A piece of my heart and past is going away.

The year was 1993, I was just returned to town, 26 years old and living in my mothers basement (how cliched was that?) My grand (and poorly thought out and executed) plan of turning my new Masters degree into a teaching career was clearly failing. I was lonely, depressed and didn’t have a lot of things to do.  I knew one thing I wanted to do: join a role playing group, but didn’t know how to start, since all of my high school friends were gone.

So I wandered into the local game store, The Compleat Gamer, and after hanging out a while I gradually made friends with the owner, Ty. After inquiring if he knew anyone who might have a game group I might join he referred me to one of his employees, Forrest. I introduced myself to Forrest and the rest, as they say, is history.

The store became my home away from home. It was my equivalent of the local tavern. It was the proverbial ‘place where everyone knows your name’. If I go through my address book and/or Facebook friends I would say that probably 25% of the people there I met through the store.

When I met Kim one of the first places I took her, and groups of people I introduced her to was the group at the store. On some level the mutual approval was just as important as meeting my family.

When I left for North Carolina I found another store and community there, but the group was a pale shadow of what I had here.  And when I returned the store was one of the very first places I went after getting home.

I couldn’t count how many hard earned dollars were spent there, or the number of hours I spent, just hanging out. Volunteering to help out when needed with customers, sweeping, cleaning and demonstrating games. Using the store for after hours games. Making the store a first stop on our weekly game night at the nearby community gathering place.

I learned to play virtually all of my favorite games there. From Role playing games like Deadlands and Savage Shadows, board games like Settlers of Catan, card games like Magic the Gathering, and table top miniature games like Warhammer, Warhammer 40K and Warzone. Sure I can and do play these games elsewhere, but learning those games there will always hold a special part in my memories.

I knew the store had fallen on difficult times in recent years. So it wasn’t a complete surprise when I saw this article in the newspaper today:


It’s game over for Compleat Games & Hobbies after more than 20 years as a downtown Colorado Springs business.

Read more: http://www.gazette.com/articles/compleat-141851-games-.html#ixzz210Se25SD

But it is still quite stunning. My first thought was of my friend Carl, who works there and whom I can say I have been buying gaming supplies from almost since I was able to hand money over the counter (originally at another old downtown fixture: Levines toy store). I hope that he will get picked up at another store. But after that the rest of my thoughts were about all of the memories.  I know, as a rational person, that nothing lasts forever. But it is still a blow when a big piece of your life goes away like this.

So, I will do my best to gather as many of my friends at the store on Saturday, and wish Ty a fond farewell. And concentrate on the good times and great memories that place provided us. It might get a little dusty, I will try to take lots of pictures for posterity sake.


Friday night Recap

This is the story of FBI Hostage Rescue Team 5

The team leader Sergeant Zim looked over team: Sparks, the radio and bomb disposal specialist (and also logistics when it applied), Red Shirt Duggan, the jack of all trades, Boo Radley, Sniper, Tweak, the team medic, and Hudson Hornet, his second in command and pilot. ‘This is one motley group, but it’s mine, and I hope we don’t end up like my last command’ he thought. He has just got word to take the helicopter to some place called the Georgia Guidestones east of Atlanta, the local Sheriff’s had a real bad hostage situation and needed their help ASAP.

At first it seemed like a pretty standard situation. The Cult of Alkazari had kidnapped some hostages and taken up positions at the Guidestones, with the intention of performing some ritual where they were going to sacrifice the hostages. And Zim knew that that damn sure wasn’t going to happen on his watch. So they did some scouting, found the bus the cult used to come to this place. Then put together a plan. It was a standard, simple plan, like most of his plans.

Sparks would launch a flash bang at the monument when it was dark. Radley would hole up and wait for a shot. Hudson would take the chopper and light up the monument with the spotlight. And he and Tweak would run in on the opposite side. Duggan would back up Sparks and Radley.

And the plan was going without a hitch, he took a few shots, ‘thank god for kevlar!’ But he had made it to the monument, with Tweak following him. Sparks had taken out 2 other groups of cultists with tear gas. When all hell broke loose. Out of no where some thing that could only be described as a Demon screamed out of the sky and landed on top of the monument. Everyone was just frozen, except Hudson who at least landed the chopper. Then something that could only be described as an Angel appeared from under the monument and flew up to the Demon, and a fight of biblical proportions took place. At the end of which there was an explosion a blinding flash of light and he passed out.

When he woke up the team was all exactly where they were, but everyone else: the cultists, hostages, sheriffs, were all gone. The team chimed in as OK, just shaken. Until Hudson emerged from the chopper and removed his helmet, he had gotten taller, dropped some weight and he could only be described as an elf. Although how the hell that could happen Zim had no idea. But then again nothing was normal after seeing a battle between and Angel and a Demon.

