Gaming Desires 2020

Blimey, its been weeks since I posted and I feel slightly bad about that. But, hey, here I am once again.

A walk in the frosty parkland proved inspirational.

Last night, over on the Roleplay Rescue Discord, one of the members asked us, “What do each of you want to be playing, but aren’t?”

This was my reply:

I want to play/run (in no particular order): a game in the Traveller Third Imperium (I am fluid about game system, btw); Star Trek Adventures; at least one session of a Supers game (probably Mutants & Masterminds or GURPS); a low-fantasy Ancient or Dark Age inspired Fantasy using Mythras; RuneQuest in Glorantha (RQG or RQ2); a modern-conspiracy-horror near-future bleeding edge game (probably using GURPS proper); a magical but low-fantasy Fantasy campaign using (for sure) GURPS Fantasy rather than Dungeon Fantasy (not to say there won’t be dungeons); in the Rifts multiverse (probably using either Savage Worlds or GURPS); in the Palladium Fantasy world (probably using GURPS).Oh, and Call of Cthulhu. And The Fantasy Trip, as I own it all. And Harn.

– Roleplay Rescue Discord, Sunday 19th January 2020.

What a mess of desires. What am I to make of it all? That sparked a whole raft of thoughts, a discussion with my wife about adding another Saturday night online gaming session to my calendar, anxiety about prep, and excitement about playing something that isn’t a “Classic Fantasy Dungeon-type game.”

Here’s where I am up to in my thinking…

Revisiting Mystamyr

Originally conceived for the Mythras Classic Fantasy game, Mystamyr is my fantasy realm published as part of the Greymoor setting. After thinking about it a great deal, I have decided to return to Mystamyr and rebuild the realm for the future. The main decision has been that I want to transcend the “Classic Fantasy” Dungeon-y game focus that I am enjoying with the Dungeons of Thaarl. I want to invoke a magical and yet low-fantasy Fantasy realm which is much closer to the way I wanted it to be when I began.

What does that mean? It’s hard to pin down… but I do know that it’s a world that will require a regular group of players willing to play adventures which are much more about exploring the world and its people than delving dungeons. It’s less about treasure and more about other goals. And I want the players to determine the goals.

I have no idea if anyone will be interested, but I am opening myself up to anyone who might be interested. Let’s see if there’s a group. We can talk about it some more. The players can help me figure out what I am trying to offer.

The “Modern-Conspiracy-Horror”

This has been my strongest campaign desire and dream for… well, years. I loved Alternity Dark*Matter back in the early 2000’s and the basic concept draws on influences from Palladium’s Supernatural, The Chaosium’s Call of Cthulhu, and many fantasy tropes blended with science-fiction ideas.

Walking around a gloriously frosty park today, I also realised that my desire to play in the “Official Traveller Universe” could be another pathway for this game: I have long loved the conspiratorial Solomani Rim tensions in Traveller’s setting and could easily see me transferring the “modern” from the Earth as it is today into the Far Future as a world with a near-Earth technology level. Yeah, that can work.

Again, the question is whether I can locate an interested group of players who are willing to talk about it and commit to an ongoing campaign. Is this the extra online game for 2020? Only those who might be interested can decide. I’ve begun the conversation in the Discord.

Deepening My Referee Skills

Underneath all of this lies my desire to deepen my skills as a Referee (or Game Master, or Dungeon Master – take your pick). I think that my podcast has allowed me to develop a particular theoretical stance on being the roleplaying game Referee but that it’s time to embrace that approach and put it into practice.

It’s time for me to transcend the humble Dungeoncrawl. As much as my Dungeons of Thaarl game has proven to be the single most popular RPG campaign in many years, I feel its limitations keenly. I desire to develop my narrative, characterisation, and situational skills. It’s time for me to open myself up to other, potentially richer experiences. It feels like the moment to take some risks with my gaming.

For the third time, however, I will say it: much depends on finding the players interested in the games I want to run and willing to commit to them. Thaarl works because it’s an Open Table which allows for people to drop in and out with few consequences. To deepen my skills, I’ll be needing a stable of players who are willing to invest time and effort into a world, characters, and a game that will run deeper than Thaarl ever will.

I wonder if anyone will be interested.

Game on!

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