Online gaming.

For years I thought it was the internet connection in the house that made it impossible to do G+ hangouts and the like. Now I have a new computer, and it can do hangouts just fine. For the first time in my online social life on G+ and with a blog, I can game online.

This underscores how odd it is that I follow the OSR, but have not played B/X this century. I have never played Dungeon Crawl Classics, Lamentations of the Flame Princess, or other retro clones. I did an online quasi-Labyrinth Lord game on G+ play by post in Wampus. That’s it.

So as I look around for games to join in, that’s a weird kind of nervousness. I’ve designed lots of games, but the OSR is not a thing I’ve logged any actual play time in.

I want to play in some games before running my own, just to see how others handle things I haven’t even thought of yet. When I’ve got some experience, I expect to run a game in Fictive Hack, in the World Between, in the great independent city of Setine.

My base concept is there will be a fence/fixer. He has a rough network of specialists and criminals. When he has a job, he brings people together and sends them out. That way if I end up with a number of repeat players it could spin off into a campaign, but I could also have my fence in the background for pick-up sessions.

So. Been a long time coming, and it’s neat that the time is here. I’ve got a web cam and a headset with a boom mike, so I can respond when opportunity arises. This could be pretty exciting stuff.

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Another Hellmouth.

So, I sketched out that you could have a cool team on a Hellmouth, and then I outlined a possible game based on character types + Hellmouth concept. I have an itch to do another one, so let’s see what 4 players come up: 12, 9, 8, 4.

Demon, pacted, immortal, werewolf.

WHERE?

Let’s put the Hellmouth in a cave system in the woods overlooking a small town mid-way down a valley, the only civilization in the valley that leads to the Hellmouth. If something is traveling towards the Hellmouth, the town is in the way. Something nice, like Duplicity, Pennsylvania.

WHY ARE THEY HERE?

The werewolf is part of a clan of kinfolk that have traditionally lived on the Hellmouth, territorially protecting the area. They identify and shoot monsters who come to visit. It wasn’t always that way; that’s how they contracted lycanthropy, cultist ancestors getting clever with the energy. But now they read their bibles and shoot at strangers. The werewolf character was groomed (excuse the pun) to be their champion, because only one in a generation gets actual transformative power. Will she toe the line and obey the elders, or will she defend the site her own way?

The demon was given a very specific task to carry out when walking the earth. Known as the Testing Fire, this demon has a destiny. If a demon slays the Testing Fire, then that demon will become the vessel for a much bigger demon’s power on Earth. So, the demon is sought by ambitious warrior-demons who make it to earth, in search of much greater power. To hide, the demon snuggles close to a Hellmouth to hide the signs and signals given off to potential killers. Set up a bar, to sift rumors mainly, and has a “live and let live” arrangement with the werewolves (that could escalate to an alliance.)

The pacted believes she is connected to an angel (maybe Azrael.) She can channel holy energy that disintegrates evil things (and only evil things) and she has visions. She has come to this place because she believes if she is not here when evil makes its move, the Hellmouth may pry itself open. She runs the bookstore (with the basement where all the useful books are) and really misses her former life, before all the supernatural stuff. (Whatever that was.)

The immortal is from this area originally, maybe 300 years ago. From the same clan as the werewolf, but was a foundling (odd things not being unusual in the area even then.) Spent centuries running from the responsibility of guarding the Hellmouth, but has had some bad experiences out in the world and has returned home for at least a while. Will he get along with the current champion of the clan? Can they work together?

WHY ARE THEY TOGETHER?

The immortal and werewolf are from the same clan and have to work out whether that helps or hinders their efforts to work together. The demon needs local contacts for intelligence and backup for when the rest of the demons come. As for the divine channeler, she had a vision that she was to assist the clan in protecting the Hellmouth. So we use the clan as the base for connection.

WHO ELSE IS NEARBY?

