Biggest lesson from last few years of gaming to me might have been that I can accept the fact that not all campaigns will work.
At first this seems like no-brainer. But only after some consideration, failures, and successes was I able to embrace this. It is not “letting your players down” nor is it “failing”. Understanding your own resources as GM is a tool.
So in this post I will try to explain this personal notion.
Sandbox campaigns are a dream I have chased for years. A campaign where the players participate in the story, create memorable content and I act only as a referee. I know that many people chase the same white rabbit and I’m going to discuss my methods of catching it.
We finished our latest season of Eldritch Sigils just last night. It was one of the most epic season with game starting in 2099 and ending in 1770s after a detour in about 2300. When we started this campaign exactly ten months ago I had no idea where the story would take us. I was once again trying to force my players to play with me on my sandbox.
Last Sunday I published the beta version of rules for Eldritch Sigils. This is a game I have been working on for about five years. I have actually published earlier drafts over the years but this was the first time it actually has consistency and it is actually playable.
This has been a long process and one that is still in the works. But now that the rules are “out there” I thought it would be a good chance to talk about them. Since game design is quite an interesting topic I hope that sharing my process might produce new ideas or at least be curious.
New season for Eldritch Sigils is on. This time we will play in the end of the 22nd century where the PCs are member of the organisation trying to keep the reality from shattering. It’s less than hundred years from “now” but Cyberpunk (as a time and style) is still a thing in the past and that means some changes in the way things work. And during the first session we had an interesting conversation about transhumanism.
At the start of this campaign we established that the characters were chosen by George Washington to uncover a diabolic cult of witches that had been plaguing the New World since its founding. As with most campaigns it all went to hell but this time with an intended bang.
It is quite remarkable how a few random words can make a big difference. I though I was having great time yesterday while playing Eldritch Sigils but once we were leaving Mikko‘s place after the game one of the players said something that not only made my day but also made me think (again) about how and why we play. It wasn’t a big thing at all – he just said: “I didn’t remember to mark down my exp.”
Though it seems we have more than enough of timing issues with this campaign we are managed to have an awesome fourth session yesterday. And even though we have been using Eldritch Sigils for a few years for the campaign it seems we can still find minor details that need correcting.
It seems like ages ago when I was GMing ANKH to my friends after school and just had to tweak the rules of the game to suit my taste. It might have been twenty years ago but I’m still doing it. And for the life of me I cannot see the reason why?
Why cannot I be satisfied with the rules as written?
It took us some time to get back to this (well, actually about two months) but finally returned to colonial America. Since I’m already writing a campaign debrief on this forum I decided that we do not really need another one. Thus this post is mostly about stealing stuff from other games to improve your own.
As roleplaying games go our “Sins of our Fathers” campaign is the longest I have ever participated in. Last Tuesday we started “the sixth season” and this time the action takes place in colonial America right after the raid on Joseph Curwen’s farm in 1772. As with the previous seasons we will use the refined version of my Eldritch Sigils game system that relies heavily on the AWengine.
We have all been there. The game is about to start and we just wait for that one player who is always late. Everybody is busy checking their Facebook or random videos from YouTube. Some leave for a smoke and maybe one player starts to go through the assorted papers for the game. Then that last player arrives and the game should start.
But it doesn’t.
Maybe it is because of collective tiredness or maybe someone wants to argue about a tv-series. Or maybe the GM has left the dice at home and no-one thought of bringing their own. Continue reading →