February 29

Delta Green : Storage Battles

I’m still a bit under the weather which means my creativity is in full flow again.

While I was watching some TV and trying to recuperate I had a flash of inspiration.  One of the programmes I saw was Storage Wars and followed a group of people bidding on the contents of abandoned lockers and seeing what trash or treasure was inside.

This got me thinking, what if one of these lockers was a green box?   A green box is a private storage repository established by operatives of Delta Green and could contain all manner of weird stuff.

Here’s a link to a random Green Box Generator: http://www.palinola.com/projects/lab/greenbox/


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October 15

October 2015 Blog Carnival: What Walks Into Town


This month the host is Scot Newbury of Dice and Dragons .

It’s been a few months since I wrote for the carnival and when October rolls around I seem to have a dozen or so ideas rattling around in my skull which is the perfect thing for this months carnival.

Picture the scene, a small 1950s town in California where things seem to be perfectly normal on the outside but beneath the town has a dark underside.  The residents go about their daily lives blissfully unaware that in a few days a time traveller will appear that will set a chain of events in motion which if unchecked threaten to unravel the fabric of space and time firstly by killing the family and friends of this stranger;  then slowly erasing the whole world from existence.

Our time traveller finds himself stranded in his new time, his time machine requires a specialised fuel to power it and that is something that is very hard to come by in the 1950s.  If there is one thing in his favour is that when he landed he did so at the edge of town so his arrival goes largely unnoticed by the general population; the only contact he has is with a deranged farmer who was convinced he came from outer space to eat his brain.

Also, since he has travelled through time and not space he can blend in with only a few odd looks from the locals, his clothing is slightly different and made from an advanced fabric, he speaks in a strange slang which is unknown to the good people.  Conversely there are things here that are alien to him;  auto-mobiles are very low tech and all appear to be stick shift and not the automatic vehicles from his home time.  People gather at the bandstand to listen to music being played, this structure has a very different use in his time; this is very much the era of live music, the theatre and going to school dance; even getting a simple shave or h.aircut can be entertaining with a quartet of barbers to hand.

After a chance encounter with a friend from his own time he is made aware that every interaction he has causes ripples that subtly alter the time-line around him; he has become like a butterfly flapping his wings here and a storm occurring over there.  A second accidental encounter means he meets his own parents and must atone for the damage he has caused to their relationship or else the aforementioned doom will befall him.

All the while he wanders he has knowledge of what is to come, maybe not to all the residents of this sleepy town but there are a few important people here and there with an important part to play in the future of this town.   So our poor traveller stuck in his past must tread a fine line or risk upsetting the cosmic apple cart.


When I wrote this I was going to reveal the identity of the traveller as it is based on someone but then I realised that it would spoil the set-up of the mysterious stranger and this would no longer be What Walks Into Town but Who Walks Into Town. So take what I have given you, change it if you will and use your own time traveller rather than mine.

I won’t stop you having a guess if you want in the comments below but even if you guess right; I won’t publicly acknowledge it.

February 22

RPG Blog Carnival February 2015 – How and Where I Write


This month the Blog Carnival is being hosted by Leicester’s Ramble.

I’ve always loved to write and have done so every since I could pick up a pen and scribble down my thoughts; .  growing up I ensured I kept a pen and paper in my possession in case an idea or inspiration strikes me and I can quickly capture these thoughts before they escape.

One thing I have always needed is a creative streak to get going and I find I’m at my most creative when I’m sick; something that has caused me to write about new campaign settings including the discussion on prisons as settings.

As I’ve got older and the technology has matured I’ve moved on from giving myself writers cramp and I remember getting the first typewriter to help me get things down on paper.  From a typewriter I moved onto primitive word processing software on the computers I owned or had access to.

For a brief period I carried around  a portable cassette recorder as I was convinced that this would help me become more productive; alas it didn’t but I did learn a valuable lesson about using tape, only record somewhere quiet and free from distractions, lest you get people trying to shout near you and ruin your recording.

These days I use my phone to jot notes down or compose blog posts while on the move and this method finally works for me since I now have something readily to hand to enable me to note stuff down.

At home I use a word processor to do my writing and my writing space is cluttered but mostly distraction free; I have a number of game books on my shelves I can reference if I need to and have pdf copies of other books for inspiration.

When it comes to writing I tend to note down a lot; during games as a player I always keep a journal and can be found updating it when the time comes.  As a GM I still create but all the extra stuff I don’t need tends to get filed away until opportunity comes knocking at my door and I have something really special I can pull out and polish before using it.  I tend to discover the gems while looking through notebooks and folders in a drawer but most of the time I seem to discover the same old stuff I had written and forgotten about.

A case in point was the Colony campaign idea which was a group of text files and I hated to let something that good go to waste.

I started this blog as a way of dealing with the death of a player, someone who was very dear to me and I wish we had had the chance to play more; he would have become one heck of a player if he had been given the chance to do so.  Plus the act of writing has helped me deal with his loss, even though he won’t read what I write, I do this blog for my benefit and not his.

