Four day weekend. And, I have little idea of what my primary gaming thoughts are.
In the world of RPing, while I played Friday night for the first time in a while, my mind is much more in the realm of GMing. In particular, I keep thinking of how to do a superhero campaign.
Problems with … supers
One can agonize as much as they want over what system to use for a supers game. I’m sure I’d just stop and use Champions since I’m more familiar with it and it’s long history suggests that it actually works. Though, I have thought about how I’m not really so familiar with any particular system to be entirely comfortable for a game with so much variety of abilities as a supers game.
No, my greatest concern is suspension of disbelief. I just have such a hard time believing in the plausibility of a world with supers. It’s not the “Why doesn’t a more powerful team deal with this problem?” sort of issues so much as it’s things like how ordinary people would react to supers. For the most part, mundanes in comics act like having godlike beings around is no big deal. Deciding just how the law views supers, by itself, is painful to think through. The point of supers isn’t to be caught up in minutiae. It’s to do cool stuff with obscene power as part of a soap opera.
So, while Merge World might have been my previous idea, my latest idea is actually reasonably clever. I’m sure it’s been done before. The idea is that supers don’t exist in the present, then time travel solves that problem. Still going to gloss over the historical impact that supers should have. Time travel and what ifs are such a pain because you have to put so much work into explaining what happens as a result of the change in history, even if the results look much like the present. I just don’t have the will to build out elaborate histories. It’s amazing those that do.
Problems with … role-playing
RPing is so often not what one would think it should be. In that, a lot of the time, people just sit around while others are doing stuff. One of the big advantages that combat focused games and the tactical wargame style of play that D&D is designed as is that the participation level is so much greater. No waiting for one player to have a long conversation with a NPC. Or, whatever.
I don’t believe everyone has to be involved all of the time. I know I can enjoy the time that others spend doing things when it’s interesting what they are doing. However, when it isn’t interesting or when there’s too much down time, I feel that there’s something wrong. So, I’m of the mind to try to figure out ideas for how to increase engagement level. At times, having someone play a NPC can work. More combat can work, assuming the party hasn’t split up or simultaneous combats can be run.
I could go into other problems I find, but it ends up being more of the same sort of “Are people’s expectations the same?” issues, which I’m not in the mood to get into in detail.
Problems with … decks
Dominate is oppressive.
Gear switching – activated.
I said that the last time we played. I had to clarify that I didn’t mean it was oppressive to play against, which is just an ordinary experience, but oppressive from a deckbuilding standpoint. It’s just so much easier to put Dominate into a deck than do other things. I often go out of my way to avoid it, such as with my con-dom decks that use a clan with Dominate as a clan discipline but play no cards requiring Dominate. From a game management standpoint, this has been the greatest flaw in the game since, well, actually, to be fair, Sabbat. Hardly fair to Dark Sovereigns and Ancient Hearts that they should fix the dominance of Dominate. Sabbat actually tried. In theory, if you only played Sabbat, you wouldn’t have to deal with Govern, Conditioning, or Deflection. On the other hand, you wouldn’t have Telepathic Misdirection, either, nor did the game come up with a lot of “this is as good as Scouting Mission, Threats, and Redirection” stuff for other disciplines and strategies to use, so the game was still afflicted.
Anyway, the game is what it is. There will always be stronger and weaker. Animalism is also oppressive in the modern game. There are even some similarities for why. Deep Song has flexibility like Govern. Efficient combat offense/defense for one compared to efficient bleed offense/defense for the other.
Putting aside that it’s too easy to fall into playing Dominate and frequently a pain in eschewing it, there are two other aspects of the game I’ve been finding difficulties with.
Blood denial has been a fourth strategy to bleed/vote/combat. While I can think of good blood denial cards, well, at least one off the top of my head in Free States Rant, it’s the relative merits of blood denial vs. combat that has me questioning what sort of strategy I’d be sufficiently interested in. It doesn’t help that I’m really tired of voting, as voting opens up a lot of possibilities, good or bad.
One deck I built recently uses Baleful Doll. I’ve used it in the past and come to the conclusion that it’s as bad as it seems. I wanted to give it another shot, more so as a distraction play than a serious attempt to gain an advantage from playing it. So far, the deck has major problems actually doing anything, which it wouldn’t have if I replaced the Baleful Dolls with Governs.
Meanwhile, combat isn’t really that hard. I suppose that blood denial is more interesting against Animalism than combat since it’s not that easy to trump Animalism combat. On the other hand, blood denial is pathetic against Imbued, something I do have to take into consideration.
Speaking of Imbued, my other difficulty of recentness is mixing Imbued with vampires. While theoretically interesting to consider Imbued builds, in practice, I’d rather games be fun. So, I’m much more inclined to look into how to meld Imbued with vampires to remove the ickiness of Imbued while still getting some use out of the cards. I was inspired by the tournament winning deck that ran Maman as the only Imbued. I could do something like that, but I’m more interested in trying to run a couple of Imbued to make their presence more consistent. My recent attempt was awful. I kind of figured that, especially when I changed the crypt to focus on only two vampires to go with the Imbued. Goldfishing the deck only displayed that I had no real way to get the two vampires out. Pool gain, pool gain, pool gain. Have to come up with it.
Of course, with my disinterest in voting, the paths to pool gain are much more limited (outside of the good old Blood Doll/Villein/et al plays). In general, when I go to build more decks, I keep feeling constrained by the need to do worthwhile things to compensate for the goofy things I want to do.
Which brings up a topic better left for another time. Probably because limitations breed creativity, limited collections make deckbuilding more interesting.