Thursday, 28 October 2010

Assassin's Creed: the Roleplay Game

Concept: Either Templar or Assassin's order agents, using the Anima technology to delve into genetic memories to find the truth of historical events in order to act within the future on that information.


  • Historians write history books, not the truth.
  • In what way is the Animus a shared virtual experience? Do Animus interactions influence the past. Do all users experience the same history or just their own consensual version?
  • Fear the future. 2012 is coming and the Creators knew this was coming. What do the Templars want? Control? Power? To use religion over truth?


  • Race against time - the End of Days.
  • History is a lie
  • Shadow War

How it would work?

The game has two layers. The first is the real world. Here the agents of each group are working against each other to find and use devices and places of power left from before the fall. This is all against the backdrop of the coming end times of 2012. In order to find and use these places and devices the agents must fight against each other.

Initially it is assumed that the Animus is just a simulation of events in order to allow users to 'synchronise' with the genetic memories so that they can learn the truth and the skills of their ancestor. Users using the Animus together can share the same simulation. However, in ACII it is shown that a user can hack the Animus and leave behind information. Now in ACII Desmond is able to access these hacked memories in both the initial Animus in Abstergo, and the Animus 2.0 used by Desmond later, he is able to gain access to the same memories. This then presents the issue of how memories are hacked. Can users in unlinked machines influence the memories of each other? Is it possible to meet each other in the virtual realm of the Animus? Does this mean that DNA is a big quantum computer for access?

This means agents can fight each other both in memories and the real world.

Add to the mix that the Ancients, the Creators, have a level of prescience, and are able to communicate with Desmond through the memories of Ezio.

Some inspiration and explanations here

So this mixes and element of history, Matrix style VR, conspiracy, spying and aliens and tech.


Wednesday, 27 October 2010

OK Gandalf, sell me on this trip to Mordor? Is it like Butlins?

      God I have had this sat on my posterous ready to write for a while. Life - that meaty real thing we exist in - has gotten in the way of this blog to a certain degree. Mainly these articles.

      So what the hell am I going to rant about next? What seeds of inspiration can I give you? What insights into the games I have run? This time it is Gandalf and his ilk. And by this I mean the ever present old man/CEO/captain/commander who tells the party of players where high adventure (and more importantly plot and thus 'shit to do') lies. This is my love letter to those wise men and suits giving the orders.


      When you get your players together, you have to think, how the hell do I even get them to chase after the story of my game. Each person, hopefully, has a well developed background for their character and this is laden with plot hooks to use. The very hooks that when a player spots it in game will get distracted and announce 'Fuck you guys! Plot lies that a' way!', and then proceed to head of on their own quest. This is great. It means the game feels alive as each player character pursues their own goals and desires. But there are times when the plot needs a unified goal, something that all the players will work towards. This is hard. If you, like me, want to have the feeling of not rail roading the players to 'The plot!' then you may just have to deal with the fact the players may just not want to deal with the steaming pile of crap you have set up on the horizon. They are no fools and can smell a turd from a mile away. And this is where Gandalf and his cronies come in. Those vile NPCs who give the players good reason to go routing about in that cesspit.

      Back in the day of my first DnD game I ran, and stuff like Star Wars, my 'Gandalf' was pretty obvious. Some self important person who has a very good reason for the player troupe to go off and take the mission on. It may well be some monetary reason, or something the players are all fighting towards (saving the kingdom/galactic empire etc). But there comes a point when you desire the players to be more proactive. Soon every self important old guy is a 'Gandalf' festooned with plot. Or at least that is what the players come to expect. This was something I wanted to break out of. I wanted the players to figure out what was important and pursue these goals themselves, and not really on the 'Gandalf' and his cattle prod.

     It was while running Vampire: the Requiem (a chronicle I have now run twice and similar results were achieved) that I used the idea of the 'Gandalf' that would in fact back stab the players. Not because the 'Gandalf' was inherently evil, but just that he had his own plans. As up and coming neonates the players would learn that trust is a rare commodity, and this would be the ultimate lesson it trust. It would also show the importance of knowledge and being proactive (something my wife did well at, even going as far as double crossing the entire coterie and their boss and selling them out to the other side!). They even found other 'Gandalfs' that they didn't trust that in fact turned out to be good allies.

