Tuesday, October 26, 2010

RPG: And on the First Day...

First, don't forget about Machine of Death!

A new section of this site is going to be opening up, and that's RPGs. Like many of you I've been involved with a few RPG groups over the years, mostly in the World of Darkness. Something about it just speaks to me, the way that our world has something terrible just lying underneath the veneer of civilization and if only we could see it we would be afraid to leave our homes at night. It also in my experience has led to the most actual "roleplaying" of any game I've played as the social and moral decisions are just as important as what kind of ammo to bring to a vampire hunt (hint: dragonsbreath). Changeling from the New World of Darkness is probably my favorite, and definitely the one that I had the most fun running.

Ah GMing. Such a power trip and so much fun. I'm always having cool plot ideas pop into my head from things I've read or seen or just the twisted workings of my own mind. And getting people to actually walk around in my world and see the things that I thought of? Amazing.

Unfortunately I have a bit of problem with execution. I'm great at world building, at creating characterful locales and... well, characters. I'm also good at doing individual sessions, creating great short story arcs and have the ability to bullshit my way out of pretty much any situation (thank you liberal arts education!)

What I don't have is long term story planning. If it takes more than three or four sessions to work through I probably haven't thought that far ahead. The beginning and the possible endings are very clear to me but those annoying little steps in between just never seem to make sense in my head. I've occasionally gotten it to work but eventually I drop the ball and the campaign goes downhill.

The other GMs in my gaming group also have their share of strengths and weaknesses, but it was only recently that we came across a solution to it. Why don't we pool our resources to create one super meta-campaign? Filled with pre-made characters and locations, factions and power groups, secrets and mysteries?

Why don't we build a city?

I'll be getting more into our thought processes on this bold experiment and, hopefully within a few months, we'll start seeing the fruition of this project. Until then, thanks for reading.

The above image belongs to White Wolf and is taken without permission from Wallpaperpimper.com.


dinobobicus said...

Having a developed setting, strong characters, and being able to bullshit your way through any scenario is the best place you can be as a GM. You don't NEED to know what the intermediate steps to solving a plot arc are. In fact, it's sometimes better if you have no IDEA how to solve the problem you present your players. It's not your responsibility to solve it after all. Let them run wild, and see what they come up with.

Dave G _ Nplusplus said...

Creating a shared universe can be tricky. When you take a bunch of different storytellers running their own games with supernatural storylines, it becomes very important that everyone's on the same page.
You'll also end up with the players who want to use one character and farm xp from all the games, drastically increasing their power.
Balance can also be an issue if you're running different systems.

It can be great though, as player driven plots can affect the other games too.

My storytelling style was always one where I created a world with things happening in it, and it was for the most part up to the PCs to get involved. When times were good, our players were a very driven bunch with all sorts of their own plots going on.

Max said...

@ dinobobicus: Yeah, that's one of my other problems- I feel like I need to plan everything plotwise which railroads the players. Something I need to work on is creating everything that they need to solve it (i.e. evidence and whatnot) and let them figure it out.

@ Dave: Your style is the one that we are going for. Things are happening in the world and the PCs can involve themselves if they so choose. They have agency so can solve problems or create new ones if they wish. I have the beginnings of an idea at least for how to deal with power creep, but I'll leave that for another post.