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Thinking back to 2016, it's actually been a really rough year for everyone. Between two elections (the Philippines and the US), European and Asian issues that came up, massive work changes, miscellaneous drama, the death of my grandmother, and a breakup of a seven-year relationship, I think it's been a slew of one exhausting month after another.

But, on the other hand, it's also been a really fruitful year for tabletop gaming for me and my circle of friends. I learned something like fourteen to sixteen new roleplaying games/systems this year alone, not to mention the number of characters I made and played.

Here's a rundown, with *s marking new systems learned in 2016.

O N G O I N G

Campaign System Character GM
Fate Online
Fate Core
Alberic Sixwright
Erich
Accounts of Strange Incidents
Fate Accelerated *
Akari
Adrian
Songs of the Underdark
Dungeons and Dragons 5E
Mikel
Erich
Legend of the Five Rings
Legend of the Five Rings 4th Ed *
Shosuro Kyouya ♀
Mahar
Northern Nights
Vampire the Masquerade *
Malcolm Summer
Erich
No Rain but Thunder, and the Sound of Giants
Dungeons and Dragons 5E
Silas Tealeaf
Raymz
The Titanfall Initiative
Scion 1E *
Aibhlinn O'Brien (Ava) ♀
Dave
Keltia
Keltia *
Dylan Maridudd ♂
Mahar


O N • H I A T U S / B R E A K

Campaign System Character GM
Tales of the Yellow City - Westside
OSR *
Dian
BJ
Bad Solars
Exalted 3rd Ed *
Elise
Jay A.
Precint 8
Shadowrun 5e *
Perfekto Madrigal (Pekto)
Raymz
Fallen Boughs of Cormanthor
Dungeons and Dragons 5E
Noase
Mahar
Eberron
Dungeons and Dragons 5E
Chalcedony ♂
BJ


O N E - S H O T S / C O M P L E T E D

Campaign System Character GM
Shadows Over Esteren
Shadows Over Esteren
Iv ♀
Mahar
Sails Full of Stars
Fate Core
Giles ♂
Adrian
Aswang Fate
Fate Core
Jaime Ramirez ♂
BJ
Through the Breach
Malifaux *
Nina ♀
Raymz
Misc Adventurer's League Modules
Dungeons and Dragons 5E
Wilem Tealeaf ♂
Various AL DMs
OVAWatch
OVA *
Lina Klose (Babylon) ♀
Jay
Zweihander
Zweihander *
Wilhermina Hermann Wolff ♀
Raymz
Edge of the Empire
Star Wars: Edge of the Empire *
Sin ♀
Matthew
AD&D
Dungeons and Dragons 2E *
Daekas ♂
Mahar
7th Sea
7th Sea*
Rainard♂
Flip


D I S C O N T I N U E D / I N D E F I N I T E • H I A T U S

Campaign System Character GM
Warden
DC Heroes
Tara White (Trace) ♀
Tobie
Angel's Song
Fate Core
Kuma Himuro ♀
Marc
Great Shadows Over Manila
Fate Core
Cecilia Velez ♀
Marc
Numenera
Numenera
Ghost ♂
Jay
Abyssum of Warden
Dungeon World
Flik-Elz
Mahar
Waterdeep by Moonlight
Dungeons and Dragons 5th Ed *
Silas Tealeaf
Marc


O T H E R • R P G S

System Role
Fall of Magic *
Apothecarist
The Quiet Year *
N/A
Watch the Skies! *
Alien
Watch the Skies!
UK Prime Minister
Urban Nightmare! *
Police and Cartel Control


I'm sort of impressed with myself, truth be told. I was under the impression that I hadn't been very productive this year outside of the committee, but in fact I've actually been doing a lot of things! Clearly, though, one of the things I need to do is learn how to code tables properly, because this is super wonky.

What I am terribly pleased by is that taking into account all my characters, the divide between male and female have been largely even, and the variety of personality in all of them are pretty decent. You have the broody, somewhat violent Dian and the hyper and friendly Mikel. There's the manic Lina, the purehearted and earnest Elise, the ruthless but awkward Akari, the stingy but soft-hearted Silas, the optimistic but savage Ava, and the manipulative and ambitious Kyouya. Malcolm is endlessly put upon, Chalcedony is naive but goal-oriented, while Dylan is cheerful and just wants to be a hero.

