Thursday, 28 September 2017

All Fun and Games until... - An Editorial and an Apology

So some of my regular readers might be wondering.  Where's the next actual-play report from your Cyberpunk game, you bastard?!  Let me start off by saying that we played the fourth session of the game.  So it would just be a matter of typing up the post.  The problem is that would I feel right about writing it?

I guess I'll have to start from how I came to this way of thinking.  As I said we ran the fourth session Wednesday September 20th same as always, we had a great time and the evening ended on high note.  About a day or two after the fact, I get a text from the game's single-player.  Talking about how she didn't know how she felt about playing Aki (her character in the game) anymore.  For those of you who don't remember or don't know Aki has a habit of cheating on her girlfriend/common-law wife of six years Rinchen.  She was a character that both I and the player were excited to explore the story of when we first created her.  That is until the player was contacted by her mother, telling her that she and the player's step-father were getting a divorce.  That the step-father had been cheating on her mother for years now.

This had come after a session where the character, Aki had taken revenge on a vicious pimp (who she had once slept with), rescued her kidnapped girlfriend and then lied through her teeth to the aforementioned girlfriend.  About her relationship with the now deceased pimp.  At the time we had celebrated it as an incredibly good session, with a lot of good roleplaying on the player's part.  Then not that long after the player received the news.  She texted me soon after and we had a discussion about the implications of this on the game.  (One of the few ways we're able keep our friendship alive while the player is away at college).  The player made it clear to me that she didn't want to play Aki anymore.  That she didn't want to be put in position where she'd have to tell a well-constructed lie like the one her character told Rinchen.

I of course supported her in her decision.  As much as I love Roleplaying (I write about it extensively on this blog and plan to open a store dedicated to the sale of such games when I save enough money) I recognize that it is a game.  Games are supposed to be fun and if a player feels uncomfortable about the subject matter of a game.  Then that player isn't having fun.  Also I have a known this person since the 10th grade and they are one of the few friends I am still in contact with.  I would never put my own amusement or sense of achievement ahead of a friend's feelings.  The player is aware that I write actual-plays about our campaign.  When I asked if she wished for me not to write up the fourth session she said I should feel free to write it.  She also encouraged me to explain the situation in as much detail as was necessary.  Short of revealing her name of course.

Ultimately I decided against writing up the actual-play, because I didn't feel morally right about it.  I did however feel obligated to my readers to explain why there would be no more actual-plays, featuring Aki.  The player and I plan to continue playing Cyberpunk 2020, but the campaign with the Aki character has officially come to an end.  We plan to roll up a new character next Wednesday.  I'm sorry for any disappointment I may have caused.  

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Cyberpunk 2020 Single Player: Session 3 - Shoot the Medic First

Session Three of my Cyberpunk 2020 Single-Player campaign.  Before I get into the details of the session, I gotta clear up some housekeeping.  For those of you that missed last sessions actual play report you can find it here.  For those of you just joining us you can find the first part of Session One, right here.  With that out of the way let's jump in.

We had a late start, because the player had to wait for their food to be delivered.  Which delayed us by about half an hour, (needless to say the delivery guy didn't get a tip, at least I hope he didn't).  When we last left our heroine Aki, she'd been feathered by needles laced with sleeping drugs.  Causing her to fall unconscious.  We picked up the session at around the first time she regained semi-consciousness.  

Hask Mamund, a pimp that Aki used to
sleep with.  Who only just recently
kidnapped Aki's girlfriend Rinchen.
Aki's vision was blurred, she felt groggy and had the worst case of cotton-mouth she'd ever had in her life.  Through the grogginess she could hear two voices a man and a woman.  The man's voice she recognized as Hask Mamund, the woman's she didn't recognize.  
"I want you to cut up Bo for spare parts." said Hask. 
"Sure thing.  What about the runaway girls?" the woman responded. 
"Wali's tracking them with the RFID chips.  The boys'll find them soon enough."
"Alright, what about her?" the woman was obviously referring to Aki.
"Tell me when she wakes up.  When the boys get back, I'm gonna let them have a little fun with her input.  And I'd love for her to see that." 
With that final verbalization by Hask, Aki's vision once again turned black as she lost consciousness. 

