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I’m not sure how much longer I can hold on to my introverts card as the membership committee takes a dim view of many of the activities I quite deeply enjoy doing.  One of the renegade activities I partake in is running a role playing campaign in a fantasy world that involves a talking animals, hordes of zombies and a mysterious blue toxin that grants super powers when ingested.

On top of the horde and the blue toxin throw in chickens that talk with Russian accents, possums with ninja like abilities and wolverines that tend to end up without underwear and often on fire.

Oh, the motley crew that inhabits the world I’ve constructed.

If you’re wondering, the protagonists of this tale are mutated animals, just like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, only with much less pizza and much more profanity.  Our group gathers every Sunday evening at my house, they come bearing paper, pencils, dice and munchies.  The living room is colonized and the flat surfaces are fought over for the prime dice rolling/note taking places(not mentioning places with access to TIO’s heavenly veggie/chip dip).  We start the game once everyone settles down, this can take anywhere from fifteen minuets to an hour as our group has a couple of extroverts that like to well, be extroverted.

I hate to admit it, as it goes against much of the fiber of my being, but I usually don’t plan the stories that unfold over the course of the evening.  I mean, I did at one time make copious notes with tables and charts and what not; a carefully crafted plot line for my players to follow and discover.  But what I often found happening is that my damn players often would do the most amazingly stupid creative things and take directions\actions I had not even remotely planned on them doing.

For instance, when battling an augmented human that had the ability to change into a fire form our intrepid Wolverine decided the best course of action would be to engage in close quarters combat – imagine giving a bonfire a loving hug – in the midst of performing a ‘stealthy reconnoiter’ of an auto mechanics shop.  Another character, the ninja possum mentioned earlier, decided the best course of action would be to hotwire a car near this melee and promptly gun it in reverse through the bay door and down a embankment.  You see, said possum had an electronics skill, but not a driving skill, thus hilarity ensued.

You really can’t plan for shit like this.  It is like this most nights, our group wildly careens across (and often through) the story arcs I set before them haphazardly fighting, problem solving and running amok/away.  The little preparation I do undertake mostly involves thinking about the broadest of themes, and where I would like them to end up, by hook or by crook, by the end of the evening.  It was a bit of a learning curve in the beginning for me as I would offer choice A, B, or C and they as a group, would consistently choose “Q”.

Leaving much of the planning behind seemed like the best option and I haven’t looked back.  I worry about consistency sometimes as our intrepid animal heroes have crossed into several different worlds/timelines as our story has unfolded.  Keeping track of who is which side and for what reason is difficult and times and I get confused – but I buy myself sometime to get things straight by having some straight up combat for my players to tackle while I refocus my story telling chops.  It usually works out fairly well, and everyone has fun as a result.

Being a story teller is definitely not on the top ten list of activities introverts are supposed to enjoy, but in some weird way it works for me, and I am happy to be the weaver of a narrative that allows my group to have as much fun as they do.

Maintaining the drive and energy of a campaign is difficult sometimes, and one of the best ways to avoid storytelling burn out is to hand off the reigns to someone else every second week and let them run a different story.   My character in the second campaign we run isa dragon hatchling, ostensibly named “Pookie”, and let me assure you Pookie has a great deal of fun cavorting and generally causing higgildy-piggildty in his travels across the story arcs that someone else has to manufacture and maintain. :)

Anyone else from my fair readership that indulges in the deeply introvert-transgressive practice of role playing or story telling?



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