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Lars, D&D and Chrome Dystopia

Posted on | February 12, 2017 | No Comments

So I have some good news to share.

On the 13th January 2017 my son Lars was born! Consequently the YouTube channel has been a bit quiet. I have substantially less time for such things these days, but we’ll get back to filming our Five Cities D&D 5e next week and our DM roundtable should follow soon after. We’re going to focus more on roleplaying in the next 6 months, to try and bring you some really strong material in both rpg advice and actual play shows.

If you haven’t had a chance to check out our Five Cities actual play yet, click the image above the twitter feed on this page or go here.

While I’ve had some late night and early mornings with Lars I’ve actually found myself rewatching all the classic 80’s sci-fi action movies; the greats such as Robocop, Running Man, Scanners and more. I love these films, having been effectively brought up on them, and I thought that Lars should get his education started early. The mix of tongue-in-cheek sci-fi, excessive explosions and straightforward plots make these a great re-watch every time.

As I was watching through these I had a strong desire to create an rpg setting that emulated the feel of these movies. So I started thinking about this. First off I decided that this would be a roleplaying experience based around heroic, rebellious figures in a dark retro-future city. This gave me a kernel of an idea that I could work around. This blend of sci-fi and dark future gave me the setting name: Chrome Dystopia. Which I think summarises pretty well what I’m heading for.

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I knew that I could have a slightly cheesy approach to the world and flesh things out borrowing the feel of the movies themselves. Several of these have introductory scrawls or narration that gives an overview of the world you are about to experience. This kind of introduction was a great place to start to flesh out the city. This city then needed a name. I rattled around a few ideas and settled on Grid City. This has a heavy urban feel, but also a certain generic feel (which is important later).

I then thought that what kind of characters the players create would be important to the setup of this city. For example, if a psychic character is created there needs to be some plot behind the idea of psychics. The movies that are at the heart of Chrome Dystopia have the hero’s origin and archetype as the central axis of the plot. I wanted to reflect this. So players will get to contribute to the development of Grid City for the campaign depending on their character.

This then led onto what origins and archetypes persist in these movies and should therefore be available to players. I wanted to have things like cyborgs and mutants, but also allow someone to be a martial artist on a mission, or the hard-bitten cop trying to save the city. This was a lot of fun, wracking my brain and checking imdb for types of heroes that have been in these sci-fi movies.

As I was considering this I also thought about system. Originally I thought about modifying D&D 5e. To be honest this thought came from the fact I want to eventually film a campaign of this game and D&D is the most popular rpg system out there. However, soon into the rebuild of races and classes I realised that this was not appropriate. I then moved to GURPS 4e, as this provides the flexibility that I need and the correct style of character progression I see relevant to this type of campaign.

So currently, while I’m indoors with the boy a lot, I’m working slowly on this setting. I’ll trial it at the St Albans Roleplaying Club first, in order to make sure it works and to refresh my memory of running GURPS. Then hopefully that group will move to filming as they struggle onwards to right the wrongs in Grid City, whatever it is that they determine they are!

More to follow soon….

Pete (@archalofax on twitter)

A New Year

Posted on | January 1, 2017 | No Comments

Happy New Year, Garblaggites!

We hope that 2017 will be a prosperous one for you all. 2016 has been an interesting year, with a lot of effort going into the Garblag Games YouTube channel. We’ve gone from the Shed to the Dungeon. We’ve been to conventions. We’ve discussed war, board, card and roleplaying games. There’s been a lot of learning. We’re now getting to a stage where we feel we’re really giving quality content, which is a great place to be at the start of 2017.

We’ve refocused our efforts on two main shows.

DungeonCast is a discussion and roundtable show where we discuss news on all tabletop fronts. Recently this has focused on roleplaying game discussions around how to run and create games in our DM Roundtable series. These are around 30 minute episodes design to give you the benefit of the experience of the St Albans Roleplaying Club, which has been running rpgs for over 15 years. We’ll alternate DM/GMs that come to the dungeon to give advice, plus we’re considering a world building series.

DungeonRole is a show for us to play games and hopefully provide some insight into them for the audience, you. Our main feature is our Five Cities series, which is a Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition actual play. This has been a lot of fun to film. It’s set in Pete’s homebrew world Ternoa, which you can find more information about at the Five Cities World page. Pete will be adding more content as the series continues.

