Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Ninth World Chronicles Episode 10: Misinformation or The Feint Faint

The travelers confront a man about some shoddy merchandise, encounter a grey man, and spread misinformation in the home of a grieving widow.  All in the name of Justice of course.

Misinformation or The Feint Faint

We lose Jess Hall as a player this week, sad to say.  Let this be a lesson to all.  Promotion just means less free time.  Thanks for 9 Great Episodes Jess.

Fear not listeners I have a new player rearing to go.  However he won't be joining the fray until it makes sense of him too.  So it may be a few episodes yet.


Friday, December 6, 2013

The Ninth World Chronicles Episode 9: The Kennel

After the Holiday Break (For us in the US) the Ninth World Chronicles are back with a brand new Episode. 

Our Traveler's finish up their trade negotiations and head down to the Kennel to see a man about a debt.

The Ninth World Chronicles Episode 9: The Kennel

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Ninth World Chronicles Episode 8: Of Brothels and Broken Things

Our Traveler’s venture into Shallamas looking for a place to sell their unneeded items, and to learn more about the Crime Lyulf’s Father is accused of.  Awkwardness ensues.    (WARNING: This episode contains a bit of suggestive banter and lots of innuendo.  We kept it as clean as we could.)

The Ninth World Chronicles Episode 8: Of Brothels and Broken Things

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Poll Posted

Hello Travelers,
I am really considering doing every other week Episodes of the Chronicles for a variety of reasons.

The Episodes themselves are recorded two at a time and we take a 15 minute break in between.  We recap in the middle and it does seem to break up the flow of the game a tad.  If I did every other week Episodes the whole nights session would be one Episode.   I think the quality of each episode would be better since I won't have 'downtime' episodes where it is all setup to the following episode like I feel we have had so in the past. 

Editing wise this works better for me time wise.  It also give me a chance to get work with Cat Head Eagle more in having music that fits the segments a lot better.  Also I hope it would give me more time to provide you guys with written content.  I plan on writing up the creatures my players have encountered as well I have a couple of great idea for "The Adventures of Jeseric" Short stories I want to write.  However I spend a good deal of my free time editing.  So I have little to spend on the written endeavors.  I am working on a new website to house a better site with better content for all of you. 

There are downsides however.  I fear I will loose listeners.  Episode 4 The First Discovery.  The one with battle with the large beast, has less listeners then Episode 5.  It is also the one Episode that had a one week hiatus before it.  People like to ingest story content weekly.  That is how Television works and they are used to it.  An every other week schedule could totally alienate the majority of you listeners that download this podcast every week.

The story also stays fresh.  Weekly I am having to start punching up my GMing a bit more.  Making sure there is a new interesting encounter about every 30-45 minutes. I'm limiting down time and discussion as much as I can to get things moving forward.  This I hope makes for a better listening experience.  Slowing to a 3 hour Episode may slacken my resolve on this a bit.  I hope it doesn't but you never know.

Myself I am conflicted.  There are good reasons for both.  I am leaning towards every other week just for polish and sanity reasons but if you guys don't like it I will power through with a weekly schedule.

So what do you guys think.  I have posted a Poll on the top of the website.  Please let me know your thoughts.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Episode 6&7 Retrospective: or OpenWorld Gaming

When I started this campaign for my players I told them that even though they are on a long quest it is not one big rail.  Look at it like Video games like Skyrim or Fallout or even Grand Theft Auto.  There is a main plot that is sprinkled in here and there.  But where they go what they do is totally up to them.

I told them.  “You do not have to help every beggar with a sob story, or jump at every hook I present you.  Do what your characters would do.”  Granted some of the hooks have been too hard to ignore so far, but that won’t be the case much longer.   

So many times in pen and paper roleplaying games you are obligated to bite at the hook. You have to.  That is the adventure your GM planned.  If you don’t do it, you will probably just end up wandering most of the night while your GM rolls on a random encounter table or something (I’ve played in those sessions).  There is nothing wrong with this kind of design.  It’s a bit railroady but you came into the game wanting to have fun so will probably have the most fun with the adventure the GM prepares even if it goes against your idea of your character.

That is not the fault of your GM, in most cases it is the fault of the system.  Usually the GM has already spent hours preparing the session ( where you the player are only spending the hours playing it) because the system requires hours to prepare to get things right.

