A round of Star Wars RPG-related posts and web links, including Sterling Hershey's "Star Wars Wednesday" posts about "Adventuring in the Tree", "Running Published Campaigns" and "Species Creation". There are also revised vehicle design rules for Star Wars d6, an adaptation of the AGE system from Green Ronin's Dragon Age RPG, a love letter to the d6 system, and a discussion of story reverals in RPGs.
My Picture of the Day project is continuing -- progress has been somewhat haphazard, but I have been taking and posting pictures.
This one's from Game Day on March 4, 2011. It was a board game week, so we decided to give the Castle Ravenloft boardgame another try. A separate set of Blackrazors had tried it a few weeks earlier and had been underwhelmed. This week's didn't fair much better.
The game is essentially a stripped-down version of D&D 4E. That's not a bad thing (at least for the half of the group that likes 4E) and tt runs well enough. The problem we found was there wasn't enough immergent story in the game -- meaning unlike Arkham Horror's expansions, there wasn't much story meat holding the game's adventure skeleton together.
MEPACon Spring 2011 is being held Friday, April 8 through Sunday, April 10. It's the 10th anniversary of the convention, and they're going to be having a special reception Friday night. As always I'm looking forward to the convention, but this time around I'm taking my own advice and only running two RPGs.
My review of Gamma World is up at GameCryer.com. As an introductory game I think it's superior to the D&D Red Box. While the Red Box gives you a map, some tokens, dice and a barebones version of the rules, once you get past the initial adventure you need to jump to the Essentials books.
One of the big differences between running a fantasy campaign and a science fiction campaign is that when playing SF, I find myself constantly looking for starship deckplans.
With a fantasy campaign, many of the maps revolved around buildings, dungeons or overland adventures, and those sorts of maps were easy to knock out over lunch. Failing that, I had plenty of maps from 20+ years of Dungeons & Dragons that I could fall back on.
With my Star Wars campaign though, the adventures are split between world-based exploration and starship- or space station-based combat. Starship based adventures represent perhaps 1/8 to 1/4 of the encounters I run, but when I do run them I often find myself scrambling for deckplans.
The big reason there is that it takes more effort to come up with a rational-seeming starship. A dungeon can be as simple as a series of rooms, but with a starship players always want to know where to find the bridge, engineering, jeffries tubes, etc.
The Dragon Age RPG intrigues me. With a lightweight rules system, mana pool-based magic, and a killer background setting, it seems like the sort of game that could help pull me back into fantasy role-playing. After spending a night learning more about the game for a Knights of the Dinner Table column, I decided to order the game. It arrived Saturday afternoon, and I wasted no time in getting to the unboxing.
When the Dragon Age RPG hit last year, I wasn't sure what to make of it. While I was intrigued by the boxed set, and liked the computer game's setting, I wondered if there was enough space in the market for another fantasy RPG.
It looks like the answer is yes. While D&D 3.x, D&D 4.0 and Pathfinder remain very popular, it seems like Dragon Age is benefiting from its its introductory nature (the boxed set covers levels 1-5), Edition Wars fatigue, and its Old School vibe. I've read about more than a few people who've turned to Dragon Age after getting burned out on D&D.
I can't help but look at my own group and wonder if Dragon Age might not be the game that gets us back to the fantasy genre. The Edition Wars forced us to abandoned D&D for Star Wars after 12 years of adventuring in Greyhawk; Dragon Age just might be the Switzerland we need to get back to swinging swords and slinging spells.
The The Day After Ragnarok, Ken Hite's Robert E. Howard meets James Bond campaign setting, is back in print. According to the Atomic Overmind announcement the setting, published for Savage Worlds and HERO System, should be available via retailers in 3 weeks.
It's been a while since I did a Star Wars roundup, but thankfully the rest of fandom has continued churning out content in recent months. I think this is essential for Star Wars role-playing to carry on; many times when an RPG goes out of print, players move on to other, better supported games. Star Wars is somewhat different in this regard, as fan support for d6 Star Wars shows.
Another MEPACon has come and gone, taking with it two weeks of frantic game preparation and 12 hours of actual play. The convention was held in Clarks Summit, near Scranton Pa. on November 12-14 and looked to have the typical attendance of 100 gamers playing a mix of board games, organized play, and one-shot RPGs. I ran three events, all of which had 5 to 7 players.