Losing Dungeons and Finding Stars – July-August 2017 Update

Greetings one and all! It’s been a while since I did a solid blog post update, so rather than pick a particular topic I wan to do a general update. It’s been a few months of ups and downs, thankfully more up than down.

Firstly, Vickie. If you’ve been following us on Facebook (or saw my last post about burning out)  you’ll know that her health hasn’t been the best. She has a condition in her lower left leg for the last while that the doctors are still yet to conclusively identify. It manifests a lot like cellulitis, a swelling in the fat cells your body stores. It started off as an itch and rash that grew more ferocious and has now turned into outright pain. The skin is breaking in places, so for the last week Vickie’s had to make trips to the GP every other day to have dressings changed. Vickie’s GP has prescribed painkillers that she’s had to come to rely on to get some sleep of an evening (and even then a full night’s rest isn’t guaranteed).

Amongst other things, it’s made Vickie even more housebound than before; she needs me to nip out and do the shopping and help with house and yard work. All of which frustrates her no end; there’s nothing worse for an intelligent, independent, active woman to be rendered unable to do all the things she’d otherwise love to do (not to mention all the un-done things she’s surrounded by) AND unable to think straight thanks to pain and sleeplessness.

(It also meant that we had to downsize my fortieth birthday party in July from a party to a small get-together for a cuppa, simply because we didn’t know how well Vickie was going to be. Had I done a better job of managing the Facebook invitations, I think more people would have turned up; next time, instead of cancelling the event, I’ll change the details.)

It’s probably a good thing, then, that I’ve ramped my gaming down some. In the aforementioned post about burning out in July, I wrote about how I shut the Deathwatch RPG podcast down when Vickie asked me to focus a bit more on helping her while she was/is ill. When the group in Brinsmead that I was introducing to Dungeons & Dragons chose their own dungeon master who kicked off a Curse of Strahd adventure, I decided to stop DMing the Starter Set adventure for them.

It was a combination of “my work here is done” (and, yes, I was very cordially invited to play, but despite the temptation of playing with a fun bunch of folks I turned it down to stay in my one-game-at-a-time limit) and an opportunity to introduce yet another group of mates favour of running it for a group of folks who are closer to home. A mate of mine, Ash, has a mate of hers, Nicola, who lives ten minutes up the road and wants to try D&D out, and Ash thought of me. We managed to rope a third friend, Huw, in at Ash’s birthday party. Nicola’s brother, whom I’ve yet to meet, was also in as a player.

Unfortunately, the day before the first session, a significant event occurred in Nicola’s family (while I don’t want to give details out, I can assure you it’s nothing bad) which has blocked their schedule out until early next year. Ash decided to wait until her friend was ready before going in on D&D herself, so that project, sadly, is on hiatus.

However, there is another opportunity in the offing. The Discord server of live-streaming pair Feisty Cuffs (with whom I chatted for Paid to Play last year) and The Matt Atlas has had a D&D voice channel languishing un-used for a little while and I’ve had the odd request to run something for them. I’ve not been too sure about D&D – the Starter Set is great and I’ve always been fond of the idea of a pack of scruffy ratbags wandering off to see what’s over the horizon (especially after discovering Critical Role), but the basic investment for the main game (Player’s Handbook, Dungeon Master’s Guide and Monster Manual) is $180.00 and medieval-plus-magic has never quite been my bag.

But you know what I do like the idea of? Taking that band of scruffy fantasy ratbags and giving them a starship.

Which is what the just-released roleplaying game, Starfinderis about. It takes the elves, dwarves, magic and and dragons of the D&D clone Pathfinder thousands of years into the future and throws in all kinds of science fantasy goodness, from alien races, androids and cybernetic limbs to, you guessed it, starships. It’s grabbed my imagination and I’m finding I’m having an easier time thinking up scenarios and adventure hooks than I was for the lamented Deathwatch game. (Have I mentioned that I also chatted with Starfinder’s creative director for Paid to Play?) I bought the PDF version of the rulebook and have asked Mick at The Wicked Goblin (Cairns’ friendly local gaming store – oh, yeah, and I chatted with him for Paid to Play too) to get a copy of the physical book in for me.

I put a “hey, how about this instead?” post up on Feisty & Matt’s Discord server and not only have some folks expressed interest, I’ve got Huw (see above) and a couple of friends (who are also family) in Melbourne who let me GM Pathfinder for them a few months ago rather keen!

Here’s what I’ve put together to summarise my early ideas for what I want our game to be about:

Now, after the unfortunate demise of the Deathwatch podcast and the realisation I’d bitten off far more than I could chew, I have no plans to make this game a podcast. But as it is being hosted on a Discord server, there may be opportunities to come and listen in as we play.

Speaking of podcasting, there are some interesting things happening on that score, too. More in the next post…