Friday, August 22, 2008

I guess you could call these the, uh, salad days. Yeah, salad days...

I seem to have stumbled into a sort of gaming Renaissance. (Apparently I'm not the only one who's experiencing this.) I'm a little thrown, to be honest. I honestly don't think I've done this much actual gaming since, sheesh, high school maybe? Summer of '93 my friend Alex and I spent nearly every day gaming; we got through at least two major campaigns and any number of one shots and mini-campaigns.

Although things aren't quite that intense, I once again find myself on an almost-daily gaming schedule, for the moment at least. You see, Des and I decided to power on through the Pendragon campaign and get as much gaming in before she started her next semester of grad school. So for the past two weeks or so it's been Pendragon wall-to-wall. And we've been having a blast with it. (The scariest part is that there's still, oh, about twenty years left to go in the campaign arc. Seriously, the Great Pendragon Campaign is a BEAST.)

Once Des starts her semester she'll be super-duper busy, as is the way of all grad students, so we'll be lucky to get in a weekly game, I would think. So it's a good thing I've got so many other irons in the fire...

I went ahead and picked up RIFTS, as I had threatened to. I'll probably make a separate post about that, and my feelings on returning to the old game, but for now I'll just mention that I had Alex over last week and we discussed RIFTS and Kevin Siembieda and how we'd do things differently nowadays and so forth...and then we rolled up characters.

We each made a character, with the idea that either one of us could run a pick-up game for the other person, whenever. Super casual and the like. "Sandbox" style, if you will. (Who originated that term, anyway? I mean, in gaming circles, that is.) It was kinda hilarious, because on the first go-round we each rolled up basically the same character: short, fat, mean disposition, with some pretty grim attributes to boot. Not even inspirational enough to choose an O.C.C. So we chucked that out and tried again; second time was a charm.

I came up with a Crazy in the mode of Tank Girl. I don't like the basic write-up for Crazies in RIFTS; too Malkavien-ish, part of that whole 90s fad in RPGs where you could play a goofball/asshole and get away with it because, "That's totally what my character is supposed to be like!" So I'm going for more of an anarchist/punk vibe. Probably helps I saw The Dark Knight shortly before making the character. That's how I'd sum up the differences actually; if the RIFTS Crazy as-written is Cesar Romero's Joker, mine is closer to Heath Ledger's. The sort of campaign she's best suited for is relatively low-powered. Probably stuff set in and around the Chi-town 'Burbs, interacting with organized crime syndicates and Coalition patrols. I like that idea a lot, but then I do tend to run more low-powered campaigns, so it figures I'd want to play in such a setting as well. But it's also a switch from the sort of high-powered gonzo-ness we used to run with RIFTS, so it will be an interesting switch if we can pull it off.

Alex came up with a Cyber-Knight, who he proceeded to min-max the ever-loving crap out of. That's OK; single-player campaigns need all the help they can get. The coolest thing about his character, actually, is the fact that we sort of simultaneously came up with the idea that he was a D-Bee who looked like Davy Jones from Pirates of the Carribean ("Cthulhu-headed," as we put it). Love it. I'm thinking I'll have him operating out west, in and around Colorado. Should be fun. Man, if there's one thing the Palladium system does well, it's encourage interesting, cool characters.

So that's all going on, and then I go and hop on board with noism's Planescape PBP game! I'm quite excited about this. I haven't seriously participated in a PBP/PBeM type game in years, and I've been itching to get back into it (I'm still thinking about restarting the GPC as a PBeM once Des and I finish with it, with any number of characters all acting independently of each other). And Planescape has been one of those settings that I've always wanted to explore and never had the chance. Well, now's my chance! The fact it's sandbox-style AD&D 2e is just icing on the cake.

For that game, I came up with a bariaur fighter with the Noble Warrior kit. Since I rolled 3d6 for attributes, he has a rather wide range of attributes, to put it mildly. High STR and CON, but low INT and abysmal WIS (I won't say how low, but...it's pretty damn low). At any rate, and this is obviously because of all the Pendragon I've been running, but I made him this sort of questing knight type. He actually has a jousting lance for Chrissakes! Yup, that whopping 1d3-1 damage is going to make a crucial difference in the game, I'm sure. Because of his low mental faculties, he'll be a bit closer to the Percival/Don Quixote type of knight than the stereotypical cavalier.

My fellow players are coming up with similarly great ideas, so this should be a lot of fun. And it's set to start right when Pendragon will be quieting down, so that should work out well.

Of course, I have my usual lists (short and long alike) of future projects and fun side-projects and so forth as well. So yeah, things are really moving along. Considering that just five years ago things had gotten to the point where I wasn't gaming at all, or that about three years ago I was lucky to get in two or three sessions every couple months, well, it's about damn time things started picking up again!
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