Choosing a new game can be a strange challenge depending on the group. There are a lot of questions that can come up, and navigating those questions and their answers can be the difference between starting a new game that has a chance to thrive, and ending up with everyone drifting away bored after a few sessions. Today I want to talk about that.
Who Is GMing?
Who is GMing is a question that doesn't even occur to some people. However, players may be surprised to find that their GM for the last campaign wants a try being a player for a while, and GMs may be surprised that some of their players want to run a game. Neither of these is a problem - unless they're both in conflict. If multiple people want to GM - as opposed to are willing to GM - then you may need to talk things out, or work out who is going to run the game everyone wants to play most.
What Do Folks Want To Play?
Some groups stick to one system and one system only. You see this a lot with Pathfinder and D&D, but you also see it with other games too. There's nothing wrong with that. If your group finds "RPG" to be synonymous with a specific system, that's great. You know what game you're using. If not, well, it may be time to weigh the pros and cons of the various mechanics.
Fortunately, the type of game people want to play can help. If your players want a dungeon delving game with tactical combat, Pathfinder and D&D are great. More narrative games have other systems geared to doing that. Some systems are really strong in presenting certain types of games. Other systems are more generic. Sure, you may want to play D&D, but D&D: Birthright and D&D: Dungeon Delving Classics are very different kinds of D&D games.
Again, as a group, talk this out. Find out what folks want to play. What type of setting? What type of game? What type of mechanics? Brain storm them on a list. Have people talk it out. Maybe someone wants to do Weird Wild West but wouldn't mind magical samurai, but someone else hates samurai but thinks weird cowboys could be fun. There are places to compromise, and you never know who else wants to go after your idea if you don't say so.
The start of a new game - even if only in choosing who is GMing and what game is being run - is also a great time to re-establish boundaries. Are there things you definitely want in the game? Those should be discussed. Are there things you definitely do not want in the game, or otherwise serve as a deal breaker for you? Bring those up to.
Groups often know what the different folks inside them are ok with after a game, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't discuss it. It's possible that someone was ok with a really dark adventure with torture and mutilation before, but now really wants something more heroic without permanent injury and a more teen rating. That should be discussed with the game.
Where And When Are You Starting?
Once you know who is running the game, what the game is, and where the boundaries are, you need a starting place and time. This is true for the game itself, but also in the game. Where in the game are the PCs starting? Where is the game being hosted? When does it happen? What time and significant events are going on in game?
Get these going, and you can make up your new batch of PCs. Good luck.
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