REFLECTIONS ON RPGING IN 2018

Where to start?  Overall, a very good year of gaming.  Some real highlights with hosting the Owlbear and Wizard’s Staff in Leamington, and having lots of friends travel to game with us, meeting gaming chums in Melbourne for a session of Shadow of the Demon Lord, and releases of new editions of some of my favourite RPGs.  I was disappointed not to be able to attend Grogmeet due to a work commitment and it was a shame that for some reason Free RPG Day didn’t seem to reach Coventry or Warwickshire.

Games

Played a lot of games this year.  As with 2017, a fair bit of D&D and I do really rate 5e.  With @chimpy20 we’ve continued our excellent Forgotten Realms campaign, and had a dramatic end to the arc just before Christmas.  We had a break earlier in the year to try out Monster of the Week (run magnificently by @dan_connolly), and looking forward to trying Spire in the new year. In parallel, I’ve been playing in a 5e game of Primeval Thule, run by the dad of one of my son’s friends.  This is a more Swords and Sorcery setting with thieves guilds, powerful old families, cultists, and jungle and tomb exploration.

Our taste for Swedish RPGs has continued.  We’ve progressed with the Throne of Thorns campaign for Symbaroum and played several sessions of Mutant Year Zero.  One of my first sessions of the new year will be Forbidden Lands, which I’m really excited about.  Tempted to run it at UK Games Expo if can get my head around it in time.  We’ve also enjoyed The Strange, Infinity and Conan as part of our Sunday morning breakfast club (@chimpy20, @dan_connolly, @giryan, @Er0_0, @doc_griffiths , Chris and Dave)

I’ve continued to play and run Star Trek Adventures and always have a marvellous time.  FASA Trek was an important game to me as a young RPGer.  I’ve been running the Modiphius’ Living Campaign for the TNG era, with the excellent crew of the USS Thunderchild (@spookshow @blythy @theGrognardfile @pedr @wayne_peters) and hope to bring in some more home-brew stuff in 2019.  My pedantic Captain Senek enjoys being saved by the crew of the USS Stan Lee (thanks @pilky @tallaluhmaait @tarasis @MissJennavyrH  @ItsAJWassh). We played an excellent few sessions of the Legend of the Five Rings 4e (where I got to play a Scorpion Bushi at last, another gaming ambition – thanks @jimbohawkins) and have enjoyed running sessions of Call of Cthulhu, Wild West Cinema and Vampire the Masquearade 5e on-line (thanks @spookshow @xtamsynx @MissUnreason @restrepowriter @adamrkitch @morthrai @chrissyspill).  The latter was particularly exciting as missed out on Vampire and the whole World of Darkness in the 90s, and got to meet some new twitter RPG friends!  Maybe Vampire Dark Ages and Mage in 2019?

I began running the first part of the Dead Suns Adventure Path for Starfinder for my son, his friend, and another dad and enjoyed that very much.  Hope to get another session in soon.  At the beginning of the year, had a great focussed campaign with @Ian_h_cooper and run by Ron Edwards @RonAdept – this used the RQ2 ‘classic’ ruleset and a lot of the game was world-building and developing the rather malign metaphysics and pantheon, and psychologically exploring the growth of the young heroes .  Also had the great experience of several sessions of Nights Black Agents, run by @kinnygraham and with my fellow Bourne-wannabees @dimbyd @lintillaz @nfbenson ). I enjoyed running HeroKids for my nephews and my children and have had a great time as my bloodthirsty Cambrian Knight Aneirin in @dissectingwrlds PBEM Pendragon game.

Despite missing Grogmeet, I did manage to get an away gaming match and was very fortunate that @mark_gor very kindly pointed me towards a RPG Meetup group in Melbourne and then, even more generously, ran a game of Shadow of the Demon Lord.  This was a really excellent session in a great venue and very much enjoyed playing with @alex_cattoo @patrickoduffy @Art_the_DM – hope to do so again!

Releases of Old Favourites 

If a game defines the year, it may have to be Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay for me.  This began at the end of 2017 when Dirk asked me to run WFRP1e for Grogmeet17.  I then ran ‘Mistaken Identity’ (the first part of ‘The Enemy Within’ campaign) three further times in 2018 – for Virtual Grogmeet, at UK Games Expo, and for the Armchair Adventurers and the Grognard Files (thanks for a great session @blythy @theGrognardfile @kitch66uk @thedicemechanic).  This love for the old edition has been compounded by the release of the 4th edition from Cubicle – not played as yet, but one definitely for 2019.

Another big release for me in 2018 has been Legend of the Five Rings 5th edition, from Fantasy Flight Games.  I’d got into the hobby again when the 3rd edition was out and have really enjoyed 4th edition (and continue to do so), but was excited about new release.  We’ve played the Beginner Game and I am really liking the new mechanics, particularly around social interactions, loss of face and stress, and the Rings.  I’ve submitted an adventure I’ve written for 5e for UK Games Expo 2019 and hope to get to grips more with new edition.

2018 was also an important year for Glorantha.  Releases of the Glorantha Sourcebook, RuneQuest Glorantha, and 13th Age Glorantha but marked by the sadness of Greg Stafford’s passing.  Chaosium goes from strength to strength – strong releases, the new edition of Masks of Nyarlothotep and taking Pendragon back in house.  In 2019 I want to read through the three Gloranthan RPG rulesets and try to get some to table.

Conventions

As mentioned, I was sad not to get to Grogmeet18 but was able to attend UK Games Expo and we put on Owlbear and Wizard’s Staff mini-con in Leamington in September.

My Expo was slightly over-shadowed by a big work commitment the week following but, despite that, enjoyed it greatly as always.  Ran Symbaroum, Ars Magica 2e, and WFRP1e and had a fantastic time playing the D&D epic on Saturday night (thanks @Grami_WER).  Good to see friends and buy a few things. Picked up some books from James Raggi for LotFP and really enjoyed the HeroQuest seminar. Have submitted one session to UKGE19 and thinking about 2nd.

I was really delighted by being able to host the Owlbear and Wizard’s Staff mini-con OBaWS – so grateful to all the kind GM’s for running and for all those who joined us for the day (and curry the night before).  Ended up with 10 tables running morning and afternoon. Currently, I am looking into dates for 2019 and will think about improving on post-Con drink plans, and  make sure we have lots of D&D, and keep the samosas.

2019….

Some fun plans already underway.  As mentioned, have submitted L5R5e adventure to UK Games Expo and am thinking about offering one of WFRP5e/Symbaroum/Forbidden Lands/Star Trek Adventures for a second game.  As a player, I’ve got a session of Primeval Thule planned for January and we are starting Forbidden Lands at the weekend.

More generally, want to keep playing and running Star Trek Adventures and am starting an online game of Pendragon this month, a long-held ambition.  Thanks to some Twitter enthusiasm, we’re starting some setting/Saga/world-bulilding for an Ars Magica campaign, which may or may to also include some on-line sessions. I think our Sunday morning sessions will include Coriolis and Symbaroum down the line so for me, other GMing goals are to get L5R5e and WFRP4e to the table.  More Vampire and getting to try Mage would also be fun!

Happy new year everyone and hope to see you at Expo/Grogmeet/ and may be Owlbear… I’m off to read King Arthur Pendragon v5.2 and email Dirk with thoughts about virtual and meatspace Grogmeet.

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