Sunday, December 15, 2013

Prodigal Son: Let’s Try This Again

Part Nineteen

    It’s been some time since I last wrote a Prodigal Son article.  Things came up, the way things do.  I got busy, other folks got busy.  I made some priority choices, and gaming lost out.  Life happened.  Well, I’m back, and this time I’m going to give it a serious go.  I’m not stopping off at the Moon, I’m taking a rocket straight to Mars.  While I would love to do another game night some time soon, I’m putting my effort into going straight for a regular roleplaying game.  Now, I would absolutely love to get a weekly session, but while I’m a dreamer, I’m not kidding myself.  That won’t be happening in all likely hood, and I’d rather have something than nothing.  So, come the new year, I’m gathering a few friends together, and we’re going to discuss options and interests.  At the moment, it looks like most, if not all, of my potential players will be new to the hobby, which is exciting (and a bit scary).  I have to remember a few things in the meantime.  1. Roleplaying is one of the most creative and exciting hobbies around; it trumps video games any day, and on the best days it trumps film and literature.  And 2. Roleplaying should be fun.

    I figure the first night, we’ll just chat about the hobby, and maybe play a round of Once Upon a Time or some such.  From there, I figure we’ll arrange a schedule of sorts, hopefully on a no less than bi-weekly basis.  To start things off, I’ll run a one or two night game of something easy and introductory, with pre-made characters.  The obvious options here would be my go-to one-shot game, Call of Cthulhu, or maybe Unknown Armies.  Or maybe, in spite of my frustration with the over-saturation of zombies, All Flesh Must Be Eaten.  Or I could go really crazy and do something like Terra Primate.  Anyway, whatever it ends up being, the point is to get the basic idea of how it all works.

    Once that introductory game is done, we can look at doing something more long term.  Maybe not an indefinite game, but a mini-campaign.  The growth and development of a character is one of the great things about a game, and something missing in one-shots, of course.  With a mini-campaign, there could be a particular story direction, with some major events mapped out, and an ending (or at least a place for an ending to fit).  It gives some sense of development while it also gives the satisfaction of a conclusion.  Short campaigns have a lot of advantages, not the least of which is their finite length.  If they’re good enough, and feature particularly memorable endings, they’ll be remembered for years to come.

    If the group only makes it through one mini-campaign, I’ll count it a success (assuming folks enjoy themselves).  But my hope isn’t to do a single four to eight session story and be done with it all.  There was a time when I was involved in two or three ongoing games a week, when some games lasted several years.  While those days may be long gone, I’d like to get back a bit of it.  So, if the first game and/or the first mini-campaign is a success, I’d sure like to do more.  More mini-campaigns?  This is, of course, an option.  It allows for various types of games, and there are so many I’d like to try.  However, I’d very much like to do a long form campaign.  Something open ended.  As with all things, there are pros and cons to this.  But the longer the game, the more character and setting development, and the more players can influence not just events, but the whole tone and direction of the story.

    The real trick, and this will likely take some time to get rolling, will be to get a game of Ars Magica going.  For that, the group’s numbers might have to be expanded.  Ars Magica is the only game I can think of where very large groups can still work.  Otherwise, six people is pushing it.  Before an ongoing, open ended game, it’s time to get serious, and get this business done.  Time to stop putting things off and talking about how cool it would be if…  Come January, I’m getting a game together, dang it.


See the rest of the series here, and here.

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