It is a cool and rather wet day outside of my apartment. One of those days that really tells you to just stay inside and enjoy life. My wife who had to go to work this morning came back inside and confirmed my suspicions, “I am going to avoid going outside”, when she placed her -20 hands on my back.
The way that my day is looking is that I am going to work on my World of Darkness campaign for the show Stranger Things. Right now I am working on how to make it different enough from the show that people who watched the show cannot just insta-win because they know everything.
I am also going to work on some team compositions for my friends who play League of Legends because as a team we would like to do some climbing in ranked. I for one am excited but first we will see if my efforts are worth the time.
More than likely I will finish my day by playing Dead by Daylight and trying to earn some more blood points to upgrade The Trapper because he is only level 10 right now. I need him to be much higher level for the Halloween event that I am hosting.
I had been hearing so many things about the show Stranger Things on Netflix. About how awesome it is and just how great the story was. I took a look at the cover picture and I told myself that it looked silly.
*Below this point there may be spoilers for Stranger Things and Neverwhere*
However the people telling me just how good it was would not stop and because the characters in the show play Dungeons and Dragons my friends thought that I would love it.
Eventually I did cave. I sat down and watched the first episode and then the second and the third. By the time I hit the finale it was three in the morning and my head was spinning with all of the information that I just received.
I felt as though so many things that I have wanted just came together and were made into a movie. The show itself felt like someone was sitting behind the scenes running a game of Innocents in the World of Darkness setting. The characters were all actually being played by a group of friends and each episode itself was another session of the same campaign.
Afterwards I just couldn’t contain myself and I had to explain to my wife everything that just happened. Not only in the show but how it made me feel.
One of my favorite books of all time Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman held a similar idea to the show Stranger Things in regards to there being two worlds. For Neil Gaiman it was London Above and London Below.
In the end the show inspired me to pull out my World of Darkness books and start working on writing a campaign version of Stranger Things. Something that my friends can play in and experience, still different enough from the show that it can stand alone and knowing the show will not make it so that they automatically do everything right.
Playing games like Dungeons and Dragons, Pathfinder, and World of Darkness; one of the most critical members of the group is the GM or DM (Game Master or Dungeon Master). This individual is the one that must work to create and prepare all of the materials for each and every session.
They can choose to use pre-made modules where everything is laid out for them going in, however those individuals still must interpret what was created. They must work with that information and make it relevant to the players that they have in their sessions.
If someone is doing a homebrew they spend hours making all of the material themselves and then still must figure out how to make it relevant to the party.
Being the DM or GM is an exhausting job as you weave a story for hours on end that the players can totally destroy in a matter of moments. It can also be very rewarding as the players all experience a story that you weaved so well that they felt as though they were really in the story.
The greatest compliment to my abilities as a DM was when I had all of my players in tears around me because I told them a story about how someone in the game died protecting them.
I myself prefer to be one of the players because it is a lot of work to create and work on a campaign week after week, month after month, and all the players do is show up to play. With my current group there is no thanks for the work that I do and because of that I do get tired of telling the same story as the players keep following one major quest line. It helps me to switch gears and run a different story for a while, but my players hate that and complain saying that they love the last story so much they don’t want to leave it. Part of the problem is that once a story has been left we as a group never go back because the players graduate from college and leave, or summer time comes and everyone goes home. It is just very difficult to play in my current environment and I would love to have a group of about four dedicated players who were thankful for the effort that I put into each session.
Long post made short- Thank your Dungeon Master or Game Master today, they deserve it.
In a year, long before man walked the earth the First Tree sprouted. For several hundred years the First Tree simply grew, growing larger as the only living thing in the land. As it grew, the First Tree breathed life into the world around it.
Grass began to grow, bushes sprouted out of the earth, and the first lifeforms began to walk the earth. The First Tree eventually began to bud and make seeds. In the year 1,000 a great wind came up and carried the seeds over the land.
These began to sprout and grow, becoming a great many things. The elves believe that this is when the races were born. The forest was born in this instance as well, bringing about what would become the kingdom of the elves. The other great races like Humans and Dwarves would leave the forest and spread to the other areas of the world where the First Tree would not have as much of a reach. Leaving the elves to rule over the forest, they would name the forest Alasee, representing the hope that this forest gives them.
The lesser races like Goblins and Orcs would have to find their own way in the world living wherever they could find a place, feeling abandoned by their creator they would turn to darkness.
It is now the year 10,018 and the Queen of the Forest is Lady Glissadre. With her royal council the Lady Glissadre will invite the Heroes of this realm to a special ceremony to celebrate their great deeds protecting the Great Forest Alasee and with that the First Tree.
So my girlfriend has started prodding me to work on a campaign, irrelevant which system I use, but I just need to run something.
My first major debate was which system. I am still in college and don’t have a lot of time for pure creation so that rules out World of Darkness and Rolemaster. A lot of my players want something with a lot of substance and known rules, this rules out Savage Worlds. Now I am left with the choice between Fantasy and Science Fiction. I am a much better DM with Fantasy so that rules out The Firefly Role-Playing Game and the Serenity Role-Playing Game. So now it is between Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 and Pathfinder. In my opinion Pathfinder is Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 just better. So Pathfinder it is.
Now the next discussion is what kind of story do I want to tell? Where will it take place and so on. I think I am going to do my very first Forest Setting Campaign (having them adventure within the vastness of the Great Elven Forest of Alasee), starting the characters at a higher level (10), and maybe there will be a dragon.
In the forest they will discover many things like a great army of Goblins trying to wipe out all other races, driven by someone else to commit such a daring act. Machine like men who cannot see the beauty they are seeking to destroy. A plot from within to release a great seal that is holding back an unmentionable horror. They will find themselves traveling across the land beset upon by the great creatures themselves, then traveling into the First Tree to find answers regarding the recent evils.
An organization (AoG or Association of Gamers) that I helped start at my University holds a bi annual lock in at one of the local game stores (The Troll’s Den). This year for the Lock-In I am running a total of 6 sessions of gaming. Each one will last for 2 hours and will be based loosely on a video game or movie to help draw interest in tabletop RPGs. For this I am using the Savage Worlds system though my overall favorite is Rolemaster or Pathfinder.
The following are the prompts I am giving people to sign up for each of my sessions. I am allowing five people per session and they be given pre-built characters just to help speed everything along and then we can dive directly into the story.
Red Dawn (9 PM – 11 PM) – The Chinese have invaded, no I don’t know why. Be prepared for a lot of open answer questions as you figure out how to survive in this new world and save your friends/family.
Borderlands (11 PM- 1 AM) – This will be a shoot first and ask questions later session. Lots of back to back combat with very little time to actually ask yourself why you are on a meteor looking for a vault.
Zombicide (1 AM- 3 AM) – You are all 1950’s housewives with ridiculous weapons of mass destruction. Lots of fast paced killing of those wretched monsters who are threatening to ruin the neighborhood picnic later this week.
Guardians (3 AM – 5 AM) – The Brothers Grimm are spreading their own versions of the real stories in fairy-tales threatening the happiness of every child as their favorite stories turn to darkness. Figure out the Brothers plans and stop them before they ruin every child’s view of their heroes.
Feldyher (5 AM – 7 AM) -You are your villages best warriors tasked to defeat the great fire wyrm Feldyher. In this epic tale you will live up to the legends of Beowulf as you hunt down and kill this evil dragon.
Fast and Furious 300 (7 AM- 9 AM) – Dam is looking for a crew to pull off a job as his crew pulls off the actual job. He fully discloses that you are meant to be the distraction and is shocked when the job you pull ends up being the real deal and he becomes the minor distraction.