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Reference The Game Master Group

Discussion in 'Role Playing Resource' started by DarkLordoftheFins, Sep 11, 2009.

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  1. DarkLordoftheFins Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 2, 2007
    star 4
    The Game Masters Group

    [image=http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3126/2863469496_6920591173.jpg]

    Introduction

    Games are the blood to the RPF's body. The art of game mastering is the equivalent of keeping the blood flowing. It is vital to the RPF Community. Therefore it is needed to keep our skills sharp and our technique strong and make our games enjoyable. To make them thrilling. Amusing. Sad. Desirable. Not only for our players. No, also for ourselves. We are the GMs. Without us, there won´t be games. This is a group for all those who tell their stories, master their games and keep their dungeons. Here we shall gather and discuss. About the tricks and methods, highs and lows, problems and highlights of being a GM out there. In general or for any specific game.


    Our three missions



    1. Help with specific problems


    Whenever a member feels he needs advice he is free to ask. Should the problem be present or even if it is in the future, we will discuss it and see if our combined experience will help to solve it. I want this to be a practical help. Therefore we will deal with practical questions, first.


    2. Learn and teach how to GM

    Producing player-interest, storyline development, traps to avoid, promotion for games, structuring them, player-cabs and player-numbers. What works and what not? Dos and DoNots. Chances, experiences, tricks and techniques to create suspense, generate interest, develop characters and guide player through stories. Workload, frustration and effort of playing games shall also be discussed. Here you share them, here you ask about them and here you can read all about them.


    3. Discussion

    This is a place to discuss and to learn. And I mean a place where everybody can discuss and all of us can learn something. Because there is no school and no book that teaches you to do a good game. There is not even an adoption program, like the players have one. All there is and will ever be is us. So let us share our wisdom and learn from each other. So our games will get better and better with each post.

    This guild will limit itself to the games themselves. For opening posts and game design we gladly hand over to our brothers at the GDG. And we have enough to talk about, I guess.


    What we demand . . .

    Whoever comes here does so to make others games and his own better. Criticism will be brought forth with as much seriousness and honesty, but also courtesy and respect, as possible.


    Group Moderator

    And a word on my humble self and all those who may follow my example and guide this group. I think of myself primary as someone to talk to. If there is any insecurity about what is appropriate or right, just ask. My PM box is open. I will also enforce of policy of respectful discussion, but as I know GMs to be reasonable, wise entities I doubt I ever have to. Otherwise I might provide challenges or questions from time to time, to gather the opinions of the GMs of our group or simply have fun by training our GMing muscles . . .


    Membership


    There are no privileges and no special members. Whoever is interested in this discussion can join. If you like, you can note that you're a member of the Game Masters Group in your signature or bio, but that is not required.


    So come and join, my friends. We got GMing to do . . .
  2. SkywalkerShine Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Aug 16, 2007
    star 3
    I defiantly need to learn how to be a good GM...
  3. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

    Administrator
    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 2008
    star 7
    Woohoo, GMG![face_dancing] I anticipate I shall be frequenting this thread often.:D
  4. DarkLordoftheFins Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 2, 2007
    star 4
    Let´s hope so! I give this a little time to celebrate our founding, but then I have a few things to discuss, really. And I am sure everybody else has to. We have lived long without such a place. I hope we will enjoy having one again.

    And SkywalkerShine, let us make your problem our first then. How does one get a better GM?
  5. Winged_Jedi Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 28, 2003
    star 4
  6. LordTroepfchen Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 9, 2007
    star 4
    Practice. Yeah. Playing. Experiencing how other GMs work always makes your own games richer. There are a lot of ways to tell a story. Personal style is usually a blend of things you enjoyed in other games before. If you never played any, you make it all up by yourself. It is a little like constructing a plane without basing it on any experience of plane-construction that came before. Hard to do. Really.

