Mar 5, 2023


No books this week.

Roleplaying Games

Sylea Rising

This week we were down one player, so rather than start stuff with the new group of PCs, we started the journey home for the old group of PCs. I based the session on the short scenario A Dagger at Efate, but reskinned to be in Vargr space and tied it into the local politics which the players were aware of.

One PC died, but it was one of the new PCs we rolled up last week. They were also pretty inept as a character, and we promoted the much more competent NPC pilot to full PC instead. So not terribly sad.

Next week will be the first mission of the new PCs. I want this part of the campaign to be more player-directed, whereas the going-home PCs will be more adventure-of-the-week. So I’m going to bring in all their NPC contacts—and have them all be very opinionated about what they want and how the PCs can play into that—over the next couple of sessions, in contrast to my usual approach of slowly introducing them over time.

Future games

Coming up some time next month, we have our next one-shot. It’ll be a short dungeon crawl using Old School Essentials, to introduce that system to the players. This is in aid of our eventual future megadungeon campaign, which I think will be The Halls of Arden Vul.

I was also considering Dwarrowdeep or Barrowmaze, but I read some less-than-glowing reviews of Dwarrowdeep and it’s moved firmly off the priority list for now. Barrowmaze is still a strong “maybe”, but why go for a “maybe” when I’ve been watching an actual play of Arden Vul that makes it look very fun?

But I may be getting ahead of myself a bit…

After Sylea Rising—which is still happening!—we’re going to play the Delta Green campaign Impossible Landscapes. And then after that, will be the megadungeon.

When am I going to run all these games?

I haven’t told the players yet, but I’m thinking of ending Sylea Rising around session 24. That’s 6 months of weekly sessions, which is a good run. This week was session 11, so in one month we’ll have a one-shot, then we’ll have two more months of campaign, and then we’re done. I might change my mind on this, but it feels good to me right now.

So in 3 months, we’ll be starting Impossible Landscapes. I’ve not read that fully yet, so I don’t know how long that’ll last… but there’s another option, too.

Running three campaigns at once?

The advantage of running something like a megadungeon is that it doesn’t need much prep work week-to-week, you just need to make the dungeon react to whatever the players got up to in the last session, and review the areas that the next session is likely to cover.

That could work well for an open table campaign.

I could run three games a week: Cartographic Curiosities, Impossible Landscapes, and The Halls of Arden Vul. I know a bunch of people who play RPGs that I don’t currently play with. My players know yet more. Get them all in a Discord server and have them decide when they want to go into the dungeon, with a rotating cast of characters. You play when you can make it. Super low-commitment. We could also use this to try out new players who might be good members of the other groups.

I need to think more about it, and talk to the players, but it’s appealing.

On the other hand… doing a megadungeon crawl with a consistent group of players has its appeal too. With an open table, you need to limit dungeon delves to one (or at most two) sessions, so that one group of players being in the dungeon doesn’t either block others or cause time-travel paradoxes (since both groups are playing at separate real-world times, despite it being overlapping in-game time), which means introducing mechanics like “roll to see if you escape the dungeon” if the session ends before the party makes it out. The tone changes. Perhaps a West Marches game would be better?

Ah, so many ideas…


I’ve now fully migrated my RPG notes to Obsidian, and used it to run this week’s Sylea Rising game, which was a nice validation of the approach. It worked well, definitely an improvement over how I was doing things.

I imported all my previous campaign notes too. I haven’t given these the full breakdown-and-hyperlinking treatment, but I’ve at least broken top-level sections into their own notes.

I’ve also migrated off Wiki.js, which I was using to keep track of some household things like recipes and shopping lists. Why have two note-taking systems when one works? I’m considering migrating some of my more personal memos, like the book wishlist, into Obsidian too. Having that sort of thing online isn’t useful to anyone, not even me.