Monday, October 31, 2011

Luther and The D20 Murders

I discovered Luther on the BBC America channel, a network I started watching mostly because I like hearing Gordon Ramsey’s constant swearing get bleeped.

Eventually I saw a commercial for Luther, a UK series made up of 4 episode seasons, that is currently on it’s 3rd season. What drew me in was that a couple of particular episodes seemed to be about killers who used D20’s and D8’s to decide on who and how to commit their crimes.

So I did watch these episodes On Demand, and besides the gaming gimmick I fell in love with this show. Luther, a big, black London serial killer profiler, is this almost paladin-like force of good, catching killers and unwittingly letting the evil he encounters get all up in his head. Sort of like a Sin-Eater. Although in personal pain over his work, and failed marriage, he obsessively goes about helping people threatened by evil, even though he himself seems in need of help. One of those hurt, lost personalities.

Anyway, the two killers in question are in competition. They roll randomly for their targets off of tables in their journals, and gain points that let them use better weapons on the next kill. They sort of level-up. These two-parters are the third and fourth episodes of season two, but I would recommend you start with season one off of Netflix and work your way up. The show is that good, based mostly on the great characters. When you watch episode one, with it’s genius physicist female serial killer who kills her parents just to show she can get away with it (pictured with Luthor above), I think you’ll be hooked. She is one of the most fascinating bad-guys I’ve seen on TV in years. Check it out.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Do I even want to be considered “Old School” anymore?

That is what I have been thinking this week after seeing reactions to the Dwimmermount project over at Grognardia the last few months (and a wide variety of other old school blogs and web pages), and especially this week.

I did not seek out much in the way of online info about gaming until recent years. In the 90’s during a heavy gaming period, I checked-out some forums briefly on AOL, but by around 1999 or so I had gone into a retirement period from gaming that would last several years. I was getting so involved in the world music community in California, and was spending much more time with people to whom gaming was not even on the radar of, I pretty much quit (I always had a busy life outside games, but at that point I knew nobody who gamed or wanted to. And when I would be dating a girl around then I certainly never brought up gaming to them). It was getting hard to get people together on a weekend (then the preferred time to play) for several hours on a Saturday or Sunday, and it did not seem worth it anymore. I for sure was not going to start gaming as an adult at game shops and cons. I was done. I thought for good.

Then three years ago I got contacted by current group host Andy off of where I had sort of off-handedly started a profile, and *bam!* we had a group together and have been gaming regularly since. On a weeknight actually, because regular weekend gaming again was still a pipe dream and would probably always be so with rare exceptions. So this OSR thing was at full steam as I discovered. I saw an advert for some D&D podcast that appealed to me so I listened and James from Grognardia was the guest (they described him as a blogger who did not always have the most fascinating posts, but by sheer virtue of the amount of posts he had a big following). After that I checked out James blog, and was ultimately inspired to start my own, as I had my own old school stories to tell.

After three years of checking out the OSR, I’m getting pretty tired of old school-style artwork when it had previously been nice and nostalgic (, I will always revere Trampier and others from the past for pure nostalgia value) currently being produced. Same-old same-old adventurers cautiously approaching a dungeon doorway. So little of it inspires me now. Case in point, James and his proudly displayed art samples for Dwimmermount.

The artist is excellent, but I’m sorry, the standard knight dude and the old broad who runs the leather mug booth at the Ren Faire somehow schlepping into a mountain top dungeon in the wilderness not only is uninspiring to me, but seems to me not to be very far from the realm of a parody drawing of old school D&D. I’m fine with people liking it, but Jesus Christ, words like “Outstanding” and “amazing” on the comment thread is giving me a serious douche-chill. Most of James readers are at the point where they are pre-sold on anything he does, it seems.

Now, James as usual is a little touchy when it comes to his work and fan club. Differing opinions on his work is often met with a “you can go read other blogs” type of stuff. Fair enough. But although I have rarely kissed his ass (I think James feels mostly burned by me in the past for my hearty defending of the 80's Conan film that he bashes constantly and obssesively), I feel I have chimed in with plenty of thumbs-up on ideas and reviews over the years, and try to offer my own experiences of the old school that is perhaps a bit more visceral and from the viewpoint of an outgoing personality (i.e. I was on the football team in high school as opposed to the chess club).

