Thursday, December 15, 2016

Games I've Played Recently

After something of a hiatus with gaming as a player, I 've been in two ongoing campaigns of late that I've really enjoyed. There are a lot of differences between them in terms of ruleset and campaign style, but a lot of similarities in terms of what I think are good GM practices, too.

Art by Guy Davis

Jack Shear's Krevborna is on a break now for the holidays but will hopefully return in the new year. Not surprisingly, it's sort of a Gothic setting (Ravenloft, but better realized, perhaps). We use 5e, and there was as much a focus on mystery and investigation of conspiracies as there was traditional exploration and monster-slaying.

Art by Jason Sholtis

Jason Sholtis's Bewilderlands, run in Swords & Wizardry, is perhaps a more "traditional" wilderness hexcrawl--if your definition of traditional isn't so much mainstream stuff, but the sort of weirdness produced by the OSR DIY crowd. There are mysterious things in the Bewilderlands, too, but the effect is more "what will we stumble into this time?" than planfully considering our next move. (This likely is as due to our approach as players, but Jason's semi-gonzo world seems to invite improvisation.)

The mechanics, other than be flavors of D&D, produce slightly different play styles in an of themselves, on top of the differing focuses. Character motivations and backstories are more important in Jack's game, while humor and farce (not absent from either) comes more to the for in Jason's. Still, I think their are a lot of similarities. Both Jack and Jason are experienced gamemasters with a strong sense of their own style and a handle on the world's they are presenting. Both of them present an intricate backdrop with factions, locales, and other bits of depth, but they sit back and let the player's choose what they want to approach.

Of course, the enjoyment I get out of these two games doesn't come solely from the GMs. Both of them have a good, involved group of players (which seems to be the exception rather than the rule when drawing from the player/gm/creators of the G+ community). The give and take between the two is probably as important as anything else.


Chris C. said...

Those both sound like cool games. The "Krevborna" image is awesome.

The Happy Whisk said...

I don't game but it sounds like stumbling onto something, rather than doing a lot of heavy planning, is great fun.

Uncle Sam said...

I'm kinda jealous. I follow Jack's blog and campaign chronicled on said blog. I love it! I hope to see him perhaps publish the setting some day. That would be an instant buy for myself.