Wednesday, July 27, 2011

In It For The Long Haul

After suggesting a few ideas for the new campaign I'll be running at my FLGS, The Compleat Strategist, I received only a few initial reponses. The first was from the most, erm, vocal of our group who gave a very detailed overview of his opinion of each idea and why he thought they would make for a great campaign (or not).

Key among his criteria it seems was longevity. A good portion of his analysis of each campaign concept focused on whether or not it was viable to run 'for years to come'.

Now there was a time, probably no more than 10 years ago, when campaign longevity was definitely a factor in my mind when designing a game for my group(s). However, in that time I have moved three times, gotten married, gotten divorced, adopted a dog and played with at least 5 different groups. I am 42 years old. Longevity is in gaming for me is still having the same group in three months.

Between work schedule changes, kids (for those who have them) and the like, who plans on creating campaigns that will last years any more? Do you? Are you over 25? I mean seriously.

I'm interested to hear what the blogosphere thinks about this. Am I wrong in being thankful I get to game in the here and now? Should I be building something to last generations and stand the test of time? How does one do that these days?

My two longest running campaigns were a D&D (Sorta) campaign that ran about 3 1/2 years realtime* and a Star Trek campaign that lasted about 2*. I haven't had anything go more than a year since forever.

Barking Alien

*Actually both of these campaigns technically lasted a lot longer than similar campaigns as our session schedule was unusual. The D&D was run everyday, Mon-Fri for at least 5 hours during the summer (We played at summer camp) and once a week for about 8 hours during the winter/school months. Star Trek was the opposite. We played it Mon-Fri during the school months and occasional weekends during the summer.

If you figure most campaigns are played once a week for an average of about 6 hours, our campaigns stretched out would be very, very long.

Oh, and Happy Birthday Gary!

Monday, July 25, 2011

High on Playing, Low on Posts

So far this summer I've been able to game far more then I expected, which is, generally speaking, pretty awesome. Factor in that one game is a kick butt campaign of Champions, another is a fantasy adventure game with a bunch of young kids and the last is enjoying being a player for once and I'd say I'm both pretty lucky and pretty happy.

At the same time, only 14 posts by the 25th of the month is a fairly poor showing for me. At the very least it feels like it is. There is no quota I know but I can't help but feel I should be posting more. I mean, a lot of gaming is happening so I should have a lot to say, right?

Thing is, real life has been even busier then play time and at the end of the day I just want to read a little, email some friends and go to sleep. That may sound normal to some but for someone who has lived with pretty severe insomnia most of my life it's a relatively unfamiliar experience. I don't understand how people can sleep 8 hours or more. How do they get anything done?

It's not like I don't have stuff to talk about either. The experience I am having with trying to return to running a game for my friends at our FLGS is, well, an experience that I would like to share just to see if anyone else goes through this kind of thing. I need to update where we are with Champions. I'd love to talk about Star Trek gaming again as I have been thinking about it a lot lately. I have a take on 'Does System Matter?' that I'd love to address.

I suppose I should envy myself. I get to game and not suffer through having to talk about gaming without getting to do it. Until time frees itself,

Barking Alien

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Gaming for Sake of Gaming

I would like to thank Lord Blacksteel at the Tower of Zenopus for his post, inspired in a way by my post, that got me thinking about creating another post in the near future extrapolating on why I feel Superhero gaming is just the bee's knees and what you can do to convince your players to give it a try.

But first...

The possibility/opportunity to run a game once again at my FLGS has arisen. I sent an email to our Yahoo Group announcing my interest in taking the available time slot and asking if anyone had any ideas or opinions on what they wanted to see. One response. There are over a dozen members of this group and only one person has yet to get back to me.

This particular person is, shall we say, quite vocal when it comes to his interests and general likes and dislikes regarding a campaign so it makes sense that if anyone were to respond it would be this fellow. I actually like that a lot. Unfortunately, sometimes our ideas, styles and opinions don't jive completely.

In a recent post he noted that he wouldn't commit to playing in my campaign until he knew exactly what it was about. He didn't 'Game for the Hell of Gaming' he said (wrote). Granted. That is totally fair. I don't either.

Well...that's not exactly true. Actually, it isn't true at all. If someone said, "Adam, I've got free, behind the dugout tickets* to the World Series for tomorrow and I am inviting you. Or we can game together."

My response would be, "So I'll bring extra dice. Am I running or are you?"

