In 2000, I sat to write down a story of three friends in a band who after practice in their garage, discovered the world had ended. They set out to navigate a post – apocalyptic survival in search of civilization. This story reflected much of my own perspective as I was in a high school band, had 2 best friends and very much worried about the world ending in my time.
I never finished the story. It was a great concept, but writing takes a lot of work and 17 year old me didn’t realize the benefits of buckling down and scribing out the words until all felt complete. But what I did realize is that Mrs. L, my high school writing tutor did believe in me. She graded my work, enjoyed my stories and even called me a “great writer”. The details are fuzzy in my memories, but I can still sense the impression she left on me – because she believed in me.
An understanding teacher was the first person on my team
Fast forward to 2020, because sometimes it takes 20 years for a seed to grow. I subscribe to Johnn Four of www.roleplayingtips.com newsletter and fascinate myself that thousands, if not millions of people have read his writings. I start corresponding with him and we become fast friends over our love for writing and tabletop role playing games. Eventually, he asks me to write a few articles for his website. I get to work and quickly realize that although I had allowed the seed to grow for 20 years, that doesn’t mean I worked on my craft. In fact, I had a lot of work to do. Johnn realizes this and invests in honest feedback, book references and a chance to win a few approving nods using his platform of beloved patrons.
An honest guide was the second person on my team
After we started Sojourners Awake, I learned that one of my favorite functions in the company was writing the modules, adventures, and lore. I think every game master needs to do a little worldbuilding writing if not to simply appreciate how much work it takes to refashion an entire mythology, history and culture in a fantasy world. But I didn’t want to do this alone. I wanted to understand and guide, like Mrs. L and Johnn did for me.
Eager students are the third person on my team
So I started teaching game mastery and role playing and how even to live a better life by playing more games. Soon enough I met people like Jackson, John and Casey, all who have contributed to writing material for our little world of Bonzarel.
Finally, it may go without saying, but I’ll say it anyway. The power of role playing games is found in the collaboration of many players around the table. So many time during a game did a player ask me a question about the world that I simply hadn’t thought of until that moment. Other times a player might say “wouldn’t it be cool if…” and I would take that idea and write it down.
Genuine players are the fourth person on the team
The synergy of imagination takes an idea from good to great
Like any great system and culture, it is difficult to tell where one idea begins and the other ends, for they are are woven together in a rich tapestry of imagination. Not history. Nor my story.