Wednesday, April 24, 2013

[Valanas] Homebrew Collaboration

Valanas originally started as an attempt to learn a system. Over the course of time, the players found that they could have a lot of fun and they turned what was originally a play test into a world of their own legend.

Since that fateful day when I started the home brew game, I have grown substantially as a creative world builder, a game master, and more importantly a collaborating. What I will be going over in today's blog will elaborate on my experiences and theories on world collaboration and how I hope to further my hopes of making Valanas a truly worthy experience to share with the world!

Where it all began, this world helped me significantly grow as a Game Master.

In any given situation where I am spending time with friends and family, it has always been important to me to set up an experience where most people at the table can have fun. It was all too frustrating for me to find that players often took the frustrations of their world and used them as the fuel to destroy things in the gaming world, often time at the expense of other players. Sometimes I myself would be the target of these situations, and it would make for some of the worst memories of them all.

More times than not, I would ask myself how such a creative environment could be so drastically altered into something so negative? At some point during my game mastering career, I searched for answers and came across the RPGA. It was at this point that I was still exploring Dungeons and Dragons and was trying to put together what was soon to be the longest RPG Campaign and probably one of the toughest experiences as a fresh new Game Master.

During my exploration as a Game Master, I discovered some of the great words that came from Andy Collin and Wolfgang Baur. As I did so, I discovered how amazing it was that there were people out there that made entire blogs about how to be a mindful Game Master, considerate of others and looking out for the enjoyment of all instead of a select few.

Then came the time when Valanas was established after having some solid philosophical discussions with a fellow game master. The idea was that I would run a system that they were very passionate about, and I would try to show them what I had learned. Over the course of the next seven years, I will have continued to grow and develop the setting after having learned some harsh lessons. It would take me half way across the national United States to finally realize what had happened and how much people can appreciate mindful game mastering.

Though once I had that all figured out, it was only a matter of time till I would try to establish a community based off of the idea that gaming didn't have to be limited to a select few and was built around the idea that we all as gamers were there to escape. Instead, it would be a chance for us to build something. Yes, it is still an escape, though more times than not the idea is that although one has escaped, there was still that situation where those problems would find their way to the game table.

Now, it isn't so much about escaping as it is about exploring a creative outlet for our stress, a place where we can use our game to communicate to each other, have a good time, and build a relationship with each other. We can now get to the game table, physical or virtual, and know that those around us are only human and only have so much time. If not enough people show up for game, players can rely on back up games and simply relax, talking about whatever happens to be on our minds.

And it is thanks to this almost meditative practice that has allowed the players I play with to build flavorful characters, enriched stories, and change entire landscapes. We are able to do so in such a way because we take the time to help each other out, to get our troubles out the door, and help build something fun together. And by building that story, by changing that world for the better, we are all able to create strong relationships and fond memories.

It doesn't always have to be about RPGs,
Board games have helped families come together for quite some time!

I of course still have a lot to learn, and I have yet to really explore the world of massive conventions which tends to be ripe with "One Night Stand" or "Blind Date" gaming. I am hoping that at some point that I may be able to push my limits in that realm and do what I can to support a friendly atmosphere there as well. In the end, it is always good to know that gaming doesn't have to be negative, it doesn't need to be stereotyped. Gaming can be a place to nurture friendships, build families, and in general provide a constructive place to work out our problems in a flavorful and creative way.

For those reading out there, have you had any experiences at the game table where creative roleplaying has helped your life in some way?