Game Mastering
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August 12, 2013, 10:02 pm

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The Kingmakers: Final Update/Autopsy


A final update on what happened to Kingmakers.

Kingmakers has not had a session for almost three months. I personally find it very hard to gather the motivation to GM for the campaign, and none of my players have been vocal about playing.

That said, I'm going to outline the aspects that I feel contributed to this.

My contributions:

  • Care needs to be taken to make sure that when characters are created, that they can operate within the confines of the campaign- and that involves any twists that may change the fundamentals of the campaign. Telling the players that they're going to be playing high stakes lawyers and then dumping them on a desert island is design whiplash, and it's something I've done to my players a few times. This applies to any campaign, but GURPS is especially vulnerable to this given the front-loaded nature of character generation in that system.
  • If the players are incapable of working together during character creation to reduce possible problem points, it's going to fall to the GM to say no to elements that will cause problems. I've had this issue twice- first during CRTF with the PC Kate, and more recently with the PC Bretia who had a phobia of magic with a mage in the party.
  • Playing with ~8 PCs was a mistake.
  • Some of my own personal biases need to be made more clear to players before they get stumbled on during play. These include prejudices against bards, demihuman races, Japanese mythology and feline humanoids.
  • I should not typecast player characters. In particular, nobody (myself and other players) took one PC seriously in-character, ever.
  • Twice weekly sessions were likely too frequent.
  • If the players are struggling to keep up with the intrigue going on, introducing an adversarial backstabbing PC is only going to make them incapable of doing anything at all.

Their Contributions:

  • Most players had trouble keeping up with the events and people of the campaign- something that I attribute to lack of attention and refusal from everyone to take notes.
  • I have some outright atrocious wallflowers who are incapable of playing characters who are self-motivated to do anything.
  • My players do not work together as a team, and their coordination is nonexistent.
  • The ever present time-zones and real life have also contributed.

That said, I can barely recall the details of what actually happened as far as the most recent campaign events, so unfortunately I won't be going into the actual in-game events. I may go through and clean up the last few subs that didn't make it onto the larger organizational list, but I believe that's all I'll be doing until I start producing either more creative content or start a new campaign.

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Comments ( 9 )
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Voted Shadoweagle
August 10, 2013, 20:22
A moment of silence for our fallen brother.

Sad to hear the game fizzled, Ted; but cudos for analysing the issues - we live and learn!

Best of luck for future endeavours, and it would be great to see some more creative content from you pop up here!
Voted Scrasamax
August 10, 2013, 22:21
Its not very often you get to read a gane post mortem. Interesting lessons, and that saying no to players during character creation is hard to do. I used to do it when I could talk to my players face to face but not much if ever since then.
August 10, 2013, 22:30
I was going to do a post mortem for CRTF originally, but given how quickly my various posts relating to it stopped relative to how long it went, it never happened.

I documented much more of KM, even with the break towards the end. It deserved it.
Voted Strolen
August 11, 2013, 8:21
I like the debrief too. A shame but we have all had campaigns where this has happened. Either we are wanting something shiny or the players fade to the point where you don't have the background of experience with the running game that would allow replacements.

Are you going to try and do maybe one more session with the players to do an interactive type overview and finish up the plots or just leave it?
August 11, 2013, 10:20
Going to leave it. Everyone seems to be on the same page about lacking the oomph to get back into it.
Voted Gossamer
August 11, 2013, 8:40
I was afraid of something like this when you hadn't posted in a while. That really sucks to hear, but it also sounds like you didn't enjoy it that much, so maybe it's for the better then. If you start over with better players, I'd love to read about it.

As for the sub, this is very solid advice.
Voted Dossta
August 11, 2013, 22:46
It's always fascinating to dissect a campaign once it's over. Very glad you put up this post-mortem so that the rest of us could benefit from your experience. For your next campaign, I'd check out something called a "group template", popularized by the Fear the Boot podcast. It's a tool for building a cohesive group from the get-go, hopefully avoiding a lot of the issues that came up here.
August 12, 2013, 22:02
Update: My ever so helpful brother pointed out a grammar mistake.
Voted valadaar
August 22, 2013, 12:22
A great rundown. Sorry for your campaign.
Voted Dozus
February 5, 2014, 14:13
Sorry to hear Kingmakers go. But it is good to be so self-reflective on what happened.


Random Idea Seed View All Idea Seeds

       By: StrangeLands

During a public holiday in the small town of Wyrmbersch, the Mayor is accidentally killed by a statue which falls from the roof of the Town Hall. As shocked spectators crowd around the body, they discover that the Mayor, at the moment of death, shape-shifted into a squat, stunted humanoid figure, it's grey skin dominated by bony ridges and lumps. How long was the Mayor an imposter? And who else in the town isn't what they seem to be?

Ideas  ( Plots ) | December 30, 2003 | View | UpVote 2xp

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