A Project for the Morrow

I haven’t been home in years. It is no surprise that the longer I stay away, the fewer people who are there to great me on those few occasions when I do make the journey. The graveyard has always been a bit hungry for my friends and family, but the last few years have been excessive. I will be headed home in August for a long overdue vacation, and the paying of very overdue respects. One of the more pleasant ways I will be paying tribute to some departed friends is sitting down with some live ones to game.

Among the departed is a friend who was one of the best GMs I have ever met. We used to have great conversations about gaming and other things. One of the games he used to mention to me quite often was The Morrow Project. As a player, he was fond of it, but regretted not getting to really explore it. I am not sure if he ever did run it. According to reports from other players of that short-lived play experience, the group and the game did not really gel. Some players have independently reported that it was more like sitting back to watch a one-man show… our friend in action.

As one of the goals in our gaming friendship, and ultimately the creation of this blog, was to focus on improving our skills as GMs and players, the thought circled around and around in my head for a while about what to do when I finally made it back home and met with all of the friends who share in this loss. The Morrow Project Kickstarter caused those thoughts to crystallize and led me to propose a night of taking this game on, enjoying ourselves, and remembering our friend. It seemed the most appropriate choice.

Of course, this is one of those challenges the immensity of which I cannot even really fathom. The Morrow Project encapsulates many of the things which I find challenging as a GM. It is a game I have never run, and when my book arrives it will be for a new edition. It is rooted in a form of military culture, and explores the ruins of civilization. I have to gear up to run it effectively for a set of players who have also not seen the game since it was new, and do it as a one-shot. No pressure, right?

Still, it feels like the right thing to do. I really want to spend a night gaming with these guys and not be the only person for whom the clatter of dice is setting off a string of memories of absent friends. I want to take a game that is not easy, make it accessible, and be a part of the usual magic and fun that our games always were.

I can hear Egg Shen’s response in my head, though and that concerns me. At the worst it should be something from Mad Max…

Jack: How’d you get up there?!

Egg: Wasn’t easy!

My pre-release binder of the rules should be on its way to me shortly, and I will have the PDF before it wends its way here. I will be going home in August. Any help or suggestions between now and then on how to make this work as well as I hope will be welcome. Good friends deserve no less than our best – especially the ones who can’t be around to appreciate it.

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11 Responses to “A Project for the Morrow”
  1. BF Wolfe says:

    What a challenge. Good thing you have 6 months to pull it off. ;) But sounds like a fun and worthy goal, and i only wish i could be there to join in. The only thought I had (and it was an instinctual thought, unbased) was the session should not be or even incorporate an attempt at an ending or conclusion. Even if its a one-shot, perhaps the theme should be a beginning, or even a ‘changing of the guard’. I like the idea of the threads and possibilities being more at the end of the night than at the start.

    • That’s a very good idea! It sounds like your trip home has enough ‘endings’ to deal with without an extra one in there too. Also, love the Big Trouble… quote.

    • Runeslinger says:

      I know I am not alone in wishing you could be there too. Perhaps you will be able to participate via Hangouts…?

      Your suggestion of avoiding endings is an even greater challenge than what I was envisioning, so… ok: on it! ;)

      • BF Wolfe says:

        Happy to share my grandiose ideas when someone else is doing the work. ;) I have conferences in August but if the timing works, I’d love to join in.

  2. Gawain says:

    Pre-Generated characters will help with the time frame and let the group focus on role-play instead of rules, rumor has it you are not to bad a GM yourself Runeslinger!

    A suggestion. A month or so before you are homeward bound, start an email timeline of events. using email or things like skype would enhance the time available. Gives the chance to craft personas and the like before the session starts.

    Perhaps the players are the leaders of different Morrow Project groups traveling toward one another to meet and re-group to start the planing for a colony? just throwing some out some thoughts.

  3. Matt says:

    The biggest challenge I experienced in running The Morrow Project back in the day was matching the players to the game; the game is supposed to be about rebuilding society, helping folks on the road to recovery, and (ideally) exploring and reflecting on what certain words and concepts (like “modern” or “survival”) really mean. Yes, there’s a lot of tactical military-style combat as well, but even then the thematic goal should be an examination of “why we’re fighting.” Yet it is too easy for players to decide to just take over the world, instead. Even the groups who started out trying to “do it right” frequently fell into role of enlightened (or not) warlords. So the best bit of advice I can give is to stress the social contract of the game right at the beginning, and encourage the players to think less like “liberators of the oppressed” and more like the “Peace Corps Just With More Grenades”.

    • Runeslinger says:

      Excellent advice, and it reinforces comments I dimly remember friends making long, long ago. I think I will implement your advice right from the beginning by making these motivations a part of character generation.

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