    I believe all good GMs make good players, too. Good players have the potential to be good GMs. And by good, I mean not excellent writers or "so-called-RPF-stars" but strong and steady storytellers.
  7. SkywalkerShine Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Aug 16, 2007
    star 3
    Wow. That's awesome. Thanks guys. Maybe this can help me out by being a great RPG GM. Thank you! :D
  8. Jedi Gunny Yahtzee Host

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    May 20, 2008
    star 8
    Mind if I join? I need some practice with running my games as well, so this looks like a great place to do so. :)
  9. CloneUncleOwen Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 30, 2009
    star 4
    You've shown the golden arrow. People won't join games because they feel
    they are.. well, let's face it, idiots. And plenty of masters are out there
    willing to help but can't get through. This forum helps. I hope that all
    new to the life please look and listen to those posted who are willing
    to help.

    If not, I will find you, I will school you, I will destroy you...

    I will call forth a demon from hell...
  10. Penguinator RPF Modinator and Batmanager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    May 23, 2005
    star 6
    Aside from demons and destruction, I sort of agree with that.
  11. Saintheart Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2000
    star 6
    Thus do I declare myself a member of this austere organisation. :D
  12. The Loyal Imperial Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 19, 2007
    star 6
    I haven't had a whole lot of time for RPGs lately, unfortunately, but you can definitely count me in here.
  13. DarkLordoftheFins Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 2, 2007
    star 4
    No joining is needed. Everybody is a member, if he wishes to ask or discuss anything. You can come here whenever you want and discuss with us.

    I am happy to see so much interest in our first few hours. It looks like others feel the need to exchange about GMing, too. I am just GMing the finale of my last game and I feel that alone opens a whole can of questions I would like to share.

    In due time, of course.
  14. TheManinBlack Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 1, 2007
    star 4
    I'm going to post a game I had been writing up for a long time, but have wondered how to "introduce" and properly explain how character creation would go

    The Sons of Mandalore

    ?Come here children, and I will tell you a tale. This is not a tale of the days the children of Mandalore raised their arms to fight the armies of the Republic, and drove them to the brink of destruction. These weren?t the days we fought under the banner of Sith, and struck fear into the hearts of the Jedi. This isn?t a time when Mandalorians where rarer than an honest smuggler.

    No, these not the tales of men or warriors. This is the story of when the heirs of Mandalore where nothing more than brats, nothing more than boys lost in the woods, without a purpose or a goal other than simply surviving another lousy, frakken day. The days we where without honor or a reason for simply existing. The days when our fathers woke up to, lived in, and slept to constant never ending disgrace.
    This is also a story of how boys became men. Of how the name Mandalorian came to mean something other than a name of a person who walked on this soil, of how Mandalorians became a real people, or how Mandalorian became a way of life.?
    ~ Mandalore, Boba Fett

    In the year 10,151 BBY, Mandalore was just another planet on the Outer Rim, whose only remarkable feature was the only known planet to produce Mandalorian Iron, a rare and valuable material largely immune to any form of blaster fire and even to the power of a lightsaber. Even the knowledge of the Mandalorian people as harden warriors, wasn?t remarkable. Just another name, on a long list of races you might want to hire bounty hunters or mercenaries from. The tales of their past glories where exactly that, just stories, fables and fairy tales told to younglings to get them to fall asleep. Something that happened along time ago, and no applied to the modern galaxy at large.

    Mandalorian culture, for the only time in its long history, was no longer a warrior culture. The ruling class and upper echelons society, where now a merchant and industrial class owing their success and influence to the production of and trade of Mandalorian Iron to the Galactic Republic and other major powers in the surrounding area. Even Clans, vassal families to the current Mandalore family, whose fiefdoms lay outside the planet Mandalore, were ruled by Guilds, councils of elders and distinguished members of their Clan, whose main purpose was train Mandalorians as nothing but as a police force, with bounty hunting and mercenary as a means of a side income. The nomadic, honorable warriors, had devolved now into nothing more than mere muscle, hired out to the highest bidder, for a totalitarian regime of corrupt bureaucrats and capitalists.

