Oh Well

Go figure. My venture into Unknown Armies consisted of a character generation session… and that’s it.

Life just keeps getting in the way of any regular gaming for me. Whether it’s things preventing me from gaming, or things preventing everyone else from showing, there just doesn’t seem to be a way around this bad luck.

So, until I can get something going, I’m going to fade into the background. That doesn’t mean I’m gone. Things are starting up again at my game design blog, Scintilla. I’ll also be attending Fear the Con 5 in St. Louis this May, so expect updates about that. And maybe I’ll start posting here about some of the other, non-rpg games that I play.

Game On!

Well, my Shadowrun venture did not work out, for a number of reasons. The game died, which saved me the trouble of telling the GM that I would no longer be attending. I only played for two sessions, and barely got a feel for my character, but oh well.

In more uplifting news, I’m starting up a game of Unknown Armies! I’ve been wanting to run a UA game for many years, but was always running into roadblocks. I finally said “Fuck it,” and decided to start up a game come hell or high water. So last night, I got together with a couple of friends to discuss game and character concepts, and ended up with them making characters.

One of the hardest things I had to do last night was to generate interest in the really cool setting of UA without giving away any of the secrets. One of the things I’m most looking forward to is introducing the setting, and having the players be exposed to it at the same time their characters are. But selling a game without being able to give any details is tough. Luckily, I had convinced one of the players years ago, and the other is basically willing to give any game a good try.

After every session, I’ll try to write a post here about it. It won’t be too story-oriented, but will rather focus on a gaming issue that came up during play, or somesuch. For updates to the story itself, I’m setting up a campaign on Obsidian Portal, which I’ll link to once it’s ready to go.

A New Character for Shadowrun

I’ve been invited to participate in a relatively new Shadowrun game. Things have already started, but I’ve only missed four sessions. The game is apparently going to mix in some Resident Evil story, with the Umbrella Corporation being a big new player in Denver (where the game is set). It sounds like it could be pretty cool, and there are some friends in the group that I haven’t seen in a while that I’d love to hang out with, and I’ve just been jonesing for a game, so I agreed to join in.

Now the problem is creating a character. Continue reading

Speak Geek: RPGs

I have this blog, so it should really be no surprise that I’ve got some sort of fascination with roleplaying games. What’s fairly unique about me and RPGs is how long I’ve been playing them. There are those who have been playing since they were invented. I’m not one of those people. I wasn’t around when they were invented. I have been playing from a very young age, though. Most people seem to be introduced to RPGs in high school or college (their late teens). Some people start a little earlier, like middle school (early teens/tweens). I started in elementary school. Specifically, I started in 3rd grade, which would put me at around 9 years old. Not only that, I started with a fairly complex system: MERPS (Middle Earth Role Playing System) from Iron Crown Enterprises. I was also introduced to Marvel Superheroes around this time, and that was the first game I bought for myself.

I had no concept that such games were new, or considered geeky, or were anything but normal. I did fall in love with them, though. More games followed, as I got my hands on anything that seemed interesting. Top Secret, Torg, Warhammer, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Star Wars, Call of Cthulhu, Shadowrun… but I never bothered with Dungeons & Dragons. I can’t really guess at why. A friend who I introduced to RPGs eventually picked up D&D and ran it, and I never had a problem playing it (then again, I’ll play just about anything), but I never had any interest in picking up any of the books or running it myself.

But what do I like so much about these games? Continue reading

Speak Out With Your Geek Out!

There is a movement going to promote geek pride during the week of September 12-16. Going under the catchy name of “Speak Out With Your Geek Out,” this is something that I wholeheartedly endorse. The idea is pretty simple: during that five day stretch, engage people however you can about your favorite geeky hobby. Or hobbies. No reason to limit it to just one. Someone (I wish I remembered who) commented that, despite the name, this need not be limited to geeky things. I tend to agree. Speak out about whatever you enjoy doing, whatever makes you happy.

The movement was originally the idea of Monica Valentinelli, and it quickly grew beyond her original concept. You can read her original post here, but notice how it’s been edited a few times to incorporate the changes. There’s already talk of making this an annual event, and a blog has been set up in anticipation of next week here. There’s already plenty of interesting articles there, helping people to prep for the week. And of course, there’s a Facebook event and a Tumblr dedicated to helping everyone share their thoughts.

You can bet that I’ll be participating! Keep an eye out here and elsewhere for me to be speaking out about RPGs and other topics. I also strongly encourage you (yes, YOU) to participate as well. Light up Twitter, Facebook, Google+, blogs and forums all over the place with the things we love and why we love them. Don’t have a blog? Find someone who does who will host something you write. Don’t tell me you don’t know anyone — you’re reading this, and I’ll happily post anything you write about.

But here’s something that I really want to stress, something that I have not yet seen in reference to this cause. Yes, it’s important to speak out and share your loves. But it’s also important to listen to what all the other geeks are gushing about during this time, as well. No one is served if everyone’s too busy shouting from the mountaintop to hear what’s being yelled from the neighboring mountain. Maybe you’ll learn about something you haven’t heard of that sparks your interest. Maybe there’s something you don’t like, but might give a second chance to when you hear someone elegantly explain why it interests them. Geeks can be awfully condemning of things they don’t like. Use this next week as an opportunity to open your mind, just for a few days, and maybe erase some of those ideas that don’t quite fit the reality. Maybe you’ll change your mind about something. Maybe not.

But give it a chance.

Square One

Since the last time I wrote on this blog, I’ve started an L5R campaign… and it has died.

The usual culprit is to blame. Life. I just can’t seem to keep a group of players returning every week. I don’t think that’s a comment on my GMing abilities, either. I’ve been just as much to blame as my players, as well. I’ve had to work during several of our gaming nights, and an absent GM leads to not much of a game.

Things continue to go, however, and as we approach what should be the slow season at work, I’m beginning to put together ideas for gaming. It doesn’t hurt that I’m now incredibly jealous of my wife, who has joined a weekly Pathfinder game with some of our friends, while I usually have to work.

My strongest desire is still to play Engel, but I’ve got a lot of work to do on that translation before it can happen. The release of The Great Clans for L5R has got my creative juices flowing for that again. I’m also toying with running some Houses of the Blooded. Actually, I’m most likely going to be trading off. Run Houses for a bit, then run L5R, then Houses, etc. Throw in Engel and my homebrew game as they become ready. Rinse. Repeat.

Whatever I do, I’ll be putting it up on Obsidian Portal, as well as discussing it here.

There will be some facelifts here and there around this blog, and I’ve got plenty of topics to write about, so expect more regular updates. I just need to sit down and do it!

Angelic Ambition

Yesterday I finally did something that I’ve been kicking around in my head for a while.

I’ve been a fan of the setting for the game, Engel, since I stumbled across the corebook many years ago. The property is owned by a German company, Feder & Schwert, and the English version was published by Sword & Sorcery, a division of White Wolf. Unfortunately, White Wolf decided not to continue with the line. I can only assume that sales weren’t as high as they expected. Only the corebook, a prelude graphic novel, and two sourcebooks (a bestiary and one out of the five character splatbooks).

The setting has always resonated with me. Post-apocalyptic Europe, dominated by the Angelitic Church which seems at times both savior and slaver. The players take on the roles of Engel (German for “angel”) and combat the insect-like Dreamseed, protecting the Church and the European countryside. They also stand against the Diadoches, or Junklords — those regional leaders who stand against the Church. Of course, there are also cults and the internal corruption and politicking of the Church to deal with as well.

Continue reading