The clan is going to be a big deal. Work out a double handful of people; some movers and shakers, some weak members that need protecting, a couple dissenters, maybe some ne’er do wells and some philanthropists. Round ‘em out a bit. Add in some colorful figures from the clan’s storied history; great champions, shameful travesties, good leaders, bad leaders. But mostly just big personalities and great stories. Have a grandparently character who knows all the stories. The clan has a “trophy cave” where they keep stories and trophies from the monsters killed by the clan. It is a deep cave, with lots of unpleasant stuff in it–a great place to research. And it is curated by the same family, since the beginning.

You need a coal mine. Have a sense of who owns it and how they are predators on the community, with a company store and all. But maybe the economy is opening up, or the mine is winding down, and power is shifting. What else might be going on?

A mayor who is opening the town up to tourism and cottage industry is threatening the death grip the mine has had on the town for almost a century. This mayor’s innovative policies of aggressively recruiting tourism and putting the town on the map mean there are strangers there, and that’s making it more difficult to suss out who might be there for the Hellmouth. Is the mayor really motivated by political and cultural and financial concerns? Or is there something else in there?

So much weird stuff happens in this small town. The church lost its way about fifty years ago, and now it worships the supernatural instead of a dim and distant God. Sure, the Sunday services are the same as always, but the true believers in the town want to be in the presence of the supernatural, to worship it. That could get awkward if they are rejected by the characters, and even more awkward if other bad influences find out about it.

The local law have always been controlled by the wolf clan–until recently. The mayor put on pressure, brought in outsiders, so a long history of comfortable cover-ups is in danger of actual police interest. The sheriff is married to an FBI agent.

A vampire nest in a local big city have a tradition that the successor to the leader must bring back a dead werewolf from Duplicity. This is rare, as the nest is stable, but the nest keeps tabs on local events so when the time comes they are ready to hunt. And they sometimes roll into town, beat some people up, and roll out for recreation.

WHAT KIND OF ADVENTURES?

The first adventure could be based on the death of the leader of the vampire nest; the heir apparent needs to kill the werewolf guardian, and comes out with a posse to do it. The pacted gets a vision that they are coming–does she warn the others that vampires are on the way? They see how the law handles the conflicts. They have some great guerilla hunting in the woods with the mortals of the clan determined to help (and inevitably being held hostage) and some tactics; can they swing around and take out the heir? Work out some kind of deal? It is unlikely that the demon is sympathetic to the vampires hunting someone to gain status.

Let’s braid plot threads!

  • A member of the inquisition proper hears of the pacted who has visions and divine power, and comes to either recruit her if she’s legit or destroy her if she’s a trick of the devil.
  • A powerful demon has worked out the signs and comes to kill the Testing Fire.
  • Something is lairing in the mine wiping out miners. Take care of it, but be careful of the mayor and new sheriff–don’t give too much away.
  • A wicked druid can animate the trees using energies from the Hellmouth, and plans to crush all life in this valley. While he is bent on punishing humanity for their sins against nature, his daughter is uneasy about what will happen if they pull too hard on the powers of Hell; how will that change the earth?
  • Figure out two to four big town festivals, and make sure they are the backdrop for events, complete with obligations undertaken by the characters and crowds of people (including lots of tourists) that can get inconvenient.
  • A powerful demon wants to set up a summer home mansion for occasional use. Not shy about revealing (to supernatural types) that it will be full of decadence and murder and horrible things, when he’s home. Expects live-and-let-live treatment. Or else not.
  • A rival immortal hires a shape-shifter to drive the immortal in town mad, by imitating friends and foes long dead (and the rival has the research in hand to make it convincing.) The shape-shifter doesn’t pick up on the quickening radar, and claims not to know who the immortal is, except he looks familiar. Or, some other riff on this. When the immortal is good and spooked, doubting, isolated, then the rival shows up to finish it. But can the immortal push his friends away, or will they still be nearby?
  • A tribe of demon spider centaurs are webbing the deep woods and working their way closer to the town. Their webs make fog, and they have creepy powers. The whole valley will be in their webs if the guardians do not interfere, and when their web-work is deep enough they can use it to summon awful protectors and monsters. Looks like the guardians have little choice but to make an implacable recurring enemy.

