Every game I played in 2022
a year in review
a year in review
This is every tabletop role-playing game I played in 2022.
The running gamelog is updated on this site at gamelog, which is built from a plaintext database that you can find at https://git.tilde.town/dozens/gamelog.
Other entries in this series: 2021
I played 39 games. That’s 15 more games than last year! 25 as a player, 14 as a facilitator.
6 of them were campaigns, only one of which was completed (Strixhaven). The others are all dead or on infinite hiatus.
Format: this was the year of Live Text, in which we set a time to meet up like in a traditional online game. But then instead of turning on cameras and microphones, we just type live text. Usually timeboxed to 60 - 90 minutes. Six of my games were live text, and I enjoyed it a lot. Six were Play By Post which I also enjoy a lot. The rest were some kind of traditional virtual tabletop + cameras online play.
Best Talking About Feelings: Agents of Edgewatch. The Pathfinder 2e game I had been playing with my irl gaming group. Turns out, nobody was having fun playing it, so we got together and talked about it, and about what we want from a gaming experience. And everybody was very mature about it, and nobody’s feelings got hurt (I think), and it paved the way for us to play something else that we all enjoyed. Which leads me to…
Best Completed Campaign: Strixhaven. Basically “Play Hogwarts with D&D”. This is the campaign that my group switched to after killing Edgewatch. It was super fun. Our Forever Dm got to play, which is nice. I got to DM, which I enjoy. I’ll have to post a proper review of this campaign at some point. The campaign wiki is hosted on this site.
Best Ongoing Campaign: Basement Quest. Can’t say enough about how much fun I’m having with this one, nor about how great my players are. It’s a play-by-post on an email listserv. Read all about it at http://tilde.town/~dozens/quest/.
Most Challenging Game To Run: Brindlewood Bay, on paper, is everything I love. In practice, I struggled mightily running this game. It just never clicked for me how to handle different game phases, nor how to make it feel like there was any danger or high stakes. Even after I watched the creator of the game run it, I could never quite create the feeling at the table I wanted out of it.
Best Horror Game: Dragonfly D6. A cardless—and still, to my knowledge, unreleased—version of Sean F. Smith’s Exuviae. Played as live text. The horror was palpable, the suspense was thick. My character was doomed from the start, and it gave me chills. https://seanfsmith.itch.io/exuviae Honorable mention: Cthulhu Dark. Ran a few oneshots for my regular campaign group. I thought it was just great.
Biggest Murderhoboes: My regular campaign group playing Adventure Skeletons. They went absolutely off the rails. It sounds like a cliche, but they killed a little old lady and her farmhand, and burned down their barn to cover their trail. And it just got worse from there. https://gshowitt.itch.io/adventure-skeletons
Most Wholesome Live Text: Sean kept trying to steer us into a grim murder mystery, but me and erika kept drawing us back into a kind of Sherlock and Watson / buddy cop kind of romp. It was a lot of improv and banter, and was good fun. Read Sean’s transcript: https://sean-f-smith.medium.com/the-case-of-the-red-slipper-f99872ab7078
Most FKR Game of 2022: OSE/The Lichway dungeoncrawl. I don’t remember a ton about it other than it was fun, lots of surprises and suspense. And not one dice was rolled the entire time.
Game That Ended Too Soon: a game of Troika! / Acid Death Fantasy in which I played Gliftwirp, a sarong-fu master who is basically the Hamburglar, and for whom I created an entire, complicated McDonaldland inspired backstory including a monarch in decline (the Burger King), the evil jester controlling him behind the scenes (Ronald), and a banished and cursed court rival turned into a monster (Grimmace). Game fizzled out after a few sessions, which is a shame. I was loving Gliftwirp and the other characters too.
Most Notable Mechanics: I played a couple games that I thought had novel mechanics.
Tibbius’s 2-bit, in which you get a knack or a skill, and when you use it, you narrate the outcome. Then you flip a coin to see if you get to continue using that skill, or whether it is spent until you recharge it. https://tibbiusgames.itch.io/2-bit
Tricube Tales, with its karma metacurrency. I wrote up a little quick reference for it here. https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/294202/Tricube-Tales
Plasma Torch, with its dwindling resource die. The dice mechanics make it easy to fail roles. And when you do, there’s a chance that your ‘resource die’ drops in size, symbolizing your oxygen or your light or your hit points. Excellent abstraction for survival/horror. https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/356977/Plasma-Torch-A-OnePage-RPG-of-Derelict-Spaceships
Best Solo Game: Brighter Worlds by Awkward Turtle as adapted for my game of Cleric + Thief. Honestly I’m just enchanted by Brighter Worlds and its unique and adorable character classes, and didn’t want to wait to play it. https://awkwardturtle.itch.io/brighter-worlds http://tilde.town/~dozens/clericthief/. Honorable mention: Thousand Year Old Vampire. An actual solo game, and a deeply haunting experience. https://timhutchings.itch.io/tyov
It was a good year! I played a lot, had a lot of fun. I feel like I made a few friends along the way, which is the real treasure, isn’t it? I learned some about mechanics and making games, and got to tell/be a part of some rad stories. What’s not to like?
Troika!, 13 Story Bizarre (DM)
Format: Play By Post
Notes: Originally supposed to be a really quick adventure with my core Troika pbp group, but has been slogging along for months now. I’m about to just end it so we can move on to something else.
Update 2022-05-12 The game is complete! Blessed Lytton, Dear Labolas, Precious Frondella
Pathfinder, Agents of Edgewatch (Player)
Notes: Pathfinder is everything I hate about ttrpgs. I only keep playing this because it’s the only way this particular friend group continues to get together, so I’ll probably keep playing it forever, hating the game and enjoying the company of my friends.
Update 2022-02-02: We killed this campaign as a group to try out something new. New system, new characters, new game. Inject some life and some fun into this struggling beast.
Smithy of Sacrilege, Anvil (Homebrew) (Player)
Length: Campaign/Open Sandbox
Format: Play by Post
Notes: A hack of Tunnel Goons by Nate Smith. Very fun original world, hex crawly open sandbox. You can get a lot done even with hyper minimal rules
Update 2022-02-11: Still going strong! Sean just recruited some new players to breathe some new life into the game. We abandoned the spooky haunted house which we learned is actually just a front for an arms smuggler. Then we decided to go climb an anti-crater!
Update 2022-08-30 Moving this to dead. Haven’t had any movement on it in quite some time.
Troika, Acid Death Fantasy (Player)
Format: Play by Post
Notes: Another more different ADF! Born of the APF server, but on another new server with Kunailby. Playing Gliftwirp, a sarong-fu master who is also basically the hamburglar
Update 2022-02-11: this game fizzled out. The second ADF Troika game I’ve played to do so! Too bad. I enjoyed the brief time that I got to create some McDonalds cosmology. Just for fun, here’s Gliftwirp expositing a little bit.
Gliftwirp bites into a burger that he swiped from somewhere, closes his eyes, and sighs happily.
“How grand that your falcon-headed god gave you his own sight as a boon! How grand that you can even know your god!”
“Sadly, my god grants no boons and answers no prayers. It is a long story with which I shall not tire you okay fine if you insist.”
He settles in to tell a story.
“Long, long ago, my god (whose name I cannot say for reasons you will soon understand) was a member of high stature in the Court of the God King. And his best friend and closest confidante was the court jester, Rhahn Ald. But their friendship would end in tragedy! Just listen and you will know why.”
“You see, Rhahn Ald, the trickster, had quietly and discreetly been stealing magical items from the king’s coffers, slowly, over the years, accumulating glamour that he used to increase his influence in the court, to weaken the God King’s mind and make him reliant on him. My god (whose name I cannot say) eventually found out and threatened to expose Rhahn Ald. So the mad jester framed his best friend, and easily convinced the God King of his guilt.”
