My DMing Bucket List
One of my favourite discoveries of recent months, the works of Creighton Broadhurst and his group Raging Swan Press have served as an inspiration and a great resource for me to call on in the quiet moments where ideas are running short and just need to be given a push until momentum takes over.
As it stands I am not short of ideas, but after spotting this headline I’m prepared to push a few planned articles back a week. Creighton‘s list and mine will differ quite radically though, I’m not so interested in running famous dungeons or campaigns, while I sit and peruse some of the classics from time to time I’m a firm believer in finding my own style and adjusting as I play, rather than finding someone else’s style and adapting it to my own, and after ten years and forty articles I’d like to think I know my style at this point.
Still, for those of you interested, here’s my DMing bucket list, a collection of things I’ve never done.
The Elder Scrolls
Look deeper, read books, or perhaps even take in the condensed versions of super-fans on YouTube. The Elder Scrolls universe is big, bigger than big! Tamriel is a large and interesting continent to be sure, we’ve had an incredible game series spawn from it, but you’ve barely begun to tap into the depth of lore, the vastness of it, not even the MMO comes close to the impossible depth of it. Akavir, vast and mysterious occupies more land space than Tamriel alone, and the lesser landmasses such as Atmora, Aldmeris, and Pyandonta are barely the beginnings of the far reaching imagination of TES creators and contributors.
There are other worlds; echoes, shadows and aliens. There are the places where the Daedra walk, those twisted demesnes of Oblivion warped by their masters; the realms of magica Aetherius from whence come the gods; and the void that came before all. What I would not give to play a long-running RP that would help me plumb just a few of those hidden depths, dabble with the races that are not found on Tamriel, break open the cask of lore that are left for us to find in every Elder Scrolls game.
But I already kinda started on Borderlands, so maybe some other time.
Call of Cthulhu
At one point I was good at horror, and I’ve made something of a study on the subject of fear and how to instil it in others, from the cheap tricks to the deeper themes, and Lovercraft and his contemporaries remain some of the best. It’s not easy to make films or TV shows that properly reduce you to the mortal blob of carbon that the ancient gods crush without thought, or fill you with dread at those places and things you have not or cannot see.
I’ve a tendency to fall back onto Dungeons & Dragons, it’s what I know and love, but it’s no small thing to merely “dabble” in another rule-system and setting, it takes time to learn, to teach a group how to play, and of course you need a group willing and keen to play. Despite the recent vogue for gothic and existential horror, Lovecraft is still an acquired taste, and despite a lot of love for the system in most of its later editions I’ve not found much enthusiasm for a month or two of mental torment.
While we’re on the subject…
Total Party Kill
It may seem hard to believe, especially as someone who has tried his utmost to be a cruel but entertaining DM, but I have never completely killed a party. It’s never seemed fun. I think I’d actually feel guilty about wiping out a group because then no one in the room is having fun. That being said, I’m sure if I sat and put my mind to it I could completely annihilate a band of adventurers in a way that feels intensely memorable! And there are some great ways of using a TPK:
- A win/lose finale where the greatest reward is surviving to the end, and more than your life is at stake.
- The beginning of a campaign! Why not? The death of one adventuring party could inspire the deeds of others.
- A vs. match where all parties know that the DM is out to get them.
So if I’m going to wipe out a party, I want to do it right, and I want them to remember. Any TPK stories that you’ll remember for a lifetime? Give me some ideas on Facebook, or in the comments down below.
After last year’s Amecon I discovered I rather like having an audience. I also have an ego that needs reigning in from time to time but it’s nice to know I can call on that confidence when I need to.
Role-play is inherently a hobby of performance as well as gameplay, you embrace your character, and no matter how bad an actor you might be you must understand the capabilities and weaknesses of the person you become or your simply playing a pointless game of wish fulfilment. If you’re a good performer then you can entertain, not just each other, but an audience. This is nto a new idea, Geek & Sundry and Wizards of the Coast have put their own series out there, plenty of YouTubers and a handful of others, even Zombie Orpheus have put on their own RP on stage.
It’s no great pursuit of mine, I just want to say that I’ve done it at least once, and I have a few ideas. Keep your eyes on GeekOut South-West, this one you might yet see me achieve.
This one’s more of a life goal, but the longer I spend here the more real the idea becomes. I have plenty of ideas, but so little time to get them onto paper, a few missing talents that I could do with developing in order to see such ideas brought to life.
You know what, I’m going to leave that there. Plans are afoot, and you know where to find them when they come to fruition. In the mean time, share your DMing bucket list with us, and with Raging Swan, they’re a great read, offer up a bucket load of lists for any fantasy game every week, and deserve your support.