Thursday, 26 June 2014

GM Tutorial: meta-planning

GM Tutorial: Meta-planning

This should not take long to cover (edit: I was apparently wrong), this part is about managing games, campaigns and sessions from a Meta perspective.
lets cover things step by step based on things that should be covered. 

Number one - idea

You have a game that you want to run, so start with yourself, do you know enough to run it, do you have an idea of what kind of game you want to run, are you starting to put pieces togeather for a sketch of a campaign? if yes then move on to the next step, if no, then work a bit more on it.

Number two - players

Can you manage to bring in players for the game, is there enough people who want to play the game you want to run? if yes, move on, if no, consider putting out some adverts for the game, visit websites and ask if anyone would be interessted, if there is still no result, consider chancing the game to appeal to more people or phrase it in a way that is more "selling". I don't know how to do that for every crowd of people but try to figure out what they are interessted on and try to sell your idea based on their interesst.
example: a player of mine did not like Warhammer 40k, but when I told him that I'll run part of the game like Mass Effect 2, he was sold.

Number three - location

Do you have a location you can play in? online works but I'll not cover that in this post, at least not in any dept. a friend's house, your own, your parents, maybe a local gaming store is willing to let you use a room to play RPs in.
Places I've arranged games in: my parent's house, friend's houses, a local RP store where I signed a contract and were handed a key to use the store's upstairs room during evenings and weekends, various free rooms in pubs and cafes during daytime when there was the least traffic.
So just ask around local venues if they are willing to host your game, some might require you to pay, some might just require people to buy food or drinks from their store and some wont charge a thing, it all depends on who you deal with, just do not assume that anything is free or will stay that way.

Number four - lenght of session

Lenght of the game will come into play, 3-4 hours is the usual, people show up, eat and chat a bit (might consider starting 1 hour earlier to not loose gametime), if the games are too long, consider a small foodbreak or if there are smokers in group, have a "fresh air" / fresh air -break, chat or plan the next action while staying outside talking, some might use this break for various short errands like calls of nature, or just a quick trip to the local shop for a bite or a cup of coffee. Just keep in mind that the longer the game last, the more burned out the GM becomes so by the end of the session, the quality will drop a bit, and the end is important for players as that is what will stick with them the most, if it was boring, they might choose to sit out the next session, if it was really good, they might just delay their vecation trip to the week after :P

Number five - breaks or vecations

Breaks and vecations can damage a game as it will be too long between sessions and the interesst fades, there is little that can be done about that but there are options. The players which does not leave might play a different game like a oneshot or GM-less games like fiasco if the GM is gone. another thing that can be done, at least for the GM, is to plan new campaigns. On that note, it might be a good idea for the GM to take a break from a game if it progresses faster than he can manage to plan, and this is the only way for him to buy himself some time to prepare a proper campaign.
I'm considering doing that with my star wars game once the campaign is done, but I got so much left of the campaign that im not worried for the moment.
Even if the group does not want to play anything but the game that the GM is running, it might be an idea to have a break from it anyway and run a oneshot game, mainly because it is a very good source for the GM to get some new ideas and not get locked down to a small box that is the setting and the system. While other reasons can be to get more time so the GM can get a rest from the planning or have a good idea that he or the groups want to experience but without it being possible in the current game.

Number six - burnouts

Burnouts are common amongs GMs, some more than others. They run a game on regular basis, and when they are locked to one thing, they quickly run out of ideas and simply cannot come up with anything interessting. They can also have a different idea of fun from the players and the GM is just not having fun with it, there might even be RL problems that leaves the GM with little time to plan or just not in the mood. while little can be done with these things, trying to get things started again might be difficult. Given time, the GM is likely to come back with a game, but to speed things up, I can only suggest for the players to try to take over a few sessions or run some simple oneshots, doing something else will help speed up the recovery from burnouts.

I got more to cover about these subjects but do not feel like combing the desert for points so I've covered a few points and hopefully these should trigger more ideas by the reader so they can see more problems or how some of these might relate to themselves and what they want to do in relation to RPs.

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