Project CHUPA

20th Jul, 2006 at 6:39 pm (project chupa)

So what’s Project CHUPA, anyway? In the words of the title page, it’s a “generic, modular RPG system”, being created by the Dragon’s Landing community on their Message Boards. The way it’s designed, it can be used in fantasy, sci-fi and modern settings, as well as whatever other settings you’d care to dream up. The ‘modular’ bit means that if you don’t like a rule, fine! Pull it out. The system is designed for this kind of mixing and matching, so much so that most of the rules in the core rulebook are optional, or simply guidelines. This is rather different from the d20 system mindset, where the rulebooks’ word is the word of the gods.

Why use it over the d20 system? The d20 system is well set out, has a great deal of material already published and with pretty pictures, and we’re used to the rules. Why change?

I haven’t played using it yet, but I really do want to try. Recently, I’ve been getting really frustrated with the d20 system, because the way our group plays it, you need dice rolls for everything. “I say, ‘Okay, let’s get going then!’, turn around and run down the hill.” “Okay, make a dex check to not fall over…” It really irritates me, breaks the flow of the game, and makes it more about the pretty dice than about the story and the game. Which, I guess, is one way of playing. But it’s not my way.

I think Project CHUPA will just flow better than the d20 system does. Instead of the GM having to pore over the rulebooks to work out a way to have his game work just so, (s)he can just make up the rules, and they’ll Just Work. Which is a lot easier with CHUPA than with D&D.

In D&D campaigns I run, I often specify that my players are only allowed to use material from the core rulebooks (ie, the Player’s Handbook, the Dungeon Master’s Guide, and the Monster Manual.) This usually annoys them, because they want their character to have <insert name of rigged feat> from <insert name of one of the 1030 D&D supplements in production, which I inevitably don’t have>. And I don’t have the time or the will to actually read through the feat description and consider possible uses the player could put it to to unbalance the game, etc. etc.

With Project CHUPA, being an inherently cinematic and customizable system, I think this sort of thing will simply disappear. Secrets allow the players to do cool tricks that would probably be “illegal” under D&D rules. Secrets make characters much more personal and interesting, and can make for many an amusing moment. Besides, they’re just cool.

Without the focus on powerplaying that the d20 system seems to inherently endorse, and without the large amount of time needed to sift through all the rules, players have more time and reason to think about who their characters actually are. Trogdor the level 17 Burninator might have 24 strength and the Burninate feat, but numbers don’t tell a story. Why is Trogdor so strong? What gives him his ultimate burnination powers? How did he come to be the mighty one-armed Burninator he is today, and why does he Burninate? To me, those questions provide a much more interesting story than “So do you have enough strength to get Improved Burninate yet?” Which is why CHUPA interests me.

Another nice thing about Project CHUPA is its flexibility. I can use all my d20 system supplements to create my CHUPA character: I can look through the feats section of d20 Future for ideas for Secrets for my character. I can read the Draconomicon to find ideas for what that dragon my players are about to encounter might look like, and where it probably lives. The beauty of it is, when I go into a gaming store, I can buy a source book for any system and use it with CHUPA. Which means I can choose between A$80 for those WotC books with pretty cover art and lavish illustrations, or A$20 for a simple soft-cover GURPS supplement, depending on how rich I’m feeling. Which is an undeniable advantage.

The only gripe I have about CHUPA is that the rule book is really disorganised and disjointed. I know it’s just an alpha version, but it really does need some love before the release of 1.0. Nice art would get a gold star, but it’s not necessary—I can get my art fix from d20 system books. All I’m really after from Project CHUPA is some lovely rules, well set out and easy to learn and bend to my needs :)

So I’ll be convincing my group to try out CHUPA. Hopefully we’ll get a game up and running in the next couple of months (futuristic setting, currently using d20 Future, but we’ll be converting.) I hope it turns out as well as I imagine it doing!

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A Visit to Garrigue

8th May, 2006 at 11:21 am (zack's aquatic)

Lunch

Lunch began with Sharpknife and Alexa taking command of the navy ship we had acquired and our own ship, and directing them towards a nearby neutral town, Garrigue. We outran three navy ships that were chasing us, and made it to Garrigue the next day at approximately four o'clock.

After Alexa and Sharpknife had made arrangements for the two ships, they woke a still injured Taya to guard them as they slept before dropping off to sleep. Taya asked a crewmember about what had occured since she went asleep and, unsatisfied with his answers, asked to talk so Wesley, the first mate. Wesley gave her a proper report (after which Taya cursed him for not mingling the crews of the two ships to ensure they maintained control). She left Wesley in charge of guarding the sleepers and went to view the treasure (particularly interested in the wherabouts of a sword). She was unable to find the sword and the guards refused to allow her to stay long enough to nab a nice looking eyepatch. She was forced to return to her guard duty which she spent mostly watching the moon.

Jem's House

Alexa got caught trying to smuggle valuables off the ship. She flirted at the captain in an attempt to distract him, but he was impervious. He grabbed Alexa and dumped her on the deck, relieving her of her sack of goodies. She was most unimpressed, and dejectedly joined Taya onshore. The two of them ran off to explore the town, and Sharpknife stayed near the shore feeding and wrestling with his brethren.