So far on that thread the only other dissenting opinion is of young gamer grrrl Rachel of Rach’s Reflections (the only girl on the thread agrees with me. A win is a win), who is for sure a smart cookie. She had some very contemplative comments on how changes to the old, silly styles can be cool and keep what was good while having a bit more umph!:

“... It may just be my late entry into the hobby, but the whole "ren-faire" look that seems to be in vogue to the old-school community just looks... silly to me, particularly in conjunction with the idea that old-school play is a little grittier and more mercenary. A certain amount of stylization to make adventurers look cool is a good thing. I'm not saying full dungeonpunk, but...

“…Well... look at Johnny Weismuller in a pair of brown trunks, Errol Flynn in a green unitard and felt jerkin, or Burt Ward in elf booties and green underwear.
Now look at Tarzan as drawn by Disney, Jonas Armstrong with a cowl and leather armor, or Robin as drawn throughout the 90s and oughts.
Which one looks more like a reject from a panto, and which one looks like someone that knows how to throw down? Keep in mind I'm not asking what's more accurate to the text (Tarzan) or the period (Robin Hood), I'm just saying that they look more like they might be taken seriously, without being excessive at that…”

I like this lass. Smart is so sexy. Anyway, there is bad updating (dungeonpunk with bald heads, tattoos, and giant hoop earrings; black leather in X-Men film costumes, Spider-Man in a costume that would cost 100 times his freelance salary, etc), then there is good updating like the stuff Rachel mentioned. Truly, Disney Tarzan (I think the best Tarzan so far, and the closest to the books outside of DC comics 1970’s series) and 90's Robin looked like they could realistically kick ass, but were still Tarzan and still Robin.

But going too far into the past to search out fuzzy feelings really only goes so far to me (anymore). I think you can tap into that past without same-old same-old. Not that I'm the guy to do it (real job, interests besides gaming, mid-life crisis, etc etc etc), but I will tell you this; I was not immediately taken with James R’s LOTFP, or Goeff’s Carcosa, but the more I see of what old school Grog’s who are trying to maintain the old school look and feel are doing, the more I am attracted to those truly unique works that actually think outside the box while still being basically, at heart, old school fantasy gaming. Shit, they certainly are not boring.

Bottom line, and please excuse my French, but how the fuck many more basic, old school dungeons and drawings of knights at the dungeon doorway do we still need to see at this point? Is there a bottomless need and desire for this stuff out there?

When it comes to me and “old school,” I think I am at a crossroads, folks. While I think I will still run me some ol’ school D&D here and there, I think I’m done looking at new scenarios, settings, art, and writing for it unless it has something new to say and something that inspires me more than just looking like art from back in the day (or looking like a parody of it).

What say you?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Paul Crabaugh and Me

The other day no less than two well known blogs (Grognardia and Jeff’s Game Blog) posted about a gentleman named Paul Crabaugh, who wrote some interesting articles for Dragon Magazine (and some others) in the early 80’s. I knew Paul a little from my youth playing games at Aero Hobbies in Santa Monica, so I thought I would do a post about him myself since the name is getting bandied about.

Oh, and the title of this post is a play on Michael Moore’s famous first documentary. I actually did not know Paul well, and can only speak on experiences surrounding gaming with him at a dingy, smelly little game shop.

I bought most of my first D&D stuff as a kid at a place in West LA called Chess and Games. Way in the back they had a medium size rack that contained the LLB’s, Greyhawk, and Blackmoor. I snapped them up with what little allowance money I had.

But my real gaming started at Aero Hobbies. For my first year or so gaming there it was mostly kids my age I think, plus a couple of much older former leftover wargamer beardo’s who probably should not have been around kids.

But not long after I started going there it stopped being so much about young folk, as a passel of 20 and 30 something guys, including some friends of owner Gary, started playing a lot at the store a lot more. Most of them were not so nice to the younger teenagers, acting like their presence was a liability, and were typical of snarky D&D geeks.

But one guy who was actually pretty nice to the younger folk there was Paul Crabaugh himself. Not that he particularly wanted to play with kids, but he didn’t seem to resent their presence so much as the other older guys did. He never put the younger people down, ever, which seemed to be the stock in trade of his peers.

The first thing you would notice about Paul was how huge he was. He was a massive man. Not especially tall, but he very much looked like Michael Moore after doing three months worth of a Morgan Spurlock routine super-sizing at Mickey D’s. No-Chair-Can-Hold-Me big (and I say that being no Jack Sprat myself lately). But he was a gentleman in every way to everybody. He spoke to a 15 year old very much the same way he talked to adults, with respect and interest for what they had to say. Very rare among gamers. That is one thing that even though I didn’t think of it at the time, made me really like the guy. A gentleman in a sea of owner Gary’s asshole peers and cronies.

