Night’s Black Agents – A Trip To Q-Branch

A couple of quick provisos before I launch in:

1:  This is my first GUMSHOE game and, as such, some errors may occur.  I’m happy to edit the article to address the mistakes once I learn of them but all this is by way of saying “Don’t treat this as gospel”.

2:  Some of my thinking is going to be vague as I haven’t playtested or run the game yet.  I’ll try to make some sense of the story in how it relates to the adventure design process but there is a paranoid part of me that doesn’t want to spoil everything here for fear of a potential player spotting it.  To be honest the viewing stats should disabuse me of that concern.

3:  I work in Android and don’t possess the knowledge to adequately provide an iOS alternative.

Onto the article!


The initial idea for this game emerged from Bill Murray’s Ask Me Anything on Reddit.  He was spruiking for his film – Monuments Men – and was discussing the concept of the film and the history that inspired it.  In particular, he talked about how the Nazis hid billions of dollars in gold, jewels, art and other precious things in a place called Merkers Mine.  The contents of the mine were discovered by Allied Forces and seized by Patton and Eisenhower until it was returned to the German people and those victimised by the Nazi Party. Continue reading


Night’s Black Agents – Your Mission, Should You Choose To Accept It…

Every three months or so there is a gathering or roleplayers who come together at a hobby store and hold a mini-convention.  This is Go Play.

Go Play is free and freely encouraged.  The gaming area is free, the GMs are volunteers, the organizers donate nothing outside of time and enthusiasm.  It’s a great day out for players and it’s a great opportunity for people to get to know others outside of their gaming groups.  I love to play and, if required, run a game.

Running a game at Go Play means you’ll get at least one or more new players to work with.  Meeting new people and working with them to create a story keeps me fresh.  It forces new pathways for collaborative storytelling and it gives me an excuse to try out something different. something that wouldn’t fly with my regular groups or something we just don’t have time to try.  For this event, I’m running something I’ve wanted to try but haven’t yet…


Night’s Black Agents. Click to check it out at Drive Thru RPG!

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Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Screen: Vol 2 – Over And Over And Over…

The last article ‘Never Repeat a Task’ promised a report of ideas and techniques to cut down on repetition I’ve encountered when running a game. Specifically I would be looking at:

• Assembling Dice Pools,
• Referencing Rules; and
• Combat

This article will address these repetitive tasks in the systems of Marvel Heroic RPG and Exalted 2nd Edition – the two games I’m running – and will suggest tools to curb the repetition in order to allow the GM to concentrate on other tasks.  But first…

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Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Screen: Vol 2 – Never Repeat A Task

There is not a lot to look foward to on the average Thursday, except fencing.  For most people, Wednesday is Hump Day and if that is the case for me, then Thursday is the summit hiding behind the hump that means you have further to climb.  There is however one thing about working on Thursday that I enjoy and that is reading a new “This Is How I Work” article on Lifehacker.

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Pay No Attention to the Man Behind The Screen: Vol 2 – The Shadowrun Rule (Untested)

I’m trying to codify something for my future RPG efforts and it boils down to this:
Are you playing INSERT RPG HERE or are you playing Shadowrun?*

You can tell if you’re playing Shadowrun by answering the following questions:

1:  Do you take the job/quest because it’s the only thing on offer?
2:  Do you spend the majority of time afterward devising the perfect plan?
3:  Do you get frustrated when the plan fails?
4:  Do you do it all over again next game?

My thinking is that if you answer Yes to all questions then you’re playing (or I’m running) a Shadowrun game.  If you’re playing something other than Shadowrun, then its time to reevaluate what and why you’re playing .

*See Behind the Screen #19 for my love/hate relationship with Shadowrun and why I’m using it for this post.

Pay No Attention to the Man Behind the Screen: Volume 2

Reading a bit of John August’s blog about writer’s workspaces, as well as Lifehacker’s interviews with productive people, I’ve been thinking about my own.  Since the completion of the Behind the Screen book and my typing this, there have been some new games and new tools added and, while I’m waiting for an breakfast experiment of Raisin-French Toast with Maple syrup and bacon, now seems like the time to pick up one of those tools and write about it.

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The Balance Sheet of 2010

The 31st of December, 2010.  This marks the occassion where I looked again at the Manifesto and realised that I’m at least one goal short– writing more.  At the moment I’m wondering what to write and trying to remember all that occurred across the year.  If there is anything I’ll remember 2010 as, it will be the Year of Change.  Not least of this change is that tonight, I won’t be at Dracula’s.  While this is depressing me, it bears reminding that where I to follow this tradition, while I would ring in the New Year with dear friends, I wouldn’t be able to share it with someone who has become so important to me this year.

So there’s a silver lining to that cloud, at least.

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