Let the games re-start!

Everything tends to tail off during November, unless it involves writing (for fairly obvious reasons…writing 1600 words a day does tend to take up the time otherwise occupied by normal life. So, gaming also got put on hold; I did try to do one game in the last week, but a combination of brain-deadness from the writing and general anxiety over the game itself meant that we just spent the evening writing (which was fun!) However, we’re now into December. Let the games begin!

I started again with the wolf-pack last night for my GM’d game; they got a task from a rather unpleasant member of the Winter Court and then went chasing all over Swindon via McDonalds, a donut shop and finally an ice-cream parlour…! They’re a fun duo to play with as one player is thoughtful, while the other is silly and tends to prefer wolf-form, so sarcastic comments and barks are the norm, versus the human player’s actual, y’know, speech. A few members of my other group are starting up again next week as well, probably looking for an ever-so-shiny stone that could cause a few problems.

Looking to forward planning for this campaign, I’m starting to integrate the next stage of the plan into it. The first stage was to gain items, which the groups have been doing. They haven’t yet found out what the items are going to be used for…which may possibly be Teh End of Teh Worldz, or at least something approaching it in true Dresden style! However, being one of my games, it’s not quite that straightforward. There’s two sides and multiple choices, and they don’t all have to do the same thing or will know the same things. It could be quite a lot of fun…well, for me. (Everyone is assuring me they are enjoying playing, despite what their characters might think). So, next stage is to plot a longer session for my wolf-pack, and finish up the final couple of items with my other groups. The thoughtful ones might start the End of The World discovery plot, but if not…hey, things are gonna happen anyway!

In the other game, coincidentally, it’s also the Apocalypse. We’ve been aiming towards something for the last seven casefiles and it’s finally arrived, although unfortunately the GM is being extremely evil and has dumped three plots in together…so it’s zombies, chaos, Big Baddies and…well, us. Yay. But it’s going to be nice to round everything off and get this finished, as it’s been a year and a half in the playing! I love the game, so it’s frustrating that we haven’t been able to play as often as I’d like. On the other side of that, though, the other player are probably grateful we haven’t :-/ so hey, it teaches me patience.

I admit I am (was? I hope) struggling with anxiety for my GM’d game. No matter how much my players reassure me that they’re enjoying playing, my brain interprets that as “they’re just being nice” and then goes into “I did all these tiny things WRONG” and then, if I don’t manage to shut it up, does a nice “I’m so CRAP” which is just annoying. I also had the added anxiety of looking at my plots and just feeling that they were useless; I had no imagination, I hadn’t come up with anything interesting, I had no character hooks and no backstories and why were people even playing with me?

It took my wolf-player pointing out that a) we haven’t really played that much and everyone’s still working out their characters, and b) I have A LOT OF PLOT, to make me calm down. I also realised where some of the anxiety comes from; I don’t want to be That GM, and I’ve read so much about shitty GMs online (and played with one or two) that I’m a little paranoid about what I’m doing wrong. I have to remember that I am a new GM, despite everything; I’ve only played a few games! This is my first long planned campaign. So…I need to have confidence in my world and my imagination, and also gives my players more credit; they’re as good at world-building as I am! I can give them free rein and they will enjoy playing, whatever I throw at them. Yes, I can always get better, but I’m not That GM. I’ve got a world that people want to explore, and they’re still surprising me with their directions. I need to trust that they enjoy playing as much as I enjoy GM’ing.

I did manage to chill out and enjoy the game yesterday; I’m looking forward to both of my games next week, both as a player and a GM. It is good to be playing again!

Author: kate

Kate Coe is an editor, book reviewer and writer of fiction & fantasy. She writes the sparkpunk GreenSky series and blogs at writingandcoe.co.uk. When she's not working, she fills her spare time in between writing with web design, gaming, geeky cross-stitch and DIY (which may or may not involve destroying things). She also reads far fewer books that she would like to, but possibly more than she really has time for.