Kubasik presents my recent Classic Traveller and Alien Legion hack

By | RPG Roulette

Long-time Classic Traveller fan and deconstructivist, Christopher Kubasik has begun to host overviews of people running Traveller as a framework for setting and not an end result.  My recent Alien Legion hack for the season finale of RPG Roulette caught his eye and he asked me some follow up questions at the CT G+ community.  He unpacks all of that a bit at his Tales to Astound here:


Using Original Traveller Out of the Box – E. Tage Larsen’s Alien Legion Inspired Setting


RPG Roulette, s01e03: Ashen Stars w Mel White

By | RPG Roulette

As Autumn takes foot here, I’m making final preparations towards the grand finale for RPG Roulette’s first season with a three game event this coming weekend. In looking over my notes, I came across the audio link that Mel White (Virtual Play podcast) sent me of the session he ran. Myself and two other players took a long stroll through his Sci-Fi-Noir module for the Ashen Stars game system.

The file is longish. Play runs from about 0–3.5hrs. The last hour or so is part of the RPGR breakdown session that discusses the module proper and rolls off to a larger discussion about games and my somewhat overstated disdain of Gumshoe system games.

Others in the game: Dave Tee; and Ngo Vinh-Hoi (Appendix N Book Club podcast)
GM: Mel White (Virtual Play podcast)

RPG Roulette, Session 2

By | RPG Roulette

The second session of my gm-full rpg experiment RPG Roulette went off yesterday without a hitch.  We ran at full capacity with a waiting list for two game slots.  Steve Melis ran an experimental hack ‘Advanced Paranoia and Dragons’ in the morning slot; Jeff Goad ran the new DCC module ‘Gnole House’; and as that wrapped up quickly with a tpk, Dave Tee offered a cooperative scifi tv themed game ‘Hearts Blazing’.  In all, it took us to about 8 hours of gaming.  Also in attendance, Laurence Koret for the first two games.

Mr. Goad arrived late due to kitten issues but he more than makes up for it by not only being extremely genial but also for name-checking us and the event on his podcast ‘Spellburn, Episode 54‘ (7m15s), where somewhat coincidentally he co-hosts with one of my oldest friends, Julian Bernick.

The format continues to do what I want it to do: engage players with a place to promote running games, engage players with the idea of playing games not playing systems, and lastly creating an environment that promotes risk taking in mechanics, themes and experience.

‘Transatlantic’ in Print

By | Fiasco, Transatlantic, Uncategorized

I was at Dreamation the other week and it was my first opportunity to finally pick up the Fiasco playset supplement book that contains my ‘Transatlantic’.  The Bullypulpit boys did a wonderful job with the book, and the subsequent Fiasco books as well.  Happy to have this finally in my library.  IMHO, this book contains the largest collection of the most playable scenarios for Fiasco; and is virtually mandated for a swath of play.

My best to Steve and Jason.

further along “Transatlantic”

By | Fiasco, Transatlantic

I’ve rounded up some more Transatlantic Actual Play for my Fiasco playset.  Below is a link to a game at Gencon in 2011 that just found itself to me.

Some observations, now that I’ve seen it unfold a few times…

My goals with the playset was to create a scenario that was gender neutral, period, and with enough backdoors to not trap players tightly in that framework.  I used a lot of specific language to invoke the 30s.  And although the color of that vernacular helps to promote setting; players often trip over it.  I’m not sure if it’s a good thing or a bad thing.  It hasn’t hurt play by reinforcing genre but I probably could have done a better job with it rather than swinging my purple prose all over the printed word.  Let’s have at it then:


Fiasco at Gencon 2011, with Shane Ivey, Greg Stolze, Ross Payton and another at RPPR:

listen here

Here’s some Youtube AP of Transatlantic.  They don’t exactly get the Fiasco rules right but it doesn’t stop them from enjoying it one bit:

setup of game


Lastly, Analog Game Studies (Felan Parker) writes up a really well thought paper on Fiasco.  They mention Transatlantic as a sample playset.


It’s incredibly satisfying to see and hear other people enjoy something that you’ve sent out there into the world.  Thanks.  Play on!

“Transatlantic”, more Actual Play

By | Fiasco, Transatlantic

The best part about game design is feedback: that people play the things you create and enjoyed them. Because of the magic of the internet, some of these people post accounts about play sessions or recorded actual play.

