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Showing posts from 2010

A old, reoccurring problem

I had lunch recently with a gamer who lives in my new hometown.  He's been running a 4E game for a while, but for many reasons is having to stop running the campaign.  I told him I'd be willing to sit behind the screen and take over running something.
One of the many reasons he stopped running the game, however, was a lack of committed players.  He described the community as "in flux" and said that having people attend with any regularity was rare.  There were also veiled references to "edition wars" and the like.
What does this mean for me?  Well, for one thing, I'm not going to rush out and buy anything for this, nor am I going to go whole-hog and plan a whole campaign.  I'm thinking just one Level 1 Quest and let's see what develops.

Stop. Hammer time.

Well I got an email today from the GM running the game at the local store. Apparently the game is off. He has had some stuff come up compounded with sporadic attendance which equals no game.
So my current plan is to see if his group might like a new GM. We will see what happens.

Go. Play.

For a few weeks, I've been wrangling over whether I should start up a game of my own in my new hometown.  I had been told by the manager of the FLGS that the gaming groups he knew of were not looking for new players, and that on the whole the RPG scene was dying off.  Thinking I lacked options, I started plans on beginning by own campaign.
Probably the biggest concern I had was time.  I'm pretty busy, and something more than a 4E Dungeon Crawl might be pushing it.
But as I was hashing this out, I thought I'd still try to find something.  I went to Meetup.com, which sometimes has gaming groups, and discovered that the FLGS in question had a gaming group there bi-weekly, and that yes, they were interested in new players.  So much for the intel of the manager, but I'm not complaining.
I'll let my very rare readership know how it goes.

Cmdr. Horus Mecklenburg (ret), Traveller NPC

"After I graduated from college the Navy offered me the sort of opportunities and job security I was looking for.  I know when you think of the Navy you think of the big flyboys or the starship gunners, but I was part of that organization that made everything run smoothly.  In my initial tour of duty I continued to improve on my education with a study of military history and computer programming.  By my second tour I was commissioned as an officer and soon after promoted to lieutenant.  Those were great days aboard a hospital ship.  I was learning everything I could, but did most of my work in medical records and engineering.

"I continued to serve aboard the hospital ship for my third and fourth terms, having finally convinced my superiors that I could be out in the field.  I was part of an emergency response team that would board spacecraft in distress and provide relief.  My the time I was done with my fourth term, I had risen to the rank of Commander and was leading my ow…

The End of the World, Day Three

As you might imagine, the third day of a three-day gaming stretch can be the toughest one.  Two years ago I ran the game the third day and people got pretty slap-happy during the session.  Thankfully the scenario was a little over-the-top so it really didn't matter.

This time around it was another story.  Some roleplaying games are more tactical than others, but a lot depends on the style of the judge and the scenario involved.  The third day's game was set in the near future and the PC's were part of a large military unit stranded in Iran.

Side note: one thing that comes up somewhat regularly at EOW is judges ripping off lesser-known books for story ideas.  Saturday's game was apparently set in the universe from the book "Earthfall" while this day's session was set in the book "The Last Centurion."  There are perils to doing this, as you'll see later.

The PC's unit was tasked with protecting a large stockpile of supplies with the hopes t…

The End of the World, Day Two

The second EOW game was also science fiction, this time a more "hard sci fi" story. Earth has been wracked by a ecological cataclysm and abandoned in favor of colonies throughout the solar system. Two centuries later a team of scientists and soldiers are sent back to earth to locate the plans of an FTL drive which will allow humanity to leave the solar system.

This time around I was playing the corporate supervisor, and I played his low-charisma self to the hilt. Think Paul Rieser in "Aliens.". Playing someone so disagreeable was a nice change of pace.

The game got hung up in what I think are two classic RPG pitfalls. The first is what I call the "carte blanche" scenario.  When you are on a high-priority mission (save the solar system) from a high powered patron (a system-wide government), wouldn't you be given anything you wanted: gear, troops, transports, etc.?  And a sufficient amount of tactical support can allow a group to pretty much steamroll a…

The End of the World, Day One

The first day of the three-day gaming weekend began today with a Star Trek scenario.  Pretty standard set-up: an abandoned ship in space is discovered and the PC's crew a DS9 Runabout to investigate.  The mystery ship has lots of secrets, including strange, phantom-like figures from the long-lost crew.