I didn’t know until quite some time after meeting and playing in games with Paul that he had written D&D articles for Dragon. Since Paul only really seemed to like Traveller and other science fiction games at the time, I’m guessing that his heaviest D&D period had been in college. He was writing about stuff he didn’t seem to play anymore (though I think he wrote some Traveller items as well) unless he was doing it away from the shop. The interesting thing was he never talked about those articles. He had zero ego about it. Owner Gary had pointed them out to me. I thought it was pretty cool.

Gaming at Aero was pretty bland and more often than not boring for me. Whether GM'd by a sleazy, druggo Vietnam vet, or a college educated computer programmer, it was not so much as story-making or painting a picture for players. It was monotone descriptions of things, usually some pun or two thrown into (like older geek from all walks of life seemed to love back then – more often than not based on Monty Python), then something attacks and you fight it (owner Gary's games had a bit more peronality to them than the others). I’m grateful for my Aero exposure to Runequest and Traveller and other games I may have never played otherwise back then, but even as a kid I knew games were better when you could inject a little personality, passion, and wonder into them.

Paul’s Traveller games were moderately interesting, nothing really special in retrospect, and like most younger guys at Aero I didn’t get too involved in them. Games by older guys like Paul, owner Gary, and other regulars seemed to be aimed at one or two other older guy’s characters no matter how many people sat at the table. One or two characters doing everything and everybody else were just side characters; side-kicks at best. Just sitting and watching. Looking back, that was a real shame. One time, towards the end of my going to Aero on a regular basis (sports, girls, and my own gaming groups were too attractive compared to the dust, moldy smells and the heinous attitudes of the Aero sausage-fest) my sweetheart of the time, who lived an hour north in Ventura, was in town for the weekend and I took her to Aero to play in one of Paul’s Traveller games. I spent all this time getting her a character set-up to play (if you know Traveller you know what that takes), but when we were ready it was once again an ignore fest as Paul pretty much ran the game aimed directly at owner Gary and left us and everybody else to sit, fidget and stare. I really get the impression that Paul would have been most happy just running for Gary alone with nobody there.

You’d think that a tall, beautiful girl at the game table for a change would generate some interest, but these guys were just too into how they did it at Aero (or maybe they didn’t know how to deal with a female gamer who didn’t look like Janet Reno) so In retrospect I guess it wasn’t Paul’s fault, although we never once got so much as a “so what are you’re characters doing?”. Young people, who these games were ostensibly aimed at, got no props at Aero. It was adults playing games and the young’uns be damned, unless you were one of owner Gary’s little blond cabin boys he got to watch the register now and again (I think one of those grew up and eventually bought Aero from Gary before he passed a few years ago). Thankfully, a couple hours of being ignored at the table ended when one of my high school friends showed up and asked us to hit the mall with him and we got gratefully the hell out of there to go have fun. That was the last time I actually sat in on a game at Aero I think. I was outgrowing it. Moving on to my own groups, and to non-gaming related activities. This was one of my experiences at Aero that shaped me as a GM. In this case, I would always make sure and give lots of time to other players no matter what character was shining at the moment. Actually, now that I think of it, most of my good qualities as a GM comes from doing the opposite of things I experienced in those old games at Aero.

I guess Paul passed away a couple or three years after I stopped hanging out at the shop. Sometime after abandoning the place for more fulfilling pastimes, I saw Paul walking in downtown Santa Monica. He was unmistakable, what with his size and the ever-present long-sleeve office job shirt with pocket protector he wore all the time. I just kept on moving for whatever reason, probably because I had so many unsavory experiences at that dingy game shop that were still fairly fresh (including Paul's Traveller game), but I wish I had stopped to talk to him a bit away from the negative environment that was Aero. He was one of the very, very few older people I came away from the place having any respect or admiration for. I’m glad his name still gets mentioned in the gamer community all this time later.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Deadliest Night of My Life

I’m no stranger to shamelessly ripping off ideas from other mediums to use in game scenarios (I use the somewhat harsh term “ripping-off” because I didn’t always reveal where I got my ideas from to my players).

