What Did I Play in 2014?

I played 57 role playing game sessions in 2014. Not bad. Not bad at all. Let’s break it down.

Fantasy Masks. Adventures in Dweredell. 16 sessions.

Edge City Masks. Adventures with superpowers. 15 sessions.

Fictive Avengers. Adventures with Avengers. 10 sessions.

Axes and Anvils. Adventures with dwarves. 6 sessions.

I also played some outlier games.

  • InSpectres. Adventures in ghostbusting. 3 sessions.
  • Crumbling Epoch. Adventures with my OSRish fantasy heartbreaker. 2 sessions.
  • Grifton Play by Post. Role playing on G+ asynchronously with 1 player. 1 “session” story.
  • FAE Jedi. FATE style Star Wars play. 1 session.
  • Murderhobo Remix. Lightweight tongue-in-cheek dungeon crawler. 1 session.
  • There’s a Game in this Book. Ran a session in Vornheim. 1 session.
  • Lasers and Feelings. Adventures in SPAAAAACE. 1 session.

That’s 47 campaign games in 4 settings, and 10 sessions of one-off and short-term games. I like that balance.

My main group plays Fantasy Masks and Edge City. I have a secondary group that played Fictive Avengers this year. Axes and Anvils was a special case, as all the games were part of the December playtest. So when we look at 4 main campaigns, that’s across 2 groups and with a focused playtest as one option–not so terribly unfocused.

This right here is a notation about a great year of gaming. I am grateful–it has been a pip. I look forward to another great year of gaming.

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“Into the Odd” Player reference, equipment

As I’ve noodled with it a bit more, I’ve got my “Into the Odd” initial (potential) player reference started.

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: I’ve put some house ruling into this. The original game should not be judged based on what I’m doing at my table! I encourage you to get the original game!

Part of the reason I’m doing this is frustration with the game’s layout. Things you only need at generation are mixed in with things you need on an ongoing basis. Rules for combat are disconnected with where the weapons and their damage are listed. DM advice is worked in with what players need to know about the rules.

Also, I’m more explicitly aiming for a WWI technology feel. That means “pistol” and “rifle” could use a touch more differentiation for me. What is the magazine capacity? Reload times? How do you deal with the full auto action of something like the Browning M2? I am not assuming everyone is going to have a lot of knowledge to share baseline assumptions on this, so I’ve gone ahead and put in some more specific information on those.

This is a first stab at this kind of document, I expect it will fill out as we go (if in fact I ever go anywhere with it.)

Into the Odd player reference

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Thinking About “Into the Odd”

I like looking at minimalist dungeon crawl rule sets, though I seldom would play them. “Into the Odd” by Chris McDowall may be an exception; it does what I want it to do, for the most part. Here are the changes I’d make off the bat:

  • One person said ranged attacks would be a Dex check to hit. I like that.
  • I’d likely use the light, encumbrance, and move stuff from “Crumbling Epoch.”

The rules get out of the way and provide resolution mechanics without being cumbersome. Fighting is fast and lethal and doesn’t mess around with armor class. Gear generation is delightful. I want to try this out.

Into the Odd Front

Here’s one thing I want to add to the setting. I want to add a framework in which the arcanum makes sense.

I don’t really want it to be human magic, because humans are much more technologists than scientists; we are more invested as a group in “that” it works rather than “how” it works. A basic need in the scientific approach is that results can be replicated. So for a bunch of unique magical items, it may be reasonable to look further afield than humanity.

I also get a feel that the game is tied to the aesthetic of the Industrial Revolution weirded up, instead of the feudal age weirded up.

My solution to this (in my version) is diplomatic relations with the fey.

There were dozens of overlapping venn diagrams of fey groups and human geopolitical entities. Then one ruling council of humans and fey allowed their great ones to collaborate and figure out how to bring human industry and fey quirky magic together, and standardized a way to infuse unpredictable power into objects.

