Sunday, December 19, 2010

When their reputation is on the line

Back for a quick post before the double whammy of Christmas and New Years here in the US. This past week I picked up some Dragon magazines from a used book store and what one of them contained was pretty interesting. I've told you guys to swipe and adapt from various sources, well this time it's closer to home. I speak of Dragon #294, and two of it's articles on catchphrases and reputation. Funny things is they both are penned by the inimitable Robin Laws.

Let's start with catchphrases, lovely bits of dialogue you can adapt to your character, or in my case NPC's, to give them a certain uniqueness. Robin gives you a few tips on coming up with things for your character to say that fit what he/she is all about. Follow up with examples, sorted by race, class, and social status (five a piece) with a gaggle of theological exclamations and ton of free floating catchphrases. He finishes off with a brief (half a page) lesson in creating your own catchphrases, all in all very enjoyable and adaptable to any game!

Next on the agenda is "Adding Injury to Insults" which involves reputation and the loss/gain of it through verbal sparring. This is a bit more difficult to adapt to some systems more than others, due to the "Feats of Wit" featured at the end of the article. I am thinking they may be used with the appropriate skill from 4E D&D, likewise in Savage Worlds. I am still digesting this article but if anyone can point me towards any other articles (or clever games with that mechanic)on reputation, let me know. My players are almost paragon and I want them to feel like they are affecting the world at times.

This brings me to the last bit, today's game, unfortunately it was a bit of a bust as only two people showed up. Instead canceling I had them just role-play one of the encounters I had planned for the group. It was about an acquaintance of theirs (previously a smuggler they met, whom they spared) that is tried to walk the straight and narrow. He asked if they could help him get a job as a singer at Thistlewood's, and up scale inn/tavern.

The Jynx the bard, assisted him in training and the dwarf shaman Brock, scoped out the tavern to see if the proprietor Mister Thistlewood had any weaknesses to be exploited. It seemed he enjoyed heroic songs and spiced tiefling whiskey, so two quick stops were in order, one to a sage to find some really classic songs of heroisim and an importer selling the special whiskey. The day of the audition went well with everything settled, and they now have a contact in the big city with them. I just ran with the story, allowing them to ask questions, giving them replies based on how and who they asked. It seemed to go well, though I'll be glad when we next play and get to roll some dice :)

So, I believe the next post will not be here before the new year, so enjoy the holidays and take care. As always, feel free to leave me a comment.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

No new blog this weekend...

but next weekend, I'll have something. Later folks!

Friday, December 3, 2010


In 2003, I had been checking out a online group for rpg artists, aspiring or otherwise and in there I met an artist named Andy Hopp, and things would never be the same. I had learned of the group through another artist, Beth Trott (check her stuff out, it's amazing ). Well, Andy mentioned he was attending Gen Con, in that first year it was at Indianapolis, and if anyone was attending they were welcome to stop by his booth and talk.

I then went temporarily insane because I decided, with only a week or two before the con, to go there on a Saturday and hang out with him. Skipping all of the headaches with registration, long waits in line, and not knowing what to expect (first Gen Con) I finally arrived with an hour to hobnob. Looking through the artshow, I discovered he was in the dealer's room sharing a table with the legendary (at least to me) Larry Elmore! Upon finding the table I discover not only Andy and Larry, but the equally amazing Jeff Easley and Stephanie Pui-Mun Law. The dealer's room was closing soon, so Andy and I arranged to meet somewhere for dinner.

During Dinner I showed Andy and another artist, Chris Seaman, some art that I had thrown together in a rush. They had some helpful criticism for me but also an idea came to them. If they set up a weekend where they would have various basic art classes, would I go for that. I was floored, they lived only a couple of hours away from me and I felt their work was fabulous so I agreed.

Fast forward to a month later and I was at Andy's house with a dozen or so artists, learning about still lives, perspectives, oil painting, just a lot of basic and some not so basic stuff. We spent the days (Friday through Sunday) learning and practicing our craft and the nights we spent playing games and partying. This became an annual event, eventually culminating in Andy turning it into a small convention known as Con on the Cobb.

I am glad I took that crazy chance all those years ago because since then I have met and befriended many artists and had some wonderful times. I love to create as much as I love to play games, so to have friends who are equally passionate is a blessing. I hope you all have friends whom you can relate to in some deep and meaningful way. Take care, and feel free to comment on anything you have read here!

By the way, here are links for the people mentioned; Andy Hopp Beth Trott Jeff Easley (couldn't find his official site :( ) Stephanie Law Chris Seaman Larry Elmore