I am nerding it up this weekend.
On Saturday I have a regular Saturday game of Dungeons and Dragons. I am running a pre-made adventure for the first time, but I find it makes the workload a lot less. I do notice that the stories and the story beats that I get to tell when I run my own adventure are more satisfying, though. It’s a trade off as a dungeon master (DM), since I am less stressed having to come up with adventures, but I love the catered moments I create and have the players interact with. Still, should be fun.
I also am sitting down with a group of friends that (most of them) don’t play Table-Top RPG’s on Sunday and designing characters with a new system I’m trying: Monster of the Week. It’s an old system that isn’t being supported anymore, but I love the system and I learned about it from The Adventure Zone podcast (which is amazing, I highly recommend). It’s like Buffy, or Angel, or X-Files, or Supernatural, in that vein, and you can fight literally anything and you can literally be almost anything. It allows for a bunch of different rules for magic, different mythologies, different worlds. I’m setting it in Victorian Era London, and the group sounds exciting. We are just making characters Sunday, but the basis for the story is going to be found in that session.
What I love about these games is what I love about writing: crafting a story around interesting characters. In writing, I come up with the characters and the story, so I have total control, but often that singular mind crafting all of it can make the story stale and it’s hard to get a different perspective as you craft it. With the RPG’s I don’t have total control, and I don’t even craft the characters, but I also feel like it creates a more dynamic storytelling experience because it’s collaborative.
I get excited when this stuff happens, but I really feel like people who aren’t interested in telling a good story or making an interesting character tend to make the collaborative element fall flat. But those who are interested in the part of the experience make the story so good and so compelling because it feels so real as it happens.
I am resolved for the Dungeons and Dragons group to be a little stale without my ability to to cater the story too much and many of the players are stale role players. It’s still fun and interesting but it’s not as nearly satisfying. This new game, I feel like the people in it may care more about a good story and care more about making a good character. If that ends up being true, I think it will be really fun to play.
I do have to manage my expectations, though…..relying on other people to have a good time often leads to disappointment.