Showing posts from July, 2016

Impulse Buying, RPG edition

So, I was in the mood for some retail therapy the last week for a lot of reasons, none of which have real bearing for the purposes of this post, but for me retail therapy often has a big impact on my gaming collection. Most of what I purchased were second-hand, used wargames (including All Quiet on the Martian Front , In Her Majesty's Service , and Field of Glory ) but I also bought two RPG's, one used on eBay and another new. The used one was the most recent edition of Traveller. I bought this on the spur of the moment because of a comment one of my players had made recently to me about how the group rarely roleplays, and by that she meant do anything that wasn't a combat action.  And she's right--fight scenes are the bread and butter of my gaming group, although that's slowly changing.  But my thought at the time was that combat in Traveller isn't quite as common, is more dangerous, and isn't the core theme of the game (being a merchant marine and

Planning the "Seasons" of your Campaign

I supported the Kickstarter for the new sourcebook detailing the history of Aaron Allston's Strike Force campaign.  This is an update and expansion upon the 96-page classic tome Aaron Allston's Strike Force  which came out in the early 1990's, and like the first book essentially outlines not only the major plots and characters of the eponymous Champions RPG campaign (which continued past the early 90's for another decade).  The campaign became a world in which multiple campaigns were spun off and included an estimated 48 players.  The core Strike Force campaign had over 260 sessions to its name. And that sounds epic, literally and figuratively.  And in that regard, while it seems highly unlikely that I could ever come close to that, there's no harm in trying to get even a fraction of that.  My longest campaign probably had about a tenth of that number of sessions.  Why not try again? It's worth noting that Allston apparently played many years twice a week, Tue

The "Youth" game draws to a close

The PC's battle the final boss in a semi-active volcano A while back one of the younger members of my group, part of the "second generation" tier of players, decided to run a D&D game for the other young members using Fourth Edition rules.  His choice, I suspect, is based on the fact that Fourth Edition is pretty easy to run insofar as you can just use their XP guidelines and roughly "one encounter=one hour of play" ratio to come up with sessions fairly easily. You'll not hear a single critical note from me about this campaign, merely an observation that it suffered from the fact that since it was not the regular "house" game (or games, since there are currently two) then it wasn't really part of the schedule in the minds of the players.  That made attendance spotty and eventually a couple of parents would sit in to round out the group.  I was one of those parents, and so I got a chance to play an RPG that I had not for many years.

Some player-made illustrations from Prowlers and Paragons

In my last post, I mentioned how I've been encouraging players to sketch what they are imagining.  Yesterday my kids wanted me to run our on-and-off Prowlers and Paragons game with a couple of their friends, so I had them wrap up a short plot line from the last time we did this.  We tried out the sketching-as-postlude, and it was a big hit.  Here's some examples: Clockwise from top left: Whiplash, Blowtorch, Kroxigor (a PC), and Xenoist (the big bad guy of the story) In the story the PC's are trying to rescue a police detective who was investigating the Secret Empire, a shadowy organization that has been a frequent antagonist of the PC's.  The heroes infiltrate ReVision, Inc, where they suspect the Secret Empire has been operating.  There they find and battle three henchmen supervillains--Blowtorch, Jackhammer, and Whiplash--and meet one of the Secret Empire's chief mad scientists, Xenoist.  Xenoist tries to pump the detective full of his own version of the ch

Improving the post-game experience

One thing I introduced to my gaming group (and they continue it even as others have taken over as GM) is that at the end of each session they all fill out index cards with the answers to three questions: What was the coolest thing that happened in this gaming session? What was the coolest thing another player did? If you were casting this campaign as a TV series/movie, who would you cast as [name of NPC]? It's a nice way to figure out what players like, and often the answer to question 2 results in some XP bonuses.  But recently my friend Adam suggested that instead of the usual question for number 3, that instead I try to find another way to see what an NPC looked like.  Many of my players are artists, especially the younger ones, so I decided to add an optional fourth question, namely by handing out cards early and letting them sketch a picture of a PC or NPC on the back during game play.  That has the added bonus of keeping idle hands busy during slow combat rounds.