Enter The Summer

As a high school teacher in the UK, each July we finish the school year and enter into a period of non-contact time referred to as the Summer Holidays. As of 23rd July 2021, I am in the summer holiday period for around about 5 weeks (the school traded the old 6-week holiday down to 5 weeks and put an 2-week break in at the October half-term mark).

As a gamer, the Summer is always the best opportunity that I have for some creative output. This year, however, I am a little stumped on what to focus on and have been taking stock… only to discover that I have a number of projects that I am involved in and which might end up colouring this year’s break. Here’s what I found out…

1. Mystamyr Continues

First of all, the game I am running in Mystamyr using Mythras Classic Fantasy is ongoing. We made the significant 6-session mark (something of a stumbling block to me as a GM) and we are due to pick up with Session 7 on Monday 26th July. This bi-weekly online game has explored the underground river west of Anminster and discovered a fair bit of horror and mystery so far. Here’s a map of the Whispering Falls and Whisper Caves behind them, the first location the adventurers penetrated a few weeks ago:

2. GURPS Prime Directive

This one sees me in role as Captain Tolos of the USS Equinox enroute to investigate the debris of alien starships which opened rifts in subspace and appear to originate in the Lesser Magellanic Cloud. Our GM is the amazingly creative GMShadow (aka Barry) and the game begins on Tuesday 27th July.

Having almost forgot to create my character, when Barry mentioned we needed a senior bridge crew, it struck me that it feels a bit cheeky to say, “I’ll be Captain!”

Even claiming the XO position felt weird. My fear was that people would perceive you as pushing for control over the group. This is perhaps the #1 reason I tend to avoid running worlds with Rank systems that don’t randomly distribute the ranks (like Traveller did, wherein you needed some luck during CharGen). In the end, though, I decided to stick my neck out and build my Andorian Star Fleet Captain, himself an ex-Tactical Officer. I am looking forward to this game a very great deal!

3. Arlen’s Bonecrunch Isle

Ok, so Arlen probably isn’t calling it “Bonecrunch Isle” but that’s what I tagged it in my brain. Starting Sunday 25th July at 2pm, we have a Session Zero lined up to bring together a group to explore what Arlen Walker (Live From Pellam’s Wasteland) calls a “deep exploration world” combined with a game system designed to generate “bonecrunch” – this latter is Arlen’s word for the visceral engagement of the player’s senses in the imagination of detailed combat.

I believe Arlen is hacking the system from “Blade of the Iron Throne” for his game. We did a one-on-one run-through of character creation last weekend and I re-created Goriel Swiftfoot. Arlen then ran Goriel through an intense and desperate street fight with two corrupt town guards. It was a LOT of fun and I am stoked to be playing in his game.

What makes it extra special, though, is that Arlen’s world intended for deep exploration is inspired by my own call on the podcast for prioritising the created Secondary World as an entity worthy of exploration and discovery. I think Arlen is giving this a go and I am very excited to be part of the experiment… especially as a player. This game is slated to run for the longer term, way into September and beyond, all things being equal. Bring it on Arlen!

4. Webster Goes Strange

Finally, starting on July 30th, I am keyed up to run three sessions in The Strange – a game designed by Monte Cook Games using the Cypher System. This is a modern-world setting that sends characters off into the weird alternate dimensions of The Strange – an alien construct around Earth that contains physical sub-realities, each of which itself mimics a created fictional world invented in the minds of humans.

We’ve agreed to a three-session run because the interested players do not easily synch schedules and we don’t know if a longer game is feasible given the group. I am no less excited to be giving the Cypher System another outing and seeing what The Strange might feel like. That said, I have nerves around pulling off some good games in short time spans. To aid me, I am digging into the excellent resources available from Monte Cook Games and trying to keep things simple. Who knows what might be unleashed, eh?

5. What Else?

So… four games ongoing… will I find time for more?

What of solo play? Not sure… I might be able to find some time back to the Traveller game but I am trying to hold that idea loosely. It’s more usual for me to put time into creative endeavours ready for the Autumn of gaming.

I’ll probably be creating new locations and material for the Mystamyr game. Of course I’ll be podcasting too. Is that enough? Who can say?

Game on!

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