jeregenest: (sandbaggers)
The Russian love of illegals is deep and strong, and the use of sleeper agents has long been established. The June 2010 round-up of a cell of 10 in the United States came as no surprise, especially to you, for you are a deep sleeper and a professional who has long been buried in the United States. Buried so deeply that you have had no contact with Russia since you were first inserted (which may, for some, go back before the collapse of the Soviet Union), following your orders and leading the life you were inserted into. At first there might have been a moment of fear, buried deep to betray nothing, followed by a few days of extra counter measures. As the weeks passed and nothing untoward happened your thoughts may have been tinged with a little contempt of the ease this “group” was detected and rounded up.

And then you were activated: An internet ad here, a blog posting there. Following your new orders and established protocols (some quite old) you’ve made your way to Montreal. Where who knows what awaits.

In this Gumshoes game you play Russian sleeper spies, inserted into a variety of odd roles (historian, forensic engineer, epidemiologist, as long as they make sense in Gumshoes) who have been activated to find the world is a very strange place indeed. In the interstices between spy novel and horror, this game will start from the assumption that there is something deeply rotten in the West and you were prepared for this day. Game play will start in North America and expand world wide as the campaign goes on.
jeregenest: (sandbaggers)
Far from the shore stands the gray lighthouse, above sunken slimy rocks that are seen when the tide is low, but unseen when the tide is high. Past that beacon for a century have swept the majestic barques of the seven seas. In the days of my grandfather there were many; in the days of my father not so many; and now there are so few that I sometimes feel strangely alone, as though I were the last man on our planet. -- HP Lovecraft, "The White Ship"


The Bray family of Gloucester has gathered from far and wide for the family funeral of Alison Gerard, daughter, wife and mother of the family, who recently passed away. Funerals are always strange in large families. While it is a chance to say goodbye to a member of the family, it can also be the only time a far flung family gets together, which can bring out old rivalries and forgotten events.

As members of the Bray family you have come from far and wide to Gloucester to say goodbye to one of your own. Each of you has a particular background, and set of skills, which has made Michael Bray, aged patriarch, call upon you to look into the strange events of Alison Gerard’s death.

This is a Halloween-themed Gumshoes game set on the coast of New England, with a focus on the ocean and its borders, including lighthouses and shipping. Discover the hidden and not so hidden legacies of your family, and the mysterious haunted coast of New England.
jeregenest: (sandbaggers)
Gumshoes basically breaks down its skills into Investigative and General Abilities. Investigative Abilities are the sweet part of the system and give an elegant way of handling core clues automatically.

General Abilities are designed to cover physical actions and contests with a strong element of the uncertain. They use a pretty basic system of testing the ability by a 1d6 roll against a difficulty of 2 to 8. Point spends from the general ability pool add to the roll, but deplete your pool and are lost no matter the outcome.

We haven’t been too happy with the way general abilities work in play and have gone back and forth on the best ways to handle them. For Pantellos this is especially important because the game really divides into two spheres: Investigative and Danger. Investigative follows Gumshoes to a T (which is why we choose the system) but the more Danger side we had to decide on a better system.

And for some reason Tarot cards always show up in this group.

So, we basically will have two types of scenes. Investigation and Danger. A scene will be one or the other, player/gm choice. We plan on using something to denote this. Investigative scenes unfold like Gumshoes (though we talked a lot about negative clues). But in a danger scene you narrate based on abilities and then turn over the lesser arcane of the Tarot to determine narrative outcome. Major Arcana can be played to up-the ante. It’s all about asserting reality.

This should work for us, we’ll have to see. Since the characters just touched down in the Congo it won’t be long.
jeregenest: (sandbaggers)
Working on my skill list for upcoming gumshoes game. Mostly esoterrorists with some changes.

trying to capture both the bureaucratic theivery and the abilities for special ops craziness. So comments are definitely appreciated.

Skill list for Gumshoes )
jeregenest: (sandbaggers)
[livejournal.com profile] bryant had asked, somewhere but I can't remember where about Esoterrorist/Gumshoe one-shot. I'm always interested. You want me to run?

If so, than I propose the following:

Every summer thousands of people gather in the White Mountains at Three-Falls Junction, New Hampshire home of the famous Atleberry Artists colony and the Azeban Shakespeare festival, gem in the regional Shakespearian crown. This year, the artistic cognoscenti are especially excited as there will be a landmark production of Antony and Cleopatra by famed director Jeffrey Malsum, one that’s guaranteed to upset the status quo. Though those truly in the know are more interested in the production of Cymbeline by his protégé Pamela Harkins.

You were looking forward to a nice week away, and then madness descends.

This is an esoterrorists adventure for 4-6 players projected to run 1-2 sessions.
jeregenest: (Shazam)
I think Gumshoes goofed by having combat be a separate system from the investigation system for basically two reasons.

Read more... )
jeregenest: (slingsarrows)
So we ran esoterrorists, which got me thinking that I would like to use this for a long-term game.

So I posited a secret history of crime, in maybe a few cities, and considered the place of magic.

