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The First Annual New Year, New Game Contest: A Challenge to GMs

Welcome to the first annual New Year, New Game challenge!

New Year, New Game (NYNG for short) is a new Gnome Stew venture — an annual challenge to GMs all over the world: Run a new game this year.

New Year, New Game is an idea that we hope will catch on with gamers all over the world, much like GM’s Day did (it’s celebrated on March 4th every year). It has a simple mission:

To inspire game masters to run at least one new game each year, because trying new games broadens your horizons, challenges your skills as a GM, and can deepen your enjoyment of gaming as a hobby.

That can mean a new RPG, a new campaign, or both. (A new RPG needn’t be newly published, just new to you.) It doesn’t matter what you play, or what new game or games you decide to try — we just want you to have fun gaming!

The Contest

Entering is simple: Once you know what you want to run this year, tell us about it in the comment section of this article!

In order to ensure that NYNG challenge entries are useful and inspiring for as many GMs as possible, there are a few guidelines you’ll need to follow.

Entry Guidelines

Think of your entry as a pitch for the game you want to run, something akin to an elevator pitch. Why should your players be as excited about this game as you are? What do you need to tell someone who knows nothing about your idea beforehand in order to pique their interest?

To be eligible to win the contest, entries must be 200-400 words long, and should address the following:

That’s all there is to it! This isn’t a formal process, and we hope you’ll find that having these elements to focus on will help you hone your idea into something that may surprise you, and which makes you want to run your game even more.

To make this even easier, one of our sponsors, Tabletop Adventures, is offering two of their products at 25% off for the duration of the contest: Against the Darkness, their Vatican horror RPG, and Halls of Horror, which offers 150 creepy descriptions for modern games.

…and another of our sponsors, DriveThruRPG, is running their annual New Year, New Game sale: 20+ RPGs that cost less than $12 in PDF.


We reached out to several companies we thought might like to sponsor this contest, and I’m proud to be able to offer one hell of a grand prize package thanks to our four sponsors: DriveThruRPG, Engine Publishing, Obsidian Portal, and Tabletop Adventures. The grand prize will be awarded to our single favorite NYNG challenge entry, and it’s worth over $150.

Here’s what’s in the grand prize package:


Courtesy of DriveThruRPG, a $60 gift DriveThruRPG certificate! This is perfect for picking up the new game to run along with a few supplements — sixty bucks buys a lot of PDFs! DTRPG offers thousands and thousand of products for immediate download, and it’s my favorite place to buy PDFs. They make it easy to find what you need and their customer service is excellent.

Engine Publishing

From Engine Publishing, print and PDF copies of Gnome Stew’s two books for GMs: Eureka: 501 Adventure Plots and Masks: 1,000 Memorable NPCs (including free worldwide shipping), a $55.95 value. Both books are aimed straight at GMs, and both can save you prep time while giving you plenty of ideas to spur your creativity.

Obsidian Portal

From Obsidian Portal, a 1-year paid Ascendant membership to Obsidian Portal (a $40 value)! Ascendant members get access to features that aren’t available to free accounts, and as a GM you’ll be able to add your whole group to your campaign. I’ve used OP for over a year, and I highly recommend to any GM who wants to be a bit more organized without doing any extra work.

Tabletop Adventures

Courtesy of Tabletop Adventures, any three Tabletop Adventures PDFs (or any one product bundle) from DriveThruRPG or RPGNow!) (value varies)! TTA makes products for the harried game master, and virtually everything they sell is designed to aid you in running a more vibrant campaign of any genre, from decks of names to one-page dungeons.


We’re doing something a bit different for this contest: awarding additional prizes if we get enough contest entries. We want the first annual NYNG challenge to be a success, and that means having enough game ideas that GMs who browse NewYearNewGame.com will have plenty of inspiration.

If there are at least 50 entries, we’ll award a second prize:


If we receive 100 or more entries, we’ll also award a third prize:

So if, for example, 62 GMs enter the contest, we’ll select our favorite and second-favorite entries and award the grand and second prizes, but not the third prize (because there weren’t 100+ entries).

How to Win

The authors of Gnome Stew will judge all entries based solely on quality, without regard for any other factors. We’re looking for NYNG challenge entries that make us want to play your game, that grab us and won’t let go, that inspire and intrigue us, and which follow the guidelines above.

“Quality” is entirely subjective, and may be partially or entirety determined by the gnomes’ blood sugar levels, sleep deprivation, caffeine-induced psychosis, fascination with internet memes, or overindulgence in bad action movies. In other ways, don’t take this too seriously — we’re just a bunch of GMs who want to run a contest for GMs.

The Deadline

This contest will run until 10:00 pm Mountain Daylight Time on January 23, 2012. We’ll announce the winner after we’ve had time to read and judge your entries.

The Small Print

You’ll need to be a member of Gnome Stew to enter this contest (because only members can comment). Becoming one is quick and simple. One entry per person, and you can only win one prize. As always, authors of Gnome Stew are not eligible to enter this contest (although we may post game ideas of our own just to share them).

Additionally, by entering this contest you grant both GnomeStew.com and NewYearNewGame.com the unlimited, non-exclusive right to post your entry there in perpetuity. In other words, your entry can remain online here on the Stew and on NewYearNewGame.com forever, but you own the rights and can do anything else you like with it.

A Tale of Two NYNGs

To my great embarrassment, I found out that DriveThruRPG not only runs a New Year, New Game sale, but they’ve been running it for three years!

We were unaware of DTRPG’s annual sale when we launched this website and our NYNG challenge, but I still feel like a huge dork for not knowing about it. Had I known, I would have talked to Sean P. Fannon over at DTRPG before launching our initiative.

Sean is a great guy, and we’ve spoken about this now. Not only is all well, but DTRPG is one of the sponsors of our NYNG challenge. I chalk this up to great minds thinking alike, and so does Sean.

Their sale runs through 1/13 and features over 20 RPGs that cost $12 or less — a great way to snag a new game for the new year.

Do You Accept Our Challenge?

Thanks for reading and for checking out NewYearNewGame.com. If you like this contest, want to see more entries, or know a GM who might enjoy trying a new game this year, spread the word!

I hope you’ll take us up on this challenge, and I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

About  Martin Ralya

A father, husband, writer, small-press publisher, former RPG industry freelancer, and lifelong geek, Martin has been gaming since 1987 and GMing since 1989. You can find out a bit more about him on his personal website.

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#1 Comment By greywulf On January 9, 2012 @ 3:51 am

My new game for this year is an old(-ish) one around these parts: Pathfinder. I have played in two uninspiring scenarios before, but this year one of my resolutions is to find out what’s so great about it. My own loose 4e campaign is going on hold (my players are ready for a break anyhow) so I’m going to grab the Beginner’s Box and start fresh.

This is me, DM’ing a Third Edition ruleset again, something I never thought I would do after being badly burnt out with 3e D&D.

I am looking forward to seeing just how they’ve improved the old girl. I read so many posts about how “Pathfinder is better” but relatively few of them go into specifics. I want to know how and where it is an improvement – and blog about the whole journey along the way, of course.

I’m excited about the change of pace this will bring to our table. 4e’s speed of advancement is remarkably fast (some would say – quite rightly – too fast) and from what I understand Pathfinder slows it back down a notch. It’s not quite the glacially slow advancement of Classic D&D, but it seems to be a step in the right direction. I want the players to feel like advancing a level is hitting a major milestone, whereas in 4e is just feels like it’s nothing more than ticking a box on a checklist (8th level? Yep. Done that.) It will be fun finding out whether they have hit this (and many other) sweet spots in the game.

It’s time for me to drink from the Kool-Aid.

#2 Comment By szarkel On January 9, 2012 @ 5:25 am


What the game is about
Based on the reading its about when things go wrong fast

Why you’re excited about running it
I have a group of liner thinkers who are very rules focused. I have been encouraging role playing. It will be a great chance for me as a DM to work my improvising and using rules to run a game

What system you want to use, and why
Fiasco, it seems very fast a lose and role play intensive

What challenges running this game might involve
My players are very uncomfortable unless they know the rules. There are no obvious goals.

#3 Comment By Matthew J. Neagley On January 9, 2012 @ 6:33 am

I’m in no way eligible (so I’m going to half-ass my entry :p), but I’m running Gamma World for my wife and daughter. My daughter (11) loves the crunchy tactical combat, while my wife loves the complexity, and it’s light-hearted enough (if you run it right) to be fun for everyone.

#4 Comment By Withered On January 9, 2012 @ 7:47 am

The game i am going to run in 2012 is going to be an Apocalyptic game. What better way to kick off the year that is supposed to be the end of everything? The first game of the year is intended to be a methane burning, laser blasting, radioactive, mutant populated, death race. My group spent last year role playing as the noble lords of the Kingmaker AP, and followed that up with a long stint as the crew of a completely honest space trader. They need a break from all that heavy drama, honor, and responsibility. It is time for them to blow some stuff up.
I could not be more excited about getting the chance to run this game. I am new to the system we are using, and after twenty-five plus years of gaming, i am finally getting to try my hand at the post-apocalyptic genre. I am crafting this game with the idea that if it were an action movie, it’s budget would be spent on demolition, ammunition, and muscle cars. The dramatic shift in pace is part of what makes this thrilling for me.
I opted for the Savage Worlds Deluxe rules for this game. I have seen them in action, but haven’t stepped up to run a game until now. I am matching SWD with the Darwin’s World campaign setting, for use as the backdrop over which i am casting the premise for my new game. With much of the legwork already done for me, i can simply fill all the roles in my story arc with stats and mechanics from those two resources, and get more action packed into every session with less prep time and headaches for me.
I suspect, and this is based on knowing my gamers, that the most difficult part of this game will be keeping the npc cast alive long enough to drop plot hooks and exposition. Providing enough challenges to keep the game from mutating into a week after week, routine shoot em up will be rough. No two sessions can be the same, and each one should be a little more kick ass than the last. That is going to be a tough momentum to build and maintain.
My name is Lars, and this is my first New Game for the New Year.

#5 Comment By granger44 On January 9, 2012 @ 8:44 am

I want to run an Apocalypse World game with some inspiration drawn from Fallout.

I’ve been looking for something in the post-apocalyptic genre for awhile now and this is the first thing that has captured my fancy with its simple rules mechanic and narrative focus. It’s also a step outside my comfort zone as I’m used to running more hack and slash games with a veneer of narrative running in the background. I’ve tried running a couple narrative games before with mixed results, but I’m hoping this will help me be a better GM all around.

Obviously I’m using Apocalypse World for the rules system. I’m quite excited about the combination of moves (MC and player) and its focus on narrative. I also like the set of principles and light-prep that seems to be involved.

As mentioned, this game will be outside my comfort zone. I’m somewhat experienced at running games off-the-cuff, but adding a narrative focus will definitely be a challenge for me. It might also be a challenge to find people wanting to play, though my workplace is a veritable cornucopia of people who have/do/or want to role play, so I’m optimistic that I can get 3 to 5 people involved.

#6 Comment By Volcarthe On January 9, 2012 @ 10:24 am

I have a more ambitious goal: 1 new game run a month via Google+ hangouts.