One example is when I was at the height of my Champions campaigns around 1990. One of my regular players, Gaz, liked to do a little “powder” on a Friday night at his pad in Santa Monica. Gaz was not a drug dude by any means, nor particularly skeevy (just a plain ol’ geek). He just had some friend who gave him blow now and again, and he liked to hang out on a Friday, no party or gathering or anything, and watch MTV and do a few lines. Cocaine was never my thing, but Gaz would invite me over for a few beers, and since I was a ten minute walk away I would cruise over to watch videos and sink a few, and wish I had something else going on in my Friday nights. During that period I was working full time at both the Southern and Northern Renaissance Faires , each lasting more than two months’ worth of weekends, the Northern Faire involving weekend drives each way all the way to Mendocino County that took almost 8 hours (nowadays the I-5 highway has a 70 mph speed limit and the drive would be around 6 hours, but back then, as Sammy Hagar lamented, the limit was 55 anywhere in California). So especially right after Faire season it would take a bit of time for me to get back in the swing of normal socializing outside of the recreated Elizabethan country village. So a relaxing night at Gaz’s drinking beers then staggering back home was a decent, causal Friday to me (Saturday nights I still tried to do things un-geeky, like trying to date non-Faire chicks and hang out with non-Faire people. Going out to local bars and such).

So anyway, with us having so much fun with my Champions settings with my regular group, Gaz suggested we do some solo stuff on the Fridays seeing as we were getting looped anyway. Nowadays I’d rather take a kick in the nads than try to do solo gaming with somebody, but at the time it didn’t seem like a bad idea. So he created a character, Jessie Steel, who was a non-costumed hero, sort of a genetic super soldier who worked as a hero for hire. So what I did, in between many trips to the bathroom (the blow Gaz got from his friends was heavily cut with baby laxative, it seemed), I ran couple of hour sessions for him. And his character was perfect for what I had in mind. What I did was basically put his Jessie characters through little detective adventures based entirely on old episodes of The Rockford Files. It was my favorite show as a kid, and I had many of the best episodes memorized. Rockford, looking for some rich guys missing wife, gets knocked unconscious, framed for murder, and chased by the Mafia, so I just did it all to Jessie Steel, but pumped up with a bit more harrowing combat and martial arts (Gaz was not the sharpest knife in the drawer, so most detecting elements he solved had to be handed to him on a silver platter by NPC’s). Gaz was not a real Rockford fan, and I don’t think I told him about my inspirations for those little Friday night games that winter/spring until the mid-90’s or so. He didn’t seem to mind.

Although I came up with tons of original stuff for my games for the most part, there were pleny of examples of homage in my games. There is one example that is my favorite “rip-off.” That’s the Daredevil comic book shown above. It was written by Sci Fi guy Harlan Ellison when current scripter Denny O’Neil was sick in hospital and asked his pal Harlan to fill in for a few issues. These were great comics.

“The Deadliest Night of My Life” had Daredevil following a suspicious little girl who was running around the city streets alone late at night, and she led him to a large mansion in a walled off estate. Turns out the father of one of DD’s old foes who died built the place, and automated it to draw DD in and kill him with any number of traps. Snake pits, shark tanks, electrocution chambers, flame thrower hallways, etc. It was all pretty cool. Daredevil ends up in a room with a big TV, and the deceased enemy “monologues” to him and says why he is doing all this. DD manages to escape at the last second when he figures out the whole place is set to blow as soon as the guy on tape stops talking. Excellent issue.

So I adapted it for a D&D game I was running for my group in the later 90’s. In my game, the mansion owner was a high level mage whose family had been brutally murdered by thieves while he was away. Now hating all thieves, he lured in the characters who were set on looting the place (I was doing a Thieves Guild campaign) and put them through the Daredevil stuff, but all run by magic instead of automation. I think a character died that game, and the rest got out before it blew to hell.

The players loved that game. None of my players were big comic book fans, at least of Daredevil, so I got away with my “homage” scott free. My D&D games tended to be sort of weird (yes, “weird fantasy”) and offbeat, so it seemed like a scenario I would come up with. Some time later I told at least a couple of players in casual conversation about that game, and one of them even asked to borrow that comic (she said something about the game being better than the comic, which while I don’t personally think was true, felt pretty good).

So taking ideas like these, while not my stock in trade or anything, usually turned out quite well. I mean, most old school D&D’ers go to many sources for their inspiration, or outright adaptations. The game itself started as sort of a mash-up of mythology, Tolkien, Leiber, and Vance fantasy, and ancient history. So why the hell not?

