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About Spence

  • Rank
    Senior Member

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  • Location
    Marysville, WA


  • RPG Biography
    Was introduced to RPG’s with the original D&D game and the Arduin Grimoire supplements. Judge’s Guild’s City State of the Invincible Overlord became “the” city.

    Played/Ran many games in the early years including in no particular order:
    Empire of the Petal Throne
    Chivalry and Sorcery
    Villain & Vigilante’s
    Boot Hill
    Gamma World
    Metamorphosis Alpha
    Tunnels & Trolls

    Joined the Navy after high school and found that there were many other people very interested in RPG’s, considering the very very small space needed. One book and some dicer was all you needed and that fit nicely in the seabag.

    While in the Navy I became dissatisfied with the “kill’um take their stuff” style of play I had been involved in from day one. I started playing updated versions of the above plus discovered new systems such as:
    Call of Cthulhu
    Top Secret
    Justice Inc.

    After a while as I gained rank and responsibility and with the increased ops tempo, my RPG time cut way back. Sometimes to zero.

    In ’04 I retired started playing again, but with a different outlook. While I preferred thinking and investigative games on one hand, or super’s games on the other hand, I still played a lot of the video game driven generation of “kill’um take their stuff” with the kids that came into my FLGS.

    After I left the Navy, I ran/wrote up many games set in the 30’s (I love the interwar period for RPG adventure) and have accumulated a library of support publications and every RPG game/system/publication I could lay my hands on paper or electronic.

    In the recent years I have tried/run/played a lot of different games including updates of old standards as well as FATE, Ubiquity, Savage Worlds and Gumshoe.

    Now I am back to Call of Cthulhu and think the 7th edition update is looking pretty good. Plus, the addition of an organized play program fulfills one of my other gaming needs, games I run at my FLGS must be available for purchase in the FLGS.
  • Current games
    GUMSHOE: Fear Itself, Trail of Cthulhu, Night Black Agents
    Hero System: Champions, Home brew.

    Starting up Call of Cthulhu 7th: Organized play, Homebrew.
  • Location
    Marysville, WA
  • Blurb
    Retired Navy Chief
    Avid reader and RPG gamer.
    Love to play historical miniatures, though the call for it is much less these days.
    Read a lot of scifi and fantasy novels/series.
    Satisfied with the number of watchable genre movies and TV series we get these days.

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  1. For me this is overthinking it. A good scenario is one your players enjoy. A scenario build is just something to deviate from when the players discover a brand new direction to shear off on. For my builds (from Call of Cthulhu to Fear Itself) I build the Who, What and Why. Add supporting cast and a series of encounter/events. Once I introduce the players into the opener, everything changes depending on PC actions. Too much planning is a waste. D&D style RPGs benefit from excessive detail. Horror/investigation style games suffer from excessive detail. Just my opinion if course.
  2. I really don't remember exactly how PH divination is written but in the past in other games when this type of came up I never gave clear answers. And I definitely made it a hidden role. I'd describe a indistinct vision. A sense of foreboding. A whispering voice only heard by the player. I put as much flair into failed roles as successful ones. I answered what they asked, not what they meant to ask. But I personally never gave a yes or no answer.
  3. Any plans for original Japanese'centric modules/campaigns/setting material to be translated for play in the US and European markets.
  4. Woot! Sounds great. 1920s correct? Or 1930ish? Oh...and will it be purist, pulp or either?
  5. That looks fantastic. Any general non-spoiler info on number of adventures/length of campaign?
  6. Yep. Another reason I really like the separate players book. Now days people will read the rulebook front to back. Or if they don't read everything, they flip through and read the "interesting" things. Which sucks the whole " unknown" and "mystery" right out of a game.
  7. Another method is to never actually identify the entity. Everyone always talks about maintaining "horror" and then they ID the threat by name. InN a short one-shot made on the fly I use threats out of the book. In a game I have taken time to create I craft a threat using a Mythis creatures as a starting point or completely make my own. Horror comes from the unknown. The unknown.... 😲
  8. Outstanding! 😁 I had begun running a quasi weekly (depending on non-gaming life) "One Shot Saturday" games. Essentially I run a one session (or two) scenario that players can "drop in" and learn a new game (or just drop in and play for fun). The idea is to expose players to games other than sword swingers (D&D, PF, 13thA, etc). CoC/ToC/and related have been my go to games systems, though I have added some 2d20 games. F&J will be a pleasant addition, providing the scenario's fit the play length. If they are too long I will just need to run the game on another day as a campaign. Question. With the pregens be editable? If I run it as a standard campaign the players will need to improve over time. I can transfer them to standard character sheets if needed. But I was hoping for a F&J themed sheet 😉
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  10. Ah... I thought they were all good. I felt CoC 7th's layout was in keeping with dark horror and the DDT and PC layouts shifted the flavor toward those titles subjects.
  11. @Core book. It does have only rule book, the Keepers Guide. Right now there are basically two models for RPG books. 1) The game has a core rule book and then puts out a "players book" that has CharGen from the core book, setting descriptions and material listing with a section of player advice with 98% of the material coming from the core book. CoC 7th and Conan are examples. 2) The game is deliberately broken into 2 or 3 books, all of which are needed to run the game, while only one is needed to play a character. D&D and C&C are examples. @Updated to new look. I don't understand this one. It is. @20 default. Well this has been the default for as long as the game has existed. The current Keepers Guide supports 20's and Modern as it is. I do not think including default time periods in the core is bad and to have two is better. I do think that Chaosium has not come to the realization that the current crop of gamers mostly do not know or actually even care that there is a difference between the 20's, 30. and 40's. Heck, most of my CoC games are set in 80's thru near future (2020's etc). When I trot out a 70's or 80's game they treat it like ancient times and they have a hard time RPing within restrictions like needing to go to a library and use a book to research. What?! No internet??? Given that their core players have been playing in the 20's, this editions use of 20's PLUS modern is the best I believe we will see. Now I definitely would like to see guides for the 20's and 30's. The War Years (late 30's to late 40's), Cold War (late 40's thru 80's), Early Modern (70's thru 90's, early computer/internet/cell access), Modern (late 90's till current, fully developed computer/internet/cell access) plus any specific "flavor" guide similar to the western guide that may come up.
  12. No argument on that point. But that doesn't take in account the various nutballs of various flavor that will avoid medical assistance for one reason or another. Not to mention that the various agencies will delay early response because they will be afraid if they act early and are wrong they will be committing political/legal suicide. I expect that if, no when it happens, any hope of containment will be lost because they will be caught up in worrying about who they might offend and pi$$ away the opportunity. But I guess that is just my natural pessimism 🤪
  13. That is one of the things I try not to think of. But then everytime they try to quarantine anything they get all the hue and cry. I'm guessing that a pandemic will be what wipes us out in the end. By the time the bureaucracy allows the medical side of things to react, it will be too late.
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