(copypasta list from G+)
Homicidal Transients, my game.
Hollowpoint by +Brad Murray and +C. W. Marshall
Toypocalypse by +Trevor Christensen
Weird West by +Stuart Robertson
Old School Hack by +kirin robinson
Retrocalypse (an OSH skin) by +David Hill
Fortune’s Fool from +Pantheon Press, LLC (via +Rob Trimarco )
Legend by Rule of Cool ( ruleofcool.com )

I’m also 4 games shy of a dozen at the moment, though one of those may be a game called Novarium by Greg Christopher, if I can get the time to read the thing.

#7 Comment By Bravemaximus On January 9, 2012 @ 10:49 am

This year I am endeavoring to teach my players to try a game that is not focused solely on combat. I’m going to teach them the FATE system, using the Dresden Files. Trouble is brewing in sleepy Vermont, but most people are blissfully unaware of it. Only those who are connected to the supernatural world know of the faerie plots, vampire court ingénues, and native spirit upheavals going on in the Champlain Valley. As our heroes investigate the menace growing beside the lake, they will be dragged into the politics and paranoia that surrounds the supernatural forces of New England. I’m looking forward to trying out the new system, and my players really want to play in a modern game. I plan on making physical combat an option only if the players decide to attack someone. They will be buying fancy clothes to gain social armor and worrying about emotional fatigue instead of hit points and AC for once. My biggest worry is that they are traditional role players, love their rules, and are not used to taking an active part in designing the story of the game. It will also be hard to get them to try something new in the first place, because as one player put it, “I don’t want to go through all the work of learning a new system to only run my character through 20 or 30 adventures, and then have to move on to some other system”. I’m hoping to start a real campaign here, wish me luck!

#8 Comment By ashknife On January 9, 2012 @ 10:57 am

I discovered that the best sessions I run are those whose inspiration is drawn from those things which I really enjoy and know very well. So, with that in mind, I started working on a Pathfinder campaign set in a steampunk setting that will draw heavily from comics (think Sunday funnies more than superheroes), anime, and video games. Not only that, but some of the Pathfinder rules will be brutally murdered, reconstructed, and brought back to life (complete with mad cackling!), especially magic and equipment, to better fit the setting. Part of me wants to tinker with the rules to see what I can come up with, the rest just wants to inject some cool into battle because my players are generally bored during combat, yet they like to partake in massive beatdowns.

#9 Comment By Norcross On January 9, 2012 @ 11:12 am

I would really like to run a Tour of Darkness campaign. For those who don’t know, this is a Savage Worlds setting based on the Vietnam War, with dark magic added. I have never run Savage Worlds but it seems so versatile that I want to try. The Vietnam setting appeals to me because it is not a usual sword-and-sorcery or science-fiction setting. The background makes the inclusion of the supernatural seem less forced than in most other historical wars, and it also has a good technology level – a party can carry some serious firepower, but it’s going to be heavy so they have to choose carefully. Electronics (radio, night vision, etc) are available but are specialist equipment instead of something every character uses.

The main challenge to running this game until recently was my lack of a gaming group. Fortunately I have found a new group, and may become a GM in it before long. The next challenge for me is that I am used to running mostly very social games, and do not have as much experience running games that have a focus on combat and require miniatures. This is also one of the reasons I want to run the game, because combat is such a major part of so many role-playing games that I want to gain experience in this area. I still want the players to have time for role-playing and dealing with the aftermath of a fight (or be able to avoid it altogether without ruining the whole plan for the night) so the “fast and furious” part excites me.

Finally, a military setting gives a good reason for the characters to work together. They are a team because they were assigned to the team. They are going off into the wilderness because they are ordered to. If someone wants to play a character that doesn’t like fighting, maybe they were drafted. The setting makes it plausible for small groups to be repeatedly sent out alone while still having a large group to return to, and the jungle gives a good way to force them to be self-sufficient instead of just calling for help every time they need something. In short, it would suck to be there for real, but it’s almost tailor-made for a role-playing game!

#10 Comment By artowar On January 9, 2012 @ 11:17 am

Simply put, I love gaming. I started back in the 80’s, as many of us did, with AD&D. Back then, my friends and I played games of imagination tempered by rules none of us understood very well or cared very much about following to the letter anyway. Those days were for fun, camaraderie and adventure.
Over the past couple of years I’ve tried to recapture those days with some of my friends. We’ve mostly played D&D 4e and had modest success with our games, but I’ve never felt the old magic return. I just get the feeling we’re playing a board game called an RPG. Not one to sit back when I see failure approaching, I began research into building a better game experience.
Working my way through any number of Indie RPG’s opened my eyes to the vast array of ideas meant to spur imagination and role playing. One game and system in particular caught my interest: Legends of Anglerre.
Based on the FATE system, which at its heart is very simple, it has everything necessary for fantasy base role playing in any world you can dream up. In fact, the system is so flexible you can literally make any creature or character you choose. The usual fantasy tropes are there if you want them but why stop there? Do you want to play a race of benevolent half-vampires who live underground and trade with the surface world to live? You can do that. Literally imagine it and it can be done with these rules.
Another wonderful part of this system is that it allows players to modify the game world in small ways through their skills. You can, for instance, use the science skill to make up details about something “sciency” in your game. If you make your roll, the detail becomes fact in the world.
All of this leads to a place I would like to take my gaming group. A place where player imagination does more than create one character and the rules support the way you want to play. While this system of shared storytelling may be challenging to traditional GM’s used to creating worlds where players have no hand in the creative process, I think it will ultimately prove to be a springboard to more immersive games in which all players have a stake and therefore have more to bring them to the table than just rolling dice.

#11 Comment By lyle.spade On January 9, 2012 @ 12:43 pm

What is this game about? Lebensraum is a side campaign for our group, providing us with a ready storyline when we need one-offs or periodic breaks from our primary campaign. The story began with the PCs as would-be members of one of quasi-military orders of Cheliax, and will follow those characters until they reach 2nd level, and reach a clear turning point in the story. At that point we’ll shift to characters from Andoran – the neighbor and enemy of Cheliax – starting at 2nd level, and play the other side of the fence until 3rd, and then back to Cheliax we’ll go. I’m not sure if the characters will ever meet their alter-egos, however it’s not out of the question.

Why am I excited about running this? I’m really excited about running a story in Golarion, since it’s such a great world, and so diverse – I’ve only read about it, and none of my players have played in it, either. I’m also excited about having the same group of players playing both sides of a growing conflict, and giving them the opportunity to play two characters in one greater campaign – which will enable them to try out different builds, feats, and other combinations without having to ditch a character completely. It’ll also keep things fresh for them. Finally, I love running games, but I’ve been doing it too much these last few years and need a break – but would still like to be able to step up when needed.

What system will we use? Pathfinder. It’s our system of choice, known well by the whole group, and will enable us to focus on the change in story rather than mechanics.

What challenges might we find? Consistency – since we’ll not turn to this story regularly – will be an issue. I’ll have to write sessions in a more episodic manner than I’ve ever done before. And handling metagame knowledge could be tricky, too.

Why is this such a great idea? One-offs are necessary sometimes, but they often suffer due to a group’s rustiness with a different system. Couple that with a lack of story background and context and they can be really limiting. This will eliminate both problems, and give our group a ready side campaign, chronicled and managed on OP, where our primary campaign is recorded.

Note: Lebensraum is live & public on OP.

#12 Comment By craftmike On January 9, 2012 @ 2:28 pm

It has long been a D&D mechanic that animal companions gain levels as their PC masters gain levels. Based on this, I am going to run a campaign in which the players are animal companions.

The initial event of the campaign will be the removal of the”PC” characters from the story. I might just kill them all, or the first adventure may be a daring rescue. In fact, as I type this, I am open to the idea that EVERY adventure is a daring rescue.

The other idea I want to incorporate is random generation using index cards. I figure I’ll need four piles; Items, Places, NPCs, and Events. This will make game play more freeform.

As a base system I obviously want something that involves animal companions. I just got the Pathfinder Bestiary for Xmas, so I will likely use Pathfinder.

Two significant challenges come to mind:
1: Items. Weapons, armor, etc. are pretty humanoid-biased. If I don’t figure out a compromise it will by necessity become a low magic campaign. Of course, that could be part of the charm.
2: Abilities. Leveling is great but animal companions don’t get CHARACTER levels. Are companion abilities (including familiar powers) enough or will I need to expand the system?

I’m excited because this will give my group a chance to see a familiar setting and system from a fresh perspective, and to play on the running joke that animal companions are generally ignored when they aren’t actively doing something. (Vaarsuvius’s raven, anyone?)

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#14 Comment By Coldbringer On January 9, 2012 @ 6:39 pm

I am torn as far as what game to run in the new year its torn between The Dresden Files a game exploring my local area, and taking a Dresden take on some local festivals my players are familiar with. My alternate game is Pathfinder. I have never run a fraight up medieval fantasy game in 25 years of GMing and I figure its high time for some high fantasy!

#15 Comment By happymoney On January 9, 2012 @ 7:48 pm


You will start in the brutal and merciless city of Athrandro Kan, a city ruled by the brutal dictator known simply as Kan. This city, home to almost half a million people, is built around a rare oasis in a desertified and dying world. Though death is common in Athrandro Kan, death is almost guaranteed outside of it.

Because of this, people of four different races have gathered in the city despite the dreadful living conditions. The humans, the most populous people, make up the ruling class of the city, but many more instead serve as starving workers. Then there are the lizardmen, mostly captured from wandering tribes and used as slave labor. In addition, the Mersalas, a group of cat-like humanoids that are built to withstand the extreme cold of the winter desert, and therefore they hibernate underground during the summer months. Finally, there are the Thriants, humanoids with four arms and an exoskeleton that can survive on very little food and thus are much more willing to serve the dictatorship than members of the other races.

As the game begins, you will play a starving citizen of Athrandro Kan. The months of the harvest are coming to an end, and in order to survive you must again risk your life to find enough food to supplement your meager rations. As you explore, you’ll encounter marauding herds of dangerous beasts with enough meat to last years, you’ll venture to underground black markets and bargain with shady individuals, and you’ll soon uncover a small group of military guards plotting to over throw Kan. The only question is: will you remain alive?

I’m a new game master, and I will be running this campaign using the 4th edition rules for D&D since it is the system I’m most familiar with. I’m excited about this campaign because I’ve learned so much from my previous GMing experience, and plan to use my new knowledge to make the game as much fun as possible. One of the challenges for me and for my group of players is that our group is prone to collapsing mid-campaign for various reasons. To address this, I have structured my new campaign in such a way that each arc will only take 8-12 sessions of play, but that they can easily be strung together into a long arc if the campaign and group permits.

#16 Comment By yosimoshe On January 9, 2012 @ 11:41 pm

I would like to run this year a game of MonkeyWrench.

The game is about a group of monkeys who were captured by the humans on a space station and somehow got free from their cells. In the game, they try to get out of the space station; in anyway they can make it.

I’m excited about running this game because I really liked the idea. Usually, I’m GMing horror games, and my players asked for a break, what a better way to start the last year of the world than with a funny game about humans as evil beings?

For this game, I want to use the MonkeyWrench system. The rules of this system are light and quick to learn, and more than that, putting a great emphasize about the narrative type of game, which I really like. The rules are funny, with the players trying to hurt each other and the monkeys getting grumpy, hungry and/or crazy.

The greatest challenge that I’m finding in this game for me is the part of the humor. For someone like me who GM mostly horror games, it’s kind of a challenge. More than that, it’s kind of an immature game, and some of my players can get offensive.

