Friday, May 1, 2015

Back to Basics: Listing GMing Techniques

I have a coping mechanism where I break down the mental routes I use and try to hack and analyze them. I can somewhat modify them and get them going again while being able to consciously criticize and watch it done in my head.

I've begun collecting techniques. Many discussed here, and over-analyzed in the "Back to Basics", GMing, and Gaming Philosophy. Its arbitrary naming of the techniques and re-purposing definitions from work and from various studies.

Disclaimer - This is My Coping Mechanism you are free to Enjoy and Run Games which ever way you want. You can do it like John Favreau - 90% intuition.

List of Techniques

  1. World Building Campaign - more of a policy or approach. Being able to let Players affect the world and not just follow an adventure path. Sub-skills that frame the events and actions into a narrative in context of how it affects the Setting and not just the Players microcosm.
  2. One Spotlight per Player - A policy and a simpler way of adjudicating how much time to spend on players vs PCs.
  3. Yes &/But - a well known technique in Improvisation discussed at length in Happy Jacks and other more Narrative Driven Gming Styles.
  4. Active Listening GMing - Using the techniques in Active Listening in GMing, to optimize communication in the game. Disciplining the GM's Listening Skills.
  5. Consensus Decision Making GMing - Finding a way for the Players to make up more of the scene with their Intra Party conflict in a CONSTRUCTIVE way. A team and GM skill.
  6. Unique Dialogue mnemonic - how to know if we are moving forward. (If I learn something new or a new angle on something I took for-granted).
  7. Course of Action - Breaking down action by Strategy > Action > Objective. A structure to help GMs and Players complete the Idea.
  8. Pacing Metre - the 3 stages of Pacing: Set up, Initial Conflict, Climax-Consequences. Mastering it and seeing the Pacing in everything.
  9. Relationship Scope and Scaling - Scaling the Scope of the Scene to afflict Cognitive Dissonance or Complications to the Scene. To Scale from Individuals and their Internal Conflicts to Groups and their Internal Conflict. to Organisations or States and their Internal Conflict.
  10. Informative Actions - Not just to ask GM questions but to Frame it as Information Gathering Activities or Courses of Actions.
  11. Frame in Opportunities - Do not merely frame in Actions but the Opportunities wishing to discover.
  12. Zones - in-depth study of the Narrative use of Zones for Place and even Time.
  13. Task Grouping (workstream) - At first the GM masters this, but Players learn this for their Staff, Entourage, Factions or Organizations and Armies
  14. Case Study Method (project based) - Techniques in the Harvard Case Study method applicable to gaming. Particularly how they Pace and Frame.
  15. Intuitive metrics - Using Heartbeats, Breaths, Paces, Object-Lengths (Men-Abreast, Horse-Lengths, etc...) Intuitive Metrics instead of hard metrics because in Airsoft I realized I think in those terms when the perception of time gets wonky
  16. Sub-Technique for Set-up - List of Set up techniques in Pacing.
  17. Sub-Techniques for Initial Conflict - List of Initial Conflict in Pacing.
  18. Conversation of Mutual Interests - the simple skill of controling a geeks tendency to Nerdjack and work towards a fairer amount of spotlight and listening. Channeling the nerdjacking healthily.

I have more and i'm still polishing them. Some I will expound on. There are those I'm seeking to master that I should name and add to the list and set up a status and ideal/recommendation note. I'm trying to apply my ISO training in these things.


So I'm one of those guys who can't improve unless I criticize and analyze what I did or do. As I've explained before - I grew up in competetion with my genius younger brother in GMing and it left me in a predisposition to improve my GMing despite my weaker processing ability. This lead to the accumulation of some coping techniques and mnemonics to sort, perceive, judge and analyze things. As well as taking down the mechanism and criticizing, using trained doubt and freethinking skills to fix it.

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