Every year, my group faces the same problem:
Santa kills our campaign.
This year I am determined, as GM, to work damn hard to keep our campaign on life-support, even if I know I can't compete with family visits, the demands of wives, the needs of children, and the fact that everyone buggers off for December.
Life happens, dude. Get over it. Deal.
I'm using two tools to keep my game alive: our existing OOC chat forum
, and Realm Works
The plan is simple: keep the players engaged, keep yourself engaged (as GM), and thus keep the game played.
We all have online access, even when away, via SmartPhones and the Interweb. Let's use it!
OOC Chat Forum
I've set up two threads for the players to access:
- An IC (in-character) thread, focused on the scene immediately after the last in-play game scene.
- An OOC thread, focused on setting the players some challenges and asking questions.
The IC thread is aimed at keeping the characters on life-support. The biggest killer of campaigns is the inevitable loss of identity with the heroes over an extended period of dead-time. By holding an online IC chat, I hope to help the players stay in-role and enjoy some roleplaying time.
The OOC thread is aimed at two things which really add up to one thing: helping keep me engaged as GM. I'm asking the players questions. I'm setting challenges (with XP rewards) which are about adding details to the setting.
Taken together, the idea is that we keep talking about the game. Along the way, I get some assists on my prep, while the players get another hit of that wonderful drug, "Setting Investment". The more I ask the players what they want from the game, the more I use their ideas, then the more chance there is of keeping the campaign alive. It's like adding an IV drip to the patient who needs life-support: without it, they'll probably die.
My other tool for keeping the flame alive is using Realm Works to document (properly) the setting and events so far. This is about keeping me engaged plus making sure nothing gets lost and forgotten.
Realm Works is an excellent tool for campaign management. By New Year it'll probably be available to everyone. As a Backer, I got to play with it months ago. Now I need to really get down to harnessing its powers.
The problem? I've been using it badly. My realm is a mess.
The solution? Well, actually, I feel it's time to re-do my realm using the best-practice advice.
That's not a ball-ache, though, because (aside from the software being very easy to use) it allows me the opportunity to also tie in another project that needs doing - namely, writing the Tikhon setting background book.
So, while I tinker away and re-build the setting database in Realm Works, I have an excellent opportunity to write up the stuff long-hand too. What better way to keep me engaged with the setting, while adding depth and detail, over Christmas?
Labels: GMing, news, prep, Realm Works, Tikhon