Tuesday, January 01, 2019

2018 in Review and Looking Ahead

2018 had been a leaner year for wargaming than 2017 was, but on the flip side I played around a hundred hours of RPG, and look set to play around that same number of hour in 2019.

As regular readers will notice, the focus of this blog has shifted from wargaming to RPG in the past couple of years, especially from the middle of 2018, when I decided to document what went on in my gaming sessions, as well as my thoughts during the preparation and the running of the game. It's a way for me to keep track of what happened during each session, the story hooks that I have dropped, and also a way to remind myself of why I made certain GMing decisions.

I am very happy with the way my Terrinoth campaign (more accurately campaigns) have turned out; having two teams of PCs in the same game world and time-line has allowed me to use more setting and module material, and gave us all more flexibility in the scheduling of the game.

Having two teams of PCs also means I now have a larger stable of regular players, three of whom are GMs themselves. This, added to the more open, sandbox nature of the B Team campaign meant that the storyline for B Team has developed in a more organic fashion, prompted mainly by how the PCs have interacted with the NPCs and the setting. There are multiple story threads which I am weaving together to tie up loose ends which were left over from earlier sessions.

B Team will also benefit from Matt Colville's Strongholds and Followers supplement: two of the PCs have earned "strongholds" during the course of the game, and if time and inclination allow, we may pursue this aspect of gaming in the future.

On the A Team front I am close to completing the story arcs for two of the PCs, and hope to develop and close those for the remaining PCs over the course of this year.

I started GMing more than thirty years ago, but really it has only been in the past decade or so that I approached it as more of a craft than just a game. One of the things that I have adopted is to incorporate the PCs' backstories and their goals and motivations into the story. This can be difficult in a campaign where there are (currently) 9 characters, but it's also rewarding.

The Terrinoth adventures are scheduled to continue for at least the first four months of this year, after which I may switch to a Sorcery! campaign from the last week of April to the first week of August (projected 13 sessions) - this spans the June school holidays period, during which many people with school-age children go on vacation, so we may be seeing a new line-up of players for this short campaign.

The Sorcery! campaign is just one of those "bucket list" hobby projects for me (like the 10mm FPW project which we completed a few years ago, and the Arab Revolt project which I still hope to one day do). For the plot of the campaign I am planning to stick to the premise and basic structure of the original Steve Jackson story: a quest to retrieve a stolen crown, taking the party through a series of villages in the borderlands, through a lawless city, through the dangerous wilderness beyond, and finally into the Archmage's fortress.

I have not yet decided on which set of rules to use for this campaign, although I am rather keen to stick to a magic system that requires specific components, as in the original gamebook rules. The Advanced Fighting Fantasy rules are probably too simple for my tastes, but I look forward to recommendations from my readers.

From the middle of August to the middle of November I hope to switch from fantasy to sci-fi and run a short campaign (again of around 12 sessions) using the upcoming new edition of Savage Worlds. I backed the boxed set edition of this new edition, which is scheduled to deliver in June 2019; factoring for delivery and delay, I think a mid-August start is reasonable.

I have still not yet decided the subject of the campaign: it may be Season 2 of our Space Opera campaign we played in 2017, or a mash-up of the Shadowrun campaign we played in 2016 and the Gamma World mini-campaign we played in 2018. The first will be based on the Seven Worlds campaign, a Savage Worlds campaign (albeit in the by-now older edition), while the second will be a homebrew campaign set in a post-apocalyptic world where the cities are populated by humans ruled by mega-corporations runned by vampires, and where the wilderness are populated by wasteland warriors and mutant animals and plants. Both campaigns will see the return of characters from the previous campaign/s, and both excite me, but I imagine eight months is a long term in the hobby world and who knows what other setting will tempt us between now and then?

Amidst all this I am hoping to get more painting done. Among the kickstarters that my friends and I have backed together in 2018 are West Wind 15mm Dark Ages and Fireforge 32mm fantasy figures; I have pledged to paint up 3 units of Gothic Heavy foot to supplement wahj's Late Roman force, which hopefully will give us the impetus to get back to some historical wargaming soon.

I am also looking at some 48 castings of undead foot, horses and dogs to be added to the 19 Rune Wars castings I have primed... I had best get started.


Simon Quinton said...

Happy New Year to you and the family!

captain arjun said...

Thanks, Simon!

To you and yours to! :)