Sunday, November 20, 2011

Empowered Powers Down

I regretfully announce that after only two sessions and much thought, I am discontinuing my Empowered inspired Mutants & Masterminds 3E campaign that I started over Skype.

This has been a very difficult decision, made all the more difficult by the players.

You see, the players liked it. Maybe not loved it but they were definitely having fun. I personally think they did a fantastic job of creating cool characters, getting into their PC's heads and making the game entertaining. It was a pleasure to listen to them and their laughter over my speakers.

Unfortunately, I hated the experience of GMing it.

For one thing, GMing over Skype have been plagued by poor sound quality and calls being dropped. Not sure why. I'm playing in
Erin Palette's Legend of the Five Rings game and I really have any problem at all.

When I talk to my girlfriend over Skype, no problems (or rarely are there problems). When I try to GM over Skype? Absolutely terrible. Just terrible! I tried running a one-shot the other day with a friend to test so new ideas I had for how to make a Skype game work better (see the next paragraph) and it amounted to asking each other, "Can you hear me? Did I lose you?" over and over for about 30 minutes before we gave up.

I was concerned that gaming online with Skype would severely handicap my ability to GM in the style I am accustomed to. I was right to the third power. I feel like a blind man with no hands being asked to point to the red light. I need the visual cues I get from my players to know how things are going, when to add something into the scene or take something away and many other elements that make me the damn fine GM I know I am or at least can be.

I also keep wanting to show what characters or things look like, create maps and other graphic elements but couldn't figure out how to do so without slowing down gameplay (which was already too slow as it was and slow gameplay is anathema to me).

Finally, the above mentioned factors drained away my enthusiam for the setting and I could seem to get a plot of any worth formulated in my head. The few times I did get ideas I found I wasn't implementing them in well. It was like I suddenly lost all my gamemastering powers. I blame Gold Kryptonite.

No, I don't. I blame me. I just couldn't get it together and when I can't get it together to that degree I just start get disgusted with the whole process. It was probably the wrong setting and game for the medium. At the very least it was the wrong set up for my first attempt at this. I should gone simplier, easier or with something more familiar and focused.

Whatever. It just did not work for me.

It's very tough for me to accept defeat but in this case it's all I can do.

I apologize to my players. You deserved better. I endeavour to do better next time.

Barking Alien


  1. I think remote RPG'ing is another medium, like radio vs. TV, and has an entirely different set of rules that most of us haven't tried to discover because we don't have to - we have local in-person groups. It's going to take some skills we don't typically use and it's probably going to suck at first. Can you run an RPG as a purely auditory experience? Probably, but it's not going to work just like a tabletop game. Is it worth the time and effort it would take to become good at it? For me, probably not. Some guy like me or you stuck in Alaska without local players, maybe so. At least you've tried it now, and that's worth something.

  2. I'm sorry that it didn't work out. The game sounded intriguing.

  3. You might give google+ or some other method where you can also see your players (via webcam), this may help things out.

    Zak S. over at has a significant amount of discussion about gaming over google+

    sorry about your game.

  4. Blogger is being most dicky this morning.


    Anyway, thanks everyone for their support. I really appreciate it and all the suggestions.

    I think this is partially a sign from the 'Great Gaming Spirits of the Universe' that I am trying to do too much. Run too many games that is. I think I am going to follow up with my plan to refocus, reorganize and consolidate my gaming, at least for now.

    The New Year is coming up and that always means new game ideas and inspirations for me. Perhaps I will revisit this in a month or so.