Lessons from 2019

This has been a thought-provoking year; campaigns ended, campaigns (re)started, RPGaDay jumped the shark, and I looked at the implied setting of 1977 Traveller.


The OD&D game I’ve been playing in since 1976 finally shut down, to my great sadness, and as it shared players with my five-year-old Savage Worlds space game (currently trading as Rattenbury Ghost), that shut down too. All good things must come to an end, I suppose. The lesson here is that you never know which session will be your last, so dance like nobody’s watching and hold nothing back.

The WFRP3 campaign I’ve been playing in for the last five years also came to an end, but the GM had planned it to last five years from the beginning, so we had closed down all the major plot threads and said goodbye to the characters properly. The lesson from this one is that it’s really satisfying if there is a juicy story arc, and your PCs are the Big Damn Heroes who resolve it successfully. Also, getting each of the players to write a few paragraphs on what their PC does afterwards and adding them to the final session writeup works really well to close out the game.

Finally, Pawns of Destiny also came to an end – a little earlier than expected, due to one lucky question from a character in the right place at the right time to unpick the story arc I had shoehorned in after the party moved to Jalizar. You’ve already seen the retrospective for that.

I will remember them all fondly. However, as those doors close, other doors open; the WFRP3 game is replaced by a Genesys campaign set in the Roaring Twenties, the Edge of the Empire game will continue but also under Genesys, there are at least two more potential GMs in the group and I have floated a set of five possibilities before the group for when I get back in the GM’s chair.

No doubt there will be some solitaire play as well, although Arion may lie fallow for a while – he has always bounced back from that so far.

Running Totals

In a moment of idle curiousity, I totted up my gaming sessions since I rebooted the blog, and discovered the following; note that not everything I play makes it into the blog, and most of my campaigns are mashups, so the numbers might not add up the way you expect.

Campaign durations in sessions (campaigns that closed in this period are in italics):

  • Unnamed (OD&D): Many hundreds (started in 1976). This had no official name as it was the only game the DM ever ran, and the only one most of his group ever played in; it was known simply as ‘D&D’.
  • Dreamwalkers (WFRP3): 95
  • Arioniad (Various): 78 (plus 58 prior to the reboot, but I’m not counting those).
  • Pawns of Destiny (SW/B&B): 19
  • Desperate Times (EotE): 16
  • Collateral Damage/Rattenbury Ghost (SW): 14.
  • Aslan Border Wars (DN): 7
  • Old Musky (MgT2): 7
  • Pirates of Drinax (MgT2): 4
  • 28 Months Later (SW): 2
  • Golden Age (Genesys): 2
  • Gold & Glory (SW): 2
  • Night’s Black Agents (SW): 1

Products used by descending number of sessions (ones in italics are those I don’t expect to use again):

  • Savage Worlds: 54
  • Dark Nebula: 54
  • Solo: 40
  • WFRP3: 35
  • 5150 No Limits Maiden Voyage: 27
  • Classic Traveller: 11
  • Mongoose Traveller 2nd Edition: 11
  • Beasts & Barbarians: 9
  • Jalizar, City of Thieves: 9
  • Edge of the Empire: 9
  • The Pirates of Drinax: 6
  • Mongoose Traveller 1st Edition: 5
  • Genesys: 2
  • Gold & Glory: 2
  • Night’s Black Agents: 1

Sessions played in 2018-2019:

  • Solitaire: 81
  • As a player: 42
  • As the GM: 30
  • Total: 153
  • So just over half my gaming is solitaire, and I play something about 6 times per month.

I’ve enjoyed these so far, but giving me a list of 31 words and asking me to write a post inspired by each one just didn’t sing to me. Maybe next year, maybe not, depends what they come up with.

Traveller 1977

You can see the detailed ruminations in Hiraeth, but considering it was published in 1977 this game has stood the test of time remarkably well. I’ve always loved it, but having gone through it again in this much detail, with the benefit of 40 more years of gaming and refereeing experience, I am in awe of how well it’s put together; there are parts of it that have never been bettered, in my opinion. Maybe I should’ve stuck to it.

Where Next?

For years I’ve assumed I will be able to play RPGs to my heart’s content once I retire; but developments this year and last have shown me this isn’t true. My children and my old friends are moving on with their lives, moving away, and in extreme cases dying; my grandchildren won’t be old enough until it’s too late, and by then most of them will be on a different continent, and playing Old School RPGs with someone on the wrong side of 70 and the wrong side of the world at unsociable hours might not be a priority for them.

I myself might be emigrating, although the jury is still out on that one; but it certainly looks like the future is trending towards solitaire play and VTT gaming; the first is working very well as it is, but I need to experiment more with the second I think.


I’m taking my usual break from the blog at year end; so Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year, and I’ll see you on the other side, if spared, when I shall regale you with my plans for the coming year…

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