Unless of course you fudge.  I have always been a seat of my pants GM where I hide behind my GM screen making up rolls, usually it’s because I really didn’t spend the time to Stat out the NPC or I didn’t have time to look in 4 books to find out what their abilities actually do, or I am just trying to make the game interesting.   Recent systems have made the life of a GM a lot easier.  The 4E monster statblocks were a godsend(though I won’t talk about the rest of the system) Numenera makes it even easier in some regards.  I give it a level I am done.  I can make up whatever I want just assign it a level and away we go.  Usually though I have been giving things different levels.  As in the monster attacks at level 2 but defends at level 3.  That kind of thing.  I add other elements like Special attacks, or other ideas, just fun to throw in.   Like when the Synthspinner Juggernaut (thanks Scott B for the name, that write up is still coming I promise) attacked all the characters in front of it at once.  Just because I thought it was interesting.  With Numenera you can fudge that kind of thing.

What I can’t fudge however is Dice rolls.  Uggg.  Dice rolls.  We use Roll20’s dice for this podcast.  I have to say I have been unimpressed with its randomness.  We get more 1’sand 20’s than anything else.  Not sure why.  But with the players rolling all the dice the outcome is out of my hands.  That scares me as a GM.  I believe I have been WAY too lenient on my players so far in combat.  The actual fights have been a breeze.  Well except for that Synthspinner I tried hard to make that one atleast challenging.   I’ve been easy on them because I have no control of their fate.  A couple bad rolls and they can go down early.

Even in social situations the dice are fickle.  Which have led to interesting results.

But anyway back to my original topic.  I have tried my best to make this an open world game.  There is a story there is character hooks, but the players are free to do what they want. 

We’ve seen it already.  The murder plot on the caravan the characters weren’t particularly interested in.  They tried a couple things, those didn’t pan out well but they didn’t press the issue.  That’s their prerogative.  It doesn’t harm my game at all.  Obidark’s lair was another example.  They never even went past the first room of the place before they left.  They got what they wanted and they left.  Was it poor design on my part? Maybe.  I could have had Cali buried deep inside the facility but I did not.  I didn’t feel it matched the nature of what Obidark was doing and the purpose of the silo.  That and I really didn’t have much more planned.  There would have been a power source, some weird control room type thing that may hint to other facilities of Obidark’s race, and probably a living space.   I had a few small ninth world details scribbled down but nothing major.  But if I thought of something better while playing I would have had it.  Maybe ‘transporter’ type room that makes Obidark substantial or the players ‘trans-dimensional’ that would have been cool (might have to use that later)

Back to the main topic.  Creating open world games is daunting but not very hard.  There is one thing I heard on a podcast once that changed my whole philosophy of GMing. It was an Old Episode of the Order 66 Podcast where they talk about something they dub the GM’s Holocron.  They have since done an episode with it for Edge of the Empire, but you probably should go and listen to the original in the Archives if you’re interested.  What they came up with was the idea of a GM’s notebook.  Where you are not stating out each encounter and taking meticulous notes on what goes where and who everyone is, but instead you design encounters as set pieces.  You just list scenarios with brief descriptions of layout and enemy types.   You do a ton of these, the most interesting things you can think of.  Nothing too detailed.  A Fight at a waterfall, an ambush at a market, an attack while scaling a cliff.  Then when the story leads you to a place where you can throw one of them in you quickly fill in the blanks.  Who’s attacking them in the market?  What do they want? What is their goal? And bam you have an encounter.   This type of GM styling makes it so I don’t sweat the fights, and I can spend most of my GM prep time in designing interesting stories that would lead to one set piece or the other.  Most set piece are system/setting agnostic too which means you can use them over and over in different games.   It really makes open world gaming a lot easier.

However it does lead to some awkwardness from time to time.  Where you have an idea you set it up and the players back out at the last minute.    The lynch mob was kind of that.  I wanted to have a confrontation, but then couldn’t justify it.  Asura wasn’t being insulting.  They HAD just come back with the kid.  It just didn’t work out.

I will say I am having a hard time judging my characters.  Things in town didn’t go as I thought they would.  The GM intrusion with the White pyramid.  I knew Asura would go look at it.  He’s at least reliable for that kind of thing.  I didn’t expect the players to be superstitious about touching him though.  That was how Lyulf was going to first suspect something was up with his father.  A little foreshadowing I had planned that didn’t pan out.  However Thank you Theron!  Your next Judgment will be wrong.   I can see that paying dividends later on.  Do I even know what his next judgment will be?  Nope.  I have no idea how things are going to play out.  I won’t give away what Annalee would have heard.  I’ll keep that one for later.  Asura’s prophecy sounds a bit lame.  People paying attention probably have figured out some of the meta-plot going on in the background.  Asura’s did tie to that, but it may also tie a bit closer into Asura’s story in the future.  I have wheels turning.  I have idea coalescing.

