Sunday, June 17, 2012

What's Going On

My DC Adventures campaign came to an end last Tuesday.  It was a great campaign.  In my entire gaming life, there are only a handful of campaigns that I will remember as fondly.

It is amazing and very satisfying that I could actually do the write ups that I did on the characters for this blog and actually "get" the characters well enough to encapsulate them.  My players expressed them and developed them that well.

I am humbled that my players regard my GMing skills well, despite the fact that I know I had off nights, and I know I hit some notes too hard or too often.  I am often perplexed at anyone having an overly positive view of my GMing skills when I can see so many things I wish I could have done better, and the places I know could use improvement.

I had initially wished to run a Mutants and Masterminds game with this same group of players at the game store.  I came up with a few themes, and my players picked one of them.  I wrongly allowed them to get excited over this idea, given my later decision.

Last night I sent out an e-mail to my players saying that I'm not going to run this campaign.  I thought I'd go ahead and elaborate here.  There are multiple reasons, all of which play into my decision to a greater or lesser extent.

1.  Game Store Games--One of my players actually owns the game store.  I do not mean to usurp his ability to make a decision, but from my point of view, the more I look at it, the more I don't think that me running another game in this slot is the best thing for the store.

Why?  I think you allow people to run games at a game store is to attract gamers that don't have a regular group or don't have a place to run a game.  Seeing a game that is currently in print being run also gives potential customers a chance to see the game and, if they like what they see, to buy the game after the "demo."

On top of that, a group that is actively playing a game buys supplements for the game, and keeps products moving, and seeing those products at the game table shows the people watching the "demo" how supplements play into the game.

So I think it's important for new people to be able to run a game, new people to be able to run a game, and new product to have a chance to move.  After having a (thankfully) stable group for a year, and most Mutants and Masterminds games being released only digitally, I honestly believe that this game really isn't doing much to promote new product moving or to do much for the store.

2.  Prep Work--While I have had a bit of an epiphany regarding prep work and how to schedule it thanks to Never Unprepared, this Tuesday game has been getting the short end of the stick ever since I started running the Rogue Trader game.  Thursday I run Rogue Trader, then the following Tuesday, I run M&M/DCA.

Despite all logic, weekends are the worst time for me to prep, given that I could have a lot of time, but there are also more variable at play on a weekend than during the week.  By far this is not the biggest factor in my decision, but it is at least a bit of a concern, and given that I just wrapped up this campaign, but there isn't an end in sight for the Rogue Trader game, it makes more sense to expand my ability to make the Rogue Trader game a positive experience.

Plus, there are plenty of 40K RPG supplements to move, unlike the anemic supply of M&M 3e material coming out of Green Ronin.

3.  Environmental Factors--I don't hear particularly well out of one ear, and from time to time my ear problems flare up.  Even at my best, lots of ambient noises can disorient me and it takes an act of will to focus on what I'm doing.

While it is entirely understandable, the store has grown, and they have responded to the needs of their customer base, and there are a lot more gamers in the store for other events on Tuesday night.  This is good for the store, and this is good for the customers that now have a place to find other gamers and a place to play.

This is problematic for me, as I'm getting confused and disoriented a lot, and I feel like I'm off my game a lot.  I feel like I'm getting lost in my own head, that I'm missing a lot more from my players, and that my players sometimes are catching what I'm saying.

This is no one's fault, it's just a circumstance of who I am and my limitations.  Thus far, the Thursday game isn't staged with quite as much ambient noise.

And before anyone says anything, I know I can be loud.  I like to make the excuse that it's a function of my poor hearing, but it could just be that I'm loud.  If that becomes a problem for anyone, I'll have to do what I can to make sure I'm not impeding anyone else's enjoyment of their own gaming experiences.

So, that's the long form version of "why I did what I did," because I can't shut up.  Thank you for everyone that humors me, both in reading the blog and having sat at one of my tables.  You deserve better that this humble host, but I'll try to do my best to entertain or at least not waste your time.


  1. 1. You need to see things from our side of the table. You are still the GM I most look up to and whom I hold up as the goal to someday be as good as.
    2. Most of your other points make sense.
    3. There is something to be said for a game that can bring spectators to the store. Not every game and not every GM can do that.
    4. bout that DCC...

  2. What Hanged Fool Said!

    I have told you time and time again, you are FAR too hard on yourself. You have an incredible gift for telling great, flavorful stories that allow drama and heroism while giving the players plenty of rope to hang themselves with, or just laugh their fool heads off.

    You have a great group with great chemistry. I can tell you with honesty and sincerity, you're very lucky in that regard. I know I have enjoyed being in your game very much because the group is great, and it has an awesome GM.

  3. Okay...

    I don't comment often, and when I do, I usually tend to ramble, but here goes...

    Point #1: I totally understand where you are coming from and counter with a stable group that always games in the store typically means that the store is a cool enough place to hold said game. Having regular games makes us more attractive to other customers as a game store. Simple as that.

    Point #2: Completely understandable, and this is one of the chief reasons I dropped running my games. I just don't have time to prep. As it goes, I am pondering dropping some of the games I am playing in due to time, but I have not reached that point yet.

    Point #3: Tuesdays are Casual MtG Night, and it indeed brings a TON of background noise into the store with it. I have hearing problems myself, so I totally understand. I'm not certain what the ambient noise situation will be like if/when we get a larger location, but it is something I want to address when considering any new location. I am sorry that the noise was a factor for you, here.