As in last year, this year August is the month of RPGaDay, where everybody is encouraged to write about positive experiences with RPGs every day for the month. This year as well, I’ll be trying this challenge! In 2021, the first word pompt is “Scenario”.
For me, a scenario is a short set of individual play sessions that come together into one smaller story arc. RPGs can consist of grand campaigns, which are large story structures take take many individual sessions to complete. Often, these are built up out of smaller adventures—sizeable stories that have multiple parts and take some work to go through. Below that structure, I would personally place scenarios (let’s not go into overcorrected plurals like scenaria or scenarii), which I see as individual short stories that can combine together to become an adventure. Below this, I would put an actual individual session of play, though narratively those often aren’t enclosed by strict beginnings and ends more than the real-life timeframes of play.
Nowadays, scenarios are my favorite size of RPG play. I used to love the grand sweeping RPG stories as a player. I think fondly of the months I spent with friends, meeting weekly to play through the grand campaigns thought up by the DM. These days, however, I have an odd love/hate relationship with such longer sessions. I do enjoy playing RPGs but I also feel restricted at times by the obligation it imposes on my life. Much more than the days of my youth, I sometimes just don’t feel like socialization on that schedule, and I’d like to just bow out for no other reason than wanting to binge-watch a thing, just read a book, or play a videogame. Scenarios are, for me, the perfect solution to this issue. I can commit to three or so sessions of gameplay, after which I know I can bow out without having to renege on a promise.
Lately, I’ve been feeling stimulated by a friend of mine who’s currently running a Torchbearer scenario to run something myself as well. I haven’t really run anything myself in years, but it might be time to take one of the bunch of ideas I have in a notebook and work that out into a scenario for play. I mean, if it suits the player side of my experience, surely it should also work for the hosting side, right?