That brings me to another point of open world GMing.  Plan what you can.  Weave some through plots when you can, when they make sense and don’t be afraid to have them too obvious to your characters.  You will be surprised how much they DON’T pick up on.  However you also should leave a lot of loose ends.  Things that don’t get wrapped up tightly.  And when you do NOTE THEM.  That way sessions down the line when you are working on another plot and look through your notes you might have the chance to pick up one of those loose ends and pull.   And when your players realize that odd strip clear synth actually can see a hidden messages scrawled on the wall of some underground compound it’s going to blow their minds.  Not that you thought about it in advance when you made the oddity.  But they won’t care, they will congratulate themselves with even thinking to look through the plastic and how cool they are and in that moment they will be having a blast which as a GM is my Number 1 goal.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Ninth World Chronicles Episode 7: A Walk into White

Our Travelers are almost to Shallamas.  But will they all make it thier in one piece.  As they Leave Obidark's Lair not everyone on the Caravan our happpy with what has transpired.


The Ninth World Chronicles Episode 7: A Walk into White

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Ninth World Chronicles Episode 6: Obidark's Lair

Our Travelers are trying to find a way inside Obidark's Lair to rescue Cali, the child from the Caravan who's gone missing.   What foul things will they find inside.

The Ninth World Chronicles Episode 6: Obidark's Lair

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

iTunes Fixed

Ohh iTunes! tisk tisk.  Well that and  Aprently changed the default urls that they give you for things you upload there, from http's to https'.  iTunes does not like https so any url that starts with that does not work.  Fun fun.  This change aparently happened between me posting episode 3 and 4 of the podcast.  So I had to go in and fix it. Once I figured out what the problem was.

Well all this means for you dear listener is you can now get the last two Episode of the Ninth World Chronicles on Itunes once again. 

I am so sorry for the delay.  Lets hope we have no more hiccups in the futre.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Episode 5 Retrospective

So the big battle happened.  Sorry no real retrospective on that one.  Been pressed for time and it being a big battle against a Creature there really isn’t much to say. I hope you liked the idea of the Creature, and the fact that the Trees were actually part of a large underground web in case you didn’t quite get that.  My editing of that episode was piss poor though.  I started it, had it half way edited, but closed the file without saving it.  Fun fun.  Then I had my headphone shatter (a cat helped) so I was editing the whole thing with one headphone speaker held to my head.  That is my excuse for the repeated battle music.  It just goes on WAY too long. But alas I ran out of time and patience with it.

I bought new Headphones for editing episode 4.  Turtle Beach’s Earforce X12’s if you’re curious.  They fit great and are super comfortable.  But suck for editing.  They are analog in sound. My last headphones were straight USB and while they had a volume control it actually adjusted the volume the computer was outputting.  These amplify the computer’s output.  So it really makes it really hard to tell actual volume of background sounds and even if you are over modulated.   So if things are too loud with Episode 4 that is why.  Sorry still tweeking and adjusting.

Now on to Episode 5.  Call backs, is what I should have called the episode.  With a little bit a poor planning on my part.  When I came up with the encounter in Episode 2 where the women died from the Caravan.  It was off the top of my head. I was making up the encounter as I was describing it.  Like I said back in my Episode 2 Retrospective. I never expected the party to get that far.  I didn’t plan for it.  However I never meant for her death to be tied to the attack.  However I described her as injured.  She fell off her annen during the fighting I said.  However my players skipped over that detail, and I was fine with it.  It could have been a buy product of the attack and I could leave it at that.  It wasn’t until they started caring for the guy whose arm was injured did I get the idea that this was in fact Murder.  Now I had a vessel to tell a story with that I can shelve until I need it.  The guy was unconscious after all.  Injured quite badly.

The poor planning number 1 however came during Episode 4.  I knew then that Boslin was going to be my villain.  He’s a spoiled rich man who despises the people he is with even though he chose to be with them.  They are all beneath him and he cares little for their wellbeing.  Once I knew he was going to survive Episode 4, I should have planted evidence on his dead annen.  Have the players find the used injector then and not know what it was or for.  Hind sight is 20/20.

