[generic] What are we running and playing?

Dom

Administrator
Staff member
Well, @First Age has gone early on his Q1 report, so I think I shall to, especially as I'm sitting at home with the kids school return crud (not COVID, they're tested) and I've nothing planned before month end...

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I have two main threads on gaming so far; the ongoing Curse of Strahd 5e game which I think should continue to roll for most of the year (21 sessions in) unless we end up with a TPK or inter-party strife, and Trail of Cthulhu. The latter is the Eternal Lies campaign, which is really interesting as @dr_mitch and I are playing as a duo, with Richard Lock GMing. It's a very intense and fun experience. We finished the initial Savannah chapter faster than expected, probably because it's much more focussed.

A third-string will start up shortly; the Paris part of The King in Yellow; I'm looking forward to seeing where @dr_mitch takes us on this one. We've 4 players, so it will definitely feel different. This will alternate with Eternal Lies.

Looking forward to North Star in May (although I may only end up playing or running 2 games as it's my father's 80th that weekend and it will depend on where we are on lockdown). I'm hoping to perhaps run a one-shot of Through Sunken Lands and also Troika as well; depends if I can get any interest.

[Edit] VTT data
7 Roll20 (all using Discord for Voice and initially for video)
5 Google Hangouts
1 Google Meet
 
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The final episode of Season 1 of Blood & Water: Australian Edition saw the housemates coming together to face off against Peter the Rakshasa's evil dad, who arrived with paperwork to evict them from the house & grounds! There was a smackdown between Peter and his dad, which did not go well for Peter, who was punched clean across the garden and then picked up and slammed into a wall. The housemates figured out that this legal paperwork had changed the status of the house, invalidating the protective wards that had been put down when it was built, but Bonza the inconvenient guest let slip that there was a ritual that could restore the wards, which he would be very invested in helping them with as he was hiding from a mysterious "They" and only came to the house for the protection it offered.

As the housemates began the first part of the ritual in the nature preserve, with Rishta the Werewolf leading them in a full moon ceremony, the Paramilitary Paparazzi arrived as part of their own mysterious agenda, prepared to lay siege to the house with the aid of the Simon, the Angel of Protection. This put the paramilitary between the housemates and the hidden basement they would have to get back into to finalise the ritual; this was all too much for Bonza, who bugged out after Peter made them all invisible, and Agent Dawson also decided to she needed to leave in order to get her wife out of harm's way.

The housemates made it back indoors, but were now sandwiched between the advance team and the perimeter guard; Pembroke ghosted into the basement and possessed one of the automatic weapons of the advance team in the basement, which... yeah... uh... that got nasty. Rishta then smashed her way into the unguarded basement, leaving Peter to use his demon tricks to divide and confuse the rest of the paramilitaries; with the ritual object slam dunked into it's receptacle, Rishta gave Pembroke the power to decide who was and wasn't permitted past the newly restored wards; Pembroke swiped left on a bunch of paramilitaries and the angel Simon, causing them to be mystically removed from the property and restoring the sanctity of the grounds.

The next day, absent housemate Evee returned with her partner Benedict Cumberbatch, who declared that the house would be perfect for his next television project and we rolled credits on the end of the episode and the season!
 

Guvnor

The Guvnor
Staff member
Q1 summary

Feeling a need to dial down my GM commitments a little I have paused one of my 5e Dolmenwood games and Robbie has taken over with a 4 week Eberron interlude run on Foundry. 5e is still the clearly dominant force of 2021 so far but CoC is strong, and True20 is holding it's niche well.. it's funny how one's tastes change, eh? In essence I ran 1.5 games a week and played about 1.2ish..

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Of interest to the VTT debate is how the VTT platform and the AV platform breaks down for me:

I am a Roll20 bitch:

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But as for AV platform, that's more varied:
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More insights as the year goes on..
 
Three months in and no D20!

Q1 has had it's ups and downs. After a slow start things were picking up as we headed into March, with three regular weekly games on the go.

Sadly our Monday night Thirsty Sword Lesbians was abandoned half way through the month as none of us could work out how to make the game shine. I may or may not be in a replacement game after Easter, it depends what it turns out to be.

Wednesday nights have continued in full force, we've just (a few minutes ago) finished a introductory Vaesen adventure, and now we are going on play Burning Dragon, the new Feng Shui 2 adventure from Atlas' Dragon subscription program.

Friday nights my two games of The Great American Witch continue, however taking a break last week and this week for a variety of reasons. The groups are taking quite different approaches to the game: one is a traditional RPG party bumbling from near-disaster to near-disaster barely taking a breath between, and the other is going for a grand story told in deep, sweeping narrative. The upshot of the difference is that in two sessions each, the RPG party have gone through a dozen scenes and half a dozen locations but are still in the afternoon of the first day, whereas the narrative party have have only had four scenes (one of which was a travel montage), have done Las Vegas and the Nevada desert, and have angered both the major powers in the world while temporarily exhausting their magic. Good fun, I'm really enjoying both games.

