I’m going to keep this one a little bit short because, frankly, I’m feeling a little anxious today and I want to distract myself with something other than writing my ostensibly-TTRPG-themed blog. Why am I anxious, you ask? Well, because I’m actually starting my Old Growth campaign tonight. It’s going to be the first time I’ve run a game in eight months.
TTRPGs have been a fairly constant part of my life since I got into the hobby a decade ago. I’ve had dry spells before; I’ve gone a month or two without running anything, but never this long. I’m honestly very nervous that I just… won’t really remember how to do it.
I’ve never felt super confident in my DMing skills to begin with; I’ve got major impostor syndrome. I feel like every time a session ends, I come away from it wishing I’d done something differently, or feeling like my NPCs didn’t have enough personality. I know that a lot of that is just me being hard on myself—there are plenty of sessions and even whole campaigns that I’m really proud of, and there are NPCs that my players loved and look back on fondly.
But there’s still that voice in the back of my head going, “You could have done better.”
Part of my anxiety about tonight is also that I’m running the game for a new group. That was part of my, uh, ‘brilliant’ plan to get myself back into rolling dice: I’d do a short campaign with new people, switching systems from D&D 5E to Pathfinder 2E. The shift would make everything feel new again and get my excited about running stuff!
In theory, I think that was a sound idea. In practice, I’m worried that I’m going to be so rusty that I scare my players away.
I know that probably won’t happen. Of the three, one of them is one of my oldest friends and has played in my games before, but wasn’t a consistent part of my group because of scheduling conflicts. The other two people I haven’t known as long, but they’ve proven to be great friends who wouldn’t decide to stop hanging out with me just because I did a mediocre job running a game.
See, I know that’s silly—of course they won’t! They’re nice people, and I don’t need to push myself to impress them. But they’re also people I really admire, especially in terms of TTRPG stuff; I’ve heard and read about both of their games and I’m always impressed at how creative they are. I’m a little bit afraid of disappointing them.
Again: silly. We’re all friends, hanging out and rolling dice for fun. They’re not going to be disappointed or anything, even if I need a few sessions to get the hang of things again. I know that logically. My brain just doesn’t always allow me to recognize that it’s true.
Whew. Okay. That ended up going on a tangent that I didn’t mean to get into.
The point is: I’m nervous to be getting back into things. That said, I’m also really excited about the game. Our first session is going to open with the group being recruited by the Council of Three—the governing body of their small forest village—to try to find a trio of missing villagers.
Odd things have been happening in the forest lately, and three people were sent into the woods to investigate, but they haven’t returned. Thus, the Council has turned to the party (each of whom has some degree of experience in combat) to locate the missing people and discover what, exactly, is going on outside the village walls.
The party itself is a fun mix of characters. We’ve got a Ratfolk Ranger whose parents were skilled warriors; they want him to take up the blade as they did, but he’s more interested in chilling out in the forest. There’s also a Kitsune Oracle who’s a retired adventurer; she tells fortunes and brews potions for the townsfolk. Last but not least is the Shoony Champion: a staunch defender of her friends who recently returned from training at a temple some distance from the village.
I love this group already and we haven’t even started yet! There’s such a wide range of personalities and skill sets. I also dig that everyone ended up being an animal, and that two of the three characters are Small size.
Despite my anxieties, I’m really looking forward to rolling dice again and playing with some new folks. If all goes well, I’ll probably post a bit about each session!