I had mentioned previously that I thought the game was self-destructing, and that it felt like I was spinning wheels and some of the players (not all!) were just standing around and not helping push the thing forward. It's a frustrating feeling when everyone claims to be on-board for something, but their actions don't really show that commitment.
I had been thinking of many solutions to the problems inherent to the game so far, and along comes Josh D, a lover of Dark Sun, himself, and drops a comment the other day on it all. What he said had mirrored some of my own thoughts, and though it was one of the last things I wanted to do to get the players interested, I think perhaps he is right...railroading is sometimes the only option you have left. At this point, I can only throw out so many hooks...if none of those hooks work, then perhaps skydiving isn't for y....wait, wrong saying...
Anyway, the point I was trying to make is that when you have lots of fish, but you aren't getting the bites on the hooks, sometimes you're better off slinging in the dynamite and forcing results...at least at first. I'm partially to blame, don't get me wrong. I just spent over a year running a game that followed the "Adventure Path" structure. Even though I tried to make that as loose as possible, I think, perhaps, that the cushion of direct storyline still acted as a crutch, as did party dynamics.
I can understand the phenomenon. It's hard to break from molds that you're used to, especially when you've got little experience. I'm also very aware that there are a million OSR blogs out there saying that what I want to do is doomed for failure out the gates because of the system I use (3.x,) but Ben Robbins proved that the model of sand box play fits it with his Western Marches. I think it all boils down to attitude.
I'm trying to...not force this on my players, but work them into the style, and give them the freedom to develop their characters in ways that the path or story-driven campaigns (I hate calling them that...isn't every campaign story-driven?) might not allow. To me, it looks like opportunity...to my players, I don't know? I feel like I failed in the pitch.
Josh is right, I think, but I keep thinking "What if that, fails, too?" Well, then I know that it's just not the right time or group to run the game with. That happens.
I'll give it a few more weeks before I call it. I really wanna see this game get out of the gates. I love the setting. I love the group I play with. I think that this can work, the game just needs a boot to the ass to get it going.
I hope...it's even gotten me doubting any game I might run in its stead if it fails, which is a horrible feeling. I've never, in my 13 years of DMing felt that. Blah.
Edit: Sorry this post is all over the place. Just one of those things.