Weave 2-3 of these together per session, get a few in, and add more threads based on what they like and who they interact with. It’s a good start.

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Constraining the Hellmouth

So yesterday’s post about what sort of group could work to suppress a Hellmouth conveniently had 12 power types. For a game with 4 players, I rolled: hellspawn, wizard, immortal, and dhampir.

WHERE?

Where shall we put the Hellmouth? I favor a rotting and abandoned urban core, surrounded by still-vibrant city, flanked by suburbs.

WHY ARE THEY HERE?

Each one needs a reason to be there. The Hellspawn is rejecting the role of demonic general, and escaped Hell, but cannot get much further away without depleting the precious energy stockpiled in her necroplasmic form. Sure, she can use the cloak and the chains for free, but healing or energy blasts or other tricks take energy. She stakes her claim to an old church built directly on top of the Hellmouth by grim Freemasons 150 years ago. It is warded and enchanted to suppress the energies, but some rogue agents of the order began using the barred portal as a door again to empower themselves, a few years back. That opened the Hellmouth just a crack. (Nobody knows they did this, and they’ll be coming back to do it again, so that can be an early storyline–they must be stopped.)

The wizard is part of an international consortium of supernatural criminals. His boss runs fights between supernatural monsters, there is heavy betting and the corpses are sold to magical researchers for ritual components and the like. He has been sent here because of the Hellmouth, with orders to manage as many live captures as he can. He doesn’t like this assignment, and has a soft spot for “civilians,” so it is only a matter of time before he goes rogue and consequences follow.

The immortal and the dhampir are connected. The dhampir is a scholar who was looking for a cure for cancer, and experimented with a “vampire serum.” The cancer went away, or rather became irrelevant, but now the scholar is half-vampire. He is searching for a cure, to become fully human (and healthy) again. In the meantime, he studies the energies of the Hellmouth and how they interact with the supernatural; perhaps their drawing powers could be used to draw the supernatural out of an infected person.

The immortal is his bodyguard. She has sworn off the Game, she does not seek out other immortals and behead them for their Quickening. (She will, of course, defend herself if others come calling.) She is with the dhampir because they partnered up some decades ago. She is an excellent monster hunter in her own right (impossible skill with a blade, regeneration, ability to blend in with the herd, centuries of experience) and she hopes supernatural energies can bring something good to the world (like the cure he’s after.) She hates vampires especially, and enjoys slitting them open.

WHY ARE THEY TOGETHER?

The dhampir and immortal are ideal live captures for the wizard. However, the wizard stubbornly decided they would be more useful as a source of lore and research, as they have a massive library hidden in a run down mansion in the urban blight. The wizard’s superiors need not know about that. And the hellspawn is generally regarded as the guardian of the hellmouth.

These ties are loose, so it is up to the first adventure to give them enough shared experience to want to work together. If it doesn’t work out, one or more people can make new characters that CAN play nice together.

WHO ELSE IS NEARBY?

Need some background context for them to tie into, also. These are potential allies, enemies, or contacts.

A nest of vampires is enslaved by an ancient demon that needs the Hellmouth to open. They do everything they can in that direction, but they aren’t well led and they aren’t well fed. They could be converted from threats to neutral, or potentially allies, by dealing with the demon.

A demon is part of a world-wide network of “travel agents” who manage sites of pilgrimage for evil wizards, scholars, and supernatural types. He manages a tidy little fortified way station to offer hospitality to those coming to see the Hellmouth. More or less neutral, great source of gossip, no big fan of the Hellmouth opening (and ending the balance) but also no great enemy of the forces of darkness; untrustworthy but interesting. Also a great source of monsters of the week, but could be miffed if they repeatedly off his clientele.

