Monday, May 23, 2016

A Question of Frontiers

My brain suddenly had this weird idea, but it requires a bit of forethought. Mainly in answering a single question: How tied to their published settings are the old TSR (and others from the same era) games?

Mainly, for now, I am wondering if it would be acceptable to play Star Frontiers using a completely new setting, with all-new races, governmental entities, etc.? Or is the game so tied with the UFP setting (even just in the minds of players), that it would just feel “wrong” to change things up?

I mean, I’m pretty sure it would be easy enough to do from a technical standpoint. But, would players buy a game “Inspired by TSR’s classic game Science Fiction Adventure” even though it had no Yzirians, Dralasites, or Vrusk, and your big bad enemies were something other than the Sathar.

Of course, that also begs the question of whether such an effort would be worth it due to the system itself. I, personally, love the system (a nice, succinct percentage-based one), but I have heard mumblings and rumblings about how “limited” or “rudimentary” it is.

I dunno, with the old OGL (which allowed me to make Mutants & Marvels), I might just put something together and see what happens. I’ve been looking for a new RPG project to sink my teeth into, and this may be a fun diversion.

Then again, I'd be willing to bet someone is already doing it...

Monday, May 16, 2016

And I ran…

…a D&D game! And it was a success. That’s a nice relief for me, as it has literally been years since I ran anything, and I get self-conscious about whether I can do it anymore.

Last week I tried to introduce my son to D&D through the Moldvay Basic rules. I had planned to run him through The Keep on the Borderlands. Well, he made it through character creation no problem. But about two minutes into describing the setup, he got bored. “Too much talking” he said. I was a bit disappointed, but I suppose I should have foreseen that.

Anyways, our regular gaming group is down a couple of people. One of the couples is on vacation in Greece (so envious!). Unfortunately, they are the ones who bring their son, who my son plays with. So, when I got the remaining people to agree to a short-term game, I invited both my kids to join.

My 13-year old daughter is an old hand at 5E by this point. In fact, out of everyone in the game yesterday, she has the most experience with the system. And I figured my son might be a little more into it if there were other players. So, we sat down and everyone made characters, while I helped my son make his. He ended up wanting to be a human barbarian with a greataxe, my daughter is a tiefling ranger, my wife is a human paladin, one guy is a dwarfling warlock, and the other is an elven rogue. Not a bad party.

Over the course of the afternoon they helped the drow crew of the flying ship they were on fend off a hobgoblin sky-pirate attack, makes some deals at the trading outpost, narrowly avoid two allosauruses in the forest, and run a gauntlet of skeletons in order to take hold of the necklace that was controlling them, thus freeing the tortured soul of the crucified mage from his magical prison.

All-in-all, everyone had a good time. My son kept up through the pirates, but his attention wandered, and soon he was just sitting there watching YouTube on his iPod, while I NPC’d his character for him. Which was fine because there wasn't much combat at that point (though he did save his sister's life with a well-timed Dex roll as she was almost knocked off of her horse in front of him).

Not sure if/when we will get to play this again, but it was nice to be in charge, and to cooperatively create the story with my players. Lots of little details came out of the play itself, and my vague world got that much more focused. And that’s how I like things.