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We hope to bring you more of this over the coming year. We hope to do it a bit better each time we do. So please, let us know what you think of our content by commenting on videos, posting questions on our facebook page and generally hassling us until we have no choice but to respond!

Most of all we hope that you enjoy our content and it makes you want to play games even more.

Happy New Year,

Archalofax

Into the Dungeon!

Posted on | October 11, 2016 | No Comments

So, it’s been a while since I’ve written anything on here. Thought I’d give an update.

I’ve been so busy with videos, life and roleplaying. It’s been a fun few months and we’re seeing more views on our youtube channel. Now though we’re going to change up the recording, try to improve the quality and control the environment a bit more.

The channel is coming on, at the time of writing we’ve been contacted by a few rpg companies to help with kickstarters. I’m also going to Tring to cover the Gamesfest 2016 one day convention on the 22nd October. So things are going well. I want to move from the shed (which had some sound and lighting issues) to a more controlled environment. So, since my garage roof is now fixed I have decided to kit the place out as The Dungeon, my new recording ‘studio’. Hopefully this should provide better quality videos for the channel. I’m still figuring out the logistics of it all, camera angles etc, but I think it will be much improved.

On that vein, I’ve decided to rename ShedCast as DungeonCast, still bringing news and discussion from across the tabletop.

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We will also be starting a new show called DungeonRole, which will be weekly actual play roleplay session. This is like the old Pub Play, but again in a much more controlled environment. Filming in the pub was fun, but the sound quality of videos suffered.

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I am also working on a modified version of Dungeons & Dragons 5e rules to run a game set in my own setting. I am changing the rules, because I want the setting to be a touch more realistic. I also don’t like the way Armour Class works etc. Most of the changes are around how characters are built and making the races, backgrounds etc work for the setting. I just spent today resorting spells to different types of magic and adjusting damage levels in line with other rules changes. So this should prove interesting. I hope we can bring a DungeonRole based in this world and with these rules.

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Anyway that’s my update, I hope to do more of these to keep you guys up to date. We hope to start the new shows soon and, more importantly, we hope you guys enjoy them!

Pete

Containers, Cops and Clowns – Road to Gotham

Posted on | June 5, 2016 | No Comments

Containers, Cops and Clowns – Road to Gotham Part 2 is up!

Aaron shares his progress on his game board for the Batman Miniature Game. We’re done with a second building, some city accessories and a few more models…

Pub Play Season 2 has begun!

Posted on | May 20, 2016 | No Comments

After the success of season 1, our brave adventurers have set out on an all-new series of roleplaying sessions… in the pub!

So grab yourself a container of beverage, sit back and join them on their journey into the realms of Planescape! Pub Play Season 2

and if you haven’t viewed season 1 then don’t worry – it is all available here Pub Play Season 1

Pub Play – D&D 5e Actual Play – Planescape – Episode 1

Posted on | March 16, 2016 | No Comments

As members of the St Albans Roleplaying Club we take part in games every Monday night. We’ve been playing for over 15 years every week and now we’ve decided to bring a piece of this to you.

Our adventurers have been thrust into the world of Planescape from disparate worlds. Each is in search of an ancient relic from their world, which is coveted by a renegade faction within Sigil. The party have been investigating just who and what this group is, and, perhaps more importantly, what these powerful relics might do.

This is one half of a dual campaign: 2 DMs, 2 parties, 1 mega-story. This is something of an experiment in terms of the club and we’re keen to see how it goes. The two parties have met once before and things were strained, but not unproductive.

I hope you enjoy the game session.

Game Review (ish) – MegaTalisman!

Posted on | March 13, 2016 | No Comments

I should probably start by saying that Talisman has a special place in my heart. As a young boy, I spent many weekend afternoons sitting around the board with my family trying to reach the crown of command, whilst avoiding being turned into a toad. They were heady days when I cared little for the mechanics, but loved the story behind the game; the epic images and ubiquitous quality artwork spurred on my impressionable mind. I can’t remember much of those games, except that my dad would always play as the Troll.