“So as punishment, everything was stolen from my god, including his name. The Court of the God King will only allow him to be referred to as the Evil Nemesis. (Bit dramatic don’t you think?) He also had his handsome physique stolen from him: he now inhabits the form of a large, four-armed, purple worm. And he had his home and all his land stolen from him: he now resides in a damp cave. Most cruelly, he had his intellect stolen: he remains just barely aware of what he used to be, of what was taken from him. But his eloquence is gone. He is incapable of forming the words he needs to defend himself, or gather followers to his cause.”
Gliftwirp sighs sadly and nods. “My god was cursed and exiled because of the evil trickster god Rhahn Ald.”
“And in retribution for his wrongful suffering, his followers turn to holy acquisitions and righteous theft. Just as everything was taken from our beloved Evil Nemesis, so do we take and redistribute. And so we shall until he is redeemed and restored to his rightful place.”
Gliftwirp continues quietly to himself, under his breath, “Robble robble, Amen,” and takes another bite of his hamburger.
“I truly am happy that you get to know your falcon-headed god, Kiara. It is a gift I hope you won’t take for granted!”
Risus, To Kill A God (Player)
Format: Play by Post
Notes: pbp on rpg.net with tibbius. Playing former child actor Sender, who is a blade for hire who just wants to retire and be a mushroom farmer, who is also haunted by the ghost of his dead twin brother who he absorbed in the womb, and who is also followed around by small woodland animals like a disney princess.
Update 2022-02-11: Moving this to dead. Never could remember to go check rpg.net for updates. One of our players dropped, and it became not enough to keep the story going. sad! First time playing Risus, a game I’ve long wanted to try. Don’t feel like I ever got to really get a handle on it.
2-bit, Numenera (Player)
Format: Discord PBP
Notes: gonna start a coin-flipping game with tibbius. gonna play a witchy person.
Update 2022-02-11: Moving this to dead. The story was really good. The system was surprisingly good. The gimmick is that you a special that you can invoke and it just happens. And then you flip a coin. Heads = you can continue to use your special. Tails = special is burned until recharged. Made for smoe really fun gameplay.
See more at https://tibbiusgames.itch.io/2-bit
D&D 5e, Zigs and Dragons (Player)
Format: Roll20 + Discord
Notes: Zig’s first time DM-ing! A series of oneshots on a mysterious island. Getting to play with Alex again is fun. The characters escalate from session to session from level 3 to 6 to 9 etc. Have played two so far. Having a lot of fun playing and getting to make new characters all the time.
Update 2022-02-16: Been continuing to play this and enjoy it. It’s been nice watching Zigs come into his own as a DM. It’s been just man and Jaybee playing lately. Miss playing with the others, but it’s also fun with just the two of us. I’ve played a different character each time, slowly building out the sprawling family tree.
Update 2022-08-30: Moving this to dead. Game fizzled out after some tensions at the table escalated.
Cthulhu Dark, Arkham 1628 (DM)
Format: discord voice
Notes: Radsauce. Ran it with Carter, Hilary, and Jimmy. It went a bit over an hour, and the we finished it up in a bit over an hour the next day. Not positive I got all the rolls right, but the players seemed to have fun. I got a couple wtf moments out of them which seems like a success. I think there might need to be something said upfront about how the point of some of the weirdness is just that it is weird. That is, not every theme is a clue to the answer to the mystery. (Speaking directly of the puppet theme in this adventure.) There was interest in continuing with the othe mysteries in the text, so we might start that next week
Brindlewood Bay, Dad Overboard (DM)
Notes: okay so first of all this is a historic game because after years of inviting her to join me in my hobby, this is the first time pete agreed and actually joined. bittersweet: she did not have fun.
nor did i, to be honest. this was a very challenging game to run. i felt stressed out and frustrated the whole time. the clues were super vauge. it was hard to understand a new system, and the mystery, and also stay on top of helping people play their character. There was also a bunch of the game that I should have just thrown out because it was not applicable/appropriate for a one-shot. Also all of the clues are objects. There’s no way to have a clue come up in conversation without the person running away so they could find an object, or somehow describing the object for some reason.