I kind of get the feeling I’m not alone in this either. So many great ideas out there to steal!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

DC Comics and The new 52

The new 52 is yet another DC relaunch, somewhat like the 80’s great Crisis on Infinite Earths, but without the set-up and durm and strang of that multiversal gangbang. What seems to be going on is updating 52 of the companies’ titles to the world we live in now (all fucked up). In the 60’s and much of the 70’s comics seemed to be time-locked into a sort of 1940’s/early 50’s vibe. That is mostly because the creators where all older dudes who were not adept at change. Even in the late 70’s many female side characters (Daredevil’s Karen Page, Fantastic Four’s Invisible Girl, Iron Man’s Pepper Potts, etc) still seemed to have hairstyles and often even clothing from over a decade prior. At least Archie Comics were on the cutting edge of women’s fashion.

But today the young creators in comics seem to be busy trying to make up for the old fogies conservative values. The men are more angsty and assholish, and the women are super-sexualized (apparently one of the controversies is the whoring-up of characters like Starfire, previously sort of frigid characters, to complete and utter hoochie momma status), or relegated to “girlfriend of male hero” status. From what I can tell, Catwoman has been turned into a total neo-Goth hose monster.

OK, so I don’t really buy comics anymore. At around 5 bucks a pop now, I can’t afford to buy a pile of comics every month and keep them next to the bed or in the bathroom magazine rack, and eventually into a big white box in the garage. So I can only really muse from afar at what is going on in comics. The true life story is usually more interesting than what is happening on those gaudy pages anyway.

These re-launches are often cool. Crisis back in the 80’s blew me away. The Anti-Monitor was a truly scary villain. A whole passel of various-age Supermen were running around, and even obscure characters like Jonah Hex and Sgt. Rock were right there in the mix. I could not believe what they were doing.

But the aftermath of that was not good. DC writers struggled for years with the conundrums that came out of that particular re-launch. Things that happened in the comics of the 1950’s and 60’s were important canon to many characters. Some writers even had characters that no longer knew each other act towards each other as if they had adventured together for decades. Turns out it was not as simple as just Killing Supergirl, erasing Supermen from Earths Two through Two Million, or Wonder Woman from the Justice Society of the 40’s.

And let’s face it, much of the talent brought on board to reboot characters back then, like Marvels big fat paycheck man John Byrne, fell flatter than Mr. Fantastic stuck in a Baxter Building elevator with one of The Thing’s farts (man, I should be writing for comics). The new DC’s first team-up of Superman and Batman had them facing a punk rock chick in big glasses and a Mohawk named “Magpie.” She liked birds and stealing stuff. She was nothing special, pretty much a Penguin rip-off. This was the new DC universe of the rest of the 80’s? Man, this millionaire was really phoning it in. Those John Byrne issues of Superman were some of the last comics I bought new in the store (I really only pick up the occasional used copy at swap meets since the 90’s). Yes, they turned me off that much.

So here we go, another massive re-launch. A bunch of 1st issues will be sold. But what then? Will writers encounter a maze of problems created by renewing the universe? I already see some. In this new universe Bruce Wayne has only been Batman around 5 years. But appearing in his new ish is an older Robin (Dick Grayson) who is now long since become Nightwing, the current young Robin, and at least a couple of the other previous Robin’s of various ages from the last 30 years. They can be hammered into new continuity I guess, but really, Grayson has gone from a little kid joining Batman in his early adventures, to a cynical and seasoned Nightwing in less than 5 years?

OK, like I said, I don’t really put any money into the pockets of comic book companies and creators anymore. I have no real stake in what they do with this. But as an old school comic book fanboy from back in better times, I guess I’m rooting for this to be a success for the sake of comic goodness to come. Monthly comic magazines are already an endangered species. No sense in helping them limp into the history books.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Spider Baby Bombs

The last few weekends I have been camping out and working at a California Renaissance Faire, where friends and I do several music shows a day at one of the stages. I’ve done this on and off for a couple of decades, and it is still big fun. Running around in baggy peasant clothing all day, and getting cleaned up and into street cloths for nights of partying out in the woods and under the stars in this amazing village that gets recreated. It’s sort of my mini-burning man. One of the ale stands opens up around 8PM Sat night, and I often hit the bar scene, sucking down 3 dollar Bass Ales fresh from the tap, which is what I like to do when there is no particular party going on that I want to be at, or some girl I am trying to hook up with.

