The roleplaying games hobby can be pretty frustrating at times, especially if you’re a game master. One issue I’ve had all my life is that I quickly burn out on the games I run. I lose interest or I inadvertently steer the campaign into a bad position which makes it extremely hard to fix it. The number of campaigns I’ve run into the ground is pretty staggering. Sometimes I wonder why my players keep coming back…
I’ve struggled with self-doubt a lot and it has currently reached a point where I am hesistant to offer anything to my players. I don’t want to disappoint them any more. A part of my problem is probably related to what I call GM attention deficit disorder. As soon as I start running game A I start thinking about how cool it would be to play game B. You can guess how things end.
Another part of the problem is that I often have phases when I am just too tired, too stressed to run a game properly. But in order not to skip a session I more often than not run the game anyway and make mistakes which quickly derail the campaign. Or at least that’s how it feels to me.
At the moment I think the best thing I can do is take another break. Not from roleplaying games in general but from being in the GM’s chair. This allows me to just play for a while without having a GM’s responsibility on my shoulders and it also gives other people in my group the opportunity to take over the GM’s mantle.
During this time I will probably continue to read many different games, think about the campaigns I could run, but I won’t make concrete plans or something like that. At this moment being a GM doesn’t make me happy and that’s actually the only way how you can play roleplaying games wrongly. If you’re not having fun, something’s amiss!
Sometimes I don’t know what’s going on in the minds of the people working at Mongoose. Recently they released the digital version of a Starter Set for their 2nd Edition Traveller game – or as they call it “New Traveller”. There will be a boxed set in the near future. So far, so good. Unfortunately this starter set sets you back $39.99 for the PDF version, and I don’t really want to know what the printed version will cost.
Starter Sets are made to get new players interested in a game. They are usually inexpensive and include simplified rules for newbie players and GMs alike. Especially FFG has released a couple of great Star Wars Starter Sets which provided you with a lot of bang for your buck. Wizards of the Coast has done so as well with their D&D Starter Sets.
To Mongoose’s credit I have to mention that their Starter Set basically includes the complete Core Rules. It’s not simplified or restricted in any way. BUT in my opinion this defeats the purpose of a starter set. Their core rules book is sold at their website for £35.99 which is about $46. If the upcoming boxed set is similarly priced, it will cost about $60. Wow, that’s a lot of dough.
In my opinion a Traveller Starter Set should consist of a boxed set including dice, a couple of pregenerated characters, simplified rules in small booklets (reminiscent of the LBBs), perhaps a map of the Spinward Marches and a couple of deckplans. And all this should be sold for a more reasonable price.
What are your thoughts on Mongoose’s latest Traveller product? Do you think it was the right move or another bad decision? Please share your thoughts below.
If you are a fan of science fiction roleplaying games, then you probably know of Marc Miller. Back in the late 1970s he designed Traveller, which is without doubt one of the most well-loved scifi games out there. Last year I got in touch with Mr. Miller and asked him if he was interested in answering a couple of questions for our readers and luckily he agreed.
I have done quite a few interviews with game designers in the past, but this time it was special. As some of you may know, Traveller was the first roleplaying game I bought, and even though I played it less often than I wished, it always had a special place in my heart.
Just recently I started to read up on the history of Traveller, its ups and downs, and I also started collecting Traveller material (in print and PDF). But I still didn’t know much about its creator, his ideas and his dreams for the future of the game. So when I had the chance to ask for an interview I immediately grasped the opportunity. But I digress. Without further ado, here are our questions and his answers:
Stargazer: Let’s start at the beginning. Could you please tell us about how you got into roleplaying games in general? What was the first game you played and what made you want to write your own?
Marc Miller: When Dungeons & Dragons came out, I was a wargame designer. In a sense, the fantasy role-playing idea was new, but in another sense, it was a familiar concept. I had done political role-playing exercises in college: model UN and model Organization of American States, and some campaign simulations.
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