Thursday, August 6, 2020

RPGaDaY 2020 # 6 Couple

I've already told the story of how gaming brought my wife and I together. And we've gamed with numerous other couples throughout our gaming careers.

A couple, of course, doesn't have to mean a couple of people. It can also be a couple of things.

My kingdom building campaign has an inn as the home base. I could have been a jerk and just dropped the party into the middle of that forest I mentioned yesterday and forced them to find/make shelter and food, but that would have been a bit much. The inn also allows me to do my old school troupe style thing by serving as a central point that characters convene at to begin and end the session. (The inn is also magic, offering nearly infinite character storage space.)

Inns back in the olden days often had colorful names that were 2 things. I got a random name for the inn when I was just starting out, which was the Serpent and Unicorn Inn. The name of the inn was these two things for a good long time.

Then I got out into the world, at least a little bit, and joined a D&D game run by a pretty cool guy named Julian. The tavern in the starting area of his campaign was simply known as the Food & Drink Inn. Another combination of 2 things.

It was perfect! I had been trying to design the world with as little intention as possible. My goal was not to push a plot onto the players, but to let them find and create the plot themselves. By giving the 1 established, created thing in the setting the most boring, generic name in existence, it really helped set the tone I was going for.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

RPGaDay #5 Forest

I'm sure I could go metaphorical with this prompt, "missing the forest for the trees" or similar, but I'm not.

Well, it's not an actual forest, either. It's a forest hex on a map that I'm using for my worldbuilding campaign. The map I'm using is actually randomly generated with Hexographer. My intention was to place the initial starting point at the center of this map, but it turned out that dead center was in the middle of a body of water. So my starting point is just a little bit south of the middle of the map.It's actually a pretty sizeable forest. Way more than just one hex, or even 2. It's so big that the party has not uncovered it all yet.

There's one other important detail about this forest. It's very new. The trees are fully grown, but animals haven't really moved in. The ground underneath the trees is simply dirt. There are none of the elements that would make it proper soil. The earthworms have only begun their digging. No fallen leaves from last year to enrich the soil.

As near as anyone can tell, everything in this forest was created maybe 2 weeks ago (Day 1 of the campaign).


Tuesday, August 4, 2020

RPGadAY 2020 #4 Tribute

Tributes aren't something that I really do. I'm more about the homage.

In my mind, a tribute is specific, while homage is general. For example, if I were to run a Star Trek campaign in which the characters went to a specific planet originally visited by the Enterprise and had to deal with a problem that was directly connected to the events of that original episode, that would be a tribute. But if my starship crew went to a different planet that had a problem that was similar to the original episode, that would be an homage.

I think it's especially important to lean into homage rather than tribute when dealing with an existing property, like Star Trek or Oz. There's a tendency to cling to the source material that can stifle creativity. And in both of these franchises, novelty is life. Make sure there are similarities and connections to what has come before, but resist the urge to re-hash and revisit what has gone before.

Monday, August 3, 2020

RPGaDay 2020 #3 Thread (Actually Vision)

I've got nothing on today's prompt, so I'm going to save it for later.

One of my big stumbling blocks for this blog is that I've felt the need to have a Vision in order to post something. Not a prophetic vision, but some sort of Big Idea that I must Send Out to the Cosmos.

At least part of the issue is that my gaming life has really slowed down, so I don't have observations from my last session or previews of my next to keep you all entertained.

During the most severe part of the lockdown (We're still not through the woods yet as I type this), I actually did run some sessions of my OSR worldbuilding campaign that I kept saying I would do. Maybe through this month (and hopefully beyond), I'll share some observations and maybe even updates on this campaign.

Sunday, August 2, 2020

RPGaDay 2020 #2 Change

The only sure thing in life is change, as my last post demonstrates.

It's always interesting to go back and look at the ways I've run my games in the past. It's not always been a smooth transition, and not always an improvement. That's an important thing to remember.

I think my biggest "failed experiment" was using the Beat Chart that appeared in Dream Park as well as other products by R. Talsorian Games. On the surface, it was a pretty nifty idea: Mix up the types of scenes in your game so it's not just a series of fights, or endless talking or what-have-you.

The problem occurred because I was always planning too linearly. And maybe because I had at least one player who liked to push the story off the rails. And every session, every adventure, I would be sure that they would follow the steps that I had planned and everything would go like it "should." But it never did.

Before that time, my sessions were very loosely structured. I would go in with one or two good ideas and let my players react to what I put in front of them. Once I realized that the Beat Chart wasn't working for me, I tried to go back to that, but it wound up being too loose.

The next game I ran was the megadungeon, which was a complete break from the prior style of gaming. Which I've already talked about at length, so here's where we break off.

Saturday, August 1, 2020

RPGaDay 2020 #1 Beginning

As per usual, I've been terrible keeping up the blog. But every time August rolls around, I at least have to try to complete the RPGaDay challenge.

It's hard to find something new to say on the subject of beginnings. It's one of my recurring themes on this blog. How to be a new player. How to be a new Game Master. How to start a campaign. Good games to play if you're just starting out (Hint: I wrote one).

I think the one sort of beginning I haven't really talked about is starting over. I'm not sure if I have any advice on the subject because I still feel like I'm in the middle of the process.

I moved to the San Diego area a year and a half ago. 800 miles from all of my established gaming friends. Any friends, really.

It's been pretty uphill, but some good gaming has taken place. I wouldn't say that I had fully settled in because I wasn't running a regular campaign. Being a GM is in my blood now. I'd run a few session of this or that. Usually something pretty light that didn't take a lot of work. I know I've mentioned some big dream campaigns, but those take big effort to implement.

Then the virus hit. All in-person gaming was canceled for the foreseeable future. It wasn't until it became absolutely necessary that I took to online gaming. Starting over all over again.

I'm adapting. I continue to adapt. But it is not easy and not always fun.

Friday, May 15, 2020

Happy 10th Anniversary!

What a long strange trip it's been!

I don't know if anyone still reads this, but I would be remiss if I didn't do something to mark this day. Ten years ago today, I released Adventures in Oz: Fantasy Roleplaying Beyond the Yellow Brick Road over at Lulu.com.

The traditional gift for the 10th anniversary is Tin, which connects very amusingly with Oz, as everyone knows. Not only is the Tin Woodman a fan favorite character, but he also had a long lost "brother" in the form of the Tin Soldier. As a gift to my many fans, I have reduced the price of the Adventures in Oz Characters Pack, featuring the Tin Woodman, to $0.00. That's right, it's now free permanently!


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