Sunday, March 31, 2013

Shadowrun Characters at 3AM, Tenra Bansho Zero, and other thoughts....

I will be brief...I'm tired and my iPad has 5% battery remaining.

I hate building characters. I didn't always, but I've reached the point where I just want to roll up something randomly and go with it.

Building my Shark shaman for Mike's Shadowrun 3rd edition game, I found that there were skills and spells I probably should have to fit the character concept, skills like Underwater Combat, Diving, and spells such as Oxygenate.

...and yet, I really don't want to take them because I am probably never going to get to use them. Those skill points would be better spent bumping up my gun skills or taking unarmed combat. Those spell points I put into Oxygenate should probably go into Armor or Melt Face (not an actual SR spell, sadly) or something like that.

Shadowrun also annoys me because very often I find that I have to design my character around being able to have some kind of ability that lets him go more than once a round, because going once a round when everyone else gets to go three or even four times a round fucking sucks. 
With this particulary character, I think I've found a way around it, but I feel like a dirty dirty rules lawyer for having done so.

Last time I played in a Mike SR game, I was a decker, so my not being able to roll in combat wasn't quite as much of an issue because my character was usually not physically present; he was opening doors and feeding them intel and hijacking drones and other mischevious party support things.

Totally Unrelated (And now at 4% battery)
Tenra Bansho Zero.
I would have loved this game in college. I would have played the shit out of it with one of the groups I've had in college, but that group doesn't exist anymore.
TBZ has a couple of things that kind of irk me, like being told how to play the game "right" (that annoys me just as much as Pathfinder games where you warm the bench if you don't have a totally optimized l337 buildddddddd) and the notion that you should steer your players away from something if you need them to be somewhere. I understand that TBZ is going for a different gaming experience than a lot of the games I play now. The game is designed to be very story-centric, to play an entire campaign *in one game setting* and divides the games into scenes and acts with mechanics focusing on passing though this cycle of timekeeping. I used to dig on that kind of thing. I don't now.
I will say that this game has a very cool setting, though, and the mechanics aren't bad (even the frou-frou meta-stuff.) I'll likely never get to run this (I doubt any of my present gaming groups would be even a little interested in this) but I'm glad I bought it, if nothing else the ideas are cool and the art book is gorgeous.

One more thing....
Because I'm an adult (seriously) and my friends are adults and we have professional-type jobs and some of us are in school and some have kids and blahblahblah, I'm warming up to the idea of mini-campaigns. Our lives are only going to get busier as time goes on, not the other way around. (I'm starting my Master's this summer, for instance) I also own something like 70 different roleplaying games. At this point, the only way I'll ever get to experience even a fraction of them is if I deliberately design short campaigns with a clear goal in mind. This does not preclude sandboxing things; the original NES Dragon Warrior basically said "Ok, go kill the Dragon Lord." You had quite a bit of freedom to wander around at your leisure. I might also run some games that have a little bit more of a story to them than usual, but I want to keep it flexible. The thing that makes tabletop better than any console rpg is that you can only program so many endings or choices, but players can craft their own story based on what they want to do. I like being reactive.

Okay, that wasn't at all brief and I have 2% left, so I'm going to call it a night. Game on.


  1. RE: Shadowrun

    Do you think you or your group might be interested in play-testing CDF?

    RE: Short Campaigns

    How very mature of you. I should probably be considering the same...however, I have this loony idea that SOME day my child/children will be old enough (and interested enough) to spend many long weekends trying these games out with Dear Old Dad.

    Probably a pipe dream.

  2. i would love to playtest CDF, but I don't know if I can sell my group on the idea.

  3. Ask 'em. Tell 'em it's like Shadowrun Lite. Or like B/X with guns...and trolls instead of halflings.

    I can send you a PDF draft copy, but need an email address to do so.