    This was one of the greatest periods of strife in the Outer Rim, despite very little prolonged and organized warfare on any large scale. Instead growing and expanding, the Outer Rim was becoming contracted and concreting into semi isolated clusters. Major power players tried and failed for the most part, to exert their authority because of this. This caused dozen of wars to flare up dozen places at once in the Outer Rim, only to cool down a month later and then start all over a few months after that.
    One of the few significant things to rise out this period was the reemergence of the Mandalorian on the intergalactic scene.

    ~ The Men Who Pulled the Strings ~

    This section would discuss the figures who are actually important in Mandalore and the near by sections, I.E the people the players would be fighting against, working for, and previous to this point in time affected their character lives ect


    For Example

    The Republic Forces

    Jedi Master, Heidi Starblazer

    For every 30 inhabited worlds in the entire Galaxy, there is one Jedi. If you where to consensus just the Outer Rim, that ratio shifts to a whopping 120 worlds for just one Jedi. With such a large lap between the outskirts of civilization and the center of galactic activity, decentralization is a large issue. Oversight by the normal powers that be, is
  15. Saintheart Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2000
    star 6
    On the subject of how you become a better GM:

    Let's expand the meaning of "practice" in this context. These are only my personal observations, of course, and if I'm completely off the target people should call me out on it, but here's what I interpret "practice" to mean:

    (1) Review, review, review. That is, if your game failed, ask yourself (and other kind but honest people) why your game failed. Was it bad timing? Something in the structure? A big lag in players' availability? Did it go stale? All kinds of questions like that. Just as importantly, if your game succeeded, ask yourself why. Remember the Google search function, how some search results have "More from www.adeadendontheinformationsuperhighway.net?" That's what you're looking for: "More of this, please."

    (2) Relationships, relationships, relationships: RPGs are never (or shouldn't be) a passive experience between players and the GM; you should be in touch with your players during the game (if not afterward), finding out their interests, dreams, and desires for their characters.

    (3) Steal, steal, steal: :D :D ... no, not plagiarism, but you can learn a hell of a lot about how to GM by watching other (good) GMs do it. (The reverse is also true: read bad RPGs to see how not to do it.) You must not plagiarise (and doing "homages" to older RPGs is just weird, honestly) but I freely admit my usual RPGing style is lifted pretty heavily from the old Lightside_Apprentice days of IBOP. It isn't evil to absorb licks or styles from other GMs: blues players thieved from one another relentlessly, and the art didn't die out.

    (4) Play, play, play: If you want to know what players want, play a RPG. And then ask yourself questions like "How would I handle this if I were a GM?" or, more importantly, "How is this GM making this game a fun experience for me? How can I do the same?" If you know what you like to play, you can use that knowledge in designing RPGs.

    (5) Read, read, read: specifically, the FAQs, the older articles, and any material where GMs are talking about how they do what they do. But hey, you're here, so that's a good start :D

    (6) Mileage, mileage, mileage. This one is harder to get, because it simply is that: hanging around here long enough that you get a feel for how the place works, and to get some years under your belt. I've been around here a long time, and I'd like to think it shows. This is not the "oldbie versus newbie" debate, it's simply an observation: the more you do something over a period of time, generally the better you get at it.
  16. DarkLordoftheFins Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 2, 2007
    star 4
    First things first.

    ManInBlack, there is a misunderstanding and it is probably good we have it so early on, so we can get it out of the way. The CREATION OF GAMES is exclusive territory of the Games Designer Guild and it´s soon to be launched Heir the Games Developer Group. There I am sure you get all the help you will need with it. We actually deal "ONLY" with the way to manage games themselves.

    Everything after the first post, so to say. Therefore why don´t you post it in the GDG and I will have some ideas about it, actually.


    So, Saintheart brought it to the point again. I would like to add some things to [1], [4] and actually I slightly disagree with [6] on a total subjective level, though.

    To [1]

    Every word Saint said there is so true. But I want to say: it is hard. I know it is.

