Tuesday, 21 July 2009

What to do?

I'm thinking of running another game online. Because of the international jet setting lifestyle I lead it's impossible to get a face-face campaign on the go, but I have to play to stay alive and online gaming is the only alternative. The WFRP campaign is ticking along nicely now, and I believe I might just have the time to squeeze in another game. Ideally play-by-chat if the scheduling issues can be handled.

The question is, what? Right now I'm torn between Cyberpunk 2020 and Pendragon. The former is easier, the latter seems more fulfilling. Decisions, decisions.


  1. The next campaign should be Yoon-Suin. Duh.

    But you probably have some obscure and perfectionistic reason for not pulling that one out yet.

    The personality mechanics of Pendragon seem interesting, but if the game moves at the speed the WFRP one has been moving, I'm guessing the play-by-post format could make it hard to get character development really moving.

    So then that leaves Cyberpunk. Which I'd be all for, though life in East Hollywood in 2009 is pretty cyberpunk already.

    Or: mash it up.

    Near-future medieval a la what dlarkins is doing in his Rifts 2112 campaign. Do cyberpunk stats for characters plus personality mechanics from pendragon. PCs are part of the weird aristocracy that emerges in the weird future.

  2. I know this isn't a recruitment post, but I thought I'd just say that I'd be interested in either one. Some of your fellow DW players might be too.

  3. Pendragon (the Winter Phase lends itself well to pbp/pbem between chat sessions)... set in Yoon-Suin.

    Picture it! Mighty slug knights atop their rearing glutinous steeds fight for honour and the love of fair mollusc-maids. Their brave hearts fear nothing but the dread desiccating sorceries of the wicked Sir Mordred, lord of Lac de Sel.

  4. Whatever happened with Yesteryear, anyway? I was following that one in my Google Reader for a few weeks.

  5. I'd say CP2020. Who wants to play some pseudo-Europe of legend? It's all about the chrome.

  6. Tough choice, but I'd go with Pendragon. I doubt you'll have any shortage of takers and, as you say, it'll be more fulfilling.

    Also, if you're going to do play-by-chat, I'm sure you've seen that combat can be slow and simpler, rules-light, is generally better.

    Best of luck, whatever you decide.

    - Brian

  7. I'd have to go with Pendragon too. Better set of rules for a pbp game.

  8. Zak: Yep, I do have obscure and perfectionistic reasons for not doing Yoon-Suin. But once I've finished off the bulk of the material I want to play-test it properly, so I'll give you a heads up about that.

    Cyberpunk/Pendragon mash up sounds great, except for the fact that I'm too lazy to do it.

    Blizack: Good to know! I'll let you and the guys know once I've decided.

    Chris: You know I was thinking for about an hour of a way of doing that. Yoon-Suin isn't feudal and its society is mostly based around belonging to different cults, so I was thinking of somehow twisting the Pendragon rules to fit that. Then I thought, "That's ridiculous and sounds far too much like hard work."

    PatrickWR: It kind of fizzled. I think the blog format we were using was a pain for the players (it certainly was for me), and by the time we moved it to more traditional play-by-email I think all momentum had gone. I've chalked that one up to experience: namely play-by-blog is a bad lot, and don't lost momentum with a PBP/PBEM game because once it's gone it doesn't come back easily.

    Bluskreem: What about pseudo-Europe of legend, but with chrome?

    trollsmyth: Yeah, combat is even slower with PBP. Strangely although WFRP has a very complicated combat system it hasn't been all that hard to translate to PBEM - although I'm having to think of ways to speed it up.

    Underminer: The only thing about the Pendragon rules is that for the really fun things (hunts, jousts etc.) a lot of the tension is in the dice rolling and you lose that with PBP. At least, so it seems to me. I haven't played it yet.

  9. Oh my god, noisms. Run Yoon-Suin and I will play that like proverbial gangbusters.

    But of the two you're focused on at the mo', I'd rather have Pendragon (though I don't actually know either system).

  10. The only thing about the Pendragon rules is that for the really fun things (hunts, jousts etc.) a lot of the tension is in the dice rolling and you lose that with PBP. At least, so it seems to me. I haven't played it yet.

    I'd say that's an accurate assessment. Trait and Passion rolls, too, figure big in gameplay; that's actually where most of the drama comes from, since you can be forced to act contrary to your own wishes.

    As much as I'd love to see a Pendragon PbP, if that bugs you then it might be a problem. One possible solution is to have everyone generate X number of d20 rolls in advance, then apply those rolls as needed.

  11. re: sirlarkins pre-roll d20s idea

    Ooooooh--I like that.

    Though maybe there should be some mechanism to avoid how--toward the end--you'll have all these crap rolls left over and will naturally want to do a bunch of useless stuff you don;t really care about in order to "burn off" the bad rolls.

  12. The way I'd handle it is to have the GM have the lists of rolls and go in order rolled. I might even go so far as to generate, say, six columns of 20 rolls each, then have the players roll a d6 at the outset to see what column they use. The players don't get to see the numbers, of course, and that way they have no idea what rolls are coming up.

  13. sirlarkins

    that seems to defeat the purpose of pbp players roling at all though. If the GM is just going off the list, then you get neither:

    "Oh boy did I miss, did I hit--*roll*. *Wait.* *Cry*"


    "Ah, my shrewd and strategic resource management skills suggest I use this 16 against the basilisk and this 7 against the one-legged orc."

    With the roll divorced from the event, it's alot just like the GM rolling, which is how PRP already usually works.

    [v-word: "affible": n. someone to polite to point out that someone else spelled "affable" wrong]

  14. (or that I left an "o" out of "too")

  15. I think Zak's right, and is the thing that I dislike most about PBP and PBEM.

    Some sights use an online dice roller to solve the problem, so I might think about using one of those.

    Play-by-chat is ideal (well, face to face is ideal actually) but difficult to schedule, especially since I'm in a very different time zone to most of the English-speaking world.

  16. I just ran across this thread over on Greg Stafford's Pendragon forums:


    I haven't looked over it yet, but it looks like it might have some handy advice/thoughts.

  17. Erg, looks like I spoke too soon. Just generalities and people talking about starting up an online game. That's what I get for linking before I looked.

    Ah well, there's quite a few other interesting topics on those boards to look over as long as you're there...

  18. Just curious...but if you live in Japan, and speak nihongo, aren't there gaming groups there you can join or put together?

  19. sirlarkins: Thanks for the link! Very useful stuff.

    JB: I'm currently on a two-months-in-Japan, two-months-in-UK basis, transferring back and forth. That means a long term campaign is basically out. Hopefully by November at the latest I'll be settled for good, though, so maybe at that point.