Thursday, 10 May 2007

Sky Raiders of Champion City

So the local geek shop recently had a four day gaming convention. Literally 10AM-2AM every day from last friday to monday. There were loads of one-shot RPGs, board games, card game tournaments. And of your yours truly was there for most of it, and enjoying it intensely.

I played, for the first time the RPG of Legend of the Five Rings. I have to say that I was incredibly impressed. The setting is lovely, the mechanics manage to be fluid and easy to use while simultaneously encouraging roleplay to a huge degree. It is also one of the few RPGs I have played where social interaction is at least as important as combat, if not more. Most games have several different stats for social interaction, but they are so rarely used. In contrast, Five Rings has those skills, but they actually get used. For example, there is a skill which represents your familiarity and expertise in strategy games like Go and Shogi. This skill is actually useful, and I myself used it twice in a four hour one-shot. What is more, social characters are not just characters who have a small bonus at talking but still do fights. My Kitsuki Courtier was completely incapable of any combat. She carried a wakizashi, but whenever combat came up, I had to duck behind my Yojimbo. In other words, completely realistic.

I also played some Deadlands. I like the setting mostly because it reminded me of the manhwa Priest, zombie steampunk in the wild west. However, I wasn't so sure about the mechanic of increasing your die-type as you improved your stat. It just seemed that you could either succeed completely or fail utterly. There didn't seem to be a mechanic for 'you succeeded, but not very well,' or 'you failed, but made some progress or had some positive effect.'

However, the main point of this post is the game I played on saturday evening. Most people were playing one game or another and thsoe of us who had just finished a game, or had been playing something shorter were all sitting around one of the tables waiting for something to come up. One of my friends, Ash, got some of the more bored people together and asked the most profound question ever:

'Why is there no steampunk RPG involving catgirl sky-pirates, bowler-hatted dwarven anarachists with bombs in each had, Bob Marley and ninja pizza-delivery-boys?'

Well obviously no-one had any idea. I'm sure you get the general direction this is going. Within 10 minutes we were playing 'Sky Raiders of Champion City', an adventure that Ash was GMing pretty much on the fly. The mechanic was made up on the spot. Each character had one major skill and one minor skill. You rolled 3d6 for the major skill, 2d6 for the minor skill and 1d6 for absolutely everything else. We moved on to character creation. We ended up with the following:

My character: Dr. Von Herzelberg, pizza-delivery ninja.
Major Skill: Ninja Antics
Minor Skill: Pizza Delivery

Trixie's Character: Guy Incognito, Master of disguise
Major Skill: Disguises using things beginning with the letter 'J'
Minor Skill: Gentlemanly Discourse

Beef's Character: Holland N. Barret, Blind Pirate Gunslinger
Major Skill: Blind gunslinging
Minor Skill: Monkey control

Alex's Character: Sir Spiffenburg, Gnome of Hats
Major Skill: Things to do with hats
Minor Skill: Ferret-charming

The other guy's (I didn't know him, and then forgot his name) character: Boris Von Helmutt, Sky Pirate Barman
Major Skill: Piloting an airship
Minor Skill: Mixing Martinis

I will post soon about how the game turned out. Twas a great story indeed.

No comments: