Beltane

Today in the Northern Hemisphere, we acknowledge the Vernal or Spring Equinox.  On the continent of Moytonia on the world Rilmorn, where the celestial movements are much more clockwork in their precision, they are celebrating the first day of Aires, AKA New Year’s Day, AKA the Vernal Equinox, AKA Beltane.

While I have admitted (5th paragraph) that I was wrong when I placed the four Great Druidic Celebrations on the equinoxes and solstices, I do not have any desire to change this part of the established history of Rilmorn.  These Celebrations have held sway in active game play since 1984.  Also, I intend to start my next campaign (the Duvamil Campaign) on 1 Aries 2016.  Had all went as planned, we would have started this campaign today; thus linking calendars in the Game World and in the Table World.

I had planned on the PCs encountering various Beltane traditions.  As the suns set, they local druids would reenact the fight between the Holly King and the Oak King and all would celebrate the Oak King’s Victory.  There would have been the driving of the cattle between the Bel Fires to bless then and protect them from the attentions of the Goodly Folk.  Maybe the PCs would have participated in Fire Leaping.  The children of Duvamil would have tried to rope them into games of Eggs and Hares.  If any of the PCs were unmarried, but of marrying age, they would have been cajoled into joining a Ring Dance around the Oak King’s Tree.

Of course all those ideas and plans will still happen, but I won’t have the personal joy of starting a Campaign on the Vernal Equinox while playing the inaugural game on the Vernal Equinox.  So, dear readers, do you have any special events set up for holidays in your game worlds?

Game On!

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Io-Vol (A Dragon for My 52nd Birthday)

So, my inaugural post of 2016 is going to be about a dragon.  Are you surprised, dear reader?  You really shouldn’t be.  Today, I present unto you the Dreamwrath Dragon, Io-Vol.

When I got the 4E book, Draconomicon: Metallic Dragons, I was thrilled.  It was, yet, another jewel in my relatively extensive hoard of tomes.  It held the two lost metallic dragon-types that I love the best (the brass and the bronze).  It had draconians.  It had a cool dragon-led organization that attempted to control the portals to Sigil.  But the pièce de résistance was the picture of an artifact on page 79: the flask holding the Blood of Io.

The Blood of Io was held in a flask shaped like a sitting dragon with it wings folded at its back and its tail wrapped widdershins around its base.  The stopper of the bottle was a horned dragon that had two faces.  It appeared that the head of the dragon was going through mitosis and had yet to form two distinct wholes.  I loved it.

Now, I do not use the dragon creation mythology of the Forgotten Realms setting, so I had no use for the artifact as it was written.  The image was so compelling, it nigh demanded to be used in a game and since I could not use the artifact as it was, I took to looking for other ideas to help me use the Blood of Io (Draconomicon: Metallic Dragons PP 78-79)) in Rilmorn.  After much thought I added the Blood of Vol (a religion from the Ebberon setting (Eberron Campaign Guide, PP 248-251) and the dreambreath dracolich from Draconomicon: Chromatic Dragons (PP 78-79).  With all three parts, I crafted the history and powers of Io-Vol the Dreamwrath Dragon and her blood.

Io-Vol is a dragon, now, long lost to time, but age ago, she tormented her foes and terrified her children and allies by her power over dreams.  Io-Vol had the power to manifest in any of her descendants (literally, in anyone who bore her blood), as long that being was dreaming.  In addition to this power, Io-Vol was a powerful dream mage and had access to spells that could force her targets into REM sleep when ere she chose.  This gave her the ability to appear anywhere in the world at any time.

Only Io-Vol remembers who or what brought about her downfall, because only she is left.  Whoever or whatever killed all the beings that bore any kinship to Io-Vol.  While she was still a powerful spellcaster and enchanter, Io-Vol was rendered weak with her ability to travel freely and safely about the world taken from her.  Io-Vol knew it was only a matter of time before her enemies came for her, so she began to craft a magic flask to act as her touchstone to reality and a backup plan.

When Io-Vol finished her crafting, she filled it with her blood and sent it away.  She then began casting a series of spells and rituals that would render her immortal.  Before she finished her work, her enemies found her.  While they slew Io-Vol, theirs’ was a pyrrhic victory.  Io-Vol lived on in a dreamscape of her own making and was able to manifest in the material world once again, when beings began to use the artifact containing her blood, the Blood of Io-Vol.  With this power, she destroyed the last of her enemies, but lost the flask holding her Blood.  Io-Vol fell into a dreamless sleep and remained there, until the Blood of Io-Vol reappeared in the world.

The Blood of Io-Vol appeared in my game and was used by Feldspar, a shifter warden.  When he used its powers in combat, the Blood compelled him to eat the hearts of his fallen enemies.  In time, he and his fellow adventurers slew a dragon and Feldspar ate its heart.  Feldspar transformed into a dragon and became subject to Io-Vol’s dream magics when he fell asleep.  After an encounter with faery magic Feldspar shed his dragon form and hid the Blood of Io-Vol, but not before Io-Vol discovered and freed one of sons who had been trapped in a mirror of life trapping for centuries before Io-Vol fell to her enemies.

Io-Vol is becoming more active in the world of Rilmorn.  She is being drawn to Lord Doresh of the Fading Dream on Zentlan and to Metabular, a dragon in the dreamscape known as the Isle of Celstia.  Soon, she may make a new bid for power on her old home world.

Game On!

A Year in Review

 

So, on 12 December 2015, my 2 year blogging anniversary came and went without as much as a whimper.  2015 has not been a good year for me, as far a gaming goes.  Ever since the ending of the “Giants in the Earth,” my attempts at running a campaign have gone poorly.

My “Shadowfell Road” campaign died a malingering death of extended inaction.  My “Pellham” campaign (with all the great modules that I combined) couldn’t continue, due to my players’ extra-game commitments.  My Zentlan campaign is not dead, but it stuck on an extended hiatus…I have hope that after the holidays that it will be back.  My blogging has been spotty, at best.  I haven’t finished the corrections for my StatBonus.com submission.  I haven’t completed my review of Morgan Newquist’s story, The Blacksmith and the Ice Elves.  All in all, I haven’t gotten my game back.  Even my fiction writing has suffered.  All of this has been pinned on the backdrop of my friend Ed’s death.  He did not win his fight with cancer, but left this world with his pride and dignity intact.

I miss gaming.  I miss my friends, both those living and those beyond.  I miss my creative spark and I want better things to come.  With only five days left till Christmas, followed by a trip to visit family and friends in Mississippi, it is unlikely that I will post on my blog again this year.  I just wish I could feel better about this post and be more positive in this missive to my readers.  Alas, I cannot.  May the year’s end find you, my readers in better light.

I am struggling, but I haven’t given up.  Please dear readers and friends, Game On, until we meet again.

 

Random Musings (or Traveling Parallel Planes)

So, on All Saints Day 2015, my wife and I took a day trip to Gatlinburg, TN.  When her Waze voice told her to turn left on West Athens St, I complained that I didn’t want to go on West Athens St; I wanted to take Hwy 211.  (Just so you understand, West Athens St and Hwy 211 are the same road.)  Once, I had expressed my silliness, I immediately began thinking about game applications of this idea.  I got out my phone and opened up my sound recorder and babbled for almost two minutes.  When I was done, my wife told me that what I had recorded was a blog post in itself.  So, now, I am going to attempt to transcribe my recording for you.

Have you ever wondered about roads, especially roads that have multiple names at the same time?  Now, in some cases, it is because a really long highway goes through multiple municipalities and it changes names along the way for each town or village that it goes through; though many people know it by the highway name.  Then other times, you will end up traveling down the interstate and all of a sudden you will see that I-85 is now I-85 and I-75 and you didn’t do anything…different.  You, just, were traveling along and, all of a sudden, there it was.

What if…What if what’s happening isn’t that municipalities are changing the names to fit local ideas or images or roads merging?  What if it’s realities overlapping and if you knew how to travel, you could get off in a different universe than the one in which you started or, maybe worse, what if you did end up in a different universe and you did not realize it?

