Sometimes I labour under the delusion that someone might actually read this stuff, and that it is not, effectively, as private as a locked diary that I keep in a safety deposit box.
So for that person, in order to make sense of some of what I do an say on this site, it might be useful to know a bit about my gaming “group”. I place “group” in quotation marks because it can only loosely be called such.
You see, I live in a centre that, as near as I have been able to tell over the last 30-odd years, does not have much of a gaming community. This is a city of over a million people which, so far as I am aware, has only one FLGS. It has a successful comic convention every year, big enough that a few years ago they got the entire bridge crew of the Enterprise “D” on stage at the same time; but the one time I attended, I was not able to find a single gaming table. If they were there, they were no doubt shoved in a tiny room somewhere with between half a dozen and a dozen people playing at any one time.
Gamers are hard to come by. Gamers who play my system of choice (D&D 4e) are pretty much non-existent. And it has always been thus. Even in high school, our group consisted of five serious players and two less serious players, with no movement in or out. There just wasn’t anyone else available.
Since finding new players was a non-starter, we got in the habit of running a lot of games with just two players, or rather, a GM and one player. If you wanted to play, you took what you could get, you know? And the thing is, we didn’t see anything strange about this at the time. It is only now, where I read so many posts on blogs and forums, that I realize that some people find this unusual. Really, you can’t run a decent game with less than four players? You don’t say.
Now, with everybody’s careers, and spouses, and children, and health problems, it is even tougher than before. I would like to play once a month, and if I am lucky that is what I get to do. But in the last five years, I have had two players at my table twice, and three players at my table once. The rest of my games are one-on-one. I have two players who I play with regularly, and three others who often express an interest. All of my sessions allow on-line play. And yet getting more than me and one other person to the table at the same time seems nigh impossible.
Part of the problem is that my own schedule is unpredictable. I am a single parent with three kids, who works full time at a demanding job with unpredictable hours. My youngest kid is five, at the time I am writing this. I have to squeeze in my campaign prep into the evenings around making supper, and cleaning, and laundry, and helping kids with homework. And I want my sessions to be good, so I am not happy winging it once every couple of weeks. Plus I never know when I am going to have a break from my kids. So neither I nor my players know when I am going to be able to run a session.
This is why I have so many campaigns going at the same time, all of which seem to be in slow motion.
The Gaius Cannith campaign I started with my buddy, let’s call him “Caius”, as a way of introducing him to the 4e system. He hasn’t really shown much interest in the character since we started the Koln campaign, but I like the NPCs and story and may spin them into other campaigns. In any event, since I maintain a continuity among campaigns, those events happened in my Eberron, so they stay on the site (if I ever get around to writing them).
After that I started two other solo campaigns with Caius: the Koln campaign and the Larenth campaigns, post of which I will speak of in more detail in later posts.
The Erdan “Scarred Elf” campaign, for which this portion of the site is named, is the first campaign I started with Bruin, and I think he still enjoys the character, but I sort of did a cross-over with the Larenth campaign, and now I am stuck until I can get Bruin and Caius to play together at the same time to finish up that storyline, or until I give it up and retcon that storyline out of existence.
With Erdan stalled, I have been running the Dax solo campaign for Bruin. The Dax campaign with Bruin, and the Koln campaign with Caius, are my most active campaigns.
The Star campaign was an attempt to run a campaign with more people. We had exactly one session: everyone claims they are still interested, but good luck getting everyone together, and prepping is a bit of a lower priority than with the solo campaigns that I am relatively certain will happen sometime.
The Sharn campaign is something I am trying to get going in order to play more often with less prep. The plan is to run an open table online in the hopes that someone will be available to play when I am. It is being built in a fashion that will hopefully facilitate casual play.
Which is a long way of explaining why, after five years, all of my campaigns are still stuck in the Heroic tier.