Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Games Night Catch-Up (Part 2)

How did we get to be planning a smuggling operation that takes place during a charity DJing gig? This will see the three of us jump out of a plane - while one of us spins his decks - all so that we can hopefully hide in plain sight the fact that we are smuggling anything at all.

The previous plan was looking like it was going to involve a lot of really crazy legwork and sneakiness - either persuade someone else to act as a mule, or else sneak the materials on to an official who wouldn't be likely to be searched at customs, and then steal them back from them after they have got back in to Liverpool. And all of this while we are possibly under surveillance for previous "crimes". Yikes.

It dawned on us though that all of our plans had been based on the idea that we would be moving the goods by ship. What if they flew? What if it was a private plane, a little less likely to be searched to begin with, but then there was still the matter of getting it past customs at the other end... Then it hit: what if we were to parachute the contraband out of the plane?

And then it really hit: D's character, the East German Rockerboy DJ extraordinaire has been at the heart of every plan that we've made which has gone at least a little well. WHAT IF: Gustav smuggled the goods whilst DJing, jumping out of a plane, DJing in freefall and then after his parachute has opened?

It will take preparation: but really, what was wrong with the plan? How could it possibly go wrong?

I'm sure we'll find out over the coming weeks... More on this after this Thursday's games night!

Games Night Catch-Up (Part 1)

The four of us in our gaming group, including the GM, have lots of things going on lately. This has meant that it has been difficult to keep Tuesday as our night. Take tonight for instance: switched to Thursday.

The good thing is that this gives me the chance to catch up on what we've actually been doing in our Cyberpunk game.

There are several big plot threads running through what we have been trying to accomplish. One is the fact that P's main character owes the company that he works for 20,000 euros: and they've given him a deadline to pay up or else. So we're aiming for several big scores to try and give him the chance to raise the cash.

One of these big scores has sort of paid off: we successfully pulled off an abduction of someone connected with a group that our mysterious overseers wanted investigating. It involved quite a bit of planning, and there is nothing that directly ties P and D's characters to the abduction apart from circumstance. My character, Davey Smith, the Fixer, was the person who actually abducted the person, after staging a car-jacking. The police have called on P and D, but not on me. And we keep rolling Awareness but coming up empty. Are we being followed or are we being paranoid? Are the two mutually exclusive?

D's character, a Rockerboy, actually has a good career. We joke quite a lot about maybe just role-playing being hangers-on and helpers for D's day-job, but actually it would probably be much less risky and much more profitable.

Nearly every plan we come up with lately somehow centres around D's character, a charismatic East German House DJ who is on the rise (and yet somehow finds the time to work these schemes with us). Previously, D was DJing a big club night, which gave us the excuse to invite this person that we abducted. Now we are planning perhaps the most audacious scheme ever: smuggling contraband from the Isle of Man to Liverpool by means of a charity gig that will see the three of us board a plane and skydive into Liverpool, all the while having the contraband secreted about our persons.

Hiding in plain sight, the three of us having never jumped out of a plane ever: what could go wrong?

More on this later, and how we came to this most incredible and so-crazy-it-can't-fail scheme...

Thursday, 9 February 2012


Looking forward to this evening: we're hurtling back to Soviet Cyberpool and I get the feeling that something big is going to happen. I don't see how it can't. We have been building up to this for weeks. And after finishing the final Joe Pitt book, I am quite prepared to follow my comrades down the rabbit hole and see what we find in the murky underbelly.

Maybe we'll go after the assassination; maybe we'll go for the kidnapping; maybe (please God no, it can't work, it won't work) we'll go through with the smuggling out of the Isle of Man, past the all-seeing gaze of the customs officers. I've been a bit reluctant to follow through on some of these plans before, because they seem doomed to end up with us nursing multiple bullet holes in our skulls: no more. Let's go for it.

The story goes on and on.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Missing Games Night (leads to strange thoughts)

I had to go away for work this week; the workshop was good, great to get back into the groove after a month of working from home, but it did mean that I was away for two nights - and ultimately meant that a weekly games night was cancelled. So who knows what has been happening in Soviet Cyberpool? Which mission will our characters go on? Will our team's leader see reason (and not send us to the Isle of Man)?