What then?

What if?

So, what ideas might you all take from these random thoughts?  I’ve got a great plan for a fairly famous elven town on Rilmorn.  Until next time…Game On!

Slaadi

So, in 1981, I got ahold of a copy the Fiend Folio, the first collection of monsters published by TSR, after they released the Monster Manual.  In it I found three of my favorite monsters: the githyanki (p.p. 43-45), the grell (p.p. 46-48), and the slaad (p.p. 80-83).  Since those early days, all three have made multiple appearances on Rilmorn and in various other settings, but slaadi have held special place in the cockles of my cold, little GMing heart.  Over time, the slaadi have changed.  Each edition offered new insights and variants.  I have steadily taken each of these changes and attempted to blend what I wanted into MY version of slaadi.  Now, it is my pleasure to present to you Way-Too-Much-Information about a bunch of bipedal frog-monsters.

Slaadi

The slaadi are great frog-like beings which dwell in both the Bleeding Edge of Reality and the Elemental Chaos.  Their natural form is that of a large, bipedal frog, though some slaadi have shapechanging abilities and can take on a humanoid appearance.  In their natural from, slaadi heads are huge and slaadi claws are sharp.

While slaadi are undisciplined and have no formal hierarchy, those knowledgeable about their habits and nature classify each slaad by its rarity and its type (which is often based on their color).  Despite such classifications by observers, most slaadi only obey stronger slaadi and then only under the threat of annihilation.

Many slaadi possess a magical symbol in the form of a unique gem that is embedded in the slaad’s skull just below the skin of its forehead.  These jewels are symbols of the rank (or rather the power) of the slaad and encase the slaad’s life force.  If a slaad’s gem is not destroyed, when a slaad is killed, the slaad automatically reincarnates around the gem the next day.  Certain magics can be used to remove a slaad gem from a still living slaad.  A successfully extracted gem can be used to control the slaad from which it was removed.  Such control is not always complete and anyone using a slaad gem should make quick use of their servant and then send it and its gem on their way.

Slaadi speak their own language; known among the learned as slaadeen.  Many slaadi are also telepathic and can communicate with any being that possesses a language.

Slaadi Reproduction and Transformation

Most slaadi reproduce by implanting a living host with an egg pellet from an egg sac underneath a slaad’s claws.  Normally, red slaadi egg pellets produce blue or green slaadi tadpoles, while egg pellets from other slaadi produce red or green slaadi tadpoles.  Some slaadi possess an infectious bite.  This bite transmits a disease called the chaos phage; a victim who succumbs to the chaos phage transforms into a slaad of the same the type that bit the victim or a green slaad.

There are three primary exceptions to this act of reproduction: flux slaadi, slaad brooders, and slaad spawners.  Flux slaadi are slaadi mutants; some spawnings go awry and small, weak, pebbly-skinned flux slaadi are born instead of the expected slaadi type.  Flux slaadi cannot reproduce.  Some slaadi take a special path that ultimately allows them to control the type of slaadi that their egg pellets spawn; these slaadi become slaad brooders.  Powerful slaad brooders can design the traits they want in their spawn and can create unique slaadi types.  Finally, slaad spawners are a slaadi mutation that causes embryonic slaadi spawn within their own bodies.  Blood and pus filled boils develop on a slaad spawner’s body and only physical injury can release the young slaadi.  If a newly released slaad spawn successfully feeds within the first moments of life, it will most likely survive to transform into a random slaad type a few days later.

Over time individual slaadi can go through amazing transformations.  Green slaadi that have survived at least a century sometimes retreat into isolation to undergo a ritual that transforms them into grey slaadi.  Green slaadi that have survived for at least two centuries may retreat into isolation to attempt a mysterious ritual that, if they survive, will transform them into death slaadi.  Grey slaadi that survive a thousand years can become white slaadi and death slaadi that survive two thousand years can transform into black slaadi.  Sometimes the chaotic energies within individual slaadi cause spontaneous transformations.  Blue slaadi digesters, green slaadi madjacks, grey slaadi havocs, and red slaadi juggernauts are some of the forms such transformations can take.

