Monday, March 23, 2015

What I've been playing

When my wife Erika and I moved from Boston to Kentucky a year and a half ago, I had to put my v.3.5 Freeport game on hiatus. Fortunately, two of the other three players in our group--my wife's co-worker and best friend, and her husband--were making the move with us due to the job relocation. This meant that the four long-term members of the group would still be able to play together (as we have for over 10 years), and we could continue the same campaign in some form or other.

I delayed restarting Freeport for a while, in large part because Green Ronin had announced a Kickstarter for a new Pathfinder edition of Freeport: The City of Adventure. I had started to look at that system shortly before then, and liked what I saw, so I pitched the idea to my players of converting our game to Pathfinder when we resumed play. The book was delayed for some time, so I eventually decided to go ahead and convert things as best I could with the core rules and a couple supplements, and wait for the Freeport book's release to do some revamping as needed. Early, backer-only drafts of the book became available as we worked on those conversions, which saved us a great deal of work with setting-specific things like my wife's azhari corsair. 

We continued to game in other ways during that long hiatus (which ended up lasting almost exactly a year). Erika continued the Earthdawn game she had been running for us on and off before the move. We used Google Hangouts to include our fifth member, who remained in Massachusetts. We also introduced our children (ages 9 and 10) to Earthdawn, though it quickly became clear that they lacked the attention span for the level of commitment we adults regularly put into our games.

Chris, one of my other players, ran some Pathfinder for us--specifically, "The Shadow's Dungeon," from the Kickstarter for The Gamers: The Hands of Fate--so that we could all get more practice with the system. We also introduced the kids to this system, though they dropped out of the module after the first session or two.

We started looking for new recruits to make up for the loss of our fifth player (who would not be continuing in the Freeport game for a number of reasons). By the time we finally restarted Freeport this past fall, we had made some new local friends who were looking for a game to join. One had been gaming for some years, while her fiance was new to tabletop but had a lot of experience with D&D-based CRPGs. With the group's consent, I invited them to play a one-shot adventure with us: the short, low-level Pathfinder adventure Risen from the Sands, which I had acquired through Free RPG Day earlier that year. This would give them a gaming fix and give us a change of pace, and we could see how well they fit in with our playing style. That session was an unqualified success, and we warmly welcomed them into the group. They created characters for my Freeport game, which we had resumed playing a session or two before this. 

As the holidays approached, my job entered its annual crunch-time. One of our new players (the tabletop newbie) offered to run some D&D 5th Edition during this time to give me some time off while work was crazy. That game wrapped up last month, but Tim, the DM (AKA "Tim the Younger," to distinguish him from me), promised to run more for us someday. At the moment, though, our new players are buried under wedding planning and writing their dissertations. We will be resuming Freeport when their schedule settles down a bit, hopefully within the next month or two. Before we dive back into the City of Adventure, however, Chris will be running a high-level tower defense-style Pathfinder one-shot, just to give us all a chance to play with 20th-level characters for a change.

Next up in Freeport will be one last, lengthy adventure to give us a spectacular finale before we shelve the Freeport game again (indefinitely this time). After that, we will finally start the "Time of the Tarrasque" campaign that I've been tinkering with for ages (in various editions, but we've settled on Pathfinder). I'll be posting a great deal more about that game as we gear up for it and start play. I've already started a separate game for my children set in that world, but far from where the adult group will be starting. I'll post more about that later, too, but we've only played a couple sessions so far.

Erika plans to run more Earthdawn again sometime this year, too, without our original fifth player but including our two new recruits. That system just had a Kickstarter for a 4th edition, so we'll be converting to that when we start again. (We continuing players are already doing so for our characters.) Thankfully, that transition will involve far, far fewer changes than a new D&D edition does!

And through all this time, I've continued running "The Kynthiad," the solo BESM Third Edition game for Erika that we started years ago. It's set in the Bronze Age, and based on the myths and history of Greece and its neighbors in the Mediterranean and Near East. I'll blog more about that in time, too.

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