Thursday, December 25, 2014

ALL ACCESS! Oh My Stars and Garters!

I don't why I keep imagining that free time will pop-up out of nowhere, and enable me to get back to blogging regularly. It hasn't so far. Alas, I am every of the optimist.

From whence does this lofty sense of optimism come you ask? Well, Superfans and True Believers, it hails from beyond the mortal keen, to whatever strange source of power bestows upon me my ability to GM. For know you this, my friends and I aligned the stars just so, and I ran the fabulous first session of our new Champions 4th Edition campaign...

Yes Caped Crusaders, Green Goliaths, Maids of Might, and Merry Mutants, The Barking Alien Gaming Group (official title as of a year or so ago) has finally managed to assemble a Superhero game which (based on player, and GM reactions alike) looks like it has some legs to it.

And that's not all...Marcus is back.

For those unfamiliar with Marcus, he is a friend of mine, of ours, the group's that is, and was a player in our campaigns up until I kicked him out of the group approximately five months ago. Prior to that I had never kicked anyone out of any gaming group I've ever been a part of. Not in 37 years. You can read all the gory details if you like, but I'd rather focus on new beginnings.

In the five months that's he's been away, Marcus took on the role Gamemaster for some friends, largely running Dragon Age. In addition to experiencing some of his own medicine in the form of players trying to get away either his sanity or the game, he gained greater insight on being a good player by learning to be a good referee.

Marcus told me he began by reading the Gamemaster section of the Dragon Age rulebook, and then went on to check out articles and blog posts on GMing advice. He also, I discovered this past weekend, revealed to me that he reads this blog, something I had no idea he did.

The end result was a manifold change I didn't expect. He was truly sorry for his previous approach to our games, and desperately wanted another chance to game with the group. I should add that 'desperately' is not used here to illustrate a man desperate for inclusion just for inclusion's sake. Rather, this is a man who realized he really liked the group and the GM he had played with. After experiencing other gamers, he felt our campaigns were simply of superior quality (His words, not mine). He decided the flaw he had experienced, the obstacles to his fun, and ours, were situations he created himself.

I brought the idea before the rest of the group, and while there had been some raw nerves, and bad blood, they all unanimously agreed to give him another shot. While we don't feel it's right for him to return to the Traveller campaign, he is a perfect fit for this new Supers campaign (or rather the 'new him' is).

The hunches paid off a thousand fold. Marcus loves his character, everyone liked how it was used, and how he interacted with the rest of the team. Combined with an excellent, classically comic book backstory, Marcus' character adds a lot to the setting and the group dynamic.

I am very happy overall, and particularly proud of Marcus.

Marcus is not the only one deserving of kudos. The team performed beautifully. Lots of character banter, great role-playing, mighty fine teamwork against so very tough adversaries, and a lot of story potential going forward.

Well, that's all for this post. Much more to come as I describe the campaign's setting, the PCs, and what is in store for future sessions.

Later Days...of Future Past,

Barking Alien


  1. It's good you were able to sort that out with Marcus. Shows a lot of maturity on his part.

  2. Agreed Robb.

    Marcus is still Marcus, and I'm cool with that, at least to the point where I can live with it. More so than any other gamer I've known (possibly ever), he has traits of the both the tactician and the power gamer, and an sub-conscious, adversarial relationship with the Gamemaster (whomever that may be).

    If he's the only one, and that's all it is, I can have a game with this guy in it, and enjoy it.

    In the case of some of the other issues we've had, he's not only aware of them now, but he has taken the initiative to try to make sure they don't happen again. In addition to creating a more teamwork oriented character (while still making a Batman-esque, lone wolf type), he's been more vocal about being open with the other players, and vice versa.

    He certainly wasn't 100% in the wrong about certain events in the Traveller game (more like 90-95% :p ), and there were some issues that he perceived as slights against himself and his character. This time he wants to stop the bad feelings before they start, and make sure any grievances are discussed in the open. Here, here. Kudos I say.

    I would also add that we have the Gamemaster's Guide for Dragon Age as well as the blogs of Lord Blacksteel, Zak Smith, and my own to thank you his new attitude and insight. He said that those resources really game him a different perspective on gaming.

  3. Well look at this - thumbs up from me, and if I contributed in any way towards helping to make things work better with a now former ex-player of yours then that's very cool. It looks like you're ending the year on a high note game-wise and that's cool too. High Five!