Reading, Writing and GMing — reprise

Status: after several revisions, I think this is fairly accurate.

In an earlier version of an earlier post, I complained about Dungeon World’s writing, and stated some of my GMing goals, thus:

As with the art, the writing is sanitised, soft-edged, politically correct. It’s like the authors are very nice people who don’t want to offend or upset anyone, and so are watching their every step. I am not like that — I am not so nice, not so left-wing, not so keen that everyone has a good time.

As a writer and GM, my goal is to piss in your mind. I’m not here to make you happy — I’m here to fuck with your neurology in a way that might stimulate new impressions. I don’t aim to be nice — I aim to be raw, vital, and unique. I aim to fire up, not to sooth; to generate, not to heal.

I think the way that I expressed that has been an obstacle to understanding. Part of the problem was that I wasn’t clear; part was that I blurred two things that I fact approach very differently. I’ve now revised the previous post so that it’s clearer, but I think it will also be useful to explain in more detail what I mean.

Continue reading “Reading, Writing and GMing — reprise”

Trouble at the (Steel) Mill

Immergleich Bleak Herald, 6 April 936 —

“…  Resentment among the factory workers is at an all-time high, particularly in South Steel where yesterday’s riot took place…

… Leah Tornes, the owner of several affected factories, said this morning “I’m not sure what the strikers are hoping to achieve. I mean, one of my assembly lines produces door and window hinges, cheaper than any old-fashion craftsperson could. Do the strikers not have doors and windows? Do they not want them?” ...

… Raoust Prul, a foreman in Burne’s Metalworks, expressed disquiet at the level of recent anger “It’s messed up, some of it, crazy, paranoid. Yeah, work here’s often shit, but people are talking about the machines being oiled with human fat, and about them being designed to ‘accidentally’ pull workers in. That kind of thing. And it’s not just the people you’d expect… I know some solid guys who’ve turned into ranting loons. Hell knows what’s happened to them.” 

Feedback on feedback

Immergleich players may remember being asked for feedback some time ago. They may remember a form with the headings below. They may remember having views. Two months is long enough to wait — I respond!

Name

This varies too much for meaningful analysis, except that there were five names, all unique. Some were plausible, some were not.

Roughly how many sessions have you played (of the 16 I’ve run at the time of writing)?

Between 4 and 12, with a mean of 8.

How much does Immergleich rock your world?

Continue reading “Feedback on feedback”

News in Immergleich around 25 March 936

In the Walled City Gazette

“Traum Baues, always a strange and controversial figure, has made a final addition to his mystery by being found dead yesterday morning at his home in Rock End. The Rock End Collective have refused press access to the body, but an inside source say Baues was “all wrinkled up, like a paper bag”, and an alleged eyewitness spoke loudly of a “great flying shape, like a bat that’s been run over by a cart” before throwing herself into Corpse Flow.

Baues, whom rumour suggests told fortunes by inserting living beetles into living entrails, had been living in Rock End since he was forced by …”

(job J12 is no longer available)

In the Bleak Herald —

“… the removal of this longstanding job advert was done without fanfare, but it was not lost on observers that it constitutes a significant admission of defeat. After all, as the major grain merchant Chancia Freels said yesterday “Seeing the Grain Authority effectively cede its sub-basement to the Rat Cult is rather like seeing a cat surrender to a mouse. What hold do the Rat Cult have over them? And should I take my grain somewhere else?” “

(job J11 is no longer available)

And in the Panick

ANOTHER BOOM-BOOM BOOM

A medium-sized EXPLOSION last night shook the HOUSE VERDUN estate. Two stable boys and a bricklayer were KILLED, and a large wooden block hit Petunia Verdun in the BREASTS. Experts on house politics say they really don’t know who was behind it, but it’s possible that IT WAS THE NOTORIOUS DR BOOM-BOOM. It is not clear what he wants, or IF EVEN IF HE WANTS ANYTHING AT ALL, and even though he’s was probably paid to do it by another noble house, it could be YOUR HOME next.”

