Playing with children

Bucyrus spent last a few days in hospital. All friends were busy and couldn’t pay a visit, so in the meantime a few new ones were made – in the wing where children with cancer resided.

Bucyrus taught children how to play some tiny games like “Everyone is John”, and even attempted to sell them on some simple OSRs – at least those he was able to explain under no longer than half of an hour.

That was quite an interesting experience. Bucyrus learned something very important – all this crap we’re talking about in context of RPGs isn’t really that important. Undeniable, honest joy expressed by newbies matters. Being thankful for the possibility to forget about the reality – even if it’s only momentary – is what matters.

Playing with children every once and a while is good.

Strong recommendation.

Playing with children

Erratic, ahoy!

As you might have observe lately, Bucyrus’ writing became worse and updates less predictable.

There’s no mystery behind that. This blog isn’t meant to become something serious. It’s a “side-quest”, a small project that serves for Bucyrus as a way to both perfect his English and stay in touch with one of his favorite hobbies. As such, it will be managed in a way that leaves much to be desired but also doesn’t get in the way of other, more important stuff… Like Bucyrus’ health, which unfortunately isn’t best.

So, don’t be alarmed. If there’s no update on your favorite (ahahahaha!) blog, choose a good, healthy dose of alcoholic beverage of your choice.

Or surf the Net and watch something more interesting. Like this Czech excavator working on Russian soil.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

Awesome, isn’t it?

Erratic, ahoy!

Your very own league of vagabonds

Long time ago there was this animated tv show titled “MASK”. It was about and of heroes wearing masks that gave them awesome superpowers. For the majority of time they tried to thwart plans of their evil counterparts.

Interesting thing was that aside of Mask’s leader, each episode featured different set of agents selected by the computer that also supervised their homebase.


Let’s re-use this idea, shall we?

Instead of playing typical session…

  1. Ask your players to come up with 4-5 characters each. Generate them according to the rules. The only limitation is that they shouldn’t be of too high level. In case of d20 based games – no more than 5th-6th.
  2. Come up with their background stories. This doesn’t have to be very complicated thing. A basic premise is ok.
  3. Create together a homebase for them, be it a castle, an airship vessel, or a starship. Draw it as best as you can. Listen to the input, but don’t simply allow them to have everything they think about. Partially developed stronghold is a good thing to play this.
  4. Mark where they all live in their base – where are their quarters, and what they usually do there.
  5. Answer how those characters met each other, why they decides to stay together and what they usually do when they are not adventuring.
  6. What is this group’s agenda? What do they try to achieve? Who do they work for? Any strong friendships or enmities? Their most important source of income?
  7. Finishing touches: add some servants, guardians to the base. Place it somewhere on the map (if applicable), and prepare a few simple social connections to nearby points of interest (mountain dwarves and us are bros, we don’t get very well with space pirates faction, but it doesn’t mean we actively try to kill each other).

Voila, your own in-game society of adventurers. In addition to time well spent together you all learned a little more about the game you’re playing – both about it lore and mechanics – and forced your brain cells to come up with something creative.

Juiciest part: you have now a new aid ready to be used in upcoming sessions, both as direct player characters, but also as allies, or… enemies.

Happy gaming!

Your very own league of vagabonds

A disaster

Latest session didn’t end so well. We were running a relatively generic adventure and while there was no specific problems, we also didn’t manage to invest much effort and energy in the session.

People acted mechanically, just, you know “do this, do that, next stage”. Bucyrus acted as the GM, and while the problem was recognized, there was no way to tell what’s wrong and how to fix that. One hour into session we gave up and decided to simply drink our asses to stupor.


And it’s fine. Nothing wrong with that.

See, modern world is very much about meeting expectations. It should go at least like this and anything below is considered a disaster. While in many cases it’s true, it’s also true that sometimes a dish won’t be any good, even when you follow a recipe to the letter. Such things happen and it applies to pretty much every imaginable aspect of the reality, including role playing games.

Bucyrus recalls some documentary concerning erectile dysfunctions and whole branch of business dealing with its treatment. Creators of this documentary made a very important observation – problems “down there” just happen. Plenty of things influence that, including a diet, a state of mind, a weather, a lifestyle and so on and so forth. Unless it happens all the time, there’s nothing to worry about, really.

And yet, there’s a powerful branch of medicine that deals only with that problem and it makes billions of dollars each month.

What’s the trick? Very simple, really. All those people were convinced that there’s something wrong with them and informed that they NEED to make something about it.

Now let’s get back to the RPGs, shall we?

Plenty of people, especially newcomers approach the game with high expectations. The session is supposed to be this well, bah, it’s supposed to rival Tolkien, Lewis, Martin, your president and other people famous of their storytelling. The players are supposed to have so much fun that they will crave for more and more. They need to recognize this moment as one of most important experiences of their lives and thank their GM for allowing them to feel the spark of divine enlightenment.

This is wrong. This is so, so wrong.

See, there’s no workaround. No matter how good you are, no matter how well prepared, no matter what, there will be times when your skill will fail you and you won’t be able to do much about it. The part of becoming a better GM/player is to accept that shit will happen, period.

What to do about it? Rule of thumb: don’t panic. Don’t make a drama about it. And most importantly, if it rarely happens, don’t approach it like it’s some mystery that needs solution. Yep, screw those self-help advices that force you to break that experience to tiniest bits and spend time thinking what went wrong. Skip it. Don’t think much about it and don’t torment your players asking for a feedback right there, right then, when they still have a sour taste in their mouths.

Just let it go. And it will go away.

Next time will be better!

A disaster

Bucyrus IS back!

…unfortunately, the trip and its aftermath were too exhausting to write more substantial post than this short greeting.

There’s this saying, that travels enrich travelers. And like with the majority of good saying, this one too happens to be real. Many things were seen and thought about. Many potential rpg elements were developed.

“More news at five”. Heh.

Bucyrus IS back!


…well, not really. Health deteriorating. Bucyrus has to travel and care about that.

While doing so, he won’t update this blog, hopefully for no more than a week or so. In the meantime please enjoy this image of the bucket chain excavator “Takraf Ers 710”.

Awesome isn’t it?

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge