Sunday, December 30, 2012

Other dust mutant characters

I had the occasion to play a roleplaying game again this december. We played a one shot of Other Dust.
We all choose to roll up mutants and we ended up with a really weird group that really din't look like the characters on the cover of the book.

We lost two characters during our venture to bring back a water filter for our village. I liked how each time a replacing character was introduced, this added setting detail and fleshed out the "dungeon".

Strangely none of the replacing character were mutants.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Poleviks worshiping Poludnitsa, the Lady of Grains.

A idol of the Lady of Grains, one of the mysterious figure that haunt the abandoned farmlands of my Northern Marches campaign. She rule over grains, madness, curses and unlife. Her worshipers can create unlife by stuffing the corpse of a loved one with grains while evoking her name. Some say that she can turn grains into gold. 

"She assailed folk working at noon causing heatstrokes and aches in the neck. Sometime she even caused madness." 

Friday, July 20, 2012

Encounters (illustrations)

Some of the creatures the adventurers have encountered in the abandoned farmlands and in the dark forest:

Thursday, July 19, 2012


I have been busy for some time, and my gaming was also starting to take a lot of my mind-space so I felt like I din't had the time to both game and blog about it. 

But now I have some drawings to post for this blog, so I will reactivate it for a while.

I have been busy with finding work, getting involve with the protest movement here in Quebec and with personal illustration projects. 

On the gaming side, I have tried some indy games, participated in a local con and I am now regularly refeering my Labyrinth Lord,(west marches style) campaign. 


The indy games I have tried/played:

- Shock: Social Science Fiction:
We played one shock in two session. It was about the human race being put in tutelage by "benevolent" aliens. Shock was interesting to play, but the game text was sometime confusing and since this is a GMless game, we were sometime unsure about how or when to intervene at the table. Also this is a game where you have to do a lot of improvisation and everything can easily become too vague or confuse. In the end the result was fine, we ended up with a interesting story, but while we were actually playing the game, I dint especially enjoy myself (but it was ok). I am not writing off Shock, I think the game could be more interesting if we play a series of shocks like it suggested in the game where a shock = a chapter of a book. In average you play 3 scenes by shocks, so when you just play one shock, you have to resolve your entire character's arc and setting issues in only 3 scenes. The jumps between the scenes are huge and the stakes can easily become too big and the world feel less "real". But I think that when you play a series of shocks you feel less pressure to play with HUGE stakes, and the game fiction flow more naturally. I think Shock is a game that you have to play a lot before feeling comfortable while improvising with. I would also like to try Human Contact.  

- Dogs in the Vinyard: 
A game I was curious about but that I skipped many time because the setting was leaving me indifferent. I am glad that we finally tried it, because once you are playing, the setting really shine and is really fun to engage. The game system is also super fun to use and not so abstract, I really enjoyed it a lot. But what I enjoyed the most is how your character traits change and evolve while playing. It make you feel like everything you do have a impact or leave a mark on your character, this is super rewarding. We played two town in 3 sessions and if we had a third player I would really have liked to continue playing. One-shots of DitV seem fine, but l think the game is way more involving when played as a campaign. This game is now definitively on my playlist. 

- Ocean:
A GM less game about amnesiac survivors exploring a underwater station. It was fun, but I think the overall concept was more interesting then our actual gameplay. There is so much improvisation to do, it easy to get creatively tired or lazy and then the game become too vague or generic. (And due to the underwater station setup, it easy to slip and to get repetitive with the obstacles). I was hoping for more character interactions and sexy moments, but we din't get any. I still think Ocean is a interesting game, I would play it again if offered, but I don't think I will be offering it myself (since there is so many other games I want to play). 

- Burning Empires:
I wanted to take the time to learn this game, so we decided to run a 2 players campaign to be able to get more familiar with the system (even if we had some good experiences with Burning Wheel). Our setup was really nice, I liked the world we had burned and all the characters beliefs, but at the last minute one of us decided to leave our small group and so we had to cancel everything. Damn! 

- Apocalypse World:
I so want to enjoy this game! I like everything in it, but when we play it never deliver! Everything always end up being so unengaging. It just don't rock. (not because of the game system)


The Geek-o-thon:
A small one-day local con here in Montreal. 

In the morning I tried to run a game of Apocalypse World. I know, I am obstinate! It was ok, but again it din't rock! And it was definitively not sexy! (even with a hot and sweaty setup).  

In the afternoon I played in a game of Savage World Hellfrost. It was nice, I enjoyed the game and the arctic expedition scenario, but the con room was so noisy, I had a huge headache and a hard time keeping myself in the game.

