Every group of people that stays together for any length of time will develop their own "rules" - the way they do things. The group evolves into its own little society with its own little culture. The group develops traditions, habits, in jokes, and rules about "The way we do things". Gaming groups are big about the rules, for obvious reason.
So this scroll is all about your gaming group. What traditions or "rules" do you all follow? And how did they come about?
Additional Ideas (12)
On game night, about once every other month, we schedule a movie night. It is the night we have a movie running during game. This results in really slow play and a really casual night or just giving up on the game all together and hanging out. We never get together anymore outside of game night, so sometimes we just need the social interaction. So we will watch the movie (usually something inspirational for the campaign we are running, so we watch good Samurai Movies during a Nippon! campaign), shoot the breeze, talk about comic books, and so on.
I made this a formal affair when I figured out that every six weeks or so, we didnt actually game (or do much gaming) we spent it just messing around. Now that we have, my players are more focused on the game on game night, knowing that we can all catch up on movie night.
This really isn't a whole night, but just an hour or so. On nights we know someone will show up, but will be late, we run a "Video Game Night".
You get three tokens, one per spawning. No continuity, no nothing. Your characters are just characters in a video game.
I set up the setting. Usually it is a sand filled arena, but I try to spice it up. The last one we did was a room full of 30 foot stone pillars.
You then "spawn". You can fight each other. You can fight ninja minion or giant robots or those guards. They could be moving archery targets far down the map. What ever people are in the mood for.
So we practice combat rules, try new tactics, go through the obstacle course (to get familiar with the various rules and to get a feel for what their characters chances at certain actions are).
We also get to resolve the "My character is tougher than your character debates" and "If I wasn't hampered by this code vs killing, I would kick butt" comments.
Bragging rights about having the highest score or surviving longer when someone else, when they uses up their third token.
(We occassionally give out more tokens to the group. It depends on how late the player is going to be).
In one game group I played in, we had between 12-24 players on a given night. As you could guess, this got a little loud and a little distracting.
Our host, had a stuffed tribble a (20 cm/ 8) furry thing. It happened to be on the desk/ table I, the GM, was sitting at. I threw the tribble at a person whos attention I needed. They spoke their part, then threw the tribble back. The next person that needed to speak, just kind of held up their hands. So I threw it to them. And back and forth it went. All night. The unspoken rule was, If you didn't have the tribble, you were not allowed to speak above a whisper.
Now it is a rule.
Thus when we have a number of players, we pull out the tribble (or plush Cthulu, or NRA beaver, or well you get the idea). There will be a plush kind of night.
In a horror investigation game I run, the players were always finding new and interesting ways to eliminate themselves. So the team leader just got upset with some players/ characters who did stupid things and got themselves killed.
So we had the first two rules:
*Don't go alone
*Don't ever, ever, under any circumstances, go alone.
She had a team meeting and had everyone repeat these standing orders. Several Times.
At the beginning of the next game, she had the same team meeting and had people repeat the rules.
After two people told each other they were going, to circumvent the you cant do that, it is too dangerous/ disobeying the leader, a third rule was added.
*Tell someone, who isn't going with you, where you are going.
So it became tradition, that at the beginning of the game, everyone would recite The Rules. (There are now 10).
Since we began to recite the rules, the 40% kill rate has dropped to 2%. (And most of those deaths are directly related to people who disobeyed the rules).
It all started during a "Kung Fu campaign". We were on a steady diet of Kung Fu movies at the same time. At the end of most Martial Arts movies are outtakes of the goofs that the stuntmen did or when the actor flubbed the lines.
At the end of the game, we were laughing about a funny event earlier in the game (when someone missed an athletic attack roll at an inopportune time and whammed into a wall). Someone said, "That should be in our outtakes".
So we cobbled together some funny bits from the game, and made a couple up based on the situation on the game. "Tea?! You call this tea?! No I call it brown water because the prop department wont make tea. Everyone laughs." The one that made us laugh the most received some token experience points.
So it began...
At the end of every session, we would do an outtake or five. If they were good, you received player points/ eps, if they were bad, you were penalized. It ended up being a lot of fun.
(Of course this evolved into us having an introduction, ending credits, commercial breaks, and so on, but this is for another entry.)
Every Halloween (or close to halloween) most of my game troupes would dress up in halloween costumes.
This started when Halloween fell on a regular game night. We had a mini-party to go with our game. It was so much fun, we had a Halloween party the next year.
The most fun I ever had was when we were playing Champaions. Everyone dressed as their superheroic character (or as close as they could get). People worked really hard on their costumes. It was a blast.
A gaming group comprised of a bunch of my friends had a tradition of potluck. Each week, one player brought home cooked food, usually a "one pot meal" like spaghetti or chili, to game night. There were eight players, so they only had to do it once every two months. The penalty for not bringing food on your assigned night was to bring food of the group's choice for eight weeks.
This all started from one person bringing chili to the game and another saying, they made better chili. They brought a pot to the next game. There was a third pot in the running. Someone else brought gourmet grill cheese sandwitches, just to stop the chili. Well at that point, it just kept going.
