Sunday, June 24, 2012

Screw This I'm Happy

I've started writing this blog entry no less than three times. That is never a good sign.

While there is no end of subjects I would like to blog about and discuss, it has been unusually difficult of late to do so. I am motivated in 'spirit' but not enough to actually do something about it. *Sigh*

My main issue is the nagging problem of what to run next. As I've stated before, starting in August of this year (most likely on Saturday the 25th as that is the exact date of my RPG Anniversary), I intend on beginning a new campaign. Of what? Unknown.

I simply can not decide. No idea that pops into my head (and rest assured there has been quite a bit of popping going on)seems 'right'.

My group is, I have come to realize, more than a bit different from groups I've had in the past, especially without one particular player who often moves the plot, story and action of a give session along. My game is suffering from the nearly debilitating slowdown brought on by smart players overthinking every action. This is juxtaposed by one other player who does not do that but instead goes after plot ideas and actions that have very little to do with what is going on at any given moment.

I know, I know, more complaining from the AD-man. Starting to sound like a broken record am I?

Perhaps. And I certainly don't want to. I want to come here excited to blog all about the awesome game session we just had of this crazy-cool game you probably never heard of.

My problem is can't please everybody but heck, I'm not trying to. I only want to please five people, my four players and myself. We can't be all that different in interests and styles can we? I mean, we're friends aren't we? Sure we are! So why is it so hard coming up with a game that will equally interest and fit us all. I thought it might be Traveller but for various reasons it's not. The mechanics and rules (especially character creation) don't appeal to one fellow and it's subject, style and setting are too similar to another's homebrew that he is experiencing a 'I'd-rather-run-my-thing-than-play-your-thing' situation. OK, I get that. So what can Adam run that he (and the rest) wouldn't play otherwise?

I don't know. I. Just. Don't. Know.

Ending on a happy, I have entered into a new and pretty, damn awesome relationship with someone who is She is wow. She is interested in knowing more about this gaming stuff.

Screw the overall vibe of this post. I'm happy damn it.

Barking Alien


  1. Do be happy! Roll around in the happy, damn it!

    As a player and a GM, I've been struggling for a while with the "too smart for the game" kind of players...have you thought about going to an extreme? Gonzo or hyper-intellectual?

  2. It's a difficult paradox that I wrestle with.

    I have one hyper-intellectual, one street smart badass and two guys who role play more than anything else.

    Going to leave the role play heavy guys out of this as they can pretty much adapt to anything and I have no issue mixing my style of game with theirs and vice versa.

    Now I've had a similar dynamic in my NJ group, of which RavenFeast was a part.

    The difference is that the hyper-intellectual there (NJ - And it was RavenFeast I might add) was still an amazing role-player and focused on being hyper-intellectual AS IT RELATED TO THE STORY. He was not smart for smarts sake. He moved the plot with his brain instead of bogging the session down with it.

    Our action person was focused on helping the team and doing what the others couldn't do quite as well...kicking butt. In my current group the badass gets bored listening to the smarty-pantses and goes off to do his own thing and ignores the other PCs and main plot as he doesn't want to get stuck in the mental mire of the intellectuals. We had a long talk about it today and he told me this is what has been going on with him. I get it. I can't really blame him.

    See, I love mysteries and details and science and even I am bored listening to the long extrapolations of what the super smart player thinks is happening. One reason is that he is often wrong, not looking at or listening to the clues very carefully.

    See, because he knows how, say, weak and strong nuclear forces fit into the science of fundamental interactions, he automatically jumps into a long explanation of what is going on only to have myself or one of the other players say, "Yes but that's not what is happening. That's the mystery." At which point he looks at me dumbstruck and says, "But that is how X, Y, Z quantum logics works with the blah, blah, blah.", and I reply, "Correct. But something else is happening here. Weird no? Oh by the way, 'SUPERHERO GAME'."

    *Forehead smack.*

    Anyway, my current concern is this...if my next campaign is to be more challenging then this current one, I will face a total party kill roughly once every session. Maybe twice. No because they aren't careful or smart. It's because they A) overthink and I have to slow down and I don't want to slow down, I want to speed up and B) with rare exception, they aren't prone to committing to and taking action.

    RavenFeast...You can't move to NY can you?