I had two players (pete and ari) who had never played a game before, pete was kind of lost. i should have thrown out abilities and had a straight 2d6 roll.
that said, it was a great group. a real convergence of spheres.
I don’t know, i’d run it again. I imagine i’ll feel more prepared the second time around. the players (except for pete) all seemed to have fun
D&D, Strixhaven (DM)
Format: roll20 + discord
Notes: Strixhaven happen!
Background: my pathfinder group agreed to disband and reform as something else. Seems we were a little burned out on the game and needed a change. (I for one have complained to anybody who will listen about how much I hate Pathfinder!) So we decided to try something a little lighter and light-hearted and we went back to 5e D&D and agreed to try Strixhaven: Curriculum of Chaos. Former DM gets to play, I get to DM, and we finally had our first session.
Chierce showed up having not made a character and decided to just lurk quietly and watch, which was both totally okay but also kind of weird.
Our planned cadence is ~1.5 hrs twice a week. We’ll see if we stick to it.
We got one third of the way through the first 3-part session. We might get through the next two parts next sesh.
Anyway, cool, new game! Super fun!
Update 2022-03-16: Second session went so much better! Threw out a bunch of the rules. Made the rolls a bunch more simple. Players actually solved the mystery, Got a couple glimpses into the conspiracy. It was a hoot and a holler!
Update 2022-10-06: Finished the campaign! That was super fun!
maze rats, Nyolibhotep’s sewers (Player)
Format: discord live text
Notes: finally got to play a game with sean!
short little 2 hour live text game on discord.
possibly my first maze rats ever.
i played a chisled chimneysweep hippie, and we went down into the sewers to find out what the cultists were doing with all the doubleslugs.
read the whole thing here:
Facing the Titan, facing the titan (Player)
Format: miro + discord voice
Notes: This was a Swords Without Masters game, the first of which I’ve played. Played with eskur, fergus, and hoid.
Very interesting system. GM-less, narrative, storytelling. Lots of fun. Interesting use of setting tones, and then freeform story telling.
unique d21 tables: roll d66, and the low roll is the tens and the high roll is the ones.
played for 2 hours, didn’t get to finish. but really liked it. very unique to the kinds of game i usually play.
Old School Essentials, Lichway (Player)
Format: discord voice
Notes: played some OSE with sean and the gang. played a human thief named Myla Wygarthe (thanks dmheroes). played very fkr style: there were no rolls at all. very system agnostic. we had some fun searching a spooky dungeon for the dark enchantress.
Trophy Gold, a game of trophy gold (Player)
Format: live text
Notes: An ongoing series of live text play on discord. Technically a oneshot, i guess? But spread out over 1 - 2 hours of text here and there on discord.
It’s a Sean game with eskur, 7th Outpost, and wendi. (wendi couldn’t make it this time tho)
I’m playing Ifori, who is basically a cleric of a small god from Brighter Worlds. And who is also basically a less monstrous version of Bbblippt from Wicked Ones. She has a small turnip-like creature that she believes is an infant god. It gives her access to rituals at least.
This game, we escaped and immolated some kind of sucking flesh tree, and then desecrated a shrine to some evil earth deity and then killed one of its priests.
And that was about it! Short and sweet.
First time playing Trophy Gold. The stress mechanic feels the same as from Cthulhu Dark. I like it. Makes things feel risky and scary, and that you’re constantly on the edge of doom and disaster. Kind of like the token meta-currency. Haven’t gotten a chance to actually use it yet.
Thousand Year Old Vampire, Orion Valentine (Player)
Notes: Been meaning to play this one for a while. The catalyst for doing it is that I think my players in my D&D game might at some point soon go meet a powerful vampire NPC. And I wanted them to have a compelling and complete backstory. And now they do! It was a wild ride. It ended up turning Valentine into kind of a wretched thing. Not a proud, beautiful creature, but a desperate, damaged, and unhealthy one. I’d like to play it again, at least one more time. I felt like I didn’t grok it enough to create much continuity or connection across prompts. I had resources and skills, but wasn’t often able to use them effectively. That’s probably on me. Next time! 5 out of 5, would play again.
