So I have decided to go back to the old world. The old World of Darkness that is. The first game I ran (for more than a session or two) was Vampire. In my high school and early college days, I ran a Vampire game almost every Friday for three years. I dabbled with the other games on and off later to various successes.
My second favorite oWOD game during this time was Changeling: the Dreaming. Not because it fit in with the other settings (IMHO) but because it was a beautiful game. Whenever I cracked open the book, I seemed to be filled with a sense of wonder. I really felt the magic of the game (no pun intended). I have tried over the years to start a number of Changeling games with little success, sometimes because of the players and other times because of me.
Well fast forward to the present. After graduating from college (many years later), I have started gaming on a semi-regular basis. I started a Deadlands: Reloaded campaign. After a solid summer of play, one of the players had to take a job over the road. Discussing the problem to the group yielded we should play another game while we were short a player, Changeling was that game.
I cracked open the book again and was filled with nostalgia and dread. Yes the players made characters and yes we played through a story arc I titled “The Thief of Yesterday”. But then I was stumped. I couldn’t think of anything. My inspiration was gone. I always had a knack of making the meta-plot, the grand story. Now… I had nothing and it made me sad. I had succumbed to the enemy of make-believe. I had grown up and left my wonder behind. “But you are running a game of Deadlands?” you say. True, but Changeling could always help me see past the reality of the world we live in and touch the myth of that same place. This was no longer happening, it was just a book. After a couple of weeks trying to decide what to do, I turned it over to the players. I asked them to tell me what they wanted to see from the game.
The comments they scribbled on paper made me realize they wanted the same thing I had lost, the ability of Changeling to aid us in touching the mystic. Not grand meta-plot but personal magic. Not great philosophical debates over good and evil but the greater power of childlike wonder. That is what I am going to try and give them with Changeling and its stories. The problems I was having even helped create the next story, “Space Ranger Lost.”
Now I know this may have seemed more dramatic than need be. And I am not saying every game I run from now on will be some great work of myth. I am saying (to my players), this is how I feel and what I want to add to our stories. And to the greater gaming community, there are always times when your dreams leave us, when we cannot touch the magic within us. But do not despair or think you are too old. The mystic reaches out everyday, just stand back and let it, both personally and with friends. Gaming is a social hobby. That’s nothing new, I know. ;)