Thursday, July 22, 2010

When Last We Left Our Heroes

After much soul searching and internal monologuing, with a heavy heart I have come to the decision to Fox my Monday Night RPG (To Fox: Verb, to bring to an abrupt stop usually without resolution). In all honesty, this has been coming a while now. I just haven't been feeling the love for the game that I want to as a GM. Where I used to look forward to Monday nights and gaming, it has been a chore for too long. This has nothing to do with my players. It's not you, it's me.

I've been reading a book from my hero, Sir Ken Robinson, called The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything. In it, Sir Ken makes the point that when you are doing something you love, then there is no "work" involved, time passes at a different pace, you can adapt and manage change within whatever you are doing with ease and nothing seems impossible. You are in your Element.

All this made me realise that GMing is not fun for me right now. I am not in my Element. In my last Spirit of the Century game I looked forward to each game night. My brain was filled with ideas and I relished the opportunity to be actively creative and exercise my mind on the go as the players repeatedly screwed up my perfectly laid plans. I didn't know what was going to happen next week, but it didn't bother me. The players controlled the flow of the game to some extent, and I simply had to come up with the connecting pieces to join the end of one game to the start of the next.

With my current game, I just don't feel the same ability within myself. I find myself "sending in the ninjas" far too often just to stall things, or to drag out the evening until people go home. I've always enjoyed out-of-game conversations at the gaming table, as I feel that game night is as much a chance for people to get out and hang with friends as it is for them to solve the latest adventure. But when I'm looking forward to just hanging out with my players and having those out-of-game conversations over playing the actual game, I know that something is not right.

In my previous campaign I was happy with the twists and turns I had the story take. I never second guessed myself about how I did something in a game. In this game, I am constantly regretting how I played a scene. "Oh, I should have done this, I should have used him, I could have made them appear, I shouldn't have played it like that." I don't feel the same confidence in my own abilities.

Maybe I made my world too big? In my previous campaign it was just 1920's Earth. Here we have eight other planets and various hidden locations. I had this grand idea for each planet, a system for travelling between them (robbed wholesale from a sci-fi series), at least two important NPCs on each world, and even some threads of what each NPC might want. But it was too much. I didn't know how to handle it, or, maybe, I did, but I just lost interest. I hadn't enough of it written down, or solidly plotted out. But then, I had virtually nothing written down in my first campaign, just single word ideas, a sentence here or there and some stuff bookmarked in Firefox.

In the end, all that matters is that I'm not happy with the level of quality I'm bringing to the table as GM. I hereby hand off our own little Monday Night Gaming to anyone that wants it. We have a set of enthusiastic players who deserve a GM to match.

Right now, I need a cookie.

And so, we end tonights final episode of "Across The Stars" as our heroes dangle precariously from the edge of the asteroid with the villainous Dr. Apathy sneering overhead. From everyone here at KWRYN, we thank you for listening, and remember, always "Shoot for the stars!"


Jp Corkery said...

It's a shame when you have to put an end to a game like that but I think you did the right thing.

This is how my old L5R game died back in college - between my workload from my course and other issues, the game began to feel like a chore I didn't need. And even now, I still regret a few things I did when I was running that game.

So I put an end to it. I don't know if you guys were enjoying it back then - I still like to think that you were - but I know that I wasn't. And I felt bad ending the game just 2 or 3 sessions before starting in on the final adventure.

But at least you don't seem to have burnt out on GMing completely - hopefully, if the stars are right in future you'll be able to put together a new game some day that you love as much as the first SotC game.

I know I've had a load of ideas for both Legend of the Five Rings and a Buffy game that I would absolutely love to run, but I can't quite seem to bring myself to put them together, seek out the right players and just run the game.

Maybe there's hope for us yet. Probably more for you than for me though. :)

Denis said...

Heh. I liked that game. It's why I have a Bayushi Yoshi Yahoo address. My Scorpion with the green mask.