Monday, August 21, 2023

Night's Black Agents: Sus Specks


Just finished a year-long mini-campaign of Sus Specks, a mystery romp inspired by the likes of Killing Eve, Utopia, SE7EN, Legion, Mind MGMT, and, yes, Only Murders in the Building.  The game started with two players, Lanz and Vannie, who played intelligence officers who were pulled out of duty for different reasons.  But by the time the campaign ended, a third player, Emman, joined the fun.  

The game had them exploring murders that happened around the vicinity of their condo complex. What started as a strange possible serial killer with inclinations towards using medieval torture devices as murder methods eventually was revealed to have ties to a mission in Afghanistan which all three of them had been part of.  Eventually, the truth was uncovered and the roots of the events were traced back to the escaped captive, Metatron, who was a prisoner of something known as the Monarch Project.  The game ended with a building exploding, a showdown at an emergency room, and a bitter sweet realization that when push comes to shove and human compassion is the only thing that separates us from monsters, we will all remain suspects in our own cruel crimes.

Thank you for playing, Lanz, Vannie, and Emman.
Until the next TAG Bites mini-campaign!

Thursday, May 18, 2023

KNIGHT deserves its GLORY


When I first heard about Mark Beren's upcoming game, KNIGHT, I was definitely intrigued.  As someone who has been a fan of Greg Stafford's King Arthur Pendragon and is currently still running The Great Pendragon Campaign for his gaming circle (the campaign started back in 2017!) I've always been fascinated with games that tried to capture the glory and tragedy of Arthurian tales in one form or another.  

In KNIGHT, you play a heroic, glory-seeking knight in service to your Queen. The game drew inspiration from Pendragon, Into the Odd, Forged in the Dark, and Powered by the Apocalypse games, and offers a tight game experience with collaborative storytelling is supported with a solid system.  Each game has three phases; the Quest phase which is goal-oriented, the Fief phase which explores advancement and decision-making, and the Free play phase which grants even more flexibility on your play options.   Dice rolls are resolved with the use of a standard twenty-sided die, with complications arising if the roll is higher than the attribute being used that moment. Adding to the fun is the Effect Die which measures the effectiveness of one's action and determines when a situation or activity has been successfully overcome. Luck plays a part in the game too, especially during the Fief phase of the game, offering favorable results even in scenes where the character has no direct control over the events. Endurance tracks one's ability to stay active, which nicely allows the story to carry on and not focus solely or character mortality. 

The game also has Glory, which represents power, wealth, and influence with the populace.  Even the passage of time is part of the experience, with players creating their own Avalon by drawing a map, then later showing its development and change with later updates.  This adds for a cool cooperative extra experience which reminds me of games like The Quiet Year.   Generational play is also built into the system with the player having to retire their Knight once certain conditions are met. 

The author was very generous in working on this game too, with practically fifth pages of world-creation thoughts, role-playing tips, and game atmosphere considerations offered to help new players embrace the intricacies of a knight's life.  Lots of alternative rules are also provided to help groups tailor fit the experience to what works better for them.  Given the setting is not your standard Arthurian fare, there are lots of new names and places offered for the game's "baseline" setting. This is where, I feel, I struggled a bit as I have always had trouble with names. While some names are probably common or accurate to the setting, I will confess finding myself unsure how to pronounce some of them. And it was curious to see how the game tried to mix enough influences and imagination -based material to form something familiar but new.  Especially with the game offering a campaign framework (called the Three Ages) to give groups a nice jumping off point for a long term campaign session. 

The game has a sleek character sheet design, and even a section to track your family tree (something with I think King Arthur Pendragon could have benefited from having as part of their main sheet).

All in all, I'm extremely excited to find a chance to try this system out.  Mark was kind enough to offer me a chance to see the book (and in return I sent him a copy of my other game, The Cat's Dream) and I definitely look forward to supporting this game once it is formally available. But even this early, I am already seeing this game finding a spot on my virtual shelf for awesome games that offer Arthurian /Arthur-inspired experiences.  

Learn more the game today at

Monday, January 30, 2023

Regency Cthulhu was amazing!

 The second game among my 12 New Games this 2023 was a session of REGENCY CTHULHU!

Got to run this with a bunch of good friends.  Originally meant to be a two-player game, I bumped it up to four players only cause the response was quite touching.  Claire, Trina, Henry, and Titus each grabbed a seat with my best friend, Flip, taking a final fifth seat.   We had a quick run down on the Regency world, drawing inspiration from movies like Little Women, Emma, and shows like Downton Abbey and Bridgeton.  Last minute, Titus had a small thing to handle which took him from his seat.  But we still got to explore the various themes safely and disturbingly well in a fun way.

Loving the small adjustments to the system that suit this game world.  I do wish there was a section dedicated to work as a quick guide for players and GMs to get the feels a bit more, but I guess the idea was a person who would get the book would have had a better idea of what the setting was already like.

Sunday, January 29, 2023

The Lying City Mysteries are complete

The Lying City Mysteries are finally complete!

All five books are now available on Drivethrurpg.

Book Five, The Door is Open is at PAY WHAT YOU WANT so people can check it out without having to spend.  This book is best for the GM, btw, so please don't spoil it for yourself.  But you can download this, share it with your GM who can then read it and decide if they want to invest on the four other books, or simply use this summarized campaign for free!

