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Con Games on the Seven Seas

flat,800x800,075,f-c,0,75,800,331.u3So I’m gearing up for a busy summer of gaming at two of my favorite conventions–SoonerCon and FenCon!

In June, I’ll be running two session of 7th Sea (2e) at SoonerCon. One session will run Saturday from 10-2 and the other will be Sunday from 10-2. I’ll also be helping with the Dresden Files LARP on Friday night. The official schedule hasn’t been posted yet, but I’ll update when that happens.

In September, I’m slated to run 7th Sea (2e) at FenCon’s gaming room. The schedule hasn’t been worked out yet, but I’m looking forward to the opportunity.

7th Sea is a swashbuckling storytelling game of derring-do and thrilling heroics. Think “The Pirates of the Caribbean meets The Princess Bride meets The Three Musketeers.”

This is going to be a bit of work, but fun work, and I’m really looking forward to sharing stories with folks attending these conventions. I’ll update the schedules as they get posted.

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Coming Back Home Again

godfatherThis past Christmas, I finally moved on a decision I had been contemplating for some time, but hadn’t committed to yet. It was an important decision, probably the most important one I would make for the next twenty minutes or so. It has probably changed my life.

I purchased the Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition core books (Player’s Handbook, Dungeon Master’s Guide, and Monster Manual) and a new set of screens.

Then I bought the Tal’Dorei setting, Volo’s Guide to Monsters, and Xanathar’s Guide to Everything.

And a membership with D&D Beyond online.

A-hem. So, yeah. That’s one reason why it was such a momentous decision. When I commit to a new game, I tend to go whole hog. And, I’ve already invested untold dollars into my Pathfinder collection (it’s pretty much complete with the exception of setting-specific guides, as I homebrew my setting).

Also, I like Pathfinder. It’s got some flaws (what game doesn’t) but it is a solid fantasy roleplaying system. I still think that it caters to the min/max set, but I’ve basically made my peace with the game and enjoy it quite a bit.

But, ever since 5e had come out, I had been curious. In all of my online venues, I was hearing good things. Even those that had some complaint about it seemed to complain about things that I thought would be a benefit.

For example, “It’s a simplified version of the game…” people would bemoan, but I would think “Isn’t that a good thing?” Complex does not necessarily equal better and I do get modifier fatigue from calculating all the various options available in Pathfinder. In my experience, it is nigh impossible to make a character “on the fly” as a GM in Pathfinder–there are too many variables to calculate and keep track of. Maybe a simplified version would alleviate this. Further, it would allow more new players to get rolling dice earlier.

So, yeah, curious. Also, there was a little of that “first love nostalgia” going on as well.

You see, I started my RPG passion with D&D’s infamous “Red Box” back in the 1980s. It opened the doors of the hobby to me. I was hooked. In high school, when I moved to a new town and new school, I played 1st edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (AD&D) with my friends–friends I still play with today, almost thirty years later. I moved onto 2nd edition AD&D and then…other shiny objects.

I had gone to college by this point and was getting into to other games, other genres. I played Star Frontiers, Vampire the Masquerade, Paranoia, Warhammer Fantasy, RuneQuest, Torg, Ars Magica, and Tales from the Floating Vagabond. Also, my friends and I were scratching our fantasy itch with a homebrew game a member of the group had written.

Fast forward to the new century, and we’re still playing the homebrew game. Meanwhile, D&D has gone into 3rd edition, 3.5 edition, and finally evolved into Pathfinder. I’m hearing good things about them, but continue in my homebrew game. Then D&D comes out with 4e and the internet explodes. People either seem to love it or hate it, but there is little indifference. Grognards like me tended to dismiss it as a tabletop MMOG, but I was still curious. Still, I never got an opportunity to try it out. C’est la vie.

Eventually I decide to try out Pathfinder…and I fall in love again. I homebrew a setting and I’m off and running. That campaign has been going on for the past 5 years.

Meanwhile, D&D comes out with its 5e and my curiosity is piqued. “It’s more role-play oriented,” I’m hearing. “It’s a more streamlined system,” I’m hearing. Still, some grognards don’t care for it because of its seeming lack of complexity, but I’m hearing a siren call. I desperately want to try this game. My old love was looking good, striding confidently, and I wanted to be on her arm again.

So I tried it out at a convention. The scenario was less than ideal and the DM not the greatest, but I got a sense of the game. It was simple–but elegant in its way. There were some ideas I was intrigued with–passive senses, inspiration, etc. Very interesting–but I’d never get my players on board. Plus, I’d already invested so much in Pathfinder. We’d have to meet again some time in a used bookstore, if at all.

Then I started watching Critical Role. I saw the game in action with a stellar DM and a great set of players. That did it. I HAD TO PLAY THIS GAME!

So, I dropped the dime on the rule books at Christmas and have been playing it with my wife for the past two months.

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D&D has come back to its roots in many ways and also opened the doors to the future of roleplaying. It really is a simple, yet elegant system that puts a lot of control in the hands of the DM and also moves the game away from “optimization“–a plus with my style of play (though you certainly still can optimize if that’s your cup of tea). It removes some of the number-crunching and makes more room for fun. It truly love what they’ve done with this edition. I highly recommend it.

