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Saturday, May 30th, 2009
12:13a - GMing off the beaten path
Some GMs are very good at improv. They begin a session (or entire campaign) with only a vague idea of what's going to happen, then just make shit up as they go along. I've seen GMs that can do this so well you'd swear they were running a professionally published module. I've also seen GMs that try to do this and fail miserably.

There are also GMs that work better when they plan things out. Maybe not every twist and turn of the story, but they have a pretty good idea of the beginning, middle and end of the adventure.

Now, I can improv when needed, and I wouldn't say I'm horrible at it, but I much prefer to have some idea of where the story is going before hand.

The point: I have a player that, when he smells a plot hook, he immediately takes evasive action to avoid it. I've gamed with him for over ten years and I'm still not certain if this is a conscious thing, or if he views the game world as so flexible he just decides to go wherever he feels like going that session. It is next to impossible to plan out anything, or come up with a story in advance, because when game time rolls around I end up having to spend half the session doing what feels like herding cats.

Like I said, I can improv, but I'd really like to find some middle ground between what I'm doing now, and being able to craft a coherent adventure prior to running it.

Any thoughts? Have any of you dealt with this sort of thing before?

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11:25p - Best of Both Worlds, or Worlds Collide...
I was recently struck by a really good idea regarding my D&D game.

You see, one of my minor problems with my 4e game is that I like the basic PoL framework of the 'default' setting, but I also like Eberron. Eberron comes out for 4e next month (lucky for me, 4 days before Father's Day, so I should might left every clue that that was what I really, really wanted, and dang it, I have enough ties I never wear, so I will most likely get it.

But I'm enjoying my current game too, so I don't want to just dump that one and go right into Eberron. Plus, I wish to give the new guy a bit more time with the rules before jumping into a more complex setting.

And then, I'm reading my new copy1 of Manual of the Planes the other day, and it hits me... there are, after all, multiple planes, and even multiple worlds within those planes. Why not run both?

A few more days later, and I'm in the car driving, listening to the 'hard rock' station2 and some song comes on with part of the chorus having the line, "this is what it's like when worlds collide" and BANG! I get another idea, right in line with the first one. What if there were these four characters on the PoL world, and on Eberron, there were the same 4 people, except not quite, because they were raised different, and thus were the same race (or close, in the case of half-______ races being a close option), same name, but different class, alignment, etc. And that thanks to a warring pair of Planeshifters, these two 'copies' of the same people were vital to their multi-dimensional war efforts.

Thus allowing me to run the PoL game through level 4, then do Eberron (with same yet different characters) for levels 5-8, then PoL for 9-10, Eberron for 11-12, then a crossover game (via Sigil) with a mix and match option of the 8 characters for levels 13-20-ish. Each time we 'changed worlds' we'd advance those character to the level we left off on, make up some back story of what they had been doing in the meantime, then get on with the game. 2 sets of characters, no levels actually skipped, and two settings in one game. Well, 3 if you count the Planes/Sigil as well.

Now I really, really can't wait for June 16th/21st.


1 Purchased before I lost my job.
2 More like dumb fucking college jock rock, but hey, it comes in clear. And at least plays some older Metallica here and there.

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