The Coziest Den

I always have a rule of thumb for picking out RPGs to play. If the setting is interesting enough, it’s worth a check. If I feel like I can play this solo, it’s worth a play. There were definitely games that I solo played just because of its setting and premise: A Flower for Mara, Titan World, and Bliss Stage being such examples.

This game is no exception. A Cozy Den has this for a setting: players are a race of snake people called Lesbisnakes who are part-human, part-snake, all lesbian. The game takes place during the chilly winter months as Lesbisnakes live in dens to hibernate. The more Lesbisnakes there are in a den, the better, and the aim is to make… a cozy den. Roll credits.

This setting is just amazing and it’s not because it appeals to the LGBTQ community, since lots of games can be tailored to appeal to that demographic. You play as a snake girl who lives with other snake girls to survive the winter. It’s a simple slice of life kind of game, which you barely see any of in modern RPGs. The closest ones are games that try to emulate Stranger Things, such as Tales from the Loop or Kids on Bikes. Not to mention that romance is involved in this game, hence why it’s this year’s Valentine’s Day game.

The engine I will be using is CRGE Kai since I barely use that at all even though it’s my go-to engine. Not only that, but I will be using the Social Focus Table from Mythic GM Emulator’s Variations. Character Creation is simple because I’m the only person here. The idea is that the group must be unanimous with what species of Lesbisnake they want to play as. I’m going with a Garter Lesbisnake.

We unfortunately come across a problem. The book mentions a character sheet, but as I skimmed through it, I saw no such sheet. This is an appropriate time to point out that I have a physical copy of the game and not a PDF. Thankfully, I found a sheet on the official website and it just so happens to be a Garter Lesbisnake. Though it wouldn’t matter which species it was that much given how everyone plays the same species and as such every option for each species is virtually the same.

However, I decided to take advantage of a feature that the book had. You could say that this is sponsored by Bits and Mortar, as it’s with them that I was able to nab myself the PDF of the handouts, the necessary half of the game that was missing from the book. With Bits and Mortar, you can get free PDF copies of physical books you’ve purchased, or in this case, handouts, provided they were published by someone who has joined the initiative. A good chunk of indie developers have joined this initiative, including the publisher of this game, Serpent Cyborg, and my favorite company due to their constant stream of character development-driven games, Genesis of Legend Publishing. Definitely worth a check out if you have a book of a game you like to see on PDF.

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Let’s Turn Attack On Titan Into Jurassic World

I went out to see Jurassic World a month ago and it was an enjoyable ride. However, when I was watching a scene, I couldn’t be helped but think “this would make a good session for Titan World”. A team of hunters who fight against giant man-eating dinosaurs just makes sense for me to play Titan World with this flavour, and it’s closer to the source material than what I have for Greek Titan World. So while I’m playing Titan World again, I’m playing it with a different coat of paint.

There’s a game called Legend, which is Dungeons and Dragons if the multiclassing was a main, easy to use feature. On the blog, there have been tutorials on how to add new classes to the game by simply changing the flavour text, so your barbarian can become a super soldier or have your ranger be more in touch with nature. I decided to take the advice from those articles for use in Titan World. However, most of the Playbooks are good enough without heavy editing. Just replace all mentions of Titan with Dinosaurs.

Here’s the problem though. How do we translate the Titan Shifter over to Jurassic Park? We certainly didn’t see Chris Pratt bite into his hand to become a T-Rex for that final throw down, now did we? Now, the easy way out would be to have it so that the scientists are like “Hey, we made this chimera dinosaur and cloned dinosaurs from some old DNA that should have been expired, I say making humans transforming into dinosaurs would be easy.” But… I have a better idea:

Change Shifter to Velociraptor. Yes. As in we play as a Velociraptor. The only basic change is that Titan Transformation is changed to Bloodlust. It doesn’t transform the Velociraptor, but instead makes it more crazed and determined to kill. The 7-9 downside is mostly retained, but “body partially forms” is replaced with “you accidentally injure yourself while invoking Bloodlust.”

