Funny, this is the sort of thing I would have thought I would have posted here right after it happened. I guess I didn’t.
My parents gave me a nice cash gift for the completion of my CMA at my convocation ceremony. I wanted to get something that would remind me of that time, but I don’t really wear jewelry (save my wedding ring), I hate watches, and cufflinks just weren’t right.
So, I settled on getting a tattoo. I’d always thought about it, but it just never happened. Now, I had a good reason to get one.
I know Shane Turgeon at Shades of Grey Tattoo, as we worked together back in my days in Pay-TV. I trusted him to have a good shop and great guys to work with for getting work done. Plus, as I planned on getting something Star Wars related, I figured the shop run by the guy that wrote/compiled The Force in the Flesh was probably the right place.
So, here’s what I ended up with:
I had originally thought I’d do just the Imperial Logo, since I’ve always been a fan of the Galactic Empire. But, as I thought about it, I had the idea of using the emblem as a moon, and have a Star Destroyer passing in front of it. I gave this idea to Wayde Dunn who concocted the final product.
Back in Number Six, I noted that I’d talk about the other books in my comic file, and this seems like the best time to do that!
When I started my file, a benefit I received was free issues of the Previews magazine. This is a dangerous magazine, let me tell you. I quickly started fliping through it and found a few different titles to add to my file. Then, by recommendation, I picked up a few more here and there.
So, here’s the rest of my file (that have been released):
The Activity – A modern-day covert-ops team fighting terrorism and what-have you. It doesn’t work for everybody. I like it though. There’s some fantastic panels.
American Vampire – I picked up Volumes 1 & 2 at the library and was really drawn into this Scott Snyder book. I had mentioned this to Brandon and he snuck the start of a new storyline into my file. Anyway, a fantastic read.
Fatale – A horror/noir story. Brubaker/Phillips. Awesome.
Peter Panzerfaust – A retelling of Peter Pan. In World War 2. He’s a resistance fighter. One issue in, and it’s a keeper.
Star Wars – Dawn of the Jedi – This is the story that tells the beginnings of the Jedi order. I’m high on Star Wars these days, and I’m giving the EU another shot. This has been worthwhile so far.
Winter Soldier – Bucky Barnes reprises his role as the Winter Soldier. He’s a bad-ass spy and is joined by the Black Widow. Commie Gorillas with Jetpacks and mini-guns. Buy it.
After many months of listening to the podcast Fear the Boot, I finally caved and had Jay over at Happy Harbor Comics order me a copy of the Savage Worlds Explorer’s Edition (There’s a free Test Drive of the rules on the website). I don’t want to get into too much detail right now, but wow. I’m really excited to give this system a runthrough. I fully expect it to live up to the tagline “Fast, Furious and Fun”. The rules can be applied to pretty much any setting you’d like (and the community has already converted many popular settings), the Explorer’s Edition is a great value at $10.99. If you want to start playing in one of the really cool settings put out by Pinnacle, you’ll end up paying a pretty penny, but they all sound spectacular.
Onto some more pressing news! I’m going to be running Cold City again on May 3rd for a different group of individuals. I’m really excited about it, since I really enjoyed my last session. The players will be generating their own characters, which should make for some better play. I’m also looking forward to having the opportunity to run a full session without worrying about time. The difficulty I’m having is preparing (or starting to prepare, to be more accurate) an adventure. I don’t want to end up designing an encounter that the players are ill-equiped for, but at the same time, I don’t want to just make things up on the fly too much. I also want to make sure that the adventure really gets into the details of the trust mechanics. I’m likely going to use the Dossier again for some inspiration (have I mentioned how awesome that supplement is?). While I only intend this game to be a one-shot, I will definately want to keep the characters ‘on-file’ for a follow up at some point. I love this game, but I’ve already committed myself to another campaign.
