Thursday, January 2, 2020

Checking My Achievements

I was looking over my posts from last year. I was surprised that I'd put out seven whole posts in February last year, since I spent almost all of February in the US with my family. But in that last week, I managed to crank out those seven posts.

One of them had this list of goals for 2019:

Now, here are my potential RPG related projects for this year:

  1. Converting my West Marches 5E game to Labyrinth Lord. Some players won't like it, but I'm ready to get back to basics. Fewer classes, fewer spells (but often more powerful in effect), and a lower power level; but hopefully more action/interaction.
  2. Starting an online Chanbara campaign. Probably with the usual Hangouts/Roll20 gang (Busan Gaming Group plus any of Dean's 5E gamers I can lure into it). If any blog readers are willing to make time on Saturday evenings East Asia/Australia time (Saturday morning North America, midday Europe/Africa), let me know.
  3. Finishing up my next set of paper minis (just need to format the book then get it online). It has the Isle of Dread module monsters plus the creatures in BX that aren't in BECMI's Basic and Expert books. 
  4. Moving on to the Mentzer Companion Set for the next set of paper minis? Or making a set for OA/Flying Swordsman/Chanbara? Or AD&D monsters? Or AD&D/later edition character types? 
  5. Releasing the dungeons/locations of the Chanbara game, plus some for more standard D&D type play, as cheap modules for sale through Hidden Treasure Books.
Overall, I did pretty well with this.

1. I did, sort of. I converted to my house rules Treasures, Serpents, and Ruins, which is BECMI with the serial numbers filed off and some more content inspired by AD&D and 5E. And I couldn't be happier with the game now. Why did I wait so long to convert?

2. I did start the Online Chanbara campaign. Snow Pine Island. I made a map. I made several dungeons. The players made characters. They explored one dungeon. And honestly, I lost interest. I realized later that I'd tried to set up too many factions on this tiny island full of monsters. The players picked the factions they thought would suit their characters, and they were all over the place. Trying to figure out all these conflicting motivations, and goals for each PC that were at cross purposes to every other PC, was just too much work.

Next time, I'll mandate ONE faction that all PCs must have allegiance to, and then let them choose a second one of their choice for some conflict. That way, I can use the shared liege to give them adventure hooks, but let them decide whether to support that goal or try to subvert things for their secondary liege's goals. Make the players do the work on that.

3 and 4. I not only finished the BX Extras/Isle of Dread minis, I also put out a Chanbara minis book. More paper minis this year? Probably not. They're fun to make, but time consuming, and don't really sell that well. What I should do is finally get around to reformatting the Basic Monsters pdfs to match the Expert books, with multiples of monsters usually found in groups to save people the effort of having to print multiple pages to get more than one figure.

5. This is the only one I didn't get done. But I did start in on East Marches, which will likely have recycled content from my earlier Flying Swordsmen and Chanbara campaigns. Hell, even from my old AD&D OA game from 1997, and my 3E OA game from 2006-7. Because as I posted before, there's a lot of stuff that needs to go into this thing. Might as well save myself a bit of effort and self-plagiarize, when things fit.


  1. Interesting regarding factions. I've got an inkling that this is kind of a "thing" at the moment, with regard to 5E games, but from my own experience it's never worked all that well (going back to my White Wolf/Vampire days). Players being part of ONE faction from the get-go is okay, as a justification for a party being together, but tying characters to multiple competing interests even before the game/campaign starts? Madness. Probably the only time I've seen such a thing work is in early edition Paranoia, and then only because A) it provided specific (usually short-lived) "secret mission/objectives" to players and, B) the game was designed to devolve into ridiculous PVP action (ending in all PCs deaths) anyway.

    For D&D, my theory is it's best to let faction allegiance develop "organically" during actual play; players first allegiance should be to each other, not an NPC group that's part of the setting.

  2. Yeah, I didn't get that far into things that having too many factions actually became a problem in play, but it was a problem for me with prep. And these days, my philosophy is that if prep is no fun, the game will be no fun.