Various hellblade lairs in the ruins; pull inspiration from X Com’s chrysalids, Warhammer 40k hormagaunts, and Starcraft zerglings. Come up with a great run-and-slash stealthy predator for the urban core, make nests of a dozen or so each, and give the adventurers something to get rid of.

A local chapter house for the crusading inquisition. One burning fanatic who is determined to bag the Hellspawn, backed up by some tough guys with lore and weapons. Perhaps the immortal is an acquaintance, but they don’t know her deviance.

An unknown figure known as the Functionary holds court in several underground restaurants in the business district. He has some strange pull over the city, police, and press. Anger him, and things get hot. Serve him, and things go smooth. They have no direct experience with the Functionary, but he hires lawyers who know about supernatural issues to communicate with those who please or displease him.

WHAT KIND OF ADVENTURES?

So for the first adventure, a vampire biker gang comes into town and plans to take over the church for their new base. There are about 30 vampire bikers, and a cattle truck that has a minotaur in it. Maybe the Hellspawn can take them all, maybe not. This would be a good time to reach out for help; the wizard may be interested in capturing the minotaur, the dhampir and immortal may be interested in keeping the Hellmouth cleared off.

This could be handled with straight-up combat, but it could also be handled in other ways. Check along the back trail to see if these guys pissed anybody else off (yes, prepare a Romany circus they took the minotaur from who would be happy to help bring them down.) Maybe one or two redneck hunters are in their wake too.

The leader is easily provoked, a barely sane egomaniac. His second in command is more calculating, more cruel, and increasingly weary of following orders (also amenable to moving on if the leader is wiped out–without involving her.)

And, of course, the mixed bag of telling the Inquisition there’s a vampire nest. Maybe they clear it out, maybe they don’t, but then they have another data point that may help them figure out where the Hellmouth is. Best not to invite them into the Hellspawn’s home if you can avoid it. But an ambush elsewhere? Something to consider.

Subsequent adventures have lots of plot threads that can be braided.

  • Repo demon comes for the Hellspawn’s energy.
  • Wizard ships a live capture, but there’s a problem, and the wizard is blamed for the escape.
  • The city is going to demolish several blocks to put in a strip mall, including the church that holds the Hellmouth shut. Can they get the Functionary to stop it? Maybe he needs some favors in return. Maybe he started the process so they’d offer him their services.
  • The immortal has met lots of other immortals in the past. One shows up playing coy, but has a pair of immortals pursuing her. They cheat at the Game.
  • An idol gains the power to grant mutations to those who worship it, when the gang that stole it brings it in range of the Hellmouth energy. Figure out the source of the mutations and get the idol out of range (or destroy it.)
  • The wizard is assigned a partner. Can the partner be persuaded to join up, or will the partner wreck the balance?
  • The dhampir is offered a cure by a crossroads demon. Or, the cure is so gruesome–but is it worth it?
  • A club opens in the cheap mostly condemned area near the church. Lots of factions want to control what goes on there, mortal and otherwise. What kind of influence will the characters exert?
  • The Freemasons return with occult Knights Templar who are going to harvest more demonic energy to fuel success in their endeavors, and perhaps other esoteric power. But as they crack the seal just a bit, it degrades, and they might blow it open. How does the hellspawn react when they show up? The leader may tell her that she is a refugee because of what they did–and can undo. Try to force her to work for them. But they risk it all when they tamper with the seal, and others may do well to get involved.

Weave 2-3 of these together per session, and you’ve got a start to your campaign. Come up with more for them to do based on what they really like and dislike as it emerges in play.

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Perched on the Hellmouth

Buffy the Vampire Slayer has some fun ideas. In turning it into an RPG, the official response was to make Buffy the lone superhero surrounded by a gaggle of lesser mortals who have drama points so they matter to the story. That’s one approach.

