September 22nd, 2007


GM Explaining The Campaign

A few posts back, Tashiro mentioned he's never seen a GM explain what the campaign will be about ahead of time, as opposed to detailing the setting. I figured I'd post one of my own. I could just copy+paste a fairly recent Orpheus email, but since I have to do this at some point for the Vampire game that I'll be starting up when Orpheus ends, I'm going to go ahead and write one up now. This is what I'll be emailing my players in a few months:

Movement Not Forward - a chronicle for Vampire the Requiem
(Oh yeah, artsy title here we go!)

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And that's pretty much how I ramble on at the start of any new campaign.
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Voodoo Dolly
  • tashiro

My Earlier Posts

Well, yeah, I noticed I got a lot of comments on my earlier posts, and I need to actually thank people for their insights and views. While my personal views on a number of things don't really match with a number of the people in this group, I didn't expect them to.  The reason I had made the posts I have was to actually get alternate views on things (outside of my gaming group), and to follow the discussions and learn.

I'm actually looking into picking up a few Indie RPGs over the next month or two, in the hopes of returning to an old RPG I'd worked on for almost a decade, then put aside due to the headaches and disappointments connected to it.  A comment someone had given me in John Wick's LJ had got me thinking about changing my view on how an RPG system 'should work', and I'm trying to expand my horizons and look at things from a different perspective.  And the best place to get those perspectives, I think, are here.

Will this change how I roleplay?  I don't know.  I'm actually looking at InSpectres as my first real shot into a game system which runs counter to what I'm used to.  (The game my company published for a friend is more in-line with your typical RPG, so while it is an indie game, it doesn't, I think, feel like an indie game).  I'm waiting for John Wick to release Houses of the Blooded, because the way he's described the setting and the mechanics is completely outside of my personal experience, and I get headaches thinking about it.  Which just makes me more curious as to how it will look in action -- I've a feeling it could be very cool.  Just completely outside of my experience.

So, where does this get me?
First, I revamped the poison rules for the current RPG project.  I wrote up a 'design your own poison' system, set out how poisons work, and allowed for people to actually, possibly, resist even the most lethal poisons that are out there.  Some of them are slim-change type of situations, but others are a 'tough it out for a few weeks' sort of things.  Since the game setting allows (built into the mechanics) some opportunities for second chances, and the fact some mystical and religious orders can give someone a chance to try to come back from a fatal effect (if done within a time limit, usually of minutes), poisons are a serious threat, but aren't necessarily a 'character dies immediately' sort of thing.  Diseases got an overhaul too.

Second, it has me thinking about how I run my campaigns, and how the GMs I am accustomed to run theirs.  We only have three real GMs beside me in the local community that I actually deal with -- one is my roomie, and while he does like his epic sagas, I often feel that the characters really have no... impact... on the setting or the campaign.  His Shadowrun setting was where I did the Renraku run with the group, but even with the rather... explosive... exit from the archology, the end result was status-quo.  His Exalted campaign, I felt, was much the same way.  The NPCs had stats of 'err, whatever', which meant our pass/fail on anything we did was really up in the air.

My wife's GMing style I've not seen enough of to get a firm grasp on it.  She's got potential, I enjoyed her 7th Sea campaign a lot.  The fact she was running adventures right out of the book was fine, since she was learning (and I hadn't read them, since I wanted her to GM, and like surprises).  I think I'd like to sit down and have her GM more often, just so I can see things from a fresh perspective.  She doesn't have the 20 years of baggage I've got when it comes to GMing.

The third GM, I have a love-hate relationship with.  He is an amazing Call of Cthulhu GM (mind you, I was the only survivor who escaped unscathed...), but his TORG GMing style did nothing but tick me off.  (You follow the plot.  Period.  You follow the pacing.  Period.  You follow the script.  Period.)  I've a feeling this is the guy who has now made me instinctively dislike the idea of 'plot over setting' as a way to GM.

So, we'll see how this goes.  I'm starting with InSpectres, I'll be trying out a few other RPGs (and really, I want to GM Nobilis.  But nobody else wants me to...), and I'll see how my play/GM style meshes with a few alternate styles of RPGs.

Honestly, I don't think anyone I've seen here is wrong in their style of play.  I just don't think it meshes with mine.  Fair enough, I'm curious enough to learn.
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    contemplative contemplative

How the Other Half Lives

Hey Guys,

I just started a new campaign and could use some ideas for adventures.

The game is D&D, and the campaign is set in the Forgotten Realms. The story thus far is pretty typical: a Dark Lord emerges in the north, assembles an army of orcs, giants, and other nasties, which sweeps down out of the mountains to crush and subjugate everything in its path. The twist is that the PCs are working for the Dark Lord, rather than trying to stop him. They're his elite evil henchmen, or at least they will be once they find him. He's been sending them dreams which have led them to the Silver Marches, a stretch of barely-settled territory in the shadow of the Spine of the World mountains, where orcs, giants, and worse things regularly emerge to pillage and raid the few cities and settlements in the area.

This coming Monday will be our second session. They've just reached the southernmost outpost of the Dark Lord. They know nothing about him at this point, only that someone or something in the outpost will offer them power and riches in return for their service. This person is not the Dark Lord, but his mouthpiece (think the Mouth of Sauron from Return of the King). The PCs will be given their first mission from this mouthpiece: journey to the isolated valley of Hartsvale, which is inhabited by a race of giant-blooded humans, and convince their king to join forces with the Dark Lord. The PCs will be given a cursed magic item of some sort to use on the king in case he resists conventional negotiation/threats/etc. I'm thinking of throwing in a brother-in-law to the king who desires power and is willing to support the Dark Lord if the PCs help him gain power.

...and that's pretty much all I've got so far.

I would really appreciate any ideas you guys might have for adventures to send these villains on. They party is comprised of fairly standard D&D races; since they can pass among the enemy with little to no questions asked, I figure that the Dark Lord will use them as his special agents, taking out powerful Good Guys, stealing evil artifacts, etc. to support the war effort.

Thanks in advance!

Who Runs What and How?

(I had a strong urge to name this post Who's House? Runs House! but decided it didn't really fit.)

In the group(s) you play with, how do you decide who runs what? Do you have the same GM who's been running the same game for a decade? Do you have the same GM who's been running different games for a decade and you just play what he wants to run? Do different people pitch new games? Do the players all vote on a new game?
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