… Yeah, I’m gonna play a Velociraptor. And I’m gonna stat up her leader too. First, Velociraptor… Continue reading

Let’s Return To Greek Titan World

Titan World’s getting a return. What? It had sequel hooks. The recap is simple, assassin hired to kill Titan, gets a cop to help, they kill Titan, but wind up pissing off some people that they have no idea who they are… You know, let’s take a bit of a breather while I discuss something about Attack On Titan.

There’s a recurring theme: the theme of secrets. Now, I don’t mean the theme of keeping secrets or what secrets do to people, though that could apply, but I mean the very idea of there being so many secrets. A lot of characters have secrets that they hide. Some hide their true allegiance or hidden agenda, others hide information that could change the way people view things forever. One of the key goals for the players in Titan World to accomplish is “Uncover the secrets of the world.”

As such, I should follow in kind with a Secret system I have invented. See, solo games are easy when it comes to information. You’re always the first to find out what the big twists are so there’s no real point in guessing or being surprised. This can lead to a problem. However, there’s a way to fix that, at least in my mind.

I’m gonna test out my own system of mystery. It’s simple enough, but I’ll put up the rules in a separate post for those who want to know what it is. Basically, if I catch onto a piece of foreshadowing (like, “this guy conveniently disappeared when that Titan appeared”), I’ll make it a Mystery Thread (“X is a Titan Shifter and Y is his form”) and every other piece of information I gain leading to it has its odds be more and more probable. When the time comes for a twist, I can instead ask if the secret is true.

On top of this, I’ll also add in the Surprise Factor made by Kenneth of the Solo Roleplayer. This will help keep me on my toes. And since we survived a mission, that means the characters get an advancement. Powered By The Apocalypse Games, for those who don’t know, works off of a tick box system when it comes to levelling up. Want to increase a stat by one? Tick. Want to learn a new move? Tick. Want to learn a new technique from another class or ‘Playbook’? Tick.

So our characters gain the following buffs: Continue reading

Night Witches, Not Strike Witches

So, while I admit that playing Kantai Collection filled the slot for my World War II game in my theme of playing World War games (Cold War counting as an almost-WWIII), I shouldn’t so foolishly cast the European theatre to the side. After all, that’s the part of the war everyone remembers, not what went down in Japan.

So to remedy this, I picked up a World War II-themed game that took place in Europe: Night Witches. Made by the same guy that did Fiasco and played in the same way of Apocalypse World, Night Witches tells the tale of a team of women who flew outdated planes to drop bombs on German stuff to sabotage them. Sexism, death, betrayal, and all those lovely things you’d see on the battlefield ensue.

Now, this is where the problem begins to seep in for me. See, we’re playing as the Russians. The Stalin-run Russians. The Stalin-run Russians which had inspired a well known author to write not one, but two books satirizing the country. One of them was famous and is used almost every time people talk about something draconian and/or tyrannical, and the other one was 1984… if it was mashed up with Charlotte’s Web.

Yes, this movie exists. And its concept alone is awesome. Pictured: The author’s depiction of Stalin. Or Picard if he decided to voice a pig. I am not making any of those up.

As such, I fear that my depiction of Russia will be biased to say the least. For one, Russia back then was known to kill traitors, which the 588th Division, while some deviate from the norm, are not, especially since they are formed to help Russia win the war. Yes, there was sexism and homophobia, but I doubt they’re gonna pull a George and shoot them in the back of the head by the river.

Not to mention that Stalin himself approved of the all-women flying team, though under heavy duress and desperation. The worst the women may get is either a demotion or a trip to the insane asylum for roughly three months. I say this to help reassure myself that I shouldn’t make the Russians out to be the Capitol. I should also reassure myself that I shouldn’t make the Germans laughing jokes and have their higher ups be reduced to internet memes.

Sadly, these will be heavy urges for me to resist. So, I’ll implement a “Swear Jar” mechanic. In any case I am to make a reference to the infamous Hitler Rants videos or have the Russian government randomly execute people; I will mark one of the characters, which usually means something bad happens to them.

I’ve already picked out the engine for this game: Tiny Solitary Soldiers. It desperately needs to be used, and the fact that I’m playing a simple war game helps the decision making process. And as for what the overall Driver/Idea Inspiration will be, I chose the Russian Tarot Cards. I figured that, since I’m playing a game about Russia, I’d use Russian Tarot Cards.

