Review: Misspent Youth

Note: This review was also published on

Misspent Youth coverMisspent Youth is a game firmly anchored in the subgenre of story games. The players (the Young Offenders, or YO) and gamemaster (the Authority) work together to answer a series of questions about the setting and characters to create the setting, then play out episodes in which the Young Offenders fight off an oppressive, corrupt, or abusive Authority and generally stick it to The Man. What will they sacrifice for their ideals?

Disclaimer: I received free print and PDF copies of the book so I could playtest and review it.

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Playtest review: Danger Patrol!

Last night we tried the beta playtest version of Danger Patrol.  Created by Seattle game designer John  Harper, Danger Patrol is a quick-start role-playing game where players take the roles of pulp science-fiction heroes.  Character creation takes only a few minutes and play is quick and fairly simple, revolving around elements of danger added on-the-fly by the players and game master.  This is a great match for the Emerald City Gamefest Thursday Night Open Game sessions or a pick-up game among friends.


The game is still in beta testing so there is no lavish production.  It’s a neatly laid-out PDF document with a ’30s science-fiction look, but the only illustrations are icons, examples of use of dice, markers, etc., and a head shots of “Professor Bradbury” and “Danger Cadet Billy”, the narrators (or the Clippies) of the game, answering the questions expected from readers.

The writing is clear and kept short, and the information is well organized for quick reference.  There are many useful checklists and cheat sheets, such as the list of the “stuff you need” to play (what types of dice and how many, markers, tokens, etc.), the step-by-step character creation process, the scene sequence, the “GM jobs and threat move” page, the list of “heroic actions”, the rules summaries, etc.

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Review: Mouse Guard RPG

(Cross-posted to

The Mouse Guard Roleplaying Game is based on the on-going comic book series Mouse Guard and a streamlined, simplified version of the Burning Wheel system, in which you play the protectors and warriors of a medieval society of sentient mice.

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Thanks to Everyone!

Thanks to everyone who attended this year’s Emerald City Gamefest!  On behalf of all the members of the Flying Committee, we hope you enjoyed yourselves, and look forward to seeing you next year!

Cross-posted from Alan Barclay

Hello Story Gamers,

The Seattle roleplaying community is having it’s third annual story games convention. We have 70+ attendees so far. The schedule is nothing but games. Some are pre scheduled, but Go Play also has lots of unscheduled and pick up events — and this is where I’ve often had the most fun.

Attendees include the authors of Agon, Primetime Adventures, Grey Ranks, and Universalis.

If you’d like to try cool new (or cool classic) Story Games, check out Go Play NW at the end of this month.

Recap: Viva Las Vegas, Part 1

Following the fun we had with the first episode of Knights of the Realm recently, I turned the game into a recurring online game played via Skype and open to drop-in players. If you missed the first episode, the premise is this:

Everyone is playing aging knights of the realm. Then dragons show up — that’s when they learn that by accepting knighthood they are heirs to an ancient, but very binding, obligation to do something about it.

Last Monday, we had a second game that involved Sir Michael Caine, Sir Tom Jones, Sir Mick Jagger, and Dame Jane Goodall. First, we went through the list of open plot items and new items the players were interested in adding. We ended up with:

  • Elvira as the Lady of the Lake (Lake Tahoe)
  • Save the world/Save the Queen
  • Embittered John Cleese returns!
  • Benefit concert — DragAid — as the knights seek help in Las Vegas

With this, we opened with the knights still using Sir Richard Branson’s experimental airship, this time to travel to Las Vegas. They had two goals: ostensibly, to be part of a benefit concert to raise money for the fight against dragons; and covertly, to retrieve a precious and arcane artifact on display at the Luxor as part of the Titanic exhibit: a Fabergé egg that MI7 believed might actually be a dragon’s egg.

Before departing, they stopped by to get equipment from Q, which included a Sir Microphone (the souped-up version of Mr. Microphone) for Sir Tom, and an unknown potion nicked by Sir Mick while no one was looking.

There were fewer dragons on the far side of the Atlantic, so travel was not too impeded. The heroes arrived in Vegas at night, greeted by fireworks (a little close to the airship!), paparazzi, and fans. Once they checked into the Luxor, they were all handed invitations to a meeting the next day, printed in gilt script on velum.

Bright and early the next morning, Dame Jane headed out to visit the Las Vegas Zoo — while the men were dragging themselves to get some sleep. At the zoo, she was recognized received a grand tour; she encountered Sally, a gorilla with some rudiments of sign language. Sally kept signing “Help”, “Hide,” and “Alone.” Jane’s sidekick Koko was upset, and her agitation got all the gorillas riled up; the zoo personnel asked Dame Jane to take Koko away. When they turned to leave, Sally added “Friend.”

Meanwhile, the other knights are awakened by room service around noon. Soon after, in the middle of breakfast, air raid sirens blared. The PA system came alive, asking guests to stay indoors and avoid outside areas like the pool and parking. Sir Tom immediately headed for the viewing platform at the top of the pyramid, mimosa in hand; Sir Michael follows with a mug of coffee. Sir Mick ran out front to see what was going on, somewhat drunk; he saw the shadow of a very large dragon onto the hotel tower.

