What Next?

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I’m expecting that my Rise of the Runelords campaign will wrap up in a few weeks, which opens up the question of what to run next. In the short term, I’ll take a bit of a break, but I need to start thinking about what to prepare for since there’s two gaming slots which need filling – both our weekly face to face game, and also our weekly game on Roll20. I don’t need to fill both, but probably need to run something for one of them.

The original plan was to run Iron Gods at some point, the Pathfinder adventure path of crashed spaceships, robots and lasers. It looks like a fun adventure, and noticeably different from the other adventure paths we’ve done, but I’d like to break from Pathfinder. We seem to have done a lot of it recently (currently, three adventure paths on the go at once, plus my more sandbox Roll20 game). I think it’s partly because the adventure paths take so long to run (they’ve been going on for almost five years now, on and off), and also because it was an easy fallback when some players didn’t want to play what GMs actually wanted to run.

If I were to run more Pathfinder, I think I’d have to pay a lot more attention to what feats and classes people were taking, and be more aggressive in vetoing them. I might also put a limit on magic items, especially those with stacked bonuses. I do like the Inner Sea setting though, which is the main reason I wanted to try Pathfinder in the first place.

My other plan is Eclipse Phase, though I’m waiting for the second edition rule book to turn up. The complication here is that EP is a lot harder to run than other systems. The hard science side of it makes coming up with adventures that make sense tricky – there’s only so many ways to encounter existential threats to humanity. I’ve got parts of an adventure thought out for it, though sticking the parts together is still left to do. Given the nature of Eclipse Phase, it may be a better fit for the face to face group which have played it before (albeit several years ago), and at least a couple of players have shown interest in it.

Though I really like the setting for EP, I’m not a fan of the system, and though it’s been cleaned up somewhat since 1st edition it could still be slightly painful to learn and run.

There is also Blades in the Dark, which is a very different type of game to what I’m used to running. Most of what I run is quite mechanically heavy, or at least mechanically strict. Blades is a lot more story driven with quite fuzzy rules on skill resolution. It might be a better fit for Roll20, though I’d need to see how many people are interested in that and decide whether I have the courage to try something well outside by normal comfort zone.

Another game I’d like to try is GURPS Dungeon Fantasy, though I know some players really dislike GURPS. Whether I could persuade them to give this a try since it’s a somewhat more streamlined version of GURPS I don’t know. But it’s part of my attempt to find a high fantasy set of rules that I actually like (which isn’t D&D-like). Just in case, I have just got myself a few boxes of cardboard hex tiles for drawing maps on.

I’m also working on expanding my YAGS rules to handle high fantasy, and then inflict that on people again, but that’s unlikely to happen this year, since I also want to flesh out a background setting for it. This is also more suited to a (very informal) hex grid, so those hex tiles may come in useful for this as well.

Samuel Penn