Tag Archives: orpheus

Future LRP Ideas

As I’ve intimated in various places at various times, I’m kinda working on a LRP project separate from No Rest for the Wicked, Inquisition Chronicles and indeed the entire Warhammer 40,000 franchise. I have a partner-in-crime on this, but we’ve not been able to sit down and discuss what we want to do with it due to running the last No Rest event, and other things getting in the way. So that’s on the back burner for now. It might be the awesome collision of Outlaw Star, Cowboy Bebop, and Firefly in one new IP, or it might not. We haven’t even gotten that far, though I do love the idea of making an Outlaw Star LRP.

Something else that’s come up is the idea of a new parlour LRP[1]. This game would be something different from any other LRP (or LARP)[2] I’ve run: rather than putting people into a situation and then either having them work with the situation or go off on linears (or both), the idea would be that the live part of the game would be social with missions happening outside of game-time. Let me explain.

For this concept, we’d be looking at something like SLA Industries, Shadowrun, Orpheus, Demon Hunters, or Bounty Hunter Bebop – a game where you gather a team and go run missions for prestige, money, some other prize, or all three. The pub part would be a gathering of people able to go on these missions – bounty hunters, shadowrunners, mercenaries, etc – who grab a mission off the board, put together a team for it, then go back to drinking to “prepare”. Missions would then be run between games as tabletop sessions, and there’d be a leaderboard of some kind indicating which characters were top-ranked. The general idea would be that you’d have to weigh up the balance between taking the A-listers on your missions (which makes them more likely to succeed) versus increasing your own lead on them (as if they’re with you, they gain the same rank boost you do from the mission). There’d be some kind of meta-plot behind some of the missions, and we’d generally try to make the scene interesting, but the general obvious part of the game would be about the rankings and taking missions to get money, fame, and glory.

There wouldn’t be any downtime system – just up-time politics and the missions between games.

Curious as to what people think of the idea. I’ve probably not explained it well, but I think it has legs.

Footnotes   [ + ]

1. also known as pub LRP, pub LARP, parlour LARP, or just LARP – usually while associated with World of Darkness games
2. the difference between the terms is a whole different post

#rpgaday2015 days 20-21 – favourite horror RPG & favourite RPG setting

I get myself back on schedule and immediately miss a day. I’m doing well at this. On the other hand, I’m pretty sure this fits both days 20 and 21, so maybe I’m not doing too badly.

Orpheus wins this pretty much hands down. I play and have played a lot of modern horror games – it tends to be my genre of choice. I have every core book in the nWoD catalogue, and several more that fit the genre besides, but Orpheus is still my favourite. Maybe because it was my first tabletop game.

In Orpheus, you’re playing in the Old World of Darkness setting but without any of the Old World of Darkness setting. I know that’s confusing, but bear with me. It’s a world where supernatural gribblies can come out of the night, tear you to pieces, and leave again with no one being the wiser and only your grisly corpse left to be found in the morning – that’s the World of Darkness. The thing about Orpheus is that they’ve proven ghosts exist, so anything else is just a ghostly manifestation – there aren’t werewolves, just jacked-up violent ghosts.

The game is a limited-run self-enclosed game set after the end of Wraith: the Oblivion. In the oWoD metaplot, a spirit-nuke got set off in the Underworld causing a spiritual maelstrom to arise cutting off the Underworld from the real world – this is what’s caused the vast increase in ghosts in the material world which has brought ghosts to the notice of the Orpheus Group and their scientists. In this way, it’s both part of the setting and completely separate from it.

You get to play either a Projector (someone living who can leave their body to enter Twilight as a ghost) or a Spirit (someone who’s already dead and still hanging around). There are two types of each with their relative advantages and disadvantages. The supernatural powers of the game are all restricted to the ghostly, so projectors can only use their powers if they’re not in their bodies. In that sense, it might make sense to only have dead characters, but the dead are limited in their own right (they’re dead for a start, which makes ID a problem if it’s checked) including the fact that their Vitality (power points) recharge slowly compared to the living projectors – it’s far more efficient to have the living skimmer recharge Vitality while in his body and pass it to the ghosts than it is to just have ghosts wait to accumulate more. It’s also costly for a ghost to manifest themselves fully in the material realm – while they can linger in Twilight indefinitely, interacting with the material costs Vitality.