The Spawning Stone

Deep within the chaos of the Bleeding Edge of Reality, or maybe it is in the heart of the Elemental Chaos, is a massive stone over a mile wide and nearly a mile tall.  This stone covered in strange glyphs and other writing is the mating ground for all known slaadi types.  The Spawning Stone produces currents of ever changing “chaos-stuff” that flow away from the Stone.  As the nature of the “chaos-stuff” changes, one slaad race is drawn upstream to the stone, while all other slaadi are repelled.  Even with this feature in place, the first arrivals of the new set of mating slaadi are forced to drive off the lingerers from previous wave of mating slaadi.

The origin of the Spawning Stone is unknown, but legend holds that the two greatest slaadi lords, S’sendam and Ygorl, ensorcelled the stone to bind the slaadi into their current frog-like forms and color types.  They did this to prevent a slaad mutant from being born that would be more powerful than they.  It is believed that the slaadi gems, found in the forehead of many slaadi, come from egg pellets fertilized by slaadi mating at the Spawning Stone.

Well, folks this is part of what I’ve crafted for my games.  Tell me, if you’ve gone this crazy in your campaign design and if so, what did you do.  Until next time, Game On!

Retconing (or How to Get From Terah to Nibiru)

During my downtime from actively running a game, I have started to work on my settings and I have discovered something upsetting.  I have found better ideas for things, than those that I originally created or stole.  Now, what do I do?

During the Dark Time, after the glory of Second Edition was over and before the messianic arrive of Third Edition, I decided to run a campaign that was set on a world other than Rilmorn.  I had planned on using only modules and nothing else…No Gregory Created Stuff.  I failed, but I did end up with a fairly cool setting based of B2 Keep on the Borderlands and Return to Keep on the Borderlands.  The PCs started at and basecamped out of Kendal Keep, a keep on the borders of the Empire of Namoria.  I never named the world, because I didn’t need it.  Years and campaigns later, I would name it Terah.  Now, I want to change its name to Nibiru.  I never heard of Nibiru, until I was watching Scooby Doo! Mystery Incorporated.  Later, when I was rewatching Star Trek: Into Darkness, I noticed the opening sequence took place on the world of Nibiru.  Thus, my desire for the name change.

During the last game I ranin my Pellham campaign, I named an NPC Gabardine.  I knew that she was one of five “sisters” and I decided that three of the others would be named Fescue, DoTerra, and Cusped.  The fifth sister is to have an “E” name.  I later decided that DoTerra would be an alchemist and Cusped, a mage working with the Teeth of Dahlver-Nar.  Then, I decided I needed to have one sister that worked magic with plants and one that worked magic with cloth, but I’ve already got one name wrong…Gabardine is a florist.

What do I do?  I retcon!

I can’t retcon, because I believe this (I wrote this as a rebuttal in a debate about Lucas’ retooling of Star Wars.”

To alter a work once it is released to the public is be unfair to the audience, forever tweaking something prevents it audience from being able to fully connect with the work, because there are multiple versions and analogues of the work and any of them could be the true work.  I know how it feels to put something out there and then decide it is flawed.  Even though I presented it to two different audiences, I should not have changed the wording of my poem.  Now, there exist two quanta of the same work, but I have undermined the readers of the first version of the poem.  I have effectively told my first readers that what they got was crap.  It does not matter that there is very little to change in a two stanza poem, but it doesn’t matter.  It says that I put out bad stuff that I of which wasn’t proud.  Altering Star Wars is no different…

I can’t just change a draft and then run my campaign.  I’ve already put these events out to the public.  In days past, I told Mike Magee about the quintuplets born to a descendant of his character Gareth Eybender.  I never got to run those NPCs at that time, so years later when I found Ptolus, I could lift the name Danar and rename Janel the Herald’s oldest child without incident.  My two examples of Terah/Nibiru and Gabardine/Fescue are both events that have “been published.”  They are given events.

