The prompts for RPGaDay this year are much more freeform than in years past. Beginning is the first day’s prompt and there are so many ways to go with it. I could talk about discovering D&D when I was eleven or twelve, and how role playing games gave me the escape from the world I needed at that time, and gave me new friends throughout the finally years of  school.

Instead, I’m going to talk about beginning new games. What system or games do you pick, and why? This has been a year of new games for me. The group started rotating campaigns — something I used to do but for a few years fell out of, concentrating on one particular campaign at a time for a year or more. Since the new group came together I returned to Dungeons & Dragons for the first time since high school 35 years prior. I found 5th edition combined the best aspects of AD&D and some newer RPG design and the use of Lion’s Den’s fantastic Game Master 5 and Fight Club 5 apps helped me keep things sorted without having to thumb through rules books (although they need you to add to the compendiums and character choices; it’s OSR only, but you can add stuff.)

We tried Free League’s Tales from the Loop and enjoyed a bit of nostalgia for our youths. Beginning the game led me to do something I’ve never done: use a canned first adventure. I used — with modifications — one of the published scenarios that dealt with, essentially, Transformers to give one of the players buy in. Fortunately, the current group is much more willing to buy in and try new things than it seems a lot of players out there are, just going by blogs and Facebook posts.

We started a Star Trek campaign set in the Discovery period and I had to craft a beginning that would hook the players. This revolved mostly around a very un-Star Trek premise: that not every bit of tech in the universe is perfect. They experienced a totally random, but spectacular failure that killed several people and turned out to be due to faulty workmanship at the Starfleet repair yards, which had been overworked by the end of the Klingon War operational tempo.

We tried Alien, using the same basic mechanics as Tales from the Loop. Again, I started with their canned “cinematic” adventure, then hopped to a campaign that revolved around the discovery of the scenario’s ship, Cronus, and the Engineers’ black goo. That quickly fell into the background as they were involved in corporate espionage that eventually led up to the uncovering of a secret lab working on all manner of horrors. I steer away from horror; it’s hard to do well and required buy in from the players. mine are not the horror types. (Well, maybe the Ghostbusters style of “horror”…)

We’ve trying short but interlocking D&D campaigns set not in a generic fantasy world, but in a Late Antiquity Europe where Rome’s fall was saved by the characters in the first campaign, a possible king of Britain (and son of the new emperor) rose in the second game, and the third has a group adventuring on the Roman/Persian border in the aftermath of the newly revived Rome thanks to the return of the gods of old.

I’m going to have to try and get the players to buy in a beginning a new campaign in the upcoming The Troubleshooters RPG that I backed on Kickstarter, a Franco-Belgian comic-style adventure game (think Tintin.) I’ve read through the quickstart rules and they seem quite workable.

So many new beginnings, so many new worlds and characters.