Sunday, December 31, 2017

Thank you 2017!

TAG Sessions has had quite a ride this 2017.  There have been ups and downs, but thankfully, the ups have been far more memorable and exciting. Among the highlights of this year include being part of the Cold Shadows kickstarter release, the Dreamchasers, and becoming part of the Gallant Knight Games family.  I also got opportunities to share my gaming knowledge, from giving talks at the Global Game Jam 2017, the Uber Meeples game event, and others. I found the chance to meet my good friends and gaming idols after being invited to the Strategicon event, Gamex 2017, in Los Angeles at a special guest.  While there, I had the lovely opportunity to meet with awesome friends  and gaming greats, Ben Woerner, Dan Waszkiewicz, Dustin DePenning, Stephanie Bryant, and the incredible jim pinto. It was like a gaming retreat from the world, spending three days hanging out with them and having the chance to run games for gamers who attended. Had a few featured moments as well this year, from being interviewed by IdeateTV, and featured in a few articles by GMA News, thanks to my two memorable award-related moments: A Single Moment actually was the runner-up for the Indie Ground Breaker's Best System award for 2017, and for being part of the remarkable 7th Sea: Pirate Nations book, which won a Silver ENnie this 2017.  Oh my gosh. Who would have thought that was even possible?  I also was able to connect with a lot of the local game designers thanks to being invited to the Electronic Sports and Game Summit by James and Gwen. I'm terribly lucky to have met these other creative forces. I hope we help leave a legacy of awesome games for more Filipinos to enjoy in the coming years.

As always, I have a promise to run 12 New Games each year. I completely failed to do this however, as I ran far more than 12 new games this year alone. (Check out the other games I've done for this challenge here.)

2017 New Games
1) Pugmire
2) Monster of the Week
3) An RPG Musical, using Scion
4) Black Stars Rise
5) jim pinto's soon to be announced game
6) Carcass: Exodus
7) Praxis: The Black Monk - Chapter 4
8) Forget Me Not: Florida
9) "Microscope": Star Wars
10) The Quiet Year
11) Forget Me Not: Murderhobos
12) Praxis: The Black Monk - Chapter 1
13) Praxis: Odin's Eye
14) Pendragon
15) 7th Sea: Kithai
16) Praxis: In the Flesh
17) Forget Me Not (original game)

And yes, jim pinto, clearly your influence can be seen on this list!

I also started TAG Bites, completely free one-shot open table game sessions which Rocky and I have opted to hold to help open the opportunities for more local gamers to try systems they may have not tried before.  Started last July 2017, I've so far run the following games for a host of different players.

TAG Bites 2017
July had a 7th Sea: Second Edition game and a postworld games' Praxis: Black Monk game.
August had us playing Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space and Blades in the Dark.
November had us playing 7th Sea: Kithai, and 7th Sea: Second Edition - Pirate Nations.

This 2018, I'm looking at running the following games if possible:

As always, the games will be completely free and players will have an opportunity to play a game which probably will be unlike anything they ever experienced before.

Wrapped up a number of game campaigns this year. We gave closure to the young superhero game which we rebooted as the Millennials game using the DC Heroes system. We also wrapped up the Houses of the Blooded game, Thrice Damned, and sadly cancelled the World of Darkness Vampire campaign, Sleeper, due to reasons. The currently ongoing campaigns this year include the ongoing duo 7th Sea Campaign, The Nisab Diary and Alas, Such Fates, which has reached the third act of the narrative called The Guissola. The story continues to be incredibly awesome with Rocky, Flip, Aina, Brian, Josh, James, and Che as the Heroes who have uncovered the machinations of the Novus Ordo Mundi and the invaders from Earth.  In addition, we're a few sessions in after having found the courage to jump in to play The Great Pendragon campaign!  Rocky, Flip, Urim and Adrian are the knights known as the Brotherhood of the Bear.  Their stories have lead to King Uther's meeting with Ygraine and it is only a matter of time to see where the stories go next. Also now playing as a player in Flip's 7th Sea campaign, The Widow's Nest, which has me as a former Inquisitor turned rough apprehensive adventurer.

