Thursday, February 2, 2017

A Year of Games: Planning My Online Sessions

So I’m planning what run for The Gauntlet Hangouts TGIT Series. Those are two-three shot online sessions Thursday nights. It’s gotten some great games off my bucket list: Cryptomancer, Feng Shui, Chill, Coriolis, Worlds in Peril and more. Right now I have 7th Sea, Kingdom, Shadowrun Anarchy, and Dresden Files Accelerated on the schedule. In April I’m planning on running Mutant City Blues and Kuro. For the former, I’m going to strip down the abilities and mechanics to make that express version I posted about. For the latter, I’m going to take my cues from Persona 2: Eternal Punishment (among other SMT games). I wish Cubicle7 had kept Kuro in print (since they have its supplements available), but at least you can get it is pdf form.

Running this series has been super fun. I’ve run online for several years. In the past putting games together and tracking folks has been like herding cats. Things fell out at the last minute or people didn’t show up. I haven’t had those problems with my Gauntlet sessions. I think there’s a couple of reasons for that. One, there’s an expectation you’ll RSVP and follow through. If you don’t do that, GMs may pass that on to other GMs. Two, if somoene can’t make it, GMs have tools and groups to draft other players. Three, everyone takes it pretty seriously. Anyway, that’s my two cents about why you should consider the Gauntlet Patreon.

Below you’ll find the top twelve other games I’m thinking about running this year for that. I’m focusing on games with a quickstart, an adventure included in the core book, and/or pre-gen characters. I have several products that fit those criteria but have some obstacles. Some have dense or complicated characters sheets- Mundus, Sorcery & Super-Science. Some have crunchier tactical combat- Contact, Infinity RPG. Some use cards, either unique or standard deck- Crone, Upwind.

The Twelve I’m Thinking Most about But That Will Probably Change in the Next Ten Minutes
A spy game currently in Kickstarter. It’s funded and they’ve promised a draft of the rules once that closes. It’s based on World of Dew, a game with interesting group and social interaction mechanics. I haven’t looked much further than the pitch line and authors, but I’m excited.

There’s a rough “Alpha Draft” available on DriveThru. The idea is post-apocalyptic highway riders in a world overwhelmed by the Old Ones. I think. At least that’s what I gotten from a quick check. That’s a grabby idea. The system doesn’t look too crazy.

A game about machines, identity, and humanity. From the intro, “This roleplaying game explores technology through humanity, supporting players to develop stories about the increasingly complex relationship between machine and human. The players take the role of machines; isolated, discarded and possibly obsolete.” The QS looks sharp, but the use of card mechanics makes it less usable online.* Still the presentation of this story game overcomes some of my hesitation.
*Yes, I know you could write up something to take the place- a table or custom decks in Roll20 or Tabletop simulator. But I want to keep my work simple.

I have the hardcover of this weird, one-off rpg from Fantasy Flight. Children get caught in a broken and horrible fairy-tale land. It originally came out as a d20 supplement. Grimm’s final version expands it with interesting character archetypes, rules for growing up, and much more detail on the world. You can choose how dark or comedic you want things to be.

As I mentioned, I’m going to try a slimmed version of Mutant City Blues. If that works I’d like to try that with one of the other GUMSHOE lines that’s gotten less attention. Fear Itself offers a ‘horror movie’ experience. You’re trying to figure out what’s going on to keep it from killing you (usually). I don’t love the set up, but it does have a solid intro scenario in the book. On the other hand, I like Ashen Stars’ sci-fi universe. There you’re not detectives, but hired problem solvers. Slimming it down might be serious work.

So a few weeks ago they released the QS for the forthcoming new edition of Kult. I’m not a Kult fan and I didn’t back the Kickstarter. But when I looked at the rules, I knew I wanted to try it out. It has one of the strangest adaptations of PbtA, going for 2d10 resolution and multiple levels of success. The QS includes characters so it wouldn’t be hard to whip together a story and take it for a spin.

I’ve been running this f2f for several months. The system and approach has gone over well, so I’d like to show it off to other people. There’s a QS version we could play from. Two challenges. First, I’d have to figure out how I wanted to handle Ark development. That’s a great sub-system in the game, but really geared to campaign play. Second, I’d have to use Roll20 for this. MYZ uses a particular die-rolling and push mechanic, difficult to do in a straight die roller. There’s an MYZ module available for Roll20, allowing players easy automation.

Future undersea sci-fi game. The QS looks quite nice and has a robust adventure included. Simple system, so it would be easy to teach. There’s some seashell boobie armor, but the rest of it doesn’t make me shake my head.

I backed the new Scion game, mostly because I love the concept. I have no idea what the new system will actually look like. It’s Onyx Path so I suspect at least moderately crunchier than I care for. But one of the stretch goals was a QS adventure, so that might have a streamlined version. They’ve done that with the nWoD games: stories using their SAS system. That might also be something else to look at- the quickstarts for things like Hunter the Vigil and Demon the Descent.

You can see my overview of this here. I ran Before the Storm a couple of times last year. I’d really like to get one or two more games from this collection to the table. I have to revist WtDiG to see how well it might work online. It might not be the best venue for atmospherics. I’m not sure.

After several false starts I finally managed to read through and mostly grok the rules for TBZ. There’s still some elements I’m not sure about, but there’s at least one actual play available online. It has an element of resource management and trading, so I’d probably have to use the Roll20 interface for visuals. But there’s some hyper-cool stuff inside.

I love classic leaping swords & fists wuxia. But the many games I’ve picked up to run it haven’t been that great: Qin, Swords of the Middle Kingdom, Legends of Wuxia/Weapons of the Gods, the two BRP attempts. Tianxia looks like it comes closest to what I want—interesting styles combined with cinematic resolution. While I own it, I still haven’t gotten it to the table. Fate’s isn’t that hot in Gauntlet, but it might be doable.

Other Games in the Running: Apocalypse Prevention 2e QS, Awaken QS, Bubblegumshoe, Conan QS, Death of Legends, Delta Green QS, Demon Hunters, Faith QS, Any Fate World of Adventure, Fragged Empire QS, Hot War, Legend of the Elements, Motobushido, Musha Shugyo, Rockalypse, Rotted Capes, Shinobigami QS, Spark NeoNihon QS, Tales from the Loop, World of Dew

Suggestions? Thoughts?

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