She didn't know how long she'd been out for when she finally regained consciousness.  She stared up at the ceiling, with no idea where she was or how much time had passed, while she'd been out.  All she knew was that she was lying on a bed.  She didn't feel the familiar weight of any of her weapons or her phone.  Only the weight of her Light-Armoured Jacket and the other clothes on her back.  Aki glanced around the room trying to get a feel of her surroundings.  There was a curtain separating the part of the room she was in, from the rest of the room.  There was a woman with blond, ratty hair and hoop earrings sitting at a desk.  With her back to Aki, who hadn't noticed that her charge was now awake.  On the desk sat Aki's Kukri Knife!  She wasted no time springing up from the bed, dashing for the knife.  Fast-drawing the blade as she tried to plunge it into the woman's stomach.  

The woman with considerable skill, despite her initial surprise caught Aki's arm before the knife could pierce her flesh.  
"Well now, isn't this a surprise." she said, standing up from her chair backing away from Aki before let her arm go.  
Aki glanced a LED display not that much unlike Aki's own Glo-Tattooes.  (A kill display, the woman was Hask's in-house ripperdoc.  Who has some sado-masochistic tendencies, which include enjoying pain inflicted on herself and killing people).  It was the number 30.  Aki didn't have time to contemplate the number's significance.  Her speedway activated as she lashed out at the woman trying to gain purchase on her for an easier target.  The woman deftly turned aside Aki's attempt to grab onto her.
"Bitch!" growled Aki, before recovering and throwing a left hook at the woman's face.  The blow landed with a satisfying crack.  The woman just took it, smiling menacingly at Aki. 
"You've got a little fight in you.  I like that." 
Aki gave a feral growl as she attempted another slash at the woman with her knife.  The knife struck the wall harmlessly behind the woman's head.

This time the woman came at Aki, putting her on the defensive.  She made a clawing motion with her
The Blonde Woman, Korjata
Hask's inhouse ripperdoc.
Before Aki killed her.
hands and blades extended from below her fingernails.  Aki dodged her wild swipes and came back with another slash of her Kukri knife.  Burying its blade in the woman's flesh.  A look of shock came across her face as Aki followed up with a kick to the fresh wound.  The woman grimaced as Aki's boot connected with her tender injury.  Aki didn't waste any time following the kick with a slash of knife that buried itself in the woman's collarbone.  She twisted the weapon in the woman's freshly acquired wound tearing a huge chunk out of her flesh.  Covered in gore and blood the woman fell back agains the wall.  If she wasn't dead now, her wounds would kill her soon enough.  

Aki exited the room through the door, coming out into the hall.  Across the way she could see an elevator, to her left there was a door and to her right there was another door.  She was about to dash across the way to the elevator, when the door on her right opened.  A man stepped out, when he noticed Aki his faced quickly turned to a mask of surprise.
"Oh, shit." he said.
Aki wasted no time bringing her knife up for a slash at his neck.  The man blocked the blow with his hand, forcing Aki to recover.  As she looked through the doorway past the man she saw another room.  Inside was another a man and a solitary desk, at which Hask Mamund was sitting.  Hask nearly fell out of his chair upon seeing Aki, he scrambled out of the room through a door behind his desk.
"Don't just stand there, shoot that bitch!" he yelled at the two men as he closed the door behind him.  Aki still in the doorway near the hall, continued to struggle with the henchman blocking her way.  She ended the struggle with another slash to the neck with her Kukri knife.  The man collapsed to the floor, clutching his neck, gurgling blood.

