My approach to running RP has always been "Theater of the Mind" in style, rarely placing models on the table and always tied to an overarching storyline driving the "plot" forward. The players have filled the role of "actors in the play" or more accurately "independent characters in the story" who directed their own path's in relation to the overarching storyline. I find this a great way to run a game as it allows the players to operate "off the rails" and make their own choices within the world but still experience the impact of their actions as the story progresses around them. This allows a tremendous amount of freedom for character actions (both individually and as a party) and really rewards them as they act within the storyline, while not overly punishing them for pursuing goals outside the storyline. Overall it was a great deal of fun and the game developed in ways we all enjoyed. One of my players (Austin) posted a writeup from his character point of view that can still be read online here.
The game wound down around mid-campaign due to a number of issues in scheduling and other life issues (marriages, babies, moving, etc). We all still talk about the campaign from time to time, but we have all drifted to other gaming venues and activities over the years. I have moved more heavily into miniature games and have not revisited the RP arena in many years at this point.
Recently Austin and I were talking and he issued me a challenge. We both have fairly rigorous life and family schedules but he was getting a rather strong urge to revisit playing a character in one of the stories in my head. The challenge was fitting some solid RP into our crazy lives. He posed the question:
"Would it be possible to frame a RP campaign over several hours spread across three weekends, with those weekends spread across 3-4 months?"
I was intrigued. Trevor had also mentioned recently that he and his wife (Jen) were hankering for a revisit to a solid RP game with me running it. The three of them plus another 3 acquaintances of Austins brought us to a party of 6. My intrigue turned to facination, and after only a couple seconds of contemplation I decided.....
Now I need to start wrestling with the creative side of my brain to work out the game. First there are some challenges:
- Timing: The story needs to neatly fit within 3 sessions of ~6-8 hours each.
- Players/Characters: The story has to encompass 6 active characters in a party. Timing may preclude a "group comes together" scenario and may require the party being pre-formed. I also need to decide between pre-generated characters vs character generation by the group.
- Story: The story needs to be exciting and engaging, I want us all telling stories about this for years.
- Setting/Background: I need to decide where to base the story. Do I set it in my homebrew D&D/High fantasy world? Do I set it in one of the other pre-created Fantasy worlds? Do I create something new?
- System: I will probably use D&D 3.5 as the setting, as I am fairly certain we are all comfortable with the system and have the books.
I plan to visit this from time to time on the blog as I plan out the game and then again when we get the gaming sessions in. I have a whirlwind of ideas surrounding this, so I expect it will be interesting to see how things settle out.