Category Archives: Random musings

Giving Savage Worlds Another Chance

SWEXYes, it has been quite a long time since my last post. I don’t want to go into much detail here, but my mental health issues have been rearing their ugly head again. But I am still thinking about roleplaying games from time to time. Heck, I even managed to get together a small group of friends who are willing to meet once a week.

At the moment we’re still playing Call of Cthulhu, but I am already thinking about what to run after that. One of the games I looked at was – even to my own surprise – GURPS. Back in the 90s I bought a lot of GURPS material, but actually never really played the game aside from a single one-shot. What I really liked about GURPS was its versatility and pretty simple core mechanic. But aside from that its “crunchyness” is beyond what I normally like. Actually I don’t know why I gave it a cold shoulder in the last few years.

Then – inspired by Chaotic GM’s recent post I gave Savage Worlds another look and realized that it actually can do everything GURPS does, but mechanically it’s much more closer to my comfort level. Yes, it has its flaws, but it’s still a pretty robust and well-supported game system. It also is pretty fast to run and to prepare, which is not something you can say about too many generic roleplaying games.

etu

Savage Worlds also has a couple of very interesting settings. My absolute favorite at the moment is East Texas University. It’s basically Buffy with the serial numbers filed off and set into an East Texas town – and it’s full of awesome! The players are students of  East Texas University, a place where the teachers might try to kill you (literally), where freshmen get sacrificed to old gods, and where the lecture halls are haunted by more than just the spirit of academia. The players’ job is to fight evil, investigate hauntings, banish demons, while going on parties and learning for the finals. Yes, my college years are long past me, I am much closer in age to the teachers than the students, but ETU sounds like it could be a lot of fun playing it.

kickstarter

Another reason why I think now is the perfect time to give Savage Worlds another chance is RIFTS Savage Worlds. The kickstarter is still running for a few more days, and its already way past its initial goal. RIFTS is an awesome setting, actually it’s one of my all-time favorites. But the rules are … just let me say, I am not a fan. I am really hoping a “savaged” RIFTS will be more approachable than the original game and allow me to introduce my friends to this totally gonzo setting.

Tomorrow I am going to talk to my weekly group about my plans to run ETU. Let’s hope they like the idea as much as I do.

Harassment and the Gaming Community – A few thoughts

Recently I was made aware of this article and was shocked and appalled by what I read. What the author of this post has endured is terrible and it’s a shame that all this has happened in the gaming community. A lot of people immediately dismiss the post because it just seems too outrageous, too far away from their personal experiences. But I have no doubts that these things happen way too often.

I actually wrote a long post with my thoughts on the subject, but eventually I decided against posting it because of several reasons. English is not my native language and even though I have a pretty good grasp of the language (at least I hope so) sometimes it’s hard to put my thoughts into the proper words. This subject is highly emotional and very complex, so it’s very easy to offend everyone even if you have the best motives.

My intentions with this post are twofold: first I want to point out the article and recommend everyone to read it and think deeply about it. I especially ask my fellow male gamers to not just dismiss it. Secondly I want to ask everyone to help changing the community for the better. Don’t look away, speak up and point out the bad apples, support your fellow gamers regardless of gender, sexuality, skin color, and religion. Make sure that your own gaming table is a safe and welcoming place for everyone! Remember that the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

P.S.: If you want to read more about why we should take such reports seriously, I recommend this article.

Why are some games so hard to understand?

Over the years I’ve encountered dozens of games which are highly popular, are supposedly easy to learn, but I just can’t wrap my head around them.

One reason was probably that I grew up with pretty traditional roleplaying games, while most of the games I had trouble with were definitely more “indie”. But this couldn’t have been the only reason. But for quite a while I never realized why I had a hard time getting into games like Fate or Apocalypse world.

While I am still having trouble, I at least think I’ve found out what my main problem is. I overanalyze and overthink everything. Especially with Fate this still kicks me in the nuts when I try to run it. Skills are fine, Approaches (like in FAE) are mostly so, but Aspects always make my head spin, especially when it comes to situational Aspects.

In fact Aspects are pretty easy. If a room has the aspect “Pitch Black” it just establishes a fact. In traditional games, we actually establish facts as well, we just don’t write that down on an index card (which you can do in Fate to remind you of said fact) or give those facts special names. Invoking an aspect for example is just making use of the fact. For example you get a +2 bonus to hide in the room. That’s not much different how you do things in other games. But instead of having a rule for every possible circumstance, Fate uses a slightly more abstract approach. Which is actually not that hard to get…

… BUT for some reason my brain wants to make things more complicated. It’s actually pretty hard to put into words, because it’s all a bit fuzzy, but I tend to look for a deeper meaning or something more complex which just can’t be found, because it isn’t there.

I don’t know if it’s just me or if this happens to other gamers as well. So please share your thoughts below. And if you have good tips on how to avoid overthinking everything, please share those with us!