I see way to fix each of these problems.  With the Gabardine/Fescue event, I tell my plyers about my desired change and then if they agree with it, it changes.  The Terah/Nibiru change is a more of a cheat.  Not every culture calls the world upon which it dwells the same name.  Even on Rilmorn, where everyone does use the same name, each culture alters the spelling and sometimes the pronunciation.  So, Terah is the gnomes name for their former homeworld.  Everyone else gets to call it Nibiru and I get to steal the crazy that goes along with the story of Planet X.  Will I do them?

So, until we meet again, Game On!

Namoria and Terah (or How I Failed at Modules Between Editions)

When I was working on a post about Retrocontinuity , I discovered that I could not find a post to which I wanted to link.  It turns out that I never finished or posted that particular post. Here it is.

In late 1999 AD, my Players and I finished up my latest campaign – the one where one PC was a werewolf, who didn’t know he was a werewolf and another PC was a midwife working to keep her vampiric step-father’s condition a secret and my Oriental Adventures campaign had never really gelled and taken off.  We were all psyched up for 3E, but we didn’t want to wait until August 2000 AD to play again.  I didn’t want to start a new campaign in Rilmorn that I would have to convert for the new edition, so I decided to take up an idea from Mike Magee.

Back in the 80’s, Mike suggested that, since I owed so many modules, I should run a game using only modules.  The idea was for me to run the modules as written; I wouldn’t create my own plot lines.  As we played through each module, I’d place any maps in the module contiguous to already existing maps, ignoring any anomalous terrain issues.  Thus, I’d create a mosaic world made up of Greyhawk, Forgotten Realms, and Krynn.  It was a cool idea, but since I had been running a continuing Game World in Rilmorn, I never took the time to try it.  The downtime between editions seemed like the perfect time to try it out.

I had B2 – Keep on the Borderlands and Return to the Keep on the Borderlands, so I decided to use that as the foundation for this campaign. I had two solid versions of a great sandbox-style game module, a copy of B1 – In Search of the Unknown (a site which was marked on the maps of both Keep on the Borderlands modules), and a group of self-directed players.  Once I dropped a few plot hooks in, this campaign should have rolled itself right out.  I flopped right out of the starting gate.

I just could not run a campaign ex nihilo.  I felt compelled to create an empire, so I could have borderlands into which I place the Keep.  So, I came up with the Namorian Empire.  Namoria was based on Rome with a strong Celtic influence.  I wrote up a historical timeline.  I designed a calendar with 12 months, each one named after one of the first twelve emperors.  I also went on to adjust some of the history written into the module about Kendal Keep (the name given to the Keep in Return to the Keep on the Borderlands). No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t do it.

I use other modules and adventures, but rather than run them mosaic style, I tried to blend them into the campaign seamlessly.  It became a rather fun campaign, but personality issues and a storyline that got out of hand led to the demise of the Namori Campaign.

Skip to several campaigns later, we are well versed in using 3E and I am running my Sanderzani Campaign.  I am trying to add a bit of Lovecraftian horror to my store and quietly insert Yog-Sothoth into the background.  I, then, begin to attempt to draw the PCs across time and space.  I take modules, The Sunless Citadel by Bruce Coredell and The Standing Stone by John D. Rateliff (author of Return to the Keep on the Borderlands, by the way) and blended them and their maps to create an adventure for my gypsy band.  I tied it to the characters and adventurers of the previous campaign.  It went over well, but I never really got to reveal all the secrets I wove into that adventure setting.

But, my tale of woe doesn’t end there.  I got the D&D Next Play Test materials and attempted to run them for various Players.  I decided to put those materials into this world.  I ended up creating a weird map that was supposed to be changed as more play test materials came out. Unless the objects and places appearing on the map were labeled and oriented correctly, they didn’t actually exist.  Everything else on the on the map was in flux and subject to change.  I tied some of the adventures to the Isle of the Dreamers from my original Namori Campaign and would later use some of this material as background for my short-lived gnome campaign.  Now, I’m using this material and setting to expand on the Isle of the Dreamers.  It never ends.

Game On!