One new system for this month, For The Honor is a Firebrands-based game that is She-Ra and the Princesses of Power with the serial numbers lightly sanded down. This game turned out to be everything I was hoping Thirsty Sword Lesbians would be, which made it all the more disappointing when we went back to it two days later. Another game that I recommend gamers of the touchy-feely-indie type to have a go at.

Running totals:
27 sessions (18 player/9 GM)
11 systems (9 player/2 GM)

I notice my GM/player ratio is way down on last year (which was more than 50% GM), which down to two things - I haven't run any games at conventions this year, which is normally my thing, and I've been playing on Wednesday nights rather than GMing. With a bit of luck I can pull that back somewhat in the next quarter. My overall goal is to make 120+ sessions for the year, so I'm only a little behind.

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Quiet little Q1 for me - just the 38 sessions. Quite shocked by the range of games here. A few campaigns coming to an end (Mage 20, Fate Shogun, TGAW, Shadow of the Demon Lord, Hot War), some ongoing (Cloudy Brooke, Werewolf, STA, CoC, WWW, SW EoE) and a few sneaky one shots and con games.
 

Guvnor

The Guvnor
Staff member
Can I just say I view this as the Tavern verison of Wacky Races.. we'll need a leaderboard soon.. number of sessions played.. number of game GM-ed.. no of D&D games versus non D&D.. there's a whole hobby here I tell you.. [/me exits frothing]
 
I find this interesting, and I'm intrigued that many of you are aiming for more sessions and more different games, whereas I'm heading the other way. Maybe I should stay in more...

My games for quarter 1 are hardly worth a torus chart, being as they are 19 sessions of Pirates of Drinax (GM) and 10 sessions of Golden Age (player, see sig for rules/setting).
 

ltd

Rune Priest
Recently ran Ground Zero - scenario for the 1990s RPG STOCS Lite* but converted to Delta Green. Essentially a re-run of The Thing in Siberia: November 1983 - as Excercise ABLE ARCHER brings NATO and the Warsaw Pact to the edge of war, a misfit squad of Soviet soldiers return from patrol to find their home base all but destroyed and their comrades dead, or transformed into something else...

I ditched The Thing-a-like monster and replaced it with The Traveller from the original Delta Green book scenario Puppet Shows and Shadow Plays - a nasty body hopping parasite intent on mayhem just for the fun of it (see also 80s sci-fi flick The Hidden). Cue a tense exploration of the ruined base (with the invaluable assistance of Owlbear Rodeo) and encounters with former comrades who can no longer be trusted . The scenario ended with the parasite dead and the investigators alive, but stranded in the Siberian outback 300 miles from the nearest town.

Quite like the DG RPG's simplification of combat compared to original BRP, especially the lethality/2D10 mechanic for automatic firearms and other particularly destructive weapons. Less keen on the use of bonds to mitigate SAN loss/acute episodes. I like it in principle, but on current showing it can hold up the pace of the game.

Have got an idea for a follow up adapting the GDW Dark Conspiracy scenario Ice Daemon, and then if there's interest the Afghanistan set DG scenario Khali Ghati.

*a modern day RPG by Northern Ireland publishers Wasteland Games, with similarities to both BRP and GDW's House System. Had some interesting ideas although I found the combat/damage system so fiddly as to be unplayable
 
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Guvnor

The Guvnor
Staff member
Tried my first Eberron game as a player recently.
Wow, really like the vibe..
Not having done D&D for decades means that there is a lot of joy to discover.
I am playing a goblin pre gen.
However I have found out about the Kalashtari.. twin souled people's.. awesome! So very Trek DS9 Trill without the icky surgery!
I am so playing one of those.

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We began an Apps campaign this week, which is my ghost story PbtA backburner project: the PCs are mostly the survivors of a school trip gone badly wrong which left them stranded in some part of the Russian wilderness with only the badly injured bus driver Klaas to give them advice and support. We cut forward about 15 years on the day of Klaas' funeral, where the survivors gather with his family to commemorate his life, but their lives have gone to pieces in the meantime:

- Robert, the Operative, left the military under a cloud and has since been looking for purpose in Eastern Europe, picking up a variety of dodgy jobs.
- Gregory, the Homemaker, inherited a substantial property from his family, with the understanding that he would fix it up and sell it for a profit, but he's simply moved in and done nothing with his life, struggling to hold onto his youth.
- Mia, the Sleuth, is obsessed with finding proof of her wild theories and has gone from stalking Robert's younger sibling to dating them!
- Elyse, the Zeppo, is Robert's younger sister, who used to be his younger brother Kent and her recent transition has driven a rift through the family; also, she's dating a woman several years older than her.

On the day of Klaas' funeral, some bad time management leaves the four of them barrelling across Germany in a car, with Gregory putting his foot in it concerning both Elyse's gender and her relationship status, so he crawls into a bottle for the rest of the trip. While sleeping, he has a nightmare (with themes agreed before play following the player's decision as to what would be haunting all the characters) which ends in the dead Klaas tumbling from his clumsily dropped coffin to whisper an enigmatic foreign phrase.

