Dungeons and Dragons, easily. I've been flailing at it since I was ten. Full-steam ahead all through high school. Several games in college, though it was rarely the 'main' game. A four and half year game that bridged 3rd edition into 3.5, plus a pile of Living Campaign play at that same time, all of which kind of burned me out for awhile. A bit of 4e, and now online Adventurer's League with 5e, and some games with the kids.
At a guess, probably four or five hundred sessions of DnD, over the years. It may not be my all-time favorite game, but… I mean, numbers don't lie.
For our first real session of Masks, I decided to start off the game[^1] with a super-awkward morning-news-show-style interview with most of the team and the interviewer, Tasha Starr.
It was deliciously horrible. When Iconoclast finally blasted in the streetside window and shouted "this interview is over!" the Bull's immediate reaction – over a live mic – was "Thank Christ."
Then there were supers fisticuffs and the rescuing of civilians and idiot morning show hosts.
One of my wonderful players (+Bill Garrett) put together a series of livetweets commemorating the interview, and I just had to share, because they're great.
The last one in the series is by me, foreshadowing events coming up in session 2 (and the still-ongoing fight just outside the studio).
[^1]: The actual start of the game was the love letters I wrote for all the characters, captured here: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+DoyceTesterman/posts/7Vba3bjiu39 https://plus.google.com/u/0/+DoyceTesterman/posts/7onPVFuExmH https://plus.google.com/u/0/+DoyceTesterman/posts/dry21LYnx7P https://plus.google.com/u/0/+DoyceTesterman/posts/dQDWqFRsUVJ
In Album 8/18/17
I don't really like adapting games much. I'm not a system designer by either preference or practice – I like running and playing, and I really enjoy when the rules as written just… work. There's a joy in that.
I have, in the past, done a success-counting hack of Risus that I liked, an Approach-less version of Fate Accelerated where the Aspects have ratings you add to rolls, and I've done a couple genre re-skins for various apocalypse-engine games, including one for the kids where the whole system and character sheet fits on an index card. So… those. I guess. Fate's the easiest to hack, but I usually only run that for the kids, anymore.
Now, if you're talking 'adapting' like "use Monsterhearts, RAW, for a sort of Star Trekkie sci-fi game"… I'm slightly more down for that kind of mash-up fun. I've done adaptations of many, many games to the Amber setting, for example – some of them even worked.
(Either Urban Shadows or Masks would make fun Amber adaptations, for example, for different reasons.)
Haven, the Free City by Gamelords, Ltd. It was an urban setting for a DnD clone where everyone basically played different flavors of thieves. Since you were thieves, the game focused on personal interactions, intrigue, and political and social plotting in a way that was decades ahead of its time.
Tragically, the team behind Gamelords lost their main artist and a central content creator to a car accident in the early eighties, and the IP has languished in the basement of an acquisitive dilettante since 1986.
I'd say most PBTA games (and in a lot of cases most games that share that design-space in the industry). You need more than a couple sessions to really get them going, but characters tend to resolve arcs after about ten sessions and lapse into a bit of thumb twiddling after that until they get pointed in a new direction – it creates a good point to wrap up and move to something else.
(Note, for 2 hour long Roll20 sessions with five players, triple all sessions-required estimates.)
The video recording for this session went wonky, so here's the audio for our Masks session 0.
I'm SUPER excited to see these kids in action.
– Link, the power-armored super-genius with a very complicated family life (Bull)
– Concord, the way-too-young host of the Powers of Valor (Nova playbook)
– Jason Quill, one-time child science adventurer, now 'protected' by a cloud of nanobots that seem to be… absorbing his psyche (Doomed)
– Ghost Girl, the ghost of a civil-war-era girl, brought back to the wondrous world of the future (Outsider)
– Harry Gale, a.k.a. Mercury – the youngest member of The World's Fastest Family (Legacy)
It's going to be a good time.
2017-08-08 – Masks 0 – w music.mp3 – Google Drive
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That may not be useful to a lot of other people as a recommendation, but No Thank You, Evil! and Hero Kids are both designed with shorter scenarios and challenges in mind, due to their target audience. I don't think I've ever run NTYE! for more than an hour at a time. Outside specific games, I'd probably focus on lean games with simpler character sheets, like Risus or Fate Accelerated. FAE + It's Not My Fault would work well.
But… I mean… Almost all my weekly Roll20 gaming is comprised of 2 to 2.5 hour sessions, so… pretty much any system, I guess, if you're talking about being able to play multiple short sessions.
ALSO, any game where everyone playing is on the hook to come up with a lot of stuff out of their head, all the time, is probably best confined to shorter sessions. I find people lose their inventive steam after a few hours, so if you want to keep things popping in games where the players have to invent a lot of stuff on the fly, I'd recommend shorter sessions.
The whelmed podcast (located at the nigh-perfect url http://crashingthemode.com/) is basically "Buffering the Vampire Slayer," but for Young Justice. I've just started in on the beginning of the show, and it's great; if you like podcasts where pop culture love and gaming overlap and/or intersect, I recommend it.
But here's an additional BONUS: the podcast crew recently recorded a session of Masks, GM'd by Brendan Conway (the game's author), in which they play characters from the show in a scenario set in the five years between seasons 1 and 2 of YJ. The people playing these characters are note. perfect. in their protrayals (Kid Flash and Superboy are particular stand-outs), and Brendan does a fantastic job of introducing, integrating, and best-of-all explaining the rules as they go.
If you're looking for an AP recording that works as a primer/introduction to the Masks rules, and want the added bonus of seeing the game presented via characters with which you're probably already very familiar, I can't recommend these recordings enough.
Update: There are also pre- and post-game talks with Brendan, which are pretty illuminating.
Who needs therapy if you've got "impactful" RPGs, right?
Impactful is such a weird word. I've had lots of memorable sessions. Impactful seems like "something that changed you outside the game" and I'm not convinced that's why I play RPGs, so…
Man, I dunno.
Okay, here's one, maybe.
Dogs in the Vineyard. Our second serious fight. We'd already had one smaller altercation earlier in the game, so the players had seen how the conflicts worked, and more to the point they saw how FALLOUT worked.
Second conflict, things started getting heated, and someone pulled out a gun.
And the players – some experienced, pretty seen-it-all gamers – kind of pulled back from the table and were like "Whoa. Shit. Hang on a sec."
That game made guns fucking scary. They made them as goddamn dangerous as they are, you know?
(Best of all, the way fallout worked, you got fights where you didn't really know how fucked you were until the shooting stopped.)
Dogs remains the only game in which the players (and, by extension, the characters) reacted to someone pulling out a gun the way real people would, and I (obviously) remember that, to this day.
* Monday: Pirate 101 with Sean and Kaylee. (Alternately, family game of Masks.)
* Tuesday: Normal Tuesday Roll20 group, playing whatever we're currently playing.
* Wednesday: Overwatch with Kate and Kaylee. (Alternately, family game of Masks.)
* Thursday: Dungeon Crawl Classics, GMed by Tim.
* Friday: Playing DnD 5e Adventurer's League, via Roll20/Discord.
* Saturday: Luxurious full-length afternoon of DnD 5e or Masks with Sean, Kate, and Kaylee
* Sunday: The X-wing combat game with the kids.