Monday, February 27, 2012

Looping back around to "old school"

I took a hefty hiatus from blogging in the past year. I still played tabletop games, but more and more the games became infrequent, scattered one-shots and sampling different systems. We had a lot going on in our personal lives and gaming began to feel like a time and energy drain, a bizarre obligation, rather than something fun.

Eventually a discussion of retroclones came up and we agreed it might be neat to try some out. Fast forward: two months have gone by, BF and I have settled upon Adventurer Conqueror King System for now, and I'm feeling completely excited about running game for the first time in two years. :)

I'm prepping for my third session of a Planescape/Eberron crossover (two great tastes that go great together!) and things are going well. I tried to do something different with this game: I'm running a fan-done adventure that starts out as a sandbox with an underlying mystery. I've always admired those DMs who can craft a multi-layered campaign story, secretly guiding their players into their schemes--but I'm not that kind of DM. I'm beginning to see that I'm at my best when I have a rough idea of what's going on in the setting, and then I let BF go and I roll with the punches. I'm feeling very empowered by ACKS: BF is starting the game with a clear goal of getting money to his name, he only has a few options on his character sheet so it seems he's engaging with the setting and circumstances more rather than relying on skill roles to get him through things, and while combat is still terrifying to him I actually feel like he's more likely to come out of things okay, with his increased admiration of "sneaky" strategies and my rolling reaction and morale for the monsters. Plus, I think seeing that he'll get a hideout at level 9 has inspired him to take on a long-term character goal, which I usually have to strong arm him into. This "rules light, light touch" sandbox game is really working out for me. :P

So we're having a blast so far! It's truly serendipity to be able to run a system and a game that meshes well with your hopes and expectations.