Monday 19 December 2022

Moderating My Desire For Crunchiness

I like role playing games that are crunchy, like Pathfinder First Edition. I could extend that word from crunchy RPG games to include other interests. I prefer Linux over other operating systems, Vim over other editors, and extensive world building in my RPG settings. I like getting into the details.

Occasionally this has led to problems

Obsessing over the details can slow things down. Some examples:

  1. Let’s say this is the first time you are playing Pathfinder 1e. You learn that you could do a Full Round Action, a Standard Action, a Move Action, a Swift Action, a Free Action, an Immediate Action, and/or something that is Not An Action. By the time you finish understanding all of that, I would bet it is next week.
  2. I did up a campaign, and created a Epub book as a guide for my players to create PCs, and I gave the book an ISBN. Because I thought I might sell that Epub book on Amazon to… someone…. The logic of that escapes me now.
  3. I am the GM who likes drawing up a wiki that details out how the opponents fight with each other, manipulate their underlings, and motivate the characters. After a long day at work, coming back to this once a week, it’s doubtful my players have the same enthusiasm for this exposition that I do. I remember vividly the night I was trying to rush through some world building to force a plot point and one of my players in my gaming group said, “Please. It is too much.”
  4. I like role playing games. In a pandemic, my group has shifted to Virtual Table Top games like Roll20. This expects a map. I’ve created a lot of pressure on myself to produce “High Quality” maps, so we can obsess over whether the character is five, ten, thirty or thirty-five feet from the target monster.

That last point is really telling. When I first started playing RPGs, we sat around a table in a comfortable room. No one in my group could afford miniatures nor figures, so we played without a map.

We had a blast.

I have a plan to solve the problems caused by Sybaritic Crunchiness

I’m staring a new campaign called “Fun City.” My goal with this is to share my enthusiasm for these topics with my friends, without drowning anyone.

My specific approaches to achieving this goal:

  1. I’m going to expect players to drop in and drop out of the campaign. I’m going to expect new players to join and for familiar players to say, “I don’t remember who our opponent is, and I’m exhausted. May we wing it tonight?” And we will wing it, and that will be okay.
  2. I’m going to leave the background for the campaign in the background. If the players ask, I will answer their questions. If they don’t ask, I will let the campaign world simmer, and eventually turn it into a novel or six.
  3. I’m going to work on a small number maps, not a volume of maps.
  4. The maps I do work on will be of varying levels of quality. That is okay. The initial maps might take a while to get adequate. Later maps will be better and will be done in a shorter amount of time. All art works that way. At least, the majority of art that I produce has worked that way.

In the past, I’ve started a campaign, devoted time and energy to the details, set unrealistic expectations for everyone, and felt burnt out. I’d like to break that habit.

I started a new job in October of 2021. It’s fulfilling, but so often I find myself looking at the task list in front of me and thinking, “I’d rather be Gaming with my friends.” When I dig into why I’d rather be Gaming, what specifically I like about RPGs and Pathfinder and world-building and map making, I find soon enough I can’t stop thinking about ideas I want to share with my friends.

So, I’m going to moderate my approach. Build something to share, and always start each session by thinking, “How may I best share this enthusiasm I have with my friends?” The best nights in the past have come from that starting point. Future sessions will grow out of those seeds of enthusiasm. I will build a city one piece at a time, and the end product will be fun.

Fun City, here we come!

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