World Wide Wrestling RPG One Shot

We're between campaigns in my other gaming group, Tuesday Night Gaming. Whenever this comes up we will fill a couple of sessions with GM-less games like Fiasco, or other players will run a one or two session game. This time around I was able to run the World Wide Wrestling RPG by Nathan D. Paoletta. I'm not a huge wrestling fan, but I do think it's great. I remember watching Hulk Hogan, Mr. Perfect, Ultimate Warrior, Macho Man, Honkey Tonk Man, and dozens of others that I'm forgetting about back when I was a kid. Throw goofy wrestling in with a game running on Apocalypse World and I was instantly interested in running the game.

Character creation was a blast. Everyone dove right in and started coming up with some interesting characters for their gimmicks. The character creation process that Apocalypse World has is probably my favorite of any system I've played. It's quick and straight forward, and it generates characters that are intertwined with each other in interesting ways.

The wrestlers

Cold Snap, played by Troy, was the up and coming wrestler. He had a style very similar to Johnny Hades, and that was rubbing the veteran the wrong way.

Naked Jake, run by Jordan, was a coked up former stripper who was making everyone angry. His behind the scenes substance abuse, and complete lack of desire to do something about it, had gotten management to a point where they wanted him out. He wasn't pleased with Cold Snap, and couldn't even remember his former tag team partner "World Class" Jimmy Buffet.

Johnny Hades, Greg's wrestler, was the veteran on the scene. His style was more dignified and solemn, think Undertaker with lots of fire and brimstone, than what Cold Snap was doing. That dignity is something that would push him to make things worse for himself.

Whatever, Jim's emo anti-hero, was an odd one. He was Johnny Hades mentee, but he wanted out of the relationship. His finisher, The Dark Passenger, was an edgy update to the tameness that wrestling had experienced recently. His desire to get out of his deal with Hades would cause some issues.

"World Class" Jimmy Buffet, Roger's jobber, looked like a washed up fat ass. However, he was probably the most technically proficient wrestler around. Management would put him into matches just to make their pushes look better. He was good at it.

Quick summary

After character creation, I put together the booking for the night. I wanted to start with a quick match, so I had Cold Snap take on Jimmy Buffet. We got warmed up to the system with this one, and things went pretty smoothly. The game progressed pretty well. The tag team match between Black Sabbath, Cold Snap and Whatever's team, and the Asskickers introduced us to some new moves.

Things went insane when Naked Jake was matched against Jimmy Buffet. As Creative, I liked the idea of Naked getting sidelined as one of the major story lines. We had a couple of between match scenes that were designed to make Naked look bad. As the Wasted gimmick, Jordan kept ratcheting up his antics. This became a fun little game as the whole table would give him a thumbs up or down to indicate if his move was sufficiently insane to get his gimmick's bonus on them. Just when things were looking like Naked was going to take Buffet out I let them know Buffet was booked to win. Obviously, Naked hit with his finishing move and overturned the planned booking and won it. It was a great moment.

I was thinking the final match, between Cold Snap and Hades, would be a good setup for a major event that would happen in another session. In that later session, Cold Snap would be back for revenge, ready to bury the old man and take his place. However, Hades had gone to management after Naked's match and pleaded with them to respect the business and wash the coke-head out. The roll was botched, much momentum was spent, but even after all that the booking was changed behind the scenes. Hades was going to lose his match.

The match, however, didn't progress very far. Cold Snap had control of things, and was working Hades when Naked Jake bungee jumped into the ring in order to get back at Cold Snap for running in on him in the previous match. Before I knew it, all of the wrestlers were in the ring yelling and punching each other. The only logical thing to do here was to make it an official Regal Wrangle. The fracas concluded when Whatever pulled a heel move and eliminated Cold Snap to win from out of nowhere.

Impressions

Overall, I had a ton of fun with this game. Character creation was a blast, and really got everyone into the spirit. Running the matches was a breeze. If necessary, I'd prompt and push the player to narrate to an exciting moment when it would make sense to make a move. Sticking a microphone in someone's hands to take the role of the announcer was hit and miss. Often, the announcer would sit back and let the narration play out, which was just fine. The matches were exciting, and wrapped up pretty well. There is a chance that we might run this game again for a short campaign, and I'm definitely pulling it out for one shots in the future.

