Saturday, August 16, 2014

Decisions, Decisions: 1D6 Possibilities For My Next RP Campaign (Coming soon to GUGS...)

Remember when I said I was going to take a break from running campaigns for a while, and I was hoping to play in a campaign this semester? Well, I've been re-evaluating that decision over the past week.

Part of that is because I feel it's my responsibility as RP convenor to have a campaign ready to run in case there aren't enough campaigns running to support the number of players looking for games. That's not too likely, but it's still a possibility I need to be prepared for.

Another part is that - with reading the new Firefly RPG, revisiting Traveller, eyeing up another couple of setting for Fate Core - I'm starting to get the itch to run something again. I've got at least another month to recover from the leftover GM burnout from my Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space campaign, so I figure by the time the new term starts I'll be ready to dive back into running something.

The question is, if I do run something, what will I run?

1. Apotheosis Drive X
This is a Gundam-style mecha RPG which uses the Fate Core system, but the corebook stands on its own and does not require the Fate Core rulebook to play. I just ordered the book and there's no complimentary PDF, so I still need to read it, but it sounds like it might be fun. The setting is around 2400 AD, where technological progress has allowed humanity to colonise the moon, Mars and the asteroid belt. Unfortunately we still haven't learned to set aside our differences and continue to work out new ways to kill one another, mainly using mecha known as Titans. The default setting is the Fourth Generation (2433 AD) where the four main factions are at a stalemate which will only be altered by the next technological leap forward, and the game seemingly has the potential to be run over multiple generations, from Generation One all the way to Seven, which is the ultimate generation of Titan technology.

I'm in a bit of a mecha anime mood at the moment, following the conclusion of the first season of our Tears Of A Machine campaign and having watched Knights Of Sidonia twice now (and going for a third pass soon), so it might be just the thing I'm looking for. Plus, the multi-generation story arc sounds interesting. Depending on how long it takes to play through a generation's worth of game time (and whether I'm in the mood to continue after another year of running a campaign), I could see this working as a long-term campaign with a new term or academic year marking the start of a new generation; players might return for later generations as their own characters (or each others') descendents, or other players might take the stage and play in a future shaped by the previous generation's actions.

2. Camelot Trigger (Fate Core: Worlds In Shadow)
Another mecha RPG which I'm considering. This one is actually part of the second Fate World expansion book (Worlds In Shadow) for Fate Core, and I heard about it originally because one of the other GMs at GUGS had run a few sessions of it. The premise seems to be that Arthurian legend is replaying itself in humanity's future. There's a 'High Orbit King' named Arthur (maybe even the Arthur, having returned as promised in the legend) and his loyal knights battle enemies of the crown across the solar system in giant robotic suits of armour. It's just the kind of crazy awesome genre mashup you could imagine being made into an anime series, and I'd love to play it if not run it. Normally I'd be loathe to run this in fear of treading on the other GM's territory, but he's actually grown disillusioned with Fate Core since running it, so I wouldn't feel quite so bad about taking over as GUGS' resident Camelot Trigger GM.

3. Firefly
I'm already planning on running a couple of one-shots of the new Firefly RPG at the start of term, so it wouldn't be that big a stretch to go the extra mile and run an ongoing campaign. Of course, whether I even run those one-shots is dependant on whether the print edition is in my hands by then, because I absolutely loathe running games from PDF (unless I'm actually running over G+/Skype/etc).
I don't have a 'series arc' in mind for a potential campaign as yet; I think I'd wait to see what kind of characters I end up with first. Depending on the party makeup, the arc could be anything from a Cowboy Bebop-style feud with a major Triad leader, or it might continue to tackle the Alliance and its dirty secrets like the original series. I had an idea a while back (back when I had the original Serenity RPG) about doing a post-Serenity campaign, with the crew getting caught up in the fallout following on from the events in the movie. The Firefly RPG is supposed to be set during the series though, so I think I'd like to start from there and maybe work my way towards the events of Serenity taking place. We'll see, like I said, it depends on how soon I get my hands on the print edition.

4. Kuro
Another interesting genre mashup, this time mixing futuristic noir in the style of Blade Runner with J-Horror in the vein of Dark Water or Ring. I might actually wait for the Makkura campaign sourcebook to come out before tackling a campaign of this, but I do have an idea about how to kick off a campaign of my own. Thing is, while I've done horror-themed sessions within other campaigns from time to time or the occasional one-shot, horror isn't my speciality as a GM. It's something I've always wanted to try, but I don't know how well I'll do in maintaining that kind of tone. Still, if I never try, I'll never learn...

5. Night's Black Agents
I've mentioned a couple of campaign ideas I could run for this previously or, if I'm feeling lazy I could buy the Zalozhiniy Quartet campaign book and run that. I think it would be a fun game to run whatever campaign I go with, though it will be another challenge. Firstly, because it's another horror-themed game and - as mentioned previously - that's not my usual thing. Secondly, I still haven't got the hand of running Gumshoe as a GM. I've given it a couple of tries, but if I'm running it in future I'll need to keep better track of players' point spends in-game. Again, if I don't try...

6. Traveller (Mongoose Publishing)
Last but not least, having been playing around with character creation in Mongoose Publishing's edition of Traveller again recently (part of my ongoing effort to inspire ideas for a Firefly pregen crew), I'm getting an itch to try running it again.

I did run a short-lived campaign of Traveller using a homebrew setting back in 2010 and I enjoyed running it then. Having heard actual play recordings of another group playing through it, I downloaded the free PDF of the Secrets Of The Ancients campaign, and I'd quite like to run that.

The only problem with that is that it's a long-term campaign (lasting about a year) and I'd be running it for a university-based roleplaying society whose peak period of activity is primarily between October and May, with breaks and slumps along the way (due to essays, exams and holidays). As such, I'm not sure there'd be enough time to run through the campaign in its entirety. It's probably a campaign better suited to a separate group playing at somebody's flat or house. Still, if I can't run the Secrets Of The Ancients campaign, I can always run a sandbox campaign set in the Third Imperium. Either way, I'd like to pick up a copy of the Spinward Marches book as a setting reference if I'm going to run Traveller.


I don't know how I'm going to decide. Maybe I'll roll a d6 and pick randomly (i.e. whichever one I don't feel like re-rolling the result for) or maybe folks could offer their own thoughts about which might be the best choice in the comments? Just don't suggest more games I could run, six options is quite enough to choose from as it is, thanks. ;)


  1. There was a DWAITAS game in southern Scotland that reached the point of burnout and I missed it?!

    I'd go for Firefly or NBA of those, but I admit bias.

    1. Technically the DWAiTAS game's just on hiatus until we can do the finale. People went home for summer and attempts at using Skype suffered from technological fail, so I'm going to run it as a 'Special' just before the new term starts.

    2. I'm sure I've heard of games using Skype that didn't suffer technological fail, but I've certainly never seen one.

    3. I've found G+ Hangouts is a bit more stable. We've had an entire 13 session campaign without many major technical hiccups. Although, oddly it seems better when it's a multinational chat session. Chats within Scotland alone have been less successful. Technology is strange. :/