The Once and Future Blog

This blog has been in near-hibernation as a means to generate RPG interactions for a long time. In the past few years, it has really only served as a staging ground for RPGaDay. I am not sure if that is going to change, but there is no change without change and so, voila, a post.

Gaming Update

Over the past few years my appreciation of Ubiquity has grown. I have been able to enjoy contributing to it distantly by serving as Line Editor for the Ubiquity-based games coming out of Triple Ace Games, easily the most productive of the creative teams with licenses for the game system. I have been running and playing Ubiquity games real-time, face to face and via the internet, as well as in what amounts to a turn-based mode through Play-by-e-Mail, and have even enjoyed starting a long-running campaign with alternating GMs. It has been a good couple of years!

In that same period of time I have found a strong connection to what is now called Genesys, but which I think of as NDS (narrative dice system) from FFG’s stellar version of the Star Wars Roleplaying Game. We ran a campaign of more than 2 years of regular weekly play with a third year of monthly sessions with numerous side-sessions featuring other characters. This then transitioned into Star Trek with the 2d20 system produced problematically by Modiphius. The actual rules strike me as fantastic, but the implementation in print has been extremely disappointing and far below the standard set by everything else the company does. The books look nice, but that is not enough. Despite these problems, our Trek campaign was extremely satisfying and offered a lot of highlights of which I am quite proud.

Of huge importance in the last year has been getting to talk about Sorcerer with friends and finally getting to run and play Circle of Hands. These games offer a wealth of the sort of experiences that interest me – particularly Circle of Hands as it works in harmony with a lot of my natural inclinations and learned preferences. That project is still ongoing and I am strongly anticipating the next session!

In PBeM, I have gotten to run a Mythos campaign called As One Bare Hour in my ‘generation game’ format with good friends that, while slow, has made an impact. Set mainly in 1908 and starting in Shanghai, the characters have brushed up against a cult which spans gulfs of time and distance, have suffered great losses, and are just now beginning to glimpse what might be an opportunity for them to take a more proactive role. Also in PBeM, I have been playing in a Ministry of Unusual Affairs game (Leagues of Gothic Horror, Ubiquity) for a few years now. This game has produced some strong characters and some strong feelings, for sure.

Also in the Star Trek period I dug quite deeply into games using the 2d6 mechanisms of Apocalypse World. This culminated in an online game featuring a cyberpunk expression of the rules called The Veil. This was a very engaging project which raised a lot of questions – some of which we answered. There have been more games, such as a short-lived Time of War campaign and some Zweihander stuff, but these ones stand out as having contributed the most to my personal pursuit of games and gaming.

Exploring Update

I have been reading the same number of games as usual each year, but have had far fewer opportunities to get as many new games to the table. That in turn has turned into posting less and less on YouTube and here. This has confirmed for me that I am the sort of blogger/vlogger who is interested in exploring the experience of actual play with others and using my posts to interact with others who enjoy digging into games also. I am less interested in posting about what I read and theorize than I am in posting what I have observed from actual play. The ongoing lack of “reviews” is a strong indicator of this. I have done some reviews over the past few years, but only after sufficient play has given my opinion some merit.

I cannot abide the day-of-release posts which call themselves reviews but generally indicate that whatever product or other in question has not even really been read and certainly has not been played. I do think it is important that we share details of things as we discover them, from how a book is bound or formatted for e-readers to how it is written, but I think we should leave speculation about how a thing will play by the wayside. We are a hobby of gamers, we should play things before we review how they play.

Games I have particularly enjoyed reading recently have been few but memorable.

The latest attempt at relaunching Blue Planet has begun with a short and direct Quick Start document that strengthened my desire to get a campaign on Poseidon on my done list.

A similar document for SLA Industries has been on shakier ground with me, but a recent update to it and its system based on player feedback have alleviated some of my concerns. SLA is as much mood and atmosphere as it is mechanics and as such is a fragile sort of thing to get to the table. Once there it is both powerful commentary and hellish fun, but… it’s getting there. A second edition that makes getting there easier would cheer me immensely.