One thing that I'm really hoping to see come out of this is more creativity in combat with other games. I'm thinking that this sort of thing could work in a system that grants bonuses for various reasons. How would something like this apply to Shadow of the Demon Lord, which I'm currently running?

Standard combat

GM: The excrement demon starts chanting!

Player 1: I hit it. I rolled a 10 to hit.

GM: That misses.

Without any reason to think creatively why put the effort into it? Sure, there's responsibility on my end to make the encounter dynamic and encourage the players to take advantage of it, but if you're used to just hitting stuff then that's what you'll do.

Rewarding combat

GM: Dust puffs as the excrement demon rises from the dried up sandy fountain basin. It begins chanting and gesturing.

Player 1: All right, I'm going in after it. As I approach the demon can I try and kick sand up in its face to throw it off as I try to stab it?

GM: Yeah, awesome, add a boon to your attack.

Player 1: I rolled a 10.

GM: That'll miss, the demon isn't distracted by the sand you kicked at it and dodges out of the way.

It's a bit more interesting. The big difference here, as I see it, isn't the player being creative. The big difference for me is the GM handing out an incentive for being creative. Give the player a boon for using the environment, but also give the player the environment to work with.

Wrap up

World Wide Wrestling has got me thinking about my other games, and that's a good thing. I can't wait to bring it to the table again, and I think I'll put together a kit I can pull out at a moment's notice. Gen Con is in just a couple of weeks, so I might as well be prepared.

© 2016 Nathan D. Paoletta/ndpdesign

© 2016 Nathan D. Paoletta/ndpdesign

Fate of the Five - Bloody Bloody Bones

The second session of our Shadow of the Demon Lord campaign has finished. Things have changed, people have shown up. Who knows how this stuff will play out.

Session 0 wrap up

The group had gotten down into the ruins below Asylum in the last session. We'd gotten a little ways into it, but had to end before getting through the whole thing. We had done character creation in the first session, so we were behind about 45 minutes. I was hoping to finish up the rest of the stuff down there in an hour or less. I used A Year Without Rain as the base for this session.

Shart proved useful as he expertly discovered a trap in the hall, which everyone was able to easily avoid. I trimmed a couple of encounters and went straight for the musical ghoul. It was a pretty great build up as the characters seemed rather confused by a ghoul playing terrible music for them. It didn't last very long, as Azeeze very quickly pulled his bow out and shot the poor creature. He just wanted to entertain, you stupid horse!

This seemed like a good time to have the Laugher show up. The fight was tough and brutal. Krunk was taken out twice, and Azeeze went down once as well. Things got close for them, but Fortune and some favorable dice kept them alive. Chert found a fancy orb to help him with his technomancy, and Shart picked up a decanter of never ending salt water.

Once the business from the first session was finished we skipped ahead in time. Rain came to Asylum, and eventually the magistrate did as well.

Session review

During the interlude, the group became rather loved in the town. They brought the rain back, and things were turning around for Asylum. Chert spent his time working with the orb and adapting it to help him with his magic experiments. Shart went about robbing things from the town, and manged to stay undetected. Aeryn kept an eye on his wife as she showed up every morning to collect food for the day from Adele at the Weary Traveler. He even spent his last coppers to get some chocolate dipped strawberries in her care package. Krunk found a job mucking pig slop for Margo in order to keep her cover for being in town. Azeeze pondered how well his business would do now that the crops were back.

Finally, the magistrate returned to town. This is going to be interesting. He was informed that the group had brought the rain back and he promptly invited them to dinner. Aeryn avoided him, as the magistrate would be sure to recognize his dead brother, and left a note for him asking him to meet in a secluded spot late at night. The dinner went well, though Shart did steal a geode from the magistrate's son. Chert made him happy by molding a bunch of stones into a toy sword. Jaren, the magistrate, was a gracious and generous host.

The following day, Margo was panicked when Krunk arrived at his farm for work. His pigs had been skinned and left to die in the barn. Krunk sent Margo to fetch the rest of the heroes of Asylum while she tried to track down the perpetrators. During her searching, she was attacked by a pair of bloody bones. Fortunately, Shart had been tailing her and he came to her aid. Unfortunately, the bloody bones were ferocious and too formidable. Krunk and Shart were knocked out.

