Monday Night Football is an institution in this country. Starting in August, television changes and makes room for arguably the most watched night of sports in television. For millions of fans, Monday night means strapping on some sort of armor, heading to the field of battle, deciding who gets to go first in said battle, and then duking it out for experience, love of the game, money, and glory. I, myself, am a football fan and even cheer on an old high school buddy of mine who plays for the Falcons.
But Monday night means something different to me.
For I too am watching comrades don suits of armor, heading to the field (or dungeon) of battle, deciding who gets to go first in said battle, and then duking it out with them for experience, love of the game, money (well, gold), and glory. For the past year-and-a-half, I have been engrossed in only two Dungeons and Dragons campaigns. For the first ten months, I played in a v3.5 campaign run by my buddy Derek and, since July, I have been running a v4.0 campaign that now has three groups of adventurers. I hesitate to use the word “campaign” at this point because it’s essentially a “world” now. As well as the Monday group, I DM a group meeting on Sundays, and my friend Justin (a regular poster here on pixelated geek) runs a Wednesday night group set within the same world at the same time as the other adventurers.
But it all started with the Monday group, the Lunar Knights I call them (yes, yes, the pun is SO intended).
This is my playbook.
And I am here today to tell you Dungeon Master enthusiasts that there is nothing quite like running a world with multiple campaigns occurring at the same time. It’s like geeking out over every crossover episode of your favorite television shows (re: Gil Grissom from Vegas having a one-liner boss fight with Horatio Caine from Miami). It helps flesh out the world and illuminates the unarguable fact of every RPG universe: that there are always multiple adventures occurring simultaneously. Sometimes they’re versus a common enemy, and sometimes they’re simply coexisting in a world with many obstacles to overcome. Regardless, the multiplicity — though sometimes difficult to manage — helps weave the story, and, honestly, in my mind that’s what table-top RPGs are all about. If combat and haul are the icing, then the story is the cake. Without story, you just have an eventual diabetic coma.
That’s what I’m here to talk to you about: the vivacity of table-top gaming. It’s very alive, and there are even many ways to integrate technology (such as surfacescapes) to make a more enhanced experience. Currently, I’m even working on a way to get a fourth campaign set in the same world running using Google Wave.
Whatever you use, make sure you never forget: without the story, it’s just the crash and none of the high.