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Masks: There Goes the Neighbourhood

[NB: I’m publishing this back-dated to avoid confusion with my recap, as I wrote it but did not get round to posting it before running the first episode of my campaign.]

My gaming group recently reached the end of a Monsterhearts campaign (sob!) and it’s been an experience that’s basically obsessed me for the last six months or so. I feel like it’s probably my turn for GMing duties, so I’m going to be running a Masks: A New Generation game that will hopefully last around the length of one season of Monsterhearts, but since I haven’t run a tabletop game beyond one shots or solo adventures for about five or six years, I’m a bit rusty on judging how long things will take in tabletop. Unfortunately, the sheer amount of live game running and playing I’ve been doing doesn’t help much with that! Continue reading

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Review: ‘Ladykillers’

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I’m slowly working my way through the first Bundle of Holding I obtained (first of many), and it’s time to review Ladykillers by Matt Snyder, one of the games in the Bundle that I’m most interested in. It features a pitch that could easily be run in most other systems – wronged women return from the grave with magic powers to hunt monsters – but its native system is quick, simple and flavourful.

Content warning: this is a game where you will want to discuss permitted content. One of the character generation questions involves suicide, and obviously given the subject matter, which is very much in the genre of female-centric revenge thriller, there is a lot of potential for upsetting themes to come up. Continue reading

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Review: ‘Masks: A New Generation’

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The Powered by the Apocalypse system, Vince Baker’s revolutionary game design paradigm originally showcased in Apocalypse World, has become a big of a mixed blessing: while it inspired games like Monsterhearts (which is incredibly important to me as it massively changed how I play and think about roleplaying games), it seems like lots of people are trying to make PbtA games without really thinking about what that means. The virtue of PbtA is that is can emulate a specific combination of genre, emotional intensity and surprising twists like no other system that currently exists. At the same time, it just doesn’t work for everything. It shouldn’t – it’s not a generic system. It’s pretty much the opposite of that. There are some great places to look for systems that can be hacked into whatever shape you like: Fate if you want high-action, minimal changes; Cortex for something more tailored to genre emulation; Hillfolk for high-drama big-picture plots.

So when I hear ‘it’s x done in PbtA’, my heart sinks a little. Will it disappoint me? My ears prick up. Will it have mechanics I really want to get my teeth into?

Continue reading