Login or register. (You can now login/register with your social networks.)

Articles
Rules and Advice
Gaming - In General
4.07
7 Votes

29xp


Hits: 7798
Comments: 9
Ideas: 0
Rating: 4.0714
Condition: Normal
ID: 1269

Submitted:

Updated:
November 17, 2006, 5:36 pm

Vote Hall of Honour

You must be a member to use HoH votes.
Author Status

Options


Print Friendly and PDF

MoonHunter's Top Tips for 2005

By:

I am always giving advice to various gamers on various game forums. I am constantly giving the same advice over and over again (cut/ paste repeat). Once a year I think about the advice and put together The List.

Tops tips for 2005
#1) RPGs are both a game and a story, they are a game that tells a story. They do not tell the GM’ss story, nor a single PC’s story, but they tell the group’s story as they deal with the dramatic conflicts before them. It is a story that no one in the troupe controls, as it is a combination of the random game aspects AND the inputs of every member of the group.
You need to balance the story telling aspect with the game aspect.

#2) There are two kinds of scenarios, active and reactive. Reactive scenarios are when X happens and the PC’s respond. Active scenarios occur when the PCs have a goal they want to achieve and must take steps to achieve it. Reactive scenarios are the tool of last resort for most GMs and common in campaigns where the players are not willing to invest time and effort into the game or their characters. You get as much out of a game as you put into it. Characters should have their own goals and needs, determined from the begining (as well as picking up a few as the campaign plods on). Those should drive your campaign, not reactive scenarios that no player really cares about.

This is the Key Tip for 2005. Everything else derives from it
#3) Cue Drumroll
“If you have any doubts and let it into your game, you will have to deal with the inevitable consequences.”
If you have any questions or doubts about a character (or other game element), don’t let it in. It will only lead to heart ache later.

#4 (3b) A character may be perfectly legal, but not be suitable for the campaign or the troupe of characters currently in play.
The character’s mechanics/ power level must be comparable to the rest of the groups. The character’s conception and history must fit both the campaign world, the campaign being run, and the GM’s style of play.

#5 (3c)  Each character must fits into the world, and with the rest of the characters, before you let it in the game.
The character’s conception and history must fit the campaign being run. The character’s role in the group should be defined and have little overlap with the rest of the characters. The character should have ties to the rest of the group and the world around it. Once a character is in play, it is really hard to fix these mistakes. Also by doing a little work ahead of time to make the character fit, you will have fewer problems than if you didn’t.

#6 (3d) Check out the game mechanics, many innocent combinations create synergetic effects beyond what you might expect.
Look at what the character can do, singularly and in combination. This should include skills, powers, and abilities. Too many story telling GMs, or GMs that emphasize the story aspect, ignore the game mechanics of the character in favor of its story. Yet certain combinations create huge effects that have scaled far beyond what you as the GM want in the game. And in situations when you will be using the mechanics, these character effects will dominate your scene.

#7 (3e) Check out the game mechanics so the character can actually do what its conception says it can.
Here comes the story. I had friends who had there wonderful conceptions, but they required HUGE number of creation points or that were purchased poorly and were uneffective. (A character that was a jack of many trades with no skills at all, just a modifier to any die roll… or a courtly character without courtly contacts or skills.) Some people want to be a master surgon, yet don’t buy enough medical skill to accomlish anything better than first aid.  They want to be friends with everyone in high places, but did not purchase contact and any social skills. People need to remember that this is a game, that they are playing… so must choose wisely their abilities and backgrounds carefully.

#8 (3f) Pay attention to the characters as play advances, experience can make the character unrecognizable.
Character creation does not stop once the game begins. It is an ongoing process. Characters will take on new skills and abilities through character advancements.  Problems you as the GM thought you dodged at character creation will come back to haunt you in the experience phase. The GM needs to carefully monitor and approve what the character takes with experience/ advancement and make sure it fits the campaign and style of game.

#8.5 (3Fb) Related to above, give your character rewards in ways other than “power”. Magic tchotchkes and interesting crunchy bits are always fun, but as the power level of the characters advances, so does the power level of the opposition. It creates an “arms race” where bigger threats are created to match their items, and they must have more powerful items to meet the next threat. Characters could be given contacts, or lands they are responsible for, or awards of honor (giving the characters name recognition). This keeps the “arms race” in the campaign down, ties the character to the world, and gives the characters new avenues of adventure.

#9 Think carefully about the elements you add to your world. What might seem to be a “cool” or “neat” thing to add to your game setting, might be unbalanced in the long run. Consider what people are going to do with the elements (and the powers/ effects they bring) to the setting. Remember, if it exists in the world, the players are going to get access to it eventually. So never put anything in your world you don’t want used against you.

#10 Remember: If you let it in your game, you get what you deserve. It needs to be said. When in doubt, keep it out.



