AquaVertigo Publishing

Gaming on Demand

As mentioned previously, much of my time of late has been preparing for and then participating in mostly Games on Demand Online, with wrapping up part 3/3 of Space Station Omega for good measure.

Next week is Gamicon, our local in-person game convention, and I’m looking forward to seeing friends and playing and running games.

Here we go!

The Games

Ran Eye of the Magi (Games on Demand Online 2024)

System: Paragon

Gut Check: Playtest of Eye of the Magi went better than I expected.

Setting: Canadian Territories, mid-late 1800s alt version of our world in which there either was no Revolutionary War or it failed to happen. The Order exists as an international organization outside of the control of any one country or government.

Cast of Magi Characters

  • A freshly made Canadian Territories Mountie / member of the Order
  • An indigenous First People member of the Order who has experience working on reinforcing the prison (at the North Pole) for criminal magic users
  • A criminal mage who was being released to work off some of their time in prison by helping with this investigation

Summary: Premise was that a criminal mage escaped from the mage prison in the north, and the PCs were ordered to return him before he could harm others again. The group tracked him through the rugged, cold north, only to confront him on a locomotive outside of a town. With flair and magic galore, the three magi defeated him and his supporters, capturing him at the last moment. No innocents were hurt, and he was returned to prison. However, it was learned that someone helped set him free.

Designer Notes

  • Need to “master” the Paragon rules and that will happen through practice.
  • Need to streamline customization of the Order, etc.
  • Need to figure out a better way to integrate/use the Laws with less friction.

Takeaway: Nice to have finally tested it as a proof of concept. Also, got some nice suggestions for similar touchstones to review for… research!

Ran Space Station Omega 3/3 (for friends)

Stunning conclusion to our 3-part miniseries.

While working illegally for a diplomat on an alien artifact, Mercy made contact with the living library on the mysterious planet SSO orbits, and it warned her to leave this sector of space or potentially be destroyed by an extra-dimensional being.

Kal was successful in their claim for salvage of the recently arrived warship, later using it to help extend the life of their base sapient plant species, which had been dying for years but ignored by the Alliance.

Capt. Halo successfully protected a mercenary crew from being framed or used to start another war while brokering a peaceful solution with a diplomat bent on revenge against the captain’s people and therefore the station itself.

Played Leverage (Games on Demand Online 2024)

It was a great game, with a generous group of players making every scene enjoyable.

Our crew consisted of a former ballerina, a titled English thrill-seeker, an MIT engineer turned food truck operator (seriously, that food sounded great), and a roller derby star.

They joined forces to defeat a scummy maker of literal spyware who was blackmailing innocent schoolteachers—and defeated him without even ever meeting him!

Ran Dark Well (Games on Demand Online 2024)

System: Dark Well

Gut Check: Playtest

Setting: Victorian London, England; Age of Glory

Cast of Dwellers Characters

  • Adventuring Academic with a focus on all things Egyptian
  • Socialite Academic with a focus on archaeology

Summary: Aside from the NUMEROUS technical challenges we faced gaming online, we powered on, and it was worth it. The duo of academics attended an event at the British Museum at which a theft disrupted things. This led to a chase and confrontation with a furry cryptid by one PC and a protest and investigation by another. Each PC came away from the event with an unusual item: A strange mummified hand with a mix of known and unknown hieroglyphics and a stand composed of unearthly material and containing a compartment storing the supposedly stolen relics. Upon returning to the museum, the pair followed a trail to an encounter with an employee who turned out to be involved in nefarious deeds, including the capture of the cryptid (Jackal, the protector beast). The employee escaped for the time being. The academics decided to follow the “dog” to the remains of its former master and traveling companion, who faded away into another existence, leaving the dog behind to be adopted by one of the PCs.

Designer Notes

  • There are always pros and cons to using different platforms to run games, and without building a custom one, I will have to live with the limitations. I am looking forward to running Dark Well in person again.
  • Used an implied rule that I can’t recall if I mentioned in my regular playtest session about spending tokens on traits to include more than the first. I’ll have to make a point to announce this.
  • Tried a rule that I believe I removed a version or two ago, but it seemed to work at least in this session, so I’ll introduce it to the regular playtest session. A player asked about the option to draw an additional token from the Well. Normally it’s 3, and here was a request for 4. So the quick solution was to connect that to Visions (keys and secrets), so long as you could justify the fiction. My feeling is to restrict it to once per Vision per session of play to prevent it from getting out of hand.

Takeaway: While I have imagined Dark Well working during historical eras, I hadn’t pushed for it during playtests. It seems as though the system works regardless. The themes can be more overt, depending on the situation. The choice for the Age of Glory was a good fit.

Next Steps

More willpower for the upcoming busy weekends.


Let me know what you think. Was this helpful or insightful?



DMK, the founder of AquaVertigo, is a creatively curious artist, author, designer, educator, entrepreneur, and organizer based in the Midwest, USA.

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