Instead the players were fumbling around wondering if they should believe this story or not.  Frankly it didn’t make for an interesting plot as it panned out.  I was expecting them to at least question Boslin.  Confront him even.  I knew the evidence was flimsy.  I could of I guess provided more but then I was thinking why would Boslin have evidence on this other Annen.  If there was still evidence he would have it on him, and the players never searched him.  I’m not quite sure that Boslin would have even denied he’d done it if asked. Since these caravan goers aren’t really people to him they are classes apart.  OK he would have lied but been really horrible at it.  However no one even asked.  Instead we get a GREAT botched roll that leads to Asura Tao being believe to be a murderer.  FUN!  However Lyulf then goes and undermines the man’s ranting with a great roll much to my dismay J. 

Poor planning #2 in my part was not having Cali in these scenes.  I meant for her to show up early in this episode.  Ask a ton of questions about the beast and other annoying things.  Try to endure herself to the party a bit more.  However I forgot. I had it in my notes and I forgot.  I got tied up with trying to salvage this murder investigation and I dropped the ball.   So her going missing later in the Episode has less of an impact.   As listeners though as soon as I started talking about a boogie man who steals children.  I bet most of you knew what was coming.   Telegraphed a mile away that one was.  Having her show up this episode would have made it even more so.    But she did need to show up twice before she became a plot focus.  It’s usually better that way.  Makes them feel like less of a redshirt. That’s where Star Trek Failed with the red shirt.  The one guy who’s only shows up right before they die.  If you had them in minor scenes for 2 or 3 episodes prior then their death has more impact but alas TV budgets and tight time constraints don’t allow for that.  I however don’t have time constraints (or a budget to speak of) so I should do better. 

Kadiv also made second appearance.  He likes Asura Tao so he has to play the nice guy in the caravan.  He also has a kick as staff bow thingy.  He probably won’t become a plot though.  You can’t have every NPC an adventure hook.

Obidark’s lair.  There is an inherent problem with anything of significant note in a game like this; a monolith, a mysterious cave, a large column shooting out of the ground, and that is; why hasn’t anyone else been there before the players?   Why are the players the first to find the opening?  Suspension of disbelief has to occur in games like this for this reason.   I can make up what absurd happenstance makes it this way all I want. But after the 4 or so newly discovered cave entrances or crash sites or what have you, it will get pretty transparent pretty quickly.  At least in this part of the Steadfast.  Once I get into the beyond anything goes.  I guess I can say that ‘no one that has ever entered has exited alive’ but then I would be forced to kill these tier 1 pc, because seriously if no one else has even left this place than it has to be super-duper hard inside. Right.  J

In the next Episode I tried to make things weird.  We’ve been sticking with some fantasy tropes for a bit I wanted to make sure this felt like Numenera and not some high fantasy world.

How’d you like my Obidark poem/song? Didn’t turn out quite as I wanted.  I wanted little children singing the chorus.  But alas my son is only 22 months so he’s out, and I had no other kids at my disposal.  So I left off the chorus.

Hope you guys are still enjoying the podcast.  Look for the next Episode Thursday.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Ninth World Chronicles Episode 5: Scientific Reasoning

There may be a murderer among the Caravan goers and as our travelers approach Shallamas they encounter the home of Shallamas’ Boogey Man.  Follow us on Twitter @NWChronicles.

The Ninth World Chronicles Episode 5: Scientific Reasoning

Obidark's Lullaby

Come sweet child don't Fret or Fear

Listen to our song it will fill you with Cheer

Life is hard and times they are tough

We can take you now where it isn't so rough

Away from your parents away from the dark

It is time to go where you can make your mark


Obidark take me into your arms

Obidark protect me from harm

Obidark will take me away

To a place with Eternal play


Come sweet child your innocence we need

if we ever hope to continue our breed

no harm will befall you there is truth in what we say

the evils of this world is why we take you away

Don't say goodbye don't tell them what you hear

The last thing we want is to fill them with fear.


Obidark take me into your arms

Obidark protect me from harm

Obidark will take me away

To a place with Eternal play

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Episode 4: The First Discovery

Welcome to Episode 4: The First Discovery

The Murden were only the beginning. Now a new threat has joined the fray, as our Travelers try to investigate these translucent trees.  Will our players survive.  Can they roll something other than 1's or 20's.  You will have to Listen to find out.

Stream Above or Download here: The Ninth World Chronicles Episode 4: The First Discovery

Don't forget to Follow us on Twitter @ NWChronicles

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Episode 3 Retrospective

Well we’ve made it to session 2(episode 3), so we can fix the mistakes of the first 2 Episodes.  My players told me that the modulated voices were really hard to understand.  Over Skype I believe this is true, in my recording I thought they turned out pretty good however they were ditched for the next two sessions until I can gather more data on how to make them work better over skype since skype’s voice quality isn’t the best.  Also dice rolls are called out much better.  We still missed a few but we're working on it.

