Oct 052012

For people following this blog, you will know that I’ve already touched on the subject of horror role playing, with tips for GMs, players, a nifty little location you can use, and even some thoughts on why playing a adolescent PC happens so often in horror games. Today, in honour of this months RPG Blog Carnival – hosted by the delightfully lovely people at Troll in the Corner Games – I’m going to offer a last couple of tips, one aimed at GMs, but the first at people who will be playing a horror game. Unlike my earlier articles that were full things to do, this more about what you shouldn’t do, or at least, keep to an absolute minimum.

To all the players out there who live to get into character: please, keep a lid on the hamminess when you’re in a horror game. I know, it’s very tempting to get totally into the scares, and the GM will want that, but when you push it to B-movie screaming and hand waving it really pulls everyone out of the mood the GM is trying to create. The horror that can happen around a gaming table is a lot more palpable if everyone is drawn into slowly and quietly, so every noise they catch at the limits of their hearing is something that could be watching. Waiting

If you want to really play up your terror in a way that will keep this sense of dread going, withdraw from what’s going on a little. Think about what you would do in the same situation; would you be the foolish person who runs around screaming and attracting attention, or would you hunker down and try to get out? Maybe the only way out is mentally? There’s a reason characters lose sanity in horror games, they can’t cope with the new and terrifying reality they’re encountering, so they create a safe place in their minds, and hide there. Now just think of the effect this will have on the other players, as they watch you crumble slowly and eerily away from the person you used to be…

For the GMs now, and this is based on a mistake I’ve made myself in the past. Sitting and watching a scary movie is a very different experience than having a bunch of friends role playing around a table. Sure, you can take a bit of inspiration from movie lighting and sound effects, but what will scare one or two people in a darkened room, won’t always have the same effect on a group of people trying to enjoy a story. So, that cool thing in a horror flick that had you jumping out of your skin? Don’t force it into a role playing game. Take cues from it, but I promise you, the returns you get will be nothing like you expect.

You also run the risk of going over old ground. if you’ve seen the horror flick in question, there’s a good chance the payers have too. Although fear of the known is possible – I prefer the unknown, but that’s just me – familiarity will bore right through that. As will the players then breaking off to talk about their favourite bits of the film it has just become obvious you have stolen from.

I hope that was some help to everyone, but don’t forget to keep checking back with the Troll in the Corner, for more blogs on how to bring the scary to your horror RPGs.

Oct 012012

I got round to playing/GMing this a few days ago, and had such a good time that I decided to write about it. The game in question – Something Went Wrong – seemed tailor made for my current requirements. At the start of each university term, my gaming society runs a few weeks of one-off games designed to give new role players a taste of what to expect should they choose to join us, along with experienced players a chance to try something new. One of the bigger problems I have when doing this is keeping a game at the right length for just one session. Sure, I could just cut it short come the end of the evening if it hasn’t reached a satisfying conclusion, but I always feel like that’s a let down for everyone.

Something Went Wrong though, was just what I needed. Character creation took a whole ten minutes, and that included the description of stats for the novice gamers. After that we were right into it. Well not quite, a lovely touch for the game is that after spending literally whole minutes pouring love and attention into your character, you hand it to the player on your left. There isn’t much scope for Munchkins in the game, but that little touch is beautifully thought out to keep everyone on an even playing field.

If you’re unfamiliar with the game, here’s a quick rundown. Everyone creates a character – even the “GM” – and strikes off into a dungeon, just like the kick ass adventures they are. They have done it all before and even have the +5 T-shirt of tourism. What makes this game special is that there’s no one GM; the first person to assume that role (myself as it happened) sets up the opening room in a dungeon with a random roll and some basic set dressing. They run one round of combat, which is mostly what the game is about, and then hands the GM hat to the person sitting clockwise round the table from them, and becomes a player again until it’s their turn with the hat. For the record, we didn’t use an actual hat as I was the only person who owns one in the group, and my head is bizarrely small so no one else could wear my spiffy touring cap.

