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Unsocial Media and the Letting go of the familiar D20


Last Saturday I ran my first Into the Nexus game using the Cortex+ system. It was kind of nerve wracking. I have been working on this game for so long in the familiar D20 system that I was worried it wouldn’t go well or that my players wouldn’t be able to enjoy themselves as much. My fears were unfounded. It was a great night of gaming. I made some notes and will have to make some adjustments but I think this system will really work for the game. We had craziness abound and the the complication/opportunity mechanic adds some real depth and unpredictability to the story without it being as random and unruly as the D20 mechanics could be. Being able to add a D8 complication of Warrant for Arrest to each players dice pool is much cleaner than just having tons more encounters and fights that just take up the gameplay.

I think my favorite part of the Cortex+ conversion has been the Talents. No longer bound to tons of unnecessary math that feats and skills of D20 can yield, I was able to add some really fun and entertaining Talents for each of the Archetypes and some good generic ones that anyone can use. I was able to crank out 10 pages of Talents in about 3 hours and my players really enjoyed using them in game play.

One issue, and I hesitate to use the word “downside” , but it is kind of sad for me is that the dice pool mechanic does not lend itself to larger groups. I need to set a cap on players and I’m not used to having to do that. It will take some getting used to but I feel I will get a more robust game experience if I don’t have more that 6 players.  This will cause me to make some adjustments for the Con but I have some great GM’s that help me so I don’t think it will cause too many problems.

I ran a very small test mission after character creation and it went longer than expected but I fell that was due to too many players and some people still figuring out how to use the dice pool mechanic. I will adjust accordingly for the next session and see if the flow improves.

Lastly.

Monica Valentinelli, author of the Firefly RPG, wrote in her blog about taking the month of September off of social media (Facebook and Twitter) to focus on her creative works. I have been letting that idea rattle around in my head the last few days and I feel it is a really good idea. I am not a huge Twitter user but I do sometimes get lost in the mindlessness of Facebook. I feel my time would be better spent doing…almost anything. Facebook has devolved into a bunch of angry whining and protestations (without actually doing anything about it). I am guilty of it myself and have been finding myself more and more angry about something someone posted. Angry to the point of it ruining my day because of the shear stupidity of it.

I don’t need that in my life. I am a curmudgeon to begin with. I don’t that particular fire fueled. So, For the month of September I will not access Twitter at all and my Facebook will only be used for my game page and game related posts. I have unfollowed all of my friends and groups so my newsfeed is blank. I was going to deactivate the account to just have my wife change my password and not give it to me until a friend of mine reminded me that we only talk on Facebook Messenger. So I will keep the account active for that purpose and Nexus related material. My friends have my phone number, they know how to find me. I don’t need to spend my days yelling at gun nuts and people who take that toupee’d Presidential candidate seriously. My hope is that this will let me focus my time and needs on more creative pursuits.

My game needs to be finished…and that Commodore 64 won’t be modding itself.

Ta for now.

J

 

Gen Con 2015 – Debriefing


Back from Gen Con and fully decompressed. This year was an odd year for my Nexus games. It was the first year I ran with the Death Gate stuff removed and using all my own creations. It felt odd to not say “Based on the works of Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman”. Better or worse, these were all my own doing.

Night 1

Slave Ship

This year we had fire. Last year no fire magickas. No fire meant no real action for almost 3 hours. This year, 8th person to act set the control ropes on fire.

No one tried to put them out.

No one.

Turn 4 they broke, sending the ship on an uncontrolled course that caused 19 people to reflex every single turn. It just got worse from there. Long story short (too late) After woken Ancients, Exploding water casks, All the barrel roles, Flipped ships, resurrected magickas, a slave who had a panic attack every time they saw ice, and they saw it a lot, about 50% of the crew survived. It was a great event of fun and chaos.

Night Two.

Darkmore

Here I would normally give a synopsis of the all the craziness but I can’t. We split into two groups and mine was the tame one. Too many Pathfinder purists who didn’t get the system. Not their fault at all just not what they expected so they didn’t know how to change what they knew. The final battle while fun was mired with complaining and further statements of just not getting it. Now this is on me, my game is about chaos and balance and the fight between the two. This seemingly random environment causes havoc with game players who need a constant number to hit and a constant way to get there. My best friend hates my system because his magic doesn’t work all the time and he thinks it should.

While good gaming sessions make me feel good and I’m always happy when they go well, a “not as good” session teaches me so much more. I’ve come to realize that my strength is as a storyteller. A spinner of yarns as it were. So while a d20 system can cater to the story, it isn’t the main focus of d20. The interactions are. How many +1’s and skill bonuses can I add to my roll. While this is good for hack, slash, and burn game play. I think Nexus is not about that.

So…. I have begun researching alternate systems. I was doing game demos for Margaret Weis this weekend as well and while showing people the Cortex+ system in Firefly I was able to see how it could be used with my magic system (Let’s be honest, it is the reason that most people play). I know Cortex Plus pretty well and think it might be my best option. I also played my first Fate based game this weekend and I enjoyed it, though it doesn’t cater to my magic like Cortex+ can. Cam Banks is making a game which is a combination of the two and is open source and I would love to see how I might be able to use that.

Exciting developments in the game I started in 1993 as a way to play Death Gate in 2nd edition D&D.

Stay Tuned

Ta

J

Gen Con Gaming Schedules.


My #GenCon Schedule is finalized. I will be a busy busy fella. Here is where to find me and the games I’m running

Thursday 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM-  Firefly – The Wedding Planners.

Thursday 12:00 PM – 2:00 PM – Margaret Weis Productions Booth #1617 running demos and answering questions.

Thursday 6:00 PM – 4:00 AM – Into the Nexus – Slave Ship Revolt – with an awesome new 3D model.

Friday 1:00PM – 4:00PM – Firefly – What’s Yours is Mine

Friday 5:00PM – 6:00 PM – Margaret Weis Productions Booth #1617 running demos and answering questions.

Friday 6:00PM – 4:00 AM – Into the Nexus – Darkmore Besieged

Saturday – 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM – Firefly – The Wedding Planners.

 

I hope to see you there for some great gaming adventures.

 

 

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