18 October 2012

My Life As A Gamer, part 3

Are we in XXI century yet? Oops, nope. It's still 2000, just after becoming member of GGFF for real. Which wasn't so sure at that moment, because late spring of 2000 seen the Guild moving out of the neighborhood cultural center. It was something about doing some unsavory and possibly occult things by the candle light in the center's kitchen (i.e. having climatic sessions). A shame because the center was great when it came to construction. It was composed of number of interconnected rooms on the ground floor of a kamienica in Kazimierz district of Krakow. The following months have seen little GGFF activity, aside from occasional meeting of Tolkien's fans. The summer passed and in the autumn preparations for Imladris IV - GGFF-organized convention started. I attended as one of the staff members, having an extended duty at accreditation. That autumn I also made a lecture or two on another convention in Łódź. This was the beginning of my participation in making gaming conventions. Soon the year ended, and the century, and the millennium too. The time for Krakon 2001 came and I got myself into making lectures on it as well. I continued to make lectures at Imladris and Krakon for a few years, rather unwilling to serve as regular staff member. In the meantime, GGFF got itself a new place to gather. First a small chamber in the cellar of a school in the center of Krakow, later left to meet at the Krakow's YMCA on the other side of the street, where we stayed until its end (GGFF's, not YMCA).

Sucessful conventions and new location revitalized the Guild, attracting a wave of new cultists members. Each week saw two or three sessions and new face or two. Some of them even returned more than once or twice. The most played were various World Of Darkness games, lots of Call Of Cthulhu (thanks to one and later two exceptional CoC GMs), Warhammer, Deadlands, some Earthdawn, 1st edition of Legend Of The Five Rings and many other systems. In the early 2001, MAG published Polish edition of another system: Fading Suns. Some time after a group gathered and started playing. While they promised to include me a few times, they hadn't a spot available so after a months or two I borrowed the rulebook and started GMing it myself to a few members of slowly forming Fading Suns group. Soon, after some regrouping I was one of three GMs regularly GMing Fading Suns in GGFF. Slowly the ideas I introduced in my games were accepted by the other two (who already were weaving their games into single campaign) and we ended with making one large campaign. By large I mean campaign that included (according to my notes) at least seventy one players playing more than one hundred and twenty four characters. Honestly, most of the players and characters were people who appeared on single session and never returned. We had lots of such folks thanks to constant flow of people who came to GGFF meeting only once. Some of players stayed for a few sessions. Some of them stayed for longer. Some of them are my best friends now and form an extended gaming group. That Fading Suns campaign had its highs and lows but some of those I'll describe in posts dedicated to that campaign, about some I will not speak at all.

One of my early Fading Suns scenarios I wrote down (which I rarely do) and sent to Magia i Miecz. Few months later, in early 2002, when I completely forgot about that submission I was stopped by one of fellow gamers who started to congratulate me. I was surprised when I learned that the scenario was just published. It took me over ten years to publish something again.

Fading Suns was game of our choice, with occasional pause for other games. There were some lulls in the Fading Suns campaign lasting for about half a year each. The first one started when my and the primary GM of the campaign contacts with the third GM loosened. We returned to the campaign with new players, with only me and the main GM from the old guard, and some completely new players (new as in "just beginning to play RPGs"). They caught on quite soon and the group was extended by additional players. Then some of the old guard returned. A second party was started when the other GM meet some of our friends who asked for session. Then one player came for as a special guest for a game and later started to make trips from another town just to attend sessions (later she moved to our city and married one of the co-players). Then another party formed and another. As the time passed and campaign was getting thicker with intrigues, characters moved between parties as the plot required. Some of player created secondary and even tertiary characters to participate in multiple parties and be involved in various plots. Prequel sessions and alternate timeline sessions happened. Events were invented on the spot. Sessions were started spontaneously while sitting at pub. Folks were discussing their characters and adventures during non-gaming meetings. Nothing last forever, however, as our extended gaming group splintered due to fatigue, burnout, lack of communication and misunderstandings. Some of the players continued playing it with another GM while the main GM severed his contacts with them. I refused to play and master Fading Suns anymore but kept in contact with various remnants of the group as did another player. There was anger and sadness and sorrow. It took one and half year to heal the wounds and gather the people again and see them speaking to each other. On my last birthday party, no less. Relations were re-established but the campaign was left behind. A new Fading Suns were started after people were fed up with waiting for third edition. World was restarted and history written from the beginning. I put away my character of over nine years and have no intention to reviving him. Those were good old times but they ended.

Two major campaigns beyond Fading Suns at that time were Legend Of Five Rings and native Polish Aphalon (but converted to L5R roll & keep mechanics) with Aphalon having the honor of being the longest campaign GMed by a friend (the same who was the main Fading Suns GM) as he started it even before we met. Unlike the Fading Suns, it wasn't terminated by the group fall. Instead, we returned to it after the group reassembled and keep it going.

Before the Fading Suns group splintered, I joined another friend's Mage: The Ascension game, after her group had its own share of players leaving. It was the second longest campaign I participated in (technically I played the Aphalon for longer time but the MtA campaign was much more session-intensive), and unlike Fading Suns it was closed and finished before the campaign fatigue and burnout could destroy it. The same group later invited me to participate in their D&D 3.5 campaign. Somewhere in the middle of 2010 I started to post on Paizo forum, after their Pathfinder (PF) game caught my attention. When the D&D campaign came to an end over a year ago I decided to start Forgotten Realms campaign, using PF rules for them, hoping they would make a full transition to it, but the GM choose to start a new 3.5 campaign still having a few gripes about PF changes. We switch between my PF and his 3.5 game as time and circumstances allow.

Recently, Warhammer 40K became all the rage amongst members of the former Fading Suns extended group with multiple parallel games active at the same time with me being member of the latest group started when a friend moved to Kraków.

2 comments:

  1. Strange, I thought I wrote a few lines about WoD beyond An's campaign... Either I accidentally cut it out during edition or was half-dreaming. Or maybe I planned to write that and later forgot. Well, it will have to wait until (if) I make a post about World Of Darkness.

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