Thursday, October 18, 2012
Week in Gaming: Rift Storm Legion, Pathfinder, AD&D and Grimtooth
I've been coasting on my "Thirty One Days of Horror" reviews so I thought I'd inject a more mundane blog post into the middle of it all, just a bit of a "me" update, I suppose...!
Partially because I was ready for it, and partially because my wife budgeted for it and encouraged me, I've taken the one year sub Storm Legion plunge with Rift. Trion Worlds has this deal where you spend $120 and get one year of playtime, the forthcoming Storm Legin expansion pack, and a variety of preorder goodies (although not the deluxe edition goodies, those are a separate "upgrade," alas). After thinking about it I decided this was worthwhile. Rift appears to be firmly rooted in its subscription model with no plans (beyond levels 1-20) to switch to a a F2P model. I really dig the background, lore and look of the game. I love the soulshard profession/class mechanic, which lets you play some very different characters within the same range of classes. And while most of my Raptr tracking represent phantom hours (my wife started it recently by updating her hours played on different games and I followed suit to reflect the actual pre-Raptr hours of many of my favorites) the Raptr hours for Rift are 100% actual play.
This is another way of saying I've sunk a lot of time into getting my character up in level before the expansion (my main is almost level 39 as of today) and surprisingly I'm not feeling burnout or distaste at the experience, which is a good thing. In contrast I can't even look at a WoW screenshot without feeling stomach churning disgust anymore! But them, over the course of many years I sank a lot of time into WoW. Fractionally that of the hardcore, but way more than a typical casual player, I suspect. Maybe. Hard to tell anymore...people have really got some skewed ideas on work/life/game balance ratios these days.
In tabletop gaming news not much to say other than that I'm enjoying my weekly Pathfinder campaign, which is the first new Realms of Chirak campaign I've run in a while and is the first lengthy Pathfinder-powered Chirak campaign, period. It's got me inspired to return to and finish the Chirak Pathfinder edition, which may eventually see the light of day. I stalled on the text blocks; I've never been a fan of 3.X edition stat block design, as its tedious, time consuming and I lack the obsessive pedantry necessary to enjoy the requisite minutiae of detail that the stat blocks require. That said, I would like to finish this sucker and get it out in PoD, so maybe I'll devote more time to the task soon.
The Saturday game has been having problems for a while now. No sooner did I get a large group together for the new 1st edition AD&D campaign (set in a fresh tailor-made retro setting) than did the next group two weeks later see too many cancellations for the game to continue that week. When you're on a bi-weekly run like that, missing a week turns it into a monthly game, and monthly games have problems with consistency and coherence, in my experience. We'll see what happens next week.
I keep pushing for non-D&Desque gaming but I can never get enough bites or commitments. Is this just exemplary of the contracting hobby, or unique to my region? I'd be very keen to run some BRP or Call of Cthulhu...some Legend or RQ6....but I can't get enough regulars to commit. I know some of it is due to the economy of time and money; people have limited amounts of both, and most of my cohorts don't buy many games, and like playing the few they do own (which, as it turns out, is mostly just Pathfinder). But still....it never used to be this hard to get alternate games going.
Outside of that, I've cut back severely on my game purchases. I decided to stop throwing money down the same pit; there are too many D&D-likes out there now, and not enough new RPGs. If there are new RPGs, I'd rather look at them instead of buying yet another D&D-like that will absorb shelf space and get no playtime. Likewise, with 1st edition AD&D and soon 2nd edition AD&D back in print, its hard to justify buying new retroclones and offshoots when the Real Deal is available and in print. There are some exceptions, of course. Plus, although I've never owned it in print I keep thinking I should grab Labyrinth Lord. Blood & Treasure, too. ACKS (Adventurer, Conqueror, King System) has also looked interesting. But....when would I ever get a chance to play? My main group of players are all thoroughly hooked on Pathfinder, and my alt-interest players are keen for non-D&D, should it ever happen, as opposed to D&D-likes.
I did grab Grimtooth's Traps and Traps Fore recently from the FLGS, which was able to snag them for me from their distributor. Nice to have those two books again, both of which I used heavily and often back in the 80's. Michael von Glahn was the illustrator in Traps Fore....I wonder what happened to him? He was a great guy, and his illustrations were hillarious. He did a lot of work for my fanzines back then, and it made my publications look so much better for it. He also did the first commissioned map art for one of my campaign settings (Keepers of Lingusia). Still my favorite map.