greg (grysar) wrote,

Life Update: RPGs

DnD (Ellicott Role Players table top group. Standard DnD world with rotating GMs): Our last campaign just ended and it's my turn to take over as a GM. I need to hunt down some modules, because while I enjoy plotting and scheming, I like to have access to maps, characters, and such rather than coming up with them. Any advice is welcome. My campaign is going to be a low level one. I'm aiming to take the players from 1 to somewhere between 3 and 5.

The last campaign had some really neat fights, we were consistently challenged in that regard. My character design wasn't that optimized, but I was able to do some neat support work. Also, rogues should really buy magic items with sniper shot from the Spell Compendium, well worth being able to do sneak attack at more than 30 feet. However, there was a definite satisfaction hit in that we got a bad outcome, bloodwar brought to our plane, despite having managed to complete all of our goals. The world was already getting overrun by devils, so bringing in demons wasn't the worst possible outcome. But we were still played repeatedly.

Our paranoia level was steadily rising, but we trusted one angel-looking character just because he acted LG without exception and had a backstory with one of the PCs. C'est la vie, we should have given him the third degree anyways. Although my favored soul/sorceror would feel a lot worse if her god (Loki) hadn't also been completely played I'd say the main problems were that all the bad guys effectively worked together all the time while none of the good guys were naturally inclined to work with us. Our main option to get to the good path, helping win some truly massive WWI looking battles, seemed like there was a GM force against participating. We repeatedly offered our services to the good guys only to be turned down because we'd only get in the way. I think I've gotten better at avoiding that sort of railroading. My one big mistake in the last SAB conspiracy I pulled was using the word 'everyone' that the PCs checked for mineswapping. I also explicitly listed those checked, but the everyone was legitimately confusing. The trouble with running that sort of thing is making explicit without making obvious what the PCs aren't doing. In reality, people forget to take precautions that seem natural all the time. However, to be satisfying, it has to be clear that they had their chance and forgot. However, that mission ended well, so I put that mistake in the no harm, no foul category.

Best parts: Combat, GM openness to crazy ideas, neat small arcs.
Worst pasts: High level of bad guy collusion. No good guys (or even neutral guys) with a big picture feel.

Rising Sun Pioneers (rsp Online BESM): kagami left and ardweden isn't up for running it while doing classes. Jesse may well be able to take it over, which would be cool. Although if he ultimately can't, no worries, it was fun while it lasted. I did enjoy the game, particularly some of the NPC and PC interactions. However, the fact that it is presently on haitus isn't a surprise, players regularly lost interest and the game has been starved for momentum for at least a calendar year.

Best parts: Neat settings and fun character interaction.
Worst parts: Tendency to stall. Perpetually playing catch up.

Arcana (besm_arcana Online BESM): kamalloy is leaving. I fully support that decision, as I've long argued that games are supposed to be consistently fun. When a game isn't fun 4 times out of 5, I tend to think quitting is not only acceptable but wise. There's exceptions for when the ending is imminent, but that's clearly not the case in Arcana.

Best parts: Character interaction.
Worst parts: Slow and irregular running.

SAB (sab2020 Online Tristat): It's actually ending! I've finished up the last of the missions and most all of the remaining minis. That took forever, but after I pushed and worked at the scheduling we actually got some momentum. I think the finale should be fun and have some nice payoff. Although I was kinda hoping Andrew's campaign would last a bit longer so I wouldn't have to be GMing two games at once.

Best parts (current): I think some of my villains are going over well. I also enjoy character scheming when it doesn't effectively involve co-GMing. When it does effectively but not officially involve co-GMing I tend to abhor it. Tricky balance there.
Worst parts (current): Irregular running and complexity makes it hard for players to track things.

Jumpers (Online BESM): Still on haitus. There's apparently still interest in ending. I plan to pick up on this and run the last two sessions after SAB ends. So sometime before or a bit after the end of the year.

Best parts: Pretty much runs itself. Frivolous.
Worst parts: Scheduling.
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