Tag Archives: rpg

All The Baddies: plotting a DFRPG one-shot

What do a low-rate sorcerer, the reluctant child of an ogre, a were-rabbit, a thug, an adrenaline-hooked vampire, a Pastafarian and a little old lady with a sideline in blood-lust have in common?

They’re all second-rate baddies and sidekicks. They all hate the same damn wizard who keeps messing up their schemes. And they’re all out for revenge.

Sounds fun, huh?

I’ve wrangled myself into GM’ing a number of Dresden Files RPG’s recently; one’s with an existing group of friends, one’s with another gaming group, and one…well, as I’m obviously a sucker for punishment, I’m debating running a short one-shot with a completely different set from Hackspace! I really must be insane…in a good way, I guess?

The group’s probably going to be eclectic; my housemate Sam would probably play and he knows both the world and the game, but the other potential players have a variety of experience ranging from ‘none’ to ‘creates his own homebrews’…however, none of them have any Fate or DFRPG experience. So I’ve got a few barriers to overcome and a few problems to think about.

One of the upsides and downsides of Fate is that it’s pretty different from other RPG systems; it’s story-based rather than stats-based. I personally love Fate because of this story focus, and I want to make sure this is conveyed over to my players. In addition, I need to find a way to make sure they can focus on the game (and story) and not on the rules – it needs to be a simple, fun and enjoyable experience, rather than hours spent creating character sheets and trying to understand the rules. So; rules-lite, story-focus, stats-lite.

Solution? I’m going to pre-generate character sheets and a story.

The original idea was from Sam, and I immediately ran with it. It’s also partly based on Fiasco, which has a ‘twist’ – something that skews the story, twists the scenarios, makes the whole thing fly. The Dresden version of Fiasco (called Hocus Focus) actually uses Dresden as the Twist, and I admit to borrowing that slightly!

Result: we’re being baddies.

We’re starting with the group of characters, in a pub, whining about this one damn wizard who always gets in the way of everything. I mean, my boss dun’t trust me now, I gotta prove myself somehow, I gotta get back into the good books…hey, you’re pissed off too? Why don’t we set summat up against this wizard? Why don’t we get some revenge and prove we’re bad at the same time?

I need sort out some locations and some pointers for the plot; I’d have a couple of different options for where the wizard is, or a couple of different ideas for heists/break-ins/general chaos. The story would be fairly open in the sense that the players could pick where they wanted to go and how they wanted to approach things; the locations and wizard would be fairly static, but if you’re planning a break-in, you don’t always have to blow the bloody doors off…

I’m still plotting this out, but I’m giggling maniacally to myself at the same time, so I think it’s going to be awesome.

And who’s to say it’s all going to go right?

We’re the best worst at being bad guys…

Crafting update: August

This is the latest skirt that I’ve been making! It’s even more gorgeous in real life, and I’ll get some better pictures once it’s more complete. (The right is Sam’s crochet Portal scarf, which is going to be amazing).

Totoro with grassI’ve also been working on my Totoro sampler; the grass is now done and I’ve started working on the background.

Do RPG games count as crafty? Well, they’re going to. I’ve got two new crafty projects related to my gaming!

The first is a bag for my Fate dice. I’ve got the Eldritch set and if I’m going to be playing multiple games, I need to be able to transport them. Sam’s suggested a canvas bag (for durability) with a green silk lining (because I have the material) so that’s hopefully something I can run up at the next Hackspace Crafty Night.

The second project is for my potential Dresden RPG NeverNever campaign.NeverNever map
As you can see, we had fun…Sam and I were on the floor with a sheet of A1 paper, multiple coloured pens, maps of Roman roads, the Ridgeway, old railway lines, tabs for translations of place names, a map of Stonehenge (which involved swearing by me as I got the Cursus and Avenue the wrong way round… #archaeologistFAIL) and some amused eye-rolls from Jon. Astonishingly, we didn’t get joined by a cat; I think they both thought we were being strange! But hey, less cat paw-prints all over the map.

The idea is to hopefully overlay a hex grid onto the map, or at least highlight major points so that it can be used for routes. I’ve still got several things to add to it (pubs and Accorded Neutral Territory, gateways to the Real World, an overlay of Summer/Winter/Wyldfae territories, some Points of Interest) but it’s at least started. I’ve also got a few other ideas for props which could also be fun, but will have to wait until I see what’s happening with the campaign.

Beyond that, I’m still working on skirts at Hackspace and my samplers at home. So that’s it for the moment, but it’s all a work in progress.

Frankie asleep
Frankie’s helping…

On frustrations and fanfiction

Summer’s roaring through me, filling my veins with fire and my thoughts with vengeance, but what it comes down to is the simple human desire to punch his lights out.

And so I do.

30,000 words.

30 sodding thousand words.

I worked out the other day that I’ve written over 200k words of Dresden RPG story, based around the world and game that I’ve played for the last year. Some of the stories have gone into the ‘canon’ game, some are side stories, and the one I’m currently writing has branched off into an alternate universe.

It’s not exactly fanfiction; it’s using a world similar to Butcher’s Dresden Files but with modifications. It’s using the magic system, the political groups, the ideas – but not the characters or the exact scenarios. It’s too close to fanfiction to be my story or world, but too far away to be true fanfiction.

I’ve ranted before about writing ‘useless’ stories, but I think the one I’m currently writing takes the cake. 30,000 words! That’s a normal length story for me!

