Over the last few months, I’ve been running a lot of tabletop roleplaying game sessions, for the “Knights of the Tabletop” podcast, and I’ve come to realize something important:
I’ve been leaning on Horror a bit too much.
You see, I’m supposed to be running a fantasy world in “Pugmire”, which for the most part my players seem to have had fun with. But I’ve noticed myself going to the Horror genre a little bit too much of late, between the sessions of “Dead of Night” (which you can hear every Monday this month, in honor of Halloween), the “World of Darkness” crossover event we recorded for next January (getting ahead of ourselves for the holidays), and my Yule-themed “Pugmire” tale for December.
Wait… What does “Pugmire” have to do with any of this?
Well, it’s quite simple. Every year, right about this time, I get rather obsessed with Horror. Games, movies, television shows, old radio plays, video games, I’m always always looking for creeps and scares in October! The problem is, we were recording the December shows for recently, and I decided to go with a good, old fashioned “ghost story” (after a fashion) for that session. One of the big traditions I always enjoyed about the Christmas/Yule/Whatever season is that of reading scary stories by the fire on Christmas Eve.
Yes, that’s really a thing.
Anyway, so I decided to bring that tradition into our “Pugmire”, with mixed results. I kinda hit the team with a bit more than they could deal with, so I had to adjust the game on the fly, and I wasn’t very satisfied with the results. That said, the players did earn their rewards. But moreover, this session made me realize just how heavily I had been dipping into the Horror well, and that I need to back off a bit.
When three out of four consecutive months are Horror games, or Horror-inspired games, then you know you (as a Game-Master) have a bit of a problem.
Now, I would have done something different than the “World of Darkness” crossover event for January 2020, but I had already promised my players we would be doing this, so I really couldn’t back out. In one case (Domina) had not played “Vampire” in 20 years, so she was really excited for this session. Plus it was recorded in October, as our annual “Halloween” game session, so I was rather obligated.
That said, I think we’ll be going in a different direction starting in February 2020 with “Knights of the Tabletop”. Specifically, we will be returning to “Pugmire”, and the roots of the current campaign. I was telling a story that involved some skullduggery, hints of political machinations, and the evils of racism.
There will still be breaks every couple of months for one-shot adventures in other games, I have a few great games lined up already for this purpose, and we shall of course dip back into the Horror well for the October 2020 shows, as one might expect. But my primary focus for KOTT in 2020 will be adventure, with a good bit of comedy sprinkled throughout.
It’s time to step away from the Spooky for a while.