Tricube Tales, Guardians of the Shadow Frontier (Player)
Format: discord text
Notes: tibbius is running a game for me and brine and sean.
I’m playing Toobin, a sneaky little bastard with preternatural senses, and who is often greedy. Joining Toobin are Khedera (sean), an agile sentinel who’s quick and too often vainglorious; and Syfas (brine), an agile seer who can manipulate elements with a touch but can be blinded by vengeance.
We came across a body by a waterfall, discovered that it had been killed by an archer while waiting for a lover’s tryst. Took the body back to the village. People were sad about it :(
And that’s about all we had time for in this OHOS. We didn’t have time for a OHMOS. So we’ll play again next week.
Did a lot more roleplay than Getting Stuff Done. Found out that Toobin is superstitious, and shy around people who aren’t Guardians.
Tricube is fun. Never heard of it before Tibbius suggested it. Excited to explore further the karma/resolve + quirk/perk mechanics. I kind of like the meta token currency.
Update 2022-09-28 I missed a couple games due to being out of town. But now I’m back. Tibbius is … what’s the ttrpg term for distro hopping? We ditched tricube for Quarrel & Fable, which he then hacked into his own “Test Metal”.
I missed the entire fight with the ‘mirror wolves’, but dropped back in just in time to pick back up the original murdered lover mystery, which is exactly where i left off.
Brine left the game, sean i think got busy with something else, so it was just me and tibbs, which was just fine
Dragonfly D6, dragonflyd6 (Player)
Format: live text
Notes: almost forgot about this one!
sean ran a game of dragonfly d6 for me and tibbius
it is a cardless version of his very interesting insect horror survival with a solitaire card game mechanic, exuviae
the first playlogs can be found on medium:
in the second session, Sid and Midge arrive at the Angles house, and shit goes immediately sideways.
Sid heads in to talk with speak with Isolde Angles who behaved and moved most unnatural.
Meanwhile Midge tried to sneak around the side of the house but got covered in eggs, and then chased by the mosquito-stuffed skin suit of Mick the dispatcher.
Sid eventually came to her rescue as Miss Donnelly climbed out of the cab.
It was a total horror show. Midge was not in control. It was really fun!
none/fkr, Cap’n Mushroom and the Case of the Red Slipper (Player)
Format: live text
Notes: a quick true fkr game with me and erika, sean running
erika played Maelo, a tomb raider / cat burglar with a bit of razzle dazzle magic.
I was Cinder, a grizzled sell-sword who has agreed to do just ONE more job so he can retire and be a mushroom farmer. He’s is also a former beloved child actor, star of Li’l Fatso’s Jamboree.
We were called in to investigate the gruesome murder of Baron von Leffe’s squire. They were besieged by bandits out on the road. The Baron escaped, but the boy was skewered by arrows and had his right arm cleaved off and absconded with! The latest in a string of arm thefts.
Cinder and Maelo quickly established a great Watson/Holmes dynamic, and discovered that the wounds from the arrows display necrotization consistent with the Red Slipper mushroom that grows in the graveyard.
In a cut scene, the two set up a trust and a will so that in the event of their unfortunate demise, the Li’l Fatso Memorial Mushroom Farm will be established to teach children the joys of composting.
Sean pointed out afterwards that there were no dice rolls whatsoever, which I find delightful.
Adventure Skeletons, Boneheads (DM)
Format: discord live sesh
Notes: one of my players no-showed during our regular D&D campaign so we busted out a quick onepage rpg
i’ve been wanting to play this one for quite some time because it looks silly and ridiculous.
Our characters were Vinnie, a sadistic former garbage collector with a vengeance streak a mile wide; Snak, a former orc; and xxx, who used to have a gambling problem.
The skeletons surfaced near a busy crossroads and encountered a shepherd who kicked Vinnie in the pelvis. Snak scared him off, and he ran away with his sheep, vowing to report them to the Visiting Lord.
They regrouped in a nearby barn where they found a shrine to the Visiting Lord. They took apart a goat, Vinnie wearing its pelvis and one of its legs, xxx wearing its head as a hand.
