Gaming on the Road

As many of you know, I am a lifetime gamer. I’m a geek, maybe a nerd, not a dork. I love playing roleplaying games though, along with the obscure card and miniature games. I want to be able to continue this hobby while I’m on the road, but I’m not completely sure how.

I’ve never been big on convention games. I have a hard time playing a story driven game with complete strangers, but I’m not going to rule that out completely. I won’t be traveling to cities and playing Dungeons & Dragons with strangers, then moving on to the next city.

However, I can do this with miniature games. I can bring my small army to a local gaming store, play a few matches, then move on. While doing this, I can build a network of friends that the internet allows me to stay in touch with and continue to be friends. For this reason, I recently got into Hordes and Warmachine. It is a smaller army system that is pretty simple to play. I’ve only played once, just getting to know the rules, but I’ll get into it more in the future. The great thing is that the minis are relatively cheap and well built, and I can spend a little time painting them without having to spend a ton of money and time getting it ready to play. I bought one Horde and one Warmachine starter army, so I can at least learn to play while I grow the armies and then buy a bigger box to store everything. It should be pretty simple, pretty convenient, and still allow me to get my geek on without having to spend a lot of time developing a story or building a game.

But that isn’t everything. I still want to play a tabletop roleplaying game somehow, I just haven’t figured out how exactly yet. The details are still evading me though. I want some human interaction, I want to build a story, and I want to build a world. Technology is my limit.

Here’s what I have so far, so anyone interested in joining me, let me know:

First, the rules to play. I’ll be running my sort of post-apocalypse setting. I want magic, psionics, prayers, cyborgs and high tech. I want mutations and radiation poisoning, both realistic and not so much. I want a variety of races, many humans, some genetically modified animals, and some other crazy creatures I’ve come up with. For that reason, I’ll be using Pathfinder rules. I just have a love for the d20 variants and it has stuck with me since they came out in 2000 or so. I’ll allow anything in an official Paizo book, which really opens up a lot of options. I am not too fond of the Psionics rules they came up with in Occult Adventures, but its okay and brings me up to point two:

Second, Hero Lab. If it is in Hero Lab, it is so much easier to deal with. I can build the characters, keep track of them, and best of all, there are tablet apps for character sheets for Hero Lab, both Android and iOS.

And that leads to the third point: Players must have a tablet of some sort. I would prefer a dedicated tablet for gaming, there are several out there that are really cheap and do the job well, whether Fire tablets or something mroe expensive like an iPad mini. I’ll post links at the end for buying one if you want. Because this tablet will be a dedicated character sheet and rules reference, I don’t recommend spending a lot on it. The Fire tablet is actually really nice for the cost, and there are instructions to install Google Play on it so you can add the aforementioned Hero Lab app, as well as the PFSRD app and whatever else you may want. All without voiding the warranty.

So that sets up the basics, but how to we actually play? That brings in Roll20.net. Roll20 I’ve used before in an online and in person game, so I’m going to build everything in there. That way we can all see the map, see where characters are and players can move their characters around the board on their own. I’ll be buying the higher level membership so we have things like dynamic lighting, which I really think adds to the whole atmosphere.

Then there is DropBox. Since this app is free and I can share files with players, I’ll have one account, a folder for each player, and I can upload their character sheets when the characters advance or add custom gear as needed. It also allows me to send them images or keep a file of locations and NPCs and such.

Then I need a webpage. Since I already own xenomega.com, I’ll just use that as the home base for the game. I’ll have a blog set up there so others can follow it if they want, or players can go back through the history and see what they might have forgotten or missed. I’ll have links to the rules, any modifications I make, and links to the Roll20 campaign and anything else I find necessary.

Then for actual in game communication, I think I’m going to need video chat of some sort, I just haven’t figured out what yet. So if anyone knows a good service, maybe I can just Roll20 for that, then let me know.

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After all that is set and we hit the road, I’ll figure out a time and day when we can all get together and continue the campaign. I’m hoping it grows, and it with its fluidic nature I can add or lose players and the story will continue. I’ll build Xenomega as I have been and keep it moving forward with your help.

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