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.