Fists of Hubris – Part II: Insertion

We had our party of Space Marines, and had decided which actors/fictional characters they resemble Astartes-scale versions of. We had done our shopping. The party had been briefed on the mission. In short, it was time to get the game moving…

(A little reminder: this series of posts has spoilers for the adventure The Price of Hubris in the collection The Emperor Protects. So obviously if your GM intends to run this thing you should study this post intensely but deny all knowledge.)

Continue reading “Fists of Hubris – Part II: Insertion”

Fists of Hubris – Part I: Preparing for Fisting

(Note: this run of posts is going to contain spoilers for the adventure The Price of Hubris from the Deathwatch adventure collection The Emperor Protects. So don’t tell your GM you read this.)

Warhammer 40,000 is a ridiculous setting. That isn’t a criticism; ridiculous bullshit cranked up to 11 is fun. One of the Space Marine Chapters who have been particularly ridiculous since the inception of the setting, and to Games Workshop’s credit has remained endearingly silly since then, are the Imperial Fists. The Imperial Fists cruise around the galaxy in a giant starship recruiting promising young men who catch their eye and initiate them into their ways, which include:

  • Branding their firm young buttocks with Fist icons.
  • Teaching them to find ecstasy in pain and to consider it to be, beyond a means of chastisement, a method of holy communion with Rogal Dorn and the Emperor and a technique for personal enlightenment and exploring one’s boundaries.
  • Teaching them to do the above through the use of the Pain Glove, a transparent skintight bodyglove which is ideally used whilst bound to a metal frame.

Much of the above was established in Space Marine by Ian Watson, but of all the above only the buttock-branding is absent in the much more recent Sons of Dorn, which includes a Pain Glove sequence presented in strikingly similar terms to the one presented in Space Marines. (And to be fair, it doesn’t say they don’t bend over for the Sergeant whilst he brands his buttocks.)

Now, all of the above would be really quite homoerotic even by itself. In the context of Space Marine stories, in which all-male brotherhoods of manly brothers are manly at each other and occasionally experience moments of brotherly tenderness, it gets very silly indeed.

Lusty Space Marine
Then again, if group bondage sessions between muscly men is your thing then the Emperor has blessed you greatly.

This is one of those things where the setting is radically improved if you embrace the stupidity. Space Marines played seriously can seem creepy and fascistic. A Chapter of all-gay Space Marines wouldn’t really be a whole lot better. But a Chapter of Space Marines which is also a gay bondage cult is too silly to take seriously, but at the same time too fun to ignore.

Continue reading “Fists of Hubris – Part I: Preparing for Fisting”

What’s this then?

Why does this place exist?

A few friends of mine have started jumping on the RPG blogging bandwagon (blogroll to come later if I remember) so I thought I would too. Hence: this place.

No, I mean what’s it for, what are you going to be posting here?

Oh, right!

Whilst there’s plenty of gaming blogs out there which cover things like game mechanics, GMing technique and so on in the abstract, I don’t intend that to be the focus here (though if I hit on an idea which I want to turn into a post I’ll do so). Instead I want this blog to be mainly about actual play – and, specifically, picking over games I personally run, thinking about what worked and what didn’t, and seeing what lessons can be learned from it.

Is this just games you run?

Almost exclusively. I’m not averse to doing post-mortems of other people’s games as well, but in terms of actually airing that shit in public I’m not really going to do it unless they invite the conversation in their own space.

OK, so is this going to be griping about your players and talking about IRL interpersonal strife? Because I love reading about that shit.

So do I, but you won’t find it here. Nor am I going to be dragging anyone’s real names or internet IDs into posts unless they’ve actually given me permission to. Of course to an extent I will be talking about people’s reactions to the game, but I anticipate that it’ll nearly always be in terms of “the players seemed frustrated by this aspect of the system” or “this encounter gave X a chance to do this stuff, which they were excited about”, not in terms of “and then X yelled at Y and then Z was a big stinky poo-head”. There isn’t likely to be any IRL drama to report anyway since I’m well past the point where I’m up for gaming with people I wouldn’t want to hang out with in other contexts.

What sort of thing are you going to concentrate on then?

A non-exhaustive list of topics I expect to be thinking about:

  • GMing techniques used in the session – what worked, what didn’t, what might have been done instead.
  • Adventure construction, both in terms of pre-game planning and in-session improvisation.
  • Where I’m talking about using a published scenario, where I think it could be improved and potential pitfalls for other GMs using the same scenario.

Wait, you use pre-genned scenarios? What a noob.

Laugh all you like, but I think there are some games they are quite well suited to and – like, I suspect, most people – I usually run highly mutated versions of them warped to suit the players and PCs to hand.

So how regularly are you likely to post?

It will probably vary. I usually get my RPG on at least once a week but because I aim for a healthy GMing/playing balance there’ll be plenty of weeks where I’m not GMing at all. So if you are especially keen to find out when I’ve posted something new RSS is your friend.

When’s your first post going up?

You’re reading it.

No, I mean your first post with actual content.

I’m running a Deathwatch game on Saturday which should be the end of the PCs’ present mission, so that seems like a good time to start. So probably some time after Saturday.