Wombat's Path III: Sophomoric Pursuits

Immediately after Hell Week, a few of us started talking about how our characters would progress after endgame. We couldn't stop thinking about all the possibilities. And so we talked, we planned, we plotted, we fleshed out groups, we made goals, we wrote. The next year Every Now And Again (ENAA) came into the world.

ENAA told the story of the next chapter in the lives of many of the characters in Hell Week. It was set in and near a mountain in Tibet. We added whatever we could think of - characters could build the Wave Motion Gun, and the Time Police had a can of Timeline-Be-Gone in case things at this historical nexus got too out of hand. We had a dinosaur spirit ascend to demigodhood during the game and start creating primordial swampland.

The power was out of control, off the charts, and through the grace of our 60 very patient players, somehow the game still worked. Yes, there were issues and the GMs had to retcon a few rulings, including one muckle involving about half the players, but by and large people had fun. It ran almost a full week, and that was probably too long.

I was proud of the combat system, dubbed "Wombat Combat". I was proud that we pulled off a game of such magnitude, even with all the problems.

We learned many things.
1) In any game with many players and causes to fight for, eventually you'll get a lynch mob invovling about half the players.
2) The lynch mob will probably change causes at some point, possibly even pull a full reversal in order to atone for their misguided first attempt at dispensing justice. This second mob will be even uglier than the first.
3) There is such a thing as too much power in a game.
4) Players will adjust the pace of achieving goals to match the time they think remains in the game. We could have done the exact same game in a weekend and had a much tighter run.

All in all, it felt a little like The Two Towers. Stuff happened, but not much got resolved in the span of the entire trilogy arc. It served as a good background builder and gaming experiment, never to be run again.

After ENAA, we didn't know how to top ourselves. I had burned out a bit and didn't write the next game in the series, called It Was Better In Real Life. Wombat Combat didn't need more than a few tweaks, and it was reused wholesale. More on this game later, as I jumped back in to help rewrite it for Arisia.

Instead, I decided to do something insane on my own. I had this multiverse that I created back in high school run by 8 gods. I had run a few tabletop games, each of which fit somewhere in that multiverse. I was looking for something to do, as I wasn't really engaged academically. Why not run a bunch of games simultaneously across the whole multiverse?

Wombat's Gamut O' Games came into existence my first junior year in college. Yes, WPI is a par 5 school, and I lost my way with physics, my major. Soul searching ensued, reserved for an entirely different forum.

With the Gamut, I used some LARP tricks to lighten my load and engage more people in the game. I cast friends in several NPC-style solo roles with their own motivations. I cast friends as the gods and had them personalize their planes and help set up the main world for the players. They had a big plot to deal with - one of the gods went missing and couldn't be found. I had 32 PC slots and I planned to run one session at least every other week to keep the action moving. I had this vague notion about all of the PC groups coming together somehow to prevent some cataclysmic event, but nothing more than that.

I had about 50-60 roles in my head, 8 gods, 32 PCs in groups spanning genres (fantasy, cyberpunk, modern-day detective, superheroes, mecha, etc.), and the rest solo roles. By the time the whole thing fell apart from its own immensity, I had about 35 people involved. Even running at just over half capacity, I ran something all the time. My solos were setting things up via email or little one-on-one sessions. I had 4 groups of PCs running fairly regularly, and my team of gods had some awesome ideas. I literally lived the game.

Fun, but not a sustainable experience, especially with things like classes in the mix. I burned out again. Maybe there's something in me that craves too much responsibility. Again, more soul searching not appropriate for this forum.

I was cast in It Was Better In Real Life as B'naagh, a big nasty demon. He was a brute, probably the strongest character in the game, and he had a hard time with concepts involving multiple words. He was an absolute blast to play, and exactly what I needed.

Concidentally, around this time I was cast as Owen Musser in The Foreigner. He was the quintessential redneck bigot, and the main bad guy in the play. Again, tons of fun to play. I managed to chew up coffee stirrers into little mangled blobs of plastic every night to get into character.

About this time, the word "sequel" became taboo. We had to replace it with "Sasparilla" because our player base was tired of the same characters in the same world. The community grew, and many others jumped on the LARP writing bandwagon.

But more on those experiences in the next segment.

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