Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Picking a New Campaign

So with the old campaign shelved we needed a new game. I told my crew I was fine with fantasy but I probably did not want to start another Pathfinder campaign right away. We have a lot of options for swords and spells besides that game so let's use them. Discussion points:

  • I had gone back and looked through my notes for the nine 4E campaigns I had written up and realized there were a ton of ideas there. It's been almost three years now since the end of my last 4E game (fizzle ...) and it has come up in discussions several times. I ran at least 70 sessions of 4E spread across three different campaigns and I still have ideas I'd like to explore. So 4th was on the table.
  • I also looked over 5E and saw some possibilities. Not with the published stuff which seems to keep disappointing people but with some homebrew + conversions of some old adventures I think I could make a pretty memorable game. I've only played it once. I feel like we do need to try it out for an extended period at some point. Why not now?
  • Runequest came up too but I'm not sure we want to run that as the "main" game. I've been thinking of it as a drop-in candidate for when the stars are right and 3-4 of us can get together without planning it 3 months in advance. I want to date it, not marry it.
  • Savage Worlds also jumped in. I brought up 50 Fathoms as I think it would be a perfect mix of long term plot with plenty of sandbox room and still fantasy with swords and wizards and giant apes and stuff. This sparked a turn in the conversation that "maybe we don't need to a fantasy game at all." Rifts came up but I'd like to play a more "normal" game of Savage Worlds for a while before we go that nuts. I dropped in Flash Gordon, I mean Slipstream, and there was some interest and then somebody mentioned Deadlands. Well ... I do have a lot of material for it, going back to first edition and continuing up through the latest (fourth!) plot point campaign book they Kickstarted last year. Theoretically I could run 5 different campaigns simultaneously and never have the party members cross over each other! We talked about Hell on Earth briefly but Blaster already likes the Weird West, Versatile Dave was up for it, Paladin Steve says he never gets to play a cowboy, and ... that kind of settled things.  
I was in a bit of shock. I still am. I've owned Deadlands for about 20 years and never run more than one-shots and occasional episodic campaigns. We haven't had Savage Worlds as our main game for a few years and it's never lasted more than about ten sessions at a time. I'm still in shock but very happy to be in this place. 

So we made characters, started weaving them together, and ran through a short adventure. There was a lot of rust to shake off, particularly for my players, but it started to come back fairly easily to me and I felt fairly "at home" with it by the end. 

As far as setting details I'm leaning towards using The Flood as our home base, mainly because I like the Maze as a region - lots of ghost rock, Santa Anna eyeballing things, ironclads ... those are all good things. Plus it brings the whole Kung Fu thing in too and that's only going to make it better, right? Each of the campaign books focuses on a particular area of the west and this region has called to me since I first read the original Deadlands book. 

The plan is to make this the main game for 2017 and see how we like it at the end. That has me debating how much I want to use the plot elements in this book versus how much I just want to sandbox it and let the PC's get into trouble without a plot at all. Figuring that we have 11-12 sessions a plot could make things a little more coherent but having a plot also means that the players are not always going to be doing what they want to do. I need to read through it again and figure out how much I want to do with it, if anything. 

I have to admit it's very strange to not have a D&D type game to run on the schedule. Regardless, with this and a superhero game as the regularly scheduled campaigns, it's going to be a very different year this year! All aboard!

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