In the evening I played a game of Lady Blackbird. This game ROCKED! It was so fun and dynamic! I really enjoyed it. I played captain Cyrus Vance and I was scoring my keys non-stop while giving daring orders and trying to get close to Lady Blackbird. Sadly the 2 players playing Lady Blackbird and her bodyguard were very protective and I was not able to get close to the lady to gain her heart. The game is so fun, I would like to try it with every characters. Huge replay value! :)  


OSR gaming:

-Stars Without Number:
We played 5 or 6 sessions and we were all close to getting to level 3. But the referee din't had the time to prep his sessions so we decided to switch to Labyrinth Lord since my campaign was already prepared. Stars Without Number was super fun, I enjoyed all of our sessions and the derelict spaceship was a fun dungeon to explore. But strangely the character being too easy to save when they reach zero hit point and the fact the no one died ended up making the game kind of less exciting for me. I like how character dead become a event to be remembered and I also like to see characters join the group. So I think I prefer my OSR gaming with stronger zero hit points consequences.  

-Labyrinth Lord:
I am now regularly running my Northern Marches campaign with a group of 5 to 7 players. We played 6 expeditions, the characters are now mostly level 2 and 3. It really interesting to see the group discovering and exploring the sandbox. I really enjoy being the referee for this campaign, the interactions with the players are just so fun and exciting. And as a referee I am also learning a lot. Running the game for 7 players is a good challenge, but so far it work very well. (for other kind of games my comfort zone is usually 3 or 4 players, but hexe crawling with OSR games seem to play very well with many players :).  

Friday, April 27, 2012

Giwoitis lizard folk women

The giwoitis are lizard folk women who take care of the abandoned goats and cattle from the cursed farmlands. They enchant them and offer their milk to lawful and neutral adventurers who can find their enchanted barn.

This is how I like to use alignments in my sandbox games: I assign alignment and different alignment reaction to my special unique encounter. So the interesting parts of the sandbox react differently to lawful, neutral or chaotic characters. (oh yeah, the milk have strange effects on chaotic characters.)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Witch grave ossuary

One of the witch graves ossuary from my Labyrinth Lord campaign.

Alternative larger version:

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Playing Stars Without Number

I am playing in my friend Dominic's campaign of Stars Without Number.

I enjoy the group, the game, the system and the campaign a lot. :)

The game's OSR system is neat, I like having only 3 classes, the simple skill system and all the other tweaks.
(check out the Grognardia review)

Creating your character is fun: you choose one of the 3 classes (expert, warrior or psychic), a background and a class training that both determine your starting skills.
Simple, quick and colorful.

My character is Danielle Ros, a biotech crew space marine.

So she is a spacer, she worked for a biotech corporation in a space emergency respond squad.
I established that the biotech corporation went bankrupt after a bio-contamination disaster or scandal. (Think Umbrella corporation). Her squad was disbanded and now she is a adventurer.

I was not super lucky with my attribute rolls, I only rolled a bonus in wisdom, and I got one in dexterity by placing a 14 in one of my class main attributes. But this is fine with me, I like playing characters who only have a few small edges that define them.

We started playing on Priam, a major world. Since we had no ship and we had to write a goal on our character sheet I ended up playing Danielle as a disgruntled marine hating being stuck on the ground and being ready to do anything to go back in space.

As I played her I discovered during our first session that she cared about people, I guess this come from her emergency aid background. During the second session I discovered she missed being in space so much that she now take pills of a drug that provide a zero gravity feeling. During our third session I discovered that she have a weak spot for the mysterious assassin Eliot and Indrani, a resourceful NPC. This is what she is for now.

Here, my friend D•Miranda made a drawing of my character taking her dose of Zero-G drug:
(check out his blog: Jaguar Combat :)

The group is composed of 6 players (2 female & 4 male players playing 2 female & 4 male characters):
- Drake the born noble commando.
- Danielle the biotech crew space marine.
- Eliot the security crew assassin.
- James Flanagan, adventurer and criminal
- Griff the technician pilot
- Constance the rogue psychic priestess

In 3 sessions we had two characters reduced to zero hit point, but we had no casualty thanks to the 6 rounds we have to stabilize them. With the XP we gained at the end of the third session all the characters will able to reach level two at the start of our next session.

This is the first time I have a great time playing in such a large group. The session are very packed, we often hesitate at the start as people figure out what they want to do, but once we choose the action move quickly and a lot of stuff happen. The referee never use "no" on failed skill tests, he always use "no but..." I like it, this work well for a 6 players group as it keep things moving. We play one session missions, which is great since we feel that we accomplish something each time we play. For now we miss a little bit of time at the end of the session to wrap things up. I wish we had the time to play a few follow up scene with NPC and other PC. But this is ok.

During session 2 we were able to steal a transport ship that a faction planned to sabotage. Now we have to find a way to repair it jump drive. Earning the ship was really fun. I admit that at first I was a little bit worried that it could take us a lot of time before we could able to buy our own ship to explore the space sand-box.
Doing missions on the starting planet is fun, but what really interest us all is exploring the sandbox and having galactic adventures. I din't read the whole SWN PDF, but I wonder if there is advice or guide lines about how to get the group in space to let them explore the starmap sandbox on their own. That said, I think it was well and fairly handled in our campaign.

