Friday, August 31, 2012

Champions - United They Stand, Divided We Fall

Tomorrow is the official, last session of my Champions campaign, "The New Champions", based on the world setting created by my friend Will and which I last played in my first year of college prior to resurrecting it for this game.

It's been a pretty wild ride, with as many amazing highs as face palming lows. What started out as one of the best campaigns of any kind I've run in a while slowly turned into a game I simultaneously enjoyed and dreaded.

Somewhere at the half way mark of this nearly year long, a least one a week campaign, the player dynamic shifted and I don't think the game ever quite recovered. This can be attributed to both myself and the two remaining original players. Without the third, the drive of the campaign lost its way somehow. The new PCs who joined us were just not the cult of personality our missing man was and it made those left behind stumble and have difficulty finding their way without him.

Add to that the fact that the new and original players didn't always see eye to eye in their approach to how to play and what to do. I'll admit to getting both frustrated and bored at the play style of one of the new additions, and it caused me to lose momentum and enthusiasm for what was happening a number of times.

In the end (and it is the end for now - see below), I decided it was best to end on a positive note or as close as I could be to one. With an epic ending in mind, the players and their PCs proceeded to follow a completely different route than what I had envisioned (no problem) and are now going toe-to-toe against a team of some of the most powerful and ruthless villains in the world. Already, their main base has been wrecked, several major NPCs injured and the villains are holed up in their heavily armed, extremely fortified, 'Hall of Doom' headquarters hidden (though finally located by the heroes) in the Verkhoyansk Mountain of Siberia.

So, tomorrow I can look forward to one hell of a massive Superhero/Supervillain blow out bash. After that...

The next campaign for this group, as I've mentioned before, is based on the popular Japanese Anime/Manga
Hunter X Hunter. The game will be run by my pal Ray and feature a homebrew system of his own design based heavily on certain attributes, mechanics and other elements actually mentioned in the Manga. A very neat idea and one I hope and believe he will be able to pull off.

The only problem is...

As I have said time and again, I don't really like to play RPGs as a player even half as much as I like running them as a GM. Actually, saying I enjoy it less than half as much is being kind.

Plus...gamemastering for me is kind of theraputic. A way to get out all those ideas for stories, images, characters and ideas I would otherwise have no outlet for. What will I do with these things if I am not running a game? I will write them down, draw them and do preparations for the games I will eventually run of course but will that be enough?

It's going to have to be for the time being.

Barking Alien


  1. Changing players mid-campaign always shifts the dynamic - but it can easily swing positive as opposed to negative. All but two of the players changed for the second arc of my Ministry of Blades game, but they were all enthusiastic and brought a new energy to the whole thing. I think the circumstances under which the switch occurs has an impact too.

    Sounds like you're going to have one heckuva finale though - I hope your players will see any outstanding threads wrapped up - rivalries, mysteries and so forth. I'm involved in a wrap-up as a player right now and I've already taken out my arch-rival in a slightly anticlimactic duel on the bridge of my airship... All grist to the mill - I need to work on something for a final arc for the Ministry - it's been running 2 years!

    I personally like to switch between player and GM. I find that I can let my imagination run more freely regarding new games when I'm a player - as a GM, I feel guilty about not devoting that creativity to the existing game! I'm always itching to get back in the saddle after a couple of months though (which usually results in "oh look, I'm running a government secret agency investigating monsters campaign - again").


  2. Thanks for the comment Jon, I appreciate the input and of course, your sharing your experiences. I wish mine were closer to yours.

    In effect, while I was ready to answer some of the campaigns big questions, open up new ones which may have led to the continuation of the campaign in the future and address the personal plots of the PC heroes, they (the group) opted instead to piss off a team of incredibly powerful supervillains.

    You see, part of my issue with my current group is that (as I've mentioned in previous posts) they don't look at or ask the campaign questions very often, they won't notice new ones and many of them don't have many lingering sub plots.

    Mysteries, investigation and exploration, my three favorite elements of RPGs, do not seem to interest them in the least. They like coming up with ideas and implimenting them (as long as they are their own ideas not influenced by any other NPC or Player) and fighting.

    I realized I was running Supers with a D&D group and after a while it just grew tiresome I'm sad to say.

    I'm some what the opposite of you in regards to GMing vs Playing. I feel my imagination is hindered by being a Player. I can only do what this one character can do when I used to doing everything. If I could be one person or be a universe I'd rather be the latter.

    Plus, I've had only a handful of positive experiences with other people GMing, at least comparative to my 35 years of gaming. I have been fortunate to play under some awesomely awesome GMs but they were few and far between. One could say I have been both spoiled and scarred as a player.

  3. I have had many superhero games go nowhere due to PCs not asking questions or investigating...even when, at the outset, I encourage the players to make well-rounded heroes, at least some with scientific or detective skills, rather than fighting machines. Every "Batman" type winds up being a martial artist with gadgets, but never a Darknight Detective.

    1. OMG do I know what you mean.

      Actually, I honestly wouldn't have known what you meant prior to this most recent campaign. In the past when I ran or played Supers we always had a great mix of character types.

      Nobody had the same favorite superheroes so we played very different kinds of characters. Someone was always the Detective Guy, the Science/Technology Guy, the Mystic Gal, The In-Your-Face Fighting Dude or whatever.