Tuesday, 23 December 2014

RPG Pre-Conditions and Self Limitations

So way back when I started this blog I kicked it off with a post called "I'm Dave and I'm a Roleplayer" and I proceeded to talk about the rediscovery of what I wanted my hobby to be.

Since then I've managed to rediscover my hobby and I've achieved some things too, not least of which would be attending Gen Con and establishing East Neuk Tabletop Games.

As my post on DMing Lost Mines of Phandelver attests though I've not really lived up to the title of that first post - namely I've not done much roleplaying since this 2nd Chapter started.

Why is that?  Well.....

My Star Wars game has suffered as a result of conflicting schedules (mine and my players) and establishing another game has proven to be more challenging than I think I ever appreciated.  Not through a lack of player interest more that I've not found or indeed at times made the commitment of time to run a game.

One of the beauties of boardgames is that the majority of them can be played in 90 minutes as a maximum time span. Yes there are some that will take longer but the majority of the ones I own can be played in that 90 minute slot which is great.

RPGs can also be played in a relatively short slot too but I'm beginning to think that I don't like that... I actually think that for me RPGs should be in a 4 hour slot as a minimum.  Sure you can play one-shots in 2 hours or even less and that's essentially how the Star Wars game has functioned since it started.  Now if any of my Star Wars players are reading this don't fret, I'm not about to say that we're only going to play it if I have a 4 hour slot (although that would be nice...).
What I am saying is that for any RPG that I kick off from here-on I want the slot to be roughly 4 hours.

This obviously brings me back to my challenges with that around available free time etc but it also gets me thinking too.  What other things should be pre-conditions of running a RPG?

4 hour slot is great but it should happen semi-regularly. Ideally it should happen fortnightly as a minimum although weekly would be preferable but let's not over extend things and just stick to the fortnightly as a minimum.

The funny thing is that I used to be able to do this.

Every fortnight I'd turn up on a Saturday at +ORC Edinburgh and run a game.  Not always a campaign game but a RPG and I'd run it for 4 hours.  This worked really well for a good few years and then I found I couldn't sustain it due to Real Life (tm) getting in the way...  Ok so that sounds bad. Real Life (tm) didn't so much get in the way, it was more that my priorities changed when I became a dad.

So how does that help me now?  Well it doesn't really.

Where it leaves me is going back to that consistent element of "time". The only way I can really kick off a new RPG session in a 4 hour slot is by making that time.  That really means that something has to give and the most likely (and also easiest) option is that I swap some of my existing game time for other game time.

There is another option, or perhaps just a different nuance to the option above. My Star Wars game has just completed the Beyond The Rim scenario and whilst the players are keen to continue maybe I should put it on a short break and run something else (likely D&D) for a time...  I'm not overly keen on that though as my preference leans more to running RPGs at ENT and given we're now running in a 4 hour slot that becomes more likely.

No conclusions as yet, more pondering required about my options but without pre-empting my 2015 look ahead post I think it's clear that more RPG play is going to be one of the objectives I set myself.