Today we take a look at “Sins of the First Age” a campaign run by ChainsawXIV and GreatGalby. It’s our first dual-GM interview ever so let’s jump right in! This segment will be ChainsawXIV’s responses, and later on we’ll add GreatGalby’s in a seperate post!
So, tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Dashiel, and I’m (mostly) not the one running Sins of the First Age. While both myself and Ryan (Gilheru) have taken turns behind the screen for portions of the campaign, our primary storyteller is GreatGalby (the other Ryan). Of course, he doesn’t read his email or answer his phone, so what you get to read is a collection of responses from the two of us, plus Evan (Tendonin), and Bess (PhyreFlower). They almost certainly aren’t meant to embarrass him in any way. Mostly. Except maybe the part about the librarians.
Alright, now onto the questions!
How long have you been gaming, and how long have you been running Sins of the First Age?
Between us we have something like 70 years of combined gaming experience – anywhere from ten to twenty each. We started up Sins of the First age in the fall of 2009, and have played almost every weekend since then. For those of you keeping score at home, that’s something like 500 hours of table time so far, plus all the time we spend updating wikis, writing fiction, and generally screwing around.
How well do you know your players, how many players do you have?
The game started with four of us who worked together, so we all know each other pretty well, god help us. Our one later addition was previously known to just one of us, but apparently decided further exposure to his type of nonsense was in order, and so she fits right in.
SotFA seems like a very inspired setting, can you tell us all about it and where you get your inspiration from?
We can thank White Wolf for most of the framing elements of the setting we play in. The big picture of the world comes from the official setting, and one of the strength’s of Exalted is the richness of that material. That being said, we’ve obviously gone way beyond the cannon material in a lot of areas, adapting and expanding upon it. What you see in our campaign wiki represents those adaptations and expansions.
Exalted has been described as a kitchen sink game – it’s got everything in it – and it follows that our inspiration comes from anything and everything. Anime, science fiction, classic fantasy, movies, television, sexy librarians, and more are all at play here, and the setting is such that it captures and includes all that material rather elegantly. Creation (with a capital C) is huge, and if you can’t find what you want there, there’s always the Wyld.
What is your table etiquette like and what kind of PC’s are running through your world currently?
Table etiquette? Yu-Shan forefend! The mood at our table might charitably be described as ‘anything goes’ or less charitably as ‘completely inappropriate’. We joke constantly, poke fun at one another, and hardly take anything seriously, but for all that we seem to have developed a real bond with our characters, and do some great in depth roleplaying as well. Our four main player characters at the moment are:
Zuko Kota – In this age, he’s a green haired, tree-obsessed, cat-burglar ninja. His first age incarnation was responsible for a list of crimes ranging from stealing parts from the airship that carries the sun, to repeatedly reincarnating his lunar mate for use as an experimental lab rat.
Tya Mnemia – In the second age, a sailing ship captain, lover of the undead (don’t ask), and all purpose beat-stick. Her first age incarnation wanted to sink all of Creation into the chaos of the Wyld so that he could execute his master plan to rebuild it in his own image.
Kadon Cind – In this age, a book worm, stick-in-the-mud, and party brain-box who keeps waking up with mysterious ribbons tied around his body parts. In the first age, the guy who trafficked with demons, built numerous seriously inadvisable devices, and plotted the end of the age itself.
Ioni Valencia – In the second age, a material girl, theoretical priest of the Unconquered Sun, and voted most likely to sleep with random NPCs. In the first age? We don’t know yet, but as you’ll appreciate from the background of the rest of us, we fully expect her to live up to the campaign’s title.
What system do you play and why do you play it? Has your game moved systems since it begain, if so. Why?
As you’ll no doubt have gathered from the answers above, we play in Exalted 2nd Edition. That’s been our system all along, and I for one love it, though I must admit I was skeptical when the game was initially suggested. Going in, I expected what I’d seen before in other White Wolf systems – which I will refrain from commenting on – but once we started playing, the unadulterated awesome quickly became evident.
Exalted has literally everything to offer, from swords and sorcery to humongous mecha, and the game puts the players on top of the heap. Enemies in Exalted don’t die, they explode, making friends involves conjuring them in legions from the infinite Wyld, and prayer? Well, let’s just say it takes on a whole new meaning when the gods are answerable to you. Don’t be fooled though, it’s way more interesting than that.
To me, the great appeal of the system is the way it blends interesting game mechanics and character development options with great storytelling. This is particularly true with its stunt system, which actually rewards players for doing awesome things and lending great descriptions to their actions, rather than just rolling the dice and piling on the difficulty modifiers.
What your most ‘notorious’ house rule?
We don’t run much in the way of house rules really. There have been some rather notorious rulings on the spot however. For example, did you know that Larceny charms designed for use in pick pocketing and burglary can also be used to aid in the birthing process? Or perhaps that it takes 12 successes on a Perception + Awareness roll to spot a clown? What’s really notorious at our table though are the quotes. One of our players has been keeping a list of them on her blog (http://mentalcringe.blogspot.com/)(NSFW) recently, and it is not for the faint of heart…
Do you play any other RPG’s (tabletop, video game or otherwise)?
Scads! Between us we’ve probably played fifty or so different RPGs over the years, and hundreds of video games. We’re all gamers at heart, and most of us by profession as well, so there’s not much we haven’t sampled.
Of particular note, I’ve run a couple of 4th Edition D&D games recently, each with some presence here on the Portal. Gilheru has been running some Dungeons and Dragons games of his own, which are also represented here. And Tendonin has co-opted the wiki from one of our older D&D games to serve more nefarious purposes, as that same gaming group has moved on through various other campaigns before ending up playing Hunter.
Any DM’ing and/or RPG pearls of wisdom for our readers?
The DM is always right. It is the players’ role to make him suffer for this.
On a more serious note, as one of my fellow players noted, “If all you’re trying to do is tell a story, go write a book. A role playing game is a shared experience between both the GM and the players. And if as a GM you are not embracing the characters you players are playing, you’re doing it wrong. Make the game about them, and your game will have more depth because your players will be more vested in being part of the world you are building.”
Thanks for answering all my questions, your campaign looks slick. Keep up the good work!
We’ve got another, um… two, three apocalypses to take care of, but I think we can fit it into the schedule.
That’s it for this month guys, I’ve gotta say those last bits of GM’ing wisdom are gonna stick with me for a while. Hope you enjoyed our interview and checking out the campaign! Check back next month for another and don’t forget to stop by the forums and nominate those you deem worthy of being featured as Campaign of the Month!