Playing in the Scion game has also been getting my writing game active again. After the long fanfiction I wrote earlier in April this year, I haven't actually sat down to write much of anything outside of session notes, so it's been pleasant to RP in text form. Hopefully the others have been enjoying it as much as I have.

So, on 2016 -- yes, I've enjoyed it a whole lot. But it's also been really exhausting to play this many games and still juggle all the other things -- family, friends, anime, video games, household chores, work -- so I foresee being a bit more moderate next year. Now that my time of experimenting with a frenzy is more or less done, anyway -- or is it?

Mahar brought up if I should include Pandemic Legacy and Seafall into this list, but I put them firmly in my boardgame bucketlist (which has also been excessively long this year). In Seafall in particular, I've been doing a lot of Exploration and have reused Seran Thorne, an old adventuress character, in figuring out decisions on what to do in the game. It's a most adorable boardgame with ships and island discovery, so I suppose in a way it counts as an RPG?
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A couple of my friends and I joined the Titanfall Initiative megagame that a friend, Dave, started last month. It runs on the system Scion, which sets the characters up as the half-mortal sons and daughters of pantheon gods, and has over a dozen characters appearing for various missions all run by the same GM. I must confessed that I joined it for a variety of reasons: curiosity over the system/setting, a desire to play with the players who joined, and also to witness how a solo-GM megagame manages logistics.

Now, if you know me personally, you'll know that I love logistics. It's not exactly my line of work (I work in Process with a P), but it's something that I've always liked to observe, admire, and sometimes improve. Maybe it's the Chinese in me, or perhaps it's the manifestation of the fussy persona hiding beneath my veneer of laziness.

My close friend Pam had the same idea long ago, which she runs with her friends up north of the city, also with her as the sole GM. But I had been unable to join this because of location (traveling 10km up north in the same city is often equivalent to passing a kidney stone in suffering; it's a heftier physical barrier than you'd believe), and incompatible scheduling. But now, lo!

So far, I feel that Dave manages logistics considerately and effectively to try and give all of his players a fair shot at doing something in the game. RP happens either in person or over at Discord, and there are documentations available to the players so everyone can keep up with what's going on in the world (documentation! glee!). What I find most interesting is how Dave divides missions according to "field" or "HQ", which is a great solution to accommodate different play styles. I attended my first face to face session last Saturday, which consisted of nine players segregated to 5 field and 4 HQ. I was told that this was the first mission where the field aspect of it was primarily social, and HQ was bunked nearby where the field agents were operating. Many of the field agents for that mission were also typically staffed in HQ, apparently.

I joined field, which is more your traditional adventuring party out to get things done (albeit in a modern setting), while HQ is uniquely conducted via a secret chat with the GM. HQ does the traditional operations intelligence part of missions, and call out information to us field agents that our characters receive via "comms". Dave sat with the field agents in the dining room, while the HQ agents were in the adjoining living room, just close enough to talk to while using indoor voice, but still clearly ensconced in their own space. Sometimes, one HQ agent or another would approach one of the field agents for private information as well.

I had up until that point been slightly skeptical of how the set up would work, but as the day progressed I found the groove with HQ to be quite natural and engaging. It helped that all nine of our characters were briefed together and were able to banter as we, in-game, chose our roles. In this way, camaraderie was easily established early on and continued as the night wore on. I'm still amazed at Dave for herding us energetic players efficiently, and multi-tasking between responding to field and HQ without noticeable lag. HQ seemed really fun and busy with their research and running point, and while I don't think my character is suited for it at all, the moment there's an appropriate mission that can use her very-on-the-field skills, I might just try it.

There are a couple of official Discord RPs that I've signed up for in the coming month, and I find that I'm really looking forward to them. It's a format that I used to do a lot in my youth, especially with friends from other countries, so it's an RP method that I'm happy to come back to. Surprisingly, while I had thought that perhaps I would have trouble keeping up with the enthusiasm and different playing style of the group (for example, their characters are more thirsty than I've ever played with in the past decade), I'm finding it easy to adjust and that I'm enjoying this fun, new experience.
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I set up this calendar a long time ago, as the keeper of the calendar and schedules of my tabletop/gaming circle. It's always been a little annoying that I couldn't figure out how to pick up the url for the calendar... until now. So I'm testing the widget out if it works on html.



