Gamey Gamerson: Ends & Beginnings


Last week saw the last session of our year-long Masks of Nyarlathotep campaign for Call of Cthulhu the roleplaying game. It ended more-or-less successful. Many characters died horribly at the end of a tentacle (or similar godly appendage), though my character only lost his eyes. Thanks to Mike, David, Palle, John, and special guest stars Jason and Geisel for playing with, and of course Caleb for running the damned thing! I owned that book for years and never though I’d actually play through it. I even had a sip of champagne to toast the end of a most entertaining campaign. Hey, campaign and champagne rhyme.

And this week saw the premiere session of my Freeport piratey D&D campaign. I’m re-running the classic Freeport trilogy starting with Death in Freeport from my favourite publishers, Green Ronin. Today we finalized the characters and I think we have a pretty interesting group. There are in total nine (9) players in the group, thanks to my policy of over-booking. Question not my methods, for indeed three of the players had to cancel in the few days prior to the session, so we had a healthy 6 players + 1 DM at the table. Of course there is always the chance that all nine players will show up and there won’t be enough space at the table, but likewise there is the chance that six players may bail and we won’t have quorum to play! We’ll see which happens first.

I’m introducing a few intriguing new (for me) concepts into this D&D campaign. First, we’re taking a page out of 4th edition and condensing some of the skills. For example, Sleight of Hand + Move Silently + Hide all become one skill: Stealth.

Secondly, critical hits don’t do double damage: they have gruesome effects at DM discretion. This may be way worse than double damage, or not as good. Depends on whether you’re a PC or an NPC. Hello eye patches, hooks and peg-legs!

Thirdly, action points! Each player has action points to spend on rule-bending options like rerolling, acting out of initiative, and suchlike.

Fourthly, the campaign world is a grim and gritty world where magic, monsters and non-humans are rare. The only non-human the characters have seen so far is an elf, and she’s a PC. No gnomes, no halflings, no orcs, no dwarves (yet). Tolerance towards non-humans is low, and tolerance towards arcane magic (what people call The Dark Arts) is lower still – you won’t find any storefronts bearing the sign “Ye Old Magic Shoppe.” As such I discouraged wizard & sorcerer classes. But we do have a number of rogues and clerics in the group, and a ninja!

As per my previous campaigns: no alignments, and Experience Points have nothing to do with how many things you kill – it’s doled out in lump sums at DM discretion.