A Hellmouth is a big enough threat to allow for a tougher crew to take on its threats, in my view. Let’s examine more “League of Extraordinary Monster Hunters” and less “Diva of Stabbing.” I think it would be great to take the premise of the show and staple on these possible power sets to all be in a group together.

First, the “normal” types who can have secret identities.

  • Slayer. One per generation, hunts vampires. Has a Watcher consultant.
  • Monster Hunter. Like the Winchesters or Belmonts. Armed with lore and weapons, they hunt monsters with brains and some brawn. The group’s “Batman.”
  • Dhampir. Half vampire, all angst. I’d probably treat it as an infection rather than a condition of birth.
  • Werewolf. Start out all chaotic needing help, gain magical talismans and special training to gain ever more control and usefulness as time goes on.
  • Wizard/Witch/Sorcerer/Mage/Magic User. So many flavors. Pick one or two. (For my game, NO TECHNO-PAGANS. I mean, what the hell?!?)
  • Ghost Whisperer. See ghosts, interact with them, help them find their rest. And play hell with the undead. This power of a medium could escalate to necromancy. Yay!
  • Ki Warrior. Dig deep into your Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter, and Tekken roots. Get some hard-core chi-manipulating tough guy with supernaturally juiced combat ability.
  • Immortal. “In the end, there can be only one!” What if the Prize is the ability to detach Hell from earth forever? Or what if it’s all a trick (like the Matrix)? Anyway, you’ve got swordplay and rapid healing and centuries of back story to play with.
  • Pacted. Like in the video game “Dishonored,” chosen by the Outsider and given powers. Just for fun. To see what happens. Or alternatively a witch type with powers from a demon.

On the flip side, have a seedy supernatural underculture of pimps, snitches, gangs, scholars, and Addams Family events. They have their own subculture to tend and from which to draw supplementary drama.

  • Pet Vampire. Daawwww, so cute with the fangs tucked in. (Like Angel or Spike.)
  • Hellspawn. Got out of Hell, rebelled against sponsoring demon, will run out of energy if forced to leave the ambiance of the Hellmouth. Must cope with repo demons.
  • Demon. If the world turns to Hell, it gets all boring. Stay close enough to the Hellmouth for the heat and energy, but do everything possible to keep it shut.

People who sell their stories must beware of copyright infringement, taking care to file the serial numbers off their inspirations. But you, at your game table? Go nuts, man. Have fun with it. Pick any four or so of these types and have a great time using the energies of the Hellmouth to draw an endless supply of monsters within slaying reach.

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Your Success is Your Failure

The good news is, players have agency in my game. Their choices matter.

The bad news is, I don’t really have any ways to protect the game as a whole from really bad player decisions.

What do I mean by “bad decisions”? Decisions that destroy bonds between characters and players. Decisions that kill long-standing characters and cut them loose from family, pets, and home. Decisions that ignore the adamant requests of other player characters and veer towards naked power for the individual at the cost of the rest of the world.

Here’s the story. At one point they fought an undead warband. The brute (like a big orc) named Aggro wanted the undead leader’s sword. Others told him to leave it alone, but he took it, and it merged with his arm; retractable, he could pop it out to fight then pull it back into himself. However, evil things and undead things recognized his kinship, and his arm radiated cold.

After adventuring like this for a while, the others told him he really needed to get rid of it before things got worse. They went on a quest to find a sage/oracle thing who might be able to help. They could only go in one at a time, so he went in alone and talked to the mysterious sage.

The sage oracle (looked kind of undead) told him it did not believe he was interested in lore, and told him that nothing was free–he would have to make a trade for anything he wanted. (Like, for example, getting rid of the sword.) What did he ask for?

The party told him to get rid of the sword. He did not. He asked the oracle thing to unlock the power of the sword, and he was ready to pay any price to do it. He stuck the sword in the magic pool, and it ripped his life out and made him undead, a fitting bearer for the blade. Also, the oracle turned out to be not only undead, but part of an army that was waiting for the undead to gain a powerful enough leader to rise again.

