Monday, August 15, 2022

Gaming This Last Week: More DCC (it's getting good), D&D 5E Keeps on Going, OSE returns and Lots of New Books (Path of the Planebreaker, Ruins of Symbaroum, Anime 5E)

 Well, the last week has proven exciting, as I resume GMing duties on Saturdays for a while. The recent gaming events have boiled down to the following:

1. Weekly Dungeon Crawl Classics on Monday nights. As we play further and deeper into this particular game I feel that, as mentioned last post, DCC is a game best enjoyed around a live table with fleshy humans; VTT just doesn't do this system as much justice (though in fairness I think approaching the VTT carefully with some clear rules on conduct in the funnel crawl would help). Either way, DCC is fun....maybe I will think about running it, or one of its cousins (Mutant Crawl Classics) sometime. I just can't get over "race as class" in 2022, but MCC handles it well enough with its post-apocalyptic theme (for me), so....yeah, probably that eventually.

2. D&D 5E Wednesdays continue, and it's been a blast. I've developed a very pleasant relationship with 5E, and my strategy of reducing non-critical foes and encounters to minimum permitted HP has helped a great deal with keeping the combat, when it happens, from overwhelming the evening. My setting for the campaign continues to be fun for me, with a large focus on an archaic world straight out of the fifth century AD steeped in traditional folklore, magic and superstition, and eschewing much of the more fantastical/farcical elements of the genre to keep it simple and mysterious.

3. We had a final night with Call of Cthulhu on Astral Tabletop Friday. The Keeper is taking vacation for two weeks, and when he returns Astral will be gone. RIP Astral, you were a decent VTT environment. 

4. Saturday I returned to the GM seat, and while we had bandied about returning to Starfinder I convinced everyone I could no longer pretend I even cared about that system anymore, and we should just resume Old-School Essentials again, which we did, with a follow-up campaign to the first one. Since some high-tech sci fi elements were inevitable in this sequel, I am cribbing content from a combination of Gamma World, Mutant Future, Star Crawl and Mutant Crawl Classics for now to "fill in the gaps" as it were. So far, working great! As the group reaches 3rd level (give or take) they are starting to see how the system, despite feeling anemic compared to modern iterations of D&D, is actually quite robust as a story engine type game. We're using the Advanced Edition rules in OSE, which is where my comfort zone lies; although I did start with the Otus red cover Basic D&D set back in the day, my second purchase was the AD&D three book set and my second game was in AD&D. For this reason the "class as race" thing never made sense to me and feels too limiting. I ordered a second set of the rulebooks for my wife as well from Exalted Funeral, I think for the games she runs for kids at school it might be a great choice.

Several new tomes arrived within the last week: The Ruins of Symbaroum is a really interesting adaptation of that system to D&D 5E, though maybe most useful for use as-is; I am not sure its all that easy to extract content from for other games. 

I also got my copy of the Path of the Planebreaker from Monte Cook Games today. Just started reading it, but already looks like an amazingly interesting approach to cross-planar travel with tons of useful content. It feels like a spiritual successor to one of my favorite 3rd edition books, Beyond Countless Doorways. 

Finally, ordered (and snagged the PDF) of Anime 5E, from the company which apparently now controls the Big Eyes, Small Mouth property once held by Tri-Stat. This book is really dang interesting, and I must write more on it soon, as it provides an apparently very nice approach to turning D&D 5E into a point-buy system of design, and all the rules to allow for it. More on this one very soon.

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