The Episode starts with the morning after the events of Episode 2.  Events that will have further ramifications in a later episode.  We get to meet a couple of caravan members and chat a bit.  Pacing is going to be a tough thing going forward.  Not sure I want every other episode to be Story > Story > Action.  I fear I am boring some of you. Though in the past listening to other play session podcast, some times the action is actually the boring part and the conversations the much more interesting listen.  So finding the mix will be fun.

Also note that through a complicated process of budding and fragmentation the caravan grew from a group of 25 people to 45 people over night.  Yup.   Continuity issue much?  I actually wasn’t aware that I gave a count to the caravan’s size back in Episode 2 until I was editing it.  By then it was too late we already recorded this episode.  So it’s been Ret conned J. Every time you spot a continuity issue I think you should take a drink.   Even if listening from work.
So the grove of Transparent trees mentioned in the book I thought could be an interesting back drop.  What are they? Why are they there?  Well I made up my own ideas and ran with it.  But a big baddy right off the bad isn’t too fun so I stuck in a Murden ambush.  I like the Murden visually they are a neat sinister like abhuman.  Much more calculating then random barbarians.   I only wished they talked.  Having Murden with sinister plans taunt PC would be cool.  I might just have to have a player acquire a device that allows them to hear Murden telepathy.

Speaking of devices.  Cyphers aren’t playing out as I expected.  I think I made the mistake of giving my players utility cyphers over every day functional cyphers.  This has limited their use so far this campaign.  I have recognized this though and am working to rectify the situation. 

GM intrusion: you are ambushed.  Used twice this session.  It worked, but I have to find a better way to use it.  Making something bad happen to my players without a roll just seems wrong to me.  I have to get out of that mind set and just add things that will complicate the story or make things fun.  In combat that is hard, and usually unnecessary.  With this crew there is enough 1’s rolled that I have to keep on my toes. Outside of combat I haven’t found a balance of what should be an intrusion and what should just be being a GM. 

Scan.  Well I started playing scan wrong giving more info than scan says it should give in the book.  I have started paring that down a bit, but it is Aura Tao’s only move.  Since he/she is a pacifist.  (Tory did say the character was androgynous so I can’t speculate on its sex)  Ohh and I know now days Tao is pronounced ‘Dow’, But since it’s a monk with the last name Tao I refuse to play into the game.  Since it is a billion years in the future I figure the nuance has been lost by then.
One action.  One.  That is something I have to get through my thick skull.  Too many years of playing games where you can move and then act.  If you move more than immediate you cannot act.  I know I’ve made lots of mistakes here so far, but my players haven’t complained.  I’m trying to keep things moving a bit. 

Cannon fodder NPCs.  Having other NPCS on the player’s side in this game is tough since as the GM I don’t really roll dice.  Just narrating the battle seemed to work well I hope.  Though I think the Murden concentrated on the two guards a bit much.  The guard number also I think changed a bit throughout the episode.  The scout ran back to get help but I wasn’t sure if there were two guards or one.

The big reveal.  I hope I explained it well.  I give another description in Episode 4.  I like the one in 3 better I think.  It’s a frightening beast, and you will see it in action soon.  The Cliffhanger ending.  I hope serves me well.  The fall off of people who listened to Episode 1 vs 2 is quite drastic and 2 I think was quite weak actually.  One was the primer and was more exposition then role-play I guess I should have opened with action rather than a funeral.  That does make better sense.  So Episode 3 might have problems finding an audience I fear.  I hope everyone is enjoying it.  I’m trying to make an entertaining Numenera experience.  Though I am nowhere near an expert in the setting I hope I am getting some if it right.

 We have Episodes 4, 5, and 6 recorded and awaiting editing. So more is coming.  However on a Somber note I regret to inform everyone that Episode 4 will not be coming out this Thursday.  I have had a death in the family and have to head out of town for a funeral.  This has caused delays in editing.  I should get it out Next Thursday if all goes well.

Until then everyone safe travels.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Ninth World Chronicles Episode 3: Translucent Trees

A grove of Translucent Trees stands in the path of the Caravan.  Our group of travelers decide to investigate this strange occurrence and see what they can discover. 

The Ninth World Chronicles Episode 3: Translucent Trees is now available for streaming.

