Although the blog itself has been quiet the last day or so, I have not been.
That is to say, I have been working on a number of things, personal and professional and somewhere in between, which have occupied my time offline. Fear not gentle reader, for I have returned and new ideas are a-brewin'.
I have the opportunity to run a one-shot this weekend, a break from our regularly scheduled Ars Magica campaign, and I am trying to narrow down the possibilities.
I am pretty sure I want to do something Science Fiction-y. I am still a bit Superhero-ed out from our Champions game, and I am running Ars Magica with my group regularly and a kind of modern day mythical game with the kids at the learning center on Sunday (sort of Percy Jackson meets Al Shard) so I think my Fantasy quota is more than filled (once again, for a guy who doesn't care much for Fantasy I seem to run it alot).
What Sci-Fi to run? Well that's the hard part...
My players are very particular. I wonder, aren't most players? I mean, my old NJ group was not so particular in the way my new NY group is. I suppose as members of a fandom, any fandom, we all have our specific likes and dislikes and we can abhor one with all the passion with which we love another.
That said, I am not, generally speaking at least, so all or nothing with my likes and dislikes as I find some people to be. For example, I love Star Trek but I don't hate Star Wars. I like Star Wars. I like it a lot actually. I just like Star Trek a lot more. I am a huge fan of classic Silver Age DC Comics but I don't hate modern Marvel Comics. I do vehemently dislike DC's New 52 however. More on this in a few paragraphs.
What I get from many of my players nowadays (except Dave, he's pretty flexible)* is how few things they seem to like. Ray likes Anime and Manga, well mostly Manga, but he likes One Piece and Hunter X Hunter. None of my other guys like One Piece. Ray's not into Mecha/Giant Robots at all (which I personally think qualifies him to be designated mentally insane but he's my friend so I'll just have to deal with it). Lee didn't really see the big deal about Mecha either (the madness may be spreading). Ray also doesn't like Star Wars. I've never met anyone before who actually didn't like Star Wars. Ray has issues (ahhh, teasing. I love'ya man!)
Marcus, well, it's just hard getting Marcus interested in something new. He's a very Green Eggs and Ham type of a fellow. He'll say he doesn't like something he often hasn't really checked out and than when he checks it out, he likes it. He says he's not into Star Trek but I know for a fact he's never tried it in RPG form. He doesn't want to though because, circular logic, he doesn't like Star Trek.
This dynamic is really frustrating to me as a GM who likes to try new things. It's also frustrating because if it were me in their shoes (and it has been as noted below) I would say, "Your last three games were awesome. You want to try Pin The Tail On The Donkey The RPG? I am so there!"
Case in point; I am not a fan of My Little Pony, old or new. When Erin Palette created her game Unknown Ponies: Failure is Awesome, I wanted to play. Why? Because I trusted Erin as a GM, a fan passionate about the show and a friend.
A few years back a friend wanted me in on his homebrew D&D 3.x game which featured a number of rules changes and additions (with some Pathfinder elements thrown in) as well as his own world. I said yes. Why? Because even though I've played in dozens of D&D campaigns by dozens of Gamemasters and only about 5% were any good (I am being generous), that doesn't mean the next one won't rock. I trusted the GM.
Going some years back (a little more than some at this point), my good friend Keith, who had moved to California, came back to NY after a while. An incredible player, it turned out he now GMed. My group at the time said that whatever Keith wanted to run would be cool with us. He said Deadlands. We all said. "AWESOME!". Then my friend Jason pulled me to the side.
"Why did you agree to Deadlands? It's a Western with Horror elements. You don't like Westerns and you really don't like Horror. How are you excited to play this?"
"'Cause it's Keith and whatever Keith is going to run is going to be fantastic."
Keith has never GMed for me before. Keith was simply put, a good friend, a creative fellow and this is what he wanted to run so it was (in my mind) a guarantee it was going to be great.
Sometimes I am right. Alas, not always.** But I'll be damned if I won't give it a shot.
That's what disappoints my the most with my group. It's like pulling teeth sometimes to get them to give something a shot. They all have their particular things they like and don't and they're both kind of narrow and kind of finicky about what they will try outside of their established likes.
Come on gang. Try a game, any game.
No guarantee it won't be lame but surely they're not all the same.
You do not like them but you won't play.
Try them. Try one. Try to play.
You might like one. Try one and you may I say.
*Dave definitely has his particulars as well but I gotta give it up for the man. He is a lot more willing to try than most of the New York crew.
**Deadlands turned out to be awesome. Keith was a great GM and he altered the setting a bit making it much creepier and more ghost story-ish.
The D&D game I mentioned...well...it just wasn't for me.
Unknown Ponies was interesting. While I was completely lost with the story of the adventure and how to approach it and the rule mechanic made for a frustrating time, I saw the potential in it. I thought it really could be a cool game onced worked on a bit more.