Counter Burnout (or How did I Get my Game Back?)

The past few months have been poor gaming.  Between my work schedule, stuff going on with my Players’ families, and illness on my part, I’ve not ran a game, since March.  At first, it wasn’t too bad.  I reread the modules that I wanted to mix and run for my Pellham campaign.  I figured out how to connect the Tower of the Heavens to the Brotherhood of Brie.  I developed the powers for the Florist-Madam Fescue and the Emerald Eye.  I worked on the Zentlan map.  Then, things began to slow done.  I had ideas that I wanted work on, but I had no energy to do so.  I had all the symptoms of burnout, but I hadn’t done anything to burn out upon.  I have, this day, dubbed my malady counter burnout.

I didn’t burn out because I had too much of doing something, I burnt out because I didn’t do enough of something.  I was all prepped up to run a game; heck, I was prepped up to run two different games.  “They also serve who stand and wait,” but I waited so long, I ran out of interest in anything related to gaming.  It was only by getting bad news and keeping a promise that I got my game back.

A good friend  __, the assistant manager at my place of employment, has cancer and has been in a drug trial to counter the lesions in his brain.  This Friday past, he was taken off the trial; because the treatment isn’t working for him anymore.  That was the bad news.  I promised Russell Newquist that I would review Ghost of the Frost Giant King.  His request came at a time when my home life and work life were getting out of control; then came the counter burnout.  With __’s news, I really started seeing things in a new light.  I had people who respected me enough to want my opinion of their creativity and my support in promoting it.  About the time my counter burnout went full bore, Joe the Revelator asked me to submit material for StatBonus.com.  I hadn’t done that, either.  I was not happy with where I was, so I decided to do something about it.

I started my review of Ghost of the Frost Giant King.  When I began my review, I was looking for negatives and I was unhappy.  My wife asked me what I would do, if I had been asked to review a Monte Cook title and I realized that I would be looking at the product as a whole and seeing how I could adapt it to my game.  Between that and __’s positive outlook on his upcoming radiation and chemo treatments, I went back, started at the beginning, reread, and reevaluated Ghost of the Frost Giant King.  Looking at the work as a whole and seeing the complexity layered into it, it reignited my gaming desires.  Completing and posting my review, both on my blog and on DriveThruRPG.com, has refueled my game.  I submitted an article for review at StatBonus.com.  I can’t wait to alter Ghost of the Frost Giant King and make use of it in my game.  I am looking forward to  reviewing The Blacksmith and the Ice Elves, a short story written by Morgan Newquist and set in Ghost of the Frost Giant King setting.  I never suspected that not gaming could burn me out, as easily as over playing could.  I am glad that I have friends that look out for me, even when they do not know that they are doing so.

Game On!

A Review: “Ghost of the Frost Giant King”

Disclaimer: Russell and Morgan Newquiest, two of the authors of this adventure, are friends of mine and the owners of Silver Empire publishing. They provided me with a free, PDF copy of this adventure for me to review.

Ghost of the Frost Giant King is less of an adventure and more of a mini campaign. Using the 3.5 Dungeons and Dragons rules system, Ghost of the Frost Giant King provides a great setting in which the heroes can adventure. Inspired by Nordic myths and stories the continent of Thrúdheim is filled with Monsters and NPCs that allow the Game Master to both evoke the feeling of the Norse Sagas and provide the Players with memorable fights and role playing encounters.

The main narrative of Ghost of the Frost Giant King involves the PCs transporting supplies to a beleaguered frontier town/military fort, but that journey may then lead them on a quest to find artifact out of legend. Scattered throughout the adventure are side quests. It is possible for the GM to run the adventure without them, but I think they really add to the tale and the setting.

There are 44 pages in the PDF version of Ghost of the Frost Giant King. Of those 44 pages, 30 are used for front and back covers, pre-generated PCs and their portraits, NPCs, monster entries, a “Paint-style” player’s handout, three maps, “legal stuff,” and the credits. That leaves 14 pages for the adventure and its attendant art. The Adventure to Support Material Ratio is a bit low for my tastes, but given that Ghost of the Frost Giant King is more of a mini-setting than a straight adventure, it works out well.

