Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Of vampires, spies and Chaos in the Old World

There has not been much activity on this blog in a while. Since January I've been involved in a rolling work-related crisis that went up a peg or two in March, but which now may be settling. I'm also in the process of launching a new company, and re-launching another one. I'm also taking up an old role I used to hold on a magazine, at least in a part time capacity. That, and onboarding a new client has taken its toll, particularly on this blog.

Of gaming there has been little to report. I've missed quite a bit of our Dungeons and Dragons campaign, which seems to be been put on hold with the player characters at 5th level. It would be great to get back into it again if it should move on to series two, so to speak. Instead, we have now started The Dracula Dossier, although in our case we are not using Ken Hite's Night's Black Agents, but instead a hybrid system of the GM's own design, a cross between NBA and Call of Cthulhu.

A detailed account of our first session can be found here. I am playing the Mossad hacker Carmel Shaked in this campaign, and am enjoying it. Like my experience with my character in World War Cthulhu, however, I find she is very good at some things, but largely pants in many other situations. We are all experts in our own areas, but in a situation like a fight, some of us are simply better than others. I'm coming to the conclusion that my PC should rely on her ability as a hacker and stealth operative more than she currently does. In many ways she is the opposite of my WWC character, whose Achilles heel was his lack of stealth in a mission that involved a great deal of sneaking about at night.

In our Dracula session we blundered into a brawl with some special ops boys in a hospital in Gibraltar which could have gone very badly for us. The arrival of a vampire, we suspect to be Dracula himself, complicated the situation still further. I was confident we could have escaped down a laundry chute, and indeed Dracula's arrival would have kept the SAS guys busy. We almost lost one of our team in the battle. It now looks like we'll be flying from Malaga to London to follow up on some missing security consultants.

Other than that, I've played some Chaos In The Old World, as well as Munchkin and Nuns On The Run with my daughter.

Chaos is a game I'm finding it hard to get my head round. Each player takes control of one of the Chaos powers, and aims to advance their interests with various unit types, namely minions, fighters and tanks (big demons like Unclean Ones or Lords of Change). There is a fairly complex scoring system and in addition, each power has its own abilities that make playing them quite a different experience. We played with five people, which allowed us to bring in the Skaven as well, although it was Slaanesh which triumphed.

Quite a lot of Chaos is counter-intuitive - if like me you have cut your teeth on Risk or Shogun, the game can be difficult to get your head around, and it can take a number of replays to begin to get a feel for it. There is no conquer and hold process - players can teleport units into provinces relatively easily. This is complicated further if you don't play for a few months, and by the fact that each power is so different from the others. I played Tzeentch, but a different power would require a learning process if I played again. You could argue this adds to the variety and replay value of the game.

I've started thumbing through the new Delta Green Agent's Handbook and am pondering whether to knock up an adventure using this, probably non-Mythos. Indeed, I'm speculating about whether to convert the scenario Little Girl Lost from Esoterrorists into a UK-based Delta Green mission, since I'm not a big fan of the Esoterrorists background. I used DG for another Esoterrorists adventure I ran using Gumshoe. Mind you, we're already playing a horror / espionage game, so this may be too much of a good thing!

Other than that, I've just finished reading The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, and am now progressing through my Dracula Unredacted homework for our Night's BRP Agents campaign, which has to be the largest player handout for any role playing game...ever! It is a lot to digest all at once, even if you have already read the original, redacted version!

I hope to be posting again on this blog again on a more regular basis, but I'm not promising anything. Things are still a little up in the air workwise. We shall see.


  1. Good to have you back Stuart!

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  3. Ack! My phone has gone mad.

    As regards CitOW, the new Horned Rat expansion has changed the game a lot and is worth a few more plays. I still have not got my head around it!