Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Things come before...

I have spoken to a few people about this idea...not too many, just some of my regular RP table mates, to get some feedback, but at the same time allow my head to stay in place and my choices mine.

Most of the initial response was of interest, with some healthy worry about the feasibility of it all and the work needed to make it work. This was all expected and great, I got some options to mull over and investigate and so forth...I mean, if it was going to be straightforward and easy I wouldn't be writing a blog now would I?

What I hadn't had before was the opinion of someone that has actually been in a similar game. His opinion was rather negative and it sort of took me back a little bit, and then it dawned on me that I didn't really care for the negative opinion based on previous least not the way I received it because if felt like a definite and unmodifiable truth. These things take a lot of work, are cumbersome and never pan out correctly, basically, with no warning, suggestion or even a good luck.

So I don't care.

I'll refer back to the top of the article, if this were going to be easy there wouldn't be a blog...not only that, there wouldn't be a game.

I'm not doing this out of a need to complicate my life or prove something, like any other hobby endeavour this is me scratching a personal itch, in this case, an interest in learning and experiencing different games AND a curiosity about a universal storyline superimposed on other established settings.

So I will carry on searching for people interested and willing to go along with the experiment and maybe put that effort in to make it happen...and pay for the pizza if the game's at my apartment.

Live on,

Monday, 26 July 2010

Keep flying'...that game...

I became a fan of the Firefly series, concept, universe, characters, etc, etc a few months AFTER it got cancelled, which came as a big shock when I found out. But you all know that story and a thousand like it, and if you don't, a simple google search will fill you in.

Of course as a gamer I had the opportunity to extend this love and enjoyment with a nifty little book, a couple sets of funny dice and a few friends. Which I most definitely did about a month ago after getting the core rulebook from a friend as a gift (slightly dinged books in your local store are an awesome way to get nice RPGs).

As I set out to make this happen I convinced my girlfriend (who is not a fan), the guy who got me the book, his girlfriend, and another couple that I know from my local gaming society.

During the week I got my players at different moments and genned the characters with or they helped each other and we were set.

At the beginning of the game we had a run down town with a busy bar, a Core doctor down on his luck, a crazy woman with a love for only two things: engines and duct tape, a female muscle for hire with awesome cooking skills and deadly knife accuracy, a techie that doesn't know when to shut up...or turn off the creepy, and a pilot with some dodgy friends and the spine of a mollusc.

My plan for them was rather easy. Using the pilot's friends in low places I was going to dangle a nice little carrot. A simple job, take a ship with a crew, pick up some cargo from an embargoed planet (barely illegal, really!) and take it somewhere else. Easy money.

Now most players are rather or completely new to RP, so I had to push them a little bit to keep them moving from now and then, but they've all really tried to stick to their characters principles and characteristics, leading to interesting moments (like when the character with kleptomania decided to steal the lucky charms from the character with superstitious + coward...while she was flying.)

Originally I planned it to run over two sessions (we play Sundays). But it became obvious with the characters messing with each other and a couple of bad rolls, that things would have to stretch a bit, and I am hoping the this weekend will be the last, at 4 sessions. And all in all I have been glad with the way things have gone, and my players tell me they've had fun, and unless I failed my Awareness roll, I don't think they're lying to me.

I have though disliked two things.

First, it seems that my own handling of the game and the mood at the table provokes the game to devolve into a lot of slapstick and IC silliness that I would rather avoid, it is something that seems to happen at every game I run, no matter the genre. Now I understand that part of the beauty of Firefly and Serenity is its capacity to be both humorous and dramatic...but when the crew name their old battered up boat Cheese Monkey, well...that's just a tad too much I think.

I think I need to make a stronger effort at the beginning of the game to set up the mood I am aiming for...probably even at the time of recruiting the players, and have a stricter hand during the session over the OCC banter, but I seem to tell myself that every time with little to no success.

