Monday, December 31, 2018

My Gaming in 2018

2018 was a pretty dope year in gaming...well, until the very end, but that's an entire blog post. (The one before this one, in fact.)

In February, I joined a very brief Savage Worlds game that was sort of supposed to be a weird conspiracy/paranormal investigation type thing, but we literally played for about 20 minutes total during the first session and then it just kind of fizzled out.

Around this time, I briefly rejoined the old school D&D group I used to play with at Dragon's Lair, but some ugly interpersonal stuff at the table made me decide to seek my fortunes elsewhere. (It didn't directly involve me, but it left a bad enough taste in my mouth that I felt no compulsion to return.)

In March and April, I started getting interested in the Apocalypse Engine. I picked up Urban Shadows, Blades in the Dark, and Masks: A New Generation. I still haven't read or played them much, but they piqued my interest.

In May, I kicked off a mini-campaign of All of Their Strengths with a group in Lincoln. It was supposed to be a one-off, but ended extending into the summer. It was incredibly fun, and quotes from that session still regularly resurface among that group.

In June, I bought Monster of the Week before going to Florida for a week. I was impressed enough to set up a game to start after KantCon.

KantCon was great. I did nothing but GM and it was the absolute right decision. I think I'm GM-only at KantCon from now on.  My sessions were:

-Starships & Spacemen 2nd edition, using a module that was inspired by LotFP's The Monolith Beyond Space and Time. The ending was great and the players surprised the heck out of me.
-Lamentations of the Flame Princess. I ran A Stranger Storm and it was an absolute riot. One of my players told me that he's hated high level evil wizards and liches less than he hated the innkeeper in that adventure. (Mission accomplished)

-The Savage Worlds edition of RIFTS. I ran The Garnet Town Gambit, a module I got as part of my PDF backing. I had players who were familiar with RIFTS but not Savage Worlds, players who were familiar with Savage Worlds but not RIFTS, and one adventurous soul who was familiar with neither. My takeaway is that the Savage RIFTS set is so much better mechanically that I'm not sure I can go back.

-All of Their Strengths. I ran a condensed version of the game I ran over the summer. The players wanted to ditch my pregens to make their own insane combos, so I let them. That Half-Werewolf/Half-Reaper was amaaaaazing. It was fun to watch this group of players handle the same situation differently than my regular group.

-Stars Without Number (revised edition). I ran a module called The Tartarus Gambit, a community-designed, system-neutral module. It wasn't hard to translate into SWN. The pregens had goals that were at odds, but the players sort of found a way to compromise on the goals... lots more teamwork than I expected. Unfortunately, I didn't have a glowing first impression of SWN2... I think I like the original rules considerably better. I'll still give SWN2 a second shot sometime, but I might be an SWN1 ride or die.

Some time over the summer, I played in the lady's Now Playing campaign set in a cartoon multiverse.(Now Playing is based off of Fudge) I played Rick Sanchez.  I do a pretty good vocal impression of Rick. I was a dick, but the players found it amusing and on-brand with Rick and Morty.  It was fun. I had to quit the game because I can't game during weekday afternoons once the school year starts up and I'm forced to work for money.

In August, I started my Monster of the Week game. The players really took to the PtBA system, even though it was very unlike the systems they are used to. It took a little bit of adjusting for everyone to do the whole collaborative world building and the "play to see what happens" style of the game, but they got into their characters and we all enjoyed the setting that developed. I ended up also picking up Monsterhearts 2 and we've developed a big shared-setting between the two games, which I alternate back and forth every time we conclude a "season."

Around this time, I tried to rejoin my old Thursday Palladium group. They were playing Beyond the Supernatural 2nd edition, the old West End Ghostbusters RPG, and the TMNT RPG in rotation. They also turned their games into a podcast. I ended up only playing in one BTS session and one Ghostbusters session. I really couldn't tell you why I quit going. I think I just genuinely don't like being a player anymore. If I'm not the DM/GM, I'm just...not really that interested.

In October, I did a one-shot of Little Fears Nightmare Edition. I ran a module I grabbed from DriveThru called The Fall Harvest. None of the players had ever played LF before, but they enjoyed the hell out of it. Their characters were really believable kids. Our group also now has the hashtag #tooscaryforgary.

In December I ran a session of Basic D&D and it was utterly wretched and the players hated it. It was a really shitty note to end an otherwise pretty good year of gaming on.

I've been asked to run a one shot of "something" tonight, and my Monster of the Week season 2 will resume this Wednesday.

My takeaways from 2018:

-Narrative heavy games can be really fun and really creatively satisfying
-I like PbtA games
-Player collaboration is a good thing and not a bunch of hippie bullshit
-Running games where I don't roll any dice isn't as awful as I expected it would be

My gaming goals for 2019:
-Knock out two more seasons each of Monster of the Week and Monsterhearts 2.
-Try Urban Shadows or Masks. Leaning toward Masks because 80% of my gaming in 2018 was urban fantasy/horror
-Find a totally different goddamn group to play old D&D with
-Go to KantCon again (Still salty about the one I missed)

Carry on, pals. I hope 2019 brings you lots of great gaming.


  1. I used to be a total slave to dice and procedure. I still like pseudo-board game D&D a lot but I’ve gotten used to and begun to enjoy narrative style games with some dice thrown in.

  2. I wouldn't ever say I was a total slave. I'd let torches burn a bit longer, and sometimes I just didn't feel like rolling for wandering monsters.

    2019 is probably going to bring me a lot more PbtA, if only because my players are enjoying the hell out of my two games.