The sun is high in the sky, the weather is warm, and the great outdoors beckon. It’s that time of the year again when getting together and rolling damage becomes a bit of a problem for some. I know with the group that I play with, we all have commitments that keep us from the odd session, but summer is a particularly challenging season to meet up and continue on that dark and gritty adventure in lands most treacherous. Schedules never match up, family holidays drag us away from the table, and it always seems we’re a couple of players short. No worries, this is not a problem; it’s a blessing in disguise. Now is a great time to step back and gain some perspective, right? Or… you could turn around, double down, and bring the hurt to a summer campaign. Hell yeah and here’s 3 reason why.
1) The fight doesn’t stop just because you’re a man down
I know it’s frustrating when Jack is heading off to the mountains for 3 weeks, leaving the group to stew in anticipation over what exactly the intentions of the beholder were, but screw Jack. We don’t need Jack to have fun (we do however, need Jack to keep going though as he is the only healer). So let’s hit that ‘pause’ button and regroup. There are always enough people around to play, so let’s play, and planning a short interim summer campaign with fewer players is a great solution to cleave through those summer blues. There are a number of systems out there that cater to smaller groups and it’s fairly easy to pick up a one-shot module that would last a couple of months. Even if you’re without DM there’s always games like FIASCO, White Books, or Goblin Quest. Even if you’re down to a single player Tunnels and Trolls has solo adventures and there’s always Choose Your Own Adventure books on Amazon.
2) You’re in your safe place and it’s starting to smell
Not too long ago I took a long hard look at where I was as a player and what I was playing, and it was not a pretty picture. I’m not bashing D&D but it quickly became apparent that my playing experience with other platforms was embarrassingly limited. The humiliation of this circumstance was only exacerbated when I started looking at the wealth of content available to gamers at this point in time. Getting out of my comfort zone doesn’t mean I have to give up my old favorites but a summer hiatus does provide an opportunity to get out there and try new things. From Savage Worlds to Godbound, now is the time to branch out from your norm. Try a new rule system, try a new genre, and try a new character! Challenge yourself.
3) Absence makes the heart grow fonder
You’ll never know what you have until it’s gone. Yeah, Jack is a bit of a mouth breather and there is no way that you can smite that beholder but after a couple of months the lack of Jack’s hypnotic but comforting wheezing becomes palpable, and that beholder’s gaze is significantly less terrifying. A summer campaign is like a summer romance it’s temporary and fun. It allows you to get in some play time but it also allows you to gain some perspective on what you really want to be committing to. Who knows, maybe things will be so great you won’t go back to the old game but I doubt that. If anything it might give the group better ideas for future games and systems that they perhaps would never have thought of, or maybe a chance to learn a new rule system in advance. My point being that temporarily playing a different game provides the players a chance to come up with new ideas about themselves and where they are in the main campaign.
So there you have it, summer is a great time to step away from what you’re usually playing and expand your horizons. The game never has to end; it just gets a bit of a summer holiday too. Enjoy your summer whether you’re at the table or in front of the campfire and remember that if you’re in a pinch there’s always roll20.net.
About Ryan: So I try to read about 50 comics a week, depending on my ability to pay the power bill. I try to read as much new and independent works as my tried and trusted favorites, and I’ve been doing this for years. Thus, I can roughly say that I am pretty decent at comicology, however I hold no formal degree. Luckily, degrees are no substitute for common sense and that’s how I got this gig.
I am become death, destroyer of worlds.