Gasp, so it does. It looks really dinky, though, and I'm not sure what to think about that horrific language setting for people whose google accounts aren't actually included in the specific share settings.
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In general, my gaming group knows me as someone who tends to avoid the lore or fluff part in a game system book -- I go straight to character creation, or just flip through the mechanics to have a general idea of how they work. I don't actively dislike fluff in general, but it's not something I typically have interest in, and in certain situations even feel harangued by. There's something unfair, I find, in a system that encourages what I call the lore trap, where a character's competence depends significantly on how much the player knows of the setting's fluff and gritty politics, and how successful a character is depends largely on how much of the meta the player knows. There's nothing revolutionary or fun about getting trapped into situations that you normally would not get into if you had all the information about the world the GM or even other players do.

I won't deny that I've been salty about Legends of the Five Rings in particular, for example -- while Mahar is a considerate GM who takes great pains not to fall into the GM trap, reading L5R gives me the impression that this is a thing that would be really easy to do with the system. I've talked to a few other L5R GMs/players in recent months, and their in-game anecdotes both involved situations that led to seppuku (or almost seppuku) that could have been avoided if the player -- and by extension the character -- knew the lore of the setting more. In L5R, the smallest action can have really high stakes. It's a game where the setting is backed by a system that will numerically punish you for player ignorance. "Knowledge of the world is power," is practically baked into it.

But I realize in recent weeks that this thinking of mine isn't entirely fair. My own game of L5R isn't like that, though sometimes I get nervous about what I do purely because my character is a challenging one, going against almost all my typical tropes. Clearly, how the lore works for or against the players is something that both the GM and the players can manage with clear communication and table dynamics. But the first session, while manageable, was rather stressful in terms of keeping up with everyone's knowledge of the setting's fluff (and my own confusion at how Japanese but not Japanese it is, and how so many things fly in the face of cultural common sense).

Eventually, after a little bit of experimenting, I realized that a way to cope with the sheer breadth of lore was to ask the GM a lot of questions rather than assuming things and, more importantly, to take a step back from the character like what Erich had been doing with his courtier. I didn't need to say verbatim what my character wanted to say, where my phrasing can be minced -- and rightfully so -- because I can just say it in action. For example, Erich threw an NPC at my character as someone who flirted with the NPC's boyfriend in the past, in his character's effort to get the NPC to move on from this man. Now, I can't do courtier stuff to save my life, and while my character is a social beast, I had not yet been able to encounter that in her adventures. Rather than struggle with what Kyouya would say, I opted to go by the route of: "Kyouya is going to act her way through this. She acts like she is confused but trying to hide her confusion, to make Hiname feel like she caught her offguard and unprepared for once. What she wants to convey with her body language is that in that encounter Hiname is speaking of, the attention she gained from Hiname's lover was entirely unsolicited. Kyouya wants Hiname to think that her lover was at fault for having a roving eye, and that they are comrades in being victims of his bad behaviour."

This is a bit of a step away from what I had been trying to practice as a roleplayer -- which is to refer to myself in first person, as the character, rather than considering the character as a separate individual entirely. But at the same time, it's a healthy way to get things done without inflicting my own ignorance on a character who is supposed to be competent. There's a lot of reliance on the GM here, because it does give the GM a lot of work when it comes to embellishing the scene, so I still try to contribute to the visuals as much as I can with body language. Curiously enough, I find that it is a satisfyingly collaborative way of coming up with the scene, if only because of the negotiations that go around the table.

On the other hand, I knew that being fluff-averse is also not a productive habit to keep. As a player, it's also my responsibility to pull my weight at the table, to not entirely rely on the GM to give me the details of the world. What I realized with some reflection is that if I only focus on a character's fluff, it's actually quite easy for me to incorporate it into my character's background and story, and it becomes easier to digest the rest of the setting by extension.

