Monday, February 13, 2012

What I Would Do With Money

There's nothing wrong with fantasizing.  It's a healthy, encouraging, creative endeavor, and I firmly endorse it.  That's how I got into writing in the first place: fantasizing.  Now and then I want to indulge ... and I don't need too much justification to do so.

For example, yesterday I found myself wondering what I might do with a tidy sum like a million a year, if I had no responsibilities.  I am the sort that loves to travel.  Moreover, I'm more of a journey kind of fellow, rather than the destination type.

You know what they say, though.  That travel exhausts.  You can do it for only so long before its just another cathedral, its just another big dam holding back water and its just another festival with costumes.  I suppose.  I've never had the opportunity to get truly sick of travelling.  I'd like to give it a try.

Something interesting occurs to me, however, and as long as we're thinking about things we'd like to try ... just now I'm running a campaign online in the town of Munster, Germany.  There actually is a Munster, of course; and there actually is a cathedral.  Now what might it be like to be in Munster right now, but still running my online campaign.  Might be fun to take a tour around Munster for a bit, capture a few old streets for youtube, get a good look at the set-up the cathedral offers - one thing about youtube, you never really get a look at the things you want to see.  You can find video of the cathedral you want, but since the video isn't being taken by a Dungeon Master, it isn't quite as helpful as you'd like.

Pacing the cathedral, filming exactly what you'll need for the game, and from every angle - now that would be something.  Go out and get what you need, then sit down and run the game.  And if the party sets out for Arnsberg - YOU set out for Arnsberg, too.  And then Turkey, and the Ukraine, or wherever.

"A man was killed today while ascending the Congo River, apparently under instructions from a group of North American white collar workers.  When inquiries were made, one New Jersey resident said, 'We wanted to explore the interior of Africa - and he was our dungeon master.  It's too bad; he ran a half decent game ... but at least now I can get back to my Traveller campaign.'  The so-called dungeon master's wife was killed also."

Hm.

An obvious solution for that would be if I had an income of ten million a year.  Then I could comfortably pay a $60K wage to players for the period of a year, say, along with all travel costs, and import those players to Munster, also.  Then, if they took it upon themselves to visit the Dark Continent, they'd get killed along with me.

Being randomly executed in the Congo aside, wouldn't you give up your ordinary routine for twelve months to tramp around Germany, learning to ride a horse or a wagon and make your way around the backroads of the countryside?  Adventuring full-out.  Covering the ground, then sitting down for a few hours in the evening to play out a battle or two, chalking up the day's successes or difficulties ... examining step-by-step the caves in Slovenia or the slopes of the Carpathians?  Wouldn't the gentle reader consider playing D&D on the ground, as it were, and doing more than picking the crossroads to be taken than just in one's imagination?  Especially if you were earning money to send back home while it was happening?

Of course - if I were making one hundred million a year annually - that might really get interesting.  By that time I'd need a considerable staff to really run properly.  That staff would no doubt include a fleet of writers and casting agents, whose sole purpose was to design a host of characters who would approach the party at random, chatting them up, threatening them, acting as villains, stealing things off the party (I knew a few magicians once who'd have made great sneak thieves), selling odd items at street corners and such.  A sort of trundling, ongoing movie, with the players as the main characters while this structure took place around them.  They could find themselves in castles (rented), in villages (hastily constructed), aboard ships ...

No, no, I think we really need to increase this budget to a billion a year.  That way, we could really construct some profound sets.  The villages could be elaborate set-ups, with hundreds of players tramping through, maybe thousands ... and the ongoing campaign as it rolled through Europe would act as a continuous economic boost, flooding the next town along the route with wealth as the party decided to embark for Egypt or wend its way north into Poland and Russia.  Hundreds of filming crews would follow along, transmitting the game as it happened to millions of viewers, selling advertising world-wide, as the game was translated into a hundred languages and vicariously debated and argued over ten millions cups of coffee every morning.  Other campaigns would sprout up, cheaply run or even more elaborately, crisscrossing the globe on medieval ships built for the purpose.  Various campaigns might slam against one another as global-internet events, smashing away at each other in imaginative LARPing events that only huge piles of money could buy.  Rumours would abound that some of these campaign crossovers would be resolved in 'snuff' contests ... but who would really believe that?

Sigh.

Well, it really is just fantasy, isn't it?

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