Experience points gets handed out by the GM at the end of each round, and they are used when the player becomes the GM and allow them to mess around with the other players. This is done by random rolls on ‘misability’ tables, and some quick thinking on how to apply them to the current situation. Once a room is cleared, the ‘encounter’ ends, loot is handed out – again by a random roll or two – and the hat moves to the next person so they can set the scene in the next chamber. This carries on with player injury and death throughout until the end of the evening.

That’s basically it, and although it sounds simple it makes for a wonderfully well rounded game. I was a little nervous at first of putting control of a dungeon, and everyone’s playing experience, in the hands of someone who has never role played, let alone run a game before and at least two of my players fell into that category. I got round this a little by setting up the table so my most experienced player would be the GM after me, thus giving everyone else a bit of time to see how it all worked. When it came to their turn, I shouldn’t have worried at all. The system is so simple and straightforward, that they jumped into it feet first and did me proud! They were using the rules as a frame work, and then just having fun.

This was one the biggest selling point for me; the rules were so simple, and also so vague, that you could apply whatever you liked to the situation, and it would make sense without ever affecting the balance. If a player wanted to try that a spell that did no damage, but would be über powerful, the GM would quickly find a way to limit the potential of the spell without taking away from the fun of the caster. As an example, someone wanted to bubble-wrap themselves to avoid damage, the spell went off and the player was safe. The GM was quick to let them know however that they had neglected air holes, and for as long as they remained in bubble-wrap, they would lose that many turns afterwards as they tried to regain their breath.

What didn’t I like? Very little. I usually steer my groups away from combat, and as such thought that this game would get a bit repetitive and rote, but it never did. Once again I think this is down to the freedom that the players had to play the game in the manner they saw fit. We did end up dropping some of the modifiers for combat, just to keep the flow going a little, but this happened without any discussion; one GM rolled without taking them into account, and the next followed suit. It was only after the game finished that I realised we had done it at all. We were so engaged in the fun of a basic dungeon crawl, that we never let the rules get in the way.

In case some readers are thinking that this all sounds a little bit OSR, you wouldn’t be far wrong. That freedom is pretty much what I think of when people talk about system light Old School Role-playing games.

By the end of the night, we are a little drained, GMing and playing will do that to a mind, but we all had a great time. This gets a five star review from me, and a big recommendation that you click the link at the top of the page and get it downloaded.

Full disclosure: even though this game is available for free, the lovely people at Troll in the Corner Games sent me a code for a free Gold Edition download when they heard I was thinking about reviewing it for this blog. The Gold Edition adds so art and extra tables, but remains the same game.

Sep 172012

I am a huge fan of Fantasy Flight Game’s (FFG) run of Lovecraft inspired board/card games, and play them as a whole, way more than almost every other board/card game my girlfriend and I own (which is a lot). There are a few reasons for this; I’m generally a big fan of the Lovecraftian mythos, FFG put out some top quality games, and they work for groups of varying sizes, unlike other games that can flounder with smaller or larger numbers of players. This isn’t my main reason for liking them though; I love the fact that while playing them, I get a genuine sense of being a part of the story.

In simplest terms this is done by appealing to the role player in me by handing me a character sheet to begin with, one that would pass muster in a pre-generated adventure one off. It contains a little bit on who the character is, and some basic stats that don’t need to much explanation to tell me what they specializes in. Don#t get me wrong, FFG aren’t the only company to do this though. Just looking into my full to bursting board games cupboard, I see Robo Rally there, and each of the eight little robots has a sheet with a quick description of their personality included. Sadly, this has no bearing on how the game is played, and each robot is in fact exactly the same in game terms; so it’s fun to be a robot, but that’s all you get to be. That’s not really a great help when it comes to relating to the character.

Horror and survival games seem to really go all out on this aspect of the board game, with several in the zombie survival genre coming with their own set of character sheets, and another from my collection, Betrayal at House on the Hill. Going back to FFG, Arkham Horror, Elder Sign and Mansions of Madness all come with character sheets too. maybe the games’ designers realise you might do more to keep a character alive if you get the chance to connect with them.

