Friday, 1 August 2014

LoL Cinematics

I have been known to feel a little left out that I am not a League of Legends player and while I can see the appeal with a bunch of friends it hasnt grabbed my attention enough for me to get into it as yet.
RIOT have made some groovy cinematic trailers though that explore various champions and bring to life all those abilities for fans and players. They also created behind the scenes vids for us as well so we can see the modelling, the direction, the music and sounds, all the pieces that go together to bring us something this cool:

PLUS, anyone who likes seeing outstanding modellers or sculptors do their thing, check out Josh Singh do his thing here:

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Stonewood Dream Sequence

In our 13th Age campaign (The Stonewood) we entered session 3. Last time in the dramatic fight against the party's nemesis the Lizardman Shaman, Erevan the wizard was stuck down by lightning but his comatose body now has an Elven rat companion. The group secure Perch before setting watches to hold up over night. During Raf's watch all the other characters find themselves in a shared dream, a dream in which they all find themselves as  rat versions of themselves. (I edited some of David Petersen's sketches to create some ratty versions of the heroes)

The rat heroes are set on their dreamy adventure by a fire that speaks to them a short poem over and over again. They then head into the hedge maze looking for the keys within Erevan's lightning-tainted mind. I liked that they worried about hacking into the hedge or carving marks into the bone-like ground in case they were hurting the wizards fragile brain.

As they navigated through the maze they encountered various memories and ideas, some relating to specific characters in the party others to memories recent and in the distant past. The whole dream was setup as a single encounter in game mechanics with restricted recoveries and a slowly advancing escalation die. The heroes really seemed to be struggling with being worn down by the dream with some areas of the maze offering them some relief in the form of healing after they were slammed by some horrific encounter.

I created pawns for the more combat-centric areas and illustrations for others trying to keep the black and white theme going. This image shows all the bits I had ready, but we didnt get to all the encounters so the tentacle ritual and the undead ranger and a few other bits didnt get to torture the party. They did get through a heap of mini encounters though and everyone got their turn in the spotlight.

I used more handouts this time, portraits of each hero for them, bigger prints of key encounter baddies and the fire. Here are some of the encounters from the session, some were very short others took time:
Sword Fountain: lightning fountain with skeletal birds and a magical sword for Garm.
Voices: just the sounds of children playing with magic before there is a magical accident and crying.
Lizard Lightning: statue with lightning staff used to break boulders (plus the attack of the stone skeletons)
The Tree: test for Dalgar the Dwarf to climb up and over.
Finger beast: attack of a large elf with sharpened fingers for teeth of the 3 elven races.
The statue: Navi finds an emotional clue to her past, a statue of a tiny halfling-like rider upon a fire panther.
Whispers: fight the topiary beasts to get their buckets and fill one with something secret to find a way out.

As the dream was collapsing around them at the well, all the characters make their escape waking up sweating and with the knowledge of the keys. They sever one of Erevan's fingers, fill a bucket with Navi's desire and cast the ritual using the now red rat (all the choices they made during the dream).

Ritual time, the wizard is brought back from his unatural slumber and is now bound to the red rat as a familiar. Dalgar's ritual doesnt go completely to plan though and a dark entity within Erevan passes into the dwarf during the casting. Both the heroes now feel the entity watching them from within, smiling...

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Mouse Guard Games etc

I am a fan of David Petersen's Mouse Guard, love the comics. That was the primary driver when I grabbed the box set for the Mouse Guard roleplaying game. I have read the rules a couple of times and it just didnt click for me how this variation of The Burning Wheel would actually work as a game. Now that I have played Tremulus and other light story-centric games I think I may be ready to read it again :-)

I note that David Petersen and Luke Crane are working on a second edition of the game, though I am not sure what the differences will be apart from some groovy new art. David has a few blog posts (1 and 2) already showing how he created cover art for various editions.

The other reason for this post is that Luke and David also have a kickstarter for their little board game Swords and Strongholds. The game can be seen in the pages of the comic here and there and looks like an interesting little thing. I wish the international postage was less - wouldnt have been able to resist. Check the kickstarter entry for pics of the prototype and more.

Monday, 28 July 2014

FATE Conductor

I am finding it tricky to get The Conductor's expression to show youth, potential mastermind, joyous fanboy and powerful hero all at once. Here is the latest effort including a quick idea for the team VANQUISH logo.