#17 Comment By Alphastream On January 10, 2012 @ 12:12 am

This year I’m running a game I never played: OD&D! This is the grandaddy of them all, the first version of D&D and first RPG ever created. Playing OD&D will help me (a player that began with the magenta Basic box) gain an understanding of how the game began. Who doesn’t want to know how their game started? By stripping the game to its core earliest elements I hope to be a more informed gamer and to better appreciate the edition changes. This seems all the more relevant given the announcement of D&D’s Next edition and the interviews saying it will reunite previous editions.

In fact, once I’m done running OD&D I plan on moving through each edition. Blue Basic box, Magenta (to reconnect with where I started), Red Box, Expert, AD&D, 2nd Ed AD&D, and 3rd (we all play 4E, and I’m sure we’ll be playing some of that as well).

I know there will be some challenges. It might be hard to decide on which rules to use and how to deal with open questions and conflicts (the game wasn’t as clear in the older days). And I’ve already found serious challenges since OD&D really has only one published “adventure” (Temple of the Frog) and it is a death trap. But, those challenges are minor compared to the fun of seeing my group see these previous editions. My group is composed of two women that have played 4E and Pathfinder and find those rules-heavy, two optimizers that started on 4E and have played a little Pathfinder and 3.5, and one that has done the same but is a little more story-focused. I think the group will really learn a lot from the old editions, especially around the concepts of open play and improvisation, and that the experience will help all of us be better gamers!

#18 Comment By Thoth On January 10, 2012 @ 6:22 am

Hey all. I’m planning a Doctor Who Game with an insane Time Lord called “The Old Man” and a ghost-being alien companion named Kylie. The players can play anything they can imagine and the basic synopsis is here. I’m also going to try out Obsidian Portal for this game and see how that works out! New tools, new games, a great time to GM!

The Fade

There are endings and there are beginnings.

Throughout the Universe there has been one constant as time inexorably moves towards the end. That there was an end and there was a beginning. However, something has fundamentally changed that every time-sensitive being throughout history could feel. A shiver that rang up and down their very fibre of being…

Something is wrong in the Universe throughout Time and Space.

The Time Lords are gone. Only one still exists, if he still survives. The Doctor has disappeared into time and no one has seen or heard from him in some time.

Scene 1: What is the Fade?
An old man, with long fingernails and white hair, dirty white clothes and the eyes of a madman leans against an ancient staff of oak. He wails at the end of the Universe, spouting about a chaos bred from entropy. He speaks about a breech in time and space. He cries that something is eating “moments” which causes history itself to unravel. He whimpers that it is coming for him soon, the only man to have survived as a witness to the last timeline disintegrating before his eyes.
His eyes grow suddenly sane, as he looks at you. “It is coming for you. You must run! You must hide! You must go to the un-assailable fortress. The un-enterable castle. The prison with no walls. Only then can you escape from the Fade!

Scene 2: Enter the Demon Host
After your encounter with the Old Man you are shaken up. Something he said makes you feel like it may be the end of everything. That is when you are attacked by the Shades of the Fade. It is a demon that you cannot see, but is there. Legend says it is a shadow of fear, and wisp of motion, a movement out of the corner of your eye. It will drain you of your very essence if it touches you. It makes you feel as if something or someone has just walked over your grave. How do you defeat a shiver?

Scene 3: The Journey Begins
Now you all set about to discover a clue as to where to begin. The search begins…

#19 Comment By Thoth On January 10, 2012 @ 6:27 am

Almost forgot.

What the game is about: See above.

Why you’re excited about running it: A new system, excited players, and an idea I thought about at work. LOL.

What system you want to use, and why: Why – well, a new system is always fun to try. A challenge is good. The system is the Dr. Who Adventures in Time and Space system, 10th Doctor Edition.

What challenges running this game might involve: Well, a new system is always a challenge. Coming up with fun player ideas and meeting the challenge of my players, who are too smart for their own good. Plus, all the typical challenges of GMing. I love a challenge!


#20 Comment By Stephen J. Dewey On January 10, 2012 @ 9:05 am

I have decided to undertake one of my most ambitious games yet this coming year, for which I am incredibly excited. Here is the entry for it.

‘Perchance To Dream’ will be a homebrewed Mage: The Sorcerer’s Crusade campaign taking place in the 16th century. The requirements for character creation are open, but all characters must be proficient in some form of ‘Perform’ skill as the cabal of Mage PC’s will take the form of an acting troupe. After hearing about strange occurrences and dark rumors surrounding a nearby castle, the PC’s proceed to ensure that they are chosen above rival troupes to perform a play in the castle itself – using this opportunity to investigate and eliminate the dark forces within.

Here’s where it gets fun.

Unbeknownst to the players, they are about to find themselves in the middle of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, and are taking the roles of the fabled Players whose play-within-a-play performance exposes the guilt and seals the fate of King Claudius. The challenges of this campaign are also what excite me: the depth of research into the text, the chance to retell and explore one of the most famed stories in existence, and the unique opportunity for… creative license.

Can our humble magical Players rewrite this grisly tragedy to save the castle’s denizens from their dark fate? And what of Hamlet’s midnight hunts under the full moon in the moors of Denmark with his companion Horatio? Or for that matter, King Claudius’s aversion to sunlight – a trait he shares with his young ward Laertes? The possibilities are endless, all leading up to the infamous fencing match conclusion, but this time with silver-tipped blades, and under a dark sky with the dawn fast approaching…

I chose to write this campaign in the Mage: TSC setting because, who for a moment has ever doubted that the events of the tragic play could take place anywhere BUT the World of Darkness? With the emphasis of horror and tragedy, a touch of the supernatural, roaming ghosts, plots of murder, growing madness, and betrayal, the setting almost chooses itself.

The primary challenges are the amount of research and preparation time required to give the famous scenes their proper spotlight, and to provide the players ample opportunity to make this story their own. In addition, finding the right group of players, and presenting the classic tale in a way that even a Shakespeare novice would find riveting. These are challenges I am excited to tackle, and a campaign that I think will be a fascinating adventure for the new year.

#21 Comment By PurdueBrad On January 10, 2012 @ 9:42 am

“The train lies nearby, sprawled across a country landscape, lying on its side as flames tickle the prairie grass. Around you are dozens and dozens of bodies, some burned, others shot with arrows, and some with no visible wounds but all are lying still. You slowly sit up, amazed at the silence surrounding such a bloody, violent scene. The only sound, initially, is that of the sizzle and crackle of the dry landscape burning. Slowly building and wending its way through the distance is the sound of approaching hooves. Many, many hooves…”

This is the opening scene that will confront my players in my first GM campaign. I’ll be running it with Savage Deadlands, a system whose flexibility mirrors the freedom I want players to have as they attempt to tame the untamable. Furthermore, I find the Savage system to be incredibly flexible from both a gaming and GMing standpoint. Because this is my first campaign (I’ve only run one-shots up until now), I want to work with a system that can evolve with my players and plot.

I’m excited about the opportunity for my players to build their character as the story evolves. Each character will start even more basic than the traditional Savage character but will, as they heal over the course of the next few days game-wise, grow into their initial set of skills. The amnesia that each begins the game with allows them to slowly reveal a back story defining their character. Finally, they will be confronted by a big surprise by the third or fourth gaming session when the Manitou will slowly start to infect and take over each character one-by-one. It’ll begin subtly with the first character doing small things to interfere with current missions but grow as multiple players are consumed.

This gives my group its first taste of PvP action, something we have avoided at this point. This is a nervous excitement as I’m not sure that a true PvP game is something I am interested in but this is a good taste because there is an end in sight: either the non-possessed characters will ward off the possession or they will all die at the hand of the Manitou. Getting buy in on this PvP angle will be my biggest challenge but I do feel that the mystery to solve the possession will deliver enjoyment to my players (the ultimate goal).

#22 Comment By CarpeGuitarrem On January 10, 2012 @ 12:38 pm

In a single, somewhat long-winded title, “A Song of Burning Ferelden and Gondor”. Catchy, no? It’s about as mushed-together and cool as it sounds.

The plot drops players into the Fourth Age of Middle Earth, with some trappings from the Dragon Age series: human sorcery is dangerous, and heavily regulated by the Chantry’s templars, and there’s still some scattered numbers of orcs roaming the lands. Some of the greatest magics of the Third Age, however, are fading from memory, and Gondor itself is beginning to decay into a collective of squabbling houses. Against this entire backdrop, sinister forces are on the rise, eldritch evils.

Why am I excited? Why should my players be excited? Because of Burning Wheel. This game has never made me more excited to GM, and this is coming from a player who’s been on a GMing burnout. This is a gritty game that focuses on pitting a character against their own Beliefs and Instincts, and asking them “What consequences to your actions are you really willing to accept?”

For once, I feel that I also have a system that actually encourages the intense, higher-themed, emotionally-driven feel of Tolkien’s works, a system that weaves character growth right into the mechanics in a way that doesn’t seem tacked-on.

The biggest challenge this will face is getting players to play with a completely new system, as well as teaching them the system as they go. As a plus, though, the rules are very modular. I’ll also need to challenge myself to write down, concretely, more lore, NPCs, and general structure.

On the flip side, though, I’m ready to challenge players and their characters, and to give them the game experience of their life!

#23 Comment By randalcomics On January 10, 2012 @ 2:47 pm

My game is inspired by a comment from an earlier article. “Old Man” wrote about apocalyptic swords and that really inspired me. My group loves campaigns but it’s been awhile since we ran one. I am excited to run my most ambitious game yet.

The over arching story involves the “eight weapons of the apocalypse.” Each weapon has the ability to wipe out entire species. The pcs drive will be to prevent the world from ending. Oh yeah, and the campaign spans over four eras. Each era will feature different pcs. Their success in each era determines the starting conditions of the next.

My gaming group is finally in a place where we can meet weekly, and everyone is dying to sink their teeth into rpgs. This idea will rock my players foundation, we are used to playing a straight forward one game campaign that usually last 10 adventures or so. This will change their perspectives and introduce all of us to new games and gaming experiences.

Each era will also be a different genre, ran with a different NEW game. None of my players have played any of these games with the exception of Mutants and Masterminds, I wanted one familiar thing our group could rely on about half way through:

Medieval- Old School Hack: focuses on doing cool things and roleplaying. Players award each other for creativity and pure “awesome points.” What better way to start off a campaign and build a comfortable atmosphere?

Pre-modern- Geiger Counter: this era will only be a one or two sessions long, but my group has never played a game like this before. A survival horror game with no gm.

Post-modern- Mutants and Masterminds: familiar. Great character creation. Apocalyptic Weapons vs. superheroes.

Future- Savage Worlds: always wanted to play it and the system will work perfectly for a post-apocalyptic western.

My biggest challenge will be teaching the games to players in a fun way. I am one of the few that will actually read the rules. Sometimes, I lose sight of the fun factor while teaching. And that is my main goal with my players: to get together, have fun, and try a bunch of new games. It’s another reason why I’m starting with Old School Hack, it seems to foster and remind the GM to have fun.

Our first session was last night… my players loved it.

#24 Comment By Roxysteve On January 10, 2012 @ 3:32 pm

To all those about to run Dresden Files: Great goo dluck and I wish I could be there to play in your games. Go for it!

Me, I think I am going to finally get my finger out and port Empire of the Petal Throne to either BRP or Savage Worlds. I love the setting but cannot get people enthused about any of the existing published versions. BRP would be my preference, but Savage Worlds works too and will stand the best chance of luring in players.

