Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Regarding Details in Getting a Game Started

I am glad that I haven't heard a lot of angst from among the would-be players.  Prospects should remember that I'm not big on players who wish to perpetrate a strong invented personality, which will then be used as a justification for disrupting or derailing group play.  D&D is, to my mind, a group activity, not one in which an a single individual attempts to achieve their personal goals independently of others.

This is never more true than online ~ the secret of a good online campaign, I have found in the past, is plenty of chat between the participants, where the chief slant of the dialogue is between the participants and not directed at me.  Think of D&D as a wheel; yes, every part of the wheel has its connection with the hub, that being the DM ~ but if any part of the outside rim is broken or left out of the spin, the wheel smashes on the pavement.  Players have to do more than play together ~ they have to reach out to other players, to ensure that everyone is on board and involved, whether they have been able to express themselves or not. These are the best games.

For those who have expressed interest but not the ability to be wholly committed: believe me, I understand.  I would like to have the resources to be "on" 24/7.  Looking at my week, I figure I have approximately 42 hours of time in which I will have the freedom to see a question, concoct an answer and post said answer.  I also feel that I will be able to jumpstart my book writing again by being forced to be clever, creative and intellectually active on a daily basis.  I find I am craving some kind of push; so I won't just be squeezing in a bit of play for four or five hours a week.

It takes about 10 hours of typing, responding, fixing maps, creating visual spaces and answering questions to equal about 90 minutes of ordinary face-to-face game play.  For players, it isn't practical to be able to give your full time on a given afternoon or two mornings per week.  You have to be prepared to find 3-5 minutes to quickly pump out a response, somewhere between 4 and 20 times per day, to keep the momentum of the game going forward.  I've seen what happens when people are only able to respond to what their characters are doing one time per day or not at all.  It is destructive to the cause.  What is needed is a practical obsession, one where ~ if you have 90 seconds free ~ you immediately rush towards the campaign to see if anything has changed.  It doesn't mean you have to speak every time you check, but it does mean knowing what others are saying and then jumping in before it's noticed that you're the part of the wheel not turning.

So be realistic.  I appreciate greatly your interest and your spoken desire, but don't put me in the place of giving you a spot at the table if you're uncertain.  You have to be certain.  Otherwise, please let me shake your hand, clap you on the shoulder and welcome you to watch with vigor.

Perhaps I might think of some way for others to rubberneck a bit on the campaign.  That might be educational, if somewhat annoying to the participants; if you're really interested in playing, but can't, perhaps we can make a space where the moves and choices of the players are freely discussed ~ with the deepest respect and cautious empathy expressed towards the players at all times!  I don't want to bitch session where people write in to talk about what a bunch of fuck-ups the players are ~ we don't need haters.  But an honest dialogue that expresses roads and options not taken, or expresses positive approval for choices by players could inspire better play in other campaigns.  Comments moderated, of course.

In such a case, a short comment would be better than something very long, unless a person felt absolutely sure that nothing in the comment could offend; I'd hate to dump someone's carefully thought-through 500-word comment because one sentence in the middle was 'iffy.'

Much of this hinges on whether or not Oddbit wants to go on playing Lukas; in that case, because I'm a purist, I'd have to argue that he is still at the top of the Black Sea on the coast of the Sea of Azov.  People should be questioning if they'd be willing to start there with Lukas, if he's still in this.

Otherwise, please consider where you'd like to start.  It is a big, big world.  Montague [as Frederic] mentioned Khwarezm [spelled about two thousand different ways; in my world it is divided into three states: Khiva, Kulpakstan and Tash-Ko].  But I'm prepared to run anywhere in my mapped world, from Senegal to Scandinavia to Burma.  If someone wanted to try the new map of Britain, I'm just a day or so out from completing it [being lazy; sorry].

Please let me know ~ and anyone who hasn't weighed in yet, please feel free to do so.

JB, if you're out there and wondering; I'm more than willing to give it another try.

49 comments:

James Clark said...

I replied in greater detail to the previous post this morning. In short, I'm in if you'll have me and ready to play in any game you run.

Nine-toes said...

I'd like to be considered for playing again, if you are amenable, Alexis.

Nine-toes said...

Oh, and I'm certain I am be able to participate in full.

Arduin said...

I'm always partial to the colder northern climes, hunting giants and dragons across the fjords and trying not to freeze to death. But I'd be more than willing to stomp around the mediterranean.

If Thursday winds up being the primary day, sign me up. I should be able to get my wife to keep me posted on the game during any other times.

James Clark said...