As an example, I've had to create characters in two games recently that I consider to be fairly fluff-heavy. First is in the new Vampire: The Mage Masquerade game that Erich is newly running, Northern Nights, where I play Malcolm Summer. Malcolm is a 9th generation Lasombra with a lot of baggage with humanity and Kindred in general, but is still in many ways a true blue Lasombra in his mannerisms and mindset. I knew nothing of the setting, but I began by reading the clan summaries Erich gave our table, and choosing one clan that interested me. Knowing their quirks like being snooty and not having reflections allowed me to form a character in my mind, and I had a visual idea of how he would use his powers. I asked about how feeding happens and the mechanics of feeding, and decided that the best way to gain a rotating base of food is by being in the hospitality business, so he became a hotel owner. I created Malcolm as a mortal -- someone who was vengeful, why not? -- and then reading the rest of their creed, attitudes, and opinions on humans and Kindred let me flesh him out a bit more.

The party convened and we created our domain, and I slotted in Malcolm and filled in the rest of his personality: business-minded, intense when spiteful, and good at leading but satisfied to leave carefully-picked subordinates to their job. I made him a little obsessed with contingencies because I realized in further reading of the fluff and some clarification, that I would be a Camarilla Lasombra -- a traitor to the clan, and that his clan would probably kill him on sight. His personality was reflected into his character sheet -- a humanity of 6! -- while other parts of the sheet were reflected into his personality. For example, by necessity, I made him an older generation because Lasombra disciplines are very blood-heavy, and this added to his fluff as a paranoid Kindred due to being a prime target for diablerie, and his role in the party. Erich started throwing facts about the world at us, and further character quirks emerged as I incorporated the setting into the last six decades of my character's existence and had a focus on what I wanted to read in the books, including the fluff of my party's respective clans. In this way, I found myself quite integrated in the lore without noticing it.

A second example is a Warforged Barbarian that I created for Nosfecatu's Eberron game. Chalcedony is a self-proclaimed scholar who works in the Cogs district of Sharn, sorting wands for the Cannith factory there. I entered the game reading up only and only on Warforged, which led to a base understanding of the war they were allegedly created for and the sentient rights Warforged acquired recently. This gave me a mindset of a Warforged who is interested in freedom and fair wages, and I decided that Chalcedony is a Warforged who would be enamored with fairness. Interest in scholarly pursuits gave him the desire for knowledge (that his intelligence score of -1 could not actually support well). He's guileless and dedicated to his job, but selective in his dedication. His view of right and wrong is a bit black and white, but he understands concepts in terms that are laid out in bullet points.

The GM gave us some readings to acquaint ourselves with the city we would start out in, which gave me an idea of my Warforged's status in society and what can be expected of the population's treatment of him. A few rounds of casual RP with fellow Warforged NPCs and some goblins settled him into my head so easily, even I'm surprised at the ease with which I slid into his head. In his first session, the party decided to rob a university in the higher class district of Sharn, and Chalcedony instead decided to walk in and enroll as a student. He wishes to participate in economics, and has asked of the party that hired him as a fighter, that he wants to experiment with a compensation concept he ran across recently called commissions. His fellow Warforged was robbed, so Chalcedony started showing him the modification in his chest cavity that allowed him to keep gold in there, completely made up on the spot, and which the GM rolled with and incorporated into later scenes in a Warforged-centric tavern. It was quite fun, and a great example of how lore worked for me.

So, in effect, I suppose like most of my conclusions: table dynamic is very important in tackling issues at the table, regardless of if it's the group's or an individual's, and how one learns of the lore is a great contributor to how well a person integrates into it (learning style).

On the other hand, in my examples above, I created Malcolm with great involvement of the party, while I created Chalcedony pretty much on my own and just brought him to the session as a character sheet. Character creation dynamics is probably something I am going to reflect on next, in a future blogpost.
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"What story does your group tell about your character?"

Well, I've done a lot of dumb things in game so there really would be a lot. But the latest one that a friend told me that my table for that game told him is the story of my Scorpion's dereliction of duty when it comes to reporting to her family.

In Legend of the Five Rings, the Scorpion Clan is considered the underhand of the Emperor and the clan that does the dirty work for the preservation of the Empire. Within the clan are three families, all with their own Daimyou and agents with their family specialization. My character is Kyouya of the Shosuro family.

Part of being an agent means sending reports when you are able so that the clan can act on the information in a timely fashion. Kyouya simply had not been sending any for the past year, instead relying on the other Scorpion in the party to send the reports for her.

And he has been. To his Scorpion family, the Soshi. Oops.

