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30 Days of Gamemastering: Part Twenty

October 21, 2013

This is part twenty in the continuing series of posts for the “30 Days of Gamemastering Challenge” from Triple Crit.

What was you best session and why?

Due to the ravages of age upon my memory, I’m having trouble pulling up a single, spectacular session to serve as an example of the best my gaming group had to offer. We’ve had so many sessions, some excellent, some not so excellent, that it’s hard to single one out. I can tell you about the best campaign we’ve had (thus far).

This campaign was played on a home brewed system developed by a former member of the gaming group. The setting was one of my own devising, a campaign world that lived and breathed through the characters as we progressed. It began with just my wife and I, an exercise for my wife to start gaming. I took the fairy tale “Sleeping Beauty”, gave it a bit of a twist and some Celtic trappings, and presented her an epic adventure–she was to find the sleeping maiden Vriannon and bring her tears to one of the Sidhe in exchange for saving her companion’s life. She was given seven years to complete her quest. As she played, she developed into a formidable role player. Soon, we were joined by another friend, who brought everything he had to the table. Eventually, we were joined by a third player who brought his unique skills to the table and an epic was born.

What really made this campaign work was everyone’s engagement with their characters. They all had detailed lists of all of their belongings–even their wardrobes. They bought each other birthday gifts. They really cared about their characters and each other’s characters. There were even beloved NPCs in the mix–especially one whose death at the hands of the evil Sidhe still gets me called a bastard to this day. I’ve never seen anything like it. And hope to see more of it again.

What brought this level of engagement? Part of it, I think, was the villain of the piece, Lianansidhe. She was truly despised by the characters and is truly one of my more memorable villains. But, really, the biggest applause must be given to the players. They really stepped up their game and integrated themselves into the campaign like nobody’s business. It truly was “our” world, not “my” world.

This campaign lasted over ten actual years. Though there were hiatuses from time to time, we had a pretty solid decade-long run. None of us wanted to let the campaign go; we were all having too much fun with it. But, all good things must come to an end. Eventually, as a gamemaster, I needed to get away from it and we retired the characters. I didn’t want to burn out on the world and never return to it. To this day, this is campaign by which I benchmark all others.

What about you? Any outstanding sessions or campaigns you’d like to share?

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