#RPGaDay Day 20: Challenge & Reward

Today’s Question:

What was the most challenging but rewarding game you have learned?

When I first considered the answer to this question I honestly thought it would end up being about one of the more detailed and book-spanning games that I enjoy, or about one of the perspective-shifting modern games which take the hobby in new and rarefied directions. The challenge of learning both of these types is different, but the level of challenge is similar. While one might depend more on memory and grasping system interactions and options, and the other might require more of an effort in realigning one’s point of view, time and effort are spent in getting the game to the table.

I was surprised to realize, however, that looking back over all the games that I have learned, and trying to sort out the few that gave me a challenge but that challenge was ultimately worth it, I was left with one obvious and important game. It wasn’t at all what I thought. In the end, it wasn’t a hard, complex, or demanding system that gave me trouble, and to be totally fair with this question it wasn’t about the system at all – it was the expectations of the game.


Over the years leading up to my discovery of the Ubiquity Roleplaying System through the amazing All for One: Regime Diabolique which soon led me to Hollow Earth Expedition and Desolation, I had essentially given up on running games of Heroic Pulp Adventure. I loved playing them, but could not run them. I believed it.

Getting these games to the table was an exercise in hope for me, as my goal was just to entice one of the other players to fall for the games like I had and so run them for the good of all humanity. Life got in the way of that, so humanity is still in some peril, but the experience of running these early demos of Ubiquity-powered games reignited in me the desire to try again – to overcome my surrender to being unable to run pulp games.

It wasn’t easy.

The challenge, and the reward of overcoming it, has made all the difference. Not only did it give me a new avenue to explore as a GM, not only did it reaffirm to me the value of the sort of analysis and introspection that gets praise on this blog, not only did the journey introduce me to some fantastic people, it gave me a voice in a genre I grew up loving that I thought I would never have.


Relevant Links:

Series on Running Pulp Games on Campaign Mastery

Tomorrow’s Question:

Share a ‘worst luck’ story~

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