Friday, August 26, 2022

Reflections - What makes it easier for me to run games?

I'm a fan of Seth Skorkowsky, and really like being prepared while being very much open to what the PCs have in store.

What I would like to happen when I run a game is the following.  

  1. I'd download the adventure and go through the Outline and Preparation. The Prep is in a Bullet form, like a Recipe. It has all the basic ingredients there available so I can start making preparations. 
  2. It comes with Images - Ideally the Vistas the PCs will visit. It will save me the 0.5 to 2-3 mins of researching and downloading or god-forbid making them. While my players dont mind really ugly drawings in Roll20 I want something to put them in the mood. 
    1. Thats why Nicco and I are studying Procedural Cities and Worlds with Geometery Nodes. (Eventually procedural Ships that follow the ship building rules we set out)
    2. I want it that I have a bunch of Images, I upload it to Roll20 and done. I can have a scene a picture. 
  3. It comes with Handouts. Players can read it. What happens is Mike or one of the players read the hand out to the rest of us. The GM catches a break and everyone starts getting info from the Hand outs. 
    1. The GM notes talks about what is hidden or obfuscated in the clues of the handouts. Like if the gov't of the world is not what it appears to be, instead of One faction being in power its actually a puppet. 
    2. There are Handouts and Information DESIGNED so that the GM can have it open per scene.
  4. I will read the outline - I get the bullet points in case I missed anything. Details are in bullets - explanations are in Pros. I will not embed information Items that cannot be summarized as bullets (this is from my work in Quality management Systems - make it super EASY because GMs and Players are Juggling Work and Responsibilities to play - they PAY you to save them time and  make it easy). 
  5.  Character Portraits are ready - I still do People sketches (Ipad 9 and apple-pen 1 procreate, Nicco hopefully the XPpen 16 15") and I still love doing character sketches. Of course given its hard scifi I want some fairly detailed Vacc Suits (which Nicco and I made). A combination of "Thispersondoesntexist" + Themes + random character traits + Tracing over our 3D models to make the Vacc Suits and Tech clear and distinict. (I want a level of detail that a fellow geek will debunk and will say - It should have this and that so that we make a BETTER suit - like how Andy Weir wrote the martian).
  6. Warm ups - the problem with Hard Scifi - given how niche it is - we need warm ups. Stuff that is Familiar but we can control 1 or 2 elements that is different. We dont want to overwhelm. The adventure is written with WARM UPS - side quests to demonstrate how the setting is different. 
    1. Mneme World Generator - means Travelling around the solar system. Finding an Asteroid or Planetoid or Minor World. 
    2. Mneme Variant Combat Rules - a sample combat - which is shocking in how different the process flow is (Referee/GM doesnt roll).
  7. Open Ended Hooks - Who done its and Mystery games where anyone can have different key challenges can be embedded in the adventure. Its like when Seth starts talking about how differently the adventure can be run - All these possibilities can be noted - and written with some key priorities or risks - things the GM has to keep in mind when making modifications. 
    1. This allows Players never to be able to fully anticipate the adventure EVEN if they read the material. Options that make someone who read this book Trapped by making Optimal decisions that create further complications. 
    2. This MEANS other GMS can watch the video or play through and never be spoiled. This means understanding the STRUCTURE of how the challenges play out, things escalate, and players find catharsis. 
  8. Project Based Adventure Hooks. I doesnt have to involve killing and unethical activity, but its just HARD MODE when the players apply conflict management, EQ, problem solving and their technical abilities when it applies to Anti-Patterns. 

Its hard to Write a project management type adventure - and not do it or be involved with it everyday.  

I like doing this (Writing about Project management type adventures), but I also like teaching OJTs from many different schools and all the many courses to test how adaptable I can be (and fall on my face). I like doing my job - despite the ambiguous complex social conflicts and the incredibly scarce resources - I think I cannot write without these really hard problems plaguing me.

What! I want to push this kind of adventure AND make it hardish scifi. Crazy right? Why cant the adventure be "Set up a Mining Facility in the Brown dwarf found between the gulf of space between Sol and this system." - Freaking RPGs made many assumptions on how Fleets, Armys and KINGDOMS are run - what is the Operations of a Mining Facility in a Point in time that can change and may have different SOPs from different Corporations? 

I guess you have to be so practiced in Writing Problem Statements and Summarizing Challenges and the Chief resource Constraints (Theory of Constraints) its not a terrible chore - but like a normal bodily function.

I want that someone reads another persons' problem statement or report and sees it as an adventure and can imagine the feelings people were going through (How to write non-Fiction from the great courses). They see - they feel the problem, the stakes, and the weight - and know the risks and odds. They know the scarcity of attention and resources - and how much its rolling the dice - but you cant see the dice results.

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