Released a lot of new stuff this year, thanks to the help of my TAG TEAM SUPPORT Patrons from Patreon (Rocky, Rob A., David H., Mina C., Karlo L., Ryan S., and my other supporters), and the moral support from the Gallants (my little group of friends online) who offer sound advice and clear views on events, my parents (who always remind me to simply go for my dreams), and my partner for life, Rocky (who has never allowed me to doubt myself and reminds me to trust my creative voice.)

Among those released include:

This year, we're looking at a lot of possible projects. A Second Moment continues its slow rewrite. I will admit a large part of its delay was due to recovering from the events that transpired in the earlier part of the year. The same goes to TAG Sessions, Volume 1. Both are now needing extensive rewrites. With our move to BGC, I've discovered there's a lot more time to write nowadays since we do not need to wade through two-hour traffic each day.

Our place is now called Sietch Vicis and interestingly more change has come this year.
Firstly, I resigned from my day job as a full-time Game Designer at Indigo Entertainment, Philippines. After working there for over five years, I've decided to try devoting much more time to making TAG Sessions a more productive and active line.

Secondly, I've got a few talks mapped out in the future. I've been tapped to give a few talks for a number of events, and it always feel nice to be able to share my knowledge and information with others who may share or even have a greater passion for gaming than I do.

Finally, targeting something big this year. Hoping to have a fantastic moment happen this 2018 and I do hope it comes to pass. All that I need to do is make it happen and finish writing. I'm scared if it will work out and I am terribly freaked out if people will like it, but I realize sometimes things will only happen if you take a chance.  I took a chance years ago, when I messaged Josh Jordan about wanting to write for his Kickstarter game. I took another chance when I agreed to write for Ben Woerner and for Alan Bahr. Scary as it may be to take chances, one has to learn to really shut down every horrible voice in one's head and focus instead on the passion that fuels one's work.  I trusted in people I shouldn't have, and upon reflection, I learned the hard way that sometimes people you think will help you are simply out to make money or fame from your reputation and work. 

So yeah, thank you 2017 for the learning and the education.  Thank you for the awesome moments and the appreciative new friends.  Thank you for the opportunities, the mistakes, and the evolution.

Working on a Wuxia game that will be Powered by the Apocalypse, a young-audience role-playing game called Dreamscrapers, a Studio Ghibli-inspired game that can even be played alone, and of course, A Second Moment and TAG Sessions, Volume one.  Admittedly, the Wuxia game showed up out of nowhere, and delayed the development of both Muses, the Legacy RPG game, and mem:RE spy game.

This 2018, I'm taking another chance.
Here's to 2018.

Maybe it will be my Second Moment, indeed.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Ten More Playsets - A Supplement for A Single Moment

Ten More Playsets introduces ten new settings/genres for your A Single Moment games.

  • Creation Gods who seek to determine the fate of Creation itself.
  • Gladiators Warriors seeking Glory and Freedom.
  • Mecha Aces
    Pilots determined to find Victory.
  • Photographer
    The eye for the Story. The grit for the Scoop.
  • Starship Captains
    A worthy enterprise. An unexpected discovery.
  • Such Spies
    Rival intelligence agents.
  • Professional Wrestling For the belt. For the Title.
  • Opposing Politics
    Political battles for power and greed.
  • Wuxia Warriors Heroes seeking enlightenment and peace.
And a tenth new setting that introduces a different way to play A Single Moment,
  • Detective Stories
    Will the Killer or the Detective win this battle of wits and intelligence?

A supplement for A SINGLE MOMENT
Requires A SINGLE MOMENT rules to play

Written by Adrian Martinez and Tobie Abad
Published by Gallant Knight Games

Available at DrivethruRpg soon!


Interested in trying any of these games?
Try joining a TAG Bites session this coming 2018.
Completely free. And absolutely worth your time.

Learn more about TAG Bites here.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Dandy - Doctor Who Adventures in Time and Space


Doctor Who Adventures in Time and Space

For TAG Bites, I ran another session of Doctor Who's Adventures in Time and Space.  Two players new to the system got to try it with me and Rocky and since I love approaching games in a theatric way, I decided to try coming up with another Dr Who session that felt like an actual episode.  Sadly, there were some players who couldn't make it at the last minute, so I was forced to make adjustments to the story I had in mind.

