Switch Game Milieu 2020 (failed!)

I spent some time thinking last night and I want to reset the group. Expectation management is mostly my job as a GM, so i want to make sure we all have a consistent experience and the most fun. I understand that you voted to continue, but i find it unnecessary for that specific campaign to continue for everyone to get my understanding of what they need for a fun experience. We will switch to a more casual, standard 5e game. No home brew – module based. These are mechanic driven adventures, filled with a lot of combat. Setting will be the Forgotten realms. I’m intimately familiar with the world from its early publications so I know most of the general political and national factions. I will just use modules to run adventures in – much easier for me as a GM. These expectations allow you maximum flexibility in character creation and expression.

So what does this mean? Its exhausting, i know, but 1st level characters, using any official UA, Volo, Xanithar, PHB or forgotten realms setting race or class. And yes, this is snarky, but the forgotten realms allow for maximum race/class combo because 5 million top level predator races have been at war for thousands of years in mostly a stalemate, making enough magic items for you to trip over in an open field. It’s a world that makes no sense on any real basis, so its perfect for epic/high fantasy. If you have to ask, the answer is no if its in some other setting or outside these parameters. Point buy stats. This way, im not required for any character creation. This may seem punitive, but its not intended to. Expectation management is the best way to ensure we all have fun. You may not like all the stipulations, and trust me, its far from ideal for me (its close to worst case for me in terms of flavor), but i think it makes life easier and more fun in the long run because the drama and effort around the game is brought to a minimum.

  • If you dont want to participate under these circumstances, i understand – everyone gets something different out of it and if this excludes something that makes it a worthwhile experience, i get it. But, i dont think i assessed this wrong from an overall perspective. You are welcome to message me personally if you think i assessed it wrong, but i think this is a set of parameters we will do better with in the long run, its just an adjustment.
  • No analysis of why things work the way they do in the group…
  • The forced group mentality was too much. The ideals were not emphasized enough to make players understand they were even there. This creates lack of cohesion and resentment when players count on it, but it is not coming through at an RP level, or left it too open to interpretation in absence of it being a binding factor. The concept of the group was superficial and as such it was not perceived as any deeply unifying or directing element.
  • The method/means of managing the group, campaign information, and in-game goods seem to not be universally agreed on or understood – this was constant.
  • Continued confusion and struggles in remembering or adopting the rules variations between Incarna/home brew and standard 5e. This is due to a multitude of issues.
  • The group struggles with decision making, moving from heavy story based emphasis where this makes a huge impact, to a more mechanics focused approach maximizes freedom of expression and minimizes group impact with the same behavior.
  • Character creation was forced. In order to accomodate players, the GM had to do significant world building to shoehorn in their ideas to make them fit (forced) in the mold of the world vision. This compromised the integrity of GM vision; the alternative was limiting player options and creating resentment among them. The continued requests for something that was obviously at odds with the world ethos means a lot of work, or simply acknowledging the players are exceptions to the rule. That felt like too much of a compromise for me, and a way around the challenge aspect for RPing.
  • The GM constantly compromised the gaming contract in order to maximize the amount of gaming they wanted to be part of. This built resentment over time. The solution is to ensure maximum flexibility in story and artistic vision is balanced with player expression. The best means of accomplishing that is reducing GM stake in the storytelling (both vision and stresses of world building as-you-go) to a story setting with more finished elements.

Action Items:
Official Setting – less prep work/universally understood character limits (but far greater options than current)
Revised Gaming Contract – less stipulations
Simple adventuring outlook – no story based loyalties to limit RPing or actions
Published rules – 5e standard; no modes because its balanced the way it is for official settings

Desired Outcomes:
LEss prep work for players and GM
More flexibility in session to session game flow/less story compromise

Please do not apply terms like “POWER GAMING” or “SELFISH” – this is just a survey for a game environment we can have fun in.

Epic: World changing – the differences the PCs make are at the large scale/long game level and deal with entities far removed from “everyday” life
Local: The PCs are making real differences in people’s immediate lives that live around them and can see it.
Day-in-the-life: The gritty reality is that the PCs struggle and do not really see the effects of their actions as they are so busy surviving.

PCs are heroes and everyone knows it to begin with
The PCs struggle over time to become “heroes” in service to a higher good
The PCs are adventurers that wish to enrich themselves; if good results from their actions, this is the goal
The PCs are adventurers that wish to enrich themselves; power is the pursuit, the results of this are irrelevant
The PCs are malignant and narcissistic; they delight in the suffering their actions bring

The PCs are powerful and a force to be reckoned with that all respect or fear as they make their own way; the players generally power their way through most things
The PCs are friends of the people, and the lives of everyday folk primarily guide their actions; politics and non combat play a significant role in the campaign

I prefer to use the standard rules as a model of danger; each encounter can be handled and the PCs have very little chance of permanent death unless it’s a TPK or many consequences outside the adventure. Any PC should be able to try any ability check – maximum inclusion is the way to go, regardless of realism.
I prefer to adopt a more deadly realism that relies on quality of success and not random quantity and allows some active defense (defense is used to reduce damage, not merely make it harder to hit). PCs should not be able to try anything – in many cases, it’s outside of common knowledge (DC 10 mostly) and capability if they are not trained (as indicated by skill/knowledge proficiency).