Bah! It's terrible that I haven't been posting here. I've still got that 3D printer post to make (and no excuse for why I haven't, since it's mostly written even), and I'd better do that before I have another post on the 3D printer to put up.
But this post isn't about 3D printing. Oh, no. No, this is another role-playing games post. See, after a dearth of running games for a year or so (since scheduling conflicts have sent my long-running Spycraft game on another hiatus until I sort out a way to solve the geographical and temporal challenges facing my long-suffering Spycraft players), I'm going to be GM'ing a game again. My Tuesday night group is usually a house-ruled Second Edition Player's Option AD&D game (which is probably my favorite D&D variation; Fifth Edition is good, but Second Edition Player's Option is better), but after we beat the big bad in such a way that our characters didn't all die, the DM wanted a break to plot out the next part of the campaign. Another player stepped up and ran a short campaign segment in Planescape (also Second Edition Player's Option, where the tieflings are awesome and unique, unlike modern versions), and it got over just the other week. I volunteered to run the next game and we're going to be taking a break from D&D.
Tonight, we will run the first session of Mechwarrior, second edition. Mechwarrior is probably my first RPG, growing out of my love for Battletech, my first war game (I started playing Battletech and got into role-playing games from there). Truth be told, I'm not totally certain if Mechwarrior, West End Games' D6 Star Wars, or Top Secret was the very first role-playing game I played, but Mechwarrior was definitely the first one I owned. (Star Wars was almost certainly the first one I ran.) The book is a well-worn favorite of mine. It's got some problems: notably the "power packs" that run a fair amount of equipment aren't actually in the book and Edge is poorly described, but it has one of the best GM guide sections I've ever read. It includes stuff on when and how to say "yes" to your players and when and how to say "no" so that the game is satisfying; which is not something that usually gets covered.
I haven't played Mechwarrior in most of twenty years. Hopefully I'll get the rules back in my head fairly quickly. Fortunately, the mechanics are very straight-forward (mostly so that they play nicely with Battletech). The character initiative system is really unusual though. It's a blend of Battletech's very tactical initiative (going last is best because you know what your opponents are going to do) and standard role-playing initiative (going first is best because you do your things before the other characters get a chance to). I know I'll be spending a fair amount of the first character combat working through that.
Everybody's really excited, which is great news. I'm letting things be a little atypical: they're playing a mercenary unit because I think that'll be more fun, even though it's a lot more work. A House unit would probably make more sense (especially since they're running two LAMs -- Land Air 'Mechs, what FASA adapted the Veritech fighters they lifted from Robotech into -- which is just ridiculous), but I've always had a soft spot for mercs. We're also playing in 3028, because 3025 is my favorite time period; though 3050 was such a big deal that everything is filled with 3050 gear and it's pretty tough to know what is and isn't really allowed based on the time line except for mech designs and obvious high tech equipment. I'm pretty rusty at my wargaming, but talking with the group makes it clear that they're all role-players through and through...so I'm probably going to have to pull my punches at least a little bit to keep things fun. That's okay though: I'm building a chart to describe the general disposition and tactical expertise of each individual adversary they'll face in the Battletech sections of play, and I'll play to the role instead of just execution on my best approximation of tactical perfection each time.
All in all, I'm really looking forward to getting back into the GM's chair, and I've got some interesting ideas that I'm hoping to be able to pull off. Now I just have to make sure that I take the time to actually do the prep work.