Friday, 20 January 2012

Dog Days

I have recently got into tabletop roleplaying games. I have read about the hobby for years and years, but never known how to break into it. Last autumn a friend suggested that I come along to a game that a mutual friend was going to GM and see what I thought.

After three hours of play my thoughts were mostly, "Wow."

We were playing Apocalypse World, a game by D. Vincent Baker, and there was a lot about the game that I really liked (I have written some blog posts about it before, here, here and here; I'm sure I will write some more on this blog as well). Recently our group has shifted games to an alternate present setting that is being run with Cyberpunk 2020 rules, which has been hugely entertaining - the mechanics of play are quite different, the setting is light years away from Apocalypse World, and our party has an unfortunate tendency to get severely injured (although not my character, I am happy to say!).

Over the last few weeks I have been reading through the mechanics and setting for another game by D. Vincent Baker, Dogs in the Vineyard. Again, vastly different to both games I've mentioned so far, but keeping the real streak of relationships and consequences of both games that our group have played recently.

I've never GMed a game before, but with some more re-reading and assimilation of the core of Dogs, I think I'm going to put myself forward to GM a campaign later in the year. The setting just calls out to me: gun-slinging missionaries whose word is law; travelling from town to town to keep the peace, calling the Faithful and casting out demons. Really, what's not to like? There are lots of dice used, but the emphasis with them is the random nature of the dice supporting the storytelling; it's really about a great unfolding collaborative narrative that is stitched together by the GM and the players (rather like the distinctive coats that the game's Dogs wear).

So anyway: I expect that over the coming months I'll be posting up some notes on here, as and when I get some ideas in place - although there won't be spoilers for the players who will be taking part!

No comments: