it and got REALLY excited. Between the two of us we were just bouncing off the walls trying to play this game. Luckily we have awesome gamers in the area who were quick to rise to the challenge.

I spent my lunch hour rolling up the Island they would visit based on the charts in the back and got this:

Island of Astra