All this bandying of ideas about moments of awesomeness and special effects is neither terribly original or extremely brilliant, but it does give one a handle on creating a game that will give the players involved what they want. Which means that one has to have a pretty good idea of what the players (including oneself) would find fun and exciting. I guess we could put the steps in some sort of order:

  • Decide who will be in the gaming group
  • Determine what those players will think is cool
  • Put together a game that will give them that

Does this sound entirely too obvious? Believe me, I often did this in many other ways, including:

  • Decide what I think is cool
  • Grab a game system that I like and preferably already own
  • Get players more or less as they come up

Now, I have had some really good game experiences that began that way. But I’m an adult now, as are most of my friends, and we do not have the plentiful free time and flexibility of schedule that even college students have. Jobs, social obligations, kids–the list of things competing for time is a long one. This means a game group will have challenges in scheduling. It is also imperative that the game be worth the time and effort it takes to be there. If people are going to arrange busy schedules to be there, one hould at least make it worthwhile, especially if you want those busy adult players to come back.

However, I have left out something: my own tastes, so I will return one of my old methods to the top of my list, like so:

  1. Decide what I think is cool
  2. Decide who will be in the gaming group
  3. Determine what those players will think is cool
  4. Put together a game that will give us that

Listing What I Think Is Cool

We’ll finish this post by dealing with number one in the list above. What do I think is cool and might be fun in a RPG campaign? Well, let me brainstorm a little.

  • Detailed combat with hit locations and specific damage, not just point erosion
  • Dramatic, swashbuckling combat
  • Firearms of limited power–black powder or some equivalent
  • Swordplay would still be a very important skill
  • Characters can lead troops in battle on land or sea or air and make a difference

Okay, that is a lot about combat. What else?

  • A dramatic and not particularly safe method of air travel
  • Different intelligent species and not just re-skinned elves, dwarves, and orcs
  • Magic, but it is hard to come by and rather dangerous
  • Remnants of older, mysterious cultures
  • Some over-arching major danger that has no apparent solution and that few people understand
  • A light tone with occasional peeks of darkness

All this is rather general; it could be fantasy, science fantasy, sword and planet, or even historical. But these elements are what I would like to play with.

I’ll be thinking about this. In the next post I’ll play with these ideas and see what will come of that.