You might be wondering why this is such a big deal; well I’m a role player predominantly, and although character sheets aren’t a necessity for me to get into the role I wish to play, when it comes to a board game they really help you feel more attached to the character than if they weren’t included. Think of Monopoly: do you ever get a sense of attachment to the boot you’re moving around the board? Do you ever to stop to consider the decisions you’re making from the little dog’s point of view? I would think not. But when you’re handed a little bio of your character, and have an idea of some kind of motivation for what they’re doing, it means you start making decisions that are based more on what the character would do, and less on what you yourself would.

This to me, is one of the fundamental aspects of role playing. When what I do is influenced more by the world I’m playing in and the character I’m playing, than by my own motivations. There are discussions aplenty about there about meta gaming, and I invite my readers to search them out, as they can really help to hone your role playing. In a board game though, should this matter?

I say yes! Take the simple and wonderful card game Gloom. In it you play a miserable and weird family, with the aim of making them as miserable as possible before killing them in a variety of interesting ways. This can be played as a numbers game, or you can take the time to read the cards out as they’re played, to weave a story of melancholy and despair before the inevitability of the grave claims your family. Doesn’t that sound like more of in depth experience than just totting the numbers up and playing to win? OK, playing to win is kind of the point, but I hope you know what I mean.

All of this is also very important when looking at survival style games. Using the monopoly example again (for the record, I do enjoy playing it, just not as a role playing game), could you see yourself getting any kind of attachment to the wheelbarrow, and doing everything you could to save them from a hoard of zombies? I really doubt it, and I know I care a hell of a lot more about keeping a character alive if I have been given the chance to relate to them, and understand why they’re doing what they’re doing. Lets take a look at another popular survival game, Zombies!! I’ve played this many times and find my enjoyment quickly diminishes over time. The simple reason for this is that I don’t really care about my character. They’re just a coloured figure with a few points of life and bullets, and when they inevitably die, there is no sense of loss. Put a character from Mansions of Madness in the same situation, and all of sudden, they have a personality, and as a role player, they become my character and I want them to survive.

Does anyone else play board games like this, or am I reading way too much into things. And do people have their own stories of how board games have become so much more thanks to role playing out the character?

Sep 142012

This month, thanks to Dice Monkey, we look at placing an RPG in an established setting. This is something I’ve done in the past, but right now I have two examples in mind about games I’m going to be running in the future. The first I have talked about before on this very blog, and it involves taking an established comic book setting and turning it into an RPG world. This may not be quite what the creator of this month’s blog carnival had in mind, but so many established settings started life as something other than an RPG. I’m sure everyone reading this can think of at least one game based on a movie/book series/computer game that they’ve either played or ran. The D&D world of Krynn leaps straight to mind, and recently I was thinking about taking a look at the Dragon Age RPG that someone else was blogging about. These games exist because they’re based on settings that are evocative enough for the reader/player/viewer to want to experience them for themselves. After Lord of the Rings, it’s easy to suppose that there was an upswing in sales of RPGs as people wanted to take a shot at being Legolas or Aragorn, and there’s so much fantasy/sci-fi/historical content out there to supply a steady stream to us gamers. But still, it’s not enough. My girlfriend and a mate of mine have done a quick Savage Worlds hack for Mass Effect, and there’s a great free game on Drive Through RPG based on Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere book/comic book/TV series. The tools are out there for gamers to make an RPG in any setting they desire, so why not use one that is familiar to them due to experience and exposure, that you can make your own? And, why use a pre-created setting at all?

To answer that, at least for myself, I’m taking you into the future a little bit, or at least my possible future when I finally get round to running a Warhammer 40k game that I’ve had on my mind for a couple of years now. It will almost certainly be using the Only War core book (don’t get me started on why the hell Fantasy Flight Games (FFG) don’t just put out one core rule book and then create setting books for the rest of their lines). For people who don’t know much about the 40k universe, go read about it and I’ll be waiting right here. What I want to do with it is to set a game on an Imperial world long abandoned by the Imperium, that has devolved slightly and the imperial cult acts more like contemporary real world religions, but with the same militaristic feel that the game world does so well.