Having considered this further since this morning, I'm leaning more toward wanting to start fresh with a new first level character. This may be more compatible with the interest being shown by "new" players, but I worry about what the players from the old campaign and Alexis might prefer.

Oddbit said...

I'm more partial to playing as Lukas, but would rather not without at the minimum Andrej. Mainly since there was a lot wound together with his threads.

A thing to keep in mind is, that if we do not play as that group, we might as well assume we never shall again.

Also, from my experience as Lukas, I can tell you it doesn't actually take THAT long to 'catch up' as it were. Given that the higher level party members can take more damage and assist in getting greater rewards.

That said, if we start anew I would not be too put off.

Alexis Smolensk said...

I would suggest that Andrej and Lukas pick up again. If Nine-toes can find his monk, then I'll reunite him with the cleric and mage. If it happens that, after this time, that Andrej woul rather NOT initiate a mission, because that now seems anathema, then he should consider collecting together 3,000 gold by OTHER means, then returning that wealth to the church.

Agency is still key; there are always alternatives, even in "contractual" agreements; this is the 17th century, after all. If Andrej were to disappear for awhile, the church is more than likely to write it off to "Well, he did go to a very dangerous area, we probably haven't heard from him because of the Turks, pirates, bad luck, etcetera."

Oddbit is right about people catching up. And there is the option of Andrej and Lukas agreeing to run their Henchmen with new players for a time, while the main characters "set up" a base in the Donbass. That way, they COULD run a "fresh" campaign, there wouldn't be a dichotomy between upper and lower level characters and when the group catches up to Andrej and Lukas' status, people can return home and reorganize.

How does that sound?

Once I get this settled, I can start organizing groups.

Shelby Urbanek said...

I'll vote for a spot in the Baltic if James decides to pick up a new character, or if two separate groups are initiated. Of course, I'm amenable to just about anywhere at this point.

Oddbit said...

I may have lost access to Kismet's account, and I definitely can't find my spreadsheets I was using to track the characters. But everything's in my blog, so I can rebuild them as necessary if we take that path.

Dani Osterman said...

Thank you for the clarification. I am available for that commitment.

James Clark said...

Hmmm... OK, I can do that. I had actually forgotten about the henchmen, believe it or not, and was thinking only of the main party. As for the mission, I am not concerned on that count. Should I play Andrej again it would be to bring his plans to fruition.

My character blog is long gone, but I do have a hopefully up-to-date character sheet in an excel file for both Andrej and Sofia, so if we're doing this I'm ready when you are. :-)

Frédéric Winck said...

(-> Arduin Come, people, the Northern Wastes of Europe are too familiar ! Go East to Samarkand and Bukhara, where worlds clash and meld in such ways that the cliché of Arabian Nights city with people of every origin is made a reality ! Or go South along the Nile to find its source and be Linvingstone before it was cool ! Or across Siberia, to find the Sands of Chara, the world's smallest desert !)

Alexis Smolensk said...

Nine-toes? Can you find your monk?

That's a yes from Andrej, a semi-affirmative from Lukas.

Let me count the rest:

That's Frederic, Dani, Shelby, Arduin, Maxwell, Tim, Behold, Maliloki, Drain and Jonathon.

13 all told. Too many, but I have what I think will be a practical solution: a test of attrition. In the past I've tried random, but I didn't like it. The alternative is somewhat dictatorial and DM-aggrandizing, but I think that everyone can agree that this is a rational, reasonable, properly competitive solution.

I'm prepared to roll you ALL characters (and close the book with these 10 new players for now) - but those who consistently make me wait before giving back answers and data will be pushed out of the game. Frankly, I think some of you will quit on your own after the first week; and you can all bet that if I ask the other players who seems to be dragging before we even get started, you're going to get named if people feel you are.

So, can I start with this:

How many, and WHO, wants to jump in with Andrej & Sophia in the Donbass, Sea of Azov, eastern Ukraine? Give yea or nay, Lukas and Nine-toes please.

Those who DON'T want to join in with Andrej, please just write a comment that says one word: Elsewhere. If you want to comment on being elsewhere, please write another comment; it is easier to tally you up if I see just your name and the word.

Those who DO want to join in with Andrej, write one word: Donbass.

Following instructions is key.

Anyone who doesn't answer this within 8 hours from now: 2 AM, Greenwich Mean Time/9 PM, Eastern ~ is out.

Go.

Oddbit said...

Donbass

Frédéric Winck said...

Elsewhere.

Frédéric Winck said...

