Last month, I gave my First Impressions of Cold City. At the EGA’s Horror Night, I had the pleasure of running it for the first time. I have to say, I really enjoyed myself and I think my players had a good time too. I’ll save my comments for the end of the review of my session. To aid in my adventure creation, I also purchased the Cold City Dossier (PDF from IPR) – I was really impressed with what I had received in this supplement, including details for distressing documents myself. A very exciting supplement indeed!
I’m going to follow Lakira’s example and put character information in first, followed by the actual events of the game. In my haste to finish everything, I did not take copies of the character sheets, so I am unable to post those for reference, but as trust did not really come into play, I don’t think seeing those details about the characters as being crucial.
I’ve got a few administrative items to pass along this month that I’ll pass along before we get to the meat and potatoes. Firstly, I’m going to add something to the end of my columns – a few game recommendations. These titles are likely going to be games I’ve never played and have barely read through, but something about them caught my eye. I hope some of these turn out to be gems in your collection. The second item is to blatantly self promote – if you’ve never RPed before, or if you just haven’t been able to find a group, be sure to check out the Edmonton Gamers’ Association. You can check them out on Meetup, which will tell you about all the events they have planned (There’s one this weekend, March 8th!).
With that taken care of…here’s a few pointers for new Game Masters.
Game Master Tips
The first two pieces of advice I’d give to new GMs are:
Plan out your session beforehand. Know where you plan on taking the adventure.
Don’t plan out your session beforehand.
Of course, I’m sure you realize these points contradict each other. Let me explain what I mean in a bit more detail. For most GMs, just making stuff up as they go just does not work, you’ll end up forgetting something and your players will call you on it. You need to have an idea of what the goal of the adventure is. Know some of the details of how the characters go from point A to point B. But…don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Players hate ‘box canyons’ with one direction of travel. They will find a way to break your intended path. So, don’t plan everything. Make multiple-plan ideas. Think of one or two alternate paths that can be chosen to get to the end goal. Sometimes, they’ll think of something you never thought of. You’ll have to make that up – but take personal notes of what you’re telling players. It will help you later on.
My roleplaying experience has pretty much revolved exclusively around Star Wars. My first game was the West End Games 2nd Edition Star Wars RPG, which I played for many years. When I joined the SWRPGA, the d6 rules were still going strong. When WotC published the d20 Version of the Star Wars rules, the club pushed back quite severely, myself included. In hindsight, it was rebellion for the sake of rebellion rather than a real aversion to the new take on the rules. Eventually, the senior members of the club realized that we had to embrace the new rules so that the new players didn’t feel outcast. As for myself, I didn’t pick up the d20 rulebook for many years, as I tried to focus more on storytelling than gameplay mechanics. Eventually, I found a copy of the first edition rulebook at a used bookstore, so I decided to purchase it. By that time, the Revised Core Rules had been out for a while, but the changes weren’t so significant for the mechanics I wanted to utilize, so I didn’t care that much. Shortly thereafter, I burned myself out trying to run the SWRPGA – and I wanted to spread my wings, so to speak. I started a new site, d6d20, originally dedicated to ‘anything but Star Wars’ and passed the torch at the SWRPGA. Fast forward a year or so – and the Star Wars Saga Edition was announced. I didn’t give it much thought, but as the release neared, I became excited. Coupled with a new-rekindling of my love of Star Wars, I bought the book. I was very impressed with the rules – and I lifted the ‘ban’ on Star Wars at d6d20, which has resulted in a number of Saga games popping up.
While I had a bit of mechanical play-through with my group of players in the Dawn of Defiance campaign provided by Wizards. I also had the opportunity to run a scenario of Saga at the EGA’s RPGCon. This gave me a few more insights into the system to write a better review of the game (it also gave me another experience – Running a Con Game).
The one main goal of the Star Wars Saga Edition is to capture the cinematic nature of the source material. Ultimately, I think they’ve succeeded.
While I’m saving both the system review of Star Wars Saga and my first experience as a Con GM game for my column at Canadian Geek, I would like to put down a few comments here regarding the event.
I would really like to thank Christian and the rest of the EGA for putting on the Con. I had a great time for the portions of the day that I was available to contribute. Hopefully, I will be able to spend the whole day at the event and not have to worry about being in other places.
The morning session was fun for me, as I was able to run a tabletop game for the first time in many years (probably 10ish), as most of the time, I play online. I will write more about the game itself later. Unfortunately, after my game ended, I had to run to class, so I wasn’t able to take part in the afternoon gaming sessions, but it appeared that everyone enjoyed themselves. I returned after class to take part in the panel discussion that I was invited to be a part of to discuss my experiences as a play-by-post gamer. I felt a bit ‘unworthy’ compared to the other two members of the panel, but I did what I sometimes do best – tell stories.
As soon as I have more consistent free time, I will definately try to participate in more events put on by the EGA. If you’re interested in Role playing, Card, or Board games, check them out. There’s a lot of good people there.