I suspect this is a condition that affects all DMs eventually, and I've wrestled with it in the past, but for the past couple of months I've felt Burned Out as a DM. Interestingly enough, this burnout seems to be the result of non-RPG-related factors.
I'm not going to go on a "woe is me!" jag here....I know I have it better off than the majority of the folks in this world and that you just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other. But brooding about crap has a way of impairing one's enthusiasm and creativity, and I haven't been working on Algol material (and another "secret" project) nearly as much as I'd like.
I'm not about to 86 this blog or give up on DMing (although I've been considering a brief sabbatical), but I do feel a need to re-charge my RPG creativity, and have been considering several projects in order to take a break from Algol/alternate with Algol/do some one-shot's (or micro-campaigns) and get Stoked! again.
Some of the projects that I've been mulling over include:
- A small, digest-sized, free to download, Sword & Sorcery/Weird Fantasy/Science Fantasy D&D zine; crudely illustrated by myself and done in a punk rock/underground comic style. Something in the 8-16 page range, done for fun. I've considered the following names: Cyclopean; The Jewel Throne (..of the Earth), IIIrd Gatekeeper; and Voronya...I was going to go with "The Black Ziggurat"...but the Black Ziggurat belongs to everyone. Let me know if any of these names tickle your fancy!
- A Vancouver Old-School Micro-con: Certainly not an original idea, but it would be great to set up a weekend for some awesome old-tyme rpg antics, especially if some of our neighbors from BC, Alberta and the USA were able to make it (yes, I am talking about you! If you are 10% as awesome in person as you are on the internet you could help make the best weekend ever!). Rent some cheap hall or meeting facility, set up a schedule, and play a butt-load of D&D, Gamma World/Metamorphosis Alpha, Traveller, Boot Hill, Tunnels and Trolls, Runequest, Call of Cthulhu, Star Trek, Car Wars, et al...
- "The Vance Sector:" interstellar sci-fi adventure campaign heavily, heavily inspired by Jack Vance. I'm waffling between Traveller, Terminal Space, X-Plorers and Stars Without Number for this.
- Dune D&D: A houseruled D&D game in the universe of Frank Herbert's Dune, although probably quite a while before the events in the book. Space Feudalism!
- Fallout!: I'm not sure if I'd use Gamma World or Mutant Future's Mazes & Mutants as the base, and I'd probably incorporate a 3E style skill system, but it would involve the post-apocalyptic Canadian prairie, vault-dweller PCs, Canadian Tire money, way too many kinds of firearms and ammo, Mad Max-esque vehicular warfare, and using soft drinks instead of booze for the "heal 1d6 hp once a day" houserule.
- Gene Wolfe tribute campaign: Either set on a post-historical Earth or in an O'Neil cylinder; although it would definitely not be a railroad, there would be a "central campaign quest" in the vein of The Book of the New Sun and The Book of the Long Sun. Would every PC be unaware that they are a Cleric? ;)
- "The Lemurian Age", a Sword & Sorcery campaign set in the Lost Prehistory of the Indian Ocean: The Kerguelen microcontinent, Kamari Kamdan, Africa, Mesopotamia, India, Southeast Asia, Australia, & Prehistoric Marsupial Megafauna. Inspired by Conan and Atlantis: The Second Age.
- Empire of the Petal Throne: Using the original OD&D variant rules...but set on Mars! With additional Barsoom, HG Welles and The Dictionary of Mu influences.
- 80s Action! Movie campaign: Something in the vein of Commando and Miami Vice. Mini-Uzis, sinister Eurotrash in turtlenecks, crazed coke dealers, and rescuing The President's Daughter!
- Carcosa: Although Algol is heavily influenced by Carcosa, Geoffrey's creation is an entirely different beast, far more grim and far less "Jack Vancian" than my Algol game. OD&D and crazy dice conventions!
- OD&D: Of course this could be combined with several of the above ideas, but I want to try out pre-Greyhawk style LBB OD&D; d6s and d20s only!
Man, just thinking about the above options gets me fired up, just the thing to get me out of this rut...I gotta run these ideas past the gaming group.