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Author Topic: What is working for you at the gaming table & what is not?  (Read 1479 times)

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Offline MoonHunter

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This is a general question. It covers quite a bit of ground.  Yet, it is really interesting to see what is working and not working for most GMs and Players.

What IS working your for you at the gaming table and what IS NOT working for you at the gaming table?

If your game table is virtual, you can chime in too.

This can be answered from a GM or Player perspective. You can share something that might benefit others or toss out a question that has been nagging at you.

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Offline MoonHunter

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Re: What is working for you at the gaming table & what is not?
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2008, 12:59:45 PM »
What is working:
Improvisation in a setting rich environment: I am running Serenity now and don't have a lot of time for prep work. Lucky for me, the setting sort of fills itself.  (Normally I do all my prep work really early in the campaign, but this one is ad hoc... soooo)

Ensuring players have deep histories, links to each other, and something to do: Sure it is more work in the begining, but it has long term payoffs in the campaign.

Drama dice. I have been using player points (a system like Drama Dice for years), so this was an easy jump for me. Players like spending them. Usually they spend them to ensure success, rather than doing "the overly dramatic". A foible of the system. Since they have "strong guidelines" about what will earn them dice (Do things that fit a Firefly scene or Firefly dialog and you will probably earn a die), they earn them often enough. (The flow of Drama Dice will make or break a Cortex system game).

This is a convention game that people liked so much that they wanted to keep running as a group. I did not get a chance to do my normal prep as seen in "Starting a Campaign the MoonHunter Way http://www.strolen.com/content.php?node=1461 ", but so far I have managed to run the game in my normal pattern (http://www.strolen.com/content.php?node=1462 ).

Also keeping the game seen as a "Firefly in an alternate universe". This way I can use the 60 minute TV show story structure, intro, conflict, complication, resolution. The players like having the intro song played or someone else telling us about "Earth that was". They also like commercial breaks (this gives us time to go stretch, have mini cliffhangers, and sing really odd commercial song). I can run a 1 hour TV show in 4-5 hours of play.

What is not working:
Well at this point, nothing. The game is too shiney for the cracks in the system to show up yet.

My players are not very focused. We need to start using "start now" and "end now" rules for this group, as we have limited play time and they tend to meander and waunder off and lose focus.
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Offline Kinslayer

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Re: What is working for you at the gaming table & what is not?
« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2008, 04:40:53 PM »
What works: Strong player ownership of the larger game world.   Our troupe has really gotten into the overall setting like never before.  The current batch of pc's is from a number of different backgrounds from all over the world, but they made the diverse group work--internally as well as within the setting--instead of being a grab-bag of character types or all random.  There is even experimentation with new nationalities & player/fan created goodies.  Good interlinking.  One of the stipulations I made with this new chapter was that if they were going to start fresh at first level with all new characters, it would have to be a completely fresh start.  In other words, they weren't allowed to use their older established characters to jump-start the new, and could not have anything to do with the old guild.  They still combine elements of the Immersive Game World without violating that stipulation, and without breaking character knowledge.  Interwoven yet flexible ruleset.  If I may brag about myself for a moment (& try not to drag specific system rules into the Citadel), I managed to have a game that lets me focus on the story without the rules getting in the way, and at the same time allows for some intense action sequences where many dice are thrown & many cool character abilities are used & abused.  I can easily speed up or slow down the clock to where weeks or months tick right by (viable play-time, not just jumped ahead for the story), or drag everything out into a Midian-Ball Z timeframe where it takes three episodes just to power up, and everywhere in between. 

What doesn't work: My timing & pacing. As much as I love gaming, I see it as much as an excuse to get together & hang out with my mates as anything.  I am the worst in the group about going off on a non-game tangent (they have begun calling them "Golgotha History Moments" since they are frequently about historic factoids) & the first to want to take a break.  The half-life of nicotine in my body does seem to invoke natural break times for the troupe, though.  I can still readily engage them, and can keep big scenes very tense and rewarding, but I tend to get off to a slow start getting there.  Over & under detailed NPC's.  I tend to either focus too much detail on a particular NPC--what shoes they are wearing, favourite foods, & stuff--or not enough detail--fleshing them out only so much as 'generic shopkeep #6'--and lacking a name, species, or what that store sells.  This wouldn't be a problem if the level of detail had anything to do with that NPC's involvement in the campaign, but it doesn't.  I am likely to describe a random encounter on the street down to the finest details & mannerisms, while only thinking of & referring to the lord of the land as 'the baron', with no further description.  This does keep the players on their toes, however.  This forces them to involve themselves with the non-player characters who populate the game world more, instead of putting their brains in neutral & waiting for a long block of window dressing to know when to pay attention.  Obsession with the inner workings of the game world. The King of Formour doesn't worry about the price of Formourian wheat on the international market nearly as much as I do.  I wanted a gaming world that works, that is both internally consistent and doesn't leave the players scratching their heads wondering 'huh?', and will work equally well as a setting for horror/fantasy gaming it would for solo thought experiments.  I agonise over such minutia as the ratio of digitigrade to plantigrade werewolves (4:1 with a margin of error at +/-8%, by the way) or how much a smith should factor the cost of an apprenticeship into the profit margin for an item.  I do this because I want to, but it does take valuable time away from preparing for the next game session or building actual usable game content such as new skills or armour types. 
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Offline Ancient Gamer

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Re: What is working for you at the gaming table & what is not?
« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2008, 12:58:55 PM »
What works:
- The Setting, which has evolved over the last decade. It is really rich and deep now.
- Conspiracies and historical events, as well as my adeptness in regards to cinamatic storytelling, makes the setting really come to life.
- The group. Man, I pray no one of us dies in a number of years yet (we are getting older after all). The chemistry is superb and we all really look forward to being together again.
- The plots (chiefly because I profit immensely from the richness of the setting, and my knowledge of it)
- My new Coldforged character generator www.coldforged.net/char/

What doesn't work:
- New recruits. I have to admit, we've become so inbred and close that is near impossible for newcomers to enter the group. Eight years ago they complained it was hard, nowadays it is impossible.
- Regular sessions. We have a hard time even making the regular six double sessions a year. This year we've had an exeptional boost in game sessions, which is mainly because one of the key players got cold feet and left his bride a few months before their wedding... (not me, one of my players was gonna walk down the aisle too).
- Getting the rules out of my head and down on paper, or online. I am too darn lazy.
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Offline The Phantom Queen

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Re: What is working for you at the gaming table & what is not?
« Reply #4 on: June 25, 2008, 05:33:20 PM »
Working: I have a great group of players that are really into the campaign I've been running on and off for nearly 2 years. They really want me to finish the campaign because they want to understand everything that was going on and they want to best the villain.

What is not working...This was the first game I had ever run and I started with a full 1st-20th campaign with 3 acts. I've learned so much that I feel like starting a new game to correct some of the mistakes I made at the beginning (like working in the head bad guy MUCH earlier)...I'm a little tired of the current campaign but they all really want me to finish it.
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