So the whole time, while the Scorpions in general knew of what's been going on, my family has been hearing of my news from other families, which has not been good for them as the family specializing in infiltration. They had to send someone to reproach her for her lapse. I laugh every time I think about it, and so do my friends.

She as a multitude of excuses, of course, first of which is that she has precise memory, an advantage that allows her to remember things from long ago clearly as if they happened recently. This same advantage is why they had put her in the Lion clan's family of scribes, to blend in with them and redact information about Scorpion dealings from their archives -- to the man, Ikoma all have precise memory as a free advantage. It's also because they put her in that job that she fostered a defiant attitude towards her family, because clerical work for someone like her had been, in her mind, a gross under-utilization of her skills.

Kyouya has something of a resistance to writing letters, a trait that also bit us in the ass in a session when her suitor was mistaken as courting another woman and murdered by that woman's ex-lover -- Kyouya was in the middle of writing to the suitor, but in the end did not finish it because "I'm going to see him in six hours anyway". With no indication that the presents arriving in Kyouya's room was for her and not for the other woman she shared the location with, the ex-lover had gone ahead with his assassination.

It was just hilarious to have her lapse and stubborness catch up to her several sessions later. Now she has to watch her back because her family has grown suspicious of her headstrong nature. Ambition is not something the family will tolerate again!
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"Most impressive thing another's character did?"

Yet another difficult question! I'm a person who don't consider herself particularly witty or quick-witted, so this is something that I enjoy and admire a lot in other people. Among my fellow players it will probably be Erich who I find entertains me the most when it comes to verbal wit and generally just giving the GM's situations the run around with actions that may seem strange at first but have deliberate intentions that he wants to achieve. This doesn't typically come out since he has to play certain tropes for it, but it's most apparent in our Cormanthor and Legends of the Five Rings game, where he plays a diplomat/courtier in both. That game also has Gelo, who plays a Phoenix bodyguard with a penchant for haiku -- and inserts the smoothest lines at appropriate moments that surprise even the NPCs.

Another player I admire for his memory for detail and incorporating these details into action and play is BJ. I remember during the Esteren APEC runs the way he conducted Neravius, his very particular book seller, and his accidental but entirely player-decided fall into hypnosis alongside the NPC they were interrogating. "Wait, I am still putting on my cuirass," is not a line I am going to forget, delivered in the midst of panic and chaos.

In terms of roleplaying games that aren't strictly tabletop, I enjoyed Che's narrative in the second Watch the Skies game at Ludo, where she played a Hydra leader determined to topple world governments. It was a monumental task, and that she was able to succeed and mostly remain unattended with the United States of that game was nothing short of amazing.

But in recent games, probably the one that impressed me with creativeness was probably Mahar's use of the gelatinous cube in our Out of the Abyss campaign to remove a large wall of debris from our path. I had just been all for the half-ork doing all the work. : )) Of course, this led to the tunnel we were in to get flooded immediately, and the encounter became a race to row our boat as fast as we could before the water squashed and drowned us against the tunnel ceiling. Good times.
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"Character moment you are proudest of?"

Another hard question, with so many characters! I'll go with Flik, my seven-foot reptilian in our Dungeon World game titled Abyssum. Abyssum is a large pit dungeon that has encouraged a city to grow and expand on its surface, and it was during one of our travels of this underground dungeon that the party (comprised of a human fighter as played by Erich, a human bard played by Adrian, and Flik), were beset by a number of gigantic spydrans. They had long proboscis, which were also extremely sticky and gave us a lot of trouble.

Now, we were down there to bring a wagonful of supplies to our underground compound and could not run and risk losing our cargo. Flik had the wonderful idea of grabbing one of the bags of flour and breaking it against the fighter to cover her in powder, thereby letting her maneuver without getting caught and slowed down by the sticky tongues. This was a really fun moment for us as my lizard delightedly poured flour over the fighter's head and Erich's face at the result.

Another thing action I did that I like to think fondly back on is Alberic Sixwright's campaign to build a zerg in our Fate Online game, a long-running fate Core campaign that Erich has been running for us since early 2015. It's set in a virtual reality MMO game where our characters are some of the game's hardcore players.