A stop over at the autobahn services leads to two more weird occurrences, with Robert leaping to save Gregory from a runaway bus, only to realise there was never any danger at all, and Elyse having a strange encounter with the bathroom mirror, which doesn't seem to reflect her correctly. The group only just manages to get to the funeral in time, but Gregory is freaked out when elements of the service match elements of his recent nightmare, ending with the pall bearers stumbling and dropping the coffin at his feet...

Here's the current status of the stage sheet we're using for play, a tool I added to Apps to create starting points for the story and also support it through play:
 
Part 2 of Apps and the PCs are attending a gathering at a cafe bar for people who knew Klaas, including some other survivors of the crash, which leads to some interesting encounters intercut with flashbacks:

- Mia goes to talk to Everett Locke, who was on the bus and set out with his younger brother to find help; Everett was eventually rescued but his brother became separated from him and was never found. Mia recalls too late that she refused to go with Everett, which is why his younger brother went instead, so adult Everett is openly hostile towards her and appears to be sending information about the attendees at the funeral to someone else via his phone.

- Robert seeks out Lena, who lost her lower left leg in the accident, and he recalls how he tried to help her out of the wreckage by making an effort to lift the twisted seating that had trapped her, but it was already too late for her leg; in the present, she wants to go back to the site of the crash to place a memorial there and is looking for support in this endeavour.

- Elyse sees Dr. Lenkov, who was in the rescue team that found the survivors and treated her older brother Robert for some time afterwards, having several furtive meetings with her family; in the present, the attention given to her by him and the older men he is sitting with makes her feel very uncomfortable and she remembers how mercurial he could be: warm and avuncular one moment, cold & clinical the next.

- Gregory goes to commiserate with Ryan & Zoe Fairclough, both of whose children died during the event; Gregory is unpleasantly reminded of how their older son, Lewis, tried to use Gregory as a cushion when the bus flipped & rolled, but their combined momentum flung them out of the emergency door and Lewis was impaled on a tree branch. In the present day, the Faircloughs are still fighting for justice: with Klaas dead, he has moved out of their sights, so now they are turning their attention to the International School. Gregory does nothing to improve matters when he vomits over their carefully compiled evidence files.

Rather than drive home overnight, Mia suggests getting hotel rooms for the night: Elyse jumps at this chance, but has totally misconstrued Mia's intentions and instead of getting the big, romantic night she expected, Mia intends to dig up Klaas' grave looking for evidence that ties into her wild theories! It then comes out that Mia only started seeing Elyse as a result of those same investigations and she doesn't feel the same way about Elyse as Elyse does about her. Robert enters the room at just the wrong moment to hear this conversation and angrily confront Mia... but something else takes hold, an urge to hurt someone, that he unleashes by pulling back on Mia as she attempts to leave the scene, with Elyse locking herself in the bathroom. Gregory shows up as Mia flees and Robert pursues her, leaving Gregory alone in the room with Elyse...and the urge to hurt someone grips him too.

There were some great 'fail forward' sequences in this session, with the consequences mounting up and giving me opportunities to make some evil MC moves; that's why the supernatural aspects of the setting were only lightly explored, because they weren't needed to create drama & mystery, so I got to save most of my prep for next session.
 
The Monday Numenera Game with the HOG has been put on hold due to player shortage (RL issues.) The Thursday Numenera Game with the Wayfarers will probably reach a conclusion tomorrow night.
The Numenera Game on Discord with The Guvnor and Astronocky is going well (at least from my viewpoint it is.)

I'm looking at setting up a Mindjammer Game to run with the HOG and the Wayfarers; I've finally twisted my brain enough through the 5th dimension to figure it out (actually - the Players Guide helps A LOT.)
 
The Vampires of Chrysopolis Mythic Constantinople game hit it's third session on Saturday and the players are making headway in finding out about the titular Vampires. The Monday evening Masks of Nyarlathotep game using GUMSHOE is currently bumbling around New York collecting leads and interviewing people. I'm enjoying the very international crew I'm playing with. Tuesday evenings Tekumel game is examining ways of improving the social aspects of the Bethorm rules as that is an area we are finding lacking. Thursday evening's Openquest game saunters along picking up mini quests and usually completing them to some degree or another. Upcoming this Saturday is another Introduction to Mythras game where I take new to Mythras gamers through one of the Meeros scenarios.

In planning are some Casting the Runes games that will fill a session or two each, a couple of Night's Black Agents scenarios as taster/starter games. A Thennla game about Taskan Militia duty. a Bats of St Abbans game and a Midderlands OSE game.

Now that I've started to feel much better and more able to engage in gaming i.e. not feeling lethargic all the time, I'm prepping up stuff to fill convention schedules and gaming spots for the balance of the year.
 
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