After 18 months of playing Second Darkness our heroes are finally ready to take the fight to the drow. They've skirmished with the dark elves before, but avoided the major battle at the end of Book 2 when they inadvertantly stumbled into the drow lair and had to retreat. The drow then escaped under the cover of night while sending a shadow demon to kill them.
My "Lunchtime After Ragnarok" campaign has resumed after a too-long hiatus. We had to hit pause for a variety of reasons ranging from too-busy work schedules to the birth of a baby, but as summer wound down we down we finally got back to the table. As before we're playing over lunch in Kenneth Hite's The Day After Ragnarok campaign setting using the Savage Worlds rules. We usually get in 1-2 games a week, each lasting 45-60 minutes.
In the real world, our gaming group's seen numerous weddings (and will see yet another this fall), but in the game world our heroes never got hitched. Until tonight.
One of the great challenges in running a campaign in your 30s and 40s finding the time to game. Our group's been lucky in this regard as we've been able to pick schedules that worked for most of the group, and still let us game on a weekly basis.
For most of our 16 years as a group we've followed a weekly schedule -- first Mondays, then Fridays -- that was role-playing game heavy. Originally we played all Dungeons & Dragons, all the time, but as our appreciation for board games grew we split the schedule to one board game session for every three RPG sessions. Or something like that. We found it was hard to stick to that schedule because people's time got crazy, and suddenly we were sacrificing board games in the name of advancing the campaign.
As we enter our late 30s and early 40s, we've found the schedule must change again. Weekly RPG sessions are no longer possible given folks work and home schedules, so we've switched to biweekly games. The plan is to alternate RPGs and board games on a weekly basis.
A new RPG system, a credit card and iPad are a dangerous combination. Especially when the game is Pathfinder, the company is Paizo, and the PDFs are priced at $9.99 a piece.
It's been a year and a half since we started Paizo's Second Darkness adventure path. The first two books -- The Shadow in the Sky and Children of the Void are done. The characters are 5th level and the third book -- The Armageddon Echo -- is on hold while they level up to the recommended 6th.
The Blackrazors’ annual holiday hiatus will come to an end in a hail of laser fire and missile explosions as we play A Call to Arms: Noble Armada. The Fading Suns-themed successor to Mongoose Publishing’s Babylon 5: A Call to Arms starship battle is fast, fun and often brutal.
It faithfully recreates Wrath of Khan-style slugfests between ships of the line, with the initial weathering of the ship’s shields and hull, and then punch through into critical systems. We’ve had fun in our first three playtests, and I expect more of the same tonight.
I did something I've never done before in September: I kicked off someone else's campaign. Ok, technically it's still my campaign, but material belongs to Pazio. The campaign is the Second Darkness adventure path, and if all goes according to plan, it will see our seven freshly-minted heroes face the ancient hidden evil of the drow in an attempt to save the world from a second apocalypse.
I've been running my own campaigns -- for D&D, Star Wars, and Savage Worlds -- for 15 years. Over that time I've made liberal use of material from a variety of source books, including more than a few one-shot adventures, but by and large I was the one writing each week's episode. It was fun ... but it was also tremendously time consuming.
When the time game to launch a new campaign, Paizo's Pathfinder Role-Playing Game was an obvious choice. It preserved the strain of Dungeons & Dragons that my gaming group preferred, and enhanced it just enough to get rid of the things that had been driving us crazy in the 3.x branch. But the challenge with Pathfinder is that it's a crunchy, rules heavy game. When we ran Star Wars, I could easily knock out non-player characters in a night, but going with Pathfinder meant a return to magic and all its inherent complexity.
After 47 chapters, 10 episodes, and 2.5 years, our Star Wars: Shadows of the Force campaign has come to an end. What started with a fight against pirates on the jungle world of Zebulon Prime ended with against grey market salvagers in the depths of a planetary nebula. In between we saw the rise of Binary Transports, the promotion of three Jedi Knights, the training of two padawans, the discovery of an alien holocron , and numerous battles against the Force knowledge cult known as the Sith Ascendancy.
But the campaign was about far more than numbers. Along the way we changed how we play RPGs, incorporating narrative mechanics like skill challenges that created truly exceptional, truly memorable encounters, including hot-wiring a speeder while fending off high plains lizards and bouncing a starship through a proto-star nebula. We also told some really cool stories, including the adoption of a young Force sensitive Twi’lik and his training as a padawan, the epic battle with the fleet of the pirate lord Ral Duris, and lightsaber duels amid alien ruins in the sunward desert of Ryloth.
It’s Game Day, and for the first time in years I’m running Dungeons & Dragons. Well, technically I’m running Pathfinder, but in all the ways that matter it’s the thematic and mechanical successor to the flavor of D&D my group liked best.