I remember that the game was random even then, had a million cards to deal with and a selection of disparate boards to use. We had all the expansions, even the Talisman Timescape with the odd futuristic oval board. It was great crazy fun. These days the people at FFG (Fantasy Flight Games) have given us a better thought out wider game. Instead of the odd collection of boards, we have an ever expanding board, with additional ‘corners’ to add together. Recently a friend managed to find the fourth corner expansion for the latest game. It was time for MegaTalisman!

With the Highlands, the Dungeon, the City and the Woodlands expansions the standard Talisman board (which isn’t small to begin with), becomes a behemoth of a board. Seriously, you will need to have a big table to play this on, have room for all the cards and enough room for players, drinks etc. We placed all the cards on a glass cake stand in the middle of the board to save some space, but things were tight, as you can see from the photo. This does make you feel like there is way too much to do, but that feeling quickly subsides.

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As with Talisman there is always a conundrum when it comes to character selection. Each expansion adds at least six characters to an already health choice. My suggestion, unless you have a specific character in mind is to randomly select. It’s in keeping with the wider randomness of Talisman (not going to explore this part of the game in this review – it’s been covered) and actually gives you a chance to explore some of the stranger choices. I always find the Ghoul an odd choice for a character!

Anyway, I really wanted to discuss the four expansions a bit, to maybe help the reader pick between them if purchasing. So the Highlands was the first expansion I bought, it’s a nice safe addition with one or two interesting spaces. You can defeat the Eagle King at the end to get a Relic of some power (not gamebreaking by any means). Secondly I got the Dungeon, which was one of my favourite in the old GW world. This is quite an aggressive layer to Talisman with some powerful Strength monsters and tricky traps. Again, nothing really that new or revolutionary.

The City was the third expansion, but the first I have seen to make a substantial difference to the game. We get the introduction of Wanted posters to get cash for monsters and there are several shops. These shops add some new kit into the game, which adds some more flavour. It also changes the tone when a player knows they just need to get gold to advance their character, rather than relying on the Adventure Deck to give them the right combination of draws. Get this expansion over the other two I’ve mentioned. It adds a real difference to the game.

The Woodlands, saving the best until last, is probably the expansion that I would recommend most. Its board is pretty standard, with nothing majorly challenging. If the Dungeon is the Strength board, then this is the Craft board. However, the key to this expansions strength is the new rules for Fate. Everyone that has played the game has asked me why Fate tokens have two sides. I usually respond that one day they’ll add rules for it. Now they have. Light Fate helps you, Dark Fate hinders others. When you receive Fate you choose which side to show. The change this makes to the game is huge. My evil wizard took great joy in forcing other players to reroll their successful combat rolls (or was that just me taking delight in it?). There are also new Paths and Destinies, that allow a character to gain some serious benefits if they are successful in their journey through the Woodlands.

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The game took around 5 and a half hours, which for us is pretty standard. We were concerned that adding the extra boards would add extra time. However, what we found is that instead of going round and round the main board (which becomes a bit dull and it gets cluttered with cards) your adventures dip in and out of the regions. You spend the same amount of time improving your character, you just have a few more options when doing it.

This isn’t really a standard review, this has all been out for quite a while. Also, as I said earlier, I’m biased towards Talisman and I’d probably just give it a 10. However, if you want to have a look for an expansion or two, my recommendation would be the Woodlands and the City. They bring new rules, new options and new challenges for the players.

Soon I hope to be doing an actual review for the new crazy upcoming Talisman expansion – The Cataclysm which replaces the entire main board with a post-apocalyptic version. I was wondering what they were going to do next and it seems they haven’t gone half-heartedly about it.

Special Announcement

Posted on | October 18, 2015 | No Comments

Hello Garblaggites!

We’re extremely pleased to announce that we will begin a live play of Third Order on our twitch channel in three weeks on Sunday 8th November.

Head over to our Youtube channel to hear Pete talk about it.

Keep an eye on our twitch channel as well.

We hope you enjoy the show!

Archalofax

The Human Colonies

Posted on | October 15, 2015 | No Comments

Castobar

The new home world of humanity, Castobar is a huge melting pot of all races and cultures. Seen by many as a ‘soft’ world, most inhabitants have a near idyllic lifestyle. Major cities have a high degree of infrastructure automation and much has been done to prove to the Protectorate that humanity can indeed build a civilisation that respects the local biosphere. The UC Headquarters are housed on Castobar and their main training centre sits just outside the capital city of Sanctuary.

