Leaving the Path

So, I’ve been running the Scales of War adventure path for a group of players. I’ve talked about it here. I’ve decided to give up on it, though.

Why? Because I’m bored with it.

Not with the game – I like playing with these people, and it’s always a fun social event when we get together to play. And they’re having fun.

But I’m not. I find the adventures to not be very interesting.

We started play back in September, and we play every three weeks. So, we’ve had five or six sessions. And we’re still on the first adventure, still slogging room-by-room through the first dungeon. And when I look at the adventures down the line, all I see are more large site-based adventures.

Don’t get me wrong; the adventures aren’t necessarily bad or boring, but I am bored with them. It’s not the kind of play style I prefer. I like my dungeon crawling in smaller chunks, with a variety of other stuff mixed in. To be fair, we start to see a little more of that in some of the later adventures, but it’s not enough to keep my interest, especially considering that we have to get through this extended crawl first.

Add to this the fact that two of my six players are pretty much brand new to roleplaying. I don’t think the published adventures are doing that good a job of showing off the variety of things that can go on in a game, and that means the new folks are getting a little shortchanged.

There’s another reason that I haven’t mentioned to any of the others, though. Now that I’m devel0ping some familiarity and skill with the new system, I want to stretch and make my own adventures. I see large areas of the game that are so far pretty much neglected in the rules and the published adventures, and I want to see what I can do with them.

What am I going to do? Well, being a democratic sort, I laid out four options and I’m letting people vote.

  1. Scrap the game entirely.
  2. Start a new game, with new characters.
  3. Continue with the same characters, but different adventures.
  4. Continue with different adventures, and give players the opportunity to rebuild or swap out their characters.

As I had expected, option 4 seems to be the most popular choice.

The caveat is that I want to finish this adventure first. This is for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I don’t like leaving things half-finished. I want them to get to the end of this story. Secondly, it strains verisimilitude to have their characters just walk away from the kidnapped townsfolk. It’s not very heroic.

I’m not giving up on Dungeon Magazine entirely, though; even if I’m not always happy with the adventures as wholes, there are some brilliant encounters in some of them that I plan to lift right out and use as I see fit.

So, over the next little while, as we finish off this adventure, I’ve got my players thinking about what they want out of the game. I want them thinking about whether their characters are what they want, or if they want to change them. It looks like at least one player is planning on making a change to her character, and we’re talking it out.

I’ve also asked them to send me ideas of what they want to see in the game, what sorts of adventures interest them, and what they want their characters to achieve. This will help me shape the adventures for them.

So here’s a question for you folks out there: What are your favourite moments from a fantasy roleplaying game? What made you think, “Yeah! This is what gaming should be?” I’m curious. And I want to steal your ideas.

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