For a long time been concerned (?) (I am not sure that is the right word) about the discussions, I see online about how to engage players with the lore of their campaigns. there are always posts and comments from GMs who are busy building their world or writing their campaigns. The idea of writing a campaign has, over the course of the last two years, become to sound like a very strange term to me.
The gaming table is a space for all people sitting at it to be creative.
My first campaign and all games I ran for three years were set in a world called Ammaryn. My first attempt at world-building. I spent countless hours coming up with the lore of that world. I know all the gods, and where all the different peoples lived, and what happened in each city or town. I even knew how the political system worked. I have exhaustive notes about so much of that world.
No one ever asked me the names of the five Committee Members.
Or why there are five of them.
I guess I should mention if you love world-building and writing campaigns that is awesome. I like them too. But I know that I will be focusing that energy on my fiction writing going forward. My ttRPG prep will solely focus on what the players have presented me with, and the initial hooks that start the game start with.
My experience with the Northern Reaches (a west marches style game I have been running this year) has shown just how much the players have to offer when world-building. They know the lore. They explored the world and created myths and legends.
I want to take aspects of this approach to an episodic style of game.
|Cover art for Warlock! is badass|
Warlock! is a fairly rules-light low fantasy RPG inspired by early British role-playing games (Think Warhammer Fantasy 1stedition). It’s gritty, grimy, has common folks getting caught up in fantastically shit.
Below is the world-building and campaign writing I have and all I will have until we do session zero.
This is what has been sent to players in preparation for session zero.
You are going to be a part of a small crime outfit that lives and works in the Capital.
What we know
- Capital is the largest city in the world
- Magic is feared
- Monsters are rare
- No fates are sealed
Who are you?
- You are all a part of a small crew of criminals.
- You all have regular jobs in the city.
- You’re all looking for the next big break.
Once characters are created, we will do a small bit of RP and drop ‘The McGuffin’ in their laps. They’re gonna have to bop their way across town.
Will this work? I don’t know.
Will this be boring? No idea.
Am I just being a grouchy, bald, white guy? Maybe.
But I think what I am really being is a time-poor gamer who wants to minimise time preparing to play and maximise time playing.
Long days and pleasant nights.