(The night went well, the group took the restrictions on character creation in stride. I liked the characters they came up with. Everyone got off a few zingers. Overall it was a good start, and I am looking forward to the next night. Only 1 person drew and Ace, but there were 3 Jokers, so we shall see where that takes them. I am looking forward to how they adjust and gel. My plan is 2 more nights through a ringer, with little choice of what they want to do, then I will open things up for them to dictate what they do.)

Am I ready?

Let’s see if I have what I need for tomorrow night:

1. Listed rules for character creation with stat minimums and requirements for each role? Check, I have it all broken down, along with having memorized the basics of Savage Worlds character creation

2. Chart for random character creation events? Check, it’s all written down, with a listing of what each potential change means

3. Initial adventure plan? Check, I have the setup, the bad guys, main stats for the bad buys, and a way for things to occur if they are more efficient than I expect (always a god idea with the group that once ended a potentially long drawn out sea battle with one characters dice roll and action).

4. Follow up adventure in case they want to keep going? Check, unlikely as that is with this group. It won’t be the full second night, but I can give them a taste or prologue if they want.

All I have to do tonight is print everything out tonight before I go to bed. Throw it in my bag so I am ready to go. I am excited, and ready to get things rolling.

I hope/expect to write up what happens sometime on Saturday, so look forward to that.

Getting Ready

Friday night I will start my Savage Worlds game for my gaming group. I am excited/apprehensive at the same time. I want this to go well, to have them enjoy themselves and keep wanting more. And I am looking forward to introducing this campaign.

When Stephan asked what type of game it would be I running all I would agree to saying was that it would be ‘modern’. Partially because I want to keep things mysterious. I think that one of the things that this group needs to play well is to shake things up. Throw something new and unpredictable at them. When everyone keeps playing the same characters (more or less) over and over then it is time to push something new where those roles can’t be played.

Everyone will make their characters together, and with a pretty rigid set of minimum requirements. So there won’t be a lot of variation to start other than how players play things. And then I will introduce an element of randomness to things, which should challenge people, make them do something different for a change. We’ll see how they react. Worst case scenario is they hate it and don’t want to play a second time. In which case I get this load off my shoulders of running the game.

One question I have asked myself today is how do I handle the language problem? Because they will be dropped into an entirely different world how do I want to handle the language issue? There are some pretty clear ends of the spectrum:

Super Easy (or the Star Trek solution):
Everyone just magically speaks the same language as the players, kind of like running into just another Class M planet.

Easy (the Hitchhikers Guide solution):
A magical or technological device is available that automatically translates everything i.e. the Babelfish.

The locals have access to a magical or technological device that allows for easy translations, but only on demand.

Everyone speaks a different language on the new world, and there might be someone capable of translating, but the characters will have to take the time to learn the new language.

Super Hard:
There is no translation capability, all language has to be learned by pidgin and pointing and pictures. Only the bravest of GM’s and most dedicated role playing group would want to undertake this.

My inclination will be something along the line of easy to moderate. I won’t have to make a decision for at least the first 2 nights anyway and by then I should have a better idea of how the group is handling their characters.

Good progress

Yesterday I sat down and finished off the second leg of the Savage Worlds adventure. I am pretty happy with it, I left some elbow room for the group to role play and have some fun, but I also concocted what I think is a decent scenario for keeping them moving and focused. I hope it works out.

I can’t go into as much detail as before because with the group about to start playing I want things to remain a surprise. Now the next chore is charting out what comes next. I ended this scenario with the characters having to pick one of 2 directions. I have a rough idea of what I want one of them to be. But I am not sure about the other.

The goal is one more scenario where they have to ‘fight’ their way through a problem. Once that one is done they will finally reach the city where they can decide what they want to do next. I figure 3 sessions worth of scenarios will be enough to get the players hooked or not on the world and campaign setting. If it works, and the group wants to keep playing I have a number of ideas on what do once they get to the city.

Well it’s on now

We had a fun session last night, wound up Forrest’s game. Wasn’t our finest moment of role playing, but we pushed through, killed all the bad guys in suitably gory fashion. And we had a good time getting back together for the first time in over a month.

After the game we had some discussion about what to do next I piped up and said I was ready. And that was what we decided to do. It’s on me now, for better or worse. I got the creative juices flowing yesterday and cranked out a very good start to the second night gaming session. I have to say I am really looking forward to this.

They really pressed me on what type of game we would be playing but I held firm to my plan of not revealing much of anything. Because I want it be a surprise because I think that will make the game more enjoyable. The game itself will be pretty much hack and slash, lots of action. But getting there will be what sets it apart. It will make it different from anything we have ever done before.

This is so cool I have to figure a way to work it in

This article details something so cool it just screams out that it be used in a role playing game. My mind is just whirling with possibilities. I just read the article on my lunch break and all the way back from work all I could think about was ways to incorporate this into my game.

I don’t know exactly how I plan to do it, but I will make it a centerpiece of the game, oh yes I will…