• Delta Green – The Heat of the Moment

    My group decided to try Call of Cthulhu again and one of the players wanted to try Delta Green. I didn’t have anything particularly ready and decided to try the “No Security” scenario Lover in the Ice. Except I decided to set it in the middle of summer and on the coast. Yeah, I like making things difficult. The players created characters and were defined as already being part of the conspiracy; P-Cell operating out of Atlanta, Georgia. They get their invitation to the Night at the Opera and go get their briefing to the scenario code-named The Heat of the Moment The East coast is just starting to recover after having been hit by hurricane Gabriel. Gabriel was not of major strength but there were pockets of moderate to severe damage. One such location is on the coast of South Carolina about 20 miles north of Charleston; a place known as Garden Cove. Garden Cove is really two separate communities; Garden Cove and Garden Cove Beach. Garden Cove Beach is a small island (about 2 miles long and a half-mile wide) located across the Intercoastal Waterway from Garden Cove. A single bridge connected the two and during the storm it had been struck by a drifting barge. The bridge is currently closed while the Department of Transportation evaluates the damage, isolating Garden Cove Beach. Garden Cove Beach also happens to be the location of Greenbox 217. During the storm the integrity of the Greenbox was compromised. The local Friendly

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  • Sufficiently Advanced Technology…

    When I ran a Delta Green game the other week, one of the players (yes, the player, not their character) was hung up with having “magic” in the game. He could deal with millennia-old squid-headed aliens hanging out on the bottom of the Pacific, but not magic. I explained that magic was really just advanced science based on “hypergeometric principles” which satisfied him for the session, but I decided to work out a brief “scientific” description of how (much of) magic works within my game. It involves physics, vibrations and hand-waving. Mostly the latter. The universe is multi-dimensional. We are limited in that we are trapped within three-dimensional bodies (that travel at an uncontrollable fixed rate along a fourth time dimension). However, that does not mean that other dimensions do not exist. We simply are not equipped (normally) to see or interact with these other dimensions. Physicists working in string theory have said there are as many as 11 dimensions but even that number may be lower than reality. However, just because we are limited to three dimensions does not mean that everything is. Some entities exist that live in four, five or even more dimensions simultaneously. Some of these exist in dimensions that overlap with one or more of the ones we inhabit. Others may be around us all the time; invisible and undetectable because they do not overlap with us in any way but around us just the same. Our minds (as opposed to our physical brains) are

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  • Eclipse Phase – All Alone in the Night

    I got another chance to run an Eclipse Phase game this past weekend. We had gotten together to play Traveller but about half the players had played my first Eclipse Phase last year and wanted to try it again. A few of the players kept their characters from A Tale of the Fall while the others created new ones using the new Transhuman rules while I quickly threw a scenario together. All of the players find themselves waking up in a sleeving facility after having been in cold storage for some time. They soon learn that they are on Paris dans le Ciel, a bernal sphere habitat orbiting at the Earth-Luna L4 point and part of the LLA. They aren’t sure how they got there and the staff at the sleeving facility seems a bit surprised at their confusion but they are given some basic clothing and credits and sent on their way. They wander the station for a bit while getting background on the setting and on current events. All of them find out they have been in storage for months or years; some since the Fall 10 years ago. Then they suddenly find themselves surrounded by security and taken into custody. They are taken to a government complex where they meet Emily Montangue, one of the directors for the station. She tells them that they have been resleeved by mistake. There was another group that had been scheduled to be reinstantiated and who had been prepped in simulspace

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  • tremulus – A Night at Primrose Manor

    Part 3 – A Night at Primrose Manor The characters are led through the door into the dining room. Servants are placing food on the table under Hearst’s direction and Sir Nigel stands by the door, welcoming each of the players by name as they enter. His skin is creased and wrinkled and his hair is snow white but his voice and handshake are strong. The characters, Sir Nigel and Hearst are seated at the table. There is one empty place set and Sir Nigel questions Hearst about “our other guest”. Hearst dismissively responds that “Mrs. Blaine has apparently chosen not to respond to your gracious invitation.” Sir Nigel seems momentarily angered at this but quickly regains his composure and proposes a toast to his guests. “The reason I have invited you hear tonight is twofold.” he tells them as the servants bring the food to the table. “The first is to welcome all of you to the town of Ebon Eaves. The second is a celebration. Today is my birthday.” The characters politely wish Sir Nigel a happy birthday and toast him and he graciously accepts their well wishes. Dinner is served and the players make small talk with Sir Nigel and Hearst. During the meal the players notice that there is one servant who’s only job seems to be keeping the candles and lamps lit. Whenever one starts to flicker or goes out the servant immediately rushes to it and replaces or relights it. The players comment on

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  • tremulus – Welcome to Ebon Eaves

    This was a tremulus session I ran a while back with my local group. They are primarily Pathfinder players but I had run Call of Cthulhu with them previously and they had enjoyed it. We had finished our latest Pathfinder scenario and they had expressed interest in running CoC again, so I suggested that we try tremulus and they thought it sounded interesting. This is a lot more detailed than my normal AARs because I took notes during the to post on another forum as a playtest report. We started to generate an Ebon Eaves but then I decided to run Primrose Path within it as a way of introducing the characters to the system and to each other (making our Ebon Eaves the most messed-up town since Twin Peaks). I had a couple of CoC scenarios queued up that I could have used but I decided to just jump straight into the deep end of the player-driven story pool to see what happened. I came up with an idea as to what the thing in the basement was and how it gave Sir Nigel his long life but deliberately tried to not fill in the details. The results of this were mixed. The players did eventually start getting into the story-driven aspect of the game but it was a bit of a slog at the beginning; they kept looking to me for direction and I had to guide them around for a while. Setup: I explained how tremulus worked

