Inspiration from Actual Caves

2015-12-28_2550A little over a year ago I got really excited while visiting my first actual Finnish cave. To be fair I must say that caves in Finland are not elaborate systems but usually formed by broken boulders or split bedrock. That doesn’t mean that they are boring – actually this makes them even more interesting.

Since the caves in Finland tend to be small and cramped we have our own definition of what counts as a cave. A cave has to be big enough for 2-3 adults to fit into or has geological or historical meaning. Due our history this usually means holes where someone has been hiding during Great Northern War or places where local shaman and/or witch lived.

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Love in Innsmouth

Archipelago 3 by Matthjis Holter has become my “go to” game for oneshots. I might have only written one game for it (as it is) but when I get an idea for a story that might work as a game it is usually the first one to pop up in my mind.

Today I was thinking about a Solstice scenario and while listening to H.P.Lovecraft’s Historical Society’s excellent albums I began to wonder how could I capture the feeling of Shadow of Innsmouth in a way that all players could enjoy it. Aaaaaaand I was quite quickly thinking it in an Archipelago way.

I might not be able to write it all but here is the quicky summary (a draft at best) for “Love in Innsmouth” (or something).

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As our current campaign is drawing closer to the end I feel I could share some thoughts about the endgame of roleplaying campaigns.

Last year Aki wrote a lengthy post about the story arch of his character in the “last season” of this ongoing megabeast. And he got quite deep into the difficulty of ending one of these seasons as I like to call them. Continue reading

World of Dungeons: The Teachings of a Drunken Oneshot


We had a Chrismas party a week ago. Instead of board games, I said I could run World of Dungeons. It’s an ultralight hack of Dungeon World which I hadn’t run it before, so we took it on a spin. Because nobody believed that we could play entirely sober, I decided on a full improv session. It degenerated slowly, but inevitably—and undeniably gloriously—into player vs. player mayhem, which surprised me very little. Despite my mistakes as a drunken GM, we had a whole lot of fun, and I learned a few important lessons. These are my notes from the GM’s standpoint. Continue reading

Full Session Combat Scene (HeroQuest, Battle of Iceland)

Since I don’t get to GM that much, I do my best to use the opportunities I do have to do something different. I gave the instruction of something like “300 with Vikings” in the beginning to my players.

Mild spoilers on the Battle of Iceland scenario ensue.

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The Bell End 4 – When Sequelitis Strikes

This was actually played months ago, but it went so horribly wrong, I didn’t really feel like writing about it. I guess partly to get me to write more RPG-stuff and for the sake of completeness, I’ll put this up.

So, for those who don’t know, this is a sort of tremulus campaign, but more like a recurring setting. Certain characters and places reappear, but many things are left to the players and the GM. You can find the earlier frameworks in the Resources page (as well as this one, but here’s a direct link), but you can also read up reports on these by following the bell-end tag.

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Duck Tales, part 1 – There Will Be Blood

akuduckWe started this summer with the session of Sailors at the Starless Sea and ended it during last weekend with a quickly made “hack” of Apocalypse World. As it was in the beginning so it was in the end and Sami was the one who orchesterated this mayhem.

In this post I’m going to discuss our methods of turning Disney’s loveable characters into whack-jobs that destroy all that we love in Duckburg. And I’ll do it in the Apocalypse Way. So it will not be for all (I’ll give you another warning when the sick stuff begins). Continue reading

Hello Vietnam! or trying out the Regiment

hellovietnamLast Wednesday we went to a family cabin of mine with the plan for alcohol, sauna and games. Good times!

I had originally thought of hosting something of a Kaiju-themed evening with King of Tokio and an AWhack called Monster Force Terra by James Mullen. As I was feeling a bit sick at the morning I decided to take The Regiment hack by John Harper instead as I knew it would more or less run itself with the guys I was going to the cabin anyway.

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Four Movie Oneshots

Just a few movies to use as a basis for a bit different one-shots.

Le Corbeau

Le corbeau is a 70 year old movie by the director of few of my favorite movies (Les diabolique and Le salaire de la peur) Henri-Georges Clouzot. Its about a small village where a series of “poison-pen” letters (spreading malicious rumors) emerge. All sorts of secrets are uncovered and the community falls into disarray.

Ever since seeing this back in the day, I’ve been thinking how to do this correctly in an RPG. Now I feel like we are at a point where I have a group where this could be a viable idea and the games, like tremulus (no, they are not paying me despite my continuous mentions of their game), are at a level where this kind of strange idea is something I could really work on.

Especially the idea of a framework works great here. Probably better than the other frameworks I’ve made. So, lets make one, although it pretty much writes itself.

Stalag 17

One of Billy Wilder’s several masterpieces, Stalag 17 is a movie about a traitor among POWs. Sgt. Sefton has been dealing with the Germans, so he’s the primary suspect and needs to play his game carefully, trying to flush out the real culprit and get out of the camp with the recently brought-in rich guy.

Since we probably have more than one player, this needs some more attention, as the original story revolves around a single main character, with most of the others simply as his foils. But, we don’t necessarily need the player characters working together. One of them could easily be the camp commandant, or a soldier responsible for the POWs. One could be closely modelled on the Sefton character, while others could be parts of the makeshift organization amongst the POWs. Of course, someone could be the traitor.

Tropa de Elite or Elite Squad

A Brazilian film about an elite squad (yes, really) of police in the slums of Rio de Janeiro. Actually the movie is pretty much all over the place, with not much of coherent storyline (but is still very good), so here I’d like to emphasize one of the plots: The pope is going to visit Rio and wants to sleep in a very specific house. The problem is, the house is located right next to a slum. So, to keep the slum clear, the squad is ordered to clean the closest blocks of weapons. Thirty nights in a row.

Okay, the first night might be bad, but the few nights after are going to be pretty easy, as the weapons are gone. Then the locals will begin to see a pattern. This will lead to traps, ambushes, people with scores to settle and so forth. After a while the raids will become more dangerous night after night.

I don’t know what the right amount of raids is. Thirty is clearly too many, but if someone informs the residents about what’s going on early, maybe four or so is enough.

Reservoir Dogs

A movie I expect more of you have seen than the others on this list, but I could have gone with a number of other movies for a different emphasis. For those of you who haven’t seen this, its about a group of criminals trying to find out what went wrong with a robbery. They suspect an undercover cop among them.

You don’t necessarily need to know who’s the cop in the beginning. I think the ideal would be to do this like the movie did it: in other words, not chronologically. Begin with the criminals gathering at the meeting place and then return to what happened in flashbacks. People can accuse each other freely, or move the blame to others. Maybe come up with different versions.

For a lighter game, do a heist. Just give your players some rough information and put different hazards on their way. Let them roll and explain how they took this into account in their planning. An AW-hack would work wonderfully here.