Thursday, February 28, 2013

New Year, New Games - February Report

So, let's just say that February being a terribly short month (by a whole two to three days!), I didn't get in as much gaming as I'd like to have. Sure, let's go with that. The truth is, weather and people's families and some illnesses and poor communication killed some of the gaming that I was planning on getting in this month. Here's what I've been up to in February:

Lots of DCC

Because DCC is badass. The Metal Gods of Ur-Hadad game keeps getting bigger, weirder and more fun. Just this last week, the number of folks looking to join in the game has swelled to the point where we've decided that we need to run a brand new funnel just to get these guys stables of PCs. One of the big developments in MGoUH is that we've finally gotten to the point where, if the players play all the PCs they've got, we'll have 24+ PCs eviscerating dungeons and trivializing encounters that makes +Edgar Johnson and I have to design deadlier and deadlier encounters just to thin out the ranks of PCs. Which of course creates a vicious cycle of the players then making new 0s, levelling them up so that we have to go through the whole process of killing off PCs all over again. Plus, I'm not keen on having to design killer encounters; it can be fun, but trying to write situations in which the players will fail just doesn't sit right.

So, +Edgar Johnson came up with a solution. Instead of designing non-funnel adventures for everything the players can throw at them, we're designing them the old school way, by designing adventures for a finite number of PCs. Whoever shows up builds the team for the night based on the needs of the adventure and we're good to go. We tried this model last Thursday when Edgar wasn't able to run (but was able to play!), so I did. I told the guys to pick one of their 1st level PCs to bring, as well as an alternate in case the party wasn't what they'd expected; turns out, we had just enough players that each got to play both characters, which was nice. I ran Brave Halfling's The Vile Worm and was really pleased with the module. It's short, to the point, and just enough story to be done with in a night. I don't want this post to turn into Brave Halfling fanboyism, but the stuff this company produces is just fucking fantastic. One of the neatest things about the module was a section of core features of the module so the Judge didn't miss any of them in the process of running the adventure which is sort of a "duh! why didn't I think of that?" idea. Anyway, the module was terribly well-written and provided an awesome challenge, even for Metal Gods players (although I did need to beef up the first encounter a bit). This week, we're back to running the Mysterious Temple of the Serpent God since Edgar's back in the driver's seat and I'm preparing a fresh funnel adventure to send a slew of brand new 0s to their doom or glory.

The Game of Taps hiatus continues, but is close to abating. I'm partnering with Mr. +Jonathon Repholz to start up a game night at the Tap Room in fabulous downtown Ypsilanti every Monday night, which coincides nicely with my old Game of Taps schedule. Basically, the idea is that every Monday night, folks who want to play table top games of all sorts show up and do so; for my part, I'll be running DCC every other Monday, resurrecting ye olde Game of Taps. I'm pretty excited about the idea of getting a bunch of the folks who helped reboot my interest in old school-yness together in one place for games (and possibly DCC), since they're the guys who put together Ypsi's last successful string of game nights over at the Corner Brewery. The Tap Room, though, stays open later and has more (and quieter) space with drink specials that don't cost in the "arms and legs" price range. For the reboot of the Game of Taps, I'm planning on running a funnel conversion of B4: The Lost City, allowing the players from the original GoT to opt to bring 1 of their level 1 characters to bring (alongside 2 new 0s); this plan ensures the longevity of the legacy of the Shoveller! Plus, I'll get to play some kickass board games. Fuck yeah! We'd be getting started on this plan this coming Monday if Jonathon and I weren't going skiing this weekend and not coming back until Tuesday.

Shadowrun

So, apparently, this is the year of Shadowrun. That's cool. Except that there's a new edition on the way and we're just getting started with SR4e. So, one has to wonder about the wisdom of investing heavily in a system that is about to be killed. That's all beside the point, however. This is the year of Shadowrun, and my group is getting in on the action. Mr. +Matt Woodard, who ran a terribly successful Savage Worlds one-shot in January, decided to start up a SR4e campaign, so I eagerly helped convince everyone else how awesome the idea would be. I'd be lying if I said that I'm a big SR fan, but I'm excited to (a) get to play with anuy regularity and (b) play in a style that I don't often get to. Most of my gaming these days is of the "badass dungeon crusher" variety, so "badass skullduggery crew" rp is a nice change of pace. And so, this past Sunday, the Sunday night crew set out to come up with some ideas of what our team of criminals would look like. I'm more than a little afraid of designing characters in SR4e (omg point buy madness!), so luckily Matt will be doing much of the designing for us. However, I'm kind of turned off by a system whose character creation system is so complex that the GM has to do it for you. I mean really, you can expect a certain amount of player buy in (to rules and setting), but the amount required by SR4e just seems ridiculous. So, I'll gladly let Matt build my dwarven trucker (rigger, really) as well as the rest of the group (obviously heavily guided by our crazy character concepts). And so, completely unbound by any regard for the rules whatsoever, the group sat down to come up with some ideas for fun and unique criminals.

Other Stuff

So, I never ended up getting a BLUEHOLME game going, which makes me sad. Once our Monday night games night at the bar (I'm thinking of calling it "Games on Tap;" how's that sound?), all of my wife's work nights will be filled with gaming, so I can't really add more gaming. There's always a chance that one of the old schoolers who'll probably show up to the Tap Room game night might start up a game on the non-DCC nights (which would be awesome), so that's a prospect. The ACKS game on Wednesday nights is still going strong (and has been awesome; I'm really digging the ACKS system) and has really helped me buy in to the BX gaming aesthetic. That having been said, I've started to get excited about BX gaming, just like I got excited about Holmes right about the time I got into BLUEHOLME. Further, my copy of the Edge of the Empire Basic box finally showed up, which is a really cool system and I'd love to find an opportunity to run it. I'd do it online if it weren't for the funky dice (I can't find a way to do the funky dice inside of a hangout yet). Oh, and I finally read DUNGEON WORLD. While I'm not super-excited about it, I think that there are a lot of things that can be stolen from it, which I'm sort of excited about. I'm actually really surprised by the amount of backlash against the system. Why is it when a system includes no mention of RP in the rules, people assume that the game has no RP content (D&D 4e), but if a system actually includes rules that quantify aspects of RP (even if it's just rewards for RP), then we decry it for telling us how to play? Sure, the list of names is dumb, but that's not really important to the game, is it? To be honest, when I first read through Dungeon World, my reaction wasn't "this game is awesome and I want to play it now," it was "this rule is awesome and I'm totally going to steal it."

Well, that's it for February. Let's see what awesome new games March brings!