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How I've been recycling my hobby stuff during lockdown

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    Cult of Games Member

    No, not the way I usually recycle in my hobby time by scratch-building and kit-bashing, this is all about playing games and how I’ve managed to re-use some of my lockdown hobby projects.

    So the end of February 2020 saw me hospitalised with sepsis and kidney failure. After a hairy fortnight in ITU, I was released back into the wild, just in time to get hit with the UK’s first lockdown. Arse. I had a leg wound that wouldn’t heal properly and so was under medical care twice a week and told to stay off my feet for just under a year. Double arse.

    To say I was bored was an understatement. Luckily, I’m an old fart who’s been gaming since the late ’70s and have a silly amount of gaming material and miniatures – probably enough to insulate my house in case of any kind of fallout threat. I decided to dig out some stuff to amuse myself with but from a solo point of view. I finally got to play through Gloomhaven (among several other board games), but one thing that did tickle my pickle was to have a stab at some of the more RPG-like games. Stuff like Four Against Darkness, D100 Dungeon, etc. and skirmish games like Rangers of Shadowdeep and the various Five X games from Nordic Weasel Games.

    They turned out to be a shedload of fun. However, I found that after I was done with the first, not only I could actually use some of what I had created to play some of the second, but I could also produce stuff to use in my tabletop RPGs when our gaming club resumes after lockdown.

    Here (finally!) is what I did.

    • Play games like 4AD or D100 Dungeon, generating the map and writing down my adventures both as a group (4AD), or solo (D100) in the form of a character’s journal. Then use the map and/or journal to form things to insert into future RPGs. For example, the party come across a skeleton that has a journal/map in its pack (guess where from) and this may (or may not) contain clues to what lies in wait deeper in the dungeon (assuming the poor soul died on the way out) or hints as to where another treasure is located because of a previous failed attempt. If there is no way of determining how long ago the person passed away, the information may be way out of date and inaccurate or someone may have beaten them to it. Or maybe only the journal is found and the map must be sourced elsewhere? Seriously, I’ve not only generated more of these than I know what to do with, but I’ve also used them to come up with legends regarding these ‘heroes’ and their exploits, even songs and poems. Maybes they’re even related to current party members and one of them has an heirloom – either in their possession thanks to one of these quests or just the info to set them on their path to claiming it for themselves.
    • Once I’d played through these solo games and (inevitably) someone died, I even started to reuse them in the afterlife thanks to games like Brutality, where they’ve become the playthings of deities and other superbeings. Rather than just generating random spods to throw into battle, I had a limitless supply of pre-generated heroes complete with detailed backstories that were ready to go. It was almost like I knew how they’d react, what would motivate them because we had a history together. It all added an extra dimension to things that helped me tell my own narrative.

    The upshot is, don’t just treat one-shots as one-shots. Consider ways to re-use characters and their stories, the way we re-use our minis. I consider it a form of hobby karma –  miniatures and characters, all on an adventuring cycle of carnage.



    very good advice. In our group old player characters have returned as both heroes and villains over the decades, so much so that some of our characters have become our greatest foes and Marlowe or Cutter being mentioned by an underling is enough to have us tread lightly.

    I do like the idea of dropping dead characters into Brutality, I can’t think of a more fitting setting for people to wake up dead in.


    Ah yes, the real reason necromancers and ecologists get along like in Malifaux and their t-shirt for the Resurrectionists… reduce, reuse, recycle.


    Cult of Games Member


    @tgu3 @nakchak



    Great job. Sounds like you’re into worldbuilding, so I’d suggest:

    * Dungeonworld and Cheat your own Adventure: Instead of asking the players the worldbuilding questions, ask them to yourself. I’m sure you can play both games within the context of your existing world, even including characters you’ve made!

    * Tunnels and Trolls: Arena of Kharzan. Very old school. AoK has a high death rate, but creating “sequel” characters is easy. Just add 1d6 to their lowest stat and say he’s their brother. The game has an unwritten campaign mode where you keep track of each character’s gold, as they’re allowed to bet on themselves and other characters. You can have your own characters as gladiators, or have them bet their gold on the ones in the game!

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