Saturday, August 17, 2013

Games of Future Past / Planning my next game

I'm running a successful campaign at the moment, which obviously means that I'm thinking about what I want to run next.

I've been toying with a few plot ideas and potential settings for different games for awhile now, and suddenly have hope that I'll be able to run them.

I'm probably getting a bit giddy...

The games are:

Trail of Cthulhu
The first Gumshoe game I bought, and a work of beautiful genius. It successfully evokes multiple interpretations of Lovecraft's work, from the pulp two fisted tales of dark adventure to the doomed and weak minded soul not long for this world with the tenacious and fearful academic somewhere in between.
I have an idea for a game that draws upon The Mountains of Madness and Call of Cthulhu for mood and theme and a real life lost Arctic expedition for setting. I've already started mentally mapping out this idea. It's a strong contender.

Trinity
Originally released as Aeon and soon to be re-released under that name, Trinity is the game from the Aeon Trilogy that I have played the least and have the most books for.
I think I ran a short one shot game for two players back in 2001/2.
It's a game that deserves another crack of the whip - a mix of epic sci-fi, space opera, cyberpunk, post apocalyptic wasteland, Starship Troopers, intrigue and horror. You can set the equalisers to any level you want just by varying the locations and organisations involved.
I'd run a vanilla Aeon Trinity game with a mix of investigation, combat and political manoeuvring.

Hunter: the Vigil
I think of all the World of Darkness games, H:tV has the broadest appeal. Used to playing the monsters in the other games? Have fun playing the other side for once. Never played a WoD game before? Here's a no nonsense gateway to the setting. Not sure about playing a monster? Play a legit human instead.
I was running a nWoD cops game when Hunter: the Vigil announced, and it quickly became apparent that I was running a proto hunter game.
When I finally got it I ran a short introductory story arc for my gaming group, then promptly got my wife pregnant again so had to scale back my gaming for awhile.
I've still got a load of unused ideas that I'd like to try out, and my wife bought me the Compacts & Conspiracies splatbook for my birthday, so it's fresh in my mind.

Ars Magica
My first gaming love. The second game I ever played, the first game I ran. Over the years I've built up and lost a sizable ArM library. I had about 20+ books for 2nd, 3rd and 4th edition, some of which are probably worth a bit of money now, and stupidly gave them all away to charity when the 5th edition came out. To make matters worse, 5th edition wasn't what I wanted it to be, and I gave up on it.
A few years and a bit of perspective later I realised that I wasn't giving it a chance. Different doesn't mean bad. And it couldn't be as much of a disappointment as Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition.
So I'd like to run Ars Magica again.

Changeling: the Lost
Look, this game is fucking brilliant. Really. It's the most well rounded game that White Wolf has ever produced. It's beautiful, horrific, terrifying, paranoid, innocent, brave, redemptive and compelling. It's everything good about folk tales and myths and everything good about modern horror.
It's the best Slender Man pictures meets Pan's Labyrinth meets The Evil Dead.
As I see it, Changeling: the Lost is a game about self discovery and personal agency - freed slaves learning that they can do anything they want, and trying to work out what that actually is, whilst fighting to preserve that freedom.

Mage: the Awakening/Mage Noir
It's hard to get a grip on Mage: the Awakening, to definitively say "this is what the game is about", especially when compared to its predecessor, Mage: the Ascension.
In Ascension it was explicit within the setting that you were caught up in an ideological, metaphysical war with clearly defined sides and an achievable goal. Awakening lacks this direction and forces the players to determine what they want to do and who they have to fight to do it.
The rules are great though. They allow the player characters to bend reality to their will and do a truly impressive range of miracle working.
If running Mage: the Awakening I'd use the Mage Noir setting and play in post war America, late 40s to early 50s, with the players hunting down magical artifacts like an arcane Maltese Falcon.

Pathfinder
Every now and then I have an urge to run a good old fashioned high fantasy dungeon bash.
So far I've primarily used Pathfinder to run Goblin games, because Goblins are ace. The Goblin games I've run so far have been independent of each other but set in the same game world, so the events of the first game (slaughtering a farmer and his family, burning their house down and eating the livestock) informed the second (humans try to drive the Goblins out of the area, Goblins retaliate by setting fire to what they think is a religious monument but is in fact a signal beacon) and the second will inform the third (possible war due to the sudden amassing of an army after an invasion has been signaled).
In every game, though, the players have basically been looking for food and tribal status.