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.
I'm in the progress of updating Nuketown's Mac Role-Playing Game Tools page, which has developed an embarassing case of bitrot.
Unfortunately some of the more stalwart tools, like Crystal Ball, as well as one-offs like the Town Creator and D&D Manager, are no longer available, and their sites have gone to the Great Bit Bucket in the Sky. Still others, like Dunjinni, no longer work with under Mac OS Lion and don't seem likely to be updated any time soon.
Savage Worlds Deluxe, a hardcover version of the Savage Worlds core rules, is available as a PDF through DriveThruRPG.com. It's being pitched as a sort of special edition of the rules that expands upon, but doesn't invalidate, what came before. This version adds new setting-specific options, rules for social conflict, better and expanded examples, new artwork, and rules commentary from the creators.
I'm looking forward to the new book. I love the Explorers Edition's sleek digest format, which launched a Savage Worlds renaissance in my gaming group, but there are aspects of the rules (movement, rate of fire, vehicle chases) that I'd appreciate some elaboration on.
When the iPad hit a little over a year ago, there was a flurry of posts in RPG circles about tablet gaming. Since then we haven’t seen a lot of talk about them – I’m not sure if folks grew bored with the topic, or if they’ve now become so common place that they’re not worth commenting on any more.
For years, Order 66 was the only Star Wars: Saga Edition podcast. Now there are two, thanks to Threat Detected, a show dedicated to playing through the Dawn of Defiance campaign. In other Star Wars RPG news, Saga-Edition.com resumes publication with write-ups for the VCX-700 Heavy Courier and the HWK-290 while Dice of Doom tries out the RPG, and likes what they find.
The official Star Wars: Saga Edition web site is no more, but there are still the occasional posts by former Saga writers.
My review of the Savage Worlds Super Powers Companion is up at GameCryer.com. This book is a setting agnostic version fo the supers rules from Necessary Evil, with a bunch of non-player characters and headquarter design rules thrown in.
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.
Wizards of the Coast's new season of Dungeons & Dragons Encounters begins on May 11, 2011 with Dark Legacy of Evard, a series of linked 1-hour scenarios that involve one of D&D's classic wizards.
Duponde may look like nothing more than a sleepy little stopover along the broad banks of the Nentir River. But the village harbors a dark secret: The tomb of the notorious Evard the Black, master of shadow magic, lies in the town’s cemetery.