I'd pretty much rather run or play a RPG than do anything else that doesn't involve getting naked and playing havoc on my bed springs. But that's just me. Maybe...maybe it really is just me.

I mean, maybe the reason I can't seem to make this larger group work the way I can my smaller group, my NJ group and my old groups is because these guys just aren't as into it as I am. That's not a criticism or a fault, it's merely an observation. Gaming is my thing. It's my favorite past time. It's been that way for almost 35 years. It exists, as least for me, as the creative outlet for my need to write, draw, act and tell stories. Without it I'd probably be a mess of pent up artistic frustration.

But what if you don't have that problem? What if you don't feel that need or desire to be that creative on a regular basis? What if you are lucky enough to have some other means of getting that artistic energy out of your head?

I am rare among gamers it seems in that my love of gaming supersedes, at least initially, my preference for genre or mechanics. If someone suggests playing a Pathfinder game, I'll give it a try, even though I am well known for my dislike of D&D based games and medieval fantasy. My dear friend Erin Palette is running an L5R game and I am familiar enough with the universe to know that it will be a Samurai/Medieval Japan game. I don't need to know more than that. I'm good to go. I think I mentioned once before how my friend Keith said he was going to run Deadlands and I was all gung ho for it. Our mutual friend Jason pulls me aside and says, "Adam...I thought you don't really like horror...or westerns for that matter." He was right but this was a game run by a good friend. I had to give it a shot.

Meanwhile, over the last few years I've encountered the bizarre (to me) dynamic of...

Me: "Hey guys I want to run a new campaign. A Sci-Fi/Space Opera game."

Players: "Well what's it about?"

Me: "It's Space Opera. You know, it's the future, we travel to different planets and fight evil aliens and discover peaceful ones. Think of all the old novels by E. E. Smith, H. Beam Piper, Niven,'s gonna rock."

Players: "Hmm. Maybe. Explain the socio-political structure of the galaxy's major powers, what the majority of the alien species are like, who's the enemy culture, what do they eat for breakfast and exactly what megacorporation does what, what their finaces are and how their stock is doing on the intergalactic market."

Me: "Yeah...changed my mind..."

I guess I do game for the hell of gaming. Sometimes I have a plot or story I want to explore and sometimes I don't. I'll run my favorites like Star Trek and Superheroes or I'll grab a Wild West game and figure out how to make it interesting to me. I don't need to know everything going in, or even later or at all. I want to learn these things and develop them as my players and I (or I as a player) explore the game environment and mechanics.

I just want to game.

Barking Alien

* Behind the dugout would be good seats right? It's been eons since I knew the first thing about baseball (or any other sport for that matter.)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

10 Things I Love About Superhero Gaming

I've noticed a distinct drop in my viewership lately, especially in regard to discussing my Champions game. That's a bummer. I think it's one of the best campaigns I've run in a long time. Maybe I just haven't conveyed the level of cool properly.

This (as well as today's game) got me to thinking about...

10 Things I Love About Superhero Gaming!

#10) Nothing is impossible!

Somewhere, somehow, some crazy mofo has the ability to spontaneously generate burning tar out of thin air. That's his power. He's 'Tar Pit' or something. Your investigations always end with, "But we know that's not humanly possible. Must've been a super."

#9) It's all in the application
Someone with 'weak' powers can kick butt if they apply them in an interesting and inventive way. The ability to make others intangible will take an enemy out, quite brutally I might add, in no time.

#8) What's in a name?

I love coming up with names for superheroes, supervillains, teams and organizations. Some of my favorites? The Midnite Hour (Hero), Afterlife (Villain), The Northern Lights (Canadian Superhero Team) and Condition R.E.D. (Russian SHIELD like organization).

#7) Better Homes and Guardians
Hideouts, headquarters, bases and batcaves. Nothing is cooler than heading back to your super crib to knock back a few brewskies with the gang after preventing a nameless horror from leaking into your continuum. Bonus points if it's underwater, on the Moon or orbital.

#6) Campaign maps by Google
Oh man, I need a map for my campaign. Well, since it's set on Earth maybe real world maps will work. Yeah! Nobody does cartography like the satellites orbiting the planet you're on.

#5) It's a small world after all.

I love, love, love the ease and speed of transport in modern Supers gaming (and Sci-Fi gaming for that matter). You're in Detroit and the clues lead to the villain's lair being in Bermuda? Go to Bermuda! Half of the team flies and the other half takes the Superteam Jet, except Speedlines who can run there in minutes (yep, even over water.). Super vehicles, unassisted flight, teleportation, superspeed running and other forms of transportation can get you from arctic tundra to burning desert in a jiff.

