Shadows of Keron: A Retrospective

It’s time to call this one. Time of death: April 2014.

I have enough material to keep running the game for another year, maybe two, but with several of the group dealing with serious illness in the family, two running after a new baby, one off to university and two off to Japan, the best I can hope for is a long hiatus. All the same, it’s been fun while it lasted, and a real success. My only regret is that it petered out, rather than ending on the kind of slam-bang, white-knuckle high note I’d hoped for; but such is life.

If you count the city of Irongrave where the PCs began, which was absorbed into the Dread Sea Dominions once Beasts & Barbarians captured my imagination, this campaign has lasted about four years of real time; one of the longest I’ve ever run.

The game introduced half-a-dozen new people to role-playing, and four of them still play on a regular basis; that’s a win, right there. I converted the whole group to Savage Worlds – win – and they converted me to Shadowrun – win. I got to know Piotr Korys and Umberto Pignatelli – win.

Over the course of the campaign, the PCs have grown from their lowly beginnings at Novice rank to the edge of Legendary. They have travelled across the Dominions from the Independent Cities to the Troll Mountains to the Ivory Savannah. They have looted tombs, toppled kingdoms and slain a god. They have upset the balance of power in the Dominions for centuries to come by gifting both the Ascaian Amazons and the Smith-Priests of Hulian the secret of steel-making.

What now for our heroes?

The Warforged intends seizing control of the abandoned City of the Winged God, where he plans to create a new race of warforged and take over the world – for the greater good of all, of course. (It always starts like that, doesn’t it? Then there are dissenters, then the Blast powers and frying pans come out, and the screaming starts…)

Nessime has been instructed by the Smith-Priests to make her way to Jalizar, there to help contain its ancient evils.

Gutz’ present whereabouts are unknown; but the party’s jewels are safe with him, wherever he and Maximus the warhorse are – at least until he finds a tavern with dancing-girls…

“When it’s over, when it’s done – let it go.” – The Bangles, Let It Go

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9 thoughts on “Shadows of Keron: A Retrospective

  1. Well, first I must say that knowing you, for me and Piotr is also a BIG win: you are an invaluable pillar of GRAmel, today :).
    Second, I know that closing a campaign is always a bittersweet thing, but think:
    1)You finished it. Every hero has a place in the world, they placed their mark on the Dominions and this should give you satisfaction and the players some good rememberings.
    2)Closing a campaign doesn’t mean it is ended forever. your group could come back, and you will have soon grandsons old enough to play :). In addition have you ever read “20 Years after”, the following of the Three Musketeers? Maybe many years later, for some reason Nessime, Gutz and the others will need to clean the rust from their swords and hit the roads of the Dominions again… Or if they are too old, their sons and daughters.
    3)There is a lot of other stuff boiling up in the Dominions (to read and edit :)), so your adventure in the Dread Sea are far to be ended :).

    • Why, thank you. :)

      I’m pretty pleased with how the campaign turned out overall. The Dominions are still there, and there are still stories to tell in them; maybe in a year or five we’ll get together again and tell some more of them. That has happened before.

  2. I fully understand why you’ve had to do this – I had to call time on a very successful Corporation PBeM some years back due my time constraints and even now the regular Monday group sometimes goes a few weeks without playing.
    Still, it’s sad to see the end of the Game. I’ve really enjoyed reading the write-ups and it was these that got me into the Beasts and Barbarians setting in the first place. It ranks as the longest face to face campaign I’ve run on a consistent basis.

    Keep up with the blog though and try some solo gaming – Scarlet Heroes is very good (also bought on your recommendation)

    • Like all things, campaigns eventually end. “It’s the circle of life.” Experience has taught me that it’s better to let them go than drag them on past their natural end.

  3. Anytime a campaign lasts more than a handful of sessions is an accomplishment. You and your players deserve to congratulate yourselves and toast your retired game. Well done, I say!

    Shadows of Keron inspired me to float Savage Worlds as a replacement for D&D 4e, which we were growing frustrated with. In the end, the group decided on D&D Next, but my desire to do something with Savage Worlds remains strong. In fact, I’ve been thinking about using Savage Worlds to run a Shadowrun-themed mini-campaign. Shadowrun is just too crunchy a system for our tastes. Did your group ever consider using the Savage Worlds system for your Shadowrun game?

    • If I were to run Shadowrun I’d use Savage Worlds, precisely because it’s less crunchy, and IMHO uniquely suited to low-prep conversions of other games. Gutz’ player is the Shadowrun GM, and he prefers the actual Shadowrun rules for that setting. We are careful not to tread on each other’s toes.

      Savage Worlds settings similar in tone to Shadowrun are Triple Ace Games’ Daring Tales of the Sprawl and Gun Metal Games’ Interface Zero. Might be worth mining those for ideas.

      I’m aware of D&D Next’s existence, but not much else – what attracted your group to it?

  4. I think I looked at *everything* related to Savage Worlds and cyberpunk. ;) As you know, where Shadowrun differs from other cyberpunk games is its inclusion of magic (which encompasses metahuman races, mystical creatures, spell casting, etc.), and where it differs from many other magic-inclusive games is with its concept of spell force/drain. I think Shadowrun’s system in this regard is so well integrated with the setting, that any Savage Worlds hack of Shadowrun should strive to include this flavor. Maybe drain is based on power points spent and earns levels of fatigue. It should be simple and fast, furious, fun, etc., but it should support the element of danger that comes with magic use.

    This is worth checking out, BTW: http://wrathofzombie.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/savage-worlds-of-shadowrun-2-0-final1.pdf

    My gaming group has been playing D&D many years. They’ve been willing to experiment with other systems, but the group’s mainstay has been D&D. D&D Next is doing a fair job of going back to D&D’s old-school roots. They’ve also implemented some nice ideas, like their concept of advantage/disadvantage, where the player rolls 2 d20s and takes the best/worst roll. That mechanic supports a wide range of situations and doesn’t bog down the system.

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