Taya and Alexa shortly found something to steal: a stall in a back alley manned by an old man. The two mischief-makers formed a quick plan, then walked up to the stall seperately. Alexa started flirting and chatting up the old man, leaning over revealingly and asking questions about various pieces of his merchandise (which include such items as Alchemist's Fire, various magical herbs and so on), which she actually knows a good deal about (Knowledge (arcana)). Taya palmed a few things while the stallholder was distracted. They kept it up for a good ten minutes; enough for Taya to grab a ring (marked '210') and a couple of herbs (marked '1'). Alexa excused herself and walked away provocatively. Taya loitered a while, then joined Alexa around the corner and showed her the goods (except for the ring, to Jem's great annoyance). Alexa was disappointed at the herbs ('redrall' and 'boombloom', ingredients for Alchemist's Fire and worth ~10g each). The two find an inn to keep themselves amused.

Need some stuff on what Sharpknife was doing around here, don't remember too well :(

Alexa and Taya find their inn: The Lonely Cup. They were looking for high-class and they found it. The Lonely Cup is run by Jane, a disciple of <NameOfGod>, and she keeps an excellent place. The pair of them ask for a room (separate!) and sit themselves down with a drink.

Again, Sharpknife did some stuff. I'm hopeless at remembering these things; all I remember is that he was feeding and wrestling with his shark/s. Then he went to a different inn and inquired as to the location of the other two; he was informed by one of the crew.

Taya decided to retire early; around 7pm. Alexa stayed on, and joined a group of men (one or two of them on the <NameOfShip> crew), sitting on the lap of the best-looking of them, Jack Gilmore. "So how about a drink for a pretty lady?" Alexa was presented with a glass of wine in short order, needless to say. She drank and ate and was merry as the night wore on, discovering various titbits of information like …? Can Zack remember all the stuff? and acting far drunker than she was (yay for 16 con and 18 cha). She also discovered that Jack (the good-looking one she'd been hitting on all night) was an experienced sailor and due to be on the crew of the <NameOfShip>. She was most pleased.

Eventually the night draws to a close; few were still drinking. Jack retired, shortly followed by Alexa (to her OWN room, thank you very much!) at about three in the morning.

Sharpknife arrived and asked the innkeeper for a room. When he presented his small handful of gold, the innkeeper told him to pay later, closed his hand around his coins and said "What you have may not be enough," in a kindly tone. Sharpknife was shown to his room and presented with a young girl, Tawni. (Harry or Zack, some more description?) Sharpknife asked for hot water and his bath was filled (huge baths! spa-sized. Good service!). He dropped his blood-stained sickle in the bath, then dunked his head under for as long as he possibly could (which ended up being almost two minutes before he came up gasping). Tawni was concerned for him, but Sharpknife shrugged her off. (Sharpknife did some extra stuff that I'm sure I've forgotten before this next bit) Sharpknife returned to the main room and began to repair his clothing and armour. "Do you want that fixed?" Tawni took the armor to be repaired, along with his clothes. She came back shortly with new clothes for Sharpknife (the biggest they had and still a bit small for him). The armour would be repaired overnight.

Sharpknife grabbed Tawni by the arm; a sort of contest to show he was better. Tawni stepped towards Sharpknife, thinking it an embrace, but Sharpknife didn't hug her. He pushed her to the ground sharply. "I win!" He cut himself and dripped some blood onto the girl; she flinched. Sharpknife ended up somewhat violently losing his virginity on her, but she was willing (or accepting?).

Alexa asked for her servant and was presented with Amber, a small girl of short stature (though not as short as Alexa herself), around 19 years old. (taking some liberties here Mr. DM, is this okay?) Alexa asked for a warm bath, and a few strong men brought steaming water. Alexa smiled to herself as she drunkenly admired the men. Alexa undressed and stepped into the water, shivering as the heat ran up her body. After a moment, she heard Amber calling from the other room: "We have a special substance with which you could wash your hair; should I bring it?" Alexa replied, slurred and sleepy. "Yes please, Amber. That would be wonderful." Alexa scrubbed herself with soap, noticing the manner in which water was repurified constantly; some sort of mechanism whereby water was drawn past a magical filter, she assumed. Amber returned with a flask of a green liquid, and set it on the side of the bath and left quickly. Amber pondered for a moment, then realised she had no idea how to use the stuff, and called again for Amber to wash her hair. Amber knelt beside the bath and began to rub the liquid into Alexa's hair. Alexa drifted off to sleep, and awoke six hours later…

…After the best sleep she'd ever had. She lay in her four-poster bed, dressed in a silk nightgown. She stood and called for Amber through a communication globe she had been given the night before. The servant arrived promptly and asked, "May I help you?" Alexa requested some incense and asked Amber to keep people out of her room for the next two hours. Amber returned with the incense, noted Alexa's desire to be brought a large plate of bacon and eggs in two hours' time, curtsied and left.

Alexa went to the balcony and called to her hawk. Alexa petted the bird a while, saw that he was well-fed already, and bid him return to the skies that she might meditate. Alexa lit some incense, and opened her mind to the world around her.

Amber delivered Alexa's breakfast, a portion of which she fed to her viper, Lisen (pron. lie-sen). Halfway through her meal, there was a knock at the door – Jack Gilmore, from the night before. He entered the room and began to make small talk with Alexa (who had hidden her viper), before…

The session ended! It were awesome.

Like, comment and stuff! Tell me what I got wrong, what to add. If you want to write a bit more detail in, go ahead! I've obviously fleshed out my own character's parts a bit more than I've fleshed out Sharpknife's or Taya's. So, write stuff! And don't be scared to criticise what I've got here; it's meant for your benefit, so please add things and make it better/tell me what I got wrong!

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