#4) Inspiration is everywhere.

Some people can be playing D&D, get inspired by a Sci-Fi movie and then have the aliens show up in their medieval fantasy game. That's kind of hard for me. I'm kind of strict about genre. But in Superhero games? Please. Army of goblins lead by an ancient wizard one day, alien invasion by vampiric lizard people the next. No big. It all fits.

#3) Mr. Mustard in the study with a wrench.

My players are...*sobs of joy*...investigating! Oh how I've longed for the PCs to actually use their heads and look for clues, ask questions, do research and jump to conclusions. I am having a ball with the mysteries I am now able to include because I know someone is paying attention to them.

#2) There's more to life then beating up bad guys.

Today one of the PCs decided to repay an NPC who had helped him out by trying to be of use at the Peace Corps hospital the NPC is working at. The PC used his powers to aid a child in the hospital with a weak heart. By creatively applying his powers, he made it possible for the doctors to operate on the child safely. As I've noted numerous times in the past, I think stuff like that is the height of awesome in a Superhero game (or in any game pretty much).

Of course, it is Supers so I can't deny the ultra-cool of...

#1) Sometimes you just need to bean a guy with a dump truck.

Or a bus, or a lamp post or their own getaway car.

Two-handed sword? I got your two-handed sword right here.


Barking Alien

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The New Champions - Three Ring Circus

My Champions campaign, which at present still consists of only three players (other than myself), is feeling more like three solo campaigns being run at the same time.

After the first three sessions, none of the
Player Characters have actually interacted with each other. Granted, all three players haven't always been sitting at my table at the same time but even when they have their individual goals and viewpoints have worked to keep them separated.

I find it fascinating, very different from what I expected and intended and not wholly sure what to do about it, if anything. Right from the start this hasn't been my typical 'Modernized Silver Age' campaign and while I like that it also presents certain logistical problems. If any of the subplots linked to major threats pan out, we could see a lot of death and destruction before one or more of the PC's mobilize to stop it.

At present, Night Knight is still tracking down the Chinese organized crime organization led by his arch-enemy, The Black Tiger. Black Tiger seems to have allied himself with diabolical mystic Dr. Yin Wu. Luckily, an item of great power once in Wu's possession, The Jade Triangle, is now safely tucked away in the UNTIL base the heroes are currently using as a headquarters.

While attempting to prevent thefts and gang violence by Black Tiger's men, Night Knight learned that another Chinese supervillain, political dissident and martial arts master Green Dragon was likely to attempt to assassinate a visiting Chinese dignitary. As it turned out, Night Knight had failed to stop Green Dragon on two past occasions when the latter attempted to steal a scroll hidden among the crates of an illegal drug shipment and when Green Dragon broke into a museum and snagged a small dragon statue made of jade and mother of pearl.

Luckily, Night Knight was on hand to thwart the assassination. A good thing too, as the mystic nature of the scroll and the statue gave Green Dragon the power to enact a very brutal form of vengeance on the dignitary who Green Dragon claimed had caused much pain and death to his family. The power was a Dim Mok, martial death touch, that would have killed everyone in the victim's bloodline. Yep. Bloodline. Kill the dignitary and his parents, kids and all other living blood relatives go with him. Night Knight saved the day in more ways then he realized.

His pursuit of Black Tiger, Dr. Yin Wu and their plans continues...

Marcus, aka 'The Power', has jumped from one super crime to the next doing all he can to aid his fellow heroes with the sudden, building resurgence of supervillain activity. One of the biggest plots he's become involved in is the possible resurrection of the ridiculously dangerous and powerful fallen angel known as Dark Seraph*. In a somewhat Voldemort like fashion, Dark Seraph placed bits of his essence in various items across the globe. When certain items are touched, the person who made contact becomes possessed and seeks out the other items. When all are gathered together Dark Seraph will be drawn back to this plane of existence from the other dimensional prison that currently holds him.

With the help of heroes both street level and supernatural, The Power seems to have locked down at least two items and located the possible position of three others. There appear to be six all together.

As noted earlier, The Power has taken time out from this investigation to check out a Chemical Plant accident that was certainly no accident and battled an upgraded armored villain at the
Holland Tunnel.


