Monday, February 22, 2010

Blog the First to blogging.

The title of my blog really says it all. I'm a table-top RPG junkie. I'm currently GMing a game right now (details to follow) and playing in a few others that are being run by friends of mine. Basically what I'm planning on doing here is talking about my gaming experience(s) and relating them (read: inflicting) to you the reader. Before I get much further I should take a moment to clarify a few things. I am a nerd/geek. The things I'll be talking about here are related to the table-top gaming industry/world. I may use terms that you, the reader, may be unfamiliar with. If you have a question don't hesitate to ask. Or perhaps your good friend Google can help? I'll talk about the campaigns that I'm in and/or running. I'll talk about settings I want to play. I may occasionally branch out into other gaming genres like board games, or MMOs, etc. I know, the suspense is killing me too.

So how about my current game? My current group is running through a home-brew d20 Modern setting that I've thrown Call of Cthulhu* into. I'm doing this for a very specific reason. The campaign they are playing now will lead some, but not all, of them into a new game and setting called CthulhuTech. Click the link, you know you want to. Done? I can wait........... OK, great. Let me summarize for those of you that didn't bother: CthulhuTech is a Horror/SciFi setting. It combines the elements of classic Lovecraftian** Horror with those of Japanese Mecha style/BattleTech style giant robot combat, and of a Futuristic Earth setting. Trippy I know. So what does this mean? Well if you happen to like any/all of those themes it means that CthulhuTech is a game system full of win. I've read the rules system and to be honest I was initially scared that the rules would be overly complicated - like the first time I ever looked at the rules for Shadowrun; good God the horror! But the rules are set up fairly well, and very straight forward. Its the only system I've ever seen that allows the player(s) to screw with the GM*** and get away with it.

Let me explain that: CthulhuTech (hereafter referred to as CT) uses the Framework system to establish success or failure with your die rolls. Within the Framework system, the players have a pool of "Fate Points" that they can use to add 1 to the total of a single die roll or to re-roll a single die. Or (this is the good part) to take dice away from the GM when s/he is about to do something nasty to the group. Now any GM worth his salt won't let that stop him from wrecking havoc on his players, but hey...your players can at least feel like they have a chance.

Where was I? Oh yeah, my game group. So far they seem to be having a pretty fun time with the CoC/d20 game. And by "having fun" I mean I'm letting their characters use explosives. Nothing like evading a group of Deep Ones by blowing up the office building you're in with a few pounds of C4. Good times. - Before I get much further talking about my game group I need to lay down some ground rules. As any one of them might at some point stumble across this here blog, I will maintain their anonymity by calling each of them "Fred". I will go ahead and let you know (not that you really care or even believe me) that I have six gamers at my table; three men, three women. Now all named "Fred". - As I stated they seem to be enjoying themselves. And as I stated earlier not all of them will be joining in on the CT fun. Why, you ask? Because I have some folks that are new to the whole table-top RPG experience and have already told me they are having enough trouble getting the hang of 3.X**** before trying a vastly different system. More on this campaign later. I don't want to write a Russian epic of my first blog post.

The other game I'm playing in is a 4th Edition DnD game. I'm about to say a few things which might start a witch hunt. I like 4E. Its not wasteful like 3.X is. Now before you get started, yes I have played 2E. And I really like it; it was/is a mathematically complex but a mechanically brilliant system. You can do anything with it. Anything. But with all of the games and systems out there I can't afford to tie myself down to 2E out of some obscure sense of some gamers do.... Wizards of the Coast tried to streamline things for DnD when they rolled out 3E, but it has too many freaking problems. The wonderful folks over at Paizo came up with their own 3.X system called Pathfinder and its a dream compared to what WotC churned out for 3.X. But if you haven't tried 4E, and I mean really gave it a legitimate chance, I'd encourage you to do so.

I remember one of the things I first heard/read about 4E was "Aww man! Wizards of the Coast is turning DnD into World of Warcraft! Fuck this, lets boycott!" Well, its partially true. They did look to WoW for inspiration on how to spruce up a (IMO) dying genre (due to the churning out of material every month for 3E that WotC was doing). But in doing so they solved a number of issues inherent with 3.X. Not only that but its harder to "rules lawyer" 4E - or at least it seems to be the case.

Anyway I have games to prepare for so more later. An abrupt end I know, but I'll work on it.

Peace and long life.

*Ka-thoo-loo. Say it with me, Ka-thoo-loo. If you're one of those folks that insist that its pronounced Ka-too-loo I guess you can just stop reading now and save yourself the effort of screaming at the computer or of writing me an email I will most likely delete without even bothering to read whatever trite point you wanted to raise. I know - I'm an ass.

**H.P. Lovecraft is considered the author/creator of modern Horror in literature. Read the wiki entry. Now go out a buy a collection of his stories. They are not terribly long and not terribly frightening. You have to remember, he wrote in the early 1900s and what was considered horror then would probably not even get a TV14 rating on a network now-a-days. But how he writes is fantastic to read. Again, go out and buy his works. Run, do not walk, to you local book seller!

***Game Master or Dungeon Master...although I've seen a trend in the gaming industry in the last decade or so of moving away from Dungeon Master due to negative connotation. You do the math. Anyway, GM is the person in charge of leading the party/group around by the nose with clues and hints while they desperately try to figure out wtf is going on before they die or the world goes up in flames.

****3.X is commonly used to refer to Dungeons and Dragons (or a similar setting using the same rules set via the Open Gaming License) version 3.0 up to the latest version of the 3rd Edition rules set. It saves time just writing it out this way.

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