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April 20th, 2012


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06:07 pm - My Recent Gaming
I've been making my (admittedly) meager living writing RPGs for around 15 years now, but for the last few years I've only had fairly sporadic gaming, until this year. Within a month of each other, two games started that I'm in, one run by each of my wonderful partners. For those of you with an interest in such things, here's what games I'm currently playing:

Becca's Grimsby Game: teaotter has been running a game about magic returning. It's set in June of 2011, with what is so far minor magic (some hauntings and similar minor and low-key things), with characters who have stumbled into this and made contact with an intelligent but quite limited magical construct that's interested in eradicating concentrations of potentially nasty magic. In the game there seem to be areas that have soaked up residues from positive or negative events, and when magic grows stronger, these locations become more active, and in the case of negative places, actually dangerous. One unusual aspect of the game is that the magical construct also allows mental time travel into the future and the past, and explicitly allows the characters to change the past. Fortunately, changing the past causes people who do so to gain two sets of memories – so they remember the world both before and after the change.

The characters are a group of middle to lower middle class people in the fictional city of Grimsby (which is essentially Boston with minor differences). My character Jo is a struggling artist who also works as an art restorer in a small museum, who has recently discovered that she can talk to objects and cause them to move on their own. Currently, the characters are working on a way to make money via time travel, while also trying to figure out what they can do with time travel that (at the moment, it's clear that further time travel is possible) only allows them to travel around a year into the past or the future, and only to a few fixed dates.

We're at the stage of the campaign where the characters are actively working together and where we know a few things, but are also impressively clueless about any sort of larger picture. I'm especially intrigued with this idea that as the characters find ways to travel further into the past that the setting for the campaign will end up becoming increasingly different. Several characters have already suggested stopping the September 11 attacks if we can find a way to travel back a decade, and we joke that after six months of play the world may well have riding lizards and flying carpets, especially since it's clearly possible to cause magic to have returned earlier and more powerfully using time travel. The rule system for this is essentially entirely free-form with rather qualitative dice rolling (low = good, high = bad, roll a 6 and something unusual happens).

Alice's Bloodlines Game: At the same time, amberite is running and Amber Diceless Roleplaying campaign (with some moderate modifications to the various powers) that she has been considering running for almost a decade. I like Zelazny's work a lot, but was never all that attracted to the Amber novels, but I love this campaign, in large part because while it uses the setting of Amber, the feel is entirely different. We've had three sessions so far, each of which ran around 10 hours of intense play (the game runs once every 4-6 weeks), and the only on-screen violence has been one character knocking a guard unconscious.

Also, the cabal of three characters that my character Clay is part of are all odd intellectuals with deeply unusual interests. My character is working with one of the others (Cecil) on space travel in Amber itself (using spacecraft made in high-tech shadows from genetically modified trees, combined with a lot of sorcery), Amara, the third member of the cabal is interested in using the Pattern for time travel. Clay is also fascinated by the transcendent possibilities of shape-shifting and is currently learning how to turn into an energy being so that he can fly to Amber's Sun and "walk" the impressively vast version of the Pattern that the observatory he and Cecil built on Mount Kolvir has found. In short, there's a fair bit of the campaign that's Zelazny's Amber for science geeks and Clay is an ardent transhumanist who eventually seeks to become a transcendent god-like entity who can learn to perceive and travel in the portions of the multiverse that are not found between the poles of Amber and Chaos. After the next scenarios, there's a good chance that Clay will travel to the Sun and then Clay, Cecil, and whoever they can convince to come along will fly a sorcerous tree-spaceship from near Amber orbit to Amber's moon. After that, Clay plants to work on ways to divide his mind so he can split his mind and body up and recombine, much like Forking and Merging in Eclipse Phase, but w/o the need for an actual technology - his first step in this process will be learning to grow a second head.

Here's some info from the games so-far incomplete website: background info & some info on the characters What the web-site does not reveal is that the background contains a fair number of lies that the characters have all just discovered, including the fact that Brand didn't just survive, but worked with Martin to create the new Pattern, and is the father of two of the PCs, and that several of the other elders who were presumed dead are also alive. We learned the later because last game, we accidentally rescued Fiona from a shadow where time ran sufficiently slowly that the last almost 300 years since the Patternfall War were only a few hours to her.

In any case, I'm loving both these games, and my only regrets are that Becca's game (which is run weekly) has sessions that are only around 2-3 hours long and that Alice's game isn't run more often.
Current Mood: pleasedpleased

(6 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:kiarrith
Date:April 21st, 2012 11:59 pm (UTC)
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mmm! sounds fun =)
[User Picture]
From:xuenay
Date:April 22nd, 2012 02:20 pm (UTC)
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Huh, the concept for the Grimsby game sounds fun. Enough to make me wonder if I'd want to run something like that myself.
[User Picture]
From:xuenay
Date:April 22nd, 2012 02:43 pm (UTC)
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Also, Clay sounds awesome.
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From:heron61
Date:April 22nd, 2012 07:36 pm (UTC)
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*grins* I'm vry pleased to be playing him, I becaame interesting in playing in the Amber setting when I considered the idea of a character who was driven to transcendence and what that would mean for somewhat who is already basically a demi-god.
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From:heron61
Date:May 15th, 2012 09:27 am (UTC)
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As a side-note, Clay has recently taken an interest in something that can best be described as universal uplift Amber-style - he wants to create a rapidly contagious method of giving everyone in all of the shadows the ability to walk the Pattern (+ immortality and the mental and physical prerequisites for walking the Pattern). The GM has said that accomplishing something this drastically setting-changing will require the cooperation of all the characters (and would presumably be the endpoint of the campaign), but that it's definitely possible under those circumstances.
[User Picture]
From:heron61
Date:April 22nd, 2012 07:38 pm (UTC)
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It's also one of the only games of its type I've ever heard of. I've played and heard of a number of time travel campaigns before, but they are all either some version of the PCs are the time patrol, or going to the past is simply traveling to a parallel world that looks like the past, and so changing time is impossible. I have no idea what the game will look like once the characters start doing some major time-editing and gain the ability to go decade or centuries into the past.

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