Saturday, July 14, 2012

A Little Bit Of A Personal Gaming Update

I have a number of projects ongoing, and some news on my own gaming front. Since I can't seem to sit down and write content that I want to put up on this here blog thing, I guess that a personal update is in order.

In general, I am doing a lot less than I would like to be. In part, this is because I really can't stand the heat, and there's no way to get out of the kitchen. Of course, people in other parts of the country are sneering at me right now, as I am in one of the most temperate parts of the Lower 48, but I am acclimatized to here ("here" being the Pacific Northwest), and it is hot for here (and humid, which is very unusual). Other parts have to do with life issues.

First up, the project on which I want to be spending a lot more time than I am is the Top Secret retroclone. I am working on it, but like this blog, gaming takes second place to things that are happening in real life. I am considering how to get art for it, which leads me to thinking about Kickstarter, which further leads to the idea of doing a real print run rather than, or in addition to, a product. I'm not sure about the ins and outs of that, though. I'll talk to people and see what can be done.

Second, it looks like I'll be trying out this newfangled online gaming by teleconferencing thing. Happily, it looks to be a Traveller game, albeit the Mongoose version. I still have to make a character and whatnot, but that should go pretty quickly.

Next there's the AD&D game I've been working on. I've done a reasonable amount of work on it. I've got some of the main city of the campaign mapped, along with some sketches toward the ground floor of the tower-citadel of the city's masters. I have ideas about the megadungeon, but haven't gotten to putting lines on paper for the map yet. I don't know whether to wait until I have at least the sketches of the city's sewers done first (the dungeon is located underneath the city) or fit the sewers around the dungeon. However, those issues have dropped in priority because…

Thinking about Traveller has made me realize that I really, really love that game. I have a science fiction setting that I had been working on for some short stories, and decided that now would be a fine time to put it in gaming form. Some of the themes I want to explore with the setting include the value of multiple cultural expressions to the long-term viability of intelligent species, the nature of human institutions like honor, empire, and such, and the ability of varying worldviews to coexist or not. There are a dozen human interstellar polities, and a dozen aliens. Players will only be human, and at least at first, I intend to limit them to the central Terran Federation. Things are not always what they seem, of course, but sometimes they are. The setting has a lot of secrets sitting in my head. For now, I'll be using MegaTraveller, with some ideas taken from GURPS Traveller: Far Trader and First In. Eventually, I'll convert it to T5.

Other projects, like the WRG Game, are on hold right now.

What have you been doing in regard to gaming these days?


  1. Although I didn't play that much Traveller, really, it does bring back fond memories when you talk about it. (I remember even playing a bit of Larry Niven's Known Space with the rules.) Mostly, I took part in a few one-on-one sessions with friends who'd played the system far more than I did. Still, some good times there.

    Presently, I'm playing some M&M 3rd edition with friends, running though a series of adventures that took far too long to publish (over a year, I think), so I had to make up quite a few plot lines to keep them busy between those publishing gaps. Fun enough, though. We should be done in a month or two. It'll be nice to play for a while, this time in a fantasy world of element-themed races. It'll probably be a FATE game this time. I don't know if I'll care much for the heavy meta-gaming elements of FATE (I cringe a bit at some of the uses of hero points in M&M) - but there's only one way I'll know for sure.

    1. Playing Known Space with Traveller would be pretty neat, though the tech in Niven's stories is pretty high in comparison to the Traveller baseline!

      I should probably address metagaming-style rules eventually. I am pretty ambivalent about them. I have a philosophical opposition to them, but I can see why they exist and what they do. It's, as they say, complicated.

  2. I'll be interested to eventually hear your thoughts on the "meta" forms of gaming. They seem like a game-structured, but strong, form of improv where the "take what I just made up about this situation and run with it" element is taken very, very seriously. For me, the improv should consist precisely in what I portray my character saying, thinking, doing. Even in the most fantastical settings, that kind of psychological realism is what I aim to sustain as I play. It doesn't include me, as a player at least, quite visibly tweaking the scenario or setting on the fly. Ideally, I want my choices as a player to be more or less identical to my character's choices - tempered by the interpersonal needs of the table, of course, but otherwise pretty much the same. Still, I've never actually played one of these meta games except briefly at DragonCon one year. We'll see if a more extended bout of play has me appreciating it a bit more.

    1. I kinda touch on some of that in my most recent posting. I hope to get to a more specific discussion of meta-gaming elements (hero points and such) later on.