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The Black Swan Session 04


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#1 Daniel

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Posted 09 April 2014 - 06:40 PM

File Name: The Black Swan Session 04

File Submitter: Daniel

File Submitted: 10 Apr 2014

File Category: Savage Worlds

Genre: Fantasy
Profanity Level: Jolly Sweary Indeed




Posted Image
Searching the village.
Now head of the Order, disgraced Knight, Gareth Ranthos, must figure out who is conducting raids along the Gold Road. Joined by his Squire, his Retinue and a Witch together they face Daemons, Dragon-Gods and Assassination all in the name of the Yellow Rose. Quickly they shall discover not all is as it seems, in this, the exciting sequel to Murder at Sturmhalt!

STARRING
Alexander as, The Disgraced Knight, Herr Gareth Ranthos
Daniel as, The Storyteller
Jess as, The Witch, Rosanna
Regan as, The Squire, Elyas Wannerholt

Tess as, The Loyal Retainer, Herr Ludmilla Black

]

Regan's 'Masterpiece' of Parody

Spoiler


Click here to download this file


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#2 Pencil-Monkey

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Posted 11 April 2014 - 10:02 AM

When Alex is Gareth:
1jm1ph.png

When Alex is Roland:
an2ek8.png
ff8rro.gif


Regan:
tumblr_lyo9rxejTt1rouf7xo7_500.jpg
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#3 Daniel

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Posted 11 April 2014 - 02:50 PM

Seems legit. :P


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#4 Pencil-Monkey

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Posted 15 April 2014 - 06:36 AM

Have you guys ever considered playing Tropis with some sort of storytelling indie RPG rules? Seems like it would suit the style better. You could try Fiasco, since Tropis is mostly about people getting brutally buggered by Danny tragedy and umm, melodrama, and stuff. Their website's got a bunch of free downloads, including a preview copy of the rules, a handy play mat, and loads of playsets. Check out some of these playsets, as well:

Playset_Bravazzo.jpg

Bravazzo:

Bravazzo! is set in the Italian city-state of Ferrara in 1435 at the dawning of the Renaissance.

It fuses together the vain ambitions of the nobility, the desperate brutality of the peasantry, the venal profiteering of the merchants, and the mystical corruption of the priesthood in a con-fuse-ion of double-dealing, back-stabbing, empire building, and courtly intrigue at a time when the Reason of Man was slowly emerging from the darkness of the Middle Ages.

Players will assume the roles of corrupt bishops, murderous nobility, ambitious bankers, pious priests, desperate brigands, virginal maidens, and coarse peasants, in a sordid medieval fiasco.


Darkshire Woods:

From the royal court to the commoners in the village, Darkshire Woods is a dangerous place. Think The Lord of the Rings, or A Game of Thrones, or any number of fairy tales or fantasy stories.


De Medici:

Florence, 1559: a city of opportunities for men who have the guts to pursue them. Here, struggling artists find rich patrons, visionary architects create their dreams, ruthless mercenaries get lucrative contracts, and shrewd merchants become as powerful as kings.

Ever since the times of Cosimo the Elder, the bankers, the Medici, have ruled this city. Sure, way back then it was still called a democracy, but the art, the armies and the votes were all paid with Medici money.

Upon the assassination of Duke Alessandro twenty-two years ago, the merchants and lords of the city enthusiastically welcomed young Cosimo I de' Medici. The nobles saw him as inexperienced, weak, and an easy puppet to manipulate. They couldn’t have been more wrong.

 
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#5 Daniel

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Posted 15 April 2014 - 11:53 AM

Hi there Monkey, as always some really useful links and actually very relevant to something me & Alex were discussing the other day.