Then I let it brew for a week and came up with a campaign framework. Let that serve as a call for players, wait and see what happens for interest.
jeregenest: (sandbaggers)
A Gumshoes Game )
jeregenest: (oberon)
Its no secret that I like (love) occult weirdness, eliptony, conspriacy and the unexplained. Its my natural stomping ground.

And so, as I consider Secret History of Crime as a Gumshoes game I have to look at what the elvel of occult is going to be.

I love Occult Detectives and occult spies, and there is a very cool arching story I can tell, with lots of neat side stories.

But then again, it would be interesting to play these with little to no supernatural. I think it really would depend on where the inetrest (if any) would lie.
jeregenest: (cynic)
G. K. Chesterton claimed that “The first essential value of the detective story lies in this, that it is the earliest and only form of popular literature in which is expressed some sense of the poetry of modern life”, by which he means “the poetry of London,” and urban text of histories and meanings waiting to be read.

City as character )
jeregenest: (Default)
If folks are up for it how about Wednesday the 21st? I'm not feeling well today (home sick) and gaming tomorrow might be a little too much.
jeregenest: (Default)
Last night we played Esoterrorists for the first time. [livejournal.com profile] bluegargantua, [livejournal.com profile] bryant, [livejournal.com profile] foxtown, [livejournal.com profile] jeffwik and [livejournal.com profile] peaseblossom were there. Bryant, Jess and Jeff have already written about this on their livejournals so I won't go into the player's side.

For me it went pretty easily. There wasn't the stress of what should be exposed when and I never felt like I was drowning in exposition or pulling teeth. Which was nice.

Prep wise I'm worried this game would be hard to run long-term, I'm also worried that it lends itself more to serial play than I like and there would b some difficulty in having long-term NPCs an big plots, both of which are favorites of mine.

I think I very much underestimated the amount of stuff necessary for a story or a night. We ended just before the end of the first arch (I planned three thinking I'd need it). I actually think the one arch would have been fine and I should have paced things better. That said what we did do was very fun.

Still curious how the action mechanics will work, and especially stability. Next session will see more stability checks (I could have required a few for the research going on but didn't think of it until after I wrote the thing).

I think with practice I could get writing adventures down to 1:1 with gaming time. Which may be more prep work than I've done in a decade for a game.

And I'm with Bryant, next time I run this I'm bringing a tack board (I have a nice foldable one at work) and letting the players arrange clues all Wire style.

Speaking of next time, is there interest in continuing? Wednesdays work very nicely for me.
jeregenest: (Default)
Looks like I have 4 players for Esoterrorists on May 7th which means one to three more open slots.


Should be fun, I like any game which demands I use flowcharts.
jeregenest: (oberon)
I’ve threatened to do this before, and maybe this time it will happen.

I plan on running Esoterrorists. Anyone available Wednesday the 7th? I imagine 4-6 players would work quite well, but I can handle a few more if there is that much interest.

Gumshoes is a game focusing on investigation. Basically it has a version of drama points broken down into flavors (investigation abilities) that drive one’s investigation. Usually having investigation abilities, like Forensic Anthropology, allow you to find the important clue – Quincy always finds the important bit of medical evidence – that allows you to progress along the mystery. You can spend from your pool to basically establish cooler facts, usually to drive character development, which is why I liken the rule to mechanics. The rest of the game (basically fighting, escaping and other stuff) is a pretty standard test system. I appreciate the fact that social skills are mostly bundled in the investigative. You just succeed when it’s appropriate and roleplay away.

Esoterrorists is, as you can tell from the name, an occult investigation game. X-Files and Conspiracy X and the like. I won’t commit to actually using their background for this game, but I doubt that will matter to most folks as it’s a rather generic background of “we all work for a secret society out to keep the insane occultists from making the world more insane” system. Little more than a framework to explain the supernatural and get the characters to where they need to be.
jeregenest: (Default)
I’ve been reading off and on the Gumshoes game, Esoterrorists, and I think I’d like to give it a try. Anyone available next Wednesday (17th) or Friday (19th)? I imagine 4-6 players would work quite well, but I can handle a few more if there is that much interest.

Gumshoes is a game focusing on investigation. Basically it has a version of drama points broken down into flavors (investigation abilities) that drive one’s investigation. Usually having investigation abilities, like Forensic Anthropology, allow you to find the important clue – Quincy always finds the important bit of medical evidence – that allows you to progress along the mystery. You can spend from your pool to basically establish cooler facts, usually to drive character development, which is why I liken the rule to mechanics. The rest of the game (basically fighting, escaping and other stuff) is a pretty standard test system. I appreciate the fact that social skills are mostly bundled in the investigative. You just succeed when it’s appropriate and roleplay away.

Esoterrorists is, as you can tell from the name, an occult investigation game. X-Files and Conspiracy X and the like. I won’t commit to actually using their background for this game, but I doubt that will matter to most folks as it’s a rather generic background of “we all work for a secret society out to keep the insane occultists from making the world more insane” system. Little more than a framework to explain the supernatural and get the characters to where they need to be.

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