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A Dated and Annotated Catalogue of Play Reports

Down the Rabbit Hole

For our third game Rose suggested playing a one-shot that would encourage them to role-play more, rather than projecting the same personality for every character.

Okay then, you’re going to be a gang in Vornheim, because I want to use my book.


I set out to use nothing other than Vornheim to run the game, aside from a couple of random encounter/reaction tables that I made specifically for the situation they were in, and any random gang members they might ask about would take their names from the cat name generator Rose and I are making.

I put together a neighbourhood map using the advice in Vornheim, and I think that is fucking genius. It’s simple, easy to use, and I even think it looks a bit pretty.

Oh and we all got to use the pencils Rose had made for me.


I wrote up a bunch of pre-generated characters complete with mini backgrounds and personality quirks, and randomly rolled for who would play who at the table.

If I hadn’t been delirious with allergies I might have also had the presence of mind to buy us a carton of this on the day:


In the end I can’t say as the whole “just play this guy” thing worked out the whole time; Rose’s charming rustic lapsed into a backwoods degenerate more than once, Ellen’s initiate gave up her hat, and Michael’s impeccably clean knife-thrower decided to rifle through bloodied corpses in a dive bar (I swear, that kid can’t help but steal from the dead), but it was a great game regardless.

As for Vornheim? Eminently usable. I’d never run a city game before, and while I want to work on making things feel more fleshed out, that book made it so easy to run. If you’ve missed out on a physical copy at least get the PDF.


The play report isn’t nearly as long this time around, don’t be scared.


Read the rest…



For our second game I wanted to run something where the kids could learn a bit more about exploration, mapping, and time management. Maybe also some terrible consequences? Death Frost Doom it is.

I wrapped it up in my own flesh plague rainstorm thing, printed highlighted and only slightly tweaked the adventure, then threw them at it.

Three sessions and several platters of brie and smoked salmon croissants later it was done. Luckily for them I ran it as a one-shot because otherwise things would be pretty bleak right now.


Things That I Learnt and Brief Notes From the Giant Play Report That Follows:

  • As much as I love Death Frost Doom we all work better when things aren’t as oppressing. Our first game was full of horrific things, but somehow they were also immediately hilarious, whereas in Death Frost Doom most every awful thing left everyone pounded by despair. Actual despair right there at the table. Seeing as that’s what Death Frost Doom is built to do that’s a huge credit to it, but we just work better when things are a bit more B-grade.
  • Apparently I’m accidentally effortlessly good at making people sad. I think every time I portrayed someone dying I broke someone’s heart.
  • I don’t like players mapping in exactly measured squares on graph paper. It takes too long and they start to pay too much attention to that thing, from now on it’s blank-sheet notebooks and roughly drawn joining areas or nothing. Besides, if I was delving underground I wouldn’t be measuring the walls before drawing them, I’d be scribbling a quick reference so I didn’t get fucking lost and only noting the important things.
  • After one of the sessions, when we still hadn’t gotten into the underground shrine, Rose told me she’d like it if something happened where they didn’t have any control over the situation, like in the stable in the first game. I nodded and told her that was definitely something to consider, thinking the whole time about all the shrine zombies waiting for them.
  • Over the course of the game Michael suffered a steady mental decline, finally dropping his Intelligence to 3 in the underground shrine. He also murdered Zeke in cold blood, but his Intelligence was already low enough at that point for it to be believable that he felt threatened by him.
  • Ellen just kept reading things.
  • This game also featured our first PC-on-PC murder, entirely justified in-character. Real-life sister-on-brother no less. Amazing.


Now here’s what happened. It’s even longer than the first play report, I doubt anyone will make it all the way through.

Read the rest…


Aftermath/After Math

This is the story of the first game of old school D&D I ever ran/played.


I took Down And Out In Gothmagog by Jeff Rients from Secret Santicore 2011, tweaked it a little and jammed A Stranger Storm from the LotFP Referee Book in the middle of it all, infused a bottle of Earl Grey gin, made a giant pile of sandwiches, and settled in on our balcony for the best RPG session I’d ever had.

Read the rest…