I have wondered about using the writing for something – after all, it does progress through a series of character developments, and the plots do tie into each other. It’s good writing; it’s interesting, fun, and the stories do all hang well enough that they can be read by ‘outsiders’. I could publish on something like Wattpad or this blog, or even one of the fanfiction forums.

But…it’s also bound into the game; there’s a lot of in-jokes and details that come from the game, and would require quite a lot of editing to explain or remove those details and be read by someone who doesn’t know the background. It’s not true fanfiction, so I am limited on the arenas that would appreciate it. And, ultimately, I think it’s too personal. The stories use other characters – with permission – but that doesn’t mean I have any right to hand my thoughts and my use of that character to a wider world. I have no right to use a shared game world and a shared storyline. What it comes down to is that it’s not wholly my writing…and I’m not sure that I want to share some of the stories with anyone beyond the gaming circle.

So, frustrating as it is, I can’t use it. I’m – as you may have gathered – pretty angry with myself. I should be working on ‘real’ writing, useful writing. I should be writing GreenSky, Sloth stories, short stories. I shouldn’t be spending valuable time and thinking power trying to make this story work.


I love it.

It’s in my head. It’s in my heart. It’s coming out onto the page, whether or not I want it to. I started with a scribble-scene, just to get the damn thing out…and then it grew. My characters laughed and fought and travelled. And it grew. And grew.

And then I realised it had a second half, it needed finishing.

It’s now a full story at 30,000 words. My characters are chasing across Vegas and then Wiltshire, tracing a thief and a book, getting themselves into scrapes and out again. Dini’s learning how to use magic, experiencing grief and loss and pain, realising that the world has inevitably changed for her and there’s no going back. Her companion’s reluctantly learning that sometimes he does need to rely on other people, and that they won’t do what he wants – and that he can’t fight or fuck his way out of every situation. The world’s getting more complicated for both of them, and there’s darkness lingering even in the brightest sunshine.

I love writing it. Because I’m now in an alternate universe, I don’t know where this is going to end. I want to keep it slightly canon because it’s fun to tie it into our gaming world, but I don’t know what’s going to happen there either.

So…just gotta keep writing, I guess!

I laugh, spread my arms and spin out into the darkness with their colours floating around me. I feel like I’m falling, flying with the night around me and their shadows flickering, weaving and floating as I spin, dancing with the Little Folk to music that no-one else can hear…

Starting a new game

So, it appears that I have blithely volunteered to run another Dresden Files RPG game for a group of friends; why do I do this to myself? At the moment it’s just a one-shot concept game. However, even though it’s a one-shot (so a brief, ideally one-night game) I still need to site it in a world, a concept, an overall layer.

One of my players has had far too much fun creating a character; I’m not allowed to say much about it, but it’s an absolutely wonderful take on an idea that mixes mythology with power, and has the brilliant potential to bring in several factions and a lot of conflicting motives. It’s also given me quite a few ideas of what I could do and how I could wind that character into a larger plot. I don’t yet know what other characters I have to play with, but I’ve got a few ideas; the major limitation is that I think this group will prefer helping people to destroying things, and prefer running away to gleefully fighting, and so that limits the sort of situations I can drop them in. However, I have been discussing the ideas with my housemate (who is also playing) and he’s got some concepts that could be fun and mean that at times, he’d be playing against both me and the other PCs…

I’ve also got the wider plot and stage of the game to look at. I want to base the campaign in the NeverNever, a mixture of Faerie-land and the wilds of wherever. Magic works differently there; there’s strange creatures, alien landscapes, traps and safeways and protected domains. It’s the gateway to everywhere, as long as you know your way through…this is the stage in the plotting (of a story, of a game, of a concept) where the ideas are swirling; I’ve got a lot going around. I’ve got fragments; train tracks, an Iron Road. Entropy curses. Something Wicked This Way Comes. The sort of situations that make people ask for help. Ghostly archers and King Arthur’s Knights. Potions, dark secrets, Winter logic, the Ridgeway, magical books, vampires, hunter and hunted, wizards and were-creatures and ogres and Faeries…

So it’s a canvas for a lot of thinking from me; I’ve got a bit of time before the first game and enough time to think about the characters and plot. But it’s a wonderful feeling when you have a completely blank slate, and then ideas start slotting into place on it!

Dresden Files RPG: preparation

So I’m stealing a Casefile in our Dresden Files RPG (casefile number 8, to be precise) and I’ve already been plotting for it. However, I’ve done most of my planning so far on the computer, and I’m not entirely sure that I want to be flicking through a document to try to find what I want in the midst of a game. So…

Casefile 8 index cardsIndex cards! I’ve got cards with information for each potential place that could be visited, some of the antagonists/protagonists that aren’t the players, a couple of timelines for me and a few details (like a police report).

Part of this is difficult as I don’t know where the story will go. I have a destination in mind, but considering that I’m dumping the main character in Swindon and letting him do whatever works for the situation, I’m not sure what’s going to happen! He’s been winding me up by threatening to call in the Denarians (fat chance, buddy) and although he’s got some limits, he doesn’t have many in terms of what he could do. It’s going to get interesting…

I don’t actually need these cards yet, considering that we’re on Casefile 6, but it was something that I wanted to do. The only minor flaw in the whole process is that the card doesn’t hold ink very well, and I now have odd bits of words imprinted into my thumbs where I’ve held the card in the wrong place while writing. Oh well!