The pic was done as a sketch in Photoshop mimicking pencil, then a few layers for a quick shade, colour and lightning. I really should try and get better at this business - I even resorted to using Liquify to fix the proportions and relationships between a few of the elements.

I am keen to see how the team fares in its next adventure, here is a summary of how I think his FATE character pieces together as an extreme summary:

Shocking Fanboy (High Concept, studies supers and now has electro-magnetic powers)
Destined to be a Supervillain (Trouble, what will he do to fuel superheroes and their conflict)
Powerbook Editor (Elevated access to many parts of powerbook)
Nemesis of Dr Von Bat (They battle via social networks and as heroes)
Benevolent Mastermind (Likes to manipulate events to create his team, organise conflict etc etc)
Great +4: Lore
Good +3: Will, Rapport
Fair +2: Contacts, Deceive, Empathy
Average +1: Investigate, Provoke, Notice, Resources
Others +0: Athletics, Burglary, Crafts, Drive, Fight, Physique, Shoot, Stealth
Use Will to move metallic objects (S), including attack, fly (S) and create a shield or stop metal attacks (S)
Can also create an electrical disturbance (S) to disrupt electronics
Needs to Concentrate
Collateral Damage, ElectroStom - EMP & AOE kinetic and lightning damage (scene)
SE: Inflict Condition: Brain Frazzle, Forced Movement: Hurl things back, up or into a propeller
Factoman (Know the Supers) (S) +2 to lore checks involving Supers to find out their powers, weaknesses, affiliations, motivations and history.
You could be a Doctor (S) Use Lore for first aid, medical diagnosis and anatomy (+2 to checks)
Nigel Goldstein : Child of rich Jewish family, had lots of tutoring as well.
Passion for supers grew into an obsession (even studying supers at uni)
Drew together friends from school to make Team Vanquish

Sunday, 27 July 2014

FATE - Enter Team Vanquish

Team Vanquish: Assemble - our 4 heroic characters began their superheroic adventures using FATE Core last night. Woken up early by a frantic call for help from the grandson of Australia's most beloved Golden Age hero Croc Dundee - we head to their mansion. There is evidence everywhere of quite a party having taken place overnight, Jerome is panicking about the mess and 'the body' that turns out to be a girl who is lying on the Croc's famous couch seemingly dead. She is a mystery though as she doesnt seem to be fully dead and over time we work out that her body is defending itself with electricity and she doesnt appear in any PowerBook entries despite The Conductor trying pretty hard to work out who our Jane Doe is.

S.E.N.S.E. copters start arriving and Special Agent Catherine Silver tries to take control of the situation (after Steve delayed them outside) - but Seraph stood up to her using her reputation, family status and some help from The Conductor highlighting the conflict through social media. Seraph wont let Silver take the girl and Valkyrie finds out they are here on an Asset Recovery mission. Silver eventually backs down and we wait for the police. The nervous tension is broken by the attack on the mansion by Dr Von Bat's Bat-allion troopers tunneling their way in with their mech-like W.O.M.B.A.T. suits.

Steve is filming in the trophy room where one of the attacks surfaces defending the spot with quickly erected blocky walls using all of his minecrafty powers. Seraph and Val both swoop down to engage the enemy with steel, stun gun and fire quickly overcoming their opposition. Meanwhile the Conductor levitated himself and the couch (including the girl) out the second story window to protect her from the growing number of threats. Agent Silver wasnt going to stand for this and after a failed attack with her stun gun she leapt out at the couch through the window. 'My couch' says the conductor as he shifts it enough so she falls, he catches her in mid air though. He then places her precariously atop the giant phallic ice sculpture in the fountain at the main entry (left there by Frosty during the party) to wait for everything to calm down and the authorities to arrive (that should be embarrassing enough).

Steve and Seraph stay back to smooth things over with the detective and show off to the press while The Conductor wafts away with the couch intending to lay low with Val  as they try to solve the mystery of the girl.


There were plenty of smaller pieces of fun - the run ins with the Wizard Detective were awesome and some of the little details borne out by the mechanics of aspects and such were beautiful.
I am still confused by some of the logics in FATE and I am sure we smoothed over some mechanics to keep things moving. I liked how special each of our characters feel, they not only feel cool in our game world but have things about them that make them fascinating full stop. Seeing these character ideas fleshing out through the play is lots of fun and keeps me engaged, whichever hero the spotlight is on at any particular point.