If you’ve never heard of Tekumel you could do worse than look it up in the wikipedia. I’ll keep it short and say it is a setting that draws from Asian, Indian, Chinese and Meso-American cultures as far as inspiration goes, but is unlike any of them. There are numerous sentient races, many of them hostile to humans. The world is huge, interesting and mapped – all I have to do is fill in detail. previous versions will supply me with the qualitative information I need to build system specific versions for my final choice. The setting is fantastic without being high-fantasy, with just enough “old tech” to make it interesting.

I wish I could play there.

#25 Comment By Cog On January 10, 2012 @ 7:29 pm

There’s A Very Long Trip that’s looking like it’ll be an exciting one as well – found by way of the Legend system, a loving riff on (or rather, a loving evisceration of) the 3.5 Dungeons and Dragons d20 system. All the familiar notes are there, from face-smashing barbarians to spellcasters with an arsenal of situation-tailored effects at their fingertips, from deep dark dungeons to skeleton-filled necromancer’s lairs, from barroom combat to political intrigue to speederbikes zooming across forested moons. Though still in beta, Legend already handles this diversity amazingly well, and the few rough edges that you might cut your fingers don’t hide the polished gleam that’s emerging. Who’d have thought that such finely-tuned mechanics could emerge from the broken wreckage of 3.5? The authors of the game are suited to more than just refined math, as well, proving Legend’s flexibility with a number of upcoming settings. There’s Osaka Street Stories, set in a modern, if more mystical, Japan, and playing up the system’s video game and genre movie influences; there’s also the first full setting, Hallow, home of that Very Long Trip, which edges into some of the best territory science fiction has to offer without straying from more classic fantasy roots.

There is going to be one downside to playing a game of Legend, though.

Mine is a casual group; we’ve spent so much time learning the unneeded intricacies patching the broken math of D&D that switching rule sets now seems a waste of all that effort. I suspect it’ll be worth it.

#26 Comment By Martin Ralya On January 10, 2012 @ 8:03 pm

As one of the authors of Gnome Stew, I’m ineligible to win, but I’d still like to share a new game I’m planning to run in 2012.

Like artowar said further up in the comments, Legends of Anglerre looks amazing — and, specifically, when I’m reading it I get the same feeling I got 15-20 years ago from AD&D. It feels like I want D&D to feel – magical and exciting — and it’s an awesome system.

My group loves D&D, but has soured on its most recent incarnations; I’d love to find a substitute that hits the same high notes. We share an enjoyment of lighter systems that focus more on roleplaying and character drama than on combat and crunch, so FATE seems like it will be a very good fit for us.

What I want to do with Anglerre is run a 1-3 session mini-game set in the Forgotten Realms — pre-Avatar, pre-Spellplague, Old Gray Box-era. The first session will be character creation, so that we can experience that aspect of the system. The second and optional third will be the adventure.

I’m not sure where I’m going to set it, but I’m leaning towards the Sword Coast or the Bloodstone Lands. I want the game to feel like D&D of old, but also to feel new, and I’m pretty sure none of us have adventured heavily in either of those two regions.

My biggest challenge is going to be presenting the game well enough that it succeeds at capturing everyone’s interest. I’ve fucked that up before (horribly, with Burning Empires), so I don’t want a repeat of that fiasco — but I also don’t want to over-prepare. I’ll learn the rules, we’ll go over things during chargen, and I’ll prep an adventure based on their PCs. I can’t wait to run this game!

#27 Pingback By New Year, New Game – NYNG – Gnome Stew’s Annual Challenge to GMs On January 11, 2012 @ 9:40 am

[…] NYNG blog carnival and NYNG contest are both open until January 23, so there’s still plenty of time to enter the contest and, if […]

#28 Comment By Genevieve On January 11, 2012 @ 11:03 am

In the land of the Disc, we find our heroes on the run. Are they running from a golem? If this is the case they might as well stop running… Or could they be running to- maybe the Counterweight Continent, said to be made of gold? Death might know, but there’s twelve ways to perform the rite of AshkEente, but eight of them will kill you instantly. And did anyone notice those trolls?!?

I love Discworld. The way story trumps logic and there’s a goddess of Things That Stick in Drawers. The way magic never works the way you think it should. The way that it’s full of humor, but also piercing insight on what it is to be human. And the Nac Mac Feegle. Ever since I read Wee Free Men I’ve thought about how they would behave in an RPG. Tiny Scottish pictsies?!? They drink and steal and fight and don’t bathe and can step from one world to the next with a wiggly foot.

The system I’ll be using is Gurps 3rd ed. I like Gurps because it’s so adaptable, as well as having the large advantage of there already being a Discworld source book published for it. I’m very much looking forward to re-naming Gurps spells in the manner of the Unseen University- there’s just something about Sumpjumper’s Incendiary Surprise that does more for me than Create Fire. I also quite like point-based advancement systems on account of being able to make really interesting, oddball characters.

Odds are very nearly a million to one against me- I’ve never played Gurps before, nor GMed it. I’m also quite new to GMing in general- having run a handful of varyingly successful one-shots. I also find – being a mostly soft-spoken person- it’s hard for me to keep games on track when players go off on humorous tangents at the table. And Discworld is meant to be funny. Most of my friends haven’t read any books of the Discworld series, though they are vaguely familiar with it. Only one or two have played Gurps. I have hope, though, which we all know to be the greatest gift.

#29 Comment By smileyman On January 11, 2012 @ 7:03 pm

There’s nothing angelic about life in the City of Angels. If you’re wealthy or powerful (and really, aren’t the two the same?), you have access to all the good things in life. If you’re part of the rest of the 99%, life is a daily grind as you try to avoid the people that you owe favors or money too, while collecting the money and favors owed to you.

There are huge technological advancements and for a few Kreds you can have just about any kind of tech implanted into your body. It’s getting those Kreds that’s the problem. You have to borrow money to finance the jobs you take to get more money. You end up giving promises to nasty people and one day they’ll be called in. That “one day” is not today, and thankfully you’re owed a few favors of your own, and if you can call them in at the right time you might just be able to break even or pull ahead with this next job.

Only now you’re in way over your head. The job turned out to be not nearly as straight forward as you thought it would be. You don’t know where to turn, and you can’t trust your contacts. The only way to get any information is to start shaking the tree and see what falls out.

+Jeremy Keller’s Technoir is a cyberpunk game that’s designed around the noir genre. The singular characteristic about a noir hero is that she’s not afraid to get beaten up, if it will get her the information she needs. She’s may not be the smartest, or the richest, or the most well-connected, or the prettiest, but what she has in spades is grit and determination. Once on the trail she’ll never give up until she’s figured out what’s going on.

As to why I want to run the game? Well, there are a few. I love the noir genre. I love the cyberpunk genre. The idea of combining the two of them gets me all excited. I also adore the core concept of the plot generation in Technoir, which is based around relationships between people, places, things, and events. The players create the plot as part of their character generation process.

Challenges in running this? There are more than a few. First, it’s a new game. That means most people will not have even heard of the game, much less played it. Second is my work schedule, which makes it difficult for me to participate in games via G+. Currently I have no meatspace gaming group, and even if I manage to get my group back together I’ll probably be running something like Earthdawn or 7th Sea with them.

The system? Well, it’s Jeremy’s own system, developed for Technoir.

#30 Comment By RF On January 11, 2012 @ 8:53 pm

Although I’m not entering the contest because I ran my game already, I chose to run “Bulldogs!”, a space opera FATE game by Brennan Taylor. I ran the scenario “Getting There is Half the Fun” and had a blast with me and 3 of the regulars in my Sunday group. Though I’ve run FATE before, this was a new spin on it for me. I really dig it. So much so, I’m working on a G.I. Joe-inspired one-shot using the underlying FATE engine.

#31 Comment By Razjah On January 11, 2012 @ 11:50 pm

My upcoming campaign for the spring semester is a fantasy noir campaign styled game using Burning Wheel. This game takes place in a grim, dark city where crime rules, even the best citizens are only out for themselves, and everyone has a past. Picture a fantasy Sin City; you need to take big risks for trivial rewards, crime is nearly in the open, and you can’t turn to the corrupt officials or city watch. The city will be similar to Venice with as many liberties as I need to take. It is a sprawling city with traders, craftsmen, nobility, crime, and vice.

Some major players operate here. The noblesse de ancienne or the royal family, the three noblesse d’epee or duke families, the nine noblesse de chancellerie or the count families, and the twenty seven noblesse de letters or the baron families. Crossing even the weakest noble family is dangerous. Other famed groups are crime related, the five families and fifteen street gangs. While magic is feared and dangerous it is suspected that these groups employ them secretly.

I’m excited to be running this because I am finally getting a group of players who enjoy role playing their characters and a system that encourages it. Burning Wheel is about testing characters. Testing them and watching them grow and evolve through the campaign. Most other systems I have used have the characters level in all abilities, regardless of use. Burning Wheel has much more organic advancement.

The biggest challenge is going to be keeping the role play intensity high. Hopefully the group will help fuel each other and the system will support this. I am going to be making sure that I follow a new year’s resolution to eat before the game, and not junk “gamer food”, to keep my energy up and to help me stay focused on bringing the world to life. The only other major challenge I see before character creation is keeping the genre strong. In other games I have run in a non-traditional fantasy setting the players slowly drifted back to their comfort zones and dragged the campaign with it.

#32 Comment By hanick09 On January 12, 2012 @ 4:05 pm

Very first post, but love reading the articles here. Wonderful writing and theory. Anyways, here is my post:

I want to run a full campaign in Esoterrorists. I’ve moved to a new town and found a new group, but they have only ever played D&D, most only 4e. I want to play something where combat isn’t always the best option and it truly puts the players at risk to confront a monster.

The system seems great for creating a mystery style game, but requires more planning. This is also why I want to try it long term. I am too comfortable with improvising the majority of my game and playing off of the characters’ traits rather than constructing a solid world in which to operate. This has left some players (including my wife) dissatisfied by conclusions because they don’t feel challenging enough. I feel that by playing something requiring more playing, I can force myself to gm in a completely different style.

I’m also very excited about using the Book of Unremitting Horror. I love monster books, and this has to be one of the best for modern horror games. Each monster feels connected to a particular story, so the players won’t get bored or lose that edge of fear as they encounter each one. I would also love to have the final encounter where they finally piece the mystery together and discover the true enemy.

The only other challenge to running this game would be getting my new players used to this style of play. Some have never played RPG’s while others have only played d20 system variants. This game is going to bring a different kind of technical style to the table. It may also be different pacing than some are used to, so I want to do everything I can to prevent boredom with a new game in the new year. I want my players to experience something as new as I am experiencing.

#33 Comment By Spideydave On January 12, 2012 @ 4:17 pm

I am going to resubmit one of my GM garage sale ideas. Because there will be a fairly good chance I get to run this one sometime this year.

What the game is about?

The idea I have comes from a few different inspirations. First is a videogame called X-Com : Apocalypse
The second source is from Appleseed the CG anime. And the last being the Cyberpunk RPG.
The premise is that there is a group of aliens from another dimension that are trying to invade our dimension. Via portals that appear above the mega-city that the largest part of the population lives in. The government has responded to the threat by creating a group of specialists tasked to stop the aliens. The setting is in a futuristic cyberpunk world that has brought itself back from the brink of an apocalypse only to be threatened by this alien menace. The aliens themselves are not only doing physical raids on the population at large but also try to infiltrate the corporations that basically run the planet. In an X-files type twist the players play “normal” people who survive and alien encounter and are recruited into the Special Branch.

