Sunday, April 29, 2018

Back From The Dead. (Again.)

A year ago, I suddenly returned to this blog after a long absence, posted for a few weeks, and then vanished again. I had just moved closer to work (so a much shorter commute), and started a new Night's Black Agents campaign, and thought for sure I was going to be blogging a lot more. It didn't work out that way. I started a new relationship, which is going along wonderfully, but as the early stages of a relationship often do, it tends to re-prioritize your free time.

On a completely un-related front, there was simultaneously a falling-out between two of the players in the NBA campaign that nearly ended the game, so I suddenly had a lot less regular gaming to blog about. Moving closer to work meant moving away from a lot of my old haunts and social circles, which further reduced my access to a regular game night for a while. Things have stabilized, and I thought it was time to poke my head out and shout "hello" to the world.

(An aside about work: I'm still working on Shadows of Brimstone, Forbidden Fortress, and other games for Flying Frog, but that work is covered by an Non-Disclosure Agreement so I can't really blog about it much, if at all. That's a bummer, as there is some seriously cool stuff in the pipe that I'd love to blab about if I could.)

The Night's Black Agents campaign went over 6 months without a session. That would have been the death of nearly any campaign, and you'd expect that to be doubly true for an RPG with mystery and detective roots. Not the case here at all. Night's Black Agents has amazing tools for keeping the narrative cohesive and preserving the clue trail, and the Dracula Dossier doubles down on that. I was very much impressed at how easily everything came back together.

About a year ago I blathered on about the Adversary Map, so I'll keep my praises of it brief today. Keeping a cork-board covered with strings and photos in the spare room gathering dust for 6 months was a small price to pay to preserve a snapshot of how all the NPCs and plotlines interconnected. Between that and a similar flowchart I have on my hard-drive (basically the same thing, but it also has all the secret connections and off-camera NPCs that the PCs haven't met yet), it was easy to reconstruct all the mysteries and pick right up where we left off. 

As I said, the Dracula Dossier features even more tools toward that end. The special annotated copy of Bram Stoker's novel, with marginalia in the voices of three generations of MI-6 NPCs, is a uniquely useful prompt for the players. Having a hard time remembering the clues and leads from 6 months ago? Just open the novel to a random page, and there's almost certainly something there to jumpstart the adventure.

Anyhow, just wanted to let you know that I'm still here, I'm still gaming, and I hope to blog more soon. Of course, I have to acknowledge that I said the same thing 14 months ago, only to vanish for a year immediately thereafter.