Welcome to the blog about games, campaigns, and other cool stuff like that

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Between Session Communication

This past weekend my Valnwall campaign just finished our seventh session.  At an average of 10.5 hours each, that is 73.5 hours or their lives they will never ever get back!  :)  We have character levels of two (2), three (3), and four (3).

I sent an email to all the players for feed back, critique, constructive criticism, or plain ole gripes (or kudos).  I wanted to give the players a chance to let me know what they thought, and more so, to help me as the LL\DM.  Alas as seems common, I did not get many replies.  I did get a few "having a great time" or "its great keep it up" statements, but I was really hoping for more "constructive criticism" type remarks.  What would make the game more fun or interesting?  "You always seem to pick me when there is a random happening."  "You stink at funny voices."  "The world needs more spidergoats."  Some things like that would be nice as well.

It does appear that when trying to communicate between sessions via email that some people are almost allergic to it.  Seems strange that most of us use it every day in our work and personal lives.  Sometimes too much.  Perhaps that is a reason for NOT using it in between face to face sessions, separation of work and hobby life.

I suppose I will soldier on, and hope there is not a player mutiny brewing in the shadows.  :)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Players Map Fun

Quick post from this last weekends session. Below is a picture of the miniatures battlemat, along with one players narrative map. As you can see, the boat is made of high tech paper materials. ;)  The big semi circular pile of paper is a brush "barricade" erected as the group was camped out anchored near shore.

Here is the session "The Dolm River" :)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Losing My Muse

I guess it happens to all of us as DM's\GM's at one time on another. Losin it, general suckatude, lost for ideas, burnout. Whichever it is, when it hits me, I have a hard time breaking though it. Sometimes while under this malaise, it makes me feel like a bad or incompetent game master, and you swear that your players will see right through the carefully crafted DM mojo and realize "Hey! This guy is floundering!" DM confidence "plop" right in the toilet. Thinking about this the past couple days (yes, I am in a little slump right now) I thought back to my gaming past for some insight.

When I first started playing D&D many moons ago with the Holmes basic set, my friend Mike was the DM. I had convinced him to do it, as I saw that blue book with the dragon on it in his room, and begged and pleaded to play. So Mike DM'd that first summer, me having one character, and much fun was had. B1 In Search of the Unknown was my first module. Thinking back, I am sure we made up a ton of rules, and I remember getting a Pegasus (!) mount at one point (Clash of the Titans, the "real" one with crappy special effects, probably just came out).

After that summer Mike quit playing, and I had to convince the rest of the guys in the neighborhood that hey, this D&D thing was cool! So, with a bunch of friends as first time players, guess who got to be the DM? This is probably a familiar situation for many people. I don't think I ever "wanted" to DM. To my young mind playing was soooo much cooler! So throughout grade school and into middle school I was mostly a reluctant DM, playing only occasionally when I could convince one of my friends to do it.

Now comes the part where I think my problem starts. In middle school, I started attending Saturday game sessions of the local college gaming group. Wow, I was blown away. These guys had more creativity in their pinky toe than I had in my whole soul. I was the youngest person there, and I HOPE I was not just that young annoying kid to them. It was here that I saw what a "campaign" was, we had always just played modules and one off games often with different characters. It was now that I thought "Boy, I really sucked as a DM"! Also I started thinking we had been doing it all wrong for years. I do not think that way now, but that may be for another post some day.

Flash forward to the more present day, and the current situation. Our gaming group of six or seven people has been together for about 8 or nine years, playing 3.5 edition Dungeons and Dragons. I was a player up until about 8 months ago, when I ran a one-off Labyrinth Lord session one day for a couple of them, including our usual DM, Dave. That sort of did it, and Dave really wanted to play more and had a good time. As our 3.5 campaign came to a close, it was decided that I would be running the next campaign. So now I am the DM (LL) running our monthly marathon sessions (10 - 12 hours plus). I am now running a game for the first time since college, almost 20 years ago (holy crap I am getting old).

After seven sessions , the ole Muse has left me a little bit. I think I know why. I always feel that other people have such a wider imagination and ability at creating things than I do. My confidence wains and I start to feel like maybe another guys game would be better. The little devil on my shoulder says "My players are not having as much fun with me. If only I could come up with better stuff like Dave. Nobody likes me, everybody hates me, I will just eat worms and die." :)

Well you know what? Forget that! This is my game. I bring unique things to the table that others may not. Just go with it and do not compare or hold yourself up to others. Have fun. Learn from mistakes. Try something that you feel as a player, you would love to face. Start writing, drawing a map, whatever just to start working. Get started, and many times you snap out of it and the stuff flows like water.

Friday, April 2, 2010

One of my Top 10 rpg's, Golden Heroes!

The year was 1987, and a young me was browsing a local hobby store looking for something new. Having played Champions, and owned TSR's Marvel Superheroes, I was not really looking for a super hero role playing game, but for what ever reason this game jumped off of the shelf and into my hands. I am glad it did.
Golden Heroes is a superhero role playing game published by Games Workshop in 1984 (when they actually made more games than miniatures) and sadly discontinued only a couple years later. Two modules and a referee's screen were also produced in that time, along with a handful of White Dwarf articles. Despite the lack of published support, and a games store employee selling me a game that was no longer in print, I played the hell out of this game in high school and into college.  I loved the system!  Sure it had its fiddly rules and quirks, but we made it work.  No other super hero game would capture my imagination and passion as Golden Heroes did.

Unfortunately, when I left college, the Golden Heroes box with all of the heroes, villains, campaigns and supervisors screen stayed with a friend and I never saw it again.  At the time it was an "oh well" moment.  After all, I had gotten a ton of fun out of it, and perhaps it continued to provide hours of play for the old crew that I left.  I like to think it did.  Today, however, I really wish I still had all that stuff.  My hero by the name of Armor (it was original at the time...OK OK, sort of an Iron Man rip off but I swear he was not the same!)  and his arch nemesis Ogre were in that box of gaming goodies.  That along with the 20 or 30 other hero's and villains that were rolled up and played, or just generated for the fun of it.  *sigh*

So why am I waxing nostalgic (obsessing?) over this?  EBAY.  I just picked up one of the two modules that were published, Legacy of Eagles, for a whopping 5 bucks.  Wooot!  I didn't even own that back in the day!  I am now looking to pick up a boxed set someday, and perhaps the second module Queen Victoria and The Holy Grail

Also during my Googleing and scouring the internet for Golden Heroes stuff, I found that the original game designer Simon Burley is now producing pretty much the SAME GAME!  You can find it here at the Squadron UK website.  Perhaps like the Phoenix, Golden Heroes can rise again, my current gaming group rolling up some hero's and smashing evil!  I can dream, can't I?


What better way to start a blog off than with some fun! Although this is a fake book, it does sum up many peoples feelings about D&D 4th edition, including mine. Quite humorous as well. :)