Coming back to myself and Dyson Fall

single cab pickup truck

Things have been interesting for me of late. I am sure that with the ongoing COVID 19 pandemic, that they are interesting for everyone in their own way. My interesting has been trying to find myself again, trying to find a better balance with working remotely, life, and rediscovering the things that I enjoy.

I have been working remotely for more than seven years, so this isn’t anything new. Not being able to visit with other people in person often, being cautious about where I go, and how often. That is very different. However, it’s likely not a different experience for many of you who have dealt with it in the last year and a half.

I found myself working, then getting off of work and not really knowing what to do with myself. I’d nap, watch YouTube, and generally be lazy. I was quite listless in my off work hours. I decided that needed to stop, it wasn’t healthy and was wasting time I could spend doing something fun or productive. I have been gradually fighting back to do something other than nothing.

I started Lair of Secrets with Ken Newquist last year and we’ve been slowly making the show better and more on a schedule. Though picking up kids, scout meetings, migraines, and other life issues does still get in the way, we don’t show any sign of stopping. Tonight we’ll be going over our plans for a season two.

My gaming has been very spotty, mainly due to life/scheduling issues. Last year though, I really wanted to get back into some of the old games that I enjoyed. Gamma World has always been a favorite. Having grown up in the Cold War era, it offered a hope of life after the bomb. Mixed with other video games of the time (Wasteland on the Apple IIe being a prime one) and my prolific reading during those years, Gamma World was one of the games I never really got to play but would spin adventures and characters in my head constantly.

So over the last year or so, part of my brain has been dedicated to a game I am calling Dyson Fall. I want the game to be about the hope and exploration that I felt back then when reading and creating for Gamma World all those years ago.

One of my main inspirations in the modern day are Kipo and the Wonderbeasts. It’s a great cartoon that is at it’s core is about hope and making friends, even when those friends might look like enemies at the start. Once you get to know those people, you realize that they all have their troubles, and sometimes helping them through those troubles can turn them from an enemy into a friend or ally.

So Dyson Fall is about hope and growing a community. It is has the trappings of exploration of strange and wonderful or terrifying places, weird mutations, and the strange friends you make along the way.

I am using the Mythic d6 system by Khepera Publishing and my friend Jerry Grayson. I’m using it because it’s a skill based system, and as Jerry puts it, “all RPGs are super hero games”. Dyson Fall, with all of it’s Thundarr the Barbarian weirdness is definitely a post-apocalyptic super hero game.

Currently I have a small playtest group that has been kind enough to help me test out different scenarios for how the game will play. We unfortunately haven’t been able to play much, see my gaming scheduling woes above, but it has always been productive and given me more to think on after every session.

First contact with 4e.

Well, we finally played a short session. We didn’t record it, but here’s the main result.

I liked it, it’s very different, and definitely like a board game, but as the GM, I liked it. The monster stats in the first module, and the monster manual ones as well, are excellent and nearly all you need to run that monster I think.

Other people… not so enamored as I was. It has a much different flavor than 3.x, and is definitely not possible to run a low magic campaign with. Though it does give people something to do nearly the whole time, it also feels a bit like playing an MMO, with special powers being used constantly.

I played World of Warcraft recently, and after playing it a while, I questioned why I have a hotkey for a regular attack, when it is much better to just hit one of the several special attacks instead. Sometimes 4e seems that way too. With the regular attack being pretty much a waste of character sheet space. The other special attacks are definitely something to use over the unpowered attack.

Now as a GM I am wondering. How do I use one of my tricks of taking the powers from the characters would even work in this game?