Why you’re excited about running it?

The game would involve the players investigating the various corporations both openly and secretly in order to ferret out any alien infestation and eventually find out why the aliens want to be in our dimension so badly. The players have to deal with minimizing property damage, political pressure from the government via corrupt (read alien infested) corporations and in general surviving attacks from the aliens. Players have three “races” to choose from. Humans, humans that have psionic powers and Boiroids (Biological androids). There will also be flying cars, power armor and dimension hopping U. F. O.`s. Plus psychic battles and good old alien stomping action. Missions include “Shadowrun” style raids on alien sympathetic corporations, “bug” hunts in the inner city, rescue missions in the alien`s dimension the list of possible fun just keeps getting bigger the more I think about it.

What system you want to use, and why ?

The Dresden Files system. It is really well balanced and a fun system.

What challenges running this game might involve ?

Suiting some of the mechanics of the Dresden Files system to a cyberpunk genre rather than urban fantasy.

#34 Comment By mythusmage On January 12, 2012 @ 7:48 pm

Far Travels

* What the game is about

A disparate band is hired by a merchant to accompany an expedition to the land of the Mandan in exotic Vargaard.

* Why you’re excited about running it

I get to scare people and make them real anxious.

* What system you want to use, and why

Dangerous Journneys, because it’ll be new to most people and it’s a cool gaming engine.

* What challenges running this game might involve

Making people comfortable with an unusual system, and adapting to player creativity. Character creation (Persona Production) and using the plot hooks engendered thereby can also be loads of fun. :)

Iroquouis shamen and Francian knights, Albish wisemen and merchants from Lyonesse. And what secrets do the Mandan know, and why are the Teclan so interested in Blackfoot lore?

And what about the Slaugh?

Elevator Pitch: Buffalo stampedes and angry dog soldiers, while Soothsayers divine the secrets of the Phæ.

#35 Comment By mythusmage On January 12, 2012 @ 8:07 pm


Two questions for you…

Did you know that the Discworld started out as a D&D setting?

Have you read GURPS Discworld and Discworld Also?

#36 Comment By Genevieve On January 12, 2012 @ 9:15 pm

@mythusmage – I had no idea! Wow! Potters off to read more about this…

I’ve got Gurps Discworld (which from what I hear is in the process of being updated to Gurps 4th ed in the near future) and am making my way through it. Alas, all of the copies I’ve found of Discworld Also are out of my price range.

#37 Comment By mythusmage On January 12, 2012 @ 10:34 pm


I believe you can get Discworld Also in PDF at the SJGames website. Let me check…

…Nope, out of print. Darn. Good luck.

#38 Comment By mythusmage On January 12, 2012 @ 10:40 pm

#39 Comment By Genevieve On January 13, 2012 @ 7:14 am

Thanks for looking around! Troll and Toad is sold out, sadly. The only copies I’ve been able to find are $85+. I’m hoping it’s not essential and I can get the gist from the first book and make up anything else I need.

#40 Comment By mythusmage On January 13, 2012 @ 8:48 pm


It’s nice to have, but it’s not imperative. Hopefully GURPS Discworld for 4e is coming out soon.

#41 Comment By philipstephen On January 14, 2012 @ 10:22 pm

* What the game is about

My game is set in a post-apocaplyptic fantasy setting — a dying world that is torn apart by elemental magic forces, largely abandoned by the gods.

Play will initially be about survival, and then players will begin to piece together why the world is dying and come up with plans to turn the tide, while other forces work to complete the death blow.

* Why you’re excited about running it

I am excited to run it because it is a complete home-brew and will help inform a novel I am working on. Also I just like to play and be surprised by where the players take the story and see how I can respond to their unexpected crazy making.

* What system you want to use, and why

I will be using a home-brewed system that is in its 5th edition, and hopefully with a little tightening up may be made public sometime in the not too distant future.

* What challenges running this game might involve

The home-brew element can be a challenge. We stopped play because the 4th edition was unweildy as players gained levels. I want to strip down the complexity and make something that is easier for people to pick up quickly and improv scenarios where it is just as fun to have chase scenes, or social challenges as it would be to have combat.

We shall see how it all comes together. I just have to hammer out that tricky magic system.

#42 Comment By BrownBeard On January 15, 2012 @ 2:15 am

I’m calling my new campaign “Explorers of the Python River Basin.” It already has a fledgeling wiki on Obsidian Portal. The campaign is basically a jungle-crawling Indy-Jones take on Ben Robbins’ seminal West Marches campaign: the players take the roles of your usual D&D fantasy adventurers exploring a ridiculously dangerous tropical rainforest for fortune and glory. They can look forward to fighting all manner of beasts and giant vermin, making first contact with reclusive tribes of goblins and lizardfolk, seeking out the fabled court of the Gorilla King, spelunking vast cavern systems and abandoned mines, and raiding the ruins of a fallen lizardfolk empire.

I want to run this game primarily at my local hobby store’s weekly board game night for a flexible roster of players: whoever shows up that night gets to send their character out with that week’s expedition. Obviously this sort of sandbox campaign, characterized by convention-style pickup groups, is going to stretch my improvisational talents to their limits – it’s difficult to do all but the most general prep when you have no idea who’s going to show up or where they’ll want to go. But I think Kirin Robinson’s Old School Hack game system is up to the challenge. By all accounts it postively thrives on spur-of-the-moment shenanigans. And practically everything that new players will need to learn, rules-wise, is contained on their character sheets and a few other printable visual aids.

The biggest challenge will be recruiting a large enough player pool so that I can count on having a party of at least 2 or 3 PCs for each session. Since the hobby store’s weekly game night only lasts a few hours, I’ll also have to streamline the pacing as much as possible if I want to get the party out into the bush and back to their home base again so I can start a fresh expedition the following week.

Why am I so stoked for this? Ye gods man, it’s freaking Indiana Jones with dwarves and wizards – dungeon fantasy meets pulp archaeology. What more do you want? If this game doesn’t turn into the most hilarious and breathtaking high-octane hurricane of pulp blockbuster tropes seen this side of Exalted, then I’ll eat my GM screen.

#43 Comment By Patrick Benson On January 15, 2012 @ 8:58 am

I’m not eligible, but here is my NYNG plan:

I’m running the MicroLiteD20 game Where No Man has Gone Before v2.0 as the first of several Star Trek themed campaigns. Each campaign will focus on a different series in the Star Trek franchise and will use a different game system.

Here are my rules for these campaigns:

1) I must use an open source game system that is free.
2) I must use a different type of system for each campaign (D20, Open D6, Fudge, etc.). Derivatives like FATE cannot be used if I used a previous derivative of Fudge.
3) I must run the games either online or in a public place. No games in a private dwelling.
4) I will not plan on having a regular group. Each game will be first come first served.
5) I will not rely on improvising as much as I have in the past.
6) I will have handouts for each game that is part of the setting (you get alerts from Star Fleet, not notes from the GM).

This first campaign will be focused on Star Trek TOS. It will start with the PCs as cadets enrolled at Star Fleet Academy and will end with them near retirement in a setting similar to the movies with the TOS cast. There will be jumps in the timeline in order to keep the game moving at a steady pace. I’m really excited to have a game that will focus on the PCs’ entire lifetime/career.

Good luck to all of you who are taking up the NYNG challenge!

#44 Comment By Diogo Nogueira On January 16, 2012 @ 3:54 am

My game is set in the Land of Santa Cruz, a fictional fantasy past of south america. It’s a dark land of mysteries, riches and legends. Explorers from the old world share space with priests from decadent churchs, indians with the knowledge of the new land, africans brought to serve as slaves and now have to fight side by side with its former owners.

The adventures would focus on exploratio, discoveries and mysteries of the new land. It is set in a fictional XVII century, darkened and twisted. Kingdoms from the old world are more concerned with filling their vaults with gold than with the well being of its people. The Church is corrupt and has sinister goals. Not all indians are peaceful, and some just wait for the right time to eat you up. And all the legends and mosters are real, as well as magic.

It’s an exciting game because it’s different from normal fantasy games. It’s a fantasy game and at the same time is very familiar with our own past.

The system I will use to run this game will be basically AGE (from dragon age), but with little elements from games such as Mouse Guard and The One Ring. The goal is to ally the efficiency of AGE system with the narrative tools of the former two games.

The greatest challenges of this game will be convincing people to try it and adapting the setting to AGE system.

#45 Pingback By New Year, New Game | Get Off My Lawn On January 16, 2012 @ 8:17 am

[…] going to run, and you could win a prize package worth over $150! All of the details can be found here. I’m not actually going to enter the contest, but I do plan on running a few new games this […]

#46 Comment By Geethree On January 16, 2012 @ 10:16 am

I am fortunate to have a group of players who run new and diverse games regularly. I am sure I will play many new games in 2012, as well as run new campaigns for old favorites. My goal in 2012 is not to run someone else’s game, but to design and run my own.

I’ve played RPGs for a long time, and since I was a kid I’ve tried to create my own games. They have never been successful, though the process has always been exciting. As an adult, I have created more than a few half-finished text documents that sit neglected on my computer. Over the past year, I’ve stumbled onto an idea that finally I’m prepared to see to completion, and I’ve already written extensive notes and some rough mechanics.

I won’t bore readers with an indulgent description of my own game, but it centers on a team of astronauts exploring the universe. I wanted a serious sci-fi game free from the fantasy trappings of Star Wars and the thin allegory of Star Trek – something serious, with a touch of realism, that treats the universe as a wild frontier and not a collection of alien societies that might as well be human.

I decided to create my own game for two reasons. The first, because I couldn’t find another system that felt entirely right. There are many great sci-fi systems out there, but they all felt slightly off for the type of game I wanted to run. And second, designing a complete game is a personal goal, and I think I will gain an insight into the design process of RPGs in general.

It goes without saying that I will need to put in the time and effort required to complete my own tabletop RPG. I hope New Year, New Game will help keep me on track. Though this will be a lot of work, I look at it as an exciting and enlightening challenge – and, of course, hopefully a great game when I finally run it.

#47 Comment By mcmanlypants On January 16, 2012 @ 8:58 pm

Remember the feel of the first season of Buffy, when there was a new apocalypse every week, the gang was still getting a feel for what they could do together and every episode ended with a huge sigh of relief? That mix of discovery, uncertainty and excitement made for a heady cocktail as a viewer and it’s what I think most players are looking for, too: exciting action, surprising discoveries, compelling motivations and dastardly villains. No player buys that feat or power or Discipline and thinks, “Gosh, I hope I only ever get to use this against the boss!” I want to run a game that encourages the players to go all-out, best described like this: the first season of Buffy meets China Mieville’s “Kraken” meets World of Darkness meets John Woo, all with a gonzo X-Files twist.

I’m excited about this because I like all the influences I listed and, importantly, so do my players. I look at our gaming history and the most successful campaigns – the ones we reminisce about a decade later – were big on zany, high-octane action and encouraged us to experiment. I want to provide my players a stage on which they can come up with the biggest, craziest, most creative stuff for their characters to try. In my group, those moments are when real character development happens and stories turn on a dime.

To go with the free-wheeling dark urban fantasy elements I’m running this using Third Eye Games’ “Apocalypse Prevention, Inc.” It’s thematically appropriate and a game system I own but have never gotten to run or play. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting its creator and have been looking for an excuse to run one of his games ever since.

