Thursday, December 8, 2016

New Ideas for 2017: Changing up the Schedule

The Pathfinder game has really hit a wall this year. By holding fast to the idea that I must have all 3 players present to run I thought I was ensuring the best game. What I ensured instead was less game - a lot less. We're in the single digits for the year for sessions played.  It's not any one persons fault either as the schedule issues have been pretty evenly spread between us. That doesn't make it better though and it's embarrassing to write it here.

I keep calling it the "main" game yet we've spent more sessions playing other games than we have my "main" game.  I've run more sessions of Star Wars  than I have my Pathfinder game in 2016. That's with two different systems but still ...

The once-a-month-game that I play in has had more sessions this year than my planned-as-twice-a-month-campaign! After talking through December schedules with my players, we won't get a chance to play again the rest of this year. We may play other stuff with a different mix of players but this particular trio is done until January.

So I have to change some things up. The plan is not working. I'm seriously thinking about cutting it back to once a month, setting a fixed weekend for it, starting earlier, and setting the player minimum to "two" instead of "three'. I spent 2016 being flexible, planning on the fly for the next game (or trying to anyway) and instead of making it easier to fit in I flexed myself right out of a campaign.

I'm looking at something like this right now:

  • 1st weekend: The Freedom City campaign. Whoever is interested and can make it can play, no player continuity required. 
  • 3rd weekend: Wrath of the Righteous

2nd and 4th weekends would be other non-gaming stuff, the once a month Kingmaker game I am playing in, and the occasional "other" game depending on which set of apprentices and friends is available and interested. Heck, I'm toying with the idea of a weeknight game again - I just have to ask each of the players if that's even an option instead of jumping on WoW or SWTOR. With one more kid graduating high school next spring it may not even be realistic but I'm still thinking about it.

If I can't run the Righteous with a two-player minimum  (They run 2 characters each. Two Mythic characters) then at some point I'm going to have to shelve it and see what else I can do. I'd hate to do it but it feels a little like I'm swimming upstream here. It's also a disappointing thought because I have other PF AP's I'd like to run. It's taken us 3 years to get to the halfway point of this one and that's with only 4 schedules to consider! 

I'm a little pessimistic now that this long term campaign format will work for us. I think a more flexible set of smaller adventures like I used to run may be the way forward - regardless of the game - instead of the sprawling epic that takes years to complete. If most of my group can really only have one regular main game - and even that is a debatable point right now - then I don't want to spend six years on one set of adventures.  I'd rather cover more ground as I have a lot of other awesome games that we could do in that time. I'd rather do six games for a year each in six years than six volumes of an AP with the same characters in that time. 

I know Savage Worlds, I know - you give a decent amount of crunch and still play way faster than Pathfinder for us.
I'd like to do something that plays a little faster too. We still spend a fair amount of time bogged down in mechanics because we don't play as often as we had planned so we don't get that sustained learning curve. It's also worse than a regular PF game as 1) They play two characters each which doubles the workload in mechanics-heavy situations like combat and 2) Mythic - it adds a whole new layer of special abilities that key off of or enable other special abilities and keeping track of those connections and abilities in play is a challenge, even  running PF Combat Manager on my side and  HeroLab for iPad on their side.  

So I don't have a great answer yet but I'm working on it. Feel free to make suggestions if you have any ideas. 


StuRat said...

I played in one Pathfinder campaign a few years ago (fixed-length sponsored by a FLGS). I had a lot of fun, but some of the combats were hectic and confusing (a lot of buff-generating characters).

After the campaign had ended, I was thinking about it and couldn't recall anything that couldn't have been handled by (the other game I was into then) Castles & Crusades. This pre-dated D&D 5th edition,so that might work too. Or even Basic Fantasy, essentially Basic D&D with a touch of 3rd edition. But only $5 for the complete rulebook. Or download for free-

Another suggestion is Shadows of the Demon Lord. I'm still reading it, but it looks nice. Not sure how it would work with Wrath of the Righteous, but check out some reviews and see what you think.

Blacksteel said...

The rules are only a small part of the problem - if everything else was rolling along I'd be fine with them. I have C&C and 13th Age and I've considered running them at different times. Heard good things about SotDL but I don't own it. Even if I changed it to C&C or 13th Age tomorrow I still have to get it running consistently for it to matter.