Category Archives: Ask The Readers

What’s New?

I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather lately but today I pulled myself together to work on this post. Phew! A lot has been happening lately. And there are a couple of things I want to write about.

imageEarlier today I noticed that Titansgrave: The Ashes of Valkana has already been released on DriveThruRPG. Alas I failed my willpower check and bought it immediately. Luckily it’s an awesome-looking book for a reasonable price. The PDF contains some setting information, a couple of rules for Fantasy AGE, and the full campaign Wil Wheaton has run in his latest Youtube series. I would have hoped for more setting information, but I am sure Green Ronin will release more information in the future.

Apropos DriveThruRPG, they are celebrating their Xmas in July Sale again. So if you feel the need to spend your hard-earned cash on some roleplaying game stuff, you should check out what they have to offer.

In other news I am still struggling with my space opera setting. I’ve been working on various ideas for such a setting for ages now, but alas nothing seems to feel “right”. Everything either ends up being too generic or too close to an existing setting. Sometimes I come up with a great idea, but it just doesn’t work as a roleplaying-game setting. Perhaps I should keep some of those ideas in mind if I ever start writing short stories.

Recently I started rewatching the 1970s Captain Future anime series, and even though it didn’t really help me with my space opera project, it was at least entertaining. Yes, the dialogues are sometimes pretty horrible, and sometimes it’s pretty sexist, but that’s probably because the source material was created in less civilized times. By the way, you should definitely check out the soundtrack of the German version of the series, because it totally rocks!

150013-thumb140Recently I read about Worlds in Peril, a superhero game powered by the Apocalypse World rules. Has anyone of you already played this game? Obviously you can learn the rules by reading a comic included in the book. Neat!
I have to admit that while I enjoy these games from the player perspective, I haven’t really wrapped my head around the GM side of things. Do you have any advice for me?

I suck at running campaigns

Recently I looked back at my gaming career and I realized that my campaigns usually end up being a mess. More often then not, there’s no real ending to the campaign and the last few sessions are just not as great as the first ones.  Something happens after a couple of sessions which makes me – the GM – lose interest in my own campaign.

One reason is probably that I love to collect roleplaying games. On average I get a new game every month and while I am still running game A I already read game B, while I am leafing through game C I just got. I should focus on a fantasy campaign, but instead my mind is already somewhere else. I always have the urge to try something new which is not really compatible with the idea of running a campaign.

Another problem is probably that most of my groups don’t meet that regularly. If we’re lucky we can play once per month, but even that is not always the case. I guess it’s easier to stay invested in a game if you meet regularly. Alas this is not something I can easily fix.

When I start a new campaign I am usually very excited and I guess part of that excitement may be a problem. I hype myself so much, that the real game can only be a disappointment. Sometimes I realize that the rules I was going to use just don’t fit the theme I had in mind, or I escalated things too quickly, so that after a few sessions the player characters could easily take on gods without breaking a sweat. Ok, the first half of the campaign was extremely epic, but then I don’t know on how to keep things interesting.

Sometimes I fear I am too hard on myself. In most cases my players are perfectly fine with the game, but I am just not happy. I guess this may one of the symptoms of my depression, but that doesn’t mean I have to simply give up. I want everyone on the table have fun and this should include the GM as well. I always wanted to run an epic campaign, but – at least in my opinion – things ended with either me abandoning the campaign at some point or because the game ended in scheduling hell.

I hope that some of you have had this issue before and can give me a few tips on how to change things around. Please share your thoughts below!

Deus Ex Machina

Next month I’ll be running two games at a local con. Initially I planned to run D&D 5th Edition and perhaps even Traveller, but recently I reconsidered. For a con game which also should be newbie-friendly I think a game like Fate Accelerated Edition may be a better choice. So I started thinking about what settings I could use for the games. It quickly turned out that I have a very bad cyberpunk itch that is in dire need of some scratching, so I made the decision to run a game set into the Deus Ex universe.

The game is supposed to be set in the late 2020s or 2030, which is after the events of Human Revolution but way before the original Deus Ex. One of my ideas is that the player characters are member of a government agency looking into a recent crime and uncover a conspiracy (in true Deus Ex fashion). But since I only have a couple of hours the conspiracy is probably not as epic as the one in the computer games.

The player characters, which I’ll generate beforehand, will also be augmented, because you need to put some cyber into the punk to make things really fun. And even though the player characters are government agents they might end up fighting “The Man”, so that punk part of Cyberpunk can be checked off as well. To keep things simple, I’ll use the Fate Accelerated rules as written. Cyberaugmentations will be either part of the Aspects, stunts, or both.

I am also considering taking a new – at least for me – approach on the characters and what their roles will be in the game. Some of the players will take the roles of field operatives, doing the legwork, getting their hands dirty, while other players will support them from the background. This probably breaks a couple of unwritten rules, but I hope it might actually work. The people in the background will always be in direct contact with the field operatives and can support them by hacking into various systems, providing them with background information. There might even be scenes when the background people get in physical trouble as well. Just think of the bad guys attacking the agency’s offices.

Having the player characters in different places is always a bit tricky, but in a scenario like this it may not only make sense, but also add to the tension.

What do you think of my ideas? Can a Deus Ex-inspired game work in a con enviroment and with Fate Accelerated rules? What do you think of my “field operatives and handlers” idea? Is it a recipe for disaster or something that might actually work? Please share your thoughts below!