Welcome to the new series of playtest of Aphelion, in which I take Jakub’s brilliant system and try to break it multiple ways. As we’re currently wrapping up the alpha version of the Aphelion Toolkit (just some work left on the scenario and campaign generation!), the time has come to check how all the pieces fit together in solo play! We’re also running two separate group playtests – but I’m a solitary animal. Now, let’s see what we’re up for!
Forest encounters aren’t always fun. As the player characters grow in power, animals stop being a challenge, and just how many times you can fight bandits? Why not let the characters stray off the path…? Why not let them get lost and wander into the dark part of the forest, where fey, hags, and monsters dwell?
We all just want our PCs to have pretty portraits, right? Years ago, I wrote a post on character portrait generators. For some reason (thanks, Google), it’s the first-page result and brings to this blogs tons of people.
And it’s terribly, terribly out of date. 2018 was a long-past time of very limited options. So, behold. A new, annotated list of portrait generators, which will be updated as new options appear on the market. There are thousands of generators these days, and I’m only showcasing the ones that will be genuinely useful (ie. omitting those that only bring to the table a single female body type and no options for other genders).
I’m going to tell you something I’ve never told anybody because I tried to be nice, even though it was the wrong choice. Should have gone for helpful instead.
Lately, I’ve watched a plethora of YouTube videos with tips and tricks for Game / Dungeon Masters that will engage the party and give the players the hooks they need to latch onto the adventure. So many words spent on ways of ensuring the players will not go and destroy your carefully planned campaign. And before you think I have a bone to pick there: they’re not wrong, and their advice is helpful.
But their advice is mostly applying patches to a system I find inherently flawed.
The Game Master is not the only person responsible for everybody’s fun.
So let’s talk about player agency and responsibilities on both sides of the table.
We’ve been extremely busy in the past month. We’ve jump-started several projects, moved houses, wrote and designed a ton of things, started Aphelion’s playtests, set the ground for a couple of exciting new things, drew some plants, and cleared out a part of the garden. Not that the last one has any bearing on you, but it’s definitely keeping me happy and grounded.
When I made a character who wanted to be an arcane researcher, one thing was obvious: custom spells. However, Shadowrun is not D&D 5e or Pathfinder, and third-party content is neither supported nor really created, leaving the mages with a rather limited spell list, most of them geared towards shadowrunning.
As I like making life hard for myself, I made a character who doesn’t want to be a shadowrunner.
We’re seriously behind on the blog. (This is not news.)
Both Jakub and I have been working lately on about a dozen of projects, all of them cool, exciting, and board game- and roleplaying game-related, but about half of them is still covered in NDAs, and most of the other half is still on my pile of ‘need to write a portfolio entry about that’.
Between the writing, designing, and pushing pixels around for other people, we’ve been hard at work on Project Aphelion, Incitatus novel (Jakub is just finishing the second chapter of the second draft, and the plot very much thickens), our Shadowrun campaign, and a new zine for a fantasy RPG audience.
Here’s a snippet of information about me: I love drawing. I’m no pro, and definitely nowhere to call myself an illustrator but I thoroughly enjoy the process.
Here’s another: I haven’t drawn anything in ages! For many reasons; mainly, my life’s been in a bit of upheaval for the last couple of years. Also, my hands hurt when I draw.
However, Jakub and I are starting a new Shadowrun campaign soon, and I’ve been putting together my character for the last couple of weeks. Working through “20 questions”, I realised I have no idea of how she looks like and what’s exactly her personality, so I decided to just draw her and figure it out as I go.