The challenges of running this are significant! I’m totally new to API and I’m not a “systems guy”. I enjoy coming up with stories, characters, etc., but I’m lousy at learning and managing complex rules systems. API claims to be simple, and that’s good, but I have zero ability to assess that claim. My group, however, is /very/ good at systems. I will have to lean on them to correct me when I get things wrong. On the upside, that willingness to err and move on – shared by everyone in my group – means that we create a forgiving environment in which to experiment.

#48 Comment By undermind On January 17, 2012 @ 3:33 am

I’ve always been a Cyberpunk/Dark Sci-fi buff. I love the aesthetics of it all. Leather jackets, the smell of rain and pollution, the thick, smoky air of the backalley ilegal gambling club. Give me an unholy mix of Bladerunner, Ghost in the shell and The Matrix, and i’m a happy guy. Wich is why i’m going to run that world. I want my players to perticipate in this near-future gone horribly wrong. The prospect of magic in such a world would add a very intresting spice to such a setting. How do people tackle the return of magic? How to the mega-corps?

This is why i’m running a shadowrun game this year. I havent purchased the core book yet, heck, i’ve only played through the downloadable quick rules once. I instantly fell in love with the D6 dice pool system. It’s very flexible compared to Pathfinder, wich i normally game. A mutated seagull decides to assault you while you hack? Two dice from the pool. You want to shoot the gaspipe, suffocating people? Sure, why not.The glitch system, wich allows “fumbles” while still suceeding could turn out some really intresting situations.

It’s also very refreshing to start something completely new. Learning a brand new system is good for you, i believe. It’ll be a challenge, no doubt. I don’t know how long the scenario/campaign will be. it might just be a oneshot, it might be a 6 month monster. I don’t know, and that is what makes it exciting. The campaign will largely be shaped by player character interests. The Shadowrun setting allows for both deep urban bladerunner-esque intriques and shootouts and Jungle treks down forgotten ruins, where raw magic roams free. Even space travels could be possible, who knows?

#49 Comment By jasales On January 17, 2012 @ 10:39 am

I would like to run Thousand Suns by Grognardia Games.
Thousand suns takes you to the limits of the galaxy in the tradition of “imperial” science-fiction. That is, the setting’s backdrop is an expansive empire spanning the stars. From the glittering core worlds to the dangerous frontiers and everything in between, your characters will take their starship to famous planets and to parts unknown.

This is a complete game and for the price of the book, you get the PDF for free! The book contains everything from character generation, career paths, starships and setting. The rules are easy to learn, granular enough for sustained play and don’t get in the way of the story. And the author is friendly and quick to answer any questions you may have. This game is from an indie company, which I like to support, with superior production values. The game is getting very good reviews and much attention was focused on presenting the material in an orderly and understandable way.

The game system is called 12⁰. Most actions involve choosing the appropriate skill, adding it to your attribute which becomes your target number. Roll 2d12 and try to roll under your target number for success. If you roll below your target number each additional point below the target number or “degree of success” can have an impact on how successful you are. The more degrees of success the less time something might take, or the more damage your weapon will do. Situational bonuses and penalties apply to the target number so bonuses add to the target number while penalties lower it. It is extremely easy to learn and flexible in use.

Another thing that players will really enjoy is that action points, which can allow them to make re-rolls or tweak the story are directly tied to their character’s background.

Challenges to running this game will be getting players to try the new system and the lack of large volumes of source material means I’ll have to be creative with the setting; which is a challenge I enjoy.

#50 Pingback By The Weekly Assembly: Edition NEXT! | The Gamer Assembly On January 17, 2012 @ 12:39 pm

[…] an annual challenge for GMs to run a new game in the new year. Join the blog carnival and enter their contest for a chance to win a pile of […]

#51 Comment By Darkchylde On January 17, 2012 @ 4:41 pm

You’d been relaxing at the local tavern and went to pay for your food. As you pulled out your coin, you also pulled a ticket out of your pocket. Looking at the ticket, you saw that it read ‘One-way travel to Akyrema City’ along with some codes that you don’t recognize. You wonder who put the ticket in your pocket and why. Looking around the tavern gave you no clues, as the patrons seem the usual lot. Grabbing your pack, you sigh and shrug. You figure wherever it leads, it will bring some excitement and adventure. Two things that have been lacking in your life for a bit.

1. What the game is about

The game starts with the characters being brought to the world’s core city. There they meet with a secret group that tells them the power source for the world is slowly dying. They must find out why and how to stop it. While investigating they will find technology long forgotten, fight automaton guardians and travel to the deep dark recesses of the world.

2. Why you’re excited about running it

Automatons, mutants and technology all in a fantasy setting, what more could you ask for? The game system and world are new and from the moment I read a description of it, I was hooked. It is a very unique world and I came up with an adventure plot right away. My mind has been filled with ideas ever since. I haven’t felt this excited for a game in ages.

3. What system you want to use and why

The game is Quantum (from Infinite X Studio) and it isn’t released yet, but should be out in a few months. I don’t have a lot of GM experience and I’ve wanted to try something new. I like the fact that this is a new world and a new game system. I don’t have to worry about people knowing more about it then I do.

4. What challenges running this game might involve

Because it is a new game system along with a new world, the players aren’t going to be familiar with it. I’ve never taught a game to players, so it will be a learning experience. I’d also be running it for players that I haven’t GM’d with before. Learning their play style and quirks will be an additional challenge.

I’m really excited to jump back in the GM seat and give this game a try.

#52 Pingback By New Year, New Game – NYNG – Gnome Stew’s Annual Challenge to GMs On January 17, 2012 @ 9:19 pm

[…] a bit less than a week left in the NYNG blog carnival (hosted by Gnome Stew) and contest, and I have a few new posts about NYNG to […]

#53 Pingback By Robust McManlyPants on Average Display » New Year, New Game, New System, New Worries On January 17, 2012 @ 10:01 pm

[…] On Sunday I wrapped up the last chapter of a short, four session chronicle of Vampire: the Masquerade using the new 20th Anniversary “V20″ edition. It feels so good to run a game and have it finish. That sounds silly, probably, but to see a narrative reach its conclusion and everyone close the book on it together is so incredibly satisfying. It’s a sense of accomplishment in which I’ve been basking non-stop ever since – and yet, here I am, still high on the sense of success from my V20 game (no one died and the players didn’t revolt so I’m putting a mark in the “win” column) and already I have only one thought: what’s next? […]

#54 Comment By Pringle9984 On January 18, 2012 @ 6:17 am

We’ve just come to a breaking point in our 7th Sea campaign so we’re going to try a few other games.

An idea for a one-shot is to have pregen characters with amnesia (cliché!). They have just undergone an unscheduled awakening from cryogenic stasis and the side effects include temporary memory loss.

Prep work includes making dog tags with names on them for each of the possible characters (more characters than players), they’ll be drawn randomly by the players to determine who they are; all they will know initially is their name, they will have no character sheets. I will also produce a deck of cards for each character, each card will have information which could be mechanical or background text (representing fragmented memories).

For example a card might say:
“Computers: 4”
(handed out when a player first tried to blindly use a computer).

Or it might say:
“You recall a conversation with Gabriel; he told you he had concerns about Simone’s loyalty following the mission. He recommended she be detained until you had all returned to Earth.”
(handed out at a plot appropriate point, perhaps moments after the player of Simone has been sent off to do something critical).

I may even hand a card to Simone at the same time, it could be some innocuous skill information or it might say:
“You were sent on this mission as an undercover agent, you don’t remember the exact details but you know you were meant to prevent the team completing their objective at any cost.”
(of course she won’t necessarily remember the team’s objective yet).

Using this method the players should gradually piece together what they were doing, what happened and what skills they possess.

I contemplated using something like Dread (going for a horror/suspense feel) but decided on a streamlined version of NWoD – so basically dice pools. It’s quick and easy, the players are familiar with it (they have enough to try and work out) and we have plenty of D10 from 7th Sea.

The most difficult thing will be constructing a plot so the ‘memory’ cards go together properly. I’m a little worried about characters dying but my plan is that the ship they are aboard only has enough life support to sustain X people, so if one of them dies they can wake someone else from stasis to replace them (though they’ll obviously have no memories).

#55 Comment By witsend On January 18, 2012 @ 4:09 pm

I joined a gaming group last year and its my first turn in the GM chair soon (I’ve not GM’d in years). For added pressure I thought I’d run a system I’d never tried, then heavily modify it for a different setting and use a gaming style my players haven’t tried.

So that’s New-Year-New-Game-New-System-New-Setting-New-Style-New-Group-Old-GM.

Easy peasy!

I’ve selected FATE (Spirit of the Century, though I’d love to try Dresden Files if I can get my hands on it) to run a homebrew Ghostbusters game where the players roleplay themselves, nicknamed ‘Ghostbusters: Us’. After quite a few months in development I think I finally have everything in place so that bustin’ makes us feel good!

I love FATE’s unique Aspects feature, plus the rules on weird science suit Ghostbusters perfectly. I’ve homebrewed the proton gun rules so one contested roll determines hitting, stress, potential malfunctions and collateral damage (in best Ghostbuster tradition no location should ever survive intact!). I’m going prop heavy, with title sequences, ID badges, a Tobins Spirit Guide, Equipment Blueprints, bustin’ contracts, Lego Ghostbuster figures and helping them film their own ‘Ghostbusters franchise advert’.

The major challenge is ensuring what I’ve invented dovetails neatly with FATE, and teaching the players (cribsheets should ease this). I’m confident the players will do justice to roleplaying themselves; plenty of opportunities to ham up foibles, run screaming, and step up as the heroes we’d all love to be! My goal is to make the campaign a ‘Bruckheimer-esque’ rollercoaster.

So, when strange things happen in London, a group of misfit gamers turned franchise owning Paranormal Eliminators and Investigators are the only ones who are ready to believe. A visit by superstar actor (and friend of the ‘Old Vic’ West End Theatre) Kevin Spacey about freaky accidents in the theatre kick starts a campaign that will see the PC’s caught up in the battle between Hecate, the goddess of Witches (and her covens and ghostly heralds) and a WW2 Army Captain turned psychotic Liche who is trapped in the underground war tunnels beneath London’s streets. These two sides are squaring off to control the mystic leylines nexus that is right underneath Westminster Abbey (the most haunted place in Britain). Cue blasting through Mummies in the British Museum, hunting the ghost of Sweeney Todd through Fleet Street and zapping goblin possessed Meat Pies in a race against time to stop either side controlling the nexus.

So, who ya gonna call?

#56 Comment By Muzeni On January 18, 2012 @ 4:39 pm

I often GM for complete strangers online. That isn’t really normal, I know, but I always enjoy trying new things and my real life group doesn’t have the time to do all of them. I enjoy testing new systems, themes and ideas but recently, I had this idea that could really only be done online.

Time loops are a common plot device, from Groundhog Day to Majora’s Mask to the Norse legend with the Everlasting Battle of Hedin and Högni, they’ve been used in storytelling for a long while, but I’ve never seen it done in roleplay. The fluid nature and control that players have over the story not only complicate the time loops, but it makes the device boring. Whilst it’s fun to watch someone in a time loop, simulating the experience through roleplay isn’t interesting since it gives a freedom that breaks the already gossamer immersion.

