A2 Series • #1
Scott, our illustrious Guild Master, asked me to provide my insight on planning a new campaign. My approach and the thought that goes into starting a new campaign differ somewhat, though the end result is the same — to coalesce the swirling thoughts in my mind, get them cohesive enough to go from thought to plan, and then to the eventuality of the game session. I believe having multiple viewpoints on the subject can aid fellow game masters who are going through the same process determine what to do with their own thoughts on a new campaign. I will use example of campaigns that I have organized in the past as well as a few campaigns that I have in various stages of planning and “pre-production.”
Mr. Presley needs no introduction, of course; his presence is ubiquitous in the LRPG. I am not as well known, so offering some tidbits about myself might provide insight into who I am and my gaming experience. As a long-time supporter of the idea of a local gaming club, I’ve been a member of the LRPG for about 10 years or so, though I don’t make it to many meetings (something I have vowed to change in 2019). I’m originally from Ohio and moved to Kissimmee with my family in 1982, and I now reside in Winter Haven with my wife of 17 years and our three children. I have been gaming for over 32 years, and most of that time spent as a game master. Like most, I entered into to the hobby by way of D&D. I picked up the Red and Blue boxed sets of “BECMI” (or “Mentzer”) Basic D&D and haven’t looked back since. Over the years, I’ve run games of every edition of D&D (except for 4th Edition), the Marvel Superheroes RPG, various editions of the Star Wars RPG, Vampire the Masquerade, GURPS, Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, Mutants and Masterminds, Fantasy AGE, Traveller, Savage Worlds … and probably a few more I can’t remember. I love the challenge of being a GM, crafting a world and a story, and having players interact with that world.
I think that the very first thing you need to run any campaign is inspiration. Before anything else can occur, you must be inspired — be motivated — to be a game master. I cannot say that inspiration will lead to you the GM screen but without it, running a game is hard. And it’s a big leap, for sure, but I think every person has the potential to be a game master … whether they make the decision to do so or not. I believe a lot of that decision comes down to how much you are inspired and how strongly it motivates you to take that leap into game mastering.
Where does the inspiration come from? Just about anywhere and everywhere. Movies, books, comics, other RPGs, and online forums are some of the places I’ve drawn ideas for a campaign. For a game I am currently in the planning stages of, I drew inspiration from a low-budget crime thriller I watched about five years ago. The movie (whose name I’ve since forgotten, unfortunately) pits two criminal outfits against one another, with a neutral neighborhood becoming the battleground for these warring syndicates. It, along with some comic book elements I “borrowed,” has become the foundation for an upcoming campaign. For a past Fantasy AGE campaign, I used Rory’s Story Cubes for inspiration after deciphering a basic premise from the dice.
Next time, I’ll talk more on inspiration … and what to do with it.