Adrian plays Penelore Mount Batton, an ingenious man from the modern day with an Insatiable Curiosity, and an almost idealistic Code of Conduct to ease those in pain and never allow others harm. He has Resourceful Pockets, a perfect Sense of Direction, and an incredible Photographic Memory.

Daniel plays John Murray, an ingenious and strong man from the 30th Century. Always dressed in the 80s/70s rock era, John tends to be Impulsive, Brave, Tough and a skilled Boffin who knows the knack of Percussive Maintenance.

Rocky plays Jonathan Blackwood, a reporter from the 41st Century who is Technically Inept, Argumentative, and Wanted for having less than pleasant articles about companies before. He has an Insatiable Curiosity, somewhat Arrogant, but has Psychic ability, knows how to Run for your Life and has a Face in the Crowd.

The game opens with John Murray waking up at what seems to be a building's edge. As he tries to grasp better what has happened around him, he realizes the buildings are not just buildings but towers that are in space.  As he tries to understand what happened, given the dead bodies all around him, he hears mechanical voices addressing him to relax and not be concerned.  The robots that appear close in on him.   Hidden nearby, Jonathan Blackwood watches as something happens that he cannot quite explain right now.  He tries to avoid making any sound as he watches in horror.

Title Sequence

Pelenore is at his library when he sees a figure making its way into the private collection of books. He catches sight of some intruders in the private section of the library and confronts them, only to find a woman and a man grabbing books and hurrying through an unfamiliar door. Taking chase, Pelenore discovers he's in a place that is impossibly larger and that they're heading across time and space to deal with something called Dandy.   The woman, eccentric and dressed in black, calls herself Doctor Who, and refers to the others as Thing #1 and Thing #2. When asked what she's trying to do, she explains they're going to rescue the other Doctor. She asks Pelenore to join them as another "bodybag" would always be good.  They admit they needed a quick stop here in this time to know what they were facing, and for some reason Uber was the closest thing. The book they took is about how Uber works.

Jonathan stops Murray from jumping off the building's edge, as he seems to be lost in his thoughts for a moment. He doesn't seem to remember why he was there, and in that brief moment they touch, Jonathan's psychic link seems to have broken Murray free from whatever was controlling him. Worse, Jonathan has learned Murray is a full millennium away from his proper time. Murray stumbles into an elevator.  Jonathan hurries into the elevator after him but gets onto a different one. He steps into the elevator and using the AI assistant on the screens, tries to track where Murray has gone.  In Murray's elevator, a door opens and he sees a young girl in a sports jacket shoved into the elevator to check for traps.  Behind her, a woman in a dark victorian outfit follows... and an older man follows them both. The young girl identifies herself as Nina, despite the woman in the dark outfit calling her Thing #1 and the old man Thing #2.  She then tells Murray she is Doctor Who and asks if he would like to be Thing #3. The wall assistant asks Murray if he would like a friend, who is inquiring for his location, to join their position. Murray sees in his mind, Jonathan Blackwood - Journalist: Hard Target.  Murray agrees. Doctor Who tells Murray he has a very cozy home.  "Almost like a prison." Nina explains the Doctor is the reason they're here and the woman isn't really Doctor Who.  The other elevator joins them and Jonathan steps into the chamber, meeting them all.  Pelenore again explains they are all not her things. Jonathan asks about the Dandy Corporation and Doctor Who explains they went back to the bookstore to find information on a company called UBER to better understand the Dandy Corporation.

Flashbacks of Murray meeting with the Dandy Corporation and being offered an chance to experience things first hand.  He steps into the car and joins them to learn more. He meets Miss Shepherd and learns he's perfect for the services they plan to offer. It becomes clear that the Dandy company is a futuristic company that practices Live Sharing. People can basically be part of Dandy as "Actors" and are given a device that allows "Riders" to ride along them and watch their lives unfold.  The heroes also learn that the company uses a multitude of golden micromachines that move in concert and gather into Dandy Lions, their security measures.  But there is a darker side to the story it seems. People have been having lost memories. Some unexplained deaths as well. And worse, some of the "darker tastes" have been part of the Dandy menu of experiences to try for a price.

