I really need to play more D&D. Or any RPG for that matter, but I don’t have the schedule for it. My work schedule isn’t overtaxing, but it’s erratic enough to break up any ambient creative energies that might try to coalesce.
RPGs and I have an interesting relationship. I’ve known about them virtually my entire life (thanks Dexter’s Lab and Disney’s Recess!). I want to say I never actually role-played in any real form (besides regular childhood stuff) until high school, but that isn’t quite true. In Elementary school, I had a friend who was a big fan of the Deltora Quest book series. I hadn’t read them at that point, and he would sort of…run me through the books, as if I was the main character, Leif. it was neat.
In high school, I went through a couple of different “I’m not part of the group” phases. One of the phases was me asking my best (and pretty much only) friend if we should try playing D&D. I GMPC’d the first game, and I can still remember my first character, a Turban-wearing, battleaxe-wielding sorcerer named Jack Redwave. I convection roasted an Owlbear. And don’t even get me started on what my friend’s monk did.
One thing that I’ve held pretty true is that story should always be a pretty important part of RPGs. You can thank Hickman, Weiss, and Salvatore for that. I’ve been a really avid reader my entire life (sometimes to the detriment of other things), and the “flow” of a story has always been the most interesting part of RPGs.
As the Pathfinder game that kicked me out can tell you, I’m not that great a player. I refused to turtle before every single room in the dungeon and I always wanted to do things the “clever” way, plus I get really bored waiting for “my turn”. My real passion is running games, where I can worldbuild, create interesting characters on the regular, and be constantly interacting with the rest of the people at the table.
My favorite method of DMing is pretty spontaneous. I read through a lot of the books, and then I create a list of “Cool Stuff” to use. Example:
- A good-aligned lich living in the walls of an old church
- An assassin dryad ninja who is out for revenge for the death of her sister
- A ship graveyard that was turned into an independent floating city
And then I lead the players in the direction of one of said cool things. Often just as waypoints on a larger journey, but it makes the world seem that much bigger.
As far as the entire scope of a campaign goes, I honestly can’t help you. I’ve got a confession.
I’ve never “finished” an RPG. Ever. I’ve been playing for almost 7 years, and I’ve never had a game come to a satisfying conclusion, or even a conclusion at all. They’ve always been interrupted. It’s frankly depressing.
I always plan these epic journeys where the characters have interesting things happen to them, they defeat a big bad, maybe even get a girl or two, but I’ve never even taken a party over level 7.
If anyone has some interesting stories they’d like me to share for them about their D&D experiences, email them to me. If I like them, I’ll post them here.