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Monday, January 29th, 2007
2:17p - AP: Mortal Coil - Occult Cold War
So I'm not really into writing journalistic AP posts, so I'm just going to give a rundown of my new Mortal Coil campaign. I don't have notes or a good memory, but really I just want to spill some of the beans on my cool game and if you have any specific questions I'd be happy to answer them.

We did campaign creation, and at the end I was blown away by what we had: Cold War era Berlin in the middle of the Biblical Apocalypse which was triggered by an occult arms race between Russian and American secret occult espionage groups. Man, I still think that's hot.

We did character creation and in the end we had a couple spies (one Russian and one British) as well as a couple classical sorcerers from secret societies who felt that the espionage agencies rolled in an fucked everything up (a Knight Templar and a German blood sorcerer).

Our story so far involves the Russian spy and the German blood sorcerer in an uneasy alliance to stop the Apocalypse, an assassination attempt on the Knight Templar, and the British spy killing a group of American agents to acquire an ancient artifact. Our last game ended with all the PCs meeting in a museum, only to be ambushed by an American black ops team.

Since nobody made an American spy, I have pounced on them as being the antagonists of the game. All the American agents have been weird and mildly insane, and a lot of their magic involves transforming into insects or speaking to rats.

Blood sorcery is brutal and horrifying, with the sorcerer able to transform his body into blood or exsanguinate someone from a distance.

Templar sorcerer is often useful and can be used to deliver messages or keep a sorcerer imprisoned or determine who someone's master is.

British sorcery is stealthy and resourceful, and can be used to locate objects or become invisible.

And Russian sorcery has not really been defined so far, but I have some cool ideas.

It never really occurred to me until just now, but I realized that one of the reasons why Mortal Coil does what it does so well is that it makes magic so mysterious and strange. At any given point you don't know what a sorcerer is capable of because, by the rules, that can change at any moment. And this is very different from, say, D&D where every spell is statted out and defined. As a result, I think Mortal Coil has the best magic system ever.

Anyhow, game again tomorrow. We'll see how the confrontation between the American black ops team and the PCs goes.


current mood: enthusiastic

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3:09p - Derailing the Plot.
So, my group's been playing a Rokugan game.  Our DM has big plans to have confront the Big Bad, find ourselves overmatched, flee, and build ourselves up to take him/it down later.  Instead, our shugenja flings the wand of Burn the Soul he'd been working on for weeks at him and hits it with a lightning bolt.  Wand goes *kaboom*, Big Bad goes *poof*, we win inside the first round.  DM takes us through the aftermath and has to call a break for the session to come up with an entirely new plot, 'cause we broke the old one. :-)

A couple of campaigns ago, when we were running epic characters, we were trying to prevent an anti-paladin from getting resurrected.  We were in the lands of the god of the dead,  who showed us the place where the gem the anti-paladin's soul was trapped in was set.  The DM's assumption: that we'd take the hints he was throwing out and find a way to prove that he'd been untrue to his deity and thus ineligible for being brought back.  Our idea: "Hey, we've got the best thief in the world... and a knife that'll literally cut through anything. We know which of these little gems has his soul in it.  ¬.¬   What if we *steal* him?"  Cue DM pulling the rest of the session out of his ass with remarkable dexterity, and again having to come up with a whole new plot by the next game session.

Any of you guys have fun stories of making the DM drop back ten and punt? :-)

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10:11p - Random sleep-deprived thoughts on a fantasy heartbreaker, or making D&D into a game I'd like.
Hit Points are stupid. Because you've been nearly killing yourself for several levels, suddenly a sword thrust to the stomach won't kill you. Taking 10 points of damage is either a scratch or death, depending on what level you are. In fact, it's just a scratch unless you drop to zero hit points. A warrior with eighty-one HP is as effective in combat as he is with just one. So hit points aren't really how much damage you can sustain. They're story points that you use to explain why you aren't dead. HP should stand for Hero Points, not Hit Points.

Example: Your hero with 81 HP is in a sword fight with an green-skinned thing. The green-skinned thing swings at you and hits, dealing 8 points of damage. But instead of taking the damage, the GM says that you have to explain why the green-skinned thing's strike didn't kill you. And, while you're explaining why you didn't die, you remove eight Hero Points. It's the same effect as removing hit points, but explains why the "damage" you just took didn't really affect you.

Same game mechanic, different words wrapped around it.

(of course that'd wonkify the healing potions and spells, but that's a different change.)

Anyhoo, there's some random for you. Discuss if you'd like. I'm off to bed.

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