Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A Meta-Chronology of the Game World (Part Five)

A Meta-Chronology of the Game World
Part V
Part IV here

OK, this is the last entry I have charting all of the campaigns which have taken place in my fantasy game world. This should bring us up to date. At this point we have a current score of thirteen complete campaigns- those with a beginning, middle and an end- and six incomplete (several or many sessions but no final resolution). I'm not sure what that is in terms of batting averages, but there we are.

After I wrapped up the Steambuckler campaign on the Second Continent, I wanted a break to regroup and figure out. I was pretty certain I'd be returning to that world, but I knew I wanted to do something different and wanted time to figure that out. I ran a short, complete arc Mutants and Masterminds campaign-- Bloodlines which was a nice change of pace. It was unfortunately, the last game that Barry played in. That three us off for a time, but we dusted ourselves and kept moving forward. After that I decided to fulfill a promise I'd made to Dave years before-- that I'd eventually run a Planescape Game.

That campaign would be a hodge-podge and an odd beast. I looked around and tried to find a hook that interested me. At the time I had a copy of The Black Company Sourcebook. Given the amount of fighting and wars happening on the Planes, I thought it would be natural to link the two things up. I decided to run d20 3.5-- although I spent a great deal of time trying to figure out a way to handle things in True20, before they'd really come out with any True20 books but the most basic. I hadn't run D&D in years and certainly not the newer versions. But others had and we rolled along-- I kept some of the Black Company rules, like Grievous Wounds, and the like but otherwise pretty much opened things up to whatever supplements and sourcebooks people wanted to take things from. That was pretty funny. I also had people make up two characters-- stressing the idea that death would be easy. Despite that, I actually only killed a few of the PCs. Dave did a nice job writing up in character summaries that I have to see if I can find. They were unbelievably good.

The connection to the game world came in that a couple of the PCs actually came from there. In Kenny's case, he had a skaven-- one among many who had been sent out into the Planes in the hopes of finding Barry's character who fell into the void at the end of the Steambuckler campaign. He would eventually be located and the group would begin to piece together that the big bad moving things behind the scenes in the game was in fact The Thonak, the Chaos Avatar sundered and sent from the world at the end of the grand Thonak campaign years before. The defeated the foe before he could reassemble and descend back through the Planes to the world. Interestingly, while I'd originally planed for six sessions for that campaign, it ended up ballooning out to twelve (in part because of my extensive sidebar for a multi-session riff on Final Fantasy VI as a joke for Dave).

After we finished that up, I took a little more time off and then decided to run the Libri Vidicos game. I'd been bouncing the idea around for some time, it wasn't sure if it would work. A fantasy campaign set in a school, with everyone playing young people...it sounded risky. Everyone knew and liked Harry Potter but could it sustain itself? On top of that, I opted to use my Action Cards system. I'd run it with a couple of other campaigns but I wasn't sure I could get it to work with classic fantasy.

Suffice as to say, I was wrong. That group plays together better than any I've ever seen. The players like the system and run with it. I could go on, but I don't have to. That campaigns ongoing and every player there manages to surprise me every session. Timeline-wise, that campaign takes place about eighteen years after the Steambuckler campaign.

More recently I started another Third Continent game. As you may have seen if you follow the over-indulgent mechanical discussion on my blog, I'd originally intended to use Storyteller (having just finished running a Scion campaign for the same group). Then I thought I wanted to use GURPS and spent a couple of weeks mucking around with mechanics on that while Sherri politely nodded. She waited patiently until I finally came around to using Action Cards again to do what I wanted. I then spent two pretty intense weeks building the rules modifications I wanted for that. I had three major goals for the modification: building a profession structure that echoed both old Rolemaster and Final Fantasy Tactics; retooling the magic system to make it easier to work with an understand; and adding in a crunchier method for tracking damage. That last one involved adding dice to the system, but seems to have worked well so far.

The other real question in my mind would be how much time had passed on the continent since the last campaign. I was worried about the sync-up in time between the present game of the Second Continent (Libri Vidicos) and this one. If I tried to match those, then the Third Continent game would take place 300+ years after the last campaign there which most of these players had been in. Eventually I decided to stop worrying about it and simply moved things up a couple of generations, like 80 years. That would allow the material I had for the continent to still remain relevant, but I could make some significant changes as I desired.

We've had four session of that game and it seems to be playing well. My target is about a year of play, give or take. I hope to eventually start introducing some of the larger mythic elements here soon-- a couple of the players have already cooked up a ritual plan for next time that they haven't given me too many details about, so I'm looking forward to that.

Lastly, and I'm not going to talk too much about this as I don't want to give away too much yet, the current Wushu campaign takes place on the First Continent.

Fourteen complete
Six incomplete
Three ongoing

I should also note Kenny's heavy references to the shared game world in his game-- something I'll call on him to talk about in the future.

Done early. Next time some session overviews, then some reviews, then talking about rpggeek, then a piece on players who refuse to be wrong.