The Eternal Dance

In this campaign you’re all playing Xs.
Can I make a Y instead?
— The start of every World of Darkness game ever, original and new.

[0] Where X and Y are two different character types, often entailing different rule books and incompatible motivations and drives.

Role-Playing and Board Game Garage Sale

The time has come to weed the game library. Behind the jump you will find role-playing games, board games and card games I would like very much for someone else to own. Generally speaking, it’s all older stuff, so if you’re looking for titles from the 90s and early 00s, this might be the sale for you.

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Faces in the Crowd Vol. 1

Christian did me the kindness of sending a copy of his print zine Faces in the Crowd. It’s a collection of non-player characters he created for his new World of Darkness game, which has since metamorphosed into Changeling: The Lost, a transformation which pleases me greatly.

Aside from it being a clean, elegant little zine, it’s an interesting look into how someone else perceives a setting. The games I ran in the World of Darkness typically came out more like a World of Weirdness or World of Insufficient Illumination. Partly because I never felt particularly compelled by the version of “darkness” presented in the published material. Christian’s characters, however, are often genuinely dark, unpleasant in their motivations or in some way flawed.

Bright elements still shine through, though. The skateboarding werewolf particularly caught my attention. To be shunned by outcasts themselves is pretty low on the pole, but he bears up and follows the path he feels is right. That’s the kind of non-player character I can get behind — and yoink for my own purposes, after a sufficient amount of folding, spindling and mutilating. I can see Jon Richter as a Nomad Feral who broke from his family to escape stifling tradition, say.

And like Theron at My Dice are Older Than You, I find this a stimulating motivation to get something in a shareable form. Don’t know what, but I’d like to get something new out in the ether this year.

Faces in the Crowd

Christian Walker, author of Destination Unknown and resolute bastion of print zines, announced the publication of Faces in the Crowd Vol. 1, a collection of fifteen non-player characters ready made for new World of Darkness games.

It’s free for the asking, although donations are accepted via Paypal. Click through to find out how to get your copy.

A Conundrum of Changeling Consumption

So I am confronted with something of a dilemma and I thought I might throw it open for my readers’ input.

The local game store is selling their new World of Darkness books for forty percent off. This caught my attention because I like the idea of picking up the remainder of the Changeling: The Lost mini-line, excepting Swords at Dawn, in one fell swoop for about $90.

However, it’s hard to justify the purchase because the odds of me running a Changeling game that utilized the books anytime soon are relatively slim and I already have a backlog of roleplaying books to read just for the sake of reading — which ties back to the whole “slim odds of running a game” problem.

Given that, dear readers, I invite you to vote in the poll below about what I should do.

Visual Inspiration for a Bright Changeling Game

Photo by prettyhowtown. Used with permission.

Photo by prettyhowtown. Used with permission.

I say without irony or deprecation that these pictures over on sun moon stars rain from the Bristol Renaissance Faire would be fantastic visual inspiration for a game of Changeling, either The Dreaming or The Lost varieties, depending on the look one wants for their game. It’s a bright version seen in these pictures, but it doesn’t cross the line into “bear in a waistcoat carrying a balloon” territory, either.

The original Changeling was one of those tabletop games that benefited most from the particular strengths of LARPing, because it inspired players to come up with excellent costumes. I remember seeing a picture of one woman who contrived a pair of faux goat legs for her Unseelie satyr and another who came up with a very cool ray gun ‘n goggles look as a nocker.

Part of it probably has to do with the central premise of Changeling that there’s a second layer of reality on top of that which everyday people see, the chimerical reality of the Dreaming — although there’s argument to be made that it’s more real, or maybe more true, than the more obvious world. Knowing that, the guy with a red bandanna and goalie stick isn’t just a hockey player out of season, but he takes on a new dimension as a redcap armed with a cudgel.