 

Basically something we have noticed is that we the current group the need for actual dice rolls has become somewhat unnecessary in most non-combat encounters.  Considering the story is the main focus of our games I'm a little uncertain whether this is a good or bad thing.  The question I find myself asking these days is where the line between 'interactive storytelling' and 'roleplaying game' actually lies.  This mirrors the argument I've seen a lot recently as to what constitutes a 'game' (in video game terms).  The example I see mentioned a lot is Depression Quest - which Jess brought to the group's attention recently.  I may even end up writing a discussion piece on this, assuming the topic holds my attention long enough.

 

I would be interested in what our listeners think on this, actually.  Do people consider Tropis a roleplaying game still and if not, what to them are the required components to be counted as a roleplaying game?


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#6 Pencil-Monkey

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Posted 25 April 2014 - 06:15 AM

Are there any other games than Tropis, where your characters level up via body horror? :O

Daniel: Jess, you've been fireballed! And touched by the forces of ultimate annihilation!
Jess: Am I dead?
Daniel: No, no! Those are your power-ups, silly.
Jess: :O
Daniel: Oh, and Regan? Your Intimidation skill gets a +1, now that your face looks like borscht.
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#7 Pencil-Monkey

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Posted 25 April 2014 - 06:15 AM

giphy.gif

Daniel: *Singing* Gotta get in the gaaa-aaame! Gotta bring my best gaaa-aaame!
Jess: For a moment there, I thought Danny was going to start singing High School Musical songs.
Alex: If he knew those lyrics, my respect for him would drop even further. :(
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#8 Pencil-Monkey

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Posted 25 April 2014 - 06:16 AM

And now that Gareth is everyone's boss, he's got tons of new responsibilities, e.g.:

Herr Lars: You have yet to choose a master of the levies!

Since this is Tropis, he's probably gonna pick this Levy:


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#9 Pencil-Monkey

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Posted 25 April 2014 - 06:17 AM

Jess: Oh gawd! :O I just realized that my shirt is inside-out!
Danny: :D
Jess: And I went to an interview like this! :(
Alex: Tropis! Where we're always on the ball.


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#10 Pencil-Monkey

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Posted 25 April 2014 - 10:43 AM

Basically something we have noticed is that we the current group the need for actual dice rolls has become somewhat unnecessary in most non-combat encounters.  Considering the story is the main focus of our games I'm a little uncertain whether this is a good or bad thing.  The question I find myself asking these days is where the line between 'interactive storytelling' and 'roleplaying game' actually lies.


There was an interesting discussion on this topic, which almost erupted into a flame war. It started with a post by Zak Smith on the D&D With Pornstars blog (potentially NSFW, caveat emptor), which the Canon Puncture podcast later addressed in one of their episodes. Zak Smith was furious when he heard about it, because he felt that the people on the podcast more or less put words in his mouth, over-interpreting what he'd written and generally acted like overbearing douchenozzles - yet that they were doing it for the most noble intentions, of wanting to 'help' this poor, misguided gamer. ;)

Anyway. The flame war itself isn't terribly interesting, because it never happened; they all managed to settle things reasonably peacefully. However, several interesting points were made by Zak Smith and his girlfriend, Mandy (who plays a tiefling barbarian/cleric in the D&D game he GMs).

tizane_mandy.JPG
Tizane, played by Mandy, as drawn by Zak - did I mention the guy's an artist, and that he's got a picture in the MOMA? He does. And it's just a teensy bit NSFW, too.

(Incidentally, it should be noted - for context, as you'll see in a moment - that both Zak and Mandy are porn stars, or adult film actors, if you prefer that term. Please don't take this post as an implication that any of the Pantsless Gamers are, in fact, porn stars*. Neither is it intended to malign any of the Pantsies' gaming performances; you guys are doing just fine. So long as everyone enjoys the game, it doesn't really matter how you play it. However, Tess and Regan have both shown a degree of reticence towards engaging in the full-on, hard-core, down-and-dirty, sweat-in-your-eyes, nitty-gritty, bare-knuckle Tropis-style Improv ActingTM, which Danny and Alex (and Jess) are so fond of. Some of the things that Zak and Mandy describe in their blog posts might be worth considering, in this regard.)