I only found two problems with is adventure. The first is the large number of “Read Out Loud” sections. While the “Read Out Loud” sections give the GM needed information, they are often long and wordy and I feel that Players will lose interest while the GM is reading it out. The other problem I have with Ghost of the Frost Giant King is the maps. There are multiple issues with the maps.

There are no tactical maps for use in combat. There is no scale on any of the maps. The only map for the Boss Fight is the map given to the PCs by an NPC (also, this is the only place in the adventure that lists the traps used to defend the boss’ lair). There are no maps for any of the villages or towns used in this adventure. Finally, the continent map doesn’t give the name of any of the cities, towns, or villages shown on the map; nor are any of the rivers, forests or mountains named.

Despite my quibbles, I feel that Ghost of the Frost Giant King is a great module. It gives a GM enough NPCs, settings, monsters, and political intrigue to either run a fairly straight forward adventure or to build a campaign on what is given. With all of this and a superb minor artifact that could spawn a whole slew of story threads all on its own, I rate Ghost of the Frost Giant King a 4 out of 5. It is a great piece of work.

P is for Procrastination

When I accepted the A to Z Challenge, I had high hopes.  I got four completed and had planned on writing “E is for Elethar,” “F is for Fun,” G is for Gregory,” “M is for Maps,” “S is for Shanor,” “X is for Xashthrapot” and “Z is for Zentlan.”  Alas, I was not successful and I know why, I procrastinated.

Every Game Master can, most likely, tell you of times when he or she, for no good reason, put off working on Game until it was nearly too late to run the game.  It is true that GMs procrastinate; “Never do today what you can put off till next week,” so quoted my mother.  The given fact that I procrastinate is not important.  What is important is the reasons why I procrastinate and how I deal with the causes of procrastination.

Procrastination is not simply not doing something that needs to be done; it is choosing to do something else, when one has time to do the needed thing.  It is sitting down a playing Sid Mier’s Civilization, instead of working on the A to Z Challenge.  So, why do I put off working on my game?  Some days, I am just worn out.  Work has taken its toll.  There is high drama being played out on the stage that is my home.  I’m sick.  On those days, I just want to do something that occupies my mind, but doesn’t require me to think.  I don’t really have anything I can do to deal with these situations, because they are external to my game.  Other times, I procrastinate, because I am unhappy with my game.  When this happens, I have a problem upon which I need to work.

When I am procrastinating because I am unhappy with my game, I usually find one of two causes.  Either I have devised a setting which doesn’t interest me or my players are making me miserable.  The latter problem is often caused by players who are uninterested in the setting which I am running or by players who get more enjoyment out of ruining the game for the GM or the other Players.  When this has happened in my games, the players in question were also my friends outside the Game, so I decided to focus on doing what I could to engage those players and focus on the things that make the Game fun for me.  It usually works and we all have a fairly good time.  Always focus on the positive and always remember the other Players.

When I procrastinate due to my lack of interest in my setting, I must figure out what I don’t like about my own campaign.  Sometimes discovering what I don’t like about my campaign is quite simple.  Other times, I spend hours or days trying to figure out what is wrong.  Either way, once I discover it, I begin to change the setting.  I don’t do it suddenly without warning, because that isn’t fair to my players, who have worked hard to make characters that fit the setting.  I start small and give the Players time to adjust their characters to fit the changes.  The few times that I made sudden and hardcore changes in my games, I had players rebel.  So, now, if I am unhappy running a gritty desert campaign and want to run a high fantasy Celtic campaign, I can start with dropping magic items from the style of campaign I want into my desert setting.  Then I start sending the PCs on short excursions into the net setting.  After a few trips into the Celtic setting, I craft longer adventures and attempt to give the PCs touchstones and hooks, so that my Players want to explore this world.  If I do it right, I’m running y preferred game of choice and my Players are caught up in the depth of my world and the story that we are creating  together.

Do you procrastinate?  Why?  What do you do return to active game work?  Until next time, Game On!