Thursday, October 1, 2009

Wannabe DM/GM (Part 1)

Alright I'm considering a return to GM/DMing. I haven't run a game since I was a kid, though over the past nine years I've had extensive experience as a player and a PhDs worth of BSing about it with some pretty bright gamers. I've been to conventions and seen some very good GMs and I'm pretty confident that I could run a basic game decently. I've always had the ability to bullshit and speak extemporaneously about most anything so I'm thinking I'll be more the storyteller GM but I think I've picked up some good ideas from other GM/DMs as well as reading up a little.

My take on it is that as the game master your in charge of the fun. Your the host in whatever system and setting you and your party are going to be experiencing together. Of course that is obvious right? But think about it for a second. You are the "host" your in charge of everyone's (including your own) fun. You set the stage, your players fulfill the role of the actors ... they bring life to the play. But you have to make sure the theater is booked, all the props are in order, the orchestra is in tune, etc.

There are so many pitfalls for the GM one can be a railroader or be Monty Hall and make players hate your game. One can over plan and over think and bore the party with too much detail ... conversely if your game is too sparse you run the risk of not engaging your players imaginations. You can not be prepared at all and just "wing it" ... which might work for awhile but will probably ultimately lose steam and result in bored participants and/or your game. But you can go the other way and over prepare put inordinate amounts of time into your game which when the party goes left and not right and many hours of work is shot ... I would think could be highly frustrating. SO ....

What is one to do? I think I know about many of the major pitfalls and what a well run game looks and feels like. Yet there is no way for me to guarantee that my experience won't be less than what I hope it can be. So many variables go into creating a game. A huge part of it is running the right game for your party. Especially if you aren't very well acquainted with them and don't have the ability to push them into places they haven't been before.  My situation will be gaming with people I don't know very well, tip toeing around feelings and learning personalities, etc. etc. something that many DM/GMs don't have to consider as they game with lifelong friends.

Right now I'm thinking of starting off with a modified version of the Savage Worlds intro pulp game. The system is clean and straight forward. There is some grid based combat and a decent amount of crunch in the rules and the characters. Yet the rules aren't a massive tome and player and GM prep is somewhat low.

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