Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Gaming ADHD: Dragon Age, Dread, and Shadowrun.

I love it when I'm feeling like this. Sometimes gaming can be dull, broken, soul-destroying, and just down-right dumb. You don't want to read another page from a big thick textbook of a game setting or think about how you're going to make that fifth scene in your game for Friday night flow into the sixth. And then there are times like the kind I'm experiencing right now. I call these times "Gaming ADHD" because I've got a lot of irons in the fire and can't wait to pull one out, press some creative dress shirts, and throw it back in to grab the next one in line to press some nice genre slacks. What I'm trying to say is that Gaming ADHD is for those times when you're just on the edge of being overwhelmed but still at the point where you can be productive. So that's where I'm at. Call it Gaming ADHD or Manic Gamer Phase, but whatever it is, it's a good feeling. What's trippin' my trigger right now?

First on the list (sort of always on the list since this is technically my main game I'm running) is Dragon Age. I'm still as much in love with the game as I have been. I'm now planning on the transition from our first adventure, The Dalish Curse, to the second adventure I'll be running, A Bann Too Many. Both of these are published adventures directly from Green Ronin; the first is from the boxset and the second from the GM's toolkit. I'm especially pumped about Dragon Age right now because I recently met with my co-conspirator, Keegan (of The Chasm fame) to plan the center piece of terrain for this second adventure, a large manor house to be used throughout the story. We sat down and vaguely looked through the whole adventure to figure out exactly what kind of rooms and structure the building needed to have and how we could modify the scenario to utilize the manor house even more. Although Keegan's a player in the campaign, he's ridiculously honest, and I can trust him to play honestly even with the bit of story he got out of me while we were meeting. It doesn't hurt that we've been friends forever.

Next up is a recent interest I've had in exploring Shadowrun 4th Edition. I don't know a whole lot about the game or really the universe, but I fell in love with the action figure game Wizkids produced back in their hay-day and still have all the figures. I recently was offered the chance to review some of the Missions Catalyst is producing. The Missions series is the game's official adventures to be run at conventions and in game clubs. All I own for Shadowrun is the core book, but that should definitely be enough to get my group through the first one-shot I received from Catalyst. I love games with dice pools, and I've loved the bit of setting I got from the Shadowrun Duels game, so now's the time to sink my teeth into the game.

Last, but never least, is my latest Dread scenario, The Zone. It's vaguely based on the movie Monsters, just put out on Netflix Instant Watch, and it's a nice, straight-forward horror games. Our Dread games usually have more than a little to do with the supernatural and deep dark secrets better left to the imagination. The Zone certainly contains mysteries, but the creeping creep comes from what the players find out rather than depending on what the characters don't know. I've got the acts and scenes of the story figured out as well as all the character questionnaires written up. I just need to flesh out the details a bit and gather a group to play. When I plan a game, and this is especially true with Dread, I work out a setting for the game first and then make a universal timeline in my head. This timeline is malleable and gets updated through out play, but I generally have an idea of what's going to happen if the players were never to exist in the world. When taking this approach, a big part of my excitement as a GM is to anticipate the different ways my players leave their mark on the timeline.

So, that's what I'm excited for. Yay!


  1. I know what you're talking about here...

    I'm still running my weekly Deadlands game, which has taken quite a bit of time to prep for, as I'm building in elements of Stephen King's Dark Tower mythos.

    On top of that, I'm prepping for the coming convention season. I'm running a new Deadlands adventure at WittCon--"Westward on the San Juan Express"--and debuting my first Pendulum-style adventure, a 4e game I'm calling "Splitting Heirs". Plus, the PlatinumChick is prepping "Chrysalis" (CoC d20) and "Lawfully Blonde" (4e), which I've been helping with.

    Oh, and on top of that? I'm about to start editing two new WEGS Old Skool products, and writing for the next "The Laundry" book, and my ongoing Pendulum project...

    Gaming ADHD, indeed!

  2. Funny, I just started writing for Catalyst and have been a Shadowrun fan for 20 years. Any questions, let me know.

  3. @Platinum - that Deadlands/Dark Tower game sounds like a really great idea. I've only ever read the first book in the series and the first trade paperback of the comic series, but I love the setting. Sounds like a lot of fun.

    @RLW - I will definitely take you up on that offer! I'll be posting about my experience with Shadowrun starting pretty soon, so make sure to check back.


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