Monday, October 19, 2009

New Campaign

I have had several questions about starting up and/or participating in a new local campaign.

I intend to do that, early in 2010, although I have not yet given a lot of thought to what rule-set I would like to see employed, nor to the type of campaign I would like to play in. I would prefer to play using a retro or rules-light system, simply because I am more of a casual gamer: I don't want to get bogged down with complicated rules.

I am open to suggestions on the rule-set, but do want to use a rules-light system that is also being actively supported with new material, whether that be Castles & Crusades, Swords & Wizardry, Labyrinth Lord or some other retro system. As for the type of campaign, I am open to having a conversation in that regard. To be honest, my preference would be a sand-box campaign with rotating DM responsibilities.

Unfortunately, my work schedule, and other commitments, prevent my participation in a new campaign before the new year.

I am curious to know whether there is any appetite for a rules-light / retro game in Calgary. And if there is, i'd be interested in hearing some thoughts on how that might work.


Rognar said...

Have you advertised at the Sentry Box? I noticed the last time I was there an ad for a old school game and all the phone number tabs were taken. That suggests to me a high level of interest for that type of game in Calgary.

The Rusty Battle Axe said...

You could pick two or three systems, advertise and then decide as a group OR just pick one. If you do a sandbox campaign with rotating DMs I would pick the simplest system and maybe have a conversation about any major house rules.

A Paladin In Citadel said...

@Rognar: Yes, I believe Mr. Armstrong, of Ode To Black Dougal fame, is responsible for those ads. Last I heard, his intrepid band is starting up a 2e game. I might try doing the same, and if I do so, explain that this will be more of a casual game.

@Rusty: Good suggestions, and i'm not married to a specific system or approach. Hopefully some interest will be generated by my musings!

Jay said...

My two cents is that if you "decide" as a group what the rules are after getting the group together you'll spend your first few sessions 1. deciding and 2. convincing those who didn't get their preference to stay.

Best to pick a ruleset and advertise it. Then everyone who comes knows exactly what they're getting into.

banter said...

Here are my thoughts, (though I think I might be way behind the rest of you, having been out of the game since AD&D2) I would be up for anything - I prefer light structure with maximum room for plot deepening, creativity and that sweet, sweet sense that everyone in the room being totally tuned in to the same story. Synergy man… synergy.

I agree with Jay... once you decide on your game, stick with it and avoid the "bad fit" "high maintenance" player. It’s like wine at a wedding… too many choices and everyone becomes a connoisseur.

As an adult, like Paladin, with kids and a job and a host of other grown-up responsibilities, I personally like the idea of an open-ended game format that enables the group to get somewhere substantial each session - manageable small sub challenges in a larger campaign. That way if someone can't make it, they don't miss much, and people don't feel to cheezed that they aren't there.

Of course, if you played the group up over a series of sub challenges, that lead to the big task... I think it would be reasonable to schedule the “critical”night and expect players to show-up.

I am fine with rotating DM duties... for those who are interested. I would be happy to do it, but some people hate it and let everyone know it.

If it is going to be sandbox - and require a permanent table somewhere... (again I am old school – so correct me if something has changed) I like the idea of buying in to the game, say $30 per person to the host. This pays for pop and chips - etc. it also inspires participation, and should soften the scorn of the spouse who might resent the invasion of the house...

I guess I remember some of the best campaigns as being the ones that got going quick, had good progress, some drama, action, plot development, and left you wanting more, but not feeling like you got no where.

Did anyone play melee games like battle-tech or my fave: CAR WARS? They were really light on rules, and low on plot but man they were fun if you only had a short amount of time, because you always got in the action quick. Even and hour or two could give you a great game.

Would a "tryout" be out of the question... a quicky campaign... even a game of Risk? That would work out the kinks before anyone locks themselves in a room together for a Saturday. I think the "incompatibles" would probably sort them selves out of future events.

I would also like to hear other people’s pet peeves... like mine... over generous DMs. I like a little hardship and fighting from an underdog position. I am not to crazy about finding rare artefacts around every corner “oh hey look, isn’t that the throne of the god’s…” I also was always a fan rolling out characters over the phone with the DM prior to the first session… and coming with them ready to go.

Anyway – rip me a new one if you disagree.

Norman Harman said...

I suggest starting with "1 shots" at the FLGS. Maybe these lead into the campaign, maybe you decide to change things up (rules system/campaign style) after playing a couple. Great way for people to meet you and your play style and for you to do the same. Also, is great advertising.

I would post everywhere, game shop billboard/window, online (there are several pen & paper is one), maybe at local college. Start a local D&D meetup.

Consider doing something episodic, such ast Ars Ludi's Western Marches campaign. This helps people with real lives that may not be able to make every game.

Don't get discouraged. Oftentimes a campaign takes a while to get going.

A Paladin In Citadel said...

@Jay: Good point. If I was pushed on what system I preferred, I would have to say S&W, simply because it is the simplest, and easiest to add things to ... any other rule-set might require deletions, and I find those harder to manage both emotionally and logistically ("okay everyone, strike out paragraph 6 on page 25, we're not going to use that rule")

@Banter: a lot of good stuff in your reply. The idea behind rotating DMs is that it spreads the responsibility for creating an engaging and exciting campaign, hopefully those interested will buy into that approach. Game location could be rotated amongst the participants, or organized at The Sentry Box. As for a a dry run, perhaps the first couple of games could be played at The Sentry Box, on a drop-in basis, with those wanting to continue deciding thereafter. I have an embarrassingly large collection of micro-games, so I know what you mean about Car Wars. As for DM style, i'm no killer-DM, but I do think the players should work for what they get. On the other hand, I've been having a lot of fun with the "just say yes" style of DMing, when a player asks "can I do this?" When it comes to Character generation, i'm of the "3d6 in order" school, but i'm okay with pre-rolled characters at the table, as long as the stats are believable.

@Norman: thanks for your thoughts. Mostly, I don't want to waste my time, or that of any of the other participants, so your comments are particularly apt: we all have other demands on our time, so making the game episodic will fit in with our busy schedules.