An ORC Horde

As I recently posted on the ORC Edinburgh site and Facebook page, ORC has a lot of players and the site is the busiest I’ve seen it in a while. I find it a little ironic really that D&D is the most popular game, yet so few want to run it. With that in mind, I’m planning to raise ORCs profile a little – I’ve already had a few nibbles at Edinburgh Gamers Journal on Livejournal. Hopefully a few more GMs will stick their heads above the parapet! it wouldn’t even have to be 4th edition either – AD&D, 3.5 or whatever would be as popular as the next. Every day, there’s someone new on the site and there’s a lot of activity.  I feel quite proud of what ORC has become over the last year; the site ticks along nicely now: occasionally there’s the odd hiccup (like the fire at the Meadow Bar, Cafe Nero closing, etc.), but like it says: we’re going to be around for a while.

I’ve never considered myself an overly creative person – given the amount of stuff on this site that may surprise some people – but I do have a certain knack for getting something right as it were. I think about things. That’s how I got the ORC site to the level it is now. Most of my settings are somewhat derivative, yes, but on the other hand, they work as a setting! Or they usually do: unfortunately I’ve decided to halt my Against the Odds D&D campaign for now. I think it needs more work and a fresh perspective upon it, as well as a better plot. I may return to it sometime in the future, but it is shelved for now.

I should be getting the first playtest pack any day now for the Legends & Labyrinths game in May. This is going to be quite cool, and its one of these things that I can go and do without a] having to over-think things as I’m wont to do, and b] don’t have to provide a follow-up. As of this posting we’ve still got a few spaces left at ORC.

I cringe every time I read the Urban Predator story I wrote years ago. For me it exemplifies the arrogance of youth as it were – and my writing technique makes it look like I wrote it with a chainsaw. I’m glad to say I’ve improved somewhat over the years – hopefully the fiction I wrote for my Cthulhutech: Through the Looking Glass adventures so far (Under a Heavy Rain, Corporate Ties, and Vanguard Vengeance) show a marked improvement in my writing skills.

I’m looking at completing the story arc in the Ashes of Freedom campaign. I still have a few sessions to run, but I’m winding it down: running it as a set of “seasons” has proven quite rewarding and I will likely return to it one day in the future. The seasons give me a chance to create a decent story arc, as well as an occasional breather! Now that I’ve had time to polish the setting a little, I feel it has actually come out pretty well for a setting I invented in a morning!

Although Against the Odds, Ashes of Freedom, and the New World are winding up (or have ended), I’m still going to try and get something lined up. I’d intended running Call of Cthulhu or Cthulhutech – but ORC members are definitely in favour of me running Cthulhutech. I’m going to use my Through the Looking Glass setting again, and it’ll be more of a “war in the shadows” style game where soldiers, Mechs and Tagers will be very much on the periphery – and the game will concentrate more on mortal “mundane” characters from agencies like the GIA or OIS. While Tagers are cool, they are a nightmare to run a game for. I plan to run some one-shot games too for those unfamiliar with C-Tech – and they may well include Mechs, soldiers and Tagers! It will also feature the Arunstoun setting once I’ve got it ready.

I’ve actually come up with a decent concept for my Edinburgh of the future: Dark Edinburgh. Its a nice simple concept, and one that I can use to link together my concepts of Arunstoun and Edinburgh in the future. I’ve used it before: Urban Predator had the first draft as it were, and I ran a White Wolf game where my friends were all twenty years older and working for Fenris Caine, the detective I describe in Urban Predator. It used the mortal rules for Vampire: the Masquerade as a ruleset and the group hunted down a vampire in Gilmerton. I guess that was the beginning of it really – Arunstoun is going to be a very weird setting for me: it came to me in a dream – no kidding, it did! One of these days I could approach someone at Embraced or Isles of Darkness (the Edinburgh Vampire LARPs) to see if they’d be interested in a game in that setting: who knows?

I’ve also decided to retire from the New World D&D game: playing Rafael de Fabrizi was great fun – especially considering the luck I had with dice rolls – I’ve lost count of the number of natural 20’s I rolled while playing him, especially when he picked up that magic +3 sword. However, time has now become something of a premium: I can’t play and run two campaigns as well! As I’m also committed to a Shadowrun game on Wednesdays, and Rogue Trader on Thursdays, my calendar is pretty full – I need some time to do other things!

I’m going to try and write another article when I’ve got a moment – this time I’m planning to deal with combat and how to make it faster. Obviously this will be as time permits: stay tuned!

Published by Bill Heron

Wannabe game designer and would-be author. I've been playing RPGs for over 25 years and have recently started creating my own RPG called Mandragora: Ashes of Freedom. I also run a number of RPGs: Cthulhutech, Call of Cthulhu, WFRP, and D&D. I'm active in the Edinburgh RPG community at and regularly play RPGs.