Additional Ideas (0)

Please register to add an idea. It only takes a moment.

Suggested Submissions


Join Now!!



Gain the ability to:
Vote and add your ideas to submissions.
Upvote and give XP to useful comments.
Work on submissions in private or flag them for assistance.
Earn XP and gain levels that give you more site abilities.
Join a Guild in the forums or complete a Quest and level-up your experience.
Comments ( 9 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

Ancient Gamer
October 30, 2005, 10:22
0xp
MoonHunter wrote:
#2) There are two kinds of scenarios, active and reactive. Reactive scenarios are when X happens and the PC's respond. Active scenarios occur when the PCs have a goal they want to achieve and must take steps to achieve it. Reactive scenarios are the tool of last resort for most GMs and common in campaigns where the players are not willing to invest time and effort into the game or their characters. You get as much out of a game as you put into it. Characters should have their own goals and needs, determined from the begining (as well as picking up a few as the campaign plods on). Those should drive your campaign, not reactive scenarios that no player really cares about.


I agree with this but I feel there are exceptions. The forum game I am GMing right now use a reactive GM style to set the scene for an entire campaign. I find it handy as long as it is replaced with active gameplay later on. The characters motives should be central, but the main plot also deserves some time on air.

In short: Sometimes reactive gameplay can be used for storytelling purposes as long as it is replaced with active gameplay later on. I think reactive gaming has a purpose and is a tool no GM should ignore. Every GM should also be aware that it needs to be applied carefully.
_________________
MoonHunter
October 30, 2005, 10:23
0xp
If there weren't exceptions it would not be a good rule.

No really, I mean that.

But given your response, I should rework that one. It does come across a bit stronger than it should.

Though in my own defense, I tend to sculpt the main story arc for my campaign to the characters. While it is not their initial motivations and personal needs... it is something they "respond to".
Voted Ancient Gamer
November 7, 2005, 2:26
0xp
Game Mastering 101 Curriculum.
Voted Zylithan
November 8, 2005, 14:07
0xp
Good advice for any starting GM.
Voted KendraHeart
November 11, 2005, 23:11
0xp
These are good, but 2004 and 2003 were better.
Voted Mourngrymn
November 15, 2005, 7:59
0xp
Anyone not reading or voting on these submissions from Moon just doesn't want to be a good gamer/ GM. These help even the most skilled GM/ gamers. For those who have been doing it for so long, 22 years for me, we forget a lot of stuff we learned. There are a few with photographic memories, like moon here, but they are the exception.

To expand on rule 8.5 about power levels. One rule of thumb I have always used and other GM's I game with use is this. If the PC's have access to it. Their opposition had it first. Their enemies always have access to the same amount of magic, weapons, and materials that the PC's do. There should never be a huge advantage over one or the other groups. It should be down to skill and role-playing that allows the PC's to overcome adversity. At least in my book that is.

I think reading this as well as his tips for better submissions should be a requirement for the citadel. But that is just me. Reading and speaking with moon makes you think, makes you remember what it is like to be a good gamer/ GM.

Moon, you complete me.
Voted Michael Jotne Slayer
December 22, 2005, 3:42
0xp
Splendid. A "pin to the wall post" like the others.
Voted Wulfhere
November 18, 2006, 11:26
0xp
More good, solid tips that GMs would be wise to remember.

In my time as a GM, the items and magic that are most often underestimated are those that give information or facilitate movement. It's easy to see how a potent combat item will impact the game, where an item that gives broad powers of detection or overcomes a common obstacle may actually have a broader impact.
Voted valadaar
March 19, 2014, 11:08
0xp
A great set of tips.

I would have avoided the messy numbering and stuck with sequential numbers.



Random Idea Seed View All Idea Seeds

Skinturner Secret Agent

       By: rickster

A shape-shifter of some sort has taken up a post at the War College of an enemy realm, where he secretly picks off only the most promising officer cadets, arranging bizarre accidents that gradually debase the leadership of the hostile army. In the long run, this will improve his nation's chances when the inevitable conflict comes.
As a shape-shifter he can impersonate superiors and peers alike and send the target candidate to the cleverly-prepared site of his (or her?) execution. As long as he is successful, no-one will ever know about the deception--even necromancy will only implicate the one impersonated...

Ideas  ( Plots ) | January 26, 2014 | View | UpVote 5xp


Creative Commons License
Individual submissions, unless otherwise noted by the author, are licensed under the
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License
and requires a link back to the original.

We would love it if you left a comment when you use an idea!
PayPal
Powered by Lockmor 4.1 with Codeigniter | Copyright © 2013 Strolen's Citadel
A Role Player's Creative Workshop.
Read. Post. Play.
Optimized for anything except IE.
0.0437