A player’s introduction to Immergleich

This is the blog post where I will keep the new player things for Immergleich. Old players may of course refer back to it. It may be useful for them. It may please them.

What kind of game is this?

It is a very particular kind of game:

  • There is a pool of active players, there are game sessions as and when (GM availability is probably the main constraint), and there is a city waiting to be explored.
  • There is no plot. The story is about some people who went to Immergleich (or were born there) and happened to things or had things happen to them.
  • By all means roleplay your character as you see them. But I’m not going to target your character’s stories by e.g. setting up events that challenge their beliefs — you’ll have to make your own stories using the world as you find it.
  • I won’t scale encounters to the party, and I won’t fudge die rolls to save you. You’ll need to learn about the city and its dangers, and make sound judgements.
    • NB there is no straightforward resurrection magic
  • I will, however, strive to make it possible to read situations, to learn the nature (and risk level) of different areas, and to know when you’re getting into real trouble.
  • I may fudge rules for speed of play, particularly near the end of a game session.
  • The campaign will run for as long as it does. There won’t likely be an explicit “end”. It will just stop, like an old light bulb on a windy night.

Continue reading “A player’s introduction to Immergleich”

You can be a police

Did you know you can become a Watch Associate? Well, you can.

Requirements:

  • You have to pick a district to commit to. (Every district has a separate watch)
  • You have to pay a 50sp “recognition fee”.
  • You must be at least 3rd level, and have demonstrable combat skill. (They don’t need low-level bumblers — each district already has dozens of them)
  • You can’t previously have been a Watch Associate and been debadged

Benefits:

  • You get a watch symbol to wear on your chest
  • You’re no longer bound by the weapon and armour laws
  • Bonuses to influence the watch, as long as you have plausible grounds for something being a law-and-order matter
  • Can accumulate Favours with the watch for upholding the law, and trade them for watch assistance when perhaps you shouldn’t get it

Downsides:

  • Criminals and the underclass are less likely to trust you
  • If the watch (any watch) ask you for help, you have to do so – or lose a watch Favour
  • If you’re arrested for any crime, you lose two watch Favours
  • Hit -3 Favours and they’ll have that badge back

 

Shop til you pop

Immergleich Bleak Herald (dawn edition), 9 March 936

“… one reason for these higher prices is a shortage of metals. Aggressive raids by Vuur is the line coming from High Towers, but word on the ground is that the miners in The Crease dug too deep and woke things best left sleeping. …”

There is a new Immergleich price list and a version of the LotFP price list with the price-changed items blacked out. Some lower-end items, especially weapons and armour, are now somewhat more expensive. On the plus side, there are many fun new things to spend money on.

“… this claw-scarred veteran notes that many would-be adventurers underestimate the advantage that better equipment could give them. Of course, he observes, the best items are hard to come by, and indeed often illegal. “But when did that ever stop anyone?”, he chuckles … “

Note that items marked as Rare or Very Rare on the new price list require specific in game action, or a whole downtime action, in order to buy or sell. And prices are less stable than for Common items.

” … but she doesn’t buy it — “the one thing I’ve found in life is that you can never know when you’re about to make a breakthrough. You can think “This is a plateau. This is as good as I’m going to get”. And you can start to get dispondent — “maybe 12 is just my physical limit”. But if you keep pushing anyway, you might go to train one day and find you’re eating 15, maybe 18 pies in a hour.”” … “

If you look at the latest house rules, you’ll see that I’ve rejigged the xp table some. Generally, progression is faster. I’ve also made explicit that level 6 is top of the ladder – progression beyond is possible, but xp won’t do it. I’m also planning to offer a retirement option that gives some benefit to the player’s future characters.

You may also notice that Thieves have been moved to the regular xp track, leaving you all wonderfully unified. I have some ideas for compensation which Thief players can try out next session.