Or download it here: The Ninth World Chronicles Episode 3

Monday, October 7, 2013

Chronicles News

Well Good News.  You can Now find the Ninth World Chronicles on ITunes for your listening convenience.

Also if you want you can subscribe to the RSS Feed from the links to the right.  Thanks for your interest. 

Episode 2 Retrospective

Well two episodes are in the books.  Ok really part 2 of Episode 1 to be honest.  You see how I decided to set this thing up from the get go is as follows:  Record 3 hours a session, however split each session into 2 podcasts.  That way the sessions aren’t overly long, and I can pump them out at a regular clip.  Record every other week, but post a podcast every week.   That was the initial idea.  However it does have drawbacks.

For one.  The mistakes I made while recording Episode 1 also carry over to Episode 2.  Like for instance not calling out dice Rolls.  I noticed this early on while editing Episode 1.  I’ve got it fixed for Episode 3, but you still had to suffer without it for another Episode sorry about that.

Two. Problems that occur, occur over 2 episode.  Tory’s Mic broke just before recording.  His laptop mic worked pretty well in tests but as the day wore on I had soo much trouble understanding him.  Fret not though he gets a new one for Episode 3.

The Third drawback is editing.  There is a lot to be done when you split it up.  You’ve got to record the intro, outro, clean up the audio, and mix in the music.  I’ll always have to clean up the audio but it does mean more intros to record and intro music to make sure is mixed.  The software I am using to mix isn’t the greatest, but the price was right (Audacity –free, if you were wondering)

I’m not sure what everyone things of the music.  More of it? Less of it? Only in the intro?  The artist is now recording mood/set pieces for me to use that should start to work better with each episode.  I would like to have more of it in there myself but it does extend editing time, and I have no clue if it enhances a listen or not.  Since I know everything that is being said it is easy for me to hear it but I am not sure if it makes it hard to understand on first listen.  I guess some feedback would be appreciated.

Well enough of the podcast mechanics side of thing let’s talk about the episode.

Well to be honest I didn’t have much more prepared that night After Episode 1.  For some reason I expected Episode 1 to last the full 3 hours of recording.  I expected more banter from my players and them to be talking more.  Instead it was up to me to do all the talking and we sped through.  It’s my fault really.  I had been playing with the same RPG groups for some time now and we all know each other really well so there is a lot of jokes and stuff in my normal sessions.  So I assumed that would happen here.  However like I said in my last retrospective these guys are all new to each other.  Not new to gaming mind you, but new to the game and to playing together.   Which actually is good for all of you in a way.  You won’t have to listen to inside jokes, or old stories that really are better if you were there and not just listening to them after the fact.  With this group you the listener are in at the ground floor.  Any inside jokes that develop you will know where they came from.  Any memories retold you will be reminiscing as well.  At least that is the hope.    

So the group meets a couple people in the caravan.  All off the top of my head.  Can’t you tell?  Not exactly exciting stuff, but some of it plays out later.  The large man’s (who does have a name you will find out soon) argument with the caravan leader makes no sense.  I know.  I knew at the time that I was making it, but I tried my best to salvage it.   Let’s ignore it happened and move on.   

The Fire extinguisher. Well for all intents and purposes that is what it is.  But think about it.  If you found a red cylinder with a nozzle on it that sprayed white liquidy powder and had no notion of a fire extinguisher, would you know what it does.  Would spraying it on a fire even be something you would think about trying? Especially since other canisters with nozzles when sprayed on fires catches on fire.  Keeping bugs away seemed reasonable.

The screaming lady.  Note how I describe how she was injured in the attack.  Note the conclusions my players jumped to.  Hmmm. 

Obviously the scene was influenced by some horror movie of the other.  Not sure which but the visuals of someone vomiting out insects is well in my head from somewhere.   I don’t think of these things.  Seriously my head is all unicorns and rainbows until you sickos infect it with your gruesome images and then I can’t get them out.  They taunt me at night force me to use them.  Yeah that’s it, it’s not my fault at all officer….

Ohh where was I.  I really really should have used a GM intrusion here, and said that the bugs got on Theron. I was hitting myself after words for not thinking of it.  Add some tension to the scene.  Force Asura to work under some pressure.  But alas it didn’t happen.  Still it was an interesting scene.  Will have to learn my player’s powers a bit more and their limitation so that I am better describe things.  Especially scan.  I does a lot less that I have been giving it credit for. 

