Two Options for a Restarting Our In-House Gaming Group

I returned to gaming almost a decade ago at the request of my then pre-teen daughter. After a slow start with just the two of us playing D&D 3.5e and then a hiatus, I stumbled across Castles & Crusades. We recruited my wife, a friend, and his two teen sons. We played about 15 sessions over 2 years but then ran out of steam with schedules and then all three kids leaving for college.

My wife and I have been discussing restarting our group without the kids (as they are scattered across three states). There would be four of us--two couples. I am thinking that I would start out as GM. While I think that we would eventually like playing a game like Trail of Cthulhu, I am not sure that is where we would start. I am thinking of one of two options (listed below). 

Anglo-Saxon England + Swords & Wizardry Complete: I would create a setting that is based on the English kingdoms of the 8th and 9th century. I think our group would enjoy a elements of horror, mystery solving, and significant roleplaying. I would probably delete a few classes (assassin & paladin) and race options (gnomes, half-elves, half-orcs, halflings). I could make elves the equivalent of the Celts, who had enclaves on the western shores of the island of Great Britain. Instead of arcane magic, they could have druidic spells. I could play upon the recent conversion of the area to Christianity and have magic-users relying on the powers of the old--now forbidden--gods, while clerics rely on the power of the "one true God."

Whimsical Horror-Tinged Fantasy + Swords & Wizardry Core:  Here I am thinking of Robert Lynn Aspirin's Myth series, Piers Anthony's Xanth books, or Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels, at least in flavor, along with whimsical horror elements of Jonathan Carroll (check out his Land of Laughs, one of my favorite novels). 

Other Stuff: Work has been brutal but I do have some time off so I will be catching up on some blogging. I have two Montporte Dungeon sessions to write up plus a follow-up to +Tim Shorts' (Gothridge Manor) post about dungeon map confusion.


Monday Moodsetter 54

Bomarzo, Italy
RPG Rorschach: What's the first gaming thought that pops into your head?


Monday Moodsetter 53

by Veronique Meignaud
RPG Rorschach: What's the first gaming thought that pops into your head?


Under a Geas

Irish spell or Italian basketball?
+Tim Shorts (Gothridge Manor) has run a few sessions in his homebrew setting. Session 2 was last Monday. At the end of Session 1, my character, Hyroth, came close to dying but was restored to health by a creepy death-loving cleric. The cost? A geas placed on Hyroth. 

From Hyroth's perspective, the geas has an uncertain purpose and an even more uncertain origin. Rather than just tell me what I am supposed to do (or find, in this case), Tim has been telling me that I feel compelled to go in a certain direction and complete certain activities. I really like this approach.

It is fun to play a character with a set of external motivations and compulsions. While I wouldn't want to do it all the time, it makes for an interesting and challenging approach to playing a character. Rather than rebel against it, I have tried to run with it. 

One side effect of this is that the usual player character interest in treasure or other personal advantage has taken a back seat to completing an unpleasant task and ridding myself of a horrible compulsion.

Another side effect--and a fun one from my perspective--is that my character is viewed as wildly unstable and dangerous by the other player characters. Some of that predates the casting of the geas on me. We did have a nasty three way fight between player characters in the middle of Session 1 that led to my near death experience. My subsequent appearance as both living and even more unstable has given the rest of the PCs something to think about.

To me, this has the best of both worlds as I have to respond to an external compulsion yet this compulsion was something experienced by me in game. My of my characters tend to be party guys--but it is fun to play a character who could potentially be an enemy of the rest of the PCs.