Saturday, 23 January 2016

Fighting Entropy

With several centimetres of snow carpeting the world outside, I'm disinclined to set foot outdoors today and have finally been able to force myself to sit in front of the screen and type out some things that could bear saying as I work toward getting the campaign started again. 

We've created a character for our new recruit, and I'm working on the spreadsheet presently. In conversation with the other two players last night, it was generally agreed that the campaign 'needs' at least one more player. 

One of the obstacles contributing to the general situation of entropy was the lack of anything going forward when we last played in summer of 2015. This was something I wasn't sure how to overcome as I faced overwhelmingly tepid responses when I rained hooks on the payers. My interpretation was that the hooks just didn't seem novel or compelling enough to inspire them to follow. I've been told in the interim, however, that in fact they don't know whether it's a hint toward something I 'worked on' or just a red herring. 

I'm just a wee bit taken aback that the entire nature of what I'm trying to run has been misunderstood. 

I believe I've said it enough before, but let me defer to my hero who has said it differently. Go to The Tao of D&D and read everything he says about railroading. In fact, read everything else, too. I say this especially to the new players joining our group: If you're going to read just one D&D blog, read his. If you're going to read two, read his and mine. 

The game isn't my narrative; it's yours. I don't know how else to make that understood. As players, I've always expected you to pursue any course you wish without concern for what I've 'prepared'. There's no reason to assume that an adventure as I've conceived it in my mind is going to be in any wise superior to one that unfolds as a result of your decisions. I 'prepare' in response to what you do, and that's a fact, not a promise. I will never give you any deliberate shove toward any particular state of affairs. I don't have to. What D&D lacks in graphics it more than compensates for in possibility. 

So please, paladin and bard, don't just stumble around from town to village sitting in alehouses lapping up the sauce and waiting for something to happen. Follow your noses, get out of your comfort zone, and take charge of your own adventure. 


  1. Sigh. Sometimes you have to make something happen.

    I had a party crawling along a snowy road, only to discover three gentlemen with an overturned sleigh. When the party stopped to help, the gentlemen explained that they were being harrassed by a giant snowman (it was a snow golem, but that's not important). When the party helped right the sleigh, the snowman attacked.

    Though the party dispatched the snowman rather easily, the three gentlemen got in their sleigh and ran off. This did not make the party happy. When they got to the next town and found the gentlemen at the tavern, they were anxious to have an explanation. The gentlemen insulted them. Then it was revealed that all three of these are young nobles, rakes.

    Ooo, the party got mad. They spent the night trying to figure out how to kill these three without someone casting augury/divination to track them down afterwards. They were so enraged that I actually read the RAGE section of my How to Run out loud to them and it made no difference.

    Sometimes, you just have to stab the players with a mean stick.

    1. I've had entities attack the party on the road before, and I'll surely do it again at some point, but by the last time we played it seemed to me that to do it more would bring it dangerously close to the realm of a pattern. Part of what was blocking me was the compulsion to always have significant occurences be unlike anything that's happened before.

      It could well be that the party wasn't nearly as bored with it all as I was, and I have to remind myself that they haven't been turning all these things over in their minds nearly as much as I have.