Though I should clarify that wouldn't mind at playing with Andrej and the others : the notion a creating a new group appeals to me ab bit more than the familiarity of pre-existing characters.

Tim said...

Donbass!

Shelby Urbanek said...

Elsewhere.

Maxwell Joslyn said...

Elswhere.

Nine-toes said...

I have my monk. Never lost him. He's posted as one of my blogs. And I'm definitely in if you'll have me.

Nine-toes said...

Yea for joining with Andrej.

Jonathon said...

Donbass.

Alexis Smolensk said...

Close, Nine-toes . . . but not following the instructions.

Heh.

James Clark said...

Any word from Butch/ Ahmet? An ideal re-start would have all four of the players there when we stopped in addition to a returning Nine-toes (yay!) and now others.

Dani Osterman said...

Donbass.

Alexis Smolensk said...

DAMMIT.

Scarbrow, I skipped you. Please accept my apology. You too, obviously.

Alexis Smolensk said...

Nope, haven't heard from Butch. I presume he's stopped reading the blog. If he shows up, he has a berth.

There are six people in the Donbass campaign now. Should be crazy times.

Scarbrow said...

You've skipped me with good reason, and in line with my stance.

Given that you've got more than enough players, I will accept your offer of a handshake, a clap on the shoulder and vigorous watching.

Good luck! I'll try to follow you all at a distance

Butch said...

Alexis, I emailed you earlier but perhaps it went into the ether. I'm interested if you want to have me back. I could return as Ahmet or as a new character. I think I would lean toward the latter only because staying in Anatolia would seem to be a fitting end to Ahmet's story, and this time around I'd prefer playing someone less dour. But if it makes more sense to keep the gang together I'd be happy to keep him going.

Alexis Smolensk said...

It really isn't my decision, Butch, nor anyone else's. Go with whatever choice makes you warmest, we'll go with that.

Alexis Smolensk said...

On that note, you can retire Ahmet and start your hench as the "new character" ~ resurrecting Ahmet someday in the future, putting him in Anatolia whereever you think he belongs. You can roll a completely new character and play in Donbass or Elsewhere. Like I said, your decision.

Butch said...

I like that idea a lot. I'll join with Andrej and my other companions in the Donbass as a new character, with Ahmet possibly to return at a later date.

Drain said...

St.Elsewhere.

James Clark said...

::sheds a tear for Ahmet::

Alexis Smolensk said...

I appreciate the humour, Drain, but there are times for just following instructions. Just sayin.

Butch, you're an old hand, no need to prove anything to me. You have a free ride on instructions.

But . . . keep in mind, if you start a totally new character, not Butch's old hench, then you have no previous connection to Ahmet at all and you won't have the freedom to bring him back into the campaign. He really will be retired.

Those are the rules I've played by a long time.

Butch said...

Ah, I see. Can I wait to see who is going to Donblass? Ahmet and his henchman (Enrico) are both fighters... if we don't need a fighter, I'd play something else.

Oddbit said...

I won't apply any pressure as I don't want to pressure you to play a character you don't like if that is the case. So I'll save any comments till after you commit.

My old inventory doesn't have perfectly accurate weights since the copy paste from the trade tables had more info it hid behind formatting, so my weights may be a bit high or low. I'm going to be sure for especially numerous things to make sure theyre as accurate as I can though (gold mostly)

I'm going to really miss my eating sheet though. It automatically evenly reduced all my food by simply inputting how many effective days passed. (Including horse food)

Alexis Smolensk said...

There are seven people in Donbass right now; they will ALWAYS need a fighter. I'm pretty sure that with all these people, there will be something of everything.

Run what you want, Butch: the party will make do!

Nine-toes said...

Donbass.

Dani Osterman said...

With 7 in Donbass, I am happy to go Elsewhere.

Alexis Smolensk said...

So noted, Dani. Don't forget to vote.

Dani Osterman said...

Right. I'd love to start in Mongolia or East Asia.

Oddbit said...

Yeah in Alexis game it doesn't seem like there is such thing as an excess of fighters.

I could see an excess of mages, maybe an excess of anyone else not able to take a hit, but not an excess of fighters.

Alexis Smolensk said...

Dani, please read today's post, "Elsewhere."

Alexis Smolensk said...

Time is running out on Behold, Maliloki, Arduin and Jonathon.

Arduin said...

Elsewhere

Alexis Smolensk said...

Thank you Arduin,

Don't forget to vote.

Jonathon said...

Donbass

Behold said...

I think I'll bow out. It's very crowded and I'm just not able to guarantee the number of posts a day. Best luck to you all.