What’s New with the Stargazer?

I have to start with an apology. A couple of weeks back I promised to post more often, but unfortunately life had other plans. As the saying goes: the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.

One thing I noticed over the years is that for me blogging and actually running games go hand-in-hand. Each time I took a break from GMing, my blogging schedule got erratic. It seems I get more and better ideas from posts when I am actually behind a GM’s screen. On the positive side I have actually played in quite a few games lately: Mutant Year Zero (and its spin-off Genlab Alpha), Numenera, Shadowrun (in its venerable third edition), Traveller, and last but not least I actually made a character for an upcoming Jovian Chronicles game!

But all this has been overshadowed by the sudden death of my best friend. I’ve known him for over 20 years now, and he shared my love for roleplaying games. He introduced Rolemaster to me, and I still have very fond memories of him playing in my Shadowrun campaign during my College years. He also always had an open ear when I felt down and needed someone who was willing to listen to my ramblings. A bit over two weeks ago his wife informed me that he took his life. He has always struggled with depression but no one had seen it coming. As you can imagine it was a great shock to everyone who knew him. I still wish it was all a bad dream, waiting to wake up from it any minute. I had a lot of plans for my vacation around the Easter holidays, but in light of recent events I was just not able to get anything done.

But what I realized is that I definitely need to start running games again. In an earlier post I wrote about the anxiety that keeps me from doing so and I think the only way to overcome it is to jump into the cold water and take on the GM’s mantle again. I want to run games, I have so many campaign ideas in my head, the only thing holding myself back is my stupid brain.

A game I have been looking at for some time now is Cyberpunk 2020. Cyberpunk is one of my favorite genres, but Shadowrun just couldn’t really scratch that itch. Yeah, it has cyberpunk elements in it, but in a way it’s just D&D with guns. The player characters are usually not working against the system, they are not really “punk”, but cold mercenaries, only interested in the money. Perhaps some groups run it differently, but in my experience it basically boils down to this. Cyberpunk 2020 is closer to the original vision of the genre and hopefully allows me to run stories like envisioned by William Gibson and his peers. The retrofuturism of the game only adds to the allure.

Another game I had a closer look at recently is OVA – The Anime Roleplaying Game. I’ve been watching some anime shows over the last few weeks (after discovering Crunchyroll) and running a campaign inspired by some of these shows sounds like an awesome idea. I also could draw some inspiration from the JRPGs I’ve been playing lately like Final Fantasy XV which finally came out on PC! At the moment I am reading the rules (which are not only pretty easy to understand but also extremely versatile). I haven’t decided on what kind of campaign I want to run – heck, I am not even sure what genre would be fun – but it sounds like a lot of fun. And since the system is pretty easy for both the GM and the players, it looks like a perfect fit for me at the moment.

Again I am torn between two great-looking options. I guess it will boil down to the question what my regular players are more interested in. From my perspective OVA has the advantage that it can be used for basically every genre, cyberpunk included, so I might end up picking it over Cyberpunk 2020, but on the other hand, the more traditional mechanics of Cyberpunk 2020 might be more appealing to some player. We’ll see.

Last but not least I want to say thanks to you my readers. This blog has helped me to stay sane over many years. Being able to write about things I am excited about, but also about more personal things, is pretty important to me. Your support and feedback has helped me through many dark times. Thank you!