I did not expect my players to try to save the guy whose arm was consumed.  Here is an instance where YES is the right answer from a GM.   Now I have a player who is invested in an NPC.  Now I have an NPC who can pay dividends later on.  Having NPC’s die as a plot mechanic or to add stakes can be used really well.  In this instance his death served nothing.  If they failed their efforts to save him then ohh well.  It wasn’t their fault he died.  However if he lives he becomes something I can use later.  Forcing NPC’s to die can be a big mistake for GMs.  Just like the old ‘the villain gets away’ trope that RPGS rely on.  If the Players think of a way to save the guy (or thought of something really cool that defeated your plans and should kill the villain) you kind of have to let it happen.  Or else it feels Deus ex Machina and pulls your players out of the game like nothing else.  It’s a common mistake I’ve seen a lot.  Not that I don’t still make mistake or anything. I’m still learning after all these years.

So what to expect from Episode 3?  Well there are couple characters on the Caravan still to meet, as well as some interesting foliage to explore, and some real combat to get involved with.  Also GM Intrusions finally make their appearance, and not just the ones that occur on the roll of a 1.  Granted there is some of that as well.   It’s going to be a good episode I think.  It should be out Thursday. 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Ninth World Chronicles Episode 2: Welcome to the Caravan

Episode 2 is now Live for Streaming.

Or Download it here: The Ninth World Chronicles Episode 2: Welcome to the Caravan

In this Episode of the Numenera Play Podcast, the Travelers get to know their new travelling companions in the Caravan, but the day is not uneventful.


Saturday, September 28, 2013

Ninth World Chronicles Episode 1 Retrospective

Greetings everyone.  So the first Episode of my Numenera campaign is up for your perusal. I figured now that I have some distance from actually running the session I would give you my thoughts.  Tell you what I think worked what I think didn't, what I intended to happen and other such goodies.  So needless to say spoilers will follow.

I'll probably do a retrospective from time to time on quite a few episodes.  This first one will be a bit long since I wanted to talk about why I wanted to do a podcast the genesis of the idea and then the Episode itself.  Sorry this post is lengthy but I hope it is an enjoyable read.

Well Episode 1's of just about anything are a bit rough.  This is my first time trying to record a game session on top of my first time trying to run Numenera, and the first time this group of players have played a game as a group.  It is a recipe for disaster.  However it appears things didn't go too badly.

Well there were a lot of awkward pauses and dead air from time to time when we recorded things as well as me as the GM confusing one player for the other on more than one occasion.  But most of that can be fixed with the magic of editing.  (However a few wrong names had to be left in as well as a bevy of gender swapping pronouns used by myself and some of my players)

When I decided to do a podcast I originally intended to do an Edge of the Empire play podcast.  However there are already a few out there and they are quite good.  Numenera was just about to come out and I had started listening to the Transmissions from the Ninth World Podcast and the world fascinated me. Unlike Edge with it's Star Wars universe the Ninth World is an untapped resource of awe and wonder.  I would not be shackled by cannon, lore or expected troupes.  I could describe things that would be totally new to my players rather than referencing things in films, games, and cartoon series. So I decided what the hell I'll jump ship and see what the Ninth World had to offer.  I figured if I didn't choose Numenera for the podcast I'd never get to play Numenera.

So once the descision was made to go forward I had to recruit players pour over the rules to learn them and come up with a compelling story.  Well I must admit.  I am not a rules guy.  I find them hard to memorize, hard to wrap my head around and mostly they get in the way.  Numenera alleviates some of that.  It's system has some very intuitive features.  Though others will take awhile to get used to.  But as a GM it's pretty crunch light which helps a lot in planning.  So right now I am flying by the seat of my pants as far as the rules are concerned and hope to get my sea legs soon.  I instead concerned myself more with story. 

I wanted to do an original story rather than use any of the published adventures that are available. I don't have anything against published adventures I mine them for ideas all the time.  However I find them constricting as a GM. If my players take a sharp left turn when running a published adventure I feel more obligated to steer them back toward the story at hand rather than explore this new direction. However the main reason I didn't want to run published stuff is because I wanted to make it a podcast, and I didn't want to spoil the plots of these published adventures for players in their home games.  The adventures out there look like a lot of fun and have some great twists and turns.  Broadcasting them to people robs them of the wonder of playing the scenes out themselves for the first time.

So what to do.  Well the Wander Walk in the Beale of Boregal I thought was rather interesting.  I liked the idea of a pilgrimage a great journey across this weird land. However for a pilgrimage there would have to be a purpose a reason for the journey and a reason that the party is all together and that really has to set up in the beginning.

