Posts tagged Adamant Entertainment

Random Story Generators

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Random generators are incredible tools for GMs. No, I’m not talking about dice or other random number generators. I’m talking about random story generators. Basically, they randomly give you a few pieces of a story and then you have to figure out how they link together. Usually this winds up generating exciting ideas that you might not have come up with on your own.

A really simple random story generator is the online Vortex Oracle: Stories in Time & Space, which creates a random Doctor Who episode. For instance, I just generated:

The Death Children

  • A beautiful structure reaching the heavens, impossibly made.
  • A disembodied brain crackling with psychokinetic force.
  • An archaeological dig.
  • Mourning a lost loved one.

Already ideas are flowing about what kind of story this might tell. I’m imagining a story somewhat like The Time of Angels in which the TARDIS arrives at the ruins of some desolated planet. Perhaps the people made some sort of Tower of Babel structure that wound up being taken over by “a disembodied brain,” whatever that winds up being. And there’s a survivor of the incident who is mourning the lost of her brother after disaster befell him.

Next up are random tables for generating stories. Thrilling Tales of Adventure by Adamant Entertainment includes one such generator in which you roll on eleven tables to generate a full adventure. The benefit of a table like this is that it is specifically designed for creating an elaborate adventure for the setting of the book. I just rolled the following adventure:

Villain: Mastermind

The Fiendish Plot, Part 1: Infiltrate

The Fiendish Plot, Part 2: A Lost World

Main Location: City Skyscrapers

The Hook: Solicitation

Supporting Character: Clumsy, Skilled, Business Owner

Action Sequence Type: Chase, Vehicle

Action Sequence Participants: Lots (5+ per PC)

Action Sequence Location: Educational (museum, college, etc.)

Action Sequence Complications: Props

Plot Twist: Hidden Plot

Looks to me like there’s some key to a lost world (probably Hollow Earth or something) inside of a downtown multi-story museum. And we’ve got a massive vehicle chase through that museum, perhaps even driving the vehicles on display!

Although tables like these are incredible, they are really only designed for a certain setting. So ideally we would want something just as flexible, but generic. The coolest gaming accessory I’ve found lately are the Story Forge Cards, which fit the bill perfectly. These are a set of 88 cards which each have two concepts on them. These cards are then randomly dealt out in a certain arrangement, leaving it up to the GM to interpret the meaning of it all.

Story Forge is mostly aimed at writers, but it does wonders for helping a GM come up with a plot or to determine a character’s backstory (there’s a great video showing the latter). It comes with several predefined card arrangements (called “spreads”), but I could easily see creating new spreads depending on your needs. Perhaps you could create a small spread for a Deadlands character’s worst nightmare. I can even see them being useful during gameplay. The players want to talk to an NPC you’re making up on the fly? Draw a single card and find out what their motivation is. That alone could create incredible plot hooks.

Right now, Story Forge has a Kickstarter project associated with it, which is already more than funded, so it’s definitely going to be made. I definitely encourage you to pick a deck up. It may seem pricey at $25, but a tool for randomly generating stories for any system or setting seems well worth it.

Anybody else know of any good random story generators out there?

Supers, Nazis, and Stick Figures

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Part 2 of the Traveller review is going to be delayed because I want to share about an amazing ICONS session I had last night. ICONS is a rules-lite superhero game by Adamant Entertainment that is designed to replicate the feel of 4-color comics. Andy (the PlatinumWarlock) ran an adventure for the Wittenberg Role-playing Guild that he called Achtung, Amigos! The description was as follows:

Called to look into the disappearance of noted anthropologist Dr. Anthony Arrington, the Huntsmen leap into action! Deep in the jungles of the Yucatan, it’s up to America’s premier superhero group to find the good doctor and his crew before it’s too late. But, what’s all this wreckage? And Nazis?! What are those guys doing here?!

A picture is worth a thousand words, so here is a picture we drew of the final battle:

This all took place in a swamp in the Everglades. On the left we’ve got Dead-Man Walker in a Nazi swamp-skimmer taking out five Nazis at once.

In the center is a Nazi VTOL, but another swamp-skimmer crashed into it and lit it on fire. The Big Bad Nazi Leader with the black trench coat (who is totally a ripoff of the guy from Raiders of the Lost Ark) is stuck in the mud so that only his head and most of his 2 meter sword are sticking out. On the ramp is the remains of some Nazi genetic experiment. At the bottom is a swamp where Shadowman IX was wrestling with that super-experiment until High Voltage sent a devastating shock to it.

And on the right, we’ve got the heroes’ VTOL with Rebel Yell, Pinpoint, and Murphy’s Law on board using their powers at range. In the air is Rebuild who is flying and launched his rockets at the swamp. Floating off the side of the VTOL is Jacob Marley the ghost, who tried brainwashing the Big Bad Nazi Leader by telepathically forcing All You Need is Love into his head. But unfortunately that didn’t work because he had a Nazi playing German patriotic music on his sousaphone.

That’s ICONS for you. We had a blast and the stick figure drawings made it even more fun. Try it sometime!

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