'J', now more properly known as Syphon Zero, is becoming the least traditional character just as he's becoming the deepest and most layered.

At this point in the story, Syphon Zero's dedication to his own personal agenda of stopping villains in any way possible and protecting those connected to his origin (whom he feels an almost familial relationship toward) has gotten him into some seriously hot water.

A series of events lead him to free Primal, a young boy who was genetically engineered by the unscrupulous Doctor Helix, run afoul of PRIMUS and generally turn himself, Primal and Intergal (also created by Dr. Helix) into wanted criminals.

After a chase across (and under thanks to the power of Tunneling) Southern California, Zero realized he and more importantly his self-appointed charges, were never going to make it past PRIMUS' numerous search parties. Calling in an old favor, Zero reconnects with the commanding officer of the top secret army special ops unit he served with overseas. This man, Colonel Malcolm White, aka Colonel Wight, is now in charge of Project: Revenant, of which Zero was the inspiration.

Happy to have Zero back, Colonel Wight introduces him to the rest of the team. Zero, uncharacteristically humble and disciplined in Wight's presence, tells the Colonel everything that's been going on. All agree that the priority mission is to find Dr. Helix, preferably before PRIMUS does.

Yes, it's clandestine U.S. black ops group vs. clandestine U.S. black ops group ladies and gentlemen! Place your bets!


I wonder what will happen next?

Barking Alien

*Our version of Dark Seraph resembles the version from Champions canon but is also very different. He is much, much scarier here.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

What 4E Could've Been Like

If the people who created Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition had half the creativity of this fellow, the game would have been genius.

Age of Ravens proves what I have been saying for some time now and shows just what some 'out of the box', indie game thinking can do for a classic old school concept.

D&D 4E isn't a poor RPG because it added MMO elements to it's make up. It's a poor RPG (IMHO of course) because it did so without including enough of those elements that make table-top gaming unique and special. All fighting and little dramatic role play interaction can be done online. No dice needed.

Also, its developers initially couldn't decide whether or not to deny the inspiration of the MMOs or make it a focal point of why the game would appeal to more people.

The problem I find with the latter is, the game they created doesn't go far enough if they really intended to bring in popular MMO elements. A number of Japanese TRPGs do this and they rock because they do it in a way that blends it more seemlessly into the table top experience.

This brings me back to the real reason for this post, which is to get as many people as possible to check out Age of Ravens notes for his crazy cool Last Fleet campaign. He has created a system where the he and the players develop powers and abilities along a 'Talent Tree' of sorts which resembles WoW, D&D 4E and in a weird way my own Talent system for my D&D-But-Not game. Definitely something more people should be checking out. Awesome stuff.


Barking Alien

Monday, July 11, 2011

Muppet Mondays! - Less Often, Better Stuff

My Muppet Mondays haven't been attracting the kind of attention March's Muppet Madness Month did and while I don't really do it for the applause...who am I kidding...the Muppets are all about applause. lol

I am sure a part of it is that I'm been busy and haven't really put up much of significance outside of my recaps of the one actual game I ran. That game rocked however and I highly recommend checking out the
play by play.

Another part is, of course, that it's a quirky idea and the novelty element has passed, so now only those who really like offbeat, oddball game ideas retain an interest. That's fine. That's who I'm generally talking to anyhow.

So what does all this mean. Well, it means Muppet Mondays are going to be in and out. Instead of a regular feature, I am simply going to put up ideas for my Muppets RPG when I have them and have the time to devote the kind of attention to detail and quality that the original posts had. I'm also planning on celebrating the upcoming motion picture in November with a Muppet Movie Week around the time the film is released.

I leave you with a bit of a teaser. Behold a new character from the upcoming movie, Kermit the Frog's chauffeur and assistant...80s Robot (Yes, his name is 80s Robot).

Is that cool or what?

Barking Alien

Nothing New and That's A Good Thing

I haven't yet started my new Traveller game and in fact, may hold off for a bit.

One of my players voiced his concern that he really wasn't up for starting another new campaign as, with limited days and times available for us to play, it would cut into our ability to do more Champions, which he is loving.

Legimate concern.

I sometimes work Saturdays and that's the only day all three players and I can coordinate. This current Champions campaign is turning out to be one of my best in a long time and I don't mean my best Champions game or even my best Superheroes game. I mean the flat out coolest, craziest, deepest, most rough and tumble RPG campaign in a while. If we have a Saturday available to us, the guys want to use it to play this game. So do I. Make no mistake, I am loving this game.

