Day 267: Is anyone out there?

April 20, 2010

I’ll soon be posting a link to my new website, but more importantly I’m trying to engage more with Toronto gamers.

Does anyone still follow the blog?  Do you want to play?

Day 100: The Bitter End.

November 4, 2009

Well, here we are, 100 days. This is a bitter pill for me; I had goals and hopes for a new project, and frankly, most of them didn’t work out, and while most of that wasn’t within my control, I know I made several crucial mistakes. Tag’s Folly was supposed to be a way for me to game more frequently and meet new people, provide gamers in Toronto with something they wanted, and prove that I could take on a big project on top of everything else that I do.

What follows is my postmortem.

What worked:

  1. The daily blogging schedule.
  2. Meeting new gamers.
  3. Getting more games in.

What didn’t work:

  1. I had the impression that there was a big pent-up demand for D&D 4e GMing; as it turned out there was … a little, and with a bunch of work you could get a group together.  But it wasn’t easy, as I’d hoped it would be, and that meant it took a long time for any of the organizers that did step up to schedule a session.
  2. I  didn’t get the rush of enthusiasm I was hoping for; everyone who organized sessions – and I appreciate their work – expressed that wasn’t really that much fun compared to how hard it was to get people together.  In some cases that meant straight drop-offs, leaving me with the task of “selling” the game to people to find organizers.
  3. The 4e ruleset, played by the book and prepped in advance is not conducive to a low-key campaign, and thus the 4e game would never be a self-sustaining organism.
  4. GTA transit kind of sucks; people just can’t get around, and when I run a game and have to spend 2 hours getting home, it hurts pretty bad.
  5. Real life threw me a few curveballs, particularly on the family and work side, and that derailed me pretty seriously.  Of course I set out on this trajectory when things were looking up, and when things got turbulent, and then outright sucktacular, I had to rein something in.  Unfortunately by the time that happened, the 4e campaign was the only thing in my life that I could really rein in.

What I learned:

  1. D&D is a game for people with basements, cars, and a lot more spare time than I have.
  2. When you get your name out there for running a game like this, all your old gamer friends remember you and start inviting you to their games.  You can quickly become a victim of your own success.
  3. A general appraisal of risks is a good idea even for personal projects.
  4. I hate prep that doesn’t get into a session right away.
  5. 4th edition is a better drill and a worse omnitool than previous editions.   It’s much harder to get it to do something different without hacking the rules, and the rules are much harder to hack.
  6. West Marches games are social monsters; there are a lot of uncharted social waters that you wade into and unless you’re a real extrovert, it will be stressful to run them.  This goes doubly for strangers.

Day 99: The Halcyon Sea

November 3, 2009

The Halcyon Sea was the heart of the Western Dominion, far to the west of the Spine.  Legends speak of a shallow basin a hundred miles across, as clear and calm as any sea could be, and yet its peoples learned nothing from its example.

From Anishomodz in the north to Gomoi in the north, all the cities there prospered for a time, but cracked from within with the arrival of the Vulgar Gods.  Unlike in the East, where the Vulgar Gods contented themselves with tearing down cities brick by brick, in the West they took human-like form, and demanded worship from the people of  the Western Dome-Under-Sky.  Some of the old cities are still remembered: Denayir was a vibrant bazaar, but crawled with spies. Emjou held to lost ideals like a tree that will not bend in the wind, and ended as we would expect. Sohebbiga descended into madness, while Tohan paid the price of foolish pride. Overgrown Karaiish and labyrinthine Balohn devoured their neighbour, Baruuth, and were slain in turn by bloodthirsty, sprawling Ravibe. Shining Isra teetered longest, and finally collapsed from corruption, while fortresslike Gomoi was consumed by fear. In the north, distant Anishomodz perhaps still survives, alone and unwanted. The Halcyon was a land of slaves who toiled in sprawling fields of maize and rice. But in the cities many called themselves free, despite the ominpresence of their Gods.

Individually, the Vulgar Gods would turn men to salt, turn swords on the soldiers that wielded them, and wrestled battlescarred Drakes into submission.  Together, they burned kingdoms and turned whole peoples to clouds of ash. Too, the Vulgar Gods had legions of spirits that matched or exceeded their long-dead armies. Some likely still survive, and in their varied ruins they remain the strongest and canniest of their lot.


Day 98: Ars Ludi again

November 2, 2009

Sometimes you read something that’s just… excellent advice.  Also, not something you would have thought of.  When you run into something like that there’s not much to do except to post it on your blog, and make sure you don’t lose track of the advice.

Ars Ludi on Character Monologues:

I’ve always used the phrases “Where are you right now?” and “What are you doing right now?” as cornerstones of how I run games.  I know I started using them naturally, but adding “What’s it like to be you right now?” to the mix really appeals to me in order to hit some notes I otherwise never hit at the table.

Day 97: Lantern Street

November 1, 2009

A nice spot in Husk, Lantern Street is one of the more multi-ethnic areas of Husk, where Tiefers and Wasters dwell in about equal numbers. Those who have lived there know about the connected cellars beneath many of the houses, even running across the road (some of these cellars were originally hallways within the Husk). These luckily do not experience seepage from the similar tunnels which serve as Husk’s sewers.

At the very end of the street is a hub of a few roads, where they meet at the circular Wyrrith Park. Wyrrith Park is known for the Wyrring Tree, a large, somewhat healthy willow watched over by a ghost who, though seldom seen, is subject of many local folk tales. Wyrrith Park is the main location for the holidays celebrated by the people of Lantern Street and is large enough to host a small fair (although this is definitely a local park – the rest of the city celebrates holidays elsewhere, especially in the Sheltered Market).