    Asking yourself why your games failed. What went wrong. Many GMs like to blame it on their general lack of quaility (yeah, I sucked, I know) or their players (then my players left and I was left hanging). They are often right. I´d say half of the time. The other half there are different things going on that ruined their well-developed game. Honestly asking about your own mistakes means you have to watch yourself from the outside. It is hard to do. Not only in GMing but life in general. But it is worth the try. It makes you grow.

    I think the things GMs do wrong, a list of "not-son-known" mistakes by GMs is one of the first things I wanna do here. Maybe even put together our thoughts and draft something for future GMs to read. The GM-FAQ Saintheart wrote are obviously the way to start, though. They have a collection of the most common mistakes.

    When I looked at them, I had to realize I made them all in time.:p

    To [4]: I couldn´t find it, but our dear Mod Imperial_Hammer has once written waht he called the "Market-Theory". It is a wonderful observation of how Games come to be and how players and GMs interact in the long run. Read it. And then you realize that you can go to games, have fun and all . . . you will also learn how the market works. What games are wanted and what not. It makes no sense to have games created, that generate no interest.

    To [6]: Saintheart has a point here, but I think it isn´t even necessary to get "years under your belt" to do things. I am relative new here and I don´t feel I have to hide. Others have taken our hearts and free-time by storm. What you really need to do is get into games. And don´t be shy. Go in there to meet people. Interact with characters. Don´t think of them as rivals, or olbies, or stars. We all wanna have fun here. I don´t know a single member who doesn´t appreciate a good scene.
    You will be soooooo soon totally accepted around here, if you play with some passion and with respect for the others. You wouldn´t believe it. :D THAT is when people will think "Oh XY made a game, let´s have look at it. Space-Elves, wow. What an idea. Lord of the Rings as Star Wars tale? Interesting." And they will join.

    People are just so much more reluctant to join other people´s games, if they don´t know them. Trust between players and GMs is an important part of playing.


    So my two cents in addition to Sainthearts, making it 4 cents in total by now. Let´s see if we can make it a quarter. ;)
    />
  17. TheManinBlack Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 1, 2007
    star 4
    My bad, posting it there now.



    Oh, and thanks Fins for making this thread, I will be making good use of it.
  18. LightWarden Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 11, 2001
    star 4
    In all honesty, this is just about the worst advice you could give anyone. First and foremost, run the game that you want to run. You don't need a dozen players, you only need one. Building your game to appease the masses is incestuous and often unsatisfactory, since it keeps popping out an endless supply of "SITH VS. JEDI! FOLLOW MY PET PC INTO BATTLE! WINNER TAKES ALL!" spawn.

    The thing you want most is interest, because with interest you can get dedication, and with dedication it doesn't matter what your initial ability is, because you can always improve. Above all things, this is a game. You should look forward to each post because you want to see what your players do next, or you want to show them something interesting, or you want to throw a challenge at them and see how they overcome it. If it feels entirely like work, you're doing something wrong. Figure out what you need to do to have fun again. If your solution is to terminate the game, then maybe you never really had that much to begin with, but you do what you have to do. It's not like there's anything that could stop you from walking out at any time.

    You should think to yourself "why do I want to run this game?" If the answer is that you want to become super-idolized by six particularly nerdy members of a nerd forum, I'd recommend rethinking your priorities.

    I_H Edit: Parts of this crossed the line:

    A reminder for everyone on the official JC group-flaming policy (with particularly relevant points underlined):

    When the subject of the cultures of the various forums come up, remember this is not an us vs. them environment. We are all one big group of boards. Discuss the forums and their respective topics, and stay away from generalizations that target a particular forum in a negative fashion. If your comment is potentially insulting to a user or a group of users, or an entire forum, just don't post it. It could lead us into waters that are better left unsailed.

    Treat the users in your fellow forums with respect, even if you disagree vehemently with them. If something would be edited as a flame were it directed at a single user, it will not be allowed when directed at a forum or a group of users. There is a line between discussing the state of things in a constructive manner and just trying to be insulting to a forum or group with that opinion. Know the difference and act accordingly. This has been discussed and agreed upon by the MS as a whole.


