Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Decisions, decisions....

A pulled all these out from under my bed. I've been mulling about what to do next when the MHR campaign is over. 

Saturday, January 25, 2014

In Which I Kill an NPC

So, we finally get the Ultimate Posse back together for a game of Marvel Heroic RPG.  It's the original crew: the Ferret, Abrasax, Dr. Mind, Mr. Eternity, Union Galactic, and Samkhara.  Bubblegum, their newest member, stays for the beginning but eventually leaves because, well, she's ten and got bored.

The Ferret is summoned by Taurus to the Zodiac spacestation.  There, in his guise as Libra, he is informed of Sagittarius' failure to get the "weapon of mass destruction," which the Ferret now knows is a baby.  Taurus opens a viewport to show the supervillainess archer drifting by, dead.  On the way out from the meeting, the Ferret is quizzed by Empyrean (known as Capricorn in the Zodiac) who briefly thinks he recognizes him, but the Ferret manages to bluff him into thinking otherwise.

Dr. Mind examining the baby the group recovered from VIPER and the Bialyans, but didn't give to Taurus of the Zodiac (having instead swapped out some random and useless technobabble).  The baby surprises everyone by turning the examining table into pure helium during the examination, and team realizes why it might be so important to the supervillains.  They use the radio transmitter they had installed in the VIPER submarine to track it to an island in the Indian Ocean, and head there to get some answers.

The island is being protected by a bunch of agents and Eye-Strike and Brawl (two B-listers at best), and the Posse makes short work of them, but the G6 is destroyed.  They secretly enter the base, hack the systems inside, and find a record of VIPER stealing the child from a French shapeshifting superhero and his wife.  They destroy the base and make their way back home in a stolen VIPER aircraft.

Once at home, they contact the French superhero and he comes to reclaim his kidnapped child.  They put the superhero in touch with the Shadow Cabinet, whose leader Dharma offers to help train the infant in his powers.

The showdown between the Zodiac and the Ultimate Posse is on the horizon!  Which team will win?

Monday, January 20, 2014

Mid-January Update

Just to get back up to speed on what's going on in my world...

We missed our last gaming session, again because of schedule issues, this time mine.  With our bi-weekly schedule, that means we end up going another month without gaming.  The holiday curse of gaming absentia seems to be lingering now.

In the meantime, I've been filling some my free time making some pieces from Hirst Arts bricks to decorate my modular dungeon.  These are small walls, pillars, etc. to help add a little panache to the layouts.

Aside from just being a good, mindless project, I've been creating these pieces with the idea of eventually getting back into running a fantasy campaign.  I've oft dreamed of doing a true sandbox layout, and the gaming group is always interested in fantasy RPG's.  Also nudging this along is the fact that I bought both the first and second Reaper Bones Kickstarters.  That's a lot of minis.

So, as always, I'm mulling over which fantasy RPG to use.  There's good arguments for any of them: the simplicity of early edition D&D, the customization options of 3.X/Pathfinder, the familiarity the group has with 4th Edition.  The number of choices can keep me hung up for some time, but before I get too far into building a campaign world I'll need to settle on something, if anything because it will affect how large to make rooms (4th Edition requires more than 10' by 10' for a group).

Friday, January 10, 2014

Campaign Economies

This is a little free-form for me, but here goes...

In the game Fate, they mention that PC's have to be pro-active.  The implication, as I see it, is that the players have to continually engage the story.  That suggests that it could happen beyond a compelling reason.  They're curious, heroic, greedy--something that continually makes them snap at the carrot when it is dangled in front of them.  It's an overt reference to one of the unwritten social contracts of gaming: go with whatever story the GM has cooked up.

Think about the opening scene in the movie Shoot 'Em Up. Clive Owen's "Mr. Smith" is just sitting at a bus in the opening scene stop when a woman runs by being chased by a hitman.  Owen appears to almost sigh slightly, then get up and get involved.  You can almost see the reluctance in his mind as he says, "Oh this?  This is the story."  The movie's a deconstruction of the genre and is sort of hipster-ironic, by the way.

I'm in this mode right now where I'm kind of off "story" RPG campaigns and thinking more about "sandbox" options.  There's lots of reasons, but the biggest one is that I'm really aware of how little latitude can sometimes occur in story games.  It almost becomes this subtle by-play of power between the GM, who has some idea of where it is supposed to go, and the players who are alternatively exercising their creative muscles and flailing about trying to work out the hidden plot.

But sandboxes imply the need for an economy, a reason for people to head into dangerous locales.  The economy could be as simple as money: the PC's want to eat and have a place to live and don't want to spend decades toiling in a medieval or similarly financially disproportionate society in squalor.  So, they go do some very dangerous things for a big payout.

Or it could be something more heavy-handed like "exploring this region of space is your job because you're Galactic Surveyors, etc."  I don't know.  What I've been wondering about is the possibility of creating an economy, or even a purpose that motivates a group to explore a sandbox that is different from simple financial gain but isn't as thin as the assumption that PC's will be proactive.


Monday, January 6, 2014

Start the year off with some new games?

Drivethrurpg is having a big sale right now to start off the new year.

I'm thinking about picking up Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyborea and Icons, both for only $5.00 each.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

GMing: The Next Generation

Friday isn't my regular game night, but I had some company--someone who has regularly appeared as a "guest star" in many of my home games, and with a free evening we decided to do something fun and different: let my son, Mac, get behind the GM screen.  Mac had been wanting to GM for a while, but had been nervous about it, especially in front of the regular gaming group.  He had, however, picked up a free module from Mythmere Games for their Swords & Wizardry RPG.

It's a fairly straightforward story: a village is destroyed, a hidden lair revealed, and the PC's go in to clean house.  There's some cause-effect elements where you can easily die through player stupidity, some simple problem solving, etc.  And there's four pre-generated PC's.  Mac was clearly glad to be running a game for the visiting guest, his sister, and me, and he did a good job.  I helped with some rules issues, but many times I told him the OSR creed: you're the GM, just make a call.

So like I said, he did pretty well and we all had a lot of fun, which in the end is what this hobby is really about.

Over at Strange Vistas