Monday, July 15, 2013

Song of Blades and Heroes + Dungeonworld = am I crazy or an evil genius??

The Reaper Bones Orcs with Kobolds in the
background.  I have more orcs, a ton of
goblins and more Kobolds in the works.

So what do you do if you happened to buy in on Reaper Miniatures Kickstarter last year at a insane/epic level?  (2 vampire level buy ins + almost all of the add-ons).

Well the idea this summer has been to combine two systems that our group has been tinkering around with together into one campaign. 

So really why are we doing this? 

The over arching goal is to A) give some motivation to paint up miniatures for use with an RPG for me (the GM) as well as players.  B) To have a very story driven game where the party can play in a big open world sandbox style game.  A game where they can have major impacts on the world, a game where they can have heavy narrative participation.  In general we hope to create a campaign world in which we can game long term.  A few years back we talked about doing that and pulling that off with anything other than big complex games like Burning Wheel, Legend of Anglerre  etc. seems sort of challenging.  We talked about doing a house system of our own, etc. but that stuff just fizzled because none of us really are keen on 100% house rule games. 

Enter Dungeonworld.  Many things seem very possible now chiefly fun old school games and without most of the hassles of 1st/2nd ed. D&D (which I don't mind but some of the players likely would).  Quick, clean character creation that focuses on the story rather than the crunchy, min-maxy "how much damage can my tri-bladed minotaur war axe crossbow do" kind junk. 

Some of our other motivation just comes from where we are as a group and as individuals with our gaming preferences. 

Several reasons that I could go into great detail about but in short we do not care for grid based RPGs, we'd rather just play a game like descent than any of the grid based RPGs or fat simulator games (like Gurps, Palladium, etc.).  Another preference we have is story driven games where individual combats are quick, cinematic and part of the story as opposed to being a separate almost stand alone experience as they tend to be in grid based RPGs.  The concept here is to actually do just that for the large "boss fight" type combats and then leave the standard encounters in the game to be resolved quickly and without pulling players out of the emersion of the game with the abrupt stops for the grid, and all the non-game meta talk, sideline BSing, etc. etc. that goes along with the grid.

As for mini games its a little more involved.  Some of the primary motivations for moving towards Song of Blade and Heroes is that Warhammer Fantasy and even Kings of War are just too big and involved.  The games take a couple hours, the cost of fielding an army in either of those systems (properly anyway) is substantial.  The time cost of painting all of those miniatures is well beyond what most people in my gaming group are willing or able to spend, etc. etc. 

Collectively the group has come to the conclusion that we all just prefer small scale skirmish vs. large scale battalion level engagement games like Warhammer Fantasy, 40K, Flames of War, etc. Also before anyone dings me and tries to say those are "company" level games ... I would heavily beg to differ.  Based partially on the actual size of the engagements, but also based on the types of units that are involved in the game.  Everything from massive siege weapons to armies that run into the hundreds of figures.  That makes something a battalion level game in our book.  Anyway I digress there.  The main point is that those games really aren't our cup of tea anymore, we are constantly looking for skirmish options to replace the old games we used to love like Warhammer 40k.

Anyway I will try to make some posts about this experience as we get into it.  Right now I am feverishly painting up some bad guys for Song of Blade and Heroes.  I'm starting out with large groups of orcs, goblins and kobolds and then I'll move into undead and encounter type stuff like dragons.

I don't plan to do really any of our RPG sessions with miniatures as in more narrative games I prefer no-minis on the table to distract from the RP side of things.  Don't get me wrong I firmly believe that one can run an amazing hack and slash style game with minis on the table.  For me I am trying to sort of bifurcate the game into two segments that occur separately from one an other.  Skirmish encounters that players can play out mini game style and RP story driven stuff that drives the game and essentially builds our campaign setting, develops characters and NPCs, etc.

The idea with my game is going to be running standard dungeon world sessions with a combined party then allowing players to go off and do side Song of Blade and Hero missions here and there on another night during the week.  Most of those sessions will probably be little 20-45 minute small level engagements.  10 figures on the table total, with a small 2 x 2 board and an interesting scenario.  Thought we will also have the option of staging climatic battles as well (though those would be rare, maybe once every dozen RPG sessions or so).

So we'll see if its pie in the sky or evil genius ... time will tell

1 comment:

Dr.Ravi's blog said...

I would like to hear if your plans worked out