     In comparison, when running Fading Suns, the 'Gandalf' was light years away, having sent them on their mission across the stars. They had a mission, with a few caveats, but otherwise they were open to how they achieved it. This allowed me to introduce other more temporary 'Gandalf' like characters that they could choose to ignore if they wished. Again this allowed the players to pursue the main mission, their own goals, and even take up other jobs if it meant that they gain something form of extra leverage in their main missions.

     Now, in Changeling, things are quite different. Changeling: the Lost has very obvious player goals from the outset. They don't want to go back to Arcadia and the Fae. They want some form of their old life back (or perhaps something better). They may want revenge or to learn the secrets of the Fae. Either way this means the players come with a lot of their own goals and plot hook on which I can run the game. Now the 'Gandalf' types I have suffer from many shades of grey, so it has come down to the players to really determine what things they are pursuing plot wise, and who to trust. This of course lends itself well to the setting of Changeling where the society of the players revolves around pledges and contracts.

    Ultimately the use of the 'Gandalf' has to be done. You need to present plot. But there are ways to make this more interesting than the typical 'You go into the bar and a old man comes to you asking for your help'. Trust is the first thing to play with. Then there are the player movtivations and character goals. Lastly, a trick I look forward to using, is to make one of the characters the 'leader' and make them set the goals of the group. This may come into practice during my next part of my Vampire setting, where we do a sequel to the last chronicle and bring back one of the old player characters to be team leader.


    So Gandalf? Who do you deal with the pipe smoking old git?

Friday, 8 October 2010

[actual play] Changeling: the Lost


Changeling: the Lost

Venice: Broken Masks, Shattered Dreams

Episode 2 - Clay - part 2

      The motely met up at the Devil's Forest pub later that evening. They were able to discuss what had happened, with Stitches putting together what Little John and Clio knew. It seemed that they had to find this 'eye thief' and it seemed that some sort of pledge or contract was being used since the Wyrd was wrapped around the events. Clio decided she wanted to go back to see Malvolio and discuss this book of names he has asked her to find. Stitches also informed them that another body had been found with ribs missing. This now made a whole 7 bodies. This one was found with 'VI' inscribed on their head and the same verse. But also, as Little John had informed him, there was more. The deceased had drawn with their own blood what turned out to be the alchemical symbol for the sun, and helium, surrounded with 9 stars with the word 'Paridiso'. Clio knew this related to Dante's 'Inferno' since it was the name of a chapter of the book. Else decided to go to the House of Autumn to use the library for some research, and have a look at the location where she was apprehended, as it seemed the men were able to see past the mask. Sonata and Freki went with her to look for clues while Stitches headed to the public gardens to figure out what was causing the unrest.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

[actual play] Changeling: the Lost


Changeling: the Lost

Venice: Broken Masks, Shattered Dreams

Episode 2 - Clay - part 1

      It was the 20th of December, and Christmas was just around the corner, but also so was the Winter Solstice. The House of Winter had it's own particular way of celebrating this event, and of course with Christmas being soon over, the period of Carnival would begin.

      The motely were all involved in their own work. Clio was rushed off her feet at the Florian, Stitches was working at the pharmacy, Else was enjoying some roasted chestnuts, Sonata was busking and helping himself to half eaten food left about in the Christmas markets, and Freki was out doing deliveries.


Else made her way through the streets of Venice, from now where she was set upon and dragged into and alleyway where two men held her and put a dagger to her throat. They called her a freak, and knew what she was. They wanted to know where all the eyes were. Else was confused and so decided her best hope was to lead them into an ambush, using her command of contracts to cause a deep seat fear within them as she spoke of whom they were to meet. Else then began to lead them to Stitches' shop.


      Meanwhile Clio, taking a break out the back of the Florian overheard cries for help, and what sounded like a fight. She rushed over to see a man beating a woman. Clio called for help and tried to stop the man. He fell to the ground and then looked back at her. His eyes were suddenly gone and Clio could see scratches all around the eye sockets.