There are many stories related to this. Some of my favorites...
The group brought a new member in. On their first night, they were supposed to bring potluck. They were accepted or rejected by the group based on what they brought.
One person was going out of town. He actually had his roommate bring the chili to game night, rather than risk the ire of the group.
One person could barely cook. Canned Spaghetti was a stretch for his culinary abilities. The microwave... there are stories about him and the microwave. By unanimous consent, he was absolved from cooking and told to take everyone's order and made to run to several fast(ish) food places to collect them.
I have three regular groups that only get together at our local gaming conventions (there are two to four through the year). We are geographically distributed. Nobody is going to drive 100 miles for a regular game, but will do it for a gaming convention.
It is odd, there are some people which are "close" to me. We could play together regularly, but we only are part of a convention group.
These groups formed over time as people who have played together (@home or@con). They start a little adhoc, but they form a core group pretty quickly. People do waunder in and out of the groups.
The groups develop their own tradition of what we play (Stalking the Night Fantastic, Serenity, Earthdawn), when we play (every sunday night, midnight saturday, most of the day saturday), where we play (hotel room or open gaming or by the pool), and what we do while playing (sharing mutual snacks, finishing off a 24 pack of mountain dew, going out for dinner first). It is amazing how quickly these traditions become "The Law" (BUt we always play that!)
I have run some fairly long lasting campaigns at conventions. My stalking campaign averaged 2+ games at each of the two primary conventions, over the last 16 years.
Well one of the most common traditions of my local gaming "group" (which is just me and my lover these days so I hesitate to call it a group) Is intro theme music. The gm (which varies between us) tends to find a particular song they feel captures the mood and/or theme of the game, and the player selects one they feel fits their character best. One fo the two theme songs gets played after reading the previous sessions summary before actual gaming beings. (it alternates each session)
It helps to set each game apart from the other, (we both run several a piece) and helps both the player(s) and gm focus on the game, cutting down on the ooc chatter/interruptions.
Another tradition we do for in house gaming is minimize the real life interruptions. This often includes prepping drinks/snacks before hand, unplugging the internet and phone, (back we had a phone anyway) and even going so far as to put a "gone bowling be back later" note on the door. (not that we've ever gone bowling or ever would) Hopefully to prevent Jehovah witnesses, or anyone else from ruining a great rp or combat scene.
For internet gaming we tend to be less worried about interruptions, given the pacing of most of the games we do online is so slow the interruptions are hardly even noticed in game. (although for horror gaming over chat we make sure to take all the usual "no interruptions" preparations, simple because nothing ruins a horror game atmosphere more than real life interruptions.)
First, what is a snarf? A snarf is when someone laughs while drinking something and it sprays everywhere. It can be disgusting, but it usually pretty funny (provided it doesn't hit anyone).
I'm struggling to remember all the rules. They weren't strict guidlines, just general situations of humor when xp would be awarded. Here are a few:
- General Rule: Good joke = Bonus XP. If you make someone snarf, you gain even more XP. If it's the GM, you get a bit more than usual.
- Snarf Evasion: If you catch your snarf, usually in the cup it came from, (and avoid getting things sticky) you get some XP, same to someone who leaps out of their chair to avoid getting hit by a snarf.
- Critical Failure: If you just snarf everywhere and make a mess, everyone gets mad at you and gameplay is stopped while you clean up. Plus you lose any bonus XP acquired.
- Dude, not funny: If no one finds the joke amusing, either because it was just stupid or it was at an inapropriate time, you lose XP.
Each campaign has a starting ritual. For most of Thursday Night Action Theatre, we had the ritual of...
"Car Jumping through Fire. Two silloutes kung fu fighting on a beam. Snarling wolf Lunging. BOOM! It is thursday, Thursday, THURSDAY ACTION THEATRE. Back after these messages. At that point everyone scrambled about to make sure to get ready. Then I said, "When last we left our intrepid adventurers"... (Where did we leave them?)
My Super Hero Game started with... Guardians Issue 14, "When Vipre Strikes", page X, this gave players the idea of when new story arcs began, what was important, and how far they were through a story arc.
Other people use a literal starting bell or a meditation gong.
Games with theme songs are started when you blast it.
Or "Roll for dodge" with the clatter of dice. If you don't roll for dodge and make it, you take some degree of damage.
You get the idea... Reply to this scroll entry if you have one.
The Shotgun Rule
Once when i was DMing an investigation game everyone was talking loudly and i had just told them that they heard the sound of a shotgun being cocked behind them. It turned out that only the two people closest to me had heard and they quickly dived behind a table, that ended with a lot of brains on the wall ad half the group down. After that the players learned to listen to the DM when he is giving descriptions or risk getting their head blown off but there was still some moments when no-one was listening. To counter this i developed a new rule, if i yelled SHOTGUN then everyone had to dive to the floor in real life or get their XP gainers blasted by a shotgun and damaged so that they could only get half XP for the rest of the session.I ended up editing this rule so i didnt have to shout, instead i bought a plastic airsoft shotgun and cocked it, this was quieter and eliminated table chatter even more.