Saturday, February 28, 2015

Of Worlds Savage: Shivering Timbers and Rolling Bones

Got me a campaign.  Hope the Bennies hold out...
Well after talking about it about a half-dozen or more blog posts ago I'm finally running a Savage Worlds Campaign.  Note I said campaign.  This is a first for me as (full disclosure) I've never GM'd a campaign before.  99.9% of my DM/GMing has been as one-shots, occasionally running two sessions at a time.  Not only that, the SW system is all new to us so it's a learning experience all around.

To keep the learning to a minimum I decided to use a published setting, Pinnacle's 50 Fathoms.  The players enthusiastically jumped into the pirate genre and are now running around on Torath-Ka, an island something like a Lost World with bloodthirsty natives, violent apes and dinosaurs.  They're currently looking for their lost captain (using a map delivered by an NPC which is also a treasure map) they've been beat up a bit but gave back better.

As I said, this is a learning experience and I have learned quite a bit so far, not only about the system but GMing as well (hard to believe I've been playing/DMing since '81) and a few things have crystallized for me.  In SW you don't worry about NPCs and cannon-fodder as much as other games so it gave me a chance to deal with other aspects of the system.  It's also refreshing that I can throw more red shirts at the PCs and not worry about the bookkeeping (I'm taking this part slow).  I may also get into the mass combat rules down the line - they look fast and furious like the rest of the game.

Now that some of the GMing duties has been eased up, I can let the players sandbox more.  In the past, and as I've said in a previous post, I've always worried about railroading the players - I don't want to lead them by the nose but I need SOME kind of structure.  I find with SW I can loosen up the story to the point where it feels more like a give-and-take between the GM and the players.  I still do a Beat Chart (as I talked about in a previous post) but find I can loosen it up and move stuff around to accommodate the players actions and still keep track of things.  I now refer to the Beat Chart as a Story Framework to reflect those changes and to remind me to keep it loosey-goosey.


In addition, I'm actually starting to use Encounter Charts (in the past I get so wrapped up in the story I forget them).  AND, the players really like things like Bennies which lets them influence the story to an extent.

In fact, (Bold Statement time), I think I've found my RPG Soul Mate.  For me it fits like a glove.  I cringe a bit saying that, with my love for D&D, but Savage Worlds feels natural to me.  I won't say I'll not play or DM D&D ever again but for now Savage Worlds is it.  Time will tell.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

New Year's Here - All Right Then...

Goin' forward, I hope to eat more french fried potaters...
Well, here it is February and I'm just getting to this New Year's post.  Weird, huh?

Anyway, don't think much happened this past year - did a show, more gaming, the usual.  Started a new podcast (Brain Storm Think Tank) on WGP with my friends Vince Florio and Erik Tenkar.  It's a bit different - it's only about 30 minutes long and it offers ideas for GMs for use in their role-playing games.  I like the 30-minute format - it's easier to do and folks like the smaller chunks of info (Over at THAC0's Hammer we also have a Brain Storm segment - it was orignally Cory's idea so we just kinda spun it off).

I also started a video series on You Tube - Ol' Man Grognard, a 5-15 minute series on gaming from the viewpoint of an ol' fart like me.

Well, that's about it for the New Year's report.  More as I think of it.  Mmmm-hmmm...