Showing posts from February, 2016

The Ennui of the Eternal GM

Self-reflection is awful and beautiful. In the time since deciding to step away from D&D 5e and go back to running Savage Worlds, I’ve spent a lot of time navel-gazing, wondering why I’m so eager to just chuck the campaign under a bus, searching for the truth of my own motives. I’ve realized that a big part of it – A HUGE PART OF IT – is simply that I’m depressed about my character.

Anyone who followed this sordid tale from the beginning might remember that this Forgotten Realms campaign originally started with me alternating DM duties with another player. Each of us had a player character we ran when the other person was acting as DM, and whom we shunted to the background as when we ran the game. That plan imploded due to that player’s personal issues, leaving me as the sole DM and my PC as a permanent DMPC, capable of delivering needed exposition and contributing to fights, but unable to really advance his own goals and desires...

Because that would be cheating (and I've got a…

Super-thieves, low-level parties, and Deadpool.

A trio of reviews

After much trepidation (and a mix-up with Blu-Ray regions), I finally own Lupin III (2014), the latest attempt to bring Japan’s cartoon answer to James Bond to live-action. I put it off for a year and a half because reviews were poisonous, but I’m happy to report that the film far exceeded my expectations.

This is not quite the same as saying it’s a good movie. Like the James Bond films, Lupin III is a franchise that can only be judged in relation to itself. A spy who offers his real name to everyone he meets would be a huge plot hole in a serious espionage film, but it’s par for the course for James Bond. Similarly, the criminal world of Lupin III is flamboyant and gaudy, featuring criminal masterminds who flaunt their schemes in front of paying audiences. It would seem absurd to anyone expecting a modicum of reality in their heist film, but it’s standard operating procedure in a Lupin movie.

Of course, most Lupin III movies are cartoons. The character has starred in f…

Time to Put the d20s Away...

My enthusiasm for Dungeons and Dragons waxes and wanes. Right now it has waned yet again.
A significant reason for this is simply Robin’s horrible luck with 20-sided dice. It’s epically bad; our last session ended with her rolling nothing but 6s and 7s on five different dice. If this misfortune was more evenly distributed around the table, it might actually be funny (or even fun), but given that some of the other players have suspiciously good luck, it instead becomes frustrating and unfair. I've belatedly realized why so many games utilize dice pools instead.
(The fact that I roll my own dice out in the open in order to show I’m unbiased toward my wife winds up biting me in the ass because I can’t just fudge lightly in her favor every once in a while. I’m beginning to understand why DM screens were invented.)
Robin’s terrible luck with d20s does not extend to smaller dice, which is why we settled on Savage Worlds as our default system for duets years ago. The first session of our ne…

Savaging the 7th Sea

Robin and I just pulled the curtain on a particularly trippy duet campaign of 1970s occult phenomena like exorcism, paganism, reincarnation, and Satanism. It was meant to be a two-week mini-campaign concentrating more on early heavy metal and occult rock like Coven, but it metamorphosed into a way-out Age of Aquarius thing where the central characters turned into god-like sorcerers ushering in a new and better future by reuniting the Beatles and things like that. It was fun for a while, but like most of my cosmic, free-form campaigns, it eventually just lost steam.
(And since we'd done flash-forwards, we knew the heroes were successful anyways.)
Even before John Wick launched his amazingly successful Kickstarter campaign to bring back 7th Sea, I'd already begun yearning to run something a bit more down to earth and a lot more swashbuckling. Since I want to swash some bucklers right now and don't want to use Quick Start draft rules (7th Sea 2nd ed.) or learn a new yet alre…

Too Many Kickstarters!

I know I’m not alone in feeling this, but there are too many cool Kickstarters out there or about to be out there in the RPGsphere.
As mentioned before, Olympus, Inc. is a Savage Worlds setting of superpowered corporate espionage in a world where the Greek gods and their Titan enemies secretly run the world’s biggest mega-corporations – and the black ops fixers (i.e. the player characters) are all demigods. They recently released a brief preview piece highlighting the Satyr player character race, and you can access it here. I’m a backer, but I’m also an interested party; if they reach one of their higher stretch goals, then I’ll be writing an adventure featuring my favorite god, Dionysus.
At the same time, Pinnacle Entertainment Group just announced that they’ll be running a Kickstarter for their latest setting: Weird War I. I’ll probably skip this one despite having been a fan of the Red Baron when I was a kid. I just can’t see myself ever running a war-based campaign that isn’t abo…