Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The DM's treadmill

It's been weeks since my last post because, frankly, life has been kicking me square in the testicles. Repeatedly, and without mercy.

But that's not what this blog is about! It's about escaping from your life of testicle injury! And throughout my trials and tribulations, I've still been rolling the bones and forgetting myself for a few hours a week.

In the game in which I am a player, which I am now calling the New Gods campaign, our characters are becoming (what else?) new gods. In the real world, this is to test a new mechanic of the DM's homebrew system, but it's made interesting by the fact that within the game, our characters belonged to an atheistic society.

In the game I'm running, the players are off on some half-cocked vague adventure. We've had two sessions so far, and for the first one, I was barely awake and not at all prepared.
In the second session, I had actually prepared a small dungeon, and even populated it with new monsters from my own imagination. The dungeon also contained a +2 knife, which in my game world, is an extremely rare and powerful magical item. The kind of knife a king would wear. The party made a more or less bee-line for the intended target of the adventure, and after locating it, buggered off, leaving about 90% of the dungeon unspoiled. What was intended as a three hour dungeon was done with in about fifteen minutes, and I proceeded to wing it.
Winging it is a time honored tradition among DM's, and in my experience, can sometimes lead to the best adventures. Certainly some of my proudest moments have come from running games off the top of my head.
Unfortunately, in the current campaign, I had yet to "take off the training wheels".
When I run a game, for the first couple of levels, I like to give the party a pretty firm hand. I overtly and obviously hand them the first adventure to help introduce them to the setting and allow them to introduce their players to me. By the end of it, everyone should have a pretty firm grasp of the flavor of the adventure and their companions. After that introductory bit, I tend to let the character decide where they want to go from there.
The big problem of this approach is when the characters do something that takes the story off the rails early and you're forced to deal with things you aren't even vaguely prepared for.

My PC's escaped the sewer dungeon, plowed through a mountain of my bullshit, and are now on their way to something more interesting, that may or may not have a bearing on the fate of the world. As per usual.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Anxious for the weekend

It's only Wednesday, but I'm chomping at the bit for the weekend to begin.
Saturday, I'll be playing in a homebrew quest and Sunday will be the first session of our new AD&D game, for which, I have written nothing.
The group is composed of mostly fighters, with a thief and a mage, though one character is considering creating a fighter/mage/thief.
At least two of the characters are attached to large organizations, so, I can always give them a mandate from a higher-up to gather some droogs and go explore location X, for it is spooky.
Eventually, I'm going to have this current group return to the castle of the previous group, which has been overrun by baddies.

As I get older, I find that I have less and less time for gaming. Or rather, between the group, we can only find a two to three hour block once a week to game. This may be adequate for some, but when I started playing, we would set aside at least six hours for a session. Some of our marathon sessions went well into the double digits.
Very rarely, I can get with a group of guys on a weekend and literally play all night. It's a great feeling to start a session when the sun is going down, and end the session by eating breakfast together before you go home and pass out.
And as a player, when you're in character for that long, you really can get into your part and into the story. One of the most memorable sessions my early group had ran almost 16 hours. In the end, almost everyone was dead, and I hate psionists forever.

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Wheel has turned

Last night was game night and between stretches of Portal 2, some decisions were made in our group.

One of our players is out of the game for the foreseeable future and, not all the players were really interested in continuing our Traveller game. The players decided to scrap both the existing DnD game and the Traveller adventure and roll-up new characters to start fresh.

I had some great ideas for where I wanted to take Traveller, and vague grand plans about the DnD campaign. But the DM juices are already flowing in anticipation of the new adventure, and I must admit that I'm getting somewhat excited.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Dice in the other hand

In addition to being a DM once a week, I'm now going to be a player in a bi-weekly campaign run by a good friend of mine who was my first DM and introduced me to the hobby.

The system we're using is one of his own design which he hopes to publish one day. It's called Grit, I think, and strives to be a simulation more than a game. That said, it's surprisingly rules-lite and runs very quickly. It's also level-less and class-less, and pretty damn lethal. It is definitely not a game for hack'n'slashers, as every bit of combat holds the potential for death.

Especially for my character. The short of it is, I'm playing a sheltered nancy-boy aristocrat. He spent his early years studying dance before his father forced him into studying something worthwhile. Being highly intelligent and intuitive, he began to study the nature of death, and was eventually inducted into the ranks of the Necromancers. So we have an effeminate, tender-hearted Necromancer who is a dancer at heart. The stats that govern healthfulness and hardiness were my dump stats, and I'm pretty sure that a pillow fight would spell certain doom for him.

We've only played one session, but I'm having fun with him. He's woefully ill-equipped to handle anything that isn't a quiet study or laboratory, socially inept, and frightened by his own quiet obsession with the dark arts. And so far, his only companion is an Amazon of a woman tasked with his protection.

He also tends to cry a lot.

Especially now that he's lost in some trackless wilderness.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Sticks and stones and high calibre bullets

So I've been sick with some type of deadly death disease. After two days of trying to manly man my way through the illness, a kindly sawbones saw fit to prescribe me with all manner of high powered dope and now I'm right as rain.

Any way, there was no roleplaying from the usual group this week, the week before that, however, bones were rolled.

Our Traveller adventure went on to Encounter #2, which saw the party on another fetch quest to some backwater system. The plan was to sneak into a fairly heavily guarded corporate base to steal the McGuffin, quietly as possible.

Thanks to the group's computer wizardry and combat prowess, the heist went off mostly without a hitch. Though, the entire team got ID'd in the process, and one of the ex-marines got shot up pretty good.

The group also learned the literal value of space fuel.

On the subject of wounds: I've only DM'd medieval fantasy style games before, and high calibre bullet wounds were understandably not a part of that. I know enough about wounds in general to understand that a gunshot wound is far more punishing and generally nasty that a sword wound. This fact seems to be lost on my heavily wounded player who keeps running around as if he was fine because, well, he's got a few HP left. I think I'll start him bleeding to death, and his armor is probably ruined as well.

Ship needs a doctor.

Monday, October 3, 2011


I've been sick... hopefully I'll post proper this week.