(probably not) (if you read this, just kidding P.!) ;)

During my last OU course I really loved the term "Magic Circle" to denote the space/place/time in which the game exists and matters. For a game like the one we are playing, what that magic circle is, and where it comes from is quite fascinating to me. Because if one of the players steps away to get a drink, the magic circle still potentially exists. If we all get up for the mid-session break then it feels like the magic circle is being left at the table. But I don't think that the circle is bound in the dice and character sheets, which are left at the table.

And who knows if magic circles even apply to tabletop RPGs; I'll have to try and find a link, but there are certainly some ludologists who believe that they don't quite qualify as games in the first place...

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Misc, January 26th 2012

OU module: have been and had a quick look around the micro-site for my latest module. As the module is finishing this year they have decided not to update the aesthetics and navigation; a pop-up appeared to tell me that the site was designed for IE5 or later, and that my browser might not be able to see everything. Considering I am running Firefox 9 this seems to be a curious oversight on the part of the site maintainers.

Wedding: a friend of mine is getting married this weekend! Which is really nice, and so I am trying to make sure that I don't forget my camera. I'll remember everything else. The camera, I will forget. Or I will forget to charge the battery. (excuse me a moment...)

Reading: I'm reading a short story/novella by Adam Roberts on my Kindle called Anticopernicus, which is pretty good. I'm plowing my way through Getting Things Done by David Allen (something I have meant to do for a long time but have only just got around to). Already this is starting to blow my mind. In conjunction with another book that I bought recently for the Kindle called Discardia this could be just the wake-up call I need to get things on track and productive.

(and I just had an Amazon delivery in the last two minutes of two books that I ordered with my birthday vouchers: the final Joe Pitt novel and A Theory of Fun for Game Design by Raph Koster! Things to look forward to)

Finally: I've been noodling around with numbers about dice rolling ever since I mentioned it the other day. And there is the beginnings of a tickle of an ideas. At least for starting to get a regular kind of expression for probability distribution with an AdN kind of situation (where you have a certain number of same-sided fair dice). Give me time...

Midweek Excitement

The area on the OU website for my next course has gone live! Admittedly at the moment there is not much there, but pretty soon there will be details on all the various things that one can do to "start writing fiction" (the name of the module).

I've taken part in National Novel Writing Month several times, and if you look for things with the "flash fiction" label on here you will see some of the little short stories that I have written. I'm hoping that I will get two things from this course - no, actually, three. First, I want to be one step closer to the BSc; second, I want to feel like I have some kind of integrated thought pattern on actually writing fiction, which is, after all, what the module is about. But probably most importantly, from this module I want to build up the habit of writing. I want to want to write - whether that's fiction, or blogposts, or letters, or things on my workblog, or even just things which are for work. 

I want to want to write.

So: let's see what happens.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Games Night review

Last night's Cyberpunk game session was good; my GM was amenable to me switching in my Fixer, who in some ways is a bit more capable for the scenarios that are unfolding. We have three ongoing conflicts that need resolving.

Firstly, we have been asked to "provide" a person from a certain organisation to P's character's corporate masters. We have had some dealings with other shady individuals related to this, and some limited successes against to them. The extraction plan for this is alright, but perhaps there are things that we could do that would make success more guaranteed.

(incidentally, we have a strong motivation at the moment as P's character has incurred some sizeable debts at the expense of his corporate masters; some of those debts can be laid at the feet of mine and D's characters, some can not)

Secondly, we've been asked to assassinate someone on behalf of their rivals. However, the assassination/disappearance poses huge risks. We have also discovered some materials that could be used to blackmail the rivals in some way. Is this a better way to make some much-needed money?

Finally, we have been asked to smuggle some contraband across the Irish Sea and into Soviet Liverpool. Huge risks, but a big pay-off. The plan so far is going to get us killed, I'm sure of it. If we smuggle it ourselves we take enormous risks. If we get someone else to smuggle it our risks are lessened, but we lose control. The plan at the moment is to have someone unknowingly smuggle it (a Party official whose car would not be searched anyway) and then steal the contraband back. Hugely risky.

What to do, what to do?

Last night was a lot of fun because we did lots of planning and brainstorming, lots of researching too. Previous weeks, which have involved violence and sneaky legwork have been good, but for most of yesterday we were throwing ideas around to try and come up with good plans of action. Roll on next week!