 

My New Obsession: Critical Role

100UnfinishedBusinessSo, I’m a bit late to the game (as per usual), but ever since I discovered it, I’ve been obsessively watching episodes of the web-stream series Critical Role. Better nate than lever, and all that jazz…

If you haven’t seen it, it’s essentially a stream of the weekly D&D 5e game of a group of voice actors led by Matthew Mercer–a voice actor and DM-Extraordinaire. His group of 7 players (known as “Vox Machina”), with the occasional guest, adventure in the world of Exandria, primarily on the continent of Tal’Dorei, saving the world and causing mayhem wherever they go.

There is drama, pathos, adventure, comedy, and, most of all, lots of heart. Mercer has put together an unforgettable campaign and manages the proceedings like a pro. While the voice acting chops help, it’s his gift for storytelling that really makes the campaign come to the life. Just watching the show for as short a time as I have, I have picked up several tips for upping my GM game. Plus, it inspires me to aspire to have a great a time as he clearly is behind the screens.

But the group is just as great. They really get into their characters and roleplay well. You can tell that they, and their characters, are good friends and work together to have a good time. They let each other have their “special moments” and really gel as a unit. The relationship displayed between player and DM is ideal and shows what a great group can do with the game. Vox Machina is a strong because of the bonds forged in fire by the players (Liam O’Brien, Laura Bailey, Travis Willingham, Sam Riegel, Taliesin Jaffe, Ashley Johnson, and Marisha Ray).*

Currently, there are 115 “canon” episodes of the first campaign. They will be starting a new campaign in the new year. Each episode is anywhere from 3-4 hours of game play (it’s literally just a stream of their session, largely unedited). I’m currently on episode 68 and slowly making my way to the end so I can start fresh in the new year (I probably won’t make it, but I’m going to love getting there). The episodes can be found on Geek & Sundry, YouTube, Twitch, and on Alpha.

So, in the words of Grog Strongjaw (Travis Willingham): “Vox Machina! Fuck. Shit. Up!”

* Orion Acaba was originally part of the cast for the first 30 or so episodes, but then left the show for personal reasons. He was also a lot of fun in his episodes as well.

Extra Life Marathon This Weekend

extralifeThis weekend (November 4-5), I will be participating in an 18-hour gaming marathon to benefit Extra Life (which benefits the Children’s Miracle Network). I will be running a 7th Sea adventure as well as a Deadlands adventure. There will also be someone running Pathfinder, I believe someone running Vampire: The Masquerade, and we will be playing in our regular Dresden Files RPG that night as well.

The event is being held in partnership with Extra Life by the Lawton Activity Club, the Lawton Gamers Without Group. It is being hosted by All Things Entertaining, a gaming/hobby shop in Lawton, OK.

For 18 hours we will play board games, card games, video games, and RPGs (with food and door prizes in the mix) while raising money for Oklahoma kids in need.

All Things Entertainment at 1901 NW Sheridan Rd have opened their doors to us for this event starting at 11am Saturday and running until 5am Sunday Morning. Numerous video game consoles, plenty of tables for board games and card games, and two rooms of roleplaying games.

Donations will be collected inside the door. A minimum donation of $20 is requested to enter and play all night (Stay for the whole event or come and go as you please!). Game Master’s minimum donation / pledge is $50.

Players may pick up Pledge sheets at All Things Entertainment or print one here (http://reddirtroleplayers.weebly.com/…/283…/pledge-sheet.pdf) and ask friends, family, co-workers to sponsor you. 100% of ALL proceeds go to the Children’s Miracle Network. This is a charity event, so please ask even those who do not game to sponsor you.

Door Prizes to be awarded throughout the night. You must be present to win.

So if you’re in the Lawton, OK area this weekend, be sure and come by, play some games with us, and support a great cause!

Edge of Darkness–A Fate Core Adaptation of Call of Cthulhu

CthulhuFor our Halloween session this year, I adapted an old Call of Cthulhu scenario called Edge of Darkness to Fate Core rules. I thought, “Insanity = Mental Stress FTW.” It worked pretty well (at least until the characters went a little off the rails). So I thought I’d share what I did.

Disclaimer:

Edge of Darkness is a Fate Core adaptation of the original scenario Edge of Darkness published in Call of Cthulhu 6th Edition, a Chaosium publication [Call of Cthulhu (6th edition) is copyright ©1981, 1983, 1992, 1993, 1995, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2004, 2005 by Chaosium Inc.; all rights reserved.]. This adaptation and its supplements and characters are published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

The Scenario and Supplements

Edge of Darkness

Latin Chants

On De Vermis Mysteriis

Player Aid 1

Player Aid 2

Player Aid 3

Player Aid 4

Ritual Notes

Pre-Generated Characters

Duane Page

Genie Radcliff

Jewel Porcher

Jocelin Hambleton

Malcolm Garland

Mildred Scrivens

Roderick Merriweather

Tyson Hutson

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.