Saturday, July 14, 2012


wow, so it's been a few months. i left off talking about us quitting 3E, awaiting 4E, and agreeing to try some new games.  our gaming group at this time was me (33), chris (33), donnie (37), rich (34), and anthony (17 - he's rich's half brother).  for frame of reference, the time is october of 2007.


our friend rich had read the softcover rulebook, and seeing as he had some extras he decided to give one to chris and i to read.  the book was refreshingly thin and the game seemed fun and so we agreed to play.  chris volunteered to run it, and at our next session we sat down to make characters.  chris said he envisioned a "1920's MUMMY pulp" type of adventure, so we made characters accordingly.  we used a few rules from some online sources, but other than that it was straight out of the book.  everyone made regular human characters...except for me: i made a guy who was a son of THOR (the norse god, not the comic book character). he was a big dude with a big hammer...and he could teleport (which manifested as lightning striking him and then striking the area he teleported to).  it wound up working - the adventure premise was that there was going to be this huge opening gala at the museum of natural history in NYC.  my character was celebrated as a hero by a cult of odinists, and they got wind that some cultists of set were going to attempt to steal some ancient relics from the museum - using the party as cover.  so, i headed to NYC and i hired the other PC's to help me stop the cult of set from doing what it was that they were going to do. we had a disastrous meeting with the museum board of directors, another PC wound up "obtaining" an invitation to the party from an NPC, we had to find a forger to make the rest of us invites to the party...there were fist fights, car chases...

...AND IT WAS AWESOME. the game moved fast, there was virtually nothing to look up and we got through the majority of the adventure in just under 3 hours.  WHOA. light bulbs were going off in all our heads. all of us (who were older) all sat around afterwards and we all had the same thought: that this session reminded us of how games felt when we were younger.

as chance would have it, i was at my parent's house later that week and i decided to go poking around in the attic.  i managed to dig out my old STAR FRONTIERS books, my old moldvay BASIC D&D book, the BECMI sets, my old AD&D hardcovers, and the MARVEL SUPER HEROES rpg.  i took them all back to my apartment and began reading the BECMI stuff (if you don't know, BECMI is an acronym for the old Basic/Expert/Companion/Master/Immortal D&D box sets).

the following week chris wasn't around, so we wound up playing STARCRAFT on rich's LAN. i mentioned how i had dug all my old books out of the attic.  while we were playing rich mentioned that he had always wanted to play STAR FRONTIERS...and that playing all this STARCRAFT was getting him in the mood to play it. so we agreed to try it the following week.

i put aside the BECMI stuff and reacquainted myself with the STAR FRONTIERS system.  it was very jarring to see a COMPLETE game presented in UNDER 100 pages after around 7 years of playing 3E.  even the SAVAGE WORLDS rulebook was 159 pages. i wasn't complaining, mind you...but that thought would be the set-up for what was to come later.

i decided to run the group through the old CRASH ON VOLTURNUS module. they rolled up characters (which took MAYBE 15 minutes) and something interesting happened. instead of looking for feats, planning ahead for prestige classes, or min/maxing the crap out of their stats...they just made cool characters.  for example - chris had a yazirian who had been a drill sergeant and had recently retired from service. he liked human-made cigars and was trying to adjust to civilian life.  rich had a dralasite anthropologist who was obsessed with ancient human civilization (in particular the INDIANA JONES movies), wore a fedora whenever possible, and was always making terrible jokes. these weren't just NUMBERS and WORDS on a page...they were giving their characters CHARACTER - something which had stopped happening in our 3E games.  anyway, just GETTING them onto the ship that starts the adventure took about an hour, as we were all having fun role-playing the meeting of all the PC's, determining how they all knew each other, and the meeting with the corporate executive who was hiring them to go to volturnus.

all in all - the adventure was a blast. it moved quickly, everyone had fun, and when characters died we found inventive new ways to place new ones on the planet...and the adventure took on a life of its own. in between SF sessions (we couldn't play when someone was absent as they didn't want to miss it) we played some ALTERNITY as well...with similar findings (you know...FUN).  we wound up finishing the SF adventure over the course of 3 sessions.  the module is broken into 3 parts and there was tons of sandboxing going yeah, the game moved fast.  a lot faster than we were used to.

of course, this led them to wanting more...which led to me heading into BROTHERS GRIMM (our local gaming store) in search of the other VOLTURNUS modules...

...which we never got to play as 4E reared its ugly head in june of 2008.

to be continued...

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