Some choice quotes:

One indie-narrativist game battlecry is "Story now!" It seems like a fairly decent description of how their games work: in the most interesting and original indie games I've seen, the players are all put on the spot at one point or another to come up with some interesting and creative story elements.

Here's the hitch--in order to play you either have to have faith in your on-the-spot creativity or be unselfconscious enough not to give a fuck.

And, if the latter, you have to have faith that even though you don't give a fuck, this game is still going to be fun and worth doing.


I feel like an important element of this discussion is being left out: some people have certain kinds of “shyness” that leads to thier hesitancy or unwillingness to play certain kinds of games.

Personally, despite the fact that I have no problem at all being naked and performing sex acts for all to see on film and online – I seriously feel exposed and vulnerable when it’s my intellectual assets on display.

Essentially I’m insecure (and I value those personal intellectual parts of myself more than my boobies for example) and until I develop more confidence I won’t enjoy exploring a different kind of gaming – one that would put “me” and on the spot – than the one I really enjoy and feel capable of now.

Zak actually says this in his original post.


Alright, enough with the seriousness. On a lighter note, let's end this wall-of-text with another quote from the D&DWPS blog - it's actually
chock-full of GMing tips and gaming stuff, almost no porn whatsoever. (Unless you get turned on by unpainted miniatures and such, then yeah. Lots of that kind of 'nudity'.)


Deep within the jungles of Drownesia lies the Black Pyramid.

And deep within the Pyramid wallows The Viscid King: A horrific, drooling slug-creature whose role is to anoint the Viridian Knight--choosing that Jade Champion of Tiamat from those who pass through the many trials and dangers of the Pyramid. (Or burn through them with acid they picked up in other peoples' games while looking for treasure. But, hey, the Jade Fang cult is pro- acid, greed and cheating.)

Anyway, this wasn't the first thing the players noticed about the Viscid King. The first thing they noticed was that he was a fat disgusting slug monster that had to die. This impression was possibly abetted by the fact that I represented him on the tabletop with a polish sausage left over from lunch:

Viscid_King_sausage_spit.jpg

(Likely also abetted by the fact that when Laney jabbed him with a poisoned rapier I represented his acidic vomit by spitting on the table. I'm awful.)





*Although you guys do happen to have an increasing number of Swedish players, and we all know what they're like... ;)
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#11 Daniel

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Posted 25 April 2014 - 01:15 PM

Some extremely interesting points there Monkey and you're managing to voice a number of my own concerns.  Going Full Story isn't something that can be done without some serious consideration first as is dramatically changes how the group works internally (and therefore what we produce externally).  The problem I have at the moment is that the group is, essentially, divided between those who like dice-chance (Regan), those who want the story to decide how thing develop (Alex & Jess) and of course, those who just don't really care so long as we produce good stuff and everybody has fun doing it (me).  The key is trying to find a nice middle-ground between those two (I don't really count) factions.

 

Unfortunately Tess is no longer with us due to health problems that are keeping her away, though we're hoping she'll return in the near future.

 

I believe the trick lies in identifying what elements should have dice mechanics and the element of chance and what people feel they either can live without, or can't live with.  I reckon a group discussion, recorded or unrecorded, after Knights may be in order to see where people's thoughts lie.  The fact of the matter is, at the moment, the system we use has been so heavily worked on over the past 5 years that it holds very little resemblance to the original and I am starting to wonder whether the cracks are beginning to show - or - whether we need to take another look at how we run to make sure that there are not too many Bullshit Danny Made Up On The Spot rules emerging.

 

I'll link this thread to the gang and see if they're throw in their two sense.  I know Alex, especially has some strong thoughts.


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#12 Pencil-Monkey

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Posted 28 April 2014 - 05:09 AM



The problem I have at the moment is that the group is, essentially, divided between those who like dice-chance (Regan), those who want the story to decide how thing develop (Alex & Jess) and of course, those who just don't really care so long as the players experience an immersive, agonizingly tortu-riffic game, where they truly feel their characters' endless suffering and Weltschmertz, because they're being poked with the online equivalent of red-hot marlinspikes, wielded by a heartless GM (me).


