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.
In hindsight, we played Dungeons & Dragons for too long. Our World of Greyhawk campaign lasted 12 years, included dozens of characters, hundreds of plots, and forays into Castle Greyhawk, the Temple of Elemental Evil and our own homegrown creations.
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.
My review of The Unspeakable Oath #18 is up at GameCryer.com. This issue resurrects the 1990s horror RPG magazine in digital and print format, bringing with it new scenarios for Call of Cthulhu, horror reviews, and numerous adventure seeds.
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.
Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom is an action-adventure game set in a new fantasy setting. Typical of the genre, you’ll also solve various types of puzzles as you explore and defeat enemies.
Released about a month before Christmas, this game was quickly lost in the plethora of new games at that time. I never let it leave my radar, and eventually found some time to check out the game. It turned out to be a little different than I was expecting.
Munchkin is a reality-mashing, planet-destroying “let’s see you try and save this Earth, Superman!” cross-genre machine. After 10 years of expansions, Steve Jackson’s opus to killing monsters and taking their stuff has incorporated almost every speculative fiction genre imaginable, all of which beg – nay demand -- that gamers combine them.
Given that this month’s RPG Blog carnival is about cross-genre mashups in role-playing games, I thought it was a good time to visit the best of these Munchkin crossovers.