Tashiro (tashiro) wrote in roleplayers,

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Sacrificing the Self for the Campaign

Talking about a Star Wars (SAGA) campaign with a friend of mine, and discussing what the game is 'about'.  I'm interested in exploring the setting from a diplomatic / political viewpoint -- I made a character who is an ambassador from a race that sealed itself off for a few generations and is just now checking to see if it wants to interact with the rest of the galaxy.  The campaign I was in, I was looking forward to the 'strange kid learning about the world around him and trying to act as ambassador and voice for his people'.

I think the academy he was in blew up in the second session, killing his teacher, his fellow students, and leaving him lost with three other people.  From the look of things, it went from 'potential political / diplomatic' sort of character to 'way over his head, struggling to survive'.  I have a feeling, by the end of everything, he'd have gone back to his people and said 'yeah, you don't want to go out there' -- but the campaign didn't get that far.

Mind you, this wasn't the GM's fault, par se.  They had an idea in mind for the game, and I expect it was a very good one... the game crashed mostly because three of the players just couldn't make it, and interest from them was low (online game, conflicting schedules, etc).  I wanted the game to go on because one of the only friends my character had was captured by the Sith, and he wanted her rescued and the Sith brought to justice.

It might not have been the kind of campaign I was looking for, but I was wanted to see it through.


Speaking of missed opportunities, the PathFinder game I'm currently in (tabletop) showed a very interesteding problem.  From Level 1, the characters got pulled into a world-saving plot to prevent a dark god from coming in and eating the entire cosm.  I'd made a professional knife fighter -- someone you hire to duel in your place if you're called out or want to have someone duelled for honour.  My wife made an inventor sort who makes gadgets and devices.

By the time the story arc was done, we'd gone to three cities, visited a faerie market, checked out a tomb full of undead, rode a skyship to the arctic, survived a war, gone to the moon, and taken down an Illithid city.

I didn't get a single duel, and my wife's character didn't get to invent a single gadget.

Now, we're level 11.  I'm back in my home city... and if I get hired for a duel, my opponent is going to explode.  Where's the fun in that?  My wife, on the other hand, is now making magic items hand-over-fist due to being in the artificer class.  (Though I'd have to say my wife's not having great fun with this -- she hates d20 mechanics, so I'm doing most of the game work for her, and she's just playing the character).

I feel this is a serious missed opportunity.  Characters built with a specific theme and concept in mind, and not having the chance to ever explore those themes.  And by the time you get your chance to catch your breath, the major plot is over, and any ideas you hade kind of pale, since you just saved everyone.  How do you go back to just being a 'street fighter' or a 'gadgeteer' or anything like that?

That's why, I think, for those 'world saving' plots, as a GM, you really need to slow things down, give the players a chance to pursue their own interests and explore the avenues of their characters that they want to explore, rather than what you want to explore.  Give them a chance to be the characters they see themselves as, and when they hit level 5-7, then start moving the metaplot in, and start the ball really moving when they hit level 10 or so.

That way, when the plot's over ... they've had a chance to progress their own personal lives on top of the plot, and can feel like they've accomplished their own personal goals.


My wife was running 7th Sea once.  I made a Vodacce whose goal was to face down Giovanni Villanova and take over Vodacce.  By the time the game wrapped up (due to conflicting schedules) he'd gotten married to his Fate Witch companion, had a reasonably sized estate, and was about ready to make his first move.  I was disappointed that the campaign had to close, because I felt this close to getting ready for my plans.  It would have been nice to see things through, but we'd spent so much time wandering the other nations I didn't get the chance to really see Vodacce.  Still, I feel I got further there than in any other campaign I'd ever been in.

A shame GMing stresses my wife out -- she's given up on it.  :\
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