Throughout the limited series, the game’s own metaplot arises and new types of ghosts and powers emerge as you uncover the hidden truths of the setting. It’s a game I love and I’d love to play/run more often (one of my perpetual side projects is considering updates to setting based on modern tech levels). Orpheus is the entire reason I backed the recent Wraith: the Oblivion 20th Anniversary Kickstarter – there was a stretch goal of updated Orpheus content that I really wanted.

Go look into Orpheus – you can get it on DriveThruRPG and the PoD softcover I’ve got is currently holding up better than my ancient hardcover is (damn those flimsy oWoD spines).

So, I want to run a game

As I’ve posted elsewhere, I’m looking to run a game. What I want to do is be able to run it as and when both my players and I are available/up for it. So some weeks we could play three sessions, and other weeks just the one (or not at all); I want to be able to run without some players and potentially with a completely different group session to session, so I want it to be the sort of game where you can complete things in a session while still having the potential for an overarching campaign. I also want to play it online, without a lot of rules getting in the way of online RP.

Along those lines, I’ve picked out three settings that I like and would like to run a game in.

orpheusThe first is Orpheus, a game I’ve loved for over a decade – one of the first tabletop games I played. In Orpheus, a cryogenic research company called The Orpheus Group was developing cryogenic technology for medical research, and have developed the first cryogenic process that allows for a stable freeze and thawing of living beings. In their tests of this process, they discovered that their human test subjects reported back having dreams while they slept – dreams that they were watching the Orpheus staff at work. This wasn’t considered particularly noteworthy until one of them recounted incidents that had happened in the lab in perfect detail – incidents they had no way to know about without having been there or being told. Further research was done, and it was established that the cryogenically frozen subjects experienced astral projection and could perceive events around them. Experimentation continued and revealed that post-life entities (PLEs, or ghosts) were also present in the astral state that the sleepers found themselves in. Not only this, but PLEs and the astral projections could wield supernatural power. In a stroke, The Orpheus Group had proven ghosts were real, and that they could affect the world in unknown ways. Studies continued, but this discovery explained every story of supernatural happenings throughout history, and a paranormal investigation division was set up. Orpheus became a paranormal service organisation, investigating and dealing with hauntings for a sizable fee. You, as players, are members of the investigation teams who are either projectors (living people who project their consciousness from their body) or PLEs (ghosts) working for fantastic sums of cash and dealing with the supernatural on a regular basis.

Demon HuntersThe second is Demon Hunters. I’m never going to explain it better than the guys who made it, so here’s the Brotherhood of the Celestial Torch Orientation Video which came with the field operative training manual (RPG).[1] Basically, you’re a bunch of misfits who fight the agents of Hell (the Order of the Infernal Sceptre). All the monsters and dark things from your favourite films and TV shows are real, and it’s the job of the Brotherhood to take them down before they get to humanity. On the bright side, you have access to a Warehouse 13/Ark of the Covenant-style warehouse of infinite size that might just have the tools you need for the job – if you can find them. It’s a comedy-action-investigation game, and I have both the original RPG and the playtest version of the new edition (the new edition still being finalised).

Cowboy BebopThe third setting I’m contemplating is essentially Cowboy Bebop/Outlaw Star. Bounty hunters/freelancers roaming human-colonised spaaaaaace in search of enough money to buy fuel, food, and ammunition while they try for the big score that’ll set them up for life (assuming they don’t blow it on an act of charity/abandon it to save someone/give up the treasure for love/die in the process.

System-wise, I’m looking at FATE-based solutions. I’ve got a homebrew conversion for Orpheus to FATE Accelerated, the new Demon Hunters edition is based on FATE Accelerated, and the Bebop-style setting can either be run with FATE or something else. FATE Accelerated should be pretty easy for people to pick up, without getting in the way of the story, and it should also allow people to create characters pretty quickly so they can get involved without a length character creation process.

As I said, I’m looking to run things online. Thoughts are to use Google Hangouts for communication, and maybe use Roll20 as well (this will involve me learning Roll20).

I’ve had a few people express interest, but I’ve not had any indication of a setting preference. If you’re interested, and have a preferred setting out of these three (or have an alternate idea I might be interested in), let me know.

Featured image choice is solely because Outlaw Star kicks ass, and I have to watch it again.

Footnotes   [ + ]

1. The orientation video along with the original films are now available to everyone on the Dead Gentlemen YouTube channel. Incidentally, go watch everything they and Zombie Orpheus Entertainment do.