Sunday, March 18, 2012

Mythic Game Master Emulator

The Mythic GM Emulator is intended to let people play roleplaying games without preparation. The theory is that when you discover something, it doesn't matter whether the thing was already there because a scenario writer put it there, or whether you made it up on the spot. You are in essence acting as the scenario writer as you go along.

The way this works is that you start a scene, keeping track of the characters involved and their objectives. Decide what would be a logical next step or information you need, pose it as a "yes/no" question, and roll the dice. You may get an Exceptional Yes, a Yes, a No, or an Exceptional No; in addition, the dice may tell you that the scene is Altered or Interrupted.

For instance, your Noir Detective bursts into the gangster safe house. You decide it would be reasonable to ask "Are there gangsters here?" and roll the dice; your answer may be:
  • Exceptional Yes: a lot of them
  • Yes: one or two
  • No: not at the moment
  • Exceptional No: the place has been cleaned out
An Alteration might be that you meet a woman who is looking for one of the gangsters. Perhaps she's trying to serve a warrant on him; perhaps she's the gunman's wife and is worried about him. And an Interruption would be something unrelated: there's a report of zombies at Maple and Third Street, perhaps, or Nazi goons attack as you're clearing the gang's hideout.

There's a list of keywords to help jog your imagination when you're trying to decide what the Alterations and Interrupts might be.

The key parts of this are the concept, plus the Fate Chart which gives your die roll results, and the key words; you shouldn't need to refer to the book during play.

It's a $6.95 PDF, which I think is worth it.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Piquet's campaign game Theater of War

The post is worth reading for more detail of how the system works--he uses an ACW campaign as an example but you could equally well use medieval, or WW2.

Theater of War lets you run a campaign, organize the armies, generate the battlefields, and keep track of victory. Like most Piquet-based systems, the sequence decks generate a lot of uncertainty about what the future holds for your little Battle Groups.
You might want your BG to move into the light terrain outside Frederick, Maryland, but until you get that Light Terrain Move card, it's not going to happen for you. Just like in real historical campaigns, your armies and subordinate generals don't always react right away to your orders and desires.
Do you concentrate on marching your armies to execute your masterplan or try to build up your hand to improve the Battle cards you have available in case Stonewall Jackson is lurking in ambush behind that mountain range? Is that Battle Group in front of you a screening force or the Army of the Potomac on the move?
Even if you're not a Piquet player, the cards supplied with the rules allow you to customize each campaign deck to reflect the strengths and weaknesses of the opposing forces. With some tweaking, TOW can be modified to give you an excellent campaign system.
If you are a Piquet player, the rules allow you to fight campaigns with any army from any Piquet supplement you own. This is a must-have for the Piquet library.
The production values are decent. Some of the type is a little small and you won't see any interior color pictures, but the book is jammed full of typo-free tables, charts, and rules. There are some black and white photos of nicely painted miniatures. The package includes sample battle maps, campaign maps, and sheets of Campaign Sequence cards you need to cut out to play with.

Thursday, March 8, 2012