Hi everyone, this is Elisha. This is my very first blog post on Role Over Play Dead.
It has been a rather exciting set of past months as Kai Poh has been in game design mode, creating awesome RPGs on itch.io. A fire seemed to have been set ablaze and the game designer in him is currently on a creative rampage.
Please bear with me as I gush over my significant other and partner in creative crime. I often am taken aback how creative Kai is, to have created ECH0 and come up with 6 Bites for 6 Princes as well in a limited time span. With Kai creating the content and maps, and I handling the graphic design and layout aspect, it was a whirlwind, but definitely the good kind.
In a bid to keep our blog lively, I thought I might as well give blogging a go and write about the actual plays we have been publishing on YouTube! These include one-on-one games between me and Kai, and some solo games too.
1) Magic Swords by Ben Chong
You play sentient magic swords escaping a prison in Magic Swords, a microgame written by fellow Malaysian Ben Chong (@SwordsnFlowers), based on Honey Heist by Grant Howitt. Kai Poh wrote a review on Magic Swords as well!
I am VERY new to tabletop RPGs and most of what I learn is from Kai, or via podcasts like Fate and the Fablemaidens as well as Victory Condition Gaming. It took me a while to grasp the concept of creating characters, and not to mention we were playing talking flying magical swords trying to escape an evil sword tyrant on board a ship.
Do have a look at it – you might find our session rather interesting! I took up the challenge of playing Nick Pointy, the dagger. Kai played two NPCs: Dirk the dirk and Kris the keris. The video will tell all!
2) ECH0 by Kai Poh
This is Kai Poh’s very first micro-RPG! A GM-less storytelling and map-drawing game for 2 or more players. It is about how we remember war, how we forget, and all that remains when the echoes fade. It’s inspired by Kai’s childhood encounter with the wreck of a Japanese Zero fighter in the countryside.
When I attempted to play the pilot in ECH0, I felt slightly uneasy and was winging it all the way. It is a beginner-friendly RPG for sure, but my nerves got the best of me at times and I got a few character details wrong. Kai was cool as a cucumber, a veteran of a thousand RPG sessions.
I am pretty lucky to have such a great pro to teach me the ropes. My very first RPG was actually Golden Sky Stories. I get easily confused by stat counting (still do) and didn’t know what a ‘check’ was and what ‘dreams’ were. Heck, I was confused even how to even participate. Who speaks first? Do I speak from a first person perspective or third? Kai helped me out a ton.
3) Star Crossed RPG by Alex Roberts
I believe I had the MOST fun playing Star Crossed with Kai! It’s a game by Alex Roberts about playing individuals who fall for each other when everything in life points out that they should never be together.
I took this as a challenge, naturally, and we had a killer session! I actually felt comfortable enough to play as Detective Penelope Russell trying not to fall madly in love with Vanques, played by none other than Kai Poh.
I used skills I learned from listening to the Vampire: the Masquerade – L.A. By Night series on YouTube, as well as watching Rachelle Dube and friends’ session of ECH0 several times. The technique used in communicating. I felt like I found some form of rhythm. Thinking on my feet proved to be hard as well though!
4) You Are Not Alone in Life by Ben Auden Roswell
You are Not Alone in this Life is a solo horror game based on Takuma Okada’s Alone Among the Stars. It uses a standard deck of 52 cards and a six-sided dice to help you play out a found footage horror story.
I found this game online by Ben Auden Roswell and knew that Kai would like to give it a shot. We did plan to actually play the session together but thankfully we didn’t! Kai did the game justice by himself! Much more than what I could ever contribute – for that day at least!. Also, I was in charge of setting up the YouTube Live stream for him, checking that all was good to go, technically speaking. Audio wise, I believe improvements can be made. The next time around, I hope to try out using a proper microphone with simple earbud earphones. Hopefully that will do the trick!
Do check out Kai’s solo actual play. This game definitely served up on the horror and Kai I feel knocked it out of the park and made what seems like what was supposed to be the start of a mundane weekend into the start of some major creepy scenes and eerie ‘feels’. It definitely gave me chills! I kept whispering to myself, “Don’t turn around. Don’t turn around.” You know the feeling of being alone but you can feel something/someone watching you? And somehow if you turn quickly enough, you can catch a glimpse of it. Not that you’d want to catch a glimpse of it, you want nothing to be there. So you can shrug if off and say it was nothing. Kai gave me similar chills as I listened to his solo actual play!
…and that’s a wrap!
We would have loved to have had a group of players in our actual play sessions but it’s been tough to do more than one-on-one actual plays for the time being. We have been tinkering with Google Hangouts on Air but our wavering internet connection poses a variety of problems.
Also on a personal level, I secretly hope the tabletop RPG industry starts creating more one-on-one and solo games. I am not able to handle sessions more than 2 hours long. This is a problem I personally face. I believe more beginner-friendly games should also be made available, or at least beginner-friendly versions of games as add-ons for those who want to play but aren’t able to handle stats and complex rules. Again, it really boils down to making tabletop RPGs more accessible to all and inclusive truly to all, those with all backgrounds and those with varying abilities.