25 January, 2010

Back in the Hot Seat

I've been itching to run a decent campaign for a while.

The last few starts I've made have all lasted a couple of sessions at best. More oftren than not, some kind of real-world issue causes a fight between players...who then take it out on one another's characters...then the resentment comes back out of game.

It's frustrating and one of the reasons my regular gaming group fractured over a year ago, then gradually crumbled away. We still socialise together, but gaming just has a way of bringing up old wounds within that group.

For the last 18 months, the only games I've GM'd or played have been at conventions. I've spent more time analysing and designing, less time playing or GMing. It's probably led to a bit of detachment from the physical/social act of gaming.

Then came a double hit to solve my problems. First a trio of Norwegians, then a distress call on Nearbygamers.

The Norwegians had come to Australia for Arcanacon in Melbourne. While passing through Sydney I offered some Aussie hospitality, preparing traditional Aussie cuisine with a main course barbeque of beef and kangaroo, and a dessert of lamingtons and Tim Tams (well...my long suffering wife Leah prepared the dessert). While in town I had to show them my most complete game, The Eighth Sea. This went down fairly well, and I gave them each a copy of the rules. Matthijs promises that he'll send across a copy of his own book "Norwegian Style" once he gets back home (There's a blog about it here). It was a great night, even if I did forget many of the rules of my own game (again).

Meanwhile a group of players in Bondi were looking for a GM...and that's where the true Hot Seat begins. They want campaign play and they seem like a fun bunch of guys, unlike most stereotypical gamers they meet in a martial arts dojo, they're all fit and I think that most combat rule systems would be incredibly overanalysed by them. They want to play D&D but I think they'll be up for something a bit more experimental based on the first session yesterday.

I decided to run character generation using a modified version of "A Penny for my Thoughts" (a review here, but regular readers will already know my liking for this game), with the hope that this would give some really interesting characters through interaction between the players.

It was a mix of players who'd heard of roleplaying and were interested, a few who'd tried it years ago, and a couple of seasoned veterans. They all got the idea pretty quickly, and it certainly produced an interesting mix of characters.

I'm using this group to play out a campaign world I developed a couple of years ago called Baron Xavier's Legacy. It's a sandbox style game in the same vein as West Marches.

I'll provide some more details shortly, bit at this stage things are looking good. Good enough that they are willing to pay me petrol and photocopying expenses to keep running a regular game for them...and they're enthusiastic enough to want two games per week.

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