Hamsterprophecy: Prevision

It\’s All About Pen, Paper and People.

Killers & Jokers

Posted by Nathan P. on January 19, 2009

Serial Homicide Unit is up for pre-order. This is a crime investigation game where you play the (potential) victims of a serial killer, as well as the investigators trying to bring the killer to justice. I’ve playtested it a couple of times, and it’s really shaped up to be quite a great game with a non-nerdy aesthetic to it. Like, you could play it with your parents and it would be totally neat. I also very much like Kat & Michael (the designers) and Russell (the voice and music master). Voice and music master? The game comes as an instructional audio CD in addition to a written rules document. The physical version comes with all the materials you need for play, in a DVD box; the digital version is already available at IPR. I’m looking forwards to getting my grubby mitts on it.

On a lighter note, check out the MST3K treatment of our favorite Jack Chick tract, Dark Dungeons. I got a few good chuckles out of that one.


Posted in Mission, Promo | Leave a Comment »

Sense Of Wonder

Posted by Nathan P. on January 2, 2009

I have this thing where I’m really not into scifi games. I do enjoy scifi as a genre of fiction (though I have pretty specific tastes, and I’m not very well-read overall). But even the dystopia/cyberpunk/modern info-punk stuff that I love to read I have no interest in playing. How weird is that?

So I’m reading this SG thread What makes a good Scifi game? (starting near the end, cuz thats whats interesting to me). And they start talking about the Sense of Wonder, so I start thinking about my game experiences where I felt a sense of wonder. And all of those times, to my recollection, have to do with making myth.

Like, the time in Ganakagok when Gary’s old man spilled out all of his wolf teeth to keep the tribe from fracturing. Or in Polaris when my knight placed his severed heart into the chest of the one he loved. Or in Annalise when Can called the Vampire “Father.”

These were all times when my understanding of the fiction we were making totally spun around in my head and resettled, re-integrating all that had happened up to that point, but creating a new picture, with a new meaning.

I don’t think this is something that needs to happen all the time, but it’s pretty neat when it does happen. But my entryway to wonder seems to primarily be through mythic fiction (Annalise being an edge case), not scifi. Not that this matters. But it’s an interesting thing, no?

Where does your wonder come from?

Posted in Actual Play, Artistry | Leave a Comment »

Annalise Actual Play

Posted by Nathan P. on December 30, 2008

There’s a great Annalise actual play over here. Many thanks to Rachel for going to the effort to post it!

Something that makes me pretty happy is that the account of play really does hang together pretty well as a piece of written ficton. I don’t know how much of that is Rachel’s self-editing! But the game is meant to produce fiction, and it sure seems to be making that happen. Which is great.

I’m excited to see how things end up.

Posted in Actual Play, Annalise | Leave a Comment »


Posted by Nathan P. on December 26, 2008

I’m doing a sorely needed blog cleanup.

What that mostly means for you, dear reader, is that I’m messing with the blogroll over on the right. Any blog that hasn’t had a post in a year is getting deleted out! Also, I would like to renew it with the sites of my friends and acquantainces. If it makes sense to you that I should link to you, let me know.

Thanks for reading, by the by. I really appreciate that people take the time to stop by every so often. It’s pretty cool.

Posted in Personal | 3 Comments »

OgreCave Plug

Posted by Nathan P. on December 23, 2008

OgreCave (which is great, and you should follow it if you don’t) very kindly placed Annalise on their digital holiday gift guide. How cool, thanks guys!

Posted in Annalise, Promo | Leave a Comment »

Fall Gaming Wrapup

Posted by Nathan P. on December 20, 2008

So here’s what I’ve been up to all fall.


Most of September and October were taken up with playing the ashcan of Darkpages with my Tuesday group. As has been documented here (check out the darkpages Category) we made a stable of characters and played two issues in our custom imprint, Pocket City.

I think the main feedback for Jared (which I’ll get around to sending you sometime, duder) is that the GM is still on a non-level field with the players in terms of having tools to impact the fiction. Over time, the characters outstrip the imprint in terms of having applicable advances to various conflicts (b/c the characters pretty much always have access to all of their stats, and unless every conflict is framed towards imprint things with advances on them, the characters have a creeping advantage over time that renders the GMs efforts to smack them around rather difficult).

