So in some sense, causally correlated with holidays, really.
I believe I have made an error in my gaming. In the past, I have found great success in alternating between sci-fi and fantasy as a means of avoiding burnout and stagnation. The clearest example of this was the cycle my sophomore-junior year of "run True20 Midnight in fall, run Traveller in spring, play Trailblazer and Starmada over summer, doldrums of fantasy one-shots and such in the fall, some degree of revitalization via Traveller again in the spring, followed by finishing Trailblazer." And then ACKS happened, and it's all I've run since. Hmm.
Naturally we're in the middle of a campaign upon this realization. There are some rough spots with the current game:
- ACKS is stressful. People die or get mangulated a lot.
- I'm not getting much feedback. Rather than the typical post-session chatter, folks seem to jet a lot faster than was typical for a game in meatspace. Hard to gauge group morale under these circumstances. These top two combined have me concerned; are people having fun? I have no idea, and that's a bad place to be.
- Holidays disrupting scheduling :\
- Some conflict within party. Notable sources of tension include some PCs wandering off / doing their own thing and henchman pay policy (division between "use fewer henchmen, have fewer shares, everyone levels faster" and "use more henchmen, have fewer casualties, everyone lives longer" camps)
- ACKS mercantile ventures - not so profitable, actually, without the ready availability of luxury goods from the abstract trade system and the venturer +market class bonus. The price differentials are not bad, but the volumes are so low as to be basically insignificant between the sort of market classes available (and luxury goods are practically nonexistent).
- It would be inaccurate to say that I'm out of ideas, but the faucet isn't putting out the same flow rate it was two months ago. Filling a couple thousand square miles of wilderness with interesting stuff is looking daunting, even done as a streaming process. ACKS DM burden is not insignificant.
- Finally, the way we're playing is in some sense very procedural. Go place, fight monsters, get treasure?, come home, get heals. This structure is good, in that it handles large inconsistent player groups well by being simple and not all that dependent on anything but knowing where to go. This structure is bad because sometimes it's just kinda boring. I do have an event planned for start of next session (Festival of Yaris), but I do not know if it is sufficient to shake things up significantly. This world is a lot less reactive than the previous one was (though perhaps this is merely perceived due to less frequent sessions; I know recurring enemies and such were not yet established by the third session of last campaign, and that was acceptable).
And so, dear players, you see my dilemma. I propose no immediate action, but think it perhaps wise to air these concerns and elicit thoughts.