Category Archives: General

Table News, 7 Aug 2018

Not much to report just now.

Work continues on Sea Dogs for the Olympus Group (Saturday). Technically, I should have been starting it already, but there was a bit of a communication hiccup that resulted in my delaying the campaign until the next in the round. It is my intention to start posting some rules and mechanics I’m planning to use, in case someone else can benefit from it. If I manage to self-motivate in that direction, I will likely be exceeding my usual once a month-or-two posting pace (which will happen anyway once the campaign starts). I’m still pretty excited about this one.

I haven’t given GMing for the Core Group (Friday) much thought in quite a while. Things have been progressing in stutters there. That said, I’m still expecting to run Autoduel at some point in the future, I just couldn’t say when.

Table News, 3 Jun 2018

It’s been a while. Meh. No excuse, really. As usual, things have changed

Not much in the way of news for the Friday (Core Group) team. There has not been a great deal of progress on preparations for the Autoduel campaign for the Friday (Core Group) team. I don’t have a specific schedule to begin, so I’m not sure when it will occur, but I know it won’t be for a while, at least—a couple of other campaigns ahead in the queue. We are supposed to do a bit more Car Wars this week, though, due to some absences.

For a number of reasons, I decided against Generica for my next offering for the Saturday (Olympus) group. Instead, I successfully pitched a full-size campaign of Sea Dogs. This will be unrelated to the previous one-shot. It’s actually supposed to be next in the GMing queue, so it should debut within the next couple of months. I’ll post a full introduction to the campaign in the near future. But for now, I’ll say that it is meant to be a sandbox/open-world with minimal GM “leading,” and will be (only) the second official Daniverse campaign for this group (after The Crusade). Preparations are going pretty well so far, and I’m fairly confident.

Table News, 5 Feb 2018

“Crime and politics, little girl. The situation is always…fluid.”—Badger, Firefly

The Friday (Core Group) group wasn’t making a great deal of progress toward a playable Terra Nova campaign, though it was making some. We had a few more weeks to fill after the start of the year before the next GM was in a position to take over. With nobody else ready to fill in, I said “To hell with it” and offered to ref some Car Wars, as it would take very little prep to set up, and should scratch the itch well enough between “real” RPG campaigns. It would be the first time in well over a decade for me, and the first time ever for most of the players.

They liked it. They liked it so much they demanded more. I suggested maybe we should look into my GURPS Autoduel campaign—it was number two in the “what’s next” poll, after all, and it would use Car Wars mostly as-is for the vehicle combat. They agreed.

So, my Friday GMing efforts have now shifted from Terra Nova to Autoduel. As before, I’m pushing to get enough work done to actually be able to run something on a moment’s notice, but in this case, I only need enough for some “campaign-relevant” Car Wars content, so it should be a little easier. But ultimately, this means more characters/campaign-setup discussions, so I’m not under any illusions about how soon that will occur. The next time we have need, I can just run a bit of as-is Car Wars, at least, so that’s something.

I really haven’t given the Saturday (Olympus) situation much thought lately, except that the release of Dungeon Fantasy RPG has been followed by some campaign material that I may be able to make use of for Legends of Generica, so I’m planning to pick it up. If I can use it more-or-less as-is, I’ll have content ready for the next opportunity.

Table News, 8 Jan 2018

I ran two campaigns last year, which is a lot for me, usually. But the end of the year always screws up our gaming schedules, and this (last) year’s was no exception.

The Core Group (Friday, face-to-face) suffered the worst. We barely played at all for the last couple of months, due to many absences, both planned and unplanned. One of the members will be on hiatus for some undeterminable amount of time; another also has the potential to be out for half the year. We determined that we needed to retool our campaign queue to better deal with the inevitable absences. For my part, I’m now working on Terra Nova again, though it’s too under-cooked to start up right away. I’ll continue to spare a brain-cycle for S³M when I can, but I don’t expect that one to happen this year.

The Olympus (Saturday, online) group is past the end-of-the-year hiccups and moving along now. There’s a possibly long run of Traveller about to start. We also have plenty of other stuff in the queue. I don’t expect to run a “full” campaign for a while. But I’m working on prepping some one-shots of Legends of Generica for emergencies…or I mean to be.

I’ve been pretty unmotivated of late, truth be told. I haven’t gotten much work done, and there’s plenty needed. I am trying to snap out of it—I expect to eventually succeed. There’s certainly the potential for an interesting year for me behind the screen.

Table News, 2 Aug 2017

It’s been a while… As usual, my GMing situation has fluctuated since the last run.

