…but never do?
The other night, my wife and I were watching one of the old BBC Sherlock Holmes episodes (I still love Jeremy Brett as Holmes) and she was mentioning to me that she loves the stories where social propriety and status play a big role in how the story is shaped, how it plays out. I agree. I find those stories fascinating. And I’d love to run a game where that sort of thing really mattered. Combine that with the familiar refrain that I am currently without any gaming – a truly sad state of affairs – and I started thinking about all the campaigns I want/have wanted to run and just don’t/won’t.
1. I’d love to run a game set in a huge city where the players are all part of the very complicated apparatus of this city’s Thieves’ Guild (or guilds). Not that every player has to be a thief, you could have the bodyguards/heavies, the fences, the faces, even guild associated mages, nobles, etc. Personally, I find the idea of this amazing and would love to run this game – positioned in play style somewhere between Grand Theft Auto and Shadowrun in the way it would feel. I’ve had a stack of ideas for this game for a long time now but I don’t see myself ever actually running it…
2. I’d love to run a game that was basically what I describe as D&D meets the West Wing. I’ve actually started this game a few times… trying to set a group of player characters up in roles as young nobles in positions of value in a kingdom and giving them the freedom to devise their own plots while also dealing with outside threats. I had hoped when I began the Kingmaker AP that it would evolve into something like that… but it really doesn’t. I’ve started it from other beginning points as well but never been able to make it fly.
3. I want to run a war. A big war. A civilization-changing, nation-shattering, mind-blowing war. I’ve run games on the fringes of a war, or at the start of a war, or touching on a war… but never run just plain WAR. And that’s on my list of “games I want to run.” But every time I think about setting this game up I find myself pulling back from it because the way I envision it, I’m not sure I could ever make it work. And of the three games I’ve listed here, this is the only one that I blame on my interactions with rules… I’ve never found or been able to create a set of domain/mass combat rules that struck anything like the balance of rules that I want and that make it possible to actually feel good about running a domain level game. I’ve written about the domain-level game before and it honestly seems to me that narrative/fiat is really the only way to do it and not want to go around punching goblins in the face out of frustration…(which also means you’ve gone crazy enough to believe that you see goblins).
4. This one is incredibly silly, I know, but I would love to run a Masters of the Universe game. Like, totally over-the-top adventure with powers like “I have a really long neck and sensor abilities” or “I smash things with my head” or “I’m a bee-person.” Then there is that guy covered in scented moss…
Ultimately, there are a million campaign ideas… I’d love to run a lot of games and when I have the chance I do. But I think these have become my bucket list for the reason that I struggle with the knowledge that I want them to be really player-driven (well, except for #4) and I seem to be incredibly bad at convincing players that games should be this way… Player-driven play is pretty much what makes the games work for me as a player and a GM. It’s why I gravitate toward Amber, it’s why I’m currently sitting on the sidelines as a GM. I think – as well – that I gravitate toward a soap-opera style of play. I’m as concerned with the character’s inner lives as their outer ones. If we never “level” and spend three months playing talking-head relationship-building style sessions, I’ll be happy as a bug in a rug. But I also realize that I’m crazy and that most people would like that seesaw to swing both ways.
So – if you’re still with me, tell me – what do you want to run that you never have? Do you know why?
And as always, thanks for reading.