Aeryn, Azeeze, and Chert arrived at the farm and heard a wet ripping sound coming from the fields. Concerned that they couldn't see Krunk, Azeeze pulled Chert up and the two of them charged into the field. When they got there, they found one of the bloody bones peeling the skin off Krunk's arm. Part of her face had been peeled off and was now pasted to the creature's shoulder. The two of them managed to scare the beast off, then tended to Krunk. With a little ingenuity, Chert fashioned a stone mask for Krunk to seal the wounds.

Krunk and Shart probably should have died here, but I was going for momentum here. The bloody bones would have run if they got outnumbered, but they were tough and took the two PCs out really quickly. The aftermath here felt much more fun than the two of them dying.

The group rested up for a couple of days, and the bloody bones had been sufficiently frightened off that they didn't claim any other victims. Once everyone was better, they headed off into the woods. The path was more difficult to follow, but Azeeze was up to the task. Eventually they ran into a camp of beastmen, but a clever ambush split the creatures up and made the fight much easier. In the camp they found the body of a man the creatures had been eating. Around his neck hung a strange pendant, that of a skull with a sword stabbed through it.

Some feedback

I delegated the responsibility of rewarding Fortune to my players. I hate having to remember to hand out rewards like Fortune and Inspiration. It is the last thing I'm thinking of when I'm running a game. Good thing for me, my players are all great. I knew I could give them the power to reward Fortune without being terribly concerned that they'd abuse it. I did reserve the right to veto any Fortune, though I didn't expect to use it. I also limited the amount of Fortune that could be handed out. Overall, it worked very well.

We got into a couple of big fights this time and combat moved along really well. The Laugher fight was tough, but they were level 0 characters going up against a hard monster. The group fight against the beastmen took more time that I'd expected, but they did roll really terribly. Things did get to be just a back and forth of rolling and missing toward the end, so I should have just routed the beastmen a turn or two earlier.

Things to remember

  • Chert is using the orb to make his technomancy spells work. Reward this creative role playing.
  • Shart has been stealing things from around town. This will eventually come back on him somehow.
  • Aeryn would be recognized by people who knew him.
  • Tomas, the magistrate's son (actually, Aeryn's son) really likes Chert.
  • Chert has the salt water decanter.
  • Krunk now has a mask made of stone and looks much more intimidating.
(c) 2016 Schwalb Entertainment, LLC

(c) 2016 Schwalb Entertainment, LLC

Shadow of the Demon Lord monster list

Update: There are a bunch of really useful reference tables on the Schwalb Entertainment site which you can find here. Use those instead, they'll stay more up to date.

As I've been doing prep for my Shadow of the Demon Lord campaign, I found I wanted a reference to the monsters that I could search through. I put together this little spreadsheet which allowed me to search and sort everything, so here you go.

Fate of the Five - Sad Times in Asylum

We just wrapped up the first session of our Shadow of the Demon Lord campaign. This is my quick little wrap up, along with some notes about things I need to remember for next time. If you're one of my players, no worries, I won't be putting any sensitive information in here. If I do end up putting stuff in here I don't want my players to read I'll figure out a way to hide it.

Character creation

The first thing we took care of tonight was character creation. I'd asked everyone to pick an ancestry to start off with prior to the evening so we'd be able to hop right into creation. Overall, it took about 45 minutes to put five characters together, get names, answer some rules questions, and ask a bunch of story related questions that would put everyone in the town of Asylum. We have an interesting mix.

Aeryn - Human Revenant

Mark built up an interesting ancestry. Aeryn is a human revenant who has arrived in Asylum to kill the local magistrate, Jaren. Turns out, Jaren is his brother and also put him in the dirt. To add insult to... death... Jaren also had Areyn's wife and son live with him. Jaren also had a daughter, but she died, or was killed.

This will be an interesting thread to follow up. I was initially thinking I'd use Jaren as a hook to pull Aeryn's interest into the session, but it seemed like killing him off this early would end Aeryn's interest in pretty much everything. We'll see where this goes.

Krunk - Orc

Much to nobody's surprise, Trina started down the path of building a bruiser with the orc ancestry. I was pleased when the personality she rolled was simply Kill!!! She'll have fun with that character when it starts getting more powerful.