The rest of the game is pure sexy, by the by.


I made a new character for the FBI/occult investigation game that occurs every so often on Thursday nights. My last character voluntarily sacrificed himself to greebly aliens which absorbed him into their gestalt conciousness, so I had a new guy hit the ground for this story arc. Caleb, a good ol’ boy from downhome Texas, suffering just a mite of PTSD from his two tours in Iraq – oh yeh, also with clairsentiance powers. He got his hand maimed by an undead horse possessed by an alien grub. And isn’t really on track to get any better with his issues stemming from his war experience. He’s actually been one of my least-like-me characters, and I’ve been enjoying playing him a lot, though he didn’t have a lot of screen time (he’s more of a scout/support kind of guy on the team).


As a palette-cleanser for all these hippy emo story games we play on Tuesday, we got our greek on throughout November. I don’t know if you know this, but Agon is a great game! I ran the Temple of Hera scenario for three intrepid heros, and it was a really fun time. We were all really blown away with the elegance of the system – there are really no wasteful bits to anything in the game. Anyway, the heroes ended up mopping up the Satyrs at the end of the quest, as I blew my wad of Strife on the witch character in the middle (who, to my credit, did almost take out one of the characters and seriously threatened all three of them – if I had remembered to use her Fear power, it would have gone differently!)

I’m looking forwards to running some Agon at conventions and such in the near future, and we’re keeping these characters to go on another quest sometime in the spring.

Vampire: The Requiem

Next up on the plate for Tuesdays: a game of the nWoD Vampire. My buddy Jesse has been champing at the bit to make this happen for a while, and all of us have, uh, fond memories of how poorly our early experiences with Vampire went to cleanse out of our gamer karma. The game is set in Baltimore, and at the end of the first session (which will be last until after the holidays) our characters were already in solid “the-enemy-of-my-enemy-is-my-friend” territory.

Oh! Also, I think the rules are good! So, almost the first thing my character did in the game was fail a Morality roll while feeding, go into a frenzy, and rip some poor dude apart in an alley because he couldn’t control his hunger. And I had made a point of saying that he was fairly young, still in denial about a lot of this Vampire stuff, and all that bullshit….and then the system of the game kicked in, basically shoving all of that into my guys face and making him face the nature of what he is. He’s already changing in really interesting ways, due both to that and his interactions with the other two characters, and it’s shaping up to be a rockin’ game.

Hunter: The Vigil

One of the triggers for the Vampire game is that I’ve been dying to run some of the nWoD Hunter since I got it. I always really dug the original Hunter, and the new one basically throws out all the crud I wasn’t really down with and focuses right on the gritty struggle-against-impossible-odds kind of themes that I’m into. So, I’m going to be running that for the Thursday group, which will be a challenge, but I think a good one. There’s six players, and it’s a group that isn’t used to changing systems between games (not that they can’t or are unwilling, it’s just going to be a longer learning curve than I’m used to, I think).

I’m really pumped about it, though. We finished characters before taking this holiday hiatus, and the cell is really, really interesting! If you know anything about the nWoD, you’ll be familier with the Virtue and Vice system (basically, every character has a Virtue and Vice, with the Virtue being difficult to uphold but rewarded handsomely when you do, and the Vice easy to give in to in order for a small benny). Of the 6 characters, they are evenly split on Vice – three have Wrath and three have Pride. But! All six of them, independently from each other, chose a different Virtue! We have every Virture except (of course) Prudence represented. I think it’s going to go terribly, terribly well.

And the other cool thing is that Jesse and I are doing a shared world thing for the two games. They’re both set in Baltimore at the same time, and while they won’t be directly interacting with one another, we plan to bring in background details, news, locations and so on from one game to the other. So that should be neat.


Well, I finally got the PDF of Annalise out. Response has been good! I’m finally in a place where I can get started on the actual print run, so I hope to have that going fairly soon. Also, there’s another really exciting development with Annalise, but it’s still on the DL for now. Stay tuned.