Zweihander and Raiders of R’lyeh have both been well-received by me for how they build on beloved ideas with intentions to make play both easier and richer. Zweihander especially has raised the bar on presentation and the awareness of challenges (like color blindness) that games can cause their gamers.

Other games of note were Dialect, Liminal, Red Markets, and Ironsworn. I expect that at least two of those will enter into posts here or on YouTube before too long. Games that I still wrestle with how to discuss in any sort of useful fashion are The Riddle of Steel and its successors like Blades of the Iron Throne. With my limited time, the barriers to getting my thoughts in order for those games often seems too high.

What is Ahead?

In the coming months of 2019 and beyond, I will keep reading games and keep getting the ones that I can into play. I am hoping to do something with King Arthur Pendragon and/or Paladin. I have a campaign planned for an expression of Ars Magica run through a blend of Desolation and All for One: Regime Diabolique. I have Star Wars and Star Trek campaign ideas vying for attention with all the Ubiquity games (including my own settings and my own full game). I have notions for further things to do with Circle of Hands (and its sequel…?) as well as drives to run a full on over-the-top Stormbringer campaign. I guess what I am saying is that there is no shortage of ideas or passion, just a shortage of time.

Will I use that time to run more games, post more on gaming, prepare my game for release, or something else? Only time will tell.

7 Responses to “The Once and Future Blog”
  1. I found you through your Star Wars videos and I agree wholeheartedly with you regarding the wonderful storytelling mechanics of it. I also agree with your thoughts on Star Trek, in that the layout of the books makes it difficult to glean information from it. But with both systems… I’m hooked.

    I look forward to seeing much more from you here and on YouTube. And thanks for the lessons.

  2. I’m more likely to read than watch a video, so chalk that up as a vote for your blog!
    You really dig into some exotic games systems. I enjoy hearing about them.

  3. I entered the worlds of Ubiquity, due to your channel. I appreciate it. I am currently running one game of 5e, but also run HEX for my father, brother and two of his children via Zoom. Theatre of the mind. It has been great fun and I am loving the Ubiquity system, even though I am late to the party. I am also interested in starting Reg. Diab. soon with a friend of my locally. Time will tell. Thanks for your contributions to the hobby and my personal enlightenment. I look forward to more of your posts (blog or vlog). Thank you.

    • Runeslinger says:

      Thanks for the kind words~

      I tried Zoom this weekend, and liked it. What is your HEX game about?

      • Set in 1925, about 10 years before the ‘normal’ beginning, our adventurers were hired to put a 5 pieced crystal heart together. Needing to find 4, beginning with the center piece; as well as to locate the man how originally found the center piece to the Heart of Romulus. Eventually, we made it to the Hollow Earth where we have found a city, Nova Roma (New Rome) where they are not too keen on visitors. Escaping the city and on the run we have run into a number of different (and warring human tribes), as well as the Panther-people (bounty hunters) and the Tarka (ape-men). Having completed the Heart of Romulus to get into the Hollow Earth, the adventurers now have 2 of the 5 of the Heart of Remus.

        Being inspired by your All for One campaign on Youtube, my brother and I have switched off being the GM. It has worked marvellously! After he has GM’d for about 5-6 months, we traded. Like your campaign, his character gets introduced to the group, any my character is ‘removed’ from the group. Amos Bixby (my journalist) was captured by the Tarka (ape-men) for the time being. My goal, if he survives, is to make it to the surface and then he will being the creation of a new storyline, based on his experiences and with artistic license called… The Planet of the Apes. Maybe not original, but I’m having a blast!

        When we switch off again, and our group makes it to the surface, I am thinking of taking the same players and switching to AfO or the western theme, just for a change of pace and to keep it fresh.

        Thanks again!

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