Right before I started this blog I fired off an email to a selection of people. The week before I had been out to a birthday dinner with those people, and realized out of everyone I know whether they game or not or want to learn or not, are the people I see the most often. So, our schedules must match up well enough for that at least. So I picked those people, and sent off an email saying if you’re interested I want to start gaming. And I said I want to try this Three Game Plot thing I read about here: http://lookrobot.co.uk/2014/01/06/three-game-plot-make-actual-game-happen/ reading this article is what inspired me to really try to get back to gaming because I realized that I need to change what gaming is in my head, because it’s not going to be every week anymore. So I sent out that email with the next three days I have off hoping to start scheduling some games. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get everyone together on any of those days, so it’s a little bit back to the drawing board. I still think Grant over at Look, Robot has an awesome idea, and I may still run a Three Game Plot (I trimmed what I had written to fit) to keep the action going (I learned another neat keep the action going trick in a different blog post, I’ll write about that later) but I think I’m also going to incorporate some aspects of a Living Campaign to make it a little easier for players to come and go.
If you don’t know about “Living” campaigns, I’ll explain. I used to play RPGA games. Those were all tracked by Wizards of the Coast (mostly by volunteer organizations of capable players who have been deemed knowledgeable of the core rules enough to be a “Judge” – I was.) and everyone used common rules, etc. I haven’t played since 4e came out, so I don’t know what RPGA looks like now. But back then, you would have your character, and you’d attend an adventure appropriate for your level, maybe at a comic shop, or at a convention. Afterward you’d get your AR, adventure record, and it would say how much XP and gold you got, what magic items, what you unlocked, etc. Each character could play any given adventure once. Since it was all modular and tracked well you can play with anyone, anytime. You’ll always be on the same page. I also played Living Kingdoms of Kalamar (my favourite pre-generated setting.) Kalamar isn’t a Wizards setting, it’s Kenzerco, but used d20 rules (it may have gone to Hackmaster or Pathfinder now,) so it was associated with the RPGA, but a little bit different. It was tracked somewhat more loosely, a lot of it just being on one long record sheet, and you’d get little handouts. A card saying you found this magic item, or earned this favor, instead of all being on the AR. Both perfectly viable ways of doing the same thing, really. So I may incorporate some handouts. I don’t think I’ll need to go to the length of ARs, but I’ll have to keep some careful notes and make sure we end at points where the PCs can change out. I’ll also have to make sure the rewards are pretty consistent, so I’ll make it so the whole game is worth so much XP.
Obviously, I’ve been really out of the RPGA/gaming con scene since 4e came out. That’s mostly because of other time constraints, but partly because I wasn’t really impressed by 4e. I’ve only tried it once, and am still willing to give it another shot, but I don’t think it’s my thing. I also don’t really like Forgotten Realms, which I think Wizards is using for it now. Still, RPGA games are a great way to get your game on when you’re short on time, and especially when you’re short on bandwidth. If it still works essentially the same way, one of your group becomes a Judge and you just download and run the sessions, and report the results back. It’s all pretty straightforward, and since it’s been made modular for you already and most of the plots are 1 to 3 adventures long it should be pretty easy to feel like you’re playing in complete sentences, so to speak. If anyone out there has experience with current RPGA or other Living games, I’d love to hear from you. Feel free to leave a comment.