Sunday, December 15, 2013

The State of My Gaming, December 2013

One of the things about going back to school and working multiple jobs is it doesn’t always leave much room for updating the ol’ website as much as I’d like. I have some articles and reviews I’m working on, but haven’t had time to really get anything out there. With that in mind, I thought it might be a good time for a “State of My Gaming” updates, highlighting some of the items I’m working on and that have my interest.

My Current Campaign
Our RuneQuest 6 campaign has been awesome. The system is fantastic, and makes me sorry I wasn’t better acquainted with RQ years earlier. The skill rolls and adjudication are simple, the combat system grimly lethal, the Combat Effects system fantastic at turning a fight on its ear (and making the character alternately triumph and sweat it out), and it’s pretty easy to run, too. The game is known as being at least rules-medium in complexity, but it’s well-written and easy to comprehend.

The actual setting itself (our Middle Isles campaign) has been so much fun. The players have gone out in several unexpected directions, and have had some of the craziest dice luck I’ve ever seen. Our Greek Myth/Viking Saga/Earthsea matchup saw them earn the right to represent their nation in defending an allied city-state against a sort of Proto-Roman Empire, and they managed to absolutely DESTROY the enemy’s hidden supply fleet. Meanwhile, most of the players are really getting into their characters, having their loyalties tested, and have been well-challenged throughout the campaign. They’ve been a joy to Game Master for, and I can’t wait to see where the campaign goes next.

Shiny New Stuff
My RuneQuest 6 hardcover came in last month. It was worth the wait, and I’m pleased overall with the crowdfunding effort from the Design Mechanism. There were some slight delays (only about a month total, I think), during which the lines of communication remained nicely open. I would definitely pledge another Design Mechanism project tomorrow.

Stark City was a project I waited a bit long for, but it looks really nice. There are some really nice ideas here and inspiration for creating a city for a superhero campaign (more on that in a few). I’m not a big fan of the cover art (not bad, but doesn’t really grab me), but I can say the project overall was worth the wait.

Obsidian Portal
For the most part, I’m liking the changes that have been made to Obsidian Portal. My banner is messed up, but I just need to find time to resize it. It’s been really useful for scheduling and keeping copies of the characters updated for our RQ6 game (even with a few bugs here and there).

One Shots
I’ve also participated in a few online one-shots, which have met with varying degrees of success:

Numenera: I sat through discussions of this game, watched some online sessions of folks playing, and had a go at it myself. I can’t say I was blown away. I just don’t like the basic system, and I don’t like exerting attributes for a better shot at succeeding (when couple along with damage, players tend to “hoard”). GM Intervention didn’t really click with our group, and all in all, it just left us a bit flat. It’s a pretty product, I don’t see where it’s doing anything particularly well. On the plus side, I’d probably play in it again as a short-notice pickup game, and the setting has some really neat bits. So while Numenera isn’t the best game out there, it wasn’t completely horrid, either.

StarCluster 3: Still just a fantastic game. With as much as this game has going on, you think it would be poor for one shots, but I’ve run a sort of Interplanetary CSI and Private Investigator game with it that’s worked really well. You need to do your prep work, but I’ve really enjoyed the characters we’ve had for our sci-fi space adventures.

Basic Dungeons and Dragons (Holmes): Hard to go wrong with this. Played a fighter who succumbed to a bugbear in a nameless dungeon corridor. Oh, but what a ride it was until then...

Looking Ahead
I plan on staying with my RuneQuest 6 campaign through most of 2014, but when that’s over, I think I’ll be returning to a superhero game. I’ve been working on my Cromwell City setting for some time, and it’s something I’ve worked on a bit with my daughter (we like to make heroes and villains with HeroMachine 3). I’m definitely not a fan of the Iron Age of comics, preferring the Silver Age, or probably more properly, the more lighthearted nature of the neo-Silver Age (Justice League Unlimited, Avengers, and some recent reboots). Shows and titles in that vein brought back a lot of the enjoyment of comic book characters that I had lost during the “ultra-gritty, everything is mature and tortured and we’re going to destroy your fond childhood memories” era. While in my comics I hate my iconic characters being messed with (Peter Parker IS Spiderman, Bruce Wayne IS Batman), it’s a blank slate when it comes to my own supers game.

The tricky thing is, I’m still torn on which system to use. Should I go with the old tried-and-true Marvel FASERIP? What about Truth & Justice, the old standby? Do I go back to ICONS, Hearts & Souls, or perhaps go with my most recent read, Triumphant! from Beyond Belief Games? Every system offers something different, and it’s tough to choose just now. I really just need to grab a system and stick with it. It paid off with RuneQuest 6, so I need to stop dithering (a free action in RQ6, by the way), and go with it. The system needs to ensure it can have a character on the level of the Flash or Green Lantern alongside a Crimson Avenger or Green Arrow, which would seem to lean towards something like Triumphant!, but I’m keeping an open mind. I’m also welcome to suggestions.

So, that’s where I’m at now with my gaming. Hopefully, I’ll be able to send along some more articles soon.

1 comment:

dbsemmes said...

Keep up the great work! I too am a big fan of RQ, even though I haven't run a RQ campaign since last year.

I am also a big fan of Icons. I think the system is simple to pick up and although no game is "perfect", I would recommend it for supers-gaming, for sure!