At the moment, a run of Forgotten GreyLancErron: Legends of Generica is imminent, within a month or so, but is going to be for the Olympus group instead, and will be using GURPS Dungeon Fantasy. It will likely be a short-ish stint, to be squeezed in between runs of Traveller. I’ll be definitely glad to see it finally in production, though, and have been hard at work on the details. The Olympus group has been streaming the sessions on Twitch and YouTube for some months now, and is expected to continue, which means that the Generica run will likely be available online for your watching/listening pleasure, for those so inclined. In the meantime, my worldbuilding progress can be seen on the Wiki. The recaps will probably be posted on the Olympus blog, but I’ll post some behind-the-scenes insights here.

The Supers campaign has been bumped, but not officially back-burnered just yet—but I had worked steadily on that one for seven months or so, and it was certainly time for a break. I made a rather large amount of progress on my Rule of Drama system.

For the Core Group, I’m still expecting to do another stint of Steel Ships & Space Marines when my turn comes back around, but I haven’t actually given it a great deal of thought yet—that should begin in earnest some time after this run of Generica occurs. But that’s far enough out that who really knows?

In other news, I, and over half of both groups, will be attending the 50th Anniversary of GenCon this year. This will be my first GenCon (but not my first con, in general). Lessons will be learned, elbows will be rubbed, etc.

Table News, 22 Jan 17

The last few months have been a little weird, when it comes to gaming for me. Due to the holidays and related absences, we ended up not gaming at all for either Friday (Core Group) or Saturday (Olympus) groups for about two months, and the Friday group for which I was up for GMing next was delayed a further three weeks due to bad weather, etc. During this extended downtime, my GMing situation also fluctuated wildly. As of two days ago, this is the current situation: starting this Friday I will be GMing my Steel Ships & Space Marines (which was previously to be ported into the Traveller setting, and has since been reverted), featuring a continuation from the previous one-shot (“The Sabo Affair”), for which two former-PCs will have moved on, but three more added (the player for one of which is not only new to the group, but GURPS as well); on Saturdays at some unspecified point in the hopefully-near future (after the S³M run has ended) I should be running a GURPS Supers campaign, which I will detail here as its time draws nearer—for now, the S³M campaign will have my more-or-less complete focus.

This means (a) I’m GMing again, and not a one-shot; (b) S³M will again see production; and (c) S³M setting stuff will get some needed updates and incorporate new sources. Session-reports will be posted here, though I’m not certain yet whether I will be doing that myself or someone else (Rigil Kent) will—in the latter case, I will likely be posting GM-specific insights on a per-session basis. So, there should be some activity here, coming up.

Universe Reaction


AKA “The Universe hates/loves me”

Some time ago, I ran a Traveller one-shot that focused on a race-against-time to complete a rush-job. But as GM, I dislike arbitrating little things like how long someone has to stand in the queue at the bank, and in the case of this one-shot, it feels a bit like GM “cheating” anyway. So I came up with the concept of the Universe Reaction Check, to circumvent my arbitration-guilt. It works like this:

First, you mentally ask the question, “What is it the PCs are trying to do right now?” Then you figuratively turn to the Universe and ask if it will help or hinder their efforts, at which point you roll (for GURPS) an unmodified Reaction Check (B560) and consult the appropriate Request for Aid entry for the answer, as if it were an intelligent being with the power to smooth things along or get in the way. Simple.

In the case of the aforementioned one-shot, I translated this effect into minutes/hours/etc. of delay or acceleration of their timetable—because that’s what was at stake (a “base” time-increment will be required, though, to use it this way). But the effects would probably differ in other situations based on the PCs’ intentions. For example, if some post-apocalypse PCs are scrounging through some ruins for food, a “helpful Universe” would mean that some food is available at that location (the amount dependent on how helpful the Universe is feeling), and an “unhelpful Universe” would mean there is none to be found, or worse, an ambush awaits—this might be independent of whether or not the PCs are able to find that food, only indicating how much is available to be found. As some of the other GMs in both of my groups have started to use Universe Reactions in their games, I’ve seen it used during chases to determine if “suitable terrain” exists for a stunt. As it is, the concept is widely adaptable to any number of situations, but the more industrious GM could also build out more situation-specific Reaction tables for greater detail or less improvisation of effects.

Of course, the standard GURPS Reaction system allows for modifiers to the check, and that can still be incorporated. In the Traveller one-shot, a PC with Bad Luck insisted on penalizing those checks in his case. Conversely, “good” Luck is really just a favorable Reaction result, so one could reasonably treat is as an Influence success against the Universe. There’s no reason one couldn’t assign modifiers based on PCs “karmic” status, or add cumulative penalties as the adventure progresses to increase the stakes. Using GURPS Action 2, BAD could sensibly be applied as well.