They learn there are these tiny sequins, which seem to be attached to the skin. Detaching it with the sonics, it causes the sequin to separate and unfurl into a ball-shaped device of glittering parts. Nina screams as they reach the ground floor. A golden lion stares at them as they exit, having detected their tampering of the device. Missy grins, "A Dandy Lion!"

People are staring at them as the floating devices come close, demanding they surrender to be processed. Missy surrenders, claiming to have been caught red-handed.  Pelenore grabs Nina's hand and they start running.  The others run off following them. Missy grins, "I guess I worked alone."  The rest of the group keeps running, ducking into different places to hide in. Jonathan blends into the crowd. The others break off, running elsewhere. The security bots fail to track Jonathan, and he bumps into a cat in robes who recognizes and thanks Jonathan for his article on the adipose slavery. He is invited to a nearby tea room to talk, and knowing it helps him hide, he agrees.

The others rush to the nearest elevator and duck inside. They end up back in the Dandy offices and learn more about the services the company offers.  The groups learn more of the far reach of the Dandy, and son even learn that the actual Doctor, an old man in this timeline, has also trying to find a way to deal with the issue while searching for his companion, Missy. Jonathan meets the Doctor and decides to stick with him.

The group soon learns that the person behind this insidious company turns out to be an old face, Mistress Shepherd, who was once known as the Mistress Cordelia, a relative of Matron Cofelia of the Five Straighten Classabindi Nursery Fleet.  Similar to her attempt to monetize the adipose, this time, she has attempted to utilize memories and life sharing as a means to take over people.

Realizing they are on the Transmat Towers, 12 towers that surround a replica earth, Pelenore and Murray, with Nina iwth them, at one point are in a transport and on the verge of being captured. But they realize if they allow themselves to be captured, they can much quicker get back to the Doctor and the others. They decide to figure out how to escape when they get to that point.

Shepherd confronts them, eager to know where Missy has gone. Shepherd admits she knows Missy is not the same as the Doctor. But she wants to know where Doctor Who is hiding. The guards in the room are adipose, well, they were but these are six-foot tall and buff with muscles. Adipose-guards? Pelenore admits they were hoping by being captured, they would be lead to her. Shepherd pulls out three starter kits for the Dandy and admits they don't need to ask. They can just find the answers in their brain.

Jonathan, the reporter, has been moving around with the Doctor, and have eventually reached the office of Shepherd. Seeing the situation, the Doctor, an old man, asks Jonathan if he has cybernetics, hidden alien powers, or anything to fight and save the day. Jonathan stresses he just writes stories. The Doctor tells him to see what he can find anything useful in the window while he checks the other room.  By the circular window, Jonathan sees the interior of the office and the hostage situation, then past the group, he sees Missy at the window opposite the door, staring back at him.  Missy, floating outside the window, begins to mime at Jonathan, to do something about the events happening in the room. An echo of the Donna Noble - Doctor scene in the past, also with Corelia, the two embarrassingly mime communication at each other, blind to the fact others have begun to notice them. Murray notices the two, and notices one of the small adipose on his lap. He slides the slippery adipose against the binding and uses its slipperiness to loosen them.

Jonathan turns back to the Doctor and sees him rigging something up. He lets the Doctor know they found everyone and they're with Shepherd. "Let me know when you can distract them or rescue the others. I am almost done." Jonathan worriedly hurries back to the window. Shepherd is about to start with the child, but Pelenore reminds her he's better stock with his specialized memories. He reminds her he lived in the 20th century and that it is prized information and knowledge. Shepherd realizes he is from that era in the past when she was defeated. "Leave the child alone and I am all yours," Pelenore offers.  But just as Pelenore convinces her to focus on him, they all turn to the sound of banging on the glass.  Missy, impatient that Jonathan has vanished from the window, has banged against the glass in frustration.  They stare at her. She realizes what she just did.

