If you follow me on Twitter (hi!) or are a Facebook friend (hi!) then you know the real life stuff that's going on with me. If you don't know me from either of those places then all you need to know is that real life stuff is going on with me.
I've been quiet here because I haven't felt I would have much to say about gaming, which is the primary focus on this blog lately.
The game hasn't been going well. I think it's a combination of an ill-matched group, an ill-matched GM and group, and moving the game online. The only thing out of those three that could possibly be changed is the online part but it wouldn't fix the other two.
The ill-matched group has some odd dynamics since it's morphed so many times. There's now a husband and wife team, their friend (at least I think he's their friend, he may be the friend of the guy who abruptly left), and one person who's stuck through from the beginning. Their characters haven't meshed into a party - they're four people hanging out and doing stuff but they're not a PARTY in that they're forming interpersonal relationships. Not the players, the characters. Which is also the players but not really.
Only one player gave me enough backstory to work any of it into the game. The others gave me a little along the lines of "I'm trying to find my father but not really" and "I want to learn more magic before I go home". That's not enough for me to find a way to work them into a story. It's separate people with separate goals.
Here's where I get to vent a little. I want them to enjoy the game. I want them to try to put together larger pictures from what they gather as they adventure. I want everyone to have fun. But this group just can't see clues. I wondered if I was being too subtle so I literally attacked them with NPCs that should have spurred them into trying to figure out why they were being followed. Nope. As soon as the encounter was over they barely talked about it even though the NPCs got away. When they were attacked again, same result. How much more obvious do I have to be that there's something going on?
This is why I think the group and I aren't a match. My GM style doesn't mesh with their play style. That's not saying either one is bad. That's saying they don't work well as a game. It means no one is having as much fun as they could and should.
This leads into why my short lived "How I Roll" suddenly ended. I couldn't come up with enough things to continue it. That was an offshoot of me doing game prep and how things worked in my game. Since I no longer get any pleasure from game prep and the things that go on in my game aren't worth mentioning it ended that set of posts. Maybe in the future I'll pick it up again, maybe not. I don't know how much people liked it.
Ending a game is a difficult decision. I've done it in the past when I knew I wasn't giving them the game they deserved. I never heard from any of the players again after it ended so I know I made the right choice. That hurt, by the way. No one even thanked me for that game or the one before (most of the group was from the previous game that ended due to players moving away).
Ending a game in these times is an even more difficult decision. Everyone needs an escape. Gaming is a wonderful escape. But when it becomes something I dread rather than look forward to with anticipation then I know there's problems. Big problems.
I've tried to fix it by asking players what they wanted out of the game and got non-committal answers that didn't help me at all. They were along the lines of what I already said. Mostly they want to play and this is a game they have. It's not that they want to play MY game. It's that they want to play A game. At least that's the feeling I'm getting.
I could run a series of loosely collected pre-generated adventures to keep the game going. No one seems to be looking for a long term story arc. But that would put me in the position of reading Powerpoint slides. That's not what I want to do. Sure, it's easy to prep. Print off a map, print off the adventure, run them through it. I have plenty of those that I use for inspiration. But if that's all they want then there's a lot of other GMs to do that. I want to get engrossed in the story they weave. I'm there to support that and they're not storytellers.
This is me talking myself into ending the game, if you couldn't tell.
I am looking at Fantasy Grounds and running regular one shot adventures for people who just want to show up, grab a pre-generated character, and play for a few hours with no long term consequences. There's so much league play these days where every result is a permanent result I want to think that there's people out there who want carefree play too.
That would let me have some fun with adventures and also play with no long term consequences. Sure it might seem little different than what I said I didn't like about my current game but it's different. It's meant to last a few hours then end forever. One shots as opposed to a string of encounters.
I have a few days left before I need to make a decision. Wednesday before the game is my traditional time to contact the group and remind them we're playing. That's a way for people to say if they can't play as well. I canceled the last game due to the stuff from the first paragraph and one player would have had to cancel anyway due to their real life stuff. So we're already several weeks out from the last session.
What will I do for a creative outlet?
I can work on learning Fantasy Grounds since I like learning things and seeing how to make games there.
I can work on my hobbies.
But I know that my full creativity is blocked at the moment. It's been blocked for a while. The world changed. We're all excused for having bad mental reactions to what's going on. For me it means that I don't think I can run games right now. I can't give myself over to the fun of figuring out imaginary challenges to overcome when we're all dealing with real life challenges. That's not fun.
Anyway. I wanted to let you know that I've been feeling guilty about not posting an update. I'm still around and I hope to be posting about other things that I can do. They probably won't involve gaming as much. I have many other hobbies and interests that I enjoy sharing. Maybe switching to those will put me in a better place to be creative in general.