As I've noted in the past though, I do suffer from gamer ADD like so many other GMs and more so I am just that type of guy who can only eat even my most favorite food so many times before I get sick of it.

So, periodically I start looking toward other ideas and options. Sometimes I can make them work with what I am currently running and sometimes I can't. Most often I can't. I pretty particular about genre. If I am running medieval fantasy and think up Star Trek ideas then I want to run Star Trek. I don't want to stick Trek into my Ars Magica or something. Just not my cup of tea.

For now, I am not going to start anything new with my main group until we either finish with Champions (not likely for a good stretch) or everybody begs me to try something new (highly unlikely at this point) or my schedule free up.

We'll see,

Barking Alien

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Fall Back - Rise Up!

First, it's good to know that while the destination may be unknown, the journey continues.
Secondly, I've decided to fall back on a tried and true favorite but one I haven't touched in a while. Good ol' Traveller*. Seems I'm not alone. There a quite a few people on a Traveller kick. It was actually ze bulette and others who posted in my comments that really got me thinking I should run Traveller (see, your input can make a difference!). I point out ze bulette in particular because, in addition to having the most colorful hair in the hobby, I've actually seen him comment in a pro-Traveller fashion on many a blog. Way to catch my ADD addled attention ze!

Now when I run Traveller, I tend to go with a variant on the 'Traveller Canon'. I have encountered and read about quite a bit of canon bashing when it comes to Traveller's Third Imperium setting and really I don't know why. I like it. I don't adhere to it one hundred percent but I do let it and it's fictional history inspire my ideas for adventures and possible scenarios.

Basically I keep the fact that there is a Third Imperium, an Emperor, a First and a Second (of sorts) and various events, items, aliens and the like. What they do, how they act, etc. is open to interpretation. What that really means is that if I think it's cool I use it and if I think it's dumb I change it.

One of the things I'm very particular about when I run Traveller is the look of the universe. Unlike many of the grognards, I have players who grew up in the later part of the twentieth century. You know, when we started having color TV, movies and video games. Yeah.

Look I am and always have been an avid reader. I adore my E.E. Smith, Poul Anderson, Larry Niven and A. E. van Vogt books. For most of my players however, mentioning H. Beam Piper is going to have them asking if that's some type of energy weapon.

Stat it how you want to but it's got to have the visual cool of Mass Effect, Halo and...heck, the Japanese editions of Traveller. Damn but those are sweet.

Anyway, my next big concern is the feel and atmosphere of the sector we'll be playing in. I have a list of the canon sectors I like to use (mainly because they have cool looking sector maps I can print out from the internet) and little notes on each that describe their general theme. Some are 'Rough and Tumble Frontier - Outer Space/Wild West' sectors while others might be described as 'Full of Megacorporate Conflict and Intrigue - Cyberpunk Attitude'.

That's all the time I have tonight kids as I really need to get me some shut eye. We'll talk more tomorrow.

Barking Alien

*UPDATE: This was supposed to go up a while ago but I hadn't yet heard back from one of my players. Not sure he is super gung ho to player Traveller. Uh oh. Still talking to him about it. We'll see what happens. Keep you posted.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Downed By Flame

Barkley is howling to mourn the fall of one of our favorite blogs. Damn shame. So few people talk about truly new school approaches and still manage to appeal to the old school mind set. That's a talent to be sure.

Worse yet, it fell to a bitting but not particular clever beast, one that has been sly and shrewd and cunning in the past but this time simply seemed to want to hurt.

Rest well weary traveler and answer the call again when the time is right.

Peace and Long Life,

Barking Alien

My Trouble With Sci-Fi Games...Picking One

I am having a bit of difficulty deciding which Sci-Fi game to run for my group. All I know is I want to create alien worlds, populate them with strange and wondrous life forms, enjoy epic space battles and explore the human condition (or its extraterrestrial equivalent in the case of alien PCs).

What game does that? Well in reality, all of them.

So how do I decide what's best for us? Honestly I am really not sure and could sure use some suggestions. But first...

I've ruled out Star Trek* because I kind of want something a bit more free-wheeling. I don't want to the PCs to have to work for Starfleet or any particular organization at the start of the game. I want them to do what they want to do and go where they want to go.

"But Adam, you can let them play smugglers, pirates and other non-Starfleet people in the Star Trek universe!"

