Friday, July 18, 2014

My RPG Campaigns

This post started out with the intent of providing some context for my sidebar where I have links to all my old campaigns and ended up being the history of my RPG campaigns. It got a little long.

 In the right column of the blog there is a list of links called Games.  Those are links to all my RPG campaigns from when I used things like Obsidian Portal, Epic Words, and my own blogs to keep track of my games.  Not all my past campaigns are there but that’s most of them.  The sites functioned as an online campaign notebook.  I’ve transitioned to writing everything in Evernote now.  I’m not sure my players really looked at those sites anyway.  I email the parts that I want the players to read now.  Sometimes they even read them.   Btw, if you dig into those links, you might find some broken links and inaccessible pages. I tried to maintain everything but some of it is lost.  At some point Epic Words redid their whole site and it really mangled some of my campaigns. 

 Ars Magica was the first campaign where I used a webpage.   I think it was hosted at geocities, if you remember that far back into the internet history.   When I first moved to Dallas back in 1997, I had moved away from my regular gaming group, so I decided to try a PBEM (Play by Email) game.   I got a few friends to agree to give it a go.  It was a lot of fun for a while but it went the way most PBEMs go.  Some people stopped responding or I wasn’t able to post as often and the game eventually died.  I think almost the whole game is archived at that link.   I even wrote a campaign wrap-up a few years later.
 For a while, around 2001-2002, I played a lot of Warhammer 40k. A small group would meet every other Sunday to play 40k, paint models, and build terrain.   At some point I suggested an ongoing campaign, where each of us would choose a starting point on a map and each “turn” our various forces would spread out to new territories.    When two forces met, we’d fight a 40k battle.   If you notice the map is from Shogun.   It went pretty well for a while but after a bit we had too many pending battles stacked up and we could never find time to finish.  
Sometime around this same time, I started my first D&D 3E campaign.  The group played all the way through Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil and then continued on through a few more adventures.   I think they were all about level 18 when we stopped.   It was at this point that I realized high level D&D 3 games can become cumbersome, but that’s a whole other  blog post. I never made a webpage for this game for some reason.  Probably because there were only 4 players and 2 of them lived with me at the time.  

Sandwiched in here somewhere were both a Deadlands game and another D&D 3.5 game.  The Deadlands game was short lived but now legendary among the players, mostly for the amount of mayhem they caused. I'll post some of the stories tommorrow.

 My longest D&D 3.5 game was Eberron.  A few college friends had moved into town and rather than try and shoehorn them into a level 18 D&D game we decided to start a brand new game using the Eberron setting.  This game ran for years. I really got into the Eberron setting and the players enjoyed it immensely.  Eventually, I ran out of pre-written Eberron adventures, and I never have much time to write my own. I grabbed the Age of Worms adventure path and fit it into the Eberron setting. The game went all the way to Epic level.  The highlight of this game was the airship, Steel’s Edge.  At one point in the campaign the players acquired an airship that they named Steel’s Edge.  Three of the players built a scale model of the ship.  I still have it.  I’ll post pictures in the next few days. At the end of this campaign, I decided I was tired of D&D 3.5.  Epic level characters and high level combats were a lot of work.  If I ever run a D&D 5E game it will be set in Eberron and a sequel to this campaign.  
The next campaign I started was a Call of Cthulhu Delta Green campaign. This is my longest running game to date. We've been playing it off and on since 2007.  We’re getting ready to play a session next week.   At some point I started adding in some material from the Laundry RPG.  I really like the Laundry setting and novels.  Somehow, no one has died yet, though a few are horribly maimed and some are teetering on the brink of sanity.

Around this time, Dark Heresy was published, the original Black Library one, not the newer one by FFG.  I was still very into 40k so I wanted to play it. I started a side campaign with a different group of friends that was supposed to run once a month. We only managed 4 or 5 times a year.  I'm not kidding though, the Dark Heresy rules are a train wreck. The players seemed to like it so I forged ahead. My Dark Heresy is heavily house-ruled. I think it went almost 2 years.  I'm running it again now so it must not be all that bad.

I was part of the proto-kickstarter pre-order for Monte Cook’s Ptolus.  I fell in love with the setting.  It was written for D&D 3.5 but I didn’t really want to run another 3.5 game.  D&D 4E had recently been released so I converted the whole thing to 4E. The players made it though the Banewarrens and then some. The campaign lasted the entire life of 4E. We started the game a few months after the release of the 4E PHB and it ended September 2013, about the time 5E was announced.  Click the link on the right if you are interested in running a 4e Ptolus game.  All my conversions are there.
When the Dark Heresy game folded,  I still wanted to play a once a month game in addtion to the main Ptolus campaign. I started a Runequest game using the Mongoose RQ 2 rules, which I think is 5th Edition? It was pretty fun.  It went the way of every Runequest game I've ever run.  Eventually the characters get to a power level where I have to make more and more powerful NPCs/Monsters to challenge them and combat starts taking too long.  Still love Runequest though.  Back in the 80s, Runequest was the first fantasy RPG where I was a player rather than a DM. I still have my character sheet for my Initiate of Humakt. Never quite made it to Runelord.  I own the new 6th Edition rules. I'm sure there will be a campaign at some point.

 Back to Eberron!  WOTC re-did Eberron for 4E, so I started a second D&D 4E game using Eberron with a different group.  I like Eberron that much.  We only got together a few times before the game ended.  The players weren’t local and this was back in the days before Google hangouts and Roll 20 became the thing for playing RPGs remotely.  I think I ran out of adventures too.  I remember converting some of the 3E ones to 4E but never running them.

   I was detecting some burnout in the 4E Ptolus game so I put the game on hiatus and started a Mongoose Traveller game based on Firefly/Serenity.  Traveller is a very adaptable and I added in a lot of house rules from the Serenity RPG and a few of my own creation.  We ended the first season of this game. The second season could start anytime, though now we’re playing Star Wars (see below) so I think that game would have to end before going back to the is one.  They are somewhat similar.
 My current D&D game is Swords and Wizardry set in Greyhawk. After the Ptolus game ended I wanted to start an OSR game and run all the old cool TSR modules of my youth. This campaign is active but on pause so we could try out Star Wars.  At some point I’ll write up a post about Swords and Wizardry and the OSR.  It’s the version of D&D I’ve been searching for since 2E.
The  games I am currently running Star Wars Edge of the Empire with my tabletop group and Dark Heresy with my online hangouts group.  Edge of the Empire is in interesting system. It’s almost but not quite a story game.   The online group drug me back into Dark Heresy.  They are heavily invested in the 40k universe otherwise I wouldn’t have tried it. Lots of house rules.
There was also the DCC game in there somewhere that I referred to in this post.  That was my one of my first Google hangouts games.  I'm currently working on a post-apocalypse sandbox-style DCC game.  The plan is to write it up in this blog over the course of the next year. The Archetype post was the first step in creating that campaign.  Stay Tuned!