Talking D&D: Campaign Visions vs. Reality

This is not really a blog about Dungeons & Dragons, even though it works as such, but more an inspired narrative from a “homework assignment” given by the blog In Over Your Head. It was a general call out to have others write 750 words about the vision of a hopeful great piece of work, completed or otherwise. I’m one that ever continues to work for dream goals of production, and again and again I always seem to drop the ball in getting things accomplished. Even so, I always seem to get them finished along in some fashion, if just to get the obsession out of my life so I can move onto the next big thing I never got around to yet.

But there was a time where I just let something slide to the point where it doesn’t even matter if I finish it or not. Sure, I gave talk in the past about going back to it, but I feel drained enough about what I’m doing in the present, so why would I go back to a project not only unfinished and uncared for, but connected with some of the worst memories I’ve had? It’s been so long since I’ve thought about it all, so the recollection might not be accurate, because who wants to remember wretched events exactly as they were? Sure, it’s what I tend to do anyway, but surprisingly some things are still fuzzy.

Back in 2010, me and some gaming bros were raring for some 4th Edition D&D gaming (yes, I gave it a shot), and we were informed our Game Master wasn’t likely to be as consistent with the material that we needed for a weekly gaming group. To have us continue meeting and gaming regularly, I suggested we play out some ideas I had stored up inside me for a 3.5 game, which would be undertaken at the times the other GM wasn’t able to work it. It somehow got turned into having that game be played consistently, which made it a little harder for me, but I wanted to go through with it all the same. Was probably my first mistake, because I was still running my own campaign, all while working video production and a job that didn’t pay the bills as necessary. Just one of the many examples of my inability to make proper balance, so lesson learned.

Back to the new campaign. In a nutshell, it was going to be Epic. Outrageous and wild, sandbox like no other, in which I would try and push the PCs to be as creative as they could to take down otherwise impossible goals through humor and inane actions. It was going to be an extreme break from the norm of gaming we were used to, which was nothing but a long string of fights, and put focus on bizarre adventures and relationships they would create in the world. I may have had my own ideas, but I wanted the world and the adventures to come from them, and improvise something wonderful. Something I could never put into an otherwise serious game, where everyone number crunched and bickered about the dice. It was a grand tapestry of Chaos, and I was so looking forward to it.

How it turned out? Well, I’ve already spoken on that, so it doesn’t bear repeating…save some new feelings and thoughts as I look back on it now, as the homework requires. Sure, only 750 words, but I like to tell a story when I can, and I think people that come this far aren’t bored. Feel free to give me a reality check if it’s otherwise.

The campaign creation was sloppy. Thrown together in such a fashion like I was pulling things out of my ass. I suppose that was the point, but I don’t think I was prepared for what it would require of me. Adventures, NPCs and other stuffus I for sure wanted to be the in the game were improperly prepared, even if that is an overall feeling I have with even the most prepared sessions. I kept going to the book for guidelines on things when I should have just thrown concern to the wind and let it fly. I can for certain work with what was necessary for that now (a little), but my strict sense with The Rules dulled that gaming table. There was a sense of maturity, understanding and dedication I needed for that game, which I still don’t feel I have for any of the ventures I wish to complete. That scares me a little, but at least I don’t have the bum rush of responsibility and bills I had in Milwaukee. I may still be a failure, but it’s a failure I at least have the capacity to comprehend and control.

Due to everything going round in my life and a possible burnout from D&D, it’s likely I’ll never explore this campaign vision again. I’ve made a wiki for the campaign should I ever wish to go back, and while some part of me wants to just so that I can get it out of my system, so much of me would rather let it rot. Too much negativity is connected to that campaign, and it’s better to focus on what really needs my attention (and makes me happy). I’ve somewhat gotten the sense to know what I create will never be as awesome as it is in my head, either because it’s not something everyone can enjoy, or I never put in the work to make it truly Epic. My feet are a little more on the ground now, ever at combat with my dreams. As long as it doesn’t turn into a case where I drop all dreams and hopes, I’ll be fine. Just need to make sure I can complete what’s necessary in the days to come. Things may not be as grand to the vision, but they will at least be done, and that’s better than living in bitterness. As it goes.

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