Thursday, May 17, 2012

Odd Adjustments And Ruminations...

I looked at my hours for last week at the store, and they totaled less than 50 hours there while the store was open. Looking at this week's schedule, I may very well hit the same low point. As such, I am having to adjust my mindset to not having to be at the store as much as in the past few years. The extra time during the last few weeks have been taken up with just relaxing and getting my mind used to having "free time" again. I haven't actually cooked at home yet, but that's coming closer to being a reality as I am having a hankering for some of my Teriaki-Honey Burgers.

On the gaming front, not much has happened this week. I skimmed through a new book (Chaosium's Basic Role-Playing) and have been cogitating thoughts on it. I like it... but it's very bland and generic... with no real "oomph" to it to make me want to try it out for much more than a one-shot.

I am very much missing running an actual "comic-book" game, but from a narrative sense rather than a mechanical. I miss the 3rd/4th edition Champions games of old, and have tried to recreate them twice in the last twelve years using the 5th and 6th editions of the HERO System. Alas, those aborted campaigns haven't had the narrative flow the previous games did. Part of it is the changes to the system, another part is the changes to the gaming groups in terms of people, and, of course, the largest part are changes in how I run games.

I have pretty much been a "build-a-skeletal-framework-and-wing-the-game-from-there" sort of game master for the last 25 years or so. Sure, I did prepwork behind the scenes so I always knew who the NPCs were, what they were doing, and why they were doing it, but once the games came in contact with the players, all bets were off, and I knew that going in. Anymore, I've not had the time to do the prepwork to run solid games, and it has shown. My games have been so bad lately, it has almost killed my love of running them. I mean, what's the point of doing it if they are going to suck?

...And yet, I still have a desire to run one... A good one... and I know I still have it in me to do so. It's just a matter of coaxing it back out... and being more structured in how I plan things... and finding/writing a game system that fits my current life needs...

That won't be difficult at all... =P

-- GopherDave


  1. I must say that I have really been jonesing for a really well done and well run Superhero game. And it seems that with age I have mellowed and want more than just slam bang action. I want more character driven storylines, etc. I remember fondly some of the early Champs 3rd & 4th ed games at the Foreign Languages building. A lot depends on the players. Chicago, London, Washington, some very memorable games back then.\

  2. You and I have a very similar outlook toward running games my good sir.

    I tend to do the prepwork long before a game is run and that helps a great deal to get a handle on the various elements involved. In my current Champions game (4th Edition of course), the NPC heroes, villains and everyday folk are all from previous campaigns that none of my current players have participated in.

    I didn't want to divulge this so soon but I am already working on my next campaign, likely to start in or soon after August.

    Even a little prep goes a long way with Supers.

  3. Tom: The feeling of those old games is what I am trying to recreate, but I am not certain if it can be done. I am not the same person/GM I used to be. I have grown/changed and with growth/change, my attitudes and abilities have adjusted as well.

    BA: How much pre-prep are you doing? I had a friend that used to write "campaign bibles" modeled on information packets that television writers used to pitch series, and then continued to refine/use to keep the characters within the series written consistently. Early on in my own superhero GM-ing, I used to write and sketch out practically every NPC that a group could meet, as well as each agency (heroic and villainous) and their corresponding agendas.

    Either way, it seemed like the games became cases of the PC's serving the story rather than the story serving the PC's, and that's not really what I've truly been after.

  4. Dave, I must agree with you. As much as I'd love to recreate the feeling those old games had, it's probably not possible. as you said, people change.

    I did more prep work for my Buffy the Vampire Slayer game than any other I had run before and that made a change. Sure, I still "wing it" most of the time, but I do have background on a lot of NPCs, etc.

    And we have all seen cases of where the GM has gotten so in love with their NPCs that the players started playing second fiddle.


  5. Tom: I have been guilty more than once of my NPCs becoming the primary story movers. Trouble is lately, when I try to pull away from that lately, I get a table full of people who stare back at me and do nothing without me prompting them. It gets maddening sometimes, and I blame myself more often than not for not giving folks easy to pick up plot hooks.

    As we we discussed a bit earlier today, I am currently looking for something that's a bit more narrative in operation, with a great deal of interaction between the PCs themselves. I'm just trying to find the system that will accomplish that for me/us.