Friday, August 18, 2017

#RPGaDay 2017 Day 18: Which RPG Have You Played the Most in Your Life?

Which RPG Have You Played the Most in Your Life?

Check me out! I’m one-percenter! (In the sense that I’m not in the 99% who will answer some edition of Dungeons & Dragons. (It’s probably not actually 99%, as I’m sure that a bunch of gamers who came of age in the 1990s will answer Vampire: The Masquerade, but it’s certainly going to be the majority.)

My answer is my own Play-By-Email game, the Mazeworks. It was founded on June 9th, 2001 in Yahoo groups. We had a database failure and then we started in the MazeworksII group in November of 2001. I actually considered just folding the game at that point and just walking away, because we would lose so much. Yahoo eventually restored what we had lost, but it was easier to stay at the second group.

I considered folding the group again in 2006 when I knew my daughter would be born. I didn’t think I’d have the time to keep up with the game, but another player convinced me not to. His name is Bob. More on him later.

PBEMs typically flounder after a while, but we bucked the odds, thanks to some really great players.  There were days with a hundred posts, and there was a nearly five-year span where we had at least one post every day.

It’s spawned a number of in-jokes as any long-running game will: The croquet mallet, “YOUR (sic) A LIAR!” “STOP CURSING AT ME!” I met my friend Frederick through the game. I made a number of friends whom I’ll probably never meet. One of them, the incomparable Bob from earlier in the post, handcrafted a beautiful rocking horse and shipped it at his own expense for Lily’s second Christmas.

We finally wrapped up the game in 2012. We had just come to the resolution of a major arc. I was out of ideas and I said so. I didn’t want to run on fumes and I decided we should go out on a high note. I asked everyone who was willing to pen their own epilogue to the series. To this day, I think it’s one of the best decisions I’ve made regarding role-playing.

The players didn’t want to let it go, so one of them took over and put his own spin on it. I was a player this time, and that worked out. I wanted the Mazeworks to continue; I just didn’t have the passion to drive it anymore.

We played for a few months with Jason M. running the show until he passed away unexpectedly.  I liked Jason so much. I hoped someday to meet him. Who else shared my weird interests of PBEM’s, Roger Zelazny and Robyn Hitchcock. He was a stabilizing influence on the group and such a downright decent guy. I miss him and I’m sorry he’s gone.

We didn’t want the group to end with the death of a player, so someone else stepped up and began running it. His name is Jacob and he’s still running it today. We’re not as strong as we once were, but we’re still telling stories together and I think that’s something to celebrate.
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Thursday, August 17, 2017

#RPGaDay 2017 Day 17: Which RPG Have You Owned the Longest But Not Played?

Which RPG Have You Owned the Longest But Not Played?

My first thought was Star Frontiers, but I think I played that in the third grade when I lived in Florida. There were a couple kids with whom I gamed, including one with the extremely unfortunate last name of “Lust”. I’m pretty sure we played the introductory adventure from the introductory boxed set during a sleepover.

Young Josh must have been quite the fan of Tom Moldvay, because he went directly from Star Frontiers to Avalon Hill’s Lords of Creation.  I think I picked this up at K-B Toy and Hobby. In the early 80s they would often offer unsold RPGs at a steep discount. I bought a lot of Dark Sun that way.

I liked the setting and the concept of LoC and the stories that you could potentially tell with it, but even at twelve years old, I recognized that the rules as written were not a good set of tools for implementing those stories. Likewise, Omegakron is an ambitious but flawed adventure.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

#RPGaDay 2017 Day 16: Which RPG Do You Enjoy Using As Is?

 Which RPG Do You Enjoy Using As Is?

"All of them, Katie!"

This follows from question #15 and my answer is largely the same. I generally don’t feel the need to mod games anymore. I’m generally pretty lazy and modding a game is a bit of work. To the extent that I tweak things, it’s to streamline them. If I don’t feel like looking up the grappling rules and if nothing huge is hinging on the outcome, I’ll just take a guess and apply my best guess to the situation. Or, if I’m at the end of the session and we all want to get it over with, I’ll sometimes skim over the mechanics and eyeball the dice rolls in order to wrap things, but I don’t think that’s what the question is asking.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

#RPGaDay 2017 Day 15: Which RPG Do You Enjoy Adapting the Most?

Which RPG do you enjoy adapting the most?

I guess I’m going to give another non-answer. I don’t do this anymore.  There was a time when I would create rules for lightsabers and Jedi in my composition notebooks and everyone who was alive in the 1990s made up rules for playing a Highlander style immortal in White Wolf’s World of Darkness.

But these days there are so many licensed properties that there is no need to do this unless you're absolutely infatuated with a system. I know there are Savage Worlds fans out there who want to use it to launch a satellite into orbit, but I'm a big fan of allowing the setting to shape the system, and you don't get that if you try to fit your Avatar the Last Airbender-shaped peg into a Unisystem-shaped hole.

#RPGaDay 2017 Day 14: Which RPG Do You Prefer for Open-Ended Campaign Play

What RPG do you prefer for open-ended campaign play?

I tend not to prefer sandbox games these days. When my last day of high school ended, I walked over to my friend’s house and we continued our second edition D&D game right where we left off last session. That was a nice rambling game. There were weeks where we would play at least once a day over the summer. If somebody had a game he wanted to run, he’d take over as DM for a session or two and we’d run our characters through his adventure. We were the stereotypical band of murder hobos and that campaign lasted for years.

That said, I don’t like that playstyle as much anymore. I’m old and I don’t have as much leisure time and as any adult gamer will tell you, coordinating a time when the entire group is free is a nightmare. I like my adventure paths with a distinct ending point so we can enjoy telling a story together.

If I had to choose a particular RPG, I’d go with some pre-third edition iteration of Dungeons & Dragons. It just seems suited to that wandering adventurer lifestyle. When the campaign ends and all the players go their separate ways, I like to think that our characters have more adventures without us.