Thursday, January 7, 2010

Still Writing

I'm still working on my next gaming post, but it's not ready to upload yet. So let me talk about my history of gamemastering.

I started out with white box D&D, back around 1976, in high school. At least half of my gaming group ran a dungeon at one time or another, including myself. I also gamed with a couple of other friends on the side; despite efforts to incorporate them into my other group, they never really gelled. Later, in college, I found my way into another group, where 1st edition AD&D was the system of choice. (I'm still friends with most of this group, and game with one of them).  I convinced them to try RuneQuest, Superworld, and Call of Cthulhu, and ran a couple of campaigns over the next few years. After that I didn't game much because of graduate school.

After grad school was over, my friends and I drifted into another group that was playing Champions.  (Still friends with most of these guys, too.)  However, I found that I ad kind of lost the knack of running a campaign, if not the desire. I was mostly a player, but when I tried to come up with a campaign of my own, it would sputter out after a few sessions. After various permutations of the Champions group, I drifted over to the group I'm playing with today. Our core members have been gaming together for over 15 years, mainly RuneQuest, with one main gamemaster.

I'm still struggling with my inability to keep a campaign going.  Thinking back over the years, I think the main difference in my campaign style was that I used the "old school" support materials from groups like Judges Guild and Chaosium, which weren't so heavily loaded as the scenarios and settings of today. I was also more ready to be spontaneous, going off on any tangent the players were willing to explore. I think I let Champions intimidate me because of the calculations involved and the massive rulebooks.  I also got the idea somewhere that I needed to write everything down and create a kind of module (as I recently tried to do with Mythic Greece). With my latest effort, I think I'll try the KISS principle.

Anybody else have any similar problems? The comment board is open.


Will Douglas said...

I used to run Champions -- 4th edition was my favorite when it came out.

I had had the most success runing Champions 2e. But all I did was create a villian team and let the heroes fight them.

Other than that, I'd had little success keeping a campaign alive.

On the other hand, I've always been pretty happy as a player...

Risus Monkey said...

As I get older, I look back on the campaigns of my youth and wonder... how the hell could I have done that much work??? I used to massively detail worlds, over-plan adventures, and use systems (like Rolemaster) that required constant table lookups.

I'm now pushing 40 with two young kids. I just *don't* have the time for that anymore. More than that, I don't have the patience. I mean I *love* worldbuilding will always try to do a little of that on the side. But my adventure planning has been stripped down to outlines and minimal (if any) stats.

That's why Risus has been such a godsend. Even when I'm not running Risus itself, I sort of use the Risus mentality when I run other games.

Anyway, my big problems with running campaigns has always been my short attention span. By the time I have done the world building for a given campaign I'm usually ready to try a different genre. It's still a problem that I'm grappling with. I *think* I may have solved the problem by picking a dimension-hopping genre for one of my face-to-face games and using the Mythic GM Emulator t immediately sample my current genre/game system crush.

Swompy said...

I still have several folders and binders filled with my old AD&D campaign that I ran for several years over two decades ago now. *sigh* I remember pouring over my world map each night for months, filling in every little detail of every majestic tower or squalid sewer that my players could even conceive of visiting. I invested so much into that game that my grades suffered.

Now I'm pretty darn content to kick back and be a player, especially in the hands of an entertaining GM. I still lug that old campaign around with me every time I move but I don't have the heart to put a bullet into it for good.

I occasionally get the itch to GM but it is pretty well satisfied by planning little forays like the Henchmen campaigns. It's kind of like having a little fling in between serious relationships.