Saturday, February 28, 2015

Playing It Safe

A few weeks prior to the second or third Origins I ran games at, I was having a conversation with some folks in the chatroom. Talk eventually led to the convention and the games I was running. As I described them, someone mentioned they were impressed I was running 8 different scenarios at the con. That shocked me, as I hadn't realized I was doing that. What shocked me more, was that 6 of those 8 were brand new scenarios, some of which had not yet been run by me.

Looking back, I realize I wasn't playing it safe. I was pushing myself as a Keeper and, in my opinion, I was rewarded for doing so. My skills as a GM grew. This directly led to my players in those, and subsequent, games enjoying themselves more. After all, this is why I GM - so I and everyone at my table has fun.

Its no secret that I got burned out of gaming. This was primarily due to running too many games at Origins and not having time to enjoy myself as I wanted to. Over the last several years my return to GM'ing has started up again. I've run games at Origins again the last two years, but as I examine my gaming life recently I find I am disappointed. I've been playing it safe.

How? By running games that I know well and not pushing myself. In the last few years, I've been running the same games at Origins. Yes, I run these scenarios because I love them, but I am also familiar with them - they are comfortable. I need to fix that.

The same goes with Call of Cthulhu. I love this RPG. Its my #1 game, and probably always will be. But there are other games and systems I want to run, and have not because I'm not as familiar with them. This will change.*

This year at Origins I am running four games. Three of them are Call of Cthulhu games; two of which I have run many times in the past. However, they will be different.
  • I am running the Crack'd & Crook'd Manse. This is my all-time favorite published scenario and I have run it at least a dozen times. Yes, this is the least changed thing I will be doing. However, I will be converting it to 7th Edition, so there is some nuances that will make this different for me.
  • I am running my Call of Cthulhu scenario Devil's Cave. I've run this multiple times in the past. However, I'm changing it up. While the plot is basically the same, I'm expanding out certain points in it to make it more. This is my exercise as a GM to stretch myself with existing material and make it better.
  • The last Call of Cthulhu scenario I'm running is a new one called Paradise Falls. I am taking a risk with this one, as it will essentially be a sandbox for the PCs to play in for 4 hours. I admit I was having a rough time until I saw something that Ed Gibbs posted on the CoC Google+ group.

    In this scenario, I am planning on giving the PCs backgrounds they can choose from, and those backgrounds will be integrated into plot that they can interact with. This is a big risk on my part, but I am willing to take it as I think it will work out well. I'm really looking forward to this game, and if things go well, I will be releasing it on this site.
Finally, I will be running a game of The End of the World from Fantasy Flight Games. I'm a big fan of the simple system it uses, as well as the apocalyptic genre. I don't know if I will be using a Zombie Apocalypse or Wrath of the Gods type plot yet, and probably won't until close to the con.

These may seem like I'm playing it safe, but to me I'm taking risks with these. I'm changing existing scenarios that I know already run well, I'm running a game where I will have very little control in the overall aspects, and I'm running a new system that I am not completely familiar with.

I could crash and burn with all of these, but I'm willing to take the chance. I'm excited to go on this ride. Hopefully, it will turn out well; I think it will. Even if it doesn't, I'll at least have tried and thats my goal here.

* Yes, I ran a game of The Menace from Beyond last year. I look at this as the start of my awakening to try new things.

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