A Visit to the Life Support Ward of Failed Pitches

Posted: January 23, 2013 by pointyman2000 in Articles, Roleplaying Games
Tags: , ,

Every GM has a collection of campaigns that have gone belly up. Whether by bad timing, poor planning, lack of player interest or the GM’s brain conking out at the worst possible moment, it is an inevitable fact of GMing.

Today I’m taking a look back at some of these games that have died, or are on life support and will eventually review which ones I can re-pitch and review and perhaps ressurect. So I buy a few flowers from the florist in the Hospital Lobby and make my way to the Life Support Ward.

Mage: the Awakening deserves to have a wing of its own, honestly. I’ve pitched a whole bunch of games, and some have lasted only a single session, much to my unending shame. It’s a bit of an embarrassment considering the sheer amount of work and thinking I’ve put into this game, and how I consider it to be one of my favorite RPGs of all time.

  • nMage: Manila is the latest of these casualties, having lasted only a single game. It started off fairly strong, though I think I could have timed this pitch a little better. I tried to run it when everyone was far too busy or too tired to focus on it.
  • nMage: Japan was another game that just ran out of gas. I started off fairly strong, and had a full consilium made for it. That said with much of the groundwork already in place, there’s still hope for this yet.
  • nMage: High School, another experiment to merge WoD: Innocents with nMage resulted in some fun, and tricky games. Sadly my brain blew a fuse while running it and I couldn’t muster the enthusiasm to continue. I’ll have to see if I can refresh this game with either a reboot or a fresh pitch with a stronger focus next time.

Aside from Mage: the Awakening, I’ve a few other games that didn’t quite turn into the campaigns I was hoping for.

  • I’ve run a Mutants & Masterminds campaign for a few sessions set in Detroit. The pitch was that it was a street level supers game where the heroes transformed a city at it’s worst and made it better. A Gotham-to-Metropolis story, as it were. I think I needed to run this when I was better prepared for M&M as some mechanical issues involving highly skilled characters turned me off. That and the venue for it was terrible, and we’d lost precious hours due to the ambient noise in the place as it was a public venue.
  • Deadlands: Reloaded! was a fun foray into Savage Worlds, but again conflicting schedules made it difficult for me to continue as the group was initially organized as a “Firefly”-esque crew. Once player absenteeism set in, it was hard to keep the ball rolling.
  • I ran a wonderful Qwixalted game early on, but that game ended when one character ended up painting themselves into a corner. After that I lost my enthusiasm as I don’t really relish being a sadistic sort of GM that bulldozes a character over with consequences the size of Texas, even if that was what the character deserved. Not really a fan of Tragedy that way.

Considering that I’m currently running a strong L5R campaign, a part of me still wants to go back to these games in one form or another. They’re good ideas, with a lot of promise, but I just need to figure out how to best run them to get the same kind of results that I got with L5R.

It’s a mystery to me, but there’s got to be something that was in Never a Dull Blade that wasn’t in any of these other games.

Let’s just hope I figure out what it is before I pitch these again.

  1. Hikkikomori says:


    When the feeling’s gone and you can t go on.

    It’s tragedy.

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