Thursday, July 22, 2010

What Comes Next?

So, I find myself at a bit of a weird spot when it comes to GMing. Both my games are going fine, perhaps even great, and people are having fun. No, the problem comes in that one of the games has the ending in sight. Not immediately in sight, at least I don't think so, but in sight. It is in a position where the players have the ending in their hands though. They can choose when they go to the end game, how ready they are for it, and what they want to do before they get there. There could be only 3-4 sessions left, or as many as 6-10 depending on how they do things. So, what do we do after that?

The group is a gaming one, so it'll be another RPG, and it is my GMing night (and I want to hold onto that) so the baseline for what we are doing is set. The question more is what game, how do I prepare for it, and when do I start talking about it with the other players? These are the questions I have been asking myself of late when I think about those every-other Friday evenings. Way I can figure it, there are two ways to handle it (though, maybe you'll have more).

Method 1 - Start Talking Now
The end is in sight, so why not start talking to them about the next game now? Get their impressions on what they want to play next, what system they want to use, power level they want to start on, etc etc. We start talking now, and I start planning for it now. This is good because it gives me more time to prepare the world so things will be ready to go when the current game ends. Or, at least a whole lot closer to being ready to go when everything comes to an end. Letting the group just quickly launch into the next game.

There is a bad side as well though. By talking about the next game, everyone's creative juices will start going - including my own - on what is coming next. The allure of the next game, the beginning of a new story can interfere with the wrapping up of the one we have going on. Not that I think it would be a huge problem with my group, but you always can get the strangest issues as people start to sub-consciously speed things up to try and get to the next beginning.

Method 2 - Wait Until The End
Quite the opposite of Method 1, with this you wait until the end of the game. Starting discussions either after the credits roll on the final session, that week, or at the next game session. You wait until then to talk about what comes next, what game, setting, power level, type of story, etc, etc. This has the benefit of letting everyone focus on the story at hand and finish the game, but is not without its bad sides as well.

Chief among the bad side is the lack of planning time. If you wait until the end, you either have to put off the beginning of the next game by a few weeks, or spend the time before the next session in major crush time mode as you produce everything your game will need - at least for the first few sessions.

What about you?
Those are my two options, but I'm curious if anyone else has a special way they try to start planning for their next game, or have any suggestions on ways to handle it in this case, or other cases. Don't be afraid to speak up and let us know what you think, or what you would do.

1 comment:

  1. Option 2 would be my choice. I have been in, and sometimes I feel I am always in, the creative aspect of the "coming thing" and it can tend to ruin what is currently going on. I think it is better for everyone to spend a few weeks planning what's next than to short-change what is currently going on. If you want at least a little lead time, then ask what the players want maybe in the last week or two without going into too much detail -- maybe just the game they's be interested in so you have an idea.