Excitement is a funny thing. It's hard to capture. Hard to bottle. And it is definitely hard to analyze. Still, nothing has caused more instances of 'excitement' in me than my table top gaming hobby. Now, I don't mean that the most excited I've ever been has been at the game table. Even my life isn't that boring. However, when it comes to that pure anticipatory excitement. That feeling that you can't wait to experience something, well, gaming has given that to me in heaps. I've got it right now too. Today, I want to talk about that excitement.
My Current Excitement
My current excitement is for my L5R game this Friday. We're starting generation 2 in the game, and kicking off all new characters some 30 years after we left off the old characters. Now, 30 years is a long time - a lot of things has changed - but it isn't all that long at the same time. Some characters from the last game are still alive. Older, for sure, but still there. I think this is what has me the most excited, the potential for old meeting new and the clashes that could come from that.
For example, in my game there is an NPC who was originally named Hane. Hane was the child of two samurai, but her parents were killed in a grisly fashion in front of her and she ended up in the care of one of the PCs. The PC in question just happened to be the leader of a ronin gang (more small army) that another PC had put together earlier in the game. When the PC leader stepped down from leadership (approximately 15 years ago from where we are) the mantle was passed down to this NPC that had been taught and raised by the PCs from a fairly young age. In this coming session Hane will be approximately 38 years old. Not young by any standards. In fact, she will be an experienced, dangerous samurai who has already lived most of her days and knows it. What impact will she have when she meets the new PCs that are coming into town as young fresh from gempukku (coming of age/adulthood ceremony) in the city? How will she interact with them, especially the ones who have ties to the organization that Hane currently leads?
That is just one of the possible interactions as well. Throughout the city are threads, characters, and locations that were seeded by PCs over the past 18 months or so of gaming. Some of those will likely go unnoticed for a time. Others may be found rather quickly. What will the work of the last generation of PCs do to the current generation? Will obstacles planted by previous characters stop the intentions of the new ones? I don't know, but I can't wait to find out.
Above and beyond this you have some of the normal causes for excitement. Tomorrow I get to meet my new PCs. The group is down to four players for now, so that means I should get to become very intimately acquainted with each of them. At present I have two Scorpion and a Ronin. I'm not sure what the fourth character will be, but I trust my players to do this right and make something awesome and memorable.
I guess what I am saying is this: I am excited due to the pure anticipation. In the middle of a game, a game I've been running for over a year now, we've found a new beginning in a familiar setting. What will it mean and what marks will be left? Only time will tell, but for now the anticipation is amazing.
How about you? Do you feel this before a game? How about between sessions in an established campaign? What had you the most excited going in and how did it turn out? Sound off in the comments.