So basically, very different to almost everything that Games Workshop and FFG have put out. And for me, that’s why you can play in established settings; you have the rules all sorted out for you – barring some personal tweeks – and if the setting can’t be used to tell the exact story you and the players want to tell, it takes a hell of a lot less work than making one from scratch. Just change one or two fundamentals, and once more, you’re playing in a world that you created.

Sep 102012

I have already touched on this subject a little bit, but it has mainly been focused on the people running the game; giving them a choice location and some great ways to keep their players nerves as tight as a bowstring. This week though I thought it only fair to offer a few little tips to people who are thinking about playing in an RPG that sets out to scare them. My reason for this as that unlike other games, it involves an emotional commitment from the players right from the get go, just so you’re ready to experience the game in a way that will allow you to get the most out of it.

The first and most important thing, the emotional contract you need to agree to to if you want to enjoy horror role playing; you must allow yourself to be scared. It’s all well and good claiming that role playing your character’s sense of dread and fear is enough, but any actor will tell you that emotion in a performance is more convincing when it is based in reality. So, let yourself feel the fear, as if it really was you in that darkened room, knowing that you’re all alone but still hearing a papery noise of something moving along the floor towards you. I know that this isn’t the easiest thing in the world, as once you grow up it’s considered normal and healthy to put aside irrational fears. If you were your character though, would you be as cool headed? They exist in a world where the things that go bump in the night could be more than just the house settling, or the plumbing doing that weird thing it does.

Now, if you’re ready to be scared, it’s time to move on. The next thing to do is to be prepared to show the terror, and voice it even. I know that guys have a strange thing about this, as if showing fear makes you weak, and the female gamers out there could be even more concerned about it, as in a lot of cases they will be in a male dominated game and could object to conforming to stereotypical ’girl in a horror movie’ behaviors. Once more though; play it as if it’s real. If your life was in danger from a threat you could never understand, never explain or describe, but feel a sense of palpable dread just knowing it was there, would you maintain the facade of coolness, or would you shout, cry out, and probably just run like hell? If you’re willing to make this effort (maybe not the actual running away bit), the GM will see it, notice it, and keep piling on the pressure. If you’ve committed to it, you may even feel a sense of real fear start to tickle your nerves. This just makes it easier to keep the suspense going, and to commit the experience.

Often in a horror game, isolation is used to highlight anxieties and fears. The GM could very well split the party, but if you don’t find yourself alone, and have the other players to talk to, then scare the hell out of each other too. Talk in character about the dangers ahead, and what worries you in the coming excitement. Make up a story about something similar that happened to a friend of yours; with a suitably grim ending, and it will help everyone’s imagination – including your own – to latch onto the very real dangers your characters face. This is even more effective if you do it when the GM is dealing with another player/group of players. Imagine them walking back into a room to see the players visibly flinch at the unexpected noise of the door opening…

The final bit of advice I’ll give you, and this is key to every type of role playing, but pays off hugely in horror games, is to keep in character as much as you are able to. Picture yourself watching a scary movie, alone in your front room, the lights off, and no distractions. Would you keep pausing the film to check your phone, texting people, or getting up to check on the cat? Not if you could help it would be my guess. The more that you allow yourself to be immersed in the experience, the more real it will seem to you. The same goes for role playing, and it will help you to get the same sense of fear that is plaguing your character. At the table, this means doing your best to avoid talking about what you did at the weekend, if your sports team did better than someone else’s team, or sharing a funny joke you saw on Twitter. The GM will be grateful, and you’ll have a much better experience.

And after all that there comes a caveat. If you don’t want to get scared, then this will all have been for naught. You probably shouldn’t be playing horror games at all, and I advise against following any of the tips listed above.

Aug 272012

There are games out there that make playing a child a fundamental part of the game. Off the top of my head, I can think of Monsters and Other Childish Things as well as Little FearsGRIMM, and WoD: Innocents. There are two things all of these games have in common; Firstly, the PCs will be children, secondly, horror forms a major part of the role playing experience.

WoD: Innocents takes place in a game world that’s all about horror anyway. It can be dressed up as existential angst – or ultra-violence – depending on the group’s proclivities, but under it all, the games of WoD are horror games. The other three though are self contained, it’s only because of the desire of their creators that they’re scary games. From this, we seem to be able to draw one simple conclusion: it’s scary being a child.

I get that, I really do. I’m not saying that scary things don’t happen to us grown ups, just that we have better mental filters set in place so we can go about our day without screaming at the top of our lungs at regular intervals. We know that there’s nothing under the bed that’s going to drag us down should we need to use the bathroom in the middle of the night. There’s nothing in the wardrobe, and that thing that looks like a person, is just a dressing gown hung on the door, a trick of the light, or our own brain seeing human shapes everywhere. True, we occasionally allow ourselves to be scared by such things on sleepless nights when real world anxiety gets the better of us, but we quickly chide ourselves for acting like a child. As a child, you’re more open to the excitement and strangeness of the world; fairy stories could still be true, and they can also be down right terrifying.

Role playing a child then, gives us a great chance to rediscover the terror of the unknown, and all the possibilities that come with that. Don’t let that fear drag you down though. Yes, the world is a huge and unknown place, full of dark corners, haunted houses and that old lady next door who is totally a witch, but you’re a kid, and as such almost indestructible. In your hands, any stick you find on the ground is a mighty weapon indeed. Your friends are the most stalwart of companions, making sure that any old house, be it home to ghosts or giant spiders, will not get explored by one child alone. And should the worst happen, they can always run and get a grown up, the most surefire way to banish any number of things that go bump in the night.

I’ve spent the last couple of posts talking about horror themes on this blog, and I’d like this to be a slight shift away, because although games designed to have childhood PCs tend to be focused on horror, there are plenty of ways to add young characters to any game, and some good reasons to do so too. Some games give you this option in the edges/hindrances section of character creation. As an example, you have a lower maximum to your stats, but get more build points to buy cool edges and skills. This is all well and good, but can end up with the character being labelled as ‘that annoying kid‘ in a group made up mainly of adult PCs. Think back to the Temple of Doom if you want some confirmation on that one…

That same kid, you know the one, was in another film where he was a legend! If you haven’t seen The Goonies, go watch it now. Seriously, this blog will still be here in 90 minutes…

Now, how much cooler is he in a movie that’s all about a bunch of kids going off and doing rad things (yes, I used the word ‘rad’; when talking about an eighties movie, it’s practically encouraged)? All we need to do is apply this to a role playing game. Instead of going in with an idea already formed about how dangerous an adventure is going to be, and thinking about the best way to load an adventuring pack to keep encumbrance down yet carry as much potentially useful items as possible, just call your mates, grab your school bag, and pedal down to the creak on your one speed bike.

You don’t know what to expect, but it’s going to be exciting!

It even makes sense to play kids when looking at certain mechanics in games, namely the experience/advancement rules. Does it make much sense that a grown man suddenly knows about explosives, or how to fight with a greatsword? Not so much; kids tend to pick things up quickly though, and are more much more likely to give something a try and hope for the best. Their bodies are also still growing, so becoming noticeably bigger and stronger over a few months won’t seem as big a deal as it would for an adult.

On a final point, there is something to be said for allowing the child to grow up. Sure, set the game during your characters’ adolescence, but don’t keep them forever young. Think about how much time you might spend writing a background; how much more fun would it be to actually play it, to see how the choices you make affect the person the character will become. I’ve done this myself in a Cyberpunk 2020 game, and still look back on it as being some of the most enjoyable role playing I’ve done in almost twenty years.