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  • Traveller – In From the Cold

    So I mentioned playing Traveller again a while back and figured I’d do a quick AAR for that session. The Whatever3 jumps into the Daralan system. They are heading elsewhere but have stopped to refuel and swing past the planet to see if there is anything of note. Daralan is fairly uninteresting; a small, cold world with few minerals or other resources. The permanent population only consists of a few dozen families, most of whom live on a handful of farmsteads scattered around the equatorial regions. The “spaceport” is simply a cleared patch of land near an inland lake but most ships entering the system don’t even bother to land, mostly refuelling from the local gas giant. The players have been flying the Whatever3 for some time. The Whatever3 is designed as an exploration/trade pioneering ship. It is 1200 tons, capable of Jump-2 and 2G, and has enough fuel capacity to make two sequential jumps. It carries two 100 ton shuttles; one armed and designed for combat called Sword and one unarmed and designed for cargo transport called Plow. Sword normally carries an ATV and an enclosed, armed air-raft. The Whatever3 has a crew of 9 but only 4 players were around for this session. The other characters stayed on the Whatever3. The Whatever3 enters orbit and the players discover that there is no communication from the surface. Even the beacon at the starport is shut down. They start a detailed scan of the surface and eventually pick up a

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  • He is the Paleogamer

    As someone over 50 I’m not supposed to be a gamer. Well, I am. I am the PaleoGamer. These are my thoughts.

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  • Kerbal Space Program – First Orbital Mission

    OK, let me see if I can walk you through an orbital launch in Kerbal Space Program. I’m going to start by designing a new-pilot-friendly ship. This can get to orbit and have plenty of fuel left to play around with when you get there. It’s a bit over-engineered but also shows some concepts that will help a lot when you move up to bigger ships. Go to the VAB and start a new ship. I like to start with the Mk 1 Cockpit just because the in-vehicle views are nicer. Switch to the “Utility” tab and add a Mk2-R Radial-Mount Parachute right behind the cockpit. (It will clip through the cockpit but that is OK; try to make the “bottom” end of the parachute just above the bottom of the cockpit.) Drag the cockpit higher in the assembly building; we’re going to need space to put things below it. Now go to the “Structural” tab and select the TR-18A Stack Decoupler. Put it on the bottom of the cockpit. Now when your mission is complete you can separate the cockpit from the final stage and the parachute will let it float gently back to the surface of Kerbin. Let’s move on to the actual rocket part. Switch to the “Control” tab and put a S.A.S. Module and an Advanced S.A.S. module below the decoupler. (Be careful these two don’t clip inside each other; that sometimes causes problems.) Then switch to “Propulsion” tab and put a FL-T800 Fuel Tank on

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  • Remembering the Future

    I got a chance to run my semi-dormant Traveller game this past weekend. The campaign has been running for a while; the earliest session notes I still have are from 1984. These days I only get to run it on rare occasions. Our last session was about a year-and-a-half ago. The game went well, the crew of the Whatever3 managed to find trouble again, shot up another science outpost and probably got themselves added to someone else’s enemies list and everyone had a good time. I was glad to visit the old galaxy again but after it was over I felt a bit let down. Some of the shine seemed to have gone. The future just isn’t what it used to be. I discovered the game way back in 1978 but I always associate the game with the 1980’s. And that’s what it feels like, really; it’s the 1980’s with fancier gadgets. Sure, you have interstellar travel, fusion power and antigravity, but that’s really about it. Take those three things out and it would be hard to find a scenario you couldn’t run as a game set on Earth in the present day. Wrist computers and personal communicators don’t seem so unusual when half the players are tracking their characters on iPads while checking in on a cell phone. I suppose this is an inevitable result of any tech-focused science fiction. What seems advanced initially seems quaint later on. The best science fiction of course is about people, how the

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  • Review – Euro Truck Simulator 2

    It was 3 am when I pulled into Paris. They call it the city of lights. Home of culture, of art, of history. Not to me. To me it is just a few blocks holding warehouses and freight depots. Truck showrooms and repair shops. A place to sleep for the night. I find the depot I am heading for and back the load of car parts I am carrying into its assigned loading dock. A probably bored supervisor somewhere notes the delivery and marks it complete, a chime indicating my payment for the run has been deposited into my account. I decide to rest for a few hours until dawn then pick up another shipment, probably heading eastward deeper into Europe. I’m not here in Paris to sightsee. I’m here to work. This is Euro Truck Simulator. I’m not totally sure why I picked this game up. A couple of people on the Gamers With Jobs forums started talking about it in a positive way. I downloaded the demo from Steam and tried it and, when the demo expired, bought the game. The game is actually quite simple. You are a truck driver. Initially you are simply a driver-for-hire driving trucks for others. Once you have earned enough money you can buy your own truck and start carrying loads from the open freight market. Eventually you can buy garages across Europe, buy trucks and hire your own drivers to create your own trucking business. But even then it is still

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