The Secret Path

“Man I really wish I could play this game!”

If you’ve played pen and paper RPGs for a while you’ve probably heard this exact phrase from a DM/GM, uttered it yourself while running a campaign, or at least thought it. It’s a common sentiment and it makes sense given the way we create games. Behind the screen when we decide plot, fights, NPCs, BBEGs, setting, and nearly every other minuscule detail of a campaign we base it on what interests us, what we like. It’s thus natural during or after a play session to ruminate on how you would rather be playing the scenario rather than running it.

Beyond pen & paper RPGs to nerd/geek culture in a larger scale everyone has their niches. What genre or specific piece of entertainment you probably enjoy but others do not and vice versa. For me personally that’s comicbook super heroes. The rest of my weekly gaming group enjoys them while their omission from the current timeline would leave my life relatively unaffected.

Because of outside influences I decided to run a short game, mainly to try out Fate Accelerated Edition (FAE). So why not play superheroes? Well, because I don’t really enjoy superheroes.

Then I decided we should play full on superheroes.

Why make that decision? Well for one I’ll still get the opportunity to test drive FAE, which was the whole point. The second is it’s a scenario I can run from behind the screen without wishing I was playing instead. The flipside is all the people who enjoy superheroes will get to, you know, play superheroes.

It also means from behind the screen I have to throw some good stuff in the game. Because if I’m going to run it I should at least enjoy it. And since the subject matter isn’t my cup o’ tea I can turn my laser focus on the other aspects of the game and draw my enjoyment from there. Enrich the game experience by bettering the actual experience through combats, situations, relationships, and plots rather than costumed capers. My players will take care of the flair and style, I just need to make the game run like a finely-tuned engine.

So it’s something to consider. If you’re going to run a game try a genre or setting you’re patently uninterested. Let it be the vanilla ice cream base for your sundae. At worst the rest of the group will get to experience something they might not otherwise without running themselves (and I won’t have to phone-in playing a super hero). At worst you might gain an appreciation for the source material. The point here is to highlight aspects of the games you run. Things that are usually pushed to the side by stuffing things we would personally like to see into the game. It’s also a great carrot to get people to try out a new rules system.

2 Replies to “The Secret Path”

  1. This is a very positive attitude. I’m also not into super heroes in the least bit, but I think I’d be willing to run a campaign if given the chance. Who knows, maybe I’ll learn to like it?

    • I think a full campaign would be overly ambitious… and probably agitate me in the end. But a scenario/adventure, or string a couple one-shots together is palatable even if I end up grinding my teeth about it.

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