Here are a few posts about feedback on my playset for Fiasco, “Transatlantic”.

*Transatlantic Terror, via Story Games:

Played a great game of Fiasco a week or so ago using the Transatlantic playset. I had never used this playset before. There are so many playsets that usually when I play one my reaction is “That was great – I hope to do it again someday after I’ve gotten through the many, many others on my to-play list.” With Transatlantic, though, my reaction was “That was SUPER great – I’d gladly do that one again anytime!” 


*Geekily Inc has a weekly podcast called Drunks and Dragons. Over two sessions in September of 2013, Tim Lanning, Mike Bachmann, Jennifer Cheek, Michael DiMauro and Sarah Tompkins (Extra credit to Sarah for the introduction voiceover) sat down for a most terrible voyage…

Drunks and Dragons Random Encounters: Fiasco “Transatlantic” part 1

Drunks and Dragons Random Encounters: Fiasco “Transatlantic” part 2

One of their comments says, “This is the darkest Willie Wonka episode that I have ever heard.”

*Also, Thursday Knights, from earlier in 2013, played a session of “Transatlantic” and broadcast it here:

Thursday Knights s02e03: A Fiasco on the Transatlantic

… love the mangled voice over and labored vocabulary, apologies for that.  sounds like you guys had a great time.


As a side comment, many thanks to Jason Morningstar for Fiasco and for Steve Segedy for his stewardship of Bully Pulpit Games.

Fiasco playset of the month “Transatlantic” available as a free download from Bully Pulpit here.





Nantucket Sleighride, Game Chef 2014 entry

By | Game Chef 2014, Nantucket Sleighride

and then in about 48 hours, from out of nowhere, a game came along…

Nantucket Sleighride. A gm-less, card based roleplaying game for 4 players.

download at: Nantucket Sleighride GC2014

I’ll probably come back at it next week with some better graphics. But I’d love to hear any feedback about it if you have a chance to take a gander and give it your time.

Oof, Game Chef is never not a wild ride. Much thanks to Avery McDaldno and the crew that put it together.

Nantucket Sleighride, Game Chef 2014

By | Game Chef 2014, Nantucket Sleighride

Nantucket Sleighride
or, the Moby Dick Roleplaying Game
A card based, gm-less game for 4 people.

Game Chef 2014/
Theme: No Book; Ingredients: Absorb, Wild, Glitter, Sickle.

Theme: using a deck of cards for resolution and rule guides to be printed on cards.
Ingredients: Absorb (card mechanic); Wild (setting; sea); Glitter; Sickle (harpoon)


A story game of 4 acts, comprising of 3 scenes each. Players bid for role of Harpooneer and Navigator.

1/2 standard deck of playing cards, insert both Jokers (whales) and shuffle.
Blind draw 4 (of 6) of the Act cards (setting), place face-down in row.
Deal Sailor (role) + Composure (color) to each player; final player picks from remaining.
Blind draw 3 (of 6) Epilogues and place after 4th Act.

Each player submits Four Conflicts to the a communal pot.
Highest ranked sailor reads opening logbook entry by the captain.
Start Act 1.

Act 1, Reveal first setting card. Lowest ranked player reads card aloud and sets stage. He then
draws card from deck; makes first bid, playing at least one card from hand. Around Clockwise once to other players. Highest bid is the Harpooneer. Lowest bid is the Navigator. In the event of a tie, second player must play additional cards from hand to surpass original bid.

Harpooneer draws two Conflicts from pool; selects one; returns other; and sets the stage between players; the vice in question is the drive for the scene.
Navigator decides at any point in play which side will win, according to the unfolding narrative. Winner may bank a card; Loser draws a card from deck to hand.

Previous Loser starts next bid; using this same format for 2nd, 3rd and 4th Act.

Jokers are “whale sightings”. Played any time, Whale Sightings immediately interrupt play. Scene ends without victor. All players immediately discard their hands. Entire discard pile shuffled; returned to top of deck; all players dealt new 3 card hand. Person that played the card, the Whale Spotter must draw from the captain’s speeches and read one.


At end of 4th Act, each player should add their banked cards. Highest has first choice of Epilogues. Last has their choice of remaining Epilogues.