    Additionally, one of the reasons for restarting the guilds again is to move us away from overly harsh criticism. As the OP says: "criticism will be brought forth with as much seriousness and honesty, but also courtesy and respect, as possible."/>
  19. LordTroepfchen Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 9, 2007
    star 4
    Well, Lightwarden, could you elaborate how your little . . . observation . . . connects to the quote you attack so eager? Because when I wanted to defend Fin, with whom I agree and answer to your text, with which I agree too . . . I found myself wondering where the connection was . . . o_O

    Didn´t Fin actually agree with you in parts?
  20. LightWarden Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 11, 2001
    star 4
    Well, for reference, here's Hammer's "Market Theory" post.

  21. Winged_Jedi Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 28, 2003
    star 4

    What you fail to understand is that all the apparent serious business (the Awards, the Guilds, the Theories) are merely extensions of Pretendy Fun Time Games. It is a form of role playing. In the RPF we become award-winners and game designers and theory creators. We have all invested many hours into what we do here, and consequently we like to play with colours and titles and pat each other on the back and dress up our observations in fancy terminology (which, BTW, does not make those observations any less valid). What is wrong with that? It is all part of the fun.

    You're the one who usually stomps in to rant that you've seen so much better, that we're lacking creativity and that we're celebrating mediocrity. So who's the one taking things too seriously?

  22. Hero_Of_The_Force Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 2008
    star 2
    F is for Friends who do stuff together.
    U is for You and me.
    N is for Anywhere and anytime at all.

    Here in the RPG...

    :D (I'll be joining in the intrest of becoming a better GM)
  23. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

    Administrator
    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 2008
    star 7
    In the interest of avoiding what almost looks like an eminent flame war:

    F is for FIRE, that burns down the whole town!
    U is for Uranium. ... Bombs!
    N is for No Survivors...

    Is my preferred version.:p

    Also, for what it's worth, I always viewed quality GMing the way you get to Carnegie Hall: Practice, man, practice.
  24. DarkLordoftheFins Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 2, 2007
    star 4
    No, no. Flames aren´t needed here. We are discussing and therefore I appreciate any opinion, even those not agreeing with me. Actually I feel any advice that stays completely unchallenged is not much more than a thesis. Though I wish to remind all discussion-members that we are discussing here, not preaching. If someone thinks something, that´s fine. I am sure every word we write is tainted by our personal experiences and motivations, though.

    If you revealing any FINAL truth quote the religious text, the law or the totally convincing majority of all members here (and then don´t expect to buy it anyway). Or accept you offer an opinion. Only opinion. Experience maybe - added to the mix.

    My opinion about "seriousness" (and it is not any more than that - an opinion) is actually quite much what Winged expressed. There are rare occassions when people think awards and stardom is a REAL thing instead of an expanded alternate reality game. Then things usually get far too serious and things die down. It is revived once the more playful people take over, again.

    Nevertheless, the Market-Theory as it stands surely does not forbid creativity. I think many "marketeers" have shown to be among the more daring, creative minds around here. And not asking for interests doesn´t make your game a unique gem. If you don´t look for a game that generates great interest but follow only "your own instincts" - in 99 of a 100 cases we end up with "Sith Attack, Jedi defend" games. That is something easily avoided. You can get the info we are all fed up with these games everywhere around here.


    Is the "Market-Theory" an imperative? An obligation? A school of thinking? An arcane lore of GMhood? No, hell, NO. It is a tool to comprehend the decisions made by players. If you don´t care for them, don´t use it. If you do care, it saves you lots of time. It is a thought-play. That many people found useful.

    What should new GMs do? Ignore the pro´s and contra´s brought forth here. Read it, think about it and make up your own opinion. GMing is a lot about making your own decisions. />
  25. LordTroepfchen Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 9, 2007
    star 4
    I agree with that. If I participate in these "games" I do it to "play LordT" a guy who exists only to roleplay. While I actually have so much other things in my life which do not concern "LordT". Which is what I like about him.

    But this is the GMG, so back to GMing.
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