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Showing posts from October, 2010

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…