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Author Topic: Structuring a campaign without plotting...  (Read 1139 times)

Spike

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Structuring a campaign without plotting...
« Reply #15 on: December 03, 2006, 05:13:13 AM »
Quote from: Reimdall
Oh, man, don't get me started.  I can't tell you ridiculously happy I was when note software came out that I could link to various songs on iTunes.  "You stumble into the possessed bakery," CUE the Zombie Pastry Music.... :D



Y'know, I want to say that if I used music in my Games, I'd find that even more awesome, but I don't think I CAN find it anymore awesome.

It's getting about time to start plugging away at some NPC schedules, methinks...
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Balbinus

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« Reply #16 on: December 04, 2006, 07:20:15 AM »
Quote from: RPGPundit
This is more or less how I run all of my games.  I already consider what the NPCs would end up doing should the PCs do nothing, essentially; and usually try to keep in mind how the NPCs will react in various circumstances of possible player intervention.

The key is that you should have an almost buddhist level of non-attachment to the possible results; the PCs should be able to sincerely alter events by whatever means they choose. But knowing your NPCs motivations, and how the plot will unfold in its "virgin" course, is a pretty vital craft tool to me.

RPGPundit


This is how I often like to run games too, I don't always do this, but generally my scenarios are a bunch of NPCs who have stuff they are going to do and then I add the PCs.  If the PCs do nothing, the NPCs get to do their stuff, but that rarely happens much.

The Forge way overthinks this stuff, all too often I see complex theoretical or mechanical constructs for stuff that is really solved just by learning some decent GMing skills.

A paucity of good GMing advice in game books is a real problem I think, but not one best solved by creating entirely new games that do away with the need for the advice.  There are easier ways to address the issue.

Levi Kornelsen

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« Reply #17 on: December 04, 2006, 07:21:51 AM »
Quote from: Balbinus
A paucity of good GMing advice in game books is a real problem I think, but not one best solved by creating entirely new games that do away with the need for the advice.  There are easier ways to address the issue.


Like, say, giving good advice?

Balbinus

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« Reply #18 on: December 04, 2006, 07:29:47 AM »
Quote from: Levi Kornelsen
Like, say, giving good advice?


Actually, yes, that was what I was thinking of.

I'm not sure why most rpgs have such dismal GM advice, I think possibly because people just regurgitate what they saw in the last book they looked at without thinking about it much.

GM advice sections often seem to be an afterthought, when in fact they are critical, most rpgs I see have either no useful GM advice at all or advice that is downright counterproductive.

CoC ironically I see as having rather good GM advice, but then the published scenarios follow none of it and create a model of how to play the game that doesn't really work and doesn't much reflect what the core book says.

Spike

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« Reply #19 on: December 04, 2006, 11:07:43 AM »
There lies another trouble with GM Advice sections. After the first couple of games, the GM is likely to stop reading advice sections in his newer books.

Or am I the only lazy git? Until I started reviewing I handn't read an advice section since...oh...88.
For you the day you found a minor error in a Post by Spike and forced him to admit it, it was the greatest day of your internet life.  For me it was... Tuesday.

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Balbinus

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« Reply #20 on: December 04, 2006, 11:12:00 AM »
Quote from: Spike
There lies another trouble with GM Advice sections. After the first couple of games, the GM is likely to stop reading advice sections in his newer books.

Or am I the only lazy git? Until I started reviewing I handn't read an advice section since...oh...88.


I only read them if the game is quite specific in tone or if I am really struggling to work out what the hell to do.

Hollow Earth Expedition I read it because it's a very specific genre, Decipher's LotR and the d20 CoC I read because people told me they were exceptionally good (which they were to be fair), Transhuman Space I tried to read because I couldn't work out how to run the game but it turned out there was no useful advice.  Apparently a book on how to run the game is coming out shortly as a pdf, and not before time.

Spike

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« Reply #21 on: December 04, 2006, 12:25:51 PM »
Quote from: Balbinus
I only read them if the game is quite specific in tone or if I am really struggling to work out what the hell to do.

Hollow Earth Expedition I read it because it's a very specific genre, Decipher's LotR and the d20 CoC I read because people told me they were exceptionally good (which they were to be fair), Transhuman Space I tried to read because I couldn't work out how to run the game but it turned out there was no useful advice.  Apparently a book on how to run the game is coming out shortly as a pdf, and not before time.



Well, we are moving slightly off topic, but hey, I don't mind much as long as it's good stuff...

But I think I've seen some rather clever stuff regarding GM advice over the years, slowly coalescing into a unified 'theory' of how to present it... that is: Don't write your advice into a long chapter by itself, scatter snipits of 'how to use this' wherever relavent.  While many people will skip chapters that are boring or 'unimportant'... like advice, they generally read the character creation chapter many times, the rules chapter several times, and the setting chapters whenever they want to use them.... that is where the advice should be then. Make it relavent to what is going on in the chapter.

I can't say I've seen a book done entirely like this, but I have seen a few more deliberate attempts to put advice throughout the book.
For you the day you found a minor error in a Post by Spike and forced him to admit it, it was the greatest day of your internet life.  For me it was... Tuesday.

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Blackleaf

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« Reply #22 on: December 04, 2006, 01:15:16 PM »
I found a lot of GM advice sections seemed a bit like the regurgitated "what is roleplaying..." sections.  If you'd played any RPGs before they contained very little new info, and you'd probably skip over them. More than just good GM'ing advice, games would benefit from more GM'ing *this game* advice.  How do you use the tools provided in that specific book to create an evening's game that's tons of fun for everyone at the table?

Blackleaf

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« Reply #23 on: December 04, 2006, 01:17:58 PM »
Quote
But I think I've seen some rather clever stuff regarding GM advice over the years, slowly coalescing into a unified 'theory' of how to present it... that is: Don't write your advice into a long chapter by itself, scatter snipits of 'how to use this' wherever relavent. While many people will skip chapters that are boring or 'unimportant'... like advice, they generally read the character creation chapter many times, the rules chapter several times, and the setting chapters whenever they want to use them.... that is where the advice should be then. Make it relavent to what is going on in the chapter.

I can't say I've seen a book done entirely like this, but I have seen a few more deliberate attempts to put advice throughout the book.


Heh.  1st Ed. AD&D was written a bit like this... or maybe more like this: Don't write your advice into a long chapter by itself, scatter snipits of 'how to use this' wherever relavent. :D

Spike

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« Reply #24 on: December 04, 2006, 01:51:30 PM »
Well, to be honest, most of the DMG seemed to be one big Advice chapter, with scattered rules.  Back in those days, the only use my DMG got was the To Hit tables and the magic items chapter.  


Not that there is anything wrong with using the book for violence and loot!
For you the day you found a minor error in a Post by Spike and forced him to admit it, it was the greatest day of your internet life.  For me it was... Tuesday.

For the curious: Apparently, in person, I sound exactly like the Youtube Character The Nostalgia Critic.   I have no words.

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