Some Thoughts on recent Gaming

Mostly the online stuff, systems, genres, et cetera.

In no particular order, just stream-of-consciousness stuff.

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I like running Star Wars, and I'm glad I finally got to run/play some version of Tatooine Manhunt, a classic WEG Star Wars scenario but… yeah. I'm kind of done with running modules. Ehn. Much more interesting to grab the character notes, a cool planet, some history stuff to mix in, NPCs that want stuff, and a crazy critter or something, and just play. Still, bucket list ticked.

Also, not for nothing: most non-demo published scenarios are too long for online play, unless they're super-tight and tied to the characters like crazy, because they take seven weeks to play through and we've forgotten how we even got involved in the thing by the time it wraps up.

I mean, if you know you're going to do some epic dungeon crawl thing that goes on for six or sixteen or sixty sessions, then that's fine, but otherwise, short and brutal is better for online, IMO.

Or meandering sandbox. Same diff.

Fate Accelerated is such a weird beast for me, these days. I like approaches on paper, but in play they're… kind of a pain in the ass? "Which approach is the right one for this thing you're doing, what's going on here?" Ugh. I don't mind meta-thinking, but it gets in my face on every.single.roll, and that's tiring.

I wouldn't want to do a skill list either, necessarily, but that's for other reasons.

There was a weird thing going on with the the dice rolling where we'd say what we were doing (good), then roll (good), and then figure out if it had been an attack or create advantage or overcome or whatever (weird). Fine, but… weird. It never retroactively changed the action taken (good), and I doubt it breaks anything, and it was nice for narrating interesting stuff other than "you shoot, then he shoots…" but it was – again – a kind of weird thing where the meta came in a lot. We tended to do a lot of "I only beat him by 1, so I'll just set up an advantage for later," and people only going for damage when they could really slam-dunk someone with a big hit. Which I totally get – I'd do the same thing, and probably encouraged that here.

I should absolutely have gone with my initial instincts and gotten rid of Stress. Otherwise there's just too many plink-plink-plink hits. Star Wars people get hit once, maybe twice, and they are done – from Leia to Chewbacca: one hit HURTS. Drop stress, everything goes to Consequences, and it speeds fights up a lot more and makes the hits much more significant. (Even then, Fate points give you more than enough ability to reduce the damage sustained.)

Six sessions, and we never refreshed fate points. There was never a need – we finally tapped one character down to zero fate points at the end of the last session, and he only started with two to begin with. One other guy had 1, and everyone else had 3 or more… and I almost never did a compel. (Maybe I never did – I can't think of any. I gave out two for particularly character-rich moments.)

In six sessions, the best scenes were the ones aboard the ship, in transit. Another argument in favor of character-focused winging it, as opposed to published scenarios, which should surprise no one.

Everyone felt tired last night. Or I did, and projected, but by the end of a basically normal-length session, we were dah-rag-ing. Big time.

If I keep going with Rebel Ops, I'll probably try another system. I'm very curious how various expressions of the setting, via system, change the way the game feels.

The cool thing: wouldn't need to keep the same characters, even, or people can. Either. The nature of the way Rebel Ops is set up is the group for that session can be different than the last, because the…

Huh.

Yeah, I need to make the situations/missions going forward a LOT shorter, so we can wrap them up in one session, maybe two. Lets us tell lots of stories about lots of different rebels, if we like. Get more people playing, different ones, and just try stuff out.

The Rebels TV show is a good model in this case (irony!): "Here's this one thing we need to do, we go do it, there's a complication, we address it, there's a twist, probably some fighting, and we deal with both the twist and fighting and get back out." Curtain drops.

Same basic model as a Mouse Guard mission: Mission, Challenge, Twist, Challenge, Twist, Conclusion. Hmm.

So, game systems: Streets of Mos Eisley (PtbA), Star Worlds (also PtbA), Risus (don't laugh, I've seen some good write-ups on this). Hell, maybe even Savage Worlds, just to figure out what all the G-D fuss is about, though I'm not sure I want to deal with … eh. I need to re-read the rules again.

Anyway, they're all dead-simple to explain to people as we play, so they're all good in that way.

And this says nothing at all about doing something else like Don't Rest Your Head, Monster of the Week, or whatever. One Ring, even.

Man could I stand to play some more One Ring. I like that game.

Platform. I would 100% rather be running entirely in Roll20 with no Hangouts interface getting in my way, but right now it's not a good option: I need a more powerful streaming/recording machine first. Baby steps.

Until then, I'll deal with Hangouts. Le sigh.

More thoughts in comments, as I have them. Also pinging current players, since this is relevant and I welcome thoughts.


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