Tuesday, June 10, 2014

[RP Thoughts] The Next 10 Games I Want To Run As One-Shots

With my long-term campaign almost wrapped up, I'm looking forward to a bit of a time-out from the GMing chair, at least as far as running a campaign is concerned. I'll probably still run the occasional (once or twice a month) one-shot, just to make sure I don't get rusty and whatnot. So I've been giving some thought to what games in my collection of unused RP books I might turn to for my next bunch of one-shots. Here's what I came up with, from last on the list to top-most.

10. Firefly
This isn't bottom of my list because it's my least favourite, far from it; it's at the bottom because, at the time of writing, the print edition isn't available yet. I don't like running from PDFs, mostly because my Kindle isn't ideal for reading it off of, and also...I guess I'm just a little bit old-fashioned that way. But when the book is released, and I've got the cash to part with, I'll be getting the game and I've got an old Traveller scenario or two I can tweak to fit the setting. I may even buy myself one or more of the Echoes of War scenarios that are already available on DrivethruRPG if I take the notion.

9. Wild Talents/Icons
I want to try my hand at running a supers game again one of these days, and these are the two main candidates for running whenever I get around to it. I bought Wild Talents a couple of Nationals ago while searching for a superhero RPG I could run. I haven't run it yet, and I'm a little worried that the rules look a bit crunchier than I'm generally comfortable with, but I might as well try it sometime and see. Icons, on the other hand, is much more rules-light. Problem with it is, it's maybe a bit too light, lacking in a proper character creation process. But I do like the Fate-derived aspects and positive-negative dice mechanic it uses.

8. Rocket Age
I love the aesthetic of the Rocket Age setting. Retro-style scifi with rocket ships, jet packs, fish-bowl helmet spacesuits and all that stuff. Problem is, it uses the Vortex System. Now, I like the Vortex System, but I've been running with it for about a year straight now in my Doctor Who game, and I want some time away from it. I still want to run this, but...not quite yet.

7. Mutant City Blues
The first of many titles in this list which use the Gumshoe system, in this case players are part of a special police unit who investigate crimes involving mutant powers or mutant victims, 10 years after 1% of the population have acquired these mutant traits from a mysterious illness. As with Firefly, it's not that I like this less than the other games. In this case it's more to do with how tricky coming up with a plot for this setting can be. I have had thoughts about adapting an old Monster of the Week scenario for the setting though, and I can always try my hand at putting together some Ripped From The Headlines scenarios, as is recommended for the Gumshoe line of games by its creator, Robin D Laws. I'm also lacking some decent pregen characters for it, but I can maybe get some folks to help me out in that respect.

6. Trail of Cthulhu
The second of my Gumshoe system choices. I've never really run horror before, and that's something I want to change. I've had Trail of Cthulhu a good few years now and haven't made much use of it except by referring to its descriptions of the Elder Gods for inspiration in other games. There's a pre-written scenario (The Kingsbury Horror) in the book and another one (The Murderer of Thomas Fell) available for free on the Pelgrane Press website I might try out, or there's some sourcebooks with other scenarios I might like to try out.

5. Ashen Stars
Yet another Gumshoe title, this time casting players as space cops-for-hire on the fringes of a galactic civilization fallen on hard times in the aftermath of a devastating war. I've got a couple of original scenarios (well, one is actually a 'what if' based on an 80s sci-fi movie) that I never got to use after my plans to run an Ashen Stars campaign fell through a couple years back, so I might dust those off and try them out for a couple of one-shots. Though, to be honest, Ashen Stars is one of the games I'd be more excited about running as a campaign.

4. Kuro
J-Horror meets futuristic noir in a Japan which has been isolated from the rest of the world by an international blockade, after an accidental nuclear strike was deflected by an electromagnetic storm of unknown (and most likely supernatural) origin. I've had this for about a year now and still haven't got round to running it. The problem with this one is the same as for Mutant City Blues: it's a tricky setting to plot for. But it's much higher on my list than Mutant City Blues because it's a much more recent purchase. Also, there is a pre-written scenario out now that I can run for it. The one in the book emphasised the tech aspects of the setting more than the horror, so I wasn't keen on using it. That said, the free one has the opposite problem, with more emphasis on the supernatural than the futuristic elements. I did come up with a scenario idea that mixes the two aspects, just need to write it up.

3. Fate Core
This is high on the priority list because I got it as a Christmas present last year. It's a pretty flexible system, so I could run almost anything with it, potentially. One of the first things I want to try running though is a Mass Effect game, since I found a rules hack for the setting online. I know one or two folks at GUGS who might be interested, assuming the timing is right. Other than Mass Effect, I don't have any other plans for scenarios to run with it, but shouldn't be too difficult to come up with stuff.

2. Timewatch
Back to Gumshoe again, this time for the most recent addition to the line, which puts players in the role of time cops trying to protect the proper timeline from tampering by those who seek to change history in their own favour. Truth be told, I've already run this once before, but I'm not counting that session because my adventure was blown out of the water (quite literally) before it had even really started. I intend to give the game another shot, perhaps with one of the three awesome pre-written adventures posted by etheruk on his blog, The Game Is Afoot.  

1. Night's Black Agents
Last, but highest priority on my list is another Gumshoe game. In this one, players are highly competent spies who have discovered that vampires exist, and have to fight for survival against the undead conspiracy. It's top of my list because it's the most recent addition to my collection, and also because the concept just sounds badass. I've been re-watching Burn Notice and will probably be watching more of it, and Spooks (among other such series) to get in the mood for this. I have a couple of pre-written scenarios to work from, but what I'm most looking forward to - once I've had some downtime to recover from DWAiTAS - is trying my hand at running a campaign of it.

So, that's the list of games I want to run one-shots of. I'd give more details about actual scenarios, but some of my future players might be reading this, so I don't want to risk spoiling things if they are.

That's all for now, see you later!

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