Yes. Yes I could. I could also hammer in a nail with a shoe. It might work but its not the best tool for the job or the best use of my time. Also, the first time you play Star Wars, you want to be a Jedi or have the Force. Otherwise you want to be a Bounty Hunter or a Smuggler. Why? Because these are special features of the Star Wars setting. You'd want to be a Jedi because you can't be one in other Sci-Fi games which don't have Jedi.

To me, you play Star Trek so you can be part of Starfleet, operate Starfleet ships, use Starfleet equipment, etc. If you're going to not do these things, play Traveller or some other RPG where Starfleet isn't what's special.

Now, back to the issue at hand...system and to a much lesser extent, setting.

I just reread Stars Without Number and while there is a lot I like about it, I'm looking to play a different system, something a tad less old school. I want either a more innovative mechanic or just one that doesn't feel like D&D meets Traveller. Why? I'm odd in that I don't want to play the same system all the time. I want different games/campaigns to feel differently and even though it seems superficial on the surface, I've noticed that rolling the bones in a different manner then they're used to actually changes my players mind sets a bit. It's like, "Oh, in Champions you roll 3D6 and need to get under the target number? Wow, this isn't Mutants & Masterminds that's for sure." As I've said I'm big into atmosphere, style and feel and every little bit helps.

I am curious to see the new X-Plorers but I feel the same issue will be had there. It's too D&D like. I am running a vaguely D&D game with the kids at the Learning Center Sunday. I think my take is different enough but still, I want to avoid consuming the same taste too often less I get bored of it.

Traveller. It seems to be the 800 pound Altairian Gorilla in the room. I talk about running it, I reread it periodically, I look at articles and blog posts about it online but I haven't run it in forever. Why? Similar reasons to the above? Not quite. While very old school it's different enough from what we've been playing of late to seem new, especially to many of my current players who are unfamiliar with Traveller. It's a definite possibility. So why haven't I simply decided to go with it?

Well, part of it is that my last foray into running Traveller didn't go over well. I was out of practice and my group was...well I was running for a group I didn't know and who didn't know me and I don't think we quite managed to merge our styles into something cohesive. Pity. Nice bunch of guys. Still talk to one of them regularly, Doug, as he's a member of NerdNYC and just a hell of a nice fellow. Another used to visit here off and on. If you read this I hope all is well with you.

In the end, I know what's coming or at least I do now that I've written this (blogging can be very helpful that way). I'm very likely to go with Traveller, a bit houseruled to allow it to move a bit faster and smoother.

Suggestions are of course welcome. Let you know what I decide as soon as I figure it out.

Barking Alien

*To say I've ruled out running Star Trek is to say...OK, I haven't ruled out running Star Trek. I'd love to get back to Star Trek. I was hoping to try a more open ended, sandboxy thing first.

Traveller vs. Star Trek. Tonight, live on pay-per-view. :)

Also: Thanks to a comment by Luis M. Rebollar, I can identify the artist of the image above as Luca Oleastri. I highly recommend checking out his work. Awesome stuff.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A New Week A New Update

I missed Muppet Monday! Holy crap. If I don't recharge my Muppet powers once every week I may lose them.

Just kidding. I was bitten by a radioactive Fraggle. My abilities are permanent.

I will make up for it with a good one next week. This week I may be directing your attention to more Sci-Fi fare. Why? Sci-Fi Space Adventure on the brain is the culprit. Still now exactly sure when and where I will run my next Sci-Fi game or what it will be but I have the distinct need and desperate feeling of wanting to get back to gaming in outer space.

On another note, my Summer Program Fantasy RPG campaign is starting up next Sunday. I am really excited and can't wait to share some of the craziness here.

Short post I know but I've been so busy with work and actually playing games I haven't had a lot of time to ponder what to blog about. Hopefully I will come up with something soon.

Until then, have a great day and good gaming all!

Barking Alien

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Independance Day!

I'm sorry...Our economy is what now?!

Er...Happy 4th to everyone in the good ol' U.S. of A. Remember, it may not be perfect but everywhere else sucks worse.*

Barking Alien

*Well...England is pretty cool...

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Superheroes vs. The Lost Voice

Our Monday game may well be in danger of being cancelled as I am once more starting to loose my voice.

I don't recall if I mentioned this particular detail when I said I'd been ill the past week or so but I completely lost my voice last Sunday and it only to get back to normal yesterday (Friday). Now it seems to not have completely healed as it started to sound a bit weak again. I'm going to take it easy on the old vocal cords and throat tomorrow and hope it heals up in time for...