Five books, each one can work somewhat as a standalone mystery for Tiny Cthulhu, but overall work best as a campaign for your group.

The Sleep Experiment (Book One)
The Man At the Foot of the Bed (Book Two)
The Beached Thing (Book Three)
Drawing the Silver Key (Book Four)
The Door is Open (Book Five)


Each book touches on a different idea that i wanted to explore:
The Sleep Experiment drew inspiration from the "Russian Sleep Experiment" creepypasta stories.
The Man At the Foot of the Bed explores the concepts of bangugot and death via sleep.
The Beached Thing is a survival horror story.
Drawing the Silver Key is an isekai horror story.
The Door is Open is the finale, tying things together, but also explores the memetic nature of rituals.

Hoping you all like it as much as I did writing them up.

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

TAGBites #038: Delta Green - Loop

Got to play DELTA GREEN as the game session for the year as well as the first item for my 12 NEW GAMES EACH YEAR challenge!  We've been fans of Call of Cthulhu and Pendragon for quite some time, so it wasn't too much a leap to switch to this game.  Getting used to Will Power Points and Bonds was a tricky thing but definitely nothing too hard to navigate.

Had four players: Titus, Lanz, Jin, and my life-partner, Rocky.  It was officially Jin's second RPG game ever, so I felt quite honored and happy to be able to run this for him.  For the rest of us (perhaps save Lanz, I could be wrong) it was our first foray in trying this game system.  I cobbled up a story by combining elements from the module The Observer Effect with the concept of Global Frequency (comic) and had them handle a strange time-loop incursion as a one-shot story.  Personally, I loved how it turned out!

You can watch the session here:

Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Thank you, jim

This is a moment for me.

Nothing big.
Just happy to hit a personal milestone.

Sunday, January 1, 2023

Ending 2022 and welcoming 2023

Looking forward to a good year this 2023.
While generally 2022 was not that bad, there were still those moments that were just exhausting and trying - including a time when this blog, TAG Sessions, was shut down after certain "complaints" and "violations" were cited (and later overruled) - which nearly had me calling it quits on the entire thing. Thankfully, I continue to be surrounded by awesome friends, kind gamers, and critical individuals who handle events in a clearer and more rational manner.

Completed my 12 New Games personal challenge again!  This year, was able to play/run new game systems as well as expand on having some of them as multi-session mini-campaigns to provide a better fulfilling story and experience.  Summaries of such sessions are usually shared in the TAG Sessions Facebook Group (feel free to ask for membership, but please do be sure to answer ALL the questions properly) to be part of the fun.    This year had two mini-campaigns (Pendragon and Night's Black Agents)

Among this year's 12 New include:
1) Praxis: Our Lost Way
2) Star Trek Adventures
3) Praxis: Lambs
4) The Hunted
5) Mashed
6) Hearts of Wulin
7) Horror on the Orient Express
8) Savage Worlds
9) Golden Sky Stories
10) Trail of Cthulhu
11) Reign of Terror 
12) Avatar: Legends
13) Alas for the Awful Sea
14) Cairn

Very happy to have such a robust list of systems and books to have explored.

Targeting a good selection of possible games for this year, including stuff like INVISIBLE SUN which keeps touting itself as a very unique game system (I'm not convinced quite yet) and DIE RPG (which was an amazing comic, but I have no comments for now on the game system). 

Sadly, though, this year, was definitely not as productive as I wished to be. With the blog being shut down for a while, lost tracking some of the stuff I released this year.  But among them are:

The Lands of Voce Luminare - Book 01: War of the Widows Supplement

Buy it at DriveThruRPG: War of the Widows: Book 1: Lands of Voce Luminare

The Sleep Experiment - Lying City Mysteries - Book 01 for Tiny Cthulhu
Buy it at DriveThruRPG: The Sleep Experiment

The Man At the Foot of the Bed - Lying City Mysteries - Book 02 for Tiny Cthulhu
Buy it at DriveThruRPG: The Man At the Foot of the Bed

The Beached Thing - Lying City Mysteries - Book 03 for Tiny Cthulhu
Buy it at DriveThruRPG: The Beached Thing

Drawing the Silver Key - Lying City Mysteries - Book 04 for Tiny Cthulhu 

Buy it at DriveThruRPG: Drawing the Silver Key

Faith Heal Her - Bow Your Heads - Book 01

Buy it at DriveThruRPG: Faith Heal Her - Bow Your Heads

50 Mortal Musings

Buy it at DriveThruRPG: 50 Mortal Musings

And sadly, that was it. 

I did a lot of work on a few other books, including rewrites of the book formerly known as Once Upon a Time in Jianghu, book 4 of Sid's Real Life, unHuman (a Changeling the Dreaming supplement), Bulong (a Changeling the Dreaming novelette), Mythography (a Trinity campaign), Blazing Hearts Revolt, book 3 of the Reconquista Vampire novelette, Diliman the RPG, Dreamscrapers, and even a MODELS quickstart

I have no idea if I will succeed in finishing any of them this 2023.
But at least, this year, the Pandemic seems to have giving us all some breathing room.  We have gained some space to reconnect with friends and to find opportunities to step outside beyond our prison-sanctuary rooms.

Here's hoping it goes well.

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