My weird west campaign is still chugging along. However I found myself dragging a bit with it. While I was gung ho at the onset, I found myself getting a little uninspired thinking up adventures. My players seem to be having a good time, but sometimes I’ve been struggling to keep up the enthusiasm for the setting. I’m convinced now I’ve been approaching it all wrong.
I wanted a spooky western. Yet I found keeping that suspense going has been a chore. There have been plenty of ‘Oh sh*t!’ moments my players have had. However maintaining that tension is just too hard to keep up. I simply don’t have the GM chops to run a longer horror-themed game.
I realized I didn’t need to though. I’ve recognized the player’s aren’t quite the investigator types with their characters. Running it as a Savage Worlds game, they are much more heroic. I needed to drop off emphasis of the supernatural and shoot for a western game with horror trappings instead. It’s a better fit now and I think I can keep a more even tone with the game.
It still leaves me with the adventure-planning burnout though. I certainly need to shake up the setting some and run something else. I took a poll of potential settings and decided to lump a 1930s Cthulhu game in with potential choices. Seems horror is popular as the group wanted to take a stab at a Lovecraft supernatural game.
It’s still horror, but I can certainly run it as a different type of game. The weird west campaign is one where the PCs run around as larger than life heroes, blowing holes in zombies with a trusty peacemaker. This other campaign the players will be wary investigators, needing to be prepared to flee, their mind cracked and sanity waning due to the terrifying knowledge of the Great Old Ones they encounter. More importantly, I can run this as episodic sessions. Just a short break from the weird west game that will let me recharge my GM batteries and craft some fun ideas when we all flip back to a western setting.
Savage Worlds is pretty flexible as genres go. However, I am super lazy and having some pre-made setting rules makes the task of running a new game much easier. I picked up Realms of Cthulhu and found the book a great purchase. It has a lot of options for different ranges of lethality and think the sanity system works pretty well. There are plenty of NPC templates and critters, not to mention a random adventure generator I can use in a pinch if needed.
I’m trying a different way of running this campaign, with a lot of story ideas up front leaving the PCs to decide what to check out. To pique their interest in potential story lines, I’m working on getting some props together. Likely that is something to warrant another post but I want to see it in action before talking about it.