What campaign is that? It’s an all Jedi Star Wars Saga campaign. As I think I’ve already stated, I think the SW:Saga rules for Jedi are non-retarded and easy to administer, so I’m willing to run a game featuring those kinds of characters. Set in the Old Republic, the characters will be Jedi Padawans beginning their Trials of Knighthood. I’ve taken a few liberties with the setting, mostly because I find most of the Expanded Universe stuff much too uninteresting for my purposes (and I don’t want to have 4-5 Jedi Masters running around with my players). The first adventure is already scripted in my head, so I just need to focus and put some of that down on paper. I also need to do some character design for the NPCs in the universe. I’ll have a better idea of what sort of auxillary challenges to throw at my players once we hold a character generation session, hopefully sometime next month.
Its my intention to continue posting recaps of playsessions here, so keep checking back if you’re interested in hearing what has gone on!
I’ve got a few administrative items to pass along this month that I’ll pass along before we get to the meat and potatoes. Firstly, I’m going to add something to the end of my columns – a few game recommendations. These titles are likely going to be games I’ve never played and have barely read through, but something about them caught my eye. I hope some of these turn out to be gems in your collection. The second item is to blatantly self promote – if you’ve never RPed before, or if you just haven’t been able to find a group, be sure to check out the Edmonton Gamers’ Association. You can check them out on Meetup, which will tell you about all the events they have planned (There’s one this weekend, March 8th!).
With that taken care of…here’s a few pointers for new Game Masters.
Game Master Tips
The first two pieces of advice I’d give to new GMs are:
Plan out your session beforehand. Know where you plan on taking the adventure.
Don’t plan out your session beforehand.
Of course, I’m sure you realize these points contradict each other. Let me explain what I mean in a bit more detail. For most GMs, just making stuff up as they go just does not work, you’ll end up forgetting something and your players will call you on it. You need to have an idea of what the goal of the adventure is. Know some of the details of how the characters go from point A to point B. But…don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Players hate ‘box canyons’ with one direction of travel. They will find a way to break your intended path. So, don’t plan everything. Make multiple-plan ideas. Think of one or two alternate paths that can be chosen to get to the end goal. Sometimes, they’ll think of something you never thought of. You’ll have to make that up – but take personal notes of what you’re telling players. It will help you later on.
My roleplaying experience has pretty much revolved exclusively around Star Wars. My first game was the West End Games 2nd Edition Star Wars RPG, which I played for many years. When I joined the SWRPGA, the d6 rules were still going strong. When WotC published the d20 Version of the Star Wars rules, the club pushed back quite severely, myself included. In hindsight, it was rebellion for the sake of rebellion rather than a real aversion to the new take on the rules. Eventually, the senior members of the club realized that we had to embrace the new rules so that the new players didn’t feel outcast. As for myself, I didn’t pick up the d20 rulebook for many years, as I tried to focus more on storytelling than gameplay mechanics. Eventually, I found a copy of the first edition rulebook at a used bookstore, so I decided to purchase it. By that time, the Revised Core Rules had been out for a while, but the changes weren’t so significant for the mechanics I wanted to utilize, so I didn’t care that much. Shortly thereafter, I burned myself out trying to run the SWRPGA – and I wanted to spread my wings, so to speak. I started a new site, d6d20, originally dedicated to ‘anything but Star Wars’ and passed the torch at the SWRPGA. Fast forward a year or so – and the Star Wars Saga Edition was announced. I didn’t give it much thought, but as the release neared, I became excited. Coupled with a new-rekindling of my love of Star Wars, I bought the book. I was very impressed with the rules – and I lifted the ‘ban’ on Star Wars at d6d20, which has resulted in a number of Saga games popping up.
While I had a bit of mechanical play-through with my group of players in the Dawn of Defiance campaign provided by Wizards. I also had the opportunity to run a scenario of Saga at the EGA’s RPGCon. This gave me a few more insights into the system to write a better review of the game (it also gave me another experience – Running a Con Game).
The one main goal of the Star Wars Saga Edition is to capture the cinematic nature of the source material. Ultimately, I think they’ve succeeded.