Tales from the Gazebo – Storytelling with Spirit, Part 1

Storytelling with Spirit, Part 1
By Cape Rust

I’m sure all of you have run into that time with your gaming group when the normal hack and slash fantasy just isn’t bringing all the gamers to the table. That point when your normal game starts to feel more like a job. This is a critical time for groups as I’ve seen it spell doom for the integrity of the group. Combine all of this with the difficulty of getting airbreathers in the same place for a few hours to game and the challenge rating increases.

My regular gaming group went through the same rough patch recently.  We had just finished up a game and had decided to start a new campaign. One of our members volunteered to run the next game and we proceeded to roll up characters. A few of us were a bit skeptical about this particular group member running the game, not because of his ability to run a game, but because of his work schedule. He works for a rather large company that makes soft drinks. I won’t say which one, but you should have one of their beverages and a smile…. Every now and then he has to miss gaming sessions because he gets called into work. Life is what happens in between games and this isn’t a big deal. His schedule becomes even more chaotic during the summer, to meet the ever increasing demands for the caffeinated life blood of gamers.

Our first session went off without a hitch; all of us were there, even our Skype player. We all had interesting character concepts and were running around in one of my favorite settings. We actually stayed at the table much longer than we normally do that night. The next week rolled around and we learned towards the end of the week that our GM had to work on game night. We were all a bit disappointed, but I am an advocate for skipping a gaming session every now and then for several reasons. While my head told me it was no big deal, the rest of me wanted to game, like a whole bunch!

The following week rolled around and our GMs schedule was once again in jeopardy. I spent the entire week on pins and needles wondering if I would get my gaming fix. It was touch and go until about three hours before the game and we got word that he would make the game. I jumped up and down like a kid at Christmas – I would get my fix. We all showed up and our GM looked like an out of work extra from the walking dead. It turns out he had to work late and then after just a few hours of sleep was woken up to help some friends move. I think he figured out he had gotten 2, no more than 3 hours of sleep. Normally I would tell any GM who had only gotten that much sleep not to run a game, but he was adamant that he was good-to-go. Well, being the gaming addict that I am (admitting it is the first step) I went along, my desire to game over-rode common sense.

The game went OK but our GM kept getting hung up on rules that he had already adjudicated and there were a few moments where I could swear he fell asleep (who could blame him?) At the end of the night he let us know that he wasn’t sure what hours he would have to work the following week, but that he would let us know. As I’m sure you can guess, I was not happy to have to wait all week to hear what my gaming fate would be. I went with it, because he is a really good GM and an even better person.

By the time a few days had passed, I couldn’t take it anymore. Our GM still didn’t know if he would have to work on the next game night and the anticipation was killing me. I called up the rest of the players and let them know that if our GM couldn’t make it, I was going to run a pickup game. I didn’t really ask, I just kind of made a statement. Yes it was a bit of a D-bag thing to do, but I was determined to not miss another night of gaming because my friend had to do something silly like make money to feed himself. Well I don’t think it was D-bag of me to come up with a backup plan, it was D-bag because I really didn’t ask the other players if they wanted to run a game or what game they wanted to play; I chose and that was that.

The rest of the players in my group know me and they consented to let me run a backup game. I chose to run Spirit of the Century based on the fact that I had just recently purchased the rulebook at Kantcon, and it is a really cool system. I let the rest of the group know my plans and started  preparing to run my game, just in case.

Stay tuned to Tales of the Gazebo where we will find out if Cape’s backup game is even needed or will the overworked GM be able to dodge the call into work and run his game!

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