I've been thinking about writing a post about how my gaming is evolving by necessity, but I've had a hard time framing the story. Until now. One of my favorite blogger's, Phil Vecchione over at Gnome Stew, recently released an article about getting into a slump. You should go read it. If you haven't already read it, I'd have to wonder why my blog isn't secondary to many others, especially the excellent Gnome Stew, and an article written by the guy behind the phenomenal Never Unprepared. Think of this article as a response to Phil's, or more appropriately, an attempt to commiserate with him--and hopefully you, if you're going through the same thing.
I've been in my slump for years. I'm not just talking about my well-documented "Ooh, Shiny" Syndrome (going forward, referred to as OSS), I mean a slump. I've spent the better part of the last few years miserable about my GMing, and wracked with guilt about changing the game on my players in search for what I needed to change how I felt. There have been several times I've almost quit GMing completely, but I love it so much I couldn't let it go. That said, it's become apparent that something has to change.
Presently, I'm involved with my friend, Sequoyah's, Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 3rd Edition game. (Sequoyah's a blogger in his own right; you should check it out.) Sequoyah's game is unique in that he only runs it in short bursts of a few sessions. He also often changes out the players from time-to-time, me being an example. Despite the semi-fleeting nature of the game, Sequoyah manages to have an ongoing story, which still allows for a payoff for both him as a GM, and those players who stick around for more than one of his stories. Whether you're an old hand at his game, or a newcomer, you're guaranteed a solid, well-thought-out story.
Now my OSS prevents me from running the same setting in the way Sequoyah does (and I'm finally comfortable with that notion), but I think I can take something from this. This coming year, I'm starting a new way of running games. I am simply going to prep a story in whatever system/setting I'm feeling at the moment; then I'll invite folks to play. Over time I intend to build a stable of players, while checking off my bucket list of shiny new (and old) games I'd like to run.
I may go back to games from time-to-time--I'll tell my players to keep their characters just in case--but I won't promise anything. Players will be promised an engaging story, but with no long-term commitment, I won't have to feel guilty about changing the game. I'm hoping to expand my GMing skills by trying different styles of games. I want to challenge myself, and know if something doesn't work I can just move on to the next thing. It's also my hope to break my slump.
I can already talk about my first hurdle in this new endeavor. My OSS is thus far preventing me from deciding on my first game! Hopefully I'll be able to get past this and move on with my big plans.
I intend to keep my readers informed about the results of this little experiment, so stay tuned!