Reflecting on 13, Aiming at 14.

No, the title isn’t addressing the most awkward ages of my life. Today’s blog is a look back at the gaming I’ve done in 2013, as well as a glance at what’s on the horizon for me in the chaosgrenadenew year. This past year didn’t see as much gaming as I would have liked — it’s been one of those years where we try to schedule a game night months in advanced, and they sometimes didn’t pan out like we hoped. Everybody has their reasons: I had school, everyone had work, others had kids… sometimes reality just can’t toss you a bone. Which is unfortunate, because I know I’m not the only one who’s been sitting at their home, all lonesome, and preparing for games that may never even be ran. Insert my old saying here: You can take the gamer out of the game, but you can’t take the game out of the gamer.

But when we did get to play, it’s been fun (if not interesting.)

  • Adventurer, Conqueror, King System: I picked up and ran this game with a couple friends to fill in the void of our old weekly OSR/D&D campaign. I really enjoyed this system, since it was based on old-school D&D but brought in some good features found in modern games, and then refined its view to cater to a particular scale of play. For those unfamiliar, the three ranks in the title are the tiers of play. Imagine the D&D Cyclopedia rewritten with clear rules, better organization, and the level scale only going from 1-14. You start off as a fresh delver, you end with a Kingdom to govern. Forget this nonsense of “epic level” that is just you going all super hero to arm wrestle gods… this is gritty awesomeness. I used the system to run a humancentric fantasy world inspired by old Norse and Anglo-Saxon myths, and it was deliciously brutal.
  • Scion: When my girlfriend and I got serious at the beginning of the year, I offered to run any RPG that she was interested in playing. The response was Scion: Hero, and I was more than happy to accept that challenge. I tapped on my “core” group (players from my World of Darkness/D&D 4E troupe) and they were definitely down for giving it a shot. The campaign was setup as sort of an homage to the “young supers” genre — think Buffy, Charmed, Smallville and the like. The plotline and the characters were incredible, and we’ve had a blast in the role-play department. Unfortunately, Scion itself feels unwieldy to us (and we’re White Wolf veterans!) The initiative system got thrown out almost immediately after our first combat, and over the next few sessions combat started to really feel like a mess.  We unfortunately hit a hiatus during the fall, but, this is a campaign I aim to kick back into gear.
  • GURPS: We had a monthly GURPS game that my brother ran, lovingly referring to it as “Shadowrun Over Innsmouth.” It’s been interesting playing a favorite rpg setting in a different lense of rules: it allowed for cool concepts like my room mate having a troll Street Samurai with a headware computer that played host to an AI, which happened to be our NPC computer hacker. There’s a lot I like in GURPS but there’s a lot I swear at, too. I know the system can be toned up or down, but, it still managed to leave itself in the realm of games I’ll play, but refuse to run.
  • Gamma World (D&D Worlds version): I only ran one session of it this year, but damn if my core group doesn’t love it. It’s one of those things where I can’t even remember the adventure I sent the players on… I just remember that Blossom (a sentient Fireflower) and Princess Monster Truck (A Yeti/Feline hybrid) were more than happy to help the demon accountant Vincent raid a lair of fungal beasts to collect the cure for a plague.
  • FATE: I got sucked into the Cult of Fate, driving my girlfriend bonkers for months going on about how I thought I could convert anything to this system. Probably the same way I went on to my ex about Savage Worlds in the past. I was even about to scrap my own gaming system and just write shit in FATE rules. I’ve calmed down since then, but I can honestly say FATE is being kept in my “go-to” pool for tinkering new game ideas. Only session I’ve been able to run was a Buffy setting adventure, but it was a session that definitely sold me on the flexibility and fun factor.
  • REWIRED: And of course, that damn game I’ve been going on about all year.  Lots of playtests, lots of fun.  My old-guard WYRED crew found the changes enjoyable for the most part, and when I finally came down off my FATE high I discovered I had a pretty awesome game sitting there with my name on it.

So, what’s ahead in 2014?

  • D&D 3.5/Ptolus: Some games you just can’t escape. It was suggested in my brother’s GURPS group to take a break for some 3.5, and oddly enough I was happy to volunteer to run. I’m actually looking forward to this, since I haven’t actually ran 3rd edition in probably five years. Closest was a one-shot of Pathfinder, where all my players involved voiced that they wanted to stay with D&D since they were already invested. The part that really excites me is that I’m breaking out my copy of the Ptolus campaign setting, which has sat on my shelf for years and I just couldn’t bring myself to sell.
  • AD&D 2nd Edition: More D&D! I take any opportunity to play instead of run, and this time it’s a chance to play the edition I have the least experience with.  Seriously, I haven’t played 2nd edition in over 10 years, and my time with it is minimal. Now that I’ve vetted myself in both the newer stuff and the old-school, I’m curious to see how it stands up.
  • Scion – Accelerated: After bouncing ideas on my girlfriend and my other core players, I plan on picking our Scion campaign back up using Fate Accelerated Edition as a core foundation. Ultimately, that group works best on lighter rules and more emphasis of the character and role-play. The FAE rules, with some slight tweaks, would be the ideal system for the type of game we want to play with those characters.
  • More REWIRED: I also plan on running some more REWIRED this year, experimenting with some new ideas I have for the system. I’m not wanting to go full space opera with the rules, but it’s not uncommon to read cyberpunk-style fiction involving “off-world” locations and space habitats. Plus I’m constantly being hounded for rules for androids, robots, and battle mechs. We’ll see how my notes play out.

So what do you guys have going on in the new year? Any new systems you’re trying out (whether it’s new to the market or new to you, it doesn’t matter!) Leave me comments and, by the way, here’s to the New Year!


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