Friday, September 23, 2011

Less Magpie in Magpie Night

This past Monday marked the beginning of a turning point for our Magpie Night RPG sessions.  The night was originally designed to try out a variety of game systems using one or two shot adventures.  We did that for a while bi-weekly, then added a Pathfinder Kingmaker campaign on the off weeks.

This was working quite well for some time, but lately things have changed.  First, we lost one of our founding members when she moved away, and the Kingmaker campaign has been dragging a bit since then.  With another of our players now taking a (hopefully) temporary leave of absence, I made the decision to put Kingmaker on hiatus.

Meanwhile, I have been getting some push-back on the core Magpie concept of bouncing from system to system fairly rapidly.  A couple of the players are either frustrated at constantly having to come up with character ideas, or else have a desire to explore their character concepts more deeply than a single adventure allowed for.

Also, I want to explore some games that require more than a single adventure to get into, so while I do want to still do some more one-shot adventures in the future, I am abandoning them for now and doing short campaigns instead.

With this in mind I created a spreadsheet of all the games I am willing to run, along with ratings as to how great my desire to run them is, my preparedness in terms of understanding the rules, and some other factors.  At the top of that list is Ashen Stars, but Trail of Cthulhu is right below it, and two of my three current players are more interested in it than in Ashen Stars.

Thus, we have started a Trail of Cthulhu campaign, while possibly doing some Ashen Stars adventures whenever I need a break from running Trail of Cthulhu.  Since they are both based on the Gumshoe system, there shouldn't be much difficulty in switching between games.  More on this in my next post.

I'm a little sad to see the format change, but we got through a lot of games over the past year or so, which has been a lot of fun, and which I think really helped some of my skills when it comes to roleplaying.  I'm now looking forward to running some longer games.


Michael said...

I am very interested to know how the ToC game goes. I have run several convention games of ToC that have been wonderful, but have found GumShoe is a little flat in Campaign play.

Fulminata said...

I think it's going to come down to the reactions that the players have to the point spend system. I plan on going into that a bit in my next post.

librarian said...

I was interested to hear about your Magpie nights in your group. Do others ever GM? Did you ever list all the games you played in one place? It would be really cool if you made a list and then also included how you felt each game went, and also how each player liked each game.

I'm in the process of developing an adventure, but I'm not sure of the best system to use. Currently we're playing 4e, but I'm leaning towards Burning Wheel or Dungeon World.

Fulminata said...

Others have occasionally GMd. That's something I probably should have encouraged more, but there's always something I want to run, and I tend to prefer running games to playing in them.

I may try to post a list of all the games we ran.

As for developing an adventure, planning for 4e is going to be a lot different from planning for Burning Wheel or Dungeon World. The latter two are much more improvisational styles of games.

I'd argue that an adventure in Burning Wheel shouldn't even exist until the players have created their characters. The most you should have before sitting down with the players is a setting and some character constraints, and even those can be decided at the table as a group.

Dungeon World is a little more structured at the beginning, but the ideal "adventure" should probably fit on two sides of an 8 1/2x14 piece of paper. It outlines setting and some possible threats, and that's about it.

You can't "play to find out what happens" if you have too much detailed ahead of time.

For a more traditionally structured adventure, 4e, Pathfinder, Savage Worlds, RuneQuest or one of the other many more traditional fantasy RPGs.

Of course, I'm currently toying with the idea of converting an old D&D module to the Dungeon World format, extracting a few key concepts and boiling it down to the 1-page, 3-panel format that Dungeon World uses.

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