A Snow Start to Roleplaying in 2014

Both of my game groups aren’t roleplaying much right now, though the Tuesday night group is getting together regularly (and we’re playing fun board games most weeks).

In January, I got a chance to play in Clay’s Dungeon World game. It’s an interesting system that I’ve wanted to try since I read its sister games (Apocalypse World and Monster Hearts), and Clay did a great job. He had a huge table, which made things a little trickier… but it served as a great platform, from which he recruited a group for recurring (instead of one-off) play.

Also in January, I ran the first half of a Fate Accelerated game–a holiday special. The players were Santa’s Elves, escorting their charges home on the Polar Express, when a blizzard and wolves and terrible things broke out. Fortunately, the elves managed to rally the kids and fight off the first assaults using ingenuity and Christmas presents.

On Tuesday, we returned and completed the adventure. Our brave elves used their steam and cocoa to melt snow from the tracks, summoned the reindeer to create an attack force, and stormed Santa’s workshop to free the jolly old elf. The White Witch’s minions were defeated in droves, and the elves stormed Santa’s cottage to free the Clauses from their villainous imprisonment.

Wheel of Time: What a difference time makes

What convinced me to wait for a giant, continuous read through the Wheel of Time was abandoning Knife of Dreams a few chapters in after suffering through Winter’s Heart years ago.

Winter’s Heart feels proportionate following Path of Daggers. The rotation around the circle catches everyone, without too many successive chapters of various minor characters. In fact, the pace seems to pick up, with several viewpoints in individual chapters now.

Crossroads of Twilight is a bit slower, mostly because its events are largely a continuation of the previous book’s events. Perrin is still trying to free Faile, Mat is still fleeing/courting, and Egewene is stuck in seige throughout. (It also suffers, a bit, from having Winter’s Heart’s rush forward with Rand, so that each other character in this book can mark time from the cleansing–it crosses all of their stories, but takes a while to get to for some characters.)

With Knife of Dreams it’s becoming clear that the world is coming to an end. The world is unraveling in ominous ways–Tarmon Gai’don isn’t just words anymore, it’s happening. It’s almost amusing now that I gave up because “nothing was happening” and I didn’t care about enough characters–because this is the book that lays down a marker and substantially ups the pace.

I’m just beginning The Gathering Storm, the first of Sanderson’s contributions. So far, I doubt I’d have noticed, which is high praise. [The first chapter with the abandoned farm feels somewhat different… more grounded? I did notice that, before I even thought about Sanderson’s role.]