One problem I've often had with Star Trek RPGs is the issue of command.  Each crew has someone to make the decisions and that person can run the direction of the adventure.  The other is that on a large ship crew has loads of "specialists" who can guarantee success for any task the PC's want to do.

On a small crew where everyone is roughly the same rank, this isn't as much an issue.  I was also the commanding officer and made a point of being pretty collaborative.

The adventure was well run, had loads of nice details like ship diagrams, and unlike many scenarioes was pretty open-ended.  Great way to start the weekend.

Looking forward to the End of the World

Not the literal one, although according to Scripture we Christians are supposed to come out okay, in theory...

Anyways, I mean "EOW" which is short for "End of the World."  The story behind EOW is that back in Columbus over twenty years ago a bunch of friends used to game together a homegrown system that combined three RPG's: Traveller, FASA's Star Trek RPG, and Morrow Project.  Basically the game used Traveller's life path, Star Trek's skill/attribute system, and Morrow Project's universe.  Unlike most gaming groups, they kept gaming this odd gumbo of an RPG ever since, occasionally restarting the Morrow Project timeline to re-envision the campaign.  They were (and are) a pretty insular bunch, never branching out into other gaming systems or anything, they were like a gaming time capsule.

Well, I was invited to join this group by one of the GM's (they are so old fashioned they call them "judges") and played for several years while…

Review: Meddling Kids

Like many people who grew up in the halcyon era of paper-based RPG's, I know have young children.  Both of mine are school-aged, and are exposed in some way to my playing roleplaying games.  Finding a way to introduce the fun of using your imagination, as well as developing problem-solving skills, teamwork, and reading ability through RPG's has been, to date, a bit of a challenge.  Most RPG's are geared towards teenagers and my own attempts at doing some "kid-friendly" games have been disastrous.
The RPG industry seems to be waking up to this.  Wizards of the Coast created Monster Hunters, a very whittled down and almost completely peril-free version of Dungeons and Dragons.  Troll Lord Games made Harvesters, where the players play farm and woodland creatures anthropomorphizing them into furry D&D-esque characters.
     One RPG that I became aware of recently was Meddling Kids, by Pandahead Productions, which as you might expect is a RPG depicting the Sa…

Deris Michno, Traveller NPC

"Back when I entered into the merchant service, I knew I could go far, given the chance. That employee recruiter from Webber Transports was pretty quick to sign me up, and I didn't disappoint him. Engines, computers, there wasn't anything I couldn't do. I made Fourth Officer and had hoped to make Third, but my supervisor said it was only a matter of time. Shows what he knows.

"My second term I was assigned to a transport ship called Tangerine Sky. A couple of years into the term the crew of the Sky became terribly ill in the middle of a run. The chief engineer and many of the other crew died, leaving us stranded in space. Even though I was pretty sick myself, I ended up being pressed into service in the sickbay. I heard after we were rescued that the Sky had been carrying medical supplies that were somehow contaminated and leaked into the environmental systems. Webber lost a ton of money on the deal, not to mention all the bad publicity. They dissolved the sh…

Hello World!

Right now I have three blogs on Blogspot.  The first is my generic, "this is my life" blog, which I honestly don't update much because I've learned the hard way about putting personal stuff on the internet.  The second is my wargaming blog, The Army Collector, where I feature miniatures that I've painted, etc.  But I also have had roleplaying games as a hobby, but I find that I like keeping them separated online.  So I created this blog, Graph Paper Games, to be a repository for hopefully interesting roleplaying game-related material.What am I thinking of putting here?  Well right now I'll admit I'm not running anything because I am in a new location and haven't established my gaming base yet.  In the meantime, I thought I'd put things like NPC's for Traveller or adventure ideas for Meddling Kids.  I'm slowly cooking up an old school megadungeon, but I'm not sure I want to put that in--after all, you might be playing in it! Anyways, com…