Nerdish Posting to Ensue

Am sitting in Cafe Modena predominately to test their coffee with a view to purchasing some ground stuff for the machine at work. Sweeter tasting than most blends I’ve tried so I think I might give it a go.

Thank you to those who gave their support in the post below and in person regarding the camera. If anything eventuates, I’ll keep all informed.

In an attempt to keep on moving and to keep the writing juices going, y’all get treated to some stuff about Role Playing.

I think the first time I got involved in this hobby was informally through a boardgame called HeroQuest. Made by the people who do Warhammer Fantasy and 40,000 it was a very light version of their popular minatures game in which one person runs the game and controls the variety of orcs, goblins, rats, chaos knights and a particularly nasty Bloodletter demon while the remaining players take on the role of either a Barbarian, Wizard, Elf or Dwarf and attempt to circumvent each level of the dungeon to reach the hoard of treasure without succumbing to the horde of enemies.

I played it in primary school and was addicted at the notion of cooperative playing against a common enemy. Most games I’d played before were Scrabble, Monopoly and Ker-Plunk* in which everyone at the table was a foe to overcome so that in itself was a novelty.

Another appeal was that each game had a story; a reason why you’d throw yourself into ruins filled with things that seek your destruction. And being Games Workshop, these stories were detailed and epic. Admittedly light by today’s standards, I was in primary school and so it was all new to me.

It was like the books and movies and stories and things I’d watch or read about heroes taking on noble quests and overcoming the odds to save the day/kingdom/maiden et al. For me, it wasn’t simply a matter of roll dice and move piece across the grid it became…

Rorgar The Barbarian paused before the door, the stinging cuts across his shoulders from the orcs in the level prior a grim reminder that the sounds of movement beyond meant certain doom if he wasn’t prepared…

From there its a small step to wondering just how Rorgar the Barbarian and his fellow adventurers were charged with this quest in the first place. Were they heroes by trade or did some other dire motive press-gang them into the ruined dungeons? And what happened afterward. Did it end up happily ever after or was the dread Bloodletter demon a servant of something even darker?

No one in primary school really got what I was going through and as such, didn’t leap into HeroQuest with the same enthusiasm as I. I won’t regale you with the response they had to my suggestions to act out the stories or write my own. Besides, judging by some of those who read this, you’ve already kinda been there.

A couple of years in high school I learnt that a game system existed where this acting out was the way you played. Also it wasn’t played with a board at all, just paper, strange numerically defaced polyhedrons and imagination. One go of this style of game was enough to get me hooked and these games became a monthly event until graduation.

In Mackay and the surrounding shires there was only one store that supplied the necessary rule and story books for such games and as a result, made for something of an incestuous community of role-players. Play in one group and it was likely you’d know six others by proxy. A regular group in Mackay that I was a part of through various iterations (Though like your grandfather’s axe, it was still the same group) played a variety of games, trying to find a system that had a great story, an easy-to-follow rule system and was something we already hadn’t played for months before.

Leaving this group of friends behind was one of the toughest decisions I’d made the year I moved to Brisbane.

Not surprisingly, the many hobbies that Prima Spada members share includes various role play games and as before, as I became a player in one group, so to did my knowledge of other groups until I find myself today playing in multiple games with varying groups. And once again I find myself surrounded by friends as a result.

The games I play at the moment include (but not limited to):

Exalted: The Chosen of the Sun God return after centuries spent in captivity and exile. Do they mean to save the world from itself or damn it further?

This game is played with the group from Mackay via MSN. It’s been going on and off in various stages for a couple of years now but it makes for a good excuse to stay in touch with old friends as well as being an engaging game.

Shadowrun: 20 years ago, the world narrowly averted its own destruction thanks to the actions of a motley crew of mercenaries. Now the world is in danger again. Can it be saved?

The first game in Brisbane I became involved with. Run by Swordsman Jason it introduced me to two other roleplaying enthusiasts who have included me in various other games. My understanding is that this game has been running for five years before my involvement so often I find myself playing catchup on the obviously convaluted story. Fun though.

Deus Ex Letalis: A world of myriad races clash against each other as a dark god returns to doom the world. Only Ascended, the champions of opposing gods can prevent the destruction of the world.

Rhys’s homebrewed system and world that I’m, technically, playtesting. Terribly huge amounts of fun this, especially given the amount of detail that Rhys has put into this game. The game is still being refined and added to and I find myself enjoying the opportunity to be a part of this.

No £$%” Capes! A dark version of superheroes in a Gotham-esque city where its vigilante must pass the torch to those who would take up the fight against the evil and corrupt.

Two genres you couldn’t stop me from playing: Superheroes and Westerns. This is still very new. I’m playing a sidekick whose partner and mentor was killed during a superpowered fracas. Now he must join forces with darker vigilantes in a city that has outlawed metahuman activity.

Shield Wall: The game we fall back to when one of the other games falls through and also my most favourite game of all.

Shield Wall was a playtest of the Feng Shui RPG system and impromtu game one Friday night. Set in an 80’s action cop show, maverick cop Brock Magnum (Rhys) and his partner, Johnny Wong (me) take on crime families, drug dealers, robbers, murderers and the rest of the scum of Capital City with a complete lack of regard for police procedure. Or to quote the game’s intro: “Above the law– they did it in style”.

Shield Wall is a game unlike any I’ve been involved with. Unlike the atypical game where the Games Master (GM) determines the plot, settings, environment and so on of the game, it is very much a collaborative effort between the two or three players and the GM. The format is a one hour TV show and in this instance it serves to move the story through particular scenes, rather than saying “And then this happens, and then this…” The players throw suggestions of 80’s action cliches which are then woven into the story along with a healthy dollop of racism, sexism, violence and one-liners that movies of this age were so famous for. I don’t think there’s a single game yet that hasn’t failed to be awesome.

I imagine I’ll have more to comment on this. In very early posts on this journal, I’ve talked about GM and storytelling techniques. I get the feeling I may do so again.

But not now cause lunch is nearly up.

Also, the coffee has passed the test. Will buy some for rest of work day.

*Dad did not believe in the educational value of Mouse Trap and Hungry Hungry Hippo.

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1 Comment

  1. Many a weekend was spent with two to six other rpg friends during year 9 and 10. AD&D and a bit of Traveller. Still have the books, and despite not being active for at least 20-some years, I look at the new addition with contemplation that, “Maybe my kids would be interested”

    Dear god save me.

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