The Arium RPG is live on Kickstarter through September 18, 2020. Create worlds. Discover the stories within them.
The Path of Abandoned Campaigns is paved with gaming groups who settle. Settling on playing a system they’re not 100% interested in. Settling on creating a character limited by a GM’s vision and restrictions. Settling on a story not focused on the characters’ achievements, motives, and backstory plot hooks. Settling on being railroaded into the GM telling the story they’ve worked so hard to write. It’s a dangerous path. Once your group has found their way down it, coming back is nigh impossible. Simply stated, a gaming group lacking total player investment will inevitably arrive at this fork in the road. How it’s handled will determine if your group follows The Path of Abandoned Campaigns or, as all gaming groups hope for, The Path of Long-Remembered and Fondly-Recalled Tales.
This was a problem we eventually (and accidentally) solved while Arium was taking its initial shape. We ran a couple of workshops with what was then called Lean Worldbuilding. The results were eerily similar and led to our understanding of the potential our idea possessed. We leaned into that potential and presented Arium to numerous playtests at cons and gaming groups. Every playtest provided the same feedback – “I want to play a game in the Arium we just created. How do I play a game in this setting now?” Playtesters loved bringing ideas they were excited about into the process. As a counterpoint, they were able to soften or eliminate things casting shadows across their enjoyment. The result is a unanimously exciting setting waiting to be experienced.
How can everyone in the group be so engaged with so many different voices lending brilliant contributions at every stage? There are two answers. First, those in the gaming community are a creative, collaborative lot. We feed off of each other’s excitement and ideas. Brainstorming fuels player investment, and damn near every single time we end up with a significantly more interesting finished product – one everyone is excited for. The second answer? Simple. It’s the magic of Arium.
The Arium: Create experience allows the entire group, players and GM alike, to create new forks in the road. It enables each player’s voice to shine, diminishing the darkness awaiting what could have been an ill-fated campaign. We’ve seen, time and time again, Arium giving voice to even the meekest of players. The collaborative process creates buy-in from all, promoting a deeper level of participation.
We’ve all trudged down The Path of Abandoned Campaigns. For some, it has only been once, and the fear of that dreary, tortuous path has helped us to remember to take the other fork in the road. For others, we feel caught in a labyrinthine phenomenon of deja vu where every campaign reboot feels like it’s doomed to wander the same cursed path. I’m genuinely proud to say Arium gives each player a torch to bear, allowing their light to shine on a new world built out of collaboration. Whether your group is just searching for a way to get all players invested in the story you are collaborating on, or you’re also looking for a streamlined system bridging between rules-light and super crunchy, Arium will guide you there.
Drew Gerken is one of the writers of Arium, the forthcoming worldbuilding toolkit and roleplaying game by Adept Icarus.
Check out Arium on Kickstarter!