Next session we are probably going to explore a derelict spaceship that crashed in the rock desert in hope of salvaging tech to repair our own ship.

Sunday, April 8, 2012


I have traded some demons with Scrap Princess.

Glorious pictures of the Marilith I have adopted.

I could not take a picture of my own, so I have drawn her:

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Taking a break.

Tonight session din't go very well.

I am closing down my LotFP campaign and taking a break from being the referee.
(but I will be a player in a Stars Without Number campaign)

I will also take a break from this blog to focus more on my personal drawings

But I will still visit your blogs. It was very interesting to read you all.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Wanting to create my own adventure locations for campaign play.

I am thinking of writing my own adventure locations instead of using or tweaking published one's.

Making somebody else work your own can be fun, interesting and formative, but still I think it bring some complications.

I like reading and playing published modules, but I am discovering that I prefer to use my own creations for campaign play.

Mainly simply because it fun to create adventure locations.

Also I think I have reach a point were I have discovered what I like and don't like in modules, and now I want to try to create adventure locations that support what I enjoy in location design and gameplay.

I also want to feel more at home with my campaign settup, with a net of adventure location of my own creation, I think I will feel more confident to improvise while playing.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Traps & Challenges

I want to expand a little on my comment about traps & challenges.

It seem important to give the players information or ways to distinct between traps & challenges.
  • Trap = danger with no reward at the end.
  • Challenge = danger with a reward at the end.
(reward = treasure, clues, new area to explore, etc)

  • Trap = something to identify and to avoid.
  • Challenge = choosing to take risks to get a reward or to unlock content.

So, in a sense:
  • Avoiding to interact with a trap = good move or tactic.
  • Avoiding to interact with a challenge = avoiding to play the game.
(well naturally challenges are also about choice, so choosing not to face a challenge for a good reason is playing the game. This is different from avoiding interacting with something just because you are too prudent or careful and don't want to face risk & challenge.)

When players can't distinct traps from challenges, they will probably deal with challenges as if they were traps: they will avoid interacting with them. (because avoiding interacting with a trap that is just a trap is a good move).

So I guess it important to make it clear that traps are traps and challenges are challenges. Or to give means and ways to distinct each one.

It important that players know that a part of the gameplay is to distinct traps from challenges. So they will try to identify what is just a trap and what is a challenge.

Naturally the distinction between traps and challenges is not always clear. Sometime they overlap. For example tricks like drinking pools and magical mirror that randomly give boon or curses.

I agree that sometime it is interesting that the distinction is not clear cut. But I think that for a introducing adventure, it is good to make the distinction clear to avoid ending up with players confusing trap & challenges who mix them up together and end up fearing & avoiding them all.

Now I want to read all your blog posts about trap crafting. ;-)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Prince of Crows

The prince who reign over one of the old watchtowers (for my Labyrinth Lord campaign).

Monday, March 5, 2012

Post-apocalyptic car-god

Busy today, a repost from my old blog. Somekind of car-god apparition that I had drawn for Apocalypse World (but I never actually used it since our AW campaign was very short-lived):

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

How to host a cloud dungeon: The Primordial Age

I have some silly fun creating a cloud dungeon with How to host a dungeon.

Here is the primordial age I rolled:

I will post the other ages later.

Monday, February 20, 2012


The domovoi who have taken over a abandonned village in my Labyrinth Lord campaign.

I use a small variant of the brownies stat block to play them. What I like the most from the wikipedia description is how they take the appearance or facial features of their host.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

One eyed Likho

A monster inspired from slavic mythology for my Labyrinth Lord sandbox campaign, The Northern Marches of Bylina, set in a fastastic pseudo Russia.

They are a nasty near re-skin of the ghouls with a evil eye gaze attack. For now the characters have encoutered them near a cursed church in the abandonned farmland zone. Zhannochka, the group magic-user have meet one alone and barely escaped with her life.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Dungeon module B2, Content of room B12

This week there was some talk about how to deal with the non-combattant orcs in Keep on the Borderlands and somebody mentioned the room B12 and the orc leader with his two combattant concubines. Don't ask why but I wanted to try to drawn the occupants of the room as they hear the adventurers coming toward their location, so here is the result.

12. ORC LEADER’S ROOM: This large creature is clad in chain mail, has a shield +1, and carries a mace. He carries 31 gold pieces, and wears a ring set with a gem (total value 700 g.p.). The room is carpeted, has tapestries upon the walls (note one of these covers the entrance to the small cave to the west), and battered but still serviceable furniture and a cot. His two mates sleep on cushions at the foot of his resting place. The chests and other furniture have nothing of value.