Friday, February 6, 2009

Aborting a campaign

Sadly, I prematurely terminated the Eberron Campaign I was running. I wasn't that happy about having to do it, but there were logistical problems that made me decide to not continue. I still have the campaign material (and boy do I have a LOT of it), but the group dynamic didn't work in the way I was hoping.

Now, some of the problems listed here involve observations on my group's dynamic (many of whom are readers). To those people, THIS IS NOT MEANT TO BE CRITICISM - it's more an observation of how I try to run the group. I ask y'all to please not get upset about this - I'm not upset about it.

Problems encountered:
  • Unpredictable attendees - We are a VERY laid back group. So, we ran into the problem of not always being able to have the people in the group there. This meant it was difficult to convey the story I wanted.
  • HUGE group - I am not a great GM and trying to wrangle 8 players was too painful.
  • Raucous group - I often found myself usually having to yell over the group and carefully manage the players to make sure that everyone got an action. If we played in the afternoon, it wouldn't be as much of a problem - but as many know - I tend to run out of steam after 9 pm, so I'd run out of energy too early.
  • Too many details - Because of the large group, it meant that trying to tailor encouters proved far too difficult given the time I had to prepare.
The Saturday is a fun group - and rather random. The fun part of this for a GM is the fact that the party tends to GIVE you material. For example, we had a "vampire" in the group. Well, she had done a few things that were rather brutal - especially in a city based campaign. I suddenly had a WONDERFUL subplot where a member of the city guard noticed her activities and was out hunting the "Vampire" in town.

Gold, right? Yes indeed.

I haven't decided what I'm going to do about this beyond the fact I've stopped the campaign because I couldn't keep it going. I may look at creating something that is a tad more episodic that would better lend itself to the group, but I'm not sure what that'd be.

The sad part is, I LIKE the campaign I came up with. I was using a series of resources and combining them to create a rather rich setting: The Sharn Sourcebook (because it's a Sharn based campaign), Ptolus (to fill in the setting gaps), and The Shackled City (the mega-campaign I was using). I even found a few more sources to sprinkle in as I was going to gently transition from 3.5 to Pathfinder. However, I think I'd need to run this game in a smaller group until I got a better handle on things.

The great thing about Eberron/Sharn is that the setting was rich enough that I was able to pull a lot of different concepts from other campaign ideas I'd had to pull together. For example, a long while back, I'd tried to start a Traveller campaign. In this I'd added a large number of concepts to make it fit the story. I never was able to get that campaign going - but - I was able to pull a number of those concepts and fit it into my Sharn setting (great houses wielding power in a powerstruggle with each other, the group becoming involved in things just below the surface, strong criminal organizations). However, that time has just not come.

Now, of the things I COULD run - I think perhaps something more rules light would help and a campaign design that didn't require me to keep as much continuity in place.

Alternatively, I could make "my" night a "hey, lets play this boardgame" night. If I could get my hands on a copy of "Warhammer Quest", that'd really be cool.


Anonymous said...

no ones mad at you for this, hell, most of the reasons you listed is why i started running cyberpunk 2020 - cliff

Rachael Storm said...

I've been thinking that the best way to handle the Eberron game and my turn at running is to ditch the campaign and just run it as a bunch of one shots.