Monday, January 21, 2019

Happy Landings

My Apologies to Jim Nichols and Steven Spielberg 

I am now in a position to know exactly what I want to run and how I want to run it. 

It's taken me a good number of years to develop my skill and style as a Gamemaster. It's taken time to recognize what I like and what I don't and how to achieve the former and avoid the latter. I've come to terms with acknowledging my flaws and accepting my strengths, and come full circle from OK to Good to Great to Good to OK and now, hopefully, Great again. 

Now I just need to find the right group and play that game. 

Don't get me wrong, I am really happy with my current groups and the games I'm running and playing with them. I just feel there is this potentially near-perfect game that I could run, would love to run, if I could find the right combination of people for it. 

In the past, this might have gotten me down or made me discouraged. Not now. Now I am somehow comforted by the idea, the knowledge, that I could do it. 

I am sure I will run it at some point. 

What's the game? 

We'll get to that...

Barking Alien


Happy Birthday to Doctor Martin Luther King Jr.! 

Friday, January 11, 2019

Orbital Drop

Before I get to the posts I really want to discuss, I feel it might behoove me to update everybody on my current 'State of Gaming' at this time.

Self-indulgent Info Dump Away!
Illustration based on the work of Calum Alexander Watt

I ended 2018 and began 2019 with two separate one-shot games with different groups.

On December 30th I ran The Orville Adventures, a 6 hour session of Modiphius Entertainment's Star Trek Adventures using the setting of the Sci-Fi Dramedy TV Series, The Orville. We had four players and myself and it was an absolute blast. A ton of fun. 

On January 1st I ran two my girlfriend and my good buddy Dave through a fairly simple D&D scenario using a homebrewed version of the game set in my own universe of Aerth. It was OK. Kind of meh. We were all tired and not really focused on the game. It happens.


At present I am running two ongoing campaigns, as well as playing in two others. I have a third ongoing campaign in pre-production but more about that some other time. 


The first campaign I am running is the continuation of our ongoing Star Trek Adventures campaign, Star Trek: Prosperity, now in it's fourth year!

The campaign features four players, all males, with bi-weekly sessions lasting about 4-5 hours.

Season 4 will see the return of all four regular players as well as (hopefully) periodic guest-stars just like the previous three years of the campaign. This Season will go back to more episodic adventures (unlike last Season's overarching meta-plot) with a greater focus on the characters, their relationships, and their backgrounds. Something which was last touched upon in the second half of Season 2.

The second campaign I'm gamemastering is the continued Champions 4th Edition game, Champions: Revival. The game has only had about 8 or 9 sessions at this point but it is coming along nicely. 

The game is run monthly, in 6-8 hour sessions, with five players, four male and one female. At least four of the five show for every sessions but one player or another has missed a session or two due to scheduling conflicts. 

Utilizing the setting created by my friend William for his epic, ten year long campaign in which I was a participant in high school, this series features an alternate timeline from previous campaigns I've run in the same universe.

The team is interesting and their approach to 'superheroing' is kind of atypical. If the average Superhero team is akin to Police, these guys are like a SWAT Team or even Seal Team Six. Within a very short period of time they've earned the respect of PRIMUS (a SHIELD type organization that traditionally doesn't like Supers) but rubbed some of the mainstream heroes the wrong way. 

The threat level of their opponents is rising rapidly as well, so I am really looking forward to seeing how they handle tougher adversaries who have it in for them. 


As for the games I am in as a player...

Our Hogwarts/The Wizarding World of Harry Potter campaign is going strong and that too is in its fourth year. We are already 4th years in the game I believe and I am curious to see where we're going from here.

I really like my character, Ravenclaw student Francis 'Frank' Pellgrove. In fact, I like him more than I expected to. I haven't enjoyed playing a PC this much in a very long time. I am looking forward to seeing where his life and adventures take him, though I'm really in no hurry to see him graduate and leave Hogwarts.

