It's a simple enough question and yet my answer has not only changed several times, it may not mesh with some of my previous answers from questions earlier in the month.
I know what I want for next year but not how to achieve it.
I want what I used to have, what I used to be capable of.
I want a campaign with a good number of players - say 6 to 8 - that explores an open ended, challenging world/setting.
When I say 'explores' what I mean is:
- Players are encouraged to delve into their characters' thoughts, feelings, and backstories
- Their characters are encouraged to interact with and investigate the setting itself
- The PCs are welcome to pursue their own agendas in conjunction with their fellow PCs and the situations presented (the 'Adventures' if you will).
In addition and of paramount importance to me, is the concept that the PCs are not superior to the common folk of the setting to an extreme degree. By this I mean I don't want to run Superheroes or a game in which the PCs are all the best of the best, incredibly capable, action movie star level individuals from the get go.
I'd love - LOVE - to see people start small and build once again. I find myself missing that one old school element of the PCs being relatively ordinary folks in a fantastic world faced with extraordinary situations. A game in which a Farmer might someday slay a Dragon or a run-of-the-mill Starship Mechanic may eventually save the universe.
The campaign ideas I discussed in the Day 16 entry may or may not lend themselves to these ideas easily.
The Orville definitely features the captain and crew of a exploratory starship that aren't the best of the best their fleet has to offer. At the same time, the structure of such a show and setting means PCs are limited in their ability to forge their own path.
A Wild West setting, especially one with just a touch of the supernatural, fits the bill rather nicely. Player Characters would be adventurers living on a dangerous frontier with civilization as they know it and opportunities for wealth and glory just beyond the horizon.
Giant Robots? Well...super fun but not really how I would run that or how that would work with what I am talking about here.
Since Science Fiction remains where my heart truly lies, I'd love to get back to a grand, starfaring, space epic but perhaps not Traveller. I feel like I have visited that universe enough to hold me over for a while.
What are my obstacles in achieving my goal?
First, my groups. Each is different, and all great people and gamers, but they don't really share this outlook on gaming. They want to start awesome and who can blame them? Who doesn't want to be awesome? My pal Dave said (more than once) that if we played more often he wouldn't mind starting off 'smaller' but he doesn't want to have to wait a year before his character is a mover and shaker who kicks ass. Since we tend to play roughly once a month, I get where he's coming from. Kinda.
See, I get tired of our campaigns after a while when we start at a higher power level. Before long I lose interest and it becomes harder to challenge the PCs. OK not really, you can always find ways, but it just seems less satisfying to me. Personally I feel that if we started lower, the campaigns would last longer.
Second, a lot of it is me. I have become too impatient and yet too easy on the players. I've lost some of my touch over the years. I'm very disappointed in myself. I am still a good GM I think, but I used to be great. To run the kind of game I want to run next year, the kind I am describing here, I would need to be great again. I don't know that I know how to get my mojo back.
So in conclusion, what I want next year is the perfect campaign, with the perfect group of players, that i will GM perfectly.
What could go wrong?