Krunk just arrived in Asylum as part of a job. Turns out, she's a contract killer and she's been hired to kill the local magistrate, Jaren. I'm glad she urged Mark to make Jaren the man he seeks vengeance upon, and I'm glad he went with it. This should also be interesting.

Shart - Goblin

Jim put together a secretive little goblin who is apparently the 17th heir of the goblin king. I'm not sure what's going on with him just yet, but I've got some ideas to run with regarding his history. Heritage might be important eventually.

Shart just arrived in Asylum and has been laying low, stealing here and there, pulling pranks when he can.

Chert - Gnome

Troy created a tiny little gnome who is good at fixing things. He's small and adorable, and Trina loves him.

Chert has been in Asylum for a while and he's been useful around town. People like having him around and he's quickly becoming the local handyman. He's got something going on with his background, which I'll have to find out about.

Azeeze - Centaur

We have a powerful ancestry in our campaign and it's pretty interesting. Jason created Azeeze the centaur and he's pretty competent. He's looking to get to a more civilized location, but he has been in Asylum for years. It seems like he's running from something, but he might find it difficult to leave the gnome behind.

Session review

This may have been the first time I've just had the players put together characters without explicit ties between them. It was a bit scattered early on as some of them were interested in the things that were happening, and others were doing their own thing. I hopped around between them a bit, but eventually everyone got curious about the bodies that were showing up in Asylum. Signs were pointing them down the well, but there was a really big issue with that. As it turns out, centaurs cannot climb. I did, however, listen to the ideas the players were spit balling and when they went out of town to find another way into the ruins below they just so happened to find one. They probably could have found one in town as well, but at that point I was scrambling to figure out how they'd be getting down there.

There was a lot of character interaction going on between the players this time around. It was pretty fun to sit back and just let them go for a while. However, we'd spent a good 45 minutes early on building characters, so I had to gloss over some stuff to keep things moving along. We didn't get through the whole first adventure, but I'm hoping to wrap it up pretty quickly next time.

One of the spots I was wondering about was combat. The first fight the group had was with a tiny demon down in the ruins (Mark suggested it be an excrement demon, his fault). The fight was really quick. I think it took about 10 minutes to get through the whole thing. The second encounter we had was with a large spider, which took a bit longer. It was a tougher enemy, but rounds were quick and things moved along at a good pace. It was also fun having Krunk suck poison out of Shart's neck for the majority of the fight. We'll see how things go when I have to deal with more monsters.

Things to remember

  • Aeryn and Krunk want to kill the magistrate who is currently in High Watch.
  • The magistrate is living with Aeryn's family. Why?
    • I have some thoughts on this.
  • We're going to be spending some time in Asylum, so I'd better get it more fleshed out.
(c) 2016 Schwalb Entertainment, LLC

(c) 2016 Schwalb Entertainment, LLC

Shadow of the Demon Lord ancestry reference

There are a lot of ancestries spread throughout the Shadow of the Demon Lord books at this point. This list collects all of them, along with a quick summary and where to find them.

Ancestry Summary Location
Cambion Devil-human half breeds destined to go to Hell. EA 41
Centaur Half human, half horse, all about protecting their own. RotW 2
Changeling Faerie constructed shapeshifters. SotDL 13
Clockwork Mechanical construct. Physically resilient, but difficult to repair. SotDL 15
Dwarf Gruff, resilient, and beardy. SotDL 17
Elf Enchanting faerie with their own alien morality. TB 7
Faun Faerie-human half breeds who aren't at home anywhere. DLC 5
Gnome Stone elementals created by genies created to build and shape things. CotE 2
Goblin Sneaky faerie creatures with odd habits. SotDL 19
Halfling Lucky hobbits. Like kender, but no wanderlust. DLC 7
Hobgoblin Created for battle by the fey, prone to frenzies when fighting. TB 9
Human Well rounded, nothing special. SotDL 11
Orc Massive brutes created to kill. SotDL 21
Pixie If you want a race that's chaotic neutral, this is it. TB 11
Revenant The Crow. TotD 5
Salamander Humanoid fire elementals created by genies. TotD 7
Vampire It's a vampire. TotD 9