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Saturday, July 7, 2012

And now for a change of pace and game.

Instead of my planned OSR games or the L5R RPG that I keep hoping will break out here, or even the D20 Star Wars game that I had my players actually make characters for; we're going to admit that my home gaming group is a broken thing and take it on the road with a new game- 43 AD.

There are a lot of reasons why my home group is broken, two of my adult players are in new jobs and don't have time to play. One of the other adult players is the girlfriend of one that just started a new job, and was only coming to spend time with him. My oldest daughter is on medication that makes it too difficult for her to concentrate for any real length of time. My son has decided he really prefers playing 4th edition D&D with his buddies to playing old school D&D at home with his family and his parent's friends. My youngest daughter, oddly enough, only wants to play when one of the family friends is playing. Lastly, my long suffering wife is sick of playing dungeon mom, keeping the party coordinated and moving along, all that sort of stuff. She never really likes the role of party leader anyway, but when it's just her and the kids playing, it kind of naturally falls to her. My son also chafes at that, because he thinks he'd be a more suitable party leader, but when that was tried, he was ineffective and kind of self serving.

So, I've been reading through 43 AD, from Zozer games, I bought it last month. I am pretty sure that's when it came out. See, I have the people I play Dawn Patrol with Big Darryl and Little Darryl, Dalton and maybe my son John would be interested in this; and I think I could get some more people to show up for an RPG; but both Darryls HATE D&D for opposite reasons.

For Big Darryl, who gets first mention out of respect for his age, he hates D&D because it was too abstract, not rules crunchy enough and not realistic enough. He likes games where you might get crippling wounds that last forever, where you only get better at skills you actually use, stuff like that. He was really into DragonQuest back in the day, probably just because it was an RPG written by SPI, a wargame company known for it's strict simulationist approach.

For Little Darryl, he hates D&D because he can't divorce it in his mind from 3e. He actually was none too fond of 2nd edition either, but 3e was the straw that broke the camel's back for him too. I went back to 1st edition AD&D and B/X, he went to FUDGE and other extremely rules-lite games. FUDGE-on-the-fly is his favorite way to play his favorite game, that's how rules-lite he went; although he has expressed a fondness for Savage Worlds too. He also has another gaming group he plays with that have played a whole bunch of different indie RPGs, some of which I've heard of, others not. They are almost universally story oriented rules-lite systems though.

For my part, I think I could use a little experience away from D&D and it's derivatives for a while, despite having a fairly vast collection of games, I really haven't played anything that wasn't D&D, with the exception of Ashli's brief Hackmaster Basic campaign she ran for the family when she was a junior in high school, so 3 years ago or so, I played a different system. I haven't GMed anything non-D&D, unless you really count 4th edition Hackmaster as NOT D&D or 3e as NOT D&D, since I am going to guess the late 1980s or early 1990s.

Dalton is young and has most of his gaming experience at my table, so his horizons could stand to be expanded too I guess. I have given him a lot of books to read, but I don't think he's played any of them, much less GMed them. He does have a core group in Oswego, NY, that he DMs for, but apparently it's as dysfunctional currently as my home group.

Now, 43 AD is a pretty rules-lite system, so little Darryl will be pleased, but it has the realism requirements that Big Darryl likes too, armor reduces damage for instance instead of making you harder to hit, that always got him going about D&D. It also has the advantage of being able to be used as a gateway backstory role playing experience for my Garnia campaign world if things work out as I hope they will. Additionally, we, and by we I mean Little Darryl and I, plan to run simultaneous 43 AD and Warband (the Celtic character's supplement for 43 AD) campaigns, alternating adventures and having an impact on each other's storylines. I suggested that and he agreed that it would be pretty cool. We haven't set it in stone yet, but it is most likely I'll be up to bat first for GM duties with the Roman half of the campaign, which means I get to play a Briton!

Ordinarily, I'd want to do this with two completely different groups of players, but apparently I can't scrape together enough role playing gamers in central New York to make that sort of thing happen. Anyone getting this signal within driving distance of, roughly, just north of Cicero, NY that wants to play in an RPG that will be kind of irregularly scheduled during the summer, and if it lasts, most Saturdays after school starts, is welcomed to leave a comment.

So, here's hoping this new venture works out. It's currently dependent on the old man wanting to try some role playing again rather than sticking strictly to a schedule of wargaming. I hope that won't be a problem, because at 70, his wargaming skills have lost their sharpness. Either that or Little Darryl and I are just that much better than he is now, which I find unlikely. In either case it's sad for me, the man was like a father to me growing up and I hate having to take it easy on him in a wargame.


  1. I'll do what I can to make this happen... Dad has admitted to me his mind isn't as sharp as it used to be, and he's not terribly happy about it... Intellectually I get it, but its hard for me to ease up - and maybe I shouldn't - its hard, in part, because growing up I started playing games like Wooden Ships & Iron Men with Dad when I was like 11 years old. I'm pretty smart, and a quick study, but Dad was actually a very experienced gamer (as teens he and my uncles had invented a car racing game where they all built 1:48 scale models and laid out tracks on the living room floor. There once held a 24 hour LeMans style race won by my then 10 year old uncle Ricky), and very competitive...he always won our engagements, and usually didn't suffer much in losses. occasionally I'd catch a favorable tack and unleash a legitimate broadside, coupled with some fortunate sixes and actually cripple or even sink one of his ships. And boy would sparks fly. And dice. Suffice to say I learned some bad habits, but I also learned to put the pedal down and keep it its hard to ease up now... the reason I said maybe I shuoldn't is maybe the challenge of playing on a reasonably high level will help exercise his mind and help him keep sharp? I'm not a neurologist or anything, so maybe that's all just bullshit, but I really don't know how to pull back without it just being obvious (and no fun...) so I'm in a bit of a quandary I suppose...

    I do think this simultaneous campaigning can be fun. I also think we need to figure out some metric to determine off screen developments to help shape the overall ebb and flow of the conflict, or else presumably the PCs from each side will just keep everything more or less in stasis in perpetuity...

    1. I was thinking the easiest way to do this would be to have the PC Britons start from a tribe that is far away from where the Romans start, that way there is no interaction for a while at all, just rumors and stuff, building up to conflict.

      And yeah, I know how you feel about playing with your dad, it pains me to play Dawn Patrol against the guy that could have, at one time, easily shot down all the rest of us at once by himself, or at least driven us off from damage, and have him be 3rd best at the table when the other two are total newbies.

  2. I'm very keen to see how this works out. 43 AD has been of interest since you first brought it to my attention a while back.

    1. I am hoping to kick it off this week. I just realized that I have an extensive collection of miniatures that are perfect for this too, only I am lacking in Romans, and, of course, they are largely unpainted like the rest of my mountain of lead. I guess that will set the pace for my week. I wonder if the Arcane Legions starter set Romans would be properly scaled to older 25mm lead Gauls? They could easily stand in for the Britons. Now I am going to have to dig out the Arcane Legions box and see.