If it bleeds, it leads

The Immergleich Panick, 28 Feb 936

MURDER WITH AN ARROW, HANGING

Three MURDEROUS THUGS were tried today in the Court Physical for MURDERING Deela Cribzin with an ARROW. She was a Court Runner, and only EIGHTEEN. They were the CRIMINALS Crursa Fell, Pockridge Bolut, and Nob Pouring. They had no bow, so they FORCED the arrow through her head WITH THEIR HANDS. They claimed they were innocent, that someone else had fired the arrow, but with their TERRIBLE CRIMINAL HISTORIES no-one believed them. After a trial by combat against the Judicial Champion Urzzzz Urzzz, a cave troll, Judge Crinthia Srebs told the survivor that they were WORSE THAN A MONSTER and sentenced them to be hung.

WAR IN PITSIDE

Pitside is “like a WAR” said Toftman Phile Ward yesterday, after his barge was SET ON FIRE. Gangs of ANGRY YOUTHS knife each other in alleyways, while old women are TAKEN FROM THEIR HOMES and EATEN. Notorious extortionist Bolls Cornut, who has a HORRIBLE MOUTH instead of a hand, leads one gang. Kylissa Ept, who is suspected of two MURDERS, leads another. And the MAD WIZARD “Joke”, who is NEITHER A MAN NOR A WOMAN and who NEVER SMILES or laughs leads a third gang, who may not be people but be SOMETHING ELSE.

No-one has heard from The Queen, the CRIMINAL MASTERMIND who some say rules Pitside, but sources in the warzone say she is probably behind all this.

 

 

And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death

Immergleich Bleak Herald (late edition), 10 Jan 936

“Leramore Verdun is tonight in chains beneath the House Verdun towers, chief suspect in the murder and mutilation of his brother Garamore on or about the 7th of January. Circumstances of the murder are unclear, but it was common knowledge that the two brothers had been at each others throats through swords, spears and art magic since the turn of the year.

What we do know was that Garamore was found decapitated and emasculated in front of a stunning fresh canvas entitled  “The Goddess in her Glory”. The canvas, sadly, will forever remain unfinished. The symbols and patterns implied by swift brush strokes on the great arching ceiling will be studied and imitated by artists for generations, but Garamore was clearly killed before he painted the “goddess” herself, who is nowhere to be seen.

Sources close to Leramore say he maintains his innocence, and that despite their differences he always loved his brother. Sources formerly close to Garamore say that Leramore is an asshole and that hanging is too good for him.

The house is now lead by Synaesthesia Verdun, Leramore’s niece. This has suprised keen observers of house politics, as Synaesthesia was was previously eighth in line after Leramore’s and Garamore’s wives and adult children. When publicly questioned  on this matter, Synaesthesia expressed regret that their current location and disposition were unknown.”

There is No Evil

The spells Detect Evil and Protection from Evil don’t make sense in Immergleich. There’s no essential evil, and no alignment. I have therefore reworked them in a way that does make sense:

Know Humanity

  • Cleric level 1
  • Duration: Instantaneous
  • Range: Line of sight

The caster discovers the general type of any creatures or intelligences within their line of sight, according the following classes:

  • Human
  • Near-human (e.g. crossbreeds of humans with other species, humans with significant chimeric modification)
  • Nonhuman (e.g. other species, synthetic intelligences, undead) (NB the spell makes these apparent by not detecting them at all, so if they are not obviously “alive” the caster will get no clue that they are)
  • Alien (things not stable in the material world e.g. godforms, demons)

Protection from Nonhumans

  • Cleric level 1
  • Duration: 1 Round/level
  • Range: Touch

The target gains a resistance to any creature that Know Humanity would class as “Nonhuman” or “Alien”.

Such creatures take –(caster level) to hit the target, and the target gets +(caster level) to save (where allowed) against any effect they cause. Additionally, the target gets a save against any Magic-User spells cast by such creatures even when the spell does not normally grant a save (success means half effect if that has an obvious interpretation, otherwise no effect).

Protection from Nonhumans , 10’ Radius

  • Cleric level 4
  • Duration: 1 Round/level
  • Range: 0

As Protection from Nonhumans, but effects all humans and near-humans in a 10’ radius about the caster.