Hey ChicagoWiz, how's that new approach to DM'ing working out?
So about a year ago, I posted "Restarting my AD&D campaign - doing it differently" as a rant against myself about how I'd run my campaign previously. How grindy it was. How hopeless it was. I vowed to not do that again, but to learn the lesson of "make each game meaningful", especially since we play only about once every four to six weeks.
Well, today, I sent my players a quick "Enonia Bard's Tales" email and reviewed what they accomplished in one season gametime (I track calendars by "seasons" and they just completed the summer season.)
None of these were trivial either, full of danger and almost-deaths and one very popular PC's demise.
- Thanks to you guys, the orcs were punched right in the face with Roehm and Reynald retaking the fort at the old Dale Woods Inn location.
- The ruined Monastery of St. Eggyx was cleansed of Chaos when you all killed Tsalazar Rho and closed the portal.
- You freed Sir Ynivax and many troops from the northern Keep/Gate of Irecia.
- You traveled up to the area of Yew and freed prisoners captured by the "Dark Riders" and orcs from the Shrine of Meesha.
- You've traveled quite a bit around Enonia, going south a couple of days, going north almost 8 days.
- You've found intrigue with the Light Bringers, a group associated with the Church of the Light. You've arrested two of their leaders, and found there might be more going on with them.
- A couple of you found further mysteries with news that trolls are raiding an iron mine, about two days south of Enonia.
- The worship of two forgotten gods, Tangadorin and Meesha, have become much more visible and attracted more attention, both good and bad.
Now what do I mean by meaningful? Well, not every game ended in monty-hauls and level-ups. Ups and downs. Mysteries and doors opened. But in putting together the world maps, and starting up my own wargames within the Lands, and expanding the scope of what the players are seeing, they've responded by really digging in and getting involved. And it's really wonderful to see.
I've got at least one 6th level character now, three or four 4th level and the rest are making their way up to "Hero" level. Since adopting MAR Barker's "influence" approach to levels as much as XP marks levels, several of the PCs have started to invest in the groups they are associated with. The maps are inviting players to explore the world around them, as are events that drive them to these same places.
As for me, I'm having fun with the wargames, with increasing the depth of what is going on.
And I haven't even touched on my online game in the same campaign world. I'll save that for a future blog post.
TL;DR - ChicagoWiz was an idiot. Now, he's less of an idiot and people are having more fun and more impact on the world. ChicagoWiz still wants to win the lottery so he can retire and game a lot more.