  3. "She is interested in knowing more about this gaming stuff." - SOLD! They are out there! I found one like that - and married her (not just for that but it did help). For her it's not quite the "lifestyle choice" that it is for some of us, but she does enjoy it and that's all you can really ask for.

    On the overthinking problem, I'm thinking you need a less complex game than Champions. You know it's a supers game and I know it's a supers game but someone is trying to apply real-world physics as a legitimate problem-solving approach and that may be too much of a hindrance to overcome. You could try dropping to a simpler ruleset like Icons or Bash but I don't know that it would solve your problem. Maybe you need a less complex environment too.

    I think you should try D&D - not super complex 500-pages of D&D (or RQ or Pathfinder) but some basic form of D&D. All the strong or weak forces in the universe won't help when you're hiding in shadows while a troll eats your buddy. Make it a flat earth too to emphasize the "your science has no power here" angle. Don't bog yourself down - come up with an interesting location (on a flat earth or something similar), give them a traditional dungeon with a twist - since I doubt you would do it any other way - pick a light set of rules so there's no analysis paralysis, and just run it for 3-10 sessions and see where it goes. Pick one of the OSR sets or Savage Worlds or BASH fantasy and see what you can do by doing the opposite of the tech-heavy supers and Traveller games.

    That's my .03 anyway

  4. Ah Blacksteel if it were only that easy. Well, some of it might be...

    You are definitely on to something with the complexity of Champions but in this case it's the setting more than the rules I'd wager. So perhaps yes, a less complex environment might (repeat might) help.

    Champions Earth Alpha Delta-1 (like it's inspirational predecessor Champions Earth Wilco Charlie-1) is set in that grey area between the Modern Era version of '4 Color' Comics (complete with Code Names, Costumes, Secret Bases and the like) and Image/Wildstorm Comics (If superbeings were real in our modern world our society yadda yadda grim, the government yadda yadda edgy, etc.).

    Since some attempts at 'realism' creep in, it seems only fair and logical that the real science guy would try to apply his real knowledge to these ficticious situations and that they should, unless trumped by constraints of the setting, work.

    At the same time, when the 'comic book science guy' uses his Dimension N powered energy blade (complete with its aura of black and white polka dotted Kirby Krackle) to disrupt the villain's Reality Matrix, it must also work!

    If the setting were wholly 60's and 70's Silver Age, might we see a different approach from the overthinking scientist player? Perhaps. It may be worth trying one day.

    Finally, "I think you should try D&D" had me hysterical. What did I tell you ladies and gentlemen? Did I not say this fellow was a rising comedic star? Didn't I? A nice round of applause for Blacksteel everybody! Can you stick around? Great! We'll be back with more of Blacksteel's cutting edge humor and musical guest 'The Black Eyed Peas' right after this commerical break.

    Stick around...

  5. Nothing wrong with a little Boom Boom Pow every once in while ... they can't all be U2.

    If you're going to make fun of my D&D suggestion (sniff) then how about Fantasy Hero? It's Champions without the science! Your guys already know the rules. Then you go crazy with the environment. I'm thinking that something where the reflexive reaction is "I hit it with my sword" rather than a science lesson. Get them to work together under different circumstances with a short break and maybe you can come back to the supers campaign with a different chemistry (HA!) in the group.

  6. I appreciate the suggestion but this group (and me specifically) just isn't in a fantasy mood very often.

    The very notion of "I hit it with my sword" as a reflex action seems to be anathema to these guys. Even our action oriented combat junkie can't just punch a guy. He has to come up with some 'cool maneuver' or other nearly every time he goes into battle.

    I as GM am certainly not likely to turn down the chance to run Supers or Science Fiction (or Prehistoric Comedy or Cyberpunk or Victorian Steampunk or Horror or Middle Class Suburban Housewives...) in order to run Medieval Fantasy.

    About the only fantasy you could get me to get excited about is Ars Magica, Faery's Tale Deluxe or some other heavily atmospheric, folklore oriented game.

  7. Well then mister, how about Marvel Heroic - still Supers, and it's pretty much built for the cool maneuver player?

  8. Well it boils down to this...

    Champions, awesomeness and annoying bits aside, is ending so we can start something new.

    I'm sort of Supered out for now. I'd love to play or run another one-shot of Marvel but I'm not looking to do a campaign of it at this time.