Sir Tom tried to jump onto the dragon’s leg as it swoops past, and failed [he had no applicable skill, but that netted a learning point for the character]. He was caught in extremis by Sir Michael and found himself hanging down the side of the pyramid. Fortunately for him, he was able to slide down to the window immediately below — the suite occupied by by Adam West.

By this time, Dame Jane and Koko were returning from the zoo on the monorail, and saw the dragon swooping around. There was much screaming on board the monorail train.

The dragon heavily landed onto the sphinx that decorated the entrance to the Luxor, in front of Sir Mick. [This gave rise to a new piece of dragon lore in the campaign: “Dragons are like cats, they always try to fit where they can’t.”] Workers on the ground panicked, scattering. The dragon eyed the incoming monorail train, and decided to start swooping after it [I rolled randomly for targets].

Sir Michael took the lift down to the ground floor, while Sir Tom used a window-washing rig to make his more flamboyant way down. Sir Michael grabbed a bottle of scotch on his way to fortify himself with liquid courage, then tried to distract the dragon, but ended up a little worse for the wear. [He tried a social combat attack against the dragon using Biting Wit* but failed, and absorbed the damage with his quality Acting, which will be his plot hook for the next episode he shows up in.]

After swooping around the monorail, the dragon landed back on the sphinx, facing backwards to stare at Sir Michael. Sir Tom started climbing to reach the dragon’s leg [no skill, failed, earning another Learning Point]. Sir Mick did same with more success and managed to climb up the dragon’s tail [using Rolling Stone* plus Jumping Jack Flash!].

On board the train, Dame Jane makes her way to the front car and accessed the emergency override, closely watching the dragon. During all this to-do, Sir Michael suddenly remembered the Fabergé “dragon” egg, and on an impulse headed back inside the Luxor to get Security to open the case. [This longer action took him out of the immediate round-by-round action.]

The angry dragon threw Sir Mick off, into the air, and onto a limousine carrying a mafia boss and a couple of hookers. [Mark was using his Can’t always get what you want flaw to earn a Hero Point, and also received a plot hook by absorbing damage with Dancing in the Streets.] Meanwhile, Sir Tom succeeded in climbing onto the dragon’s leg as it took off again.

The dragon managed to belly-flop onto the monorail train just before the train got into the next station. The train came to a screeching halt under the dragon’s weight, pinned to the track mere yards away from the platform. Dame Jane started evacuating the terrified passengers, with Koko’s assistance.

Sir Tom pulled out his Sir Microphone gadget and started singing Thunderball, becoming 007-like. Channelling the super-spy’s lethal precision and martial arts abilities, he kidney-punched the dragon [for 4 levels of damage, using of course his Ultra-Lounge* quality], causing the creature amazing distress.

Sir Mick climbed down from the limo where he had landed [and spent a round and a Hero Point recovering from earlier damage], yanked the angry driver out, and hijacked the Lincoln — not a first for him. “See if you can fetch me a drink from the mini bar, that’s a sport,” he told the agitated passengers. He revved the engine, whipped around, and like a madman drove the limo onto the monorail platform to ram it into the dragon’s face. Blood spurted everywhere; the dragon’s last gasp set limo on fire.

Dame Jane and Koko saved the monorail passengers from the thrashing dragon as the beast dragged the car down off the rail with it. Sir Tom ran right over the top of the dragon and to the limo, opening the door to get Sir Mick out. Jagger rolled down the partition, telling the mobster and hookers: “All right, then, that’s your stop.”

As the knights stumbled away from the unconscious dragon and the wreckage of limo and monorail train, Sir Mick added: “Listen chaps… this hotel just isn’t working for me. I’m switching to the Bellagio.”

* * *

The next episode is Monday night via Skype and open to all. You can join in by contacting me; I will be on Skype by 6:30PM (Pacific Standard Time) to help people make characters, and the game will start at 7PM. It’s dead easy to have an excuse for new characters to jump in, don’t worry (and equally easy to explain why they are not there the next!) If you want to join us, go look at the big list of knighted celebrities posted by John, and pick one you’d like to play.

On the menu:

  • Elvira, Lady of Lake Tahoe
  • The benefit concert
  • The unknown potion Sir Mick nicked from Q
  • Sir Michael Caine’s Acting plot hook
  • Sir Mick Jagger’s Dancing In The Streets plot hook
  • Sir Tom Jones’ Charisma, Charisma, Charisma plot hook
  • The Fabergé “dragon’s egg”
  • Zoo creatures — what was Sally the gorilla’s message?
  • The London bridge
  • The Trinity, NM test site

Midnight Urchins: Game Recap

My game was quite fun to run. The players made me laugh a lot and I let them get away with too much because of it.

Dramatis Personae


Chum Budley as played by Michael


  • Projectile Vomit
  • Iron Liver
  • Stabbing Survivor

Chunk Budley as played by Michael


  • Crazy Face
  • Scary Fast
  • Even Chum makes sense to me

Mario as played by Steve


  • Walk away from terrible crashes
  • Don’t look dangerous
  • Inexplicably doesn’t smell bad

Blowfish as played by Mark


  • Um, I believe that’s mine
  • Punk’s Junk, heavy metal rules
  • The Pope is my godfather

Shackbuilder as played by Adam


  • Shackbuilding
  • Beard of frightening manliness
  • Technobabble

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