Friday, May 3, 2013

New Year, New Games - April Report

Sorry this post is a few days overdue, but time flies when you're (a) gaming four to five nights per week and (b) prepping for a new campaign, but more of that later!

Games I've Been Running & Playing

Much of my gaming has been the same from March to April. The Metal Gods campaign is still rockin' and April saw the four sessions that made up my most recent adventure, To Catch A Fallen Star. I'm back in my role as player as +Edgar Johnson Judges our way through the Pod Caverns of the Sinister Shroom to the Anomalous Subsurface Environment. Last night, we came close to getting the tar kicked out of us, but Brother Aram, my lawful cleric and wielder of the Frosthammer, hit level 2, so things might start moving a little smoother for us (my halfling haberdasher, Banvha, is exactly one experience point away from level 2, damnit!).

My Wednesday night ACKS game keeps chugging along, as does the Saturday night Swords & Wizardry game. There are highlights in both and in both games, I'm playing the party cleric. For some reason, folks don't seem to like to play clerics, but I dig it, so I'm glad to fill that role. +Jason Hobbs asked me the other day: "How many clerics are you playing right now, anyway?" The truth is, I'm playing four. 1 in ACKS, 1 in S&W, 2 in DCC. By the way, Jason, if you're reading, Zullgunn needs to start attracting congregants to his Hospitemple as soon as I can get him some down time between adventures.

My every-other-Monday night Edge of the Empire game is rocking, too. the crew of the Krayt Fang are seriously considering becoming the crew of another vessel as they're afraid that a rust-red YT-1300 registered to a bounty hunter known to work for their Hutt nemesis is more than a little conspicuous. For now, though, they're driving landspeeder trucks across the face of Ryloth, trying to save Oskara's sister from thugs, uncovering a plot by their Hutt nemesis to take over Ryll spice mining on the planet. The game has been accomplishing a very episodic feel, like a tv show, which has been a ton of fun for me.

Diaspora -- Or, Now I Know Why FATE Core Exists

Patience and huge attention
span required, but not included.
So, a few weeks ago, +Matt Woodard, +Kubo Mshila & I all got together with the idea of starting up a game of Diaspora. If you don't know, it's a game roughly based on the old school hard sci fi logic of Traveller, set to the modern game engine of FATE. Now, I like FATE, I got in on the FATE Core Kickstarter, so I was expecting to really enjoy this session. We spent about three and a half hours building the star cluster and creating our characters and were left with no time to play. That's when I realized a truism about myself: I want to start playing right away. I want to make a character and do stuff with him or her in the first night. Diaspora, however, requires such an in-depth examination of your character's history and interaction with the other PCs that it becomes impossible to do that. Plus, you design the star cluster that the game takes place in as a group so that adds time. I mean, I like the character that I came up with, but often the choices I was making didn't feel terribly meaningful and it felt like I was being forced to focus more on where the character came from than who he is and what he does, which is pretty damn boring.

And so, I now understand why FATE Core exists. With half as many Aspects (five instead of ten) and no "deep examination" of how the character's childhood fucks up who he is today, character creation is much quicker. I feel like I could make a character in an hour max, which means we could have gotten to gaming on that first session. Better still is the FATE Accelerated Edition (FAE), which strips down characters even further, most notably in the skill department, replacing skills with Approaches (how you do things rather than what are you doing) which I think is a neat way to go about it.

Anyway, I doubt we'll ever get around to playing Diaspora, but kudos to +Matt Woodard for trying to make it work and spending so much mental effort trying to keep us on task and on message.

What's Next?

Right now, it looks as if my Sunday gaming group has fallen apart. I tried to get them together one last time, but it feels like it's just over. To take its place, however, I'm putting together a new local group, half of grognards, half of newbs, to play a game of ACKS set in the world of Ur-Hadad (which, thanks to the Metal Gods players, +phil spitzer in particular, we now know is called Ore in the same way our planet is called Earth). The sub-setting I'm calling the Iron Coast, a Swords & Sorcery battleground where a prophecy and exploitable resources have small nations at each other's throats as the forces of Chaos marshal in the wilderness, ready to claim the Iron Coast for their own. The goal of becoming the Prince of the Iron Coast will linger as the overarching campaign motivator, possibly growing beyond the Iron Coast when the PCs surpass the Conqueror stage and make their way to becoming Kings.

Also, I'm actually working on that "hey, here's a crappily-written and quickly thrown together White Box hack" that I came up with for SWAp Day. Basically, I'm looking at rewriting the White Box stuff to match the ideas I had there, but also I'm half-assed working on a "hexcrawl engine" that I'll be using for the exploration part of that game (as well as a few other games I have in mind). I've started doing research that might or might not be useful, we'll see. Anyway, yeah, the Colonial Gothic hexcrawl hack might become a real thing soon and not just a wobbly half-idea.

Plus, secret Ur-Hadad related project. Shhhhhhh!