We can see from Majora’s Mask that it can be used to create fun gameplay and it’s all about working the puzzle that’s inherent to the situation. I felt that the best way to do that is to use the social aspect of roleplay and present the puzzle to different people. A player plays as the premade character and lacks meta-knowledge other than what the previous player has left for him or her. The character has plans within the loop but if the player doesn’t figure out how and takes the action to stop the time loop within the five days, he’ll be given a short amount of in character time to leave something and the next player takes over from the beginning of the next loop.

I’ll most likely use Strands of FATE for its narrative focus on gameplay, but I’m also seriously considering new World of Darkness. It’s going to be difficult, especially making sure that the players can figure out the puzzles. I plan to release the roleplay logs and meta-information when narratively appropriate and the character knows how and what is happening. I’m really excited because it’s so different to normal GMing and I’m trying out ideas that I’ve never seen done before and it’s a challenge to the players that not only enforces the themes of loneliness in character, but creates a communal feeling out of character. I’ve already asked for potential players and I’ve gotten replies.

And if you’re interested, I always need more players.

#57 Comment By twwombat On January 19, 2012 @ 5:50 am

Don’t close your eyes. Don’t even blink. If you fall asleep, they’ll rip you apart from the inside out. Don’t let your guard down, even for a second. You’re Awake, and you’ve crossed over into the Mad City. Caffeine-soaked dreams of success have transformed corporate overachievers into droning Nightmares who feed on Sleepers’ fears. The Clockwork Men, tirelessly tick-tocking to implement the orders of their superiors. Desire, twisted in her abandon, whispers her way into unhearing ears until murder becomes the only option left. Spiders infest the brain, catching dreams in their webs and wrapping them in silk to suck out the liquefied joy.

You haven’t slept in a week, but you can see the Nightmares clear as day now – in fact, you can see through walls and through time itself. Discipline has always been your strength, but Father Insomnia has added gifts of Exhaustion and Madness to your toolbox. You’ll need all of them to overcome your own Nightmares and maybe do some good in the Mad City. You don’t go to work any more. You have a new job: protecting the innocent from the monsters they don’t even believe exist. Starting with yourself.

Just try not to lose your mind, or you’ll become a Nightmare yourself.


I’m running a game of Don’t Rest Your Head this year. It’s a new system to me. Its setting and intensity are completely out of my comfort zone as a GM, but it’s designed to let the entire group tell a kick-butt story. I’m already hacking the rules in spots, so it’ll be interesting to see how those hacks change the game during play. DRYH centers around narration and pushing your luck, with a great economy of Hope and Despair (boons and complications). The style of the game fits with the Schrodinger’s Gun approach to GMing that I’m developing in my blog, so hopefully I can generalize some GMing techniques for use in other games as well.

I’m excited to explore a system and setting that are totally new for me, but I fear that I won’t be able to make the protagonists’ fears real enough to sustain the intensity that DRYH calls for. We shall see what unfolds as the game comes together.

But now, back to the Mad City as we all fight the demons of self-doubt on our way up Mount Wordcount…

#58 Comment By Silent On January 19, 2012 @ 10:23 pm

For this coming semester I am planning to run a Feng Shui campaign, which is based on action movies. Let’s be honest who doesn’t want the ability to defy the laws of physics and live the life of an action movie hero. The crazy stunts, explosions, and massive fight scenes that you can only see in movies and on TV will be done right here in my campaign.

It will be begin in Hong Kong during the 1850s. Immediately time travel will begin into the dark Netherworld, which is the host area for a secret war that began in 69AD and is still going on during 2056. Different powerful groups are all fighting for control of powerful feng shui sites in order to gain ultimate control. Time travel is constantly used to change events in history resulting in new powers rising up in a blink of an eye. A group known as the Dragons (your go to underdogs) plan to fight for the greater good trying to keep balance, but they can use all the help they can get because they are constantly being defeated.

I’m excited to run this game because this is my first time being a gm and I’m really excited to give it a try. I chose Feng Shui as my first game because action movies are something I love and know like the back of my hand. I figured starting with something familiar would keep me in my comfort zone and help with inspiration. Also I know my group of players will get into it and allow for a fun atmosphere, which is the whole point of running a game in the first place.

Being a new gm is something that will be a challenge because I’ve only really played in one campaign. But I know if I stay focused and just have fun I’ll get through it. All I need to do is get through the first session and hopefully it will just get easier from then on. I know that I will probably over plan and have a bit of trouble improvising at first but that’s how you learn.

#59 Comment By DarthPrefect On January 21, 2012 @ 1:18 pm

The game I’ll be running in 2012 isn’t really a new game, and in another sense, it isn’t new to me, either. I’ve both played and GMed Pathfinder before, but have never managed to make a serious go at running a proper campaign with it. When it first came out, I had a long-running SWSE campaign going on, and when that game went on a (permanent?) hiatus, scheduling conflicts kept my gaming group from getting together to play often, and when we could, we’d play one-shots or even do board-game nights instead of starting a new campaign knowing it’d probably never finish (or even get to a third session).

This summer, Paizo is releasing an updated remake of their very first Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rise of the Runelords, and I’ve heard so many good things about it that I can’t wait to get my hands on it. Since I’ll (hopefully!) be working full-time as a teacher starting this fall, I’ll have much less free time on my hands, and so having a high-quality published adventure path like this is going to be very valuable for me as a GM. Since it’s doubtful my existing game group is going to be able to get together and play any more than we’ve been so far, I intend to run this game primarily through Skype, possibly using a VTT if I can find one that suits my needs. I’ve played a few games through Skype before, and have had mainly positive experiences doing so, but I’m brand new to VTT software, and the few I’ve looked at so far all looked… well, let’s just say that user-friendly is not something I’d call them. That and finding a good group of gamers is probably going to be my biggest challenge, but I’m hoping that I’ll be able to make it work in a way that lets me run through the campaign I’ve wanted to play since I first started getting into Pathfinder.

#60 Comment By Raf Blutaxt On January 22, 2012 @ 11:13 am

The game I am going to run this year is Hellas – Worlds of Sun and Stone. I have supported all the Kickstarter campaigns for the game just because I like the idea of greeks in space and the designer is such a nice person, but I think the time has come to actually try out the game. I’ll run the campaign framework that is included in the main book and am very much looking forward to the whole experience.

Why am I excited? It’s greeks in space, zeusdamnit! I want my players to experience this weird mix of cheesy movies from the seventies, mixed with the atmosphere of Star Wars, they should picture the universe in slightly faded colours and have the opportunity to run around shirtless without having to resort to wimpy werewolves and suchlike. Their dialogues will have a slight echoe in their minds and they will face the end of the university with square-jawed stares of determination, just before they fly small fighters into ventilation ducts of temple moons and blow the atlanteans back to Hades.

What is the greatest challenge? It is a new system for me, but that doesn’t bother me much, the greatest challenge for me and my players will be to actually embrace the slightly cheesy atmosphere of the whole game, to act it out and loosen the tight grips we as slightly insecure persons usually have on ourselves. I think this is even more important for the kind of game I have in mind this time, than it is for all games in general and I am hoping that it will work out. As for the system, it is Omni, which I have heard about, but have never played so far. But then character generation should be next tuesday, so I’d better get some more reading done.

#61 Comment By Scot Newbury On January 22, 2012 @ 12:20 pm

A Return to Rylon is the premise for my new game this year and it will be using the Pathfinder rule set.

It’s a new campaign that is set a number of years into the future from the last major campaign I ran – it’s new because the entire landscape of the area has changed. Instead of large cities and established kingdoms it’ll be small townships still fighting for survival in the wake of the massive war that was to be the culmination of my last campaign. It’s also new in the sense that this will be our first ‘sandbox’ style as every campaign up until now had a solid central theme and plot.

I’m excited about making the run at this for a number of reasons:
1. I’ve never run a sandbox style game
2. I get to build on backstory from another campaign for the first time
3. I (hopefully) get to run another long term campaign
4. I get to go back to my roots as a GM again – putting together people, places and things that my players find interesting
5. I’m going to take a stab at running the entire campaign from my laptop

I’m also going to use the Pathfinder rules as we’ve only dabbled with them. I think the rule set is solid but we haven’t really played for any length of time with them despite my group’s decision not to move to 4e and go Pathfinder instead.

The challenges are many, becoming fully conversant with the rule set, lots of campaign details need to be created as the world needs to “breath” for it to work and I think the sandbox style itself will be a challenge as the players need to communicate more as to what they want to do instead of waiting for me to guide them.

All in all I’m excited to get this ball rolling – looking forward to some gaming in 2012.

#62 Comment By dwashba On January 22, 2012 @ 6:44 pm

What the game is about

The Game is about an international group of specialists who are the last resort for world safety. Their first mission was to investigate the FBI(notice the irony) and what they discover lead them on a chase across the world and eventually to stop a resurrected Hitler from finding the spear of destiny and ruling the world.
All this and more.

Why you’re excited about running it

My players are insane and they only add to the crazy ideas already in the game.

What system you want to use, and why

Risus the anything RPG because its free, it has really simple fun rules, and because it encourages bat-shit crazy things to happen with its rules, by encouraging players to use stats that they shouldn’t be able to use.

What challenges running this game might involve

Keeping from getting too out of hand, since everything is pretty goofy it could just go nuts at some point but I want it to stay at least somewhat grounded.

#63 Pingback By New Year, New Game – NYNG – Gnome Stew’s Annual Challenge to GMs On January 23, 2012 @ 7:25 am

[…] is the final day of our first annual NYNG challenge! You can still enter the contest and take part in the blog carnival, but only for a few more […]

#64 Comment By wildmage On January 23, 2012 @ 8:01 am

What the game is about?
Dealing with problems in the small town of the Guilfort as a period of relative peace comes to a close and the town gets drawn into the problems of the world at large and those who oppose the characters goals.

Why you’re excited about running it?
This is the first campaign the group will be running. We have done one-shots/few session games off and on for about 6 months. We are also using a new rule system.

What system you want to use, and why?
Legends of Anglerre. After reading Dresden Files FATE really grew on me. We wanted to do a Fantasy game so Legends of Anglerre seemed like a logical choice to try. Aspects Rock!

What challenges running this game might involve?
From a meta perspective, new group, new system, busy people with kids so scheduling becomes an issue.

In game I plan to try and keep the game balanced exploring many different types of story. The game will start with the investigation of a Plague that has started to spread through the city. Religious conflict will also become an issue. There are multiple churches with conflicting views of the world and one of them in particular has started to spread into the world at large.

#65 Comment By raistlin50201 On January 23, 2012 @ 9:07 am

What is the pitch to the players:

You all were all just enjoying a normal space cruise when the ship came under attack. You escaped but the ship exploded as you escaped and knocked you out. Waking in a cell of some sort a voice speaks into your heads, “Welcome to cell block 001229 new civilians. All prisoners will have have one hour to prepare before new day cycle gets locked.”
You only see a a few familiar faces in the same cell but multitudes of other inmates in other cells. Some cheering, some harrowed, some coming your way.

What the game is about:

Escape from a deadly situation and dealing with a complex environment. The station itself is an ancient alien station that causes those inside to repeat the same actions each day but keeping all memories from each run. Those who are both guilty and are sane will be unable to do anything but the actions they perform during a ‘new day cycle’ that happens when new prisoners arrive. The players are free to act because they are not guilty, but there are many insane prisoners desiring only to increase their numbers.

