Monday, February 21, 2011

Ok so lets look at old school scifi and other departures

This is really important to me. I like that we are starting to see Hobbyist come up with the type of retro games I like.

I'm not that much of a fantasy fan and I like rules lite. Gamma World was a big favorite of mine as was Aftermath which was less gozo then Gamma Word. You see the best Gamma World games we had where more like Logan's Run - Humans coming out of the Dome cities and taking back the world above and dealing with the dome city politics. I know that is quite a departure from base Gama World but that is how we played it. Similarly we liked Morrow Project as it was more of the same and our games would often be an amalgam of both concepts. I always felt sad that Cyborg Commando never really got of the ground - I pretty sure I'm the only one but there you have it. Same for Leading Edges Rand stuff.  I didn't like phoenix command in execution.  Loved Jorune too but again it never really gabbed other peoples imaginations. Talislanta loved that sucker too. Lords of Creation. I coerced my gaming buddies into playing these games I loved and some worked and others didn't. 

I don't know why weird fantasy settings and sci-fi setting don't get more love.Is it that they are harder to run or just not as appealing in some way... harder to fit into the weird setting?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Community links and Acknowledgment

I just went over to catch up on one of my favorite blogs Randall's Retro Roleplaying blog and look at what I found. So very kind of him to give me a tip of the hat. Nice guy. Great designer and good game producer. If you love 3/3.5ed or OD&D then go over and get in on the action and read his blog.

I'm off to try and learn how to do maps in GIMP 

Friday, February 11, 2011

A funny thing happend on the way to the game table....

I have had a realization. It has been spurred on by the insightful

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Steller Advice

I stumbled across a great post on practical GM'ery which I think is just great. It explains so much.

I'll come clean and say that I'm a very changeable GM. I have the habit of wanting to jump to a new game every now and then. More often "now "then "then" actually.

There is a reason for it however. I'm not, as has been explained before a Fantasy rpg fan as a rule. My tastes in this regard are more outre then most of my gaming-mates. When it comes to Fantasy I'm a fan of Talislanta, and Jorune, even the myth driven RuneQuest. However my first love is Sci-fi gaming. Followed by Pulp followed by Horror and finally of all things Supers. So when I get backed into a corner as a GM I used to run FRPG's - I mean D&D, as a sort of - "ok if I must" type of  proposition. I'd rather have something on then nothing when it comes to gaming.

Lucky I'm now - after many years - starting to understand OD&D and I'm on a bit of a Labyrinth Lord kick. So we have done some OD&D type one shots but we all want a campaign, its positioned as the back up game, but even so I wish it was the excellent Stars Without Number as our OD&D type bash. Seriously.

The funny thing is I'm not sure what my favorite game or game-system is. I've had lots of fun with Traveller in the past but I cant think of the last time I have a good sci-fi campaign. Back in my 20's maybe.

The last great campaign -2009-2010 - I ran was Hollow Earth Expedition. I do like most everything about the game but it gets to a point once the players are sufficiently advanced, that things become ridiculously easy. Honestly as a GM this is my biggest problem; character experience systems.       

To top it off I find myself in the "thinking-I-should-switch-games" situation now. I'm running Shadowrun for my game group. Look it is an ok game but its not what I really, really, dig doing. How did I get myself in this situation - Well I tried to introduce my players to the "awesome" which is FATE3.0.

Long and short of it is that it was not our fate to play FATE... too many subsystems in which the players felt they had to become versed. That game was  meant to be a Transhumanist sci-fi game sort of Eclipse Phase, meets Cthuluh Rising powered by FATE3.0. Somehow one of the players just had to buck convention and play a mage (long story and the wrong call by me). So when the system didn't work out the step to Shadowrun was set by this precedent. 

So I'm left with the problem of dreading trying to do Shadowrun every week for the players who are really keen on it or doing a "shifty" and making us do a "new" game.

I have a plan on how to make Shadowrun a fun game for me. Maybe this could work...

Step one: Make Seattle a Sandbox - What does that really mean? It means nominating some sights in Seattle which are Locations of adventure/interest/curiosity
Step two: Add in factions - The Megacorps, Gangs and other factions in Seattle
Step three: Add connections between the things in the setting, the factions etc.
Step four; Add some connections outside the city of Seattle these are simply the same as the Seattle locations but are more broad
Step five: Add the players and some hooks into whats going on 

The AI's are one of the factions I'll focus on
Evo and its holdings are another

I wonder if this can keep me interested in the game....

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Not retro-clone but Make your own

See... I get the retro-clone phenom. I'm into it myself in a fairly big way just now. But although I was an 80's gamer and was there for most of that area of D&D goodness I was to be honest more a fan of  Traveller and Star Trek and even Mercenaries Spies and Private Eyes.

Traveller was for years were my roll playing fetish existed. So the retro-clone is teaching me to really like D&D fantasy, which is a lot of fun.

But my bias is, I'm not a fan of levels (I dont mind the class concept) and while I don't need a huge skill list (in fact would prefer on with 20 or less entries) I really do like some skills in some situations. I also like emotion/morality emulation in my games as well. What I love are all the guys out there home-brewing with the OSR its cool.

BUT I wonder what if it wasnt just "retro-clone" but "make your own", I read this and it hit the nail on the head for me.  Particularly when you see the direction Goodman games is taking too. Goodmans games is forging new ground old school feel but new mechanics.

That is the key for me. I don't actually like levels and plain hit points, all the odd foibles of OD&D's mechanics. I actually think they have been, at their core improved upon over the years in both editions of D&D and in many other games.

I've previously come out and stated my opinion of D&D 4th ed. Its a miniatures rule set. A very complicated one for a skirmish game in which you have only really one figure but there you have it. Sure you role play while you do the combats an in between but its a minis game.  Because of this its all about the rules in the books.

That is not what old rpg-ing was and there is room for another type of game the type of role playing we grew up with ...

I think that it doesn't have to just mean D&D or just mean fantasy. Thankfully we are starting to see this departure now. Stars Without Number - over which I'm still in deep fan-gasm - is a Scifi game in this ilk and we have also had Star Frontiers as an old school free on the web option. People are doing great stuff with the rules that are out there like Mystery Men Beta by John M Stater.

Its exciting to see these home-brews and I hope they can break from the feeling they need to base themselves upon OD&D for legitimacy.

We return you now to you regularly scheduled sandbox update.