It has been some time now since my first game of Lords of Gossamer and Shadow. I remember the first game that I ran and the nervousness that I approached it with. I remember wishing that I had dice at every decision. The players would say something then there would be a silence as I realised that I really, really wanted to roll a dice to determine what was about to happen. So now, three games on (hardly a veteran) and around thirty odd NPC’s built up, how does the game feel to me now?
|My first look at my book 🙂|
I can tell you now that it has come to be one of my most desired games to be involved in. I find myself irrevocably drawn to it. I make plans for campaigns for the game although I know full well that I am time poor and unable to run anything new. I look to my other games to see if there is something that I can prune but there is nothing. I am invested with Pathfinder and Traveller. I play in a FAE (Fate Accelerated Edition) game, teach full time and go to Uni part time. But I find myself thinking about this often. Fantasising about various world possibilities as well as new NPC’s that I really want to create.
Why, what is it about this game that is so addictive to me? I like the concepts that are in this game. You play essentially a god like being with the ability to walk between worlds via a stair that stretches into infinity. A dark and dangerous threat is awakening, the Dwimmerlaik have long been thought boogeymen but they are resurfacing and claiming the stair as their rightful property.
The god like beings that you play have links to powers. Sorcery gives you access to the powers of spells that are great in power but take hours of preparation to maintain and create. A true sorcerer though is a thing to fear and impressive in their ability. To enhance or even act as a dabbler you can draw on Cantrips. Much easier to cast and wield but much smaller in size and effect. Warden’s of the stair have the ability to move through doors and open them while the Master of the stair can create new doors or link doors to one another, true manipulators of the stair. And then there are the two big powers.
The Eidolon is the power of form and order. It is used to define details, build items, create things. It is form, order and strength all rolled in to one. Its opposing force is the Umbra. It is the chaos and entropy that grips all things. It is the river moving slowly and eroding the chasm. It is the flame that destroys the plains. These two powers struggle in opposition and permeate the stair and the worlds that branch from it. Initiates learn the basics to the form and the Masters can control these forces with great accuracy. Grand masters are able to know the secrets behind some of the wildest questions. There are few with the ability to handle both.
And then there is invocation and wrighting. Invocation allows you to know and use true names. If you have the true name of something then you hold great power over it. That idea particularly resonates with me as I have spent many years playing Earthdawn that has a similar idea. Wrighting is the idea of connecting and communicating with others through their icons. Icons are likely images, portraits, photos and maybe even voodoo dolls! Through them you can make connection with these individuals over any distance.
So, with all those powers, what are the stories. Well, they are anything that you can possibly think up and I think this is one of the major draw cards for me. Anything can occur in this game to the same character. It is kind of like a twist on Doctor Who except instead of the Tardis you travel the Grand Stair. The same character may be working through a game in a plains world populated by a race of intelligent Giraffe’s that need protection from the servants of Cthulhu and then through the next door they enter a world which appears uncannily like the world of the Wonka Chocolate Factory (Gene Wilder version, no one would ever believe the johnny Depp version!).
|One of the awesome new supplements|
How do the mechanics pan out for me? As a GM, once you get over the shock of the no dice thing then you find there is a lot to consider when running a game. But the beauty of it is that you can get a lot of it down pat prior to showing up to the game and have everything laid out in front of you. The powers take a little bit to iron out and understand what the framework for each is but once you have that and a reliable use of a attribute ranking layer and the understanding that points in stats do not matter, it is the ranking then all you need is a good descriptive way and some hooks on where to take the game.
The thing I liked about Dungeon World is here in loads with my game. Learn by playing and in my game I take in some hooks and ideas with some NPC’s to play with and see what comes out of the mix. I do intend to refine this soon though and perhaps work on a play set or module to offer the game world.
I needed to get this out. Lords of Gossamer and Shadow is one of the most amazing games I have ever played. It is a balancing act of new and old that I have found myself in and I love it. It may even rival my love of Earthdawn and that is saying something. Seriously, if you have read this far you have read a lot of detail about the game and what it involves but what you need to do is get in on a game. Please try it out.
No dice is a scary thing for a role player but you have to try it. I promise you that while there is no randomness in the decision making that does not make for a worse game but a much better one. It also is not simply a shared story, it is a game just like any other role playing game. In fact I liken it a lot to a LARP without having to wear the costume! Until next time don’t keep rolling!