Last Saturday night I staggered back to camp with a few folk right after midnight, and we were sitting around the fairly quiet camping area having a beer and shooting the shit. Suddenly up comes an old friend of mine, shining his flashlight into his pewter Ale mug. Inside was a monstrosity exactly like shown in the picture above. A wolf spider, apparently, with its little baby monsters clinging lovingly to its back. It was around the size of your thumb.

Needless to say, I freaked. I normally like spiders, but this thing is especially brutal looking, and the babies were icing on the cake of fear. I’ve lived in California my whole life, and although not an avid camper I have had countless such weekends in the woods. As others around us freaked when they looked in the disgusto-mug, I thought about how I was going to go to sleep that night thinking about these bad mamajammas toting there tots around beneath my covers, or dangling on the tent ceiling 4 feet above me. In fetal position, that’s how.

So naturally one day I am going to have to have a giant version of this thing show up in a D&D game. But what would set it apart from other giant spiders? The ability to use the babies on its back as missiles, that’s how. Every round the mama could lunch one or two of these things, baseball sized spiders that could latch on to you and inject some nasty poison. Or hell, why could they not explode in a mist of deadly gas? Perhaps act as a firebomb on contact? I dunno, it’s D&D man. But in the game, those babies gotta do something besides look for a free ride from mama.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Jedi Suck

It’s the busiest time of the year for me, what with driving almost 5 hours every weekend to work at a Ren Faire, working late most nights during the week, and trying to keep up with a very hard, labor intensive math class. But I did manage to get a Knights of the Old Republic game in last week.

The biggest challenge of this game is twofold for me. Firstly, I am bound and determined for this to NOT be a Star Wars game. The KOTOR setting, and my experience with that excellent video game that made me actually fall in love with a certain version of the SW universe (set 4000 years prior to that douche Anakin Skywalker coming along and getting a woman more beautiful than he deserves), and secondly I’m trying to take it in different directions than a typical SW game might go. That did not work out so well for my infamous experience with a group of grumpy, mostly middle-age Star Wars nuts the other year, but it seems to be going over pretty well with my thankfully un-Star Wars geek group (early on a Star Wars game was a hard sell for some of them).

But most challenging is finding a way to keep Jedi characters from ruling the universe. They are just so fucking powerful, even at low levels. Telepathy, sensing of other force users, and galactic scanning abilities are served up before they even choose particular powers. And when they do those powers are almost always no-miss. Force powers have different, more potent task resolution than normal day to day stuff of other PC’s. They barely even need light sabers to rule the battlefield. As a matter of fact, the iconic light saber seems to be the weakest part about them (blasters do more damage).

The player of the female Cathar (cat people) Jedi isn’t really taking full advantage of these facts. She’s never been one to go for the power game. But the male Jedi player has studied the rules, sussed out the strengths and weaknesses of the abilities, and gets the maximum juice out of them. I’ve already discussed that the GM and the Jedi players need to be in agreement about how much the powers get used, and how potent they are. I thought there was an understanding, but when the player somehow thought he could stealthily use the Jedi Mind Trick on a Mandalorian who was surrounded by Mando pals who were wise to Jedi tricks, and I told him this was not really possible, it was outburst of anger time. “Go ahead and nerf the Jedi!” So at least this one Jedi player has already been conditioned by this game to not fear failure. Yeesh.

Well, I suppose if I had a little more experience with the game, I could have made it an all Jedi game so everybody could be insanely powerful badasses at low level, or I could have just forbid Jedi from the campaign (this would have been the wisest choice, I think).

But what is done is done. I’m trying to go by the rules as much as possible, so I can’t be too nerfy like I would with Dan Dan the Power Game man running a female drow in a D&D game. But the very presence of Jedi makes it very difficult to match the power of NPC’s with the PC’s. Too weak, and the Jedi in the party will help the group win out way easily. Pump them up a notch, and the party could find themselves stretched out on the tarmac (but at least alive. It is a bit difficult to get killed in this game.).

The mid-levels are being reached in the game now, so a new dynamic could be setting in. maybe it’ll get easier (even if the Jedi players don’t want to “play fair”). But one thing sort of nags at my mind. This is fun, but I’m very much looking forward to running a game again where the balance of power and the status quo is a little easier to maintain.

(Note: I should at least mention that not one player has moaned about the power imbalance. And even “gimmi gimmi” Andy seems to be against any kind of nerfing of Jedi funk even though he is not running a force user. Also, there is one character that is a force user and not a Jedi – so like I said, the dynamic might change as the game goes along)