Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Why of Yofga and Hasta

So I know I mentioned rebooting Hekinoe to some degree, but that's on the back burner for a bit. For now, the main task is to get my 5th Edition campaign for Kyle's group put together. I've got a world and some house rules and so on and so forth. I even have what I think is a plot that will work.

Part of me keeps asking myself, why bother with a 5th Edition campaign on a world that exists in the same universe as Hekinoe, but isn't Hekinoe? Especially when I'm initiating some major changes to Hekinoe. Well, there are a couple reasons for this of varying degrees of merit. So let's talk about those today. I guess?

The first reason I want to run a 5th Edition campaign is to give Kyle and Kevin a break. They've been alternating campaigns basically since I joined their group like two years and some change ago. I just figure that it would be a nice break for both of them if another DM steps in for a bit to let them both play. I figure that I was always appreciative of those times Eric stepped in to try and DM something with our group, so Kevin and Kyle might feel the same way if I took up the mantle for a bit as well. I dunno. I very much get what it feels like to run an endless series of campaigns with little to no respite from it, so I guess I just want to show my appreciation for being accepted into the group and for having a chance to play a dozen or so characters.

The second reason is that I miss DMing. I am definitely something of a control freak when it comes to gaming and I struggle constantly (and not always successfully) with telling everyone what to do and reminding Kyle and Kevin of this or that. I'm sure it wears on Kevin and Kyle and the other players and resisting that urge to tell everyone what to do and why they should do it wears on me. In addition to wanting to be in control again, I miss crafting environments and NPCs and plots. I miss worldbuilding. I miss surprising and confusing and terrifying my players. I miss having secrets and knowing things. I miss playing the "I don't know. Does it?" game. I miss DMing.

The third reason, and this is a snarky and selfish one, is that I am fucking sick of "immersion." I have expressed a certain dislike for the immersive aspects of our current campaign. We've always experimented with dim lighting, and it has always given me a headache and I have been up front about that. With the fog machine and soundtrack and lack of maps and visual media, it's borderline unbearable. I'm just sick of being constantly distracted from the game and what everyone is saying by the hissing fog machine and the soundtrack, and never knowing what is happening or what our environment looks like or where anyone is due to lack of representation of those aspects that I can see, and going home after every session with a raging headache from squinting at a backlit tablet in a lightless basement and a scratchy throat and congested nose from the fog I'm constantly sucking in. So yeah, full disclosure, part of why I want to DM for this group is so that I can game in a well lit and comfortable environment.

Side note: Fred and I have recently discussed how when I run my desert world campaign I should make it immersive theater of the mind. By immersive theater of the mind, I mean we should have a space heater running constantly in Kevin's basement while we game, ban all beverages while gaming, and bring a powerful spotlight to blast people with periodically to represent the unrelenting gaze of Hasta's furious sun, and also periodically throw handfuls of sand into their faces. That would definitely be hilarious and immersive and maybe just a smidgen petty. Maybe more than a smidgen. Maybe a lot more than a smidgen. Hehe.

The fourth reason is that I want to challenge myself a little bit. My comfort zone is Hekinoe, Pathfinder, and a certain group of players. I feel like it is important to step outside that comfort zone and challenge myself a little. So instead of the somewhat environmentally stable technologically advanced fantasy world of Hekinoe, I'm trying a campaign on a dying fantasy desert world. Instead of using something I can quote rules and stats from memory from, like Pathfinder, I'm running 5th Edition (which yeah, I'm pretty familiar with at this point, but still). Instead of gaming with Eric and Jason and Lance and Jeremy, etc, etc, I'm running a campaign with this newer group. Instead of doing my politics and warfare plots, I'm doing a semi-tropeish save the world campaign. So yeah, I'm kind of challenging myself a little bit to step outside of my comfort zone a wee bit. Which is cool. It's important to try new things and grow as a GM. I guess.

So those are the reasons why I want to do a 5th Edition, non-Hekinoe campaign. So what am I trying to do with the campaign?

This ties in somewhat to challenging myself. My goal for this is to do a save the world campaign, which I don't do too often. If I have, it's been a while. Pre-Hekinoe at least. My goal is to try and make a save the world campaign, but put my spin on it. Keep my plot creation ideal of grey morality and NPCs with personalities and a world that responds to the actions of the PCs but doesn't pause while they're not directly interacting with a given portion of it. 

My goal is also to use this campaign as a means of focusing and disciplining my scenario creation. Back in the Orcunraytrel Arc we'd game maybe once every two months, sometimes with longer stretches between sessions. We'd augment this with constant RPs via email. Emailing to do RPs between sessions isn't really an option with this group. It's been tried before and kind of falls flat. This group does a game every two weeks, almost without fail, thing that I am very unused to. I'm not sure how my somewhat lackadaisical scenario creation is going to cope with that. I'm normally way more slackass about scenario creation than that. So I'm going to have to get into the practice of disciplining myself and focusing harder on getting scenarios done and that sort of thing. I'm not sure how I'll ultimately cope with this or if I'll be able to keep it up, but I'm going to challenge myself to try. 

Or I'm just going to say fuck it, play video games, and pull everything out of my ass. We'll see.

Another goal is to put 5th Edition and my house rules for it through their paces. I want to hack it up and twist and see how far I can push it before it breaks. Pathfinder tolerated Hekinoe and my house rules fairly well. I want to see what happens when I put 5th Edition under some stress and change how its rules work for magic and recovery and so on. I've tweaked things here and there in ways that tickle my fancy and fit with Hasta and the way it is, now I want to see how that impacts 5th Edition and how it works in a practical way and not a theoretical way. Like yeah, theoretically, I understand that combat is going to be made easier by the group having access to healing spells that are limited only by the fact that they can be used once per round, rather than by spell slots per day. But how is that going to interact with limited recovery of hit dice and being subjected to exhaustion levels more frequently? Six levels of exhaustion kills you, even if you're at full health, and you gain exhaustion levels in my house rules when you hit half hit points and 0 hit points. How are those going to work together? I'm excited to see how all my house rules interact with one another and I'm excited to see how they need to be tweaked. It'll be neat.

So there's some of my goals for my 5th Edition campaign and that sort of thing. Wee!

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