Why you’re excited about running it:

A very complex situation that will require more notes and planning than I normally do. I hope my players will enjoy this concept and that it will help me grow as a GM that tends to use too much ad-lib in my games.
I am also excited to implement a new idea I have had for a while, player secrets. The basic idea is that each player has a secret card they can reveal to gain a permanent bonus of some sort (determined by how they reveal it) but also carries a flaw that others might exploit. Watching how everyone uses them and why I hope will be a lot of fun.

What system you want to use, and why:

Savage Worlds. I have read over it and it is both a simple system, and looks very fun. I have also heard much about it running and it has intrigued me for a while.

What challenges running this game might involve:

Keeping track of what happens in each location for the next day. Giving the game both a pseudo horror feel while not overplaying it.

#66 Comment By Willen On January 23, 2012 @ 9:29 am

I plan to finally, after a few years of GMing online only, to go back to the table. I miss the adrenalin rush of solving issues on the spot, of telling my players what and how and who with gestures and voices and level looks.

And since it is a comeback, it must be great! I have recently found a RPG system (quite obscure) that I believe deserves a lot more love: Spellbound Kingdoms (http://www.spellboundkingdoms.com/).

The system got my brain cells sparking. It deals with swashbuckling combat, pose and using your Inspirations. It even rules that, if the Inspirations are high, you cannot be removed from play permanently (aka dead). What does this mean? That if you seek revenge, to protect your love, to save the Kingdom, power, fame… you will always be back.
Oh, and it applies to NPCs too, so conflicts now change: in order to remove (defeat) a NPC permanently, you need to crush and burn his motivations first. You need to attack what he wants first. Only then you can deal the killing blow. On the PC side, this means that villains have a legitimate reason to go after your family and loved ones first, reducing your Inspirations to weaken you and strike.

The combat is handled with a maneuvers flowchart that determines what actions can be taken after your last one. The idea is strange and yet so simple is glorious. It is there for free on the website, just give it a look. I sound like a fanboy but oh, am I excited about the ideas!

So, the setting: I have been itching to run a proper Wheel of Time game. And decent is not only combat, but also intrigue, Game of Houses, political backstabbing, the coming of the Dragon. So I am planning to test the system during the first years of the Dragon ascension, in Cairhien itself. A land void of King, scheming with tongue, steel and poison for the advantage… should be fun.

Now, I need to infect my group with my enthusiasm, and find a way to get them together… first issue: getting the gang together. Second issue, having them enjoy a conflict not with bared weapons; I believe we are ready for the challenge, thou. But it will be a lot more complex, and a lot less straightforward than: “I hit him!”
Even thou I am very enthusiastic about this, at times I feel like I am dragging my feet. Fear to prick the bubble? Fear of the idea not living to the standard? Will have to close my eyes and jump right in, I believe.
Now, off to arrange the first session…

#67 Comment By spikexan On January 23, 2012 @ 2:23 pm

Regrets. We all have them. Maybe you didn’t write that novel bouncing around inside your skull for decades. Maybe you never kissed that someone who took your breath away when they walked into the room. Maybe you let your urge for something stupid come before your friends, wife, or kids. You can choke on maybes.

There’s a man who gets rid of your regrets. Nobody seeks him out; he finds you. He makes this offer: I remove your regrets and you only have to do three small favors for me. Rumor has it that he rids regrets first (as a show of good faith), but warns against ignoring his requests. He makes no threat of violence against those who flake out on him, only a simple claim that they should keep to their word.

What would you do for a fresh start?

I’m excited about this game because I’m going to knock the dust off of my Unknown Armies corebook. Years ago, I immersed myself in that series and tried to share it with my gaming group.

They wanted no part of it. Once we reached “writing in your own skills” they were ready for something with a point allocation system and pre-generated skills. I don’t remember what we went into, only that I felt they had cheated themselves out of a great game.

Now, years later, I’ve got a new zip code and new gaming group ready to try something off the beaten path. Another reason I’m excited is that this group of guys and gals make some ridiculously off-beat characters, but quirky for excellent reasons rather some stupid Zooey Deschanel drivel that FOX considers television.

I want to use Unknown Armies because my game is about regret, which isn’t too far from the key Passion mechanic in UA. When they link their regrets to the Cherry mechanic and see how critical it plays in their character’s actions, I believe it will make for some excellent gaming.

The game (mechanics and story) itself shouldn’t pose any hassles as I’m very familiar with the system. Also, it seems to be an easier one to teach. I’m running ten-sessions of the game that mirror ten musical tracks that inspired the game, so I know how the game looks in my head. One “real-world” challenge will be finding one day a month to run these four-to-six hour sessions.

That’s Life.

No Regrets.

#68 Comment By Chico Napolitano On January 23, 2012 @ 2:49 pm

This year I’ll run an adaptation of Avatar: The last airbender to a couple of friends using Fudge system with “O livro do mago da ilha” (“The book of the island’s wizard”), a RPG supplement that a big friend of mine wrote about the essence of magic. Well, this is a really poor way to classify what he has done, but I could say the book lets the players “surf on magic”, doing it in the most creative way, without chains binding the wizard/bender to a paradigm of how the magic must be done. I’m sure that the adaptability of both Fudge and “O livro do mago da ilha” will be an excellent choice to run an Avatar game.

I could say this would be enough to make this an amazing experience, but guess what, the players are D&D munchkin/butt-kickers, and I’ll try to teach them a lesson of magic and serenity. I’m sure we will have a lot of problems, but I will do my best to make our game sessions as great as both Avatar and my friend’s book are. They deserve that!

Anyway, today I feel I’ll be doomed, but I can’t explain in words how much excited I’m.

#69 Comment By David M Jacobs On January 23, 2012 @ 2:50 pm

This year, I’d like to run Mouse Guard for the first time.

Last Christmas, my fiancee and I were looking for a way to help those less fortunate than ourselves. We’re not rich (she’s on disability benefits and I care for her full-time) so we couldn’t afford much, but we’d settled on K-Mart’s Wishing Tree, a sort of Secret Santa for children who otherwise wouldn’t receive presents at all.

Sydney’s gaming scene is ageing, and there’s not a lot of new blood to replace natural attrition. Every year, you see fewer of the same old faces at conventions, and where once, many gamers where in their early teens, most seem to be in their late twenties, thirties or forties.

WotC donated D&D4e material to public libraries in 2010. Mostly, it’s gathered dust on the shelves, but finally, librarians are getting together with gamers to learn how to run RPGs in an educational context. If it works out, we might finally see an influx of younger gamers again.

With all this in mind, last Christmas, my fiancee and I put a D&D4e red box under the Wishing Tree; this year, we hope to supplement it with Pathfinder and Mouse Guard boxed sets as well. Granted, thirty bucks isn’t much, but most of these kids couldn’t otherwise afford to pick up a die. Once you get over the initial costs, though, roleplaying can be a remarkably cheap hobby to pursue.

I don’t read comics much, but I’ve been excited about Mouse Guard ever since I read Martin’s review, back in 2009. High chivalry and anthropomorphic mice are right up my alley, and although Mouse Guard sounds radically different to other games I’ve played, I’d love to give it a go.

I keep hearing that the system is great for children and new gamers, and that makes it an ideal gift, too. Who knows? One day, I might get to sit down and play with someone who found their first game under the Wishing Tree.

Even if I don’t win the contest, I hope I’ve inspired a few of you to give an RPG starter set to charity this coming Christmas. Not only can you give back to the hobby you’ve enjoyed for so long, but you can help children who might otherwise find nothing in their stockings, and might never know the joy of rolling a natural 20.

#70 Comment By Amulgur On January 23, 2012 @ 5:51 pm

I’ve been gaming with the same group of friends for about 14 years now. We’ve played games in a bunch of different settings, but generally tend to stick to a few tried and true gaming systems; mainly White Wolf and some D&D. Every once in a while we’ll get a wild hair and try something different, but we tend to come back to our staples time and again. Unfortunately, playing in the same settings over and over gets kind of stale. In order to try getting out of our rut, I’ve proposed trying not one, but two new games, Microscope and Burning Wheel.

Our session with Microscope is going to provide a new setting for us to create and explore. Pre-made worlds can be very useful, but reading setting books can get pretty dull. Or, in the case of somewhere like Faerun, there’s just way too much material. Plus, players are generally reticent to add their own touches to pre-built worlds. Since we’re creating a new world together we will be more invested in the setting and more likely to take control of the setting.

Once we have a world to play in, we’re going to need a system to do it with. I’ve decided to give Burning Wheel a try. The system seems to be more or less a blank slate. Plus, it appears to focus more on the RP aspect of RPG’s rather than mainly being a combat simulator. It looks ideally suited to fit into just about any kind of setting.

Probably the most challenging part will be getting everyone to read the rules for a new game. We’re all pretty busy with RL, and tend to not have a lot of time to spend reading dull manuals. Although, I suspect that altering the system to fit with setting will probably present more challenges than I’m expecting.

At any rate, I’m stoked to give both of these new games a shot. We’ve always stuck with pre-made worlds and other people’s visions. This will give us the opportunity to create something that is truly ours.

#71 Comment By LordTentacle On January 23, 2012 @ 8:59 pm

My last game, about six months ago, died out due to … exhaustion. We played Hellfrost on a weeknight, and though the players who came were into it and dedicated, sometimes just myself, or one or more of the players would simply be worn out or brain dead from work. The game began to drag, and had to be put out of its misery.

Before I desperately got that game together….on a weeknight, I had been jonsing for a game. This has only intensified ….since that game “died.” It has gotten so bad that I have been listening to podcasts of other people playing! Listening to other people roll dice and toss bennies – a new level of geekdom and …. and, then I ran across Dread.

The game is about horror and having fun. I am hooked on dread! It uses Jenga blocks as an impartial judge of a character’s success or failure – and is 100% in the control of the player. And the fear is real. It is live, it is visceral. I want to see the player face the tower (as you look into the tower, the tower also looks into you) and turn away, choosing failure for their character. Or to do the spin dance two or three times – look for a “safe” pull (crashing the tower means death) then look away, then look back and stare, and then back again before deciding.

I’m excited about running it because I want to have a game my friends can get totally immersed in, without having to invest or commit to a campaign. This is perfect for what we need. Perfect for running a one-shot, and perfect for my gaming group – and even a very casual non-gaming group I hang out with.

We we game with pets around; our gaming space only allows for a tight squeeze around the table and this increases the odds of an “accidental” tower crash. I’m not sure how the questionairres will go over well.
I might suck as a “Host” (GM) that night – but hell, that’s a risk anytime I step behind the shield. And that would just make me better.

One cathartic evening of fear-induced tension … until we gather again. Sooner rather than later.

#72 Comment By Martin Ralya On January 23, 2012 @ 10:02 pm

Many thanks to everyone who entered our first annual NYNG contest!

I’ve just validated all entries for length and the other contest guidelines, and after setting side the ones that are too short/too long, we have 41 valid entries. That’s pretty awesome for a contest of this type, where you have to do something above and beyond just commenting, and I appreciate everyone who took the time to enter.

It’ll take me a little time to get these sorted and cross-posted on the NYNG site, and several days at least for the gnomes to judge all 48 entries.

#73 Pingback By New Year, New Game – NYNG – Gnome Stew’s Annual Challenge to GMs On February 2, 2012 @ 1:12 am

[…] one way that you can tell that our first annual New Year, New Game challenge had some excellent entries: After the first round of secret ballot voting by the judges, there was […]