I’m finally back from being in the hospital for over 5 weeks where they treated me for my depression and anxiety issues. Now I feel a bit better than before and hopefully I now have new strategies for dealing with stress in the future.
I also had a lot of time to think about the roleplaying hobby, about what worked for me and what doesn’t. One thing I realized over the last weeks was that I probably shouldn’t bother with Fate anymore.
Yes, I said it: I am done with Fate. While I always tried to like it, it never really clicked with me. There were moments when I thought I got it, but then I realized that my approach to Fate was not as the designers intended it. For some reason Fate also feels a bit too “meta” for me. I don’t like the idea of having to write down situational aspects on index cards and laying them onto the table for everyone to work with. But if I avoid those, I remove a large aspect (sorry, no pun intended) from the game.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t say Fate is a bad game. It’s definitely well written and a lot of people enjoy it tremendously, but for me it always felt like a struggle. Yes, there were sessions where I had a blast with it, but then there were situations when I felt that it just didn’t work for me. In the end the game actually caused stress for me.
So, long story short, I think I’m done with Fate (for now at least). Perhaps I’ll give it another chance in the future, but for now I prefer to stick to games which work better for me.
Recently I started a Titansgrave campaign using the Fantasy AGE rules. If you haven’t heard of Titansgrave before, I wholeheartedly recommend you to check it out. It’s a Sci-fantasy setting conceived by Wil Wheaton and the campaign which has been available for purchase quite a while now, has been run by him on YouTube. I’ve embedded the introductory episode below.
Since I had the impression that one of my players knew the campaign by heart, I decided to not run this campaign, but start with “The Hermit’s Road” which was recommended for players of 2nd to 4th level. After that I planned to write my own adventures and use the adventures in the Titansgrave book as inspiration.
Character creation took us several hours, not because the rules are hard, but because I had to do a lot of explaining and translating for my players. We also followed the recommendation in Titansgrave and I asked my player several background questions like: “Who contributed most to your last adventure? Now who REALLY contributed most and why is the other person getting the credit?”
My players had a lot of fun coming up with cool answers and everyone was excited to finally start playing.
The Hermit’s Road is basically a simple dungeon romp, so it felt perfect for an introductory adventure. Alas the encounters don’t really seem to be well-designed or my inexperience as a FAGE GM shines through. The first combat encounter in the adventure really went bad and a well-rounded party of six players was almost wiped out. I had to pull all my tricks as a GM to keep them alive short of cheating. After a hour-long character creation process I really didn’t want them to be killed by some snakes especially since it wasn’t their fault. I don’t want to spoil that much here, but just let me say, that an encounter with 2 enemies per player character, which fall from the ceiling, cannot be run from and which can constrict the PCs easily was perhaps not the best decision. I get the feeling that this adventure has been designed for players who already played through the Titansgrave: Ashes of Valkana campaign and are more experienced.
But aside from that very frustrating combat everyone is really enjoying both the Fantasy AGE rules and the Titansgrave setting. I really hope Green Ronin finally releases a proper setting book later this year. I’ll post more thoughts on Fantasy AGE and Titansgrave in the future, so please stay tuned.
Yes, 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.
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.
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.