The character focus Needs No Weapons (Cypher System Rulebook, p. 153) represents a master of martial arts, someone whose entire character concept is based around their ability with unarmed combat. Some campaigns, though, might want everyone to have some martial arts ability which is where this flavor comes in.
The Adventures in Middle-Earth campaign that I’ve mentioned frequently on here is in full swing. Last session the group snuck into the Dwimmerhorn, lit stuff on fire, and barely escaped with their lives. Now they have to slog through the swamps of the Gladden Fields back to safety with an Orc host on their tail. Oh, and they have about a dozen slaves in tow. It’s all a lot of exciting options but I have my eye set on future sessions and a certain antagonist who’s being hinted at more and more in each session.
Last week I wrote about some tools for making sandbox games easier. I didn’t really think about it at the time, but this fits neatly into Monte Cook Games’s New GM Month, a feature they do every year around this time that is a real benefit to up-and-coming gamemasters for any system. While I don’t really recommend sandbox-style games for the beginning GM, I thought I’d follow it up with some advice for GMs of all levels.
I’ve been laid out sick for several days so I have only a small update today. My favorite way to run games is as a sandbox-style game where players can head off in the direction they like and create the trouble that comes back at them later. This is simply a preference thing and you need players you are into it as much as a GM who can pull it off, but with a little planning you can make it easier.
I love the Firefly RPG by Margaret Weis Productions. It’s got all the great parts of the Cortex System, all the great parts of the TV series, and is a great lesson in crafting a game to evoke a specific atmosphere. An earlier licensed RPG by MWP (the Serenity RPG) was also pretty great but the newer, narrative-focused Firefly game is a better design in my opinion. Still, I look through the Serenity stuff for inspiration and background materials and one of the things it has the Firefly lacks is a boatload of pregens.
I’ve been a big fan of Bill Bryson for years, ever since I read his amazing A Walk In the Woods in middle school. He’s hilarious and interesting and he makes topics that would otherwise be very dry (from the history of English to a drive through the American Midwest) into page-turners. One of his latest book is One Summer, the story of June, July, and August 1927 in America, and it’s not only a great read but it’s a resource waiting for your early-twentieth-century campaign.
With Fairhaven already almost done, I’m looking forward to the next metropolis in my Cities of Khorvaire series. Located on the Karrn River, Korth has been a major trade settlement since humans settled Khorvaire… Before, even, if you count the goblin settlements that set up nearby although there was no major site there in the Age of Monsters. This makes it a thoroughly human place, unlike many of the cities in the Five Nations and beyond, which makes sense since it’s a centerpiece of the Galifarian legacy in Eberron.