Character Creation’s also simple, if a little more advanced than Titan World. We have our five playbooks that determine a character’s major trait, but we also have six classes for those characters to fall under. The difference is that the playbooks are for the character’s personality and not their class. To make a long explanation short, I’ll explain the ones I picked out for our quartet: Continue reading

Greek Titan World

Alright, now I really wanna try a World RPG, like Apocalypse World or Dungeon World… but I have no idea what to play. There’s quite a few options. However, one premise separates itself from the rest of the RPGs powered by the apocalypse.

Long ago, the world belonged to humans. Those days vanished, however, when the Titans came. […] Before long, humans had been pushed to the brink of extinction. Now this world belongs to the Titans.

Why does this interest me? Well, it’s because when I think “the world belongs to Titans”, I don’t think the Anime or the Manga. Hell, I don’t think of the Titans depicted in either media. I think of the classic Titans. You know the ones I mean.

Behemoths that ate their children to ensure that an age-old prophecy was denied. Goliaths who carried the world beneath their shoulders in penance for their crimes. Fallen Gods who had given humanity their first light before being continually eaten away. A pantheon before the classic Pantheon took over. I’m of course talking about the Greek Titans.

Funny story, I first thought the show was basically “Greek Mythology + Metal Gear Rising”. So much like how I turned Kancolle into more of a crime-centric story, I’m giving Attack on Titan a bit of a mythological spin. Ladies and Gentlemen, let’s play Titan World.

This leads me to a bit of a predicament of which RPG engine to use. I have decided that I will roll between the six engines I have used so far (discounting Oculus due to the unique viewpoint system) to determine what RPG engine will be used. This will be paramount to all RPGs I will do sessions on in the future save for ones where I have predetermined it or sequels to sessions I have done before.

For future reference, the chart to show which engine is used is as follows:

  • 1 = CRGE
  • 2 = Epic
  • 3 = Fate
  • 4 = Mythic
  • 5 = Poet
  • 6 = TSS

Alright, and with that, let’s rollin’!

[Roll: 3, Fate Solo]

Ah, an interesting choice. Especially since the Advantage/Disadvantage system is based somewhat on Fate’s own system. Now, let’s make our character. But first, allow me to run you through a bit of Titan World’s rules.

The rules are simple. Roll 2d6, add your attributed stat to it. You want to aim for anything over 10. Anything after 6 is good, but 10 and over gives you a nigh-crit. While most 6 and under results are bad, it’s when it comes to saving your friend from a Titan or saving yourself from a Titan that is grisly. 6 and under are pretty much instant death. Heck, scoring a 7-9 on saving your friend results in you getting killed instead.

However, this makes sense considering the deadly nature of the show. Heck, the “save your friend at the cost of your own” result is actually a scene from the show. However, you have Luck, so if you get in a real jam, you can just get out of it alive. Still, I give the guy who made this RPG props. Double props for the classes.

See, there’s a horde of classes called “The Rookie” class. They don’t start out with any neat moves or anything, but instead start out at level 0. They don’t even get a full name or a backstory. The only thing they have is one goal “survive your mission.” Which, considering the nature of Attack on Titan, is very, very unlikely. For those who have seen the show or read the manga, you know what I’m talking about. When you do survive the mission, then you get to pick out a class. Though, that is if you start out as a Rookie.

You can pick a normal class just fine, and there are five classes to go around, each filling a different role. You have the Naturals, high-flying extraordinaires that soar in the air, Warriors, high-trained killers who specialize in the murder of Titans, the Tacticians, people who think better than they fight, the Leaders, people who can rally up the weaker-willed people when shit hits the fans, and finally the Shifters.

You guys ready for what the Shifters are? Well, you know how the RPG premise was ‘The world belonged to Titans’? Well, as it turns out, a select few humans are able to be Titans at will. Kind of like a twisted version of Ultraman. This… is a very interesting premise, even if I had not watched or read AOT, but I’m not gonna use this class as my PC. Instead, I’ll use The Warrior, if only because this set up:

The war against the Titans is a business, and humanity’s primary export is murder.

Just sounds perfect for a plot hook. Let’s get the character readied. Continue reading