New Pacifica

A predominantly water world of immense natural beauty and sub-tropical climate, New Pac is a hub of scientific research within the Human Colonies. The capital city of San Angeles is host to premium non-corporate scientific institutions and the only official human psychic development centre (San Angeles Research Institute). Drawing the traditionally island or coastal cultures of humanity has given the world a diverse population and a very cosmopolitan feel. New Pacifica is also home to a large Alethi community, keen to explore the depths of the world ocean.

Borlaug

A largely temperate world with a booming agricultural industry, Borlaug is often referred to as ‘the breadbasket of humanity’. However the world is much more than a large farm. With unequalled geomorphological extremes Borlaug has proven to be the testing ground for many military organisations across the Human Colonies. From enormous chasm systems to unrivalled mountain ranges Borlaug presents a plethora of training environments.

Utopia

Settled largely by remnants solely from the Martian colonies from the Sol system, Utopia is a place of technology and terraforming. Utopia is not as well centred in its goldilocks zone as the other nine colonies. Consequently the higher altitudes are extremely cold with a very thin atmosphere. The population stoically survive in underground complexes or chasm systems where the atmosphere is thicker. Utopia is a massive exporter of environmental and ship systems.

Skane

The gateway for humanity into Independent Space, Skane is a hub of trade and multiculturalism. Founded by northern European and Scandinavian settlers the world has extensive forests across its three large land masses. Not as close to the authoritarian Protectorate as New Pac and not having to be as aggressively competitive as Kibo and Xinju; the world soon became a stopping off point for tens of thousands of traders looking to make their fortune out among the stars.

Novus

Novus rose from the ashes of worlds (and faiths) torn asunder by the arrival of alien species and the challenge to the fundamental tenets of a dozen texts. In response to this cataclysmic event a conclave was held and key figures of several faiths agreed that a place must be founded for those of the ‘old world’ faiths to have as a home, if the Sol System was to be quarantined and all holy sites off limits. Novus has grown into a multifaith world which is yet to achieve a strong position among the colonies, but holds the spiritual sway in many arguments at the United Colonies.

Brasilia

The veritable empire that the South American alliance built across the solar system was severely hit during the Humanity Incident, as were all worlds. However, the corporate engine behind it moved quickly to bring resources to the sub-tropical world they aptly named Brasilia. The world is a powerful economic entity, but there is widespread poverty and corruption, as those at the top ensure their longevity and opulence at the expense of the general population.

Xinju

A purely corporate world, built on the premise of industry and trade, Xinju has roots in the Indochinese emigrants that colonise the moons of Jupiter and beyond. Unofficially run by the vast conglomerate Highmountain, the press and media is tightly controlled as are the population. However, this is not done through crude methods such as on Brasilia. On Xinju everyone is provided for, as long as they work towards the greater good of all; of Highmountain. If you have the money, you can buy anything on Xinju.

Kibo

This world was founded by those that could not join the organised crime syndicates of Brasilia, nor qualify for corporate management training on Xinju. Kibo scrabbles and fights its way against two close worlds, which it dearly wishes to surpass. Investing massively in ancient Borax mining technology sixty years ago, a vast proportion of their industry is based in asteroidal mining and refinery. Due to the dangers of their industrial base they have a strong offshoot market of pharmaceuticals and cybernetic engineering.

Legacy of Sol Update – Movement!

Posted on | September 18, 2015 | No Comments

Hello there Garblaggians!

We have been working away on our rules for Legacy of Sol and are starting to pull together an alpha set reading for play testing. In anticipation of this we’d love to get some iterative feedback.

So, in a very open fashion, we’re going to start putting bits and bobs of rules and cards up on here. We’d love it if you could download these, take a look and let us know what you think of them. Some of these won’t make much sense without the wider context of the game, but we’ll build that as we go.

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First up is Movement, how to move soldiers around the battlefield.Please download, check it out and let us know what you think. We know there’s lots of work to do so please be nice with comments and no stealing!

Download the pdf here => Movement Rules

We look forward to hearing your comments.

Archalofax

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