Have you considered FATE? The BAGgies and Whartsies have had good results with it in the past, and it strikes a neat balance between dice rolling and storytelling. (Psst... You can even get the FATE Core rules PDF for the princely sum of £0, or however much you think it's worth.)

The key is trying to find a nice middle-ground between those twenty (I count for 18) factions.


#1stWorldGamerProblems

Unfortunately Tess is no longer with us...


Did you bury her in the back yard?! :O Or did you just pick an unfortunate description for her current illness; one which sick-minded individuals might easily misinterpret as a euphemism for "Danny's done something to his girlfriend, and is now struggling to hide the evidence"?

(Though to be honest, that latter explanation is really unlikely. Tess could totally take Danny, even in an unfair fight.) ;)

...though we're hoping she'll return in the near future.


Oh, you've cranked up the Frankenstein experimental setup? Do you have enough car batteries, or are you waiting for a thunderstorm?

The fact of the matter is, at the moment, the system we use has been so heavily worked on over the past 5 years that it holds very little resemblance to the original and I am starting to wonder whether the cracks are beginning to show...


Yes.

butt.jpg

I'll link this thread to the gang and see if they're throw in their non-sense. I know Alex, especially has some strong thighs.


Ah, that would be all the Swedish pole dancing "aerobics", paying off. ;)
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#13 Pencil-Monkey

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Posted 02 May 2014 - 01:50 AM

Ah, so you've been reading excerpts from the Exeter Book, eh Danny? ;)

"My dress is silver, shimmering gray, spun with a blaze of garnets. I craze most men: rash fools I run on a road of rage, And cage quiet determined men. Why they love me--lured from mind, stripped of strength--remains a riddle." Who am I?


Gotta admit, I had to google the riddle's answer to find out exactly what they meant by "dress is silver, shimmering gray" - although it's obvious in hindsight, of course. :P

Spoiler


However, there are loads of other Anglo-Saxon riddles that would've been far more... suitable, for a Pantsless game session. ;)

I'm told a certain something grows in its pouch, swells and stands up, lifts its covering. A proud bride grasped that boneless wonder; the daughter of a king covered that swollen thing with clothing.


Spoiler


A strange thing hangs by a man's thigh, hidden by a garment. It has a hole in its head. It is stiff and strong and its firm bearing reaps a reward. When the man hitches his clothing high above his knee, he wants the head of that hanging thing to poke the old hole (of fitting length) it has often filled before.


Spoiler


I am a wondrous creature, a joy to women, useful to neighbors; not any citizens do I injure, except my slayer. Very high is my foundation. I stand in a bed, hair underneath somewhere. Sometimes ventures a fully beautiful churl's daughter, licentious maid, that she grabs onto me, rushes me to the redness, ravages my head, fixes me in confinement. She soon feels my meeting, she who forced me in, the curly-haired woman. Wet is her eye.


Spoiler


The young man came over to the corner where he knew she stood. He stepped up. Eager and agile, lifted his tunic. With hard hands, thrust through her girdle. Something stiff, worked on the standing. One his will. Both swayed and shook. The young man hurried, was sometimes useful, served well, but always tired sooner than she, weary of the work. Under her girdle began to grow. A hero's reward for laying on dough.


Spoiler

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#14 Daniel

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Posted 02 May 2014 - 05:56 AM

I thought the riddle was last episode?


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#15 Albax11

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Posted 02 May 2014 - 07:50 AM

 

Have you considered FATE? The BAGgies and Whartsies have had good results with it in the past, and it strikes a neat balance between dice rolling and storytelling. (Psst... You can even get the FATE Core rules PDF for the princely sum of £0, or however much you think it's worth.)

