While revisiting the past as part of November’s RPG Carnival, I realized that Nuketown’s Game Day column debuted February 2007. I was stunned to realize I’d been writing it for over a decade, and that I’d written 110 entries in the series. That makes it the longest running and most prolific column in the ol’thermonuclear burg’s history.
There would be a lot more if I’d kept of the weekly pace of the early days as the last few years saw sporadic output, but still … 10 years is 10 years.
The early columns were a hodgepodge of gaming ideas as I talked about game-related happenings in the previous week. By 2008 and 2009 the column had settled down into its now-familiar one-column, one-topic format. Looking back, I’m most likely to write these columns when I’m game mastering; the act of researching a particular scenario or RPG inspires me to write far more than simply playing in games.
What follows is a look back at some of my favorite Game Day columns.
“Planetorn” was my idea for a Big, Hairy, Audacious campaign in which a storm of entropy tore the Dungeons & Dragons cosmology to shreds. I ran a version of it for D&D 4th Edition, as chronicled in “Fueling the D&D 4E Storm with Planetorn“. We revisited the idea again for D&D 5th Edition when the last of the Entropic Lord’s initiated a plan to destroy the multiverse once and for all. That adventure drew heroes from across our various campaigns, including Greyhawk, Planescape, and Pathfinder.
I’ve wanted to run a weird pulp campaign ever since Pulp Cthulhu was announced (then delayed for a decade or two). The idea of two-fisted heroes battling cultists hell bent on summoning ancient evils was immensely attractive and since it seemed like Pulp Cthulhu was never going to happen, we decided to roll our own campaign using Savage Worlds. The initial idea was discussed in 2008’s “Mashing the Weird Pulp” and “Launching into the Weird”, which gave rise to an abortive one-shot.
It wasn’t until 2014 that everything truly clicked: We had the experience with Savage Worlds, the right combination of rule and source books, and the desire to run it. That campaign is chronicled in Return to Weird Pulp” and “The Weird Pulp Campaign”.
The Lunchtime After Ragnarok
Back in 2008 I heard about Mike Mearls’ lunchtime Dungeons & Dragons games at Wizards of the Coast. I speculated on what it would take to run a lunchtime game of my own in 2008’s “The Art of the Lunchtime Gaming” but it wasn’t until 2010’s Game Day column “The Lunchtime After Ragnarok” that the idea became reality.
The my first lunchtime campaign was set in Kenneth Hite’s The Day After Ragnorak campaign setting and powered by Savage Worlds. I wrote several follow-up posts over the years including the “The Lunchtime Game Master’s Toolkit”, “My Lunchtime D&D Toolbox”, “Lunchtime Numenera”, and “Enter the Dragon Age”.
The Final Flight of the Aeon Harrier
Some of the best RPG sessions my group ever had happened while playing Star Wars: Saga Edition. “The Final Flight of the Aeon Harrier” illustrated that, recounting the destruction of a ship that had become a character in its own right. Other Star Wars-inspired columns include “Setting up a KOTOR Campaign” “Dawn on Zebulon”, “Fighting SciFi RPG Writer’s Cramp”, “Random Stellar Encounters”, and “Random Stellar Encounters II”.
The RPG Bucket List
In 2014 I came across the idea of the “RPG Bucket List”, in which people listed all of the role-playing games they wanted to play in their lifetime. I wrote up my own take on the list in “The RPG Bucket List”. The list consisted of:
- Play a short Amber Diceless campaign
- Play Eclipse Phase
- Play Dogs in the Vineyard
- Try GURPS
- Run a Marvel Heroic Roleplaying one-shot
- Run a superheroes campaign
- Run a FATE game
- Run a Warhammer 40k: Rogue Trader campaign
- Run an online campaign
I haven’t made much progress on the list. My friends and I played a one-shot of Eclipse Phase and I bought the core rulebook, but beyond that the list remains aspirational.
The Next Generation
One of the biggest changes in my gaming group over the last few years has been running semi-regular D&D Kids games. I initially covered our efforts in 2016’s “The Next Generation”, in which I talked about the lessons I’ve learned running games for kids. The next week I covered my prep for the D&D Kids games in “Back to the Borderlands”.
We’re overdue for another column or two; I’ve learned a lot about gaming with kids over the last two years, and its worth sharing with parents (geek or otherwise) who are looking to get their kids into role-playing games.
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A few of the RPGs featured in Game Day columns over the years. Credit: Ken Newquist.