Actual Play, B/X, DCC, DCCRPG, Dungeons & Dragons, Empire of the Petal Throne, Fifth Edition, Lacuna Part 1, Marvel Super Heroes, OSR, Risus, RPG, Star Wars, Star Wars Edge of Empire, Swords & Wizardry, Twilight:2000, Vampire the Masquerade
Well, it’s about time to ring in the new year, right? 2016 may have sucked large for a lot of people, but it did me alright. The Patreon Campaign broke new ground this year and we are releasing not just four new commercial maps each month, but we’re also digging through the back catalog of maps and re-releasing two old maps under the commercial license – and I’m maintaining a release schedule of 2 new maps a week.
But it wasn’t all maps – I got in a fair amount of RPG time this past year and my goal this coming year is to add a few more games to the played list.
Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition
This got a significant amount of play over the year as we took our “playtest” campaign from level 4 to level 9 in (mostly) bi-weekly play. Once again, however, it has reminded me that my fun zone for D&D is in the level 1 – 7 zone and that while 5e is a lot more fun for me to run than 3.x was (and a LOT less work), it still doesn’t scratch the D&D itch the same way that classic D&D does. Outside of the mechanics of the game, however, it has been a lot of fun – I ran a number of adventures from various editions and variations of the game during this campaign, with the big-ticket items being David McGrogan’s Yoon-Suin sitting nicely between the classic AD&D1e adventures of “Dwellers of the Forbidden City” and “Expedition to the Barrier Peaks”.
Empire of the Petal Throne
The game I’ve played the most of this year is the classic 1975 edition of Empire of the Petal Throne. I’m playing in a great online group that meets almost every week as I learn more and more about the setting through exploration and interaction in what has become almost a globetrotting adventure deeply enmeshed in the politics of the regions and clans.
Dungeon Crawl Classics
One of my groups has been working our way through the various official DCC adventures. We rotate DMing duties and dive from one module to the next – using flimsy excuses to explain the railroading between adventure sites and the constant changing nature of our group (each DM writes in the return of the previous DM’s characters and the removal of their own from the story). The system is a bit ridiculous and a lot swingy and if it were my main fantasy RPG it would probably drive me batty. But as our “blow off steam and see how many dire wolves I can summon this session” game, it has been a lot of fun.
Vampire: the Masquerade
Almost two years ago I finally got rid of ALL my World of Darkness books except for Wraith: the Oblivion and a copy of Montreal by Night. I knew there was no way a new Vampire chronicle would live up to the expectations I would put upon it after decades of incredible and deep games. Then a friend moved back to town and wanted to play again. I suggested he run an online game and he recruited a number of people and started prepping to run such a game. And kept prepping. And kept prepping. To play in the game, I had bought a copy of the 20th Anniversary edition, so I laid down an ultimatum – start in a week, or I’ll run one instead. We’ve played 6 to 8 sessions so far in a very limited-population game environment of Kalisz and Ostrow, Poland, in 1990.
I also played a number of games in one-shot or two-to-four session environments.
Star Wars: Edge of Empire
A team of a spiritual smuggler, a hired gun wookie, and the most annoying reprogrammed imperial combat droid in the galaxy managed to smuggle a general of the Rebellion against the Empire from the core systems to a minor moon of the gas giant Yavin in the outer rim. Not that it will make much difference, I’m sure… that rebellion thing has always just been politics – they’ve never taken any actual military action against the Galactic Empire.
1981 B/X Dungeons & Dragons
A group of adventurers from across the land came together in the town of Levnec to help with a minor gnome problem they were having. After killing Gargoyle Mel and nibbling on a few gnomes, they finished the adventure by feeding the gnomes to the townfolk and returning six months later to find the whole town of Levnec gone and replaced with small piles of boots, shoes, and toys.
Swords & Wizardry White Box
A collection of almost a half-dozen clerics with a single magic-user started digging through the ruins of an old temple, discovering the cursed megadungeon ruins beneath it. We were on a mission from god, but still dealt with 50% casualty rates per session over 3 sessions.
The Anything RPG. I played a great one-shot of Risus Trek where we explored two strange new worlds – one where we lost the emotional wellbeing of our science officer and we were then off to the next in warp-speed pursuit to get it back before the blue aliens of Acturion sold it off to the nearby Drevemish Empire where it would fuel the pain-drive of their battle dreadnaught.
Lacuna Part 1
A game I try to pull out as often as possible because I’ve played on the player side of the screen a number of times and really just want to turn more people on to it. A team of new agents dropped into Blue City, drove around, got confused by odd crosswords, managed to not play any golf or chess even though they spent a fair amount of time at a golf course and dealing with Agent Chessman, and finally ran down their Hostile Persona while he was waiting for his wife at the finish line of the Blue City Marathon.
I’ve been talking about playing this again on-and-off for at least five years, so I was quite excited to get tapped for a single-shot session where the survivors of the 5th Division discovered that Kalisz wasn’t actually overrun by a Soviet Tank Division, but by Baba Yaga.
Two years in a row I’ve played in a single on-line game of Marvel Super Heroes. Last year I played Morph (because his major plot point is that he dies…), this year I picked up the reins of the Amazing Spiderman himself in a low-end investigative game searching for someone who’s been disappearing newspaper reporters… who were investigating missing scientists… who were working on an invisibility serum. And we finished off the night by fighting an invisible Dr Octopus!