Gaming Plans for 2013
2012 was a rather rough time for my gaming group - indeed the concept of a gaming group was a fragile thing. People moving away, losing touch with people, etc. Mid-year I had tried to get a Dungeon Crawl Classics game going. Those of us who played really enjoyed it but we couldn't get a large enough quorum to be able to survive a player or two being unavailable. When I was in college I'd really looked forward to the amount of free time I'd have after graduating. Prior to having kids that was largely true, though that was also the time in my life I was working some crazy hours at some small startup companies in pursuit of millions. I learned a lot and gained confidence in my own abilities as an engineer, but sadly I did not become a gazillionaire - or even a millionaire. Now with two kids, free time is quite the luxury.
Towards the end of 2012 I did manage to recruit some new players for a Call of Cthulhu game. We'd taken December off with crazy schedules and were going to relaunch this week, but yet again the real world interfered with the passing away of an old friend's mother. Coincident with my eldest daughter getting a corneal abrasion - apparently scratches on the surface of one's eyes are intensely painful.
In the immediate future I definitely want to resume our Cthulhu game. We're running a campaign in London of 1890 - if this doesn't work out or in the event of a total party kill (far more likely in Cthulhu than many other games) I've got my eye on an espionage-flavored Cthulhu game, set during World War II and the start of the Cold War. This is what I get for reading John Le Carré novels, Tim Powers' Declare, and books about the OSS (the WWII predecessor to the CIA).
That said, our game is currently set in the 1890s and as someone who loves historical fiction (and history books) I've had great fun diving into the fiction of the era. Those Sherlock Holmes stories are rather enjoyable and period science fiction and horror stories are full of interesting ideas. Plus, Chaosium's Horror on the Orient Express is due to come out this August in time for GenCon. Assuming they can meet that schedule (*cough* *cough* Pulp Cthulhu) they've indicated this new version will include support for Gaslight-era campaigns.
What I really am hoping to be able to do is get gaming regularly again after some bump times over the last year. Right now the plan is for Call of Cthulhu to be the game of choice. As I've commented on my blog before, it is just one of those systems that works for me. I can look at lots of other game systems that I know are more elegant, more realistic, etc. But then we sit down to play and everything just runs super-smoothly. Though truth be told I've run Cthulhu sessions with barely a die rolled.
Another advantage to Call of Cthulhu is it allows for a very broad genre. I've mentioned the possibility of a WWII/early Cold War espionage game. This is something which others have done rather successfully, both using the Call of Cthulhu RPG (such as Pagan Publishing's Delta Green) and as an inspiration (like Contested Ground Studios' Cold City). And there are possibilities further afield - the fantasies of Clark Ashton Smith, Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian, campaigns set in ancient Rome, etc. I think the reason for this broadness is because the Cthulhu Mythos are not so much a tight saga with no room for ideas, but more an idea - an idea of humanity in an uncaring cosmos. To quote Mr. Lovecraft:
The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of the infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far.