I know that I need to inject some life back into my D&D game. To do that I need to take an honest look at who I am running the game for. Playing in the Deadlands game the other night has me thinking about the audience for games. Because the players are the audience, and just like how a play or TV show will end if no one watches it, the same will happen to a game if I do not capture the players attention.
I am not terribly worried about the boys leaving the game. I have that advantage. However, if I want them to actually pay attention and play honestly then I need to do certain things.
In my Deadlands game the other night we almost never picked up the dice. We did not draw any chips, and no cards were ever drawn for initiative. Yet we all had a good time and are looking forward to the next session. Because that group of players does not need constant action to remain focused. That is that group’s audience.
In my Pathfinder game, it is almost wall to wall combat. Because the group comes to play a game like that. They are not necessarily there to play at a long-term political intrigue. Or care much about solving any real deep mysteries. The audience there wants the diversion of intense, tactical combat where role playing choices manifest in the resource management and combat choices and approaches.
The audience in my D&D game is the boys, teenagers. They do not really desire deep tactical combat for the most part. Jimmy wants that, but the rest are content to roll the dice and declare:
That is my audience. They do not really come for the story. They come to kick some monsters ass and then pick up the loot. I can try all I want to get them to think beyond that. To remind them that they are not just playing a glorified game of Munchkin. But, in the end, that is what they really want.
Which means that I need to plan accordingly. Not get overly wrapped in long in-depth story arcs. They don’t much attention to that anyway. Fortunately, thanks to my discovery last week, I can very easily go back to some Old School Role Playing with very little effort. And mix in just enough flavor to keep things interesting for me.