New Topic Ideas

Phil and Senda answer your questions about RPGs from two different perspectives — with some panda silliness!
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GMGERRYMANDER
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Re: New Topic Ideas

Post by GMGERRYMANDER »

Emmett, its OK to break immersion if it makes the game fun and makes people feel more included.

It's not always easy to read a table, especially with quieter gamers. Sometimes you have to ask questions.

You could also try some other methods, like a Character Questionnaire for everyone to fill out. (That will give you nice written record of what people want and how they envision their character. IT will also allow the quieter players to express their ideas without fear of being contracdicted by the more dynamic players.)
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Emmett
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Re: New Topic Ideas

Post by Emmett »

Thanks Mr. Mander, I usually ask for players impressions after a session and we tend to run campaign games so there have been plenty of conversations about how the players see their characters. The questionnaire might be useful for one shots and con games where there isn't that time.

I try to do a sweep every other turn to get the mood of each player. Do they look engaged, have they contributed to the conversation? Sometimes when things get intense I forget and that can mean a player could be dropping their engagement for four turns, just doing a reflexive routine. I know I've realized I forgot to consciously check and one of the players is looking off into space not really in on the action. It's longer than I'd like.
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Emmett
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Re: New Topic Ideas

Post by Emmett »

Ok, this is more of a proto-question because I'm not sure how to ask it.

In a lot of the games I run, I rely on the "three captains" (from the Matrix) idea of challenging players. You could look at this as a watered down form of niche protection where everyone has their own role to play. That is except for the idea that I try to only vaguely make each task tilted toward any particular skill set. The other difference from normal niche protection is that different tasks have to be performed at the same time.

The simplest example of this is, four PCs, four opponents, usually with the idea that if one of the opponents was left unattended they could do something bad, like activate the bomb that will blow up the city.

A more complicated one is when you have a door that needs to be unlocked, a trap that's going to flood the room and needs to be disabled and an enemy that needs to be occupied.

Now there's a twist on this idea, you could have a single challenge where everyone needs to perform a different action in the right sequence to get an outcome. I don't have a good example of that off the top of my head.

That's not a question though. In the end I'd like to ask something like "How can I do more of this?" or "What are different ways of doing this?" except I don't know what "this" is. Maybe theres a term for it? I know that I can't be the only one who tries to do this in games.
Last edited by Emmett on Wed Sep 25, 2019 11:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
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GMGERRYMANDER
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Re: New Topic Ideas

Post by GMGERRYMANDER »

Emmett wrote: Sat Aug 31, 2019 1:42 pm Thanks Mr. Mander, I usually ask for players impressions after a session and we tend to run campaign games so there have been plenty of conversations about how the players see their characters. The questionnaire might be useful for one shots and con games where there isn't that time.

I try to do a sweep every other turn to get the mood of each player. Do they look engaged, have they contributed to the conversation? Sometimes when things get intense I forget and that can mean a player could be dropping their engagement for four turns, just doing a reflexive routine. I know I've realized I forgot to consciously check and one of the players is looking off into space not really in on the action. It's longer than I'd like.
Just GMGerrymander. (Mander isn't my last name. Gerrymandering is a word though. LOL)
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Emmett
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Re: New Topic Ideas

Post by Emmett »

Sorry, I was being a little silly. Yes I know what Gerrymandering is.
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GMGERRYMANDER
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Re: New Topic Ideas

Post by GMGERRYMANDER »

That's OK.

I get the "Mr. Mander" thing a lot because, up until this year,. not a lot of people remembered what Gerrymandering is.

And my first name is Jerry (with a J though).
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zircher
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Re: New Topic Ideas

Post by zircher »

Given that Senda and Phil are also game designer types, if you had your pick of an old school/obscure game to work on and rewrite/revive, which one(s) would you choose and why?
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GMGERRYMANDER
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Re: New Topic Ideas

Post by GMGERRYMANDER »

Methinks we might perhaps have a spammer.
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Jon
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Re: New Topic Ideas

Post by Jon »

How do you handle broaching the topic of planning the next campaign while the current campaign is still running? I've seen this take the wind out of the sails of the game that's running, particularly if the change involves a switch in GM or system.
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GMGERRYMANDER
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Re: New Topic Ideas

Post by GMGERRYMANDER »

Genre mechanic foibles.

I have played in several games and run a bunch of games where the players never tacklesd the genre mechanics because of problems.

For example, a lot of Mecha games (like Battletech, Mekton, and Heavy Gear) have 80s ish rules that end up making it a "be a mech pilot or be ANYTHING else, but if you try to be both, you will fail" mechanic. Mostly because if you don't spend all of your advancement in mecha piloting (say, for example, you wanted to play the mechanic of the fiesty reporter or annoying pop star) you will be horribly outmathed by even the simplest of enemies in a mech. I've had this happen as a GM where the players create really well balanced and interesting characters in the game universe, but none of them take any mech skills because to do so would take all of their advancement points . So, mecha become something of a backdrop.

Right now, I am playing in a monthly 7-9 player Rippers campaign and we are 12 advancements in and nobody is taking any Rippertech because the rules: 1) require a skill to even acquire the Rippertech and skill points are a valuable commodity in Savage Worlds and 2) the very possible penalties for taking Rippertech completely outweigh the minor convenience. (Oh, I can see in the dark but take a penalty on all social interactions and my Reason might drop by a full die type...hmmm)

Many cyber punk games have this problem as well, its why I don't take cyberwear in Phil's Sprawl game.

There are lots of games where there is something inherent to the genre that would make sense in the game, but the mechanics make it costly or penalizing to actually take the trappings.

So how, as a GM and player, do you deal with this problem? (As a Gm, I normally just re-write the rules, but as a player, I just avoid the badly written genre trappings)
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