11 October 2015

It's Playing Music With Friends

As an amateur musician, I love getting together with my friends once a month and playing some music. What do we play? Selections from a variety of sources, depending upon what we love. Most of us are amateurs on some part of the learning curve though there a few accomplished and even semi-professional players who sit in with us. We hear it all: rock and roll, folk, country, jazz, hard rock, and even tunes we've penned ourselves.

What does this have to do with running a FRPG campaign? Well I'm glad you asked!

We have a growing segment of our community who take the stance a campaign isn't worth the time if it isn't something completely new and edgy. If they aren't completely original then they are passé and shouldn't be spoken of in polite company. As a musician I sometimes derive great joy from learning to play a favorite song (or the favorite tune of someone I really care about) and playing and singing it. It makes me smile, brings me joy, and helps fine-tune my technique. Thus it is with a good fantasy campaign. It isn't about innovation, it's about putting together a game that will bring you and your players joy. As an artistically minded person you won't be able to avoid putting individual touches on your campaign world and your influence on the way your world develops.

I'm certainly no Eric Clapton with a ukulele in my hand. When I received my black belt in TKD Bruce Lee had nothing to fear from me. And I'm no Gary Gygax when it comes to running OD&D. But ... and this is the important part ... I'm okay with that. What I do still brings me great joy and happiness and I'm egotistical enough to believe my running a campaign (or participating in one for that matter) brings the same to others. I can learn from these masters and improve but I'm not going to think for even one second that because my song, kata, or campaign doesn't resemble "the Master's" it is therefore somehow inferior.

Getting together with friends and playing songs you all know and love is fun. It brings a sense of contentment and puts a smile on your face. Getting together with gamers in a well-run campaign, no matter how familiar all the elements are, does the same. We all can't be Picasso but we can all pick up a paintbrush and experience the same joy of creation.