Posted on September 24, 2018
Playing the field.
I’ve been enjoying running Numenera, as long as I don’t have to go off book too often. Sometimes I’m really feeling the improv nature that the rules permit and encourage, and sometimes I’m super not in the mood. Fortunately, I have plenty of material to lean on most of the time.
I’ve also been enjoying running Paranoia, not just because I think it’s a good game once you get around the Initiative rule, which isn’t that tough, but is a bit clunky in practice (often because I can’t remember what number I just called out), but because there’s no long term commitment.
I got three connected adventures to run and three more connected adventures, but no campaigns or long running stories or fascinating character backstories to juggle. Those are all things that enjoy, but being free of them and just having a four night stand with a fun game is pretty rad too. And hey, leave your players wanting more and they’ll hopefully remember it fondly, rather than remembering only when the campaign ground to a halt.
This winter, we’ve got some changes going on. Numenera 2 is out, with all new adventures and stuff. Male Blilie 2 is out now too, so it makes sense to take a bit of a break in Numenera – or at least the current storyline. I have a small campaign that’s designed for new characters and could run that with no impact on Bryce. Or anyone else. It’s just a game, jeez.
I have another couple of games either coming this Winter (hopefully) or having just arrived. The Stars are Fire is a Sci-Fi RPG using the Cypher System that Numenera players are familiar with, but setting appropriate. The Legend of the Five Rings is a fantasy RPG drawing from Eastern legend and history. (Because Oriental Adventures is SO problematic guys). Star Trek Adventures is an erotic horror LARP. No, not really, its Star Trek, having adventures.
L5R and Star Trek both have Starter Kits, aside from the main rulebook. I’m a fan of these, with their custom maps, pregenerated characters and their learning curve scaling adventures. I think it’s a great way to spend $25-$40 anyway, but it’s a great way to get people dipping their toes into a game without splurging.
The L5R one is LUSH, Fantasy Flight pouring the franchise rights into their magical machine that spits out glossy new editions of card games, board games and RPGs with shared art and fluff. They are able to flood a property onto the sales floor. So if you see stuff for L5R, it could be any one of the game iterations.
The L5R starter kit puts you as almost-samurai of several of the great clans, attending your gempuku, coming of age ceremony. Which is also a contest. Which is also not quite what it seems. Plenty of investigation, social play, world revealing as you go and each encounter is staged to introduce a new mechanic as you go, so you don’t have to understand your character sheet before you play, but chances are you will understand it by the end of the first session.
I’m crushing really hard on this setting its deep, deep lore and the possibilities that the setting raises. The complexity of the game is really all in the situations you put yourself in and consequences your actions have. Imagine if everyone in Game of Thrones was a Paladin. Imagine how fucking complex that would make it.
I haven’t seen the Star Trek one yet, but I’m interested in that too. Needless to say, that’s one that I shouldn’t run until Bryce gets his life back right-side up. The rules for that one are surprisingly simple. Roll 2d20, and try to roll under your (Attribute+Specialization): you only need one success to pass the test. And good news, player characters are hyper-competent! Far cry from Star Fleet Battles of yore. Players play Star Fleet from Ensign to Captain, (this is a game that’s fine with splitting the party and balanced so rank isn’t too important to playability) with the Ship itself a shared character that they all have a role in creating and playing. I’m excited about this game,… just gotta find the elusive Starter Set and get Bryce out and playing.
There are, of course, other RPGs I want to play (Fiasco, Dusk City Outlaws (nudge nudge, JIM) Dark Heresy, good old Call of Cthulhu) but those have a long shelf life and aren’t going anywhere. Similarly, I and probably you, have a boatload of board games. Rising Sun certainly hasn’t been extinguished in my mind yet and I haven’t started painting yet… And I have Tang Garden coming too sometime soonish, (I think). And there are still plenty Mansions of Madness to burn to the ground as we try to save them. And Doomtown. And did you know I own Blood Bowl?
What I’m saying is, we’ll survive the winter. I’ll shoot out an email and try to figure out what people want to play and when, once MN United’s season is done (I don’t think we need to worry about playoffs…)If we end up playing something that isn’t your cup of tea, I wouldn’t worry too much, I’m not committing to anything for too long. Chances are your choice will come around.