Secret project is going well. Non-secret-but-not-enough-there-to-talk-about project is on hold for now. Some notes have been scribbled for other things. I hope to be more design-y in the spring. Priorities, y’know?

So I feel like I’m ending the year strong. Who knows what the future will hold!

Posted in Actual Play, Annalise, darkpages, Non-RPG Gaming, Playtesting | Leave a Comment »

Shreyas Style

Posted by Nathan P. on December 17, 2008

My dick is bigger.

That is all.

(Seriously guys….wtf?)

Posted in Non-RPG Gaming | 5 Comments »

Some Truth About Audience

Posted by Nathan P. on December 6, 2008

There’s a really great thread at the Forge that’s currently active: Have we already reached everyone? People are talking some good stuff about the “audience” (you’ll see why there’s quotes there in a sec) for independently-published games, whether the market is saturated (answer: no), &tc. And then Malcolm Sheppard comes along and drops some serious truth.

Now, Malcolms a really smart guy who is really good at taking an, uh, adversarial tone with, well, everything. But this post is respectfully written and really one of the best breakdowns of one of the biggest issues I think self-publishers face. You should really read the whole thread, but you should really really read what Malcolm has to say if you’re interested in putting your game into the marketplace. But, this being the internets, here’s what I think is the most meaningful part:

Your challenge, as I see it, is to create avenues where customers can create places apart from you, develop their own ideas about your materials and run with them, turning the game into a medium for expression, instead of an affiliation with an entrenched scene. One way to do this is to get serious about building communities game by game, instead of by school of thought. Another is to provide extended support, even if informal, for existing games, and use email and other tools to get the word out about updates. I’ve already mentioned some more “hands-free” forms of social networking, but there are others, and they can be defined outside of your internal categories to jibe with a game’s content.

This intersects neatly with a lot of my personal evaluation of myself as a publisher and my goals for Annalise. Basically, the system of advertising and selling to the communities represented by boards I frequent and the online social groups I inhabit isn’t something I’m interested in. I’m starting there, because it’s safe and comfortable and, frankly, doesn’t involve that much effort on my part. But it’s not only a small community in terms of bodies and sales numbers, it’s also constantly taxing on me, personally, to deal with the expectations and assumptions made by individuals in it.

This isn’t to say that I don’t appreciate all of the positive responses and the material gain that I’ve had from these communities. I have nothing but love in my heart for that. But it’s time to go elsewhere, I think for everyone, in one way or another. For so long we’ve celebrated the close links between creator and audience (sorry Paul, but I do think there are differences, at least these days). But there’s something to be said about having distance between them.

I’m not beholden to you because I wrote something that you’re playing, just as you’re not beholden to me by playing something that I wrote.

Posted in Annalise, Mission, Publishing | 1 Comment »

carry review on Play This Thing

Posted by Nathan P. on November 25, 2008

carry has been reviewed on Play This Thing. I think it’s a pretty good, though I would question the idea that because the text is short(ish), gameplay is less deep than it otherwise would be. Seems like a category error to me. Overall, however, it’s a solid overview of the game, and I really appreciate that it’s up on such a great site (if you don’t read Play This Thing like, all the time, you should).

Thanks to Judd for tipping me off to it, and thanks to Sage for the review.

Posted in carry. a game about war., Promo | 2 Comments »

Some Annalise-Related Content

Posted by Nathan P. on November 23, 2008

So I’m finally getting around to my backlog of stuff for findannalise.com. More examples of Claims and Secrets are up, and I’ll hopefully be sneaking in more images for the fiction-contest-that-will-be-happening-eventually. I like the Claims archives for illustrating different tones of games. I like the Secrets archives for giving me ideas to steal next time I play.

Also, if you bought Annalise at some point over the summer and have not received an email from me, let me know.

Also also, if you are a game reviewer-type, I would like to talk to you.

Contact for both of these things: findannalise-at-gmail-dot-com.

Thanks, everyone. The response for the game over the last two weeks has been gratifying, both in terms of sales and comments on the interwebs. I hope some of you get to play soon!

Posted in Annalise, Promo, Publishing | Leave a Comment »