Monty Python's Flying Circus is a show that broke out of the ordinary. As I read about the artists that integrated their troupe, commonly known as the Pythons, I noticed a lot of similarities between their goals for the show and mine for my campaigns.
The Pythons had a goal in mind for the show. It wasn't to create a name for themselves, generate wealth, or further some political agenda. They wanted to create a new style of comedy, something that was original and unique.
They succeeded on their goal, and after over 3 decades, the show is still very funny and entertaining. Their success was brought by the individual contributions of each of the Pythons, their common goal, and finally a network that was willing to bet on their success.
Could I create something original and unique with my campaigns the same way the Pythons did with their show?
Tabletop RPG's are unique by their very nature. No two GMs, even if running the same scenario, will have an identical game. Their personalities, worldviews, and game choices will always make for an unique game.
Originality is also very abundant in the hobby. From creating new and interesting races, to crafting new weapons, originality is indeed a goal that can be achieved in any number of ways.
My approach to originality focuses on stories and NPCs. Game systems, props, and overly strategized combat is secondary to everything I do.
My stories are heavily influenced by high fantasy literary works. The main threads of those grandiose stories usually revolve around the fate of an entire region. That fate is decided by the constant conflict between the many factions in that area. I usually center the main characters as wild cards in those conflicts. Since their decisions can shift the balance between the factions, a lot of friction is created by their very existence. I find that type of scenario works very well for my long term campaigns.
My other goal is to populate the world with interesting, emotionally involving NPC's. Sometimes these NPC's provide the main characters with a way to better understand the backstory and get themselves immersed in a colorful, vibrant, and wondrous world.
Everything else on the game takes a backseat. I usually use the bare minimum options from the game systems, simple props, with small combat engagements.
This approach should result in a lot of real, and tangible conflict. Creating an action oriented game, and engaging the players to the fullest.
There have been sessions in which the players have become very involved in the game world. Those sessions were amazingly fun and entertaining, but on the average, I have yet to achieve what the Pythons have done with their show.
Monty Python's Flying Circus broke out of the ordinary to create a show that was original and unique. Their accomplishments can still be seen even many decades after the show was first aired. I have strived to accomplished the same thing with my campaigns, and while there has been some success, I still look forward to consistently achieving what the Python's have with their show.