I've been quiet here a while now, but not inactive. In fact, I've started my first campaign in years. And not only is it the first time I'll be behind the GM's screen in a long time, it's also the first time running with this particular group of players, the first time with this particular setting AND the first time using a game engine still in development!
No pressure :)
The setting for the campaign is Eclipse Phase. I gotta hand it to the guys at Posthuman Studios; they've done a great job at tackling a complex concept and deliver a ton of game books and online content that is educational and inspiring. Their products are of awesome quality, but they also happily share their setting with their playerbase, having released their game under a Creative Commons license, giving permission to player groups to add to, adapt and otherwise make their own Eclipse Phase games they way they want to (so long as it's not for profit). That very... infological freedom makes the game I have started possible.
You see, instead of the core EP rules as written I am using a game engine I have been working on for the last couple of years in my copious spare time. Taking the core concepts from Roll and Keep, I've been calling my variant TURK: True Universal Roll and Keep engine.
I got the idea to make a TURK:EP game while I was thinking about how EP separates EGO and MORPH that about how Roll and Keep dice mechanics might be a good fit to emulate the EGO determining the dice you throw, but your Morph being the cap on how many you get to keep.
Currently TURK exists as a thoroughly deconstructed set of concepts and principles for handling action, characters and so on. This Eclipse Phase game will be one of the first manifestations of TURK concepts into an actual game. As thought-experiments I've been keeping ideas on applying TURK to many other settings/campaigns/ideas. Some of them may make the light of day here on this blog... *Note to self: if TURK works well, contact Alderac Entertainment*
So far a couple of lessons already learned:
1) You may know your game engine, or at least the intent of your draft rules, but having player feedback is invaluable. Just like any proofreading catches gaffs, inconsistencies, logical gaps and plain typos and misspellings; having someone read and ask questions about your game mechanics is great feedback on where your writing is weak, examples may be needed and so on. It also helps that one of your players is a professional writer and editor *grins*
2) Be prepared with an initial story to tell. Especially with a brand new setting the GM really has a lot to do with setting the themes, mood, tone and feel to feed the player's imaginations and in turn inspire them. My intent is to run a game that strongly follows the player-characters concepts and desired, but first they need a taste of what the world is like. This one I am struggling with at the moment, but the once-a-month schedule is working in my favor: plenty of time to get inspired, write and plot.
3) Everyone having DropBox and Google Drive accounts is a great way to share core setting and game rule information. I was able to share with my players both original setting information as well as my draft (and revised) documents on the rules we're going to play by. It also serves as an online backup for things like character sheets, campaign notes and the like.
More posts to come on this game!