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Restarting my Brewed Awakening Campaign

Now that the wife and I have gotten into the swing of things with the new little one—she turns 6 months tomorrow—I’m ready to restart one of my favorite RPG campaigns that I’ve ever run.

What is Brewed Awakening?

Brewed Awakening is a cinematic campaign of magic in the modern world and is heavily influenced by the book series The Dresden Files and the television shows Buffy, Angel, and Supernatural. Consider the phrase “Buffyverse meets Community”.

The campaign started in Feb 2012 with a wacky cast of college students investigating the paranormal goings-on on campus. It was set in a mirrorworld version of Pittsburgh, called Allegheny City, on the Western University of Pennsylvania campus.

Under the hood, we started off the campaign using Cinematic Unisystem (the rules behind the Buffy RPG). After kicking the tires for more than a year, we switched over to the Fate RPG right after the Kickstarter.

Favorite moments

Travelling to an Egyptian dimension after being threatened by demons, only to discover that the bad guy needed his television repaired.

The cast LARPing in order to get into the good graces of the fae.

Throwing blessed mints (Testamints) at a suspected Djinni who is in traction “to see if it hurts ‘im”.

Bagels of protection.

While attending gay bingo night at the Jewish temple the cast is attacked by a demon possessed elderly woman in a wheelchair on oxygen who creates quilt golems who attack!

The Challenges of Running A Modern Campaign

Running RPGs set in fantasy worlds or the far-flung future is simple, but the complexities of modern life makes a present-day game tough. How do you handle smartphones, ebay, access to search engines, and the whole host of gamebreaking stuff? Turn the game into a television show.

By running the game as though it were a television show, it allows me to remind players to think cinematically. It stops being about “winning the game” and starts becoming about the story that everyone has gathered to tell.

It also opens up a wealth of fun new ways to make the game play differently. During one session we had a sponsor—a bag of fun-sized candies—and every time that someone worked the candy into the story they got one. The players devoured the bag before the night was out.

Rebooting the Game

Now that the time has come to gather everyone back after an almost eight month hiatus to start playing again, the irony of having just watched Community’s Repilot episode is not lost on me. In this episode the show reinvents itself in a fun way.

And damn them for beating me to it.

My plan for restarting Brewed Awakening is this: the show was cancelled by Faux Broadcasting Company, like they’ve killed every other great show. A few years go by and an avid fan starts churning out fan films.

Instead of each story arc being an episode, each story arc will be a fan film. These films will gain popularity and eventually the show will go back on the air!