I love my gaming group. That is I love my CURRENT gaming group. My old gaming group fell apart because of many different things not the least of which was me trying to get actual gaming done amidst people talking about “the old days” or random tangent conversations popping up. It also didn’t help that yours truly is the DM and I have the attention span of a hummingbird on meth. This does not make for a good gaming group. It was a great group of friends to hang out with but a goddamn awful group to game with if you want to actually get gaming done.
So say hello to gaming group… I dunno like version 4.7? I’ve herded together so many cats for random games over the years that I’ve lost count of just how many of these things have been done. So far there have been 3 failed Oriental Adventures campaigns, 1 failed Forgotten Realms game, 1 failed Werewolf: The Apocalypse game, 1 failed Marvel Superheroes game, 2 failed original AD&D games, 1 failed Star Wars campaign and 1 failed Starfleet Academy game. Now I wasn’t the DM for all of these but for one reason or another things always managed to fall apart with most of the same core people. We have managed to complete 1 Oriental Adventures campaign aka The Epic of Igano and my buddy Grill Ninja’s AD&D campaign set in his world of Hartwood.
Dear lord our completion rate as players sucks. Like really bad. The last game I put the kibosh on myself when I couldn’t take the constant talking and tangent conversations. I lost control of the game altogether and just said fuck it. My players were very mad at me for this. The truth was I was totally burned out on table top gaming. I’d just played too much, usually as Dungeon Master more often than not, that it was slowly killing my love for the hobby. I stopped playing altogether for 4 months until my dear friend Cindi made the most obvious suggestion that I’m stunned I never thought of it. “You know” she said, in that tone which indicates great wisdom at the expense of you seeming like a dumbass, “You could just might need to game with a new group”.
Dear lord the answer to my problem had been there all along. New people to play with, the idea was so simple that it had to work on some level. More importantly I needed to play a character, no DMing for me; I knew I wasn’t ready for that again at least. I also needed some diehard players as opposed to the casual players I had grown accustomed to. Diehard players want the game to move forward and actually progress. Remember kids, Dungeons & Dragons is story based Role Playing, no story progression and the diehard player loses interest.
After 3 months of playing various one night sessions and a few board games, I felt comfortable enough to want to not only play, but DM again. I slowly began putting together a new game world, some of which had elements carried over from my previous game world the continent of Sanctuary (one of the failed campaigns no less, which could possibly have been a bad omen).
So let me introduce this group as it stands currently. First there is Eric, an old school gamer who cut his teeth on the first edition of D&D and AD&D. That means he played the old TSR box sets. He is playing a Half-elf Assassin. Somehow, despite him trying to be all sneaky and non-descript it is this character that has ended up as the de facto leader of the group. Eric remains absolutely baffled by this turn of events.
Next is Rob with his human Duskblade. No character has been more of a headache for me as a DM than this one. He decided to play a human raised by elves, thus giving his character into elven history and culture. Of course in my game world Elves don’t exactly like anyone that isn’t an elf. This allowed me to fuck with his character a bit, since he envisioned his character as being raised by an elvish noble family. I let him have that, but I tweaked it, it is a low end elvish noble family, doomed to spend their lives in the elish diplomatic corps. The Diplomatic Corps has a very inflated opinion of themselves as how to how important they are to elvish culture and politics. Rob wasn’t happy to find out that his family is at the bottom of the social ladder of elvish society simply because of committing one major faux pas. They took a non-elf into their family. Elves in my game world are pretty much racist douchebags.
Then there is Cindi, who has broken her oft-times annoying tradition of playing only elvish rangers to instead opt for an elvish druid. It might seem like a lateral progression but I’ll take what I can get with Cindi. She is, after all, the most stubborn person I know (Editor’s Note: Hi pot, meet kettle. You’re both BLACK!). The switch in character class has led to Cindi being a lot less bossy and demanding of the rest of the party and taking more of a support role in this game. It is kind of refreshing to have Cindi not trying to boss everyone around for once.
Next is Mike running his warlock. His warlock that willingly allowed himself to get infected with Lycanthropy. There is nothing like having a guy that can turn into a Thundercat and throw some decent damage with his spells. The thing is Mike plays his character real low key making for a fun character. He and Eric really shine as the 2 major players in the party. Eric prefers to strike from the shadows (I mean he is an assassin) while Mike can split his time between upfront combat and long distance attacks if need be. They make for quite the dynamic duo.
These are the only people that started with the campaign that are still playing in the game. We lost our Halfling ranger and elvish cleric early on. The Halfling died when one player decided to stop playing. The cleric only showed up once but the character lingered on before being crushed to death by a chain demon. We added 3 more players along the way though. Brenda joined the game as an elvish Druid, an elvish druid who has never left the forest and was raised by an old Halfling druid that is sort of a local legend to the elves of my game world. Needless to say Brenda’s character found a city to be a wonderful place to explore. We also added Chris, who replaced our old elvish ranger with his own. He decided to play a female elf at that who is an outcast from elvish society. Now it is kind of cliché top play an elf that way but damn does he do it well. From the start he has played his elf as loud and abrasive, which really explains why the other elves do not want him around. Hell at first the rest of the party couldn’t stand him but things settled down and now the party is somewhat cohesive. I say somewhat because man do arguments over the stupidest shit break out. Lastly there is William with his female monk. Try as he might poor William hasn’t really gotten to kill anything but he did manage to get jacked in the head by the recurring villains, The Payne Sisters. William’s time to shine will come. I hope.
Can Rob use his horse to trample an orc while Rob is unmounted?
Fight! (Cindi v. Rob)
Do elves actually sleep?
Fight! (DM v. Chris)
Why isn’t Brenda’s character allowed to go explore the city?
Fight! (Brenda v. Rob)
Ken v. M. Bison?
FIGHT! (Ken v. Bison SF: IV)
I mean it doesn’t help that I’ve put the party into a story where they have to deliver a relic to the dwarven Kingdom of Golden Boot. This artifact has no less than 7 different political groups all vying for its power and thus all of them are trying to get the gem from the party in one way or another. Between Dark Elves, Dwarven Clan rivalries, The Church of The God of Commerce, The Elven Diplomatic Corps, The Yakuza families of Igano and who knows what else, it is a miracle the entire party hasn’t just said “Fuck this shit” and gone home. Instead, some of the party is cooking up a plan to throw a monkey wrench into my carefully laid plans. But I’m a well-trained DM; I got some tricks up my sleeve that I am just waiting to use. Plus, I’ve got a hell of a twist for them coming up that I may, or may not have telegraphed. See there really hasn’t been a real antagonist introduced as of yet, just factions. Man do I have a big evil bad guy made up for them, I almost feel sorry for them. Almost because apparently I can’t roll to hit them to save my life, which means I can’t even mount an effective threat against them. Welcome to the eternal stalemate.
So between the in-game fighting, my inability to kill the party and random conversations about the old days, how exactly does this gaming group stack against the old one?
Oh no you don’t! You can’t make me open up that can of worms!