Return of the Playa

Pretty much since I was 12 years old, I’ve always been the guy in my game group who was most interested in new games. I was the one who bought games all the time, compared systems, and convinced others to try something different. With RPGs, this has meant I’ve spent more time behind the GM’s screen than in front of it. Oh, I like playing. Love it, in fact. But oftentimes, if I didn’t run a game, there wouldn’t be a game.

A couple of years back I tried to break the rut of my weekly group by issuing an ultimatum. At the time I was working on d20 stuff all day long and then running D&D; at night. There’d come a point every Thursday where I’d stop grinding d20 stat blocks so I could grind different d20 stat blocks to prep for the game. Finally, I told my group, “Look, either one of you has to start running D&D; or you guys have to let me switch to a different game for awhile.” I offered to run Call of Cthulhu or Pendragon but there wasn’t much interest in those (some day I’ll find the right group for a great Pendragon campaign; some day). A couple of the group made attempts to run D&D; in my stead, but they didn’t last long. Within a couple of months, I was back to GMing. They agreed to try Decipher’s Lord of the Rings game for a change of pace. I set up a big cool campaign that took place in the Long Winter. Had all kinds of great stuff planned too, but everyone hated the game system. When I admitted defeat and told the group that WFRP2 was ready for playtesting and I wanted to switch, people actually cheered.

The WFRP playtest lasted the rest of 2004 and wrapped up right before Xmas. We weren’t sure what we were going to do next, but then Ray told me he was interested in running a game. He joined the group for the first time last week so we could make characters. Last night we played the first session. Ray’s choice of game: Victory’s old James Bond 007 RPG. I hadn’t played the game since high school and many of group had never played it at all. I was worried that some of them might be put off by a different system, but I needn’t have. We put together our team of super spies with ease and everyone got into the spirit of the game right away. We kicked off with a classic opening action scene and had riotous fun climbing up walls with suction cups, parachuting off skyscrapers, and being chased by motorcycle-mounted thugs through London. It was really fun and I must say that the system really holds up. There’s some very clever design there that helps give the game the proper Bond feel.

It’s a weight off my shoulders that I don’t have to run a game for a while. Now I can just show up on game night, play, and have fun. Nice.

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