About

Dr. Anders Ericsson claims that to become an expert in anything you need to have at least 10,000 hours of practicing/doing “said” thing.  I presume that means with 100% focus; not listening to podcast, watching TV, or arguing with your parents, spouse, person you are dating or anything of those silly disruptions.  Hey, I am pointing this out because right now; I have the TV off, stopped listening to podcasts, my girlfriend is asleep upstairs, and I stopped telling my parents that they are idiots a long time ago—I just stopped telling them, don’t get any touchy-feely ideas.  My point is, I am fully focus on my writing; the only distraction now, is how much wine I have “consumed.”  If you have not figure it out yet, I have NOT put in my 10,000 hours of writing.  Hell, those 10,000 hours breaks down to 6.8 years for four hours a day; 13.6 years for two hours a day; 27.2 years for an hour a day.  That is a lot of word-smithing.

What I am trying to tell you is; I want to become an “expert” and now I have a basic measure. I guess the closest I have come to achieving this goal is in art (painting and drawing) which I have done all my life. Art has become more like a sibling love for me; someone you will have a relationship with all your life and care about, but does not get you going in the morning.  Obviously, if you want to be an expert and dedicating yourself for two hours a day over 13 years, you better love whatever it is that you will be doing.  Also, I think if you are willing to do that; it automatically becomes a relationship.  Having considered all this and as crazy as this will sound, I am willing to do both for one thing and that thing is gaming.  Sure, there are a lot of other things I enjoy “doing,” but working with RPGs covers so many other aspects that I find rewarding-writing, story, illustration, creativity, invention and socializing. 

So this blog is about me getting my 10,000 hours in on table top role-playing.  All the fun, work, and mistakes.  I think the premise is interesting; how many blogs are dedicated to 10,000 hours of actual doing something?

Faults in a Temple-A brief description

Back in 2010 my son came up to me and asked if we could play a campaign of Star Wars Saga Edition where he could go from 1st level all the way up to 20th.  One simple mega-gaming request can spark a whole lot work.  Since that one goal proposed by my son, I have layered more goals and asked more questions about this campaign.  I have made several mistakes and learn several things because of them.  Overall, it has been fun start for me and my players which is the real point of it all.  Here are the original goals of this campaign:

  1.  Take a player hero from 1st level all the way up to 20th level.  This pretty much makes him the main character of the campaign and creates a wider range to the playing group.  It does not have to be the typical D20 party of adventures who all start at 1st level.  Additionally, I don’t have to look at all the other Heroes as permanent characters.  This campaign should take a few years to play out, considering that we play once every 4-6 weeks.
  2. Have the campaign be a Jedi campaign, where most of the players are Jedi.  This was an idea stemming from the setting establishing the Master/Padwan relationship, where we would have one player teaching the Force to the other player.  Yeah, it complicates things because there is no game balance.  However, there is the advantage; the relationship between the two will drive character development and the tone of the story.
  3. Focus on Destiny.  I really want to see how well the Destiny Mechanic works and the effects on the story. 
  4. Incorporate the Organizations Mechanic, outlined in the Force Unleashed Campaign Guide, within this campaign. 
  5.  Incorporate the Skill Challenges Mechanic, outlined in the Galaxy of Intrigue, within this campaign.  This has not worked well at all, so mark a FAIL on me.
  6. Change the Darkside Mechanic into a sliding scale of Light and Dark side, mimicking the Knight of the Old Republic video games. 

 So, those are the basic goals.  They are all Mega-gaming topics and some readers might want to know where the story elements are?  Well, this campaign was not really born from a story idea, so I did not really lay one out from the start.  Instead I approached the campaign concept that my responsibility was to create the fertile ground so my players could make a story.  I do not want to my own bias kicking in and driving the story elements, I want the players to do that.  I have deferred many story decisions to random dice rolls with the idea that the random result will allow all of us to explore the outcome.  However, I would not call it a sandbox game, because Star Wars is a structured setting and the characters are not motivated by their own personal desires.  The story elements will emerge as abstract questions that come from playing within the setting and mechanics of the game.

The Players

Experience GM has learned that the key to every RPG adventure and campaign is the knowing the players.  It doesn’t matter how good your story is; how well you tactically design your combats; how evil your NPCs are made; hell, many times the game system does not even need to be good for a RPG session to be fun and exciting.   Sure, all of those things, if done well, will help the session or bring it to a higher level; however, the foundation for the game is how the players play.  So, my first advice to any beginning GM is: “Know thy self and know thy players.”  By knowing who you are playing with, you can avoid distracting pitfalls and tweak things to your favor; both on large and small scales.  If you have a player who likes combat and is prideful, don’t have the group’s boss be a snarky critic, this would probably lead the hero and NPC fighting over something not plot related, a large scale derailing of the whole mission.  You can create a small scale manipulation with this knowledge.  I had a GM tell me that he tricked a player into trusting a NPC because he knew that the player was a sucker for redheads and was a leg-man.  So, here are the Players within my Fault in a Temple campaign:

 My Son: He loves being a problem solver when he games.  Although he is not experience gamer, it works to his advantage by coming up with compelling creative choices for his hero and the group.  He will frequently push the group into doing something when the old-school players will take a more cautious slow position.   Additionally, because he is a teenager, he will argue about group actions even when he does not understand the full or moral implications of those actions.  We had a whole adventure dominated by a bribe offered to the group; it was something I thought would be small issue describing the NPCs.  Instead it ended up being a long term lesson between Jedi Master and Padwan.  Furthermore, my son is not interested in combat or in mastering the rules, favoring more of the flow of play. 

My Older Bro: He is a real experience player; he got me into the game before I was a teenager and has been playing ever since.  He has settled down into playing more supportive roles giving them twists and quirks to make them challenging for himself and any GM.  He enjoys being able to role-play his hero when it fits into his character concept, rather than being place into a situation where the concept is contested.  Once, he played a hero who did not carry any weapons in a D20 Modern game, got shot frequently because he was always perceived as so dangerous that he did not need a gun, he never picked one up.  Additionally, he has a practical sense to the game; willing to pick up skills that the group lacks and cover loose ends during an adventure.  He knows what it is like to GM and does not see them as the enemy.  Although he is not a rules lawyer or someone who wants to master the system, he does “know” the system having been playing D&D since the blue book days. 

My Younger Bro:  He is my wild card and the player I am most concern about. I have not played with him as much as the other two and he is in a role that he generally is not interested in.  He learned to play back in the old school days, but I think this is the first long term campaign he has ever been in.  Typically he has always treated the game as entertainment, a medium that you can take a break from life; have a few good laughs and kick some butt.  He loves role-playing the dumb barbarian that is witty out of their ignorance.  Additionally, he does not want to think about the game out-side of the game session.  His hero has been placed as the leader, which requires be the final say in all choices, manage the other heroes and resources, and be responsible for group.  Sort of like his job.  Although he gets his laughs in during the game session, I have seen him struggle with the leadership role, something I think he is not use to in gaming.  When we first started playing, he perceived the GM and the adventures as “something out to get them.”  GMs were not necessarily the enemy, but rather, out to screw with you-if they could not do it with dice rolls, then they would just write stuff into the adventure.  Now, he is beginning to realize that I am on their side and I want them to tell a story. 

 So, those are my players.  Sadly, I can write more of a character description of how they play than I can write about Qui-gon Jinn or Padme.

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