Friday, February 1, 2013

My History of RPGs

Talking about gaming and miniatures recently has made me want to chronicle my history of roleplaying games and what has become of them.

I started participating in roleplaying games in about 1995.  I had only been vaguely aware of them up to that point, mostly of D&D.  But my then-boyfrined (now husband) played regularly, and one Sunday when I didn't feel like staying home while he went off to his weekly game, I asked if I could come along and watch.  He gave the GM a call to ask if it was okay, and the GM suggested instead of just watching that we arrive early so I could roll up a character of my own.  That was my entry into roleplaying games, and I've never looked back.

That first game wasn't D&D.  It was a RuneQuest campaign.  It kept going off and on for about 10 years, with changes of players and characters, until the GM moved to a new house farther away from everyone else.  Despite the fact that the house had a perfect gaming space in the basement, we didn't play there.

It wasn't long after my entry into gaming that our second game appeared.  One of the RQ players wanted to start up a Warhammer Fantasy game of his own, and most of the RQ players joined in.  That game ran for about a year, on a weekly basis (often twice a week), until our PCs had become great heroes of the Empire and retired from adventuring.

It's a challenge now to recall the exact sequence of games that came after that, but I think our next game was a D&D game, AD&D to be exact.  We also started participating in a Champions! campaign run by the player who usually hosts our games at his apartment.  There was also a Fantasy Hero campaign (same system as Champions! but designed for magical fantasy), which my husband and I joined briefly.  But just after we joined the GM first pressed the reset button, causing our character histories to be erased, and then he stepped out of running games altogether to help his wife start a new small business.

Edit:  I'd forgotten that somewhere in here one of the players from the original RuneQuest group started running a Star Wars campaign using the old West End Games rules.  He eventually stopped inviting the rest of us to play with him; we always suspected it was because we kibbitzed too much, though we never knew for sure.  At the same time the  RQ GM also ran a second RuneQuest game in which all of our PCs were anthropomorphic animals, a campaign which has led us all to have an intense dislike of lemurs ever since.

After that came another Champions! game run by one of the other players, a D&D 3rd edition game in 2001 when that new rules system was released and set in a setting of the GM's own design, the land of Thystra (our first game with that GM, too).  We ran that one for maybe a year, until our PCs slew the evil black dragon.  Then another D&D 3E game with another new GM.  This one was known as The City, as it took place in an ancient city so vast that our PCs never got outside the city limits or even knew where those limits lay.  That one sort of petered out after I was unable to participate during my first cancer experience in 2003.

By that point in time we were playing two or three times a week.  I used to think that if I could roleplay every day I would.  Games came and went.  The second Champions! campaign, known to us as the San Angelo campaign because it was set in that game's fictional core city, went on hiatus while the GM dealt with some personal issues and never came back.  But the same GM started up a Fantasy Hero campaign of his own, The Dreadnaughts, that ran for three years as our PCs went from a small mercenary company to an international army combating overbearing gods.

Our AD&D campaign morphed into D&D 3.5 edition and continued, leading us through a set of modules that resulted in an NPC becoming a goddess and one of our PCs becoming a demigod.  The GM of The Dreadnaughts decided to start a D&D game of his own after The Dreadnaughts ended, and our PCs set off on a long quest to find out what had happened to some of their friends and family who had gone missing.  That campaign was also interrupted by my cancer in 2003, but it kept going and continued into the next year or two, until it sort of ran out of steam and had a quick wrap-up. 

Then that GM started a D&D game in the new Eberron setting, which eventually was adapted for Pathfinder rules after those became available.  The D&D game run by our host finally came to an end as he decided to concentrate on trying to create a setting and rules of his own.  His Champions! game also came to a close, citing player apathy.  It was a little sad, since that campaign had been running since 1994.  But by that point I realized that gaming every day wasn't something I was capable of anymore.

Edit:  We also had a couple of Mutants & Masterminds campaigns during this period, one that ended with some player dissatisfaction with character choices, and a second that ran for a short term to a more successful conclusion. And earlier we had a modified Risus game inspired by the movie Mystery Men, in which we played comical superheroes.  I'd also forgotten an earlier GURPS Black Ops campaign with our operatives fighting aliens, a short-lived Stargate campagin, and a Star Trek game that ran for several years on a combination of FASA and Hero System rules.  Then there was the Risus game that ran only occasionally for several years, in which our characters were operatives of the real Kitchen Stadium, acquiring special ingredients like manticore flesh as we combated the enemies of the Iron Chef.  And we had an annual Risus game at Christmas for several years, too, playing a gang of weird characters trying to save Christmas.

 Our host/GM then ran a short-term post-apocalyptic fantasy campaign using Savage Worlds rules, followed up by a campaign inspired by the tv series Firefly using modified d20 Future rules.  I dropped out of the Firefly game to concentrate on my new interest in studying Chinese, but stuck with a Pathfinder campaign run by the wife of the Eberron GM, using the Curse of the Crimson Throne Adventure Path.  The GM of the old AD&D game had also started up a D&D 3.5 campaign with some modified rules, so my gaming plate was still pretty full. 

Then the GM of the Curse of the Crimson Throne campaign took a hiatus from her game, so her husband filled the gap with the Council of Thieves Adventure path.  That one was limited to only 4 players, so when his wife dropped out the game collapsed.  At the same time, this took a toll on our sole D&D 3.5 game, which also had only 4 players and was very dependent on that specific group of characters, so it didn't adapt well to any changes.

Additionally, this affected the Eberron campaign, which we call Raptor Queen after the elemental airship our PCs possess in the game.  The GM's wife was integral to that game as well, so when they split up and she moved out of town it became a little difficult to decide where to go with the game.  We had a new player join, and while the GM of Raptor Queen figures out where he wants to go with that campaign, our new player has been running us through the Pathfinder adventure that I described briefly in my 'Adventures in Adventureland' post.

So there we are.  Currently I'm only involved in one game, though my husband plays in a couple of others.  I hope we keep playing for a long time to come.  I'm not as eager to try out new rules as I used to be, and as I mentioned above I no longer think playing every day would be the ideal situation.  But I have no intention of giving up roleplaying. 

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