A thug, not unlike the two that Aki just
The second thug standing beside the desk, let loose a total of four darts.  All of which buried themselves harmlessly in the sheetrock walls around the doorway.  As Aki's Speedware deactivated she ran through the doorway, over the corpse of the other thug.  Delivering a kick to the thug's face.  It connected with ferocious force, putting his head through the sheet-rock.  With the sickening crunch of breaking bone, that Aki assumed was the man's neck breaking.  Aki looked over to the desk and saw her misplaced possessions.  Her smartgun, her phone, her wad of cash, her smart-glasses and the keys to her motorcycle.  She quickly collected her belongings and was about to follow Hask through the door.

That's when the door once again opened.  Out stepped Rinchen, standing in front of Hask.  In such a way that she covered all of his vital areas except his head and right arm.  Hask had a small pistol pointed a Rinchen's temple.
"Rinchen!" said Aki taking a step forward.
"That's far enough Aki.  You take one more step and I'll blow this bitch's brains out." threatened Hask.


Overall I thought this was a pretty good session.  After the disaster that was last session, with Aki getting feathered by sleeping needles.  I felt that I needed to have a way for Aki to get out there.  Having her wake up in a room with a guard and potential access to one of her weapons.  Seemed like an ideal way to get her out of a bad situation.  She'd have the resources to accomplish it, but have to earn her freedom.  The fight with Korjata went for a lot longer than I had initially thought it would.  This was probably the first time that Aki'd fought an NPC that wasn't a minion.  So from a mechanical standpoint it was a great opportunity, to see how that played out.  Just as I thought, having proper NPCs with full hit-boxes makes for a moderately tough fight.  Like the kind you see in an action movie where the hero fights the second-in-command before fighting the big boss.  

Well that's it as far as observations go.  If you liked this actual play be sure to follow, +1, reshare and comment.  Until next time may the dice be ever in your favour and have a good day.

Saturday, 9 September 2017

The Cleric's New Clothes: New Armour Options for Clerics

So a while back I wrote an article about the most ridiculous weapons I'd ever seen.  In all my years of playing Dungeons & Dragons, Pathfinder and other Dungeon-Delving fantasy games.  You can find the post here.  One of the books I referenced was the Ultimate Equipment Guide Volume 1 from Mongoose Publishing.  While the book for the most part is a pass, it does have some very interesting items in it.  Including the ones that inspired today's post.

Ladies and Gentlemen let me introduce to you the Holy Robes and Holy Vestments.  I found these little gems on pages 44 and 45 of the Ultimate Equipment Guide, in the chapter named Clerics and Temples.  Now I don't know about you, but the idea of a Cleric in Chainmail swinging a mace around never really made sense to me.  Sure there have been examples of Priest's dressing in armour and wielding maces in real-world history.  I refer you to Bishop Odo of Bayeux, William the Bastard's (a.k.a. William the Conqueror) brother and right hand man.  More known for his skill as a warrior and a statesman than a man of God.  There is one vital difference between Odo and you're typical Cleric in Fantasy Roleplaying game though.  Odo was for the most part a mortal man, while Cleric's in D&D can call down the wrath of their god.  Why would they need to wear chainmail?  I personally find that the Holy Vestments and the Holy Robes offer an alternative to chainmail for your Cleric.

Holy Vestments

"Clerical holy vestments are blessed to withstand attacks, protecting their wearers from harm.  Often made from silk and wool, these robes are both comfortable and easy to move in.  The symbol of the patron deity is often embroider upon the centre of the chest of the robes in the chose colours."
Statistics D&D 3.5
Light Armour; 40 gp; AC +2; Max Dex +6; Check Penalty -; Spell Failure 5%; Speed 30 ft./20 ft.; 15 lb.

Statistics D&D 5th Edition (Converted by Yours Truly) 
Light Armour; 40 gp; AC 11+Dex modifier; Strength -; Stealth -; 15 lb.

Statistics Pathfinder (Converted by Yours Truly)
Light Armour; 40 gp; AC +2; Max Dex +6; Check Penalty -; Spell Failure 5%; Speed 30 ft./20 ft.; 15 lb.

