Let me start this post with explaining how agitated I am. The Middle Kingdom ran for exactly four sessions and then it died. I had two players withdraw from an already light group and it collapsed. I’m so angry that I didn’t see the reasons for the withdraw as clearly as I could have. I’m not mad at anyone. This was my fault and my fault alone. All that work down the drain. Worse, I lost one of my core players from my group. As of right now, B-Team is disbanded. Now I’m down to two teams: C-Team (online) and A-Team (face to face). B-Team was the heart of my gaming for four years. I intend to recruit for the team again, but I lost so many good players I’m afraid I won’t be able to find I won’t be able to find their caliber again. C’est la vie.
The game itself. Let’s start off with the bad stuff. I did not know the chambara rules and to a degree the normal rules for combat as well as I would have liked. There is a rhythm to GURPS combat that takes a bit to find and I didn’t have enough time to find it. I think I also got some character motivations confusions and buried others. It didn’t help.
The good stuff: Using the mook rules was great. At one point I had 100 actors on the field and it didn’t slow combat down by much. The magic and chi systems I created worked decently enough – there are things I would have down differently, but overall they worked. I enjoyed the premise of the campaign itself and that’s a must have as a GM.
The ugly stuff: I felt the group started out working well as a team, but that didn’t last. I wish I had done a few things different to fully engage everyone. Maybe the campaign and the team would have lasted longer. C-Team didn’t even get to play. At first that was due to unavoidable delays, but after B-Team collapsed I just didn’t have the energy to go on with B-Team.
Picking Over the Bones
Overall, this was a failure. With all the work I did on the campaign and the work the players put in it should have been a win…but it wasn’t. The sheer frustration I feel at the loss of the campaign and players was enough that I took a week off from writing. I didn’t want to point fingers or be angry at anyone. I understand why folks left and I understand why the campaign died, but that doesn’t make it any more palatable. So, because of this I decided to go back to my Chronicles of Ceteri. It’s my most worked out campaign with my most stable plots and player characters. I tend to retreat back to it when I need to and right now. I need to.