Murray takes the opportunity to slip from his bonds! Slipping out, he throws the big adipose towards Miss Shepherd to distract her. Using the distraction, Pelenore launches himself over the table to knock two of the starter kits to the floor.  Shepherd pulls out a laser pistol from her desk. Jonathan turns back to the Doctor to ask for help, but the Doctor explains he's rewriting the transmat to reach the TARDIS. Jonathan has to help them on his own! Pelenore dares Shepherd to shoot him, the Dandy's most specialized product. But then something is tugging Pelenore back. Turning, he sees it is his clothes!

Outside, Missy has whistled. And tugging out of Pelenore's clothing, the umbrella flies out straight towards. It spiderwebs the glass but does not break through. Missy sighs and elbows the glass.  Shepherd attempts to fire at Pelenore and he dodges out of the way. Pelenore keeps taunting Shepherd to draw her fire. Murray sees the other adipose is lumbering towards Pelenore. Murray grabs the unconscious child on the ground and makes for the door. Jonathan pulls the door open for Murray as they slide through. Pelenore leaps into Shepherd to knock her back.  But then one of the adipose grabs hold of Pelenore from behind.  Missy steps into the room, training the umbrella at Pelenore. "Don't worry, I got you covered." A sound emits from the umbrella and suddenly, a vacuum like force rips the adipose away into a tiny version. Shepherd howls for her babies.  Jonathan pops the door open and fires into the room to distract Shepherd and the others. This forces everyone to dive to the floor to dodge the incoming firepower. Missy shuts down another adipose guard with her umbrella. A door slams open, and the Doctor tells them the way out is ready!  Murray carries the child with him through the room and the Doctor admits he isn't sure where the TARDIS is but the copier will allow them to jump to where it is. Murray hands the Doctor the child and hurries to help the others. The Doctor places the child on the copier and activates it, shunting the child to the TARDIS location. Murray grabs the closest thing to use and snatches a standing lamp.  Rushing back to Jonathan's side, they two see Shepherd stays hidden behind a door, demanding they stop or she will have every Dandy hunt them down. Missy tells Pelenore to stop worrying over the adipose, "They're fat. No one likes fat."

Jonathan steps into view, revealing his id, and declaring, "Jonathan Blackwood, Hard Target!" and distracts Shepherd enough for Murray to smash the lamp at him!  Getting the opening, they hurry to the other room.  Pelenore, seeing all the fat in the floor from the adipose, uses it to slide to the other room! Missy laughs and slides alongside him, "Now you see what I was seeing!" Jonathan and Murray see the tiny adipose angrily approaching them.  And worse, the employee's eyes glaze over and begin to turn to face them. Jonathan warns Shepherd to stop as he is recording everything. He points to the blinking red light and tells her, "Worse,  it is live.  Everywhere."  Shepherd falls for the bluff, believing Jonathan's lie that his voice recorder is transmitting the feed live everywhere!  Shepherd rushes to a console and confirms her suspicions, "You're not transmitting anywhere!"  Missy smiles and taps the device with her umbrella, "No.. but he is now." Suddenly the screens are broadcasting everything the recorder has captured. They rush to the other room and the copier is powered up. Missy is shoved in first by Pelenore. The Doctor tells them he couldn't send them into the TARDIS but he could track the device used to trap it, and focused on getting there. Pelenore tells the Doctor, "It is nice to meet you," but the Doctor says, "Meet me? We have met before, Mount Batton." The group transmats to the courtyard.

There, surrounding the TARDIS are three golden lions.  The group considers the plan and Missy tells them a distraction would be necessary. Jonathan fires his pistol at the lions to grab their attention and hits one of the lions. Pelenore takes his jacket off, waving it like a matador to lure the predators away, but Missy grabs him, "You're too old to buy us time.  He's better, he's expendable."  Murray, who Missy pointed at, yells, "What!?!" as he hurriedly runs with the jacket in another direction. The rest rush for the TARDIS as the lions chase Murray. The Doctor sees the group running for the TARDIS. Murray digs into the pockets and finds a handful of plastic bricks. He scatters them behind him and the lions stare at the bricks, drawn to the temporal energy in them.  The Doctor yells at Murray to keep running then jump.  To Murray's horror, the rest have entered the TARDIS, shut the door behind them, and vanish.