Time for me to go back to the word processor and think about the next blog article I want to tackle 🙂

September 30

Cartoon RPGs

Being sick seems to have sparked my creativity somewhat and coupled with an email about Cartoon Action Hour Season 3 I thought I’d write a few words about cartoon based roleplaying games.

The great thing about cartoon games is that unlike most games you can throw all the rules out the window and instead rely upon cartoon physics and sensibilities.

As such some gamers tend to look down upon these games as they aren’t really sensible but can be a lot of fun to try.  The shocking thing is that there doesn’t appear to be many games that play with this genre; the great grandaddy of them all Steve Jackson Games Toon, http://www.sjgames.com/toon/ and Cartoon Action Hour http://www.spectrum-games.com/cartoon-action-hour.html .  There is also Big Eyes Small Mouth but this seems more suited to anime gaming than emulating the Saturday morning cartoons of my youth.


I first found the original Toon game and its supplements in my friendly local game store Games Unlimited.  I was able to afford the all the books and I was able to read them all on my way home on the bus.  The game was a revelation to me; well that shouldn’t be too much of a suprise as I was new to the hobby and all new games were an eye-opener!

I did try to play it with my group at the time but I didn’t have any takers as none of the players were interested in it.  It wasn’t until I meet up at the Twilight Zone comic shop where two people were trying to start up a games club did I find any takers.  The game proved to be popular as the fast character creation rules made it easy and you could run one-shot adventures in an evening.  I had at this point upgraded the single books into the later books that complied the material into a single volume plus an additional setting book.

Characters are defined by a set of fixed attributes and skills and uses a single d6 for resolution.  This also leads to one of the frequent abuses of the system, in cartoons you can be completely oblivious to a situation until you’re made aware of it; this caused many players to assign a 1 to their intelligence so that they can be oblivious to anything.

Toon has been long out of print but it can still be had a pdf from the e23 webstore.


Cartoon Action Hour.

Currently in its third edition this game seeks to continue the tradition of cartoon gaming. The pdf is a riot of colour and is well laid out with plenty of advice given in the body and sidebars of the book.

Rather than having fixed stats characters are defined by their traits and qualities which adds more of a free form nature.  The game seems to be very solid and robust and makes use of the forgotten die in the gamers dicebag, the d12!  To round off the genre simulation of the Saturday morning cartoons of the 1980s there are also rules to cover what happens during a commercial break.

I’m also rather pleased to see that the game is very well supported by supplementary material and other campaign settings.

I’d certainly love to give this a good read through and play with the right group as it looks like a lot of fun.


Big Eyes, Small Mouth or BESM

This is a very strange beast of a game, relying upon three stats and either a roll under or roll over mechanism depending on the edition.  You can pretty much create anything you want with this system which seems to emulate the anime genre.  I’d love to comment more on anime but all I’ve really seen is Akira or Ghost in the Shell.  I suppose you could pull off Battle of the Planets using it but the version I have is a rather slim book with just the rules.

I understand that there were supplements produced for it but I heard about the game long after it had ceased printing and trying to find these books on the second hand market is tricky.

September 29

Campaign idea: Go to jail, do not collect $200

At the moment I’m sick and not so I’m trying to keep myself entertained by watching movies; sometimes these films inspire me to come up with an adventure idea, in this case the film is Escape Plan.  The premise is simple, a person who has the ability to break out of prisons.  So why not spin this on its head and present the setting to the players and allow them to plot their escape.

So I got to thinking, how many campaign settings do I know of that use a prison as a backdrop and there are surprisingly few.


Dream Pod 9 devised Sub-Attica for Cyberpunk is one such book, a prison created miles beneath the waves, the ultimate objective for the players is to form an escape plan and break out.  The setting is very well detailed complete with a colourful array of personalities for the players to interact with. This is probably one of the more traditional settings for the players to work with and has plenty of opportunities for role-playing.

Abandon All Hope

By www.rpgobjects.com is another prison setting, this time the characters are violent criminals incarcerated aboard a giant spaceship which slips through a dimensional rift.  Here the adversaries are robots, mutants, other inmates and things that have come aboard during the dimensional slip.  Unlike Sub Attica there is no chance of escape; the players have to survive for as long as possible.

Death Valley Free Prison

Was originally another Cyberpunk style setting but this was written for the old Iron Crown Cyberspace system.  This is probably the more open of the three settings, a sandbox world full of opportunities for the players and not just working out a way of escaping.

Set in a prison constructed from Death Valley there are more than just inmates here; some people willing settled within the walls and eke out an existence.  The whole theme is very much inspired by Mad Max.

My idea.

If I was to come up with a setting then I would set it in the future and base it upon the idea of a penal colony.  The player characters would be dropped there on a one way shuttle and then would have to find a way to survive.  I did plan this as a surprise for my players with the Star Trek Colony game.

No matter what route you go down, in the end the players have to escape their jail.  While a closed setting with an escape proof prison may sound like fun, I know I would soon lose any motivation to play the game.

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