Dollhouse has been officially cancelled and I can’t say that this is a big surprise. While I have felt the show substantially improved as it went on, the ratings continue to be abominably low. Not to mention, when a network puts a show on hiatus during November sweeps, it is an obvious presage of things to come.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Many Dungeon Masters (DMs) aspire to be world creators. They create intricate campaign worlds with fully realized politics, cultures, and geography. They design unique races, monsters, and classes to compliment the vision of Dungeons & Dragons that they have in their head.
In my current gaming group, my friend Brian spent years developing the World of Tyr. While not all of our games have been set in that world, the passion Brian showed for it caused us to brand ourselves as the Lords of Tyr when we decided to create an online presence. In the RPG Bloggers Network, Wyatt shares the development of his game world with his readers on the Spirits of Eden. The time and energy he spends developing his world is evident on the (virtual) page.
In the shadow of such evident passion, I have to admit, perhaps a little sheepishly, that game world design never appealed much to me. My first game worlds lacked coherence, having a lot in common with the “throw everything in” nature of the implied setting in Dungeons & Dragons 4e. When I bought the original “old grey box” Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting, I pretty much abandoned world building entirely.
Don’t get me wrong: I love to tell stories. I can spend hours working on plots, coming up with motivations for my villains, and finding ways to bring the player character backstories into play. I work very hard to engage my players in the plots of my stories and ensure everyone has a personal stake in the adventure.
Which I suppose is the point. I tend to focus on character drama rather than on sweeping epic storytelling. This is probably why I prefer to work in established campaign settings. It allows me to “sub-contract” the work of world creation to someone else, allowing me to focus on the character drama that is my bread and butter.
I suppose this is true for most other roleplaying games I have ran as well. In Sci-Fi games, I tend to go for established settings like Star Wars. When it comes to superhero games, I prefer to run in the Marvel Universe (although this may be more of a result of my encyclopedic knowledge of that universe than anything else).
Still, I sometimes look at world builders with a little bit of envy. When a good world building dungeon master is on a roll they can create truly amazing campaign setting which put even the best published campaign settings to shame.
I suppose it is just a different skill set. Some DM’s are like George Lucas, capable creating vivid worlds and writing vast epics but stumbling over character motivation and dialogue. Some are like Joss Whedon, giving you great character interaction and willing to tweak the world for the sake of the story. Rarest of all are those DM’s like J.R.R. Tolkien, capable of telling personal stories while building a world of epic scope.
So what kind of a DM are you?