The new year is, of course, a time for resolutions. Annually, sophic individuals the world over craft horribly flawed To-Do lists with en eye toward self-improvement over the course of the next 12 months. Some of them even manage to make some of it work. And to be fair, using the calendar year to mark a time of renewal can be a powerful psychological tool, but the base motivations to make changes in your life certainly require a stronger underpinning than the desire to coat yourself in a somewhat brighter, less disappointing veneer and outshine your dwindling self-image. That is, of course, unless you have the self-efficacy to respect your needs and limitations and know precisely what you can and should accomplish in the coming months.
I… am not such a person.
I’m not quite quirky enough to label my ambitions as New Years resolutions. I have goals, and some of them are even realistic goals. But I thought I’d take a moment to explore the concept of resolutions in the context of tabletop roleplaying games.
A good gaming resolution should do one of two things: (a) shore up a perceived shortcoming, or (b) challenge yourself to accomplish something new. That makes sense, obviously… how often do you find yourself motivated to resolve to exactly what you’ve been doing for the past year. There may be nothing wrong with what you’ve been doing… but it hardly requires any level of resolve, if you catch my drift.
So here’s my challenge to you in the next year of gaming… try to come up with an answer to both of these items. Select at least one thing that you’d like to focus on improving about the way you already play or GM, and try to decide on at least one thing you want to do that you’ve never done before. I’ve actually crafted a fairly ridiculous tally for the latter condition, but it was a little harder to finger an issue that I wanted to fix. And I think it’s important that we do. So here’s what I’ve got:
(A) RESOLVED: As a Savage Worlds GM, I’ve done a poor job of remembering to hand out bennies. This is a big deal to me, because there really is no harm in being generous about it. A Bennie is another shot at success, not an automatic result, and it’s a damned fun mechanic. I want my players to have more fun, so this is something I really need to work on.
(B) RESOLVED: In the year ahead, I will select at least one genre of game that I have never previously explored and work it into my schedule. I inadvertantly did this last year with my online zombie apocalypse game, and it was a lot of fun. And let me tell you… that was kinda nerve-wracking. I’d never run or even considered running a zombie game, and I wasn’t particularly comfortable with the subject matter. Future options might include a western game, such as Deadlands Reloaded, or perhaps an espionage game, like Nights Black Agents.
So, what are your gaming resolutions for 2013?
Orryn Emrys, the Prismatic Dragon, is the director of the Prismatic Tsunami web community and the host of the popular Metagamers Anonymous RPG podcast. Learn more at http://www.prismatictsunami.com.