So, yes, the world can be scary for children, but it can also be thrilling and full of wonder. And with your best friends there, it probably won’t be that scary after all…


Aug 172012

I know that a lot of the people who read this blog will be doing those things, and if at GenCon won’t really have the time to digest anything huge at the moment blog-wise. The people who aren’t there at the moment though, who may not be too fussed about D&D next themselves (I know I’m not the only one; I tried to get a play test group together out of my local gaming society, and had only two volunteers out of a possible 25 players) might be in the mood for something that has nothing to do with either. Presented for you then is inspiration. Inspiration in the form of an article I came across on the BBC news site a couple of days ago that had my mind going into overdrive, thinking about what I could do with this information. So I present for you here, China’s ghost towns and phantom malls.

I hope that like me, it gives you some inspiration, and if it does, feel free to sound off below and share them with anyone else not lucky enough to be at GenCon.

Aug 032012

This is my first attempt at a Blog Carnival post, and the hosts this month are the lovely people over at Game Knight Reviews. The question deals with what one would expect to have in a backpack. This could be a real life backpack or one from a game you’re either currently playing or have played. Since I’m not doing much playing at the moment, apart from a few mini adventures with pre-genned characters, I don’t have that much control over my possessions apart from what’s gained through play. So just for fun, I’m going to rock my zombie survival pack first, and then take a look at a game I’ll be running in just over a month and what people should reasonably expect to have about their person when running the edge in Cyberpunk 2020.

First off, the zombie plan. I have put some thought into this, and have even checked if all these things will fit into the back pack I use the most. They don’t. This is because I’m a cyclist and the back pack I use on my back is small and light , with only a few essentials in it. The bike is a very important part of my survival plan and as such I have a pannier rack fitted over my back tire and two bags that strap onto that. All my stuff fits nicely into those.

  1. Water purification tablets
  2. Flint and steel firelighter kit
  3. metal water bottle
  4. Camel pack
  5. Wind up flashlight
  6. Wind up radio
  7. hatchet
  8. Survival knife
  9. Basic fishing kit (pocket size)
  10. 18″ crowbar (wrecking bar)
  11. Rabbit snares
  12. box of matches
  13. 3 days change of basic clothes (all tight fitting)
  14. Waterproof light jacket and trousers
  15. two man tent
  16. sleeping bag
  17. mallet
  18. Puncture repair kit
  19. cycle maintenance multi-tool
  20. OS waterproof map of the area.
  21. Tin/bottle opener

There may be other stuff people think I should add. Please feel free to make suggestions; I still have a bit of space.

Now onto the cyberpunk!

  1. Back pack? I’m sorry, but do you realise how expensive this suit is? And you want me to ruin its lines with two straps over my shoulders? No no no, I may carry a briefcase on occasion, but it must be bullet proof and colour matched to the suit. Inside that? A laptop and basic data suite would be enough I think. I carry my life in my pockets. A wallet with a trauma team card and the ID I need to get places. Maybe a few hundred EB to see me through in the kind of dives that don’t have a cred-chip reader. Oh, and my phone. I understand the trend for on board cyber-telecommunications, but really, these days phones can do so much more than let you talk to people. A weapon? You’ll only find out what I’m carrying and where, the hard way. Anything else I need, I buy…
Jul 302012

After watching the British Archery team go out in the first round of the Olympics, it made me realise just how much we have fallen in the world rankings in the last seven hundred years. So, presented here are my thoughts on the bowman in a role playing game. Enjoy.

The following tips and advice are all based on widely perceived historical fact, so feel free to use them, whilst I take some pleasure in using my History& Heritage degree for the first time since graduating over a year ago. The aim of this blog is to make being a ranged combatant in any medieval like setting a bit more interesting than standing at the back loosing arrows while staying out of trouble.