Holy Robes

"As an alternative means of protection, many clerics fabricate their own form of armour.  These robes are crafted from durable wool and blessed with holy water by the temple priests for a fortnight before they are given to a cleric for use.  It is believed that the deities of the temples bless these robes to protect their followers."
Statistics D&D 3.5
Light Armour; 250 gp; AC +3; Max Dex +6; Check Penalty -1; Spell Failure 10%; Speed 30 ft./20 ft.; 15 lb. 

Statistics D&D 5th Edition (Converted by Yours Truly) 
Light Armour; 250 gp; AC 12+Dex modifier; Strength -; Stealth Disadvantage; 15 lb.

Statistics Pathfinder (Converted by Yours Truly)
Light Armour; 250 gp; AC +3; Max Dex +6; Check Penalty -1; Spell Failure 10%; Speed 30 ft./20 ft.; 15 lb.

Now granted mechanically they aren't great.  They're about the equivalent of Leather & Studded Leather Armour in terms of protection.  The Holy Robes in particular have a ridiculous price tag for the bonus it offers.  By the time a character can afford a set of Holy Robes they'll probably have a set of Magical Armour anyways.  That's not the reason that I suggested them though.  It's more for flavour than anything else.  It's for the purposes of Roleplaying.  At Level 1 a Cleric can't afford any armour more expensive than a set of Holy Vestments anyway (at least in Pathfinder).  Yet imagine how special you can make your Cleric feel by having him wear a set of what essentially cloth and still be protected.  (Especially when it supposedly is blessed by your patron deity themselves).  It's just a thought, you can disregard it as you wish, I just think it's an interesting roleplaying angle.  

That about wraps it up for me.  Be sure to +1, follow, comment and re-share.  May you roll many crits and have a nice day.   

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Cyberpunk 2020 Single-Player: Session 2 - Came Childe Aki to the Dark Tower

Today we had our second session of the Cyberpunk Single-Player Campaign.  The first session which we played online.   You can find part one of the first session here, the second part here. We started late by about an hour and wasted about another forty minutes, as I tried to guide my player through Roll20's character sheet interface.  Until we decided to stop messing around with the Nightmare from Tech Support (if anyone knows why my player can't edit her character sheet, please don't hesitate to comment).

When we last left our heroine Aki she was standing in her trashed apartment.  Only just having gotten off the phone with Hask Mamund, the pimp she had once had a one-night stand with.  Who had not minutes ago admitted to kidnapping Aki's girlfriend Rinchen.  He'd offered an ultimatum, either Aki return the chip-hop star Rylee O'Neal (who Hask had kidnapped in order to attract high paying clients) or Rinchen would have to take her place.  The icy terror Aki had once felt, had now sparked into a burning rage!  "That little shit!  I'm gonna fuckin' kill that bastard!" She dashed out of her ransacked apartment to her Mitsubishi Cyber-controlled motorcycle.  If she'd been smart and calm about it she might have prepared or hired some help.  No such voices of caution entered her mind as she sped through the rain to the location, that Hask had specified.
The apartment building that Aki found herself outside of.

  It was a rundown apartment building, about nine stories tall.  There were about eight joy-girls, prostitutes loitering in front of the building.  Crowding together in two groups of four, smoking, shivering in the light rain pour, shooting the breeze.  Standing by the door was a thuggish looking man that Aki assumed was either their handler or a lookout.  Aki considered shooting the man right then and their to save herself some trouble.  Perhaps disperse the whores, so they wouldn't get caught in the inevitable fire-fight.  She thought better of it, the ride over had calmed her down somewhat.  At least enough that she would second-guess her first impulses.  Maybe it'd be better just to stroll in like she owned the place, like she belonged there.  Just walk through the front door, if this was Hask's place of business.  Then clients would be walking in and out all the time.  She could just pose as one of them, it was 2060 for crying out loud.  Female johns weren't unheard of.  She did just walking up to the building liked she belonged there.

