Friday, October 21, 2016

Discussion Favorite Sudden Turn + Next Week

Sometimes you have to rip the rug out from under the players and take them for surprise. Sometimes you try and the players see it coming from a mile away. Games where at the end the PCs find out they were the villains all along. Games were PCs know what is going to change, but still go with it. The change of pace, change of direction, can still be a lot of fun.

So what is your favorite one?

For me, it probably goes back to the end of a game I was in years ago. In the last mission it became clear to the party that their boss wasn't actually playing for the right team. Suddenly the person who knew everything about them, brought them together, and gave them purpose was the enemy. Could the group out plan that person? Could they succeed? It made the next few sessions very tense and interesting, and made for a solid ending.

What about you?

Also, while I have you, there will be no posts next week. I'm going to be out of town on a business trip and won't have reliable access. If I can get something up I will, but I'm going to assume that I won't be able to.

Have a good week!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Adding A Spark Of Life To Your Character

I wanted to retouch on this topic. There's lots of things you can do to add a spark of life to your character. Anything that makes them feel more real helps. Today, I felt I'd ask some more personal questions and explain how they can help figure out who your character is.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Preparing For A Missed Session

Not this week but next week I'm going on a work trip. It's going to mean no posts to the blog. It's also going to mean that I won't be here to GM my 7th Sea game. It will mean next time 7th Sea meets it will have been more than a month between sessions. That's a long break, and it means that first session back is going to have issues. Fortunately, some of those can be dealt with, provided you know what is going to come up going in.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Luke Cage is the Perfect Set Up For A Street Level Game

I've been watching Luke Cage, and I'm only about 6 episodes in but so far it's got my attention. I could care less about the political and social correct crap people are screaming out about it - frankly, if you didn't think Luke Cage was going to feature black issues in it to some degree I'm not sure what you thought it was about - but I do LOVE the setup for the show.

See, six episodes in and we have Luke Cage vs. a powerful criminal overlord. Why are they fighting? Honestly, because of a misunderstanding. See, Luke was doing work for a friendly neighborhood father figure. Said father figure had a connection to Criminal Overlord. Only, when father figure ends up as a third party in a dispute with Criminal Overlord, one of Overlord's henchmen intervenes and ends up killing people he ought not to.

Now with the middle ground gone, both Luke and said Criminal Overlord are too proud to actually talk about what happened and how it was for the good of neither, and they both want to restore father figure's legacy. But they can't. And so now they're on a collision course for destruction.

Only, it gets better. Unknown to Luke there is another, bigger, criminal overlord also involved.

So you see, it's a great setup for a game.

You introduce the players doing some small jobs - neighborly heroics and what not - for the old retired adventurer/hero. Then he dies. Heroes go to war with villain A, but as they take him down Villain B is ready to take over the turf too. You end up with progression, cause and effect, and consequence for actions.

It's a simple setup, but that's partially why it works. Straight forward, but room to grow. Might be worth trying out.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Getting Back In The Saddle

And we're back...kinda. I hope anyhow.

I missed not only posting here on Friday and Monday, but also the games I run on the previous weekend. Surprisingly that has me feeling kind of antsy. Like I left the stove on or something? It's a weird feeling. The other fun part is that between to two twelve hour days of driving, and some other stuff, it feels like it's been years since I last GMed, not the two weeks. it's actually been.

So now I'm coming up on the 7th Sea game I run, feeling like I haven't ran in forever, and it's just the normal allotment of time. For my players (at least 75% of them) it's going to be just another session. For me? I am not so sure.

How to deal with this? Well, I'm basically trying to double down on the breadth of preparation, and not worry so much about the depth of it.

What does that mean?

Normally when I prepare I have a good idea of not only where my players are, but what they're likely to do. I've played with most of the folks in my groups long enough I have a decent idea of what they'll hook onto, what routes they'll go down, and where their characters want to be. This doesn't mean they don't surprise me at times, but it does mean that I am normally good having hints of what else could be going on, but only preparing a couple things that I'm fairly sure will grab the players.

From there it works like normal. You develop the thread, the NPCs, the fights, the obstacles, etc, and then you let it go.

This isn't that though. Instead of going deep into a couple things, I'm going shallow in more. How does that work?

Basically, I'm less worried about how things play out and what's going to happen if a PC starts unraveling a thread. I'll play that by ear. However, I am going to be ready down 5 or 6 different avenues instead of just 1-3 for where my players want to go. Some big NPCs, big challenges, a desired twist, that sort of thing.

When it's ready it means the area may look more alive, but I'll have to improvise the depth. It's probably a better way to prepare all things concerned. We'll see how it goes, I suppose. How about you? How do you get back in the swing of things?

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Discussion: What's Going On In Your Game Right Now?

I know it's Wednesday, but after this post is submitted I'm going to bed before a wonder 12+ hour day of driving and a few days out of state on a personal matter of the rather unhappy variety (all is ok, so no need to worry :))

It, and the extra business at work, has left me with little time to ponder a last blog post, so I figured I'd just ask what's going on in your game?

My L5R game is about to begin Winter Court. All the delegations have arrived, the PCs have orders, and the games are about to start. I'm hoping to run a tutorial for court - while also getting used to running court/politics myself. I'm not sure how bloody things are going to get, but the game is starting off with a masquerade party hosted by the Scorpion clan, so fun times should be afoot.

My other two games (Star Wars and 7th Sea) are both in transition points. So not as much fun there. Ah well.

How about your game?

Monday, October 3, 2016

Non-Combat Action Sequences

There is a lot more to be done with action in a game than just combat. The most common go to is vehicle chases - or even on foot chases - but even that is kind of limited. Think of movies, books, shows, and every other form of media. There's lots of things out there that can be used to add tension. The problem is, most games aren't set up to really handle those things. Or are they?