Murray jumps.  He falls down in space, away from the tower, towards the replica earth.

The TARDIS materializes to catch him, and both Missy and the Doctor shut the doors with a smile. The group is safe.

* * *

Emerging from one of Pelenore's pockets, an adipose comes into view. Missy tells the Doctor they're done. Transmissions show all 12 towers are going out as the customers demand their refunds from the Dandy corporation. Pelenore admits he only realized now they are travelling through time. He wonders if they should stop her at the source. The Doctor tells Blackwood it is time to bring him home.

Stepping into his office, Jonathan looks around and realizes it has barely been a few minutes since he left. He activates the computer and begins writing his report.  Murray and Pelenore give their thanks and suggest he gets a camera.  Jonathan checks his device for a recording, but it does not play. The TARDIS reopens and Missy motions, "The other slot. You'll appreciate the visuals." As the TARDIS vanishes, Jonathan discovers his audio recorder now has video recording as well. Playing it, he sees, Missy telling him, "See, I helped you!  You can say Doctor Who and her Companion Things have helped save the world." Jonathan still does not know if he can trust her.  The door opens and Jonathan sees his boss arrive, congratulating him for a great job. The report actually has already been broadcast, and he's gotten pretty famous. Jonathan asks for a raise and sits down to write more.

Elsewhere, the Doctor and Murray walk into his timeline. Murray stretches and smiles, happy to be home but the Doctor seems hesitant. He reminds Murray they never figured out how he got to the future. The answer then becomes clear.  They find Dandy:Lion industries labels all around the house. Tearing the barrier open, they see a chamber where Murray's bed should be. Murray is sleeping inside, still cabled into the Dandy:Lion system. The Doctor explains that's the real body of Murray. The company needed to store the memories, and mentally transmitting to the host body standing beside them. "It is time to wake you up. And it will only be dark for a moment."  The Doctor opens the chamber and helps Murray get out of the chamber. Murray can barely stand. He can barely speak. The Doctor explains he realized Murray has been strapped into the machine for many many years. Decades. Murray wishes he could see the 80s. Pelenore offers to send him music from that era. Missy offers he can just come over to that time. "Although there will be rules," the Doctor admits, "This isn't like sending a kid to the grocery store."

Pelenore goes to Nina, who isn't quite sure how to handle the time travel. The Doctor opens the door and asks them to step out as it is time to go. Pelenore offers to Nina to visit the library whenever he wants.  Pelenore asks if this is also his time, but Missy tells him she's handling returning him. The Doctor looks at Missy, but she shushes him.  Pelenore pulls out a library card and hands it to Missy, telling him to use it next time. Missy thanks him for treating her more than as some villainess, cackling in the night. Pelenore tells her she is more than a villain. She asks if he just told him something nice, but the Doctor tells her to stop. She sighs, muttering about missing disintegrations. Sending Pelenore off, the Doctor thanks him and tells him that this wasn't meant to be part of his experiences, but when Pelenore offers to tell him about why he became a librarian, the Doctor admits they've had that discussion before. In the background, Pelenore hears a voice saying the library should be the place she visited before.  Turning, Pelenore sees an old woman come into view with a red-haired young man. The old woman greets Pelenore and she introduces the young red-haired man to him, "This is the Doctor," the old woman explains.  When Pelenore introduces himself as a librarian, the red-haired doctor grins, "I always wanted to be a librarian! Tell me more. How did you become a librarian?"

The old Nina watches as the two walk away.  She smiles as she sees the adipose on the ground nearby, waving at her.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Alan Bahr talks about Cold Shadows for Tabletop Radio Hour

Alan Bahr shared tremendously kind words about my role in Cold Shadows and I truly am appreciative of his support and appreciation of my work.  Listen in and check out what we have in store for you all in the games we have planned.

Thank you, Tabletop Radio Hour!
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