A Good Weekend of Role-playing Fun
It is likely to be a very good weekend. I am about to delve into a little bit of storytelling in the world known to many fans as the Wheel of Time. This is based on a fantasy series books authored by the late and great Robert Jordan. Those not familiar with it should definitely consider a look if you have any appreciation for the Lord of the Rings or the Song of Ice and Fire series. In the Wheel of Time, the rotation of time is measured like a large wheel where souls are weaved back into the world to play their part over and over. It is a setting of prophecy where the Dragon, an almost mythical person, will be reborn to battle the Dark One before he can escape from his prison. The tales surround three young boys who are pushed along by the forces of the world including the turning of the Wheel. One note about this series is the equal role that both genders play in this story. It is an extraordinary blend that helps to bring it all to life.
I have been tempted often to share my many thoughts about this series through this blog, but it does not seem appropriate to give so much time to it. I would like to keep to my purpose. I will likely sprinkle in a few here and there when it applies. For today, I simply wanted to mention this as I will be setting up a campaign for some table top gaming that is set in the Wheel of Time world. My players will range from those that are very familiar with the setting to new introductions to the world. I have a lot to explore and many paths to send them down.
As this is similar to writing a fictional story, I thought that I might add a few thoughts about my preparation for these games. First, I look at the characters as they are generally the source of stories and direction. It is important to have players who are eager to immerse into the role of their character and learn their place in the world that I am attempting to portray. It is often their choices that help to shape the starting point and possible story hooks down the road.
Once the players decide what it is that they are going to be, I can bring them together and allow the interactions to assemble the team. I essentially become the backdrop at this point because I am not into the style that forces them together. I like an organic group that gives them some purpose to stay together. No story works very well if the characters do not have a reason to be together on the journey.
The next step is to build off this connection and pull the strings in order to bring the story to life. It may be a search for something bad or a twist in a back story plot that surprises them. There is no doubt that this will be the meat of the session. For this weekend, I plan to have a few story hooks out there and let them choose their direction. It is very exciting to see how players react to the challenges of just choosing. If the story provides enough options, there is no ending in sight.
Now, I do often have an overarching plotline that will lead to some climatic moment when the players are given the chance to accomplish something or continue on without complete success. As the story is set within a world where the Wheel turns and may return souls back into the story, I have a great opportunity to resurrect any defeated enemies. Nothing is better than an enemy that already knows the characters and can exploit their weaknesses.
So, for the weekend to come, I will be offering about six people a chance to enjoy a night of fun and fellowship to share their imaginations. I promise, as the neutral judge, that I will not bump off my spouse’s character without good reason.