It worked, the man at the door ignored her.  While one of the woman loitering around approached her.  "Hey sweet thing, looking for a good time."  Aki stopped for a moment, considering her words before she answered.  "I'm looking for the...right kind of girl.  Long black hair, dark skin.  Got anyone like her?" Aki was hoping to get some information on Rinchen's whereabouts, maybe one of the joy-girls had seen Hask and his goons bring her in.  Another woman stepped forward fitting the exact description that Aki had just given, but it wasn't Rinchen.  "I don't usually munch carpet, you got the money toots."  Aki's attempt at getting information out of the hookers had backfired.
"Actually I'm looking for someone... the business?  Someone very new!  Know anyone...fitting that description."  she felt a little awkward about the misunderstanding.
"What're you saying that I ain't clean bitch!" the joy girl's face, which had once been open to the prospect of money if not the clientele.  Morphed into an indignant mask.
"Woah, woah, woah Miss!  That is NOT what I said.  I'm just looking for something specific. Very specific.  But I'll come back to you if I don't find it, okay?  See you later."  The whole thing had gotten more outta hand than Aki had been hoping.  The lookout who had previously ignored her was now looking in her direction.  She tried to salvage her attempt to just walk right through the front door.  Nonchalantly walking away from the joy-girl (who was still cursing at her), past the man at the door.

That's when the lookout stuck his foot out, tripping Aki and causing her to do a face-plant.  (Let me give you a view of the mechanical side of what happened here.  The player wanted to walk right past the lookout like it was nothing.  So I had her roll Aki's Reflex versus the Lookout's Awareness/Notice.  She rolled a fumble, which resulted in a 6 on the fumble table.  Which indicated that she failed miserably, taking a point of minor damage, from a sprain, fall or stumble.  It was kind of hard to justify it until I came up with the idea of the Lookout getting a trip in since he noticed her attempt walk past him).
The lookout that Aki tried to walk past.
"Where do you think you're going bitch?  No one gets in without buying one of the girls first."
That was it, Aki'd had enough of this.  She rolled over onto her back fast drawing her pistol and fired a shot at the rude-mouthed thug.  He never knew what hit him as the base-exploder round hit him right in the torso.  Just before it made a gory hole in him the size of a teacup in his ribcage.  There was the report of gun and then the louder concussive sound, that almost drowned out the screams of the joy-girls before they ran for cover.  The lookout staggered back and then collapsed forward in the light rain.  Not that far from where Aki now lay on her back.

There was no time to lose!  Aki leaped up and ran through the front door.  She came into the lobby and saw three men.  Two thugs not unlike the one she had killed outside.  One ducked behind a group of Video Poker/Slot Machines, while the other took cover beside the front desk.  Behind the front desk there cowered a man of Middle-Eastern descent, interfaced with some manner of electronic device.  (Unbeknownst to the player or Aki this was Wali Mamund.  Hask Mamund's younger brother and the Spider for Hask's organization, who tracked the joy-girls' implanted RFID chips as well as the building's security.  The electronic device was his Cyberdeck, but Aki couldn't tell that in the heat of combat).  Aki swiftly ducked behind another group of Video Poker/Slot Machines.  Only for the left side of her face to be feathered by two darts, the effects of which were almost immediate.  She was overcome with a wave of drowsiness, another two darts implanted themselves in her other cheek.  Her vision blurred and the ugly carpet on the floor was a lot closer than she thought it'd been originally.  Then everything went black.


This session was a lot shorter than I'd originally planned for it to be.  We started late and wasted forty minutes teaching the player how to use Roll20.  (Hindsight, probably should have had a separate session where we figured that out first).  Things went sideways for Aki this time, right from her initial interactions with the Joy-Girls and the Lookout.  Only for her to barge into a lobby and be turned into a pincushion by two thugs armed with Needle-Guns (loaded with sleeping drugs I might add).  The player ended up rolling last in the initiative order (which can be fatal in Cyberpunk 2020) if those guards had had their Biot-Toxin needles loaded things could have gone way worse.  The plan is to continue next Wednesday, so we'll find out what happens to poor Aki then.  Until then be sure to +1, comment and re-share.  May the dice be ever in your favour and have a good day.

