Saturday, June 26, 2010

Combating Gamer ADD for 30 years.

James over at Grognardia has a good post titled Gamer ADD and the Campaign. In it he has a comment.
None of this is to say that I plan to run Dwimmermount forever.
Why not? I answered.

Look. One of the big gripes I see over and over again it lack of time to do everything you want. I roll my eyes at some of friends who run games that they put a lot of effort into only to ditch everything and start over for the next one.

I am not talking only about the hours before a game; writing up an entire key for a adventure or a 2,000 year history. I know not everybody does or likes doing that. Some do everything by the seat of their pants. What I am including are the hours you spent refereeing.

There are mountains of gold in the stuff that you and your players come up with each session. Stuff there is no way you will get to in the current campaign. Stuff that would make for some great adventure for the NEXT campaign.

That the secret to having a setting with depth. That when you play a genre you stick with the same setting you used before. That you use what you did the LAST campaign as the foundation for the current campaign even if the current campaign is has a completely different focus. And you get the added benefit of happy players who see their actions have an impact on the setting.

You see the secret is that a setting is an entire world. Look at the diversity our planet has in a sphere of roughly 8,000 miles diameter and 75% water. The setting you create can have the same level of diversity. In some distant corner there lurks the place where you can run the sub-genre you want.

And if you can't find a good physical place what about a different time? If you want to use 2nd edition Runequest with it's emphasis on Mythic Heroes then set it in the dawn ages of your world. Use what the player did then as the history of that time. Dragon Pass and the Plains of Prax are not big places as regions go.

For example James Dwimmermount campaign has a backstory about the Thulians (sp?) an ancient powerful magic using race/culture. If he wants to run Runequest 2nd edition then he can hone Dragon Pass/Plains of Prax to fit during a time of their rise. Or perhaps take Stormbringer and set it during their fall.

If all you do is play one shots campaign then make more work for yourself and you miss out one of the most compelling aspects of Roleplaying Games. Their ability to immerse your character in another place and time.

9 comments:

Timeshadows said...

All good points, with which I heartily agree. :)

taichara said...

Except of course that what floats some boats sinks others, of course. What works for you may not -- and in point of fact does not -- work for me, for instance.

I like to play with a variety of worlds, settings, and inspirations; and I don't consider that a fault.

5stonegames said...

Lots of good points.

My best trick to prevent gamer ADD was to adopt a "TV" model. If the game is no longer fun then we try another "show" i.e. game instead of another "season" -- i.e campaign. And of course it always possible to pick up the "show" at another time, change the cast "the p.c.'s" or make whatever chanegs are needed to bring on the fun

Another thing that helped was putting clamps on how many systems I buy, use, and play.

I've drilled down to as little as one, GURPS or AD&D2e at different times and this helped focus my options.

Oddysey said...

I see your point and agree with it in theory, but... personally, sometimes I'm going to want to deal with themes that are different from the ones I was playing with in the last game. So I need to build a new setting that's got those themes worked into its DNA.

Ryan said...

Gamer ADD is my great devil. It is the reason why my bookshelf is filled with great games that I have never played. These days I've actually considered cutting my "collection" down to size. There are other things I can collect instead; I really should just buy gaming materials that I have an immediate need to use.

Zzarchov said...

This is very much how I run games, though
I have a few different "worlds" on the go for vastly different genres (sci-fi, fantasy, etc).

Tim Shorts said...

"I roll my eyes at some of friends who run games that they put a lot of effort into only to ditch everything and start over for the next one."

I do believe those eyes are being rolled at me. But I agree in part because I've enjoyed journeying through your Majestic Wilderlands ofr years and have never once been bored or thought this setting has run ou of steam.

But I do believe you also enjoy switching it up when you try to recruit me into one of your sci-fi games or even a couple of times you have tried alternative fantasy worlds. It's good to have a main world that the majority of your time and effort is put into, but I think its important to step away from it from time to time to possibly get a new perspective, fresh ideas and to get away from the standards of a main world. So when a DM returns to their main world they can bring that with him.

Aberrant Hive Mind said...

Here's what I do: tell the players that all games I run, are officially in the same continuity, regardless of how different each "campaign" may be. How do I do it? The "campaign" takes place in different parts of the game setting's world, at often during different times. This encourages me to develop different aspects of the setting, and when familiar things from past campaigns crop up, the players are stoked.

LordVreeg said...

Crossposted from the nether pits...

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yes, it's not that GMs and players are wrong for wanting to change things around and do different things.
But there is a trade off. That is what I take out of Estar and Ben's comments. There are some things that only come with time and effort.

And while most players and GMs do trade games off a lot, and som can speak to that, not as many people can say they've played a in a ful campaign or GM'd a setting with that 10, 15, 20, 25, or more years of background/foundation.