Monday, February 22, 2010

John Dee Would Have Approved

Yesterday, I met with the two guys who will likely form the nucleus of my proposed Eldritch Frontier campaign. We all seem to share similar gaming backgrounds and expectations for the campaign, which is a good thing for this soon-to-be referee. Trying to organize a gaming group from scratch is hard enough without personality and goal conflicts coming into play.

As we left the store, I was asked if I could put together a background sheet for the campaign so that the players would have a handle on the setting before play began. Uh-oh. It’s amazing what you forget to do when you’re doing the pre-game shuffle and juggle, isn’t it? I hadn’t thought of putting such a PC prep sheet together, even though I’ve done so in the past for other games.

I got home and started to try and arrange something that was at least moderately informative without being akin to a dry collegiate thesis. Unfortunately, I discovered that although I know a lot about the campaign setting, I don’t have it all that well organized in my head or in my commonplace books. I know where everything is, but, unless you’re me, it’s difficult to access. I started to go off on tangents while writing the prep sheet, making the damned thing much too long and overburdened with information for my purposes. I deleted the whole thing and decided to start anew.

However, before I began again, I suddenly remembered Obsidian Portal. I had looked half-heartedly at the site in the past, but, since I wasn’t running a regular game, it didn’t capture my attention at that time. Now it might just serve my purposes.

After a little hesitation, I’ve since created an account over there and I’m in the process of putting together a bare bones wiki that contains the necessary player background for the game. Having never had any experience working with a wiki, I’m discovering both the allure and the danger of putting one together for a campaign. The world-builder in me loves it, especially since creating one on Obsidian Portal is turning out to be such a snap to do. But I can also see how some game masters can burn themselves out by trying to create the ultimate campaign world reference wiki before the first dice even hit the table. Having had my brush with overbuilding the campaign world, I’m not likely to fall into the same trap twice, yet it remains something to be cautious of.

Once I get the basics in place, I’ll be publishing the wiki for public viewing. When that happens, I’ll post a link here so that those of you who are interested can check it out and play along vicariously from home.

I will admit that I remain somewhat hesitant about committing too much campaign information to the web. I am a Luddite of minor repute, having lost enough of my writings over the years to power failures, corrupted data, and the like to be 100% at ease with the wiki being the sole repository of my game notes. I’m composing everything on my home PC where I can back it up before cutting and pasting it to the web. Obsidian Portal has no reputation for losing data as far as I know, but I’m simply too paranoid to do otherwise.


opossum101 said...

prospect of your campaign wiki has just brightened my otherwise lousy day. thank you.

Tenkar said...

good stuff. if only you were closer... hmm, if I take scissors and cut Nassau of the map I could make the trip in like 20 minutes ;)

Jayson said...

But Jeff Dee would advise more bell-bottoms.

Sorry. :-)

Micah said...

Hey, this is Micah, one of the Obsidian Portal co-founders. I'm just glad to hear that you're taking it slow. I always cringe when GMs go all-out on their wikis from the start. The player response is always underwhelming.

GM: "I detailed every city in the entire continent."

Players: "BOOOORING! Let's kill something!"