Monday, December 30, 2013

A Year in DF Gaming

I'm not a huge fan of retrospectives, but I found a few things interesting about this year's gaming with my face-to-face gaming group.

Players - We had 8 players place at least one session. This is up from seven the year before. A couple guys had long layoffs (Borriz's player, Honus's player) due to scheduling and work issues, not to mention Honus's player living in Boston while we play in NJ. Another player has been out most of the second half of the year, but he's still in the game and will hop back in when his schedule clears up. Plus we added a new guy just under the wire on our last session. We started back in 2011 with five players - four made it that day due to me messing up the date and thus someone's ability to make it. All of those five still play.

Since our policy is "play with your friends" we've got a solid group. Even if the only thing we do together is game, it's fine. We just ensure these are people you'd like to spend time with, which helps keep the game fun. The biggest personality difficulty we have in the group is . . . sorry, I can't think of any.

Sessions - We had 19 sessions this year. Some of them were in a big clump when I could run game nearly every week. Others were scattered about. But in general, we've kept up a fairly regular schedule.

We've played a total of 38 sessions in the campaign - sessions 20 through 38 were in 2013. It took 15 months to play the previous 19, including a solo adventuring session.

Power - We start all PCs at 250 points. Out of the original batch of five, three are still going, at 297 points (Honus), 308 points (Borriz), and 401 (!) points (Vryce). Perhaps a little surprisingly, the game hasn't really gotten any easier for the adventurers, even with what would have seemed like ridiculous skill levels based on our prior game - Borriz with Axe/Mace-28, Vryce with ST 18 and Two-Handed Sword-26, guys with Magery 6, etc. The more power they gotten the more lethal the challenges, and the more lethal the challenges the more fun we've had. Nothing feels broken. Which is counter to what a lot of folks will tell you about GURPS and 3d6. Skills in the 20s? Eh, too high, it breaks the curse and GURPS doesn't do it well. Nah, I'll tell you right now it does just fine in actual play at those levels. And Vryce at 401 points has a long list of stuff he wants to keep himself alive, Dryst's list of spells he needs hasn't gotten shorter, and everyone wishes they had more HP.

Good Enough is Good Enough - A lot of the systems I threw together just to get us started have worked okay for longer than I'd have expected. A one-off dungeon stocking decision stuck and worked. Maps I drew up and stocked in 2011 are still posing challenges and surprises to the players in 2013. A rough traps system has kept me going until now. Monsters I pulled from various sources and modified on my own have provided a good mix of interest and threat. My XP system has show a few minor creaks but nothing we couldn't address. And more importantly, perhaps, the ad hoc "problems not solutions" approach has made it easy to set up the dungeon and constantly rewarding-yet-risky to the PCs.

A lot of games start hard and fast, and then peter out. Not this one - it's accelerated. I don't expect 2014 to dramatically exceed 2013. It may not even match it, schedules depending. But around the same amount of games would be great. I'm glad my "let's play a DF one-off" turned into "let's play some sessions until we get bored" and then into "let's keep playing for the forseeable future." It hasn't gotten less fun to play, but rather more fun. The group has gotten bigger. The dungeon has gotten deeper, both literally (I drew more levels) and figuratively (it's a richer environment thanks to ongoing play.) I'm very pleased with that.


  1. Good year-end report. I may write up a review of my GURPS gaming year as well!

  2. Sounds like you guys are having fun and will continue to do so . . . and that is all that matters.

    I'm happy for your group. Game on!

  3. Congratulations

    Certain spells even in the 30+ skill range can help a lot. Given penalties, casting times and energy cost.

  4. Not to mention perks to go with appropriate spells.

  5. I am really happy to see your gaming reports when they pop up! I miss Honus, but I did make my own version of him for use as a NPC, with a role similar to Red Raggi for my own group. He is a very popular NPC!

    1. I have to tell Honus's player that. He'll love it.


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