The second issue is the overrunning of the game, now that is in itself not too much of the problem, if the game extends itself and the people keep coming, then things aren't too bad, because they're enjoying themselves. But when I have a limit (for example I would like to run a game or two at Conflagration next year) I really need to be able to eyeball and control the flow of the game better.

Now in part I know both of these things have a lot to do with the variation of the gamers and my personal experience and versatility, so it's something that I hope to improve.

I just sometimes wish that I improved faster, heh.

I'll try and write something once the adventure is over and I'll also post something at some point in the week about my plans for my next game (not related to my big multi-game enterprise).

Roll well,

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

I'm not dead, I'm plotting

So I wrote my diatribe, talked to a few friends, looked over a few of the systems, talked to my friends some more (these the kind that only answer in my own head).

My original idea seems to be interesting to more people than me (excluding multiple selfs), which makes me happy and gives me strength. Some have commented that the only way to achieve it is through one of the universal systems though, but I really do feel that would completely defeat the purpose of my idea, so I'm politely ignoring it.

I have though realized that shifting games and setting every session is just too much. More achievable is probably keeping the same setting through at least 2-4 sessions so that it doesn't feel like the players and the GMs are putting work forward and very little return / enjoyment.

Also I have noticed that although this blog will be nice to keep a track of my thoughts and as the central focus for the resulting audio logs, it is not the best to maintain track of something as complicated as a universe jaunting saga.

To the rescue comes Obsidian Portal. Obsidian Portal allows a centralized hub for any game you're running with a lot of nifty features, even for your run of the mill home adventures. It's also a good place to steal...I mean obtain inspiration.

I have not created the Campaign for this idea of mine, I'll leave it until I have a more firmer grasp on what and how I'm doing this, specially the overarching story aspect.

I hope to have more ideas soon!


Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Random Roleplay Session

Welcome to RRP...where I go into a crazy spree to test as many systems/settings as I can and then put the results out there for everyone to...mock most probably.

I've never been a long time fan of almost anything. I am the eternal system butterfly, one week pouring over rules for a D&D game and the next trying to plagiarize an old film for a Monsters and Other Childish Things one-off. And next week, maybe Spycraft. I'm also a big fan of games that have the ability of adapting to different settings...and seeing how they manage them.

The problem of course is getting to experience these games instead of merely contemplating the hypothetical situations as I sadly read over their core books.

I am blessed with a local RP society with a multitude of members, and a group of friends with whom I RP (semi) regularly. But the first are often busy and the second are roleplaying-inept (but they bring coke and chips...and I love'em to bits).

My solution:

I will host a random session every two weeks, every time running a different combination of rules and settings.

And the rules are very simple:

  1. Never must the same combination be used.
  2. Never must the same setting or ruleset be used in consecutive sessions.
  3. I will not pay for the coke and you will pick up your trash afterwards if it's at my place. :P
How I see it (Ideally):
Set a day and time where everyone can sit around and play for around 6 hours.

Six hours should allow for chargen, basic rules explanations and eating (why is it food always seems to happen just before a game?) and still allow for a four to five hour session of gaming.

Whoever is running the game gets to decide what is going to be run and doesn't have to share with anyone if he doesn't feel like it until the day of the game. Although if the game is particularly rules cumbersome (which might not be ideal for this idea) giving a head start is probably a good idea.

Of course depending on the game/GM characters can be pregenned or generated ahead of the session by the players, the rules might need to be looked at ahead of time, but it should generally work like originally stated.

And one last detail: the session will be recorded.

A few friends have hosted a couple of live and pre-recorded audio shows (these newfangled podcasts and such) and I've been feeling an itch to do something similar. I've also greatly enjoyed the ones posted on Actual Play and the filmed one of the guys from Robot Chicken.

I'm still not completely sure about the logistics of this endeavour, but that is what this blog is for. So if you're interested, keep coming back :)

Carlos "Sucky GM" Martín