Friday, December 27, 2013

Less Posts; Longer running campaign

Since I've got so many projects at work and for personal, I will have to trim down my posts by 33%.  So I'll be posting on Tuesday and Thursday. Hopefully I will achieve many of my new year goals in both work and personal projects that I can post material related to it.

So I've got a lot of personal projects planned, and there really is no point on writing about them until they are done. There are Inspirational Posts about

Long Running Campaign Lessons

Many of the future Posts will be about the War Beneath Heaven, the current Campaign I'm running. So far its had 11 sessions. 8 sessions in the first season, which was a very basic and my skills were really problematic. I was not able to mix things in a way to keep it entertaining and really depended heavily in the trust the players gave me to improve my GMing.

After the 9th, 10th and 11th session, it seems to have improved and there are many lessons I've learned regarding the game.

  • It takes time. The games of 9th, 10th, and 11th are well balanced in combat, problem solving, and role-playing. One thing I realize is that it takes time for me to convert a Sand-box situation into a good narrative. I give the players a sandbox, and I cannot convert it in 2 hours to a good mix of gaming; it takes me about 4 hours to balance things and control the narrative. This is really something I cannot help and I wish my abilities were better to achieve 
  • Timing means a lot for something I used to think pure ability can fix. I have less distractions with the time setting of 7am Saturday in Philippine time. This helps immensely because GMing concentration rapidly degrades if I have any chores left undone and I get into trouble because of that. Also Timing is great for getting players from 12 hour difference!. GMT+8am 7am Saturday is great for EST & CST, as well as those in the AUS, NZ, and PH. And it is a Saturday. 
  • Always in a rush; I can't help but be a little rude and Screw the app I'll just narrate the damn thing. I catch myself being not as courteous as I should because I am always being in a hurry for every player to get their turn. Good thing its recorded (which i can download and listen to on long drives) so that I can catch myself when i'm wasting time. The App is there to serve to Illustrate a situation and when I depend on it I should multi-task, setting things up with listening to the player declare their actions and plans. 
  • Applying StoryTelling Skills. My consumption of media helps in the flow of stories, so it does take time to tell a good story and as the players declare their actions and activities I apply all that I've learned in writing and storytelling to tie things together. This sounds like common sense but its the practice of reading a story: predicting the outcome of a TV show/Novel/manga/Comics is what really drives the narrative towards things the Players can Intuitively understand. I want the players to plan and try to implement plans, but in order to do that they need to understand and comprehend the setting and their limitations and capabilities. This means that I have to convey Cliche's or Memes or easy to get Ideas and build up from there. So Drawing from Cliche's or popular media is there to create common ground Quickly. Storytelling Professionalism comes to play, meaning do your job even if it doesnt meet some high standard, just get it done and we can edit it to make it appear better in the Game Notes!
  • Endings was always my problem. It was always my problem that by the end of the game I was too tired to think of a great clincher. The trick is really to have a great Idea result from the current situation and use that Conditioned Response to Stop and Think about it. So you have this great situation, now Stop and Think. The game ends a bit prematurely, but thats ok its the Aftermath Notes where you can rally your thoughts into a Great Ending piece! 
  • Always take the Time to Rally Thoughts. Being single minded is a disadvantage because the instinct to Step back and re-assess the situation is severely hampered. Everyone can concentrate when something needs to be done, but the ability to make sense of  subtle hints that things are going wrong is more talent than trained; to compensate condition the virtue of stepping back to re-assess the situation. 
  • Discretion. Leaving things open to interpretation is great tool and practice in work and in the game. In the game, there are times where being very specific is great, but broad strokes would serve better in some cases. Especially broad strokes that Dont Paint yourself into a corner. This is practiced using particular language, knowing which kind of details are worth saying.

Its ok for the players to know the techniques. Players who are also GMs don't need to be sold the illusion, they get into character and the game, and as a Facilitator my job is really to make the Game and Powerlevels sustainable, but really give them the chance to do amazing things. Thats the funny thing about Table-Top RPGs it is consensus and we have fun by working together.

I can't help but meta game a bit since I'm also a GM, but it never spoils my fun in the game. In fact its a kind of commitment that pushes me to ignore bias created by my being a GM and enjoy the game. Its a very adult thing, and I admit I had a big problem with this when I was younger. Unleashing one's own Role-playing urge is what is important and the main catharsis, the only details that matter are in the clues about the GM's narration.

I'm writing this because a Hiatus means I'll get rusty. Its easy to get rusty as I get older. I miss a day of jogging and my performance falls like a brick. Same goes with drawing and all other mental activities. At least in this blog, capturing the ideas and crystallizing them into words help preserve it for after the hiatus.

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