Borderland of Adventure: Two Years on the Borderlands

Rather marvellously, my Borderland of Adventure campaign has just hit a significant milestone – we’ve now been playing for two whole (real) years.



Of course, we’ve missed sessions through illness or holidays and taken a couple of short breaks, but we’ve basically been playing for two years. For me, that’s a major achievement – often we don’t make it to six months before something else attracts our attention, everyone dies in a horrible bloodbath or someone else fancies a turn in the GM’s chair.

Of course, we celebrated by basically cancelling the session because one of the players was ill.

Actually although one of the chaps was ill we still met. (I had, after all, purchased a special chocolate cake for the occasion!) I don’t like playing when people are absent as they miss an exciting adventure and (sometimes) important plot developments. I’ve also noticed bad things often happen to the party when 20% of them can’t make it. Instead of not playing at all we just sat and chatted about the game, the campaign, people’s gaming history and so on.

It was fascinating to learn more about the players’ perception of the game and campaign and what they wanted out of them. It’s since occurred to me that we are normally so busy playing we don’t have time to talk about the game. For example, one or two of the players suggested they’d like more choice in regard to playable races. I’m a bit of a stuffy traditionalist and hadn’t even considered adding more races. While I think players of – say – orcs are going to have a hard time in Ratik, having the time to actually talk about it enabled us to come up with a solution using the fame mechanic from Ultimate Combat that kept everyone happy.

So what could have been a wasted evening actually turned into a very fun, lively – and ultimately valuable – chat. It was most definitely time well spent. I encourage everyone who’s thinking of cancelling a session to instead just sit around and talk. It’s amazing what you learn. As long as you put into practise what you’ve learnt, you haven’t wasted your time

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Creighton is the publisher at Raging Swan Press and the designer of the award winning adventure Madness at Gardmore Abbey. He has designed many critically acclaimed modules such as Retribution and Shadowed Keep on the Borderlands and worked with Wizards of the Coast, Paizo, Expeditious Retreat Press, Rite Publishing and Kobold Press.

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