Arms Race: The Ridiculous Weapons of D&D

This post is going to be a little shorter than my usual ones.  I felt obligated to make a post after so long, but was having trouble coming up with a topic.  So I decided to say "To hell with it" and right a little mini-rant.  Without further ado here we go.

Am I the only one who noticed that D&D 3.5 (and to a certain extent Pathfinder) has some of the most ridiculous weapons out of any RPG?  Today I was reading a couple of Equipment Books from the aforementioned Game/Edition.  The Arms & Equipment Guide by Wizards of the Coast and the Ultimate Equipment Guide Volume 1 (published by Mongoose Games under the OGL).  Mostly this was brought on by boredom more than anything.  (I am happy to report that it wasn't entirely in vain, I managed to find two little gems in the Ultimate Equipment Guide.  A Hauberk which would have been more historically appropriate to my Forest of Dean Campaign, than a plain chain-shirt.  As well as weapon stats for a Pitchfork, other than somebody yelling at me to just use a trident.  There are significant differences between the two, damn it!  I also found stats for a slingshot, in case I ever want to stat Kid Link from Ocarina of Time).  Other than the aforementioned eye-catchers, the two books were nothing particularly remarkable.  Unless you really want to add some stuff to the equipment list of your game, they're both kind of a pass.  The only thing remarkable about them is the amount of ridiculous looking/sounding weapons they have within their pages.  (Seriously they could give Manji from Blade of the Immortal's collection a run for its money).
The aforementioned collection of weird weapons, reproduced here as a line of toys. 
There was all manner of bizarre and impractical weaponry.  The obligatory smattering of double weapons, including the double scimitar, mace and the crown jewel of this house of oddities, the Elven Double Bow.  According to the description it possesses two bowstrings for the express purpose of loosing two arrows at once.  (Face it, if you're going for a that level of realism.  Just do what Prince of Thieves and every other self-respecting Robin Hood movie did, use a normal longbow).  Others of note were the Claw Bracer (for those of you who want play Medieval Wolverine) and the whip dagger (a whip in a competent user's hands can cut through skin to the bone, what's the point of having a dagger on the end).  There was also the Dwarven Armour Blades which were essentially armour spikes that did more damage.  (I've always wondered how Dwarves and other warriors walked around with all those spikes over their armour, without injuring themselves.  If anyone has an answer to this mystery, please tell me because I'm dying to know).  

The most ridiculous weapon I've seen in all my years of playing
tabletop RPGs and being a medieval warfare geek.
Last but not least, I've saved the dumbest one for the end.  I even went so far as to do a screen capture and edit it, for this weapon alone.  Ladies and Gentlemen allow me to introduce you to the Gyrspike.  "A what?" you ask, that was my exact reaction when I first saw this weapon.  Apparently this is a double weapon (I know I already covered them but hear me out) that combines a longsword with a flail (that's why I didn't include it with the other double weapons, which usually have double of the same weapon).  There are so many things wrong with this weapon I don't even know where to begin. Let's start with the obvious.  How in the Nine Hells are you supposed to swing the sword around without clonking yourself with the flail end.  It's already difficult enough not to hit yourself with a flail as is.  The weapon description says that the flail end can be used to disarm or entangle an opponent's weapon.  Wrong, the chain's too damn short in length to entangle jack-all.  Also can you imagine how awkward and unbalanced that thing must be.  You've got to carry around a five pound longsword and then add a length of chain and steel ball at the other end.  Who designed this?  It looks like something a thirteen year old version of me would come up with (I was a pretty dumb kid).  

Anyway that was my little rant to kickoff September.  What do you think?  What's the most ridiculous weapon you've ever seen in a Roleplaying game?  Leave it down below in the comments.  Be sure to +1 and re-share.  May you roll many crits and until next time have a great day.