Tuesday, May 3, 2022

State of Gaming Address - May 2022

April was pretty much a bust. Few posts, no epiphanies made or real insights given and no A-to-Z Challenge at all. I am lost in an RPG funk and I really shouldn't be. 

Sure I get frustrated now and again with the groups and games I'm playing in or running but overall the material has been good. Really good in fact. 

Inspired by the comments on my previous post, I thought it might be a good idea to assess where I am gaming wise by doing one of my 'State of Gaming' addresses. 

Here's what I am doing in the hobby...


Champions: UNITY

Run once a week by me, this campaign is based on 'The Age of Champions' campaign setting created by my good friend William Corpening and mentioned on this blog numerous times. I have run several games using this universe, each following a alternate history of what followed the end of my time as a player in the original campaign (and once following the actual end of the campaign past my own involvement). We have designated this incarnation Champions Earth-Alpha Delta-1A (see my breakdown on the known Earths of The Age of Champions).

There are three players in this campaign (originally four but one is currently taking a break from gaming for a while) and it's been really good. The characters are each quite different and their backgrounds and natures have been informing the types of plots and villains I've been generating. I also like that I get to explore new aspects of this setting that in some cases haven't been fully explored before.

Star Trek: Prosperity

Every Friday I'm not playing Hogwarts I am running a Star Trek Adventures campaign with the same four other people from the Wizarding World game as players. The campaign is set during the late 'Original Series' era (roughly 2268-2272 so far). We started the game using the Last Unicorn Games Star Trek RPG but we converted the campaign to Modiphius' Star Trek Adventures 2D20 System fairly early on. Presently we are on 'Season 6', having been playing this game for a little under 8 years. 

This has been a great campaign with some very challenging scenarios, interesting characters, real emotion, as well as some nifty exploration of Star Trek canon and lore.

Star Wars: Gray Territories

My latest campaign, run roughly twice a month, is a Star Wars D6/West End Games game with three friends whom I've known for almost 35 years. We played an epic Star Wars campaign back in my late college days called Tales from the Rim and now we're back at it like no time has passed. This is presently my pride and joy.

I've already started discussing and recapping it on the blog but for a quick overview - It's Awesome! The setting/universe is one we all love, the characters are quirky and fun, the narrative is simple so far but with a larger background mystery just beginning to unfold. Best of all (OMGrogu! THE BEST!) is that it moves quickly. Each session is about half as long as the sessions of my other games and yet some much happens! Love it. 

Honorable Mention: Traveller: Buried Treasures

For almost a year I was running a classic Traveller (with some MegaTraveller) campaign one a week but it's on hold for time being as one of the players has had a baby. Apparently infant Humans cannot fend for themselves and my friend Will and his wife will be occupied with this endeavor for sometime. Who knew?  


Hogwarts: A Mystery

Run bi-weekly (every other Friday) by my friend Alex and using a rules-lite homebrew system originally inspired by Apocalypse World (but quite different), the campaign focuses on four Player Character students of House Ravenclaw. The game has been going fairly regularly for about five years now and the students are 'Fifth Years'.

This is the only game I am in as a player and I have to say, it's one of the best I've experienced overall in a very long time. I attribute this to Alex, who is not only an excellent GM but someone well-versed in the setting, lore, and capable of making it 'feel right'. I also really like my character, Francis 'Frank' Pellgrove, whom I would list among the greatest PCs I've ever run (and I did!).

This is where I am at TRPG-wise. All of these games are excellent. At the same time, they all have their flaws and imperfections (well...except for the Star Wars game. So far it's perfect.). 

I could go into the detailed workings of each campaign but I don't want right here and now. I may do articles addressing more general issues in the future though. 

Writing this post has done its job, giving me a clearer idea of what I want to talk about going forward. With renewed vigor and new ideas, I aim to get this 45th Anniversary Celebration back on track.

Thank you all for coming by and sticking with Barking Alien. I really do appreciate it.

Thank you.

Barking Alien


  1. First of all, I'm really sorry to hear about your financial issues. I hope you can resolve them as soon as feasible.

    Secondly, and I think you came to this conclusion yourself in writing this article, being involved in four very different - but all excellent - regular campaigns is the kind of funk many of us gamers would kill (make believe monsters) to be in.

    I realise you are a perfectionist, but I also worry that sometimes you are too hard on yourself (and the people you game with) when, ultimately, gaming is supposed to be fun.

    It often really feels like the textbook definition of the "the grass is always greener". You are running/playing in a truly enviable collection of campaigns. Sure, you might be able to pick some nits, but that just means the games have the potential to get even better.

    1. Thank you Tim. I always appreciate your concern, support, and feedback.

      You're right in that I have 'First Gamer Problems'; oh no! My bevy of awesome games aren't awesome enough! Still...

      I know games can be as good as the Star Wars one is because, well, there's the Star Wars one. I also know what bugs me about the other games and it's usually the same thing or related set of things.

      A perfectionist? Yes. Somewhat at least. 'The grass is always greener' is usually used here in the US to indicate someone else having something you want. I'm pretty sure everyone has their own set of pet peeves. There's certainly no one particular RPG campaign someone else has that I am jealous of.

      I just want to run that one really great, successful, and memorable game. Do I want it too much? Are my standards too high? Very possibly.

  2. So rather than the "grass is always greener" scenario, I'd speculate that the problem is that blogging has always been your creative outlet when you are not gaming. A lot of posts involve some sort of plan to run something-or-other or why your style of gaming doesn't mesh with the people you are involved with.

    Now, you've got several solid, healthy games, so unless you publish content from the games, what do you have to write about?

    1. You definitely have something here Rob.

      Many of my posts analyze the development and execution of a session or campaign before or after the fact. I enjoy looking at the various whats, hows, and whys of RPG gaming either in preparation of running one or as a post-game breakdown of what worked and what didn't.

      When everything largely works and there is no specific issues related to the game itself, that does translate into me not having much to talk about in that regard. Sure, I can and do post recaps but those entries are not as engaging for me and I'd wager for many readers.

      Maybe that's not true and people love to read my session recaps but for me it's as if I am just repeating something that recently transpired. It's a lot more fun remembering old sessions that were so good I can still recall them in detail.

      I am also trying to be less negative and snarky in my posts and so I'm working out how to discuss the flaws and problems that do plague some of my present groups without coming off as mocking (even if it's in jest).

    2. Even if you don't want to post session summaries (which, I have to confess, I rather enjoy), perhaps - rather than the 'snarky' posts you are trying to avoid - you could think about discussing/analysing "what went right" and sharing your best practice. This could be educational for your readers.

    3. 'What Went Right' is an excellent name for a series of posts describing why some of my sessions and/or campaigns go better than others. Is it cool if I use that Tim?

    4. Of course 😁 Go for it!!! Looking forward to reading what you have to say.