This campaign is run bi-weekly (alternating with our Star Trek: Prosperity game), with 4-5 hours sessions. There are four players including myself with said players being the same group as the Star Trek Adventures campaign. The Hogwarts game is run by my friend Alex using a homebrewed system inspired by Apocalypse World. 

I am also in a Wild West campaign run weekly using a modified version of Savage Worlds. We've had about half a dozen or so sessions so far, each lasting roughly 4-5 hours. There are five males players in this game, though it is rare that all five are present for every session. I have been in every episode (I believe) as has my friend Alex who plays my character's nephew. 

The game is, at it's heart, the story of the small boom town of Dunton, Colorado during the Silver Rush of the late 1870s. At the same time, because the two most consistent players are my friend Alex and myself, it's really become the tale of our characters and their enterprise of 'THATCHER and Thatcher'.

Once again I have a character I quite like, 'Professor' Milford J. Thatcher. I love the way he and his nephew 'Buddy' banter and interact. The GM is doing a bang up job at least partially thanks to becoming completely obsessed with classic Western TV shows and films over the past few months. 


That's where I'm at right now. I have plans to run another campaign to begin very soon but I need to lock down a few things first and finish the write ups for some of the games elements. More on this as it progresses. 

I started this post nearly a week ago and it's FINALLY finished. Geez. 

Now I can get to other things such as my current love...wait, let me just check out the latest episode and then I can talk about it. 

We'll chat again soon.

Barking Alien

Thursday, January 3, 2019



Coming in Hot!

Atmospheric Re-entry Kit for Traveller
By the ever-amazing David Deitrick

Happy New Year Everybody! Adam here to let you know that Barkley and I are back in action and raring to go! 

Also, BARKING ALIEN first debuted on February 23rd, 2009 so this coming February will mark 10 years that I've been doing this blog. TEN FREAKIN' YEARS! Woohoo! We should throw a party or something.

It's been a very interesting and enlightening holiday season, giving me time to look at my favorite hobby from a fresh perspective. In truth it isn't so much that I came up with some startling epiphany or grand realization. More so that I could see more clearly what had been staring me in the face for a long time and yet I kept second guessing it and myself. 

For some time now (many years actually) I haven't felt like I've been gaming to my full potential. 

When I was in High School, College, even for many years after, I was considered one of the best Gamemasters in my circles. I discovered, thanks to a meeting with an old acquaintance some time ago, that I was even considered among the best by those who knew me and/or the players in my games even if they themselves weren't actually in any of the games I ran. 

That last bit, it moved me. I'm being serious. As a guy who has suffered from anxiety and low self-esteem issues for most of his life it was like Godzilla being struck by lightning, charging me up with the knowledge that I really was good at something. Not just good, Great!

Alas, I feel a bit like my powers have faded over the past ten years. I know this isn't the first time I've said that here but I think I found part of the reason.

My oldest, most engaging group disbanded because several of the personal relationships in it broke up, not the least of which was that between my [now] ex-wife and myself. Ever since then, instead of running and playing games 100% My Way and the way the old group liked it, I've been trying to figure out how to play the way the new people I met preferred. I've been trying to adapt to others' play styles so I could make new friends and find new games. 

Now there is nothing inherently wrong with this approach. I am not going to lament doing this specific thing as I have made some great, close friends, ran some awesome games, and had a lot of fun along the way. 

At the same time, I am soon to be fifty years old. 50. I...*faint* Sorry, what...where was I? Oh yes, that also means I have been gaming for 42 years. Wow. I think I have earned the right to do what I want to do and game the way that makes sense to me.

True, I may find it harder to find and keep players. By being more me and less flexible I am shrinking my potential audience. My default style is not the approach the average gamer is used to. I am not a fan of D&D or Pathfinder, the games with the most wide-spread appeal and easiest accessibility. 

Still and all, if I can't make myself happy, why and I doing this, right?

It is my sincerest hope that much like my groups of old, my players of today and beyond will appreciate my games and become fans of my GMing because I will have become a fan of my GMing once more. If I am sincere and passionate about it, that will show and resonate. 

Here's to a New Year and a return to doing things I love doing. I hope you do the same. 

Barking Alien