CHAMPIONS! Yeah, I was hoping for a little break but honestly, my players really want to get back to this game. Who can blame'em? It has been a great run so far and we're only on the 5th or 6th session.
So much happens in one sitting that its been very difficult to do adventure recaps. I mean, if you looked at my Muppet Show session recap(s), it would be like that (those) on steroids.

Last session, one of my three players was absent. So, while Marcus (aka 'The Power') teamed up with the Bronze Avenger and Cats Eye (NPCs) to investigate some supernatural craziness in Harlem and Jeff (aka Syphon Zero) and Integral (NPC) met with The Circle and tried to find the villainous Dr. Helix, Night Knight was basically in limbo. Well, actually he was most likely driving back to New York from Queens where he had teamed up with martial arts master Jade Phoenix to stop some gang warfare the session before. Busy night.

Since these guys battle a lot but don't really investigate or think much long term (except Marcus...he surprises me with sudden 'idiot savant' moments of Batman like deduction), the situations in the campaign keep escalating until they come to a head and then pop. Night Knight's particular storyline is about to do that with a vengence.

So I might as well get to the juicy parts and not sidetrack with a different game. I am still itching to run a Sci-Fi game though, just as soon as I can find one other than Star Trek that I really like and has all the elements I'm looking for (or at least a way to make them). It's amazing. I've run dozens and dozens of Space Opera/Cinematic SF games and now as I look at the systems available to me, I'm not entirely sure how we did it. None of them are quite what I want. I'l save that discussion for another time.

I need to get to bed. Work tomorrow and need to rest the golden chops.

Ta, ta for now,

Barking Alien

Change of Pace

As is often the case with me, I am not without ideas for games but rather overrun with far too many. While I have not been recapping my Champions game, it is going amazingly well if a bit chaotically and I am getting my Superhero RPG a thousand fold because of it.
But...I could use a breather. A diversion. A change of pace.

At least for the July 4th weekend I'd really like to play a one shot of something else. I have some of the guys up for a game Monday and now I'm just trying to decide what to run.
I'm leaning toward Sci-Fi, that favorite gaming subject of mine that for some reason seems to get the least play these days. Part of me wants to run a straight up military shoot-em-up game. Ideas include Traveller where we play Battle Dress garbed Space Marines, Deathwatch (Warhammer 40K) for a similar vibe or some kind of crazy Star Frontiers jammy, though that last one hasn't really coalesced completely in my head yet.


The possibility exists for my return to a monthly game at my FLGS The Compleat Strategist. This is something I've been wanting to do for a while's complicated. The Strat group is a real mix of different opinions, styles and preferences, many of which are not supremely flexible. At the same time, the group consists of a great bunch of guys and the desire to make it work is definitely there.

Personally I like it for mostly selfish reasons I'll admit. It's a big group and I love having a big group. I am loving my Champions game but it's only three players at the moment (a fourth and fifth may be on the way). I also like playing at the Strat because I love the store and my group cheering and hooping it up in the back definitely draws in the curious.*

Lastly (and I am aware that this is rather dicky of me), I like to show off. GMing is one of the few things I seem to be really good at, so I like doing it 'in public' as it were so others can see what a slightly atypical style is like and how it charges up the players.

When I was younger and less mature then I am now (stop laughing), I had a bad habit of watching someone run a game that was poorly received and then immediately wanting to run that genre. Y'know, see a D&D or Supers GM running with a group of players looking bored out of their minds and then being unable to resist the desire to run D&D to 'show'em how it's done'.

Thankfully I am past that. Largely. For the most part. Count to ten...shake it off Adam...shake it off...

OK. So that brings me back to the reason for this post. What to run?
Could my one shot on Independance Day be a prelude or practice run for what I'm going to do at the Strat? Possibly.

And what exactly will that be? Grrr...don't know. Other things intriguing me right now include...

My D&D-But-Not-For-Those-Who-Don't-Like-D&D.
Star Trek (Another try. Seriously, when do I not want to run Star Trek?).
Mekton? Maybe. Not exactly in a Mekton mood but not NOT in a Mekton mood. Wares Blade?

Much a-thinkin' needed,

Barking Alien

*I was at the Strat not long ago and horrified by the quiet in the back room. Horrified! It was so eerie.Are you gamers or not? Now I'm not saying you gotta have a frat party back there but for pete's sake drum up some excitement! Make some noise!