RPG a Day: Ten Episodes

9. What is a good RPG to play for about 10 sessions?

If you know you’re planning for a mini-series rather than a campaign that goes on indefinitely, it helps to have some scaffolding to help pace the overarching story.

One type of scaffolding is a campaign like that provided in Night Witches where the duty stations are outline along a timeline but your airwomen’s adventures at each point, and how fast you move from one station to another, depends entirely on your group’s choices. Then there is a game like Blowback that provides tools for escalation of the plot with certain preferential paths but still leaves you free to make the choices that will shape the overarching story.

A more structured type of scaffolding might be the Plot Point Campaigns included in many Savage Worlds games such as Low Life, Mars, Necessary Evil, Sundered Skies, Slipstream, Thrilling Tales, etc.—although their length varies and you may have to pick only a few of their many episodes.  Continue reading “RPG a Day: Ten Episodes”

Prepping for another con: Blowback

Blowback and Shadowrun covers

Update: I posted the finished playset, sans images because of copyright issues.  Enjoy!

I’m working on my games for Convolution next weekend (alas, they’re not showing up in the schedule yet, but I submitted them late).  Right now I’m writing a new Shadowrun-based play set for Elizabeth Shoemaker Sampat’s Blowback game.  Blowback is a game where you play highly skilled spies who are short on resources and must rely on family and friends; excellent to play Burn Notice, Haywire, Desperado, or The Bourne Identity.  I figure that maps pretty well over to shadowrunners, who plan and execute elaborate operations on the wrong side of the law.

I set up a technique for this last time I prepped a playset, and it works pretty well for me.  Here is how it goes:

First, I decide how many players I want.  I like five: one Lifer as a well-rounded leader and four Artists as specialists in each area of expertise (in Burn Notice, Michael would be a Lifer and Fiona and Artist).  I’ve also done it with different mixes, but I like this one.

Then I line up four columns but I don’t label the columns yet; I distribute top stat values (4 for Lifers and 5 for Artists) with as many sets as I have players.  (I do this by hand in a ruled notebook, but you don’t want to see my handwriting…)

First step: distributing top stats

Continue reading “Prepping for another con: Blowback”