Sunday, May 25, 2014

Shaking some things loose

If you haven't noticed yet, you don't have to be on Google+ to comment on this blog anymore. It will still be posted over on my Google+ feed, but it will also allow people who do not worship the glow cloud that is Google to chime in with their supportive comments.

I seem to have overslept L. Frank Baum's birthday, which was last Thursday. He would have been 158. Jared Davis over at the Royal Blog of Oz, did his annual tribute with a performance of one of the Little Wizard Stories, The Cowardly Lion and the Hungry Tiger. It also marked the 4th anniversary of my initial release of Adventures in Oz: Fantasy Roleplaying Beyond the Yellow Brick Road over at

My regular gaming group sort of fell apart about 2 months ago. I had two players back out, but since they were transportation for a third player, that meant 3 lost players out of 5. So the two that are remaining are typically not brave enough to keep plundering the deeper dungeons under the Castle of the Mad Archmage at their current strength. And one is only an intermittent player, so that party strength waxes and wanes pretty strongly. I've tried recruiting new players, with limited success. The bad news is that I have not run a session since those players left, but the good news is that I still have something of a game night. Mostly Munchkin and Zombie Dice, with a few other games that we convince each other to try out. I've been threatened with Risk a few times, though that has yet to happen.

Even if the whole thing fully implodes and I never run an session of this campaign again, it will still be the longest campaign I've ever run. It started back in May, 2011. Most campaigns I've run prior to this tended to last 3-4 months. We play through a story arc, a single large-ish villainous plot, then pick up another game, and run another campaign with another story arc, rinse and repeat. I've tried to push past that barrier a couple of times, but it has never worked for me. It's easier to kill the campaign in its prime than watch it wither away.

So what will I do now?

1) Try to keep the campaign going? I could. I could find more players, try to get things started up again. and just keep going. But on the other hand, my impressive shelf of games is not getting the try-outs that it did under my previous habits.

Another problem is that I'm realizing a couple of things that I should have done early on in the campaign, like build out the world beyond the dungeon or restock the dungeon behind them. In the early days of the campaign, I wasn't sure how long it would go on. By the time it became an established thing, other pieces of my life were becoming less established and it became harder to find the energy to do that sort of thing (and a lot of other things, like blog regularly).

2) Run something else? This is something that's been gnawing at me for a while. I've been thinking of a sci-fi game, maybe Star Trek or Diaspora, since the last 3 years have been heavy on fantasy for me. I've also been thinking of Monsterhearts, since one of the things I want to get better at as a GM is "going small," establishing character and setting by getting into those quiet moments when they're not having big awesome adventures. And since Monsterhearts is about being very small and petty, it seems like a good training ground. Or the Dresden Files RPG, since I've been a fan of those books for some time and I've been meaning to give Fate a test drive.

But at the same time, the experience of running a long term game has given me some insight into what is needed to make a long term game successful. Which means a lot more thought and effort than I've put into anything I've done prior. Even the current campaign. And with the life-stupid keeping me down, I'm not sure when I'll be able to get out of that rut.

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