This had been done in preceding centuries. Toy makers both fey and human stumbled across or deliberately made magic with toys. Weapons crafted and plundered were a constant problem. But now there was a fusion of the technology and magic on an unprecedented level.

It was the very power of what came from that, named arcanum, that drove the races apart. The power mad among the fey and the humans ascended. The humans wanted the arcanum and the magic of the fey, and the fey wanted  unfettered access to souls, breeding, and feeding directly on the essence of humanity. Both sides sought to enslave the other, for their own safety and profit.

The resulting war was bitter and destroyed most of the gates between the human and fey worlds. Whole cities were brought down. This new technology rendered war far more destructive than it had ever been before, and most of the weapons were consumed in the fighting and scorched-earth tactics in its wake. Guardians and traps were left for spite.

There are still a few “treaty cities” that escaped the worst of the fighting; places where humans and fey managed to hold to treaties older than greed. Such realms between realms are places like Vornheim, the impossibly vast city in the fey realm that is heavily populated by humanity.

If the characters are going to go after arcana, then they have to either have a fence to turn that magic into cash, OR have a strong protective organization that keeps them from being targeted by brutal thieves fey or human. Vornheim would be a great place to look for alliances that could protect them from both human and fey enemies through diplomacy and factional relationships rather than force or stealth alone.

Another place to look might be the island of Selvestria, an island between the fey and human realms that focuses on trade and is protected by musketeers.

The campaign refocuses, though, away from where recovery and rebuilding thrive. The focus of the adventurers is the ruined and devastated, where arcana is most plentiful upon the corpses and within the guarded vaults beneath shattered landscapes.

One site of power that’s been contested by fey and humans for millennia is the Dwimmermount. The presence of azoth and wacky technology is a great fit for “Into the Odd.” Another great site is where the undead, an element of chaotic fey, is infecting a human burial ground in the Barrowmaze.

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Here is the updated Fictive Avengers book.

Avengers for Fictive Hack 12.14

Reboot – Remix – Replicate

You are looking at a fan project that is designed to let you play with an alternate Avengers universe.

Now you can reboot the Avengers just like their owners do; who is on the team? How are the characters adapted and interpreted? What stays and what goes? Start over with the parts you like best and tell your own story with them. Do they operate out of Stark’s repurposed skyscraper? The Helicarrier? Something else? You choose how to tell the story.

Or you can use the basic idea and create your unique version. Want a Chinese thunder god? A wealthy super-soldier playboy? A suave master spy who enjoys the challenge of espionage for its own rewards? An impoverished genius who works for SHIELD building power armor? This is your vision of an Avengers-like team. You can be as true to an official version as you like, or strike out into new territory.

If you want to stay as close as possible to the source material, choose your version of the Avengers and let your players take on the familiar roles.

For inspiration, I suggest the Marvel comic book movies surrounding and including Avengers (2012) and sequels. Also consult the animated Avengers series (2010) for more heroes and great adversaries.

Of course you can pick your own tone; darken the palette, go horror, or four color gonzo. The point of the game is to have a blast, so pick what you want to do and go for it.

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New Axes and Anvils Development Blog

Rather than using this blog for Axes and Anvils, I decided it would be good to give it independent web space. That way people looking for Axes and Anvils things won’t get bogged down in any other projects I’m working on, and people can access resources quickly with a minimum of muss and fuss.


I have made great progress on the rules for the game, and will release the next playtest draft to backers by November 30. Which is pretty cool.

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Lead Designer on Axes and Anvils!

Well, that’s pretty cool. Here’s the announcement that I’ll be taking on the role of lead designer for Axes and Anvils.


AnA PicI will use this as my development blog. So, you can expect to see Axes and Anvils related material showing up here for a while.

Wish me luck!

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Happy Birthday, Axes and Anvils!

Axes and Anvils Nameplate

So it is two years after the anticipated delivery window for Axes and Anvils. As a present, here is a collection of enchanted items I figured the dwarves in that setting would make.

Enchanted Equipment 4.4.13

Yeah, these are drafts, but I thought they were cool.

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