How to start a campaign? "You all meet in an inn/tavern (since one cannot exist without the other in fantasy it seems) after responding to an adventures needed ad." or "you are summoned before the king/duke/mayor to help do something" or "the town you all happened to be in at the same time becomes under attack by big scary monster.. please please stay and help rather than just leave.  Ohh and please please like each other enough to stay together once the forces of evil are defeated"  The common gaming tropes don't exactly work here, and would have most of you groaning as soon as I started narrating them.  I instead went the movie route.  Years ago in a Scriptwriting class I learned that every movie should start with an event.  Some life altering thing that sets the entire movie in motion.  Whether it be a birthday celebration, (LotR) the capture of a princess (SW), or the death of someone important (way too many movies).  I chose to go with the later.  It's not original I know, but it works.

While pouring through the beautiful Numenera book, I really was fasciniated by the picture of the Beanstalk.  It intrigued me more that the floating monoliths of which there are many.  But there was only one beanstalk.  That coupled with the text about Jack the Giant Slayer, and fact that an entire 'class' is named after this mythic hero, I knew I wanted to incorporate it in a story. So I thought.  What if people who considered themselves 'Jacks' take pilgrimages to see the Beanstalk.  Well I knew my party would not be made completely of jacks and having one player be the catalyst for the entire journey would not be good either.  So the Person who died had to be a Jack, and they want their ashes laid to rest at the beanstalk.  Wha-la.  So I created my dead hero and told my players they would be attending his funeral, and then asked them why they were here. Who was this guy to you?

I found the answers fascinating and diverse. "He was my master." "I don't know him only heard stories about him, I have come to here with my old master the dead man's old friend" "The dead man got me out of a jam awhile back so I have come to pay my respects." "I've never met him, but saw him in a vision and have come to seek him out"  With their answers my players basically created plots and NPC's for me. 

So why Bodrov?  Well the concept of the city is fun. It's not too big, so a Hero of the city would be quite reasonable.  It was not too close to the beanstalk but not on the exact opposite side of the map.  It also has some interesting landmarks between it and the Beanstalk.

So now that the idea set the location is set then it's time for the show.

So my players are new to each other and so a bit tentative to talk at the start.  This led me to do a lot of talking a lot of describing and over describing.  Yikes.  The setup was a bit heavy handed to say the least.  I have pretty much forced them to go on this journey.  However I've told my players that they don't have to do anything they don't want to do.  I am going to be throwing adventure hook after adventure hook at them.  They will need to pick and choose which to take.  Not following the beggar with the sob story will not ruin my adventure for the evening.  I will just move on  to something else.  That is how I like to run games.  That beggar Idea the players didn't take I'll probably reskin it as something else and present it again 3 or 4 sessions later.

The Brain-sucking-squid-headed-needle-stabbing-killer-balloon-thing-a-magigs that's their full Scientific Name. I hope everyone has their own vision of what they looked like in their own mind.  I think I described them pretty badly. But what I think they look like doesn't really matter. For what you pictured while I described them is what they look like.   (I really hope you pictured something scary and not something funny)  I can't draw or else I would of provided a visual aid.  Me and art they don't go well together. 

Voice Modulation.  Yikes.  This did not turn out as well as I hoped it would.  You will see it even worse in episode 2, but it will be used sparingly after that.  I can't really hear what it sounds like while recording it, and my test records did not reflect the final product closely at all.  So lessons learned.  I like the idea of it.  I can do voices myself, but remembering how I voiced reoccurring characters one session to the next is hard for me.  That and my voices seem to all for some reason turn in to a bad Scottish accent after awhile.

The Ending.  Episode 1 ended with a whimper. I'll have to work on that.  Getting to a good stopping point every hour and a half, coupled with trying to make sure you the listener are excited for the next episode is going to a juggling act.  Episode 2 fails on this as well I fear.  But I think Episode 3 and 4 will deliver on a good ending a lot better and hopefully going forward.

Well let me stop. I have much more I could say, but this is already a wall of text.  If you have made it all the way down here to the bottom reading everything.  I grant you 1 EXP and 1d3 cyphers. Enjoy. 


Wednesday, September 25, 2013


Welcome to the Ninth World Chronicles website. The home of the Ninth World Chronicles Podcast. A play-sessions podcast in Monte Cook Games' Numenera World. Here you will find the RSS feeds of the podcast as well as discussion on my design thoughts and insights while coming up with the plots the creatures NPC and other random stuff. Expect the First episode to appear here shortly.