Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Pulling for a Fellow Gamer

Mike contacted me this last week. He's in the hospital and it's serious.
Mike is a member of the Sunday group I used to play with. (He was also in the first iteration of my SWN campaign) I gamed with him for about two years, plus various other nerdy pursuits

I'm not a very spiritual person, but my thoughts are with him and with his family. My fingers are crossed.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Back to BTS

Since my schedule now permits, I have rejoined Steven's Thursday night campaign of Beyond the Supernatural. This is actually my second week playing with them. It's been a lot of fun so far. Steven is a GM who is able to mitigate the wonkiness of the Palladium system. Our team is currently investigating a pack of shapeshifting bear monsters who rather inconveniently dissolve into earth and bugs when we kill them. (Well, convenient in that there are no bodies to dispose of, inconvenient in that it is very difficult to learn anything about them)

I've had a big time World of Darkness (or just modern horror/supernatural) bug lately, and while this isn't quite there, it does satisfy that want to an extent.

On a related note, I think I have more modern supernatural/horror games than any other type of game, which is silly because I've played very little of that genre in the last five years. I have many of the Classic World of Darkness games, some of the new ones, Chill, Witchcraft, Armageddon, and probably one or two that I'm forgetting at the moment. I played a boatload of White Wolf games in college, but after I moved here I found that most of the local gamers I could find were more into D&D-style fantasy. My wife ran a few short World of Darkness campaigns, but the last of those ended several years ago.

My own "WoD Clone" progresses at a glacial pace, since I have a number of other things in my life that need my attention and are a much higher priority.

In other news, I've just about finished the first book of The One Ring, and I really like it a lot. I'm also waiting for the new Robotech rpg book to hit my doorstep, and I bought a computer game based on the English translation of Das Schwarze Auge. (I briefly considered picking up the English rules since I found them cheap, but they never published any supplements for it.)

Man, is it spring break yet? I need more time to read all this stuff!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Tournament Play Damage

Recently I acquired an old but serviceable copy of Ghost Tower of Inverness.

Originally designed as a tournament module, it has some slightly different procedures for play. One of these procedures is that monsters always do mean damage (rounded up). A monster that normally does 1d6 damage with a particular attack will always do 4 points, 1d8 always does 5 points, etc.

I was wondering to myself... would that be such a bad adaptation for normal campaign play?

Hmm. Something to think about.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

SWN: Exploring Ifertam

So begins SWN Part III in earnest.

I used the excellent resources over at Wizardawn to generate the map of planet Ifertam. I then took a snapshot of the map with Pearl Crecent's Page Saver and emailed it to my players mid-session to simulate the results of their detailed survey scan. (Their present ship has the advanced survey scanners from SWN, which, according to the book, can provide an accurate terrain map of a planet.) Look at me, getting all multimedia up in here.

Upon receiving the map, the players were like kids in the proverbial candy store.
"Crashed starships.....dude, a crashed starship with an alien settlement near it?! Are those giant mushrooms?" Etc.

Yes, although hired for an intel job (discover why everyone on this planet apparently went insane 23 years ago), it appears that there are many points of interest they want to hit on this planet. It's a sandbox within a sandbox, if you will. (Yo dawg, I heard you like sandboxes...)

The session included a battle with an energy grenade-hurling cyborg (courtesy of Wizardawn as well) followed by some CSI: Stars Without Number. The session ended with the discovery of a mysterious black box that had no apparent way to open it and that proved resistant to scans.

We can't game next Tuesday, so my poor players have to wait an agonizing two weeks for the answer to their obvious question.

Although the map is relatively simple, I was amazed at how much my players were digging it. I'll be spending the next two weeks trying to fill that map with things worthy of their excursions. I have a feeling that they are going to be spending some on this planet, even if they obtain their mission objectives relatively soon.

In other gaming news:
*I am rejoining the Thursday group this week for Beyond the Supernatural 2nd edition
*My copy of The One Ring is due on my doorstep tomorrow!
*I am expecting a used copy of the old AD&D module Ghost Tower of Inverness in the next week or so.
*Kevin Crawford hinted on Twitter that the PDF for Spears of the Dawn might be ready this weekend. 
*Nuke-Con is having two community game days: one in February and one in March. Though I have a pretty miserable record of attendance for the convention itself, I do love those game days and will try to be at both. 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

My Precious?

A brand new copy of The One Ring RPG for twenty bucks?

Don't mind if I do.

Friday, January 4, 2013

SWN Campaign: Part III

Having discovered that the cyberpunk planet of Guangxi was actually an elaborate game played by a cabal of secretive AIs, the players got a little squeamish and decided to try their fortunes elsewhere. Aboard their ship is an AI who decided to escape the endless chess game against his "uncles" and has confined himself to an Echo-class armature.

For the time being, the characters have returned to the Hydrin Fleet to plot their next venture. The Fleet has turned out to be a home base/staging area for the PCs to return to between legs of the campaign.

The first leg of the campaign was based off of Kevin Crawford's excellent Hard Light module, available on DriveThru. It was pretty heavily dungeon delve-based. (The PCs weren't all that interested in the political situation on Brightside, though they did sort of end up resolving it inadvertently.) The second leg of the game, now concluded, was very much like a mini-campaign of Cyberpunk 2020 or Shadowrun. (Well, less Shadowrun, since there weren't fantasy races and magic and whatnot.) What, I wonder, will the third leg bring?

The PCs could stay in Atragon sector and work for the Clans for a time as they endlessly play the middle in the war between the haughty Arcanian League and the scheming Technocratic Unions of Runaris. The PCs could search through the resource-laden but hazardous tomb worlds that the aforementioned polities fight over.

The PCs could go back to Ceres and get involved in the war between the expanding Empire of Galaran and the nascent Entente of Four Worlds. They could find adventure on any of the independent worlds that refuse to join the Entente and refuse to submit to the Empire. In the further reaches of the sector, news spreads of a hochog warlord who claims to have found the long-lost hochog homeworld and claimed dominion over it.

The PCs could venture into Dark Space, guided only by the coordinates of a mysterious Ushan structure, lost for millenniums unknown, that sent them a garbled message when contacted.

 And let us not forget the strange alien they bested in the wastelands on Guangxi. After trying to salvage the wreck of its strange craft, the PCs were alarmed to find that the craft bore on it the Seal of the Dragon- a symbol of the inscrutable ancient enemy who, according to legend, destroyed the original Hydrin homeworld and set them adrift in the stars.

These are just a few of the options. There are many adjacent sectors of space into which they can venture. We'll see what happens next Tuesday. 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

So Begins Gaming in 2013

I spent the afternoon and evening of New Year's Day running my SWN game. Unfettered by work schedules, we played a near-double length gaming session. We also have a pretty dramatic role-playing scene that came about, and we got a lot done without rolling very many dice.

Gaming, for me, is about exploration and not about sticking to some kind of pre-planned narrative, but I find that I really enjoy the narratives that can come up organically during play. I find that it's much more satisfying to be surprised at what events come about from the PCs and their actions and reactions, rather than having a foregone conclusion (or list of conclusions) toward which the PCs are steered.

The "Farewell" game has been moved to Friday, which is good because Pathfinder tends to overwhelm me with all of its fiddly bits.

Tomorrow is Josh's last Savage Worlds game. I might ask if I can sit in even though I missed the rest of the campaign entirely.

Gaming three times in one week would not be a bad way to end winter break.