I've read the Accelerated and started reading the more hefty core rulebook. It seems like it could potentially be a good fit. Do you know which games BAGgies and Whartsies run using FATE? Reading the books won't do as much good as seeing how the rules work in play.
 

Ah, that would be all the Swedish pole dancing "aerobics", paying off.  ;)

To everyone's disappointment Sweden has a distinct lack of strip-clubs. We do however have gyms and women in yoga pants for everyone's enjoyment.


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#16 Pencil-Monkey

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Posted 02 May 2014 - 09:24 AM

I've read the Accelerated and started reading the more hefty core rulebook. It seems like it could potentially be a good fit. Do you know which games BAGgies and Whartsies run using FATE? Reading the books won't do as much good as seeing how the rules work in play.


The BAGgies are currently playing The Demolished Ones (and Steve's planning more FATE games this year, possibly Starblazers, which is presumably a game about knitted sweaters in the far future):

http://www.rpgmp3.co.../190-fate-core/

Whartson Hall has played an excellent short campaign of H.o.t.Blooded, ;) as well as the unforgettable S.L.I.D.E.Ways (worth listening to, just for the outstanding intro), which was based on the Fudge system, which, according to BigJackBrass, is in turn "actually just a Fudge variant".

http://www.rpgmp3.co...of-the-blooded/
http://www.rpgmp3.co...orum/138-fudge/

Thistledown played a bunch of Dresden Files games, which unfortunately seem to have gone the way of the dodo; none of their Dresden games were uploaded to this site, but only to their own private AP venue, which has been discontinued. However, they might release some FATE Core fantasy sessions, at some point in the future:

http://www.rpgmp3.co...om-thistledown/

OOTAK played a few sessions of FATE, although they're from way back when they started recording, so the audio quality is nowhere near as good as it is in their more recent sessions:

http://www.rpgmp3.co...ger-session-01/
http://www.rpgmp3.co...ger-session-02/

Psst! Is Hal watching? No? Okay, good: Outside of RPGMP3, there's also some FATE APs worth checking out, particularly the ones at Fandible. They played a mind-blowingly good game of the upcoming Atomic Robo RPG, and a similarly brilliant one-off of Bulldogs!. You may also wish to peruse their Dresden Files sessions (the Christmas special is loads of fun, although slightly out of season), and their Legends of Anglerre one-off.

To everyone's disappointment Sweden has a distinct lack of strip-clubs.


Nonsense! What about all those world famous annual Swedish pole dancing competitions? ;)

Maypole_Sweden.jpg
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#17 Daniel

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Posted 02 May 2014 - 12:31 PM

That just looks like a rather organised and Satanic version of hangman...


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#18 Albax11

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Posted 03 May 2014 - 04:32 AM

Nonsense! What about all those world famous annual Swedish pole dancing competitions? ;)

Oh Pencil-Monkey! Calling it a competition is a little too generous. There is dancing, but it is neither sexy nor world-famous. So, nothing interesting going on there.


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#19 Pencil-Monkey

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 01:46 AM

On second thought, perhaps Fudge is a better choice for your group: it's a simpler system than FATE, the Whartsies had good results with it, and - most importantly - it will force Hal to post new uploads with descriptions like "The Pantsless Ones are playing with their Fudge again!" ;)

Csa5.png

Oh Pencil-Monkey! Calling it a competition is a little too generous. There is dancing, but it is neither sexy nor world-famous. So, nothing interesting going on there.


What, you mean: apart from the bit where everyone gets hammered on Pripps Blå Extra Stark and dances around a giant phallus? ;)
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#20 Daniel

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 03:15 AM

We're taking a really indepth look at FATE.  Currently we have decided on a magic system and are just waiting for my copy of FATE core to arrive through the post, as the .pdf version made my eyes bleed.

 

It looks like a decent enough system and the magic system, linked above, is perfect for how me & Alex imagine Ætherical manipulations to work in our world.  How combat resolution works will be the deciding factor as I feel it simply wouldn't be Tropis without my signature combat-based body-horror.


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