2013 is Gone, What Shall I Do?

It’s been a sporadic year for gaming here on Rilmorn and today is the last day of the Roman Year.  I’ve enjoyed the games I’ve run and the parts of the world that I have designed, but I have wanted to do more.  So, with this in mind, I have decided to write up a few goals for 2014.

  1. Stop Story Arcs  I’ve been trying to run story arcs since 3E and I’m poor at it.  I do much better at creating multiple, big villains, having them run their agendas and letting the PCs decide who to challenge.  This lets the story develop organically.  The players become more involved.  It does not require me to keep steering the PCs back to the filled in portions of the map.
  2. Build Up My Map Collection   When I ran games among a group that shared multiple DMs, I was known as the Last of the Mapmakers.  My maps were not always good, but they were notable.  Players could mark on them.  They carried hidden symbols, previous owners’ marks, and, once, a coded message.  I fell out of that behavior, especially with the focus on tactical mapping and combat in 3E and 4E.  Since, I  have GIMPand other map tools, I will up my game again.
  3. Explore Iolta and Thrain  I designed a section of my world where I was going to run games using DnD Next playtest rules.  I never really got to play in that portion of Ryllmorrinn. Time to start.
  4. Make Use of Languages  I’ve made multiple “language trees,” since I read the articles in Dragon Magazine, issue #66.  I’ve quit using multiple languages, since supernal appeared in 4E and it allows the speaker to understand and be understood by anyone with who he or she is speaking.  I’m killing supernal for future games and giving power back to those players which really enjoy their PC being the translator and spy for the party in foreign settings.
  5. Have Fun  I need to do the things that help me enjoy the game, too.  NPCs with odd agendas.  Random encounters that may or may not ever have a bearing on the campaign.  (It will all depend on the players.)  Make maps…lots and lots of maps.  Use whatever ideas come to mind, at the first opportunity.  Enjoy the game for the simple joy of enjoying the game.

Game On!

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4 thoughts on “2013 is Gone, What Shall I Do?

  1. Story arcs can develop naturally if only one thing is going on. However, if you want instead to have multiple villains with agendas, you need to have events ongoing to remind players of what is happening when they ignore one or the other. You don’t have to make it easy on us, either – chasing down one lets another prosper, and vice versa. Some villains’ plots might develop more invisibly unless pursued, while others might be visible every once in a while.

    What I’ve noticed on our “world tour” is that your world is full of interesting locations and interesting people but not so much with interesting cultures. Culturally, one place can seem like another. For each culture, a few simple questions can define it. Is the government fair or unfair? Liberal or oppressive? Powerful or weak? Is there poverty, prosperity, or both (inequality)? Are people secure or is there crime, gangs, warlords? Are there political factions among the people and/or the government that divide people on common issues? More simply put, how do most people live their lives?

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  2. All good questions and observations, James. It is hard to create a culture and reveal that culture to the PCs in standard play where a group of PCs spend weeks or months in any area. It is even harder, when the PCs are on whirlwind world tour. The one place that I really developed, Dwarmarik, I glossed over to get E3 to the Tower of Spells. Sorry, about that. I hope to improve my culture rating in 2014.

    You once told me that what you liked about my games is that the world went on with out the PCs. You liked that there were many “irons in the fires of Rilmorn” and that the PCs could not get to all of them. When I try running a planned story arc, like “Giants in the Earth,” I don’t do as well in the “rest of the world” stories. Something else to work on in 2014.

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    • It’s true that your rich world can often distract characters from their major plotlines, especially if it is not happening under their nose. Progress in your game is often pressed forward by a single motivated player. I think you made a lot of efforts to take advantage of that fact in the current campaign, designing story arcs for each player to push forward. That met with mixed success, but then finally the major plotline wasn’t being pursued by anyone specific and the clues weren’t frequent or tantalizing enough.

      Your game is still in excellent form, but motivating players to follow a story is one of the weaknesses that comes with having a rich, distracting world where characters can literally go on a world tour for 1+ years of real world time without noticing.

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  3. Pingback: Maps, Maps, and More Maps (or Art or Artifact?) | World Engineer

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