The pandemic has largely thwarted my RPG plans for 2020. It doesn’t mean that I didn’t play anything – quite the opposite! In this post, I describe what I played and ran in the past year, and also share my new idea on how to successfully launch a RPG campaign.
As a Game Master, in 2020 I ran:
“Glow of the Past” – a fantasy adventure inspired by Greek mythology and the Bronze Age Collapse. It went in play-by-post form via Discord.
“Rotunda of Seasonus”, which I created together with Tomasz Misterka, was more lucky and won the third award in the contest for best RPG dungeon.
“The Mysteries of Finlaggan” – an adventure somewhat similar to “Call of Cthulhu”, but instead of Lovecraft’s mythology we used Scottish mythology. Here, too, we played in play-by-post form via Discord, the whole thing took two long sessions. Three players created really convincing Characters (two Hebrides natives and a historian from Oxford) and finally solved the mystery of the ruins in title (I recommend a documentary about them).
All the above adventures were run on the Freeform Universal RPG, which I highly recommend especially for oneshots and short campaigns!
As a player, I took part in 24 sessions in 2020:
Warhammer Fantasy 4th edition – 9 sessions.
Warhammer Fantasy 2nd edition – 3 sessions as part of the “Game of Thessos” campaign, which has been going on for several years. The similiary of its name to “Game of Thrones” is not coincidental.
Unification of Gondor (homemade system, on the edge of RPG and wargame) – we play continuously in the play-by-post form, so it is impossible to specify the number of sessions, but a lot happened in Eriador, as you can see on a small section of our campaign map:
Lasers & Feelings – 2 play-by-post form sessions.
Sagas of the Icelanders – 2 live sessions.
Dungeon World – 1 voice session.
FAE (Fate Accelerated Edition) – 1 live session. We created a setting that is a steampunk variant of Austro-Hungary (how much can you play in steampunk Britain?!) and a crazy story based on the theme of time travel.
Mörk Borg – 1 voice session, “Rotblack Sludge” adventure. This system turned out to be the biggest hit of last year, largely due to its unusual design. I was extremely lucky and my hero (as well as his small but vicious dog) survived the whole adventure, unlike his teammate, whose first character died after literally five minutes of play.
Mutants of Ixx (postapo hack of Into the Odd, which I played some years ago) – 1 voice session.
Scheherazade – 1 live session.
Under Hill, By Water – 1 voice session (continued in 2021). A wholesome system about hobbits, a very important part of the game is creating not only characters, but also their villages. Almost anything can be generated randomly, including the name of the village. And here it is (the drawing is provided with the game, the players only specify the names and owners of each hobbit hole):
Cthulhu Dark Ages – 1 voice session.
What I would like to run in 2021:
However, bearing in mind the unsuccessful attempt to conduct a campaign a few years ago, I came up with a procedure that is intended to reduce the risk of another failure:
- I will create an initial database of potential players.
- (Applies to online voice play) I will have test interviews with potential players. The purpose of these interviews is to check the quality of the connection. During the conversation, I’m also going to discuss the steps below, as well as check the time availability of potential players.
- With 2-3 people (3 players is a reasonable maximum, each additional person increases exponentially the difficulty in finding a session date convenient for everyone) we will arrange (using Doodle to find a suitable date) for a one-shot session, e.g. Dream Askew (handouts here) or Dream Apart (handouts here). These are GM-less systems, so the session will not require much effort from me, and will allow to check how a given group gets along with each other. These systems require a proactive attitude of players – as Legacy does. Dream Askew has the added benefit of potentially “exporting” setting and characters to Legacy.
- Only when the above test session is successful, we will arrange a session of zero Legacy or Yoke. During it, it is necessary to determine (and preferably write down the arrangements) what level of conflict between characters (PvP) will be allowed during the campaign, as well as a possible “house rule”. Session zero arrangements can only be changed with the consent of all players.
What do you think about this procedure?
As for being a player…
RPGs I already know and would like to play in future:
- Blades in the Dark
- City of Mist
- Cthulhu Invictus or Cthulhu Dark Age
- DnD 3 edycja (only possible continuation of the campaign already started)
- DnD 5 edycja (only possible continuation of the campaign already started)
- Dogs in the Vineyard
- Freeform Universal RPG and its hacks and the upcoming second edition
- Ironsworn (and Delve add-on)
- Kids on Bikes
- Lady Blackbird
- Love in the time of Seið (and similar games)
- Sagas of the Icelanders
- The Sword, the Crown and the Unspeakable Power (SCUP)
- Star Wars d6
- Under Hill, By Water
- Urban Shadows
- Warhammer Fantasy 2 ed. (only the continuation of “Game of Thessos”, the 4th edition seems much more enjoyable)
- Warhammer Fantasy 4 ed.
- Würm — Roleplaying in the Ice Age
RPGs I haven’t played yet but would like to:
- Alas for the Awful Sea (this system was recommended to me when I was looking for materials for “Mysteries of the Finlaggan”)
- Alice is Missing
- BALIKBAYAN: Returning Home
- Band of Blades
- Bluebeard’s Bride
- Burning Wheel
- Cowboy World
- Dream Apart
- Dream Askew
- Earthdawn: The Age of Legend
- Flotsam – Adrift Amongst the Stars
- Free from the Yoke
- Gardens of Ynn or Stygian Library
- Legacy: Life Among the Ruins
- Lord Scurlock (game available here)
- Mazes and Minotaurs (or its spin-off, Vikings and Valkyries)
- Mistborn Adventure RPG (after recently reading “The Alloy of Law” and its sequels, my appetite increased even more)
- Monster of the Week
- Neon City Overdrive (cyberpunk game based on the Freeform Universal RPG)
- No Country For Old Kobolds
- Star Wars FFG
- The One Ring
- The Quiet Year
- Thousand Year Old Vampire
- White Books
- And many others which I forgot 🙂
I wish you (and myself) many great RPG sessions in 2021!
I also invite you to my fanpage! In addition to information about new posts, I plan to share various curiosities about RPGs, history and of course, castles, unearthed in the depths of Facebook.