Tales from the Floating Vagabond
Sometimes, I wonder how I find some things. Then I remember I browse TVTropes and I get my answer.
This is a bit of a departure from my usual reviews, but I’ve been in a silly mood, so I’m going to review a couple silly games while I sort out Mage the Awakening 2.0. So…
Have you ever wanted to just play a silly game? Like a game where a cowboy, ninja, rhinoman businessman and a dog man archer settle down for some drinks and a game of cards, only to be interrupted by a cute fluffy alien with a disruptor rifle?
…you have weirdly specific desires…and I have just the game for you!
Grab a beer and a reality stabilizer because this is Tales from the Floating Vagabond!
Plot? What Plot?
Ok, that’s not exactly accurate. The premise of TFFV is one of those which is designed so that almost any character becomes viable. Those familiar with GURPS, this is a kind of Infinite Worlds deal, only instead of everyone being a part of the Infinity Patrol, an elite band of paramilitary operatives, you’re…someone who found himself travelling through dimensions because of the titular Floating Vagabond, a bar in a dimension that’s basically cobbled together from spare bits of other dimensions. The catch is that the revolving door of the bar goes to others, and any time someone walks into a bar, they have a chance to end up there.
…which really should tell you everything you need to know about the setting, but just in case…
The multiverse is vast, and the laws of reality are…usually pretty bored, apparently, because they let a lot of crap slip by. The setting itself is founded mostly on hilarity, with enemies ranging from the space nazis (ok, pretty serious, but also inept) to the People’s Revolutionary Temperance League, who want everyone to be temperate…or die… A lot of this is very tongue in cheek and is rather amusing.
The universe itself really runs on what will be amusing. This is good for a humorous game. It leaves a lot of room for exploration as well, which is always a good bit of entertainment.
You Walk into an Interdimensional Bar…
Characters (and trust me, that’s an appropriate term) are interesting.
Stats in the game are pretty standard with a couple exceptions. Strength, Nimbleness, Aim, and Smarts are about what you expect. Somewhat different are Common Sense, Cool, and Luck. Common sense is how people deal with everyday life and natural instinct. Cool is the ability to maintain calm under pressure and general awesomeness. Luck is something you get luck points for as well as how you get by with…well, sheer luck.
Skills are…honestly, hilarious. Skills include such things as “Hurt People” for fisticuffs, “Hurt People Badly” for martial arts, Chase cars (self descriptive and super important as a dogman), and Look Like Stereotype (think disguise to blend in as generic characters). Oh, and my personal favorite, Make Wiseass Remark. Yes, this is a skill in the game, and possessing it forces your character to be a compulsive wiseass.
Race is also a consideration, and some of them are typical, some…not. Elves and dwarves are about what you expect, though racial tensions in this setting stem more from things like music choice (dwarves love rock and metal, fyi). Dogmen make excellent trackers, though may be distracted by thrown tennis balls and cars. Rhinoskins are great if you just want to hit things really, really hard. Ridiculously Cute Furry Things (yes, that’s a real race) are useless…but often very, very lucky.
The last bit to discuss is a Schtick. A schtick is basically something your character can do that’s unique or odd. Each Schtick is useful, and comes with a major and minor effect. So, for example, someone with the Trench Coat Effect can store almost anything in their trench coat and conceal perfectly. this ranges from a machine gun to a greatsword. That’s the major effect. The minor effect is being able to pull out small mundane items they might have forgotten about if someone asks for them. So, a screwdriver, pencil, typewriter, etc. Leads to hilarity when they are being patted down and searched. Schticks range a bit from being irreststably attractive to bending the laws of reality when it suits you to being a member of a trade union (yes, really). Each has certain advantages and minor oddities, but all are meant to be amusing.
Playing While IntoxicatedHonestly, haven’t played this game yet, but the basics are simple: roll and compare to your skill. The difficulty determines your die size, which is pretty neat, actually. The game being set in a multiverse of wackiness, you can do most anything. The game designers seemed to focus on the idea of comedy as a rule. Weapon sizes include “Don’t Aim that at my Planet” and the Old Gods are the freedom loving Writers, manipulative Agents, cruel editors, and evil Critics. A lot of the game is streamlined so that there is plenty of time for antics. One bit I like is that experience is rewarded based on how roleplaying is done in addition to how well you did. Good roleplaying is good XP.
Grab a Pint
Tales from the Floating Vagabond is a game I can recommend for a weekend of silly antics and wacky roleplaying. It’s a fun game, and is designed to be much less serious than most others. This doesn’t mean that you can’t do serious things, but they will take a backseat to making things amusing. If you’re interested, pick it up!