Friday, November 11, 2016

My next fantasy RPG campaign...maybe

So I've been tossing around ideas for the fantasy campaign I'd like to run after the current one is done.  This one still has a goodly number of sessions ahead but I like to play with game ideas and the sooner I decide the more prepared I will be when it's time.  I was thinking maybe a megadungeon.  I've never run one or played in one but the idea has always attracted me: What if you could explore all of the Mines of Moria?  Or maybe a big city campaign where all the action takes place in a sprawling metropolis with occasional side jaunts outside. Or something on the Astral Plane--that's a very cool setting--possibly combined with a "Fantasy Battlestar Galactia" concept, like the creative Last Fleet campaign Lowell Francis posted about on his Age of Ravens blog.

So many little time.  Or...maybe I could do ALL OF THE ABOVE AT ONCE!

Okay, here's how it would go.  A long time ago a group of peoples were faced with the destruction of their home plane/planet by some vicious enemy.  They were able to build (or already had) special ships/mounts capable of carrying them to the Astral Plane and thus escaped.  But the enemy sent pursuers.  The survivor fleet fought and fled deep into the astral void, finally ending up at a immense floating tomb-like structure associated with a long-forgotten dead (or maybe not) deity.  For some reason the pursuers were afraid of the tomb/building and retreated, but today occasionally still send scouts.  The refugees found that the massive structure had bits they could mine/gather/harvest(?) to survive.  Eventually they found out the hard way that the tomb-thing contained lethal dangers.  The leaders finally forbade all from delving into the place so that no threats might be aroused or released.  Only the outer portions could be used for the activities upon which the community depended  Over time the old fleet ships were expanded, linked, and then increased in number by building additional ships/hulks. Later traders/explorers from distant parts of the Astral Plane discovered the community and some low-volume trade opened up, allowing them to prosper by selling the various rare products obtained from the outside of the tomb.

Today the fleet is a sprawling connected tangle of ships and other floating structures, some permanently connected and some not.  There is a lot going on in the "town" and outsiders occasionally visit.  Inside the tomb-thing is a megadungeon awaiting foolhardy adventurers, possibly multidimensional (like a Tardis) but definitely with a Deep Dark Secret buried deep within it.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Powered by the Max Galactica

Okay, so I'm still trying to come up with a concept for a science fiction game I'd actually be excited to run.  I recently bought Dungeon World and found the game mechanics very interesting.  Today I bought the original game, Apocalypse World, and started into it.  I'm finding I like the fresh take on gaming that the Powered by the Apocalypse games all seem to have.  Too many games out now are either later editions of "original" games or retro-renaissance retreads of one of those games.

Two campaign concepts which I think would work for a sci-fi campaign are either a Battlestar Galactica type game where a small fleet travels around fleeing and/or exploring or a space scavengers sort of game where they explore and loot their way through the dangerous locations of a devastated galaxy (basically a sci-fi take on dungeon crawls).  As I read through AW I noticed that a couple of the playbooks (character classes) include a set of followers for the character.  As first I thought it would be awkward to include a large community of NPCs but quickly realized it was perfect for a "wandering ragtag fleet" based game.  For instance, each player with a Hardholder character could design a ship which is home to their community, and each Chopper one for their gang.  A Maestro'd or Hocus character might have their own ship or be housed on another charancter's ship.  Or you could include one big main ship, maybe a former luxury space liner, with everyone on board in their own "neighborhood".  The Mad Max type post-apocalypse background setting of AW also contains a streak of psychic weirdness.  This lends itself well to a space scavenger game set in an area of space ravaged in the fairly recent past by some event which left behind things of horror and wonder.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Roll20 as a Platform for Game Fiction

So, it's been a while since I've posted and that's because I've been busy with various projects.  One of those is our game on Roll20 (using the Pathfinder rules), which went from every other week to now every week.  After we'd settled in to our characters some of the players began posting a bit of fiction from the point of view of their character after each session.  These are part session activity write-up but also part character development.  Some are very autobiographical, including flashbacks to important moments in the character's early life.  There is now as much going on in the write-ups/fiction posted in the game forum as there is in the actual live play sessions.  It is now difficult to keep up with what's going on in the game unless you follow the forums closely.  Our GM Kirk also frequently uses the game facilities to send us files with the content of dreams our characters have had, which we can then relate in-character during the next play session.

I'm pleasantly surprised by this new turn of events.  I assumed we would be using the forums solely for administrative items, much as I use the wiki for the campaign I'm running.  Oddly, given my earlier in-character session write-ups for another game, I have not participated much in this outburst of authoring.  I'm thinking it's partly because I'm not quite as invested in this character's personality but also because, as a very visual person, gaming via headset leaves me feeling less connected to the action.  I actually find the write-ups very useful for making sure I didn't miss anything.