The sweet little old farm lady came by and, confusing the skeletons for her long lost Eustice, offered them soup and redemption. But they knifed her to death anyway.
Bert the farmhand stumbled upon the scene and hit Snak in the pelvis with a shovel, knocking her to pieces. They took out Bert, stole a horse, and burned down the barn.
They came up with a two part plan: vengeance on the shepherd boy, and confront the Visiting Lord.
Snak put on a disguise and pretended to be Clarissa, the milkmaid for whom the boy pines. While he was distracted, xxx appeared on horseback and Vinnie leaped down from above and sent the boy, his love unrequited, into the wild blue yonder with one swift kick to the crotch with his +1 Pelvis Kicking Boots.
Now all well disguised, they ventured into the village and found the Church of the Visiting Lord. They confronted him, and he turned out to be Eccentric Kevin, a fellow skeleton and frenemy from the wizard’s dungeon.
They put Kevin’s skull on display on the church as a religious symbol and mouthpiece for their agenda, began to rotate through the role of the Visiting Lord themselves, and started to tax their congregants heavily.
Amassing wealth and spreading their new religion became their new mission.
plasma torch, untitled (Player)
Format: discord live text
a one-on-one OHOS with tibbius
it was short and fun!
there are two parts to playing the game:
doing stuff: roll d6. +d6 if your background applies, +d6 if you can use your equipment. 5 - 6 = success, 1 - 4 = fail.
resource die: if you fail, roll d8. 1 - 2 = step down your resource die to d4, and your resources are depleted. if you fail on a d4, you die, or whatever.
running the game looks super easy. there are tables for generating rooms and complications as you explore the derelict ship.
i think the resource die is a fascinating way to represent health and death and resources and depletion all in one handy little mechanic.
during the game, my character (Naylen, a rugged ex-convict with a crowbar) sneaked in through an airlock onto an abandoned, derelict pleasure cruiser to find some loot. they struggled a little bit to get the airlock to work, but then made their way into the hallway and down into a medical bay. (which was locked, but Nalyen guessed the password; it was 1234.)
inside the medical bay, he was confronted with some kind of tentacular eldrich horror / medical experiment. it crushed him and ripped his space suit, but he bopped it with his crowbar and got away.
and then we had to stop
two thumbs up, would play again!
tibbius said he’d be interesting in adapting the system to some kind of fantasy dungeon crawler, and i agree that would be fun.
Brindlewood Bay, Good Buy, Cruel World (DM)
Format: discord voice, jamboard
Notes: Boy I struggle mightily with Brindlewood Bay. It is such a challenging game to run. There’s no guidance for how to play the characters. The clues that pop up lead the fiction in weird directions, and as the facilitator you’re left holding the bag trying to give your players what they want when following up with questions. And at the end, there are so many red herrings and clues that don’t add up, and just.
The ending, the Theorize Move, is the most interesting and fun part of the game. But it rarely creates a narratively satisfying ending.
I also don’t know how to create tension or stakes in this game.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s fun.
I just feel like I gotta find a different system to run these characters and this story on.
BTW there’s no written evidence of this anywhere, but the second BB game we played was in March of this year. The first was in February. And this is the 3rd, seven months later in October
Anyway, the module was Good Buy, Cruel World by Michael van Fleet, and it was great. Everybody seemed to love mallwalking and being in the mall. This is the 2nd game i’ve played by van Fleet, the first one being Moon’s Shot, a oneshot for troika.
Here’s a character sheet if you want to use it.
Shoes In The Dark, Basement Quest (DM)
Format: email play by post
Notes: This game is the cat’s pajamas. it’s the bee’s knees.
It is a play-by-post game on the tildepals email list.
We’ve had a lot of people dropping in and dropping out, but it is mostly just sinatra and mio playing, and me facilitating. And it is an absolute blast so far.
We are playing the postcard-sized Shoes in the Dark rules, which immensely support the free-wheeling, rules-light style of play we’ve naturally adopted.