Thursday, December 19, 2013

The People Have Spoken...

...and by "people," I mean "My own desire to play a popular RPG." And so I have scheduled a D&D meetup for next Sunday. And hopefully, this one will not fizzle. Butts in the seats won.

I have a couple of ideas to manage burn-out this time, though. Let's list them, so we can laugh at them later if/when this latest attempt at a long-term gaming commitment falls through:

-I am planning for secondary gaming sessions. I have announced in the meetup that once character creation is up, the average session will be 3-4 hours. This leaves me enough time to do a brief one-shot of another game afterwards. The idea is this will allow me to exercise my need to play other games without the pressure of having to commit every minute to the one game I'm already playing. Also, should I manage to get new players into this campaign, this secondary session will expose those players to new, not-D&D games.

-Third time's the charm. I am running the excellent Keep on the Shadowfell. I have read and re-read this adventure, and could probably at least do the first several sessions on auto-pilot. This substantial prep advantage frees up brain space that would otherwise be spent straining to look up rules and study encounters, thus staving off burnout.

-I am imposing hard limits on character creation. Yes, nothing says fun like "hard limits," but a problem I ran into in previous games was what many gamers call "creep." Creep is when new rules and sourcebooks are gradually assimilated into your game, to the point where a game that was once manageable is now a labryinth of rules and decisions. Specifically, I would post the meetup, and invariably get people asking me "can I use THIS book?" "are you using THIS rule?" "Can I make a character with THIS option?" The answer now is going to be a nice, flat "no." I am sticking to the stuff I know extremely well, from the first PHB. I know this is going to alienate some of the more veteran players of the game, but as we established in the previous entry, I'm not really catering my game to them. I heart noobs.

-I am actively researching ways to streamline combat and increase narrative-based play. I get real bored, real fast, when D&D degenerates into a glorified boardgame. Indeed, that's something that turns off many people about 4th edition. To combat this (pun intended), I am scouring the internet for techniques to keep all that dice rolling in check. I've already found a few good ideas to keep things buttery smooth, and I intend to continue to research and refine my technique.

So, armed with this new sense of purpose, I am going to try again with the 4e campaign. I want to fulfill my own prophecy of an epic, meaningful, committed game (as written about in the entry "More Than a Good Time"). As the new year approaches, many are committing themselves to losing weight, finishing school, or connecting with their loved ones. I, however, have only one silly little resolution: to be a better Dungeon Master. Here goes nothin'...

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