Friday, December 29, 2017

Looking Back at 2017: D&D

2017 is the year 5th Edition D&D became my "main" game. Early on we were mainly playing Star Wars and Deadlands but once we started playing 5th edition it rapidly started to take up most of our game time.

This is not really a surprise - from the very earliest get-togethers D&D (some version of it anyway) has always been our main game and everything else is a change of pace/when we can fit it in/off week type game. I've had brief bursts where we've set D&D aside to focus on some other game for a limited time but we always come back to the fantasy game.

I don't mind spending time and money on a game I know we will play so I spent some of both this year catching up on 5th edition - picking up the books and accessories I didn't have, looking around online on how other people run it, checking up on computer/tablet/phone applications, and just generally looking at how it works and what people are doing with it. I did the same thing with Star Wars last year and Pathfinder the year before so this is not a new thing for me.

To me there are three main options when running a well-supported long-lived game like D&D:

  • Run a published campaign - there are several of these for 5E
  • Convert some favorite older material and revisit some classics - lots of options here too
  • Go totally original - setting, adventures, etc. - Certainly an option with 5E and a good excuse to bring in some of those third party support materials.
Now I'm doing those first two for now and developing some ideas for the third so hopefully next year will see major progress on all three of them. 

Knowing that it is the "main game", that everyone is excited about it, and that we're still largely in the honeymoon period with the game makes it easy to look forward to next year and easy to plan out what we're going to do - as much as you can with an RPG anyway. Between 5E's slowed pace of releases (compared to 4E and Pathfinder) and my good-sized pile of older material that is easily converted, I have a lot of options down the road.

So ... I'm happy with it. I'm happy with the way the game plays, I'm happy with what I've decided to do with it, and I'm happy that my players are enthusiastic about it and enjoying it. It's a complete win so far and that's really all I can ask for.

More on the individual campaigns next week.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Looking back at 2017: Pathfinder/Starfinder

Looking back at this post from January this should be a pretty short item, right? 

This is the year I stopped running Pathfinder. I'm still playing it in my friend's Kingmaker campaign, but even in that once-a-month game we only played about 6 times this year. Most of this is due to scheduling issues more than anything else but I'd still say as a group we are less excited about Pathfinder than we used to be.

We had a fight that took up roughly 5 hours. There were plenty of interruptions and distractions but still, that's a lot of time for one combat. If we're going to spend that kind of time on battles I'd rather play 4th Edition or Champions. Pathfinder rewards (some might say requires) system familiarity quite a bit and with us only playing it once a month (or once every two months) we get rusty and the game plays slow. I suspect a group that plays every week would wonder what in the hell we are talking about  but we cannot manage to do that anymore.

I still like the game in general. I still have adventures for it that I would like to run. I'm just not sure when that is going to happen.

Then there is Starfinder - the game I was so middling about that I haven't finished reading the PDF. When it comes to sci-fi fantasy mixes I have Shadowrun, Rifts, and Star Wars and I'd probably go with any of those before I start up a Starfinder game - at least that's how I feel right now.  I'm sure it's a decent game but it's in a niche I have well-covered already.

Will I run either of them in 2018? Who knows? Starfinder I might give a test run if I ever finish reading the rules - a one-off if nothing else. Pathfinder might sneak back in if we end up unsatisfied with 5E for some reason or maybe a limited run through a specific adventure. Neither one is really at the top of the list anymore though.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Merry Christmas 2017

It's been pretty quiet here as I've been pulled in several different directions, one of which is pictured above. That's "Ranger" the new in pretty much every sense bulldog. Later in the week I do have some things to post but for today we're just going to leave it at Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!