Monday, March 30, 2015

Managing Expectations Of Theme and Content

This may be more high level than some people like to consider when they're talking about their hobby, but as a GM it is something important to keep in mind - especially when planning encounters and campaigns. Every game has expectations, and beyond that every group and every player also has expectations. Manage those well and your content will stay on point to the enjoyment of all. Betray those expectations though, and even though nothing has changed about how you run your game, your players may suddenly not be having the same level of fun that they were previously. Today I want to talk about where those expectations are coming from, and how to find out what they are. On Wednesday we will talk about some of the ways you can play into and work with those expectations.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Discussion: What Makes For A Good Character?

You'll hear this question bandied about almost as much as people asking how to GM well. What is it that makes a good character? Blogs are full of advice, books have tons of dos and do nots, but what is the core to one?

The idea here is that the character not only needs to be fun to have in the game, but fun to play as well. For that they need to have a reason to be in the game. They need a motivation, something that pushes them forward. I would argue that the best characters have at least two motivations (or goals) and that those goals/motivations work best when at times they are opposed to each other.

In this way the characters own progress gives them room to move, albeit in another direction. Jack Sparrow, for example, wants the treasure he wants...but he also wants to be a good man. And so, he sets off on adventure seeking treasure, gets in trouble because he wants to be a good man, and then at the end does something that denies him the majority of the treasure and so he still has the hunger.

Now you can argue that Jack Sparrow isn't a good movie or book character (I disagree, his movies aside) but he does show the kind of loop that allows for long term play in a campaign (as shown by having 4 movies out with a 5th coming) and also growth.

However, this is just my opinion. I'm curious as to yours. What, in your opinion, makes for a good character?

(to be clear, I mean a Player Character or long term NPC, someone that will be in your game for a while.)

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Where The Fun Is

The other day, after an incredible session in her L5R game, my housemate was worried folks may not have had fun and that the session had been too weird. Her concern was that she thought maybe it was "a little out there" and that caused problems. I responded, and the group agreed, that frequently "a little out there" is where the fun is. Today, I want to talk a bit about why that is.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Bringing The New Character Up To Speed

Hello! Due to a fortuitous break in my scheduled plans/stuff this is coming a bit earlier. In the next session of my Star Wars game, using the system from Fantasy Flight Games, we're introducing a new PC. Now this PC will be a brand new player to the game as well, and I wrestled with the idea of exactly how much XP to start them with. Do I just dump them in at stock? Do I put them at the XP level the other PCs are at? It's not the hardest of decisions, but I wanted to do something special because....well, I like trying new things. So what did I do? See after the break for that answer.

No Post Today

My apologies, but I haven't had time for today's post I'd hoped to. I'll try to get it up either later on in the day or for tomorrow. As today (Monday) is also heavily booked, it may not be until later on Tuesday. Sorry again.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Discussion: If You Could Tell A New Player One Thing...

If you could tell a new player one thing, what would it be?

I'm going to leave this that open ended I think. What would you say if you could only say one thing to a new player? For me I think it'd be "don't worry about the rules, just try to have fun."

What about you?

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

How To Be A Great GM

I apologize for this, but I've been a bit under the weather and kind of lost the notes I had for what I wanted today to be about. That said, I did find this cool video on Youtube recently while perusing for various gamer related stuff. Take a look, discuss your viewpoints on it, and maybe drop a comment.