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David Wood
Not an avid much of anything these days, unfortunately...
Not an avid much of anything these days, unfortunately...

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Now planning a fantasy game for my "usual gang of regulars." And I'm wondering things...

1. I'll be doing a good bit of dungeon-building, both traditionally mapped and social. (See also Can anyone recommend things I absolutely need to include in some of these structures?

2. It's been my habit in the past that I stream and record the sessions to YouTube. Given Google's lack of interest in supporting Hangouts, can anyone recommend another service or application that I should be using for recording?

3. It's also been my habit in the past that, while I stream and record, I don't publicize the sessions. Should I be publicizing these, so people can watch and comment and ridicule?

The fantasy genre should be about so much more than who in the party's got pointed ears and can cast spells.

Let's talk about architecture, for instance. No, seriously. If you've got magic, you've got wizards, and if you've got wizards you've got the potential for some very interesting civic projects.

A world I'm assembling right now has a road that runs about 470 miles from one end to the other, sometimes raised one or two hundred feet above the ground on solid stone or masonry columns. It runs scant miles from one city's front gates to the front gates of another halfway across the continent. It's several hundred (7? 8? More?) years old. It's so old that some towns have been built on the raised portions. The land it passes over is scrublands, desert, plain... not enough resources to build a town in but if you're one of the nomadic tribes that wander that "wasteland," it can be enough to survive on.

That's the sort of thing I'm thinking about now: Those features erected in the city or built on (or over) the landscape that are breathtaking in their scope and utterly cryptic in their construction and history. Things that are just there, and start to get uncomfortable once you start thinking about how few people know why they're there or how they got there.

Yeah, I suppose this kind of justifies all those dungeons, too.

Couldn't sleep, started working on a potential campaign reference document, and had an interesting thought or two about "barbarism." You know, for one of those games that has that as a career path.

The campaign world that I'm envisioning has two large and well-established kingdoms separated by an even larger swath of scrublands, too resource-poor to support cities but good enough to support tribes of horse-riding nomads.

And at first, I thought the titular barbarians would only come from those nomadic tribes. But then I thought about the kingdoms... One has educational standards. The other is falling into depravity, so you might get some barbarian variants out of that one that are regressed toward a sort of social atavism if not a natural one. This will call for more research, of course.

The possibility of running a fantasy game for my Sunday gaming crew has me thinking of possible features for the map and opportunities for adventure, like hundreds of miles of land-bridge running west from the home duchy, sometimes twenty or thirty miles at a time, several hundred feet over the desert below. Or that small feifdom to the southwest that's supposedly perfectly liveable, but nobody knows anybody from there, and it's constantly shrouded by storms, or the seat of power somewhere to the northeast where the royal family covers every possible alignment...

Boy, I'm going to be screwed if they decide they want a science-fiction game instead.

That moment when you think the heroes will welcome the villain organization taking over their base because they won't have to do any more of those pesky investigations...

Just processing a silly little philosophical point, for reasons I won't go into here...

"Weird fantasy." From what I understand from seeing past discussions, it represents a subset of the fantasy genre where the "conventional" rules are either a) bent or b) thrown out, and everything is c) strange and d) unfamiliar to the players.

Point (d) is the one I'm most wondering about, because even if it's all supposed to be strange and scary to the players, won't the characters be taking it all either in stride or indignant resignation, because they grew up around all that "weirdness"?

And if so, doesn't that interfere with the player/character relationship?

Like I said, it's empty conjecture with little bearing on my own future plans.

So, in order to verify that the tire pressure light was going to stay off this time, I drove around a little bit, stopped in at the FLGS, and discovered that they had the copy of Paranoia: Red Clearance Edition that I had reserved.

Then I got home and found Trey Causey's Mortzengersturm: The Mad Manticore of the Prismatic Peak.

Pinky, are you pondering what I'm pondering?

Someone in my weekend gaming group is absolutely positive that dice are more random when rolled on hard surfaces. I think he also said something about large dice being more random too.

Meanwhile, I'm just churning away at basic probabilities and advanced math and planning around those numbers. I'm concerned that die-religiosity is going to undermine my efforts to run my game if the first few rolls (an insufficient sample) falls outside expectations.

Has anyone else ever have to deal with this, and if you did, how did you and how'd it turn out?

I still want to know what the hell kind of adventure I was thinking of when I named the folder I was going to put all its materials into "The Colossus of Matilda."

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TL;DR: If you're available Wednesday evening between 5 and 11 PM EDT, please select a game you'd like to play.

Full version: Okay, hang onto something, this may get a little weird.

See, the way it's traditionally done is picking a game that everyone wants to play and then trying to find that sweet spot in everybody's schedules to get together. You think you know what you're going to play, even if you're just meeting online, but when it's revealed that everyone's lives are syncopated such that no four people share a block of free time, the plan falls through. No game.

So I'm subverting the dominant paradigm. I'm picking a time first_—*between 5 and 11 PM EDT on a Wednesday evening*, subtract 3 hours for west coast US, add 5 hours for London, 6 hours for Berlin, 13 hours for Tokyo—and offer a selection of possible _games to play. Next time I'll pick a different day, possibly a different time, and change up the line-up of games I'm offering a little.

If you're available for a good-sized chunk of that time (at least 3 hours, I hope) and you're at least a little curious, then please consider joining me. I'll set up the adventure, pre-generate characters (unless that's a significant part of the game), wrangle invites to an online service (most likely Hangouts, secondarily Roll20 for maps and such), and either broadcast live through YouTube or record it and post-produce it with titles and stuff and upload that to YouTube.

Is that all I have to say? Yes, except for one big decision: Which game will we play? Once I know, I can get to the prep-work, and I'll try to keep that under two weeks. Now, I leave the decision to you:

Bubblegumshoe is by far the cutest entry into the Gumshoe family, as it's set in high school (and the surrounding town) and its focus is the teenage sleuths of your imagining. Another key point: In this version, physical combat is expressly de-emphasized in favor of social combat — win or lose, a physical fight could be a career-ender. Dice required: 1d6.

Cartoon Action Hour (Season 3) is one I mentioned in this Community originally. It's peculiar in that it's designed to handle pretty much any setting and genre, whether fantasy, interstellar science-fiction, or anything in between, as long as it's presented in the style of the 1980s-era half-hour-long toy commercial, complete with advertisements for said toys and the cheesy uplifting message at the end of the episode. If this one gets selected, I'll build up something semi-predictable, in the realm of contemporary fantasy. Dice required: A few d12s. No, really.

Dresden Files (Fate 3e) is the first, better-known edition of the RPG based on Jim Butcher's Dresdenverse, and it shows it in its two three largish tomes, which go into quite a bit of detail on the world from those books, complete with sniping between its main characters. This one came before Fate Core, so it has higher Refresh and more Aspects. It's also capable of handling most kinds of characters, and I'll be building all those and the setting for you because there'd be too many choices to plow through otherwise. Dice required: 4 Fate dice (the plus-blank-minus dice; yes/no dice will not work for this game).

Rolemaster is a much older system, but if you look around you can still find it. It was a fantasy system from the early 1980s, built on stacks of critical and effect tables that could blow the mind and break the will. It comes from a time long ago, when people felt that the game system didn't have to get out of the story's way. It's a generic fantasy game, which means it'll handle many kinds of fantasy, and doesn't have a setting of its own. Don't worry, I'll have that covered. Dice required: Percentiles, mostly.
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Cartoon Action Hour S3
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Dresden Files (Fate 3e)
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