Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Epiphany of Sorts

As I consider the different approaches I can take in making the next campaign game, I suddenly realized (again) that the DM designs the type of game he/she would like to play in.  One of the older groups on-again/off-again DM's really enjoys back stories and intrigues and hidden references.  Another prefers storylines with a few possible choices for the PC's, but they all push forward a story.  I prefer open ended free-for-alls in which I can wander and explore.  And once that thought really had a chance to germinate, I realized that this was the root of my dissatisfaction in the past.  While the characters are all low level, the players who want storylines can begin to puzzle out threads to follow.  The hack-n-slashers and min/max-ers can have a field day attacking and killing things.  And everyone's happy....then around 6th or 7th level, the game tends to change.  The PC's are now beginning to get reputations, there's more roleplay needed.  More thinking needed to determine who's telling the truth in those RP settings.  The hack-n-slashers are held back because now they can literally sever a storyline.  The min/max-er's just want to roll the dice and "click the dialogue box" to get to combat.  And no one's entirely happy any more which leads to players bickering and me sitting there wondering where did it all go wrong.....

It went wrong when I, as DM, did not say at the beginning what type of game I was going to run.  I did not set the tone properly.  So, I have learned my lesson and will be ready to do just that at the start of the next game.  I know this sounds iron-fisted, or at least it does to me, but I don't see any other option out there to get the players started working like a team.  I know it will work because it worked when I presented the Kobold Campaign.  The group worked up to 10th level when the main storyline concluded with the successful resurrection of the protector dragon.  It works in the Sky Pirate game in which I am playing because we all started out as captured slaves.  So, the next step is: what event pulled the characters together?  I need to spell that out clearly along with the type of game I will be running.

So, now to work out the details......
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