In the first test session Erich ran, Pao and I were trying to attend an event for carpentry that another guild was trying to block people from attending because they wanted to monopolize the event item it would give as reward. We blasted through their traps and defenses, and later on put together an army of players to rush for the heavily-guarded copse of trees to gather the necessary wood needed to complete the event. It was exciting and epic, and established Alberic's personality for me more easily than my rumination of what her character would be like. Alberic has done other things in that game that I think fondly of, like pinning a gigantic demon's bent legs from unfurling with my spear to stop it from escape!

I've also done some terribly comedic and/or horrific things in other games that seemed like a good idea at the time, like dropping forty tons of logs on unconscious defilers of the forest, or picking up a van tire and throwing it like a frisbee at a flying drone. Being creative in battle is something I've been trying to do in the last year or so, and while it doesn't often work, the moments that they do can be really rewarding!

On the other hand, creativity in social conflicts is something I am still getting the hang of, but I've had my moments in the past! I'll go for my really old and/or completed campaigns here, since I haven't yet been able to talk about them at all.

In our Weapons of the Gods game, my character, Dai Yang, later on becomes Emperor of the land due to the various plotlines that unfolded in the game. My character had been very gently blackmailed into marrying the daughter of a noble clan that wanted to use Dai Yang for political power later on. He had declined, which led to the daughter pestering him incessantly until he agreed, but only on the condition that she disown her family. That ended up in quite a happy marriage, all things considered and relieved him of having truly horrific in-laws.

In another game we had, Houses of the Blooded, I played a Falcon named Seran Thorne who was, for the lack of a better term, quite unusual and barbaric compared to her more genteel compatriots because she was a noble who liked adventure, exploration, and was rather nice to the commonfolk of the land. She and her party had been thrust into what can be described as an old world full of even older blooded aristocrats, and her status as "ven", or what the Blooded were called, was put into question at a tribunal. I had no real argument for her cause that I could think of, however hard I thought about it, so instead I had the good idea of just relying on her reckless ways and hamming it up. This was a character who trusted her skills with the sword, after all. So, Seran took to the podium and declared that anyone who doubted her claim as a Falcon were welcome to issue a challenge to duel with her, and that she would fight to the death for her status as ven. She left that event with three dozen new suitors impressed at her brazenness, so it was all well.

Looking back, I actually have been able to do a fair bit of growing up over the past six or seven years. I typically just think of myself as an average player with a moderate amount of skill and contribution to the table, but that might just be because there's always room for self-improvement and it's rather difficult to reach those goals. Well! That's what the next year is going to be for, then!
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"Best game session since August 2015?"

Oh boy, this is actually a really difficult question for me to answer, because August 2015 is when I got into the Gamers & GMs event organizing team, and basically also the time when I started expanding my social circle into the local tabletop community as well. I literally went from having two regular games to more than twelve and a smattering of oneshots. And it's hard for me to choose, because beyond having a lot to choose from, many of my games are really very different from each other and provide me with different experiences that I enjoy.

I'll cheat by mentioning a few campaigns that I got into since August 2015. I won't mention the pre-August stuff, because that'll make the list even longer!

Yoon Suin is an OSR game run by Nosfecatu for my group. It's set in the Yellow City, where our side of the game, the Westside, are all members of the Ipixangga, the biggest cockroach clan in the city. I play Dian, a dour, cleaver-wielding butcher who likes to write recipes for cockroach dishes, and is secretly a total softie towards her sister and clanmates. We spend our days looking for treasure even as we go about trying to further the goals and security of the clan. We have a mirror gaming group in the form of the Eastside players, and some of their members have cameo'd in our game in the past -- it's an interesting dynamic, and one that I enjoy a lot.

Bad Solars, an Exalted 3rd Ed game run by Philgamer for me, Erich, and his regular group. In it we play the first Solars of our Age, and try to solve the mysteries of Chiaroscuro even as we try not to divulge ourselves as anathema to the realm. I play Elise, a mallet-wielding shipwright much too passionate about her craft. She's of the Twilight Caste, and tends to get into a lot of trouble due to her reckless amounts of energy. The title is not actually Bad Solars, but that's the running gag in the game because in as much as we try to be good Solars, we really sometimes just don't think far ahead.

