Monday, February 23, 2015

Up Next...

"Robobrains!" by LudvikSKP

So this past Saturday I finished up the first arc of a campaign my friends and I dubbed Spacemyspacebook, what was supposed to be a lighthearted romp through a somewhat comical futuristic spacefaring society ended up taking a series of turns toward grimdark, and the finale was definitely of that sort. Examining my GM style as it has progressed really makes me realize that yes, I tend to make things dark. And gritty. There is occasionally humor, but the humor mostly comes from players' lighthearted interactions with the depressing and overwhelming things I throw at them.

The Spacemyspacebook game was also my first test of the HeroQuest 2e ruleset, and despite my enjoyment of its flexibility, there was a consensus around the table regarding its potential for min-maxing and vagueness regarding applicable skills. I may also have been partially at fault there, as I tend to offer everyone a chance to do something in my games, and HeroQuest is really a system that focuses on giving individual characters the spotlight.

In any case, running through what was essentially session 3 of FATE made me realize that FATE is a super complicated system, prep-wise, and I need at least the better part of a year before I jump back into the saddle with it. I also need to make some kind of FATE 'primer' for my players, so they actually know what they're supposed to do beyond just rolling skills and spending FPs to reroll or boost.

In the meantime, my Iron Kingdoms Thursday game shows little sign of slowing in interest or impetus, the players are having a wonderful time overcoming my small hurdles and jumping head-first into larger plot complications. It's even inspired me to continue with the painting of the 200 or so points of various Warmahordes models I have sitting around either unassembled or partially assembled, and I've fallen back into my true love of miniatures, which turns out is basing. Who knew?

What I really need to do is think of what to do next.

I'm thinking Savage Fallout, as I had a great time running a few sessions with players in that ruleset/setting, and I know the Fallout world like the inside of my eyelids, and I recall drawing some really kickass isometric map segments for that game.

In the meantime, either Susan or Scott are going to take the reigns of Saturday games for the time being, until I have enough material to run either Fate or Savage Worlds.

Of course, now looking through my library of 'tags' I can see a bunch of games that I should be plotting or running...c'est la vie, I suppose.

Also, whatever happened to Prehistory Fantasy? Like all of you, I have no goddamn idea.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Actual Play: IKRPG Campaign Episode 3

Well, I seem to have gotten this week's game out on time. Huzzah for me! Another solid session tonight, though I did weaken and break one of the cardinal rules I'd laid out for myself in the IKRPG, and that's to have more than one session pass between major combats. This game, we started with some good roleplaying, followed by a pretty long and drawn-out combat, but at least the players were enjoying themselves.

I do have to say, though, that when I receive compliments about what happens during a session or campaign, it is rarely a grateful expression towards a combat experience, so that's another incentive to either figure out a way to shorten the fight scenes or find a way to make them as engaging as the entwining plotlines that the players are creating with me.

In any case, the party has left Merin behind and is moving forward to a plot point that intrigues everyone, which is the great Gatorman ceremony. They really seem to want to 'do well' in it, which is good, because I haven't exactly plotted out how I want it to go, and their roleplaying and intentions have been building it up significantly, so when we reconvene in two weeks (I know, I'm sporadic, but I'm gonna be in Southern California next week, and gods know I have good reasons to be there and good people to see.

In any case, look forward to the next session; with any luck, I'll be able to make it entirely role-playing and non-combat, but with serious tension and player satisfaction.


IKRPG Session 3: Luxury Cruise

p.s. I'm also debating uploading an mp3 of my players chatting about the various conspiracies that are combining and conflicting in the background. They've woven a story that is both intriguing and believable, and hell yes I'm going to steal some of the plot threads they've created out of their own perceptions. I'm just not going to tell them which guesses they have were right all along, and which ones were better than the ideas I had myself.

I will never tell them that last one.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Actual Play: IKRPG Campaign Episode 2

Back again, and once again a week(ish) late posting last episode of IKRPG: Ord. What we're experiencing, mostly, in this session is a combat in the Khadoran Embassy, followed by that time-honored gaming tradition of new parties where they look at anything not riveted or welded to the ground, trying to pick it up, and carting it off.

It seems like the group had a decent enough time with the session, despite most of it being combat; as GM, I'm definitely in favor of keeping these combat-intensive sessions few and far between; even if spacing them out doesn't give the players a constant learning experience when it comes to the battle mechanics (not Battle Mechaniks, totally different thing, there.) of IKRPG.

What I'm mostly enjoying about this last session is that, despite handing my party a serious advantage in any future combat they may figure into, it's also technically handing them a serious liability. I'm finding in my now-thirties, that I'm able to look beyond the superficial acquisition of 'desirables' and really focusing on the cost behind such choices. My players are absolutely obsessed with shinies (shinys? shiny's? ...iunno), and they seem to either not notice or not care that they are digging themselves into holes that they may not be fully capable of getting out of.

Of course, the point in putting your players into holes is to emphasize the direness of their choices to them, and of the consequences of their actions, and so the best thing a GM can do at any time of their day when they aren't consumed with work or sleep or loved ones is to imagine how they can create situations that will make their game groups lives both terrible and exciting.

I should probably figure out a blog post to do on that one.


IKRPG Session 2: The Red Scare