He sent one of his new minions (disguised as a pretty elf) to tell the rest of the group to leave. Because he knows they would kill him on sight if they saw what he became. Now he is a scourge against the living, a plague on the land, and they are the land’s protectors.

His mate and daughters? Discarded. The poison lizard he spared from death and raised up as a mount, getting a trainer for it? Gonna get its throat slit (since no one else wanted the thing around.) His alliance with the PCs and role in revitalizing the city? Chucked. The character he’s had for this game since last January, for about 16 sessions? Gone.

The player said, “Well, that’s what my character would do.” Which is the cheesiest cop-out ever. We are skilled at rationalizing, and we can come up with reasons to do all kinds of things. Would his character discard his friends, family, and future for a slaughter-choked warpath of necromantic energy? Really, that’s the only option you see? No, this was the player choosing a course of action that would alienate the other players, darken the game world, and destroy a character, for power he’s not even going to get to use (because I am NOT going to let him play his evil undead brute champion. He’s got no one to play WITH, because none of the other players want to wreck the world.)

Man… if he just wanted to play a new character, retirement to the hills with his mate’s clan was a viable option. Easy peasy, and he could have brought him back if he wanted to. This cut the tie, burned the bridge, and plowed salt in the fields.

He’s making a new character for next week.

I would really like to be able to get through to him so he would really understand that when he makes decisions that are seriously counter to where the other players are going, that focus on self-gratification/annihilation over group play, he’s jeopardizing my game and his place in it. (Enough dealing with fallout from PCs who go away really wears on the PCs who are left, and players get fed up. That threatens my game, if people don’t want to play anymore.) We have dealt with similar issues with other games in the past. I keep hoping the lesson will stick, but I have doubts.

The other players LIKED his character. They also do not want to deal with the consequences he has provoked, seemingly without a second thought. If he did think it through, he concluded that he just doesn’t care about the other players. If he thought that surely I’d let him play an undead champion, then… well he was wrong. If he thought the full necromantic energies of the sword could be unlocked and he’d be fine, then that’s wrong too. I guess this is where player skill comes in; one question is, what can I get away with? He is either not good at answering that question accurately, or he didn’t bother asking it.

But here’s the thing. I will continue to offer choices that include good ideas and bad ideas. I will continue to make it possible for players to choose to annihilate their characters and alienate the other players. I refuse to turn my game into bumper bowling where people can only make decisions I’ve pre-approved. Part of the game is risk, and part of playing well is getting a maximum reward for a minimum of risk. I won’t stop characters from jumping off cliffs, and I won’t tell them what outcome to expect when they bargain with creepy oracles. It is up to players to gauge whether the risk was worth it.

As for playing poorly? Well, there’s lots of second chances, but this most recent choice burned a lot of goodwill. I guess time will tell whether he can or wants to fit into the game world, or if he wants to play along until the next pointless character-wrecking swerve.

EDIT. A number of my clever G+ people think this is a great story for a character end, and a cool way to check out and try something new. So perhaps I’m unduly annoyed. We’ll see how the other players handle it–maybe I’ve overestimated how irritated they are too.

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Special Snowflake settings

Lately there has been some chatter about “special snowflake” settings in my online discussions. One question has been, is it better to have lots of setting-specific information on a setting that players can or must know to enjoy the game? Or, is it better to have a more generic and accessible setting where assumptions hold in general?

I’m already telegraphing my take on this. I think the question itself could be reframed for a more useful discussion. You can focus on whether a campaign is distinct and different, but I think a more valuable question is how much buy-in and education a campaign requires to effectively play in its bounds.

A typical game of Old School Hack has a very, very low expectation of what you need to play. The basics of your character on are on the sheet, and you help the GM make the world up as you go.

