Friday, May 31, 2013

Play, Projects, and a Panel

A shorter post today, wrapping up this month. Today closes out the RPG Blog Carnival for May. Next week I’ll do a round-up post for “Campaigns I’d Like to Run.” I’ve read some interesting and amazing posts on the topic. The carnival for June starts tomorrow with the topic “Favorite NPCs” and hosted by Arcane Game Lore. I’m looking forward to what comes out of that. NPCs, done right, can drive the action of a game forward while avoiding info-dumps and walls of text. Today I want to go over the games and talk about a few projects.

STATE OF THE GAMES
I’m currently juggling five campaigns, plus one I’m playing in. The steampunk school campaign, Libri Vidicos, has hit the third act and a full six years of play. We began Feb of ’07. We’ve had some interesting turns, including a couple of moves to the tragic as we begin to see how the various character arcs will wrap and if they’ll be able to stop the bad guys or not. Likewise, The Last Fleet continues to move along- we have several key forces out on the table. I expect we’ll also reach a climax in that story this year (after two years of play). The final f2f campaign, The New Dragon- L5R using homebrew rules, has just really gotten underway. It is a seasonal game and we’re in the second season now. The players had some good discussions about choices in between them. I’ll write up something about that soon. On G+, the Changeling Lost Vegas campaign continues apace. We’re at session 17 of that, with the group close to finishing their tasks for the Courts. At that point I’ll check in the with players and see how they want to proceed- continue on, change of the structure, introduce new approaches. On Roll20, we’re at session fifteen of the second arc of the Mutants & Masterminds campaign, First Wave. I’d hoped to do this one in twelve sessions, but we had some plots take longer than I expected. Plus I’ve had a hard time maneuvering the pieces to get to my end-game. I expect we have at least three sessions to go in that one before I wrap it up. We’ll take a break and then I’ll return for a concluding, more cosmic, arc.

GAME KICKSTARTERS
I’ve backed a number of gaming Kickstarters, and I’ve been happy with most of them. I like being able to contribute to interesting projects and I’d say about half I’ve gone in just at the pdf level. Three have popped up on my radar I want to mention- two I’ve backed and one I’m still thinking about.

Time Heroes: A project put together by my Play on Target co-host Andrew Goenner. He’s created a wild and fun game setting with time-travelling agents in a cartoon style. There’s a mix of Ghostbusters, Cartoon Action Hour, and Time & Temp in what he’s created. He’s also one of the first to build on the Fate CORE mechanics for his work. I expect we’ll be seeing more of that. I like the base engine Evil hat’s created and I’m excited about how designers like Andrew implement and change that up. I’ve backed it and I’m pretty sure I would have even if I didn’t know Andrew.

Kingdom: I’ve said it before- Microscope changed my games. It has been one of the best tools I’ve found in the last few years. Beyond the actually game, it has helped me think about how collaboration and sharing can happen at the table. At least three awesome campaigns have come out of that, plus many sessions of play with the game itself. Now Microscope’s creator Ben Robbins has produced another game, Kingdom. In this, the group builds a community to play in- a hospital, a steampunk school, an assassins guild, a space colony- and plays out challenges to that community. It is awesome. It’s the kind of thing I love from my games, and I’m looking forward to running it.

Chuubo's Marvelous Wish-Granting Engine: So here’s the one I’m struggling with. This is a game created by Jenna Moran- creator of Nobilis and some of my favorite bits from Weapons of the Gods and Exalted. It is a game explicitly in the spirit of Miyazaki movies and Adventure Time. Right there I’d be pretty much sold- where do I send my money? However, the game’s being released through Eos-Sama. That makes me a little nervous. They don’t have the greatest track record. The Legends of Wulin game had major problems. If you hunt on RPGNet you can see several extensive threads tracking delays, misstatements, lack of information, and other problems. You still can’t find a hard copy of that game easily. I’ve seen people split on reactions- some people saying they’ll never buy from them again, and others irritated, but willing to give them another chance. In particular they mention that the pdf arrived on time. And that’s probably the level I’d want to go given the price points on offer. That pricing structure kept me away from some other rpg Kickstarters- in particular WW ones. The lowest price for a pdf is $25, which I’m sure does represent the value of the game, but mentally puts it a little out of the range I’m willing to spend on the electronic version of a sight-unseen game. I keep vacillating on this- I may eventually back it, but I’m not sure. But I wanted to point it out to others who might be interested in it.

CONTESSA
ConTessa, the free online gaming convention by women for everyone, is coming up in late June (21st to 24th). You can see more about that at the webpage. Since it is an online convention, they still have room for women who want to run panels or games. Anyone can participate in those panels or play in those games- I’,m hoping to get a chance to try out some new games with interesting people. My wife, Sherri Stewart, will be moderating a panel Collaborative World-Building and Gaming. I’ll be participating in that and Brad Murray of VSCA (and co-designer of my beloved Hollowpoint) has kindly agreed to join in the conversation. Sherri’s working on a couple of other guests and she’ll have the details when she knows for sure.