Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Gaming Rundown Q1 (and other Updates)

Note: The latest History of Superhero RPGs list will be up next week. I like to post those on the week opposite our new Play on Target episodes. I hope to have some additional news and incentives regarding my gaming history lists next week as well.

Thought I’d give a quick rundown of play and campaign activity for the first quarter of 2014 (to establish my gamer bona-fides???). I want to get a better sense of what we actually get done in three months. All of the f2f games play out bi-weekly; the online games play out weekly but have a higher missed session percentage. If I’ve previously posted a campaign overview, I’ve linked to that.

The New Dragon (Action Cards/L5R): Five sessions (missed one in February). The current arc began with the group finding a lost valley in the northern woods of their province. There they discovered a hidden minor clan. I borrowed concepts from the recent L5R Book of Earth supplement. The PCs intervened to stop a Bloodspeaker assault on the valley. They rescued the survivors and crossed paths with an agent of their mysterious nemesis. Once again they saw signs that their adversary seems interested in the magics and lore of the five old non-human races.

The characters traveled back to Maru Katei and reported to their daimyo. The brought with them junior samurai of the hidden clan, as well as a young but untrained shugenja. We had some political discussions and negotiations and they struggled to figure out how they would present these matters to the Emperor. Later we dealt with some of the complexities of their roles in the clan and I ran a session focusing on the Bon Festival and their everyday lives and relationships. We moved the campaign forward to Winter- which included new events and seasonal actions.

First Wave: Series Three (Mutants & Masterminds/Roll20): Eight sessions. We began the third (and final) arc of this superhero campaign in medias res. The group fought the Carnival of Shadows (a City of Heroes reference) at an amusement park. They discovered that these villains, as well as some recent ones, had been extra-dimensional incursions. They also met a female version of Nightcrawler who appeared at the end of the fight, suffering memory loss.
Next the group faced the threat of Doctor Apocalypse who inundated New York with a freak weather storm. The group defeated his massive Doombot. This in turn led them to The Destroyers, former Cabal agents who had been hired to assist the mastermind. They fought in the Destroyers HQ and then took out Apocalypse. From this, and Lady Nightcrawler’s recovered memories, they began to piece together the real threat facing them.

While the Cabal, who had once ruled their world in shadows, had been destroyed- their legacy remained. The Cabal had raided other worlds and dimensions. Now forces from those dimensions had decided to destroy the Cabal’s homeworld using a hyperdimensional weapon split into three parts. The PCs would have to figure out a way to track those, travel there, and break the weapons or else see their dimension annihilated. After consultation with various experts, the PCs fought their way into a Cabal base and discovered a gate. They traveled through- with some strange fallout from Thor and Mister Miracle due to their singular nature from the Prime world. The first dimension featured a Steampunk society which had been twice ravaged by the Cabal. The group intervened to assist one of the few remaining heroes- The Spiderman. He alerted them to strange goings on at the Galactic Railway Yard.

Ocean City Interface (Action Cards): Six Sessions. This campaign opened with a fantasy arc. Players made up their characters, members of a mercenary company which had suffered losses. They took an assignment to quietly seize a remote valley, to be followed by further instructions. On arrival they checked the area, discovered a travelling carnival in the valley, and negotiated with some locals. More importantly they came across an Orc Raiding party also targeting the area. After bargaining with the local lord, they engaged in a series of battles with the Orcs, eventually emerging the victor- with some minor losses.

Their new orders led the main members of the company (i.e. the PCs) to a magically sealed door in the valley wall. Inside they discovered a massive ancient aqueduct system. Though old, it was not unguarded. Evading pursuit, they reached a chamber which housed the water purification relic they’d been hired to steal. The theft, however, collapsed portions of the retaining walls and the group made a desperate dash out to escape.

At which point the PCs realized that they were in a simulation of some kind. They woke up in the real world of City of Ocean in the year 203X. Somehow they’d been dragged into a mysterious VR game- though much more real and dynamic than any they’d seen before. They discovered new contact information in their phones- with the real world names of their fellow players. They made contact and discovered a sixth name in their lists, a man who had been murdered several days beforehand.

The group set off in various directions trying to uncover the mystery of this murder, how they’d been unwillingly transported into a game, and what Ocean City Interface was. They encountered several bizarre incidents and rumors. Then they found themselves again drawn into another world- this time a “Hub” for Ocean City Interface which called itself Atlantis. They discovered others had also been invited into the simulation, but their own accounts had weird errors. Returning to the real world again, they pressed forward with their rinvestigation. They encountered an exorcist who claimed that children had been infected by “Atlantaen Mind Worms.” Shortly after the group found themselves attacked by Headspacers who’d rented their minds out.

Note: Two of the six sessions covered character creation (once for the Sellsword portal and once for the characters OCI selves). In each case I managed to get at least an hour or two of play in as well. I think we’re keeping the pacing up.

Heroes of Yanzhou Province (White Mountain, Black River): Four sessions. We restarted this Wushu game we’d put on hiatus a couple of years ago. We added a new player and I spent some time producing better player aids for the martial arts (printed cards to make their choices easier). The group encountered a fleeing martial artist and invited him to join their company. They traveled to Only Six Devils, where they learned some of the secrets of the city and made connections to their visions. Gaining sponsorship, they agreed to participate in the local tournament- a series of challenges culminating in a fight and their choice of ancient item. We got through the preliminaries and the first events. However changes in schedules meant that we’ve once again had to put this on hiatus. I hope we’ll return to this in the future (especially since I made up those nice cards).

Changeling Lost Vegas (Fate Accelerated/Changeling the Lost): Five Sessions. We had some serious game bumps due to illness and scheduling. That’s the cost for running at 10PM on a Monday. This quarter began with the group following up on a threat to their friend/ally, the Born-Again Werewolf Lucas. That led to them blowing up a festival and taking down Wayne Newton and his band of supernatural hunters. Back at the estate, the group dealt with the personal fallout of that- and the difficulty of having guests on site. They began to piece together the events which had cost several Changelings in the Freehold their identity and security. A Hob Auditor sent them down into the Goblin Casinos to gather information. Finally the group met with the Spring Court again and John the Smith was accepted as a member of the Summer Court.

Heroes of Tamris (13th Age) Six Sessions. We began with our group hunting down a special herb to counteract poisonings in our city. We found a strange town and fought some ice trolls. Investigating further, we found more members of the Cult of the Crying God hiding in an abandoned castle. We took them out and released the wind spirit they’d been holding. On our return to Tamris, we discovered that our actions had helped reduce the brunt of an undead assault from across the waters.

After a little downtime we heard about occult murders in the city and pursued those. We found the source but he escaped. We did manage to kill a number of duped cultists. We followed up and eventually located a ruined city down the shoreline which more cultists had set up as a staging point for an invasion. We brought in other forces and killed them. We then headed out to a northern town to act as observers. The GM stopped the campaign there. He had stated several times he didn’t like fantasy, but he made a good faith effort with the game. I liked 13th Age and I would definitely play it again if I wanted to play more classic fantasy.

Total: Twenty-eight sessions run in campaigns. Six sessions played in campaigns. Additionally four sessions played in one shots (Monster of the Week, Kagematsu, Dungeons and Draperies, and La Resistance) and three sessions run in one shots (Kingdom and Owl Hoot Trail). 

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