Lastly, it is easily possible to use the same concept in other game systems, either using the GURPS check/table as-is or a similar mechanic from whatever system is being used.

Edit: See also Universe Reaction, Extended

Table News, 5 Jul 16

Work on the Traveller campaign continues, maybe less steadily than I’d like, but making progress. I expect I’ll be able to manage a short-term series without too much fuss, and perhaps more.

My “obsession level” regarding the Sketchup model of the PCs’ ship has diminished somewhat, but is certainly not gone. The model is nearing a sufficient level of completion (that is, it doesn’t leave a whole lot to the imagination anymore)—not that it’s a requirement for the campaign, just feeding my need to create/build things. I’m actually fairly excited about the results. I figure I’ll keep fine-tuning it for quite a while after. I’ll make the model available for download soon. After that, I expect I’ll be cleaning up the model I made a long time ago for Tamborro Station—needs a lot of work.

There was a bit of a surprise for me this month, with regard to the Olympus group. I was tossing some ideas about with Rigil, when I thought how interesting it might be to do a Stargate campaign based on the SG-1 TV series, but “rip off” the series, episode for episode, and see how PCs would do things differently, knowing that the resulting story would diverge entirely from the show at some point. Later, we ended up discussing the idea with the Olympus group in the pre-game downtime, and I discovered that the players there were all pretty big fans of the show, and were definitely interested. It wasn’t my original intent, but I decided it would be doable for me to GM it, so I ended up making an official pitch.

As it stands now: the TV show, SG-1, is the “Wormhole Extreme” (the parody show within the show) of the campaign, and the campaign itself the “true events” the show is loosely based on. The characters will differ: some will be playing show characters or amalgams, others new ones. The episodes will essentially be the same (for starters), but I plan to give them a more sensible and realistic treatment. As an actual Daniverse campaign, I will be replacing the show’s alien races and situations with mine—it will present some challenges, but the Daniverse has a lot of Stargate in its pedigree anyway, so it should all fit together nicely. This also means it’s going to transition to X-Com later. For research, I’ve got lots of TV show to watch—should keep me busy for a long time.

I want to do a short intro for the Stargate campaign as soon as possible, but the next opportunity looks like it will occur at the same time as the opportunity for the Core Group’s Traveller kickoff; given the respective table situations, Traveller is going to win out (I won’t run two at once), so the Stargate kickoff will probably be delayed. Inception will, of course, be back-burnered for now, but I definitely still want to run that at some point, so it isn’t dead.

Table News, 7 Jun 16

My prep-work for the upcoming Traveller campaign continues.

The last few weeks have been consumed by my work on a 3D model of the PCs’ ship in Sketchup. I’ve done this for the past two Traveller campaigns for the Olympus (Saturday) group, and they’ve proven to be very useful for visualization, and I’ve wanted to model this ship in particular for years, just because. Unlike the last ones, however, I plan to go into much greater level of detail in the model, if for no other reason than to see what I might be capable of. I’ve made a lot of progress, though there is much still to be done.





The original design was a bit vague on some of the details, which I’ve had to make up as I go—part of the process. The “green” interior is a bit of an accident, though it’s grown on me, and I may keep it. I made a few minor mistakes in the original dimensions and such, which at the time I discovered them, were far too difficult to correct, so I just left them—you’d probably never know unless I pointed them out.

Table News, 9 May 16

Yeah, really late. Sue me 😛

I’ve been working on the new Traveller campaign for the Core Group (Friday). We had a get-on-the-same-page session in April, where we worked out the overall campaign issues and figured out the main characters. Essentially, it’s to be a more-or-less direct continuation of my S³M stuff, mixing Firefly and The Expanse, set in the Spinward Marches, with a “home base” on Denotam/Vilis; a bit of an underworld-focused techno-thriller. As part of my prep, I’ve been researching the upper-level politics of the area, and plan to feature more of the back-and-forth between the Imperial dukes than (most) other Traveller games I’ve played in. Also, I decided to use a lot of background material from our Olympus (Saturday) Traveller campaign, and will be coordinating with the regular GM for that one.

I was actually supposed to start running the week after the same-page session, but I just wasn’t ready. We decided to go ahead with the Pathfinder continuation, and I’ll step in after that (maybe a one-shot in the middle if we need a break).

Meanwhile, I haven’t had much to do with GMing for the Olympus group. We’ve got a lot of material to work with over there, and more potential GMs, especially now that we’ve established the concept of guest-GMs in regular campaigns. I suppose I’m still planning to do Inception there, but I haven’t even looked at it in ages, and I’m well past the point where I usually start waffling over what to run. That said, I expect the Core Group Traveller campaign will occur first, so I’m throwing all my energy into that one.