First let us consider one of the finest examples of a bowman from the medieval period, the English warbow user. This isn’t idle speculation, or a sense of national pride (why should I be proud of something I had nothing o do with, just because it was done by people born within a certain geographical proximity?), but is actually true. It wasn’t naturally the case though, it was actually a law that made the common Englishman so proficient. All males of a certain age were required to practice for several hours a week, giving them the barrel chested build one needs when trying to pull a big ass longbow. And I mean big. Taller than a man kind of big. One point of note is that they weren’t trained to hit targets as much as you would think. Ignore Robin Hood and the archery butts with round targets; that was very much what the better bred shot at whenever they lowered themselves to take part in this activity. No, what they were trained to do was pick a range and land an arrow in it. At the time this was key because they would be firing in volley and wanting to concentrate the arrows as much as was possible. Since most archers in roleplaying games aren’t loosing arrows with 200 hundred of their mates, we shan’t spend any longer talking about that.

Lets get to the good stuff. Why use a warbow instead of a crossbow? Sure, a crossbow is a devastating weapon, designed to work well over long distances, without losing much of its stopping power. It was also designed to be used from withing a castle shooting out, with a small team of men to cock and load it. For a quick reason as to why you shouldn’t rely on them out in the open, just look at what happened at the battle of Crecy. The rain plays merry hell with a bow string, and a warbow can be unstrung when required, with the string coiled up and put under a hat. It’s not exactly easy to re-string in a hurry – even the men who used them all the time and were built like oxen couldn’t do it that quickly – but a combat round or two is well worth it if you don’t want your arrows to fall very short indeed. If anything did go wrong with the bow, or for that matter the string or arrows, don’t fret. Due to the nature of using a bow, it should be safe to assume you know how to repair, replace or just make new bits, provided you have access to basic resources. If your GM disagrees, I’ll have a word.

On top of the basics, most bowmen would also carry around molds for arrow heads, and know how to melt down and reform metal to make new ones. This fact isn’t probably that important, unless you’re playing with a GM who likes to punish careless archers for missing their targets and instead sending arrows over the horizon. No, the thing to take advantage of here, is the type of molds you should expect to have:

Regular. Nothing too special about these, but just remember that they’re all barbed. Only way to get them out is to push them through. Nasty right? It gets better. If you’re going to be loosing more than a couple of arrows, take them out of your quiver or satchel and put a decent handful point down into the ground. Not only will this be quicker to grab them, but also give the arrowhead a nice coating of dirt. Just in case they survive the shot, the infected wound will kill them. This works for all arrow types by the way.

Bodkin. Armour piercing. Don’t get too cocky though, you’ll need to have your target within fifty feet and hit straight on. If you do though, they punch through a breast plate and right into the person wearing it.

Broadhead. Mainly used as a horse stopper, as most other arrows don’t do that much damage to the half ton of muscle that is a war horse.

To make it easier to swap arrow heads, and more of a pain to get them out of wound, they’re not stuck fast to the shaft. Simply spit down the join, then push it on to the arrow with a twist to keep it as secure as it needs to be. A simple twist and pull will take it off again meaning you can change arrow heads in a hurry if you need to.

And one final point; never rely on just your bow. Have a short sword or long dagger about you too. Sometimes an arrow will drop a chap, but not finish him off, and if they’re still wearing armour, you want something that get into the gaps between the plates (armpits are the best if you can get nice and close). And of course it wouldn’t kill you to get the blade of your weapon nice and dirty too, just to make sure it will kill the bugger you’re sticking it into.

I hope you all have some fun with that, and please feel free to show off about the cool stuff you’ve done with a bow in your own game. Next time, we discuss crossbows, and ask why they’re never as deadly in games as they are in real life.

Jul 272012

This is not a full blog, as most of it will be a link that I was nudged towards this morning. Since I then had to work, it took me while to get around to a full read, and to get some thoughts together on it. First, here’s the link. The guy explains what’s going on very well, so I’ll just let you read it. I’ll still be here when you’re done.


So, I know that this isn’t the problem for table top gamers as it is for online gamers, I’ve mentioned as such already. I do however know that there are plenty of online forums out there that do afford those who desire it a little more anonymity. I would say that if you’re unlucky enough to see this kind of behavior, then the thoughts in the link above should give you some advice on how to deal with it. Big thanks to Mr. Adams for posting this, it was a great read.