Fallen Boughs of Cormanthor is a D&D 5E game run by Mahar, set in the forests of Cormanthor. Here, our adventurers try to battle both plague and politics as we fend off multiple threats to the kingdom. Our party composition amuses me to no end -- three elves of different types, a manly half-elf, and an ornery old human. I play Noase, a wood elf survivor of the plague and a monk of the four elements. He's very young and somewhat inexperienced due to his more cloistered upbringing, but is no stranger to the ever-present evil lurking in the forest. It's one of the table compositions I enjoy the most right now, both in players/GM and characters.

Songs of the Underdark is a D&D 5E game run by Erich for me, Mahar, and Raymz. It runs off the Out of the Abyss hardcover edition, and is set in the dangerous and difficult Underdark. Here we are all prisoners who escape from the drow and are just trying to make our way back to the surface. I play Mikel, a gnome from Lantan Island. She is a bard who's a self-professed fan of adventurers, and follows them to record their heroics in the miniature toy productions she composes with her small, clockwork doll-actors. Mikel doesn't yet understand that she's an adventurer herself, but that's not important.

Precinct 8 is a Shadowrun 5E game run by Raymz, set in the Manila of the future in the world of Shadowrun. It's something of an infrequent game because of difficulties in scheduling, which is a pity because it's a really good setting and the game has been fun so far. We're all characters who are somehow connected to the district police precinct, either as regular employees or as "consultants". Here I play Pekto, a morose troll who's a member of the local police force and likes to bake sweet goods to make extra cash on the side.

Legends of the Five Rings as run by Mahar. It's a multi-clan game involving a Unicorn courtier, a Phoenix yojimbo, a Scorpion shugenja, and a Scorpion actress. We're all very distant relatives by way of having a common ancestor in a Fortune, Bayushi Tanaka, and began our dealing with each other as a by-product of our individual assignments. The characters have since convened as a group to investigate dark matters involving taint. In this game, I play Kyouya, a dangerously beautiful and ambitious Scorpion actress whose first persona is as a bland Lion ikoma. She has a terrible habit of forgetting her family, prioritizing instead the empire and her clan's directive above all else. It's a table full of wit and shenanigans, and very fun all around.

Numenera is a Cypher/Numenera game run by Jay Mata for us. In it we have some of the craziest characters we've come up with so far, including a water mogul who exists in two places at once, a sentient puppet in search of her master, a soldier out in search of his platoon of clones, and a sentient cloud of nanites that just wants to eat nanomachines for sustenance. It's something of an odd game, which I think is fitting for Numenera and its settings. Here I play Ghost, a Swift Jack Who Exists Partially Out of Phase. He is the sentient cloud of nanites whose "humanoid" form is as a vaguely child-sized blob with a mouth and no eyes, always blurry around the edges and sometimes eerily see-through. His main character issue is that his memory "resets" every few years, so his existence as a lost, wandering soul redefines itself with every shift.

Accounts of Strange Incidents as run by Adrian. This is something of an odd game in that it started off running on a hack of the the Blood & Honor system, which was discarded unceremoniously when it didn't suit our narrative style. It ran on no particular system for a while before Erich cribbed together a Fate Accelerated hack of it that has since enhanced our experience in the game. The setting is Heian period Japan, and our characters are all officers of a province trying to fix and deal with threats to our daimyou and our constituents. Here I play Akari, the spymaster of the clan. The clan knows her as a man, Akiteru, and she often joins them as one of "his" agents in various disguises, pulling strings where they can be pulled and throwing her fellow officers in as scapegoats without them knowing.

Greater Shadows Over Manila is a Fate game run by our friend Marc, set in the world of his long-time project, Angel's Song. The setting is modern Manila, but one of many hidden truths and a singularity out to destroy our reality as we know it. The characters are members of an organization trying to fight this in the background with a wellspring of powers and technology. Out of all the games I have under Marc, this is perhaps the one I enjoy the most by virtue of table size, but also because I play a mischievous, defiant teenager, Cecilia -- a fire cantor from a prestigious family that typically only produces earth cantors.

I actually still have other games I haven't mentioned, but these are the ones I wanted to highlight for various reasons. I have a number of other continuing campaigns, maybe-continuing oneshots, and a couple of ongoing short campaigns under the same GMs that I enjoy just as much.

As an aside: Surprisingly, if I count my characters while taking the unmentioned games into consideration, I actually have an equal number of males and females.


Edit: It has been brought up to my notice that the topic was actually best game session since August 2015, but since I took the trouble of collating all my favorite games, this is what you're getting!