Compare that to, say, Tekumel. This site says “If you’ve never encountered Tékumel before, you’ve stumbled upon an entire world the equal of Tolkien’s Middle-earth in detail and wonder: thousands of years of history, entire languages, rich cultures, unique creatures, bloody conflicts and fascinating mysteries.”

Yeah, when I read that I get the feeling there’s no room for me to just make a human fighter and get started. I will need to marinate in the details of a culture, to get a sense of its worldview and its naming traditions and maybe a bit of its geography and neighbors before I can even play in the game. That does not appeal to me.

Both Games Workshop (Warhammer) and Jack Shear (World Between) found a middle ground. “It’s like Europe, yeah? But with a [fantasy/Gothic] spin!” So you can have a player come in and say, “We’re playing in The Empire (or Caligari) and it’s like Germany, with a few key differences.” But the player knows to go with a Germanic name, and has some stereotypes available.samesameEven within that subset, what Jack finds to be sufficient setting detail and what I find to be sufficient setting detail differ considerably. He goes for a paragraph per country, I want a couple pages. But a couple pages for an entire country, and a handful for that part of the world–that’s not too much to absorb just to get started. And most of that is for the GM rather than being required for the player.

At my game table I have people who are eager to show up for new things to get in on the ground floor. It is harder for them to get excited about joining games in progress, especially games that have been going on for years. There’s a lot of layered history, both in what PCs have done and in what they’ve learned in their various adventures. New people have routinely had significant time in the game session with more seasoned players explaining some back story to them. Explaining why everyone who had been playing a while sat back and raised their eyebrows when a name came up, or why they’d go to this NPC for help.

What is the answer? Well… I think the answer is to have a gaming life where there are entry level games available, and also room for veterans and bold new players to go into venerable and storied games.

I like the idea of Justin Alexander’s “Open Table” gaming. I also like having long-running campaigns with their own culture. I think the main point of conflict is when players and GMs expect different things, or if players don’t have the same assumptions.

I recommend having a low-investment open-table option for when you are luring new people in, or when your veterans want a break. Then have your more refined offerings, with higher investment and expectations, for when that makes more sense. The open table is a great way to de-mystify your game table for players, and also to vet players to see who might be up for more rigorous settings. An open table helps find new blood, and having depth beyond the initial simplicity helps keep a group’s interest.

Okay, I admit it. I put the gif in this post because I think it’s hypnotic, it may or may not have direct relevance to the post.

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What Did I Play in 2014?

I played 57 role playing game sessions in 2014. Not bad. Not bad at all. Let’s break it down.

Fantasy Masks. Adventures in Dweredell. 16 sessions.

Edge City Masks. Adventures with superpowers. 15 sessions.

Fictive Avengers. Adventures with Avengers. 10 sessions.

Axes and Anvils. Adventures with dwarves. 6 sessions.

I also played some outlier games.

  • InSpectres. Adventures in ghostbusting. 3 sessions.
  • Crumbling Epoch. Adventures with my OSRish fantasy heartbreaker. 2 sessions.
  • Grifton Play by Post. Role playing on G+ asynchronously with 1 player. 1 “session” story.
  • FAE Jedi. FATE style Star Wars play. 1 session.
  • Murderhobo Remix. Lightweight tongue-in-cheek dungeon crawler. 1 session.
  • There’s a Game in this Book. Ran a session in Vornheim. 1 session.
  • Lasers and Feelings. Adventures in SPAAAAACE. 1 session.

That’s 47 campaign games in 4 settings, and 10 sessions of one-off and short-term games. I like that balance.

My main group plays Fantasy Masks and Edge City. I have a secondary group that played Fictive Avengers this year. Axes and Anvils was a special case, as all the games were part of the December playtest. So when we look at 4 main campaigns, that’s across 2 groups and with a focused playtest as one option–not so terribly unfocused.

This right here is a notation about a great year of gaming. I am grateful–it has been a pip. I look forward to another great year of gaming.

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