Wednesday 28 February 2018

New year, new campaign: progress!

Earlier this month, I posted that I was going to start a new tabletop campaign. How's it going? It's going well.

Character creation went smoothly. The random mutation tables in Other Dust van produce some pretty bizarre characters, and I was worried that players who started with strong concepts wouldn't enjoy seeing them get derailed by random rolls (although you can get out of this using the rules as written), but people got into it and there was much laughter.

I use miniatures in a lot of my games, and most of my players are also fans, so they have created or are creating minis for their characters, adding mutations and so on. It's pretty cool. I don't have photos, because the light isn't quite right in the evening, but here's one of the model for my wife's character, which I hurriedly painted just before the first session. I'm going to go back and touch up some details.

The original model is "Talia Torino" from Crooked Dice, who I take to be Penelope Pitstop.

Anyway, we have a good mix of characters: a tough survivor thrown out of her enclave for being a mutant, who's lived in the wilderness as a hunter ever since; a scientist exiled from his enclave for violating their law against advanced tech; a gunfighter betrayed by his own gang and a corrupt judge; and a diplomat from the pre-apocalypse world who only just emerged from suspended animation.

Session one saw all four PCs escape from having been captured by baddies, who were going to sell them into slavery in a remote northern location called Emerald Lake. Reesix (the wild woman) thought this was a bit odd, since she had heard of Emerald Lake only as a quiet enclave in a remote spot. They staged an escape, which involved Jaime (the diplomat) distracting a guard, Twiggs (the gunfighter) bashing a guy with a big rock, and Jeb (the scientist) shooting four people with his cactus spines ... including a member of his own team, who went down and had to be revived with patch stims (which fortunately, having been stolen from Jaime, were in the bandits' cart).

They also befriended another prisoner, Femi, a monk originally from the enclave of Credo, who told him that a party of his fellow monks had gone missing in this area looking for something called "Transfer Station 70." He had come to find them but been abducted by the bandits. They headed to the nearby transfer station, hoping to find shelter to rest and heal their injuries. They found traces of the missing monks, but no one was to be seen.

The next day, with the injured feeling a little better, they decided, at Femi's urging, to continue the search. A hatch in one of the transfer station outbuildings led down into some kind of tunnel complex, and the stub of a candle spotted on the concrete floor below suggested that the monks had been down there. Holding their breath against the chemical stink, they descended ...

Of course, this bare-bones summary doesn't give a sense of the overall feeling of desperation and the laugher around the table. They were very pleased when they found a device to recharge batteries with, for instance, and they felt very fragile in the combats. Jaime went down in one shot (from her own side, no less) and the other characters who were hit were very aware that they couldn't get hit again. I started them off with some points of Hunger to give them a sense of urgency and that seems to have worked as well.

Overall I'm very pleased with how it's going so far!

Friday 2 February 2018

New year, new campaign

I finished up my long-running D&D campaign in 2017, creating a gap of several months where I haven't been running a tabletop game. Gradually the urge built up and up, until finally I broke down. This is the start of an intermittent ongoing project log for the game I intend to run.

In this post, I'm going to lay out the basics of the plan:

1. Not my usual gaming group

My wife's going to be in this one, because she is the love of my life and we live in the same house and all that. But other than that, my goal is to include only players I haven't played with before. I've been playing with the same people all the time, and they're good people to play with, but I want to push myself a little bit and adapt more. Plus, you know, gaming with new people is fun in its own right.

2. A post-apocalyptic setting

I seem to have the urge to run something post-apocalyptic, on a level of whimsy somewhere between Mad Max and Gamma World. I guess the term for that is Fallout. I don't mean the Fallout setting specifically, I mean a game where there are serious emotional relationships and political and social questions but also where the specific details of the setting are absurd.

3. A simple system

I'm going to be using Sine Nomine's Other Dust. The core system is very simple and should be accessible for the players, but its membership in the broader family of D&D descendants makes it easy to adapt material from other games. I've got the Stars Without Number second edition Kickstarter as well, so that'll come in handy, I hope.

I'm going to be incorporating some elements of D&D 5th, including the bonds, ideals, flaws, and inspiration mechanics, which I feel will fit pretty neatly with the simplicity of the Other Dust system.

4. Miniatures for looks

I'm going to be trying to make use of my pretty extensive post-apocalyptic and science-fantasy miniatures collections, but the goal isn't to use miniatures as a basis for tactical combat. They'll help with things like ranges and proximity, but they're mainly all about looks and visualisation.

5. Regular updates

I want to write about the process of creating and running the game on this blog, partly to stop the blog from being just photos of miniatures and partly to keep myself thinking further in advance than I sometimes do. I think this will be good for the way I think about the game, although we'll see how it develops.

So that's the idea. Stand by for future updates relating to this game in the new year.