One of the things I’ve noticed about the game my boyfriend is running for us while I recover my inspiration is that it’s running afoul of one of the same issues that I had to deal with long ago. As the second year of my game began, I made it out of the original arc and into… something a bit less defined, at least until one of the PCs got himself captured and I had a storyline again.
I gave my group a place to explore, and people to talk to, in hopes that they’d go find some big mystery to poke in pursuit of their goals—they had goals, after all—and I could build off of that. (In my defense, this was after I tried to hit them with four or five plot hooks in about three sessions and none of them took.) What got them was the potential—sure, there was a lot of it, but there wasn’t really that much definition, much sign of what would be of use to them. I can claim that it was because at this point I wasn’t sure what would be of use to them, but it doesn’t change the fact that back there, I dropped the ball for a while.
The hiatus game suffered from a semi-similar problem. It’s not that it’s lacking a plot, mind you: there are antagonists, and there are mysteries. The problem is that they didn’t really bleed much into session itself; I’d been approached on a couple of occasions by a fellow player who had no idea what they were, and I mainly knew because I played muse in my spare time. We’ve been given an objective, at though; it’s a start.
I do rather like what it’s done for our perspectives on GM and player behavior, though. He now understands my old complaint about indecisive players who just won’t do anything; I’ve gotten off my “save the world with a hamster” high horse and realized that sometimes—and almost certainly back then in my game—you just can’t figure out where to start because you don’t know enough about the local features to figure out which ones are useful and which are just dangerous.
It’s looking up, though. Now that we’ve diagnosed the problem, we can fix it—and I plan on taking that fix and counter-applying it to some of the difficulties I’m having with my game now. You only get more powerful with experience, right?